Reaping the whirlwind of sexual idolatry

Yesterday I read an article in Vanity Fair about how social media has transformed the hook-up culture of millennials. The article is titled “Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse.'” It is so sexually provocative that I am not going to post a link to it. While Jesse Singal has questioned Vanity Fair‘s reporting and the central claims of the article, Rod Dreher and Carl Trueman have both written some helpful reflections taking the article at face value.

I have to confess that I did not know how Tinder and similar apps have amplified the possibilities for promiscuity. This technology has put the hook-up culture on steroids. If the Vanity Fair account is correct—as I assume that it is at least in some places—then we are indeed standing on the precipice of something big. And you can draw a straight line from the apostles of sexual liberation to the darkness described by Vanity Fair.

And as a people, we are not the better for it. Technology has been manipulated to serve the whims of the male libido. It is a new social regime built around fulfilling the sexual appetites of men—appetites that have been shaped by ubiquitous and dehumanizing internet pornography. The result is not sexual liberation but the opposite. It’s men enslaved to their own lecherous sex-drives and women agreeing to submit to the same. As a culture, we have sown to the winds of sexual liberation, and now we are reaping the whirlwind of sexual idolatry. And the result isn’t pretty.

It is important for Christian leaders, pastors, and parents to know what children and young adults are facing today. The reality is ugly, and we do no one any favors by pretending that it doesn’t exist. On the contrary, we need to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. We need to point out the pitfalls while pointing the way forward to real life, real freedom, and real love. The sirens of sexual liberation are enticing hapless souls into the darkness. We have to give them something better. And we have something better, if only we have the resolve to say so.

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible– and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'” -Ephesians 5:11-14

11 Responses to Reaping the whirlwind of sexual idolatry

  1. Ian Shaw August 14, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    And public universities wonder why there are issues with sexual assault on their campuses…..

    To rip off some old Reliant K, society is “going down in flames”.

  2. senecagriggs yahoo August 15, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    I saw that article yesterday, hoped it exaggerated the participation levels but regardless is truly depressing.

  3. Christiane Smith August 15, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

    The de-personalization of women IS a factor in the chaotic social scene of the modern world . . . but to deny the dignity of ANY human person as made in the image of God, in favor of making them ‘sexual beings’ instead of human persons . . . the danger of this can lead to a reformation of how people are seen AS ‘persons’, and of course, that can objectify their sexuality as ‘identity’ instead of viewing them as individuals ‘in Christ’, which is the true identity of a Christian person, as is shown in Colossians 3:28
    “28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    A baptized Christian may live out in the world many ‘roles’, natural and assumed, but in a spiritual reality, the person’s identity is found only ‘in Christ’, which brings the person into unity with others within the Body of Christ who are ‘made one’ in Him but may have diverse functions in the world and in the Church.

    In the sense of our salvation, we are no longer ‘self’ . . . we die to ‘self’ . . . and rise ‘in Christ’;
    in the sense of our functioning in the world, as long as we keep our FIRST identity as priority, we may live out our diverse roles as persons, in marriages, in families, in Churches, and in the service of the ‘common good’ of our communities. That diversity means that we all have gifts and strengths to contribute for the general good. But to focus on any portion of our diverse roles as ‘who we are’ in place of our assigned role in Colossians 3:28, is to take our eyes off of Christ the Lord and to look elsewhere for stability and meaning . . . and the world doesn’t offer us the same dignity, does it? It never did. It never will. If I am Christian, I am a part of a living ‘whole’. ‘No longer I, but Christ Who lives within me’ can be said with integrity, even as we work out our earthly lives in His service and in the service of the whole Body of Christ.

  4. Curt Day August 16, 2015 at 7:56 am #

    It is important to expose what happens in darkness, but we seem to do so very selectively that we sabotage our efforts. Our wheelhouse is sexual sin. But when we only swing at what is in our wheelhouse, our Christian witness is all too often called out on strikes. Thus, in this case, we need to look at everything in society that depersonalizes and objectifies people, especially societal structures. Here we should note that the Vanity Fair story starts off with those in the financial district of New York. Perhaps that is a good place to start looking.

    In addition, the above story is only new in that a different social media is being employed by predator males. So the story is the same, only the technology used to break the ice has been changed. The hookup predator mindset has been with us for a long time.

  5. buddyglass August 16, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    “appetites that have been shaped by ubiquitous and dehumanizing internet pornography.”

    Not to defend pornography, but I’m not sure we can blame it for men’s tendency to gratify their sexual appetites in sinful ways. If you look back 100 years ago, instead of going on Tinder men were using prostitutes.

    • Denny Burk August 16, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

      This is different. It’s clear that some of the men in the article are trying to live out perversions that they learned from pornography.

      • buddyglass August 17, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

        Do we think they’d have never come up with those things in the absence of porn?

  6. Don Johnson August 17, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    What is Tinder? I did not know, but I had heard about it. It is a dating app used almost only by those under 30 that you put on a smart phone. It allows you to see information provided by another who is looking to date. It normally includes a pic and profile info. The idea is you get to see profiles about potential dates in the area you are in and you can “swipe left” and never see that profile again or “swipe right” to indicate possible interest. If 2 people have both done the “swipe right” on each other, they Tinder connects them and it is up to the people what happens from there.

    Is it possible to “game” the system? Yes, someone just looking for sex can swipe right anyone and everyone until they hit their daily limit. Then once a connection is made make hints about having sex. When someone else agrees, then a meeting takes place.

    The new part about this is the speed at which it can happen. All of these things could have happened before, people can game the normal dating system or the internet dating match system and have. But Tinder makes such much faster.

    • buddyglass August 17, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

      Yeah. Usually this happens in clubs. Instead of swiping left or right, you choose whether to approach a member of the opposite sex and start up a conversation, or you choose whether or not to reciprocate when someone approaches you. Tinder just lets you do the same thing without dressing up, buying drinks and paying a cover charge.

  7. Ian Shaw August 18, 2015 at 8:19 am #

    Didn’t this app really get a lot of talk with the Socchi Winter Olympics among athletes?

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    […] Reaping the Whirlwind of Sexual Idolatry. Denny Burk writes “It is important for Christian leaders, pastors, and parents to know what children and young adults are facing today. The reality is ugly, and we do no one any favors by pretending that it doesn’t exist.” […]

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