I love the smell of cinemas. It’s that salty, buttery popcorn that does it. The aroma smacks of grand screens, darkened rooms, and reverberating sound systems.
Last weekend, I indulged in that enjoyment once again as I sat with some friends to see The Case for Christ, a rare jewel in Christian movies that left me feeling edified and encouraged. That afternoon of entertainment caused me to glorify God, but it also made me wonder: does it matter what we choose to entertain us?
If you are anything like me entertainment, whether it’s music, visual media, or books, takes up a substantial amount of your time. There are many schools of thought on this subject.
Some argue that we are free to watch, read, or listen to whatever. Others go the opposite direction, shunning all forms of entertainment. Somewhere in the middle are those who avoid explicit scenes, those who only listen to Christian artists, those who boycott films depicting homosexuality, and the list goes on.
I’m not writing to draw a line in the sand between “okay for Christians” and “definitely sin”. What I want to address here is why it even matters at all. After all, these forms of entertainment aren’t real.
Tell me a story
The story-line in novels is made up, the violence in that movie is all special effects, and just because we listen to songs about hooking up for a one night stand, it doesn’t mean we are actually going to do it ourselves.
Novels, music and movies all tell stories. True, these stories, for the most part, aren’t a reflection of reality. But don’t underestimate the strength of a story. Humans crave stories. That desire for a well-crafted tale is part of what makes us human. They help us make sense of the real world.
Stories can have a powerful impact on us by challenging our perspective on reality. They help us sort through what we consider to be right and wrong, as well as providing us an opportunity to see the results of certain actions without having to make those choices for ourselves.
Jesus Himself used the power of a good story to make His point. His parables caused people to think deeply about real life issues. He drew people into a world of imagination that helped them see truth.
We should be cautious about what entertains us because of the power that stories can have. That doesn’t mean all entertainment has to be suitable for five-year-olds. Indeed, there are many worthwhile movies out there that deal with difficult themes. No, it isn’t about restricting ourselves to G-ratings. It’s about the difference between truth and lies.
One example is how adultery is portrayed in these forms of entertainment. As many times as we follow that story, we are sorting it through in our heads, learning what it might look like in reality.
The problem is that the story that is told is often a lie. The result is a skewed version that can affect how we see the real world. It is important to tell the truth in our stories. The truth is that adultery hurts people. The truth is that sin has negative consequences.
Let’s be honest
Imagination is a wonderful, God-given gift, and I don't believe there is anything wrong with using it for our pleasure and entertainment. The difference between imagination and lies is that in the former we create a story where we can explore all manner of ideas: relationships, interesting scenarios, even new worlds. The latter, the lies, are those that twist the reality of sin and pretend it is all okay.
Anything that glorifies sin or pretends it has no consequences is going to have an impact on how we view the world around us. I believe it causes a subtle eroding of our values. In fact, it is reminiscent of Satan’s first attack on truth in the Garden of Eden when he asks Eve, “Did God really say…” (Genesis chapter 3, verse 1). In the same way, some movies, books, and songs suggest, “Is it really that bad?”
So next time you check out the latest block-buster, or snuggle down with a good book, perhaps you could consider what version of reality is being presented. Is the truth in there?
Lucinda is a Girls Brigade leader, private tutor, and stay-at-home mum. She loves reading.
Lucinda Glover’s previous articles may be viewed at
Lucinda is a mum to two little girls. She loves baking, reading, and sewing.