Pick Six: Viewing Anime Through a Christian Lens
While searching on the web, I found a very interesting question and response (edit: now available here). The question was, “So how well does anime sit in the conservative Christian culture and is it important to conservative Christian anime and mange lovers that the two be reconciled?” The response was basically that the Christian culture is wide and vast, as is the response of Christians toward anime.
I would encourage Christians and non-Christians alike to read the article. For Christians, it may help us understand better where we fall in the spectrum and why other believers believe the way they do. For non-Christians, I think it will help you understand that some of us carry the burden of what others believe, though we don’t share those beliefs.
For those unwilling to read the lengthy response, here are some of the vital points:
- Christian responses to anime parallel responses to video games and other forms of popular culture.
- Responses can be broken down in six broad categories, which are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive.
- Separatists are on the extreme end. If you’re thinking Harry Potter haters, they may fit into this category. They are generally vehemently anti-anime.
- Moralistic responses are not quite as strong. Leaning toward parents who are concerned about their childrens’ viewing habits, moralists worry about violence, sex, and religious connotation in anime.
- Discernment responses focus on the theological and philosophical ideas presented in popular culture. This is an intellectual, largely critical, and growing view.
- Creative responses focus on the message presented in media, not categorizing any media as either good or bad. P. Scott Price, in his reply, used the example of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as creative media giving a message that fits in the Christian worldview. Price also notes that those with this view will often shun works that aren’t explicitly Christian.
- Redemptive responses are the next step from creative ones, looking for redemptive themes within art forms. The critique of this view is that a movie, for instance, could contain elements that are thorougly un-Christian, but may be accepted because of redemptive qualities.
- Embracing responses may be the category where most anime-viewing Christians fall into. These viewers enjoy anime for it’s own sake, and while they may be concerned with content, it doesn’t necessarily affect their viewing habits.
- The writer concludes with the idea that anime has just come onto the “screens” of many Christians; after all, it’s only starting moving away from being a fringe part of American culture. Balancing viewpoints will emerge.