Summit Lecture Series: The Worldview Behind Porn with Sean McDowell, part 6

Summit Lecture Series: The Worldview Behind Porn with Sean McDowell, part 6 August 4, 2015

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To purchase the entire DVD set of the Summit Lecture Series, visit summit.org.

When it comes to watching pornography, people often say that it’s not unhealthy because, “I’m not hurting anybody.”

Somehow, we bought this idea in our culture that you can do whatever you want to do, as long as you don’t hurt anybody else.

By that definition, you could be into voyeurism. You could peep through your neighbors’ windows and watch them undress without their knowing. Presumably, this activity would be fine since they don’t know you’re doing it and thus you’re not hurting them. But the truth is that we commonly hold that voyeurism is wrong. In fact, it’s illegal.

You see, right or wrong is not dependent on whether or not we hurt someone, but the wrong things we do ALWAYS hurt somebody – even if that somebody is the person doing the wrong thing. At the very least, doing the wrong thing will hurt us in our relationships with other people.

Sad woman on the bed with her husband in the background

I have counseled many, many women who say, when they find out that their husbands look at porn: “I have no idea who he is anymore”; “I feel like I’ve lived a lie the entire time”; “I thought we had a good marriage”. I see things like betrayal, loss, mistrust, devastation, and anger when they find out their spouses look at pornography.

But there’s actually a scientific way to show that pornography hurts other people. Scientists performed a study where two groups of men watched a certain program and then were partnered with a corresponding group of women to finish a high-stress task. The women had no idea what the men had done before engaging them on the second part of the experiment. The first group of men watched the news. The other group watched pornography. When they were partnered with the women, they were watched to see if they interacted with them differently, based on what they had just previously consumed.Ana J Bridges

They found that men who viewed porn showed more dominant behavior, touched their female partners for longer periods of time, and ignored their partner’s contributions more often than the males who viewed news clips. The women whose partners had viewed porn showed similar levels of anxiety, physical promiscuity, partner touch and gazing as their partners. According to Ana Bridges of the University of Arkansas, “It suggests that women are affected by a partner’s use of sexually explicit material, even when they are unaware of such use.”

“I’m not hurting anybody.” What a myth!

I also talk to a lot of girls who look at pornography and suddenly they think that they are not beautiful, they think that they don’t match up, and it devastates their self-image.

“I’m not hurting anyone.” That’s a myth!

So what do we do?

One action is to make a difference in the lives of the people who have been harmed by pornography. If you want to commit your life to something worthwhile, find a way to help people who are trapped in the porn industry. Or commit yourself to teaching a Biblical perspective of sexuality to the church and to people who are hooked on porn; and engage with our culture with the truth. That’s a life mission that is worthwhile.

But, on a more personal level, many of us struggle with the sexual temptation that is just one click away. First off, know that people who start to find themselves engaged in porn also start to find ways to justify their behavior; and start to question the Bible as a result.

So, let me tell you exactly what Satan wants you to think – and I do believe that spiritual warfare is involved. Satan wants you to think, “You claim to be a Christ-follower, yet you look at pornography? Shame on you! I can’t believe you call yourself a Christian. God can’t use you! Because you’re not pure in the way that you live.” In the Book of Revelation, Satan is described as “The Accuser” who stands before God and says, “Look at your people and how shameful they are!”

What happens is this: we live our life and we make mistakes. We repent and tell God we won’t do it again. But then we get stressed and we feel lonely and we make the mistake again. And we promise God again that we won’t do it in the future. But then we find ourselves falling into a cycle. We get discouraged and we think that we can’t quit. Then we question the power and sovereignty of God. We would rather walk away from Him to alleviate our guilt than deal with the inadequacies in our lives.

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