Relationship Matters: A Response to Time Magazine

Relationship Matters: A Response to Time Magazine
On April 11, 2016, Time Magazine took a stand against pornography. The magazine entered the public debate over pornography by saying "no" to porn. If you're not familiar with the current debate, the conflict can be summed up in this way: it is divided into two camps, the "porn is not necessarily harmful" camp verses the "porn is very harmful and dangerous" camp. Each camp has its own opinions as well as research studies to back them up.

Time's article focused on a unique argument: some research shows that pornography affects men's virility, so porn is bad because it leads to men having less sex, and less healthy sex, overall. The magazine defines healthy sex as consensual intercourse between adults.

The cover of Time, and the articles inside the magazine, sparked a flurry of responses from other magazines and news outlets, along with a variety of Internet posts, as both sides of the debate hurried to comment and make their voices heard.

The Atlantic Magazine spoke up for the “porn is not necessarily harmful” camp by responding with an article reporting that pornography, especially Internet pornography, "has coincided with steep declines in rape and spousal abuse." The Atlantic's point is that as Internet porn usage has increased, reports of crime against women have decreased. Therefore, they concluded, Internet porn could prove to be a good thing because it helps to prevent crime against women. But this is false logic. In fact, it is very much like saying that as Nazi Germany sent more and more people to death camps, the overall crime rates in Germany decreased, therefore the Holocaust was a good thing for society.  

On the other hand, several responses for the “porn is very harmful and dangerous” position focused on relationships. Those articles pointed out how pornography alienates its users not only from their families and loved ones, and from the larger human society, but from themselves too. And pornography undermines people of faith’s relationship with God. In other words, pornography, even recreational porn use, is contrary to personal health and well being, to a healthy sense of self, to authentic relationships with others, and to living a faith-based or spiritual life. 

Of course everyone here at A Circle of Joy Ministries is aware — deeply and personally aware — that pornography is severely alienating and wounding not only to its users but to women, children, and society as a whole.

Relevant Magazine's response to Time Magazine did a good job of summing up the “porn is very harmful” position:

However it was some of the former pornography addicts themselves, interviewed for a variety of the published articles, that summed it up best. These men said they turned to porn looking for something that they now realize pornography could never give them. They turned to porn looking for comfort, pleasure, intimacy, and relationship. The pornography industry promises that porn can deliver these things, but that’s the lie. The reality is that ultimately porn has only the opposite to offer: dissatisfaction, displeasure, alienation, separation, and a deep loneliness.

As I read through the articles, I honestly tried to understand the "porn is not necessarily harmful" camp's  position and why they so desperately want to perpetuate the porn culture. Huge profits drive this industry, maybe that is their bottom line. Surely it cannot be that the "pro-porn" camp is in favor of encouraging people to live lives filled with desperation, loneliness, and pain. Or is it?

Here at A Journey to Healing and Joy (A Circle of Joy Ministry), we believe that anything that interferes with healthy human relationships is a danger to everyone. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: 

"In the end it is the reality of our relationships that saves everything." — Thomas Merton

Only healthy, loving, authentic relationships based in honesty, integrity, and respect, as well as a deep and abiding regard for all of humanity, can offer healing, health, and wholeness. Anything else, any other kind of relationship, especially relationships where people are treated as objects to be used for selfish reasons, such as the porn culture encourages, only leads to destruction.

If you have been keeping up with the public debate on the Internet or in the magazines and news outlets and would like to weigh in with your own comments, we invite you to stop by our Facebook page:

Thank you,