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The percentage who does is still disproportionately large, but even so the atmosphere has shifted.Institutional bellweathers of young evangelical opinion like Relevant and Q have barely even addressed the subject the past five years.
Such a posture merely admits that there may have been reasons why these things have come to pass, and that while our forebearers were fallible, they were probably no more wicked or malicious than we are ourselves.
We may have forgotten the reasons for a particular tradition—but that is a different problem than there never having been any, nor does it necessarily justify scrapping the tradition altogether.
I found myself not so unlike Dante in the opening of his Inferno, lost in a wood, “the right road was wholly lost and gone.” Like many young evangelicals, I had known that I was supposed to be headed toward marriage. It was only through the exploration and inquiry that the crisis precipitated that I slowly found out the “marriage” to which I had been headed was not much of a thing at all.
I have not lost that original interest in understanding the meaning of marriage or its peculiar goodness, even while our society has been beset by a sharp controversy over its legal and political dimensions.
The sheer collision of the complexity of the issues and their fundamental importance makes the subject an endlessly fertile source for inquiry and understanding.
But my interest in such questions is unremittingly personal as well.Many young evangelicals are losing confidence in traditionally Christian statements about sexual ethics, including those pertaining to homosexuality and masturbation.Some have resigned themselves to accepting what they take to be God’s commands, but have lost hope of understanding the reasons for them.Many prominent young evangelical writers seem to have adopted the Louie Giglio model of never speaking of the subject at all, so as to not unnecessarily offend their audience base and embroil themselves in controversies that are not their “core issues.” Others seem to have adopted a “strategic ambiguity” about the question, routinely chastening conservatives for approaching the subject badly without necessarily taking up the task of finding substantive remedies themselves.The broader cultural shift is not only having its effect on young evangelicals’ political positions, though.The chemist in the lab may only have a dim grasp of all the preceding scientific work that enables their research, but if he tosses it aside for that reason he shall find progress rather difficult.Traditions do sometimes need their barnacles scraped off or the occasional rejection outright.These questions are perennially interesting and they entangle us all.Gay, straight, single, married, the childless and parents—even those who permanently deny themselves marriage are, through their negation, shaped by it.It is entangled in a broader cluster of ideas about the nature and destiny of the human person, the meaning of children to a society, the role tradition plays in human formation, and more.The logic of marriage pulls everything into it, such that the reasons for the traditional understanding of it can be properly described as “cosmological” (to borrow a point Rod Dreher has made).