Friday, 6 August 2021

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Friday, 30 July 2021

PORNOGRAPHY EFFECTS, AS AN ETHICAL ISSUES AND RESPONSE FROM THE LENS OF MAJOR RELIGIOUS TRADITION.

PORNOGRAPHY-II

PORNOGRAPHY EFFECTS, AS AN ETHICAL ISSUES AND RESPONSE FROM THE LENS OF MAJOR RELIGIOUS TRADITION.

Prelude

In Part-I we have discussed the meaning of Pornography and the statistics related to this spellbound word. It is needless to mention that pornography is rampant in our society where it reaches all corners of society and almost every door. Due to enhancement in technology and our ability to grasp in our fingertips in a go, we are more vulnerable with this pornographic visual stimulation.

In this section, we will deal with the Effects of pornography, bringing out Pornography as an Ethical Issue also throw some light with the response from major religious traditions regarding pornography.

Effects  

    Here are some key findings on the effects of pornography  


The Family and Pornography  [1]

(a)  Married men who are actively involved in pornographic elements feel less satisfied with their marital relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. They were often upset by the differences from visual stimulation.

 

(b) Pornography use is a pathway to immorality, infidelity and divorce, and is commonly a major factor in these family disasters.  

 

(c) Among couples affected by one spouse's addiction on pornography, two-thirds experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse.  

 

(d) Both spouses who accept viewing pornographic elements as tantamount to increase in desires and lust lead to third party intrusion between them.  

 

(e) Both spouses addicted in Pornography viewing leads to a loss of good family ties and family relations tends to subsides drastically.

The Individual and Pornography  [2]

 

(a) Pornography is addictive. Any Addiction is not a good term. Neuroscientists begin to map the biological subtract of this addiction.  

(b)  Users often become desensitized to the pornography they view, become bored with it, and then seek more perverse forms of pornography.  

(c) Men who view pornography on regular basis have a higher tendency to abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and other promiscuity.  

(d) Men who were addicted to pornography produces stronger concepts of women as  commodities or as "sex objects."  

(e) Porn incites more prominent sexual tolerance, which thus prompts a more serious danger of fatherless births and sexually transmitted diseases. These, thus, lead to even more shortcomings and weaknesses.

(f) Child-sex offenders are bound to see erotic entertainment routinely or to be engaged with its distribution.

 

Other Effects of Pornography[3]  

(a) Many youths who view pornography at first feel disgrace, shame, decline self-confidence, and sexual vulnerability, but these feelings rapidly shift to unadulterated happiness and enjoyment with regular viewing.  

(b) Pornography and sexually oriented businesses undoubtedly harm the surrounding community, primarily increases in crime and decreases in property values.  

(c) Pornography massively deteriorating individual, marital, family, and social life. It is time for citizens, communities and government to re-evaluate their laissez-faire approach.

 

Response to Pornography in Other Major Religious

 

Hinduism

According to Sri Swami Sivananda in his book “Importance of Brahmacharya” he stressed upon thinking of a woman, glancing at a woman or her picture, and thinking of a sinful action towards a woman and its impulses. And in Mental Discipline (Bhava) he gives much importance to annihilate lust and sexuality and to abstains all forms of immorality and to cultivate, stick and practice bhava tenaciously to glorified Brahmacharya. Lord Krishna said “Sensuality destroys life, strength, holiness, and devotion to the Supreme” and Manu-Smriti (Laws of Manu) also reiterates “Let not a Brahmin see a woman naked” [4]Therefore Hindu saints and sages including gurus, swamis, rishis, and sadhus strongly recommended to abstains/refrain from infidelities, immorality, and pornographic elements.

 

On the other hand, Kāmaśāstra-the science of love and sex (Indian sexology) and Kāmasūtra-discourse on practical advice on sexual intercourse gives different views and a breath of fresh air in terms pornographic rudiments. It is widely believed to be just a manual for sexual intercourse and offers an insight into sexual morals and ethics. Some strongly believes that it is root cause of pornography industry with the classic of written pornography by Roman poet Ovid’s Arsamatoria (art of Love) of 2nd century AD. [5] Kāmasūtra does justice to its content and the purpose of the author and understands as philosophy and ethic of pleasure.[6] Kāmasūtra will continue to be a debatable and controversial topic in regards to its stands to pornography. [7]Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev answers about the Kamasutra and its misconception as pornography, and explains that Sexuality was just another aspect of life, and Kamasutra was not written as pornography, but rather as a textbook on sexuality.[8]The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali describes the virtues that must be cultivated-abstention from lewdness and the action of the sense-organs and Yajnavalkya Smriti says “He should never gaze a nude woman, a woman engaged in a sexual act, etc.” thereby taking all these into consideration Hinduism negates pornography and it's content.[9]

 

Islam

Pornography is directly opposed to the very heart of Islamic teachings, which is highlighted by Taqwa to gain better self-control. Moreover in Quran it strongly condemn pornography which we can glean on "Surely God enjoins justice, kindness and the doing of good, to kith and kin; and He forbids all that is shameful (immorality), indecent, evil(fornication), rebellious and oppressive (Quran 16:90). All scholars agree pornography is included in the term Fuhsha and it is a universally accepted immoral act which is Munkar.[10]Qur'an 24:30-31 also clearly states that they should avoid or forbid a lustful and nakedness of human private part and fornication. All these justified for declaring pornography haram(prohibited) in Islam. Shaykh Muhammad Nur Abdullah, the Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis in Missouri succinctly said “If someone is looking at someone committing Zina (sex outside of marriage) whether it is in movies or pictures or the actual thing, it’s all Haram(prohibited/forbidden), pornographic pictures, and movies are haram. Muslims should not watch, sell or make such movies.”[11]

 

Sikkhism

Although there is no direct prohibition of pornography in Sikhism, Sikhs argue that pornographic books and films, prostitution, and lust lead to adultery. Pornography is said to encourage lust (Kaam), which is a concept described as an unhealthy obsession for sex and sexual activity. Kaam is classed as one of the 'Five Thieves', personality traits which are heavily discouraged for Sikhs, as they "can build barriers against God in their lives[12]

 

Buddhism

Like other religions, Buddhism has rigid, elaborate rules about sexual conduct. Buddhists have the Third Precept – which is regarded as Buddhist Sexual ethics “Refraining from committing sexual misconduct/practicing contentment”. In order to hold their virtue and dignity, they abstain from all kinds of pornographic elements. Even to the lay Buddhist, they are undertaken as a personal commitment to Buddhist practice, falling short is unskillful (akusala). The Second Noble Truth teaches that the cause of suffering (dukkha) is craving/desire or thirst (tanha), the craving for sense pleasures (kama). Kama is identified as one of five hindrances to the attainment of jhana (state of equanimity). Throughout the Sutta Pitaka the Buddha often teaches to abstain from this craving or desire and all form of sexual morality and behavior, so Buddhist regard pornography as a device or path to suffering.[13]

 

Pornography in Different Context  

Government Response (Laws)  

 

Under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), “any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who view it,”  is pornography. Moreover, if caught purchasing, sending, publishing, or creating pornography, you are in or at least a two-year jail sentence and or a minimum of Rs. 2000 fine.[14]

 

According to Section 67 of the Information Technology(IT) Act 2000, whoever publishes or  transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form any material which is lascivious or appeals  to the prurient interest or if its effect is such to tend of deprave or corrupt persons who are likely,  having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in  it; shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description or a term which may  extend to Five Years and with fine which may extend to One Lakh rupees and in the event of a second  or the subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description of a term which may extent to  Ten Years and also with fine which may extend to Two Lakh rupees.[15]


It may be noticed that watching or consuming pornography is not an offense as per the above law.  All that the law forbids is the publication or transmission of pornographic material. “Consumption of  pornography on a personal device is frowned upon by neither the Victorian vintage Indian Penal Code  (IPC) nor the 21st Century Legislation on Information Technology”, says journalist Manoj Mitta.  Mobiles have of late emerged as a major medium for pornography around the world. Mobiles can advantage of greater privacy. Unfortunately, the government or the law can do nothing about this. In a recent amendment to the Information Technology (IT) Act 2000, the government has given up the power to block pornographic websites purely on the ground of obscenity. Now, the courts alone can block such sites. This is because Section 69A, which came into effect on October 27, 2009, has raised the bar for the executive power to block Porn websites. The government can still block such websites but only if they create a “public order” problem, which is an unlikely probability.[16]

 

Indian Context  

Most rural folks in India enjoy access to pornography through VCD/DVD, magazines, occasionally  the Internet and of course mobiles. Thus, the porn fever is not limited only to urban contexts as might be considered. The metropolis of Chennai, along with Delhi and Mumbai has been noticed as one of the key porn industries in the nation. However, looking at the past none of these should surprise us.[17]

The Past  

There were innumerable temples depicting erotic as well as pornographic images of all kinds of sexuality practiced by humans, gods, and goddesses. Distinguished literature and religious volumes  such as Kama Sutra, Ramayana, Upanishads, and Puranas are worth mentioning at this point.[18]


The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana is a book containing detailed instructions on sexual activities and methods. It is the first literary classic in the world on the matter of sex. It teaches that the final aim of sexual pleasure is spiritual. Generally considered a great work of erotica, Kama Sutra also appears to be striking literature of pornography.[19]

 

According to Dr. Chatterjee, pornography is replete in the Ramayana, especially in the older unedited versions. Upanishads and Puranas to provide details on sexuality and sexual activities.  There are many stories of sexual activities of gods and goddesses in this literature. Thus, one can find a great history of erotica and pornography in India where both temple arts and religious literature are characterized, largely, with pornographic elements in their contents, nature of appearance and descriptions.[20]

  

The Present  

Reflecting on the present scenario, we find Indian Movie makers have been increasingly looking for ways to bring more nudity and more shock-values that are sexual into their films, even taking time to recruit actors and stresses with these particular skills. They are researching American adult movie methods and techniques to assist in the production of Bollywood’s own versions. This though raises the question of when does a film becomes pornographic or when is it erotic. To be sure, while erotica encapsules the embodiment of wanting of desire, an invitation to go on a journey of exploration,  pornography is nothing more than a stripped-down version that will take persons into a void and it removes any pleasures and eventually suffocates love. Erotica or erotic is a positive element in life experience; it is not as pornography, a negative and destructive one.[21]

 

In Defense of Pornography  

 

In spite of its explicit harmful effects, pornography has been defended from various points of view. According to the so-called Evidence Argument[22], pornography has no effect upon a person’s character and that it is not harmful. The Therapeutic Argument believes that pornography can help overcome various sexual problems including frigidity and impotence. The Social Benefit Argument holds that legalizing pornography can reduce sex crimes and the porn market. The Moral-inversion  Argument attempts to present an alternative to traditional morality by replacing love with hatred, by deforming what is beautiful, and praising ugliness. Similarly, the Ideological and Liberation  arguments believe that pornography can serve as a vehicle to overthrow the old repressive culture,  the coldness of the anti-sexual philosophy of traditional morality. Finally, the Civil Liberties  Argument defends pornography as part of the issue of the freedom of speech.[23]These defenses add to the challenges of pornography demanding a serious response.

 

Pornography as an Ethical Issue  

Pornography is a major problem both in society in general and among many Christians in particular. Viewing pornographic material precipitates marriage breakups and can produce cocaine-like addictions. It has contributed to both common and violent crimes, including rape and murder. It becomes a grave issue.

 

Pornography leads to decreased sensitivity toward women and increased aggression. It also leads to a decreased ability to build healthy relationships or experience a lot of sexual satisfaction; users are increasingly unable to properly link emotional involvement with sex. Indeed, porn fosters enhance unhealthy views about human sexuality. Most porn portrays women as sex-obsessed, mindless objects, promiscuous and subordinate. As feminist scholar Catharine MacKinnon proposes, the prevalence of pornography begs the question: Are women human? Though that question seems extreme, ask yourself if a good society can intentionally engage in a medium that portrays half of its members in such a derogatory manner.[24]

 

We are increasingly desensitized to a discussion about porn use and regulation, even as research proves the effects of pornography are life-altering, and stories of sex exploitation, psychological problems, and abuse dominate inspections into the porn industry. Many people embrace fair-trade human trafficking in the porn industry, but few consumers express concern about porn industry operations, and its employees and victims.[25]

 

Pornography causes aggression to individuals because it destroys the natural relationships found between individuals and also destroys the normal spatial relationships. It starts to build aggression in the individual, which over long periods of time can foster a state of aggression known to eventually act out in the public arena. [26]

 

 



[1] Fagan, Pat. The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community. Research Analysis under Family Research Council.

[2] Fagan, Pat. The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community. Research Analysis under Family Research Council.

[3]  Fagan, Pat. The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community. Research Analysis under Family Research Council.

[5] Shaji George Kochuthara, KĀMA WITHOUT DHARMA?Understanding the Ethics of Pleasure in Kāmasūtra . Journal of Dharma: Vol. 34.  No. 1, January-March 2009, 69‐96.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Pornography in Ramayana Dr. Charles claims that ramayana contains much pornographic material and cannot be read in public. He gives the following examples. Rama's description of Sita's beauty which is lewdly detailed (refer to C.R.Srinivasalyengar's translation of Aryana Kandam, Chapter 46).

[9] https://hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/15138/what-is-hinduisms-view-on-porn.

[11] https://medium.com/@Allaboutyouwithrifa/pornography-in-islamic-perspectives-3caa63d028f3.

[12] http://www.sikhwomen.com/Guru_Quotes/Guru_on_sexuality_lust.htm.   

[13] Robert Aitken Roshi, In The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics (New York: North Point Press, 1984), 41-42.

[14] Sahayog. Sahayog India. 25 October 2014. http://www.sahayogindia.org/

[15] Sahayog. Sahayog India. 25 October 2014.

[16] Manoj Mitta. Watching pornography no offence: IPC and IT Act.  

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Watching-pornography-no-offence-IPC-and-IT  

Act/articleshow/8613854.cms?referral=PM

[17] Shivraj Mahendra, A Christian Response to Pornography (Delhi: ISPCK, 2012), 21-24 

[18] Mahendra, A Christian Response to Pornography... 23

[19] Mahendra, A Christian Response to Pornography... 24 

[20] Mahendra. A Christian Response to Pornography... 25 

[21] Mahendra. A Christian Response to Pornography...26

[22] John H. Court, Pornography: A Christian Critique, (Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1980), 13-16.

[23] John H. Court, Pornography: A Christian Critique... 16-29.

[24] Wagley, Rachel L. Pornographic Ethics. 28 March 2011. http://www.thecrimson.com/column/democracy-of-the dead/article/2011/3/28/porn-pornography-moral-doeful/

[25] Wagley, Rachel L. Pornographic Ethics. 28 March 2011

[26] Geisler, Norman L, Contemporary Issues and Options (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing, 2010), kindle.

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