Sunday, August 15, 2010

Snow White: Spiritual Applications?

My mom was always very leery of Disney movies when my siblings and I were younger. Films like The Black Cauldron, The Little Mermaid & Snow White were not allowed at our house. By the time we were older, she gave us more freedom in what we watched, but it taught me to be very careful with what movies I viewed.

Because of the black magic scene featured in Snow White, it has always been on my taboo Disney movies list. Until yesterday, the only three that made the "child-safe" cut were Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast. But after watching it again with my little sister Emily, I reconsidered. The fact is, black magic exists, and sheltering children from its existence is like blinding them to the real world.

The bible says that the devil "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour"(1 Peter 5:8). It's no secret that Satan wants to destroy us. But he goes about it a lot more subtly than the witch in Snow White did. In 2 Corinthians 11:14 it says Satan "masquerades as an angel of light." He promises immediate gratification of our desires (the poisoned apple), but instead of resulting in life, it results in spiritual death.

It is when we are absolutely dead in our sins that our Prince and Savior comes to rescue us. (Only our Prince is a bit more valiant than the effeminate, tights-wearing guy in Snow White.) After giving us new life, he puts us on his milk-white steed, and leads us to our eternal home. (Fittingly drawn in Snow White as a golden castle in the sky.)

I've come to realize it's not so much about sheltering children from the existence of evil as it is teaching them how to fight it through prayer and the Word of God. And if nothing else, Snow White can always be used as an object lesson of why we don't talk to strangers...


Hannah said...

Lol! That is so funny, because Sleeping Beauty never made my mom's cut, yet Snow White did! I guess it's because of Maleficent and her "forces of evil".
(I really like your applications for Snow White, btw... definitely will be using that with my kids someday. =D)

Catherine said...

Hmm, that's interesting. Maleficent was evil but she didn't actually do a spell that I remember whereas the witch in Snow White did. Plus I think the witch in Snow White is scarier than the one in Sleeping Beauty!

Hannah said...

She uses black magic on Rose like three times! I guess it's just not as dramatic and dark. I never really watched either that much until I was a bit older. We were allowed to watch them, but we never owned Sleeping Beauty or Anastasia until I was older. (not that Anastasia is even Disney...)

Catherine said...

Oh yeah, once in the beginning, once when she follows the spindle...what was the other time? Hmm, good point about Anastasia. For some reason I just think of all old animated movies as Disney. ;)

Hannah said...

I guess you're right, only twice. She often refers to her "forces of evil" (as they dance satanically around a bonfire, no less...) She also tells Philip that he's fighting "all the powers of hell". But I like how clear it is that she's evil and Philip is trusting his "weapons of righteousness" to defeat her. It's a neat lesson/discussion to have with young viewers-- you can't defeat evil/sin on your own, but God will gladly help you if you trust in Him.

Sophie said...

Hi Catherine,
I've been glancing through your blog :) and like what I've been reading. My name is Sophie btw :) I'm commenting on this particular post because I wasn't sure if we as christian should not watch such movies. Then again, these are fine and your comments are good too. But what of movies like Twillight, Harry Potter, Merlin, Lord of the rings? Would it be fair to say that because such movies make it seem good, we should avoid it? I mean in Snow White, Cinderella, they are portrayed as evil and die, which is perfect! But the other movies, not really. What do you think? Sorry about my long post :)

Catherine said...

Dear Sophie,
Sorry it took me so long to respond to this--I didn't see your comment right away as this is an older post. :) As far as controversial movies and books such as Twilight and Harry Potter go, I think there is a fine line to walk.

The verse that comes to my mind to share with you is Matthew 10:16. When Jesus is speaking to his disciples he says, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

The bible tells us we are to be in the world, but not of it. Christ commanded us to be holy as He is holy, yet to be wise to the ways of the devil. As Christians living in a modern world, we should know the plans of our enemy so we can combat him effectively.

One thing about these two series (as an aspiring writer I have read them both) is that they portray evil in a very positive, innocent light. Thus, young minds can get drawn in without being aware of the evil that is there. Yet at the same time, instead of completely shunning these books (and piquing the interest of curious teens) why could we not address them and show children why they are wrong? Not necessarily reading the whole series, but perhaps a short summary or synopsis with accompanying scripture verses. That way, teens could learn to think critically and form their own opinions by comparing what they see and hear to what the bible says.

However, these are just some of my poorly formed thoughts. :) I'm sure there are many wiser than I who could give better answers.

Amy said...

I think you make a good point. There are some things that I just don't think I need to be watching or reading as a Christian. I think we need to be prayerful and thoughtful in how we approach exposing ourselves to things that are unchristian, but I do believe that we are called to be "in the world but not of the world." We cannot fight the enemy if we do not know his ways and have not been educated well enough to come up with reasoned arguments against evil that will reach our hearts and the hearts of those we listen to.

Very thought-provoking post!