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Thread: Why Has Christianity Demonized Nudity, Sex and Sexuality?

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    Why Has Christianity Demonized Nudity, Sex and Sexuality?

    While American society today is in some ways overly sexual and sex obsessed, in other ways we are a very prudish and sexually repressed society. While the Porn industry is one of the few industries that is growing in this declining economy, it is still looked down upon and viewed in secret. Millions of Americans don’t talk about sex openly even with their own partners and sex education is America is in many cases very poor and insufficient and in other cases simply non-existent. Americans tend to be more offended by Janet Jackson’s two second nipple slip than they are about the violence in the world as viewed on the 24/7 news channels.

    Much of the American stigma concerning sex, sexuality, and nudity has to do with “traditional Christian values” as defined by fundamentalist Christianity. America has a lot of those old Puritan and Victorian influences as well as the biblical view from Genesis 3 that people should be ashamed of their own bodies. It is no surprise that the more fundamentally religious people are the more they are sexually repressed especially in relation to nudity and sexuality. As an atheist, I see nothing wrong with nudity or sexuality and it bothers me that America is so freaked out about these subjects.

    “What if a child saw that nude photo?” I give up, what if? What would happen? Would their eyes pop out of their sockets? The fact is that if you took your average 7 year old to see an R-rated film which had two seconds of nudity in it, they wouldn’t even notice and if you took that same average 7 year old to a long loving sex scene in an R-rated film, they would be bored. Of course if they knew that they weren’t supposed to see nudity because of some quaint religious stigma, they would want to see it just because it is forbidden. But if they weren’t raised to believe that sexuality and nudity were bad, they wouldn’t care less about either until they were old enough to take pleasure from it.

    The reason America is so prudish is of course in no small part due to the Bible. Aside from Genesis 3, there are lots of examples where fornication or premarital sex is demonized. For example, the Bible throws unmarried sex in with murders and atheism and claims that these things are “worthy of death.”

    Romans 1: 29-32 “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

    The Bible also claims that if you have unmarried sex, you can’t get the magical Heavenly reward:

    1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

    There are many other “Biblical Correct” passages which deal with the evils of premarital sex. Some will argue that promiscuous sex is bad and that the Bible is correct in threatening Hell and Damnation for such a thing, but there are two issues with that. The first of course is the Bible didn’t say “promiscuous sex” it said pre-marital sex or fornication. Maybe you just had sex with one or two people. That is not promiscuous, but if you were not married at the time, that is a one way trip to eternal torture. Second, there really isn’t anything wrong with promiscuous sex as long as everyone involved is a consenting adult who knows what they are in for and everyone has taken the necessary precautions (i.e. birth control if desired). Sex can be an emotional experience for most people, but it is not always that way. Some people just enjoy sex without a lot of emotional baggage. This is more common today in a world of one-night-stands and internet hookups.

    But even with the high emotions which sex often arouses, people can be mature and we can handle those emotions like adults. It is not uncommon for the average American to have between 6 to 20 sexual partners throughout their lives. But the Bible doesn’t just talk about the evils of unmarried sex, Paul didn’t think to highly of sex in general. Paul claimed that sex… any sex was bad but if you had to have sex, than married sex is better than unmarried sex.

    1 Corinthians 7:8-9 “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”

    The character of Jesus as portrayed in the Bible of course took things much further. Jesus didn’t even want people to be sexually aroused or to have sexual thoughts at all.

    Matthew 5:27-29 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.”

    That’s right, Jesus said that it is better to pock out your eye because it might see an attractive person than to be tortured for all eternity because you had “lust in your heart.” This is Jesus we are talking about. You know, Mr. Peace and Love.

    So that means no swimsuit issues, no pornography, and no Angelina Jolie movies. No wonder so many Christians get all bent out of shape with the slightest glimpse of nudity or sexuality. Just an accidental look or peek could land them in eternal torture. This is one of the main reasons why there are so many restrictions and censors concerning nudity and sexuality. This is why American society is as sexually repressed and frustrated as it is. I’m surprised that Christians haven’t adopted the Berka.
    http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-8...-and-sexuality

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    Whether it's the Kingdom of God , of men or social society in general all moral laws are for control and organization. Abused by organizations that claims representation. but...Without Law we would be reduced to less than animals. People are a very complex mix of emotion and thought, having uncontrolled sex is very unstable to the family unit and organization of people as civilized peoples, leading to a very dangerous mix of poverty and rape of innocents.
    I would like to know what ever happened to respecting the ideas of personal grace? With grace comes self respect, and in an anything goes society no one has a claim to personal grace. It's social deconstruction.
    Perhaps the free loving defenders , should have had the opportunity to live out there fantasies in ancient times ? Than they might know the value of a human being attaining a level of understanding that leads to personal grace and done so on a world of inhumanity to man .

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    Once in the human evolution there was a healthy relation of people to their body, to sex, to lust, and to family, and of men and women to each other.

    Then christianity came and told people they would end in hell if they would ever feel lust, even WITHIN their marriage. Sex was something of the devil, and at the most allowed for reproduction. Women were degraded to a devil's playthings which werent even considered to have a soul. To engage with a woman most certainly meant for the man to burn in hell forever.

    This is what destroyed self esteem, personal grace and a healthy relation to people's own body.

    Priest castigated themselves and others, men started going to whores because sex in lust with their wifes - the MOST NATURAL THING in the world - were considered the devil's work, priests raped little boys and each other (irks, how gay). Little boys masturbating were told their hands or genitals would fall off, they would get crippled hands and of course, they would burn in hell. And so on and so forth.

    This sick mindset created by those 'morals' (life denying bs) prevailed despite christianity started to vanish. While people still attend the church and listen to the most horrid stories while starring at a crossed and tortured body full of blood, which plants each week anew the sick superstition into their minds that having sex would make them burn in hell, their fantasies go nuts, creating in hardcore pornos all sorts of perversation to compensate their guilty consciousness which prevents them from having a normal, healthy relation to their body.
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    I reckon they were just trying to make sure people got some work done
    Don't let Europe Rule Britannia!

    "If we reunited, then we would be an economic and military powerhouse without peer for centuries to come."-Leofric

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    Sees all, knows all Chlodovech's Avatar
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    “What if a child saw that nude photo?” I give up, what if? What would happen? Would their eyes pop out of their sockets? The fact is that if you took your average 7 year old to see an R-rated film which had two seconds of nudity in it, they wouldn’t even notice and if you took that same average 7 year old to a long loving sex scene in an R-rated film, they would be bored.
    The suggestion of watching an R-rated movie together with your child is sick by itself - what an odd example.

    Even though a kid would be bored, it's like smoking cigarets or swearing in their presence as a parent, it are habbits they pick up themselves. It is a big deal. Society has nothing to gain from 14 year olds knowing the ins and outs of the porn industry.

    The Bible also claims that if you have unmarried sex, you can’t get the magical Heavenly reward.
    Same thing goes for murder, yet the crucified Christ informed one of the murderers hanging on a cross next to him, that he'd make it to heaven. And wasn't Christ shunned himself by pious Jews for his interaction with prostitutes?

    There is a profound difference between having a higher moral standard, while at times failing to live up to it, and denying such a standard even should exist. There are always those who think the standard should be lowered, they're wrong.

    Except for saints, and then only at certain times in their lifes, nobody can live up to God's standard. That's inevitable. God knows so. A Christian has to assume he's going to hell. Only penitence and an act of mercy can save him.

    But even with the high emotions which sex often arouses, people can be mature and we can handle those emotions like adults. It is not uncommon for the average American to have between 6 to 20 sexual partners throughout their lives.
    Sexual degeneration doesn't become 'right' in God's eyes just because adults think it's okay.

    There is a breed of atheists that constantly needs Christian confirmation, I'm inclined to think the author is one of them. What's up with that? These particular atheists are obsessed with christianity, and they feel uncomfortable if they don't meet the Christian standard. As if they're not totally sure about their philosophy of life, and rather play safe. Genre: If there would be a heaven after all, I'd like to be there too - but then I need Christians to change their religion to fit my needs.


    But the Bible doesn’t just talk about the evils of unmarried sex, Paul didn’t think to highly of sex in general. Paul claimed that sex… any sex was bad but if you had to have sex, than married sex is better than unmarried sex.

    1 Corinthians 7:8-9 “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”
    Paul must have been influenced by a branch of what is nowadays considered 'gnostic Christianity'. In particular those who believed that the material plane of existence was a creation of Satan, and that by having children we only prolong human suffering and postphone human redemption. If the book of Genesis is viewed that way, then God becomes the 'snake' offering 'gnosis' to mankind, a way out for us without having to rely on sex, while Jehova is the evil, Satanic god who states:

    Gen.1

    1. [22] And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
    2. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,

    Gen.9

    1. [1] And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

    Gen.35

    1. [11] And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply;

    In the earthly paradise reproduction required intimacy, but no intercourse. Reproduction was supervised by angels - according to this Gnostic view.

    It's these ideas that nearly took hold of Western Europe during the emergence of the Cathars - it would've been a folkish disaster, but, eventually, the Church launched a massive crusade and wiped their presence off the map.

    As a Catholic I recognise that sex is truly sacred. For lack of better words, and with Aleister Crowley's sex magick in the back of my mind, I'll call it a portal to another dimension - you transcend yourself while making love. It's establishing a spiritual connection with your partner, and there might be even more to it than that.

    All forms of promiscuity strip sex of its inherent holiness, until it becomes a commodity, as it is in Europe. Sex without content and context degrades men and women.

    That’s right, Jesus said that it is better to pock out your eye because it might see an attractive person than to be tortured for all eternity because you had “lust in your heart.” This is Jesus we are talking about. You know, Mr. Peace and Love.
    Peace & love are different from 'lust'. A person who is not overtaken by lust has a clearer judgement.

    If you're both Germanic preservationist and a Christian, devoid of lust, having babies becomes a conscious decision. Such a man will not be hindered by exotic femmes fatales or less than desirable future mothers. By doing so you remain loyal to your tribe and to God. Any criticism of achieving this ideal is unjustified, and perhaps motivated by jealousy.

    Also, I admire people who don't have sex before they're married, whether they're Christian or not. It would be wrong of me to criticize them, to try to lower the standard, in order to feel better about myself.

    So that means no swimsuit issues, no pornography, and no Angelina Jolie movies. No wonder so many Christians get all bent out of shape with the slightest glimpse of nudity or sexuality. Just an accidental look or peek could land them in eternal torture. This is one of the main reasons why there are so many restrictions and censors concerning nudity and sexuality. This is why American society is as sexually repressed and frustrated as it is.
    Maybe so, but if that is the author's analysis, I must add that America transforms its sexual frustration into imperial grandeur and success, into militarism, into martial strength. Likewise it are sexual taboos that empower islamic societies. The Romans were at their strongest when they were prude.

    The Spartans weren't Christian either, yet their attitude towards sex was even more rigid than that of Christians, and they turned out alright.

    Sex, and all it entails, is the singlemost important political/religious issue in any given society, in any given age. The way sex is understood will shape the nation.

    Me, I'm glad I'm a Roman Catholic, that way sex will be forever dirty.
    "If we were going to stand in darkness, best we stand in a darkness we had made ourselves.” ― Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet

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    Ya well, American society... either sex obsessed or terribly prudish.

    The problem isn't nudity, sex and sexuality, it's oversexualization, and especially of children. I don't like Christianity, it's a Semitic religion, but I'm not going to go screwing around whores just to make a rebellious stand against it.

    The fact is, our societies are full of decadence and degeneration, and people are using sex to advance, instead of their brains or labor skills. It leads to a general state of latency and idiocy. Screwing around as a habit of daily life is characteristic of the Negroes, not Germanics.

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    What Christianity condemns is certainly not nudity, sex, and sexuality. Sex and the body were created by God, humans are icons of God. What Christianity condemns is the twisting and perversion of these things from something holy into something demonic. Sex into fornication and adultery. Nudity into pornography.

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    The following article was pieced together from various sources:

    The censorship of the sensual doubtless began even when the bible was first written, for it was written in opposition to the ancient fertility cults, but has continued directly the bible was translated into Greek then English. Before then, the references to phallic religious practices in the bible had been overlooked by the clergy who were the only ones who could read the Latin bible of the Catholics. Yet of the two poles of outlook, sexual expression and sexual suppression, it is the latter as represented by the peculiarly prudish religion of Christianity that is abnormal. Pious Pagans who venerated sexuality did it in no more a licentious manner than pious Christians say grace before a meal.

    The concept of obscenity is largely conditioned by religious conventions. Obscenity is emphasised and particularly propagated by Christianity. If God made us, as Jews and Christians believe, and famously made the unselfconscious first man in His own image, why should nakedness be considered indecent? Why are our perfectly normal and and necessary organs of reproduction considered as taboo? Adam and Eve disobeyed God and became self conscious, and the Christian churches are determined that we should remain that way. Pagans celebrated sexuality and fertility. People were glad of it, in humans for their own existence, and in plants and animals for their sustenance of continuing life. These were divine gifts not smutty recreations given us by the God of Pornology to tempt us into the arms of the Devil. The peculiar prudishness of patriarchal religions has been one of these perverted beliefs’ worst curses. The clergy of Christian denominations depend upon creating guilt in people about sex. It is easily done still, and easily made to seem as if it is guilt for more significant “sins” than a sexual surrender or thought.

    Christians believe selectively. Nudity and sex are to be ashamed of but king David had no qualms about dancing naked before a crowd, or seducing the wife of one of his military men. God approved utterly of David’s naked cavorting, and even smote Michal, David’s wife, who thought it infantile, with sterility for disapproving, thus seeming to confirm, in the punishment fitting the crime, the ritual as a fertility rite. The loyal, Uriah, he had killed just so that he could marry his widow. This is that same king David that Christians are pleased to say their God, Jesus, was in the line of. Solomon is the same. Christians admire him for his wealth which extended to a large harem. There can be nothing wrong with that to a Christian, it seems.

    God must have approved of these things to ensure they are still illuminating the pages of His so-called Holy Word. But apparently God has moved on, eventually deciding that He would become a God of Love and insist on couples cleaving one to the other for life, after the fashion of Adam and Eve. This Eve however cannot have been too careful about her Christian morality either, breeding like a queen bee with her sons, grandsons and so on, until by the time her son Cain left home, the world was extensively populated through serial incest. It took God’s own son to point out that people had to be like the primæval pair—incest apart.

    Early humans keen to propitiate and please their gods did so unselfconsciously in practical and socially acceptable ways. The idea of obscenity in making sexual offerings to a divinity could not have occurred to such people. Modern folk looking aghast at priapic images or being appalled at religious prostitution are projecting Christian conditioning on to people who knew nothing of it. Indeed, the creation myth of Adam and Eve in the bible describes the innocence of such people perfectly.

    Gods supplied human needs such as adequate supplies of food and drink, shelter and comfort, and progeny and fertility were among the blessings people prayed to them for. For these people, it was just as much a duty to a god, in expectation of a blessing of fertility, to dress and decorate a lingam, or to ritually perform the fertilising act before the god to show what was needed, as it was to make offerings of food and libations of beer or wine.

    Yet, the church has made fairy tales of the past. Contrary to its dogmatic assertions, sex has been allied to religion through the the ages until modern times. Unsophisticated people are less able to distinguish between subjective and objective stimuli. In this sense, modern religious people are the same. They experience certain feelings or emotions that are purely subjective, yet have to find a suitable objective cause for them. It is, of course, God! The only reason why such behaviour persists in the modern world is that society as a whole accepts that it is, or might be, God, because society condones and even encourages religion whereas it does not condone delusions otherwise. The ability of humans to share experiences through language has allowed most people to distinguish between what is subjective and what is objective. Religious experience is the one exception. Perhaps pseudo sciences like UFOlogy which border on religion are also exceptions.

    Emotions seemed peculiar to primitive people. Strong emotions, like fear, impressed them, and they had to attribute what we might call irrational fear, and that fear not today considered as fear—awe—to external causes. What can inspire fear demands respect, and gods seemed to be fearful and angry monsters. The emotion of fear or pleasure was projected on to whatever was seen as the external cause. Storm gods were popular, but so were love goddesses, and both stood for fertility. Pantheons of gods and goddesses arose from these mysterious and uncontrollable emotions projected on to different aspects of Nature.

    The Greeks were not unlike the north American Indians, such as the Iroquois, in that their whole countryside was sacred. Stones, trees, rivers and hills each had their spirit or god. Nymphs, dryads and satyrs gambolled in glades, and peered out from behind bushes keeping their eye on the landscape to guard it, and could be fearful if angered. So, superstitious Greeks would carry a flask of oil to offer at wayside and countryside shrines to propitiate the local spirits and thus ensure good fortune. The landscape itself was sacred, and the Renaissance country parks of wealthy European lords in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries mimicked the classical landscape by hiding shrines amidst the groves, and placing marble temples to reflect serenely in lakes.

    That each feature of the countryside had a guardian spirit was itself a projection of human consciousness into Nature. Consciousness or personality was in those days called soul, and was thought of as the property that vitalized us. When the soul temporarily left the body, we fell asleep, and, when it took off forever, the body died. But, if humans had a soul, then why should not everything else? Thus the world was populated with gods and spirits of Nature that humans ought not to offend. Christianity has retained the idea of a soul long past its sell-by date, but out of necessity, and only in human beings. Otherwise Christians reject the animism of the Iroquois and the Greeks utterly.

    The religions of simple people initially had nothing to do with morality. Essentially people feared Nature. They felt that If Nature withdrew her blessing of fertility then everyone would starve and would have no kids to care for them in their old age. The return of vegetation in the spring or wet season, and the gathering of harvests in the autumn, or before the onset of the hot season were obviously joyful occasions—the gods too were smiling. The sky-god sent sunshine, rain and fertility, but caused fires, storms, and floods, and Nature might withdraw her munificence through drought, disease and plague. The fear of Nature led to the proper propitiation of all the gods, with all round joy the outcome.

    When humans learned agriculture, earth was the goddess (rarely a god) of fertility. The fertility of the earth was seen to parallel a woman’s fertility. Love and fertility became one of the mightiest facts of life. The spirit of sexual pleasure was a most tremendous force, the most bountiful energy in the world. The spirit of generation, in man and in Nature, was as good a candidate for deification as the sun and moon.

    It was believed that human copulation could influence the fertility of the earth, by a sort of sympathetic magic. When scientific men find drawings of deer in a prehistoric cavern, they tell the whole world—it was magic. The artist believed he could bring the animals nearer and have a profitable hunt. When the same scientific men find a drawing of a male organ, or a woman with an exaggerated pubic part carved out of a bit of mammoth’s tusk, they say it is a pornographic graffito. Why is it not similar magic—fertility magic?

    The sexual act is not only the acme of physical bliss, it is necessary for the continuation of life. Procreation became a religious act. The god or goddess was interested in its happening, not in its prohibition. People came to believe that by human intercourse they prompted the fertility of mother earth. It is not surprising that magical formulae and religious ritual should accrete to this function. As they personified the sun and planets, air, water, fire, and other objects, so they personified sexual power.

    The belief and practices based upon it lingered in Europe in the Middle Ages. Large carvings of the sex-organs stood unblushingly in the temples until prudish Englishmen and Americans came along in the nineteenth century. The ancients worshipped not so much the sexual organs but the fertilizing principle, but they would swear by their sexual organs as representing divine energy and so the most sacred thing, just as Christians now swear by their Bible.

    As humans slowly came to think about their experiences, they early on came to want to celebrate the pleasure of sexuality. Once it was realised that the act of coition was necessary for reproduction, people took it that a demonstration of it showed to the gods what they needed. Soon, the demonstration of the sexual act became a necessity for the success of all reproduction, just as religious rituals always do. Sowers of seed had sex with their wives before they sowed to ensure the fertility of the grain. Before long the act was ritualised in seasonal rites in the temples. Upright stones long stood for the phallus and soon gods were being fashioned with an erect phallus, often grossly exaggerated. This god was a healing god, particularly of diseases and defects of the reproductive organs.

    By the time that Christianity was beginning to emerge in the Roman empire, a reaction against the cult of sex had already been felt throughout the Graeco-Roman world. Apollonius of Tyana, Plutarch, Dio Chrysostom, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Julian, Seneca condemned it, as well as the church fathers. The religions of Mithras, Serapis, and Manichæus, and the philosophies of the Platonists and Neo-Platonists, the Stoics, and the Epicureans, all considered the world too sexually oriented and campaigned for more decorum, and with more success than Christianity, until the church got and used political power. Christianity was bound to denounce phallism because it was in large part a campaign against sexual pleasure, if not all pleasure, and because it did not care a cent about the social aspect of fertility and progeny. Christianity notionally abolished all public manifestations of a phallic cult.

    It was a fundamental feature of the early Christian Church that sex was anathema. Even carnal intercourse for reproduction was distasteful and discouraged. The ascetic mind of Paul the Apostle was the funnel for a hatred of sexuality that perverted Christianity for 2000 years, and blighted the lives of millions of people doing perfectly natural things. The source of it was the sexual ascetism of the monkish Essenes from whom Christianity sprang. Jesus loathed sex for sacred reasons, being an Essenian monk, and Paul propagated the same view into the general population for no good reason at all. The Essenes knew that angels were not sexual creatures and that sex had no place in the lives of the immortal beings they aspired to become. They gave it up as an important step from the mortal state to the angelic one. These leading Essenes did not expect others in normal times to eschew sex. They knew it was necessary to the continuation of human life on earth, but they also eagerly expected abnormal times to begin when heaven and earth would unite and only the Perfect, or, the perfectly repentant, would survive.

    This was the expectation that Paul spread. His negative message of sexuality for those aspiring to heaven at the eschaton—his Christian converts—became a central element of Christian belief. It immediately got a following among those obliged through circumstances to forgo sexuality—slaves often forbidden to marry, those unable to get partners because of disease or congenitally, barren women who were frowned upon in society, impotent and infertile men, and those with genital injuries and deformities through warfare or venereal disease.

    Christianity began to get power after the conversion of Constantine, in the fourth century. S Jerome, the greatest ascetic of the fourth century, wrote explicitly to the aristocratic Christian ladies of his day. What theologian or preacher would now dare to draw an illustration, as S Augustine did, from the fimus infantis, or say that Priapus was deified propter magnitudinem instrumenti sui? Women no longer sat on the organ of Priapus, but they were driven to the opposite and more deplorable extreme of rejecting love for life under the promise of a certain place in a legendary heaven. Matrons no longer gave each other phallic cakes, but they had to go to church, like criminals, after childbirth to be purified.

    The temples and groves of Ephesus, Antioch, Baalbek, Alexandria, were “purified”, meaning that the explicit but priceless works of art in them all were destroyed. By the end of the fourth century the phallic temples had gone up in smoke. By the end of the fifth century the Pagans had mainly ceased to worship Cybele, Astarte, Aphrodite, Isis, Venus, Adonis, Attis, Osiris, Tammuz, Dionysos, and all the rest. Mary was substituted for Cybele-Isis-Ishtar, Jesus replaced Mithras-Tammuz-Osiris. The “pale Galilean”—or, rather, a pale priest at Milan named Ambrose—had conquered. Christianity was an expression of the negative result of phallism, the ascetic reaction against it, and the result was deplorable.

    The point about sex in the Christian tradition is that it is the opposite of immortality. Immortal beings like gods and angels do not need to reproduce. The aim of sexual abstinence among the earliest Christians, and perhaps still for some, is to aspire to the angelic state. That was the aim of the Essene leaders, of which Jesus was surely one. Even so, in older traditions, the gods were themselves sexual creatures, and sex must have been something other than for simple reproduction. In the biblical origin story of Adam and Eve, the primæval couple are set in the Garden of Eden with a tree of life and a tree of knowledge, but were forbidden to eat from the latter. The tree of life conferred immortality, but what of the tree of knowledge? Plainly enough, it conferred knowledge, but whatever other knowledge it conferred, the point of the story was it made the pair know about their sexuality. So, the two trees in the Genesis myth counterpoint immortality and sexuality from the beginning. It also suggests that the myth was late, when people could have felt embarassed over nudity, and sexuality. The story has, incidentally, been altered from the Iranian original which had only a single tree, the Tree of Life, and clumsy traces remain of the change.

    Christianity has always denigrated and laughed at the notion of a god residing in a carved statue or a standing stone, but ancient people required the idol or other object of devotion to be consecrated first. Chrysostum, Lucian, Cyprian and Tertullian agreed that even a manufactured object like an idol could become the home of the god it represented, once it was consecrated. What then is the difference between this procedure and the consecration of the Catholic host, making it the body of Christ? There is none, except that Christians arbitrarily designated anyone’s god that lived in such an object as the Devil!

    And these old habits die hard. Rome officially stamped out the phallic cult, but quietly winked at it everywhere, Joseph McCabe says. When everybody was a Christian if they did not want to smell their own flesh burning, in the Middle Ages, people used phallic images much of the time. The Flagellants of the Middle Ages—the crowds that went about scourging themselves from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries—were sexually masochistic. The dancing mania was an expression of the morbidly repressed sex-sentiment. The vice which spread over the whole clerical world when celibacy was enforced, the almost universal license of nuns and monks, and at the other end of the scale, the fantastic “ecstasies” of nuns like S Catherine and S Teresa and the fearful self-mutilation of holy monks, were all outcomes of the attempt to repress sex.

    The concern of the early Church with phallus worship was shown by its decrees. The Council of Arles (452) forbade anyone from worshipping trees or stones and declared that anyone who did not destroy such objects of worship would be guilty of sacrilege. A hundred years on, the Council of Tours was still concerned about it, and made the threat of punishment excommunication. Another century or so passed and the Council of Toledo (681 AD) decried tree and stone worshipping yet again, calling it “Devil worship”. In 789, Chalemagne was still condemning it! Despite it all, churches in Embrun, Puy-en-Valay, Poligny, Auxerre, Orange, Aix, Le Chatelot, and doubtless many other places still had phallic objects of veneration until after the Reformation.

    Michael Harrison cites Professor Geoffrey Webb, Secretary of the Royal Committee on Historic Monuments, who had to survey the war damage done to historic buildings in the UK and in Europe. A bomb had knocked aside the altar stone of one church thus revealing hidden under it a ritual phallus. Webb thereafter made a point of checking ancient churches for the presence of a phallus similarly hidden, finding that 90 per cent of churches built before the Black Death had them. Guy R Phillips, the Yorkshire antiquarian, found on requesting it that all of this evidence had disappeared, both the reports and the relics, and no old British churches proudly display any phalli found under their altars as curiosities of a bygone age. Webb unquestionably wrote reports that the British Civil Service knew about but could not find, even his reports on Europe. Phillips, in his own survey of of old British churches (The Unpolluted God, 1987) found that few pre-1348 churches still had their original stone altars in place. Most had wooden tables, often Jacobaean, but a few had had their stone altars restored. None, or very few, seemed to have been left undisturbed.

    G J Witkowski wrote Les License de l’Art Chrétien, and other books, in which he can “leave no doubt as to the connexion of Phallicism with Christianity”, thus disabusing those Christians who think the distringuishhing feature of it is its “essential sex-purity”.

    In the great temple of Aphrodite at Paphos, in Cyprus, a white conical stone, anointed in feast-days, was the emblem of the goddess. As late as 1896 the peasants of the district were still, once a year, solemnly anointing the corner stones of the ruined temple of Aphrodite! They recited charms, and made passes through perforated stones, to remove the barrenness of their women and increase the virility of their men.
    The Holy Spirit is a dove, the emblem of the phallic goddess, because it is the third and female part of the Trinity. It was the Phallic goddess, but doubtless was not by the time of Jesus.

    In Scandinavia, the phallus similarly figured in popular plays until recent times. In Ireland the female figure pointing to or contemplating her pudenda, known to Celtic scholars as Sheela-na-gig (variously spelt), was often inserted in the keystone of the arch of the church-door—to avert the evil eye. One was exhibited in the Royal Irish Academy at Dublin. Some of these images still remain, yet the police will arrest anyone who displays the real thing. There were similar figures on churches in Britain and in Spain. The Reformation has destroyed most of them, but one survived in Herefordshire and another in Cornwall.
    Small statuettes exactly like the Shelah-na-Gig are found all over the world apparently effective against curses and the evil-eye. Other cultures have ben known to put these crude images over doors for protection, but the images over time became styled and finished up looking just like a horse shoe. By this time, people were assuming that is what it was, and took to nailing up actual horse shoes.

    There are phallic stones still surviving in many parts of England. On Trendle Hill, is the figure, cut in the turf, of the “Cerne Giant”, one hundred and eighty feet long, a nude giant with monstrous phallus and a club (another symbol of a phallus). It is traditionally scoured every seven years. Every English village once had its “May-Pole”, which was originally phallic.

    In Saintonge, near La Rochelle, small cakes baked in the form of a phallus were made as offerings at Easter, carried and presented from house to house. The festival of Palm Sunday, in the town of Saintes, was called le fete des pinnes—the feast of the penises. Palm is a euphemism of the male organ, and here it was united with an actual phallus in Christendom. Women and children each carried in procession a phallus made of bread, which they called a pinne, at the end of their palm branches. These pinnes were blessed by the priests, and carefully preserved by the women during the year. Palm Sunday! Cakes symbolizing the male were made in Lower Limousin, and especially at Brives, while cakes of female form were baked at Clermont, in Auvergne, and elsewhere when Delaure described them about 1825. A similar practice existed at S Jean-d’Angély, where small cakes, made in the form of the phallus, and named “fateux”, were carried in the procession of the Fête-Dieu, or Corpus Christi. This practice was suppressed about 1800.

    In Italy wax phallic images were, on the saint’s great feast day, sold to women by the thousand and presented by them, unblushing, to the priests. At Isernia, in the Abruzzi, there used to be a popular festival every year on the feast of Cosmas and Damian, saints of Pagan origin. People flocked from all parts, particularly barren women and people with venereal disease. The stalls in the streets were covered with phallic images in wax, and the women bought them and presented them in church. Men and women with venereal disease bared themselves, and were smeared by the priests with the holy oil of the saints. This went on, and had gone on from time immemorial, until the Vatican interfered in 1780.

    All are remnants of the medieval past which the church is now hiding. How extensive the cult of Priapus was in the Middle Ages is best seen in France, where the Protestantism of the Huguenots called our attention to it. In the south of France, Provence, Languedoc, and the Lyonnais, Priapus was worshipped as S Foutin. The saint was said to have been Photinus, the first Christian bishop of Lyons, and his cult spread over the entire region. At Embrun, in the department of the Upper Alps, an actual preserved phallus, supposed to be of S Foutin de Varailles, was worshipped by the women pouring a libation of wine upon its head, which was collected in a vessel, in which it was left till it became sour. It was then called “holy vinegar”, used for no one quite knows what. When the Protestants took Embrun in 1585, this phallus was laid up carefully among the relics in the church, its head red with the wine which had been poured upon it.

    Elsehwere an ordinary image of a saint might have the phallic function of opening the womb of infertile women through an embrace. One saint, lying on his back, had hopeful women stretched prone upon him in a tight embrace. S Rene of Anjou, and S Guerlichon, or Greluchon, at Bourg-Dieu in the diocese of Bourges, seem to have been ithyphallic because their lack of modesty is mentioned—albeit modestly—in some accounts. It seems S Guerlichon was an ancient ithyphallic statue so popular that the monks had to Christianize it and give it a legend.

    In many places in France and Belgium phallic saints survived. S Ters in Belgium, S Gilles in the Cotentin peninsula in Brittany, S Rene of Anjou, S Regnaud in Burgundy, S Arnaud, S Guignolé near Brest and at the village of La Chatelette in Berri, and other famous saints of “the land of saints” grew out of old ithyphallic statues. In Antwerp, Belgium, Abraham Golnitz, in 1631, confrms a story by Goropius Becanus that over the door of a house adjoining the prison was a statue in stone, about a foot high, with its arms raised up, and its legs spread out, and with a large phallus, even then worn away or broken off by the women, who had been in the habit of scraping it and making a potion of the dust which they drank as a preservative against barrenness.
    At Orange, in the church of S Eutropius, a large wooden phallus covered with leather, was greatly venerated and sought. It was seized by the Protestants and burnt publicly in 1562.

    Christians looked to Jesus and Mary to remove their barrenness as a rule. The ancient phallic cults had died with their gods, but the gods had been resurrected as phallic saints and their attendant canons keen to serve their public. Certainly the death of the phallic gods and their rites did not improve the sexual behaviour of the Europeans in charge of the churches, even if it did the others.

    Christianity is considered particularly effective in checking the sex-impulses of men and women, yet people were most frankly and unrestrainedly sexual whenever they believed most confidently in the authoritative character and dire penalties of the Christian ethic. The Christian Era, before our un-Christian days, reeks with sexual license from the fifth century to the nineteenth.

    Joseph McCabe says that John Buchara, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, in his private Diary, describes how Pope Alexander VI was entertained by fifty of the loveliest prostitutes of the Holy City dancing naked before him and his court, stooping in every posture to pick up chestnuts from the floor as their lithe forms shone in the light of the candles. Cesare Borgia provided these exotic entertainments. The model who sat for a painting in the Vatican of the Virgin painted by Pinturecchio was Giulia Farnese, the the pope’s golden-haired young sweetheart. Already, the word model had its modern connotation. The notion that Christianity has been a special guardian of purity of women is a joke.

    Our generation is more sexual than many, but if the Christian ethic was ineffective when Christianity was strongest, how will it work now? How often do the clergy figure in your daily paper in connection with sexual offenses? Do you find professors, doctors, or lawyers in the same position as frequently as you find clergymen? Surely not. If some person with plenty of leisure cared to compile the lists of cases, he would find that these clerical guardians of our chastity figure in the daily press for sex-irregularities three times as frequently as any other correspondingly large body of professional men. The clergy are far more immoral than teachers, doctors, or lawyers, and Catholic priests are more immoral than Protestant clergymen. A large number of the Popes themselves were notoriously immoral, and some homosexual despite the supposed gravity of this particular sin, and the license of prelates, priests monks and nuns has been colossal.

    Where is the foundation of a law of chastity? The law of chastity is “priestly morality” and “emanates from religion”. European-American civilization bows to it in theory only because Christ endorsed it. He did not invent it. Every moralist of those centuries, from Pythagoras to Marcus Aurelius, urged it. Three thousand years earlier Egyptians had prayed to Osiris, “I am pure, I am pure, I am pure”.

    If Jesus was not divine, he may have blundered on this point as he did in regard to the end of the world. There is no such law. The Old Testament authoritatively forbids only adultery, and married folk should keep their contract as long as they hold each other to it. The belief in a God has in itself nothing to do with the matter. Just imagine the Almighty taking an interest in the copulations of mortals. It makes him sound perverted. Yet to disapprove of it he must observe it. Christians do not see the humour of this. And then who made us in His own image?

    The law of chastity is based on the Christian and Jewish scriptures, that most modern scholarship regard as pious fiction. Even if they do give the words of Jesus, which is hardly credible, his authority has gone. Social law can be worked out without the entanglement of laws “emanating from and grounded on religion”. Christians no doubt should observe their own law—though most of them never did, and most of them do not now, and never will—but when they invoke “the voice of conscience” and “the universal moral sense”, they talk psychological rubbish, and non-Christians told they are bound by these same laws may justly tell them to mind their own business. Anyone’s feeling of obligation is the plain product of education and environment and faithfully reflects them.

    Sensual people were never good Christians. Christians can be fond of good cheer and even good liquor, but it is not the ideal of Jesus and Paul. Those who indulged their senses were more apt to be tempted and to “sin”. Yet someone can be sensual yet perfectly refined and of high character. Sensuality, not gluttony or any excess, is neither coarse nor vulgar, and adds to the happiness and geniality of life, having no injurious effect whatever on intellect or character. What stops anyone from being lusty in sensual enjoyment, yet delicate in taste and sentiment, intelligent and sweet in character? Against those Fundamentalists that take literally the command to multiply—and take this as religious license to exploit their women to the limit of their health—promiscuity out of choice could hardly be worse. Not sensuality, but refinement is what we need to recommend to them.

    Ask the moralists and preachers to count up the misery and suffering their law of chastity has caused and causes all over the world today, all the joy that mortals might have had in their brief lives and the clergy have persuaded them to sacrifice for an illusory heaven, all the dreary waiting and anemia and nervous disease, all the sourness of disappointment and the feverish anxiety to secure a mate. Reflect on the ghastly havoc that lies behind all this hollow rhetoric about “the Christian purity of our women”. Religion alone can sustain the law of chastity. The only thing that superstition can sustain is superstition.

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    1) The idea is the keep Christians "as children" their whole life. Part of that is taking away their sexuality.

    2) Lusts and emotions can lead to destructive behavior when not kept in check.

    3) Sexual urges while repressed can be used to encourage marriages and other church values.

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    So will someone explain how exactly the modern depiction of sex and women in pornography is even comparible to the ancient pagan depiction of sex and male and female genitalia as sacred things?

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