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Reacting to Religion Based Movies

30 July 2008 No Comment
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No one would argue that movies and TV shows have tremendous impact on our culture and our worldview. Where do you get your concept of courage? How about what an ideal friendship should be like? An ideal spouse? What is acceptable when it comes to violence or any moral decisions? What is culturally normal and not normal when it comes to how we treat different circumstances, especially circumstances we’ve never experienced but may experience in the future? Would you know how guns work, or how two lovers engage in love? Where did you (or your parents who told you) get the idea of “if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything”? (Which I would argue goes against the grain of reality, though really nice to cling onto).

It has always been interesting to see how nonchalant viewers are to all the culture defining messages found in film. Either they don’t see it, or they don’t care. However when it comes to a faith themed movie, there seem to always be strong reaction. It is treated differently. Below are some excerpt from Breakpoint which describes this situation. Though the article itself is directed more towards Christian I found it to be an interesting read. 

When the Christian film Facing the Giants came out in 2006, far more interesting than the movie itself were the reactions to it. Mainstream critics were almost universally dismissive—it “feels like an overly earnest church sketch of the type many evangelical congregations use as a teaching tool on Sunday between the worship music and pastor’s message,”

And yet some enthusiastic viewers unwittingly gave the impression that they had enjoyed the film because it was their duty to do so. That impression was perhaps best summed up by Ted Slater of Boundless, who wrote, “Let’s not knock a movie that encourages faith in God.”

The reaction to Facing the Giants was not an isolated incident, but representative of a larger trend—one that has surprisingly wide-ranging implications, not just for the Church, but for the wider community as well. For many years now, a great deal of Christian culture has been valued not for its artistic worth, but for its effectiveness as propaganda and as reinforcement for our beliefs. That emphasis affects not just how we Christians see culture, but how the world sees us—and Christianity. 

“What do you expect when the budget is ($)100,000 and the actors are new to the acting profession? I saw the film and there were some scenes that were weak but the story line was exceptional and moving. I saw people openly crying and moved during this movie. They were emotionally involved and impacted. That is more than I can say for the majority of trash that comes from Hollyweird.”

“I’m not ashamed to say that I really liked “Facing the Giants,” that I was moved to tears by God’s redemptive love portrayed through the work of amateur church-going filmmakers.
Sure, some of the acting was a bit immature, and the script may have tied up too nicely for modern sentimentalities, but I was profoundly affected by it. My love for God was piqued. (And isn’t that of more ultimate significance than my merely being in awe of the cinematography or in appreciation of the dialog and plot twists?)”

Read the full Article

Take a closer look at the comments. Even those who support the movie can’t simply say why they support it, but they all take a defensive stance perhaps fearful of the criticisms they may receive. In our modern culture, religion is considered (and often forced) to be kept in one’s personal world, never to be brought into public or “forced” onto others. Though faith is often the most important aspect of a person’s life, there is a cultural oppression to “keep it to themselves”. Ironically there is no such thing when it comes to other worldviews. How come there is such a disparity in the way our culture treats worldviews? What do you think?

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