The Social Costs of Pornography

by Sean McDowell

Pornography is tearing apart the fabric of our society. You may think this is an overstatement. After reading, “The Social Costs of Pornography” by the Witherspoon Institute, I think it may be an understatement.

In 2008, the Witherspoon Institute sponsored the first multidisciplinary exploration of the social costs of pornography. Scholars from various fields including philosophy, psychology, and medicine were included in the forum. Every major shade of religious belief was represented, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, agnosticism, and atheism. And both the left and right in American politics were present. They all agreed that there is a substantial multidimensional, empirical record of the harms pornography brings to society. Obviously, such agreement is rare.

Today’s pornography is different from any in the past in three ways. (1) Accessibility.  The Internet has made porn ubiquitous. (2) Quality. Today’s porn is much more hardcore. (3) Consumption. Porn consumption has increased radically with the advent of the Internet. 69% of men and 10% of women report viewing pornography more than once a month. 87% of men admit using it in the past year. The researchers conclude, “In sum, there is evidence that more people—children, adolescents, and adults—are consuming pornography—sporadically, inadvertently, or chronically—than every before” (15).

How does pornography actually harm people? The researchers list a plethora of ways. Each of these points is supported with empirical evidence in the report. Keep in mind that these are objective facts about pornographic consumption, not my subjective opinions…

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RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:   Eyes of Integrity: The Porn Pandemic and How It Affects You/ Truth Behind the Fantasy of Porn: The Greatest Illusion on Earth/  The Dirty Little Secret: Uncovering the Truth Behind Porn / More Apologetics Resources >>>