This is Part 2 of my reflections about the James Holmes murder saga. The Denver theater where the slaughter occurred was premiering the third and final sequence of a Batman movie trilogy called “The Dark Knight Rising.” I didn’t (and won’t) see the film, but I did watch one of the 2-minute trailers on YouTube. It was enough.
Sexy women, scary scenes, and above all — intense violence. As the father of a 4-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy, I can’t help but question the wisdom of those parents who allowed (or brought) their kids to see such a movie. At midnight no less. A three hour film! Now, I’m not blaming the suffering victims, mothers, fathers, grandparents and relatives for killer James Holmes’ heartless actions as he systematically walked up and down the rows shooting at random those who had just eaten a handful of popcorn. No. I ache for them. If my children had been there, my wife and I would be devastated.
As new details emerge about this horrific nightmare, I feel compelled to sound a clarion warning to parents to KEEP YOUR KIDS AWAY FROM VIOLENT ENTERTAINMENT.
First of all, “The Dark Knight Rising” is violent. Very violent. My conscience tells me it is no place for children — or for anyone for that matter. Like I said, how can parents allow their kids to watch such gore? Not too many years ago, it wouldn’t happen, at least on such a massive scale. But times have changed. Step by step, parents and children have become desensitized to what would previously have shocked them. It’s an insidious, slow process. C.S. Lewis once correctly wrote, “The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” That’s the way it is with dark entertainment. Step by step movies, videos, video games, websites and cell phone games become just a little more graphic, and a little more violent. Until finally, a parent can take a 6-year-old to “The Dark Knight Rising” without any qualms of conscience whatsoever.
Parents, KEEP YOUR KIDS AWAY FROM VIOLENT ENTERTAINMENT.
Next, like it or not, James Holmes is to some extent a product of such mania (and many other satanic influences). He was enthralled with Batman, and especially with The Joker character. “I am the Joker,” he allegedly screamed before opening fire. Truly, the Joker is a violent character. “He’s a psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy,” declared deceased actor Heath Ledger on his portrayal of the Joker in the Dark Knight film. Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time the Joker was mimicked by a crazy murderer. It also happened in Belgium in a day care center. Even babies were slaughtered.
The Bible lists “six things the Lord hates,” one of which are “hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:16,17). As mentioned in Part 1, one of the leading characteristics of life on earth right before Noah’s flood was that “the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11). “I’m not violent!” many parents may be thinking. Maybe not. But do you watch violence, and allow your kids to watch it? If you do, you’re taking a dangerous risk. While some may not “commit such things” themselves, they still may “have pleasure in them that do that” (Romans 1:32) by sitting back, relaxing, and watching such things on TV.
My plea is: Don’t do it!
Today’s entertainment is saturated by violence. Like Europe’s Black Death, such garbage oozes out of Hollywood daily. Who has the courage to turn from such filth? Read Isaiah 33:13-17 where the question is asked: Who shall survive the End of Days when sinners stand before God? The sober answer is: Only those who “walk righteously,” “stop their ears from hearing of blood,” and who “shut their eyes from seeing evil” (verse 15). Parents, to follow this counsel, YOU MUST SHUT YOUR OWN EYES AND THOSE OF YOUR CHILDREN TO VIOLENT ENTERTAINMENT.
I know, it may seem like mere fun and fiction. But in the real world, the consequences can turn deadly. At midnight on July 20 in Denver, they just did.
“I will set no wicked thing before my eyes,” wrote David (Psalm 101:2). Instead, “my eyes shall be on the faithful of the land” (verse 6) declared the one who slew Goliath. “The faithful” don’t include Batman, Batwoman, the Joker, or any other mesmerizingly violent character Hollywood creates. “Looking to Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) is Heaven’s earnest advice. This is a much safer alternative. Jesus Christ is pure, kind, noble, and true. If He was a ten-year-old boy today, would He attend the midnight premier of “The Dark Knight Rising”? No way. He would be sleeping peacefully in his bedroom. His righteous character – as revealed in the New Testament – is worth reading about, pondering, and imitating. Believe me, He’s totally safe. Not only that, but He gives “everlasting life” to His committed followers (John 6:27). One of his noble warriors for purity later penned: “Whatsoever things are true … honest … just … pure … [and] lovely … think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). If we are willing to follow this inspired advice in a corrupt age when “The Dark Knight Rising” has captured too many kids, we have the blessed assurance, “and the God of peace shall be with you” (verse 9).
His peace is better than watching a fake Hollywood movie.
Yes, I realize it’s not easy raising kids. I have two myself. The challenges are enormous. As parents, like never before, we must not only pray daily, but earnestly seek to guide the inexperienced feet of our little ones into “the narrow way, which leads to life.” To us, Christ’s warning sounds, “few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14).
May God help the Colorado families now mourning their tragic losses.
May God help you and me.
Parents, protect your kids. For Heaven’s sake, KEEP THEM AWAY FROM VIOLENT ENTERTAINMENT.