Be Shocked, Not Surprised
To any Christian who is surprised by the kind of sexual behaviors and sexual identities we're seeing emerge at the moment, I would give a two-fold answer. I would say you should be shocked, because this is not a trivial thing. There are a lot of sins outlined in Scripture, but sexual sin seems to have a particular cachet. Paul has very, very strong things to say about the man who sleeps with a prostitute, because sexual sin involving union with somebody who isn't his wife carries a particular horror for Paul.
You only have to look at the history of society to know that sexual desire is often one of the most powerful—powerfully creative and powerfully catastrophic—forces within human history. So I would say to any Christian: you need to remain shocked by this. Do not allow the normalization of pornography, the normalization of wickedness to dull your senses to the outrageous horror of what is being perpetrated.
But I'd also say this: don't be surprised, because there is a long-standing history of what's going on today and you can see how this has emerged over time. The speed can be breathtaking. The speed has caught us all by surprise. But, when you actually go and get down into the history of philosophy, the history of technology, and the history of culture over the last two- or three-hundred years, it becomes obvious that what's happening now is the result of deep-seated and long-standing causes. So it may be slightly odd to put it this way, but be shocked, but not surprised. Human beings are capable of doing all kinds of terrible stuff, and all of the elements are in place for the sexual revolution to have taken place, and indeed, to continue moving forward.
Do not allow . . . the normalization of wickedness to dull your senses.
What will fall next? Will it be the taboo on incest? Will it be the taboo on pedophilia? I hope the taboo on neither falls, but I think we have to accept that the conceptual framework for holding those things in place has long since vanished. So be shocked, but do not be surprised. If you are surprised by this, then you will get overly depressed by it. Do not be surprised. Prepare for it.
Carl R. Trueman is the author of The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution.
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Enjoy a special two-hour preview of The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman on The Crossway Podcast.