Thursday, July 16, 2009

Is it a sin to see someone naked?

So I'm having a debate, well maybe not a debate. More like swatting of off the wall comments regarding the whole porn thing on compegal. We were making some progress but it was very slow going.

The last post was by some woman who goes by TL where she quotes a mistranslation of the Hebrew to prove a point, even though the mistranslation doesn't actually say what she needs it to say. I would have responded there but the moderators decided to close down discussion, because after all we shouldn't actually do what the bible says.

Now normally I hear bad arguments all the time. But what I was shocked to discover how lousy the commentary is on Gen 9:22 in most Christian bibles including my favorite bad translation the ESV. In fact the Reformation Study Bible even uses the mistranslation in the ESV to teach the moral lesson that nakedness is bad.

So this issue is actually worth responding to since I suspect the mistake is probably common, and there should be some sort of easily available refutation. I'll quote TL not because of anything unusual, she seems to be reasoning from the English but because she deserves the credit for making me aware of this issue. So to make sure it is clear, I don't think she is being dishonest she just uses bad tools. In this case she choose the NKJV, which preserves as many of the mistranslations in the KJV as possible, and for all practical purposes uses 400 year old dictionaries and underlying texts. Here is her translation and conclusion:
Gen. 9:20 (NKJV) And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. 21 Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. 25 Then he said: “ Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren.” 26 And he said: “ Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem, And may Canaan be his servant.

I think that there is a moral principal here that is related to the subject of porn and other people’s nakedness (outside of medical reasons). It is not morally acceptable to view other people completely naked as a recreational exercise, especially in the act of sex. (link to original)
Well it is an interesting analysis I'd say a huge jump from a single incident involving nakedness to an entire doctrine. Can I pick any historical story in the bible where someone says something bad to someone else and derive a moral law from it? Just think of the fun! The real problem that exposing nakedness of his father (וַיַּרְא חָם אֲבִי כְנַעַן אֵת עֶרְוַת אָבִיו ) is an expression, it has nothing to do with "nakedness" in a literal sense. The tradition of the overly literal translation goes back to the KJV. Which is odd because the bible itself defines the term in Lev 20:11 (NKJV) "The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them." That is uncovering your father's nakedness is having sex with his wife, its not seeing his wang.

The NET has a nice commentary on Lev 18:7 where the same expression is used (I'll also quote the NKJV):
Lev 18:7 (NKJV): The nakedness of your father or the nakedness of your mother you shall not uncover. She is your mother; you shall not uncover her nakedness.
Lev 18:7 (NET): You must not expose your father’s nakedness by having sexual intercourse with your mother. She is your mother; you must not have intercourse with her.

Commentators suggest that the point of referring to the father’s nakedness is that the mother’s sexuality belongs to the father and is forbidden to the son on that account (see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 120, and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 294). The expression may, however, derive from the shame of nakedness when exposed. If one exposes his mother’s nakedness to himself it is like openly exposing the father’s nakedness (cf. Gen 9:22-23 with the background of Gen 2:25 and Gen 3:7, 21). The same essential construction is used in v. 10 where the latter explanation makes more sense than the former.

And if you read Lev 18 you see a long stream of "uncovering nakedness referring to sex". Note the reversal here where uncovering the nakedness of someone is sleeping with their spouse which is called in the NKJV "their nakedness" (I guess to make the passage unintelligible if you don't reverse translate) (all from the NKJV):
6'None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness; I am the LORD.

7'(F)You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, that is, the nakedness of your mother. She is your mother; you are not to uncover her nakedness.

8'(G)You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's wife; it is your father's nakedness.

9'(H)The nakedness of your sister, either your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether born at home or born outside, their nakedness you shall not uncover.

10'The nakedness of your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter, their nakedness you shall not uncover; for their nakedness is yours.

11'The nakedness of your father's wife's daughter, born to your father, she is your sister, you shall not uncover her nakedness.

12'(I)You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's sister; she is your father's blood relative.

13'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister, for she is your mother's blood relative.

14'(J)You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's brother; you shall not approach his wife, she is your aunt.

15'(K)You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law; she is your son's wife, you shall not uncover her nakedness.

16'(L)You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother's wife; it is your brother's nakedness.

17'(M)You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, nor shall you take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; they are blood relatives. It is lewdness.
This use of uncovering nakedness as sexual humiliation is the reason that the Talmud (Sanhedron 70a\b23\b0) translates 9:22 as Ham having either castrated or sodomizing Noah (see Rashi on Genesis 9). My personal take is that Canaan is the product of Ham and Noah's wife, which makes the mention of Canaan in Leviticus 18 very explicit. The author of Genesis 9 is presenting a myth about the origins of the sexual wickedness of Canaan. The castration of Noah (either literally or by sleeping with his mother) prevents Noah from having a fourth son so Ham's fourth son "Canaan" is cursed to do as Ham did (sexually) and be enslaved by the two righteous brothers for it.

And just as Leviticus 18 opens with
Lev 18:3 (NKJV) According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances.

As an aside, my recommend bibles for the OT the NJPS and the NISB both covered this well, and the NET which is my recommended evangelical translation did a nice job.

OK so what is the lesson to be learned:
1) Uncovering nakedness shows up a lot in the bible. Hopefully this little discussion is worthwhile.
2) There is a good reason 0% of the bible bloggers recommend the NKJV.
3) Fundamentalists, as usual, are full of malarky if you check all their facts.
4) There is no prohibition against nakedness in the bible.
5) The arguments against porn are really shoddy.
6) There is no way to have an intelligent conversation about sex on a christian board, and I need to get around to more posts on my sex and fundamentalism series.

75 comments:

TL said...

Hello CD Host.

I really don’t have any interest in a long drawn out ‘thing’ on nakedness, porn, etc. But I’ll take a moment or two to dialogue with you.
http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/gen9.pdf

Noah gets drunk and exposes himself in his tent. Not about sex. While it may be true that sex may be termed that way sometimes, it is not in this case. The context is that he is drunk and laying naked on his bed. As well, the sons did not ‘uncover his nakedness’, Noah uncovered his own nakedness. It’s just about being naked! The other sons cover the father’s nakedness, not their mother, nor their mother and father, just the father.

It might be worthy to note that in cultures or societies where social nakedness is accepted it does not matter if one sees the parent as naked. The fact that the nakedness of the father is not to be seen in Gen. 9, shows that nakedness in general (outside of marriage) is not a morally acceptable social activity.

In America, we have areas reserved for those who enjoy social nudity. But interestingly they generally don’t engage in public sex acts or porn-like viewing of people. Porn is more than just public nudity. It is sexual objectification and sexual promiscuities and perversions. To my knowledge the only social group that enjoys porn-like viewing of others in a public setting are homosexual men. And to this date I’m not aware of either nudists or homosexuals having their own church where they can freely promote nudity and porn use.

And BTW, I’m not a fundy. I’m a Christian who leans toward evangelical egalitarianism.

TL said...

You can find the link here:
http://www.scripture4all.org

adventuresinmercy said...

Dude. Porn is two people engaging in sex, or one person acting in ways designed to bring the viewer to orgasm while steeped in fantasy sexual acts. ?

Dude. Oh, wait. I already said that. But I'm feeling very Bill and Ted here. I mean, porn has hardly anything do with seeing people naked. I was naked when I birthed my five kids and the whole entire room saw more of my body than I myself have probably seen of it. Who cares. I highly doubt it was good for anything other than reminding people to take sex very seriously. Ha. That is TOTALLY different than getting naked in a sexual manner in ways designed to get viewer(s) off, and/or egaging in watching people acting in ways designed to get other people off.

Scripture seems to support sexual purity as a good and godly thing, which is not to say that sexual purity and Liberty University's belief that masturbation is a sin are the same thing. Masturbate away, if that's what floats your boat, but I find it difficult to believe that a person can read the injunctions in the NT about the sexual mores of Christ-followers and come away saying that *porn* is neither here nor there, and if a Christian wants to partake of it, that's their business and certainly doesn't harm them or their family---and it's totally cool with God, too.


Maybe that's not what you are saying. It sounds like what you are saying, if I am reading the many different threads on the different blogs correctly. So correct me where I'm wrong, because I thought I read you saying that:

1. Use of porn is totally cool with God.

2. Use of porn is a husband or wife's right and the spouse has no business fussing about it.

3. Porn don't hurt nobody (slang intended), which includes both the making of it and the viewing of it.


It seems to me that engaging in pornography, whether the making of it for others to view or the watching of it to get oneself off, is activity that runs contrary to the lifestyle we are called to live as followers of Christ. I'm thinking of verses like...

"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." (2 Tim. 2:22)

"Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5:28)

Some excerpts from 1 Cor:
"The sexually immoral . . . will [not] inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9). "The body is not meant for sexual immorality" (1 Cor. 6:13). "Flee from sexual immorality" (1 Cor. 6:18). "Since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband" (1 Cor. 7:2). "We should not commit sexual immorality" (1 Cor. 10:8)...

More in part two (geesh, I can't believe I just rambled so long that it has to be broken up into two parts. Oh, wait. I can believe it).

adventuresinmercy said...

Continued from above>>

"I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged." (2 Cor. 12:21).

"Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure" (1 Tim. 5:22)

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness ... of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21)

"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel (body) in sanctification and honor, not in lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which do not know God." (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)

"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor. But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not once be named among you, as becometh saints...For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." (Ephesians 5:1-3, 5)



Just being naked? There are times and places for naked. The bathtub is kind of an awkward place to wear clothes. Peter through off his clothes and swam out to greet the resurrected Christ in the nude. . Apparently, nakedness in and of itself is fine. (Adam and Eve walked around with God while naked...seems to me like God is pretty cool with the unclothed human form---almost as if He made it or something)...

But nakedness and *porn* are two different things. Heck, sex and porn are two different things. And saying porn is okay with God is another thing altogether.

Anonymous said...

CD-Host,

I hope you get treatment for your sexual addiction.

CD-Host said...

TL --

Hi, this is your first time over here. Welcome.

http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/gen9.pdf

Well that caught me off guard. I'm a fan of the Concordant translation but I didn't expect it from you. You do understand you are using an Arianist bible? That won't matter for this discussion just surprised me. And as I conceded in the post that is the literal meaning "naked" I'm arguing it is an expression. My point was that the NKJV was being overly literal for a bible that claims to translate meaning not word-for-word. The Concordant is intentionally overly literal so I'm not sure how it could prove your point.

Like me give you an in American contemporary English of what is going on in this passage. if I said something like. "2010 is going to be a good strategic election for the Democrats. They have already pushed the ball deep into the Republican side of the field and if they can take the South West then when the turnover happens in 2014 the ball will be at the 30 yard line".

If I'm translating this for an entirely different culture all the discussion of fields and balls can't be there, or I need to translate literally and then include lots of text notes about the rules of football and how those expression are used to make any sense.

In terms of the literal: The Jewish commentaries (Rashi) I was quoting are doing that as is the NET (which I quoted) as is the NISB (liberal Christian very scholarly, NRSV based). In terms of the get rid of the fields and balls you see it in the NIV/TNIV in places like Leviticus 18 where they are handling this expression at length.

As for the entire story it is like my football analogy above. I mean seriously does that story make any sense under the interpretation you give it? Noah gets trashed, his youngest son sees him naked and gets his older brothers. They cover him up without looking. Noah wakes up and somehow knows which son did what, and as a result curses his grandson and not his youngest son nor even all of his children for thousands of years are sexual to be immoral and will eventually be enslaved by the descendants of the other two sons?

Can you honestly with a straight face tell me that you think that's interpretation is the one you are supposed to get from the text?

That's why Rashi's read makes sense: Ham killed off the 4th son and so his 4th son (Canaan).... Or the more simple explanation that Canaan is the product of Ham and Noah's wife.

In America, we have areas reserved for those who enjoy social nudity. But interestingly they generally don’t engage in public sex acts or porn-like viewing of people.

I'm not sure which group you mean: nudists, swingers or the fetish club scene. For the fetish scene the whole point is public play. No one can take 6 or 7 hours of public play physically and the noise and distraction is exhausting for tops. So yeah, most people spend most of the time watching. I don't know much about the swinging scene but exhibitionism is why women generally go to swing parties and not just swing privately from what I understand. As for nudists I'm not sure how they handle sex, I'll assume they are private about sex.

And BTW, I’m not a fundy. I’m a Christian who leans toward evangelical egalitarianism.

OK I'm sorry for calling you a fundy. It was more the group in general, than you in particular. The fundamentalists really have it rough, everyone objects to being labeled a fundamentalist.

CD-Host said...

AdventureinMercy (molleth) --

Well welcome back. If you disagree that nudity is prohibited then you are disagreeing with TL not me. That's her argument.

Scripture seems to support sexual purity as a good and godly thing, which is not to say that sexual purity and Liberty University's belief that masturbation is a sin are the same thing. Masturbate away, if that's what floats your boat, but I find it difficult to believe that a person can read the injunctions in the NT about the sexual mores of Christ-followers and come away saying that *porn* is neither here nor there, and if a Christian wants to partake of it, that's their business and certainly doesn't harm them or their family---and it's totally cool with God, too.

OK we are making progress. If you don't believe there is any prohibition on masturbation then it is either watching something specific or creating porn that most be prohibited. What is the prohibited act?

1. Use of porn is totally cool with God.

(1) I think a great deal depends on your specific denomination. For example there are groups with rules regarding spilling seed, obviously a blanket prohibition on masturbation would cover porn. For a Catholic all sexual pleasure must be accidental and all sex acts not specifically procreative are additional sinful.
But what is happening with protestants is that they are creating a new sin called "using porn" and that is unjustified.

2. Use of porn is a husband or wife's right and the spouse has no business fussing about it.


(2) Wow. Lets start with a clarification. I think (the woman who you are thinking of) is a particularly bad case. She and her husband never set up proper boundaries. They don't have communication skills. What I'd recommend for a marriage that dysfunctional isn't representative of what I'd recommend in genera.

Now for healthy marriages. I think husbands and wives should have good dialogue about sex and I think in general they should work out arrangements between themselves which maximize their happiness. I think in almost all cases that will involve an understanding that one party might be ready when the other is not and how they want to handle that.

Just to pick a personal example, my lungs are doing terrible because of the pollen. I probably couldn't run up the stairs twice without hacking for 20 seconds, much less have sex last night. On the other hand my wife was in the mood. If she wants to watch read a hot novel and burn some batteries, that takes the pressure off me about feeling guilty for not feeling up to it. It makes things better in the marriage not worse.

I think conservative Protestants have developed a theology of sex which is hindering this kind of effective communication. While the base theology is much healthier than it was 100 years ago:
a) the lack of contact with animals (not farming, and "fixing" pets)
b) the fall off in sex ed
c) not reading secular information sources

has created some off the wall beliefs when it comes to human sexuality. These beliefs are making the kind of dialogue I was suggesting impossible. In the case of major reality distortion which prevents good a good resolution I think it is best if people work it out individually and not collaboratively.

3. Porn don't hurt nobody (slang intended), which includes both the making of it and the viewing of it.

No, for example a lot of the actors and actress end up getting herpes. That being the case there are lots of industries where the workers are harmed and we still use the products like the coal industry or any large bridge.

(answer continued in part 2)

CD-Host said...

AdventureinMercy (molleth) --

In terms of the quotes. Most of the those beg the question. Is porn sexual immorality? Is porn fornication (for the viewer)? etc... You are assuming the very points in question.

I saw the John Dillinger movie, last week. I don't think I don't think that makes me a party to bank robbery. In the same way I don't think watching a movie about sex is the same as engaging in sex.

If there isn't some sin "watching porn" in the bible, then watching porn must be another sexual sin. And again, the Romans had lots of porn so the idea was not unknown to NT writers. You've already said you don't think masturbation or viewing nudity are sins. Which sin is in fact be committed by watching it? And then lets go a step further. How many sins are prevented by watching it. Moving from 4% of the female population as prostitutes to .01% as prostitutes is a drastic reduction in: fornication, harlotry, disease, human cruelty, poverty....

I'm assuming you are against prostitution. The combination of social welfare and a strong economy (until recently) on the supply side and pornography and lots of fornication on the demand side has induced a 99.75% reduction in prostitution. Remember each hundredth of a percent represents 15,000 women and something like 900,000 acts of acts of prostitution. Similarly adultery figures are way down (depending on how you want to count) something like 6,000,000 less adulterous relationship per year. So even if you say porn is bad, is porn bad relative to the alternatives?

Just being naked? There are times and places for naked. The bathtub is kind of an awkward place to wear clothes. Peter through off his clothes and swam out to greet the resurrected Christ in the nude. . Apparently, nakedness in and of itself is fine. (Adam and Eve walked around with God while naked...seems to me like God is pretty cool with the unclothed human form---almost as if He made it or something)...

LIke I said you are disagreeing with TL here not me. Her argument was that viewing nudity was inherently sinful, but there were times that was acceptable (like in medical). I gave a half dozen counter examples (one involving Jesus) myself. Your example of Peter is an excellent one, thank you.

Bonnie said...

CD Host,

I think I'm missing the connection between church discipline and this discussion, but...

You seem to be reducing sex merely to the phenomenon of getting off.

I am unaware of evidence that God meant sex to be either (a)not shared with anyone but oneself, or (b) shared with pretty much anyone, real or imagined, whether bodily, visually, in-the-flesh, or some representation thereof.

It seems that sex is to be shared by one husband and one wife who are married to each other (or who ought to be, by levirite law). You know, the fidelity thing.

CD-Host said...

Hi Bonnie, welcome to the blog.

I think I'm missing the connection between church discipline and this discussion, but...

What do you think people get disciplined for? Sex related stuff is the number one area of discipline. Moreover, because sex related stuff enjoys popular support false excommunications are frequently tied to it. This is an area where hypocrisy is rampant and it plays into discipline.

You seem to be reducing sex merely to the phenomenon of getting off.

Not quite. I'm separating "getting off" from sex. Obviously one of the goals of sex is to "get off". To picked extreme examples vaginal penetration without orgasm is sex in my book while direct stimulation of the prostate is "getting off" without sex.

If you agree on those two extremes, then there is a lot of room discuss "getting off" sexual mixtures. I'll stop here and let you respond. I have some follow up questions but I'm not exactly sure where you wanted to go with this idea.

tc robinson said...

CD-Host, nakedness is one thing and porn wholly another.

adventuresinmercy said...

OK we are making progress.

Why? Progress toward what?

If you don't believe there is any prohibition on masturbation then it is either watching something specific or creating porn that most be prohibited. What is the prohibited act?

The prohibited act is that sexuality was not intended to be on display for all watchers (as it was in the Ashterah ceremonies/orgies, etc), but ideally a private event between a covenanted couple.

But what is happening with protestants is that they are creating a new sin called "using porn" and that is unjustified.

How does the Bible promote the erotic viewing of others having sex as a good and healthy part of our sexuality?

Even Song of Solomon, a pretty "racy" book, doesn't throw in porn as part of the couples erotic life.

If we agree that sexual immorality includes sex acts between non-married people, then right there, we have to conclue that actively viewing such sex acts for personal pleasure is participating in and appreciating/delighting in their sexual immorality.

One can't say that a wife having sex with a neighbor is sin while at the same time watching said sex eagerly, without being stained oneself.

How can purposely and eagerly viewing the sexual immorality of others be compatible with following Christ?


In terms of the quotes. Most of the those beg the question. Is porn sexual immorality? Is porn fornication (for the viewer)? etc... You are assuming the very points in question.

How can it not be?

Sexual immorality includes sexual acts outside of a marriage, right? If Jesus said that to look at a woman in lust is sin, then it seems that a moot point to wonder whether or not actively and excitedly watching other people egaging in acts of sexual immorality is okay.



I saw the John Dillinger movie, last week. I don't think I don't think that makes me a party to bank robbery. In the same way I don't think watching a movie about sex is the same as engaging in sex.

You are right, it's not the exact same thing. No one said it was. Sexual immorality is a pretty wide swamp.

And again, the Romans had lots of porn so the idea was not unknown to NT writers.

Yeah, and I think it's covered in the whole Ashtorah thing and the abhorance of the other pagan sexual rituals and practices and whatnot. In the NT, when Paul calls Christians to flee sexual immorality, I think that includes things like, say, watching other people have sex.

The fact that magazines and websites where you could watch people having sex hadn't been invented yet seems rather here nor there. To say that porn is okay since it was not specifically mentioned seems to be rallying around the letter of the thing, not the spirit.

believer333 said...

http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.com/2006/04/impact-of-pornographyporn-addicts-on.html

I suggest you read "One Man's Shame".....

CD-Host said...

AIM/Molleth --

BTW what do you want me to call you AIM, Molly, Molleth...?

Why? Progress toward what?

Figuring out if there is any biblical basis for the prohibition people think there is on porn. Either I've got a huge blind and it is completely obvious (which is what most everyone seems to think) or is it rather subtle, or it isn't there at all. You're helping me figure out which one.

CD:What is the prohibited act?

The prohibited act is that sexuality was not intended to be on display for all watchers (as it was in the Ashterah ceremonies/orgies, etc), but ideally a private event between a covenanted couple.


OK that leaves two acts:
a) To display sex publicly
b) To watch others having sex

And now a bunch of questions.
1) Are (a) and (b) the two acts
2) Where you getting this prohibitions from (there is some of that below but I'm going in order)
3) Are those the only prohibitions that apply to porn or are there others?
4) Are there exceptions or exemptions.

Now you also mention the "Asterah" orgies
Did you mean Asherah? The reason I'm asking is Asterah are sex demons in Sumerian mythology so it makes sense in context, but it's an obscure reference I don't think they are anywhere in mainstream Christian bibles. Assuming yes you means Asherah.

My response would be that any religious ritual involving foreign God's is prohibited. It is not like YHWH would have been thrilled with a hotdog eating competition dedicated to Asherah. Also it is not broken out what is prohibited exactly. You seem to hinting that witnessing sin is a sin, so by that logic Elijah on Mount Carmel (1Kings 18) was sinning.


CD: But what is happening with protestants is that they are creating a new sin called "using porn" and that is unjustified.

Molleth: How does the Bible promote the erotic viewing of others having sex as a good and healthy part of our sexuality?


It doesn't. Are you are arguing that everything not specifically endorsed is prohibited. For example the bible doesn't promote that having sex on Visco-Elastic foam, so it prohibited for a couple to have sex on a Tempur-Pedic?

Even Song of Solomon, a pretty "racy" book, doesn't throw in porn as part of the couples erotic life.

The Romans had it, the Judeans in Solomon's era didn't. Moreover see above.

If we agree that sexual immorality includes sex acts between non-married people, then right there, we have to conclue that actively viewing such sex acts for personal pleasure is participating in and appreciating/delighting in their sexual immorality.

No we don't have to agree, that's the big leap. I don't agree that viewing a movie about immoral things is participating in immorality. My example of having seen the Public enemies movie, I enjoyed it and I believe that I in no way participated in John Dillinger's bank robberies.

One can't say that a wife having sex with a neighbor is sin while at the same time watching said sex eagerly, without being stained oneself.

Why not? I can watch a movie about Dillinger robbing a bank, and I can watch the news full of all sorts of sinful behavior. I assume you don't consider either of those sinful activities.

CD: In terms of the quotes. Most of the those beg the question. Is porn sexual immorality? Is porn fornication (for the viewer)? etc... You are assuming the very points in question.

Molleth: How can it not be?


For the same reason you don't think watching Public Enemies is bank robbery.

(to be continued part 2)

CD-Host said...

(response part 2)


Sexual immorality includes sexual acts outside of a marriage, right? If Jesus said that to look at a woman in lust is sin, then it seems that a moot point to wonder whether or not actively and excitedly watching other people egaging in acts of sexual immorality is okay.

There is no question that being in a state of lust is sinful. Orgasm decreases male lust not increases it. It would seem if the goal is to decrease the number of women looked at lustfully the best strategy would be to be sexually sated not sexually frustrated.


Lets work a hypothetical. Take a married guy who over 3 days is going to be going without. So day 1 he is at a normal level and day 3 he is climbing the walls.

No orgasm:
day 1: 1 lustful thought every 10 minutes = 96
day 2: 1 lustful thought every 3 minutes = 320
day 3: 1 lustful though every 2 minutes = 480
a total of 896 lustful thoughts. Lets assume there is some overlap between days so something like: 200 different women.

With porn:
he watches 10 minutes each evening (after day 1 and after day 2) where he sees 6 scenes he enjoys involving 3 different women. Lets assume each scene involves 10 lustful thoughts

Porn related lust = 120 thoughts, 3 women
OTOH he stays at the day 1 level in terms of sexual frustration.
non porn related lust = 288 thoughts involving 70 women.

Totals:
no porn: 896/200
with porn: 288/73
that's a 75% sin reduction.

And you can see that if he were to spend longer with the porn we could bring thus numbers down even lower. Without working through the figures
with lots porn: 50/15

It is better to marry than to burn.

You are right, it's[watching a movie] not the exact same thing. No one said it was. Sexual immorality is a pretty wide swamp.

OK but how can you show that this is in the swamp and not out of the swamp. Also which part of the swamp is it in: fornication, adultery, some sort of generic immorality...?

(shortened to avoid repeating)

Nice responses, thank you for the conversation.

TL said...

"With porn:
he watches 10 minutes each evening (after day 1 and after day 2) where he sees 6 scenes he enjoys involving 3 different women. Lets assume each scene involves 10 lustful thoughts

Porn related lust = 120 thoughts, 3 women
OTOH he stays at the day 1 level in terms of sexual frustration.
non porn related lust = 288 thoughts involving 70 women."


What you are suggesting is that men sin with what IYO is a lessor sin, in order to reduce a larger sin. This is something like suggesting that a person smokes marijuana in order to reduce his cocaine addiction. The problem is that regular continued use of marijuana may likely encourage one to return to harder drugs as the high simply isn't enough.

Same thing happens with porn use. Regular habitual use of porn actually encourages going deeper into sexual sins. It becomes not enough at some point.

Whereas Christ came to set people free from all sin. Some sins are more rooted into a person's psyche and may take longer and harsher strategies to get them out, but Christ can and does free us from all and any sins if we seek Him persistently.

Bryan L said...

Are you really arguing that watching porn is ok for Christians? Why? IS this just a fun experiment where you see what you can out argue another Christian on to see how their ethical reasoning is flawed or has holes? Or do you seriously think it's fine for Christians (or anyone) to get off to porn?

Bryan L

CD-Host said...

Bryon L --

With the exception of blaspheme of the holy spirit the sin our Lord was most offended by was lying hypocrisy of the pretend holy. If you look at American statistics for porn since the late 80's depending on exactly how you count them usage among men 15-65 runs somewhere between the low and mid nineties percent (i..e. 90-95% of men). The US is 3% atheists, so it ain't them generating these numbers. What we have sexually in the Christian community is almost universal dishonesty and hypocrisy on this topic. A group of people who want to live in a pretend universe that if the use the force they can drive a car blindfolded.

Lets pick another example. If you don't want premarital sex in your culture you marry people off in their early teens: say 13 for girls and 15 for boys. If you don't want much premarital sex you can wait till about 17. If you build a culture where people aren't marrying until after college, say waiting till 25 or older you have decided to have a culture with lots of premarital sex. If I start a fire I have an intention to create both heat and smoke. Pretending otherwise is mental illness not holiness.

We know a lot about human sexuality and have for generations. We also know that theology has almost no impact on sexual behavior. The people who believe premarital sex is a grave sin have it nine months earlier on average than those who believe it is perfectly normal and acceptable. And I"m sure the grave sin crowd prayed a whole lot for divine assistance, while the natural crowd didn't.

Questions like "are earthquakes" acceptable", "how can you construct building that are earthquake safe, do you want earthquakes"; "don't know you how negative the portrayal of the earthquakes is in the bible" would be seen as stupid. Earthquakes are simply something that happens and the choices we have are about how much we want to prepare for them. We can choose to have building that can flex, and if we don't we choose to have large number of people die. It is frankly irresponsible in the extreme to believe that if we pray really hard and die build flexible buildings everyone will be OK.

It is time we start treating human sexuality like any other natural part of the universe. If prayer is effectual we should be statistically detect it. If it isn't detectable then lets stop pretending it is effectual.

And then when we leave the world of magical thinking we can start making realistic choices about what kinds of sexual tradeoffs we really want in our society. Teenagers make bad choices in spouses, if they are under a great deal of sexual pressure they will marry earlier than they should. So do we want more premarital sex or more divorce?

(con part 2)

CD-Host said...

Bryon L --
(response continued)


Now when it comes to adult sexuality the lying doesn't end either. Adult children pretend they are remaining chaste, husbands pretend that sex 50-100 times a year is all they need, wives lie about their masturbation behavior. And everybody gets to do a lot of lying and feel a lot of sexual guilt about a system designed to create exactly the behaviors they are engaging in. Let me suggest one of my early essays, darkness at noon and church discipline. If people start asking the question, "am I morally deficient for engaging in behaviors that I was both designed to engage in and programmed to engage in; or I am being manipulated by being told I should be" then we have people that are able to rationally decide how to respond to their church's discipline.

The effect of pornography was to drastically reduce the amount of actually biblical prohibited acts (like adultery). So instead of being thrilled that we are seeing a huge drop off in actual sexual sin, churches went into overdrive creating a new class of sexual sins which are nowhere mentioned in the bible. "using pornography", "sex addiction" were created and "impure thoughts" came back into fashion.

You can not pray really hard to stop breathing
You can not pray really hard to stop urinating
You can not pray really hard to stop defecating
You can not pray really hard for your hair and nails to stop growing
You can not pray really hard to stop ejaculating

It is all the same.
The fact that you can hold your breath for a minute or two doesn't mean you can hold it for an hour
The fact that you can hold your pee in for a hour or two doesn't mean you can do it for a day
The fact that you can not defecate for several hours doesn't mean you can go a week without
The fact that you can be chaste for a few days or maybe a week doesn't mean you get to 25 as a virgin.

And if people thought peeing were sinful and were running around talking about how they used to pee when they were young children but now by the grace of Christ they have peed in last ten years, I'd be having a similar discussion.

madame said...

CD Host,
I wanted to reply to your post on Complegalitarian, but left it until the evening and the post was closed for comments.

I think I'll just try to clarify where I'm coming from when I say that pornography is in no way ever acceptable for Christians.

First of all, I believe it's important that we understand what sex was created for so we can decide whether certain acts fulfill this purpose. Then we can see whether the Bible has anything further to say about it.

I believe sex was given to mankind as a way to bond (a tool to becoming one flesh) and to procreate.
I don't think sex has to fulfill all its purposes in order to be "valid", but it definitely should be kept within the confines of marriage, the only relationship that God calls "one flesh" and is the one relationship where God intended sex to stay.

Pornography doesn't unite a married couple. If anything, it brings about separation as one spouse relieves his or her urges alone. It supports and revels in the inpure sexuality practiced by the people who make the films, and it fills the user's mind with thoughts. Where else does a man/woman get the images that will haunt him (or her)? Sure, we get enough just from advertising, and we can't help but see them, but to go searching for them and allow them to fill our minds and still our urges is not right. It's surrendering to sin, revelling in it, instead of fleeing from it.

How should a man (I'll say man because you've been saying that men have more sexual desire than women all along) deal with his urges?
Well, I think that the Bible teaches us to:

- have our minds renewed, to discern what is good from what is not good.
- bring all thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. Are sexual thoughts excluded?
- That looking at a person who is not your spouse and lusting after them is committing adultery in our hearts.
- That we should not commit adultery.
- That we should flee sexual inmorality: any sexual practice that doesn't fit God's design for sex. (within marriage, between both spouses,in a bed that is kept holy)
- That we should have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness but rather, expose them.
- That we should live in the world and not be of it.

And many other things that Molleth has already kindly pointed out to you.

I can understand that sex is also a strong urge. I KNOW it is. But should we be compromising and accepting sin just because it seems less than some other sin? It seems like you keep rationalizing the benefits of pornography against other sins, but does that make it any better?

I believe human sexuality was affected deeply by sin, so what seems "normal" to us, is not what God calls good. We should be aiming at what God calls good, not what our world calls normal.

You might want to google "Porn again Christian", by Mark Driscoll and read through it. I think he makes a very good case.

Finally, the way you talk about sex it comes across as if you view wives as the sexual servants of their husbands, who are not enough for them, therefore the husbands are forced to look elsewhere to fulfill their needs.

Bryan L said...

Do you have a link to your statistics on porn use in America?
btw you know the saying: there's lies, there's damned lies and then there's statistics ; )

btw my name has an "a" not an "o".

Bryan L

madame said...

CD Host,
There are many natural urges that we are called to control.
For example, when we are wronged, we are told to forgive, to overcome evil with good, to love our enemy and to leave revenge to God.
Naturally, we want to make them pay, seek revenge, hold a grudge, etc...

God asks us to do things which are not possible for us to do on our own. It's up to us whether we choose to resist the devil, practice self-control, have our minds renewed, and so on. It's not about "just prayin'".

CD-Host said...

TL --

Same thing happens with porn use. Regular habitual use of porn actually encourages going deeper into sexual sins. It becomes not enough at some point.

The previous thread porn addiction is on precisely this topic. And the evidence is that just ain't so. There is no evidence that porn creates an escalating cycle leading to adultery and all manner of sexual sin anymore than food creates an escalating cycle leading to bulimia. And the evidence from America is unequivocal in the other direction. As the porn industry has exploded: peer adultery is down substantially (well over a 50% decrease) and prostitution has been comparatively eliminated (over a 99% decrease), rape is down, incest rates have come down since the 80s tremendously.

If your theory is true why are the statistics showing the opposite?

believer333 said...

CD Host,

http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.com/2006/04/impact-of-pornographyporn-addicts-on.html

I suggest you read "One Man's Shame"..... You will read a typical story of a regular habitual use of porn.

believer333 said...

”The people who believe premarital sex is a grave sin have it nine months earlier on average than those who believe it is perfectly normal and acceptable. And I"m sure the grave sin crowd prayed a whole lot for divine assistance, while the natural crowd didn't.”

Premarital sex is called fornication. People don’t have to intend to be married to have premarital sex. Scripturally, all sex outside of marriage is forbidden. Do you think God is mistaken in this restriction?

CD-Host said...

Bryan L --

Sorry for the misspelling of your name. I'm not sure what exact statistic you were asking for. They are all scattered. One of the functions of this discussion will be to see what facts I should put together for later posts.

AFAIK though the numbers I'm giving aren't disputed by Christian organizations. for example Promise Keepers in 1996 did a survey of men at an event and 53% (that's 53% of the people who paid to go to a Promise Keepers rally) had used pornography in the last week. The statistics I was citing from from Blockbuster 1998 on the effects of X rated vidoes (2 or more rentals / 6 months for accounts with an adult male on the account at video stores that carried X rated movies).

Brigham Young University did a survey in 2008
Journal of Adolescent Research, Vol. 23, No. 1, 6-30 (2008)
(67% ) of young men and one half (49%) of young women agree that viewing pornography is acceptable,
(87%) young men and nearly one third (31%) of young women reported using pornography

Christianity today (1994) (Hart report, se addictions counselor, not currently on his website)
91% of college aid kids raised in christian homes said there was pornography in their homes growing up.
98% of non Christian children said the same thing.


Just to give an example from an article I just ran into. (link)
Journal of Economic Perspectives—Volume 23, Number 1—Winter 2009; Who Buys Online
Adult Entertainment?
by Benjamin Edelman

For a fixed internet site (top-10 i.e. penthouse.com, private.com...) the statistics on usage are between 2 and 3 people per thousand have a paid subscription at any time (roughly 2.85). However if you look at people who agree with statements you can see that religion has little influence:

“Even today miracles are performed by the power of God.” 2.74 (p  0.002)
“I never doubt the existence of God.” 2.74 (p  0.004)
“Prayer is an important part of my daily life.” 1.82 (p  0.153)
“I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage.” 3.60 (p  0.004)
“AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behavior.” 3.56 (p  0.009)

Belief in miracles and absolute faith result in a negligible decrease, daily prayer a moderate decease; conservative values result in a substantial increase.

_______

The real change since the mid 90's (besides the switch from video to internet) is the sharp increase in female usage. That's where the statistics are interesting. There is nothing interesting about male usage at this point, its simply ubiquitous.

CD-Host said...

Belever333 --

As far as "one's man's shame" and typical. I have a whole thread on porn addiction. It is heavily studied and there is 0 evidence it exist. He isn't typical, a typical person is the your neighbor, your husband, your mailman, the guy passing you on the road...

CD: ”The people who believe premarital sex is a grave sin have it nine months earlier on average than those who believe it is perfectly normal and acceptable. And I"m sure the grave sin crowd prayed a whole lot for divine assistance, while the natural crowd didn't.”

Belever333: Premarital sex is called fornication. People don’t have to intend to be married to have premarital sex. Scripturally, all sex outside of marriage is forbidden. Do you think God is mistaken in this restriction?


You and I are using premarital sex the same way. Primarily sex before first (only) marriage, or between marriage and divorce. What I believe should happen and what does happen don't have anything to do with one another. The point is that sexual behavior is not controlled and not even terribly strongly influenced by theology.

As far as my personal opinion about creation, fornication and the fall. I agree with Milton (Paradise lost) the sex humanity was intended for was destroyed in the fall. It can't exist anymore, what we have is shattered vase that can barely hold enough water to sip from. I agree with the church fathers, that all sex involving fallen man is morally debased, none of it is holy. I consider the cleaving to one flesh to form a divine pair to be the heart of our pre-fallen (pneumatic) sexuality. It is the only way to achieve even a pale shadow, but only a pale shadow of the higher sexuality we were intended for. Everything else is purely animalistic.

I think the bible teaches that some sexuality is less holy than others but it is like comparing mud to defecate to vomit and asking which is clean. But that isn't the protestant majority view, so who cares what I believe?

believer333 said...

"The point is that sexual behavior is not controlled and not even terribly strongly influenced by theology. "

I'm not sure what you mean here.

If you mean that Scripture does not address it, you would be hugely mistaken.

If you mean that Christian men just aren't paying any attention to what Scripture says about fornication, lust and sexual perversions, you have a point (you yourself being a primary example).

This is a problem. In a similar way that sexual perversions (including porn) in a community, destroys wholesome family life, so sexual perversions among Christians quenches the Holy Spirit and there is a loss of spiritual fellowship among believers.

believer333 said...

CD-Host,

While we can agree that not all porn use (especially if it isn't regular and habitual) will lead to deeper involvement in sexual perversions. But my guess is that a large number of people who, if they were honest, could tell us that they know of someone whose life was ruined in some way because of porn.

I can tell you of two first hand accounts. One, my ex's frequent use of porn led to frequent adulteries. To this day his perversions consume him.

Two, a good friend of over 30 years, had her marriage destroyed by her husbands porn use (in more ways than I care to share) which also led to frequent adulteries. And to this day the man is no longer even trying to fake a Christian walk, and is (to be kind) sickly weird.

Anyone else reading, know of any families hurt by a husband's porn use?

CD-Host said...

Madame --

Hi, welcome to church discipline. For lurkers, madame is from
Madam Rousseau Blog


For lurkers the comments she is referring to are these 4 from the Driscoll thread on complegalitarian

11527
11532
11542
11550

I wanted to reply to your post on Complegalitarian, but left it until the evening and the post was closed for comments.

Understood I'm glad you dropped by. We were getting somewhere I though with the whole discussion of what sorts of physical changes would be reflected in the saved vs. the unsaved man's reactions to stimulation. I'd love to keep going. What's below is kinda like a few steps back from the details to the general.


I don't think sex has to fulfill all its purposes in order to be "valid", but it definitely should be kept within the confines of marriage, the only relationship that God calls "one flesh" and is the one relationship where God intended sex to stay.

Hold on a second. I think we need to get more detailed. Lets turn to Lev 15:15-8, because we have everything all in one place.
We seem to have 3 types of things:
discharges (zobe = flow)
lying with a woman (shaw-kab' ish-shaw' = intercourse)
seed of copulation (zeh'-rah shek-aw-baw' = ejaculate)

Given that there are 3 separate sets of laws it appears the bible does not tie ejaculation to sex. Obviously they are connected, but it acknowledges the fact there are non sexual ejaculations. Your theory seems to be all ejaculation falls under the rules governing sex, he becomes unclean for the day (until evening = the start of the next day).

And again in 15:32 we see "seed going from him" being treated as an effect of sex but not equivalent to sex. Now the bible never explicitly discusses masturbation but it doesn't tie ejaculation to sex the way you are in this argument.

Pornography doesn't unite a married couple. If anything, it brings about separation as one spouse relieves his or her urges alone. It supports and revels in the inpure sexuality practiced by the people who make the films, and it fills the user's mind with thoughts.

Agree to all.

'Where else does a man/woman get the images that will haunt him (or her)?

Where else I'd be shocked if almost any of the "haunting" sexual images come from porn. Porn hits much too late.

Probably the most common "haunting" image is spanking which is a major kink/fetish for something like 15% of the population. They aren't getting that image from porn that one is getting burned in much earlier. You listen to the descriptions of people into this, "suit trousers, men's shoes and the sound of a belt going through the suit loops on the trousers..." what height do you think they were when that image got burned in?

Same thing with transvestite images: the association between women's clothes, sexual arousal and feelings of safety aren't getting burned in when they are cruising the internet.

So I'm not going to take that as a given that porn images (that are searched out) are the major source for these "haunting" images. I think porn likely hits far too late in sexual development.

Even personally I can't think of a single sexual image from adulthood or even post puberty that's "haunting". I can think of lots from early childhood that weren't meant to be pornographic.
(continued part 2)

CD-Host said...

Madame --

(part 2 of reply)

How should a man (I'll say man because you've been saying that men have more sexual desire than women all along) deal with his urges? [list snipped]

And this is where we are going backwards. You raised a similar idea before and I was point out there is no evidence those methods are effectual. If those are the "correct" methods why don't you see a discernible effect?

I can understand that sex is also a strong urge. I KNOW it is. But should we be compromising and accepting sin just because it seems less than some other sin?

I'm not saying that. I still have yet to see evidence it is a sin at all. But we are discussing that above.

It seems like you keep rationalizing the benefits of pornography against other sins, but does that make it any better?

Yeah it does. I think its a lot less bad then prostitution, rape, adultery and other sins it is replacing. Yes I do think it is better.

I believe human sexuality was affected deeply by sin, so what seems "normal" to us, is not what God calls good. We should be aiming at what God calls good, not what our world calls normal.

Agreed.

You might want to google "Porn again Christian", by Mark Driscoll and read through it. I think he makes a very good case.

I've read it. I think he begs the question. You are doing as good a job as he is on defending, he's not just not answering the core question: why do you see no evidence that his method is effectual?

Finally, the way you talk about sex it comes across as if you view wives as the sexual servants of their husbands, who are not enough for them, therefore the husbands are forced to look elsewhere to fulfill their needs.

No it runs both ways, I've given examples of women as well. I think the problem occurs more quickly for men and its men who are thought of as "sex addicts" and the guilt trip is being played on them. The example I gave in this thread a few days ago was me failing because of pollen towards my wife.

There is no sexism there beyond the obvious biological differences. I think marital intercourse is one very important means of sexual release.

There are many natural urges that we are called to control.

I'm not advocating no control. Controlled release enhances control. Letting a dam basin fill to the point that the water cracks the concrete wipes out the village below is not control. Controlled water releases during periods when it hasn't recently rained and managing the basin levels is control.

And if you want to get biological, I don't think it is exercising proper control to say tie off the urethra till your bladder explodes and floods your body with poison. Control is becoming aware of the building urge, finding a convenient spot and time and releasing.

For example, when we are wronged, we are told to forgive, to overcome evil with good, to love our enemy and to leave revenge to God.
Naturally, we want to make them pay, seek revenge, hold a grudge, etc...


I agree. And there is good evidence that believing this is the right way to handle anger is:

1) successful in reducing instances of revenge
2) reduces stress
3) reduces anger
In other words it is effectual in a way that we don't see with the sexual doctrines that are now in fashion.

believer333 said...

"And if you want to get biological, I don't think it is exercising proper control to say tie off the urethra till your bladder explodes and floods your body with poison. Control is becoming aware of the building urge, finding a convenient spot and time and releasing. "

As someone who has worked in the healthcare industry, it is incorrect that men are biologically driven to have to ejaculate every so often. Arousal is directly connected to erection, not biology. Thus if a man exercises more control of his environment (no porn, no wandering eyes,no x-rated moves, etc.) as well as asks God's help to take control of his thought life (which we are all admonished to do), then these urges will decrease, until it is a rare occasion that they are associated with anything other than his wife. Granted singles have more difficulty achieving this than marrieds, but women have the same problems. We are all human.

Holiness is the goal, not man's solutions.

Bryan L said...

CD-Host:

(part 1 of 2)

Leaving aside the logic of your arguments (which I take issue with as well) you are basing quite a lot of your arguments on statistics. But I’m not convinced that (1) the statistics are accurate of men or Christian men in general (Christian men are not a monolithic group btw), nor (2) that the different statistics you quoted can actually be linked together or prove anything like you’ve tried to.

Related to 1:
I’m not convinced that the statistics are accurate of men or Christian men in general.

For instance you pointed out that 90 to 95% of men use porn. Really you know that 9 out of 10 men age 15–65 use porn? Please tell me how anyone can prove that. And then I’m not sure how many of those men you are trying to claim are Christian men (or devoted Christian men). You pointed to a Promise Keepers survey from 1996 that said 53% of men used porn in the last week before attending the event. However. why should (1) they think that the pool of people they surveyed is representative of everyone who attended Promise Keepers, (2) that 53% is how many use porn on a regular basis, or (3) that that number represents Christian men in general? I’ve never been to a Promise Keepers event.

You pointed to the Hart Report to give the staggering figures that “91% of college aid kids raised in Christian homes said there was pornography in their homes growing up.
98% of non Christian children said the same thing.”

What is a college aid kid? How large was the sample size and why should we believe that it is really representative of anything.

All these statistics that you are quoting show is that so many people in a survey group (which is generally pretty small relative to the 300 + millions of people in the USA) answered a question a particular way. That seems to be it. Yet you seem to put a lot of confidence in these numbers as accurately representing people in the USA. Why? Obviously you have to see the trouble with basing so much on statistics gathered from surveys like these. It’s not like hard statistics where we can record how many people die a year and from what causes. These are statistics based on what a limited number of people answered in a survey. That seems to be it.

You said “peer adultery is down substantially (well over a 50% decrease) prostitution has been comparatively eliminated (over a 99% decrease), rape is down, incest rates have come down since the 80s tremendously.”

Where did you get these statistics? How can anyone know that adultery is up or down 50% since the 80’s? Prostitution is almost eliminated? It’s also legal outside of Vegas and I see prostitutes walking up and down the street outside my house, not to mention high profile cases of call girls in the news (it still seems to be a thriving industry). So how do they know that prostitution was once 100 times more prevalent than it is today (when was this era where I would expect to have seen prostitutes on every corner)? Rape is down? From what, and does that include rapes that haven’t been reported or date rape? Incest is down tremendously? Maybe it is but how did they figure that out and who would admit that they committed incest? Where did these statistics come from? And why do you trust them so much? You haven’t at all questioned them whether they are accurate?

Bryan L

(part 2 of 2 below)

Bryan L said...

CD-Host:

(part 2 of 2)

Related to 2:
I don’t think the different statistics you quotes can be used to prove anything nor that they are correlated in the way you think they are.

You said” As the porn industry has exploded: peer adultery is down substantially (well over a 50% decrease) and prostitution has been comparatively eliminated (over a 99% decrease), rape is down, incest rates have come down since the 80s tremendously.” And “The effect of pornography was to drastically reduce the amount of actually biblical prohibited acts (like adultery).”

Even if all of your statistics were in fact true there is no way you could prove these declines in sexual sins were the result of the rise in the porn industry. Did premarital sex drop too? If so was that all thanks to the porn industry? If it didn’t is it the fault of the porn industry? You don’t see the fallacy in trying to argue from one to the other? You want us to be thrilled and praise God that we have porn to reduce all these sexual sins yet even if they have in fact dropped as you say there is no proof that porn is the cause of it.

You might want to consider reformulating your arguments without trying to appeal to statistics (especially if you are just cherry picking and choosing the statistics that support you, or not questioning the methodology of the surveys) and supposedly scientific evidence to back you up; and specifically try to avoid linking all this different data to prove something (like porn is responsible for all the supposed drops in sexual sins).

Bryan L

adventuresinmercy said...

CD,
I only have a sec, but wanted to say that while I think a fundamental disagreement exists between you and I (not like that even matters in any conceivable way, but just pointing it out), I am reading your argument carefully and (gasp) actually DO see where you are coming from (in some areas) and think you do have some valid points that ought to be present at the round table.

I remain and think I probably will remain anti-porn, primarily for reasons related to feminism and idealism and God-ward musings and all that jazz. Yet I think some of the things you talk about expose some very uncomfortable things, one of which being the great divide between what we say vs. what we actually *do* when it comes to the sexual practices of those who hold to Christianity.

It is all very interesting, in any case. I wish I had time to snip some particularly thought-provoking comments of yours out here and there, but...life calleth and off I go.

Btw, molleth was just a snarky/goofy attempt by myself, upon discovering that "molly" was already taken when I was setting up my wordpress user name, to be KJV about it and thus announce my superior status to the Christian blogosphere. But all it's really ended up doing is sounding like mollusk with a lisp. *sigh*

believer333 said...

"one of which being the great divide between what we say vs. what we actually *do* when it comes to the sexual practices of those who hold to Christianity. "

I was wondering about that myself. Although, really it isn't anything new. How long has sexual abuse of children been going on in the Catholic church, and now other churches. How long has it been happening that some (thankfully not many) preachers have been found to have been sexually promiscuous.

Being a Christian does not guarantee being holy in all areas of ones life. It is something the sincere and perhaps desperate in their desire for closeness with God, must struggle with.

CD-Host said...

Brayan L --

I think there 3 issues here:

1) Is the theory of statistical sampling valid? That is can you conduct detailed analysis of a small group to determine characteristics of an entire population. I linked to an article where you can read about the theory. Its well known, the mathematics has been definite for centuries, the methodology is well tested it used in engineering, social sciences, manufacturing, computer networking (including what makes google possible), artificial intelligence.

You are asking a perfectly legitimate question that's part of a standard college math education. I'm not going to argue or defend it. If you don't find anything other than census based approaches (an exhaustive count) convincing you essentially exclude huge areas of research from discussion on just about any phenomenon. Under that scenario we know virtually about Americans at all.

2) Assuming statistics as a valid field, what about methodology is there anything particular unusual about the survey methods used? In general the numbers from both pro-porn and anti-porn groups are in broad agreement. On the liberal side we have the Kinsey institute and the SFSI on the conservative side, Brigham Young and Hart and in the middle people like CBSnews and blockbuster. So we have a wide range of methodologies and groups with different interests arriving at similar results. If there is counter evidence I haven't seen it.

Since Sexual behavior in the human male (1948) we have had one survey after another analyzing sexual behavior which show a fairly consistent pattern that people's behaviors are a lot liberal than conservatives think they are while their attitudes are a lot more conservative than liberals think they are but their attitudes and their behaviors are converging.

3) Cause and effect on large scale changes. This argument isn't fundamentally statistical it is historical. There are statistics for example number of prostitutes. At the height of the Victorian era this was 4% of all women, today is in 1 in 10,000 women. That is relatively eliminated, not absolutely eliminated.

There have been 2 major changes since the Victorian era
on the supply side: vast increase in pornography, vast increase in premarital sex which has had to compensate for decrease in adultery, vast drop in prostitution and later marriage.

Vast increase in premarital sex would IMHO act a lot like a sharp drop in the marriage age back to Victorian levels or slightly lower (middle ages levels). But it wouldn't have much effect after people are married. Hence I'm asserting that
vast increase in pornography is canceling out (causing) vast drop in prostitution and the decrease in adultery.

If there is another cause, what is it?

And yes I'm assuming relatively fixed sexual behavior with fluid cultural structures. That is we can't change age that people mate at, we can change age they marry at.

Bryan L said...

CD-Host:
Honestly how much do you know about statistics and how deeply did you investigate the statistics you quoted plus their methodologies? Do you think if they ask 600 men at a Promise Keepers even about whether they've used pornography recently that we can assume that number represents all Christian men? Do you think 9 out of 10 men regularly view pornography based on a a report from 1996?

Again you are throwing out statistics and making grand sweeping claims about what the statistics prove but where are the links to all these surveys (at the least every time you make a statistical claim provide a precise link to where this can be shown otherwise it doesn't mean anything, much like a book without references)? You speak so confidently on what the statistics prove which makes it hard for me to take you serious.

Prostitution dropped sharply since the Victorian era (are we speaking about in the U.K.)? Dude that was a 100 years ago. I thought you were talking about recent times. You want to try and link the rise in pornography since then to why prostitution dropped? Are you using the same era for your statistics on adultery, rape and incest? You want to link all those drops to the rise of pornography? What about since the rise of the modern porn industry? I think that would be a better indication of what effect pornography has. Obviously our culture has changed quite a bit.

No offense man but this is starting to seem like smoke and mirrors to me. Do you seriously beleive it is ok for you to get off on watching other people have explicit sex from all sorts of angles? Are you married?

Bryan L

adventuresinmercy said...

There have been 2 major changes since the Victorian era
on the supply side: vast increase in pornography, vast increase in premarital sex which has had to compensate for decrease in adultery, vast drop in prostitution and later marriage.


Big problem with the conclusions being drawn here. One must bring in the changing attitudes of a woman's place, which includes access to mass public education and viable employment opportunities. Saying that there is less prostitution because there is more pornography leaves out the fact that women had to eat and feed their children, yet the Victorian age provided lower-classed unmarried women with very few alternatives to prostitution.

Lydia said...

Another verse came to mind when reading this thread that relates to this topic"

3Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1

Lydia said...

Is porn gratifying the flesh?


16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But( the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Gal 5

CD-Host said...

Bryan L --

Honestly how much do you know about statistics

You really want to play whip it out on math with me?!

OK Statistics has never been a speciality of mine, but I've brushed up against it regularly. Lets see:
taught engineering and biological statistics at tier 1 universities
developed a new statistical method in mass land appraisal
improved a statistical method used in chemistry
patented a statistical method used in grading algorithms
developed a statistical method used in natural language processing
developed 2 results in theoretical statistics useful for lossless compression of analog signals

made use of statistics professionally: a few hundred times.

Your turn.

and how deeply did you investigate the statistics you quoted plus their methodologies?

You don't need to. That's one of the results of the central limit theorem. Statistical aggregates are vastly more accurate than even poor quality statistical reports. As long as you don't uniform biases biases in each of the individual samplings (statistical estimates) aren't a problem.

That is for example why five thirty eight.com picked almost every race in the 2008 elections correctly that was polled multiple times even though the polls themselves were often quite inaccurate and biased by five percentage points or more.

Further as the demand for accuracy deceases bias becomes less of an issue. If your view of population usage were true then it would be difficult deliberately construct survey methodologies biased enough to create these sorts of sampling errors you see in the research.

Do you think if they ask 600 men at a Promise Keepers even about whether they've used pornography recently that we can assume that number represents all Christian men?

By itself no. In an aggregate yes. Remember how these examples were generated. You asked for a few examples. I haven't even claimed to present a statistical argument post yet, for usage. I don't know what the counter arguments are. I haven't heard people make the case so I don't know the areas of dispute. If it turns out that stats is the main area of dispute then it is easy enough to focus there.

Moreover you are responding on the informal post on an ad-hoc topic from compegal. There is a formal post (on sex addiction) which presents research results.

______

The rest of your post strikes me as building on the faulty assumption in the first paragraph. Except for adultery comment. Adultery been tracked well since the late 1940s.

CD-Host said...

Molly --

I only have a sec,

Yeah, I'm not going to have time to reply all these posts today. Busy until much later.

but wanted to say that while I think a fundamental disagreement exists between you and I (not like that even matters in any conceivable way, but just pointing it out), I am reading your argument carefully and (gasp) actually DO see where you are coming from (in some areas) and think you do have some valid points that ought to be present at the round table.

Good to hear. Thanks for taking thee time to listen through it.

I remain and think I probably will remain anti-porn, primarily for reasons related to feminism

My take on this is feminism has had 3 main waves:

wave 1 -- legal structures
wave 2 -- economic structures and impersonal social attitudes
wave 3 -- personal social attitudes and sexual reform.

There were early sexual reformers like Victoria Woodhull, or in Europe people like William Godwin in the first wave but people like Susan B. Anthony kicked them out of the movement.

You are actually the third person to bring up 2nd wave feminism vs. 3rd wave feminism, this was one of Lynn's big hobby horses. There isn't a Christian 3rd wave feminism at this point but things like the modern Collyridian movement or the Sophia movement might be the beginnings of one.

Probably worth a post at some point.

and idealism and God-ward musings and all that jazz. Yet I think some of the things you talk about expose some very uncomfortable things, one of which being the great divide between what we say vs. what we actually *do* when it comes to the sexual practices of those who hold to Christianity.

Thank you, yes your are getting it.

Btw, molleth ...

OK then I'll go with Molly?

(con part 2)

CD-Host said...

Molly --

(part 2)
CD:There have been 2 major changes since the Victorian era
on the supply side: vast increase in pornography, vast increase in premarital sex which has had to compensate for decrease in adultery, vast drop in prostitution and later marriage.

Molly: Big problem with the conclusions being drawn here. One must bring in the changing attitudes of a woman's place, which includes access to mass public education and viable employment opportunities.


First off you are right, I forgot to mention this time around better social welfare on the supply side. I did that back on compegal and missed it this time. So good catch.

As for the rest of it. There wasn't good public education for men in Victorian England either until 1870. I'm not sure you can make a good case prostitution correlates with lack of public education. For example since we like to talk about NT times:

1st and 2nd century roman empire is loaded with prostitution.
5th century roman empire has comparatively little and a much worse state of public education.

13th century Venice may have represented the hight of prostitute culture in Europe and this was one of the high points for education and economic opportunity.

The US had a tradition of mandatory public schooling from the time of the colonies (not in all places) and by 1840 it was essentially universal. including for girls. and by the late 19th century mandatory schooling for girls from the time of the colonies yet had institution prostitution until the 1930s in many places.

etc....

Saying that there is less prostitution because there is more pornography leaves out the fact that women had to eat and feed their children, yet the Victorian age provided lower-classed unmarried women with very few alternatives to prostitution.

No question economic opportunities are better. But that doesn't address the demand side. If 4% of women are prostitutes and a prostitute is servicing say 20 clients per week on average what percentage of men and at what frequency does that require on the demand side? Even at say 12 men / week,
You would be looking at 50% of the male population having a weekly prostitute. Today there wouldn't be a pool of men available for that level of prostitution, nowhere near.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Bryan L said...

CD Host:

"You really want to play whip it out on math with me?!

OK Statistics has never been a speciality of mine, but I've brushed up against it regularly. Lets see:
taught engineering and biological statistics at tier 1 universities
developed a new statistical method in mass land appraisal
improved a statistical method used in chemistry
patented a statistical method used in grading algorithms
developed a statistical method used in natural language processing
developed 2 results in theoretical statistics useful for lossless compression of analog signals made use of statistics professionally: a few hundred times."

Sorry but I don't think it's unreasonable for me to inquire about this. Where did you teach it at? Can you provide your name since you claim you were a professor at a tier 1 university, developed a new method and even patented something? The thing is that I didn't and I don't know statistics but as long as I'm on the internet blogging just as Bryan L nobody would know that and I could have said the same things as you (after reading a few Wikipedia articles and maybe taking a free course on statistics). If you are involved in the universities as well well as doing this all professionally then how about a little more openness with who you are and what you've done?

Like I said I'll admit I don't know statistics, but that doesn't mean I'm not gonna be skeptical when someone on the internet drops statistics left and right then claims to have taught it, developed it and patented it. You see where I'm coming from? BTW I'm not saying all that to be a a**hole or anything, just trying to be honest. I figure you appreciate honesty anyway.

I would still appreciate links to whatever statistics you are providing. If they're right then they're right but I would rather have something to look at instead of just a claim.

I do have thoughts on the rest of you post but I want to get past this statistics issue first.

Bryan L

madame said...

We were getting somewhere I though with the whole discussion of what sorts of physical changes would be reflected in the saved vs. the unsaved man's reactions to stimulation. I'd love to keep going. What's below is kinda like a few steps back from the details to the general.

Sorry I've taken a few steps back. I wanted to clarify my position first, which is that I don't agree that pornography is ever right for Christians. I'll try and reply to your post on complegalitarian later on, or tomorrow, when I have some time (I'm a busy mom of 3 children, aged 5,4 and 2)


Given that there are 3 separate sets of laws it appears the bible does not tie ejaculation to sex. Obviously they are connected, but it acknowledges the fact there are non sexual ejaculations. Your theory seems to be all ejaculation falls under the rules governing sex, he becomes unclean for the day (until evening = the start of the next day).

And again in 15:32 we see "seed going from him" being treated as an effect of sex but not equivalent to sex. Now the bible never explicitly discusses masturbation but it doesn't tie ejaculation to sex the way you are in this argument.


I agree, but I don't recall tying ejaculation to sex. When I said that sex fulfills two purposes (maybe more, I'm just sharing the ones I understand God created sex for), and that sex doesn't have to fulfill all the purposes it was created for in order to be valid, I was saying just that, not speaking at all about ejaculation, just sex. Not even necessarily intercourse.


madame: 'Where else does a man/woman get the images that will haunt him (or her)?

CD: Where else I'd be shocked if almost any of the "haunting" sexual images come from porn. Porn hits much too late.

Probably the most common "haunting" image is spanking which is a major kink/fetish for something like 15% of the population. They aren't getting that image from porn that one is getting burned in much earlier. You listen to the descriptions of people into this, "suit trousers, men's shoes and the sound of a belt going through the suit loops on the trousers..." what height do you think they were when that image got burned in?

Same thing with transvestite images: the association between women's clothes, sexual arousal and feelings of safety aren't getting burned in when they are cruising the internet.

So I'm not going to take that as a given that porn images (that are searched out) are the major source for these "haunting" images. I think porn likely hits far too late in sexual development.


I have to agree and disagree. I think the connection between certain images being arousing is first discovered when some sort of pornographic or erotic material that makes the connection is read or viewed. Usually, people won't go back to the original memory and get off, they will go back to the eroticized pictures that got them off. Or not?
A guy won't go back to his mother's spanking or her nurturing him, a woman won't go back to her father spanking her or caressing her in the wrong way.
They will connect these desires that cause shame with feeling loved or secure, but their fantasies will be of the erotic or pornographic material they read or looked at.

Even personally I can't think of a single sexual image from adulthood or even post puberty that's "haunting". I can think of lots from early childhood that weren't meant to be pornographic.

What made you discover these memories were arousing? Was it the memory itself, or did your mind make the connection, much to your shame and anger, when you viewed the same thing in an erotic or pornographic setting?

Continued below.

Bryan L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madame said...

Continuing from above.

Referring to my list of beliefs of what the Bible teaches re. sex.

there is no evidence those methods are effectual. If those are the "correct" methods why don't you see a discernible effect?

I don't think the effect is immediate. But I do believe what the Bible teaches, that we need to renew our minds in order to discern what is right from wrong, so we can see the devil prowling around us like a hungry lion, and resist him. Then he will flee.
I have practiced that, and he did flee. I had peace for years, and have had peace again whenever I've resisted. (Not only lust, but other temptations)

Madame: should we be compromising and accepting sin just because it seems less than some other sin?

CD: I'm not saying that. I still have yet to see evidence it is a sin at all. But we are discussing that above.


Um... what about the command not to commit adultery, and Jesus' description of what constitutes adultery?
If you don't believe you are lusting when you are getting off at the sight of some faceless woman having sex with some faceless man, then I guess you don't believe it falls into the category of lust=adultery.

Yeah it does (make pornography a better option). I think its a lot less bad then prostitution, rape, adultery and other sins it is replacing. Yes I do think it is better.

I don't see the Bible grading sexual sin as better or worse.
Paul could have told men to masturbate to the fantasy of women having sex with them, or to peek through their neighbours windows at night in order to avoid burning. It seems like "burning" (1 Cor 7) may very easily be referring to satisfying one's sexual desire alone, by means of fantasizing, or by using prostitutes.
I guess men who called themselves godly would not want to use prostitutes, for the fear of being discovered, and may have rationalized much like you do above, that taking care of oneself was ok.




Finally, the way you talk about sex it comes across as if you view wives as the sexual servants of their husbands, who are not enough for them, therefore the husbands are forced to look elsewhere to fulfill their needs.

No it runs both ways, I've given examples of women as well. I think the problem occurs more quickly for men and its men who are thought of as "sex addicts" and the guilt trip is being played on them. The example I gave in this thread a few days ago was me failing because of pollen towards my wife.

There is no sexism there beyond the obvious biological differences. I think marital intercourse is one very important means of sexual release.


I agree with you, but I would see an unmatching sexual drive as one way for both spouses to learn selflessness and real love, that would bring them closer together in the long run.
I don't only disagree with the use of pornography by married people because I believe it's sin, I also disagree with it because it doesn't bring a couple closer together.
I'm getting personal here, but I'll share anyway.
When I have used novels to appease my urge (and not necessarily pornographic or even very erotic), my desire for my husband, for who he is, decreased. I found myself using his body but fantasizing and lusting after what I had been reading. I don't consider having sexual intercourse as automatically "making love", but I think "making love" is what sex is there for, to show love to one's spouse and to receive love from one's spouse. The urge is there to remind us to reconnect physically and emotionally the way we can only do when we have sexual intercourse or spend time together caressing each other. Our thoughts should be right there with us, not off in some movie or book. Do you see what I mean?

continued below, again!

Bryan L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madame said...

Third and final installment.

I don't think it is exercising proper control to say tie off the urethra till your bladder explodes and floods your body with poison. Control is becoming aware of the building urge, finding a convenient spot and time and releasing.

I believe the sexual urge is one that we can control better, and for longer, than urination!
If a couple have a good marriage, where communication is good, both spouses are loving selflessly most of the time, and no spouse feels neglected, sex should be satisfying. Even if the urge has to be postponed to a later time, for example because one spouse is exhausted, or for some other reason not able to be sexually intimate, there are still compromises that can be made in order to help the urging spouse wait a little bit longer.
Of course, if one is deliberately withholding sex, it's important to first look at the overall health of the marriage, see if there are any reasons why one spouse has a permanent headache. If, instead, the need is met alone, by the means of masturbation, with or without pornography, the underlying issues that are causing the lack of desire in the withholding spouse won't be addressed, and the temporary solution will have to be sought more and more often, possibly resulting in separation of sex from intimacy with spouse.

Therefore, I disagree that the use of pornography and masturbation are good as a temporary solution when a spouse is not available for sex. I believe the practices can cause more harm than good to the marriage in the long run, allowing for the "sweeping under the carpet" of problems, and thwarting the cultivation of a necessary interdependence that keeps married couples functioning as one flesh.

The doctrines of restraint are hardly new! Men who weren't married to more than one wife went for long periods without intercourse under the levitical law!

By the way, I agree with you regarding hipocrisy in the church when we talk about our sexual practices. I believe too many people hide sins out of shame, and hope not to be caught in them, and place huge burdens on others by not owning up to their own weaknesses.
Our culture does little to help out too. Marriage is presented as something to wait half a life for, and most people in the church are trying to get it all before marrying, in the name of "being responsible". Even the church teaches men to be well established before marrying in order to be able to provide. This is good, but it places huge pressure to remain pure for a long time.

Thanks for bearing with me, if you made it this far...

Bryan L said...

Forget my last comment asking you to prove yourself. I think that was wrong of me (although I would like to know what you do since you seem to have had a good career). Just do me a favor and provide links when you list statistics and numbers. Cool?

I'll post some thoughts about your actual arguments soon.

Thanks,
Bryan L

(I deleted and reposted this again so it didn't interrupt someone's comments)

madame said...

Bryan,
Thanks for deleting your post twice to not interrupt my ramblings of epic proportions!

believer333 said...

”Further as the demand for accuracy deceases bias becomes less of an issue. If your view of population usage were true then it would be difficult deliberately construct survey methodologies biased enough to create these sorts of sampling errors you see in the research.”

More than a demand for accuracy, is the loss of a concept of holiness. Your whole theory appears to throw out holiness because it is too difficult for men, and because few men seem to be able to achieve it in the area of sexuality. You paint male humans as driven by their sexual desires. This makes God a prude that He would dare require something of males that they cannot quickly achieve and succeed at; that not only requires great effort but is a skill that must be developed over time. If the overall population cannot do what God asks (never mind that the overall population is predominantly unbelievers) then Christians are excused from trying. What kind of new Biblical exegesis is this?

believer333 said...

”I still have yet to see evidence it is a sin at all. But we are discussing that above.”

Frankly, I don’t believe you CD. From having read so much of your thoughts on this I think you start from the end results and work back toward what Scripture says, and then conclude it cannot be achieved, thus it must be wrong. But I think you do know somewhere in your brain and hearrt, that Scripture is trustworthy. You’re just judging it upon whether or not you can see a quickly achieved discernible effect from practicing it’s tenets in this issue.

Facts are that there are many things that Christians are called to do in our quest to be holy as Christ is holy, that take years to achieve. Where do we get this idea that holiness is easily achievable or that it is not necessary in all areas of our lives. This is one reason why there is such a lack of the workings of the Holy Spirit in today’s Christians. Real holiness and cleansing of the soul takes years in many things. But it is well worth the effort to find a place of true inner peace where we can more easily hear, sense, and respond to the urgings of the Holy Spirit to do the works of God. That is the place of joy unspeakable …… not satisfying one’s sexual urges at all costs. :(

CD-Host said...

Lydia --

Not sure if this is your first time, if so hi and welcme.

Nice passages. There are some translation problems though, as you would expect from the ESV.

In your Jude 1:4 quote, "sensuality" is off for for aselgeia. I'm not sure where they get that. Debauchery maybe. licentiousness (as per the NRSV and NASB...) would be reasonable and of course would apply to what I'm doing. So if viewing nudity is a forbidden debauchery then I am a false teacher. Agreed that follows. But that's the big IF. That is always the case with any license, teaching license when it doesn't exist is a serious sin. In the same way teaching restriction when it doesn't exist is a serious sin. So this passage doesn't really help to answer the question it just indicates the stakes of deciding it wrongly.

As for Galatians 5, my whole point is to reduce adultery, fornication... But again we have aselgeia being translated as sensuality which I don't see an argument for.

So we are on familiar ground for me, disagreeing with the ESV and agreeing with most other bibles, lexicons, dictionaries.... So what's your argument in support of the ESV?

The KJV uses "lasciviousness"
Andy Gaus "wildness"
the NET is also "depravity"

For a good dynamic translation Ann Nyland's (the source) translation Gal 5:16-21
This is what I mean: be lead by the Spirit and then there is no way
that you will perform the wants and wishes of the natural realm. The
natural realm wants things which are contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit
wants things which are contrary to the natural realm: they are in
opposition to each other. So then don’t just do whatever you please.
If you are led by the Spirit, then you are not under Law.
Actions of the natural realm are obvious: prostitution, incest, bestiality,
uncleanness, vice, idol worshipping, sorcery, hostilities, rivalries,
jealousies, fits of rage, political intrigues, disputes, heresies, envies,
drunken binges, wild parties and things like this, which I’ve warned you
about. People who do such things will not inherit God’s Realm.

So I guess I don't see this as settling the issue.

CD-Host said...

Madame --

Wow a lot to respond to. There is very little that you are saying I disagree with. I buy what you are saying mostly.


[responding to breakdown of 3 terms from Lev 15] I agree, but I don't recall tying ejaculation to sex. When I said that sex fulfills two purposes (maybe more, I'm just sharing the ones I understand God created sex for), and that sex doesn't have to fulfill all the purposes it was created for in order to be valid, I was saying just that, not speaking at all about ejaculation, just sex. Not even necessarily intercourse.

Could you define the word "sex" as you are using it then? If you aren't tying to the "lie with" from the bible what in Hebrew are you tying it to?

madame: 'Where else does a man/woman get the images that will haunt him (or her)?

CD: Where else I'd be shocked if almost any of the "haunting" sexual images come from porn. Porn hits much too late. ... [snip]
So I'm not going to take that as a given that porn images (that are searched out) are the major source for these "haunting" images. I think porn likely hits far too late in sexual development.

Madame: I have to agree and disagree. I think the connection between certain images being arousing is first discovered when some sort of pornographic or erotic material that makes the connection is read or viewed. Usually, people won't go back to the original memory and get off, they will go back to the eroticized pictures that got them off. Or not?


I don't know the psychology here. I know for me the images popped up early puberty along with early sexual feelings. I then went in search of pornographic materials similar to those images. In other words those images controlled what I liked, and what I sought out.

Another friend I talked to about this (female submissive) knew that porn existed from a young age but she discovered spanking porn existed (around 12) it was then she went after bondage porn, humiliation porn.... In other words the triggering wasn't coming from the porn.

I'd have to look this up, but yeah I do think it runs the other way.

A guy won't go back to his mother's spanking or her nurturing him, a woman won't go back to her father spanking her or caressing her in the wrong way. They will connect these desires that cause shame with feeling loved or secure, but their fantasies will be of the erotic or pornographic material they read or looked at.

Well yeah. The porn is helping them recontextualize the extremely powerful sexual feeling in a non sexual setting into a sexual setting. But that's "growing into" your sexual tastes, maturing. Porn is acting the same way as sexual experience would, in the case of experience you take these vague impressions and start doing things to get closer to them which recontextualizes them....

CD: Even personally I can't think of a single sexual image from adulthood or even post puberty that's "haunting". I can think of lots from early childhood that weren't meant to be pornographic.

Madame: What made you discover these memories were arousing? Was it the memory itself, or did your mind make the connection, much to your shame and anger, when you viewed the same thing in an erotic or pornographic setting?


I've never had shame or anger about sexual desires. Generally porn has helped contextualize it. I can only think of one example where I didn't make the connection until something more directly related happened in real life (non sexual setting) in my mid 20's, I had a very strong arousal but since at that point I was an adult I immediate associated that with the kink... i.e. "I bet I'd really like ABC" where ABC was the sexual version of what had just happened. And well I was right.

So if your argument is that a much higher percentage might lay dormant with no porn exposure. Yeah I buy that.

It is probably the combination of explosive memory and converting to a sexual context.

(con part 2)

CD-Host said...

Madame --
(part 2)


I don't think the effect is immediate. But I do believe what the Bible teaches, that we need to renew our minds in order to discern what is right from wrong, so we can see the devil prowling around us like a hungry lion, and resist him. Then he will flee.
I have practiced that, and he did flee. I had peace for years, and have had peace again whenever I've resisted. (Not only lust, but other temptations)


I agree. Temptations that are resisted effectively lead to peace and often lead to those temptations going away. On the other hand there are temptations stay with people for life. There are people that never stop struggling with their weight, or smoke until they die. I don't think it is the case that all temptation is resistible.

Further resisting some often leads giving into others. AA literature often mentions how often people who have been sober for years go back to drinking when they try and quit smoking. It is one of the dangerous times for addicts. And really dangerous compulsive sexual behavior is a not uncommon side effect of getting of drugs.

That being said we are really only talking about the issue of effective resistance vs. ineffective.

D: I'm not saying that. I still have yet to see evidence it is a sin at all. But we are discussing that above.

Madame: Um... what about the command not to commit adultery, and Jesus' description of what constitutes adultery?
If you don't believe you are lusting when you are getting off at the sight of some faceless woman having sex with some faceless man, then I guess you don't believe it falls into the category of lust=adultery.


I agree strongly with the adultery command. In fact one of the points I keep making is how porn has led to a pretty sharp drop off in adultery. Or contrapositively reducing porn leads to increases in adultery.

As for the Matthew definition. I don't think you really mean that. If someone were to say: I used to fantasies about all 200 women in the office. But now that I've started sleeping with Jenny, my mistress, that's completely dropped off. You wouldn't expect a Christian to say, "That's fantastic you've gone from 200 adulterous relationships to one!".


On the other hand imagine a guy who is having an affair, and breaks it off. But finds that he is experiencing a lot more lust. You couldn't imagine his spiritual advisor saying, "Yeah breaking it off just made your adultery problem worse. I think you should go back to your mistress".

So no one takes that literally. And if you read the context it is about cutting out your own eyes, and chopping off your own hands. It wasn't meant to be taken literally. In fact when Origin did take it literally (according to legend) he was excommunicated.

Cd: Yeah it does (make pornography a better option). I think its a lot less bad then prostitution, rape, adultery and other sins it is replacing. Yes I do think it is better.

Madame: I don't see the Bible grading sexual sin as better or worse.


I do. Take the old and the new testament attitude towards incest. Paul advocates immediate excommunication for it and is critical of the congregation for tolerating it. Do you sea a similar condemnation of lustful tolerance of lustful thoughts?

(con part 3)

CD-Host said...

Madame --

(part 3)

First off thank you for sharing your story! I completely get it. I agree with your long discussion of sexual desire and matching. I agree that orgasms apart draw the couple apart and orgasms together draw the couple together.

Where we might disagree though is one area you didn't address falloffs in sex that have nothing to do with some sort of emotional problem. Illness is a great example (and fresh on my mind since I just had one during this thread). Things like when my wife goes off for a week or two to a conference. Or visa versa. There is no great emotional issue just a structural separation. Nothing needs to get resolved that the couple is capable of resolving.

And even if there is an emotion problem it has to get resolved fast. Sure talking one night instead of porn is a great idea. But that's about the limit. Night 2 (48 hrs) it is not going to be a sweet comfortable talk, at that point aggression is going much higher. Night 3 (72 hrs), what's the point in communication anymore? its like talking to someone after 10 drinks, or another analogy might be negotiating marital problems at gunpoint (assuming there is no alternate release).

I believe the sexual urge is one that we can control better, and for longer, than urination!

I agree with you on the longer (same as defecation) but not the 2nd. And if so maybe by just a little bit. To not orgasm for a week is far closer to not urinating for a day then it to say stop cursing for a week.

The doctrines of restraint are hardly new! Men who weren't married to more than one wife went for long periods without intercourse under the levitical law!

Orthodox Jews still do this. They don't touch their wives directly for 12 days. That doesn't mean they don't jerk off. The practice of separation creates intense sexual buildup, each month. But they don't expect the impossible.

As an aside they also have very strict rules regarding sexual withholding. Sex is one of three basic rights of all wives: food, clothing, sex. On the other hand a wife withholding sex is grounds for a divorce without having to pay the financial penalties. So this creates a positive obligation for sex and then the restrictions like no sex during quarreling work with those.

They also have a 100% religious ban on spilling seed which is 100% ineffective.

CD-Host said...

believer333 --

Thus if a man exercises more control of his environment (no porn, no wandering eyes,no x-rated moves, etc.) as well as asks God's help to take control of his thought life (which we are all admonished to do), then these urges will decrease, until it is a rare occasion that they are associated with anything other than his wife.

OK lets pick the Victorians and London again. They didn't have x-rated movies or very limited access to porn (lets say essentially none for most of them). The clothes were very modest so no wandering eye. They are all (pretty much) Christian. As I mentioned to Molly,

4% of the female population being prostitutes probably means 50% of the male population are regularly visiting prostitutes. How come their thoughts weren't staying with their wives?

Or one of the other countless examples. Where is there any evidence at all for this belief that this drop off occurs anymore than my urination analogy, if I were to pray for God to relieve me from the desire to pee?

You also mentioned several men (and if you don't want to do your X I understand completely) that led to frequent adulteries. What is the evidence that the porn led to frequent adultery rather than say they were going to have frequent adulteries and reduced the number substantially through porn. How would you tell the difference?

Bryan L said...

CD Host:
I was gonna take a stab at critiquing your arguments but I think Beleiver333's last post pretty much summed up much of my thinking on it and probably in much less words than I would be able to.

Trying to prove that it's not a sin for Christians to use pornography for me is like trying to argue that it's ok to sacrifice babies at 3 in the afternoon. We could go back and forth and you might even have some seemingly impressive arguments (as would someone trying to argue that it's ok to sacrifice babies at 3 in the afternoon) but in the end any ethical theory that says porn is ok for Christians is deficient in my opinion and to be rejected. I know, being an advocate of porn, you've probably thought long and hard about it, examinging it from every angle, and could argue about this stuff for days, maybe weeks. I can't, nor do I want to because again at the end of the day I don't think anyone seriously questions that it is a sin for Christians even if they try to argue that it's not. So it ends up feeling like a waste of time. Sorry. Besides I'm sure you have enough here to keep you busy. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my comments.

Blessings,
Bryan L

John Radcliffe said...

Hi CD-Host,

Sorry to come so late to the party, but can I raise two points in passing:

(1) When discussing Genesis 9, I'm puzzled as to why you quote the NET Bible's note on Lev 18:7, but don’t even refer to or engage with the one on Gen 9:22, which in fact disagrees with your interpretation.

(2) [Off-topic, I’m afraid] I'm interested by your comment that the Concordant version is Arian. Do you have any particular renderings in mind? To be honest, I'd just be interested to see what an Arian translation "looks like". And does your comment only apply to the Concordant translation (which isn't used in the margin of the on-line PDFs), or also to the Interlinear rendering itself?

Thanks, John

CD-Host said...

Hi John.

(2) [Off-topic, I’m afraid] I'm interested by your comment that the Concordant version is Arian. Do you have any particular renderings in mind? To be honest, I'd just be interested to see what an Arian translation "looks like". And does your comment only apply to the Concordant translation (which isn't used in the margin of the on-line PDFs), or also to the Interlinear rendering itself?

A few issues. The concordant is openly Arian, I'm not saying anything controversial here.
statement of faith for concordant publishing, long essay on the trinity by concordant publishing. Next the concordant is the interlinear text, the margin is the KJV. TL was quoting the interlinear part.

So on scripture for all
Greek = WHNA
Interlinear = Concordant Greek Text Sublinear
Line below interlinear = Concordant Greek-English Sublinear -idiomatic-
Margin = KJV

For the Hebrew
Text = Westminster Leningrad Codex
interlinear = Concordant Hebrew English Sublinear
Margin = KJV

In terms of renderings a good example is "aionios"
which you can tie to aion as in age (fixed) or eternity forever. Now I agree with Knoch (translator of the concordant) that forever is not necessarily proper. But a whole lot of Christian doctrine is dependent on forever, Just take a look at the verses and replace with an indefinite long time (eonian). This change is part of the argument for things like eternal damnation.

(1) When discussing Genesis 9, I'm puzzled as to why you quote the NET Bible's note on Lev 18:7, but don’t even refer to or engage with the one on Gen 9:22, which in fact disagrees with your interpretation.

For the reduction reason I gave. I go with the Talmud and Rashi here. Taking this literally makes no sense. So in one case the NET is right and in another wrong. Nothing more complex than that.

John Radcliffe said...

Hi CD-Host,

Thank you for your response.

I have to say that I'm a fan of Scripture4All's interlinear, and in particular make regular use of the downloaded version, as it offers the NA text with parsing etc in a searchable format. I've always considered the interlinear renderings to be (at best) "rather quirky", so I don't accept them as definitive (in essence I use them as a memory aid to words I *should* know and/or as a bridge between the Greek and another translation).

On the other hand, I can't say that I've noticed anything I'd consider "heretical".

I checked out the article in the second link. I'll leave a detailed critique to others and just say that it seems to be a classic case of someone trying to shoehorn reality into his or her own understanding of it. Anything that doesn't fit simply cannot be true. Of course the problem with the Trinity is that we have nothing of a similar nature to compare it with, or to borrow terminology from. (I suspect the more intelligent one is the more easily one falls into this trap: stupid people aren't surprised if they can't understand things. Consequently I'm not surprised that I can't understand or explain everything about God.)

Still I don't think this will dissuade me from using the ISA program, which I find much too helpful. I just won't use it as a theological resource.

Thanks again for the information.

CD-Host said...

Hi John.

You won't find anything outright heretical. The 19th Arianist movement (contrary to propaganda) was not into violent mistranslation but rather: non traditional translation (often more faithful) + protestant exegesis + giving no authority to the creeds. In something like an interlinear what you see are hints of heresies.

So for example translating "aionios" as an indefinite long time rather than "forever" isn't heretical. But denying the doctrine of eternal damnation is heretical. Most translations would translate in such a way to support eternal damnation.

Like I said, I like the concordant. I think visually the Scripture4all is fantastic concordant interlinear. Visually, I love the layout. But you are quirky translation is very typical of the 19th Arianist movement.

As for the trinity, by point was merely to show you where the publishers were coming from theologically. And I agree with your comment about smart people expecting to understand.

believer333 said...

”So for example translating "aionios" as an indefinite long time rather than "forever" isn't heretical. But denying the doctrine of eternal damnation is heretical. Most translations would translate in such a way to support eternal damnation.”

My observation is that the Concordant Interlinear attempts to give a consistent interpretation of each word usage. You are correct, that that isn’t heretical. Other translations tweek word translations to give the best doctrinal application, which I consider dishonest. Frankly , I prefer the Concordant method of laying it out as it is, and letting the readers figure it out. We should be able to determine if an “indefinite long time” is meant as ‘forever’ or not by context. Now as to how the Concordant people have decided to interpret something, that is a different subject and we are not bound by their interpretation. They are free to interpret however they wish, just as we are. And we are not bound to agree with them. They do have some personal interpretations, I don’t agree with. But that is quite separate from their work to give consistency to the translation process.

Bill K said...

Clarification at the beginning of my comment:

1.CD-Host does not consider himself a CHristian
2.CD-Host - I think your comment about temptations that are irresistable is funny considering your argument against "addiction" to porn. I still think you are medically right, but a temptation that is irresistable certainly fills the bill for an addiction to me. At the same time, I disagree that such a thing exists. See 1 Corinthians 10:13.
3. If you are talking about national statistics, we have to very careful about what control group gets labelled "Christian". In one of Barna's surveys, only 4% of the U.S. was Christian by the way I understand saving faith in the Bible.
4. But I have no problems with the claim of actual percentages of men who look at porn (Christian or not). Dudes in the U.S. look at porn by and large.
5. How this fact shows up in statistics is going to be a mix of multiple factors that I don't know how to unentagle at this time:
A: If you consider porn non-moral, you will probably look at it
B: If we live in a culture that is coming to accept the issue as non-moral, it will be harder to fight the tide of that culturally or personally
C: I read an interesting section of "The Reason for God" by Tim Keller this week that suggests on many issues, Christians may behave worse than particular moral athiests or those of other faiths because; they are more often damaged people, they know that they don't have to earn acceptance by God through works, and they didn't start out Christians so they have a lot coming at them from the past.

(part 1 of 2)

Bill K said...

I'm coming very late into this conversation - sorry. Lately, I've been thinking that the best way to participate in conversations like this is to just explain what I think and why, and ask questions about what others think too.

Personally, I think that in most cases the desire to view pornography is wrong, the viewing of it is wrong, the masturbating to it is wrong, the making of it is wrong, etc. The only reason I leave a "most cases" in the statement is that it is an internal mental sin, so what is going on inside your head is what God is concerned about. And what is going on inside your head could be different from expectation (the gynecologist sees a vaginal area and thinks about bodily health, the teenage boy sees a vaginal area and thinks about sex with it).

I think that this view of pornography (from the viewer perspective) is warranted by the Matthew 5 passage. Looking at a woman (or image of a woman) in lust is a sin. What your mind does with the images you seen; i.e. even our thoughts can be sinful. But we also know that thoughts pop into our head, or are placed there by the devil – both beyond our control because of the fall. Then the question becomes do we entertain the thoughts or turn them over to God and turn to God in prayer?

At the same time, God does say that there are differing severities of sin - some are clearly understood and others aren't (look at 1 Corinthians for what sins should be cause for dis-fellowship, vs. 1 John 5:16,17 which doesn't yet make sense to me). But at the same time, whoever above talked about holiness was right as well; God desires us to shoot for holiness, knowing that we won't attain it until the next life.

So for a believer the moral construct they live with might go something like this:

Biblical Morals>Community Standards>Personal Conviction from the Holy Spirit + Conscience

I think the Bible is clear on porn being wrong. My church community holds the same view, but even more stringent is my personal conviction on the issue as well as conscience in particular situation about whether I need to repent because of my thoughts. No one but God knows my thoughts or would ever challenge them unless I am convicted to share them, repent of them, etc. Eventually, I think all of these thoughts are going to become public on the day of judgment, and that will make God's mercy all the greater. So while I don't attain holiness here, I long for it - when all of my thoughts and actions will be pure and when my first inclinations aren't sinful. But a well tuned conscience alerts us as we head towards sin, even if we can rationalize it as harmless or could get by without being questioned about it. And as the famous verse in James 4:17 says, to him who knows what is rights and does not do it, to him it is sin.

My final thought is that Ezekial 23 always comes to mind with this topic. It is an allegory about Jerusalem’s betrayal by following after Bablyon. However, the imagery used to described this idolatry is a sister, Oholibah, who lusts after pictures of men on a wall, and then calls to go get them to come to her. It says that her depravity was worse than her sister, who only was a prostsitute (Samaria).

What does this say about God’s view on pornography if lusting after images on a wall (pornography) is allegorical for Jerusalem’s idolatry?

Bill K said...

oh yeah - I forgot - I agree that using the Genesis 9 passage to talk about pornography doesn't fit.

CD-Host said...

Hi Bill.


On (2) I'd say there is an irresistible compulsion to orgasm not to porn. That's a behavior. Its the same as food. You have a irresistible compulsion to eat say 2500 calories a day, you don't have an irresistible compulsion to Italian food. On the other hand if confronted with the choice between starvation and Italian food you'll eat the Italian food regardless of your theology of Italian food.

. If you are talking about national statistics, we have to very careful about what control group gets labelled "Christian". In one of Barna's surveys, only 4% of the U.S. was Christian by the way I understand saving faith in the Bible.

I generally go with self identification for broad statements. If we setup really complex criteria we might start to get differences. As I mentioned drastically reducing the marriage age changes sexual behavior.

B: If we live in a culture that is coming to accept the issue as non-moral, it will be harder to fight the tide of that culturally or personally

Yep. That is a very big difference. And I agree.

As for you lust/sin what is your feeling about the argument I made that pornography substantially reduces lust. Sexual denial creates lust in vastly greater quantities and frequency than sexual activity.

believer333 said...

"As for you lust/sin what is your feeling about the argument I made that pornography substantially reduces lust. Sexual denial creates lust in vastly greater quantities and frequency than sexual activity. "

There are those that have proposed that smoking pot reduces the desire to indulge in heavier drugs. But experiences have shown otherwise.

We are as humans, sexual beings like the rest of the created creatures, but not to the same degree. We have control of our behavior. We do not have to have sex. We choose what we want. Often backing down from out of control behavior must be slow in order to readjust our expectations and habits. But as humans, we are capable. Whereas animals are not.

CD-Host said...

believer333 --

Again I think the analogy is closer to food than drugs. Drugs are addictive an unnecessary,

But even with the drug analogy as far as I know one of the main times people in AA go back to drinking is when they quit smoking. I definitely know people (2 decades ago) who dropped from a nasty drug habit to "just pot". It a fairly common way to quit.

believer333 said...

"Again I think the analogy is closer to food than drugs. Drugs are addictive an unnecessary,

Food is necessary to live. We can live without sex. Sex is not necessary for a good and a fulfilled life. Those who are addicted to frequent sexual activity usually view it as necessary, just like those who are addicted to drugs.

"I definitely know people (2 decades ago) who dropped from a nasty drug habit to "just pot". It a fairly common way to quit. "

Interesting. I don't doubt that you do. However, I know people who after having habitually smoked pot, went on to harder and addictive drugs. I've actually never known anyone use pot to quit cocaine or anything similar. To quit being the plan, I have known that doctors do use less potent drugs to help hard addicts slide off of their addictions.

Quit being the plan, I don't see you as advocating the usage of porn on a temporary basis. It appears more like you are trying to replace other addictive sexual behavior with a supposedly lessor addictive behavior.... but with no intent of quitting.

CD-Host said...

Believer333 --

Food is necessary to live. We can live without sex. Sex is not necessary for a good and a fulfilled life.

Lets talk about orgasm not sex. What evidence do you have that healthy men in reasonable numbers can live non orgasmically for extended periods of time? Right now the whole reason for the ferocious criminal penalties for rapists and pedophiles is that we have no way of controlling their drives and thus we have a high recidivism rate.

In other words I agree things like severe malnutrition will curtail the sex drive. But even things like chemical castration seem to only be about 50-60% effective in causing the kind of sharp drop off you are talking about. You keep asserting that it is not needed, where is the evidence?

Bill K said...

I'm not a biologist, but there does seem to be an in-built mechanism to make orgasm happen for the male - nocturnal emission. So there is no "need" for sexual trelations with other people, or auto-erosal. The body will take care of it by itself.

believer333 said...

" So there is no "need" for sexual trelations with other people, or auto-erosal. The body will take care of it by itself."

Agreed, Bill.

The concept that men are driven to create porn which is horribly abusive to women (and indirectly to men), in order to help men satisfy a physical need, is a pretty narcisstic view at best. Pornography, peeping tomism, prostitution, etc are not evils that life requires.