What does porn have to do with prejudice? Is this just a click bait ploy? Is it just a convenient twist on pride and prejudice? Well, It’s my contention that pornography has the same root issue as racial prejudice. At the core of each of these is the same nastiness, they’re both dehumanizing issues, Imago Dei issues. Most of us would agree that prejudice is indeed a nasty issue, especially in light of recent events. But today porn doesn’t seem so bad, surely it certainly doesn’t need to be lumped in with the vice of prejudice and racism. Seems like porn and masturbation are becoming more and more acceptable as a way of releasing natural urges. “Isn’t it better to just watch porn and get it out of your system than to go out in the world and act on those urges? Seems pretty harmless Park, maybe come down off your high horse?” Please don’t hear me taking a role of moral superiority, I am a sinner, apart from Christ I am the chief of all sinners. I’ve wrestled with lust and pornography for most of my life. To be sure, lust, watching porn, masturbation and similar activities are sinful, but none of these are the unpardonable sin, there is always forgiveness in Christ. So don’t hear me saying that if you’ve watched porn before you are unable to receive forgiveness. What you should hear me saying is that pornography is a very close cousin to prejudice. 

As an aside, I use the word prejudice to mean racism because racism implies that there are all these different races instead of all of us being part of the one human race. Maybe that’s unhelpful because although we all agree we are of one race, historically we have used the term racism. If my use of prejudice is revisionistic maybe you can forgive me. My aim is to show that humans in our race are dehumanizing one another rather than one “race” is marginalizing another “race”. That being said, I may jump around between the two terms all willy nilly, so in this post understand that I use them as synonyms. And thus we can begin our comparison of Porn and Prejudice. 

Prejudice based on one’s skin color and ethnicity is wrong for many reasons. It’s unfair, it’s insulting, it’s unhelpful, and it’s just evil. But why? Why is prejudice ultimately wrong and evil? Because when we judge someone based on their skin color we are making them less than human in our eyes. We are assuming that all “those kinds of people” act a certain way and aren’t worth as much as those who look and act like we do. Although a lot of bigotry uses terms that seem to convey personhood like when bigots say “those people”, really what they mean is that those “people” are actually less than human. This was the justification for much of the slavery throughout human history. This or that group of people is actually less than human and so we can do things to them that we wouldn’t dream of doing to those like ourselves. This kind of prejudice is wrong because it denies a person’s intrinsic value given to them by God. We are the Imago Dei or the Image of God. Every human is valuable because they are made in the image of The Creator God. Thus when we seek to make a human being less than human it is an attack on that person, humanity as a whole and the God who made that human in His own image. 

Now we can see that porn is prejudice’s equally ugly cousin. Pornography also dehumanizes men and women. Instead of people who have the same intrinsic value as us, we view porn stars as objects. This is called objectification. When you watch porn you’re saying the actors are things that are there only for your pleasure when ever you want to log on. We don’t think about what porn does to them, how it effects their ability to love and show affection. We don’t care that some of the people we’re watching might be sex slaves. We don’t think about the fact that no little girl ever says she wants to grow up to have sex on camera for money. We don’t consider what these men and women have gone through that’s led them to participate in something like this. That most of them have been sexually abused by a relative that should have been protecting and caring for them. We don’t think of them as people anymore, they are just things, that’s like the definition of dehumanization.  

Pornography boils people down to one aspect of their personhood: their sexuality. Much like racial prejudice boils humans down to one aspect of their personhood: their ethnicity. People are no longer complex individuals with families, stories, unique perspectives and intrinsic worth and dignity, they are now caricatures. A caricature, according to Google, is a picture, description, or imitation of a person or thing in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect. We make complex, intricate, valuable humans into caricatures when we focus in on a particular aspect of their personhood which may or may not even be true of them. When we dehumanize people it’s easy to marginalize them and take advantage of them for our own benefit.

 Porn and prejudice are off shoots of the same root issue, we make people less than human. That’s the problem. But of course since we turned our back on the God who created us, the God of the Bible who tells us that we are made in His image, we’ve lost our understanding of who we really are. Black people have been systematically dehumanized in many cultures and societies but especially in the history of The United States. This has lead to slavery, Jim Crowe laws, ghettos, abortion clinics strategically placed in black communities to eradicate them, and racial profiling which puts police on edge and has lead to countless injustice and murders. In turn police are being dehumanized, hated and mistrusted by many people today leading to police officers being murdered. Jews have been dehumanized in tons of places throughout history and are still the butt of lots of jokes, even the term “Jewie” is meant as an insult in some circles. Native Americans have been brutally hunted down, poisoned, infected, and crammed onto worthless land because they were viewed as less valuable savages. We could go down the line for all sorts of different ethnicities and people groups and see that at the core of these horrific actions lies the same sickness: humans dehumanizing other humans. 

Think of what ever injustice in history that you wish, the root issue behind that atrocity will most likely be that someone was treated as less than human. We all continue to do this in varying degrees, whether it’s overtly using racism and prejudice to devalue people or small comments like “Tim is a piece of shit” to take away Tim’s humanity and justify your disdain for him. Notice that our insults are meant to attack a person’s inherent dignity. We compare one another to parts of our anatomy or piles of garbage or personal hygiene items to cut them to their core and let them know we don’t view them as equals but less than human. 

One of the major roots of evil throughout human history has been and continues to be one People group denying another’s humanity, we get that now right?. We can see the common link between child sacrifices, slavery and human trafficking, sex slavery, the Holocaust, Rwandan genocide, The Trail of Tears, The Abortion Holocaust of today, and Pornography is that people aren’t treated as ought to be treated. But there’s hope! 

Here’s where I’m gonna play the same old tune, it really is the best and only tune to be played. Our answer to marginalization, to human trafficking, to racial prejudice, to pornography and all other forms of dehumanization is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to earth to die for our sins and be raised to life so that in him we could live. Through him we can be reconciled to God and restored in our relationship with Him. We can begin to understand who we were made to be. We can be justified in the belief that humans are valuable based on the self-evident truth that we’re made in God’s very own image. We can begin to forgive each other for the years and years of hatred and mistreatment as we learn of all that God has forgiven us of through the His own Son. As we increase in our knowledge and love for God we will begin to love his image bearers more and more. We can be given a new heart, one that actually wants to love and care for others in the say manner we wish to be loved and cared for. We can be changed and love one another as we ought when we realize as Tim Keller says: “we are more sinful and flawed in ourselves then we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ then we ever dared hope.” 

The answer we need today is the same answer the first century Christians used to adopt babies abandoned in the trash. It’s the same answer that England used to end slavery and the USA finally used to end American slavery. The answer is the good news of Jesus. We need God’s love to invade our darkened hearts and transform us into people who love one another. This comes only through turning from our autonomy and calling out on name of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins and adoption as sons and daughters of the God who made us. We need to be transformed into people who act more like Jesus. 

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