By Dennis C. Abernathy
I have been asked to write this article on the subject of “pornography”, which I am glad to do. In this article we shall not deal with a huge list of “statistics” and draw from that tabulation the conclusion that we have a problem with pornography! Really, all one has to do, is live in our society, to know that we face a grave danger in the form of pornography. Pornography is not something that people indulge themselves on in secret (or it is not a thing done in a corner) in today’s world!
Today we hear a great deal about pollution. The polluting of the air, water, the land, etc. We are in trouble! If we can believe the experts, man has so befouled his environment that now he is faced with a self-induced calamity. The pollution of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we live upon is a most sinister threat to our health and happiness, and we had better be concerned about it! Former President Nixon warned: “We have become victims of our own technological genius.”
But while the world’s best minds grapple with the problem of air and water pollution, a far more lethal type of adulteration has descended upon us. And, ironically, this contamination arouses only slight concern compared to that of our physical environment! We are talking about “inner pollution”, or pollution of the heart and mind.
Consider the man who puts up a beautiful fence around his yard, yet his yard looks like a garbage dump. Also the man who beautifies the outside of his house, yet the inside is a total wreck! Yet, what about the individual who wages the fight against air and water pollution, yet all kinds of filth and defilements are found lodging in his heart?
From a moral standpoint, our country has reached the “open sewer” stage. Anyone who would argue the point need only investigate the average news stand or glance at the entertainment pages of their local newspaper. To read reports from those who have made a thorough investigation and appraisal of the “adults only” books, movies, etc. is shocking indeed. Even more shocking than that is, the fact, that this form of contamination is accelerating at an unbelievable pace. It seems that the adult movies, plays, books etc. are competing with each other to see just how far they can go! One New York critic, after seeing an off Broadway play, wrote: “After this, what can there be for an encore?”
With the onslaught of this form of corruption, has come a burgeoning rate of crime which is now almost beyond anyone’s power to stop or even check. I am made to wonder what our beloved America will be like when my little girls are adults!
The printed page, movies (in theaters and on television screens) and much of the music of today have a tremendous influence on the attitudes, manners, and morals of their recipients.
Just here, I think it would be good to give a definition of Pornography. Porneia is the Greek term for sexual uncleanness of all kinds, including fornication. Grapho means to write or picture. So you can see that we are talking about obscene books and films sold in the adult book store. It includes many of the adult magazines found in the drug stores and on the news stands. Many of the movies in the theater and an increasing number of shows piped into our homes via the TV screen are pornographic.
In the case of the printed page, censorship for all practical purposes, is non-existent. The most lurid and obscene literature imaginable is now freely circulated, obviously protected by the nation’s highest courts. Listen! We are speaking about Hard-Core pornography, not just the “girlie magazines.” It is almost hard to realize how lewd and vicious some of this trash really is.
Although these publications carry the Adults Only warning, any thinking person knows this is only a ridiculous attempt to justify their existence. Where is the evidence that adults are not demoralized by these publications (any person with any knowledge at all know they are affected irregardless of age), and of course all control is lost the moment the purchase is made. There are no laws to keep such material out of the hands of young people once they are sold. If you do not believe teenagers and even pre-teens are reading this obscene material, you had better wake up in a hurry!
I am told (and let me tell you this; I believe it) some of the photographs in these publications are too vile to describe—and most are posed by young people. Certainly, they must be influenced very strongly by drugs, etc., for few people, however depraved, would even do such things much less allow themselves to be photographed in the act!
To the person whose mind is obsessed with sex, who knows little about history (and cares even less), or whose god is the “almighty dollar”, the moral decline of our nation means little. Yet any sensible, and right thinking person, knows and realizes that obscene literature, movies, TV, etc., encouraged by permissive courts, can fatally weaken our nation! This fact is not only underscored by history; it is affirmed by the conduct of those who have abandoned the morals of the past. Today we are witnessing a callous indifference toward patriotism, and a total lack of respect for our rich heritage, and toward God Almighty and His Holy Word! Many of the young people today solve their problems by painting daisies on car doors; by carrying their “Make Love, Not War” placards, and etc. These are the fruits of an inner pollution problem! A pollution, I might add, that we cannot survive. “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7).
The Source Of The Worst Pollution Is In The Human Heart
Jesus said, “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which came out of him, those are they which defile the man (Mk. 7:15). He then goes on in verse 18 to say: “. . . Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all those evil things come from within and defile the man.” My dear reader, the Lord is saying that one’s conduct (speech, dress, etc.) is but an evaluation of his heart! “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Matt. 12:34-35). In other words, if a man fills his heart with corruption, it will be that which flows out of his heart. That is why the Bible says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:33).
This is the point of attack made by pornography. It affects one’s heart or mind. It warps one’s concept of what is right and good. It awakens, kindles, and inflames the vilest forms of lust, which lead the individual down the road of degradation and ruin. Note the following illustration:
“A teen boy stops by a drug store for a snack before going home. As he passes the magazine rack he notices a section of magazines displaying nude and semi-nude women. He stops and begins to shuffle the sports magazines, but his eyes are concentrated on the pornography. Passions he hasn’t known before begin to stir within his mind. Curiosity arouses, but he hesitates to reach for any of the alluring magazines. Something seems to warn him of the evil before him. For the moment he refuses to go so far as to pick up one of the pieces of trash, but he has become careless. He has allowed to lodge in his mind pictures which have appealed to lust.
This carelessness continues for several days until one afternoon at the same magazine rack the boy gets bolder, bold enough to not care who is looking, bold enough to get one of the magazines in hand and look through it closely. Eventually, he has scanned the pages of all the nude magazines. The figures are fixed in his mind. He thinks about them at school. He thinks about them on a date as he makes advances to the girl. He talks about them with his buddies. He feeds his thought processes on them as every female he sees becomes the object of hidden lust. He is bolder now having stifled any warning of danger.
Boldness leads to habit. The boy’s collection of pornography grows as he manages from various sources to buy the foul print. He is introduced to all types of sexual experiences. Through the literature he becomes acquainted with perversion in all its vile forms. Thoughts are not enough. He constantly seeks companions to fulfill his lust. On and on it goes until things happen he never imagined when he first started the downward trail. His mind is a moral sewer. His body a deceased wreck. His future is dark. He is a slave to the lust he only played with at first!”
When people ignore what God’s word says about purity of heart—when they leave God out of their lives, they are on the road to ruin. Hear Paul to the Romans: “Therefore, God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them . . . . God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire towards one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper . . . . and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Rom. 1:24-32).
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” How can one obey this injunction of Paul, while filling his mind with pornography (whether it be in the form of dirty books and pictures – in the theatres or on the TV – or through the dirty and suggestive lyrics of many of the songs today)? We must cultivate proper and pure thinking and leave no room in our hearts for that which is base and vile.
Young people, heed the danger flag before you dabble with pornography. There is nothing good that can come from it. Do not be deceived. There is too much good and wholesome literature – too many good and wholesome things God has given us – for us to degrade ourselves with the trash and filth coming from depraved minds. “Keep thyself pure” (1 Tim. 5:22).
If you are a sinner, purify your heart (Acts 15:9; 1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Pet. 1:22). It is through obedience to the faith (the gospel) that one’s heart is purified. Have you obeyed God? Have you had your sins washed away (Acts 22:16)? Why not resolve to do that today?
Are you a Christian, but have gone back into the world (the mud and mire – the pollution of sin)? It is a low state indeed (2 Pet. 2:20-21; 2 Pet. 1:4). You need to repent of your sin and seek forgiveness at the hand of God (Acts 8:22; Jas. 5:19-20).
This is the way for the Christian, under God, to combat moral pollution in his own life. We must start with ourself. We as parents must educate our children against the dread disease of pornography. What do your children read? What do they watch? What records do they listen to? Do you know? Do you care?
We cannot cleanse the whole world. God’s people have almost always been outnumbered, outvoted, outwitted and outraged by the pollutants which have taken over the minds, morals, and wills of wicked men. But we can begin with our own household. We can teach our children the truth concerning pornography and we can do all in our power to eliminate it from their daily activities. Also, we can confess our sins to God, and we can be sure our own hearts are unpolluted.
Yes, the great battle is not with water and air pollution, but, with those things that pollute the heart and mind of man.
- Define Pornography.
- Discuss the importance of air and water pollution as compared with heart pollution.
- How do you view the moral condition of our country today and how has pornography played a part?
- What are the main sources of pornography?
- Does pornography affect only young people?
- What is the source of pollution?
- Quote and explain some passages of Scripture concerning the heart.
- The battle against pornography must start where?
- How would you refute the “artistic value” arguments presented by the porno pushers? Is pornography simply an “artform.”
- Will we be judged according to our deeds? Does this include our thoughts? How does pornography affect the thoughts and intents of our heart?
Truth Magazine XXIII: 22, pp. 359-361
May 31, 1979