Having written a book on the topic of masculinity, I have received my fair share of questions and comments from readers about how to deal with the scourge of internet pornography.
Before I continue, I will herein refer to pornography as “evil images” because I believe that is what they are and what they should be called. In addition, some words are “triggers” for men who struggle with this particular vice. Therefore, I think it is good to use a term that does not sanitize the diabolical nonsense and calls it what it is.
Evil images have ruined marriages, they have ruined vocations, and they have ruined souls. I will not venture to categorize the hierarchy of vices that are available to mankind in any specific order, but those damnable images would be near the top of the list.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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There are a host of great resources out there to help men deal with the issue, which affects men of all stripes and all ages. It is my contention that as good as the available tools and psychological aids are in helping men to combat the satanic habit, a certain disposition is necessary for a man to have any success: a hatred for evil and the demon of evil images.
There is a moment in C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra where the protagonist of the sci-fi tale—Elwin Ransom—literally beats the devil to death with his bare hands. If you have not read Lewis’ The Space Trilogy, please do; it is remarkable. At any rate, without giving too much away, Ransom finds himself on a fictional Venus embroiled in an attempt to stop the devil from ruining the innocence of a new race of quasi-humans. It is not a catechetical work, and Lewis takes many an artistic license to tell a wonderful tale, but the moral of the story is magnificent.
At one point, Ransom finds himself arguing with the pseudo-incarnation of the devil who is attempting to tempt a woman who is like an Eve figure. After days of nauseating argument with the demonic intelligence, the hero of the story decides that “enough is enough,” and he wakes up with the motivation to beat Satan to a pulp, even if it kills him.
There is a moment where the reader takes a look into the main character’s interior dialogue, and Lewis writes of the exhilaration of a “proper hatred” of pure evil. He writes it as if this sort of feeling wouldn’t be possible on earth, as the story takes place in a setting that is like Earth before the Fall, thus the juxtaposition of good and evil is stark and without vagueness.
However, Lewis wrote this book in the 1950s, long before every man woman and child could carry around a catalogue of evil imagery on their mobile phone. The ancient Druids would blush at the amount of perverted revelry the average person has at his fingertips.
I think we should righteously channel our inner Elwin Ransom and view the devil of pornography as he viewed the actual devil in Lewis’ masterpiece—we should all revel in beating the demon of evil images to death, no matter the cost.
Is there a level of hatred for those infernal images that is strong enough? Can you hate the thing that is ruining your family, your Church, your marriage, and your shot at eternal salvation enough? I do not think so.
If we really understood what those damned moving pictures do to souls and virtue, we would be ripping our garments and putting on sackcloth and ashes. Evil images are not just a bad habit, they are not just a bad idea—they are evil itself animated in LED-transmitted hieroglyphs etched with all the power of Hell.
It is hard to quantify what those things have done to the human race. If God struck us all down tomorrow for playing so fast and loose with such evil, I would only ask “what took You so long?”
If an intruder came into your home in the middle of the night brandishing a weapon, what would you do? I imagine you would not reason with the man, and you would be justified with giving him an ammo-powered welcome that would be his comeuppance.
Now, how much more violence should you level at the demon of evil images who you invite into your heart and soul? He, too, brandishes a weapon—it is a rifle that shoots mortal-sin-tipped bullets right into the center of your soul. There is no limit as to what should be done to such a lamentable creature as this. “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
There is no fate that is too undignified for the intruder who brings evil images into your home and mind—he is a criminal of existential proportion.
Often, men will tell me that they have “tried everything” to stop partaking in Hell’s imagistic economy of sin; but they haven’t.
Men watch the nauseating pictures almost exclusively on tablets, smartphones—phones that make them act like idiots—and computers/TV. If you have an issue and you still own a smartphone, please do not tell me you have actually tried until you cast the device into a pit of fire.
Isn’t that a bit extreme? Yes. The fires of Hell are extremely hot, and the risk of destroying your marriage and your children because of your own bad habit is an extreme endeavor indeed.
There are a million excuses to be sure: “I need my phone for work,” you say. Fine, get another job. “You don’t understand, that tablet is really useful for other things,” I am told. You’re right, it is a useful device that demons use to damn your soul.
Can you imagine if a man who struggled with the bottle continued working as a bartender or bouncer? This is what it is like for a man when he thinks he can simply get an internet filter on his iMac and everything will be okay. If you are truly addicted, there are so many layers of dopamine and vice that must be peeled back. You cannot play around in the same bad neighborhood and expect to not be shot.
If you have a device that belongs to the devil, please, smash it to pieces, burn the dust and particles, and then call a good priest to exorcise your home and anything that ever had anything to do with that habit.
Fighting fire with fire is sometimes appropriate, and it is a fun metaphor to consider. However, a bit of cold therapy is appropriate in this case.
It is a bit of an old wives’ tale that a single cold shower will cool down the loins of a man in a bestial state of mind, but it is not wholly untrue.
When we immerse ourselves in a cold tub or shower—or your backyard in January on this side of the COVID-19 curtain—we experience a flood of oxygen and blood to our extremities as a response to the frozen stimulus. If a man is struggling with evil images, I highly recommend that he embraces the old cold-shower remedy, but as a habit.
Addictions foster a flood of blood and hormones to the brain, and they are so strong that they essentially numb his ability to think about anything else except for the vice. Cold therapeutic activity offers a similar experience, as the polar-bear plunge basically cancels your brain’s ability to think about anything other than warming up. Only 2-3 minutes are necessary to do the trick.
Also, there is a bit of a euphoric feeling when temperature regulation is reached, which is a lawful pleasure rather than an unlawful one.
In addition, cold showers and the like force a man to build habits of virtue self-mastery that his evil-images habit shows are lacking.
You might look at it this way—it is better to freeze a bit on Earth than to burn forever in Eternal Hell Fire.
[Image Credit: Unsplash]