Entertainment and Arts

I Went to See ‘The Sound of Freedom’, and Here’s What I Thought

By: Akos Balogh

Child sex trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world.

According to the International Labor Organisation, over 5.5 million children are trafficked worldwide each year, with many ending up in child sex trafficking. The new movie ‘The Sound of Freedom’ exposes this dark reality through the true story of Homeland Security Agent Tim Ballard and his quest to rescue two Honduran kids sold into an international child sex trafficking ring.

I saw The Sound of Freedom on Saturday night with my wife, Sarah, and it was a movie that touched the deepest parts of my soul. It was not light or fun-filled. It was confronting in parts (but not graphic). And it was profoundly moving. Yes, I cried throughout the movie (and more than my wife – she’s worked in child protection, so she’s a bit more robust when it comes to this topic!).

We both walked out of the movie filled with emotion. Lost for words. Processing what we saw. And as I’ve continued thinking and processing, here’s what’s come to mind:

1) Stories Move Us To Action

Stories move people to action. And The Sound of Freedom is a story that needs to be told.

Stories inflame our imagination and fire up our emotions. Facts and figures might shape our understanding, but only stories have the power to change the way we see the world.

At the movie’s end, the actor who plays agent Tim Ballard – Jim Caviezel (he also played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ), explains why this movie was made: to shed light on the reality of child sex trafficking. Caviezel hopes this movie will move audiences to action, as it’s a story that needs to be told. (You can taste what he says at the end of the movie trailer).

In the 19th century, the novel  Uncle Tom’s Cabin fired up the imagination of Americans to help make American slavery history. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, under God, this movie is the spark that ignites a movement that makes child sex trafficking history?

(Needless to say, this is a movie that you and your church should watch).

2) We Want to Look Away

Child sex trafficking is such a horrifying reality that we want to look away. But we must not look away.

While the movie is not graphic in any way (for which I am very thankful), it is still confronting. Seeing children trapped in a room with a drunk perpetrator. Seeing the father’s despair at losing his children. It’s not easy viewing.

And when I realised this was not fiction but a microcosm of a larger, more horrifying reality, I felt overwhelmed. The thought of millions of children – like mine – trapped in the pedophile and prostitution rings moves me to tears. It’s unbearably sad. It’s too hard to face. And so we look away. We close our eyes to this awful reality. It’s easier just to deal with our own lives.

But as Christians, we must not look away. While we can’t stop child sex trafficking on our own, we can still do something:

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people… (Gal 6:10)

Thankfully, organisations like Destiny RescueOperation Underground Railroad, and International Justice Mission are on the front lines of fighting Child Sex Trafficking. They are organisations that we can partner with to help combat this great evil.

And, of course, we can pray.

3) The Sinfulness of the Human Heart

It reminded me of the wickedness of the human heart.

There is nothing more morally disgusting than child sex trafficking.

To sexually abuse a child is beyond the pale. And yet, it is a real and growing phenomenon – including among Western nations. What’s even more disturbing is what the film doesn’t portray (and why it has received criticism from anti-child-trafficking experts): most children are trafficked not by strangers but by people they know. The “top three traffick-recruiter types” are family members or caregivers, intimate partners, and employers.

The human heart is so wicked!

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

4) There is a Place for God’s Judgment

This movie made me yearn for God’s Judgement. As I went to bed on Saturday night after watching it, I couldn’t help but feel angry. Really angry. And that’s not surprising: underneath anger is sadness, and this movie made me feel really sad.

And I thought to myself: What do I do with this anger? How do I deal with it?

In that moment, I realised the beauty, the wonder of God’s righteous judgement upon this broken and fallen world (2 Cor 5:10). While we comfortable, Western Christians might be a little troubled by the idea that God will return to Judge and send people to eternal hell, God’s people who have suffered through the ages, and who suffer under oppression today – love the thought of God punishing wickedness.

‘Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice…for [God] comes to judge the earth.’ (Psalm 96:11,13)

This film made me realise the wonder and beauty of God’s righteous judgement…and turned my anger into joy.

5) There is a Place for the Word ‘Evil’

The secular world has lost the category of ‘evil’. But there is no other word to describe pedophilia.

Our modern secular world has a complicated relationship with the concept of ‘evil’.

While it is quick to judge, cancel and be outraged by certain words and deeds (and thankfully, pedophilia is still one of those things that outrage our secular friends), our secular world tends to shy away from calling things’ evil’. It tends to explain bad behaviour in sociological (they were from a broken family) or psychological (they have a personality disorder) terms.

As famous Atheist Richard Dawkins has argued:

In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference…DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. [1]

DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is.

Sounds simple enough.

But does this secular view of life make sense of the horror of child sex trafficking?

DNA neither knows nor cares…so why should we?

In an Atheistic universe, there is no compelling moral argument against child trafficking, no more than a morally compelling argument against lions eating antelopes. But if we are so morally outraged about child trafficking, could it be a clue that the Atheistic view of our universe doesn’t make sense of reality?

Article supplied with thanks to Akos Balogh.

About the Author: Akos is the Executive Director of the Gospel Coalition Australia. He has a Masters in Theology and is a trained Combat and Aerospace Engineer.

Feature image: Photo by Felix Mooneeram, Unsplash

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