We will post some more details soon, but here is a taste of the recent survey we conducted.
Note all numbers are a percentage (e.g 16 people equals 16% of people we asked)
In light of the recent media attention about young people and porn.We asked a youth leader to share his thoughts….
Over the last few years as I have helped train and support youth workers and leaders I have found all the stats about people in church being addicted to porn to be completely true.
Young people are more exposed to porn than ever. I was on a minibus a little while ago with a bunch of young people passing a phone around with indecent images on. Some of them were 11 years old. I was shocked and worried for their future.
But it’s the youth leaders too. As soon as anyone joins our organisation we have an open and frank conversation about porn and I strongly advise them to install accountability software. I currently have around five youth workers who I am supporting in their ongoing battle to beat porn.
The problem is that if youth leaders are so caught up in the issue themselves, they are not going to be willing to talk about it with young people. Even if they are, they are going to struggle to lead them through to a place of victory.
I am passionate about getting things out in the open and starting to put things in place to see change in people’s lives. Sometimes it has just been a habit that just needs breaking. But often an addiction comes from a deeper place of brokenness and they need some deeper prayer ministry as well as practical tools.
I have been challenged lately about removing the ‘high places’. In 1 Kings we hear a lot about kings who lived wholeheartedly for God such as Asa, king of Judah (1 Kings 15:14). But still, he did not remove the ‘high places’ of idolatry in their time.
I wonder what the ‘high places’ are for our culture and in our time, as we leaders seek to guide the next generation. Could it be porn?
We need to remove the high place of porn from our youth leaders if we want to see change in the rising generation. If we don’t, how can we expect this next generation to go beyond us?
Freedom. Everyone seems to be for it and yet it is quite an elusive concept.
If you seek to define it, you can find yourself in quite a knot.
You can pull out a dictionary for a simple definition of course, but most people would say freedom is ‘being able to do what you want to do.’
This definition is fine until the way you choose to be free stamps on someone else’s right to be free.
For example, imagine for a second that you are a radical Muslim cleric. In your role as cleric and your stance as radical you want to speak out your views and your interpretation of the Quran. You are free to do so, unless your use of your freedom inhibits someone else. Like me, for example.
In this instance your increased freedom could be seen to decrease mine.
So how does this view of freedom look in terms of pornography?
Well, a person might argue that they’re not doing anyone any harm by using porn. The internet sites he uses are not using ‘real’ people. The porn is ‘set up’ using consenting adults, some of them very well paid. So what’s the problem?
Shelley Lubben is an ex-porn actress who has now become a Christian. Her life is spent reaching out to those trapped in the porn industry.
Her stories, and those of the people she has seen rescued, show that being involved in adult porn is far from glamorous. Behind every film, there is violence, greed, brutal working conditions and the constant threat of STDs, not least HIV and AIDS.
One woman on Shelley’s website, www.shelleylubben.com, describes how part of her soul died as she performed acts of porn and that she grew to become disgusted with herself and others, sore and devoid of normal emotions.
Does that sound like freedom to you? Me neither.
It is written into every story ever told. There is a wolf, a wicked witch, an ogre, a giant or even a merchant banker out there – and he’s out to get you!
We have an enemy. The original Hebrew word satan is a noun from a verb meaning primarily ‘to obstruct, oppose and accuse’. And our enemy, Satan, is far more than a pantomime baddie with red horns and a comedy plastic trident. He is very real and he is very powerful. His purpose is to obstruct you, condemn you and accuse you, every time you try to make progress with God. (That’s every time.
The good news is, that in every good story the baddie gets defeated. The wolf is killed, the wicked witch ends up ousted and the merchant banker gets fired! While Satan is powerful, he is chained and limited in how he can wage war against us. Satan knows our position, and he hopes we don’t know his! He knows he has lost the war, but he will keep trying to win the battles.
Deception is Satan’s first weapon of choice. His aim is that we give him control, even though we have ultimate victory. This is the con! Our enemy tries to condemn us, knowing that he has no power to. He knows that we are conquerors taking territory, not warriors fighting for victory, but he will keep sowing thoughts into our minds that are contrary to this truth. Romans 8:1 says, ‘So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.’ NO condemnation! Not even a LITTLE BIT!
The truth is that ‘[We] can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens [us]’ (Phil. 4:13). Therefore, the only power Satan will ever have over our lives is power WE choose to give him. Romans 8:37 says ‘In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.’
Resolve today not to be conned by the ultimate conman.
A friend of Naked Truth got in touch to recommend this excellent article by BJ Stockman on the churchleaders.com blog.
It’s called Seven Surprising (and Negative) Effects of Porn and it’s a brief but fascinating look at some of the ways porn affects us in ways we might not expect.
He quotes from several key studies and articles to expose some of the destructive effects of porn which, he says, has become completely embedded in our culture.
How big is the porn problem? Judge for yourself.
There are a few things which become clear from just a quick glance at the statistics around porn today.
Porn steals time and breeds addiction. Unchecked and untreated, that addiction spirals and gets out of control. Testimony from ex-addicts suggests porn is a tougher habit to kick than crack cocaine. And like drug or alcohol abuse, eventually it ruins lives.
Porn objectifies and demeans. There’s nothing right about reducing human beings to body parts. Though those getting rich from it claim porn empowers people, it never does: it just exploits them.
And porn corrupts. Most porn exists behind a veneer that this is just another respectable part of the entertainment business. But increasingly, it’s becoming clear that porn is the sinister shadow behind much child abuse and human trafficking.
So why is no one saying anything about it?
1. Maybe we don’t really believe it’s a problem
Porn’s great con trick has been to persuade us – gradually, almost imperceptibly – that it belongs in our culture. Whether it’s the Playboy bunny on the child’s school bag, the winking glamour model in the Lynx advert, or the ‘Adult’ section of your mobile phone home screen… porn has settled in and made itself at home.
Page 3 models have long-running reality shows. It’s hard to avoid top-shelf content in middle-shelf magazines. Video games are loaded with erotic fantasies. Nowadays you don’t need to go looking for porn; you can hardly avoid it. So we’ve learned to convince ourselves that it’s normal, everybody’s OK with it and nobody gets hurt.
2. Maybe we’re ashamed
I wonder if the other reason few people are talking about porn is we know our hands aren’t clean. Many of us know we’ve been part of it and we don’t feel we have any right to lecture anyone else about it. Even those of us who have found some freedom from it – thank God – know we’ve been here before and could well find ourselves back there again.
So we keep our mouths closed. And the only voices our culture hears are the Mary Whitehouses and green ink brigade, easily discounted as anachronistic throw-backs to a bygone era.
But the figures cannot lie. The testimonies of women and children violated and abused cannot be silenced. Our own guilty secrets cannot remain hidden forever. Porn is a problem for all of us.
For me, great communication has the ability to hold up a mirror and enable people to look at and understand themselves better. Think about some of the sermons, movies or books that have impacted you, its likely they have challenged, inspired or simply made you laugh because you have seen yourself in them – somehow the communicators have managed to help you to reflect on your own attitudes or actions.
The Naked Truth has taken on a huge task. We want to communicate that porn can be damaging and harmful to individuals, relationships and society but we are determined not to wag our finger or be condemning. This is tricky enough when you are talking to Christians, but Naked Truth’s aim is to communicate to all of culture, so that task gets even more challenging.
It’s worth saying, I don’t think its appropriate to make a moral judgement about non-Christians adults using porn (assuming it’s legal). But there is a debate to be had about objectification or the negative impact porn use can have on any individual, whether it’s morally acceptable or not. Recently I read a report that said a quarter of men aged 18-24 are worried about the amount of porn they are watching on the internet. Yet despite this, many of us know that in western culture porn use is socially acceptable and seen as mostly harmless.
Which is why we want to use the creative arts as our main form of communication with wider society. Through the arts, we can prod at what’s socially acceptable, question the status quo and with high creativity and low condemnation hold up a mirror and ask people to reflect on their actions and attitudes. The same person who resists being preached at by religious types will often be open to a painting, film or poem, causing them to stop and think and question themselves.
Through the Open Eyes campaign, various artists will create thought provoking posters, paintings, films, music that will raise the question, “Do we have a problem with porn?” and will point people to a website that will present some of the facts and figures.
Please pray for the creator God to unleash creativity on all our communication. And if you are an artist and want to get involved with the Open Eyes campaign, please get in touch.
I had always thought that boundaries were a bad thing. You know, that they somehow hemmed me in and took away my freedom? That was before I realised the truth about boundaries.
Years ago in the US, some psychologists conducted an experiment in a school playground. They took away the perimeter fences, just to see what the children would do.
What happened was fascinating: instead of running away or feeling more free, the children described feelings of fear and anxiety. When the fences were removed, they huddled into the middle, near the teachers, feeling unsafe and nervous. It became clear to the scientists that the children needed the edges of the playground in order to play properly in the whole space.
Living without restraints or boundaries can feel like it will make us more free but it can end up being really frightening and trap us into not living life to the full. We can’t play in the whole space.
There’s a reason pornography should be off-limits. When you ignore the boundaries seeking to keep you away from it, you don’t end up more free – you actually end up more trapped. So many people I have prayed with and talked to describe feelings of being, imprisoned and locked in to a way of thinking and acting because of porn.
Psalm 16:6 in the Bible describes how God’s boundaries for us are not to keep out the good things, but to protect us from things that would harm us: “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
In my past I had very few boundaries. The result was the dangerous people got too near to me and hurt me badly. Now I have some very helpful boundaries I feel happier and safer than ever.
What is the ‘delightful inheritance’ that God has given you? What are the boundary lines He is drawing for you?