With great beauty in Christ, a humbled group of us gathered to worship the Lord last weekend. It was a pleasure to worship along side those that have been a part of the work of Running Light. Some were leaders in the ministry and others simply attend one of the groups. My heart was welting with emotion as I thought of the past 15 years. God is good, so merciful and kind. His compassion is new every morning, great is His faithfulness!
Two of our previous leaders who moved out of our area are back in Tucson now! Both were leading the service and both exalted Christ in using their gifts in ways that encourage us all. Bethany is our Beauty For Ashes leader and Katy has been one of our public speakers on lustful attitudes that women fall into. The later took opportunity during the service to share her personal testimony with us. This was a day I was looking forward to for years now. She shared with great vulnerability which came of so strong! Strong vulnerability? Is there such a thing? “Let the weak say I am strong, in the strength of our Lord!” I was thinking that when listening. As failures were shared to the audience with such quietness covering the room, grace and mercy were exalted. The Fatherhood of God came forth in His discipline in her life. Always so caring and gentle through such difficulty.
Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
The fruit of this kind of Fatherhood is a holiness the scriptures tell us.
Hebrews 12:10 “but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.”
And this holiness begins here with the hope of a future grace of complete holiness! This hope allows us to “strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” (Hebrews 12:12)
You too might have biffed it pretty good. Is there hope for you? Oh there is! We hope that Running Light Ministries is a place to hear our own stories of God’s grace and goodness.
Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Today is a new day to wait upon the Lord. Let’s do that together!
Being involved in a ministry that discusses pornography over the past 15 or so years has it’s interesting moments. Nothing has been so interesting as hearing what other people in the Church culture say about it. It, being pornography. Over the years there is a constant sound as to the dangers of pornography; erectile dysfunction, not wanting to have sex with a real person, escalating to child pornography are to name a few. But the list could go on; sex addiction…you’ll go blind! We’ll… not the you’ll go blind talk, but we have to remember that it used to be one! And there were many other ideas as to lustful behavior and how to curb it.
Many desire to grow in there walk with Jesus yet still find the lure of pornography a real thing. I know. I and some of my colleagues do too. I was talking to a thirty year old today and sharing with him something that I have shared on Podcasts over the years. ‘The normal thing for human beings to do is to watch other people! We are voyeurs at heart! We love to watch people. Pastors at times will use animals… a wolf, tiger or cheetah to show a Biblical truth. Just as a animal does this or that, so we should be fierce like the wolf, alert like the tiger or fast to follow God like a cheetah. I’m sure you’ve heard those kind of talks. But I haven’t found one that uses Bonobo’s! Bonobo monkey’s are narly! And humans have the potential to act like one! If not in our actions…in our minds. We are voyeurs . Haha…I laugh at this. Think of it this way…do you want to go to a empty mall and walk around? No! We actually have a empty mall by our house and we find know one wanting to congregate in it! People rarely desire to congregate to a mall at Christmas time when it’s dead. Life is what we want to see, and that means people! And with sex it is the same. People want to see others. What prevents us many times from watching one another is shame, guilt or embarrassment. And these issues plague their hearts and tear at them repeatedly. But don’t get this wrong…watching people is normal.
An interesting thought is that Adam and Eve were naked. They did not wear cloths (Peter and I discuss this a bit in our Leviticus Podcasts). Their kids (if had) along with mom and dad would not have worn clothes. What a interesting thought. The point is that seeing a naked body would have been normal. And this truth makes many quite uncomfortable. But why? It might say something of our own issues of shame, guilt and embarrassment with our bodies, especially our sexual organs. But when you are married, you tend to see your spouse naked all the time. Or is that just us! And it’s not like you are aroused every time you see your spouse naked or immediately need sex when skin is shown. That would seem weird. But there can be a enjoyment of seeing your spouses body. A thankfulness of your commitment to another or even a intrigue of what their body looks like! Enjoying looking at a naked body is normal to most people on the planet. Watching pornography is a endeavor in watching. I believe a crooked one, but none the less, one.
Now another interesting note about this is that this has not always been the case. You can get an idea from Christian influenced Europe that nakedness was seen as a bad thing. Even with your spouse! Just read over the early church fathers on there views of women and sex. Yikes and hold on when reading them. Seeing a naked body, no matter who’s you were looking at could initiate the carnal lusts. So sex would be under the sheets or done with most of ones cloths on. Long skirts would be lifted up and men cloths would have frontal flaps. So what did the world do, of old, to help there lusts? Nothing but rape, have mistresses, go to brothels, enjoy polygyny and concubines! Sounds great right!? Really grievous if you ask me. Reading over the Bible can be such a grievous adventure knowing how women were treated in a middle eastern culture filled with lustful, patriarchy on steroids. Do you like to look at your spouses body? That could be seen as a evil thing in the past. A step towards escalation only maybe to wind up drinking and spending the household fortune on whores.
There is not a simple cause and effect here. Seeing a naked body will make you do this… or that… Some will desire sexual things when they don’t see a naked body at all, and others will desire sexual things when they do see a naked body. Which person will go right? or left? or straight? We can’t tell. There are countries where they bare it all and others that don’t allow any woman’s skin to be shown. Both cultures lust and both have ill, sexually violent, misogyny. And in both cultures women will be blamed for men’s lust. There is something more complex going on in us, then a simple equation of: see naked body = uncontrolled lust
One man (of the ancient world) will have sex with his wife of 14 and have such fun and excitement that he will want more and more sex. So much more than any one young lady could take! And his desire for more just continues until he finds others to indulge with. Another man, of old, will have sex with his wife and not be that excited about the sex at all. Both men could be Church going men yet for one sex has become an event to participate in regardless of the hurt it might cause and for the later it is a family obligation, no matter the hurt it might cause! Sex and nakedness just hit them different. Why, how and what will be the ramifications are all questions people look for even today. Do all people that view nakedness in pornography rape? Do they escalate to child pornography? Chatting? Hookers? Strip clubs? No. But for some the unquenchable lust continues and continues with the only escape is a radical amputation from such a fervor like a rehab or the like. But for others even a rehab will not help.
Now what is a tragic about pornography is the recording of the sexual acts of people on to a technological device to be viewed by millions of us. Did you get what the tragedy really is? It’s the fact that one day the person being filmed will no longer want their video all over the internet to be viewed by anyone at anytime. They will have had kids like most of us do. And would they want there children, student, teen, young adult to watch mom or dad having sex with so many people? Or have there bodies displayed they way it is being looked at? Or how about the teenager that is sexting and years later finds that her picture in on random porn sites! Think of the tragedy of a young lonely man who sends out nude pics of himself only years later to find one of those pictures on social media to his shame. He was lonely. She was lonely. They were bummed at there family life, maybe scared of their parents. They could have felt insecure or simply curious. Maybe the person wanted to make money and had no education for anything else but sex work. Or it could be that others just enjoy sex work and saw a financial opportunity (Rahab?) Let’s hope they do for their entire life, because now days what’s on the web is open source!
The reason I bring this up in a blog is that too many talks on Pornography don’t go very far. Seldom is there even the question asked, “what is pornography.” There are books upon books in the Christian culture now about it. I find most filled with data and statistics that are predictable. It is good fodder for fearful wives or men whose burden by guilt before a holy God is at it’s limit. It also seems useful to those who don’t really like sex or sensuality. They can read and simply agree without thinking. We will find the ramifications of these books in the years to come. Will the Church be more in love with Christ and compassionate thinkers. Or will we be doing what the Church has been doing for years and years…(pointing out the ‘evils’ of sex etc…) We shall see how it all pans out.
In a popular Christian podcast I was listening to the other day, the topic happened to be Christian leadership and it’s compromise of God’s standards for holiness. Men in the pulpit view porn they shared. And that was their example. Out of all the examples they could have shared about compromise in the pulpit of God’s standards for holiness they choose the Pastor who likes pornography. I sat back and laughed and cried inside me. Laughed because I should have known that would have been the example. Yet cried because it was the example. Lack of love could have been the example as in the Good Samaritan. Or it could have been the love of money like with the Rich Young Ruler who approached our Lord. It also could have been the pride that blinded the disciples on who was to be the greatest in the Kingdom of God. But nope…it was pornography. Did they discuss there own lustful inclinations? No. Did I hear any vulnerability or discussion of there own sexual selfishness at times? No. What we can take away from this Podcast? Probably exactly what we can take away from the sermons for the past 70 years or so that are in the same vain. They don’t have a problem with lust. If they did, they would fail the test they are putting others to. And what is the standard? Are you walking in holiness? Like who? Like Jesus! I can only think that if there were any thought given into there personal holiness compared to Christ, they just might…I’m just saying…they might fall just a bit short. Should they stay in leadership? When should they be shelved? Are they blameless? Are they in habitual patters of selfishness and pride like the rich young ruler? I find it very interesting that those that are prideful don’t know they are being prideful. They just are. Jesus encountered religious people who believed to know the truth and to walk in holiness with God and man. Upon encountering Jesus they were confident of this. There leadership was affirmed by such holiness of life and religious duty. There was no doubt of their good deeds. But they were utterly wrong.
To contrast, Jesus picked a motley crew of dudes that had some interesting lives. He continued to affirm his love for them despite there personal failures. They rejected his leadership, mis-understood him, shared there vulnerability at times and confessed there outright sinfulness. I wonder what there sex lives were like? Yet he affirmed his love and commitment to them and called them friends. They were friends of Jesus! The religious people weren’t. The Apostle Paul calls himself, before he dies, the chief of sinners. Such weakness and humility is rare, and there is something beautiful in the scriptures which teach the need to be holy yet the inability to do such a task. Our only hope is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It can put us in our place and provide us the humility which is so needed as human beings. Also it raises up the sinner to new heights of hope that are indescribable and life altering for many! Very awesome indeed.
I have to believe that the leaders on the Podcast really enjoy Jesus. I would ask that next time they go over such a topic that they share there failure for leadership first, then talk about the standard for the Ministry as in 1st Timothy 3 and Titus 1. That’s my opinion and only my opinion. I see a pattern Biblical for such a statement. The reluctance of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, Moses, Solomon, David. Ah, David! I wonder just what he would have said if on the Podcast. Now that would be a awesome listen, but one you might be kind of shocked to hear!
Our society; the financial world, social world etc…is many times; sinful. We live in it, and we participate in it. There is no way around it. We are up to our eyeballs in it. We are anything but blameless in this culture. We live in a time like judges. In those days people did what was right in their own eyes. And God raised judges to deliver Israel from her adversaries. And leadership in the Church is much like those leaders… Good points, bad points, and some quite horrible points. But the Lord used them and raised them for such a time. Let’s keep working on our personal holiness before the Lord! Let’s continue to talk to other leaders about our issues and use one another as help to leave old behaviors. Some will be a lifelong pursuit! And keep fighting the good fight in the Church! Keep serving and enjoying Christ in the process. If there is no grace, then there is no forgiveness for sin. Remember that! We need grace…not that we used to need grace! For know-one living in righteous in your sight (Psalm 143:2).
Let’s continue to purify ourselves in the fear of God (2nd Cor 7:1).
What a lifelong go of it we are to have!
To whom it may concern:
Not everyone grew up listening to Janes Addiction…”Who is that,” you might be asking! But enough Southern Cal music culture (circa 1989) references. But what I cannot understand is when Christian writers/speakers use the word “shocking” to describe the sexual behavior of conservative leaders, Pastors, or laypeople. It is really shocking that they might desire to view pornography to you? Does it shock you to know that there are human beings that have faith in Jesus, yet also desire to act in non-Christian sexual ways? If so, we just can’t seem to figure out what Bible you are reading!
The Bible makes it clear that we are incapable of following a perfect God perfectly. Can you? Yet this is the standard to be with a Holy God. “Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Some think they do this…kind of. But if we take a spectrum and say, Jesus, and his perfection is at 100; where do you think you are on the spectrum? 50? 70? Just thinking you are on the spectrum is probably a sure sign of hell for you. Do you really think you are close to Jesus in your thoughts and actions? Ever heard of the rich young ruler? He thought he was.
If we happen to make it on the spectrum at all, we couldn’t even boast we’d made it, for it was Him all along working in us to will and do according to His good pleasure. We are working, but His grace all the more. So thinking your on the spectrum is a sure way of admitting you are not on it at all! If you and I were on the spectrum, we wouldn’t have a inclination that we were. It just would be. A tax collector went up to the temple to pray…He stood afar off and felt ashamed to even pray to God. Yet he was the one in the right. The religious man stood in the temple area and thanked God for his good behavior. His righteousness. His holiness. Sound familiar? The tax collector had no clue he was in the right with God. He just was.
The Bible also tells us in detail of the men of faith (Hebrews 11) that struggled mightily with there sexual conduct. These are the people we teach little kids about in Sunday school. “The sword of Gideon!” Yet Gideon was a polygamist and had many concubines. Both would be considered quite wrong for a Pastor today.
The Bible tells us that the greatest missionary(Paul) struggled with lust/covetousness, and by the end of his life he called himself, “the chief of sinners.” It seems the more he aged, the more he realized the greatness of sin within his members. Charles H. Spurgeon understood this:
“I believe a Christian on his death-bed will more bitterly repent than ever he did before. It is a thing to be done all your life long. Sinning and repenting—sinning and repenting, make up a Christian’s life. Repenting and believing in Jesus—repenting and believing in Jesus, make up the consummation of his happiness. You must not expect that you will be perfect in “repentance” before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect. “Repentance” is a grace. “
The Bible also tells in sexually graphic detail of the spiritual departure from the worship of Yahweh by the Israelite’s. The book of Ezekiel and Hosea are great books on this subject. But be warned, they are graphic and Ezekiel is even considered pornographic in some circles. (Yes, there are those that believe the Bible is very erotic should be banned.)
The Bible also has in it erotic poetry which describes the passionate desires and behaviors of lovers. Yet the one who wrote it could not contain his lust for many other women. The Song of Solomon is the ideal for mankind, but certainly was and is not the real. Most human beings are like Solomon in that they have had sexual thoughts about more than one person during there life.
The Bible also has the most highest of moral standards. Why? Because it is written by men, moved by the “holy” Spirit. Can you do them perfectly? For instance the word fornication occurs in only four classical authors in the Greek and Roman era, “by contrast the word occurs nearly for hundred times in Jewish and Christian literature before 200 C.E. and over eighteen hundred times between 200 and 600 C.E.” (Footnote 1). I think we get the picture that sexual conduct (holiness) is serious to God. He demands perfection in our sexuality, sex and sensuality. Have you achieved this?
The ramifications of those in the Christian community that consistently use the old paradigm of being shocked are living in a world that does not exist, and quite frankly, never has sense the garden. Sex and sexual behavior of all kinds has always existed. Firm Monogamy has not been the standard or norm of human sexual history. Sexual variety has been the norm for human beings. Most people have had more than one sexual partner in there lifetime. To be shocked that people of all ages like to view sexual images is actually shocking! We have always been into images whether on walls or on a computer screen. Throughout history men have used women for sex, as concubines, slaves, harems, prostitutes, mistresses, call girls, escorts. Are you shocked by this?
Did you expect the Christian to not be tempted or tried? Do you expect them not to give in? Do you expect them to be different from those in the scriptures themselves? Are we so blind as to not see our own personal sexual failures? Are you also shocked by how many large people there are in Church or at the pulpit? Are you shocked by how much pride Pastors and Leaders have? There we are like the rich young ruler…sharing with Christ that we able to keep the law again? Are you shocked that Pastors are learning to crucify the flesh as well? Or are they suppose to already have that down like you do?
The ramifications of this old paradigm is to keep the Church perpetually in panic over sex; desires, wishes and wants; or even thoughts. It makes counseling people unbearable as know-one knows how to discuss our sexualized culture without being fearful, offended or afraid God will send them to hell; or already has. This paradigm, as practiced by the Pharisees, keeps people who do not struggle (or think they struggle) in control of those that do. They might struggle in other things, but at least they don’t (or so they think) in sexual conduct. They are “pure.” This is a extremely saddened paradigm that continues to rule. But it is perpetuated over and over again. It is a part of our corruption.
Speaking to Israel, the Apostle says,”The Lord is blasphemed because of you!” Have we ever thought that maybe this could be the Churches fate as well as Israel? Are we any better? Would we not too Crucify the Lord of Glory? Will the Church not fall away as well?
Why can we not share the highest of moral code, and have the wherewithal to admit we cannot not achieve this without divine intervention of the most serious in nature. We need to die. Literally. But until then, we will be having to renew our minds to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ, over and over and over again. As Spurgeon said, “sin-repent, sin-repent…” May God send the helper to help us.
There is a misinterpretation of Jesus teachings that is happening again. Peter and I (Beau) are working through this in our discussions. Stay tuned to our Better Pleasure Podcast as we no doubt will hope to be discussing this misinterpretation and it’s ramifications.
May God help us all. The shocking thing…really…is that God has shown us his love and commitment to us in Christ. Without Jesus, all hope to commune with the Almighty is lost.
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Matthew 11:27
- Footnote 1 – Harper: Porneia – The Making of a Christian Sexual Norm
By: B.J. Ouellette
What is called traditional or old ways, when it comes to the sexual conduct, rules, and formats are not really old or traditional at all. What is really old is what in today’s culture is considered new! It’s actually quite the opposite of what we have been told over and over again. Have you ever thought about that? Don’t believe the hype. Read Sex In History by Reay Tannahill or any book on the history of Sex at all for that matter and you will come to find out that the sexual ways of humans have been normally non “traditional.”
When we use the term traditional or old ways, we are, more than not, referring to a monogamy format in relationship (Leave It To Beaver like). But not just monogamy, but the belief in strict monogamy. What I mean by strict monogamy is one man and one woman staying together without sexual relations with any other human being as long as they both shall be alive on this planet. But is this the norm?
For instance…in the ancient middle eastern cultures men had many sexual partners. Lamech is recorded of having multiple wives very early on in the history of mankind according to the Bible. And after the fall of Adam and Eve (no not the porn company Adam & Eve), strict monogamy was never the norm. In the Bible it is clear that the norm was anything but. And if monogamy was adhered to, the kind of patriarchy that was in effect (or happening) meant men did divorce their wife for practically any reason. Divorce breaks strict monogamy. If you have been divorced, you might have been in strict monogamy, but though you might be in another monogamous marriage, the first is broken. Strict monogamy is one man and one woman for life. The end. To say that the Jews followed strict monogamy is like saying people drive the posted speed limit. Liberties were taken. So much so that by the time Jesus is in dialog with the religious leaders of his day, he has to explain to them that from the creation of mankind, divorce was not a part of what was called “good.” Divorce is iniquity; a bending of what was straight.
In ancient eastern culture sexual ideas revolved around their ideas of enlightenment, like Tao. “If in one night he can have intercourse with more than ten women it is best,” (Sex In History, Tannahill, pg. 164). Sex was a exchange of not just a physical pleasure but a energy transaction. This is not strict monogamy.
In ancient greece, young boys were often used as sexual partners for men of power. “The bloom of a twelve-year old boy, ” said Straton, “is desirable, but at thirteen he is much more delightful,” (Sex IN History, Tannahill, pg. 85). Another telling quote is; “We have hetairai for our pleasure, concubines for our daily needs, and wives to give us legitimate children and look after the housekeeping.”
There is also the famous lustful behavior of the Greek pantheons. Cronus the god of earth and sea cut off the testicles of his own father and threw them into the sea! His father’s seamen gave birth to Aphrodite! As the gods are, so are the heroes of Greek myth. Heracles was said to have 5 virgins in one night!
There have always been many kinds of sexual relationships defined in our world: Concubines, prostitutes, escorts, mistress etc…All had different roles in the lives of men. And there were few cultures where women had the sexual freedom to enjoy their own desires (See Wednesday Martin’s book, Untrue).
We read a good short paragraph on wikipedia concerning general non-strict monogamy:
“While forms of long-term sexual relationships and co-habitation short of marriage have become increasingly common in the Western world, these are generally not described as concubinage. The terms concubinage and concubine are used today primarily when referring to non-marital partnerships of earlier eras. In modern usage, a non-marital domestic relationship is commonly referred to as co-habitation (or similar terms), and the woman in such a relationship is generally referred to as a girlfriend, mistress, fiancée, lover or life partner.”
What is being described in that brief paragraph is something that has been in our world for ever. But what is new is the idea of a better world through strict monogamy without divorce. The world has experienced for far longer the old way of ‘everything you desire,’ man driven, sexual behavior. The Christian way was clear. Jesus said, “have you not read that He who made them from the beginning made them male and female. And for this reason a man shall leave mother and father and be joined to his wife. And the two shall become one.” From that point on for the believer in Jesus, strict monogamy was the way to go. This is what was intended, and Jesus would not bend to accept another way. He already declared this monogamy good, why would he succumb to another order?
To drive the point further, Jesus says that if you marry a divorced woman (speaking to men) you make her an adulteress! Why? Because she will likely marry again while her first husband is alive. It was not so from the the very, very beginning. No divorce. Jesus and Paul never talk about remarriage to another while your wife is still living. Why? Because the bar is set real high in God’s view of marriage. One man and one woman for life. Everything else…everything else is a distortion.
Some certainly will argue that you can divorce your spouse for sexual immorality. But this does not help us. It still does not tell us a person can remarry after the divorce. Another interesting thought is that trying to figure out when is a proper time to divorce and remarry (what is meant by the term, sexual immorality, in Matthew) could very well be moving us right into the same mind frame that the Pharisee’s had when asking Jesus the question about divorce! “When can a person remarry Jesus?” “Can you divorce for lust, self gratification, pornography, an emotional affair?” All these questions could very well be answered by Jesus the same way he did with the religious of his day. “Have you not read, He that made them from the beginning made them male and female.”
Divorce, no matter under any conditions is a distortion. If you think this is the narrow road, you are right! Is is the path least taken. How many really want to remain single after a divorce? Maybe our bickering over divorce and remarriage is a avenue to feel better about ourselves. Who wants to think they have disobeyed God? Yet we do. All do. Sorry if you thought you were the exception.
Most of us have a pagan tradition! Pagan was a term that was used by early Christians to show disgust for the worship and lifestyles of opposing cultures. It is a derogatory word, and one I am not sure should have been used so much (not convinced it helps in reaching out). When Jesus was discussing who really worships the right way with a woman of Jericho, he said, “We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” It was clear to Jesus that Samaritans and other cultures influenced by opposing ideas on God from the Jews were wrong. But he did not use a term like pagan to describe them. He used the word Gentile.
This term had at first not the slightest connection with religion. Derived from the Latin pagus, the country, a paganus denoted a peasant or villager. Removed from the refinement of the cities such a one had, of course, very little acquaintance with the complicated system of Roman mythology. On this account only could it be said that those who remained unconverted to Christianity were Pagans. .https://www.definitions.net/definition/pagan
Interesting for sure…What does it mean? Whether we use the term pagan or another, we can be sure that our great, great, great…etc…grandparents were into all kinds of sexual practices that go against strict monogamy. But not just that. Most of our Christian ancestors did not uphold a strict monogamy as well. Christians throughout the ages divorced for many reasons. The strict monogamy way is certainly the new compared to the normal way of sexual relationships. It is so super difficult to live this way that it might be just a very few that never deviate.
“more than 83% of human societies were preferentially polygamous, and that polygamy was also prominent in the ancient Near East from which that presumed Western move to monogamy originated. So my question for now is: Why did such a large segment of human society switch from polygamy to monogamy? And my first answer is: at present, we don’t know.” David P. Barash Ph.D.
The reason today’s culture see’s the ‘old way’ of pagan behavior as ‘new,’ is because all it has known is the new prosperous way of stricter monogamy as a dominant structure in society. The reason I say prosperous is because I am not convinced the women’s liberation movement could thrive in any other circumstance than in a monogamous culture. Could it have progressed in a commonly oppressive polygamous one? It didn’t. It was a monogamous culture that gave way for women rights, and for the husband (one man) to think once again about how he treated his spouse.
Though this structure has been in place due to the strong influence of Christianity, we now are finally realizing that maybe we don’t want the Christian way dominating our lives? Maybe the old way of doing things was better, or at least we can do it better today with our more civilized way of treating women and children. Today’s version of humanity will do better. But this logic if taken as true presumes that the past society’s version of humanism also believed it was doing better than the one before. This becomes a infinite regression of thinking we are doing it better, but if that’s the case, we can’t say we are doing it better, as a future generation is sure to think our way is unorthodox or even destructive. It is normal for us to think we have it down better. This was atheist Christopher Hitchens argument. We can do it better. Humanism has improved. But when one says, ” this is better,” there must be a best, and ideal. And who’s to say what that is?
But in a supposed civilized society which we all like to think we are in, there is the constant de–humanizing and objectification of one another through the various forms of entertainment we have around us. Our music, games, movies, etc…all portray ill behaviors that do not benefit the other. This is just a reflection of us, is it not? Are we really becoming more civilized or just greater pharisees? I’m reminded of a great quote by Blaze Pascal at the moment (but I’ll spare you).
There is a three year rule we see in the Bible. It’s found in the book of Judges. After three generations the people of Israel go right back to there old ways of following hard after other gods. They forgot the “I AM,” altogether. The book of Deuteronomy Chapters 4 and 6 focus on remembering God and what would happen when they would’t. Maybe the reason King David told His own soul to bless the lord was that he knew how prone he was to forget.
Christianity says that there is an objective way to determine was is best. It is not what we think, but what God has revealed. Can Christianity be true? If there is just a tiny bit of possibility that it could be, then all current judgements should be measured by the surety of what could be after we die. As Pascal once said, “Death is eternal…no matter what state it is in.” If we see a lack of evidence for God, it could be that He does not exist, or it could also indicate that we are that bad, to be unworthy of such a God.
It’s easy in any generation to forget what has been! Our human condition thinks we are inventing the new. But is there anything really new under the sun? I tend to think we are in a game of chess. We can move positions, but we still are on the board. Humans can only play according the rules of human nature. We have always, only been able to do that.
So in a way, what we call traditional marriage today isn’t really traditional. We have it all backwards! The liberal view of sexual relationships is actually the traditional way that has dominated the globe. It is the strict monogamous peeps that are wanting to do the “new thing!”
Many times we read things like the below quote, “We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goals consist solely of one’s own ego and desires.” From a homily given by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
This is the way of mankind. It always has been. Selfishness is the norm, we are woefully given over to it! A super natural grace is needed to pull us out of such a place. This is where the words of Jesus penetrate the most! If you being evil know how to give gifts to your children, how much more will my Father give you the Holy Spirit! And isn’t that what is needed; Something new…really new!