What are we to make of this wickedness? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Josh Duggar is connected with a celebrity Christian family. Unfortunately, that puts him in a spotlight to be what a Christian is meant to be and sadly, he is definitely not. We could grant some understanding with having a problem with pornography. I am not justifying that, but many men struggle with porn today and if they are repentant and seeking to change, we should be working with them and showing them grace. Sadly, Josh Duggar was doing more. He was also accused of molesting his sisters and now, child porn has been found on his computer.
Now when I first heard about child pornography, I thought it was likely teenage girls or something of that sort. No. We mean actual children. Children who are toddlers and some younger. Children who are nowhere near puberty. What do you say about a man who is sexually aroused by that?
Not only that, he had Covenant Eyes on his computer and yet found a way to bypass it. He was also involved on using the dark web to get his fix. This is a man who knew what he wanted and was willing to do anything underhanded to get it. Please think about that. This man sought out means to get his fix of children.
His wife I understand is still standing by him. I understand that divorce is often viewed as a great evil in the church, but there are some evils that are worse. This man is unsafe to be around, especially with children in the house that are the age of the children that he was viewing on the internet. She definitely needs to be open to this possibility. Fortunately, she is at least scared to be alone with him.
Rachael Denhollander issued a powerful Twitter series of posts on the topic. You can read them here. Let’s also spend some time then talking about what a girl is worth, which is the title of her book, and the way wives are sometimes portrayed in Christian marriage.
Women are sometimes blamed for the fall of men. Even if we go to the very first case, Adam and Eve, Eve did indeed give Adam the fruit, but it was Adam who willfully partook of it. Eve didn’t hold him down and shove it down his throat.
Suppose I am somewhere where a woman does everything she can to seduce me. Suppose it’s really a place that would normally be considered safe and I have been following good protocol to stay safe. This woman could do everything she can to seduce me, even stripping naked in front of me. She is responsible for that behavior definitely, but who is responsible for how I respond?
Me and only me.
Some women get the idea that if they dress a certain way, they are responsible for the fall of men around them. Now to be fair, a woman should be aware of how she dressed in the world. There are women who do dress in a way to advertise themselves in a way that is not appropriate, especially for a Christian woman. Many women don’t. A woman might pick an outfit out at the store just because it feels good on her and she’s not aware of how it looks in the eyes of a man.
However, a man cannot control what the women in his life do. He can only control what he does. Men need to learn that self-control regardless. Yes. Your wife might not be in the best state of mind and you might have to go without sex for a time. While a woman should not without cause deprive her husband as there is a mutual duty in marriage, if there is something going on with a physical condition or something of that sort, a man needs to be understanding.
For a woman who is not married, you never need to give yourself to a man before you marry him. If he won’t love you unless you give yourself to him, then he doesn’t really love you. He loves something you can do for him. What is a girl worth? A lifetime commitment.
Also ladies, if your husband is using porn, take action. If he is willing to work on it, be gracious and offer to work with him, but let it be understood you will not share him with pornography. Get him into a program like Celebrate Recovery and make sure he has friends who will hold him accountable. Be a partner in the journey.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that women can be involved in pornography as well. The same would apply in reverse. More and more women are struggling with pornography today.
For all of us, it’s always advisable to do our best to avoid being in sexually compromising situations. Being someone with a public image, I try to be especially careful. Unless the woman is related to me somehow, I won’t be alone with another women be it a restaurant table or in a car or on an elevator. Is that because of the woman? No. It’s because of me. I know beautiful women are extremely tempting for me and my thinking is if you think you are above a sin, you are far more likely to fall to it.
This is also appropriate on social media as well. I have women who are friends, but I try to be careful what I will talk about. Those of us who are Christians should be striving to live lives that are above suspicion. It would be a blessing to me if my intellectual opponents could look at me and say, “I don’t believe what he believes at all, but I do think he does try to live out what he believes and has that character.”
Also to those skeptics, none of this disproves Christianity at all. Josh Duggar’s sin does not show that God does not exist or that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. It shows that Christians, or claimed Christians, can be evil and hypocrites. None of us needed to be told that. We all know it. You want to condemn this as wicked behavior? You get no complaint from me.
For the rest of us, this is the danger of our Christian culture. We saw this with Ravi Zacharias. All of us who are in the public eye should be able to say to any challenge of our moral character to go ahead and investigate it. There’s a saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin that goes “Our critics are our friends. They show us our faults.”
I also recently had a friend in ministry message me asking if I had two months to teach on a specific topic for apologetics purpose, what would I choose. Without hesitation, I said sex and marriage. I was told he wanted two months worth and I said that would be two years worth. Most Christians do not have a biblical worldview of either and our young people especially get the message of the world for at least six days and the one day we have to teach them normally, we don’t.
Meanwhile, pray for this family. They definitely need it.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What can not be thought of on television still? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I am giving this an ambiguous title due to the necessity of spoilers. If you watch the series regularly like I do and you have not yet seen last Monday’s episode, then do not read this yet. There are spoilers. You have been warned. Any knowledge of what happens at this point is on your head and not mine.
So in this latest episode, it is dealing with the revelation from the prior one that Shaun, the autistic good doctor, was given by his girlfriend Lea. She’s pregnant. Obviously, the baby is his as she hasn’t been being intimate with anyone else.
Then there came the question of what to do. Were they really ready to have children? Were they ready for that kind of commitment? Could the child be on the spectrum like Shaun is? What about their careers?
Absent from this was the question of “Is this a human life?” I suspect there’s a reason that wasn’t debated on a show about medical medicine. It’s because the evidence is clear. This is a human life. Once that is said, the cat is out of the bag.
- “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.” — Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8.
- “Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” –Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. p. 16.
- “Human embryos begin development following the fusion of definitive male and female gametes during fertilization… This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.” –William J. Larsen, Essentials of Human Embryology, New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998. pp. 1, 14.
- “Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite, a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition.” — E.L. Potter, M.D., and J.M. Craig, M.D. Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant (3rd Edition). Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975, page vii.
- “It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and the resultant mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of life of a new individual.” –Bradley M. Patton, Human Embryology, 3rd Ed., (New York: McGraw Hill, 1968), p. 43.
- “It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens’. Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.” –Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 85-86.
- “Perhaps the most straightforward relation between you and me on the one hand and every human fetus on the other is this: All are living members of the same species, homo sapiens. A human fetus after all is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development.” –David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003) 20.
“A human fetus is not a nonhuman animal; it is a stage of a human being.” –Wayne L. Sumner, Abortion and Moral Theory, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), p. 10.
(Special thanks to Clinton Wilcox for his help in this information.)
Now in an earlier episode in this situation, one doctor did refuse to do an abortion for her beliefs on life, but it is all too different when it involves the main characters. Much of the episode dealt with this question. Are they going to have an abortion or not?
I found it interesting hearing Lea say she wasn’t sure she was ready for that kind of commitment. Reality is, if you are having sex, you are already saying you are ready. One of the natural consequences of sex is human life coming into being. If you are not ready, then hold off, but if you think you can be committed enough to a human being that you can be naked before them and completely vulnerable, you are ready for the commitment to be a parent then. If you are not, then don’t engage.
Naturally, those of us on the Christian side don’t really support sex before marriage, but our society is at the point where marriage is no longer sacred really and sex is no big deal. This is why Christians need to be taking their thoughts on marriage and sex seriously. We have to be a contrast to the world.
In the end, the couple decide even at the clinic after Lea’s name has been called to not go through with it. I really wasn’t surprised at this. Why is that?
Because in our day and age, we can practically show a rape on TV. (Game of Thrones anyone?) We can show conception. We can show full male and female nudity. We can show the birth process.
Somehow, we still can’t show abortion.
Could it be we really don’t want to confront this? Could it be we really don’t want to watch something like the Silent Scream? Could it be that we don’t want to see a main character on a show go in a room pregnant and come out not pregnant and without a child? Perhaps we have more conscience as a society than we realize.
Our society if it decides to take this question seriously I think will be put in a binding position. If we take abortion seriously, we have to take sex seriously. If we take sex seriously, we have to take marriage seriously. We also have to take morality seriously. We have to realize there are moral truths and sex really means something and has consequences, including pregnancy. (We could also add in the shocker that men and women are different.)
I predict the couple will never discuss this question again. It is only dealt with once. We can rejoice that the right choice was made and we should always celebrate that no matter how a child is conceived. The child is still, as Greg Koukl would say, a precious unborn human person.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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What are wives required to do for husbands? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I heard yesterday about a video going viral. In it, a pastor was giving a sermon and sometime in the middle, he went on a tirade that is extremely derogatory towards women. If you want the highlights, here’s what someone posted about it.
As a husband to my wife and father to my daughter the things he brought out such as:
“Don’t give him a reason to look elsewhere”
“men are going to look so be sure to keep your self attractive enough he only wants to look at you”
“My friend set a divorce weight for his wife”
“It’s really important for a man to have a beautiful woman on his arm”
“Food never taste as good as skinny feels”
“Dress appropriately, dress your age, dress your body type…just look good”.
Now someone could look at this and say, “Well isn’t it true that a wife should care about her appearance?” Yes. It is. Unfortunately, the way this guy spoke will not encourage any wife and places the blame on her and some statements are just hideous.
Let’s start with don’t give him a reason to look elsewhere. If this was a playful challenge given as an encouragement, that could have been one thing. “Women! You’re already beautiful! Your husband is tempted to look at other women because he is a man, but be a feast for his eyes and he will always return to you.”
Instead, what the preacher said was, “If you lower your beauty, your husband will look elsewhere.” When you’re a Christian man and dating, you already know that a woman is beautiful. When you marry, you learn that she really is much more beautiful than you realize.
If you are a man and you look at a woman and don’t see something beautiful, it is not the woman that needs to change but you. This is especially so for your wife. Every woman is beautiful in some way. If you are not seeing beauty, then work on changing yourself.
I honestly cannot easily picture Christ referring to any woman physically as ugly. He might think that their behavior is awful, but He never rejected a woman who came to Him for help. Jesus was incredibly kind towards women.
That being said, it is true men are going to look. I remember a young Catholic priest telling me about how he can look too and he always says, “She is a beautiful gift, but she is not for you.” A man might notice a woman and have a momentary thought, but a good man just moves on then.
I don’t think a man is responsible for his momentary temptation that flies through his mind. Now if he stares or leers or something else, that is different, but it is a struggle for the majority of men out there. A wife should not take it personally. At the end of the day, he chose her.
The comment about a man setting a divorce weight for his wife is one of the worst. I don’t know of anything in Scripture that says, “If you start thinking your wife is putting on too much weight, you may leave her and trade her in for a less heavy model.” This pastor doesn’t need to be condemning the women. He needs to be condemning his friend instead.
Now it is true that a man likes to have a beautiful woman on his arm and whenever I have had to take Allie somewhere, I have been delighted to show her off to everyone. If anything, I always delighted in telling everyone the story about her winning a beauty pageant. When I went to my 20th year high school reunion, I remember being eager to show her off to everyone I went to school with. Yes. I did get married and I married a beautiful woman.
Women stink? I have no doubt that a woman could have a problem if she has just worked out or anything like that, but so do men. That’s part of the human condition. It doesn’t matter either. A woman is still beautiful.
The statement about nothing tastes as good as being thin feels is one often used in diet motivation. If a woman wants to lose weight for proper health reasons (Not Anorexia or Bulimia) and is motivated by this, good for her. By the way, that should be the best motivation for weight control and that is health.
Now there is certainly truth in the last part about dress appropriately, but many Christian wives don’t have this problem. They’re not going to show up to church in a bikini or something like that. This could be something said more for the teenage girls in the audience who are still wanting to get a man in their lives.
But in the end, the big problem is that there’s nothing wrong with a woman wanting to make herself beautiful for the man in her life. When Ruth approached Boaz to see if he would marry her, she was told to bathe and put on her best clothes. Yes. Men do respond to physical appearance.
The man also needs to work on being the best that he can. It’s meant to be a mutual self-giving. Also, normally if a woman wants to do this, her husband will likely have no problem with it. I remember when Allie got a new dress at Wal-Mart one time and when she came out, my jaw just dropped. I was stunned by how beautiful she looks. I even told her that for my birthday I could ask my parents and in-laws to give her dresses as well. That would be just as much a gift to me.
As far as I know, this pastor’s wife didn’t poison him in his sleep or anything like that during the night. Either way, this is a man who definitely needs to get into marriage counseling and get his attitude towards women taken care of. Also, until that changes, please don’t be in the pulpit. We don’t need this kind of attitude there.
And women, you’re already beautiful. If a man doesn’t find you beautiful just the way you are, then he’s not going to find you beautiful anyway. His idea of your beauty is conditional. Move on.
However, while you should want to take care of yourself, if you have a good man, he will find you beautiful no matter what changes you go through. It is because while he sees your body, he doesn’t see just your body. He sees you and when he sees you he sees beauty. It’s not conditional.
If you’re a man who makes your commitment to your wife conditional on what is fleeting and passing anyway, then you don’t really have a commitment to your wife. You have a commitment to a female body. Work on your eyes, and your heart.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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Where does the real battle lie? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Several decades ago, George Orwell wrote a brilliant essay on politics and the English language. In the essay, he talked about how language is altered in order to mask deeper realities. Today, this still goes on. Any battle that we are facing today usually starts with the words and the language that is used.
Throughout last year, we saw several events taking place across America. Some people called them riots. Others called them protests which were “mostly peaceful.” Part of the debate relied on what you called them. Few people would want to say they supported rioting. Few would want to say that they opposed protest.
When the events of January 6th took place, that was immediately labeled an insurrection. The other side said it was not an insurrection and was at worst, a riot. There was a question of if it was hijacked by a group like Antifa and you can still see people debating that today, but again, part of the debate is a debate over language.
Consider also a subject like abortion. One side calls themselves pro-life. Who would want to be opposed to life? The other side calls themselves pro-choice. Who would want to be opposed to choice? The right uses the term baby definitely because we do think that is what is in the womb and we want to bring that home. The left tends to use terms like fetus, which while it does mean baby in Latin, most people don’t think in those terms and if you say baby, you lose.
There’s an interesting scene in the third season of House where Dr. House has to operate and it involves a pregnant woman who doesn’t want to lose her baby. In the operation, House sees a tiny hand reach out and touch him. The team asks him if he’s okay when he freezes and he says “I just realized I forgot to TiVo Alien.” When he talks to the lady after the successful operation, she notes that it is the first time he used the term “baby.”
What about marriage? Nowadays, many people like to talk about gay marriage, but let’s stop and ask. What is marriage? If marriage is a union between a man and woman that is not just a friendship but necessarily sexual in nature, then by definition there can be no such thing as a gay marriage. After all, you don’t modify a term by introducing a contradiction to that term.
This does not mean the homosexual lobby can be banned from using terms like “Civil Unions.” However, the taking of marriage is to treat the relationships as identical when they are not. One side normally is capable of producing children on its own and the other isn’t. We would also have to ask why the government should have any interest in endorsing homosexual relationships when it has an interest in endorsing marital relationships for the good of the family and the upbringing of children.
I have also written about how in the religious sphere, you can see debates over natural or supernatural. I never use the term supernatural save for writing like this to explain myself, which I have done further here. If we use the term natural, natural is often used as this self-standing existence that needs no explanation for its being and the supernatural is this extra part that you have to demonstrate.
But why should I think nature can stand on its own? Does nature contain within itself the principle of its own existing? What if nature is what is dependent? If nature refers to what is material, what about goodness or numbers or triangularity or even existence itself? Are these “supernatural?”
In our interactions, it is also easy to throw out terms like hate and bigot and once the label is thrown out, most people are automatically put on the defensive. Hate is a notorious one today. We treat all hate as if it is something evil and I have seen even some of my fellow conservatives do this. Hate is too vague. I always want to know what is hated.
Some people could be shocked that I am defending hate and I absolutely am. For example, I hate sex trafficking and pornography. That doesn’t mean that I hate the people involved in those practices that I think are doing something wrong, but it means I hate the practice. I would even say if you don’t hate sex trafficking, there is something wrong with you.
We also have to ask what a bigot is. Someone who disagrees with you is not necessarily a bigot, but if you can call them that, then you automatically have a leg up, yet in the past it referred to someone who could not possibly conceive of their being wrong. In that light, it’s interesting that those who use the term are most likely personifying the term.
Now some people say words change meaning over time, and in a sense this is true, but we should always ask why the change is taking place. Is it because of some new discovery, or is it to change the thought on a topic? After all, Orwell said euphemisms were a great example of this.
This is also why a dictionary is not the best place to go to to define terms academically. A dictionary will give the popular usage of a term and not necessarily an academic one. This is what Orwell would call newspeak in 1984. I have been in debates where I have pointed to scholars on the subject under question and gone to academic works to define a term only to be told that a dictionary was the trump card.
Part of this is going on because we don’t think enough about what we’re talking about. In Parmenides, a dialogue of Plato and the only one where you could say Socrates loses, Parmenides says to do philosophy listen to what the common people say. Listen to the sentences around you and see what people could be saying.
Usually, we start with just ourselves and not with reality. Want to know if something is good or evil? Look at how you feel about it. Don’t look at the action itself. This is also a problem I have constantly when I see people use think and feel like synonyms and thoughts and feelings like synonyms. They are not.
The solution to this is to think about words a lot more. It’s why in so many debates I start with defining terms and if people don’t want to go that route, it tells me plenty. Those of us who are writers need to watch what we are writing about and make sure we are not begging the question. We also need to watch what we are told by major authorities in politics and religion and other areas like that and examine claims better.
It’s not easy, but being good thinkers requires it.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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What can we not do for ourselves? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
My apologies for a week without blogs. I have had a whole lot going on in my personal life. I am sure it will come out eventually, but for now, I am fighting a private battle with the help of some friends and others and I appreciate your prayers and support in it. I also have some book reviews to do, but I wanted to write on something I was thinking about recently.
It started with my cat actually. I have noticed whenever I am around him, my cat is constantly wanting my attention. I can hardly play a video game or a TV show without him being right up there with me wanting to get attention.
Now in some ways, we could say a cat could survive on their own. Many do in the wild. They can hunt their own food and they can go to the bathroom where they want. Many of them are solitary animals who hunt on their own from what I see.
So yes, I do feed my cat and change his litter box and he can’t do this on his own while domesticated, but even if in the wild, there is something he can’t do on his own. He can’t pet himself. If my cat wants to be petted, he depends on me, a human being.
As we grow up, one of the first blessings we can get in our lives when we step outside of our homes is friends. These are people who have no blood relation to us and come to like us and enjoy our company and are willing to sacrifice their time and sometimes money because they think we are worth the investment. I have plenty of friends who have been there whenever I have needed to make a phone call and it means a lot when someone calls just to check and see how I am doing.
Aristotle even said friends were something not necessary to live, but they were good to have and your life is lacking without them. Friendship has been a great mystery to us, but we are all thankful for it. Even in Plato’s Lysis, it is not known at the end what a friend is, but it is hopeful that we all leave as friends.
This is not to deny family, and it’s interesting that it takes multiple people really to have a family. The family begins with a man and a woman together. Communist societies had a war against the family constantly because the family doesn’t require the government or its justification to exist. Family is the first community we live in and it is a community often vastly different than we are. Our birth parents in reality are people we might not even choose as friends if we didn’t know them, but we have a great bond to them as family.
And now let’s combine those two. Friends and family are best combined in marriage. Again, I cannot give myself that kind of love. If we refer to sexual love, yes, regardless of your moral stance on the issue, masturbation exists, and yet most of us would prefer to be with a member of the opposite sex instead of alone by ourselves.
So sexual love requires someone else and marriage is not only a community, but is a making of a new community that is a reproducing community. If you have friends, you grow the circle from without by bringing in new people that are already there. With marriage, you bring in new people through the act of sexual intercourse. That comes from within.
If we look in Scripture, we find numerous passages in the New Testament in the epistles especially that are commands to do something to one another. The church is meant to be a community. There is no Lone Ranger Christianity in reality. With the Coronavirus, many of us have lost that community. It’s hard to have community when you are alone in your homes watching on a screen. While I have a different interpretation of the Lord’s Supper than my Catholic and Orthodox friends, we all agree it is an important aspect of community.
All of this community shows us how much we need one another. We are not meant to be alone. Even if a person wants to be single, they still need companions and friends. Even Jesus had them on His journeys as did Paul. All of this comes from God above.
And by the way, He is a Trinity. Just think about it.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What do I think of Sam Perry’s book published by Oxford University Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I heard about this book on a marriage blog I read and decided to check it out. Something interesting about the work is that I suspect Perry is a Christian, but it is not explicitly stated that I recall in the book. Also, the book is not coming out all guns blazing against pornography. The writer is striving to be as accurate with the data as he can be.
He starts off talking with the nature of addiction. I find it beyond dispute that some men are addicted to pornography. Many, sadly, have marriages that are suffering for this. I know of the stories of guys who have to watch a video or read a magazine in order to be able to perform with their wives. I have no doubt that the reason I hear so many commercials for treatment of ED around here is because of pornography.
Like I said, Perry tries to be fair. He states that some people do see benefits to their lives from pornography. Perry’s writing is not meant to persuade to a view one way or the other. It is to present the data.
He focuses on conservative Protestants because we do take Scripture seriously, or we’re supposed to, and that includes its sexual ethic, and because we make up a majority and tend to be people of the book the most. Sometimes, those outside like Catholics on the one hand and atheists and agnostics on the other are covered. However, those on the outside will still find this book helpful.
He also states that we in the church do tend to point out the problems of sexual sin. Of course, we should make a big deal about this, but we don’t often seem to emphasize so much pride or greed or dare I say it, gluttony. Perhaps if we focused on the latter, especially pride, we would have a lot less of the sexual sins.
There is a section on masturbation as well. If one goes with a strictly Scriptural interpretation on this, there is nothing one way or the other. Scripture does not say “Hands off” (Pun intended) nor does it say “Go for it!” There is also debate as to whether the rules are different for married men or single men. Not only that, there can be an interesting idea where men can be told to not do so, but a woman is so she can know what she likes and how her husband can better please her.
In the end, Perry gives no answer, as that is not his intent. He is merely presenting the different views. This is something that men definitely need to think about and really consider.
He then asks what happens when porn is left unchecked. What happens if we keep using it regularly? This is especially a battle today because in the past, you had to go to the video store or the magazine rack, highly public places, and get what you wanted. Everyone would also know why you were there.
Today, all you have to do is go look on your phone. You can find whatever you want right now. A teenage boy with a smartphone can easily be up at night in his bedroom watching pornography and his parents are none the wiser.
Unfortunately, it’s harder and harder to judge the results of porn on society because there are fewer and fewer men who have no involvement with it. It’s my thinking that our society will go further and further downhill the more we allow this. The sexual revolution has been one of the most destructive forces in society.
One other aspect he covers is that this is usually thought to be a man’s battle. Not so. More and more women are getting involved. The problem is at many recovery groups, sex is all men talk about. For women, sex is hardly talked about in these groups. Women who engage with porn are seen as out of the norm. A woman can find it hard to talk to someone and she can’t normally go to her pastor because he’s normally a man as well. Definitely, more needs to be done for women who struggle.
What about marriage? Some people count heavy porn use as infidelity, and I really don’t blame them. Many a woman hears about her husband using porn and is shattered thinking “Am I not enough for you?” Many women have an idea in their heads that they must compete with what they see on a screen which is always fantasy and no, reality in these cases is always easily trumped by fantasy since we can make it to be whatever we want.
This happens on a lesser level also. Many girls who are dating and having sex with their boyfriends think that they have to compete with porn. Some start watching porn so they can get an idea of what their boyfriends will like. I don’t know how long our society can function like this.
The last major chapter is on treatment. In this chapter, Perry looks to see if Biblical Counseling is, well, Biblical. He looks at what good programs like Covenant Eyes do. Hopefully, those wanting to get past this will find resources.
Now if you’re skeptical and want to know about how Perry did his research, good news. That is covered in the appendices. Since this book is published by Oxford, we can be sure it’s not lightly researched. It certainly isn’t. Perry’s book gives a lot of food for thought. It is very readable and even-handed and should foster better discussions.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What do I think of Sean McDowell’s book published by B&H Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
“All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.”
So said those great philosophers decades ago, the Beatles. So says modern culture today. Many girls grow up with a dream of that Prince Charming who will come up and sweep them off their feet and take them away to a life of bliss. Many guys tend to think more physically and think about getting married and having constant sex with their wives. Both sexes have legitimate desires.
Yet love is one of the most confused topics in our culture today and this is what Sean McDowell is writing about. His writing is aimed mainly at teenagers. Thus, it’s really easy for anyone to understand. The chapters are short and you could read on just one chapter of your choice at a time if you wanted to. Each chapter also ends with a question that McDowell answers.
It’s clear in this that he’s spoken to a lot of teenagers and knows what is on their minds. That’s great and needed. He is also not legalistic. Nothing in this book remotely gets close to the idea that sex is some dirty and taboo subject. (And yes, there does seem to be a connection in the book and in our culture between sex and love)
McDowell works to set up the idea that sex is God’s idea and gives us a theological basis for how to think about sex. This is absolutely essential I think as too many people, including Christians, do not have a worldview place for sex. Sometimes it can seem like a happy accident, but I honestly cannot fathom how someone can have sex and think of it as just an accident of the universe.
McDowell encourages students to look at the sexual ethic of Jesus found in Scripture and practice purity. However, if someone does mess up, he’s there with grace as well and to show that God has grace for you. He also says if you are abused, it is not your fault, which is 100% true. There are also chapters on hot button issues like homosexuality and transgenderism.
So anything I would change? Yes. I think more needs to be said on some topics.
For one thing, Sean McDowell’s Dad, Josh McDowell, has said that pornography is the greatest threat the Christian faith has ever faced. Even if that’s not true, and I think it certainly could be, it is a great threat that we face. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s enough time spent on that topic. I would have at least a few chapters devoted to it.
By the way, pornography is not just a guy’s problem. It has largely appealed to men, but it is becoming more and more appealing to women and many women have no place they think they can go to talk about it. Too often when guys get together to discuss their struggles, sex is all they talk about. For the women, it’s the opposite as sex can be rarely talked about.
With that comes another issue that needs to be discussed and that is sexting. Even if a woman isn’t engaged in pornography, she is affected by it. Too often, boyfriends are just assumed to be watching porn and women think they have to compete with that. If so, then a woman is more prone to send pictures of herself completely topless to guys. Women can feel more pressured to go further thinking it is necessary to keep a guy.
This should also touch on social media. Nowadays, when kids get home, they have sexual pressure on the internet as well. Think about the story of Amanda Todd. It’s so prevalent out there that I just typed in three words to remember her last name. Amanda, flashing, suicide. Ten hits on the first page all about her and the last one was something about the most beautiful suicide girls of all time. Yeah. Lovely stuff.
So anyway, this girl is apparently on a video chat one day and a guy convinces her to lift up her shirt so her breasts can be seen. She does and the image is stored forever and the guy ends up stalking her. He threatens to share the picture everywhere and even uses it as his Facebook page image and he regularly created new accounts to stalk Todd. Before she was even 18, Todd had hung herself.
The pressure is real.
I think in light of events like this, definitely more needs to be said about social media and sex. If someone like Ravi Zacharias isn’t even safe from doing sexting, we definitely need to say more about it. Too many kids are playing with sex not knowing the powerhouse that it really is. Movies and sitcoms and other shows often show a lot of the pleasures without any of the side-effects which can be physical, psychological, emotional, and I would add in spiritual.
So thus, McDowell’s book is great as is, but I want to see more added on to it. Perhaps if he releases a future edition, he can include more on these topics. Our young people are entering territory that is completely new and they need guidance.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What is going on with the industry? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Of all places, even the New York Times has apparently had an article against PornHub. The charge is that the site is infested with rape videos. There looks to be no denial by PornHub that this has happened. Of course, this would be a very tough denial to pull off. Just last year, a missing teenager was found when sexually explicit videos of her showed up on the site.
What do these changes mean? Not much I suspect sadly. A number of things could happen here. Maybe they won’t be held up. Maybe instead people will find work arounds to get such material up there as you can’t go to each person in each video and just ask and even if you could, many could know they have to lie. If it leads to the site shutting down due to competition, then it could very well be because the competition is even worse and doesn’t have any censoring of any kind.
The only cause for rejoicing here is that even in the secular world now, a closer look in the proper way is being given to the porn industry. Unfortunately, even then one wonders how effective it will be. With so many men in the world participating in the industry even if only consumers, getting information against it is going to be difficult.
The danger of people going to other sites also is very real, especially since these sites could allow for rape videos. In the porn industry, what is needed from consumers often is novelty. Something new is needed that hasn’t been seen before and like any drug, when the prior dosage isn’t enough, a new high must be hit.
The real danger is to the women involved. Our culture has reached a point where women really are giving sex more and more to get love. This is one reason I don’t have an account on SnapChat. I know the stories of women sending topless pictures of themselves and I want no part of that. It’s not because of any lack of desire for female beauty on my part, but because I think such is reserved for the marriage covenant.
Also, many women do find themselves in the human trafficking industry. I recommend books like Rebecca Bender’s In Pursuit of Love or Annie Lobert’s Fallen. Their stories of how they fell in in ways that seemed innocent enough at the start and how they managed to escape are gripping.
Josh McDowell has said the porn industry is the greatest foe the church has ever faced. He could very well be right. This is because it is a great depression on our values and our view of men and women and sex and thus, the building block of society, the family. Our young people are the hardest hit with many women who might not even watch porn thinking they have to do more and more to please their men and it usually being assumed that the young man is watching pornography.
I can’t tell the future of what will happen, naturally, but I do encourage Christians to start acting now. Parents are the first stage with learning how to talk to their children about sex and that will be different for boys and girls. The next stage is going to be the churches where pastors actually need to do sermons on porn and make places accessible for men and women affected by the industry in any way to seek recovery. Beyond that it will be contacting your state representatives and asking them to do something about the porn industry.
We can all change matters if we do something.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
What do I think of Peggy Orenstein’s book published by Harper? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I’m convinced that today, there is a war on boys. Much of our society is geared towards the feminine and traits considered manly are often looked down on. Consider something as simple even as how schools are run. Girls often have a much easier time sitting at desks for prolonged times. Boys tend to need to be more active.
We have terms like Toxic Masculinity going around and then there is the MeToo movement, which I suspect had noble aspirations, but quickly became a way to get any man in trouble. Men are also put in a dangerous position when it comes to female beauty. Compliment a woman on her beauty and you are objectifying her. Say nothing about it and you are ignoring her.
Peggy Orenstein decided to study the topic when it comes to sex and boys and her boys she interviewed were mainly high school and college age. A lot of what she saw dealt with the hook-up culture and pornography. How do guys view this and how does that differ from girls?
This is also written from a secular perspective so much I will not agree with upfront such as not being favorable towards abstinence only positions and support for the LGBTQ community. Despite that, this book is quite insightful. Any parent should read it, even if you don’t have boys but have daughters instead, so you can know what is coming.
It also highlights for me that this is an area we are deeply lacking in. Most people today hardly ever think about sex. Yes. I seriously said that. They don’t. But don’t I watch TV or listen to the news or listen to music today? How am I missing it?
Easy. We talk about it. We dream about it and fantasize about it and watch it and just plain do it, but we don’t think about it. Most of us don’t have a place in our worldview for sex. It’s just a recreational thing that we do together.
So it is that boys and girls think very differently about sex. Porn was one of the first topics covered for boys. It is extremely rare to find a man like me who never struggled with that. The result? Our boys grow up with a twisted view of sex. They think they have to perform a certain way and can often have sexual problems as a result. They can also think all girls really want it and when they say no, they don’t really mean that. They just want the boys to push harder.
Some boys had even gone so far as to get a flip phone to be able to avoid porn. Pornography is controlling so much of the thinking in society about sex today. It’s no wonder there’s so much chaos in this topic and young boys need to be prepared for this. Of course, I’m listening to this and wondering “Why not realize that the boys aren’t the problem, but the porn is?”
Boys also worry about experience like I said. They can get nervous when with a girl for the first time and they think it’s going to happen. What if the girl has more experience and the guy is unprepared? What if he makes a mistake? (News flash guys. You likely will with your first time.) Some guys are either hesitant to perform or can’t.
There is another problem behind this. Guys are trained to not talk about feelings or emotions or express them. For me, I think of a guy like Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII who shows no emotion even when tragedy strikes repeatedly. Men who show emotion or weakness are told to man up. Most men don’t go to their guy friends to talk about problems because that’s not something guys do. (Again, thankful I have guys I can talk to about problems.)
There’s also a section on how guys can also be victimized. Yes. At parties where guys get drunk, they can be victimized by girls and many of them don’t like it, but how are you going to speak out? Your guy friends will say something like, “Dude. You got laid anyway. Why complain?” They do complain because believe it or not, many guys want sex to be special.
Also, a guy can’t help it if his body responds to sexual stimuli just like a girl can’t help it if hers does. A girl can have reactions to sexual stimuli even in rape. That doesn’t mean she likes it or wants it. A man does not need to be shamed for his body functioning. As someone told me recently, “If you’re a man on the beach and a pretty girl goes in front of you in a bikini and you don’t notice, it doesn’t mean you’re more spiritual. It means you’re dead.”
However, guys too often are doing the assaulting. They are too often of the mindset that the women really want it when they don’t. Of course, a lot of this talk about the necessity of consent could be greatly lowered if we would just encourage people to wait until marriage, but for some reason that’s unrealistic. Guys can cause great damage to girls without realizing it or intending it.
One great takeaway from the book also is contrary to what you think, guys want older men, including their Dads, to talk to them about sex. They also want a real conversation. They don’t want a quick five minute event and that’s it. There should be regular ongoing communication.
What I would like to see more in future works is what sex means really to guys. As a married man, I know what it means to me. It is more than just a recreational activity and more even than just having children. Guys need to understand this. Of course, girls do as well, but this book is about the boys.
I said at the start that while the book is secular, I think parents should read this, including Christian parents. Girls even should read this to learn about what you’re going to be experiencing. Christian parents especially need to read about the hook-up culture and the damage that it is doing to our children.
Dare I say it, but churches need to be talking about this too. Youth groups especially should be preparing our young adults for adult life and marriage if they choose to go that route. By all means teach abstinence, but teach why we do that instead of just the don’ts. Give youth a whole worldview of sex so that when they’re with their significant other on a couch, they have more than just a few verses in Paul to keep them from getting their game on.
Bottom line. Read this book and learn from it.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)