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“Ask a Priest: Is It OK to Make a Fantasy or Film a Big Part of Life?”
Q: Is it a sin to have a fantasy world or a film as a big part of your life? Can it lead to sin? If so, how could I avoid it? – L.S.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: Watching a good movie, reading a good novel, playing an enjoyable “fantasy” game with friends — these are fine and certainly have their place in a well-balanced life.
You question seems to touch something a little beyond that, though. Without knowing exactly what you mean by having a fantasy world or movies as a “big part” of your life, this answer will have to be a bit generic.
Let’s say that it makes for a healthy life if we learn to live in the real world, but with an eye toward the next world.
This doesn’t exclude a “fantasy world” if we mean a better world that we are working toward. For instance, it’s OK if we envision a world where the poor have more access to health care and education and economic development, or where the oppressed can enjoy religious freedom.
To build around our life around a movie or some fantasy video-game world, however, can be a sin against the virtue of hope. That is, we ignore God as the only source of salvation and we neglect the attention due to him.
A movie or fantasy world can also become a center of gravity in our psychic lives that distracts us from the task of aiding others. Moreover, depending on how many resources are dedicated to the fantasy world, it would be a fault against poverty. Some of those resources could be better spent on charitable works.
This isn’t to say that we can’t have favorite movies. Some films can lift our spirits, even on repeated viewings. This is part of the power of art to inspire us. This is OK.
The key, again, is balance, and to let that inspiration motivate us to do more for the glory of God and for the good of others.
If someone finds that he is too focused on fantasy, it might be good to get involved in volunteer work. By helping the poor, the elderly, the lonely, we can keep our feet on the ground and appreciate the good things God has given us.
Someone immersed in a fantasy world might have personal issues that he needs to deal with. That is another issue altogether.
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