In todays Spectrum there was an article in the Essay section on the fairytale of monogamy. I couldnt find a link on the SMH site, but they essay is by Judith Ireland and they may post it in the next day or two.
I love the essays in Spectrum, always engaging and always challenging. Here are 3 reflections on todays article.
1. We need to learn our heritage before we criticize it.
Throughout this article there seems to be confusion as to why “monogamy is held up as society’s ideal”. There is a brief mention to Dr. Weerakoon and Kamal weekakoon’s observations that “Our bodies are wired to operate best with one sexual partner for life”, but beyond that single quote there is no delving into how this ‘ideal’ came to be deeply entrenched in the Western world.
Perhaps it is our Christian heritage that has crafted such a view to monogamy. And therefore a helpful place to start would be a genuine investigation as to why the Bible may make such a claim.
One unfortunate result of the West becoming a ‘post-Christian’ society is that we have become Biblically illiterate. We question and query our social heritage without taking the time to give serious research into the words that have shaped it.
Any serious questioning of the Western World cannot stick its head in the sand and avoid the person of Jesus. I’ll be the first to admit that people don’t have to agree with Jesus, but we can’t simply throw our hands up in the air and say that the West’s obsession with monogamy is a mystery.
2. If we become any more soft we’ll be jelly.
The premise for this article was a confusion over why as a society we have softened on drugs, illicit sex tapes, violence and blood diamonds but we have not softened our view towards adultery.
Could it be that instead of asking why our acceptance of adultery hasn’t caught up with our acceptance of other social ills, we should be asking why as a society we are softening our expectations of our neighbour? Especially those who reside in Hollywood? I agree 100% with the social observations that the article has made. But why does this mean we should soften on adultery rather than be challenged to harden up on our approach to destructive drugs, violence and trade abuse?
3. I know my dog because he eats PAL and poo’s on the lawn.
Holly Hill is given two paragraphs in this article. Holly spent a year as a mistress-for-hire and has experienced infidelity in her own life. She argues that men should be allowed to ‘get their rocks off’ now and then, adultery is healthy for men. She concludes; “It’s better to walk the dog on a leash than let it escape through an unseen hole in the back fence”.
Once again, I agree 100% with her view on dogs. I’ve recently planted a large vegetable garden and to think a dog may get into my yard and destroy the hard work makes me all the more supportive of leashes!
But as a man, I am not a dog.
To set the bar of expectations for men in our society so low is an insult not only to the men in our society but to the wives and girlfriends they must be ‘leashed’ by. I wonder whether we could ask more of our men, perhaps even demand that they show responsibility and self control.
One of the main reasons I love the Bible is that it gives a genuine and deep framework to the complex workings of people and societies. Judith titled her article; Cheating Hearts and to be fair she hit the nail on the head.
The Bible doesnt paint humans as evil, hell bent barbarians. Yet at the same time it doesnt paint us as saints either. Instead humanity is explained as being made in the image of God – wonderful in our capacity and creativity. Yet at the same time we are cursed by the consequence of sin.
We are amazing creatures with a terrible problem.
One massive consequence of our sin is an inward focussed gaze, or to put it another way; we are selfish.
Our hearts will always seek self above and before the other. And in the process of doing this we will rationalise and justify our actions as being ok. The voice of the majority, biology, pleasure or happiness are always great tools in the chamber of a selfish heart.
Could it be that our ability to elaborately justify adultery is again another example that we are amazing creatures with a terrible problem?