As a young parent, I made unforced errors within my spiritual leadership responsibilities. Many were consequences of not reading the Word of God. A few were directly linked to disobedience. You see, I spent a lot of time indoctrinating my children into the culture. For instance, I convinced myself that they needed to appreciate the movies I obsessed over as a youth. Star Wars and superhero cinema were at the top of the list. I reasoned that consuming these cultural icons was a rite of passage. I was tragically wrong.
Like many Generation Xers, I was shaped by popular culture. I remember waiting in line patiently to see Star Wars in 1977. This piece of cultural influence would last into my adult life. Concepts like “The Force” and “Jedi” would be idolized in terms of time and money spent.
George Lucas, who is often referred to as a “Buddhist/Methodist,” drew upon Far Eastern religions to construct the Star Wars saga. The prime driver of his mythology is Taoism. In 1999, he would blend Christianity into his franchise by establishing that the overarching character, Anakin Skywalker, was born of a virgin.
Amusement Designed to Marginalize God
Many cultural Christians dubiously congratulate Lucas for “acknowledging Christ.” But they fail to see that taking such liberties has produced insensitivity to God’s holiness. To be frank, they miss the irreverent disposition of mixing the truth with false religions and fantasy.
In my second career as a school teacher, I have witnessed how the world’s sleight of hand confuses young people and marginalizes God. Kids are vastly illiterate when it comes to Scripture. However, they are intensely plugged into concepts that originate from fantasy like Marvel and Star Wars. When approached with the truth of Christ, many will compare it with storylines in graphic novels, comics, or movies. Satan has effectively diminished the truth via entertainment productions. The god of this world attempts to label the gospel as fiction.
Interestingly enough, I recently encountered an excellent illustration of this point. While in a Barnes & Noble store, I walked by a display of books labeled “Rediscover a Classic.” The books presented included Peter Pan, Sherlock Holmes, and the Holy Bible. Barnes & Noble intentionally placed high-quality, gold-lined illustrated Bibles with literary fiction.
Today, Disney is the owner of Marvel and Star Wars. The Company exhibits an antichrist spirit by attempting to indoctrinate children. The House of Mouse actively pushes and normalizes alternative lifestyles.
Beyond supporting agendas that conflict with God’s design, Disney and its Marvel subsidiary have made open, brazen attacks on God. For instance, in the opening moments of Avengers: Infinity War, the character Thanos refers to himself as “I am.” During the initial stages of the film, there is implied human suffering that must occur for the antagonist (the bad guy).
In addition to direct assaults on God’s nature, Marvel deploys protagonists that use witchcraft. In 2016, the filmmaker adapted “Dr. Strange” to the big screen. In Marvel’s comics, this character is known as the Sorcerer Supreme…he is able to cast spells and travel through dimensions. Audiences flocked to the movie version. There was no pushback from parents who allowed young children to participate in viewing. Since then, Marvel has produced multiple works that feature Dr. Strange and another sorcerer referred to as the “Scarlet Witch.”
Just a few years ago, when the Harry Potter series came to film, some expressed concern regarding glamorized witchcraft. In 2022, most American Christians don’t “bat an eye” at questionable content. Items such as sorcery are pretty much mainstream. They have become a part of our cultural canon.
Consequently, there has been a groundswell of people who follow dark magic and satanic practices in the U.S. As reported by Newsweek, witchcraft has risen dramatically. In 1990, a Trinity College study estimated the presence of 8,000 Wiccans in America. Today, approximately 1.5 million witches practice in our country. This uprise is occurring as Millennials are rejecting Christianity. Indoctrination from Hollywood and educational institutions has been a driving factor in this paradigm shift.
Yet, Scripture identifies sorcery as a deadly serious matter. The Apostle Paul emphatically states those practicing witchcraft will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). Furthermore, Revelation 21:8 explains that sorcerers will experience the second death in hell. Our Holy God deems these practices as abominations.
The World isn’t Neutral, It is Intentional
Unfortunately, many will proclaim popular culture’s depiction of fantasy religions and sorcery as mere fun. Likewise, cultural Christians will state that only legalistic killjoys are offended. But blindness and unbelief inoculate the issue. Tough questions have to be asked.
If we consume everything the Disney’s of the world have to offer, how does it relate to denying ourselves? How does it correlate with rejecting the world’s patterns? How does it connect to having sincere respect for our Holy God?
In the final analysis, Christ-followers must understand that the world is not neutral. It desires to take hearts away from God, and it expects His holiness to be questioned. In
2 Corinthians 11:14, the Apostle Paul explains that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Scripture also states that Satan's objective is to devour and destroy. In our time, we should always remember that “pop culture candy” is one of the fallen angel's prime weapons.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they added up the prices of the books and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver.
2 Corinthians 4:4
…in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they will not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 11:14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Peter 5:8
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and sexually immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.