Worldliness (III)

Pornographic Literature

Harry Ozment
Nashville, Tennessee

It seems that with each passing moment the world becomes more evil. We read in horror in our newspapers of the godless society we seem to be living in. One very prevalent symptom of this godlessness is obscene literature.

There has always been this kind of smut floating about, but today it seems that the distribution and use of it is more brazen -- in other words, it used to be sold under the counter and read in a closet, but now it is sold over the counter and read out in the open. More than 16,000,000 salacious magazines are read in the United States each month. And this material seems to be finding itself more and more in the hands of our young people. A few years ago, a survey was conducted of 5000 males in 72 colleges and universities. The results: 34.5 percent of them admitted that they read obscene magazines regularly. Smut grosses more than $500,000,000 in America annually. And the presence of such smutty material is becoming less and less sparse in many homes -- even homes of those claiming to be Christians! Yes, it is becoming quite a problem. Consider just a few of its harmful effects:

(1) Violates New Testament Teaching. When a person reads such material, he is guilty of violating the very essence of God's word. Paul said in Phil. 4: 8, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and ii there be any praise, think on these things." When a person allows his mind to be saturated with the filth and trash found in some of today's magazines and books, he is certainly not "thinking on these things" of which Paul spoke, and he is tearing down whatever godliness and virtue there might have been in his soul.

(2) Harms the heart. Christianity is a religion that begins with the heart. Therefore, the condition and attitude of the heart are very important in following Christ. This is why Solomon said, "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." (Prov. 4: 23) One of the greatest tragedies of salacious literature is the adulteration and destruction of the young, tender, and impressionable minds that search every detail of its filthy page. Is it any wonder that we read of terrible crimes committed by some (but certainly not all) young people?

Jesus said in Matt. 15:18-20, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man." First, the heart is corrupted; then, the whole body is defiled. This is certainly true according to J. Edgar Hoover, who has said that there has never been a sensual offense committed where pornographic literature was not found on the offender or in his personal belongings.

(3) Produces lasciviousness. The basic appeal of pornography is the production of lewd and lustful emotions. This, of course, is a work of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21), and the person who is guilty 0f such has no hope of heaven. Paul said in Gal. 5:21, "Of the which I tell you before... that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV; 34, pp. 10-11

July 9, 1970