Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pornland Again

Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked our SexualityI stumbled across this fascinating book while visiting Michael Bird and Joel Willits over at euangelizomai, Michael's post, "Perils of Porn" links to a recent interview with Gail Dines the author of Pornland. Dines is a sociology professor at Wheelock College in Boston who has spent much of her career studying pornography. Her Book is intended to be an expose on the dangerous affects of pornography.

The interview done by Tony Jones is well worth a read. Jones, not to be confused with the emerging church guru, is the lead journalist of the Australian news show "Lateline." Apparently right now in Australia the possibility of an internet filter to serve as a national censor blocking pornography and other gruesome scenes is being discussed.

One of the issues raised in the interview is the role of culture in raising children. Part of the problem of porn that Dines raises is that it is hijacking sexuality, distorting  it into something for self gratification rather than intimacy. So even if parents are attempting to "raise their kids right," whatever that means, Dines laments,
A culture brings up a child and our culture is now toxic and thanks to the pornographers what the parents have to do is try to keep the culture outside of the house but this is counter-intuitive to parenting. And I think the culture is making it hard to be a parent. I don't blame parents for this. I think they're overwhelmed by it.
She goes on, 
We have never before brought up a generation of boys on hardcore pornography and I can tell you that the studies are showing - and the anecdotal evidence from psychologists is showing - that this is not good news.
It's not good news for the boys because their sexuality is being hijacked and it's certainly not good news for the women and the girls that they're going to date because they're insisting these girls and women perform porn sex. 
I have no doubt that the affects of pornography on children, boys and girls, is devastating. Honestly, it shouldn't take a sociologist to figure that out. I do have to wonder, however, if the hardcore pornography is at a uniquely high level. Consider some of the images from the Roman world:

Left: This relief depicts Nero conquering Armenia (from the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias)
Right: Similarly, this statues Claudius conquering Britannia. 

These are the images of imperial Rome. These are the pictures of a glorious empire enforcing its peaceful will. The affects were no doubt equally devastating in the first century as they are today. But let's not kid ourselves about human depravity. Hardcore porn is not a new invention and it won't be countered with filters or censorship.

It will require transformation by the Holy Spirit. It was not prudish culture to which Paul wrote,
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall be one flesh." (1 Cor 6:15-16 NRSV)
Paul lived and ministered in a time of rampant hardcore pornography. Indeed, he wrote to Christians who were more sexually immoral than the culture around them (1 Cor 5.1). He calls his churches to put that part of themselves to death (Col 3.5) and to follow God's will in abstaining from such things (1 Thess 4.3). Contemporary Christians do live in pornland, but lets not kid ourselves. This is pornworld. 


Rob Petersen said...

Thanks, Tyler. I think this issue is one that is really killing the church in our culture, especially the example of marriage and the proper role of mutual submission and personal intimacy a husband and a wife should have for and with one another.

Unknown said...

great thoughts, great post. Thanks Tyler!