An issue recently arises as a Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast gets adapted into a live-action movie. In the new adaptation, a character is introduced as “Disney’s first gay character.” A lot of questions then come up regarding how Christians should respond to it. Should we boycott the movie? Will it be okay to see it? Should I rebuke my fellow friends who decide to see it?
Firstly, something should be made clear — the Beauty and the Beast is not the first movie that includes values contrary to the Scripture; many are playing in the theaters and spread around the internet for everyone to see. A better question to ask might be: How should Christians watch movies?
I have been pondering over this question for quite a while. I myself love movies, more than most people perhaps. I am mainly fascinated by the amount of efforts the filmmakers put in order to turn their visions into a reality — birthing visual spectacles followed by melodies playing out harmoniously throughout the movie, stirring up the hearts of the audience. Personally, watching movies has been a special moment where I can appreciate the works of various people who each has a unique story to tell.
But each of us might have different taste in movies. Perhaps some of us would prefer watching movies from the 1960s rather than seeing the latest superhero movie. Maybe some enjoy mindless action movies with Jason Statham compared to the ones where all the characters speak French. Yet, in spite of our personal movie preferences, there is one uniform desire in each of us when we see movies: we silently hope that those moving pictures will entertain us and that the 120 minutes spent are worthwhile.
One thing should be made clear, though. We can watch as many movies there is, yet that won’t still be enough to fulfill our deepest longing. Watching the best movie of all-time won’t come close to the joy and sufficiency that we find through belief in Christ. Movies are just human creations after all, and we should be careful lest we worth the human creations more than the Creator, God Himself (Romans 1:25). This is by no means saying that we shouldn’t watch any movies at all, therefore condemning all worldly things, or that we should only be watching “Christian” movies. But rather, we should consider the kinds of entertainment that we consume with discernment.
We can start by asking ourselves, “Can I do this in a way that honors God?”
This will then raise the bar, rather than making a list of movie genres to watch and not watch — reducing the gospel into a list of chores to accomplish.
As Christians, we are delivered from the domain of darkness into God’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13), and it is accomplished through Christ — His death on the cross and His resurrection. Christ in all His divinity and humanity received the punishment of death that should have been for you and me, the guilty ones. This is the gospel and it should shape our whole life, including in deciding the kinds of entertainment we enjoy. As our greatest comfort and joy is now found in Christ, we should then follow Him — denying ourselves daily and bear our cross (Matthew 16:24). As Christians, we should not let entertainments rob us of the true joy that can only found in Him.
So the next time we’re trying to decide whether it is good for us to watch a certain movie or not, pray; ask for His mercy, and that He may remind us of His graciousness shown through Christ. Treasure Him more than we treasure entertainment, for His glory far transcends the glory of His creations. May God remind us, that when we truly see Him face to face and live in His presence, there are no movies that could come close to depicting this glorious moment.
So should you boycott the new Beauty and the Beast movie? Is it okay to watch it? Should you rebuke your fellow Christians who see it? I don’t know your heart’s intentions nor your friends’, but God does. So, pray and test all things according to the Scripture, the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21). And remember these things that Paul says to the church in Corinth, “All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up.” (1 Corinthians 10:23), and “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
In all the things we watch and do, may we remember Him who died for us. May the things we do please Him and build us up, to His glory.
Another helpful resource: Do You Trust Disney with Your Kids? (Desiring God)