Thursday, October 23, 2014

What I Believe About Sex, Drugs and Pornography, What Do You Believe?

When I finished my rant the other day, I realized there were a few categories I had left out entirely, so, not wanting to offend only  a small part of my audience, I decided to write a follow up. I cannot tell you how much better it feels to not be holding back anymore. It is exhilarating to finally be free to say whatever I really think. Now, as a writer, do not get me wrong, there are filters in place, and I have no desire to share any intimate details of my romantic life, or anything like that, but just to stop avoiding things because of people's opinions. It feels great!

                                                                               


So, in no particular order, here are a few more things I think most people should think about again, since their opinions seem to be half baked, and indefensible. Here we go.

SEX

Might as well start with God's greatest invention. That's right, sex was God's idea and not the Devil's, and being the father of eight, married to my high school sweetheart, I have a lot of things to say on the subject. First, I believe that God's best is for loving adults to be in a lifelong committed monogamous relationship. Part of the reason for that is that sex, like fire, is awesome, but can be potentially harmful in a lot of ways.

That being said, premarital sex is hardly the worst thing you could ever do. I mean, murder, rape, and a few others would definitely top the list. If my kids are reading this, it is the second worst, next to murder, which is what your mother is going to do when she finds out. So, keep your clothes on!

So, why is it Christians get so freaked out whenever sex gets mentioned, after all, there is an entire book of the Bible devoted to how, when and why you should be doing it! Solomon had some pretty kinky euphemisms as well, but I digress.

Here is the truth, married people, statistically speaking, have more sex than non married people, and report enjoying it more! It's true, we are also more adventurous, having more varied sex than our single counterparts! That's right! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/13/marriage-sex_n_1422644.html

So, what about the young among us? Should we teach them abstinence only? In a perfect world, I believe that everyone would wait for the right person. This is not that world. While it sucks that people other than their parents are frequently the ones to share the details of reproduction with kids, there is one way to handle that. Inform your kids early! Give them as much clinical detail as they can sit still for, as soon as they ask! Do not hide it from them! (not suggesting putting the video of your wild weekend on the big screen) there is a HUGE difference between "private" and "secret".

When we hide things from our kids, we have no one to blame but ourselves for their mishandling of the subject.  Once they are old enough to engage in sexual activity, they should know, the good and the bad. Educate your children about stds and birth control as well. While I agree, I don't want my kids giving up before marriage, I don't want grand kids until they have a family to be part of.

So, I think you should talk to them about the beauty of it, admit that it's the most fun you can possibly have inside a human body, and tell them about the dangers of it too. Don't worry that exposure will encourage them to experiment. If you tell it to them in context and share your hope that they will wait for a mate, most kids will want to meet that expectation. Under NO circumstances do I EVER agree with parents shaming, or threatening children regarding sex. True, that while they are minors, they are your responsibility and their actions can effect you, so let them know that. This is not a thing where all of the repercussions always stay between to the two people involved. (watch Jane the Virgin for a hilarious take on how that works) 

Your job is to love people, not judge them, including your kids. If you restrict them unnecessarily in this regard, you will regret it. They are going to make their own choices, so grow up and realize that you cannot program, and even if you could, you have made plenty of mistakes, and would not be a good cloning model for the human race any more than anyone else!

Yes, encourage your kids, provide them with a good example, but recognize that they ARE already autonomous, you don't get to grant that to them, they have ALWAYS had the power to make their own choices, just because you managed to make them believe this was not true, it was. They are born with the ability to rebel. It is choice that makes obedience powerful, not coercion.

If your child hurts someone with sexual behavior, as in the case of rape, or child abuse, you must allow the courts to do their job. Do not ever consider covering up for someone you love, as their next target may already be picked out.

DRUGS

I myself, am not a fan. I drink, a very little, something I started at the grand old age of 38, and I have never had more than five beers in a twenty-four hour period, and that was on an adult's only vaca  week to Vegas where I had no responsibilities for my kids, or the need to drive. I don't like the way I feel when I take cold medicine, or benadryl and would not be lined up to take advantage of recreational marijuana were it ever made legal here. ( I live in Oklahoma which had prohibition until 1959) I don't like feeling out of control, don't like the burn of alcohol, the feeling of light headedness, or the realization that I am talking way too loud.

So, there you have it, I don't like it they should continue to ban it and jail those who publicly disagree. It will make the world a better place, right? Not exactly. I am a libertarian, and I really need to change my voter registration, so the poor RNC can stop calling me! I believe that drugs should be legal. I think that we have laws protecting people from rape, murder, pedophilia, reckless driving, destruction of private property, larceny, burglary, breaking and entering, trespassing, lude behavior, assault, battery, bank robbery, armed robbery, stalking, harassment, and public indecency. So many laws that protect people from the behaviors most commonly associated with the use of illegal substances, so WHY do we need to criminalize the act of ingesting the substance?

If you want the real answer, follow the money. Start with private prisons being a multi-billion dollar industry, with guaranteed occupancy of 80-90% in many cases. (yep, it's true bit.ly/thesharpenedspoondotcom )

Then look into how much money police and other govt agencies get from seizures of private property http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Forfeiture

Then move on to the fact that this is a primary motivator for the militarization of police forces, and other government expansions, and one could make a very good case that the war on drugs has been good, mainly for one person, Uncle Sam.

I am for decriminalization of most drugs. As I said, there are already laws against all of the seediness and public danger they create. (if they do in fact create danger, we have not had a free society for so long, our perspective on this issue may be a bit skewed) It would empty out our prisons, stop man dangerous no-knock raids that are killing innocents and put a black market out of existence. Tax it, I suppose, although I think all govts on all levels waste more than enough now, and do not deserve any more.

PORN

This one is going to be a bit tricky. But I think there are some things that need to be said. Let me start by saying, that the sex trade is a complete abomination, and in every case where people are subjected to ANY sexual behavior, or performance, through coercion, or threat of violence, or monetary blackmail, or whatever. If a person is not engaging willingly, knowing and believing that they have a choice, the ones "forcing" this behavior should be sent away for a very long time.

I do not believe that there is anything AT ALL dirty, inherently sexual, or obscene about human nudity. Period. It is not the images in these materials that make it what it is, it is our depraved thinking. In the beginning, God created us to commune with him and each other in a perfectly innocent and completely unclothed state. We have the puritans to thank for much of what we believe about human sexuality, and they believed that even during married sex God left the building. Literally, if you died during intercourse, you were eternally "screwed".

I also do not believe that all depictions of the naked human form are pornographic by nature. I have appreciated the beauty in paintings, sculpture and photography without lusting, many times. But just as a glossy car spread can cause the seeds of envy, jealousy and covetousness to grow, so too, these images can be misused. Pornography, to me, is that form that depicts graphically, sexual activity and the human body posed and exposed in ways that are designed to elicit feelings of erotic desire. Not all things erotic are pornographic, either though. This is all my opinion, let's move on.

The purchase of pornographic materials, at least on some level, must be seen as a support to these types of activities, and for that reason, is really not a good thing. That being said, I personally do not agree with much of the teaching that has been prevalent on this subject in the past few decades, on several levels.

First, I do agree that lust is a sin, just as gossip, lying and cheating on your taxes are also sins. It bears the same penalty, Biblically speaking, as do all sins. Pornography leads to lust. It can damage relationships, create unrealistic expectations, and encourages extramarital behaviors.

Now, for the part where I disagree. I do not believe that a single usage of pornography is tantamount to adultery, and I do not agree that it should be grounds for divorce. I think in many, many, cases, some that I am personally aware of, that the use of standard pornographic materials on a casual, or regular, but not compulsive and disruptive level has been seen by many as the same as having an affair. I understand the pain the spouse must feel, betrayal, and the rest. I do. However, in many cases, the party engaged (typically men) has never even contemplated actually approaching another living breathing human being to engage in even a conversation about sex, let alone engaged in the activity.

Yes, I realize that Jesus said that if you look on a woman to lust after her you have committed adultery with her, already in your heart. I did not say it was a good thing. It does occur to me, however, that to hold someone to so high a standard in this one regard, while the wife is watching Real Housewives, engaging in all types of slanderous gossip, overeating and otherwise living in destructive ways, puts way too much emphasis on this subject.

This does not excuse men from their duty to lead a pure life. When you see that over 90% of respondents to almost any poll on the topic admit to having used some type of pornography, it would stand to reason that this is a fairly normal thing. Again, not right, but human, and in most cases forgivable.

I, know what I have said so far will be seen by many as excusing horrific behavior, I hope you hear me when I say, it is not my intent. In a perfect world, all men would marry a woman they truly cherished and thought of as the most beautiful in the world. I have made it my habit to adjust my thinking so that my wife has truly become the object of my desires, and the woman that I measure physical beauty by, but not everyone is going to do that. It does not mean that he is not a good husband, a fantastic provider and faithful to his family.

There are some expectations that the modern world, church in particular, has put on marriage and romance that have little to do with the Biblical picture. Our modern day ideals about romantic love and choices and feelings would be as foreign to someone from the first century as air travel. It is not that they did not experience these things, but they seem to have been more of a bonus than the expected, daily norm.

Beyond the "normal", consensual adult behaviors depicted in pornography, there are other categories, which present the abuse of humans, the inclusion of children and animals. This is not at all what I am talking about, and anyone who habitually seeks out these things should seriously get some counseling, as you present a danger to people around you. This is never okay. Again, it is sin, just like any other, and forgivable, but it should be dealt with before rape, murder, incest, bestiality and other things become a part of it in more than just the fantasies of that individual.

In addition while I think it optimal that all men eliminate pornography from their lives, for those of you who are financially burdening your families, or find your compulsion is interfering with your duties as a provider, husband or father, due to  the time, energy and money you are devoting to this habit, stop hiding and find someone to help you. Shame and condemnation should not be a part of this, it is not useful, but regret and repentance are both Godly.

 MEDIA

 On to something a bit lighter. I believe that all human expression is useful. Some of it shows us what we should be, some of it shows us what to avoid. Art and creative endeavors are a tricky subject to navigate. When it comes to movies, books, music and digital media, I am a pretty open person about what I watch. I watch the things I enjoy. If I find that something disturbs me, or makes it hard for me to be the person I know God is calling me to be, I don't watch it anymore.

There is a concept that I have lived by most of my life. I refuse to use some list of behaviors to avoid and things I cannot do. (well except for murder, adultery, etc, LOL)

Paul said it like this in Corinthians:

If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience' sake. But if anyone says to you, "This is meat sacrificed to idols," do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience' sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man's; for why is my freedom judged by another's conscience?…

Why indeed? SO, I watch what I want, I read what I want, and I discuss it, like an adult. If I find that I have violated my conscience, I repent and a I do not go back to it. But, I don't need some general consensus of the believers around me, to buy a movie ticket. This is something that many modern believers will all but ignore. Our consciences have all but died from atrophy. You need to exercise it to keep it sharp, or when you need it,and you can't call for backup, it will not be there to protect you.
John tells us we don't need a teacher, Jesus promised to give the Holy Spirit to guide us, God promised OT to write his law on our hearts, and yet, we still think that human consensus is the best way to make individual moral decisions, go figure.


I know there is more, but I think I've said enough for one day. Thanks for reading, I hope it encourages you to think about what you believe.

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