A Christian View of Pornography (Part 3 of 3)

Pornography brings guilt and shame, but not to all. Some have no issue with it whatsoever. My goodness, what have we become? 

pornography2I once heard a pastor talk about the time he was counselling a young Christian college student who was feeling distant from God. “I simply asked him,” the pastor said, “So how long have you been sleeping with your girlfriend?”

Pretty strong question. Stopped the kid in his tracks apparently.

Perhaps not such a strong question today, even for Christians, given the social climate. A better one these days might be: “So when’s the last time you looked at porn?”

The Big Guilt
Pornography is not a faith-killer. It’s a big separator. It separates one from a relationship with God not because one is sinful but because one feels guilty in one’s sinfulness and so hides from God. Like Adam hiding from God in Genesis 3.

The problem today is that men, women, and children are easily exposed to pornography through mobile and desktop devices. Once exposed, the damage is done and only through proactive attention and effort can the mind, will, and heart be reigned in and controlled.

But by then the big guilt / big separation is already in play. One feels like withdrawing, laden with guilt and shame.

And that’s just the Christian who has to rebound from thoughts of dark unworthiness.

No Harm, No Foul?
What about the rest of the world? A recent study of college students found 67% of men and 49% of women believed viewing pornographic materials is an acceptable way to express one’s sexuality. Another study showed 51% of male students and 32% of female students first viewed pornography before they were 12 years old.1

How does one, without any motivation or even guilt-conviction to pull oneself out the sewer, survive the ravages of pornography on the heart, mind and soul?

It’s a quiet disaster destroying the culture and a generation lost in their blissful, secular hedonism and Biblical ignorance.

Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. (Romans 1:22)

6 Final Reasons to NOT Use Pornography
In the last 2 weeks’ Biblical Viewpoint posts I listed Reasons 1-6 and 7-12 to not use pornography. Recently this Christian View of Pornography2 list was boldly addressed and published by Westgate Church in Saratoga and San Jose, California.

Here are final Reasons #13 through #18:

  • Reason #13  An affair of the mind is the same as infidelity with another women. Generally, men have the attitude that looking at pornography is a “lesser sin” or not the same as have a sexual encounter with a woman. Most women don’t see it that way. They don’t compartmentalize into different categories like men do. For most women, an affair of the mind is the same as infidelity with another woman.
  • Reason #14  Porn destroys families. Marriages with porn problems have less intimacy and sensitivity. Porn use increases the likelihood of infidelity. Children of porn users experience less parental involvement.
  • Reason #15 – Porn results in unhealthy selfishness and lack of self-control. These actions are selfish in that they prioritize yourself and your needs over others. The longer you engage in porn, it results in increasing selfishness and lack of self-control. This often spills over into other areas of relationships that cause relational destruction. Selfishness is not an attractive character trait if you are trying to enter into a healthy relationship.
  • Reason #16 – Pornography is the gateway to, and drives sex trafficking. According to case studies and reports from Shared Hope International, Harvard Law School, pornography is the purchase of humans initially via photographs and film. The next step is to purchase a real person. Prostitution, massage parlors that permit sex and other forms of human purchase are driven by the need for sex. Many of the porn stars, especially the under aged, started out as sex slaves. According to Professor Katherine Mackinon of Harvard Law School “consuming pornography is an experience of bought sex, and thus it creates a hunger to continue to purchase and objectify, and act out what is seen. … traffickers and pimps use pornographic images of victims as specific advertising for their products.”
  • Reason #17 – Porn can lead you astray. Deuteronomy 17:17(a) definitely applies (See Matthew 5:28). A pornographic image, especially with “acting out”, to your mind is no different than actually having sexual relations. (Also see Reason #13).
  • Reason #18 – Porn can lead you to have a spiritual tie with another person. Many addicts gather what are called “spiritual soul ties” that were originally and specifically designed only for the sacrament of marriage. When a person has a sexual encounter, he/she is actually making a spiritual bond with that person that was designed wholly for only sexual relations between a husband and a wife.

Again, for Reasons 1-12 see the 2 previous Biblical Viewpoint posts.

The Answer:  the Good Father and Master
Regardless of our dark guilt and past separation from God – be it from porn or being human – we are granted full immunity and forgiveness once we come in full acknowledgement of our sinful standing before our Good Father and Master.

 “You call me ‘Master’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.” (John 13:13)

Christ, God incarnate, has wiped out the evil past, present and future. Like a Good Father/Master, He has modeled a life of obedience. We can begin anew and follow Him to a fresh life of good health and productive fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

1 Pornography Statistics (2015 Edition), by CovenantEyes.com.
2 Westgate Church, Saratoga, CA, also Divine Sex, by Jonathan Grant, and Wired for Intimacy, by William Struthers.

Are you living a healthy life?
_______________________________
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23



Categories: Abundant Living, Evil, Family, Fathering, Marriage

Tags: , ,

4 replies

  1. I think there’s a lot of truth in this article, but a lot of fear-mongering too. For example, I can absolutely guarantee you that my wife does not consider me watching porn to be the same as me sleeping with another woman. Do you have any evidence for the statement you make in reason #13?

    The way you talk about the shamefulness of porn watching also bothers me. Have you considered where the shame comes from? From what I’m reading here, it seems like the very institution that is offering salvation is simultaneously reinforcing the notion that porn is shameful. It is like you are creating a problem so that you can be the ones to fix it.

    A lot of modern secular recovery approaches are very clear on the notion of shame – that it is destructive and unhelpful. Shame should not be the reason to address a problematic behaviour. Shame is a reaction to an oppressive social judgement, that only prevents openness and seeking help. Instead, the addict should be offered compassion, empathy and love. Those are the qualities that are missing in their life, that they are seeking in porn. I don’t see how labelling them as shameful contributes to recovery.

  2. Good points. First, regarding Reason #13, Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn conducted research and published the results in good books titled For Men Only, and For Women Only that supports this claim that women can feel equivalence between pornography and adultery. Of course some more so than others. Also here’s a good article that supports this point as well: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2009/07/27/is-porn-the-same-as-adultery/.

    I actually make the point that pornography leads to guilt and shame, particularly for Christians and to a growing lesser degree by non-Christians. The dictionary defines Shame as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. Guilt is defined as a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong. The popular TED Talker, Dr. Brene Brown, makes an interesting distinction that Guilt is about behavior and Shame is about our feelings of worth. Shame is “I am bad” and Guilt is “I did something bad.”

    I believe viewing pornography at any level can cause both guilt and shame. The degree depends on one’s upbringing and their adherence and reverence for the Bible as the Word of God. As a Christian, the standard is set in the Scriptures as to how humans are to behave and engage their bodies. For those with a non-Biblical worldview, well, as I say, porn is “no harm, no foul.”

    We may hide from our sin out of guilt and shame. Or we may rationalize it and cope with it. Bottom line, however, is that we are all broken and inherently sinful and separated from God with Christ as the only lifeline. The Church may seem to be an institution that is pushing guilt and shame. Weakly-led churches do that. But bad church experiences may sully but do not dismiss the institution. The answer is not Church, it’s in a renewed and restored relationship with Jesus. Good, well-led healthy churches promote that and offer recovery help for porn or any other unhealthy addictions. Like a welcoming hospital for the guilty and shameful. It’s what we all need.

  3. Jesus said – ‘ If you look at a woman lustfully you have committed adultery in the heart.’ Porn is Biblically not only a cause of shame… it is sexual immorality… Yes, it’s prevalent but that doesn’t make it any better in the eyes of God… False prophets tell young men it’s ok and lead them astray… That’s what frustrates me about some of these ‘church’ articles… Follow Fight the New Drug – they are combating porn and not rationalizing and they’re not even a Christian organization…. that young girl who’s being abused for personal sexual arousal… It’s real… When Jesus said – ‘ Do to others as you would have them do to you…and… ‘ whatever you do to the least if these you do to me…’ How do you line that up? Porn is one of the most rationalized sexual sins in our time. Porn is also becoming more abusive and violent unleashing hellish beatings on teenagers. It’s also prevalent in the church… Why? Because it’s anonymous, free, entitled? Do we fear Good at all?

    • BJ, I certainly agree with your points, however I’m not clear if you believe this ‘church article’ is actually rationalizing or justifying pornography. If you track with the 3-part series of Biblical Viewpoint posts (this one is 3 of 3), I trust you’ll conclude there is no rationalization or justification going on here at all. Only acknowledgement of the issue, scope and responses that run the gamut. It’s very clear that pornography is sinful at any level from a Christian/Biblical perspective. It’s all very clear that Christians and non-Christians struggle with this sinful practice (like Man does with other sins like “envy, deceit, malice, and gossip”…see Romans 1), while some ignore it as no issue whatsoever. Clearly the latter perspective is off-base and ignorant or dismissive of Christ’s words or the Scriptures in general. The good news is that that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. We are therefore free to “go and sin no more.”

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