Can I address an uncomfortable subject like pornography or would you rather I address something safer … like smartphones?
Actually, I can’t talk about one without talking about the other. There was a time when pornography was relegated to seedy bookstores in a sketchy part of town or a magazine subscription, but not anymore. We now have the Internet. Pornography is big business on the Internet. Huge.
And now pornography is as close as our smartphones. The porn sites are getting slicker and easier to access, and since we rarely go anywhere without our phones, there is a pipeline to pornography right in your back pocket.
Pornography was already flooding our culture, and the smartphone only made it worse. Ted Shimer, founder of The Freedom Fight, has mentored young adults for close to three decades. He notes that in 2007—the year the iPhone came out—his ministry partners noticed a significant increase in porn addiction among young people.
This isn’t limited to young adults. Consider its impact on our kids. Every kid wants a phone, and it benefits the parents as well; parents can get ahold of a child quickly or keep tabs on where he is. It’s a good link of communication, but for every kid we hand this lifeline to, we’re also handing them easy access to pornography. Eleven is the average age that a child is first exposed to porn, and 94 percent of children will see porn by the age of fourteen. [Source]
Ted Shimer said,
“When a mom hands her seventh grader an iPhone, she’s not realizing she’s handing her child 24/7 access to pornography,” he said. “And yet, that’s what’s happening. It’s the private access at such young ages that’s really the driver behind why we’re seeing so many young people with such deep addictions. It’s getting worse every year. It’s a massive, massive issue.” [Source]
If you depress easily, stop reading. The statistics are about to get worse. According to Barna Research and Covenant Eyes:
- 68% of church-going men view porn on a regular basis.
- Over 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis.
- 59% of pastors said that married men seek their help for porn use.
- 33% of women aged 25-and-under search for porn at least once per month.
- Only 13% of Christian women say they never watch porn. That means 87% of Christian women have watched porn.
- 55% of married men and 25% of married women say they watch porn at least once a month.
- 57% of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation. And 69% say porn has adversely impacted the church. [Source]
I don’t have an easy answer. The subject makes us uncomfortable, but pretending or ignoring the problem doesn’t help. Maybe it’s time for the church to speak up. Pornography appeals to the basest part of our fallen sin nature, but we must speak against it. We must point out its dangers and consequences. We must point to the call and value of living righteous lives in Christ and for Christ.
Years ago, I committed Job 31:1 to memory: “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” Join me in the need to stand up against this secret sin that is harming the lives of so many.
“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable —if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy —dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8).
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