Hopefully, you agree that pornography is wrong and detrimental to the Christian walk with Christ. But what about the millions of believers who are addicted to social pornography?
In fact, social pornography is just as damaging to relationships as sexually-based pornography.
According to statistics, 70% of Christian men struggle with pornography. Those struggles ruin marriages by creating unrealistic fantasies that no man or woman can live up to. Pornography is fantasy. This fantasy draws both men and women away from a deep and intimate connection with another human being and pulls them away from scripture based living.
What then is social pornography?
Social pornography is Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, MySpace, Twitter, etc. But how can these venues, which have become so established in our day-to-day lives, be aligned with such a gruesome term? Let’s think about it: Pornography is something that exhibits an act with the purpose of eliciting an intense emotional or physical response from a person. In short, pornography is founded upon the concept of “false sexual satisfactions.”
Facebook users log-on daily to read their newsfeeds and status updates. Many of these newsreels and bits of information from other peoples’ personal lives stem from past relationships. These relationships have either faded from the past, never really developed “offline,” or belong to people we would refer to as “acquaintances”.
It is the personal stories, the “dirt,” and drama that keeps us linked to our cyberspace world. We harbor a longing to semi-regularly log on to stay connected to these mundane life happenings.
This trend seems to affect upper-aged students all the more. Daily many newsfeeds spew the tirades of warring teenagers upset about one another’s status updates. To analyze these posts even further, one would find that many of these students know little about one another when disconnected from their social media universe.
So, what does “liking statuses,” looking for the latest dirt on my old college roommate, and status bullying have to do with social pornography.
All of these create “false social satisfactions.” The working 20-something who doesn’t get out as much as she used too may now find some satisfaction in feeling connected to her old college friends through reading status updates. The 40-year old who has not shared a compliment to any of his co-workers can rest assured in the fact that he encouraged someone by pressing the “like” button today on an old friend’s status. And the freshmen who doesn’t have the courage to work out a dispute face-to-face with a peer can now feel pretty good about himself as his status has thoroughly run his adversary through the mud.
“False… social… satisfaction.”
Just as pornography inhibits and many times destroys families, so does social pornography. People struggle to communicate both simple and complex emotions face-to-face. Hard conversations only transpire wirelessly from one portable device or computer to the next.
Social pornography is highly addictive. Persons using social media experience the high of endorphins and dopamine release in the brain. These are the same highs that people using pornography experience. The release of these chemicals by the brain creates an addictive situation for the user.
In a recent survey 68% of respondents were labeled as addicted to social media. For believers, an addiction to any thing or substance is alarming.
Social media is not innately bad, but anything that can master or enslave a person through addiction is harmful and breaks our relationship with Christ. When we become addicted to social media, we begin worshipping it as an idol in our lives. Those idols replace God.
The bible says that everything is lawful or permissible for us as followers of Christ up until the point that we become mastered or enslaved by it.
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
We need to exhibit the spiritual fruit of self-control in the way that we approach and use social media. We also need to recognize whether we have an addiction to social pornography and take action steps to conquer it.
Even though social media is inviting and allows you to stay connected with the world around you, it also connects you so much with the world that it disconnects you from Jesus. Review your social media habits and reorganize them for Christ.
Article co-authored by Ryan Farr