Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's "Only" Violence

I took a poll not to long ago trying to gauge what people thought was most offensive in movies. 100% of the people agreed that sexuality was most offensive (myself being one of them). I made the assumption that nudity would follow a close second. In my next poll I asked what would be next on the list. 33% said that profanity was next and 66% felt that violence was next. So this next area was a little fuzzier and I don't know that there is a definitive answer or a "more righteous" answer, but we do need to make sure that the reason we don't feel so strongly about one or the other is because we have become desensitized to the violence or the profanity.

Sherrie and I have had some bad encounters with some very violent movies (none of them even R-rated) in the last couple weeks--The Bourne Identity, The Manchurian Candidate, The Bourne Supremacy, and Disturbia. Every time we finished watching them we felt awful and had to do something that would lighten our moods so that we would be able to sleep peacefully. I had already seen the Bourne movies before and don't remember being appalled by them, but more fascinated by the fight scenes. That may be due to the audience with whom I was watching it, but if anything my more sensitive reaction is probably the most right (personally).

I have been reminded of an article in the Ensign several years ago entitled, "It's 'Only' Violence," by Brad J. Bushman. He reminds us that Alma taught that sex outside of marriage is a serious sin, and among the most grievous of sins. But he ranked the two most serious sins as denying the Holy Ghost and "shedding…innocent blood," or committing murder. He says, "I was puzzled that many Church members did not feel concerned about watching people being murdered on the screen. And many seemed to consider profanity to be more objectionable than violence in movies and TV programs." I won't quote much more, I'd like you to read the entire article; but I would like to mention the myths that he includes in the articles:
  • Myth #1: The mass media simply mirror the level of violence in the real world.

  • Myth #2: Viewing violence actually decreases aggression.

  • Myth #3: Viewing violence has a trivial effect on aggression.

  • Myth #4: Decreasing rates of violent crime prove that media violence does not increase societal violence.

  • Myth #5: One cannot know whether media violence causes aggression

  • Myth #6: "Media violence doesn't affect me!"

He also includes a list of things parents can do to better protect their children from the violent media by which we are surrounded.

Moroni does a good job of counseling us what type of media we should allow into our circle of influence, inside the sacred walls of our homes:

But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
Let us use this as a standard against which we measure the activities in which we include our families.


Aimee said...

Well, we read in Moses 8:28: "The earth was corrupt before God, and it was filled with violence." It wasn't immorality that flooded the earth or just plain evil, it was VIOLENCE. so, with that in mind, why would we watch something and become desensitized to it knowing that it was why God flooded the earth?

Aimee said...

oh, and another thing. If we decide to completely shun violence, we will miss out on some really good movies and some really fun times and social events. Then again, how fun is hell?

Another thing that people bring up (well, it was in my seminary class) is that the "good" guy always wins. Yeah, but he has to kill a couple guys, sleep with some women, etc. to do it. God is the ultimate "good" guy and Satan is likewise the opposite. God didn't kill Satan, he shunned him, he didn't allow him in his presence. That's what we need to do as well.