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Sure Paul, Porn is Harmful — In the Same Way That Beer, Cigarettes, and Double Downs are Harmful

Posted By David Swindle On April 8, 2010 @ 5:30 pm In NewsReal Blog | No Comments

The above image of KFC’s forthcoming “Double Down” sandwich is no different from pornography. Some people make look at it with joy and anticipation. Others will be repulsed.

In the debate about pornography Paul Cooper and I don’t really have a meaningful disagreement. We’re both share the position that government should not try and prosecute the makers and consumers of adult entertainment.

Where we obviously part ways is in the degree in which we each see porn as problematic.

To Paul pornography is arsenic — an utterly evil, irredeemable destroyer of souls and marriages. To me porn is more akin to alcohol, tobacco, and unhealthy food. Sure it can be harmful but only to some people and in some circumstances.

Most people who drink alcohol every now and then are not going to die of liver cirrhosis. Most who smoke a cigar every now and then are not going to get cancer. Most who eat fast food every now and then will not get heart attacks. Most men who watch porn every now and then are not going to be brainwashed into seeing women as less-than-people. And most married couples who use pornography every now and then are not going to get divorced.

What about all the husbands and wives who enjoy pornography together? Are they destroying their marriages? Every couple who watches a pornographic film together is eventually going to get divorced because of it? Come on now…

The anti-porn enthusiasm suggesting otherwise is without a basis in reality.

Paul has not yet commented on the research cited by Dr. Helen which demonstrates that porn does not warp men’s sexuality or destroy marriages. Instead he cites a report by the Witherspoon Institute — a socially conservative think tank — and then pronounces a closed case.

The debate is really only over for those whose decision is based on faith instead of science, those who actually oppose porn because they believe their God wants them to hold such views.

I wonder if there’s been any research done into the negative psychological effects of teenagers being indoctrinated to feel guilty and shameful about their emerging sexuality? What are the effects of a church instilling in its adolescents that the first guilt-free sexual release they are allowed to have is on their wedding night? Absent conclusive research on an overwhelmingly complex subject I hesitate to make a blanket statement. Instead of arguing that evangelical sexual attitudes are a net negative, damaging to all I’m content to accept some ambiguity.

So, Paul, how about a similar approach to porn from you? Maybe porn is not part of the equation for those seeking to live a good, Baptist life. But it’s hardly the poison that will destroy every life it touches as some suggest.


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