In my previous article, I wrote about the growing rallying cry among conservatives, especially Dennis Prager and his fellow intellects, about the crisis in marriage. Specifically, they argue frequently that marriage is the rite of passage which young people need to engage and embrace adulthood.
In fact, they go to great lengths to shame people that they need to get hitched, or they should be prepared to get ditched in this life. While the most enlightened conservative intellects have their opinions, the Bible is our standard for wisdom. In both the Old Testament, there are men and women who do great things for God, and they were never married (like the prophets Elijah and Elisha). In some cases, marriage or romance can hinder a man’s service to God (consider Samson and Delilah).
To recap the Biblical stance on singlehood, let’s refer back to what Paul the Apostle wrote to the Corinthians:
“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” (1 Corinthians 7:1)
Paul encouraged everyone to be like him: celibate, unmarried, committed to God’s work rather than raising a family. (1 Corinthians 7:6, 32-35). However, he assured the church that there is nothing wrong with being married:
“Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned.” (1 Corinthians 7:27-28)
Also, it’s worth nothing that just because someone is not married or does not want to get married, that does not mean that they are immature in some fashion. Marriage does not define or undermine adulthood.
The next question arises: why are conservative pundits determined for young people to get married?
Decades ago, academics argued that the world would struggle with overpopulation. As far back as the late 1700’s, Thomas Malthus predicted that demands from population growth would far exceed available resources and wealth.
Then came Industrial Revolution. More bountiful harvests with less work resulted from agricultural reforms. Mechanical ingenuity produced and transported goods better, faster, and cheaper. Families moved into bustling, teeming cities, where a growing network of commercial activity created higher demands, more work, and so on.
Larger families were no longer crucial, whereas agricultural families had reared many children to help with work on the far. The need for larger families tapered off. Fast forward to today, there’s an unprecedented number of younger people who don’t want to marry, especially among men. As a result, populations in Western countries are declining. “Get married! Have kids!” is an understandable reaction. A better response would assess more proximate causes.
The higher suicide rate among young people should concern us. The opioid crisis is wiping scores of people. Rampant violence among gangs, drug cartels, and even terrorism are wiping out people. Yet even removing these concerns, lots of people are not getting married for selfish reasons: they want to live their lives in the present, unencumbered by demands, etc.
Death has been a fact of life since man sinned, however. Populations in decline and in growth are a more frequent phenomenon than most people realize. Would anyone expect Japanese families to birth out large numbers of children when there is so little room for all those people in that country?
What’s really animating this “marriage crisis” for these conservatives?
They want to save Western culture at all costs. Married life as an institution bolsters conservatism in general. As they witness the growing moral malaise of the modern Western World, conservatives want to retain a strong, vibrant Western Civilization, and that requires a Mom and one Dad bringing new lives into the world. Conservatives are right to see declining marriage trends with concern. However, they are treating a major symptom rather healing the disease.
Why are people, especially men, avoiding marriage? Why is the culture in such decay? It’s not because more people are avoiding marriage.
The attack on manhood has turned off men to getting married and raising children. Third Wave Feminism has shamed and demeaned men as such. Rather than commanding respect in their homes, colleges and their Third Wave feminist acolytes have been taught to see men as the enemy. Who would want to marry someone with that kind of worldview? Legal institutions have inculcated this anti-male bias, drawn from decades of progressive indoctrination in colleges and graduate schools. In courts of law, the wife/mother is automatically entitled to half of everything just because she’s the wife. Following a divorce, the woman custody of the kids nine times out of ten.
Why is Western culture in decay?
God’s reign of grace and truth has been demeaned, rejected, and excluded. The Judeo-Christian ethic which makes civilization possible, which blesses and prospers married life, has fallen into disrepute. Children no longer learn about God the Father or His Son Jesus Christ, which was long ago routinely taught in public schools. Students no longer read the Bible and receive revelation from it. In those schools, teachers have replaced school prayer
While conservatives are alarmed about the decline in marriage, and the decline in population which has resulted from it, they need to focus on the fundamental disregard for God and His Majesty in our public as well as private lives. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)
Conservatives need to focus less on shaming men for not marrying, and they need to do more than merely promote its fringe benefits. Christ is the center of all happy marriages, and any society which wishes to foster this sacred institution must restore its sacred core and displace its secular degradation.
The cultural rot overwhelming our societies stems from national disregard for God’s grace and the Finished Work of His Son Jesus. When He is properly recognized as the Head of all Creation once again, then we will see Male and Female Great Again, and Marriages Strong and Abundant Again.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a blogger, writer, and commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow his blogs at The State of the Union and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.