Pornography—Harmless or Toxic?

The world today is awash with pornography. *

It may be found in advertisements, fashion, movies, music, and magazines, as well as on television, video games, Smartphone’s, mobile devices, Web sites, and now online photo-sharing services.

Pornography, it seems, is a prominent feature of popular culture.

More people in more places are consuming more pornography than at any other time in history.—See the box “Facts about Pornography.”

The nature of pornography is also changing.

Professor Gail Dines writes: “Images today have now become so extreme that what used to be considered hard-core is now mainstream pornography.”

How do you view those trends? Is pornography a harmless pastime, a deadly poison, or something in between? Jesus said: “Every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces worthless fruit.”

(Matthew 7:17) What fruitage does pornography produce? To find the answers, let us consider some basic questions about pornography.

How does pornography affect individuals?

WHAT EXPERTS SAY: Pornography is highly addictive, with some researchers and therapists even likening it to crack cocaine. Brian, * who was hooked on Internet pornography, relates: “Nothing would stop me.

I felt like I was in some sort of trance. I would literally shake and develop pains in my head.

I struggled to stop, but years later I was still addicted.” People who indulge in pornography often cover up their habit.

They are secretive and deceitful. Not surprisingly, many suffer from feelings of isolation, shame, anxiety, depression, and anger.

In some cases, they even develop suicidal tendencies. “My mood became self-absorbed and desperate,” says Serge, who downloaded porn to his mobile phone almost daily. “I felt worthless, guilty, alone, and trapped.

I was too embarrassed and scared to seek help.” Even a fleeting or accidental brush with pornography can have a negative impact.

Testifying before a U.S. Senate committee, Dr. Judith Reisman, a leading researcher on pornography, said: “Pornographic visual images imprint and alter the brain, triggering an instant, involuntary, but lasting, biochemical memory trail [that is] difficult or impossible to delete.” Susan, 19, who was exposed to pornographic Web sites, relates: “The images are engraved on my mind.

They pop up unexpectedly. It feels like I will never completely be able to erase them.”

Pastor Raymond