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Psyc 391 Ch 2.docx

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PSYC 391
Kim Bartholomew

Psyc 391- Ch 2: Sexuality in a Historical, Religious and philosophical context • Concentrate on Judaism and Christianity for religious influence in western society • Eventually Christianity came to dominate formal philosophy thru middle ages and theology/philosophy were virtually indistinguishable on many issues until Enlightenment in 1700s o Throughout history philosophy and science have often explicitly endorsed many values of Christianity rather than being objective RE sexuality • History= academic discipline that records and explains past events • Philosophy= academic discipline devoted to explaining meaning of phenomena o Largely uses Logic (contrasts with scientific discipline which relies upon direct observation to obtain evidence about phenomena) o Logic= refers to system of accepted rules for judging validity or accuracy of conclusions drawn • Term sexuality relatively new, Greek/Medieval languages no words directly related to modern notions of “sex, sexual or sexuality” o “sexuality” first appeared in 1836 by writings of English poet William Cowper (tho this was referring to plants being M or F) o Von Kraft Ebing first used “sexuality” to describe types of sexual attraction (hetero or homo prefixes) o Concern that b/c concept of sexuality didn’t exist before middle 1800s that meaning of sexual behavior and rlnshps likely very dif in earlier eras  Words and concepts develop when they are needed to serve some function (communicate idea?)- therefore “sexuality” came into being when we had developed a specific understanding of sexual behavior and rlnshps  Dif explanations for homosexual behavior (lapse/indulgence, then thought of as inability to ctrl primitive impulses) • The Centrality of Religion in Attitudes about Sexuality o Religion primary basis for justification of moral and ethical principles across many cultures and time periods  Morality/ethic/value= standards of good and bad conduct and criteria to determine o 5 “world religions”= Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam (and Judaism/Christianity)  This concept based on distinctiveness of 5 religions in comparison to other religions based on numbers of followers, dev of established formal ethical/moral system, conceptualization of overarching supreme power/force that governs existence  Also Native American spiritual traditions o Judaism/Christianity- biggest influence in most European countries, modern North/Central/South America  Based on one god (unique, monotheistic whereas other religions Polytheistic)  Judaism= sexual values believed to be commandments from God, passed b/w generations verbally • Books written/accepted as having Moral Authority (took on force of determining what is good/moral vs bad/immoral • One of most sacred Jewish rituals is circumcision of penis (ritual seen as partaking in covenant of loyalty to God and is celebrated) • Basic philosophy of Judaism is that the integrity of dif aspects of universe must be preserved and protected o So v necessary to establish and protect boundaries (ie no clothes made from plant and animal ie cotton and wool) o Big issue to separate holy and divine from physical world (body and spirit) o Angels used to visit humans and have sex with them (led to God’s wrath and Great Flood, shortened human lifespan, forbade angels having sex w/humans and greater distinctions b/w man and animals – hunt and kill them but vice versa not allowed, nor was bestiality) • Certain things make ppl impure and unclean (not a sin) but they then have to be isolated so as not to contaminate others o Sexual phenomena sources of ritual (routine) impurity, even wet dreams make u impure and requires bathing and time restriction for isolation • Priests to demonstrate ideal of sexually disciplined behavior, allowed to have sex, just isolation period after impure act o Marry a virgin, never divorce, daughters to remain virgins while living with father (burned if she contaminates father) • Inspiration= most Christians believe writings included in Bible are “inspired” meaning God had motivated ppl to communicate His commandments to others o Fundamentalists= believe inspired writers merely passive recipients of God’s thoughts, believe passages to be understood by surface meaning (interpreted literally and in full as word of God) th  Assume Supernaturalist perspective in early 19 century to explain incredible events/beings (angels, miracles, demons) o Nonfundamentalist Christians= argue that notion of the inspired word does not mean that the passages are the word of God verbatim instead they are based on the spirit of the meaning intended by God  Rationalist position (rather than seeing scriptures as accurate historical record nonfundamentalists believe that history may be understood by avoiding explanation of incredible and miraculous aspects of accounts  Feel bible must be viewed w/in culture and prevailing demands of current times o In summary much controversy over understanding of Bible o Fundamentalist Christians believe scriptures are literally the commandments of God they see violation as endangering their ability to go to heaven so don’t engage in sexual behavior outside of heterosexual marriage or violate any commandments  Nonfundamentalists believe scriptures as communication from God they see info as influenced by culture and time period so Bible is general interpretation of God • This type of thinking (liberal) increased in 1960s (New Morality) • Situation ethics= indiv must evaluate implications of particular situation and choices it presents to determine likely consequences • Sexual behavior important b/c creates intimate bonds that form family, religious duty of married Jewish men to have sex w/wives (also expected but not required of wives) • Uncontrolled sexual behavior seen as epitome of disloyalty and disregard for social obligation (esp if married woman involved) o Adultery= man having sex w/married woman (not vice versa)  Double standard b/c sexuality in framework of protecting property of men in building household domains (women seen as belonging to household) o Sex w/unmarried woman ok but man must marry her (whether he wants to or not) o Incest= parents, stepmothers, mother in laws, father’s brtoerhs and wives, father’s and mother’s sisters, one’s sisters and brothers’ wives, daughter’s and son’s wives, and granddaughters  Mostly rules for women tho can’t w/father and father’s brothers o Sex w/prostitutes and slaves= not bad for men, jewish women can’t be prostitutes tho o Sex b/w men= more than source of ritual impurity, no prohibition for sex b/w women o Sexual body fluids= highly negative view of bodily discharges related to sexuality (ie seminal fluid in wet dreams, menstrual discharge, childbirth fluids)  Not semen in ejaculation, b/c both come into contact (equal contamination) • Progressive Christianity= accept all ppl and don’t insist they have to change to be like them to be accepted, embrace all sexual orientations and gender identities o Nonfundamentalist  Also Religious Institute on Sexual morality, Justice and Healing which advocates full inclusion of women and sxual minorities in congregation (including ordination and blessing of same sex unions) • Sin when sacred gift of sexuality is abused/exploited, no double standards o Reform Judaism= movement away from literal fundamentalist persp not ltd to Christianity, also in Judaism  Want to repair the world, absolute acceptance of nonhetero orientations (principle of Inclusion, not exclusion)  No comment in Bible on sex b/w women, Jesus never commented on same sex at all, belief Sodom was destroyed as punishment for sex b/w men is speculation  Inconsistent tx of sexuality= sometimes sex important for creating bonds/intimacy, at others is viewed with fear and suspicion and seen as potentially destabilization/destructive • Even in marriage seen as source of contamination despite being religiously required behavior • Christianity= by having faith in divinity of Jesus Christians believe they too can be forgiven for faults and offenses against God and ascend to Heaven (like Jesus) o Morality from teachings of Jesus when he was alive on earth o Ancient Christianty’s basic principles  Overarching premise= Morality based on following Jesus’ instruction (violations require god’s forgiveness)  Sexuality in general= jesus didn’t really address sexuality at all, so avoid “sexual irregularities” by marrying and having sex only with spouse  Specifics of sexuality= Augustine cast sexuality as evil and destructive= abstinence and celibacy are ideal, sex only for repro when married, avoid pleasure, man on top penile vaginal sex only moral sexual behavior o Paul= advocated that best course of action for Christians would be to not engage in sexual behaviour at all (if strong willed enough), if succumb to urges must marry to have sex (not separate from spouse, no adultery, fornication-sex outside of marriage, and masturbation can prevent going to Heaven)  Paul’s proclamations in line w/Roman culture influences  Dualism of sin and virtue o Greek Philosophical influences: ie Plato who modified and strongly advocated ancient dualistic views of existence  Dualism is the belief that the universe consists of 2 opposing forces (spiritual and physical, soul and body) • Soul imprisoned in human body as punishment and goal of humankind to liberate soul from physical prison thru spiritual enlightenment and expansion • Real understanding of existence could only be understood by clearing mind of body senses (distractions) o Said love that focused n the body was destructive and contaminating, but love focused on appreciation of mind and character (soul) would permit true happiness  Physical sexual love= Eros  Spiritual, nonphysical love= Agape  Stoicism= maintained that sex itself no evil, tho extreme indulgenc
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