Romeo and Juliet (1968 movie)
Following up on two recent threads on masturbation (first / second; I opposed it and evangelical Steve Hays claims it is not proven biblically or otherwise to be a sin), I was curious if any poll results could be found about evangelical opinions. A poll of 970 evangelical (Protestant) vistors (results released on 29 August 2006), taken by "the world's most visited Christian portal, ChristiaNet.com", indicates that most still regard it as a sin, but that a suprising number have engaged in it. Here is a summary, with my percentages added:
Is masturbation a sin in God's eyes?
Yes: 392 [77%]
No: 115 [23%]
Yes: 352 [76%]
No: 111 [24%]
Yes: 744 [77%]
No: 226 [23%]
So a little more than three-quarters of evangelicals think it is a sin (about what I would have expected or suspected).
Is masturbation a part of your life?
Yes: 127 [25%]
No: 380 [75%]
Yes: 190 [41%]
No: 273 [59%]
Yes: 317 [33%]
No: 653 [67%]
This is interesting, because the women respondents participate in the sin in roughly equal proportions to how they morally regard it (23% think it is okay and 25% do it), but the male respondents have a more difficult time living up to their own stated moral viewpoint. Three-quarters (like the women) say it is wrong , yet only 59% do not engage in it.
In real numbers, 352 males said it was a sin, yet only 273 said they didn't practice it, meaning that, by rough estimate, some 22% of the males - give or take a few percentage points without exact figures of who participates in the practice - who think it is wrong, do it anyway (presumably because of addiction, or sexual frustration of some sort, deeper spiritual or emotional problems, etc., and accompanied by considerable guilt). One out of three evangelicals (male + female totals), judging by this survey, masturbate.
It would be informative to further break down the statistics by many variables, such as single vs. married, intensity of religious conviction, past teaching, teaching at their local church, peer pressure, relationship to views and practices regarding premarital sex, etc. But this poll doesn't provide that (at least not in how it was presented on these web pages).
* * * * *
The survey results-page stated:
[R]ecent research is revealing that no one is immunized against the vice-grip clutches of sexual addictive behaviors. The people who struggle with the repeated pursuit of sexual gratification include church members, deacons, staff, and yes, even clergy. And, to the surprise of many, a large number of women in the church have become victim to this widespread problem.Poll results on pornography and sexual sin in general:
. . . "The poll results indicate that 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography," said Clay Jones, founder and President of Second Glance Ministries whose ministry objectives include providing people with information which will enable them to fully understand the impact of today's societal issues. 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust, 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year, and 20% of the church-going female participants struggle with looking at pornography on an ongoing basis.
Is sex outside of marriage a sin?
Yes: 497 [98%]
No: 10 [2%]
Bravo! I went on a date once with one, in my evangelical single days, who (by all appearances and actions) fell into the 2% category, but by God's grace (and His providence), I had my wits about me that night (having recently concluded that premarital sex was wrong), and she never wanted to go out with me again!
Yes: 428 [92%]
No: 35 [8%]
Us guys are always a little more dense than the women . . . but the figures are very heartening.
Yes: 925 [95%]
No: 45 [5%]
Have you taken part in a sexual activity that is sin?
Yes: 263 [52%]
No: 244 [48%]
As expected, given temptation and human weakness and our sexually-crazed culture. Of course, one must factor in whether this was a one-time, or short-lived activity. I suspect that (especially for women) it probably was. There will also be many in evangelical (as in serious Catholic) circles who have reformed from a past immoral lifestyle. That was true in my case and in the case of many of my friends in serious Christian circles, both Protestant and Catholic.
Yes: 304 [66%]
No: 159 [34%]
Also expected, since the male sex drive is stronger, and men are more affected by visual stimuli, and generally more prone to promiscuity than women, since they are less good at associating and connecting sex with commitment and love.
Yes: 567 [58%]
No: 403 [42%]
Have you had sexual sin in your life in the last year?
Yes: 201 [40%]
No: 306 [60%]
So two out of five do, in weakness, what 98% say is wrong. I would say this is pretty much as expected also. We can take heart in the fact that almost three-fifths held to their own moral standards.
Yes: 265 [57%]
No: 198 [43%]
As usual, men find it harder to maintain even their own stated sexual morality. It ain't easy to be a guy in this modern world!
Yes: 466 [48%]
No: 504 [52%]
Is looking at pornography a sin in God's eyes?
Yes: 483 [95%]
No: 24 [5%]
Yes: 418 [90%]
No: 45 [10%]
Yes: 901 [93%]
No: 69 [7%]
Have you ever struggled with pornography?
Yes: 100 [20%]
No: 407 [80%]
As expected (though a little higher than I would have thought would be the case for evangelical women). Women learn to take on the same sins that men are burdened by. They are naturally less prone to pornography because they are not as stupid and uncivilized as us men, who often fall into thinking that sexuality has something to do with looking at two-dimensional images that aren't people, with no connection with love and relationship and commitment. But women can go against their natural (usually correct) instincts and intuitions and learn to be just as foolish as men.
They learned to accept abortion as a permissible moral "choice" due to the pressure of men and men's desire to avoid responsibility (and of course, the absurd, arbitrary, groundless, utterly without-precedent legal sanction given by the Supreme Court). I have long contended that virtually no women would ever think of committing this horrible sin if it weren't for male and societal pressure put on them.
Feminism and the entertainment and media world pick this up and institutionalizes it and then starts actively promoting the sin, then more women still pick up the immoral outlook. I think the same holds for pornography. As men are addicted to it more and more, and it is all around us, with the easiest access imaginable, on the Internet, then we will see higher numbers of women fall into the cesspool (especially those unhappy in their relationships with a man and those who move in liberal circles that actively promote sexual sin).
My own definition of radical feminism is: "the despising of men combined with the simultaneous desire and attempt to be like them in as many ways as possible" (otherwise known as "identifying with the oppressor"). Thus, women learn to have an anti-child, sex-without-responsibility ethos, just as the lower sorts of men have had for centuries: since time immemorial. They start smoking, so they can have cancer rates identical to men's, and now, increasingly they fall prey to pornography: a traditionally male-dominated vice, and I highly suspect it is again because of men who have treated them poorly or who don't fare very well to actors and models, in cases where women have cultivated a (male-dominated) visual sexual stimulus.
We can look for higher rates of promiscuity among women, too, on the same basis. If husbands want to swing a bit and play around, then some wives in a lower percentage will follow them in this practice, wanting to have their "fun" too. Sin has a contagious, diabolically-appealing element to it. In so doing, they go against their own nature: they know it is wrong, and that monogamous commitment and faithfulness is as it should be. But people do lots of strange things when they are really unhappy and unfulfilled.
Yes: 229 [49%]
No: 234 [51%]
A striking, troubling figure indeed. Internet pornography is wreaking havoc, and there must be some reaction against it at some point by Christians en masse.
Yes: 329 [34%]
No: 641 [66%]
A little more than one in three of all evangelical Christians have struggled with pornography (!!!) . . . God help us all. We can only hope that this was short-lived in many of the cases; overcome by God's grace.
Have you ever struggled with lust?
Yes: 281 [55%]
No: 226 [45%]
We can expect this figure to become higher, too, given the rampant immorality today. I suspect that much of female lustfulness is situational-oriented (being personally unhappy with their husband or boyfriend) rather than biologicaly- and visually-driven, as with men (speaking very generally).
Yes: 356 [77%]
No: 107 [23%]
About as surprising as the sun coming up tomorrow. In fact, I would say that virtually all, if not all, of the 23% are fooling themselves. Unless a man lives his whole life in a cave in the Sahara Desert, I don't see how he could avoid struggling lust, at least for some periods of time (especially when single and past puberty). But the wording in polls makes a big difference. Perhaps these 23% would say that, sure, they've lusted, but haven't "struggled" with it, as a serious problem. Some Christians, however, in all traditions, have been known to deny reality and to live in a fantasy, pie-in-the-sky world, and to suppress even their own sins and areas where they need to improve.
Yes: 637 [66%]
No: 333 [34%]
Christian Resources for Recovery From Sexual and Pornographic Addiction
In the interest in furthering recovery from sexual addiction and other sins, I'd like to link to Second Glance, the organization mentioned above, that helps Christians to overcome sexual sins and addictions. Also, see the book, 101 Freedom Exercises: Christian Guide For Sexual Addiction Recovery, by Douglas Weiss (available as an e-book, too; also see the amazon page). ProtectKids.com offers a page with dozens of Christian resources to help with sexual addiction and addiction to pornography.
For specifically Catholic assistance, see: The Catholic Support Group for Sexual Addiction Recovery (CSGSAR): "a Catholic group of fellow sufferers from addition to pornography, lust, and sins of the flesh." Also, Steve Wood offers a page of resources: Counselors for Pornographic Addiction. And there is another helpful resource: PornNoMore.com.
I urge anyone reading this who is struggling, to start right now to take back your life, and to let God heal you through trained Christian counselors and others who have emerged victorious from similar struggles. No one will know (except some others who have had the same problems). I won't know; no one else reading this will know. Do it today. Don't put it off any longer. God help us all with these growing, alarming problems in our decadent, secularized society.