Biblically, God requires Christians to please Him in everything they do. Whether it is in secret or overtly, in thoughts or behaviour, Christians have a duty to portray Christ-like behaviour every moment of their life (Hiles & Smith, n.d.). Nonetheless, compliance with biblical teachings is not always as easy as portrayed by the Bible. In the course of their Christian walk, Christians often encounter situations of dilemma. These are basically situations in which it is not exactly clear whether doing something is right or wrong. Such situations especially arise when the Bible does not offer a straightforward solution or when the act in question appears to harm no one. Pornography is one of the issues that may present a dilemma for a Christian. Does the Bible allow pornography? Is engaging in pornography morally right given that it does not harm others? This essay discusses the ethical dilemmas presented by pornography. Following a description of the ethical dilemma, the essay specifically analyses the issue from a Christian perspective and compares the Christian worldview with the atheistic worldview.
TJ enjoys watching pornography. Pornography, along with masturbation, gives him a great deal of sexual gratification. Nonetheless, TJ is in a dilemma. He recently came across some startling statistics indicating that pornography is harmful to the society as it contributes to human trafficking. TJ is also aware of the possible consequences of pornography consumption on himself – addiction. He now somewhat feels that his freedom to watch pornography is under threat. TJ, however, strongly believes that his act, which he always does behind closed doors, has no effect on others. TJ’s dilemma can be resolved with two perspectives: the Christian worldview and the atheistic worldview. The two perspectives offer conflicting solutions to the dilemma. On one hand, the Christian perspective prohibits pornography. Emphasising the importance of individual autonomy, the atheistic perspective on the other hand sees pornography consumption as an act individuals can choose to engage in or not, mostly because it does not harm others.
The Bible implicitly forbids the consumption of pornography. Though God created human beings as sexual beings, He warns about the misuse of sex (Romans 1: 24-25). According to the Bible, sex is only permissible to the married (1 Corinthians 7: 2-3). Furthermore, the Bible prohibits sexual practices such as sexual exposure (Genesis 9: 21), adultery (Leviticus 18: 23), prostitution (Deuteronomy 23: 17-18), homosexuality (Leviticus 18: 22), bestiality (Leviticus 18: 23), and incest (Leviticus 18: 6-18). Pornography without a doubt goes against God’s idea of sexual pleasure. The act mainly involves individuals who are not married to one another, paid actors (prostitution), sexual activity between people of the same sex, as well as sexual intercourse between human beings and animals. Accordingly, pornography is a sin before God.
Christians are further warned about staying away from deeds that corrupt their mind (1 Corinthians 15: 33). Pornography corrupts the human mind to a great extent. When one becomes immersed in pornography, their thoughts become lustful. They think about sexual activity all the time, creating an unrelenting drive to fulfil sexual desires. The Bible describes lust as a sin. According to Matthew 5: 28, anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart. Further, the Bible cautions against fulfilling the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5: 16; Romans 8: 6).
A common justification is that watching pornography may be right since the consumer is not involved in the sin – they are just a consumer. The Bible is clear on how Christians should conduct themselves in thought and in behaviour. It teaches that one who enjoys other people’s sinful behaviour is as sinful as the sinner. For instance, if a Christian assists a thief to steal, for instance, by helping the thief hide the stolen objects, then the Christian and the thief are equally sinful. Similarly, an individual who watches pornography is as sinful as the actors. One of the major mandates of Christians is to help sinners depart from their sinful ways. Accordingly, Christians should be involved in discouraging pornography consumption, not encouraging it. They should do as Jesus did (Hiles & Smith, n.d.). Jesus would not watch pornography. They should pursue righteousness and stay away from deeds that tempt them to fulfil the desires of their flesh (2 Timothy 2:22).
There could be important benefits from staying away from pornography given the social costs associated with pornography. According to statistics, 43% of human trafficking victims are used for forced commercial sexual exploitation (Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, n.d.). Of these, 98% are girls and women. The commercial exploitation of women and girls has in large part contributed to the multibillion dollar pornography industry. The global industry is valued in excess of $31 billion (Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, n.d.). This means that every time an individual consumes pornography, they contribute to the proliferation of the industry.
Other reports have also highlighted the burden pornography places on the society (Sushma, 2014; Sánchez, 2016). Further, according to May (2010), pornography is harmful to not only to the consumer, but also women, children, and other entities that do not consume it. For instance, married women may be negatively affected by their partner’s consumption of pornography. More specifically, repeated pornography consumption may lead to compulsive addiction,…
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