Thus any theological critique of Playboy that focuses on its “lewdness” will misfire completely. Playboy and its less successful imitators are not “sex magazines” at all. They are basically anti-sexual. They dilute and dissipate authentic sexuality by reducing it to an accessory, by keeping it at a safe distance. It is precisely because these magazines are anti-sexual that they deserve the most searching kind of theological criticism. They foster a heretical doctrine of man, one at radical variance with the biblical view. For Playboy’s man, others—especially women—are for him. They are his leisure accessories, his playthings. For the Bible, man only becomes fully man by being for the other.
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