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What 'Game of Thrones' Says about America

HBO's Game of Thrones won the Emmy Award last Sunday for Best Drama. What does its popularity say about us?


Writing for The Atlantic, Christopher Orr recently asked, "Why does the show feature so much sexual violence?" (his italics). Fans claim that Game of Thrones merely reflects the novels on which it is based. But Orr notes that the show's writers "have gone out of their way, time and time again, to ramp up the sexual violence well beyond their source material."


Why? What do the show's producers know about our society? 


Pornography sites receive more regular traffic than Twitter, Amazon and Netflix—combined. When I was a child, pornography was confined to Playboy and similar "adult" magazines. Now it's a click away on any Internet device. Child pornography is a $3 billion industry. Premarital sex is more accepted than ever before. Adultery is more common than ever before. The Supreme Court has redefined "marriage" to include homosexuals. Polygamy is next.


What does God think of our Game of Thrones culture?


Ezekiel 16 is an extended parable in which Israel is an abandoned young woman whom God rescues and clothes. As a result, the Lord says to his people, "You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you" (vs. 13-14).


How did Israel respond? "You trusted in your beauty" rather than the One who bestowed it (v. 15). The people engaged in all manner of sexual immorality, proud of their licentiousness when they should have been ashamed of their decadence.


And their lust was never satisfied (v. 29). Rather, it enslaved them and forced God to bring judgment against their nation: "You bear the penalty of your lewdness and your abominations, declares the Lord" (v. 58). Israel's destruction at the hands of the Babylonian Empire was the result.


But that was twenty-six centuries ago. Does Ezekiel 16 apply to America today?


"If any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 12:17). "Any nation," at any time. 


As God saw Israel's sins, so he sees ours: "The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man" (Psalm 33:13). God demands that we "flee from sexual immorality" (1 Corinthians 6:18). The Lord warns that "he who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself" (Proverbs 6:32). He instructs Christians: "Sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints" (Ephesians 5:3).


Game of Thrones is so popular because the sexual immorality it exhibits is so popular. What is our only remedy?


"Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!" (Psalm 33:8). Why? Because "the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love" (v. 18). In short, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" (v. 12).


Can God bless America today?



Publication date: September 23, 2015


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