Saddleback church pastor Rick Warren has shared his thoughts on the danger of pornography and argued that only foolish people would allow their minds to be "poisoned" by books like "Fifty Shades of Grey".
In his daily devotional on Sunday, the "Purpose Driven Life" author reflected on Proverbs 15:14, which reads:"A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash."
There are three things that a person can fill their mind with: "health food," "junk food," and "poison," Warren contended.
"You can either feed on truth, or you can feed on trash. Whatever you fill your mind with is what's going to come out - garbage in, garbage out. If you want to be wise, you've got to feed every day on truth, not trash," wrote Warren.
Pornography is a prime example of a poison that a person can mentally feed upon, the pastor wrote.
"It's bad for you. It takes you down. Pornography is poison. You should not be reading Fifty Shades of any color! Some people are so open-minded their brains fall out," continued Warren.
"They say, 'I can watch that stuff. It doesn't bother me anymore.' That's the problem! When you can watch and read stuff that is profane, blasphemous, evil, vile, and abusive and it doesn't bother you, you have a problem. You have become a fool."
"Junk food" is neither good nor bad, it just has no nutritional value to it, argued that pastor, but "health food" is nutritional for the mind.
"It helps you grow and maintain your health. It is truth, and the wise person feeds on truth. It makes you wiser - in your relationships, your time, your money, your business, your parenting, your marriage, and every other area of your life," added Warren.
"The first place you need to go to fill your mind with truth is God's Word. The more you develop the habit of spending time each day reading and studying the Bible, the wiser you will become."
According to watchdog Covenant Eyes, the porn industry generates $13 billion each year in the US. And of the 1,351 pastors that Warren's website, Pastors.com, surveyed on porn use, 54% said they had viewed internet pornography within the last year and 30% of those had visited within the last 30 days.
In light of these statistics, a number of evangelical leaders have warned that pornography is a public health problem that should be treated like a dangerous addiction.
In an April op-ed, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote that pornography is occultism aided by unseen criminal spirits and it kills sexuality.
He wrote: "When pornography enters into a marriage, the result is shame. By 'shame,' I am not meaning the feeling of being ashamed (although that may be part of it). I mean that one is, at the most intimate level, hiding. There's something within us that knows that sexuality is meant for something other than the manipulation of images and body parts," he continued. "Pornography kills sexuality because porn isn't just about sex and because sex isn't just about sex."