Activities that divert us fom the everyday routine of life. They include games and sports, spectacles and entertainments, hobbies and leisure-time activities. From the earliest times, people have had some amusements. What is common to such activities is their nonserious character.They are play, and play ha a legitimate place in human life (as perhaps also in animal
life). Play serves as a relaxation from work, and indeed only if people have periods of relaxation can they work effectively. There is nothing in the Christian
religion that should be considered hostile to legitimate amusements, and only puritanical distortions of Christianity
have frowned upon play activities. Even if this puritanical prejudice against enjoyments is today much rarer than it has sometimes been, it lingers on in the superstition that somehow amusments ought to be edifying or educative if Christians
are to give them wholehearted approval.
Many amusements do in fact increase shills, and are therefore useful; but there is nothing whatever wrong with amusements that are entirely frivolous and do not aim at being useful or edifying in some kind of oblique way. Moreover, Christian ethics should not allow itself to get involved in questions of tasts, expecially where these are usually dictated by middle-class and middle-aged preferences. Listening to Beethoven has no merit, from an ethical point of view, over listening to the Beatles. On the other hand, amusements are not exempt from the ethical standards that apply in our more serious activities. Cruel spectacles, dangerous sports, lewd shows- in short, any amusments that are detrimental to the well-being of participants or spectators, must be condemned by the Christian. There are many borderline cases. The question to be asked is whether an amusment excites states of mind that are either sinful in themselves or predispose to sinful acts.