An Underlying Condition
One of the most shocking things for many traditionalists and religious conservatives has been the dramatic speed at which the sexual revolution—specifically in its political form relative to the LGBTQ+ movement—has taken place.
Twenty years ago, most Americans disagreed with gay marriage. Now, to disagree with gay marriage almost puts you on the weird outside of the political discussion. So, the speed is undoubtedly very, very fast.
One of the reasons for this is that the roots of the sexual identity revolution are very, very deep. You can trace them back, intellectually, to the early part of the 18th century.
What we see today is simply the rapid unraveling of forces, ideas, movements that were being formed several hundred years ago. One of the things that Christians are often prone to is focusing on symptoms rather than looking at underlying causes. If you just look at the symptoms of the sexual revolution (gay marriage, transgenderism, etc.), things seem to be happening very, very fast.
If you take a step back and set those symptoms against the background of underlying causes that go way beyond the narrow boundaries of sexual identity and really connect to how we think about human beings and how we think about the world in general, you come to realize that the sexual revolution is happening so fast because the causes have been in place for a long, long time.
The sexual revolution is happening so fast because the causes have been in place for a long time.
What we're seeing now is the symptomatic manifestation of some of those causes in a specific sexual register. It’s a little bit like the fact that death comes suddenly to all of us at some point; but if you’ve been ill, you can be ill for a long time before that final moment where everything seems to go wrong very quickly.
It’s the same with the sexual revolution. The underlying causes are very, very long-standing and very deep within society, and there’s a sense in which we are all complicit in them in some way because they are the very air that we breathe.
Carl S. 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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