Earlier this past week, I watched one of Andrew Womack's seminar lectures from January 2013. It was an hour and forty-eight minutes. As an aside from his main lecture, he referred to the Catholic's celibacy policy as leading to pedophile priests and the sex abuse crisis within the Catholic church. This inane comment comes from the belief that sexual urges are uncontrollable and require a proper outlet. Of course, this is not the first time I've heard someone condemn celibacy as a cause of pedophilia. I've heard it from all types of people. It is astonishing that some people can be so intelligent in certain spiritual matters and so stupid in other spiritual matters.
This false belief that Andrew Womack cited gives the carnal more authority over the spiritual. There is nothing in scripture that states the carnal is more powerful than the spiritual. Thus, there is nothing in scripture sex is uncontrollable, requiring a proper outlet.
As Christians, all our thoughts and actions are meant to be free from sin and obedient to the holiness of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) And it includes all our thoughts being free from sexual sin and brought into the holiness of Christ. If thoughts of sex are uncontrollable, then they cannot be brought under the authority of Christ; it would contradict this verse and call Paul of Tarsus a liar. For the secularists, we can reference cognitive-behavioral psychology.
"For the weapons of [spiritual] warfare are not carnal but mighty in God... brining every thought into captivity into the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)
I do advocate celibacy as a lifestyle for the general populace. I neither condemn nor condone it as a clergy requirement. There are many different ministries but the same spirit. (1 Corinthians 4:-7) Therefore, there are ministries for people who believe in the celibacy requirement and ministries for people who do not believe in the requirement. It's all up to what the individual person wants.
This false belief that the celibacy requirement results in pedophilia is a false belief often used to argue that Catholic priests should marry. However, it is more complex than that because the false belief comes directly from cultural thoughts and beliefs about sex. In reality, this false belief is sex idolatry because it attributes more power to sexual desires over Godly spiritual matters. This false belief denies God's power in delivering people from sinful temptations. This false belief claims the only deliverance from this sin is through the flesh, not the Spirit.
Even secular news verifies this belief to be false because many pedophiles are married or otherwise choose not to pursue socially-acceptable outlets. Jerry Sandusky was a married pedophile. How can the absence of marriage cause him to commit his atrocities when he is already married? How did Sandusky's marriage protect little boys?
From a news article in 2002, the wife of a Syracuse coach also discovered her husband was a pedophile.
In Waycross, Florida, there is a trial ongoing for a pedophile who has been married for forty-three years.
Jenny Margo, a wife in Ohio, sought to defend her husband and to excuse his actions during his 2010 molestation trial. The atrocity is so extensive that most people do not want to believe others are capable of it. There are so many wives of these monsters that psychologists know what is typical and not typical when the wives find out.
It may sound unbelievable that Magro would stick up for her cheating, child molesting husband, but her behavior is not unheard of, psychologists say, and is the hallmark of a spouse in denial.
"She still has a fantasy that things could be saved," said Marion Frank, a Philadelphia-based psychologist. "Perhaps she's terrified to be alone ... but she is in denial."
According to one website, 77% of child molesters are married or have been married. The same website states that 73% of men in general are or have been married. 2/3 of all pedophiles are married. Pedophiles are two or three times more likely to marry than not to marry. Very recently in the news, a Baptist pastor Jack Schaap was sentenced to prison for coercing sex from an underage congregant. Sex abuse runs rampant throughout the public school system.
Because many pedophiles are married or divorced - divorce is an epidemic among normal people, so nothing strange there - allowing priests to marry will never solve the problem. Removing the celibacy requirement will never solve the problem. Blaming celibacy for the atrocity of pedophilia is blaming purity for wickedness. All sin originates through a foul and impure heart.
"The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
"whoever looks [with] lust has already committed adultery in his heart" (Mathew 5:28)
"as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7)
If a man thinks lustful, obscene, vulgar thoughts, then he is going to commit lustful, obscene, and vulgar acts, which means he is obscene and vulgar. A man is defined by what he does. There is nothing in the verses cited above to indicate a celibacy requirement leads to perversion. A celibacy requirement is a requirement for purity and high spirituality. Celibacy necessitates that men and women keep their thoughts clean and pure. When their thoughts are clean and pure, their actions are clean and pure.
According to this false belief, purity leads to impurity. Blaming celibacy for perversion contradicts Proverbs 23:7 and contradicts what Jesus said in Mathew 5:28. Jesus used a commonplace example that everyone can easily identity with, but it is applicable to every form of lust. Child molesters attack children because of the lust in their hearts, and marriage can never change or remove this. Many molesters are married. To blame celibacy for their heinous crimes is complete nonsense.
Most translations have added onto one particular verse, and most people refer to this addition - not present in the actual text - to explain why they believe sex, only within marriage, is a cure for sexual sin.
"if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry because it is better to marry than to burn." (1 Corinthians 7:9) The adding, not present in the actual text, is "with passion." The NKJ translation has a footnote where it states this has been added. The added part cannot be found in the Blue Letter Bible.
"if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry because it is better to marry than to burn." (1 Corinthians 7:9)
Now, let's take a look at the translation website Blue Letter Bible. Blue Letter Bible is a great reference website because it uses the awesome biblical cheat sheet, Strong's Concordance, and you can find the definitions of words, the number of uses, the manner of translations, the cross-references. The word "burn" comes from the Greek.
And its definition is:
1) to burn with fire, to set on fire, kindle
a) to be on fire, to burn
1) to be incensed, indignant
b) make to glow
1) full of fire, fiery, ignited
a) of darts filled with inflammable substances and set on fire
2) melted by fire and purged of dross
Other passages that use this word are 2 Peter 3:12 that talks about the second coming and the judgment, 2 Corinthians 11:29 that refers to burning with anger at offenses, Ephesians 6:16 that refers to the armor of God shielding us from hellfire darts.
So, according to the definition and the way it is typically used, the word "burn" in 1 Corinthians 7:9 refers to wickedness, fury, and the punishment of judgment. The word "burn" has nothing to do with lust or passion. It is better to marry than to suffer God's wrath.
The word for self-control is also translated "temperate," and it is an expected attribute in Greek athletes. Paul of Tarsus compared serving Christ and utilizing self-control with the athletes.
"And everyone who competes is temperate in all things. Now they to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown." (1 Corinthians 9:25)
"But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:27)
People who lack self-control are not spiritual and are not true Christians. People who lack self-control are pathetic athletes who lack self-mastery and lack control over their own bodily impulses. Greek athletes were expected to abstain from sex before and after a game as a sign of their mastery and their skill in controlling their bodily functions. Incontinence runs rampant among both teenagers and sports today. People who lack self-control do not even behave like a true human.
Marriage is never going to solve the problem of sexual sin, and marriage will never solve the problem of child molestation and pedophilia because the majority of pedophiles are married.
In Missouri 2013, the wife of a man already incarcerated for statutory rape is defending him against accusations by young male family members that her husband molested them. The man "has four kids — one a 5-year-old girl with her. She said she’ll keep fighting for all of them."
One wife in California 2012 turned against her husband of forty-two years when the allegations and his own admitting came out.
There are so many who are married that resources have developed to help the horrified and disgusted spouse to cope. One website dedicated to providing resources has cited:
One of the most comprehensive and well researched studies of child molesters by Gene Able and Nora Harlow found the percentage of molesters who are married matches that of all men who are married, approximately 73% of all U.S. males are or have been married, 77% molesters are or have been married.
Most molesters who are married continue to have an intimate relationship with their wives while they are also molesting children.
Marriage will never solve the problem of child molesters. The problem is not a lack of a sexual outlet. Pedophiles just happen to be attracted sexually to little kids, so they search for the outlet that their cravings want. It's just the way they are. Marriage and celibacy have nothing to do with the matter.
Anyone who lacks self-control is a slave to the flesh, a carnal animal stripped of humanity. Dogs and cats are spayed and neutered precisely because they have no control over their sexual urges. Whether married or not, people who lack sexual self-control also fail to embrace their full potential as a human being. The lack of self-control is bestial. It is anti-human and anti-God. Celibacy is the greatest and most profound example of self-control. Celibacy proves that the Spirit has power and authority over the flesh. Celibacy proves that we can be liberated from this enslavement to the flesh.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:17)
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." (Galatians 5:22-25)
This sex idolatry - that sexual urges must be enacted; this false belief that chastity and celibacy are dangerous - is used as an excuse to permit or to dismiss the other perversions. Purity never leads to perversion. Only perversion leads to perversion. Whenever I had tried to talk with some friends about how our hyper-sexual culture damages young children, they tended to comment that restricting and banning openly sexual displays will cause hang-ups, disorders, and neurosis. This is the same false belief that people express when they insist removing the celibacy problem for Catholic priests will remove the child molestation problem. But this is a very false belief because purity will never lead to perversion. Only perverse thoughts will lead to perversion.
"Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him because it does not enter his heart. ... adulteries, fornications... covetousness... lewdness... all these evil things come from within and defile a man." (Mark 7:18-22)
As I have stated before, marriage will never solve the problem because the vast majority of pedophiles are married. Sexual abuse is even more prevalent among the public school system than among the Catholic church. Teachers abuse students, are shifted to other school districts when found out, and then abuse more students in a revolving door cycle. The massive sexualization in the media has caused students to objectify, degrade themselves, and to abuse each other on a mass epidemic level.
The ubiquity of [hardcore porn and sexual] material has shifted the understanding of what is normal. Three-quarters of teachers surveyed for the TES last year said they believed access to porn was having a “damaging effect” on pupils. One said girls were dressing like “inflatable plastic dolls” while another said some pupils “couldn’t get to sleep without watching porn”.
However, there is also disturbing evidence that hardcore pornography has become so commonplace that some children see it as “mundane”. The pioneering NSPCC study in 2010 found that watching professional porn was seen by boys as a sign of desperation. They would rather watch – and circulate – home-made porn shots on phones with girls they knew.
The true way to overcome sinful thoughts and temptations, thus avoiding sinful acts, is to dedicate oneself to Christ Jesus and to keep one's focus on the Messiah. Cognitive-behavioral psychology is also applicable to this situation. Thoughts must be kept pure and wholesome. Pure thoughts lead to pure actions. Perverse thoughts lead to perverse actions. Readers, when we focus on the power of the spiritual above the flesh, when we assert the authority of the spiritual, then the flesh loses its power and control. Then, we obtain control over own bodily functions. And then you no longer suffer from incontinence!
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, to the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally-minded is death, but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace." (Romans 8:5-6)
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. ... If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." (Galatians 5:22-25)