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REDEFINING SIN


"In recent years, and especially since the 1960s, the democratic societies of the West have been enlarging the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, in effect redefining sin. The sexual revolution of my youth dismantled barriers against premarital sex and encouraged open marriages. Not just rock stars but Harvard professors such as Timothy Leary advocated the use of LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs. A single decision by the US Supreme Court reversed a centuries-old ban on abortion. Pornography came out of the closet and grew into a multibillion-dollar industry. Binge-drinking swept across college campuses.



"Christians who opposed these new trends all too often came across as finger-wagging spoilsports. I think back to the moral environment in which I grew up, when good Christians did not smoke, drink, use drugs, divorce, or fool around sexually. Into that stale environment, the sixties revolution swept like a gust of fresh air, promising freedom and liberation. Many of my friends cheerfully discarded what seemed to them the straitjacket of religious subculture.



"As it turned out, however, the subculture was right about many of those issues, at least in terms of their effect on physical health. The sexual revolution fostered the spread of veneral diseases, the plague of AIDS, and numerous other health problems (for example, a man who has many sex partners increases his wife’s risk of cervical cancer by eleven times). Now secular activists and public health officials are warning of the health dangers associated with unprotected sex, smoking, binge drinking, and drug use.


"I have had to learn, against my instincts, that what seems attractive and alluring may in fact prove destructive. I need outside help in determining what is truly good for me."


--Philip Yancey, Rumours of Another World

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