Monday, February 11, 2013

Postmodern Sexual Ethics 101

Sexual Ethics

“Why does the supposedly omniscient and omnipotent creator of the universe worry so much about who has sex with who and how they have it?” – Amazon reviewer Carl Flygare, commenting on John MacArthur’s book, The Battle for the Beginning

Mr. Flygare's question is a fairly good representation of how many people think in postmodern, Western culture, and I suppose a lot could be said in response. If it was an honest question and not a sarcastic retort to another commenter, I would answer that it only makes sense that a creator of any kind would be concerned about a fundamental function of his creation. Since it clearly was not an honest question, I will attempt to probe the reviewer’s thinking as much as the limited context will allow me to.

My first concern is that Mr. Flygare seems to take it as a given that it is inappropriate to be anything more than a little concerned about who has sex with whom. Yet in the US and many other countries there are laws against things like common prostitution, human trafficking and the sex trade, any form of sexual activity with minors, sex with immediate family members and polygamy. In addition to these concerns, STI’s are a huge problem and no small number of campaigns are aimed at regulating, or at least influencing, how people engage in sexual activity.  Thus it appears that “who has sex with who” in many cases involves issues of public health or has other implications for society as a whole. So it’s pretty clear that if the sex in question is somehow harmful, or even if it’s out of the mainstream as in the case of polygamy, being concerned about it to the point of enacting legislation and punishing offenders seems pretty mainstream.

But another concern is Mr. Flygare’s apparent lack of perspective regarding his own views on the issue. While I get his point that who is having sex with who is widely considered to be in the realm of nobody’s business, I don’t believe he really practices what he preaches. In other words, he too is concerned about who has sex with whom. For example, I’d wager that if he is married and has children, he is quite concerned about who might be having sex with his wife and/or his kids. Even if he is not concerned about any of that for whatever reason, I would imagine he at least cares who has sex with him; he is willing to limit and even dictate the parameters of another person’s sexual desires if they involve unwanted advances on his own person. So at the end of the day, when it comes to who is having sex with whom, the only significant difference between him and the God he questions is the length of the list.


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