Chances are that word made you recoil a bit. There are plenty of stigmas, judgements, and emotions that come along with the discussion of pornography and those reactions are not frequently discussed openly by the church. They may be discussed in one-on-one mentoring or during prayer times but there are rarely seminars in the church, or sermons covering this issue.
On October 27, 2015 Julia Beazley of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada came into to give a guest lecture at my university on the topic of Pornified Culture. The lecture was well-attended by students and faculty as well as a number of attendees who were not directly connected with the school. Packing out the main Lecture Theatre, where chairs had been added in the back to create more rows, Beazley explained the dangers of Pornography not merely from a Biblical stand point but also from a political stand point.
Through her talk in the morning Beazley explained that pornography is the dehumanization of predominantly women, girls, and boys, and this objectification of people cannot help but spill over, affecting the real-lives and relationships of porn users. Porn teaches that sex is not about intimacy, love, or a relationship with your sexual partner, instead it teaches that women like to be dominated. This translates into a society that views violence against women and children as being “sexy,” directly leading to the “rape culture” we struggle with today where “no” is no longer accepted as meaning no.
As Christians the fight against pornography involves rescuing those who are abused and trafficked for it as well as provided support and a safe space for people to come when they are ready to break the addiction. Pornography is an addiction just the same way as drugs or alcohol can be, in fact, Beazley mentioned studies in her lecture that have proven this fact, it is the same reward centres in the brain that are being stimulated with porn as it is with drug addiction or alcoholism.
There are ways that pornography can be fought however and in her afternoon discussion Beazley mentioned a number of ways the team she is on is trying to fight against it including branding pornography as a public health crisis. I found this a fascinating point. Pornography affects an astronomical amount of people, making up about 25% of all online searches. It is a health issue, starting with the actors on the sets all the way down to the users who are slowly destroying their relationships because you can’t help but damage relationships when porn is brought into play. It’s not real but it can create dissatisfaction with the real.
I’ll close with two quotes that Beazley opened her lectures with, both from speaker Matt Fradd,
“We were made by love, to love, for love. Love is our origin, our vocation, and our density.”
“Christianity is not about the annihilation of sexual desire, but about the orientation of it for the sake of love.”