The Bible and Risqué Films

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Namaste Jesus, May 3, 2014.

  1. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    Hillary is lurking on here? How Dare She!

    As for the relevance of it all, if any.

    From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

    The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

    The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.


    Carl Sagan.
     
  2. voiceofwood

    voiceofwood Interfaith Forums

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    Due to health concerns? What health risk posed these films?
     
  3. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    No, no my friend. The films don't pose a health risk. The person who ran the company has a heart condition and can no longer conduct business....:rolleyes:
     
  4. Jane-Q

    Jane-Q ...pain...

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    Thinking about the risqué in comedy (film, TV, theater, or whatever):
    Is it harmless satire? Pernicious humiliation? What?

    I grew up watching those TV sitcoms which my parents watched - All in the Family and Mary Tyler Moore. Sex crept into these stories occasionally. (Unlike American sitcoms today, where sex seems to show up in every third line of dialogue.)

    British sitcoms have a bit of popularity in the US, appearing on PBS and BBC-America. But I, personally, don't much "get" the humor.
    (Love British crime dramas: Prime Suspect, The Fall, Cracker, Red Riding, Luther, etc. But then I don't much care for current American sitcoms, but love American crime dramas: The Wire, Breaking Bad, Law & Order and its spin-offs, back to the original ground-breaker in adding a node of realism to cop-dramas . . . Hill Street Blues. Guess that says something about me.)
    Humor seems so utterly culture-bound. Magical and seemingly unanalyzable.
    But for folklorists and anthropologists and psychologists, analyzing humor is part of their job-description.

    If you analyze comedy from a "moral" perspective,
    you might come up with something like this:

    Comedy is intrinsically embedded in group altruism.

    "Altruism" . . . ? ? ?
    Yes . . . altruism.
    One of the "hot summer reads" on NPR's Philosophy Talk is Moral Tribes by Joshua Greene (the founder of the Moral Cognition Lab at Harvard U).
    Emotions make us social animals, turning Me into Us.
    But they also make us tribal animals, turning Us against Them.
    --Moral Tribes, dust-jacket synopsis.
    Greene has isolated two areas of "moral" (i.e. cooperative or altruistic) activity within the human brain's prefrontal lobe:
    1. the "VM" region of the PFC (prefrontal cortex): "social animal, turning Me into Us."
    2. the "DL" region of the PFC: "tribal animal, turning Us against Them."

    Altruism is biologically determined in all mammals and birds and some insect species. And it works exactly in this two-pronged way in all of them, but in humans most startlingly so.
    (I will leave more quotes from the book, below. Smart stuff.)

    Apply this double-edged insight to comedy:
    1. You get high comedy (VM) - i.e. social satire aimed at (i.e. objectifying) people's egos - making fun of the "Me" from the point-of-view of the Us. (Making fun of ourselves.)
    2. You get low comedy (DL) - i.e. personal humiliation aimed at (i.e. objectifying) outsiders/others - making fun of the "Them" from the point-of-view of the Us. (Making fun of outsiders.)

    High comedy enacts an altruism with a progressive (social/VM) purpose.
    Low comedy enacts an altruism with a bigoted (tribal/DL) purpose.

    Greene equates altruism (i.e. genetic need of a species to cooperate with fellow members of the species) with "morality." But (to me) the proper word would be "values," not "morals."
    (Humans are able to morally move beyond the good and the bad of the VM/DL regions of the brain, via everyday interaction and experience.)
    But, semantics aside, Greene's research and analysis otherwise looks sound to me.

    The old tribal gods of the polytheistic world (and, indeed, Yahweh of Jewish Monotheism - before Hillel and Jesus) . . . they all could easily be described as projections of the two-pronged VM/DL regions of the brain. A god who demands a two-pronged covenant with her or his chosen people (vis-à-vis everyone else) - a divinity who wants her or his chosen-people . . .
    1. to stop thinking Me Me Me and to instead cooperate with each other (VM).
    2. to do this in order to competitively survive and eventually triumph in this world vis-a-vis Them, i.e. all the worshippers of false gods. (DL).

    God = altruism personified.

    A very simple equation. The ancient gods (including Yahweh) were archetypes in the human brain . . . of altruism personified.
    Did Hillel or Jesus see Yahweh differently?

    This is the double-bind function of altruism. And you find it exemplified in the twin forms of objectification in comedy:
    - If the risqué comic moment is progressive (about social satire), the target is Me.
    - If the risqué comic moment is bigoted (about humiliation), the target is Them.

    But, intrinsically, comedy is all about Us.
    All about altruism.
    The social contract we share with some but not with others.

    Jane.


    Moral Tribes
    Chapter 1:
    Morality is a suite of psychological capacities designed by biological and cultural evolution to promote cooperation . . .
    We face two fundamentally different kinds of moral problems.

    Chapter 2:
    At the psychological level, morality is implemented primarily through emotional moral intuitions, gut reactions that cause us to value the interests of (some) others and encourage others to do the same
    . . . (VM) . . .
    The first problem is Me versus Us . . . the basic problem of cooperation . . . Our moral brains solve this problem primarily with emotion. Feelings of empathy, love, friendship, gratitude, honor, shame, guilt, loyalty, humility, awe, and embarrassment impel us to (sometimes) put the interests of others ahead of our own. Likewise, feelings of anger and disgust impel us to shun or punish people who overvalue Me relative to Us. Thanks to these automatic settings, we do far less lying, cheating, stealing, and killing than we otherwise could, and that enables Us to succeed.

    Chapter 3:
    Different human groups have different moral intuitions, and this is the source of great conflict. Conflicts arise in part from self-serving bias, including unconscious bias. When people disagree, they use their powers of reasoning to rationalize their intuitive judgments
    . . . (DL) . . .
    Complex moral problems are about Us versus Them. It's our interests versus theirs, or our values versus theirs, or both. This is the modern moral tragedy . . . Here our disparate feelings and beliefs make it hard to get along. First, we are tribalistic, unapologetically valuing Us over Them. Second, different tribes cooperate on different terms. Some are collectivist, some are more individualistic. Some respond aggressively to threats. Others emphasize harmony. And so on. Third, tribes differ in the "proper nouns" - in the leaders, texts, institutions, and practices that they invest with moral authority. Finally, all of these differences lead to biased perceptions of what's true and what's fair.
     
  5. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    Don't sweat it mate. None of that has anything to do with what Matthew was saying. I think he was just giving his opinion that a married bloke was better off not obsessing over a particular woman other than his wife.
     
  6. Jane-Q

    Jane-Q ...pain...

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    Hi Thomas.
    Thanks for your carefully considered response (post # 115).

    Your two amber quotes which, by the way, I have already responded to - twice each - in post # 103 . . . they do deal with "sin." But, as I pointed out, both quotes make a clear distinction between seed (intention) and fruit (actual behavior - which will prove to be either righteous or sinful):
    the things which come out from a man, they defile a man.
    Actions, not intensions.
    You also can't ignore context. Jesus is talking about God's Kingdom, an altruistic heart. (Here, actions will be spontaneously generous and in no need of forgiveness - actions originating from the Spirit of God - the idea which St. Paul would pick up on and run with.)
    The only other of your 15 citations which actually deals with sin is Mark 10:5, but you need to read further down to get what it is all about:
    Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
    commits adultery against her.
    And if she divorces her husband and marries another,
    she commits adultery.
    --Mark 10:11-12.
    This is not "sinning in the heart." This is an act: "marrying another."
    The broader context of this, too, regards Jesus' back-country conservatism: the Pharisees - being sympathetic to people's fallibility in choosing a mate - had worked hard to reform Jewish law . . . by liberalizing the laws of marriage and divorce. The Pharisees had liberalized other laws, too. So this debate with the Pharisees is actually about how the "Tradition of the Elders" is altering, if not undermining, Mosaic Law. And Jesus is very protective of Mosaic Law. (And that includes the "nature of sin" - i.e. as an action, not an intention.)

    Thomas, the rest of your citations are not the least bit about sin. They are mostly about "being ready" for the coming of God's Kingdom (Luke 12:45, the master/slave parable) and about how "hard-hearted" (obstinate, tradition-bound) Jesus' disciples are being. "Do you not have ears yet cannot hear, do you not have eyes yet cannot see?" The evidence of the arriving Kingdom is as plain as day in front of them, yet the disciples see things only with old eyes. And two of these citations are not Jesus' words so much as quotations from Isaiah (John 12:40, Luke 4:18). Is the disciples' obstinacy a "sin in the heart"? When the disciples are afraid (Mark 6:50) in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, seeing Jesus walking on water, is their "fear" a "sin in the heart"?

    Come on?!
    Thomas, you are stretching "sin" a long way, if you actually believe this to be the case.

    Jesus holds a traditional ("back-country" - i.e. Mosaic) view of "sin."
    Where Jesus is radical is in his insistence that God's Kingdom is arriving - now!!
    "The spirit of God is within us, and our actions are the proof of it!"
    Good intention (feelings of altruism, loving all of one's neighbors everywhere). But, more importantly, good action (the courage to carry-through this love out into the world).

    If the biblical passages you cite had been written 2 centuries ago (not 19), Thomas, I might be inclined to accept your interpretation of them. As I told Frrostedman (post # 112 and # 114):
    Today's romantic sense of subjectivity did not exist back in Roman and pre-Roman times.
    (Go to a college library and read a chapter or two of The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Thought by Christopher Gill {BD450 .G4892 2006}) . . .

    The kind of "inner life" you are claiming that Matthew (and his "Jesus") are talking about . . . did not exist in the Roman Eastern Mediterranean in 30 CE.
    No. This begins with Augustine . . .
    No one before him goes there . . .
    Here is where this idea of a sinful soul begins (i.e. "subjectivity" in the modern sense).
    Not until then. Not for another third of a millennium.
    Matthew might have been an Asiatic-style visionary. But Matthew's radical agenda ("ritual purity" inside and out) was not the same agenda as the one which Jesus fifty years earlier is pushing (i.e. unbounded altruism - the arriving Kingdom).
    These are two very different ways of being religious . . . of being Monotheistic.

    Jane.

     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Depends on your perspective, secular or spiritual, as they define their own axioms.

    So did I. Benny Hill, Spike Milligan, Marty Feldman – and famously (in the UK) the pneumatic actress Madeline Smith who set many a young pulse racing!

    Yeah, we had her, and I Love Lucy and Dick Van Dyke ...

    I think the distinction for me is whether it's sex, or sexist.

    :eek:

    There's some brilliant ones heading your way, I'm sure. Look out for Happy Valley and Broadchurch.

    NYPD Blue? (I loved it). CSI (not Miami, tho). And there are others ... The Wire, absolute brilliance! But I can't do Breaking Bad.

    Are you sure that's not just you?

    Indeed, but your viewpoint is basically secular? The question specifically addresses the issue in light of the Bible, in which case a different set of axioms applies.

    The comedy is question is undeniably sexist, rather than sexual. It's the feminine form as entertainment and gratification. It's cheap.

    Would I think it funny if my daughter was suddenly rendered half-undressed for the amusement of others? No. Sorry if that offends, but that's the way it is, I care for their dignity as persons.

    So why is it funny if it happens to someone else's daughter?

    Count the number of comedies in which this happens to women, and then the number in which it happens to men. I think you'll find a discrepancy, but that maybe just me.
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Jane —

    Thanks for the discussion, but I think we've reached that point where to continue we'll just to-and-fro to no end.

    From the Christian perspective, 'sin' requires the consent of the will to do that which is known to be 'wrong'; it's not the act, nor really the intention to perform the act, it's the self-serving desire to do what suits the self, at the cost of one's relationship to God and one's neighbour.

    Classically, Aquinas demonstrated that a rich man who gives alms to the poor, to alleviate their suffering, is doing good. (Even if the poor man then buys alcohol and drinks himself to death, the intent of the rich man is still virtuous. We might argue that it was misguided.)

    If, on the other hand, the rich man gives alms to the poor to be seen to be virtuous by his neighbours, then the virtue is forfeit.

    The same act, different intentions. One is virtue, one a vice.

    To me, the whole thrust of the Christian message (indeed, any religious message) is to save the man, not to save the man from his actions. Thus if a man wants to possess his neighbour's wife, but doesn't out of fear of the law, then there is no virtue in that, just fear of punishment. If a man suppresses his desire to possess his neighbour's wife, to overcome the tendency in himself to offend his neighbour, for the love of God, and his neighbour, then that act is virtuous with regard to the man.

    It would not occur to the truly virtuous man to possess his neighbour's wife.

    I was told of a group of Buddhists who practiced karate. They didn't have a belt grading system, but rather saw proficiency in their art as follows:
    First: You are attacked, and you defend against the attack.
    Second: You move to suppress the attack even as the attacker moves to attack you.
    (Thus your move is simultaneous to his, rather than subsequent, in the first case.)
    Third: The intent to attack simply goes out of the would-be attacker's mind.

    It's the same idea as the Matthew: "Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17)
    The 'pneumatic man' is not above the law (as some schools proposed), he embodies the law, through and through. He lives it, and would not dream of transgressing it. The law is then his freedom, not his confinement.

    Same with Enlightenment. Saint or sinner, enlightened or blind, the moral flaw lies with the will behind the act, not the act, the act itself is ambivalent, and defined as good or ill according to the intention.

    Anyway, that's the way I see it. As the will to act (or the passive will not to act) in the knowledge of what is wrong makes the act a sin. The act itself is the actualisation of a wrong intention.

    Any other argument, it seems to me, declares us irresponsible beings, our actions unaccountable?
     
  9. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    As a red blooded, heterosexual male and photographer I can see the entertainment value of risqué films. I'm not a fan of murder mysteries and crime dramas however. Graphic depiction of human suffering is far more disturbing to me than having a giggle over some poor lass caught short in her knickers.
     
  10. Irene

    Irene New Member

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    I agree with Thomas. If you say it's OK to watch women removing their clothes as your "entertainment", are you also OK when someone you deeply care about [your daughter, sister, wife, girlfriend] takes her clothes off in front of other men for their amusement? I think we know it in our hearts that it's wrong when we don't want our loved ones to do it. Or, would you appear in those films yourself? If not, why not?

    It would be a different matter if that happens with an artistic expression when the scene conveys a profound story of human nature or the beauty or sorrow of it. But in the film like the one posted in this thread (P4, No.57), I don't see any beauty in it or don't find anything amusing about it. I feel it's demeaning to women ... but that maybe just me ...
     
  11. Jane-Q

    Jane-Q ...pain...

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    I had to laugh when I came across these two paragraphs in a book I am currently reading . . .
    :D
    (These paragraphs refer to a scientific study focusing on individuals with religious upbringing, and their reaction time in answering certain questions about God's omniscience . . . in order to show which ideas with them are most intuitive versus which ideas need some thought):
    God appears to be interested in misdeeds more than anything else, but does God care about thoughts about misdeeds?
    For example, does God judge you if you think about committing adultery, even if you don't act upon the thought?
    In a now famous interview with Playboy Magazine, former US President Jimmy Carter said, "I looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times."

    That, it turns out, depends on the type of your religious upbringing.
    Adam Cohen and Paul Rozen interviewed American Protestants and Jews about cases such as President Carter's, where individuals thought about committing a misdeed, such as adultery or neglecting one's elderly parents, but in the end didn't.
    They found that Protestants were much harsher than Jews toward people thinking such thoughts.
    It seems that people raised in a Protestant culture are much more likely to moralize thoughts, and therefore are likely to assume that God judges not only acts, but thoughts as well.

    --Ara Norenzayan, Big Gods: How religion transformed cooperation and conflict, 28-29.
    So far, a very good book. Highly recommend it!
    Its key argument is that "Big Gods are prosocial gods." That religion (the religion of Big morally-focused Gods, starting 12,000 years ago) made civilization possible. (Religion is not a byproduct of the development of urban civilization, but its causative agent.)
    The above quote appears in "Chapter 2: Supernatural Watchers." And this chapter basically demonstrates the scientific basis underlying and validating the adage:
    Watched people are nice people.
    Jane.

     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    A major aspect of the Reformation was a shift from the mystical to the moral.

    Isn't that obvious? Who favours anti-social gods?

    Yes, so it seems. I read a review of an archaeological site in Turkey, a temple complex that would require urban as well as agricultural development to sustain it.

    Well that's true, but to assume that's the only reason seems somewhat cynical in my book. Some people are nice, for the sake of being nice ... I think the ego-oriented West has problems with altruism. It runs counter to consumerism.
     
  13. Jane-Q

    Jane-Q ...pain...

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    Hi Thomas.

    I actually agree with most of what you say in post # 128.
    :eek:
    Like you, I was born in a post-Augustine age. I struggle like Augustine struggled.
    It would not occur to the truly virtuous man to possess his neighbor's wife.
    But I am also a modern person:
    I have flirted with many a married man. But not slept with any.
    (They sometimes enter my fantasies.)
    I see it as being a matter of imagination.

    Imagination (an open and free and experimental mind) . . . I see as being just as important as "virtue."
    (If not more important.)
    I think God is invested in both spheres.
    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
    --Matthew 5:17-20.
    I know you (and everyone) are tired of me beating this horse.
    Still . . . This insertion by Matthew into the Sermon on the Mount (not found in Luke) - hammer! hammer! hammer! - is pure polemic against St. Paul and the Pauline communities, whom Matthew sees as abandoning Mosaic Law. Matthew never gets the idea of "grace." Matthew is old school, seeing Jesus as an inspired teacher and prophet. He never gets what Paul sees: Jesus walking in boundless altruism. Jesus loved the Law, but he no longer needed it to keep himself moral. And this is Paul's starting point, which the Pauline communities mostly got, and the communities started by the Disciples mostly didn't get.

    But enough of my hobbyhorse. You're right, we should close this discussion.
    One last thought, though:

    Unlike you, I do not trust "intention" - whether good or bad. Nor do I trust the "will."
    The modern individual, in me, only trusts the interruption of any spontaneous behavior - the interruption of intention, of will, or of whatever. Whether genetic-bound or culture-bound. All spontaneous behavior is amoral, wearing merely the mask of morality or immorality. (What is "moral" in our culture might well be considered "immoral" in another culture, and vice versa. Just our DNA's imperative for survival and dominance, seeking a respectable disguise.)

    I like simple urges.
    Intention and will carry too much baggage, run with too much momentum to easily stop and then, if warranted, take a detour down a different road.
    Simple urges are easily interrupted, easily finessed into new directions.
    Urges respond to the nuance of new situations. Intentions and will are too heavily encrusted with cultural rationalizations. Horses wearing blinders, attached to a much-too-heavy wagon.

    Urges-interrupted. This is my response to the morass of the inner-life which Augustine sunk the modern individual into. Great beauty to be found in that morass. But needing new answers.
    Needing new answers.

    Jane.

    { Idle thoughts. No need to respond. }

     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    OK. But there are virtuous men around, even today! ;)

    Depends on what one's imagining, I would have thought? To possess an imagination is not a virtue in itself, everyone's got one, the virtue is in how they use it.

    Really? I'm the opposite. I don't trust mindlessness.

    But that's not the whole story, is it? There are moral values that are universal.

    Who doesn't? Thank God for those who push a bit further, otherwise we'd have never evolved one jot!

    Are we not talking about habits?

    To assume one acts 'spontaneously' is, I suggest, an illusion. Even 'spontaneous' actions bear a cultural imprint. What one does in acting without thinking is simply acting out cultural memes which one is most likely not even aware of.

    A lecturer put two pictures on an easel before his audience. Both were covered up. Two artists, one from Europe, one from China, both claiming to be 'totally original' and painting outside 'cultural boundaries'. The game was to guess which was which. The paintings were revealed, the audience took a nanosecond to make the decision, and they were 100% right. It was so obvious ... everyone was laughing.

    That may be so, but my point is that the 'simple urge' is no less formed by the same rationalizations. In fact I would say it's subject to them more, because of its unawareness. Just because one is unaware of the blinkers ... you have to be aware you're 'in a box' before you can free yourself from it. And that takes effort.

    If you want 'new answers', look in a new way ... ;)
     
  15. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    I wouldn't want a female family member to work in a strip club or star in a porno, but, I'd have no problem at all if they wanted to play a part in the kind of films we're talking about here. I'd give 'er a go myself if given the opportunity. That type of humor is not for everyone, but it's right up my street. I'd be much more opposed to them playing a murder or rape victim in mainstream media.

    Bottom line though, all of the females in my life are adults, capable of making their own decisions.
     
  16. Irene

    Irene New Member

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    If I was an actress, I would not have a problem playing a role of a murder or rape victim as long as the movie is not promoting the crime itself. I guess, to me, what matters is what the movie is promoting. I'm of the opinion that sexual objectification, no matter what degree, is objectionable. Having sexual thoughts without emotional, spiritual connection with the person [without being attracted to the character of the person, without truly loving the person as a whole] is not good for the soul. But this is just my opinion and I understand some (many?) may not agree with me in this day and age ... I know I'm a little old-fashioned ... but this is me ...
     
  17. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Did Life of Brian make it in here? Or the Invention of Lying?
     
  18. Jane-Q

    Jane-Q ...pain...

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    Is "sinning in one's heart" actually a sin?
    But I say to you
    that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her
    has already committed adultery with her
    in his heart.
    --Matthew 5:28.
    This weekend and next in Portland, Oregon, is the "first annual" Come Inside theater festival at Post 5 Theatre, organized by Eleanor O'Brien of Dance Naked Productions, and sponsored in large part by Sex Positive Portland.

    O'Brien's own works are all talk talk talk and no real action (little "dancing," no "nudity"), so I suspect that the festival will be largely the same way.
    But still . . .
    According to Matthew, these performers will be "sinning in their hearts" by just talking about "sex outside of marriage" and other such topics.
    And the audience members - in their "suspension of disbelief" - will be imaginatively identifying with these "sinning" performers. So all us audience members at the Come Inside festival (by Matthew's accounting) will be sinning in our hearts.

    But the same is true, if you enjoy an evening of Shakespeare at your local theater or on the tele.
    Tragedies about murder and comedies about lust.
    By taking Matthew's definition: to enjoy art and to not "sin in your heart" becomes a virtual impossibility - short of a draconian censorship program. A program of religiously correct imagery/story-content which would virtually put an end to "art" as we know it. (Not just put an end to Shakespeare, but put an end to most of the books in the Bible, as well.)

    At a panel discussion, last night, one of the festival performers brought up a really uncomfortable subject, even (and particularly) for Portland's open-minded "sex-positive" people. Tonya Jone Miller derives the material for her current show from back when she was a "phone sex" operator. One day, one of her male customers admitted that he has pedophilic fantasies.
    "Could you help me?" he asks.
    I've read statistics that most people with pedophilic fantasies never act out these fantasies, inhibited by the legal system and/or by emotional shame. Yet they cannot remember a time when they did not have these fantasies. They have tried various ways to suppress these fantasies but each way fails. And there is nobody out there with whom to talk about this. Knowing that once they do, "the world will know" and will shun them. They will become a pariah. Yet . . .

    They have never acted out these fantasies.
    Miller, over the phone lines, has no ready answer for this man.
    Do you?
    Any of you?

    Was his non-action still a sin . . . because he has fantasies deemed vile by society, fantasies which he cannot control?
    Or does "sin" appear only in the "acting out" of one's fantasy (i.e. in the actual carrying out of this so-called "sinning in one's heart" within the real world)?

    Is it Christian to condemn this man for heroically managing to (day after day) push aside temptation and to not carry out his fantasy, despite getting zero help from society in his struggle?

    Okay. This is a really uncomfortable question. I get that.
    (Not something we really want to think about.)
    But I don't see Jesus taking Matthew's side on this one. Not one iota !

    And I don't see the censoring of 98% of human art as a viable answer, either!

    Aristotle saw theater as an act of purgation. The purging of socially dangerous and vile emotions, to help society move forward. For Aristotle, "sinning in one's heart" is actually good for the soul.

    Frankly, I think Aristotle is dead-on right and Matthew is stone cold wrong.

    Jane.

     
  19. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Sin.... I was contemplating this sin in your heart or mind just the other day... And how many of my friends girlfriends I thought were gorgeous....and told them (the BFs and GFs) that they were so beautiful I was envious.

    Now of course all of them were fornicating sinners (unmarried) some of them poly-amorous (in open relationships). I've got married friends who are poly-amorous (for decades). I am divorced (sinner). It just keeps piling up.

    But off of my sinful nature and back to the topic at hand....

    Seems the church accepts folks who are gay that don't act on it, or pedophiles that don't act on it...

    And yeah.... I think hanging around artistic communities you run into a lot of the above...(I am not an artist, but I hang with a lot of them)
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Jane –
    Let me try to explain:
    A man gives a man an injection, and the man dies.
    Is that murder?
     

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