Sex

Discussion for Christian perspectives on ethical issues such as abortion, euthanasia, sexuality, and so forth.
Shirtless
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Sex

Postby Shirtless » Sun Jan 02, 2005 9:55 pm

Sex has been a hot subject recently, so I felt like I should give my two cents! Sex is a word that describes a physical urge that human beings are born with, and it's safe to say that it's part of our daily life. Many Christians are of the belief that sex, in one form or another, is sinful. It has been grounded in our notion of original sin in the eyes of many for over 1,500 years. Some forms of sex are considered more sinful than others--homosexual sex is considered VERY sinful.

If you're an average Joe watching TV, you'd probably think that Christians are the most anti-sex people on Earth! Whether it's because Britney is wearing too short a skirt, or because a black pop-star exposed her breast during the superbowl, sex is #1 on the Christian hate list. Sex! Sex! Sex! Sex! Sex! Sex! Sex! That's all you hear!

I was well aware of this a few years ago, and I remembered going to Church as a little boy. But strangly, I never remembered hearing anything about sex at church...not once. Why was this? I went to reading the Bible. There were few vague references to sex here and there, but they were all put in a positive light (you should have seen my face when I read the Song of Soloman!). I still had questions, so I researched on the internet. Turns out that the original greek word for "lust" in the Bible is more accurately translated as "to strongly long for" (in other words, a-sexual). "fornication" is an inaccurate term as well, the original Greek word, pornea, has several meanings; none of which are about sex before marriage. Take away those two words, and you have a solid case for the argument that the Bible, Old Testiment or New, does not condemn sex. (if you want references to these words, I will gladly give them to you)

But where did this way of thinking come from? In the Dark Ages, there was a man named Augustine who was a pagan. Augustine was what many would now call a "sex addict". Sex addiction is a very serious condition that is a horrible burden for all those unfortunate enough to have it. His mother convinces him to convert to Christianity. He does, and manages to quit his addiction and get his life together. He then becomes very well respected in the church community. He doesn't like the man he was, and looks back on his lifesyle with disgust. "I am relieved of this horrible burden!" he probably says. "Now I must use what I've learned to help everybody!" At that time in history, the church was state-controlled and what the church said was what God said. What did Augustine say? Well, he wrote many books on sex and how evil it was. He wrote that ALL sex is sinful, and sex should only be performed for the sole purpose of bearing children (even though he considered that sinful too).

I've heard some say that Augustine's views on sex were a lot like someone who quit smoking, and no longer wants to be around anyone who smokes. This sounds like a pretty accurate comparison. Plato always said that Man needs to control his appetites, or else he will become corrupted by them--same with Aristotle's "Doctrine of the Mean". This is similar to the Biblical view as well, because after all, too much of anything is bad for you. Had Augustine been more cultured, he may have felt the same way. Instead, he condemned all sex as a horrible thing. :?

Fast forward hundreds of years later, and we're feeling the effect now. I personally believe that sex, by itself and untampered with, is a gift from God. It's a wonderful thing that is healthy for the mind and spirit. Maybe if Christians begin to understand this, Chistianity might be a much more respected religion. I hope that there are others out there that feel the same way...

Anonymous

Postby Anonymous » Sun Jan 02, 2005 10:41 pm

sex is fine as long as it is done in marriage. Augustine took that point of few because obviously for him sex caused serious problems and through Christ he was able to transcend that need he once had.

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Postby Mastermind » Sun Jan 02, 2005 10:46 pm

I suspect sex is discouraged because it is overindulgence in vain pleasures. It is not even unique to Christianity. I believe Buddha also preached against sexual indulgence as well. It is dangerous because it will let you slip into worse things without you knowing. The more you allow your body to indulge itself, the more it will ask, until one day it will ask for something it should not get, and you will be unable to resist. I stay away from sex simply because everybody around me seems obsessed with it. It's rather disturbing to see people preoccupied by an act that only NEEDS to be done a few times in one's lifetime, and which very few actualli practice that often anyway. I don't like the control it has on people's minds and lives.

Anonymous

Postby Anonymous » Sun Jan 02, 2005 10:55 pm

well said, if you just look at TV, its obsessed with something sexual in one form or another, clearly Satan has turned it into a tool he can use.

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Postby Shirtless » Sun Jan 02, 2005 11:19 pm

I give the Satan more credit than that. Satan wants to make sex out to be a bad thing so we concentrate on stupid stuff instead of Jesus' real message. If we were more sexual beings we would be less stressed out, and we would be more peaceful people. The term "make love, not war" can go a long way!

Satan's three tools of evil are legalism, culturalism, and bibliolatry; all these things have convinced Christians everywhere that gay sex and Harry Potter is what we should worry about, and that the whole "love" thing isn't important--which is causing people everywhere to turn from God. I speak from first hand experiance!

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Postby Anonymous » Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:33 pm

Let me ask you, where in the scripture does it say Sex in marriage is bad? I hope none of you are speaking from your own opinions without God's word supporting it?

If God did not mean for Sex to be pleasurable, then he would have designed us, so that it was not pleasurable. If you adore sex, and it leads to something worse, then it is clearly your fault for being weak and not asking god to help you rebuke satans temptation. If God gave you something, something to be enjoyed with a loved one, why forsake it?

Anonymous

Postby Anonymous » Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:14 am

Yes, Good unprotected, non-homosexual, non-obscene, non-self gratificational sex is a gift from God! When I say unprotected - the use of a condom is a sin in the church - acting as a barrier between the two instruments of life.
Homosexualism is a sin. In my parish, I actually give communion to gay rights activists, since we are commanded to love everyone, whatever they may do. Love the person! Hate the sin!

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Postby RGeeB » Thu Jan 06, 2005 3:04 am

Father A, not every Christian is 'blessed' with the desire to be celibate, stay single or abstain from sex, in or out of marriage.

Would you say that such a person is in a higher state of righteousness when he/she abstains from sex and considers sperm wasting a sin? Please don't take offense when I say that its easier for you to stick to the Pope's rules.

Saying that, I do have great respect for those who struggle and abstain. Good intentions do not save but do show where a person's commitments lie and heart is. (The pauline doctrine of being slaves to righteousness).
Maranatha!

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Postby Shirtless » Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:20 pm

I guess there's no point in debating the church. To Catholics, the Church's word is the Church's word.

But for all you other Christians out there, I believe in the inerrency of the Bible. I believe that the Gospels and the OT is the true word of God, and I believe that sex in ANY form is an Earthly pleasure that is a-moral and not sinful to the slightest degree. I believe that monogamy is only an artificially-created, post-NT cultural tradition that is never an issue in the Bible.

Why do I believe this? Half is from the heart and half is from the mind. I've studied the Bible and the evidence for all-of-the-above being sinful is severely lacking IMHO.

But the heart...I believe that nothing is "forbidden", there's only good and evil. Cultural rights and wrongs come and go, but truth never dies. I believe that good is doing something to help your neighbor, evil is doing something that would hurt your neighbor in some way. Am I hurting my neighbor by masterbating? Not at all (well, unless it's in her house :shock: ). Am I hurting my neighbor by having sex with her if she's not married? Not at all, I would only be depriving her future husband of a virgin--and I think demanding that your future spouse sexually starve herself is unhealthy and very un-Christian. But starving your own sex drive for your future wife: oh my, what a Godly gift! But it has some down sides, the less experianced you are, the more likely you won't be able to please her as well as you could. But again, it isn't really all that important; you're a human, and you have needs.

Gays. I used to hate them (I'm REALLY not kidding), and I would have had no problem in voting for the banning of gay marriage in America. But my faith was the one and only factor in changing my mind. I still don't like gays all that much, but I'm not going to let a cultural belief, given to me by my mother, poison my faith. Is a gay man having sex with another gay man doing evil to me? As far as I'm concerned, absolutely not--which means IMO that I have the knowledge of good and evil that Adam aquired, or I have some sort of "evil repellent" that prevents me from seeing how sinful gay sex really is.

Hope I haven't offended anyone. I welcome any criticisms, I have much empathy for those that disagree with my views. :D

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Postby Kurieuo » Fri Jan 07, 2005 12:53 am

Shirtless wrote:But for all you other Christians out there, I believe in the inerrency of the Bible. I believe that the Gospels and the OT is the true word of God, and I believe that sex in ANY form is an Earthly pleasure that is a-moral and not sinful to the slightest degree. I believe that monogamy is only an artificially-created, post-NT cultural tradition that is never an issue in the Bible.

I'd like to ask you, as a Christian, on whose authority do you speak for your position regard sex and marriage? Jesus said, “Haven't you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” ([bible]Matt 19:4-6[/bible])

Paul also writes: "Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” ([bible]1 Corinthians 6:16[/bible]) Are you really that taken by liberalism within society today, that you are naive to thinking sex is an entirely physical process? And so focused on the short-sighted pleasure, as to ignore the lasting consequences it can cause? I remember seeing a documentary on prostitutes, and one was explaining how she can only do it for so long, because each time she sleeps with someone she feels a little part of her self diminishing. How true it is, I believe, that sex is not just a physical union between us and someone else, but a spiritual one.

shirtless wrote:Why do I believe this? Half is from the heart and half is from the mind. I've studied the Bible and the evidence for all-of-the-above being sinful is severely lacking IMHO.

I must say I think you shouldn't just study the Bible, but you should first read it. For how can you study the Bible on an issue if you don't know what is in it? If you need more beyond what I've provided above, just ask and I can provide quite a few for you.

shirtless wrote:But the heart...I believe that nothing is "forbidden", there's only good and evil. Cultural rights and wrongs come and go, but truth never dies. I believe that good is doing something to help your neighbor, evil is doing something that would hurt your neighbor in some way.

And are these cultural too? If not, why not.

shirtless wrote:Am I hurting my neighbor by masterbating? Not at all (well, unless it's in her house :shock: ).

So something is only wrong if pain is involved? I'll remind myself to feel guilty then next time I kick my toe. ;)

shirtless wrote:Am I hurting my neighbor by having sex with her if she's not married? Not at all, I would only be depriving her future husband of a virgin--and I think demanding that your future spouse sexually starve herself is unhealthy and very un-Christian. But starving your own sex drive for your future wife: oh my, what a Godly gift! But it has some down sides, the less experianced you are, the more likely you won't be able to please her as well as you could. But again, it isn't really all that important; you're a human, and you have needs.

I'm sorry, but as I read I sense a great naivity. Despite a pleasurable moment, I think you are focusing all on short-term pleasure. I believe you may be very well hurting her (and yourself), but if you manage to avoid some physical consequences, the psychological issues associated with permiscuity run deep. There is an article I came across a while ago that I'd recommend reading—The Best Sex.

As for your last comments regarding experience—this is true because...? ;) I think this is perhaps one of the biggest myths within society. To quote a portion of the article I just referenced:
<blockquote>A few years ago the Family Research Council surveyed 1,100 people about their sexual satisfaction. In a Washington Post op-ed, FRC's William Mattox, Jr. took a look at the exciting results. The poll “found that 72 percent of all married 'traditionalists (those who 'strongly' believe out of wedlock sex is wrong) report high sexual satisfaction. This is,” Mattox said, “roughly 31 percentage points higher than the level registered by unmarried 'non-traditionalists' (those who have no or only some objection to sex outside of marriage) and 13 percentage points higher than that registered by married non-traditionalists.”

It gets better. Mattox noted that the survey “found that strictly monogamous women experienced orgasm during sex more than twice as often as promiscuous women.” He quoted National Institutes of Health researcher David Larson, who says that couples who don't sleep together before marriage and who are faithful during marriage “are more satisfied with their current sex life and also with their marriages compared to those who were involved sexually before marriage.”
http://www.boundless.org/1999/features/a0000055.html</blockquote>
shirtless wrote:Gays. I used to hate them (I'm REALLY not kidding)

Now two wrongs don't make a right. Your hate for them was just as much a sin, as are homosexual acts carried out by a person. Seeing as you appear to be all for the morality that if it hurts noone, there's nothing wrong with it, then perhaps this article will be interesting to you.

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Postby Shirtless » Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:09 pm

Hello Kurieuo, you make some excellent points!

I think there's something that needs to be clarified: I don't believe that sex is just a physical act; it can also be emotional and spiritual. I also don't think that something is only immoral if it includes physical pain - I'm talking about emotional and spiritual pain as well. The word "liberal" is I guess a fair label, but I don't like the word liberal when it comes to God. Liberals believe that the Bible was written by a bunch of out-of-work hippies who tried to inject their own cultural beliefs into the Bible and say it came from God, therefore the Bible should be dismissed when convenient. :evil:

I don't believe this; I believe that those who say that simply aren't taking the time to interpret the Bible properly. I think that there are a lot of things that Christians believe simply because they've been told to believe it. As a former Atheist, I feel blessed that that I've had the opportunity to examine the many aspects of Christianity and judge why society dislikes some Christian beliefs, and whether these Christian beliefs are misunderstood by the mainstream, whether they're truely divine, or simply man-made. I played the "man from Mars" so-to-speak. I was able to take in the whole picture from a safe distance.

Now, let's be humble and honest now: Christians have been wrong before. In fact, they've sometimes been dead wrong. The church used to believe that you HAD to be baptized or else you will go to hell. Christians used to believe that any form of kissing that wasn't a spiritual (e.g. kissing a priest's robe, etc.) kiss, was sinful. We used to think that all the Jews should be blamed for killing Christ. It used to be a fact that the Earth was literally created in 6 days. So we have no choice but to examine what we believe now, and decide whether we are making mistakes in our own beliefs as well.

That one flesh passage was one of the first passages I ever read in the Bible. I found it very moving. But does it essentially say, "you should have one wife, and only one wife"? For example:

Steve is married to Lisa, he loves her very much. When they make love they feel spiritually joined, as one flesh. But Lisa is also married to John, and they both love each other as well. They both feel like they are one. Steve was not sure at first whether he should let his wife have another husband, but he soon realized that keeping one woman for yourself reduces her to property. He now is much happier than before knowing that his wife is happier. Steve has been thinking of having another wife, but only if Lisa is alright with it.

I've talked to people who have more than one wife or husband and they get frustrated when their critics seem to only focus on the sexual aspects of it, instead of the emotional and spiritual benefits. Which is why I believe 100% in what Paul said. I'll will never go to a prostitute, because she doesn't care about me. It doesn't matter how happy she is, she's happy that she's getting paid, and if given the choice, she would take the money and skip the sex. I don't believe that sex for money is sinful, but I think Paul gave some very good spiritual advice.

We have to acknowledge that in Jesus' time, polygamy was a perfectly acceptable tradition, and marriage was merely a ceremonial ritual. The Romans, however, thought that polygamy was barbaric. They thought that there should be one man, and one woman. When Rome became the capital of Christianity, it only makes sense that their beliefs became interwoven with ours. Do I think Monogomy is bad? Not at all, I think it's a wonderful system--I just don't think it's a Biblical one.

About the article on homosexuality, I found it to be rather unprofessional and out of character for this website. Smoking causes cancer, homosexuality does not cause AIDS, so comparing them seems just silly. :wink:

Remember, if you asked someone today whether you should kill Muslims in in the name of Christ, they would say, "What? Are you nuts?"
But if you went back in time a thousand years and asked the same thing, they would say "Of course, every Christian knows that."

Sorry this post was so long! :D For more information on these strange beliefs of mine, here is a website that I came across a while back:

http://www.libchrist.com/index.html

I would like to assure you that this site is NOT my only source for these beliefs (personally I think it's a bit disorganized), but it deals with this specific subject in a direct way.

Anonymous

Postby Anonymous » Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:47 pm

Mastermind wrote:I suspect sex is discouraged because it is overindulgence in vain pleasures. It is not even unique to Christianity. I believe Buddha also preached against sexual indulgence as well.

Funny, in my studies of buddhism I've only ever seen things about not having sex with people you're not in love with. Nothing about getting married first and of course, the nuns and monks are urged to abstain, but then they don't even have jobs or anything as they spend their time working towards enlightenment.

It is dangerous because it will let you slip into worse things without you knowing. The more you allow your body to indulge itself, the more it will ask, until one day it will ask for something it should not get, and you will be unable to resist.

That's not true for most people. There are some people who have disorders for whom that may be true, but that is not the norm, nor is it healthy. A normal sex drive doesn't increase the more sex you have, but remains largely the same.

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Postby Deborah » Thu Feb 03, 2005 4:11 pm

Shirtless wrote:That one flesh passage was one of the first passages I ever read in the Bible. I found it very moving. But does it essentially say, "you should have one wife, and only one wife"?


1Ti 3:2 Then it behooves the overseer to be without reproach, husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, well-ordered, hospitable, apt at teaching,
Luk 16:18 Everyone putting away his wife and marrying another commits adultery; and everyone marrying her who is put away from her husband commits adultery.

Of course there are alot more too.

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Postby Shirtless » Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:51 pm

Luke 16:18
(NIV) Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

(NKJV) Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.

Though I can understand why the original KJV would make some feel otherwise, this passage is clearly about divorce; divorcing your wife, as opposed to staying married and having another wife, are two different things.

1 Timothy 3:2-6
2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5(for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Okay, Paul told his best disciple to inform the Church elders to have one wife only. He doesn't seem to be very direct about it, it's more of a small thing from a laundry list of stuff. None-the-less, he does say "one wife". Why did he decide this? Some have suggested that it's because the region that Timothy lived in didn't believe in Polygamy, and having one wife wouldn't offend anyone. I find this to be a weak explanation, but it's worth noting.

A better theory would require knowledge of Paul's views on celibacy. He believed that some men should try to be celibate if they feel they could handle it. Why? Because wives require attention and love, and the more wives that a man-of-the-cloth had, the more attention he would have to give to them! This would make the elders not pay enough attention to their jobs and their faith. Paul is giving this advise because the elders need to be "self controlled". So basically, he says "one wife" because of the simple reason that less is more--but he makes no mention of monogamy about anyone that is not a religious leader, or spiritual adviser.

Polygamy in the Bible
I would like to now to list the people in the Bible that had polygamist relationships:
Esau with 3 wives;
Jacob: 2;
Ashur: 2;
Gideon: many;
Elkanah: 2;
David: many;
Solomon had 700 wives of royal birth;
Rehaboam: 3;
Abijah: 14.
Jehoram, Joash, Ahab, Jeholachin and Belshazzar also had multiple wives.

All those heros of the Bible had multiple wives, and they were never told no by God. Solomon had several hundred wives. Surely God would make his opinion clear...

1 Kings 11:1-6
1 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh's daughter-Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, "You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods." Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David (the man with several wives) his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech [a] the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD ; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.

Okay, so God is clearly mad at Solomon. But it has NOTHING to do with the AMMOUNT of wives, it's about the fact that they were turning his heart away from God. If God wanted to make a statement about monogamy, now was the time! But ney, God only has a problem with idolatry. So if any of you guys out there want to marry an idol worshipping pagan non-Hebrew, you better remember this story. :wink:

I would be happy to address any other passages.

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Postby Kurieuo » Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:21 pm

Shirtless,

I'd like to point out the verses you quoted represent specifically only polygyny (husband with multiple wives). Can you provide examples in Scripture to demonstrate polygamy the other way around? Now if women don't have the right the have multiple husbands, you have to deny women are equal to men which leads to sexism, and the Bible is clear in my opinion that women and men although different are equally valuable. Yet, it doesn't really matter even if you could provide examples of polygamy the other way around (polyandry).

By reason, the only way for equality to occur between man and woman is through a monogamy. If polygamy is alright, then a man's possession of say five women, means that each of those women are only equal to one-fifth of that man. For in marriage, people are given to each other, and therefore owned by each other. If a man is given to a woman and vice-versa, they belong to each other. If a man is given to a second woman and vice-versa, the man is belongs to two women who share him, and the two women belong to the one man. Surely any way you look at polygamy, it creates unequality between the sexes?

Therefore, on reason alone, if it is accepted that males and females are equally valuable, then polygamy ought to be rejected.

Kurieuo.
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