The Dating Apocalypse

dating_apocalypse
The following is a re-post of a blog by our friend, John Stonestreet, from Breakpoint. You can see John’s original post (or listen to the audio version) here.

In the September issue of Vanity Fair, contributing editor Nancy Jo Sales introduced readers to what passes for the “dating scene” among many millennials today.

At the heart of her article, which was entitled “Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse,’” is the app Tinder.

Tinder uses Facebook data, including pictures and geographic information, to create a user profile. Users who are deemed compatible are then placed in a list of matches. People on the list can “like” the other person by swiping right on their picture. If two people “like” each other, they can then chat using the app.

That’s the theory, at least. But as Sales documents, the reality is somewhat different. According to one recent study, “there were nearly 100 million people—perhaps 50 million on Tinder alone—using their phones as a sort of all-day, every-day, handheld singles club, where they might find a sex partner as easily as they’d find a cheap flight to Florida.”

Or in Nancy Sales words, “Hookup culture . . . has collided with dating apps, which have acted like a wayward meteor on the now dinosaur-like rituals of courtship.” She adds that the “lengthy, heartfelt e-mails exchanged by the main characters in You’ve Got Mail seem positively Victorian in comparison to the messages sent on the average dating app today.”

And most of those messages are sent by the men. As David Buss of the University of Texas told Sales, “Apps like Tinder . . . give people the impression that there are thousands or millions of potential mates out there.” Thus, they don’t feel the need to treat any woman as a “priority,” especially if their sexual desires are being gratified, as they are. Instead, what women become are “Tinderellas,” a series of disposable sexual conquests.

As one woman told Sales, “There is no dating. There’s no relationships . . . . They’re rare. [Hooking up] is a lot easier. No one gets hurt—well, not on the surface.”

Isn’t that last phrase telling? Once you get past the rhetorical smokescreen of sexual freedom, it’s clear that the sexual revolution has had a lot of victims.

As Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas might put it, what we see in the Vanity Fair article is an example of how low the “market price” for sexual relationships has dropped. Historically, the price for relations was the man marrying the woman and supporting her and her children.

But since the Sexual Revolution, the “price” men must pay for relations has dropped to a swipe on an app and a text message. And the drop in price has been accelerated by the denial of the “basic differences” that Regnerus mentioned. We were told that women enjoyed casual promiscuity as much as men.

But it’s just not true. As Regnerus told Christianity Today, “There are plenty of women… who would like to be legitimately asked out, but they feel like they can’t get it. He texts, and they ‘hang out.’ How lame is that?”

Lame, indeed. It’s difficult to think of a better example of two core BreakPoint worldview convictions: first, that ideas have consequences, and second, that bad ideas leave victims in their wake. That’s the Sexual Revolution in a nutshell.

And that’s why there’s an incredible opportunity for Christian witness today. The Christian view of human sexuality is good. God created it for our well-being, for mutual joy of husband and wife, and for the future of humanity. And the Christian view is always redemptive. God’s healing work through the Church can bind up wounds and make things whole again.

Tinder is not leading to the blessed flames that God intended for human sexuality. Instead it’s leaving a lot of people burnt and broken. So don’t think for a minute it’s over just because the legal and cultural consequences of the sexual revolution mean that Christianity is unpopular. Lives are at stake, and the opportunities to offer hope to these broken lives are all around us.

John Stonestreet is a Speaker and Fellow of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He is a gifted communicator on areas of faith and culture, theology, worldview, education, and apologetics, and is a sought-after speaker at conferences, colleges, churches, schools, and other various gatherings each year.

He is the co-host with Eric Metaxas of BreakPoint, the Christian worldview radio program founded by the late Chuck Colson, and the voice of The Point, a daily national radio feature on worldview, apologetics and cultural issues. He also serves as a Senior Content Advisor for Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

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The Supreme Court Ruling: 3 Ways Parents Can Respond

KeepCalm-1If you’ve seen any of the articles online about the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, you’ve probably sensed the issue is emotionally charged. People are so happy. And others are so mad. This is a critical time for the church and for Christian parents. What should we do in light of this ruling? Things are getting confusing. We’ve put our heads together at Generations of Virtue to give 3 ways parents can respond and help their children navigate this confusing time.

1. Talk to your kids about homosexuality. If you haven’t explained homosexuality to your children and they are at an age where they are starting to key into all the hype in the media (and possibly among their peer groups), now is the time. This is your opportunity to communicate what God’s word says about homosexuality. Our kids need to hear the truth from God’s word about this lifestyle. Some key verses to start with include Leviticus 18:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-28. Another point you might consider making with your children is that even though the Supreme Court made the choice to legalize gay marriage, it does not mean that this was the right choice. It’s an unfortunate truth we have to share with our children, but governments and rulers don’t always make the right choices (shocking, I know). Finally, tell your children the truth about the differences between men and women and why God designed a family to be a man, a woman, and children. (I’ll list some resources below to help with this discussion). It helps children to know this truth from a young age given all the press in our media trying to convince them of the virtues of alternative lifestyles.

2. Show your children how to show the love of Christ to gay people. We should take a lot of comfort in the fact that it’s not our job to judge people. When I was in university, I took a job where my immediate superior was another student who identified himself as a homosexual. I asked the Lord how I should interact with my new boss. He told me to be his friend and to respect the authority of his position. I did that. I became his friend and we got along wonderfully. The truth was, he was really good at his job, and it was easy to follow his lead because he was doing a great job. I don’t think we should be afraid of befriending homosexuals or teaching our children how to befriend them in healthy and beneficial ways. It’s true that we need to approach friendships carefully (whether they be with homosexuals or heterosexuals) and who we allow to spend time (especially time alone) with our kids. This is a topic for spouses to discuss. But please don’t let fear steal a chance to show a homosexual Christ’s love. The truth is, homosexuals are hurting people who need the truth of the Gospel. They are living a lifestyle of sexual immorality – the consequences of which are devastating. At the same time, I know many heterosexual Christians who are living in a similar state of sexual immorality. And as the church we embrace them.

3. Don’t be intimidated. Like I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of emotional hype in the media right now concerning this decision. Don’t let it take you for a ride. Keep calm and parent on. The truth is, God is on His throne and He still calls the shots. A couple months ago I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Michael Brown speak in Singapore. He had a great insight about the LGBT agenda in the U.S. As a way of paraphrase, he said we shouldn’t fear the separation that will come between the people who interpret the scripture (about homosexuality) through the lens of culture and those who will follow God’s word in spirit and in truth. There is some separation happening in the church right now. Which side do you want your family to end up on? Finally, don’t let the enemy intimidate you by the Supreme Court’s decision. Instead of responding in fear, take this opportunity to ask the Lord how to respond. And finally, speak to your children. Help them to know the truth of God’s word and what He has to say about homosexuality. Let them know the truth and let the truth set them free from all the confusion encapsulating this issue. To quote Rick Warren, “truth, is still truth, no matter how many people doubt it. I may deny the law of gravity, but it doesn’t change gravity. And just because we break God’s laws, does not invalidate them.” Don’t be afraid to share the truth with your kids. Kingdoms will fall and rulings will be forgotten, but the word of God will stand.

One final thought: be prayerful as you address this issue with your children. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and answers. Ask Him how your family should respond to this ruling.

Below I’ve listed some articles and books I’ve found really helpful in discussing the issue of homosexuality in light of our current culture. I hope you find them helpful!

Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage by Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet
God’s Design for Sex Series by Stan and Brenna Jones (Book 3 – What’s the Big Deal – has a chapter specifically about homosexuality)
Focus on the Family’s How to Talk to Your Kids about Homosexuality
Interview with John Stonestreet webinar by Generations of Virtue
Short video with Dr. Michael Brown explaining the context of the Levitical scriptures

– Megan Briggs

Megan joined the Generations of Virtue team to become the Product Manager, a position which keeps her busy researching, reading resources, managing inventory and speaking to young people.