Secular Researchers Are Finally Blowing the Whistle on Porn—Are They Too Late?

Secular Researchers Are Finally Blowing the Whistle on Porn—Are They Too Late?

The world has a porn problem.

Time Magazine‘s cover story for the week of April 11 focuses on a group of young men who have been deeply impacted by porn—not just mentally, emotionally or spiritually, but physically. Their porn addictions have drastically desensitized the way they look at sex. The same is true for women who view porn. In their accompanying article on the impact of porn on girls and women, Time shared that women who view porn are less likely to intervene when seeing another woman assaulted. They’re also less likely to realize that they’re in any danger themselves.

This is all reported through a lens of what is normal sexually in the culture and the impact to a man’s virility rather than other sociological, relational, and even mental and emotional implications. Reporter Brenda Luscombe reports that there is often shame attached to a porn habit that makes it difficult to seek help, but beyond that, it doesn’t address any other lasting impact on these men.

While it is good to see a secular organization reporting on porn and its impact, the discussion has to be deeper and with a wider lens. Porn lures people to a point where they’re unable to engage sexually with their spouses unless it’s present. For men, it drastically impacts the way they see women, desensitizing their view, making women objects. And it can do the same for women when they see other women in their lives.

Consider some of these stats from the Regnerus Group:

*46 percent of men and 16 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 39 intentionally view porn in any given week

*On average, boys first view porn between the ages of 11 and 13

*Pornhub reports their website receives 12 million hours of viewing time a day

The church has addressed the issues of porn for decades. However, Pastoral Care reports that 40 percent of pastors struggle with porn addiction. The Barna Group reports that teens surveyed think that not recycling is more sinful than viewing porn. Earlier this month, ChurchLeaders reported that 64 percent of youth pastors are either currently struggling with porn or have struggled with it in their past.

All of this information can seem overwhelming and create a sense of hopelessness. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are multitudes of clinics, therapists and pastors who can help with porn addiction. But, as with most sin, there has to be honesty, confession and a willingness to accept help.

However, it is up to leaders in the church to create a culture within the church where sinners—regardless of the kind of sin—are welcome to come, meet Jesus and experience the power of His saving grace and healing.

Leaders in the church are not immune to the schemes of the devil or our own desires for that matter. Freedom from addiction is no easy task and it doesn’t come with easy platitudes or brushing it under the rug. We must first examine our own hearts and motives, seek to be clean before the Lord. Leaders are not to be perfect, but we are called to model discipleship before our congregations, youth groups and small groups.

We also create the culture within the church. And we can either create a culture where people are ashamed to confess their sin and get help, or we can live out what we are commanded in Isaiah 61:1-3: to preach liberty to the captives. We are burdened with helping people come into the gospel, preaching His name and proclaiming that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Porn has interwoven itself into almost every facet of our societies and culture. But just dealing with a porn addiction isn’t the answer. The answer is what it always has been: preaching the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20). These are not Christian platitudes, but the way of life laid down by Jesus and hallmarks of a committed community of repentant sinners living for Him. In Him alone there is freedom.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a porn addiction, here are some resources that can help:

Tactics: Securing the Victory in Every Man’s Battle by Fred Stoeker
The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts by Shannon Ethridge
XXX church—accountability software: http://x3watch.com/?v=1.5
Fight the New Drug website (research findings, etc.): How Porn Changes the Brain

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Carrie Kintz
Carrie Kintz is a freelance writer and communication strategist. She works with ministries and individuals across the country, helping them figure out what to say and how to say it in the digital space. Carrie has also spoken at conferences such as the Best of Social Media Summit and That Church Conference. When she's not writing (or tweeting), she enjoys hiking, time with friends and a good cup of coffee