Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, died Wednesday at the age of 91.
Hefner arguably did more than anyone else to mainstream and glamorize pornography in the modern world and set in motion a sexual revolution.
Here are the thoughts of some of the leading Christian leaders and writers about Hefner's life and what he left behind.
Russell Moore: Hefner Did Not Live 'the Good Life'
Contrary to those who think that wanton sex with hundreds of beautiful women sounds like an ideal existence, Hefner's life is not something to celebrate, according to the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
"Hefner did not create, but marketed ingeniously the idea that a man's life consists in the abundance of his possessions and of his orgasms. To women, he marketed frenetically the idea that a woman's value consists in her sexual availability and attractiveness to men," Moore wrote on his website Thursday.
He noted that Hefner's choice of a bunny for a symbol was apt given how he saw men and women as rabbits. But humans are not rabbits.
"If you want to see 'success,' look instead to the man faithful to the wife of his youth, caring for her through dementia," he added.
"The sign of the good life is not a bunny but a cross."
Matt Fradd: It's Time for Christians to Rediscover God's Plan for Sexuality
Roman Catholic speaker Matt Fradd, who is on staff with Integrity Restored, a Catholic ministry that helps people break porn addiction, tweeted the following in response to Hefner's death:
Hefner: "If Kinsey is the prophet, I am his pamphleteer."— Matt Fradd (@mattfradd) September 28, 2017
You and me: "If Wojtyla is the prophet, we are his pamphleteers."
Alfred Kinsey was a widely controversial "sexologist" and researcher who notoriously falsified data, took samples in nonrandom fashion for his experiments, and is most well known for his two works Sexual Behavior in the Human Male in 1948 and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female in 1953. Kinsey's distorted research was the source of the narrative that most men and women were wildly promiscuous and that the supposed moral consensus about sexual behavior in American society was an illusion. He advocated for laws to change to more accurately reflect his contrived realities. Hefner created a multimillion dollar business empire that created products dovetailing with Kinsey's ideology.
Wojtyla is the surname of the first ever Polish pope, John Paul II, whose series of talks during the 1980s, called the Theology of the Body, was the Church's response to the sexual revolution. This teaching, which is becoming increasingly popular in evangelical circles, showcases the glorious picture of the divine plan for human sexuality in the Song of Solomon and traces the marital love story between God and His people from Genesis to Revelation.
Earlier this year Fradd explained to CP in an interview about his book The Porn Myth: Exposing the Reality Behind the Fantasy of Pornography, that the greatest myth about porn is that it does not show too much but too little of a human being because it reduces people to "a two-dimensional object that we consume instead of allowing us to perceive them."
"The seed of the Gospel cannot penetrate an earth — our heart, if you will — that has been scorched by body-punishing, humiliating, dehumanizing images that we masturbate to," Fradd said.
"We're not made to masturbate to pixels. We are made to love. We are made by love, to love, for love. And that's not just a Hallmark quote, that's theologically accurate."
Samuel James: Hefner's Mansion Is a Myth, the Reality Is Misery
"Hefner did not invent pornography, and what his media empire did promulgate is probably considered mild compared to what the Internet now offers," wrote Samuel James of Crossway Books in Illinois in a post on Mere Orthodoxy Thursday, where he blogs regularly. James is also a former staffer of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
And it is ironic, he added, that this man, who is sometimes referred to as a "ladies' man,"
institutionalized a habit that keeps men and women separate from each other.
"Men who chase the Hefner dream wake up in their 30s and 40s shocked to realize that the years passed them by, while they were hibernating in make-believe fantasies. And that is to say nothing of the men whose marriages, careers, and fatherhoods fall apart when the depth of their compulsion is made public (as it almost always is)," James said.
"The facade is glitz and Hollywood glamour. The brick and mortar that holds it all together is the despondency of those trapped in a locked room without windows."
Hefner normalized that facade, putting a "classy" veneer on fantasy and addiction, he said, but it has all been a farce.
"Hugh Hefner became what he did in large part because a man who sins sexually sins against his own body, and the wages of such sin are neurological, powerful, and mysterious. The Mansion is a myth. The basement is the reality."
Joe Carter: What Hefner Unleashed Is 'Eating Away at Our Souls' and 'Hijacking Our Brains'
In addition to the moral corrosion and relational dysfunction that the mass marketing of pornography has wrought, porn has had adverse repercussions on the man's brain.
Writing at The Gospel Conation Thursday, Joe Carter, an author and a TGC editor, noted that what Hefner built unleashed untold damage to the human mind.
"We now see the effects of having it 'all out there now.' We can see how the constant exposure to pornography is not just eating away at our souls but is quite literally highjacking our brains," Carter said.
"Sexually explicit material triggers mirror neurons in the male brain. These neurons, which are involved with the process for how to mimic a behavior, contain a motor system that correlates to the planning out of a behavior. In the case of pornography, this mirror neuron system triggers the arousal, which leads to sexual tension and a need for an outlet.
"Combine the strands of the Internet as a distribution channel, Hugh Hefner's mainstreaming of smut, and the neural addictiveness of explicit material and you have a rope that is strong enough to hold an entire people in bondage to sexual sin."