Hi readers, today I want to talk about the issue of content, as in violence, in books and movies. This is exclusive to Christian’s because unbelievers aren’t responsible for the things they create and do, but Christian’s are if we’re to edify the body of Christ.
If you’ve read my review on the Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker you will have noticed that it’s quite violent and at times deals with some dark subjects. Take a look at the Bible, it is very violent and oftentimes gory and disturbing! So, why all the violence? Before I go on I’ll note that there has never been an R18+ (or NC-17 for non Australian readers) film or novel in the Christian industry. R18+ has absolutely no place in the Christian industry and the Christian life. There is no edifying material in that rating, and if there was, the content would be so hard it would snuff it out completely.
So why are there Christian novels and movies in the MA15+ rating, and is it necessary? After reading the Priest’s Graveyard I’d have to say that at times it was not necessary, and at times it was. Christians should address dark subjects in their movies and books because the world is full of it, but only we can offer salvation.
But it can be done without all the gory details.
In my novel in progress, which I won’t give the name away to just yet, there is a scene in which a family is murdered. It’s not graphic, but it is most certainly implied. I wanted to show that that is sin, and the consequences are dire as shown later on in the book. Now, would it edify the reader if I went into depth with that scene? No! In fact if I was reading it I would be repulsed and throw the book away.
We can address the dark and uncomfortable subject matter without including the details. People would feel uncomfortable if you wrote about something uncomfortable, and something is only uncomfortable because it’s a sin. Guilt makes people very uncomfortable.
Imagine a pastor talking about the issue of self sex. That would make a lot of teenagers squirm! Why? Because of guilt! But we can then offer them hope and a way to escape the temptation, but if we never brought it up they would still be in that constant struggle between their flesh and their spirit. We need to make people uncomfortable sometimes to wake them up.
So, back to the matter at hand, does a book or movie need to be over the top to get a message across? I was reading about this Christian horror movie coming out about the rapture. The director said that he would be willing to get very violent, “in an evangelical sense,” to make people fear the world after the rapture.
Wait, how can violence be used in an evangelical sense?
Again I think it’s to scare people into believing. That’s just a fire escape in my opinion. I don’t think it’s a good idea to make people scared as the only means of salvation. Yes, fear plays a part, but so does Christ’s love, and the all too forgotten, the conviction of sin and need for a savior.
We need to have both. Fear and the love of Christ, the perfect combination. For me, a perfect story of salvation is one that merges those two together. It shows the reality of sin and the reality of God’s love.
So overall, should Christian’s write about violent and uncomfortable topics? Yes! Should they write them graphically and in great detail? No. It’s as simple as that. The Bible addressed dark subjects, but it never goes in great detail about them.
A man who truly shows God’s heart will not look away at what’s evil, He would face it and stand for the truth.
‘Till next time, God Bless!
If you have any other thoughts please leave a comment, it is greatly appreciated!