The rise of secular humanism in Western culture has brought with it a series of destructive consequences, not least of which is the attack upon the institution of marriage. Whereas the Word of God says that marriage is to “be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Heb. 13:4), the word of humanistic man, on the other hand, says marriage is to be reduced to a tax exemption for sodomites, the marriage bed is to be pornographized, and there is no God above to judge these things.
In truth, marriage has always been the target of sinful humanity (hence the need for the Seventh Commandment prohibiting adultery), and pagan cultures have long been known to defile the marriage bed (cf. Lev. 18:20, 24). However, the spread of Christendom led to the decline of these sins.
Author Alvin Schmidt, in his book How Christianity Changed the World, notes that “Christian opposition to the opprobrious sex of the Romans has left its salutary mark to this very day. The Christian ethic not only condemned adultery, fornication, and the public portrayal of sexual activity, but in time brought noteworthy, wholesome changes to how people in a civilized society viewed human sexual behavior.”
The spread of Christianity brought with it the spread of an honorable view of marriage, leading to the protection and elevation of women, among other things.
But then our cultural Nephilim began to draw us away from Christ, and our civilization reverted to pagan concepts of marriage, dressed up in updated humanistic, narcissistic garb.
The increasing rates of abortion, sodomy, and, now, transgenderism, all find their fountainhead in the attack on marriage carried out by the enemies of Christ over the past 400 years. Men like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Jean-Paul Sartre were not able to take the culture all the way from Christendom to paganism within their lifetimes (though they would have liked to), but they could lay the groundwork. Sartre, arguably the most popular philosopher of the 20th century, was a serial fornicator and a model of debauchery. The proliferation of his existential, individualistic, and, ultimately, humanistic philosophy has led to skyrocketing rates of fornication, fatherless homes, adultery, divorce, and the overall demise of the family in Western culture.
Vlad Putin is no role model, but he wasn’t wrong when he said in a recent speech that Western nations are experiencing a spiritual disaster as they actively destroy their families and pervert their youth in deviant sexual ideology. Turns out we’ve been doing so for several hundred years, courtesy of the Enlightenment-inspired humanists who have shaped our culture.
While many Republicans have long since abandoned any effort to defend marriage, there are some conservatives that are finally waking up to the importance of this issue. Unfortunately, many of them (like The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh) refuse to base their defense of marriage on an explicitly biblical foundation. Strictly biological or sociological attempts to define or defend marriage are inept and will fall before the onslaught of the spiritual darkness intrinsic in a humanistic worldview.
There is only one solution to the destruction of marriage: the life-giving, Spirit-empowered, world-altering proclamation of the Lordship of Christ. Marriage belongs to him. Defending marriage apart from Christ’s unambiguous Lordship is a fool’s errand. The first step in the humanistic battleplan was to remove the Christian foundation from marriage. Borrowing from their pagan repertoire to try to defend marriage amounts to the philosophical equivalent of shooting oneself in the foot or, in this case, the femoral artery. We are bleeding out, and there is no cultural salvation apart from Christ.
It took several hundred years for the forces of unbelief to twist the Christian West into a nearly unrecognizable mélange of transvestites, baby butcherers, and porn addicts, and it is going to take us several generations to get back to where we need to be.
But Christianity is a far more potent force than paganism. And so, I’m hopeful.
One of the first things that must be done is a reclaiming of the Christian view of marriage among the remnant of Christ-followers in our nation. This is a cultural battle and, therefore, in order to cause some serious damage in this fight, we need a culture.
The sub-culture of evangelicalism has largely adopted the narcissistic, throwaway view of marriage. Marriage is all about me, and if it doesn’t serve my interests I am getting out – or never even getting started, as increasing rates of singleness attest to.
With the fall of the honorable estate of marriage came the rising trend to marry later (or not marry at all) – the average marriage age for men increased from 23 in 1950 to nearly 30 in the 21st century.
But the age of marriage is not the primary problem, it is merely a concerning overall trend. Martin Luther married at the age of 42, and if our culture’s young men and women were diligently and chastely preparing for a marriage that, for some of them, won’t commence until their late 20’s or 30’s, no harm would be done. However, this is not the case right now. Instead, we have a generation of professing Christians flippant about marriage and unwilling to look beyond their own selfish interests.
Christianity brings with it a serious view of marriage and childrearing (cf. Malachi 2:13-16; Matt. 19:3-15). Humanism brings with it a subjective, individualistic, and irreverent view of marriage and childrearing. It is no surprise that a romanticized version of marriage arose adjacent to the popularity of Enlightenment, humanistic thought. Man, and his thoughts and emotions, became the central reality for all of life. Therefore, marriage became all about romantic infatuation. Marriages are entered based on emotions, and marriages are disbanded based on emotions. “I just don’t feel in love anymore,” the mantra goes. But the Christian view of marriage is not driven by emotions, it is driven by love, commitment, and faithfulness, for better or for worse.
Luther did marry late, but it wasn’t because he was wasting his time in hollow pursuits. Obviously, he got off to a late start because he was delayed by all his monkery, and then there was that little ordeal of starting a worldwide Reformation. But when he finally did marry, it was not based on fleeting emotions, and it wasn’t a romantic story for a Hallmark movie. He married Katherine von Bora in order to provide societal protection for the ex-nun and to testify to his faith in the marriage union. “I am not infatuated,” he said, “though I do cherish my wife.” Oh, and he also did it to spite the pope and the devil. Nevertheless, his declaration of commitment to Katie stands in stark contrast to the vapid emotionalism of our culture: “I would not exchange Katie for France or for Venice, because God has given her to me and other women have worse faults.”
Come to think of it, that love story would probably be the best Hallmark movie ever produced.
We need to recapture something of the Christian worldview of marriage among the youth in our day. The future of our society and the witness of the Christian church depends on it. And, it would spite the devil and his humanistic fiends.