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 an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. He has his M.A. in Theatre Arts and is always looking for a good way to use stories to soften peoples' hearts. Find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @LeviTheBeliever.
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