Podcast: Ryan Anderson

Mere FidelityIn this week’s Mere Fidelity episode Matt, Derek, and I are joined by special guest, Ryan Anderson. We discuss Anderson’s new book, Truth Overruled, the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, religious freedom, and issues of Christian faithfulness and prudence in a society that has instituted same-sex marriage.

Take a listen and leave any thoughts in the comments!

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About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Culture, Ethics, In the News, Podcasts, Politics, Sex and Sexuality, Society. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Podcast: Ryan Anderson

  1. Stephen Crawford says:

    That was an interesting conversation, and I appreciated Dr. Anderson’s remarks.

    The redefinition of marriage. I’d like to throw out there my thoughts on exactly how marriage is being redefined, and Anderson made some remarks that were helpful on this point.

    It seems to me that children may not be the number one issue, but rather the sexual complementarity. And related to that even the ability of a married couple to have sexual intercourse. Outside an account of male and female bodies being for each other, it doesn’t seem that sex can be held as intrinsic to or an essential feature of marriage. Sure, body parts are applied to extrinsic ends all the time, but that only makes the same point from a different direction. Even in civil settings, marriage is often seen as an essential feature of marriage. For Christians this is particularly important, though. Jesus seems to base the indissolubility of marriage on the fact of two becoming one flesh. Further, Paul sees the one flesh-ness of marriage as the basis for it’s being an icon of Jesus and the Church.

    However, in a same-sex relationship being called a marriage, what must be done to consummate the marriage? From a different angle, sex isn’t simply a privilege of marriage, but a responsibility; in a same-sex union called marriage, who owes who what? To consider the matter of a heterosexual couple, if a man and woman exchange vows and then that night only anal sex, it seems that not only have they not consummated their marriage, but they’ve actually sinned against each other.

    The redefinition of marriage is often defended by holding up certain goods of marriage, like companionship, love, and so on, but typically there’s a strange retreat from the body and the details of the body. This provides another vantage point for seeing Anderson’s point that the Supreme Court’s ruling is simply another installment of a long process of redefining marriage. A significant part of that redefining is that marriage is being unhinged, not only from children, but from sex itself.

    This also helps to bring into focus farther reaching social implications of marriage’s redefinition. Sex is no longer available as the moral grammar through which we come to understand and articulate our sexuality (thanks Alastair for helping me to understand the role of marriage as a moral grammar!), and it’s worth noting that the consequences of this fall disproportionately on the poor. Sexuality has a life of its own, and marriage is one of many options for how a person might choose to express it. Personal preference becomes determinative in a way that is fundamentally out of step with the nature of marriage as a form of life that disciplines its participants, even their sexuality. If one were, for example, to answer the above questions saying that a couple can choose for themselves what their responsibilities are or what act seals their marriage, then the inroads made by personal preference are only all the more visible.

    Glad to hear feedback, pushback, corrections, and encouragement.

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