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Lecture 1

RE374 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Oneida Community, John Calvin, Lady Gaga

Religion & Culture
Course Code
Brent Hagerman

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Terms, Definitions and Debates
Sex- the division of a species into either male or female, especially in relation to the
reproductive functions (biological)
- bodily experiences that humans conceive of as erotic, sensual, carnal, genitally
related or orgasmically significant
- the desires, relationships, acts and identities concerned with sexual behaviour
- how people experience and express themselves as sexual beings
- the whole realm of human erotic experience (meaning of sex acts)
- sexuality is a “fictional unity” that once didn’t exist and at some time in the future
may not exist again
Sex Before Sexuality
- both our word sexuality and our sense of it date from 1879
- during the 19th century, sexual terms (homosexuality, heterosexuality, etc.) were
othe terms didn’t exist before the 17th century
- modern preoccupations with the centrality of sexual habits, tastes or preferences
(what are often termed “orientations”, “identities”) to ones true or inner self were
yet to emerge
- our gender (feminine/masculine) is culturally constructed
- the learned patterns of behaviours and actions, as opposed to that which is
biologically determined or given
- gender meanings differ across cultures and across time
Moral Regulation
- religion plays a significant role in the regulation of sex, sexuality and sexual
- sexuality is the primary ground on which human relations are sanctioned as
natural and good, unnatural or wrong
othrough ideology, taboos and ritual, sexuality is channeled into these
behaviours recognized as licit, as opposed to those seen as illicit
- religious studies – scientific study of cultural phenomena created by humans
known as religion(s)
Religion and Sex
- is sex in tension with religion
oLady Gaga, “Alejandro”
What is “Good” Sex in Christianity?
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