G.I. Joe: Promoting Adultery And Violence To Children
Posted by Job on August 11, 2009
My motivation for mentioning this was hearing a couple of disc jockeys on Christian (CCM) radio go through great lengths to promote the idea that it is acceptable for Christian parents to take their children, given to them by the Lord for the purpose of instructing in righteousness and protecting them, to see this film. Those disc jockeys need to watch the movie the “The Time Changer” or view the Tim Conway video and link below, and so do all Christians that agree with them.
Now why do Christian parents want to take their children to see this movie? Simple: because despite being rated PG-13, the movie is obviously being marketed to children, just as was the Transformer movies (Incidentally G.I. Joe and Transformers are manufactured by the same toy company and the movies are made by the same studio with the same producer. Isn’t capitalism grand politically conservative Christians?) Do not pretend otherwise. Not only is the mere fact that the movie is based on a toy line going to pique the interests of children, but the movie is heavily promoted during children’s programming (ar reason to consider liberal socialist PBS as an alternative to Nickelodeon, Disney, Cartoon Network, network TV, etc. … no commercials!) and there are the usual “kids’ meal” fast food tie ins. So, many Christian parents have their children begging them to allow them to see it, plus the movie also appeals to the child in a great many adults … meaning the desire for visually stimulating escapist entertainment.
However, Christian parents – and their children – should not be in the business of seeking entertainment from things designed to appeal to our fallen nature. Perhaps the best description of our fallen sinful nature is contained within Romans 1:18-32. Here is an excerpt: “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Sound familiar about any society and culture that you know? Sound familiar about any household that you know?
That excerpt makes it clear that not only does our fallen sinful nature crave wanton violence and sexual immorality ourselves, but we take pleasure in watching others do the same. It is called voyeurism, without which no “reality show” (which consists of sitting around watching other people act immoral for our own entertainment) could survive. However, where true voyeurism is unavailable, fantasy voyeurism – which only depicts immorality – will do. Yet G.I. Joe is where fantasy immorality meets reality in the person of Sienna Miller.
This Sienna Miller may yet legitimately be an actress of some ability and reputation. But let us be honest: her resume and acting ability had nothing to do with her getting this role. Instead, it had everything to do with this Sienna Miller’s being famous – or should I say infamous – in the now rather large tabloid subculture for her very brazen and public relationships with married men. So, this Miller gets rewarded for her grotesque personal immorality with a movie role that she would have never gotten otherwise because the film’s makers knew that her lifestyle would attract people who – again according to Romans 1, have pleasure in her lifestyle! And for the maximum effect (or exploitation), Miller was cast in the “bad girl temptress”, a role described by a tabloid as that of “a leather-clad man-eater.” So, what is the (im)moral of the story? Become one of the world’s most notorious adulteresses and get a role in a movie that influential evangelical Christians (which by nature of their profession the CCM disc jockeys are) will defend taking your kids to go see!
Now granted, it is possible that many Christian parents may not know a thing about this Miller person or this film’s attempt to profit from her reputation. (However, no Christian parent can claim to not be aware of Hollywood’s reputation and therefore be surprised in any way that Hollywood is using fascination with adultery to increase the profit margins on movies marketed to children during “Dora The Explorer” and with Burger King kid’s meals.) However, no Christian parent should delude himself about the extreme violence that G.I. Joe (and for that matter all of these comic/book and toy movies) depict. We see the gunfire, the missiles and bombs, the lasers, car crashes, explosions etc. and think “wow that is so cool!”
The truth is that these things are false images, lies, and all lies are the product of the adversary, the enemy, the serpent of old which is Satan that has deceived the whole world. The reason why I say this is because being exposed to false depictions of extreme violence produces a person – and a population and culture – that goes beyond merely being desensitized to violence but having a mindset that is altered and strongly deluded to the point where violence, death, mayhem and destruction are worshiped. How receptive will a mind raised in such a culture be to the Prince of Peace Jesus Christ and the offense of His work on the cross? As a matter of fact, how many professing Christians have real trouble with believing that they have to personally obey the Sermon on the Mount and the other instructions of Jesus Christ to love your enemy, turn the other cheek, make peace with your adversary etc. because they grew up cheering police officers and other “good guys” brutally kill the bad guys vengeance style? Rarely does this “entertainment” depict the bad guy being merely apprehended and placed into custody to stand trial, which is actually the desired outcome in a civilized society based on law, order and justice. Why? Because the viewing wants to see the police officer (or as it happens an average citizen) play judge, jury and executioner and satisfy their lust for blood. We also want this escapist fantasy violence to be our outlet to vent our fears, hatreds and frustrations (preferring to watch the objects of our evil thoughts and emotions being blasted away in movies and on TV) rather than confessing our faults before the body of believers in Jesus Christ and going before the throne of grace for forgiveness of our sins. So, we reject the true High Priest that is seated on the right hand of God the Father, Jesus Christ, in favor of the idol of the TV screen!
And make no mistake, this does impact people’s thinking. The best example of this was the criticisms of the actions of the police department during the Columbine High School massacre. The police were denounced for not barrelling through the front door and confronting armed gunmen! Why? Because a society that has for decades been molded by action movies and TV shows thinks that is what you are supposed to do. In such shows, it is possible for the police, the military (so long as it is ours) and other “good guys” to wade right into a blizzard of bullets and missiles with no casualties. They have no idea that it is the opposite is true: it only takes one guy with one gun firing one bullet to kill the “good guy.” It really is a type of brainwashing, where these false media images conform you to the lies that the god of this world, the prince of the powers of the air, want you to believe so that accepting and living by the truth of Jesus Christ and His resurrection will be all the more difficult.
After all, the reason why we watch entertainment like this is because “it looks so cool and realistic.” Excuse me, but what is “so cool” about a lie? And how can it be “realistic” if it isn’t true? If these movies were so “realistic” and “true” they would show severe burn victims with their skin melted off, and how such people will be disfigured for the rest of their lives even after several iterations of plastic surgery. They will show people lying in hospital beds screaming in pain despite having received the most powerful anesthetics available because their nerve endings are messed up. They will show a paraplegic struggling to learn how to bathe and clothe himself. They will show mothers and wives at the end of their wits struggling under the stress of having to take care of their paraplegic husbands and sons. They will show mortally wounded people slowly degenerate and die over the course of several days and weeks while their family members grieve and watch. They would show the three year old children waking up in the middle of the night asking their mothers “Where is daddy, when is he coming home?” over and over again and having to be told “Daddy is dead, sweetie, he is never coming home” and the mother and child having to hold each other, cry and console each other.
Why? Because that is the actual result of the real violence and destruction falsely portrayed by G.I. Joe and similar films: people getting maimed for life or killed and their loved ones having to deal with it. Pretending as if these avalances of bullets and bombs can fly all over the place with absolutely no real consequences (i.e. no one that we care about gets injured and no one is personally affected by or has to deal with it in any serious way) is just as wrong as depicting promiscuity while omitting sexually transmitted disease, abortion, divorce, rape and child molestation, and “crimes of passion” that results from this behavior. It is the “sin has no consequences” lie, which by the way was the same lie that Satan used to deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden with “you will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). It is called “fantasy” and “escapism” because the ultimate fantasy of every sinner is that he can sin without there being any consequence. The sinner wants to delude himself that the consequence of his behavior is not offense to God’s holiness or righteousness, or that God will not take action against the injustice committed against His holiness. But whether the lie is “no harm done” or “God doesn’t know” or “God doesn’t care” or “God won’t do anything about it”, trust me, it is still a lie no different from the first one told in the Garden of Eden. And just as in that instance, we should not focus too much on the lie or even on the liar, but on the wicked human heart that was all too willing to believe it and act on it. Honestly, what makes you think that your internalizing a lie through your action of being entertained by it is any different from Eve’s? If you can tell me the difference, I would like to hear it. For in both cases, the issue is not the lie so much as it is the heart that wants to believe it for its own purposes, which is to serve its own pleasure rather than to serve the will of God.
If movies like G.I. Joe were realistic, they would show the broken bodies, broken minds, broken spirits, broken families and broken lives that are the result of this violence. They would show you what REALLY happens when a laser hits someone, when there is a serious car crash, when a bomb or missile explodes, when someone starts shooting machine guns, or when buildings collapse. In real life, explosions burn people and blow off body parts. Car crashes and falling buildings crush people. Bullets tear flesh. And when these things happen, no distinction is made between “good guys”, “bad guys”, or “innocent civilians.” You can see things like this happen in an action movie dozens of times and NO ONE GETS HURT. Or if they do, it is all clean and sanitized, with the “bad guys” getting the worst of it, and often very little blood, let alone actual carnage and mayhem. Why? Because no one wants to see that. No one wants the truth, so we would rather have our minds shaped, twisted and conformed by corrupt lies.
We would rather be entertained by lies than live for the truth, and this is the result. So the question is: how can we love a lie and call ourselves Christians? Go read what Revelation 22:15 says about the fate of those who love lies and answer that question. Make no mistake, this is a serious issue. I am not going the usual route of “watching Megan Fox (who openly brags about her lesbianism) in Transformers may cause you to want to go out and fornicate” or “watching the gunfire in G.I. Joe may cause you to go out and shoot somebody.” I realize that this only occurs with a small amount of people who already had these tendencies to begin with. But we have to start directly confronting the issue of how polluting our minds – and that of our children – with things that we know to be lies and with the fascination and worship of sin, evil and destruction causes. I did not say what it leads to, the famous “slippery slope” argument. Instead, we have to deal with what entertaining lies in our mind and worshiping violence and destruction are, which is sin.
Why are we so quick to resort to escapist entertainment anyway? Because dealing with the real world is so hard, so painful, so difficult. We would rather take the easy way – escape from it – than the hard way, which is deal with it. Well, if that is how we as adults feel, imagine how our children, who have to deal with so many strong emotions and frightening situations at such young ages, feel? Instead of plunging our children ever deeper into escapist fantasy cocoons, we need to show our children the reality that they are going to have to deal with if they are going to effectively serve Jesus Christ and glorify God the Father by obeying the Holy Spirit in the actual world that does exist. Yes, the primary way that we teach our children how to deal with reality is by showing them to with our own example! Of course, Satan does not want your kids to be able to effectively deal with the real world (a precondition for serving Jesus Christ), and allowing your kids to be trapped by his worldly system that plunges them mentally and emotionally into some confused fantasy land state where they cannot tell their right hand from their left (which means they don’t know right from wrong, tell what is real and what is fake, don’t know the truth from a lie, and wouldn’t even know how to deal with what is right, what is real, and what is true if they did) is nothing less than a dereliction of your duty as a Christian parent.
Christian parents need to build their children up in the Lord, not destroy them with the things of Satan. The enemy has already been defeated on the cross by Jesus Christ and the battle is already won, so why even give a place to this defeated foe in the mind of your children? So, instead of filling your children with hate, violence, wrath, wantonness, sensuality and craven glorification of sin, please use this test to evaluate whatever your children (and for that matter you yourself) are exposed to and reject whatever fails.
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
And no, do not go pulling the “legalist” card. Biblically, a “legalist” is someone who claims that a Christian needs to convert to Judaism and follow the law of Moses in order to go to heaven. The modern definition of “legalist” is adding rules and creating sins that do not appear in the Bible and claiming that they have the force of scripture. Advising Christian parents against giving money to Hollywood producers seeking to profit off Sienna Miller’s adulteries and warning against things that conform your mind to a lie (read Romans 12:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 10:5) is not legalism. Instead, the burden is on the Christian to explain why he absolutely HAS to view this “entertainment” in the first place, let alone let his children see it. If Christians were able to get by for almost 2000 years without the advantages of movies glorifying fantasy (meaning unrealistic and therefore inherently immoral) depictions of violence because such things hadn’t been invented yet, today’s church has no need of these things either.