A few years ago, I read Degenerate Moderns, by E. Michael Jones,Â Catholic theologian and editor of Culture Wars.Â The book is, in essence, an elaborate and eloquentÂ ad hominem argument that the modernist thinking of Margaret Mead, John Maynard Keynes, Alfred Kinsey, and other thinkers — asÂ well as liberals in general — is rooted in sexual guilt.Â To quote from the book’s introduction,
The crucical intellectual event occurs…when vices are transmuted into theories, when the “intellectual” sets up shop in rebellion against the moral law and, therefore, in rebellion against the truth.Â All the modern “isms” follow as a direct result of this rebellion.Â All of them entail rationalization.Â All of them can be best understood in light of the moral disorder of their founders, proponents, and adherents.
…modernity was rationalized sexual misbehavior. All the intellectual and cultural breakthroughs of modernity were in some way or other linked to the sexual desires their progenitors knew to be illicit but which they chose nonetheless. Their theories were ultimately rationalizations of the choices they knew to be wrong.
I have heardÂ many timesÂ times, both at Church and on the blogs,Â that apostasy is rooted in sexual misbehavior. I usually push back at these suggestions, not because I believe they are wrong, but 1) because I think it’s bad form to go there unless the causal relationship is very apparent (not very often), and 2) I believe there are plenty of instances where chasteÂ people come by their questioning and crises of faith honestly.
Where Michael Jones feels comfortable speaking categorically about this causal relationship between a people’s sexual morality and their intellectual life and approach to authority, I am more hesitant- I see a lot of instances where honest departure from faith can allow people to redefine their sexuality more liberally, not the other way around.Â There is an old saying that nothing destroys faith like sin, and nothing builds faith like obedience. Â So what is it about sexual sin in particularÂ that makes us single itÂ out asÂ a cause of apostasy?