Sex and Compatibility

How Things Go Together

“What guys basically want is sex,” said the speaker to his teenage crowd. “Even the old married dudes won’t deny it.” He imitated the conceding, shrugging motion that old married dudes make when asked to comment on the matter.

“Now you girls may be thinking, ‘Oh nooo, not my boyfriend. He’s a good little Christian boy.’ Well yes, he is. And he wants good little Christian sex.”

I laughed, but there are controversial implications underneath this comment: that it’s possible—or even a good idea—to want good little Christian sex, and keep on behaving like a good little Christian boy. Many people may think that religion has nothing useful to say about sex. The word “fornication” is an antique. To any extent that the church gets involved, it is seen either as repression, or the idealism of bygone Victorian values. But I have something to say about this.

The Christian (particularly evangelical) approach to sex and relationships is just one example of an entire set of behaviours that I mean to highlight. It is the type of principle that has utilitarian value, yet it is adopted by adherents primarily because it follows from their most basic beliefs.

In example, there is significant utilitarian value to full monogamy, however much the local culture may deny it. It does not have significant adverse effects, but it avoids many. Its advantages can be greater than those of the alternative. It (or something like it) has been a common theme throughout human civilization. Nonetheless, it still does not follow that one should behave this way simply because it can be useful.

Quite simply, there is only one real reason to ascribe to an outdated, socially conservative principle. It is not because it has universal utilitarian value, but because it is the most consistent way to live, assuming that your assumptions about faith are true. This way of living is not necessarily something you can demand of others, if they do not share these assumptions. People live this way because they have a reason to—not because everyone else has a reason to.

The church is often perceived as an entity that preaches morality to the outside world. This is unfortunate, because people within the church are only living according to moral principles that make good sense, when all other things are considered. In speaking to the world at large, the church should speak chiefly about matters of faith. It may be necessary, when the stakes are high, to invoke the language of ethics and morality. However, it is ultimately senseless to preach objective morality apart from faith, because it does not exist.

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2 Responses to “Sex and Compatibility”

  1. on the subject of sex and christianity, if you’re interested, you should look up lauren winner’s podcast: lies the church tells about sex and also mark regnerus’ podcast: forbidden fruit? sex and christianity in the lives of young americans

    very intelligent and insightful lectures.

  2. Yep.

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