Continuing with my “The Hunger Games a Non-Readers Review” here are possible discussion points that may occur when others are recommending the book.
Reading what others have written explaining why The Hunger Games is acceptable really sounds quite strange when you read them with a different Biblical perspective. Often a person’s first encounter with a book or other media source will be hearing someone else talk about it or seeing a comment on Facebook. So from there you can get an idea of what the book is about and begin to discuss it with a Biblical perspective.
Here are some quotes from other Christians on other sites who reviewed the book or movie and who saw no problem with the book. I would like my children to be able to discuss a Biblical response when they hear things like this whether they know anything about the book or not.
1) “Katniss only killed in self-defense or in a mercy killing.”
Only? So that makes it OK? I laughed when I read this response as to why the book was OK from a Christian. Really now? Mercy killing? Sounds like the government will have no trouble passing laws for assisted suicide or infant euthanasia. What is mercy killing but taking life and death decisions into your own hands and playing God? So much for Pro-Life, special needs adoption and elder care because those all fall under “mercy” killing in the eyes of some.
2) “The book is clearly portraying evil verses good – “… the participants in the games [are] either all-good or all-evil.”
No one is all evil or all good. That is false according to the Bible.
Matthew 19:17 (ESV) … There is only one who is good….
What the book is displaying is actually evil verses evil. Utter hopelessness as a result of no good options being expressed because the book does not offer anything but “kill or be killed”.
3) “It was kill or be killed, that was the only choice.”
“Kill or be killed” is evil. The “good” decision would be to refuse to participate even if death was the result. Early Christian Martyrs died over refusing to say one false word. They didn’t rationalize that they or their family could survive if they just said what was required. No they stood firm despite the pressure, the pain and the hunger. For Christians death is not the ultimate enemy. Jesus defeated death with His resurrection. We don’t have to live a life of hopelessness seeking to avoid death at all costs.
4) “The book was clear about the evil of watching as spectators the children killing children; you leave the book or movie knowing how evil it is.”
Really? What is the difference between what the spectators in the book did and what the reader does? The spectators watch the children killing children rooting for the one they want to win. The readers get so swept up in the reading that they find themselves rooting for Katniss to win, even if that means she must “kill or be killed” according to the plot. What makes the reader of the book or the movie goer any different from the spectators? The Hunger Games book costs around $10.00 right now and a movie ticket is around $12.50. So people are paying money to read about or see children killing children. Does it matter if you are repulsed by the concept? You have supported it and your emotions get involved and you find yourself rooting against contestants. You then are no different from the spectators of the Roman Gladiator Games despite how you try to convince yourself otherwise. The movie garnered $155 million dollars for the opening weekend, who are we kidding?
NPR from David Edelstein:
“Out of 24 participants, only one child will live. And we hope it will be Katniss Everdeen, from the impoverished mining District 12—a teen who, when her little sister is picked in the lottery, volunteers to take her place. Why is it problematic? Kids killing kids is the most wrenching thing we can imagine, and rooting for the deaths of Katniss’ opponents can’t help but implicate us. But the novel is written by a humanist: When a child dies, we breathe a sigh of relief that Katniss has one less adversary, but we never go, “Yes!” —we feel only revulsion for this evil ritual.
If the film’s director, Gary Ross, has any qualms about kids killing kids, he keeps them to himself. The murders on screen are fast and largely pain-free—you can hardly see who’s killing who. So, despite the high body count, the rating is PG-13. Think about it: You make killing vivid and upsetting and get an R. You take the sting out of it, and kids are allowed into the theater. The ratings board has it backward.” [bold added]
What would the early Christian Martyrs think about Christians today paying money to read and watch children killing children?
“If nobody watches the Games, then there’s no reason to have them.”
In reading the book or watching the movie you are giving approval to those who practice such things.
Romans 1:28-32 (ESV)
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,
30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
5) “Well the Bible is just as dark”
Yes, the Bible does cover violent and evil things. However, throughout the Bible it is clear about God’s Sovereignty and that the evil is the result of man’s fallen and depraved choices. The Bible provides hope thorough Christ whereas the book series offers no hope.
6) “The murders aren’t the story”
Remove the murders, the animals and creatures killing children, the plotting to kill, the striving to not be murdered and the whole reason for the Hunger Games and what will you have? A couple of pages of dialogue. The murders are the story.
7) “Not for young children, not for sensitive children, …”
Why is it that some children are sensitive to violence and death and others not? Have you ever considered why some children are more affected by things than other children? Is that the negative that society says it is? Why do we think violence is acceptable for adults and not for children? Does that just mean we as adults have become hardened to violence? Now granted there are some subject matters that are better left to adults (marital intimacy, details of childbirth) but do adults really need to expose themselves to violence that is too much for children? Just maybe the “sensitive” children are the ones who have it right.
8) The book is anti-authority
The book is very much anti-government. Government is looked at as the source of the evil that is occurring. However, our government is under the Sovereignty of God and if we are under a bad or horrible government is because that is deemed for our good by God.
Romans 13:1-4 (ESV)
1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,
4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
Not only is the book anti-government but it is also anti-adult. The teens are seen as the wise ones while all the adults are either evil or incompetent. Remember the Toy Story movies where the single mom is the best parent but the family with a father and mother are incompetent parents of the evil Sid? There is a message behind portrayals like that. Why should Christians support propagation of such stereotypes?
Do I have to watch the movie or read the book in order to engage the culture with the gospel as a result of the book? By no means. Just as I don’t need to have divorced to engage unbelievers in a biblical discussion of divorce. I can engage in a discussion just from reading reviews and listening to others. No need to crawl around in the mud first to warn others of a mud hole.