In the report, respondents in South East and North Central Nigeria are interested in their churches talking about sex. These regions are the most desirous of these conversations among the geo-political zones. I am glad. Historically, Christians in Nigeria have grappled with skewed ideologies about sex, in silence. Now, they seem more willing to open up.
I have also been thinking about why porn and masturbation rates seem high in the church, despite a strong doctrinal stance against them. I think some the following reasons may apply:
- Sexual desires are strong. They trump doctrine, when those doctrines are not explained or willingly embraced. When doctrines are enforced by fear, they seem to breed guilt & secrecy, not obedience. The stats coming out of the state of Utah in the US, demonstrate this. A deeply religious Mormon state, it has now declared porn a public health emergency.
- Porn and masturbation are viewed as a form of “safe sex” by Christians. They won’t get pregnant or impregnate people. They also won’t get Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
- In the minds of Christians, porn and masturbation are considered less evil than actual sex. Some Christians believe they are technically virgins, if they indulge in porn and masturbation, but not copulation. Doctrinally, this appears strange, as sin is both mens rea and actus reus (thought and deed). One who fantasizes about sex, is no holier than one who does it, according to Matthew 5:28.
- Porn and masturbation are a response to loneliness, despair and isolation. Christians are rarely free to have active social lives without guilt. They sometimes lack social skills, and relating with the opposite sex is highly regulated. Thus, there is tremendous pressure that cannot be released during normal conversations and hangouts with friends, in everyday social settings.
Looking at the results from the Alder Church Report, I sincerely hope that the body of Christ in Nigeria will begin to address the issues. I hope we elevate discussions about sex to a place of prime importance for the sake of this generation.Churches should elevate discussions about sex, to a place of prime importance for the sake of this generation. Click To Tweet