It was in the 90s Open with Logos Software Bible (if available) that everything changed. Before the one who wanted to see pornography had to take a public step: he had to buy a magazine, or go to a movie theater, or maybe buy a channel in his cable account, which could not be hidden from the rest of the family. For many Christians that public act was enough to counteract the fascination with that forbidden fruit of pornography. But everything changed with the release of the Internet, because that social barrier disappeared completely. Now pornography is an experience that imitates the imagination by being totally private. In complete anonymity and in the privacy of our homes, offices and cybercafés the barriers have been removed and pornography is today a ubiquitous concretization of our hidden sexual obsessions.
It is no secret that the pornographic industry has expanded exponentially in the last 15 years and that it is still growing. Let’s highlight some of the numbers:
In 2005 the number of monthly visitors to pornographic websites was 75 million (source). Trends indicate that it has to be much more now. Let’s remember that 20 years ago this avenue did not even exist. Pornographic videos premiered in 1988: 1,300. In 2005: 13,500. (source) Several informal surveys say that between 50-70 percent of Christian men use pornography on the Internet. (source) Other surveys (eg, one from Christianity Today magazine) say that between 30-50 percent of pastors in the US They use pornography (source) 70% of men use pornography every month. (source) In a survey in the USA 57% of pastors say that addiction to pornography on the Internet is the main sexual problem in their congregations. (source) Now, these statistics apply primarily to the US. and I have not verified them in academic sources either. Also note that some probably do not include people who do not use the Internet. But although they may not be accurate, they still tell us something and that something is that we are experiencing a titanic wave of pornography in the world today and that it is mostly due to the existence of the Internet.
The impact of this phenomenon on the church is something that frightens. Pornography is something so present that is surely changing ways of thinking and acting on a massive level without us noticing. The interaction between men and women, the sexual expectations that man brings to marriage and the relational problems that this causes, the objectivization of the female body in the minds of Christian men and boys, the time spent on pornography searches on the Internet, and The psychological and spiritual weight of living with hidden sin are just some of the aspects of this debilitating phenomenon. The wave of pornography is also a wave of sin in our congregations.
The worst thing is that it is almost never discussed. Why? For the one who uses pornography, it is because of shame and fear that they look at him as if he were a monster; for the pastor or the leader who uses pornography is for fear of being discovered and losing his position or destroying his church. And of course, that pastor does not want to preach against what he himself is practicing. It would be very uncomfortable. It would be hypocrisy. Then for those who are free of vice it is easier to ignore it, because nobody mentions it. Or worse, as they themselves do not experience the problem, it is taken for granted that it is easy to fight. “Do not do it, and that’s it. What’s the problem? “The worst of all is the one that uses pornography in private but publicly condemns others who do it.
Do not judge – help
He who has no sin cast the first stone. All men experience sexual temptation and all men sometimes fall into that temptation, even if that fall does not result in the use of pornography. The youthful speaker Lucas Leys tells that he participated in a meeting in which another speaker made an invitation because God had given him a word. He had told him there were three young people in the audience who were experiencing sexual temptation. Luke’s reaction was (so he says) “Only three?” If there are a hundred young people in the audience there are 100 young people who experience sexual temptation. Well maybe I exaggerate. It is possible (theoretically) that there are only 99. It would not surprise us to know that practically all the young people in the conference that Lucas described came to the front.
We all experience sexual temptation. I experience it. You experience it. Everybody. (Excuse me, ladies, I’m talking to the gentlemen here) So do not look at a person who has a problem with pornography as if he were a disgusting mutant. He is your brother and the only difference between you and him is that he has fallen, perhaps, a little harder than you. Worse than pornography is spiritual pride. Accept it to your brother and help him. He does not need you to condemn him, because this is a sin in which usually the one who practices it has already condemned himself outright. What Paul says seems exactly written for the situation: “Brothers, if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore it with a humble attitude. But take care of each other, because you can also be tempted. “(Galatians 6: 1 Open with Bible Software Logos (if available)) I wonder if perhaps Paul was referring to a particular situation in which someone had been caught in the act of adultery .
Practical steps to combat pornography
What can we cut?
Do not reject practical solutions to this problem of pornography. Sometimes we are so super spiritual that the only solution we can think of is to pray more and read the Bible more. Or say “God will give you power.” Although this is surely important and true, it is not the complete solution, and I am sure that the one who uses pornography has already tried it. Does it sound scandalous to say that reading the Bible and praying is not enough to overcome sin? Well, Jesus himself recommends practical action to overcome the problem of coveting a woman, because the passage that I already pointed out in Matthew 5 Open with Logos Bible Software (if available) continues with:
Therefore, if your right eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it away. You better lose a single part of your body, and not that all of it be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. You better lose a single part of your body, and not that all of it go to hell. (Matthew 5: 29-30 Open with Logos Bible Software (if available))
I think we all realize that this is an exaggerated image used to highlight the point: not to practice self-amputations, but to take extremely serious and concrete steps to avoid falling into these sins, because at the end of the trajectory of this Practice finds a terrible eternal destiny. So, what practical thing can be done to avoid this sin. What can we “cut”? The first thing that occurs to me is the wire on the internet (well, some have the wireless). If you can not beat it, cut it! I know there are many other important things you do on the Internet, including reading the great articles of Biblia.com. But what is more important? Are you committed to change, yes or no? Better to cut the wire now that you have the clear mind to sit tonight again in front of your screen and battle with those strong emotions that will almost always win you. Perhaps this article is the last thing you should read on the Internet.
I had a conversation recently with the president of a seminar where the whole campus had wireless, even in the bedrooms. I asked if they controlled the Internet and he said no, because the problem of pornography is in the heart, not in the situation of the individual. Whoever wants to see pornography, he asserted, will do so anyway without regard to the situation. In one way or another you will find what you are looking for. On the one hand I agree. Nobody can say “it was not my fault; It was the fault of the situation. ” The situation is not what makes us sin. Each one of us chooses what he does. But on the other hand, it seems a bit gullible to think that young people with unlimited access to the internet in their rooms will not behave differently than they would without this access. Let’s not be so abstract that we forget about human nature! I do not agree that “if they want to do it, they will do it anyway.” We are more complicated than that. Sometimes our actions do depend on the options that are available. Let’s not forget also how easy it is to see pornography on the Internet. It’s there, so close and so fascinating.
Imagine that before the Internet age we met some Christian person who had a stack of pornographic magazines in his desk drawer and, according to him (or her), never used them, but anyway for some reason I kept them there. What would we say to this person? Surely something like this: “Are you crazy? Are you tempting yourself for some perverse reason? How will you live like that with that temptation so close and within your reach? Do not you know that sexual desire is one of the most difficult forces to control in a human being? “That answer makes sense, is not it? I think so. But on the Internet we have a mountain of pornographic magazines within reach of our fingers and nobody thinks that this is crazy. Who can resist that temptation, brothers? According to statistics, not many.
A sexual therapist says that up to 80% of people who use pornography do it in an addictive way that affects their personal relationships and their work and that before discovering cybersex, these people had no problem with sexual addiction (source). Do not tell me that our behavior is not related to the availability of materials.