Examining the Theological Implications of Pornography


October 10th 2023

#280: Examining the Theological Implications of Pornography

What if there’s more to our bodies than what meets the eye in the world of pornography?

Engage with us in this eye-opening conversation as we expose the profound distortions in the portrayal of human bodies and sexuality in pornography.

We dig into the theological implications, examining the chasm between the demeaning images presented in adult content and the divine design of our bodies.

We’ve discovered a troubling narrative, where male strength and genitalia are associated with power, control, and selfish pleasure, while a woman’s body is reduced to an object of arousal, devoid of its divine essence.

Witness as we unravel the dark underbelly of pornography, where God’s beautiful design for the human body is twisted and distorted for superficial satisfaction.

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We dissect the stark contrasts between this distortion and the tenderness, nourishment, and nurturing associated with God’s love.

Pornography may promise thrill and satisfaction, but we challenge you to join us in a different narrative, one where we honor the divine in our bodies, celebrate the life-giving nature of sexuality, and turn our hearts towards a God who loves us and gave himself for us.

Tune in and allow us to guide you on a journey of discovery and self-reflection.

Transcription: Examining the Theological Implications of Pornography

Josh Glaser [00:00:00]:

You. Welcome back, everybody. Hey. So last week we talked about theology of the body, and I was queuing all that up, doing a quick, quick flyover of what theology of the body teaches us about what God is like. And the premise in that was is all about this this reality that God has designed our bodies, male and female. And he’s designed marriage between husband and wife and the marital sexual union between husband and wife to serve. As an image pointing to what he is like and pointing as an image pointing to what our eternal destiny with him is meant to be. Things like he is self giving, he is loving, he is life giving.

Josh Glaser [00:00:47]:

He creates new life. There’s new birth in Him also, including things like, we are designed to be united with Him. We are designed to be one with Him, to be invited into the life of the Trinity. All the joy, all the ecstasy, all the pleasure, all the love that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have shared for all eternity, we are invited into, and our bodies speak to that. Our bodies are meant to image and point us in that direction. Action. And the marital sexual union between husband and wife is meant to point us in that direction also. And I was doing all of that last week.

Josh Glaser [00:01:21]:

I mean, it’s worth it in and of itself. It’s worth spending much, much more time than the ten minutes we talked last week. But I was doing all that last week, really to try to kind of as a preface to addressing the reality that pornography also has a theology. That if our bodies have a theology, then pornography is trying to take and twist the message of our bodies the image of our bodies, the image of male and female, the image of sexual union. And it too is speaking something about what God is like. I’m not saying it’s trying to. But if God according to Romans One, if God’s divine attributes his eternal nature, his infinite power is meant to be conveyed. If he created nature, if he created all things, including human beings, to image Him, then that means that when the enemy twists something in creation, his primary intent or maybe his subtle underlying attempt is to twist the way that God is conveyed on the earth.

Josh Glaser [00:02:23]:

He doesn’t twist anything about the reality of God, but he twists something about our perception of what God is like. And in our pornographic culture, it’s hard to discern the reality of God. So I want to talk about if theology of the body, which is insider language, it’s called top. So I want to talk about theology of pornography, which is top. So in theology of the body, man’s genitals have meaning. Women’s genitals have meaning. Man’s body, a woman’s body, a woman’s breasts have meaning. They convey something of the goodness, the life giving love of God, the self giving, self sacrificing, self donating love of God.

Josh Glaser [00:03:06]:

Pornography takes that meaning and twists it. So what’s the meaning of you think about pornography. If a man’s body has meaning in pornography, what’s its meaning? What does it mean? Let’s look at a man’s strength. What does it mean in pornography? In pornography it’s not self giving. It means he’s the one in control, he’s the one with power. He’s the one who can abuse and hurt and force the other. That’s just rampant in theology or in pornography. Sorry.

Josh Glaser [00:03:39]:

What about a man’s genitalia in theology of the body? A man’s genitalia in God’s design is meant to convey life giving love. In pornography it’s all about selfish pleasure, selfish, self seeking pleasure, forcing oneself on another for selfish gratification. It’s all about the man’s need, the man’s want, the man’s feelings, the man’s desire. In so much pornography, the woman is actually disregarded. And you even get the sense in pornography that a woman’s pleasure is simply doing whatever the man wants. What would that suggest? If that’s an image of a God, and I’m not suggesting it’s in any way the image of the true God, but if it’s an image of a God small g, what is it imaging about that God? Let’s talk about a man’s semen for a minute. In theology of the body, as God designed it, a man’s body pours forth life and love into his bride to create new life. Where’s that in pornography? It’s absent.

Josh Glaser [00:04:49]:

Man’s semen has no meaning in pornography at all. At all. I mean, if anything, I don’t know what meaning does it have? It doesn’t have any. What about a woman’s body in pornography? What does it convey? What is it image in pornography? What’s its meaning in pornography? Well, a woman’s body in pornography also that meaning is twisted in theology of the body. Her body is an image of the Church, is an image of the receptive openness of the Church, the faithful Church that receives the life and love of God. It’s also, through childbirth, an image of the cross of Christ on the cross, giving his body for the sake of new birth. And just as a mother gives her body for the sake of the birth of her children, she walks through that pain for the good of the child whom she loves, just as Christ walks through his pain for the sake of the children he loves. That’s the theology of the body.

Josh Glaser [00:05:54]:

What about in pornography? In pornography there’s no conception. There’s no conception. Matter of fact, if you look at pornography, it’s mysteriously all procreative design is removed from porn. A man’s semen doesn’t mean anything, a man’s penis doesn’t mean anything. A woman’s genitalia, her vagina doesn’t mean anything. She doesn’t give birth, she doesn’t get pregnant. It’s all just mysteriously absent. And in our pornographic culture it’s mysteriously absent.

Josh Glaser [00:06:22]:

Pregnancy in our pornographic culture is viewed, I would suggest, on par with sexually transmitted diseases, sexually transmitted infections, because contraception is used to protect a woman from two things an STI and pregnancy. And I’m not suggesting that everybody thinks this way, but I am suggesting that in a pornographic culture, through a pornographic lens, and certainly in pornography itself, pregnancy is off the table, right? We’re not considering it all. A woman’s body doesn’t mean that. As a matter of fact, at the risk of being a little bit too graphic here, a woman’s body, the different parts of a woman’s body don’t have meaning in the same way. So there are two organs in the human person that are specifically design to unite with an organ in the other sex. So a man’s penis and a woman’s vagina are specifically designed, physically designed to fit with each other. There’s no other organ in the human person that’s designed like that. And specifically there’s a procreative design that’s built in to that sexual union, to the physiology of male and female.

Josh Glaser [00:07:42]:

But in pornography, that is all erased. The physical design doesn’t matter. And so, at the risk of being graphic here, a woman’s body, any part of her will do as long as it can arouse the man. So there’s no difference in a woman’s body, in pornography, in a woman’s body between her vagina and her anus, or her mouth or any other part of her. And again, I hope I’m not being too graphic here, but I’m trying to make a point that pornography twists something and distorts something grotesquely. It changes what a woman is for and the meaning of her life, the meaning of the man’s life too. Because as he pours forth what is intended to convey life and love whole, does he pour it forth? Where does it go? And to what end? Pornography is a vandalism of this beautiful design that God has created. And what about her breasts? Similarly, I talked last week about how a woman’s breasts, a mother’s breasts are this beautiful image of the tenderness and nourishment and nurturing of God, and how her breasts produce milk from her blood, and how there’s this interweaving of the theology of Christ with a woman’s body and what dignity and respect and awe we ought to have as we behold a woman, a mother breastfeeding her child.

Josh Glaser [00:09:14]:

But in pornography, what are breasts for? They’re again, just something to arouse a man’s desire. They have no deeper meaning than that. And so last week I ended the podcast by asking the question what kinds of words come to mind when you hear the beauty of God’s design in theology of the body? And now I’d ask what kinds of words come to mind if pornography is depicting some type of God? What are some of the words, the adjectives that would describe that type of type of God? Selfish, self seeking, violent, overpowering, uncaring, certainly not tender, harsh, abusive? I mean, the list goes on. But certainly if we want to nourish our hearts, if we want to nourish our hearts and to recognize who the real God is and which God we want to follow. Which God’s story about what it means to be a human person we prefer do we prefer the story of the God small, g God who says your bodies are worth nothing more than being a receptacle for the other person’s pleasure? To be a receptacle of abuse, your body has no meaning that points to eternity or anywhere. It’s just all about animalistic, self seeking, selfish, violent pleasure. Is that a God worth worshipping or would rather turn our eyes turn our hearts turn our faces towards the God who says your bodies, as I design them, point to me and my self giving, self donating eternal, unending faithful, fruitful love for you, my bride, whom I gave my life for and whole. I’m with to nourish and nurture and be with for all eternity.

Josh Glaser [00:11:13]:

This is a beautiful picture, especially compared to the demonic God of pornography. So brothers and sisters, I hope that just kind of encourages you to I guess I’m kind of hoping that this will kind of tear back, pull back the curtain on porn and the glamour that it suggests that it is, the fun that it suggests it is, it really is nothing of the sort. It is degrading to who you are and to who men are and who women are and certainly to what God is like. So recognize really truthfully the demonic God that is portrayed in porn and let that stir you and provoke you and invite you and woo you towards the God who loves you and who gave himself for you, who gave his body for you, that you might have life with him and love with him for all of eternity. God, turn our hearts. They’ve been taken captive by the small g God and the selfish pleasure of porn. Turn our hearts, Lord, from our selfish lust and the selfish lust of pornography to behold you, the loving God. Woo our hearts, Lord.

Josh Glaser [00:12:25]:

Woo our bodies towards you and teach us who we really are, that we might see you more and more clearly as you really are. Oh, Lord. We need this. We can’t do it ourselves. Help us, we pray in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Questions about this week’s podcast:

  1. How does the concept of the “theology of the body” shape your understanding of God’s design for male and female relationships?
  2. In what ways does pornography distort and twist the meaning and purpose of the human body?
  3. How does pornography convey a false image of power and control in relation to sexuality?
  4. Discuss the role of selfish pleasure and gratification in pornography and how it contrasts with the idea of self-giving love.
  5. What does pornography suggest about the value and dignity of women in society?

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