Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
—1 John 2:15–17
The lust of the eyes, as St. John the Theologian calls it, might be called the sin du jour. Ours is a visual society. Advertisements, television, movies, billboards, posters, Internet pop-up windows: Never before has mankind been bombarded by so many visual images whose chief aim is to attract our attention. Ours is the culture that excels above all others as a producer of things that appeal to the visual imagination.
Yet it is the development of the Internet that has brought the worst of the lust of the eyes—explicit pornography—into every American household. In a survey of pastors, 40 percent said that they had visited a pornographic website, and 37 percent said that this is a current struggle for them (Leadership Journal, Winter 2001). This is just from those pastors willing to admit such things. It is unlikely that the struggles among the laity are less profound.
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Thomas S. Buchanan is the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He has studied at UCSD, Northwestern University, and MIT, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Western Australia and the University of Aix-Marseille. He has served as department chairman, deputy dean, and institute director, president of the American Society of Biomechanics, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics. He is on the Board of Trustees of Saint Katherine College, the editorial board of Touchstone, and the board of The Fellowship of St. James.
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