Christianity vs. the Playboy Philosophy – Program 5

By: Anson Mount, Josh McDowell; ©1984
Does Playboy actually demean women by making them into little more than sexual objects?

Does Playboy Degrade Women?

Ankerberg: Welcome. Again this week we’re talking with Anson Mount from Playboy magazine, and Josh McDowell. Anson, one of the things that was in the Playboy philosophy that we want to bring up that we haven’t brought up before is this thing of the way men look at women. Playboy says, “Sexual emancipation and the emancipation of women are inseparable.” And yet you depict nude women in your magazine on a monthly basis. And one of the criticisms that has come right from the beginning, and I think still sticks right there, is that all these things we’ve been talking about, trust, love, and so on, you’ve made a woman an object and not a subject, not a person. She’s a toy, something to be played with. That’s why they call them playmates. Would you comment to that? Have you done that to women?
Mount: What’s wrong with admiring a beautiful girl? Apparently, I understand you Christians say that God created the human body, right? And if the human body is beautiful, why can’t you admire it? Who says it has to be covered all the time? Why can’t you appreciate a beautiful body, a beautiful woman? Yes, it is incomplete to appreciate only her body, but what’s wrong with appreciating a beautiful body? Now, there are men who have absolutely gorgeous bodies, and there are men who are fat slobs. But that doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with us if we appreciate and admire or even if a lady gets some kind of sexual stimulation out of looking at a man with a beautiful body. What’s wrong with that? Of course we do. We’re human beings. Apparently you have overlooked the fact that connected with every playmate of the month is not only her picture but a long article about her: who she is and where she came from, her background, her likes and dislikes. If we were only interested in just the picture of her body, we wouldn’t print all that. We don’t do it defensively because we’ve always done it. What’s wrong with appreciating a beautiful woman?
Ankerberg: Anson, the thing is I read that, and…. well, let’s just take Hefner’s definition of pornography.
Mount: Now, wait a minute. Are they objects just because they’re beautiful and we appreciate their beauty? I don’t think so.
Ankerberg: If that were just it… When I read that, I couldn’t help but think because I went to the Art Institute in Chicago. And the thing is, we had to study art in the classical form, so I couldn’t help but think in reading about that, I’m listening to people describing the beauty of the classics and so on. As I was talking with a psychologist he said, “Have you read a Playboy lately?” I said, “No, I haven’t.” He said, “Why don’t you look at one?” So I got myself a copy and this month here, I open it up and there was a woman with a smile on her face, nothing on, with her legs spread, her hands into her vagina, looking at you. And I’m saying, “It doesn’t remind me of a classical form. It says SEX!” Now, the question is, isn’t Playboy putting the emphasis right there – physical, raw sex? She is a playmate, no person, no trust, no relationship here. The thing is sex and it’s glorified.
Mount: If you read that into it, I’m sure that a great many people read that into it too.
Ankerberg: Let me quote your boss, Hugh Hefner, who said in this philosophy that, “Pornography is a picture, or a book, or a movie that by what is displayed, sexually excites a person toward that object.” If that didn’t meet that definition, I don’t know what does.
Mount: Well, now wait a minute! A pretty girl walking down the street fully clothed sexually excites some people, you know. Really! There are pictures like that in Playboy and there are young men to whom that is significant or they enjoy looking at pictures like that. I don’t. As a matter of fact…
Ankerberg: You were telling me during the break that you don’t even read Playboy any more yourself, right?
Mount: Playboy is and always has been a magazine published for young, literate, urban, upward-mobile single men. There is was a time when that fit me. I am now nearly 60 years old. I live in a small town in the hills of Tennessee. I am married and have four children. So I don’t fit, and Playboy doesn’t interest me that much. I read an occasional article here and there. But look, that picture right now that you are talking about is no more shocking and no more out of kilter with what you see on television than the pictures in Playboy of 25 years ago that simply showed a little bit of cleavage. As a matter of fact, the pictures in Playboy, the “Playmates of the Month” 25 years ago for which southern sheriffs were arresting news dealers, wouldn’t shock your grandmother now. What I am trying to say is we now live in a society where that kind of picture you describe is as distasteful to an average middle age matron as those pictures were then.
Ankerberg: Okay, Josh, I want you to respond right here before we get to questions.
McDowell: I would say several things to this. One, I think this is where a lot of people make fun of it, even when Jimmy Carter made reference to the word “lust” and everybody made a joke of it. Well, Christ didn’t make a joke of it, because He looked at lust as using a person as a means to an end, to self-gratification. And it was a misuse of the context of even the human body and beauty. And that’s why Christ said it is not only wrong to commit adultery but even to lust at a woman in that way. [Matt. 5:28] Second, one thing that keeps coming out here….
Mount: Wait a minute. You say if a person looks at a pretty girl and is sexually aroused by her that he is guilty of adultery? That’s what a preacher told me when I was a child and I didn’t believe him.
McDowell: This is what Christ was saying, if he looks upon a woman with lust in his heart, he has committed adultery. [Matt. 5:28] This was where He added to the Ten Commandments in Matthew. Now, what He is saying is not just getting aroused but then when it becomes part of self-gratification and dwelling on it, I think that’s when it becomes lust.
Mount: So you’re interpreting Christ’s words?
McDowell: Well, I think you have to take it within the context always with any interpretation, Anson. The other is the idea that 20 years ago certain pictures were acceptable, or excuse me, not acceptable pictures, that now, those pictures of 20 years ago are acceptable. And what is being shown now are reactionary. And what I disagree with there is what you might call cultural relativism, that because something becomes accepted by the culture that it makes it right. And I disagree with that. It’s kind of like a lot of people,…
Mount: Well, I don’t agree with that either.
McDowell: Okay, because this is where a lot of people use the Kinsey Report. And they go out and they say, “Well, 51% of the people are having premarital or extramarital sex, therefore, that’s the norm. It is right.” Well, I do not agree with that. I do not believe cultural acceptance makes something right or wrong. Morality or ethics is not 51%. If it were, then what Hitler did to the Jews was morally right. I think we need to go back, that there is a standard which I started out with, that regardless of what was accepted then, or obnoxious then, or accepted now or obnoxious, there is a standard which is the very Word of God that God has revealed. It becomes a standard for our actions regardless of the culture, where we were brought up or anything. And that standard, I believe, is revealed in the Scriptures. Plus, I think you take the whole on, sum it up in love; and love, as you expressed, “not hurting yourself or hurting anyone else.” And I think that’s what we see in Christ who becomes the standard. And I would say, regardless if anything was accepted 20 years ago today, I can say it’s wrong, regardless if society accepts it, because of the revealed Word of God.
Mount: Have you noticed that pornography, or “sexual realism,” or the sexually arousing qualities of what is called pornography is self-defeating? Those pictures which were terribly exciting and aroused people 20 or 30 years ago, you can turn on the television set now, you know, nobody knows. Pornography is self-defeating in the sense that if you see enough of it, it doesn’t turn you on anymore.
Ankerberg: That’s exactly why I would be against it.
Mount: Doesn’t turn you on anymore.
McDowell: Then you have to go to more. What’s the next step, Anson? Child pornography in Playboy?
Mount: No, no, no!
McDowell: I mean, if 20 years ago somebody was stimulated by these pictures,…
Mount: I’ll tell you what the next step is out of personal experience. I have seen so many photographs of nudity all my life – not all my life, but all these years over the years, right…
McDowell: You’re going to come out with a dress.
Mount: Yes, man. I’ve seen so many of them they don’t turn me on. But do you know what does turn me on? A beautiful lady who I have a loving relationship, like my wife who is both. So, part of it doesn’t turn me on at all anymore. All of my children have been exposed to Playboy magazine all their lives, because I was working for Playboy two or three years before my first child was born. And all of them are perfectly normal, perfectly healthy, perfectly well-adjusted, as far as I know, in their sexual life and their sexual attitudes. I just don’t think that pornography itself is destructive. I think that like a great many elements in human life, it could be destructive to somebody who has emotional problems to begin with. A person who has a tendency to overeat and become a fat slob, if given enough chance to, will do that. Just as a lot of people, if given a chance to drive a car, will drive recklessly and hurt somebody. Yes, there are people who can use, and do use, their sexual lives irresponsibly. But I don’t think pornography causes that.
Ankerberg: Okay, we’ve got a question right here.
Audience: I just want to say I sounded exactly like you did about 10 years ago. I was a bunny out in L.A. for three years and I went to church on Sunday and went to orgies on Saturday night. You said you were a committed Christian, and I would have said that too. But I just find it very hard to reconcile a committed Christian making Jesus the Lord of your life with a Playboy philosophy, because it is diametrically opposed.
When I was a bunny I saw other bunny’s lose their reproductive organs to V.D. I saw abortion after abortion transpiring. For myself personally I felt very suicidal. And I tried many times to do away with myself because of all the married sex, the group sex, all of these one-night stands and things just depleted me. I also found that I wasn’t the only one. My bunny roommate was the same way. Girls were taking drugs and alcohol. All of them had some kind of problem, to alleviate and disassociate themselves with what they were doing. I just did an interview out with “Woman to Woman” in which seven of the playmates talked about they were going through psychotherapy, they were disassociating themselves from the pictures because that’s not how we were created to be used. And, I mean, used! I saw Hefner’s secretary commit suicide with a drug overdose because she was captured by the FBI for trafficking drugs. Someone has to pay the price for the recreational sex.
Mount: You saw Bobbie Arnstein commit suicide?
Audience: I didn’t see her literally, but I saw that happen within the Playboy empire, you know who I am talking about, and that it did happen. So what I am saying is that there is a price to be paid. Through these live-in relationships people are destroyed. You might not see it in your own children, you might not have seen it in your own life, but it did transpire. And you don’t know the girls that you violated, or that you had relationships with, or how your wife might feel about those, or how it affected those girls. You don’t know. And what I am saying is you don’t know if you are going to be the one to get V.D., you don’t know whether you are going to be the one that gets dumped or dump the other person and it’s going to end up in a suicidal attempt.
The thing that you are saying about morals, and “being moral is not hurting someone else,” and there is no definitive morality, I am saying there is. Because when I turned from that at the very bottom and followed Christ, and embraced His teachings, and read the Bible, and followed biblical principles I found joy, I found peace, I found abundant life that Hefner couldn’t give me through his philosophy. When I was living his lifestyle I was on a psychotherapy couch two or three times a week for seven years trying to find out a meaning and purpose for my life. Through Jesus I found out who I was in Him. I was seated in heavenly places. My life had meaning. The hairs on my head were numbered. And I found out for other people, countless other people, and it’s true. Not because it just happened to me and I was one of those emotional basket cases, because the Word of God is truth.
And when God says it’s wrong, it’s wrong! And He’s protecting us from fornication, from the adultery that breaks up marriages. I was involved in breaking up a marriage. I know how destructive it can be, and yet people continue to do it and rationalize just like I did. I thought the Bible was for “way back then,” when people got married later and I needed to “sow my wild oats,” so to speak. Only I found it very destructive, and again I wasn’t alone.
And I would just say to you, I cannot see any way that you can reconcile Christianity with embracing the Playboy philosophy, which is just totally opposite. And in addition I want to say, just one more thing, that Jesus loves you and Jesus loves Hefner, and I am not coming down in condemnation. I am coming down in love and trying to say, as a Christian you need correction. In Corinthians it talks about the man who had incest and slept with his [father’s] wife, and the church needs to correct. [1 Cor. 5] So I feel that that’s what I would like to say to you. I think you need correction to get on the right path, if you call yourself a committed Christian. If you sat there and said, “No, I am an atheist,” I’d say, you know, okay, I hope you see the light; but when you call yourself a Christian, then brother, you had better be living the Christian principles.
Mount: Well, I tell you, I can understand what you are saying and where you are coming from. But having never been involved in a sexual orgy, having never gone through all the sick and destructive and neurotic experiences that you describe yourself having gone through, you know, I can’t relate personally to what you are saying. I’ve never had anything to do with anything like that. I’ll tell you what….
Audience: But you’re espousing a philosophy that says do that.
Mount: No, now listen! You just let me talk for a while, okay?
Audience: Sure.
Mount: Okay, you let me talk for a while! You happened to be a Playboy bunny and you happened to have been a very sick person who went through a lot of vicious and awful and horrible,… you did some horrible things. You know what? You remind me very much of a United Airlines stewardess I talked to recently who told me almost exactly the same story you have told, who went through the same thing; but it was with flight attendants, pilots and she had the same experience. The fact that she worked for United Airlines and that she was a stewardess didn’t make her that way. The fact that you were a bunny, I don’t think you were required by your job to be that way. It could be that an awful lot of already sick and neurotic people apply for jobs as bunnies and if they happen to be a pretty good waitress and a pretty girl, they get the job. Yes, that’s true. But I know a lot of bunnies who worked as bunnies for several years, they were just out of school and they wanted something to do, they met somebody, they got married and they now live in a small town in Wisconsin and have four children and are happily married. I am mentioning a girl that I know particularly. Yes, sure, there are at least one in every walk of life who are very healthy and are very well adjusted. But being a bunny didn’t make you that way. You had problems before you became a bunny, little lady!
Audience: Living the Playboy lifestyle did. And my question….
Mount: I don’t live the Playboy lifestyle, but I worked for Playboy and I have never gone through all those sick things that you tell me you went through.
Audience: But you did say you “sowed your wild oats.” So you did embrace it in part. My question is, how can you reconcile that with saying you are a committed Christian? That’s all I want to know.
Mount: Now, wait a minute. What I mean when I say “I sowed my wild oats” means that I on a number of occasions, while I was single, I met a young lady who wanted to go to bed with me and we did! I didn’t destroy her and she didn’t destroy me, and I wasn’t involved in any sick, destructive, inhuman, cruel activity. And it turned out in those cases we did not hit it off, but finally I met a young lady that I did hit it off with and I got married. I am very happily married.
Audience: But how do you reconcile that with Christianity is what I want to know. How can you reconcile what you just said, “Don’t commit fornication and adultery,” how can you?
McDowell: Let me interject something here. Let me ask, maybe we are using different terminologies, Anson.
Mount: Yes, I am sure we are!
McDowell: Let me ask you, and I meant to do this even before. What is your definition of a Christian? What is a Christian?
Mount: My definition of a Christian is somebody who believes in Jesus Christ and is committed to His teachings. But His teachings, I am afraid I disagree, or shall we say “we Episcopalians” disagree with a lot of the interpretations that are put on Jesus’ teachings by some of the more conservative and fundamentalist Christians. I do not believe, for example, that sex outside marriage is always a sin. I don’t believe that telling a lie is always a sin. I do not believe that, we were talking about this earlier, there are moral imperatives that overtake. I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t put the horror…. Okay, well, you’re going to quote the Bible at me, huh?
Mount: I wouldn’t mind doing that.
McDowell: No, no. I’m just looking at something here. This is probably where we possibly differ here in use of the term as a Christian means, I think, where it comes to a point of repentance and the placing and realizing a person is a sinner as the Bible says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” [Rom. 3:23]
Mount: Oh, I have been very repentant of about some things I’ve done wrong in life.
McDowell: And believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. And then coming to that step in time, but not just following what He believes and interpreting it, but come to a point in time where we place our trust in Him as Savior and Lord. And I think this is probably maybe one of the key differences right here. This is why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourself whether Christ is in you or ye be reprobate.” And Christ said, “But to as many as received Him [not just knew about it, tried to follow His commandments] as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become a child of God.” [John 1:12] And so, I would define a Christian as someone that has come into a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, through trusting Him as Savior and Lord. And I believe at that point, Anson, that God the Holy Spirit comes to live within that person. And then when Jesus said, “If you love me you will follow my commandments.” [John 14:15]
Ankerberg: What I was interested in, though, was the fact that the Playboy philosophy advocates freedom and sowing your wild oats. This lady apparently…
Mount: There is also responsibility.
Ankerberg: That’s right. But she took responsibility and she sowed probably more oats than six other people we met.
Mount: Didn’t sound to me like she was very responsible.
Ankerberg: Well, in the sense of the Playboy philosophy, to live it up in the freedom.
Mount: No, no, no. Nowhere in the Playboy philosophy does it say, “Thou shalt go out and join orgies and get V.D.” and all these other things. No, no, no.
Ankerberg: No it doesn’t say that, but the thing is that is part of what happens.
Mount: No, no. Let’s go onto another question.
Audience: Can I just say one more thing? Because you said….
McDowell: Probably what he is saying here is it was the atmosphere for manifesting it.
Audience: Can I just say one more thing? You said about sin, that you didn’t consider premarital sex a sin. The only thing….
Mount: I said necessarily. No. It can be. It can be demeaning and it can be dehumanizing and it can use somebody.
Audience: Right, you can go back….
Mount: But you can do that within marriage, too. And you can have a very responsible sexual relationship outside marriage. I know a lot of people, including myself, who have done so. A great many.
Audience: Let me see. You can go back to that and you can say that you don’t believe “necessarily so” in situational morality and ethics, but God who created us is the one that said it is sin. And so just because you don’t believe it is sin, or I, or someone else might not believe it’s sin, it doesn’t mean that it is not sin, because God is the one who sets the standards.
Mount: I see! Well, alright you are interpreting all of Christianity for all of us.
McDowell: Can I make a point here first?
Mount: Well, what about somebody who is not a Christian? What about somebody who is an atheist? Is it alright then for him to have a responsible sexual relationship outside marriage? Is that okay? After all, we live in a pluralistic society. We don’t live in a Christian country. We live in a country in which church and state are separate. A Buddhist, or a Hindu, or an atheist, or a Christian, or a Mohammedan has exactly the same rights in this country as an ordinary person, as a Christian. So should we set all of our social standards by Christian dogma or Christian ethics? No! She says that for a Christian it is morally wrong and it is a sin to have sex outside marriage. Okay, for her I am sure that is true. But we can’t have one person say that the whole world, the whole country, should live by this standard.
McDowell: Is God able to say that?
Mount: Well, I mean, it depends on who is interpreting God. I suppose we….
McDowell: I mean, if He has created it…. Well, Jesus Christ.
Mount: Well, what about Muhammad? He interpreted God.
McDowell: Yes, but he didn’t say he was God. Jesus did.
Mount: Well, alright.
McDowell: Let me point out something….
Mount: Alright, well, I….
McDowell: See, I think there is something that is a superstructure over all of our culture. And that is that God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, Anson. And see, you have said… 20 years ago you said one thing you don’t believe today. You say….
Mount: I didn’t say anything 20 years ago.
McDowell: You didn’t say anything 20 years ago?
Mount: What are you talking about? Are you talking about the Playboy philosophy?
McDowell: No, we were talking about the debate thing. You said, “Well, a lot I said back there I don’t believe today, what Hefner wrote back there.”
Mount: That’s right, I am very happy in the fact that I grow and change.
McDowell: Well, see that’s the problem….
Mount: I don’t hang myself on one dogma and stick to it narrow-mindedly the rest of my life.
McDowell: But God doesn’t change, Anson.
Mount: No, but fundamentalist preachers stick to it.
McDowell: Well, I like those that do stick, too. What God has said is universal and eternal.
Mount: Yes, but my point is, yes, I don’t think like I did 20 years ago. So what?
McDowell: But God does.
Mount: So what?! And who interprets it?
McDowell: Well, see, the thing is, if you get people to adhere to the Playboy philosophy,…
Mount: I can introduce you to 500 different theologians who disagree on the interpretation of almost any passage in the Bible.
McDowell: Okay, but the key thing is it doesn’t matter about if there are 6,000 that disagree. When it comes right down to the nitty-gritty, Anson, I believe each individual, whether Mohammedan, Buddha, Hindu, Playboy philosophy, evangelical Christian, whatever, is going to be personally accountable before God.
Mount: Fine. Right!
McDowell: And I think there God is revealed….
Mount: We are not disagreeing on that. What I am saying is one person or one group doesn’t have the right to say, “The whole world should believe like we do. The world would be better off if they did.” Or they can’t force their thoughts on….
McDowell: Okay, okay, now that’s different. You can say that and you can believe it with convictions, but even the Bible is strict there about forcing it on people. I agree with you there. But I think you have the right to say it and I have the deep conviction that Jesus Christ is God’s revelation and the Word of God is. And that’s why my life is committed to sharing that by the way I walk, I talk, lecture in universities, movies, books, everything. However, what someone does with it is their responsibility.
Mount: That’s right.
McDowell: I have got enough to be responsible for my life, and I think….
Mount: Let’s give somebody a chance to ask a question.
McDowell: Well, but what I am saying is, see the philosophy of Playboy and everything is constantly changing. The Word of God isn’t.
Mount: Okay, alright I will buy that.
Ankerberg: Question here.
Audience: Yes, one of the questions I have is, you said earlier you have a standard that you taught to your son about not really harming themselves or harming other people. I know that’s an interpretation of what you said, if you would come back and restate that. My question is this, the circulation and the volume and impact that Playboy has had over the years, the 25 or 30 years that it is in, and I am sure the circulation nowadays is in the multiple of millions,…
Mount: No, it has gone down.
Audience: Okay, well it’s in the millions, is that correct?
Mount: Yes.
Audience: Okay, it is in the millions. The impact it has had, do either one of you gentlemen, are you familiar with any studies as to how that has impacted our society? How that has affected either our moral level, or our educational level or any other levels? Not just that magazine, but the depiction of nudity, violence, of sex and other things in general, has that affected our society either in a positive way or a negative way? You stated earlier you feel you have won the battle in a way. Obviously, I am guessing from that, but I want you to state your own feelings. You feel it has been a positive thing. Would you both comment on that for me.
Mount: Well, an incredible number of studies have been done about the effect of what is known as “obscenity” or “pornography” on people. And the most telling one I guess was done in 1971 by a Presidential commission who studied, and studied, and studied, and they interviewed psychologists and did surveys and it was a very long laborious study. And they came up with the conclusion that pornography has absolutely no negative effect on normal human beings. And Nixon refused to accept it. He got so upset that he refused. You remember that in the early 1970s? But my point….
Ankerberg: I’d have to say that that has been reversed in the 80s though.
Mount: Well, you asked about Playboy and its effect on Playboy and its circulation. And the fact that in a sense we have succeeded. And we have helped to make a far more liberal and open society, we’ve helped to get rid of some of the vicious and nasty and neurotic puritanism that pervaded our society in the late 30s. What has happened is this; although the pictures are far more explicit and far more shocking to some people now than they were 20 or 30 years ago, our circulation has gone down in the last few years by about one fourth. And the best we can figure out is that if people are interested in Playboy just for pornography, they are blowing $2.50, because they can go to a movie house, or they can sometimes turn on television, especially on the cable networks. Or they can buy any number of magazines that are far more realistic and have far more sexual realism or are far more obscene than Playboy, if that is what they are looking for.
McDowell: I would encourage you to check out the book that is now out called Sex, Violence and the Media, which is an exposé, not by Christians, but an exposé of the….
Mount: Well, they can’t be talking about Playboy. We don’t have sex or violence in Playboy. You must be talking about television.
McDowell: It’s an exposé of the congressional investigation on pornography.
Mount: But in the 1970s?
McDowell: Right. And very revealing the way they twisted the stats and everything. It’s quite a revealing book.
Mount: And I can find 10 other books that are on the other side of the argument who approve of it and say it reached exactly the right conclusions.
McDowell: In Sweden, which probably has a great testing, I was just able to check out the chairman of the National Association for Sexual Information, who is one of the men that was at the forefront of sexual radicalism there. He has completely reversed his position now in leading the fight to repeal it, because he says he now, from observation and facts, discounts all arguments he once used in the fight for free pornography. And he says, you know, we were always taught and we believed, all the psychologists said, that it would lead to a decrease in rape. He said the exact opposite had happened: rape has gone up. They said it would lead to a decrease in prostitution. The exact opposite happened: prostitution has also increased. And it’s even interesting in our country, in 1957 there were 14,280 rapes, and using the same standard, and now it’s a little more open I think, but now it’s 82,600 a year. And….
Mount: Okay, so you are saying….
McDowell: No, wait a minute.
Mount: No, you are saying somebody sees the picture of a pretty girl and he goes out and rapes a woman. I don’t think it’s that simple.
McDowell: No, wait a minute. I am saying that I believe that is one of the causes, not the only. I think it’s a whole attitude that’s developed in our culture that, how would you say it, downgrades the personality, the value and worth of the person.
Mount: Yes, I agree with you.
McDowell: And I am saying there that the Playboy philosophy in essence is a pushing force for that. And so in answer to that fellow over there….
Mount: Well, now the Playboy philosophy, are you talking about some articles we printed 20 years ago or are you talking about what you read in the magazine today? Because it’s different, you know.
McDowell: Well, I know. You see, that scares me. It’s always changing.
Mount: What do you mean?
McDowell: You see, its always changing.
Mount: Wait, wait. It’s not changing. What do you mean by Playboy philosophy? Are you talking about the articles we printed 20 years ago? Because nobody reads them anymore.
McDowell: Anson, I am talking about the release, not 20 years ago, the ones you all just released, 1979. I know it was written 20 years.
Mount: Now wait a minute. This was printed in 1979 because there was a bunch of fundamentalist preachers who keep writing in wanting excerpts of it.
McDowell: To know what you believe.
Mount: So we printed it up for those people. But you don’t think that that’s been printed anywhere. We don’t print articles….
Ankerberg: You didn’t give away a lie?
Mount: No, no. My point is, we don’t print articles about the Playboy philosophy anymore. That was 20 years ago. We printed that for people who wrote in and wanted reprints.
McDowell: For the most part what Playboy does expresses that philosophy.
Mount: We have reprints of everything that has ever been in the magazine, okay? And I….
McDowell: Well, how does anybody ever find out what Playboy believes?
Mount: Just like you do. They open the magazine, they look through it and they decide they know more than we do what we believe. They look through the magazine and they decide what we stand for.
McDowell: You see, behind the magazine is a worldview….
Mount: When you use the phrase Playboy philosophy, you are talking about your perception of our worldview.
McDowell: No. Well, I’m doing my best to understand your worldview. And see, this is where I like to be fair and honest and I’ve tried to do my homework best to understand your worldview. And I think the worldview will depict what you do.
Mount: Tell me something that you have read in Playboy in the last two years that disturbs you about our worldview.
McDowell: For the most part, I have to tell you, I don’t read Playboy.
Mount: Well, I don’t either, but I….
McDowell: I don’t want to read Playboy.
Mount: Okay. Well, okay. So then you are admitting that we are both talking about something we don’t know anything about, right?
McDowell: No, I don’t have to read your worldview. And I can go back and see your basic philosophy.
Mount: I see. You don’t read Playboy and you haven’t looked at a copy in years, but you know all about our worldview. Nonsense!
McDowell: Yes. Hey, you helped him write out his worldview, Anson.
Mount: I’m going to tell you something.
McDowell: Just like God wrote out His worldview here.
Mount: I’m going to tell you something. He wrote out his… that’s 20 years ago, right? Nobody reads that stuff anymore, so don’t tell us that that stuff that was written 20 years ago is destroying Western civilization now. Let me tell you something you haven’t thought of, alright? I am the world’s leading authority on what I think. And you don’t sit there and look at me and tell me what I think and what my worldview is. I am the world’s leading authority on it. You are the world’s leading authority on what you think. Now, this is what Hefner thought 20 years ago when he wrote those editorials. They haven’t been printed since then. What we present to the public now is what we present to the public now; and you tell us you haven’t seen a copy of Playboy in years. So why are we sitting here having this conversation about it? You don’t even know what you are talking about.
Ankerberg: Because Playboy never recanted of printing that philosophy.
Mount: That’s right. No, we didn’t have to. No we didn’t recant.
McDowell: I can tell what you think by what you say and what you have written.
Mount: Right. And I can tell what you think by what you say. But we are talking about what I think. We were talking about what I think, and you are talking about what I said 20 years ago in Lubbock, Texas, or wherever it was. I don’t even remember being there. But look, if you want to talk about Playboy today, get a copy, read it. Don’t sit there and make knowledgeable remarks about something you don’t know anything about. You just admitted that you are ignorant about Playboy today. You just admitted you have never seen a copy in the last several years. Get a copy and read it. I don’t know what Hefner thinks and I couldn’t care less. But if you want to know about what Playboy stands for today and its effect on society, get a copy and read it and then make a comment. Don’t sit there and talk out of ignorance.
McDowell: No, I think I would go to the man. You’ve stated yourself in….
Mount: How can you…. I haven’t talked to him in six years. You are talking about something that was printed 20 years ago. Now, don’t sit there and tell me that something that was printed 20 years ago, that nobody ever reads anymore because it is mostly a bore anyway, is changing all of modern civilization. Nonsense! Question.
Ankerberg: I bought the copy of Playboy. I read it. Let me tell you what’s in it.
Mount: Okay.
Ankerberg: I open it up on one page….
Mount: What….
Ankerberg: No, just let me read it. You asked the question, I read it.
Mount: Okay, what did you find?
Ankerberg: You had one article on how to work with sadism and masochism. And you had the pictures. You had another article….
Mount: Okay?
Ankerberg: Yes, okay. You had another article in terms of what’s going on in Hollywood; how they make the latest porno films. And they showed them making the films and the interview said that the people were having as much fun “doing it” as producing the show. They were both, okay? I turned the page and I counted 28 bodies intertwined together in an orgy.
Mount: Well, I see what you are looking for in Playboy. Did you read the interview with Jesse Jackson?
Ankerberg: No, I didn’t.
Mount: Oh, I see. You are only interested in the sex.
Ankerberg: That wasn’t in that one. But the one that I did read, I did read your editorials on how you advise people about marriage. I read the advice in the columns that, some of them you used to write, the editorials.
Mount: Yes, you are talking about the “Playboy Forum.”
Ankerberg: That’s right.
Mount: No, not the forum, you are talking about the Playboy Advisor.
Ankerberg: What I am saying is the letters that came in and the advice that was given back: No trust in marriage; it was all talking and joking about marriage. Okay, so it doesn’t sound to me that what Hefner wrote and you guys sent out to us to represent the philosophy has changed. If anything it’s gotten worse!
Mount: Okay, you know what you are talking about. You at least have gotten a copy of the magazine and looked at it. I can respect you for that.
Ankerberg: Okay, but that does not let you off the hook on the philosophy.
Mount: And while you are at it, did you read the fiction in the magazine?
Ankerberg: Yes.
Mount: Tell us about the serious articles in that issue, or did you bother to look at it?
Ankerberg: I looked at those, too.
Mount: Well, who was the interview with?
Ankerberg: The interview was with a politician.
Mount: Who?
Ankerberg: It was with Mondale. It was also with Hart.
Mount: With Mondale and Hart?
Ankerberg: Had interviews with them.
Mount: Yes, okay, fine.
Ankerberg: No, what I want to come back to is this….
Mount: Don’t you wonder about two people who are running for president, how they could possibly take the horrible risk of allowing themselves, volunteering to be interviewed in a magazine that is so destructive and awful as Playboy? You wonder about that?
Ankerberg: Christianity has never knocked the good in something. What we are talking about is the fact of where we disagree.
Mount: Alright, we’ll only talk about the bad, right? Okay, would you like to have a two hour conversation about all the things that are wrong about the dingbat fundamentalist Christian cults there are in the world? But that doesn’t reflect on the rest of Christianity.
Ankerberg: That’s right. We’re never saying that moral truth ever differs for anybody else. We are saying what is moral truth, what is the evidence for that and once we found it we’re both accountable. So we are saying that we’d like to change some of the dingbat fundamentalist as well as the Playboy philosophy.
Mount: Good, then I agree with you. I would like to change a whole lot about Playboy.
Ankerberg: Josh, I’d like you to just give us a closing comment. That is something we haven’t really said before and that is, we’ve talked about Jesus Christ as being the authoritative one concerning morals, but it seems that in Christianity that Jesus Christ is actually more than that. He is the one who gives power, with all the temptations, with all the incentive of the media that comes that way. The question that the kids seem to give to me is this: How in the world in this kind of society, if I ever did want to live right, could I have the moral integrity, the moral strength to do it when kids are openly flaunting sex? What does Jesus Christ do for that kind of a person?
McDowell: I think that’s one of the frustrations I faced when I did become a Christian, what I emphasized with Anson, that when a person becomes a Christian God the Holy Spirit enters that person’s life. And I think what has been neat to me is that God never calls an individual to do anything that He doesn’t first equip them and empower them to follow through. When I became a Christian, I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life as Savior and Lord and placed my trust in Him. At that time I believe God the Holy Spirit entered my life. And He not only changed me from the inside out but He gave me a strength to live the commandments when He said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” [John 14:15] He gave me the strength to do it. And this is why I always say, Anson, that Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship. It’s a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit living in and through an individual. It’s kind of like I always say, “God never left us Orphan Annies;” He sent the Holy Spirit to live within us.
Mount: I agree with you. It’s a relationship.
Ankerberg: And a final question, Josh, would be this: For the people, many of them were like our bunny, that find themselves with many casual sexual relationships where sex has not led to love and fulfillment and joy like many of the psychologists are now saying, and they’ve realized that they have been used; they have had terrible experiences like Anson brought out about his publisher who was going toward marriage and then his wife had a relationship on the side that blew him apart…
Mount: Now wait a minute!
Ankerberg: Alright, what?
Mount: I didn’t tell you that!
Ankerberg: What did you say at the beginning of the first program?
Mount: I said I knew a person…
Ankerberg: You said a publisher.
Mount: I knew a publisher who was in love with a girl and he didn’t go to bed with her until they got married because he knew that it would disturb her. He exercised the possibility. I didn’t say it was my publisher. I said I happened to know a publisher…
Ankerberg: Corrected. I’m corrected.
Mount: Okay.
Ankerberg: What I’m trying to drive at is for people that have had that devastating experience, what does Jesus Christ offer in rebuilding a life?
McDowell: That’s probably one of the things that excites me most going into the university and everything, it’s that one of the reasons why Christ died on the cross was to be able to remove guilt and give forgiveness. Like a person at UCLA said to me, he said, “Josh, God can’t forgive me.” I said, “Mister, I don’t care what you’ve done. Christ died for you. He said if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9] I believe when we come to Christ that He can wipe the slate clean. Now, I still think there’s going to be some scars. But in the area of guilt, forgiveness in a relationship with God, it’s totally dealt with. That’s why Christ died. But at the same time there can be some scars, I think, that take a while to work through. I’ve seen so many work through it and it’s been beautiful.
Ankerberg: Anson, thank you for coming tonight. I have appreciated your openness and your honesty. And, Josh, for your being willing…
Mount: I have enjoyed it tremendously.
Ankerberg: Well, thank you very much.

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