Saturday, May 21, 2005

Sexuality and Morality

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One quick way to start a fight, is to start discussing sexuality and what is right or wrong about it. Most people, accordingly, would decide to leave that subject be, but ignoring behavior with a moral value is not something Christians are taught to do. So, in discussing the moral aspects of sexual conduct, I also find it necessary to examine the place of the Church, and of Christians, in how we act towards others in a matter or sexual conduct.

In my earlier post concerning Sexuality, I made a point of noting that Scripture has been taken as support for positions condemning Homosexuality which, when examined closer and in context, is not the sum of their statements. Also, I have noted that the Gospel accounts do not show a single statement by Christ which indicts Homosexuals, or which indicates that sexual orientation is a sin. I decided to present my understanding of sexual morals as they apply to Christians.

Before going on, I should note my strong belief that Jesus not only was never married or had children, I am convinced He never had sex. Any claim to the contrary misses a critical part of Jesus’ promise to us; Jesus Christ made God accessible to anyone interested in the relationship, and to equal degree. If Jesus had a girlfriend, let alone a wife and children, that promise is destroyed. This absolute celibacy by Jesus is the motive for Paul’s suggestion that believers should not marry, if they have the self-control to maintain their virginity. It also has the unfortunate effect, of suggesting that only virginity would please God, which is simply not so.

God made every single human being on the planet, and Genesis makes clear that God intended for humans to have children, which has almost always involved sexual intercourse. But more, it is clear from even a superficial reading of Scripture, that God is pleased when a husband and wife love each other, the Song of Songs is pretty specific about the physical pleasures of a couple, and God’s approval.

If I stopped there, Roman Catholics and most of the traditional Protestants would be pretty pleased. But those same Scripures pose other stories, less obvious but no less significant. Jacob and the Lord wrestled at night (Genesis 32:22-25). David and Jonathan were best friends, and some of their contact indicates a more intimate relationship than even brotherhood (1 Samuel 20:3, 20:11, 20:15, for example) . Some of the most important figures in the Bible were prostitutes, like Rahab (Joshua 2:1-24) and many of the women Jesus addressed had been married more than once, were living with a man they were not married to, or otherwise engaging in activities fairly promiscuous for the times, and it is noteworthy to see how He spoke with compassion to them.

Abram had a child by Hagar before he did with his wife, Sarai. Lot was considered a righteous man, but both of his daughters had children with him (Genesis 19:30-36). Tamar disguised herself as a “shrine prostitute” in order to have children to continue the bloodline (Genesis 38:13-30) . The Roman Centurion whose faith Jesus praised (Luke 7:9), seemed to have an unusual personal interest in his servant, yet Jesus had nothing but praise for him.

So, from a Biblical perspective, it becomes clear to me that a lust-driven action offends God, and violence in any relationship is evil. Further, in any relationship, one member dominates, and so is responsible for whatever happens in that relationship. The moral value of any relationship, then, does not depend on its orientation, but on the character of its pursuit, and the commitment of the participants to the other’s well-being and happiness.

I need to say that I am a bit disappointed, that some who asked me by e-mail to post on this issue, have not said anything since I did so. I expect I posted a few things you didn’t expect, but whether or not you agreed with my take, I think it would be a good and desirable thing, for you to make your own thoughts and opinions known. The conversation is too important, for it to be merely a soliloquoy.

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