The Hunger Games: A Christian Response

Anticipation of the potential blockbuster movie release of The Hunger Games sparked much debate on moral code and ethics. How should Christians respond to the trilogy?

Why So Hungry?

Suzanne Collins got the idea to write The Hunger Games while surfing TV channels. On one channel was a teen reality show with participants competing for a vain prize. On the next was a group of young people fighting in an actual war. The lines between the two pictures began to blur, and she developed the trilogy that is now a worldwide phenomenon.

So, what is all the hype about? The trilogy takes place in a futuristic dystopian world. Panem, in what used to be North America, is divided into 12 districts which are under control of the Capitol. Every year, each district is required to send two teenagers – one girl and one boy – to the Capitol to participate in the annual Hunger Games. In the Games, participants fight to the death, and the events are nationally televised throughout all of Panem. The Hunger Games are the primary way the Capitol strikes fear in the residents of Panem, and exert control over the districts.

The people in the districts live in an oppressed poverty; not because of the country’s lack of resources, but because the Capitol wants to remain all-powerful. There are strong similarities in The Hunger Games with many Third World countries today. The recent hype of KONY 2012 has brought to light the unimaginable horrors that happen in our world every day while we’re concentrated on who is going to win American Idol.

That is why Collins wrote these books. She grew up with the reality of war as her father fought in Vietnam, and she began to fear that today’s society is getting desensitized to images of war. In an interview for the School Library Journal, Collins said, “If there’s a real-life tragedy unfolding [on TV], you should not be thinking of yourself as an audience member. Because those are real people on the screen, and they’re not going away when the commercials start to roll.”

Criticism & Praise

Yet Collins has received much criticism from Christians and parents about the intense violence in these young adult books. In discussion boards online, some wrote that the characters in the books who find entertainment in the Games are no worse than those who read these books. After all, if we are entertained by books about children killing each other, what’s the difference?  Many parents were outraged that their children wanted to read them.

One mom wrote, “Allowing a child to feed on something like this is just downright irresponsible! Parents don’t think for a moment that you will draw your child closer to Christ when they have been enveloped by the madness of books like this.”

Douglas Wilson, an editor of a religious and philosophical journal, wrote that The Hunger Games promotes nothing more than situation ethics. He believes the books are unsettling because the characters are put in a situation where they are forced to sin. He asked if they were about a different sin, such as the Rape Games, would there be as much love for the books?

On the other side of the spectrum, many Christians are embracing the trilogy. Some church leaders are developing Bible studies to correspond with the novels. Pastors from North Carolina, Rev. Andy Langford and his daughter Rev. Ann Duncan, created “The Gospel According to The Hunger Games Trilogy.” Langford told the Christian Post, “Sacrificial love is the most obvious theme throughout all three books, many of the characters have biblical parallels, which seem so obvious to us but most people missed.” Many other Christian reviews say they are a great way to initiate discussions with kids about violence, oppression and their solution in Christ.

What is a Proper Response? 

I have personally read all three books in the trilogy and pre-purchased my ticket to the midnight release of The Hunger Games in IMAX. You could say I’m a fan.

Until researching the books online, I was unaware of any Christian opposition. I am appalled at some of the statements Christians have made against The Hunger Games, many of whom have not even read the trilogy. Yes, these books are violent, but they are mild in detail and are incredibly well written. Collins did a great job conveying violence without crossing the threshold into descriptive gore.

Panem is a godless society and the entire time I was reading the books, I was so grateful for the presence of God. I believe any society without Christ could easily turn to that type of violence. Quite frankly, we’re already heading there.

After reading The Hunger Games, I realized I had drawn closer to God. It gave me a deeper appreciation for the freedom I have in Christ. It also gave me a burning passion for souls.

There are children being forced into warfare and sex trafficking right now all over the world. There are parents desperately searching for their children, or mourning over their capture while some American parents worry that their child will not be able to handle a toned-down fictional version of war.

Ignorance isn’t always bliss; sometimes, it’s just selfish.

There are also a number of positive elements in The Hunger Games. The main character sacrifices herself for her sister. Many characters realize the importance of love and respond sacrificially. Isn’t that what the Gospel is based on? Without giving away any spoilers, the citizens finally realize they can fight for their rights and many are persecuted for it.

Remember the book of Acts and how Christians were martyred for standing up for the truth found only in Jesus Christ? The Hunger Games go much deeper than a mere excuse for violence; they are eye-opening.

The reality is that we live in a sick world. Christians are persecuted and martyred still today. Lost souls are passing on into an eternal damnation nearly every moment; that is the real tragedy. Why are some Christians more concerned with picketing the next blockbuster than spreading the love of Christ to a dying world?

Yes, the setting of The Hunger Games is depressing, violent and hopeless, but so is the world we live in. Don’t we know a Christ who came to save us all from such a world? We have the answer; we should spread it just as Christ calls us to do.

If you haven’t read The Hunger Games yet, I recommend it. If anything, it is a conversation starter and can open the door to talk about the need for God. If you would rather just watch the movie, the film is now showing in theaters. Take a peek: The Hunger Games on Rotten Tomatoes.

April Allbritton believes in miracles because she is one. Born to parents told they'd never have children, April loves life. She's straight up baller on the court and a button of joy off it. As a grad student you will oft find her writing... or petting her maltese, Bachelor. He's soft.

44 Comments

  • Reply March 24, 2012

    Dusty Kat

    April – Great overview of the themes and the criticisms of the book. I appreciated how you linked the Hunger Games allegory to KONY and American Idol. Very well written. Check out this inforgraphic on the growing popularity of Dystopian novels:

    • Reply March 24, 2012

      April Ajoy

      Thank you very much and Wow! That is a very interesting chart. It certainly does seem like The Hunger Games is on its’ way to being the best selling dystopian novel of all time. 

  • Reply March 25, 2012

    mlb

    Just want to say that I do not need to read a trilogy to get closer to God, and I certainly do not need a book to remind me of the sick world we live in. One of the author’s theme in the book is what happens to a society when they watch violence on the big screens (as in the movie itself) for entertainment. I find it ironic that film goers rushed out to see a film on the big screen (IMAX) about kids killing kids. Self-fullfilling prophecy in the deepest literary sense. Lord of the Flies was required reading for me in high school. I read it and was deeply saddened- albeit a literary ‘great.’ And why I speak my mind about this is because I want to remind others that just because someone asks you to ‘jump off a bridge,’ doesn’t mean you should. I am a mother protecting what my young children watch and read for their own benefit because they are not mature enough to handle the deep socio-political and deep ethical messages the movie envokes. When they are older this is entirely different. Please do not lump Christians in a whole if they feel a book about kids being forced to kill other kids for entertainment or to evoke fear in a society- is a bad thing or wrong choice for young viewers or for themselves. For me, it is the right thing.

    • Reply March 25, 2012

      Jared Beasley

      Good feedback, mlb. You’re right, the film might not be advisable for young children to see. It’s difficult to say one way or the other unless you’ve seen the film or read the books for yourself. I haven’t so I’m not sure. Have you? 

      Are you open to literature informing your view of theology and general understanding of the world?

      • March 26, 2012

        Matthew Eric Baker

         I think the question is “should you be open to literature informing your
        view of theology” the canon is closed but literature has its place, and
        where is that? Also, you don’t need to see ‘Basic Instinct’ (for
        example) to know its rubbish. The 20th century, our most ‘enlightened’,
        was the bloodiest. Kids see more deaths today than any children prior in
        human history. Mlb’s concern is, at least, fair.

    • Reply April 3, 2012

      Mbodenus

      Hi MLB,
      I think you have nailed it!!!! I also feel that People who call themselves Christians do not need to view such filth to feel closer to God!!! Come on people wake up and pick up the Bible because the good book is the one and only true book that will get you closer to Jesus Christ. I find this whole thing very very sad…. That I have to debate with so called Christians that this movie is evil… It’s about kids killing kids people… Who cares if they are forced by the government. You Christians that support this movie need to ask yourselves… Would Jesus sit in the theatre and justify the fact that this movie has a good point!!! Not my Lord Jesus… I will pray for all of you because I believe that this world is tricking you…. There is no like warm in the Bible… It is either of the Lird or Satan

      • April 4, 2012

        Todd Korpi

        Why is it a habit of many Christians to question the salvation or closeness to God of a person whenever there is a disagreement of viewpoint?  

        Is it not possible to simply debate the topic without being accusatory?  Have we fallen so far in the art of polemics that we reduce ourselves to pettiness rather than intelligent discourse?  

      • April 7, 2012

        Andrew Holdeman

        Brilliant! Thank you Todd.

      • April 13, 2012

        MCF

        I can say without a doubt that “my Jesus” would most definitely be in the theatre. This kind of “holier than thou” mentality is the reason why the world hates Chritianity so much. And please stop using the term “so called Christians”. It is offensive and discriminatory. I am fairly certain nobody ever asked you to determine who is saved and who is just pretending. The truth is The Hunger Games isn’t what is keeping people from Jesus, it is you and your judgmental attitude that really gets in the way of people seeing Christ.

  • Reply March 26, 2012

    Lindy Tilus

    good feedback.  there is far more in my head than can be conveyed in a short comment, needless to say, i enjoyed the books immensely.  not for the infamous love triangle, or the creativity of the world of Panem, but for the intensely conflicting emotions it aroused via ethical questions i did not anticipate.  the books are valuable for their ability to force into the limelight harsh realities we would much rather avoid or be unaware of.  and they do so in an unassuming futuristic plot to help release the tension from being utterly too weighty for the reader.  the creativity of the games merely adds to the distress of the unfairness of the whole thing. once can’t read the books and enjoy only the creative elements and ignore the permeation of death and despair.  the love triangle can be seen in whatever light you wish, but as the author alludes to, it is hope. and hope is hard to come by in this book. 

    i don’t really care if people don’t want to read the trilogy.  it is fiction and we have rights to our choices in that field.  but if a person is going to engage in this arena, they need to become informed first.  this is one place where watching the movie will put you at a great disadvantage against reading the books when discussing the value of story.  the book will not leave yuo questioning if this was written purely for entertainment.  it is disturbing to the greatest degree, and will leave you clinging for any ounce of hope and justice you can find in the plot.  it raises questions that I think any person, Christian’s especially, should very much engage, for themselves and for the young people who might not know how to handle the intensity of the message.  it is violent. but in our far too protected culture, it might bring refreshing awareness to the condition of our world and our response to what we find in it.

    Any person reading the hunger games would be wise to be aware of the conflicts it creates internally and to reflect on those things with intelligence and compassion.  People are free to like or dislike the books.  But to insinuate its content is purely entertainment or that its struggles are not worth considering is to miss the deep value of the series.

    • Reply March 26, 2012

      1MattyBaker

      Good thoughts, Lindy. We are also overlooking the necessity of ‘darkness’, ‘evil’, or ‘conflict’ in order to have any good narrative. As ND Wilson rightly puts it “St. Paul said the world groans, but I love it even in its groaning. I love this round stage where we act out the tragedies and the comedies of history…I love it as it is, because it is a story, and isn’t stuck in one place. It is full of conflict and darkness like every good story. And like every good story, there will be an ending. I love the world as it is, because I love what it will be”. ND further illustrates that Ansel Adams photographs wouldn’t look so spectacular if you subtracted the darkness out of them. They would be boring white-wash card-stock with no detail, what’s beautiful about that?

  • Reply March 26, 2012

    Lindy Tilus

    Dustin – I love dystopian novels! I think they are as effective as sci-fi in relating a relevant and meaningful thought from a distant and unfamiliar setting.  Helps you to engage the idea and its consequences outside of the biases of your own reality.  Theres a new series still coming out entitled Divergent that is dystopian and addresses the issues of what makes a person noble and is of most value to society.  Fearlessness, Knowledge, Truth, Amity,  Service, etc…  i like that dystopian books are a creative platform for ideas to be viewed in new light. 

    as with any great “classic”….books become nothing more than words if we lose sight of the context for their creation and the message they were intended to introduce to their audience.  as with our information age, too much input can cause us to lose sight of what is worth knowing and what is not.  I’m hopeful that an overabundance of media and popular entertainment doesn’t cause people to miss the diamonds for all the dirt.

    Thanks for sharing the chart 🙂

  • Reply March 26, 2012

    mlb

    @JareBear:disqus , my response to not needing to read the trilogy to get closer to God was in response to what she said about getting closer to God  as a result of reading H.G. I am a teacher and have taught 8th and 9th grade literature (not currently), and still caution students to guard what they read. I said the same thing with the Twilight series- which did not have the same good vs. evil complex themes that H. Games has. Just because there are deep meanings of a book (or a movie) and a underlying theme that may be redeeming, it may not be for the good of everyone. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should was my point. – and yes- read the books…what do you think of the third book being put to the cinema? it is much more filled with violence. I think some teen audiences are not mature enough to get the deep issues the author intended… CAUTION**** this is a graphic video link-*****

    but this is a ‘fan’ club put up on You Tube by the ‘fans’ of Hunger Games- This is an amateur video with a cult following. This is a link put up by teens BEFORE the movie came out Thursday midnight. and the same teens commenting on this on FB- also posted with 12 likes, “still thinking laughing about the killings in the (hunger game) movie”-  this is a teen that perhaps missed the socio-ethical underlying message.  I am not trying to change anyone’s mind- but I do not want someone posting this is an appropriate Christian response either.

  • Reply March 26, 2012

    mlb

    i did just check out the founders of this mag and applaud you all… however, I do think once you become a parent  (am I wrong in assuming you boys do not have children?), your worldview (for me, Christian) changes completely. Save this post; one day you will understand what I am talking about.

    • Reply March 26, 2012

      Matthew Eric Baker

       Your view is fair, see my above comment, but as a youth pastor I see the spoiled fruits of the what I perceive from you as being the ‘sheltering method’ of parenting. ‘Train them in the way they should go’ takes a hands on approach to build up young ones who see themselves as ‘more than conquerors’ rather than ‘less than conquerors’ hiding from all perceivable evil. Even in a pre-fall context, God did not go to such lengths to shelter us, ought we do the same?

      • March 26, 2012

        mlb

        see below response matty

  • Reply March 26, 2012

    Lindy Tilus

    mlb – can you tell us as a parent how you thoughtfully engage your children, then, in ethics and the world they live in?  I’m not being attacking at all here, just curious to how you have chosen to introduce your children to the world they live in and shape their understanding of it in relation to their faith.  as your children grow toward adulthood, maturity, and responsibility for their own lives, how have you been preparing them to relate to what they discover around them that is so deeply dark sometimes and often seems to contradict our faith?

  • Reply March 26, 2012

    mlb

    @Lindy:twitter  and Matty- Fair enough- my children are 9 and 11. Backstory: we are also as a family being called out as missionaries. (as in husband leaving corporate America- packing up and going where God wants us. My husband and I have both gone to Africa to work along side Christians and lay people in NGO’s and church movements on social issues (and Christian service) such as aids, orphans, widows, educational issues, and lack of resources in general. And yes, you are correct, I do shelter my 9 and 11 year olds to what is acceptable for where they are in their development. But the one thing my husband and I strive to do is give them an acceptable Christian world view.
    It is my humble opinion that my children know alot more about the world we live in and the social needs than most kids, teens and adults. We serve and volunteer with AID Sudan (aidsudan.org). All 4 of us. This required us to discuss the story of Sudan. My children have met some of the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan and heard their stories (within appropriate limits as you may know the horrific stories behind this)- They serve along side children that have had to leave their country due to war, poverty and necessity and have come to America and are struggling. Some of my children’s friends are current missionary children that are furloughed to the states- with this is an understanding of third world living, sacrifice of time and giving of themselves and what is at stake.
    Recently, our family and especially my girls had the ability to meet and spend time with Steve Saint (see End of the Spear- or Throught the Gates of Splendor)- His father was brutally speared to death- my girls know this part (but not seen End of Spear). They heard rich meaningful stories of what I-TECH is doing in this world to empower communities that do not have access to clean water, healthcare, education, etc…They had the priviledge to hear stories of hardship, loss, sin and redemption. My children have had the privledge to serve along side organizations such as Living Water, Live:58, Compassion International and World Vision. When I mention these orgs,  it is emersion learning not just a passing conversation- they have served at events along side my husband and ,I or are directly involved. My 9 and 11 year old have had opportunities that many 9 and 11 year olds have not had access to- true to life issues- (surpassing the book kind). One year ago we became introduced to 60 feet. (see sixtyfeet.org) in which our children began learning about the imprisoned children of Uganda. My then 10 year old helped organize the (Cup Cake Kids ) in our neighborhood (and our church youth) to raise funds. This was my 10 year olds idea, and we worked together to raise hundreds of dollars to send to this organizations. As a result my children learned who the ‘invisible children’ were long before the Kony 2012 movement came to light. They are currently involved with a water walk in which proceeds will go to Sierra Leone. Which has been a great educational point in our family- we drug out the map and located it and begin discussing the current RUF issues.
    Again, we guard what details we go into. We receive a magazine called God’s World Today (gwnews.com.org)- where they learn real life- up to date- current events happening in a age appropriate way, and have the opportunity to build their faith and character through God’s perspective in light to each of the current event articles.
    Believe me, I never thought I would have to reason with you or explain why our family does what it does- just by saying the Hunger Games isnt for everyone and I didnt agree with April’s Christian response. I do not care if you agree with me or my husband on this or how we are raising our family in the LORD. but believe me, we are in the Word daily, we are daily ministering to a hurt and lost world and we do not just say these things with our mouth, we do with our actions out of love for our God. Go to Africa, see the lost and the hurting and the broken and the abused. See life with a different filter. The Hunger Games grossed over $155 million. “What if we stopped watching” as the book quote states and used this money to solve some world issues? But I am hoping I am wrong. I hope Matty, that your youth group walks away from the Hunger Games and does something- that this movie moves them to action. that they are moved to be a change in this world- and not just hunger for more games.

    • Reply March 26, 2012

      April Ajoy

      In defense of my Christian response, I too have grown up in a Christian missionary family. I have personally been to 33 countries, many of these being 3rd world countries. I’ve visited several countries in Africa and helped orphans and refugees since I was a child- all of these trips were to spread the Gospel. I could not live without walking in His presence daily.

      With that being said, I truly did find myself being reminded of oppressed people in this world. In turn, I was more grateful and drew closer to God because of the deep appreciation I have for Him. The oppression in The Hunger Games and in many 3rd world nations, is a result of a godless society. As I said previously, our own nation could go down that path if we keep pushing God (Jesus) out of our country. 

      Not everyone has the privilege to go overseas and see this horror close-up. In that, I think The Hunger Games is a great tool to open people’s eyes to the filth in this world and conduct further research. America in general is desensitized to the coldblooded world that surrounds us. And the point of this movie/books is to make people aware of real issues.. it encourages youth to stand up for what is right and shows that love conquers all. That is the gospel message as well.

      • March 26, 2012

        mlb

        Then we are in agreement if it is a change agent of opening the eyes of the youth/adult movie goers. Time will tell, and I will be hopeful and prayerful to see the push back effect of the Hunger Games. I encourage you to write an article on the different ways the Hunger Games has changed people and how they have moved. I’m watching and eagerly anticipating a good read.

  • Reply March 26, 2012

    Bestill777

    I don’t agree with the author of this article – This movie and the book
    are not something we as Christians need to make us aware of the world around
    us.

    Closeness to God is what keeps us alert, aware and discerning of the world
    we live in and able to recognize things that are not right. Closeness to God
    also keeps our hearts tender and sensitive to his spirit and causes us to hate
    what is evil and LOVE what is good. I think if one is a sincere Christian who
    spends time with God on a regular basis – it will be pretty obvious what the
    overall condition is of the world we live in and the way things are becoming. As
    we get to know Jesus, we will see the clear contrast between light and darkness
    and he will show us individually what our part in our world is to help bring
    change. We can certainly be made aware of the world we live in and the needs
    that are here without watching a violent movie about kids killing kids.

    I would not want my kid to view this movie. Kids need to be trained in
    righteousness and the love of God in their daily lives and see Godly examples
    from those around them to learn how to live right and live in this world.

    In most cases watching movies like this is going to fill their minds with
    more depravity and little by little erode the goodness in their lives. Most of
    those who see this movie are not going to come away with any redeeming
    qualities. Take a look at the way kids are today and all the suicides and
    killings and violent things that take place through teens. It was not like this
    when I was a teenager, but then again kids did not have as much access to
    violent movies, violent video games, etc to fill their minds with.

    I have raised my 12 children and very closely guarded what they watched and
    entertained themselves with over the years. They are all adults now with most of
    them radically saved (9 of them) and walking in close relationship with God.
    None of them needed violent nor ungodly entertainment to make them aware of the
    world we live in. In fact they are very much aware of the world we live in and
    are being used by God in various ways to minister to those around them who are
    in need. Some have missionary callings (one was in Thailand where there is much
    child trafficking) some are parents themselves and are very useful in their
    local church and community, etc. It is a real relationship with Jesus Christ
    that makes them aware of the needs in this world and sensitive to those in need
    and not a violent movie.

    The reality is the majority of the people who go to that movie are going
    for the entertainment and thrill of it. There may be some who come away from it
    learning a tiny bit about “self sacrifice” or whatever, but that does not mean
    God led nor ordained nor is pleased with this movie.

    Just like one can interpret the word of God however they want, people can
    find whatever they want in a movie and make something seem “Godly” or like a
    “prophetic” picture in a movie if they want to. People make excuses to justify
    and be OK with what they do all the time.

    The author of this article may love God and be sincere in her own mind
    with her intentions of writing this article, but that does not make her right.
    Regardless of her sincerity or intentions – my personal opinion is she is
    misguided in speaking in a way that recommends this movie. This is really
    nothing new under the sun – there are MANY Christians who watch terrible movies
    and tv shows over and over and say that God showed them something prophetic or
    whatever in them and they continue to fill their minds with more and more
    garbage. I have not seen anything good come of it in their lives. It is more
    like a ball and chain that drags us further away from having “clean hands and a
    pure heart.”

    Wouldn’t it be better to do as the bible says and avoid even the appearance
    of evil? I believe this movie grieves the Holy Spirit and in reality is just
    another tool of the enemy to bring more depravity to the world we live in. It is
    unfortunate the way the enemy has used the entertainment industry to bring harm
    to the young and old.

    I am not against movies nor tv in itself, but we as Christians do need to
    guard our hearts, minds and eyes as to what we feed on and be more watchful
    about what we are entertained by.

    This movie is in such contrast to the ways of God and his word and the
    things He tells us to fill our minds with and to think on -Phil 4:8 “Finally,
    brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
    whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is
    excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9
    Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it
    into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

    • Reply March 27, 2012

      Mattitude33

      Bestill777, 

      Everything you said about having a close relationship with Jesus I fully agree with. When we are close to the Lord, the Holy Spirit speaks to us what is wrong and what isn’t. You’re coming from the right place but so is the author of this article. I do believe Christians are way too excepting of the world in these “last days”, however in this situation, she seems to be right on the money. 

      The Hunger Games was the 3rd highest opening in movie history. People from all over the world have seen or will see this movie. This movie is not one of those movies that Hollywood has put out that will infiltrate a purified mind. It clearly shows the good and the bad in an obvious way. It does not promote murder in any aspect. Instead it shows how a boy and a girl tried to survive what they were forced into by the government. Peeta said how he wanted to show that they didn’t “own” him and he’ll still go out with dignity. The characters that we love were the ones that decided to run instead of kill. 

      The movie depicts how cruel our world can be. Is it a must see to understand that? No. But with everyone talking about it, it would be a good idea to know a little more than “teens killing teens”. The biggest reason for atheism are Christians. Here’s the 2 reasons why: We either call ourselves Christians and praise God on Sundays but live like heathens on weekdays- also known as being “lukewarm”. Secondly, we act like we are in a holy bubble and do nothing wrong while pointing the finger at others for not being as righteous as us. In the Bible these people are called “Pharisees”. Sometimes we need to get off our high horse and live a life that honors Jesus AND is welcoming to others!

      In India, my father had a crusade where thousands of people were saved. The local ministers there later told the new Christians that living for the Lord will be tough and the women can no longer where earrings, or makeup. We serve a God that has given us eternal life at a free cost! We need to stop acting “Holier than thou” because we once were sinners too. Jesus did not set us free so we can be in religious bondage.

      I’m not saying that young kids should watch this movie, because it is violent and PG-13. However, I do not reprimand anyone from watching this movie. When I saw this the Lord spoke to me about how much our world is going downhill. While this movie was set in a different age, you can still see how evil can infiltrate our hearts if we are not careful. Our government is getting more and more powerful signifying the day Jesus comes back.

      I promise any Christian that is fully dedicated to the plan the Lord has set for their life will not be swayed by this movie, but more likely closer to the realization that the kingdom of God is at hand. 

      • March 28, 2012

        Bestill777

        Romans 12: 1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
        Titus 2: 11-14  “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
        The fact is God is a HOLY God who loves righteousness and hates evil. I’ve been a Christian for over 35 years and the more I get to know HIM the more I see what a Holy, Loving, Kind, Righteous God he is. It causes me to see more and more my need for him as my savior. Not wanting compromise in ones life does not mean “acting holier than thou.” While I do not agree with what the local ministers did to the new Christians in the India situation that you mentioned – I am also very aware that there are true Christians who love the Lord and sincerely desire to be Christlike and live pure and holy lives and lives that are Pleasing and Honoring to HIM. I also see that there is so much compromise in the church that often we look so much like the world that those who do not know Christ don’t want him because of that compromise – they see no difference between them and us.
        Good article on Dr Michael Browns website if you are interested http://voiceofrevolution.askdrbrown.org/2009/10/19/cleanse-our-eyes-a-call-to-consecration-in-the-area-of-entertainment/

      • March 29, 2012

        Bestill777

        Romans 12: 1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
        Titus 2: 11-14  “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope-the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
        The fact is God is a HOLY God who loves righteousness and hates evil. I’ve been a Christian for over 35 years and the more I get to know HIM the more I see what a Holy, Loving, Merciful, Kind and Righteous God he is. It causes me to see more and more my need for him and his transformation in my life. Not wanting compromise in ones life does not mean “acting holier than thou.” While I do not agree with what the local ministers did to the new Christians in the India situation that you mentioned – I am also very aware that there are true Christians who love the Lord and sincerely desire to be Christlike and live pure and holy lives and lives that are Pleasing and Honoring to HIM. I also see that there is so much compromise in the church that often we look so much like the world that those who do not know Christ don’t want him because of that compromise – they see no difference between them and us.
        Good article on Dr Michael Browns website if you are interested http://voiceofrevolution.askdrbrown.org/2009/10/19/cleanse-our-eyes-a-call-to-consecration-in-the-area-of-entertainment/
         

  • Reply March 27, 2012

    vipernett2008

    I have a 14 year old daughter and an 11 year old son.  My daughter has read the books and was very excited about the movie coming out.  I took them to see it last weekend.  Afterward we all sat down to talk about what we liked about the movie and what we didn’t. I began asking them questions about if they saw anything in there that touched them.  My daughter responded that the way the main character acted reminded her a lot of how Jesus chose to give everything up to save her sister and later is willing to sacrifice herself to save her friend.  My daughter says this is a theme that only grows throughout the rest of the books.  We also talked about what the world looks like when we remove Jesus from it and the importance of sharing Jesus with others. 
    I have trained my children that if anything is lovely, if anything is true, then that truth comes only from one source: God.  And she (my daughter) is clearly seeking out truth and things that are lovely.
    I really enjoyed the movie and found the harder parts within it to explain to my kids far easier than many of the things we have read together in the Bible.  The “violence” in the Hunger Games, which is balanced and not at all visceral nor gratuitous, is far tamer than Samson ripping the jawbone from an ass and slaying a ton of Philistines with it.  Far tamer than the command given to the Israelites to slay an entire nation of people (including its women and children).  A lot easier to explain than the entire scene at Sodom and Gomorrah.

    What if we were given the amazing capacity to think critically to actually use it? 

  • Reply March 27, 2012

    Todd

    Smurfs, Captain Planet, Goosebump Books, Harry Potter, Pokémon, The DaVinci Code, and now The Hunger Games.  The reactionary side of the American Church just chooses something to FREAK OUT about every 5 years or so and The Hunger Games just so happens to be the flavor of the month.  The fact of the matter is though, is taking a stance of holy ignorance is not holy but rather simply ignorant.  A person can’t speak on a subject in an education fashion unless they are familiar with it–otherwise it’s a breeding ground to looking like a fool.”

    “I piddy da foo who read da DaVinci Code”   -Mr. T

    • Reply March 27, 2012

      Todd

      Pardon for the random end quote at the end of my soapbox.

    • Reply March 28, 2012

      Bestill777

      1 Cor1: 26-31Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord

      Prov 3: 7-8

      • March 28, 2012

        Bestill777

        Prov 3: 7-8
        7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;    fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body    and nourishment to your bones.

      • March 28, 2012

        Harry45

         “He who pasteth the most scripture, shall winneth the argument.”

  • Reply March 31, 2012

    Cuppy

    Nice article, Aprylistic. I appreciated your thoughts concerning this trend. 

    1) When did ‘how long’ someone has been a Christian ever become a supportive claim to their view on holy living?
    2) I can’t believe no one else has pointed out that the Hunger Games is a ‘rippoff’ of Battle Royale (バトル・ロワイアル), the japanese novel written by Koushun Takami.

    3) I think we can all agree that children need to be protected from content meant for adults while they are developing. “Sheltering” is not just a term I have heard for kids restricted from  watching STAR WARS, but also for 8 year olds whose guardians wont allow them to watch SAW IX on opening weekend. The point is that kinds need to be directed as they grow, and everyone has a different take on what that means, if anything. Parenting is something that I am not involved in yet (Go DINKs!), however I imagine that Godly parents let the Spirit, logic, and their own experiences play major roles in that undertaking of raising their children “in the way they should go”. The parents are the ones who have to live with those decisions, and I neither envy that responsibility nor pretend to know anything about parenting. 
    To all the parents that comment on this thread, thank you for your insight. 

  • Reply April 2, 2012

    1MattyBaker

    I think this should be the final ‘nail in the coffin’ as to what is morally right. And it is this:

    Any anti-hunger games position has to simultaneously be an
    anti-bible position. Cain and Abel is about kids killing each other and
    not only is narrative, it’s real. So, to argue that the medium of a
    fictional narrative is morally wrong, you are simultaneously arguing for
    biblical narrative to be ‘morally wrong’. God’s world and his word are not G rated. 

  • Reply April 2, 2012

    1MattyBaker

    p.s. ‘anti-bible’ in the sense of censorship…as in censoring parts of the bible.

  • Reply April 4, 2012

    Tyler

    Maybe its just a fictional book?  I mean it definitely has themes related to the real world.  The capitol is in a way like the US and other wealthy countries who keep control of the third world through enforced poverty and “peacekeepers”  And it strikes me the bible and Jesus have a lot to say about living in decadence while others starve.  Ultimately I am not sure every single book has to draw one closer to or away from Christ.  Thats seems melodramatic, religion is a part of life but it is not everything.

  • Reply April 6, 2012

    danielsan

    Satanic mind-control movie for the youthful masses. If you didnt notice it was basically
    goyim (gentiles) living in the slave camps.  Consider who made this movie and what their
    plans for you really are. The Christian “church age” is all but dead in the world, you will
    have tv preachers someday telling you to obey and march into those very camps.

    • Reply April 6, 2012

      Dusty Wusty

      the Mocking Jay’s were pretty sweet though…

  • Reply April 6, 2012

    Marc Madrigal

    Great response to a cultural juggernaut! We need more Christian perspectives on complex issues like this.

  • Reply April 16, 2012

    Mychalmcmahon

    I wish that someone had gotten that before the movie or written in the beginning of the book what they were trying to get across by writing or making this movie. I was very disturbed. Even if the Agenda for the hunger games was biblical or a moral awareness. Way too many people are into this book/ movie more than Jesus Period! April thebook might make the gory sound acceptable..so is that what were suppose to draw from the story? Well the movie was glorified gore for a good purpose. Thats weird. And they should really emphasize that they are trying to have an agenda before showing kids this movie. Its way way to ovet glorified!

  • Reply April 20, 2012

    Jocanfern

    Great perspective.. what a powerful witness if Christians would just strive to bring a Godly perspective to our world!  Everyone keeps saying “glorified gore”, but have any of you talked to the 12 year olds that have read or watched this?  I personally have yet to meet a single one who wasn’t unsettled by the violence and was asking the right questions.  A tragedy within the christian community is a serious lack of credit to young ones on their ability to think.

  • Reply July 8, 2012

    JessiK

    April, thank you for your article. I am going to say that I loved the books and am rather excited to see the movie.  That being said, I will admit of the graphic nature to the book.  But I like that it was brought to light in your article about some pastors using the material to reflect back on to the Gospel story. I don’t know that it makes a difference what the original authors purpose was, we can use it for God’s glory, He makes a habit of turning bad for good on regular occasions.  Paul stood in Athens and rather than kicking over the statue to the “Unknown God” and calling the worshippers in this city heathens, he used the statue to share the truth and gave the Unknown God a name – Jesus Christ.  You can’t tell me that the artist who created that statue had any intention of it being used for Christ in the future. No, the book doesn’t point back to Jesus Christ directly, but is that not our job?  The unconditional love that is apparent in the story doesn’t read “Katniss Everdeen thought of love of her Savior, picked up poison berries, and exemplified that love for Peeta.”  But it could if we drew the distinction.

    And the evil we see in the book is really the evil we see in ourselves. Nothing God has created is inherently evil, but rather evil through our misuse and abuse.  I think the real outrage that many Christians are feeling is that they know they are capable of the horrors of the Capitol, that we are all one step from being a Gamemaker, and that a godless nation is what we will all be part of if we just keep our heads down and our eyes closed, letting the world have the last say on what each story really means.

  • Reply August 1, 2012

    Brian Stachowski

    Nobody has addressed the real issue here, which is the overall quality of these books. Highlighted by unimaginative writing, flat characters, and a predictable plot, I have never regretted reading a series as much as I did The Hunger Games (and this includes Twilight).

  • Reply March 22, 2016

    Me4

    I am reading this review and all of your comments because as I type this, my fiance is in our bedroom watching Mockingjay, which I am NOT pleased about. I personally want nothing to do with anything that falls short of “whatsoever things are good, honest, pure, of a good report, virtuous, praiseworthy.” We are told to “think on these things.” I’m not sure H.G. falls into such a category.
    Yes, I know we live in a violent world and I pray for people being harmed and killed every time I think of it and every single day. I personally, feel no need to subject myself to nightmares based on what I let into my “eyegates, eargates” but if someone else wants to watch such things, that is between them and their Creator or the one they serve with their lives.
    I did see “End of the Spear” as well as “The Passion of the Christ” and those movies and others like them disturbed me to the point of not even wanting to exist on this planet anymore. I see no real fruit in that for the Kingdom whatsoever.
    I realize people are suffering and our world is a mess, but I also choose to believe in hope and to feast my mind and attitude on positive things not violence, torture, abuse, or death. Thats just my personal view.

  • Reply April 10, 2016

    Timothy Yakich

    You sit around and read/watch this garbage and say that it brings you closer to Christ. O.K., fine. But could you be reading His word again, panting for it like a deer? Could you be out knocking on doors teaching others in this lost world about Jesus? (Re: Proverbs 11:30). Could you be out volunteering somewhere helping out the poor widows/orphans? (Re: James 1:27) Jesus says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Paul says, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” – Philippians 3:7-8King James Version (KJV)
    So, in the end, when this vapor of a life of your vanishes away and you are face to face with the One who saved you, you will have to answer for promoting this garbage instead of the things of His kingdom.

  • Reply September 30, 2017

    UNM

    I was going to watch the movie tonight. I borrowed it from the library and have it already inserted in my laptop DVD Player. However, I had a niggling feeling to find out from other Christians if this movie is appropriate for Christians or not.

    Now that I have read the comments, I do not think it is. Thank you MLB and BESTILL777 (AND OTHERS) I do not think I will be wiser after watching it. I might be further desensitised, I might even enjoy seeing the bad kids getting killed. Who knows? I find that these movies can often make us celebrate when the bad guys die…which goes against the WORD OF GOD.

    Proverbs 24:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls.

    Anyway, I believe GOD has helped me avoid a mistake. Sin feels nice for a while before it consumes us.

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