There’s no doubt that the Bible – the Word of God – is uncompromising in condemning sexual sins:
- “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart”, declared the Lord Jesus Christ in His Sermon on the Mount.
- “Sexual immorality and all impurity…must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints”, writes the Apostle Paul to the church in the Greek city of Ephesus.
- “Beloved, I urge you…to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against you soul”, says the Apostle Peter – not speaking only of sexual sins, but surely regarding them as the most challenging “passions of the flesh.”
And we could expand the list over and over again – from both the Old and the New Testaments.
There’s equally no doubt, especially since the introduction of the internet in our national culture and in the world, that pornography – writing and pictures designed to arouse sexual desire – has become an epidemic. The statistics are simply (and painfully) staggering:
- Every second $3,075.24 is spent on internet pornography, 28,258 people are viewing pornography on the internet, and 372 people are typing “adult” search terms. That’s every second on the internet.
- Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is produced in the USA. And that’s just in the USA.
- While United States pornography revenues are difficult to calculate, we do know that the revenues from sexually explicit materials exceed the combined revenues of ABC, NBC, and CBS.
- There are 4.2 million pornographic websites – 12% of the total number of websites.
- 42.7% of internet users view pornography; and each day people send out over 2 ½ billion emails with pornographic content. 2 ½ billion -with a “b”.
- Nearly 48% of people in the United States say that pornography is a problem in their homes.
And, sadly, the statistics for pornography viewing by professing Christians appear to be pretty much the same as the statistics for pornography use among non-Christians. About 50% of church-going men admit to struggling with pornography or pornographic addiction.
Now, given these statistics – and there are so many more that just boggle the mind – we shouldn’t be surprised that people’s consciences regarding pornography are becoming dull – what the Bible calls “a seared conscience” or “hardness of heart”: A recent Gallup poll reveals that while 55% of Americans oppose pornography, 43% find it “morally acceptable” to look at pictures of nudity or other sexually explicit behavior. (That figure is up by 13% since 2011 – and by 7% since 2017).
And with this torrent of sexually explicit pictures, videos, and actual electronic interaction, comes the inevitable social consequences:
- The twisting of relationships of men and women – in the workplace, on the streets, and in the home.
- Viewing men and women in sexual terms (and often very lewd ones) rather than with respect for manhood and womanhood.
- Fantasies over “porn stars” replacing faithful intimacy with one’s spouse.
- The increasing violation of youthful innocence as “child pornography” breaks down the barriers against incest and rape.
But what’s often missed in the war against pornography is the fact that this is not just a man’s problem. Increasingly, pornography is becoming an addiction for women. Recent surveys indicate that over 9.3 million women access adult websites every month. According to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Research, 49% of young adult women agree that viewing pornography is “an acceptable way of expressing one’s sexuality.” One in seven teenage girls view online pornography for a half hour or more at a time. Another study indicates that 45% of 13 – 17-year-old girls “habitually and compulsively watch porn.” In a 2018 study, about 1/3 of women in the United States (32%) are OK with pornography – a 5% increase in just over a year. And 34% of church-going women say that have intentionally visited pornographic websites. Again, the statistics show are pretty much the same for professing Christians and for non-Christians.
Years ago, I wrote two articles on The Peril of Pornography. I was addressing men, with no idea that the peril was also for women. For that reason, today’s program is entitled The Perils of Pornography – perils for both men and women.
I’m thankful that Jamie Dean, National Editor for World Magazine, has drawn attention to the perils of pornography for women, in her article Lustful Eyes. Here’s how it begins:
Jessica Harris was 13 years old when her online research for a school project returned a handful of harmless science videos and one website that changed the course of her life; a link to hardcore pornography. Harris was shocked, but curious. “It was like watching a train wreck,” she says. “You know it’s bad, but you can’t look away.” The next time she went online, Harris knew how to find the site again, even though what she had seen was vile. “It was a war of emotions”, she says. Harris lost the war.
The “war of emotions” is “the perils of pornography”: Perils for men, but also for women.
That’s our topic for today’s Visit to the Pastor’s Study. My guest is Jamie Dean, the author of the article Lustful Eyes. She’ll tell us more about what she found as she did her research for this sobering article Jamie Dean – welcome to A Visit to the Pastor’s Study….
Here’s a link to the full program:
Yours in sin-conquering Savior,