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Spiritual and Physical Harms of Pornography

[As featured on BarbWire.com]

For years, Christians have quoted Psalm 101:3, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes,” to caution the culture about the harmful effects of pornography. Christians realize that pornography is not only spiritually unhealthy for individuals but also extremely detrimental to families and communities. Concerns about the harmful effects that pornography might have physiologically and psychologically have also been expressed by the medical community.

According to a recent German study conducted by Simone Kühn, Ph.D., and Jürgen Gallinat, Ph.D., and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Psychiatry, increased hours of pornography usage correlate to negative effects on physical components of the brain. The study found that increased pornography consumption is associated with less than normal amounts of grey matter in certain areas of the brain. In no sections of the brain investigated did pornography consumption positively affect the amount of grey matter. (To read the full study and other negative correlations between pornography consumption and the brain, click here.

The negative impact that pornography has on the brain is easy to understand if you consider the fact that the human body is a special creation of God and not the byproduct of an accidental collision of atoms. Our bodies were designed to work in a special way, and this medical study echoes that fact. God did not design the human body to be exploited by pornography, nor did He create the human brain to profit from consuming it.

From the very beginning, God makes it clear that we are His special creation designed for the unique purpose of honoring and glorifying Him. Before God breathed life into the first human, He declared “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). As God’s only creation designed with a body, soul, and spirit that reflects His triune nature and can communicate with Him, our purpose in life is to do so much more than try to fulfill our own lusts. Romans 13:14 exhorts us to “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Ultimately, sexual exploitation is rebellion against God’s divine plan for our lives.

Instead of acknowledging that the human body is something special created by God and made in His image, our culture has increasingly bought into an evolutionary theory that paints the human body as nothing more than the product of random chance. And by thus taking God out of the picture, many have bought into the lie that says we have complete freedom to treat these frail human forms in whatever way we desire. But when we claim that the human body’s only purpose is to fulfill lustful passions, we undermine and destroy the moral standards of decency and human dignity on which free and just societies are built.

In this recent medical study, we can see that God always knows and wants what’s best for us. While the world does not care about people becoming slaves to the guilty pleasures of our twisted human wants and desires, God wants people to find ultimate freedom in a life of joy and satisfaction in Him. Before the medical community even realized pornography’s harmful effects, God had already placed moral laws in our hearts to protect us from the damaging influences of sexual exploitation.

God’s purpose for moral restrictions is not to take pleasure out of our lives but to give us freedom in Him to experience true joy and to enjoy life to the fullest. He desires that, through obedience to His plan for us, “[we] might have life, and that [we] might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

For those struggling with an addiction to pornography, God offers real freedom — not the false freedom of living in rebellion against Him — to use the bodies that He has given us according to His original design. By recognizing God as our Creator, surrendering our lives to Him, and acknowledging our responsibility to honor and glorify Him with our bodies, we can experience this true freedom. We can say, as did the psalmist in Psalm 139:14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Flora Gillis is an intern with Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) Ronald Reagan Memorial Internship Program. For more information on internship opportunities with CWA, click here.

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