I spoke to a friend yesterday on the phone. I worked with him on a campaign a few years back and he calls now and again. Inevitably, our conversation returns to Catholicism after some jokes and old stories. I seem to be the only practicing Catholic in his life and as a lapsed Catholic he seems to take some delight in questioning me harshly about the Church.
He still believes in God and considers himself religious but not tied to all those medieval rules like I am. He says things like Jesus wants us all to love. He didn’t care about all those rules.
He asks me things like, “So how many children do you have now? Any more in the past few weeks.” You know, stuff like that. Now, don’t get me wrong he’s an intelligent and funny guy with a strong work ethic and I (sometimes) enjoy our conversations.
He mentioned the new Seven Deadly Sins in a derogatory manner and I quickly explained to him that was only a media story with no basis in fact.
And then came the topic that quite frankly I was surprised he brought it up as it seems to be fodder for my argumentation. He raised the fact that 25 percent of young teen women have suffered STD’s. I agreed that the statistic was alarming and then he surprised me by blaming the Church.
His reasoning was that as a society we needed more free condom distribution, earlier sex education, safer sex.
I pointed out that the rise in STD’s seems to coincide neatly with the rise of condom distribution and early sex education. And that it seemed to me that the best way to avoid an STD was to avoid casual sex.
“Oh come on,” he said. “You can’t be serious.” I assured him I was.
“What’s so wrong with two people getting together and having a little sex?” he asked.
Now besides not knowing what a little sex even means, I could’ve gone a million ways with this but after a while I get a little tired of being his own apolegetics manual. So I turned it on him.
Forget asking what’s so wrong about some random sex. How about, “You tell me what’s so right about a little sex? I mean you seem to believe that Jesus was born and preached to us a radical all consuming love for each other.”
He said he did so I repeated my question. “The question shouldn’t be what’s so wrong with casual sex but what’s so right about it.”
Does our religion push us towards a higher love where we accept the other person completely and unselfishly? Or is it pushing a pleasurable human skirmish?
“So what’s so right about it in light of what your professed religion asks of you?” I asked.
He gave a mockery of an answer saying that “nobody gets hurt and everyone enjoys themselves.”
First, I reminded him of the 25 percent of teens with STD’s and asked him how that correlated with the nobody getting hurt. But I added that Jesus didn’t tell us to not hurt each other too bad. He told us to actively love one another -completely.
He didn’t have an answer for that.
It seems to me that so much of Christianity comes down to not using people as a means to an end. The fact of consent seems to me to be completely besides the point. A drug dealer can say this person bought the drugs from me and consented. I consented to sell and they consented to buy. It doesn’t make it moral. It doesn’t make it loving.
Many things we do are wrong because they fall short of what’s right. It’s people using people. And no amount of pharmacology or condoms or rationalizations can change that.