We’ve noted that modern culture, enshrined in its movies, television, and music, is seeking to disassociate sexuality from morality. Good people can and do have lots of sex with lots of different people. In addition, we noted that the severance of sex and morality is not due to the marginalization of sex, but to its exaltation. Sexuality, and the extensive exploring thereof, is considered to be indispensable to true and lasting happiness and fulfillment.
This should not surprise us. If sexuality is a wonderful plant in the cultivated garden of fidelity to God, and you happen to be a newly-commissioned expert in botany who is convinced that this wonderful plant will produce even greater and more satisfying fruit if it could only be grown in the wild, then the first step to realizing your dream of a refashioned Sexuali-tree is to tear down the garden walls and kill the gardener. So the elevation of sexuality in terms of significance and personal happiness is accompanied by a corresponding destruction of the links between sexuality and God and his law.
But here our creative botanist runs into a problem. In this case, the Gardener knows best. The Sexuali-tree is most fruitful and life-giving in the Garden of God, under his watchful care and cultivation. Removed from this sacred place, the Sexuali-tree withers and dies. Indeed, it becomes poisonous and addictive, sucking the life out of those who eat of it even as they seek to suck the life out of it.
To return to the world of Romans 1, even the truth-suppressing glory-exchangers must live in the world that God made. They can call evil good, but they can’t make evil good. They can call adultery, fornication, homosexuality, etc. healthy, normal, and right, but they can’t make these things healthy, normal, and right. “Claiming to be wise, they became fools…”
So what is an enlightened botanist to do? The answer is simple: hire an ad agency to convince the public that the new, liberated Sexuali-tree is better than the old, traditional, boring one. In other words, learn to lie and lie well.
This is what we see in Romans, and this is what we see in our culture. Movies, television, and music are filled with stories of fictional characters who have sex with impunity and without consequences. Two people can begin dating, have sex, cheat on each other, and reconcile in under 30 minutes. Friendships between men and women can be unaffected by casual sex. Frequent fornication with multiple partners before marriage will have no effect on fidelity in marriage (in fact, it will probably make it better). The message is simple: We can tear down the walls surrounding Sexuali-tree and still keep the thing under control. Like a Chia pet.
Pornography and masturbation are normal and acceptable expressions of sexuality. Anonymous sex with random acquaintances has no effect on the way that one views the opposite sex. Men who spend their single lives sleeping with numerous women will suddenly turn into faithful, self-controlled, affectionate husbands after they get a ring on their fingers. It is perfectly normal and acceptable for “good” husbands to ogle beautiful women. In fact, the most self-assured wives have no problem with this (and even enjoy ogling and being ogled by other men).
This is the world depicted on television and movie screens and in the lyrics of songs. And it’s a big fat lie. The world knows that sexuality is hugely significant. They just want all of the benefits with none of the costs. They want to reap deep pleasure, incredible intimacy, and satisfying relationships without first sowing faithfulness, sacrifice, and marital love.
Because of this, they create a virtual world filled with many other commendable virtues alongside an unfettered, promiscuous sexuality. In doing so, the hope is to normalize sexually immoral behavior while convincing people that they need not give up the culturally palatable virtues like tolerance, patience, and kindness in order to have a multi-partner, mind-blowing sex life.
The evidence that this lie is alive and well can be seen in the rampant sexualization around us, even in the church. The only difference is that the virtual world where sex is both connected to happiness and disconnected from virtue is a lying charade, whereas the world where adultery, fornication, homosexuality, and pornography lead to broken marriages, shattered families, and further rebellion is the one designed by the Creator of the universe.
In future posts, I’ll try to unpack what the implications of this may be for Christians. In the meantime, I would love those of you who read this blog (all three of you) to offer any feedback you might have on this subject. Does my analysis fit the facts? Is there anything I’m failing to grasp? What implications do you see?