nudity

Are You Godly Enough to Watch Smut?

The more time you spend reading history, the more you see how things that are considered normal by one generation are often considered scandalous by the next. The moral laxity of one age often gives way to the moral clarity of the one that follows. I’m convinced an area of moral laxity among today’s Christians is entertainment, and especially the general apathy toward blatant sexuality and nudity in our movies and television series.

But perhaps “apathy” isn’t quite the right word. At its full bloom, it might actually be closer to “celebration.” Somehow watching nudity and sexuality without pangs of conscience have become downright virtuous for many believers. We carry the expectation that as we grow in grace, we’ll grow in our ability to enjoy sex on the silver screen.

This was brought home to me while reading Nancy Pearcey’s excellent new book Love Thy Body. There she recounts a conversation she had with a woman who experiences same-sex attraction and who, for a time, lived as a lesbian. She has since become a Christian and even married a man, yet there are still times when she battles the temptation of “girl crushes.” And as she describes her growth in grace, she indicates there is still a long way go in her conformity to Christ: “I still can’t watch the lesbian scenes in the television series Orange Is the New Black.”

It is clear that she feels an element of shame as she watches Orange Is the New Black. Yet the shame is not related to watching scenes that contain graphic sex and nudity, but in being unable to watch them dispassionately. She has somehow come to believe she ought to be able to watch scenes designed to arouse without experiencing any arousal, without experiencing any longing or desire.

I think she has come to believe this because it is the subtle messaging she hears around her in the Christian world. She hears people in church talking about the movies they’ve watched, she visits social media and encounters believers discussing the newest television shows, she reads evangelical and even reformed publications where she finds glowing “cultural analysis” celebrating the productions and lauding the way they allow us to better understand our times. These reviews invariably contain a footnote to warn of the explicit content, but it’s clear these are warnings for the weak, for those not yet godly enough to handle such fare.

It was not too long ago that many Christians considered all movies and television off-bounds. That was fundamentalism at its most legalistic and it is good that we have corrected this. Yet today I fear we’ve massively over corrected so that almost nothing is off-bounds. In fact, we’ve gone so far as to consider it virtuous to be able to watch nearly anything. Today it is considered a sign of spiritual maturity to watch scenes of nudity and sexuality and a sign of spiritual weakness to refrain. It is considered virtuous to feel no pangs of conscience as we watch other people disrobe and do their utmost to convince us they are having sex. It is considered legalistic to suggest that perhaps this is unfitting fare for Christians and inconsistent with Scripture. It is considered absurd that perhaps, just perhaps, this is the sign of a hardened rather than a tender conscience.

It’s a distressing time we’ve come to when the ability or desire to watch filthy stuff is considered mature and where the inability or unwillingness to do so is considered infantile. It’s a disappointing time we’ve come to when we long to be godly enough to watch smut.

Source: Tim Challies | Challies.com

 

One Comment

  • Kent says:

    I agree with Tim, here. There is no end the lengths to which the average person will go in order to justify indulging in bad habits that add NOTHING to their Christian growth. Maybe we need to remember a verse from Psalms 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes.”

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