There have been many posts from the Christian blogosphere lately, dealing with whether or not Christians should watch Game of Thrones. Like Kevin DeYoung,
I have not watched the show myself. Some would argue that this fact alone disqualifies me from offering any perspective.
While I think such a stance is rather illogical, this post isn’t really aimed at answering whether or not you should watch Game of Thrones (those posts have already been written and I think they’re very helpful). Instead, I would like to address another issue within Evangelicalism which this whole debacle has brought to the surface. Every time I’ve seen a comments section when one of these articles has been shared on social media, the general tenor is a defense for why it is okay for Christians to partake of this show. The arguments generally go something like this: Well then, we Christians should just shun all entertainment… Just who does DeYoung think he is?… I have freedom in Christ to watch it, stop being so legalistic!… So you don’t ever watch anything with nudity, swearing, etc.?
This type of rhetoric should sound eerily familiar to the Christian, because these are exactly the type of tactics we become the recipients of from those whose social agenda causes them to align deeply with the pro-choice and LGBTQ communities. The tactic is to silence the dissenting voice of another by shaming them into submission.*
You see, their “Only God can judge me” attitude is equivalent to our “You’re just being a legalist, get off my back”. Evangelical Christians may not realize just how much they have in common with their secular counterparts.
I kept hoping to see a comment more along these lines: “You know, I haven’t yet considered whether or not Game of Thrones is really healthy for my soul. I may still disagree with the position this writer takes, but this person is a brother/sister in the faith, and I shouldn’t take their words lightly. Perhaps I need to reflect on this a bit more.”
Nope. Instead, I’ve seen many believers take a defensive posture right out of the gate and instantly try to accuse their brother or sister with the serious charges of legalism and hypocrisy. And I’ve sometimes wondered, do Christians in my generation interpret every call to greater levels of personal holiness as legalism? Sometimes I even think, would Jesus of Nazareth or the Apostle Paul been labeled a legalist by Christians in America today, since their teachings carried verbs in both the indicative and the imperative moods?
Now, in all fairness, I’ve certainly seen some more level-headed responses from those who watch Game of Thrones. But unfortunately, those comments have been few and far between. So, here’s my call. Let’s agree to disagree on matters of personal conscience. But let us also humble ourselves and be willing to evaluate our lives against the backdrop of Scripture when a brother or sister warns that something may not be good for our souls.
Let’s be quick to listen and slow to label each other legalists.
* I do not mean to say that everyone who supports these social causes are as vitriolic as others within that same group when it comes to how they discuss these issues with those who disagree with them. Just as I would not want to be lumped in with those “conservatives” who use hateful and demeaning tactics to get their point across, so I do not want to do that to anyone else.