Welcome to the world of Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion, where occasionally in our wanderings across the internet we blunder into the most absurd, bizarre, demented, ignorant, outlandish, or just plain whacked regions thereof. And we occasionally have no shame whatsoever about sharing our findings from said regions of the internet with you our readers. Today’s offering comes to you courtesy of the Tumblr site “Christian Nightmares“. It is a video in which an exceptionally creepy Christian dad offers what he purports as “7 Simple Rules for Dating My Christian Daughter”. For your viewing pleasure I link the video below:
Wow. Does that not just completely creep you out? Especially when the dad looks dead center into the camera and starts talking, in the creepiest voice he can possibly muster, about how “Now sex can kill”.
So let’s have a look at these “7 Simple Rules”, shall we?
1. I will date only a growing Christian.
Coming from Mr. Creepy Christian Dad here, this sounds exceptionally weird, especially when you consider that many religious cults and fringe groups have strict rules about dating only fellow members of the tribe. And yet, there are very good reasons for Christians not to date non-Christians. Any relationship faces very long odds when the people involved are in disagreement as to the answers to the most fundamental questions of existence.
If I were to date a non-Christian, then at some point I would have to be either a bad boyfriend or a bad Christian. A bad boyfriend, because my acceptance and love for my girlfriend would be contingent upon her one day becoming a Christian. In other words, I would be accepting and loving her, not for what she is, but for what I hope she would one day become. Or a bad Christian, because in order to accept and love her as she is, I would have to turn a blind eye to the implications which the Christian message has for all people on the face of the earth. Not a choice I want to make.
2. My date mate must be in harmony for God’s will for my life.
A little confusing grammatically, but hey.
It is a good idea if you are going to date someone, to ensure that you are on the same page spiritually, or at least remotely close to being on the same page spiritually. But there are lots of ways this can go off the rails. If this becomes an excuse for you to not extend grace to someone who is on a different spiritual journey than you, or who is going through a difficult season spiritually, then you are DOING IT WRONG!!!!!!!!!
3. I will not defraud my date.
With this one, Creepy Christian Dad is focusing his attention squarely upon women. Not surprising. In much of the evangelical discussion on modesty, it seems that the burden falls disproportionately upon women.
That is not right, people.
Women face horrendous amounts of pressure and unrealistic expectations concerning their dress, which ties directly to their body image. On the one hand, women are constantly bombarded with messages from the culture which tell them to dress in ways that will make them attractive to men. The culture tells women incessantly that they can never be thin enough, fit enough, well-endowed enough (I’m trying to keep it family-friendly here), et cetera. That is bad enough. The Church makes things worse by sending messages that women’s bodies are a shameful thing which causes men to be dragged into sin by uncontrollable lustful passions, and that they are therefore responsible to dress in such a way as to keep their brothers in Christ on the straight and narrow.
That is not right, people.
Fellas: YOU DON’T GET A PASS ON THIS ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are accountable for your own sexual desires and how you act on them. When Jesus says that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28), he does not give men the option of blaming it on the what the women were wearing. Instead he says in the very next verse, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out! Better to enter life blind than be thrown into hell with both eyes” (my paraphrase).
And I’m not giving you that option either. For too long, evangelical culture has come down unjustifiably hard on women because some men cannot control their sexual passions. It is way past time to start holding men accountable in this regard. So you think her neckline is a little too revealing? TRY LOOKING AT HER FACE!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t bitch and moan about how her revealing neckline is leading you into sin. Try showing some self-control yourself before you go blaming women for leading you into sin.
For too long, the burden of evangelical teaching on modesty has fallen disproportionately upon women. It is way past time for men to step up and assume some share of the burden here.
4. I vow to save myself sexually until marriage.
Okay. There is not a shred of teaching in any stream of Christianity (except perhaps the most whacked-out of the liberal mainlines) where it is OK to jump into the sack before you get married. And I’m not about to encourage jumping into the sack before marriage either.
But there are WAY too many ways for this to go off the rails. Joshua Harris’ “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” from over a decade ago spawned a cacophony of craziness on this subject in evangelicalism. No longer is it enough just to not jump into the sack before you get married. Now you must not even kiss, hold hands, or any other physical display of affection before marriage, as all of these are the on-ramps to a road which leads straight to sex and from which there are no off-ramps before that final destination. The courtship movement is now dead, thankfully. But dead movements, like dead people, never just go away. They always leave behind a stinking, rotting corpse, which in this case is a generation of young and young-ish adults who have serious hangups about any sort of touching before marriage. In the present climate it is all but impossible to have a romantic relationship in evangelicalism without getting into all sorts of weirdness concerning this.
‘Preciate ya Josh Harris!!!!!!!!!!!!
In the video, Creepy Christian Dad makes an argument heard frequently in evangelicalism: that virginity, once given away, can never be reclaimed and therefore it should only be given to the person you love on the night of your wedding. True enough, on the surface. Sex is a very powerful act with profound emotional and spiritual consequences, such that sex outside of marriage is fraught with danger and it is best to not even go there.
But there are too many places in evangelicalism where virginity is made into an idol. Once you have given away your virginity, you have descended into a pit of unspeakable shame and disgrace where not even the grace of God can reach you.
That is not right, people.
5. Both of us will be in agreement and submission to our parents.
Creepy Christian Dad does not give any clear cap on how far or how long this goes. Certainly it is wise to seek to maintain good relations with your parents. But part of growing up is learning to face the world on your own, to make your own choices in life and bear the responsibility yourself for said choices. If your understanding of Christianity justifies you in laying upon your adult children the expectation that they will be in full submission to you for the full remainder of their lives or else “inherit every damaging experience possible”, then YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
6. I will put God first on my dates, not myself or my mate.
This is sensible enough. Much ill has come of people being in relationships where they put themselves first or made the other person their sole reason for existence. You can’t go wrong by seeking to put God first.
7. I will avoid places, people and parties which will compromise my convictions.
For this one, Creepy Christian Dad uses a charming analogy: You can’t walk through a pig farm in a white suit without getting dirt or mud on your suit. There is some wisdom here: If you are a Christian, there are probably some places you can’t go and/or people you can’t be with, without falling into sin or at least making it unnecessarily hard on yourself to avoid sin. You are wise to know yourself well enough to know what those places are and who those people are, and avoid said places/people as much as possible.
Well, that’s about it from Creepy Christian Dad. Some of it is good and wise advice. Some of it plays right to evangelicalism’s worst tendencies and prejudices, as noted above. But when said advice comes from a dad sitting in a darkened library, looking dead center at the camera and speaking in the lowest, creepiest voice he can possibly muster–well, you have to admit that the overall effect is decidedly CREEPY!!!!!!!!!!