Summit Lecture Series: The Worldview Behind Porn with Sean McDowell, part 1

Summit Lecture Series: The Worldview Behind Porn with Sean McDowell, part 1 June 16, 2015

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What’s the big deal with pornography?

The truth is that it is a huge subject that we need to deal with honestly and frankly. So, starting with the root of it all, the word “pornography” comes from the Greek word pornographos, which means “writing about prostitutes”. Yet, according to our culture, and as quoted by actor Seth Rogen’s character in the film Zack and Miri Make a Porno,

“It’s all mainstream now.”

And, according to recent polls, 42.7% of all internet users view porn. Every second, 28,258 internet users view porn. The U.S. annual porn revenue is over $13 billion – more than all of the nation’s major sports combined. While worldwide porn revenue is over $100 billion. And every day, 2.5 billion pornographic email are sent.

What might surprise you, though, is who is looking at all this porn. Today, roughly 30% of the internet’s porn is viewed by women. So, considering that $100 billion is at stake, porn producers have stopped competing as harshly for men, because statistically speaking, most men look at pornography without being marketed to. The untapped market is women. Therefore, they are changing the face and tone of pornography in order to make it more appealing to women.

One example of this, that we have seen rocket into our culture, is EL James’ Fifty Shades book series and movies. For over 100 weeks, the books dominated the New York Times Bestseller list, and earned over $500 million at the box office.fifty-shades-grey-men

It tells the story of a billionaire with a tortured past who meets a college student who eventually gives herself over to him in incredibly hardcore pornographic ways to try to earn his love.

It’s amazing to me how this has even seeped into the Church. My wife recently came home from a women’s Bible study meeting and many of the women there were discussing Fifty Shades.

It’s everywhere.

Pornography has somehow seeped into our culture in a way that it never has before. Several years ago, Marvel creator Stan Lee created an animated series featuring Playboy Bunnies. The idea was that if you drip something like playboy into a comic book genred entity, kids will grow interested in the benign cartoon, which will then desensitize them when they grow older and be less inhibited to engage in Playboy in their later years.

This isn’t missed by online porn producers. Many have purchased domain names similar in spelling to Pokemon, Bakugon, or other toys, so that when kids misspell what they are looking for, they actually end up sitting in front of porn sites. These producers are strategic and savvy.

So, there are people sitting around trying to figure out how to do whatever they can to hook you and the next generation on pornography without a single care of what it does to relationships, or to individuals… all because they want to make more money.

But don’t take my word for it. Consider renown author and Marriage and Family Therapist Jill Manning:Jill-Manning-PHD

“Several years ago, I would have considered myself complacent if not downright indifferent about the issue of pornography. Today, I feel a sense of urgency about this issue that often surprises me.”

For years, people have viewed porn as “fine”, “harmless”, “victimless”, “it liberates women”, “we can’t judge those who make or view porn”…

In fact, the most judgmental comments these days are aimed at those who say you should avoid porn, not the other way around.

On the flipside, we are seeing a trend in recent years where experts are wondering if perhaps this “experiment in pornography” is not such a good idea for society.

Now, as a Christian, I kinda go… “DUH!”

But, we’re starting to see people – even secular individuals with no church affiliation at all – say, “Wait a minute! Porn is powerfully shaping this culture, in how people view relationships. We need to call a time-out and look more deeply at this issue.”

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