21 June 2014

Culture vs. Biology

Free  Northerner:
God blessed most with a sexual drive and a holy desire to become one flesh with another. To demand abstinence until some point in their 20′s or 30′s from those not given to singleness is cruel, destructive, unrealistic, unbiblical, and satanic. The focus on abstinence hands the devil a strong hold over young adults in which to subvert their holy desires into unholy ones. 
One of the major problems with the modern church is the unbiblical emphasis on abstinence. Abstinence should never be an issue in the church. If two Christian young adults want sex with each other, their parents should rejoice and bring them before the altar post-haste. 
Is it any wonder the unchurched are repulsed by such a hideous doctrine as abstinence?
While this analysis is a little heavy-handed, it's also a tad ignorant.  Cue Steve Sailer:
Clark’s last book, 2007’s A Farewell to Alms, updated Malthus by using troves of English wills from 1200 to 1800 to document that the English were already following Malthus’s 1798 advice to restrain their breeding—they had been delaying marriage until they could afford it. The average age of marriage for Englishwomen from 1200 to 1800 was around 25, about 7 years older than in China. Not surprisingly, China had far more famines. [Emphasis added.]
The doctrine of delayed abstinence until marriage is not a church doctrine per se but an Anglo-Saxon cultural doctrine that's been adopted by the modern American church.  This is neither right nor wrong, since Biblical principles are meant to be adapted to specific cultures.  By the same token, the advice to marry young is neither right nor wrong, but is simply an application of a broader principle with a slightly different value proposition.

From my own personal observation, people who marry young, and have lots of children young, tend to be poorer and less materially successful than those who delay marriage and childbearing.  They do not seem to be more or less spiritual than those who delay marriage and children, but then I'm hardly the final judge of the matter.

Now, material success is by no means a foolproof indicator of moral uprightness, though God has occasionally promised prosperity to those who are obedient to him.  That said, it's important to note that delayed marriage and childbearing does have some important social and personal benefits.

As Steve Sailer notes, one of the main social benefits of a delayed marriage and the consequent restrained breeding is that there tends to be fewer famines.  This is accomplished in two ways.  First, people spend more of their peak productive years accumulating and improving resources, and increasing their provisions.  Second, people don't draw on accumulated capital and provisions until later in life than would otherwise be the case.  Consequently, this means that people have fewer children and greater means with which to provide for them, leading to fewer economic hardships.  Rapidly expansive populations, in contrast, tend to spend more time making children and less time providing for them, which has an unfortunate and occasionally deadly tendency to lead to severe resource shortages.

Ultimately, what we have is a tension between two principles.  On the one hand, having lots of children early and often is a good thing.  On the other hand, providing for one's children is a good thing.  The reality of living in a finite world is that children consume scarce resources and so the more children you have the more difficult it becomes to provide for them.  Balancing this tension requires making provision for both the natural desire for sex and procreation, and a long-term view of providing for one's family.

Marrying young, so as to satisfy sexual desires isn't necessarily wrong, but it can be a little short-sighted.  There isn't anything wrong with short-sightedness, but God doesn't seem to be very impressed with it.  He doesn't hate short-sightedness, either: Samson's listed as a paragon of faith in Hebrews 11, after all.  If anything, he seems more or less neutral on the matter.  However, the doctrine of marrying young and banging out lots of children does have its consequences, and it's simply foolish to pretend they don't exist, or to not disclose them when offering advice to those contemplating marriage at a young age.