What possible reason can our secular majorities have to censure David Petraeus or the pedophiles in the Britain? They certainly wouldn’t appeal to Scripture. So what could possibly be wrong with adultery or any other act?
I have been reading Updike again lately and the thing I get from him more than anything is that the sexual revolution changed everything. He thinks it is for the better, I think it was for the worse. That’s why this post at The Politics of the Cross Resurrected caught my eye. It says in part:
Of course sexual immorality was not invented in the 60s. What happened was that the promiscuity hitherto expressed mainly among the “upper” classes and the “intellectuals” was packaged for mass consumption, glorified, and sold to the middle and working classes as “liberation.”
In the 60s the theological liberalism of the mainline Protestant churches, which had hollowed out Christian belief for over half a century, began to have wider cultural consequences. If there is no God, or if God is a remote Deity who is uninvolved in this world, then I am “free” to act as I please. And what pleases me? Only those who had already discarded the venerable Christian doctrine of original sin could be surprised when the answer was: “Vice rather than virtue.”
The Spirit of 68 is the rejection of virtue and the embrace of vice in the name of human liberation. Naturally, one expression of this was sexual promiscuity. This has been the same pattern throughout human history; the throwing off of the restraints of morality and law was old hat to the writers of the New Testament. By Paul’s day it was an age old pattern of behavior repeated in empire after empire and occurring again in his own day in the Roman empire, as he makes clear in his letters to the Romans and to the Corinthians.
But when a post-Christian worldview, whether in a Darwinian, a Freudian or a Marxian form, began to be preached openly to the masses as a guide to everyday behavior, the main take-away was the mainstreaming of lust: “Lust is good, lust is fun!” Lust is of course expressed through our sexual organs, but not only in that way. The other main way it is expressed is through our acquisitive nature – the drive to acquire wealth or luxuries. Lust can be seen as much in our use of our credit cards as in our use of our sex organs. The inordinate desire for sexual pleasure is closely related to the inordinate desire for material luxuries and both represent an attempt to transgress the limits life places on our desires.
If this life is all there is, then we may as well grab for all we can get during the few years of our consciousness between birth and death. The post-Christian worldview restricts our vision to the here and now and the material world. It demeans all visions of eternity and scoffs at the idea of this world as a preparation for the next. It bids us focus on getting a bit more pleasure out of this life than we would be entitled to if we stuck by some absolute standard of morality. In fact, this becomes the standard of success; have we managed to outwit Fate to snatch a few, fleeting pleasures that don’t belong to us by right out of the pool before the lights go out?
So the lust for material possessions and luxuries causes us to reject the limitations of virtue and law and to strive to get as much as we can. In a curious moral inversion, the apologists for socialism have attempted to make this kind of greed into a flaw of capitalism, even though socialism is the ideology that encourages and legitimizes greed, envy and covetousness, whereas capitalism preaches hard work and refraining from coveting what is belongs to your neighbor.