AI-generated fake images of Taylor Swift make headlines: Five biblical responses to our “schism of the soul”

AI-generated fake images of Taylor Swift make headlines: Five biblical responses to our “schism of the soul” January 29, 2024

Taylor Swift was in the news yesterday as she watched her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, play tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. He made eleven catches as his team defeated the Baltimore Ravens and will face the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. However, Taylor Swift was also in the news earlier in the week as millions of people came across fake sexually explicit AI-generated images of the pop singer on social media. No federal law in the US prevents or deters someone from creating and sharing non-consensual deepfake images, though Congress is beginning the process of considering such legislation.

People seldom make products for which there is no market. Online pornography has nearly doubled in the last five years to a $1.1 billion industry.

And this is just the tragic tip of the moral iceberg.

“How did polyamory become so popular?”

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that “open relationships are having a moment.” According to the article, 22 percent of Americans say they have engaged in “consensual non-monogamy.” This sin is being normalized as we speak:

  • The book More: A Memoir of Open Marriage is generating headlines and reviews across popular culture.
  • Time published an article by the book’s author titled “Why I Love My Open Marriage.”
  • The New York Times published a recent article in which the author claims, “I have no moral objection to infidelity. For me, sex is just sex.”
  • New York magazine published a cover story titled “Polyamory: A practical guide for the curious couple.”
  • The New Yorker published a recent article asking, “How did polyamory become so popular?”

This despite research clearly showing that sexual monogamy is best for us:

  • The National Survey of Family Growth found that women with ten or more sexual partners before marrying were the most likely to divorce; those with zero to one were the least likely to divorce.
  • In another study, couples who were “sexually inexperienced” prior to marriage and have only had sex with their spouse were the most likely to report a “very satisfied” level of overall marital satisfaction.
  • Research shows that normative monogamy “increases savings, child investment, and economic productivity” and “reduces intra-household conflict, leading to lower rates of child neglect, abuse, accidental death, and homicide.”

The dangers of pornography are similarly well documented, with clear causal connections to adultery, divorce, physical violence, sex trafficking, addiction, and even brain damage in those who consume it.

The fiction of a “victimless” sin

God warns us to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18) and to “let the marriage bed be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4). Once again, secular research proves his word to be right.

Why, then, is there such a market for pornography and a growing interest in adulterous relationships?

Because they combine Satan’s perennial temptation to be our own God (Genesis 3:5) with the lure of physical and emotional pleasure popularized by the media-infused normalization of immorality in our broken culture. All in a package that promises the fiction of a “victimless” sin between “consenting” adults.

AI-generated virtual reality is now making pornography even more immersive, graphic, and destructive. What happened to Taylor Swift last week could happen to anyone, including your family and mine. The digital accessibility of pornography, coupled with the normalizing of adultery, will make the plague of sexual sin even more devastating in the coming years.

Five practical steps

In response, let’s take five biblical steps today:

  1. Identify sex outside of monogamous marriage for the sin it is (1 Thessalonians 4:3–5).
  2. Refuse the prideful temptation to believe it cannot tempt us (James 1:13–15).
  3. Recognize it when it strikes and take it immediately to God, asking him for the strength to resist (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  4. If we fall to temptation, confess our sin immediately to God, claiming his forgiveness and grace (1 John 1:9).
  5. Encourage everyone we influence to take these steps with us (cf. Matthew 5:16).

Today’s discussion is crucial not just for our souls but also for our society.

British historian Arnold Toynbee researched twenty-one different civilizations before writing his twelve-volume A Study of History. In it, he concluded that “civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.” They suffer a “schism of the soul” when people believe they are no longer bound by the moral law and stop resisting forces that threaten their world.

Founding Father Samuel Adams was right:

“Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness.”

Will they be your “solid foundation” today?

Monday news to know

Quote for the day

“The consideration that human happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected will always continue to prompt me to promote the former by inculcating the practice of the latter.” —George Washington

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