What Can We Amuse Ourselves With?
Welcome. Today we will be talking about entertainment. I am writing this because of the growing industry that continues to support ideas that are not scriptural and can lead believers or would be believers, astray. I have touched on this before in my article on The Elder Scrolls series, where I explain why I believe games like this are not good for the believer, but I feel like this is a subject that must be further expounded upon.
I am not here to condemn entertainment itself. I am not trying to say you should not play video games, watch TV, or anything like that. I am also not here to promote what I call "stereotypical Biblical entertainment," which is what people tend to think of when this topic comes around, such as children's Bible shows that sugarcoat the scriptures or Christian movies that are cheesy and don't provide a real spiritual revelation, which I will cover in another article. Rather, I am trying to provide you with a guide as to what games, shows, or anything else you prefer, would be beneficial towards your spiritual growth. With that being said, let's get into it.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.— Colossians 3 17
Whatever we do, we must have him on the mind. We must ask ourselves if what we do could be a stumbling block for others or for ourselves. This is very important when we find something to entertain ourselves with.
Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.— Leviticus 20 7
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:— 1 Peter 1:15-17
We are to be sanctified, set apart from the ways of the world in all things. This includes entertainment.
Two Kinds of Entertainment
I believe that when it comes to what we entertain ourselves with, it comes down to two different categories,
- Neutral. The act itself is not wrong but can be if we let it be. For example, many video games give us choices as to how we want to play and have real consequences for our actions. These games can be a great tool for believers, but can also be a stumbling block. If you decide to be a righteous person in the game then that is great. The only time I ever recommend playing as a villain is if you somehow make them lose in the end at some point (such as making everything they worked for becoming destroyed when you're done playing with them) or if you redeem them later on. Let's say you play as an evil character out to rule the world. Right when you're at the top of the food chain you could have him lose in a battle, maybe give an ironic twist, or maybe he does not achieve his goal at all. Or have him repent and undo the evil that he has done. Maybe before he achieves his goal he repents and does something else or becomes a good monarch instead. This can be a great story, but you still have to be careful. Let's go to something else, such as something as simple as enjoying the outdoors. This is not bad. In fact, you can call it good. But someone could take too much time doing this and less time on focusing on the Most High. Moderation is key.
- Bad. There are some forms of entertainment that need to be avoided at all costs, such as movies that promote mindless violence, pornography, etc. These things themselves promote a bad message that cannot be avoided. For example, The Elder Scrolls. No matter how many good choices you make in the game, there is no way to avoid the fact that this game dishonors God with its alternate reality with different gods and the use of magic. The fact that I can give to the poor and save the world from dragons does not negate the fact that there are dragons, demons, false gods, and powers that no man has that are so easy to get.
Questions To Ask Ourselves
- How does this affect my faith?
- How will this affect the faith of others?
- Is what I am doing promoting a good message?
- Can this be a stumbling block for me?
- If presented with a choice, will I make the right one?
- Can I use this to spiritually grow as a person?
Biblical Entertainment Does Not Have to Be Boring
Let's say you choose to engage in entertainment that is centered on the Bible. As I said earlier, biblical entertainment does not have to fit the stereotype that we see today. People feel as if they have to sugarcoat or alter the message to make it worth anything. Such examples include;
- Kids cartoons that alter the scriptures to make it more family friendly, such as when VeggieTales made it look like David might not have killed Goliath and simply knocked him out. There is no reason to sugarcoat the Bible. We can explain what really happens in a way that kids can understand it. Now while it might not be the intention of the Big Idea Productions to do this, if we do not give an accurate and honest depiction of the Bible children will not understand.
- When they do the opposite of sugarcoating it and just add to the scriptures to make it more entertaining, which Deuteronomy 4 2 also says we should not do. For example, the 2014 movie Noah added many things to the story. Stowaways on the ark, Noah trying to kill his grandchildren, and he was pretty distant from God. A biblical epic does not need to be added to. We have enough of the source material to make a grand adventure for others to enjoy.
These are the two great evils in so called Christian entertainment. But this does not have to be the case. We as believers should seek to promote the Gospel in any way we can, and this does not mean that we must hold back or conform to the world.
We must be mindful of what we expose ourselves too. The Bible shows us an example of how we are to live, and we must be careful to not fall into the temptation of the world when we are seeking happiness and fulfillment in our lives, but we should use that to bring us closer to God.
I hope that this lesson has helped you understand what we should do when we have leisure time. Peace and blessings, and all praises to the Most High.