Wednesday, August 17, 2022

God Does Not Affirm All Behaviors

                                                                    (Redeemer Monroe)


In this post I attempt to establish one point, using 'pedophilia' as an example. 

"Pedophilia is an ongoing sexual attraction to pre-pubertal children. It is a paraphilia, a condition in which a person's sexual arousal and gratification depends on objects, activities, or even situations that are considered atypical. Pedophilia is defined as recurrent and intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children—generally age 13 years or younger—over a period of at least six months. Pedophiles are more often men and can be attracted to either or both sexes." (Psychology Today)

Does God love the pedophiliac? Yes. 

Does God affirm sexual activity with a child? No. 

The Christian belief is that pedophile activity is sin. That is, it misses the mark God places before us. (See, e.g., what in ethics is called "divine command theory.")

This troubling, yet simple, example proves the following: God does not affirm all behaviors

Neither do people affirm all behaviors. 

Whether they believe in God or not, good parents morally screen what beliefs are to be championed in their home. The good parent will not allow their child to be taught the beauty and happiness of pedophilic beliefs and behaviors. 

All institutions have moral filters. These moral filters emerge from worldviews. People may differ in their worldviews. People do not differ in having moral filters rooted in a social imaginary. (See Charles Taylor here.)

Churches are no different. As a pastor of a church, I testify that we would not allow someone to teach our children, youth, and adults, that God affirms sexual activity with children. Obviously.

Every person, every institution, embraces some things and excludes other things. (On this, see Amy Chua's Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations.) That's what doctrine does, and why doctrine is important. Understand this: Real love embraces and excludes.

The matter than becomes how, as Christians, we are still to love the pedophile, while establishing moral boundaries. To begin with, a lot will depend on how the pedophile views pedophilia. And, do they want us to embrace this belief, or exclude the belief? If the latter, do they want help?

Now, instead of 'pedophilia', plug in any sin.