WASHINGTON — An esteemed Christian apologist is using his platform and influence to combat the pornography scourge and is warning parents to prepare their kids to face its dangers by the time they are five years old.
Gathered before a crowd of 30 pastors and ministry leaders at the office of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Wednesday, best-selling author Josh McDowell exhorted everyone to tackle this issue head-on.
McDowell, 77, who is himself a sexual abuse survivor, recounted that about eight or nine years ago he felt as though there was a mysterious destructive phenomenon going on in culture that was fundamentally altering the belief systems of young people. He could not quite put his finger on what it was but it was affecting their relationships with their parents, the church, and with God. The phenomenon, he would determine, is "pervasive Internet pornography" and as an apologist for the Christian faith, he felt compelled to speak to this.
"Very seldom am I surprised by the research," McDowell said.
Porn sites produce enormous amounts of new data each day.
He found out that if one were to print out the data from just one site alone — he did not name it — it produced enough pornographic materials to fill the Empire State Building every single day for a year.
And parents, particularly homeschooling Christian parents, are delusional if they think they can somehow completely protect their children from porn. The sad reality is that they will see it and they are seeing at alarmingly young ages.
"I always tell [parents], by five years old you'd better have your child prepared," McDowell said.
He noted that he was at first unsure of the popular phrase "Fight the New Drug"
Pornography. He was wary but upon studying how pornography affects people physiologically, he agreed. Porn's effect on the brain is like cocaine and heroin together.
"Cocaine is a stimulant, you shoot it up, and it stimulates you," McDowell said. By contrast, "heroin is an opiate, which means it brings you down."
The Christian Post asked McDowell whether or not he sees a cultural shift away from porn coming in light of the scientific data now available about what porn does to the human brain and arguments against porn coming from secular liberals and feminists in mainstream publications.
"I think we are seeing the results of many organizations, not just Christian organizations, many organizations that have taken this on," he replied, praising the impact of NCOSE (National Center on Sexual Exploitation), Enough is Enough, and other groups. Nowadays, he sees "ten times as many pastors" talk about this issue compared to 10 years ago, and not only talk about it openly but "being given the freedom to address it, and how to deal with it in their own lives."
"So I don't see a great wave yet, but I think it's coming. If I have anything to do with it, it's going to come," McDowell said.
"When you talk about a cultural change, the only cultural change I am seeing now is to do with truth."
One example he pointed to was gender being self-determined rather than biological.
He recalled telling his son who has a Ph.D. and is a professor at Biola University that this was the first time that "feelings trumped science."
Other manifestations of this phenomena include Duquesne University students saying they felt threatened by the presence of Chick-Fil-a on campus, and Berkeley students opposed to hearing the views of conservative speakers, he said. The most outrageous example he knew of was a news item he saw on television that morning where Harvard reportedly decided to scrap late fees on overdue library books because the costs were stressing out its students.