The Depravities of Pornography - How Low Can We Go?
I was utterly grieved and horrified by a news story about 72 people being charged in an online child pornography ring, to which 600 men were subscribed. The details of the article that were reported was nauseating to say the least. How can we as a society look away from the suffering and pain of the those under the age of 12 children who were reportedly crying and in distress over what was being done to them.
I wanted to turn away and pretend that I hadn't just read what I did considering how repulsive it really was. But I don't think that burying ones head in the sand will be helpful to this issue simply because it is disturbing or uncomfortable. I hope all who read this article are so disturbed that they will be wanting first off to be helpful to those who have been victimized by such atrocities, and secondly set our hearts to prayer for societal justice against this darkness. If we continue to remain tolerant, or even worse, participants of this evil there is no telling what will happen to us as a nation, from a spiritual perspective considering we, the U.S., are one of the biggest exporters, participants and supporters of this variety of horrendous evil in the world.
As a culture I believe we have eaten the fruit of lies that convinced us that sexual pleasure is an entitlement at all costs and that it was strictly designed for our pleasure. I do believe that God designed marital sex to include the element of pleasure but it is not the main goal nor the purpose. When God's "purpose" is not known or worse disregarded there will always be misuse, abuse, and ultimately damage.
The three main purposes of sex, from a Biblical perspective, are for
- "Being fruitful and multiplying",
- the bonding of a man and woman in the covenant of marriage
- and most importantly as an image and example the intimate loving God that we serve.The God who doesn't use, abuse, manipulate, nor molest in any form.
We live in a world that has exalted sensual pleasure to the highest place at the physical and emotional expenses of the most vulnerable in our society.
One of our constitutional rights is the "pursuit of happiness", of which every American proudly entitles themselves to. My problem with this is what defines happiness? What if someones happiness is evil? What if someones happiness causes pain for another?
Erwin McManus in his book "Chasing Daylight" quotes
"Communal responsibility has become virtually extinct as we have championed personal choice."
My fear is that what, sometimes, makes us "happy" is inherently evil. When pursuing happiness becomes our mantra over moral goodness for all, everyone is going to get hurt. Some would be willing to admit that pornography isn't good but isn't hurting anyone but themselves.
Erwin McManus speaks again..
"We never have the luxury of hurting only ourselves. When we hurt ourselves others are always affected."
It is delusional for us to think that we can play with evil and not be touched by it nor spread it to others somehow, as if attitudes, thought patterns and behaviors could remain unaffected by what we choose to indulge in. Jesus made it abundantly clear that our private life was as much value to Him as our public one. In fact I believe that there is no way to truly separate the two. The one will always bleed into the other.
But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ~ Matthew 5:28
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:45
Was Jesus just trying to squelch everyone's "happiness"? On the contrary, His goal was to insure a genuine "happiness" that could only be found in being loyal to God and ones spouse.
There is another absurd argument that comes with pornography rights, and that it is the claim to "Freedom of Speech", which in this context is an invitation to madness and mayhem in a society. Was this really the intentions of our country's fore-fathers in adopting these philosophies and rights?
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! ~ Isaiah 5:20
Are these facts and stats to follow the rights we wish to preserve?
Gathered by Forerunner.com in an article titled "The Documented Effects of Pornography" By Editorial Staff and directed by Jay Rogers Published November 1991 (9)
The Effects of Pornography
- Psychologist Edward Donnerstein (University of Wisconsin) found that brief exposure to violent forms of pornography can lead to anti-social attitudes and behavior. Male viewers tend to be more aggressive towards women, less responsive to pain and suffering of rape victims, and more willing to accept various myths about rape.1
- Dr. Dolf Zimmerman and Dr. Jennings Bryant showed that continued exposure to pornography had serious adverse effects on beliefs about sexuality in general and on attitudes toward women in particular. They also found that pornography desensitizes people to rape as a criminal offense.2
- These researchers also found that massive exposure to pornography encourages a desire for increasingly deviant materials which involve violence, like sadomasochism and rape. 3
- Researcher Victor Cline (University of Utah) has documented in his research how men become addicted to pornographic materials, begin to desire more explicit or deviant material, and end up acting out what they have seen.5
- According to Charles Keating of Citizens for Decency Through Law, research reveals that 77 percent of child molesters of boys and 87 percent of child molesters of girls admitted imitating the sexual behavior they had seen modeled in pornography."
- Michigan state police detective Darrell Pope found that of the 38,000 sexual assault cases in Michigan (1956-1979), in 41 percent of the cases pornographic material was viewed just prior to or during the crime. This agrees with research done by psychotherapist David Scott who found that “half the rapists studied used pornography to arouse themselves immediately prior to seeking out a victim.”
- The Final Report of the 1986 Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography lists a full chapter of testimony (197-223) from victims whose assailants had previously viewed pornographic materials. The adverse effects range from physical harm (rape, torture, murder, sexually transmitted disease) to psychological harm (suicidal thoughts, fear, shame, nightmares).
Multiplied incidents like the above graphically illustrate how the $8 billion-per-year porn industry has carved inroads into American life
The Facts on Pornography
- Nearly 900 theaters show X-rated films and more than 15,000 “adult” bookstores and video stores offer pornographic material, outnumbering McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. by a margin of at least three to one.
- Each year, nearly 100 full-length pornographic films provide estimated annual box office sales of $50 million.
- Approximately 70% of the pornographic magazines sold eventually end up in the hands of minors.
- About 1.2 million children are annually exploited through child pornography and prostitution.7"
- According to Laurie Hall in her book "Affair of the mind chronicles that Alaska and Nevada have the highest rape rates and highest pornography readership rates and states that had the lowest readership of pornographic material had the lowest rates. These stats were noted in a study done by two University of New Hampshire sociologists, Murray Straus and Larry Barron.
In an article by the Boston AP it was reported that they put a ban on dirty magazines in their prisons because they feared that this type of material would make the inmates more likely to engage in sexually inappropriate behavior around staff and made it difficult to treat prisoners convicted of sex crimes. I think it is very obvious that pornography plays a major role in sex crimes and behavior.
According to Kyle Idleman in his book "gods at war"
"sex logged 338 million internet searches per month, porn 277 million"
"More money is spent on pornography in this country every year than on rock music, country music, jazz, and classical music put together. More money is spent on pornography than pro-baseball, basketball, and football combined. In 2012 it grossed more than ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX combined."
Could we say collectively speaking that our nation, Christians included, are putting our money where our heart is?
Personal pleasure is an idol to which sacrificial altars are built. Power is granted to whatever it is we sacrifice to, whether for good or for evil. When one indulges in this form of self pleasure, sacrifices will be made.
Ones own soul is what is laid on the altar. Thoughts, emotions, and behaviors will now be dictated by this idol. Next, valuable relationships get put on the altar because they get in the way of "personal pleasure." everything follows after that money, time, and reputation. All are risked for the sake of personal pleasure. The word idol in Hebrew means nothing, empty, vain, pointless. When sexual desire sits on the throne "nothing" and "emptiness" will fill the halls of the "personal pleasure" kingdom.
Many will argue that not everyone who is entertained by pornography will behave this way and or commit a sex crime, but as Ted Bundy, the serial killer, who was quoted saying to James Dobson in an interview, are we willing as society to take that chance that anyone would be affected in this way. And just because there is no crime committed according to the laws of our land does not mean that the attitudes and behaviors produced by this addiction aren't negatively affecting families in deep and profound ways.
The worst part of this whole topic is the denial of it's effects and consequences. We can talk about the horrendous sex crimes that are committed but what about the wife that lies in bed at night wondering why she feels less than, and most certainly feels more used than loved. What about the child who stumbled upon the magazines and movies and is now behaving promiscuously because of them and whose sexuality is now a confusing mix of physical pleasantry and shameful emotions that they will carry into their future relationships. Is personal pleasure really worth damaging what are supposed to be the most valuable and precious people in the world to us?
A quote from Laurie Hall's book "Affair of the Mind"
"We'd like to believe that pornography is strictly an intellectual activity, that it has no behavioral repercussions or emotional implications. We have been told that it's a matter of free speech. We've been told that it is a "victimless" crime because we can't see any immediate victim. There is no empty shelf to show us what had been robbed. There is no pile of wreckage that can be parked outside the local high school to warn others of the consequences of dangerous activities.
Though there is no smoking gun, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence that a death has taken place. Those who want to believe pornography is a First Amendment right won't talk about the silent devastation that occurs in the hearts of men, and women, and children when someone in their family adopts the Playboy philosophy of disposable relationships. They just argue that pornography is "free speech" and try to persuade you that it has no effect other than the brief thrill of the moment. they want you to think that pornography is but a moment of time in an otherwise productive life.
They don't want you to know that the images of, and experience produced by pornography are permanently burned into their mind by a curious mixture of hormones that are released when sexually explicit materials are viewed. They don't want you to know that this mix of hormones becomes more potent when the sex portrayed involves violence or fear. They especially don't want you to know that as a result of this "imprinting" process, sex for you will now be linked with fear, violence, and shame...
...Would it surprise you to know that the ancient Hebrews believed that wisdom is closely related to the things we look at? The Hebrew word for wise --sakal-- gives us the understanding that the things we look at and think about affect our ability to be intelligent and prudent. Because of this, what we take in through our eyes is extremely important.
The eye is the window to the soul. Satan knew this, and because he desired access to their souls, he used Adam's and Eve's eyes when he tempted them to eat the forbidden fruit. First Satan told Adam and Eve that having this wisdom would somehow affect their eyes, "for God knows that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:5 KJV emphasis added). Then, "the woman saw that the tree was good" (Gen 3:6 KJV emphasis added). Finally, immediately after they ate the fruit, "their eyes were opened, and they knew they were naked...and Adam and his wife hid themselves" (Gen. 3:7-8, KJV).
Opening our eyes to evil has relational consequences. Once their minds were awakened to evil, Adam and Eve immediately saw their nakedness in a new light. Where moments before they had viewed their bodies with no shame, suddenly they felt so much shame that they hid themselves, from each other, and from God. by focusing the soul on nakedness in a way that produces shame and isolation from self, from others, and from God, looking at evil destroys both freedom (the ability to know oneself) and intimacy (the ability to share oneself with others)." (end of quote) (Laurie can be reached at email@example.com)
below is an interview with Ted Bundy by James Dobson prior to his execution for the serial rape and murder of several young women. It is a riveting interview and it exposes the depths and dangers of pornography. Ted explains how he grew up in a fairly normal Christian home and was exposed to porn as a teen. He described how he became addicted to it until he would get bored with the same stuff and would step up to more violent material until that no longer satisfied and he finally began to act on what he had seen. He recounted that other than these crimes he was an average guy. None of Ted's co-workers had any idea that he was a serial killer.
Most have called this sin a private matter but we can see it is not private when it bleeds into the utter destruction of the most innocent and vulnerable in our society not to mention the private pain of many families influenced and tainted by the attitudes and disrespect it endorses.
On a personal note if you are thinking that this issue is an isolated one or of minimal impact I can guarantee you that this problem is pervasive and of epidemic proportions. I would love to share some personal stories but cannot do so without offense to the victims of these stories. But I can tell you for sure that a good 90% of the people I know, including myself, have either been victims of sexual abuse or exposed to sexuality at very young ages via pornography and others who behave on their pornographic influences and have been deeply affected in one way shape or form by it.
Also if you think this is crime that is predominantly secular it is not. Christians are just as problematic as the general population.
We delude ourselves as a culture to consider it harmless or even worse to exclude ourselves from the equation that each one of us carries the potential for horrendous sin and harm when we subject ourselves to evil of any form. We are always looking for the monster but the monster is us. I can only hope that if you are one who has succumbed to the evils of pornography that you would read the article and care about what it is doing to yourself and those around you.
Another great read of the suspect effects of porn on our culture as a whole can be found at
.http://gu.com/p/2t4j9 titled "The Truth about Porn" by Julie Bindel. She references Gail Dines an Anti-Pornography campaigner. This article is explicit in it's descriptions and most disturbingly offers stats on child porn and what that obviously leads to.
"An Affair of the Mind" by Laurie Hall by Focus on the Family Publishing 1996 available at Amazon.com (Laurie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
1 Pornography and Violence Against Women, 1980.
2 “Pornography, Sexual Callousness, and the Trivialization of Rape,” Journal of Communication, 1982.
3 “The Effect of Erotica Featuring Sadomasochism and Bestiality of Motivated Inter-Male Aggressions,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 1981. 4 Rape and Marriage, 1982.
5 “Where Do You Draw the Line?” 1974.
6 “Legitimate Violence and Rape: A Test of the Cultural Spillover Theory,” 1985.
7 Henry Boatwright, Chairman of the U.S. Advisory Board of Social Concerns.
8 Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus copyright 2002 Nelson Books Publising.
A Portion of James Dobson's interview with Ted Bundy
© 2011 Tamarajo