Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

Why I’m Hesitant to Let My Kid Watch Christian Movies

1. Because there is a really, really, really good chance that Kirk Cameron is one of the main characters.

And, let’s face it– Kirk isn’t a very good actor. Every time I see him on the big screen it ruins fond childhood memories, singing “as long as we’ve got each other, we’ve got the world spinning right in our hands…” as Growing Pains was about to air over our 13 inch, black-and-white television.

As someone who has made his professional living in the arts for the last six years, I want my beautiful little girl to appreciate good art. Plus, I really want to protect my fond memories of the Growing Pains theme song.

2. There are no gate-keepers to determine what a “Christian movie” actually is.

Every time I see a supposed Christian movie marketed as “Christian”, the first question in my head is, “says who?”

Who gets to determine what a Christian movie is? No one, that’s who. The problem with this is that many well meaning Christian families who are making an honest attempt to let their children watch something good, might actually get duped into showing their kids crap.

There’s no such thing as a “Christian” movie– just like there’s no such thing as a “Christian” worldview. When movies get billed as being a “Christian” movie (usually because Kirk Cameron is in it– see rule #1 again), families are less likely to go into the movie thinking critically and with discernment. The label of “Christian” causes one to put their guard down and just blindly receive whatever is about to be put into their mind. And, isn’t that the behavior they warned us about when we were in youth group?

I’m not going to let my daughter watch “Christian” movies until I’m confident in her ability to know for herself what God really is like. I want her to be able to stand up and shout: “Nope, that’s not what God is like. He’s way more loving than that.”

3. “Christian movies” are a great vehicle to spread bad theology.

Just like unwashed hands are the breeding ground of nasty head colds, “Christian” movies are the perfect breeding ground to spread a nasty cultural infection of crappy theology.

Just look, for example, at the Left Behind series (ugh, see rule #1, again!). This genre has become an absolute cash machine. While the movies sucked (see rule #1), there’s now a remake with Nicolas Cage which might actually turn out to be an entertaining flick. The problem? This is once again going to drive poisonous, dispensational theology deeper into American subculture.

Back when I was still a fundie, I saw the movie Six, which was about the mark of the beast. I actually went out and almost got a tattoo of a cross on the back of my neck so that if I were ever beheaded for refusing the mark of the beast, the last thing my executioner would see would be the cross.

Yeah, bad theology in movies can lead to some serious mistakes. Thankfully, I got a massive sleeve of a koi fish on my arm instead, but I digress.

The danger with the upcoming Left Behind movie is that undiscerning Christians will have their false belief in raptures and tribulations solidified, thereby dooming another generation to poor Christian ethic (something I wrote about here and here). Furthermore, those outside of a Christian tradition may see the movie and actually think that “end of the world” nonsense is part of the historic, orthodox Christian faith, which it is not.

It is a lose/lose situation– except that Nicolas Cage frees us from rule #1, which is a big, big win.

I view my top responsibility in life to be the role of teaching my daughter what God is like. It’s a hard job that will take years of commitment– I’m not going to throw that away by letting her watch a “Christian” movie that will fill her mind with bad theology and render her with a twisted or conflicted view of what God is like.

 4. I don’t trust the Kendrick brothers.

If you don’t know the Kendrick brothers, let me fill you in: they’re the new game in town when it comes to Christian movies. Their film production company, Sherwood Pictures, is a ministry of their church– Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia.

Now, to give them a little credit, the types of movies they produce (Courageous, Fireproof, Facing the Giants) are better than what I had growing up as a kid- at least in terms of special effects, plot lines, etc.

However, I don’t trust them. In part, this is because this is an outreach of their church– and to be honest, if I wanted to go to Sherwood Baptist Church, I’d move to Georgia. Also, they’ve violated rule #1, yet again- which is no way to win this critic over.

More seriously, however, there were a few dangerous messages in their movies Fireproof and Courageous:

In fireproof we see the main character is struggling with a porn addiction that is killing his marriage. While addiction, porn or otherwise, is a serious and overpowering struggle some people have, this movie actually made light of it. As he smashes his computer and puts it in the trash, we’re led to believe that breaking serious addiction is actually that easy.

It’s not. Addiction is hard to beat, and even when the addictive behavior is gone other behavior patterns remain which need some serious therapy. The message that you can just “repent” and walk away from addiction via willpower alone and everything else works out? I’m not a fan of that message, because it makes light of the real struggle so many face.

In the movie Courageous, they departed from subtle nuance and jumped straight into racism and sexism. As my wife and I watched this film, we were repeatedly mortified with the racist/sexist stereotypes perpetuated throughout the movie: the big black male running from the cops, the Mexican gang-banger, and the out of work Mexican with the bad accent (at one point, the “Christian” who hires him for some odd jobs asks if he’s in the country legally). With sexism, we see the father of a teenage daughter ask a boy who invites her to the mall “what his intentions are”, as if his daughter is some sex object whose main value is her body.

So, I’m done with you, Kendricks brothers. I’ll watch your movies since I’m a Christian commentator, but I’m not letting my sweet daughter watch your stuff. My daughter faces enough racism, and the last thing I’m going to do is fog her mind with more stereotypes about her color and accent. Plus, if she ever struggles with addiction, I want her to know that she doesn’t have to try to just throw it in the trash and do it on her own– we’re here to walk with her through that, should it ever occur.

5. I don’t want to reinforce the false notion that some art is “Christian” and some art is “secular”.

As my old preaching professor, Haddon Robinson, used to remind us– there’s no separation between secular and sacred. I want my child to know that a critical mind is something you never turn off, and that you can’t simply compartmentalize art as “Christian” or “not”. I want her to know that all truth is God’s truth, and all beauty is God’s beauty, and that you can find every bit as much truth and beauty from 8 Mile as you can from a Kendricks brothers flick. I want her searching for beauty everywhere she looks- I don’t want her thinking that good stuff exists “here” but you won’t find God “there”, wherever “there” is. I want her to know she can find God everywhere.

But I also want her to know that she can find garbage that will poison her mind everywhere, too. Even in good intentioned “Christian” movies.

Which is why, until I am confident that she can watch with a critical mind and say “That’s not what God is like– God looks exactly like Jesus”, I’m not going to just pop in a Christian movie for her and leave the room.

Until then, we’ll be learning lessons of struggle and redemption from 8 mile.

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

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139 Responses

  1. Bwahahaha!
    “the main character is struggling with a porn addiction”
    An addiction that strangely only afflicts religious people, just like demon possession. Which is code for make believe.

  2. Could it be that the father form Courageous was asking about the boy’s intention because he assumed that the teenager’s view of his daughter was “some sex object whose main value is her body”? I think it is valid to protect your daughter from sex-crazed, hormone-raged teenage boys. Thoughts?

  3. 8 mile seriously? I mean the Christian stuff is corny but has it’s good and bad obviously, but 8 mile, you are serious?

  4. I put on a movie outreach at our Baptist Church in Gig Harbor, WA and have seen and shown several of the movies you mentioned and I understand your concerns – they are very good and observant points. My main concern is that many of them are seemingly becoming more and more violent – and we didn’t show those. However the concerns you brought up didn’t really bother me as much – such as the porn addiction or the racism etc. I’m no fan of racism and didn’t pick up on what you were saying in that movie until I read your article. I think though, that it’s important to realize that today’s Christian movies are indeed getting more entertaining and better than like you said, what we grew up with. That said, it is awesome that they are probably attracting more viewers and thus, more are paying attention to what the Christian Message is they are trying to convey. To me that is such an great thing that I don’t mind overlooking some of the minor “problems” the movies have, as long as the main Christian message is told clearly and with love. I mean, just look at Sherwood Pictures. Alex K had to do so much of the first movies himself. Just THINK of all the crap out there in movie land these days for the mainstream. It seems PG-13 is the new R, and the new R is, well, really for no one to see – you know what i mean. I think what these Christian movie makers are doing is a GREAT start, and I do not want these courageous folks to get discouraged, but instead continue what they’re doing but just improve.

  5. If you go by your own writing and convictions than I would not let your daughter read any of your own writing as they definitely do not display God’s grace and love. Even if you do not like Kirk to constantly run him down is cruel. There is a gracious way to bring your point across and well your way…

  6. I am not a fan of anything in particular. But your point no. 1 is then a serious reminder that you should not watch any movie out there at all. Most of the stuff I watched was from Hollywood and none of it was art. Most of the actors are terrible including renee zewellger or watever her name is! So u should debar ur precious lil daughter from watching any movie at all. In case you dont know what you look like- you are trying to get attention. Simple! I think people should stop reading ur blog to be more open minded, as a matter of fact.

  7. I’m no fanboy but I sure wish my parents thought more like you. Their idea of life is believing everything any televangelist tells them no matter how absurd. I grew up being treated as if I was Johnny Gat for the crime of critical thinking. I was routinely labelled a “troubled kid” for asking questiosn why must I spend every waking moment not in school on church activities? and other such things. I think you can guess the rest & most of it would be spot on.

  8. I’ve watched Christian movies and cringed because they were bad. I don’t watch them anymore for that reason, but I don’t view those who do watch/make them as less intelligent/wise/spiritual than myself. They are at a different place in their growth as a Christian, and they are doing their best, just like the rest of us. Frankly, Mr. Corey, you concern me a lot more. The title of your blog indicates that you were once fundamentalist, so you should at least have some understanding of where they are coming from and how they could view what they are doing as a good thing, yet I don’t read a lot of love or grace in your post. I do hear a lot of bitterness. Perhaps a public blog isn’t the best place to work through it? Would you consider toning down the rhetoric until you learn how to better love Christians with whom you disagree?

    1. Do you even read what you write? methinks not. You admit how atrociously bad these movies are yet you accuse the author of this article as being “unchristian”. I’m surprised you haven’t started hurling accusations like heathen, blasphemer or sacrilige.

            1. Even if it only helps to snatch one or two from the fire, it is worth all of prejudiced and hateful remarks that progressive “Christians” issue.

  9. Actually, there are other religions that might offer your daughter more of greater opportunities to focus on the beauty around her. I am sure you are aware of them, plus there are many actors in Hollywood that belong to these other religions that would give you more of a world view without any labels at all, such as conservative or liberal. Since there is no secular and sacred I have no doubt that you want to remain consistent. I am sure I am not telling you anything new, but just a suggestion.

  10. The author is quick to talk about how bad addiction is, using porn as one of the horrible things to be addicted to. What about being addicted to religion? Isn’t that just as dangerous? Why doesn’t he allow his daughter to decide if she wants to actually ne Christian, before deciding which Christian movies she can watch someday.

  11. A good movie with heavy spiritual overtones, is Devil’s Advocate. This is not a “Christian” movie and yet it delivers a strong message about the temptations that can be dangled before us, leading us to virtually sell our souls, if we’re not careful.

    1. Most people alive on earth today who do sell their souls don’t make a deal with the devil but instead with fundamentalist churches who in many aspects are much the same as the devil.

    1. Wow–such a powerful comment–and true–and you had 6 down votes and zero up votes. The hatred and hypocrisy is palpable on this site!

      1. What’s ‘hypocracy?’ Judging from the Greek roots of the word, I assume you’re referring to a government run mostly by horses.

        EDIT: no dear, ‘hypocricy’ isn’t correct either. But you’re getting closer.

  12. Your article makes sense if you and your family don’t watch any movies. But if you do watch other movies. Your article makes no sense.

  13. I don’t mind Christian critics being critical of Christian art. I think we all should strive for excellence, as it glorifies our Lord and Saviour. And no one should be mindless just because something is made by “Christians”— very true. However, it is also equally true that no great product was ever produced by a developing industry— hence, there were times when “made in Japan” was a put-down. Likewise, with Christian film-making— give it time, and investment, and it will assert itself. We’ve got good people— good by Grace. We’ve got a great story— the greatest of all stories, in fact. We just need time, finances, and the talent to come together.

    1. Problem is christian film making will always be abysmally bad not cause its low budge (which it too often is) but that it thrives on ulterior motives that being cheap nonsensical propaganda much like late night tv that’s rife with bizarre kitchen appliances and delusional televangelists.

      1. Perhaps. But I don’t feel too qualified to comment on the hidden motives of the hearts involved, and there’s nothing immoral with trying to make a Christian movie, per se.

        1. well, it can be immoral. When a Christian movie tries to push one type of theology and demonize every other Christian theology by saying they are demonically possessed and agents of Satan, I would probably list that as immoral. But that’s just my opinion!

          1. what’s wrong with many christian denominations is they’re very quick to demonize everything around them. back in the times described in the bible there were people just like modern christians are today, they were called pharisees. They were not looked upon kindly by Jesus or God

  14. How
    right you are about the discernment required to divide truth from lies,
    Benjamin, and it seems to be getting ever trickier these days due to
    the psychopathic adeptness of the so-called progressives among us, those
    who worship the state instead of Jesus. There most certainly is a
    Biblical worldview, and those who are canon-minded live their lives in
    obedience to the precepts set forth in God’s Holy Word as they surrender
    their allegiance to Jesus, who is the Truth. All else is measured by
    God’s Holy Word, both written and in the flesh.

    Perhaps it
    is better when a song, movie, television program, book, etc. is not
    labeled as Christian per se, but it’s certainly significant to know the
    intention behind the artist’s creation. We can clearly distinguish
    between whether or not what we are viewing or reading or hearing brings
    glory to Jesus. Does something make my spirit soar or does it make me
    despair? Does it make me long to be holy as He is holy or does it cause
    me to seek my own selfish way? Does it harm anyone? How ludicrous it
    is when exemplary folks among us such as Tim Tebow, Dr. James Dobson,
    Franklin Graham, Kirk Cameron, Tony Perkins, the Kendrick brothers and
    Don Wildmon, among many others, are berated, denigrated and labeled by
    organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center as bigots and
    terrorists, instead of being viewed as Christ-like examples for all of
    us to pattern our lives after! Instead folks who lead lives that lead
    us away from Jesus, such as Obama, Beyonce, Eminem, Nicholas Cage, Jason
    Collins and Oprah, are held in high esteem. Kirk Cameron may not be a
    William Lane Craig, a Ravi Zacharias or a Dinesh D’Souza, but he is a
    man, like the Kendrick brothers, after God’s heart, an exemplary man
    whose intention is to lovingly lead others to eternal life in Jesus.

    NO theology in movies worse than bad theology in movies, Ben? Haddon
    Robinson was wrong. The Bible tells us we can’t be friends with both
    the world and with Jesus.

    in the movie FIREPROOF, when the main character smashes his computer,
    he does so in response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit in his
    life. He’s then ready to be held accountable by his friends, wife and
    parents. He does not act impulsively on a whim. Much previous lengthy,
    agonizing thought takes place before his selfless computer smashing.
    Contrary to what you say, his destructive addiction to pornography is
    not treated lightly AT ALL. How it destroys men, women, marriages,
    families and society is exceedingly evident. He receives the best
    therapy in the world, Ben – that of the Holy Spirit, and he has his
    wife, friends and parents to talk to, pray with, and hear counsel from,
    about his unhealthy, ungodly struggle. Remember, before therapists,
    there were friends.

    Courageous, uh, the black men dealing drugs, running from the law,
    teaching boys their violent, unlawful ways is proven to be statistically
    true in our culture. Facts is facts, no matter who dislikes them or
    prefers to ignore them. Hello, many Mexican men are gang-bangers who
    are in our country illegally. Under what rock are you living, Ben?
    Most teenage boys are after girls for their bodies! You better learn
    this lesson quickly! Josh McDowell can set you straight. Boys ages
    12-25 are the age group that accesses pornography the most, and many
    children ages 4-6 view porn for the first time. Thanks to the Internet,
    it is a billion dollar industry that is widely available to one and

    8 Mile is a movie that brings glory to Jesus? It teaches truth and offers us beauty? 8 Mile is worth watching for anyone? Really? Slim Shady is the caustic
    entertainer whose CDs feature lyrics about sodomizing his mom, slitting
    his father’s throat, shooting toddlers, knifing prostitutes, and
    murdering the mother of his child before dumping her body off a pier. 8 Mile
    fires off
    obscenities with the flurry of a tommy gun. More than 300 f-words and
    s-words are joined by sick sexual slang and abuses of God’s name. Sex
    scenes (two in public) show participants in various stages
    of undress. Add approving nods to alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, plus a
    ready-to-party “religious” rapper (“It’s Saturday. I can get straight
    with the Lord on Sunday”) and 8 Mile becomes the distance we
    should put between ourselves and this filthy movie. Are you ready to
    change your recommendation on this yet, Ben?

    are all gifted by God, and whether or not we have surrendered our
    allegiance to Jesus, He can still use our gifts for His glory. As
    Christians, we can glean from art created by those who are not our
    brothers and sisters in the Lord, albeit we must be careful in doing so,
    for we become like the company we keep. We are instructed to be
    cautious about the input to our eyes and ears, for what goes in affects
    our heart, and it is the wellspring of life.

    1. The problem with you and your ilk is you worship a fallacious structure (known as church) instead of Jesus & the creator, from your long rambling diatribe its quite clear you have no idea who either of them were.

        1. no Ginny bin Laden, you have it bass ackwards as you always do. I indeed count Jesus among my friends. where you are just plain crazy. Btw, just so you know, your foolish fanaticism serves nobody but your own bloated ego.

          1. I could fill my journal with all the nasty names I’ve been called online, as well as the places I’ve been told to go, even when the folks telling me where I’m going do not believe in such a place. I shall not be silenced from proclaiming the Truth which is Jesus! I’m not called to be a pleaser of men. Au contraire, I’m called to be a pleaser of God.

  15. Oh, dear. You’ve gone and done it now, Ben.

    You challenge me and most of what I’ve learned in my life with almost every new post, and though you constantly make me uncomfortable, I try to work it out and continue to come back.
    I can not, however, abide your stance that Nic Cage would be an improvement over any other actor.

    In all seriousness, great post, as usual!
    I don’t suppose you’d be willing to take this topic to the next level and tackle the issue of Christian radio DJs “endorsing” products and companies? Big pet peeve of mine…
    Thanks for another insightful article, Ben. I’ll be praying that the Holy Spirit convicts you and steers you away from that terrible, terrible actor…

    1. Nicolas Cage Vs Kirk Cameron that’s an interesting matchup though still incredibly lopsided. My cat could put out a more believable performance than Kirk Cameron.

  16. Wow this is so very true. Movies like One Night With the King are a disgrace and do not at all accurately portray the biblical stories. When I begin as a production designer I will NOT be limiting myself to “Christian” movies as you can get revelation and insight from many of the everyday movies (though I admit many are trash as well) and “Christian” movies can be just as dangerous as your everyday box office movie.

    1. I remember reading the story in the Bible before watching the movie, and was shocked at how inaccurate it was. I would NEVER let my kids see it, because I want them to learn the real story.

      1. that’s a problem I’ve found with organized religion at large. So often whats real is twisted & manipulated far beyond belief.

  17. I think you are doing exactly what you are accusing these movies, actors and producers of….just in a different way…..I don’t hear much love in your commentary. Kirk Cameron did a PHENOMENAL job in “Fireproof,” and you KNOW that movie probably helped save many marriages. These guys should be commended for trying to make a difference, not “belittled.” I agree that the quality of Christian movies as far as special effects could be better….but isn’t that something to pray about, and speak and declare into? I mean, these are our brothers and sisters trying to make a difference, and there is ALOT of JUNK out there…..a lot of good stuff, yes, but also ALOT of junk. And, just so you know, I am a “New Covenant” girl…not a Baptist, lol. I commend the Kendrick brothers, AND Kirk Cameron on their intense love for the Lord, and their desire to make a difference in this world. Did we really need a commentary/blog on this? 🙁

    1. Agreed – you put it much better than I could. Also, if two of these commenters went to liberal seminaries I can see the reasoning.

    2. I think it would be a better idea to pray that movies with correct theology get made. I don’t care about cheap special effects. I don’t see a movie for the special effects; I see a movie for the message. As I read the post, the point is that movies like Fireproof are setting unrealistic expectations. Someone might watch that movie and feel like a failure when they can’t easily give up their addiction. Then, they might not keep trying to kick it. As for the Left Behind movies, well, the ideas those movies present are very new in Christian history. The historical church did not in things like the rapture. I see nothing wrong with pointing out the errors in Christian films. If I go to read a review of a “secular” film, I want to read a real critique, not just someone gushing over how awesome it is. By reading real critiques of “Christian” films, I know if it’s something appropriate for my family to watch. Like Mr. Corey, I’m worried about my children being exposed to bad theology as well as sexism and racism wrapped in a “Christian” message.

      As far as making a difference goes… if they’re making a difference by leading people down the wrong path, is that really a good thing?

    3. You do a wonderful job of proving my point. that being modern evangelicals have absolutely no grasp on reality. Note to you: an abusive husband will never make for a good husband without exceptions.

  18. You raise good things to think/pray about but the constant referrals to Kirk Cameron were in bad taste, “not building up”, not edifying esp. since he is a fellow brother in Christ trying to follow God’s leading in his life. Only purpose it served was a good laugh for yourself and your article at his expense. I’ll take his movies over the trash available any day.

    1. Serious question: am I not allowed to critique him as an actor because he’s a Christian? If I had said that I thought Kevin Costner was a bad actor would it have been in better taste? I worry that we give fellow Christians a free pass– I’m critiquing the art, which I think is poor in addition to the theology.

      1. Serious question: am I not allowed to critique you as a writer because you are a Christian? Do you get a free pass? You have many valid concerns in this article but come now, if you are honest, Kirk was used to add “humor” and maybe he isn’t an award winning actor and he ruined your childhood memories of a favorite t.v. show but that of course is your opinion, one you are entitled to. As far as theology goes, let us as parents, consumers, Christians settle this for ourselves. I am thankful for the freedom to express opinions, just think as Christians we can do better than this.
        God bless.

        1. Yes, of course! As someone who writes prominently in the public sphere, getting critiqued goes with the territory. I welcome it, as long as it is thoughtful and real dialogue.

          And, yes– most of the KC stuff was for humor. But, he is a main character in too many Christian movies, and that’s annoying. He’s like the Kevin Costner of Christian movies– he’s everywhere.

          1. I can assure you, I meant no disrespect to you or your opinion, just am sensitive to Christians seem to belittle other Christians. We get enough of that in this world 🙂 carry on. Lol

            1. None taken; I’m always open to dialogue. I wasn’t critiquing him for the sake of critiquing– I’m sure he’s a nice guy, I just think his left behind movies and Way of the Master sends some dangerously inaccurate messages about God.

                  1. I am sorry – there is in this article. I guess I wonder what this author believes constitutes a Christian?

                    1. as you are blind yourself, clinging to the elephant’s tail trying to convince us of what the elephant is really like yet blissfully unaware of what the elephants rear has in store for you.

              1. Please – what are some of the “dangerously inaccurate messages about God” you mention from those movies? In my opinion, if you feel the right to attack other Christians or their work you need to provide detail. I also believe your labeling those acts racist or sexist is ridiculous – who do you think you are?

                1. I think I am Benjamin Corey, parent of a Latino child who is more than capable of spotting racist stereotypes. As for the dangerous messages about God, the entire Left Behind series is dangerous and inaccurate. I’ve written extensively on the issue.

                  1. Although I am not-necessarily a pre-trib believer, I can find no other theological fault with the “Left Behind” series, although more than a bit simplistic. I guess your writing under a progressive Christian viewpoint reminds me of the trilogy by Lewis.

                    1. No other theological fault? The entire premise is faulty. This is all based on Darby. The premise that Israel is God’s chosen political state, a future 7 tribulation (not in the Bible either), end times madness etc., are all erroneous and teach contradictory to scripture and Jesus himself.

                    2. Not at all – if you would read Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation – and not have disposed of those teachings in non-Biblical “liberal” schools – you would know better. From your article, your “new: Biblical beliefs, and your attitude, I wonder if perhaps Matthew 7:23 refers to you. I am leaving this post – and will pray for you.

                  2. There’s no such thing as race. People come from nations.
                    Maybe you should read the book of Genesis.

                    Let go of the hate Benjamin. It’s not worth it.

                    1 Corinthians 13 1-3
                    1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

          2. Benjamin, I know you liked that tv series when you were younger, unfortunately KC grew into a rather dubious adult actor. Like many child actors (gary coleman & danny bonaducci being 2 other examples) they’re later lives took on some very strange events. The difference being KC playing more an active role as author of his own demise.

      2. It’s easy to see you are foaming at the mouth Benjamin about the actor. You progressives don’t seem very happy in this age.

    2. Your comment is in bad taste, Kirk Cameron isn’t a good actor at all and to this day very sexist / mysoginist. Theres a reason he hasn’t had any good acting roles in more than 2 decades. And no christian propaganda movies are not examples of anything good.

    1. I was gonna say your half right but watching his lack of acting ability and that being his most endearing feature I can have sympathy for him in that respect.

  19. Excellent and insightful article. The same applies to “Christian” books. Whatever has happened to discernment? Try visiting your local Christian bookstore to see if you can find the likes of Richard Rohr, Brennan Manning, Marcus Borg, Dom Crossan, etc al on the shelves. Even one-time darling Rob Bell has now been excommunicated and consigned to the fundie/evangelical equivalent of the old Roman Catholic Index. Tragically, the whole fundie edifice is a closed-circle belief system – and that, in itself, exposes it for the fear-and-ignorance-based counterfeit that it is.

  20. I could not agree with you more. I used to be an Assemblies of God pastor and the stuff I saw marked as “Christian” would make you CRINGE.
    The sad truth is I became a Christian in a fundie church and I went to an unaccredited fundie Bible college (it’s accredited now, but a Bachelor in Bible will now cost you 124,000 and it ranked number 2 last year as the nation most useless colleges). I am blessed that I went to a wonderful Seminary and learned multiple forms on Christian Theology.

    I still chuckle when I hear people say Seminary destroys the faith of Christians. In my opinion, my faith is STRONGER as a liberal Christian…and I feel more aligned to what Christ really taught.

    These “Christian” movies are just really bad media. It’s not just the messages…their acting is bad, special effects are bad…everything is bad…and they mark their DVDs up the same price as a Blue Ray new release.

    1. I went to one of those unaccredited Bible schools too… they are all over the place here in the Northeast. I now tell people: “if they’re not accredited, there’s a reason why”.

      I also agree– my faith is stronger, and far more a driving, central force in life, since it crossed into “liberal”. Glad you went to the right seminary and that you’ve found this new-life… and, glad you’ve found the blog!

      1. Annah Marie and Ben – you are both sad examples of someone who have denied the faith of the Bible and are attacking those schools, movies and Christians who do believe the Word of God. We are told to love you – which I will choose to do, and will pray for you.

            1. I didn’t but if that were true then colour me proud to be a heretic. Do we heretics get a union? how about a get out of purgatory free card? Silliness aside I get your point & agree.

          1. Please re-read my comment – your attack on the “non-Liberal” Bible colleges leads to that conclusion.

            1. Actually, I didn’t attack non-liberal seminaries. I critiqued schools that are not accredited, meaning they have not proven they provide a quality education and therefore, you cannot transfer your credits to other legitimate schools. They are a waste of money, whether they are a religious school or not.

              I went to a very, very conservative bible school, and then Liberty University, and then Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Perhaps some of the most conservative schooling one can get.

            2. Vic…I went to a non liberal College. It’s not as conservative as one might think. I went to one of the most conservative Pentecostal Bible colleges in the North East United States. I was one of the only girls who did not engage in sex in various public parks.

              The president son also cheated with the dean of men’s wife. The trustee board illegally took specific funds from a family that was meant for a student center and lined their pockets; an out of court settlement had ensued.

              I could give another 5000 word explanation concerning how conservative Bible colleges are not as conservative as you may think. The difference between a conservative and a liberal Christian institution is the fact that liberal institutions realizes we all make mistakes, no one is perfect, grace abounds, love abounds, and we strive for social justice (to end racism, gender inequality, etc etc…we strive to follow the model of “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

              Furthermore, today, my alma mater fundamentalist bible college charges 124,000 for a four year Bible Bachelor’s degree. Now, explain to me how it is considered proper and just to charge 124,000 dollars for a Bachelor’s degree in Bible…..when I graduated there just 10 years prior, a four year degree was 24,000. They increased their tuition by 100,000 dollars in to years….for a degree that cannot let you do much of anything. Now, last time I checked, Jesus did not say to Simon Peter, “Come with me and with a check of 124,000 dollars I will make you fishers of men.”

              1. This is something that irks me greatly among fundamentalist christianity. What you describe is too common among televangelists & some other larger churches. It’s been the butt of many jokes for decades deservedly so. Those who most loudly proclaim what christianity stands for so often are furthest from.

        1. vic you are a sad sack example of a human being. Please stop talking your an embarrasment to the rest of us. but not nearly as much as you humiliate yourself.

        2. Can you explain to me how my dislike for the “Left behind” series or the disagreement with Dispensationalist theology equals to that of denying my faith in Christ or no longer believe the word of God?

          Now, for me, my faith in Christ far surpasses that of poor media execution of specific Christian theologies. If your faith hinges around Christian movies then that’s your thing but do not assume because your faith is modeled around movies every proper Christian needs to follow suit.

    2. “The sad truth is I became a Christian in a fundie church”?! Are you kidding me? You had the privilege of meeting Christ, and you diss the church that helped that happen? I’m glad you feel you made progress in your faith at Seminary, but I don’t think you learned much about humility or gratitude. Wow.

      1. The fundamentalist lunatics you so blindly defend are the very antithisis of who jesus really is. And with your hubris filled diatribe you lost the right to lecture others on humility.

      2. you may wish to reread my comments. There are other churches one can become a Christian. My comments of becoming a Christian in a fundamentalist church in no way invalidates Christ. Please learn to read comments properly.

        And when it comes to “dissing” churches, I do not “diss” churches. However, I have more respect for churches who treat others with respect and kindness vs treating those who follow their own specific doctrines with respect and kindness.

        I know much about humility. I know that I have no right to judge anyone. This is one thing the fundamentalist church is good at…judging. I am also humble enough to realize that God doesn’t fit into the well laid out confines of particular Christian dogma. I am also humble enough to realize every person regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation are all important and loved by God.

        I learned gratitude. I am grateful of the infinite love God has for all people. I am grateful that God does not limit God’s love to a particular sect of Christianity.

        1. There are churches which do deserve a thorough dissing though such as Westboro baptist which is better described as a hate group.

    3. Curious about 1 thing: whats the number 1 most useless college? could it be Ronald McDonald university. I kid you not thats what McDonalds called their management training program in the 80’s.

      1. Technically, the Pittsburgh College of Fine Arts ranked at number 1 as the most useless college in America. My Alma Mater ranked number 2.

        1. Thanks Annah, that explains a lot. I won’t be surprised if DeVry came in #3 (though I’d argue for it to be higher on that list). I attended there briefly in the 90’s and quickly switched to a real college.

  21. “Facing the Giants” was truly one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

    I grew up surrounded by a lot of Christian media, and I’m interested in what your stance is on Veggie Tales when it comes to your daughter. It seems like what you’re focused on here with your article is Christians films ostensibly intended for adults, so what about Christian childrens’ media?

    To end with, I’m not sure whether or not you were joking about 8 Mile, but at the same time, I have no idea how old your child is. I saw that movie at 14 or 15 with brothers quite a bit younger, and was very uneasy having them in the room watching alongside me.

    1. She’s 11, and too young for 8 mile, so I was somewhat kidding on that– I don’t let her watch anything with violence. However, there’s great lessons to be learned in the movie and I’d be happy to watch with her when I think she’s old enough.

      We adopted her when she was 8, so we haven’t done a ton of veggie tales, though the few we’ve seen I haven’t had a problem with. It’s not that I want to shelter her from Christian culture, I just want to teach her to always be thinking critically and never blindly accept what someone tells you about God.

      1. I respect that immensely. A proper education, which obviously is a facet of parenting, is giving people the ability to think for themselves. There’s not always a lot of room for that when immersed in Christian media.

        1. What bugs me about christian media is not just what Ben said about just how badly done it is, but often its a vehicle for other things I call ulterior motives whether it be untrue messages or just a vehicle to get rich quick or draw attention to themselves and using chrstianity to do it.

  22. You are SO right! As mature adults, we too easily screen out what we’ve realized is ‘bad theology’ and mis-representation of anything out of religious doctrines, even the outright lies promoted by some very common “Christian” teachings, and not realize children are not yet able to do that. But it is not only children vulnerable. There’s a good bit of discussion lately about the biblical and theological illiteracy of most “Christians” today. One result of that is many have beliefs formed out of exposure to fiction, whether reading novels, or watching movies, that they really think are sound ‘Christian” or “Biblical” theological elements that are not at all. In context of a Religious Studies course, several supposed “Christian” themed popular movies were examined for actually conformity to the bible and traditional Christian theology, and the reality is shocking. Sadly, people that have never read the bible through even once have eagerly read the “Left Behind” series of novels, watch Mel Gibson’s “The Passion”, all of which contain little that is actually biblical, even by any stretch of creative ‘interpretation,’ and a great deal from entirely ‘pagan’ non-Christian sources. Most popular “Christian” beliefs and ideas about demons and demon possession, especially as encountered in the Pentecostal and charismatic churches, are actually straight out of such fiction movies as ‘The Exorcist” and even “Poltergeist!” And the mental, cognitive patterns, thought patterns and processes, that make even adults so vulnerable to accepting fictional entertainment as a reliable source of “Biblical” and “Christian” theologies, beliefs, and even truths about reality, is certainly shaped from early childhood watching movies, and reading books, presenting inaccurate and downright false religious ideas and perversions of reality.

  23. Frank Schaeffer recently wrote a review of the Netflix show “Derek,” in which well-known atheist Ricky Gervais plays a retirement home employee whom Schaeffer calls the best portrayal of Jesus he’s ever seen. No one would ever call Gervais a Christian writer or actor, but his message could easily be called Christian, at least in this show. In short, I agree with you, and so would Schaeffer.

    1. Frank Schaeffer is a venom-filled, hateful, miserable man, and he delights in helping make others miserable along with him! His parents were exemplary followers of Jesus, but he has unwisely rejected everything they believed and taught.

        1. Shall I post some examples of Frank’s kindness and generosity here, Ben? Perhaps when he’s in the midst of his glowing accolades about Franklin Graham or Christians who are pro-life and pro-Biblical family that he loves with such passion? His great love for folks such as I is displayed all across his friendly face, isn’t it? I’m expecting a Christmas card from him again this year.

          1. I’m not trying to start a fight here, and I’m pretty sure I’m not going to change your mind on the subject. But please re-read your above comment. It’s full of the same venom and hate you claim of Schaeffer. It’s one thing to disagree with a person’s viewpoint; it’s another to pass sweeping judgements of their character in a public forum.

            1. I’m not saying anything that’s not blatantly obvious whenever one reads Frank’s blog or watches him spew forth his vitriol on MSNBC or when he speaks in a public library about those who genuinely love Jesus. I have no doubt his books are filled with such hatred as well. FACTS IS FACTS! And Frank is proud of his less than gentlemanly comportment.

          2. is “Pro Biblical Family” a code word for bigotry and anti homosexuality?

            Because I have over 10 years of Biblical training from various institutions and I can tell you right now that the “Pro biblical” family is NOT one man and one woman. That is a fallacy,

            The Bible has had numerous examples of many types of marriages:

            1. A marriage between a man and a woman
            2. A marriage between a man and 300 women
            3. A marriage between a man and 300 women and a few hundred mistresses.
            4. A marriage between a man and a woman and a slave
            5. A marriage between a man and a woman whom he raped
            6. A marriage between a man and several women who were previously married to soldiers her new husband had killed
            7. A marriage between a man and a church
            8. A marriage between a man and a formal sister in law.

            Also, same sex marriage was widely practice in the Church from 130 AD until the institution of Charlemagne as the Holy Roman Emperor.

        1. Frank Schaeffer and Richard Dawkins are kindred spirits, both horribly miserable men, who are both bent on leading others to hell with them. Frank has even referred to himself as a Christian atheist. Bart Ehrman is in their pathetic club as well.

          1. If anyone’s leading a hellish life and insistant on dragging others down with them its you Ginny. Fortunately I can survive quite well…without you & your extremist dogma.

          2. Ginny….you really need to learn the commandment of Loving your Neighbor as yourself.

            According to the book of Luke, Jesus said the way to eternal life is to love your neighbor as yourself.

            1. That’s what love is – telling people the Truth which is Jesus. Keeping the Truth from them is NOT love! Love keeps people from the pit of hell, for God is Love. He cannot wink at sin for He is holy!

  24. Interesting points. But I assume you still let your daughter see movies, and therin lies the rub. They all have values. Somebody’s values.

    1. Yes, I do– and they all do have values. It’s my job as a parent to tease those out, whether it’s a “Christian” movie or secular. My point is, I don’t think we should give anything a free pass– “test everything and hold fast to that which is good”.

    2. For which it is up to the parent to decide what they want their children to be influenced by. I believe every parent should watch anything they are considering letting their child watch, beforehand, with a careful eye to what s actually being presented, not letting themselves get caught up in the entertaining story line, but what reality and beliefs about reality, God, and anything else, is actually being presented. That it s the parent’s job to screen what values their child is being instilled with.

    3. The difference being most movies being fiction are not trying to force any beliefs on the viewers unlike the movies Benjamin described which are thinly veiled propaganda pieces.

  25. I always thought it was interesting to note which things are labelled as “Christian” and which are not. We have Christian movies, Christian fiction literature, and a few choice professions – I’ve heard of “Christian Psychology.”

    I’ve not, however, heard of a Christian cell phone or a Christian combination wrench, or professions such as Christian plumber or Christian mechanic, when those make about as much sense as anything else. I note that my own physician is a devout Catholic, but you’d never know that if you didn’t ask him – he’s a doctor, not a “Christian Doctor.”

    1. That is the most blatantly hypocritical and I’d say ‘red flag scam warning’ use of “Christian” I can think of! I remember, sadly, how my mother and a few other people I’ve known, much ‘into’ church and religion, were such suckers for con artists, scammers, because they put such trust in the claim of being “Christian”, and even more so, if they “talked the talk,” used the churchese language, called them Brother this or Sister that. I’ve seen them get ripped off in everything from an expensive home painting job, which paint simply washed off in the first heavy rain, to car repair rip-offs, home repair/remodeling nightmares, to too-good-to-be true “investment opportunities” or “special bargain offers.” I have also experienced that from the “other side” AS myself a small business owner, when occasionally a potential or already customer started into that emphasis of being a Christian, the churchly jargon, as they tried to maneuver me into some vulnerable corner, such as trying to pin me into some “estimate” for a service or job without my having full information on which to know just what would be actually involved, or in which they obviously intentionally with held or even concealed some of what would be involved. So anytime someone goes into emphasizing, or even just repeatedly reminding me they are a Christian, and start that “forced teaming routine” (WE.. them and I…Christians have to stick together, support each other, usually suggesting some discount or special allowance or trust I should give them) my scammadar alarms start ringing and the red flags go up!
      And given all that, shouldn’t any and everyone have seen it coming when a couple decades ago, a handful of politicians and campaign planning masters came up with specifically targeting the Christian demographic to win election campaigns?

    2. Dan, btw I don’t know where you live but down here in se Texas it is common to see ads for “Christian lawyers”, and the notice that such businesses as plumbing, electrical, remodeling, are “Christian owned and operated,” and there’s even a medical practice named “Calvary Christian Clinic” that boasts all Christian doctors and staff. And it is an ordinary private practice like any other, doesn’t offer any kind of charity or low cost or billing options for the low income or poor.

  26. You continue to challenge my thinking and I think you have very valid points. My only problem is that I loved Courageous. But I will watch so called Christian movies with a more critical eye. Thanks.

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