The movie Black Panther, just released for home viewing, has broken all kinds of records. It’s passed the billion-dollar mark worldwide.
For myself, I enjoyed the movie twice in theaters. Perhaps it has something to do with the eye candy in this movie.1
Yet, Black Panther also problematically showcases the pagan practices and rituals. These practices go against my beliefs as a Christian.
For instance, there is ancestor worship, necromancy, and occultic–dare we say “witchcraft”–ceremonies in the movie. After all, if you’re going to do a movie about a fictional country name Wakanda in Africa, these things should and must be portrayed.
I saw a YouTube video not too long ago about why Black Panther was not:
- A black movie
- Not for black people
- Not for Christians
Ouch, right? I kinda knew that going in, but to have such things blatantly stated, I kinda shook my head.
Part of me wanted to say, “Can I just watch a movie without having to have this stuff in my mind? I just want to see Michael B. Jordan fight Chadwick Boseman with his shirt off!”2
Joking aside, should I really be thinking about my faith and my beliefs when it comes to movies I enjoy that are completely against it?
Does my enjoyment of the movie make me a supporter of those things?
This is such a hard question to answer because I don’t think it’s a “yes” or “no” answer.
Or maybe it is. I don’t see my enjoyment of a movie that have these elements in it, and believe me, there’s a lot of them, as my supporting it.
To take it a step further, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ultron, the sentient global defense-system-turned robot villain sings:
I once had strings, but now I’m free … There are no strings on me!
And later, Ultron, sitting in a Sokovian church, says:
This church was built in the middle of the city, so everyone could be equally close to God. I like that, the symmetry, the geometry of belief.
So now we have a singing, philosophical robot villain who used quasi-scripture-like ramblings to suggest helping mankind is to simply destroy them. (Not unlike Hollywood’s Noah who thought saving the animals was more important than people.)
My good friend Marcia Montenegro, from Christian Answers from the New Age3 wrote an extensive article on the movie Avatar, showing its occult bends, worship of a nature goddess, and other pagan elements. Marcia pointed out how so many Christian enjoyed a movie with pagan elements in it.
How many of the Speculative Faith community and contributors enjoy Harry Potter?
Oh my gosh, there’s all kinds of uproar among the saints with that. There those who say they’re good books or movies. Other say, “You’re letting Satan take control of your mind when you make light of these things!”
What about some of us who enjoy darker tales?
I always pick on Jess Hanna, author of Road to Hell, and the short story, “If It Causes You to Sin” performed by Untold Podcast. I found a fellow lover of horror when I met him. Once he wrote an article in which a commentator harshly criticized him for even postulating the idea of Christian horror, much less saying it was okay.
To take it a step further, in February, Mike Duran an article about Christians and horror at The Gospel Coalition. The comments! Let’s just say I hurried to give him support to show that not everyone thinks he’s a lunatic.
I’ve used a variety of examples to show divided the saints are about belief and entertainment. Does the entertainment we enjoy show our hearts? If we enjoy good clean wholesome movies, does it mean our hearts and good and clean?
I grew up watching Aliens, Predator, and other monster movies. Does it mean I’m looking forward to the day where we land on a planet, eagerly searching for the Alien queen to lay eggs and give birth to facehuggers who come to Earth to eradicate mankind? (By the way, that’s a no!)
This does not mean we can just ignore what movies we watch. Not at all. You do have to guard your mind. Going back to Philippians 4:8, thinking on these sorts of things help to guard our minds. We certainly won’t lose anything if we only watch movies which only align with our beliefs (although they may be incredibly cheesy, boring, and snore material). And we all know some movies and shows take the disregard of our faith too far. Shows like Preacher, some episodes of Rick and Morty, Family Guy, Lucifer, and I’m sure dozens more, can be downright blasphemous.
And then again, some of us watch the shows and say, “What’s the big deal? I like the show. I don’t believe in their philosophy!”
Which is why I think this ultimately comes down to a matter of the individual and personal preference.
I don’t think enjoying a movie against our beliefs will makes us abandon the faith.
Circling back to Black Panther, some positive elements I enjoyed was the world building of the Afrofuturistic country.
I loved the portrayal of blacks as kings and queens instead of gangsters and baby mama drama. I walked out the theater with a renewed sense of recognition that I come from the line of earthly kings and queens. However, of more importance is that I am the child, the princess of the Highest King, Jesus Christ, my Lord, my Savior, and my Redeemer!
I loved T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). But although his power can be taken away by drinking a heart-shaped flower, my Lord’s power remains forever!
I loved seeing dark-skinned actors as opposed to light-skinned actors, Michael B. Jordan as a black and brilliant complicated villain, and the film’s portrayal of tribal-based technology.
To end my thoughts, I’d simply say, “Hey, if a movie disturbs you so much that you can’t sit through it, then I would suggest leaving. If you can divorce the movie from your beliefs, then go for it.”
Perhaps I’m wrong. What do you think? What do you do when you see a movie you enjoy that goes against your beliefs?
- The particular eye candy which whets my appetite is the villain Eric Killmonger, played by the oh-so-fine actor, Michael B. Jordan. ↩
- Now I can hear the modesty group talking about how men and women should dress a certain way so as not to incite lust. But … what would be the point of going to see the movie if I can’t see Michael B. Jordan take off his shirt? When Clark Gable took off his shirt in Gone With the Wind, T-shirt sales plummeted! It’s fascinating how well the Lord knows His creation. Philippians 4:8 states: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” I can easily rationalize every part of this verse with accolades of how true it is that Michael B. Jordan is handsome. Honestly. A just thing for man who has pure, smooth, pecan-brown skin, and lovely, bulging muscles. A man who stays in good shape, which is certainly a virtue and worthy of praise. I will think on these things! ↩
- This ministry is dedicated to showing New Age practices and occult in the Church. ↩