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athgarvan

IS CELIBACY A BAD THING?

I have been reflecting on celibacy. Lack of marriage is often viewed with suspicion - as an indication that people are likely to fall into sexual sin, or as a sinful shirking of adult responsibility. Underlying much of this attitude is the belief that for the vast majority of people, celibacy is either impossible or cannot be fulfilling. Many blame the Catholic sex abuse scandal on the requirement that priests remain unmarried. Others see celibate living as a needless source of loneliness, and can even be viewed as a form of punishment. To remain celibate is unthinkable!

On the other hand, marriage is seen as the universal solution to the problems of loneliness and sexual temptation. Some groups now view marriage as a legitimate vocation for same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage is seen as a way to “solve the problem of gay people.” This approach, I think, is less than honest. It is forcing many to deal with the uncomfortable tension between typical views of celibacy and the traditional understanding of marriage. I think the move to see same-sex marriage as a legitimate Christian vocation is often an attempt to escape this tension without having to question the prevailing view of celibacy. Could it be that our view of celibacy is the real problem?

Is not affirming same-sex marriage as a Christian vocation simply the result of following our modern culture. I think our present broader culture idolizes romantic relationships. Are we following our modern culture’s lead with too little thought?

The direct teaching of Scripture too often seems to be either ignored or worked around. For example, both Jesus (Mt. 19:10-11) and Paul (1 Cor. 7:37-38) teach that, when feasible, it is better for the unmarried to remain unmarried. Do Christians actually believe this teaching? For those of us who view Scripture as authoritative, this is a big problem.

Some Christians neglect to grapple with the reality that celibacy requires a significant amount of self-control, even for those gifted with it. Are those who desire marriage always called to marriage?

Comments

marriage is so much more than sex!!!
i was with the my beloved husband for 50 years
we grew old and faced illness and death together
we were there for each other
in good times and in bad
giving mutual support

for those with the gift of celibacy
it is a wonderful thing
but celibacy in itself does not preclude
deep relationships
but an element of those relationships
is always absent

marriage
for heterosexual or same sex
is not at root romantic
it is a deep commitment
to bond together
to make a unit to face the problems of the world

whether an arranged marriage
for secular family advancement
or "modern" individual choice
a successful marriage
is a bonding for purpose

most people need that
history has shown the necessity of marriage

celibacy is a gift
it should be freely given and embraced
it should not be imposed



<applauds>
Can same-sex marriage involve sexual activity? If so, even on health grounds, can such activity be upheld?
well, i've never asked the men i know for intimate details
(they never asked me either)
but the got old together healthily

sexually transmitted disease is possible in all forms of sexual activity
gender really doesn't enter into it
safe sex is for everybody
Is not the question very relevant to the subject?
i'm not sure what "question" and "subject" mean

but, if you are referring to anal sex some hetero couples do that also
many couples of both combinations like oral sex
and there are supposedly many other ways to "do it"
safe sex means clean sex - no matter what orifices are used
and there are "hand jobs"

safe sex is making sure both partners are disease free
and that is easier with a limited number of partners
i am old and old fashioned - i only had one partner
but i understand humans - we are not all alike with similar needs and desires
but we all need to take care of ourself and our partners

as for sex for procreation
that is a concept that psychology has shown limits human interaction if it is the only reason for sex
we have moved so far in the understanding of what the physical relationship means
yes, in every species there is the need for continuation
but humans have moved beyond just making the next generation
Well said!

- Erulisse (one L)
Can same-sex marriage involve sexual activity? If so, even on health grounds, can such activity be upheld?
I have to say that I do not equate marriage with a desire to live without celibacy, and I also do not see marriage as simply existing to be able to have sexual relations with another person. Marriage is a desire to commit to a long-term, hopefully life-long partnership in life with a person who lights your life. A person without whom you would feel incomplete. The sex of that person is dependent upon the individual - not everyone will fall in love with a person of the opposite sex, nor should they.

Humans don't fit into sexual boxes very well. Certainly there are heterosexuals, but there are also homosexuals, trans-sexuals, and asexuals. All are valid, all are people, all are deserving of a life of shared happiness with another person if such is their desire. None of them, unless they so choose, need to be celibate to be productive or happy.

- Erulisse (one L)
I think celibacy is the right choice for some people and marriage for others and both choices should be respected.