Should Christians Watch ‘Game of Thrones’?

**Disclaimer: This post discusses sex, pornography, and nudity as it relates to Game of Thrones. Use discretion.**

Last week, John Piper posted 12 questions that he suggested people should ask themselves before watching Game of Thrones, HBO’s popular fantasy drama, an adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series.

Amid his list of inquiries, Piper asks:

Do I Care About the Souls of the Nudes?

Does It Express or Advance My Holiness?

Am I Longing to See God?

Am I Compromising the Beauty of Sex?

Am I Recrucifying Christ?

(Read the entire list here.)

I confess, I watch Game of Thrones. In fact, sometimes I watch the episodes twice because I either have to in order to fully understand the narrative or just because I want to re-experience its “magic.” But mostly it’s because I have to in order to capture the show’s subtle twists and turns. The plot lines of GoT are complex, riddled by magic, evil, politics, violence, power, fear, vengeance, and longing. And lasciviousness. There’s lots of lasciviousness happening among the residents of the Seven Kingdoms.

And while I have, on occasion, squinted or turned my head during the show’s most excessive scenes where flesh and/or blood abound, I’ve never once thought to define Game of Thrones by the cultural boundaries it pushes. That’s because, much like its tricky plots lines and subplot lines, so too is GoT filled up with an array of characters, most of whom are very complicated creatures. In many ways, these fictional characters are a lot like the characters we read about in the Bible, grandiose personalities made up of strengths, lusts, weaknesses, talents, faith, deviances, braveries, and other intricate human (and sometimes not so human) traits.

My love for the story, the themes, and it characters is why I decided to offer my response to Piper’s questions.

Do I care about the souls of the nudes? To be honest, I’ve never real thought about the souls of those who get naked on GoT. That said, I’ve not really thought about the souls of those who don’t get naked, either. Perhaps I should think about both. But if I’m honest, I don’t, at least, not in the same way that Piper seems to think I should. Honestly, I just don’t watch TV that way. I’m not sure I have ever pondered the souls of the actors on any television show that I watch. Maybe Dexter’s. But that’s it. I think this is true mostly because they’re acting. They’re playing roles and characters that are not representative of who they are as human beings. With that said, I must ask a few questions: Does not watching GoT suggest a deep concern for the souls of “the nudes”? I mean, by never seeing one episode of GoT is Piper showcasing concern for those who show their skin? And is nudity the requirement or the line at which one should begin thinking about a person’s soul? How about the souls of those who are partially nude? You know, the souls of Olympic divers, for instance? Do you ponder their souls? Or how about the souls of those gracing the pages of the underwear sections in the JCPenny sales flyers? Do you care about them? Forgive my snark, but this question feels ridiculous, in that it implies that nudity of any kind is evil. But in regards to GoT, the question implies that Piper believes the nudity and sex happening on GoT is equal to or similar to what happens in X X X films. Are some scenes over the top? Yes. And some, given the context of the story, are uncomfortable to watch, occasionally pushing me to use the fast-forward button on my remote. But the scenes are not the same as pornography. While the nudity in GoT might certainly trigger impulses in those with histories of sex/pornography addiction (and those people should certainly use discretion), to compare the two seems unfair and unwarranted. So no, I haven’t thought much about the souls of the nudes on GoT. But next season, I just might.

Does it express or advance my holiness? Probably not the same way that posing a question like that expresses or advances one’s holiness, but amid the richly difficult narrative of GoT are threads that indeed challenge me, bring tears to my eyes, make me acknowledge my own humanity, and cause me to consider the great risks that often come with being brave, strong, courageous, and faithful. Does that happen in every scene? Of course not. But HBO’s tendency to accentuate the more gratuitous elements of human sexuality hardly diminishes the power and passion of a good story. Besides, isn’t human holiness a reflection of who God is and what we believe God is doing as opposed to being a list of things of things we should or shouldn’t do?

Am I longing to see God? Yes. The best stories almost always lead us back to hoping that we experience the truths that define our lives. As a show, GoT often seems to be overrun with a deep hopelessness, requiring characters to make difficult decisions, hope for the best, and suffer the consequences of their mistakes. There’s rarely been an episode that, upon watching, hasn’t left my soul filled to the brim with wonder and hope, searching for the flicker of light amid the seemingly terminal darkness. The same is true for when we Christians read the stories of the men and women in the Bible. Most of us don’t let the fact that Esther was a victim of sex trafficking and prostitution prevent us from engaging the rest of the story. Most of us don’t allow the insanities found in the Book of Genesis keep us from gleaning truths from those stories.  Because the majority of us Christians believe that God is not limited to being found in stories about purity and holiness. Most of us would never long for the presence of God if that were the case.

Am I compromising the beauty of sex? No. Just no.

Am I recrucifying Christ? This question is outright offensive, in that it only seems to diminish and undermine the power of the cross. And too, if this “recrucifying Christ” is truly a concern that Christians should be worried about, an HBO fantasy drama is the least of our worries.

As a GoT fan and a Christian, I think HBO’s depiction Martin’s epic is beautiful and raw, elaborate and gratuitous, inspiring and uncomfortable, dark and hopeful. But so is most of the Old Testament.

Should Christians watch Game of Thrones? That depends on the Christian. It’s certainly not a show for everybody. At times, it’s violent. Sometimes it’s dreadfully slow. On occasion, it’s sensationalizes the sexual deviance of its characters. And there are dragons. But it’s also quite self aware. Many of its protagonists are very much aware of their demons. Sometimes they fight them. Sometimes they let them have their way. It’s very much a story about humanity (with dragons and zombie-like creatures called white walkers). And like most stories about humanity, there’s a lot of chaos, and occasionally, in the middle of chaos, clothes are optional.

But chaos has its advantages, at least, according to the character Littlefinger (or Petyr Baelish), one of King’s Landing’s master manipulators, the owner of a brothel, a business he uses to wield information and power. In season 3, episode 6, while engaging in a conversation with Varys, a eunuch and “Masters of Whisperers,” Littlefinger says, “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”

The last question that Piper asks is this: Am I free from doubt? He explains, There is one biblical guideline that makes life very simple: “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Romans 14:32). My paraphrase: If you doubt, don’t. That would alter the viewing habits of millions, and oh how sweetly they would sleep with their conscience.

And there’s nothing wrong with asking that question as long as it’s not rhetorical. And just as long as those who do have doubts about watching GoT are cool with those who watch GoT and then go to bed and sleep like babies.

40 comments
Stanleynm
Stanleynm

I love Piper. I learned to soar,  to be set free through Piper. To question the laws of mere mortal men,  oh wait... you are talking about John Piper,  the author and so called theologian.  I was referring to my first airplane in which I learned to fly. A Piper Cherokee 140. I'm not 'grounded' in Piperology, nor have I seen the TV series Game of Thrones in question, in fact I have never heard of you till today from an article in today's Daily Beast on Johnathan Edwards (sorry if your reputation didn't precede you as notably ). Having been indoctrinated into hyper-Calvinism some 35 years ago and thoroughly believing in its tenants (or tentacles) for 3 long, dark decades I am glad to have been set free from its life sapping death grip on my soul.  I don't yet know much about you, your beliefs, your POV but anyone who can shoot down a pompous Piper Cub  and a Iconic Ignoramus in one days reading is in my opinion worth investigation (you probably already have been)! I plan on buying your new book  tomorrow at my local bookstore. I was going to download it at Amazon but when I read your blog about them trying to muscle the Hachette authors I'll spend the extra $10 I can't afford. Best wishes. Michael 

blissful1985
blissful1985

Really tired of this argument that you are so smart/redeemed/called/drawn/whatever that you can watch Game of Thrones because you're "special" in some way; you watch Game of Thrones (if you do) because you like to watch people die, people have sex, and people hurt...and call yourself a Christian while you do so.  Think about it, THIS is what entertains you.  THIS is what you give up precious minutes of your life for. We must surely live in the end times.  Let the snarky comments ensue.  

jndaily67
jndaily67

This debate is making me reexamine what I consider to be entertainment. I do not watch GoT, but I've certainly watched other shows that fall into the same genre and contain similar "adult" content levels. I don't agree with every point Piper makes, and I do agree with some of yours, but I need to say that there is absolutely nothing offensive about Piper's asking, "Am I recrucifying Christ?" Jesus didn't just die to forgive our past sins, but so that we could continually work to remain pure (see Luke 9:23). Trying to justify something that is clearly impure can only "diminish and undermine the power of the cross;" certainly asking the question doesn't. The concern of "recrucifying Christ" that you openly mock is the very point of Christianity: We are called upon to follow him, and his teachings are very clear on this kind of thing. Do I still watch shows like GoT? At the moment, yes. Will I continue to? I'm not sure. However, I'm not foolish enough to try and stand there with my hand in the cookie jar, crumbs on my face, and say in front of King and Country that I should be allowed to have that cookie even though I was told not to.

crashtx1
crashtx1

Disclaimer, my comments are for those claiming to be Christians. If you are not, then just ignore.


The replies by the author and others would be humorous if not so sad. Do I want shows that are not edifying? Yes. Will I admit that is wrong? Yes. Would I go online and try to defend putting garbage into my mind? No.  There is no reason a Christian should watch anything with that much violence, sex, and the every popular mix of violent sex.  It would be best to just admit that it's bad but that you want what you want(same discussion I have with my teenager and unfortunately myself). Any attempt by a Christian to justify watching garbage is simply foolish. I know Piper is "preachy", but unfortunately, if we are Christ followers, he's right.

chridar
chridar

But you have not answered all of Piper's questions including, "would you want your daughter to engage in such scenes in front of millions of people?" Would you watch her?

Do you think that it is immoral for actors/actresses to do nude scenes? Would you have any trouble acting in this way if you had the talent and disposition for it?

If it is immoral, then why are we watching it? I had read once on a Catholic site that ancient Christian leaders had prohibited the faithful from attending gladiatorial arenas and even theatre at the time (which often made fun of christianity, obviously before Constantine). Murder and the ridicule of the faith are obviously immoral actions, and they were forbidden from attending these events, because viewing them would have involved a kind of tacit support. Likewise I think that viewing Game of Thrones provides a tacit support for its material.

Don't get me wrong. I am still testing here. I have not yet decided whether to watch Game of Thrones or not. I am torn between its reputed artistic appeal and its notorious sex scenes. People often claim that they could watch GoT without falling into temptation, and that is admirable; but is this the case? Nudity and blatant sex scenes obviously have an inherent meaning and significance; they are inherently tempting and appealing. Even if they do not spur one immediately into sin, they still reside in memory, and affect one's actions in ways which are difficult to determine.

bence_farkas
bence_farkas

I simply like to think that it's like diving for pearls. Pearls are valuable and very hard to get. Usually the most beautiful ones are the hardest to get. But every single time you dive, there is a chance that you never come back. You just drown down there. Diving for pearls is extremely dangerous. You have to decide if it's worth the risk, because the risk is great. If you are not a hundred percent sure that you can do that, you shouldn't, in that case its recklessness. 


I don't think we NEED pearls. I don't think that all of us CAN dive safely, maybe most of us can't. I don't think that chasing pearls is a good lifegoal. I don't think pearls are the ONLY treasures we can get. There are treasures that are way MORE VALUABLE. And there are treasures that can be found in 'SAFER' environments. Again, pearls are of great value, but it comes with great risk. Everyone should decide for themselves whether it's worth or not. If you make it, you have a beautiful pearl. But if you are not experienced enough it can be suicide.


I would not recommend GoT to everybody. Definitely not to kids or people who are not mature enough, and by that I mean maturity in faith, too. I totally agree with Romans 14:32. Everybody should check themselves for their motivation, and Piper's 12 questions are not completely wrong in my humble opinion. 


1 Corinthians 10:31-33 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.


Matthew, thanks for the article!


A Christ-follower and a fan

ChadEstes1
ChadEstes1

Matthew,


When I read Piper's comments this week I just cringed. I mean, I get it, I've had sort of preaching all of my life - the warnings, the fear, the judgments - yet all I've really ever seen produced out of this new law is guilt, shame and condemnation. Dear Jesus, isn't that what we were supposed to be set free from at the cross? 

Piper would hate the work that I'm doing. Piper would hate the way I have fallen in love with humanity. Piper would warn me of the dangers of hell. My only response is that there is no fear in love.

(Piper also wouldn't approve of Jessica's amazing post this week that is going to have more and more moms in their bathing suits at beaches and pools this summer with their kids.)

But when I thought about trying to write a post to counter Piper's fear of GoT, I didn't think I could adequately find the words to express my being a fan of Martin's books (yep, read them all) and my enjoyment of the HBO television series. He just wouldn't get it. But I am grateful tonight that I know you understand.

Thank you for writing this response. 

(But Jessica's post still wins the Turner Blog of the Week Award) 

:-) Chad

ramblingtart
ramblingtart

When I first saw the title of this post I cringed thinking, oh brother, here we go again. But after reading it I'm smiling and thinking, finally, a sensible approach, a respectful approach, and a wise one. It staggers me the lengths people go to control others or use guilt to bring them around to their standards. Great, great post. :-)

JeremyT00
JeremyT00

Think again about the question on the beauty of sex. Yes - just yes. If you think that receiving sexual input from TV shows, pornography, or anyone other than your spouse is ok and won't harm your perspective, you are fooling yourself. There are countless numbers of men in the world struggling to keep sex in context in their lives, some failing miserably, and having it served to them in any format that turns it into entertainment or just part of a story to be viewed as a spectator (or dare I say voyeur) is doing them a grave disservice. Read confessions and blog posts on xxxchurch.com if you're not sure what I'm talking about. As someone who was trapped in sexual sin for years and now free, I know first-hand that sexual input for me belongs ONLY in my marriage, and anything outside of that is a clear and easy path to sin. 

RobertHamilton
RobertHamilton

Don't watch Game of Thrones.
Don't watch Harry Potter.
Don't watch NCIS.
Don't watch ... practically anything.
Don't watch Duck Dynasty.  It has Christian stuff in it, but they are rather rude to one another.  Surely you can't justify that.
Don't read comics.
Don't watch superhero movies.
Don't watch cartoons.
Don't play video games.
This list could go on forever.  Yes, we could actually put sports on here and craft a valid argument if we so cared to.


Some people's lives may be contained to devotionals, Christian books/movies, etc., but mine is not and doesn't have to be.  Exposure to the world around you is actually a good thing.  I have actually been much more successful at reaching people regarding their faith than many who stay cooped up in their little hole.

AndrewWatson1
AndrewWatson1

So what about us Christians who have read all the books?

DeeJaySplash2012
DeeJaySplash2012

In all honesty this article comes across as an attempt to justify viewing something that subjects one to violence, nudity, language, and a host of other elements that do nothing to help us become more like Christ. This show has a hold on many Christian men, for reasons that are not glorifying to Christ. Christ didn't die so that we can watch sex, nudity, vulgarity, and violence without guilt.

The Viral Church
The Viral Church

Several weeks ago, my closest friend confronted me with the fact that I watch, and enjoy, Game of Thrones.

I argued for a couple hours with him, but in the end, I knew that no matter how much I LOVED the show, a part of me knew it wasn't right. It sounds stupid, but giving up Game of Thrones was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do... and that's what finally convinced me to do it. The hold that a simple TV show had, and a TV show with that much sexploitation, scared me. It's like any vice ... it's easy to quit, until you try.  I wanted to shout "I have the freedom to watch this" but Christ echoed back... "you have the freedom not to."

I love your writing Matthew, and if you can watch Game of Thrones without allowing it to affect your mind/heart - then great. I don't judge you and I'm not trying to convict you because that's not my job, that's the job of the Spirit. However, I can't help but see the same reasoning and excuses in your article above as I threw at my friend as he confronted me with the true nature of my heart. I could be totally off here, but the tone in this article just makes me feel like you are fighting for a cause that deep down you don't believe in. Maybe not. That's between you and God. But I would encourage you to have that deep conversation with Him about this matter. 

I didn't quit GoT because someone forced me to, or because I was hurting the actresses on TV, or because I need to follow some Christian rule. I did it because God used a Christian brother to make me examine my own heart and realize I was compartmentalizing my Christian life into things I allowed God to control and things I didn't. And He deserves better than that. 


I believe Piper's discussion is valid, as he is the pastor to thousands of individuals (who the message was written primarily for - his flock.) His job, as defined by God, is to help feed the sheep and keep them out of trouble to the best of his ability. 



PatrickOlp
PatrickOlp

Another squawk from the corner of Christianity more concerned with morality and policing other people and less concerned with their own attitudes and lives. It is SO STUPID. Why does everything on the far evangelical right get boiled down to actions that we can judge other people by? Because it creates structures dependent on asking the powers that be if a person can or should watch this or listen to that and it misses the whole point of the Gospel. Maybe His Grace Piper would like to know if watching the news is advancing holiness? All I can think of when I read this is when Jesus takes the Pharisees to task in Luke for loading people down with burdens they can hardly carry... and for what? What good does it do to create a bunch of paranoia about whether or not you're following the rules closely enough? It all comes back to control, and I think it is stupid. 


Amen.

LizBR
LizBR

I think Piper had just one good point in his article, and that was the idea that the nudity is driven by male sexual appetites. (I would quibble that not all of the nudity exists for that purpose, but anyway.) That's called the male gaze, and feminists have been criticizing it for decades. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't watch the show like Piper instructs. It just means that Piper might want to take note of the fact that he is agreeing with feminists, whom he usually paints as his ideological rivals.


Information on the male gaze:http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/faq-what-is-the-%E2%80%9Cmale-gaze%E2%80%9D/

Eric T
Eric T

@blissful1985 Hard to out snark your comment, actually. I mean if you're gonna say watching a TV show is a sign of the eschaton, what's left to say? Oh, except this: stop telling me (1) what I do and do not like and (2) what "real" Christians do and do not let their eyes see. If you are so literal-minded you can't watch the show in good conscience, then DON'T WATCH THE SHOW!. Better yet, don't comment on the show or the people who watch it. Still, better, how about you stop worrying about death, sex, and violence in a fictional world and start caring about it in the real world? Or should "real" Christians ignore the news, too? Ignore death and violence in places like Gaza or Ferguson? 

Eric T
Eric T

@JeremyT00 Well, if the mere sight of naked people and sex acts is enough to corrupt your conscience, then by all means don't watch the show. I would advise avoiding any mall with a lingerie store, too. Or going to your local pool. 

But if you think the mere sight of naked people or sex acts somehow corrupts the "beauty of sex," well then I'm afraid you are projecting, my friend. Telling people they are "fooling themselves" is a sure sign you think you know better than others and would have others adopt the perspectives and habits you adopt. 


Sorry, but I'll keep watching the show and not worrying about things that don't bother me. 

Eric T
Eric T

@DeeJaySplash2012  "This show has a hold on many Christian men, for reasons that are not glorifying to Christ."

And your evidence for this claim would be...? 

"Christ didn't die so that we can watch sex, nudity, vulgarity, and violence without guilt."

Oh, so we have to feel guilty about all that stuff. Gotcha. Do you feel guilty when you watch or read the news? Or the Old Testament? Just curious.

Pretty sure Christ didn't die so Christians could whine on about what types of fiction people watch, either. If you, or Piper, are more upset about the Game of Thrones than the problems of violence and sexual assault in the real word, then you have your priorities way out of whack. 










Eric T
Eric T

@The Viral Church I appreciate your comment here, especially the charity you extend to those who don't share your burdened conscience about GoT. But I must say I disagree with this point:

"I believe Piper's discussion is valid, as he is the pastor to thousands of individuals (who the message was written primarily for - his flock.) His job, as defined by God, is to help feed the sheep and keep them out of trouble to the best of his ability."

Piper's discussion isn't really valid because it is a largely manufactured worry. Hard to escape the impression he's just spouting off on a popular cultural trend to draw attention to himself. And to help make more puritanical Christians feel good about themselves by drawing an imaginary line between "the world" and their circle of friends. Heck, even if this is, somehow, a genuine concern for Piper and his ilk it is still a problem because it is a distraction, really, from so many other real problems that Christians need to address, among themselves and in the world.

So at best it is a "first world Christian" problem, like complaining that you don't have good cell reception in your favorite coffee shop. In short, I don't think making an issue of this, especially in such ridiculously over-the-top language, feeds any sheep or keeps them out of trouble. It really just stirs up fake trouble, a bit of drama that helps "real" Christians believe they really are different from the surrounding culture, despite all the evidence to the contrary.    




Eric T
Eric T

@LizBR Agreed, though it bears noting that back in the mid-80s certain feminists also found themselves agreeing with those on the ideological right like Piper, much to the surprise of other feminists. 

I'd also add to your point that all of the action in the show, or rather the cultural world in which the show is set, is driven by male appetites. Part of what makes the show interesting in moral terms is how the story reveals the destructive or futile ends of those appetites. Another part is the surprising range and variability of the female characters and how they survive and negotiate a patently male-dominated world. 

OccasionalReader
OccasionalReader

@Eric T @JeremyT00 JeremyT00 has a point worthy of consideration. GoT can be a "gateway drug" that can incite one's appetite for worst things (real porn). And I suspect the motive for many watching the show is to see those graphic images of naked bodies. Yes, similar things are in the Bible (David/Bathsheba, rapes, etc.), BUT the Bible doesn't magnify the lusty details. They're included, but there not the focus of the story. 

JeremyT00
JeremyT00

@Eric T I'm not telling you what to do, that's not my job. But I will certainly "project" what I've learned about how the input from all kinds of sources can warp our view and poison our relationships. I'm sorry if that bothers you, my intention is only to encourage reflection so that we all become more like Christ. 


Laugh if you want, but I ABSOLUTELY avoid situations like those you have described, not to the point of burying my head in the sand, but if I know a store has lingerie pictures in the windows, guess which store I can choose not to walk by? Come on, isn't that common sense? Don't want to look, then don't go there! It's not the sight of something that ruins you, it's where you take that when it gets into you. More and more becomes okay, and before you realize it, it's like a cancer that's eating up your life. I do understand you haven't experienced that and can't relate, so you can feel okay when you shrug it off. But from experience man, it can easily happen. 

DeeJaySplash2012
DeeJaySplash2012

@Eric T @DeeJaySplash2012 


"Oh, so we have to feel guilty about all that stuff. Gotcha."

 No, "we" don't have to feel guilty about all that stuff. We have a choice. The Holy Spirit tends to tug on our hearts and say "Should you really be watching this?" At that point we are always faced with a decision. Do we listen to the Holy Spirit and turn from that which corrupts the soul - or do we continue on in whatever? If we choose to continue on, the Holy Spirit will work on us for a time - and that work by the Spirit is what you're referring to as guilt.

 "Do you feel guilty when you watch or read the news? Or the Old Testament? Just curious."

The news is real life. My father in law works for a major news station. When I watch the news, I am not watching nudity, sex, or listening to vulgarity. Violence is talked about - but not shown in the graphic sense we see in shows like GoT. And the O.T. Really? Feel guilt when reading God's word? I hope you're joking.



"Pretty sure Christ didn't die so Christians could whine on about what types of fiction people watch, either."

Please take some time to read the N.T. It's full of words from Paul, James, Jesus, etc about taking steps to avoid all that is not of God. The books of the N.T. talk all about this very thing. So yes, Christians are to speak truth and call on others to live lives holy and glorifying to God. If you don't believe that, then, well...you're more deceived by the world today than you realize brother. 

"If you, or Piper, are more upset about the Game of Thrones than the problems of violence and sexual assault in the real word, then you have your priorities way out of whack."

I agree. But who said that I or Piper are more upset about GoT than the things you mention? I can't speak for Piper but I can tell you what happens in the real world is indeed more upsetting. I just happened to come across this article and thought I'd comment. 

If you think defending watching GoT is more important than defending the victims of violence and sexual assault in the real world - then, brother, I would say your priorities are out of whack. 

Eric T
Eric T

@JeremyT00 @Eric T Fair enough, to your last point about your personal experience, though I still find ideas like this problematic:

"I'm sorry if that bothers you, my intention is only to encourage reflection so that we all become more like Christ."

Statements like this, and those from Piper, which I heard for years, are really frustrating because they are based on the unspoken assumption that people who *don't* have a problem with GoT--or "secular" music or whatever--*have not already* reflected seriously on the matter. You only encourage or admonish or warn people you believe aren't paying enough attention to something and in cases like this that almost always means "you are doing something I would not do, so you must disagree with me, but I'm doing this out of faith, so you must not have be thinking about your faith or have any faith at all." 

I'm saying you are saying or intending exactly that, but this is a very familiar rhetorical game in certain, usually conservative, Christian circles.

Eric T
Eric T

@DeeJaySplash2012 @Eric T  "We have a choice. The Holy Spirit tends to tug on our hearts and say "Should you really be watching this?"" 

Of course it does, because in that understanding of the Holy Spirit, one I'm quite familiar with, its role is always to make you second-guess whatever impulse, idea, or interest you have, in just about any situation. Oh, I like this show, I must *not* be doing what God wants! Oh, I I want to be a doctor, I must be rejecting a call to be a missionary! The main problem with this line of thinking is that assumes in advance that whatever choice you've first made must have been made out of a lack of faith. 

"Please take some time to read the N.T. It's full of words from Paul, James, Jesus, etc about taking steps to avoid all that is not of God."

I've read the NT more often, and more closely, than you and all of your friends on Facebook combined, thanks. Yes, Christians are to speak the truth. When Piper starts saying things that are true, perhaps I'll listen to him. Until then, Christians need to call out his pearl-clutching rhetoric for what it is: an attempt to draw an imaginary moral line between his self-absorbed audience and the world they otherwise all-too-closely resemble.  

"But who said that I or Piper are more upset about GoT than the things you mention? I can't speak for Piper but I can tell you what happens in the real world is indeed more upsetting. I just happened to come across this article and thought I'd comment."

I take your point about yourself. With respect to Piper, though, I say he's more upset about GoT than these things. Unless somewhere else he's written about those things with the same level of fervor he displays here, but minus the focus on gate-keeping.  

OccasionalReader
OccasionalReader

@Eric T @OccasionalReader @JeremyT00 Do you really need a peer-reviewed, double-blind, published study to determine truth? Some truths are self-evident. When a man views the body of an attractive naked woman, where do you think his thoughts go? Is he inspired to do acts of charity? Is he motivated mow the lawn? Police officers routinely find porn when they arrest sexual criminals. 

JeremyT00
JeremyT00

@Eric T I understand where you're coming from, but you're hearing something I'm not saying. I'm not sitting in judgment, I'm offering myself as an example of the potential trouble we can get ourselves into. I wouldn't consider myself as in agreement with a lot of Piper's writing or views (including this article of his), but it's not his opinion that matters, it's God's. And, there's nothing rhetorical about it. 


"If anyone looks at a woman lustfully, he has committed adultery with her in his heart."


Christ didn't call us to enjoy lustful things, He called us to purity. Anything I can do to help other people find it, I want to do - not because I'm better than anyone, but because I've been there too. 

DeeJaySplash2012
DeeJaySplash2012

@Eric T @DeeJaySplash2012 

"Of course it does, because in that understanding of the Holy Spirit, one I'm quite familiar with, its role is always to make you second-guess whatever impulse, idea, or interest you have, in just about any situation. Oh, I like this show, I must *not* be doing what God wants! Oh, I I want to be a doctor, I must be rejecting a call to be a missionary! The main problem with this line of thinking is that assumes in advance that whatever choice you've first made must have been made out of a lack of faith."

No - you know that's not the Spirit's role - and I'm not saying what you just said. I'm saying when it comes to matters of sanctification and becoming more like Christ - one of the roles of the Spirit is to change our hearts (John 14:26 or Romans 8:14 for example). He teaches us. He also convicts us of sin (John 15:8-11). We should, with His leading, become increasingly convicted of sin in our lives (Galatians 5:16, 18).

"I've read the NT more often, and more closely, than you and all of your friends on Facebook combined, thanks." - Ok - I get you were upset by my comment. There's no way for us to argue this one. Considering that probably 700 - 800 of my facebook friends are pastors or in the ministry...yeah.

Maybe Piper is more concerned about stuff like GoT. I don't know. I've always respected him from the teachings of his I've heard - but I'm not here to defend him so I guess I'll leave that one! 

Eric T
Eric T

@DeeJaySplash2012 @Eric T @OccasionalReader @JeremyT00 Spare us the pseudo-science, please. And by pseudo-science I mean an evangelical twisting of data and then layering it with normative assumptions.

Christian Research Journal--really? I wonder how the authors cited in notes 3, 5, 7, and 8 would respond to this author's conclusions. Especially since one his central claims--that porn "hijacks" normal neurological processes and leads to "addiction"--is questionable to the point being dubious: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11930-014-0016-8

More to the point, this does nothing to support you claim that men watch GoT only to see some boobs. 

Eric T
Eric T

@OccasionalReader @Eric T @JeremyT00 So that's a big no to the request for evidence. Gotcha. So if it is all the same to you, I'll keep watching GoT for the same reason millions of other fans do: because I'm invested in the characters and the strange world they inhabit.  

Eric T
Eric T

@JeremyT00 @Eric T I think we are talking past each other at this point. Because, again, when I see the words "potential trouble" I have to wonder if that "potential" is really out there, or is a projection of your own experience. Beyond that, we could quibble over the translation of "woman" in Matt. 5:28, but I take your point. 

jndaily67
jndaily67

@Eric T @JeremyT00 I know I'm late to the party, but I just wanted to point out: If Jeremy is offering up a "projection of [his] own experience" then, clearly, the potential is really out there.  

Eric T
Eric T

@DeeJaySplash2012 @Eric T @OccasionalReader @JeremyT00 Sorry, but why? Isn't the article you posted a precis of the book? If I don't find the article convincing, why would I find a longer version of the same argument to be? Especially after I've noted that some of key ideas he uses have been called into serious question? 

I find this argument about the social and interpersonal aspects of porn to be more convincing than highly equivocal claims about its universal psychological impact: http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/pornography-is-not-an-epidemic/

And again, this still does not count as evidence that men watch GoT for a glimpse of naked butts. 

Eric T
Eric T

@OccasionalReader @Eric T @JeremyT00 Is this a serious question? You're trying to dismiss my request for evidence for your generalization about GoT fans by comparing it the request of "doubting" Thomas?