One of the key factors contributing to the rise of sexual sin within the Church is the rampant but hidden use of pornography. It’s not only affecting our pastors, many of whom have been led to commit sexual abuse because of it, but the majority of men in the pews, and even our children at very young ages. This may sound shocking, but the statistics bear it out.
The numbers are virtually the same inside and outside the Church – nearly 70% of men in the Church look at porn on a regular basis, compared with 75% for general population porn usage. Most pastors (57%) and youth pastors (64%) admit they have struggled with porn, either currently or in the past. And 70% of Christian youth pastors report that they have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with pornography in the past 12 months.
Believe it or not, children today are being exposed to porn at earlier and earlier ages – it is omnipresent in our culture. It used to be around age 12 that kids were first introduced to porn. Now, an addiction can start as young as 8 years old with exposure beginning so much earlier. Their neural pathways are literally being re-programmed by this onslaught of hardcore, often violent, always abusive, pornography.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND PORN
Social media is deadening the idea of love and intimacy for our children. All the tenets that we grew up believing in – intimacy, how to love and be loved, how to be hugged and held and kissed, the sacredness of marriage – are being systematically dismantled. This has spilled over into the Church, where most young people now believe and practice what they see in the media rather than what the Bible teaches about saving intimacy for marriage. This is just one of the many sexual sins plaguing the Church.
The impact of porn on adults and those who are already married is that eventually, viewing porn is never enough. It all begins with a titillating image, which releases a chemical in the brain that leads us to want more. Because sex is one of the most fundamental human drives, the viewing of sexual imagery releases dopamine into the limbic system of the brain, causing an intense feeling of pleasure.