i have a question, does anyone think that watching shows like south park & family guy could be a sin? i usually dont have a problem with swearing but i do have a problem with humor at the expense of others. let me know what you think.
I don’t think the two shows are comparable. Family Guy was created by a liberal atheist with an agenda of trashing traditional beliefs. South Park was created by libertarians to provide social commentary through humor in an non-discriminatory way.
Sinful. TV is a powerful tool. The more you grow in holiness [not that I am a good, holy person] the more TV like that will repulse and even bore you. Do you think Blessed John Paul II would watch such shows? Would St.Augustine watch such shows?
Humour is a great thing, but like all good things it can also be surrounded by a layer of filth and presented in a horrible way. Personally, I would find other ways to entertain yourself. These shows promote racism, bigotry and a message that is antithetical to the Christian message.
It took me a while to realise that.
South Park is probably the least bigoted show on TV. Everyone is fair game. Is this PC environment, it’s amazing they haven’t been pulled off air.
Sure, everybody is fair game so perhaps in that sense the show itself isn’t targeting anybody, but it promotes bigotry in as much as it gives ammo and an outlet for those who are intolerant and hateful.
Rather than sin, not sin, I include things like this under 1Cor. 6. Lawful, but beneficial. Do they help me reflect Christ or encourage beneficial responses…There is a lot of garbage on tv, how does it affect our spiritual growth ?
It actually blows apart negative stereotypes, with the joke being on the ignorant. Have you seen the Special Olympics episode?
I agree. Seth McFalrane is clearly pushing the atheist agenda on his show. The South Park guys try to deliver a message in a humorous way and also they don’t pick and choose who to make fun of based on their own bias. As Trey and Matt themselves said, they are equal opportunity bashers. They will make fun of anyone and everything.
we shouldn’t fill are heads with the poison of both shows
I love both of those programs, and I don’t think it’s sinful to watch either programs.
Although South Park can be a bit nasty at times, it is not a sin to watch it. It may be a bit painful, but not a sin. You are most certainly not going to Hell for watching, owning, or even selling something like South Park. One must make up one’s own mind about what “crosses the line” and what does not. One person’s judgment can easily be different from someone else’s.
No Catholic should torture her/himself for watching shows with some offensive material in them. Catholic film critic Steven Greydanus says, in response to a question whether watching certain films with graphic violence or nudity in them is “sinful”:
“In the wise words of a priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, “The Catholic Church teaches authoritatively, has always taught authoritatively, and will always teach authoritatively, that the visual arts … are a grey area.”” (No absolute judgment is possible in this area, unless it is very obvious, like outright pornography.)
(continued) “Catholic moral theology does not support the conclusion that all nudity (or profanity or violence) in art, including cinema, must always be considered morally wrong, or that Catholics must always avoid all art that includes such nudity (or profanity), even if that nudity is at times morally problematic.”
Here are links to Steven Greydanus’ official film review homepage. Read it thoroughly. Greydanus knows his theology, and has written for Catholic Answers in their Magazine, “This Rock.” His reasoning is well-balanced and non-threatening. It should answer all your questions.
And remember, even if this all seems a bit overwhelming, the visual arts are, no matter what, “a grey area.” God is not going to condemn you for watching, owning, or even selling films with problematic content in them. As long as they are not outright pornography or erotica, you have nothing to worry about.
Some Catholic ratings providers, like the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, will issue certain ratings on films. Some films classified as “O” are regarded as “morally offensive.” Some people take this to mean that Catholics are forbidden to watch these films. This is absolutely wrong. Steven Greydanus weighs in here too, saying:
“The USCCB ratings are advisory, not authoritative. An O rating is certainly a good reason to be cautious about watching a given film. At the same time, it’s a factor informing your decision, not a dictate you are expected to follow. The USCCB review database is a useful resource with an enormous library of reviews — far more than I will ever cover — and it’s both appropriate and prudent that Catholics should make use of it, particularly regarding older films. But it’s a resource to be used, not a law to be followed.”
You can read his full explanation here: decentfilms.com/mail/mailbag-18/190
Greydanus elaborates further in his essay “No Movies, Please, We’re Catholic:”
“ (Like movies and television),…a lot of things (are grey areas) in this world. Not everything—pornography, for instance, or the Bible. But after a short list of black and whites, there are an awful lot of greys out there.”
(continued) “Some people are suspicious of all “grey areas,” but that’s a mistake. “Grey areas” range from Shakespeare to Dan Brown, Thomas Aquinas to Hans Küng, Benedict XVI to Christopher Hitchens—not to mention this website and every article in it, including this one.”
(continued) “Grey area” doesn’t mean that everything is equally worthy of suspicion, or that it makes no difference what we embrace or reject. It does mean that there’s no getting around the need to exercise prudential judgment, and that embracing or rejecting anything should be a qualified and critical act.”
(continued) “We speak of the “canon of Western literature,” but unlike the biblical canon, even classics of Western literature, from Aquinas to Shakespeare, aren’t above criticism. (That’s not to say that all criticisms are equally valid!) Conversely, even Küng or Hitchens may have a valid point now and then. (I don’t know if Dan Brown has ever had a valid point, but I wouldn’t dogmatically write off the possibility that he might.)”
(continued) “No critic can offer a one-size-fits-all approach for all committed Christians. I can’t, and have never tried to, tell anyone what to think or watch, or make definitive pronouncements about good or bad movies (or television). I’m not the Pope; I’m not even the pope of movies. There is no pope of movies. Even the Pope isn’t the pope of movies.”
- You can read the full essay at: decentfilms.com/blog/no-movies-please
Being afraid of going to Hell for watching films or television with sexual or violent content is utterly ridiculous. Greydanus makes the point that our understanding of what makes “good programming” may change over time, or be completely different than other people’s understandings. This is nothing to worry about. Put it out of your mind. Fear in this area is totally baseless, and a complete waste of time.
I like Mr.Greydanus, but he is reaching here.
The criticism of Aquinas is different in kind, not degree, from the criticism of South Park.
Aquinas was a saint who was trying to sanctify himself and others through philosophy and theology. Criticism of his work is mostly scholarly and above anybody who is untrained in theology and philosophy (or, more specifically, untrained in Thomistic or medieval philosophy). Overall, his message was to love, serve and know God.
South Park is crude, disgusting and doesn’t have any redeeming features despite the spiel being played here that “they attack everybody so that means when they attack us it’s actually okay”. They have no intention of leading you to Christ. If anything, they want to lead you to some kind of social nihilism and an attitude of being overly critical of everybody and treating everything as a crude joke. They present priests as paedophilies in the most horrifying on disgusting way, and show Jesus as a hippie-like man who hangs with a few other (false) gods. This message is to lead one away from Christ.
Of course we are prudes, but we must still be prudent.
YOU WROTE: “I like Mr.Greydanus, but he is reaching here.”
- No. He is not. South Park literally is a “grey area.” Not everything in it is morally offensive. It is not outright pornography, for example. You are simply stating your opinion and nothing else. Such a position is what Greydanus identifies as a “rigourist” view. This is very common, and misleading.
YOU WROTE: “Aquinas was a saint who was trying to sanctify himself and others through philosophy and theology. Criticism of his work is mostly scholarly and above anybody who is untrained in theology and philosophy (or, more specifically, untrained in Thomistic or medieval philosophy)… The criticism of Aquinas is different in kind, not degree, from the criticism of South Park.”
- No, it isn’t. All criticism needs to be informed by an understanding of what is being criticized. In this direct sense, there is NO difference between criticism of Aquinas and South Park. You are wrong.
YOU WROTE: “South Park is crude, disgusting and doesn’t have any redeeming features despite the spiel being played here that “they attack everybody so that means when they attack us it’s actually okay”. They have no intention of leading you to Christ. If anything, they want to lead you to some kind of social nihilism and an attitude of being overly critical of everybody and treating everything as a crude joke. They present priests as paedophilies in the most horrifying on disgusting way, and show Jesus as a hippie-like man who hangs with a few other (false) gods. This message is to lead one away from Christ. “
- You are wrong here to say that South Park “doesn’t have any redeeming features .” South Park has some very clever, unusual information in it. I particularly like their episode about the origin of the Mormonism. Just because a show has elements that you might find objectionable does not merit condemning the entire show. There is absolutely nothing in all Catholic theology that forces us to do so. You are wrong here, too.
Philosopher/priest Father Robert Lauder, one of the technical advisors on Steven Greydanus’ website “Decent Films,” says:
“One film will not change anyone’s life but a constant diet of the same type of film has to affect people”.
In other words, watching South Park in and of itself is NOT going “to lead you to some kind of social nihilism, and an attitude of being overly critical of everybody and treating everything as a crude joke,” as you say. If South Park was ALL you watched, it might affect you eventually. But people generally watch other things, too. Very few people have a completely steady diet of ANY particular show.
South Park is not automatically going to make you into a nihilist. It is not going to turn you into an atheist. It will not definitively convince atheists to avoid Catholicism. Such a position is unsupportable, and wrong.
Your objections remind me of something else on Steven Greydanus’ film critic website. A reader wrote him a question, saying:
“As a Catholic rediscovering her faith and using the internet to reconnect with many Catholics, I’ve come across many people who are very intolerant of “frivolous” art. As an artist myself, I just love a good piece of fiction, and felt so torn at such comments. I thought for sure my enjoyment of a compelling film was going to send me to hell! But reading through your site has been a wonderful eye-opener!”
“My question lies with movies given a minus-4 in morality (a rating system used by Greydanus.) If labeled minus-4, does it make the film morally wrong to watch? Does it put it on the list of films that cross the line and shouldn’t be viewed? For example, I greatly enjoy the film V for Vendetta, despite its many flaws, because I found the characters very powerful and moving, and loved trying to get into their heads, find their motivation, feel what they were feeling. And I saw that on artistic merit, you rated it highly. But, does being given such a morally inept show make it morally wrong to have enjoyed it? Such as when the USCCBA gives a film an O rating? (I’ve been told that films rated O shouldn’t be seen because we’d be supporting the making of a corrupt film).”
(Here is Greydanus’ response:)
“I’m gratified that you’ve found my work helpful, and doubly so that it’s been a part of your reappropriation of your faith.
The moral-spiritual ratings, like the other ratings, are only a quick index of my opinion, representing my response to the film in question. The ratings are less important than the point of view and the arguments presented in the review itself. Even then, the point of view and the arguments of the review represent my opinion and my response to the film. Other people may have different responses which may be equally valid.
That’s not to say that different responses are always equally good, or that none are more adequate or insightful than another. But I don’t automatically assume that my response is better than a reader’s response; the reverse may easily be the case. And it’s not always a matter of better or worse. Tastes differ from one person to another, and often vary with age, experience, state in life and other circumstances. My taste in movies today is different from ten years ago when I started Decent Films, and certainly from 20 years ago. I don’t necessarily decry my 20-year-old taste, but I write as the man I am, even if my experience of the man I was broadens my perspective. Of course, my perspective is necessarily limited by other experiences I haven’t had, if you follow me.” (continued)
(continued from above) “To take the example you gave, V for Vendetta, I don’t say you’re wrong to enjoy it. You’ve evidently seen the film a number of times, and I’ve only seen it once. I’m sure you see things in the film that I didn’t. I evidently saw some things in a different light than you do. I hope that you consider my response thoughtfully, and that my review highlights certain questions and issues for you as you watch it; but you’re free to come to your own conclusions about them, and in principle they may be as good as mine or better. I might be curious to know how your response to the film potentially changes over the next decade or two — but I don’t assume that you will necessarily feel more like I do about it, or that it would necessarily be better if you did. I don’t mean to invalidate your response to the film, or the attachment you feel to the characters.”
"The USCCB ratings are advisory, not authoritative. An O rating is certainly a good reason to be cautious about watching a given film. At the same time, it’s a factor informing your decision, not a dictate you are expected to follow. The USCCB review database is a useful resource with an enormous library of reviews — far more than I will ever cover — and it’s both appropriate and prudent that Catholics should make use of it, particularly regarding older films. But it’s a resource to be used, not a law to be followed.”
Says who? Have you honestly seen many episodes? The show is filled with critiques of mainstream culture. You really should watch “Death Camp of Tolerance” before you say it’s just crude jokes with no real moral message.
As long as you are understanding that the shows oftentimes are reflecting bad opinions and such, I don’t see it as a sin. You are not doing anything Morally wrong, it is a popular show. Just know it is written with sarcasm and they do make fun of all different things-sometimes including the Church.
However, you can watch something and not believe in it. All for good fun right? Keep enjoying the show:)
Family Guy I just dont see anything worth taking the time to watch. More shock than thought and always takes a progressive view.
Some episodes of South Park are pretty good. The one where one of the kids parents divorce showing its selfishness, lack of concern for the kids, the way they presented from a kids view how the parents rationalizations were BS.
If you have such a problem with bigotry then I just want to ask you one question…Do you believe it is right to deny homosexuals the basic equality that is given to every one else in America?
Bigotry by definition is a form of discrimination. So if someone believes it is OK to deny equality to Gay america, then he himself is a bigot. I only ask this because throughout this site there is an immense amount of judgement being thrown around on a variety of topics, and there is an extreme amount of hatred and prejudice against gays. So if one is going to call something bigotry they best look at themselves first before they step into the hypocritical mire.
Hi, Pugnax!!! Welcome to CAF!!! We haven’t had a Humanist here in a while. Atheists, yes-----but not Humanists. Sincerely, welcome!!!
Ah, yes--------ye olde “The Bible, Holy Mother Church and God forbid Gay Marriage so that means we RCs and ECs are all a bunch of Hateful, Homophobic Bigots” argument.:rolleyes::shrug:
That’s fine------but first do me a favor, Pugnax-------------go to the Apologetics section and familiarize yourself with the Catechism and teachings of the CC of the church you label everybody here as intolerant, hateful people, will ya, please?
Thanks a bunch.
Enjoy yourself here, sincerely!!! And once again, welcome!!!
Sigh. Welcome to CAF. I hope in the future we will be able to discuss things clearly. For now I hope you make a thread in the Apologetics section on this topic.