Cecil May Jr. wrote an article in “Preacher Talk” published by Faulkner University, where he is Dean Emeritus. It deals with what marriage is and what is happening to it in our culture. We thought it was “right on target.” He graciously permitted us to share it with you here:
SECULAR HUMANISM AND THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION
Biblical religionists have lost a major battle to those who oppose any mention of Jesus as Lord, any reference to the Bible, any letting the Bible define conduct as sin, or to the practice of prayer anywhere except in religious services inside church buildings. A Christianity confined to church buildings is like salt that never gets out of the saltbox.
The opinion-makers in the USA-including the mainstream media-has sold the idea that opposing homosexual relations, which the Bible clearly labels sin, is a civil rights issue, equivalent to racial discrimination. The redefinition of marriage from God’s “one man for one woman for life” into two women or two men for each other came in the same package. So did no-fault divorce, unmarried couples living together, and “open marriages,” where other sexual partners are both expected and accepted.
Here is what the Bible says about marriage: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4). “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22).
Here is what the Bible says about sexual relations outside of marriage: “…but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality … will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Marriage is widely discounted as “just a piece of paper.” But it is much more than that. Aside from being a significant legal document, it signifies commitment. More than that, the lack of marriage loudly proclaims the absence of commitment. No commitment of either husband or wife to the other, “for better or worse” or “for as long as we both shall live.” No commitment of a father or mother to whatever children may be born to that non-committed union.
An aged married woman had a severe case of dementia. Her husband finally had to put her in a nursing home. He came to see her every day. He helped feed her, dress her and fix her hair. She often had to ask, “Who was that man?” Someone asked him, “Why do you come every day since she doesn’t even know who you are.?” He replied, “1 know who she is, and I know who I am. She is my wife.”
That is what marriage is, more than “just a piece of paper,” committed love!
Recently a critic suggested that if God were so great, He wouldn’t allow dementia and Alzheimer’s to be a part of the human experience. There is no question that Alzheimer’s and dementia are a growing problem in today’s world. Those of us who have had family members develop these disabilities can testify how hard it is for family and loved ones. Is the inability of a mother to recognize her children or husband a failure in human brain design?
The Alzheimer’s Association has released data showing that one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. Since 2000, the number of deaths due to Alzheimer’s has more than doubled. It kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Almost two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s are women, and more than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. We don’t know all of the causes and contributors to Alzheimer’s. Still, we know enough to tell us that Alzheimer’s and dementia are related to our environment, our growing life expectancy, and our lifestyles.
In the past, people just didn’t live long enough to develop Alzheimer’s. Life expectancy brings many age-related health issues. For that reason, Alzheimer’s and dementia are a growing problem. Diet and physical activity are related to Alzheimer’s. In modern life, we do a lot of sitting and consume many foods that are not good for our brains. The same conditions that have caused heart disease and diabetes also produce Alzheimer’s and dementia. God did not design humans to sit behind a desk with no exercise and eat foods that negatively affect our brains. The Alzheimer’s Association has shown that multiple vaccinations for flu and pneumonia reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s.
Our brains are incredible devices that allow us to survive and do amazing things. We clearly see God’s design in how our brains work, but human activity and choices have contributed to a decline in brain health. Alzheimer’s and dementia are a growing problem but not an indication that God failed in His design. It shows that the neglect of our brains and our choices in life have caused problems that prevent our incredible biological computers from handling all the data we want them to retain. We must take care of the good things God has given us, and our brains are among the most important.
Because we are living longer, the incidence of dementia has also increased. One form is frontotemporal dementia, which hits most of its victims between ages 45 and 65. There is a gene for frontotemporal dementia, but having the gene does not mean that the person is doomed to have the disease. Keeping our body and brain active may play a role in whether that gene will be expressed. Apathy may lead to dementia.
Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered that there is a correlation between apathy and frontotemporal dementia. Their studies show that people who are lazy, in depression, or have lost interest in life becoming apathetic toward their daily activities are potential victims of frontotemporal dementia.
God never intended for people to be inert. In ancient times, people struggled for existence, and life expectancy was short enough that dementia wasn’t an issue. In today’s world, that is not the case. Passively watching television instead of getting involved in activities, social interaction, or reading can make a difference in whether our gene for frontotemporal dementia will be expressed.
A person’s role in Church activities may also be a factor in frontotemporal dementia. We have seen “Golden Ager” programs in many churches where we have conducted workshops and VBS programs. The people were active, dynamic, mentally alert, and living into their 90’s with vigor and enthusiasm.
You can retire from your secular employment, but don’t retire from God. Apathy may lead to dementia, but staying active supports mental health and freedom from frontotemporal dementia.
The current craze on the use of marijuana has convinced many people that it is a miracle drug that will take care of all health issues. Some claim that it can not only help in cases of mental illness and dementia but that it also can cure cancer, Crone’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and a host of other common maladies. There are medical uses of components of marijuana that are promising and may be refined and used as pharmaceuticals in years ahead. What many are ignoring is negative data on marijuana.
1) Since marijuana was legalized in Colorado, there has been an 8% rise in homelessness. The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice has shown that the legalization of marijuana has attracted transient people to the state.
2) The Colorado Health Department has shown a 400% increase in children younger than eight years of age who have been poisoned by high potency cannabis leading to emergency room visits.
3) Children ages 1 to 13 have been exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke in thousands of homes.
4) A study by the University of Colorado of 639 teenagers treated in 2015 in one Colorado hospital system either had cannabis in their urine or told a doctor they had used it.
5) The Highway Loss Data Institute has reported that Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have seen a 3% jump in auto collision claims since the legalization of marijuana in those states.
“Heavy drinking takes an irreversible, long-term toll on the brain, increasing the risk of all forms of dementia.” That is the conclusion of an exhaustive study of alcohol and dementia. The study involved more than a million adults diagnosed with dementia from 2008 to 2013.
Nearly 60% of early-onset dementia cases were associated with alcohol-related brain damage. Alcohol is toxic to brain cells and reduces blood flow to the brain. People who are intoxicated have literally poisoned themselves. The radical increase in dementia in many forms in our culture is a consequence of the persistent use of alcohol.
When you add the use of nicotine, meth, pot, and other recreational chemical agents to the effect of alcohol and dementia, it is clear that we have an epidemic of brain damage afflictions ahead of us. God has told us that our bodies are special. First Corinthians 3:16 tells us that our bodies are “the temple of God.” First Corinthians 6:15-20 warns against the incorrect use of our bodies. These words are not just about religious separation. God has designed our bodies and our brains for the long haul, and taking care of what God has given us is a sacred responsibility we all have.