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Archive for February 9th, 2015

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Last week’s post, “Is it ever appropriate for Christians to view sexual sins in film?” generated a lot of discussion on our page and on other forums.

In response to that post, someone asked me a good question of whether or not it is sinful for a movie to depict sexual scenes that follows after certain stories in the Bible.  My conclusion is that depicting sinful sexual acts on film is still sinful and not morally justifiable even if the scene happen to “re-tell” certain Biblical events.

Below is my take on the question:

1.) In my thinking whenever we address ethical dilemmas we should go from the clear to the unclear.  Given the general principle I hold that films ought not to depict sexual matters as entertainment, I have a hard time seeing that it is permittable to depict sexually explicit materials in a film even if it is trying to visually re-create a Biblical event.

2.) In addition, I don’t think the function of the Bible is to provide source material for Hollywood to depict sexual elements as entertainment.

3.) We must also remember the difference between the Word of God giving an account of something through the medium of words versus an audio/visual depiction of sinful acts.  In a comment on one of our post “Tiribulus” shares a quote from Tim Challies that is helpful: We must not ignore “the power of pictures and the fact that pictures and words communicate in different ways.”

4.) I believe the Bible is not pornographic and often beautifully cloak the intimacy of godly sex more than it does revealing everything.

5.) Don’t forget that just because the Bible gives an honest written account of people’s shortcoming and moral failure this does not mean that the Bible condone them.  This is true also concerning sexual sins recorded in Scripture.

6.) When bad sexual events are mentioned in the Bible there are a lot less that is revealed than what our films would show today.

7.) There is also the reality that the more detailed and realistic the portrayal of sexual sins in pictures are, the more likely actual sins were committed by those involved in the production of the film.  For example, you have a couple in a movie sensually kissing and both individual have spouses; yet their “acting” involves real kissing and other forms of physical intimacy in which they sinned against each other and their spouses.  We are not even going to go over the sins involved in partial and full nude scenes.  The director also partake of the actors’ and actress’ sins as well for planning them while the crew also sin with what they see and lust after during shoots.

8.) Any biblical stories with sexual elements in it in light of the flow of Biblical theology would teach us two lesson: godly sex in obedience to God’s laws is good while sexual sins is bad.  The Word through words can communicate that but motion pictures has its limitations.  The more explicit and intimate the scenes are the more it undermines the message.  Ironically on the one hand if a film graphically depict “godly” sex, the acting behind the scene involves sin while on the other hand a film that graphically depict bad sexual sins ends up communicating that it can not be that bad since it is being watched for entertainment.  Plus the constant depiction of horrendously bad sexual sins often dull our sense and loses their shock value.  It becomes a case of taking one step forward while taking taking two steps back.

Conclusion

I think we can have films following Bible’s story with incidents of sexual reference and still be faithful to the story without depicting explicit sexual activities but that would require creativity.  Remember the power of mystery in film; some of the most powerful moments in film involves visual “hiding” things and event and employing other elements in the film to powerfully fill us in.

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