The pornography phenomenon
There are a lot of New Zealanders who watch pornography. Although we do not explicitly know how many of us are watching it, we do know that it is unquestionably popular. In fact, per capita, we are 13th in the world for the frequency of visits to Pornhub, one of the largest online sites.
Perhaps a statistic we ought not to be proud of?
Unfortunately, the Church is not exempt from these statistics. According to research conducted by Ironmen New Zealand, in a national survey among churches, approximately 68% of men in church reported viewing pornography regularly.
Although, I desperately hope that this is a substantial overestimation I am aware that for a lot of you this is not breaking news.
The problem with pornography
Although there is heated controversy in secular society regarding the morality of pornography, the Church remains united in its stance – it is not okay. Yet, we continue to see the increasing prevalence of pornography in our community, our church community.
As a female, I have often been somewhat excluded from discussions about pornography and the Church. Rejected from the secret meetings under the guise of a men’s only breakfast or segregated youth talks. However, as an adult, I have come to realise that the detrimental effects of the pornography phenomenon pay no sympathy to the female gender.
Us females have family, friends, and boyfriends who may fall victim to the seductive grasp of pornography. But they aren’t victims, are they?
The difficulty is that we love sin. Pornography is just one of the many options we may choose to indulge in alongside a potent cocktail of deadly sins.
Our mortal human essence lusts after what is wrong, deceitful, and harmful. We shout into the perceived empty abyss that there is no God but, even if there is, we know better.
More so, it could be argued that the Church’s favourite sin is making ourselves god. In an act of inhibited rebellion, we disobey our creator and adamantly declare that we know best.
We strive to do things our way. We question whether God is profoundly good when we receive so much pleasure in our sinning. However, this pleasure is futile.
‘but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is fully-grown, gives birth to death (James chapter 1, verses 13-16).’
As it is written in James chapter 1, verses 13-16, that each person is tempted when they are enticed by their evil desires. As Christians, we continually fight our sinful human nature daily. We are not exempt from the lucrative temptations of sin presented to us. Our inherent selfishness requires constant restraint.
Choosing to put aside our sinful nature is not something that comes naturally to us. Our innate hardwiring as fallen humans predispose us to evil desires.
In Romans chapter 13, verses 13-14, we are encouraged to accept the Lord Jesus Christ and make no allowance for the lusts of the flesh. We are implored to behave properly, putting aside sinful behaviours.
However, denying our sinful nature is easier said than done.
It is revealed to us in Titus chapter 3, verses 3-5, that although we were once disobedient fools slaved to sin our God has chosen to save us. Through His mercy we have our sins washed away and become renewed beings.
Without Christ, we are nothing but sinful evil beings in desperate need of salvation.
Yet, we have been saved not by our merit but by Christ’s righteousness. Should we choose to accept it.
Kiwi-born with British roots, Jessica Gardiner drinks tea religiously while her dinner table discussions reverberate between the sovereignty of God, global politics, and the public health system. Having experienced churches from conservative to everything but, Jessica writes out a desire for Christian orthodoxy and biblical literacy in her generation. Jessica is married to fellow young writer Blake Gardiner.