The Dating Apocalypse

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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.

Parenting, Perseverance and Porn

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If there is one virtue parents need when they decide to help their children pursue a lifestyle of purity, it is perseverance.

Recently a parent confided that despite her best efforts to keep her child away from pornography (teaching about the harmful effects, installing filtering software, being careful with media choices, etc.), she discovered her child had in fact searched for it. Thankfully, this parent had monitoring software installed on her child’s device, so she was able to tell quickly after the incident happened, what had actually happened. (For a good monitoring software, please check out our top pick: Covenant Eyes)

This parent was wise in her reaction. She didn’t respond in anger or shock, but waited a little while until she could calmly talk to her child about it. As she recounted the story, she was visibly upset. And rightfully so. It’s so traumatizing to know your child has searched out porn. It is shocking and very sad. It can make you feel like you have failed. Especially if you were taking steps to prevent this occurrence.

The temptation is to throw in the towel and say “well, I guess it didn’t work”. Please don’t do this, mom and dad. This would essentially be communicating to your son or daughter that he or she is not worth fighting for. It would also reinforce the myth that pornography addiction is not something you can overcome. Your kids need you to fight for them. They need you to roll with the punches and get back up when failure comes. They need you to remind them that there is nothing Christ has not forgiven and there is nothing that He did not overcome. And this ability to overcome He gives to us, too. Your kids need you to have relentless hope for them. They need you to pray for them and believe the best for them even when they can’t believe it themselves.

Perseverance is an essential element of relentless hope. When you hope for the very best for your kids, you start thinking that despite all the circumstances, despite what I see, despite all the evidence stacked up against me and my children, I choose to believe that we can pursue God’s holiness. We can seek to be like Him. We can overcome everything that is causing us to stumble. We can do this because of the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is a promise in scripture I encourage you to pray over your situation if you find yourself struggling to persevere. Galatians 6:9 says “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

I pray the Lord blesses you and keeps you and helps you to persevere as you raise your children. I am convinced you will reap a very great harvest if you don’t give up.

– 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.