Lie #4: It’s Better Than the Alternative

What are the alternatives, if we give up porn, posters, magazines, and masturbation?  There are a number of them, and most of them are pretty miserable, to varying degrees.

Physical Suffering
First, there’s the physical suffering.  Some call this withdrawal, which is appropriate, because this is after all an addiction.  All addictions are different forms of idolatry.  We don’t do human sacrifices anymore, or pray to the sun, but we bow down to anything that will make us feel better inside.

So, without porn, you probably get a little more short-fused, maybe a little less patient, a little more irritable (you’ll also get more sleep).  Thinking again of the prison example, some people think we get more violent and uncontrollable.  The urges grow, and the religious left would argue that porn could pacify those urges like a drug, and maybe keep the serial killers and rapists from creating any more victims.

Another alternative to a porn-filled life is loneliness.  The feeling of not belonging, of being isolated from intimacy, is a crushing burden on the mind and heart.  Over long periods of time, it can drive people to make the worst possible kinds of choices.  Porn at least gives you a temporary sense of being loved and accepted by women.  Out of too much loneliness comes hopelessness.  I lived both of these for years…remember hopeless discouragement?  Nothing good will ever happen to me, and life will never change.  See how this lie leads to many of the other sins we’ve already examined?

The religious left says porn is better than all the alternative behaviors that hurt people, like unfaithfulness to a spouse or girlfriend, and prostitution.  Hey, if it keeps him from cheating, it’s better than the alternative.  As long as he’s not out there getting girls pregnant after clubbing for hours all night, porn is better than the alternative.  Even women’s magazines promote this lie.  Funny, they don’t say this about child porn.

This is the equivalent to treating obesity with a pill.  The primary cause of obesity is eating too much unhealthy food, and not being active (yes, there are other medical causes but this is an easy generalization).  To give a person a pill to make them lose weight while continuing to allow them to scarf down potato chips, processed food, McDonald’s and pizza is the height of absurdity.

You treat the condition by addressing the cause.  Stop eating junk food, and start walking around the block twice a day (again, I am by no means trying to make this sound easy or to trivialize this if you’re in this predicament…it’s just an easy analogy).

Likewise, the cause of unfaithfulness, sexual crimes, and the addictive habits and beliefs that precede them, is not going to be addressed by allowing the perpetrator to spend hours at a time viewing sexually provocative imagery.  (And as we’ve already seen, this too is not a victimless act).  Once again, it’s interesting that they forbid institutionalized sex criminals from possessing porn (such as on McNeil Island near Seattle, Washington).  I guess once they actually commit a sex crime, then the porn is harmful.  But not before then.

Three Choices
So, these are some of the alternatives to porn.  Certainly, a depressing list.  The world’s wisdom makes the logical conclusion that looking at porn is better than all these things.  It’s not as bad, they think.  So we’ll settle for this, rather than deal with those much harder things.

The problem, of course, is that this belief just exchanges one form of suffering for another.  It assumes porn actually helps.  But instead of feeling lonely and afraid all the time, and rejected by women in your life, you now feel constantly in want of something just out of reach.  Now you can see all these sexual delights, and can immerse yourself in them for days at a time.  But you can’t have them.  And eventually, you come to this realization.

At that moment, you do one of three things.

  • You deaden your emotions, and go play video games, and then just keep up the same habit (apathy, complacency).
  • You turn for the worse, and go after the real thing, whether it be strip clubs, escorts, prostitutes, or worse (escalation).
  • You come to your senses, like the prodigal son in Luke 15, and turn back to God and away from the destitute life of swine food filling your stomach.  God welcomes you home, forgives you, cleanses you, and restores you to His family (repentance).

The point is, you can choose the only good alternative right now.  You don’t have to learn the hard way.  Some people don’t figure this out until they reach the bottom of the well and find themselves alone in the dark, abandoned by all the beautiful (exploited) women who only pretended to care, and who took their money for themselves and their pimps (porn executives).

You can choose God’s way right now.  If you are already at the bottom of the well, He will still help you escape.  He went after the one sheep to save it, and He will go after you when you start calling to Him.  It’s the only way out.

Defeating the Lie
Here’s a Bible example of a man who used the ‘not as bad’ belief system.  This verse doesn’t counter the lie as much as demonstrate why it’s a lie.  Comparative morality is immorality.  You cannot call evil good, or good evil.  And you also can’t justify actions by virtue of them being less evil or more evil.  Here he is, with impeccable logic, Caiaphas:

John 11:49,50
But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being the high priest of that year, said to them, “You do not know anything, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man die for the people, and the whole nation not perish.”  (NT Transline)

Who is the ‘one man’ he refers to here?  It’s Jesus.  This is the high priest, justifying to the other leaders why Jesus should be killed.  They feared the Romans, and felt that Jesus and all the uproar caused by Him was going to bring the wrath of Rome down on them, and cause their nation to be dismantled.  Caiaphas reasons that it is not as bad for Jesus to die, than for the whole nation to suffer.  Better to kill one man, even an innocent one, than for lots of other people to die as well.

The irony here, of course, is that Jesus voluntarily sacrifices himself to die for not only the nation, but the whole world, and pay for our sins in the process.  From that perspective, it really was better for Jesus to die, because now we don’t have to, though our sins merit it.  Thus Caiaphas is said to be prophesying about God’s plan, even though he himself had no knowledge of this.  (Which is mind-blowing irony, and evidence of God’s superlative wisdom).

From the human perspective though, his reasoning is unjustly evil.  Put it in these terms.  What if you have a house full of people, and a raging band of killers waits outside.  They want blood.  They want to kill everyone.  Rather than that though, the people in the house offer the ten-year-old orphan cowering in the corner.  If we give you this boy, they say to the killers outside, will you let the rest of us live?  The killers agree, so they hand over the boy, and the rest of them survive.

Doesn’t that kind of anger you, just a little?  Not very just or fair, is it?  Downright offensive.  Now, in movies, usually there’s some heroic guy who willingly sacrifices himself in these situations.  He’s a hero because he saves all the others.  Jesus also sacrificed His life for us willingly, and thus is the Hero of all.

Either way though, their sin was very great, because the one they sacrificed was innocent, and they had no right to throw him to the band of killers.  Their alternative to their own suffering was to force suffering on another.

Likewise, our suffering will not be made better by replacing it with the slower poison of pornography.  Loneliness, withdrawal, and unfaithfulness are all harsh realities, but porn is most assuredly not any better.

But the pursuit of freedom is difficult, and is perhaps its own form of suffering.  At some point, porn will start to look easier than the suffering that must be endured as you try to escape it.  And you’ll want to return to it, just like the Israelites wanted to return to the predictability of Egypt from the uncertainty of the wilderness.  But to him who overcomes, he will be given the crown of life.