Porn Addiction, Part Three: What Porn Does To Your Soul – 1 of 2

December 7, 2011 — 9 Comments



An ongoing discussion about victory over sexual addiction.

The introduction here.

Part One, excuses and myths, here.

Part Two, the science, here.

Part Three and a half, the soul, here.

Part Four: I’m Ready To Cut It Off. Here.

Part Five: Quitting Isn’t Enough. Here.


An overview of rejecting the spiritual.

We have heard the term spiritual battle along with the terms spiritual warfare, the warrior’s prayer, putting on the armor of God, fighting the devil, and the weapon of God’s Word. Christians casually blame Satan for car troubles, missing homework, computer glitches, technical difficulties, church drama, the economy, political conflicts, addictions, cynicism, and the common cold.

Other times we casually dismiss Satan as an outdated, archaic Greek idea of light versus dark in personified literature that must be upgraded to scientific research and empirical data.

In between this, the rational person certainly believes both must be true: that science explains the physiology of why things happen, from car maintenance to economical breakdown to mental disorders, but that also something deeper is at work which is hidden beneath our physical frame of reference. This is no “god of the gaps.” This is not an unfathomable mystery of superstitious proportions.

Threaded through the fiber of all of people is a spiritual thickness weaved so tightly in the human story that hardly anyone acknowledges it. We’ve dressed it up with pseudo-official language so we’re not accused of New Age sensibilities.

But it’s there. There is a functional dynamic driving the human spirit that is so largely chaotic and pulsating that we run in fear of it, attempting to box science into a vacuum where no variables exist. It’s like that physics formula for the trajectory of a cannonball which assumes there is no wind, no atmosphere, no imperfections on the cannonball, and no outside forces acting upon the shot fired: a soulless, emotionless construct that simply does not exist in the real world.

We must account somehow for the unpredictable spirit of the complex mind and the forces that act upon it.

When we take the Bible on its own terms — a true story about truth — then we find the Bible talks about a spiritual realm with forces beyond our fleshy, spongy understanding. Except I don’t think it’s as “mysterious” as our Enlightenment-conditioned culture has constrained it to be.

The Pavlovian response due to years of spiritual hardening and ridicule is to outright reject any notion of the spiritual. Can we do that without also rejecting what it means to be human? Can we really speak of people in a vacuum without wind, without atmosphere, without outside forces acting upon the life fired?

Seeing the larger picture of pornography in our culture, even objectively, shows an escalating outgrowth of opposing voices both public and private. On the public front there is the porn industry backed by liberal-minded individuals who believe in the rights to unhindered sexuality, whatever this means, versus the concerned family-oriented councils backed by conscientious individuals who believe in decency and self-respect, whatever this also means. In private is the guy who proudly shows off his ten gigs of porn versus the other guy who has outlined his sobriety plan and celebrates the victory of a wet dream.

Sometimes these groups do not look very different — the pastor who hides his addiction, the liberal who religiously protects his porn at the altar of his computer while keeping his children from it — but both sides show a reality: that there is territory being fought for, and we are not in control as much as we believe. An undercurrent exists where power is constantly shifting through each generation, in which society as a whole becomes more open to deviant sexual behavior, and this power-shift is like a cross-section of the human soul.

Do you see it? Our sexualized culture is a macrocosm of the human spirit. The human spirit is a microcosm of the culture. When you see the struggle played out between self-labeled liberals and conservatives and in your own bedroom on your laptop, you cannot un-see what is taking place. And if you look much deeper, you’ll see influences under the radar that appear to be aiding either side.

There is no greater evidence of a spiritual battle than what is unfolding in our culture and the human heart. The very motives that drive these ideologies are not classically scientific or psychological in nature, since neither field has a clear end goal. The motives have been and always will be spiritual: not a nebulous, mystical mythology of out-of-body experiences, but a visible story playing out in our current history.

What’s all this spiritual talk about?

It is impossible to moralize an argument that will convince everyone eye-to-eye. Your upbringing, background, persuasions, and ideologies are informed by years of conditioning, memories, media, indoctrinations, location, and historical landmarks. Having said that, it is possible to see there’s an obvious struggle in the culture, and you can see the struggle in you.

Most people who “give in” to pornography and choose to ignore the guilt are not so much enlightened as they are lazy. They have chosen to ignore the spiritual battle, push aside higher authority, and hold up a banner of “freedom and rights” that is actually capitulation to an unwillingness for self-control. It’s easier to do what you want. When someone says, “Why not?” — usually they’re saying, “I don’t want discipline.”

Today is the day of a so-called consequence-less life. We think all actions are reversible and that we can get out of anything. If you get into a car accident today, even when it’s definitely your fault, you will still find every angle possible to reduce debt for yourself. There is no longer an aftermath: we can buy our way out of guilt. No one says no to temptation, because no one calls it temptation. And when we are led to destruction by our own poor choices, we can declare bankruptcy, move to a new city, change the driver’s license, and start a new franchise of self-destructive living all over again.

This by degrees will do funny things to your soul. When you believe you’re invincible, a lot of strange things happen that are not accounted for by psychology, philosophy, or biology. You don’t see the word “pride” in your science textbooks, nor sin, nor destruction. But the consequence-less life, the one who never says no to anything, drains the human-ness right out of you. You simply act. No thinking. And at least in everyday language, we can call that animal instinct. People celebrate that. “We’re just animals with bigger brains.” It’s so in to say that now.

The spiritual war exists though because some people still remember we are not just animals. Some people still believe we are made for something greater, even if they don’t all agree it’s for Jesus. And people who have been so brutally beaten down by real consequences, who have risen up phoenix-like from the ashes of a former animal existence, claim that something spiritual happened. An outside forced worked a miracle. And all along, something else was working against them, tugging the strings.

We can acknowledge some realities here without feeling crazy. You can admit something very dark is happening in today’s entitled generation that feeds off get-out-of-jail-free cards. We can recognize that doing whatever you want makes you less human, and not more, because you must ignore the intrinsic harmony and sanctity of the people around you — like animals do.

If you push a little under your skin, you’ll catch a spiritual radio signal of the miraculous divine that whispers over the shouts of a lying culture, a culture that wants to bleed you for profit — and this miraculous divine, who can rescue you from certain destruction, does not try to bleed from you but has bled for you, to see you to that something greater.

Coming up in the second part of this edition:
Why fight porn? Is it actually bad for the soul?


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9 responses to Porn Addiction, Part Three: What Porn Does To Your Soul – 1 of 2

  1. 

    Look, I do my best to get the word out about how destructive pornography is to the individual as well as to their spouse or significant other, but when you try to associate pornography with evil (i.e. “the Devil made me do it!”) I think you are downplaying the responsibility the individual person has in overcoming their behavior, and that helps nobody.

    • 

      Thanks for your thoughts. Absolutely, I agree. In no way can personal responsibility be absolved, nor is that implied anywhere here. This is also part three of a much larger discussion, and the links to the other parts are above.

  2. 

    I am literally overwhelmed. I began my journey the other day when my wife of 20 years told me(after many failed attempts to save our marriage) that she has checked out. Here is what she handed me.
    Its clear that I do not love her and am not attracted to her.
    All signs lead her to believe that I am having an affair.
    I show her no affection. I am an a-hole. I snap at her.
    All our friends (notice I say our I have no friends) say that I am lost.
    My recent rebellion from faith in and of itself is something she can cope with but coupled with my new personality is not acceptable.
    She feels that I want her to end our marriage to spare me the hardship of being the bad guy.

    Thats a lot to take in. I love my wife. I miss my life the way it used to be. I miss me. Anxiety, ADHD, stress, worry, obsessive behavior, marriage problems. All these things I’ve been battling for 5 years with no success can be narrowed down to two three words. Internet Porn Addiction.

    My wife (my angle) delivered this news in such a brilliant way. She told me this right before she left to visit relatives out of state. Her and her sisters had this planned for a while. To say these things to me and then leave me with an empty house is very powerful.

    I am trying to get the courage to tell her what my “real” problem is. I have already made arrangements for a new counselor next week. All I had to do though was search on Porn addiction and BAM all this info was right under my nose. Understanding the mechanics of what over stimulation does to your brain and your self is enlightening. Stopping will be easy I am certain of that. Really thats how I roll. Patients is required to give my brain and body time to re balance. I get that. Saving my marriage is my 1st priority. Thank you for you writings. Of all the things I’ve found this has been very helpful.

    • 

      My friend, thanks for your honesty. You are one of the few stories I get to hear that is actually good news: you’re going for help and doing what it takes. Please stay with it and drop a line to let us know how everything goes. Even if there are stumbles along the way, persevere. No matter what happens from here, even if it does not turn out the way you hoped, please break free of old chains and grab a hold of a new life.

  3. 

    I honestly think this article has changed my life. From when I first started my addiction about 5 years ago to now, I’ve become irritable and sultry. I remember the old me…someone who was sociable and jocular. I never knew porn could have affected me so tremendously. One question though: is there hope fora good recovery? Am I stuck forever like this? I’m impulsive, have trouble sleeping and as one of my very honest and good friends said to me: “you have no social skills”. Since I’m quitting porn, will I recover from its damage to my brain? Will I be happy like I used to be? Will I regain my sociability and be able to converse with women? I’m only 17 so I think there’s hope…but what’s your thought? I’m simply angry that I’ve wasted five years of my life, wallowing in this quagmire of aloofness. I hate myself…but there’s something in me that just says, “stop now! This isn’t you! You’re better than this!” Sadly this part of me grows smaller by the day. Despite what anyone says, the fact that I found this blog is nothing short of providential. Please answer my questions. Thanks so much!

    • 

      I’ll answer you more completely soon!! Hang in there.
      I will say: you are NOT stuck like this. You’ll absolutely recover both spiritually and neurologically.
      I’ll point you to a really good video, worth the whole sixteen minutes:

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  1. Porn Addiction, Part Three: What Porn Does To Your Soul – 1 of 2 – spiritualbattlesblogs - December 8, 2011

    [...] FROM Spiritual Battles source http://thewayeverlasting.com/2011/12/07/porn-addiction-part-three-what-porn-does-to-your-soul-1-of-2… #family movie -THE LAMP- one family's loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic [...]

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