Ethical Ways of Viewing Porn?

Is it possible to sugarcoat evil?  To normalize the reprehensible? To rationalize doing immoral things?  Apparently, in today’s culture, the answer is “yes.”

Axis is a Christian-based media organization aimed at helping parents navigate the cultural changes that impact teens.  They have a periodic email called “Culture Translation” that sums up current cultural trends.

It’s a fascinating look at relevant societal changes.  And yes, it can be scary too.

Their July 23, 2021, newsletter led off with a story about a prestigious Manhattan private school with classes on how to be ethical consumers of porn.  Embedded in the story is a link to a July 18, 2021, article in The Atlantic Magazine titled, Modern Porn Education Is Totally Unprepared for Modern Porn.

As shocking as it is to think that a prestigious private school would offer porn-literacy classes that teach an “ethical” way to view porn, that wasn’t even the most stunning part of the article.  Axis points out the reaction of teens interviewed for the article.  Their responses only confirm how the human brain can be rewired in ways we cannot comprehend.  As the brain’s “reward” circuitry gets used over and over (while using porn), the brain creates new neuropathways, essentially rewiring itself for addictive behavior. 

Is there anything that undermines marriages and relationships more today than porn?  I submit there is only one way to consume pornography ethically.   DON’T.

Here is the Axis commentary from their July 23rd newsletter.

Sex Miseducation What it is: A prestigious private school’s health and wellness program sparked controversy earlier this year because of a curriculum meant to teach teens how to be “ethical” consumers of porn.

Why it uncovers a deeper problem: It’s not so surprising that parents complained when class time and tuition money went toward discussing different types of explicit content with their teenagers. But the students’ reactions were more telling. They complained about how boring the discussion was, not that it felt explicit. Liz Bruenig explored this dynamic in a column for The Atlantic that concludes with a telling interview with a group of minors who are sexually active. The minors say that the influence of porn on their sexual activity is undeniable, even going so far as to say they thought BDSM (Bondage\Dominance\Sadism\ Masochism) and other violent sexual preferences were normal. As Christians, we know that anything that exploits or degrades another person’s body is impossible to “ethically” consume, or even passively observe, so the idea of establishing a moral sensibility that orients how we use pornography is out of the question. But for teens who are exposed to more than we can imagine, the conversation around what porn is and who it impacts is one we can’t avoid.

I am a free speech advocate but… 

Free speech advocacy is an easy position when our culture has a moral compass that self-governs our behaviors and tongues.  But we now live in a society where freedom is defined more by license to do what you want rather than what you should.  I have always been fond of the quote, “he who is enslaved to the compass, has the freedom of the seas.”  It’s a reminder of the necessity of a compass to achieve true freedom.  

The Atlantic article, sadly, is one such example of going off course. It champions the need for porn-literacy training, stating, “Without that kind of guidance, how are teenagers supposed to have any idea how to be good people in the world we’ve created?”(1).    We created?

Tragically, our culture has thrown the compass overboard and arrogantly sailed on with an “I will do it my way” guidance system.  Changing course from self-discipline to self-indulgence, we pridefully chart a course using counterfeit solutions to fulfill our longing for wholeness. By doing so, we find ourselves at the mercy of the cultural currents,  temperamental waves, and tempting winds of change that drive us in any and every direction. We are left with self-defeating ways to manage our self-serving choices, like finding ethical ways to view porn.

We morally disengage.  Or worse, think we are doing good by teaching ethical ways to do ungodly things.

The course on porn-literacy and The Atlantic article assumes that some porn is ok, just not the bad porn.  But such an approach is clueless to the destructive and addictive nature of appetitive sins like lust.  With each indulgence, a sense of despair results in yet another self-defeating plunge into the ever-demanding desire for that which provides the same titillating  experience. Consequently, our culture is littered with the broken hearts and marriages of those who are unable to master their addiction.

Freedom of speech may allow the evil of porn to be a destination. Yet, it is our life’s compass (if we have one at all) that will determine the final destination.  One compass gives you the “freedom of the seas.” Another compass leads to enslavement to your passions.  

But then again, according to some people, there is an ethical way to be a slave.

**************

“People have got to be able to govern themselves to practice self-restraint before they can rule themselves via an elected government.”  Chuck Colson

(1). The Atlantic

(2). Photo by Heidi Fin at unsplash.com

One thought on “Ethical Ways of Viewing Porn?

  1. Pornography is highly addictive. It is also very destructive to kids and children who use the internet and accidentally watch porn sites. Many parents do not activate parental controls and therefore their children watch everything.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s