Twenty Ways to Answer a Fool (pts 9 & 10)
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 and in doing so demonstrates a triumphal ignorance in what he criticizes. This is seen within 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.
In order to save time, I thought I would cover his two points into one post.
Under point 9,
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. This misnomer permeates his entire tract. In fact, I would say his overall pamphlet would be more aptly titled 20 Reasons to Abandon Roman Catholicism. At any rate, 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. I would expect more from Chaz, however, because he is making the Christian faith the object of his scorn.
That being said, I would agree with Chaz to an extent that Roman Catholicism has taught a warped view of human sexuality. Yet this is not derived from scripture as Chaz would have his readers believe, but from a mingling of Gnostic ascetic beliefs with early Christian mysticism. This 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 this view upon the Bible and force the text to teach something totally different than what it was meant to convey. This false understanding of God ordained sexuality has 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, chaste men and women could live out their spiritual lives away from the temptations of the world.
However, thanks be to the spiritual revival that took place under the Reformation, Christians broke away from this false teaching and returned to the teaching of scripture. Another common myth among religious critics is the notion that Puritans were dour, sexually repressive individuals. But this 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 the Really Were, the Puritans celebrated sexuality through out 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 to enjoy. The only stipulation is that sex is to be enjoyed with in 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, semi-erotic love poem expressing the blessedness of martial sexual relations between a man and woman. So this 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.
Moving on to point 10,
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...
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 this? Because free thinking atheists have their limits and even 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 11 year old in my life. So why won't Chaz advocate for NAMBLA?
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. This is the great lie 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 6 years, 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. That is not to say Christians don't have sexual problems after and during marriage, but statistically, they are the least problems a couple struggles with in marriage and they are easily fixable 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.
Next Up: Christianity has an exceedingly narrow and legalistic view of morality.