Disclaimer: this article is written from the perspective of the Christian persuasion and does not seek to represent or critique the views of other religious/faith/spiritual perspectives. The author finds himself accountable only to the parties explicitly mentioned in this article.
My friend posted this link earlier today and it’s really got me thinking about the issue of censorship, particularly, of the religious kind. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the rejection and censorship by the Church of various forms of media (books, articles, movies, etc) which portray the Church or its associated persons, traditions and beliefs in a negative light. Generally speaking, there are gross extremes which are not my focus, rather my attention is upon mainstream popular culture of the day (e.g. Harry Potter, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, etc).
The link above points to an issue where a student attending, I presume a private Catholic school, has banned specific written works from its library and school grounds. Such books include: The Godfather, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Animal Farm, The Brother Grimm Unabridged Fairytales, Twilight, the list goes on; some of these books are considered classics of their day. Why have they been censored by the school, because “most of the books were banned because they contained information that opposed Catholisism.”
Likewise, today, many Catholics/Christians have responded likewise to various media. The Catholic Church refused any association with Ron Howard’s recently released “Angels & Demons” based on the book by Dan Brown. Many Christian circles have denounced J. K. Rowling’s ever popular “Harry Potter” series for their references to magic, witches and the occult. History is full of stories where the Church has rejected, censored, even destroyed media which it disagreed with. Charles Darwin’s work on the theory of evolution, Galileo’s observations about the world, the Gnostic Gospels, just to name a few.
As a man of faith, further, as one who seeks to be a minister of faith, such actions only further destroy the credibility and integrity of faith. While I may not agree with the media of these persuasions, it does not lead me to their destruction nor censorship. (Though, in relation to cultic/non-mainstream material, I am of a different stance which I will not discuss here.) Instead, such media spur me to promote a deeper understanding of the truth which I profess.
I dare to ask this question to the people of faith: Is your faith so little that media (e.g. Harry Potter, Da Vinci Code, etc) would shake up your world? Is your God so little that a book or a movie will do Him so much harm? Does He need you to protect Him from attacks on His truth? Who are you kidding? God doesn’t need to be protected. If you desire to uphold truth, then let it shine through in the way that you live, speak, act – not through your ungodly conviction of destruction of all that is “heretical”. The biggest deterrent to faith has been the hypocrisy of believers, cliche as it be, actions speak louder than words; actions that reject the world we live in will only send the message that you reject all that it represents.
Here’s some alternative food for thought: in such media, though you may not agree, are you able to see the gifts God has blessed humanity with. The creativity to dream and imagine such stories, the intelligence to explore the realms of science, the desire to understand beyond their comprehension… For too long, Satan has taken the things of God and perverted them, it is about time that God’s gifts are seen for what they are and redeemed.