In the 1950s a Nobel Prize-winning Dutch scientist, Nikolaas Tinbergen, performed a study on the mating habits of butterflies. He discovered that male butterflies were attracted to certain colors and patterns on the wings of female butterflies when choosing a mate. Tinbergen then created cardboard replicas of female butterflies with larger, more brightly colored wings than real female butterflies. What he discovered was astounding. The male butterflies repeatedly and futilely tried to mate with the phony cardboard butterflies while completely ignoring the real females.
This study is one of countless examples of God’s truth revealed in His creation and is a striking analogy of the impact of pornography. Men (and women) caught in the snare of pornography become obsessed with the “cardboard butterfly” – the phony, fake, illusion - not of love, but of lust. There’s no love, no friendship, no intimacy. There’s no sacrifice required, no emotional investment, no consideration of another. The focus is only on personal pleasure. Men who use pornography become no longer satisfied with “real butterflies.” Women, like cardboard cutouts, are portrayed as objects to be used and discarded.
Women then strive to compete with the phony version of femininity. The female butterflies in Tinbergen’s study couldn’t replicate the gaudy cardboard versions, but many women try to do so. They believe the lie that sex equals love, that imitating pornography will attract men. As pornography use has sky-rocketed, so has plastic surgery and promiscuity in women.
And so we see not only the growing use of pornography, but the growing acceptance of it as well. Two years ago we opposed the pornographic “Fifty Shades of Grey” book series, which is rightly referred to as “mommy porn.” The book, centered on graphic sexual themes of BDSM (Bondage, Discipline/Dominance, Sadism and Masochism), has somehow convinced women that nothing says love and romance like sexual violence.
Who is reading “Fifty Shades of Grey,” making it one of the best-selling books of all time? Women. And not just secular women. A Barna Group study revealed that “there is no difference between the percentage of Christians who have read Fifty Shades of Grey and the percentage of all Americans who have read the book.”
In 2015 the first book in the series was turned into a movie which hit theaters just in time for Valentine’s Day. Now the second installment will be released February 10 – timed to again coincide with Valentine’s Day.
The sequel is entitled “Fifty Shades Darker.” An apt title, not only regarding the content, but also unwittingly describing the escalation of pornography. Those caught in the snare of pornography are drawn deeper and deeper into darker, more explicit perversions.
As we focus on the need for repentance in America, the epidemic of pornography and the popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey” indicate the depravity of our nation – including within the church. A 2014 study by the Barna Group revealed that 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women admitted to viewing pornography at least once a month.
Expect to hear a lot of buzz in the coming days as “Fifty Shades Darker” hits the theaters. As we do, what will be the reaction of churches, pastors, individual Christians? We should be outraged. We should use it as an opportunity to oppose such garbage and point to God’s design for love and sexuality. Yet if the Church’s inaction two years ago to “Fifty Shades of Grey” is any indication, the response will be pathetically weak. And our silence only leads to further acceptance.
We, as followers of Christ, have the responsibility to model to the world what true love is. The self-centered, self-pleasuring view of love and sex portrayed in pornography in general, and “Fifty Shades Darker” specifically, is the antithesis of love.
“Love is patient, love is kind… it is not self-seeking… Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – I Corinthians 13:4-7
Recently we received one of those rare letters that lift our spirits, encouraging us in what can often be rather discouraging work here at ADA. The gentleman wrote in part:
“It is with JOY that I compose this letter to you. … I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your intercession on my behalf as I have struggled with sexual addiction for most of my adult life. My wife spoke with one of your staff members and was so encouraged as they shared together. … It was about that time that I felt the touch of God-Almighty upon my life … I now assuredly believe that my darkness is past and I have been taken from that period of defeat and dishonor. I’m trusting my Lord DAY by DAY to lead me in the paths of righteousness so I might not return to unbelief and disobedience. We’ve received counseling … and it has been most helpful and blessed … In my small way, may I encourage you all there at ADA to take up the weapons of our warfare and FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH!
The good news of the Gospel is that in Christ there is freedom from the bondage of sin.
Millions who hopelessly seek the allure of the imitation “butterfly,” miss the beauty found only in authentic love – the love of Christ and the joy which comes in following His design.
As “Fifty Shades Darker” is promoted in the days ahead, take the opportunity to tell those around you of the lie this movie represents and point them to the true source of love.
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