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***Porn*** (pt 4)

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Sex in Marriage and Porn

Good marriages and good sex are good for individuals and society.[i] I am not against good sex and God is certainly not against good sex either (see e.g. Prov. 5:18-19 and Song of Solomon). It’s just that God knows how sex can be most free and beautiful, and it is within a loving marital relationship.[ii] Sex flourishes within the protective “garden” of marriage (see Song of Solomon). And sex within marriage helps families and thus societies flourish.

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***Porn*** (pt 3)

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The Supernatural Perspective 

So, we have looked at the natural perspective but what does the supernatural or Biblical perspective have to say? The Bible has been saying what we just saw—that porn is bad—for over a millennia. But let’s look at a few specifics.

The Bible and Porn (porneia)

Pornography degrades and derogates the good design of sex and can also ruin relationships. We are wired for intimacy but pornography hijacks the brain[i] and leads to malfunction of God’s intended design. So, with that in mind, let’s look at a few Bible verses that speak to the issue of porn.

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***Porn*** (pt 2)

[This post contains explicit descriptions and is not suitable for all audiences]

Porn and Objectification

Porn turns people into objects to use and then discard. A Princeton University study has actually shown that “viewing pictures of scantily clad women activated the ‘tool-use part’ of men’s brains, causing them to view women as tools to be used.”[i]

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***Porn*** (pt 1)

[This post contains explicit descriptions and is not suitable for all audiences]

How should we think about porn?

Porn has been normalized and seems to be accepted for the most part in mainstream culture. It may not always be openly promoted but it seems to be assumed. It seems wise, in part because of porns prevalence, to at least consider the impact it is having and the place it should (or shouldn’t) have in our lives. 

In America, there is no broadly shared consensus regarding sex.[i] For example, there are various answers to these important questions: What is the purpose of sex and when and with whom should we have it? Connected to people’s view of sex is people’s view of pornography.

Statistics,[ii] as well mere observation of culture (e.g. Snapchat, Instagram), show us that there is moral ambiguity towards porn. In fact, teens and young adults view overeating as more immoral than viewing porn.[iii] So, as “access to pornography has increased, the stigma toward it has seemingly decreased.”[iv] I would suggest, however, that we shouldn’t assume this is a good thing.

I don’t think that we should blindly accept that porn consumption doesn’t matter. We would be wise to have and be able to defend our position on porn. As Socrates reportedly said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

How do we evaluate the acceptability of porn? There are two main ways we can evaluate porn and I believe they are both important to look at. We can look at porn from a 1) natural perspective and from a 2) supernatural perspective.

The Natural Perspective 

Here are two questions I believe it is wise to answer: Does porn promote human flourishing? Does porn help individuals and society thrive? Those are obviously big questions (that we can not exhaustively cover here) but they are important to consider.

Porn and Self-image 

Porn can turn healthy self-image into an unhealthy “sex-image” where people measure themselves by the images they view or by the images their partner views. Porn can very negatively affect self-image. For example, “A 2012 study of college-aged women with male partners who used porn concluded that the young women suffered diminished self-esteem, relationship quality and sexual satisfaction correlated with their partners’ porn use.”[v]

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Is my body for sex and sexiness?

[[Warning!!!]] The conclusion I come to here may be offensive, radical, and seemingly insane to the majority of Americans. The culture we consume continuously yells: “Sex! Sex! SEX!!!” However, I ask you to consider my perspective on sex.

So, are our bodies for sex and sexiness? First, if you are above the age of 30 it is probably a daily empirical reality that no, our bodies are not (primarily) made for sex and sexiness.[1] Thus, virgins can (and do!) live fulfilled lives!

In my opinion, the sexual revolution is missing out on our bodies’ teleological (or ulitmate) function and so people are left vying for fulfillment. This is the case because “The body is not meant for sexual immorality [misunderstanding of the bodies telos], but for the Lord [correct telos], and the Lord for the body” (1 Cor. 6:13). God does not say that sex is bad and that humans should not enjoy sex. Actually, we find that God wants us to enjoy sex and that when it is enjoyed as intended He calls it “very good” (see Designer Sex 1 and 2). 

God is not a cosmic killjoy. Truly, we find that God has our best in mind. He wants us to appropriately enjoy the many good things He made (e.g. the earth, other human beings, grapes and what can be created from grapes). However, as the supreme and glorious creator of the universe, He also knows, in the words of Augustine that “our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.” Or as Blaise Pascal said, we have an infinite hole that can only be filled by the infinite; namely, only by God Himself. Read More…

“Genetic Homosexual?” and our morality…

John is attracted to men. Jane is attracted to women. And so, our cultural says, “Go for it! If that’s the way you feel (the culture’s only form of “objective” truth). After all, that’s the way you were born. It’s in your genes.”

I, Paul, am attracted to women (pl.) and yet I am married, to a singular woman. I also have the tendency, bent, disposition, because of innumerable factors (nature, nurture, etc.) to be angry and act out in anger. If I left myself unchecked and just did whatever I felt like, I, sad to say, would be an abusive adulterer. Something that would not be good for me, my wife, my children, or society. 

So, even if I am by nature a genetic abusive adulterer is that ok? Should I be content with that? Promote that? 

I do not see how that is admirable. Many people would lead me to believe that is the higher good; to be something akin to animals. To do whatever we want, whatever our natural self would want to do. It sounds like many would sniff the wind and follow their inner impulse. However, does anyone realize that our inner impulse, whatever it might be, will often lead to some very bad places?

We all have many dispositions: selfishness, pride, boastfulness, etc. but that does not make it right; even if natural. If we want to just say that everyone should just do whatever their genetic disposition has given them, then we should just do away with the penal system and society in general. For what, in that line of thought, would allow us justification to repress any inner and natural desire?

Many studies, for instance, show that many drug addicts, whether meth, heroin, or cocaine, have a genetic disposition to drug addiction. However, we don’t say, or most of us don’t say, that drug addiction is okay. Why? Many would say because it harms the body and harms society. Just because someone has a disposition for something does not justify that disposition. 

The logic that says homosexuality is fine because people have a disposition towards it is faulty. That just does not follow. People have dispositions in all sorts of ways. But that does not make it morally good. 

People say: “To your own self be true” and other such phrases. But where does our deepest self lay? In our pants? Or does our mind and our convictions play a pretty big part? Maybe being “true to our self” also, and more fundamentally, means being true to our convictions, to what we think and believe at the core of our being. If I ask, “Is love more than bodily fluids?” This will be answered not unbiasedly but according to other deeper and more fundamental questions.  The real issue at stake in this conversation is about fundamental convictions; how we see the world, our ultimate desires, our view of life and our view of “the good.”

People, for instance, compare sex to eating. Yes, sex is like eating in some ways. It is a natural enough thing (although much more significant psychologically, relationally, etc.), yet if we don’t eat we die. That is not the case with sex. Yet sex, under certain belief systems, e.g. naturalistic hedonism, will be seen as close to ultimate. Whereas the Christian sees sex as a good gift from God. A gift that must be enjoyed in the right way to the right end. In the Christian’s belief system there is something more awesome more significant than sex, infinitely more.

When the Christian, whether their tendency is more towards heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual temptation, has found that there is something more significant, lasting, and satisfying than sex (yes, something better than sex!) it obviously impacts them. They can be recreated and desire what is more significant than some of their inner dispositions.[1] Through relationships, whether with friends, a spouse, or God, we see that we are not just sexual animals; that is one part of our constitution. It is not, or I don’t think we should let it be, the fundamental and driving part. That view is shallow, problematic, and simply just not accurate to reality.

What we are seeing in our culture is two worldviews colliding. One says we are fundamentally animals and thus expects us to live according to our innate animal desires. And from that worldview, it’s consistent. Only why stop with adultery or homosexuality?… whatever one finds to do, whatever the desire, it should be allowed in that system.[2] The other worldview says we are not animals and we should not live simply according to our desires. Our desires can be wrong, very wrong. The Christian says that we were created in the image of God but have been marred through sin. We need to be remade in God’s image by listening to His Word. The problem happened in the beginning exactly because we were not listening and did what we (wrongly) desired.

Our desire must be shaped, informed, led by He who knows; namely God. God has all wisdom. Not us. He, as our good Father, knows how to give good gifts, even if we think we want something else. He knows what we ultimately need and what will ultimately satisfy.

So, there may be “genetic homosexuals” that are not practicing homosexuals. I myself am a “genetic adulterer” yet, by God’s empowering grace, I am not a practicing adulterer.

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[1] Of course, here, if someone sees humans as fundamentally just sexual animals then what I am saying will be scoffed at. However, I will also rightfully scoff at their shallow, sad, and bankrupt view. If we are mere animals then what of love, what of society, what of the penal system? Obviously, “non-Christian presuppositions will lead to non-Christian interpretations and ultimately to non-Christian conclusions” (Michael J. Kruger, “The Sufficiency of Scripture in Apologetics,” 87 in The Master’s Seminary Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 2001). Yet, those conclusions are chaotic, problematic, and wrong.

[2] “Logic, science, and morality make no sense within the non-Christian worldview. For example, how can the atheist justify and explain the origin and universal applicability of moral absolutes? He simply cannot. Consider philosopher William Lane Craig as he explains the impossibility of moral absolutes in an atheist worldview: If there is no God, then any ground for regarding the herd morality evolved by homo sapiens as objectively true seems to have been removed. After all, what is so special about human beings? They are just accidental by-products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time. Some action, say incest, may not be biologically or socially advantageous and so in the course of human evolution has become taboo; but there is on the atheistic view nothing re ally wrong about committing incest. If, as Kurt states, ‘The moral principles that govern our behavior are rooted in habit and custom, feeling and fashion,’ then the non-comformist who chooses to flout the herd morality is doing nothing more serious than acting unfashionably (William Lane Craig, The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality, located at http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/meta-eth.html, 4)” (Michael J. Kruger, “The Sufficiency of Scripture in Apologetics,” 83n35 in The Master’s Seminary Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 2001).

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