Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

Random Suffering

If you think about it there are many examples of life or death consequences flowing from very small things. Car accidents are a common one. How often do people talk about a fraction of a second either way and this person would be alive or dead. Random gun fire is the same way. The bullet finds who it finds. Cancer and many other diseases seem pretty random yet they devastate many families.

So what are the choices? These things look random yet the impact on our lives is huge. We either accept that our lives can be devastated at any moment by random chance or we believe that these incidents are not random. They just look random from a scientific perspective.That is really a huge philosophical choice. Both options come with a lot of baggage. If you say these things are really meaningless, uncontrolled events then it becomes very difficult to find much meaning in life. We can try and fight the chaos but our chances are not good. Absolutely nothing is safe.

If we say that someone is capable of controlling all of it then that must be quite a someone. The sheer number of moving parts you would have to track is hard for a human to even estimate. Who can control them all and still remain anonymous? To work his will but still allow all the laws of physics and probability to hold? That requires an almost unimaginable intelligence. It requires God.

Even if you believe is God in some sense we still have to believe that absolutely nothing is safe. You or your loved ones still might die suddenly. You are not immune from any pains life might bring. What you are immune from is useless pain. Every struggle, every loss, every senseless tragedy is there for a reason. But you have to remember the unimaginable intelligence. We only see a small fraction of what is going on. So it ends up being a matter of faith seeking understanding. The understanding might never arrive.

One of the things we tend to miss is that pain is not the problem. Often suffering is the solution. Sin is the problem. Not even so much the actual sin but the sinful heart. So God has to deal with billions of sinful hearts and turn them into loving hearts. How does He do that? He lets them sin. Then he lets the suffering flow from that sin. He does not let them sin once or twice. He lets them live a life of sin. He lets them create a mountain of pain and suffering. Why? So some of them might someday see the folly of their ways and open themselves up to grace.

So the pain is suffered first and foremost by God. The more we love the more we suffer when those we love are in pain. We suffer even more when those we love are causing pain. God loves us more than we can imagine. God knows the pain we suffer. He also knows the pain we cause. It would be so much easier for Him to just wipe out the human race. Yet He does not. He suffers immensely so that some may be saved.

So pain is not just not the problem. It is actually expected. We want to love like God. That makes us more sensitive to pain. Jesus is our model. He didn't exactly avoid pain. Quite the opposite. God is good but the greatest good is not the absence of pain and suffering. The greatest good is love. Love is most beautiful when it suffers.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Let Us Calculate

The Leibniz Calculating Machine
Leibniz had some interesting ideas about the human mind. He thought reason could be made more powerful through a universal language.
Unlike formal logic systems, however, the universal language would also express the content of human reasoning in addition to its formal structure. In Leibniz's mind, “this language will be the greatest instrument of reason,” for “when there are disputes among persons, we can simply say: Let us calculate, without further ado, and see who is right”
So what if  Leibniz was right? What would happen? It would be the end of faith. Every question could be resolved by reason. That would make some people happy, I know. It would also be the end of freedom. Why? Because we are incapable of deliberately thinking against reason. We can act against reason. We can smoke even when we know smoking is stupid. But we can't choose to believe smoking is good when we are aware of a solid logical argument that says it is not good.

People get frustrated by faith. They want things to be clear. They want certainty. They don't think faith can give them that the way reason can. But what would happen to our freedom in a world like that? Where every question could be resolved by doing a calculation? Which is the true religion? There would be no debate. The calculation would be done and the matter would be resolved. So would we have freedom of religion? Not really. We could believe in a false religion if we wanted but we would know it is false. Nobody is going to follow a religion they know is false.

I know people think about that and immediately assume it would be wonderful. They assume their religion would be proved right and all other religions would be proved wrong. I have had the experience of being drawn by reason to leave the religion I loved and embrace a new religion. OK not totally new, still within the bounds of Christianity but it felt very new to me. My point is that I was drawn to conversion. I was never compelled to convert by irrefutable logic. It was my choice. If it was proved to me so that there was no choice then I would have entered the Catholic church very differently. Like the difference between marrying the love of your life and marrying someone you parents chose for you.

I think there is some of Leibniz in all of us. I know there is in me. We want to calculate. We want to find a compelling logical proof that our faith is right. To the point where it would not be faith anymore. So that every logical mind would have to accept our argument. Part of it is we don't want to admit to faith. We are really buying into the modern world and life view that faith is inferior to reason. That really competent people don't need faith. We consciously reject that but at some level we are still embarrassed to say we are at a place of faith seeking understanding.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fringe Churches

There was one line from the Kevin DeYoung article that stuck with me. It was near the end.
PIP can point out problems with some fringe elements of evangelicalism
What struck me is how Catholic it is. I think one of the main jobs of Catholics when talking to protestants is to show them the ways they are already Catholic. This comment shows me Kevin DeYoung is already Catholic in one important way. He does not want to be on the fringe of Christendom. He does not want to be a big fish in a little pond on the edge of the faith where he can have his own way. He wants to be in the center of the Christian community. That is where he expects to be closest to God and he wants that more than he wants his own way. This is a very good thing.

So what is wrong is not where he wants to be but what his instincts are about where the center of the faith is. I was raised in almost the same church, basically Dutch Reformed, so I think I understand him a bit. We saw being Dutch as being a fringe thing that we didn't want to hang on to too tightly. We didn't see being Reformed as fringe. We saw it as a precious gift given to us by our forefathers.

But if you look at Christianity as a whole, that is the whole story of the faith throughout history and throughout the world, then it is not too much to say that the Reformed faith is on the fringe. It is not small enough so that we can get our own way but it is small enough that our culture can dominate.

Now some in the Reformed churches even see that. They say we don't want to stress our Reformed distinctives. We want to become part of the larger North American evangelical community. That is the same good instinct. Don't set up shop on the edge of the Christian community. Move to the center because that is where you are most likely to experience God and least likely to experience self.

But is modern North American Evangelical Christianity really the center? It has its roots in confessional protestantism but in many ways it has changed from that and been shaped by various political and cultural forces in North America. Events like the two great awakening movements, the US civil war, later the Billy Graham Crusades, and the Moral Majority. It seems like mainstream Christianity because it is so dominant in the mass media, but is it really?

Again if you look at Christianity in all times and all places that is anything but the center. It is an interesting expression of the faith. In many ways it has been very good and very strong. Still in so many ways it is on the fringe of Christendom as a whole.

The truth of the matter is that our desire for the center of the Christian faith is a desire for God but it is also very much a desire for the Catholic church. She sits in the center. No denomination, no para-church movement, no mass media personality can claim to be in the center the way that the Catholic church can claim to be in the center. Her liturgies may seem strange to us but most protestant Sunday morning services would be beyond strange to 90% of the Christians of history or of the world.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

10 Points On Sola Scriptura From Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung talks about Christians Smith's book. I ignored the first part of the article. The second part talks about Pervasive Interpretive Pluralism(PIP).
The central thesis of Christian Smith’s book is that the American evangelical doctrine of Scripture is impossible given the presence of so many varied interpretations of Scripture. If the Bible were really what biblicists say it is–universally applicable, internally consistent, clear, and the very words of God–then Christians of sound mind and good hearts would agree on what it says. That’s the problem of pervasive interpretive pluralism. How should we respond?
He is already getting into a bit of a straw man here. Catholic believe the bible is  "universally applicable, internally consistent, clear, and the very words of God." We don't say PIP proves the bible is not those things. Atheists say that. We just say the bible alone is not enough to produce meaningful unity and objective certainty.
Let me outline a constellation of interrelated assumptions and beliefs that can help make sense of this phenomenon.
1.We need a proper understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture. The Bible does not tell us everything we want to know about everything. It does not give explicit instructions for many of life’s dilemmas. Wisdom is required. But we do believe, “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture” (WCF 1.6).
The scope here is nebulously defined. What exactly do we need to find clearly in scripture? The answer is it changes over time. As consensus disappears over more and more questions they are declared to be not part of this whole counsel of God. Even if you set aside the issue of disagreements. The bible simply does not have everything we need to love as Christians. For example, it does not tell us how to conduct a Christian wedding. It does not tell us how to say a sinners prayer. It does not tell us what should happen at a Sunday morning worship service or even that there should be one. So these are nice words from the Westminster Confession but they don't mean much when you scrutinize them a bit.
2. We need a proper understanding of the clarity of Scripture. “All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed fro salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them” (WCF 1.7). (For more on the clarity of Scripture see this post and the related links.)
Now we get a different definition for the next article of the same Westminster Confession.  Now we get the narrower "for salvation" definition. Previously there was God's glory, man's salvation, and faith and life. This is often quoted by protestants. Things that are not required for salvation it is OK to disagree on. Not really. Morality is important. Understanding God and understanding ourselves is important. Worship is important. To say scripture is only clear on matters directly related to salvation is not enough.

Scripture is clear. It is us who are lousy listeners. We tend to try and avoid the truth of scripture and convince ourselves it does not say that. It is not clear enough to overcome that. The trouble is we do that subconsciously. We are not just unaware we are doing it. Often we are absolutely certain we are not doing it. The problem is not that we don't get a clear answer from scripture. It is that we get an answer we think is crystal clear but it is wrong. That is what PIP shows us. Matters of salvation are not exempt from this.
3. We need a proper understanding of Sola Scriptura. We do not interpret Scripture apart from creeds, confessions, and the traditions of the church. Indeed, we ought to put the burden of proof on any who would overturn the historic consensus of the church. But in the end everything—tradition and historical formulations included—must be tested against the final authority of the Bible.
So exactly what is this "burden of proof" that someone needs to meet to turn over the creeds and confessions of the church? Who does this testing against the bible? This is all done inside the same head. The creeds act as a line in the sand.  They are somewhat helpful Still when an appealing heresy comes along what will stop people from going wrong? If the heretic makes his arguments from the bible, and they always do, then there is nothing. All you have is your biblical argument against his. If the heresy is appealing for other reasons that is not going to be a fair fight.
4. We must maintain some sense of proportion with our beliefs. Some doctrines are clearer than others. Some are more central than others. Keep your dogmas and your dogmatism in order.
Which doctrines are central? Is there a list in scripture? A lot of times importance is confused with consensus. The doctrine of the Eucharist is often seen as unimportant by protestants because there is a lot of disagreement. It isn't unimportant. They are just disagreeing over an important matter but they can't admit it.
5. Christians come to different conclusions on Scripture for several reasons. As Carson points out in Exegetical Fallacies, sometimes Christians disagree on interpretations because we have not looked hard enough at an issue or a text; sometimes we disagree because we are too bound to our own tradition or too eager to please our friends (dead or alive); sometimes Christians disagree because the effects of sin distort our interpretive abilities. And sometimes Christians disagree because one is wrong and the other is right. Hopefully I’m humble enough to remain open to correction and learning new things. But I also hope to be forthright enough to say, yes, I do think Mormons, Arminians, Egalitarians, and Dispensationalists are wrong—not equally wrong by any means, but on certain matters wrong nonetheless.
The biggest exegetical fallacy is that it is possible to avoid exegetical fallacies. We do get bound to our traditions and to the ideas of people we have come to respect. We do get effected by our sin and our pain and a host of other things. The trouble is we don't see it. Out biggest bias is that it is likely the other guy who is mistaken and not us. It is not true. No matter how careful and prayerful you are in your exegesis you can still end up in serious error. You just end up more certain of your serious error.
6. We should recognize that PIP is a problem for everyone everywhere. Are there not multiple interpretations on Chaucer, the Emancipation Proclamation, the 1919 Black Sox, Christology, and the nature of the gospel? Perhaps authoritative Church Tradition can solve the last two problems (and those like it). But moving to a Magisterium only pushes the problem back another level. PIP exists for papal encyclicals as much as it does for evangelical theology. Wherever there are humans there will be disagreements about what things mean. That should make us cautious about concluding from PIP that something is necessarily wrong with the Bible or evangelical notions of its authority.
PIP does not exist for papal encyclicals to nearly the same extent. Encyclicals are often written after a controversy has come up. People might disagree over what Humanae Vitae says on some point or other but nobody is unclear about what it says about the morality of the birth control pill. There will never be clarity on what scripture says about that question. Why? Scripture was written long before the pill was invented. Humans will have disagreements but a living magisterium can provide clarity when it is needed. The bible cannot do that precisely because the bible is static.
7. We should realize that PIP is not a new phenomenon. PIP has always existed in the history of Christian interpretation. But the church fathers, just to cite one example, still believed the Bible was harmonious and believers should and could affirm the right doctrines in all areas of faith and practice. Augustine’s “On Christian Doctrine” is all about how to interpret the Scripture correctly. While I may not agree with every point of his method, he certainly believed applying the right methods would get you to the right truth (see especially NPNF 2.539; 2.556). “What difficulty is it for me when these words can be interpreted in various ways,” Leithart quotes Augustine as saying, “provided only that the interpretations are true?. . .In Bible study, all of us are trying to find and grasp the meaning of the author we are reading, and when we believe him to be revealing truth, we do not dare to think he said anything which we either know or think to be incorrect.” PIP was no deal-breaker for Augustine. It did not undermine his confidence in the understandability and internal consistency of Scripture. Likewise, Justin Martyr was “entirely convinced that no Scripture contradicts another” (ANF 1.230) and Origen affirmed that “Scripture is the one perfect and harmonized instrument of God, from which different sounds give forth one saving voice to those who are willing to learn” (ANF 9.413). The Fathers believed the Bible was internally consistent and that they had understood it correctly while their opponents misunderstood it. Evangelicals say the same.
This is confusing a few things. St Augustine, like many early church fathers, did not think scripture should be interpreted just one way. He believed in many levels of meaning to one passage. That does not means the problem of false interpretations goes away. Quite the opposite. The more analogical interpretations are more speculative and more likely to be wrong.

Sure they believed they were interpreting the bible correctly but one of the big reasons they believed that is because they immersed themselves in the apostolic tradition of the church. There was not a bunch of traditions with equal claim to being biblical. There was the Catholic church and then a bunch of fringe groups, same as today. It is just that evangelicals are the fringe groups. Back then they claimed to have the bible on their side too. The real saints embraced both scripture and sacred tradition.

8. Despite the widespread existence of PIP, at some point everyone wants to say that Scripture says something clearly, whether others disagree or not. Smith concludes that Ron Sider’s book is spot-on and that Nicene Christology is true and nonnegotiable. Many people—sincere intelligent people—disagree. There are lots of interpretations out there about the person of Christ. So how do we determine which is correct? If we conclude that a certain interpretation is right about the person of Christ (or Ron Sider’s claims for that matter) and that others are wrong, is that biblicism?
Nobody says Catholicism eliminates disagreements. What it eliminates is confusion about what the true faith is.  Those who disagree with Nicene Christology have broken with the faith. We know this not from Ron Sider but from the Catholic church.
In the end, no one thinks PIP completely undermines the clarity, consistency, and relevance of Scripture.
That cannot be more wrong. PIP has devastated the credibility of Jesus in today's world. You talk to anyone who is not embedded in one particular tradition and one of the first objections you get is that Christians don't agree on a lot of things. How can we believe you have the truth if you can't agree on what that truth is? 

9. We must distinguish between meaning and significance. Smith lists seventeen different “readings” he’s heard or seen on John’s story about the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42). But almost none of these “readings” are mutually exclusive. Most of them either fairly exegete the text or fairly seek to express the significance of the text for contemporary believers. Just because different sermons come up with different homiletical points does not mean PIP has eviscerated an evangelical approach to Scripture.
This is fair. I have heard a lot of sermons on John 4 that go in different direction and many of those directions are valid Catholic interpretations.  I can probably get past 17. I think Smith might be reaching a bit here but I would have to see his list to be sure.
10. We should be a biblicist in the same way Jesus was. He believed that the entire Old Testament came from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4). He believed that for Scripture to say something was the same as God speaking (Matt. 19:4-5). He believed the inspiration of Scripture went down to the individual words (John 10:30). He believed that Scripture cannot fail, cannot be wrong, and by implication cannot ultimately contradict itself (John 10:35). 
This is the same logical leap protestants always make. Someone who has a high view of scripture must be a protestants. Catholics believe in the bible. They just don't believe in the bible alone.  Jesus never taught the alone part.
He believed that the apostolic teaching–what is now preserved in the words of the New Testament–would be divinely inspired by the Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:12-15). 
This completely begs the question. None of these verses talk about scripture. They talk about the revelations of the Holy Spirit to the apostles. They are preserved in the New Testament and in Sacred Tradition through apostolic succession. But why would we respect one of these and not the other? Look at John 16:12=15:
I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
This talks about the Spirit speaking to the apostles at some future time. Would he also speak to their successors? Why not? Why can't this revelation still be happening through the bishops? The early church thought so. It does not say the Spirit will inspire the writing of some books and those books will bless you. Sure that is part of it but there is no reason to believe it is the whole thing.

He settled disputes on all kinds of matters, from Christological to ethical to political, by appealing to Scripture, often “prooftexting” from a single verse (see Matt. 41-10; 19:1-7; 22:32). He believed there were correct interpretations to Scripture that others should recognize even in the midst of interpretive pluralism (Matt. 5:21-48; 22:29).
That is exactly what He does today through His body, the church. He does not expect everyone just to recognize what interpretations are correct. He authoritatively declares one to be correct. In these examples he is making interpretations way beyond what is in the plain meaning of the text. He is developing doctrine. He is giving a deeper truth than you could get from simple exegesis of the passage. He is showing how authority strengthens scripture and does not undermine it.
PIP can point out problems with some fringe elements of evangelicalism. It can also highlight some more common popular-level mistakes in handling Scripture. But at the heart of an evangelical doctrine of Scripture is the belief that the Bible is all true, that it tells us everything we need to know to be saved and to please God, that it never makes a mistake and never contradicts itself when properly interpreted, that it has principles that speak to all of life, that the most important parts can be clearly understood, and that in all its parts God means to point us to Christ. Whether that is biblicism or not I’m not sure. But it’s the way Jesus approached the Bible, and that’s good enough for me.
Again he finesses around the Sola part of Sola Scriptura. Catholics can agree with everything here. It baffles me that he could write such a long post about Sola Scriptura and at the end be able to so completely misstate the position he was supposed to be defending. The idea that God gives us nothing but scripture. That if we disagree about scripture we have no place to go because scripture is the highest you can go. So PIP means you are stuck. You have to violate Sola Scriptura and declare one interpretation to be right or declare the matter to be unimportant or something. You don't have the authority to do that but the system is unworkable.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Godfrey On The Catholic Church


There are some videos by a Dr Robert Godfrey that are being talked about quite a bit. They were posted on Triablogue. One was added to a comment on Called to Communion as well. I tried to add a comment to the Triablogue post providing the link to the CtC reaction but it didn't make it past their moderators. Another reminder of the reason I don't comment there very often.

What is striking is the confidence with which Godfrey characterizes the historical data and by extension characterizes the arguments Catholics have made about it. Few protestant historians are willing to go there. At CtC Nick points out that J.N.D. Kelly is a more respected protestant expert on church history and he says quite the opposite, that the Catholic position on the Eucharist was generally taught and never questioned in the early church.

Still Godfey's statement is likely to embolden Protestants and produce a lot of exchanges where the Catholics say the protestants are cherry picking quotes and the protestants say the same thing back. Knowing that the vast majority are not going to drill into the details you end up with a kind of stalemate.

It reminds me of my thinking about scripture as a Protestant. I assumed there was a mountain of biblical evidence for the protestant position. I knew a few proof texts but even when those were shown to be not as convincing as I thought I remained confident that the scriptures were overwhelmingly on the protestant side. This mountain of evidence never existed. The few texts I knew were all there was and there were good Catholic answers to those.

I just didn't get that. All I had left was tradition. The truth is I had always taken it as infallible tradition. I didn't believe in any doctrine of infallibility but in my heart I held certain doctrines as infallible. So even when I saw much biblical evidence against them and nothing very strong in their favor I could not really let them go. Too many people I knew and respected accepted them as bedrock truth.

The same thing happens when looking at the early church fathers. We end up at a stalemate because each side has a tradition that they are unwilling to seriously question. But what makes sense at that point? Should we just continue to hold to our previous position simple because it was our previous position? That would be ad hoc. We want the truth don't we? A stalemate is not enough to make anyone confident of truth.

So what are the options? There might be no way to tell which tradition, if any, is right. Does that really make sense? If we are Christians and we believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important truth in the world then does it make any sense to believe that it has gotten lost in one big mass of human opinions? God would not send His son to die on the cross and allow us to mess up the project so badly that we would have no clear idea what being a Christian was supposed to look like.

So the stalemate is really a good reason to reject Sola Scriptura. It is a reason to prefer a tradition that says there is more grace provided to allow us to know the truth. There are just a few traditions that even claim such a thing. How to pick between them is another question. The key is to pick objectively. Don't pick yours because it is yours. Realize that it sounds the best to you because it is yours.

Friday, February 1, 2013

It Just Happened

I have been thinking more about the post I did on Evangelicals and Sex a little over a year ago. It was kind of spurred on by a comment by a guy calling himself Eaton that Leah Libresco quoted:
In that kind of environment, the idea of deliberately, actively, openly choosing sex -- owning up to it and telling your partner that you're ready -- is practically unthinkable. Pushing boundaries, both your own and your partner's, becomes the only way anyone gets laid, and over time it becomes normed. Protest, conflicted sex, and a veneer of regret functions as a sort of polite fiction, and many of the kids get what they want out of it. They have sex with their partner, and they don't feel quite as much guilt because they can convince themselves that "It Just Happened."
I think Eaton is an ex-evangelical so he has his biases but what he says rings true. I heard this as a protestant but my generation of protestants didn't really accept this kind of reasoning. I am not sure why we didn't. From what I understand the current generation of young evangelicals has embraced this kind of thinking big time.

What thinking? The idea that I can be a Christian and have sex before marriage. That my heart can be towards God and accepting His love and forgiveness and offering Him my obedience but I still remain sinful. So that sin might be premarital sex. In fact, it might be happening every weekend. It is kind of playing an "Oops, I did it again!" game with God.

So what is wrong with it? First of all, it is not honest, You are not really losing self control. You are not really desiring God above all things. You are trying to be holy but not too holy. Like St Augustine famously prayed, "Lord give me chastity but not yet!"

Beyond the honestly problem there is also a theology problem. The concept here is that the only thing that matters is intent. If my heart is in the right place then whether or not my body slips into the wrong place does not really impact my spiritual health so much. It kind of follows from faith alone. If faith alone is all that really matters then only sins against faith really matter.

When I was a young evangelical we didn't have the theology of mortal sin explicitly but we did have it implicitly. There was a sense that sexual sins were more serious and those who committed them were possibly not saved. So we lived a theology that was more true than the one in our creed. But apparently this has not stood up. Under the pressure of the sexual revolution we have seen this fall apart and premarital sex become quite common among evangelical single adults. They still say it is wrong and they still say they are serving God but a large majority admit they have had sex in the last year.

The theology problem goes deeper. In Catholic theology there is the sense of the spiritual harm and the spiritual good you can do to your own soul and to the souls of others. That can have eternal and temporal consequences. So your sin will set you back in your walk with God and it can cost you your salvation. It will set your partner back in their walk with God as well and it can cost him or her their salvation. You can cause scandal and can impact the many others spiritually. As a couple you become a source of confusion rather than a source of grace.

Evangelicals have some of this but it is not nearly as well developed or emphasized. They focus on the moment of initial conversion. The moment when you ask Jesus into your heart and become a Christian. If you acts don't directly impact that activity then the wider spiritual consequences are not really appreciated.

They do know that if you sow bad spiritual seed then bad things will result but private sins are not often talked about in that context. It is normally talked about in terms of a visible cause and effect. Works that are seen by others can have a positive or negative effect on how someone views Christianity. So there is the idea that if nobody knows about my lack of obedience in the bedroom then it won't matter. Catholic teaching makes much more clear that that idea is nonsense.

Anyway, I do think this is a big deal. Evangelicals have had a huge positive effect on the US. This data suggest the next generation of evangelicals won't have nearly as much spiritual strength. That is very bad for the United States and very bad for the world.

Promiscuous men tend to have less drive. They don't fight for what it good and true and right like a man should. They tend to become cynical about goodness and truth. They tend to accept nihilism without much argument. They tend to see pleasure as the only real good and pain as the only real evil.

Promiscuous women tend to have a low opinion of themselves. They see their beauty as something shallow. They tend to not want to give themselves to something that will bear fruit like themselves. They are more likely to end up being used and abused. Some are abused by the feminist movement. Some end up being abused by a man. It just becomes very hard to end up in a healthy loving relationship because you start out with degrading sex.

We have seen this dynamic in the secular world and it has been a disaster. So now evangelicals want to go there too. They could resist the evil for a generation or two but no longer. As always, the only hope for the world is the Catholic church. The evangelical road will become harder and harder. I wonder how many will come to the barque of Peter and how many will go down with the evangelical ship? We live in interesting times.

Ora pro nobis.