Bible Studies Net

Is it a SIN to go to a Movie?

From time to time our Ministry receives emails asking us about "this and that" and we thought that you might be interested in this one asking about Movies and our "reply" to it.

First here is the the question we received (edited, of course. to "protect the identity") ?

 "... I wonder if you could help me.  I've been a Christian now for about
four years, and where there are numerous areas where the Lord has done
miracles in my life, one thing has remained the same, that I never
considered to be bad.  I like to watch movies.  I don't watch a lot of
movies, but if I go to see Hannible, or the Patriot, or English Patient, is
that sinning?  I got into a discussion with someone about that.  They say
I'm sinning, and I just think it's just a make believe movie, and doesn't cause
me to behave in the manner of the people in the movie, and doesn't pull me
away from God.  I know for this person, it would, so therefore, I would not
suggest to this person that we go see a certain movie, but does that mean I
can't see them either?  Same with secular music.
Hmmmm. Yes, this is an interesting question and a very good and appropriate one to be asked in today's society.

How would you answer this individual?

Indeed, how do you answer this personally in your everyday life?  Do you go to movies? Is it wrong to go to a movie?  Are all movies "bad"?

Well, this is what we said in answer to the question:

Is it a SIN to go to a Movie?
Ask several people and you will likely get several differing "opinions" and "thoughts" on this subject..... as they give you their "I think..."

the ONLY opinion, the only "I think", that really matters
is what God thinks!

God?  How can I know what He thinks about movies and "secular music"? .... are there any "principles" in the Bible on this topic ?

Well, obviously the word "movies" will NOT be in the Bible......ditto re "secular music".... but, YES, there are PRINCIPLES which can be applied !

And perhaps the most concise summary of guiding principles for this and other "topics" relating to our daily lifestyle is found in Philippians 4:8 which says:

Philippians 4:8.
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 praiseworthy--
think about such things.

Isaiah 5: 20
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Proverbs 3: 7 
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

based on those (and there are many other) answer to your question concerning whether you should attend movies? and if they are sinful ?.....

This is really very simple.... let's apply what those verses are teaching.

And, we can do that by looking at WHO goes with you EVERYWHERE you go !

again... the Bible tells us .... Let's read what it says:

Romans 8:9-14
  9.  You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
 10.  But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
 11.  And if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He Who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, Who lives in you.
 12.  Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.
 13.  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
 14.  because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

So unlike the in the Old Testament where our Lord dwelled in a tabernacle or temple, He has now chosen to dwell in us!  So, everywhere we go, we take Him (The Spirit of Jesus) with us / in us.

Let's make this a little more practical...let's say there's a knock on your door one day and you open it and THERE IS JESUS!  He's come to visit YOU!!!!! 
WOW !  Jesus is Here !!!!... at my door !!!!

At first you are very thrilled and excited.

But then, is there an "OOOOOPS !" as you think about your life and the way you live, the movies you see, the music you hear, the things you do, and the things in your house.

Now here's an interesting thought...what would you have to hide that's lying around your home?!

Is there anything you'd be embarrassed for Him to see?

As the day progresses, Jesus ask you take Him wherever you normally go, because He wants to be with you....soooooo, let's go see Hannibal or the English Patient.

I did not see the English Patient, but didn't the main characters in that movie commit adultery?  Do you think that your Savior, who died for those sins, would want to see it glorified on screen?

I have NOT seen the movie, Hannibal... but after reading your email.... I went on the internet and read a review about it... and to tell you the truth... I was aghast!!!  Based on the scriptures we just read (including Philippians 4:8), I do not think that Jesus would "approve" of that story or movie.

And another thing that would totally offend Him, while at the movies, would be how they blaspheme His Name in every other sentence, right?  Does it bother you?

Again thinking of the movies which you specifically mentioned, and, concerning the movie, The Patriot, I have seen the movie, the Patriot.  And, yes it is bloody... BUT it is a story depicting the "price that had to be paid" to win freedom for our country. 

There is a BIG difference in violence for violence sake (as in the movie Hannibal) and violence in order to be free from tyranny and to be free to serve and obey God..... which was why America was founded.... if you recall your history. 

Similarly, though you did not mention it in your email, the Movie: Saving Private Ryan, though also bloody and violent, is an excellent movie in that it shows the suffering and sacrifice that was required to maintain our freedom.  For this reason, it would be an "acceptable" movie and really should be seen by every American so they can better understand the HIGH COST of freedom.

So, not all movies are bad.

Indeed, there are a few movies that are actually good and uplifting..... for example, have you seen the movie, Chariots of Fire.  It is definitely uplifting and one which glorifies Christ.  If you have not seen that.... you MUST.

But, even though there are some good movies "out there," alas and alack and sad to say... today... MOST movies... indeed....the VAST majority of movies (and TV programs and books and music and etc.) being produced today should NOT be seen by Christians.... or by anyone, really.... but especially NOT by those who profess the name of  Christ and who serve the Lord God Jesus Christ !  So you have to be VERRRRRY discerning in choosing which, if any, movies to see.

In John 8:29, Jesus Himself told us how and for Whom He lived. Let's read that verse:

John 8:29
The One Who sent Me (Jesus) is with Me;
He (God the Father) has not left Me alone,
for I always do what pleases Him."

When you are deciding IF you should see a movie.... you should ask yourself...... "Is this movie something that Jesus would recommend that I see?  Would it please Him if I went to see it?  Is it uplifting?  Will it make me more like Jesus? Will I be a better person for seeing this movie? Will it help me in my spiritual growth? .... "

Now, concerning your comment, which is not just yours only but is said by many people, that "movies, TV programs, books, etc. are  just make believe ... and don't cause me to behave in the manner of the people in the movie, and don't pull me away from God "  -- That is NOT really true. 

Yes, they are "stories," and, in that sense, they are make believe. 

BUT, you can not put garbage, trash, evil things, profanity, viewing of adulterous scenes, and ETC. into your mind and think that this will not affect you, whether it is "make believe" or not.  IT DOES AFFECT YOU -- consciously and unconsciously; it IS making a difference in the way you think and live and in what you "accept" and "tolerate" and in your "attitudes, opinions, actions, and thoughts!"

There are some things that just must NOT go into our eye gates, ear gates, mind, and soul.

So, before viewing a movie or a TV program, reading a novel, listening to "secular music", etc.  you MUST ALWAYS ask yourself  IF JESUS would approve of this.

As our Lord and Savior, He is the One Who is to make the decisions in our lives. 

As Christians, we are not here to please ourselves. 

The Lord God Jesus Christ died to redeem us from sin.  We must be very careful to not fall back into living a life and seeing and doing things that are displeasing to Him and which will keep us from growing in Him and from being able to proclaim Him to the lost world around us.

And this does not apply to movies only. 

Indeed, you can and should apply these same principles to the MUSIC to which you listen, the TV programs you watch, the books and magazines you read, the ... well you get the idea ...... ask yourself.... "does this music / tv program / radio program / book / magazine / etc.  build me up spiritually?  Is this something that I would not mind letting Jesus listen to or read or see or hear?  Would he "approve" of it?  Would He think it is good?"

Judge, therefore, everything you might consider seeing, saying, hearing, reading, or doing by the principles of God's Word.

And never forget Philippians 4: 8 (in fact, you really need to MEMORIZE this verse) ..... and let it help you in these decisions:

Philippians 4:8
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 praiseworthy--
think about such things.

Remember, as a Christian, your life is NOT your own; you were bought with a price, the price of the blood (death sacrifice) of Jesus.

Therefore, what you see, think, and do is a witness to others and is very important in your growth and development from that of being a baby Christian to a mature believer who lives as an Ambassador for Christ.

Every Christian is an Ambassador for Christ
and, as such, everything that a Christian does reflects either favorably or with dishonor upon his King, King Jesus!

I hope this will help you in your decision about which movies you can or should see .....  in what music you should hear .... in what TV programs you should view....  in what video games you play.... and in what you should read... say.... do... etc....

And... with all the time you are going to be saving by not seeing as many movies....or listening to as much "secular music".... or in reading godless books, magazines, etc....... spend some of this new found time  reading and studying God's Word (the Bible) ... cover to cover.... over and over again...... you will find that spending time with the Lord God in this way will be MUCH more rewarding and you will increasingly understand that God is H O L Y and how and why He thinks about such things .

If you live your life as though Jesus is actually walking next to you, sitting with you as you drive around town, going with you to the movies, watching the TV shows with you, listening to the music you are hearing, reading the books you are reading, playing the video games you play, and sitting at your table as you pray, ...  it will RADICALLY change what you do and say. ?  ?  ?