Why I Watch Movies That Depict Immorality
For as long as I can remember, people have shunned one movie or another for its depictions of immorality. While I see the need for discretion and discernment, I have discovered that I am much less likely to forgo a movie for its sinfulness than many of my contemporaries. Once I noticed this, I began to think about why it’s such a frequent occasion that I write a movie off as “bad.” I discovered three reasons for my lack of cinematic condemnation.
First, all men are fallible and sinful, so the art which men create is marred and fallen. Any movie will have something of the fall in it. Our story has been blemished, so the stories which we share through cinema are blemished as well. Even if you restrict yourself to only “Christian” films, you will be exposed to something touched by man’s separation from God.
Second, even our holy, pure Scriptures portray immorality. Cain and Able, Solomon and his many wives, David and Bathsheba, and many, many more stories depict sinful man. However, no one says that we shouldn’t read the Bible, though it is filled with depictions of violence, sexual immorality, and other forms of depraved activity.
Third, man is made in God’s image, God’s law is written on every man’s heart, and much is self evident through God’s creation, so many films made by non-Christians actually portray something of God. Consequently, most films will point to God, even if the filmmakers had no intention of doing so. Even though some bad will be mixed with the good, this non-unique to non-Christian films, and it does not negate the good which is can be found these films.
Ultimately, we are called to be discerning. This does not mean that we must run at the first trace of evil in a film, just like we don’t run at the first depiction of evil in the Bible. Instead, we ought to focus on that which is good, and learn to recognize and answer that which is bad. Cinema can teach us much about the human condition, life in a fallen world, the universal principles which God has put in place, and our culture. It is up to us to separate the good from the bad and to lift up the good which we find, both in Christian and non-Christian films. For these reasons, I watch movies even if they depict immorality. In my opinion, it would be far worse to watch a “good film” without thinking than to watch a “bad film” while thinking critically.