Sexuality may be a blessing – or it may be a bane. We are one of the three Peoples of the Book, Judaism, Christianity and Islam being based on the Bible, and thus have an ancient written history behind us, and hopefully a splendid one before us. Yet we may have inherited distortions, which can now be tearing us apart – or tearing our Christian churches apart. Besides our religion borrowed from Jerusalem we have also borrowed philosophy from pagan Athens.
Sexuality in Christianity had its birth in the Roman, Hellenised Empire. It was the religion of ‘women and slaves’, but Paul preached in Hellenistic cities such as Corinth where women could not speak in public, and trimmed his sail and epistle accordingly (1 Corinthians 14.34-35). It is commonly thought that Christianity is inherently anti-sex. It is thought that Christianity believes either that sex is a regrettable necessity to create children, or believes that women’s sexuality represents some sort of untamed passion to snare innocent men. Related to this, is a more general dismissal of the body as evil and full of temptations to sin.
Why is sexual desire so powerful?
Sexuality among humans is disproportionately powerful to the function of reproduction having a life of its own (according to science, the human female is the only female that enjoys sex!) Such is the attraction between men and women, that the love of a single person may become more important to us than conquering a city or owning an empire! To love and to be loved is arguably the main driving force behind all the things we do and create, the reason why we fight and conquer.
The desire for a woman has the power to call a man away from the ‘selfish life’. It can inspire or destroy! Amazingly God set up a rival to himself in making sex so powerful – offering the greatest possible challenge to selflessness. In the matter of Sexuality in Christianity, all of us will fail at times but the way we feel about sexuality will reflect our attitude to God. Our choice is to make known what we hold as important by choosing sexual love inside or outside the boundaries that God permits.
The Sexuality in Christianity view of women and sexuality are closely connected with the concept of original sin. “Behold, I am born in misdeed, and my mother conceived me in sin” (Ps 51,7). When the purely fictional characters of Adam and Eve, according to the Bible, suddenly realized that they were stark naked and had different anatomy, they took an interest in each other’s bodies. As a result the dirty and sinful bodily libido came into play. How mankind otherwise was supposed to reproduce and multiply in Gods cunning Master plan is a bit unclear in the Bible. Maybe he had some kind of test tube cloning in mind, or perhaps some kind of pollination? Without “original sin” there would soon be no mankind for God to condemn. And we all know how much he likes to condemn, punish and kill sinners, by the thousands.