Religious views on pornography
||This article uses bare URLs for citations, which may be threatened by link rot. (May 2013)|
Religious views on pornography often discourage people of various religions from viewing pornography, and cause support for legislation restricting its publication. These positions derive from broader religious views about sexuality. However, different religious groups do not always agree about what is pornographic, and some religious groups believe that freedom of expression should be favored over censorship.
There is no direct prohibition of pornographic media in the Bible. Pornography was neither as prevalent or as well developed during biblical times as it is today. Many Christians are generally against pornography based on the interpretation of Matthew 5:27–28 (part of the Expounding of the Law).
'Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart
Jesus is speaking of adultery, saying that lust towards a woman other than one's wife is adultery in one's heart. Most Christians interpret this to mean that since the purpose of pornography is lust, it is sinful.
Roman Catholic Church
Many are opposed to pornography because of religious convictions and morals, as exemplified by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states:
- "Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials." Section 2354
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church teaches that pornography is "about violence, degradation, exploitation, and coercion" and "deplore[s] all forms of commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex, and defines pornography as "sexually explicit material that portrays violence, abuse, coercion, domination, humiliation, or degradation for the purpose of arousal. In addition, any sexually explicit material that depicts children is pornographic"." The Sexual Ethics Task Force of The United Methodist Church states that "Research shows it [pornography] is not an 'innocent activity.' It is harmful and is generally addictive. Persons who are addicted to pornography are physiologically altered, as is their perspective, relationships with parishioners and family, and their perceptions of girls and women."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1995 to 2008, was known within the faith for expounding his organization's sentiments against pornography. The LDS Church teaches that pornography is "any material depicting or describing the human body or sexual conduct in a way that arouses sexual feelings.It is as harmful to the spirit as tobacco, alcohol, and drugs are to the body. Members of the Church should avoid pornography in any form and should oppose its production, distribution, and use."  The LDS Church has developed a website for its members to help them prevent and overcome pornography called "overcomingpornography.org".
Other Christian views
Jerry Falwell has criticized pornography, saying sex is reserved for heterosexual married couples, to be used only in accordance with God's will, and asserts that use of pornography involves indulgence in lust towards people other than ones spouse (which in Christianity is a sin) and leads to an overall increase in sexually immoral behavior.
Traditional Jewish laws of modesty (tzniut) require Jewish women to be modestly dressed: so pornographic modeling and pornographic acting are forbidden for women. The halakhah states that sexually arousing images are normally to be avoided.
- See also: Technology Awareness Group; Atzat Nefesh; Judaism and sexuality#Sexual fantasy and pornography
In Hindu philosophy both vaishnavism and saivism restrict promiscuity and pornographic acting for men and woman. In Hinduism, the Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha are the four Purusharthas of a Hindu’s life and sex is an integral part of life, which is part of the four Purusharthas. The "Kama" means those activities, which give us pleasure and satisfaction.
Kamasutra is very ancient and sacred book about sex, written by the Hindu sage Vatsayana. This book has all those details and descriptions about sex types, sex positions, sex importance and compatibility of partners, eunuchs etc. The ancient Khajuraho Temple in Madhya Pradesh, India is well known for the sculptures on it. Here the statues of men and women are depicted as having sex in different positions. The builders of the Khajuraho temple were Rajputs and were followers of Waam-maarga or left-handed Tantra, an acceptable way of attaining Moksha.
As per upanishads, the sculptors created those pieces of arts is only outside the temple because it signifies that all those feelings must be left outside the temple, before entering the inner sanctum. There are no such sculptures inside the temple. The sculptures are also on Konark temple's exterior. It is a metaphysical symbolism. Hinduism recognizes the role of sexual desires in human lives. There is a difference between Nudity and expression of beauty and pornography. What appears in Hindu puranas and Itihasas are the expressions of genuine beauty and not pornography.
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2011)|
Pornography is directly opposed to the very heart of Islamic teachings, which is highlighted by Taqwa to gain a better self-control, The Shariah and the ethical principles prohibit looking at the private parts of another person. This fundamentally applies equally to looking at private parts in pictures or films, it is so to increase spiritual awareness and taqwa and prepare the soul to accept Allah (God)..
That opposition between this "porn-use" attitude with the "fitra" (reverence instinct toward Allah, that all humans have, whether they are aware of it or not), creates a state of tension that lead to the destruction of the soul, leading to sadness and depression, and loss of self-esteem. That is why, in Islam, pornography is seen as a fundamentally destructive force to eradicate from one's life and from society.
The Qur'an 24:30 states "Tell the acknowledging men to lower their gaze and guard their private parts, for that is purer for them. God is fully aware of what you do."
The Qur'an 24:31 states "And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and keep covered their private parts, and that they should not show-off their beauty except what is apparent, and let them cast their shawls over their cleavage. And let them not show off their beauty except to their husbands... "
The Qur'an says what means "They are your garments and you are their garments." (2:187) "The sexual unison between husband and wife is more than seeking a relief from the urge of desire. Indeed the prophet taught that it is one of the charities in Islam. He said to his companions, enumerating examples of charitable deeds :
'And when the one of you makes love (has sex) it is a rewardable charity.' " 
Sikhs argue that pornographic books and films, prostitution and lust leads 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".
Pornography is not explicitly discouraged in Sikhism however; only lustfullness is. In Sikh belief pornography would only be tantamount to a sin if it becomes a flaw in one's spiritual nature.
- "4. Adultery, Lust, and the Spirit of Marriage (Matthew 5:27-30) - Sermon on the Mount". Jesuswalk.com. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- Sermon on Matthew 5:27-30[dead link]
- "Matthew 5:27-28 - Passage Lookup - New International Version". BibleGateway.com. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- The Churches speak on pornography: official statements from religious bodies by J. Gordon Melton
- Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered - Answers to the Questions People Are Really Asking by S. Michael Houdmann
- Christians, feminists, and the culture of pornography By Arthur J. Mielke
- Catholic sexual ethics: a summary, explanation & defense By Ronald David Lawler, Joseph M. Boyle, William E. May
- "Catechism of the Catholic Church - IntraText". Vatican.va. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- "2081. Pornography and Sexual Violence". United Methodist Church. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
- "What's Wrong with Pornography?". United Methodist Church. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
- See, e.g., Gordon B. Hinckley, "A Tragic Evil among Us", Ensign, November 2004.
- "Pornography", lds.org.
- See Matthew 5:27–29
- Tzniut - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and  Pornography - Ask the Rabbi
- HERE ENDS YOUR Spiritual Quest (2011-04-03). "Overcoming pornography: Hope for those who want it | Spiritual Quest | ISKCON | Hare Krishna | Hindi Blog Article | Prabhupada | Mahavishnu | Temple Group Community Picture Gallery Video Audio". Spiritual Quest. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- Author: Krsnanandini Devi Dasi and Tariq Saleem Ziyad. "Overcoming pornography: Hope for those who want it | Vaisnava Families Resources". Vaisnavafamilyresources.org. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- Edip-Layth (Quran: A Reformist Translation)
- "Quran (Progressive Muslims Organization)/24 - Wikisource". En.wikisource.org. 2007-11-18. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- "Sexual Ethics". Islamawareness.net. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- "Moral issues in six religions - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- "Guru Granth Sahib Quotes on Sex, Lust, Promicuity, Attachement (Sikhism)". Sikhwomen.com. 2006-02-03. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- "Religions - Sikhism: Sikh Beliefs". BBC. Retrieved 2013-11-26.