Light a candle outside a movie theatre. That was author and speaker Eric Metaxas' suggestion to call America to what movie goers of Django Unchained and Texas Chainsaw 3-D are supporting. Many attending Django and Texas Chainsaw probably don' t think they're supporting violence, like that found at the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, but attending the film sure isn't a stand for the lives of those lost.
Django Unchained director Quentin Tarantino, in a recent NPR interview was questioned by host Terry Gross on the impact his movie may have on the recent culture of killing present in shootings across the United States. Tarantino responds:
I've been asked this question for 20 years -- about the effects of violence in movies related to violence in real life. My answer is the same 20 years ago. It hasn't changed one iota. Obviously, I don't think one has to do with the other.
Tarantino may not cast a deciding vote in the debate of whether his movies are responsible for recent violence in the United States. We're not saying that removing violent films from culture will solve the issue of violence either, however we do believe that watching violent acts creates a natural path in the brain that desensitizes and dehumanizes God's creation.
Popular opinion raises a voice to Tarentino in response to his comments on impressions of violence in real life. A recent Huffington Post article noted that The Hollywood Reporter found 70 percent of consumers think Hollywood products like Django Unchained are too violent. However, though this is confessed with the public's lips, their heart actions stand in opposition. Django Unchained has grossed $114 million through January 10th, beating films like The Hobbit and Les Miserables in box office attendance.
The Hobbit and Les Miserables were a holiday tale of hope and redemption that was usurped in the New Year by violent visuals in Texas Chainsaw and Django Unchained. Despite the public's report of Tarentino's imaginative films being "too violent" their attendance to the 5600 theatres showing Django and Texas Chainsaw 3-D show 200 million "certificates of appreciation" which were more appreciative of violence rather than redemption.
This hard-to-swallow pill, showing the state of our current culture, is a worldview issue. When God is removed from storytelling, restoration is left to the mightiest warrior who is fearless to explore the depths of a depraved mind. In contrast, a God-filled story identifies the fracturing result of sin in humanity and communicates redemption and healing for brokenness.
The Gospel of Christ is redemption sought before the precipice of humanity's dark imaginative storytelling. Metaxas' call to "light a candle for Newtown", protesting violent films by holding vigils outside of theatres, may not be everyone's way of shining the light of Christ in this dark area. However, we all know someone who appreciates the abyss of darkness that violent films highlight. Our call is to bring the hope of Christ to them, calling a new neurological pathway to form. A pathway that highlights life over death, and redemption over revenge. Stories that communicate hope find their significance in the story of Jesus Christ. The story of Christ is the foundation of healing in building a new understanding of the world, calling God's children in meaningful hope to live a life of significance.