Movies and the Changes in America
by Phil Boatwright

I suspect that many nearing my age struggle with the fact that America is becoming unrecognizable. I’ll be turning sixty-three this year, which means I’ve lived through lots of change throughout the past six decades:

- The 1950s (an unfairly maligned decade because while it’s now portrayed as a restrictive, repressed time, it was in reality a brief moment when our nation’s citizenry caught their breath, and viewed a new possibility for all kinds of economic and social growth)

- The 1960s (went from Ozzie and Harriet to the Age of Aquarius)

- The ‘70s (bore Star Wars, which changed the world of movies)

- The ‘80s (an undistinguishable period except for a President who was able to instill patriotism back into our national psyche)

- And the ‘90s (which paved the way for the 21st century, the millennium of incessant change).

With the passing of these years I’ve noticed unsettling change in our country’s culture and philosophy. And recently, it seems change is change simply for change’s sake.

These societal tamperings, be they social, political, economic or cultural, occur on a daily basis, systematically leading to values being reevaluated. And though some of the revisioning is good, much of it just seems good. People aren’t paying attention to that which affects not just their lives, but their afterlife. They’re busy with T-ball games and other time-absorbing activities, unaware of the determined reprogramming of right as wrong and wrong as right in the world around them.

America had become a guardian of and beacon to the world, but now some political leaders, many social activists, and the majority of Hollywood are ballyhooing the need for extreme reformation, as if the goal were to deconstruct our nation in order to create a new ideological one.

“Well, America wasn’t so great for this group or that group until change came,” a fair argument goes. True, our hearts have opened to the rights and needs of all members of our society. But if we’re going to reconstruct the foundation on which we build a civilization, needn’t God be a part of the fix?

For those of us who still see the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, we are frustrated by this electronic, maxed-out, everything-is-altering period that ignores or denies mankind’s spiritual component.

The fascination with all things electronic and an uncalculated worship of science has, for many, replaced the need for God. We’re becoming a land of Geekoids who look down all the time, failing to acknowledge passersby, as if those folks don’t count because they aren’t encoded in our Star Trek-like communicators. Viewing from a distance, there’s something dehumanizing about this overtaking by electronic gizmos. It’s Orwellian in nature.

As for the blind-following of the physicists’ theory that everything came into being, not by a designer, but by an unintended explosion of cosmic gas, the thesis of an unplanned cosmic life-bringing explosion goes undebated despite the following troublesome query: As more universes are being “discovered,” can they be satisfied with the explanation that one formative eruption created all the universes, or did each galaxy have its own big bang?

Whatever the scientific defense, it takes faith to believe it; the same kind of faith embraced in the reasoning “when you’re dead, you’re dead."

Although we have been entertained, informed and inspired by members of Hollywood, throughout the years many artists in that land of make-believe have aided secularists, having left its DNA all over the concept of change.

“And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that...perfect which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused” (Writer Paddy Chayefsky’s assessment of a Utopian, one-world order dominated by media in his 1978 film, Network).

The Bible speaks of how men will wander away from the truth when they turn their backs on God (2 Timothy 4:3). And sure enough, movies often take us down a fantastical path that leads to nowhere, because their makers all too often disavow the existence of or the need for a Creator.

It’s not totally Hollywood’s fault that our once Christian nation has taken a new route, but the entertainment mediums have given an unaccountable platform for those who seek truth (and change) everywhere but at the feet of Jesus. Each decade newcomers to the entertainment community push the envelope when it comes to decency, responsibility and a redefining of moral standards. Moviemakers keep dumbing down and crudding up the culture, taking baby steps with each production, furthering us from class, social decorum, and reverence for the Almighty.

“Ouch!” Yeah, well, am I wrong? Seen a comedy, lately?

Somewhere along the way moviemakers (in general) quit incorporating biblical ideals that nourish the soul. Those seasoned ideals need to be re-found by this generation, for it isn’t the iPhone that makes the world go ‘round. And a society cannot stand by God-forsakened laws, alone.

To find real change, politically, socially, spiritually, often you have to look back…and up.

“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country” (John F. Kennedy).

And don’t just ask what Christ can do for you. Ask what you can do for Christ.