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game-of-thronesThis will not be a long post. Because the issue doesn’t seem all that complicated.

I don’t understand Christians watching Game of Thrones.

Whenever there is a new episode, my Twitter feed overflows with people talking about Game of Thrones. First off, I’m always amazed that this many people have HBO. But second, and much more importantly, I’m always amazed that a number of people I respect--smart people, serious Christians, good conservative thinkers--are obviously watching (and loving) the series.

True, I haven’t seen it. Not an episode. Not a scene. I hardly know anything about the show. I know many people consider it absolutely riveting--full of compelling characters, an engrossing story, and excellent acting, writing, and aesthetics.

But isn’t it also full of sex? Like lots and lots of incredibly graphic sex? I did a Google search for “Game of Thrones sex” and found headlines (I avoided images and only read headlines) about sex scenes you can’t un-see and the best sex scenes of the series and why Game of Thrones is so committed to nudity and explicit (sometimes violent) sex. Unless I’m mistaken, the series hasn’t taken a turn toward modesty in recent months. It seems to me sensuality--of a very graphic nature--is a major part of the series. And still, a good number of conservative Christians treat the series as must-see TV.

I don’t get it.

I won’t repeat what John Piper has already written. His twelve questions are well worth asking, not only for this show, but for all our entertainment choices. I just want to ask one other question: Does anyone really think that when Jesus warned against looking at a woman lustfully (Matt. 5:27), or when Paul told us to avoid every hint of sexual immorality and not even to speak of the things the world does in secret (Eph. 5:3-12), that somehow this meant, go ahead and watch naked men and women have (or pretend to have) sex?

I know some people will say it doesn’t bother their conscience or that it’s art or they can view sinful sex without participating in it themselves. But that doesn’t change what the Bible says about the importance of purity and the power of the eye. The fact is our consciences should be smitten; steamy sex scenes are not the kind of art for which we can give thanks; and it’s hard to imagine Paul would have been cool with the believers in Ephesus watching simulated sex for a fee each month, so long as they don’t hook up in real life.

I don’t expect those who are strangers to the light to be bothered by the darkness. But for conservative Christians who care about marriage and immorality and decency in so many other areas, it is baffling that Game of Thrones gets a free pass. “Look carefully then how you walk,” is God’s word to all of us, “not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16).

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374 thoughts on “I Don’t Understand Christians Watching Game of Thrones”

  1. Nate says:

    A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Wake up brothers and sisters. Are adults unable to remember and apply the words from this song for children? “Oh, be careful little eyes what you see….” Turn off the tube and turn on the reading light please. You’ll be glad you did. The Lord bless you.

  2. Carlos M Martinez says:

    My wife has read the books and has been watching the show for quite some time. Two years ago I did not allow the show to be watch at home as it’s contents are not appropriate for a Christian family.
    I was raised as a Catholic and thanks to her I converted to Christianity, she tells me she speaks constantly to God and he can hear Him all the time to the point she recognizes His voice. That being said, at during the first quarter of this year she convinced me that I was being controlling by not letting her watch the show and it made me feel guilty because I made mistakes into our marriage. I decided to let her watch the show again so she benchwatched the show and now it’s an every Sunday thing. We have been going to church less and less lately and I felt like this show was doing some damage, but how can that be if she still speaks and hears God? Well earlier last week I read an article from a GOT actress where she said that all her sexual education and increase of sex drive was thanks to the show so I started making a research of the show, and I understand it may have the greatest story ever told but when I played a 26 minute long video I could not pass the third minute because I felt sick of my stomach and I have watched porn, but the simple thought that my wife is watching something like this was like a spear dug into my heart. I was so upset and was ready to confront her but when I got home she was sleeping. I didn’t say anything, instead I reached to a Christian friend and he told me that he watches the show but he is a new Christian and that I show as for advice from the people at church. Yesterday, Sunday, and after 3 weeks of not going to church I woke up early, before my wife, got ready, got the kids (3 of them) fed and ready and then i woke her up so that we can go to church. After service I approached one of the decans and asked him what was his view on GOT and while he shared the same views as me, I told him that my wife was watching it and I didn’t know how to tell her on a Godly way my concerns.
    Well I told her later that afternoon and it was a huge fight, she fought against me accusing me of being controlling and many other things. We both had a little break and then she came back saying that God told her that I was too controlling and that she was on by watching this show. I accused her that she might be hearing the devil as nowhere in the Bible says that it is ok, specially if it’s setting a gap between us. She lost it! She called me the devil and a weak Christian. She was yelling so bad that my mother in law that lives 1000 feet away from us came to our home (she also watches GOT). Because of fear of losing her “only child” and I quoted because she has 3 kids but 2 of them do not want to talk to her and because she also is a GOT fan, sided with my wife and kicked me out of the house and now my wife said that she’d be filing for divorce.
    I slept last nigh in my car because I don’t know anyone besides just co-workers because I’m from another country.
    Now I’m stuck with the dilemma that if my wife really speaks to God and He is fine with things like this, if the Devil found a way to break us apart, if she truly is as a devoted Christian as she claims, if I am a weak Christian or even if God really exists.
    Feeling lost!

  3. John says:

    I don’t understand Christians owning a television. There. I said it.

  4. Kerri-Dojhn Hall says:

    “Never hold on to anything tighter than you are holding on to God”! The TV has been dubbed the idiot box for a reason brothers and sisters in Christ. It is sad that even people who are of the world knows that TV serves as nothing but a form of distraction, much more than the people who are supposed be set apart and lost in Christ?! The joy of the Lord is supposed to be our strength; we should be meditating upon his Word and ways daily; not on this garbage! We are really being sucked in by the distractions of the Luciferian system, and many are not realizing it. Pray for spiritual discernment and turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face; and the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the Light f His glory and grace… I will now leave you with a saying by a secular musical artiste (NOTE SECULAR!), he stated at the end of his song: “unsupervised cable is able to disable the youths mind from God’s fruitful table!” This secular guy knew this, how come Christians don’t?!

  5. Teagan says:

    Carlos M Martinez, you are not wrong. Your wife has slipped far away from God. You said you were into porn? Well that show is porn. Females can get into porn too and it’s not always the same. Females are attracted to erotic and sensual stuff as well and it’s just as addictive to them as males. Females may not be all about the visual as males but all those cheap paperback “romance” books found in the supermarket are female porn because it’s unrealistic. They start to crave that unrealism just like men. I watched one show of GoT and was sickened. I too don’t understand how true Christians can watch it. It definitely is a mix of male and female porn which is why it’s so successful. You’re wife wants to divorce you on this? Try everything to save the marriage and save her soul. Encourage counseling. Ask the deacons of your church to confront her. If after following all the steps in Matthew 18 she still wants it. Dust off your feet and move on. I am speaking from experience and know it’s not easy and you will doubt yourself a lot. Just trust in God.

  6. Eejay says:

    I have only watched season 7 of the series and believe me, it was worth it, there has only been 3 minutes of nudity in over 6 hours of the season which I happily skipped. now the thing about this is we cant completely rule out a movie because of such. for some Christians, they can skip such scenes unperturbed but for some, such would be dragging them into temptation. its about knowing your weaknesses and fleeing temptations that could affect your relationship with God. The biggest problem we Christians will face in the last days would be living in this world and having to be apart from it fro the sake of God. The only way we can survive through this is by walking with the Holy Spirit to carefully select what aspect s of the world we can accept and which part we should stay away from completely. Almost every hollywood movie has sex scenes now, and believe me I have learnt a lot from movies, would I stop watching movies altogether and throw away a valuable source of knowledge? No! instead i’d watch em and take what i want while throwing away the rest of it. Thats what is important. So Christians can watch Game of Thrones, but when a nude scene comes up (and they rarely do) have the discipline to skip, its what you do when you you see a seductively dressed person on the road, you turn away and forget about it, you dont stop waking on roads to avoid seeing such. Thank you. But if you know you are just coming out of a porn addiction or have a weakness for such, Please by all means FLEE!!

  7. Jonathan says:

    The reason we are dealing with such a ridiculous issue is because the American church is not preaching the full gospel, nor is it dealing with indwelling sin as it needs to.
    Isaiah 5:17-21
    “Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,
    and wickedness as with cart ropes,
    to those who say, “Let God hurry;
    let him hasten his work
    so we may see it.
    The plan of the Holy One of Israel—
    let it approach, let it come into view,
    so we may know it.”

    Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
    who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
    who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.

    Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
    and clever in their own sight.

  8. GLADYS says:

    i don’t watch Game of Thrones, nor does my husband ( i don’t get HBO). I don’t think God would be pleased with a marriage being broken up over a TV show. As Christians, we will never be sinlessly perfect, and we will continue sinning till the day we die.

    Carlos, all you can do is pray for your wife, do not divorce her over this, remember God loves us and does not divorce us because of our sin. Remember every human being is sinful and when one gets married, it is one sinner marrying another sinner, it will not be perfect, and their will always be somekind of sinning going on. I suggest for all those people that feel convicted of watching nudity/sex scenes, DON’T watch them, one can only control what we do with ourselves, nobody can control another person. Part of being married is knowing the other person is going to fail in someway and sin, why? because as we are still sinners as long as we are in these bodies.

  9. GLADYS says:

    The reason is simple, Christians are human and like to watch sex, just like everyone else. This idea that because we are Christians we stop sinning or being sinful is simply NOT true. Otherwise it would not say in the bible “no one is righteous not one”

    I always struggled with this idea of Christians being somehow superior or better or above what plagues all of humankind. I mean if Christians get sick and die, just like non-believers, that tells you that we are prone to sin, if we were not sinful, we would not die, but we do, we get sick we die, so we also sin like everyone else.

    When Jesus returns and makes everything new, when their will be no sin or death, that is when we will be sinlessly perfect, otherwise we will NEVER be in this life.

    So lets be honest, Christians like watching sex, just like everyone else, that is the truth, lets not pretend that we are holier than though righeous, because we are not, myself included.

  10. Lisa says:

    Carlos Martinez, with all charity I say that leaving Catholicism was a big mistake. How I wish you had clung to your childhood faith and brought your wife with you. Your wife is being deceived. God is not telling her it’s OK to watch the show or that you’re being too controlling. You know the tree by its fruit and you can clearly see the fruit is bad. Take your kids and go back to church with or without her. And please, take some time to learn more about Catholicism from Catholic sources, not protestant ones. It IS the one, true Church Jesus founded upon Peter, the rock. It is the only Church that can trace a direct line from Pope Francis back to Peter. It is there that you will find the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. I pray you will find your way back home.

  11. paula rinehart says:

    As a therapist, I cannot, as in, cannot understand Denise McAlister’s response to your article here in The Federalist. I have had couples at war over this program in my office, and for good reason. Watching half of the first episode….how can one not conclude that this is soft porn? How can it not be arousing–unless you are half dead or eight years old? How could the sheer godlessness of it not affect your soul, or your relationship with your spouse. Keep talking, Kevin. Our silence is at least part of the reason why pornography ensnares so many people sitting in Sunday pews.

  12. Di says:

    Carlos M Martinez, you are correct. Watching “Game of Thrones” isn’t appropriate for a Christians. Your wife is the one being unreasonable to suggest that, the God of the bible would be okay with us filling our minds with filthy. Don’t let Satan confuse you on this issue. Scripture agrees with you. Psalm 101:3 ” I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23 “”but test all things. Hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your entire spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Its your wife’s choice to either listen to God’s Word or live in rebellion to His commands. The Holy Spirit should be convicting her that watching any TV/Movie that is filled with things the bible says are wicked, would NEVER be acceptable to God. Why? Because it means we’re finding pleasure and enjoyment in evil. Game of Thrones glorifies things that God says are abominations to Him. I’m sorry to hear your wife is causing a struggle with your faith, but try to stay strong. If she cares more about a wicked TV show then her husband and obedience to the Lord, then you are better off without her. All you can do now is pray. Ask God to work on her spiritually so she might come to understand her sin and repent. Only when your wife decides to become fully obedient to the Lord, will she be able to care about her marriage. Unfortunately, now your wife is more concerned with satisfying her fleshly desires instead of pleasing the Lord. I seriously doubt she is born again in Christ. And if she actually files for divorce over this ridiculous matter, then she only confirms further that she is a lost soul who is NOT hearing from God at all! Don’t worry, the Lord will be with you regardless of what happens. God is real and He loves you!

    Remember we are living in the last days and standing up for righteousness only makes you a target for hateful attacks (even by family members). Most people don’t care about the truth anymore and they only seek after their own sinful desires. They don’t have any concern for the things of God and I’m not talking about unbelievers; I’m referring to those who claim to be Christians. Their actions only prove that they don’t really love nor follow Christ and this is why they lack the love of Christ towards us also. John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”

    Be encouraged that eternal life is our reward for remaining faithful until the very end. Matthew 24:9-13 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

    You and family will be in my prayers. Peace and love in Christ!

  13. GE says:

    Great article and discussion. I too feel concerned about watching shows like game of thrones. To be honest, I struggle watching shows on Netflix that are violent, dark, and explicit in language and sexuality. And I think it’s because my desires for a good plot to entertain me have more weight than my desire to avoid any kind of immortality. The verse that comes to mind is, a little yeast rises through the whole batch of dough. What if the few minutes of immortality in the shows are the yeast? I think also it would be better to spend time in God’s word or work out or hang out with family or friends than wrestle with the thought of grieving the Lord.

  14. George RE Valencia says:

    “Christians are human and like to watch sex, just like everyone else”
    I don’t agree with what you have said. True, we are sinful. But I do not think we need to concede to our sinful desires. Aren’t we supposed to change our minds for the better? What do you think of sin? If you have not hated sin, then I would honestly doubt that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do as a believer. It’s just too basic–do not love the world nor the fleeting things, for God, who justifies us in Christ, is our judge, a consuming fire, and holy. Must we then concede to something that is obviously not “okay” nor builds us up toward holiness? So I will agree with Carlos Martinez and Kevin de Young here. For GOT and a host of other stuff on hollywood and regular TV programming easily get me uncomfortable (to say the least) ever since I got reconciled to our Lord. I just don’t understand it. The sex is one, but there are even more upfront things (I have watched a few episodes but then I had resolved to draw a line–it got too much, too offensive for me) that are openly against the faith. Have you not listened to a conversation? It’s laden with subversive themes. (e.g., High Sparrow?) I don’t understand it why some (I do not many of them) of my churchmates watch it as well—sadly my closest relatives, too. True, they are a source of information, but I don’t think I should let my guard down lest I immerse myself into its world and be carried away by its current towards I-shudder-to think-where. Much I have the certain freedom to choose.. I have a mind, hence I know what is helpful and harmful, so I apply wisdom, and also ask the Lord for discernment if I am unsure. I get instruction from Scripture. Pardon me. Bottomline, GOT is a clear NO for me.

  15. Tristan says:

    Have you read the Bible? It’s got the even more violence and sex than Game of Thrones. Wow, talk about a short-sited mindset. I guess we’re supposed to shun any art that has challenging themes and judge those who don’t. Jesus doesn’t approve of this nonsense.

  16. Byron says:

    You, and the people that agree with this ridiculous blog, are what is wrong with this country. Your judgemental attitude is INCREDIBLY un-Christian. Un-Jesus, even. Go take a long walk off of a short pier.

  17. Jansie Blom says:

    The best thing about Game Of Thrones—and this is the only context I’ll watch it in—is the hilarious Bad Lip Reading YouTube vids made from snippets of the show. As far as I can remember, they’re all clean.

    I saw one episode of GoT, was gripped by the story, then let it go. It’s not worth my time.

    But then my decision extended past a single show. I started asking whether Netflix (or Amazon Prime, or whatever) isn’t a waste of time altogether.

    The answer is yes. There are better things to do, like reading and writing. Those are more productive activities than mushing in front of a TV.

  18. Jan says:

    Never seen Game of Thrones, but got curious after so many buzz and hypes. I watched some compilations on youtube to have my own oppinion about it, and to answer my question ‘can I as a Christian watch GoT’. And the answer i got after watching for a few hours is fully without any doubt NO. Furthermore i don’t understand the buzz and excitement about GoT. I don’t think the storyline is well written, character development is dissapointing.
    What GoT is good at is, corrupting people’s mind further in every way and ….. took it to the next level.

  19. Michael Turner says:

    The issue here is not GOT. It is so many people justifying themselves. To justify and give an account of your actions is that you are feeling guilty in what you are doing. As for leaders and conservative Christians watching GOT. Well grow up they no better than any non believing sinner. There is not many Christians out there that live a spirit filled life; it’s a choice. But if you think watching GOT is living; then your sad, very sad. And are not living a spirit filled life that God intended you to live. This debate is a joke people. And is an indication of where the church is today. Trust the word of God and the Holy Spirit, anything else is falsehood.

  20. Zion Bailey says:

    What is a conservative Christian? The term confused me.

  21. Sarah says:

    Not taking sides or trying to be rude, but I am curious. Do you truly believe that because someone watches GOT, they don’t “care about marriage”, being moral, or decent?

  22. Vicki Collins says:

    When Christians watch this kind of show, leaving aside the sin issue, it desensitizes them to right and wrong. If they continue down that path eventually porn becomes acceptable too. Again, aside from sin against God, they can end up destroying what once seemed to be a good marriage. I say, “seemed” because internet porn viewing is a sinful choice and action that must be done in secret. That means lots of lies to cover one’s tracks. The damage to the marriage and family is nearly beyond description.

  23. Amanda B. says:

    I have not watched “Game of Thrones” but there is a way to watch each episode with all of the sex and nudity (and anything else that offends one’s conscience) filtered out by using the newly updated streaming filtering service VidAngel. VidAngel allows parents to choose Edits for each word, image, or objectionable moment PER SCENE of both TV episodes and movies. This includes edit options for cleavage and taking the Lord’s name in vain The service is $8/month. Scores better than other filtering services currently available! Our family now enjoys “Family Movie Nights” that our children ages 7-17 can all watch together.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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