“Fifty Shades of Grey,” an erotic novel by an obscure British author based on Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, has electrified women across the country. Readers have spread the word like wildfire on Facebook pages, in college hallways, at office functions and in spin classes. Within six weeks of publication, the three books of the series, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, claimed the top three spots in USA Today’s Best-Selling Books list. Sales have topped 10 million. The series is so popular that last month, author E. L. James was listed as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World“.
Red Room of Pain
The books in question are erotica that explicitly describe sexual bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM). The story follows an unfolding affair between a recent college graduate, the virgin Anastasia Steele, and handsome young billionaire entrepreneur, Christian Grey, whose childhood abuse left him a deeply damaged individual, and who enlists her to share his secret sexual proclivities. Steele is required by Grey to sign a contract allowing him complete control over her. Because of her fascination and budding love for him, she consents to a kinky sexual relationship that includes being slapped, spanked, handcuffed, and whipped with a leather riding crop in his “Red Room of Pain.”
A few weeks ago, the book popped up as Amazon’s suggested buy on my Kindle. I declined. Like my friend, Dannah Gresh, I absolutely refuse to read these books.
Smut is Smut
Undoubtedly, the series portrays BDSM in the context of an engaging, passionate, tender, romantic relationship that culminates in the characters falling in love, and the conflicted girl assuaging the billionaire’s troubled soul. But it doesn’t matter to me how the author sweetens it up. The tasty red Kool-Aid doesn’t offset the bitter poison. Smut is still smut.
I don’t have to read the book to know that it’s bad for women. Nor do I need to read it to tell you that I think it would be unwise for you to read it.
7 Reasons Not to Read 50 Shades
1. It violates God’s design for sex:
God created sex to be exclusive to marriage. In 50 Shades the relationship is based on a sex contract, not a marriage covenant. The Lord says that sex outside of marriage is sin. It grieves Christ when we take pleasure in something He abhors.
2. It violates the biblical concept of authority:
The relationship between a man and wife is to mirror Christ’s relationship to His Bride. BDSM tells a lie about the nature of that relationship. Christ taught and modelled that authority is for the purpose of loving service. It is not an egotistical power trip. Christ is not into domination, control, abuse, and humiliation. So in my mind, there’s something seriously wrong when we get a kick out of interpersonal domination/humiliation, and bring BDSM into Christian bedrooms.
3. It violates the biblical concept of submission:
A wife’s submission is first and foremost to Christ. The biblical directive to submit does not turn women into brain-dead, passive, weak-willed doormats who acquiesce to the whims of dominant, controlling men. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Lord doesn’t want His daughters to be wilting, weak-willed, wimpy women who welcome and enjoy abuse. BDSM perverts and mocks the beauty of what true submission is all about.
4. It encourages the sin of sensuality:
Erotica is a genre that aims to arouse sexual desire. It evokes sensuality, a sin that appears in numerous New Testament lists of vices (Gal 5:19, Rom. 13:13, Mark 7:21-23, 1 Pet 4:3, 2 Cor. 12:21). Sensuality is anything that
- is characterized by lust
- expresses lewdness or lust,
- tends to excite lust.
Scripture tells us to flee all such things.
5. It promotes sexual perversion:
“Curiosity” has led to the downfall of multitudes who have been trapped in the destructive, downward vortex of sexual sin. Fifty Shades piques curiosity. It dangles behaviors that are forbidden, unfamiliar, and titillating. Maybe you’re just curious, or maybe you rationalize that it might boost your libido and marital sex life. And it might. Temporarily. But the problem with erotica, as with porn, is that you’ll end up craving increasingly graphic, perverse images over time. Erotica/porn lead to deeper, darker erotica/porn. What’s more, they end up robbing people of the joy and satisfaction of “ordinary,” non-twisted sex with an “ordinary” spouse. In the end, they assault and diminish a healthy sex life.
6. It glamorizes pathological relationships:
The male protagonist is a very tortured and misunderstood soul with a proclivity for sexual perversion. One moment he is abusive, and the next he is tender and romantic. The girl feels she is the only one who can reach him and help him. Hmmm. Sounds like a seriously dysfunctional co-dependent abusive relationship to me. As Dr. Pinksy, a relationship expert said, “the idea that women look at this relationship as anything other than absolute, categorical, profound pathology is more than I can imagine… I worry about the 15-year-olds and 19-year-olds reading this and formulating a notion that this is anything close to a reasonable relationship.”
7. You won’t get it out of your head:
The Bible tells us to think about things that are pure, right, excellent, praiseworthy, lovely, admirable, noble, and true (Phil 4:8) There’s truth to the old proverb that “as a man thinketh so is he,” and the modern day adage, “garbage in – garbage out.” Your thoughts have transformational power – for good or for evil. Filling your head with thoughts of sin, sensuality, dysfunction, and BDSM will lead you further away from the things of God and not closer to them. Darkness has incredible “sticking power” – Once exposed, it can be extremely difficult to get the images and thoughts out of your head.
As Dannah says,
“God has given me more than fifty shades of truth in His Word and when just one of them is in conflict with my entertainment choices, I choose to pass! To be clear: I wouldn’t drive my Envoy into the front of an oncoming semi-truck any more than I would open the pages of Fifty Shades of Grey. I love my marriage, my God, and myself too much.”
So girls, have some respect for the Lord, and for yourselves. Exercise some discernment, and don’t read this book!
In my opinion, the choice whether or not to read Fifty Shades of Grey is pretty black and white.