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What Does the Bible Say About..Violent Entertainment?

Is violence in entertainment sac-religious, or should it be looked at as just that, entertainment?


The word sacrilege, or sacrilegious, means taking something holy and treating it like something unholy. (It, incidentally, is not even from the same root word as religious.) So violence in entertainment, unless it were an act of destruction of a holy object or act, would not be sacrilegious. Portraying priests or preachers as always violent might be a sacrilege, but showing violence by another toward a priest or preacher may not be.

I think that you are really asking whether it is sinful to watch violent entertainment. There is nothing in the Bible that directly forbids it. However, you must consider your motivation for watching it, how it might affect you, and how it might affect others. Is it violence just for violence sake, or is it an essential part of a story that is not centered around being violent. (That is, there is a difference between the murder in “Witness” and the excessive maimings in a Jean-Claude VanDamme or Steven Seagal movie.) Does it make you want to act violently, or does it make you want to protect those against whom violence is directed?

The real biblical consideration is how it affects others. If you can watch it with no serious effect, but someone else can’t handle it and sins thereby, then your watching it (at least in public) is wrong. The principle is stated in Romans 14. That chapter talks about eating food others think is sinful, but the principle applies in many other situations.

With all due respect, I'm a big fan of martial arts films (holding a second degree blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do myself.) I and my parents personally do not believe that violence in entertainment generates violence in reality, and it has never been proven that it does. When I watch a maiming in a Jean-Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal film, I am fully aware that it is choreographed to display the grace and majesty of the actors invovled. I know it's just a movie, and I watch them because of my admiration and respect for other martial artists.and 99.9% of these films show the bad guys getting their due and justice prevailng. I am just a film fan, and I look at motion pictures as a work of art. I am one day going to find myself in heaven and God forbids me to watch movies I love? But basically, your answer was no? Can you please clarify this to me?

P.S. While were on the topic of sacrilege being the taking of something holy and making it into something unholy, a specific movie I've wondered about is called Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, and basically has him slaying vampires and atheists with martial arts before the second coming. I have not seen, but out of my love for Jesus, I am wondering whether it is sacriligious.

If I was unclear in what I said, I apologize. I did not say God forbids watching martial arts movies, unless doing so may cause another to sin. Personally, I like some martial arts movies, including some of van Damme's. (Most of Seagal's are too formulaic for me; you've seen one you've seen them all. But that is a criticism of the writing and acting, not of the content.) If you can watch them without being affected negatively, more power to you. I also enjoy the Bond movies. The trouble with them is not the violence so much as the sex.

It does sound as if "Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter" might be sacrilegious. Without seeing it or having a more complete description it would be hard to say for sure. More importantly to me, as a lover of good movies, it sounds like it would simply be a bad movie. But that may just be because the title is similar to one of the all-time worst movies ever made, Roman Polanski's "The Fearless Vampire Killers."