Religious Prohibitions and Porn

I love it when what I’m reading offline and online complement or frame one another.  Here’s one for today:

Offline, I’m reading through The Fidelity of Betrayal by Peter Rollins, I got to a section where Rollins talks about how our religious convictions allow us to continue to act in ways with a minimum of guilt:

Is this not what Paul intimately understood when he wrote that the law and sin are interconnected, that is, that religious prohibitions generate the very activity they attempt to abolish? … Paul understood that the law, while manifested as the obstacle to sin, secretly provided it with oxygen.  So then, strange as it may first sound, religious convictions can thus provide an implicit command to act in a way that they explicitly reject.

Online, this popped up in my feed reader and I used it in my sermon on Sunday:

Residents of 27 states who passed laws banning gay marriages had 11% more pornography subscribers than states that don’t restrict marriage.
Source: ABC News 

Interesting!  I know correlation is not causation, but it’s interesting that religious convictions against sexual minorities has a correlating uptick in pornography consumption.  Hmm….possibly a bit selective in our sexual ethics, aren’t we?

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Comments

  1. Blake Huggins says

    re: offline reading. I don’ know if you’ve had a chance to jump into those Rollins PDF articles, but he goes into the notion of guilt and perpetuating that which we are seeking to suppress at length in one of them. If I recall correctly he goes so far as to call it religious fetishism. Don’t remember which one it was at the moment, but it seems like that news story is definitely indicative of that sort of thing. Interesting!

  2. carolynsinger says

    OMG book = want. want NOW.

    I was still a little bit disappointed not to finally find a non-fundie book that addresses the porn issue head-on. But descontructionism made me *squee!*

  3. Larry B says

    Jeremy,

    I honestly mean no offense here, but your use of the statistics is dubious at best. If you read the actual paper from Edelman, the following is stated about the stat:

    subscriptions to this adult entertainment service are weakly more prevalent than in other states ( p = 0.096).

    In other words to get the statistical test to show that the observed means can be considered different, the p value had to be adjusted significantly to make this finding. Using a different p value would have led to the conclusion that there isn’t a significant difference.

    Looking further into the report it appears that the purpose of the report is to provide adult entertainment providers with appropriate arguments to bolster their position that porn should be more widely available. The sections on religion are oddly out of place with the rest of the study and appear to be aimed at countering arguments by governments that would claim the religiosity of a region should allow for restrictions on porn.

    What didn’t get highlighted in the ABC report was the increase in porn subscriptions among those who do more social service and charity work, or the increase that comes with higher income, or higher education levels, or that it is more prevalent in urban rather than rural areas, and more prevalent among young people. It’s funny to me how all of those factors I just listed above usually contribute to a more accepting attitude towards gay marriage. Could I reasonably conclude from the stats that people who favor gay marriage watch more porn? If I set my p value right, then yes I can.

  4. Rev. Jeremy Smith says

    And that, my friends, is called investigative reporting…by someone like Larry who understands statistics! Thanks for expanding our understanding.

    Your last paragraph is *very* interesting. Perhaps because it is based on “subscriptions” then those who are more open with sexuality buy subscriptions…while those who have a more closed understanding of sexuality sneak in their pornography for free! That’s pure conjecture, mind you, as there’s no statistic for that, but plausible.

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