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The Reformation Herald Online Edition

One Truth, Many Lies

Holiness vs. Hollywood
Enrique Natarén

The human heart can be compared to a huge warehouse where you can store all kinds of things—large and small things, treasures and useful things, as well as toxic and vile things that do not benefit anyone, and in fact, do damage.

When, as in the above verse, the Bible uses the word “heart” to refer to the behavior of an individual, it is referring to the mind. This is where we store our thoughts and ideas, our conclusions and reasoning which determine how we behave towards our fellowmen, but mainly towards God. The word of God explains, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matthew 12:35).

Another way to think of the heart (mind) is that it is a series of five main streets connecting in the center of a large city. Our hearts are like a central point for these busy main avenues where information is constantly delivered and stored:

a) Our eyes (vision): Matthew 5:28, 29; 2 Samuel 11:2–15; Psalm 119:37.

b) Our nose (smell): 1 Corinthians 12:17, 18; Ecclesiastes 10:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 2:15, 16.

c) Our mouth (taste): Ecclesiastes 10:17; Luke 21:34; James 3:5–10.

d) Our ears (hearing): Ecclesiastes 5:1; Isaiah 65:12; Matthew 13:43; Romans 10:17.

e) Our hands (touch): 1 John 1:1; Luke 24:39; John 20:27; Matthew 5:30.

The heart is like a citadel. Our Creator makes the appeal to each one of us: “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23:26).

Our enemy is not a physical person (Ephesians 6:12). Satan has entrenched himself everywhere you turn in the world, to war against us. And there is a deadly, invisible army of demonic hosts dedicated to the destruction of your thought life. Satan’s desire is to conquer and control your thought life, and then make it a citadel from which he can war against God. But when God saved you, He gave you the mind of Christ. The converted heart becomes His citadel.

“Every organ of the body was made to be servant to the mind. The mind is the capital of the body.

“The mind controls the whole man. All our actions, good or bad, have their source in the mind. It is the mind that worships God and allies us to heavenly beings. Yet many spend all their lives without becoming intelligent in regard to the casket [jewel case] that contains this treasure.”1

“All should feel the necessity of keeping the moral nature braced by constant watchfulness. Like faithful sentinels, they should guard the citadel of the soul, never feeling that they may relax their vigilance for a moment.”2

Two main avenues

We are going to talk about two of the avenues over which you need to maintain constant vigilance. These two are the most exposed to what is going on around us all the time, either for better or for worse. We’re talking about sight and hearing. Human beings are bombarded daily, constantly, by different visual and auditory messages—at home, at school, at work, as we travel from one place to another, etc. And honestly, most of the information we receive is not good. News of tragedies around the world, manipulations of the mind through commercials either on the radio, television, or roadside billboards which bombard us with the ways of the world. The words and images are designed to subtly manipulate our minds about how to think, how to act, what to say, and how to make life decisions.

We can say with certainty that a battle is being fought for the minds of each one of us on this planet. We must be alert, we must be aware, because it is a mighty battle. The saddest thing is that we do not even realize it! Satan doesn’t care what color we are, how old we are, what gender, what creed, etc., as long as he wins our mind—his prize trophy.

The battle that is being waged is to set up a banner in our minds: The banner of righteousness or the banner of evil. We can wave a banner that will represent the kingdom of holiness, or a banner that will represent the kingdom of evil.

Holiness involves wholehearted consecration to God

Romans 12:1, 2 states that in order to present ourselves a living sacrifice to God, we need to consecrate our body to Him. In order to do that, we must have transformed minds, not minds that are in the world, but minds that put God first. When God is transforming our minds, our thoughts, our words and our actions will show it. The mind will be like a fortified city—a city well protected from any wicked or sinful thoughts meant to divert us from the path that God has shown us, to walk with Him and towards Him.

When we are struggling in this life to bring our characters into holiness, we do not do it alone. It is impossible for us, in and of ourselves, to change old thinking, old habits, old patterns. To change our heart requires a divine miracle. To make this miracle happen we have to choose it, and to be committed to our choice!

God provides the weapons to enable us to face Satan, our fierce and cunning enemy. “ ‘We are laborers together with God.’ He provides us with all the facilities, all the spiritual weapons necessary for the pulling down of Satan’s strongholds.”3

The following text assures that God is with us in this spiritual warfare: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corin-- thians 10:3-–8). Our God-given weapons are powerful!

This is real-live war! We are fighting battles constantly during our lives. God gives us real weapons—“the weapons of our warfare”—and please note how powerful these weapons are: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Where is this war fought? It is fought in the mind, the thoughts, feelings, and the way of understanding and expressing those thoughts and feelings. Our mind is the battlefield, and the enemy uses all kinds of tricks to win this war.

We need to remember that the reason God created the human race was to be able to enjoy His children, like any good father, but also to reflect His glory, His image, and thus reproduce His character in each of His sons and daughters. From the beginning, Satan, the enemy of God, has waged a determined battle to conquer the minds of God’s children. Was the fall of Adam and Eve the result of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? No, it wasn’t. Before taking the fruit, their minds were attacked with subtle insinuations and mental pressures, with graphic, auditory and visual experiences—the beautiful serpent speaking wisely and authoritatively, and the lustrous, delicious-looking fruit gleaming in the sunshine—which all led them to make fatal decisions that affected themselves and their offspring forever. If only they had fled that place and run to God! So, throughout the centuries, Satan has played with human minds, presenting clever temptations and pressing the consciences of human beings who, despite having the knowledge of God, are being defeated in the war for their minds.

The information coming especially through these two avenues (senses)—vision and hearing—makes the strongest and most lasting impressions on the mind. For this reason, in the book of Psalms we find the following prayer: “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way” (Psalm 119:37).

A sly, enticing foe

I would like us to consider something that is harming all people of all ages and social status. Now, more than ever, given the fact that the mind is largely controlled by the film and television industry, it goes almost unnoticed. It is already a part of the lives of most people to watch movies, television series, violent sports, and music videos that divert the mind and practically exclude God from good human reasoning.

I am referring to the entertainment industry—in particular to Hollywood. Why is it that all that comes out from there is so dangerous? A careful analysis will give us a clearer idea as to ​?​?why there are so many social tragedies, why there’s such a lack of love and justice in the world, and why there is rampant anarchy everywhere. These are all caused in large part by the products that Hollywood offers to society.

What’s in a name?

Hollywood is a neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California. Its name has come to be a shorthand reference for the U.S. film industry and the people associated with it. Many of its studios such as Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures were founded there. Paramount still has its studios there. Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality in 1903. It was consolidated with the city of Los Angeles in 1910, and soon thereafter a prominent film industry emerged, eventually becoming the most recognized in the world. From this place comes every manner of iniquity and impurity, targeting every human—whether adult or child.

It can be observed that in almost every movie or television series or sports program, music video, or video game, many things are graphically shown that affect the minds of each of the viewers. These presentations are filled with content of witchcraft and communication with evil spirits which incite violence and perverted action. Hollywood’s worldliness and evil create an addiction in people. Not only do viewers want more, they want increasingly more intensity. The offerings of Hollywood invade the mind to drive away thoughts of the grace of God. And even worse, people do not feel the need to seek God, but instead take pleasure in contemplating all the perverted things they see and hear.

Most folks do not realize that even the name of Hollywood comes out of pagan mythology! It is connected with magic, casting spells, summoning spirits—in short, witchcraft. It is entrenched in the various pagan aspects of the world’s Christmas activities. The magic of holly is part of the Christmas imagery—on Christmas cards, wreaths, mantels, table settings, wrapping paper. And then there are songs about holly like “The Holly and the Ivy.” Ancient Celts made wands out of holly wood to focus their wishes and practice their magic. Today we still have magic wands, e.g., Harry Potter’s magic wand was made from holly wood. Do we really want to watch or listen to anything coming out of Hollywood? Why would we want to feed our minds with the poison of Satan? There is a battle raging for our minds. Who will control it? The forces of evil or the forces of good?

Witchcraft and magic are not natural things that we are dealing with here. They aren’t just Hollywood fiction. They are supernatural and they are real! Ephesians 6:12 says: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” We are actually wrestling against Satan and his evil angels.

Humanity is exposed to sorcery 24/7. This is a battle that cannot be fought with our natural mind, but has to be fought by a supernatural, divine power from above. The entertainment industry has a goal. Whether the entertainment is subtle or blatant, the goal is all about taking control of the human mind and separating it from God.

Idolizing the stars

Many people are addicted to astrology without even knowing it comes from ancient sorcery and witchcraft. They read their daily astrological forecast and base their activities for the day on what it predicts. Their lives are led by stars—stars of a different sort. What kind of stars are many humans following? Remember that there was a war in heaven. The word of God declares in Revelation 12:4: “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and he did cast them to the earth.” These stars are the angels that joined Lucifer in his rebellion against Divinity. Deceived folks believe they are following the placement of the stars, heavenly bodies, when they are really being led by Satan’s stars, demons.

The rebel angels wanted to be like God—to be their own authority. Satan presented the same idea to Eve in the garden of Eden. But notice, his first entrance into the mind of the woman was suggesting things that were not the will of God. Eve, believing Satan’s lie that she and her husband could be their own authorities, ended up putting themselves under the authority of Satan, a forceful and powerful ruler. And that was the beginning of death, misery, destruction, chaos, and rebellion in this planet. Stars indeed! There’s no such thing as being under our own authority. Unless we are under the authority of God, we are slaves to the so-called stars.

Satan’s same work is being carried on in this modern day as the serpent speaks his seductive sorcery through the magic of television, movies, sports, music and video games. Everything is designed to pollute the human mind and separate it from God.

As the Bible says, our battle is not against humans, it is against Satan. He uses his sorceries to continue the battle that he started in heaven. He and his evil angels (fallen stars) promote the idea in the minds of feeble humans that they want to have power and fame and to be worshiped.

Through power-hungry individuals, Satan transmits his message of rebellion, creating in the minds of those who are entertained an opposition to the will of God. Satan’s angels are promoting godless thinking and behavior in the followers of all Hollywood’s superstars. Are we followers?

People dress, talk, eat, drink and behave like the superstars that they follow, and their minds are under the control of Satan. We know there is nothing good in this industry when even those messages that we consider acceptable are combined with lies and wrong application. Therefore, the principle of sanctity or holiness cannot exist in what Hollywood produces.

The world is flooded with all kinds of shows, all kinds of poisonous sight and sound experiences. Some offerings are not as dangerous as others. Some are violent, immoral and/or obscene. Others are varnished with more refinement, but the influence of it all is sneaky and toxic.

“We have a work to do to resist temptation. Those who would not fall a prey to Satan’s devices must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts.

“The mind should not be left to wander at random upon every subject that the adversary of souls may suggest.”4

Tragically, what so often happens to men—and to women, also? “The sight of her eyes and the hearing of her ears have perverted her heart.”5

These statements were written over a hundred years ago. What on earth would the writer say now if she could see what is going on?

The apostle Paul warns us: “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).

“There is reason for deep solicitude on your part for your children, who have temptations to encounter at every advance step. It is impossible for them to avoid contact with evil associates.... They will see sights, hear sounds, and be subjected to influences which are demoralizing and which, unless they are thoroughly guarded, will imperceptibly but surely corrupt the heart and deform the character.”6

“You will have to become a faithful sentinel over your eyes, ears, and all your senses, if you would control your mind, and prevent vain and corrupt thoughts from staining your soul. The power of grace alone can accomplish this most desirable work. You are weak in this direction.”7 “When an appetite for exciting, sensational stories is cultivated, the moral taste becomes perverted, and the mind is unsatisfied unless constantly fed upon this trashy, unwholesome food.”8


Many fail to understand that we can sin with just a simple look. If someone had followed after Eve in the garden of Eden and asked her what she was doing in front of the forbidden tree, she might have answered: “I am only looking.” But her “looking” led her to the multiple sorrows and the deaths of billions of human beings throughout six thousand tragic years.

King David woke up from an afternoon nap and almost by chance saw the beautiful wife of his neighbor bathing herself on the Mediterranean roof of her house. If David had been asked what he was doing, he might have answered: “Nothing wrong, I’m just looking.” Was this a casual look? Maybe. The bad intentions only succeeded after he chose to consider the exciting scene and its possibilities.

David was as surely ensnared as Eve was when he let his imagination run wild. Let us remember that his “casual” look led him to adultery, and later to murder. How much did David later mourn as a result of his disastrous “casual” gaze? If only he had fled the scene and run to Jesus!

So, how are we going to gain the victory in this war over imaginations, and “high thing” attitudes like arrogance, ignorance, despair, bitterness, pride, and anger? Certainly not with carnal weapons! The Bible tells us that we are going to win because our Commander has already defeated the enemy. Satan has been trying his utmost to win this war for your soul, but when Jesus offered His life at the cross, He sentenced the devil forever. Now all we can do is choose to claim Christ’s victory as our own.

We will win this war as we cooperate with Christ, battle by battle, by choosing His will instead of ours. He will supply the power. We will win this war because the authority that we have over Satan comes from above. It is given to us through the Holy Spirit, and the glory of our victory is for God alone. Our Lord Jesus won this war and He said in Luke 10:19, 20, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”

Remember, always remember, we have no power in us to endure in this war, but Jesus won the battle for us—every one of us.

Now, one final thought: Our aim is not just winning the war, first we need to win the battles—one by one. We also need to aim to place in our minds and hearts only godly thoughts. In the battle for our mind this is a big part of the strategy—and it is presented in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

1 Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, p. 72.
2 Ibid., p. 73.
3 The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1086.
4 Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, p. 107.
5 Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 108.
6 Mind, Character and Personality, vol 1, p. 116.
7 Messages to Young People, p. 74.
8 Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p. 165.