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September 29, 2005

Book Review: Think before you look

The following is a review done on behalf of Mind & Media. The copy of the book I reviewed was donated by the publisher, through Mind & Media for the purpose of this review.

Any book needs an audience it is written to. Some books would be targeted to anyone, but some have a specific group the message is geared for. The target audience for this book, obviously, would be Christian men who struggle with porn and masturbation. But the main reason the target of a book would need to be specifically identified is make sure the message is one that that group will benefit from. Unfortunately, that's not the case with this book.

In a nutshell the book is a list of 40 reason not to do porn/masturbation. Sounds like a good start, but consider who it would be directed at. Of those men who are addicted to porn, there are the saved and the unsaved. The reasoning used in this book is based on scripture and the desire for closeness to God—so obviously the unsaved are excluded from the target audience. Among the saved that are addicted to porn we can reasonably divide them into two groups: those who desire freedom from the addictions and those who don't think it's all that serious of a problem. But since we are talking about the saved here, there would be no group that would think there's nothing wrong with porn.

Those that know they are addicted and seek escape will find the book only mildly useful, but at the same time, due to the graphic way the subject is often approached, a source of the very temptation they seek to avoid (ironically enough). The cons outweigh the pros.

So we are left with Christian men, addicted to porn, who think it's not that serious of a thing. This group would know it's wrong, but deny the addictive nature. They acknowledge that never doing it again would be a good thing, but not a big priority.

So the question is: will this book help them? Unfortunately the answer comes from the very apathy this group shows toward the problem—it is doubtful they would bother to even read the book given their ambivalence to the problem.

There's a story I read a while back about a guy traveling along a state road through the country side. Back in those days many of the rest stops were concrete outhouses. The guy stopped at one, began to “do his business” and accidentally dropped his wallet into the hole. The story goes that as he tried to climb down to see if he could reach his wallet, he slipped and fell into the concrete pit that held who knows how many thousands of gallons of rotting urine and feces. Eventually other travelers heard his cries for help and the state police were called. With a rope they managed to pull him out. Once freed he headed straight for his car, but before he got a few steps one of the officers asked if he wanted them to retrieve his wallet. He said a quick no, and rushed to his car, to speed away.

Now imagine that instead of lowering a rope to pull the guy out, the other travelers and the state police simply shouted down reasons why swimming in human waste is bad. It actually sounds rather cruel. That's my impression of this book. Men addicted to porn know it's bad and they want to be free from it. What they really don't need are lists of reason to believe what they already know all too well. They need solutions to achieve the goal they already yearn for—freedom from the addictive power of pornography.

Posted by Danny Carlton at September 29, 2005 05:31 PM

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