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Christianity is not to blame for the sexual revolution

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Christianity is not to blame for the sexual revolution

Timur Schukin read an article by Vladimir Shallar “Asceticism is a campaign, military service against the family” and saw a number of conceptual errors in it.

Priest Sergius and Maria Mansurovs

Vladimir in his interesting, deep, awakening thought and feelings article writes the following.

Christianity, the Gospel, the Savior's sermon declared war on a traditional family, and Christian asceticism – an expression of the gospel ideal – came into decisive contradiction with the natural attraction of man to the opposite sex and the social design of this attraction. As a result, the entire social model built on relationships such as MF was in doubt. And after societies oriented towards the Christian ideal fell into decay and became post-Christian, sex took revenge. But this was not a return to the traditional family, but its equally decisive denial. The pendulum, having reached its peak in Christian asceticism, swung equally decisively in the opposite direction – the side of sexual revolution, debauchery, etc.

What is wrong in this system, with all the correctness of its individual elements?

First of all, the thesis that Christianity denies the “traditional family” is incorrect (in this article, it means the usual monogamous marriage + children). Vladimir is not the first to try to collect the “florillegia” of the utterances of the Church Fathers who deny marriage. But there are other statements:

I must say that human energy does not declare itself in solitude and not in a lonely life. What heroic courage can be compared to that courage who, in marriage, having children, taking care of the family, being master both over pleasure and over grief that falls to his lot, by the strength of his love for God, however, remains in indissoluble alliance with Nimes? How many difficulties he has to overcome at the same time; how often should he arm himself against the temptations presented to him in the form of children, wife, servants, property. Seedless, however, as a result of this, he himself is free from many temptations. Thus, a person engaged in material housekeeping, although inferior in the matter of his salvation to a person who is free from these worries, but surpasses him in that, in his cares for the implementation of the true teaching in real life, it is a semblance, albeit weak, of Providence.

Clement of Alexandria. Stromates

From the Scriptures, it seems to me, it is clearly seen that after the appearance of virginity, the Word (God) did not completely reject childbearing. If the moon is larger than the stars, then this does not destroy the light of other stars. We begin with Genesis to honor the oldest Scripture. The definition of God and the commandment of procreation (Genesis 1:28), of course, is still fulfilled to this day; The Creator still forms a person. This is perfectly clear, because God hitherto, like an artist, forms the world, as the Lord taught, saying: “My Father hath done now” (John 5:17). Now, if the rivers had already completed their course, pouring into a sea container, if the light had been completely separated from the darkness (and now it is still separating), if the land had ceased to produce fruits with reptiles and four-legged animals, and a predetermined number of people would be fulfilled, then, of course , should refrain from childbearing. And now it is necessary that man, for his part, act in the image of God, since the world is still standing and building; “Be fruitful,” it is said, “and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). And one should not shun the definition of the Creator, as a result of which we ourselves began to exist. The beginning of the birth of people is the throwing of the seed into the bowels of the female womb, so that bone from bones and flesh from flesh, being perceived by invisible power, are again formed into another person by the same Artist. Thus, you need to think, the saying is fulfilled: “behold, it is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). (But then, of course, the author proceeds to the apology of virginity.)

Methodius of Patara. Feast of Ten Maidens

Snow is decent in winter, and flowers in springtime, gray hair in wrinkles, and strength in youthful years. However, flowers also occur in winter, and snow shows in spring days, and youth produces gray hair; and it happened to see a peppy old age, and an old man with much greater strength than a barely blossoming young man. So, although matrimony has an earthly beginning, and celibate life is weakened by the All-Christ, it happens, however, that virginity is laid down on hard earth, and married life leads to heaven. And therefore, if one matrimony began to blame, and the other – virginity, then both would tell a lie … Judges (comparing the merits of marriage and marriage), although they were tied more to married life, however, they crown the head of the virginity. And Christ, who gives the reward to both, will put them beside Himself, one on the right, the other on the left. But even that is a great glory!

Gregory the Theologian. Praise to virginity

Of course, these and other authors proceeded from a simple thesis: marriage is good, monasticism is even better. Both "social models" lead to the same goal, but monasticism leads to a much more direct road, which, however, is not possible for everyone to go.

The fact that among many patristic texts one can find conditionally “marriage-fighting” and conditionally “laudable” is the problem of the interpreter, who must combine the “praise” of marriage and its denial in a single interpretative model. It seems to me that the model proposed by Vladimir Shallar is not very successful, since it leaves behind “praise”. In this model, generally speaking, Christianity is indistinguishable from Platonism, one or another direction of Hinduism, Jainism, intertestational Judaism, Gnosticism, etc., where there were also ideas about celibacy, and often much more rigid than in Christianity.

In my opinion, those who emphasize the marriage of Christianity confuse Christian asceticism and anthropology / ontology. Practical rejection of marriage can be made out with the help of certain rhetorical devices, vilification, certain arguments. However, this is permissible exactly until it comes to marriage, or rather about the relationship of the sexes as an ontological category. A Christian author scolds the specific consequences of a marriage, but cannot reject marriage as such. But why if he is so bad? Because these very relations of the type MF were established before the fall, even before they became known as “marriage”, before they became the primary form of managing, etc.

Giovanni Bellini. Transformation

Rev. Maximus the Confessor, a central figure in the Byzantine theological tradition, goes even further, saying that

beholding on the Mount Transfiguration Elijah and Moses on both sides of Christ “also learn that in the Word (together) dwell the sacraments of marriage and celibacy – from Moses, to whom marriage did not prevent him from becoming the finisher of divine glory, and from Elijah, who was completely pure from marriage cohabitation, – because of those who direct these words (lifestyles) by the words of the Word and God according to the laws divinely laid on them, It mysteriously announces that they assimilate them to Himself. ”

That is, marriage and monasticism are not just ontologically equivalent (although in practical terms, Maxim the Confessor, like the other Fathers of the Church, placed an unmarried life above), they are together in the eternal Logos, conceived before the creation of the world, apparently, at that very “moment” when a person was conceived. We can say that this text refers to the eternal sociality, imitating the "sociality" of the Persons of the Trinity …

I would say that in Christianity the view on marriage is exactly the same as on many other things – from the existence of God in the Trinity to the posthumous fate of sinners, that is, not suggesting an answer within the framework of Aristotelian logic of the excluded third, the choice between the hard “yes” and tough no. Is God alone or not? How can I tell you, this is a difficult question, look at the clover … Christ is God or man? Uh, don't make me lecture on centuries-old Christological debate. Will sinners be punished? Actually, yes, but you still need to figure out who the "sinners" are, what it means to be "punished" and why this punishment refers to that "time", which seems to be gone.

Christianity makes thinking remain in a state of constant dialectical tension, scourges it with equally fair and opposite statements, and probably this is where the rebellion of Christianity against the world infected with formal logic is worth seeing. And Christian marriage was and is now obliged to comply with this height of contradiction. Perhaps this is why the fall in marriage norms in the New Age was so hard, because the heights were very transcendental. However, we are talking only about the pain of the fall, and not about the fall itself, which did not happen at all thanks to Christianity.

In this, in my opinion, Vladimir’s second mistake, superimposed on the first, is in identifying the socio-economic processes taking place on the ruins of the Roman Empire and further within the Greater West, with the unfolding of Christian truth. Of course, Christianity had a huge impact on the design of these socio-economic processes. But honestly, if, after the collapse of the Roman Empire, Christianity did not become the dominant religious and worldview force, would the processes in Western society develop somehow differently?

Perhaps the controversial point of view of the Christian is the thesis that for medieval society Christianity was not a source of worldview, social, moral standards, but rather the most convenient design of social and economic relations that would develop without any Christianity. However, it is absolutely indisputable that Christianity wants to recognize itself in any socio-economic situation. Christianity in some deep sense is not developing. It is identical to itself in Antiquity, and in Byzantium, and in the New Age, and in the 21st century. But if this is so, then the ideas about Christian marriage both in antiquity, and now – are the same. Although the possibilities for implementing these ideas are different.

Thus, it is somewhat illogical to blame Christianity for the fact that family relations that comply with the norms of socio-economic life of the 13th century turned out to be unsuitable for socio-economic relations of the 20th century. And this, incidentally, applies (contrary to the opinion of Vladimir) not only to (post) Christian societies. Non-Christian countries, sooner or later joining the global capitalist division of labor, face the same problems of the crisis of family and marriage that Christian states have faced. The feudal family is not needed in a capitalist society. What does Christianity have to do with it?

However, I do not deny the fact that Christianity unfolds in history. Only this deployment is subject to a completely different logic. The gospel ideal is not revealed where Christianity becomes the dominant (mass) ideology, as in the Middle Ages, but at the breaks of freedom, in situations where the state and society are not up to dictating any directive norms to the monastic community or marriage. Here I can agree with Vladimir Shallar, with his fleeting assertion that romantic love is a Christianized form of traditional inter-sexual relations.

Mikhail Shik and Natalya Shakhovskaya

Only a romantic marriage, alien to the Middle Ages, characteristic of the New Age, just like marriage in general, finds its fulfillment in the Church. Take a look at the new martyrs of the beginning of the century. In their marriage unions, the ascetic ideal was combined with marital tenderness, craving for God with craving for each other, and prayer life with family life. Check out the biographies of Mikhail Shik and Natalia Shakhovskaya, Alexander and Maria Medem, Yuri and Sofia Olsufiev, father of Sergius and Maria Mansurov, Vladimir and Anna Ott – this is a wonderful cure for Christian marriage. Perhaps, only now, church marriage, having ceased to be something economically necessary, is able to come closer to the eternal idea of ​​oneself.

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