Morality in general is a hard enough topic, but now it is time to address specifics, and we might as well start with sexual morality. Chastity is the single most unpopular of all the Christian virtues. The Christian believes in one rule “Either marriage with compete faithfulness to your spouse or else total abstinence.” I will be the first to admit that it is so difficult and so contrary to our instincts that obviously either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct has gone wrong. It can only be one or the other, The Christian believes that it is the instinct that has gone horribly wrong.
All human instincts have a biological purpose, the biological purpose of sex is children, just as the biological purpose of eating is to repair and refuel the body. Using that as an example, if I we to eat whenever I want and as much as I want, it is true that I will probably eat too much, but not terrifically too much. Maybe enough for two, but hardly enough for 10, 15 or even 20. The human appetite goes a little beyond it’s biological purpose to ensure survival, but not grossly over. However if a man were to indulge his sexual appetite whenever he felt inclined, and if each act produced a baby, then he would within a matter of years populated an entire town. This appetite is preposterous to its function. Yet everyone knows that if I were in fact to be a glutton either with food, with sex or anything, then my appetite grows by that indulgence. None of which are healthy or natural.
We have been told, until one is sick of hearing it, that sexual desire is the same as any of our other natural desire, and if we only stop trying to not talk about it, then everything will be restored, and perfectly natural, everything will be perfect in the garden of Eden again. That sounds nice, but it is the biggest bunch of crap being peddled. If you look at the facts, and beyond the hype and propaganda you will see it for what it is; a lie.
We are told that sex has become such a mess because it was hushed up. But get serious, all you have to do is open any magazine, listen to any song, or watch any television show, movie or commercial to realize that for the past 40 to 50 years, all anyone ever talks about is sex. Yet it still remains a mess. Maybe, just maybe, humans originally hushed it up, because it had become such a mess.
Those of the current age are always saying “sex is nothing to be ashamed of.” They mean either one of two things, 1st that there is nothing to be ashamed of that sex is the way the human race reproduces itself, and that it gives pleasure in the process. If they mean that then they are right, and Christianity say the same thing. It is not the thing, nor the pleasure that is the problem. The problem is in the 2nd way that they may mean it. If when people say “Sex is nothing to be ashamed of.” They mean ‘the state into which our sexual instincts has fallen into is nothing to be ashamed of.’ Then they are wrong, there is every reason to being ashamed of it, if half the world made food the main interest in their lives and spent their time looking at pictures of food dribbling and smacking their lips at all times; gorging themselves at the expense of others, no one looks at a glutton and thinks there is not something seriously wrong with him or her.
With all the advertisements, all the propaganda for lust (sex sells) to make us feel that our desires that we are resisting are natural and healthy and so reasonable that it is perverse and abnormal to resist them. Movie after movie, book after book, picture after picture, commercial after commercial all associate the idea of sexual indulgence with health, youth, and normality. All of it a lie, based on a grain of truth (that sex is normal and healthy). The lie is the suggestion that any sexual act that you are tempted at any given moment is normal and healthy. However surrendering to all of desires always leads to disease, lies, concealment, jealousies and everything that is the reverse of health, happiness, and truthfulness. For any happiness in the world always involves a lot of restraint. Every sane, logical, rational, moral person must have some set of principles by which he or she chooses to reject some desires and to permit others. No one who claims to be rational and moral gives into all their desires, proving that a desire, even when strong counts for nothing.
I am not so naive to assume that every Christian is perfect in keeping their chastity. God knows our situation, what matters is our sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself, but just this power of always trying again. For However important chastity (or courage, truthfulness, loyalty, faithfulness, forgiveness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. Our illusion about ourselves are cured and we learn to depend on God, we learn on one hand that we can not trust ourselves even in our finest moments, and, on the other hand that we need not despair even in our worst. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.
Before I close, I want to make it clear that the center of Christian morality is not here. While the sins of the flesh are bad, they are the least bad of all sins. Those sins that are far worst are purely spiritual; the pleasure of harming another, of putting self before others, for slandering, lying, betraying others, the pursuit of power, greed, hatred, and selfishness. Jesus comforted the prostitute, and offered forgiveness if she would repent, yet he left no doubt that the cold self-righteous ‘follower’ who saw nothing to repent of, was nearer to hell then the prostitute. Needless to say, it goes without saying that it is better to be neither.