Today I happened to hear a political commentator reference a scene in the popular TV series Game of Thrones. Curious, I found a synopsis of the scene online. I was shocked and disgusted by what I read, and grieved that so many Christians find this violence entertaining.
A few hours later, while flipping through a collection of early Christian literature, I stumbled across this passage by Salvian (5th century):
In the small New Mexico town where I grew up, the Catholic church erected a billboard outside of a porn shop with the words, "Jesus is watching you." Of course, this message is perfectly true. God is omniscient and omnipresent. He knows what you do, and he will hold you accountable.Let us suppose that our Lord is willing to watch over us, even though we do not deserve it. Let us see if He can. See the countless thousands of Christians daily tarrying at the games where base performances are enacted. Can God watch over people like this? Can he watch over those who revel in the circuses and who commit adultery in the theaters [Matt 5:28]? Or, perhaps, do we wish and think it becoming that, when God sees us in the circuses and theaters, He also looks at those performances at which we look and at that wickedness on which we gaze? That He gazes at them with us, one or the other of the following must happen. If He designs to see us, it follows that He must see those things where we are, or, if He averts His eyes from them, which is doubtless what happens, so He must likewise avert them even from us who are there. Nevertheless, we unceasingly do these things.
Salvian, however, has struck upon a deeper truth. In a very real sense, Jesus is NOT watching you. When you sit down to be entertained by Game of Thrones, you have left Jesus behind. You are alone.
See also: Rethinking Legalism and Entertainment