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50 Shades Of Religion Essay

952 words - 4 pages

The mystics say you can find God anywhere. I believe many women have found him in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The trilogy has sold more than 10 million copies, mostly to women over 30 who can’t put the books down. Publishing rights have been sold in 37 countries and movie rights have been secured by Universal. Even British hotelier, Jonathan Denby, has decided to remove all the Gideon Bibles from his hotel's 40 rooms and replace them with the book in the Damson Dene Hotel in the Lake District of England. The books chronicle the relationship between a dominating male entrepreneur, Christian Grey, and a young female college graduate, the submissive Anastasia Steele. The series has been mulled by ...view middle of the document...

Sexual relationships are a major part of religion, with some traditions seeing it merely as a means of procreation, not to be enjoyed while others celebrate sex as a gift from their God.

So what is it about Christian Grey and his dominant yet ultimately loving, even worshipful relationship with Anastasia Steele that has touched so many women’s souls? What is it about being a submissive woman, as is the expectation for so many women in so many religions, that has such appeal? In his book “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics,” Ross Douthat writes, “Religion has become a license for egotism and selfishness, easily employed to justify what used to be considered deadly sins. The result is a society where pride becomes ‘healthy self-esteem,’ vanity becomes ‘self-improvement,’ adultery becomes ‘following your heart,’ greed and gluttony become ‘living the American dream.’” The “Fifty Shades” books celebrate these qualities. Certainly the kinky sex is outside the norm, yet reading about it has mesmerized and even “inspired” women and to improve their marriages and even their lives.

If “Fifty Shades of Grey” is religion, is it Ross Douthat’s nightmare of bad religion? It is certainly all about instant gratification. Is that what women are searching for? Or is it more nuanced? Grey starts out in the books intending to dominate (beat and cause pain to) Anastasia in his famous playroom dubbed “The Red Room of Pain,” and ends up loving and not wanting (or rather willing) to hurt her. One could compare him to the God of some peoples’ imagination.
Christian is at times punishing, sadistic, angry, demanding, intolerant, fickle, bewildering, withholding, omnipotent, omniscient, awesome, abusive, kind, generous, wise and --...

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