Beach Balls and the Sexual Revolution
It’s no secret that sexual mores have changed radically over the past few decades in America (and beyond). Certain commonsense and natural beliefs about the purpose and nature of sex and marriage have been uprooted.
Given the increase in abortion since Roe vs. Wade, our cultural addiction to pornography, and the ubiquity of broken marriages, many people are rightly asking how we can bring sanity back to the conversation.
I certainly don’t have the “secret sauce” to transform our entire culture. But I do have one tactic that, for the sake of the next generation, we should be utilizing at every turn. Simply put, we need to show how the ideas of the sexual revolution bump up against reality. In other words, the ideas behind the sexual revolution simply don’t match up with human sexuality. Proponents of the sexual revolution propagate ideas, but reality pushes back.
Think about it this way: What happens if you try to push a beach ball beneath the surface of the water? The answer is obvious—it pops back up! Push it down one direction and it will come up another. The nature of the beach ball is to float to the surface, even when people try to keep it submerged.
The same is true with human sexuality. Proponents of the sexual revolution promote ideas about human nature, but the problem is that the ideas bump up against reality and the truth (like a beach ball) pushes to the surface. Consider two examples.
Sex Is A Big Deal
One of the ideas behind the sexual revolution is that sex is simply a physical act, not unlike any other. It is not about procreation, and it is not sacred. It’s merely a physical act between two people (or more) for pleasure.
But despite this common mantra, like a beach ball, the truth about human sexuality simply won't stay submerged.
For instance, there was a sex scene between Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in the recent film Passengers. In an interview with People Entertainment Weekly, journalist Jess Cagle asked how Chris, as the male character, made the scene comfortable for his female co-star. Interesting question, but given the assumption of the sexual revolution (that sex is no big deal), why should Pratt feel uncomfortable at all? Why not ask him about a scene when they walked down the corridor together?
The answer to these questions is obvious: we all know that sex is a big deal and that it is not simply a physical act. We know it is about procreation and that it involves being uniquely vulnerable with someone else. We intuitively know it is meant to be a private experience. Despite the claim that sex is no big deal, we all know differently. And this truth emerges in a conversation about the Passengers movie, even if unwittingly.
Barack Obama was the first president to endorse same-sex marriage. In doing so, he essentially claimed that two moms or two dads are equivalent to a mom and a dad. In other words, gender is irrelevant for the institution of marriage and the wellbeing of children.
Yet, ironically, Obama chose females for his first two nominees to the Supreme Court. His nomination of Sotomayor and Kagan was certainly motivated by political concerns, but also to bring more women to the court so there would be balance. I appreciate his concern for gender balance. But I do wonder: Why is gender balance important for the Supreme Court, but not for marriage?
If gender matters, then how can Obama consistently support same-sex marriage? If gender doesn’t matter, then why is it important to nominate two women to the court? The reality is that we know gender matters both for marriage and for SCOTUS. And in moments like these, the beach ball of denying gender distinctions floats to the surface.
We could consider a host of other examples. But the point should be clear: The sexual revolution bumps up against the reality of human nature. Like a beach ball, the truth of human nature simply will not stay submerged. For the sake of the next generation, we need to point this out at every turn.
Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, best-selling author, popular speaker, part-time high school teacher, and the Resident Scholar for Summit Ministries, California. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.