by Dr. Phil Stringer

Author of Transformation

Matthew 6:22-23 says:

The light of the body is the eye:  if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.  If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

The point of this passage is that much of our lifestyle is determined by how we use our eyes—what we choose to look at.  This is why Proverbs 4:25 (a passage about keeping your heart right with the Lord) says, “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.”  II Peter 2:14 warns about people in rebellion towards the Lord having “eyes full of adultery.”

The United States has become the pornography capital of the world.

Over 400 different pornographic magazines are sold through 20,000 adult bookstores.

X-rated cable channels are offered on over 400 cable networks.

There are more outlets selling and renting pornographic videos than there are McDonald’s restaurants.

X-rated videos account for over 14% of the video rental market and 25% of video sales.  The pornography industry has become an $8 billion a year industry in the United States.

The main argument given in favor of pornography is that it is a “victimless crime”—that it does not hurt anyone.  However, research done by professors from Indiana University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Houston was summarized by psychotherapist David A. Scott to give these nine warnings:

Pornography leads to a devaluation and depreciation of the importance of monogamy, and a lack of confidence in marriage as a viable institution.

Porn leads to an increased acceptance of premarital and extramarital sexuality, and increased distrust among sexually intimate partners, both married and single.

Pornography makes people twice as likely to believe that children are a liability and a handicap, especially female children.

Porn leads to diminished satisfaction with the physical appearance and sexual performance of intimate partners.

Porn leads to an enhanced sense of importance of sex without emotional involvement.

Porn creates an appetite for more unusual and bizarre materials such as those depicting sadomasochism and sexual violence.

Initial repulsion and boredom toward porn is over-ridden by engaging in increasingly bizarre sex acts with a greater variety of sexual partners.  Such behavior is soon perceived as normal.

Porn leads to insensitivity towards victims of sexual violence.  Exposure to porn leads to a belief that such materials do not harm even children.

Porn is used by pedophiles [child molesters] to lower children’s inhibitions to initiate them into specific sexual practices.  Adolescents who were sexually molested as children often begin sexually molesting children as young as two or three years of age.

Dr. James Dobson gives these eight warnings about the dangers of pornography:

Depictions of violence against women are related to violence against women everywhere.  The most cursory examination of the material being marketed today makes it clear why that is true.  I could not describe the offensiveness of these publications without being pornographic even in this context.

The use of pornography seems to be addictive and progressive in nature.  That is, those who get hooked on sexually explicit material tend to become obsessed by their need.  It also interferes with the normal sexual relationship between husbands and wives.

The river of obscenity which floods our homes has reached the eyes and ears of children!  Boys and girls are finding and viewing their parents’ X-rated videos and magazines.  They are also being bombarded by vile lyrics in rock music on radio, television, and videos.  Their morals are being corrupted by R-rated movies which dangerously link sex and violence.  They are being shocked and titillated by obscenity on dial-a-porn phone lines.  And on and on it goes.  As a direct consequence, psychotherapists are seeing increasing numbers of disturbed young patients who may never enjoy healthy attitudes about sex.

Pornography is degrading and humiliating to women [who are] deprived of dignity and modesty.  Men and boys are purchasers of this material.  The entire female gender has reason to feel used and abused by this industry.

Pornography is often used by pedophiles to soften children’s defenses against sexual exploitation.  They are stripped of innocence and subjected to brutalities that will be remembered for a lifetime.

Outlets for obscenity are magnets for sex-related crimes.  When an adult bookstore moves into a neighborhood, an array of “support services” typically develops around it.  Prostitution, narcotics, and street crime proliferate.  Ask anyone who lives near a sex shop.  You will hear an immediate protest.

So-called adult bookstores often become cesspools of disease and homosexual activity.  In this day of concern over AIDS and other STD’s, it is difficult to understand why local health departments have refused to close down these foul businesses.

Finally, pornography is damaging to the family in countless ways.  We are sexual creatures, and the physical attraction between males and females provides the basis for every dimension of marriage and parenthood.  Thus, anything that interjects itself into that relationship must be embraced with great caution.

According to an F.B.I. study, 81% of sex murderers said their biggest sexual interest was pornography (1986 Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography).  According to the March, 1995, Psychology of Living, 82% of all child molesters admit to trying out or imitating behavior that they saw depicted in pornography.

The 1986 Attorney General’s Commission of Pornography warned that:

A certain percentage of adolescents whose first sexual experiences are triggered by pornography of violent sex, will develop a fetish, a conditioning, that will associate violence with sex.  We are training rapists and murderers with pornography.

This concern is further explained in the Commission report:

The commission heard testimony in Houston for Dr. Victor Cline, Professor of Psychology at the University of Utah, who also cites the work of Dr. James McGaugh at the University of California, Irvine, on memory.  The “research suggests that experiences at times of emotional (or sexual) arousal get locked in the brain by the chemical epinephrine and become virtually impossible to erase.  These memories, very vivid and graphic in nature, keep intruding themselves back onto the mind’s memory screen serving to stimulate and arouse the viewer,” he said.  “This may help explain pornography’s addicting effect.  These powerfully sexually arousing experiences become vivid memories which the mind ‘replays’ stimulating the child again and again suggesting the need for further stimulation . . . Most evidence suggests that all sexual deviations and their variations are learned behavior.  I know of no good evidence anywhere suggesting genetic transmission of sexual pathology.”

Medical doctor Elizabeth Holland warns about the relationship between pornography and child molestation:

There exist in our nation . . . those men and women who have been abused, who have been damaged for life by those who feed on pornography . . . who have a sickness, who need to feed on dirty pictures and pornography.  And when touching pictures and fantasizing and looking no longer satisfies these people’s insatiable appetites, then they move.  And they move to love children.  I know because I treat these children.

In his book Exploding the Myths That Could Destroy America, Dr. Irwin Lutzer makes this statement about the influence of pornography on marriage:

Those who are addicted to pornography soon find that the normal relationship between a man and a woman in marriage loses its appeal.  The only way the marriage can be sustained, if at all, is through bizarre forms of sexuality, often against the objection of one of the partners.  Even then one must move on to multiple sexual partners to continue the wild goose chase that inevitably ends in the wilderness of guilt, frustration, and emptiness.  As John Drakeford wrote in an article entitled “The Sexual Mirage,” pornography has “strained the traditional relationship between husband and wife. Pornography presents an unreal view of human sexuality.  It is an exaggerated, fantasized view. If a husband or wife see this perspective as the norm, it is going to do a great deal of damage to the sexual relationship.”  One-half of all divorces take place because of adultery; often the adultery was encouraged by pornography.

God is very careful to warn His children about moral purity.  Matthew 5:27-28 says, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”  I Thessalonians 4:3-7 reads:

3  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

4  That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

6  That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

7  For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

Finally, II Timothy 2:22 instructs, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

The importance of moral purity is why the patriarch Job said, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1)