By: Scott Slayton – ChristianHeadlines.com – April 27, 2020
Christian author and teacher Josh McDowell recently shared his concerns that the COVID-19 lockdowns are going to fan the flames on two major issues already facing American culture: pornography addiction and loneliness.
McDowell, author of Evidence that Demands a Verdict and other books aimed at helping Christians to defend and share their faith, claims that before the pandemic, “three top themes in mental health that were reaching epidemic proportion were: 1) Pornography addiction, 2) Loneliness, and 3) Anxiety, depression, as well as other issues. These themes have been true globally in nearly every culture.” He then expressed his concern that “The COVID-19 lockdown will not pacify any of the three previous epidemics. Isolation will only exacerbate anxiety, depression, pornography addiction, loneliness and mental health problems.”
He fears the pandemic will only accelerate issues related to loneliness and isolation. He said that the period after the pandemic will be, “a time characterized by intense anxiety, depression, loneliness and other mental health issues.” He said that this will be especially true with college students, two-thirds of whom already reported feeling “very lonely.” He added, “that can be as hard on your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness can also lead to higher rates of death, illness, injury, smoking, obesity and high blood pressure.”
McDowell particularly highlighted the effects the lockdown will have on pornography consumption. Before the pandemic, 47 percent of people between 36 and 60 said they struggle with pornography. Also, according to a study by the Barna Group, 65 percent of those between the ages of 25 to 36 and 81 percent of those 13 to 24 said they often look at pornography. The extent of the crisis comes into view in light of the fact that 57 percent of pastors and 64 percent of youth pastors revealed that they “struggle” with looking at pornography.
He shared his thoughts on how individual Christians and churches should respond to this growing crisis, especially as lockdowns are eased. He said those who “are ruled by anxiety and depression” need to be reminded “that they are no alone.” He called on believers to use every tool at their disposal “to be able to connect with, support, and show Christ’s love to others.”
In a final call to Christians, McDowell asked them to “Think of the people in your life that you can encourage.” He continued, reminding Christians to be salt and light to their communities during these difficult days, saying, “Be like Jesus and reach out; take notice of those in desperate need of community. Offer them hope. As I’ve said many times, relationships matter. When we deepen our relationships with others, we begin to learn where they need Jesus, and how we can share our faith with them.”
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