Richard Dawkins, Lady Gaga, and the Bible - page5



Richard Dawkins, Lady Gaga, and the Bible: Why understanding these rival stories is important for our present time
by Trevin Wax, Managing editor of “The Gospel Project”, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages.

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The Sexual Revolution’s “Emancipation”

We turn our attention now to Lady Gaga, perhaps the best example of the “emancipation” story of the sexual revolution. The eschatology at work in this story is one that places the autonomous individual at the center of an epic battle. The “dark ages” are not the medieval times of ignorance, but the centuries full of arcane and inexplicable restrictions placed on human sexuality. “Progress” is made as sexual restrictions are loosened and criticism over sexual expression diminishes. Science and technology are the “drivers” of the Enlightenment eschatology; entertainment takes on the role of propelling society “forward” in matters related to sexuality.

The calendar associated with the sexual revolution is obvious when you see an athlete like Jason Collins lauded for expressing his homosexual desires, and an athlete like Tim Tebow mocked for pledging to be a virgin until marriage. Jason Collins is pulling us “forward”; Tebow is “holding us back.” The calendar says that the light came on in the 1960s, and we are moving away from the dark ages of repression. So fifty years ago, people would have thought, “There must be something wrong with Jason Collins.” Today people think, “There must be something wrong with Tim Tebow.”

Of course, the sexual revolution is fairly inconsistent in how it applies sexual liberation. Lady Gaga can make “Baby, you were born this way” the anthem of our generation, and yet the recent rise of sex-change operations rejects the idea that one is “born” male or female. So sexual attractions and feelings are immutable and unchangeable, something you’re born with. But sexuality in your biology or your reproductive parts is fluid. How does that make sense? If you were to tell a person seeking a sex-change operation, “Baby, you were born this way,” just accept your sex, you’d be called a bigot and a heartless individual. But if you say anything other than “Baby, you were born this way” to a young student struggling with unwanted same-sex desires, you are harming them psychologically.

How do Christians engage in a missionary encounter with people who believe in the progress offered by the sexual revolution? We are called to live at the crossroads of commitment to the biblical story and the world’s idolatry, both affirming God’s good intentions for sex and disavowing its human distortions. This means Christians will need to take sexual sin more seriously than does our culture, and take sexuality, in general, less seriously than does our culture. Concerning the first angle—taking sexual sin more seriously—one temptation for Christians confronted with sexual immorality is to relegate any discussion to the realm of privacy, thus adopting a Victorian-era silence about sexual matters. But this privatization of sexuality exacerbates the problem. When churches fail to discuss matters related to marriage, family, sexuality, and divorce, we reinforce the idea that these are personal institutions and private troubles—not something that is the church’s business at all. If the church does not take sexual sin among its members seriously, how can it speak prophetically to the world about God’s good design for sexuality?

Concerning the second angle—taking sexuality in general less seriously than does the culture—Christians must counter the prevailing ideology that bases identity on sexual attraction. The Christian view of the person is one of dignity. Believers must not reduce one’s human self-understanding and self-expression to sexual urges. Neither should we consent to the assumption of society that human flourishing is, in some way, dependent upon sexual relationships. The culture makes sexual pleasure an idol and “casual sex” a right. The church has the paradoxical task of undercutting society’s exalted hope in sex while also heightening the significance of sex’s spiritual reality.

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