Jun 1 2012
Question: Your TBC Daily Update on The Hunger Games (4/4/2012) seems to have missed the point. The intention of The Hunger Games is to show what humans are capable of, and the teenagers I know who saw it were horrified and ready and willing to discuss the horrors of the film, including the adults in the film, etc. They couldn’t stand watching most of it, but the moral lessons were certainly there, very much so. Did you miss them?
Response: In this regard, one should not presume to know “the intention of” the author. (The plotline is hardly original, but may still be analyzed in far greater philosophical and political depth than is initially evident). It is grievous, however, to overlook repulsive “horrors” in order to frame a discussion of morality. Similar attempts have been made to defend the “moral lessons” in the violent occult fiction of the Harry Potter and Twilight series—both of which were the products of spirit-channeled “inspiration,” according to the authors (http://goodfight.org/a_co_twilight_harrypotter.html).
In contrast, the Lord’s instructions are to “set no wicked thing before mine eyes: [and] hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me” (Psalm:101:3). The Lord calls us to a life of holiness and obedience. Consequently, Paul wrote to the Romans, “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil ” [our emphasis] (Romans:16:19).
Furthermore, attempts to teach moral lessons by “fear” has a demonstrated rate of failure. Social programs such as “Scared Straight” used in-your-face threats of violence by convicts to convince teens of the consequences of crime. The program was discontinued after it was seen to be inspiring too many adolescents to copy the behavior they were allegedly being “scared” from. Why should we not anticipate the same results from attempts to “moralize” The Hunger Games ( THG )? At best, the morals and ethics of every character in THG is situational—and encourages (or at least excuses) vigilante justice. This is an appeal to the flesh, not to biblical truth: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah:17:9).
Consider the comments of just one reviewer: “This is a very poignant criticism of our culture, and one that deserves to be taken seriously. But for all the beauty and moral high ground this story contains, it’s just as true that the world Collins has created is terribly evil. Teenagers are dispatched throughout the movie by knives, swords, and mutated dogs; adults are either too powerless or corrupt to help; and Katniss herself experiences an inward despair that will (in coming installments) lead her to attempt suicide. For some viewers at least—especially younger or more impressionable teens— The Hunger Games may produce the same deadening effect on the conscience that Collins seeks to warn us against” (http://www.worldmag.com/articles/19312).