In my last three articles I wrote about sexual immorality in the areas of pornography, child pornography, and sex trafficking. Although no one to my knowledge defends child pornography or sex trafficking, there are many who defend their use of pornography.
In this last article in the series, I want to address their rationale.
In my research for this I read information from both sides of the pornography debate. There are some very bizarre justifications and some very extreme anti-pornography views. Yet there are common reasons for pornography use.
The first reason is that it’s my business. No one has the right to tell me what to do in the privacy of my own home. While this may seem valid, pornography is not just in your own home. By its nature, it is voyeuristic because you are watching other people have sex. To do this you have to have other people. These other people are most often found on the internet or in videos. This makes it not just a private event.
As well, pornography impacts your view of relationships outside the home. The reason why pornography is so effective is that it affects your inner being, your spirit if you will. The images and acts portrayed tend to be replayed inside your mind outside your home and this can lead to sexual fantasies about women and men at the store, at work, in the park, etc. Relationships then become strained and awkward. Imagine the embarrassment if they could read your thoughts? Your thoughts might manifest in your attitude, so there is a chance they can read your mind.
The second reason is that it isn’t hurting anyone. Aside from the way it harms relationships mentioned above, it is uncertain if all the actors are adults and are unconstrained in their choice to perform. Supposing they have made a free choice and are actually adults, you are still aiding them in a lifestyle that is immoral. Imagine a young woman who gets involved in pornography and then decides to find a healthy relationship, get married, and have children. Her images and her sexual acts will always be available on the internet and follow her the rest of her life. In short, there are long range consequences to pornography that hurt you and the actors.
A third reason is that it is just entertainment. This argument goes like this. Some people watch horror movies, some watch murder mysteries. It doesn’t mean they are going to kill people. Pornography is just like them, entertainment. I am not arguing that it is not entertaining. I am saying that it is an immoral and evil form of entertainment.
Perhaps the most compelling excuse for watching pornography is related to the first one. This is the argument that we are all consenting adults, the viewers and the actors, and if everyone consents to it, then what is the issue? In this logic, prostitution must be okay as well. Even affairs seem legitimate. This hedonistic view does not take into account the consequences of what we do.
The consequences of affairs are betrayal, hurt, broken families, and pain and mistrust. The consequences of prostitution are drug addiction, abuse, crime, and sexual diseases. The problem with this argument as it relates to pornography is that it looks at it only with the perspective of the partaker. If I am gratified, then it is okay.
Yet the real issues are not whether it is effective or gratifying. The true issues are that there are consequences to sexual immorality. It is well known that the use of pornography affects relationships and strains marriages. So what does the Bible say about pornography?
One of the ten commandments is that you should not commit adultery. In the New Testament, Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28.
If you are single, this same principle applies. You are sinning when you lust after a man or a woman not your own spouse. Paul writes, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
Lust and sexually immorality are sins. This is not just my opinion but God’s also. Defiling one’s own body is disrespecting yourself. It is not loving yourself.
Love yourself. God does.
More in this series:
Andy Becker is a pastor, retired counsellor and former CEO of a Hospice organization. Currently, his wife, Stella and Andy, lead both Lighthouse ministries and Bread of Life ministries in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.