Monday, December 27, 2010

God and Sex

A few months ago I was listening to a local radio program on my way to a job site. It was one of the morning talk programs where a few guys and one girl talk about and offer un-informed analyses of news and current events. Aside from serving as a strong reminder of the reason I usually only listen to NPR, the chatter that day also offered another example of an amusing / annoying lack of Biblical literacy.

Somehow the topic of God and sex came up, and the three (or maybe four) of them starting going off about how God hates sex and how the Bible teaches this and that about how sex is bad. This belief seems to be very common (Philip Pullman makes it a major issue in his anti-clerical but pretty good series His Dark Materials) yet, as is true of many beliefs about Christianity, it is false.

In their discussion of how God feels about sex, one of the hosts actually said something very nearly like, "have you ever read the Bible, God doesn't want you to have sex or have any fun." Apparently she missed that part of the creation story in Genesis where God creates males and females to join together "as one flesh" and how that union (physical, social, and spiritual) somehow fully encapsulates who God is. They apparently missed the verses in Proverbs emploring young married lovers to rejoice in each other's bodies as well as that whole book of the Bible, the Song of Songs, which is essentially erotic love poetry. Paul, in the New Testament, says that husbands and wives should offer their bodies freely to one another (though he also says he thinks it is better to be single, this is a separate issue and has to do with time rather than sex).

I think this myth probably has a variety of sources. Some Christians throughout history have thought that sex itself was sinful and have even thought that sex was the original sin that occurred in the garden of Eden. However, this view was informed more by certain strains of Greek philosophy (in which physical bodies, by their very nature, were considered corrupt) than the Bible. Also, I think that many of us somehow confuse a strong set of sexual ethics (forbidding adultery, etc.) with condemnation of sex itself. There is also the stereotype (too often true, unfortunately) of Christians as prudes. Lastly, I think a big part of this is willful ignorance: people believe what they want to believe. The radio host asked "have you ever read the Bible" but clearly had not actually read it herself. I was annoyed enough that I almost wrote in to the show to helpfully point them to some relevant passages, but it probably wouldn't make any difference.

Sigh...if only they knew that God thinks rather highly of business time; heck, he created it.

1 comment:

bairdduvessa said...

im an atheist and even i know that in the old testament it says, "go forth and multiply"