September 9 – Our Families: Pornography

The secret pandemic of porn.

Vital Sign Religious Freedom

Pornography in America is big business. According to a July 2022 report from The Recovery Village, around 35 percent of all internet downloads are pornographic. The internet is, of course, not the only source of pornography on the market. A study several years ago found about 84 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 49 had watched pornographic films, either rented or on television. Another 82 percent had viewed pornographic magazines. 

But the secret pandemic of porn does not exempt the Christian world. The Barna Group discovered there was virtually no difference in the monthly porn use of non-Christian men (65 percent) versus Christian men (64 percent). Porn consumption is even greater among the younger Christian generation. 

In 2019, 1,300 practicing Christian college students from thirty different campuses across the country were surveyed by The Freedom Fight. Many of the men and women surveyed were involved in or even leading campus ministries, and considered their faith in Jesus very important to them. The results showed that 89 percent of Christian men surveyed admitted to watching porn occasionally. Twenty-four percent watched daily or multiple times daily, 61 percent said they watched weekly, and 51 percent of men said they felt they might be addicted to pornography. 

That survey found that Christian men were not alone in watching porn. Fifty-one percent of the women said they were occasional porn watchers, and 70 percent admitted to watching porn or “hooking up“ for sex in the preceding 12 months. These and others in the Christian community like them are tomorrow’s church leaders, husbands, wives, parents, and teachers. 

An article from Focus on the Family says that more than 70 percent of Christian men admit to watching porn. 

Time spent at home during the COVID pandemic has led some to speculate that the use of pornography greatly increased over the course of the pandemic, and that problematic use might also increase. But data collected during the course of the shutdown subsequently found a 14 percent reported increase in consumption, and that it has declined since August 2020 to pre-pandemic levels.

Most people who view porn are not classifiable as addicted. Addiction is considered to occur when individuals cannot control their impulse to view porn to the extent that it begins to negatively affect aspects of their lives.  

There are identifiable dangers of watching porn, and they are very real. Besides having a deleterious impact on one’s relationship with the Lord and damaging the soul, scientists are now seeing that there are deep detrimental effects of pornography on the brain. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation in an article in 2019 says, “Research has shown that pornography use is correlated with physical changes in the brain. The visual stimulus of pornography hijacks the brain’s reward system and overwhelms it with unnatural prolonged dopamine levels. The result is the brain physically deteriorating in shape, size, and chemical balance.”  

They report that changes in the brain from pornography “correspond with changes in our mood, personality, and the way we treat others. When we damage our brain, it damages us.” 

Society also is not immune to the effects of pornography. Porn hurts adults, children, couples, families, and society at large. Among adolescents, pornography hinders the development of a healthy sexuality and, among adults, it distorts sexual attitudes and social realities. In families, the use of pornography leads to marital dissatisfaction, infidelity, separation, affairs, and divorce. Child sex offenders are often involved not only in the viewing but also in the distribution of pornography. 

When it comes to government intervention, most pornography issues are found in the courts charged with protecting innocent citizens, especially children and adolescents, and protecting the sound functioning of the basic institutions of family, church, school, marketplace, and government itself. When it comes to court cases, in a 2002 case, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of using “community standards” to determine what sexually explicit material is harmful to minors. However, the “community standards“ test is a low threshold in a nation where 43 percent of Americans believe pornography is “morally acceptable.”

The apostle Peter says that fleshly passions wage war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11). The writer of Hebrews says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (13:4). 

How then should we pray? 

  • For the American public to come to a realization of the harm of pornography.
  • For men and women in this nation to awaken to the insidious nature of the consumption of porn. 
  • That those who use porn and need assistance to be released would seek professional help and godly counseling. 
  • For U.S. pastors and Christian leaders to seek the heart of God and His truth regarding their intimate lives.
  • For those who capitalize on the perpetuation of this damaging business to have a conversion experience and repent.
  • For a societal shift that recognizes the devastation of pornography and a corresponding adjustment in “community standards” away from its acceptance. 

See previous Pray 7 daily featured readings.

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