On today’s post for the A to Z challenge, I wanted to express my own personal perspective over the controversy concerning the Hunger Games. My emphasis is not to make a case against all critics of the movie but just the Christian critics.
Some have decried the movie for glorifying the slaughter of children and for being a bad influence on our children’s minds. The author of one article I read claimed that she regrettably took her two daughters to see this movie in which they became terrified of everything that went on in the story and in turn put them in angst. She claims that the movie may have emotionally scarred them.
I respect her opinion, but I must say I was disappointed by her argument. I fear that she has missed an excellent teaching opportunity for her children and has fallen into a dangerous pit that many Christians have fallen into which threatens our society.
I see Christians decrying any movie with death, murder, or violence; making them out to be the greatest evil inventions of man. It’s true that there is a scenario of murder in the Hunger Games but claiming that it seeks to entertain us by such is extreme. I have seen movies that glorify death and this particular movie was far removed from those. I believe the opposite is true.
The movie depicts a society (the Capitol) that finds entertainment in watching children murder each other until there is one remaining survivor. Katniss, the protagonist of the movie defies the Capitol’s atrocities by showing respect for human life. In one of the scenes a young girl named Rue is speared to death by one of the other kids, but in response to this Katniss decorates the body in funerary flowers for everyone in the Captitol to see. Is this glorying murder? In the end too, the two characters Peeta and Katniss are left and one of them is expected to kill the other in order to win. Instead, she defies the Capitol again by attempting a double suicide which brings the Gamemakers to cave in and name both of them the victors. Nothing in the movie ever condoned what the Capitol did to children.
The fact is, these kinds of atrocities are very real and although we might not see a society that expresses this, a situation like the Capitol does, we can see it in other situations. Every day babies are aborted, kids are sold into the sex slave trade, and some are forced into militant groups. Look into the past, people have been thrown into arenas to be killed by lions or gladiators. We must realize that it is a very possible thing for something like the Hunger Games to really happen again as it did in the time of the Romans.
What this distraught mother could have taught her daughters was that mankind is evil. I believe it is wrong to keep your children ignorant of this and teach them that the world is rosy and beautiful. In the Hunger Games is a message warning against the evils man is capable of and here are Christians calling the messenger evil itself.
I wonder if a government like the Capitol depicted in the story would let a movie like the Hunger Games be made. I think not; because the message in this movie decries such evils. A government like that would only be undermining themselves.
I heard a professor once say that on about every corner in Cuba is an Opera house. I think we should all consider this for a moment and think what it means. An effective way a government keeps people from rising against them in rebellion is by providing entertainment in abundance. With entertainment people become distracted from government atrocities and grow not to care anymore.
Christians freak out when such movies with horrific dilemmas come out and they make it out as such evil. Kids need to be trained to discern this content, not sheltered from it. There will be a time when they go out on their own in the real world and they need to be ready.
We need to approach every movie with discernment and search out the message it tries to convey, even the ones with immoral messages. If the Hunger Games indeed had been glorifying the slaughter of children, the same valuable lesson could be learned and possibly even in a stronger sense. Yes, I think it would be dangerous for someone to watch such a movie with the sole intention of being entertained, but he or she must watch with discernment and evaluate the message and whether it’s true or not. Maybe your children won’t understand it, but then there is your opportunity to teach them.
These kinds of movies should be sought out to learn from. Granted, there are some movies out there one should just stay clear of. But seeking only movies that depict a world without death, murder, violence, and other awful dilemmas is only going to cause our society to crater. If we don’t understand man’s evilness then how can we struggle against it? Making our kids ignorant won’t make evil go away. Evil is out there, it is in man and it isn’t always so clear since we have grown desensitized. We need to know how to discern against it.