Wednesday, September 12, 2001

The problem with reality

Kyndall wont see R rated movies. As a result, I rarely see R rated movies. Her arguments are many, but the essence is the separation of reality from fiction.
This is the same argument you are hearing about violence and sex on television, and the entire notion behind the v-chip. We want to protect our children (and ourselves) from sex and violence that may impact them psychologically.

I think that is good and noble.

I also think that our generation and those around us have developed a keen ability to separate fiction from fact. Indeed, I would say that many of us have seen many murders, beatings and so forth - yet we have not turned to a life of crime or violence.

Moreover, I would also say that our ability to see fiction (especially violence) has been honed so finely that television networks must come up with more and more extreme programming in order to even get a nominal reaction from us.

Now, consider this in that light.

You are watching television and they are showing you the images of the first tower afire from a terrorist attack. Then, suddenly, a second airliner sinks into the second tower. It's stunning. A short time later, the towers, one after the other, collapse. It's stunning.

But, does it seem real?

To be honest, it does not. We can appreciate the magnitude of the event. We can imagine the horror of the participants. We can do all that. But in our ability to hold off the impact of fiction, have we numbed the force of fact?

Can we now watch lines of bodies around the Pentagon without flinching? Can we watch thousands be crushed inside falling buildings without a sweat? Can we watch people jump from towers, airplanes crash and still take it in stride?

I really believe that children can play fighting games and not end up gang members. I believe we can watch Terminator 2 and not start shooting people. I believe we can watch x-Files and not eat people. I believe we have overcome the impact of fiction. (There are always exceptions)

What I am not sure of is if we have lost our ability to absorb the truth.

Let's think about it in this light. It's cliche, but it's the right thing to do - what would Jesus do if he were in my position? First, would Jesus watch Terminator 2?

This is a crazy question that we cannot answer because Jesus Christ left us no record of his choices for recreation. Taken to the logical extreme, we might conclude that all Jesus did with his spare time was sit around and read the Bible (Old Testament, of course) - and we all know that as decent a selection that is, it is not the point of the question.

Jesus might have gone swimming. He might have tried throwing rocks at trees. He might have wrestled the disciples, and he might have played a little bingo. The fact is, we don't know what Jesus did for fun, and so we should not try to extrapolate his interests like that. What he did leave us is a legacy of relationships with people, and those are on what we should focus and emulate.

Well, would Jesus see Terminator 2? Who really knows, but let's ask things that are more relevant. How would Jesus react to NYC and DC? This is a ton easier to consider than if Jesus would see a movie, or for whom would Jesus vote (ever wonder that one?).


Without a doubt, Jesus would (at least) flinch.

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