A couple of years ago when I went to visit my mom in Texas, I went with her to her Sunday School class at her Southern Baptist church. There were about 40 people in the class, mostly retirement-age couples. The guy who taught the class was obviously a very intelligent man, with interesting things to say. I even found myself jotting down notes for a couple of possible blog posts.
But when he was almost done, he said something that caused me to stare in disbelief. He said (probably not an exact quote): "It's a good thing I'm a Christian, because if it weren't for the fear of eternal damnation, you better believe I'd be out there sleeping with every beautiful woman I could find."
I'm not making that up. He might have meant it as a joke, because it got a laugh out of the audience, although in my memory, it was mainly male laughter.
But I was shocked. First of all, the guy is delusional. The number of beautiful women out there holding their breath waiting for the chance to jump him as soon as he decides to cheat on his wife? Probably zip.
But putting that aside, he couldn't be bothered to be faithful to his wife out of loyalty? out of commitment to their lengthy marriage? or, geeze, let me think here....because he loves her? The only thing that is keeping him from hopping in the sack with the first willing babe he could find is fear of hellfire?
The whole idea is so screwed up that it still ticks me off two years later. His wife was sitting right there in the front row. Lesson One in how not to humiliate your wife: don't publicly announce that the only reason you're faithful to her is because otherwise you're afraid you'd burn in hell.
You can probably see where I'm going with this. In yesterday's post, we had Dan Savage and the Savage Love community, addressing some pretty outrageous situations, yet doing their best to make ethical decisions based on fairness and respect. Mr. Sunday School Teacher would undoubtedly consider Dan Savage to be an immoral pervert, yet he is basing his ethical decisions on fear and questionable theology, and in the process embarrassing his wife half to death.
Which one would you go to for advice?