I was saddened,, though admittedly not surprised, to see the following article published on the CCEF (Christian Counseling and Education Foundation) blog:
Sexual Abuse in Marriage
The title alone should be a red flag to those with an advanced understanding of the red pill.
I was saddened because the (now deceased) founder of the institute, Jay Adams, did a lot of great work for the Church. He was the pioneering voice that helped spark a revival of biblical counseling at a time when people assumed the Bible had no relevance to people’s personal problems.
One of the key ways that Satan infiltrated the Church in modern times was to trick pastors into believing that mental and emotional problems were best handled by “qualified” secular psychiatrists. This meant that pastors could provide abstract “spiritual” guidance, but practical problems were best left to outsiders. Apparently the Enemy was fine with leaving the church to teach theology and share inspirational Bible stories… so long as he had influence over the practical matters like sex, relationships, abuse, anxiety, finances, and all the other personal problems.
But Jay Adams boldly stood against all this nonsense back in the 1960s. The Lord blessed his work and it turned into a movement.
And now feminism is ruining it.
I’ve provided a commentary below on some relevant excerpts for those who are interested. This is how today’s Biblical Counselors, who genunely want to help people change by applying God’s Word, are going to be taught to deal with marriages. [Emphasis mine.]
Though the recent #metoo movement has revealed the prevalence with which people are violated sexually, my heart remains heavy for wives who are victims of marital sexual abuse. Their stories remain untold, and I am concerned that many pastors and counselors are unaware of its occurrence. I hear many stories (too many stories) of women being abused, violated or even raped by their husbands.
“Abuse” is a vague concept. What’s going on in these “many stories”? Is he punching her in the face? Pulling a gun on her? Keeping her in a cage? Given the timidness of most Christian men today, I find this doubtful. Also, a husband cannot “violate” or “rape” his own wife. Here’s the common definition of rape:
1. unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person’s will or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness, or deception — compare sexual assault, statutory rape
2: an outrageous violation
3: an act or instance of robbing or despoiling or carrying away a person by force
Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure that having sex with your wife is (1) lawful, (2) doesn’t qualify as an “outrageous” violation, and (3) doesn’t involve stealing your wife away from her home.
Sexual abuse in marriage occurs when husbands make demands on their wives that are not based on love .¹ These demands for sex are not sanctioned by 1 Corinthians 7:3-5,² though the passage is often used as a goad to require a wife’s compliance. To be clear, the men who do this are troubled themselves. They usually have deep-seated problems including a weak or non-existent relationship with God and an inflated sense of entitlement. They believe that other people (including their wives) exist for them—for their comfort and to meet their needs, including sexual ones. When their wives fail to respond as desired, it often results in a pattern of coercive and punishing behaviors designed to force their compliance.³
Having sex with your wife is part of love (Ex 21:10), so this reasoning doesn’t make any sense. And wives do, in fact, exist to help her husband, including meeting his sexual needs (Gen 2). And if your wife has some repressed submissive desires, establishing “a pattern of coercive and punishing behaviors designed to force [her] compliance” might actually be the best thing you can try for your marriage.
The author then lists some examples that are indeed unloving, or at least are stupid strategies for getting sex with a woman. But judging by the dishonest start to the article, I doubt these scenarios are as common as she’d like us to believe.
Marriage does not equal consent. It does not obligate spouses to participate in any sexual act at any time. But devastatingly, many Christian women have come to believe that sex-on-demand is their “wifely duty.”
Actually, this is exactly what the Scriptures do NOT say (1 Cor 7:5).
Those suffering from these distorted, abusive demands should not be left questioning what God says about such evils. The Apostle Paul speaks clearly here. “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming” (Col. 3:5-6). Paul is calling on us to eradicate all sexual sin that stands against our identity in Christ—any sexual impurity. He is not setting a low bar here and saying “just don’t cheat on your spouses.” He is saying: Wipe out all sexual covetousness—all your greedy taking—for all sexual impurities deserve the wrath of God.
The author claims to have a “Master of Divinity” degree from Westminister Theological Seminary. But apparently they don’t cover reading comprehension in that program or how to use a Greek lexicon or concordance.
- sexual immorality (porneia): a “selling off” of one’s body (as in prostitution and other promiscuous sex)
- impurity (akathartos): being not pure because of a mixture; being adulterated with a “wrong mix” and hence unclean (such as keeping company with sexually immoral people)
- passion (pathos): raw and depraved strong feelings (implicitly, feelings that are not guided by God)
- evil desire (epithymian kakos): a passion to do evil, rotten things
- covetousness (pleonexia): the desire for more things; a desire for beyond what is needed; implies fraud and extortion
I have a hard time believing that any of these terms could possibly apply to “demanding” sex from your wife. The worst it could be is a poor sexual strategy executed by a sex-starved beta husband.
Wayne suggests adding some spiritual dimensions to the basic definitions of sexual terms. He has some good thoughts so I’m highlighting them here and including some additional comments.
1. Lust – According to my understanding, lust is equivalent to a ‘sexual poverty mentality’. When a man has sexual access to a worthy woman, he doesn’t indulge in lust or porn. He simply gets to work on it. To get sexual access, a man needs to have an ‘abundance mentality’. If he languishes in a ‘sexual poverty mentality’ (i.e. lust), then he will have difficulty in his sex life, and will resort to porn.
This makes intuitive sense to me. The less sex a man has the more likely he is to fill the void with porn. I actually read a conversation on Twitter awhile back started by Hunter Drew (of Family Alpha) where a lot of men admitted the reason they watched porn was because they were insecure about their dick size and felt they were unable to satisfy their own wives in bed. So sex ends up turning into a “spectator sport” for a lot of men. They simply don’t feel qualified to participate.
Though I wouldn’t go so far to say these men are ‘lusting.’ I think there is a key distinction between having a burning desire to possess something and merely wishing you had something. I suspect the problem with the stereotypical porn consumer is that he does not truly desire sex enough. He does not desire sex enough to work through rejection and ‘failure’ to get what he craves. He only half-heartedly wishes his wife would do more things in the bedroom and he finds a variety of obstacles (such as the size of his plough) that supposedly prevent him from getting what he wants. In reality, it is the scarcity-based beta mindset that prevents him getting to bedroom paradise.
2. Erotica, Porn, and Art – I would argue that the greatest difference between erotica, porn, and art (from a spiritual perspective) is the mindset which a man entertains in the viewing. A man in a poverty mindset will view porn and erotica as a vehicle of sexual expression (i.e. masturbation). But when a man shifts to an abundance mindset, porn and erotica are merely seen as art. He makes some comments about the art to his woman, they laugh, and then they go home and do it. No lust there. There is desire and passion, sure, but no lust. If the man resorts to lust (i.e. the sexual poverty mentality), she’ll be creeped out and he’ll end up with porn for the night.
Wanking off while viewing porn certainly changes the experience. Many Christians would argue that masturbation is proof of lust. I wouldn’t be to quick to make that conclusion. Practically speaking, the women in porn are not seen as “real” women. In other words, most men don’t obsess over them, try to stalk them in real life, or even entertain the idea of actually having sex with them. It’s just fantasy.
I think regularly using porn for “solo sex” is akin to what Dr. Robert Glover, in No More Mr. Nice Guy, describes as “settling for bad sex.” No sane man would argue that masturbation is preferable to real sex. It doesn’t exactly leave a man feeling proud when he’s finished. We’d all rather be like this guy:
I think the the risk of jerking off while watching porn is that it can easily become an addicting experience. Since it’s more convenient than going through the trouble of learning how escalate with a real woman, it can become a crutch that prevents a man from making the real-life improvements he needs to make to get laid.
But these men already feel bad enough about themselves. Equating their porn viewing habit with adultery on top of being a loser is not going to help them change. They need encouragement, not brow-beating.
3. Sexual Immorality – This is an insightful start. We could make this better by describing what sex is sold in exchange for, and why.
As best I can tell, the biblical problem with sexual immorality is that it shows contempt for one’s own body. God gave us our bodies so that we could manifest spiritual truth. Having sex within marriage is a manifestation of Christ and the church. But having sex outside of marriage indicates that you only see your body as something to barter with for temporal gain. Money would be the obvious exchange. But I think other forms of “currency” would be included such as using sex to “win friends and influence people.”
I am sure we’ll have to add a definition of idolatry to reach a full understanding of this.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I think the equation of sexual immorality with idolatry is an example of “common sense” being incorrect. The New Testament equates idolatry with greed for material gain, not sexual immorality. Though I suppose one could “sell off” one’s body in service of material gain.
It’s possible I’m wrong about this. If anyone can find a passage of Scripture that clearly equates idolatry with sexual immorality, I’ll adjust my opinion accordingly. But since I’ve already searched the ends of the earth (i.e. quickly scanned through Page 1 of a Google search), I don’t think anything’s going to show up.
As if the Church wasn’t in for a big enough shock already, here’s yet another sexual movement on the rise:
The above screenshot is the estimated traffic stats (from SimilarWeb.com) for Incels.me, a discussion forum for men who have taken the “black pill.” The site’s terminology page is telling of the frustrations:
Rollo Tomassi offers some insights into the movement [emphasis mine]:
So what’s different now? Well, to start, we have a generation of lost boys who’ve been acculturated to think that even asking a girl out is a form of sexual misconduct. The Village has raised boys as if they’re defective girls, devoid of any of the masculine discipline necessary to teach these young men how to cope with real rejection from a girl, how to deal with defeat or how to come back stronger as a result. As we’ve feminized these boys so to have we embedded the same feminine victimhood narrative that women rely on into their collective psyche. Except these boys are still beholden to the old social contract that women believe incumbent upon men. This puts these boy-men into a very precarious position: they are educated like defective girls and as such adopt the same frail sensibilities and are subject to the same entitlement narrative as most women are, but they are also male and therefore are expected to suck it up, take it on the chin and carry on. They are told to express their feelings and in the next moment are told to check their male privilege.
Most of the lost boys generation are not ready for the disillusionment that the Red Pill brings to them, but it’s not the manosphere that’s opening their eyes so much as they are having it thrust in front of them by a communication age steeped in the Feminine Imperative. Today, Red Pill truths are harder and harder to get away from as Open Hypergamy and all of the unflattering truths about the female nature are triumphantly lauded by women themselves. Every swipe left on Tinder is one more confirmation of exactly the harsh truths that push Incels to their limit.
Of every article I’ve read on Incels since the Toronto killings not one author has analyzed the problem correctly, but also none have any actionable idea about how to solve the problem of Incels snapping. There are no longer the same outlets that ‘losers’ had back in my day to channel that sexual frustration to more productive ends. Many a frustrated high school boy became his generation’s iconic artist or musician. I think it’s the height of irony that Mark Zuckerberg essentially created Facebook to stalk his ex girlfriend. There are no longer the creative ways to deal with the discontent that comes from sexual rejection. Some will say to me there are, it’s just these guys are too unmotivated to apply themselves. And while that may be true, there are much easier outlets that further stunt that boys development. Rather than redirecting that sexual angst to something creative, it’s much easier to lose themselves in online porn or immersive escapisms facilitated by this age’s technology.
Or they can seek out a forum of similarly disaffected young men and commiserate about the truth of a world that has no place for them. I read that Dr. Jordan Peterson suggested that a social order based on ‘enforced monogamy’ might be a cure for Incels. I get what he was trying to say, but it’s just one more flippant redirection away from the real causes of this rise in Incels. I can remember reading a post that Roissy had made about a knife wielding man in China who had gone to a day care center to specifically kill women and children. As horrifying as that is what had prompted the guy was the understanding that he’d essentially been selected out of the reproductive game because there was a huge imbalance in the ratio of men to women in China as a result of their one-child policy for so long. Roissy went on to suggest that as more and more men are disaffected by a feminine-primary social order, one that bases all its legislation and social doctrine on optimizing Hypergamy, the men disenfranchised by it will become either more violent (in their effort or angst to reproduce) or more suicidal – which we also see in men killing themselves at 5 times the rate of women.
Incels are the canary in the coal mine that is a gynocentric social order. They are what results when a society prioritizes and incentivizes Alpha Fucks (enthusiastic consent) while Beta Bucks is more or less assured by direct and indirect resource transfer to women. When 80%+ of men are evaluated as ‘unattractive’ to women fed on a steady diet of ego inflating social media, you get Incels.
I don’t know if the world has ever faced a problem of this sort at the magnitude we’re going to experience it. But there will always be plenty of work for the righteous to do.
Be as a father unto the fatherless, and instead of an husband unto their mother: so shalt thou be as the son of the most High, and he shall love thee more than thy mother doth.
I’m not sure how to apply the “husband unto their mother” part, but it is obvious who the fatherless are in this generation.
So here’s some fun things you may or may not have known about sexual immorality. A few of them surprised me during my study.
First, I want to clarify the terms. This is a topic that is usually obscured by word trickery, so I want to make sure you know where I’m coming from first.
sexual immorality (porneia) – to sell off one’s body; to engage in “whoremongering”, prostitution, or other forms of promiscuity.
idolatry (eidólolatria) – service or worship rendered to an image
For clarity, I will be using the more readily-understood word “promiscuity” in place of the ambiguous word of “sexual immorality.”
With that out of the way, here’s some interesting finds in quick-hitting fashion:
1. Promiscuity on part of the wife is the only biblical grounds for a husband to divorce a wife (Matthew 5:32; 19:9)
Hence the disciples shock at Christ’s teaching. When a man takes a wife, she is under his care and instruction for life… in spite of any foolishness or sinful behavior she engages in. It would do a man well to learn to enjoy the process of shaping an imperfect woman into a radiant bride.
2. Promiscuity is a manifestation of one’s inner character and desires. (Matthew 5:28; Mark 7:21)
One does not simply fall into promiscuity by impulse. It is a manifestation of one’s inner thought life. If someone is engaging in promiscuity, it is because they already corrupted themselves on the inside. It’s a reflection of their true character. Hence we should not “feel sorry” for someone living a sexually promiscuous lifestyle. Rather, we should expose the error of their ways and lovingly point them to repentance and the path of life.
3. Promiscuity is a sin against one’s own body (1 Cor 6:18)
Similar to how King Solomon instructs his son not to waste his seed on unworthy women (Prov 5), so Paul instructs us not to sin against our bodies by uniting them to prostitutes. The fact that it is our own body makes it an especially shameful sin. Our bodies were made to serve the Lord (including sex in marriage). Why would you throw away your body like a piece of trash by uniting it to whores?
4. The temptation to engage in promiscuity is a righteous reason to marry (1 Cor 7:2)
As far as I can tell, there are only three (initial) biblical reasons for a man to marry:
- To make babies (Genesis 1)
- Sexual attraction (Song of Solomon)
- To avoid promiscuity (1 Cor 7)
In other words, the reason to marry is sex, sex, sex. Other than avoiding pairing with a bad spouse, no other advice is given.
5. We are to cut off anything that energizes us towards promiscuity (Col 3:5)
This could mean different things for different people. It could mean that a woman shuts down her Tinder account. It could mean avoiding frat parties. It could mean changing friends. Any situation that gives creates a temptation for you to engage in illicit sex should be cut out of your life.
6. Rather than engaging in promiscuity, men are to learn how to get a wife and “possess” her (1 Thess 4:3-4)
I believe if the Apostle Paul were alive today, he would be a big proponent of the “married red pill.” He does not simply instruct young men to get a wife. He essentially tells them to grasp the reality of women (i.e. take the red pill), get a wife, and learn how to make her hot for you within the context of your marriage.
7. Promiscuity is frequently associated or caused by idolatry (Rev 9:20)
It’s easy to imagine how idolatry can lead one to promiscuity. In ancient times, many religious ceremonies involved engaging in orgies, having intercourse with animals, or other such promiscuous behavior. Even today, women who serve the idol of Feminism engage in the “ceremony” of riding the “cock carousel” to prove they are a “sexually liberated” woman. And pick up artists boast of their notch count while they pump-and-dump as many of these “sexually liberated” women as they can.
8. Promiscuity is used as a symbol for idolatry (Rev 17:4)
God frequently uses references to promiscuity to help us understand how he feels about idolatry. Idolatry is described in Romans as becoming debased and focusing on the created thing at the expense of the larger context:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.
The most graphic example of such darkened thinking is found in Ezekiel 23:20:
There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
In other words, idolaters miss the point. They are like women who judge men solely on the size of their cock… not realizing that there is a purpose to sex beyond just seeing how big of a member they can stuff into their overstretched vaginas.
9. Promiscuity is not synonymous with idolatry
All this leads to this final point, which surprised me.
I had always assumed that sexual immorality was equated with idolatry. In other words, sexual immorality was equivalent to “worshiping sex.” I’ve heard this sentiment expressed in churches many times.
But I could not find a single passage in the Scripture that made this connection. There are passages that describe sexual immorality as a result of idolatry. And there are passages that use sexual immorality as a metaphor for idolatry. But nothing saying that that sexual immorality is the same as idolatry. (Someone please correct me, if I overlooked any data.)
So why does this distinction matter? And why were we led to believe they were the same?
I have a good guess.
It’s a diversion to prevent us from seeing what is synonymous with idolatry… namely, pleonexia, which is typically translated in Colossians 3:5 as “greed” or “covetousness”:
So put to death your worldly impulses: sexual sin, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).
The definition of pleonexia is telling:
properly, the desire for more (things), i.e. lusting for a greater number of temporal things that go beyond what God determines is eternally best
The Strong’s Concordance sheds further light on the term:
From pleonektes; avarice, i.e. (by implication) fraudulency, extortion — covetous(-ness) practices, greediness.
In light of these definitions, the equation of pleonexia (greed) with idolatry makes perfect sense:
If one’s desire to gain more possessions drives one to commit fraud and extortion, then that is serving an idol rather than God.
Now can you think of any institution that might want to hide this sin?
And can you think of a reason that institution would want us to think that our sexual “immorality” was the problem instead?
The Second Lateran Council of 1139 A.D. presents sheds some light on the motives [emphasis mine]:
5. We enjoin that what was laid down in the sacred council of Chalcedon be rigidly adhered to, namely, that the goods of deceased bishops are not to be seized by anyone at all, but are to remain freely at the disposal of the treasurer and the clergy for the needs of the church and the succeeding incumbent. Therefore, from now on, let that detestable and wicked rapacity cease. Furthermore, if anyone dares to attempt this behaviour henceforth, he is to be excommunicated. And those who despoil the goods of dying priests or clerics are to be subject to the same sentence.
6. We also decree that those in the orders of subdeacon and above who have taken wives or concubines are to be deprived of their position and ecclesiastical benefice. For since they ought to be in fact and in name temples of God, vessels of the Lord and sanctuaries of the holy Spirit, it is unbecoming that they give themselves up to marriage and impurity.
7. Adhering to the path trod by our predecessors, the Roman pontiffs Gregory VII, Urban and Paschal, we prescribe that nobody is to hear the masses of those whom he knows to have wives or concubines. Indeed, that the law of continence and the purity pleasing to God might be propagated among ecclesiastical persons and those in holy orders, we decree that where bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, canons regular, monks and professed lay brothers have presumed to take wives and so transgress this holy precept, they are to be separated from their partners. For we do not deem there to be a marriage which, it is agreed, has been contracted against ecclesiastical law. Furthermore, when they have separated from each other, let them do a penance commensurate with such outrageous behaviour.
8. We decree that the selfsame thing is to apply also to women religious if, God forbid, they attempt to marry.
In other words, the church couldn’t have men with wives or concubines in leadership. This would mean that the property would go to the man’s own heirs rather than to the church. And that just won’t be favorable for building a religious empire.
But it would be too obvious to simply try to take the property by force like a barbaric army. No. You’d need something much more subtle. Something that rings with holy rhetoric.
So the church presents a fraudulent gospel. A gospel where marriage is seen as unholy and the congregation is held in a state of perpetual guilt under an ambiguous and expanded definition of sexual sin.
With the sexual men ousted from leadership, and the congregants distracted by their perpetual guilt over sexual sin, there is no one left who is fit enough to call out the sin of idolatry in the church.
Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will desert the faith and occupy themselves with deceiving spirits and demonic teachings, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. They will prohibit marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
Blackdragon describes an alternate view on the problem of porn:
As I’ve spoken about many times before, we live in a society overloaded with sexual imagery, but not a lot of people actually having sex. Married couples have far less sex today than in the 1940s. Millennials are having far less sex than any other prior generation. Night game, daygame, and online dating have all become more difficult as women simultaneously become more masculine, bitchy, and picky. This, plus weaker economies and enticing distractions like porn and sexy video games are inducing many men to opt out of the sexual marketplace altogether.
And so on. I listed all the stats about how much fewer people are having sex than before right here, but the point is people aren’t getting laid. You just think people are getting laid because of all the false Societal Programming in Hollywood, porn, dating apps like Tinder, sexy pictures of Instagram models everywhere, and so on.
This sexual imagery overload, which I agree is sort of stupid, has led to a new movement of people (some traditional right-wing conservatives and delusional unicorn seekers), men (MGTOWs, incels, and others) and women (exasperated over-age-33 women who can’t find perfect husbands who don’t exist) who have come to the conclusion that sex just isn’t that important. Moreover, if you really like sex or have a lot of it, there’s something wrong with you.
One could speculate that, if there are a number of evil masterminds behind the industry, that there is an ulterior motive to the porn industry aside from making money. Perhaps the intention is to manipulate people to have less sex by overloading people with sexualized images.
The over-abundance of porn triggers feminists to think that sex “objectifies” women. It triggers church leaders to think that, all of the sudden, there is something wrong and sinful about the male’s fascination with nude women. It creates distractions for unmotivated men who might otherwise go out and get a wife.
In other words, we’ve all been tricked into thinking we’re a sex-obsessed culture. So we feel guilty about our sexual impulses. But hardly anyone is having much sex.
One of the things I like to do on my blog is throw in a little humor and conspiracy theory to keep things fun.
I think one reason we like humor and conspiracies is because they point to important truths without requiring us to be too serious about it.
Case in point:
I’ve been thinking to myself, “why all the focus on struggling?” Everything is a “struggle” against lust or a “struggle” against porn. It’s “every man’s battle.”
I found this odd, because it seems that, with the vast majority of Christians already believing pornography is a sin, we all would all be quite aware of the “struggle” phase and would be moving on to the “solution” phase.
Plus, if you want to persuade someone to change a behavior, you don’t keep talking about the struggle. You expose a problem and provide a solution. Imagine if you went to a doctor and all he told you was to “keep struggling” against your disease. If he’s a good doctor, he’ll identify the root of the problem and tell you what you need to do to become healthy again.
But the Church provides no solutions to what is supposedly a “grave threat” to the spiritual health of the Church today. And we’re told it will be a “lifelong battle” for every man.
As I was pondering this, some dark and dusty corner of my brain retrieved an old meme. It’s my all-time favorite “demotivational” poster:
Perhaps as applied to the Church, this meme could read:
If You’re Not Part of the Solution,
There’s Much Power to Be Had in Prolonging the Guilt.
One of my favorite Christian blogs to follow is Desiring God.
Not because I agree with their arguments (I rarely do), but because their blog serves as a perfect microcosm for the present worldview of most conservative Christians. Additionally, they do not shy away from covering sexual topics and other thorny issues so it’s always an interesting read.
And, in a case of perfect timing… or, to use the proper Calvinist rhetoric, an event that was pre-ordained by a Sovereign and Almighty God before the foundations of the earth were laid… Desiring God published an article over the weekend titled “How Not to Fight Pornography” just in time to fit into my series on the topic.
I’m going to do an analysis of the article here. Specifically, I’m going examine the assumptions behind the argument.
Testing assumptions is one of the most important parts of learning and spiritual growth. And since it’s easier (and more fun) to find flaws in the thinking of other people, I find article analysis to be a great way to indirectly examine my own assumptions.
So buckle up… here we go…
(The following are selected excerpts. I have bolded the untested assumptions. [Emphasis mine.])
…you first need to realize that your “struggle” [with porn] is no struggle at all. You need to admit that you are participating in blatant infidelity. You’re married, but you take off your ring for a moment and indulge yourself. You’ve been united to Christ, but you unite yourself to prostitutes.
The author is assuming that viewing pornography is equivalent to infidelity and having sex with prostitutes but provides no argument or evidence to establish this claim.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:1, Paul makes known to the church how she “ought to walk” or how it is necessary to live. This general statement becomes a specific command in 1 Thessalonians 4:3–4: “Abstain from sexual immorality,” knowing “how to control [your] own body in holiness and honor.” Apparently, some in the community were struggling to master their body or “vessel” (which may be a euphemism for genitalia). They acted out in lustful passion like the pagan Gentiles “who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:5).
In many modern translations, ktaomai, is rendered as “to control.” But the older, more literal translations are consistent with the Greek. The word means to “acquire”, “win”, “purchase,” etc. Furthermore, the word eidó (know) conveys a deep understanding rather than just a superficial knowledge. It means to “see”, or, metaphorically, to “perceive” or “grasp reality.” If we go forward with the assumption that the “vessel” refers to one’s own body (or more pointedly, one’s own penis), then Paul is essentially saying, “Men, I want you to grasp reality and acquire a penis of your own.” Or, “I want you to perceive how to possess your own penis.” This sounds like some weird new age masturbation advice. But if you assume “vessel” is a metaphor for a wife, the command makes much more sense.
To “know God” is covenantal language. Acting as those who “do not know God” is to live as if you’re not in a covenant relationship with God. It is to live a life of infidelity, without the slightest concern for how your spouse will respond; in this case, the God who “called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Here’s a little Friedan slip the author let out. Where does the Bible include not being concerned with how your spouse will respond with breaking a covenant relationship with God?
Pornography not only hurts you. It severely hurts others. It dehumanizes real people into images for one’s own sexual gratification, and it completely “destroys life-sustaining relationships” (Gabriele Kuby, The Global Sexual Revolution, 127).
Both of these assumptions are impossible to prove. “Dehumanize” is a rhetorical word with no precise meaning. “Destroys life-sustaining relationships” is also rhetoric. Depending on what one is looking for, there are cases of broken relationships where porn use was a factor and there are happy relationships where porn is used. It’s all about how you frame the issue and which studies you trust. Furthermore, the author is assuming that pornography, in and of itself, is the cause of the problem. He does not take into account the human factor. Ironically, this is arguably a “dehumanizing” way to make a claim.
You lose interest in your spouse. You emotionally distance yourself from your family. You lose your ability to love. You cause your spouse to leave you. You entertain a false view of sex no one can meet. You develop a degrading image of the opposite sex. You become a recluse who can’t wait to see pornography one more time.
All of these things could be true in some cases. But it is a HUGE leap in logic to assume that porn viewing is the cause of all these problems. Most likely, porn use is typically correlated with all the above problems and perhaps exacerbates the problems. Imagine a man who doesn’t work and lazes about and binge watches movies all day. We then discover that he is emotionally distant from his family, he’s reclusive, his wife leaves him, he’s developed a skewed view of reality, and he has no motivation. Would we say movies are the problem? No. He‘s the problem. Movie watching is just his chosen outlet for the expression of a poor character.
Is it surprising to hear that God is an avenger who will punish those in the church who persist in sexual immorality? It probably stunned the Thessalonians. Earlier, Paul mentioned that Jesus delivers the church “from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10) and he later speaks about God’s people not being “destined for wrath” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). But to demonstrate the seriousness of sin, the holiness of God, and the ultimate outcome of sexual sin, he declares that the Lord Jesus will punish those who unrepentantly “struggle” with pornography in the church.
This not only an untested assumption, this is a blatant lie about what the Scripture says. Paul never “declares” that the Lord Jesus will punish those who look at pornography. The assumption here is that continuously looking at pornography is equivalent to sexual immorality (porneia). This would be a difficult argument to make as porneia simply means “selling off one’s body” (as in prostitution.) It’s pretty obvious that most men consuming the porn are not having any sex with women (paid or not.) However, it is worth examining the cases of men paying women for “virtual entertainment” and how much responsibility a man has by viewing the photos and videos of an industry that openly engages in porneia. Would this be a “meats in the marketplace” type situation, or something else?
Sexual sin is such a grave threat to the church today, and it will not go down without a long, drawn-out fight, as if eternity were at stake — because it is.
Let’s just call a spade a spade. The author is claiming that men who look at pornography will burn for eternity in hell. Unless one is a Calvinist who is absolutely confident that he is one of the lucky few who are part of the elect, that’s a heavy burden for a sex-starved man to bear.
I also fail to see why sexual sin will not go down without a “long, drawn-out fight.” To me God’s instructions for avoiding sexual sin are clear: have sex with your wife and don’t have sex with anyone who is not your wife. Also, don’t have sex with animals. It’s not that complicated or difficult… well, provided that you don’t force yourself into years of involuntary celibacy by following Churchian marriage advice.
u/Whitfield puts forth a hypothesis worth investigating in response to a question I posted on the Red Pill Christian reddit:
I highly suspect the Feminine Imperative to be responsible for some, if not all of the anti-porn sentiment. The Christian world has a strong visceral reaction against visual erotica, as compared to “word” erotica, and we are not exempt from this. This is one of the less talked about issues in the Christian Manosphere, for pro-porn beliefs are often seen as “hamstering” (which is often the case too). More can be discussed about this. Not the issue of porn, but rather, the influence of the Feminine Imperative on Christian beliefs of porn/erotica.
Personally, I suspect there is something wrong with porn… namely, there is something wrong with the stereotypical scenario of the lonely sex-starved male wanking off to PornHub videos in the late hours of the night.
But I also suspect that the reason porn is a problem is not the same as the knee-jerk reaction of most Christians. If we’re going to exercise wisdom, we need to have a mature understanding of the issue instead of just echoing soundbites that earn us applause from fem-centered churchians.
Side note: I hope my site doesn’t get spammed with a bunch of porn bots as I delve into this topic. But that is a risk I’m willing to take. I have girded my loins and my quick finger is poised and readied to reject all incoming spam attacks with a click of my trusty mouse.
So… I’ve been thinking about porn lately.
More specifically I’m trying to get to the root of why it’s a problem. I feel this is a topic where there are a lot of soundbites and virtue signaling, but not much thinking. So this post will include some foundational concepts for my philosophical adventure through yet another inappropriate subject.
The first step is to define the relevant terms correctly. As Vox Day has pointed out, the earliest sign of a charlatan is that they use commonly understood words in unusual ways in order to fit their argument. This could also apply for people who have been infected by false teaching and haven’t yet done any thinking of their own. And I will have none of that boondoggling around here! So let’s start with a basic glossary…
(Links are included to relevant dictionary entries. I used the Greek words when it is a term found specifically in the Bible.)
Erotica – literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire
Art – the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination
Pornography – printed or visual material that contains explicit descriptions or display of sexual organs or activity
Sexual immorality (porneía) – a “selling off” of one’s body; promiscuity of any kind; illicit sexual intercourse. Derived from pórnos, meaning a male prostitute.
Lust (epithumeó)- a focused passion to do or possess something; a compound of epi (“upon”) and thymós (getting heated up; passion-driven behavior; intense emotions). Lust is an intense and growing obsession with an object.
Adultery (moicheuó) – sexual intercourse with another man’s wife. Jesus taught that the root of adultery is lusting for another man’s wife (see above.)
Tempt (peirazó) – to try or test. Often used in a negative sense but could be used in a positive sense. The context determines whether it’s positive or negative. James says that it is epithumea (“lust”, “passionate desire”) that creates our temptations.
Sin (hamartia)– derived from A “not” and meros “a part, a share of”. Means to have no share or part of something due to missing the target. In the Biblical context, sin is that which causes one to lose his place or share in God’s kingdom because he did not reach the target (i.e. the end goal.)
So now that we’ve clarified the definitions, the next question is how do these terms relate to each other? Here’s a few starting observations:
The Song of Solomon is not pornography because it does not explicitly describe sexual organs or activity. Rather, it uses metaphors to indirectly refer to sexual functions.
Pornography is art because it is an application of creative skill and imagination. The question is whether it can be good art.
Viewing pornography is not the same as sexual immorality (porneia) because one can certainly look at porn without engaging in illicit sexual behavior. The right question is whether it inspires illicit sexual behavior. There are also other factors to consider… just because something is not a categorical sin doesn’t automatically mean it’s “good.” Nevertheless, the answer is probably not as black and white as we tend to make it.
The Song of Solomon is certainly erotica and it’s included in the Bible for all to read. Hence we cannot categorically condemn erotica as sinful.
Lust is not inherently sinful. Whether it’s sinful depends on whether or not one is able to lawfully possess what he desires. A man can (and should) lust after his wife. And a man looking for a wife could, arguably, legitimately lust after an unmarried woman. Though from a Red Pill perspective, lusting after an unmarried woman is unadvisable… akin to “oneitis.” It’s better to lust after a wife rather than a particular woman.
Lust is not the same as the desire for sex. It’s not even the same as desiring to have sex with a particular woman. Lust occurs when there is a “focused passion” (i.e. an obsession) that continues to grow in intensity. But, as a matter of wisdom, it is best that a man avoid dwelling on any woman other than his wife; there is no need to create unnecessary temptation.
Sin is a distinct (but related) concept from “temptation” and “lust.” According to James 1:14, there is a progression that, when allowed to develop, ultimately leads to death:
Lust => Enticement => Temptation => Sin => Death
In regards to pornography, the question we need to pursue is twofold:
- Does intentionally viewing or reading sexually explicit material cause one to lose his place in God’s Kingdom? If so, why?
- If there is nothing inherently wrong with viewing or reading sexually explicit material, then what are the Biblical boundaries that need to be placed around it to prevent us from being tempted to sin?
The vast majority of Christians and conservatives think porn is a problem.
But, due to the taboo nature of the topic, there’s not much open discussion of it among Christians. This has resulted in a lack of clarity on what the real problem is. The conversation is not as simple as it seems. Here’s some questions off the top of my head that are worth examining:
- Is there a difference between porn and erotica? If so, what distinguishes them?
- Since erotic poetry is included in the Bible, does that mean it’s ethical for Christians to publish and enjoy other erotica?
- If the Bible includes verbal erotica that prompts images in the mind, is there any reason we can say it is wrong to create or enjoy other forms of erotica?
- At what point (and why) in the following sequence does enjoying sexual imagery become immoral?
- The Song of Solomon => Other Erotic Poetry => Erotic Stories => Artistic Renditions of Nudity => Artistic Renditions of Sexual Acts => Animated Videos of Sexual Acts => Photography of Nude Women => Photography of Sexual Acts => Videos of Sexual Acts
- What is the difference between the erotica found in the Song of Solomon and the most frequented porn sites on the internet?
- Is looking at porn equivalent to lusting after a woman? If so, why?
- If a wife divorces her husband because he looks at porn, is that a legitimate divorce in God’s eyes?
- Does viewing porn really cause a man to lose sexual interest in his own wife… or is this just unfounded rhetoric?
- Does viewing porn cause single men to be less motivated to get a wife? Or would these men be unmotivated regardless of their porn viewing habits?
- Does porn create unrealistic standards for women?
- Is there any ethical way to consume porn? In other words, is porn inherently sinful or is it contextually sinful?
Fundamentally, we have a conceptual problem. The definition of erotica is “literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire.”
The Song of Solomon is erotica.
50 Shades of Gray is erotica.
PornHub is erotica.
And, arguably, this blog is erotica.
Yet looking at them together, we instinctively know there is a difference between them. Yet we have not yet developed the sophistication to distinguish good erotica from bad erotica. Perhaps we could say ethical erotica is simply “erotica” and unethical erotica is simply “porn.” But we are still unable to distinguish the two.