RALEIGH, N.C. (BP)--Of the more than 40,000 species of spiders, most spin webs in which to trap their prey. The Internet can just as easily immobilize the user, entangling him in a web. Internet pornography can be as appealing as the early morning dew on a spider's latticework capturing the sun's rays and reflecting them in a million directions.
The yellow garden spider can spin a web two feet across, but a porn website can literally circle the globe and entangle many more careless Internet users.
Some spiders alternately slacken and tighten their webs when an insect makes contact; this immobilizes the prey in the spider's straightjacket until dinnertime. Similarly it only takes a short time to become crippled by porn.
I was late going online; intimidated by overhearing veteran surfers using a language that was not my vernacular, I thought "Java Chat" was enjoying conversation over coffee and the only "links" I knew about were for golfers.
To my surprise, I found myself vulnerable to stumbling in this area. While researching, I ventured onto sites that included pornography. Shocked at its accessibility and how easily a Christian leader like myself could fall into it, I went to my wife for accountability.
Can we use the Web's advantages without becoming entangled in its snare? Yes, but like a malfunctioning toilet, the Internet can deliver sewage directly into our homes and offices. More than 200,000 pornographic websites are on the Internet today, we're told, with 300 new ones being added daily. And its proliferation has mushroomed the number of people viewing it, with an estimated 20 million adults visiting cybersex sites each month. Someone who would never enter an adult bookstore for fear of being seen will let the bookstore enter their home, office or study through the Web. Yes, study as in "pastor's study."
Statistics reveal many pastors wrestling with Internet pornography, with of 68 percent of men in one recent survey at five religiously affiliated schools acknowledging they had intentionally looked for porn online. Clay Crosse
, a Christian musician has spoken publicly about his struggle with and freedom from pornography. His courageous candor has been a wake-up call to many Christians around the country.
C.S. Lewis, in his book "Mere Christianity," wrote, "... we grow up surrounded by propaganda in favor of unchastity. There are people who want to keep our sex instinct inflamed in order to make money out of us. Because, of course, a man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales resistance." Lewis wrote that in 1943 -- and just over 50 years later, in 1994, his words were underscored by the $10 billion collected on pornography outlets.
Parents from across the country have begun to awaken; their children are porn addicts and it's no wonder. In most cases the teen has a computer in his room with Internet access. That's comparable to buying your son a lifelong subscription to every hard-core porn magazine in the nation.
For many women, the Internet's lure is chatrooms; what seems like "innocent" conversation at first can quickly lead to sin. Users prefer fantasy versus relational sex with their spouse. Wives who have been neglected by their porn-crazed husbands begin to feel unloved. The apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 7:5, wrote that to deprive a spouse from sexual intimacy could allow Satan to gain a stronghold and lead to immorality.
As a spider's web is known for its strength and elasticity, so web porn is dangerous for its lure and toxicity. Someone has said, "The devil will take you farther than you want to go and keep you longer than you want to stay." Paul said it this way, "Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more" (Ephesians 4:19).
Wilkins, director of CROSS Ministry, Raleigh, N.C., speaks across the nation on issues related to sexual brokenness. For more information visit www.crossministry.org.