When washing your hands is a bad thing

We saw it with the “Pence Rule” and we are seeing it with “modesty culture” – writers attacking the extremes of a movement in order to impugn the entire thing. It is a dishonest tactic and should not be promoted by Christian magazines. We saw it recently in Relevant Magazine, where the author attacks an exaggerated form “modesty culture” instead of than dealing honestly with the actual arguments of most adherents to “modesty culture.”

The most obvious falsehood: No one in mainstream “modesty culture” tells men they have to look at the floor rather than look a woman in the eye. That is just absurd. Men who are taught to avoid looking lustfully also are told to respectfully look women in the eye. That is not the only exaggeration, but it is the most glaring.

I am not denying that Christians often take a good principle (modesty culture, the “Pence Rule” and others) and take it to extremes. Obviously that happens in any movement, no matter how good and pure it might be in the beginning. It is always our habit as Christians when we are reacting to sin (or to theological error) that we will swing to the other extreme. But the battle is not between extremes. The battle is following what the Bible actually teaches about modesty, lust and manhood.

The extremes of a good movement or a good life practice do not invalidate the entire movement or practice. This is basic logic. For example, washing your hands is a good thing: It prevents transmission of disease and keeps things clean. Being obsessed with hand washing to the point it takes over your life, damages your skin and damages your productivity at work or school is bad. This is not a difficult concept to understand.

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