“I know it when I see it.”
Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart.
When it comes to pornography, do we? Chances are if asked to define what we consider to be pornographic, we would each have similar but different answers. That is the very reason why pornography is such a problem today.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5: 27-28 (NIV).
It’s easy to define it as “XXX” movies or magazines but much more difficult when it comes to watching television or surfing the net. It is such a sensitive subject that even followers of Christ can get sideways with each other. I may consider a certain television show appropriate and you might believe that it’s offensive and vice versa. So we take the all too common human course of avoiding the subject. We all know that is the best way to handle things (sic).
That attitude is having a dramatic effect on society and specifically on our children. The Barna Group has published “Porn in the Digital Age: New Research Reveals 10 Trends.”
Here are just a few of the eye opening highlights:
One out of two adults (age 25+) believe that viewing porn is wrong, while only one out of three young people view it as wrong. More surprising, and disappointing, is that only 1 in 10 teens and just 1 in 20 young adults says their friends think viewing pornography is a bad thing.
This is the reason that hamburger and drain cleaner commercials have become “soft core” porn. I’m old enough to remember that it used to be the jingle that made the commercial successful. How many of us can remember the jingles for Roto-Rooter, Alka-Seltzer, Oscar Meyer Bologna, and on and on. Today it’s all visual and unfortunately mostly pornographic.
Teens and Young Adults think that not recycling, overeating and the significant consumption of electricity and water are more immoral than viewing porn.
Good gracious. This is difficult for me to wrap my mind around. If this isn’t a wakeup call for followers of Christ to begin to at least pray about dealing with this issue, we will wake up one day living in a world where teens and young adults think reading the Bible is more offensive than viewing porn. Or have we already? So if I see a commercial with a scantily clad young women, eating a gargantuan bacon cheeseburger while running all the lights, faucets and appliances in her house and at the same time throwing her plastic bottles and newspapers in the trash, the offensive part wouldn’t be the nudity?
Finally, 9% of all respondents and 16% of practicing Christians said they have tried to stop using porn or have been unable to (or started again). Also, 9% of all respondents and 19% of practicing Christians are currently trying to stop using porn.
Which means the vast majority aren’t trying to stop, at all.
There is more information in the study and I recommend reading it when you have time. If you don’t think this is a problem, well my friend you are wrong. If you are the father of a daughter, tell me that this doesn’t concern you about the potential young men your daughter could be dating? If you are the father of a son, does it not concern you what your son could think about or expect from the potential young lady he wants to date?
“Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.” Proverbs 6: 25-26 (NIV).
Having been given the opportunity to be a father to both, I realize how I have failed in not only protecting them from porn but in also preparing them to protect themselves.
As I write this, I went to the Fox News website. In just looking at the titles on the first part of the site it primarily had stories dealing with politics and crime but included at least three stories that were sexual in content and had nothing to do with news. And this is a news site, there is no telling what some of the other sites look like.
You can just hear the worlds as well as the Cultural Christians response of “You can’t judge.” After all, one man’s hardcore porn is another man’s Little House on the Prairie.
Sex sells. It’s our fault. If we want this to change it has to start with being honest and confronting the porn and sin in our lives. Or we can just sit on our hands and continue to ignore the 500 pound nude elephant in the room. Maybe we should at least be honest and just join the crowd. Instead of having a bunch of old men take up the offering during worship, maybe we should use bikini models instead. We would probably have more money than the church would know what to do with.
Now I know that last statement might offend some of you. Why? Why are we offended that the thought of bikini models taking up the offering in church is offensive but letting those images into our lives when we aren’t at church is acceptable? Shouldn’t we be the same no matter where we are? Aren’t we the church and not the building?
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Ephesians 5:3 (NIV).
Before his death, Justice Stewart would say that he regretted he made the quote that started off this email. He said he knew that it would be on his tombstone and the quote would be what he is known for.
What will we be known for?
Run to the cross.