Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sex and Our Society

Due to the kindness of some friends of our ministry, my family and I (along with a number of our Impact staff) was able to spend the day yesterday at Busch Gardens in Tampa. We had a great time together as a family riding the rides and seeing the animals at the park.

But something concerned me during our time there. Maybe I'm just getting older or I'm looking at life more through my eyes as a father, but I was troubled by the fashion and how some of the youth at the park were carrying themselves.

While waiting in line with my four-year-old son to ride the bumper cars, there were a couple of kids a ways up ahead of us. The girl couldn't have been more than 15; the boy looked to be 16 or 17. The girl's clothing not only left little to the imagination, but they were all over each other as they wandered through the line. A number of thoughts ran through my mind... Did her parents approve of what she was wearing before she left the house? Was her father an active part of her life and how would he feel if he saw this young man groping his daughter in public? I said a silent prayer for these two kids and asked that God would reveal himself to them.

The standards for personal morality in our society have certainly lowered in recent decades. Things that once were taboo are accepted and that which used to be considered deviant is considered normal. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was recently interviewed by New Man magazine on sexual tolerance in our society. Dr. Mohler writes a popular blog that I regularly read. Although I don't always agree with his conclusions, I find his thinking challenging and thought-provoking.

In his New Man interview, Dr. Mohler discusses how our changing views on sexuality have affected society in general and our families, specifically. Some highlights:
"Unlike the postmodern relativists, Christians cannot accept the claim that all sexual standards are mere social constructs. Unlike the marketing geniuses and advertising gurus, we do not believe that sexuality is intended as a ploy to get attention and to create consumer demand. Unlike the sexual revolutionaries of recent decades, we do not believe that sexuality is the means of liberating the self from cultural oppression. In other words, we believe that sex is less important than many would have us believe. Human existence is not, first and foremost, about sexual pleasure and the display of sexuality. There is much more to human life, fulfillment, and joy. Sex simply cannot deliver the promises made by our hypersexualized society. On the other hand, sex is far more important than secular society can envision. After all, the Christian worldview reveals that sex, gender and sexuality are ultimately about the creature’s purpose to glorify the Creator.
Heterosexual marriage has been assaulted by divorce, lifestyle, media, law, politics and customs, undermining its very essence. Of course, the attack also necessarily took its toll on the family as well. Pitirim A. Sorokin, founder of the department of sociology at Harvard University, argued that heterosexual marriage is the foundation of civilization itself. Unless heterosexual marriage is protected by law, custom and habit to the exclusion of every other arrangement, civilization is impossible. Sorokin made this point more than 50 years ago. Even from such a distance, he saw this age of perversity arising, and he argued that this age of rebellion would destroy civilization. The great question of our day is this: Will this civilization wake up once marriage is clearly understood to be the critical background and the primary target of attack? Can civilization survive under these circumstances? I would have to argue that it cannot. There is no example in the history of humankind of a civilization enduring for long when an age of polymorphous perversity is set loose."
Although many may view the Christian view of sexuality as prudish and old-fashioned, it would be hard to argue that the removal of traditional restraints when it comes to sex has generally benefited either individuals or society. The biblical standard of faithfulness in marriage is frequently mocked yet lives continue to be broken when this standard is ignored. I hope that we will one day realize that our freedom to do what is right in our own eyes will leave our children to inherit a world where sexual pleasure becomes god and righteousness is treated as yesterday's news. Perhaps that is already our reality, but I hope that the world my children become adults in is different than the one I did.

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