Obscenity, Sin or Just Humour?

Grendel has been asking deep philosophical questions

regarding this post.

The question is “is it sin or just obscene; and where is the boundary?”

I probably show a few pics that some folks wouldn’t, but I would argue they are not ‘obscene’. Perhaps not what you would show your grandma, but probably something you would chuckle about rather than say ‘echhh!’

For me the difference between obscene and acceptable is like the difference between art and pornography where a nude figure is displayed.

As we wandered the art gallery today there were some nudes, but I didn’t find myself feeling guilt and shame looking at them. However if I had picked up a porno mag on the way home that would have been an entirely different proposition.

So how do you see it?

Where is the boundary?

What are Christians allowed to laugh at and what should we turn away from?

I believe there is definitely some stuff that is over the edge, but how do you know?…

11 thoughts on “Obscenity, Sin or Just Humour?

  1. I dont think we should hide the fact that we find something funny. I usually laugh at something, and then say, “i know i shouldnt laugh, but its funny!” I can find humor in a lot of things, and often some people dont agree with what I deem funny and vice versa, maybe it comes down to personal conviction?

  2. I agree with Bek the intent is with both the producer and the viewer. Somebody who producers pornography is working on the fact that people (typically males) will be drawn to their work and works off the fact that hormones are going to keep people coming back. And most viewers of pornography would be drawn out of lust of whaterv and feeding that. But yes even art that is produced for non-sexual pleasure such as an art gallery or those black and white books could still be used by the viewer who the intent is than on. The pornography industry works on the facts of biology and feeds into that.

    As far as the point of boundaries on humour, I think there are boundaries and it is up to the individual to be convicted of where those boundaries are for them. In all honesty the only time I have diagreed with and pics/videos on your blog was the Job clip that someone you knew was using in their presentation. Although there were parts of it that were funny I think the swearing and words used “by God” were too far. But that is my personal choice and I would still listen to what a presenter had to say if they used it. But from what I have seen some people would get their back up at that and not listen to what a presenter may have to say even if it great material.

    I do think people (read: Christians) need to lighten up at times.

    Sorry for the long blog….. oh I mean post.

  3. Ok – lets take this to the next step, What if part of the art is creating that sexual stimulation – beyond just appreciation for the form?

    The sexual response on seeing an attractive nude form is natural – and must be a factor in an artists considerations and certainly within their subconscious.

    I would see something as art when it is not produced for sexual stimulation alone but shows some intensity beyond that. As for humour – the human form in infintely humerous – mostly because it is so full of frailties and imperfections that if we did not laugh at it, we would weep instead.

  4. You know, I read this thing a while back – I can’t remember where – that said that boundaries are points of interaction, not just places that separate one thing from another. I also read somewhere that boundaries should be flexible, depending on the nature of the interaction.

    I think this is one of those “don’t cause another to sin” sort of deals, where it’s not the actions themselves that are (necessarily) wrong, but the intent of them in relation to the affected audience. So if I were to eat meat sacrificed on a pagan alter, that’s fine, it’s God’s creation, not the pagans, but if it causes somebody who’s eating with me to sin, then maybe I should get my meat elsewhere.

    I dunno, so maybe there is some point at which “nude art” becomes “pornography,” but I wonder if that boundary is a flexible one, depending on who is doing the viewing. If it’s a picture of a girl wearing a large burlap sack that turns you on, maybe you shouldn’t look at girls dressed in burlap sacks. If, on the other hand, you can watch all the sex in the world and not lust, then I don’t think you exist. But it wouldn’t be pornography for you (and you probably wouldn’t be watching it anyway).

    Does that make any sense?

  5. Firstly what is a burlap sack? Doesn’t sound too good. secondly where does desensitization come into this ie the more pornography you view the less it stimulates. So if then it doesn’t stimulate it’s not sin? I too think that Christians have often been so sheltered that sometimes we don’t know how to react or relate with the secular world with comedy and sex, but what do we sacrifice to do this? What makes us salt and light? If peoples view of Jesus is a holy and pure being and I being a follower of Jesus just throw license and liberty around because of my salvation then what am I saying and portraying?

  6. This is what makes it all so complex. If there were such a thing as one standard of morality then we would all know what is acceptable and what is not.

    I have had a few complaints from people who feel my blog falls short of Christian standards. The question I ask is which Christian’s standards?… Obviously theirs – but who elses?

    I don’t think its easy to distinguish betwee art and porn. Then of course there is the ‘inbetween’ area of ‘erotic photography’! I could look at Norman Lindsay’s art collection with no qualms – except that I am not interested… but going beyond that I don’t want to know about it.

    I am responsible for what I allow to go on here and I have my personal boundaries that I will not step over.

    Chances are they are different to yours.

    I will also choose not to access websites where my boundaries will be compromised.

    When people complain about what is on here I can only say ‘don’t read it’. no one makes anyone come back here!

    What is an obscenity?

    Its a bit like asking ‘what is a swear word?’

    Its so culturally determined that its very difficult to say.

  7. Hamo, I with what you’re saying about your space and your blog and if no-one likes it then bite me etc etc but I’m not sure though about the what is obscene? What is the one standard of morality?? thing and that those things are cultural.

    I could say something really cliche` and say isn’t the word our yardstick for what is moral / ethical but then many would argue that even that is open for interpretation, especially if the word of God isn’t as authoritative to some as it is to others. I admit there are many grey area’s that aren’t directly addressed in scripture but then how hard do we really want to search for God’s answer to our own stench? Where also do the 10 commandments come into it? Do we write them off cause they’re OT or do we take a wholistic approach to God’s view on sin and morality? Please don’t take this as judgement because I know one of the greatest attributes of the demise of the local institutional church is judgement and how much that has damaged Christ’s mission here in Australia, but that also doesn’t mean we embrace immorality either. I feel there is a level of morality that God wants us to strive for and that He wants to work in us on that. As soon as we shut the door and say it’s ‘cultural’ or what’s moral for me may not be for you and that’s okay, I believe we shut the door to growing morally and accept a standard that God may not want for us.

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