My Rebuttal to Diary of an Autodidact’s Blog Post Entitled “The Duggars: How Fundamentalism’s Teachings on Sexuality Create Predatory Behavior”

I read a blog today which I found so deeply offensive that I felt compelled to take the time to type out a response to his post. I am going to attempt to address each of the author’s points and explain why I find his generalized, sweeping statements to be logical fallacy and downright outrageous. Keep in mind as you read that I, myself, am one of those “fundamentalist Christians” about whom the blog author is writing. I am also a survivor of childhood molestation at the hands of a family member. For the record, I was not raised fundamentalist; I wasn’t even raised Christian, for that matter. (Please read the original post here before reading my comments.)

The author of this blog starts out by saying , “Fundamentalist teachings on sex tend to lead to young men who would not otherwise be predators act out in predatory ways.” Here are his various statements to back up his claim, which I intend to refute.

“Thinking about sex is lust, and lust is as bad as doing it…This idea is hammered into children by Gothard and others. The hope is that they would be able to banish all sexual thoughts and desires until that magical wedding night when the switch is flipped.” This statement is asinine and not at all based in fact. I presume his assertion comes from Matthew 5:28 which says, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” In this verse, Jesus is addressing intentionally lustful thoughts; in other words, the sexual coveting of another person. That’s not to say that men are never allowed to look at women and find them attractive, or vice versa. Simply put, what it means is that we believe it’s wrong to have mental sex with someone who is not your spouse, reducing them to the role of a visual prostitute. It is disrespectful of that person. It dehumanizes them and turns them into nothing more than an object. Lust distorts, dishonors, and destroys. As a so-called “fundamentalist Christian,” it’s my belief that we should practice self-control in all aspects in life – and that certainly includes our sexual thoughts and desires. Even within marriage we must practice sexual restraint at times. The verse is about keeping our hearts and thoughts in check and not allowing sexual thoughts to take over our lives; it’s not telling us that we’re never allowed to find another individual attractive.

“’Modesty Culture’ teaches that female bodies are the source of said sinful lust…The source of male sexual sin is the woman, who, by virtue of being attractive, causes him to lust.” No. Seriously, just…NO. This is completely wrong. I’ll be the first to say that I’m huge proponent of modesty, but it isn’t just about the way we dress. It’s about the state of our hearts. Modesty means humility and not living one’s life so as to constantly bring attention to one’s self. Being modest means holding ourselves accountable for not only our own thoughts, but also for our actions. Luke 17:1 states the following: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.'” I believe that means that we are not to be stumbling blocks to other Christians. Also note that Jesus never specified that toward just women, either. None of us should be carrying on in such a way that would cause a brother or sister in Christ to fall into sin. In terms of modesty, we are all (men and women alike) held accountable for the way we present out bodies to the world. No, we cannot, and rightly should not, be held accountable for the thoughts of other individuals; however, Christians should make a conscience choice not to blatantly dress or behave in such a way that would cause others to be tempted to sin. The aforementioned verse about lust demonstrates Jesus clearly putting the guilt of immoral thoughts squarely on the individual thinking the lustful thoughts, not on the one who is the victim of said thoughts. This verse in Luke goes hand-in-hand with the verse in Matthew and addresses everyone else, making it clear that we should never be guilty of intentionally seeking to cause others to stumble. This, I believe, is the point the author fails to see. Like all of Jesus’ teachings, it comes down to our hearts. Are we putting ourselves and our own needs first, or do we have a servant’s heart that prioritizes others above ourselves? The very essence of Christianity is selflessness.

“Sexual desire is presented in a gendered way…The idea is that women don’t really want sex…Thus, females will always want to say no to sex, so the man will have to impose on them to some degree.” I’m guessing it’s been a while since this person has read Song of Songs. In case you need a refresher, Song of Songs is a collection of love notes from a man and woman to each other. It is a beautiful book about love and the gift of sex that God gives married people. God created men and women to enjoy sex! In many healthy Christian marriages, wives sometimes desire sex with their husbands more often than the husbands. That’s not abnormal or unhealthy, it’s simply the unique way God creates people. Never at any time have I been taught, nor will I ever teach others, that sex was designed solely for male pleasure. There’s nothing Biblical about that, and it’s certainly not a belief held by conservative Christians.

“No outlets for sexual feelings are acceptable – until marriage.” This one is broken down into several subcategories, so I am going to address each of them separately.

“Keep in mind that what applies to Gothardism also applies to most Fundie systems, and in some cases applies in significant part to mainstream Evangelicalism these days. Because of the obsession with preventing sex, these systems impose significant ‘safeguards’ against it occurring.” First of all, let me make it clear that Christians are not “obsessed with preventing sex.” I think I can speak for all conservative Christians when I say that what we are concerned with preventing is premarital and promiscuous sex. Those are different things entirely. Premarital/promiscuous sex leads to so many problems, both within the hearts of individuals and within intimate relationships as a whole, that if I were to touch on all the ways that these things cause permanent and sometimes irrevocable damage, I’m pretty sure it would take up an entire blog post in and of itself. From the emotional baggage it leaves behind to statistically-proven increased divorce rates, STDs to the perversion of sex it leads to… suffice it to say that sexual immorality is not good.

“For example, as I have already noted, they insist on constant work to repress any and all sexual feelings, because these are ‘lust.’ Second, as I noted, they work to keep female bodies from being visible. They must be hidden away as best possible, because without them, (presumably), young males wouldn’t want sex. This is what is behind the obsession with the way young girls dress, as I pointed out in my series.” I addressed all of these topics above.

“Third, in many of these systems – including Gothardism – cross-gender friendships are discouraged, and in some cases forbidden altogether. The young people must be kept from each other, or sexual feelings might develop.” Actually, this isn’t quite correct. That’s not to say that some families don’t go too far in their desire to help their children avoid sexual immorality, but I have never personally experienced this nor is this belief cultivated within my own family. We certainly are going to discourage the cultivation of inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex, such as allowing teenagers to spend long amounts of unchaperoned time with individuals of the opposite sex, but that’s because we have been teenagers ourselves and we know full well what can and does go on in those circumstances. Adolescents aren’t exactly known for their wise decision-making skills, so it’s my belief that there are times when it is appropriate for parents to establish guidelines for our children to follow to help them keep themselves accountable. If that’s wrong, then I will happily accept blame for that. We certainly do believe that boys and girls can be friends. If no one was ever permitted to socialize with the opposite gender, then how would anyone ever progress to the courtship stage?

“Fourth, many of these systems discourage sex education because it might lead to lust. This is particularly the case for girls, who ideally would learn about sex from their husbands on the wedding night. I wish I was making that one up. Certainly, a robust family discussion of sex is out of the question. Instead, sex isn’t talked about, except to say ‘don’t do it and don’t think about it.'” This is so far off base that I actually laughed when I read it. No, Christians are certainly not refusing sex ed. As I said before, I cannot speak for all families, and I know that in all sects there will be those extremists who do not account for the majority. His assertion is incorrect for not only my family but ALL of the like-minded families I know. We teach our children about sex from a Biblical view. We teach our children that it’s a wonderful gift God gives us and in the bounds of marriage can and should be thoroughly enjoyed. I answer questions my children may have in an honest and age-appropriate way, holding back only those things which discretion tells me their ears may be too young to hear.

“Fifth, the whole system of ‘courtship’ or ‘betrothal’ further separates the genders until that magical wedding night. For those not familiar with ‘courtship,’ it forbids dating of any kind until both parties are ready to marry. That is, until he has enough money and income to support her. At that time, he asks her father for permission, and the courtship takes place under closely supervised conditions. Chaperones are present always, and the couple is considered as essentially engaged from the beginning of the process.” Courtship is not as simple as this blogger makes it out to be. It looks very different from one family to the next. Generally speaking, pro-courtship families encourage the couple to work together to make their own set of standards that they wish to follow and utilize tools (such as chaperones) to help them maintain those standards in the event that temptation arises. Some courtships will have kissing and hand-holding, while others might choose to save any and all intimacy for marriage. Ultimately, it’s up to them. Furthermore, it’s important to understand that courtship and engagement are two completely different things; individuals within a courtship are free to leave the relationship at any time if they feel that God is not leading that relationship toward marriage. There are a lot of benefits to courtship or, as some call it, “dating with a purpose” – far too many for me to list here. Check out this article to read more about it from someone who is far more eloquent and knowledgeable than myself.

“My experience in these cases is that the young men involved – again, not adults, but 12-15 years old[sic] – have seriously screwed up beliefs about women, consent, and sex; because the teachings are obsessed with preventing sex, not in creating a healthy view of sexualty[sic], which embraces consent, female sexual desire, and equality within the sexual relationship.” I’m pretty sure I covered all these claims in my comments above. There may be some families out there who are, as the author puts it, screwing up their children’s views of sex, but those families do not represent the majority of conservative or “fundamentalist” Christian families. I encourage the author to step back and truly examine the sweepingly generalized allegations he’s making against Christians and consider amending his remarks to not include a majority when he is clearly only addressing a small minority.

Christianity and Feminism: Are They Biblically Compatible?

First of all, allow me to preface this post by saying that I realize it will probably make many people angry. Please know that is not my intention. This subject has been on my heart lately, and I felt a pull from the Lord to write this in response to what He has put on my heart. I have prayed a great deal about what I should write, and it has been edited to remove things that were more my thoughts and less of the Lord’s. If you feel outraged by anything I have to say, I would encourage you to take it to prayer, as perhaps the Lord is trying to speak to you personally on this matter.

I also feel it necessary to point out that this post is directed toward Christian women. Naturally, those who do not care to seek God’s will for their lives will find many of the Biblically-based points that I make to be irrelevant, and perhaps even irrational.

On with the post.

I have blogged before on the subject of wives being submissive to their husbands, and just what that looks like from a Biblical perspective. (That post is located here.) This post is more specifically geared toward feminism, and whether or not it is compatible with the Bible and God’s perfect plan for us.

I believe that men and women are created by the Most High. He has a wonderful plan for us that is unique to our gender, and when we follow that plan, we are able to reap all the rewards and treasures therein. When we fight against that plan or try to recreate a new plan that WE deem appropriate, there are consequences that come with it.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” When we trust in the Lord’s understanding, He protects us and guides us. When we lean on our own understanding – which the Bible makes clear is very flawed and rarely good for us in the long run – we find ourselves in trouble and in need of God’s help.

God’s perfect design is for wives to submit to their husbands, and likewise husbands are to love and cherish their wives. That does not mean women are to become mindless drones whose only purpose is to serve their husbands as slaves. We are still individuals with our own thoughts and needs, and the Bible very clearly commands our husbands to love us as Christ loved the church. Jesus loved us, the church, so much that He gave his very life for our salvation; that kind of love from a husband would not result in abuse or domination. What Biblical submissiveness means, is acknowledging that our husbands are the spiritual heads of our households, and that they are accountable to the Lord for that role. (Personally, I would NOT want that level of responsibility!) So what does that look like when practically applied? One example is that when a decision needs to be made within the family, and the husband and wife cannot come to an agreement together, the ultimate decision falls on the shoulders of the husband; and as I said before, he is accountable to God for the decision he makes. It should be a decision, prayerfully made, that is in the best interest of his family as a whole, not just in his own best interests or in the interest of appeasing his wife or children.

The problem with feminism is that its core values fly in the face of Biblical principles. When we seek to redesign God’s plan for our lives, not only do we cheapen ourselves as women and lessen our true value, but we also undermine God’s authority by telling Him that we know better than He does. If we profess to love the Lord and seek after His will for our lives, then we should be compelled to apply Biblical teachings to the way we live. If we desire things for our lives that are not in line with what the Bible teaches us, then it is time for a re-evaluation of our hearts.

Feminism tells women that it’s okay to have their cake and eat it too. We can have everything we want as women – having babies, being treated lady-like, having men open doors for us and pay for our dinners, etc. – but we can also reap all the rewards of being men, too. This concept of living life in such a way as to have every single thing we desire is not Biblical. In fact, God calls us to live in such a way as to only seek after His desires for our lives, and often times that means giving up our fleshly desires in pursuit of a higher calling. One look at society as a whole shows a believer that living only to fulfill one’s fleshly desires is of Satan, the Great Deceiver, and it leads us neither to true happiness nor God’s will for our lives.

One place to look when trying to understand God’s perfect plan for men and women is the Garden of Eden. Initially God created just man, but he saw that Adam needed a helper, so he then created Eve. He did not create Eve to be a slave, nor did he create Eve to preside over Adam. They were equals and given their own roles that were different, yet equally important. One issue with feminism is that it tells women that living out our God-given roles makes us less than men, so we must take those roles for ourselves, when in fact, being different does not make us lesser or greater, it just makes us different! Our different roles are necessary, and they a wonderful, pleasing thing in the eyes of the Lord!

Please know that I am in any way trying to imply that women should not be permitted to work and men should not be allowed to stay home with their children. While I do feel that in ideal circumstances, women can best fulfill their roles while staying at home, I also understand and fully respect that at times God has different career callings for different people. This is a heart issue more than anything. We can still work full time while being submissive wives, likewise husbands can be stay-at-home dads while still being the spiritual heads of their homes. Time and time again the Bible addresses matters of the heart. God does not judge us by our outward actions, but on where are hearts truly are. If we as women are seeking to have ultimate control in our lives and are not honoring the Bible’s command to submit to our husbands, whether we are at home with our children or out in the working world, then we are in direct defiance of God’s commands.

The sad fact is that within a century of the introduction of the feminist movement men have become irrelevant and unnecessary. The Great Deceiver has successfully convinced us that we do not need men to procreate, nor do we need them to have our ideal family life, nor do we need them to work hard to provide for their families; we can do all that ourselves. Women get dominate the work force, the home, churches, and even political structures. The result of this has lead to a massive decline in moral values. We can now have premarital and promiscuous sex without consequences thanks to the feminist-led birth control movement. If we become pregnant, we now have the option of abortion because, naturally, we should not have to be tied down with the burden of children before we are ready. We don’t even need a man to become pregnant! Thanks to the wonders of in-vitro fertilization and sperm donors, women can have the family they want without the need and bother of a husband. The morality of all this, or lack thereof, is no longer called into question because as the family decays within our nation, so does religion. Religion is becoming as obsolete as the need for men.

Since this is a fallen world, there has always been sin and corruption; however, I do not think I stand alone when I say that sin and corruption are at an all time high, and much of that can be attributed to the natural consequences that have ensued as a result of the feminist movement. If we want to win back family values and morality in our country, a good place to start is looking within our own hearts and analyzing our motives. If we want more “power” as women, we should embrace the unique and very special role God created for us. True empowerment comes not in trying to be like men or be more important than them, but in embracing our unique value as women.

Wives, Submit to Your Husbands

I was reading a blog recently and came across some very negative sentiment toward Quiverfull families, or what they consider the “Christian Patriarchy Movement.”

(Here is the blog I was reading.)

I have to say that it breaks my heart to think that a woman submitting to her husband is so deeply loathed. Unfortunately, some men will take it too far and use it as a tool for abuse, but that is NOT what the Bible supports. In today’s world that is so filled with pro-feminist, pro-choice, anti-family agendas, God’s plan for the family is now looked upon as a bad thing, and that breaks my heart.

Whether you like it or not, this world is filled with positions, stations and hierarchy. If you work, the odds are good that you have a boss, and he/she probably also has a boss, and so on. There is an owner of your company, but the tasks are so numerous that it would be impossible for him/her to perform all them all, and so he/she must delegate the tasks to others. It is the same for the family. Someone must be the head. Someone must be ultimately responsible for decision-making when there is not an agreement and a stalemate is not an option. That role, in the context of the family, is designated to the man. Certain roles are then delegated to the wife, and the children must submit to her and the husband. And still more tasks are delegated to the children. The husband, the wife, and all children must submit to the “big boss,” a.k.a. God. So, the hierarchy looks like this: God>Husband>Wife>Children. As children grow, they then become adults and the hierarchy shifts accordingly.

It may sound very rigid and strict, but this is God’s simple and very effective plan for a family to run in peace and harmony. Think again of a company as an example. Can you imagine how a large corporation could function if there was no hierarchy or delegation of tasks? If everyone was equally responsible for everything and accountable to no one, how could it work?

Many women struggle with this idea because they want to be in control. Many men struggle with this idea because they would rather sit back and let someone else do it all. The important thing to remember here is that God calls us to a higher standard than basic human nature. As women, we need to rise above our desires to control everything and allow our husbands to lead. Likewise, husbands need to step up to the plate and lead their families as God commands; with love, just as Christ loved the church. When I think about it, I really would not want my husband’s role. I would not want to be accountable to the Lord for our family. It’s much easier to be the wife, to support my husband, and to hit my knees and pray for him when he struggles.

The sad reality is that there will always be those who abuse power. There will be those men who take the command for wives to submit to their husbands as a license to abuse and overwork her. It’s important to remember that this is NOT biblically supported, and this is NOT in God’s perfect plan. So many will look at only the first half of the command (“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22) and not see the rest of it. Here is the whole command, in context:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:22-33 (KJV)

It’s important to note verse 25 which says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” No husband who loves his wife as Christ loves the church would abuse her or mistreat her. He would cherish her, protect her, and her thoughts and opinions would matter to him. He would make decisions carefully, taking her wishes and needs into consideration. He would try his best to make decisions that are best for her and the entire family as a whole. THIS is God’s perfect plan for a family.

My thoughts go out to women who were/are not in ideal marriages like this, and who were/are married to men who refuse to see the second half of God’s command for marriage. I implore you to remember that these are not examples of God’s perfect plan.