Moral Dilemma Question - Supporting Sin


#1

I’ve been struggling recently with a rather strange moral dilemma.

I am an avid Netflix watcher. I prefer their system. You log in. You choose what you want. Watch for how long you want, when you want, where you want. It’s convenient and ad-free.

However, recently I’ve been watching Netflix made shows and discovered what can only be described as above-average immorality being glorified and made to seem ‘normal’ or ‘good’.

Normally, if this was a television station, I would just change the channel but it occurred to me that my Netflix subscription goes toward the making of these particular shows. It’s not as simple as: Don’t like, don’t watch, because my subscription contributes money directly towards this filth being made and through that I am contributing to the corruption of our entire culture.

Am I over thinking this???

Since this realization dawned on me I have been feeling convicted to delete my Netflix account but it occurs to me that if I follow this path it opens up the question of other forms of entertainment. For example, I enjoy Star Trek but what if the company that makes Star Trek also makes extremely immoral and questionable material? How would I know? And if I knew, I would have to stop giving any money to them, wouldn’t I?

I have shared the concern with the only Catholic friends I have and they have all agreed that they too were being convicted over this dilemma but that the overarching implications was more than they could handle at this time.

Okay, you can laugh at me. LOL! I am a new Catholic still (7 years but I still feel like a baby Catholic!) so I’m just learning and trying to be as morally consistent as I can!

So what do you think? Keep the Netflix account or delete?


#2

Yes, I think you are overthinking this. In broadcast TV, you can change the channel. But you are still paying, albeit indirectly, for the programs. Commercial sponsors pay for advertising to affect your purchase of products.

The main Catholic Answers site has many articles if you care to search. Here is one from Fr. Hugh Barbour: https://www.catholic.com/qa/material-cooperation-explained


#3

I hate to throw it right back on you, but it’s an issue of your individual conscience. Virtually every large corporation is doing some things with their money that we as Catholics would not approve of and that we probably don’t even know about. Could range from funding some morally questionable movies or shows, to buying product from manufacturers who exploit cheap foreign labor or illegal immigrants, to making donations to organizations we don’t approve of like Planned Parenthood, to political lobbying for causes we think are morally suspect, etc. We cannot control it, and short of giving up our purchasing of a particular item, we can’t do anything about it.

If something is really in your face and bothers your conscience, and you do not have any good reason to continue to support the company with your dollars (it isn’t the only choice for your 5-year-old’s absolute favorite TV program for example), then maybe you want to quit. But you are not morally obligated to try to gather information on every company you might support in the course of a week from your fast food to your supermarket to your discount store to your video streaming to the labels and film companies that put out your entertainment, trying to make sure all those companies are morally okay. For the most part, they aren’t, and it’s not your fault they aren’t.

I just get rid of the most egregious companies that bug me and do not offer a significant offsetting benefit. For example, I quit buying Ben and Jerry’s ice cream many years ago because I was sick of them pushing abortion and other lefty political stuff that I didn’t agree with, when all I wanted to do was eat ice cream and relax. Plus their ice cream is way overpriced and doesn’t taste better than the cheaper local brands - in fact I thought it tasted worse and it melts in about 30 seconds after you put it in the dish.

My suggestion to you is get rid of the most egregious offenders you notice, and let the rest slide. Unless you want to try living more of a monk’s existence and kind of go off the grid for a lot of things.


#4

You are not overthinking this. I grew up with TV that would not show any objectionable material. It’s old stuff but they managed to handle a lot of genres and subject matter without adding coarse language, sexual situations and other questionable material. You are not strange, since me and a few Catholic friends watch very little TV and reject certain programs. Feeling convicted is natural. It’s a consequence of developing a conscience. Some think “It’s all good.” With the word good meaning “just enjoy the objectionable parts and don’t worry about that.” So cancelling your Netflix subscription counts as a good idea. Not giving people money to produce more filth is a good idea.


#5

I rarely see any commercials. Just DVR past them. And there is a group that has successfully had advertisers drop their advertising on certain TV shows because those TV shows were objectionable.


#6

Not that you can’t cancel Netflix if you want to, but I always assumed that they keep track of how many people are viewing certain programs and compensate the producers accordingly. Many people pay for access to regular television stations, too.


#7

Unless you live on a desert island with 0 connection to society, some of your money goes to someone who sins.


#8

When I put money in my own pocket, it goes to someone who sins. :flushed:


#9

I know that feeling.


#10

Both are true, but not entirely relevant specifically to what you said. If you take this to other areas and businesses, I think it would difficult to do, buy, or produce much.


#11

I’ve noticed this too. I didn’t set up our account hubby did and he is the one who mainly watches it. I’d cancel if it were up to me but he won’t do that because he likes a lot of the shows he can access from there.


#12

Not the point here. Each person should use their conscience as their guide. According to the currently ‘accepted wisdom,’ a guy like me should be doing a lot of bad things and participate in bad things. I make it a point not to participate - that’s the point. I stay away from most TV. I don’t subscribe to anything. I go to the store and buy the same types of things I’ve been buying for decades.


#13

Write to Netflix. Tell them what you don’t like and why. Sound reasonable when you do it.

Call Netflix. Speak to their retention department and tell them what you don’t like and why you don’t like it.


#14

Follow your conscience by all means. That is important. The point I make is that you cannot know what immoral cause each and every business may be involved it directly or indirectly. Some such as Starbucks are well known, while others are not.


#15

I have seen enough programs on Netflix that I have found objectionable that I have uninstalled Netflix. Currently I live with my son and daughter-in-law and she pays for it.
I choose not to support Netflix anymore.
My personal choice.


#16

I think we can pretty much guarantee that 100% of anything in Hollywood is no more than one degree of separation from a Harvey Weinstein or possibly worse.

Much of your food was prepared by atheists or Muslims who might hate you. Your children, unless they are at Catholic school, are largely taught by people who explicitly reject God as a myth or a fairy tale.

There are two positions to take, so far as I’m concerned:

  1. Consume services and products in good faith, and let God sort them out at the pearly gates. So long as YOU are not watching inappropriate materials, then you’re okay. I mean, you could say that all Catholics are indirectly connected to pedophilia-- but for sure, I wouldn’t blame you for what some priest did in another country in the 60s, or expect you to quit the Church over it.

  2. Live an austere life. Join a Catholic commune, raise all your own food, disconnect from the internet and pop-culture products completely. There’s surely tremendous spiritual value in doing this, but it’s not for everybody.

I think the latter option is so superior to any other options that one thing is obvious: we are all willing to live with some degree of grey area or even conspicuous sin in order to have enriched and more enjoyable lives in the here and now. I personally doubt that God is going to hold the actions of others, and our implicit willingness to tolerate them, because society is a network, and removing all Catholics from a corrupt society is unlikely to improve it.

I mean, Jesus walked with some of the worst kinds of sinners.


#18

I think a lot of people are atheists because they don’t believe Biblical accounts provide the best answers to most of the important social and scientific questions of today. They see the Bible as a mix of inaccurate science, and allegory which adherents take as literal truth. Convincing a non-Christian that the Adam and Eve story is a historical description, for example, is likely to result much more in rolled eyes than in a conversion to the Christian faith.

For a Catholic to convert to atheism is a big deal, and probably requires a major moment in life. For a person with a secular background, they will need a pretty compelling reason to adopt ideas which they see as mainly mythological.

Church communities and emotional support are an excellent first step. Judging others and telling them they’re going to burn in hell fire is unlikely to achieve much. I think the current Pope and the new open-armed attitude reflect Jesus’ teachings and life much better than a more hard line approach which some of the more conservative Catholics here seem to favor.


#19

Are you somehow in the wrong thread with the atheism discussion? This thread is about whether a Catholic should cancel Netflix…


#20

To me if somebody can look around them and actually at themselves and say that they weren’t created by a being greater than themselves in every way then I feel sorry for that person.


#21

Just to clarify a few points. This isn’t a question of supporting sinful PEOPLE it’s a question of supporting things that ENCOURAGE others to sin. I think there’s a distinction between buying a product from someone who is sinful and paying for a product that encourages and glorifies a lifestyle that is sinful.

It’s the difference between buying a cake from a fornicator or paying for someone to make propaganda videos that encourage people to partake of pre-marital sex.

We are ALL sinners, myself included. That’s not the issue. The issue is buying into and helping to support something that is actively seeking to further destroy our culture with sinful lifestyles and behaviors that are decidedly unhealthy for our culture.

That’s where the issue with Netflix comes in.

I appreciate all the input and the links! Thanks guys! Lots to ponder.


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