davidRavi Zacharias tells the story of a trial in which a lawyer was defending a pornographer of the basest sorts.  The lawyer asked the plaintiff, “Have you ever gone into an art gallery?”  The plaintiff responded, “Yes.”  The lawyer continued, “Have you paid to go into that art gallery?”  Again the plaintiff responded, “Yes.”  “Were there paintings of naked people in that art gallery?”, the lawyer asked.  “Yes,” the plaintiff responded.  “So why do you call that art, but Playboy pornography?”  The plaintiff did not have a response.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a piece of art featuring nude figures, and pornography?  Is there a difference?

In A Pilgrim’s Regress, C.S. Lewis wrote about a man who ordered milk and eggs from a waiter in a restaurant.  After tasting the milk he commented to the waiter that it was delicious.  The waiter replied, “Milk is only the secretion of a cow, just like urine and feces.”  After eating the eggs he commented on the tastiness of the eggs.  Again the waiter responded that eggs are only a by-product of a chicken.  After thinking about the waiter’s comment for a moment the man responded, “You lie.  You don’t know the difference between what nature has meant for nourishment, and what it meant for garbage.”

Ravi Zacharias notes that while both art and pornography utilize nude figures, the purpose/motives for portraying the naked body are definitively distinct.  Pornography utilizes nude figures for the pure purpose of stimulating the baser instincts of individuals; instincts that will not be satisfied by that alone.  Art, on the other hand, utilizes nude figures for the purpose of highlighting the beauty of man.  While pornography engenders lust, art engenders admiration for the glory and beauty of the human body, and thus the glory of its Maker.