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In Defense of Marriage - Part III

July 21, 2008
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Thus far we have established that monogamy is central to the health and prosperity of a given civilization, and that marriage has proven the only effective means for regulating monogamy. Additionally, we countered the charge that homosexual monogamy would prove equally beneficial by demonstrating that procreative acts are essential to defining marriage and that it is only marriage defined by such essentials that proves efficacious to society.

Now let’s examine the historical findings relative to those cultures that once held to a strong sexual ethic—in which monogamy is strictly reinforced through marriage—but later compromised that ethic, as we are now doing. According to Unwin’s thorough survey of history, any and every culture that embraces a philosophy of sexual freedom for a period of at least three generations will inevitably experience cultural decline (Unwin, Sexual Regulations and Cultural Behavior, 1935).

There is not one single example in all of human history where this cultural pattern appears and there does not follow cultural demise consistent with Unwin’s conclusions. (I would estimate that we are in the latter stages of the second generation.)

History is replete with examples that testify to this fact. The Greek, Roman, Babylonian, and Sumerian empires are just a few examples of cultures that began with a strong marriage-centered monogamy and later degenerated into liberal sexual practices (including homosexuality), which, according to the sociological and anthropological evidence, was central to their downfall. Of course, our own culture has suffered enormously in the wake of the American sexual revolution; the societal costs of paternal absence, divorce, and out-of-wedlock births have been staggering.

Pitirim A. Sorokin, the renowned Russian-born sociologist who founded the sociology department at Harvard, describes the basis for this degenerative pattern:

If more and more individuals are brought up in this sex-saturated atmosphere, then without deep interiorization of religious, moral, and legal norms of behavior, they will become rudderless boats controlled only by the winds of their environment. (Sorokin, The American Sex Revolution, Boston, MA: Porter Sargent, 1956, p. 55.)

Sorokin conducted his own study of history and likewise stressed that marriage is “the most decisive factor in the survival and well-being” of society (Sorokin, p. 6). Based on his sociological study of historical civilizations, Dr. Sorokin warned that “any change in marriage behavior, any increase in sexual promiscuity, and illicit sexual relations is pregnant with momentous consequences,” adding that a “sex revolution drastically affects the lives of millions, deeply disturbs the community and decisively influences the future of society” (p.7). We have already seen changes in marriage behavior with the extension of sexual opportunities outside marriage beginning in the 1960s. Predictably promiscuity increased exponentially within the subsequent generation, as manifested in today’s “hook-up” culture; now a revolution of unprecedented proportions threatens in the form of legalizing same-sex marriage (SSM), a first in human history.

It is the height of arrogance, ignorance, or both that argues against the unique nature of marriage and its necessity to social stability and well-being. However, with more than four decades following the American sexual revolution, this should not be surprising because, as Sorokin pointed out, “in the conditions of spiritual, moral, and mental anarchy … it is difficult to maintain sexual sanity” (Sorokin, p. 55).

The imposition of sexual morality and the restraint of that morality to marriage between one man and one woman serves to mature men and women into adulthood, which properly understood occurs when their narcissism is subdued. Marriage, unlike any other relationship, serves this purpose. As I said earlier, it is the one relationship that properly prepares and conditions us for living in community with others. Conversely, a sexually hedonistic society grows increasingly selfish and narcissistic. Sorokin makes the point that “illicit sexual relations rarely go beyond a shortlived ‘copulational’ union. Each partner remains a mere sex apparatus for the satisfaction of lust of the other. The partners remain largely unknown to each other; their egos are not merged into one ‘we’ nor is their selfishness tempered by mutual devotion and love” (p. 6). Sorokin concludes, “In the long run, such a society would be increasingly composed of self-centered egoists incapable of acting altruistically and of being true good neighbors” (p. 12).

This might help explain the motivation of SSM advocates, so driven to redefine marriage to suit their own selfish interests regardless of the larger effects upon the family, children, and society. They only care about what they want—and what they want is not marriage but social affirmation of a perverse and illicit lifestyle. They hope that calling it marriage will both legitimize their conduct and assuage their sense of degradation and shame.  

Civilization and social order are directly related to the ideal of marriage as perceived by a given society. When society allows the extension of sexual opportunity outside the exclusive relationship of marriage, or in our present case redefines what is essential to marriage, the value and necessity of marriage is diminished. Once sex is separated from marriage, society’s expectations of procreative couples decrease. With a decreased expectation upon potential parents, the family is gradually redefined to accommodate different structures as being equal. These alternative family structures are devoid of the same societal expectations of traditional marriage, i.e., commitment, fidelity, and selflessness. Once the social reinforcement to lifelong marriage and parenting are removed, history demonstrates that family dissolution and infertility rates increase, thus producing the inevitable negative impact on civilization and social order.

The proposal of redefining marriage to accommodate persons of the same sex is an unprecedented social experiment that all available evidence demonstrates will only further erode, if not destroy, an already weakened institution that is vital to our very survival.

© 2008 by S. Michael Craven

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Response from : Steve  

July 18, 2008 5:18 PM

This article series "Defense of Marriage" is one of the best I've seen that shows the REAL reason that SSM should not be supported or allowed in a society that believes that marriage is a sacred right not a civil right. US society has already given homosexuals most of the rights reserved for married couples, but that's still not enough in their view. They must be sanctioned and approved by the State, and allowed to live their lifestyle without any dissent. If your a Christian, and trying to live by the laws of God as well as man, your labeled a bigoted-homophobe. Most people in this country (90%) believe in a God. Even if you don't the 'theory of Evolution' proves that SSM would cause the human species to degrade to where there is nothing worth fighting for besides satisfying your own self-interests.

I applaud Michael's approach on this subject, his objective and logical arguments are above contradiction (even though many try). Please keep them coming.

Response from : Julie  

July 21, 2008 8:40 AM

I am so thankful to receive your mailings. They always serve the purpose of stimulating my thinking in the correct direction as well as informing me of situations/historical events that I otherwise would not be aware of.

I wondered what your thought are on correctly handling attending a public school where there is a Gay/Straight Alliance club. Both of my sons, my husband, and myself, so far have simply chosen to ignore what they do and not become involved with the exception of perhaps discussing the error of their perceptions of an alternative life style. The group appears to be becoming more active in recruiting and making themselves an entity within the school using various promotional strategies.

Would you have any advise for this situation?

Thank you, Julie

Response from : S. Michael Craven  

July 21, 2008 9:14 AM

Dear Julie,

The rise of homosexual oriented clubs (Gay-Straight Alliances) on our nation’s public school campuses has raised a serious challenge to the spiritual and moral well-being of our young people. However, this is the cultural reality to which we have descended. If removal from such a toxic environment is not an option (I.e. Christian school, homeschool, etc), then you must inoculate your children with a consciously Christian understanding of human sexuality. As you are already doing, talk with your kids; explain the difference between God’s design for sexuality and how sex of any kind outside marriage violates this design. Be frank and forthright; there is little room for being squeamish when the opposition is so loud and so much is at stake. However, do more than offer the biblical argument. Demonstrate how the biblical proscription is consistent with reality and human experience. In other words, equip them with the rational evidence, which demonstrates the truth of God’s Word. You can use my series to discuss and explain the essentials of marriage and why these essentials are central to defining marriage. Lastly, teach your children that opposing homosexual behavior does equate to opposing the persons. The Christian approach to such people should be that of compassion but compassion does not need to condone in order to be compassionate. Teach them to love them and treat them with respect while holding to the truth. We will never reach the lost if we are adversaries. It may be their relationship with a “gay” student that the Lord uses to draw that person away from their current curiosity with the gay lifestyle.


Response from : John  

July 21, 2008 11:49 PM


Do you think that the rise of birth control (and abortion) has contributed to the separation of marriage and having children? If so, why would the church be as cavalier about birth control as it is today (except for the Catholics, I suppose)? Ancient Israel seemed quite intent on making sure that nothing interfered with the connection of children and marriage. Is it really wise to disregard it so casually?

The separation of marriage and children seems to be exactly what has led to much of the decline in marriage, from sex outside and before marriage, to extramarital affairs straight through to SSM today.

Response from : Zeke  

July 22, 2008 3:31 PM


I 100% agree with your viewpoint. However, I have two questions to ask of you and I hope your answers will me defend my position against SSM.

1. If the Church and Christians in America got slavery and Jim Crow wrong, how can I convince SSM supporters that the Church and Christians stance against SSM is right?

2. Since believers are not citizens of this world, why should we be overly concern that homosexuals marry?

Thanks, Zeke.

Response from : S. Michael Craven  

July 22, 2008 4:23 PM

Dear Zeke,
To begin with, the enslavement of human beings is in no way comparable to defining sexual morality. The Bible is quite clear on the latter. Additionally, while there may have been some errant Christians who used Scripture to justify slavery, other Christians found their authority in opposing slavery in Scripture. There is an in-depth article entitled What God Says About Slavery on my website that will offer you a much more thorough treatment of the subject.
When the Scriptures speak of our citizenship being “not of this world” that does not mean we are uninterested in or indifferent to the world. Quite the contrary! The dualism which advocates a sacred/secular distinction in the world is a pagan heresy drawn from Plato’s philosophy and not Scripture. We are called to be in the world but not of it. In other words, our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God, which according to the Scriptures was inaugurated on earth at the coming of Christ. This is the gospel or “good news” that the church is called to proclaim.
For example, Matthew records the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and message with these words, “Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matt 4:17)
In Matthew 24:14 Jesus himself describes the gospel in relation to “the kingdom” when he says “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world…” Matthew again describes Jesus’ ministry by saying: “And Jesus went about all Galilee … preaching the gospel of the kingdom….” (4:23) Matthew reiterates this theme again in chapter 9 verse 35 when he writes “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages … preaching the gospel of the kingdom…”
Jesus told his disciples to “preach, saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt 10:7) Mark writes “after John (the Baptist) was put in prison, Jesus came…preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. Philip “preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Christ.” (Acts 8:12) Paul and Barnabas encouraged new believers to “continue in the faith…saying ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’” (Acts 14:22)
Paul appeared in the synagogue in Ephesus “reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.” (Acts 19:8) Paul, writing about his own ministry said, “I have gone preaching the kingdom of God.” (Acts 20:25) While under house arrest, Paul received many visitors to whom he “testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus…” (Acts 28:23,31)
Clearly, by Jesus’ own words and the testimony of the Apostles, Jesus was preaching the “good news” that through him God’s reign has been initiated.
The gospel or “good news” is the fact that in Christ, the reign of God is at hand and is now breaking into the world. His kingdom, which has come, continues to come forth and will be fully consummated on the day of Christ’s return. This is the good news, which offers both a present and future hope that touches all of God’s creation!
Now, this may raise more questions than it answers, most notably “What exactly is the kingdom or reign of God?”
A definitive answer to this question is simply not given in Scripture but we are given some insights through the teachings of Jesus. First, Jesus makes clear that the kingdom has come—when speaking to the Pharisees he said “…the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matt. 12:28)
Again, the commission given to the Apostles was to preach that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 10:7) This statement is taken to mean that the kingdom of the Messiah, who is the Lord, is now to be set up according to the Scriptures. To be clear, this “setting up” is entirely the work of God and we are merely His instruments.
Throughout the parables, Jesus uses the preface, “The kingdom of heaven is like…” Through parabolic teaching, Jesus is describing the character and nature of God’s ruling reign that stands in stark contrast to the fallen world.
The Old Testament’s prophetic forecast of the coming day of God envisions a world characterized by peace, justice, and celebration in which the full prosperity of the people of God living under the covenant of God’s demanding care and compassionate rule is realized. The picture given is one of a world full of peace that is grounded in justice.
It is the reign of God (i.e. the Kingdom) that the church is sent into the world to bring forth as God’s instrument and to which it bears witness. And this gospel is manifest when the church demonstrates the reign of God within a distinct community, serves the world through justice, compassion and mercy, and proclaims the risen Christ as the only means by which one may enter the kingdom of God.
In essence, the church is an instrument of God’s redemptive work that is called and sent to be a redemptive force in the world—setting right what sin has set wrong. To neglect this work is to neglect our calling as Christians.


Response from : Zeke  

July 23, 2008 2:49 PM


As mentioned before, I am against SSM and I agree with your viewpoints.

You may not see homosexuality as comparable to slavery, but homosexuals do. The arguments that I hear for supporting SSM uses the Civil Rights campaign as their platform to advance their cause. I know its like comparing apples to oranges, but to them its the same thing.

From my studies of history, I have learned it was a very small number of Caucasian Christians that opposed slavery. Caucasian European and Caucasian American Christians did not abolish slavery because they loved the African or thought the African was as equally human. They abolished it because they new it was eroding the morality of their peers. Especially, sexual morality. I have read accounts of how cavalier and forceful Christian Caucasian American men were sexually toward female African slaves. From the large number of light skinned African Americans in this country, I must say there is a lot of truth to that.

Though emancipating slaves is something to celebrate, the institution of Jim Crow was not. I have read accounts, and I was very saddened by, how Caucasian Americans mistreated African Americans. Shamefully, most Christian Caucasian Americans either supported or were indifferent to Jim Crow. It wasn't the Church that advocated against lynching, it was the ACLU or private citizens. Who would of thought, that this agnostic organization would beat Christians to the punch.

What does this have to do with SSM? This country's history of mistreating and trampling on the rights of other Americans is used to fuel the flames of the SSM fight. When I conversate or debate with Same-Sex supporters, they always bring this out for this defense. Same-Sex supporters use words like bigot, racist, homophobe, intolerant, antiquated, ancient, backwards, and some others to describe Christians that are opposed to SSM or the homosexual lifestyle. Does this mean that they are right? No. It means that the Church has a lot of skeletons in the closet that need to be buried.

In the last section of verses of Chapter 1 in the book of Romans, Paul writes; "God gave them over to shameful lusts." I believe SSM and homosexuality is only favored by a very small number of misguided and perverted individuals. I say give them over. Let's focus more on coming to the rescue of children, the elderly, the immigrants, the physically and mentally handicapped, the sick, the homeless, the less fortunate, the persecuted, the afflicted, the imprisoned, and so on. There is many more of these and they need Jesus badly.

Thanks, Zeke

Response from : S. Michael Craven  

July 23, 2008 3:14 PM

Dear Zeke,

Advocates of SSM may employ that tactic but that does not legitimate the argument. Additionally, the errors and misdeeds of professing Christians does not negate the truth and to raise this as an objection is an ad hominem argument and therefore irrelevant to the issue. Also, having black skin is an intrinsic human feature, participating in homosexual behvior is not. These are not even remotely the same. This is mere popular propaganda that must be treated as such. Of course, they may fall back on the innate/immutable argument in an effort to elevate homosexuality to an intrinsic feature but that is NOT what the biological science confirms, quite the contrary.

Finally, God is the only one who determines who is “given over” and to what extent, not us. Furthermore, no one is beyond God’s saving grace, so to “write people off” is not our place nor would it be in keeping with the admonition to love our neighbors as ourselves. If you love the homosexual man or women, which we should, then we seek to protect them from the harm that results from sin. Finally, God has established a truth about marriage and the natural family and we have the responsibility to contend for that truth and His Lordship over every area of life and reality.



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