Is watching anime a sin?
Short answer – Watching anime is not inherently sinful. However, the content and theme of the anime can determine if it becomes a sin. For instance, anime that promotes vices such as violence, obscenity, or blasphemy could be considered sinful. Heavy consumption and addiction issues can also contribute to this. Therefore, it’s important to exercise discernment when choosing which anime to watch.
God does not want us to live a boring life.
He wants us to be happy and enjoy entertainment like movies, songs, and games.
Anime is a type of entertainment.
It is a style of animation that originated in Japan.
Anime has a unique artistic style different from Western animation and has heavy cultural influences, including folklore, mythology, and Japanese traditions.
The idea that watching anime is sinful is determined primarily by the content and theme of the anime.
Other issues that may also affect a Christian are heavy consumption and addiction issues. However, this is not subject to anime alone but all entertainment genres.
We must have fun as believers, but there are limits we must not cross.
Keep reading this article as we share why anime can become a sin and how you can navigate it without cutting off this entertainment genre.
What is sin?
Before we discuss whether anime is sinful, we must try to understand the concept of sin.
Sin is anything we do that destroys our relationship with God. It is an act that goes against God’s command.
Sin is an act of rebellion against God.
God gave Moses over six hundred laws in the Old Testament in the Bible. However, Jesus summarized them into two.
“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).
Therefore, anyone who loves God will not sin against against Him.
Also, anyone who loves people will not do anything to hurt them, which is a sin.
Based on this definition of sin, what will determine if anime is a sin is if it goes against God’s law.
Therefore, God’s law is the scale to weigh an anime to know if it will only entertain us, make us better believers, or draw us away from God.
Note that sin has implications.
Sin destroys our relationship with God.
In other words, it separates us from others.
This separation has another implication: it makes us vulnerable to the enemy’s attack. To be separated from God is spiritual death (Isaiah 59:1-2).
God lives in our hearts. Therefore, we must keep our hearts holy so He can dwell there because He cannot withstand iniquity.
“You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness.” (Habakkuk 1:13)
Is watching an anime a sin?
The Japanese are deeply spiritual and cultural.
Their beliefs are highly sacred to them.
The primary religion in Japan is Shintoism.
Shintoism is derived from the word Shinto. Shinto means “Way of the gods” or “Way of the Kami.”
Kami are sacred spirits or deities that inhabit natural phenomena, objects, places, and ancestors.
Because anime originates from Japan, Shintoism is a major theme in them.
This is against God’s Word.
The Bible is against every idol worship.
The Bible concludes that God is the only true God.
Every other god is born from human ideas, and reverence or worship towards them is idolatry.
“You shall have no other gods before me” is God’s third commandment (Exodus 20:3).
You might not bow to these gods when watching anime. However, you might be promoting this false doctrine and religion by purchasing the anime where they feature and distributing or recommending it to your friends.
This question does not require a simple yes or no answer. Instead, certain factors must be considered.
Watching movies or animations, in general, is not wrong. But the problem can come from the content of the anime.
What is the anime promoting, or what is its dominant theme? Some anime promote vices such as pedophilia or encourage something horrible like rape, violence, obscenity, blasphemy, etc.
The mind or heart is the core of a human.
What goes into it can make or mar an individual.
For a believer, it can pollute you and spur you toward sin.
That is why the Bible encourages us to guard our hearts with diligence, for everything we do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23).
To guard it is to restrict the flow of certain things into our lives and allow some.
You must not allow evil and corrupt content into your life, whether they are in the form of anime or real human beings.
Instead, focus on godly content that will build and edify your spirit.
Because we live in a perverse world, there might be heavy influences from all fronts to steal your heart from the Lord.
But the Bible teaches us that even though we are in this world, we are not of this world (John 18:36).
We are citizens of God’s kingdom, called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light.
We are meant to shine our light into the world and not allow ourselves to be overcome by darkness.
As such, we must not conform to this world. In other words, we must not act like worldly citizens but as heavenly citizens.
Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Is there anything wrong with anime?
Nothing is wrong with anime, generally. However, some anime genres are not fit for Christian consumption.
For example, there is an increasing rise in anime pornography in picture and video formats.
They feature explicit sexual activities.
The Bible vehemently prohibits lust, fornication, perversion, and adultery, which are all highlights of pornography, whether acted by real people or anime.
“Flee also youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22).
The word flee suggests total dissociation. It means we must not give sexual sin any chance. Therefore, we must run at any appearance of porn in any form.
The second part of 2 Timothy 2:22 tells us what to do instead. “But pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Therefore, we flee from corrupt anime and embrace those that promote godly morals and stimulate the mind positively.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Christians should discard or avoid any anime that does not meet this requirement.
The issue of addiction is also worth discussing.
Certain anime series are famous for having endless series and episodes, with some lasting over a decade.
Some religiously follow these episodes, consuming time and money while neglecting other crucial areas of their lives.
Nothing is wrong with loving an anime series. But when it affects you financially, spiritually, relationally, etc., then you are dealing with addiction.
The Apostle says, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Anything that controls us is our master.
Jesus came to save us from every form of slavery. Therefore, we must not willfully submit our subconscious to anime.
Instead, we should be master over it. How? By deciding when to watch and when not to watch it.
By not allowing it to negatively impact our finances, steal away our precious time, or affect our relationship with God, prayer time, etc.
Can a Christian watch anime?
Yes. Christians can watch anime, but they must be willing to do some background work before downloading or hitting the play button on a screen or remote.
As discussed earlier, anime covers various genres, including action, adventure, romance, fantasy, science fiction, horror, comedy, etc.
It is your duty as a believer to do your homework and select those that do not have explicit content.
For example, avoid pornographic anime or those full of violence and gory scenes.
This will help you to keep your mind insane and stop you from exposing your kids or younger ones to x-rated content.
Do some research before selecting an anime. For example, read reviews and ratings online to see what people say about a particular anime you are interested in.
You will see patterns in the reviews. If more people are complaining about certain things that are against God’s law and ways, the best thing to do is avoid it and go to the next one.
Another simple thing you can do as a believer who loves anime but is intentional about content not corrupt is to seek recommendations from fellow Christians who share your taste in anime.
Personal recommendations will save you the stress of looking for what resonates with your preferences and faith as a believer.
Explore movie trailers or teasers to glimpse the storyline, tone, and visual style before choosing.
These might be time-consuming, but no work is too much when the health of your soul is involved.