Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Truth About Porn

There is a brilliant Guardian article on Porn here (HT Rich Walker):

One thought provoking suggestion is that association with the prudishness of the religious right has stigmatised the anti-porn movement as being against freedom of speech and expression.  For Gail Dines porn is not about art or expression at all, but the hatred of women.  She chillingly describes the statistical links between porn use and rape, and paedophilia.  So how do we draw the line between liberty for authentic expression of art and censorship for dehumanising depictions of females?  The truth is, even in regular media the line has been drawn far over into the latter, meaning women are degraded in front of our eyes everyday on TV, in Magazines, and on Billboards, let alone the sub-mainstream of the porn industry.

A second interesting suggestion is her comparison with the ideological battle against slavery:

She says the blueprint for her aims is the eradication of slavery in the US, which was achieved despite the fact that every single institution was geared to uphold and perpetuate it. "What is at stake is the nature of the world that we live in," says Dines. "We have to wrestle it back."
The question for me is, in the light of those two things, would such a fight today be helped or hindered by the participation of Christian organisations? There can be no doubt that this is the sort of thing Christians should be behind, but how would we avoid getting in the way?

5 comments:

  1. This might sound a bit strange but I'd probably suggest not leading with the Bible. Whilst scripture is central to my thinking, it tends to turn people off if they're getting scripture quoted at them. It's too easy for people to shut you up as a "religious nut" or worse.

    My tactic would be to at least start the discussion with statistics and other scientific data (I imagine there has to be something on the subject). Once that has been established you could continue on to try and develop a biblical perspective as to how human sexuality should look. This would give the opportunity to be overtly Christian without immediately halting discussion with Bible thumping.

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  2. Well yes Ryan, fair enough, I don't think this needs to be a "Christian" battle in the sense that the arguments against are powerful enough purely from a practical common good perspective, and also from an egalitarian/feminist perspective. Of course there are sighificant theological reasons Christians are against porn, see here for example:
    http://christthetruth.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/gnostic-gnasties/
    but these aren't what we should be arguing with in the public sphere. Personally, I'll like to see more christians adopting the label "feminist" unashamedly. :-) (and where that has negative connotations, well it is simply time to provide the word with new positive ones!)

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  3. Agreed. It's interesting that you mention the feminist label though. I for one am a bit reluctant because I'm a bit wary of some of the more extreme things feminists have said. I have to say though that they have a point in the guardian article you linked to.

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  4. I agree - while I'm very religious myself and have strong moral, Christian reasons why porn is dangerous and wrong - we need to explain these harms without leading first with the Bible and "Well, God says..." He's given us plenty of ammunition and knowledge to be able to fight this growing evil. We must spread awareness, state the facts - have you seen our website, www.pornharms.com? We're trying to do just that. Provide a centralized place where one can gather and learn about the harms of porn in order to better combat it. We shouldn't lead with religion because then people stop listening.

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  5. Thanks Dawn, that looks like a very useful website.
    And Ryan, i understand that, but think of the things some extreme Christians have said! That doesn't stop you taking the label Christian does it? :-)

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