How widespread is it?
Four in ten pastors online have visited a pornographic Web site. And more than one-third have done so in the past year. Those statistics from our Leadership survey have drawn startled response.
From non-pastors: "So many!"
From pastors: "Is that all?"
Of the pastors polled, 89 percent have Internet access. Of them we asked:
"Have you ever visited a pornographic web site?"
7% More than a year ago
9% Once in the past year
21% A few times a year.
6% A couple of times a month or more
Pastors in our survey had typically been online 3.2 years. In general, pastors who'd had access to the Internet longer were more likely to have seen an adult site.
Should we call this epidemic?
Certainly pornography is pandemic in America. A nationwide survey showed 41 percent of men admitting having purchased or viewed pornographic materials within the past year. That study, in 1994, did not measure Internet pornography, then in its early stages.
The New York Times reports that one in four regular Internet users visits a sex site at least once a month. That's 21 million Americans perusing at least one of the more than 60,000 adult sites each month.
"The number of people visiting sex sites on the Web doubled over the last year, outpacing the number of new Internet users. Some of the more popular sex Web sites attract in excess of 50 million hits, or visits, a month, according to ratings services Nielsen/Net and Media Matrix" (Timothy Egan, "Erotica Inc." The New York Times, 10/23/00).
In our study, the questions were phrased differently than the Times report, however, we can draw these conclusions: while the number of wired pastors who have been exposed to Internet pornography seems about equal to that of other Web ...