Of the three primary idols of secular culture–sex, money and entertainment–sexual immorality is the more pernicious. Money is tempting and can harden our hearts toward others. Entertainment is often a waste of time and life.
But when you deny God’s wise prescription for healthy sexual activity–a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage–you not only harden your heart and waste your time, but you defile yourself in a way that is destructive to both body and soul.
Which brings us to a new phrase that I recently heard for the first time.
It’s a great description of the essence of rebellion against God.
I’m indebted to long-time YWAM pioneer and spiritual father Peter Jordan for acquainting me with the phrase sexual atheism. If you have a YWAM background and don’t receive Peter and Donna’s eTouch monthly newsletter you can check it out and sign up for it here.
It’s loaded each month with wisdom that will benefit your life.
Peter is a pithy writer with many years of experience in life and love. The older I get, the more I treasure the “wisdom of the aged” who are not beholden to the whims and fads of twenty-somethings, but have learned what is true from real history and practical experience.
Peter’s recent article and deep burden for the problem of sexual atheism among young people today really spoke to me. I will include some of it here with accompanying commentary.
Peter Jordan’s recent article begins with these words:
“I’m probably considered to be a prude as well as a fool, certainly by unbelievers, and maybe even by some who identify themselves as followers of Jesus. Why is this? Am I deluded, or just simply not keeping up with the times? Is it just me that thinks that society’s morals are in a spiral dive?”
No, Peter, you’re not the only one who’s noticed. America’s moral airplane is definitely in a nosedive that could crash to the ground and burn.
He then goes on to discuss the concept of “critical mass” either for evil or for good. He states, on the positive side that “Jesus took 12 quite ordinary men (minus one dropout), a group of supportive women, and as many as 500 other full or part-time followers. 2000 years later, over one billion people identify themselves as Christians…Those early believers formed a critical mass—for good.”
Then he asks the question: “But what does a dark and demonic critical mass look like?”
He’s talking about the critical mass of sexual immorality that has exploded in in the Western world in his lifetime–what he calls “anti-Biblical habits and lifestyles.”
He laments, “What was the critical mass that got the ball rolling? Or has it always been this way? In one sense, of course it has—sin has been around a long time. But occasionally—as during the Puritanical and Victorian years—sin went largely underground. So, which is better for us and for our children? Underground, or ‘open pit’ sin?”
Good question with an easy answer. We used to believe that underground was better; that “closets” were good for hding clutter, dirt and grime and smelly shoes and clothing. Today, we celebrate bringing the crap out of the closet.
That’s quite a change in one lifetime.
In analyzing this trend, Jordan quotes Franklin Graham: “Like a frog in boiling water, our culture has been so desensitized to immorality and debauchery that we have lost even the semblance of a moral compass.”
You can read Franklin’s entire article here.
Peter Jordan next reveals both the statistics behind and the origin of the phrase sexual atheism.
“Kenny Luck, a pastor at Saddleback Church in California, shocks us by giving results of a recent study by ChristianMingle, an online dating ministry that asked Christian singles between the ages of 18 and 59, “Would you have sex before marriage?”
“The response? 63% of the single Christian respondents indicated yes. Luck concludes: “It is honest to say that over 6 out of 10 self-proclaimed single Christians are, in practice, sexual atheists…that’s to say, “God can speak into some things, but not sex.”
That insight is both profound and deeply disturbing. Here’s why.
The essence of being reconciled to God–becoming a follower of Jesus–is dying to our own opinions and ways and making Jesus Christ the Lord (authority) of our lives. The humbled, repentant heart says “You are wiser than I am. I will put my trust in You.”
In all things–nothing less.
When someone is your boss or authority, you don’t pick and choose the areas you want to obey. If you do, you will probably be fired due to your selective obedience. Obedience to authority–unless they ask you to go against God’s commands–is always intentionally 100%. We may occasionally make mistakes or sin, but the intention is to follow all the orders of those over us.
In the case of making Jesus the Lord of your life, there must be absolute trust that He is wiser than you in every category of life. Thus, you humbly obey Him and seek to know His will in all things.
But back to Peter Jordan who shares a Scripture from The Message by Eugene Peterson:
“It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on” (Galatians 5:19-21).
That powerful paraphrase strikes home. Being our own authority leads to disaster in morals, relationships, and many arenas of life. Nothing could be truer than Father knows best. We really do need a wise and forgiving Lord and Savior to guide our daily choices.
Peter goes on to describe the landslide of immorality that’s the result of sexual or other forms of selected atheism. “Immorality of all kinds has become acceptable by more and more who bear the name, ‘Christian.’ You may think me harsh, judgmental, out of touch and more. We’re all fallen people. Donna and I and just about every family or extended family we know, has been touched by those who flaunt or ignore their sin, or else they don’t see that there’s any need to change.”
“Today, cheating in universities is a big problem, but big deal! It’s pretty well overlooked. The drug culture of the 60s, legalized abortion in the 70s, lasciviousness (Ephesians 4:19) in the name of art is now widely available; men are marrying men, women marrying women. Our children are susceptible to gender-confusion. What’s next? The mind boggles. Polygamy? Polyandry? Worse?”
Yes, Peter, it’s far worse. Being a sexual atheist can easily lead to pedophilia and bestiality (sex with animals). That was the case of the Roman Empire when it fell and other kingdoms who refused to obey God’s commands.
Peter ends his article with the following action points:
- Go see the movie God is Not Dead. He says it will remind us that atheism is really a very dangerous philosophy.
- Put on your spiritual armor and trust that God is wiser than you when it comes to every area of life–especially important things such as human sexuality.
- All is not doom and gloom: Don Finto writes, “I don’t look forward to living at a time when world wickedness has reached its zenith, but I must remember that this will also be the finest hour for the people of God.”
- God is here with us and truly wants to walk alongside us, day by day, temptation by temptation; He is an ever-present help in times of trouble.
- Get religion! (in the biblical sense). “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).
The worst from of pollution is not carbon-based. It is sin-based. And remember, the essence of sin is saying that I am smarter than God and will not live by his principles.
I like the term sexual atheism because it communicates rightly that all human beings have the capacity to say that we believe in God and then selectively deny that reality in various areas of life. Those areas include human sexuality, our speech and actions, our obedience to His will, and many other categories.
The Bible calls such dualism hypocrisy (e.g. Matthew 23:13-34).
Are you practicing sexual atheism or any other form of God-denial? Are you addicted to pornography? Are you sleeping with your boyfriend or girlfriend outside of a covenant marriage? Have you committed adultery and never made it right with all involved?
If so, the remedy is to repent of your rebellion and reassert Christ’s Lordship over all that you are. He is wiser than you. He loves you very much. His commands are for your good.
Put the sin back in the closet. Don’t be a sexual atheist or deny God’s reality in any area of your life.
Live for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).