Tuesday, July 28, 2015

This Post is About Porn


Yeah, I'm going to be careful...but those of you who should clear out now know who you are. If you're not quite sure, you can always go ask your parents to read it first. {They'll probably have far more intelligent things to say on the subject anyway, so that might be helpful regardless.}


Which is kind of like porn, isn't it? Whether it's words, images, or videos, I think most of us can tell when something crosses the line between romantic and sexual, between appreciating the incredible beauty of the created human form and lusting after it. (I do think that line is different for different people, and the responsibility for avoiding the line is on you. If someone else adores a particular novel and it is problematic for you...don't convince yourself to keep reading it because they loved it. At the same time, if you say 50 Shades of Mental Illness doesn't cross that line for you, you probably need to reevaluate your line. If you struggle with lust upon seeing women's ankles or men's wrists, you need to learn to deal with it - various cultures around the world have already shown that completely covering other people still does not deal with your sin bent. And again at the same time, if anybody thinks walking around naked shouldn't cause a problem for other people...that just doesn't make sense.* And I say that as someone in the medical field, where nakedness can be the furthest thing from sexual that you could imagine.)

Assuming most of you following my blog come from a generally similar background {I guess you could also have no idea where I'm coming from most of the time and just never comment to question me? :)} you know the general Christian consensus on pornography. It's bad, addicting, will wreck your marriage, you shouldn't watch it. Yeah, most men do at some point, but they better stop if they want to get married and if they are married they should definitely stop and their wives maybe should try a little harder. 
{If you've never gotten that last message, be thankful. It's a lie from hell. 
I don't react quite as strongly to the other lie here, but as a visual woman myself I wish more people would acknowledge that actually men are not the only people who need to be careful with their eyes. Way to make women struggling with porn feel that much more horrible while making it that much more difficult for them to find help.}

Why do we as Christians focus so much on the harm done to viewers? Does not a moment's thought convince you that far, far worse harm is done to those involved in making it?

I don't think the majority of the rest of the world really cares - as you may recently have noticed, they can learn Planned Parenthood sells baby parts and not flinch - but if you claim any part of God's grace, can you truly sit there and take part in a vicious and degrading cycle of abuse that drags a creature made in the image of Almighty God down through some of the worst levels of hell this earth holds? Knowing that you are taking direct part in destroying their mind, body, spirit, and in all likelihood their soul as well? Can this give you pleasure? 
(Don't think not buying it makes a difference. Great, you're doing all that to a person and not even paying them for it. Do you really feel better about the whole thing now?)

This is all said while acknowledging that Christians struggle with sins. Christians struggle with addictions. I don't imagine this particular one is an easy addiction to deal with, especially with the shame and disgust that so often surrounds it - if you have stopped using pornography, if you are truly working to stop using pornography right now, thank you. Like most sins, it does not affect only you, and no matter how hidden you think it was, know that other people will have better lives because you stopped.


The reading mentioned last week was beta-ing a novel that deals with this issue, and clearly it's had me thinking the past two weeks. I was not as unaware of it as I could have been...which actually shocked me a bit. I knew that uh, most people don't actually aspire to being a porn star or a prostitute...but as far as seeing the disconnect between the horror endured by quite a few people who have escaped that life (as well as so many of those still caught in it, even as they defend it) and the way the church as a whole tends to treat the issue? To my shame, I hadn't really noticed. The story made it real to me in a way my earlier knowledge had not. 
(if you are wondering, this is the story. neither now nor when it is published do I think it will be suitable for all readers. I do think it is heart-shattering call to understand truth, and one that needs to be read by many people)

I know that people can look at all the information available on lung cancer and the results of meth addiction and that doesn't keep them from smoking or trying meth (or help them stop). BUT look at a graph of smoking sometime - the exact time that smoking became "cool" and the exact time that it became "nasty" via media campaign are clearly marked by number of smokers. Addictions can be dealt with, and I can't help but feel we could change the way we approach this particular issue.

So, my question is, do you think taking a moment to focus on the havoc wreaked in the lives of those involved in the pornographic industry help an addicted Christian to reevaluate what exactly they are doing? How aware are you of what life is like for (most) porn stars? Is it just that it's easier to say Don't watch/look at porn than to attempt to delve further into the darkness and explain the effect of a "victimless crime" on the many, many victims? Am I in a weird bubble where people just don't talk about that side of things? 





*
so basically I wrote a footnote here that turned wayyyy too long so I got rid of it. If you have any curiosity as to my views on modesty, let me know and I'll turn the mess of a footnote into another blog post. 

5 thoughts shared:

Jansina G said...

Thank you for this, Katherine! This topic (I connect it to human trafficking) is close to my heart and it's wonderful to see others speaking out about it. Mirriam's book is definitely on my "to read" list. It's a difficult subject to write about (one of my WIPs right now deals with prostitution, and the right words can be tough to find sometimes), but it's also so very important.

Katherine Sophia said...

Yes! It is difficult...but I'm glad to hear you too are tackling it. I see many people I know shying away from even discussing some of the harder issues in the world today - it's frustrating to watch, because if we're supposed to be light in the world and we keep hiding from the darkness because we don't like it...what is the point of us?
I agree that it's connected to human trafficking (and the desensitization of culture in general)...we have a long ways to go to make it abnormal in the world, but effectively addressing it in the church would at least be a start.
thank you for commenting!

Jansina G said...

Agreed! I think it's important to show the sin and pain of the world. Books can be an escape from those subjects (and I do enjoy those books, too), but how much better can they be if they instead show life realistically - show that everyone is imperfect and that it's only with Papa's help that we can overcome temptation, struggles, pain, &c.? Just a thought.

Ashton said...

This point you made: "Does not a moment's thought convince you that far, far worse harm is done to those involved in making it?" -- I don't think a lot of people realize that. If they do, I certainly don't hear it as much. I do believe people just don't talk about *that* side of things... I agree also with the above comment. Human trafficking, perhaps even sex trafficking are included in this.
It must be so horrible for those who work in the porn industry... and it must be even more difficult to make an escape. It makes my heart ache.

Katherine Sophia said...

Yes. There is something about books that address the reality we face and show victory that can mean so much! And I feel like the older I get the more I enjoy that sort of story, maybe because when I was little I only wanted to read about perfect characters. But they can be so encouraging, just as hearing people's struggles in real life and seeing how they have overcome them is inspiring.


Hmm, so there are definitely several of us who have not seen that aspect addressed, Ashton...and yes, considering how much money people make off porn, I'm sure the last thing they want is people in the industry coming out and saying how bad it actually is. (The few who do say they used to lie all the time about how fine it was.) And where would you fit in, coming out of that culture, most often with drug/alcohol issues, etc? Somehow I can see quite a few churches not being particularly helpful to someone in that situation. It hurts just to think about.

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