The Bible’s Viewpoint
Why Pornography Is Dangerous
PORNOGRAPHY is no longer confined to smut shops and sex shows. It has gone public. In country after country, it is pushed before the eyes of the average citizen in magazines, newspapers, books, TV programs, movies, and videos. Can anything so widespread really be all that dangerous?
What, though, is pornography? Pornography is defined as “the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement.” That definition is clear. But arguments arise when it comes to determining what arouses sexual excitement and what does not. True, to a degree, what constitutes pornography is in the eye of the beholder. In other words, what is sexually stimulating to one person may not be to another. Nevertheless, a recent survey of 5,000 persons in Germany revealed that at some level, erotic material affects almost everyone, both men and women.
Is the Arousing of Desires Wrong?
Exciting a legitimate desire—of whatever nature—is unwise if there is no way of properly satisfying it. For example, if one of your favorite foods is unavailable, you will probably not feel content if you constantly stare at pictures of it in magazines or books. On the other hand, if you—perhaps for health reasons—are not allowed to eat it, constantly preoccupying yourself with it will most likely lead to dangerous transgressions. Likewise, a smoker trying to kick the habit will not increase his chances of doing so by spending time longingly watching other people smoke.
As regards sexual desires, from the Bible’s viewpoint, happiness results from properly satisfying them within the bounds of a loving marriage. (1 Corinthians 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4) So how unwise for a single person to arouse desires that he cannot satisfy! This only leads to frustration or, even worse, to satisfying them by resorting to masturbation or fornication, thereby overstepping divine laws and principles.—1 Thessalonians 4:3-7.
Does this mean that pornography is not dangerous if you are married? No, those Scriptural rules of conduct apply to married people too. Also, pornography appeals to selfish passions, pandering to the satisfying of personal desires, whereas love centers on satisfying the needs of one’s mate. Pornography leads to inconsiderate and self-centered sex, which, even within the relationship of marriage, becomes demeaning and unloving.—1 Corinthians 13:5.
Rather than strengthening marital love, pornography kills it by degrading it, distorting it. Sexual relations as portrayed in pornography is fantasy of the worst kind because it communicates incorrect and harmful messages about marital intimacies. Besides, real-life relationships are much more than sexual; they are built on tenderness, humor, communication, and caring. In contrast, pornography may even become a wedge between a married couple.
Pornography reduces humans to the level of animals acting solely on instinct. It does not encourage self-control, a fruit of God’s spirit. (Galatians 5:22, 23) It may pave the way for sexual perversions. These are but a few of the reasons why Christians shun pornography.
The Bible’s wise counsel, therefore, is: “Rejoice with the wife of your youth . . . Why should you, my son, be in an ecstasy with a strange woman or embrace [literally or vicariously by way of pornography] the bosom of a foreign woman?”—Proverbs 5:15-20.
How, though, can a person avoid or break free from the grip of pornography?
How to Break Its Grip
To counteract pornography’s pull, the Bible counsels: “Deaden, therefore, your body members that are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite.” (Colossians 3:5) Here, the word “deaden” vividly conveys the idea of striking dead—not simply suppressing—any body member that would be used in those vices.
However, this must be understood in a metaphoric, not a physical, sense. Christians are not to mutilate their bodies. If we decisively “kill” improper sexual thoughts, we will not yield to the lure of pornography, thus using our body members, such as the eyes, in a wrong way. (Compare Matthew 5:29, 30.) Thus, counsels the Bible, replace improper desires with “whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste,” and then “continue considering these things.”—Philippians 4:8.
What else can help? Keeping in mind—perhaps even memorizing—Bible texts, such as the following:
“Make my eyes pass on from seeing what is worthless.”—Psalm 119:37.
“Everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes . . . does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world.”—1 John 2:16.
“Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.”—James 1:14, 15.
Anything that can start a chain reaction ending in death can rightfully be termed dangerous, and pornography fits that description! Remember: “He who is sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but he who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.” Do not let pornography rob you of everlasting life!—Galatians 6:8.
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Rather than strengthening marital love, pornography kills it by degrading it, distorting it