God hates sin, and we should too. Therefore it is wrong for us to enjoy it in any way. Unfortunately, so much of modern entertainment is designed with that in mind—to make money by appealing to our sinful nature. This is obviously the purpose of most sexual content, and much of the violence—especially when it is motivated by ungodly revenge and uncontrolled rage, or fixates on the gory details. But there are other, more subtle ways in which the popular arts appeal to our sinful nature, such as covetousness (beautiful stars, rich characters, exotic locations, etc.) and pride (hero worship, humanistic themes, motivations of self-glory, etc.).
A specific danger that is worth mentioning along these lines is the “glorification” of evil. Sometimes the villain is portrayed in such a way that the audience is drawn into his evil behavior, to the point of vicarious enjoyment. A classic example of this is the movie Batman, in which Jack Nicholson’s Joker has more fun than anyone else (by far), and audiences seemed to appreciate and remember this psychotic murderer much more than any of the “good guys.” Another example, and a rather surprising one, is a Bibleman episode where the Scripture-quoting hero is basically boring compared to the villain, who gets to star in his own MTV-like music video. After watching this show, my children could not quote any of the Bible verses, but they were dancing around singing over and over again, “I am the prince of pride, I got an ego ten miles wide!” So whether it is Batman or Bibleman, be careful that you do not “participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness” by enjoying sin vicariously.
Perhaps the most prevalent problem with today’s popular art (and some of yesterday’s) is the way it makes light of matters that should be taken seriously. God and religion are played for laughs, and jokes about sex have almost become synonymous with the concept of “comedy.” But the Bible is very clear that both of those matters are not to be treated as humorous in any way. The third commandment, says “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain,” and the hottest hell is reserved for those who mock God (see Psalm 73:8-9, 17-20). And it may surprise you to learn that Ephesians 5:4‑6 uses similar language in regard to sexuality:
There must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the
and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for
because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. kingdom
So it is a sin worthy of God’s anger and condemnation to be amused by jokes about Him, and it is equally wrong to laugh at any kind of sexual immorality. God wants His name to be treated as holy, and marital intimacy to be viewed as sacred, because it was designed as a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:31-32). “That sounds legalistic,” you might think, “to say that we can’t laugh at any 'dirty jokes'!” But remember that legalism is going beyond what is written, and this is something that is clearly written in the pages of Scripture. Such things we must obey and teach, even if they contradict the culture around us, or fly in the face of our own accepted practice.