Miley Cyrus, MTV, and Why It Matters (A Lot) to Christian Families

by Melanie | August 27th, 2013

Miley Cyrus MTV and Why It Matters to Christian FamiliesFor a couple of days, our personal Facebook feeds have been full of outraged posts and links about Miley Cyrus’s reportedly (we didn’t watch it) disgusting performance on MTV’s VMA Awards. It was curious that the almost universal response among our friends was either shock (What in the world has happened to our world?) or apathy (Who cares? Why are you watching that mess anyway?) As folks who’ve been speaking at sexual purity across the continent, though, neither response seems entirely appropriate to us.

The reason you should care is also the reason you shouldn’t be shocked. To us, speaking with parents and teens from coast to coast, it’s pretty obvious what has happened to our world and that it threatens to get even worse. It’s porn.

Porn? How could that affect my family? Unfortunately, if you have teen children, even sheltered and protected teen children, it probably has. Well over 90% of boys are exposed to internet pornography before they turn 18. Most first exposures happen between 9 and 12 years old. See, when we were kids, you had to go out looking for pornography – stealing it from an adult or store or getting it from a rough friend. Now, it comes to get you. It lurks all over the place online, trying to draw you in. Recently, an article described how most children will now Google unfamiliar sexual terms rather than asking a parent … and bang, are introduced to filth.

Yeah, scary, but surely not in Christian families, right? In a recent study of evangelical church members, 50% of the men and 20% of the women admit to being addicted to pornography. The statistics are likely even worse for their teen and twenties children. It’s no longer something in the dark alleys, now it is darkening our homes! This is the great secret sin of the church in our day.

Laptop and Hand Stock Exchange ID 1260786-mBut, what difference does that make to the world? Recent studies have shown that porn is physically addictive. That internet pornography, in particular, so overstimulates the hormones that receptors shut down, leading users to seek out worse and worse porn to provide the same thrill, leading them to awful perversions. Don’t believe it? 88% of scenes in porn films contain physical aggression and 39% of boys have seen porn involving bondage online. 83% of boys have seen group sex online. We’re not even going to talk about the worst stuff.

Folks, Miley Cyrus was mild compared to what most young men are watching online. It’s horrifying.

The really alarming thing is that they aren’t seeing this sewage once and turning it off – that would be bad enough, but 85% of young adult men are accessing porn at least once a month. They are bathing their minds in it and it’s changing our world. Tim Challies, author of Sexual Detox, talks about the pornifying of our culture. It’s here, folks. It’s changing what is acceptable in public. Unfortunately, it’s also changing our families and churches – and not for the better. Have you noticed how things that used to cause shock and horror for months, like a teacher abusing his pupils, is now ho-hum daily news? It’s getting worse every year. Take a look at the FBI’s stats sometimes. Free hint: Don’t do it over lunch.

What in the world can we do? First, don’t let your head be stuck in the sand. Make sure every computer and internet capable device in your home has accountability. Click here for more about how to do that. Talk to your children and give them a Biblical perspective about sexuality. Don’t assume everything is going to be all right because you homeschool or go to a great church. A mother sobbed out to us at a homeschool conference this summer that her fifteen-year-old son had just confessed he’d been addicted to pornography for three years – and she didn’t know he even had Internet access. He’d used his game console to access it. Be aware. And if you are addicted yourself, confess, repent and get help right now. 1 John 1:9 reassures us, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Miley Cyrus isn’t the problem, disgusting as that performance must have been. The problem is that a secret sin has overtaken our culture and it’s making that culture over in its image. Until we address the sickness, of course we’ll have symptoms.

Hal and Melanie SugarLoaf Web (c)2009

Yours in the battle,

Hal & Melanie Young

If you are wondering how to address these things with your sons in a Biblical way, get our workshop, Shining Armor: Your Son’s Battle for Purity – and keep your eyes open, we’re writing a book for young men about this.

Wondering about these stats? Check out Covenant’s Eye’s compilation of them here.



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  • Jen G

    Totally agree!! Loved listening to a session at Teach Them Diligently – Nashville. Learned so much!

  • Moe

    YUCK! Our phone/internet got knocked out by a storm the other day and we had to use the public library for our son to work on his online class. There was a guy looking at porn right there in the library and they have VERY large computer screens. Thankfully I took the computer next to the guy and our son missed it all. Praise the Lord. But it was right there in my face. Of course the library can’t do anything about it. Thanks for the article.

    • OhioMom3

      Check your library policies, our library has strict policies on this type of thing have strict consequences for it as well. I would have gone to the desk, taking my children with me, and reported him.

    • Dave VanZandt

      In grace…. No one in this discussion has yet defined porn, and I promise you we all have different conceptions. Remember, not that long ago, viewing a woman’s legs above the knee was scandalous. A generation before that, one’s ankle. For example, is a thong pornographic in a J.C. Penny’s catalog, or upon a mannikin; or worn upon a person’s body (gender neutral here)?

      Did you, or can you, contact the library to confirm their public policies prior to using the service? Perhaps whomever set the library policy has a different definition of porn than you. Perhaps if the guy, or gal next to you, was asked to come aside and you quietly asked (not demanded) that the person change what s/he was doing? It’s like asking someone who’s smoking in an inappropriate area, to put it out. Did your child pick up from your attitude pride, or forgiveness?

      Is it pornographic to read Regency or Cowboy or Detective fiction, in which the explicit sexual encounters may begin on page one? Affectionately called “mommy porn”, I believe….. Have any idea how that market outsells others?

      I too am a parent of teens, searching to raise children of character. A dialogue would be very welcome here; a harangue, not.

  • Mary Anne

    We read your book and were pleased to see your discussion of impurity of thought as sin. In Catholicism, it is a confessional matter, but I have the impression that few believe thoughts can be sinful. For goodness’ sake, impurity has become okay as long as it’s done in private, even among Christians. And immodesty of dress, the forerunner of impurity of thought–who talks about that?

  • A Christian but a Fan

    My friend just linked me to this because an older family member had it on their facebook. I would just like to say that even though most people associate boys with porn, the great majority of the people I am friends with are girls like myself and my friend. I am 21 years old and I have been watching pornography online since I was around 11. I am also Christian. I don’t feel as if enjoying my sexuality is a bad thing, it’s just another aspect of life as long as I don’t focus on it wholeheartedly. Having said that I would also like to point out that I am still a virgin and don’t plan on engaging in sexual activities for a long while. I watch, read and write pornography, I have for years, and it’s not a once a month thing, it’s daily.
    You may think porn is ruining society, but it’s been around much longer than even Christianity or Judaism. It’s not like it’s a new thing. Even public displays of sexuality like Miley’s are numerous throughout history. Education about sexuality is important, so don’t just block off children from this sort of thing. Porn isn’t realistic, but neither is the idea that people weren’t made to have sex. If we don’t tell young adults what exactly sex entails they’ll either seek it out by other means, or they’ll think of it as some sort of monstrous thing, when it’s the means by which they were delivered into this world. I’m sure the Father would not want us to demonize the way by which his disciples came to be. After all, it is by his will that we are here right?

    • Concerned sister

      I hope you see this reply. My heart aches to talk face to face, but lord willing, this will have to suffice. You say you we’re 11? I was 9. I started searching the web (this was pre-google) for sexual words. It lead to more. I grew up in a Christian home and have walked with The Lord since I was very young. That does not keep us from walking deceived, or in sin. And porn is a sin. You say that porn has been around since before Judaism or Christianity. That may be true, but it doesn’t make it right.

      You have been deceived by the Enemy.

      “Be sober- minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1Peter 5:8 (ESV)

      He snared both of us when we wre innocent and very young. We were desensitized to the atrociousness of sex outside of marriage. We were addicted and needed more and more to be satisfied. If you don’t think that you are addicted, I dare you to see how many days you can go without craving. One? Two? A week? A month? How long does it take before your body cannot handle it anymore and you cave? When you reach that point, seek help!

      Your enemy has blinded you to your sin. He always tries to. My prayer for you is that God, in His mercy will give you eyes to see this sin so that you can regain purity of mind and body. I pray, too that you would be a leader among your friends and that they would be convicted also because of your example. Don’t be afraid, dear one. I pray that you would accept this advice from a sister in Christ who has “been there, done that, and come out the other side.”

    • Anonymous

      Dear sister,

      I’m so sorry that you misunderstood our message. Sexuality isn’t bad. God created it, gave it to Adam and Eve, commanded them to have children (which, of course, requires the enjoyment of the act of marriage!) and then said, “It is very good.” Very Good.

      The problem is sex (and even lust) outside marriage. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28 Adultery. Even when you are just looking. It’s sin.

      Sex inside marriage is blessed by God, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled;” but the second part of the verse gives us the rest of it: ” but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” That’s not us talking, that’s the Word of God in Hebrews 13:4. There is escape from that judgment, though! “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus the Lord.” (Romans 5:23) With repentance, and forgiveness, we can enjoy the real beauty of this gift without shame or guilt in marriage. I know it seems impossible sometimes, but He is able. We’re all sinners – every one of us, but when we turn from our sin and trust Him to forgive us because Jesus took our punishment on the cross, He says, “As far as the East is from the West, so far have I removed your transgression from you,” and “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Thank God!

  • Concerned Mom

    Thank you for your boldness in addressing this topic. We are in a battle for the hearts and minds of our children. My husband and I have challenged many homeschool families we know to be vigilant over the internet exposure that our children receive and to make sure that there are safeguards in place to help guard their hearts. Many families we know do not even talk to their children about sexuality, its blessings and dangers, because their children are “safe”. I feel that this is one of Satan’s greatest lies. Thank you for the warning about accessing internet through the gaming system. Many people allow their children unguarded access to their phones and ipods. WAKE UP! Not only are our children’s eternities at stake, the lives of their children and children’s children are also at stake.

    I will encourage parents to pray for wisdom and insight. Every time our son has battled this issue, the Lord has brought it to light and we have been able to deal with it. Trust Him for His aid.

  • Dave VanZandt

    To the Youngs, thank you, and please include the study sources used for your statistics.

    • Anonymous

      Dave, I wanted to footnote everything, but didn’t have time the day I wrote this. Original study sources for each of these statistics can be found in the Pornography Statistics document you can download from Covenant Eyes here (This is an affiliate link – Covenant Eyes has been a blessing to this ministry, though we recommended them for years before they suggested this way they could help us in return):

  • Stacy McDonald

    Dear “A Christian Fan,”

    As you’ve discovered, pornography effects women too. And reading pornographic material can be just as wrong as viewing it. It’s still mentally experiencing a sexual encounter outside of your own marriage. It also effects the brain and can do irreparable damage. This article may speak more clearly to what I mean.

    God has given us sexuality as an awesome gift to be fully embraced and enjoyed within marriage bed.

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