As churches, missionaries, and Christians around the world consider the trend of Monoculture, their challenge is to adapt ministry and outreach efforts for new realities. Society’s macro trends can be sudden, or they can be a long time in the making. Pornography is one of those deeply entrenched and old problems, but today porn’s corrosive and toxic reach is dramatically expanding. Christians are by no means immune.
Pornography is widely accessible, with nearly 90% of pornography accessed online for free. One writer, describing the problem of children’s access to pornography, said that teens today carry free, miniature X-rated movie theaters (on their cell phones). Twelve percent of all internet searches are for pornography… and on mobile devices, 20% of searches are for porn.
Implications for society are profound. An article in First Things magazine noted that pornography is a $10 billion industry in the US. Pornography use is a factor in 56% of divorce cases, and is correlated with sexual assault, according to a University of Pennsylvania School of Psychiatry study: “All types of pornography (soft core, hard core, violent, and rape) are correlated with using verbal coercion, drugs and alcohol to sexually coerce women.”
The First Things article concludes by noting that, “Lust begins with loneliness- with the pervasive detachment which has become a hallmark of modernity.” Conversely, Christian community is the context “in which the virtues of modesty, temperance, and chastity can be proposed and modeled with credibility.” Loneliness in young men and women leads them to search for solace, and the siren song of pornographic images beckons them with a fantasy of deep human connection. Families must be more intentional than ever about providing the security, engagement, and affirmation. Churches must offer what they alone can provide: “the freedom of fraternity, accountability, and community that abides in the body of Christ.”