Pornography (printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement) is a growing problem these days, exacerbated by the easy availability of porn videos via the Internet. Josh McDowell, a Christian author, says ‘The magnitude of porn in the world is beyond comprehension…The devastating impact of Internet pornography is a global phenomenon, and not one country or culture, or church in the world is isolated from its reach.’ (see here for more details.) The statistics regarding this industry (for the secular motivation behind pornography is often closely linked to its monetary value) are shocking: 6,311,390,400,000 porn videos watched per year, with 17,291,480,548 videos watched per day; one porn site reports 100 million pages viewed every day and the Huffington Post reports ‘porn sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.’ 24% of smartphone owners admit to having pornographic material on their mobile handsets and shockingly 9 out of 10 boys (and 6 0ut of 10 girls) are exposed to pornography before the age of 18, with 15% of boys and 9% of girls also having seen child pornography. It’s not surprising that young people consider it more ‘normal’ to send sexually explicit texts or photos via phones or that posting compromising photos and videos online is becoming an increasing problem.
Bishop Paul Laverde says ‘what was once the shameful and occasional vice of a few… has become the mainstream entertainment for the many.’ This is especially troublesome when we consider age, for whilst 88% of 18-24 year olds believe stealing is wrong and 71% think lying is wrong, only 32% believe pornography is wrong, with many believing recycling is ‘more immoral’ than pornography. Even more shocking is the fact that 22% of young adults believe porn is ‘good for society’.
Pornography is a perversion of the devil which rips sexuality from its relational context and presents human beings not as creatures made in God’s image but as sexual commodities – something to be bought and sold. Luke Gilkerson in ‘Your Brain on Porn’ says there are 5 main effects in individuals who habitually view pornography:
- Watching porn decreases sexual satisfaction because it trains us to desire the variety and ‘designer sex’ of porn more than the familiar sexuality of marriage
- Watching porn disconnects us from real relationships, training us to detach emotional involvement from sexual experience
- Watching porn lowers our view of women, training us to see women as sexual commodities
- Watching porn desensitises us to cruelty
- Watching porn is addictive, tapping into the neurocircuitry of our brains, maming us desire the rush of sexual energy from porn again and again
Clearly, pornography has harmful effects not only on individuals but also on families and on society. In 56% of divorce cases, one party having an obsessive interest in pornography websites was cited as contributing to the divorce; those who have committed adultery are 218% more likely to look at porn. The scale of the problem simply cannot be ignored.