Milk-carton alert: Millions of rampaging Christians missing after Playboy “Maria” outrage

posted at 4:00 pm on December 15, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Catholics and Christians in Mexico have expressed outrage over Playboy’s latest cover. The shot feature a model wearing a white head covering and nothing more in front of a stained-glass window, an obvious attempt to evoke the Madonna (the original, not the singer) at the time Mexican Catholics celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Fox News was all over this story, to no one’s surprise:

I suppose I should be outraged as well, but honestly, Playboy and the rest of the porn industry stopped surprising me years ago. Their hostility towards religion has been obvious for a long time, and the new Madonna imagery is just the latest attempted insult towards people of faith. It wouldn’t even be worth of comment, except for two points that I have yet to note being made in what little debate this cover has inspired.

First, conservatives will have a tough time criticizing Playboy for using religious iconography for its own social/political commentary after the defense made of the Mohammad cartoons. While the point in the latter had more intellectual heft than a naked model showcasing her wares, the cartoonists and their supporters (myself included) had little problem with exploiting religious imagery to score political points. Freedom of speech applies in both cases, at least in the cover, which is very suggestive but shows nothing more than anyone would see on a California beach, although the tagline, “Te adoramos, Maria” is at least somewhat sacriligeous in this context as well.

That leads to the second point. Our Western traditions of free speech and open debate have allowed offended Christians to protest the publication without massive violence and threats of death. The offense in this case goes far beyond what most of the Mohammad cartoons depicted, and yet millions of Christians have not gathered in anger to threaten death and the violent imposition of a Christian theocracy. The Vatican has not issued a fatwa on Hugh Hefner’s head, and I’d be surprised if they bother to react at all.

Update: Bottom line is that it doesn’t take much courage for Playboy to insult Christians.  We’ll know they have testicular fortitude when they take Melissa Clouthier’s advice.


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You and Zealot are convincing me it’s possible to disagree here and not hate anyone over it.

Esthier on December 16, 2008 at 5:55 PM

Of course. “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (I Cor. 13:2) As you have correctly stated, love is paramount.

But it is not solitary. While we are to have love first and foremost, as disciples we are to study the revealed Word of God, and live according to its precepts.

This is why, despite its (increasingly obvious) seduction, even soft-core porn should be shunned by Christians. Not hatefully, but AS AN ACT OF CHRISTIAN LOVE. Your husband getting romantic from watching “You’ve Got Mail” or whatever is WAAAAAAY different than him taking detailed inventory of a naked young woman, however “tasteful”.

Unfortunately I had some experience with this issue when I was a young man. There is a law of diminishing returns with porn. The pic that gets a guy going one day is too tame the next, so he’s got to move to something a little racier, a little raunchier. Then something a little racier still, and so on.

Believe me, porn is a trap. Not everyone gets caught in it, but way too many (mostly men, but not necessarily) do. That’s why I’d counsel anyone, especially Christians, to steer WAY clear of it. That counsel comes not from hate, but from love.

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 6:20 PM

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 5:54 PM

Up this page, I explain my beliefs. Definately not a Christian. But with all the back and forth, I’m not dogging on you for missing it. : )

And yes, I collect porn, I’m not afraid to admit it.

Anna on December 16, 2008 at 5:58 PM

I definitely need frequent “setting-straight”. And I appreciate your candor. You and I disagree on much, but it’s a free country.

I hope you won’t take offense that I hope you someday find Christ. In Him, I’ve found both the key to eternal life, and abundant life here on Earth, and I’d lovee for everyone to have it so good (by choice, of course, not by force — I have to spell that out for the crazies).

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 6:31 PM

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 6:31 PM

As Christian men, we all have to “check” ourselves.

It’s funny. I can wake up in the middle of the night and turn on the TV. If I surf by and “Girls Gone Wild” is on, the first thing I think is, “I know your parents are SO proud.” And I keep surfing.

kingsjester on December 16, 2008 at 6:38 PM

That’s why I’d counsel anyone, especially Christians, to steer WAY clear of it. That counsel comes not from hate, but from love.

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 6:20 PM

I completely understand that perspective and mostly agree with it.

Your husband getting romantic from watching “You’ve Got Mail” or whatever is WAAAAAAY different than him taking detailed inventory of a naked young woman, however “tasteful”.

I agree on the surface, but isn’t the act the same either way? Isn’t it still that an outside factor that is arousing him even though his “lust” (for lack of a better word) is for me?

If I surf by and “Girls Gone Wild” is on, the first thing I think is, “I know your parents are SO proud.” And I keep surfing.

kingsjester on December 16, 2008 at 6:38 PM

Oh man, those girls are so ridiculous that I’m sure even parents who think porn is a legitimate career choice are embarrassed by that.

Esthier on December 16, 2008 at 6:46 PM

If lust is wrong and lusting is just wanting to have sex with someone who isn’t your spouse, is porn still morally wrong if the “actors” are cartoons and thus not real people that can be lusted after?

Esthier on December 16, 2008 at 5:59 PM

Hmm. Morally wrong or not, it’s kind of twisted. Are you talking about the Simpson kids / child porn conviction in Australia?

As a short answer: if I did something to cause my wife hurt, to think that she were not sufficient to meet my needs, that would be putting myself before her. If I’m not loving her as myself, then I’m breaking the second part of the great commandment (Mark 12:30-31). So yes, it’s morally wrong, but less so than, say, having an affair (but not “less sinful”, sin not being a “shades of grey” matter).

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 7:10 PM

Your husband getting romantic from watching “You’ve Got Mail” or whatever is WAAAAAAY different than him taking detailed inventory of a naked young woman, however “tasteful”.

I agree on the surface, but isn’t the act the same either way? Isn’t it still that an outside factor that is arousing him even though his “lust” (for lack of a better word) is for me?

That depends on what’s going on in that coconut of his. If he’s getting hot for the actress on the screen, then I would say that as a Christian that would be something he should avoid. If seeing two people fall in love reminds him “hey, you know… that reminds me just how wonderful it is that *I’m* in love! I’m so lucky – I gotta go find her…” Is the movie “sexy” or “romantic” to him? The line between the two is elastic, though not infinitely so.

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 7:16 PM

If I surf by and “Girls Gone Wild” is on, the first thing I think is, “I know your parents are SO proud.” And I keep surfing.

kingsjester on December 16, 2008 at 6:38 PM

My knowledge of these videos is 100% hearsay, but it’s my understanding that there are several of them, and each one has dozens and dozens of mostly drunk girls cheapening themselves. My heart is broken for these girls and for their families.

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 7:19 PM

…and with that I have to go to work. I’ll check in later if I have a chance, but no promises.

God’s blessings to all, and Ed… thanks for the theology chatroom! ;o)

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 7:21 PM

David: A New Perspective

aengus on December 16, 2008 at 7:33 PM

Sex for non procreative purposes is misuse of sex, then it is only to fullfill our PASSIONS.

The PASSIONS are the world, and in order to reach Theosis we must overcome the world.

SaintOlaf on December 16, 2008 at 3:30 PM

I actually do find this offensive. How many married couples have been told they’re committing sin for simply having normal, healthy relations? Not only is this not a Bible teaching, the Bible teaches the exact opposite, Old and New Testament alike.

What the Bible actually teaches is that there are certain boundaries for sex, principally, marriage. “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled.” “The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other.” “Let her be as the loving hind, and pleasant roe, let her breasts satisfy thee at all times, and be thou ravished always with her love.”

Yes, some decided not to marry so they could devote themselves full time to Christian service. Paul was a good example of this. But Peter was an example of a married man, as were other apostles, including the brothers of Jesus.

Sin is disobedience to God, breaking God’s laws. How you define someone as sinning who is following God’s commandments, I’ll never understand.

We’re always being told by some, such as StOlaf, that we need to subject our understanding of the Bible to past traditions and interpretations. But this kind of tradition is contrary to Scripture, contrary to human nature, contrary to the institution of marriage, and makes God a schizophrenic who says “Sex is wrong, but do it anyway because I want children. Just don’t dare enjoy it!” No wonder people have rejected traditions such as these.

tom on December 16, 2008 at 7:43 PM

I don’t get why people think she needs to be a virgin. What’s wrong with a married woman having sex with her husband? Why would that somehow make her less than what she was?

And God would sure be cruel to push Joseph into marrying a woman who would never have sex with him.

Esthier on December 16, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Because that is the CORRECT interpretation.

Joseph was an incredibly OLD man and he was a widower.
You know he was dead long before Jesus Christ was 30 right?

There is also an OT analogy regarding something that once God occupied it..no one was to ever occupy it again.

It was NOT punishment..only a carnal minded modern person would think that.

Was it a punishment for Christ to remain a monastic?

What about St. John the Baptist and other Old testament Saints?

The Blessed Virgin Mary was a temple of the Living God (She housed Christ within her…She is the prototype of all Christians and the most blessed among women and the Saints)

SaintOlaf on December 16, 2008 at 2:43 PM

The Bible never mentions Joseph’s age. Or that he was a widower. And God never “occupied” Mary’s body as such. You do remember she was a virgin?

There’s also no indication that John Baptist was unmarried. Just because his wife is not mentioned doesn’t mean he didn’t have one.

But God is not schizophrenic. He would not have commanded Joseph to marry her, but not touch her. That’s like God telling Joseph to have a sham marriage.

I think it’s interesting how clinging to this notion that sex is sinful distorts so much of your understanding.

tom on December 16, 2008 at 7:50 PM

Mostly because they aren’t raunchy period.

Esthier on December 16, 2008 at 4:39 PM

Oh. Well I suppose that makes it cool. So long as it’s approved, tasteful porn, Christians are ok to view it then?

Obviously you can’t control what’s done with pictures, but the intent of Playboy is obvious. This isn’t a question of type, it’s a question of style. Making a moral distinction based on style seems terribly fishy to me.

TheUnrepentantGeek on December 16, 2008 at 7:54 PM

tom on December 16, 2008 at 7:43 PM

Olaf is a kook. AP keeps him around for the amusement factor.

TheUnrepentantGeek on December 16, 2008 at 7:55 PM

Since when do those who practice that get married?

There are several instances of Married couple Saints
who took vows of celibacy.

SaintOlaf on December 16, 2008 at 3:40 PM

Interesting. You don’t often see people defending such ideas in this day and age.

Married couples who take vows of celibacy would be contradicting both common sense (being married while abstaining from marriage) and ignoring Scripture. As in 1 Cor 7, which clearly teaches that married couples should not withhold from each other, because they are one flesh. Certainly, they can withdraw temporarily for a time of fasting and prayer, but then they are obligated to come together again. In fact, the word used for that kind of withholding is “defrauding.”

tom on December 16, 2008 at 7:59 PM

It is very important that the Virgin Mary was ever virgin.

Like I pointed out earlier..Luther,Calvin,Zwingli(the founders of protestanism) ALL believed St. Mary was EVER VIRGIN.

This new interpretation did not originate with them but from who knows who, 50-60 years ago.

SaintOlaf on December 16, 2008 at 3:44 PM

Well, clearly, it is very important to you.

As for Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli: so? You’re not talking to Catholics here, or to Orthodox, who elevate “the fathers” and “traditions” above everything. The whole point of the Reformation that Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli started was to turn to Scripture alone rather than the old and confused traditions that often wound up contradicting the actual Word of God.

50-60 years ago? Poppycock.

tom on December 16, 2008 at 8:04 PM

I get what you’re saying here, but the books in the Bible were at least written by people who were Christ’s contemporaries.

Esthier on December 16, 2008 at 4:00 PM

You’re right.

The first Bible was actually compiled by heretics who used spurious books that weren’t written by contemporaries(and some real books with parts taken out) and disagreed with the teachings of the Holy Tradition spoken of by the Aposltes..

The Bible was canonized as a response to combat the heresy (and included only contemporaries)…

The letters were in wide use before that but there was no Bible for hundreds of years.

How was Christian faith transmitted before then?

By Holy Tradition,icons and the passing of the unaltered baton of the Faith.

SaintOlaf on December 16, 2008 at 4:10 PM

The first Bible was compiled by heretics? There was no Bible for hundreds of years?

Many scriptures were in common usage within the first century. By the time Peter wrote his epistles, people were already using Paul’s epistles as scripture. It’s been said that if we had no copies of the New Testament, virtually the entire book could have been reconstructed from quotations in the writings of the early church leaders.

But apparently you have to destroy people’s faith in the Bible so you can make them think they need the “holy traditions” of the Greek Orthodox.

tom on December 16, 2008 at 8:16 PM

The first Bible was compiled by heretics? There was no Bible for hundreds of years?

I kind of hate to defend Olaf, but…

…the first Biblical canon (putting the books together and stamping them as “official”) was done, I believe, by Marcion – a heretic.

He lopped off the entire Old Testament and most of Paul’s epistles. He even made his own changes to the gospels.

The Council of Nicaea was called, in part, in response to Marcion’s heresy.

And out of Nicaea came the first canonized scripture.

Religious_Zealot on December 16, 2008 at 8:58 PM

Ignore it and it will go away. Frig those morons.

johnnyU on December 16, 2008 at 10:13 PM

It’s obvious that Tom is not reading my posts before responding.

i’m sure you mean well Tom…but really,

God didn’t occupy the Blessed Virgin Mary’s body?

That’s heresy.

If you don’t believe that Jesus is God then you can’t be in more serious error.

And St. John the Baptist was married?

What?

You’re clearly misunderstanding the benefits of asceticism, celibacy and monasticism.

(That’s understandable considering the sexified and materialistic culture that we are bombarded with today)

But the fact is, St. John the Baptist was a great ascetic and monastic. (As was Jesus Christ BTW)

He wore a hairshirt, fasted all the time eating only honey and locusts, and practiced celibacy as a monastic.

Do you know what a hairshirt is Tom?

A hairshirt(that St John the Baptist and Elias wore) is purely an ascetic tool..it’s only purpose is to produce discomfort and helps in a way to deaden one’s self to the worldly passions(such as lust and physical comfort).

Considering that you take such an all encompassing,supreme and literal interpretation to the Bible…I’m curious if your church follows Christ’s literal command for us believers to fast?

Read the Bible, read the Acts of the Apostles, do you notice how almost any time any of these miraculous events, visions etc. happen, the apostles are fasting?

Why do the protestant churches throw out that command and seem to take such a negative approach to asceticism and monasticism?

SaintOlaf on December 16, 2008 at 10:33 PM

50-60 years ago? Poppycock.

tom on December 16, 2008 at 8:04 PM

It’s a fact Tom.

Read my post on the last page.

I gave you a large number of quotes from the founders of the protestant churches proving that they interpreted the Scriptures as clearly saying that the Blessed Virgin Mary was perpetually virgin!

You can’t deny that.

The fact is for 1,500 years at LEAST, the correct interpretation regarding St Mary’s ever virginity was widely known. The false interpretation that you fold(that St. Mary was not ever virgin) originated within the past 50-60 years.

SaintOlaf on December 16, 2008 at 10:42 PM

The first Bible was compiled by heretics? There was no Bible for hundreds of years?

I kind of hate to defend Olaf, but…

…the first Biblical canon (putting the books together and stamping them as “official”) was done, I believe, by Marcion – a heretic.

He lopped off the entire Old Testament and most of Paul’s epistles. He even made his own changes to the gospels.

The Council of Nicaea was called, in part, in response to Marcion’s heresy.

And out of Nicaea came the first canonized scripture.

Religious_Zealot on December 16, 2008 at 8:58 PM

Don’t bother trying to defend Olaf. The fact that Marcion came out with his own list of books that he accepted as scripture hardly means that no Bible existed until then. As I said before, the the scriptures were in use long before then, heavily quoted by church fathers, copied and re-copied, and distributed.

In Olaf-world, the scriptures are imperfect and limited, and if you want to know anything about God, you go to an Orthodox priest. Instead of there being one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, you go to Mary and past saints and the officials of the Orthodox church. They tell you which scriptures are scriptures, what those interpretations mean, when brother means brother and when it means, say, cousin. And if they say things that are in no scripture ever, well, it’s in tradition, which is just as important.

It’s a walking, talking reminder of why there was a Reformation.

Or do you really defend the statement that there was no bible for, and I quote, “hundreds of years?”

tom on December 17, 2008 at 1:47 AM

It’s obvious that Tom is not reading my posts before responding.

i’m sure you mean well Tom…but really,

God didn’t occupy the Blessed Virgin Mary’s body?

Ad hominem attacks? Really?

That’s heresy.

If you don’t believe that Jesus is God then you can’t be in more serious error.

And now you’re being silly. Jesus is God. But Jesus was a baby in Mary’s womb. Not exactly what most people would see as “occupying.” And the claim that no one could occupy what God occupied is nowhere in scripture.

And St. John the Baptist was married?

What?

Scripture doesn’t say if he was married or wasn’t married. You assume he was so you can point to him as an example of a monk.

You’re clearly misunderstanding the benefits of asceticism, celibacy and monasticism.

(That’s understandable considering the sexified and materialistic culture that we are bombarded with today)

But the fact is, St. John the Baptist was a great ascetic and monastic. (As was Jesus Christ BTW)

He wore a hairshirt, fasted all the time eating only honey and locusts, and practiced celibacy as a monastic.

Do you know what a hairshirt is Tom?

A hairshirt(that St John the Baptist and Elias wore) is purely an ascetic tool..it’s only purpose is to produce discomfort and helps in a way to deaden one’s self to the worldly passions(such as lust and physical comfort).

John Baptist came from the wilderness area, just like Elijah. He wore clothes made of camel’s hair, a rough garment, to be sure, but practical, being very good insulation.

To be a hair shirt would require that he turned the shirt inside out so the hair would irritate him. Scripture does not say that at all.

He ate locusts and honey (not the locust insect, but a particular plant from that region that was called locust) because those were the plain foods of the area. It was called a wilderness for a reason.

Yes, John was a man’s man who disdained an easy life and soft clothing, but you’re trying to turn him into some sort of monk.

Considering that you take such an all encompassing,supreme and literal interpretation to the Bible…I’m curious if your church follows Christ’s literal command for us believers to fast?

Read the Bible, read the Acts of the Apostles, do you notice how almost any time any of these miraculous events, visions etc. happen, the apostles are fasting?

Fasting has its place in Christianity, usually combined with prayer. Jesus fasted, and said his disciples would fast.

But why do you change the subject to fasting, which I have no problem with, when I criticized the notion that sex was sinful even for married couples unless they were involved in procreation?

The only place where fasting is tied together with sexual relations in scripture is 1 Corinthians 7:1-5

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me It is good for a man not to touch a woman
Nevertheless, to avoid fornication let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence, and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves unto fasting and prayer, and come together again, that Satan tempt ye not for your incontinency.

So for a married couple, abstaining from the physical relationship is in effect cheating the partner. Except – and here is where fasting comes in — except that both partners can abstain temporarily if both are in agreement, so that both can concentrate on fasting and prayer for a time. When that time is up, they should come back together.

Married couples taking a vow of celibacy: No. If you want to be celibate, you need to be unmarried.

What an idea: for a church to encourage people to do the opposite of what God intends for married people, and make them feel like they’re spiritual for doing it!

Why do the protestant churches throw out that command and seem to take such a negative approach to asceticism and monasticism?

SaintOlaf on December 16, 2008 at 10:33 PM

Irrelevant, since we don’t throw out the command, and since you’re trying to change the subject.

tom on December 17, 2008 at 2:37 AM

50-60 years ago? Poppycock.

tom on December 16, 2008 at 8:04 PM

It’s a fact Tom.

Read my post on the last page.

I gave you a large number of quotes from the founders of the protestant churches proving that they interpreted the Scriptures as clearly saying that the Blessed Virgin Mary was perpetually virgin!

You can’t deny that.

The fact is for 1,500 years at LEAST, the correct interpretation regarding St Mary’s ever virginity was widely known. The false interpretation that you fold(that St. Mary was not ever virgin) originated within the past 50-60 years.

SaintOlaf on December 16, 2008 at 10:42 PM

First of all, since Halvidus wrote a pamphlet in 383 arguing that Jesus had brothers and sisters, the claim that it’s a doctrine only 50-60 years old is clearly poppycock.

As for the quotes, I saw them and responded to them earlier. The problem is, you throw out quotes from these people thinking it proves something. But the Reformation was not based on the personal teachings of the Reformers, who were human and subject to error, but on the teachings of scripture as opposed to who said what in the past. The principle was called Sola Scriptura.

It would be like reading the Koran and finding those verses which teach that Jess are the People of the Book and Christians are the People of the Book, and as long as they keep their Book, the Moslems will have no problem with them. As a Christian takes the Bible as the authority, I might read that and think that there would be no jihad, because the Koran says we just have to keep our Book.

But I would be wrong to think that, because Muslims interpret the Koran strictly according to their hadith — their traditions and sayings — and have no problem with one part of their Koran contradicting another. They simply believe the later reading “abrogates” the first.

So it is for the Catholic or Orthodox to quote Luther or Calvin. All you establish is the man’s opinion, not the truth of the man’s opinion. That truth is determined by whether the scripture teaches the same thing. It may be an interesting point that Luther thought Mary was perpetually a virgin, but considering how he messed up the whole transubstantiation/consubstantiation/Lord’s supper business, he was far from infallible.

tom on December 17, 2008 at 3:06 AM

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 5:13 PM

The view of sex as being somehow sinful, even in marriage is actually a fairly new invention, starting up during the Victorian era.

MarkTheGreat on December 17, 2008 at 7:32 AM

I spelled naked wrong, twice. *headdesk* Must have been thinking both naked and nekkid (that’s what my kids say).

Anna on December 16, 2008 at 5:35 PM

Lewis Grizzard used to say that naked meant you had no clothes on. Nekkid meant that you had no clothes on and had something on your mind.

MarkTheGreat on December 17, 2008 at 7:34 AM

There’s also no indication that John Baptist was unmarried. Just because his wife is not mentioned doesn’t mean he didn’t have one.

tom on December 16, 2008 at 7:50 PM

Given John the Baptists lifestyle, itinerate Rabbi, it’s highly unlikely that he was married. But as you say, the Bible contains no mention, one way or the other, so we are free to speculate without harm.

MarkTheGreat on December 17, 2008 at 7:39 AM

And St. John the Baptist was married?

What?

And you aren’t reading Tom’s posts before responding either.

Might I suggest that you see someone about that plank in your eye?

MarkTheGreat on December 17, 2008 at 7:42 AM

The principle was called Sola Scriptura.

tom on December 17, 2008 at 3:06 AM

Actually you mean sola scriptura, scriptura sola…it had nothing to do with who said what in the past, it was interpreting the bible literally. It means, the scripture and only the scripture, it refers to where authority comes from.
Luther took the authority from the Vatican, and gave it to the scripture.
Sola scriptura, scriptura sola could have happened only if the printing press had been developed at the same time as Luther.

right2bright on December 17, 2008 at 8:42 AM

I gave you a large number of quotes from the founders of the protestant churches proving that they interpreted the Scriptures as clearly saying that the Blessed Virgin Mary was perpetually virgin!
SaintOlaf on December 16, 2008 at 10:42 PM

And I gave you direct quotes from the bible that states that is not fact.
So who do you follow, founders of protestant churches, or the word of God?
Obviously, the founders if God word is found not to fit your doctrine.

right2bright on December 16, 2008 at 4:53 PM

right2bright on December 17, 2008 at 8:50 AM

(sticks head up out of foxhole)
Is it safe? Are all the Catholics gone, fallen to the wayside, felled by the emotion of posting?
This isn’t pointed at St O or Ed or any particular fish on Friday type, but I whisper it quickly and scamper away:
Why the hangup on Mary remaining Virgin all her life? Simple:
as Catholic kids, they get their (only) Bible learning during the time when, as kids, they are becoming interested in the opposite sex.
Nuns and Moms use the idea of Mary remaining Virgin to push for celibacy amongst the inquiring minds-they tie her alleged sexless life to their ideal.
So…a lot of Catholics are canalized at an early age to believe in Mary’s Virgin status, and that indoctrination continues for the rest of their lives.
They’re coming! I gotta go-

Doug on December 17, 2008 at 10:06 AM

There’s also no indication that John Baptist was unmarried. Just because his wife is not mentioned doesn’t mean he didn’t have one.

tom on December 16, 2008 at 7:50 PM

Given John the Baptists lifestyle, itinerate Rabbi, it’s highly unlikely that he was married. But as you say, the Bible contains no mention, one way or the other, so we are free to speculate without harm.

MarkTheGreat on December 17, 2008 at 7:39 AM

I never argued that John Baptist was married. I argued that StOlaf was full of it for saying he knew John Baptist was unmarried.

I’m actually fine with not knowing one way or another.

tom on December 17, 2008 at 10:59 AM

The principle was called Sola Scriptura.

tom on December 17, 2008 at 3:06 AM

Actually you mean sola scriptura, scriptura sola
….
right2bright on December 17, 2008 at 8:42 AM

Yes, I was clearly out of line for capitalizing it….

tom on December 17, 2008 at 11:03 AM

Hmm. Morally wrong or not, it’s kind of twisted. Are you talking about the Simpson kids / child porn conviction in Australia?

I’m not talking about any specific type of porn. Cartoons can be purely adults.

As a short answer: if I did something to cause my wife hurt, to think that she were not sufficient to meet my needs, that would be putting myself before her. If I’m not loving her as myself, then I’m breaking the second part of the great commandment (Mark 12:30-31). So yes, it’s morally wrong, but less so than, say, having an affair (but not “less sinful”, sin not being a “shades of grey” matter).

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 7:10 PM

So what if a man (or woman) were to watch those videos without making the spouse feel hurt or less than or any of the things you mention?

If he’s getting hot for the actress on the screen, then I would say that as a Christian that would be something he should avoid.

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 7:16 PM

No, my hypothetical was very clear that he’d be getting hot for his wife, not the actress. The actress would be the catalyst, so to speak.

Oh. Well I suppose that makes it cool.

TheUnrepentantGeek on December 16, 2008 at 7:54 PM

Never made a judgment on it being OK or not OK. My only point was that it’s tasteful. That’s it.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 12:28 PM

(not the locust insect, but a particular plant from that region that was called locust)

tom on December 17, 2008 at 2:37 AM

I didn’t know that.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 12:48 PM

As a short answer: if I did something to cause my wife hurt, to think that she were not sufficient to meet my needs, that would be putting myself before her.

RegularJoe on December 16, 2008 at 7:10 PM

So what if a man (or woman) were to watch those videos without making the spouse feel hurt or less than or any of the things you mention?

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 12:28 PM

That’s a lousy standard, if you don’t mind my saying so. By that standard, it wouldn’t be all that wrong for him to have an affair, as long as he was REALLY careful that you didn’t find out.

I guess I didn’t really give my best argument when I hung it on “hurting her feelings”, though. There is that; but there’s also breaking my promise, to forsake all others (even cartoon others).

Apart from questions of moral right and wrong, I’m not really sure what’s back of this question; but I’ll give you some unsolicited thoughts that might possibly be apropos, though I assume nothing.

My wife and I have been married for 22 years, and I am well aware that it would be possible for romance to become stale in that time. In fact, at 7 or 8 years in, it was headed that way; but we learned the secret to solving that problem. With a commitment on both of our parts to keep the romance alive — intellectually, psychologically, and physically — well, let’s just say neither of us needs any additional inputs. We – er – “experiment” like two teenagers at makeout point. We may pull a muscle now and again, but I still feel like I’m on my honeymoon — and I devote a significant part of every day working to be sure she does, too. I don’t need porn; I don’t need cartoons; and I don’t need sexy movies. I just need Mrs. Regular (wooHOO!!!)

And she doesn’t need that other stuff either, though a bunch of flowers or a foot massage from time to time doesn’t hurt anything. Oh, and I just got back from taking her out for a romantic lunch.

Now, I ask you as a wife: would you rather your husband got turned on — even if it’s all saved for you — by a cartoon, or by you writing a sexy note on his rear-view mirror with a dry erase marker? Would you rather he stoked your fires with a copy of Playgirl, or by sneaking outside the house and serenading you with “your song” at your bedroom window?

The imagination is a powerful “virtual sex organ”; but there’s better ways to use it than cartoon porn.

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 2:12 PM

That’s a lousy standard, if you don’t mind my saying so. By that standard, it wouldn’t be all that wrong for him to have an affair, as long as he was REALLY careful that you didn’t find out.

If you think that, then you must have misunderstood my question.

An affair is harmful to the spouse with or without his/her knowledge. A person has an affair for a reason, and it’s not always just one person’s fault. For the relationship to progress, both need to understand why he/she cheated and must be able to fix whatever can be fixed.

Now, if my husband were to cheat, I’d likely be happier temporarily not knowing he did it, but I’d still have a less fulfilling marriage (which I think is where you’re going with this anyway).

I’m not really sure what’s back of this question

Nothing. Just picking peoples’ brains and posting hypotheticals, trying to get at the heart of the issue.

The imagination is a powerful “virtual sex organ”; but there’s better ways to use it than cartoon porn.

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 2:12 PM

Point well taken.

But that’s an argument to preferences rather than morality.

Though to run with your point, I suppose one could say that being turned on by cartoons or Playboy is the lazy way out and thus is not fulfilling the intent of the marriage contract, which is to be everything to each other, and thus it could then become a moral issue.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 2:29 PM

(not the locust insect, but a particular plant from that region that was called locust)

tom on December 17, 2008 at 2:37 AM
I didn’t know that.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Yes that’s true.

Tom’s actually helping me prove my point.

That’s actually how one fasts(abstaining from meat etc.). It proves my point that St John the Baptist fasted all the time.

If Tom would have ever decided to learn anything about the Orthodox Christian Tradition, he would have learned that this is a tradition passed on and pursued to this day within the Orthodox Church and the monastic community.

John the baptist was a manly man who disliked soft clothing.

No Tom. St John the Baptist was not Rambo or a survivalist like you’re portraying him.

He was a great ascetic and was a monastic.

Like for instance the hairshirt we were discussing..
This is another example of you distorting and excluding scripture because you don’t like it.

The hairshirt originated from the Prophet Elias and the prophet schools.

If you had bothered to read the old testament you would be aware of the existence of the prophet schools out of which Elias and St. John the Baptist originated.

SaintOlaf on December 17, 2008 at 2:47 PM

That’s actually how one fasts(abstaining from meat etc.). It proves my point that St John the Baptist fasted all the time.

I don’t want to misunderstand you, but it sounds like you’re talking about the Cindy Sheehan version of fasting, which lets you eat as much as you want so long as it’s not solid.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 2:51 PM

That’s actually how one fasts(abstaining from meat etc.). It proves my point that St John the Baptist fasted all the time.

I don’t want to misunderstand you, but it sounds like you’re talking about the Cindy Sheehan version of fasting, which lets you eat as much as you want so long as it’s not solid.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 2:51 PM

Fasting can include refusing to partake in only particular foods, or not partaking during daylight hours. The Orthodox church has MANY fasting days (the following per a Greek Orthodox friend) some of which are no meat, some full-blown Vegan (no eggs, cheese,etc). It’s been a few years, but they may have also had “full fasting” days, as well.

Protestants (such as myself) take issue with the form of fasting done in the Orthodox Church. Jesus said (paraphrasing) that when we fast we should do it in such a way that no one knows it (which at least partly explains why St. Olaf once suggested that Protestants “don’t fast” — many don’t, but those who do don’t talk about it freely). Protestants also, when they do fast, tend to do either “full fasts” or “juice fasts”.

As far as Sheehan is concerned, she wasn’t supposed to be on a fast, but a hunger strike. The purpose of (scriptural) fasting is to turn one’s attention away from the carnal to the spiritual; the purpose of a hunger strike is to turn others’ attention to the one on the hunger strike.

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 3:11 PM

Yes Tom,

Jesus Christ was a monastic and an ascetic.

Do you still think monasticism is a bad thing and a “punishment”?

This is just another example of you twisting scripture to prove your point and excluding things you don’t like.

The Scripture you quoted from the letter to the corinthians.

You butchered that scripture to prove your point.

You used it to claim that monsticism was inferior to a life devoted to fullfilling the passions, when in fact that scripture say the EXACT OPPOSITE.

St Paul is clearly saying that monasticism is SUPERIOR to married life.

He clearly says that without a doubt.

Just as you are butchering the scriptures, you’re butchering my positions and taking them out of context.

I think it’s interesting how clinging to this notion that sex is sinful distorts so much of your understanding.

tom on December 16, 2008 at 7:50 PM

First of all, that is not what I said.

Marriage is a HOLY SACRAMENT within the Church.(clearly based on your statemnet regarding “Transubstantiation” you do NOT understand what a sacrament is nor do you understand how apostolic succession is carried out from generation to generation and passed form Bishop to Bishop, thereby retaining the validity of Holy Sacraments).

You don’t understand it(and you reject scripture with your position) because your “church” does not have valid apostolic succession nor valid sacraments).

I was pointing out what God said the purpose of sex was in the beginning.

I was NOT condemning sex within marriage.

Sexual desire is not exstinguished within a marriage but is transmuted and SANCTIFIED within the Holy Sacrament of Marriage.
But it is CLEARLY OBVIOUS in Scripture that marriage is inferior to monasticism

Marriage is a temporary thing Tom, a temporary fix.

There is no marriage in Heaven.

Tom,

Jesus Christ did not just establish “disciples” like you claim.

HE established a CHURCH.

He established a Church, He said it would be one faith and one baptism..not 25,00 different denominations with different beliefs and different baptisms.

Jesus Christ established a CHURCH and promised that it would not be destroyed.

You are again twisting scripture by denying that.

SaintOlaf on December 17, 2008 at 3:12 PM

Fasting can include refusing to partake in only particular foods, or not partaking during daylight hours. The Orthodox church has MANY fasting days

You’re right.

Any Orthodox Christian who follows the Orthodox calander fasts between 45% to 65% of the year

That’s hardly Cindy Sheehan fasting Esthier.

SaintOlaf on December 17, 2008 at 3:16 PM

That’s hardly Cindy Sheehan fasting Esthier.

SaintOlaf on December 17, 2008 at 3:16 PM

I’m sorry, but I don’t see much difference. I’ve thought the point of fasting was to sacrifice of yourself. I don’t see how you do that with a full stomach.

When I’ve fasted, it was a full fast, nothing but water.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 3:43 PM

You’re right.

SaintOlaf on December 17, 2008 at 3:16 PM

How is that possible, me being a Protestant and all? (here’s where we find out if Ollie has any sense of humor AT ALL)

Kidding aside, I don’t know why you and Tom persist in quarreling with one another at the doctrinal level; your doctrinal differences are inevitable when you have the foundational issues you have. As long as St. Olaf reveres the tradition and “Apostolic Succession” as he does — a long-held tradition in much of the Christian world — he is N-E-V-E-R going to place the scriptures ahead of those things. The opposite is also true: because Protestants will accept the traditions at MOST as “likely”, and only to the extent that they do not conflict with scripture — a tradition that we trace back to Jesus himself, though there was a lengthy apostasy in the mean-time — he will N-E-V-E-R place them above scripture.

Given that you can’t hope to reach the same conclusion when starting with contradictory assumptions, it really is taking the Lord’s name in vain to engage in pointless bickering over His sacraments. If you wish to bicker, it should be on the basis of foundational issues. I don’t think you’re likely to get anywhere; but I’m quite sure you won’t the way you’re arguing now.

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 3:44 PM

St Paul is clearly saying that monasticism is SUPERIOR to married life.

But where does he say that they’re compatible?

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 3:46 PM

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 3:44 PM

Because Olaf is the one saying every other Christian is wrong except those that believe what he does.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 3:54 PM

I’m sorry, but I don’t see much difference. I’ve thought the point of fasting was to sacrifice of yourself. I don’t see how you do that with a full stomach.

When I’ve fasted, it was a full fast, nothing but water.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 3:43 PM

The difference between Protestant fasting and Orthodox fasting starts with motivation. Again, based second-hand on my friend’s explanation, Orthodox fasting is a matter of obedience and devotion.

Protestants differ on fasting, partly because the N.T. doesn’t really spell out the reason for it. Most Protestant fasting advocates I’ve spoken with agree that the purpose is to turn away from earthly things, and concentrate on spiritual ones — usually as a context for asking for God’s miraculous intervention in one way or another, but not necessarily.

One thing I’m pretty certain should NOT be the point of a fast is to demonstrate superior spirituality to others; as such, the fast (in my view) should be a very personal act, with the parameters chosen to fit the situation. For example, if I am going to be at work, I won’t be able to focus on the spiritual all day long. So I might full fast from 6:00 PM (after work) ’til 6:00 AM. Or I might fast for a weekend; but in such a case, to keep up my health, I would probably drink juice. None of that is to say that I fast often; I’m sure I should do so much more often than I do.

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 3:54 PM

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 3:44 PM

Because Olaf is the one saying every other Christian is wrong except those that believe what he does.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 3:54 PM

Yeah; but I ignore that because I don’t accept Ollie’s authority on such matters. ;o)

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 3:58 PM

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 3:44 PM

Because Olaf is the one saying every other Christian is wrong except those that believe what he does.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 3:54 PM

Also, isn’t that what EVERYONE says, any time they assert ANYTHING to be true? If I assert that the sky is blue, then I am also asserting that the pink-sky faction is wrong. And when they assert that the sky is pink, they are also asserting that I’m wrong. The one is implied by the other. So I don’t begrudge him standing for what he believes, to the exclusion of what I believe; I just disagree.

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 4:01 PM

The opposite is also true: because Protestants will accept the traditions at MOST as “likely”, and only to the extent that they do not conflict with scripture — a tradition that we trace back to Jesus himself, though there was a lengthy apostasy in the mean-time — he will N-E-V-E-R place them above scripture.

Joe,

The fact is protestants have their own traditions and interpret scripture through the matrix of such traditions.

The gnostics and the heretics all quoted scripture to support their case.

The fact is scripture is not self interpreting.

Each person interprets scripture according to, and through the matrix of their tradition.

What matters in the end,(and how the Orthodox Church defeated the heretics) is that they can point to the tradition that they have received, that has been handed down to them without alteration from the Apostles.

That’s fine if Tom and I disagree about this.

He holds to to his tradition(a creed that originated 500 years ago that has no connection to the Apostles)..

And the Orthodox hold to their tradition that was passed down from the Apostles through apostolic Succession.

That’s how the argument is won.

You either hold the Faith of the Apostles or you don’t.

Luther and the protestant Protestors had zero connection to the Apostles, had no conversations with them, and their faith is a different faith than the faith of the Apostles.

The false doctrine of scripture alone is in fact, Tom’s biggest fallacy.

There is clearly demonstratable evidence that such a doctrine is a fallacy. The fact that all Protestant churches are divided on interpretations and have different baptisms prove this without a doubt.

They disagree with one another on interpretations and even the members of each congregation disagree with one another on interpretations.

In a way it’s like within each church there are millions of mini churches, and each person assumes the role of God in his or her interpretation of scripture.

SaintOlaf on December 17, 2008 at 4:12 PM

Also, isn’t that what EVERYONE says, any time they assert ANYTHING to be true?

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 4:01 PM

I suppose even if you assert that something is up for interpretation you’re saying that those who believe it isn’t are wrong.

Still, I think his attitude on this matter is needlessly divisive.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 4:21 PM

Each person interprets scripture according to, and through the matrix of their tradition.

I thought it was through the Holy Spirit, spiritual things being spiritually discerned and all.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 4:23 PM

each person assumes the role of God in his or her interpretation of scripture.

SaintOlaf on December 17, 2008 at 4:12 PM

If you would have used the phrase “the role of priest” instead of “the role of God“, we could at least agree on that. “Priesthood of the believer” is indeed a Protestant doctrine.

I wish we could find more common ground, I really do. It was difficult for me that my Orthodox friend and I could not find sufficient common ground for him to be willing to pray and worship with me. But however sad that might make me, it doesn’t cause me to think I’m wrong. Oral tradition is just not reliable enough. Look what had happened with even the written rabbinical tradition between the time of the Pentateuch and Jesus!

John tells us that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father. THAT — God’s word — is pure. THAT has glory. Between oral traditions and the unfiltered word of God, I’ll take that word.

I will acknowledge that this comes with a tremendous responsibility. We are not permitted to bend the meaning of scripture to suit us. We are practicing heresy if we decide to chuck a little bit here or there because it isn’t socially acceptable. We must diligently study it, ready to jettison our existing notions — however comfortable we may be with them — should we discover them to be in conflict with the given Word. And we must accept that, in our humanity, our best effort to understand God will fall short.

Being a priest is an awesome responsibility, even if I am priest to only myself.

Of course you probably disagree with all of that, as is your right.

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 4:30 PM

Still, I think his attitude on this matter is needlessly divisive.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 4:21 PM

People could in good faith disagree whether he is being “confident” or “arrogant”. To know would take a knowledge of Ollie’s heart. I’ll leave that to someone else. ;o)

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 4:32 PM

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 4:32 PM

You’re a good person, able to convict without insulting.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 4:33 PM

I thought it was through the Holy Spirit, spiritual things being spiritually discerned and all.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 4:23 PM

The Holy Spirit is not divided nor is the cause of division.

If one protestant church says the Holy Spirit inspired their interpretation of a particular scripture and another protestant church says the Holy Spirit inspired their interpretation of scripture that is the exact opposite of that…how could that be inspired by the Holy Spirit?

You’re forgetting the Scriptures that talk about how that process works..through Holy Synods of the Church.

The first Holy Synod was in the book of Acts. That is how Christ taught the Church to handle disputes of interpretations.

St. Peter acknowledged his view was heresy and moved on from it.

SaintOlaf on December 17, 2008 at 4:34 PM

Oral tradition Apostolic succession of unwritten Holy Tradition is just not reliable enough.

Of course it is.

You think the Holy Spirit can preserve the accuracy of the Holy Scripture but you don’t think the Holy Spirit can preserve the accuracy of the unwritten Holy Tradition spoken of repeatedly in the Bible?

SaintOlaf on December 17, 2008 at 4:37 PM

Each person interprets scripture according to, and through the matrix of their tradition.

I thought it was through the Holy Spirit, spiritual things being spiritually discerned and all.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 4:23 PM

Ideally, yes; but there are certain “derived” doctrines — i believe in “The Trinity”, for example, based upon scriptures that support it. It is taught to Christians as fact, usually long before it is supported by scripture; and as such could be viewed as ‘tradition’. Having accepted that doctrine, it becomes a part of my test of other interpretation. The Trinity, then, becomes part of my ‘world-view’ — the list of assumptions within which I understand scripture (or anything else, for that matter).

So there’s some truth in what Ollie is saying; but if we are diligent, our “traditions” will be well tested against scripture.

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 4:37 PM

The Holy Spirit is not divided

My statement doesn’t imply that it is.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 4:38 PM

Oral tradition Apostolic succession of unwritten Holy Tradition is just not reliable enough.

Of course it is.

Therein lies the crux of our disagreement. As we depart ways on this point (and boy howdy, DO WE!!), many of the particulars of our religion diverge as well.

You think the Holy Spirit can preserve the accuracy of the Holy Scripture but you don’t think the Holy Spirit can preserve the accuracy of the unwritten Holy Tradition spoken of repeatedly in the Bible?

SaintOlaf on December 17, 2008 at 4:37 PM

I trust the Spirit of God. I do NOT trust men. Wasn’t the Bishop of Rome appointed by Apostolic succession as well? What happened there? He became corrupted. What is your assurance that it could not happen in the East? Please understand I’m not trying to offend, and I make no specific charge against anyone; I am just extremely skeptical of oral tradition.

I’ll give you the last word on this, unless we somehow get beyond the “is not” “is so” “is not” “is so” stage.

As my final word, let me just say this: if you believe that Jesus
* was God’s son
* was born of a virgin
* lived a sinless life
* died for the sins of man
* rose on the third day
* and through grace offers salvation to mankind;
and you accept his grace to satisfy the debt for your sins; then I count you as a brother, whether or not you reciprocate.

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 5:03 PM

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 4:32 PM

You’re a good person, able to convict without insulting.

Esthier on December 17, 2008 at 4:33 PM

“Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Mar 10:18 NASB)

It is not that I am good, but that God is good, and that he offers his spirit to his Children. Remember the fruits of the spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

I won’t claim to always seeking to be filled with the spirit. All too often I fail, and you wouldn’t think me good on those days!

But I find that when I DO seek to be spirit filled (this is the result of prayer and meditation on the Word), my normally crabby, vindictive, impatient, tactless personality begins to give way to all of those fruits of the spirit. I begin to love people who judge me. I find I am inexplicably patient with people who seem to be purposely obtuse. I find that I have the ability far beyond my natural limits to be gentle. If I was a “good person”, I wouldn’t need the spirit to accomplish those things. But “with God, ALL things are possible”!

RegularJoe on December 17, 2008 at 5:13 PM

Wasn’t the Bishop of Rome appointed by Apostolic succession as well? What happened there? He became corrupted. What is your assurance that it could not happen in the East?

If that would have happened, then Christ would be a liar when he promised that the gates of Hades would not prevail against His Church.

The Bishop of Rome changed doctrine and lost his apostolic succession and even more importantly..his ordination was invalid because his intention was to corrupt.

All Protestant churches theology comes from the corrupted theology of the Roman Catholic Church.

then I count you as a brother, whether or not you reciprocate.

I do count you as a brother in Christ.

I am sure that like all devout Protestants and Roman Catholics also, you will be in heaven someday.

I can’t box in the Holy Spirit and say that He doesn’t work with other Holy Trinity believing, Christ with two natures(God and man), believing Christians..

But with that being said there is a big difference between the Church and ecclesial communities or missionary outposts.

SaintOlaf on December 17, 2008 at 5:20 PM

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