While everyone is watching the debate over homosexuality and transgenderism, there is another move on the front that we are overlooking: the normalization of pornography. Perhaps normalization is not a good term, after all its prevalence suggests it already is normal. Instead we could say approval and embracing of pornography as part of life.
There is a clash of world views taking place, but because each is currently speaking to its own supporters, there is little open debate about the issue. Surprisingly, this past week has brought a litany of articles about the concept of pornography, and a positive or negative portrayal was dependent upon the source. While the Christian sources were decrying the prevalence of pornography in our society and lamenting the fallout of it, other sources were praising the benefits of pornography. One website (a well-known, secular news resource) had a series of articles addressing anything from the advantages of viewing pornography to giving suggestions on where to find the best pornographic websites.
Because this is not being decried by most people, and even being promoted by the media, it suggests much about the current culture in which we live. While already a very sexually-oriented cultured, there is potential to take it further, which seems to be where we are headed. Proof of that lies one very important fact here. These articles are not promoting something such as nudity (which would be serious in itself) but instead have no shame in going beyond that to something more. Pornography, by nature, is something explicit and thus is unambiguous in its intentions. The result is a culture who willingly supports and promotes an orientation away from God and towards sin.
Interestingly, few seem to see some conflicts that exist with such promotion and acceptance, such as the following:
- Conflict of Worldview: It should go without saying that the normalization creates a conflict between Christian and secular world views. Sexual immorality is praised within the secular world while mourned among Christians.
- Conflict of Christian Worldview: It’s unfortunate that so many professing Christians have embraced a secular worldview. While not as noted as other areas, and certainly rarer, discussions about pornography are no different. Some find such blatant sin as tolerable because it is part of the culture in which we live, with little regard to its devastating effects.
- Conflict of Secular Worldview: Commonly there are culture wars between the Christian and secular world, but few seem to recognize that such promotion also results in a conflict of secular worldviews. Specifically those who support, promote, and embrace pornography are often in conflict with the women’s liberation movement, yet few acknowledge any conflict exists.
While consistently calling for tolerance and acceptance, there is a point in which not every worldview can exist on the same level and we see that here.
Many Christians will be quick to respond about the depravity of our society and rightly so. After all sin displeases God and we too should be displeased by it. However, for many this becomes a moment of judgment and condemnation with little reflection upon God’s glory and the need that each of us has for a Savior (and that includes us). No matter the lengths that depravity may lead people in this moment, it can get much worse. Perhaps it is worth noting that it will get much worse. However, in that grand lament, we must be quick to remember God’s sovereignty over man and in these circumstances, we seek to glorify and honor Him all the more in whatever way we can.
To glorify God in such circumstances seems undoable considering the depths that sexual immorality has continued to go. However, there are certain ways to respond which brings honor to God, such as the following:
- Respond with Godly Sorrow: Sin should bring sorrow. As God grieves over sin, we too should be moved by grief, lamenting sin and its effects.
- Respond with Godly Conviction: That sorrow should come from our conviction of truth found in God’s word and stirred in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
- Respond with Godly Vigilance: Knowing how prevalent sin is and our own propensity towards sin, especially in this particular case in which the culture is promoting it more, we must put protections in place to guard ourselves against it.
- Respond with Godly Humility: Finally, we must have godly humility in all of this. Quick to condemn, we often forget that the only thing that separates us from others is not the need for a Savior, but a recognition of who that Savior is. In truth, we all have the same problem and the same need: we are sinners who are in need of forgiveness (and thankfully we have acknowledged God’s provision of forgiveness).
However we respond, we do so in light of God’s character in a way that shows other who He is.
Pornography is a serious issue, both inside the church and outside of the church. We cannot deny the devastating effect it has. Therefore, because it is being more normalized in our culture, we must be cautious both in our engagement and our response to the culture. Taking this seriously, we evaluate the circumstances from a godly perspective and response in godly character.
Photo “Tablet Use 1” courtesy of user ebayink and Flickr.