Anime refers to a certain type of animation that originated in Japan. There are many different forms, styles, and iterations of anime, which consist of hand-drawn or computer-generated animation. Anime is a popular art form and entertainment medium. A question that many Christians have is whether or not watching anime is sinful.
Anime isn’t inherently sinful, but certain expressions of it can be. There is nothing innately unbiblical about the stylistic elements of the art found in anime. However, like any art form, the content of the stories and images can be sinful. Certain genres of anime, like pornographic anime, are clearly sinful.
Why do some believe watching anime is sinful? Are there certain genres of anime that are clearly sinful? Does it matter that anime doesn’t depict real people? What does the Bible say about artistic expression? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
Also see Is It A Sin to Cuss? to learn more.
Why do some believe Japanese anime is sinful?
Anime is a popular form of entertainment, not just in Japan but in the Western world as well. Fans love the art, which is considered much better than other forms of animation, as well as the stories. Anime is found in a variety of mediums including movies, television shows, comic books, and video games.
Is there anything inherently sinful about the artistic style of anime? No. Anime often employs graphic art, which emphasizes line and tone, as well as cinematography, in ways that other forms of animation don’t. Certain stories and images of anime are sinful, but they aren’t automatically unbiblical because of the art form alone.
The content of the stories and images determines whether certain anime is sinful. If a person composed music for a song and one person wrote lyrics for it that glorified God and someone else wrote lyrics for it that celebrated sin, the problem wouldn’t be in the music itself. The content of the lyrics would determine if the song (music + lyrics) was sinful or not.
Are there certain genres of anime that are clearly sinful? Yes. Anime can be found in any genre or subgenre. Some anime is made for adults with dramatic themes that center around sinful behavior like murder and adultery. Other anime is more graphic. Pornographic anime is a thriving industry and popular online. Just like any other form of pornography, the anime version is sinful.
Does it matter that anime doesn’t depict real people? Some people argue that anime, as long as a character isn’t drawn to represent a real person, does less harm because no one is being violated. Since animated characters aren’t made in God’s image like real people are (Gen. 1:26-27) then no sin is occurring. Yet this only addresses one way that people sin by watching pornography.
Pornography depicts sex in ways that violate God’s intention for it. The Bible teaches that sex is for a married man and woman. It’s a private experience between consenting spouses. Pornographic anime doesn’t uphold the Bible’s teachings about the holy nature of sex and God’s purposes for it.
New Testament scholar Leon Morris writes, “The man who carries on an act of impurity is not simply breaking a human code, nor even sinning against the God who at some time in the past gave him the gift of the Spirit. He is sinning against the God who is present at that moment, against One who continually gives the Spirit.” (The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians, Eerdmans, 1959, p. 128)
Also see Is Kissing A Sin? to learn more.
5 Bible verses about being holy sexuality
- Psalm 119:9, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”
- 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
- Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.”
Also see What Does the Bible Say About Manifestation? to learn more.
Are certain forms or styles of art inherently sinful?
While some Christians in history have believed that all art forms, no matter the content, are inherently sinful, most believers have not held that view.
Those who have held this view believe that no image can accurately reflect reality as God designed it, which makes it a distortion of the truth. Most Christians have considered that perspective extreme and have rejected it.
Does the Bible mention artistic expression? The Bible mentions bad forms of art and good forms of art. In bad forms of art, people make idols of wood and stone. A well-known example is when the Israelites fashioned a golden calf to worship (Ex. 32-34), which was a clear violation of the 2nd commandment (Ex. 20:4-6).
Yet there are positive examples of art as well such as when the Israelites decorated the Tabernacle and David’s love for music and singing.
- Exodus 28:3, “You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.”
- Exodus 35:25, “And every skillful woman spun with her hands, and they all brought what they had spun in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen.”
- Exodus 35:35, “He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer.”
- 1 Chronicles 15:16, “David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy.”
- 2 Chronicles 2:14, “The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre. He is trained to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood, and in purple, blue, and crimson fabrics and fine linen, and to do all sorts of engraving and execute any design that may be assigned him, with your craftsmen, the craftsmen of my lord, David your father.”
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