Support for People Struggling with Pornography is Lacking in Christian Communities, Says Scholar – Hope 103.2

Support for People Struggling with Pornography is Lacking in Christian Communities, Says Scholar

Reverend Dr Marshall Ballantine-Jones spoke about pornography at the second Single Minded 'Let’s Talk About Sex' webinar.

By Amy ChengMonday 26 Apr 2021Christian Living

Many Christian men and women view pornography regularly, including youth pastors and senior pastors, a scholar on the topic has said. But he has one key piece of encouragement for everyone struggling with this issue.

Reader discretion is advised. The following article includes content about sexual issues and addictions.

Reverend Dr Marshall Ballantine-Jones spoke about pornography at the second Single Minded Let’s Talk About Sex webinar.

He recently completed a PhD on reducing the negative effects of pornography and sexualised media on adolescents.

Single Minded is an evangelical Christian initiative seeking to create positive, biblical conversations about singleness.

Accountability is very important in battling this addiction, however, this can be difficult to find for many.

Accountability is very important in battling this addiction, however, this can be difficult to find for many.

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“The reality is getting easy access to recovery and support doesn’t exist in many Christian communities,” Reverend Ballantine-Jones said.

For some people, leadership is not approachable, he said, while for others, leadership is approachable but they don’t know what to do next.

Others in the Christian community not battling this habit may also be less than sympathetic.

“More often than not, in Christian communities, people who are not porn-affected themselves don’t really understand and therefore don’t care,” Reverend Ballantine-Jones said.

“You’re greatly mistaken. This does affect us and you are very important because other people will need your support.”

What is porn?

“When we talk about viewing porn, we talk about looking at porn to be sexually aroused for the purpose of sexual gratification, which mostly means masturbation and reaching orgasm but not always,” Reverend Ballantine-Jones said at the webinar.

Porn is any type of media that is sexually arousing, he said, and is not limited to videos. It can range from erotica literature, sounds and even paraphernalia such as special objects.

“It’s very subjective, but the bottom line is that if there’s some form of media that is sexually arousing to the individual, it’s pornography to them,” Reverend Ballantine-Jones said.

Research on porn

In his research, in a compilation of both international and national data, he found that 70 per cent of Christian men and 20 per cent of Christian women view porn regularly.

Church leaders were not exempt, with 57 per cent of youth pastors and 41 per cent of senior pastors using porn more than monthly.

Alarmingly, the average age that people begin viewing porn is 11.5 years old.

The reasons for viewing porn are varied, ranging from temptation and wanting to enjoy something fun and exciting, to stress and anxiety, grief, coping with change, boredom or feeling tired.

While sex causes a chemical reaction in the brain that bonds two people together, people who view porn are bonding to something else.

Consequences of porn

When people consume porn, a chemical reaction is produced in the brain that is damaging over time, according to Reverend Ballantine-Jones.

While sex causes a chemical reaction in the brain that bonds two people together, people who view porn are bonding to something else.

“You engage in a session, get aroused, you masturbate, you have an orgasm, you feel good about it, you bond to that experience and remember it. So, in the future it triggers a reaction,” he said.

“The very power of sex is that you bond to the object of your fantasy, and so what you’re not bonding to is the spouse that that sexual function was designed for.”

The consequences of porn can also be felt at the societal level. Reverend Ballantine-Jones created a “pornography social pyramid” to help illustrate this.

At the top of the pyramid is the user, followed by producers of porn, who reap millions of dollars in profits, which usually comes at the expense of performers being exploited.

The following two tiers references pop culture, which follows the trends of pornography. For example, a lot of content on Netflix features explicit sex scenes, Reverend Ballantine-Jones said.

“Behind all this is a permeating of culture which really impacts people’s behaviours – younger sexualised behaviour, earlier sexual experience, and we see all sorts of very negative, tragic outcomes,” he said.

“Behind all this is a permeating of culture which really impacts people’s behaviours – younger sexualised behaviour, earlier sexual experience, and we see all sorts of very negative, tragic outcomes,” – Reverend Ballantine-Jones

Porn also impacts on people’s relationship with others, often leading to broken relationships.

“We’re kidding ourselves if we, in our bedrooms, bathrooms or wherever we’re consuming porn, think it’s just a private matter; it’s not,” Reverend Ballantine-Jones said.

“It’s a chain of events that’s contributing to worldwide harm, perpetuating all sorts of gender imbalances and so forth.”

Getting help

Those struggling with porn are not without hope. The Bible provides instructions and guidance on how they can flee from their sin, repent and confess.

Reverend Ballantine-Jones also offers more practical solutions, including neuroplastic change, abstinence, education, peer accountability and therapy.

The concept of neuroplastic change refers to the idea that the brain can be moulded and changed through growth and reorganisation.

“When we fill our hearts and minds and our habits and our priorities with alternative good things, our mind adapts to that,” Reverend Ballantine-Jones said.

“[It] becomes preoccupied with those things, while those things that once preoccupied us becomes pruned.”

“We’re kidding ourselves if we, in our bedrooms, bathrooms or wherever we’re consuming porn, think it’s just a private matter; it’s not.” – Reverend Ballantine-Jones

However, at the end of the day, there is no silver bullet.

“If you’ve got a chronic problem with porn, there’s no quick fix and I want to emphasise this. The solution is a process and it will take time,” Reverend Ballantine-Jones said.

“If it took years to develop the habit, it may take years to move into a safe state of management.”

Reverend Ballantine-Jones wants to encourage people to come back to Jesus to renew their hearts and be reminded of His love and forgiveness.

He wants to encourage people to come back to Jesus to renew their hearts and be reminded of His love and forgiveness.

“Let’s just reset as we’re renewed and let Jesus do his work in us. He is eternal, creator, your mighty Lord. He can help us, so let us come to Him and let Him do that,” Reverend Ballantine-Jones said.

The next talk in the Let’s Talk About Sex series will be on May 13 with Reverend Dr Dani Treweek on “Esteeming Faithful Celibacy”.

Resistporn.org is a good starting resource for people struggling with porn.