Sunset - Larnaca

Sunset - Larnaca

Friday, 16 January 2015

Sexuality - Discussion with Atheist

Second part of the series on the theme of 'sexuality.' This time, in dialogue with my good friend Michael McKean, a Philosophy & Religious Studies student at the University of Aberdeen. 

Introduction by Michael:
I believe that it is up to the individual how they conduct their sex life, and that they absolutely should not be dictated by some authority, like the Church, or a politician. However if they want to be dictated it is up to the individual. On another note, if somebody performs a sexual act that harms someone against their will, then they should be halted in that endeavour ( because of the harm to the unwilling person ). It cannot be denied that we have a biological need for sexual activity, and that therefore it would be futile to attempt to overcome that instinct completely. However we can limit that need through abstinence, and I consider abstinence a somewhat noble enterprise. That kind of ideology is not for everyone, so therefore they should just engage in their needs to whatever extent they please. 

Personally, I see sexual engagement as a positive activity for the prolongation of humanity, and for the establishment and continuation of emotional relationships between the sexes. 

Are Christians obsessed with sexuality?
Michael : On average Christians are more likely to be obsessed with sexual issues than the non-Christian. An obsession with sexuality usually indicates a troubled view of that issue and I believe that many Christians have a troubled view because they have been compelled to accept a view that the Church maintains. In particular with regards to the perceived holiness of virginity, and that can lead to psychological problems. So I think we should have complete freedom to determine our sex life. 

Alexis: I would admit that within Christianity, it would seem that sexual sins are emphasised far too much, hinting that there may be an underlying obsession with the matter, as you have suggested. However, as I mentioned in the first blog post, sexuality is a powerful drive and human instinct, that must be guided by God and His Church, understood in a healthy, and realistic way. Your position may seem attractive and open-minded,  however we have to remember that not harming anyone else, does not mean we are not harming our own selfs. When taking part in sexual activity, that is based solely on the self, on carnal desires of the flesh, and on personal gain, there are psychological and personal problems that arise. If we base sexuality on the self, and maintain that it is simply a need, then we lose its very essence and purpose. Sexual union between a married couple, is an expression of communion and of love. Communion and love are the complete opposites of self-centredness. When Fr Nikolai Sakharov, was asked by a teenager how we know who our true spouse should be, and how we know we are willing to give our whole lives to that person, he replied 'we see the image of God in them.' This answer tells us many things, but the point which is most relevant for this discussion, is that the human being is created to be in the full image and likeness of God, who is the very definition of love (1 John 4:8). This means that love is natural, personal and relational - bringing together human beings in communion with their Creator, God. For this reason, the Church highlights that 'becoming one flesh' (Gen 2:24, Mark 10:8) is indeed an act of αγάπη (love), a selfless giving of one to the other; a κένωσης (self-emptying of ones own will, and becoming completely receptive to the others will, found in Phillipians 2:7).

When we take on this view of sexuality, as a true gift to humanity, and an expression of intimacy and love that must not be misused, then we will have a healthier and more stable life. Everything which God has created is good (Gen 1), which means we should cherish this gift, protecting and preserving the true purpose of sexuality, as a means of communion between the married couple, and God. The role of the Church, is to guide and protect human relationships, in order for all human beings to obtain this fullness of love and communion. After all, sex is the act of love that brings new life into this world, creating families, the very foundations of our society. I think we can all agree that something which is life-giving, is far from a mere instinctual act of pleasure, but something very meaningful, spiritual and divine. 

In the last and final post of this series, I will continue the discussion about Christianity being 'obsessed with sex' as Michael claimed, dealing with the problem of hyper-sexualisation in todays society and the need for the Church as our guide. Furthermore, I will discuss the debated issue of same-sex marriage, and homosexuality. 

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