Sexual Ethics (Part 3)
Now let’s take a look at our culture’s “gospel” of sex. Why do I call it a gospel? Well, the common view of our culture about sex is that it is the door for 1) historical liberation, 2) existential freedom, and 3) ultimate meaning. I’m just going to touch upon these quickly, so please don’t take this as the final word on the subject (it’s far, far from it!).
First, sex is thought to be a break from the past. Back then, or so we’re told, sex was thought of as dirty, and generally speaking, people were prudish. Now, like I said in the last post from this series, it’s no help that Christians have sometimes reinforced this notion. We’re modern (or should I say postmodern?) people, and we think differently. We’re not bound to retrogressive ways of thinking. This leads us to my second point.
Second, sex is thought to provide the ultimate expression of freedom. Philosopher Michel Foucault is the poster-boy for this type of thinking. In his History of Sexuality, one of his main arguments is that what is normal is always defined in terms of the preferences of those in power. Thus, homosexuality is considered abnormal, not because it truly is aberrant from God’s design (not that Foucault had any room for God in his thought), but because it rubbed those in the majority, those in power, the wrong way. If heterosexuals lose their power to define sexuality, they lose there power to define and hedge in of sorts of cultural beliefs. Thus, according to Foucault, what is needed is, in essence, a realization that open-ended human sexuality, sexuality without norms, without boundaries, is the deepest form of freedom. This is salvation by sex.
Foucault himself was the living embodiment of his philosophy. By day he was a professor, well respected and admired by the intellectual community, and by night he prowled the gay nightclub scene. Unfortunately for Michel, God has designed the world to run according to norms, specifically His word. Sadly, Foucault was the victim of his own lifestyle, contracted AIDS and died in 1984 at only 57 years of age.
Lastly, sexuality is presented to us as a religious supplement. What do I mean by this? Well, have you ever notice that in so many love songs the singer is speaking of their beloved in ways that are (on a Christian basis) only appropriate when speaking to God? Personally, I’d invoke nearly all of Celine Dion’s songs, but as a more concrete example think of Brian Adam’s hit years ago (from the Robinhood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack) in which you says to his love “Everything I do, I do it for you.” Doesn’t that sound strangely like the Apostle Paul when he says, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”? Or what about Whitney Houston who has sung, “I am nothing, nothing, nothing…without you.” It’s amazing that in our increasingly secularized culture, we’re now looking to romantic love to provided ultimate meaning and fulfillment, the very things that naturalism has told us aren’t “out there.”