Cinema Sans Sin: Imaginatively Transforming Evangelical Cinema
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Saints and sinners alike are enthralled by cinema, and the statistical majority of American Christians subscribe to Evangelicalism. Yet dissimilar to their ample presence on bookshelves and radio, Evangelicalism remains noticeably absent from American cinema. Recurrent anti-Hollywood rhetoric from the pulpit confines Christ to traditional media such as literature and music, forsaking the millions more inclined to sit in a theatre seat than a church pew. Such negligence, coupled with unimaginative filmmaking, isolates Evangelical films into a singular genre, effectively effacing Christian influence from the American film industry and its respective audience. In my research, I discuss the historical relationship between American cinema and Christianity. Likewise, I demonstrate how Evangelical filmmakers are guilty of creating palatable, unimaginative films, and how Evangelical audiences are weak in their support of the medium. Following this, I outline not only why Evangelical influence in cinema is an effective outreach to American society, but also how Evangelicals can transform their production tactics and entertainment priorities to promote a Christ-centered worldview. If Evangelical filmmakers commit to transforming American cinema with imaginative narratives, and if Evangelical audiences simultaneously embrace nuanced cinematic entertainment instead of palatable entertainment, their collective influence upon the medium will evolve from obscurity to stability.