~ I was sitting at coffee yesterday and an acquaintance of mine sat down. A 25 year old evangelical Christian, who has been trying to walk the straight and narrow for the last three years ever since he gave up drugs and alcohol.
“Kenneth, last night my girlfriend was all over me. It took everything in me not to do IT with her. I don’t think I’m going to be able to keep saying ‘no’ to her, so I’m thinking about either breaking up with her, or giving in and just having sex”.
The internal struggle that my acquaintance has been going through may seem rather flippant compared to the real life problems that people are facing all over the world, after all, being upset that your girlfriend is trying to get into your pants is small fries compared to the hell that people are going through in the Middle East.
However, for this young man, having sex with his girlfriend feels like a huge violation of everything he believes in; the sanctity of marriage. His church has taught him that sex outside of marriage is a great offense to God, and that to engage in such behavior will stir up God’s wrath against him (or something like that).
Actually, the bible doesn’t forbid sex outside of marriage, due in large part to the fact that people didn’t date in biblical times. Women had few (if any) rights in biblical times, and a woman who went on a “date” would have brought the wrath of her dad down on her; the wrath of God wasn’t even an issue since fathers for the most part “owned” their daughters like slaves.
It’s always interesting to me how my evangelical friends read into the bible things it doesn’t says. The bible doesn’t comment on sex with your girlfriend, because “girlfriends” and “boyfriends” as we know them simply didn’t exist back in those days. Automobiles, condoms, and Frappuccinos didn’t exist either, along with a bunch of other things, so while there is nothing wrong with looking for principles in the bible, it becomes a bit sketchy when we attempt to draw one-to-one connections with a culture that was so different than ours.
This has been my problem with how the Western World treats so much of the third world; too often we have tried to force Western values on other cultures that simply don’t want them. Why are so many people in the United States convinced that “our way of living” is the “right way of living”?
Let’s be honest, the problem in the Middle East will never stop being a “problem” until we in the West get the hell out of there and leave those people alone. Every time we try to help, our help ends up agitating a people group and it takes us another decade to clean up the mess we made.
We see this same ethnocentric attitude in so many areas of life; people who are convinced that their way of life is the right way of life. Last week a couple children were abducted by police and given to Child Protective Services (CPS), and now their parents are in trouble. What is the offense you ask; the children were playing unattended at the park! Its ridiculous! Crazy suburban people have gone too far. When I was eight years old I roamed around town on a bicycle and went all over the damn place. I was gone for hours, sometimes from sun up to sun down, and my parents didn’t go to jail because it was normal for me to disappear for the day at my friends or ride up to the ball park.
Now we have to have a ridiculous term for parents who let their children play out doors unattended; “free range kids”. Besides the obvious similarity between “free range chickens” I am woefully ashamed of my fellow Americans who are ratting on their neighbors for letting their children play outdoors. You Americans who rat to CPS about these things should lose our citizenship and be sent on the next mission to Mars.
Ethnocentrism is evil. Ethnocentrism is the very concept that CPS is built upon; creating a standard for living and forcing it upon all families. In one of my Social Work classes as an undergrad the Professor said, “One of the great problems in our society is that a bunch of white suburban women become social workers and they go into non-white urban areas and force their suburban way of life on them; if a child sleeps on a mattress on the floor, the white social worker will take the child away from the home on charges of neglect because the frame isn’t on a mattress”.
Ethnocentrism is evil. Ethnocentrism is the very concept that the U.S. Government practices at every level. It is why we are in a never-ending war in the Middle East. It is why we throw innocent men and women in jail for smoking marijuana. It is why we penalize people who don’t have enough money to buy health insurance. It is why our government robs both the rich and the poor; because our Government believes they know best how we should live.
As far as the young man who’s girlfriend is trying to get into his pants. Well, as I sat there listening to his story, I couldn’t help but wonder how many other families are being destroyed by too much Government ethnocentrism. So I patted him on the shoulder and said, “I’m sure you’ll figure this out”, and then I ordered another coffee.
Categories: Culture & Society