Why Christians “Prefer” Violence to Sex
November 19, 2013 79 Comments
It’s not unusual for churchgoers and Christians alike to shun Judd Apatow comedies and National Lampoons’ sex-romps, while at the same time our DVD shelves are lined with violent movies such as Braveheart and Hunger Games. So why, then, in a world that seeks goodwill and peace toward all, do Christians abhor media-fillings that advocate for love and intimacy, yet will stand in line at the theaters and set their Tivos for entertainment that propagates war and violence?
I can tell you that as a Christian myself, I am prone to say, “I’d rather our movies have cursing and violence than sex,” and I can see how this could cause many people to scratch their heads in bewilderment, and maybe even shake their heads in frustration.
In this post, I’d like to attempt why many Christians are wired with this frame of mind, and make the argument that it’s not as bad as it seems.
There are few people who wold disagree that the Bible is filled with violence, particularly in the Old Testament, where fewer people can accept such a violent God who seems to disregard the value of human life.
When The Passion of the Christ came out, Christians were labeled as blood-thirsty savages. We sing songs in church about their being power in the Blood, and Catholics believe that their communal cups are actually filled with a juice that turns into Christ’s blood as it flows down their throats.
I’ve made jokes that every male Christian has either Gladiator, The Lord of the Rings, or The Patriot on their list of favorite movies – all violent films.
All the while celebrities from Hollywood are coming out in interviews saying how right and beautiful it is to push the boundaries of sexuality on film. One French actress said that sex scenes don’t scare her as much as violent scenes. And many other youthful celebrities are saying how “challenging” it is for them as performers to reveal themselves completely and put themselves in such a vulnerable state to see if they can push their acting to the next level.
So why then, do Christians such as myself, refuse to watch those movies where the celebrities claim to be at their best and talent is reportedly in full-bloom? Why settle for so much less with films that glorify blood and violence and war; films that have all been done a thousand times before?
Because you can’t take back sex.
Permit me, for the sake of time, to aside the fact that the nudity is real and the violence is fabricated. Let’s assume we all know this and move on to the deeper issues.
Viewers can’t take back what they see projected on screen. Beautiful as it may seem to many, sexual images carve deep crevices within our hearts. Explicit images make us crave what we cannot have, and dig insatiable wells that demand more and more and more. More explicit, more edgy, and dare I say, much younger. Younger. Younger.
And then when you take this argument on the other side of the screen, we’re supporting actors and actresses committing infidelity and fornication with one another (both, I realize are completely acceptable in our day and age), sins that we as Christians hold to as ones that God hates. Christians cannot, in right mind, encourage or support such acts.
You may be asking, Isn’t violence insatiable, too? This is tricky, because to some, like the Adam Lanzas of the world, it is. But we are not all Adam Lanza or James Holmes. And there is a much darker, deeper side of violence that those two and countless other evil-doers saturate themselves in.
I don’t know any Christian that owns or appreciates the Saw movies. I’ve never seen Silence of the Lambs or Scream on the DVD shelf in a Christian home. (There may be some, I am sure, and even more who may own movies with explicit sexual material. This should not be the case. We’ve had to throw out many movies that we were not comfortable owning anymore.) But if you look closer at the type of violent movies Christians tend to gravitate toward, you’ll find that there is a theme of redemption flowing through them.
I own no film where good does not ultimately triumph over evil. We live in an evil world, and Christians are called to stand up against those that cause harm against others, being careful not to be trip into some vigilante lifestyle. We have hope that the world will be redeemed and that our fellow people will find redemption in their own lives.
Christians don’t gravitate toward violent movies, per say, but toward redemptive movies.
We also tend to embrace many war movies because of the historical significance, as our beliefs, both religious and patriotic, are rooted in history we feel strongly should never be forgotten nor dismissed.
After a viewing of Saving Private Ryan, I’m not going around talking about how cool all the blood was and dreaming about dismembering people’s arms and legs to get the “live show.” If I were, then those who suspected that would be right to ban me from such videos and games and commit me to a psychiatric ward.
But we will absolutely have no part in many (if any) HBO dramas or Seth Rogan comedies because those explicit images are not easily forgotten, and there is no reason for me to view something that my human nature craves, but is both unattainable and forbidden by the God I serve. Andy may I point out that I married one woman who is absolutely good enough for me in every way, and I refuse to replace her with another in thought or in deed.
I conclude with a statement that I know will not settle well with many. I make the charge that any man or woman who continually views such explicit material and claims that it does not affect them or their marriage, or any celebrity who claims that acting out such roles is purely for their career advancement, are either liars or themselves have been deceived.