NOTE: Due to the nature of this article, some descriptive language has been used. Read at your own discretion.
It is very important for us to note at the outset of this study that pornography is not a new problem. We in our western culture have the idea that the perversion of sexuality (including pornography) exploded in the 1960’s during the sexual revolution. While it is certainly true that the ideas of Alfred Kinsey (known as the father of the sexual revolution) had many damaging effects on our culture, we deceive ourselves if we believe that this problem has only been around for the last 55 years1.
In reality, our tendency as fallen human beings is to pervert and distort the good gifts that God has given us. In the past these perversions took on different forms. For example, ancient Greece had public displays of sexual intercourse, as well as endless erotic paintings and statues2. However, I think I can safely say that very little has changed since then except that, in our culture, you don’t even have to leave the couch for such an encounter.
The word ‘pornography’ is derived from the Greek word ‘porneia,’ which can be translated ‘fornication’ or, in some cases, ‘idolatry’3. This neatly sums up the essence of pornography. The message that pornographers send is that of pursuing your own pleasure regardless of the ethical, spiritual, or physical cost, and the culture has received this hedonistic message with open arms. This is why pornography is no longer seen as a problem; it has become the norm in our generation. But what is the cost of this normality?
A Form of Addiction
Something the porn industry will not tell you is that pornography physically changes the brain. Like any other addictive drug, pornography floods the brain with dopamine. This causes the brain to become overwhelmed by the constant overload of chemicals that come with regular porn use, resulting in the brain removing some of its dopamine receptacles. Therefore, the more someone views porn, the less they will feel its effects.
This is why so many people become enslaved to porn and begin to seek out harder and more perverted forms of pornography in an attempt to bring back the thrills they felt in the beginning4. This is how the Ted Bundys in our world come into existence.
Ted Bundy is known for his life as a serial killer and rapist.5 He was convicted of 30 homicides between 1974-1978 and was later given the death sentence in Florida. In 1989, just before his execution, Bundy granted an interview to Dr. James Dobson. In this interview Bundy pointed to pornography as being the door that led him to the life he lived6.
Although this is an extreme case, we should not take Bundy’s words lightly. Pornography can have devastating physical consequences that end up destroying both the life of the user and the lives of others. The physical reasons alone should be more than enough to dissuade us from even having the desire to view pornography, but the flesh dies hard. So let us turn our attention to the far greater reason why we must avoid pornography.
Lust at the Root
As Christians we should always be quick to see what Scripture has to say about any given issue in life. Pornography should not be an exception to this rule even though the Bible does not use the word pornography. However, it does have much to say about lust, fornication, and adultery, which is exactly what pornography promotes.
At this point most would expect a quick look at Matthew 5:27-30, which states that looking at someone with lustful intent is a sin. This would certainly be an appropriate route to take, however, I think we sometimes miss the seriousness with which God views this sin. Let’s look instead at 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Here the Apostle Paul gives a very straightforward list of things that cannot be consistent character traits of a true Christian, and it is probably no mistake that sexual immorality is found at the top of the list. The meaning here is just as clear for us today as it was for the Corinthians over a thousand years ago. If someone exhibits a consistent lifestyle of sexual immorality, they will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Or, to put it simply, they are going to hell.
This should be very sobering considering the fact that surveys show 29% of professing Christian men view pornography on a daily basis7, 8, 9, 10. We are not talking about secular culture; we are talking about our brothers, our fathers, and perhaps even our pastors.
Based on past trends, pornography is not a dying animal, rather it is a beast that grows with every passing year. This is the reality we live in, and we must recognize that we cannot win the battle over pornography on our own. We are weak, fallen human beings that are constantly in need of the work of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin.
If You Struggle
So to those who do not struggle with pornography: praise the Lord, and pray that God would keep you pure. To those who are struggling I urge you also to pray that God would free you from this bond of sinfulness, seek counsel and accountability from older, mature Christians that you can trust, and above all look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our salvation (Heb. 12:2).
Jesus endured the harshest human temptations and remained strong to the death, because he knew that the joys of heaven were of far more value than the fleeting pleasures of this world. We as Christians have that same joy to look forward to; if we are found in Christ we will enjoy an eternity with the supreme value and beauty of the universe, namely God himself.
However, if we go on deliberately sinning all we have to look forward to is “a fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire” (Heb. 10:26-27). In a weak moment the naked people on the screen or in the magazine may look hot, but believe me, hell is a lot hotter11. May God give us grace to live a life of purity both inwardly and outwardly.
|Eddie Kinsinger and his wife, Stephanie, are currently living in Elnora, Indiana. He runs a small online business and is enrolled in a pastoral apprenticeship program under the direction of Truth and Grace Mennonite Church. He enjoys sugar, with a small drop of coffee as a garnish, and is greatly annoyed when forced to write a bio–in the third person. He enjoys reading and good conversations with friends.
Want help? Check out these videos from Pure Life Ministries.
- Gallagher, Steve. How America Lost Her Innocence: A History of the Sexual Revolution. Dry Ridge, KY: Pure Life Ministries, 2005. Print.
- “The Truth about Sex in Ancient Greece.” The Conversation. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
- “Strong’s Greek: 4202. πορνεία (porneia) — Fornication.” Strong’s Greek: 4202. πορνεία (porneia) — Fornication. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
- “Porn Changes the Brain.” Fight the New Drug. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
- “Ted Bundy.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
- Triplexchurch. “Ted Bundy’s Last Interview.” YouTube. YouTube, 28 May 2008. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
- Somers, Meredith. “More than Half of Christian Men Admit to Watching Pornography.” Washington Times. The Washington Times, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
- “Covenant Eyes.” Porn Stats. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
- Driscoll, Mark. Porn-again Christian: A Frank Discussion on Pornography & Masturbation. Bellevue, Wash.?: Relit.org, 2009. Print.
- Shapiro, Ben. Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub., 2005. Print.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (ESV), Containing the Old and New Testaments. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011. Print.