Diverse courts and cultures may debate the definitions and consequences of pornography (the literature of sexual deviance), but on the basis of eternal principles, Seventh-day Adventists of whatever culture deem pornography to be destructive, demeaning, desensitizing, and exploitative.
It is destructive to marital relationships, thus subverting
God’s design that husband and wife cleave so closely to each
other that they become, symbolically, “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
It is demeaning, defining a woman (and in some instances a
man) not as a spiritual-mental-physical whole, but as a one-dimensional
and disposable sex-object, thus depriving her of the worth
and the respect that are her due and right as a daughter of God.
It is desensitizing to the viewer/reader, callousing the conscience
and “perverting the perception,” thus producing a “depraved
person” (Romans 1:22. 28, NEB).
It is exploitative, pandering to prurience, and basally abusive,
thus contrary to the Golden rule, which insists that one treat others
as one wishes to be treated (Matthew 7:12). Particularly offensive
is child pornography. Said Jesus: “If anyone leads astray
even one child who believes in me, he would be better off thrown
into the depths of the sea with a millstone hung around his neck!”
(See Matthew 18:6).
Though Norman Cousins may not have said it in Biblical language,
he has perceptively written: “The trouble with this wide
open pornography . . . is not that it corrupts but that it desensitizes;
not that it unleashes the passions but that it cripples the
emotions; not that it encourages a mature attitude, but that it is
a reversion to infantile obsessions; not that it removes the blinders,
but that it distorts the view. Prowess is proclaimed but love
is denied. What we have is not liberation but dehumanization.”-
-Saturday Review of Literature, Sept. 20, 1975.
A society plagued by plunging standards of decency, increasing
child prostitution, teenage pregnancies, sexual assaults on
women and children, drug-damaged mentalities, and organized
crime can ill afford pornography’s contribution to these evils.
Wise, indeed, is the counsel of Christianity’s first great theologian:
“If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval
of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and
pure and beautiful and good” (Philippians 4:8, 9, Phillips). This is
advice that all Christians would do well to heed.
This public statement was released by the General Conference
president, Neal C. Wilson, after consultation with the 16 world vice
presidents of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, on July 5, 1990, at
the General Conference session in Indianapolis, Indiana.