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Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?
After avoiding talk about sex from the pulpit for years, pastors are now speaking out against porn.
August 21st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - He is a good Christian, Michael is telling his two therapists. He goes to church most Sundays. He’s a devoted husband and father of two daughters.

“But when I would leave on business trips,” he says, “I knew I was going to get to be someone else.”

“Prostitutes, porn - I took anything I wanted.”

Sitting on a comfortable, worn couch, Michael glances out the window and sees a reflection of himself set against the parking lot of this suburban Atlanta office building. He fidgets, runs his fingers over his closely cropped blond hair and straightens his green tennis polo. He clears his throat.

Above his head hangs a poster covered in words describing feelings - angry, anxious, sad. On it is a big yellow cross.

Therapists Richard Blankenship and Mark Richardson wear solemn but empathetic expressions. Certified counselors and Christian ministers, they tell him they know how to listen and nod for him to continue.

“I’ve had a record of purity since March when I confessed to my wife,” says Michael, whose name has been changed by CNN.com to protect his privacy. “No porn, no masturbation.”

“Awesome,” Richardson says, leaning forward in his chair. “God knows you’re trying.”

This is Michael’s second week at “Faithful and True – Atlanta” a 16-week counseling program that, like dozens of others like it around the country, combines traditional psychotherapy with the Bible in an attempt to treat addictive behavior.

Blankenship, a devout Christian who once struggled with sexual abuse, says his own ordeal has helped him to treat and “graduate” nearly 500 Christian men and women with similar addictions in the last five years.

He says he has helped people achieve what he calls “sobriety,” which means resisting porn and lustful thoughts.

Though controversial in secular circles, much of the evangelical Christian world has been cheering this relatively new kind of therapy. Many believers, including many Christian leaders, consider it a powerful tool for fighting what they say is one of the modern church’s biggest problems: porn addiction.

A crusade is born

Not long ago, it was unheard of for a pastor to talk about sex from the pulpit.

Today, clergy are talking about porn.

Many evangelical pastors say they don’t have a choice. The Internet has made porn unavoidable; it’s everywhere. And porn, they say, leads to a lack of intimacy in marriage, threatening the biblical mandate to get and stay married.

In the past few years, Christian leaders have established online ministries to tackle the problem, hosting anti-porn podcast sermons and Web chats. The popular evangelical blog Crosswalk.com recently ran an article headlined “How many porn addicts are in your church?”

Christian publishers, meanwhile, have produced a wave of recent books on the subject, including popular titles like “Porn-Again Christian,” “Secret Sexual Sins: Understanding a Christian's Desire for Pornography” and “Eyes of Integrity: The Porn Pandemic and How It Affects You.”

Evangelical pastor Jeremy Gyorke recently came forward to talk about how porn has affected him. In July, the 32-year-old confessed his porn addiction in a sermon at Wyandotte Family Church, just outside Detroit.

“I’m part of a generation of Christians who grew up keeping your mouth shut about your personal life,” he says. “Goodness no, we didn’t talk about sex.”

“But now that we have a little say in the attitude of the church, we’re taking a different approach,” Gyorke continues. “We’re putting it all out there, saying you don’t have to keep secrets. Come forward and admit that you’ve made a mistake, and you can be healed.”

Gyorke said he confessed to his congregation after his wife caught him looking at porn and told him it made her feel inadequate. She wanted him to seek help and to be transparent as a man of God.

Gyorke ultimately decided that viewing any porn, even once or twice, is a problem for believers.

“It’s like a gateway drug,” he says. “You can’t just have a little look. If you look at porn, you’ve already given your heart and spirit away to someone who isn’t your wife.”

As he wrote his sermon on the matter, Gyorke felt tremendous anxiety. “I thought it would make or break me to them as their pastor,” he says.

But his flock reacted with empathy and support. Several congregants approached him afterward to say that they, too, felt that they’d acted against God by looking at porn.

Different interpretations

Though the words “porn” and “masturbation” don’t appear in the Bible, Gyorke believes the biblical verdict is clear. “Sexual immorality is mentioned a lot in the Bible, and that is what porn is,” he says.

He quotes the Gospel of Matthew: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

“Porn is lust, and lust is a sin,” the pastor said.

Many religious scholars say that such a view reflects just one of many interpretations.

“One school of biblical study says that desire is a problem and needs to be monitored as a serious threat to salvation,” says Boston University theology professor Jennifer Wright Knust.

But Knust points to scriptural passages that appear to endorse sexual desire, including the Song of Solomon, a poem that some scholars say depicts two lovers graphically describing each other’s anatomy in an ode to unmarried sex.

“This is not new. It’s a cherry-picking of scripture used to address what’s happening right now in popular culture,” says Knust, author of the recent book “Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions on Sex and Desire.” “The new thing is that it’s being used by so-called Christian therapists.”

Knust says the anti-porn trend in Christian therapy reflects new questions in broader society about what constitutes an appropriate relationship, about gender roles and rules, and about what marriage really means.

“People are concerned and confused, and want to know if God is speaking to us in our sexual roles,” she says. “Can we find answers in divine revelation? People have always hoped that there can be certainty in the Bible.

“There is no certainty,” she says. “It’s interpretation.”

XXX churches

A few weeks after delivering his confessional sermon, Gyorke organized a Sunday event at his church intended to help keep congregants away from pornography.

He gave out study guides with scriptural verses related to lust and showed a slick video from XXXChurch, the main Web-based group for the Christian anti-porn movement.

The video opens with a mock-pharmaceutical infomercial for a product called “Lustivin.” It raves about how wonderful the drug can make you feel in the short term but then lists some major side effects: premature relational difficulty, divorce, shallow relationships.

Craig Gross, a young pastor from California, co-founded XXXChurch.com in 2001. Its URL was meant to snag people who were surfing the Web for dirty pictures.

“Ten years ago, when I wanted to bring the church up to date, everyone was like, ‘This won’t work. People will be confused about what you’re doing,’ ” Gross says.

“It was controversial at the time, but the church is always behind the times,” he says. “We should have had a XXXChurch.com in the late 1990s if we really wanted to get ahead of this problem.”

The site was slow to catch on for its first few years, but now gets millions of clicks a day from IP addresses around the globe, Gross said.

This year, XXXChurch sponsored Porn Sunday, a national anti-porn event that included hundreds of churches across the country screening a video starring Matt Hasselbeck, who's now quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, and other Christian NFL stars.

Soundbites from the players speak to the struggle between porn and faith.

“Sex is an awesome thing that God designed,” Hasselbeck says in the video.

Jon Kitna, a Dallas Cowboys quarterback, talks about surfing the Web and getting deeper into porn sites. “[You] see this [link] and it leads you to a link to this … ” he says. “And pretty soon, I’m into a world that I never really knew existed.”

For $7 a month, XXXChurch offers porn-detection software that fires off automatic e-mail alerts to a subscriber and his or her chosen “faith buddy,” a kind of whistle-blowing system designed to keep Christians from going astray.

Achieving “sobriety”

But some Christians have gone much further in their attempts to tackle porn addictions, literally rearranging their lives.

When Jeff Colon, a self-described recovering porn addict in Kentucky, confessed his addiction to his wife, she told him to get help or find a divorce attorney.

It was the early 1990s. Christian sex addition counseling was unheard of. But Colon’s pastor - to whom he’d also confided - called other church leaders and learned of a Christian counseling retreat called Pure Life Ministries, a kind of Christian compound that includes a chapel and all-male dormitory on 44 acres in western Kentucky.

Today, Colon is the president of Pure Life, which he credits with saving his marriage.

He says the program has cured thousands of men of their porn addictions through a six- to 12-month program of one-on-one or group therapy sessions.

The live-in program costs $175 a week. Men must move to the campus and live alone, with wives having the option of talking to Pure Life counselors by phone. Most insurance plans don’t cover Pure Life - a moot concern, really, because most program participants quit their jobs to relocate.

That’s what Colon, who was working as an elevator repairman, did. “I don’t regret it for a second,” he says. “It was a hard time not because I lost my job or had to move from my family. It was a tough time because I had nearly lost my connection with God. That is what’s most important in life.”

Pure Life’s curriculum relies heavily on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, which stresses that if one lives “by the Spirit,” he will not “gratify the desires of the flesh.”

The scripture goes on to say that those who gratify the flesh “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Women are not allowed on campus during the initial phase of treatment.

“People who don’t follow Christ aren’t going to get what I’m saying, but it was like intense Bible study that helped me understand how selfish I am as a sinner,” Colon says. “Basically, you have time to talk to God, and for him to show you the way to sobriety. And I’ve been sober for 17 years.”

For Colon, sobriety means abstaining from looking at porn, masturbating and performing any other sex act not involving his spouse.

“You learn that lust is just a state of mind,” he says. “If you lust for someone other than your wife, what you do is replace that lust with prayer. And you have a heart change.”

Indeed, Colon says that God was central to his recovery.

“I know secular people don’t get it,” he says. “But if I had a sponsor who was just another person, a person who is fallible, telling me to stay clean, it’s just not as powerful as God telling me that.”

“Women … drowning in this addiction”

Men aren’t the only ones who have started thinking that way about porn.

According to the creator of accountability2you, a Web-based service that dumps all the pornographic material someone surfs into his or her spouse’s e-mail inbox, roughly half of his 10,000 monthly subscribers are women.

“The Christian Church has started to realize that we’re sexual, too, and we are just as visually stimulated as men and we look at porn,” said Crystal Renaud, author of the recent book “Dirty Girls Come Clean,” a memoir about her own addiction to porn.

For the past year, the 26-year-old with punky-streaked hair has led Christian women’s porn addiction counseling sessions. Her Dirty Girls Ministries website has 450 members.

“I’ve met women who will lock themselves in a room and look at porn all day, ignoring their kids or their jobs,” she says. “I feel like I can relate because that’s all I cared about, getting my high. There are so many more women out there drowning in this addiction, you have no idea.”

Though there are few statistics to support Renaud’s claims about the extent of the problem, Christian media outlets like Today’s Christian Woman have recently run stories about women consuming porn, often theorizing that the habit starts with explicit romance novels.

Renaud has received a sexual addiction counseling certification from the American Association of Christian Counselors, though she is not licensed by secular organizations like the American Psychological Association. She promotes a five-step program she’s devised called SCARS - Surrender, Confessional, Accountability, Responsibility, Sharing - which encourages women to confess to each other about their desire to look at porn as a means of saying no to it.

In her memoir, Renaud writes about becoming a chronic masturbator and porn addict at age 10, after stumbling upon a dirty magazine in her brother’s room. It was a confusing, scary experience, she writes.

“My mother made it very clear what the parameters were when it came to sex, and there wasn’t a discussion beyond that,” Renaud said. She describes her relationship with her father as rocky, but wouldn’t elaborate.

In high school, Renaud was a leader in her Christian youth group, but she was also interested in porn. “I felt so bad and I wanted to stop looking at porn because that wasn’t what the Bible instructed,” she says, “and I knew God didn’t want me doing that.”

When she was 18, Renaud arranged to have sex for the first time at a hotel with a person she met in a Christian chat room. She says she went to the hotel but broke down in tears in her room and left before meeting the man.

“That was my rock bottom,” she says. “I remember being there and sobbing, thinking, ‘What am I doing risking my life to meet someone at a hotel I don’t even know?’”

Renaud said that she depends on God to keep her clean and that God is a kind of sponsor or monitor. When she wants to look at porn or masturbate, she and God have a kind of conversation, and the desire passes.

A crusade’s critics

The father of Christian-based porn and sex addiction therapy has a word for this “pray-away” method of sobriety.

“Hooey.”

Dr. Mark Laaser pioneered the Christian response to porn and sex addiction in the 1980s and chides counseling centers like Pure Life for what he says is their near-total reliance on prayer.

“Alcoholics don’t wish really hard to not be addicted to alcohol,” he says in a phone interview from his busy therapeutic practice in suburban Minneapolis. “The field of addiction is much deeper than opening your Bible.”

He’s pleased that more Christians are openly talking about pornography and sex addiction, but Laaser says he’s concerned that some Christian leaders and therapists are confusing sexual sin with sex addiction.

“Men come dragging into my office because their wives have caught them masturbating and labeled them addicts, or they’ve had one affair and they are now looking to have their affair excused by addiction,” he says.

“One affair doesn’t mean you’re a porn addict,” Laaser says. “Looking at porn occasionally doesn’t make you a porn addict. Those may be poor decisions, but they are not necessarily caused by clinical addiction.”

Porn is estimated to be a multibillion-dollar industry in America alone, banking at least 10 times what it did in 1970, the first time the U.S. government evaluated the retail value of the nation’s then-fledgling hardcore film, television and retail market.

During that same decade, Laaser had become the porn industry’s ideal customer. He was constantly on the hunt for it.
As a devout Christian, he spent a lot of energy trying to keep his porn a secret, especially from his wife, Debbie. His guilt distanced him from her emotionally, he says, and began eroding their relationship.

At the time, there was virtually no established psychological research, or mainstream therapy, for sex addiction. So Laaser reached out to secular 12-step programs, using Alcoholics Anonymous’ framework as a guide to reaching what he called sexual “sobriety,” abstaining from sex outside of marriage and avoiding masturbation.

“I remember thinking I wish my problem were drinking because I could get help easier,” Laaser said.

By the late ’80s, Laaser says, he was on the road to sobriety, combining therapeutic methods he’d learned while pursuing a doctorate in psychology from the University of Iowa and a divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.

“It began to seem very evident to me that secular therapy does not work as effectively for Christians,” he said. “And that’s because the secular world … to us as Christians, seems less moral. Sex is everywhere in secular society - television, film, billboards. It’s just so much a part of life that it is excused.

“Christians just aren’t going to seek out a secular therapist - they won’t seek therapy at all if they don’t have some aspect of Christianity woven into their treatment.”

In 1992, Laaser authored the first book on Christian sexual addiction, titled “The Secret Sin.”

“The Christian church, both Protestant and Catholic, is experiencing tremendous turmoil in the area of sexuality,” it began. “The problem seems epidemic.”

It sold barely enough copies to stay in print.

In 2005, the publisher changed the title to “Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction,” and Laaser added chapters on Internet porn. It has sold 75,000 copies.

In Laaser’s care, a patient will undergo psychiatric evaluation, just as he would in the secular world. Laaser wants to know if the patient has any symptoms of depression, ADHD or anxiety. He says many sex addicts suffer from other mental health issues.

“You may need to go to a meeting every day, or connect with a sponsor; you may need to check in with this office once a day,” he said. “Every client is different, but we’re essentially helping them establish boundaries and restrictions.”

Some secular therapists have warmed to this kind of approach.

“The deeply religious were a group that were hard to reach years ago because they had extreme shame connected with their addiction,” says Tim Lee, a licensed social worker in New York with a specialty in sex and porn addiction treatment.

But Lee and Pennsylvania sex therapist Dr. John Giugliano, both members of the Society for Sexual Advancement - a national nonprofit think tank of licensed sex therapists - worry that therapy can become overly focused on dogma and ignore the patient’s real-life issues.

“If you spend your time in session talking about what God thinks and what the Bible says, you don’t get to understand what the patient thinks and what happened in their life up to that point that explains why,” Giugliano says.

Even within the world of Christian therapy, some counselors criticize the methods of other religious counselors.

Richard Blankenship, the Atlanta-based Christian therapist, studied under Laaser in the early 2000s. When Blankenship set up his practice in Atlanta to treat sex addicts, he used the same name as Laaser’s ministry, “Faithful and True,” adding only the word “Atlanta.”

But Laaser wants to make it clear that he has no association with Blankenship’s practice and doesn’t agree with some aspects of Blankenship’s program.

Blankenship doesn’t rely enough on psychological expertise, Laaser says. Laaser objects to a therapist telling a patient that an addiction may be patterns repeated through generations, as Blankenship does. And Laaser disagrees with Blankenship’s habit of connecting a patient’s addiction to a biblical character’s family tree.

Abraham’s family tree

For the rest of his therapy session at Faithful and True, Michael circles emotions from a list that Richardson and Blankenship have provided. He circles “anxious” and then describes a fight he had with his wife about his infidelity.

Blankenship responds to Michael’s description of the fight by saying that addiction is generational, mentioning the Kennedys and the Fondas.

Then Blankenship queues up a PowerPoint presentation on a laptop, showing Michael a family tree he has designed around the biblical story of Abraham.

It has a lot of boxes. There are several pages.

Abraham, Blankenship says, was a guy who committed some sexual transgressions, like fathering a child with Hagar while his wife was barren. Ultimately, God forgave him.

Michael starts talking about his own family. He describes a difficult upbringing with a father whom he said was philandering and verbally abusive. He says sex wasn’t talked about at his house when he was growing up.

Before the session ends, Michael is assured that there’s no reason to think that he won’t kick his addiction. He’ll be on a new path, Blankenship says, toward “sexual integrity.”

The 90-minute session comes to a close with a prayer.

Blankenship and his co-counselor Mark Richardson lower their heads.

Richardson asks that God look after Michael. He asks God to bless this therapy process. Michael is heading out into the world, he says, heading back into a culture of temptation and lust and ungodly ways.

Look after him, the therapist says, keep him on the right path.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Sex

soundoff (3,536 Responses)
  1. Aaron L.

    Thank GOD we don't live in a 1 religion Theocracy.

    October 1, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  2. Mark

    When religion and all who believe in it are gone from the world, we will have a better one.

    October 1, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Matt

      I hear ya

      October 1, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  3. Beverly

    KISSSSSSSSSSSSS OF CNN, YOU JUST DONT WANT THEM TO HEAR THE TRUTH............I DONT NEED YOUR WEBSITE..........SO LONG. MY ADVICE PEOPLE, FIND ANOTHER WEBSITE....

    October 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Beverly will be terribly missed here. Really.

      My advice to Beverly is to learn about these things called spelling and grammar.

      October 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  4. Nickell

    silly religious people, its human nature.

    October 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  5. Beverly

    I AM GETTING TIRED OF THESE SITES.............I WENT TO POST IT AS I DO AT TIMES............AND IT DONT POST IT. SORRY.............THIS SITE IS FULL OF BEANS LIKE THE REST OF THE INTERNET.

    October 1, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  6. WORTHaDEUCE

    I like big bOObs.

    October 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  7. SquatLikeALady

    Now if only the churches of the world put this much effort into alleviating poverty......

    September 30, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Kelli

      I have to believe that maybe you haven't done your research. There are SO many churches sacrificing so much to help those who are poor. Take my friend's church for example. She is LDS and monthly people give 10% of their income and whatever else they want to give to those in need.

      October 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  8. "Religious Power"

    http://www.fox8.com/news/wjw-thousands-gather-for-spiritual-gaze-txt,0,857065.story?hpt=us_bn6

    Just another example of 'believers". Faith is also called the PLACEBO EFFECT.
    Want to have a real impact from spirituality? Try Meditation. That, at least, has measurable effects...and no religious dogma surrounding it.

    September 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  9. "Religious Power"

    http://www.fox8.com/news/wjw-thousands-gather-for-spiritual-gaze-txt,0,857065.story?hpt=us_bn6

    September 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  10. Rich

    Religion is delusion.

    September 30, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  11. JoeProfet

    My fellow Christians, please don't allow yourself to get snared into the rhetoric of fools. I understand your desire to stand up for God, Jesus and His followers, but what you experience on this and many other belief blogs are the words of a foolish people trying to engage you into circular conversations that can virtually go no where. Many non-believers are caught up in their own wisdom and conceits as evidenced in their derogatory words and intense hatred for Christians. However, this is where the bible suggests that we rejoice in being persecuted for Christ's sake. You are being condemned for if for nothing else, being a follower of Christ. You are being falsely accused for His sake. Rejoice in it, but don't waste your time trying to explain to those that have chosen not to hear the wisdom in His words and follow His tenets. Jesus doesn't know them, and as we have read regarding the day of judegment, will reject them also. Pray for them is all that you can do that they may understand the ramifications of their unrepentive hearts. It is sad to witness this as I've learned in this blog that there are many that have chosen this path. Very sad! It is better to have fellowship with other Christians than to engage in a one-way conversation with a foolish person.

    September 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Tom Nunnery

      You are so pious that it bleeds through.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • DB

      Well put, Joe. What a distorted view of Christ and Christianity so many on this blog share.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Sean

      A cult member telling other cult members to only listen to other cult members.. I’m shocked… truly.

      Only an insecure boyfriend will not allow his girlfriend to have male friends.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Non-believer

      He's incredibly close-minded too. Apparently he can't even have an intelligent discussion on the subject of religion with someone who doesn't share the same views. Shame, but not too surprising.

      October 1, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • jonathan

      Well DB & Joeprofet, they get their distorted view from false Christs 😦 ....I am not discouraged by their rage towards Christianity..and as Joe suggested rejoice when persecuted...in fact rejoicing is what I do in their presence 🙂 rejoicing is the most powerful weapon because it enforces my faith and decreases resistance ..through faith.. 🙂
      do not be discouraged Jesus is sat down on the throne at the Right hand of God....
      Look up for your redemption draweth nigh 🙂 🙂 🙂

      October 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • NorthVanCan

      Dude, keep things simple. That helps. You don't need a 2000 year old book to treat peaple as you would like to be treated,, and put your trash in the trash bin. Oh yah, try making less trash, that helps too!

      October 1, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  12. Todd

    Dear Religious People,
    Please leave me alone. I don't believe in the same things you do and I don't want to live in your world. Please stop trying to change the whole world, some people don't have a problem with the way it is. You have enough problems to deal with in your own community, focus on yourselves. It is my right, as an American Citizen, after devoting many years of my life defending OUR country in the military, to NOT believe in god. Please respect my rights and quit trying to guide me morally. With no religious guidance whatsoever I have managed to become a respectful, compassionate, and caring human being. If you need a shot of religion to give you respectability thats fine but keep it away from me.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • HAHA

      Dear Todd,
      If you don't like "religious people" then get off the religion blog!

      September 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • mfhpr

      Dear HAHA,

      I didn't see that Todd indicated a dislike for religious folks, just the idea of those that try to permeate his world. BTW: this is not a "religious" blog. It is response to an article about religion's affecting something many people enjoy and have no problem with. Are the producers of X X X trying to shut down churches? I'm guessing not.

      September 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Sean

      @HAHA
      This is a belief blog, not a religion blog. HUGH difference there genius.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • jonathan

      Sorry Todd, but you served the country to preserve the rights of these whom you wish to silence. 🙂 🙂

      you have the right to stick your fingers in your ears... others served and died to give you that right....

      October 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  13. jim

    Christians should stop trying to remove everything they consider evil from the world. Your god only requires that you resist it, not eliminate it.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • nick2

      Being judgmental – is decidedly non-Christian. In fact evil can be very simply and easily described as doing harm to other living creatures. And by harm, I do not mean imaginary harm such claiming that your own sensibilities are offended.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • jonathan

      Thanks Jim, you should go from Church to explain that to many Christians.. 🙂 good luck and I do mean that 🙂

      October 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  14. Samsword

    Wow, I can't believe people are actually rushing to defend po-rno-graphy.. I mean I can understand some disputes with religious organizations, but this seems a little too much.

    Po-rno-graphy has been clinically tested as unhealthy and destructive in almost all cases. (I'd be pretty skeptical of any clinic that says otherwise.) It's healthy in adults and adolescents to experience interest and curiosity, but po-rno-graphy often quickly turns curiosity into obsession. It turns women into objects, and distorts the idea of what relationships should be. It's more than "just a fantasy." It leads to dissatisfaction with one's partner; and marriages and relationships often get trampled by this destructive habit.

    I believe that se-x-ual union is a beautiful and sacred thing. But po-rno-graphy distorts and destroys this. The "quick rush" just isn't worth it. Period.

    September 30, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Todd

      Religion can have a lot of the same effects on people. Religion should be outlawed

      September 30, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • nick2

      Oh don't be so up tight. Prurient thoughts are far more aceptable than serial activity. In fact most sensible people would see pronography as a very reasonable safety valve to balance the libido.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • mfhpr

      Not sure if you're perception is one from a religious view. If it is, don't look now, but you just put faith in SCIENCE! You know, the clinical studies you believe in? Again, if it's a religious view, you can't have it both ways...

      September 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Some like it

      But if you don't have P0rno, what will you look at while you yank it? Underwear models?

      September 30, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Sean

      Post your source for these clinical findings.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Samsword

      I DO put my trust in science... a LOT... but I also realize it's incompleteness. I recognize the Bible to have faults (gasp* I know) but I still find some inspiration within it. Science is perfect for most "here and now" questions, but is lacking on the ultimate deeper question of "why?" Why do all these things happen? Is there a purpose to it all, or is it just all random? In this arena "science" can only shrug its shoulders. That's why, in this regard, I trust my deeper intuitions... it's lead human thought this far, why abandon it now? In fact most scientific discoveries start first with a "hunch."

      As for references. Since you asked, I will provide 😉 (note: in each of the links, you'll have to remove the dashes in po-rn or po-rno-graphy)

      http://www.frc.org/po-rno-graphy-effects

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1982.tb02514.x/abstract

      http://www.mentalhealthlibrary.info/library/po-rn/po-rnlds/po-rnldsauthor/links/victorcline/po-rneffect.htm

      (This last one is simply awesome, not strictly "scientific")
      http://artofmanliness.com/2009/05/11/the-problem-with-po-rn/

      October 1, 2011 at 4:57 am |
  15. Mary Catherine

    Isn't the idea of prayer ... a conversation with God ? Whats wrong with relying on prayer , sense thru Him all things are possible. And, for those bitter Christian haters out there; at least we Christians have some thing/One, stronger and better
    than ourselves to turn to, where as you with out...............are WITH OUT, but are too high on yourself to even know it.

    September 30, 2011 at 3:17 am |
    • jim

      We aren't too high on ourselves, we just aren't weak enough to need your crutch!

      September 30, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • nick2

      Prayer gives comfort to the simple minded. So if it makes you feel better, then it is probably a good thing. But it does tend to live in the realm of denial and escapism.

      September 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Tom Nunnery

      You are so pious. Please-

      September 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Lee

      No one is without God... They just have to accept him

      October 2, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  16. Chris

    More important, can Christians make this movie go viral! 180movie.com the holocaust of the past pales in comparison to the holocaust that is going on around us everyday

    September 30, 2011 at 12:18 am |
  17. Jeb

    Christianity can't even control the pedophilia in it's own ranks.

    Besides, weren't Adam and Eve nudists ?

    September 29, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • John

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA and HA, amen to that, two faced, robe wearing fudge packers!

      September 30, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • Hank

      Explain.

      Nudists Choose not to wear clothing out of a deranged sense of "freedom". Adam & Eve were naked and didn't know it due to the simple fact that The Fall hadn't happened yet.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Hypocrites

      Quite a few of them in the crowd.. Some priests still do the same things that they did in the medieval days... such as fathering children on other men's wives. The Archbishop of Canterbury was on a world record of having fathered 72 children.. I wonder how many came close to that record.
      http://www.kctv5.com/story/15551832/husband-priest-fathered-wifes-baby-diocese-covered-up-affair

      September 30, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Sean

      @Hank
      Explain.

      Where did the concept come from? Fruit from the tree of knowledge (aka the forbid fruit). What use is free will without the knowledge to make the choice? And I’d hardly say “the fall’ is a simple fact… being you can’t prove it ever happened.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  18. Mormons-R-Cult

    Nope, they can do nothing about it, period. They shouldn't even try. They have no right to stop it whatsoever, period.

    September 29, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Sean

      They have been trying unsuccessfully for more than a hundred years.

      September 30, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Alex

      Totally agree. Self Righteous sheep.
      They make you a slave to their rules.

      October 1, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  19. scir91onYouTube

    i just finished watching a clip of what this article talks about. and i feel very good thanks to the rush of endorphins i just enjoyed. religion doesn't do it for me. i can't believe in mythical gods and monsters like the greeks or egyptians did.

    September 29, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • TC

      Of course religion wouldn't do it for you because it's about considering others first and not about your perverted self absorbed focus on pleasure. I just can;t believe in hedonistic behavior like the greeks and egyptians did – I'll take pure and true love of humanity.

      September 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • pastmorm

      TC, christianity is FAR from any representation of the true love of humanity. Christianity breeds hatred, violence and destruction. Look at history you fool.

      September 30, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Rodo

      pastmorm, I guess you wouldn't mean the history of starting hospitals, schools, charities, relief work, and a host of other acts where people put others before themselves? At times certainly "the church" or representatives thereof have not represented the gospel well ... but that is when they betrayed the message of the gospel itself. Also, history shows millions more dying from the leadership of secular humanists.. I hope when you call TC a fool, you are not breeding hatred, violence, & destruction.

      As for Christianity being about true love of humanity, what greater love than Jesus giving His life for us? We can learn from that, even be changed by it. The gospel goes to the heart, and it's great news of God's love & forgiveness in Jesus Christ. It turns hearts & priorities upside down. That is what we all need ... a heart change.

      September 30, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  20. Packing Fudge for christians

    The gospels are perversion in the worst form

    September 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.