Cocaine? Heroin? Which drug is the most powerful with the most people addicted? Which does the most harm?
Neither according to two compelling articles by Morgan Bennett in Public Discourse, the online publication of the Witherspoon Institute. The New Narcotic makes the case that 40 million regular users of online pornography, compared to about 2 million each for cocaine and heroin (less than 1 million hardcore addicts), pornography addicts are 10 times more than the traditional choices. A companion article, Internet Pornography & the First Amendment, describes the history of applying the first amendment to pornographic and obscene materials. Both are “must reads” for all adults, though I warn you it won’t be a pleasant experience.
But surely, viewing images on a computer screen won’t do the damage of physically injecting or consuming heroin and cocaine, will it?
Quite the opposite, compelling evidence suggests that pornography, far more accessible, is far more powerful and addictive, doing far greater harm to far greater numbers of people. Read both articles for the details.
A third must read article is a commentary on the above by John Piper, Pornography: The New Narcotic. Piper summarizes Bennett’s first article and links the evidence to Biblical perspectives.
Here is Piper’s conclusion:
When Jesus said, “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28), he saw with crystal clarity — the way a designer sees his invention — that the physical eye had profound effects on the spiritual “heart.”
And when the Old Testament wise man said in Proverbs 23:7, literally, “As he thinks in his soul, so is he,” he saw with similar clarity that soul acts create being. Thinking in the soul corresponds to “is.” And this “is” includes the body.
In other words, it goes both ways. Physical reality affects the heart. And the heart affects physical reality (the brain). Therefore, this horrific news from brain research about the enslaving power of pornography is not the last word. God has the last word. The Holy Spirit has the greatest power. We are not mere victims of our eyes and our brains. I know this both from Scripture and from experience.