Jeffrey Epstein was right about something
Jeffrey Epstein was right about something
Dear Woodview friends and family,
Over the last few weeks, the hottest news topic has been Jeffrey Epstein. His arrest, time in jail, and apparent suicide. If there is anyone who doesn't know his story, Epstein was an incredibly wealthy man who in 2008 was arrested and sent to prison for soliciting an underage girl for prostitution. At that time, federal officials had identified 36 girls, some as young as 14, Epstein had molested. Then, this past July, he was again arrested on federal charges of sex trafficking in Florida and New York.
At one time, during an interview, Epstein said: "criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable." The sad reality is that Epstein was correct -- much of history is filled with the sad and horrible tales of invading armies raping women and children, of slaves being legitimate objects of sexual satisfaction, of poor families selling their children into prostitution to survive. Ancient civilizations (Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China) didn't have laws about "child abuse" or the "sexual abuse of minors" because the whole concept was not part of who they were or what they believed. Prostitution was tolerated and prevalent -- and many of the prostitutes were young children.
Of course, today this disgusts us. Even in recent articles, interviews, or discussions people who claim no moral high ground are still put-off by the crimes and sins Epstein was accused of. Politicians, journalists, and commentators often talk about the horrors of sex trafficking, of the sexual abuse of children, and child abuse. So, how did we get from where it was accepted and simply part of every-day life to where almost everyone understands how wrong it is? The answer might (or might not) surprise you!
What changed the world's sensitivity and concern for sexual morals is Christianity. Not even other religions helped in this. Hinduism is not organized enough to uphold the dignity of women or protect them from abuse. In the oldest form of Buddhism a woman must be reincarnated as a man to even have a chance at Nirvana and monogamy is not part of their religion. Muhammad married Aisha when she was six years old and consummated the marriage when she was nine. Apparently following the prophet's example, the Ayatollah Khomeini is said to have married a ten-year-old girl and many Muslim countries continue to allow what we would call "child marriage."
Only Christianity requires strict monogamy. It is to the church's shame that sexual purity has not been practiced by some who claim Christianity as it should be. But the Christian standard in Scripture is clear -- one man marries one woman until death parts them. And the dignity that the Bible accords to women sets Christianity apart from other religions.
Christianity changed the way people view human sexual relationships by universalizing the standards of the Old and New Testaments. It was a slow process. It started with changed thinking by the Christian elite, like Augustine; other elites gave lip service to the Biblical standard but often practiced something else. But the change had begun! And thinking and social life began to reflect that change. Men in Europe were educated by the Christian church of every denomination to understand sex as a gift of God intended for a married man and woman. Within that sacred bond it was (or should be) holy, good, and beautiful; outside of that sacred bond it was forbidden.
So, what can we make of all this? Sexual morality is driven either by embracing Biblical Christianity or by rejecting Biblical Christianity. One protects women and children from predators; the other doesn't. As people's thoughts and actions drift farther away from Biblical truth and more to what their sinful nature desires we see a reversion back to the way things used to be. And the sad truth is that, as one person said, "Epstein isn't an aberration; he's a symptom."
Christianity is the hope of the world. Not only does Christ offer the only way of salvation, but Christianity is the only path that helps us travel toward paradise instead of away from it.
Jon B. Stradtner