I woke up this morning to a post shared on Facebook by my wife’s niece. The post was a commentary by a “sexologist” about the matter of a young woman named Alyssa Funke, who after “performing” in an amateur porn film, was shamed by former classmates and acquaintances, so much so that she wound up committing suicide. In the blogpost the issue was compared to the situation with Elliot Rodger, who committed multiple murders and assaults because women “would not go out with him”.
First, the loss of so many young, talented, promising lives should be mourned, and my most heartfelt sympathies go out to all of the families. Then we should ask the question, what caused this. In the blogpost, the sexologist wants to place the blame on a “double-standard” related to our concept of sexuality. I’m somewhat inclined to agree with her assessment, but not with her conclusion.
It is true, as a society, a society that still has the quivering remains of a Judeo-Christian ethic, we do have a schizophrenic attitude when it comes to sexual expression, but it is because we simultaneously want to hold onto what sex was designed for (the anchoring point of a stable and prosperous society through lifelong, heterosexual, monogamous expression that results in families), and what we think we want it to be (a free-for all, 31-flavors orgy). This schizophrenic attitude is best capture by the biblical writer James, and I paraphrase, “a double-minded person is unstable in all of their ways (James 1:8).” And as another person wisely put it, “Sex is a fire, a fire that will genuinely warm people when kept in it’s rightful place: in the hearth of the marriage bed. The problem is that when it is taken out, it will burn down one’s house.”
We want to pass the blame for both of these tragedies. We want to blame those who shamed young Alyssa, but ultimately the only person we can blame is her. The problem is that she probably saw the response that the young woman known as Belle Knox received and thought she would be received in the same way. Why did she think that? Could she not see that what that young woman recieved was neither good nor bad? But as I read the story, I noticed something, Alyssa was 19 years old, and her mother was listed as being 36 years old, and her father has a varied criminal record. This young woman’s life was set to go off the skids from day one.
But what about Elliot Rodger? The young man who committed murder and assault because no one would “go out with him”. The media wants to paint him as a victim, a person who the “system” failed; a young man with “emotional” problems. The blame get’s turned back on the women: why didn’t someone go out with him? My question: didn’t anyone ever tell this young man who he was, and what he needed? (News flash: it wasn’t necessarily just psychiatric care.)
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans made a broad, uncompromising statement, “...all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (3:23).” That statement was made on the heels of one that seems to capture the attitude of the present age to a tee, “Let us do evil (which is to violate the purpose of a thing or person) so that good may come (3:8).” The accumulating affect of sin (which is violating the law of God, which establishes purpose) is, ultimately, death (Romans 6:23). We can try to say it is because the choices and desires of these two young people did not come to pass in light of their choices, but did they make their choices because they were never exposed to truth, or the Author of it. We can attempt to blame Alyssa’s death and Elliot’s crimes, which ended in his own suicide, on a double-standard, or we can blame it on the fact that we have attempted to establish a second, vacillating standard, one apart from the true standard, and in doing so belittled and denied the true standard. Until, as a culture, we come to our senses, we can only expect such stories to continue to be repeated in the lives of countless young people. We truly have evidence in these two stories of sin paying off.