Category: Society, Culture & Sinful Lifestyles

The Effects of Internet Porn

Internet pornography is a favorite form of entertainment or past time for millions of users around the world.
However, is Internet porn harmless or is porn ultimately damaging to individuals and society?
Many people (who likely enjoy porn) would argue that watching porn is harmless as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. However, the numbers don’t lie. Pornography IS harmful. Statistics reflect that millions of people around the world are being psychologically and physically affected as a result of watching Internet pornography.

According to studies from WebRoot some of the effects of Internet porn are as follows:

  1. Porn increased marital infidelity by 300%
  2. Teenagers with frequent exposure to sexual content on TV have a substantially greater likelihood of teenage pregnancy;
  3. About 34% of internet users have experienced unwanted exposure to pornographic content through ads, pop up ads, misdirected links or emails
  4. Every second 28,258 users are watching pornography on the internet
  5. About 68% of divorce cases involve one party meeting a new paramour over the internet while 56% involve one party having an “obsessive interest” in pornographic websites
  6. One third of porn viewers are women
  7. Search engines get 116,000 queries every day related to child pornography

 

What Do These Statistics Mean?
By just looking at the statistics above it’s easy to realize that Internet porn is clearly damaging individuals, families and society as a whole.
Such kind of statistics reflect the debilitating condition of society when it comes to pornography. There’s no doubt that porn is harming society and that these statistics are increasing instead of decreasing. Therefore more people are becoming addicted to pornography than ever before and as a result more marriages are being destroyed; more families are being broken and more people are subjected to mental and physical abuse because of the effects of porn.

 

What are the Effects of Pornography?
1. It rewires the brain to the extent that the self-control of the porn viewer / porn addict is weakened tremendously.
2. The porn addict / viewer becomes easily aroused by sexual images and less by his partner. For example, a husband who views porn may become sexually aroused & stimulated by porn images instead of being biologically bonded or stimulated by his wife.
3. Porn addiction increases marital infidelity. The porn addict is no longer aroused by his spouse and so eventually he seeks to “experiment” the porn activities and fantasies he has been watching outside the marriage.
4. Pornography affects one’s spiritual life. Porn images invade not only the mind but they strike right at the soul of a person as porn images become imprinted in the mind to the extent that it causes behavior change both socially and spiritually.

2 Timothy 2:22 says “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart”.

Jesus said that whoever looks at woman with lust has committed adultery in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28).

 

HOW CAN YOU OVERCOME INTERNET PORN ADDICTION?
Jesus mentions that whatever causes us to sin, must be removed from our life (Matthew 5:29-30).
Now, Jesus is not saying in Matthew 5:29-30 that we should literally remove our eye or hands. However He is giving the principle that we need to get rid of the things that cause us to disobey God.
In the case of overcoming pornography, one of the first steps in getting rid of porn addiction is through the following:

1. You must destroy any pornographic material in your possession. This means destroying magazines, pictures and digital images on your phone or laptop. Destroy or delete whatever material reminds you of porn.
2. Take your desire to overcome porn addiction as a journey that begins with a single step. You will not overcome the addiction overnight. It will take time and you might slip up now and again. The most important thing is to continue on the journey to overcoming the addiction even during failures.
3. If you’re really serious about overcoming your addiction – install accountability software on your laptop, PC, tablet or phone. Accountability software will help prevent or stop you from accessing pornographic sites. Also remove yourself from any social network sites where you’re most likely to see sexual images that would have been distributed by other users.
4. Visit a counsellor or make yourself accountable to someone you trust and who won’t judge you because of your addiction. Have someone or people around you who can encourage you to overcome your addiction or to motivate you when slip up.
5. There is also a spiritual aspect to overcoming porn addiction. You must be a born again Christian. Indeed a Christian can struggle with lust and even with porn addiction. However, being a Christian means that you can ask God to help you overcome temptation and deliver you from the addiction. The issue of pornography addiction is just as much a spiritual problem as it is a social problem.
6. Whenever you slip up, confess your sin to God and keep moving towards your recovery (1 John 1:9). Always remember that through Christ you can overcome your addictions (Hebrews 4:14-15).

 

Should Christians Listen to Secular Music?

Should Christians Listen to Secular Music? Many Christians often debate this issue and it’s possible that people can agree to disagree on this matter.
Some Christians have strong convictions that it is absolutely wrong to listen to any kind of secular music while other Christians are of the viewpoint that one can listen to certain types of secular music as long as discernment and wisdom is exercised.

When it comes to whether or not a Christian should listen to secular music it is important to ask yourself the following important questions:

1. Does the secular music communicate an ungodly message?
2. Does the secular music influence your thoughts, your mood and your behavior in an ungodly way?
3. Does the secular music hinder your spiritual growth?
4. Will listening to secular music cause your Christian brother / sister to stumble?
5. What is the purpose of music?

 

Does the Secular Music Communicate an Ungodly Message?
There’s no doubt at all that many of the secular music today tend to promote such issues as adultery, drug abuse, the love of money, pornography and even homosexuality. The music artists not only promote an ungodly message and lifestyle in their songs, but they also literally live the same lifestyle that they sing about.
Music is a powerful communication tool. Therefore it’s important to not only enjoy the beat and the rhythm of the music, but it’s also very important to listen to the lyrics of the music in order to understand the message that is being communicated and to ascertain whether the message is godly or ungodly. There are many secular songs and music videos that have subliminal messages and it’s therefore important to hear and understand the lyrics of any song.


Does the Secular Music Influence Your Thoughts, Mood & Behavior in an Ungodly Way?

Music is not only a very powerful way of communicating, but music can be very entertaining and influential. Music can influence our mood, our thoughts and our behavior.
Secular music is particularly influential to children and teenagers. In fact, most of the popular secular music are marketed for the kids and teenagers.
It’s important that the music we hear should lead us to having righteous thoughts and righteous behavior.
Philippians 4:8-9 says “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

 

Does the Secular Music Hinder Your Spiritual Growth?
Does the secular music cause you to backslide or to divert from the things of God in a slow and subtle way? It is almost certain that listening to secular music that promotes an ungodly message will certainly cause problems in one’s spiritual life and hinder a person’s relationship with God
We must therefore be careful to guard our heart and to be aware of the things that can hinder our spiritual growth.
Whatever causes us to stumble or sin – we should remove from our lives (Matthew 5:29-30).


Will Listening to Secular Music Cause Your Christian Brother / Sister to Stumble?

You might be a Christian who has no problem with listening to secular music. However one has to be conscientious when in the presence of other Christians who might have the opposite view about secular music. Therefore if you’re a Christian who sometimes listens to secular music, it’s advisable to avoid listening to that type of music in the presence of a Christian who might become offended or stumble.
In 1 Corinthians 8:13, Paul was referring to meat – but however the analogy can be used when referring to music. If the music you listen to causes your brother to stumble then its best to refrain from it.


What is the Purpose of Music?

The primary purpose of music from the very beginning has always been to praise and give glory to God.
Colossians 3:17,23 says that in whatever we do, in word or deed, we must do it in the Lord’s name and not to men.
Music is therefore an expression and a powerful way to communicate our adoration for God.
While there are secular music that speak positive messages and are able to uplift people, the ultimate purpose of music is for man to give honor and glory to God.

 

Should Christians Be Legalistic About Music?
Admittedly, not all secular music is evil; Not all secular music promotes a bad message and so it’s not always appropriate to take a fully legalistic approach to this issue. However, discernment is important.
Christianity is not a list of rules of do’s and don’ts. However care must be taken that we focus on doing that which is ultimately beneficial for the glory of God and God’s kingdom.
If as a Christian you have no problem with listening to secular music, the most important thing is to assess the 5 questions or guidelines above and to ensure that you do not listen to any secular music that communicates an ungodly message and negatively affect your relationship with God and with your neighbor.

 

 

 

The Negative Effects of Social Media

In an interview at an Axios event, Sean Parker, the former president of Facebook spoke about how the Facebook social networking website is designed to prey on a psychological vulnerability within people. Sean Parker said the Facebook app which is used by over 2 billion people around the world takes advantage of human vulnerabilities and the human need for social-validation and is possibly re-wiring human brains.

There is no doubt that there are great benefits or advantages of using social media / networking websites. Social media sites can be beneficial both to an individual and for an organization.
Such benefits include:
Connectivity – people can connect and communicate from all over the world at a very low cost
Promotion – people can promote themselves, their ideas, and their businesses to a specific or wide range of audience.
Education & Awareness – people can learn and be updated on what’s trending and have updated information on various topics much quicker than before.
Help Communities – people can socially and spiritually help each other in various areas of life.

However, it appears that there is a darker side of social media that has been gradually emerging for years and its effects have been visible through the rising number of cyber bulling, revenge porn, cyber-crime and mental issues that appear to be growing as a result of excessive and improper use of social media.

So the question is this: What are the psychological vulnerabilities that social media sites like Facebook prey on? What are the mental health issues associated with the use of social media? Does the Bible say anything about how to deal with the negative effects of social media?

Addiction
Social media can become addictive to the point that it disrupts productivity and normal daily routine. Teenagers are the most affected. Social media activities can occupy the mind unnaturally and may waste a person’s time when that particular time could be used more productively. The addiction further creates a lazy mind as one ends up having a low attention or retention span because of social media.

Triggers Jealousy & Depression
A certain study showed that of 1500 Facebook and Twitter users surveyed, 62 percent reported feeling inadequate and 60 percent reported having feelings of jealousy from comparing themselves to other users. Such jealousy leads to feelings of inadequacy and eventually depression due to comparisons with other users.

Narcissistic Behavior
Social media can cause people to have a narcissistic or conceited personality. People begin to either secretly or openly crave attention and admiration from others because of social media. Social media is designed to make us crave for more “Likes” and more “Comments”. Therefore it creates and exploits our desire to be validated and accepted by others. This causes a person to judge his/her self-worth and significance based on the number of responses or acceptance from followers.

Reality Not Truly Reflected
Pretension and hypocrisy can be prevalent on social media. The information posted on social media sites does not always reflect the reality on the ground. For example, Facebook or Instagram pictures and posts by an individual do not always reflect the true reality of circumstances in that particular person’s life. Another example is that, having more “friends” on a social networking site does not always mean that one is more sociable. Therefore true characters / personalities / circumstances are not entirely reflected through that person’s social media posts.

 

What Does The Bible Say?
The Bible addresses the negative effects of social media such as making comparisons, having jealousy and being narcissistic.
Galatians 6:4-5 and 2 Corinthians 10:12 discourages us from comparing ourselves with other people. Our significance or self-worth is not found in comparing ourselves with others or by attempting to be “better” than others – but our self-worth is found in having a relationship with Jesus Christ. In the eyes of God – we are all equal. Therefore, we need to see ourselves as how God sees us and not as how man sees us. God’s opinion of us is far more important than how others view us.
James 3:16 and Proverbs 14:30 are examples where scripture discourages people from breeding envy or jealousy towards others. Envy turns into anger and strife if it is not dealt with. Envy can also cause depression. Instead, we need to always focus on the positives in our lives. We always need to be thankful in all circumstances and have an attitude of love towards our neighbor.
Philippians 2:3 says “Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves”.
Therefore we need to be careful of the attention-getting craves that social media can breed within us. We need to always have a humble spirit rather than an attitude that seeks to grab attention or to be better than others.

 

Conclusion
Social media clearly has some positive aspects. However the negative aspects of using social media need to be heeded and care needs to be taken that we do not fall into the trap of being in bondage to the negatives associated with using social media.

 

 

Sex Before Marriage – 6 Problems with Premarital Sex

Is sex before marriage right or wrong? With the exception of various Muslim nations such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey or Jordan, most people in many other nations have taken a more relaxed and tolerant view regarding sex before marriage. Most societies and cultures believe it is acceptable for a person to have sexual relations with one or more people before committing to marriage. In fact, if you’ve never had premarital sex or if you’re a virgin, then you’re more likely to be ridiculed, frowned upon or disbelieved.

However, does the fact that society has normalized premarital sex mean that sex before marriage is a good thing? Aren’t there any problems that are associated with premarital sex? Also, what does the Bible say about sex before marriage?

It’s an undeniable fact that sex is pleasurable and sex is meant to be enjoyed. However there are Biblical guidelines from God that relate to sexual relationships.
According to the Bible, premarital sex is considered to be a sin. Scriptures such as Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 5:3, Mark 7:21 and Colossians 3:5 highlight fornication as being an unacceptable act or lifestyle in the eyes of God.

People might be tempted to believe that God is just a “killjoy” who doesn’t want people to have a “good time”.

So the question is this: If sex is meant to be enjoyed and if sex is pleasurable – then WHY would God prohibit two consenting individuals from having sex just because they are not married?
The truth is – having sex before marriage has caused many social and spiritual problems in society.

Too often people focus on the “enjoyment” and “pleasurable” part of sex without understanding the other aspects of sex, such as procreation, the Biblical guidelines and also the negative effects of having sex outside of marriage.

If the Bible’s message on sex before marriage were obeyed by society, then we would have very few of the following problems:

  1. We would have few abortions or unwanted pregnancies
  2. We would have few sexually transmitted infections
  3. We would have few teenage pregnancies
  4. We would have few divorces due to mistrust caused by previous sexual relationships
  5. We would have fewer children who grow up with single mothers.
  6. Premarital sex also creates spiritual problems in relation to a person’s relationship with God. If one is not repentant, a person can distance himself from God simply because of guilt and shame.

However, God is a forgiving God. If we receive Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior and confess our sins, God is just and faithful to forgive us of every sin – including sex before marriage (1 John 1:9).
Therefore, even if a person has had premarital sex, that person still has an opportunity to repent and start focusing on obeying the word of God in that area.

 

Is Masturbation a Sin?

Masturbation is when a person stimulates themselves in a sexual way. It’s when a person attempts to please himself / herself sexually.
Does the Bible say anything about masturbation? The Bible does not mention the word “masturbation” nor does it say whether or not masturbation is a sin.
However the Bible does speak about sexual lusts; it does speak about sexual immorality and it also speaks about the lust of the eyes.
For example, Jesus said that if we look at a woman with lust then we have committed adultery in our heart (Matthew 5:27-28). Therefore God tells us to guard our heart and mind from having impure or inappropriate sexual thoughts.

Therefore, because masturbation is a sexual act, it’s important for a person to examine the actions and the deep-rooted motivations that lead to masturbation.
If masturbation is motivated by pornography or lust or any kind of immoral sexual fantasy, then masturbation becomes a sin. And so the real question is – can a person masturbate without having lust or without being sexually aroused by any pornographic material?

Now, in certain cultures – there are some who would say that masturbation is normal and it doesn’t harm anyone. However, objective studies do show that masturbation has several emotional & psychological side-effects.

  1. Masturbation can lead to guilt because of cultural or spiritual beliefs
  2. Masturbation can become addictive to the point of interrupting your normal daily routine.
  3. Masturbation can breakdown your self-control so that you’re controlled by your feelings and temptations rather than by your mind and reason.
  4. Masturbation can negatively affect your sexual relationship with your spouse by causing you to lose interest & the desire for intimacy with your partner.
  5. Masturbation can affect your soul and your spiritual relationship with God.

 

 

So if you’ve been struggling with masturbation and have been experiencing the side effects of masturbation – you will most likely discover that whenever masturbation is connected to lust or immoral thoughts then masturbation becomes a sin.
Therefore, the only way to deal with a masturbation problem, is to deal with the problem of lust.
If one deals with the problem of lust, the less one will have a desire to masturbate.

2 Timothy 2:22 tells us to flee from youthful lusts, while 1 John 2:16 tells us that the lust of the eyes does not come from God but from the world.
We should therefore conform to God’s values and not the standards of the world.
Pornography and other lustful activities are widely accepted in today’s culture.
However, in society one will discover that such factors like pornography, sexual relationship problems and lust issues can be temptations that eventually cause people to masturbate.
Dealing with these factors will reduce or completely remove the desire to masturbate.

 

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