Category Archives: Profanity

What Movies Should Our Kids be Watching? Part 2

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Part 1 of this post discussed the use of Internet sites to help parents decide whether a movie is appropriate.  Today, we talk about how we know something is inappropriate.

There are at least two kinds of appropriateness, which I think a lot of parents miss.  First, there is age appropriateness.  A movie that is dealing with subjects like romance, or realistic war depictions, or other historical events that include intense human pain and misery, is not appropriate for younger children.  Their immature minds cannot process what they are seeing and they will not understand these themes until they are older.

A couple examples would be The Passion of the Christ and Band of BrothersThe Passion depicts the excruciating torture and death of Jesus while Band of Brothers portrays the true story of World War II soldiers.  Both of these are inappropriate for younger children because of the thematic content, but worth seeing once a person is well into their teenage years.

When deciding age appropriateness, you also have to consider your child.  My children do not struggle with violent streaks.  They are not aggressive toward other kids and they also have a good understanding of the difference between fantasy and reality.  So, we may let them watch movies that include violence, as long as it isn’t too realistic or intense.  If your child is aggressive toward other kids and is obsessed with violent role playing, you need to steer them clear of violent movies.

On the other hand, we are very concerned about exposing our kids to sexual themes and profanity.  We believe that there are real consequences if we allow our children to be inundated with foul language and sex.  When they enter their teenage years, their thoughts and deeds will be impacted by the language and sexual situations they see in movies.  Those things impacted me, so I assume they will impact my kids.  Therefore, movies that major on these themes are off-limits.

The second kind of inappropriateness is more difficult for parents to accept.  Some movies should not be seen by anyone because they are garbage.    These movies may glorify extra-marital sex, gratuitous violence, drug use, and so forth.  I can remember watching Natural Born Killers (lots of gratuitous violence) about 15 years ago with my wife.  When it was over, we both looked at each other and said, “That was a complete waste of time!  Why did we subject ourselves to that kind of filth?”  The movie actually left us both depressed.

Not only should your kids not watch these kinds of movies, but neither should you!  Unfortunately, many parents go ahead and watch these kinds of movies and their kids know that they watch these movies, and their kids see their parents as hypocrites.  Mom and Dad are always talking about certain movies being inappropriate but they routinely watch inappropriate movies!  If you, as a parent, expect to have any credibility when it comes to movies, you need to practice what you preach.

Some of you may object, “I’m an adult and I can watch whatever I want.  These kinds of movies don’t affect me like they affect a child.”  I used to think that until I came across Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”  God expects you to expose yourself to media which contributes to your wisdom and virtue.  This verse is directed at adults, not children.

I’m not saying that you can’t watch movies for the sake of entertainment.  I am saying that entertainment should not come at the cost of your soul.  Every time you expose yourself to movie sewage, you are shriveling your soul.  You are growing away from God and therefore away from wisdom and virtue.  Christian adults need to restrict their own movie viewing.  If they don’t then they shouldn’t expect their children to take them seriously as God’s representatives.

I don’t think I have all the answers on this topic, and I’m sure some of you would disagree with my conclusions.  Please let me know how you see this issue.  I am truly interested in other perspectives!

What Do Political Liberals and Atheists Have In Common?

According to an August 2008 poll by Barna Group, they are both far more likely than conservatives and evangelical Christians to engage in behaviors such as unmarried sex, viewing pornography, lying, getting drunk, and gossipping.   These results, sadly, are not surprising to me, as previous poll data and personal experience have proven these facts true over and over.

With regard to liberals vs. conservatives, here are the statistics when respondents were asked what behaviors they engaged in during the previous week:

On average, adults who describe themselves as “mostly liberal” on sociopolitical issues were twice as likely as those who describe themselves as “mostly conservative” to participate in activities that conflict with traditional moral perspectives. In particular, liberals were five times more likely to participate in unmarried sex (20% vs. 4%), more than three times as likely to view pornography (30% vs. 8%), more than twice as likely to lie (21% vs. 8%) and to get drunk (17% vs. 7%), and twice as likely to engage in retaliation (13% vs. 6%) and gossip (17% vs. 9%).

Atheists and agnostics don’t fare much better when compared to evangelical Christians:

Examining people’s faith perspectives revealed that evangelicals were the group most likely to follow traditional morality while atheists and agnostics were the faith segment most likely to reject those ways.

Among evangelicals, profanity (16%) and pornography (12%) were the most common transgressions. Fewer than 5% of evangelicals had engaged in gossip (4%), inappropriate sex (3%), gambling (2%), lying (1%) or drunkenness (less than one-half of one percent).

In contrast, among skeptics (atheists and agnostics) participation in the eight behaviors ranged from a low of 11% (retaliating) up to a high of 60% (using profanity). While evangelicals averaged 6% participation in each of the eight behaviors mentioned, skeptics averaged five times that level (29%). Other common acts among skeptics included exposure to pornography (50%), gossip (34%) and drunkenness (33%).

What to make of these results?  Although it is possible for atheists to live moral lives, they often do not, when compared to strong Christians.  Again, there is no surprise here for those of us who have come from non-belief to belief, as adults.  We remember how we were before Christ changed us from the inside out.  If Christ does not live inside you, you face an impossible battle.  Rather than gloat, as believers, we should humbly thank God for what He’s done for us.  The atheist lives just like we would without God’s grace.

What's the Big Deal About Cursing?

Every thing that God prohibits in the Bible reflects his nature and therefore has some good reason behind it.  But using bad language, or cursing, is one of those prohibitions that most of us completely ignore.  Almost everyone curses.

We swear when we’re angry.

We swear when we’re really happy.

We swear when we tell jokes.

We swear when we’re trying to really emphasize a point we want to make.

We swear when we want to hurt someone’s feelings.

We swear when we talk about someone we really don’t like.

The list goes on and on.  So what is the big deal?  Cursing seems like one of those sins that is nit picky.  After all, we humans decide which words are bad and which are good.  It’s just a conventional language thing.  Every language has curse words in it.  Even the biblical languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) had curse words.

Some of the most vile curse words refer to “private parts,” sexual acts, eliminating bodily waste, and other ethnic groups.  Now, all of these things were given to us by God – bodies, sex, and different races – and God only gives good things.  Yet, in each case, we rename these things with curse words.

It turns out that naming, and indeed language itself, is one of the most powerful and beautiful gifts that God bequeathed mankind.  One of the first things God asked Adam to do was name the animals.  However, as with all gifts, language can be used for good or for evil.  Language can be used to teach, to heal, to point toward truth, to worship God, to express beauty, and to express love toward others.  God felt so strongly about using His name properly, that it made the top ten (Ex. 20:7).

It can be used for evil.  As with virtually every other good gift, humans took language and perverted it.  When you misuse language (that’s what cursing is, the misuse of language), you pervert a good gift from God.

Clearly, some cursing is worse than others.  Yelling out when you hit your thumb with a hammer is not in the same league as yelling a racial epithet at someone.  God always judges the heart of a man, so the more hurtful you intend your language to be, the the more harshly you will be judged, but why not avoid it altogether?

Think of the words that come out of your mouth (and the words in your thoughts) as a beautiful self-portrait hanging in the front entrance of your home (a la Dorian Gray).  Every person that enters your home sees this portrait immediately.  Every time you curse, your face in the portrait deforms in a subtle way.  Over time, the deformities build up so that your portrait becomes horribly disfigured.  What started out as a wonderful painting becomes more like a portrait of a monster.  On the other hand, every time you use language to teach truth, express love, or heal, the portrait reverts back to the original stunning masterpiece.  That masterpiece is what God intended for you.