Power Tools of Influence – A Guide to Entertainment

You and your children are targets of a subtle but powerful  enemy. The enemy is a master of deception and stealth. He knows that if he attacks openly he will be recognized for who he is. So this enemy plans his attacks when they are least expected. He has no sense of fair play. He looks for the times when you and your family are the most vulnerable. His desire is to create as much destruction and mayhem in your lives as possible. Am I talking about al-Quaeda ? No, actually, this enemy is more dangerous and cunning than al-Quaeda. The apostle Paul warns against being taken captive by this enemy, and Solomon says to guard your heart. Both are speaking about the world as influenced by Satan

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. —Colossians 2:8

Above all else, guard your heart,

       for it is the wellspring of life.  — Proverbs 4:23 This enemy is deceptive.  The medium of entertainment, particularly the audio-visual segment of the industry, is an effective tool to launch attacks. We are vulnerable, because we tend to think of viewing entertainment as a time to relax. This is true whether you view a movie, DVD or TV, surf the internet, or play an electronic game. However, just because we think we can take time off doesn’t mean that the enemy will. For example, homosexuality has become an accepted part of our culture largely due to the efforts of those in the entertainment media.

I have labeled the whole area of audio-visual entertainment as the power tools of influence. Below are some things to consider as you and your children interact with our culture in the arena of entertainment. I will address movies in particular, but these principles apply to all areas of audio-visual entertainment. With the increase of larger screen TV’s in homes, DVD’s and internet downloads of movies have made viewing movies at home more common. But being in the comfort of your own home is not a reason to let down your guard.

As Christians we must ask ourselves, “How have I been influenced by movies and by those who make them?” When you watch a movie you are in close company with people who are specialists in the field of influence. When you watch a movie you enter a world where skilled professionals excel at   manipulating thoughts and emotions. The producers, directors, actors, film editors, music editors, cinematographers, sound technicians, script writers and more all bring professional expertise to their jobs. More importantly, each one of them also brings a worldview and personal agenda to their tasks. Sin is often portrayed as an accepted and even noble part of life. For example, going back in time a bit,  in the movie, Out of Africa, powerful acting, beautiful cinematography and a compelling plot all worked together to glorify an adulterous relationship. Yet few would say the movie is about adultery.

Another way movies are deceptive is to make you think that what you see on the screen is the actual reality. For example, when a romantic love scene is shown, it appears as if the two lovers are the only ones present. This is a designed deception. In reality there are multiple cinematographers, a director, sound technicians, make-up artists, production staff, administrative staff and more in near proximity to the couple. So, in reality this intimate moment is being viewed by dozens of people at close range. Now, ask yourself, how spontaneous and free is this scene? Does what you see on the screen actually depict the reality of the moment? Would the scene be nearly as inviting if you actually saw all the people who were within a few feet of the scene as it was shot?

Remember that Ephesians 2:1-3 teaches that all of us, including the influence specialists in cinema, were born being servants of Satan, whether we realize this fact or not. It is impossible for us to think and act differently unless our hearts are changed. So when you enter the world of entertainment, guard your heart!

In the next post we will have some questions and guidelines for you to gage how movies impact your life.

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