Tag Archives: Sex

The Emperor has no Clothes…and no Condom

…sorry, couldn’t resist.

A common line of thinking that’s all the rage these days is that we can reduce abortions through greater access to contraception.  This has never sat right with me.  The argument looks fair, but smells foul.

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Here’s one of the many reasons why.  New York Times columnist William Saletan, himself no frothing-at-the-mouth pro-lifer, recently wrote:

Eight years ago, the Alan Guttmacher Institute surveyed over 10,000 American women who had abortions. Nearly half said they hadn’t used birth control in the month they conceived. When asked why not, 8 percent cited financial problems, and 2 percent said they didn’t know where to get it. By comparison, 28 percent said they had thought they wouldn’t get pregnant, 26 percent said they hadn’t expected to have sex and 23 percent said they had never thought about using birth control, had never gotten around to it or had stopped using it. Ten percent said their partners had objected to it. Three percent said they had thought it would make sex less fun.

In other words, only 10% of the women surveyed didn’t use birth control due to lack of access.  This blows a big hole in the “greater access” argument above.  As Saletan goes on to say, “this isn’t a shortage of pills or condoms. It’s a shortage of cultural and personal responsibility.”

By attacking an irrelevant detail (lack of access to birth control, and, I add, education about why and how to use birth control), we leave the root cause (a “shortage of cultural and personal responsibility”) untouched.  This will make the problem worse…it’s the law of unintended consequences.

Granted, Saletan defines “cultural and personal responsibility” to include use of contraception, and his definition is much different than mine–chastity.

My response to Saletan: starting a fire outside the fire place, even if you use mitts to handle the hot coals, is not responsible…catch my drift?  When we implicitly send the message that one can sever sex from it’s intended purpose–especially with government policy–the consequences will be dire.

By the way, I am not here making the case for abstinence only sex education…that’s a subject for another post.

Despite  the above gem, the rest of his column is confusing.  He offers a “compromise” on abortion that he thinks will help.  One proposal is to legalize same-sex marriage…I’m not clear on how that would help.  Two of his other proposals, strangely, turn on contraception…and this despite what he just said about lack of access.  As Public Discourse writer Michael New notes, true blue pro-lifers won’t find much to like in the column.  However, the above admission is striking.  New quips:

While most pro-lifers will find little to like in his proposals, Saletan does the pro-life movement an extremely valuable service by effectively debunking the notion that better access to contraceptives will significantly lower abortion rates. In so doing, he inadvertently succeeds in making the case that a more chaste culture is the only way for pro-lifers to achieve their long term objective of assuring that every unborn child sees the light of day.  Given all the already existing programs, it is by no means clear that there are policy instruments that could increase contraceptive use among this subset of women.

Right now the pro-life movement is having a crisis of thought.  Because the perception is that pro-life political policies were not working (not true…see here), many, I think, have suffered a loss of hope and have been wooed by a bunch of claptrap.  It’s all the rage these days, but few pause to consider the real consequences.

The woods are a-teeming with contraception fans, but they’re gonna end up burning down the forest.

Bristol: Abstinence is not “Realistic”

Though Bristol Palin puts the Obamedia in their place, this is another illustration for why we need to actively engage our kids in worldview thinking, so that they can understand and articulate their beliefs better.

That comment is not meant to wag a finger at Sarah Palin’s parenting at all.  I don’t know what she’s like, and it’s possible she and Todd have engaged with their children, and Bristol has just “missed it.”  Perhaps she really does have solid convictions, but the big media-ness of the interview left her nervous.

Who knows.  I just think the video is instructive for us who have children or who will have children in the future, for if we neglect actively guiding and teaching our kids in biblically sound thinking skills, they will be left open to attack and they will stammer and struggle to make sense out of our most basic convictions.  As I’ve argued before, this phenomenon does not bode well for our kids remaining strong in the faith through college.

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Should You Wait Until Marriage? (Follow Up)

Last week I wrote to “Valentine in the Morning,” pitching in my own thoughts on the question “should you wait until marriage to have sex?”

That post has garnered several comments from readers, but no response from Valentine…still waiting.

I really appreciate the comments you all have offered.   I really think Neil hit it straight on regarding the “bike” illustration: owning more than one bike isn’t a big deal (and is even necessary sometimes!) and no one will blink if you discard your Huffy for an upgrade, but would we be ok with it if our spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend looked at us like that? If we’d be hurt if someone looked upon us as a tool or object, why do we suddenly rationalize it when we think of our “loved ones” like that?

Can we even call our loved one a loved one if we are test driving them?

What if Valentine’s daughter (assuming he has a daughter of dating age…I’m not sure if he does) brought home a strapping young man, and Valentine overheard him saying to a friend on the phone, “yeah, right now I’m just testing her out to see how she is in the sack. Hey, it’s what I gotta do. Can’t buy a car without test driving it first, right?”

I bet he’d be livid. This brings up Matt’s point: golden rule, baby…golden rule.

Your Every Day Christian is right too: if you’ve saved yourself for marriage, your wife is the best you’ve ever had. Mark Driscoll tells a similar story of a friend who was debating the sex before marriage question in a secular philosophy 101 class. The friend was a virgin and vowed he would not kiss his girlfriend until they met at the altar. The other students were incredulous.

One young man in the back, a frat boy (it always has to be some smart aleck frat boy, right?), replied, “but how will you know if she’s any good?” Driscoll’s friend replied, “If I’m a virgin, how will I know if she’s bad? I won’t. She’ll be the best I’ve ever had.”

That’s great. Look, if I were Valentine, I wouldn’t worry about that question. One of the many benefits of waiting for marriage to have sex is that you have a lifetime to figure it out in a context of trust and safety. Seriously, you’ll be alright.

And on the attraction question: guys, it doesn’t matter if she’s not a minx. She’s a naked woman. You won’t have to worry about losing your sex drive.

Check out the following related posts:

Wait for True Love (this one’s not what you think, trust me)

Single and Willin’ to Mingle

The Cost of Delaying Marriage

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Should you Wait Until Marriage?

As I was driving Saturday, I tuned into Valentine in the Morning on My F.M 104.3. I heard the tail end of a conversation he was having with his callers on “should you wait until marriage for sex?”

Although I only heard the last two callers, I heard a sentiment that is very popular these days. I decided to call in, but I was unable to get through, so I sent Valentine an email:

Hi Valentine!

I caught the tail end of your conversation on Saturday regarding sex before marriage. You asked the question, “should you wait?”

While I only caught the last two callers, one of your comments caught my attention. You drew an analogy between riding a bike and sex before marriage. The basic jist of it was that you said you shouldn’t wait because you gotta try your partner out, much like you try out a bike.

I hear that sentiment a lot: you gotta go for a test drive before you commit so you can see how your boyfriend/girlfriend is in bed.

It’s popular to think like that, but the problem is that we’re not dealing with cars or bikes, but human beings with incredible value. My girlfriend is not a bike…she’s a beautiful child of God. I therefore need to respect her as such and keep my hands off her until I commit in marriage. If I truly love her (which I do), I will have the discipline to do this.

Any woman should be hurt and offended if her boyfriend or spouse speaks of her like a car to be “test driven.”

Moreover, ladies, let me ask you this: how romantic is it, exactly, to stand buck naked in front of a man who hasn’t committed his life to you?

Lastly, we must recognize the consequences of sex before marriage…and I’m not talking about pregnancy and STDs. A condom provides absolutely zero protection against a broken heart. How much carnage has been made from people going on the “test drive” advice?

When you sleep with someone, whether you acknowledge it or not, you bind yourselves together; physiologically, emotionally, spiritually. You also give a piece of your heart and soul to that person. When you break up (which happens often…you might think, in the heat of the moment, that you’ll be together forever, but time often proves that wrong), you rip yourself away and leave that piece of yourself with him/her. We now have a culture of young men and women constantly binding and ripping, binding and ripping. Many of us have bonded and ripped so much, that when we really do marry, we have nothing left to give.

As philosopher J. Budziszewski notes, its kind of like duct tape; the first time you have sex, you will bond with the person no matter what. But after a while, after you’ve bonded and ripped a few times, you lose your ability to bond.

The most sad part of this is that many, many times we don’t realize all this until its too late.

I’d love to jibe over the phone on your show about this. If it sounds interesting and you’re up for it, feel free to give me a call at ***. I think it would make an interesting and lively conversation that would pique the interest of your listeners. Not to mention, I think I’d give a different take on things that most don’t hear.

–Let’s see if he responds….:)

Check out the following related posts:

Top 5 Things Women Find Attractive in Men

The Dating List

The Cost of Delaying Marriage

Singleness: All the Rage

Wait for True Love?

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Now That’s a Good Point!

Here are some mighty fine stuff out there in the blogosphere:

Neil at 4Simpson’s posts Why Sex is Like Duct Tape.  This one goes hand in hand with my letter to Valentine in the Morning that I posted today.  I’ve actually used the duct tape illustration with my students before (sex comes up a lot.  I reason that since I’m one of the only fellas out there that will give any semblance of sense to them, I let them go there from time to time.  Yeah, risky…but worth it.)

David Porter at A Boomer in the Pew posts God-From Homeboy to Sovereign King. This here’s a mighty fine post…mighty fine.  I hope to make Jesus more than a homeboy too.  It’s a shame that God these days is commonly seen as a guy in “a robe, with flip flops  on, kickin’ it in heaven, with a pick in his afro.”  (that gem comes from Ludacris, by the way, in a recent interview.).  It’s expected for the world to think like that, but those in the church?  C’mon.  I admit, though, that far too often I take the same view of God.

This one’s kinda scary, really. It’s about women nursing toy babies.  This is one consequence of putting off marriage and children for too long.  (ht: Challies.com)

Tim Tebow: a class act.

Ray Ortlund writes on the growing trend of stunning biblical illiteracy in the pew, and what we as the Church can do about it.  It’s our problem, afterall..it’s happening on our watch.  (Thanks again, Challies!)

Gosh I love Mark Steyn!  In this post, he has some choice words for many in mainstream Europe (much of the press) and the United States for following Hamas’ lead in spouting the “oldest hatred.” (ht: Hugh Hewitt)

Heather MacDonald writes on the rising rate of minority and inner city crime, and she puts forth a great solution.  Unfortunately, its one that many in the press and policy makers aren’t considering.  (ht: Lashawn Barber)

Here is the article MacDonald critiques.  What the LA Times doesn’t understand is that the problem in the inner cities is a moral one, not a primarily economic one.  It’s not a problem of the justice system either.  As MacDonald notes, the kid has got to commit a crime in the first place to end up in the system (and who do you think the crime was committed against?  An old white male?  No…most often, its against another minority.)

Hard economic times does exacerbate the problem, but it is only a symptom pointing to a deeper problem.  As long as kids in black and latino neighborhoods come from broken and dysfunctional homes (of course, broken homes are prevalent in largely white neighborhoods as well, but as MacDonald demonstrates, the prevalence is much, much higher in these minority communities.), the cycle will continue.

Have fun, comment away!

A “Gay (Un)Education”

A few days ago I happened upon the following video titled “A Gay Education:”

I have found, unfortunately, that the “arguments” in this video are all too common.

How should we respond to this?

Notice the subtle way the characters are portrayed: the gay and lesbian man and woman are smiling, while Christian always looks kinda clueless. He also frowns and looks askance when in between the homosexual characters, as if he’s pretty uncomfortable in their presence. His comebacks are never very sophisticated, (“I heard blah blah blah.”), when the narrator talks of science Christian can’t help but disclose his disdain (“oh..that” he says sarcastically), and he dresses sorta, well, uptight.

Make no mistake: the characters weren’t portrayed like that by accident. The maker of the video is trying to communicate certain ideas about homosexuals (happy, well adjusted) and those who object to Christianity (simple minded, they object to homosexuality just out of fear, they are uptight, anti-science etc). But I ask: where’s the argument? Also, are those who oppose homosexuality really like that? Things like this represent unnecessary padding to the arguments being made.

It’s not that there are no happy homosexuals or uptight religious folk. There are plenty. It’s that a) such portrayals set fire to straw men and b) they have nothing to do with the arguments being made; they are there because they need to be. If they weren’t, and if the video just made due with the bottom line arguments it makes, we’d be able to spot the flaws much easier. That’s why I call these subtle portrayals “padding.”

Now, sometimes things like that are ok and legit, *as additions to already strong arguments* (best to avoid such egregious straw men altogether, though), but when people lean on them to persuade rather than the actual arguments, that’s a red flag. We should take note, clear the smoke and mirrors to the side, and deal with the arguments themselves.

Before I get to the arguments, notice one more thing: the reliance upon “science” to make the pro-homosexual case. Did you notice that Christian typically began his responses with something akin to “I heard…” and the narrator’s response often began with something like “scientists say…” That’s another subtle persuasive technique. In our culture, science sells. Morality: not so much.

Just look at commercials; how many commercials feature scientists in lab coats testing something? Oftentimes, all you need to say to sound convincing is “the facts from science are…” But I have to ask: first, is that really the universal conclusion of science, and second, why are scientists coming to those conclusions? Those are two HUUUUGGEE questions the video never addresses. This is another red flag.

Far too often the “conclusions” of science are much more complicated than the persuaders care to admit.

Furthermore, scientists come to their conclusions for all sorts of reasons, and many have nothing to do with the actual evidence: grant money, societal pressure, prejudices of academia, a faulty and narrow philosophy of science (you cannot do science without first formulating a philosophy of science), etc. If you doubt this, the movie Expelled will give you lots of things to chew on.

As to the arguments:

“How do you know you are homosexual? The same way you know you are straight.”

Bottom line, this is an appeal to desire: you know you are homosexual because you have an inclination or attraction to the opposite sex. This comes immediately after the narrator says, “lets see what the latest science says.” Is this the “science” the narrator talks about?

Some science.

Notice that “attraction” is never defined. This is telling.

Also, this proves too much. How do you know you are a man-boy lover? The same way you know you are straight. How do you know you were made to be with animals? The same way you know you are straight. I could go on, but you get the point.

The point isn’t to suggest moral equivalency between homosexuality and bestiality; the point is that pointing to desire to “know” whether you are anything at all is a horribly faulty argument. It is vague and empty logic.

Secondly, notice the way the environmental-developmental theory (represented by the comical Freud character) is done away with: the lesbian says, “you’re kidding me, right?” All Freud does is shrug.

That’s it…no attempt to engage with the point of view…just a hand waving dismissal.

Third, the video equivocates on its definition of “unnatural.” The definition the narrator uses is “something is natural if it happens in nature.” But this isn’t the definition folks like me use when we say “homosexuality is unnatural.”

Briefly: something is unnatural if it cuts against our design.

Fourthly, as Melinda Penner points out, just saying something occurs in nature says nothing about its morality. All sorts of things happen in the animal world that is immoral for humans. In fact, one thing that separates us from the animals is that we can step back, look at our inclinations, and say “no” to them.

Moreover, observing two male dogs get it on says nothing about whether they are “homosexual.” In fact, much of the animal behavior like that isn’t homosexuality, but dominance behavior. When Coco (my late dog…may she rest in peace) mounts my poor neighbor’s leg, she isn’t sexually attracted to his leg; she’s just, umm, asserting her dominance, lets say.

The scientific studies the narrator points to are much, much more complicated than he suggests. If you read them yourself (I have), you’ll see that many times, the authors themselves admit the results are inconclusive. There have often been published responses that debate the studies as well. As the narrator noted, these are available to all at most university libraries.

Look at how the ex-gay ministries are portrayed! This is simply intellectually irresponsible. The “poor homosexuals” go into some assembly line factory and come out bland and unhappy. Then one whispers, “we’re still gay” and they all get a sly smile on their face. Again, this is just a plain ol ad hominem attack, with no attempt to actually engage the claims of ministries like Exodus International.

The authors of the cartoon would lead you to believe that all those who go into the ex-gay ministries are “still gay,” but refuses to recognize that many do have successful turn arounds. One of my friends, for instance, has a past of same-sex attraction, but today is happily married with two kids. If you take the time to listen to the testimonies (also here…and see Stand to Reason’s podcast on November 2 for an interview with Schneider) of folks like him, you’ll find success is attainable.

I’m not arguing that folks like him have it easy…many, many don’t. But neither does anyone else dealing with sexual dysfunction. I should know. I go to a 12 step group for a behavior that I’ll most likely be battling with the rest of my life. Does that mean I should just give in and “go with the flow?” Will I be unhappy and uptight if I don’t? Heavens no!

All this, though, doesn’t strike at the heart of the video: it says nothing about morality. For this, Melinda’s piece that I linked to above has some very, very salient points. I’ll leave that to her to argue, because she says it better than I can.

This video, when you get past all the padding, is just a bunch of ballyhoo. Can those who advance the pro-gay point of view find better representations of their point of view?

Check out the following related posts:

Same-sex Marriage Series (with links to the previous posts in the series)

Tony Jones Part III: Something I Missed

Balancing Scripture, Reason, and Experience
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