Pornography has existed as long as men have. Some of the earliest cave drawings are that of nude women and phalluses. There is no question to pornography's effectiveness. But when we speak of pornography being good or evil in general terms, then we head in murky waters, certainly.
The only religion that absolutely condemns pornography is Christianity, which rests their idea on a word of Jesus: "You have heard it said Do not commit adultery, but I say to you if any of you look at a woman with lust in your heart you have already committed adultery with her." Other religions are more flexible. The major divide on porn isn't between one religious standard and another but between women and men, and it seems tied to their idea of the basis of sexuality. Is sex an end, in and of itself, or is it related to relationship? One tends to be a male attitude and the other a female attitude, so men tend to be drawn toward porn and women toward romances. Is a romance or soap opera just the female equivalent of porn? Are both simply the outgrowth of fantasy, which, with age and experience, tend to fade in light of reality?
Certainly porn can do damage to some relationships, even as alcohol does. But does porn do damage to all relationships? Or does porn allow some excess sexual energy to be released? Is porn innately addictive, or are some addicted and others can partake but not get addicted? (The same question could be asked of the internet)
Is porn, by its nature, damaging to women? The majority of woman who are enslaved are captured for the sex industry, of which porn is its most lucrative branch. Should no one watch porn because we do not know which women are paid and which are enslaved? Doesn't porn cause men to see women as objects for sex only? Does porn encourage men to see certain kind of women as sexual objects instead of human beings? Or does porn only reflect this tendency? Does porn for women avoid this tendency?
Who is porn most damaging to: women or the consumers of porn? Does porn encourage isolation? In this way, can it contribute to the lack of empathy and care and intimacy in general? Does porn encourage sexual violence? Can it contribute to criminal behavior in general?
What does the popularity of porn communicate about society in general? Does it mean that we are starved for real sex, or that easy sex is simply more pleasurable? Does the billion dollar industry indicate that we don't have enough sex or that we simply can't communicate anymore? Or has the desire for this kind of industry always been there, but only recently has it been so easily and privately and cheaply accessible? Is porn an indication of a problem in our society, or in humanity at large? Or is it simply the way things are?
The fact that there is great debate about the morality of pornography, does this indicate a moral issue or a societal divide? Is pornography, like abortion and homosexuality, unable to be discussed rationally? Is it an accident that all three of these subjects have to do with sexuality?