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Does Porn Really Affect Us?

by Wez Hitzke on October 8th, 2009 in Pastors

I was sitting in a major shopping centre musing about the debate over porn, when I heard a line that arrested my attention. A young man approached a girl standing nearby and said (in an arrogant tone), ‘Let me touch your boobs’. It was hard to focus on what she said in response as I was quite taken aback with his demand. Now, I’ve heard guys yell out, ‘Show us your t…’ but this was on another level. Why? He was no more than 14 years old.

Both conservatives and liberals need to have an open mind when porn is being debated. Having an open mind simply means being willing to accept facts that may not support our prejudices. The first thing we need to objectively look at is this: are human beings affected by visual imagery? The award winning BMF advertising agency (they make commercials for the major breweries, Coke, Red Cross…) would argue that visual imagery does more than get our attention; it causes us to act. The multi-million dollar advertising industry depends on the fact that human beings are affected by visual stimuli. In 1982 sales for ‘Reese’s Pieces’ (confectionery) were floundering but in June of that year sales suddenly tripled and distributors could hardly keep up with demand. Why did people start buying bucket loads of Reese’s Pieces? It was all because the product was seen for a few moments during Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster ‘ET’. Visual imagery affects the way we think and act. So what about pornography? Is it somehow exempt?

To prevent ambiguity, porn requires some explanation. Firstly, it cannot be defined in a scientific way. Reducing it to simply ‘the disrobing of a human body’ is quite inadequate. Such a naturalistic definition would put National Geographic in the same league as Playboy, and some of Michelangelo’s paintings at home in an adult book store. To understand what porn is we must move past the physical world to the realm of intent.

Intent is what separates National Geographic from Playboy. Intent resides in the non-physical world; a world the true naturalist claims doesn’t exist because it can’t be proved by scientific method. But common sense tells us otherwise. For example, who would you hand the more severe sentence to: the man who had the intent to murder whose victim survives, or the one who commits man-slaughter? Technically, the man-slaughter case had a worse outcome but the intent to murder carries a more severe punishment. Intent defines the real issue.

What is the intent of porn in all its forms? Without a doubt it is to stimulate lust and gratify sexual fantasies. Porn appeals to the most selfish instincts of a male and enables him to engage in sexual activity without responsibility, commitment, love or respect.

Porn exploits the female body. Porn does not respect a woman’s body as belonging to a person, but sees it as a money-making product by capitalising on men’s self-interest and sexual appetite. Not only is porn addictive it also escalates. Legal paedophilia is closer than we realise. ‘NAMBLA is strongly opposed to age-of-consent laws and all other restrictions… We call for fundamental reform of the laws regarding relations between youths and adults…’ You would think the North American Man Boy Love Association would be isolated with such policies, but no! Their members have had the support of the American Civil Liberties Union. The growing recognition of organisations like NAMBLA linked with the fact that child porn is a highly lucrative market, means we can no longer be naive about where we may be headed.

Has porn affected social attitudes and behaviour? When demands like ‘Let me touch your boobs’ are coming from the mouths of 14 year-olds in shopping centres, I think the answer is obvious. But it is important not to focus our disappointment on the young lad. We need to ask ourselves, where did he get his attitudes and ideas from? He is simply the product of our sexually charged, hedonistic society. What we should be disappointed in is our silence and what we have allowed to happen in the name of tolerance.

Wez Hitzke – Reasonable Faith

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