Will Church's R-Rated Movie Hurt Teen Faith?
Young people who watch R-rated movies are more likely to have decreased church attendance and to consider their faith less important, according to a Baylor University study published in the Review of Religious Research.
"Viewing R-rated movies was damaging to religious faith even after accounting for the importance of religion in one's family, peer influence and parental monitoring of media, among other factors," said researcher Phil Davignon, who sought to expand on previous studies.
However, watching the movies didn't affect whether or not young people have doubts about their faith or whether they thought it was acceptable to choose parts of the faith to believe without accepting the whole, he said.
"Watching R-rated movies is prevalent among religious and non-religious young people," Davignon said. "Nearly everyone watches them."
Indeed, churches are now in the business of making them—albeit unintentionally. Retta Baptist Church in Burleson, Texas, recently produced a movie about a struggling young family that received an R rating from the Motion Pictures Association of America.
"They told us it was because of violence and drug use portrayed in the film," pastor Chuck Kitchens told Fox News. "I was very shocked. It makes me sick at my stomach."
Kitchens believes the R-rating instead had more to do with the faith message in My Son.
CT has followed the rise of church-produced movies, a trend led by Sherwood Baptist Church's production of Facing the Giants (rated PG), Fireproof (rated PG) and Courageous (rated PG-13).