SDA Youth and the Movies: An Analysis of the Church’s Current Message

  • Author(s): Brenda Keller
  • When: 1993-04
  • Where: Southern Adventist University
  • The Seventh-day Adventist church has long grappled with the issue of movie theater attendance, especially since television and videocassette recorders arrived on the scene. These mediums make it possible to vie., popular "movie theater" films at home, church socials, or schools. And that is exactly what is happening. While the Church formally holds a standard of non-theater attendance, it is condoning the same material shown in a different location. The foreground of this conflict centers on Youth culture. Today'. youth, the majority of which have been brought up on heavy doses of television, are unable to understand the standard or apply it to their lives. Now more than ever the issue is a crucial one. For example, Roger Dudley, author of Valuegenesis, says, "If standards are perceived as inconsistent and unreasonable - -not applicable to life in the late twentieth century - -young people leave the church and turn elsewhere. The Valuegenesis study uncovered more problems in this area than in any other" (Dudley- -Value - -49). So what is the Adventist Church saying to its youth regarding this important issue? Two of the main ways the Church has of communicating with its youth are through school rules and Insight magasine. This study looks closely at school rules and Insight, analyzing the Church's message to youth. Is the Church'e standard being upheld by either school rules or by Insight? The Church still holds that it is morally wrong to attend movie theaters, yet televisions, VCR's, and movies shown at schools are allowed. What do schools and Insight magasine tell youth about this confusing issue?

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