Michael CravenS. Michael Craven is the President of H.I.S. BridgeBuilders and the author of Uncompromised Faith: Overcoming Our Culturalized Christianity (Navpress, 2009). H.I.S. BridgeBuilders is an urban missionary ministry that works to bring the redemptive power of God’s kingdom to bear upon the poverty-ravaged areas of our city, restoring people, families, and communities through spiritual, educational and economic development to the glory of God. To learn more, visit: www.hisbridgebuilders.org
- 2007 Jan 23
As I have pointed out previously, Sigmund Freud theorized that sexual morality was repressive, indeed harmful. Freud, like many other Enlightenment thinkers, argued that sexual morality was an artificial social construct and not a universal truth. Freud added that this artificially imposed restraint produced guilt which in turn was responsible for various pathologies or mental illnesses.
Margaret Sanger, another sexual "revolutionary" pushed Freud's theory even further by suggesting that such repression of the sex drive would result in diminished intellectual capacity. Sanger, if you don't know, was the founder of the American Birth Control League in 1921 which went on to become Planned Parenthood.
Following Freud and Sanger came the late Alfred Kinsey, the notorious research scientist and founder of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University in the 1940s. Kinsey sought to demonstrate that there were no public consequences to private sexual behavior. Kinsey collected thousands of sexual histories ultimately publishing the results of his surveys in his now infamous reports on male and female sexuality in 1948 and 1953 respectively. Kinsey's reports seemed to reveal a nation rife with sexual deviancy and immoral behavior and yet there were none of the negative public consequences promised by the moralists. This was a powerful refutation of religious values that began to erode society's commitment to the historic sexual ethic in which sex was strictly limited to marriage.
However, it was later discovered that Kinsey's "data" had been manipulated to support the Freudian theory. Kinsey's subjects did not represent the mainstream of America but were in fact drawn from the social underbelly. Convicted sex criminals, prostitutes, and sexual deviants were chosen by Kinsey, their sex histories were collected and then presented to the unquestioning public as being representative of the "average" American. In doing so, Kinsey was able to challenge the public perception of the 1950s that sexually moral behavior was in fact the norm. It naturally followed that if Kinsey's results were true and there were no widespread social consequences, which at the time there weren't, then the social commitment to private moral behavior was simply unnecessary and people were "free" to behave sexually in any manner they chose.
This entire contrivance would lay the foundation for the sexual revolution which would burst into American culture in the 1960s. In the four decades following this radical experiment along with a rejection of God's moral authority; America has experienced unprecedented and devastating public consequences. The US now leads the industrialized world in sexually transmitted disease; the US has the highest teen pregnancy rates in the world and illegitimate birth rates have gone from roughly 5 percent to more than 30 percent. Sexual deviancy has been normalized further undermining public morality. Family dissolution and divorce rates have skyrocketed producing countless public consequences from poverty to record prison populations. So, contrary to Freud, Sanger, Kinsey and all those "would be" sexual revolutionaries there are, in fact, public consequences to private moral behavior.
More recently, the American Psychological Association (APA) reported that counselors on the nation's college campuses were seeing significant increases in severe psychological problems. "Counselors reported seeing double the number of depression cases and triple the number of suicidal students."
This is the most sexually liberated generation in American history and yet they are suffering psychologically unlike any other. For decades the academic and public consensus has been pushing the liberal sexual agenda and they have wreaked and continue to wreak havoc on countless Americans and society in general.
Recently, one academician has mustered the courage to challenge this agenda. Dr. Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist working at UCLA has written the book, Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student. Initially written anonymously due to fear of professional reprisal, Dr. Grossman has since gone public. In a recent interview on NPR, Dr. Grossman was asked, "How are America's college students 'unprotected'?" Her response says it all: "I believe the false security engendered by the notion of 'safer sex,' in an environment that promotes multiple casual encounters, endangers students."
Dr. Grossman went to describe the current conditions:
Students are immersed in a campus culture in which sexual behavior is commonly detached from emotional commitment. Parents need to familiarize themselves with the terms 'friends with benefits' and 'hooking-up.' If your daughter has a friend with benefits, she is in a relationship that occasionally includes sex, but is without any expectation of commitment or exclusivity. If your son 'hooks up,' he has sexual encounters in which there is no expectation of seeing one another again.
As Dr. Grossman points out these behaviors are now the norm on most college campuses. "Depending on the study, 40-80 percent of students 'hook-up,' and by graduation, the average number of these nearly anonymous encounters is ten. Yet we wonder why so many young people suffer from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self-abuse."
Interesting to me is the point Dr. Grossman makes in pointing out that "a young woman is not warned that she is hard-wired to attach through sexual behavior and that no condom will protect her from the heartache and confusion that may result."
When asked, "Are you more worried about the guys or the gals on campus?" Dr. Grossman's response is spot on:
Certain trends on campus are in my opinion detrimental to everyone, male and female. Political correctness marginalizes and silences those who think differently. The exaggerated place of sexuality is grotesque and destructive. That said; I more often see young women for whom the campus environment is toxic. I believe that for many of these women, the lack of stability and clarity in their intimate lives causes profound emotional damage.
So, returning to this theme of redeeming society; the Church can either continue in the folly of this spirit/body dualism ignoring these real conditions or it can be faithful to press the truth into every facet of life. This would most assuredly include the area of human sexuality in which God has provided a careful design for the expression of sexual intimacy within the exclusive "one-flesh" union. The present generation is desperate for moral guidance that only a relevant Church can provide. Challenging the false pretension of "sexual freedom" as defined by the world honors Christ and invites people into the truth. If you want to know what you or your church can do to reverse this condition; contact the National Coalition to inquire about our many programs and materials.
Copyright 2007 S. Michael Craven
Comment on this article here
Request e-mail delivery of Michael's weekly commentary here
Subscribe to Michael's free podcast here
S. Michael Craven is the Founding Director of the Center for Christ & Culture, a ministry of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. The Center for Christ & Culture is dedicated to renewal within the Church and works to equip Christians with an intelligent and thoroughly Christian approach to matters of culture in order to recapture and demonstrate the relevance of Christianity to all of life. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, additional resources and other works by S. Michael Craven visit: www.battlefortruth.org
Michael lives in the Dallas area with his wife Carol and their three children.