As I traveled with my family along the highway winding through America’s heartland, we were struck by the natural beauty of the landscape: mile upon mile of fields and forests, spotted with occasional towns. And then we saw it. In this of all settings it looked so out of place.
Like a giant stain on a freshly laundered shirt, there before us was a jarring visual reminder that smut and sleaze are not confined to the red-light districts of large cities. Framed by an otherwise pristine forest stood a solitary billboard advertising an “Adult Entertainment Store.”
Some defend sexually provocative imagery as being an art form that promotes the beauty of the human body. Such an assertion seeks to separate the true Artist’s work from His intent and instructions. God created our human form after His own image (cf. Genesis 1:27). His creation is indeed beautiful, and He recognized it as such. His intent from the beginning was that male and female would be united and become one within the parameters of the marriage covenant. God created sex not only for procreation, but also as an expression of love that brings a husband and wife closer together physically and emotionally. Pornography offers voyeuristic sex in place of real intimacy.
Real sexual fulfillment is a result that is only obtained inside of a happy, loving, God-centered marriage union. Pornography offers the promise of sexual fulfillment, but it is only an illusion—like a mirage in the desert. Many are enticed by it and the lifestyle it portrays, only to find out through experience that the reality is emptiness and frustration.
The wise King Solomon warned about the pursuit of illicit sexual gratification in Proverbs 5:3–5: “For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell.” Actions have consequences, and the results that come from indulging in pornography are anything but pleasurable. Although the beginning may be sweet, the end result is bitterness and death, just as one would expect at the bottom of a “stairway to hell.”
Pornography exploits individuals for the sexual gratification of others. The gratification is temporary and those that seek after it do so to their own hurt. Those that are taken in by the illusion and illicit imagery that is pornography, follow the promise of pleasure “as an ox goes to the slaughter” (Proverbs 7:22). Just as the ox is enticed toward the place of slaughter with a bucket of grain, so also those who follow after illicit sexual satisfaction are enticed toward their own destruction by the promise of pleasure.
Far from being “harmless entertainment,” pornography is like a national cancer that works by attacking the most fundamental building block of our society—the family. For many, pornography is an addictive gateway that leads to further illicit sexual pursuits.
Pornography is frequently mentioned at divorce proceedings as a factor in the breakup of the marriages. A paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in 2016 reported the results of a study showing that the odds of divorce double for men and triple for women when a spouse begins watching porn. The results of pornography are pain and suffering not only for the ones who seek illicit entertainment, but also for those whose lives are intertwined—spouses, children, parents, and siblings. Far from being harmless, the illicit imagery comes with an incalculable price tag.
For further reading on the destructive power of pornography, as well as how to overcome the addiction to it, please read our article, “Pornography: Pleasurable Pastime or Toxic Threat?” You can find it online at TomorrowsWorld.org.