Can someone please explain to me the Hunger Games Craze? Why are Christians flocking to this movie in droves? I am so confused by this.
Over the weekend I was discussing this with a group of ladies and as we discussed the plot, certain things came up. Words like dark and depressing and suicide. A plot of children trying to kill each other or be killed. A sinister town with an evil game.
As we watch children try to kill each other, how do we decide who is the good guy? If they are the killer and the victim, how do we know who to root for? Suddenly, the protagonist is the antagonist, too. We know who to root for because the author tells us. But why? Why is that character so much better than the others? Don’t you think the others have the same thoughts and fears and questions? Aren’t they in the same predicament?
So, does the theme of sacrificial love that is also part of the plot make up for all of this darkness? I would really like to hear from you why it should? What am I missing by not seeing this film? There are so many beautiful stories filled with sacrificial love. Do we really need to fill our mind with the likes of Hunger Games to enjoy that theme?
I know I am stepping on a ton of toes here. This movie has been all over Facebook and I know many of you will vehemently disagree with me. Please tell me why? Tell me why you think a Christian should see this? I really want to know.
When something is popular in the world, it usually means danger. At the very least, we need to keep our eyes open to the media around us and the messages they are pumping into our heads. Did you know that after Harry Potter’s popularity, interest in the occult rose incredibly? They are not just books and movies. These things are tools that shape our culture.
As believers, we need to live above the status quo. We can never let our guard down or take off our armor. We are soldiers in a spiritual battle. Discernment isn’t an option, it is a command.
33 thoughts on “Hunger Games Mania”
I also struggle to understand why people, especially believers are so enthralled by Hunger Games. And I find it ironic that a movie with murder in it came out in the theaters the same weekend as October Baby, a movie celebrating life.
I also find it disturbing that so many, especially believers are so excited about a movie about death, and I find it ironic that it appeared in the theaters the same weekend as October Baby, a movie that celebrates life.
I am not going to make a judgement on if seeing the Hunger Games is right or wrong. It does bring up some thought provoking questions. Like… what would you do in a society that forces you to fight for your life? What if our world ever comes to a point like this. It already has… Wars, the Holocaust, the times of the gladiators and persecuting Christians in the arenas, persecution in other countries today. Is it ever okay to kill to save your life or others lives? Also, I am confused as to why Christians find the violence in The Lord of the Rings trilogy okay because it is a “christian” themed story? Star Wars is violent. So are The Chronicles of Narnia and the kids are killing others in that as well. Also, would we flock to the movie theaters if a movie was made about the book of Judges? There would be some very violent and frankly disturbing images that would have to be depicted on screen. Anyway, these are just some thoughts that I have had on this issue as well.
I also remember reading a short story in literature class in high school called “The Most Dangerous Game” about a man who lived on an island and has other men brought in the the island to hunt them because he needed a harder conquest than that of large game. I know my son has read that same story in his Christian high school as well. What about the Edgar Allen Poe stories we had to read in school? They are kind of sick, violent, and sadistic, aren’t they? Sometimes reading or seeing these kinds of things can bring up some important discussions. I agree that we are in a daily spiritual battle and discernment a key, but why are some things okay and others are not to some – I find that hypocritical. And this is just food for thought… I am in no way calling you hypocritical!!!
I agree with you. I am at a loss to figure out how filling our minds with dark, depressing, and violent stories is beneficial to anyone, much less Christians. If I am going to err, I would prefer to err on the side of caution. I know many disagree with me, but I don’t think we can argue that God’s Word says how much He hates violence and strife and how we are to think on good things. But how do we go about changing any of this? We seem to be going headlong into an age of NO discernment.
I used to be really obsessed with Harry Potter, Twilight, and the like. From my personal experience, I was consumed by these “stories.” It is all I could think about. My life wasn’t adventurous or glamorous enough, so I had to put myself into that exciting story. My mind was a slave, it wasn’t just a nice story anymore. I am so thankful to be free from those stories, but it is still a struggle. The question is what do we fill ourselves with? And by filling ourselves with these other things aren’t we saying that God isn’t enough for us?
You bring up such a good point! It goes beyond mere discernment and into the area of contentment. I hadn’t thought of that aspect. Thanks for your comment.
I agree that this is another good point! I can have a tendency to let a very good book that I am reading take priority over reading God’s Word… even Christian fiction/nonfiction or biographies. I have to fight that temptation often.
Oh…. and when I am talking about whether some things are okay to some and others are not… I am talking about gray areas in entertainment, definitely not obvious sin!
I loved the books and here’s why: besides the fabulous writing of the author which draws you into the story and how she gets you to care about the characters, it’s the story of people who know that their society is set up wrong and they are struggling with not just surviving in that society, but ultimately changing it. As a Christian, I can relate to that theme… obviously not to the degree it is in the book, but still I can relate to the idea of leaders of a society forcing it’s citizens to do things that are wrong, and how those citizens can overcome. Oh, and I haven’t let my 11 year old read it and I’m not taking him to see it.
I loved the books and here’s why: besides the fabulous writing of the author which draws you into the story and how she gets you to care about the characters, it’s the story of people who know that their society is set up wrong and they are struggling with not just surviving in that society, but ultimately changing it. As a Christian, I can relate to that theme… obviously not to the degree it is in the book, but still I can relate to the idea of leaders of a society forcing it’s citizens to do things that are wrong, and how those citizens can overcome.
Whether you are Christian or not, this story goes far beyond the death aspect of the ‘games’ – that’s just book 1. The games are merely a catalyst for the oppressed to stand up against their oppressors. The story is, in a sense, the ultimate in David vs. Goliath in terms of the ‘little guy’ taking on a giant and winning. I understand your concerns, but if anything, this book may spawn more 99% type movements like OWS rather than a rise in the occult, more people refusing rule by an elite few rather than by the people as the founding fathers intended.
I loved the series because Katniss and Gale (two characters) were the essence of the American spirit – they did what it took to survive and put their family’s needs above their own. They were caring and generous and brave. They willingly put their lives on the line each and every day to ensure their families would have food. In the games, Katniss frequently struggles with knowing she must kill others in order to survive. That’s why the beauty and fragility of Rue is so special – she represents the weak, the small, the underdogs.
I think your concern is focusing too much on the surface of the story. As I said, the story is SO much more than the bloody games wherein children are forced to kill each other or be killed. I think there are a lot of great talking points in the trilogy to discuss modern society, the founding of our nation, what may cause a downfall, and when or whether it’s okay to rebel against an oppressor. There are opportunities to discuss trust and betrayal, have vs. have not, and the value of all lives regardless of their social or financial standing.
Dig deeper. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. It does help me to understand the fascination of these books and movies. You have not convinced me to read the books or watch the movie. I honestly believe I can get all of those same themes from the Bible, first and foremost, and from other, much better sources. But you have given me insight.
Leslie – I myself was very curious about the popularity of this movie so I did a little research on the internet. Needless to say, I will not be watching this movie. Whenever something is described as the new Harry Potter or Twilight craze, we followers of Jesus Christ should prick up our ears and dig deeper and quite frankly, run in the opposite direction. Anything that projects darkness as light is something I do not want to fill my mind with. There is enough real tragedy in the world right now. If I am enjoying fiction, I prefer to follow this track of thought:
Philippians 4:9 – Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
That is the verse that kept coming to my mind, as well. I do not see any exemption in scripture, anywhere, that gives us permission to entertain ourselves with the things God hates if certain themes are present. Thanks for commenting.
Honestly, How is this any different than what we read in the OT? Would you be against a movie based on David’s life, or Sampson, or one of the many other biblical narratives?
I have been expecting this comment. Thanks for bringing it up. It is different because a) it is in the Bible, God’s Word, which is written by God and b) because there are very clear defined protagonists and antagonists. The plot of this movie alone is confusing and downright disturbing. (I Corinthians 14:33)
How do you know, you have neither read nor watched it. Just as I would have no respect for someone critiquing the bible who has not read it, I have no respect for someone critiquing other things they have not read. Too many christians spend so much time worrying about making up extra rules for others to live by when they fail to live by rules that are clearly against scripture like not gossiping and how to handle conflict in the church.
If I follow your logic to its logical end, I would have to view pornography to judge that its evil. Is that what you believe?
I appreciate your willingness to be open to others opinions. Personally the most beautiful story I have ever known is one of a man who God sent to earth who sacrificially gave himself in the most unbelievably gruesome way so that I would have a way to be with God for eternity. If I did not understand the reason behind Christ’s death I would be disgusted by the story and would think very negatively of those who loved the story. I love the story of salvation, and I believe you do as well.
To be clear I will never compare what Christ did for me, I am simply using a story so dear to us as a way of understanding the importance of knowing the full story.
I haven’t seen the Hunger Games, but I know that there is a whole lot more behind the fact that kids are killing each other. I understand that there are more gentle sources for a story of sacrifice and courage, but I also understand that this is a movie and it is made in a realistic and intense way so that you can feel the meaning of the story even greater.
I would like to know if you only read the Bible and do not watch movies or read other books to experience stories of impact.
I think you already know the answer to that question. Of course, I read other books and watch a few movies (not many are worthy of our time, quite honestly). Do I think a story full of violence and confusion is beneficial because of a few certain themes thrown in? No, I do not. God tells us in Psalm 101:3 says “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” Thanks so much for your comments. I do appreciate them. But what I see as the result of filling our minds with the world’s entertainment is not a deeper spirituality, but a hardness to sin on so many different levels. I just don’t believe (and I believe I could prove it) that any good a film like that could have could ever outweigh its negative effects in a Christian’s life. I know so many of you have your minds made up about entertainment and do not want to even consider my point of view, but it may be worth some prayer and scripture study. Thanks again.
Thank you for responding. I myself enjoy watching movies and other forms of entertainment, as well as reading the bible. As for confusion, just because you may not understand the movie, that does not mean you are the only one. And as for your statement “Do I think a story full of violence and confusion is beneficial because of a few certain themes thrown in? No, I do not.” We see that MANY places in the bible where there is violence and darkeness. Psalms is filled almost halfway with negativity from David, cries of lonliness and despair. The important thing was that he always pushed past the momentary emotion or pain and found God there and overcame the hold of the devil. I see that this is a story that does have darkeness but there are victories as well in every story. I think that it would be best not to write about something that you don’t know about. I have learned to get my own opinion or have none at all. I do want to say that I agree that there are too many other “good” things to watch, I also think this is a subject that is totally of personal conviction and I appreciate you standing for yours.
Here are a few thoughts that come to mind:
First, in the Bible violence was never meant to be entertainment and violence was never viewed as a good thing. The fact that we would want to watch it suggests that we approve of it.
Second, desiring to watch things that are full of the things God hates (including violence, adultery, murders, etc – Galatians 5 is one place you find a list) is a reflection of a person’s heart. If we truly love the Lord and want to please Him, it would not make sense for us to desire to do or watch things that go against all He stands for.
To me using the Bible as an excuse to watch violence is just that- an excuse. Psalm 11:5 tells us that God hates the man who loves violence. Did God use violence in the OT to His purposes? Yep. Should we view that as a blanket approval to fill our minds with it? I don’t believe that would be what scripture teaches.
And, please don’t misunderstand – I am not holding myself up on a pedestal…I have such a long way to go myself in understanding all of this and am such a sinner I don’t even feel qualified to write most days. But if I can get just one person to think beyond status quo…to think before just going along with the crowd, I will have accomplished my purpose.
I’m sure that most parents would let their children watch movies such as Disney movies like Mulan for instance. Mulan would be said to have had nothing immoral in it, and that it was perfectly acceptable for children to watch. I would let my kids watch Mulan, I’ve seen it and It would not be much of a surprise at all if you allowed your children to watch it. That being said, there is just as much violence in Mulan as there is in other movies such as the Hunger Games. I don’t think that just because Gary Ross portrayed this in a very realistic manner that it should be labeled as wicked or immoral. I believe that if you cannot handle watching a movie with violence then you should not watch it, but that does not mean it is wrong. I understand that God does not love violence and he expects us to be the same, and I do not love violence. I guess it all depends on why you are going to watch the Hunger Games, are you watching it for the story (which is what a movie is) or are you watching it for the violence (which there are many other movies more based around violence than the Hunger Games). And to be clear, I was not using the Bible as an excuse. You have been using scripture to make your point which is understandable. But don’t accuse me of making excuses with the Bible. I appreciate you wanting to follow what you feel is your purpose, but watching this movie does not mean you are following status quo.
No accusation intended. I find that many Christians DO use that as an excuse. If you are quite sure you don’t, then just ignore my comment, please. And I will say this: I am VERY careful about what Disney movies my kids do and have watched and I do not recall my children having watched Mulan. By the way, philosophy of movies is as big a deal as sex, violence, and drugs, in my opinion.
I will just end with this thought: As I look back over the many things we have and have not allowed our children to watch, play, or listen to, I have never regretted anything I have not allowed in their lives. However, I do have regret for some of the things I have said “yes” to.
Everyone has to make their own choice on this one. Again, just encouraging people to think…that’s all.
I agree with you that it would be better to hold more back than to let it go, I also agree that we should keep a watchful eye over what is being brought into our lives. However, you posted something on your site talking so negatively about something you don’t know about at all. I think Tana’s comments below have proven that you cannot judge something without knowing the facts. The fact is your perception of this movie is wrong. Your message of seeking God’s will and desire for His children is spot on. I just want you to understand that you cannot critique something you have not expirienced.
I am in no way trying to argue, just trying to bring light to a side of this that has been extremely misrepresented. And for your statement in the main content “What am I missing by not seeing this film?”, the answer is…you’re missing a movie, if that’s not that important to you then don’t watch it and don’t give it any more attention.
I disagree with you in principle completely. If I have to watch something to judge that is not of God, it would mean I need to look at pornography or go to a concert by a band that worships Satan. That logic does not follow through to the end.
I am wondering what you think about reading about or seeing historical violence portrayed in books or movies? Do you watch anything about the Holocaust? On a field trip, we watched a movie about a girl who traveled back in time to a concentration camp… very disturbing and violent, but a fictional story based on true events in history. When we went to Mt. Vernon, we watched a docudrama about Washington’s life including some violent battle scenes. I am just curious as to your thoughts on these kinds of things?
If they are historically accurate and true, then I believe we can learn from them. Incidentally, there is always a good guy and a bad guy in history. The philosophy of this movie worries me more than the violence, actually. I believe it hardens our hearts to murder. Just my opinion.
And I am not God–obviously. I would just encourage people to be in God’s Word and yielded to His Will in all aspects of their life, including entertainment. To at least give thought to what they put in their minds, before moving blindly forward.
Okay… I was just curious as to what you thought about seeing those kinds of things. Also, I did see it and there is are obvious good and bad guys in the movie. I did feel that it was okay for me to see and I try to be discerning… although I admit I can be a little less dogmatic about violence because I am convicted about it a little differently than you are. The books and the movie do not glorify violence at all. Those who condone it are evil or deceived and those who are made to participate are plagued by alcoholism, drugs, and nightmares for the rest of their lives. It really is a story of oppression and eventually the battle to overcome it. It makes me wonder what I would do in that situation. Would I have fought for my Jewish friends during the Holocaust? What if we had been robbed when we were home? Should we have fought back? What if someone broke into my house with a gun or knife? What is the right thing to do?
Oh… by the way, I knew nothing about this movie until I saw it. I thought the same things when I first heard basics about it. I decided to go when asked by a friend so I could have an informed opinion about it for my kids. I did read the book now as well and the book goes into more of the oppression story without being as graphic as seeing some things on screen. Anyway, I do agree that we all need to be in the Word of God and discerning these things for ourselves and for our families!
Books are always so much better, aren’t they?? And I do believe what you say is probably true.
But I choose to stay close to the mountainside than to walk at the edge. This movie feels like the edge to me. I am making my choice. And I expect to be criticized and called narrow-minded and a legalist because of it. It is what it is. Everyone else needs to make their own choices. I just wanted to make people think.
Oh, and one more thing…do you believe that you can only answer the questions about “what would have I done if I was in the Holocaust?” by a movie like this? While I understand that these are good questions to process, I found myself asking those same questions by reading and watching “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom. Just a thought :)
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