This Is A Big Deal To Me

I think that it is very unfortunate that religion somehow often associates itself with prudishness.

I am a Christian, and I believe the central tenets of the Christian faith. But I must say, partly on account of how many Christians behave, and (sadly) partly because of how the New Testament has nothing positive to say about sex (more on that in a bit), people are often faced with a sex that is at best sweet and pure as a core tenant of the faith.

This troubles me, for two reasons. First, it creates an impression for religious insiders - and more importantly outsiders - that condemning sex is a central aspect to what that religion believes. This is a problem, because many who would otherwise subscribe to that faith and find peace and hope in what it offers, turns away because they take issue with what is honestly more of a peripheral aspect that gets front and center treatment.

Virtually all people are sexual; sex drives us. And so any religion or philosophy that claims to have total knowledge over the nature of sexuality will necessarily catch our focus. But times change, context changes. The rules that "ought" to govern sexuality in a world where women are the property of men, where slaves were subject to the sexual whims of masters, where children were routinely sexually abused, where there is no contraception, where sexual diseases are prevalent on a scale that we have difficulty understanding today... may be different from what sexuality "ought" to look like in a setting where each of these conditions - while not solved - are at least muted (Run-on sentence???).

The second reason I find this unfortunate is that "religious people" tend to be the most rigid/firm about what they believe, and this usually is associated with the belief that their holy script is the perfect word of God. In other words, whatever we find in the Bible (for instance), is fixed, literal, exact, and forever true. Such people are usually not interested in explaining why this should be so, why it is essential to the faith, what the human cost is of subscribing to the supremacy of scripture if that tenant is incorrect, etc.

Point being: What if the REAL core messages of a doctrine are true (for example Christ death for forgiveness of sins and historical resurrection), but a lot of the commentary (much of what we see in the Epistles, etc) are simply incorrect?

I am religious, and in many ways what you would call a conservative. But I also believe that there is a richness to sexuality that is often unnecessarily placed on the altar of religion that amounts to a loss of humanity within those who believe.

As a final point, I don't mean to overstate my claim. I believe that if we saw some of the absolutely horrible sexual abuses that existed in the ancient world, we may have been more "prudish" ourselves. It breaks my heart to think about what does go on in the world today, and what has been going on for time out of mind. I also believe that religion does well to warn between the distinction of sex being an important part of your identity vs. sex actually becoming your identity.
jargonator jargonator
31-35, M
4 Responses Jan 15, 2013

We've found that mixing our Religion with Sex adds a Dynamic that enhances the Entire Experience.

I am a conservative Christian but do have a more open view point about sexuality. There are all kinds of discussions about porneia. Is it only sexual perversions like ****** and prostitution or all sex outside marriage?

The old testament does have some sensual momets like Song of Songs. It seemed like when the Jews were in the desert, they were all having sex with each other and Livitucus was written to explain some bounderies.

As far as the Epistles go, this is my interpretation. Paul knew of Jesus' return and was convinced it would be in his lifetime. Therefore he made the decision to wait it out and in his letters he recommended this to the churches he was corresponding with like in Corinth. What he was saying was, if we only have months or a year or two, let us focus on the lord and be ready. I think if Paul knew it wasn't going to happen he might have taken a different approach. He may or may not have sought a wife. He was very busy traveling and building the church so that probably would not be a consideration.

I don't want to go into it but many of the church laws which includes the Jewish faith had to do with ownership and property rights. Wives and daughters were property and a Father could get a larger dowery by marrying off a virgin. A non virgin might not draw a dowery.

The whole deal with celibacy and chastity came about in later centuries mostly from men like Augustine. He may be most responsible for the trend.

Yes Midwest. Broadly I agree. Central to what you're arguing is the importance of context, and later revisions that impact our thinking of the issue as "the way it's meant". It shows a lack of humility on our part to imagine that we know what they meant - even if we wish to take a more liberal stance on the issue.

Yes, we shouldn't define ourselves solely by our sexual activity, or by any other activity, great point!

Yeah we are way more than any one single aspect of ourselves

I agree, sex is a very powerful drive within us, for a comunity to function there have to be rules and the 10 Commandments work well for a tribe wandering in search of the promised land. New rules have been created for us to ensure our society functions and to improve our sexual health, we must be carefull not to allow sex to rule our lives, even if that is difficult.

Thanks Mikel. Yeah it's really sad that so many people don't want anything to do with God precisely because they are so sexual, crave exploration and contact, etc. First verse in the Bible is God CREATED Heavens/Earth. Sex is one of the most creative aspects to our individuality. Ideally sex brings you closer to God, not farther.