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October 2, 2017

No Porn, Please!

Porn? No Thank You

By Dr Daniel Thejus (Bobby)

Sex. The three letter word can be a blessing and a curse. It could remain a blessing if it is merely used but when abused it turns into a demon. We are told that, the more open we are about it the better off we are. Conversely the more open we have been about it, the worse we are for it. It has brought so much pain, disease, betrayal, abandonment and has abused hospitality. To make matters worse there have been attempts to justify the consequences of its abuse. Making the Christian view look like a psychological anomaly while the opposite view as liberating.

What is the Christian view? Does it elevate it to a god or does it reduce it to a demon? The Christian says, both options are irrelevant if we believe that it is a gift from God. A gift given for us to explore and enjoy. Just like food satisfies our taste buds and also nourishes us, similarly sex satisfies our sexual appetite and also nourishes our life by bringing forth a new life. Just as we have dieticians prescribing right meals for us we have Christianity prescribing a right understanding of sex. An unbridled diet for both results in unpleasant consequences.

It is in this context that we have to look at pornography. Pornography comes from two words that imply ‘writing’ and ‘prostitute’. So why does a Christian say, that pornography is not good for our diet? It is worth quoting C.S. Lewis here,

Now suppose you come to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the light went out, that it contained a mutton chop, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?[1]

The Journey from Simulation to Simulacrum

Something has indeed gone wrong with our appetite for sex with the introduction of pornography. While I was studying philosophy I was introduced to two words, simulation and simulacrum. Simulation is when an artificial environment is created to make you feel as though it is real. Simulacrum is when people stop seeing the difference between reality and hyper-reality. The two are merged. Pornography might start off as a simulated experience but then it eventually leads to simulacrum where the person stops seeing the difference between a real human and what they see on the screen.

The Journey from Enjoyment to Anorexia

Japan is a classic case study of this experience. Japan is one of the top 5 countries that has the world’s highest pornographic viewership and it also ranks no.2 in the world’s lowest birth rate. The connection between the two is unmistaken. Researchers have shown repeatedly that pornographic viewing reduces our ability to engage with reality. People find it difficult to relate physically with real people. In this state of simulacrum, the viewer prefers what they see on the screen rather than a real human. Or they attempt to replicate the experience only to be disappointed later. This eventually leads to what psychologists call ‘sexual anorexia’.[2]

The Journey from being Person to becoming an Object

Although the two points mentioned above lacks Christian underpinnings, it agrees with what the Christian has been trying to say all along; pornography is not good for health. Ultimately we must acknowledge the Christian view, that a human being is made in the image of God. When that image is marred we become unhealthy. That image is repeatedly being stained in the world of pornography. A person ceases to be a person and becomes an object. Increased use of pornography creates more demand and more demand creates more room for abuse. The Human Rights Now organisation released shocking statistics of how innocent girls are coerced to participate in the making of pornographic content  and how this has even led to suicide.[3] All things considered, the Christian view that humans are made in the image of God is a very comforting thought. It creates a world that is safe and truly loving.

So what do we do? If Pornography implies ‘words’ about ‘prostitutes’, then we have to replace those words with the Logos – ‘words’ about ‘Christ’. Jesus is the word!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think on these things.[4]

-Dr. Daniel Thejus (Bobby) is a Speaker and Trainer with RZIM Life Focus Society based in Bengaluru, India.

[1] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2000), p.96.

[2] http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170508-the-many-reasons-that-people-are-having-less-sex?&lan=cn&lan=cn&lan=cn accessed on 23-08-2017

[3] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/japan-women-pornography-porn-japanese-human-rights-forced-coercion-rape-a7351926.html accessed on 23-08-2017

[4] Philippians 4:8

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