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The Ugliness of Pornography
by Jack Wellman
2011-02-03 07:01:06
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Shocking as it is, pornography destroys marriages, relationships, martial relations, defiles men and women and profanes what is designed to be sacred.  If you think this problem is in the world alone, think again.  It is systemic in the churches.  Even more saddening, saddening to me since I am a pastor is the percentage of pastors that are addicted to this.

I have held pastoral counseling with men who battle this beast of the mind and it is a stronghold indeed.  It is one of the most difficult things to overcome because it is a battle of the mind.  The internet makes is so easily accessible and invisible; to family and friends.  A 2000 survey of Promise Keepers found that 53% of men are addicted to pornography.  This means that there are likely several men who are battling with pornography in the local churches.  Even pastors struggle with this as over one in three (37%) have or continue to be involved with pornography, almost all of which comes over the internet.  One recent poll shows that 51% of all ministers admit to having at least occasionally looked at pornography on the net.

Even worse, there are over 100,000 sites that have child pornography and the victims here are children.  A 2003 Focus on the Family poll 47 percent of respondents said porn is a problem in their home.  Lest we think it is a men-only problem, in the last year there was a 33% increase in women’s use of pornography.

In one Journalism class I took, the professor told me to never write about a problem without offering a solution.  The solution to this endemic could be to take the extreme steps of having a spouse or friend install a filter that is password protected; maybe even pulling the plug on the internet.  This type of addiction can only be overcome by the power of God through the Holy Spirit and by prayer.  Seeking a Christian counselor is certainly beneficial. 

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Edna2011-02-03 17:50:19
I think one reason why it is so easy to become addicted to pornography is because people don't really understand why or how it might be dangerous. There definitely needs to be more conversation about what pornography actually does to us as a society. In the US society is seeped with pornographic imagery that is very normalized, male sexuality and human sexuality needs to addressed head on, pornography thusly being shown to be a mutation of what might be normalized as desire, rather than a reflection of what normal desire might look like when engaged between consenting adults. I think a question around pornographic consumption that stands unanswered is why? what are pastors and general people getting out of using pornography? what need is being met? and in answering that question maybe we can find a lack in daily life. Or have a chance to work with the internal and unexplored values of a given individual who might be addicted to pornography.

I think that type of inquiry is much more challenging and lucrative than disconneting the internet. Pornography itself preys on and feeds into power memes that operate along patriarchly lines, and play into fantasies of materialism and power. I am not surprised that people who hold a sea of power like being the spiritual leader of a church, would be drawn to a type of media that depicts the use of power as erotic, stimulating, exciting, and supremely masculine.

Outside of being a detriment to the healthy growth of interpersonal relationships, pornography highjacks the consumers sense of personhood on a deep and intimate level. Pornography actively invades our fantasy life, and self identity as sexual beings. We move from being dynamic and unique beings, to being flat and automate characters in the play that is sex. Of course this kills relationships, we fall in love with the person, we attempt to forge an authentic connection. Pornography impedes that effort, making it impossible in some cases for the individual to self identify, thus making it equally difficult for one to genuinely interact or connect with another. We get sold the fantasy of an ideal lover in pornography, yet through buying into this we bankrupt the possibility of being able to build a truly fulfilling, life giving, expansive, wonderful, turbulent, and not fit for cameras type of love that we crave deep in our spirits. Real sex is gross, fake sex is glamorized.

Emanuel Paparella2011-02-03 22:03:24
I suppose we can trace it all back to Hugh Hefner’s “sexual liberation” trend of the 60s but in reality that kind of liberation is the other face of American Puritanism. The Puritan says: sex is bad, a necessary evil, bad for your soul. The Playboy says: sex is good for my psyche; the more the better. Both reduce sex to a mere hygienic function and lose sight of the deep interpersonal relationship that the sexual act implied as is mentioned in the above comment. When Hefner was challenged by a feminist interlocutor to the effect that his magazine promoted the exploitation of women he defended his exploitative enterprise by calling it an aesthetic experience shared with the reader. What an evasion that is! When challenged by a feminist to place his nude body in the centerfold as an aesthetic experience he declined and continued laughing all the way to the bank. He is still laughing, and women are still being exploited in his magazine, as much by its philosophy of exploitation of women as by the naked bodies in the centerfold of Playboy.

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