This is a multi-part series on my reflections on the New Sexual Ethic.
In my previous post, I discussed the seismic shift in sexual practice and acceptance that has taken place in western society over the last 20 years.
What can account for such a massive change, at such blinding speed (historically speaking)?
There are two main narratives that I have previously bought into, to explain such change.
Both narratives have elements of truth in them, but are inadequate to explain the sexual revolution that we are living through:
Narrative #1: The wholesale Rejection of Morality narrative.
This is basically the view that those who abandon an orthodox Christian stance on sexual morality cast off all external restraint and moral norms, and are subject only to the dictates of their own sinful nature. They are by definition without any form of morality at all.
And then there is the second narrative:
Narrative #2: The slippery slope narrative.
In this narrative, there is an inherent instability to error, and, given time, the rejection of biblical truth in one area will lead to its rejection in a host of other areas. Thus abandoning traditional marriage has lead to gay marriage, which in turn will lead to polygamy, incest, bestiality, and paedophilia.
Whilst both narratives have truth in them, they are incomplete: as far as the Rejection narrative goes, those who reject Christian morality don’t necessarily abandon all sexual morality. As I’ll argue below, there is a definite morality for those advocating gay marriage.
And the slippery slope argument doesn’t seem to do justice to the fact that gay marriage advocates are not exactly tripping over themselves to make polygamy, incest, and bestiality legal.
So what’s a better way of understanding the enormous changes we’ve gone through, and are going through?
How have I misunderstood the whole push for gay marriage?
I think the answer is very simple, but (I think) very profound:
*The sexual revolution that we are living through (e.g the push for gay marriage) is powered not merely by a REJECTION of Judeo-Christian sexual morality (although that’s part of it).
Rather, the sexual revolution has REPLACED the Christian sexual ethic with it’s own sexual ethic (containing it’s own do’s and don’ts).*
Thus the new sexual ethic is NOT a ‘free for all, do whatever you want, however you want’.
Rather, it has it’s own do’s, and it’s own don’ts – what’s allowed, and what’s not: what’s approved, and what’s condemned.
This really was an ‘aha’ moment for me, and it explained a lot of what was going on in our culture (and what I’ve experienced firsthand).
For example, the New Sexual Ethic (as I’ll call it) in its purest form, is fanatical in it’s condemnation of any stance that would prevent people from expressing their sexual desires. That’s a clear ‘Don’t!’, a clear no-no (we’ll see exactly why in the next post).
Suffice to say, it explains why gay-rights, in it’s purest form, does not tolerate even the expressing of support for traditional marriage. Because at that point, according to the New Sexual Ethic, anyone openly supporting traditional marriage is calling for the removal of what is seen as a gay person’s fundamental human right to express themselves sexually.
Under the New Sexual Ethic, when it comes to marriage, there’s no room for ‘agree to disagree’: in fact, for the sake of human rights, there CANNOT be any room for disagreement/dissent on such an important issue.
In the next post, we’ll unpack the Main Principles of this New Sexual Ethic, and the implications thereof (one of the big implications being that such a massive shift in Sexual Ethic has some big unintended consequences, which we’re well and truly starting to see).
P.S. There are two really good articles that have helped me grapple with this issue.
Article 1 – ‘Five Principles of the New Sexual Morality’ – The Gospel Coalition: http://tinyurl.com/pd3tedp
Article 2 – ‘Sex after Christianity’ – The American Conservative –http://tinyurl.com/puzv2x6