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'We need to talk about porn': Norway Christians

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15:00 CET+01:00
Untold numbers of Christians are addicted to pornography but are too ashamed to admit it to their families and friends, according to a travelling Norwegian preacher who is urging people hooked on porn to speak out.

On Monday the preacher, who preferred not to be named, spoke to a group of some 70 men at the Salem church in Kristiansand, southern Norway, news website FVN.no reports.

Church leader Oddvin Larsen said the church’s men’s group had decided to take up the sensitive topic in order to “set people free”.

As the evening wore on, several men stood up and admitted to the group that they had become dependent on pornography.

“It turns out a lot of men feel ashamed. They have become slaves to something they don’t really want to have power over them,” he told FVN.

Larsen said the men felt relieved at finally having talked about the problem.

“I think porn is something we need to talk about a lot more. It has negative consequences for a lot of people.”

The preacher at Wednesday’s meeting travels all over the country to talk about the use of pornography by Christians. His own earlier addiction to porn cost him his marriage, he said.

“Porn is a gigantic industry and it creates dependency. For a Christian, that’s a sin,” he told the newspaper.

“Porn is a massive problem in all areas of society, but my focus is on helping Christians out of dependency and self-condemnation.”

Confiding in a friend can be a vital first step for Christians addicted to internet pornography, the preacher added.

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“Then you can gradually become free. Porn destroys people, and it destroys marriages. It’s like substance abuse. Before, people had to go to a shop; now everything can be downloaded from the internet.”

Speaking to FVN, sexologist Elsa Almås argued that pornography only poses a risk for a small fraction of the population, though she agreed its effects can be devastating.

“Most people get turned on by porn, and that’s positive. But when this positive feeling is combined with feelings of shame and failure people can develop major psychological problems,” she told FVN.

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