Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Entertained by Violence?, 2

James Jordan has commented on this aspect of manhood in one of his Biblical Horizons newsletters:

Biblical manhood is not connected with hunting or with sports. The great men of the Bible were not hunters but accountants; contrast Jacob and Esau. There is nothing wrong with hunting, but it has nothing to do with manhood one way or another. There is nothing wrong with many sports either, but we should note that while sports were an important part of Greek education, they play no part in Biblical training at all.
Biblical manhood is connected, however, with martial skills. At the age of 20, every man was enlisted in the militia (Numbers 1). When the trumpet was blown, every man was expected to show up to fight.
What does this mean for us today? Well, it has to be admitted that modern super-weapons are not the kinds of things ordinary citizens can be expected to possess or know how to use. But there are two kinds of martial arts that can and should be part of Christian education for men, and also for women to a lesser degree. The one is self-defense tactics, and here we can use the Jubal-techniques developed in oriental lands to good advantage: karate, tae-kwan-do, jui-jutsu, etc. The other is weapons training, which should include bow & arrow, spear, pistol, and rifle.
If these ideas shock you, you’ve spent too much time as a couch potato watching sports on television. Wouldn’t you like for your children to know these things? Don’t you wish you did????

(Also, see my blog series, "Designed for Work, Destined for War")

Given that Christian young men have inner questions & conflicts based on one God-ordained facet of manhood, war movies, martial arts movies, and other "action" movies serve a very real purpose. Every staged violent confrontation addresses his personal concerns -- What would I do in that situation? Could I do that? Would I have the courage to . . . ? (etc.)

I would recommend that Christian parents use such movies to evoke discussion aimed at evaluating the movie from a Biblical perspective. Ask the right questions: Did the main character act out of revenge, or was he protecting himself (or someone else)? Did the main character use wrongs committed against him as an excuse or an occasion for sin? Were the movie's situations true-to-life or too contrived to be of practical use? Are there Biblical characters who faced analogous situations? (etc.)

This sends the right message to the young Christian -- that the Bible speaks to every situation of life, including the use of force in defense of self or others.

On my blog, I recently reviewed a couple of war films. I would recommend to you the comments by two or three young men who responded in the comments section. It shows how Christian youths can approach such movies with a discernment that issues from Biblical ethics:



Finally, I want to make it clear that I recognize that the young Christian does not always act from pure motives. His legitimate interests may be mixed with an addiction to adrenaline or an unhealthy interest in some of the seamier aspects of modern "action" movies. Here, I believe the discerning parent must direct his child's attention to those movies which best serve the legitimate purposes I've discussed above.

1 comment:

The Warrior said...

Excellent points, sorry I got to this so late. Don't think you don't have your readers out there, because you do.

I hope to review Valkyrie soon, it was really good. I agree though, my favorite kinds are those that bring up real questions for me. Yet another thing that puts me at odds with most people--I don't like movies unless they give me something real to chew on, really. The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Valkyrie, Red Dawn, The Replacement Killers, Lorna Doone, The Last of the Mohicans, Gods and Generals, Tae Guk Gi--these are just some of my favorites that make me think about these issues.

Do you have any more to recommend, btw? Even in general?