How does porn impact a young girl who discovers her father’s stash? Michelle VanLoon writes about it in My Father The Porn Addict. This sentence struck me more than any other:
Porn taught me that the single most important thing to grown-ups was this mysterious world of fantasy, pain, and animalistic impulses too powerful to ignore.
Porn peddles a lie that becomes “the single most important thing” for those who buy into it. Actually it peddles many lies, but here’s a prominent one: Porn tells us that love, respect and mutual honour are window dressing. Behind closed doors it’s “fantasy, pain and animalistic impulses.”
Loving commitment and kindness are like mating calls. The real business is mating. People might talk about relationships and fidelity, actually it’s about glands and groans. On the surface it’s love and trust, underneath it’s power and gratification. And that’s what’s basic, primal, bubbling away.
To believe the lie is to feed it, to participate in it, to grow connected to it and then to see the world through its lens. Porn sacramentally reinforces the worshipper in that creed and the cycle spirals down.
When a Christian is embroiled in this other religion, what happens when they are told to ‘clean up their private world’? It will likely be heard as the demand to ‘put a lid on what’s real.’ Renouncing porn will be like agreeing to deny the truth, simply because the truth is too dangerous or shameful or powerful to acknowledge or indulge. And so the determined porn-denier will commit to living in the unreality of kindness, mutual service and self-control. All the while power and gratification throb away in heart and mind.
Combatting the lie will take more than a resolve to label pornography as ‘harmful’ or ‘bad.’ We need to know that it’s also ‘untrue.’ And why is it untrue? Let’s cut to the chase: God is as He is towards us. God is not different ‘behind closed doors.’ He does not display sacrificial love as window dressing. The Lamb is at the centre of the throne (Revelation 7:17). Push through to the deepest depths of God and you will find a faithful marital love that gives itself for the other. His gracious gospel offers are not mating calls to woo us while back at home He’s all about power and gratification. No! He is love ‘all the way down.’
Not every god will help you to conquer porn. There are many gods who are power and gratification pure and simple. And there are many Christian doctrines of God that offer a split-personality God – sacrificial in public, selfish in private.
But just imagine… what if, actually, the primeval passions that determine us are intimate, committed, self-denying deferrals to the other? What if it’s respect and mutual love that are really bubbling away underneath? What if it’s serving the other that drives this world, not using. What if giving and not getting is ultimate?
And I don’t just mean, Let’s escape mystically into some godly sphere where that love stuff is true. I don’t mean, Let’s affirm these religious truths (all the while knowing that ‘the real world aint like that.’) No, let’s fling wide those doors that we’re always closing because we imagine that darkness rules the roost. Let’s declare that Jesus really is Lord. This really is Christ’s universe. Light really is this world’s driving force, not darkness. And all that other stuff is parasitic, corrupted, ugly, unnatural, ephemeral and passing away.
The lie of pornography will be unmasked and the bedrooms of Christians, both single and married, will be revolutionized when we see God aright. Behind closed doors there’s not a throbbing, coercive power too dangerous to name. The primal urge is not grunting but grace.