Growing up in Christian circles, you, like me, might have heard that a lot of things are bad. Some of the things make sense and/or align with the Bible, but some of them seemed weird. And for a reason: there were plenty of things which do not make sense. Here are the top six which you might have also heard Christians say were bad (but are not):
6. Harry Potter
Because it is hard for me not to mention my favorite series from my childhood, I figured we should start here.
The Christians calling this series evil refer to the magic used as witchcraft akin to the witchcraft in the Bible to make the most basic case that it is evil. However, this doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons.
First: most of these Christians have no issue with Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, a noted Christian writer. Second: the evil of the witchcraft of the Bible has to do with direct contact with the devil or the demonic. Lastly: similar to C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, there is Christian symbolism– if not outright allegory.
Another thing Christians told me was bad? A certain Japanese sensation which is somehow still going. Pokémon were called little devils by the Christians when I was a kid and they nearly overlooked the fact that it is fantasy dog fighting.
However, it’s really a harmless video game/television series with a card game.
Best exemplified in the movie Footloose, Christians deciding that dancing and certain music is evil, of the devil, etc. is the next on the list.
For this reason, they create Christian music– usually a bad version of the music they emulate. (Though, not always.) However, music is largely to people’s taste and topics and language covered by some music may be more difficult for some people to handle, listening to music and/or dancing does not pave the way to hell.
3. Dating (Not Courtship)
Along with the dancing is the way in which Christians demonized (and sometimes still do) dating. With titles which damaged some people’s teenagedom and even twenties, such as I Kissed Dating Good-bye by Josh Harris (who was not ordained in any way). Ideas like the ones in this book were used to control children and make them feel ashamed for being attracted to others and wanting to date.
The answer to this is “courtship” a Christian fast-track to marriage. This might look different in various Christian circles, but usually involves supervised visits and rules which restrict even kissing.
This ignores the benefits of dating, particularly: learning how to live in a healthy relationship, learning realistic things to look for in a partner, and learning undesirable qualities in a potential partner. Those are just three.
(Important note: Josh Harris has come out with an open apology for the way his book was used by Christian parents and schools.)
2. Friendships Across Gender Divide
Think that “Christian dating” is weird? Christian friendships across the gender divide were also heavily discouraged. After all, those friendships might lead to dating or even… “secret dating.”
This can mean that boys and girls grow up with a stigmatized view of the opposite sex as they grow up, understanding little about the others. This is what leads to stupid rules such as the “Billy Graham Rule” (more recently referred to as the “Mike Pence Rule”). (There could be a whole post on why this rule can be detrimental to cross-gender relationships and, particularly, women advancing in the workplace, but I’ll leave that.)
1. Dungeons and Dragons
My personal number one thing which I remember Christians telling me was “the devil” which is plainly not– and a lot of fun, to boot: Dungeons and Dragons.
Similar to Harry Potter and Pokémon, D&D is a role playing game in which players are lead by their game master to take part in a fantasy world within the theatre of the mind.
It could even be understood, to an extent, considering the player can create a “warlock” character which is beholden to a powerful entity, which could be a fictional demonic character, but the games usually involve players striving to do good, or, players striving to do bad being hunted by authorities. (Unless it is a somewhat-mindless game of hunting and fighting monsters.)
Regardless of even this, I cannot make this clear enough: GAMES AND BOOKS ARE NOT INTRINSICALLY EVIL. THEY ARE NOT CORRUPTING THE CHILDREN.
That being said, parents have the prerogative on what their children read, watch, and play. I wish more of them would have exercised it when taking their kids to see Deadpool in theaters.
Thank you for reading! Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments below. (Please, if you disagree, keep it respectful.)
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