"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

C.S. Lewis on the Danger of Pornography

"Imaginary women are always accessible, always subservient, [give] no call for sacrifice or adjustment, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival. Among these shadow brides, the viewer is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever made on his vanity.  In the end imaginary women become the medium through which he increasingly adores himself. The main work of life is to come out of ourselves, out of the little dark prison of selfishness we are born in, to know God in the center of our being and from that place to offer ourselves for the sake of others. All things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger of pornography is of coming to love the prison of self."

 C.S. Lewis
 From Surfing for God by Michael John Cusick.

11 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

So true. And the same can be said for online romances.

Nobody online is ever flawed, they're not messy, they never make rude noises or unpleasant odors.

That can set up an impossible expectation for real, live people, and put a strain on people with whom you have a real relationship.

As my pastor says, sin will take you further than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay.

Anonymous said...

"The main work of life is to come out of ourselves, out of the little dark prison of selfishness we are born in, to know God in the center of our being and from that place to offer ourselves for the sake of others"

Sounds like what Christ did in Phil. 2 in laying down his life. Good thing his bride isn't an imaginary woman.

Thanks for the reminder for us not to waste our lives. ken

Joey Rosas said...

Can you tell me where this comes from in Lewis. I like the quote but would like to know the primary source. JR

Wade Burleson said...

Joey,

Sure will. I am not near my file, but tonight I will give you the primary source. It is located in Lewis' private papers, stored in a library (source Surfing for God). I'll put it up tonight.

Curious said...

Ask Mike Everson and his staff, remember?

Wade Burleson said...

Joey,

Primary Source: From the personal correspondence of C.S. Lewis in the Wade Collection (Private) at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

RRR said...

No argument as to the destructive nature of pornography but this is the first time I've seen it considered as being like a narcissistic potion that feeds the ego of the viewer. I think that the allure of pornography is the reasoning that it is at first a victimless activity involving solely the viewer. This is no doubt the reason that so many people in ministry fall into the trap. The concept of it being a perversion of God’s intent for the sexuality of us all probably doesn’t come to mind until it advances from soft porn to the more hard core forms. Too bad more churches aren’t active in seeking ways to address this epidemic. Wade, does your church make efforts to help those suffering from that addiction?

Wade Burleson said...

RRR,

We do. We sponsor support groups for pornography addictions (both male and female) and have small groups devoted to tackling this issue. This book, "Surfing for God," is probably one of the BEST I've seen. Written by a sex addict caught in an FBI sting (a Christian married man who came to an understanding of the core issues driving him to his addiction).

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

That can set up an impossible expectation for real, live people, and put a strain on people with whom you have a real relationship.

There are a LOT of impossible expectations out there. And things creating those impossible expectations besides porn & online romances: Bodice-rippers, Twilight, Christianese Perfectionism, Christianese Purity Culture re Salvation by Marriage.

Me? I grew up an isolated Kid Genius and natural-talent speedreader whose only friends were my books. And have never been attractive to women (too geeky). As far back as I can remember, I have always been able to empathize better with fictional characters than RL people. This sounds like the dark side of that.

RRR said...

Headless Unicorn Guy,

I couldn't discern from your message whether you are happy with who you are and your life? It does sound like perhaps others are putting pressure on you to be something that you're not. I wonder if that's the case?

RRR said...

Wade,

Good on you for leading the church to respond to one of the most prevalent forms of evil that we all must deal with these days. I appreciate your referring to the book and will have to get it. CS Lewis apparently offered one possible motive for some people who delve into this behavior but I'd be interested in reading the book to see its proposals as to motives, traps and ways to help those we might encounter who need assistance.