Take God out of the equation.
The first time I felt like I had a grasp on this concept of the Secular World was when I learned about the Purity Myth, first a book by feminist blogger Jessica Valenti and eventually projected into documentary form. In this multi-layered, political discussion, I extracted a theme: a woman’s purity is not defined by her sexual conduct. Valenti argues that women’s moral compass resides in their behavior and how they treat others, not “in between their legs.”
Unsurprisingly, Valenti’s argument makes perfect sense to me. Why should you predict an individual to be more ‘pure’ if they wait until marriage to have sex? How is one’s sexual life even relevant?
Well, in my understanding, a pure individual is one who obeys God. Of the things there is to obey, yes, abstinence until marriage falls under the list so I suppose, indirectly, purity equates to the absence of premarital sex.
But then I pictured the Secular World. There is no higher being to be submissive to. Therefore, chastity loses value. There is no point in staying a virgin until marriage – personal preferences aside – if there is no God to be obedient to. In the Secular World, with no link between chastity and purity, Valenti’s argument holds water.
But to me, the Secular World is a myth. It is a false, deceitful realm because God does exist. But to non-Christians, it is reality and because of that, I feel like a war has developed between the Secular World and the Christian World. People like Valenti argue against the logic of Godly morality when they don’t even believe in the God who designed that morality. Meanwhile, Christians try to argue back with their own support against people who don’t even put themselves under God’s authority. There’s something wrong here and when I discussed it further with my beloved co-blogger, Savvy, she really hit the nail on the head with what the problem was.
This war has become cultural. As Savvy cleverly articulated, we tend to see “our world, our politics, and our human reasoning” (inherent in the Purity Myth) as maintainers of ‘Christianity’ or ‘secularism.’ When, in reality, these issues begin with the internal, with the heart and mind.
When we’re talking about the Secular World versus the Christian World, the distinction is, “more fundamental: It’s whether or not we are autonomous selves who define our own identity [which, I guess, includes our conduct], or whether we’re creatures who are defined by a creator” (Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary).
Although these differences feed into our culture, it’s discussions like the ones surrounding the Purity Myth that make me think we’re too quick to forget where all these disagreements come from.
Not from the presidents we vote for, not from the education we adhere to, not from the abstinence programs we push for in schools; but from the spirit inside you that dictates what’s right and wrong in the world you live in.