Desensitized to Death?

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The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:26)

The Bible tells us that death is an “enemy,” and that one day it will be "cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14).

I know “desensitized” is not a commonly used word, but I use it to challenge us with this question: Have even Christians become desensitized to death? I ask this question after reading a number of comments on my public Facebook page and the AiG Facebook page after we posted some observations about the new blockbuster dinosaur movie, Jurassic World.

I watched Jurassic World last week because I knew people would ask our opinion of a film about dinosaurs. Of course, once I gave my opinion, a number of people got upset with me! But, I’m used to this kind of reaction: it seems whatever I write, some people will object to it—that’s the nature of this life. The posting of negative comments is also a part of the nature of the Internet: it allows people to express opinions they may not have thought through carefully enough!

Now, I called the movie violent and “gory” because a lot of humans were killed and eaten by dinosaurs in this film. Plus dinosaurs are eating dinosaurs—it's all very graphic. After all, a common definition of “gory” is: “involving or showing violence and bloodshed.”

People posted Facebook comments saying that the movie wasn’t that gory—that kids are used to such killing in movies and TV programs. One lady appeared insulted that I seemed to tell her she shouldn’t send her kids to see such a movie! Well, I didn’t tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do—just that I wouldn’t want my grandkids seeing it because it was gory—yes, gory.

I also pointed out that there were some references to evolution in the film, and many people commented that this fact wouldn’t stop their family seeing it since that content would help them point out the evolutionary statements. But as far as I could see, not one person who said they were taking their family to see the movie said they would make sure they discussed, for example, the issue of death from a biblical perspective. In fact, I think many Christians have become “desensitized” to death! And I think so many in the younger generations are not challenged to think about  death—including as presented in this new movie—in a correct, biblical way.

With the instance of when Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus, many Bible scholars explain that this account shows He was a true man (the God-man) exhibiting sympathy and compassion. But it also shows that He was angry at death. Christ was about to deal death its “death blow” by dying on the Cross and being raised again. You see, all human beings are under the judgment of death because of sin (Genesis 3). In fact, when we experience that horrible separation between us and a loved one who dies, we need to be reminded of how a much greater separation has occurred between us and our God because of sin. Yes, death is an enemy! We also need to remember that for those who do not receive the free gift of salvation, the Bible tells us they will suffer a “second death” (Revelation 20:14).

Think about it! Those who are outside of Christ will suffer eternity separated from God. When we watch a movie like Jurassic World and see human beings being killed and devoured by dinosaurs, are we abhorred at the depiction of death? Are we reminded that if all those people had been non-Christians in a real world, they would be separated from God for eternity?

I don’t think most Christians even think things through like this. We are so used to seeing death all around us, including depicted in fictional films, and we often forget that we are living in a fallen world because of our sin and that death is a judgment on each one of us. Certainly when someone close to us dies, it makes us think about death and even our own death. But I believe that because so many people in our churches believe in millions of years of death, and even many popular Christian leaders (pastors, professors, and so on) also accept millions of years, that the meaning of death is largely taken away. Also, because many pastors either don’t (or hardly ever) deal with the origin of sin and death in Genesis (several Christians have told me they’ve never heard preaching from the book of Genesis in their church), many don’t think about these subjects as they should.

No wonder many of our young people think it's just entertainment when they watch a movie full of death and violence. If a Christian believes the fossil record was laid down over millions of years before man appeared (as many do, and as the majority of Christian academics accept), then death, bloodshed, violence, carnivory, disease, suffering, and thorns (all of which are evidenced in the fossil record) existed before man. But the Bible tells us that after God made man, He declared everything He made “very good” (Genesis 1:31). So if generations are brought up in the church to believe in millions of years, then they think the death and violence around them is just the way God normally works in our world and it’s all supposedly "very good!" Yes, I do believe God’s people are becoming desensitized to death.

Also, think about this: If such death, bloodshed, and violence is really entertaining and commonplace, and is, in fact, the way God works, then why would children and teens be concerned about the same sort of violence in the womb? If it’s entertainment to kill people outside the womb, why not inside the womb as well through abortion?

Now I know some people are going to object and claim I’m taking this argument to an extreme. But am I really? Should we treat human death lightly? Jesus wept at death. Jesus came to save us from the “second death.” Death is an ever-constant reminder we are under judgment because of sin. Death is an enemy, an intrusion into this once “very good” world because of our sin. When we see death, should we not cry out as God in His Word tells us who we are through Paul?

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? ((Romans 7:24)

Yes, Jurassic World is just a movie. Yes, the special effects were incredible. Yes, the digitally animated dinosaurs looked real. Yes, the film will make hundreds of millions of dollars. But if you do watch this movie (as I did) and you see the constant death of humans, hear God’s Word taken in vain and all the expletives, and notice the sexual connotations, how about remembering this verse and meditate on it for a while:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

And also be reminded that as parents, we are responsible before God to do our best to train our children so that they may understand the eternal importance of receiving the free gift of salvation and not experience the “second death.”

For an in-depth review of the movie, you can read the article written by Frost Smith and Troy Lacey posted on the Answers in Genesis website.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

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