27 May 2012

To filter or not to filter

Porn is everywhere. At least that is what we are told. Even though much of our media has been influenced by porn I think that the reality is closer to the fact that it is much easier to access than ever before.

The internet has brought that world right into our homes, our offices and our Pastor’s offices. No longer do you need to go to the seedy end of town, late at night, to get your fix.

But this isn’t new.  

We’ve known that this is how it works for a long time.

It’s only now that internet providers have been sitting up and taking notice, trying to decide how best to protect our children from porn online.

The debate recently has focused on how ISP’s (companies like Sky, BT Broadband, Talk Talk etc.) are going to deal with it. Companies such as Talk Talk have introduced network filtering where porn would not even make it into the home.

But there are still questions that need to be answered.

Who decides which sites are blocked? Will it be full proof i.e. will non porn sites be blocked too?

Will they work on everything? What about file sharing networks, facebook, twitter, message boards?

Will we be forced to turn on filters?

Isn’t that dangerous?

Coming from a position where I work to see people free from porn, where I am passionate about men and women reclaiming their lives, where I want our children to be protected, I think filters are so important.

However, I don’t agree with censorship. If you want to look at porn you should be free to. As a Christian some may view this as a strange stance. As someone who has struggled with porn it may seem even stranger. But God isn’t interested simply in us not sinning. He is interested in us entering a loving relationship with Him where we are transformed into people who love others and who find something greater than porn to live for.

If you want to quit looking at porn you need a filter. You need to tell someone. To be open and honest with someone you can trust and will guide you.

But you need more. You need to work through issues that maybe led you to porn in the first place. You need God’s help. You need other people to help.

If you want your kids protected from porn you need a filter. You need to watch what they are watching.

But you need more. You need to show them how men should view women. To protect them. You need to not be looking at porn yourself. Sounds obvious but…

If people want to look at porn they will find a way. Millions of people found a way before the internet and they would still if the internet vanished.

At the end of the day if you really want to look at porn you will. But the questions Churches should be asking are “Do we talk about this enough?” “Do we create a safe environment for Christians to get help?” “Do our leaders have a problem with porn?”
And just as important..

“Are we letting the internet babysit our kids?”


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