What do we do with this?
68% of church-going men and over 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis.
Of young Christian adults 18-24 years old, 76% actively search for porn.
87% of Christian women have watched porn (at some time). The percentage of all women (Christian or not) who watch porn is on the rise and could eventually rival that of the men.
57% of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation.
These figures from this site. For other stats from 2016 from a major study by the Barna Group. Barna’s information is a bit older, but apparently it’s more thoroughly researched.
What approach do we take? It’s important not to simply regard porn as a “vice”. Rather, people look it online porn a few times, and little by little come to realize that it is an addiction. It works like cocaine or crack changes the chemistry of the brain and rewires it. So the individual chooses to do a sin, but then finds he or she cannot choose not to sin. And the church is still acting as if porn is the dirty magazine you buy at the 7-11, not the movies you see right on your phone. And we are in no way prepared for near-future porn in 3D and multi-sensory.
The traditional response of the church has been to tell these addicts half-truths:
- get more discipline in your life!
- just say No!
- get a new hobby!
- porn is wrong, so just stop!
- put more rules on yourself!
- think of what it is doing to your spouse and family!
- let’s tell the teens not to watch porn! (Well, since the average age of first-time porn viewers is 11, it will be very late if we talk to the youth about the issue when they are teens.)
This isn’t working.
Nor, and I will go out on a limb here, are these miracle solutions:
- Be a youth leader or teach Sunday School, your conscience won’t let you use porn!
- Have a daughter, you will come to your senses about how to treat young women!
- Read the Bible and pray!
- Join a men’s group (Well, one statistic states that “50 percent of men viewed pornography within one week of attending a Promise Keepers stadium event”; this was from 1994, I cannot imagine what today’s stats would be).
One article I just read, addressed to Christian wives, said that if their men are using porn, it’s up to the ladies to be more sexually available because satisfied husbands do not use porn. This is a lie, and frankly, a rank injustice, to place the blame for porn on the user’s spouse. (I thought this site had better insight).
Do you know that there is a percentage even of young adult men who cannot maintain an erection with a human partner? Medical studies tend, naturally, to focus only on medical causes and treat them; but still, there are plenty of healthy young men who have to take a blue pill in order to have sex. Their doctors do not ask them, “Do you spend all your energy masturbating to porn?”
On the other hand, there are porn addicts who pin the blame for their impotence on some conspiracy or another. Here’s a guy who blames impotence on the mythical chemtrail. Another blames it on fluoridation – shades of General Ripper.
I am amazed by the fact that gambling is considered a dangerous addiction, even though among Americans, only about 2-3% of the population could be considered problem gamblers. Meanwhile, well over half the US population has a porn addiction.
This article is not about solutions, but I invite the reader to follow the link to “Help! I can’t stop sinning!” where we deal with gospel solutions to addictive sin.
I am also going to ask if anyone has looked over the Conquer Series of videos for your church, since I have not seen them and do not want to have them shipped to Central America so I can evaluate them. I have read through their prospectus and agree that a Christian solution to porn must be science-based as well as faith-based. If you use it, please let me know what you think so I can update here.
Many people speak very highly of the accountability program on the app “Covenant Eyes” at http://www.covenanteyes.com/
A non-Christian group with a lot of good information is Fight the New Drug.
And a support group for Christian men and women is found at NoFapChristian on Reddit. They say: “NoFapChristians is a safe place for Christian NoFap users to discuss the process of abstaining from pornography and masturbation.” In complete anonymity.
SPECIAL RULES FOR SHARING: If people would like to leave a comment on this post, please do. If you would like to share anonymously, that would be fine too, just “comment” and say it’s anonymous, and I’ll take your name off before posting it.
OTHER POST, with older stats:
“Dear Apple: You ruined my life, so I’m suing!”
“Why do of Christian men and women regularly use pornography?” by Gary S. Shogren, Professor of New Testament, Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica
In the title, you raise a question, but never really answer it, do you? Are we so relationship bankrupt? Is it about a substitute for intimacy. I get the “addiction” piece, that once one gets inducted it is extremely difficult to escape the clutches of it. Whatever the best means of escape, why do the stats keep getting worse? It is as though Romans 6 and its counsel for believers doesn’t exist. Have we largely resigned ourselves to the mentality that “the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing” as if this is normative Christian “living.”
Are the pastors correct (the 57% who say that it is the most damaging issue in their congregation)? By the way, that 57% stat is fascinating, given that 50% of the pastors appear to be caught in this trap – meaning that 15% or more of the pastors who are “sounding the alarm” know from present personal experience that is terribly damaging. What do we make of that? Is it “honest admission” or “hypocrisy?”
What are the consequences? How harmful is it? What is the ugly fruit that is directly or indirectly produced? Do we know? Do we want to know? But if the consequences are horrific, then what to do?
I guess that I too am raising questions for which I don’t know the answer, but feel I should know – that every thinking Christian man and woman should know. Otherwise, how do we pray, encourage, protect, address, fight, etc.?
Hi Ron! Thanks for your observations, and I modified the article somewhat, including the title, to respond to some of them.
With regard to the statistics, I cannot verify them myself, but they the Barna Group is considered the gold standard for surveying the church.
As is obvious, this is a short article, which was not intended to cover every point you mention. Mainly it was to describe the prevalence of porn even among church members, and suggest some resources that someone might follow. The link to my own material is in fact a study of now the New Covenant is the paradigm we need to stop addiction and chronic sin.
Many thanks! Gary