Timothy Richard Tebow. He's been a media Christ-figure, a role model to millions, all while being subject to the ridicule of as many keyboard warriors as Michael Vick. What does this all mean? What is it about this man in particular that inspires, and conversely, infuriates so many people?
We could talk all day about his lack of proper mechanics, quarterback IQ, and ability to avoid getting put on his back. We could talk all day about how, despite these flaws, he's become the starting quarterback of a surprising dark horse in the AFC West. We could discuss his work ethic, drive, and apparent unfailing resilience to criticism. However, none of those things are what Tebow is known for, are they?
The sexual exploits and morality of Tebow rival his athletic prowess in drawing media attention. He's a devout Christian, an admitted virgin, and hence, the model citizen for parents of children across America to support and to inspire their children with.
What does this say about how we define morality in America? Pre-marital sex, that must be bad. Christianity, well that HAS to be a good thing, right? I mean, from where else could you possibly draw moral aptitude?
I never fail to mention that I believe the moral code of Jesus, as written about in the New Testament, is valid, progressive, and applicable to life today. However, that's really not what Christianity is in this country is it? Forget, the morality of the Old Testament God (who ironically is the same person as Jesus even though their moral code are completely paradoxical). That guy, well, to say that he doesn't live up to the moral code of Garfield, let alone humanity. When reading the OT, one struggles to find any difference between God and the girlfriend you had at 15 that demanded worship, calling every day, and if you didn't blindly neglect your search for knowledge and follow everything she said would damn you eternally to hell, but loved you deeply. Well, maybe that last part detaches them a bit. However, the moral code of Christianity today isn't that of the Old or New Testament, is it?
In America, in contrast to the Old Testament, you can approach the altar of God if you're lame, you don't get burned at the stake if you are a preacher's daughter and have sex, you can eat pork and shellfish, you can wear clothes of more than one fabric, you are actually encouraged to shave and cut your hair (when it's not November), homosexuality is becoming more widely accepted with the introduction of the public to biology (albeit slow), genocide is usually frowned upon, and having 700 wives and 300 concubines isn't acceptable, even for the most prominent public figures. Just ask Tiger.
In America, in contrast to the New Testament, again, homosexuality is becoming more accepted (although Jesus never spoke on it and Paul, or shall I say those claiming to be Paul, referred to "indecent acts with other men," which apparently included homosexual relations but not slavery), women's suffrage began the end of sexual oppression, blatant slavery is now condemned, etc.
It has become clear that the moral Zeitgeist in this age has surpassed that of the Bible. So, one must in good reason deduce that morality is inherent in our evolution, not given to us by a higher power. If God was an American in these days, he would undoubtedly be in prison. If Paul lived in America, well, he'd probably live in Texas and fit in just fine.
However, the Christian monopoly the founding fathers vehemently opposed has reared it's ugly head and now not only affects legislation, but what morals we attribute to a "good person." Sexual restriction (which supports the theory that infers religion has become a mating strategy), going to Church, conservatism, humility, etc. To me this isn't all bad, like I said, Jesus seemed like a pretty alright dude. So are these things really good? Is the Christian lifestyle really formulated by a sentient, omnipotent, omniscient, being that knows best?
I, obviously don't believe so.
Good Christians? Evil Atheists?
First, and by far the most telling display of the hypocrisy of the myth of the "good Christian" is defined in he U.S. prison population. Christians make up roughly 75% of the country based on some polls and that is reflected in the prison population. Conversely, atheists make up somewhere between 10% and 20% of the American population, and less than 1% of the prison population. Listen, I know what you're going to say, "Well, those people are in jail, they're not real Christians." However, please also note how hypocritical that sounds when you are clamoring about forgiveness, second chances, and accepting Jesus in your life. In my opinion, this data is more reflective of the evolutionary success of liberals in generally being able to avoid growing up in high poverty areas without an appropriate education or job opportunities which makes these areas breeding grounds for both crime and religion (coincidence?).
Alan Moore once said, "Sexually progressive cultures gave us mathematics, literature, philosophy, civilization and the rest, while sexually restrictive cultures gave us the Dark Ages and the Holocaust."
Why is open sexuality so frowned upon by Christians. Is their religion a mating strategy? Is it because of the spread of disease? Is it because abstinence is the best method of preventing teen pregnancies? Is it because the Bible says, "NO!" to any pre- or extramarital sexual exploits?
Well let's address all of those.
1. Religion as a mating strategy: In a study by Kenrick, Weeden, and Cohen of 902 students at 4 American Universities published in Evolution and Human Behavior, when controlling for sexual and family values, other values related to morality such as stealing, lying, etc., were not correlated to religious attendance. Expanding on this study, another study was done published in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology finding that piety, in both men in women, was linked to the perception of a large amount of attractive same-sex fellow students.
So what could this mean?
Well, this means that conservative views on sexuality and family are fundamental in religiosity. More importantly, this suggests that conservative sexual values may be what influences people to seek out religious affiliation, rather than religious participation instilling a conservative sexual ideology. Think, if you knew you were a small fish in a big pond, would it not be most beneficial to bind a mate down with condemning sexual frivolity and endorsing marriage, children, etc.? This would also help to explain the religious aversion to drugs, which are interpreted as increasing sexual experimentation. Beneath the surface, you see how silly this hostility towards sexuality really is.
2. Spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Surely we must avoid sexual promiscuity because of the prevalence of STDs in our country. A large-scale, global study of sexuality was conducted by Professor Kaye Wellings of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and her colleagues. In the study, STDs were not found to be more prevalent in responders that reported having multiple partners. However, the spread of STDs was more prevalent in Africa, where sexual promiscuity isn't the culprit. It suggested that lack of education and adequate healthcare, as well as poverty are much better predictors of STD prevalence than is sexual promiscuity.
3. Abstinence Only!: Republicans in Wisconsin and other states across America continue to push for sexual education that is based solely on abstinence training. As if that isn't in direct disagreement with the separation of Church and State. Recent statistics show that the teenage pregnancy rate is as low as it has been in two decades. At 410,000 girls from age 15-19 in 2009, this is down 37% from 1991. This is in discord with the dogmatic belief that sexual responsibility lies only in rejecting it altogether. The amount of students using two forms of contraception increase from 5% to 9% and teens having sex without any form of contraception decreased from 16% to 12%.
In the Netherlands, where teen pregnancy and abortion rates are low, parents are much more likely to allow their teenagers to 'sleepover' with their significant others. The Dutch are much more open, rational, and less dramatic about sexuality, allowing teens to make informed decisions on whether they are ready without being stigmatized in an open forum with their parents. In short, just like as in drugs and alcohol, you cannot regulate what you prohibit.
4. Sexuality in the Bible: One could spend a year trying to make sense of sexuality in the Bible, especially when including its pagan origins, as well as the beginning of Christianity riddled with numerous cults. However, there are some interesting points to bring up.
In the Old Testament: Lot, to prevent angels from being raped, offers up two virgin daughters instead. Lot had sex with his daughters. Solomon, the wisest king, had 700 wives and 300 concubines. It's hard to fathom how two people could populate the entire world without multiple cases of incest. Ham butt-raped Noah. Judah had casual sex with a Canaanite.
In the New Testament, although Paul talks more about sexual immorality than Herman Cain says, "999," he never really outlines what exact acts are condemned. Certainly, he never said if you have sex before marriage it's wrong. What he does allude to is that sexual immorality can be avoided by marriage. He basically said that there are so many sexual temptations out there: sex with the same sex, animals, leather couches, that the only way to keep yourselves pure is to get married. And hey, that makes sense--married people do have more sex than non-married people.
This also helps to explain the conception of marriage in the Old Testament. Why would getting married be so important if not to prevent "sexual immorality?" Well, as we now know through sociological studies, there is an evolutionary reason. Marriage leads to a stable family environment (well, not always) which is the best setting for a child to grow up healthily and perpetuate your genetic code. However, there is no magic "favor switch" that God turns on when you say "I do." All that means is that a low-stress, supportive, financially adequate environment is conducive to healthy children. It has nothing to do with sexual preference or marriage.
Furthermore, like I've mentioned in previous posts, remember both Testaments were conceived to emancipate these religions from pagan rituals and customs that were their origins. Monotheism became the new, hot thing, and it wasn't long before everyone jumped on the train (or on the tracks).
There are many reasons to like Tim Tebow. He's a guy that doesn't have the most talent, instincts, or ability, but he has a good attitude, works hard, and finds a way to win. However, the notion that he's a virgin isn't one of those attributes that warrant exultation. So even though Newt Gingrich blames all America's problems on secularism and says we can't trust a president that doesn't pray, even though 80% of Republicans would not vote for an atheist president, even though more people won't vote for Mitt Romney because he's a Mormon than because he's a indecisive, bandwagoning corporate whore, maybe you should start considering whether your held beliefs are truly righteous. The world is progressing, with or without you.