Christians have often tended to oversimplify the issues related to morality and spirituality in entertainment media. We see this in the common stereotype of the Hollywood industry as inherently anti-Christian and immoral. In one section of my book, "Televised Morality," I make the following suggestion: "The battle over morality on television is a battle to determine which worldview will be most influential in shaping our cultural values, and which institution will provide the foundation for moral responsibility. It would be a vast oversimplification to suggest that Christians are interested in morality, while the creators, producers, and writers of television are not. The issue is not interest in morality, but differing approaches to moral reasoning and different methods of moral discourse."
In other words, there are many creative voices in Hollywood who are very interested in morality. The difference is that their morality may flow from a different worldview, may be structured by a different paradigm, and may be communicated in different ways. The better we become at recognizing this, the better we will become at evaluating media's presentation of morality.
When "The Passion of the Christ" came out and did phenomenal business, Christians were overjoyed because they believed that Hollywood would now finally get the message that movies with Christian themes and Christian topics can make money. Therefore, Hollywood would start making more such movies. They were right. A short time after this, another Christian-themed movie came out. It was called "Saved!" The creator of that movie expected it to do great business because "The Passion" had showed that moviegoers hunger for Christian-themed movies. That is not what happened. Many Christian communities were very upset by the film and boycotted it. Why? "Saved!" is a satire of the Christian high school experience. It exposes the hypocrisy that is often apparent in shallow forms of Christianity. Consequently, many churches took this to be an anti-Christian film. The creator of the film didn't see it that way. He did not see himself as attacking Christianity but attacking hypocrisy within Christianity - what one might argue is the same thing Jesus did with Judaism.
The truth is that what most Christians really want is not more films that address Christian topics and themes, but more films that present a very narrow view of Christianity. They want only a pristine, uncomplicated version of Christianity delivered by the media -- a version that anyone who has spent time in churches knows is not the reality. Basically they want Hollywood to preach their message for them.
Is that Hollywood's job? When Hollywood puts out movies like "Saved!" that satirize Christianity or that make Christianity out to be more complex and complicated than the stereotype we would like to promote, are they doing Christianity a service or a disservice?