Friday, 13 November 2009

Debate: Depravity, a response.

This is a response to Justin's opening salvo in our ongoing debate about Christian Sexual Morality.  My first post here.  Justin's blog here.

Justin opens with 2 main arguments in favour of the religious sexual morality: abstinance and marriage.
"I would like to focus on what I take to be the most important: abstinence and marriage"
My initial reaction is that even if I think that lifelong monogamy is a good thing (I will describe later examples when it isn't) that doesn't mean that marriage is necessary for monogamy.  People can live together as a couple, raise a family and never split up, all without getting married.  There is no need for the church, or the courts, to get together to introduce extra reasons (financial, social or legal) for two people who love each other to stay together and raise their children in a happy, loving home.  Yet, even if these extra bonds from marriage increased the chances of a couple making it all the way it in no way invalidates the couples that don't get married.  Which part of your morality or religion (the two are not synonymous, but that's another discussion) states that in a monogamous (but non-married), lifelong, child-brearing relationship "sex is ugly, and shameful"?  Is there anyone out there who can seriously think that two people who have been together and with no-one else for 10 years having sex is "ugly, and shameful"?  I'm sure they don't.

He then moves on to polygamy as an example why sex outside marriage is wrong, missing the point that polygamous people are married (he should really have chosen open relationships or promiscuous people.)  I agree with him here that most human cultures have been polygamous, mainly when resources are scarce and women are not seen as equals.  The biological reasons behind polygamy and the potentially violent and wasteful way it drives evolution, individuals and culture are completely irrelevant here as western culture, ouside of religion, has stopped viewing women as property or breeding stock and women are free to choose a man based on any criteria they choose.

Women do not select partners based on their genetic desires for good genes for their children.  Couples have to get along socially and they have to be physically attracted.  They do not, initially, care what this means for any potential offspring.  Partners are chosen for themselves rather than their genetic potential.  Wealth, stability, a sense of humour, a good body, nice eyes, kindness, a nice accent, beauty, intelligence, talent etc. these are all individual traits that make women fall in love with men, and vice-versa, and say very little about their genes.

The concept of an alpha male has been destroyed by our culture.  We also do not try to breed with as many women as possible, having the most offspring is not what most males want, and women are more worried about the suitability of a man as a father rather than how 'good' his alpha male genes are.  Also, the concept of alpha male spreading his genes is false, even the type of man that wants to sleep around generally has limits in terms of how good looking (or whatever his criteria is) a girl has to be, a true alpha male would be spreading his seed as wide as possible.
"Lifelong monogamy is an act of love."
Monogamy tends to be forced on a lot of couples, either from social (children/parents) or religious pressure, or a lack of options.  Also, still no mention of marriage.  Monogomy is possible without marriage.  To a casual reader this may seem pedantic, but this is abour Christian morals and the claim is that outside of a lifelong marriage "sex is ugly, and shameful."  Has the position changed here?  Is marriage not necessary, simply monogamy?  Or is he simply choosing the narrow definition of monogamy?  Either way I think this is completely wrong.

Lifelong monogamy within an unhappy marriage MUST be a bad thing.  Surely if a couple are unhappy they should be allowed to separate and try again with someone else.  Should an abused spouse be forced to stay with their abusive partner?  Of course not.  Lifelong monogamy inside an unhappy marriage is ONLY an act of love towards a particular religous view.

It is telling that Justin's opening statement was: "... what I take to be the most important: abstinence and marriage"  and he is yet to put forward any sort of argument against pre-marital sex other than
"[sex is good].. only within the context of lifelong marriage. Otherwise sex is ugly, and shameful."
Now, I don't know what kind of sex Justin is talking about but I have had many (not as many as I'd like!) consensual sexual encounters where neither partner felt dirty, ugly or shameful about what we'd just done.  I do not engage in one night stands, but I don't see why people shouldn't if both parties are happy with it.  Is it equally shameful if the couple are going to get married but want to see if they're sexually compatible before getting into legal and financial arrangements that are difficult to get out of?  Is it wrong for young adults to explore themselves sexually before they are self aware enough to know exactly what they want in a long term partner and can then be confident and knowledgable when they are married?  Is it wrong to engage in a mutually faithful relationship with someone for a while to see if you're meant to be together, including sexually, then split up if you're not fully compatible?  You can use protection during that period, so no children, have an STD check before and after the relationship so there are no diseases being transmitted to anyone, once that is done where's the harm?

I don't want to make Justin's argument for him, but the only 'good' side of abstinence before marriage is that once married, regardless of how things are, they have no knowledge that it could be better so stay together longer.  Ignorance is bliss, even when it's misery...

No comments:

Post a Comment