In June, I told you about the dangers of unfettered Internet use for kids over the summer. The damage to young minds from pornography is long-lasting and measurable. But a recent gathering of experts pointed out that the harms from pornography are far worse than they’ve ever been, and the damage is not just impacting children, but spilling into all of society.
Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in mid-July, Dr. Gail Dines dispelled the myth that pornography today is like the pin-up of yesteryear. Rather, today’s mainstream pornography is unbelievably dehumanizing, degrading, and violent. She cited a peer-reviewed study that found that 88 percent of the scenes in the 50 most popular porn films involved violence against women. Pornography is not about sex, she said, but about “making hate to women.”
Dines shared how one pornography producer explained that the girls now arrive on the sets “porn-ready.” As she said, “We are part of a culture that hyper-sexualizes girls from a very young age and forces them into an inauthentic, formulaic, plasticized sexuality that is from the porn culture and not of their own making.”
Most of Dr. Dines’ presentation is too graphic to say here, which is important for all of us to understand. For too long, we’ve refused to look behind First Amendment smokescreens to understand pornography’s true nature.
Speaking at the same event, Cordelia Anderson called our culture’s widespread pornography use “the largest unregulated social experiment ever.” Having studied the impact of sexual abuse and pornography for decades, Anderson explained that pornography is a quantifiable public health crisis.
Anderson pointed to research indicating that nearly all young boys have been exposed to pornography. It isn’t enough to protect your own children any longer when their peers have had violent pornography normalized in their minds. The impact has become public, and its damage has seeped everywhere.
Anderson believes change requires a broad public strategy of education, law enforcement, business pressure, and a revitalized media culture. As she so aptly put it, “No mass social disorder has ever come under control just by treating the individual.”
Dines and Anderson were just two of nearly a dozen speakers discussing the public health hazards of pornography at the Capitol event. Dr. Donald Hilton explained how pornography changes brain chemistry. Dr. Melissa Farley examined the link between pornography, prostitution and sex trafficking. And Ed Smart, whose daughter Elizabeth made national news when she was abducted in 2002, explained how pornography played a role in his daughter’s enslavement and sexual torture.
Although not addressed in the Capitol symposium, I’d like to point out the role pornography has played in another recent social crisis: the acceptance of same-sex marriage. In his "Relationships in America" survey released last year, Mark Regnerus found that among church-going Christians who did not support same-sex marriage, only 4.6 percent felt that using pornography was okay. Among church-going Christians who supported same-sex marriage, however, 33 percent also agreed that viewing pornography was fine.
Although not claiming a causal link between the two, Regnerus did suggest that “our moral systems concerning sex and sexuality tend rather to resemble personalized ‘tool kits’ ” that are greatly influenced by social reference points. Looking at the sexual mores of today, there’s no doubt that pornography has become the significant social reference point doing untold damage to children, families, and all of society.
There’s so much to do. Please come to BreakPoint.org and we’ll link you to the video presentations that we’ve mentioned. They’re hard to watch, but we can’t look away any longer. Our culture won’t let us.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: August 7, 2015