As a quick Google search will show, there have been a number of similar incidents in the U.S. in recent years, so much so that the topic has become fodder for an SNL skit. (Watch it here)
I hesitated to post the skit, but it needs to be seen to appreciate the point.
Humor is used for many things. It can work like a metal jacket, covering bullets of ridicule, enabling insults to penetrate into places they otherwise couldn’t go. But the SNL skit shows that it can also inadvertently bring to light deep insights into people’s views about morality and humanity, and where those views can lead.
The skit exposes the real consequences of a thoroughly secular worldview the way an August sun exposes the contents of an open dumpster next to your campsite after it had gone unnoticed in the coolness of the night.
Think about the ideas that lie under the veneer of humor in the skit:
- A mother’s desire for her son to stay sexually pure is just sappy sentimentality.
- Dads should take pride in their sons' promiscuity (as long as the girl is “hot”).
- There’s nothing morally wrong with a thirty-something high school teacher having sex with one of her students.
- The idea that sex outside marriage is immoral used to have a grip on most people in our culture, but if you’re savvy and cool enough, you know this is just a crutch for the socially and sexually inept.
Humor usually centers on a critique of something that’s misplaced or incompatible with its setting, like a hardened military commander teaching kindergarten, or an elderly grandmother coaching a football team. The humor comes in the picture of one thing operating in a realm where it’s not supposed to be. The incompatible combination in the skit is morality and sex; it’s thought that these two don’t belong together.
In light of this, the idea that stands out like a golf-ball-sized neck tumor is that, in a truly secular view, human nature in general (like sex) is reduced to nothing but physiological urges.
For many people around the world, throughout most cultures and eras of history, one of the most basic beliefs about what makes humans human is that we are composite creatures made of spirit and flesh. And generally what defines the “good life,” and what distinguishes good people from bad is the ordering of the flesh by the spirit for the sake of the Good—in other words, one’s willingness to control the animal urges of the body with the mind or will. Conscience should master craving. This is a central idea in the teachings of Plato and Aristotle, which is also taught throughout the Bible, and historically ratified in the life and resurrection of Christ.
The crucial thing to see is that the trajectory of this teaching is one that leads to a more spiritually robust life. The more we control our urge for sex for the sake of chastity, then in marriage we realize the richness, gravity and grandeur of sex as it is supposed to be. The more we control our urge for self interest of any kind for the sake of serving someone else, the more we realize the vitality infused into our lives as we are used to make other lives better. The more urges are resisted for the sake of the Good, the more a person experiences the good life.
But, as the skit shows so well, in the popular secular view, we are only urges. And the good life is defined by how well we can avoid the restraints that keep us from gratifying them. For the most part, this is why the passing of abortion and gay rights laws are so celebrated—because they remove restraints that prevent the gratification of an urge, and so make for a more “free” society. Such laws can be billed as victories for “justice” and “freedom” only when urges are allowed to form morality, not the other way around.
Those whose view of the world is exemplified by the SNL skit are the moral and psychological equivalents of a drooling 3-year-old who giggles with his preschool buddy as they squish and smear the contents of an un-flushed toilet on a bathroom wall. They have no idea of what they’re really doing, and no concept of how far beneath the ideal of human dignity it is. But in their minds, it really is funny.