Man watching porn on his laptop

A new study suggests that viewing pornography is connected with increased tolerance toward abortion, especially among religious men.


The following piece was submitted by guest writer Randall Simonson. All ULC Ministers are invited to contribute their own sermons for consideration/publication. To submit a sermon, please email it to sermons@themonastery.org.

Has your husband, father, or perhaps even your pastor experienced a surprising change of mind toward abortion?  If so, you may want to take a peek in his browsing history. A new study suggests that viewing pornography is associated with developing more tolerant views toward abortion, especially among religious men. Is it possible you or someone you know is unwittingly having their deep-seated beliefs changed by porn?

The study, led by two Canadian psychologists, looked at more than 25,000 men and women, most of whom were white, married, Christian, and averaging 44 years of age. The authors of the study, Kyler R. Rasmussen and Taylor Kohut, wanted to find out if men’s attitudes toward women could be linked to either pornography or religion. The results of their study challenge some traditional lines of thought, and are worth exploring in greater detail.

Researchers first asked participants how often they viewed pornographic materials. It then compared those answers with a variety of questions about women’s rights and abortion. Sure enough, higher levels of pornography use among the religious participants was linked to more accepting attitudes toward abortion.

Streaming Porn for Women’s Rights

But can pornography itself really cause a person to change their views on controversial topics like abortion? It’s hard to say. While fascinating, at this point the study’s results only show a correlation between the two ideas. As Rasmussen points out, the researchers are “still not sure that porn is a causal factor here.” However, there is still reason to suspect that a steady stream of pornography could alter someone’s beliefs – particularly if that person regularly attends church. For example, men with higher rates of church attendance tend to hold more traditional stances – such as beliefs that women shouldn’t work outside the home. Interestingly, the study found that male churchgoers who also viewed pornography did not hold the same negative attitudes.

If Porn Is OK, Could Abortion Be Too?

One possible explanation for this, Rasmussen suggests, is cognitive dissonance among church-going men. While many enjoy pornography, they acknowledge it as a sin, leading to strong, conflicting emotions. “Religious men are motivated to reduce that discomfort. One way they can do so is by changing their attitudes toward pornography – if porn isn’t wrong, then they no longer have to feel uncomfortable,” said Rasmussen.

The catch, according to Rasmussen, is that changing one’s moral stance on pornography can lead to unintentional changes in other areas, including those regarding women and abortion. “Our results actually limit that association to just religious people,” Rasmussen explained. The researchers theorize that because non-religious men typically do not experience cognitive dissonance toward pornography the way that churchgoing men do, viewing explicit materials does little to alter their opinions on issues like women’s rights or abortion.

Conclusions

So, what does this mean for pro-life Christians who enjoy watching porn in their free time? Are they at risk of having their fundamental beliefs changed? If we’re being realistic, probably not. However, it’s quite possible that porn has a certain desensitizing effect – especially if it’s of the more…graphic variety. That could certainly lead to a more relaxed attitude toward sin in general, and perhaps abortion specifically. Granted this is mostly speculation, but an interesting idea nonetheless.

 

37 comments

  1. James says:

    So, extramarital sex is ok, pure fornication is ok, and that being said now killing children is ok with Christians? This article is complete pig crap on a bullcrap sandwich. Lol. In a word. “dumb!”

    1. JOHN MAHER says:

      NOT DUMB JAMES it is CALLED HYPOCRISY, the CHURCH, the GOVERNMENT, the PRESIDENT BUTT it’s the FAULT of the PEOPLE, STAND UP and VOTE, DEMAND a HIGHER STANDARD, WE MUST KEEP the KEEPERS in LINE, DUMP the DOTAR ORANGUtRUMP !!!

      1. Linda says:

        John, do you think the government should legislate morality beyond where it infringes on others rights? Who determines what is moral and what is not? Government is to legislate rights, not morality, nor impose their beliefs on others. Does everyone have to think like one small group of people?

        It’s interesting that you are pro-life and anti-Trump when Trump was the only candidate that mentioned a change in legalized abortion. Hmmm… you voted for Hillary or someone you knew didn’t have a chance? If you voted for Hillary, she is positively pro-choice. If you voted for someone other than Trump or Hillary, your vote did nothing. Please explain the reasoning behind your assertions in your post because it seems to me to be self conflicting.

      2. Doug Barron says:

        That is an assinine rebuttal. The President is staunchly against abortion in any form. Apparently; you have a political agenda. This article is not about politics. If yyou wish to blay ball; pick up your bat! I have lots of balls!

        1. Chip says:

          nobody cares about your balls, chester.

        2. Minister David says:

          People will use any free forum to bleed theories.
          Leave that to free will.
          Your right sir

        3. PaulM says:

          “The President is staunchly against abortion in any form.” Except of course, when he’s asking his mistress to have one.

          1. John Owens says:

            I don’t suppose you can document that.

  2. Linda says:

    The article makes no comment on anything being right or wrong, just a study reporting how porn appears to be affecting the opinions of people going to church. I am disappointed I couldn’t find any siting of the actual study with a link to it, although I think this article appears to be a good summary.

    I found it interesting the study concludes “religious” people watching porn, which is typically regarded as degrading to women, transitioned their opinions to women had the “right” to choose what they do to their own body, including abortion. The article suggests that transition is probably due to cognitive dissonance.

    Maybe we assume societies have always regarded their children like we do, yet I’m not sure that is true. During the time of early Christianity, infanticide was a common practice, yet the Bible doesn’t mention it being wrong. Infanticide is much worse than abortion.

    Abraham was asked to kill his son, Isaac, and was willing to do so. He actually abandoned his first son to die in the desert and this wasn’t deemed wrong in Biblical writings either. Archeologists are finding ancient graveyards full of infants and children. If it is truly a Christian perspective to be anti-abortion, it seems there would be lots of references in the Bible commanding people to stop infanticide.

    Was there a prolific hedonistic / erotic lifestyle back in ancient times and cognitive dissonance caused people to accept people’s rights to kill their babies / children after they are born? Pagan temples devoted to sexual pleasures were common in ancient times. Hmmm…. is there a correlation?

    1. angel722 says:

      Christianity didn’t exist. They followed Judaism, which allows for this type of behavior. Christianity is a knock off form of Judaism, according to Christ’s alterations of the religion and the interpretation of his disciples. But most of these customs are rejected anyway’s, as you can see the laws of the Old Testament who tell people it’s hospitable to hand over your daughters to stranger’s for the night or how to treat your slaves, ect. They don’t like to teach all this in church because even though the Old Testament in still in the bible, the church disregards the core of it’s religion by saying ” that was BEFORE Jesus, and therefore doesn’t count.” But it does count and matter, because this was the religion that Jesus Christ followed, he just tweeked it a bit…maybe. Many people realize the correlation of Christianity and Middle Eastern customs, even though Jesus was Jew. Islam is not much different, a more modern spin-off of old middle eastern customs and traditions. But if you look at the Old Testament deeper, you will see that many of “God’s Laws” actually goes against most of your Christian modern day beliefs now. It also makes Jesus the God because you are no longer following God’s rules, but Jesus’s interpretation of them.
      The difference today is that they has paramiter’s back in those days, what they agreed was acceptable and what was not and heavy penalties were instilled for violating those rules. Now adays, people can hide in the shadows to indulge in areas never explored or allowed before and the internet providers make it easy to do this, private browsing features almost impossible to disable, which is why it is now called “porn mode”. When there is no set boundaries or repercussions, it’s human nature to explore things even if they know it to be wrong and makes it easier to do so. You can look at a browsing history now a days and probebly not find ANY history. There has always been “indiscretions” because the sexual drive is based more on instinct,but the mind gives us an awareness that helps us set those parameters in place. Survival is also instict so people formed societies which creates law and order in order to provide for the community as a whole. Though we have societies today, the internet is a society of it’s own that isn’t well maintained or controlled. The parameter’s are set by individuals, so when those parameter’s are blurred with little to no accountability, it’s easier to justify the actions of the individual. Even if they go against what they believe in their hearts, having the cloak to hide under makes it easier to explore without being exposed. The consequences usually don’t come or relaized until it’s to late.

      1. Linda says:

        Angel, it appears pagan influence lingered during the transition into the Jewish religion, such as when Lot offered sexual exploits from his daughters in exchange for refuge for the visiting angels they pursued. Jews wanted to secure their inheritance to their rightful heirs so promiscuity was denounced. Yet, men had many wives and concubines, so I suppose a form of promiscuity was allowed.

        Pederasty existed up to and even during the initial Christian period and is likely the correct translation instead of “homosexuality,” and explains why “homosexuality” seems to always follow prostitution, being about the same thing. Eunuchs are probably gay men, who had no sexual desires for women. It’s interesting the OT / NT denounce pederasty and prostitution but no mention of infanticide.

        Christianity may have strayed so far from the initial teachings that Jesus wouldn’t recognize it, but the Bible is so multi layered and complex, who is to say? Jesus didn’t do away with the OT laws, he made them more understandable. Jesus asserted it wasn’t the letters of the law on papyrus that was important but the intention of the laws that had the greater merit. Additionally Jesus changed the concept of abiding to the laws for the sake of integrity to abiding by the laws because it was the right thing to do. He changed the perception of an impersonal God out there back to identifying the God within and a more personal relationship with Him. That is all very empowering… plus so much more, like the amazing concept of grace. IMO, Jesus had figured out the true mystery of God.

        How can one escape the repercussions of their actions? Once I read in a Buddhism book that we aren’t punished “for” our sins but are punished “by” our sins. I believe that. Ultimately, there is no escape from the repercussions of our actions because it is built into the action itself.

        Everyone has different inborn needs for connection. Not everyone taking medication becomes a drug addict, nor everyone that occasionally indulges into pornography becomes a sex addict or sexual predator. Too much of anything or anything to the extreme is harmful. IMO, everyone has the right to pursue happiness as long as it is totally respectful of all involved, including their self. I can’t judge someone else, only myself, because everyone is different than me. I am quite conservative and lean toward more traditional preferences, but why should everyone else have to live their life according to what I find best for me?

      1. Linda says:

        Thank you Kevin!

  3. Linda Weeks says:

    Objectification of women or men is never ok.
    For sex to have real meaning, it has to be part of a complete relationship. To allow something as shallow as pornography to change how we feel about human lives seems worse than shallow. It seems self serving.
    One wants to have recreational sex, but not be responsible for any children. Fine, use birth control, the morning after pill works. I feel like to diminish children diminishes wonen and men.
    Are some men really so base as to change their feelings because sex is available and free? Are some women willing to accept that behavior from men?
    I have learned that we diminish ourselves if we do not hold ourselves and our progeny in the highest regard.

  4. JOHN MAHER says:

    I AGREE 100% and that is WHY YOU HAVE a PIMP in the PRESIDENCY, DOTAR ORANGUtRUMP !!!

  5. Elan says:

    “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [Jesus’ return] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” (2 Thess. 2:3).

    Apostasy means to fall away from the truth. Therefore, an apostate is someone who has once believed and then rejected the truth of God. Apostasy is a rebellion against God because it is a rebellion against truth. In the Old Testament God warned the Jewish people about their idolatry and their lack of trust in Him. In the New Testament the epistles warn us about not falling away from the truth. Apostasy is a very real and dangerous threat.

    The verse above tells us that there will be an apostasy that is associated with the appearance of the Antichrist. Most Christians are looking for the arrival of the Antichrist, but very few are looking for “the apostasy” that must come first. The arrival of the Antichrist cannot occur until sufficient apostasy has happened in the world. The Antichrist, who is the ultimate of liars, cannot abide in a world where the truth of God’s word is taught. This is why the Bible says that the apostasy will come first and then the Antichrist will be revealed.

    Therefore, we must, as Christians, ask this question, “Is there an apostasy occurring in the Christian church today?” Some would say no and others yes. But, as we look for the arrival of the Antichrist, should we not also be looking for the arrival of apostasy? And where else should we first look but in our own house for the Bible tells us that judgment will begin in the house of the Lord (1 Peter 4:17).

    1. Linda says:

      Eian, I find this a very interesting post.

      Let me say there are already many antichrists amongst us now as there were in the apostles’ time. John said there were antichrists (plural) back then, and that was a sign of the end of times 2000 years ago.

      1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

      Apostasy means renunciation of a religious or political belief. Yes, I agree, one could argue that popular Christian beliefs today have already done that to their own religion. Apostates are unaware they are one, as generation after generation slowly transition from one belief system to another, eventually denying the core roots of their own religion. One could also argue that Jesus was rebellious to the popular religious Jewish beliefs of His time. The only people Jesus ever chastised were the pious religious right for disrespecting, judging, and condemning others.

      Eian, a challenge to what you are saying, is how do we know the Truth? We only have a minute perspective in comparison to the scope of the “whole Truth,” including the exceptions to it. A large part of Truth may be individualized and of a personal nature. What is True for you may not be True for me. Paul said ALL THINGS were legal unto him. Perhaps the best way to honor the Truth is to respect ourselves and others without condemnation. I think ALL things are allowed to us if we are completely and humbly respectful of all life forms.

      1. Elan says:

        Hi Linda:
        JUST MY OPINION: A long time ago, I heard a message in which the Pastor of the Church said that we have created God in our own image, therefore, our faith is idolatry. You’re right that we have justified what we believe to be the truth in the name of many gods and many religions. My opinion is that, if we, as Christians, do not take some kind of stand against sin, as defined by our belief in the scriptures, then what did Jesus die for. What would have been the purpose. I’m not saying or, in any way, promoting a violent or militant response to sin, and certainly I promote forgiveness, but I am not sure that I promote total and complete tolerance to simply everything. There has to be a right and wrong, a black and white, a heaven and hell…not everything can be grey…

        1. Linda says:

          Eian, that’s just it… how do you know your belief or my belief in the scriptures is right or wrong? Christians gagged and tied a naked Bruno to the stake in the middle of the marketplace and burned him alive because he dare declare the heavens rotated around the sun instead of around the earth. Christians put Galileo under in-home arrest until he died for declaring the same thing. The Truth is that almost everything is a shade of gray in between two polar opposites. Very few things, if any, are pure white or pure black, or pure good or pure evil.

          We are to only judge our self, worry about the log in our own eye instead of the speck in someone else’s eye, judge not lest we be judged. We do need to stand up for our own rights and protection, but not coerce our morality onto someone else. We all have the right to refuse to associate with any person, yet no one is perfect. Ye who have not sinned cast the first stone.

          Buddhist say, we are not punished for our sins but by our sins. All of us get the repercussions of our sin until we stop doing it. I have enough with just me to keep me busy. Last time I checked, I still can’t walk on water…

  6. John Owens says:

    The very fact that porn exists as it does today shows that there is a relaxed attitude (in general, not in everyone, of course) toward sin (Joseph’s words, which I appreciate, not mine).

    Porn does affect the mind, the fantasies, the fetishes, the orientation of humans, just by exposure. There is a reference in scripture to “having the mind seared (or cauterized) with a hot iron.”

    It also affects the real-life libido in men, usually in a negative way. The mind accustoms itself to porn, and the body responds to the mind, and real life is seldom anything like porn, and the body and mind become un-trained and unaccustomed to being with an actual physical partner, but easily aroused by pornography. Hence the market for anti-ED aids.

    I suppose IF you imagine a pregnancy is generated by the behavior and values (or lack thereof) exhibited in porn, THEN the form of mass genocide known as abortion MIGHT be considered less repugnant, since it should ostensibly mean fewer degenerates on the planet, if degeneracy were an inherited trait. The truth is, while most of our parents and grandparents were not porn stars or even practicing fornicators, copulation among heterosexuals is what makes babies, and our male ancestors DID ejaculate into our female ancestors, and babies are ALL the result of that.

    I cannot look at any child and think that abortion could ever be acceptable in any case except the most demonstrably extreme case of preserving the life of the mother or seriously physically damaged baby, porn or no porn.

    DISCLAIMER: the views expressed in this comment do not necessarily reflect the views of anyone else on this blog, but if yours are similar in any way, please do not be bashful about expressing them. Too many people with views which are not those pushed by the “mainstream” are ashamed or afraid of being called names, which is the left’s way of silencing conservative voices and controlling the discourse. Do not allow that. They are entitled to their views but not entitled to rob us of ours, and while they pretend to themselves and one another that they are the intelligent ones, generally they are simply more heavily indoctrinated and not in control of their own cognitive functions.

    1. hsw says:

      I’d like to see the research supporting your opinion. I believe healthy adults know the difference between fantasy and reality. In the same way that most people do not become addicts because they got a narcotic prescription after surgery, most people will view porn, or any other fantasy entertainment, and see it as such. There are those who are predisposed to sexual issues, and there you’re going to have a chicken/egg issue wherein you have to ask whether the porn caused their dysfunction, or simply facilitated what was already there. The answer is already in the research, but for purposes of discussion, let’s pretend its not.

      As a child I watched a lot of cartoons, and was heavily steeped in Wile E Coyote, but I never imagined I could jump off a cliff and survive.

    2. Elan says:

      You know, John, you had me interested until the disclaimer. Calling someone an idiot simply because they do not or may not agree with you, really takes the wind out of your sails. If you have to berate another person just to somehow justify your own personal beliefs, you’re going about it the wrong way. Believe what you want, practice how you want to, shout it from the highest mountains, but don’t try to make yourself look good by trying to cast a shadow on others…just my opinion, but that really takes away from something you are trying to say.

      1. John Owens says:

        If you call THAT calling people idiots, or berating, you must be a terribly sheltered person. Only a very fragile person would couch their passive-aggressive dishonesty in the terms you are using. I have to say, you do it well, but, it really takes away from anything you try to say, when you are dishonest like this.

        1. John Owens says:

          It was really smooth, the way you injected the lies into your comment, that I called someone idiot or berated them in there. Now, I HAVE been known to do that, mostly in defense, but I didn’t do it here, in this statement. See, when I try to be nice, some of you cannot stand it. Then when I respond in kind to those of you who cannot stand it, you say I am mean or whatever. I can’t afford to allow my own opinions or statements to be dictated or limited by people who oppose my views. That is the game of the Left– to dictate and govern the conversation until nothing is said of which they may disapprove. If you say something stupid, you cannot get angry when someone points it out.

    3. Linda says:

      John, I am not an advocate of pornography, nor am I a proponent that sexual fantasies are something to feel guilty about. IMO, hsw made a good point. I read somewhere that sexual fantasies and pornography become more prolific in sexually repressed societies.

      Think of how determining what is pornographic has evolved. Some Gnostics use to believe all carnal desires were sinful. It use to be pornography for women to show their ankles. TV use to have married couples with twin beds. Some said sex was only for procreation and only one position was acceptable. Ed Sullivan refused to show Elvis Presley from the waist down when he performed on his stage. Admittedly, I have not watched much pornography but I am curious as to how one would define what makes something pornographic today.

      I think the real issue isn’t so much with those that infrequently watch it but with the actual performers. If they are only selling their body for a price, that robs them of their dignity. If they are doing it to truly express a seductive art form, respectful of themselves and others, then I don’t know if that is all bad. One’s opinion might find the art tasteful or distasteful. Wouldn’t the mental condition / state of the actors be what makes it right or wrong for them?

      1. Carl Elfstrom says:

        I bet Rob and Laura and Lucy and Ricky pushed those twin beds together every night. How else could they have had children? I bet Fred and Ethel joined them late at night for whoopie parties too. Then there were Fred, Wilma,Barny and Betty. What kind of morals do you think they had in prehistoric days? I bet they had some wild times. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Dino joined them.

  7. Linda Weeks says:

    Archaeology proves that pornography has existed through the ages. Humans have always wanted to boil down life and isolate intensely pleasurable activities. That’s why prostitution exists, as well, sexual gratification without responsibility. When we want “ something for nothing”, someone is left lacking.

  8. rabbi jim says:

    Greetings, my friends. Pardon my ignorance, but, I fail to see any connection between pornography and abortion. Most, if not all, pornographic sex is performed using condoms, to my knowledge. I may be wrong in believing this. I don’t know. Therefore, I won’t
    make any other comments on this subject. I am pro-abortion for other logical reasons entirely. Anyway, you all have a happy and wonderful new year!

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      I’m glad I’m over imaginative and great at mental visualization so I don’t have to look at pictures. And I don’t care about abortion either. Sex doesn’t even interest me. I sowed my wild oats early on and am glad I don’t have to do that anymore. I’m not even a touchy feely kind of guy. I just like to think about sex and take care of it all by myself. Thanks for the memories. I pay close attention to my intuition and conscience, so when I’m doing something wrong for me it quickly comes to mind. I don’t need dogma to explain it to me. Different people have different morals. The dictionary clearly defines it as an individuals set of values. What’s right for some is wrong for others. That’s why there are different sects of people, Christians included. Personally,it’s not my mission in life to condemn anyone. The words of St. Ozzy come to mind: I don’t want to change the world, I don’t want the world to change me. It might be best to sit back, chill out, and smoke another joint, until some more profound thoughts come to mind.

  9. Carl Elfstrom says:

    Of course Christians will say “Thou shalt not cast thy seed on the ground”. And to them I say “That’s why I use toilet paper”.

  10. angel722 says:

    I think it’s common sense, if a person starts to compromise or even go against their beliefs, then their stance on other area’s will also falter. Maybe the reason porn changes perceptions on abortion has less to do with the porn and more to do with the infidelity that often comes after exposure to alot of porn. I’m not saying everyone who watches porn is an addict, but it is becoming an epidemic. It’s no longer about looking at a magazine and fantasy, the internet turns it into real life situations. Real people on web-cams doing these things make’s it real that people are actually out there willing to do these things. And many times, sex becomes detached which allows the person to start exploring the darker sides of it. It’s no longer about connection but pure self gratification. Once it becomes about solely self gratification there becomes an emotional disconnect between the partner’s or single people and their views on it all together.. Sex in general becomes desensitized, therefore any view concerning sex and anything surrounding sex, reproduction and intimacy. Your views concerning other human beings become altered and it carries over into day to day lives.
    My ex turned into a porn addict after the internet came out and he would go into area’s of porn that were just straight up sick. He would chat with other women online and actually met up with them over time. Sex wasn’t about intimacy or reproduction, it was solely for his own self gratification. He didn’t respect the women he watched, or the women he hooked up with and eventually, he stopped respecting me altogether. With all the life web-cams and human contact, it’s no longer about a fantasy, because the internet not only makes it reality but helps you find the people to make it real. You cheat on a spouse, it no longer becomes about morality of abortion, it becomes a need to cover up the immorality that was also committed. I’m not telling people how to run their sex lives, but porn is a very fine line to walk that can easily be crossed. People say because it’s not physical, it’s not damaging, but it does change a person’s view on not only spouses, but with people in general because of the emotional disconnection it creates.

  11. GOD says:

    THIS ARTICLE MAKES IT SEEM AS IF YOU WATCH PORN YOUR GOING TO BELIEVE IN ABORTION

  12. James says:

    The reprobate mind is a wondrous thing. To say the least.

  13. Father Fred says:

    Porn is the same as any addiction, be it Fentanyl, hard liquor, gambling, etc. It doesn’t normally kill the body, but it will eventually take the soul.

  14. JOHN MAHER says:

    IS THAT YOU GOD and are YOU WATCHING PORN and JUST WHAT does PORN have to SEE with ABORTION, PLEASE ENLIGHTEN MOI, Thank YOU GOD !!!

  15. Timothy Carlstead says:

    I think porn is maybe changing Christians views on abortion. Its hard to tell with some people about this topic. As a person I am trying to kick this porn habit that I have. I am not an adult or a little kid. I am a teen who is struggling with sin. I am a born again Christian and a minister who faces temptation but it doesn’t changes my view of abortion. Christians are to be tested for everything that comes their way. I see abortion as a bad thing because every life from a new born baby to a senior citizen is precious. I am on the fence with topic so I stick with my view of abortion. Minister Timothy Carlstead

  16. Father Fred says:

    As divisive as abortion? It’s subjective at best. It’s like trying to set a benchmark for someone with an addiction. Each person is different. Where I think it hurts Christians (and other faiths) is when it becomes a teaching tool to the weak for what a relationship is about. And to often those who view this matter take the actions and talk as literal, thus disrespecting the words of the Bible and their spouse.

Leave a Comment