Theology in Pornland

Porn has become a way of life for everyone—even for those who don’t view it.

“I came to the realisation that what I was asking was not a sociological question, ‘what is pornography?’ It actually was a question of metaphysics, where reality lies.”

What explains pornography’s pull? Is it just the sex? Or the way it ritualises the endless desire for more?

In this episode of Life & Faith, Catholic theologian Matthew Tan offers a theological take on the phenomenon of porn. In swapping the actual for the possible, and the real for the unreal, Matt says porn plays out a metaphysical move that can be traced back to the twelfth century, and the musings of medieval theologians.

What’s more, he says the insatiable desire for ‘more’ isn’t simply a feature of porn but permeates modern life. Food porn, FOMO, online dating, envying the Insta-worthy lives of others: all are driven by the same porn logic.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Matthew John Paul Tan, Redeeming Flesh: The Way of the Cross with Zombie Jesus.