Joe Carter provides some thoughtful suggestions on sex education. He suggests that it is more important to teach children how to make moral decisions than it is to indoctrinate them into the particular solution you want them to accept.
If forced to choose I would be firmly on the abstinence only side. But I believe the debate is rooted in a misguided focus on a false dilemma. Both approaches are primarily concerned with indoctrination toward a particular viewpoint and inoculation against the effects of certain behavior. Neither is concerned with providing an “education”, in the truest sense of the term. The abstinence advocates, for example, want teens to “just say no” while the comprehensive crowd want students to “just wear a condom.” Both are more concerned about “effectiveness” than with teaching teens how to think for themselves about human sexuality.
I couldn’t agree more. I do, however, have one bone to pick. Why do certain conservatives have to find in practically everything a reason to attack the theory of evolution? Under heading Teleology Carter asks:
. . . Is sex a gift from a benevolent Creator or merely evolution’s way of tricking us into passing on our genetic material? . . .
Perhaps we might instead ask whether my responsibility to deal responsibly with what I have is dependent on the precise process by which I got it. Is my responsibility to be sexually responsible diminished if I am the product of evolution? I don’t think so, and I wonder about the “responsibility circuits” of those who think it is.
To add a slightly different angle to this, I wonder why it is that Christians so often talk negatively about sex. By this I don’t mean that suggesting abstinence or fidelity is a negative way of talking. In fact, I believe that we have in Christianity fine ways to talk about joy and sexual fulfilment in a positive relationship. I think we would accomplish more by extolling the joys of committed relationships rather than railing against the evils of promiscuity. And note, again, that I do regard promiscuity as harmful.
Let me ramble around one more corner. In an article titled Uganda’s Early Gains Against HIV Eroding, the Washington Post reports that early efforts against AIDS in Uganda were very successful, but that success has begun to erode. What were the characteristics of the early anti-HIV programs? At a concert shortly before he died, singer Philly Lutaaya performed a farewell concert and . . .
[b]etween songs, he warned the stunned crowd that having several sex partners was a sure way to die in the age of AIDS, echoing pleas also made by political and religious leaders of the time.
This fidelity, in the case of Uganda included asking polygamous families to remain with their circle of wives. The spread of AIDS was reduced by sticking to fidelity. Surely this is a message that Christians could get ahold of.