The MPAA: Catering to Our Inner Pharisee [part 1]

Posted: August 8, 2011 by jperritt in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I am not the first to have issues with the Motion Picture Association of America.  I am also not the first (or last for that matter) to write a critique of this association.  However, my beef is more of a frustration with Christians and how they use the MPAA, than with the organization itself.  This entry will be the first of a four-part blog that will hopefully assist us in biblically considering some pitfalls that may arise from the MPAA.

An issue I have with the MPAA is the fact that it caters to our “inner Pharisee” if you will.  Every human being on the face of this earth struggles with a desire to oversimplify things.  If you remember, our first parents (Adam and Eve) were created to live in a perfect existence, but they sinned against God.  Post-sin, everything is difficult, skewed, unclear.  Prior to this sin, everything was easy.  There was no grey area to wade through, there was no evil – it was all very good.  As Tim Keller said at The Gospel Coalition this year, “We all know that we should be perfect.”  This idea of perfection causes us to oversimplify things and the MPAA caters to that.

While the MPAA assists us in the area of discernment, I believe it has actually caused many of us to oversimplify our sin.  Some Christians see the ‘R’ rating and think, “No way!”  The opposite is true as well.  There are those who see ‘Rated-G’ and think, “That film is void of sin!  They must have plucked that one straight out of the garden!”  Although I exaggerate about the degrees to which we consider a film to be good or evil, there is no doubt that the MPAA plays a major role in the films we choose to watch.

This is very unfortunate for a few reasons (you can think of some more).  First, many Christians have made the rating system some type of self-righteous law.  They have become Pharisees and believe that there is more holiness in ‘G’ to ‘PG’ rated films and that there is more evil in ‘PG-13’ and ‘R-rated’ films.  It is no doubt true that there is more mature content with the PG-13 and R films, but we first must stop viewing the ratings as inspired from God.  Although we don’t say that, many Christians think and act in those terms.  We must understand that the people who determine those ratings may not even share the same biblical worldview that we do.  Would you let a complete stranger tell your child what movie they can or can’t see?  This is what we do every time we make a decision based solely on the rating system.

As this post is simply an introduction to begin thinking biblically instead of letting the MPAA think for us, know that this issue is more complex than a simple rating.  We must do the difficult job of using discernment with film and that simply is not cultivated by the MPAA.  Please check back tomorrow for part 2 of 4, as we deal with another concern with the MPAA.

[part 2]


Advertisements
Comments
  1. JOhn, thank you for your post. It is curious how many Christians think that Hollywood prefers R Rated movies, to attract viewers with sex and gore. Actually, R rated movies make comparably less than PG-13. Their goal really is to walk that fine line between R and PG-13. There is much inconsistency with their ratings!
    Do you think there are other ratings systems that Christians lazily appeal to?

  2. […] Yesterday I began to expose the unbiblical path the MPAA often leads Christians down. Again, my beef is not so much with the MPAA as it is with Christians being undiscerning in this area.  Using discernment takes strength and energy, looking at a rating does not. […]

  3. […] the first two posts up about our concerns with the MPAA, you know how we feel.  However, we want to hear from you. […]

  4. […] Last week I had two posts explaining how the MPAA rating system can lead to laziness and an oversimplification of our sin. Today we will look at a third reason why discerning viewers should stop looking to the MPAA.  And tomorrow we will conclude this blog series. […]

  5. […] Last week I had two posts explaining how the MPAA rating system can lead to laziness and an oversimplification of our sin. Today we will look at a third reason why discerning viewers should stop looking to the MPAA.  And tomorrow we will conclude this blog series. […]

  6. […] Today we’ll conclude our critique of Christians misusing the MPAA as an inspired rating system from the Holy Spirit.  If you’ve missed the previous entries of this four-part series, please click here. […]

  7. […] Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment.  Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here. […]

  8. […] Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment.  Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here. […]

  9. […] (WARNING: Due to the graphic nature of this film, and the raw honesty of Godawa’s writing, the following post has been rated PG-13) […]

  10. […] Christians have become lazier in the area of discernment and have turned to associations like the MPAA who instruct them on what they should watch.  Therefore, instead of focusing on ratings, or even […]

  11. […] Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment. Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here. […]

  12. […] and not only for this, but also for strong themes of death (starvation!) and more. While here we do not follow MPAA, I agree that I should have given a little more warning. So, […]

  13. […] Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment. Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here. […]

  14. […] in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here. This Means War – Two CIA agents fall in love with the same women and fight for […]

  15. […] Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment. Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here. […]

  16. […] Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment. Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here. […]

  17. […] Try to not place too much emphasis on the movies’ rating (I’ve written a lot on that here.) […]

  18. […] Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment. Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here. […]

  19. […] Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment. Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here. […]

  20. […] Every Monday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment. Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here. […]

  21. […] This Friday we hope to provide our readers with snapshots of films being released for the upcoming weekend. This will be a brief summary of films that will assist our readers in the area of discernment. Instead of searching other sites and reading lengthy articles, it’s our hope to provide a concise list of all the films of the weekend in one consolidated post. If you wonder why we don’t list the MPAA ratings, please click here. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s