I was recently listening to an interesting and generally good history of the psychedelic movement when I came up to a part about the summer of love and how Christianity viewed the body and therefore sex as evil, while the hippies viewed sex as good. This is quite remarkably wrong.
Before I begin, I should note that generalizations about Christianity are effectively impossible if one includes the various Christian heresies within the category of “Christianity”. The problem is that since Christianity contains the totality of truth and a heresy consists of taking some things and rejecting others from a religion, there have been Christian heresies which cover literally every possible belief system (with regard to beliefs which are not about history). You can find Christian heresies in which the body is evil, just as you can find Christian heresies in which the body is the only good. There is, therefore, no point in talking about “Christianity” and including all of the Christian heresies since there are no generalities that hold to all of them.
Christianity, by which I mean orthodox Christianity, views neither the body nor sex as evil. In fact, Christianity views the body as unspeakably good since God Himself deigned to take on human flesh. Christianity is an incarnational religion. Further, sex (by which I mean copulation) is something created by God in order to allow human beings to take part with God in the act of creation, and in the genesis account we were specifically told to be fruitful and multiply. Throughout the bible, both old and new testament, children are described as a blessing from God, and there’s only one way human beings make children.
On the flip side, Hippies do not regard sex as good. What Hippies regard as good is not the sexual act itself but rather the pleasure attendant to it. Hippies have so little regard for sex that they want to do their best to frustrate the sexual act from its fulfillment—creating new people. What Hippies really want is not the sexual act, but team masturbation. The bare truth is that a hippy’s look for sex is drug-seeking behavior, with varying degrees of gussying it up as something more. True, the drugs in this case are endogenously produced, rather than being made by a plant or a mushroom or a chemical laboratory, but all they want is a feeling without any attendant reality.
That Christianity holds that sex is good is why Christianity puts so many rules around it—valuable things need to be protected. Christianity has no prohibitions I’ve ever heard of on smearing oneself with dog feces, or on mixing dog feces with cat feces, or really with doing anything with it other than intentionally trying to hurt people with it, and that only under the general prohibition of trying to hurt people for no reason. This is because Christianity holds dog feces in very low regard. (If you really pressed a Christian philosopher they’d admit that dog feces do have some value—since everything God created does—it’s just very low on the hierarchy of being.)
Perhaps the least appealing thing about the Hippies is that they didn’t hold anything in high regard, which is why they never tried to protect anything. Nothing mattered to a Hippy except that he, personally, felt good.
Ironically, by the way, the Hippy was basically a Christian heretic who only held onto Christ’s teaching that we should live in the moment and not worry about the future (a combination of always keeping in mind one’s soul may be required of one at any moment with how the lilies of the field neither sew nor reap but are more splendid than Solomon ever was) in reaction to the heretics before them who only held onto the teaching that Christ would come again to judge the world and establish the kingdom of heaven on earth. (Those heretics were materialists who held that they had to create heaven on earth, but they didn’t get their fundamentally eschatological orientation from nowhere.)