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These are links on Presuppositional apologetics between February 1st-7th, 2014.

1.) Do You Believe? You Should

2.) Debating Dillahunty for the Glory of Jesus and His Gospel

3.) From Absolute Idealism to Analytic Philosophy, Part 2

4.) Taking God At His Word — John Frame

Missed the last round up?  Check out the re-blogged post from a friend

A review of a resource on world views an film

The Domain for Truth

Purchase: Amazon

The author Brian Godawa is a prolific Christian movie maker, reviewer, screen writer and author. If one would expect someone to have the situational background to write on a Christian worldview analysis of films, then Godawa would be it. Making this even better is the fact that Godawa has good theology driving his worldview. He’s also influenced by Van Til’s Presuppositional apologetics (another major plus!). I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time and was glad that I was finally able to order it and sit down and read it. The book defends the idea that film in of itself is not sinful–and that is just the preface. Conscious of the fact that film consists of visual imagery, the dramatic and a story, the author demonstrates that Scripture uses or record people using imagery, the dramatic and stories properly. The rest of the book is…

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Theology at the Movies John Frame

Christian apologist and theologian John Frame has a e-Book in Html format titled “Theology at the Movies.”

Here are the Table of Contents:

  • Reviews

 

Holy

I am going to address this question because sometime ago a reader of this blog emailed me our question: Is it ever appropriate for Christians to view sexual sins in film?

It might be unpopular and sounds old fashion but my answer then and now is no.  It is not appropriate for Christians to view sexual sins in film for the purpose of entertainment.

The brother who emailed me also shared how there are Christians who think that things such as nudity or other sexual themes are okay in film.  If I recall correctly, this brother mentioned that these Christians think it is permitable in certain context and depending on what kind of film it is.

I think we must remember Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 5:3:

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;

As saints, “there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality” to use the words of the NIV translation of Ephesians 5:3.  First off, the person in the screen is not your spouse so they are sharing things that should only be private between a husband and wife.  Second, if there are more than two individuals in a film involved with a sexual moment rememebr that these individuals are very likely not married and hence are engaged with lusts and acting upon it (with various degree) with someone else that is not their spouse.  We ought not condone and approve the sins of others.

Sometimes I think Christians can end up compromising by thinking the following:

  • “But everyone else is watching it!”
  • “I like the story!”
  • “I can handle it.”
  • “I’m watching it for the philosophy and worldview discussion.”

We must remember that the Bible is more concern that we flee from sexual immorality:

Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)

I don’t know if one can muster a verse that would say it’s okay to be visually entertained sexually of someone that is not your spouse let alone God blessing the excuses given above.

I also realize we live in a day and age that is very sexual in many of our entertainment.  I do not want to be legalistic but I hope the following are helpful pastoral advice to navigate through this issue practically with the consideration that we apply it with the motivation of pleasing Jesus who has died for our sins:

  1. Cultivate in your heart a holy hatred of sin.  This involves a deeper love of God and the things of God.  When you can’t say no to a film even though it is sexual, you might have an issue of a functional god (an idol) in your life.  Meditate on the Gospel so as to change your affection and motivation in resisting sin.  If you don’t hate sin, all the advice that follow will only lead you to “manage” your sins rather than mortify it.
  2. Resolve in your mind that there’s already going to be films you will never watch.  You don’t need to experience every film.  I find it helpful to think about how short our time of life is, and our responsibilities (spiritual and otherwise).  People always get in trouble when they stop forgetting that the are finite with a finite amount of time and abilities, etc.  I also find it helpful to think that not watching some movies for the sake of Christ is nothing compared to the big picture of things such as what Jesus has done to save me, etc.
  3. Research as much as possible about a film before you see it.  If, as the result of your research you discover that your conscience is uncomfortable or you know that you will definitely be tempted when you watch the film, then it is wise not to see the film.
  4. I also realize that no amount of preparation before hand to avoid a bad movie can prevent surprises when one watches a film.  As cheesy as it might sound, during those awkward moments practice the art of fast-forwarding and skipping inappropriate scene.
  5. Make it a habit not to watch films alone.  When those shocking moments in a film occur I usually cover my eye as my wife fast-forward it.  We also typically reverse role when it comes to violent scenes.  Watching film with others also allow conversations afterwards and fellowship if one discuss the film from a Christian worldview, etc.  With a group one must also realize that one of the party’s conscience will be more weaker than the other and rather than be upset that this will limit how much movies you can watch, realize this is an opportunity to practice love by not watching a certain film to stumble someone; also realize that sometimes the other person who doesn’t want to watch might actually be right when we want to brush some of the things aside.
  6.   Spend more time with spiritual matters than watching films.  Use the following as a diagnostic question concerning your spiritual life: “Am I in the Word and prayer more than I am being entertained by some kind of video media?”  You want to focus on things that matter.  Be very conscious that video media can easily dull one’s senses to reading, prayers and critical thinking.

I’m not a movie guy but I am a movie guy.  To some I’m not a movie guy because I watch the least amount of movies among the people I know from church, work, family and friends.  It has also been years since I watched something in theaters.  Nor do I own a TV at home.  Yet to some I am a movie guy.  I am not a dinosaur and I do watch films on DVD.  What films I do watch with others I enjoy talking about it intensely afterwards.  I would say I enjoy it–but I enjoy film primarily because I want to enjoy God and see things God’s way, even as I watch a movie.

Hitchcock's Villains Murderers, Maniacs, and Mother Issues

Eric San Juan and Jim McDevitt.  Hitchcock’s Villains.
New York, New York: Scarecrow Press, 2013. 196 pp.

My wife and I have recently become fans of Hitchcock’s films so it was a delight to stumble upon this book in the library.  I didn’t read this book because I am somehow morbid but because I think Hitchcock understands the depth and quirks of depravity more than most film makers in his life time and even film makers today.  One thing that I appreciate about his film is how his villains are believable (not a cookie cut-out that is standard in many cheesy films); and if they are unbelievably horrendous, there is still something about them that reminds us of their humanity.  For me being reminded of the humanity of Hitchcock’s villains doesn’t necessarily mean we should always sympathize with the villains (although sometimes Hitchcock does want us to go down that road) but the fact that they are more like us than we realize brings us to the uncomfortable realization that everyone’s sinful nature can make us depraved monsters, a truth that we might not like to admit.  Ultimately I enjoyed Hitchcock’s film and this book for its observation that leads me to think more deeply of the Christian doctrine of total depravity.

This particular book is a collection of short chapters that explores Hitchcock’s themes in the way he portray his villains and also analysis of specific antagonists in his films.  I’ve enjoyed the book’s analysis especially with how the writers point out things I missed when I watched them.  I was blown away by the book’s take on the film Veritgo and the thesis that the protagonist Jimmy Steward is really the villain in the film.  Vertigo is one of the more stranger films that I didn’t know what to make of it when I first saw it but after reading the book I do see the authors’ point that Jimmy Steward is really not the ex-detective police hero that the beginning of the movie made him out to be, especially with how controlling and selfish he is later in the movie.

Another aspect of the book that I appreciate is the exploration of Hitchcock’s fear of authority throughout his life that comes out in his film.  In several films the police are not necessarily the villains but they are not necessarily friendly either.  At times they can go after the hero in the film, mistaking them for villains such as in the movie Stranger on the Train.  Having friends in law enforcement I think it is unfortunate that at times Hitchcock can present a far more sympathetic villain than he does of authority and those who enforce laws.  At the same time I can appreciate Hitchcock’s observation that those who uphold the law are not perfect either, with their bumbling around and at times being down right wrong.

I wished the book could have explored more on the villainy of ideas.  This constructive criticism is not meant to fault the book but also a compliment for the author’s approach of Hitchcock’s work from the angle of how ideology produces villain.  Their discussion left me hungry for more exploration of this theme since I believe worldviews, philosophies, and various “isms” can produce moral monsters from what seem to be every day people.  I appreciated the chapter that looked at this theme in the movie Rope.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the book.  I have seen most of the films the authors discussed with the exception of two; it made me want to watch other films that was briefly mentioned but it also made me realize there are certain films that I’m glad I haven’t watch yet nor plan on watching because of how twisted it is.  In some instance I believe it’s better not to watch it being act out before one’s eyes.  I do recommend the book.

Purchase: Amazon

Rope001

 

Introduction

As an example of evaluating a film with consideration of its worldview I will be looking at Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948).  This movie reminded me the lesson that bad ideas can make people into monsters.  In what follows we will look at a summary of the story of the film, make the point that this movie is about philosophy, cover the philosophy that drives the villains follow by a discussion of the dilemma that such a philosophy poses for the characters and the audience before a quick summary of what we can learn.  Readers must also be warned that there that this essay will have many spoilers.

 

The Story

In an essay by Helen Cox and David Neumeyer, this is how they summarized the movie:

 

Brandon and Philip share a New York apartment. They have distorted the rather Nietszchean ideas of their former headmaster Rupert and decide to strangle their “inferior” friend David Kentley. Placing the body in an old chest, they continue with plans to hold a dinner party whose guests include David’s parents, his fiancee Janet, and Rupert. As Brandon’s behavior becomes increasingly more daring and Philip’s more nervous, Rupert begins to suspect. He finally confronts them and then calls the police.[1]

 

Wikipedia gives us a more detailed plot that would help us for the discussion of the worldviews in the film:

Two brilliant young aesthetes, Brandon Shaw (Dall) and Phillip Morgan (Granger), strangle to death a former classmate, David Kentley (Dick Hogan), in their apartment. They commit the crime as an intellectual exercise; they want to prove their superiority by committing the “perfect murder”.

After hiding the body in a large antique wooden chest, Brandon and Phillip host a dinner party at the apartment, which has a panoramic view of Manhattan’s skyline. The guests, who are unaware of what has happened, include the victim’s father Mr. Kentley (Cedric Hardwicke) and aunt Mrs. Atwater (Constance Collier); his mother is not able to attend. Also there are his fiancée, Janet Walker (Joan Chandler) and her former lover Kenneth Lawrence (Douglas Dick), who was once David’s close friend.

In a subtle move, Brandon uses the chest containing the body as a buffet table for the food, just before their housekeeper, Mrs. Wilson (Edith Evanson) arrives to help with the party. “Now the fun begins,” Brandon says when the first guests arrive.

Brandon and Phillip’s idea for the murder was inspired years earlier by conversations with their prep school housemaster, publisher Rupert Cadell (Stewart). While at school, Rupert had discussed with them, in an apparently approving way, the intellectual concepts of Nietzsche’s Übermensch, and De Quincey’s art of murder, as a means of showing one’s superiority over others. He too is among the guests at the party, since Brandon in particular feels that he would approve of their “work of art”.

Brandon’s subtle hints about David’s absence indirectly lead to a discussion on the “art of murder”. Brandon appears calm and in control, although when he first speaks to Rupert he is nervously excited and stammering. Phillip, on the other hand, is visibly upset and morose. He does not conceal it well and starts to drink too much. When David’s aunt, Mrs. Atwater, who fancies herself as a fortune-teller, tells him that his hands will bring him great fame, she is referring to his skill at the piano, but he appears to think this refers to the notoriety of being a strangler.

Much of the conversation, however, focuses on David and his strange absence, which worries the guests. A suspicious Rupert quizzes a fidgety Phillip about this and about some of the inconsistencies that have been raised in conversation. For example, Phillip had vehemently denied ever strangling a chicken at the Shaws’ farm, but Rupert has personally seen Phillip strangle several. Phillip later complains to Brandon about having had a “rotten evening”, not because of David’s murder, but over Rupert’s questioning.

As the evening goes on, David’s father and fiancée begun to worry that he has neither arrived nor phoned. Brandon increases the tension by playing matchmaker between Janet and Kenneth. Mrs. Kentley calls, overwrought because she has not heard from David, and Mr. Kentley decides to leave. He takes with him some books Brandon has given him, tied together with the rope Brandon and Phillip used to strangle his son.

When Rupert goes to leave, Mrs. Lawrence accidentally hands him David’s monogrammed hat, further arousing his suspicion. Rupert returns to the apartment a short while after everyone else has departed, pretending that he has left his cigarette case behind. He hides the case, asks for a drink and then stays to theorize about the disappearance of David. He is encouraged by Brandon, who seems eager to have Rupert discover the crime. A drunk Phillip is unable to take it any more; he throws a glass and says, “Cat and mouse, cat and mouse. But which is the cat and which is the mouse?”

Rupert lifts the lid of the chest and finds the body inside. He is horrified but also deeply ashamed, realizing that they used his own rhetoric to rationalize murder. Rupert seizes Brandon’s gun and fires several shots into the night in order to attract attention. The film segues to the end titles with the sound of approaching police sirens.[2]

This is a movie about philosophy

Right after the murder of David we hear one of the murderer name Brandon say “We killed for the sake of danger and for the sake of killing,” thereby tipping the audience that this is not a typical murder for gain but something more sinister.  We see hints that a dim view of man is driving Brandon’s murder  as hinted in his dialogue when he said, “The good Americans usually die young on the battlefield, don’t they? Well, the Davids of the world merely occupy space, which is why he was the perfect victim for the perfect crime.”  Such a view of humanity is philosophical in nature and is contrary to a biblical anthropology.

Having put David’s dead body in a chest we see how demented Brandon was when he immediately invites the victim’s friends and parents over for dinner.  Here we discover a little more that Brandon is one who thinks of himself and his worldview as intellectually superior which is conveyed by Hitchcock with the role of books in the movie.  As Jim McDevitt observed: “That it was books that drew Mr. Kentley’s attendance at the party—and served as the final object of disposal for the murder weapon—is significant.  Brandon views himself as intellectually superior in part because he is well read.  Books serve as the tool for gaining knowledge, for development of the intellect.  A fine collection of first editions indicate that Brandon does not just want to appear refined; he wants the world to know he’s educated.”[3]  The emphasis in the beginning of the film of Brandon’s murderous act and his intellect sets the philosophical trajectory of the film.

There are also other intentional hints in the movie’s dialogue that this film is about philosophy.  For instance, twenty two minutes into the movie both Brandon and Phillip are in conversations with their guests Janet and her former lover Kenneth about whether or not Rupert was coming to the party. Janet asked the three of them who was Rupert and Phillip tells her that he was their former housemaster at prep school with Kenneth chiming in that he’s a publisher now.  When Janet responded that perhaps she can find a job with him Phillip downplays that by replying “Rupert only publishes books he like, usually philosophy.”  This reference to philosophy is an editorial decision of the director and screen writer and gives us a valuable clue that we expect the main character’s philosophical leaning would later come into play during the movie.  As the conversation continues on the subject of Rupert, Kenneth ask of Brandon: “He used to tell you the weirdest things didn’t he?” When Janet asked what sort of things Brandon replied “I suppose Kenneth means Rupert’s impatience with social conventions” with the example that “Murder is a crime for most men, but a privilege for the few.”  Here we see a dangerous philosophy is at hand, one that has serious moral and ethical implications.

The philosophy that drives the Villains

There were other moments in the film that expounded more on the philosophical worldview outlook of the murderers (Brandon and Phillip) and their Rupert their mentor:

  • Thirty five minutes into the movie there is an argument between Brandon and Phillip about whether or not Phillip has killed any chickens which is followed by Rupert telling the other guest that he thinks “ a chicken is a good enough reason for murder” as any other reasons; Here you see definitely that Brandon’s worldview definitely came from Rupert:

  • When faced with the dilemma raised by a guest that wouldn’t murder being permitable mean everyone will be murdering each other, Rupert stated “the privilege of committing it should be reserved for those few who are really superior individuals.”
  • Brandon told his guests in the movie said “Good and evil, right and wrong were invented for the ordinary average man, the inferior man, because he needs them.”
  • Another quote from the movie: “The power to kill could be just as satisfying as the power to create.”

 

The dilemma

When the film was first released there were some condemnation of it in America and certain European theatre actually refused to show it due to its moral cynicism.[4]  However a careful evaluation of the film would reveal that Hitchcock was not endorsing the murderers’ philosophy but rather he was posing to the audience that there are definitely tensions and problems with their espoused worldview.  Hitchcock presented this through the narrative itself and also artistically in how the film was presented.

Dilemma shown through the Narrative

Recall the scene in which Brandon told his guests that “Good and evil, right and wrong were invented for the ordinary average man, the inferior man, because he needs them.”  Following Brandon’s line David’s father identified Brandon’s worldview as being in agreement “with Nietzsche and his theory of the superman” to which Brandon replied “Yes, I do.”  However David’s father doesn’t end it there for he goes on to say “So did Hitler.”  With this movie being in 1948 and World War Two just being three years before, the name Hitler would have been fresh on the mind of the original audience with the images of the Holocaust and other brutality.  We must not miss the force of the line “So did Hitler.”  Ideas have consequences, and it’s as if Hitchcock is giving us a moral lesson that the application of Nietzchean’s Übermensch is dangerous and undesirable.

David’s father was also the first to ask the most important question of the movie about thirty seven minutes into the film: “Who is to decide if a human is inferior, and therefore a suitable victim for murder?”  He presses Brandon to be more tangible as to whom he thinks are the superior people who have the right to kill inferiors and Brandon names himself, Phillip and Rupert.  The hubris displayed by Brandon is repulsive yet ironically pride is what lead Brandon to his downfall:

 

“They want desperately to impress their former prep school housemaster Rupert Cadell (James Stewart).  Phillip is a bit uneasy about it, increasingly so as the film wears on, but Brandon is consumed by the idea of showing himself to be superior to Rupert.  By the third act, we begin to winder if the whole point of the murder in the first place wasn’t to somehow show that he had replaced his professor as the smartest man in the room.”[5]

 

The most powerful moment in the film came towards the last ten minutes of the film.  At the end of the film when Rupert is shocked to find the dead body and during that tense moment Brandon threw Rupert’s philosophy back to his face when he said “Remember we said, ‘the lives of inferior beings are unimportant,’” and how they both believed that moral concepts of good and evil don’t hold the intellectually superior.  These exacts words of Rupert quoted by Brandon from the previous discussion with David’s father now comes back to haunt Rupert when Brandon says “That’s all we’ve done.  That’s all Phillip and I have done.  He and I have lived what you and I have talked.”  Brandon and Phillip has carried out their philosophy to its logical application.  Yet how does Rupert responds?  His words are very telling:

 

Rupert: Brandon, ’til this very moment, this world and the people in it have always been dark and imcomprehensible to me, and I’ve tried to clear my way with logic and superior intellect….. and you’ve thrown my own words right back in my face, and you were right too, if nothing else a man should stand by his words, but you’ve given my words a meaning that I never dreamed of, and you’ve tried to twist them into a cold, logical excuse for your ugly murder…… well, they never were that, Brandon, and you can’t make them that. There must’ve been something deep inside you that let you do this thing, but there must’ve been something deep inside me that would never let me do it, and would never let me be a party to it now….”

 

Despite Rupert saying he would never be a party to the murder yet Jim McDevitt observes: “Rupert will live forever knowing that he was a party to it, unwilling as he may have been.”[6]

Rupert and Brandon’s closing exchange shows that when the fruit of Rupert’s philosophy is lived out, Rupert adamantly rejects it:

 

Brandon:What do you mean??

Rupert: I mean tonight you’ve made me ashamed of every concept I ever had of superior or inferior beings…. and I thank you for that shame….. because now I know that we are, each of us, a separate human being, Brandon, with the right to live and work and think as individuals…. with an obligation to the society we live in…. but by what right do you *DARE* say that there’s a superior few to which you belong??!! By what right did you *DARE* decide that that boy in there was inferior and therefore could be killed??!! Did you think you were GOD, Brandon!!?? Is that what you thought when you choked the life out of him??!! Is that what you thought when you served food from his grave!!?? Well I don’t know what you thought or what you are but I know what you’ve done!!! You’ve murdered!!! You’ve strangled the life out of a fellow human being who could live and love as YOU never could and never will again!!!

Brandon: What are you doing?

Rupert: It’s not what I’m going to do, Brandon…. it’s what society is going to do…. I don’t know what that’ll be but I can guess!!! and I can help….. you’re going to die, Brandon….. both of yall!”

 

Note what is in bold echoes the very questions that David’s father first raised against both Rupert and Brandon.  Hitchcock shows the fruit of this worldview and using Rupert to give this monologue as a plea for us to reject the nihilistic philosophy of the murders.  We must reject relativism, Nietzsche’s philosophy and any other philosophy that undermine human dignity as being made in the image of God.

The Dilemma shown through artistic elements

Hitchcock presents this film in such a way as to make us uncomfortable with the dangerous worldview of Rupert and Brandon.  One of the ways he makes it so for the audience is through the role of sound.  One might observe the lack of strong thematic music in the movie.  Cox and Neumeyer notes how

 

“the lack of music aids drama in Lifeboat and Rope. The “languor” in these films is perhaps more a result of the heightened discomfort the viewer feels-aspects such as silences certainly do feel longer without a musical background, but these silences are compelling through their realism and involve audience members further through their discomfort.”[7]

 

In light of the above, Hitchcock isn’t trying to glorify the murderer’s driving philosophy.

One should also take the set of the film into consideration.  The whole film is situated in a stuffy room that is shut off from the rest of the world although the beautiful background of a sunset over the city is visible through the windows.  Yet one hears no noise from the city even though it was the primary noise at the beginning of the film.  It seems artificially quiet and I think Hitchcock did that intentionally to emphasize that here is a microcosm of Brandon and Phillip’s own little world insulated from the outside world and its morals and social convention.  Any outside noise intrusion into the apartment seems to be symbolic of external sources of morality as opposed to the subjectivism of Brandon and Phillip.  I think this interpretation explains those moments when one does hear the life of the city.  For instance when Rupert is catching on that something is going on and he begins interrogating Phillip, Phillip’s conscience is disturbed when we see that he raised his voice, avoid questions and how he stops playing the piano while simulataneously one finally hear the faint sirens of the city.  It is almost as if the siren are the sirens of Phillip’s conscience despite his attempt at suppressing it.  It gets even more fascinating later in the film when Brandon thought they have gotten away with their perfect crime after their guests have departed.  Yet Phillip is at a wreck with his conscience bothering him and again you hear little background noise that are signs of the outside world.  Then when the phone rang, which source is obviously from the outside world, there is panic from Phillip.  It is as if the last phone and door bell ring were warning bells.[8]  The most obvious moment of the importance of noise from the city came towards the end of the film when Rupert gives his speech condemning his very own philosophy; here we hear more of the noise of traffic, cars honking, etc., and it climaxes with Rupert opening the window, firing his gun to get people’s attention to call the cops followed by voices of the people and police sirens overtaking the room thus signifying that morality does prevail and dominate.

There is also the irony to the claim that going beyond morality is freedom despite the claim of Brandon’s worldview.  This is artistically demonstrated in light of the role of space and place.  We have the tight confines of the room that certainly gives the atmosphere of being locked up.  Within this apartment we see how it is a place of oppression in which Brandon ends up controlling Phillip and even Phillip eventually snapping and telling Brandon to stop controlling him.  Brandon’s philosophy does not bring freedom even for the minority of brightened individuals as seen in Brandon’s abuse of Phillip to the point of even Phillip being slapped.  Furthermore, we see that Brandon and Phillip are also not free and safe within their own place when they interact with others.  Ironically they still care about what others (inferiors?) think—and this is true even when they invite others to their own microcosm—their own world, the place where they act out their own worldview.  One wonder if Brandon’s philosophy would work within their own little world—let alone the question of whether it can work in the rest of society which the backdrop of the city throughout the film constantly remind us.

What can we learn

  • Ideas have consequences!
  • There is a danger of bad philosophy/worldview.
  • An unbiblical view of man can have deadly consequences.
  • There is a danger of usurping God’s role.
  • Romans 1 reveal that man suppresses the truth and become more and more depraved as a result.
  • How then shall we live? Definitely not with the worldview that Brandon and Rupert represents.
  • “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
  • This movie reminded me the lesson that bad ideas can make people into monsters.
  • We must turn to Jesus to be saved from our sins and also to be made Holy.

[1] Helen Cox and David Neumeyer, “The Musical Function of Sound in Three Films by Alfred Hitchcock” Indiana Theory Review, 16, https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2022/3559/CoxNeumeyerTheMusicalFunctionV19.pdf?sequence=1  (accessed February, 3rd, 2015).

[2] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rope_%28film%29#Plot (accessed February, 3rd, 2015).

[3] Jim McDevitt, Hitchcock’s Villains: Murderers, Maniacs, and Mother Issues, (New York: Scarecrow Press, 2013), 68.

[4] Helen Cox and David Neumeyer, “The Musical Function of Sound in Three Films by Alfred Hitchcock” Indiana Theory Review, 14, https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2022/3559/CoxNeumeyerTheMusicalFunctionV19.pdf?sequence=1  (accessed February, 3rd, 2015).

[5] Jim McDevitt, Hitchcock’s Villains: Murderers, Maniacs, and Mother Issues, (New York: Scarecrow Press, 2013), 61.

[6] Ibid, 69-70.

[7] Helen Cox and David Neumeyer, “The Musical Function of Sound in Three Films by Alfred Hitchcock” Indiana Theory Review, 14, https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2022/3559/CoxNeumeyerTheMusicalFunctionV19.pdf?sequence=1  (accessed February, 3rd, 2015).

[8] Helen Cox and David Neumeyer, “The Musical Function of Sound in Three Films by Alfred Hitchcock” Indiana Theory Review, 18, https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2022/3559/CoxNeumeyerTheMusicalFunctionV19.pdf?sequence=1  (accessed February, 3rd, 2015).

Worldview dilemmas blog series veritas domain

Purpose: Workshop participants will consider entertainment from a biblically informed perspective with the specific application towards movies and videos, so that you may be equipped to respond to it properly in evangelism, edification and exalting God.

 

What this message is not going to say:

  • Throw away all TVs.
  • Movie is of the devil per se.
  • Everything we watch is permitted.

 

  1. Entertainment in the context of Leisure
    1. Towards a definition: Relationship of work, leisure and entertainment
      1. It is important to define our terms.
      2. It might be helpful to define our terms in light of the relationship of work, leisure and entertainment because they are inter-related.
  • Work seems easier to define than the other two: What we do to provide economically for our needs and wants, which result in the production of goods and services.
  1. Leisure is opposed to work, in that it is the time and activities which occur free from the obligation of providing for our economic necessity, and usually has the aspect of improving the quality, satisfaction and enrichment of our lives.[1]
  2. Entertainment
    1. Activities that occurs during our leisure.
    2. “Something that amuses, pleases, or diverts, especially a performance or show.”[2]
    3. As opposed to other leisurely activity, the participants usually believe that he or she is engaging in it for the purpose of amusement sake only.
  3. As a historical trend, we have more time for leisure—and more time for entertainment
    1. According to a 1964 study on leisure time available: “It is striking fact to note that the working man of a century ago spent some seventy hours per week on the job and lived about forty years. Today he spends some forty hours per week at work and expect to live about seventy years.  This adds something like twenty-two more years of leisure to his life, about 1,500 free hours each year, and a total of some 33,000 additional free hours that the man born today has to enjoy!”[3]
    2. “Over the past half-century, the increase in incomes and decline in hours worked have allowed American consumers to enjoy more leisure time and increase their spending on entertainment. In 2000, spending on entertainment by American consumers totaled approximately $203 billion, almost 3 times the amount that Americans spent on education.”[4]
  4. Videos (TV, movies, shows) occupy a large part of Americans’ entertainment
    1. According to a 2010 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time (2.7 hours per day), accounting for about half of leisure time, on average, for those age 15 and over.”[5]
    2. According to a Nielsen study in 2011, they found that traditional TV viewing (still the primary vehicle for video consumption across all demographics) has increased by an average of 22 minutes per month per person from 2010, making that nearly 159 hours watching traditional TV monthly. In addition, an average of four hours and 20 minutes per month of video on the web was watched, increased by a full hour and 10 minutes above what the first quarter of 2010.  TV content that is recorded and watched later also continued to grow, as did mobile video viewing, up 43% (20%) from 2010.[6]
  • The most disturbing in perspective concern statistics of those who are young. Kaiser did their own research and found:

“Eight- to eighteen-year-olds spend more time with media than in any other activity besides (maybe) sleeping—an average of more than 7½ hours a day, seven days a week. The TV shows they watch, video games they play, songs they listen to, books they read and websites they visit are an enormous part of their lives, offering a constant stream of messages about families, peers, relationships, gender roles, sex, violence, food, values, clothes, and an abundance of other topics too long to list.”[7]

  1. Why focus on Videos (TV, movies, shows)
    1. Lordship of Christ means that every sphere of our lives need to be under Him—including movies.
    2. If we somehow identified by the forty hours of our lives, what about the rest of our lives?
    3. What we do with our leisure shows our identity.
    4. Videos do impact us, so we need to be discerning.
  • Concerns about video entertainment
    1. Videos do have an agenda
      1. By the very nature of film, it always shows us only an angle of the story, and someone made a decision of which angle.
      2. Everything we see has been edited: Some clips were chosen to be shown, some have been deleted.
    2. That agenda or message can be good or bad.
      1. Everyone has been impacted by sin (Romans 3:10, 3:23),
      2. Sin affects everything man does from church, government and even film!
  • Therefore, we need to be careful to discern the message or agenda of what we watch!
  1. The media form of videos can be powerfully persuasive.
    1. Film tells a story.
      1. Stories might even be more powerful way of conveying information than an article or book.
      2. Stories usually invite us into the person’s perspective, for the sake of the story and calls us to suspend doubt.
    2. The fast paced nature of moving pictures drop our guard even more.
  2. The Christian response
    1. Know that film in of itself is not evil.

Acting and seeing someone act is not a sin (Jeremiah 13:1-11).

  1. Watch with discernment.
    1. Look for the worldview
      1. What does the film say about the nature of man?
      2. What does the film communicate is important and valuable?
      3. What does the film say about God?
    2. Ask questions
  2. Christians do not have to watch everything.

 

 

  1. Talk about movies.

 

  1. Have the conversation be evangelistic.

 

 

 

  1. What does it teach about God?

[1] Paraphrase from Leland Ryken, Redeeming the Time (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995), 28.

[2] The American Heritage Dictionary, accessed at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/entertainment.

[3] Robert Lee, Religion and Leisure in America: A Study in Four Dimensions (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1964), 37.  Cited in Tony Reinke, Lit!  A Christian Guide to Reading Books (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011), 132-33.

[4] Neil Tseng, “Expenditures on Entertainment,” Bureau of Labor Statistics,  http://www.bls.gov/cex/anthology/csxanth10.pdf (accessed March 27, 2012).

[5] Burea of Labor Statistics, “Economic Press Release: American Time Use Survey Summary,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.nr0.htm (accessed March 27, 2012).

[6] Summary of Neilsen Wire, “Cross Platform Report: Americans Watching More TV, Mobile and Web Video,” Nielsen Wire,  http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/cross-platform-report-americans-watching-more-tv-mobile-and-web-video/ (accessed March 27, 2012).

[7] Victoria J. Rideout, Ulla G. Foeher and Donald F. Roberts, Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8 to 18-Year-Olds; A Kaiser Family Foundation Study January 2010 (Menlo Park, CA: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010), 1.  http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/8010.pdf (accessed March 27, 2012).

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