Monday, May 07, 2007

Pornography: An Escalating Threat that Warrants Our Anger... and Compassion

I just completed a four-part sermon series (for someone else to preach...) on pornography and its impact on the family. I'm still kind of reeling from what I learned. The statistics, alone, were stunning. Porn in all its venues is a monolithic $57 billion dollar industry that's spawned a staggering behavioral epidemic on the part of millions of men and women worldwide.

Porn's financial revenue is larger than combined income of all the top technology companies: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink.* Its U.S. revenue exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, & NBC. Child pornography generates $3 billion annually.

I was surprised by how I felt about what I learned:


  1. After reading story upon story of the tsunami-like damage to hearts and souls encountered by porn, I became very angry at thoughts of its huge and bloating commercial success. Imagine what $57 billion dollars could do if turned loose on efforts to make the world a better place.
  2. I was left with a gnawing compassion for those addicted to pornography. Up until now, I'm ashamed to say I've viewed porn addicts as generically seedy and selfish. But consider the statistics within our own community**:

  • The percentage of Promise Keepers who viewed porn in the last week: 53%
  • Christians who say porn is a major problem in the home: 47%

I now have in my mind a different picture: the picture of an addict (or someone headed there). One who probably encountered pornography at a relatively young age and with repeated exposure became ensnared in a web of addiction that some experts say is harder to beat than cocaine.

One of my classmates urged that we begin to talk about this issue with more honesty and candor within the church... exposing it for what it is... and getting at the root cause... why are nearly one in two Christian families struggling with pornography in the home? And what can be done to stop the ruinous, progressively downward spiral?

There are more people struggling with pornography than I ever imagined. And once they are wrapped around the finger of an addiction, it's not a thrills ride for these folks. Its a dark and seemingly hopeless well of isolation, guilt and misery. Is everyone who encounters porn headed for an addiction? Not everyone will come under its spell. But the line separating controllable experimentation and enslavement is invisible... you never know the day or hour that a potentially addictive pursuit will become your master.

I suffered from an eating disorder for many years and understand intimately the pain and hopelessness of being in the grip of something other than God. My heart melts for others who've gone down the many torturous paths of addiction. I now feel compassionate about another group of addicts. People caught up in porn have made some bad choices, it's true. But I would urge a heightened sense of compassion... especially for those who are actively trying to beat this addiction... so that stigmas and sterotypes no longer keep the suffering in the dark... and collective prayer for the protection and restoration of the men and the women we know and love who may be waging a lonely hidden battle.

Did you know? One in four visitors to internet porn sites is a woman.

Statistics from: **xxxchurch.com and "Pornography Statistics 2007" by Jerry Ropelato

On my I-Pod... Where Do we Go From Here By Grant Lee Buffalo

3 comments:

Dawn said...

The worst of it all is how it is spilling into our mainstream media. Just look at the shows and commercials on CBS, ABC, NBC, etc. Some of these are as close to porn as they can get without stepping over the line, and the line keeps getting moved to make room for it. And young children are watching it!

Sarah Onderdonk said...

We were watching something the other night... all of us... and this gum commercial comes on... the guy and the girl kiss... then the girl turns to another girl... their eyes lock... a very seductive moment ensues... girl doesn't actually kiss girl, but the "suggestion" isn't even subtle. and it just kind of happend before we could even respond. mercifully, no one but me was paying attention. because i really, really don't want to have to explain this scenario to my seven year old... then you've got the lingerie commercials...

i was extremely concerned for my children after having researched and written this report. because the seed bed for future problems is often planted early and accidentally. someone strongly recommended TiVo'ing kids' favorite shows to bypass the damage potentially inflicted by the commercials. we don't have TiVo (guessing you don't either)... but we just may get it.

Scripture periscope for this paper was a section in Romans where rebellious people are "given over" by God to essentially wallow in increasingly deeper levels of sin/misery... the wretched beds that they themselves have made. the escalating nature of the problem of pornography is truly alarming. future looks quite bleak in this regard.

1:07 PM

Dawn said...

I can't count how many times I grab for the remote so my girls won't see something, and it usually is for a commercial. I try to be careful of what tv shows they watch, but it is getting to be harder all the time to find something harmless. And we don't even have cable! I think porn is one of Satan's greatest weapons against us, and he is so good at slipping it in through that crack in the door.