by Aubry Rose

Update: I knew that not everyone would necessarily agree wholeheartedly with the entirety of my post, but to be honest I was surprised by some of the responses I got from fellow Christian brethren. So before you read, I feel the need to reiterate a few things:

1. I do not think you are a bad person if you enjoy the Hunger Games, and this is not a personal attack on you. Please read carefully below.
2. This is not an article on how I reject moral doctrine. What I am reflecting on below is something that has no right or wrong answer. The Vatican has not hosted a synod on the moral soundness of the Hunger Games. This is my personal experience and my opinion, which is just as valid as yours.
3. This is a reflection on the state of entertainment in our culture. Something that is worth reflecting and pondering.

Thank you. Carry on.

Maybe this is going to lead to people violently throwing tomatoes at my face, I don’t know. And yes, I don’t love feeling like a Goody Two-Shoes when I say this, because I’m not (I’ll laugh at your well-placed inappropriate joke just as much as the next woman), but I think the Hunger Games is totally effed up.

Here’s why.

My husband and I were at his family’s house and we were flipping through channels (which we never do because well, we don’t have a TV), and we landed on the Hunger Games. A celebrated series I have heard so much about, and I was interested in watching. It must have been a beginning scene of the first movie or something, I honestly don’t know, because I’ve never read the books and I watched approximately 20 seconds before demanding we change the channel.

We turned it on during the scene when all the competitors are brought up into the forest and the “game” begins. And the first thing they do is start violently killing each other. And it was not a cute, Disney-murder type scene. It was one where teenagers took their knives and stabbed each other in a brutally violent way.

And as soon I started seeing this, my heart dropped into my stomach and I immediately felt nauseous. My body had a physical reaction.

As soon as images of the Hunger Games flashed across the screen, I was reminded of the Rwandan genocide. Of which I know someone whose family members were murdered from brutally violent machete stabbings. I immediately thought of the young children being slaughtered in the Middle East. And I thought of every other example of violence that we find — rightfully so — wrong.

Now, do I think that everyone who watches the Hunger Games is a bad person? No, of course not! It seems to be a riveting storyline. I know plenty of good people who love the series, and I realize I may have discovered the movie at a sensitive time in world events.

That being said, I do feel that we should challenge ourselves more deeply to think about these realities, and what we watch as entertainment. My opinion when I saw those few seconds of the Hunger Games is that it is not just innocent entertainment, and that it is not life-giving. I believe it is the opposite. It causes us to become immune to the reality that what we are watching is violence. It does not open our eyes to the objective realities at hand the same way as when we see the NYC chokehold murder and say, “This is not okay.” Or watch horrified as ISIS slaughters innocents and say, “This is not okay.” To me, it seems to be a great paradox that I could be disgusted while watching the nightly news, but switch over to watch the Hunger Games within the same second. What is the difference between a movie and real life? There is something chilling about violence in movies as entertainment. Because what is entertaining about watching a child murder another child?

The answer is Nothing.