WTS views on theatre and film

by Super_Becka 5 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Super_Becka

    OK, this is something that I've been wondering about for a while now, so I figured I'd ask my favourite JW forum about it. Of course, it wouldn't surprise me if nobody has even considered this, but it's worth a shot to ask.

    Does the WTS have any doctrine against theatre and film, other than the generic "don't watch anything with an R-rating"??

    My reason for asking this is as follows:

    The basis for movies, television and theatre is acting, right?? You can't have any of these things without actors (with the exception of things like newscasts, but that's not what we're talking about). You can't have a movie without actors to portray the characters, you can't have a play without players to portray the characters, am I right?? Sure, you can write fiction, but to actually see it visually, it has to be presented by actors, people pretending to be the characters and acting out the situations.

    Now that we've agreed on that, the core of this question is the fact that, though many people probably wouldn't know this unless they'd studied the history of Greek theatre and its origins, acting began as a form of worship for pre-Christian gods in Ancient Greece. Followers of Ancient Greek gods would dress in costumes and perform ritualistic dances and skits in which they pretended to be supernatural followers of the gods (satyrs) or even the gods themselves, most notably Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. From this form of worship came the earliest plays, written in honour of the gods by poets like Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides to be performed at theatre festivals like the great City Dionysia in Athens. This festival was a week-long festival celebrated to honour Dionysus with dance, theatre (tragedies only at first, then comedies as well later on) and feasting, and it was a very important part of Greek life. Every inhabitant of the city was required to attend, and in the countryside, there were the Rural Dionysias, which served the same purpose and were mandatory for rural citizens.

    So it is very fair and accurate to say that acting, and indeed the works that they perform, be it screenplays, teleplays or theatrical plays, are all directly descended from pagan worship of ancient gods, most notably the god of wine (who encouraged drunkenness among his followers) and were intended only for the worship of ancient gods. Acting and all of its derivatives was not intended for innocent entertainment, it was intended for the worship of pre-Christian gods only.

    Following WTS reasoning on things like Christmas and other Christian celebrations that have no specific roots in the Bible and apparently have pagan origins, theatre, acting, television and films, along with any and all associated events, should be unequivocably forbidden for JWs, right?? Maybe that sounds ludicrous because acting et al. has lost all pagan overtones and is nothing more than entertainment now, but hey, Christmas has no pagan overtones now and they've banned that, so why not ban all things theatrical as well??

    Does the WTS have anything to say about this subject area or has it been overlooked?? I'm sure that the WTS isn't exactly filled with academics and scholars who have studied Ancient Greece and its traditions and customs, so it wouldn't surprise me if this has never come up in Brooklyn, but this is a case of something that can't be argued - there is proof that theatre and acting originated as pagan worship practices, it can't be debated, unlike Christmas, which didn't begin as a means of worshipping pagan gods. If they can ban Christmas for being seemingly pagan 1000 years ago, then surely they can ban something that has been proven to be 110% pagan 2500 years ago!!

    What do you think?? Any comments?? What's the deal with this in the WTS?? Hey, call me overly curious, but inquiring minds need to know!!

    -Becka :)

  • Wasanelder Once
    Wasanelder Once

    Well, I don't think they equate movie screens with the ancient greeks. Acting is something that can bring honor to God, that's why we see such superior productions at the District Conventions. (not for the last five years for me) Remember, if it offends your conscience, pull the plug on the TV and dont go to the movies. We'd hate to see you stumbled from The Way!


  • Super_Becka

    To avoid future confusion, I should probably remind everyone that I'm not a JW, I never have been and I never will be. And I thank God every day for that.

    Acting can be used to bring honour to God?? What, and we don't honour God during, say, Christmas and Easter?? Gee, I've really been misunderstanding all of the Christian worship I partake in during those seasons. I guess that all of the prayers we recite to the glory of God during Christmas can't possibly be used to bring honour to God, then, or else it wouldn't have been banned by the WTS.

    Let's face it, acting has more strongly and purely pagan origins than Christmas, but they didn't see fit to ban that, they use acting in their own preaching. If they can ban Christmas and other "pagan" celebrations, then they should have banned acting and all of its derivatives. Acting is not entertainment, it is not a Christian teaching tool, it is a PAGAN RITUAL USED TO WORSHIP ANCIENT GODS. Sure, that's not what acting is used for today, it's lost all pagan overtones, but then again, so has Christmas.

    See my point??

    -Becka :)

  • G Money
    G Money

    English speaking halls, R rated is bad Spanish speaking halls, R rated is ok, even among elders. English speaking halls going out drinking with a person of the opposite sex isn't too bad and generally many won't bat an eye. Spanish speaking halls going to lunch and taking separate cars in the middle of the day is a no no cuz u r alone. Any questions?

  • Wasanelder Once
    Wasanelder Once

    Apparently my sarcasm failed to be conveyed successfully. So it goes.


  • serendipity

    Wasanelder said: Acting is something that can bring honor to God, that's why we see such superior productions at the District Conventions. (not for the last five years for me)

    Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

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