Pornography. As a man who has struggled on and off with a porn addiction for over 12 years, it seems as if I have heard every possible statistic and opinion when it comes to porn. I have heard about how the chemicals in a person’s brain are affected by porn use, I have heard purity talks and I have had countless conversations on the subject. On this campus, we probably have a wide range of opinions on the use of porn; however, the scientific and statistical facts speak for themselves: more people are watching it, the audience is getting younger and it is not exclusively a problem for men. If you want to see some of the hard facts related to pornography use, you can visit the website Fight the New Drug run by Porn Kills Love.
Beyond the statistics and science of pornography, however, I want to share some of my own thoughts on the reality of porn. Throughout the years of my addiction, I often chose to struggle silently, choosing to keep that part of my life secret from everyone around me. Even when I sought out accountability partners, I basically expected those individuals to intuit that I was struggling and to ask me how I was doing without really putting in the effort myself to seek out their help. If you are reading this, I want you to know that you cannot fight addiction in this manner. It does not work. It was not until the last couple of years that I started taking Christ’s teachings about gouging out your eye or cutting off your hand far more seriously when dealing with sin.
If our goal in life is to be holy as Christ is holy, we need to be willing to take drastic measures to rid ourselves of those sins and temptations to which we consistently return. Obviously, I did not cu toff my hand or gouge out an eye, but I placed restrictions on my technology use, monitored by accountability partners, that limit my freedom to use technology however and whenever I please.
Are we willing to do whatever it takes, or will we choose to continue “struggling” in the dark, expecting the temptation to simply disappear one day?
I honestly believe that, with the accessibility of pornography today, we cannot stand idly by as a church and expect ourselves or future generations to conquer this beast alone. Yes, sexual temptation has always existed (see David and Bathsheba), but never has it been more readily satisfied. As soon as a person thinks of something he or she wants to watch, it is already in a Google search bar, and the more we choose to feed the hungry beast that is sexual temptation, the more it asks of us and the hungrier it gets. Besides the correlations found between pornography use and anxiety, depression and relationship dissatisfaction, it is my opinion that if we continue ignoring the problem and pretending that it does not exist, we are choosing to allow greater frequency of events such as rape, sexual harassment, divorce and an overall disregard for the well-being of others.
Will we, as a student body and as a church, choose to have conversations about this issue, or will we sweep it under the rug, hoping it will just go away? We are the generation that makes that decision.