Christians across the board know that pornography is a problem. The only Christians who don’t know this are that special class of Christians called non-Christians. They are the ones who yammer on about things like “ethically sourced” porn, and we need not take them seriously. They already have their reward, which was, they assure us, ethically sourced.
But regular Christians, the kind who go to Heaven when they die, know that pornography is both a personal problem for many and a cultural problem for all. That said, there is still a much bigger problem out there, and it is found in the fact that we tend to misidentify the nature of the problem. You can take a really big problem, and then make it huge through a misdiagnosis, which is what we are occupied in doing.
We know that things are bad out there, but we don’t know how bad, and we don’t know how much worse it is going to get because of our refusal to consider the problem with open eyes.
The Deeper Problem
So what do we think is the problem, and what is the nature of the actual problem?
We think the problem is lust, which is true enough, but only as far as that goes. Whoever looks on a woman to lust after her, etc. (Matt. 5:28). But it is not simply lust. The problem is that modern pornography trains men to be cuckolds, and deadens their God-given ability to be possessive and jealous, and that means they are being trained to be permanent objects of derision, and to accept that as their appointed lot.
I say “objects of derision,” and this is what I mean. When a husband strays, all the women in her life sympathize with the wife. But when a wife strays, all the other men think it is funny. Ah, ah, ah . . . look at the calendar.
The reason I need to address this here in November is because discussions of pornography (among Christians) are discussions that have been sanitized (which is quite a different word than sanctified). I do not mean sanitized in accordance with sexual expressions, but rather sanitized with regard to the broader dictates of a widely accepted feminism. Our discussions have all been curated and cleared by the egalitarian censors, which means that our discussions are doing very little good, and a whole lot of harm.
In older forms of soft “porn” (think pin-up girls), there was a straight-forward problem for Christian men. There was a picture of a beautiful woman, and that woman was not your wife. “You should not desire her, or covet her, or lust after her.” Thus far the plain Scriptures. And it seems incredible to us today that a Christian man back in the day could have been stumbled by that picture painted on the front of his grandfather’s B-17 in World War II, but there you go.
But fast forward. We refer today to “hard core” pornography, by which mean video of people having sex, live action of couples copulating. And because we are approaching this thoughtlessly, we think that it is the same thing as the B-17 problem, only way more of it. We think that risque on the left and hard core on the right are the settings on the same dimmer switch. But no. The nature of the problem has been completely changed, and the magnitude of the change has almost entirely escaped our notice.
We are accustomed to refer to alpha males and beta males. I would submit that our current forms of pornography are creating a limp new category, the gamma male. This is the poor enervated sap who is shaped and molded and catechized by watching this stuff. How so?
I am going to use a metaphor here that will get some of our TrollaSisters going, but that is actually no great achievement. They can just deal with it. Actually, no, they won’t be able to deal with it until somebody steps in to help them with their reading comprehension skills. But if I say any more on this point I will have listened to that siren call to qualify, qualify! “Be balanced! Just this once!” No, no, say I. I have been tied to the mast.
When a lion is having his dinner on the wildebeest he just took down, and there is a circle of hyenas about twenty yards out, what does that tell you? It tells you that the hyenas want what the lion has, and that they are in no position to challenge him in order to get some. They are what we might call gamma hyenas.
And when a man finds a particular woman beautiful and attractive, and then he satisfies himself by watching as another man takes her, he is deadening all the remaining vestiges of masculinity within him. It is not a hyper-masculine impulse to watch other people get it on. It is the opposite. It is one of the hyenas strutting in front of the other hyenas, doing his best leonine imitation. It is not a cosmopolitan decadence. It is not worldly wise. It is not the experience of a man of the world. It is getting your jollies through losing, which is, as sexual perversions go, down near the bottom.
The Importance of Being Able to Say “My Wife”
Civilizations are built by men who have families to feed. Cultures are built by men who can say a phrase like “my wife” without embarrassment. Men who have been trained in real masculinity are jealous and protective of their wives. So a man who is not jealous of his wife is not a real man. And pornography, especially of the sort we are talking about here, cauterizes all those basic God-given masculine impulses.
Jealousy is a good thing. God’s name is Jealous.
“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:”
Exodus 34:14 (KJV)
And theologians talk about incommunicable attributes of God, the kind He cannot share with us, attributes like omnipotence, and attributes that He can share with us, like His love, or His kindness . . . or His jealousy.
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 11:2 (KJV)
A man who is devoted to one woman will be jealous. He will be unwilling to share her, and for his part, he will be devoted to her alone. As I said, this kind of man with this kind of sexual focus is the kind of man who builds civilizations.
A man who is willing to share sexually is a man who has nothing but contempt for the women he is sharing with another man, or with other men. This is the logic of the man who resorts to prostitutes. And as Scripture tells us, he wastes his substance. He doesn’t build cultures; he creates economic craters.
“Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: But he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.”
Proverbs 29:3 (KJV)
So a man in bondage to such pornography is almost certainly lying to himself. Yes, he says, he has a problem. He is highly-sexed. He has more desires than other men. The testosterone is just sloshing around inside him. He is ahead of all those other men, and there are always unique problems that such manly men have.
In reality, he is just a mangy hyena, with a hidden stash of wildebeests getting eaten by lions on his computer.