Dr. Ted Baehr is the founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, and a well-known movie critic, educator, lecturer and media pundit. He also is the author of several books, including "The Culture-Wise Family" with legendary entertainer Pat Boone. For more information, please call 800-899-6684 or go to the MOVIEGUIDE website.More ↓Less ↑
Your children and grandchildren are in danger of losing their Christian faith, according to Mission America, the Barna Research Group and the New York Times. Entertainment is a leading influence in the paganization of today’s youth. According to the Motion Picture Association and A.C. Nielsen, the average child will spend up to 63,000 hours with the mass media of entertainment by the time he or she is 17 years old, but only 11,000 hours in school (most of which are anti-Christian), 4,000 hours with their parents and 800 hours in church if they never miss a Sunday.
The destruction of the Motion Picture Code in the 1960s, the advent of the new movie ratings system in 1969, the degradation of television in the 1970s and 1980s, and the advent of softcore and hardcore pornography on the Internet all have resulted in a lowering of moral, spiritual and intellectual standards. And now, even our public schools are preaching sexual promiscuity and perversion. In fact, there are 32,000 cases of child sexual abuse by American school teachers each year, according to statistics from the U.S. Dept. of Education (“Educator Sexual Misconduct,” by Charol Shakeshaft, 2004).
To help you protect your children and grandchildren from this media terrorism, MOVIEGUIDE? began publishing movie reviews for families more than 21 years ago. Since then, several other publications and web sites have attempted to serve the same or a similar purpose. Some did not last. Some are still with us. This is fine. We believe in free enterprise and competition.
The New York Times calls MOVIEGUIDE? the most conservative Christian review service, which is extremely interesting since we are the most familiar with the workings of the entertainment industry (I financed five feature films and was the president of the organization that produced the Emmy Award-winning “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” for CBS Television in 1979 and 1980, besides producing hundreds of other television programs) and the most degreed (Dr. Tom Snyder got his Ph.D. from Northwestern in Film Studies and Dr. Ted Baehr is the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Christian Institute for the Study of Media, at the Center for the Arts, Religion and Education (CARE), at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) at the University of California at Berkeley). In this regard, the New York Times on Dec. 26, 2005 noted that MOVIEGUIDE? called the homosexual movie “Brokeback Mountain” abhorrent, while the Office for Film and Broadcasting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said, “The universal themes of love and loss ring true.”
The New York Times went on to say that Christianity Today “favorably reviewed ‘Vera Drake’, about a British woman who secretly helps terminate unwanted pregnancies, saying that it ‘portrays immoral behavior and leaves us to make up our minds about the film.’ While Mr. Moring said many readers objected to a Christian publication endorsing a movie that showed abortion in a positive light, the site named ‘Vera Drake’ as one of the Top 10 movies of 2004, a list headed by ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.’ (‘The Passion of the Christ’ did not make the list. . .).” But, the “Passion of the Christ” did win the Christian Film & Television Commission? MOVIEGUIDE Epiphany Prize of $50,000!
Another family guide to movies is the Dove Foundation. They award Dove Family Approved seals to movies they find fit for family viewing. In the tradition originally established by MOVIEGUIDE?, they have codes for the level of language, sex, violence, drugs, nudity, and the occult. They include descriptions of content and give between one and five doves based on how well they liked the movie. They also have a section in which they supposedly explain the worldview of each movie.
MOVIEGUIDE? reviewers are trained to pay very close attention to a movie’s worldview. As Christians, we view the world through the filter of God’s Word, the Bible. We begin with a solid belief that God created the world with both physical and moral laws that govern life. We review movies with these laws foremost in mind. Many movies are made by people who wish to promote another worldview. We consider it a vital part of our work to expose themes in opposition to Christianity. Thus, we will often give stern warnings against “family” films that promote concepts in opposition to a Christian worldview.
The Dove Foundation gave its Dove Family Approved seal to “The Ant Bully”. Their “worldview” section opened with “This story is very cute” and closed with, “The characters are delightful and this is a fun filmgoing experience, approved by Dove.” Even the secular Box Office Mojo review said, “The idea – man is bad, ant is good, and the only thing worth exterminating is one’s individuality – sounds more like a college professor’s political science class or a Hezbollah training video than a kids’ movie.”
“Simply, ‘The Ant Bully’ is very preachy. It mocks God. It extols Communism. It also mocks human beings. As such, it also is one of the most politically correct movies of the year. It also lacks any joy or fun. There are a few exciting moments, but they are too few and far between.
“In previous animated movies about bugs, ‘Antz’ and ‘A Bug’s Life’, the message was that the individual and the group are equally important. As such, they solved the political problem of Society versus the Individual in a way reflecting Christian values. They also pointed the way to a solution to the philosophical problem of the Many and the One, or the variety in the universe created by God compared to the unity of God’s creation. (By the way, God’s revelation in Holy Scripture that He is a Holy Trinity, or Triune, also solves these vexing intellectual problems or logical contradictions for us.)
“‘Ant Bully’ shows that a lot of big stars, creative people and good animation cannot save a mediocre, politically correct anti-human environmentalist screed that violates God’s revelation.”
Moviegoers this year tended to agree with MOVIEGUIDE?’s biblical assessment. “Cars”, our favorite animated movie of the year so far, made $243 million, our second favorite, “Ice Age: The Meltdown” made $195 million, “Over the Hedge” made $155 million, and our least favorite “The Ant Bully” made $27 million.
The Dove Foundation also gave its Family Seal of Approval to such films as “Lady in the Water” (New Age, mixed pagan worldview), “An Inconvenient Truth” (strong environmentalist worldview with anti-capitalist elements), “The Shaggy Dog” (very strong New Age pagan, false religious worldview with very strong Americanized references to Buddhist meditation and prayer), “Doogal” (strong pagan worldview), and “Nanny McPhee” (very strong occult worldview).
Lowering standards like this puts your children and grandchildren at risk.
If you want to protect the faith and values of your children and grandchildren and are looking for reviews with a solid moral, spiritual, and biblical foundation that you can trust, look no further than MOVIEGUIDE?. Visit our website, www.movieguide.org, for reviews you can trust and articles that can help your family become media-wise.
The standards that you defend today are the standards that will guide your children and grandchildren tomorrow.
Editor’s Note: David Outten, managing editor of MOVIEGUIDE, contributed to this column.