Ask An Evangelical: When Pop Culture Clashes With Your Beliefs
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How do you respond in general to pop culture products that clash with your religious beliefs?
My response to pop culture products that clash with my religious beliefs has been an ever changing process, and likely will continue to be, though it can now be summed up in two words: Identify and Avoid.
Probably my first encounter with the conflict was via the song, “Torn Between Two Lovers.” Released in 1976, about three to four years after I became a Christian, it was one of my favorite sing along songs. The music captivated me, though I never really listened to the words with a critical ear.
At some point in my spiritual growth, God was able to get my attention, and I realized the lyrics went against what I believed about true love and Christlike behavior. Once I was able to hear the real message of the song, I found it hard to believe how I ever enjoyed it so much.
More recently, there was “Harry Potter.” A key element in the plot of this series is the discovery by Harry that he is a wizard and his subsequent practice of sorcery and the magic arts. Knowing that, when the books were first released, and recognizing that such behavior is clearly condemned in the Bible, avoiding the stories and later movies seemed the right thing to do, at least for me.
I make the stipulation that avoiding the “Harry Potter” series was the right thing for me because I don’t think we can always know God’s timetable for ‘correcting’ inappropriate behavior in other Christians. I saw that clearly with “Torn Between Two Lovers.”
In hindsight, it was clear the song was ‘wrong’ for me to listen to but none of my Christian friends ever accused me of being sinful because of my musical interests. Perhaps they didn’t know it was one of my favs or they also shared my early enjoyment of the song, but I think some of them realized it just wasn’t their place to set me straight.
And I’ve had Christian friends share positive information on social media about “Harry Potter” themed things, such as heat activated masks; a coffee shop; bath bombs; TV remote wand; a retail store, and much more. I never felt convicted to confront them about their behavior, but I certainly recognized what mine should look like. I couldn’t think of any basis to ‘celebrate’ the creations of a series portraying a ‘sinful’ lifestyle.
The process isn’t easy, especially with the breadth of pop culture’s influence in our lives, but it’s important, for me, to become more like Christ and less like the world I often find myself living in, so I’m going to keep my eyes and ears open for the sound of clashing as more pop culture products are introduced in our world.
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