Thursday, November 23, 2006

Food for thought - Hypocrisy and party pills

(Local newspaper column)

So the sex shop in Letterkenny has withdrawn mind-altering 'party pills' from shelves after a public outcry on Highland radio.

But they aren’t the only mind-altering substances on sale in the shop. The whole concept of pornography itself is mind altering. Pornography alters our perception of women and reduces them to objects rather than people. It alters our understanding of sex, reducing it to an act of self-gratification, rather than an act of gratifying the other. Pornography with all its fakery gives unrealistic expectations. Porn alters our psyche with regard to what is acceptable behaviour, as thrill seekers have to descend on a downward spiral to find new levels that will excite them. Studies also show that there is a link between pornography and violence against women.

If a drug was available that reduced men’s perception of women to that of sex slaves and made them violent and more likely to rape or abuse, it would bring about a similar public outcry as the current ‘party pills’. Yet because no-one wants to be seen as a prude no-one makes any fuss, and so we strain out the flea while swallowing a camel.

The final irony is that the owner of the shop said in an interview in the Irish Independent, “Looking at it from a parent's point of view, I would not let my children take them.”

Does that mean that he would be happy for his children – daughters, if he has them – to star in the same films that he stocks, or pose for the same magazines he supplies, and become fantasy-fodder and gutter-talk material for the men from the same town in which they live?

There seems to me to be a certain element of hypocrisy in this. In fact the truth comes out later in the same interview: it’s not his children, but his wallet which concerns him, “I have built up a good loyal customer base in this town and we would be shooting ourselves in the foot if we continued to sell them.”

It’s all just further evidence of what happens when we make a god out of money or sex, or anything – we end up not being able to think straight, or see the inconsistency of our position. It is as God says in Rom 1:21

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools… Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator… Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts… Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

Our only hope is to call men and women not to seek mind-altering drugs, or body-satisfying sex, but to seek the God who alters our damaged souls, and who completely satisfies those who turn from rebellion and put their trust in him.

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