Friday, July 29, 2011

Sex & Religion

An old friend of mine from high school and I were talking the other day, and she brought up the topic of sex within Christianity. This got me thinking about sex and how it relates to religion. Considering the fact that roughly 33% of the world's population is Christian, it deserves a look at how the people of the religion view sex.

Sex in the Bible:
(I am going to be basing this purely off The New Testament).

Let's start with premarital sex. Christians, especially the older ones, are always preaching against pre-marital sex. But where in the Bible does it say this?
Matthew 5:28: But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
But the definition of Adultery is 'voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse.'  So, yes, premarital sex would imply that a person is having sex with someone who is not their legal spouse but they are not necessarily committing adultery in the sense of the word.

However, in Hebrews 13:4, it says: Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

And 1 Corinthians 6:18: Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.

So, let's just say that it is pretty clear that sleeping around isn't exactly a good thing, according to the Bible. But to me, this doesn't say that you shouldn't have sex before marriage, it just says you should be pure. So if you are dating or engaged to someone with the pure intention of staying with them or marrying, is it really considered adultery or fornication?

Now, as far as sex in marriage goes, the Bible is fairly clear on it's stance.
New International Version (©1984): 1 Corinthians 7:3:
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.

The Bible also says that sex is not dirty! This is an Old Testament quote, but I'm going to use it anyways.
"And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:22-25)"

'...Were both naked and were not ashamed.' Sex is not dirty. People are very quiet and shy about sex, but they shouldn't be. God created us with the intention of procreating and continuing our species. We should be having sex. And in my opinion, I don't believe God would have made it something that felt so pleasureful if it weren't meant to be an act of pleasure. Other animals on the Earth have sex just to procreate--they don't feel good while doing it. So why do we? Because we should enjoy it, and want to procreate.

Here's where it gets difficult.

Matthew 5:28: 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (New International Version (NIV)).

But again, the word adultery is used. Does this mean that a person who is married is the only one whose eyes shouldn't stray? I think that for a single person to look at another person with lust is natural and accepted; How else would we know that we are sexually compatible enough to create strong, healthy offspring?

But let's think about this. Marriage was originally a religious experience, it was the bonding of two human beings under God. The whole sanctity of marriage (for the most part) is changed in this day in age. Whereas Christianity has the world's highest percentage of followers, it is still 33%. This means that 67% of people are not Christian (they may follow other religions, but disregard that for right now). So why are we, as a society, so tight-lipped on sex?

Kids need to be educated about sex and taught that it isn't bad. It feel good. Period. Children going through puberty feel these urges and don't know what they are. Naturally, we know how to satisfy them, and so naturally, they're going to go out and fulfill them with someone they are sexually attracted to. We can't just tell them it's wrong. Kids need one super important question answered: Why? We need to tell them what the Bible says, that sex is fine if you are marriage, or if you believe you are pure and in love and plan to be with your partner for the long term.

As a society we show movies and television shows advertising sex and the pleasure that comes from it, but none of the psychological or religious affects. We also don't show what goes into the decisions, or what sexual activity really is. We are shown 'sexuality' from an early age, but are given no explanation, no guide, no direction to what it is, how we can get it, or how we should handle it. We tell kids that sex is beautiful and not bad and feels good, but we tell them not to do it. In the heat of the moment, kids are not thinking about nine months into the future. Or what health risks they're facing. They're trying to satisfy that urge. We need to stop telling them not to do it, and start telling them how to do it safely and in a responsible way.

It's also a difficult topic because as years go by, we start to accept more and more things that the Bible speaks out against but pick and choose which ones to continue to follow. Just some examples:

Divorce-"Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." (Matthew 19:5-6)"

Now, we divorce once, twice, three, even MORE times and it's not considered super taboo anymore. It's actually extremely common now. The New Testament doesn't have a ton of rules to follow, it's more so advice and a guide on how to live your life in a respectable, God-fearing way. But people do take some of the rules and push them on others (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 - "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." (NIV).)  But they ignore the other descriptions in there--sexually immoral, adulterers, greedy, drunk...

The point I'm trying to make here is that none are perfect in the eyes of the Lord. But He has given us ideals with which to base our life on living, and we don't all follow them. And we shouldn't judge when people don't follow them. And because of this, we shouldn't hide sex. The Bible even says that Sex is expected between man and wife, and despite your interpretation on the rest of it, between other unmarried couples as well. If you are really a Christian, you will understand the importance to preach our Lord God's word while also educating and understanding our younger generations.


Sources:
There were so many sources for this, I will just post links. If you are interested in any of them, please click the link to view the site.

GodAndScience
GodAndScience.
FactMonster
ChristianTeens.About.
BibleGateway Passage
BibleGateway Passage
Online Bible Verse
Dictionary.reference.com


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