SPECIAL: Viewing Movies Through Christian Lenses | FCC 81

In this podcast episode, we answer a few questions poised by long-time listener and die-hard FCC fan John Wilkerson of The Wired Homeschool podcast and discuss what it means to view a movie through Christian lenses, and whether or not we impose our Christian worldview too much.

While we were covering Mad Max: Fury Road, John left us some feedback via voicemail (which you can listen to here), and he asked a few questions that have given Michael and I reason to pause and reflect on what it is that we do over here at Finding Christ In Cinema. We’ve mulled it all over, and though we can only give our own subjective answers, we hope we’ve answered the questions as clearly and as truthfully as we can. 

For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:06:10 – Featured Discussion
  • 01:23:24 – Listener Challenge and Feedback
  • 01:32:00 – Well-mannered Frivolity
  • 01:42:48 – Lightning Round 
  • 01:45:50 – Upcoming 

Do We Impose Our Christian Worldview Too Much?

When I first heard John ask this question, my initial response was that we can only impose our Christian worldview too much if our Christian worldview was wrong. I then concluded that since the Christian worldview is not wrong, then we cannot impose it too much. Because you can’t have too much “rightness,” right? I mean, if something is right, it’s not partly wrong, and if something is wrong, it can’t be considered right.

After saying that, though, I had to take a step back and check myself, because while Christianity and the worldview it proffers is not wrong, I as a human being am still diluted by sin, and my own personal worldview – as Christian as it may and may not be – is still relative to my own personal depravity.

But even with that depravity, we can still have a measure of appreciation for truth, beauty, and justice. Speaking specifically about movies, we as audience members know when we see something good or bad – true or false, beautiful or ugly, just or unjust – within the mechanics of the story, and we can then respond accordingly.

And those earnest responses will stem from our worldview. Finding Christ in cinema doesn’t mean just finding a Christ figure; it means finding the things that are worth meditating on and relating those good things to the Good News that Jesus brought to us.


This image shows a young lady peering over 3D movie glasses with red and blue lenses.


Paul in Athens Shows Us How To Do It

But before we can use anything from culture as a tool to redirect people back to God, we have to know about it through and through. For example, we can’t tell anyone that It’s A Wonderful Life is one of the best films ever made if we haven’t even seen it; likewise, we can’t tell anyone that The Shining is one of the worst movies ever made if we haven’t seen it.

The point is that if we want to engage the culture in the name of Christ, we have to experience it and let it affect us first so as to find a common ground with people who are already familiar with whatever aspect of culture we’re experiencing.

The Apostle Paul excellently demonstrates this for us when he visits the Athenians and addresses the Areopagus in Acts 17. He even includes three different aspects of Greek culture in his testimony: the temple with the inscription TO AN UNKNOWN GOD (v. 23), the lines of the popular poets Aratus and Epimenides (v. 28), and Mars Hill itself, the setting of one of the time’s most popular plays (v. 22).

Paul knew enough about Greek culture to give him an edge when it came to witnessing to the people of Athens, and he made sure he used that edge as truthfully and as thoughtfully as he could.

So should we when it comes to using movies in order to reveal God to our friends and loved ones.


Key Texts

Romans 12:2 NLT

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

1 Corinthians 9:22-23 NASB

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.


Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.

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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is a graduate student pursuing his Master in Theatre Arts degree with Regent University. He is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. You can find him live-tweeting his favorite movies on Twitter @LeviTheBeliever or posting poetry and unsolicited opinions at thebookofbrenden.com
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  • Philip Heard

    Great discussion guys, some interesting stuff! Most of what I think is covered in my previous e-mail, but Brenden mentioning Cloud Atlas brought to mind a point I would like to hit on a bit more. When I became a Christian almost 20 years ago I had an issue with legalism. I thought like many people that there was a lot of “do this and don’t do that” when it comes to being a Christian. Our behavior definitely changes if we sincerely follow Jesus, but it needs to be out of a heart change, not rule keeping. I would often dismiss things and people if they weren’t in keeping enough with my new world view. As a result, I didn’t have the sort of compassion and empathy I needed to love my neighbor. A film like Cloud Atlas definitely displays some sinful choices and lifestyles that we should not emulate, but it can also help to have love and empathy for people who are different than us. It is important to distinguish between liking a character and enjoying the story that is being told with them, and approving of all of their actions. It also does what Brenden brought up- it made me think about what I would do in a particular situation, which is of great value and an excellent thought exercise.

    What you guys do is great stuff, and more Christians need to engage the popular culture in a meaningful way since it is such a strong influence on people and their world views. I think for too long we Christians have shied away from the arts, considering them too secular or unholy. And even now, it seems unless something is overtly Christian that many people put it down or dismiss it entirely.

    The Stanford Prison Experiment is something I’ve heard of, but not seen. I’ve also heard of something a bit similar, a PBS show called Manor House that had modern day people playing the parts of masters and servants in an Edwardian manor house. It seems much of the same sorts of things happened, just not on so crazy a scale.

    I’m looking forward to the Christmas episodes, sounds like it will be lots of fun! Thanks again for what you do, I’m learning and growing from it! #muhweeladgimli

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