Pornography and Christianity
In the world of unprecedented access to the world wide web smartphones, smart TVs, and various mobile devices, the temptation can be found anywhere, in an instant. This includes pornography. Pornographic websites with images of sexually explicit men and women can be found with a simple tap of a screen or a click of a mouse.
Expression of sexuality is becoming more and more common today. You see it everywhere. The minute you turn on the TV, beautiful women in skimpy clothing advertise products such as beer, cosmetics, and even food. When you hit the highways, billboards are filled with these images that catch your attention. And on the internet, access to pornography is just everywhere.
So what does God say about pornography? As a Christian, should you engage in watching and enjoying explicit imagery of men and women? Is it okay, is it healthy, and is it “normal?”
Let’s delve deeper into this topic and what it means to be a Christian in this world filled with overt sexuality and instant access to explicit platforms.
Facts About Christians and Pornography
Several studies have been made over the years in terms of Christians and their use of pornography. According to the Barna Research Group, a leading research organization involving faith and culture, 68% of Christian men, 50% of pastors, and 33% of women under age 25 view porn regularly.
In addition, about 55% of married men and 33% of married women are shown to watch pornographic material at least once a month. About 55% of Christian divorcees also admit that porn played a major role in their decision to end their marriage.
These statistics show us that porn use among Christians is a fairly common occurrence. It’s so common that pastors and married individuals, both men and women, regularly view porn.
In a separate study, the Barna Research Group also revealed that 38% of adults believe that it is morally acceptable to look at pictures of explicit sexual behavior, while 59% believe it is morally acceptable to have sexual fantasies. About 38% of their respondents stated there is nothing wrong with pornography use.
It’s clear to see with these numbers that pornography has become a regular and common habit for many Christians. A good number of them even believe that it’s completely fine, acceptable, and “normal” to engage in viewing this kind of material.
What Does the Bible Say About Pornography?
It’s important to remind Christians that God sees pornography negatively. Pornography involves objectifying the bodies of both men and women and the exposure of sexual behavior that is supposed to be exclusive between a married man and woman.
In Matthew 5:28, it says: “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The mere gawking or gazing at a woman and the subsequent sexual arousal that men feel is already a form of adultery or lust, which equals sin.
In Ephesians 5:3, it says: “But among you, there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s people.”
These Scriptures show us that watching porn is a direct violation of God’s teachings and will. If the mind is unclean, as it is when someone watches porn, it is a sin in God’s eyes.
Sex is supposed to be a gift from God, something that is shared between a man and a woman in a married relationship. By watching pornography, you are defiling this gift from God and using it to please your bodily pleasures.
God’s teachings always tell us to resist the pleasures of the flesh. But by watching porn you are not practicing self-control, and instead, giving yourself to the desires of Satan.
Satan has twisted and demolished the true meaning of sex. The media has redefined sex as a form of lust, fornication, adultery, and sin. The mere image of immoral sexual acts does not only satisfy the cravings of men, but it inflames wrong and sinful desires. It ignites wrongful thoughts and when a man has wrongful thoughts, it can lead to sinful actions.
The Effects of Pornography in Christian Men and Women
Now, you might ask, what’s wrong with watching? You’re not really doing anything else, right? You’re simply watching out of curiosity, or you just want to watch it every now and then.
While yes, you’re simply watching porn, the repercussions to your mind, your soul, and spirit are more complicated than that. Here are some of the things that can happen to you, the people in your life, as well as your relationship with God when you watch porn.
- Pornography Addiction
Porn can become quite addictive. So addictive, in fact, that many people spend thousands of dollars each year to get the “fix” or craving they’re looking for.
Did you know that the porn industry enjoys a yearly revenue of $57 Billion around the world? $12 Million of that revenue comes from the United States. This shows that the demand around the world for porn material is huge, so much so that it tops most of the world’s industries, even greater than all the top technology companies combined. Pornography, therefore, makes people crave, and it does so with immense consequences.
In terms of body chemistry, porn gives the same pleasures as illicit drugs like cocaine. This is because the body releases chemicals when you watch sexually explicit behavior and images. Porn is designed to arouse sexually and the pleasure experienced from this activity can be quite addicting. Watchers will eventually crave it more and more because it makes them feel good.
So why does it feel good? The reason is based on three chemicals naturally produced in the body. These are Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Oxytocin.
Dopamine is the chemical responsible for feelings of pleasure and ecstasy. It excites you, makes you feel satisfied, and gives you pleasure. It’s the same as taking cocaine, actually. And the more you use it, the more you crave for it. And the more you crave for it, the more intense kinds of pleasures you seek. Simple porn won’t satisfy you anymore in the long run, and you will crave more hardcore and exotic porn eventually. From 30 minutes of watching today, you could end up watching porn for many hours in a single day, just because you’re longing and craving for that dopamine rush or “fix” that you so long for.
Norepinephrine, on the other hand, is the chemical responsible for branding these pleasurable experiences in your memory. Even after you’ve watched the film or video, those images have been marked in your brain, and you remember the details, surging a release of dopamine, and making you want to do the act again. As soon as your memory brings back the details and images, you begin to crave it, and the cycle of watching porn starts again.
And lastly, Oxytocin is the chemical released after sexual intercourse, creating that feeling of intimacy and bonds between two people. It is also the chemical released by mothers who have just given birth, helping to produce breastmilk, and making them feel close or bonded to their child. Watching porn can make your body produce oxytocin to the images that you see. It is a dangerous bond that you form with a fantasy, and it makes you want to spend more time watching porn because it feels good.
These chemicals are a strong physiological force to be reckoned with and they make you crave and become addicted to porn. When you become addicted to something, you no longer realize you are displaying negative behavior, such as spending too much money, neglecting yourself, as well as the people around you.
2. Marriage Problems
Pornography creates marital problems because it depicts a fantasy that can’t be met by your partner. Most of the men and women in pornographic material have great bodies and perform explicit sexual behavior that they do for a living. They must perform and they must look good, otherwise, they won’t have a job.
Watching pornography creates an illusion of what a man and woman should look like and how they should behave in bed. And this is far from reality in terms of married couples. When a man who’s addicted to porn expects his wife to serve his needs the way a pornstar does, then this creates BIG trouble in the marriage.
It also lowers the spouse’s self-esteem, given the fact that her husband is sexually aroused by another woman. And if a husband is not satisfied with his wife in bed, it may cause her to reject sex because she can’t satisfy him. Watching porn, especially if they become addicted, makes his wife feel inadequate and it leads her to feelings of unhappiness.
Watching porn makes you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually unfaithful to your spouse, and just the mere sexual thoughts for another woman, even if it’s for a porn star, is already considered adultery, especially in the eyes of God.
And when you are not satisfied by your spouse, the mere sexual thoughts of gaining pleasure from another woman can lead you to seek it elsewhere, outside of porn. And because porn corrupts the mind, you can have the tendency to seek sexual pleasure outside of the marriage and commit physical adultery, which is a sin, and cause for divorce and a broken marriage.
3. Spiritual Problems
As a Christian, you already know that God frowns upon pornography. You already know that it is wrong. You know that God does not want you to have any immoral thoughts.
When you allow yourself to have these thoughts and cravings, you are building a wall between you and God. You feel shame and guilt, but you can’t help it because your body is already addicted and you crave it.
A study also reveals that Christians who know that porn is wrong but still watch it, suffer from depression and unhappiness due to the guilt they feel from viewing porn.
The 7th commandment tells us, “Though shall not commit adultery.”
This commandment is more than just the physical act of adultery, but it involves emotionally and mentally cheating on your spouse as well. This commandment tells you to protect your marriage and the family unit.
The only acceptable sexual act should be between a man and a woman in a married relationship. Any sexual desire and arousal outside of the marriage are considered adultery in God’s eyes.
Overcoming the Sin of Pornography
Now that you are aware that pornography is a major sin in the eyes of God, how do you overcome your cravings and desires? With God’s help, you can resist the urge and habit of porn use for good so you can cleanse your mind and enjoy marital peace and harmony with your spouse.
- Desire to Stop
The desire to stop must come from you. You have to really want to stop using porn so you can overcome the sin. The power of porn can be strong, due to the brain chemistry that it causes to your body. But wanting to change is the first step to recovery.
2. Pray and Study the Bible
Seek God to help you control your urges. Read the Bible and seek passages that speak to you about the sin of pornography. Believe that you can overcome and have faith. Philippians 4:13 tells us: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
3. Have an Accountability Partner
As mentioned, overcoming porn addiction can be difficult because it’s so psychologically powerful. You may not be able to do it alone. Along with God, you must have an accountability partner who can remind you that you need to stop.
In James 5:16, it says: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
In Galatians 6:2, it says: “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the laws of Christ.”
Your burden will be much lighter when a Christian brother helps to carry your burden with you.
Pornography is everywhere and it can be difficult to resist the temptation to sin with lust and adultery. However, with the grace of God, your faith, and your determination for self-control, you can fight the urge and longing so you can cleanse your mind and spirit from this lustful sin.
Seek God and the help of fellow Christians so you can save your marriage and save yourself.