To comment about something one neither saw nor read, borders on foolishness. So I will try to be careful and brief. I avoided 50 Shades of Grey. That is, I tried to avoid even reading anything about it. But recently I succumbed and read a review because it was in a popular newspaper and its headline made the review sound prudent and critical, which it was. And now the idea of the movie is temporarily lodged in my consciousness.

The movie will create a temporary backlash. When a movie portrays a relationship that is so far outside the boundaries of Scripture and God’s created intent, most human beings will protest. Sadomasochism is, of course, a perversion that reflects a decrepit soul and abets the soul’s destruction. We all know that.

But the movie will do more. When important people commit suicide, there are usually some imitators who follow. When smoking cigarettes appears more frequently on the big screen and is associated with cool people, there will be imitators. And when S&M is portrayed by attractive people, there will be imitators. The movie will infect imaginations and provoke analogous behavior.

Why are such things contagious? Why is something so obviously sinful, so virulent? We could list a number of reasons. The primary reason is that people still have affection for evil. We might hate it, but we also like it. This reminds us that our growth in Christ can be described as a path in which sin, once an affection, becomes an affliction that we yearn to be fully rid of.

One more personal response. The review I read was certainly not prurient in any way. As such, I was surprised that just a few of the words opened a door in my mind. Was it curiosity? Lust? It felt more like I was walking along, someone else opened a door, I saw things that were shocking, though not really engaging, and the scene stayed in my mind longer than I wanted. In other words, scenes that are outside the boundaries of godliness—like sex and violence—are sticky. For example, when someone absorbs pornography, the images stick far longer than most memories.

The half-life of the image was about an hour, and then it faded, though I suspect it could sneak up when I don’t suspect it. What do I do with all this? Though it once would sound prudish to say that I am trying to avoid being exposed to the dark details of the human soul, especially in the media, we are part of a few generations who have let their minds and actions go there, and the consequences have not been good.

Still, maybe prudishness will go mainstream, at least for a few weeks.