Dear Ben: Is Technology Incompatible with Faith?

Ben SuroesteThis is the fourth in a series of helpful advice from YNOT’s own Ben Suroeste to readers with porn problems, smut conundrums, obscene challenges and other indecent issues that “Abby” bitch will never understand.

Around this time of year, it’s not uncommon for me suddenly to receive an increase in emails from readers with religious and spiritual questions, like whether it is morally acceptable to celebrate Thanksgiving when all those paper cutouts of turkeys and Pilgrims could easily be interpreted as false idols, or if turkeys are among the animals that “chew the cud” and/or “part the hoof.”

This year, the questions have become even more specific and complex, just like the world around us and the porn we consume. Still, even when I’m not certain how to answer a question authoritatively, I owe it to my readers at least to try.

Dear Ben: I recently read a fascinating response from Pastor John Piper, the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, to a podcast listener who wondered whether his lust for porn (and God’s disapproval thereof) had caused his wife’s recent miscarriage.

In short, Pastor John said it was quite possible the listener’s porn viewing did cause his wife to lose the child, which got me thinking about a similar question: Could it be my unyielding faith in God is the reason my Blu-ray player broke after only six months of use? If so, should I be concerned my new XBox One S might suffer the same fate?

Sincerely,
Warranty-deprived in Walla Walla

Dear Warranty-deprived: I hate to say it, but it’s very possible your Blu-ray player broke down because of your profound faith in God.

Regardless of the brand you purchased, at the end of the day all Blu-ray technology comes back around to the company that invented it, Sony, and their longstanding attempt to shut out competition, control the behavior of consumers and safeguard their intellectual property — an effort that doesn’t always go smoothly.

Given its corporate culture, you can bet your bottom yen Sony doesn’t appreciate God trying to horn in on its territory where entertainment dollars are concerned. Sony believes every penny you tithe to your church is merely a penny not dropped in its corporate coffers, and Sony will do just about anything to discourage consumers like you from straying away from the brand.

My guess is, built into your Blu-ray player was some manner of listening device so sophisticated it could hear your prayers even if you did not speak such out loud. I have no idea how sensitive this device is, although I assume it would allow for the utterance of things like pre-meal prayers, the occasional “God bless you” after a family member sneezes and screams of “God damn it!” following scores allowed by (or fouls called on) your favorite sports teams.

Sadly, I think you’re likely to have a similar experience with your XBox, because it has been well-established Bill Gates is the anti-Christ. As such, presumably he’s not about to let Godly folks like you watch The War Room on his company’s devices, either, so it’s safe to say the console comes equipped with some sort of automated kill-switch.

If I were you, just to be safe I’d stop going to church on Sunday and sit around the house watching football instead. You might also want to give the bedtime prayers a break for a while, especially if your bedside is within scanning distance of your XBox.

Dear Ben: Do you think Donald Trump is going to crack down on internet porn once he has been sworn in as President, as he has previously pledged to do? If so, given what Trump and some of his advisors have said about wanting to give law enforcement and intelligence agencies more leeway to use the technologies at their disposal, is it possible they could come up with a way to block porn sites entirely? Am I going to be forced to use Tor just to jerk off from now on? God help me, I’m not going to have to go back to using “hard media” porn again, right?

Your friend,

Panicking in Pornland.

Dear Panicking: It’s very difficult to predict what Donald Trump may do, because his whole idea of strategy boils down to not telegraphing his plans, whether we’re talking his military plans, his lawsuit plans or his plans to have his kids run his businesses in a “blind trust” as he looks over their shoulders from within the Situation Room. Honestly, about all we know for sure is the White House lawn probably won’t be tended to by undocumented immigrants.

Still, I think it’s unlikely Trump will go all “scorched earth” on the porn industry, just because he’s going to be needing some scapegoats four years from now, when he’s managed to deliver just about nothing in terms of keeping his campaign promises. With his own party in control of both houses of Congress, that’s not going to be particularly fertile ground for assigning blame, and it’s going to look kind of strange if he blames everything on a former Secretary of State who left office seven years earlier.

Come 2020, the porn industry could prove quite useful to President Trump, especially considering how easy it is to append one- and two-word descriptors to the front of “porn industry” to create tweetable, Trump-style zingers like “low-energy porn industry” or “pathetic porn industry” or “corrupt porn industry.”

Why didn’t the big, beautiful border wall get built? Well, it was that damn criminal porn industry and its army of lobbyists who got up in Congress’ ear about their ongoing need for cheap Latina labor, of course.

Why are Muslims still coming into the country, even from places deemed to be “compromised by terrorism” like Saudi Arabia? No, it has nothing to do with plans to erect a sparkling new Trump Tower in Riyadh. It’s all because of the radical Islamists in the porn industry, who are bound and determined to discover the next Mia Khalifa before she gets famous.

So, Panicking, I wouldn’t worry too much about the porn crackdown yet. That will be an issue for Trump’s second term — at which point, sources tell me, he plans to elevate Shelley Lubben to the office of Attorney General.

 

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Ben Suroeste

Gene Zorkin has been covering legal and political issues for various adult publications (and under a variety of pen names) since 2002.

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