Monday, 19 August 2013

Sex

Sex is awesome. It is the most intimate and beautiful expression of love that a man and a woman can share together. It is one of the most wonderful things that God has given us in His created universe. One of the things that makes it so amazing is why it was put in place: for us to procreate. When he told us to go forth and multiply He gave us the ability to do just that and enjoy it while doing that. I find it upsetting that so many theological beliefs are so condemning of it, saying it is dirty and immoral because it is after all how you and I are created. It is not sex itself that is immoral, it is the corruption and perversion that sin does to it. Somehow the society we live in has transformed sex from an act of love and procreation to an empty form of hedonistic entertainment.

That entertainment is now free to be enjoyed by the masses because of the invention of contraceptives. It means that sex can be meaningless and just for fun. But that takes away from the value that sex inside a loving marriage has. It devalues it. Every time you have sex with a promiscuous person you’re having sex with all the people they've had sex with, and all the people those people have had sex with. It’s like eating off a dirty plate. Even if you wrap that plate in plastic it’s still going to be disgusting and full of disease.

The only safe sex is within marriage, because with marriage you should be committed for life. You've made a promise until death. It also implies that you are committed to raise children together. The reason we have an age of consent is in part because by having consensual sex you are effectively committing yourself to become a parent, whether you realise it or not, because at the end of the day that is what sex is about.

This month culminates the 10th anniversary of me finding out that I wasn't going to be a father. It’s always a reminder especially whenever someone speaks about their successful pregnancies, and baby scans, and cute little baby clothes. Of course I am thrilled for them, especially in our church family, to see the success story of another human soul brought into this world. But it’s always a slap in the face too. It always hurts, it’s always a little paper cut, to see an ultrasound scan, or some newborn baby clothes. There is only so many times you can turn the other cheek before you can’t stand it any more. It stings so much more when it’s the prevalent fertility of the single mother that often leads to absent fathers and broken homes. There’s always a sense of being cheated. The ripe fruit bears no offspring, but the dry withered vine apparently produce offspring by the shed load. It doesn't make sense using that metaphor.

But of course medical science says I'm not worthy of being a parent as much as a “healthy” person.

Obesity discrimination is the most overwhelming prejudice that still prevails in this country. It infects every aspect of society and it ties in directly with the pride and sin of the deformed body image that is forced upon us every day. People are obsessed with calories and diets and fat content. Yes, there is a need for vigilance in living a healthy lifestyle, and yes gluttony is a sin, but it goes way beyond that. It is used an excuse by man to say that I am not worthy of being a parent because I may not be able to raise a child as effectively and for as long as a normal weight person. It goes against God’s will. To back up this discrimination, science uses it’s most dangerous and ambiguous weapon: statistical analysis. It states that a whole myriad of diseases and health problems is associated with my weight. Yet these diseases and health problems all occur in “normal” weight people. It is the same statistical nonsense that says that people of faith are less intelligent than people without faith. To believe this rhetoric you have to trust in conclusions based on biased sample data. It is a cost effective measure to give an excuse not to effectively treat, or take seriously a whole section of the population. It is a love of money. Of course obesity is very much more prevalent amongst working class groups in the West. It is more of a result from the malnutrition from conforming to business practices of large corporate food chains that push their affordable high calorie, and low nutrition food to the masses than it is to the lifestyle choices of individuals. But it would be political suicide for a government to openly discriminate against the working class.

I personally speculate that it is caused by something viral or bacterial that hasn't been discovered yet, but even if it is just a matter of will power then the obese are clearly unable to control their appetite. It is therefore a medical condition, like people that cannot control their vocal outbursts. So what’s the solution? Blame them! It’s their fault for not being able to control their appetites like the majority that can. Much like it is the fault of the heroin addict to not be able to snap out of it. And the best medical solution? Well, butcher them of course. Gastric bypass is the answer. Just like sexual perversion was treated in Victorian times, cut out their insides and they will be fine. Even if there’s a good statistical chance that they may die from it that’s carefully hidden from the patients so as to convince them that severe weight loss, and therefore an improved appearance is more important than their life expectancy.

The point I'm making is that the world we live in is lost to sin. Even saved people under the influence of the world are obsessed with worldly things. Pride, bitterness, resentment and a sense of entitlement are all part of our psyche even if they can be suppressed by the salvation that comes from accepting Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit into your heart. We cannot possibly escape it no matter how hard we try. It again reinforces the message that our salvation cannot be gained or bought by works, but through faith and faith alone. I will continue to hope and pray to God that one day me and my wife may be given the opportunity to be parents.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Choice

I don't claim to understand the details of 5 point Calvinism. However, I do understand why people would follow it. The problem we have is that we cannot possibly understand the logical duplicity of free will and predetermination. Saying that God knows everything and what everyone is going to do, and therefore knows, even before we are born, who is going to accept the salvation offered by Jesus Christ, and who isn't, while at the same time saying that we have free will to chose really doesn't make a lot of sense. It is the same logical duplicity of faith without fruit being dead faith, while at the same time works not being a prerequisite for salvation, and concerning yourself with works leading to sin, which is what your faith is trying to prevent - the separation from God. It's difficult to understand because our minds are simple. We expect simple logical true or false arguments when the reality we live in is far more complicated than that.
It's not just Christian theology that has this problem. Science has this problem too. If we follow the understanding of modern psychology free will is very much part of the core of that science. However, if we look at quantum theory and multiverse theory then the notion that we have free will is irrelevant because the state at which the electrons move is determined by quantum mechanics, so even though we may think that we have free will, the electrons that move in our brain cells and hence form certain neural pathways that we think of as decision making processes are entirely determined by set mechanical processes, and if they moved in any other way it simply wouldn't be this universe but another one because the universe itself is defined by those set mechanical processes and the pattern in which they happen.
The point is, it’s all matter of perspective. On the macroscopic scale, the one that we can understand and live in, we clearly have the free will to chose things. We can choose to go to work, we can choose to go to church and we can choose follow God or worship anything we want to. But those decisions are based on our informed knowledge and intelligence as much as anything.
God’s word gives us that knowledge. It tells us simply what is right and what is wrong, but at the same time it is only by accepting the salvation that Jesus Christ gives us that we can gain that intelligence and conscience through the Holy Spirit. Simply put before you are saved you don’t really know any better than to live in sin. But then there lies itself another duplicity. If your heart is changed and you are new man in Christ do you actually gain freedom, or are your decisions now determined by the symbiosis of the holy spirit and the soul that inhabits your body? The answer is simple. In making that decision to follow Christ and accept Him you have already gained that freedom through the choice that you made to accept him. Yes, your ability to choose sin is diminished because you no longer see the value of the empty worship we have in the world for man made things and sinful ideas, but you still have that freedom because you made the choice to start with. At the end of the day you still have the choice once you are saved, even with the Holy Spirit to chose sin and be tempted by it, it just doesn't feel good anymore because you know it’s empty and worthless. How much is free will and how much is the conscience of the holy spirit within you is probably determined by your maturity in the faith, but then that would imply that you have less free will as you get older in Christ. I think maybe it simply comes down to how much you value free will and how much you value the salvation that Christ gives us. I concern myself sometimes that what remains after I die is not actually me, because once I die the sinful body that I inhabit is gone. But like a father would be motivated to care for a child even though they are not physically the same being, I must have a duty to give care for my soul, even if it isn't, what I think is the entirety of what I call myself now, because at the end of the day that soul, which is what I am at my core is either going to suffer or live in glory for eternity, and eternity is a long time! Only Jesus Christ can give my soul the ability to live in glory forever. So my choice is to follow Him.