What would the early Christians have said about Hollywood in the modern time. Well, what is interesting is that they did have quite a bit to say about the Theater and the Gladiators in their day. How does it relate to modern entertainment?
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Taitian the Syrian
What wonderful or extraordinary thing is performed among you? They utter ribaldry in affected tones, and go through indecent movements; your daughters and your sons behold them giving lessons in adultery on the stage. Admirable places, forsooth, are your lecture-rooms, where every base action perpetrated by night is proclaimed aloud, and the hearers are regaled with the utterance of infamous discourses! Admirable, too, are your mendacious poets, who by their fictions beguile their hearers from the truth! (Address to the Greeks 22 [A.D. 160]).
When they know that we cannot bear even to see a man put to death, though justly, who of them can accuse us of murder or cannibalism? Who does not reckon the contests of gladiators and wild beasts among the things of greatest interest, especially those which are given by you [the ones in Rome, put on by the emperor, to whom this plea is addressed]. But we, because we believe that to watch a man be put to death is much the same as killing him, avoid such spectacles (A Plea for the Christians 35 [A.D. 177]).
But neither may we see the other spectacles, lest our eyes and ears be defiled, participating in the utterances there sung. For if one should speak of cannibalism, in these spectacles the children of Thyestes and Tereus are eaten; and as for adultery, both in the case of men and of gods, whom they celebrate in elegant language for honours and prizes, this is made the subject of their dramas. But far be it from Christians to conceive any such deeds; for with them temperance dwells, self-restraint is practiced, monogamy is observed, chastity is guarded, iniquity exterminated, sin extirpated, righteousness exercised, law administered, worship performed, God acknowledged (To Autolycus [A.D. 181]).
Irenaeus of Lyon
The “most perfect” among [the gnostics] addict themselves without fear to all those kinds of forbidden deeds of which the Scriptures assure us that “they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” … some of them do not even keep away from that bloody spectacle hateful both to God and men, in which gladiators either fight with wild beasts or individually encounter one another. (Against Heresies I:6:3 [A.D. 180-190]).
Are we not, in like manner, enjoined to put away from us all immodesty? On this ground, again, we are excluded from the theatre, which is immodesty’s own peculiar abode, where nothing is in repute but what elsewhere is disreputable. So the best path to the highest favour of its god is the vileness which the Atellan gesticulates, which the buffoon in woman’s clothes exhibits, destroying all natural modesty, so that they blush more readily at home than at the play, which finally is done from his childhood on the person of the pantomime, that he may become an actor (On the Shows 17 [inter A.D. 200-206]).
Thou art going to vain shows with the crowd of the evil one, where Satan is at work in the circus with din (Writings 57 [inter A.D. 240-260]).
What of the stage? Is it more holy — on which comedy converses on the subject of debaucheries and amours, tragedy of incest and parricide? The immodest gestures also of players, with which they imitate disreputable women, teach the lusts, which they express by dancing. For the pantomime is a school of corruption, in which things which are shameful are acted by a figurative representation, that the things which are true may be done without shame (Epitome of Divine Institutes [inter A.D. 303-311]).
Ambrose of Milan
Is anything so conducive to lust as with unseemly movements thus to expose in nakedness those parts of the body which either nature has hidden or custom has veiled, to sport with the looks, to turn the neck, to loosen the hair? Fitly was the next step an offence against God. For what modesty can there be where there is dancing and noise and clapping of hands? (Concerning Virgins 3:6:27 [A.D. 377]).
And so one must be on one’s guard, lest, deceived by any common interpretation of this saying, one should suppose that the movements of wanton dances and the madness of the stage were commended; for these are full of evil in youthful age (On Repentance 6:42 [A.D. 384]).
We all have asked ourselves if it is good to watch movies.
Why are all movie themes... apocalypse, gore, aliens, sexual misconduct?
I have studied the Bible for over 40 years. I focus on the Scripture itself, and study the surrounding writings with the same veracity. Bringing literary and historical context to Bible study.