Pastors, Christians & Rated-R Movies!

pgAccording to the blog rating system is Rated “PG” and this rating was determined based on the presence of the following words: sex (3x) and abortion (1x).  A little over a year ago this blog was Rated-R based upon the presence of: sex (16x) dangerous (6x)  and abortion (1x); apparently I don’t talk about sex as much.  I thought this blog had always been a family friendly blog… well not according to this unscientific rating system; which poses another question in itself, is there a scientific rating system.

This got me thinking about the whole “Rated-R” thing and whether or not it is appropriate for Christians and Pastors to watch “Rated-R” movies.  I understand that there are varying opinions on this subject and plenty of people won’t touch “Rated-R” movies with a ten foot pole and that is definitely a persoanl prerogative.  

I was previously a Warden and worked in the Corrections System for over 13 years.  According to the rating standards, my job would have definitely been considered “Rated-R,” as I witnessed, experienced and heard things that would surpass any “R” rating.   I have friends who have been in the military and law enforcement who will attest to similar accounts in their jobs.  As a Pastor, I have to counsel couples and individuals on a regular basis that share some “Rated-R” stories and “Rated-R” experiences.  This Rated-R thing seems to creep up in quite a few places!

Although they’re definitely not my first choice, I personally will watch a “Rated-R” movie and I believe that as we grow in our relationship with Christ some things will be more personally convicting than others.  We are all affected in different ways by different things and I believe we have to use discernment and good personal judgement.   Is it the rating, the content, or the content rating? Ratings, Ratings, Ratings!  I had someone ask me before, what I thought the Bible was Rated?  Well, I know that the movie The Passion of The Christ was Rated-R, for sequences of graphic violence; you do the math!

Should Pastors, Christians… watch “Rated-R” Movies?  Do You?  Share your thoughts!

  • For me, it comes down to what earned the R-rating. Lots of flesh, lots of locker room humor, then I don’t need to see it. I don’t need those images or jokes rolling around in my head. doesn’t seem to have much affect on me…

  • I avoid any R-rated movie with lots of sex or sexual content. Or any kind of hack and slash horror flick… it really is something I have to look at as a case by case issue with each movie.

    If we pastors were simply making it a hard core rule never to see any R-rated movie, well, then none of us would have gone to see The Passion of the Christ (which was probably the most violent movie I’ve ever seen in my life!)

  • It depends on the content of the movie. If I had a staunch “no R-rated movies” rule, I wouldn’t have seen “The Passion of the Christ” but I did. There are movies I’ve seen that were rated PG-13 that I thought should have been rated R because of the raucous humor and nudity.

    For me, this, like so many things, boils down to personal responsiblity. There is no one besides you who is responsible for you or your behaviors. The devil didn’t make you do it, your mama didn’t make you do it. If I go into a movie, regardless of the rating, and find it to be contrary to my belief system, I can and should get up and leave. I don’t have to stay and fill my brain with that.

  • Once again, we’re faced with an issue where moralistic deism dictates that Christians and particularly Pastors should stay away from R rated movies.

    But as you said, ‘The Passion of The Christ’ was an ‘R’ rated movie because of the violence. Should pastors and Christians not watch it? What about films like ‘Schindlers List’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’?

    I think we have to use caution with regard to the diet of movies we’re watching over time. If we’re feeding our minds nothing but a steady diet of ‘Basic Instinct’, ‘Unfaithful’, ‘American Pie’ and films like that along with side orders of various slasher films, then we’re setting ourselves up for problems. Likewise, if somebody is watching something and the Holy Spirit convicts them in some way, then they should change the channel.

    But to say simply just state Rated R movies should be off limits is to endorse and support legalism.

  • Scott,

    One difference I see between being exposed to R-rated life situations in your job and going to watch an R-rated movie is the fact that the movie typically serves only one purpose–entertainment.

    I was once ridiculed by a church staff member because I refused to see a movie he saw with his co-workers that had sexuality and nudity.

    Though I make no dogmatic assertions, I would have to wonder about the spiritual maturity of people who profess Christ as Lord but have no problem spending a good amount of time entertaining themselves with shows and movies that contain blasphemy, sexuality, abrasive language, etc.

    As we mature in Christ, should we not become more sensitive to such things?

    While we cannot completely avoid such issues with our sources of entertainment, I think we’d be wise to listen to the psalmist’s heart when he said:

    “I will set before my eyes no vile thing…” (Psalm 101:3)

    — Mike

  • Discernment, good personal judgment, need, case by case, personal responsibility, caution, purpose…y’all are just too easy. I like Jay’s phrase; moralistic deism, but it’s a bit high falutin for what’s being pulled on ya. Here’s a fun deconstruction: Anything But Jesus. What? (grin)
    Psalm 101:3 is a good one, but here’s another passage to consider: Acts 11:7-10

  • jimmy paravane –

    How does Acts 11:7-10 relate? That passage is talking about ceremonially unclean foods now being made clean. The difference between clean and unclean animals was symbolic of the Jews (clean animals) and Gentiles (unclean animals). Now that salvation has come to the Gentiles, all animals are declared clean.

    Don’t think this has anything to do with morally defiling entertainment.

  • Mike, hya. IMHO, it has to do with who is in control when confronted with any situation you face. Peter was sure of the moral ground he was suppose to be standing on.

  • Good thoughts Scott. I agree with many on here – I avoid movies (regardless of the rating) if it involves nudity, sexual “type” things, etc. Somewhere that girl on the screen has a mom and dad (and God) that are heart broken by seeing their daughter exposing herself like that. Not to mention, I respect my wife so much, and have such a deep love for her, that I don’t want to put an image of any women in my head, but hers. (This is without getting into Phil. 4:8, and other verses like it.)

    Granted – I also play Halo (lots of Christians are against Halo for some reason), really enjoy horror films (I’ve always been into them – as long as their is no nudity, which is hard to find these days in any films, much less a horror film), and have Kanye West on my ipod. So I’m defiantly not one of “those” Christians. I think sometimes we try to make the Bible say things that it doesn’t.

    I also think as Christians we need to “guard our heart and mind” and not be so quick to put anything into it. I think there is a fine line between legalism, and holiness; and we have to keep asking God to help us to err on HIs side!

    Thanks for all your good thoughts!

  • We as people like to be entertained. I know that there is good wholesome family fare to be watched and that’s all good and well. When it comes to the movie ratings I always consider we have an Adversary and I know he has his hand in the entertainment industry big time. And my concience will convict me everytime it’s something I don’t need to see. Have you ever said to yourself, “I probably shouldn’t do this!” Then, you probably shouldn’t.

  • jimmy paravane,

    I don’t follow your line of reason

    “it has to do with who is in control when confronted with any situation you face. Peter was sure of the moral ground he was suppose to be standing on.”

    I don’t understand. Please restate how the Lord making that which was “unclean” clean relates to Rated-R movies.

  • Charley, I’ve been trying to put this one into words for awhile now. For myself even. (grin)
    I’ll try to keep it short, since this isn’t my blog (hya Scott!), but one thing that comes across clear even to me from this week’s ATM is that life is short. Are you aliens supposed to be in charge of it? Isn’t everything you encounter an opportunity to seek God’s will? Or are you supposed to make up your own minds about what is unclean?

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  • Kirsten Knauer

    The answer is simple. Just ask yourself….What am I entertained by? Is it something I should be seeing or hearing and being entertained by. You can’t really compare it to things you are forced to see and hear in the workplace or in life in general.

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