The Coming Tsunami of Pornography Addiction
On December 26th 2004 an earthquake magnitude 9.1 struck off the coast of Indonesia. The ocean floor was violently thrust up more than 60 feet by the collision of the earth’s plates along a 600 mile fault line. All of that displaced water had to go somewhere, and it started moving rapidly through the ocean. This massive amount of water underneath the ocean’s surface was screaming toward the shore at 500 mph but was barely noticeable until it reached the shoreline where it grew into a huge wall of water reported in some areas to be over 100 feet high. The tsunami of 2004 killed over 225,000 people, and most of them didn’t even know it was coming until it was too late.
The tsunami of pornography and sex addiction is coming, but most are unaware of its approaching and destructive danger. There was a seismic shift that took place in 2007 when the iPhone began delivering high-speed internet pornography to individuals 24/7. An endless buffet of porn videos is immediately accessible with the click of a button. Today’s youth are watching much more hardcore pornography, more frequently and for longer periods of time than any generation in history. Why is this a big deal?
The porn tsunami is devastating for believers’ communion with Christ, their marriages, and the next generation of church leadership. The Bible warns us that “fleshly lusts wage war against the soul” 1 Peter 2:11. Wage war literally means “to lead soldiers to battle.” When we feed on fleshly lusts through porn we are inviting the enemy to battle against our soul, that part of us that communes with God. Dr. Samuel Perry, a sociology professor at University of Oklahoma, studied the impact of pornography use on a person’s religious commitments and this was his summary.
“Any porn use…is associated with declines in religious commitment and behavior (i.e. prayer, church attendance, etc.) and an increase in religious doubts. “
Dr. Perry also did a six-year study on the impact of pornography use on both marriages and church service. What he found was staggering when you consider the implications. When either spouse starts watching porn, a married couple is 2-3 times more likely to divorce in the next two years than those who don’t watch porn.
Someone not watching porn has a 1 in 3 chance of serving in a leadership role in their congregation. If they watch pornography monthly their chances of serving shrink to 1 in 10, and if they watch porn weekly it dwindles to 1 in 20.
The shame of using porn is destroying marriages and sidelining believers from serving and leading in their churches. The ramifications for marriages, families and churches is devastating, yet few are talking about it. The wave is careening toward the shoreline, and the beach goers have no idea what is coming.
Unfortunately the adolescent brain is more susceptible than the adult brain to addictive substances, and pornography is a prime one. The porn addict receives the same dopamine high that hooks a cocaine addict. We have laws in place to protect the adolescent brain from addictive substances because if someone starts a habit during adolescence the chances are high it will be a lifelong struggle.
According to recent research, 90% of adults who are addicted to alcohol, tobacco or drugs started using their addictive substance before they were 18.–Health Day News 2011
It’s not surprising that Professor Perry’s research revealed “pornography use at younger ages seems to cause young people to walk away from their faith later on.”
We are on the front end of the tsunami. iPhone popularity didn’t explode until 2011-12, so the 12 year old who got an iPhone then is now a 20 year old college student.
What will be the state of his soul, his marriage, his family and his church involvement in 15 years?
If we are making disciples of this generation of students but not equipping them to walk in freedom from pornography, we are doing them a huge disservice, and in many ways we are building a house of cards.
There is reason to be hopeful and even confident that God can take the nastiness of pornography and use the process of breaking free to call out for Himself a people “sanctified, useful to the Master prepared for every good work” 2 Timothy 2:21.
The first step is understanding the magnitude of the issue and what it will take to find freedom.
In an effort to raise awareness of the tsunami that is coming, The Freedom Fight is conducting a national survey of porn use among junior high, high school and college students both male and female. This will enable campus ministers and pastors to know the “condition of their flock.”
This is a battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation of church leadership.
Early returns from the survey of Christian college women who say faith is important have been surprising:
- 66% say they watch porn multiple times a month and 34% watch it multiple times a week
- 100% have made efforts to stop or cut back
- 85% have doubted their faith because of their struggle with porn or their inability to stop it
- 81% say their porn use decreases their desire to serve in a spiritual capacity
- 77% say their porn use decreases their desire to read and study God’s word
- 54% say they are addicted to porn
- 42% say they have had suicidal thoughts related to their struggle with porn
We need to understand the spiritual warfare that is taking place for the hearts and minds of the next generation so we can effectively minister to them and help them find freedom.
Would you help by taking the following two steps?
- Ask your students to take the anonymous survey below
- Send the message below to fellow staff.
Suggested message to staff:
The Freedom Fight is conducting an anonymous student survey on pornography to better understand the breadth and depth of the porn epidemic among Christian junior high, high school and college students. This is an important step in helping ministry leaders and pastors appreciate the scope of this issue. This 20-question student survey will take less than 3 minutes and is completely anonymous. After you check out the questions, would you consider texting, posting or emailing this link to your students as part of this nationwide effort?
As a thank you for helping us, we will share the results of this survey with you.
It will be nationwide results only because as an anonymous survey we will NOT be collecting data on specific groups or locations.
*This is important for students to know as it will reassure them that it is truly anonymous.
Suggested message to students:
Would you be a part of a nationwide anonymous student survey on pornography? It takes less than 3 minutes and is completely anonymous. Just click the link, click your answers and click DONE to submit it.