THE OCCULT AND HOLIDAY EYE CANDY
It’s the time of year we celebrate the fact that God sent His Son to earth as a humble baby. When it comes to entertainment, though, the occult is trying hard to take over.
It’s hard to escape it. The newest Twlight movie is plastered all over Burger King and the kids get Avatar action figures in their Happy Meals at McDonalds. Children big and small are excited about going to see The Princess and the Frog, and the trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I is already available, even though the movie is not scheduled to come out until November 2010. From Bewitched to the Wizards of Waverly Place, television has long treated witchcraft with humor…. And in Christmas movie reruns, Jack the Pumpkin King almost ruins Christmas again this year by tying up Santa Claus. (It’s amazing how many Christmas movies replay the broken record plotline in which Christmas almost doesn’t arrive because Santa is hindered from bringing presents. At least Dr. Seuss got that one right.)
The occult is getting increasingly more accepted in our world, and not only at Halloween. It’s vital that we take care in what we allow ourselves and our children to be exposed to, especially since we know there is a very real spiritual battle going on in this world.
Avatar opened in theaters this weekend, complete with beautiful forest scenes where breathtakingly massive trees catch the heart and unique, lithe creatures worship the pantheistic earth goddess Eywa. The special effects are outstanding, and when an absolutely vast, huge, magnificent tree crashes in the forest, you can feel the room shake with it. Unfortunately, the movie is riddled with pagan themes. Goddess worshiping aliens who are at one with nature are considered noble and good. Greedy, godessless, capitalist humans are the bad guys. An earth worshiping worldview could hardly be stronger.
The Princess and the Frog has been out since the day before Thanksgiving, and is unfortunately even more overt in its occultism than Disney’s normal fare. The idea is fun – the girl who kisses the frog prince gets turned into a frog herself. The movie is set in Louisiana, though, so of course there is a voodoo practicing witch doctor, one Doctor Facilier, who summons the dead, uses tarot cards and spells and has shadow creatures do his bidding. At least this frightening person is the “bad” guy, and his practices are easily equated with danger and evil. But, of course Jesus isn’t the hero who saves the main characters from this vile person. Disney never seems to make Jesus the hero. No, the fairy grandmother character, Mama Odie, also resorts to forms of magic in helping the children and fighting the bad guy.
Disney’s A Christmas Carol is certainly no dry, tiresome regurgitation of the Dickens classic. Even though we’ve all heard the story several dozen times, this newest version with Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge grabs its viewers with the same kind of wonderful animated technology we saw in The Polar Express. Disney even relents and Christ-honoring Christmas songs play in the background as Scrooge flies over a wintery London. The depictions of ghosts can be pretty frightening at times and parents should preview the movie before letting their children watch it.
While it is very well done, there’s something missing in the Dickens story. Tiny Tim still says, “God bless us every one,” at the end, but Scrooge is not saved in the end by falling on his knees before the Son of God whose birth is celebrated at Christmas. No, he’s saved by honoring the spirit of Christmas, which apparently is all about generosity and loving one’s neighbor. Those things are fine and we appreciate that Scrooge has repented this year (as he has every year since 1843), but it’s always disappointing that Scrooge in the end depends on his works and not on the Savior for his salvation.
On the other hand, a rising number of quality Christ-honoring movies have been making their way onto the big screen. The Blind Side tells the true story of a homeless young man who is taken in by a Christian family and goes on to play star-quality football. (The real Michael Oher currently plays left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.) The Blind Side deserves its PG-13 rating for some of its content, but the story demonstrates true Biblical values and a Christian worldview.
We do enjoy a good movie around here, but it is easy to get caught up in the eye candy that is so readily available in movies and television, especially at this time of year when we have a little bit of time off from school and work. Yet, we need to be very careful to guard our hearts and protect our minds from the philosophies that the world makes look so good. We want the Word and Spirit of God to shape our thoughts and actions, and that means taking great caution in the things we let our little eyes see.