Monday, February 12, 2007

What Has Sex Got to do With Religion?

I can’t understand why religious fundamentalists get so upset about human sexuality. They are forever ranting on against nudity, homosexuality, masturbation, promiscuity, contraception, sex education, and on and on and on. This sex obsession is exercised by Christians and Muslims alike. What is the rationale for it?

Obviously, adultery upsets the social order and that’s cause enough for it to be forbidden. Child abuse is always wrong. Prostitution brings ancillary social problems. But I don’t think religious people are worried about the economics and politics of the family and community, despite their ravings. If you look at the distribution of divorce, domestic violence, and child abuse, there are no exemptions for church-goers.

Sex is biology. Why is the church in the biology business at all? Does God care about human sexuality any more than he cares about human digestion? I would bet that God has other things on his mind besides our body functions. And to anticipate an objection to that idea, let’s remember that babies do not come from God (or the stork), they come from mitosis.

It’s true that sex is more than biology, it’s also sociology and psychology. It’s complicated. So why don’t we study it? If we want to regulate the sexual behavior of our children because they are too young to have good judgment, then okay, let’s do that with some good parenting and public education. But it's really not a moral issue.

I suspect the real concern of religious moralists is actually pleasure, not sexuality. They have somehow got it in their minds that pleasure is evil. I don’t know where they get that idea, since it is obviously false. It is a mystery to me.