I have been reading the series of articles published by the Deseret News about the consequences of pornography addiction. It has been pleasing to see the problem explored publicly. One of the things that has interested me is in reading through the comments from readers. Some are obviously still in denial about how serious, dangerous, and pervasive the problem of pornography is in our society. One comment in particular caught my attention as it highlighted the kind of attitude that can completely hobble a discussion of how to address this issue. I’ll save my readers the trouble of trying to wade through the poor grammar and rambling thoughts of the actual text of the comment. Here is the idea it was conveying:
“who has never thought about, or done, from birth onward till today, any activity that results in erotic stimulation. Even after you read or heard about the Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.”
The comment implies two things: 1) that anyone who who has ever done anything that could cause them to answer “yes” to the above query is unqualified to speak out against pornography, and 2) that virtually everyone has to answer yes to that query. The problem with that metric is that even if the second implication were 100% accurate the first implication is completely wrong. I suspect that the comment author considers it hypocritical of someone to answer yes to that question and then publicly speak against pornography. If a person is willfully and unrepentantly indulging in pornography then that is undoubtedly hypocrisy. On the other hand, The metric of that question ignores the option of repentance. It wrongly eliminates from the discussion those who have to answer yes who have subsequently rejected the legitimacy of whatever forces them to answer yes. That kind of thinking would reject the opportunity of an ex-gang member speaking out against gangs when the truth is that ex-gang members can provide an authority on the subject that others never could.
That comment reminded me of how dangerous quick and thoughtless judgments can be in hampering our efforts to seek truth and in hampering the process of repentance for ourselves and those we interact with.