The Moral & Spiritual Dangers of Pornography
A damaging and destructive vice that has been around since ancient times is now permeating the most advanced technological communication method of our day - the Internet. Pornography is no longer confined to specific businesses and neighborhoods. It is available now more than ever - and it is often just one mouse-click away. There are those who argue, "Isn't pornography a victimless crime which should be protected as a right of the person who wishes to view it?" But the real question is this: "Is pornography really a victimless crime?"
In May, 1985, at the request of President Reagan, then Attorney General Edwin Meese, appointed a commission to investigate the issues concerning pornography. Specifically, their task was to "determine the nature, extent, and impact on society of pornography in the United States, and to make specific recommendations to the Attorney General concerning more effective ways in which the spread of pornography could be contained, consistent with Constitutional guarantees." There was an earlier commission in 1970 that undertook a similar task, but their findings were very different. The 1970 commission, called the Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, declared pornography "therapeutic" and recommended the repeal of obscenity laws.
The Meese Commission issued their report in 1986 and in their findings linked pornography with organized crime, sexual violence and degradation, civil injustice, and other societal harms. The commission strongly recommended that laws against pornography and obscenity should be strengthened and enforced.
The truth is pornography does have victims. Its victims are families, the core unit of our society. Pornography does not discriminate on the basis of sex, age, race, or religion. It attacks homes and it destroys marriages. In the lives of single individuals pornography even sets them up for failure in a future marriage by creating unreal expectations that will make developing a good marriage impossible. Edwin Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation, has stated that, according to statistics, "Addiction to Internet pornography is being cited in an increasing number of divorce cases." (1)
THE REAL ISSUES OF PORNOGRAPHY
An often run TV ad has stated that "a mind is a terrible thing to waste." That thought should captivate us all, for it is true. The Bible speaks often about the importance of the mind and the need to guard it. The thing about pornography is that it distorts the thinking of a person to the point that they begin to see their world differently. One of the most important statements regarding the mind is found in Proverbs 23:7 where Solomon says, "For as a man thinks within himself, so he is." (2) The truth is, what you let your mind dwell upon is what you become. That is why the Apostle Paul told us in Philippians 4:8 - "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Paul's words explicitly state that our mind should think on, indeed dwell on, things that will have a positive influence on us. The obvious implications of Paul's words are that we are not to dwell on things that will have a negative influence on our lives; and, pornography is one of the most negative things for men or women to indulge in. If one thinks that pornography is a harmless indulgence they are wrong. It will influence how one views the world. Indeed, it will shape one's worldview - But not in a Biblical and godly manner.
Images leave a strong and lasting message in our minds. Images are not easily erased and often surface at the most inopportune times. One of Satan's greatest tools against us is our inability to completely erase that which has entered our minds through our senses, whether visual or auditory, but especially visual. Jesus spoke of this power of thought through vision when He said in Matthew 5:28, "I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Our thoughts can be a powerful weapon in the hands of Satan if they are not controlled by what is entering our mind from the beginning.
WHY IS MAN SO SUSCEPTIBLE TO PORNOGRAPHY?
Is it pornography that distorts the mind or is it a distorted mind that seeks the pornography? Paul shows in Romans chapter 1 that man's mind has been greatly affected by the fall of the human race into sin in the Garden of Eden. In Romans 1:21 and 28 he says, "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened . . . And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper." When our mind is not focused on God and His truth we are susceptible to our most base and fallen nature. Once we give in to this lower nature then our minds go spiraling into deeper sin and disobedience.
It does seem that there is a lot more pornography available today than in the past. In fact there was a time when a person had to seek it out if he wanted to possess it. Today, however, with the Internet, pornography is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The challenge becomes figuring out how to avoid the online barrage of unsolicited e-mails or bogus websites that re-direct you to a porn site. Even filters that are put in place give no guarantee that you, or your children, won't occasionally be the recipients of unsolicited pornography.
VIRTUAL PORN IS REAL PORN
In recent weeks the U.S. Supreme Court missed the mark when it declared that the virtual porn law passed by Congress was unconstitutional, since it did not use "real" children for the pictures and therefore it was not controllable. Those in our society who are attracted to pornography that involves children are not concerned with whether the pictures are real or virtual. They portray the image that they are seeking. So whether they are actual pictures of real children, or computer-generated morphing, creating sexual images of kids with the help of high tech editing, the result is still the same: Pornographic pictures for a disturbed mind to dwell on and later perhaps act out on real children are harmful to society and individuals.
It is important that we act, and act quickly, to protect our children from exploitation and the danger that is posed by pornography. That is why we must pursue comprehensive legislation like the Child Obscenity and Pornography Prevention Act of 2002 (HR 4623). It is both culturally and biblically sound that our children and our society be protected from the product and the results of pornography.
Senior Policy Analyst for
Cultural & Worldview Studies
1. Edwin Feulner, The Naked Truth - Heritage Commentary 2002, The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.
2. All scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible.