Marian Choueifati

As a publishing ministry rooted in scripture, we don’t gather people around books, but around ideas.

In staying as relevant as possible to the needs of regional churches and communities, we have noticed that porn addiction has infiltrated the creeks and crevices of individuals, families, and churches. Why? Because it is easy, cheap, and one click away.  

When we talk about pornography, we often overlook that it comes hand in hand with addiction, the kind that is even more dangerous than addiction to substances. What is even more alarming is that 68% of church-going men watch porn regularly (Barna Group), yet churches are silent and help often takes the form of condemnation and public disciplinary efforts. By that, individuals grappling with addiction begin moving away from the church, instead of running towards it for refuge.  

To raise awareness among churches, pastors, youth leaders, and parents, Dar Manhal al Hayat hosted a dialogical seminar on the 6th of April to break the silence and establish a safe space for healing. As part of this event, we launched a long overdue book by Toni Haddad titled “Porndemic”. With more than 160 attendees representing 43 churches and Christian organizations, an unprecedented conversation took place within the evangelical community and beyond, sending a ripple effect of mercy and grace among couples, families, and churches.  

As noted by Bassem Melki during his discussion of the problem within a shame and honor culture, the first step towards recovery and putting an end to silent suffering begins with cultivating an atmosphere of confession, understanding, and support among individuals. Instead of pointing fingers and getting trapped in an endless cycle of blame and shame, the speakers focused on understanding the “why” behind the problem. As described by Toni Haddad, the driving force behind porn addiction is the brain’s dopamine-seeking reward loop. Pornography provides immediate relief from psychological pain, stress, frustration, disappointment, or any other negative feeling. By that, pornography takes the form of an unhealthy coping mechanism that provides immediate but momentary pleasure.

Clinical Psychologist Celia Khater, one of the speakers, suggested that the solution resides in developing healthy coping mechanisms that require effort but provide the same kind of hormonal satisfaction, such as exercise. General Surgeon Daniel Kazan shared with the attendees a memorable acronym to facilitate healing:  

P: Pause and reflect 

O: Open Up 

R: Replace our old mindset 

N: Navigate into solutions 

During the group breakout sessions, attendees brainstormed actionable church initiatives. In the Q&A session with the speakers, all the attendees collaborated in putting together a list of recommended measures and actions to be adopted by local churches, from youth training to one-on-one conversations and more. 

There is hope! As pastor Charbel Malak noted in his intervention, the more we understand God’s design for sex, the less likely we are to fall into such temptation.  

“What impacted me the most was Pastor Bassem’s vulnerability and openness. The overall willingness to talk about this topic this openly in the greater evangelical community broke a big taboo. The open and scientific discussion helped me better understand the physiological consequences of porn. It was very interesting to know the impact of God’s purpose for sex.” 

Porndemic- Bassem Melki, ABTS, Thimar, DMAH

DMAH’s commitment to equipping and resourcing local churches is not limited to just books, but it also includes developing pastoral leadership capacities with healthy and biblical approaches, awareness, and exposure to uncharted problems and potential solutions. 

The awareness that we achieved during this event is part of a larger DMAH tract in which we facilitate dialogue and understanding surrounding topics that churches are struggling with. For example, a self-esteem and self-worth boosting program for teenage girls, awareness of mental health struggles within the church, and the experiences that teenagers face behind closed doors such as cyberbullying, sexting, vaping and more. Moving forward, our regional partners have been expressing a need to replicate these events in Egypt and Jordan.  

Also, many of our attendees suggested a second phase for the porndemic training, with a special interest in studying the implications and solutions of porn addiction among various age ranges and demographics. For example, one attendee mentioned “I would have liked to zoom in on how to deal with porn addiction with our youth who are not married, more than its effect on married couples”. Recognizing the deep need for this training, DMAH will deepen the impact of this event with a dedicated training session for 10-12 youth leaders about the basics of counseling and referrals. The “Porndemic” is more widespread than we had imagined, and many are grappling with what seems to be a fatal disease. We pray for a vaccine of prevention, mitigation, and healing.  

Porndemic: Dar Manhal Al Hayat-Thimar-Salt and Light
Porndemic, DMAH THIMAR
Toni Haddad, Porndemic, DMAH , THIMAR

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Dar Manhal al Hayat extends to serving the Church, Christian organizations, and the broader community across the Arab world, aiming to enrich lives through their publications and materials.

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