The Problem of Pornography in Magazines

From Issue: Discovery 11/1/2010

A standard dictionary defines pornography as “the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement.” If we understand this definition, we realize that pornography is prevalent in America. Pornography seems to be all around us—not just in “adult” bookstores or on the top shelf of the newsstand, but on television, posters, billboards, and in movies.

Many people believe in a much more limited definition of pornography, especially when it comes to magazines. They think that the only pornographic magazines are those that have special brown wrapping to cover the nudity on the covers. Before the invention of the Internet, many people who wanted to buy certain kinds of pornographic magazines had to “sneak” to the local adult bookstore, at the risk of being seen by peers, preachers, or parents.

Today, however, those who want “adult” magazines need only visit one of many Web sites dedicated to the sale of magazines and take their pick. Then, they simply wait for the magazines, which are conveniently sealed for privacy, to arrive in their mailboxes. In some ways, it appears that promoters of pornography have shifted their focus from magazines to more easily and widely accessible media, like cable television and the Internet. Meanwhile, well-known “adult” magazines like Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler are still being published. They tempt us to openly embrace sinful thoughts and sexuality.

The apostle Peter wrote: “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” Christians are those who “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires,” and who practice “self-control” (Galatians 5:22-24). Because Satan constantly tempts us with pornography, we should develop the capability to quickly turn our heads and look away from images that show immodestly dressed people, make sex seem trivial, and separate it from the plan of God (Genesis 2:24). Even if our society keeps its eyes “full of adultery,” and “cannot cease from sin” (2 Peter 2:14), Christians must remain pure, “just as He [Christ] is pure” (1 John 3:3).


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