March 27, 2017

The Danger of the Internet: Pornography and Sexual Encounters

By Steven F. Deaton

No doubt, the Internet is a great tool for many of us. We use it to communicate (sometimes too much) and to find information that 
is beneficial. The Internet, like money or TV, is morally neutral — it is neither inherently good or evil. However, as with anything, it can be abused and used for evil purposes. Thus, it would do us good to examine the danger of the Internet, specifically as it relates to pornography and sexual encounters.

We understand that sexual lust is rampant in our society. It does not take a genius to figure out that fleshly lust is a big tool used by advertisers to sell their products. Everything from rice to toothpaste is promoted using sexually soaked commercials. Advertisers are not the only ones who use this evil, so does the devil. He attempts to lure us away from holy living through sexual temptations (cf. Gen. 39:7-12). The devil wants us to sell our soul, so he can devour it (1 Pet. 5:8).

A couple of sensual, sexual sins that readily come to mind are fornication and adultery. The Bible repeatedly warns against them (Acts 15:20; Rom. 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:13, 18; 7:2; 10:8; 1 Thess. 4:3; Rev. 2:14, 20). If a man commits fornication or adultery, he will lose his soul in hell (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Yet, these are not the only sensual, sexual sins. The Bible clearly teaches that there are things which lead up to actual fornication or adultery. The Spirit says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness” (Gal. 5:19). Some people try to act like uncleanness and lewdness do not exist. However, the Spirit says they do — so what are they? Uncleanness is defined as “. . . the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate living” (Thayer). In the New Testament, uncleanness is commonly joined with sensual, sexual sins (Rom. 1:24; 2 Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Col. 3:5). Notice that it is distinguished from other sexual sins such as fornication and adultery. It would involve things leading up to these sins, such as pornography, the lustful looking upon and wanting of the opposite sex, and even clothing which is designed to insight such lustful thoughts. Lewdness is defined as “Unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence . . . ‘wanton (acts) or manners, as filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females, etc.’ (Fritzsche)” (Thayer). It, too, is listed with other sexual sins, but distinguished from them (Rom. 13:13; 2 Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19; 1 Pet. 4:3; 2 Pet. 2:18). Lewdness would include such things as modern dancing (the prom, post-game dances, etc.), cheer-leading which involves “indecent bodily movements,” and petting which takes place between some couples on dates.

The danger of being tempted by these sins in greatly increasing in our society. More and more people are purchasing computers and Internet access. On the Internet “there are ‘upwards of 20,000 or 30,000’ porn sites” (USA Today, January 29, 1999, 1A). “The on-line adult industry is booming because the medium ‘affords even more anonymity’” (Ibid). The “anonymity” and privacy of using the Internet can be a great temptation to those with access (cf. Prov. 9:17). One friend recently commented that preachers, perhaps, are especially susceptible as they are usually alone in their office all day with access to the Internet.

Notice some statistics from the USA Today article. “Adult Web sites gross $700 million-$1 billion a year.” With that kind of money, it’s not going away. “Of 56.8 million individuals on the Web in December [1998], 32.3% visited adult content sites, a figure that has varied little since 1996.” We are not a prophet, but our guess is that this number will increase as more and more folks bring computers into their homes (cf. 2 Tim. 2:17).

Thus, we can see that pornography is definitely a danger of the Internet. Mom and dad, do you know what Junior is doing with his computer?

Further, not only is the feeding of fleshly lusts through pornography a danger, but also an actual sexual encounter with someone else sometimes results from misuse of the Internet. “Usenet newsgroups; 250 of the discussion areas are in the . . . hierarchy, where users post stories and photos on subjects from abstinence to zoophila” (USA Today). More than once people have entered a “chat room” on the net and begun a conversation (sexually explicit or otherwise) with another person. After some time has passed, the two decide to meet each other, which can lead to fornication or adultery. We personally know of a married sister-in-Christ who was allured by the devil in this way, but came to her senses and cut the relationship off (she even had to change her phone number as the man would not stop calling).

Finally, we must remember that even though others may not know what we are doing, God does (Heb. 4:13). We need to steer clear of anything dealing with pornography or possible sexual encounters on the Internet or elsewhere. If we accidentally run across such material, then we need to be like Joseph who “fled and ran.” We are not above this temptation (1 Cor. 10:12).

378 White Dove, Lufkin, Texas 75901

Truth Magazine Vol. XLIV: 3 p2
February 3, 2000
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