Eberstadt talks about how the moral views on sex and food have reversed in the last 50 years or so - where once sex was taboo and food was just something one ate, now sex is just something people do and food is taboo.
One more critical link between the appetites for sex and food is this: Both, if pursued without regard to consequence, can prove ruinous not only to oneself, but also to other people, and even to society itself.
...just as technology has made sex and food more accessible for a great many people, important extra-technological influences on both pursuits — particularly longstanding religious strictures — have meanwhile diminished in a way that has made both appetites even easier to indulge. The opprobrium reserved for gluttony, for example, seems to have little immediate force now, even among believers.I liked that part about gluttony - one of the seven deadly sins, but you never hear anyone accused of it. The article goes on to give examples of the lessening of religious ideals over sex, but I think that this article from Saturday's paper about churches preaching sexual challenges as ways to promote intimacy in marriage is an even more immediate example.
Another interesting point from Eberstadt's article is how morality about dietary ways of life seem to replace the morality of religion, and I would add, not only in how they follow their "faith" but how they judge non-believers and proselytize their beliefs. I find myself as guilty as the next person in this, as I think less of those who eat McDonald's on a regular basis and more favorable of people who are health-conscious - even though it borders on obsessiveness.
I think the primary point of the article, though, is this:
Manifestly, one reason that people today are so much more discriminating about food is that decades of recent research have taught us that diet has more potent effects ...and can be bad for you or good for you in ways not enumerated before...The question raised by this record is not why some people changed their habits and ideas when faced with compelling new facts about food and quality of life. It is rather why more people have not done the same about sex.
The article then goes on to talk about the large body of research that demonstrate the detrimental effects immoral sexual behavior has on families, children, relationships, and society as a whole.
Chris and I often talk about the degradation of our society's morality, especially with regards to sex, but also for many other things, such as the values of personal responsibility, honor, integrity, etc. It was interesting reading these three articles so close together and seeing how they complement one another. On one hand, I think it's important and good for churches to preach and promote intimacy in marriage - heaven knows marriages need all the help they can get these days - but are challenges to have sex every day for a month the best way to do this? Chris scoffed that wouldn't it be more useful and intimate for them to challenge couples to spend an hour each day just talking to one another. Of course, that wouldn't be as popular with the congregation.
In the end, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the rules being drawn around food receive some force from the fact that people are uncomfortable with how far the sexual revolution has gone — and not knowing what to do about it, they turn for increasing consolation to mining morality out of what they eat.I think this is a really thought-provoking point. I wonder how many people would consciously agree with this. I agree that we have definitely gone too far in the direction of amorality with regards to sex as a society. I also agree that perhaps the "holier-than-thou" attitudes of many with regards to food are as detrimental - though I can't help be feel conflicted about this. Wouldn't it contribute more to the overall good of society to promote healthier dietary habits, to make better food available to all? I suppose then one could get into a debate about which dietary strictures to preach, much like decided which religion to proselytize.
That's probably enough rambling, but this was clearly food for thought (hah), and I'm curious to hear what anyone else thinks.