Theology of Convenience, Expediency, and Borne of Culture – Christian Preachers and Writers Diminishing Seriousness of Sexual Sin
Because American culture has seen a rise in the number of people, even Christians, using pornography and engaging in other forms of sexual sins, I’ve seen a disturbing and curious trend among some Christians (writers, commentators, preachers) in the last few years to downplay the seriousness of sexual sin, and to try to convince other Christians to just accept sexual sin as a normal part of life and marriage now.
And the people who pay for this lowering of standards is usually women. Women are once more expected, by male Christians, to bear the brunt of male sexual sin. Christians are always asking Christian women to endure and put up with male Christian sexual sin.
A few years ago, I created this post: (Link): Male Christian Researcher Mark Regnerus Believes Single Christian Women Should Marry Male Christian Porn Addicts and Regnerus believes as such because rates of porn use among Christian men have gone up quite a bit.
Regnerus feels if too many Christian single women refuse to marry Christian male porn users, then Christian marriage will come to a grinding halt, so, he feels, single women are obligated to marry a porn user, even if they really do not want to.
Not only have I seen articles saying that porn viewing has risen among single Christian men, but I’ve seen articles noting it’s on the rise among (Link): married Christian men (and (Link): women too).
Here are a few additional articles with numbers on Christian porn use:
Christian men view porn almost as much as non-Christians
According to the research approximately 64 percent, or two thirds, of U.S. men admit to viewing porn at least monthly, with the number of Christian men nearly equaling the national average. When divided by age “eight out of ten (79%) men between the ages of 18 and 30 view pornography at least monthly, and two thirds (67%) of men between the ages of 31 and 49 view pornography at least monthly. One half of men between 50 and 68 looks at porn monthly.”
The study claims three out of every 10 men between the ages of 18 and 30 are daily viewers of porn; three percent of women in the same age group purportedly access pornography daily.
— end excerpts —
Because sexual sins are running rampant among Christianity these days, it looks to me as though many Christians have given up, and they want to cave in to culture. They basically want to downplay or redefine certain sexual behaviors as not being so bad, not being truly unbiblical, or damaging.
Almost in all examples I have come across like this, where the male Christian writer is downplaying sexual sin or asking women to “put up with it,” the ones promoting these lax views are conservative Christians who believe in sola scriptura.
I do not see how a person who claims to be a Christ-follower, one who says they take the Bible literally and seriously, can so easily allow their views of Biblical sexual ethics to be influenced in this manner by cultural changes and considerations. But that is what they are doing.
One article I’ve read on the stats says 55% of Christian men ages 18 to 30 regularly use porn. I believe I may have seen one study from a year or more ago that said upwards of 80% of married Christian men use porn (or specifically, married preachers).
If 55% or 80% or more of Christian men are using pornography, well, then, some of these authors say, using porn should not be a grounds for a woman to divorce a man.
How handy that a sin that has grown to such a large magnitude is now said by so many male Christian writers to be a trifle, and that women should not limit their dating pool criteria, or divorce consideration options, on whether or not their partner uses porn.
This logic strikes me the same thing as the following:
If there is a spike in reports of Christian men beating infants to death, that single Christian women, who would naturally want to steer clear of dating baby-killers, should go ahead and date and marry baby-killers.
That is, baby-killing has become so common place, pity those poor Christian single men, ladies – don’t write them off for this tendency to murder babies. Or, if you marry a baby-killer, baby-killing isn’t grounds for divorce – stay married to that infant killer.
Or, if you prefer, insert some other sort of sin – if not porn use or baby-killing, maybe it’s beating and robbing little old granny ladies, kitten punching, or stomping on puppies for fun.
Regardless of the type of gross, disturbing, emotionally distressing, or heinous sin under discussion, I find it revolting that some Christians are wanting to tell women to lower their standards to date anyone and everyone, or to tell them that, once married, that “thus and so” sin is “not grounds for divorce.”
In the following, this Christian writer, Higginbotham, argues that pornography is not grounds for divorce.
He expects women married to male porn addicts to stay married to the porn addict. (One wonders if the genders are swapped if he’s tell an unhappy man he must stay married to his porn addicted wife)?
(Link): Is Pornography Grounds for Divorce? by Steve Higginbotham
…Because pornography is so accessible, affordable, and anonymous, many are allured into this sin, and like all sin, it destroys. In the wake of its destruction is marriage.
Husbands and wives find themselves the victims of this so-called “victim-less” sin, and are asking, “What recourse do I have? May I divorce my spouse for his/her pornography use, and be free to marry another?” Let’s answer this question by addressing two points:
…Fornication (porneia) is more specific than the broad term of “sexual immorality.” It specifically has reference to “illicit sexual intercourse.” In other words, it involves physical contact with another person. One could say it this way: Just as all adultery is fornication, not all fornication is adultery; and just as all fornication is sexual immorality, not all sexual immorality is fornication.
…Does Lust Constitute Adultery?
The answer to that is, “No.” Clearly in this passage, the adultery resulting from lust is not literal, but figurative. While Jesus was demonstrating how our thoughts cannot be separated from our actions, he is not suggesting that our thoughts should bear the same consequences as our actions.
…While pornography is a destructive, sexually immoral sin, it does not rise to the level of fornication, and thus, does not give one grounds for divorce and remarriage.
— end excerpts —
I recall watching an episode of the Christian program “700 Club” where a woman was married to a man, and that man would spend almost every waking moment down in their basement looking at porn on a computer.
That husband became so wrapped up in porn, he no longer spent as much time with his wife. The wife felt neglected, cheated upon, and she was considering divorce.
Porn can become very harmful to a marriage. I would not ask or expect any woman in such a situation to remain in it.
There are some people who now (Link): prefer porn use to having sex with another person.
If a person is married to someone whose devotion or preference to porn has led them to essentially abandon the relationship with the spouse, how on earth could you honestly expect the cheated-upon partner to remain?
The guy who wrote the article said this (in response to someone who wondered the same thing I did):
by Steve Higginbotham
Correct, I did not consider that situation because it has no bearing on the question.
If you’re suggesting that one can be so caught up in pornography that they no longer fulfill their marital obligation/privileges, therefore the spouse would have grounds for divorce, that would be wrong.
The fact that a spouse fails to perform their duties in the home, whatever those duties may be, does not grant one the right to divorce. Why is forsaking the marriage bed any worse than forsaking any responsibility within marriage.
— end excerpt —
So, Higginbotham expects a person to remain in a sexless marriage.
This sure contradicts the Christian propaganda I was exposed to often growing up: that if one waited until marriage to have sex, the marriage would be great and regular.
The reality of the situation is that if one person wants to have sex, but the other partner is not providing sex, there are going to be many people who cannot live like that any further and choose to divorce or to have an affair.
I personally have good self-control so I could probably endure that sort of marriage, but even I would not want to remain in a marriage to a guy who is looking at porn all the time. I think I would consider divorce in such a scenario.
How about people like this one:
Via a conservative publication whose author laments how easy divorce is these days ((Link): The Three Divorce Magnets):
by D. Medved
Divorce Magnet Number Two: Sex Is Everywhere (Except in Marriage)
When you don’t like your spouse, when you’re angry or betrayed or verbally abused, sex in marriage is either completely selfish or manipulative. And when a couple perches on the verge of divorce, usually there is no sex.
In that case, intimacy is available everywhere except in the one place it should be. Just the existence of the phone app Tinder keeps non-marital sex and physicality a constant possibility.
Business Insider reports that 12 percent of those using the app are in a relationship.
Unsuspecting workers, drivers, TV viewers, Internet users — everyone — constantly encounter invitations to stray. Come-ons span the continuum from subtle to screaming, but most importantly, they’re ubiquitous. Motor down a thoroughfare and billboards splashed with “T & A” vie for your attention. Buy a few groceries and those tabloids at eye level show you the before-and-after of some voluptuous starlet in a revealing evening gown or bikini.
…While a myriad of websites and apps offer contact with a live person, pornography offers the thrills without the bother of a close encounter.
Younger men routinely access porn — despite evidence that private viewing hurts relationships.
A representative study in 2014 by the Barna Group for a Christian organization found that “eight out of ten men [in the general U.S. population] between the ages of 18 and 30 view pornography at least monthly,” as do “two-thirds of men between the ages of 31 and 49” and half of men between 50 and 68.
“Three out of ten men view pornography daily,” the study found, even though many realize it’s a problem. Asked if they’re addicted to porn, a third of younger men “either think that they are addicted or are unsure if they are addicted,” and “18% of all men” think they’re addicted or are unsure, “which equates to 21 million men.”
Pornography undermines commitment to an existing relationship in both the short and long term, according to a series of five studies by Brigham Young University researchers. And the more porn the subjects consumed, especially men, the less commitment they demonstrated.
— end excerpts —
That’s a secular, conservative source reporting on the real-life ramifications of male porn use on a marriage. The secular publication appears to grasp the real-life problems posed by porn more so than Christian preachers or Christian writers.
The arguments put forth by guys such as Higginbotham look less to me like an honest attempt to be faithful to the Bible, so much as a concession to cultural shifts, so as to keep the golden calf of marriage in place no matter what: if so many Christian men are now reported in studies to be using porn, redefine “adultery” to now mean anything but porn use and to declare porn is not a “biblical” reason for divorce.
It looks to me as though these male Christian preachers and writers will do anything to keep Christian women trapped in unfair, unhappy, or abusive marriages.
And may I add, that it’s dishonest for so many conservative Christians to keep making these arguments:
“Marriage is necessary to make a person more godly, mature, and loving” and “God only grants spouses to pure, holy, mature, godly people; if God hasn’t sent you a spouse yet, you must have too much sin in your life.”
If either point were true, why do I continually see these essays, news stories, and articles about so many Christian married men being addicted to porn? Isn’t marriage supposed to sanctify these men perfectly so that they never, ever look at porn?
Didn’t they arrive at some advanced level of spirituality so that God rewarded them with a spouse? Surely God would not send a wife to a man who is using porn, or who will in the future, within the marriage, but here we are.
If this is the sort of advice Christians are giving to married women – (you are trapped in a loveless marriage to a Christian man who faps at nudie photos of other women all day, you may not divorce) – I’d rather stay single, or ditch the Christian relationship advice, and marry a kind-hearted Non-Christian.
So, you also wonder about the “Equally Yoked” teaching.
That is, what are the fringe benefits of a Christian woman marrying a Christian man, if the Christian man is basically being given a free pass by the Christian community to fap away at porn?
These Christian men are telling women, no matter how bad your husband behaves – looks at porn, beats you, whatever it may be – you may not divorce.
Do these clowns not realize how deeply selfish or abusive men love such teachings?
Related posts this blog:
(Link): Woman Fired From Christian Preschool Teaching Job For Having Porn Side Job (Christian School Defines Porn as Being a Form of Fornication)
(Link): Women: Stop Asking Pat Robertson For Romantic Relationship Advice – Whether You Are Divorced or Single – Pat Robertson Replies to Letter from Four Time Divorced Woman Who Wants to Know If God Will Send Her a Non-Abusive Husband