It’s a very interesting question Arthur… thanks for bringing it up. If I may, my thoughts below are even broader than your original question, so forgive me (and ignore me) if I’m a little off topic.
I think we have to say that there is a difference between reading about (or watching) something and actually partaking in the activity. But certainly if one is easily persuaded or swayed in their thinking then they should be absolutely careful in what they absorb.
I am someone who, when reading fiction, mostly reads science fantasy… and I watch any number of genres with Movies and TV. But I have certainly had to check myself sometimes on what I allow myself to read and watch, with the thought “I know it’s wrong and won’t be affected by it, therefore it’s ok for me to watch”. But I have wondered on occasion whether I am too liberal and tolerant of my own actions.
I think of this verse from Philippians:
Phil 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Are we reading or watching things that are for the benefit of our minds and characters? I think that is a VERY difficult question. I agree with those above that there will be some form of conscience call on what we allow ourselves to watch, but I think there are also some things that we shouldn’t.
I’ll say (although without judgement to anyone else’s view or opinion) that I bought Game of Thrones, Season 1 when it first came out without first watching or hearing anything about it or even read the books… I’m a science fantasy fan and was very excited by the prospect. 15 seconds in (or whatever it was) it had to be turned off and is still one of the only DVD’s I have ever got rid of because I don’t consider it a proper thing to have in my household.
Different people’s limits may be different… but I would be interested if we turn on the TV or open a book with the thought beforehand ‘Is this going to be true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable?’. I’m trying very hard not to think how I would react to that question, because I’m currently thinking that I would come up a bit short and have to rethink some things.
When I had children I had to rethink some of the things that were seen and heard in the house because there are things that I obviously do not think they should see or hear. Now… can I add to your question from above… if I don’t want my children to see or hear it, should I watch it myself? Maybe that’s a little broader than this topic is about.
I think if I had a shorter answer for you (it takes me a long time to get to a short answer) I would say that each to their own would have to make a call on what is going to be edifying for them in their walk with God. But I would caution all of us to be honest with ourselves that we are not just being lenient because it’s something we want, but are actually seeking to honour God in all we do.
Thanks again for the question… really thought-provoking.