Warning! This post contains snark, swear words, and sexual references. Easily offended Evangelicals should steer clear of this post lest God opens up a can of whoop-ass on you for not doing so! Abstain from the very appearance of e-v-i-l.
Jim Denison, a Southern Baptist-trained Evangelical preacher spends his days fighting the culture wars, making social commentary, and turning news into clicks. Denison has turned his warfare into a multi-employee business that reaches millions of people. One thing I know for sure, “red meat” sells among Evangelicals, so Denison regularly butchers aspects of American culture he disagrees with. (I don’t criticize him for doing so. Tis the nature of the Internet. Freedom of speech, right?)
Denison recently wrote a post titled Why I refuse to see “Oppenheimer”—and you should, too. Not content to not see the movie himself, he wants his Evangelical readers to not see it either? Why? The movie portrays sex and nudity — normal, everyday human behavior that is demonized by Evangelical moral gatekeepers. Denison seems to have no opinion about nuclear weapons themselves and the United States’ use of them in 1945 to vaporize hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians or the early death sentences given to both American and Japanese citizens who were exposed to high levels of radiation. No, Denison is all worked up and bothered by boobs and asses. I haven’t seen the movie, and neither has Denison. I plan to see the movie. Boobs and asses? OMG! Must see! Or maybe I want to see how accurately Christopher Nolan portrays Oppenheimer and the development/use of the atomic bomb. Maybe some of us can see nudity without getting a boner or being stirred in our netherworlds.
Sex scenes with female bare breasts & buttocks nudity including extended sequences of female breast nudity. A man’s recurring infidelity is a common theme depicted explicitly.
The film has heavy discussions about a man’s sexual affairs & his cheating as it was part of Oppenheimer’s history.
If boobs and butts offend Denison’s sensibilities, then, by all means, he shouldn’t watch Oppenheimer. However, he is a Baptist preacher, so he feels duty-bound to shame other Christians into not watching it either.
I wish I could see Oppenheimer, the Christopher Nolan movie that collected $80.5 million in its opening weekend. Its theme is fascinating: one of the most pivotal moments in history is brought to life through outstanding performances by superb actors.
Then I discovered that the movie includes scenes with explicit sex and nudity. The director explained that he wanted to show that the depicted romance transcended politics. But there is no moral way to justify immorality.
And make no mistake: the scenes keeping me from seeing Oppenheimer are immoral.
Jesus was clear: “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). The same is true for women who look lustfully at men. According to Jesus, Oppenheimer caused millions of people to commit adultery over the weekend.
Once again, scientific research substantiates his point. Studies conclusively show that viewing pornography (which is what the sex scenes in Oppenheimer constitute) changes our brains in damaging ways, quickly leads to stress, addiction, and escalating behavior, fuels mental illness, and negatively impacts love, marriage, and intimacy.
In addition to the psychological effects of pornography, consider the spiritual: lust, like all sin, grieves and stifles the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). This means that viewing the nudity in Oppenheimer not only damages us—it keeps the Spirit from working positively in and through our lives. We suffer both the harm of lust and the lost opportunity of holiness.
And there is the matter of our public witness. What will those who watch Christians watching the sex scenes in Oppenheimer think about the sincerity of our faith? What about those who watch us enter or leave the theater or who otherwise learn that we saw the movie? This is one reason we are commanded to “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
Damn, that sure went from zero to sixty in five seconds. Denison thinks watching ANY nudity or sex scene on TV or on the big screen is akin to watching Debbie does Dallas on YouPorn. I wonder if Denison has actually ever viewed porn? Trust me, the nudity in the Oppenheimer film is mild compared to what can be viewed on porn sites. I’m sure Denison will make the slippery slope argument, to which I reply, stop using so much K-Y jelly.
Denison says that people who watched Oppenheimer with both eyes open committed adultery. That’s right, they committed adultery. Imagine a married couple watching the movie. Both of them were committing adultery while they sat there. I sure hope the theater owners clean the seats afterward.
Denison appeals to the Bible as justification for his Fundamentalist moralizing. Fine, then I must take Denison’s Bible proof-texting to its logical conclusion. The Apostle Paul says that adulterers will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God. This means that everyone who viewed the boobs, asses, and sex scenes while watching Oppenheimer is now headed for the Lake of Fire. You can’t say watching it is lust/adultery and not also conclude that those who watched with eyes wide open will be forever punished in Hell for their immorality.
Imagine the following in Hell someday:
Hello, my name is Adolph Hitler.
Nice to meet you. My name is Pastor Billy Bob.
Why are you here Adolph?
I murdered millions of Jews, gypsies, and developmentally disabled people. I also started two world wars, killing millions more.
And you, Billy Bob, why are you in Hell?
Well, Adolph, I went to the movie theater one Friday night and saw the movie Oppenheimer. You remember the atomic bombs that ended World War II? Oh wait, you had already committed suicide. No wonder you are in Hell. You committed the unpardonable sin. Anyway, there were some nudity and sex scenes in the movie, and because I didn’t leave the movie in protest, I lusted and committed adultery in my heart. I am now in Hell because of five minutes out of a three-hour movie.
Welcome to the world of Fundamentalist Christianity. Denison didn’t actually say that these adulterous Christians are headed for Hell. All I did was connect the dots for him. If people are lustful adulterers, then, based on the inspired, inerrant, infallible Words of God, these porn watchers are headed for Hell. Unlike many Christians, this atheist believes all of the Bible. 🙂
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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