Internet Porn Pandemic Threatens World and Church, Apologetics Conference Highlights

(Photo: The Christian Post/Napp Nazworth)Donna Rice Hughes, president and CEO of Enough is Enough, speaking at Southern Evangelical Seminary's 21st Annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics, Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 11, 2014.

CHARLOTTE — Southern Evangelical Seminary's 21st Annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics shined a light on the problem of Internet pornography with Enough is Enough CEO and President Donna Rice Hughes calling it a pandemic.

"The Internet pornography pandemic has become one of the greatest global threats to children, marriages, families and nations. No one is immune," said Hughes in her Saturday speech.

Citing peer reviewed research, Hughes noted that Internet porn harms children and leads to addiction, divorce and violence against women. It also contributes to the growing sex trafficking industry.

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(Photo: The Christian Post/Napp Nazworth)Donna Rice Hughes, president and CEO of Enough is Enough, speaking at Southern Evangelical Seminary's 21st Annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics, Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 11, 2014.

The average age, she said, at which children first view pornography is 11, and 93 percent of boys and 91 percent of girls have viewed porn before they are 18. This is important because viewing porn is highly addictive. It shuts down the prefrontal cortex of the brain and alters brain development in kids who watch it. After that, true intimacy with a partner becomes more difficult. With the technological advances of smartphones, one-third of teenagers now carry the equivalent of X-rated theaters in their pockets, Hughes added.

Hughes also delivered an Oct. 9 speech and participated in a panel discussion during the women's pre-conference. Enough is Enough is a nonprofit organization that works to make the Internet safer for children, including fighting child porn and sexual predators who use the Internet to find their victims.

SES President Richard Land noted that he invited Hughes to the conference because he recognized that Internet porn has become a significant issue within the Body of Christ. In addition to her two speeches, Hughes wrote articles for the conference program and SES' recent issue of Christian Apologetics Journal (pdf file here).

(Photo: The Christian Post/Napp Nazworth)Donna Rice Hughes (L), president and CEO of Enough is Enough, and Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, at SES's 21st Annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics, Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 11, 2014.

In his Friday remarks, Land pointed out that Internet porn is a significant problem among Christians too. Over two-thirds, 68 percent, of Christian men and boys watch porn regularly, and among 18 to 30-year-old Christian men, about one in three, 36 percent, view pornography daily and 32 percent admit to having an addiction, he said.

Land also pointed to published research showing what viewing pornography does to the human brain.

"The repeated viewing of porn literally changes the physical structures and chemical balance in [the brain]," Land said. "It rewires your brain from gratification of your partner to self-gratification and it reduces your partner to an appliance."

Land encouraged his audience to not live in denial but to recognize that pornography is a problem in their own church. Pornography is the devil's most powerful tool, he added, because it attacks the human ability to form relationships.

Hughes pointed to several efforts being led by Enough is Enough. Through its "Internet Safety 101" program, it helps parents, who it says are the "first line of defense," with ways to keep their kids away from porn. It has also begun a petition to ask McDonald's and Starbucks to take the lead in filtering porn from their free wi-fi.

At the end of her speech, Land prayed for Hughes, asking God to place a "hedge of protection" around her and her ministry.