“Voting Republican will not save us now”

Rod Dreher takes a bleak look at the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.  It is now clear, he says, that we really do live in a post-Christian culture.  Now that homosexuality has been given the status of race, the government and the public really are going to go after those who don’t believe that homosexuality is moral.  The institution of marriage as a whole is going to be affected, since, if it can be redefined at will, it will no longer have any boundaries.  So Christians will have to live as exiles in their own country.  Dreher goes on to advocate “the Benedict option.”

What do you think about this?  Is Dreher over-stating the problems?  Are things really going to be that bad? [Read more…]

Post-gender Europe

Europe has gone further than the United States in embracing the new ideologies about sex, gender, and political-correctness.  And it’s going even further:  to unisex bathrooms, laws mandating women on corporate boards, and regulations about how men and women may be portrayed.  For example, it will not be legal for billboards in Germany to show women “smiling for no reason.”

What interests me are the attempts to impose–even to create–gender neutral language.  In languages such as German and Swedish in which every noun has a gender!  (In a German language class, teachers drill it into their students’ heads that the gender of a word has nothing to do with its sex!  So that the word for young woman is neuter. A spoon is masculine, a fork is feminine, a knife is neuter.)  So now the effort is to change the very grammar of these languages.  Sweden has added an “inclusive” personal pronoun to its dictionaries by fiat.  (Though linguists will explain that language doesn’t work that way.)

Details of this brave new world, which may well show up on this side of the pond before too long, after the jump. [Read more…]

Paying for sex makes it not adultery?

A Japanese court, ruling against a wronged wife, has ruled that if a husband pays for sex with a woman he is not married to, that is a business transaction and so cannot be considered adultery. [Read more…]

Evolution vs. liberalism

In the course of a discussion about an article by a feminist attacking transgendered folks like “Caitlyn” Jenner, saying that these men can never know what it is to be a woman, Andrew Klavan makes the point that evolution and feminism are incompatible.  Which made me realize that evolution is incompatible with lots of other ideas of the liberals who believe in it.

UPDATE:  I do not intend to confuse “what is” with “what should be” or to try to deduce from evolution any moral conclusions.  I do see the problem with that, but let me frame this differently.  If behaviors limit reproduction, aren’t those less likely to contribute to natural selection?  Wouldn’t there be natural selection against them?   Wouldn’t ideologies and policies that result in individuals not reproducing be an evolutionary deadend?  I am not asking whether this would be good or bad, and am quite willing to be instructed on the matter.

The original post was not so much about evolution but about liberalism, so perhaps we could ask this:  Isn’t it true that “traditional family values”–that is, beliefs and practices that result in more children being born and cared for–have an evolutionary advantage over “progressive values” such as those supporting feminism and non-reproductive sex?  Not as a moral position but as a “what is” description?

[Read more…]

Luther on sex

The younger generation, as has been said, always thinks that it has invented sex.  And those who “don’t know much about history” seem to think that sex and sexual issues are contemporary phenomena.  So the editors at Salon are giddy to learn what Martin Luther wrote about sex.

Reading from a new book about Luther that discusses the reformer’s critique of mandatory celibacy for those in religious orders, his criticism of canon laws restricting and regulating marriage, and his defense of marriage as a vocation–which has to include a defense of its defining action–Salon reprints an excerpt  under the headline “Martin Luther’s pro-sex shocker” and the deck “Centuries ago, Martin Luther’s ideas were way ahead of their time.”

Well, Luther was advocating marriage and criticizing the sex outside of marriage that was rampant in his time, particularly among those forced into celibacy who lacked that gift.  (Some priests rationalized their use of prostitutes by thinking “at least I’m not married,” so I am merely fornicating and not forsaking my vow.)

True, Luther believed that regulating marriage was the business of the state, not the church, which would put him against those who think we should just leave marriage to the church and keep the state out of it.  And he was rethinking what the parameters about divorce, etc., should be in the absence of canon law.  But his frank talk about sex is not “ahead of his time,” as anyone who reads old books can attest.  People weren’t squeamish about talking about the subject until the Victorian era of the 19th century.

Anyway, his views are interesting, so I link to and quote from Salon’s sampling from James Reston’s new book.

[Read more…]

Between first sleep and second sleep

About two years ago, we posted First Sleep, Second Sleep, which became the 12th most-read post on this blog, with people to this day clicking on it.  It had to do with what historians have discovered about sleep patterns in the days before artificial lighting, from ancient and Biblical days through the 17th century.  People would go to bed shortly after it turned dark, sleep for four hours, wake up for two or three hours, then go back to sleep for another four hours.  During the period of wakefulness between “first sleep” and “second sleep,” people would talk, read, and pray.  This seems to have been the main time when married couples would make love.  Artificial lighting–not just candles but oil lamps and especially electric lighting–changed people’s sleeping patterns, letting us stay up late, though patterns of insomnia suggest that first sleep and second sleep is deep wired into our nature.

Anyway, researchers have been studying this phenomenon.  Test subjects made to go to sleep when it gets dark, after a period of adjustment, fall back into the pattern.  But then scientists discovered something else.  That time between first sleep and second sleep is characterized by a unique state of consciousness.  Although the person is fully awake, he or she is in a state of deep rest, relaxation, and peace.

Clark Strand, who has written a book on the subject, relates it to the “mindfulness” of Eastern meditation.  I don’t think we have to go all mystical about it, like he does (though the connection might suggest why “the night watches” were such a good time for Bible reading and prayer), but I’m curious what this would have meant for marriages.  Marital intimacy–sex, yes, but also conversation–may well have been heightened during this nightly state of mind.  “Sleeping together” may have been more than a euphemism, perhaps a description of an deep intimacy that may be difficult to attain today. [Read more…]


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