Does Christianity have a morbid, unhealthy preoccupation with sex and produce sexual misery?
I come again to my review of Chaz Bufe, the Christ-hating anarchist and blues guitar playing atheist, and his 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity.
He devotes two entire points to the subject of Christians and sexuality. Rather than dealing with them separately, I will combine them together with this one post.
Chaz, as with a lot of anti-theists, has an obsession with the subject of sexual ethics as it pertains to Christianity. His obsession, for example, is witnessed in the second sentence of point 9 when he writes about the numerous “thou shalt nots” relating to sex in the Bible, particular the 10th commandment which forbids coveting your neighbor’s wife. I had no idea that Chaz was a wife-swapping swinger as well.
Today, judging from the pronouncements of many Christian leaders, one would think that “morality” consists solely of what one does in one’s bedroom. The Catholic Church is the prime example here, with its moral pronouncements rarely going beyond the matters of birth control and abortion (and with its moral emphasis seemingly entirely on those matters). Also note that the official Catholic view of sex—that it’s for the purpose of procreation only—reduces human sexual relations to those of brood animals. For more than a century the Catholic Church has also been the driving force behind efforts to prohibit access to birth control devices and information—to everyone, not just Catholics.
As I have noted in previous articles, Chaz has the annoying habit of equating historic, Bible-believing Christianity with the Roman Catholic Church. That misnomer permeates his entire tract. In fact, I would say his overall pamphlet would be more aptly titled 20 Reasons to Abandon Roman Catholicism. I suppose Chaz can’t be faulted too much, because it is typical of many critics of religious faith to make this mistake either out of ignorance or intellectual laziness.
That being stated, I would agree with Chaz to an extent that Roman Catholicism has taught a warped view of human sexuality. Yet it isn’t derived from Scripture as Chaz would have his readers believe, but from a mingling of Gnostic ascetic beliefs with early Christian mysticism. That hybrid philosophical combination produced an entirely unbiblical view of Christian sexuality; one that is no where taught in the whole the Bible.
Many early Church fathers, including those who followed into the Medieval times, held to a false dichotomy between the spirit and flesh, with the spirit understood as being pure and the flesh evil. They would then impose that narrow dichotomy upon the Bible and force the text to teach something entirely different than what it was meant to convey. That in turn sadly produced two millennia of misguided Christians.
Many of them taught that marriage should not be for anything but procreation and virginity was the highest of spiritual virtues. The systems of the monastery and convent were developed as a place where single, self-imposed chaste men and women could live out their spiritual lives away from the temptations of the world. However, thanks be to the revival that took place under the Reformation, Christians broke away from that false teaching and returned to the teaching of Scripture.
One of the more common myth, as I noted in a previous response to Chaz, is the notion that Puritans were dour, sexually repressive individuals. But that is utterly untrue. It was the Puritans who recaptured a biblical vision of God ordain human sexuality as the Lord had intended sex to be. As Leland Ryken shows in his wonderful book, Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were, the Puritans celebrated sexuality throughout their literature and sermons. Think about it: Puritans had massive families; obviously they had to have liked sex.
God loves sex, simply because He created it for men and women to enjoy. The only stipulation is that sex is to be enjoyed within the boundary God has set, that being a marriage between one man and one woman.
The Lord declares in Hebrews 13:4 that marriage is honorable among all, and the bed is undefiled… Proverbs 5:18,19 frankly states, Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. And the Song of Solomon is a long love poem expressing in parts the blessedness of martial sexual relations between a man and woman. So the idea Chaz is attempting to set forth to his readers that Christianity is sexually repressive is non-sense.
What Chaz doesn’t like is the stipulation God has placed on sex; i.e., only being between a man and a woman who are married. Chaz boasts of being a “free thinker” and historically, free thinkers are notorious womanizing sex perverts. As we will see in more detail when we come to Chaz’s complaint that Christianity is misogynistic, one of his intellectual heroes from times past, the poet, Lord George Byron, toured the European continent sleeping with countless women and impregnating a good deal of them, leaving a wake of illegitimate children. I would imagine Chaz dreams of a life like that.
In addition to the misery produced by authoritarian Christian intrusions into the sex lives of non-Christians, Christianity produces great misery among its own adherents through its insistence that sex (except the very narrow variety it sanctions) is evil, against God’s law. Christianity proscribes sex between unmarried people, sex outside of marriage, homosexual relations, bestiality, and even “impure” sexual thoughts. Indulging in such things can and will, in the conventional Christian view, lead straight to hell.
Given that human beings are by nature highly sexual beings, and that their urges very often do not fit into the only officially sanctioned Christian form of sexuality (monogamous, heterosexual marriage), it’s inevitable that those who attempt to follow Christian “morality” in this area are often miserable, as their strongest urges run smack dab into the wall of religious belief…
Even after Christian young people receive a license from church and state to have sex, they often discover that the sexual release promised by marriage is not all that it’s cracked up to be. One gathers that in marriages between those who have followed Christian rules up until marriage—that is, no sex at all—sexual ineptitude and lack of fulfillment are all too common. Even when Christian married people do have good sexual relations, the problems do not end. Sexual attractions ebb and flow, and new attractions inevitably arise. In conventional Christian relationships, one is not allowed to act on these new attractions. One is often not even permitted to admit that such attractions exist.
I don’t have much to add here except to draw out a couple of observations.
In the first paragraph above, Chaz laments how Christianity produces great misery in that it labels sex as evil and against God’s law. He then goes on to list all the “sexual sins” that could get a person condemned to hell like fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, and even an impure thought life. In Chaz’s mind, rather than being condemned as sinful, people should be allowed to indulge their sexual appetites.
Oddly, pedophilia is not listed. In fact, Chaz has a book recommended on his website addressing how a person can recover from sexual child abuse. Apparently, that restrictive age of consent is the only area where Chaz agrees with Christianity. But why is that? If we should abandon Christianity because it stifles sexual freedoms, why stop with an adult-child sexual relationship? After all, why should we be restricted by age and maturity? Why doesn’t Chaz mention that? Oh sure, free thinking atheists hypocritically try to explain it away as a child not being able to consent to such a relationship. But I have met some rather sophisticated 13 year olds in my life. So why won’t Chaz advocate for the rash of female teachers seducing and having sex with teenage students?
Second, Chaz’s rant about Christians being so sexually repressed because they follow Christian morality that when they get married they have dysfunctional sex lives is bunk. That is one of the greatest lies of the a-religious: in order to have a fulfilling sex life in marriage people need to have numerous sexual relationships before hand. Sort of like test driving a car before you buy one or doing a ten day free trial with a vacuum cleaner. If you don’t try it out first, you could get stuck with a lemon.
Let me assure any single readers out there as a happily married man of many years now, to put it bluntly, Chaz is an idiot. I lived 31 years as a chaste, single man and there were absolutely zero problems transitioning into married life in the area of sex. That is not to say Christians don’t have sexual problems after and during marriage, but statistically, sex is the least problem a couple struggles with in a marriage, and it is a problem that can be easily fixed with minimal advice. The issue boils down to whether a couple wishes to love each other unconditionally, in a spirit-filled, committed relationship.
Chaz’s view of Christian sex is lopsided, and like the established habit in this long diatribe against the faith, he forgets to self-critique. The secular world tells us to be sexually free, to enjoy sex without marriage, experiment, indulge in pornography, if you pickup a disease, get a shot, and if you get pregnant abortion is the quick and easy way out.
The reality, however, is a sea of broken and used people who have a jaded, bitter attitude to any meaningful sex life with a real person. There is a reason why God told us to not covet our neighbor’s wife, because it hurts people and destroys families. Lives are ruined. The real sexual misery is the secularism Chaz is suggesting we live.