Summit Lecture Series: The Worldview Behind Porn with Sean McDowell, part 4

Summit Lecture Series: The Worldview Behind Porn with Sean McDowell, part 4 July 21, 2015

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Imagine a path that no one walks through. Without the clearing caused by traffic, all places are equal. But, as one person, then another, then several hundred more walk along the path, then they become worked into the forest itself and eventually become a fixed place where traffic moves through.

The same can be said about our beliefs, habits and experiences. These patterns become like paths in our brains that we naturally “walk down” and naturally behave accordingly.

Another example: many people of Africa’s Maasai Tribe consider cow urine a precious commodity – they enjoy the smell like a perfume. Over the centuries, the Maasai children have smelled the cow urine and associated it with positive events, behaviors, and preferences that their brains now naturally formed so that they actually experience pleasure from a smell that actually brings most people pain and disgust.

One last example: during the Elizabethan era, when a man would be away from his beloved, the two would do something so that he would remember her scent while he was away – they would take an apple, put it in her armpit, and allow it to soak up her body odor. They would then put the “scented” apple into a bag, so that when he missed his beloved he could open up the bag and bask in her scent.

Now, in our culture, we use deodorant, cologne, perfume, soap, sprays, etc. to get rid of body odor. But, back then, they actually found it pleasurable to inhale the scent of their loved one.

This is how the brain works when its neurons fire together, then wire together.

You see, what we routinely experience forms paths in our brain that shape our behavior.

This is significant because, as Joe McIlhaney said:

“We can acquire sexual and romantic tastes and inclinations that get wired into our brains and can have a powerful impact for the rest of our lives.”

Therefore, as someone looks at pornography, they start to form pathways into their brain so that they associate sexual pleasure with those images. Then, this pattern gets locked into this person so that they can’t experience sexual pleasure apart from the pornographic images or video.

That is, until they totally restructure the physical makeup of their brains.

Or, as Pamela Paul said:

“Boys who look at pornography excessively become men who connect arousal purely with the physical, losing the ability to become attracted by the particular features of a given partner. Instead, they recreate images from pornography in their brain while they are with a real person.”

When we take all this into consideration, it becomes more and more evident how naïve the ideas of “porn doesn’t affect me” and “I’ll quit later” are.

You see, when we take in pornography, our brains become trained to cue a computer, rather than another human being with emotions, actual experiences, and an actual presence.drugs and porn

Now, another part of our brain’s process involves neurochemicals. These chemicals send messages from one cell to another. One such neurochemical is called dopamine – the “reward” chemical that makes us feel good for taking risks. This is the chemical at work when you go on a roller coaster. You feel anxious and nervous at first, but then afterward, you feel euphoric – a natural high. Athletes also feel a rush of dopamine when they seem to have an extra burst of energy as they push through what they thought was their last bit of exhaustion.

God designed us so that when we push ourselves physically and take risks, there is a natural “reward” that feels good.

The problem with porn is that it goes to the exact same part of the brain involving dopamine that addictive drugs release as well. When you take certain drugs, your body short circuits the natural process that your body and brain are supposed to go through to get dopamine and instead sends the neurochemical instantly.

The exact same chemicals are involved when looking at pornography.

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