John Solomon, It Isn’t a Sin for Christians to Enjoy Erotica and Nudity in Films (Red Ribbon Press, 2007)
[note: review originally published 24Jul2012]
If you have a desire to rattle the cages of your Biblical-literalist friends, the best way to do it is to hand them a piece of literature written by someone who takes interpretation to whole new levels of silliness. Take, for example, John Solomon’s pamphlet It Isn’t a Sin for Christians to Enjoy Erotica and Nudity in Films, a hilarious send-up of the sort of how-to-live-your-life tome that…
oh. oh, dear. It would seem that Mr. Solomon is actually quite serious. Which, I guess, makes my point even better.
Solomon, who runs the website steamyeroticpoetry.com and has published a book with the same name (there are a few examples in the back of this one, and that’s more than enough, thank you, for me to gauge that the material in question is neither steamy nor erotic), starts off by getting us to admit to the idea that it is not immoral for Christians to read erotic poetry. (Surprise!) Now, in his explication of this point, which I remind you is a prerequisite for getting to the title subject here, does he go with… Catullus? Virgil’s Eclogues? Sappho? I mean, some of that stuff got pretty steamy. No, instead he’s going to point to… his own stuff (Surprise! Part 2) and the Song of Solomon. Which makes the first third of this feel like a sales pitch for other John Solomon books, not to mention a specious argument. But we’ll put that aside for a moment and assume the reader is willing to take Solmon’s Biblical quoting and expounding upon same and buying the first point.
From there, we come to an age-old argument: basically, “it’s okay to hang out at the grocery store, as long as you’re only eating at your own dinner table.”, though Solomon is quick to distinguish between tasteful expressions of erotica and… those which are not (basically, if it is intended to inspire lust…). And I’ll give him points for pointing out the obvious, if overlooked, conceit that not everything that is intended to inspire lust actually does, and vice versa (in Victorian times, so we have been told, men were inflamed by the mere sight of a woman’s ankle…). But still, it seems odd for someone to not realize this argument’s been made before, or, if he does realize this, to at least point that out when arguing the case yourself. But then, if the Bible is not only your primary, but your sole, source, well, it’s easy to overlook the obvious.
Worth it for the comedy factor. * ½