Tactic #5: Gateway Sins that Target the Young

I’ve touched on this a few times already, but it deserves some individual attention.
With the ‘not as bad’ morality advancing in waves over the last few decades, we tolerate things today that even twenty years ago were considered too much.  The latest example I’ve seen is a show called Pretty Wild, which aired on the E! channel.  This show is a shocking example of how hypocritical our culture has become.  (By the way, the next time you feel like a hypocrite, realize that the rest of the world is too.  It’s not the fact of it that matters; it’s who’s willing to admit it and then do something about it.)

This show features a single mother with three young daughters.  As best I can tell, only one of them is under 18, but all of them are very young.  And this show depicts them fully unclothed, with the obligatory blurred out sections required by the religious left.

The religious left?  What’s that?

This isn’t a religion in the conventional sense.  Rather, it’s the mentality that uses legalism in the same manner as the church to enforce rules that draw arbitrary lines between what is repugnant and what is acceptable.  A legalistic church is one that condemns people for silly things, like drinking caffeine, wearing makeup, or watching R-rated movies (as if they’re all inherently evil, and as if the ratings board is somehow a moral paragon).  These churches are guaranteed to produce rebellious youth, because they impose stupid rules that have no basis in scripture, and the people just get frustrated and discouraged.

The religious left, as we’ll call it, does the same thing, but in a different way.  They declare a show like Pretty Wild to be perfectly fine, even though the girls on it are basically teenagers.  They parade around at times showing every body part, and the camera doesn’t shy away.  It zooms in.  The mother even comments on how beautiful her daughter’s nude body is, right in front of the camera and her younger sister.  And these are teenage girls.  But this is all okay, see, because they’re blurring out the nudity, right, and they’re above 18.  But their younger sister can’t do this, right, because she’s not 18 yet.  But once she is, then she can take off her clothes for the whole world too.  Right?

To be honest, I’m not sure.  Nowhere on the show does it say how old they are.  They all live in the same house, with their mom.  They look like high school girls.  They act like high school girls.  And we get to see them coming out of the shower.  We can show them all in bikinis.  Tanning.  Dancing at parties in scandalous outfits.  Getting physical with loser boyfriends they love one minute and hate the next.  But oh my, if the youngest sister were to take off her top, THAT would be an OUTRAGE.  That’s child pornography.  That’s taking advantage of the poor, innocent, helpless, impressionable young girl (who’s at least 16, maybe 17).

Am I the only one who sees the total hypocrisy here?  A man who wants to lust and leer over the girls on Pretty Wild is not going to have any problem doing so, and he doesn’t care what age they are. In addition, it doesn’t matter, because they act like teenagers.  So in effect, they are teenagers.  And for the man with distorted sexual desires, that’s all that matters.  The younger the better.

It’s a gateway sin.  Everything that really matters is blurred out, so it’s okay.  Except that, actually, it’s not okay.  See, the enemy loves stuff like this.  Beer commercials.  Swimsuit issues.  TV shows like the thankfully defunct Man Show, or current ones that are even worse on Spike these days.  It’s all declared “acceptable content” by the religious left.  No kids under 18 are shown improperly, so it’s okay.  For the 12-year old boy who is just becoming curious about this kind of thing, these shows are gold mines.

I know this because when I was a teenager, I was a magnet for stuff like this.  Back then, a good place to go was the trashy daytime talk shows.  They would periodically have pretty revealing stuff on these shows, and at that age, a glimpse of any parts of the woman was worth the time it took to watch.  The enemy gave me what I wanted, but never as much as I needed.  So I kept looking.  Jerry Springer is pretty much the only one of those shows still around, and he mostly supervises staged brawls these days (though the mockery hurled by the audience at the guests who humiliate themselves is breathtaking).  But these gateway sins, especially the obsessive focus on young girls, feed directly into the porn industry.

We have a strip club here in Seattle that put advertisements on top of dozens of taxi cabs.  It advertises “Little Darlings” as the treasures to be found behind its doors.  Hmm. No innuendo there about the message of the porn industry.  Children are okay to fantasize about, as long as you don’t act it out.  So let’s dress our strippers and porn stars in school-girl outfits.  The problem is, too much porn of this nature will eventually lead to the desire to be with a real girl that age.  Maybe.  Nah.  There’s no connection there; that’s just for the weirdos.  Real men know the difference, and they can control it.  Yeah, and that’s why we have 300 – 500 underage prostitutes roaming the streets making money for their slave owners (pimps) in Seattle.  (Figures according to The Genesis Project…see link at right).  Because there’s no connection, and they can control it.

Today, if we assume a kid that age is lucky enough not to have the internet, there is a far greater wealth of options for these “acceptable content” types of shows than I had in the nineties.  Now, the religious left will say, “Teenagers are horny.  You can try to restrict it all you want, but they are going to go looking for it because they’re teenagers.”  I agree with the first sentence.  But teenagers are also motivated and inspired more easily than adults.  And under the right teaching, they are motivated by grace and righteousness to want to serve God with all their heart.  Most of the influential Christians throughout history found their passion for God in their teen and young adult years.  This is the time to capture their hearts for God, rather than let them get lost in lust and lechery.

The world does exactly the opposite.  It not only tolerates it; it celebrates and promotes it.  Look at the dresses designed these days for prom.  These are 16-year old girls, wearing stuff so racy that even the teachers can barely stand it.  I teach at a high school.  We have had to cancel multiple dances because the students behave, for lack of a better word, like sluts.  I’m not exaggerating.  Rolling on the ground, gyrating against walls or each other, sexual motions with clothes on.  All kinds of other things.  We have staff members who identify with the left and the extreme left, politically, who have been disgusted by our dances, and many of them refuse to supervise them any more because of student behavior.  And yes, the “honors” kids do it too.

The world outside of school extols this kind of behavior.  It’s everywhere in the media, in the music, and on the internet.  It’s in the fashion.  It’s on MTV and in the magazines.  This is how they see people living, dressing, and behaving, and they want it for the same reasons people get addicted to anything–the need and desire for security and acceptance.

With regard to porn, these gateway drugs are as bad as the ones that lead to hard-core substance abuse.  A high school kid who froths over swimsuit issues when he’s 12, 13, and 14 will soon lose his drive for them and will start searching for something more.  Or, he’ll want to find out more about these beautiful models online.  And once he goes there, it’s over.  The internet is the death knell for anyone who wants to hold a line on purity anywhere other than at absolute zero.  It can’t be done.

You can’t just look at swimsuit pictures online.  Why not?  If you’re reading this, you likely already know.  Any site that features swimsuit photos also has links to other content, and that has links to other stuff.  And before you know it (like, in two or three clicks), you’re looking at stuff that’s harder and more disgusting than anything that even existed thirty years ago.  Don’t believe me?  Good.  I sincerely hope you stay at that level of purity.

For the rest of us though, we know this story too well.  I highly recommend that you use the X3 software available at http://www.xxxchurch.com (see link at right).  This software allows you to choose two friends you trust (or your wife!).  You put their email in the program.  Then, when you surf the web, if you go to any pages that have sexual content, the program emails a list of these sites to the person you designate.  As a newly married man, I have put this on both my computers, and my wife is one of the emails.  The internet is just too insane without it.  You can go months, even years, without looking at anything.  And with fewer keystrokes than it takes to check your email you can be wading neck-deep in the filth all over again.  Knowing your friends or your wife or your pastor will get the email afterward is a darn good incentive not to go through with it.  Of course, it’s not foolproof (nothing is), but it makes a big difference. I haven’t tested it, but I am betting this program detects even swimsuit sites – the innocent gateway that many ignorant mothers over the years have let pass.

As a teenager, I went to some friends’ houses and saw they had swimsuit calendars or posters on their walls.  This always surprised me.  Didn’t their parents care?  I was confused.  But I realized later that this is how the enemy works.  He has convinced these parents that these pictures are harmless, that they help their growing young son explore his sexuality in a healthy, innocent manner.

The truth is that this harmless picture of a scantily-clad woman smiling at him is breaking down his sense of sexual purity.  She’s smiling at you because she wants to please you.  She’s happy to be showing herself to you.  This is what beauty looks like.  These are the clothes that beautiful women wear.  It is normal for women to show this much skin.  The teenage boy with this poster on his wall slowly begins to believe all these lies.  They become part of his worldview, how he sees women and the world.  What he expects.

By college, he’s tired of this one.  She’s old.  He needs someone else.  But why have just one, when you can have all 925 hot young coeds that will meet your every fantasy if you join our website for a 3-day trial period for only $2.99!  One poster cost me eight bucks.  Now I can see hundreds of women doing a whole lot more for less than that!  Oh, the internet and all the freedom it has given us.  I’m so thankful for all the benefits it provides.  What a great boost it has given to our culture.  What great strides we’re making because of it.  Hmm.

Now, I sped that process up a little, and skipped some details.  But you get the idea.  There are countless ways the enemy introduces young men and boys to this stuff.  He hooks them at an early age.  We have strip clubs that offer half-price discounts to college students.  Now why would they do that?  Because they have sympathy for poor college students who have little money and are swamped in debt?  Right.  Just like predatory lenders had sympathy for home buyers before the housing crash.

I have a book that everyone should read.  It’s called Pornified, and it’s about the destructive effect of porn on our culture.  It’s written by a secular journalist, which in many ways gives it that much more authority, since the world can’t dismiss her as being a religious prude (another term I hate….Think back to the poster: these days you’re a prude if you have a problem with women running around in bikinis.  Or in ‘hard-core’ porn, the girl gets called a prude if she won’t do everything the guys want, no matter how disgusting or uncomfortable.  ‘Prude’ is the insult you give to people who won’t do what you want, or who disagree with you about what is acceptable.  ‘Prude’ is how you justify your own warped, degraded, demonized immorality).

In Pornified, Pamela Paul investigates many people from all walks of life.  And one after another, you read about these guys who are now hard-core porn addicts who started by finding a stash of magazines in the closet.  Their dad, or their uncle, or their friend’s dad or uncle or cousin or whoever.  But it started at age 10, 11, 12, or 13.  And as adults, it has wrecked their marriages, torn apart families, destroyed relationships, embittered women, caused people to leave the church.  On and on.

Oh come on, you say.  Not everyone who looks at Playboy as a ten-year old ends up in these situations.  They don’t?  What situations qualify as destructive?  What if it just makes a guy become a self-repressed coward who doesn’t have the guts to ask a girl out, and has standards so high that he ignores all the perfectly good girls around him, so he grows old and dies, never marrying, but always wanting.  Oh, and he visits a couple young prostitutes while on a business trip to Asia, but no one ever finds out. (Except God…oops. Oh, and the girls who’ve been enslaved by their kidnapers since the age of 9.).  And he was told they were 18, but….hmm, yeah.

In my opinion, that’s a destructive effect.  A life of cowardice, repression, and fear.  Wasted potential.  Irrelevance.  No integrity; standing up for no one and nothing.  Apathy.  That’s a tragedy of epic proportions, when we consider what great potential lies within each of us.

Oh come on, you say.  You can’t blame the Playboy, or the swimsuit issue, or the Maxim, or the King, or the beer commercial.  I can’t?  Does God hold them responsible for that?  Well, let’s consider how He interacted with all the evil kings in the Old Testament.  Why were they judged so harshly?  Kings like Ahab, and Manasseh, and Rehoboam.  They were judged so harshly because they allowed, promoted, or established immoral and idolatrous practices in their nations that eventually led to all the people, millions of people, being carried away into totally depraved sinful lifestyles. And we’re not talking about lying too much, or having sex before getting married.  We’re talking infant sacrifice, corrupt officials who oppress the poor, men who stole wives and property from other men, the murder of prophets and priests.  All this because a few kings allowed, promoted, or established practices of sin that God forbids.

Did God hold those kings responsible?  Even if they didn’t personally do all these crimes and sins?  Read I and II Kings and see for yourself.  Better yet, read Jeremiah.  So do I think God will hold Hugh Hefner responsible for a portion of the moral decay of our modern times?  You bet I do.  In fact, I know it as firmly as my own name.  (Now the amazing thing is that if Hefner were to truly turn and repent from his ways, God would forgive him!  I can barely comprehend it, but it’s true.  And so should we…our struggle is not against flesh and blood.  Hefner had help).

So, this section has gone on a while.  To bring it to a close, let’s review.  The enemy uses simple, ostensibly innocent, everyday kinds of methods to lure young boys and teenagers into thinking and acting certain ways regarding their sexual desires.  He grooms them to want more, and then showers them with all the world has to offer in these areas.  By their mid-twenties, they are enslaved, whether they know it or not.

These methods involve things that many parents and almost any non-Christian will consider normal and acceptable.  We have to develop eyes of the Spirit.  One spiritual gift is the discerning of spirits.  God shows us what is behind these seemingly innocent beer commercials.  Oh, it’s all in good fun.  Howard Stern is fine, he’s just a little raunchy sometimes.  No, actually, he personally introduced me through his show to certain behaviors and women that pulled at my heart for years afterward.  Remember that beer commercial a few years ago with the two well-endowed women who started fighting in the pool, and started ripping each other’s clothes off?  It was during the NFL playoffs, in full view of millions of pre-adolescent boys.  One of those models went on to a career in porn (only soft-core, so it’s not that bad…).  Imagine all the 14-year old boys who saw and were transfixed by that ad.  What if they learned that the model now took all her clothes off in a video online?

The Bible offers the alternative path, which would do many parents well to teach it to their sons and daughters:

Proverbs 27:12
A prudent man sees evil and hides himself; the naive proceed and pay the penalty. (NAS)

How many warnings of wisdom like this must we hear and dismiss before one of them finally gets through?  This is not just your life.  It’s your soul, your eternity, at stake.  If we can’t even identify evil when we see it, and call it what it is, we are doomed.  It’s no wonder so many become enslaved to all these sins.  They get permission from the censors (the religious left) to watch all kinds of things that in fact are setting them up for ruin, and no one says anything to the contrary.  Oh yeah, I forgot.  Don’t want to be called a “prude.”  (Fear  of  God, anyone?)

This section became this long because of the truly infinite supply of examples.  Be aware of the influence of gateway sins, and that the enemy uses them especially to target young men and boys.  We can do something about it.  First, don’t have a stash in your closet!!!!  Second, when you have kids, talk to them about this stuff!  Third, be mindful of what your kids see at these key ages, and talk to them!  And for yourself, see the next section.