Ethical Porn: Really?

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So on the first Sunday in February at the Fort McMurray Alliance Church we had what we called “Porn Sunday”.  You can find the message on iTunes by clicking here. So what’s this about? Recently I had a conversation with a guy who thought my concern about his regular use of porn was a bit too much. I was just one of those narrow minded church types who is hanging on to values that are just out of step with this enlightened age of openness we now live in.

I get that the Bible’s stand on the issue is not going to grab him. Sure Jesus said, “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” (Matthew 5:28) but that’s the Bible. While I think biblical standards are brilliant, that they lead us to the life we ultimately yearn to live, my friend remains unconvinced.

My friend holds a view that is essentially one of “ethical porn.” He would simply suggest that if we’re just talking about adults and it doesn’t involve violence or overtly degrading acts, what’s the harm. Boys will be boys. And yeah girls will be girls. I don’t think it’s that simple.

Porn RevelSo this Sunday, Porn Sunday we’re going to unpack why the biblical viewpoint might actually lead to what my friend is really yearning for deep at the core of his being. And at the same time I’d like to de-bunk the myth of harmless ethical porn.

Here are some thoughts I’m working with as I prepare for Sunday. They come from a variety of sources that if you’re interested in, you can message me below and I’ll point you in a few directions.  Consider these thoughts and stats:

  • Approaching $100 billion – the amount of annual revenue produced by internet porn sites.
  • The pornography industry is larger than the revenues Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EathLink combined.
  • 35% of all internet downloads are pornographic
  • 11 years is the average age at which a child first sees porn online
  • 1 in 3 porn viewers are women
  • 70% of men aged 18 to 24 visit porn sites in a typical month
  • Increased exposure to pornography creates the need for increased levels of stimulation leading to ever more deeply addicted involvement.  It’s a cycle that just goes deeper and darker.
  • Pornography is becoming one the leading destroyers of marriages and families, devastating trust, intimacy as well the ability to enter into healthy relationship within and beyond the family.
  • Studies by Dr. Claudio Violato of Calgary’s National Foundation for Family Research and Education has found a strong link between using pornographic materials and the development of significant behavioural, psychological and social problems. Studying over 12,000 participants he could find no beneficial aspects to pornography, just varying levels of harm.
  • Gail Dines in her book “Pornland” calls porn sex “debased, dehumanized, formulaic and generic” sex that “encodes deep cultural scripts of male entitlement and female subservience.” What she describes is sex that is so deeply contrary to the dignity of each and every human being, male and female.
  • So much of the porn industry is simply cruel and violent, exploiting and degrading primarily women and often children and men as well. We’re not just talking the sex trade in Cambodia, but any Canadian city. If you have any sense of justice, you would want to see the porn industry shut down.

Two years ago an article in the Globe and Mail championed the idea of “Ethical Porn.” It accepted porn as normal and wanted users to become a little more ethical by paying for the product. The article has continued to garner attention having been updated last September.  Even if you don’t accept the wisdom of the Bible, you really don’t have to look too far to see the damage that porn is doing to it’s users, distorting the individuals ability to relate healthily with a spouse, family or friends. It promotes an industry that simply exploits the most vulnerable in our world. There is nothing ethical about porn.

So come out this Sunday to Porn Sunday and hear a little more. But this won’t just be an anti-porn guilt inducing rant. Rather this Sunday we want to look at the way out and what it takes to develop healthy relationships, what it takes to experience the life you’ve always yearned to experience.  Hey most of you are into Porn – so let’s talk and see if what you’re really after, can be found in a more healthy way.

And yeah I know, it’s hard to invite someone to church with you and say “Hey you want to go to Porn Sunday with me?” But give it a try and see if you might be a catalyst that helps someone addicted to porn find the freedom and healthy relationships they so desperately desire. Okay that Sunday has now come and gone. So if you want to hear the message you can connect with it on iTunes by clicking here.

And if you’re looking for some help with porn check out xxx.church.com as well as their online workshops that have proven to be incredibly helpful.

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One Response to "Ethical Porn: Really?"
  1. Becky says:

    Doug,
    I wanted to thank you for your message Feb 3rd, and the series that has followed that first message, Porn Sunday. It is a huge problem in both the secular and church world, and it affects so many of our kids/youth, yet pastors are afraid to talk about it. Yes, of course, it is a hard and sensitive issue, but it is something that needs to be dealt with, with Gods truth and grace, and I think you did a great job of doing that.
    Many people think the bible is not relavent to their lives now – a – days and messages like this, Porn Sunday/Desperate Relationships, and the one in January, I once was Broke but Now I am Not, really show every day people that the bible does have timeless truths in it that they can apply to their lives today. And I think you do a great job of sharing these sometimes hard truths (especially ones that go so strongly against our culture like Porn Sunday) with Gods mercy, grace, forgiveness and chance for healing and redemption.
    Money, porn, sex, etc, are things that are rampant in our culture, and the destroy lives, marriages, families, etc and we need more pastors like you that are willing to stand up and shed the light of Gods truth in these areas.
    Thank you! God bless you and your growing ministry. Excited to be apart of your flock and seeing where God is taking me and the church as a whole!

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