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Survey: Pastors say porn impacts their churches, but not sure to what degree

Posted by: $author Updated: November 10, 2011 - 10:10 AM

Most pastors believe pornography has adversely affected the lives of their church members, but almost half cannot estimate what percentage of their congregation views porn, according to a recent survey by Lifeway Research.

When presented with the statement, “Pornography has adversely affected the lives of our church members,” 69 percent of pastors surveyed agree

The results are based on a survey by LifeWay Research of 1,000 American Protestant pastors. Lifeway is the research and publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

When asked to estimate the percentage of men in their congregations who view pornography on a weekly basis, 43 percent are unable or unwilling to respond. Of those able and willing to estimate, a majority (62 percent) say less than 10 percent, 24 percent say 10-24 percent, 10 percent say 25-49 percent and 4 percent say 50 percent or more.

The results are similar when pastors are asked about women in their churches. Forty-four percent are unable or unwilling to estimate the percentage of females in their congregations who view pornography on a weekly basis. Of those who are able and willing, 87 percent say less than 10 percent. Ten percent say 10-24 percent, and 3 percent say 25-49 percent. Zero percent say 50 percent or more.

“Though pastors know generally that pornography is harmful, many may not realize that it is coming into the homes of their members,” said LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer. “Large numbers of church attendees are included in the nearly half of all Internet users who visit porn sites.

"We were surprised that so many were unable or unwilling to estimate considering how pervasive pornography is inside the church. If a third think that less than 10 percent of the men are looking at porn and almost a half have aren’t sure, we may very well have a lack of awareness of porn’s presence. Studies show that committed Christians engage pornography less, but the issue is still a big one that the church must face.”

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