Your Brain on Porn (E-Book) – Book Review

by Dr. Mark Murphy

Pornography remains in high demand for one reason: it is titillating, pure and simple. The enemy would have us believe that he, not God, trades in pleasure, and that we who were created for sexual pleasure can have that experience virtually any time we want. In the age of the Internet, such pleasure is just a click away.

The enemy, of course, says nothing of the consequences of the endless pursuit of pleasure on demand. Porn does much more than titillate; it harms, in ways that recent research confirms what discerning Christians have suspected all along. Moreover, it harms everyone who touches it, from producer to consumer to innocent relations (spouse and family of the porn addict, for example).

Luke Gilkerson has distilled his work as editor of Covenant Eyes blog and done the Christian community a much-needed service by writing a synopsis of the harmful effects of porn, along with a biblical path to renewal. The e-book is entitled Your Brain on Porn: 5 proven ways pornography warps your mind and 3 biblical ways to renew it. This is a must read for any Christian who struggles with pornography.

As a physician specializing in family medicine and addiction medicine, I hear about sexual problems on a regular basis. Given the alarming statistics included in this e-book, I am more inclined to ask my patients with sexual problems if they are involved with pornography. Whereas once I was embarrassed to go there, I now unashamedly do so, because it is so necessary to identify and expose it for what it is—a blight on the soul and a relationship killer. Oftentimes, when honesty is in play, there is admission of involvement with porn, but little, if any, acknowledgement or understanding of its harmful effects. I am delighted that I now have an excellent resource, namely Luke’s book, to offer my patients when this subject is broached.

Bottom line: sex is a divine gift which, if used as intended, can result in great blessing in a marriage. But like all good gifts, sin spoils and twists sex, as we see with porn. Were that the end of the story, we would be in a fine fix. Thanks be to God that where sin abounds—and it surely does in the porn industry!—grace does more abound. The second half of this e-book deals with how the Spirit of God can renew a mind that has been warped by porn. In order for that to happen, the diet (what one consumes) must change. The mind that has focused on lustful images must now refocus on the hope of the gospel of Christ and His Word. New loves (affections) must expel old ones, as Chalmers so eloquently expressed it in his famous sermon, “The Expulsive Power of a new Affection.”

This is an active, not passive, process that involves hope in the gospel, obedience to the Word, and engagement in community. As with any work of sanctification in the life of a Christian, such renewal of the mind from the harmful effects of porn involves the Spirit of God working in the life of the redeemed child of God, who willingly cooperates with the available means of grace. I appreciate the way Paul summarizes this principle in Philippians 2:13,  “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (New Living Translation).

While there may have been a time when the Christian Church universally regarded pornography as immoral and harmful, we no longer live in that era. Hence the need for this e-book. Christians today, like their non-Christian counterparts, are highly influenced by societal mores and practices, to the extent that they are persuaded that involvement with porn—even habitually—is not necessarily deleterious to oneself or others. Yet it is, popular opinion notwithstanding, as the Scriptures so clearly teach in so many places: “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:8).

Thanks, Luke, for providing this helpful work.

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Dr. Mark Murphy is a board-certified family medicine physician. He practices medicine at Tacoma Central Family Medicine. Dr. Murphy received his undergraduate education at Stanford University and his medical training at Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and specializes in addiction medicine.