Monday, 14 January 2013

Thoughts on Violence

Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. (source)

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have agreed to live to a certain code of values, one of which is described above.

Too often, I self-limit this set of values and focus only on the vulgar, immoral or pornographic side of things. If a movie, tv show or song describes/shows/infers sexual activities, I tend to turn away from it and put it out of my mind.

Am I as diligent when it comes to violence? Have I accepted violent behaviour as normal or even desirable?

After re-examining my viewing habits, I've had to conclude that violence permeated these forms of entertainment far more than I realised at first. I watch crime shows with images of dead bodies in gruesome circumstances, the characters showing little to no reaction to the scene and often banter or flirt while standing over the kind of gore that would make me vomit in real life. But hey, they are cops and "professionals" so it's all in a day's work to them. There are spy shows that frequently have characters hitting, shooting, and blowing other people up. All in a days' work, right? Besides, they were the "bad guys" and had it coming to them.

Or what about books? I have recently read a book that discusses violent behaviour over and over. The descriptions run along the line of "I hit him several times until he fell unconscious to the floor" or "I buried my sword into his chest up to the hilt". These aren't direct quotes, but you get the idea. There wasn't a graphic description of blood and guts, but I was still able to imagine a pretty detailed scene in my head and knew that the death count of the main character was disturbingly high (the character himself didn't seem particularly perturbed, however).

After I'd read the book, I considered watching the movie -- it's fun to see a story come to life! But after reflecting on all those fight scenes I had just finished reading, I realised that I didn't actually WANT to see it.

Is it odd to be so used to violence in our media? Is it better or worse to see violence, to imagine violence, or to play a violent video game? Are there shades of grey? Does it affect our psyche?

I suppose everyone has to come to their own conclusions. I myself have found that when I turn away from violence in the media, over time, my ability to consume it is lessened. I can't seem to cope with it as well and it can actually turn my stomach. I regret reading that book, and have decided to be a lot more careful with my choice of reading material.

I sometimes consider the reason given in the Bible for the Flood:

 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all aflesh had corrupted his bway upon the earth.
 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with aviolence through them; and, behold, I will bdestroy them cwith the earth.

It wasn't corruption through greed, tyranny, sexual perversion.... it was violence. People were violent, and God found that unacceptable.

That's an interesting thought.


Hannah said...

I absolutely agree with you. Everything we read, see, hear and do affects who we are and how we relate to God. Not too long ago I asked myself the same questions you did an took it farther and considered music, movies, books, everything in our home. I actually wrote a post called, 'Is Your Music Wholesome' awhile back. (Here is the link if you don't mind me sharing:

Anyway, suddenly I had a box filled with movies and a "recycling Bin" on my computer filled with music and other things that were not acceptable. I really didn't want them in my home and I for sure didn't want my children anywhere near them. I knew it was wrong to have them in my home so they were gone. Period!

Some people may think it's a little over the top but that doesn't matter to me. I have chosen my side and that side is the Lord's side. Thank for sharing this post. =)

-Hannah Wetzel

Raisin4Cookies said...

Thank you! I really appreciate your insights, and I think it's time for me to do a similar sort of purge. :) It's too easy for these things to creep into our lives without us being overly aware of it!

I look forward to reading your blog post. :)

LeAnn said...

Wow, I really like this post. I am a little like you in that I can't tolerate any kind of sex scenes in shows are books even those with their clothes on. I find that men like action which always seems to have a good deal of violence. We, my husband and I have been reevalutating our choices in shows we watch. What used to be an R is now PG 13; and I know it is going to get worse. Thanks for your thoughts on this post and I am happy I dropped by for a visit and I will return again.
Blessings to you!
Thanks also for dropping by my blog @ Living Waters by LeAnn

Raisin4Cookies said...

Yes, movie ratings have been on a steep decline in recent years, from my experience. Sometimes even U or G rated movies have unacceptable scenes! It makes me want to avoid tv and movies altogether, but that's also a sad thought!

Guess I still have that summer cottage in Babylon sometimes.

Enjoy Birth said...

I whole heartedly agree. In Sunday school a few weeks ago when we studied Mormon 7:4 "Know ye that ye must lay down your weapons of war, and delight no more in the shedding of blood"

I thought of all the violent video games people play today and how they are delighting in the shedding of blood!! Even if it isn't real blood, they delight in it and that is wrong.