I must be the only Christian Athiest I know

I am again shocked to learn how utterly I have abandoned the Robert A Heinlein libertinism of my youth and cleave to traditional ideas of love and marriage, which, honestly, are Christian. Allow me to bore you with an example:

I was watching a TV show last night (Gilmore Girls). The premise of the show is that an unwed mother, now 32, had a bastard daughter at 16, the current age of the daughter: the daughter is sober and responsible where the mother is gay and carefree, and they both have cheerful adventures together, rebelling against the stuffy establishment of unenlightened small-town America.

In last night’s episode, the daughter confesses to her unwed mother that she is contemplating fornication with the boyfriend. The mom does not really like the boyfriend and cannot bring herself to say so. The daughter is making the confession because and only because the mom and daughter ‘tell each other everything’ and have a ‘close relationship’. The mom looks worried and hugs the daughter, but says nothing other than that she hopes the daughter will tell her before doing the deed.

That is the extent of her maternal authority: she hopes the daughter (whom she has an inexcusable duty to care, feed, educate and raise) will be so kind as to condescend to inform her before she is going to lose her virginity in an entirely unromantic indulgence of lust to a boy utterly unworthy of the girl’s affection. The possibility that offspring might come from the reproductive act is not mentioned.

While this scene would have seemed normal and natural to me only a few years ago, now I was staring at it agog with confusion as if I were watching the quaint and incomprehensible antics of some barbaric tribe from the antipodes.

What would have been so hard about having the mother say, “Well, honey, a man won’t marry the cow if he can get the milk for free!”

or “If he were serious, he would propose. He is just using you like a hanky to squirt his semen into–men don’t keep soiled hankies around”

or “You are deluded if you think you can enjoy the intercourse, comforts, and gentle companionship of being a wife without actually being a wife–otherwise, you will ruin your life as I ruined mine”

or “what will you name my grandchild?”

or even a simple, “I forbid it”.

The modern attitude toward sex is a paradox. Sex is both the most serious and important issue of life (so serious that it trumps every other consideration in life), and is a casual meaningless affair, one utterly without consequences. Sex inside marriage is both less important and not at all meaningless.

One can have a sane attitude toward sex inside marriage. Inside marriage, there is no conflict between selfishness and selflessness, no need to hinder the natural process of sex: it leads to a family. Outside of marriage, sex is selfish, a set-up for betrayal, and leads either to shallowness, or indifference, or grief, or hatred.