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Revolutionary Sexuality: Part 1

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What is the theological basis for the sexual revolution? Wilberforce Academy Director Dr Joe Boot explains in this overview that the radical revolution we see today is "rooted in the self-creating illusions of Marxism, with its visceral hatred of both God and the family."

Joe highlights how Marxist ideas and radical feminism have sought to recreate reality and oppress all who uphold God's good creation order. Read about God's positive response in part 2.
 

It is surely beyond all dispute that we live in an age of revolution. This revolutionary upheaval is revealed most dramatically in the area of human sexuality. On all sides in our culture we are witness to the separating of what God has joined and a joining of what he has separated (Mark 10:9). Thus in the first instance we have no-fault divorce, the celebration of sex outside of marriage and abortion as contraception – with not even a pretended desire for holding together, in a moral union, love, sex and child-rearing in the permanent bond of the creational family. In the latter case, we have the promotion and celebration of homosexuality and even the denial of real, normative distinctions between male and female.

This 'gender mainstreaming' regards male and female sex as 'fictive' and seeks to reinvent humanity in terms of a gender-blending abstraction. The demagogues of revolution go about this subversion of creational norms in the name of liberation and empowerment, but as G. K. Chesterton warned, end up destroying what they claim to set free:

You can free things from alien or accidental laws, but not from the laws of their own nature. You may, if you like, free a tiger from his bars; but do not free him from his stripes. Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump: you may be freeing him from being a camel. Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles to break out of the prison of their three sides. If a triangle breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end. [1]

The speed with which the demagogues armed with their pagan ideologies have captured our culture, liberating man of his mannishness, is staggering; and it can only be accounted for by the fact that Western society has been rendered morally weak and impotent by its sexual guilt – our resistance to subversion broken down by the sexualisation and pornification of most cultural life. Consequently, speaking of Christian sexual ethics today is not for the faint of heart. To point out the tragic and ruinous dismantling of creational norms in our society is to place yourself at risk of ostracism and exclusion – even among professing Christians.

The contemporary revolution is openly directed against God, and indeed creation itself, which is sustained and upheld by the Word of God. Scripture republishes and explicates that creation Word and is therefore vehemently opposed by the artisans of the new sexual order.
 

Architects of Revolution: How did we get here?

The rallying cry of Voltaire during the French Revolution was 'crush the infamy' – by which he meant the Christian church and the moral order it stood for. The sexual revolutionaries of the twentieth century find the root of their revolutionary spirit in the self-creating illusions of Marxism, with its visceral hatred of both God and the family. As Marx keenly observed, "The secret to the Holy Family is the earthly family. To make the former disappear, the latter must be destroyed, in theory and in practice." [2]

The past hundred years or so have given us the interrelated evolutionary, existential, technological, revolutionary, Freudian, behaviourist and gender-fluid views of the human person. As Gordon Spykman has pointed out, "The contemporary quests for self-identity degenerate into the many faces of modern man's self-deception. He re-creates himself into the likeness of his own multi-masked image." [3] Or in the words of Scripture, those who make idols become like them (Ps. 115:8). The cultural implications of this truth are all around us.

As a result of the many decades of theoretical, social and political assault on Christian sexual ethics, the norms which are part of any society's operating system are being radically altered. This is doubly troubling for Christians because as this alteration occurs, new social and legal penalties are introduced to protect the new norms – for every society protects sexual norms with penalties. As Gabriele Kuby has explained:

Every culture penalizes violation of its sexual standards. While people previously thought it a feature of primitive societies to have taboos that were enforced by everything from social ostracism to the death penalty, today we are finding that new taboos apply. They gain their validity through social exclusion and gradual criminalization, specifically in the domain that all cultures protect with strict standards – the domain of sexuality. A reversal has taken place. Today the dissolution of moral standards is being enforced and opposition is being punished with exclusion and legal sanctions. [4]

This helps account for recent developments like Canada's Bill C-16, which having passed a second successful reading in Parliament, and if passed at the Senate, will amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to add gender identity and gender expression to the growing list of prohibited grounds of 'discrimination' which already includes 'sexual orientation.' According to the government, open criticism or rejection of these expressions and behaviours could be deemed to encourage hatred and may lead to up to two years in prison. [5] This chilling consequence helps to silence all opposition to the revolution's new sexual orthodoxy.

The catalogue of intellectual leaders for the sexual revolution who have brought us to this cultural moment include formative thinkers like Wilhelm Reich, who combined Marxism with Freudian psychoanalysis, and shaped the thinking of such 'Frankfurt School' luminaries as Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, whose influential writings helped produce the student revolution of the 1960s. Their message was essentially to free one's self from oppressive Christian sexual morality by living out any and all libidinous urges, thereby creating a social paradise free from all 'domination.' [6]

Seeking liberation from the feelings of guilt and shame that come with sexual immorality, emotionally disturbed and promiscuous men like Freud, and the occultist Carl Jung, provided pseudo-scientific justification for sexual libertinism from the depth dimension of human psychology, whilst the pornographer, paedophile and masochist, Alfred Kinsey, provided bogus research with falsified statistics in order to promote every sexual perversion and the sexualisation of children. [7]

It is worth observing that it is not only men who have sought to undermine and overturn the traditional family structure. The early feminist Simone de Beauvoir championed a radical feminism that rejected all sexual restraint, marriage, motherhood and family. For her the fetus was a parasite and she even set up an abortion centre in her Paris salon whilst it was still illegal. [8] Accordingly, she asserted that heterosexual marriage of men and women and the nuclear family, along with the church that sponsors this arrangement, must be destroyed.

Then with the lesbian radical feminist, Judith Butler, came 'gender mainstreaming.' Over against God, Butler claims the authority to change the very fabric of human sexual identity through political and legal measures. This new gender ideology grips our culture today like a vice – even though most people have never even heard the term. This construct means that out go male and female, father and mother, husband and wife, as the two sexes in normative marital relationship. For Butler, these norms are artificial constructs supposedly arising from the 'incest taboo' which must be broken. [9]

As the two creational sexes exit the scene, in comes the term 'gender' to replace them. According to Butler, sex is an ideal construct. Sexual identities are constructed simply by language. So politically, changing the use of language is central to transforming the gender order of society. This re-ordering of reality is again done in the name of liberation for all, because for the radical feminist, creational Christian norms are all about oppression: "Within the present family structure, individuals learn to accept sexist oppression as natural and are primed to support other forms of oppression including heterosexist domination." [10]

Essentially Butler and her numerous disciples claim that there are no such realities as 'men and women' because the idea of biological sex is a fantasy. Gender is not related to biological sex, but is free-flowing and fluid – there is no such thing as normative sexual identity. Rather your identity is centred in your 'orientation,' which is said to be mutable and freely chosen, regardless of whether you are a man or woman. Today's vocal advocates of the LGBTQ cause are the devotees (conscious or not) of her philosophy. They choose the word 'queer' rather than the word 'homosexuality' now (which points to its opposite) for anything that is not the God-ordained norm of heterosexual marriage. Scriptural sexual morality and family, with its binary norm, is for Butler and her followers the 'dictatorship of nature' (that is, creation) which must be rebelled against and destroyed. [11]
 

Religious Roots of Revolution

This radical identity crisis afflicting our culture reflects the religious crisis of our time. We must be critically aware that lying behind all these ideas are intuitively-held religious presuppositions, very ancient in origin, which are now being dressed in a new pseudo-scientific garb and applied socially in the most radical way. In contrast to Scripture, ancient Greek mythology set male gods like Ouranos and Zeus against female goddesses like fertility Gaia and Olympian Hera. This suggested a struggle basic to sexual relations that is foreign to the Bible.

Philosophically, the influential school of Plato taught a unisex or androgynous perspective because the "soul substance" in philosophical thought was sexless[12] This is a religious denial of the binary; of the reality of twoness; of distinction; of the 'male and female' that God made from the 'beginning of creation' (Matt. 19:4).

The positing of original sexless origins and the primitive androgynous emergence of humankind, as well as a denial of the even more fundamental creator-creature distinction itself, is basic to pagan, humanistic thought. As Peter Jones warns, "once the male-female distinction falls, other creational categories also become irrelevant." [13] If you can destroy the creational norm of marriage and family then you are destroying the image of the eternal holy family, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and this, it seems, lies at the root of today's idolatrous war on creation.
 

Footnotes: 
[1] Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1908; reprint, New York: John Lane Company, 1921), 86.
[2] Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels, Gesamtausgabe (MEGA) (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1976), vol. 3, 6.
[3] Gordon J. Spykman, Reformational Theology: A New Paradigm for Doing Dogmatics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 215-216.
[4] Gabriele Kuby, The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the name of Freedom, trans. James Patrick Kirchner (Ohio: LifeSite, 2015), 10.
[5] See “Bill C-16,” Parliament of Canada, last modified May 17 2016, http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=8280564,accessed Feb 22017: “The enactment also amends the Criminal Code to extend the protection against hate propaganda set out in that Act to any section of the public that is distinguished by gender identity or expression and to clearly set out that evidence that an offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression constitutes an aggravating circumstance that a court must take into consideration when it imposes a sentence.”
[6] See, particularly, Wilhelm Reich, The Sexual Revolution, trans. Peter Nevill (London: Vision Press, 1952). The title in Reich’s original German is Die Sexualität im Kulturkampf: zur sozialistischen Umstrukturierung des Menschen, which translates to “sexuality in the culture war: for the socialist restructuring of humans;” Herbert Marcuse: Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud (Boston: Beacon Press, 1966).
[7] Kuby, The Global Sexual Revolution, 31 ff.
[8] Marie Rennard, “The Unfinished Business of Simone de Beauvoir,” Swans Commentary, last modified February 11 2008, http://www.swans.com/library/art14/marier15.html.
[9] See Judith Butler, Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity, (London: Routledge, 1990).
[10] Bell Hooks, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (Boston: South End Press, 1984), 38.
[11] See Butler, Gender Trouble.
[12] See Calvin Seerveld, Cultural Problems in Western Society (Iowa: Dordt College Press, 2014), 106-107.
[13] Peter Jones, The God of Sex: How Spirituality Defines your Sexuality (Colorado: Cook Communications, 2006), 73. 
 

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