Is it a Sin to Pay for Porn?

As Christian men, we wish that all porn was made using only husbands and wives with the husbands directing their wives.  The sad truth is that only a tiny fraction of porn imagery is produced using married men and women.  The overwhelming majority of porn imagery is produced using unmarried actors.

One of the common attacks on porn use by Christian and non-Christians alike is that if you watch porn, you are supporting the exploitation of women.  And from a Christian perspective, you are told that you are supporting people committing fornication and adultery.

 We hear about woman who have drug habits who work in the porn industry to support their drug habits, no different than prostitutes who sell their bodies on the street.  We hear about human trafficking that is sometimes involved in the production of porn.  And we also hear about revenge porn where men take private pictures and videos of their ex-girlfriends or ex-wives and upload these to porn sites.

It is for all these reasons, we are told that even if there was nothing wrong with a man enjoying images of sex (which there is not Biblically speaking), that by watching porn men are supporting all these evils that happen to women as a result of the porn industry.

Some Christian men may reason “Well I don’t pay for any porn; I just watch the free stuff”.  But the problem with that is, you are still supporting them by watching the ads that come in front of porn movies and that play on the side bars of the movies while they play.  Porn companies have become like Google, where their primary source of revenue is those little ads, you see on the side of the screen. 

So even if you don’t actually give a porn site your credit card – they are collecting money from these ad companies every time you click on one of their movie clips or images.  One way or the other, if you watch online porn which is the way the majority of men take in porn, you are helping to fund it.

The Inconsistency Problem

Yes, if you watch porn, you are supporting an industry that produces much of its content using sinful methods.  That is an indisputable fact.  Not only do they use sinful methods, but the porn industry through its story lines encourages fornication, adultery, incest, sadism, masochism and a host of other sinful behaviors.

But the porn industry is not the only industry which produces its content using means that secular humanists and many Christians alike would find abhorrent.    Many of the products we buy in our stores whether they be clothing or other things are made using forced labor and human trafficking. 

It is a fact that not only in other countries, but even here in the United States illegal aliens are often forced into slave labor to make products we buy on the shelves at our local stores.

Vegetables, seafood, clothing and other products are often harvested or produced using slave labor. 

It is ironic that the feminist who raves at the fact that some porn is wrongly made using human trafficking has no problem with the fact that the vegetables she just bought were harvested by slaves or the clothing she is wearing was made by slaves.

But if any porn is produced using slavery, that industry must be shut down.

Again, I am not in any way saying that human trafficking that does sometimes occur in the porn industry is right.  It is absolutely sinful!  But the lack of consistency on this is issue is stunning.  It is the very definition of selective outrage.

Now let’s switch gears and look at the entertainment content on major TV stations and streaming services. Much of the content today and for several decades has been things that promote a humanist worldview.  “Live for yourself”, “Do what feels good”, “Follow your heart” – these are themes we see every day.

And the Porn companies are not the only ones promoting fornication and adultery.  So are major motion picture studios like 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Sony, Paramount and a host of other studios.  The fact that they do not show the physical act of the genitals coming together makes ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE.     Read that last line again and again if you have to.  It is the truth.  

Whether you subscribe to PornHub, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube or Disney Plus you are supporting companies that make content which promotes wicked behavior.  You are also supporting companies that politically support anti-Christian causes like the LGTBQ agenda and socialist agendas.

Even if you don’t subscribe and just watch the free versions or even just old-fashioned TV with an HD antenna, you are still supporting the promotion of these wicked activities because of the paid advertisers they get.

And even if you threw out your TV, radio and got an old flip phone with no internet on it – you would still be supporting the promotion of these wicked activities by going to your local grocery store and buying products made by these companies.  It is all connected.

The only way to be completely consistent and not support any company that produces wicked content or supports wicked causes would be to live out in the wilderness and grow or hunt for your own food and never buy anything from a store.

My Own Inconsistency and the Correction I had to Make

Trust me I get how we can all get caught up in the passions of the moment.  A couple years ago I was so enraged at a commercial by Gillette which attacked traditional masculinity that I called for a boycott of Gillette in article on my blog Biblicalgenderroles.com. 

But that boycott I called for was completely inconsistent with beliefs I had held since I was a young man against the concept of product and company boycotts.   I have since pulled down that post.

When I was a young man, more than 25 years ago, Disney came out in full support of gay rights and gay marriage long before the Supreme Court declared it legal (which was a very flawed decision).  Many people in the Baptist churches I attended as a young man were calling for boycotts of all Disney products.

I asked them at the time “How did Bambi all of a sudden become immoral because the company that produced Bambi supports and promotes behavior that we as Christians find immoral and wicked?”

It was of course a rhetorical question and the answer was that the value of the famous Disney movie “Bambi” did not change simply because its parent company decades after its production supported immoral behavior.

In more recent years the Netflix production “Cuties” is another entertainment “product” that comes to mind.  Netflix claimed that it was a “social commentary against the sexualization of young children” and yet this movie through its imagery of these young girls did exactly what they were claiming to be against.

I was absolutely appalled by this program they produced which showed prepubescent girls twerking and acting in sexual ways.  I felt the same amount of disgust at that as I did the Gillette commercial.  And once again, many Christians were calling for a boycott of Netflix which was very reminiscent to me of the call to boycott Disney over their promotion of gay rights 25 years ago. 

This time (unlike my previous experience with the Gillette commercials), despite my being appalled and enraged by Netflix’s Cuties, I resisted the urge to call for a boycott of Netflix and took the only consistent path I believe Christians can take.

The Only Consistent Way to Live in a Sin Cursed World

The only way we as Christians can be consistent in how we approach the products we read, listen to, watch on a screen, eat or otherwise inject into our bodies is judge each thing in and of itself. 

The truth is that Cancel Culture existed long before the label “Cancel Culture” was invented.  Christians practiced the principles of cancel culture long before secularists turned this tool on us in the last couple decades.

The Disney boycott by Christians in the 1990s over their promotion of the gay rights agenda is a perfect illustration of this.

The Bible says in Ephesians 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them”.  Notice it does not say “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness or any product made by the people who make unfruitful works of darkness”. 

Because Netflix produced a work of darkness with Cuties – did that make other movies it produced automatically invaluable?

Did its original production “The King” about King Henry V become suddenly become a work of darkness because Netflix also made Cuties?

Did its original production “The Outlaw King” about the King of Scotland – Robert the Bruce suddenly have no value and become a work of darkness because of Netflix also made Cuties?

I could go on but you get my point.  There are many original films produced Netflix that still have great value despite their horrible choice to produce Cuties.

We can’t judge The movie Outlaw King by Cuties, but rather we judge the Outlaw King by itself.

And how do we judge it?  We judge it by looking at the principles found in Philippians 4:8:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Many Christians wrongly interpret and apply Philippians 4:8.   They say that whatever we read or watch must have everything in it being just, pure and lovely.  And if there is anything in the stories we read or watch that are not just, pure or lovely than we must discard those things.

They believe this understanding is right based on a faulty interpretation of another passage found in  Ephesians 5:3:

“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints”.

So there reasoning goes something like this – “If there is one cussword, one action in the movie that seems encourage or portray fornication, uncleanliness or covetousness, then we must discard that thing we are reading or watching”.

But this is not what Ephesians 5:3 or Philippians 4:8 is teaching.  Ephesians 5:3 is teaching that is should never be said that Christians participate in fornication or in unclean things or are covetous.  It is talking about our actions as Christians.  Not what the characters in the stories we read or watch are doing.

We live in a sin cursed world.  And even many Bible stories reflect this.  There are many Bible stories which show characters involved fornication, uncleanliness and covetousness.  So, if the interpretation of Ephesians 5:3 was correct, many Christians would have to throw away their Bibles.

Now I have heard the response from Christians who believe this way many times.  They will say “But the Bible does not glorify fornication, uncleanliness and covetousness, it simply describes it”.  But this is a distinction without a difference.  And the truth is there are many actions of characters described in the Bible that within the stories themselves we don’t get moral judgement.  We only know what was right or wrong behavior by characters in the story by looking at other passages which give us God’s moral law. But the fact remains that if we want to read stories about murder, incest, rape and a host of other wicked activities all we have to do is open our Bibles.

Here is my point.  We can watch a movie about King Richard the Bruce of Scotland and judge the behavior of each character in that story by the Bible as to whether it was righteous or wicked behavior just as we can judge the behavior of various Bible characters even if the Bible in that story does not give a moral judgment.

And now let’s return to the last phrase of Philippians 4:8 which says “if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”.    That phrase is the key to understanding whether something we read, watch or do is right.  Is there anything praiseworthy about it? Is there anything virtuous about it?

And this is where personal judgement by each Christian comes into play.  Some Christians may be able to look at Cuties and see exactly what NetFlix said they were trying to show which was a “social commentary against the sexualization of young children”.  They may think it still has some praiseworthy and virtuous things despite its showing of underage girls in sexually proactive clothing and poses.  Other Christians like myself (and no I did not watch the whole thing – but just saw previews of it) did not think what little good commentary there might have been outweighed the imagery.

Application of These Principles to Porn Use

As we said earlier, whether we subscribe to a porn site or buy physical media from these same porn companies or even if we just watch free porn online it makes no difference.  We are supporting these companies one way or another.  Either through direct purchases or just by watching the free movies with the ads on the side.

But we also make these same decisions every day when we watch movies on TV that comes over the airwaves or through internet streaming services.  In all these ways we financially support companies that promote fornication, adultery, homosexuality and a host of other sins.  We support companies that support gay rights and other wicked things when we go to the grocery store each week.

Paul said the following in I Corinthians 10:25:

“Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake”

What he was saying is that just because something was produced in a way we disagree with (in this case the meat was offered to idols before it was brought to market to be sold) does not mean we cannot partake of it.

There is nothing in the Bible that teaches the cancel culture or boycott mentality.  Nothing.  We are to judge each thing we read, watch or do by the Word of God.  Each thing must be judged in and of itself.

Is the tooth paste I am about to buy at Kroger grocery store “a work of darkness” because it is made by a company that supports the LGTBQ agenda? Is the Bible I am about to buy at the Bible store “a work of darkness” because the parent company that owns the publisher also owns companies that make porn movies?  The answers to these questions are no.

Instead, we must always ask the Philippians 4:8 question which says “if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”. 

So, when it comes to a porn movie is there anything virtuous or praiseworthy about it despite the fact that the setup-story glorifies fornication and the imagery of that movie was produced using non-married actors?  The answer is YES.

When I watch a World War II movie and if there happens to be a part of the story where a man chooses to fornicate with a prostitute, was I watching that movie because I agree with fornication or because I wanted to see a story depicted on screen of a great battle and the courage of the men who fought it? The answer of course is the latter.

And when it comes to a porn movie, am I watching the movie because I agree with them that fornication is good? No way.  Am I happy that the movie imagery was produced using unmarried actors? Of course not.   

The value, the virtue and praiseworthy aspects of that porn movie are not found in the wicked setup story for the sex or the fact that they used an unmarried man and woman to produce that sexual imagery.  But rather, the value, the virtue and praiseworthy aspects of that porn movie is found in the imagery of sex itself.  It is found in the beauty of the images of a man and woman’s body coming together as one just as God designed them to.   It is the sexual imagery in porn that gives it value and makes it praiseworthy, not how it was produced and certainly not in the setup stories for the sex.

There is a little bit of irony in watching a porn movie.  Often Christians who do not understand that they can enjoy sexual imagery will fast forward through the sex scenes in a movie to get back to the story of the movie.  But when you watch porn, you have to fast forward through the story to get to the sex scene which is the only thing of value in that movie.  Just think about that one for a while.

Published by biblicalgenderroles

I am a Christian husband and father in his 40's. The goal of my blog is to help educate people on the distinct ways God has designed men and women and his special purposes for each gender.

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