I remember a time, oh, about the mid-seventies to early-eighties, when it is wasn’t necessary to pepper a movie with vulgarity in order to bring a sense of realism to the film. Today, rarely does a film targeted toward teens and adults not resort to having actors repeatedly use words that most Christians find offensive, including using God’s name in vain.
Some would argue that movies are made to be as lifelike as possible, but I believe life has started to imitate the movies. Throughout the entire history of motion pictures, audiences have been quick to use movie quotes as part of their own public persona. From that famous quote from Gone With The Wind to the “life is like a box a chocolates” summation by Forrest Gump, moviegoers used to find enjoyment and common ground by repeating these phrases to one another when the opportunity presented itself.
For years now, people have been saying “yeah, baby!” as an almost ritual-like salute to their allegiance to the Austin Powers trilogy. Most recently, the independent hit film Napoleon Dynamite has a huge amount of the population spouting the words “freakin’ idiot!”, which is, of course, slightly better than what the writer could have used for a catch phrase. Movies definitely influence the masses. It’s why documentaries are made.
In the past twenty years, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of profanity in films, and there seems to be a direct correlation to the increase in swearing in public. It is almost impossible to go to a football, baseball, or basketball game and not hear someone using words that just don’t belong in any conversation. As Christians, we need to be concerned about this downslide.
Jesus tells us that, “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’” (Matthew 15:11 NIV). This verse makes it clear that humans are held accountable for what they say. And right now, a whole lot of people seem unconcerned with keeping their mouths in check. Yes, I understand, people make mistakes – people say things they shouldn’t say once in a while. But that’s not the crowd I am addressing in this column. I’m saying we have a problem with people using profanity as conjunctions, adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs.
Now, what can Christians do to try and help curb this nasty trend. Actually, quite a bit, we can begin by refusing to purchase movies or CDs containing profanity. We can follow that up with a polite reminder to our friends and acquaintances, who may not yet share our faith, that public cursing is not really all that appealing.
If someone is spewing swear words and there are young children around, politely ask the person to refrain from such words. But remember, some people consider is their constitutional right to say whatever they want, whenever and where ever they want. These people may become hostile to any such request for a limit on their vocabulary. If that is the case, rather than risk a physical confrontation (there are a lot more bad words tossed around in jail), remove yourself from the negative environment and add the perpetrator to your prayer list.
If movies and attitudes moved society toward rampant profanity, than it will be those same tools that can move society back to where a better standard was in place.
Excellent well written article to address those important issues in a Christian's life. I know that my heart is grieved when I hear the Name of our Precious Lord taken in vain.I once heard a Preacher quote "don't do anything or say anything that would offend God,because we could be in His Presence at any moment." We know that God is Holy ;so therefore we as Christians are called to
walk by His Grace to live a life that is Pleasing and Honoring to Him.