RELG271 Lecture 1: Lecture 1 - Introduction

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21 Oct 2015

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Sexual Ethics:
-A system of principles that affect all of us
-Defines what we consider as a society to be right and what is wrong for individuals,
groups, and people
-The critical questions we ask about right and wrong, the kind of morality in effect
-Why is something right and why is something wrong?
-A critical reflection of moral behaviour and ideas, human interaction, and the values we
put in place and consider important
-Morality is like a code
-Asks questions such as: ‘why must a woman save herself until marriage, what is the
consequence of breaking the rule and doing the alternative?’
-Openly studied
-Advertised publicly: television shows, comedy, music videos
-We live in a hyper-sexualized culture
-We are becoming pornographic
-Sexual experience is generally considered inappropriate
WC Smith:
-Personal piety/ faith
-Ideal system
-Historic or sociological system
-General term
-Risk: reifying religion when removed from a personalist sense of faith or piety – “the
term ‘religion’ is confusing, unnecessary, and distorting”
Objective notions:
Wittes “4 c’s”: creed, cult, code of conduct, confessional community
-Religion as “careful acts” that in their own right “tie and bind people to each other and
cosmic meaning”
-More than doctrine
-Internally balanced unity and diversity
Core Questions:
-How are recent and contemporary scholars approaching the study of sexual ethics? How
has it been approached in the past?
-What trends and tensions are of concern to sexual ethics?
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