Beliefs have always shaped history. . . . The (Nazi) gas chambers disproved once for all any misguided notion that ideas are neutral. Today ideologies determine how the state governs, how the economy is managed, how the news is framed in the media, and how the education system shapes the next generation. Wrestling with worldview questions is no mere intellectual exercise. It should always be done with an overwhelming sense that we are dealing with questions of life-and-death-importance. . . For young people, learning the skills of worldview awareness can literally mean the difference between spiritual life or death. Ideas exert enormous power when set to music in a YouTube video or translated into glowing images on the theater screen. . . . When you go to the theater, do you simply let the story wash over you? Or do you have the skills to analyze what a film is saying? . . . T.S. Eliot once noted that the serious books we read do not influence us nearly as much as the books we read for fun (or the movies we watch for entertainment). Why? Because when we are relaxing, our guard is down and we engage in the “suspension of disbelief” that allows us to enter imaginatively into the story. As a result, the assumptions of the author or screenwriter may go unnoticed and seep all the more deeply in our consciousness. When we “suspend disbelief,” we must take care not to suspend our “critical faculties.”
This is also a great reminder of why the Church must be salt and light in music, movie, and the arts. It’s also a warning to us to make sure we look upon culture through the lens of a Christian worldview lest we be taken in.