Porn is Anti-Fatherhood, by Jonah

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

I was sitting in church a couple weeks back, listening to the guest speaker elaborate on his and his wife’s story of adopting. They both adopted several children and now advocate for those in need of adoption, prompting and encouraging others to consider adopting. That was why he was chosen to speak during “Adoption Week” at the church.

It was a moving message. Not because the man was a particularly gifted speaker, or because the information given was necessarily novel – we all know that there are children around the world in need of homes – but because of its earnestness.

The man had had a stable upbringing, but began his life with one parent–a single mother. Her husband had left her and their three kids early on.

Some time later, she had began seeing a new man, one with a big heart. He proposed marriage to her, and adoption to them, on the same day. Since then, our speaker had two loving parents and a strong family bond. When he himself got married, his heart for adoption quickly became manifested.

“I think to this day, how would my life be different if Roger had not agreed to adopt me? How would my kids’ lives be different if we had not adopted them?”

A moving and sobering question, hardly in need of new statistical analysis or psychological study to be shown rhetorically significant. His and their lives would more than likely have had worse outcomes.

As I sat there considering what the man said, having my already-present desire to adopt strengthened, I also pondered a seemingly disparate topic: pornography.

~~~

Why? Because it came as part of an answer to a question I internally chewed on: What makes a good father? And you can guess the next progression of thinking. Porn is anti-fatherhood because it represents everything a good father is not: self-seeking, self-justifying, and self-gratifying.

Please stick with me a little longer before you assume I’m moralizing and assuming self-righteousness.

If you’ve read my bio on this website, then you know that I’ve had my fair share of struggles with overcoming a strong desire to indulge in pornography. And with that I recognize a few things: some will not classify pornography use as an addiction, and some do not see pornography as destructive. These are both valid, even if their soundness is up for debate.

For me, whether due to religious influence or moral intuition or both, pornography has been very destructive. I’ve experienced guilt from the act itself. I’ve also picked myself apart in frustration over the more deep-seeded shame of How could I do this over and over? And I’d venture to say that the latter has been more harmful to my psyche, all things considered.

Feeling bad for one’s self is not an answer to any problem. Self-pity is from the devil, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said. I’ve seen more than one man mentally undone by self-hatred following porn use. I say it again: this can be worse than the act itself. Yes, of course women are harmed in the making of the stuff, and that problem is perpetuated by men being addicted to it (I speak generally and not exclusively with men and women designations). But men and women must stand up to fight injustice; neither can do so without a decent self-image. Porn use, for the religious at least, undoes such a decent self-image.

~~~

All of this said, children need good fathers. It’s often disastrous otherwise. And good fathers cannot be regularly entertaining fantasies of an alternative life from the ones they lead with their families, and with their wives. Simple as that.

This is not me holding to a moral high ground. Rather, I want to encourage those fighting the habit to keep fighting , without giving in to the equally tempting allure of self-pity. Most modern men do in fact engage in this modern habit, but it’s worth putting in effort to make it less prevalent in our society. For men, for women, and especially for children growing up, imitating everything a father does. Choose fatherhood, you mighty men, and don’t let your baser instincts master you. Engage in the battle, and keep engaging.

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