Call it what it is. Part 2

24 Sep

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This photo was taken from the article  “Born This Way: Sympathy and Science for Those Who Want to Have Sex With Children” mentioned below. The purpose in using it was to point to the confusion surrounding issues pertaining to morality and how we understand them, not as a summary of three categories that all behaviours can be compartmentalized into.* (updated on September 27)

Do words matter all that much? You say “pot-A-to”, I say “po-TA-to”, right? In our postmodern, post-Christian culture, words and their meanings are relative. Truth, if there is such a thing, can be found from within yourself. If you believe it to be true, then it is. Before postmodernism, was the modern age, the result of 18th century Enlightenment thinkers who believed truth was made known on the basis of rational, scientific, and empirical inquiry. For many centuries prior to this, faith was the main means of coming to know the truth. Postmodernism is therefore a fairly recent historical shift in the way that people think. Without a grasp on the significance of postmodernism and its influence on how people perceive truth, Christians will be unable to defend against the tide of anti-biblical thinking, and once again, I want to make the case that it very much does matter what we say, and how we say it.

One of the most current and discussed examples of relativistic postmodern thinking is shown in the way our culture addresses sexuality. The biblical definition of marriage is the union of one man to one woman, for life. The point here is not to outline and defend the Biblical view of the marriage relationship, but simply to state that that is what God ordained as the one union where sexuality was to be expressed and enjoyed. Whether it be through sexual acts outside of marriage or through homosexual unions, the Bible is clear that sinful sexual behaviour is not only harmful and destructive to those engaged, but to others as well. This is not a popular view in the world, where promiscuity and personal fulfillment by whatever means is applauded as the highest good.

For many centuries, conservative views of sexuality were the norm, which is not to say that homosexuality and other types of unbiblical sexual behaviour did not occur, but that the dominant view supported the union of one man to one woman. For the past five decades since the sexual revolution, we have seen the traditional view crumble, relatively quickly, and be replaced with a very different morality. Albert Mohler recently wrote an article in The Atlantic about the sexual revolution where he states that prior to the 1960s when it began to occur, “Divorce was difficult, if not impossible to obtain, and it came with a taint of scandal that could doom professional prospects and personal reputation. Premarital sex happened, but it was discouraged. Homosexuality dared not speak its name, and lifestyles pressing for moral legitimacy today were virtually unknown to most Americans. Adultery was not only censured, but often penalized by both law and public condemnation.” The new morality that replaced old views of sexuality has had and will continue to have devastating personal, familial and social affects.

Here is where the need for Christian courage and clarity comes in to play. With the sexual revolution and postmodern thinking, there comes a strong argument against any absolute views of morality. Since the postmodern world believes that truth is relative, and people must determine for themselves what is good and right, and the only thing that is unacceptable would be to condemn or disagree with anyone’s personal views, Christians must have even more courage to stand for biblical truth even in the face of great pressure to accept and applaud all forms of sexual behavior. What Mohler mentions about the pre-1960s view of homosexuality is clearly not the case anymore. In fact, homosexuality is now applauded and encouraged in the most public forums possible. Parades, political platforms, advocacy groups, television and social media, all participate in promoting and praising the homosexual lifestyle as not only an alternative form of sexuality, but a good and desirable way of life. For example, how should Christians, when discussing the issue of so-called same-sex marriage, use their words to make it clear that they have a biblical perspective on sexuality? By doing just that. John Piper gets the credit for clarifying to me that even though there is a debate that is ongoing about legalizing the union of homosexuals, calling it marriage essentially identifies it as a legitimate union. His purposeful addition of “so-called” is not meant to be inflammatory but to be truthful. I’m not suggesting that we all must use this phrasing, so much as I am calling for Christians to be clear in their thinking and discussions. This may sound like a minor issue of wording but it’s not. Marriage is a union that was ordained by God, and since He created and determined its nature, we must hold to that view regardless of the shifting sands of cultural opinion that are giving way under our feet.

What could this mean for Christians? Will it really matter that Christians refer to it as “so-called same-sex marriage”? Will it matter that pastors preach sermons on texts that call homosexuality a sin? Will it matter that Christian children quietly refuse to participate in events that promote unbiblical sexuality at school? I think that the day is approaching (if not already here), when many Christians will be punished in various ways for their beliefs. Take a look at this short article from Desiring God regarding a case in New Mexico where a Christian photography business would not photograph a same-sex wedding and was brought to court as a result. Just Google Chic-fil-A and see what kind of slanderous things are being said about the company and their position on marriage. Or read the comments of many Torontonians who are enraged that Christian parents (along with other concerned parents) are asking the TDSB to opt their children out of classes where teachers are teaching on subjects such as homosexuality. What about this piece called “Born This Way: Sympathy and Science for Those Who Want to Have Sex With Children” (*warning- some graphic content) written recently on a prominent online site that argues that pedophilia may simply be an illness, one that we must not condemn pedophiles for since it may be beyond their control? Take a look at this article on a film that was shown at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival that celebrates incest. Now that we have seen the normalization and institutionalization of homosexuality, and sadly the increasing charge to normalize other types of sinful sexual behaviour like pedophilia and incest, we are going to face the challenge of holding on to our beliefs, and the necessity of acting in accordance to conscience, against much pressure and potential punishment and ostracization.

We need to ask ourselves these questions. Are we willing to first and foremost be people of the book, no matter what it costs us? Do we have confidence that God’s word is the source of Truth and that His word and all it contains is written for our good, and for the good of the entire unbelieving world. Do we believe that biblical truth is not transient but absolute, and therefore what was written four thousand years ago is still relevant to us today? If we believe this, then we need to live and speak accordingly and as Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We need to be transformed by the renewing of the word so that we may be able to test and approve what is good and acceptable to God. We will be for the good of all people, if and only if our minds and hearts are fixed on Biblical truths and we learn to articulate them in a way that confronts, convicts, and comforts people with the hope of the Gospel. And most of all, we will be seeking after what is acceptable to God, the only one who we must aim to please.

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2 Responses to “Call it what it is. Part 2”

  1. majay13 October 2, 2012 at 5:13 PM #

    This isn’t my own comment- it’s one from a friend on Facebook, as well as another comment from someone else. Just wanted to post it so that anyone reading can hear what others are saying about this topic.

    Aaron- Again, I’m very strongly going to have to disagree with you. Homosexual couples absolutely have the right to marry and celebrate their love, to raise children and share in the legal benefits you yourself receive as a married person. The fact that you disagree with the definition of marriage is neither here nor there. Do you believe that the value of your marriage is degraded because it shares a common word with some homosexual relationships? It’s not your business what people do in their bedrooms, so why do you feel the need to tell homosexual couples that in your mind their marriage is invalid? I believe the intolerance that you’re preaching here is the real affront to civilized society, not gay characters on sitcoms. If you want to pull your child out of a sex ed class that teaches about homosexuality, feel free to do so, but this is so unbelievably ignorant. They are teaching kids about something that exists in our society, they are not telling your child to be gay, so to shelter your child from reality is negligent in my mind. Why not pull your child from science class? she’s gonna be taught about the big bang theory and evolution and other scientific facts and theories I’m sure you disagree with, so how is learning that gay people exist any more damaging to your child then that? You are still free to fill her mind with religious dogma. Why not send her to a religious school? You are also free to do that! She can learn about an invisible man in the sky that wants you to love him completely while also living in complete fear of him! Masochism! It is our post modern way of thinking that allows you to have your beliefs and me to have mine. At some point or another I’m just gonna have to throw my hands up in the air and say, “man, some people are crazy! but what can I do? they have the right to exist.” Preaching that homosexuality is wrong in the eyes of your god or is not quite what god intended is significantly more dangerous to humanity than allowing gay people to get married. How does the marriage of a gay couple affect you personally? You and your partner are a heterosexual couple, you’ve done just want your god wanted. So who cares if someone doesn’t adhere to your beliefs? You can live a pious life and know that instead of just rotting in the ground or burning in some fiery pits somewhere, you’ll be granted a blissful eternity. Just leave them alone.

    I’m not sure if you’re able to see the comments I receive when I share this post, but this is a post from a friend of mine: “This upsets me. Marriage was not created by God/religion. Marriage was a union and the church was involved because it kept records. This piece suggests that accepting homosexuality is a gateway to accepting pedophilia and incest.
    “In fact, homosexuality is now applauded and encouraged in the most public forums possible” – the idea of homosexuality is not the key component of the celebration; rather, it is the freedom of expression, individuality, and the absolving of the fear associated with coming to terms with oneself. Having been raised in the Catholic school system in a Roman-Catholic Italian family, I truly understand the fear expressed by Christians in all of its stupidity. Homosexuals don’t want approval, we want equality. We want to marry for various reasons. Some of it has to do with the symbolism; however, there are a great deal of legal benefits that go along with marriage. If I am sick and unable to make my own medical decisions, marriage to my husband would allow him to act on my behalf. I am sickened at the way Christians cling to quoting the bible. If you’re devout, then you should follow this fairytale book to its full extent. You can’t pick and choose what you agree with, nor can you claim religion as a means to justifying your hate. I can’t speak for all homosexuals, but I can speak for myself. I don’t need mass acceptance, I don’t need the bible to be revised or for religious schools to change their teachings. I just want to be left alone but to also be entitled to the same rights as everyone. Homosexuality is not a disease, and it does not lead to pedophilia. Homosexuality is something we are born with. The anger and uprising directed at Chic-fil-A was substantiated because the company’s CEO used his supposed religious views as a means for hating homosexuals. Christians should keep their religious views to themselves and stop throwing their bigotry with threats of hell from NOT believing in God or from being a homosexual.”

  2. Aaron October 3, 2012 at 2:08 PM #

    This is a post from a friend of mine, who wished to remain nameless: “You’re going to lose. People around the world are going to continue to reject your religious strictures on what is acceptable behaviour. And the best part is, you’re not even going to have the satisfaction of seeing the world go down in flames because of it, and getting to say “I told you so”. Because we’re going to be just fine, and people are going to be happy and successful without your bullshit. Your worldview is (literally) dying, and it’s becoming clear that we never needed it in the first place. Bye!”

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