Thursday, March 23, 2006

Clean Up the Airwaves?

This past Sunday I watched Dr. D. James Kennedy's tv show. Dr. Kennedy is one of my favorite tv preachers, but he ended Sunday's show with something I think is a waste of time: he called on Christians to sigh a petition to clean up the airwaves.

At first glance cleaning up the airwaves sounds like a good idea. There's plenty of filth and anti-Christian bigotry on tv; no one with a brain can deny that. But lauching yet another campaign to "clean up the airwaves" will fail, like all such campaigns have failed.

I can remember Christians complaining about the content of movies and tv shows way back in the '70's. Their complaints were exactly like they are today. Too much sex and violence. Christians attacked Hollywood constantly and, sometimes, bitterly. And what was the result? More sex and violence! That's right. All the criticizing and condemning didn't change a thing, except to make it worse. There's more sex, violence, profanity, and way more occultism in today's movies and tv shows than there were 30 years ago. Yet Christians keep complaining and using the same old failed methods to change things. Can you say "insanity"?*

I know Christians mean well. I'm also tired of all the filth, anti-Christian bigotry, and occultism in today's entertainment. I'm tired of the way traditional values and the people who hold them are mocked, ridiculed, and/or demonized by Hollywood, but Christians have got to find another, better way of fighting back. Indeed, Christians need to understand that they need to fight back and not just whine about this huge problem. For centuries Christians owned the arts in Western civilization. The West's greatest music, literature, architecture, and paintings were inspired by the Bible and filled with Christian themes. Today's Christians need to reclaim that heritage and use it against Hollywood's forces of darkness. But they must be smart about it.

Chuck Colson once wrote that Christians should criticize by creating, yet too often today's Christian artists seek only to create the Christian version of some aspect of secular entertainment. So we have Christian rock music, Christian video games, Christian comic books, Christian romance novels, etc. That's ok if you only want to preach to the choir, but the goal of Christian artists should be to reach the whole of society; that's the only way to turn back the tide of liberal paganism and re-establish the Judeo-Christian worldview as the dominant worldview in our culture.

C. S. Lewis, the author of "The Chronicles of Narnia", told Christians how to reach society, and not just the church, throught art. Lewis wrote that the world didn't need more books from Christians about Christianity, but more books from Christians about a variety of subjects in which the Christian worldview was latent. The Narnia books are a prime example of what Lewis was talking about. Christians need to be writing books, making movies, and designing video games in which their Christian ideas reveal themselves naturally through the words and actions of the characters. No character in such books, movies, or video games has to be openly Christian for the Christian worldview to be effectively and positively communicated. And blending the Christian worldview into the background won't turn off non-Christian people. After all, most non-Christians aren't going to buy a book or see a movie that's openly Christian, especially if it's even remotely evangelical in tone.

So if Dr. D. James Kennedy wants to clean up the airwaves he should have his church offer classes in creative writing or film making and stop the petition signing. Criticize, and convert, by creating. Hollywood understands that principle; it's time God's people understood it, too.

*One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect differents results.