Monday, February 6, 2012

Some thoughts again, sure to rile

Over on Pastor Peter's Blog there was this article chronicling six things that are impacting the younger generation today. Let me copy the 6:

The big six changes, in Lost in Transition’s view, are: (1) the extension of formal schooling into the 20s and the consequent postponement of entry into careers; (2) the delay of marriage; (3) a changing national and global economy that has replaced the prospect of stable careers with frequent job changes, a need for ongoing training, and a heightened sense of insecurity, all contributing to a general disposition in young adults to maximize options and postpone commitments; (4) the willingness and ability of many parents to support their children well into their 20s and even 30s, thus enabling them to take a long time to settle down into full adulthood; (5) readily available birth-control technologies that have severed the link between sex and procreation and fostered uncommitted sexual relationships; and (6) postmodernism, a philosophy that has promoted subjectivism (there is no objective truth) and moral relativism (what’s moral depends on your point of view), both of which now thoroughly permeate the educational ethos, mass media, and youth and adult culture.

All of these are interesting, and to a certain extent accurate. However, in particular, it's 5 that struck my interest: readily available birth-control technologies that have severed the link between sex and procreation and fostered uncommitted sexual relationships.

There is an interesting link there - sex -> procreation -> committed relationships. The idea is that since there are no kids, well, we don't have committed relationships, or that they aren't as apt to happen.

I've noticed more and more that there is a tendency to put the availability of Birth Control as just the cause of so many societal troubles... and historically I just don't buy it. I think this is an attempt to try and find a quick and simple solution to the perceived increase in promiscuity... but here's the thing...

What increase in promiscuity? Do we really think today's culture is really anything new when it comes to sex? I mean, things might be more open (a little less "behind closed doors") - but it's not as though for centuries the 6th Commandment was well respected but then there was birth control and everything went chaotic. There has always been sexual immorality.

And do we think the solution is to let uncommitted, flippant sex result in pregnancy? IS that the solution to immorality -- to basically encourage our daughters to get knocked up so they can at least rope in their fella? I mean... it seems like this is a matter of the horse already being out of the barn... if they are already having sex outside of marriage... the idea of commitment leading to sex is already gone.

I don't know - it just strikes me like an attempt to find the quick fix - the "magic pill" if you will that will fix things.

Maybe we need to come to grips with a simple fact. The world is very evil. It is full of sinners. Really, it is. And it always will be. But I think when it comes to a lack of commitment, I think the presence of birth control is pretty far down the list on what causes badness.


scott said...

While I agree that the sixth commandment was written (and broken) well before the 1960s, I do think the pill has brought about a sizable change in the "dating scene", for lack of a better word. Quite simply it stands to reason that if you remove one of the largest reasons people refrained from sex, there will be more sex. Now I don't know if, or how, we could go back and quantify this, but I would guess that, at least for females, there is more promiscuity today. (Males had other options, and we'll note that there are several mentions in the scriptures about avoiding prostitution -- something we don't have to deal with much, most likely due to the topic at hand.)

I think you're right that the horse is out of the barn. And the fact that many times it is the parents directing the child towards contraceptives adds a new twist to this (what does this teach?) But to list birth control technologies as one of six things that are impacting youth today, I'd say is appropriate.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

I think the other thing that bothers me is this -- don't people realize that there was "birth control" and things like that well before the 60s? The ancients knew all sorts of abortifcants and the like - there were barrier methods in the ancient world.

I think trying to throw so much of this at the foot of the legalization of the pill is off... it's illegal in Ireland, and they've still got the same issues going on there.

scott said...

True, there were methods before the 20th century, but I don't know if they were as prevalent as the rack at every corner drug store, or the internet. And, while I'd agree that the legality isn't as big a factor, I think it does play into it. Sure, most people who want marijuana can find it, but the illegality has kept some from joining in. I think the prevalence factor is a bigger deal than the legality.

Either way, I think you are correct that promiscuity didn't begin with the pill, and it wouldn't end if the pill disappeared tomorrow. But I do think that it has make a big shift in relationships since its introduction to the masses.