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'What are the limits to depictions of sin in the arts?'

"But the beautiful is not the same thing as the 'pretty' or the superficially 'pleasing' or the 'emotionally soothing.' To pierce through the cloud of what Maritain calls our 'sense needs and sentimental egos,' beauty must often provoke and make us uncomfortable."

Read more: Daniel McInerny, Aletia

(H/T Barbara Nicolosi Harrington)


What place does the sin have in the plot? Is the reader expected to vicariously enjoy the sin or vicariously react to it? For instance Evil Overlords trying to Take Over The World are seldom used to titilate the readers power lust or sadism because few people actually want to be Evil Overlords. Fornication scenes are usually for vicarious sinning; very many people do wish to fornicate.

Also does the sin actually have a purpose in the plot or is it a side point. That is more then an aesthetic issue; it is an actual canary in the coal mine, a sign that the reader is expected to enjoy sinning.

Another point is that modesty in art has analogies to modesty in clothing, speech, and behavior. It is not regulated by hard and fast rules but by custom and it's purpose should be charity toward others; to avoid giving offense or troubling the conscience of one's fellows. It also is like modesty in clothing, speech and behavior in that there are dangers in the extremes and moderation is the best course.

Sin is a part of life, and you really cannot have literature without sin. Other types of art are easier. But literature is generally stories of humans(or some form of sapient beings) living in a fallen world. That granted, there has to be some sin in a story.
Very interesting Question raises more questions
In the 19 Chapter of Genesis you read the story of Lot and his daughters commiting incest with their father. In the 19 Chapter of Judges you read about a woman who was gang raped to death.

Would you film the above storys? Should you film the above storys? Would you depict it in a dark setting so you could not see details of what was happening? Is there a difference between what you say in book and what you show in a film?