There’s this show you may have heard of, Game of Thrones? It’s heavy on the violence and character death and by all accounts there’s also a fair amount of nudity. I’ve only seen a few episodes, but I can testify to both.
“Pastor John, do you believe there is a difference between film nudity versus pornography? I know many Christians who are against porn, but they have no issue watching movies or TV shows that show graphic nudity.”
“Pastor John, what would you say to a Christian who watches the cable TV show Game of Thrones?”
He had a lengthy reply, but a couple of things jumped out at me. One, he said, “If we choose to endorse or embrace or enjoy or pursue impurity, we take a spear and ram it into Jesus’s side every time we do. He suffered to set us free from impurity.” This quote fell under the question “1. Am I Recrucifying Christ?” And under the question “3. When Will I Tear Out My Eye, If Not Now?” he said “Seeing naked women — or seeing naked men — causes a man or woman to sin with their minds and their desires”.
These two responses bother me quite a bit. Hebews 4: says:
For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt
So in essence he seems to be saying that by watching a show like GoT we risk becoming apostate or that it is as bad as becoming apostate. He also says unequivocally that seeing a naked man or woman automatically makes you sin. While we can certainly argue about whether or not the latter is true in all cases (it’s not, in my opinion), I can’t say that I agree with the former sentiment at all. We all continue to sin. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t resist sin, and if seeing someone nude does cause you in particular to sin, then you should avoid it. It doesn’t mean that by doing something that someone else sees as a sin in their lives that we are necessarily risking falling out of God’s grace.
The thing that interests me about this is how little he touches on the violent aspect of the show. This is a show were we unflinchingly get to see someone pout molten gold over another man’s head. He does say:
Nudity is not like murder and violence on the screen. Violence on a screen is make-believe; nobody really gets killed. But nudity is not make-believe. These actresses are really naked in front of the camera, doing exactly what the director says to do with their legs and their hands and their breasts. And they are naked in front of millions of people to see.
Here’s the thing though. Being naked isn’t a sin. Looking at a naked person isn’t a sin. These men and women aren’t actually having sex (which would be a sin outside of marriage according to Christian doctrine). They’re faking it. Just like they’re faking murder. Sex on screen is make-believe; nobody really gets f***ed. If the reality of the act is what causes the actors and actresses to sin then this doesn’t qualify (unless you can prove that showing the human form is a sin).
Now, he does raise one point that I do find interesting and that I potentially agree with:
11. Am I Craving Acceptance?
Christians do not watch nudity with a view to maximizing holiness. That is not what keeps them coming back to the shows. They know deep down that these television shows or these movies are shot through with the commendation and exaltation of attitudes and actions that are utterly out of step with the death to self and out of step with exaltation of Christ.
No, what keeps those Christians coming back is the fear that if they take Christ at his word and make holiness as serious as I am saying it is, they would have to stop seeing so many television shows and so many movies, and they would be viewed as freakish. And that today is the worst evil of all. To be seen as freakish is a much greater evil than to be unholy.
This is something I will admit to struggling with. I’ve done things that I shouldn’t have, merely to gain acceptance. I won’t for a second pretend to speak for other people’s motives for watching this. I can imagine Christians watching this show for the story telling and the character development. The acting is apparently top notch. I think it’s possible to watch shows like this for perfectly pure and genuine reasons. I also think it’s possible to watch shows or do things that you feel run contrary to your conscience for reasons of gaining acceptance. I would want anyone to do that. Be who you are and remain true to what your conscience tells you to do. I think people will see that and it will speak more to people who disagree with you than any kind of faking it would.