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Why are Abrahamic religions obesses about human sexuality?


Irbis
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One really weird feature of all desert monotheisms - mainly Judaism and Islam and to a lesser degree Christianity - is a weird obsession with human sexuality, with bizarre stories about Sodoma and Gomorra or how God killed a man for refusing to impregnate a woman. Judaism had death penalty for masturbation, homosexualism and extramaritial sex (they stopped practicing any of these punishments at least by the time of Jesus, though) and Muslims practice stoning adulterers and homosexuals up to this day. Christians consider these acts to be a major sin.

 

Why? Couldn't they just let people do what they wanted to do instead of inventing fantastic stories?

Edited by Irbis
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As I suppose has been pointed out already many times, Abrahamic religions were invented thousands of years ago. At a time when tribes were always fighting each other. The biggest tribe would usually win. So it was important for a tribe to increase its size by making as many children as possible. Children are made by normal sexual intercourse between women and men.

 

Abnormal practices, such as intercourse between men and men (homosexuality), or intercourse by a man with himself (masturbation), may be extraordinarily pleasurable. As we all know. But they don't produce children. So they don't increase the population, and military power, of the tribe.

 

Therefore, in an attempt to discourage such abnormal practices, tribal leaders branded them "sinful". (Which probably greatly increased their allure, but somewhat reduced frequency of occurrence)

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Sex is one of the most basic and most ancient and most powerful urges we experience. Control ones thoughts there and you can control ones thoughts anywhere and about anything. It's about control, IMO.

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Sex is one of the most basic and most ancient and most powerful urges we experience. Control ones thoughts there and you can control ones thoughts anywhere and about anything. It's about control, IMO.

 

 

I think you nailed that one...

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Sex is one of the most basic and most ancient and most powerful urges we experience. Control ones thoughts there and you can control ones thoughts anywhere and about anything. It's about control, IMO.

 

Yes, perhaps. At least the "control" gets easier as one gets older. As the body ages, the sexual urge diminishes, and gives the mind more control.

 

I mean, when one is young, say 20, the genital organs exert a very strong, almost compulsive, influence. And are uppermost in our thoughts most of the time. By the age of 50, their influence has waned. The mind is freed to contemplate other things, such as Philosophy. That could be why Philosophers are usually depicted as old men.

 

Whereas in Science that doesn't seem to apply so much. For example, both Einstein and Newton did all their best work when they were relatively young. On the other hand again, William Herschel was middle-aged before he even started his work in Astronomy.

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It is about control, I hate to go all matrix on you but religion is nothing but control, evidence of it is so plain it's painful.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqfMTzn_IW0

 

Come on, how could this even be possible with out some sort of control fetish? It is an extreme example but there many other cases of not so extreme control and some even worse... In fact in my home town is an example, I can't give a citation because it happened 35 years ago but the control/abuse was allowed by the parishioners and the pastor was defended against prosecution, he was a co-worker of mine and so was one of his many victims...

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I assume the reason someone was upset with Dekan's answer was the undiplomatic use of "abnormal", which is 1) a bit insulting and 2) a bit reciprocal (since may people's views on "normal" are based on abrahamic religions' belief over thousands of years, I think). Apart from that, that would have been my first thought, too (although admittedly without having any competence in that field). Especially since these religions come with a claim of absolute truth - it's not "my gods are stronger than yours" but "only my god exists". That said, one should probably be careful to deduce a rule from what could possibly be cosidered a single event/religion. As any natural scientist will tell you: It is always easy to make up an explanation for a small set of data because the human mind is very creative. But most explanations turn out to be wrong when exposed to a larger set - at least that is what usually happens to me :wacko:

Edited by timo
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The sexuality obsession has often tied to misogyny. Men have often been able to do as they please. At different time in history in Abrahamic religions men could take multiple wives, wives were often teenage girls, and fathers basically controlled whom their daughters would marry. Then you still have places today where it is considered the women's fault if she is raped. It seems to be an extents of male dominance over women and entitlement.

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The answer lies in the nature of being human, and the way we have constructed societies historically.

Before the Old Testament was written, before Judaism and Islam both became proper religions, humanity was already obsessed with sex, as an act of power, as an act of dominance, and as an act of coercion, and this is because the sexual urges within all animals are among the strongest urges we experience.

At some point in human history, someone realised that a good way to control people was through rules, and if the rules of a society were aimed at our basics, the deepest set urges and needs, then the rules would become much more successful. Ruling kins and chiefs had control over their people and laws and rules were developed. Apart from coming to an agreement such as the barter system for trading, rules around conduct were developed. (Don’t steal from others, therefore others won’t steal from you. Don’t kill, else you might be killed.) The advantage of sticking to these are that everyone gets the same chances and rights. The disadvantages of not following the rules were shame from others, banishment, torture or death. There were many ways this was enacted, but of course these rules can only be as successful as the society they are enacted upon. Of course, with sex being the deep drive that it is, rules around sex developed, and alongside this came the shame associated with sexual “deviations” from the accepted norm. Sex and sexuality became taboo because of a need to control the actions of others.

As others have said, I believe that the obsessiveness over sexuality that religions such as Islam and Judaism have shown is in some ways a 'marketing tactic' and provides control over certain groups of people.

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I would guess that it's because a lot of problems cross over into the sexual arena. I can support each of these hypotheses with some part of the Bible.

 

*It's all KJV to avoid copyright violation.

 

NowakScience points out that sexual contact can be used to establish dominance. The antagonists encountered in Sodom (Genesis 19) aren't homosexuals, but rapists. They demand that Lot release the men so the Sodomites can rape them. This story has been interpretted as a condemnation of homosexuality.

 

Dekan (and Timo) note the societal importance of procreation. Ten Oz suggests control over women.

Psalm 127:3-128:3 (KJV)

"Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."

"128 Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table."

 

 

Plus sexual intercourse is the most obvious and immediate route for pathogen transmission since our ejaculations can contain pathogens—and our blood too. The importance of cleanliness to health wasn't formally investigated until Florence Nightingale, but Leviticus does coincidentally seem a bit OCD about vectors of disease.

 

Leviticus 15:16-33 (KJV): Handling genital secretions

"And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even. And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even. The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even. And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.

[yadda yadda, Leviticus 15:20-32]

And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean."

 

Leviticus 11 (KJV): Handling animal carcasses

"And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.

[yadda yadda Leviticus 11:3-44. What sorts of camel, swine, bird, fish, insect, etc. you may not eat lest you become unclean; how you should clean them; and how they shouldn't touch other things; because he's the Lord, yadda yadda]

For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten."

 

Leviticus 14 (KJV): Handling diseased people

"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;

[yadda yadda, Leviticus 14:4-53]

This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall, And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house, And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot: To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy."

Edited by MonDie
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...

Plus sexual intercourse is the most obvious and immediate route for pathogen transmission since our ejaculations can contain pathogens—and our blood too. The importance of cleanliness to health wasn't formally investigated until Florence Nightingale, but Leviticus does coincidentally seem a bit OCD about vectors of disease.

...

As evidenced by the Dead Sea scrolls, the Essenes were OCD on hygiene as well. (There is some argument if the Essenes penned the scrolls, but the hygiene aspect is evident.) I don't have a transcript at hand to quote just now nor do I know how much overlap there may be between the scrolls and traditional canon whether Leviticus or otherwise.

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