It is with some trepidation that I begin the following series. To be completely honest, so many people have had such a hysterically negative reaction to what I have to say on this subject that I have shied away from it for years. When one woman heard the arguments that I am going to make in this series, she said of me, “that guy is such a loser that the only way he will ever get married is if he sends away for a mail order bride.”
While such vehemence obviously hurts my feelings, it does not at all threaten my beliefs. The more strenuously I have heard people argue that sexuality is not important and that extra-marital sex is no big deal, the more thoroughly convinced I become in the depravity of mankind and the truth of God’s word. It would be one thing if dedicated atheists admitted that human sexuality has an enormous impact on everything that humans do and that there is an enormous amount of damage caused by irresponsible sexual behavior, but that we could recognize the importance of sexual immorality without the aid of God’s word. But when an atheist looks me in the eye and denies the importance of sex in the human social experience, he might as well wear a sandwich board that says, “I am completely biased and incapable of admitting the truth with regards to human sexuality.”
A Rational Faith Section 8.7 The Purpose of Sex
It would not be possible to understand God’s work in the lives of individuals without understanding God’s purposes for sexual intimacy. In recent years, the idea that appropriate sexual behavior is an important part of being a decent human being has come under increasing attack. These attitudes were clearly demonstrated in the recent attempt to impeach an American president. Since that incident, it is not possible to have a conversation on the suitability of a person for public office without people defending Biblically inappropriate sexual conduct. “What is the big deal?” “Why would anyone care about a person’s sex life?” “What is wrong with a little healthy fun among consenting adults?” These attitudes are nonsensical.
Let us imagine a couple who have just had a son. While they are at the hospital, a doctor comes up and says, “Good news! Your child is completely healthy! Just one unimportant matter. We need to perform a minor operation on your son in the first week here or he will never be able to have a healthy sex life. Because it is so minor it will only cost $15.00 and it is very low risk, but it does need to be done.” The couple laughs at the doctor. “Why would we have an operation just so he could have a healthy sex life? What is the big deal? Why would anyone ever care about that? You are so funny Doc! Of course we’re not going to pay $15.00 for an operation just so he could have a healthy sex life! Sex is so trivial that nobody would ever care about it!” The parents continue to laugh at the idea that sex is important. Ho! Ho! Ho!
Contrary to popular opinion, sexual intercourse is tremendously important to human beings. In fact, it is probably the single most important thing in our adult lives. If a person is in a wonderful and loving relationship, that person is usually happy even if the other things in their life are not going well. On the other hand, if a person is single and alone even the best of circumstances can seem impoverished and desolate. The question, therefore, is not, “Why would God care about sex?” The question is, “How could God care about human beings and not care about sex?”
God would be tremendously popular if he said, “I am very concerned about how you spend five minutes in the voting booth once every four years, but I don’t really care about what you do in your personal lives.” Unfortunately for those of us who find hedonistic lifestyles attractive, sex is the greatest gift that God has given the human race and its proper use is vital to his purposes. This being the case, he has stringent standards regarding our sexual behavior. Darwinistic, “free-love”, “if it feels good do it” attitudes toward sex are toxic to God’s purpose for sex and are, therefore, anathema to him.
In order to understand why God hates casual sex, it is necessary to understand God’s primary purpose for sex. Many Christians would tell you that procreation is God’s primary purpose for sex and that is why casual sex is wrong. This is not correct. God’s primary purpose for sex is to teach selfish and self-centered human beings to love one other human being in a way that approximates the way God loves each of us. When you see an elderly couple who have been married for fifty years holding hands on the beach, you are seeing the end results of sexual love used the way God intended. Marriage and having children are, therefore, “How to love another human being 101” and “How to love another human being 102” respectively. When we have finished these courses, we have learned how to love a group of people (our nuclear family) in the way that God intends us to love everyone on the planet.
When sex is used for recreational purposes, on the other hand, it is destructive to God’s purpose. The bond that was meant to be shared between one man and one woman for life is now replaced by temporary bonds with large numbers of partners. The breaking of these temporary bonds results in trust issues that we call “emotional baggage”. This “emotional baggage” then makes trust and vulnerability with future partners that much more difficult resulting in fractured relationships and the avoidance of intimacy. The fractured relationships can be seen in the statistics on divorce and the avoidance of intimacy can be seen in the number of older adults who are unhappy and single. Instead of being an instrument whereby human beings learn to love one another, the misuse of sex causes human beings to distrust and dislike one another. Is it any wonder that God get so angry about the misuse of sex?
Probably the nadir of human self-deception about sex comes when people celebrate temporary bonds of physical affection as being genuine self-sacrificial love. A popular musical artist has a song that epitomizes this attitude called “To All the Girls I Have Loved Before”. In a society where we treated such things honestly, this song would be called, “To All the Girls Who Have Sucked My Schlong”. The intense emotions that accompany sexual intimacy are caused by chemicals released into the brain and have very little to do with genuine love. These chemicals are merely training wheels that help us to develop a genuine self-sacrificial love that “hopes all things”, “bears all things” and “never fails”. Comparing casual sexual intercourse with genuine self-sacrificial love is absurdly inappropriate. The musician in question could not even name all of the women he is talking about and he claims to have loved them. If this musician was to defecate on a canvas and hang the result in the Louvre, this act would hardly be more disgusting than celebrating casual sex as genuine love in song.