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Appetite as God

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Ed Vitagliano Executive Vice-President MORE

As the public schools in America unravel, shocking stories about the overt sexualization of the nation’s children are becoming only too common.

In Washington state, a sex shop owner who is also a member of a local school board has announced that she will be teaching sex education classes for children as young as 9.

Jenn Mason, whose sex shop carries the innocent-sounding name, “WinkWink,” is also the school board director for the Bellingham School District. The sex education classes for the children will include topics like “sexual anatomy for pleasure” and “kinds of solo and partnered sexual activities.”

Everywhere one looks, sexual activity is encouraged virtually without restriction –– only now even our children are being encouraged to participate.

Sickness in our veins

It’s not an accident, however. For decades, America has been willingly ingesting a slow-acting poison that has sickened our culture.

The first doses of poison were administered by Indiana University sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. His most infamous works, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), were said by the media to be the cultural equivalent of detonating twin atomic bombs in the American heartland.

Kinsey loathed Christian sexual morality, and he would tell his students, “The only kinds of sexual dysfunction are abstinence, celibacy and delayed marriage.” The researcher’s core idea was that sex was natural but moral restrictions were not; therefore, everyone should be encouraged to experiment and enjoy sex. Kinsey’s worldview pulses in the veins of current sex education efforts like tainted blood.

While Kinsey was busy converting college students and intellectuals to his cause, it was another evangelist of the sexual revolution that impacted Main Street. Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine in 1953, was touted by Time magazine as a “prophet of pop hedonism.”

Time said that Hefner’s magazine trumpeted “the ultimate life of material and sensual pleasure” and that “pleasure and leisure were becoming positive and universally adored values in American society.”

Hollywood followed in the footsteps of Kinsey and Hefner by instructing spectators of both big and small screens that romantic love – followed by sex, of course – should be an end in itself.

One of the clearest statements of this worldview in popular culture was found in the film Shakespeare in Love, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1998. The movie focused on a fictional, adulterous relationship between William Shakespeare and the Lady Viola de Lesseps.

Before falling in love with the bard, Viola tells her nurse, “I will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love. Love above all. … Love that overthrows life. Unbiddable. Ungovernable, like a riot in the heart, and nothing to be done, come ruin or rapture.”

Of course, Christians understand that there are different types of love. What Viola was describing was eros – romantic love that gives in to sexual expression because it is a force of nature. (See the previous blog HERE) She perfectly defines eros as “ungovernable” – or uncontrollable desire. Nothing can be done to resist it, and when one experiences it, the outcome is like a proverbial roll of the dice. When Viola says she wants eros “come ruin or rapture,” she means that the consequences could be very good or very bad.

This form of romantic and sexual love is the foundation of virtually every “love story” in the entertainment world.

Serving the appetites

Why did all of this happen? From a biblical perspective, the answer is fairly simple: We have become a nation increasingly filled with idolaters who live to serve their fleshly appetites, rather than serve God Almighty.

As Time said, what Hefner was pushing out the door of Playboy was a life filled with “material and sensual pleasure.” Pleasure really was becoming a “universally adored” value in America. Or as proclaimed by Shakespeare in Love, it is love and sex above all else.

Paul referred to those on the path of eternal destruction as those “whose god is their appetite” (Philippians 3:19). Among the many pleasures of this world, the lost seek to serve their own desires – “their appetite” – to the extent that Paul says these personal pleasures become their “god.”

One of the most powerful indictments of this tendency of fallen man is in Romans 1:18-32. While most Christians probably think the passage is primarily a rebuke against the sin of homosexuality – and it certainly includes that – it is actually a

denunciation of this more basic sin of idolatry.

Paul says human wickedness is rooted in a stubborn refusal to acknowledge God, honor Him, or give Him glory – even in the face of the evidence within nature that God is real and deserves to be worshiped. Of course, human beings will worship something, and when the Creator is rejected, fallen men turn to the creation for objects of worship (vv. 19-22).

From the worship of literal idols, the apostle turns to idolatry of a more subtle nature. Before he even gets to the specific subject of homosexuality, Paul starts with humanity’s broken sexuality in general: “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them” (vs. 24).

This is an indictment of all sexual sin, not just that of self-declared homosexuals.  Why does Paul start here? Because in their sexuality, fallen human beings choose to serve “the creature rather than the Creator” (vs. 25). Creation becomes a playground, and the powerful desires within the human heart lead people to engage in degrading impurity.

Next, of course, homosexuality is mentioned as the result of a fall into even deeper perversion –– one that even rejects the male-female model of human sexuality. Homosexual activity is the expression of self-worship; it refuses to embrace that which is different and instead lusts after that which is a mirror image of oneself.

Leading lambs astray

In Romans 1:32, Paul states that when the idolatrous commit wickedness, they “also give hearty approval to those who practice” such sins. They want others to join in the sinful revelry, and when they do, there is nothing but applause for them from other worldlings.

This is why Jenn Mason and her ilk insist on teaching children about sex because these adults are the evangelists for debauchery as much as Kinsey and Hefner.

Decades later, as he looked back at his influence on the culture, Hugh Hefner said he was satisfied with what he had accomplished – even mentioning his impact on children. “I have influenced generations through the magazine,” he said. “Playboy has become a wonderful rite of passage. Its message for children is that sex is good.”

Of course, the Christian also believes that sex is good, but only within the institution of marriage. Those who hate God and who serve their own appetites revel in their sin, but as many of our nation’s leaders sexualize even our littlest ones, the sin has grown darker.

The Bible is clear about moral degeneracy and its consequences. It never ends well. We are now at a stage where only a miracle can save us – an awakening sent from heaven by the very God we have forsaken.

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