TheBlaze’s Matt Walsh published a commentary earlier this week criticizing the show “Game of Thrones,” saying that it often takes it too far, especially after the latest episode featuring a rape scene.
Walsh wrote a lengthy piece on why he believes Christians should stop watching the show.
Here's what some readers of TheBlaze had to say in response to Walsh's commentary:
I am proudly a Christian.
And frankly the tone and content of this article are embarrassing.
If as a Christian you cannot separate fiction and reality, you are perilously close to picking up a sword and rushing out to wage Christian jihad against the Sodom that is Hollywood, and all those who believe less strongly than yourself.
There is death in The Chronicles of Narnia.
There is sex in the Bible. (For those who have not read the crib notes, Ruth "uncovering his feet" is a reference to having sex.)
God created us. The human body is beautiful, and the continued efforts of the "faithful" to make us ashamed of our bodies are not from God, but from man’s creation of religion.
Yes, there are horrors aplenty in a time where might clearly makes right and the illusion that is civilization is acknowledged to be more fragile than we pretend is the case here in reality. But rather than pan the entire series and paint FICTION as evil, watch it. Consider what a faithful people might do differently — if they would do anything differently.
I promise you, only watching the things that agree 100% with your take on the world and God leaves you with little to watch, and less to discuss. Faith unable to withstand challenges is not faith.
There's a big difference between the sex portrayed in the Bible (out of wedlock, it is universally condemned) and the sex portrayed on shows like this. Paul tells us to “flee fornication,” not indulge in it, so why would we watch shows that so obviously glorify fornication like this one?
Your faith will be challenged plenty without looking for trouble (such as watching shows like this). As a matter of fact, in the Lord’s Prayer (which should be called the Disciple’s Prayer, but I digress), Jesus says we are to pray for God to “lead us not into temptation.” What possible reason would you have to then run TO it full speed by watching this garbage?
I will stop by saying that if not watching programs like this leaves you with little to watch, then why would you continue watching and not simply do something else? Read a book, the Bible, exercise (like Matt already stated); there are plenty of things left to do. Become more active instead of inundating yourself with this trash. I say from experience that I have been far better off watching only one hour of television a week instead of the 20+ hours I used to watch. Why not do the same?
If you’re going to write an article criticizing a scene in a show and using it to try and guilt people into no longer watching the show, you might want to actually have seen the scene. Why? Because many of the things you clearly assumed took place in the scene did not.
You should also probably wait to jump to other conclusions:
What was the point? Shock and spectacle.
Why did it need to be shown? It didn’t.
What purpose did it serve? Promotional tool.
How can you possibly answer these questions given that it was the last scene in the most recent episode? How do you know that future plot lines will not show that the scene did in fact serve a purpose other than simply shock? You don’t.
I’m tired of Matt and his high horse. There’s a difference between holding your brothers accountable and judging your brothers from a holier-than-thou point of view. Learn the difference, Matt.
I’m not stating these things because I’m a “Game of Thrones" fanatic. I’m stating them because Matt chooses to talk down to people. Worry about the stick in your own eye, Matt.
It really comes down to personal preference. Rape and murder happen in real life. This show neither censors nor glorifies these acts – it simply presents them to the viewer as depictions of evil.
The question is, how realistic do you like your stories to be? Maybe you’re OK with “Game of Thrones." Maybe you can only handle children’s fairy tales. Maybe, like Walsh, you’re somewhere in between. It doesn’t really matter what your preference is, but I wouldn’t tell somebody they were wrong for having one different from mine.
He’s not saying we should stop watching it because it has nudity and sex in it. He’s saying we should stop watching it because it has nudity and sex and those things are glorified, along with backstabbing, affairs, and all manner of things sinful. It’s a show you watch BECAUSE there’s smut in it. It’s not like Blade Runner where the movie is about deep questions like the border between human and machine and has a small nude scene because one of the Replicants is posing as a stripper. You’re watching Blade Runner for the story and characters, not for the very brief topless scene. You watch “Game of Thrones" to see them backstab and have raunchy affairs with one another. It’s a smut-filled soap opera with dragons in it.
“Game of Thrones" doesn’t hide what it is. It’s not pandered as a kid-friendly Sleeping Beauty. (Hey, in the original tale guess what the Prince did to try waking her up? Yeah, it didn't stop at a kiss.) People who don’t want that kind of entertainment can stop watching. People who aren’t into weirdo pseudo BDSM soft-core porn movies shouldn’t see Fifty Shades of poorly written smut. It’s not Lord of the Rings. It’s sometimes refreshing to get gritty shocking stories now and again. But if you’re not into that, don’t watch. Turn on the Disney Cha.. er.. well.. rent old Disney movies instead.
Not only as Christians, but as human beings, we should simply refuse to watch the garbage thrown at us in the name of “entertainment.” I've been turning off violence and objectionable sex scenes for years. I’ve refused to go to movies known to be violent. I despise the fact that every time you turn on the television or go to the movie theater someone has a gun and is killing someone. It’s disgusting and it’s not entertaining to me. It’s time to simply turn the channel and refuse to watch certain movies and not allowing our children to play violent video games — and get the message to Hollywood that we don’t consider this entertainment. We’re sick of it, and it’s not good for our minds or for society. Only when they see they're losing millions will they change their tune.
What Matt Walsh fails to recognize is that the characters in the incest scene — or that are products of it — are some of the worst characters, and the products are the least competent and very misguided. The character that commits the rape has no redeeming qualities and has done far worse things. There is a clear definition between what is right and acceptable and what isn’t. There is some murkiness in the middle ground, but some things are so egregious and irredeemable that the characters are clearly defined as being evil.
Since receiving Christ and the Holy Spirit, some things just feel distasteful to me. I’m not being prudish, but I prefer not to take part in or watch things I used to like. You can do whatever you want. Maybe you feel led in another direction. Since reading Unoffendable by Brandt Hansen, I no longer judge. But I am curious about why a Christian would waste time watching “Game of Thrones."
The issue is not with separating fiction and reality. The issue is that what we are exposed to affects our lives and has the potential to draw us closer to Christ or further from him.
It's impossible to pick items out of context and say they're good or bad. I know of people who spent time as soldiers and watched people die and even participated in killing others. Some people can take that experience and center their life on what is most important, pray more often, and grow closer to Christ. Others can have the same experience and react by indulging in alcohol, sex, and anything else to either “enjoy the moment” before they die or to try to drown away the traumatic experiences. While war is reality and not fiction, all experiences can drive us in one direction or another.
There is a difference in tone from the nudity shown in Schindler’s List and pornography that is readily available online. Does the show bring you closer to Christ and make you want to be a better person and help your neighbor and your family? Or does it make you want to retreat into a locked room to be titillated while your spouse is raising your kids on her own?
I am not qualified to judge “Game of Thrones" since I've only read the books. On one hand, there is supposedly a lot of sex and nudity and violence. On the other hand, the books don’t glorify that stuff and the good people are either truly good or genuinely striving to overcome their weaknesses.
Not a Christian here, and don’t watch “Game of Thrones," but I actually agree with a good bit of this article.
There’s something to be said about willfully exposing ourselves to depraved images and situations on a regular basis. Even with a fully developed ability to separate reality from fiction, watching enough of this stuff simply HAS to have an effect on our minds and emotions, somehow. And I doubt it’s a good effect.
I don’t fault the makers of the show for making it this way – that’s a business and it obviously sells; they’re capitalists. And it’s certainly not the end of the world or item #1 on my things-for-society-to-address list. But choosing to filter some rape and violence out of your life can hardly be a bad thing.
I seriously roll my eyes so hard when I see someone saying “rape is not entertainment.” It’s not meant to be entertaining; it’s a plot point to a deep story. It’s not a good thing and that is the reaction we are supposed to have — disgust.
I usually agree with many of your writings Mr. Walsh, however I’m a little puzzled by this one. How can you intelligently comment on the content of a TV show you admit you haven’t watched? I’m not defending the show – it is brutal – but it's an honest portrayal of the brutality of the period. The rape scene everyone is raging about was the “rape” of a young bride on her wedding night by her new husband, who has been portrayed all along as a sadist, so there should have been no surprises about what was going to happen. And the “act” wasn’t actually shown on camera; it was only assumed that was what happened. Watch or don’t watch — your choice. But you shouldn’t criticize it if you haven’t watched it – you have no clue about context.
As a Christian, articles like this tick me off. They are just as self-serving to ultra-conservative Christianity as the article says that “Game of Thrones" serves violent, nihilistic immorality. It only strokes egos with the same worldview and repels those who don’t share that opinion. How many people, Mr. Walsh, do you think your GoT commentary brings to God? I’m willing to bet that number is a big fat zero.
I do watch GoT – very few series have the sheer number of plots, story lines, and level of character development. Everything in our culture is so superficial; that’s why GoT is the phenomenon it is. People crave depth – and will seek it wherever they can get it.
In my opinion, GoT is a case study in WHY the world needs Christianity. It is a demonstration of what kind of world could come if Jesus isn’t known, and the values of Christianity aren’t embraced. It also is an example of the pitfalls of the human psyche and sin that are tangible to the everyday person. Jesus teaches love – GoT is a demonstration of the world without love. It has examples of why freedom is necessary (anti-slavery), warnings against perversion of justice (inequality under law), warnings against religious extremism (faith militant), and half a dozen other cases I’m not going to get into.
GoT is a prime example of a world without Jesus. If you don’t understand that, and see that as the opportunity to expand the Kingdom of God that it is, perhaps your faith isn’t as strong as you think it is.
Great article, Matt. I have quit watching a lot of shows because to me they are not entertaining. There is always an agenda or crass commentary. I know I’m only one person, but it’s my prerogative as much as it is for people who want to watch those type of programs. There’s been too much of an “it’s OK” attitude, and letting things slide that’s emboldened a lot of trash in all forms (Internet/airwaves/media/TV).
I love “Game of Thrones." The final scene of last week’s episode was the most disturbing to me. Normally after I watch an episode I will immediately rewatch it — that’s how much I love this show. But last week I couldn’t bring myself to rewatch it. I don’t think a TV show has ever had that effect on me before. There's lots of sex and violence, but “Game of Thrones" has a great storyline and depth that, for me, no other show can match.
This story has been updated.
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