The Idolatrous Worldview of Porn

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Great comments on porn, Phil and Carl.  My pastoral experience dealing with this issue has taught me that this issue is tied to a broader issue of idolatry that becomes practically an entire worldview of porn.  Time after time, men caught up in pornography depict a general discontent with their lives and their own identity.  As such, the problem of porn is not merely -- or even primarily -- one of lust.  Instead, men tap into porn as part of a fantasy life in which they exist as comic-book ideals of real men.  They think their job is ho-hum, their boss yells at them, their wife nags, the creditors pound on the door.  So instead of bringing their lives before the Lord and finding their purpose in the light of Christ, they tap into the internet and fuel their fantasies of being young, virile, and powerful.  Porn is an idolatry of self and a dark worldview that can only exist in fantasy. This is why our ministry to this sin must go far deeper than merely putting up fences around their internet access.  The issue is this: What is the significance of your life before the Lord?  Is there meaning and purpose -- even glory -- in living as a child of God and disciple of Christ in this world?  Is there satisfaction in a holiness that is pleasing to the Lord?  Does your life as a man of God in the family, church, and society have a real significance?  The answer to these questions is Yes!  And in these Yes answers is found the leverage to overcome sins like pornography. 

This is why I prefer to speak of the idolatry of pornography rather than the addiction of pornography.  Obviously, there are addictive elements to pornography -- big time, in fact.  But the issue is not a straightforward one of addiction; the issues of personal identity and significance are hugely important .  And here is another part of the loss involved in pornography.  I have to admit that what troubles me most about the porn industry is the savage exploitation of women -- and don't kid yourself -- if you are even clicking on porn websites you are fastening chains of darkness on women's souls.  But a close second would be the way this idolatry turns the dreams and passions of men into desperate darkness.  Yet all the while, Christians have the calling of children of light, living with eternal purpose before the face of a holy and glorious God.

Another way to say this is that we have to fight the idolatry of pornography by turning men to their sacred callings in Christ.  A man's love for his wife is to be an act of holy worship.  Learning to love the heart of a woman and to delight in the bride of your youth is one of the highest callings of godly masculinity -- and there is glory in it.  So men do not merely turn from porn -- they turn to a God-glorifying love relationship with their wife.  A man's service to God in the workplace is also a holy act of worship.  You don't have to be a fighter pilot to have a significant masculine calling.  Instead, to see that God has placed you in your workplace and to serve others on his behalf, contributing to society and the church and bearing a living testimony to the gospel -- that is a holy and significant calling.  So we do not merely turn men from porn, but to their God-given vocations as a sacred trust.  To be a man of Christian character before your children is a high and holy labor with eternal consequences.  So to combat the idolatry of the porn worldview -- and that is what it really is, a worldview -- we must turn in faith to all the holy vocations God has given us as men, and see them in the glory of their eternal significance.
Posted October 3, 2007 @ 10:38 AM by Rick Phillips

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