You’re Better Than That

It’s time for a new argument against pornography. For the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, I'm John Stonestreet with The Point.

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Writing at Patheos, Marc Barnes suggests we need a new and better way of persuading young people against pornography. He argues that neither the “therapeutic” approach—describing the health detriments—nor “the moral approach”—describing how pornography distorts sex and objectifies women, are effective. Both are true, but they lack the fire power to break the habit.

What finally did it for him, says Barnes, was a “conversion of taste… not when I recognized pornography as evil or unhealthy but when I could laugh at it as stupid…I was too good for it.”

C. S. Lewis warned us in “Mere Christianity” about using pride as a weapon to overcome sin, but that’s not really what Barnes is saying here.

As Christians, he writes, “We are no longer free to posture as better than our neighbors.” But we are expected to “become better at being ourselves,” and, I might add, more like Christ.

Pornography is wrong and harmful. But it’s also below us. We were made, as Lewis taught elsewhere, for so much more.

Further Reading

Towards a New Argument Against Pornography
Marc Barnes | Patheos | January 17, 2017


For the matter of that, if you are to get embarrassed over the fact that you are in fact an animal(whatever else you are) why not just get embarrassed for having once been a baby?

It is the moral point about porn that is the crucial one, not the point of our dignity. While having some concern about our dignity is appropriate, letting it lead you into Gnosticism is inordinate.
Couldn't you just as easily say you are to dignified to copulate? Even though it is from one point of view kind of a silly activity and even though I am sure some of my relations did in fact do so?

The point is not moral similarity or even that moderate concern for one's dignity is wrong. The point is that we will in any case spend a lot of our lives doing inherently undignified things because our bodies are in many senses undignified. Even nobility has digestive and reproductive systems. If I recall Napoleon was down with a disease of the waste organs at both Borodino and Waterloo and of course everyone found out about it even though he hid it then. Part of the purposes of our rather cranky bodies is to take away our pride and making this argument for moral purity is simply to be mildly Gnostic.

I won't say that there is nothing to this point. But it cannot exist without the moral point, for otherwise we have no way of saying why this undignified bodily function is more undignified then many another.

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