Responding to Sin in Entertainment, Not Just Sin in Entertainment that Shocks Us

October 30, 2009

This past week “Curb Your Enthusiam” (HBO) aired an episode where Larry David (creator of Seinfeld) accidentally urinates on a picture of Jesus and a woman mistakenly believes the picture of Jesus is weeping. The outcry in the media among Christians, especially Catholics, has been significant. The argument is that if significant religious images valued by Jews or Muslims were mocked in the way that Christian symbols and images are, such mockery would be widely denounced. Kevin DeYoung has posted a helpful article about the double-edged sword we wield when Christians publicly denounce entertainment and media that offends them, but only when the offense is shocking or blatantly offensive.

DeYoung says:

But playing the grievance game with these kind of stunts is not always a good move.  For starters, it attracts more attention to the offending show.  More to the point, it overlooks the fact that just about everything on television is tasteless, irreverent, and stupid.  If we are going to be offended by sin, we should be disgusted by more than the occasional shock episode.  We should be just as opposed to taking the Lord’s name in vain, fornication, lust-enticing sensuality, glamorized crime, voyeuristic entertainment, and all manner of worldliness.  Sure, peeing on a picture Jesus is bound to get more headlines, but there are a thousand other sins that get broadcast every day and every night.

DeYoung makes a good point. Why is it that Christians aren’t as offended at all glamorized sin as we are at those sins that make a mockery out of our faith. Doesn’t all sin mock the sacrificial death of Jesus? Shouldn’t that be more important to us than whether or not culture is making a mockery out of our faith? Of course culture is going to mock the Gospel and everything associated with the Gospel. The Gospel is foolishness to a perishing world (1Cor 2:14). Since the Fall of Adam and Eve man has been exchanging the glory of God for the folly of worshiping created things (Rom 1:16cf).

The point is clear. All sin should be offensive to us, not just the ones that are blatantly shocking and irreverent. And yet, more often than not, we are as entertained my sin as our neighbors who are perishing. Our feathers don’t get ruffled until someone mocks our faith in a way that makes us look foolish for cherishing the Gospel. Too often we are looking for a level playing field within our culture, but only when we are especially offended by the gods of this age. There isn’t – and won’t be – a level playing field until the King returns to reign in power and glory. Until that day, if we are going to be offended, let’s be offended at all sin, not just the ones that shock us.

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2 Responses to “Responding to Sin in Entertainment, Not Just Sin in Entertainment that Shocks Us”

  1. Ramona C. Sumner Says:

    I stopped watching TV years ago because it was a waste of time. It amazed me months later, when I would see a rare program at a friends house or the Dr’s office, how offensive the content of “family friendly” shows were. It is true that we are entertained by sin as much as our non-Christian neighbors.

  2. Ron Durham Says:

    Kevin’s article makes a very good point. We do tend to focus on certain pet sins or extreme actions and yet lose sight of the offense of ALL sin. I’ve often observed some nominally moral people (not at all unusual in the Bible Belt) who will profess white hot outrage at homosexuality or abortion but don’t have that same outrage at lying or stealing (like company time, for example) or cheating on income taxes.


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