Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Perniciousness of P0rn

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by SolaScriptura, Mar 13, 2009.

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  1. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Perniciousness of P0rn

    I probably should have said something about this subject earlier. However, I’ve been quite busy and the issue wasn’t on the forefront of my mind. But a recent counseling session served to remind me of the destructiveness of p0rnography. And the topic needs to be addressed.

    The production and distribution of p0rnography has gone through the roof in recent years. Those inside the walls of the church have not been able to escape its onslaught. Now, statistically speaking, approximately 20% of the women in Christian churches view p0rnography on a regular basis. For men the percentage is horrifyingly high: approximately 50% of all men who call themselves "Christian" regularly view p0rnography. I don't want to bog this entry down with horrifying statistics, but if you're interested just do a Google search on the subject. The results may astonish you. This state of affairs is unacceptable. It is unacceptable that members of Christ’s visible body should present a veneer of holiness but in the quiet of their homes engage in behavior that fundamentally undermines the relationships between God and man, Christ and Church.

    There are many reasons why p0rnography is destructive, but ultimately one reason why it is wrong: God forbids it. We’ll come back to that… Unfortunately, in our day and age people are more concerned with the destructive aspect because that is where the consequences are acutely felt in the here and now. We don’t get all worked up about offending God, because we presume upon His forgiveness. We’re more worried about whether or not it’ll affect me temporally – as if violating God’s law has no long term consequences! We are fundamentally "person" centered, even in our understanding of sin. In fact, the Barna Research Group tells us that only 17% of "evangelical Christians" define sin as primarily an offense against God.

    Why do people view p0rnography? Because they love the darkness. To sinful beings, sin is fun. Fallen humanity’s one constant pursuit and passion is the suppression, rejection, and perversion of God’s will so as to attempt to live autonomously – “as gods”, as if we can ever escape our knowledge of, or dependence upon, God.

    p0rnography represents such an attempt for many reasons. Some are:

    1. p0rnography seeks to make perversion and deviancy appear normal. I do not here refer to the act of filming sex, per se, but to the specific type of sexual activities depicted by p0rnography. p0rnography is a medium for altering perceptions about what constitutes legitimate sexual behavior. The axiom “A picture is worth a thousand words” is repeated because in an empirical age, “seeing is believing.” People come to accept as normal that which they see. This is why the local Afghani workers think that in America we’re all rich and drive fancy cars: that is what they see in movies. One expressed surprise when I told him that movies are not an accurate depiction of reality. So powerful is visual representation in altering our perceptions that Communist governments made sure that a television was in every house: if you control what people see, you control what they think. p0rnography conditions us to think that certain deviant practices are acceptable. This is unacceptable because our attitudes are only rightly formed by the Word of God.

    2. P0rn conditions us to be selfish lovers. This is one of the more immediately destructive tendencies of this genre of film. Everything about p0rnography, from the camera angles, to the music, to the rhythm of the actors – EVERYTHING – is designed to lead towards self-gratification without any particular concern for the pleasure of the partner. It is all about getting and never about giving. I’ve seen these effects manifested as guys in the barracks would seek to “act like” their favorite p0rn star. P0rn is a conduit for cheap thrills and quick release. If you let p0rnography influence you then you will become a selfish, sorry lover. And I mean that: you will be a sorry lover. Your main concern in the bedroom will be the gratification of yourself. You may be willing to try the same freakish antics necessarily employed by p0rn producers in order to keep things from getting boring, and you may even confuse these antics with being exciting. But it is all a smoke screen: those things are done because the partners do not have the innate concern or desire to please each other. They just want to get, and if that involves some freakish act, so be it.

    3. p0rnography leads us to believe that our sexuality belongs to ourselves, and that expressing it is a right. We think that the physical world exists for its own sake. But this is simply not true. The physical world is real and important, but there is a lot of typology and symbology at play in our world to point us to the things of God. Sex is one such thing. God gave us sex to depict the kind of closeness and compatibility that should exist between God and man, Christ and church, with both relationships existing in and by covenantal union. Thus, sex is only permissible within the covenantal relationship of marriage, which is itself a picture of God’s relationship with his people. Sex is like a living parable: when we engage in sex within a different context, we are creating a picture or image that stands in opposition to the one instituted by God. In short, when we engage in sex outside the covenantal relationship of marriage, we present a picture of a torn humanity seeking to replace closeness with God with the creativity of his own mind. This is why the language of Romans 1:24-26 is so shocking in the Greek: Paul is essentially saying that homosexuality is, itself, a judgment from God to depict in physical terms the spiritual counterfeit of mankind’s idolatry. But unnatural heterosexual relationships are just as vile in their depiction of man’s rebellion and defection from a right Creator/creature relationship with God. Contrary to the assumptions on which p0rn operates, sitting alone in one’s room attempting sexual self-gratification is not a legitimate venue for sexual expression because it does not convey the covenantal love and faithfulness of God towards his people. This is important because many of the folks who view p0rn would “never” (so they say) cheat on their spouse physically. But they think that indulging in self-gratification is permissible because, after all, they are not with another person… so (the argument goes) they are not being unfaithful. Hogwash! You are lusting after another woman which, according to Jesus is of the same essence as adultery. You who think that you’re being faithful even as you seek sexual arousal and gratification from thoughts or images of another woman: Jesus is saying that YOU are a faithless covenant breaker just as is the one who seeks such gratification with the woman herself. Your sexuality belongs to your wife. And only your wife. Your wife’s sexuality belongs to you. And only to you. You are not the legitimate master of your own sexuality... your spouse is! This informs the basis of Paul’s command that we not deny our spouse our bodies as well as the Old Testament injunction that a husband had a sexual obligation to his wife. Your body is not your own and you are not permitted to express sexuality in any context other than with your spouse because any other expression constitutes a depiction of idolatry, which is in fact an act of idolatry.

    4. P0rn encourages us to give in to our base passions. People like sex. I know I do! People like feeling the sensation of orgasm. I know I do! But the problem arises when they give in to these desires and seek to live them out like mindless beasts. Beasts follow their instincts, hormones, appetites, etc… without any rational thought or self restraint. This is why during the rut (mating season) deer are killed along the road with much greater frequency: they’re so worried about sowing their oats that they cast off the caution which normally governs their actions. Acting like animals is BAD because we are NOT animals. We were created in God’s image to govern this world. One of the chief tools God has given us by which we carry out our task is our MIND. It is our mind, not physical strength, agility, or prowess, which enables us to create things to survive and thrive. What p0rn does is make sexual gratification easy to attain. And mindless beasts are ensnared because they just want what comes easy. It conditions you to adopt a mindset of instant gratification and this spills over into other facets of life. You end up simply pursuing your own interests, your own good, because you’ve been conditioned to live like an animal. It happens all the time. People routinely lose their family because they get “addicted” to p0rn and this attitude of easy self-gratification spills over and they start using people for that end, stop serving others, etc… and pretty soon, they’ve pushed everyone away. Live like an animal and you’re good for little else than to be hunted and killed like one. You are not an animal, you’re a person. Be conformed to the will of God and bring your physical passions under control.

    5. P0rn entices us to seek to escape from reality. The world of p0rnography is pretend. We are invited to enter this fantasy world, if only for just a few minutes, to have a little fun and feel the titillating excitement of sex… all within the comfort of our own home. “Never mind your spouse,” it says, “you aren’t hurting her… and besides, these ladies look so good!” “When things get rough, come enjoy yourself… don’t worry about working through your problems… here… let me offer you a little diversion.” “Come here, good sir… your wife is a dud. She isn’t meeting your needs and she won’t change… so don’t mind her… just come to me and I’ll show you what you need…” Such are the alluring words of p0rn to the undiscerning. And once we give in, once we begin to follow our base passions and begin to think that we are the masters of our own sexuality, our problems mount and we continue to seek the escape. We eventually become trapped as we allow the sexual gratification we get from p0rn to become our anesthesia to help us avoid the stress and pain of our miserable existence. But reality doesn’t stop just because we try to escape it. Your problems will mount, your relationships will not heal themselves… you will eventually plunge headlong into the destruction that has caught hundreds of thousands of surprised men off guard. And you will weep for a chance to redo your life, but another chance won’t come. The escape that p0rn offers is a deadly lie. Eventually her warm soft embrace will become a stranglehold. Flee it at all cost!

    These five reasons alone should compel us to denounce p0rn in every possible venue – especially in our churches. But the chief reason p0rn must be repudiated, and why Christians must be warned, is because p0rnography is a violation of God’s holy law. By viewing it we violate the 7th Commandment, “Do not commit adultery” (because as we have seen, Jesus declares that the 7th Commandment rightly includes the internal acts of lusting as part and parcel of the physical act). Additionally, we violate the 10th Commandment in that we express dissatisfaction with our own life and circumstances while wishing to have another wife, life, or circumstance…

    Please do not presume upon the mercy of God. Do you really think that the Judge of the world is fooled when you say with your lips “Lord, I love you” but then willfully and unrepentantly continue to live as a pagan? Do you really think that you can turn God’s grace into license with impunity? God knows the difference between us saying “Please forgive me” and us meaning “Please forgive me.” The New Testament is replete with warnings to Christians – to members of the New Testament Church – of the judgment that will await them if they fall away. We are to pursue the holiness without which no one will see God. We are reminded of the horrible judgment that befell the Israelites after experiencing salvation from Egypt… We are warned of the wrath to be endured by the one who has “trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace.” After declaring the words of God that “Vengeance is mine,” the writer to the Hebrews declares: “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

    I beg you: for the good of your family… for the good of your life… for the good of your soul... repent of your desire for p0rn, flee it, turn to the cross and seek forgiveness. Trust in Christ alone for your standing before God, knowing that the Spirit we are given will change our desires and behavior to bring us into an ever increasing conformity with God’s will. God is good. He will do it.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2009
  2. Theognome

    Theognome Burrito Bill

    Who is your intended audience for this piece?

  3. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor


    Wait, where is the synopsis that I entered when I posted this??? It explains everything!!!

    -----Added 3/13/2009 at 11:23:39 EST-----

    Ok, I don't know what happened to the synopsis. I thought it would be viewable by all.

    This article was written in February 2007 while I was deployed. I had had had several p0rnography related counselings and was disgusted by the level of acceptability it had in the minds of my Soldiers. So I looked and discovered that the situation in our churches is almost as bad, yet relatively few people are speaking about it. So I felt compelled to write the article you see above.

    Now, over 2 years and 700+ p0rnography related counseling sessions later, I am more convinced than ever of it's destructive power and influence.
  4. Theognome

    Theognome Burrito Bill

    Then for me, it's not relevant. It describes a struggle- even before my Christian life, I never had.

    It is similar to my own style of writing- a sledgehammer approach, as I've heard it called. If indeed p0rn is as self-seeking as you emphatically claim, why not begin with some very specific if not graphic examples of the self destruction it causes? You gave some general examples in the last three points, but no 'case histories'. To me, a 'fear factor' article that doesn't begin with the fear impact falls rather flat.

  5. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    Good for you!

    Perhaps I posted this in the wrong place - I don't give a rip about suggestions on how to up the "scare factor." And if I want any suggestions at all, it would be from people who counsel on the topic on a regular basis - I've done over 700 in the past 2 years alone.

    I'm not trying to publish it. I don't want people to read it the way seminarians listen to sermons. If it needs to be moved to another forum, then would a moderator please do so?

    -----Added 3/13/2009 at 11:39:45 EST-----

    Thanks to the person who moved it!
  6. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I think this is a legitimate discussion and appreciate your work in it.
  7. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Brother, that's a frightening statistic - one every day on average for two straight years!
  8. Theognome

    Theognome Burrito Bill

    Ahh... we're in the family forum now. Kewl.

    I saw much of the same 'in the barracks' when I was in the Navy, and you're spot on- the attitude towards sexuality, marriage and self absorption is wicked and pervasive. I recall one time, as my ship pulled out from home port on WESTPAC, they announced below decks on the 1MC, 'Stow all wedding rings!' Ugh. I've seen many marriages crumble, relationships go sour and workplaces become very uncomfortable because of it.

  9. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    It is disgusting, isn't it.

    **** comes up just about every time I'm around Soldiers... and if I walk through the barracks??? Oh man... :barfy:
  10. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    This was a very good article and I think the wrath of God is fear factor least I hope it will be.
  11. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    Great article about p0rn, Ben. Your points are so true in my life. One of the things that the Lord saved me from was a p0rn addiction. It was one of the darkest, saddest, and evil periods of my life. From age 13 to 18 I viewed every sort of p0rnography whenever possible (most days), which destroyed my respect for females and turned them into objects; had me imagining very sinful and taboo sexual scenarios; turned my attitude toward sex into something so utterly evil when it should be one of true intimacy between a man and his bride; and the list could continue.

    During my testimony before being baptized about six months ago I wept because of what I had done and how p0rn damaged my walk with the Lord. It is not a small matter...
  12. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Good stuff, Ben.

    Thanks for the reminder that the perniciousness of sin lies not chiefly in its personal and social consequences (which are indeed dreadful), but in that it is an offense against our righteous God's law and against his sovereign majesty. We all need to have a "booster shot" of this reminder often in our world. I know I do.
  13. MrMerlin777

    MrMerlin777 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Don't know when you were in. But I'll tell you. It's no better in the last couple of years and even worse now that women are allowed on just about all sea going vessels except submarines.

    The Navy seems to think that just because they have all members aboard a given ship sign a "page 13" statement saying that they will not engage in sexual relationships aboard, that such things will not take place. I don't know how many marriages I've seen destroyed because an at sea tryst produced a "fan room baby".

    Most folks that I was aboard ship with saw no harm in p0rnography indulgence (the females included).
  14. asc

    asc Puritan Board Sophomore

    Is there any data out on how prevalent it is in evangelical or reformed churches?

    If it is such an epidemic, why aren't churches doing more? Mark Driscoll seems to get a lot of negative feedback from some conservative circles for his "frank" discussions. If every other man in the pew is addicted to p*rn, our churches have clearly failed and perhaps more "frank" discussions are needed.
  15. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    Todd Friel has a great sermon on this called "Slaying the Dragon". He offers many of them (to give out) for CHEAP at Wretched with Todd Friel
  16. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    Amen, Wayne.
  17. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    If my pastoral experience in this area can be used as a gauge. The level in evangelical or reformed churches is as high or higher than the number that Ben mentioned. You probably don't want to know how high it is among pastors and elders.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2009
  18. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Thank You for this Ben. As long as we afraid to speak about this in "polite company" it will never be solved in our churches.
  19. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    I've had a handful of counseling sessions in which the wife will be bawling her eyes out because her husband won't touch her, but she'll find him "doing his thing" with p0rn at 2:00am... and the guy will be sitting there with a totally apathetic look on his face and he'll say, "P0rn doesn't affect my life!" And I'll say, "You idiot, the effect is right here!"

    But I've also counseled a handful of couples in which they have two computers... one is for her "usage" and the other is for his. Nice.

    I think the difference between the military and civilian cultures manifest itself in this: It isn't publically paraded as "normal" in civilian culture... there's still a stigma associated with it. And so it isn't out in the open.

    Now, the danger that brings is that it can lull people into thinking that it isn't happening, or at least not happening in large numbers... and certainly NOT in my church, because I "know" these people... and they wouldn't do something like that!
  20. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    What is particularly evil is the way the internet furthers the spread. In my innocence, I thought all that stuff was locked up behind passwords and the need for credit card numbers. Turns out, they put just enough out there for "free" to get young guys hooked. This is so distressing to a mama with three boys. We've pretty much had to ban any internet use for our kids -- and that's a shame because there is good stuff out there, but the opportunity for evil is just too great.
  21. Hippo

    Hippo Puritan Board Junior

    This is a really serious and important subject, p0rn has been the commercial backbone of the development of the internet and you really cannot seperate the two.

    P0rn really damages everyone who comes into contact with it, the most vulnerable being young men where sexual attraction becomes divorced from a relationship and has its own independant existance. "Becoming one flesh" is so much more than sex.

    It is interesting though that one of the main drivers behind printing was also p0rnography, a history which is largely forgotten in this day and age and we have a rosy view of religion being the sole driver of the the printing revolution which is not really the case.
  22. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    This wouldn't shock me. Prn has addicting qualities but I think it is subconsciously rationalized as harmless. A run of the mill pagan might see prn as a something only a guy who can't have real sexual conquests and affairs would want and therefore the pagan would be too proud to consume prn. The Christian, sadly, often sees it the same way for different reasons. The Christian says to himself that it is not real and therefore not sinful.
  23. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    Thanks for that very important post, Pastor Duncan.

    By the grace of God I've never been involved in p***, but I have seen plenty of lives ruined by it, including a college roommate who claimed to be a Christian yet eventually fell into a homosexual lifestyle from which he contracted HIV, family members who got involved in drugs through it and eventually led to their divorce, and a PCA pastor who became involved in it, had an affair with his secretary, and of course ultimately led to his divorce and loss of his congregation. I'm sure everyone here could give their own examples.

    It is incredibly destructive, and while it is a very unpleasant topic, it must be addressed in the church, particularly if the stats that Pastors Underwood and Duncan cite are true.
  24. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    I'm going to start a separate thread in Apologetics re; something you said in the OP. Stay tuned...
  25. Theognome

    Theognome Burrito Bill

    I was in 20 years ago serving on destroyers, and the support ships (tenders and the like) had quite the reputation even then. There was a running 'joke' about the USS Jason that they went on deployment and came back with four more crew members than they left with.

    We once had a fire in one of the fan rooms along the aft stack when a huge pile of Hustler magazines ignited. It was claimed that stack ash set them off.

    Subic Bay was still a port of call and a large base back then, and the Philipino women who worked in Olongapo used the same techniques found in the magazines and X movies to lure sailors into marriage. The base had a legal department solely dedicated to trying to get sailors out of these marriages when they realized just what they had gotten themselves into. Once they married a hooker, her whole family became his responsibility under Philipino law- this was of course the intent for the woman all along. The streets of Olongapo were filled with 14 and 15 year old girls, sent there by their parents, to lure and marry a sailor so they could get their hands on his paycheck. And after two months in the fan room, many sailors gladly married such women, being promised a life of a living **** flick.

    Not all sailors were able to wrangle their way out of these marriages, but even the ones who did went right back to their vomit in the fan room.

  26. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    One other effect that it has (related to some of the things Ben has mentioned) is that it perpetuates the Hollywood lie that sex is something that gets boring after you've been with one person for a period of time. P0rn says that you have to move on to better things. My experience has been precisely the opposite. Within the bounds of marriage (and others have told me this as well), it gets better over time, not worse. I think Clark Gable once said (when asked what makes a good lover) that a good lover was someone who could make one woman happy for life. Kind of ironic, considering that he himself was a womanizer. But he at least knew the emptiness of the "greener grass" syndrome.
  27. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    My third point got a lot of people angry, because in it I implicitly address masturbation... I got a lot of people angry - even "good Christian" men - who see it as an almost "necessity" while deployed.

    Why do so few people talk about these things?
  28. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The p0rnography industry pollutes all. It's sad how much is in the Church. It is also sad to see 12 year old girls parade themselves off to school dressed like harlots would be 40 years ago because "it's in". I drive a school bus, and there is too much perverted talk between boys and girls in elementary school. Why are they knowledgeable ...... books & video, which also lead to experimentation.
  29. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    I think it is heartbreaking to see how our society has for girls equated beautiful = sexual, usually in its trashiest form. And the young women just don't see the lie they are being fed or how companies are making huge profits off of them.
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