Another season of ‘Game of Thrones’ has come and gone, and it seems to be as wildly popular as ever. From the comments in my social media feeds, it is clearly evident people from all values streams are unabashed fans of the show.
While I’m not going to spend time in this post ‘judging’ the people that do watch it, whether they are Christian or not, I will refer to an article from a Christian organization that does a good job illustrating why my wife and I steer clear of the show.
Granted, since we don’t have cable — let alone HBO — that fact makes it easier to not take part. However, everyone knows you can view any show online these days if you try hard enough.
I recall first catching wind of the show’s popularity a couple years ago in a passing conversation. However, upon checking out an episode guide I was soon met with descriptions of rape, incest, and graphic nudity. Reviewing the IMDB parental guide for the show just today, it doesn’t seem like much has changed with virtually every episode containing at minimum passing nudity, and at worst brother-sister rape.
Anyways, the aforementioned article is from John Piper and his ‘Desiring God’ organization, and it’s entitled “12 Questions to Ask Before You Watch ‘Game of Thrones‘”.
If you are a Christian committed to pursuing God in all areas of your life, I encourage you to check out that article and just prayerfully reflect on all 12 questions he poses. This is whether you watch Game of Thrones or not, as Piper’s advice applies to all things — television, movies or otherwise — that bide for our time.
If you are a non-Christian, then much of this doesn’t even apply to you, and you’re probably thinking I’m a prude or a sanctimonious hypocrite. But I don’t deny the freedom each person has to decide for themselves what to watch. The purpose of this article is to simply reflect on why I don’t.
Of the 12 questions, the ones that resonate most with me are #’s 7, 11, and 12.
#7) Would I Be Glad If My Daughter Played This Role? Really, you could fill-in the blank with any female in your life that you care about. Our culture screams about ending the rape culture and over sexualization of women, which I wholeheartedly agree with, then this same culture champions shows like Game of Thrones. I don’t get it.
#11) Am I Craving Acceptance? This was perhaps the question that hit home with me the most. When relying on our inherently sinful natures, none of us likes to be left out of the conversation, or not be “in the know” of what’s considered cool. While I still struggle with this, it feels good to not be compromising my values just to be in the loop. Which brings me to the final question.
#12) Am I Free of Doubt? This question speaks to that inner-conviction from the Holy Spirit that creates doubt when whatever I’m engaging in might be displeasing to my Creator. Often times we might sense this conviction and push it out of our minds, or consider it legalistic guilt. The problem with labeling it guilt is we confuse conviction, which is good, with condemnation, which is bad. Don’t ignore conviction — if you still feel it then that means you’re on the right track!
What about violence?
An avid reader of this blog might remember that I’m a fan of The Walking Dead. You might ask, why that show with all it’s violence, and not Game of Thrones just because of nudity? However, the above-linked article makes a good point in this regard in question #8.
Violence, while it can be graphic, is all imaginary in the end. We know no one is really dying on screen, and zombies don’t really exist. However, as the article stated, there’s nothing imaginary about nudity and sex acts. These are real actors and actresses doing exactly what the directors tell them — for millions of viewers to see.
A final word
Again, each person can make their own decisions. I simply write to share my thoughts and make people think. To abstain from what’s popular is considered “counter cultural” — and that’s what this blog is all about, right?