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July 09, 2004

Sexual Morality « Social Issues »

This began as the second half of a response to Mad Mikey in this post. I think it deserves its own entry, so here you go:

The fundemental viewpoint of this present darkness is that sexual pleasure is a right, and so sexual activity is a foregone conclusion. It forms the basis of so many liberal assumptions, but even worse, it has become ingrained in the mindsets of even conservatives who don't want to dictate behavior to anyone. Since pretty much everyone enjoys sex, and since even moral and religious leaders have stooped to engage in extra-marital satisfaction of sexual urges (to the glee of liberals everywhere, who use that as justification for the erosion of standards), it is difficult for anyone to stand up and say: "Kids should stop having sex."

Well, I'm saying it now. Kids should stop having sex. Our society should stop glorifying sex. Sex is not a fundamental human right, and pornography and vulgarity should not be protected under the 1st Amendment.

Sexual intercouse is a powerful sensation. No other single act or experience can be so influencing for positive or negative as sex. Being so powerful, it should be carefully controlled. Not by government, but by standards and morals.

Too many Christians have broken God's law against sexual immorality, and enjoyed the resulting sensations. They cannot seem to understand how something so powerful could be denied someone who is not married. If they have not been sexually pure, they have a difficult time preaching sexual purity to their children or friends without feeling hypocritical*. God's restrictions on sexual activity represent the main stumbling block many Christians have with His teachings. The moral compromises Christians make on this issue are usually the first step Christians take in watering down their faith and disregarding the teachings of Jesus and the plan God has for us.

Let's get one thing straight: we all sin. No Christian is perfect. The test of your Christianity is, when you recognize you have failed to follow God's plan for you, do you turn away from your sin or embrace it? Too many Christians embrace it, and then try to find justifications in the Bible, or even worse, disregard clear teachings in the Bible about it.

Sexual immorality is a sin. Having sex with your boyfriend/girlfriend is a sin. It is a sin which will be forgiven through repentence, of course, but if you make no attempt to regain innocence and purity after giving in to your bodily urges, you are not repenting. I don't see how Christians can ignore this, because Paul discusses it extensively, and Jesus directly addresses the issue, as well. Once a person's faith in God cracks enough to allow a person to justify not repenting of a sin clearly expounded in the Bible, it becomes even easier to ignore other things the Bible says clearly.

Homosexual behavior is also clearly a sin. The Bible is eminently clear on this. Actively and continually engaging in homosexual behavior is just as incompatable with Christianity as actively and continually engaging in murder, theft, swindling, anger, covetousness. But I understand the logical problem many people have in condemning homosexuality: if you have compromised your faith to continue doing what you want, it is that much harder to maintain standards in the face of what other people want. If you justify your sinful behavior on the basis of the power of sexual desire, then you have basis to not justify other people's sexual desire. If fulfilling your bodily urges are a fundamental right, then how could theirs not be?

But it is the assumption that is wrong. Even aside from the very specific and clear passages that say that a life-long commitment before God and Man is a non-negotiable prerequisite to sexual intercourse between a man and woman and any other sexual activity is sinful (damaging to the individuals involved), the overall message of Jesus is that you should not be focused on temporal experiences, you should not be trying to fulfill carnal urges, that carnal sensations distract from your relationship with God. God wants us to be focused on Him, on the afterlife, on spiritual sensations.

This is going to anger many Christians, including many friends who might read this. They will say, "I had sex when I was 14, and it didn't hurt my relationship with God," or "I am sleeping with my girlfriend/boyfriend, and I'm still a strong Christian", or "How dare you say I'm not just as much or more a Christian than you! Your being judgmental is more unChristian than my sexual activity!" But I'm not judging anyone. I'm not pointing to a person and saying, "YOU are not a Christian". I am reminding everyone what the Bible says, and what God says. If you feel accused, it is God who is judging you. I am using the words and ideas of the Bible, of Jesus, of Christianity, to condemn unChristian behavior, just as the Bible says we should.

Why don't I leave well enough alone? Because I've stayed largely silent long enough. I feel I must exercise my moral courage to help it grow, and I must exercise my faith to help it grow, as well. Because sexual immorality is damaging to the individuals involved. It is not automatically damaging with one act, no, but that merely lulls people into a false sense of security. I use the word "erosion" a lot, because it is an erosion of standards and of the soul itself. Each act of sexual immorality strips away a microscopic layer of your faith and your spirit, unnoticeable. Just look at the consequences of immoral sexual behavior: STDs, pregnancy, AIDS, broken hearts, loss of self-esteem, fetishism, greater depravity to repeat the strength of earlier sensations. The more you commit acts of sexual immorality, the greater chance you will experience one of these terrible consequences. But these things can only happen within a marriage if extra-marital sex is already a factor.**

But even if you are lucky enough to avoid the direct, temporal consequences of sexual immorality, the accumulation of microscopic erosion of those layers of the soul becomes readily over months, years, a lifetime.

They can be regained. Innocence can be reacquired. I'm living proof of that. The first step is repentance. The second step is the re-establishment of sexual morality for society. It may never happen, but that's no reason to shirk the duty God has charged me with.

*which is interesting, because I haven't seen anyone who has a problem condemning lying, despite everyone having lied at some point.

**except for an unwanted pregnancy...but if a couple doesn't want a child, reversible surgery is an option that can eliminate even unwanted pregnancies within a marriage. But the same surgery can do nothing to stop the other consequences of extra-marital sex.

Posted by Nathan at 08:26 AM | Comments (6)

Perfectly written, Nathan.

Posted by: Rae at July 9, 2004 05:35 PM

Having a personal faith, and living by it, is a wonderful thing. In america that is something that everyone can do without government interference for the most part. That isn't true in many other countries.
It would be a shame for people of one religion to try to enforce their religion on everyone else. That would ruin america.

Posted by: Brutus at July 10, 2004 11:13 AM

Then America is already ruined, since atheists and hedonists are already trying to make their views be the default view.
If their is a "right" to be able to march naked in the downtown of a major metropolis, if a historical symbol must be removed from a city seal just because it happens to be Christian, if Bono can use the F-bomb and my only recourse is to change the channel or never listen/watch broadcast media, then that is a betrayal of traditionaly American values being aided and abetted by the government.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that you have the freedom to do whatever you want. The majority has always had the right to dictate to the minority, and the government is the mechanism.
However, I'm not necessarily pushing for government interference, I'm pushing for an alteration to our fundamental attitudes in society, such that we can teach abstinence without people who are committed to dragging our youth into the muck immediately whining that we are trying to impose "religion".
Nope. It's what works. Religion is incidental.
My faith is what tells me what direction to look. My faith tells me not to believe the glittering promises of the succubus, but to instead look deeper and see the pain, harm, and desperation of those who center their lives around gratification of physical urges. And then to point it out, and explain why, and attempt to establish standards and morals that reflect what is good and best for the individual.

We have laws against murder and theft? Would you throw those out and live in anarchy simply because they are also found in the 10 Commandments? Of course not! So what I'm trying to do is show that there are good, demonstrable, common-sense reasons why all the 10 Commandments and all the precepts of Christianity are good to follow and make for a better society, regardless of the efficacy of the existence of God or Truth (although my feelings on that should be obvious).
Some may feel their freedoms are being stomped on if society shames certain behaviors. So what? Everyone wants freedom for themselves, but not for others. Personal freedoms have gotten too broad, to the point they infringe on others' rights to live according to traditional standards and norms (example: the Superbowl Halftime idiocy).

Liberal America is really coming across like spoiled 13-year-olds who lack discipline or any controlling authority.

Yeah, you didn't deserve such a wild rant for such an innocuous statement. I wasn't writing in response to you as much as anticipated follow-on arguments.

Posted by: Nathan at July 10, 2004 12:14 PM

I completely agree. Our nation is sadly becoming under control of these groups who want this and want that, such as approving homosexual marriage, it is clearly a voting issue - however the people of the United States as a majority don't want that marriage as an option. So you have states like Oregon, who are banning marriages all together because if one category cannot be married then the other cannot.

We even have organizations that are ran by/for Jewish-Americans (all for them) declaring that the Texas Republican Party cannot use/state the fact that the nation was founded under Christian beliefs because it is excluding others.

*rolls eyes*

And we even allow teenagers to have abortions - I believe that's murder and that is a lazy way to getting rid of a problem. "Oh I'll abort this baby!" Some women in the US use abortion as a birth control pill. And this irates me because you have people declaring our military to be baby killers? No - the real baby killers can be found right in our country, and they are members of the female sex.

But what disgusts me is that our children have no rights, a man raped a young school girl in Florida and the judge gives him SIXTY days, he was found guilty. But he still got 60 days. The Supreme Court overturns a law that would protect our children from the people who want to poison their minds with filth, all because it would go against Freedom of Speech.

I think it's about time, we take a long and serious look at ourselves and we should try and figure out why exactly more stricter socities in the world hate us. Maybe we do have too much freedom to glorify everything that is wrong with America and not show the world what good we can do.


Glad to see you made it back home safe :-)

Posted by: Jen at July 10, 2004 01:52 PM

I have been a Christian since April 21, 2002, and I was baptized in water on August 8, 2004. And while I agree with you one hundred percent that we Christians need to stand up and take responsibility for our own sense of morality, here is what I tend to believe as a Christian:

1. Masturbation is not a sin as long as it does not become addictive. And because it isn't mentioned anywhere in the Bible as being neither right or wrong, it is a matter of one's own personal choice, not a sin. In other words, you have as much of a right to choose to enjoy it as you do to choose not to enjoy it
2. Fantasies are not sinful as long as you do not act on them (sexual fantasies are no exception)
3. Christian writers such as myself can write sexually explicit novels if they want to, even if the sex involves lesbianism or homosexuality
4. Christians can see their same-sex friends naked if they want to, even touch and examine their friends' private body parts in a nonsexual manner, if it is consensual, and there are no homosexual attractions involved
5. Punishing children for masturbating, exploring their bodies, and expressing their natural sexual curiosity is wrong, and I feel sorry for any child who is forced into fear and supression. It is better to gently distract your child from the activities described above and teach them about privacy than it is to cause them pain, confusion, and severe psychological damage through lies, fear, and punishment
6. Women such as myself have as much of a right to enjoy their God-given sexual pleasures as men, even if it's solo
7. Women do not need to marry and have children to be happy or feel fulfilled, they can enjoy their independence as much as men, and they do not need to submit to their husbands
8. Gender and gender roles should never be forced on anyone, girl or boy, man or woman. If you are a man, woman, girl, or boy born with ambiguous genitalia, unless your very health depends on it, surgery to make you look the gender you were born with should never be forced on you (would anyone force surgery on a Down's syndrome person to make his or her face appear more "normal"?). Since God made us all the way we are for a reason, there should be no shame or secrecy forced on people who were born different
9. Abortion is murder, plain and simple, except I would support it if a woman was carrying an ectopic pregnancy (I hope to one day see a procedure, such as reimplanting the child into its mother's womb, that will eliminate the need to destroy an embryo or fetus altogether, even in ectopic pregnancy cases)
10. Lesbianism and homosexuality are both wrong only if gays and lesbians marry, have sex, or raise children together as couples. Otherwise, their attractions are perfectly acceptable as long as they don't act on their attractions

The more I am told that everything that I believe in is wrong and/or unacceptable, the more determined I will be at holding on to my beliefs, and the more at risk you will put me at pushing God away and turning from Him altogether. I am a "live and let live" kind of Christian. I invite prayer, and I pray for those who need it, but I also leave pretty much well alone and don't judge. Telling others how to think, feel, believe, or live causes selfish pride, rebellion, and a "who do you think you are" attitude. Living, loving, accepting, and letting others live allows others a kinder, gentler introduction to God. Which would you rather have?

Posted by: Joann at January 22, 2005 12:12 AM

Thanks for your thoughtful response. You've obviously spent a great deal of time thinking about it.
Many of the things you are enumerating are certainly within gray areas. I agree with you that much of what makes an activity a sin is the thought that goes along with the action. A man with his finger inside a woman not his wife may have nothing sexual about it at all if he is her gynecologist, and I certainly doubt that would be sinful.

I agree with you, sort of, with #10. The attractions are natural, but if you are saying it is okay to live a life embracing those attractions through the use of fantasy, pornography, and erotica, I would tend to disagree with you. For instance, you could say that it is okay to have feelings of anger that are sinful if they aren't acted on...but if someone sits around planning ways to horrifically torture and murder someone, that can't be good for the soul. On the other hand, I agree that finding a way to live within God with attractions you cannot control is certainly better than going ahead and acting on them. I don't think it is necessarily bad or sinful for a 14-year-old to masturbate to release the sexual feelings they are having and to explore their body. After all, isn't that what "wet dreams" are, in essence?
#4 is a little strange, and an extremely "what if?" scenario, but I can imagine at least two possibilities where it could be innocent off the top of my head, so I agree with you reservations.
I think #3 (writing sexually graphic stories/novels) depends on how you handle it. If you are making a point, no problem. If you are glorifying the carnal nature, especially to titillate, you are on dangerously thin ice, if not plunging through. After all, even if it isn't a sin for you, if it causes your brother to sin, it is still wrong. Re-read the New Testament portions talking about food sacrificed to idols, I think that is an apt analogy.
And one aspect that you are clearly non-biblical (and thus, to my thinking, clearly wrong) is in #7. Women should submit to their husbands. Of course, that doesn't give husbands a license to be Masters of Their Home, or anything. In almost the same breath, the Bible goes on to say that husbands should submit to their wives. I would probably say that Bible makes it pretty clear that to be Christian is to be submissive. To God, your spouse, your pastor, and your brothers and sisters in Christ. He tells us straight out to be servants. How could you not extend that same attitude of servanthood to your own husband or wife?
Hmmm...I may have to post about that, specifically.

Posted by: Nathan at January 22, 2005 05:03 PM
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