Fake Porn Videos and Gospel

Picture taken from the BBC article on the subject
By now, you’ve probably heard about the rising tide of fake porn videos. The BBC and others have run informative articles on the subject over the past week (here). Fake porn involves imposing an alien face onto someone in a porn video and, with the help of new easy to use apps, this has recently gotten a whole lot easier to do.

The phenomenon, also called 'deep fakes', has been mostly the digital lifting of female celebrity faces and attaching them to the bodies of porn actresses. (That is, if we may be allowed to assume the gender of these performers. I must confess to being one of those terribly backward types that still thinks of women in terms of having vaginas and men in terms of not having them.) But falling victim to fake porn could happen to anyone who has ever posted just a few selfies onlinemale or female.

It is even reported that Donald Trump is appearing in quite a few.

Yes.

These new apps will get even more accurate, user-friendly, and powerful over the next couple of years. This means that we can quite reasonably assume that an avalanche of fake porn is upon us and that no one is who has an online presence is safe. Our critics now have the power to easily turn us into porn stars. (Just choked laughing as I thought about my online critics and imagined some of the porn star names that I might get: Gyno Jonesy? Bacchus the Baptist?)

It used to be that if you didn’t want an ex-boyfriend to use revenge porn against you, the solutions were simple: don’t be stupid enough to let your boyfriend film you naked or, better yet, repent of your fornication and wait till marriage to have sex.

Problem solved.

But now, neither chastity nor sanity are safeguards against appearing in a cheap porno online. Now anybody can simply put you into one.

It’s moments like these when our sexually insane culture gets a brief glimpse of just how perverse it truly is. We are abhorred at what we see. At least for the time being. This isn’t the only manifestation of our sexual madness of course. So far this year, we’ve also heard about the growing market for sex robots, the wonders of open marriage, and the need to help primary school children explore what gender they really are. 

With each new manifestation of our perversity, we get a glimpse of how wretched we actually are before our alarm bells stop ringing and we receive it all into the loony bin that we now think of as the new normal.

When we do get that glimpse of horror, we have only the faintest idea that this Frankensteinian phenomenon might just be a monster of our own creation. We have told Godand just who does He think HE isto shove His rules and let us do whatever the hell we want with our pants. And He has done just that. He has given us over to the depravity of our own hearts and the result is hellish. He warned us long ago that Eros is a deity that is not easily tamed. We took God’s good gift of sex and made it into a god to be worshippedand therefore it has fallen and become a devil.

We all stood up to condemn Harvey Weinstein for pressuring the Hollywood actresses into sexual submission. But now we realise we’re a whole generation of Weinsteins. Once the right technology is in hand, we force all the actresses we desire to perform our most titillating fantasies.

Fake porn will appeal to human brokenness with fresh power. You know that celebrity that everyone adores? She’s smiling at you. Now undressing and looking for your approval. You must be a somebody! Somebody powerful! And not just that celebrity. No. You know the girl that you study or work with? The one who is uber attractive but who was cruel enough to friendzone you? Download a few of her selfies from Facebook and now she is gladly frolicking about in your personal, digital harem. Congratulations. You are now a mighty man.

But only in the shadows of your lonely deception. In real life, your humanity continues to diminish.

Christianity offers us two things that we desperately need in this hour.

The first is the gift of Law. We need Law because we are confused sinners. For the moment, our society is objecting to fake porn because we are creatures made in His image and we instinctively feel the evil of it. But as we have rejected God from our thinking, we remember that we’re not supposed to believe in primitive ideas like evil. We may say we dislike fake porn (at least outwardly we say we do), but we have no objective basis on which to decry it as wrong. This is how our societal consciences get seared. 

But God’s Law gives us a fixed moral reference point to uphold the good and expose the evil. God’s Law is clear on the issue: fake porn is evil because porn is evil. Porn is evil because it perverts the use for which sex was created. Sex and gender matter because they are essential to our identities as image bearers of God.

The second thing Christianity offers us is Gospel. We need Law because we are confused sinnersand we need Gospel because we are guilty sinners. The Gospel message announces that Jesus has shed his blood to forgive every porn actress and fake porn producer that will come to Him in repentance and ask for mercy.

It also announces that Christ has risen from the dead and is coming back to judge the world. This is especially good news in the face of a global fake porn tsunami. It means that no one will get away with anything. Every photo and video that has ever been maliciously doctored will one day have to be given account for before the One who died and was raised. And because the Judge offers forgiveness, it means that He can one day punish an evil world without also having to punish you and me.

God let His image become flesh, knowing that we would mar and mock it. Because of that, He is able to redeem a generation that does the same to one another.
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For more on how the Gospel redeems us from our perversity, please check out our book: Elijah Men Eat Meat: Readings to slaughter your inner Ahab and pursue Revival and Reform 

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