As a young Christian, I was used to having entertainment all around me. Because of this, it was shocking to hear some theologians dismiss entertainment. Leonard Ravenhill’s statement, “Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy. And because there is not enough joy in the house of God, we want entertainment.” echoed in my mind for a long time. At first, I thought this was absurd. However, I realized that it was likely this man knew of a joy from God that was worth more than entertainment. I now have learned that godly Christians have often held views similar to this. Take a look at what Blaise Pascal has to say,
“All great amusements are dangerous to the Christian life; but among all those which the world has invented there is none more to be feared than the theatre. It is a representation of the passions so natural and so delicate that it excites them and gives birth to them in our hearts…So we depart from the theatre with our hearts so filled with all the beauty and tenderness of love, the soul, and the mind so persuaded of its innocence, that we are quite ready to receive its first impressions, or rather seek an opportunity of awakening them in the heart of another.” ( Pascal, Pensees, Section 1, point 11)
Although the theatre he was talking about has lost momentum, it has been replaced by the movie theater, which is perhaps more dangerous: subtle messages may affect our soul more deeply than we realize, strange ideas of love has certainly been adopted by the masses, and we often lose focus of our Lord unnecessarily when movies numb the mind. This is not to say watching movies is always wrong, but on the whole, I think it should be a rarity in the Christian life.