Do your religious beliefs exalt or stigmatize sex (or both)? Is religion a useful tool for helping young people navigate the treacherous world of sex, love and relationships? Does religion present an alternative view of sex and sexual relationships to the culture at large? Should it?
Sally Quinn and Jon Meacham on April 20, 2010 11:37 AM
Believers will pray with or without the proclamation of a National Day of Prayer. Unbelievers will not and ought not to pray, proclamation or not. So, what is the purpose of a law that establishes the first Thursday May as a National Day of Prayer? Such a proclamation establishes a civil religion. It is religion by law.
Posted by Valerie Elverton Dixon, on April 27, 2010 1:23 PM
A church does not really restrict freedom; it merely teaches that certain things are appropriate or are sinful. Individuals then make decisions as to their conduct. What I have observed with Catholics who take their religion seriously is that these rules seem to lead to secure family bonds.
Posted by Ronald Rychlak, on April 26, 2010 12:39 PM
In an age of sexual abuse, sexual addiction, sexual prostitution and slavery, sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancies, the timeless wisdom of Scripture provides timely counsel for a culture that worships sex with all the passion of a fundamentalist religion.
Posted by Mark Driscoll, on April 26, 2010 11:46 AM
Religions today must deal with today's reality and not pretend that we are still living in the world of limited exposure and access to sensual stimuli. Religions need to provide useful teachings that will help people address the issue of sex within the context of today's world. At the same time, they need to teach the importance of responsibly and the acceptance of the consequences of one's actions.
In my research across campuses, I found three very different attitudes among young adults about whether religion is useful in navigating hookup culture, sexual decision-making and identity formation, romance, and love:
Posted by Donna Freitas, on April 23, 2010 9:29 AM
Sex, in Pagan "thealogy," is a Good Thing, a gift of the Goddess, a way we connect deeply and intimately with one another and with the great creative forces of life. Sexuality is sacred. "All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals," says the Charge of the Goddess, one of our most beloved liturgies.
The Song of Solomon helps us to understand sex as an exquisite gift, a joyful, sensual celebration, an acceptance of the beauty and the power of our embodied selves. It shows us the spirituality of sexuality. And that is holy.
Posted by Valerie Elverton Dixon, on April 22, 2010 2:45 PM
Sex is seen as a blessing of God upon humankind, an act not only for procreation, but also for physical enjoyment and for bringing spouses closer to one another. But like most blessings, too much of a good thing can become harmful, so Islam places limits on, and offers suggestions for, healthy sexual relationships.
Posted by Pamela K. Taylor, on April 22, 2010 12:21 PM
Catholicism often is portrayed as a stumbling block to healthy attitudes about sex.That's a shame, because Catholic teachings on human sexuality - and, indeed, the broader Christian virtues of chastity, fidelity and temperance - serve as a much-needed corrective to the excesses of our hyper-sexualized culture.
Posted by Colleen Carroll Campbell, on April 22, 2010 11:25 AM
I wish religions would stop treating sex as bad. I wish religion would teach that sex is from God, and that to have desire for sex is not bad, but that we have to use that desire in a way that pleases God.
Posted by Susan K. Smith, on April 22, 2010 9:07 AM
There is no one, no perspective--neither religious nor secular, neither theological nor scientific-- that can tell you everything you need to know about whom to love, when to have sex, or how to make relationships work. Anyone who claims that kind of authority is lying. To you, or to themselves, or both.
Posted by Greg M. Epstein, on April 22, 2010 8:53 AM
Religion definitely presents an alternative view of sex and sexual relationships to the culture at large. But it's one that I'd urge sophisticated, increasingly secular people to reject. Wait a minute, most of them don't need my urging!
Judaism is fundamentally a sex-positive tradition. To be sure, it mostly imagines that such sexuality is limited to heterosexual, family-contextual sex, but that has been, for better or for worse, the presumption for most people for most of recorded history
Posted by Brad Hirschfield, on April 21, 2010 9:58 AM
"Religion" (historic religions) ritualizes the common ventures of life (birth, marriage, death), giving them sacred meaning, form, and purpose. This is "an alternative view of sex and sexual relations to the culture at large," for the present American culture at large is formed by the secular (religion absent) public schools.
Posted by Willis E. Elliott, on April 21, 2010 12:08 AM
To truly help young people navigate the world of sex, love and relationships in the 21st century, the Church must set aside its single-minded focus on purity and take up this central tenant of faith: God's love as a model for our own relationships.
Posted by Janet Edwards, on April 20, 2010 10:47 PM
The very first commandment in the Torah is to have sex. Sexuality is a powerful way of recognizing the image of God in another. For it is a kind of human devekut - clinging, the same word the mystics use for clinging to God.
There is a tendency in our culture to equate morality with sexual behavior, when that is just a very small component of morality. Ethical behavior and morality are about treating others with respect, dignity, and compassion. We should not exploit people, whether through sex or any other means. Morality should not be viewed through the narrow prism of sexual behavior.
Posted by Herb Silverman, on April 20, 2010 3:42 PM
Beyond offering youngsters the opportunity for "safe" soft porn, though, the Bible does present two very good pieces of advice about sex, advice which I do share with my students - again, much to their bemusement: Seek first G-d's reign, and G-d's righteousness, and idolatry is a big "no-no."
Posted by Max Carter, on April 20, 2010 12:13 PM
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lookingtolearn: Responding to the question.I truly believe that if we truly got away from being so reglious,and focused more on having a personal realtionsh...
DouginMoz: I want to thank David Wolpe, Brad Hirschfield, and even Max Carter's more tenuous article, for their more accurate descriptions of Judeo, an...
slane1: I am Christian and I grew up under apostolic beliefs. My religious beliefs greatly stigmatize sex. For this reason I believe that my religio...