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The Family

Pornography and a Misplaced Morality

Family Research Council has published a report on the effects of pornography upon individuals, marriage, family and community. (PDF here)

Along with drug use (recreational drugs) and sex trafficking (prostitution), pornography is often labeled a "victimless crimes." Of course, this assumes that, if the perpetrator and victim are the same person (or family unit), there is actually no victim. Such thinking is a natural consequence of the substitution of an actual morality ("you shall love your neighbor as yourself") with a useful, but limited axiom ("you shouldn't hurt other people"). When self-harm (which will invariably also harm all those who love the "victim") is not seen as an evil, half of morality has already been ceded - and the remaining ground is left defenseless.

FRC's report is good reading for the oft-overlooked consequences of a particular "victimless crime," but its greater worth is in reminding us of the damage caused by well-intended but flawed moral reckoning. One cannot love another until they have loved themselves, and personal degradation will find expression well beyond the privacy of one's own dehumanization.

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Discussions - 4 Comments

I submit a part of the problem is that the contemporary concept of "love" is so horribly misunderstood that phrases like "love your neighbor" and "love yourself" are unapproachable.

If "love" equates with "desire" (which I believe it does in today's world), and pornography satisfies a desire, then few would see it as the opposite of love. At worst it's benign; it's victimless.

Dallas Willard ("The Divine Conspiracy") defines "love" as "the will to do what is right and good for the other." I find that definition useful because it helps see the distinction between "love" and "like." I don't have to like my enemy, but I can still do what's right and good for them as an act of love.

The trouble is pornography is not "right and good" for the consumer of it. It affects the manner in which the person forms and maintains relationships with others -- their spouses, friends ... and most importantly, God.

All this is in the abstract in today's world. It's made harder to grasp by the relentless message from MTV and other sources that satisfaction of desire is the ultimate expression of self-love.

Ah, Justin, those are fine sentences, wise and well-framed.

Kudos to FRC on this.

Good to see my fellow men standing up against the corrosive effects of pornography on men, women, families, and society.

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