We can all agree culture has changed over the past thirty to forty years. Since the 1980s, movies and tv have been infiltrated with gratuitous sexual content. When the Bible stopped being a priority in people's lives, they replaced it with entertainment. When people watch more television than they do reading their Bibles, it is easy to get confused about what is right and wrong.
Because we live in a post-Christian nation, the values the Bible espouses are no longer the ultimate authority. Many people, including Christians, believe they can decide what is right and wrong for their lives. This has created a culture where wrong is right and right is wrong. Additionally, the average church member attends church only once per month. This is a stark contrast to the 60s and 70s when parents made church the priority, as well as Wednesday night Bible study. Church was a pillar of the family system long ago, but that is not always the case today. Because of this, sin (especially sexual) has become more casual, and more people are falling into it than ever before.
Here are five reasons culture made sex more casual:
1. It Doesn't Judge
People once held authority in high regard. Pastors, parents, etc. were valued in society, and their convictions mattered. Today, however, we have adopted a “don't judge me” society, where people stopped wanting to hear people's advice and merely wanted to have their feelings validated. People no longer know where to go to discern what's right and what's wrong. Additionally, social media has created a society where everyone feels their opinion is equally valid. This, paired with celebrity pastors whose technological advances can reach anyone anytime, makes listening to your local pastor more difficult. If someone doesn't like what a local pastor has to say, he or she can always turn on Dr. David Jeremiah or Steven Furtick to get their opinion on the situation. Isaiah 53:6 has something to say about this: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
2. It Relies on Objective Truth
2 Timothy 4:3-4 says, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” People believe they can be their own judge and jury when it comes to what is truth. However, this causes confusion for people when one person's truth is different than someone else's.
3. It’s Anesthetized to Sex
Because almost every tv show has gratuitous sexual content between people that are not married, and these shows don't depict the repercussions of promiscuity, people are led to believe that this is an acceptable practice. Over the past five years or so, with the popularity of streaming apps like Hulu, Netflix, and Apple tv, anyone can have access to X-rated content, and all the app is required to do is put a disclaimer at the beginning of the show asking viewers to use discretion. Pornography used to be a private and shameful practice, where people bought magazines and went home, behind closed doors in private places, to view it. Now kids are exposed to it through their cell phones, TVs, and computers, and it only takes a few clicks to get access to whatever explicit content they want.
Science has proven that prolonged exposure to pornography also rewires the brain to become an addiction just like drugs or alcohol. Many leaders and Christians have fallen prey to the dangers of pornography so much that churches don't find they need to ask a leader to step down because of their use of it. When people become so anesthetized to something, eventually, they are deceived into believing it's normal. Having multiple sexual partners is now seen as normal, and now other sexual practices that go against the Bible, like homosexuality and transgenderism, are quickly being seen as normal and healthy as well.
It's time for Christians and church leaders to be bold in discussing the dangers of sexual immorality and pornography.
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4. Shame Is Taboo
Part of the “don't judge me” culture is the belief that shame is wrong and unnecessary, heaped upon them by religious zealots who only want to push their way of thinking. Although shame is not God's plan for us, shame is a necessary part of life. Shame has been around since the beginning of time. Without shame, there is no conviction of the Holy Spirit. Shame is the “check engine light” of our souls. When we feel shame, it indicates to us that we are in sin and need to make amends. Today's culture, however, doesn’t want to feel bad for its actions. Without shame, making poor sexual choices allows people to continue in their actions with no repercussions. They also feel as if they are still in control of their lives and don’t need to listen to people in authority. When we feel the weight of shame, we have two choices. Either we can feel pride and believe our choice is the right one, dogmatically forcing others to accept our sinful lifestyle, or we can have humility and take responsibility for our sinful actions, repent, and engage a life that honors God.
Therefore, society condemns shame so when people feel it, they don’t know something's wrong. This occurs until eventually, the person doesn't feel shame at all. This becomes a barrier between the person and God, and God cannot speak to their hearts. Without shame, there is no freedom in Christ. Shame indicates we need confession and repentance so we can experience freedom in Christ (and be free of shame).
5. It's a False Way to God
The connection and intimacy achieved during sex is a mirror of the intimacy we should be achieving with God. Sex is a glimpse into the joyful, exuberant feelings we will feel in heaven. When people are not following God, it leaves a hole in their hearts that only God can fill. To get relief from that pain, they look for other ways to fill that void. Having sex makes people feel needed and feel like they belong. It makes him feel important and gives them meaning in their lives. They achieve an emotional and spiritual bond with someone they can't receive elsewhere. Above all, they are looking for unconditional, sustaining love.
There's a vulnerability in sex, and since sin invaded the world, it fails to achieve the need to know and be fully known. Adam and Eve had this emotional need met in the garden. They were known by God and fully known by each other. But after the Fall, they had to find other ways to fill that void because they no longer had a connection with God. So it is with us. We will never know each other or God fully on this earth. That is reserved for heaven. But we can achieve the closest bond within the confines of a healthy sexual relationship in a God-ordained marriage.
In today's culture, what was once taboo is now quickly being accepted. Sexual topics are more easily discussed to blur the lines between public and private. Sex is also being treated as casual because people fail to understand the psychological and emotional bonds that occur during intercourse. We as Christians can speak to the world when we talk about Jesus and his design for sex. We can't stop promiscuity, but we can point them to the one who wants to meet – and fulfill—all our needs.
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Originally published Monday, 06 March 2023.