A book that released this week by Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan (The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It) investigates, among other things, the effects of video games and online pornography on guys. You can read a synopsis of their discoveries in an article the two psychologists wrote for CNN entitled “The Demise of Guys: How Video Games and Porn Are Ruining a Generation”. I also recommend taking five minutes to watch this speech on the subject by Dr. Zimbardo, which I first saw when it was posted on the always fascinating TED Talks webpage last fall:
As a guy who probably wasted months of his life on video games — though probably not the 10,000 hours (over a year… yipes!) he says is “average” — I can vouch firsthand for the allure of the “new”. But while I think the statistical analysis of this study & book are likely quite accurate, they miss out on the deeper root of what drives men to these pursuits.
This is why I so appreciate Russell Moore’s article, “Fake Love, Fake War: Why So Many Men Are Addicted to Internet Porn and Video Games”. He reminds us that these are spiritual battles for our affections.
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.
The whole thing is great. I hope you’ll take the time to read the rest.