Tag Archives: Christianity

Christianity and women and sex

This is going to be a really short post, but I have to share it after finding this blog post on the internets.  I don’t know who Mark Gungor actually is, apart from someone who claims some authority on Christian marriage and relationships… but after reading the blog post linked to above, I think he needs to start all over again, perhaps with proper education about relationships and statutory laws.

Relevant annoying and icky bits from his blog are below:

I’ll dispel the myth regarding the requirement of a huge emotional connection. Women, more often than men, get hung up on this one and think they have to have all these warm and fuzzy emotions to feel like they can get physical with their husbands. I’m not saying that you always have sex with no emotion or connection–that would not be a healthy relationship. But what I am saying is that sometimes sex can just be sex.

As I said, sometimes sex is just sex; it’s what you do when you are married. Just like cleaning the toilet is what you do to keep your house clean…and I bet you don’t have this great desire or huge emotional connection to scrubbing the porcelain! You do it because it needs to be done and that’s the way it is with married sex… it does need to be done! It’s the glue that God gave us to bond us to one another. The bible is very clear that it is your responsibility as a spouse.

Understand that there is no need for all this desire and emotion nonsense. Don’t feel badly if you aren’t overwhelmed by all the over-the-moon feelings and passion ahead of time. There is nothing wrong with you. If you can enjoy sex once you start and have a good time, that’s all that matters. Just break the mindset that you won’t do it unless you feel like it. Let not your hearts be troubled. Just enjoy the deal without all the fuss and worry over the desire and emotion. It’s actually a trap, that if you aren’t careful, you can get caught in and you, your spouse and your relationship will suffer. (Emphasis in original)

Some of the comments on this thread are horrifying.  One woman says she was sexually abused before her marriage and after marriage her husband was not affectionate and was resentful of the healing she had to do from the assault.  She claims that often sex was unemotional and she relived the sexual abuse, and had she known that she could have just been unfeeling about the whole thing, then it would have been ok.  I really didn’t know what to do when I read this comment apart from bang my head against the desk.

A lone atheist who has found the blog through a friend takes on almost all the Christian commenters and the author herself.  She calls out the rape apology present by clearly arguing that such expectations of “having sex when you don’t want to” apply only to women and actually is rape, which is illegal.  She discusses the difference between subservience and equality, and quotes the bible back at those who quote it to her, in good productive ways.  The comments that she participates in are AWESOME.  I’d suggest reading them just for what she’s written.

But this whole post is a big concern – apart from the fact that a marriage counsellor of some description is telling people to just lie back and think of … well something – because it’s aim is at women.  You would never see a man being told to just have sex with someone, even if they don’t want to, because its far harder to fake an erection.

The Christian commentators and author keep returning to the bible, and to their understanding of how relationships should work based on the bible, which is a bad place to start methinks.  Their thinking is narrow minded and flawed and because Christianity is inherently misogynistic, their attitudes towards women are terrible (and sadly so are the attitudes of some of the female commentators towards themselves), and the idea of equality of women in a relationship isn’t really considered.

Some of the male commentators said they liked to do things for their wives because it made their wives happy, but there was very little discussion about how they have sex with their wives when they don’t want to – because that isn’t going to happen.

There is a lot wrong with Christianity and women in Christianity and I could blog at length about it, but for now, I’m just going to headdesk at this post some more and then go to bed.

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I’d like less Vatican in my life

In the latest from the Vatican, Benny has decided to condemn priests who abuse children, and for a change not link paedophilia to homosexuality.  The article is good, it talks about how Bishops who have been hiding child abuse are not being condemned, and that the Vatican isn’t really doing anything about the child abuse  other than talking about it.  The bit that annoyed me was at the end:

In his speech on Monday, Benedict said children deserved to be loved and respected by all – and that they flourish best in a family.

He stressed his long-standing position that a family is founded on the marriage between a man and woman – and that couples should do everything possible to avoid separation and stay together for the sake of their children.

“They want to be loved by a mother and a father who love one another; they need to live with and grow up with both parents, because the maternal and paternal figures are complementary in educating children and in building their personalities and identities,” the pope said. [emphasis mine]

This, again, shows how far out of touch with reality the pope is.  I could start with how the nuclear family is a very recent concept and only really started in the 17th and 18th century, and then discuss how widespread nuclear families are, and how common extended families are, to suggest that perhaps the pope’s idea of a family needs to be broadened.

But what I’m going to do instead is complain about the bolded text above.  I posted a while ago about why conservatism is bad for women’s rights, and this is more of the same, by one of the most conservative and patriarchal institutions on the planet.  I said then:

The big problem with this style of conservative thinking, and “traditional family values” is that it places women in society at a lesser place than the men. Women are typically more likely to become victims of domestic violence than men (I am not denying that men are not victims of domestic violence), so if it harder for women to obtain a divorce from a violent marriage, then that’s hardly fair and surely not part of what people would think that “traditional family values” are.

Staying together “for the sake of the children” if you are in an abusive relationship is not in the best interests of the abused spouse or the children.  Staying together “for the sake of the children” if one of the spouses is abusing the children, is not in the best interest of the spouse or the children.  Staying together “for the sake of the children” and raising those children in a toxic environment full of anger, hate and bitterness, is not in the best interests of the children.

Surely if we are going to “think of the children” then surely what is in the best interests of the children should come BEFORE religious ideals of the nuclear family and traditional values.

Personally,  I’d also like the pope to show me his research in relation to what children want.  I agree that children want to be loved, but I am sure that in some incredibly dysfunctional households* children don’t want to be loved by one of their parents and would rather be a long way away from them, due to abuse (directed at them or their other parent), neglect or disdain.

And how does the pope knows that “the maternal and paternal figures are complementary in educating children and in building their personalities and identities”, and how that has to be a mother and father, versus extended family such as aunts, uncles, grandparents or close family friends.  There are many families that are single parents due to the death of one of the parents, should that single parent immediately rush out and remarry because their child is now lacking a maternal or paternal figure?

I am tired of the Vatican telling the rest of us how to live our lives.  We’re grown up now Mr Vatican and we’re making our own way in the world.  Get back in your box and leave us alone.

* And yes, I have evidence for this

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“The Ten Suggestions or A Royal Law of Love?”

Subject courtesy of the “United Church of God” and a pamphlet they sent me recently. I want to address the whole idea that the 10 Commandments apply to EVERYONE in the WHOLE world. I think it’s sheer arrogance… but here is what else the United Church of God has to say on the issue.

Do the Ten Commandments have relevance to our every day life in this hectic and confusing 21st century?

Some people consider them to be only good suggestions, while others may make an attempt to practice some of them. Very few view these commandments for what they really are: the best advice our loving Creator can give us. They are designed to protect us, our families and communities.

Properly understood, these principles not only apply to today’s world, but they can also transform the way we think and how we approach the problems and difficulties of life.

Ok, so apparently the 10 Commandments are just as valid now, as when Moses walked down Mt Sinai countless centuries ago… First lets go and find what the 10 Commandments actually are… as biblically stated versus the common understanding of what they are… because biblically there are actually two versions.

The first in the bible is actually from Exodus 20:2-17 (NIV) and the second version is from Deuteronomy 5:6-21 (NIV). There is also a set of 10 Commandments at Exodus 34:11-27, which are completely different to the first Exodus set and Deuteronomy. Wikipedia has usefully outlined the similarities and differences here so that I don’t have to. Actually go and read the whole article, I can wait… its interesting.

Ah, you’re back… so the 10 Commandments… are they actually still relevant in this day and age? All of these are taken from here which doesn’t necessarily tie in with the NIV bible I have in front of me. Where significantly different, I’ll comment…

ONE: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’

Right… clearly this only applies to people who believe in the Christian-Judiac-Islamic God. There is no wiggle room here for Buddhists, Hindus, Confucians (??), Taoists, Atheists… or anyone who isn’t Christian, Jewish or Muslim (though the Qu’ran has its own Commandments).

Clearly this fails the modern day understanding of freedom of religion being a human right.

TWO: ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.’

I think many Christians fail this one… Muslims tend not to create sculpture or paintings of people for it is forbidden, and some Jews also don’t have statues or paintings of people for the same reasons.

The actual bible quote refers to creating and worshipping idols, somewhat different to creating images and likeness of stuff. Oh and the original bible verse has God being a vengeful God… hardly the type of image that we want to propagate these days.

4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

So, yes this one fails as well. Again assumes a belief in a certain God, and then tells you not to worship other stuff. Something that many people tend to forget… Evangelical Christian right in the US? Hello, can you hear me? Worshipping money and power? Bad people, naughty… big smacks.

THREE: ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.’

Oh Jesus Christ! Oops did I just blaspheme? I don’t typically say that phrase, but I think that most English speakers these days use, “Oh God” just as freely as they say, “and”, “if” and “oops”. Again this relies on a belief of a certain God, and for those who don’t, clearly doesn’t apply.

FOUR: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’

Which Sabbath day? Exodus goes on to suggest that no one, not the Jews, the slaves, their animals or foreigners are allowed to work on the Sabbath, hence the Orthodox Jews not working on Saturdays, looking for ways to avoid working accidentally… you know by using light switches… I think that its all a little over the top, but that’s their choice.

So, back to which Sabbath day… The Jews, the originators of the Old Testament of the Bible say that the Sabbath is Saturday, the last day of the week. Most Christians view Sunday as a holy day because that is when Jesus rose from the dead, and therefore is holy for that reason… the Sabbath moved thanks to Jesus. But Christians may attend a service or mass, but then continue on with the rest of their lives, working or whatever on Sunday… well these days anyway.

I think the Seventh Day Adventists returned the Sabbath to Saturday, but I don’t know a lot about them, and haven’t researched them, that’s a story for another day.

So, again, this requires a particular belief in a particular God, because you’re resting on “His” day of rest, so… it fails.

FIVE: ‘Honor your father and your mother.’

Not a lot of leeway here. So what about the parent which abuses the child, physically, sexually or emotionally? Should that child honour their parents? I certainly wouldn’t suggest so. That’s gross betrayal, and certainly not good parenting according to anyone’s idea of decent parents. We don’t live in the dark ages any more. It’d be nice if the 10 Commandments didn’t any more either. This one fails for not considering what happens to the children who are abused.

SIX: ‘You shall not murder.’

Yay! One that passes. Apparently Catholic catechism goes one further and states that “You shall not kill… except in cases of capital punishment (though they’d prefer incarceration and rehabilitation) or war (if necessary and for good reasons).

So, standard ethics here… don’t kill people because you don’t want to live in a society where people could kill you. Killing is bad… m’kay?

SEVEN: ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

According to the bible I commit adultery every second week night and every other weekend when I sleep with my other husband. Because men could have multiple wives back in biblical times, women however were the property of their husbands and didn’t have the right to have multiple husbands. I’m fighting back against this trend… lets not also mention the bisexuality… that might make the bible writers head explode.

So adultery you reckon… what exactly is adultery?

Thanks to wikepedia (again)

Adultery is the voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and another person who is not that person’s spouse. In most cases and especially in Western countries, only the married party is said to have committed adultery, and if both parties are married (but not to each other) then they both commit separate acts of adultery. In other countries, both parties to the adultery are considered guilty, while in others again only the woman is able to commit adultery and to be considered guilty. In some cases it is only considered adultery when a married woman has sexual relations with someone without the permission of her husband.

Right… actually on the basis that modern, so called Christian societies fail this one on a regular basis, I’m thinking of Governor Standford as a beautiful example here, and I’m sure you can think of other so-called Christian and perhaps even Jewish people who have had affairs and recognise that this standard is failed by society in general.

Given that I’m not a practiser of monogamy, can I actually be accused of adultery? If I cheated on my partners, then perhaps I could… I’ll let this one pass only if we can redefine adultery to mean “cheating and lying” and then tie it into number 9 below.

EIGHT: ‘You shall not steal.’

This one passes too. You don’t want to live in a society where people steal your stuff, so you shouldn’t steal their stuff. Nice simple ethics.

NINE: ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.’

This one passes too. Don’t lie, be honest. Not that hard really… I don’t care how much you don’t like or even like your neighbour… being honest is the right thing to do.

TEN: ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.’

To covet:
1 : to wish for earnestly
2 : to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably (Merriam Dictionary)

What exactly is wrong with wanting something? I’d love to be as rich as… urm… Bill Gates, minus the tosseriness (and yes that is a word). I’d really like to have so much money that I can sleep on it, rub it all over my body, burn it to keep warm… and not have a care in my life. I don’t… but what is wrong with wishing for that?

What is wrong for looking at a neighbour’s or relative’s house and thinking that I’d like something like that, or some item in that house? Provided I’m not stealing or lying about it, how is this wrong?

This one fails on being illogical. Its good to have dreams and its good to chase them… wishing or desiring an object, a status or lifestyle can provide the impetus to seek out those dreams. I’m all for coveting, so go right ahead.

So in summary, the 10 Commandments are not “A Royal Law of Love” and are not relevant to the 21st century. Lets find some other decent ethics and create a new and interesting moral society… I’m all for moral universalism myself.

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