One of the modern challenges facing us is the scourge of pornography. Before the technology age, getting pornographic material was very difficult. In my military experience, I was exposed to 16 mm films that were blatant porn, but those films were not available to the general public, and minors were not allowed to view them. Pornographic comic books were the main avenues of porn during my high school days, but you couldn’t buy them in bookstores or drug stores. However, the web has made pornography widely available.
Children today can go on the web and watch sex acts by adults, and many children know the names of porn stars. Kids know how to use computers to see whatever they want to watch, so attempts to lock out pornographic material are futile. When I used computers to teach high school science, it was a constant battle with kids going around the school system’s efforts to block pornographic material during class. But, of course, that was on school computers, so imagine what kids could do on their home computers.
A BBC report on May 9, 2023, summarized the research of psychologists into the effects of pornography on British children. It listed behavioral issues in eight-year-olds, such as profanity and violent language, directly related to viewing pornography. Elementary teachers attempting to stop disruptive behavior commonly hear the “f” word from their students, and the study shows a direct connection to watching pornography.
The scourge of pornography isn’t just a problem with children. On March 27, 2923, CNN reported on a study published in the Society for Personality and Social Psychology journal, showing that all human relationships are affected by involvement with pornography.
The Bible gives real solutions for Christians to avoid evil. In 1 Thessalonians 5:22, Paul tells us to avoid every appearance of evil, and Galatians 5:16-26 details the consequences of allowing “the works of the flesh” to saturate our thinking. Churches cannot remain silent about evil, including the consequences of lust. We must clearly teach children and adults what pornography does to children, marriages, and physical health.
The reason pornography is a major problem today is that it enriches certain people with money and influence. We can’t expect atheists and non-believers to stop the scourge of pornography. Therefore, Christians must be motivated to stop pornography’s spread, especially to children. However, many in the religious community avoid the subject.
Every time we mention the damaging effects of pornography, we get a few nasty emails suggesting that we are just control freaks who want to deny a harmless activity. The Bible makes it clear that God would have us “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). A recent news report about Billie Eilish and pornography shows it is not harmless.
Young people today have easy access to porn because it is readily available online. Billie Eilish, a Grammy-winning singer, stated that the porn she began watching online at age eleven “really warped her mind” about healthy sex and relationships. Porn composes a third of all internet downloads in the United States and is a pandemic among young people.
In The Daily Telegraph, Judith Woods wrote that online porn is “suffused with hatred for women.” She goes on to say that the sex depicted on porn sites is “terrifying, dominant, and violent… There is choking and spitting and angry misogyny… Women are degraded, used” and “discarded.”
Anyone who thinks this activity is not damaging to young minds is simply ignorant about how young people learn. Furthermore, the whole purpose of sex is lost in a culture that denigrates marriage and uses sex as a weapon or a recreational activity.
Sex in marriage creates a sacred, unique, and pure relationship between a man and a woman. Therefore, Christians must teach children what sex is about at an early age before the world exposes them to pornography. In the case of Billie Eilish and pornography, that was age eleven.
The first week of November is White Ribbon Against Pornography or WRAP Week. Pornography is a problem faced by all churches as well as by our society in general. Several years ago, we worked with Jimmy Hinton to prepare a video series titled “Spiritual Warfare: Safeguarding Churches From Child Predators.” It has been disappointing that even though we provide the material for free, we have had difficulty getting congregations to use it because they deny that they have a problem.
93% of boys and 63% of girls are exposed to internet porn before age 18. The average age of exposure is 11.
Neurological studies show that pornography has a detrimental impact on the brain.
The probability of divorce doubles for men and women who begin viewing pornography.
50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women use porn.
Sex trafficking survivors report that they were forced into trafficking by acting in pornographic productions.
The Bible is full of warnings to encourage believers not to get involved in this kind of behavior. Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “As a man thinks, so is he.” In Matthew 5:28, Jesus said, “..whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her in his heart.” Romans 13:14 tells Christians, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its demands.” First Corinthians 10:12 tells us, “..let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
Hollywood, television productions, and novels rush to promote sexual images because sex sells in America today, thanks to our society’s rejection of God and the Bible. With that in mind, we should not let WRAP Week be the only time we address this problem. Instead, the Church needs to take the lead in teaching about the destructive nature of pornography and the beauty of sex as God intended it to enrich the relationship of men and women in marriage.
In over 50 years of working with young people both in church situations and in my teaching in public schools, I have found one of the most destructive things in our culture is also one of the least talked about. It’s the problem of pornography.
Several years ago, our ministry produced a video series with Jimmy Hinton dealing with sexual predators. This series was personal for Jimmy because his father is in prison for sexual misconduct, even though he was a preacher for many years. It is an excellent series, but we have found that congregations don’t want to talk about this subject. When we send the DVD series and the teaching materials we provide with it, we usually have to mail it to an individual or business address rather than a church. The usual statement from church leaders or ministers is, “Well, we just don’t have that problem here.”
We have done many youth rallies and camp sessions and have participated in many church workshops. Over and over, teens have come to us to find answers to their personal struggles with porn and sexual abuse but wanting to remain anonymous. In several situations, I was forced to confront a youth leader or a minister about their use of pornography. In some cases, they were involved in a relationship that was in clear violation of God’sWord.
An organization known as LifePlan has released new data on the problem of pornography. Pornography use has skyrocketed, with one website reporting four-and-a-half billion hours of porn watched in one year. Seventy percent of Christian youth leaders have had a teenager come to them for help in dealing with pornography. Let us be clear that we are not talking about “dirty movies.” We are talking about movies that display sexual intercourse and perversions, including sex with animals. The STD rate among young adults (ages 15 to 24) in the United States is over 10 million a year.
I have learned by experience that giving a lesson on sexual behavior is a quick way to be reprimanded. People don’t want to hear teaching from the pulpit about why sex outside of marriage is not only wrong and sinful and destructive mentally and spiritually. “That’s the parent’s job” is the usual response. But parents aren’t doing it, and having the Church back up a parent who IS doing it should be the best of all worlds.
Don’t assume that this is someone else’s problem. We need to have frank discussions with kids. Youth leaders need to broach this subject with teens and their parents, and they need to know how to deal with their own struggles. Read Romans 1:24-32 and discuss it in detail with the young people you have access to. Pornography is a growing business in our world, and the problem of pornography isn’t going away. Neither is Satan going to stop bringing it into the minds of those who claim to be Christians.
There is little doubt that there has been a radical change in sexual behavior in the past 25 years. Moral acceptance of premarital sex is at an all-time high. Birth control is easily accessible for all ages. People can find hook-up partners on dating apps without leaving home. Online porn is a major industry in today’s world. Websites are selling sex toys and vibrators to promote masturbation. How can there be a sex recession?
Liberals maintained that all this was good and that freedom from old norms would lead to what they called “sexual fulfillment.” What the numbers are showing is just the opposite. The number of sexually active high school students has dropped from 54% to 40% in the past 25 years. People in their early 20s are 2.5 times as likely to be abstinent as GenXers were at that same age. Dating apps have turned out to be addictive games that produce more frustration than connection.
The New York Times recently published a report on the “sex recession.” Writer Ross Douthat said that the trend mentioned above “has led to the growing alienation of the sexes from one another. In our new sterility, ‘virtual sex’ has become the opiate of the frustrated masses.” Editorials in the media have blamed everything from porn to the record number of people under 35 who are living with their parents.
When God gave the beautiful oneness that marriage brings, He then gave admonitions about how to use the gift of sex. When we follow God’s guidelines, sex can give fulfillment, relationships, security, and freedom. Genesis 2:24 stated the relationship God intended, and the Bible is full of teaching about avoiding the corrupted misuse of sexual relationships.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has listed 12 supposedly kid-friendly apps and games which in reality set kids up for sexual exploitation. Their sexual exploiters dirty dozen are:
SNAPCHAT – Users send texts and photos that disappear within seconds unless the user takes a screenshot. These contain popular sexters and child pornographers. STEAM – A gaming platform with over 35 million child users which contains rape and other sexually explicit acts. YOUTUBE – Lax monitoring of uploaded videos, many of which contain sexually explicit and violent content. AMAZON – Sells photography books with child nudity, sex trafficking manuals, and soft-core porn. COMCAST – Packages offer hardcore pornography including teen, incest, and racist themed porn. EBSCO – This online library for schools features easy access to pornography and graphic sexual content. HBO – Original programming often focuses on graphic sex scenes, including rape and other sexual violence. iBooks – This app for e-books is replete with erotic literature normalizing adult/teen sex, incest, racially charged sexual stereotypes, student-teacher, and babysitter sex scenes and rape. ROKU – This company offers users access to hardcore pornography through private and hidden channels. TWITTER – Hosts pornographic accounts that advertise for porn websites and online prostitution. POSTER BOYS OF #MeToo – Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Woody Allen and James Franco use their media channels to normalize their sexual conduct.
The latest government figures reported by the Pregnancy Care Center tell us that every second 28,258 people in the United States are viewing pornography on the internet and that 40 million Americans regularity visit porn sites. This has resulted in 200,000 Americans who are addicted to pornography. The Pregnancy Care Center says “Pornography is extremely damaging to the individual, the family, and the community. It undermines the value of human life and leaves its victim with a sense of emptiness and hopelessness.” It also encourages child predators.
As people have left God and His teachings, they find themselves in a frustrating search for peace, satisfaction, and hope. As we all know, church leaders in all religions and denominations have had personal struggles with these issues, and very little is being done on a practical level to address this problem.
One of the areas where our ministry has tried to help churches and individuals in the area of sexual misconduct and all that it involves. We can best carry out the Church’s role in defending all people from the destructive effects of pornography by studying what the Bible says and learning from the experience of one who has “been there.”
We offer a DVD series from Jimmy Hinton titled Spiritual Warfare: Safeguarding Churches from Child Predators. Jimmy discovered that his father, who was a career preacher, was also among the hidden world of child predators. He has prepared this material to try to help stop this cancer which is undetected and unaddressed in virtually all congregations.
The Los Angeles Times in a story printed on September 27, 2017, quotes the late Hugh Hefner as saying, “If you don’t commit, you don’t get hurt.” Hefner was the poster boy of the new morality of the late twentieth-century giving an outward appearance of lavish and luxurious fun and frivolity. Playboy magazine with its centerfold and in recent years the website showing nude women have held out the idea that marriage is a relic of religion that has outlived its usefulness. The message is that for real happiness people need to forget all the taboos and express their sexuality with as many partners as they can in as many relationships as they desire.
When Hefner died earlier in 2017, the media presented his empire as a goal that everyone should aspire to. Now that the dust has settled, more information is coming out showing that Hefner’s personal life was one of brokenness. The Times article indicated that Hefner made the above quote when he found out that his first wife had cheated on him during their engagement. Many of the people who worked for Hefner are now coming out and talking about his frustrations and the bad relationships he had with many of the women who were part of his periodicals and short films.
Your child can go to the Playboy website and see complete nudity unless you block the site. The number of women now expressing that they felt exploited shows some of the damage Playboy has done. They are telling how they feel about seeing themselves publicly displayed in nude pictures. Many men have also been swept away in a fantasy world that makes big promises, but only delivers disappointment.
Sex is a beautiful creation of God. The complexity of human sexuality is enormous because the sexual experience is not just physical. Sex also involves the emotions as well as the spiritual nature of humans as beings created in the image of God.
Like everything else that God created, Satan can take something beautiful and purposeful and corrupt it and make something evil from it. The role of intimacy in marriage and the special nature of oneness which it binds in love and sharing seems to be lost in today’s world. Pornography impacts the Church also.
We have seen how evil sex can become in the pedophile behavior of some Roman Catholic priests. The media has seized on this abuse and attempted to make it appear to be the norm for Christianity. Church leadership seems to be in denial on this subject, and yet recent studies show that 68% of men who call themselves “Christians” view pornography on a regular basis.
The internet allows men to view pornography at home or in the privacy of their office. In an article in Christianity Today (August 2017) titled “Pornography is Paralyzing the Church” Luke Gibbons wrote, “When men view porn, they become stricken with guilt and shame which leads to feeling unworthy to lead and afraid to speak out. Their secret sin becomes a dead-weight in their lives. They avoid ministry opportunities and begin to suffocate spiritually.”
Pornography impacts the church when it encourages child predators. Jimmy Hinton is a man who knows that from first-hand experience. We worked with him to create a DVD series and booklet to help churches protect themselves from child predators. The title of the material is “Spiritual Warfare: Safeguarding Churches from Child Predators.” It is available on loan from our ministry, or to purchase from www.jimmyhinton.org.