More discussion of Rick Warren’s wife’s confession

Several months ago, I linked to an article about Rick Warren’s wife’s confession that she had looked at porn.   I also commented upon the article at the Catholic site that wrote it.

I recently got this reply.

Your link refers to 1 Tim 4. However, 1 Tim 4 warns against those whose cheapen marriage, and that warning seems to me about you as well. Because pornography how it made, who makes it, and how its treats sex, in OUR CULTURE has no redeeming features. Therefore pornography in our culture must be rejected in every way.

Also in the same passages, Paul preaches for ‘purity’. It can only refer to sexual purity.

I also don’t see how Warren’s experience cheapens what you are trying to do. That is a straw man argument. I agree with you that erotica is a very good thing, but I also believe the teachings of the Catholic Church that masturbation is a sin– with the same questioning as Peter who asked. ‘then how can anyone be saved?’. When Paul refers to thanksgiving, he is referring the the Catholic view, he is not in any way supporting porn that was very prevalent in the Roman culture.

I agree that some of your reflections are warranted in that it reflect the view in Protestantism that regards sex as fundamentally dirty. This comes from Luther’s teaching that the physical world is fundamentally corrupted, versus the Cathol ic teaching that matter is good but our relationship to it is tarnished but re-storable, healed by santifying grace (also rejected by Luther).

My site is mainly about evangelical opposition to erotica.  As this writer makes clear, Catholicism teaches even against masturbation.  Now if a man can’t rub one out, then he obviously shouldn’t be looking at porn.  Masturbation and erotica are closely linked.  I talk about this here.

He has two points.

  1. Porn cheapens marriage because of the evilness of the porn industry

This is currently true.  The porn industry considers itself sinful and it treats women as objects to be used and discarded.  Even though at HolyErotica.com I attempt to only import high quality romantic couples erotica, I often link to videos produced by SinfulXXX and LustHD .   What is so strange about these videos is that they are not displaying things that are sinful or lustful.  A couple is perfectly can engage in perfectly holy sex without it being lust.  It is probably true that the couple portrayed are not married or even in a committed relationship, there is nothing about the act or the erotica, itself, that is sinful or lustful.

The problem is that Christians have, in recent decades, turned sex over to the sinners.  This is wrong.  Sex was created by God and is wonderful, holy, and lovely.    Naked women are beautiful and were created by God in his own image (not that God is a woman.  The explanation of this is left as an exercise for the reader).    Erotica should have been – as it was by Solomon and as the Renaissance artists  – done by and about Christians and holy people about holy sex and nudity.  See here, and here, and here.

I remember when I was taking my High School senior picture I saw in the artist’s studio a picture of a nude pregnant wife.  I was horrified and embarrassed.    How could a woman allow herself to be displayed to the public that way?   You see, I had been convinced that nudity was sinful.  I had fallen for the sinful pornographer’s trick.

There is a wonderful post about this by a catholic at patheos.com

2) Masturbation is a sin and so therefore porn is evil.

For a faithful Catholic, I suppose, this is an easy one.  The pope says masturbation is wrong.  We are done.  But, maybe it isn’t quite so simple.  It is, after all, only a venial sin.  A trip to confession and a few Hail Mary’s and all is well.

But for those of us who don’t have to take the Pope’s word for it, the subject isn’t that difficult.  Presumably the New Testament writers (who were all men) knew how to jerk it.    In all of their very specific lists of sins. (Adultery, fornication, lasciviousness…murder, drunkeness…)  they never seem to get around to “wanking.”

“Well they don’t mention smoking either.”  Really?  Is that your argument.  Smoking is new and the biblical authors had never heard of it, but I am confident that Cain and Able knew all about playing with their little peters.  The Bible has time to forbid sex with your aunt, with your cousin, with your step-mother, but never mentions sex with yourself.

Actually it does mention it.

Leviticus 15:16 And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.
17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.
18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.

In other words, sex with your wife and masturbation with yourself are mentioned in the same passage, and the same instruction is given for both circumstances.  Take a bath!

 

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