Remove Christianity from [culture] and the grounds for restraint, which were based on a Christian anthropology, are gone. And it’s not just sex: there would be no grounds for “[restraining] individual passions and [channeling] them creatively towards communal purposes.”
And this is a problem that goes far beyond same-sex marriage or even sex—it goes to the heart of culture itself. As Dreher, citing the work of the sociologist Philip Rieff, writes “the essence of any and every culture can be identified by what it forbids. Each imposes a series of moral demands on its members, for the sake of serving communal purposes, and helps them cope with these demands.”
These demands, in turn, grow out of that culture’s “sense of sacred order.”
In the West, that “sense of sacred order” came from Christianity. That’s not to say that the Christian West always lived up to its own professed ideals. But those ideals did serve as a standard by which to measure our actions.
In post-Christian America, what is left is, in the words of the Catholic philosopher Charles Taylor, the belief “in one’s individual desires as the locus of authority and self-definition.”
We are embarking on an unprecedented social experiment: What kind of culture is possible when prohibition itself is prohibited? When the only limit concerning sexual behavior is on making limits? As the millennia-old definition of marriage is quickly becoming incomprehensible, it is foolish to think that the experimentation will stop with same-sex marriage.