Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Porn: A Wake-Up Call

The church had better wake up.  In last year's post on this topic, I noted:
This sin is not going away. In fact, this year someone is making $100 billion by victimizing 30,000 of us every second and terrorizing its employees. They will make more next year. Who's stopping them? Virtually nobody. 
I should caveat that there is a nascent movement pushing back against the porn industry. I was encouraged to see the influential nonprofit TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) highlight the rapidly growing evidence that porn effectively rewires the user's brain in harmful ways during a Glasgow conference last year.  It's worth watching in full:

By directly addressing this metastasizing cancer, TED joins secular social media campaigns such as Pornography Harms and Fight the New Drug in a small but growing counterattack on the porn behemoth.  More is needed, and the church needs to step up to the challenge.  Playing defense on this issue is a loser.  We need to go on the offensive, starting by talking openly and often about this problem.

The Beverly LaHaye Institute helps by compiling a list of 10 facts we need to know and talk about (from the report, 10 Harms of Pornography):

  • Pornography is addictive - The anatomy and physiology of the brain changes, and those who watch pornography crave more.
  • Pornography warps perceptions - Viewers of pornography think violence and degradation are normal and enjoyable
  • Pornography harms children - Not only are children viewing pornography, but some are victims of child rapists and pornographers because of it
  • Pornography is increasingly violent and degrading - Pornography desensitizes viewers, leading them to seek more violent and degrading images
  • Pornography ruins marriages - Using pornography is a pathway to infidelity and divorce.
  • Pornography use can lead to impotency - Pornography addicts can suffer loss of libido, impotence, and ability to perform with real women.
  • Pornography objectifies women - Surgically and digitally enhanced women are the norm in pornography. 
  • The use of pornography leads to aggressive behavior - Viewers of violent pornography believe women enjoy rape and other deviant behaviors, leading to acts of sexual aggression, violence, and controlling behaviors.
  • Pornography is linked to sex trafficking - Victims are forced to appear in pornography, and traffickers use pornography to train sex slaves, including children who will be used for child pornography.
  • Pornography is not protected free speech - “This much has been categorically settled by the Court, that obscene material is unprotected by the First Amendment,” Miller v. California (1973).
For the church I add this:

Can there be any doubt that we are already seriously infected? Our kids, our men, more women than we think, and yes ... our pastors and leaders are increasingly falling prey to this extremely aggressive and calculating industry.  This sin is so very deadly because the Internet has made it so accessible and anonymous--all you need is a computer, a tablet, even a smartphone (still think your kid's not exposed?).

The result is that suffering from porn addiction in shameful silence is the norm.  Embarrassment is a satanic tactic to keep us cravenly addicted and quiet.  Unless the church talks frankly and openly about this, it will only get worse.  We simply must create an environment of clear, bold teaching and safe places for our people to come forward, confess, repent, and be restored.