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June 07, 2010


dr dobson

Great post, Greg. The phrase, "What has to happen, and Brennan makes the point well, is that men and women have to trust and respect each other, and individuals have to take responsibility for their own character development" can and should also apply to the very method of "belief" within the church.

Until people actually hold each other to the accountable standard of having a brain (at least), then the church will rarely, if ever get out of its own way. Fear and an ethic that is nothing more than, "Be careful little eyes what you see [etc]" are more often than not atop the highest post in the church roost and that is simply unfortunate.


You know, as a single (never married, not by choice) woman in my late thirties, I'd love to see a "sexual ethics directed at single women who now get married as late as 30" which maintains a high view of marriage and sex within it, and doesn't treat my (quite strong) sex drive as something that can't be expressed as a vital part of who I am *without having sex.* I'm worth more than having sex with a man who isn't willing to commit. I'd love to see a frank, realistic, and practical sexual ethics that doesn't just encourage me to settle with discretion.

Greg Horton

Jennifer, that's an excellent point. I do have friends in their 30's and even much older who have chosen not to have sex for various reasons, and I completely respect that choice. I hope I don't sound as if I'm encouraging promiscuity or "settling," because my intention is to encourage a frank discussion about sex that includes the possibility that it's a healthy human function OUTSIDE of marriage as well. This is nearly impossible for Christians to believe, and I certainly understand the rubric within which they operate; however, a rule so flagrantly and frequently broken needs to be reassessed in light of human behavior, the independence of women, the access to birth control, and the possibility that some people simply don't want to marry but would like to be sexual beings.


Jennifer / Greg,

It seems like that's part of the answer this book is suggesting...single people, who dont wish to have sex, can still find an experience of intimacy with the opposite sex in close friendship. I dont mean to say that marriage is just friendship intimacy + sex...it's more than that. But, there is an intimacy possible in friendship that can be very satisfying.

Greg Horton

JennR, agreed. He does highlight that. The mutual trust within the marriage relationship is the hurdle when it comes to married/single friendship, which I've found to be remarkably rewarding

Sent from my iPhone


Greg, how does Brennan recommend that we go about instilling this mutual respect and moral responsibility in men and women? Because there again, in my experience, is a huge part of the problem. The "six inch rule" can be just as effective at instilling guilt when it is used to "teach" moral responsibility as when it is used as a fence. I have not seen positive teaching on mutual respect and moral responsibility in the Church. (Which is not to say it doesn't exist.) I've just seen the negatives or abdication of teaching those values altogether.

Greg Horton

Z, he says up front that he is not offering a system, rather talking around the edges of what could/ought to be. I don't know that anyone has concocted a system to make virtuous people yet. It seems to be the thorn in the side of all religious and non-religious systems that offer an ethical model.


Yeah, it's a lot easier to offer a system to create a virtuous community (for some suitably arbitrary definition of "virtue") than to systematize a bunch of people each individually navigating their own internal landscapes. When carrot and stick aren't sufficient, how can you possibly impose that from the outside?

Dan Brennan

Greg, thank you so much for this fair and authentic review of my book. I really appreciated your serious interaction with it.

Greg Horton

Dan, thanks for stopping by. Good luck with the shitstorm. For what it's worth, you seem like the kind of Christian who doesn't destroy my faith in theists.

Dan Brennan

Thanks Greg! Actually, it does mean a lot! You have perceptive insight into the fundangelical dynamics and my love/hate relationship with fundangelicals.
:-) You also have right about the ongoing shitstorm. The control/chaos is pretty huge on this subject.

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