Why Christians should watch movies

Why would Christians watch movies at all? They are full of violence and bad language and plenty of other things we try to avoid. They are made by people who have completely different world views than our own, and disagree with most of the beliefs we hold most dear. Why would we fill our heads with all this simply for the sake of entertainment?

If you’re not someone who calls themselves a Christian, perhaps this question is exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from those that do. Christians have a (not entirely undeserved) reputation for being kill-joys. After all, watching a movie doesn’t hurt anyone and if someone happens to enjoy going to the cinema with a few friends, why should anyone judge them? Why ask such a question at all? Why not just let people be?

There are certainly Christians who treat movies (and other cultural products like music and visual arts) with extreme suspicion; and not without reason. There are a lot of movies that Christians should probably avoid. However, the fact that movies are filled with sinful people doing sinful things is not a good reason to dismiss all movies entirely. The bible is also full of sinful people doing sinful things, yet we still consider it the word of God. If we wanted to avoid witnessing sin we would need to go around with our eyes shut and ears plugged (even then, I don’t think we’d be entirely safe). At the same time, movies are not the bible—they do not generally promote Christian values or ethics, and they are certainly not written to edify Christians. So mindlessly absorbing whatever we see on a screen in front of us is not a ‘safe’ option. So then, why and how should Christians watch movies?