I walked down the aisle looking for a movie to rent. From among the different titles, a few stuck out to me. The one that stopped me in my tracks was titled “Satanic.”
Why was a movie called “Satanic”? The more I thought of it, the more it perplexed me. As I continued the aisles of the video rental store, more titles and covers stood out to me. Some of them were inappropriate, some were just plain horrible. I then realized how awful the American media was becoming, and it inspired me to write a three part article on the dangers of American Culture.
Now, almost a year later, I have decided to revisit the subject. I feel that the American Media is worsening, and teenagers all over the world are being influenced by it, and not for the better.
I myself have fallen in this trap, as I stated in the first part of the original series. To be completely honest, I have played, and yes I must admit, enjoyed video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed. Now, I’m stepping back and looking at what these games actually are. The former is a charade of killing and using various weapons to kill police officers. The latter is a bloody affair that is made up of assassinations and brutal battles.
Video games and movies can be very bloody. However, there is a couple of other types of dangers found in these too (and sometimes in music as well). Some of these things have crude and inappropriate jokes in them, and sexual themes are common in movies today, even movies directed towards teenagers. Another one is profanity. So much profanity takes place in movies rated higher than PG, it’s shocking.
These things are found so much in American Culture it is scary. Not only that, but they are found in American teenage culture even more. In fact, there is so much, I feel like we are being desensitized to it.
My mom likes horses. She grew up with one, and likewise I grew up around horses (even though I live in the city, we went out to the country a lot). Horses can be scared by the silliest things, such as Wal-Mart bags and rambunctious kids. So we do what we call desensitizing. We wave tarps around the horses and do other things, but slowly, building up from shaking a bag a few yards away to flying a tarp over their heads. We do this so that the horse will get used to these items, so when we are riding they barely notice them.
Teenagers in America today are being desensitized through the media. We are getting used to violence, gore, profanity, and sexual themes. For example, I was watching a movie that many teenagers enjoy. I had to quit because it was just too inappropriate. I looked it up on Google. One review site said you should be 11 to see it. Some other people said 8 year olds can see it, and that it wasn’t very inappropriate. I was shocked. Are we really so desensitized that this doesn’t seem inappropriate? Has it gotten so bad we don’t even notice these things anymore? Could these people have voiced what thousands of teenagers all over the country think day by day? Here is what Paul Asay, a Christian movie reviewer, says about the movie:
“Dirty jokes and double entendres about intercourse and virginity abound, as do references to sexual body parts. The police captain says he's raising a bisexual son. Suggestive language implies that somebody's watching some sort of cartoon porn on his laptop. Prostitution and pimping are talked about quite a lot… Almost 50 s-words—not counting the expletives embedded in the background music. We also frequently hear such words as "a‑‑," "h‑‑‑," "b‑‑ch" and "d‑‑n," along with misuses of God's name (including one pairing with "d‑‑n").”
Profanity. Gore. Horror. Sexuality. All of these are so common now. It frightens me. Teenagers are being desensitized to evil and impure things, myself included. Philippians 4:8 says “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praise worthy-think about such things.” Could people assassinating each other be called noble? Is profanity considered pure and lovely? Are inappropriate and sexual things right? Are movies titled “Satanic” true and admirable? There answer to all these is no. And if the American media says that these are true statements, then could it be better to just stay out of the media? Especially for Christian teens all over America?
Bear with me for a moment. This may sound radical, but due to the evidence I have just given, not only in American teenage culture, but in myself as well, wouldn’t it be reasonable to not indulge in these earthly pleasures? Would it be better to keep your mind pure? For after playing assassin’s creed I find myself thinking about bloody things. We are influenced by what we choose to expose ourselves to. And I have been on both sides (I was a “late bloomer” and wasn’t exposed to profanity or gore or sexual themes, specifically in the media, until I was a bit older) and honestly, I wish I had stayed pure, for I was much happier then. It may be difficult, but could it be better to limit what music we listen too? What video games we play? What movies we see? Instead of desensitizing ourselves to the things of this world so they become normal, what would happen if we chose to turn from them? So when we see it actually happening, instead of being so desensitized that we don’t care, we are shocked and reminded of the evil of the world. Is it too much to ask to limit ourselves?
The answer many teenagers, and Christian teenagers, give to this question is yes, it is too much to ask. I myself didn’t want to give up these things, until just recently God opened my eyes to them, and I decided to only watch PG movies (and only mild PG-13, If at all), listen to pure music, and play video games that exclude the sexual and gory things. For, just as Philippians 4:8 says, focus your mind on pure things. And after focusing on some impure things, I have found that it is not better for me, and it pollutes my mind. So now, I’m going to take a leap of faith. I am going to focus on pure things that uplift me and bring me closer to God, not things that draw me further from Him. I am going to keep my mind free of toxic pollution.
Are you ready to take that leap? To trust in God and keep your mind pure? If you are not sure, just try it for a little while, maybe a week or a month. See what happens. If you don’t want to continue, that’s fine. But if you find yourself more pure and you like that way, keep on going. Romans 8:5-6 says this: “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” I’m challenging you to a month of only seeing PG movies, only playing E video games, to not listen to music with profanity and sexual themes. This is what I call housecleaning. Cleansing your mind of impure things, and instead filling it with things that please God.
Are you ready?