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Editors’ note: 

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The porn industry has been shaken in recent days as the world’s most popular porn website has been forced to delete millions of videos. The reason? Pornhub earns tens of millions of dollars from using content uploaded to its platform without the consent of its participants. In many cases, these include videos of rape and child abuse.

This move has generated controversy in recent days after New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff published an extensive exposé:

Pornhub is like YouTube in that it allows members of the public to post their own videos. A great majority of the 6.8 million new videos posted on the site each year probably involve consenting adults, but many depict child abuse and nonconsensual violence. Because it’s impossible to be sure whether a youth in a video is 14 or 18, neither Pornhub nor anyone else has a clear idea of how much content is illegal.

Unlike YouTube, Pornhub allows these videos to be downloaded directly from its website. So even if a rape video is removed at the request of the authorities, it may already be too late: The video lives on as it is shared with others or uploaded again and again.

In response, MasterCard and Visa banned the use of their cards for payments on the website. In order to maintain its multimillion-dollar business, Pornhub deleted millions of unverified videos and banned their further uploads, according to various news portals. CNN reports“The changes took the number of videos on the website from 13.5 million videos down to a little under 3 million.”

Pornhub is one of the most visited and well-known portals in the world, behind Google and Facebook but ahead of Microsoft and Apple, with more traffic than Netflix or Amazon. It has paid for advertising in Times Square and it offered free premium subscriptions during the first weeks of the pandemic and quarantines this year. So this news unsettles one of the internet’s biggest pillars.

Why This Matters to Christians

Christians can thank God that, in his common grace, he used a difficult-to-read report to awaken the conscience of millions to some of the evil behind the porn industry. This victory contributes to the quest for greater pressure against pornographic sites that profit in criminal ways while governments around the world turn a blind eye.

The pornography industry exerts enormous influence and entangles in its tentacles men and women of all ages, from young children to the elderly, without distinction. Christians are not exempt from its influence and enormous moral damage to our consciences. The lack of moral condemnation for pornography in society at large up to this point may indicate the depth of guilt felt by tens of millions.

As believers, we pray against this industry and its devastating effects on society. We ask that God would rescue everyone entrapped in it, whether willingly or not. A good God designed sex to be beautiful, healthy, and passionate, and enjoyed only within the intimacy of the marriage covenant. Listen to the master of wisdom in Proverbs:

Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? (Prov. 5:15–20)

The teacher of wisdom can’t fathom how someone could expose their sexuality in the sight of strangers. For him, it’s like pouring fresh water—a life-sustaining and scarce resource in the desert—into the streets. Sexuality is satisfying, even intoxicating within the framework of marital faithfulness. But sites like Pornhub make it seemingly impossible for many to keep sexuality contained. Sexual exhibition has become a public good, displayed with ease in TV series, movies, and social networks we consume regularly without remorse. Like “recreational” drugs, porn is sold as harmless, but it opens the door for stronger and even more destructive addictions.

The enormous influence of pornography is no mystery. It’s the expected result of indifference toward, and complacency with, the pervasive sexuality that’s often beamed into our living rooms and bedrooms from young ages. Pressuring Pornhub to remove millions of videos is a small step toward restoring some moral clarity. We must continue the resistance, driven by God’s Word and the Christian worldview—for our own sake, the health of our children, and the glory of God.

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