July 27, 2011Culture, Leadership

The Pornification of American Culture

I recently wrote a journal article for the Assemblies of God Enrichment Journal. I will be turning that into a series here at the blog. The entire issue is worth your time and you can access it here.

Here is part 1: Introducing the Issue.

The world seemed shocked by the Tiger Woods scandal. The media feasted on the stories, rumors, and drama that surrounded Tiger's life of undisputed sexually infidelity. But who created Tiger Woods? From American hero worship to a dysfunctional childhood and everything in between, multiple factors contributed to Tiger being Tiger. His saga has emerged as one of the most sad and shocking stories in American sports history. But one thing is for sure--Tiger's story is only a symptom of our sex-obsessed, pornified culture. Even greater, our obsession with Tiger's story may be an indicator of where we are as much as where he is. Sexual deviance is now the norm, not the exception.

The term "pornification" is not original with me. New York Times columnist, author and speaker Pamela Paul might have coined the term. Her 2005 book "Pornified: How Pornography is Damaging our Lives, our Relationships and our Families" caused quite a stir. Paul observed, "It is easier to get pornography than to avoid it. We have protected the rights of those who wish to live in a pornified culture while altogether ignoring the interests of those who do not." (page 253). There is no question that she raised awareness of this cultural current and the corresponding devastation. The term has gone viral. William Todd Schultz blogged on the subject for Psychology Today. His article, "The 'Pornification' of Human Consciousness" carefully suggested that the effect of continual exposure to pornography could lead to a wide range of abnormalities. Schultz said:

"Porn is... the new universally shared experience. The nation has been 'pornified'. It's everywhere. It's open 24/7. And chances are good, judging from research into internet habits, that before or after reading this post, a high percentage of you will visit a porn site. . . The point is if you did, you are hardly alone." [www.psychologytoday.com/print/4041 accessed 8/29/10]

Although the world has largely forgotten Tiger Woods by now, the pattern of his downfall is rehearsed in millions of households everyday. On the blog we are going to be exploring this topic-- taboo though it may be-- over the next several weeks. I would love to see some healthy, encouraging discussion in the comments section. Let's also try to let Philippians 4:8 serve as the guiding principle of how speak, even when we discuss.

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable --if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise --dwell on these things." http://msb.to/Ph4:8

To read the lengthier article I wrote for the Enrichment Journal you can access it here.

An infographic included in this post includes many more porn "stats," but also has some language you may find offensive. Click the link to read the rest of the entry to see the graphic.

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