Bible Question:

I recently watched a video that implies that Christians who watch fantasy or fiction are practicing the occult/ witchcraft. Their videos imply that occultic or demonic themes exist in most movies. Peter Pan, the Avengers, Batman, Spongebob, Wreck it Ralph, and Harry Potter are obvious ones. It has been my understanding that fictional movies/shows should not be evaluated from under a biblical worldview. How can we say, ‘Superman includes the occult because he has supernatural powers,’ when in fact it is a fictional movie? It seems that these people have something against having an imagination. Are these movies considered occult just because they may have pagan themes and the supernatural? And is it a sin for Christians to watch things like this?

Bible Answer:

Are you wondering if a Christian can watch movies that contain the supernatural or the occult? If so, why? This question is difficult to discuss because our world urges Christians to be like them (Romans 1:32; 1 Peter 4:4) and our flesh seems the pleasures of this world. Jesus warned us that the last days the people of the world will seek pleasure (Luke 17:22-30; 1 Timothy 3:4). We must be willing to please God and ourselves. What follows is an answer to the question, “Is it a sin to watch movies containing the supernatural or the occult?”

As A Man Thinks So Is He

Proverbs 23:7 tells us the truth that what we think reveals the real person we are!

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, “Eat and drink!”
But his heart is not with you.
Proverbs 23:7

This verse states the principle in the first line and the next two lines illustrate the principle. Notice the second describes a host who encourages his guest to eat and drink and the third line reveals that the host actually does not want the guest eat or drink. That is, what a person thinks is the true person and not what they say or do. That is, we must examine our thinking to understand who we truly are.

Yet, Jeremiah 17:9 warns us that we deceive ourselves! But Luke 16:15 reminds us that God knows who we are. He knows our thoughts!

And He said to them, “You are those who  justify yourselves  in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable  in the sight of God. Luke 16:15 (NASB)

Dwell On These Things

Now we can understand why God is concerned about what we think and why He wrote Philippians 4:8.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  Philippians 4:8 (NASB)

We are told to “dwell on these things.” That is, we are to think about whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and of good reputation! Then we are to determine if we are thinking about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. That limits much of what we allow into our minds.

Therefore, we must ask if the movie or video is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and of good reputation? Is it excellent and worthy of praise? Now those two questions will eliminate every movie that contains the occult and the supernatural. Since God warns believers to flee the occult in Deuteronomy 18:18-20 the movie “Harry Potter” must be avoided. It clearly contains occult themes: witchcraft, ghosts, wizards and demons.

In contrast, Peter Pan and Superman possess super-human capabilities which can only come from God or the demonic realm. In the Old Testament, Samson possessed super-human power because God the Holy Spirit empowered him (Judges 14:19-20; 15:14). Elijah caused fire to come down from heaven (2 Kings 1:10), raised the dead (1 Kings 17:22-24) and caused rain to not fall for three years (James 5:17) because as God’s prophet God worked through him. Moses separated the Red Sea because God enabled him (Exodus 14:15-31). Scripture clearly tells us that the power of Moses, Samson and Elijah came from God, but from where does the powers of Peter Pan and Superman come? What should our children believe when they read fantasy? Was Moses just fantasy? We must remember that the antichrist will come in the future with powers and signs and false wonders that come from Satan,

. . . in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness . . . 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (NASB)

Peter Pan and Batman possess powers and wonders that are God-like. Other religions look to their gods and goddesses to protect them through superhuman powers (1 King 18:21-45; Jonah 1:6). Peter Pan and Batman are a modern day version of the Greek gods called Zeus, Thanatos, Poseidon, Helios, and Atlas. Ephesians 4:27 warns, “. . . and do not give the devil an opportunity . . .” Even though they are fictional characters, Peter Pan and Batman replace the God of the Bible.

Batman and the Avengers are examples of movies that feature unusual capabilities that humans perform due to scientific inventions, but they do not feature powers that can only come from demonic empowerment. These types of movies should not be confused with the demonic. The issue is: does the individual possess the super human power? Or, in contrast, is the story or plot line one in which God is given credit for whatever miracle is accomplished.

When Christians watch movies, they should also be concerned about sexual temptations that occur due to nudity (partial and full) and sexual activity (implied and actual) because 1 Corinthians 6:18 and 2 Timothy 2:22 remind us that we are to flee sexual temptation.

In conclusion, which of these movies should a Christian enjoy watching?  The answer is those which are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and of good reputation. Christians should avoid movies that contain the supernatural and the occult. Satan has made them enjoyable to watch! Many Christians are giving him an opportunity. Remember as a man thinks, that reveals who he is!

Conclusion:

Jesus told parables, that were fictional. This teaches us that fiction is not a sin. Books such as Pilgrims Progress are fictional and honoring to God. Yet, most Christians have never read the book. God encourages us to study the Word of God. The more a person digs into the Word of God, the more they will learn about God. That is the ultimate supernatural “movie.”

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