Is it a sin to look at hentai / cartoon porn? What does the Bible say about hentai?

Hentai is from the Japanese word for "perversion" and refers to cartoon-based pornography. Originating in Japan, hentai is the outgrowth of anime (Japanese-styled videos) and manga (Japanese comics) with the addition of explicit adult content. Some attempt to make a distinction between traditional pornography and hentai, claiming hentai is "not real" and is just a cartoon. What biblical principles would apply to hentai?

First, hentai is intentionally designed to cause real men and women to think about sexual ideas in ways outside of God's design. Whether cartoon or not, the same motivation is targeted—human lust. Christians are called to flee sexual immorality, regardless of form, to live in a manner worthy of their new life in Christ (1 Corinthians 6:18).

Second, Jesus specifically taught that a person who lusts commits "adultery in his heart," making it equally sinful with adultery: "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). While sexually immoral thoughts and adultery may result in different consequences in the eyes of people, both actions are sinful to God.

A third consideration for the Christian is the impact of one's actions upon others for faith and witness. Jesus taught, "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). The Christian's goal is not only to avoid sin but also to live in positive ways that please God and point others toward Christ.

The apostle Paul further commented on this concept in Philippians 4:8, teaching, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." The Christian's goal is not to be addicted to or even known for such a practice: "'All things are lawful for me,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful for me,' but I will not be dominated by anything" (1 Corinthians 6:12).

Hentai, like other forms of pornography, is not an issue of personal choice for the Christian. It dishonors God, hurts one's own walk with God, diminishes one's witness for God, and can harm relationships with a current or future spouse and family members. As the apostle Peter taught in 1 Peter 1:14-16: "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'"


Related Truth:

Is pornography a sin?

What practical steps can I take to overcome an addiction to internet porn?

Is masturbation a sin according to the Bible?

Is it a sin to engage in cyber sex / phone sex?

What does the Bible say about lust? What is lust?


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