In a recent post to the tag-board on creative slips, Urquhart defends Rhesa in her position that Buffy is a decent show to watch. The post,posted on 10.16.02 and prompted by a Christianity Today article, notes that Rhesa doesn’t consider the show all that bad and thus defends her position that watching it isn’t really wrong. The article by Christianity Today takes the same position, pointing out the relevant subject matter and good writing of the show, and the overall decent moral themes presented. All that said, here are my objections.

To properly understand my objection to the position that Buffy is ok for Christians to watch a couple things must first be understood. First, that my position is taken from a distinctly Christian perspective and worldview, and thus my objections stem from wisdom and direction commanded by God for Christians to obey. Also I do not object to the fact that Buffy is a well-written show, well directed, relevant and in many cases moral in its subject matter.

My strongest objection is based on two aspects of Buffy that should bother Christians. The first is the large quantity of demonic and pagan philosophy and content in the show. Now the presence of such material in and of itself is not the issue, but how that content is portrayed and what kind of message that portrayal sends. There are several lies propagated by the show that should offend a Christian who should know the truth.

One is that real pagan deities exist and have power, albeit limited, and that those deities can sometimes be manipulated or persuaded to help the cause of good. Another is that witchcraft is not looked upon as something that is inherently evil, but a neutral thing that a person can use for either good or evil depending on the wielders motives. Both ideas are wrong.

As a Christian I know that there is no god but the true God, and that pagan deities are either the manifestations of demons or the conjurations of man. We also know that God expressly forbids witchcraft. It is a sin compared to rebellion and very dangerous. The underlying idea of both concepts is that power is neutral, and the wielder decides if it is good or bad. The truth is that power is not neutral, demonic power is evil in all cases all the time, our own power is ineffectual, and only God’s power is good and can be relied upon to save us.

My other objection is the moral example set by the characters in the show. Now remember that my objections are aimed at Christians, because if you profess Christianity then you submit yourself to be judged according to those beliefs. The sexuality of the characters in the show have not been Godly and thus the example they set and the moral philosophy they convey by their actions should be offensive to a Christian.

We all know that as people, and even Christians, we do things that we know are wrong and that we are all imperfect. Its not the fact that some Christians watch Buffy that bothers me most, its when Christians start trying to rationalize and justify something so that they don’t have to feel guilty about it that worries me. Satan is tempting us to believe a lie. That is his greatest strategy. If he can get us to believe a lie, then he can get us to do all sorts of things. It is no coincidence that Christ called himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Don’t believe a delusion, you will never be free of sin or experience the true joy of knowing God that way.

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24 Comments

  1. While I am a little surprised to stumble across such a view point (it appears to be rare to find these days), I completely agree.

  2. If you believe Christians shouldn’t watch Buffy, then why do you watch it? If you don’t watch it, how can you have such a strong opinion about the content, never having seen it?

  3. I have seen Buffy. I’ve seen enough to form the opinion that it’s philosphy is in conflict with scripture. I no longer watch Buffy, haven’t for years. I didn’t form this opinion based soley on first hand experience, I gained the counsel and confirming data from other Christians who had watched the show and subsequently stopped watching it.

  4. oh. I don’t understand how avoiding something that is philosophically in conflict with the scripture makes one a better christian.

  5. In this you share the opinion of many. Yet ideas have consequences, and when you expose yourself to ideas then you risk the consequences. For a Christian to submit him or herself to ungodly ideas, is to risk suffering ungodly consequences.

  6. Watching a television show is not the same as submitting to ungodly ideas.

    I like to watch The West Wing. In one episode, Jed Bartlett curses at the crucifix in National Cathedral, angry that God has taken a loved one from him. If I’m a Christian, should I stop watching The West Wing?

  7. In some ways you’re right. Watching a television show doesn’t mean you are submitting to ungodly ideas. But watching ungodly television does mean you are submitting yourself to the exposure of ungodly ideas. Psalm 1 tells us that a blessed man will not walk in ungodly councel, and we are told not to be entangled with the things of the world. Buffy consistently propogates beliefs and ideas that are antithetical to christianity. To continue to watch and even defend it is to walk in the way of ungodly councel.

    To answer your question concerning The West Wing, you need to ask yourself, does The West Wing convey an ungodly philosophy? In fact, every kind of councel we allow into our lives should be judged by that criterion. The books, television, movies, music and conversations we paricipate in should be evaluated to see if they teach an ungodly councel. Do they convey a philosophy that is antithetical to Christianity? Do they teach ideas that are not true. Should you stop watching The West Wing? I’ll let you answer that question for yourself.

  8. I’m going to take the bait. I suppose you were not convinced by my argument. I’m not sure if your statement above means that you think ‘The West Wing’ is suitable material, but that you agree with my previous statements, or that you dissagree and even if ‘The West Wing’ wasn’t suitable you would watch it anyway?

  9. I’m not convinced by your argument. To take the Psalmist literally, and attempt not to walk in umgodly counsel would mean not to watch television at all. I’m not a fundamentalist — I don’t read the scripture that way. Christ was not of this world, but he lived in this world. He walked with the ungodly. He embraced the sinner.

    I would be more impressed if you were to deconstruct Buffy on a weekly basis and put it in a Christian context. Give your readers a compelling critique of the shortcomings of the show. Provide a biblical perspective. That would be useful.

  10. Walking with the ungodly, and walking in their councel are two different things. To embrace the sinner, I do not have to participate in his sin, neither do I need to condone it. Consider this, why spend copious amounts of time deconstructing the why’s and whatfor’s with what is wrong with ‘Buffy’, when I could not watch it alltogether? Why submit myself to hours of programming that is adverse to what I believe, and risk being decieved. Scripture tells us to flee temptation, not put ourselves it its way.

  11. Guest, let’s look at it this way: Buffy depicts what can only be called the hardest “soft” porn on prime-time network television. Even ignoring all the stuff about demons and Wicca and bad philosophy, the fact that the show depicts characters in the midst of sexual acts should be enough to make you stop watching the show.

  12. I agree, you can see something you disagree with and it not be sin, but to continue to watch it is to invite trouble, and that is sin. God tells us to flee temptation, not to test our faith by repeatedly submitting ourselves to it. What is more important to you? Obedience to God or the fullfilling of a fleshly desire? You are dealing with something that is sensual and devilish, to continue to watch it to test your faith is wisdom like unto the world, which is foolishness to God. (note: James 3:15 and 17) God’s wisdom is first pure, and that means avoiding things we know are impure.

  13. Watching Buffy is not giving into temptation. You are just watching a television show. If Buffy was real, and you were hanging out with her, that would be submitting to temptation.

    The fact that you find the program offensive is a good reason for you not to watch. What troubles me is your need to suggest that no Christian should watch Buffy because you find it offensive.

    Jonathan suggested that a show depicting characters in the midst of Sexual acts is reason enough not to watch. And if sex makes Jonathan uncomfortable, then he most assuredly not watch.

    I have two sons. One is a sophmore in college and one a sophmore in high school. As these boys were growing up, my wife and I made the conscious decision not to censor their choice of television programs or movies. If they want to watch something that we have concerns about, we watch it with them and then discuss the content of the program. They are articulate and critical of what they see and often find fault in the programs they watch. Neither of them has given into the devil at work behind the scenes in the television industry. Both are thoughtful, loving and sensitive young men. Many of our friends have asked us how we raised them. How we nurtured their good nature. It’s easy to tell people: We took them to church. We taught them that God loves them, despite their sins. We respect their ability to understand and accept God’s love. And we respected their ability to see the world as a place where love and hate exist, and to know that love is stronger than hate. As parents, we got out of the way and let God handle the heavy lifting. We didn’t have to tell them “Christians do this,” or “Christians don’t do that.” God speaks directly to them, every day. As God speaks to me, and God speaks to you.

  14. You suggest that the two reasons why I find Buffy in opposition with scriptural truth are strictly personal. Are you saying that pornagraphy and witchraft are not sin, and become sin only when they offend you personally?

  15. I would congratulate you on your success in raising your children. Instilling a Godlike character is not an easy task and you seem to have done so.

    Your example does not, however, address the issue at hand. The question here is, should Christians willingly submit themselves to activities that are antithetical to their faith? Note Titus 2:12, which says, ‘Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly , righteously, and godly, in this present world;’. Ungodliness, which is the greek word Asebeia and means want of reverence towards God or impiety, certainly describes the kind of philosophy I pointed out in Buffy. Worldly lusts, Kosmikos Epithumia in the greek and meaning the desire for things of this earth that are forbidden, would describe the fornication displayed by the show.

    My point is that the ideology and examples in the show are sinful by biblical standards, and as such all Christians have an obligation to Christ to be obedient and avoid them.

  16. Watching a television show is not participating in or condoning sin. You can watch something you disagree with and still disagree with it.

    I don’t watch Buffy because it does not appeal to me on an artistic or creative level. But if it were appealing to me on that level, I would not avoid it merely because it presented ideas that challenged my beliefs. If my beliefs cannot withstand the challenge of exposure to ideas and values which are abhorrent to me, then my faith is weak.

  17. Watching a television show about illicit sex is not the same as having illicit sex. Watching a show about witchcraft is not the same as practicing witchcraft. You keep suggesting that watching Buffy is sinful. I think we have a fundamental disagreement about what it means to watch TV. One could argue that television in general is ungodly and sinful, I suppose, and suggest that Christians not partake of television. (We had neighbors who forbad their children to watch TV for precisely that reason.)

  18. I’m not a regular here, but I found this conversation intriguing. I am still wrestling with my own movie intake so I can’t be too dogmatic, but I think some of your points, Guest, are made too easily. Yes, there is a large gap between watching sex and participating in the physical act. The line is much thinner, however, between watching and having lustful desires for the same illicit pleasures you see and to lust is the same as fornication (Mt 5:27). Your opening comments from your 7th post seem to imply that temptation only exists where there is the ability to physically “do” a sin. Yet if it would be tempting to have her in your physical company, how is it not sin to allow her into your mind where she may play with your lust? How might we apply Proverbs 13:20 to our mental lives? Will we, by what we watch, become “companions of fools?”

    You also said, “If sex makes J. uncomfortable, he should most assuredly not watch.” Yet is sex a public function? A person’s body is not meant to be shared with all (even visually) (Gen 3:21; 9:23; Pr 5:15-20), but to be reserved for his/her spouse. How much more the joining of the two bodies in maritial consummation?

    Philippians 4:8 urges us to pursue mental lives of excellence and purity. Whatever you take in consistantly, you will think about, either accepting it or rightly judging it. Yet would it not be easier and more profitable to be thinking about the good things rather than fighting to reject the evil? So, what will we fill our minds with?

  19. BTW, when I say the line is much thinner, I mean just that, not that there is no line. Love for God does not allow us to “toe the line” when it means getting so close to sin, for we are compelled by a passion for Him to flee temptation.

  20. Good post and discussion. I think Warren makes some good points and I totally agree with Jason’s first post