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Men adrift in fake love, fake war

June 26, 2012

By Randy Alcorn
Eternal Perspectives Ministries, Sandy Oregon
Author of Heaven

I have lamented before about the large number of young men who are not readers, and who therefore are not readers of God’s Word or great books that can deepen their walk with God, and prepare them to be Christ-centered leaders of their families and churches. I have also commented on the addiction to video games, movies, TV and social media that has drained them of time and interest to discover the virtues and satisfaction of reading and sustained contemplative thought. I have also addressed the pornography problem, which has shipwrecked countless young men in our culture, and in our churches…Russell Moore has written an excellent and important article addressing some of these issues. I highly recommend that every parent, church leader, young man and young woman read it and take it to heart. We can break the chains and reverse the trend, but only if we first recognize the reality and depth of the problem we are facing among young men in our culture and in our churches:

Fake Love, Fake War: Why So Many Men Are Addicted to Internet Porn and Video Games

by Russell Moore

You know the guy I’m talking about. He spends hours into the night playing video games and surfing for pornography. He fears he’s a loser.

And he has no idea just how much of a loser he is. For some time now, studies have shown us that porn and gaming can become compulsive and addicting. What we too often don’t recognize, though, is why.

In a new book, The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It, psychologists Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan say we may lose an entire generation of men to pornography and video gaming addictions. Their concern isn’t about morality, but instead about the nature of these addictions in reshaping the pattern of desires necessary for community.

If you’re addicted to sugar or tequila or heroin you want more and more of that substance. But porn and video games both are built on novelty, on the quest for newer and different experiences. That’s why you rarely find a man addicted to a single pornographic image. He’s entrapped in an ever-expanding kaleidoscope.

Quote from Russell Moore There’s a key difference between porn and gaming. Pornography can’t be consumed in moderation because it is, by definition, immoral. A video game can be a harmless diversion along the lines of a low-stakes athletic competition. But the compulsive form of gaming shares a key element with porn: both are meant to simulate something, something for which men long.

Pornography promises orgasm without intimacy. Video warfare promises adrenaline without danger. The arousal that makes these so attractive is ultimately spiritual to the core.

Satan isn’t a creator but a plagiarist. His power is parasitic, latching on to good impulses and directing them toward his own purpose.

God intends a man to feel the wildness of sexuality in the self-giving union with his wife. And a man is meant to, when necessary, fight for his family, his people, for the weak and vulnerable who are being oppressed.

The drive to the ecstasy of just love and to the valor of just war are gospel matters. The sexual union pictures the cosmic mystery of the union of Christ and his church. The call to fight is grounded in a God who protects his people, a Shepherd Christ who grabs his sheep from the jaws of the wolves.

When these drives are directed toward the illusion of ever-expanding novelty, they kill joy. The search for a mate is good, but blessedness isn’t in the parade of novelty before Adam. It is in finding the one who is fitted for him, and living with her in the mission of cultivating the next generation. When necessary, it is right to fight.

But God’s warfare isn’t forever novel. It ends in a supper, and in a perpetual peace.

Moreover, these addictions foster the seemingly opposite vices of passivity and hyper-aggression. The porn addict becomes a lecherous loser, with one-flesh union supplanted by masturbatory isolation. The video game addict becomes a pugilistic coward, with other-protecting courage supplanted by aggression with no chance of losing one’s life.

In both cases, one seeks the sensation of being a real lover or a real fighter, but venting one’s reproductive or adrenal glands over pixilated images, not flesh and blood for which one is responsible.

Zimbardo and Duncan are right, this is a generation mired in fake love and fake war, and that is dangerous. A man who learns to be a lover through porn will simultaneously love everyone and no one. A man obsessed with violent gaming can learn to fight everyone and no one.

The answer to both addictions is to fight arousal with arousal. Set forth the gospel vision of a Christ who loves his bride and who fights to save her. And then let’s train our young men to follow Christ by learning to love a real woman, sometimes by fighting his own desires and the spirit beings who would eat him up. Let’s teach our men to make love, and to make war . . . for real.

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Discuss this article

Jon July 15, 2012

Randy Alcorn,

Much of what you say bears truth… but it is unfair for you to only look at one side of the problem.

This generation of young men has seen their fathers, uncles, and older friends’ lives ruined by a court system that is biased against them. We see no-fault divorce laws grant an adulterous woman the house, the children, and a monthly check… while the man, even if he did NOTHING wrong… is relegated to poverty, separation from his children, and an effective 75% tax rate, along with the overhanging threat of jail.

We see laws allow the woman to essentially “snap her fingers”, and cast the man into jail based on an unfounded accusation. Yes, women today have the power to put their husbands on a “time out”. What Christian man wants to sign up to submit to a woman that the Lord has created to be our helper?

We have NO say or power or authority in what happens to our own families or even our own selves. And the church does NOTHING! Lambasting men for not marrying, while consoling divorced women. It is the divorced women that you should be lambasting! Where is the church governance system that Paul advocated for?

Men are turning to video games and porn because they have made the rational calculation that it is better than “nagging and divorce court”. Even I, as a 28-year old Christian man, who does not watch porn or fornicate… am considering a sexless, celibate lifestyle as an alternative to subjecting myself to that system. And please don’t humor me with the “find a good, Christian girl” advice… the Christian church’s divorce rate is also 50%.

I am angry… and I believe that a lot of young men are as well. I personally believe that this is what 1 Timothy 4:3 refers to with regards to, “in the last days, there will be those… forbidding to marry.” Perhaps not an outright abolition of marriage (Jesus did say that when He comes we’d still be “marrying and given in marriage”), but by making marriage such a bad deal with too much cost for too little benefit… that men don’t take that deal anymore.

And by the way… maybe we’re just not interested in feminist women with a superior attitude, that have had 20 sexual partners and are “career-focused”. Maybe there is SUCH a dearth of quality women… women that want to be mothers and wives… such that men, being left to choose between solitude and a feminist… are making the RIGHT and WISE choice in selecting solitude.

This is not to excuse men that watch porn, since they are “committing adultery in their heart”… but why does the church excuse women for divorcing based on their “feelings”, or excuse women for rampant hypergamous promiscuity? And then try to SHAME men in to “manning up”, “stepping up to the plate”, or “coming into manhood” by marrying these “women”…

You want to help the marriage situation? We must…
– Repeal the Violence against Women Act (VAWA)
– Enact a church governance system apart from the secular world.
– Remove the legal incentives that reward women for filing divorce.
– Pursue EQUALITY in the family courts, including child custody.
– Eliminate Alimony for a no-fault filer or marriage wrong-doer
– Make child support based strictly on child expenses, to be proven with receipts. No more vacations with child support money…

These are practical solutions that are consistent with the Word. THESE might work… but SHAMING language… will not work… we’re too far past our breaking point for that…

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