I like to read old Christian literature because so many of the things were written before our culture became desensitized to vices we rarely raise an eyebrow at today. Much was written on the theater of old. If these authors were to see all that’s offered on the big screen or through video today, I think they would mourn for the “advancements.”
This short essay was written to the youth living in the country, where 70% of the population resided at the turn of the 20th century, and the exposure to the theater would only take place on those rare trips to the city to sale their produce etc.
None the less, the principles of evil are the same and in the following quote it’s obvious that the issues were the same though the degree of graphic lewdness before this century were no more than “tarts and cheesecake.”
Pimps of pleasure
"Here is pleasure, all flushed in its gayest, boldest, most fascinating forms; and few there be who can resist its wiles, and fewer yet who can yield to them and escape ruin.
If you would pervert the taste- go to the theater. If you would drink in false views-go to the theater. If you would efface as speedily as possible all qualms of conscience—go to the theater.
If you would put yourself irreconcilably against the spirit of virtue and religion- go to the theater. If you would be infected with each particular vice in the catalog of Depravity- go to the theater. Let parents, who wish to make their children weary of home and quite domestic enjoyments, take them to the theater. If it be desirable for the young to loathe industry and informative reading, and burn for fierce excitements, and seek them by stealth or through pilferings, if need be- send them to the theater.
It is notorious that the bill of fare at these temples of pleasure is made up to the taste of the lower appetites; that low comedy, and lower farce, running into absolute obscenity,
And are the only means of filling the house. Theaters which would exhibit nothing but the classic Drama, would exhibit it to empty seats. They must be corrupt to live; and those who attend them will be corrupted."
When you read a blazing attack on an industry which most of us were nursed on from the cradle, and today has so many creative ways to bring the theater into our homes, it seems harsh or overstated. Or does it?