Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Would Jesus watch THAT movie?

I speak in generalities when I say 'That' Movie - but will use 'Knocked Up' as an example. Here is a movie that is an 'R' rated comedy that got its 'R' rating mostly because of excessive use of the 'F' word (there is some sexual content - thus the title - and some drug use but there is A LOT of the 'F' word). A quick question before I get to the big one posed in the title - and this is one I ask often...What makes a 'Bad Word' bad? Who came up with the list that - 'F','S','A','B', etc., etc. were Bad words? What makes them 'unwholesome'? And if they are used in a non-derogatory or 'wholesome' way - are they still bad? I digress - but would love to hear your thoughts. Now for the biggie - would Jesus watch a movie with this kind of language & content? I ask this because when you look at the guys he was hanging around - tax collectors, fishermen, sinners in general, etc. - I am pretty sure he was around some pretty vulgar talk...So WWJD & why?


Jim Jordan said...

I've been thinking about Matthew 5 where Jesus says "call somebody Raca" and you are accountable to the Sanhedrin. But if you call someone a fool, you are in danger of the fires of Hell.

Clearly the word Raca was impermissible and punishable by the Sanhedrin. Our notes said "worthless moron" but the truth is that the modern day equivalent is a##hole. If you say it on broadcast TV you will be held accountable to the Sanhedrin/FCC. Raca and a##hole are equivalent in offensiveness.

That would at least get the gospel a PG13 rating...oh, yeah, it'll still get an R rating for violence. That already happened ["Passion of the Christ"].

Just like God to tell a story that is undeterred and unafraid. Also, I'll bet Jesus already saw that movie. :-)

Great topic. Take care.

Justmatt said...

Thanks Jim - Good thoughts! How about all the other "four letter" words...Where did they come from? Are the derived from other ancient words like 'Raca'?

berry said...

Matt, just found this blog spot dude. you should have told me or I should have looked or something.

anyway, I've thought some about this over the last several years. I think there are at least 2 perspectives. on one hand, they are somewhat arbitrary (i.e. what really makes "shit" worse than "crap" or "crud" or "poopoo". nothing really in my mind. I do see some distinctions. while I think it's okay to use strong language when intentional and appropriate I would draw the line at anything that is derogatory about another person such as calling them an a##hole or a b#### or a motherf###er. (haha, can I even write that?) I really think those have no place in the language of a Christ follower. I have on many occasions (for good or for bad) tried to convince fine upstanding Christians to utter the sound "fuk". I just think it's funny how certain sounds cause so many issues for people. I guess I would also add that I think "d###" should only be used with respect for the meaning of the word. if you think about it that word is really serious. should we use it lightly? so, all in all I see myself as a "thoughtful pragmatist" when it comes to "cuss words".

on the other hand, our society has deemed all these particular 4-letter words to be dirty and there is something to be said for just keeping our language wholesome and honoring to the Lord. I guess when it comes down to it though I agree with Tony Campolo who intentionally used "d###" or "sh##" in a sermon and then pointed out to everyone that they were more concerned that he said that word then they were that 30,000 children were going to die that day from preventable causes. I guess that's Bono's take on it too and I like both of those guys.

well, glad to know where to find your thoughts on this crazy place called the internet.

Justmatt said...

Berry - Welcome aboard! Glad you found me...although I promise I wasn't trying to hide. Oh, and I added you to the blogroll.

As for your thoughts - I agree. I have just been struggling as to where these "Curse words" came from. Amy and I chatted last night about it and she had some good thoughts. Here they are as best I can recall them.

-"Sh*t" probably comes from the old English word 'shite' meaning the same thing - where that came from I don't know and like you - using this word over poop - I only see one difference -which I'll get to in a minute.
-F**k - most likely comes from 'Fornicate' or to have sex outside of marriage. Don't know if this is right but it makes since to me.
-B***h - means female dog and can be used to describe such - but becomes 'bad' when used as a derogatory word towards someone - usually a woman.
-A#s - As you know comes from 'Donkey' - from our discussion - we concluded that today's derogatory use of the word came from - 'A#$hole' which you can guess what this literally meant. Thus this is what makes it bad.
-D#$n - is what it is - and only God has the authority to do this which is why it should not be used.

I am sure that I could find the real origins of 'curse words' on the net – but it terrifies me as to what else an "origins of F#$k" Google search would produce.

All in all, the conclusion Amy presented to me (she is so much smarter than me) is that all of these words were created as a derogatory slang for something else and thus that is what makes them 'bad'. They were created to be 'bad'.

A little wordy and doesn't really answer my initial question - is it ok to watch movies with a lot of these words in them?

Jim Jordan said...

is it ok to watch movies with a lot of these words in them?

I would say sure. You're watching a movie about life. I have a brother who has a great heart but he uses the F word as an adjective, a past and present participle, noun, verb, you name it. It's a habit. I don't think he's even aware of it. He also sacrificed himself for 15 years raising 3 adopted children who would have had no father otherwise.

Of course, we can't let ourselves be corrupted by it. This looks like a movie I'd skip myself actually. There seems to be nothing in it that would motivate me to go see it.

Justmatt said...

Jim - that is really cool about your brother - the adoption part :)
My brother is the same way when it comes to using curse words as verbs, adjectives, etc.

As for the movie - as I said - I just used it as an example - it was not an endorsement : )

berry said...

I personally don't have a problem with watching them but plenty of people I respect do. For me it comes down to trying to discern its affect on me. If I watch, listen to, or read stuff with lots of "bad" language and it subconsciously becomes part of my vocabulary then I don't like that because I want to be intentional with my language. But If I watch it and I think, "wow, this guy sounds really unintelligent" and it doesn't become part of my speech unless I intend it to then I say watch it.

I guess the insidious thing could be if I find myself laughing when someone is being called something derogatory. Even though its just a character in a movie that might bother me if I think about it too much. (I'd better not think about it, huh)

sorry I missed your conversation with Amy about origins. I think I would have liked that conversation, especially if we got to use the real words!