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Tags sin , sex

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Old 2nd January 2005, 10:06 AM   #1
Achán hiNidráne
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When Did Sex Become A "Sin"

In my own evolution from Roman Catholic to born-again atheist, the one aspect of the Abrahamic religions that continues to confound my rational mind are its prohibitions against sex above and beyond simple procreation. How can the most beautiful, pleasurable, and life-affirming act humans can commit with one another be considered "filthy," "obscene," or "original sin?" (I thought Adam and Eve choosing to eat the Fruit of Knowledge was the Original Sin. When was it replaced by sex?)

At what point in human history did we become a bunch of prudes constantly trying to peak into each other's bed chambers in the name of "God?"

Why did homosexuality become an "abomination" to the writers of the Mosaic laws?

Please, discuss... and keep it clean.
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Old 2nd January 2005, 10:29 AM   #2
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While I don't have a definitive answer, I believe it may have something to do with the sexual practices of the worshippers of Bacchus. The followers of Mosaic law wanted to distance themselves from such pagans.
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Old 2nd January 2005, 10:39 AM   #3
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Re: When Did Sex Become A "Sin"

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert
In my own evolution from Roman Catholic to born-again atheist, the one aspect of the Abrahamic religions that continues to confound my rational mind are its prohibitions against sex above and beyond simple procreation.
The church in the past has preached something like this, but would you provide evidence that it still is (you use the present tense). The Archbishop of Canterbury doesn't say that sex outside of marriage is wrong, for instance, or homosexuality.
Check out this:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2296151.stm
An excerpt:
Quote:
He set out his position in an essay in 1989, in which he said that if the church accepted the role of contraception, it could not maintain that sex was for procreation.
Having accepted that, he said, to condemn same-sex relations requires reliance on "a few very ambiguous biblical texts" or a non-scriptural theory about nature.
One reason why Christianity has had a downer on sex may be to do with the influence of the idea of the spiritual as good and the material as bad and sex at its best is down and dirty
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Old 2nd January 2005, 06:30 PM   #4
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one theory goes that it was borrowed into christianity from pagan mystery, hellenic and coptic beliefs. the mortal plane is evil, the heavenly plane is good, and the two can never meet or else they contradict their own definitions. the priest/spiritual ones had to distance themselves from the mortal plane to get closer to the spiritual plane -- and gain the respect of the masses. that is, you couldn't go around calling everyone sinners if you were doing pretty much everything that everyone else was doing, so they made a list of things that were necessary for mortal life, (procreation, eating, being rich), but not in immortal life -- so they could claim to be intermediaries. this also probably led to the special status of "virginity".
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Old 2nd January 2005, 07:47 PM   #5
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Sexual intercourse constitutes one of the most important activities involved in prolonging ourselves as a species, so, naturally, every performance of the activity must be expected to be gone about with a cautiousness to a degree of which we do few other things with. The future of your gene pool rests on so many variables directly related to how you perform the act of sex; the two most important of those variables may be said to be things which also are closely intertwined with the religiously promulgated "sanctity of sex." They are: when you decide to sexually activate yourself and with whom you have sex. The tenets which stand to enforce "abstinence until marriage" probably primarily are looking both to put off sexual intercourse until a later age when you are more likely to be able to support your progeny and to make you less promiscuous and more selective of who's going to have the best genetic "repartee" with your own genes and who's ultimately, as a result, going to allow you to mother/father a baby closest as reasonably possible to the ideal.
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Old 2nd January 2005, 08:00 PM   #6
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Re: When Did Sex Become A "Sin"

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert
In my own evolution from Roman Catholic to born-again atheist, the one aspect of the Abrahamic religions that continues to confound my rational mind are its prohibitions against sex above and beyond simple procreation. How can the most beautiful, pleasurable, and life-affirming act humans can commit with one another be considered "filthy," "obscene," or "original sin?"
I may be misconstruing what you're getting at here, but are you suggesting that Catholicism (at least) does not attach value to human sexuality apart from its procreative aspect, and indeed finds something "sinful" and distasteful about the whole thing?

I've often heard this notion repeated, but it does not appear to accord with actual sources of Catholic doctrine. Perhaps you, as someone who was (as I understand) raised Catholic, can explain the apparent discrepancy.

Consider, for example, the following pertinent excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Quote:
2332. Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.

...

2362. "The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude." Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure: "The Creator himself . . . established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them." ...

2363. The spouses' union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. ...
Based on these texts (and others found in the Catechism), it would seem that the Church acknowledges - even exalts - the aspects of sexuality that you describe as "beautiful, pleasurable and life-affirming". Certainly, those aspects are given "equal time" along with the matter of procreation.

I take it that your "insider's" experience with Catholicism did not impart that same message to you, however. Were you not paying attention in Catechism class (just kidding), or did you actually receive instruction that contradicted (or severely qualified) the plain language of the doctrinal texts?

Among other things, where did you learn to associate human sexuality with so-called "Original Sin"?
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Old 2nd January 2005, 08:28 PM   #7
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If sex is such an abomination, why was the Virgin Mary allowed to have intercourse with Joseph and bear "normal" children after Jesus was born? If nothing else, that would seem to "sanctify" the sex act wouldn't it? Otherwise, who would be worthy enough to approach the Mother of God?
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Old 2nd January 2005, 10:48 PM   #8
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Re: Re: When Did Sex Become A "Sin"

Quote:
Originally posted by ceo_esq
I may be misconstruing what you're getting at here, but are you suggesting that Catholicism (at least) does not attach value to human sexuality apart from its procreative aspect, and indeed finds something "sinful" and distasteful about the whole thing?
I wasn't just speaking of just Catholicism, but Christianity in general.

My own sexual education came from my overly Catholic father (who still complains about how Vatican II emasculated the church). From him, I learned all the do-and-don'ts about Catholic sex--or at least his take on them: No pre-martial sex, or you're going to Hell. No masturbation, or you're going to Hell. No birth control, or you're going to Hell. Don't even get me started about his views on homosexuality. (e.g. "KILL THE F----TS!")


Quote:
Among other things, where did you learn to associate human sexuality with so-called "Original Sin"?
Try St. Augustine.
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Old 2nd January 2005, 10:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Iacchus
If sex is such an abomination, why was the Virgin Mary allowed to have intercourse with Joseph and bear "normal" children after Jesus was born? If nothing else, that would seem to "sanctify" the sex act wouldn't it? Otherwise, who would be worthy enough to approach the Mother of God?
Ahhh... But a lot of hard core Catholics buy into the notion that Mary and Joseph didn't have sex at all after they were married, thus allowing Mary to remain virgin until her "assumption."
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Old 2nd January 2005, 11:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert

Ahhh... But a lot of hard core Catholics buy into the notion that Mary and Joseph didn't have sex at all after they were married, thus allowing Mary to remain virgin until her "assumption."
But the Bible specifically says she had relations with Joseph after Jesus was born. While I'm reasonably certain she had other children by him.
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Old 3rd January 2005, 12:44 AM   #11
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Re: Re: Re: When Did Sex Become A "Sin"

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert
I wasn't just speaking of just Catholicism, but Christianity in general.
My own sexual education came from my overly Catholic father (who still complains about how Vatican II emasculated the church). From him, I learned all the do-and-don'ts about Catholic sex--or at least his take on them: No pre-martial sex, or you're going to Hell. No masturbation, or you're going to Hell. No birth control, or you're going to Hell. Don't even get me started about his views on homosexuality. (e.g. "KILL THE F----TS!")
See my post above on the personal views of the head of the Anglican Church.

So basically, it appears, you are finding fault with your dad's approach, not the church's.

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert
Try St. Augustine.
His isn't the only view in Christianity
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Old 3rd January 2005, 01:17 AM   #12
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Re: Re: When Did Sex Become A "Sin"

Quote:
Originally posted by ceo_esq
I may be misconstruing what you're getting at here, but are you suggesting that Catholicism (at least) does not attach value to human sexuality apart from its procreative aspect, and indeed finds something "sinful" and distasteful about the whole thing?
Whaddabout the scenario where a otherwise good married couple decides that the man should stretch a rubber over his c0ck? The Church only seems concerned with marital pleasure if the seed remains planted. Without that provision, sex does seem to be a sin.

Interesting, here , the Church appears a bit like Penthouse Forum regarding masturbation by wives:

Quote:
Another chapter likely to raise eyebrows unearths theological justification for post-coital masturbation for women who fail to achieve orgasm during intercourse.
Curious omission about male masturbation.

From the article, it seems the Church's great concern with my wife's orgasm only extends to the possibility that it will encourage the production of more little Catholics.
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Old 3rd January 2005, 07:00 AM   #13
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I think that it has a lot to do with the animal like act of it.Being made in the image of god,it doesn't seem right to lower ourselves to the level of a couple of stray dogs going at it.I can also imagine that someone walking into a tent and finding a couple of men going at it might have a few verses to add to writings also.
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Old 3rd January 2005, 11:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by farmermike
I think that it has a lot to do with the animal like act of it.Being made in the image of god,it doesn't seem right to lower ourselves to the level of a couple of stray dogs going at it.
This is only valid if singing praises to God for 5 seconds feels better than orgasming for 5 seconds. If, as Mark Twain suggests, it isn't, then I reject the concept of a sex-less Heaven, just as he did.
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Old 3rd January 2005, 08:26 PM   #15
ceo_esq
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert
I wasn't just speaking of just Catholicism, but Christianity in general.
Do you agree, then, that the Catechism presents a very different view of human sexuality from the one you're criticizing?
Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert
Try St. Augustine.
Really? You learned to associate human sexuality with Original Sin from Augustine? I thought you said your sexual education came from your "overly Catholic" (whatever that means) father. Most people don't study Augustine until college. Not all of Augustine's ideas were transposed into Christian doctrine, of course. And for Augustine, uncontrolled sexual desire was just one of many fleshly temptations that can potentially subvert the will - and not even the worst or most perilous of them. Augustine certainly never suggested that sexual activity was the primal sin, or that human sexuality was not divinely created and (in and of itself) a good thing. In fact, in De genesi ad litteram Augustine refers to sexuality as the "original blessing", not the Original Sin!

At any rate, whatever you understand Augustine to have said, your characterization of Christian theological attitudes toward sex seem inaccurate. I think your father's severe beliefs about sexuality may have led you to conclude that Christianity resents, or somehow does not value, human sexuality. Your premise may be correct (although apparently not as regards Catholicism), but it's far from established.
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Old 3rd January 2005, 10:31 PM   #16
Achán hiNidráne
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Quote:
Originally posted by ceo_esq
Do you agree, then, that the Catechism presents a very different view of human sexuality from the one you're criticizing?
Not at all. It still states that the only "approved" form of sexual activity is between married, monogamous, heterosexual couples. It's only slightly better than fundamentalist protestants (i.e. missionary position only, no orgasm for female, procreation only), but it's still pretty backward.

As for Augustine, the connection between sex and Original Sin had to come from somewhere. I point to the following:

Quote:
All of these so-called "Fathers of the Church" had a very low opinion of sensual pleasure. Especially Augustine, a brilliant thinker and writer, proved to be quite influential. He was born and died in Northern Africa, but spent his middle years in Italy where his thinking was shaped by certain then-fashionable ascetic beliefs and philosophies. During his youth and early manhood he had led a relatively active sex life, but after his conversion to Christianity he came to see sex as shameful and degrading. In his opinion, the involuntary bodily responses during sexual intercourse were embarrassing signs of enslavement to the flesh. They proved that human beings were not masters of their own bodies as God had intended them to be. Instead, the sin of Adam and Eve had robbed them and all their descendants of the proper self-control, and thus they were given over to "concupiscence"—lustful desire which seeks self-satisfaction at all cost. A "new" Christian life therefore demanded the strict repression of such lust. Marriage in itself was not evil, because it allowed the spouses to employ their base desires in the noble service of procreation. Still, somehow every sexual act, even between husband and wife, remained tainted, and every child born as a result of such an act needed the cleansing power of baptism. Even then the unfortunate disposition towards lust, inherited from Adam and Eve, remained.

Augustine's association of sex with original sin and guilt had a lasting and unfortunate effect on later Christian thinkers. It has to be understood, however, that the entire intellectual and moral climate of the early church was inimical to any cultivation of the senses. The first Christians believed that the end of the world was imminent, and even when it failed to arrive their general outlook on life remained gloomy and ascetic. Virginity, total abstinence, and the systematic neglect of the body were considered marks of virtue. Monks and hermits were praised and admired for their relentless fasting and their fight against sexual temptation. Even self-castration was considered a moral act. At the same time, intolerance and religious fanaticism scaled new heights. When Christianity finally became the official religion of the Roman empire, the emperors passed strict laws prohibiting certain sexual acts as relics of paganism. Especially homosexuals and other "deviants" from Christian sexual morality were singled out as capital offenders and publicly burned to death. Thus, shortly after the Christians had escaped their own persecution, they began the persecution of others.
As for my attitudes about Catholic views on sex, I point to the Cathecism:

Quote:
Offenses against chastity

2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.

2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action."138

"The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose." For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of "the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved." 139

2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.

2354 Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.

2355 Prostitution does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in it, reducing the person to an instrument of sexual pleasure. The one who pays sins gravely against himself: he violates the chastity to which his Baptism pledged him and defiles his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.140 Prostitution is a social scourge. It usually involves women, but also men, children, and adolescents (The latter two cases involve the added sin of scandal.). While it is always gravely sinful to engage in prostitution, the imputability of the offense can be attenuated by destitution, blackmail, or social pressure.
And lets not forget...

Quote:
Chastity and homosexuality:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
And people wonder why I left the church.
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Old 3rd January 2005, 11:04 PM   #17
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Hmmm. Seems God has no problem with incestuous families...
Quote:
Genesis Ch 19
19:30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.
19:31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:
19:32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.
19:33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
19:34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.
19:35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
19:36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.
19:37 And the first born bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.
19:38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.
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Old 3rd January 2005, 11:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert
Not at all. It still states that the only "approved" form of sexual activity is between married, monogamous, heterosexual couples. It's only slightly better than fundamentalist protestants (i.e. missionary position only, no orgasm for female, procreation only), but it's still pretty backward.
It seems to me that there is a big difference between endorsing only married, monogamous, heterosexual sex and teaching that sex per se is somehow obscene, filthy or wrongful, which is what your initial post appeared to suggest about your former religion.

Let's not forget, incidentally, that married, monogamous, heterosexual sex accounts for, well, quite a bit (probably most) of actual sex. It's unjustified and misleading to characterize its proponents as somehow "anti-sex".

And what is your baseline by reference to which you are using the term "backward"?
Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert
As for Augustine, the connection between sex and Original Sin had to come from somewhere. I point to the following:
That linked essay doesn't strike me as a particularly holistic interpretation of Augustine, or one written by someone with an authoritative understanding of his works (or Church history, frankly). It's a pretty popular (mis)conception, though.

Even if it were correct, however, where does the identification of sex with Original Sin appear in doctrinal materials? As I mentioned before, plenty of Augustinian notions didn't meet with long-term acceptance in Christianity.
Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert
As for my attitudes about Catholic views on sex, I point to the Cathecism:
Okay... but those items (which are well-known) don't suggest that "sex = bad" (or even that "the non-procreative dimension of sex = bad").

Indeed, those texts seem to proceed from the baseline assumption that sex is fundamentally something of dignity and value. I certainly wouldn't agree with all of the particulars, but I recognize the desire to keep something valuable from becoming debased. You've added quite a bit of negative spin to this.

The bit about inordinate lust is interesting. It suggests that there's something problematic about engaging in sex solely for one's own gratification (in complete isolation from the unitive (caring/sharing/bonding) aspect of sex). You and I know better, of course. Think our wives/girlfriends would agree?

Why, by the way, did you cite the excerpt about prostitution? It seems to contain some sensible - even progressive-minded - observations about the phenomenon (including its psychological and social repercussions).
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Old 4th January 2005, 12:43 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by ceo_esq

Let's not forget, incidentally, that married, monogamous, heterosexual sex accounts for, well, quite a bit (probably most) of actual sex. It's unjustified and misleading to characterize its proponents as somehow "anti-sex".
Sure it is, especially when you frighten those who choose not to follow your particular line of religious BS with threat of hellfire and damnation, or worse when you advovate that they be forbidden by the secular authorites.

Quote:
Why, by the way, did you cite the excerpt about prostitution? It seems to contain some sensible - even progressive-minded - observations about the phenomenon (including its psychological and social repercussions).
Because, like every other act between consenting adults (e.g. fornication, homosexuality, erotica, recreational drug use, gambling, online trading, firearms ownership, file sharing, ripping the tag off of matresses, etc.), prostitution is really none of anyone else's business.
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Old 4th January 2005, 01:54 AM   #20
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To try to answer the OP, it seems to me that a lot of sexual taboos, if implemented, would prevent or check the spread of STDs, and as such were rather a good idea. And are, unless we use more up-to-date methods.
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Old 4th January 2005, 06:33 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dr Adequate
To try to answer the OP, it seems to me that a lot of sexual taboos, if implemented, would prevent or check the spread of STDs, and as such were rather a good idea. And are, unless we use more up-to-date methods.
Watching "The History of Sex" the other night, they claimed that the major transformation came about the time of St Augustine, I think. That was the point where the church instituted the ban against priests getting married and the definition of "sodomy" was expanded to include anything other than straight, vaginal sex with the man on top. Anything other than that was considered a sin.
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Old 4th January 2005, 07:03 AM   #22
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I'd bet the sex=sin equation popped up in the cultural consciousness because Christianity is a mystical religion bent on an afterlife. Anything too enjoyable and fun in this life simply must be tainted, because it takes away focus and concentration on the much more important afterlife, and the methods of getting there. Nietzsche considered Christianity a life-denying religion; I'm not sure it goes that far, but certainly it likes to stress the unworldly at the expense of the earthy. Many denominations over time have gone to extremes --no buttons, no music, no drinking, etc-- but limiting the amount and nature of sex seems fairly common across all flavors of Christianity.

And while the Romans were more sexually adventurous than their medieval descendants, there were upper-class attitudes that frowned on too much sensualism. So it's not purely a Roman/pagan versus Christian cultural thing; there were some patrician attitudes that got incorporated as well.
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Old 4th January 2005, 07:42 AM   #23
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Re: When Did Sex Become A "Sin"

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert
In my own evolution from Roman Catholic to born-again atheist, the one aspect of the Abrahamic religions that continues to confound my rational mind are its prohibitions against sex above and beyond simple procreation. How can the most beautiful, pleasurable, and life-affirming act humans can commit with one another be considered "filthy," "obscene," or "original sin?" (I thought Adam and Eve choosing to eat the Fruit of Knowledge was the Original Sin. When was it replaced by sex?)

At what point in human history did we become a bunch of prudes constantly trying to peak into each other's bed chambers in the name of "God?"

Why did homosexuality become an "abomination" to the writers of the Mosaic laws?

Please, discuss... and keep it clean.
Homsexuality is unproductive sex. It doesn't produce kids for your church, so I guess it's robbing them of new members.
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Old 4th January 2005, 08:22 AM   #24
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Laymen and schoolmen

This thread illustrates something interesting: the contrast between religious doctrine and religious practice, that is, between the academy and the street.

As ceo_esq has shown, the official Catholic stance on sex is fairly benign - at least, sex that's been blessed by the Church and paid for by the laypeople in question. But Mark A. Siefert's experience of living in the Church is quite different.

V. S. Naipaul somewhere observes that all religions consider themselves distinct ways of life, and with some reason. A cult becomes a culture fairly soon, and develops (or retains, or borrows, or all three) its own folkways. Attitudes and practices quite at variance with official doctrine (or whatever a particular religion treats as "official") are the flesh and blood of the sect for worshippers and low-level priests. It's an old story that peasant Catholicism has always been different from Vatican Catholicism. Analogously, when we see practicing Buddhists burning incense, ringing bells, clapping their hands, and bowing down before idols of stone, we're witnessing everyday religious practices entirely at variance with anything Buddha himself ever taught. (In fact, I'll opine that blue-collar Buddhism is even farther from the lofty abstractions of the monks than lay Catholicism is from the elaborations of the Curia. But then Buddhism and Hinduism in their upper reaches are more intellectual than Christianism, aren't they?)

I think more study should be given to religions as actually experienced by the laity. If my university offered a course in, say, Popular Religion, I'd enroll at once.
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Old 4th January 2005, 08:43 AM   #25
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Sperm Wars

I think the answer for all your questions are in the sexual evolutionary biology. Try "Sperm Wars", by Robin Baker. Basically sex would be a "sin" so we can try to stop others to spread their genes - while we try to spread ours (and this explains the hypochrisy). We also have to make sure our kids are taken care of.

Sperm Wars
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Old 4th January 2005, 09:14 AM   #26
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I thought the anti-sex slant in some Christian sects started with Paul. Such as:

1 Coritnthians
Quote:
…It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband…. For I would that all men were even as I myself [celebate and unmarried]. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn…
Here, sex is bad; it’s “good” not to do it. Paul wants the unmarried to remain unmarried, the virgins to remain virgins, but, if they can’t control their lust, he recommends marriage; it’s better than hell.

Then there is the story of Paul and Thecla, a Roman woman who took up celibacy and left her fiance at hearing Paul’s teachings. I’ve heard the opinion that one reason Christianity was easily taken up by Roman women was this emphasis on celibacy which could give them more control over their lives in a culture of arranged marriages.

You have, as mentioned, St. Augustien, but there’s also St. Jerome who wrote “An adulterer is he who is too ardent a lover of his wife.” Or how about St. Bernardine of Siena: “It is better for a wife to permit herself to have intercourse with her own father in a natural way than to have intercourse with her husband against nature [sex in which any attempt was made to stop pregnancy].”

I’d certainly not agree with these men, but sex can often be a big problem and it’s no wonder all these taboos pop up around it. It’s so psychologically intimate and instinctual; it can make new lives and change lives, spread disease, cause obsessions, and break up families. It’s easy for me to see why it makes some folks panicky.
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Old 4th January 2005, 03:15 PM   #27
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Re: Laymen and schoolmen

Quote:
Originally posted by sackett
As ceo_esq has shown, the official Catholic stance on sex is fairly benign - at least, sex that's been blessed by the Church and paid for by the laypeople in question. But Mark A. Siefert's experience of living in the Church is quite different.
Let me lay down some personal background. Back when I was a teenager, I actually believed a lot of the morality that was handed down to my by my arch-conservative/arch-Catholic father. So much so, that I had called my female classmates "whores" and "sluts" if they dressed provocatively or inferrered that they were sexually active. Needless to say, this (along with a few other things) didn't help my social life. It's a part of my history that I feel guilty about to this day.

I started to turn around in college when I was actually exposed to other ideas other than my family's. I discovered that gays weren't child-hungry pedophiles and sadistic mass murders in waiting. I was exposed to views on religion and morality that had nothing to do with the Judeo-christian view of the universe. Also, my own biological clock was ticking and abstinance and chasity weren't satisfying my sexual needs.

I became sexually active with my first (and so far, only) girlfriend around 23. Although our relationship was brief and bittersweet, it opened my eyes about a few things and it drove a few more nails into the coffin of the last vestages of my theism. Although it ended badly, we had fun, and were responsible about what we did and how we did it. "How can this be sinful?" I asked myself. "How can anything two or more consenting adults do that can lead to such joy and pleasure be wrong?"

At that point I decided that the "old time religion", be it Catholic or Protestant, was just plain wrong on the topic of sex. Eventually I would come to the conclusion that Religion was wrong on pretty much everything else as well, but that's another story.
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Old 4th January 2005, 03:58 PM   #28
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I don't know if the Vatican has changed its views on this but somewhere around 1990 I heard a speech on the radio from the Pope. He specifically stated that sex should be soley for the purpose of procreation and that birth control(by any other means than the trusty old rhythm method) was a sin.

Wow, there must be overcrowding in Purgatory waiting for the "no vacancy" sign in the Hell Hotel to change.

My mother, who is still a practicing Roman Catholic is very disturbed by the fact that her grandchildren haven't been baptized. Why does a child need to be cleansed of Original Sin. It makes no sense to me
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Old 4th January 2005, 04:42 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by elle_inquisitor
I don't know if the Vatican has changed its views on this but somewhere around 1990 I heard a speech on the radio from the Pope. He specifically stated that sex should be soley for the purpose of procreation and that birth control(by any other means than the trusty old rhythm method) was a sin.

Wow, there must be overcrowding in Purgatory waiting for the "no vacancy" sign in the Hell Hotel to change.

My mother, who is still a practicing Roman Catholic is very disturbed by the fact that her grandchildren haven't been baptized. Why does a child need to be cleansed of Original Sin. It makes no sense to me
I don't fully understand the concept of original sin either. The support seems to come from Jesus interpreting Solon's concept of hubris.
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Old 5th January 2005, 11:22 AM   #30
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Re: Re: Laymen and schoolmen

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert
...At that point I decided that the "old time religion", be it Catholic or Protestant, was just plain wrong on the topic of sex.
I refer to my post above:

Quote:
The Archbishop of Canterbury doesn't say that sex outside of marriage is wrong, for instance, or homosexuality. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2296151.stm
An excerpt:

He set out his position in an essay in 1989, in which he said that if the church accepted the role of contraception, it could not maintain that sex was for procreation.
Having accepted that, he said, to condemn same-sex relations requires reliance on "a few very ambiguous biblical texts" or a non-scriptural theory about nature.
You haven't responded to the idea that Christianity need not condemn sex outside marriage or condemn homosexuality
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Old 5th January 2005, 11:40 AM   #31
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Re: Re: Re: Laymen and schoolmen

Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Clingford
You haven't responded to the idea that Christianity need not condemn sex outside marriage or condemn homosexuality
I can provide examples of christians who do not celebrate Christmas, either. That doesn't mean that Christmas is not a part of christianity.
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Old 5th January 2005, 11:48 AM   #32
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Laymen and schoolmen

Quote:
Originally posted by pgwenthold
I can provide examples of christians who do not celebrate Christmas, either. That doesn't mean that Christmas is not a part of christianity.
That is not the point I am making, though.
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Old 5th January 2005, 06:05 PM   #33
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Re: Re: Re: Laymen and schoolmen

Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Clingford
I refer to my post above:

You haven't responded to the idea that Christianity need not condemn sex outside marriage or condemn homosexuality
That's just one minority voice out of many who deem themselves practicing Christians. I think if you were to poll them, the vast, vast majoity of Christians would be anti-fornication, and homophobic. Whether or not Christians NEED to be anti-sex is a moot point, the reality is that most of them are.
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Old 6th January 2005, 12:50 AM   #34
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Laymen and schoolmen

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark A. Siefert
That's just one minority voice out of many who deem themselves practicing Christians. I think if you were to poll them, the vast, vast majoity of Christians would be anti-fornication, and homophobic. Whether or not Christians NEED to be anti-sex is a moot point, the reality is that most of them are.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is head of the worldwide Anglican church, of which the American part, Episcopal, had its first openly acknowledged gay Bishop last year.

I agree that this is much in the minority but it is still there.

I think you are pushing your argument a little too far in stating that most Christians are anti-sex - that is too blunt a description I think.

I attend a mainstream church and I don't think sex outside marriage is per se wrong nor do I think the same for masturbation and homosexuality, for instance and I know many who think in a similar way.
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Old 6th January 2005, 06:17 AM   #35
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Cynical reason for Christianity (Catholicism) being so down on sex: If we the priests (of the Temple of Syrinx - kidding) can't be married or have sex, let's try to limit everyone else's sex as much as possible.

Cynical reason for Christianity (Catholicism) being so down on homosexuality:
If we the priests can't be married or have sex, but have all these easily manipulated young boys around, let's have sex with them and not tell anyone. Then, in our guilt, we can engage in transference and blame it on them for being homosexuals, and eventually all homosexuals in general.
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Old 6th January 2005, 06:49 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dorian Gray
Cynical reason for Christianity (Catholicism) being so down on sex: If we the priests (of the Temple of Syrinx - kidding) can't be married or have sex, let's try to limit everyone else's sex as much as possible.

Cynical reason for Christianity (Catholicism) being so down on homosexuality:
If we the priests can't be married or have sex, but have all these easily manipulated young boys around, let's have sex with them and not tell anyone. Then, in our guilt, we can engage in transference and blame it on them for being homosexuals, and eventually all homosexuals in general.
Even more cynical: one of the main points of religion is to stop people from having fun. Look at the deadly sins: gluttony, lust, sloth....they really don't want us to lie around in bed all day, eating Doritos while watching pornography.

If you have too much fun, you'll enjoy life. And if you enjoy life, then who needs somebody telling them all about the magic afterlife and how great that is? It could be pretty damn good here and now if we made the effort.

I feel sorry for the people who miss out on the good stuff because they're afraid of annoying their imaginary prudish friend.
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Old 6th January 2005, 07:27 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by TragicMonkey
Even more cynical: one of the main points of religion is to stop people from having fun. Look at the deadly sins: gluttony, lust, sloth....they really don't want us to lie around in bed all day, eating Doritos while watching pornography.

If you have too much fun, you'll enjoy life. And if you enjoy life, then who needs somebody telling them all about the magic afterlife and how great that is? It could be pretty damn good here and now if we made the effort.

I feel sorry for the people who miss out on the good stuff because they're afraid of annoying their imaginary prudish friend.
OTOH, I have noticed that a lot of religion is predicated on the fact that life sucks, and we need stuff to help us get through the burden of living.

The church my sister-in-law goes to is like that. The preacher is really dynamic, and a great speaker, but the running theme is that everyone's life apparently sucks really bad, and we need something to give us strength. When things get bad, and you feel low, you always have religion to keep you strong.

All I could think is, what if we are happy? I have a great job, a great wife, a great dog, great family. I really have nothing to complain about. Could things be better? Probably, but jeez, how selfish can one be? I'm listening to this great, dynamic preacher go on and on about getting through the struggles of life, and all I can think is, what does this have to do with me?
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Old 6th January 2005, 07:37 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by pgwenthold
OTOH, I have noticed that a lot of religion is predicated on the fact that life sucks, and we need stuff to help us get through the burden of living.
Which is actually a wonderfully cynical way to use religion to keep the poor, miserable, or slave classes in line. "Yes, life is very harsh for everyone. Now go cut sugar cane all day, and rejoice that in the next life, you'll have a really good time. Don't mind me, sipping my caviar-flavored champagne, I'm just as miserable in this hellish life as you are."
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Old 6th January 2005, 10:29 AM   #39
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Quote:
Having accepted that, he said, to condemn same-sex relations requires reliance on "a few very ambiguous biblical texts"
What part about "kill the gay men" is not just ambiguous, but very ambiguous to him?


Quote:
Originally posted by Batman Jr.
Sexual intercourse constitutes one of the most important activities involved in prolonging ourselves as a species, so, naturally, every performance of the activity must be expected to be gone about with a cautiousness to a degree of which we do few other things with.
I think you mean "every performance of the activity must be expected to be gone about with extreme wild abandon to a degree of which we do few other things with. Wild abandon wins out over caution in evolution.
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Old 6th January 2005, 10:32 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by Beerina
I think you mean "every performance of the activity must be expected to be gone about with extreme wild abandon to a degree of which we do few other things with. Wild abandon wins out over caution in evolution.
Wouldn't it depend on gender? It would be more logical for the female to select a mate very carefully, because she will have to go through the difficulties of pregancy, and wouldn't want to invest that time and effort to create an inferior offspring. The male, however, would most logically attempt to mate with as many females as possible, thus improving his chances for good offspring. His investment of time and effort is minimal enough that he could afford to be less discriminating in mates.
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