The Second Most Important Reason Why Christians Shouldn’t Watch GAME OF THRONES

Have you heard of the word “sexposition”? The term was initially coined to describe the superfluous use of raunchy material in the HBO show Game of Thrones. While it’s universally acknowledged that the series has copious amounts of explicit sexuality, plenty of people are watching it. (Maybe I should say “because” instead of “while.”) Christians make up a percentage of the audience as well.

E. Stephen Burnett recently posted a refreshingly forthright article on the matter: But “Game of Thrones” Still Has Porn In It. He points our gaze to the proverbial elephant in the room:

Filmmakers and actors can simulate violence, simulate language, simulate other sinful behaviors. But to show nakedness and sex you can only actually 1) be naked and 2) feign to have sex. And let’s spare only a few details here: Unless the actor is himself/herself a goodness-of-the-body-denying, emotionless Gnostic Platonic ideal-person rather than a live human being, he/she will have physical and emotional responses to that “acting.” To do it “right,” you can’t simply do acting proper. There’s an F-word for that: fornication.

I’m not quite sure if I agree about simulating the use of language (if you use a cuss word, you’re using a cussword—pure and simple). Nevertheless, the overall point is true. Most sexual acts on screen—even in the professional atmosphere of a Hollywood production (as opposed to a porn set)—are not special effects. Most of them can’t be. You can fake a gunshot wound to the head, but you can’t really fake sexual acts.

In the comments section of Burnett’s article, Austin Gunderson adds another strong point:

If a book contains a ton of action scenes, we call it an action thriller, without regard to the quality of the writing. If a film contains a plethora of humor, we call it a comedy, regardless of how lowbrow the gags. And if a TV show contains endless amounts of nudity and explicit sex, it’s perfectly accurate to refer to it as porn, regardless of its production value, the knit of its costumes, the nuance of its actors, or the intricacy of its plotting.

Porn is porn is porn is porn is porn. You can make an argument that there’s nothing wrong with porn, but you can’t tell me that a pornographic show isn’t pornographic just ’cause it also contains some pretty amazing artistry.

Award-winning art that shamelessly wallows in perversion shouldn’t get a free pass just because it is “artsy” or award winning. On the contrary, it should be held to a higher standard than erotic and pornographic pieces. And yet I see plenty of people not only not holding GoT to a higher standard, but actually making excuses for its relentless titillation. This should not be.

A recent sex scene in the show caused many to question whether the series has taken sexual imagery too far. In light of circumstances like these, defending the series on Christian grounds is like defending porn to Jesus Himself. It just won’t work.

As Christians, we shouldn’t be subjecting ourselves to material that so entertainingly combats our morals. Movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and shows like Game of Thrones are so dangerous because their depravity is, at least to a certain degree, incognito. They mix porn elements with genuine artistry—and maybe even throw in some semblance of morals—and before we know what’s going on, we’re amusing ourselves to spiritual ruin.

But that’s not even the worst of it. You may have noticed that I titled this blog post “The Second Most Important Reason Why Christians Shouldn’t Watch Game of Thrones.” Yes, our own spiritual health is at stake, but we as a viewing audience have another factor to consider—the well-being of the actors and actresses. Through our patronage, we encourage them to commit immorality. But that’s a topic for another blog post. Actually, that’s a topic for several blog posts, which I plan to post sometime in the near future.

In the meantime, I encourage you to read Burnett’s article, and then maybe jump into the discussion yourself—either on the blog or on Facebook (where I’m currently involved in some dialogue myself). Whatever the case, Burnett provides a breeze of clean air in a climate where too many are comfortable with inhaling smog.

UPDATE: The original title of this article used the word “You” instead of “Christians.” Based on some feedback I received, I made the change in order to more effectively communicate who my intended audience was.

photo credit: CC Chapman via photopin cc