Is Immorality False Worship?
THE Spanish weekly news magazine Cambio16 reported a development in the programs of French pirate radio stations. Under the title “Sex Over the Air,” it said: “Other [stations] have preferred pornography—or we should say, pornophony—and they devote their time to live broadcasting of orgasms, ecstasies and caressings in full detail. . . . Between one o’clock and three o’clock in the morning [the station] establishes contact between listeners unknown to each other so that they can recount directly by telephone their acts of love or masturbations.”
The report went on to explain how one announcer invites couples to the studio and “begins to go through the adjectives of his erotic dictionary to accompany the heavy breathings and sighs of couples who have decided to make love live in front of the microphones.”
Public interest has been aroused by this type of broadcast, as is shown by headlines and editorial comments appearing in Paris dailies such as Le Matin and Le Quotidien.
A Different Kind of Idolatry
How should a Christian view this innovation in broadcasting? The apostle Paul counseled the Christians of Ephesus: “This, therefore, I say and bear witness to in the Lord, that you no longer go on walking just as the nations also walk in the unprofitableness of their minds . . . Having come to be past all moral sense, they gave themselves over to loose conduct to work uncleanness of every sort with greediness.” Or, as The Jerusalem Bible puts it: “They have abandoned themselves to sexuality and eagerly pursue a career of indecency of every kind. Now that is hardly the way you have learnt from Christ, unless you failed to hear him properly when you were taught what the truth is in Jesus.”—Ephesians 4:17-21.
Maybe someone will object that listening to immoral conduct over the radio is not the same as participating in such acts and should not be censured. However, the dividing line for the Christian is much sharper than that. For example, we read in Ephesians chapter 5: “Let fornication and uncleanness of every sort . . . not even be mentioned among you, just as it befits holy [spiritually pure] people; neither shameful conduct nor foolish talking nor obscene jesting.” If uncleanness should not even be mentioned among Christians, then certainly they are not going to choose to be witnesses to it, whether by reading, television or radio.—Ephesians 5:3, 4.
But why should it be so important for a Christian to avoid every form of immorality? Why should pornography, whether visual or audible, be shunned? Paul answers: “For you can be quite certain that nobody who actually indulges in fornication or impurity or promiscuity—which is worshipping a false god—can inherit anything of the kingdom of God. Do not let anyone deceive you with empty arguments: it is for this loose living that God’s anger comes down on those who rebel against him. Make sure that you are not included with them.”—Ephesians 5:5-7, JB.
Did you notice the point—that immorality is a form of false worship? The New World Translation uses an even stronger word, saying: “No fornicator or unclean person or greedy person—which means being an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and of God.” Yes, as the New World Translation indicates, immorality is idolatry! Why so? Because the impure desires of the flesh, the craving for illicit pleasure, become an object of devotion, leaving no room for clean worship. Another god has entered into the person’s way of life—the god of greedy, selfish, immoral desire. Thus, godly qualities are challenged by improper sexual desires. By inclining his eyes or ears to pornography, the individual is jeopardizing any relationship he might have with the holy God, Jehovah.—Isaiah 6:3.
How Can We Keep Clean?
How can we resist the temptations of the modern Sodom and Gomorrah? We can do so by having strong spiritual values and clinging to them, letting these control the heart and the mind. In the previously quoted letter to the Ephesians, Paul exhorted fellow believers: “Put away the old personality which conforms to your former course of conduct and which is being corrupted according to his deceptive desires; but . . . be made new.” In what respect? “In the force actuating your mind.” This makes it possible to “put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.”—Ephesians 4:22-24.
How can we maintain that “force” that actuates the mind? By deepening our knowledge and appreciation of the Bible, and by accepting the guidance of the Master’s “faithful and discreet slave”—the Christian body that is supplying clear guidelines for godly living in these evil and difficult times. We need also the upbuilding association that can be obtained by regular attendance at the Bible educational meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. When such study and association are our regular habit—like eating—then the force actuating our mind will also be constant and strong. It will motivate us to resist the temptations of this immoral system of things that has set up sexual satisfaction at any price as a modern false god.—Matthew 24:45-47; Acts 8:30, 31; Hebrews 10:24, 25.
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Can these lead you to false worship?