Should Christians allow themselves to watch movies that have sinful
activities such as sex scenes, cursing, violence, etc?


There is no simple answer to this question. We need to look at Bible
passages which give principles to answer such quesions. One helpful
passage in in Psalms 102:3; “I will set before my eyes no vile thing.”
Here we find the principle that a spiritual person will be careful what
they look at, choosing not to look at vile things, whatever they may be.
We know from early Church Fathers that the disciples in the early church
refused to attend violent shows in the Colliseum and other Roman centers
for such vile entertainment. They also refused to take part in the
theatre. There are many biblical precedents for godly people avoiding
participating in and viewing sinful activity as entertainment.

Having said that, we need to be at least somewhat cautious in what we
condemn. In Colossians 2:20-23 Paul admonishes us to avoid creating
human-based rules of behavior, because “they lack any value in restraining
sensual indulgence.” The way I see this passage is that we should reach
our own convictions on such matters, and we should not hesitate to share
these convictions, but establishing hard and fast rules for behavior for
all Christians is generally not a productive thing to do. We need to
practice what we believe and share our convictions, but give other
believers room to reach their own conviction.

For myself, I try to find a middle ground. The movie rating system is
only partially helpful. Personally, I do not want to make a rule such as
all R movies are sinful to watch, or all PG 13 movies are sinful. I am
willing to watchmovies which have an occasional curse word, but which do
not glorify such behavior and which do not have every curse words in
practically every sentence. Movies with sex scenes vary across a very
wide range as well. My suggestion is to think carefully about what you
choose to watch and what you, therefore, endorse as acceptable
entertainment, but at the same time avoid an overly legalistic, judgmental
attitude to people who have somewhat different convictions than you have.

John Oakes

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