I fully intended to finish my 1/3 written post on Sunday School, but I don’t feel I’ve done due diligence on the topic of Christians celebrating deviant sex and relationships, and it is nagging at me. As well, I want to tie in the lengthy conversation about Christians and “bad words” that occurred under the previous post, because it is of a piece with the issue of why so many Christian wives and daughters are so unprotected, undisciplined, indiscriminate, and too often feral.
As I re-read my posts one of the things I failed to do was clearly state my case. Here it is: The media we consume is by-and-large propaganda. It’s intended effect is to destroy authority and create women likely to act on sinful and thoughtless urges, because unregulated urges mean more sales. This dissolution is taught at least somewhere within most television shows, movies, books, and songs.
At the same time, this propaganda machine discourages fathers and husbands from exercising any meaningful authority, and discourages women from taking them seriously if they do. It does so by portraying disapproving fathers and husbands as unreasonable, mistaken, tyrannical, and heartless. Conversely, the only fathers and husbands who are uplifted are those who do not confront actions of rebellion or sin. Theirs is but to give hugs and understanding.
Encouragement of feral female licentiousness and discouragement of the discipline of modesty is omnipresent in the fiction of Western Civilization, and it’s also true of any journalism or editorial that touches on the subject of sex or romance. In effect it is a much more comprehensive sex ed concerned not only with which bit goes where, but how the producers of media believe men and women should relate, how families should be ordered (or not!), and how to make decisions on sexual matters.
Within these (deviously informal but extremely well-funded) sex ed seminars, there are also individual scenes of propaganda are targeted at a particular sex. In the past media was designed to appeal to as broad and general audience as possible, but as liberalism has progressed (and with the aid of technology and increasingly specialized labor) this is no longer necessary to accomplish their goals.
The go-to formula to get men in the theater is to make the protagonist violent. The violence of the protagonist is almost always perpetrated in protection of, or revenge for, some person or people, and the violence is committed against clearly-defined bad guys who–in addition to being generally dastardly–almost always initiate the violence first. There is at least a tenuous relation to the concepts of justice and defense of the weak. Revenge becomes a symbol for justice. (Granted: Somewhere further down the list of tropes to entice men is naked women.)
When media producers want to appeal to women they put the protagonist into a pornographic scene. This is usually fornication and adultery, but an emotional affairs will do. Once in awhile sex and love between a husband and wife is depicted, but by-and-large the captivating moments aimed at women are illicit relationships. These pornographic scenes are intended to appeal to women along the same tenuous lines as the violent revenge and protection themes appeal to men. So, if revenge is meant as a symbol of justice, what ideal is pornography meant to symbolize?
Unfortunately for Christians: Eros does not differentiate between good and evil sexual desires. It’s a pagan concept that has no place in the Christian worldview, yet we accept it reflexively because in our society it is the dominant frame of reference for love between a man and a woman. Consequently, deep confusions of the pagan and Biblical worldviews exists in the Church. We can’t articulate the difference between sex with a whore and sex with a wife. There are Christians leaders out there teaching that husbands should stop lusting after their wives, and other Christians teaching how to find a soul-mate; two actions that are fundamentally impossible if Christianity is true.
Now media can be churned out at a very high rate with cheaper and faster production; especially since they regurgitate [remake or adapt] the same films, shows, songs and books over and over. Each rumination is more granular, more targeted propaganda, than the last iteration of the cud. Family films skew chick flick. Adventures become shoot-em-ups. This in itself purposefully divides the audiences; driving fathers and husbands towards one theater, and wives and daughters towards another; segregated sex ed.
When we uncritically watch the propaganda we not only cannot differentiate between love and lust, but are confirmed in our decision not to. Against this, the argument is often put forth that these bits of propaganda are “just movies”, or “just songs”, or whatever; that we don’t really take them seriously, or even pay attention to them. But, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Depending on the source: 80-97% of American Christians engage in extra-marital sex. Those figures don’t account for french-kissing, fondling, or day-dreams. Does anyone seriously believe 80-97% of American Christians engage in revenge slayings? How many have even started a fist-fight; maybe 20%?
This is because we have a way to talk about justice, to teach it; to have a discipline about justice because it is common between Christianity and paganism…or at least translatable. There is no direct corollary in Christianity for the concept of Eros. The closest is lust, and we–especially women–are taught explicitly to avoid discipline when in pursuit of lust because Eros is explicitly about loss of control, and madness. We’re supposed to let Eros magically happen and simply enjoy the ride.
We kept on confusing pagan Eros and Christian romantic love until now we are at the point where we have realized Orwell’s doublethink about all things sexual; .
The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.
It’s so pervasive in the culture, that if you eradicated every piece of media that endorsed Eros, there would be nothing left to entertain women but housekeeping shows. If you bring it up too many times they start to get the idea that you’re serious about closely watching what they watch. That might mean boredom, and them’s fightin’ words. More troubling: We like the way we feel “in love”. We like undisciplined nature. We like uncontrolled emotions. We’re “in love” with Eros.
And if you don’t think this describes you, then what is the Biblical corollary to “in love”?
All Christians accept that sex outside of marriage is illicit, but not all Christians know that–outside of marriage–the expression of emotional romance is usually illicit, too. It is, and it shouldn’t be hard to figure out because these expressions are inherently sexual. In fact, I think it is true to say that we do know this, but we choose not to care because no one says anything, and we really like how it feels.