Why Pornography Harms

poison

On this blog we have often talked about the same sex marriage controversy and how it poses a threat to both religious liberty and the family unit. However, the elephant in the room that is rarely publicly discussed in evangelical circles is pornography, an evil that arguably poses just as much threat (if not a bigger threat) to the family unit. A 2008 study of 813 college students from six different college campuses participated in a survey [1]. Of young men aged between 18 and 26, a whopping 86% admitted to having viewed pornography in the past year. 48.4% admitted to viewing pornography on a weekly basis. 19.3% admitted to viewing pornography nearly every day. It is a popular myth that pornography is only a guy problem. But, of the young women in the same age range, 31% confessed to having viewed pornography in the last year, and 3.2% confessed to having viewed pornography on a weekly basis. What was particularly striking is that 67% of young men and 49% of young women believed that pornography use is acceptable, which means that many young men (87% of whom were users) were viewing pornography even though they regarded it as an unacceptable practice.

Pornography addiction is a plague upon the modern professing church, and while it is well and good to be criticizing the same sex marriage agenda, evangelicalism would do well to remove the plank from its own eye before removing the speck from another’s. Many within the church are willing to take a stand against the gay agenda, but how many are willing to examine their own hearts and deal with the elephant in the room that is pornography?

But what about church leaders? How are they fairing in keeping their minds pure? According to a 2002 survey of 1351 pastors, conducted by Rick Warren’s website Pastors.com, 54% confessed they had looked at online pornography within the past year and 30% of those had visited within the last 30 days. And that’s just the honest ones!

Many people don’t realize that there are some solid scientific reasons for thinking that the viewing of pornography is harmful to the brain. Pornography is not merely a moral issue, for it hard wires the brain in unhealthy ways. In this blog post, I am not going to present any moral or theological arguments for avoiding pornography — although there are plenty of those. Instead, I am simply going to look at the scientific facts and show why I think the behavior of viewing pornography is harmful, regardless of where you stand on issues of religion and ethics. [Read more...]

Articulating One’s Beliefs Can Be A Challenge

images-11Introduction.

Despite the fact of my not posting since the beginning of the month, I have not lost sight of the mission. Working with the people I work with, some of them being some of the most profane people that I have ever come across, I have not lost sight with how I am “wired” and the ministry mission. Even though where I am (on my job) during a good chunk of the week, I know the presence of the Lord and the conviction of His Holy Spirit, even while I “occupy Mordor” and pray for a change.

Thankfully I still do get to enjoy a day off during the week, and I am going to be protecting that day in the coming weeks for specific reasons, that I will not mention here. In spite of all the demands of my job, this week was a wonderful day off and allowed me to speak to a repair man for one of our appliances, and a handful of students at the Germanna campus.

What was the nature of these conversations? They were spiritual in nature, and I would like to share here some thoughts on what I learned about these conversations.

The Need for Articulating the Christian Faith

One of our appliances stopped working and we needed some outside assistance. Even though I was able to unstop a bathroom sink and our bathtub drain (thank you YouTube), I was not able to work this task.

The appliance repair company “rep” that came and assisted us is a Christian and attends a large local Baptist church regularly and adult Bible fellowship on a regular basis.  How did I know he was Christian?

Thankfully he shared that with my wife and me, by sharing the message on the back of his business card. When I asked him his understanding of his message, he started sharing with me a basic message of salvation and how Jesus died  for our sins on the cross. Of course I was happy to see him start there. However when I continued with him on his understanding at a deeper level, he started struggling. Why was there a struggle?

Allow me to share my concerns, as they are very similar ones that I am hearing in other conversations. [Read more...]

Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel Comics is on a roll. Guardians of the Galaxy opened with a stunning $94 million dollar weekend, breaking the previous Guardians-of-the-Galaxy2August record for a movie opening. In spite of bewilderment within the entertainment industry leading up to its release (there was in interesting discussion about this on Rotten Tomatoes’ podcast), critics and audiences have been giving it well-deserved reviews.

It’s funny, surprisingly moving at time, and loaded with great special effects. It’s not perfect (it’s got some crude language, and the scope and severity of the violence was minimized and at times too light-hearted), but as far as summer blockbusters go, it’s very good. I was certainly entertained. I was equally challenged by a thought-provoking scene near the end of the movie.

When Peter Quill, aka Starlord, realizes that he finally has a chance to stop running from hardship and do something truly noble, he tells the other soon-to-be guardians of the galaxy what he has in mind. Rocket soberly summarizes what is painfully clear to all of them: “You’re asking us to die.” [Read more...]

Youth, Popularity, and Apologetics

Students Love Answers More Than the Church Loves AnswersI was listening to J. Warner Wallace’s podcast recently, and it’s one I encourage all of you to listen to. He talked about presenting talks on apologetics and how youth get enthused about it. I started pondering then why that might be, and I’d like to share a suspicion I have on the matter.

I have written much on how the ancient world was an honor/shame culture where we’re a more individualistic one, but that does not mean that we are totally devoid of any idea of shame. Social status is everything to many a teenager. This is why so many of them buy clothes they might not care for and get into fads that they wouldn’t care for otherwise. They want to fit in with their peers and not be embarrassed. [Read more...]

Book Review: The Intolerance of Tolerance

downloadThe Intolerance of Tolerance by D.A. Carson is a masterful exploration into one of the greatest cultural issues of our day—tolerance by one of the greatest Christian minds of our day. In post-modernism, tolerance—the affirming and celebrating of virtually any exercise of personal autonomy – is the prime value. The unforgiveable sin is being judgmental, that is, believing that an activity or lifestyle choice that does not hurt another person is wrong, immoral, or sinful. A second related unforgiveable sin is claiming that what you believe is objectively true and thus binding on another person. A person who holds these beliefs is considered to be bigoted, narrow-minded, and arrogant, just as was true in Ancient Rome. [Read more...]