Darrow Miller and Friends

Is the Culture War All About Sex?

culture war all about sex

“The culture war isn’t really about culture, and it never has been. It’s about sex.”

That’s Damon Linker’s provocative claim in his article, “What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex.”

Linker’s statement caught my attention. My initial reaction was Yes! But on thinking further I thought No! And finally I decided, Yes and No!

No, the culture war is not about sex. It is about conflicting belief systems that lead to what Samuel P. Huntington called the “clash of civilizations.” And, of course, belief systems define all of life, including our sexuality. In the West today the clash is between Judeo-Christianity and post-Christian culture.

On the other hand, yes, the culture war is about sex. The heat in the culture war is generated by issues of sex. This war is not merely a clash of civilizations; it is a clash of behaviors that, at their most basic level, are about sex. Differing belief systems will see the nature and role of sexuality in radically different and mostly incompatible ways. This distinction could be simply described as a “hook-up” culture vs. a culture of glorious intimacy.

I have repeatedly said that no one embraces atheism for metaphysical reasons: they don’t decide in some impassive, philosophical fashion to deny God’s existence. God has clearly revealed himself in what he has made. The universe is so precise that the slightest variance in any number of areas would mean that life could not exist. The cosmology of the universe is evidence enough of the existence of the Creator. There are no grounds for people to reject God from lack of evidence. People are atheists because of sex! They want to be able to engage in sex as if they were merely animals, without moral constraint.

The culture war is ultimately driven by sacred belief systems—worldviews. Today, three major worldviews compete for adherents: Judeo-Christian Theism, Pagan Humanism and Pagan Animism. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:18-24,

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made [Judeo-Christian Theism], so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being [Pagan Humanism] and birds and animals and reptiles [Pagan Animism].

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

Note the significant behavioral consequence for suppressing the truth. The worship of man (Modernism) and the worship of nature (Neo-Paganism) are reflected in our sexuality. Judeo-Christian theism leads to a culture of life the other two lead to a culture of death. One presents a transcendent beauty of sexuality. The other leads to dehumanized and debased sexuality—a hook-up culture and date rape—and millions of aborted children.

Professor Harvey Mansfield of Harvard University published a cogent and well-written piece, “Feminism and Its Discontents: ‘Rape Culture’ at Harvard.” Mansfield describes the competing concepts of sexuality in terms of “modesty” vs. “good sex.”

Modesty is related to one’s character and is derived from the Judeo-Christian framework where human beings are imago Dei and our sexual identity of male and female is derived from the transcendent masculine and feminine. Our understanding of sexuality in the physical realm flows from the larger and splendid vision of love, family formation, and cultural creation.

Believe or not, the virtue of modesty, not much in vogue these days, was at one time the hallmark of feminists! Because feminism, in its first iteration, meant something very different from what it means today.

A first-wave feminist, Lydia Sigourney wrote much on modesty. She saw, as we seldom see today, the transcendent nature of feminine, and the need to cultivate that nature. She understood the importance of inward adornment and not merely outward adornment. She writes:

She who contemplates her own image too constantly, will be less disposed for higher subjects of thought. Neatness, comfort, and a becoming costume, are objects worthy of attention. But a profusion of ornament, is neither necessary nor graceful to the young. There is a beauty in their own fair season of life, and in the sweet and happy temperament which ought to accompany it, that strikes more strongly on the heart, than “gold or pearls, or costly array.” A showy style of dress, is peculiarly inappropriate to those who are pursuing their education. It indicates that something besides study, has taken possession of the heart.[1]

Note that modesty is an internal character, a virtue based on transcendent nature. Modesty lived out manifests itself in external fashion and behavior. Sigourney contrasts the virtue of modesty with mere external adornment. The former has gravitas, and reveals character and nature. The latter is insubstantial, revealing a very different nature.

In previous generations women were expected to be modest. They were to protect themselves and their lovely sex by their modest behavior. Men were to respect women and look out for their interests. Men were expected to be gentlemen. Do not the words modesty and gentlemanliness sound strange to the ears of our generation?

Today, too many males are bereft of these values and disciplines. They function as brutes, more like animals than like gentlemen. Some women are known as “bad girls” because they are available and easy. Women are too often seen as objects to be conquered and men as the conquerors.

Mansfield’s term “good sex” is derived from one of the pagan cultures in which there is no transcendence; human beings are merely animals who do what feels good. “Good sex” has nothing to do with character and everything to do with techniques. It has nothing to do with transcendent vision and everything to do with what C.S. Lewis called “four legs in a bed.” It has nothing to do with a whole life, family, and community; it has everything to do with narcissism and instant gratification. It has little to do with living for others and everything to do with living for self. It has nothing to do with monogamous fidelity and everything to do with pleasure by all means and at all cost.

It was the Western adaptation of the secular worldview that birthed radical feminism and changed sexuality from modesty to “good sex.” In the secular worldview, there is no transcendence and thus no transcendent nature. Men and women are equal and therefore the same. Sex is 24/7 without consequences. Instead of men being called to a higher standard of virtue, restraint, and gentlemanliness, women were enticed to the lower, brutish standard of unprincipled men.

We have entered the world of the hook-up culture. Men and women often “dress to kill,” get raging drunk, hook-up and walk away. The chorus from The Bloodhound Gang’s song, the “Bad Touch,” says it all:

You and me baby we ain’t nothin’ but mammals

So let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel

Do it again now

You and me baby we ain’t nothin’ but mammals

So let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel

Gettin’ horny now[2]

The modern world sees the loss of sexual restraint as progress; it is, in fact, regression.

It was Judeo-Christianity that broke the pack of pagan culture and the debased sexuality derived from that culture.

The Jews were, to use Dennis Prager’s term, sexual deviants: they deviated from the anarchy of pagan sexuality and began to restore the Creation Order. God’s view of human sexuality is high and beautiful. The Song of Songs in the Hebrew Old Testament is one of the most beautiful pieces of poetry about sexuality ever written, and has a  civilizing effect on society.

After the death and resurrection of Christ, the triumph of Christianity over the pagan Roman culture brought a higher vision and standard of sexuality. The sacredness of marriage and sexuality led to a growing respect for women, civilizing of the human, and ultimately of whole societies. Think of the uncivilized treatment throughout the world today: sex trafficking, female infanticide, gendercide, female genital mutilation, honor killing, etc.

Now we have the return of pagan culture. First, modernism brought us a pagan humanism (the worship of man) and now more recently we see post-modernism’s pagan animism (the worship of nature). The effect of this two-phase pagan revival has been the erosion of sexuality to its current low point: date rape and casual hook-ups.

As I have argued elsewhere, the goal of the second-wave feminists of the latter half of the 20th century was to be like men. The way to be most like a man is to be un-pregnant. The ideal: to be available for sex 24/7 and simply walk away. This has led to the contraception culture we know today. Third-wave feminism, derived from post-modern culture, sees male and female as social constructs. There is no fixed identity, even in our biological sexuality. Thus as we enter the 21st century, all bets are off as to the survivability of the family and civilization as we have known it since the beginning of human history.

– Darrow Miller


[1] Sigourney pg. 104

[2] http://artists.letssingit.com/bloodhound-gang-lyrics-the-bad-touch-d88dkkm#ixzz3AaNl7pCv



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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).


  1. cam

    September 19, 2014 - 8:23 am

    “I have repeatedly said that no one embraces atheism for metaphysical reasons”

    That is absolutely true. A very, very good article. Thank you.

  2. Penny Nicholas

    September 20, 2014 - 7:37 pm

    So well-stated, Darrow! These are concepts that we instinctively sense as Christians, but I’ve never seen it put into words so well. We love you, brother–thanks for being available to God for all He has called you to do and be.

    • admin

      September 23, 2014 - 6:24 am

      Hi Penny

      It is good to hear from you. Glad that you find Darrow Miller and Friends to be so helpful. We want it to challenge, encourage and inform the visitors to our site. Thank to you and Nick for your partnership in this work.


    • admin

      September 23, 2014 - 6:28 am

      Penny, Thank you for your encouraging note. We want Darrow Miller and Friends to challenge, inform and edify our readers. I want to thank you and Nick for your support. It is part of what makes this blog available to the public.


  3. Baggs

    January 21, 2015 - 9:53 pm

    “The universe is so precise that the slightest variance in any number of areas would mean that life could not exist.”

    This is not proof of a god, but rather it’s called the anthropic principle. In essence, from a logical scientific standpoint, you can’t say “The universe is perfect for people to exist because a god created it. You say “We’re here to exist and question the universe BECAUSE it’s a universe we are able to exist in”

    If the universe was not suitable for life, there would be no life to comment on it.

    • admin

      January 22, 2015 - 1:15 pm


      Thanks for reading and for your comment. It seems to me that the limit of naturalistic science is the assumption that nature is the only thing that exists. NS will only follow the evidence as long as it does not cross a threshold that moves to the transcendent. By definition, anything that is not natural does not exist. Evolutionism, another name for naturalistic science, is a materialistic ideology that seeks to explain all of reality solely in the framework of nature. This is a sadly limited vision of the world.