Garbage Cans for Minds: Pornography
By Charles Colson
CBN.com -- A man
I'll call Ted knows what it's like to go to hell and back.
Ted is middle-aged and well-respected in his community
and his profession. But one day Ted discovered the Internet
and, soon thereafter, Internet pornography.
Within six months, it was completely controlling Ted's life. As he
puts it, his mind had "become a garbage can."
What makes this story especially noteworthy is that Ted is also an
evangelical Christian -- as respected in his church as he is in his
community. But he isn't alone; his problem is shared by a growing number
of Christian men.
For the past few days, I've told you about how cultural and technological
factors have taken pornography from the margins of society to the mainstream.
This, sadly, includes the church.
A recent survey conducted by the National Coalition for the Protection
of Children and Families provides us with a clue as to how big the problem
of Christians and pornography may be.
The Coalition surveyed students at five Christian colleges. Sixty-eight
percent of the male students said that they had intentionally looked
for pornography on the Internet -- more than two-thirds of them! Ten
percent of those surveyed admitted to frequent use of pornography, and
five percent acknowledged having a problem with pornography. Like any
poll, these numbers understate the incidence of actual use.
Another Christian college, Seattle Pacific University, examined all
the web sites accessed by its students during a three-week period. Officials
were dismayed to learn that nearly seven percent of all sites visited
were pornographic. And, one in five of all campus computers had been
used to view pornography. In response, officials installed blocking
software that kept students from accessing pornography on campus computers.
But, we need to understand that this is not an isolated problem -- it's
happening all over.
Technology alone will not solve the problem, because there's no blocking
software for the human heart. That's why, as Steve Watters of Focus
on the Family wrote in a recent issue of Boundless web magazine, Christian
colleges across the country are creating programs to deal with the problem:
"special chapels, accountability groups and innovative dorm programs."
Why are Christian men so vulnerable to Internet pornography? Barbara
Steffens, of the Coalition, points to several possible factors. There's
the technology. Temptation is only a few clicks away. The Internet has
brought the red light district into every American home. As a result,
there's very little standing between a man and his worst impulses.
But it's not just technology. Steffens adds that few churches are prepared
for the challenges posed by Internet pornography. People aren't comfortable
talking about their struggles with sexual temptation at church for fear
of being judged. Even if they are prepared to talk, there's often no
one to hold them accountable in a meaningful way.
The church has got to find a way to confront this challenge. An entire
generation of Christian men is at risk of experiencing the hell that
Ted did. Ted eventually got help and is now helping others to understand that,
by the grace of God and the help of our brothers, we can empty that
From BreakPoint, Copyright 2001 Prison Fellowship
Ministries. "BreakPoint with Chuck
Colson" is a radio ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries.
Reprinted with permission of Prison Fellowship, P.O. Box 17500,
Washington, DC, 20041-0500."
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