Questioning Society's Ideology of Sexuality
I just today ran across a couple of very thought provoking blog posts from David E. Fitch about sexuality issues:
“Regarding LGBTQ, What is Your Position?” “I Don’t Have One”
Me and the Ideology of Sex: Some Reflection on Yesterday’s Post
They are both worth reading. Apparently they generated a lot of discussion on his FaceBook profile page.
I want to lift two paragraphs from his second post and see what people might think. He is speaking here about a common, contemporary ideology of sexuality that pervades our culture. He says :
... I’m trying to emphasize this ideology runs across the entire gamut of every sexual area of human life, from the way we view movies, go to therapy, get married. It has little to do with LGBTQ issues of the church. And yet it is rarely questioned, because to do so is to open up a can of worms and an onslaught of emotion none of us really has the time for.
This ideology says that sex is primarily for personal satisfaction, the expression of intimacy. This is at the core what it means to be human. Sex is the meaning of life. Sexual expression is innate and immediate taking no formation. It says desire is what it is. It is largely determined by biology and it is meant to be fulfilled. Science teaches us this and we do not ever distrust science. We have a whole entire society that runs on this ideology. It drives our advertising. It under girds the ways we engage in healing, medical practice, psychology, marital counseling etc. etc. The culture industries including television and cinema rarely engage and explore the adequacy of this account of things. Instead they play on it, use it to sell tickets. It undergirds the massive addictions of our time including pornography and the inability to stay married to one spouse that is basically now a given in our society. The entire capitalist economy, one might say, runs on this. Question it and the economy will fall.
Okay. What do you think? Is this a fair statement? Is it fair to critique contemporary culture this way?
Certainly it is true that the ideology of sexuality was radically different in the culture of Bible times. There, sex was more clearly about procreation, and marriage was part of a person's obligation to society — to the ongoing of the tribe and the nation. Marriage was about having children and raising children. As important as companionship is, this was not its primary purpose. It was about blood lines. It was about responsibility.
So there is a huge difference in the connotation of the word "marriage" in our culture, as compared to Bible times. We are hardly talking about the same thing. And, in our culture, marriage bears the weight of being the means to personal fulfillment — in a way that it clearly was not for people in Bible times.
So, while one can certainly critique contemporary culture for it's attitudes on sexuality, one wouldn't wish to go back to a previous time, either.
Leaning on a source of authority coming from another culture does help us more readily critique our own culture, but there is always the ongoing task of sorting out what is relevant across cultures, and what is not.
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