How pornography kills ambition

It’s a familiar pattern.

An outgoing, enthusiastic guy begins slowly but surely to change. At first it’s almost imperceptible — a shift in mood or a vacancy in the eyes only those closest to him can see.

It’s not drastic or alarming, but it’s real. Maybe his friends start to notice when he doesn’t talk about those hobbies he used to love. Perhaps his coworkers make more and more passing remarks like, “Is everything okay?”

There’s a thin but undeniable air of apathy in all he says and does. Friendships get put on hold, and events are skipped for no particular reason. It’s nothing earth-shattering; he just seems not really there.

In my own life, and in the lives of friends I’ve known, this is one of the most reliable signs someone — male or female — is losing the battle against pornography.

The dangers of pornography are well-documented. For many years, Christian pastors, teachers and writers have warned that porn is a serious spiritual and emotional threat to individuals and families.

The effects of porn addiction have become so commonly seen in our culture that non-Christian observers are beginning to talk about it.  Time magazine, for example, recently devoted an entire cover story to the testimonies of several young men who felt their pornography usage greatly wounded them later in life.

When we list the dangers of pornography, we often address the typical things: We talk about how porn degrades and objectifies men and women.

We argue that porn puts spiritual and physical walls between husbands and wives and how it can “re-wire” our brains to cripple our capacity for real intimacy and enjoyment. All of these warnings are absolutely true and need to be repeated.

But there’s another consequence of porn, one that might seem insignificant but may actually be one of the deadliest effects of all. Porn doesn’t just dirty the imagination or wound the spirit — it also kills ambition. Continue reading

  • Samuel D. James serves in the President’s Office at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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