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Paul Williams - Christianity and Sex (Condensed)

Paul Williams - Christianity and Sex (Condensed)

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Published by mcdozer
Condensed version of a study on the development of current Christian mainstream attitude toward sexual issues, as compared to Christianity's origins
Condensed version of a study on the development of current Christian mainstream attitude toward sexual issues, as compared to Christianity's origins

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: mcdozer on Oct 27, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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CHRISTIANITY AND SEX (Condo)--Are Sex and Spirituality Compatible in Christianity?
 by Paul Williams
"They recognize each other by secret signs and marks; they fall in love almost beforethey are acquainted; everywhere they introduce a kind of religious lust, a promiscuous`brotherhood' and `sisterhood.'"[1] This is a second century description of earlyChristians, who the Roman establishment considered to be a promiscuous sex cult whichindulged in orgies at secret meetings.The sex-cult impression must have been hard to eradicate for as late as A.D. 320,Emperor Licinius was promulgating laws that forbade Christian men and women (in theEastern empire) from appearing in company together in their houses of prayer.[2]By the fourth century, this persecuted love movement called Christianity was drasticallytransforming. Under Emperor Constantine, Christianity became firstly tolerated and later installed as the imperial religion of Rome (Edict of Milan, A.D. 313). Heavily influenced by sex-negative Gnostic teachings, fractured into rival Christian groups that hurledaccusations of bizarre sex practices at each other [3], and becoming all too eager todistance themselves from any sign of sexual impropriety, the great separation of humansexuality and spirituality began in earnest in Christianity.
Christianity and Sex
explores some of the historical, howbeit, not always scriptural,development of Orthodox Christian views on sex. This is a resource publicationcontaining quotations from various contemporary writers, scholars, theologians andclergy on the subject of Christianity and Sex.
 And God created . . . every living creature that moveth . . . and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply. . . . God said, Let us make man inOur image, after Our likeness. . . . And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. . . . [So] in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it. . . . And God  saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good 
(Genesis 1:21-26; 2:18;1:27-31)."Be fruitful and multiply!" "Reproduce!" was one of the first things God commanded thecreatures of His glorious creation. And then again, after the great deluge, God reminded Noah and all that survived with him that they had an important job to do--reproduce!
 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth
(Genesis 8:17; 9:1).
Throughout history, God put His stamp of approval on human sexuality and reproduction.To Abraham and later to Jacob (Israel) He basically said, "I am God and I want you toreproduce!"
 I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply
; a nation and a company of nations shall beof thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins
(Genesis 35:11; see also Genesis 12:1,2,7).God has a point to make, He is above what currently is considered politically correct inmany matters, even using the human sexual act to illustrate what He wants to say if need be. The prophet Hosea, for example, was commanded by God to go and marry a whoreand have children by her. God certainly knew this would raise the eyebrows of some of the self-righteous, letter-of-the-law religious leaders in Israel, but having His prophetmove in with a local prostitute provided God with an excellent opportunity to use the predictable reaction of the community to illustrate His own displeasure over their far worse acts of spiritual fornication and unfaithfulness to Him.
 And the Lord said to Hosea [God's prophet], Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms. . . . So he [Hosea] went and took Gomer the daughter of  Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son
(Hosea 1:2,3).
Many passages of the Bible are unabashedly erotic, including the Song of Solomon, andvarious descriptions of the relationship between God and His "unfaithful" Church. Eventhe promised world of spiritual bliss to come begins with the marriage feast of the Lamb(Jesus) for all who believe in Him, His "Bride," who then enjoy pleasures forever more atthe right hand of God. (See Revelation 19; Psalm 16:11.)The Scriptures are rich in sexual stories, allusions and sexual terms, demonstrating thatGod is far from being a prude when it comes to sex, and that he doesn't mince His words.As a result, some sections of the Bible, such as the Song of Solomon, were virtually banned by fourth century celibates who feared they were just too hot.
Some people are trying to have the Bible banned as too sexual and sexist for our times.The truth is that although the Bible is a sexy Book, it also contains much thornycommentary on the hypocrisy of humanity, which may be the real source of itsunpopularity in certain circles. What modern writer, for example, would dare to describethe 600 B.C. city of Jerusalem the way God inspired the great prophet Ezekiel to describeit in chapter 16 of the Book of Ezekiel?The chapter begins with a graphic description of God's involvement with Jerusalem, as aman involved with a woman, using explicitly sexual terms. At first she was just a filthylittle abandoned baby that He took pity on, washed and beautified. Then, when she growsold enough and it "was the time of love" (verse 8), God makes love to her and showersher with presents. This ungrateful woman, however, runs away from God to become awhore, and a foolish one at that, who God says doesn't even have common sense enoughto charge for her sexual services, but rather pays her lovers. To discipline her, God allows
her enemies to strip her naked and abuse her. In the end God takes her back a morehumble and submitted woman. This is not a piece of bizarre sex-cult literature, but anallegorical part of sacred Scripture revered by millions of Jews and Christians alike as thevery Word of God.
As already pointed out, God Himself created human sexuality and said it was "verygood" and His first commandment to man and woman was to "be fruitful and multiply."Yet, it only took one sly serpent in the Garden of Eden to foist upon humanity one of thecruelest lies imaginable--that contrary to Scripture, sex was "very bad" and not "verygood," that God's physical creation, the human body, was evil and shameful, and that itwas not good for man and woman to dwell together, "to be fruitful and multiply."Sexual pleasures, so the lie went, sprang like an evil forbidden fruit planted by the Devilhimself in the garden of human goodness, and it had to be crushed, uprooted and cast outif the human soul hoped to escape the flames of Hell. Once the Devil, the "father of liesand of all that is false" (John 8:44), had successfully planted his evil seeds of doubt aboutGod, Creation, and human sexuality in the hearts and minds of humanity, the tragicwedge between spirituality and sexuality was in place.Those who believed the lie and chose the anti-sexual body-rejecting path to perfectionsoon found the Biblical account of Adam and Eve frolicking naked and unashamedthrough the Garden (Genesis 2:25) a rather embarrassing quirk in the religious record thatneeded to be explained away. Hence, Adam's expulsion from the Garden was taken tomean that he had been booted out for having had sex with Eve [4], who was portrayed asan evil sexual seductress who caused the curse to fall upon an otherwise perfect man.Sex, therefore, was to be viewed as part of the curse, the evil deed that got man intotrouble; and woman was responsible.
The real sin in the Garden was Adam and Eve's succumbing to the Devil's temptation todisobey God and partake of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good andEvil.After Adam and Eve sinned they became aware that they were naked and hid themselvesfrom God (see Genesis 3:8). Finding them hiding from Him and covering themselves,God asked them who told them they were naked and that it was wrong, and asked if theyhad eaten of the tree. (See Genesis 3:7,11). Therefore, logically, clothing and the first figleaf cover-up should be viewed by Christians as the shameful result of human sin,rebellion, deceit and disobedience to God. However, it has instead been embraced bymany as the badge of honor, decency and wonderful "natural" modesty.Sexually bound denominations within Christianity still defend their obsession withexcessive prudery and their extreme, sex-negative attitudes by pointing out that GodHimself endorsed this great human cover-up when He made humans their first set of clothes from animal skins. Men like Saint Gregory of Nyssa and Saint Maximos theConfessor championed the case for covering up, teaching that these "garments of skin"

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