By Will Jones
Pornography is and has always been a tricky industry to analyze or describe for the simple reason that most men and women are reluctant to share what sorts of material they view and how often. But Resident Director Matt Williams believes that the problem at Bryan College may be bigger than students realize.
“Porn is a very significant issue in every Christian arena. I think it’s certainly a struggle that’s relevant or has been relevant to a majority of students here,” Williams said.
Williams, along with Dr. Clark Rose, founded a group called Crossroads to Purity for young men seeking to keep themselves sexually pure. The purpose was to provide “a non-threatening platform” for confession and accountability.
In the church and at Christian institutions, where pornography is universally condemned as degrading to both the performer and the viewer, shame provides an additional impetus for secrecy. “It doesn’t get talked about, and because it’s not a topic for conversation, most people believe it’s not an issue,” Williams said. “And pornography does its greatest damage in isolating and shaming young men.
“And secret shame tempts us to believe a lie, a lie that God hates us,” Williams said. “I would love to see more opportunities on campus for students to deal with these issues openly and in a non-threatening way.”
In 2011, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam published the results of an extensive study on the prevalence of pornography across the Internet. After analyzing millions of web searches and hundreds of thousands of websites, they found that at least 10% of all web searches were for erotic pictures and videos, and that close to 4% of websites were devoted exclusively to peddling and displaying pornography.
The pervasiveness of porn on the Internet and the strength of sexual desire make overcoming its effects particularly difficult for college students, Williams said. “Even if you were to chuck your laptop out the window, you can’t get away from it. Our culture, our economy is based on appeal, and what’s more appealing to young men and women than sex?”
Williams stated that the best way to deal with pornography addiction is honesty. “Pornography and, by extension, all forms of secret sin tempt us to live our lives in boxes, to keep our sin separate from the face we show to other people. We weren’t meant to live in boxes. We were meant to be whole.”
Williams was also careful to add that pornography is by its very nature addictive, and that students who view it should not fool themselves into thinking that it is harmless fun. “It’s enslavement,” Williams said.
Director of I. T. Steve Paulson stated that while Bryan does its very best to filter out obscene materials, the sheer amount of information out there makes it impossible to block every seductive website or image.
“By using the network, you agree to abide by the Acceptable Use Policy, and by attending or working at Bryan College, you agree to adhere to the Community Life Standards, both of which prohibit viewing pornography, among other things,” Paulson said. He added that the I. T. department simply does not have the time to police every student’s Internet activity: “you’ll soon be on your own, paying for your own unfiltered Internet access in the privacy of your own room.”
Ultimately, Paulson said, the task of fighting impurity falls to the individual student and their walk with Christ. “If someone is determined to view pornographic images or videos on the Internet while using the Bryan College network, he/she will almost certainly succeed,” Paulson said.
Paulson added a word of caution saying that the I. T. services does have access to individual student web logs and can and does check them upon suspicion of misuse. But he stated that pornography’s consequences were potentially a whole lot more devastating than an embarrassing meeting with Student Life and a few disciplinary work hours.
“Pornography and sexual sins have the potential to destroy the life of a Christian in ways that few things can. Deal with pornography before you blow your life apart from the inside,” Paulson said.