KEYWORDS: movies, violence, children, lord, things, games

Shooting Straight, Part 11--Letter Links: The Effects of Violence

January 2, 2005

(ML #3517)

FD/MM/FM November 2004

Movies for Children

ML #1137:18-19‚ 33-37, Vol.11

18. (Dad: ) I JUST DON'T BELIEVE IN TAKING KIDS TO SEE ANYTHING IF THERE'S A LOT OF VIOLENCE. I don't believe in it! … I think it's even hard on adults. (Maria: There's enough that they have to go through in the World that is hard for them, not to help implant fears in them with stuff like that!)

19. I THINK IT WOULD BE BETTER TO TAKE THEM TO SEE A FUN FILM than some of those things with all that horrible violence & cruelty & torture & killing—they make it so realistic now! I mean, it is made so realistic! (Maria: Don't you think in the Family if we wanted to take our children to movies that generally it would be the best idea for an adult to go the movie first?) Yes. For younger children, somebody be sure & see it first to make sure it's all right.

33. I DON'T THINK BLOOD & GUTS & VIOLENCE IN MOVIES IS EVEN GOOD FOR ADULTS‚ MUCH LESS FOR CHILDREN! … That's why when I saw some of those movies I used to say, why do people want to torture themselves like that?

34. WHY DO PEOPLE DELIBERATELY GO TO SUCH FILMS & WANT TO SUFFER & FEEL HORRIBLE & get up with a stomach-ache & nerves shattered & just revulsed with horror? You're not thinking on good things, it's horrible bad things!

35. I THINK THE SHOOT-EM-UP WESTERNS ARE BAD FOR KIDS, I think the shoot-em-up gangster films are bad for kids, I think the shoot-em–up war films are bad for kids, & I think the shoot-em-up spy stories are bad for kids. I think any kind of violence in movies or TV is very bad for children. It's hard on them, to say the least, even our own children who wouldn't think of doing those things & are absolutely horrified by them‚ but they're enough to almost give them nightmares! They are horrors‚ horrors!

36. SOME OF THESE HORROR MOVIES, monsters & stuff, are so ridiculous & ludicrous & impossible that they're laughable & they're not even as horrified by those because they're not realistic. But the more realistic the violence & the pain & death & blood & all that are, the more it's apt to affect them. I just don't believe in taking kids to see violent movies at all.

37. I'D RATHER THEY TAKE THEM TO SEE SOMETHING FUNNY OR AMUSING. It's better than all that horror & violence! And there are lots of beautiful little movies for children.

My Kind of Movies

ML #2452:4-5, 27, 30-33, Vol.18

4. (Dad:) These modern violence movies with all that violence & fights & chases‚ ugh! The average American movie almost makes no sense at all‚ it's just a shoot'm-up, a fight, a chase!

5. They typically start out with a mystery, somebody commits a crime, then whodunnit. Then they find out whodunnit & they've got the car chase, & they bang up several cars in the process. I think it's terrible the way they absolutely ruin good cars. They must be destroying them by the millions of dollars worth now! Then they catch the culprit & they shoot it out. Then they run out of bullets so they have a fist fight until finally, by brawn & bravery, they beat the guy down & they've got him. Now isn't that the usual scenario? Almost every single stupid idiotic damn American so–called "action" movie is like that!

27. If a movie is just the same old thing, bang bang, shoot'm–up Western, cowboy, gangster, strictly action, chases‚ fights, violence—I get sick of it! Yet it's almost the only thing you can find sometimes nowadays!

30. (Prays:) Do help them, Lord, give them wisdom & discernment in choosing their videos. It doesn't always have to be of any great, significant value, because video viewing is often a time when we just want to relax & not have to think too hard & not even be too serious. We often just want to rest & relax & be entertained & even enjoy something funny.

31. So do help them, Lord, to pick out the good & eschew the evil. Bless & help them & give them wisdom in their selection of what they watch.—To try to watch things that are worthwhile, things that are encouraging‚ cheerful, even sometimes funny, to relieve the strain of the responsibility, the burdens of the day.

32. Help us to use all these instruments that You've provided for our blessing & our help & even for Thy glory, that we might be not only entertained but edified, instructed, educated, even as we try to do with the children's tapes. Some of it's just entertainment, some just funny, some amusing, some just to enjoy‚ but we also try to give them as much educational material as possible‚ instructional material, Lord, that will be helpful, & teach them something worthwhile.

33. So help us all in the use of these tools that You have given us for our education & edification & even our entertainment & our recreational hours.—We ask in Jesus' Name, amen. PTL!

You Are What You Watch

ML #3182:6-11, 22-24, 55-66, GN 787

6. (Dad: ) I know you kids have heard all of your lives that you've gotta watch out for movies, that you've gotta watch out what you feed your spirit, you've gotta watch out what you feed your soul. I've been telling you that for a long time. I explained a lot of that in "You Are What You Read" (MLs #775 and 776‚ Vol.6). There have been messages I've given recently in regards to particular movies, and some of those messages have been published in the Grapevine. The Lord's also said some interesting stuff about certain movies that have been put in the Grapevine, and I've said a little bit here and there about the dangers of movies. Maybe some of you folks just don't realize the magnitude of the problem, or perhaps you don't even realize what a big effect movies have on you.

7. I've told you before that movies have a place in our lives because they're relaxing. They help you let your hair down and relax and have a good time, and in that way they have their place and they can be useful. All of you guys work so hard for the Lord on your mission fields, or in your Homes—taking care of kids, witnessing‚ being a blessing to your sheep, holding follow-up meetings, working in the kitchen‚ or whatever the case may be.

8. You all work real hard for the Lord, and He wants to give you some blessings and some rewards. He likes for you to relax and have free time after all of the work is done, and so movies do have their place and they are beneficial in that way.

9. But maybe you don't realize what a big influence movies have in your life—and not just in your life, but in everyone's life. Movies have a huge impact on the whole world. Movies and TV change people's minds‚ and I would even venture to say they brainwash the multitudes. I mean, people accuse us of brainwashing, but I'd say that movies are brainwashing at its highest possible state!

10. Movies basically hammer into you ideals, morals, standards and conclusions that are, sad to say, in most cases totally contrary to the way the Lord wants you to think, to be, to act and to live. If you really think about it, I think you'd see that many movies actually put down, minimize, degrade, and even make fun of most of the things in life that are good and Godly—even the simple yet enjoyable things of life.

11. I guess the easiest way to explain the influence of movies would be to go point by point and share how they can affect you.

22. There's violence in the movies. I mean, just the other day in the U.S. an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old went to their school and gunned down five people, and many others were wounded! And there've been all sorts of cases of young people in Japan knifing their teachers, classmates and even police officers. Where do you think the kids get those kinds of ideas? It's no wonder they have twisted ideas‚ largely because of all of the violence and killing and shootings and wars on television and in the movies. Movies are very unrealistic, and they never show things the way they really are.

23. They show you the gunfights, the wrestling, the buildings blowing up, the cars getting demolished‚ but they rarely if ever show you the long–term results of such violence. They almost never show you the pain the people suffer. They never show you the guys who are then confined to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives. They never show you the ones who grieve and mourn over the loss of their loved ones. In the movies they don't show what life is really like and what violence really does—how it's ruining the world that we live in and making society a hell on Earth.

24. Most movies not only fail to show the victims of violence and what effect violence has on them, but they also fail to show you the consequences for the perpetrators. In real life you can't kill, assault, rob, cheat and lie without paying the price, even if it's for a so-called good cause! Yet movie heroes as well as villains do this all the time. If you don't get caught by the law and go through man's justice system‚ you'll face the Lord one of these days, and God's law is sure: You reap what you sow!

55. These are just some of the many ways that movies can influence you! A lot of times you don't see the effects in your own life for a long time. Maybe it will be a few years before you actually see the effect that the movies have on you. Maybe for a while you'll be doing fine‚ coasting along, not being real prayerful about the movies that you watch. But this constant input, this constant portrayal of morals that are contrary to the Lord and the way that He wants us to think and act and be, really does have an effect on you, whether you like it or not.

56. And it's not just the actions and the attitudes of these movies that can affect you‚ the words can as well. … Beware of these things that eat away at your mind, heart and spirit. It's the little foxes that eat the vine, the little ungodly scenes and sounds that wear down your spirit.

57. Somewhere down the line, these little seeds that have been planted in your heart and replayed in your mind will spring up out of nowhere. Then you'll realize that you have actually lost so much of your faith and your conviction. So much of the input and training that you've received goes to waste, because these ungodly influences eat away so slowly.

58. If you want to preserve your life for the Lord, if you want to stay full of conviction and filled with Godly anger against the atrocities of the world today, the world that's walking down the pathway to destruction, then you'd better be real prayerful about what you watch. Even most so-called good movies can still influence you adversely in some way, whether you like it or not, so you'd better really pray. You'd better really pray that you can choose the good things and eschew the evil. And if you've developed an appetite for the wrong kinds of movies, you should ask for prayer from others or from your Home.

59. Most importantly, make sure that you're getting filled up with the Word to counteract any bad influences that the movies may have on you. I know that movies are a very sensitive topic for a lot of you, and I'm sorry if I sound pretty hard-hitting‚ but I think you'd do well to take note and listen and take heed to what I'm saying. If you don't, you're endangering your life for the Lord; you're leaving yourself open to these subtle inroads of the Enemy.

60. He's gonna have a heyday in your life if you don't take a stand and lift up a standard against him when he comes in like a flood! These movies can be like a flood—they're a flood of input—and if you don't choose what input you're going to receive and cast away the input that is of this world and that will eat away at your foundation of faith‚ then you're gonna be sorry.

61. What will you say to the Lord when you come before Him at the end of this life? Will you say, "Well, Lord, I know You gave me all these talents. I know You gave me a lot of training. I know You poured a lot of Word into me. I know You gave me the truth, but I just let those talents get eaten away by the constant flood of movies and their input. I let the ungodliness eat away at my convictions until there were none left"?

62. Or will you say, "Well, Lord, You gave me all these talents. I resisted the things of this world, and I invested Your talents wisely. They multiplied in my life and the lives of others many times over"? If you can say that to Him on that day, then He'll say to you, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!"

63. Lord, please help us all to realize what a serious inroad of the Enemy movies are. Open our eyes to the spirit world. Help us realize that if we want to stay on board for You, if we want to be useful members of this Family‚ if we want to invest what You've given to us wisely, then we're going to have to guard our souls with all diligence. We're going to have to make sure that we're taking in only those things which are good and wholesome, only those things that are going to strengthen us and sustain us in the days to come.

64. And if we're working hard for You and watch movies for relaxation, please help us to choose the ones that are good and the ones that are going to benefit us. Even when we watch these, please help us to be bathed in prayer and choose the good things and cast away those things that are evil and not of You.

65. Jesus, this is something that we're going to need Your help with. We pray that You'll help us to wake up! Help folks to wake up and take this little talk to heart, 'cause it can salvage their usefulness to You.

66. Okay, God bless you, folks! I'm prayin' for you, that as you take this counsel and apply it wisely, you'll grow and become stronger and be even mightier witnessers for the Lord. I know you can do it! You're my Endtime army and I know that you want to press on to all that is in store for you ahead, without being squelched or hindered by the things of this world! I'm proud of you as you take the stand for good movies and against the bad ones, being counted as men and women of guts and conviction! Don't give any place to the Enemy in your movie-watching! You're not ignorant of his devices now. I love you! (End of message from Dad)

Charter Responsibilities

ML #3197:52–55, 61–67, GN 803

Responsibilities of Individual Members:

1. CM Family members should:

A. Maintain a close connection with God through personal communion with Jesus, personal and united prayer and praise‚ personal and united reading of His Word (both the Bible and the Letters), Scripture memorization, and the minimizing and resisting of ungodly and unedifying influences in their lives; thus exhibiting the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are: "love‚ joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance."

52. (Peter: ) The most controversial portion of this clause is the "minimizing and resisting of ungodly and unedifying influences in their lives." This clause has been rather controversial because there is no strict black-and-white definition as to what "ungodly and unedifying" influences are.

53. The points of controversy that have been the most contentious have been the watching of violent or unedifying movies, listening to System music, playing violent or unedifying computer games, foul language, excessive and unwise Internet usage, and worldliness in general. The attitude of some has been, "Well, the Charter doesn't specifically say we can't watch super-violent movies, and I really like them. I don't think they're unedifying for me personally; I can handle it." ... Or, "What's considered unedifying, anyway?"

54. Perhaps the way to look at it is in reverse: "Is this movie or music edifying for me? Does it help me in some way without being harmful in some other way? Is there some information or some moral value contained in it that will help me to be a better Christian or a better person? Does the movie or music promote things or attitudes that we as a Family are for, or does it preach against what we believe?"

55. Of course many movies, even a number of those listed in the Grapevine, are just watched for entertainment. But the question you should ask yourself in your viewing or listening is whether it's edifying entertainment or harmful entertainment. In listing movies in the Grapevine, we try to stay away from entertainment which would be considered harmful. Of course, almost all movies have some measure of violence or unedifying language in them, but there is certainly a difference in the degree of negativity a movie contains, as "You Are What You Watch" brings out. If you have a penchant for violent movies and you are watching them a lot, then perhaps you should ask yourself, "How is this type of movie edifying for me? Are movies like this doing anything good for me? Are they making me a better Christian or a better Family member? Do the effects of these movies draw me closer to the Lord?"

61. If you are unsure about whether something is unedifying, go to the Word, go to the Lord, counsel with your shepherds and be open to what the Word, the Lord and your shepherds say. And when it comes to movies, if you stick to the ones that are published in the Grapevine and WS movie lists, as recommended in the Charter (Home Life Rules, K.), you're less likely to get off track. Not every movie rated "watchable" is a "top" movie that's going to be really spiritually feeding—but the list is a safeguard to keep you from the multitude of much worse movies out there that are much less edifying or time-wasters or even harmful! But even some of the movies on the Grapevine movie lists may not be for everyone, so you need to be sure to read the blurbs and decide whether you want to watch it or not—whether it's your type of movie or suitable for you or others in your Home.

62. Another question is in regards to how much or how little is "minimizing" these ungodly influences. We tried to be realistic when writing the Charter, knowing that it's impossible to completely eliminate every ungodly influence in our life, and so we said we should minimize them. This means to cut back on them as much as possible: to usually avoid them.

63. Perhaps you could find a practical definition by using this example: If your shepherd said that you should minimize the amount of times you have to do dishes or some other job or activity that you don't like to do‚ how often would you do it? Probably not very often—maybe never. Well, that would be your definition of minimize. So if you would minimize something that you don't like to do by cutting back to almost never doing it, then you should apply the same interpretation of minimize when it comes to some ungodly influence and how often you should partake of it.

64. Of course, it's much harder to minimize something that you like or enjoy or have a hankering for. However, our responsibility as Christians is to minimize the influences of the world as much as possible, not as least as possible. The Bible says, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate" (2Cor.6:17). That doesn't sound like just a little bit of minimizing, does it? Please, let's all make an effort to rid our lives of these negative influences and inroads of the Enemy!

65. It is very clear from the Word, both old and new, that some things are unedifying‚ and a steady diet of them is an ungodly influence. There have been a number of GNs that touched on movies, music, foul language, Internet usage and other aspects of worldliness, both specifically and generally, and that have clearly stated the Lord's views on them. Whether you realize it or not‚ regular intake of things of the world does have a detrimental effect on your spirit, and will affect your service for the Lord and loving interaction with others if it hasn't already—all the more so if you're not getting a steady diet of Word to counteract and cleanse you from the System input.

66. Since the Lord's counsel on these matters has been published in the Word, and since you as a Charter Member are expected to read and believe the Word, it is expected that you'll accept what the Lord and we have to say about these things. Whether you personally feel that these affect you negatively or not, God's Word says they do, and as a Charter Member you should avoid and minimize them in your life.

67. If you have an inordinate desire to watch violent videos or movies, or you enjoy a constant diet of System music, or you're extremely desirous of the world and its ways, and you do not want to minimize them in your life, but instead you want to fully drink of these cups, then you need to ask the Lord to deliver you. If you can't let go of them, then you need to ask yourself, "Why am I a Charter Member? Why don't I move to Fellow Member status where I can do these things and still serve the Lord and be a member of the Family?"

More on 'The Shakeup 2000

ML #3262:40-41‚ GN 863

40. (Mama: ) It's clear that some of you in the CM Family have been weakened because of your not minimizing or resisting ungodly and unedifying influences. You've eaten the poisonous grass and drunk of the evil wells from the System, and now some of you are quite sick. Probably the most common of such negative influences are watching bad movies, videos or TV shows; visiting sites on the Internet that are not profitable or educational or helpful, but which promote ungodly views that are contrary to the Word; reading novels that are obviously full of very negative propaganda or subtle wrong attitudes that are spiritually detrimental, or that have not been approved by your Home; reading pornographic material; playing violent computer games; participating in ugly, divisive e-mail communications; failing to follow the counsel given in the MLs and Family publications regarding listening to System music; using foul language, and going overboard on drinking alcoholic beverages.

41. It is absolutely necessary that you make a definite effort to minimize and resist these influences in your life by applying the New Wine practically and spiritually to your life, and if you fail to do so consistently, you're contravening the Charter and the Charter membership contract and you will be asked to move to Fellow Member status.

Understanding Prophecy, Part 2

ML #3304:100–110, 119-120‚ GN 905

100. (Question:) What effect, if any‚ does it have on a person's channel if they're not minimizing unedifying and ungodly influences in their life, or they just started to seriously minimize, but before that had perverted appetites for the things of the world? Does contact with System music, bad computer games, reading System books, watching violent, senseless or time-wasting movies; surfing the Internet (including not just really bad stuff, but unnecessary general browsing) affect a person's ability to be a clear channel?

101. (Jesus speaking:) Everything that you take into your mind and spirit affects you. There is no one who is not affected negatively in some way when they partake of System influence via movies, music‚ novels, worldly attitudes put forth in newspapers, magazines, or the Internet. All of that propaganda of the Enemy goes into your being and becomes part of you.

102. If you have a strong foundation of faith, you're less affected, and the propaganda doesn't gain a firm hold in your heart and mind, as long as you take the time to wash yourself regularly with the Word and My Spirit. But if you're weak in faith and you have bad Word and prayer habits, then the propaganda from the System has more effect. And it's a cumulative effect, growing more and more harmful with time. The more you take it in and the longer you allow it to remain in your heart and mind, the stronger the influence, especially if you don't wash it away with the Word.

103. Those who have taken in much System influence over time subconsciously develop perverted reactions and thought patterns. That System influence can be in the form of such things as excessive movie watching, or the watching of bad movies, or listening to evil music, or playing violent computer games, or receiving the vain philosophies of man. Because of the System influence and their entertaining the wrong attitudes or ways of looking at things, even without their realizing it, they develop a mentality that is ungodly. That ungodly mentality wars against the spirit. It's in sharp contrast to the ways of My Kingdom, but the unsuspecting victim often doesn't realize that their first reactions and many of the conclusions they draw are not Word-based.

104. Because of this, the person is at a disadvantage when it comes to hearing from Me‚ because they're not in a position where they can easily discern the spirits and judge what voice is of Me and what is not. Their senses have become dulled because they've heard the voices of the Enemy's world for so long, so they don't recognize that it's wrong, and that those voices and attitudes and reactions have become a part of them.

105. When a person is in this state spiritually‚ their prophecies will likely be less pure. Therefore, until such a person gets cleaned up spiritually by taking in massive doses of My Word, having united prayer, and having his thought processes brought in line with My way of seeing things‚ then he will need to be very careful with his prophecies—careful to seek confirmations and counsel from those who are spiritually stronger.

106. As a person who has been contaminated by the world for a period of time seeks the cleansing power of My Word, prayer‚ and the spirit, they will become a more reliable channel, a clearer one. But it stands to reason that someone who has taken in from the System without limit, who has drunk deeply of the evil wells of the wisdom of man and his perversions, and who has built up a large "database" of stored System values and attitudes in their mind, will have to flush that out and be cleansed and strengthened in spirit.

107. I'm still able to speak to those who are contaminated by a long-term deep feeding of the System, but they must realize their handicap and be very desperate. They must also be aware that there could be some impurities from the Enemy and from their perverted mindsets that can slip into the prophecies because of their weak spiritual state. This can happen because they're not finely attuned to My voice and ways, so when they hear the voice of the Enemy, they don't recognize that it goes contrary to My Word and Spirit, and therefore they're not able to raise a standard against the Enemy's voice on the spot.

108. This is another type of serious tainting of My messages that comes about as a result of the channel being dirtied through System influence‚ especially System influence that has been taken in over a long period of time. This type of tainted prophecy is often characterized by compromise and a general permissiveness that pushes the boundaries and guidelines of the Word and the Charter to the limit.

109. If someone wants to be a reliable channel, one who receives complete prophecies that are the result of great faith and yieldedness‚ then that person must seek to cleanse their mind and spirit of the ways of the world. If the influence of the world has been great, it will take more time and a conscientious effort to reprogram the channel's mind so that their first reactions and mindset are in line with My Word and the truth, rather than the perversions of the world, and so that they can recognize My voice and discern when the Enemy's voice tries to butt in. If someone has been contaminated by much input from the world, he should take more time in the Word and prayer, and even have a prayer of deliverance.

110. Even if people have good habits in the Word, if they have regular contact with the world through movies, the Internet‚ novels, etc., they must raise a standard against the influence of that contact through prayer and a plea to Me that I will wash them clean as they drink deeply of the things of the spirit. (End of message from Jesus.)

119. (Mama:) It might look like quite a sacrifice, a real costly venture, to have to minimize ungodly influences, especially when they involve your favorite pastimes. You might be quite dependent on your regular "fixes" of violent movies, since you think all other movies are boring; or surfing the Net to stay abreast of the latest opinions on whatever you're interested in; or peeking in on perverted sex sites, just to "see what's out there." To overcome those addictions is tough!

120. But just remember that while you might feel like you're losing an awful lot by kicking the habit, you have much more to gain. Having a clear‚ dependable channel will do you a lot more good not just in the future, but today, than those other pleasures and entertainments. It's a sacrifice, I know, but the Lord can give you really cool stuff in place of the earthly things you're presently enjoying. I'm talking about the secrets and mysteries and wonders of the spirit world—all kinds of far-out truths.

Reading and Viewing

#1, 12, 13, 23, MOP 2

Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? (Pro.6:27).

1. Be as careful of the books you read as of the company you keep‚ for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as the latter.

12. You are what you read, and what you're hungry for!

13. Whatever you're reading is spiritual food!—Spiritually good or spiritually bad!

23. Any kind of violence in movies or TV is very bad for children.

Articles and messages from the END

END 4:

Want to Raise Kids from Hell? Here's a How-to Primer

By Donna Britt‚ The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Just for laughs, let's pretend. Say we wanted to create, in a relatively peaceful society, a nation of youthful killers, or at least just millions of aggressive young jerks.

How could we do it? We would have to start early. Analyzing infants‚ we would realize their desperate need for love and intimacy. We would also note that a baby's only real job is to study‚ digest and mimic everything he or she encounters.

Then we would go to work. We would create an economy in which, in most families, both parents needed to work outside the home to survive. Soon after birth, babies would be placed with caregivers who would tend to their basic needs but who, in most cases, would lack the time and interest to invest the same kind of love and attention as parents.

Working parents would remain on the job for ever-increasing hours. Their "free" time at home would be eaten up by bill-paying, cooking, cleaning, helping with homework and finishing tasks uncompleted in the workplace.

Many children would still receive considerable love and attention. To minimize that, we could design, say, an electronic box that beamed seductive, violent images into every dwelling.

The box would feature some uplifting programming—comedy, romance‚ educational shows. But it would also provide fistfights, beatings‚ rapes and murders.

Now a few troublesome kids would realize that such images are fiction. So we would invent "news" shows, highlighting real-life mayhem from local, national and even international sources. The box could also provide "talk shows" in which real people aired their problems before slapping‚ kicking and otherwise attacking each other as audiences cheered.

But this still might fail to make enough children violent. So what if we invented strikingly realistic visual computer "games"? Children could shoot, impale or beat to death lifelike images of people and monsters. Blood could splatter, "victims" could instantly revive to be killed again and again!

Some pesky parents would, of course, limit their children's exposure to the box and the games. To deal with that, we could create public living rooms, complete with comfortable chairs and popcorn! Here, children could share with strangers the thrill of experiencing, on gigantic screens and with sophisticated sound systems, vivid moving images of stabbings, garrotings, explosions and dismemberments.

Also‚ in certain parts of the country, rural and urban, we could glorify guns, make folks think they cannot live without firearms. Then we could make it relatively easy for anyone, even children, to get them.

Still not enough? We could do something with music. Kids love music, as anyone who has watched a baby react to a lullaby can attest. We could attach violent, materialistic or overtly sexualized images to music.

We could even persuade certain music-makers to celebrate guns, greed and irresponsible sex in their songs! They, too, could provide images for the box—of threatening–looking men and barely dressed women, all singing about the glories of instant, consequence-free gratification of every urge.

To be sure that children got the pro–violence message, we adults could pretend to abhor brutishness. Kids are natural rebels. So we could bemoan violence ceaselessly in the media, and—this is key—feign astonishment each time a youngster assaulted or killed someone.

So. If a society actually did those crazy things, would children—not every child, just way too many of them—behave in frighteningly aggressive ways?

Maybe. But what intelligent culture could be so stupid? Just thinking about the prospect is scary. Thank God it's just pretend.

It's only a movie?

Mona Charen

In Paducah, Ky., 14-year–old Michael Carneal entered his high school during the pre-school hours carrying five guns. He found the room where a group of his friends were holding a prayer meeting and began shooting to kill. Three girls were shot dead. Another six were wounded. One is permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

How could a normal child commit such a despicable crime? How could he shoot down his friends in cold blood? While the absolute number of crimes is down, the nature of crimes committed, particularly by the very young, continues to shock and dismay us.

Normal teenaged girls have given birth in toilet bowls and then left their offspring in trash bins. Other normal kids have lured strangers to their homes—in New Jersey it was a pizza delivery man—for the pure pleasure of killing. In New York‚ two middle-class teenagers killed a wino they had met in Central Park and then attempted to mutilate his body so that police would be unable to identify him.

The streets of inner cities are pock-marked by the sites of casual murders; murders for sneakers, murders for clothes, murders over basketball games and murders because someone "dissed" someone else.

Michael Carneal says he was inspired by the movie "The Basketball Diaries," which features a dream sequence in which a kid who is teased gets revenge by killing his classmates with a shotgun.

Our kids are marinated in violence from an early age. The images they see and hear—from Nine Inch Nails to Marilyn Manson—are so grotesque that they dull the senses.

Clearly, the causes of violence are complex. There have always been tormented teenagers. But only recently have they thought it reasonable to blow their classmates away with shotguns. If I were a Hollywood producer who put before the eyes of impressionable kids images that glorify violence, I would find it awfully hard to sleep at night.

(Dad:) A nation that has forgotten God, and now they reap the whirlwind! They have sown violence and will reap violence. "Where did we go wrong?" the parents ask. "How could my little darling do this?" Very easily. There are lots of kids out there who are really tormented by the Devil and his minions, but because their parents are not there for them and don't take the time they need to comfort and take proper care of them, they're pushed over the edge and end up doing such horrible things. They're the product of a nation that has forgotten just where their values are meant to come from. They have turned to money‚ power and Hollywood for answers, and have been found wanting.

It's time for parents to wake up to the plight of their children! It's time for parents to see just where they are letting their children go by means of their selfish interests and by not taking time for the kids! Let this be a lesson on taking the time needed to minister to your kids. They are the greatest mission field there is, and if you neglect them, this is what could happen. Don't let it go till it is too late, like these poor parents did! Do something now, today! Teach and train them today and protect them from the effects of such evil movies.

Movies are a tool, and it all depends on who is on the other end of it. If the Lord is there and it is inspired‚ they can be an uplifting experience. But if the Devil and his demons are on the end of that tool, they can really screw things up. This is why we have movie guidelines and rules. You should really pray about what you're subjecting your audience to.

Some movies are inspired by the Lord, and many are just made for the sake of making money. But there are also those that are direct inspirations of the Devil, made to instill fear, hate and horror. These movies are evil, insipid‚ vile, Satanic and horrible! Some of our own youth have gotten into some of these and it hasn't borne good fruit. You are called and chosen to be God's Endtime soldiers of faith, so don't subject yourself to the filth of the Devil. Avoid such things at all costs. You can't say, "I can take it. I'm strong." It's like saying, "I can eat this sewage. My stomach is strong." Nonsense!

This is no game we are playing, this is a war of life and death‚ and unfortunately the Devil seems to be winning it in the world right now. Stand up and fight against these attacks! You are what you watch!

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TV Violence and Values

What Children See and Do: Studies of Violence on TV. (The Christian Science Monitor) The simplicity of the experiment at the day-care center and the starkness of the results stunned the parents.

When a class of two- to five-year-olds watched public television's big-hearted purple dinosaur, "Barney," they sang along, marched along, held one another's hands, and laughed together.

The next day, the same class watched the aggressive teenage avengers‚ "Power Rangers." Within minutes, they were karate-chopping and high-kicking the air—and one another.

"Even though the goal of these programs isn't to teach, our kids are learning because they're always learning," says David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family, who conducted the experiment.

According to the National Television Violence Study‚ prime-time violence‚ on both broadcast and cable networks, has increased since 1994. The study also concluded that the way violence is portrayed in most instances—glamorized, sanitized‚ and without negative consequences—poses a serious risk to children.

"These patterns teach children that violence is desirable, necessary, and painless," says Dale Kunkel of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where the study was done.

Film violence eroding moral values. (The Age Melbourne) Society's obsession with materialism and violent films has resulted in many children growing up with little or no understanding of moral or spiritual values.

Ms. Diane Tilmann, an American educational psychologist, said materialism and violence in films had diverted "time and focus away from traditional pastimes and the transmission of culture and spiritual values. We have not yet recognized the profound influence of violence in films on youth. It is time to look at what we are creating."

Addressing a United Nations-sponsored conference on education in Melbourne, Ms. Tilmann cited recent United States statistics on television viewing habits which found that the average 11-year-old had watched 10,000 murders on television.

Another survey showed that 45 percent of Americans said they would want $1 million to give up their television while 25 percent said they would need more than $1 million.

"One can sit in front of TV and simply have the mind filled. Many children, consequently‚ have limited time for the essential tasks of childhood which are critical for physical, cognitive, emotional, spiritual and social growth," Ms. Tilmann said.

(Dad: ) It's funny that when studies like this come out, people think they're finding out something new! When children's heads get packed so full of violence, of course they're going to imitate it and become like that! "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." If you're constantly feeding and thinking and meditating on all that System junk, of course that's how you're going to be! The world is reaping what it's sown, the fruits of all these violent images‚ and will continue to even more in the future.

The Devil got just what he wanted. He not only got all this violence and horrible imagery that's filling these kids' hearts and minds, but he's successfully deceived people into taking away what would have balanced it out—all the good influences of the Lord and His love, the Bible and prayer. So there's not much left except the monopoly that the Devil has on their minds and hearts through television. He's been taking full advantage of it, too—brainwashing them to become his little violent robots to hurt instead of love.

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Deadly parallels in video games. (Sally Loane) Video games that teach children to "shoot" people on screen replicate U.S. military training programs designed to break a person's natural inhibition to kill, according to a US child protection expert visiting Australia. Dr. James Garbarino‚ a professor at Cornell University, told the NSW Child Protection Council conference that US defense services found only one in five soldiers in World War II was physically able to point his gun at the enemy and shoot. "The army changed their training from practicing shooting at bullseyes to shooting at targets with a human form," Dr. Garbarino said. "This led to an almost total breakdown of humans' inhibition to kill other humans. The 'point-and-shoot' video games for children exactly mimic the army training."

Dr. Garbarino said that just as the physical environment was becoming increasingly polluted, so the social environment was also becoming toxic, particularly for children. "Those children who soak up the toxicity of a deprived and dangerous background are like psychological asthmatics. In the last 20 years in America there has been a doubling of serious mental health problems in children. This is like the cancer rate going up as a result of physical pollution. This is social toxicity at work. Video games and violence on TV are especially damaging for psychological asthmatics."

(Dad:) Satan wants a world of killers and horrors! How better to do this than with something that all enjoy—computer games. I am not saying that all these games are bad, but if you're one who has gotten hooked on evil, violent, morbid games of this sort‚ you'd better beware. It's not wholesome and it will destroy your spiritual life. Like the Bible says‚ you can't take fire into your bosom and not be burned. So you can't take this violent play into your life and not suffer the spiritual consequences. Beware!

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When life imitates video

Compiled from articles by John Leo, US News & World Report, and David Grossman, Christianity Today

Was it real life or an acted-out video game? Marching through a large building using various bombs and guns to pick off victims is a conventional video-game scenario. In the Colorado massacre, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris used pistol–grip shotguns, as in some video–arcade games. The pools of blood, screams of agony, and pleas for mercy must have been familiar—they are featured in some of the newer and more realistic kill-for-kicks games. “With each kill,” the Los Angeles Times reported, "the teens cackled and shouted as though playing one of the morbid video games they loved." And they ended their spree by shooting themselves in the head‚ the final act in the game Postal, and, in fact, the only way to end it.

We are now a society in which the chief form of play for millions of youngsters is making large numbers of people die. Hurting and maiming others is the central fun activity in video games played so addictively by the young. A widely cited survey of 900 fourth-through-eighth-grade students found that almost half of the children said their favorite electronic games involve violence. Can it be that all this constant training in make-believe killing has no social effects?

The conventional argument is that this is a harmless activity among children who know the difference between fantasy and reality. But the games are often played by unstable youngsters unsure about the difference. Many of these have been maltreated or rejected and left alone most of the time (a precondition for playing the games obsessively). Adolescent feelings of resentment, powerlessness, and revenge pour into the killing games. In these children, the games can become a dress rehearsal for the real thing.

Psychologist David Grossman of Arkansas State University, a retired Army officer, thinks “point and shoot” video games have the same effect as military strategies used to break down a soldier's aversion to killing. During World War II only 15 to 20 percent of all American soldiers fired their weapon in battle. Shooting games in which the target is a man-shaped outline‚ the Army found, made recruits more willing to “make killing a reflex action.”

Video games are much more powerful versions of the military's primitive discovery about overcoming the reluctance to shoot. The Marine Corps is adapting a version of Doom, the hyperviolent game played by one of the Littleton killers, for its own training purposes.

Some newer games seem intent on erasing children's empathy and concern for others. Once the intended victims of video slaughter were mostly gangsters or aliens. Now some games invite players to blow away ordinary people who have done nothing wrong—pedestrians, marching bands, an elderly woman with a walker. One ad for a Sony game says: “Get in touch with your gun-toting, testosterone-pumping, cold-blooded murdering side.”

These killings are supposed to be taken as harmless jokes. But the bottom line is that the young are being invited to enjoy the killing of vulnerable people picked at random. This looks like the final lesson in a course to eliminate any lingering resistance to killing.

“We have to start worrying about what we are putting into the minds of our young,” says Grossman. “Pilots train on flight simulators, drivers on driving simulators, and now we have our children on murder simulators.”

TV plays a part as well. “We have introduced forms and amounts of media violence beyond anything achieved in other countries,” says Harvard scholar Sissela Bok in her 1998 book Mayhem. According to the American Psychological Association, the average child will witness at least 8,000 murders on TV by the time he or she leaves elementary school, along with more than 100,000 assorted other acts of violence.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published the definitive study on the impact of TV violence. The research demonstrated what happened in numerous nations after television made its appearance. In every nation‚ region, or city with television, there is an immediate explosion of violence on the playground, and within 15 years there is a doubling of the murder rate. Why 15 years? That is how long it takes for the brutalization of a three- to five-year-old to reach the “prime crime age.” That is how long it takes for you to reap what you have sown when you brutalize and desensitize a three-year-old.

Today the data linking violence in the media to violence in society are superior to those linking cancer and tobacco. Hundreds of sound scientific studies demonstrate the social impact of brutalization by the media. The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that “the introduction of television in the 1950's caused a subsequent doubling of the homicide rate; i.e., long-term childhood exposure to television is a causal factor behind approximately one half of the homicides committed in the U.S., or approximately 10,000 homicides annually.” The article went on to say that “...if, hypothetically, television technology had never been developed‚ there would today be 10,000 fewer homicides each year in the United States, 70,000 fewer rapes, and 700,000 fewer injurious assaults” (June 10, 1992).

(Dad: ) They've reaped what they sowed. In fact, they've reaped above and beyond what they sowed; they sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind, a virtual tornado of destruction!

They started by removing the Lord from the schools, from society, from government. And of course without the Lord, there are no definite standards of right and wrong, so their young people grew up confused. Then, too often their parents weren't home to talk to them and help them out of their confusion. So the young people attended secular schools and returned to empty homes where they overcame boredom by watching violent TV shows or playing violent games, or hanging out with ungodly friends or gangs, getting into trouble.

No God‚ no standards and no parents or supervision combined with secular education and shooting on TV or video—not to mention drugs and drinking—equals lots of problems for young people. Throw in the easy availability of guns, and you've got a sure-fire recipe for some death and destruction!

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(Jesus:) The spirit of war, of killing‚ of bloodshed and violence is not of Me, nor is it part of Christianity. It is not from Heaven but from Hell, for the spirit of war comes from the Enemy himself. He was a murderer from the beginning, a deceiver and a liar, and he uses his lies to stir men up to murder‚ bloodshed, and war. He hates life, so he seeks to destroy it, or to pervert it and turn it against Me.

I am the Prince of Peace, and I came for love, lived for love‚ and died for love. I gave My life a sacrifice for many, and in dying, I brought grace to man, abolishing the old ways and the old laws and setting men free. I did away with "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," which was for a different time and a different people, a different world. Instead, I told men to love their enemies, for justice and vengeance are Mine. I will repay, for I am not only a loving God, but a righteous one.

I am also a patient God, long-suffering with man, for I know his frame. So I have borne long with the injustices, oppression and wars of men, though I have wept at their brutality, cruelty and suffering. But these days are drawing to an end, and unless I shorten them man will not only destroy himself but the planet on which he dwells.

So when man's cup of iniquity is full, in but a little season, when he goes so far as to make war on Me, I will return. This time I will not come as a babe‚ nor as one who is brought as a lamb to the slaughter. This time I will come as King of kings and Lord of lords, with the armies of Heaven behind Me, and will slay all who would war against Me.

Then will the world be at peace, and men will beat their swords into plowshares and learn war no more.

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