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The Theology of the Hunger Games

Like Katniss and Peeta, we’re broken for good use.
The Theology of the Hunger Games
Image: Murray Close / Lionsgate

As we approach the release of the second film in the Hunger Games series, you may hear people talk about how the dystopian world dreamed up by Suzanne Collins is too violent, how it's cruel and un-Christian, something good teenage girls should not be reading or watching. Don't listen to them.

We all have those books that strike us emotionally and spiritually at certain times in our lives. For me, they're the Hunger Games. I read the young adult trilogy during a heartbreaking time when my husband and I found out we were infertile and began the long process of adoption. One day I picked up a copy of the first book in the series and, like so many, couldn't put it down. I read the Hunger Games books everywhere—at work, walking my dog, sitting at red lights in the car. I stayed up late reading them. I lost sleep. It was like I was physically hungry for the story and couldn't get enough.

Unlike in most books and films today, the violence in Hunger Games serves a greater purpose than entertainment; there is no glory in it. Though the premise of the book is enough to make your stomach turn—main characters Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are forced along with 22 other kids to compete in a televised fight to the death—their story exposes political injustice, oppression, the depravity of human nature, and the frightening insensitivity to destruction that we see glimpses of in our culture today.

But more than anything, Hunger Games tells ...

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