I think social pressure is very much to blame, though changing biology also plays a role. To illustrate the potential negative impact of a religiously dominated culture, a study on the emotional impact of abortion comes to mind. While as many as 50-60% of American women will have emotional issues following an abortion, only 15-20% of Sweedish women will have similar problems. It would not be unreasonable to suggest that similar religiously influenced cultural pressures play a role in matters of sexuality in general. You may believe that American society is liberal and secular, but it's not even close; American society is reactionary and fundamentalist by most standards, much of Europe and especially Scandinavia is light years ahead of us. I am confident that as we continue to evolve and progress as a society, as we begin to come to terms with and, ultimately, overcome our past we will overcome these emotional issues that are ultimatey not the result of sexuality but of psychological absue inflicted by a reactionary society. Now, granted, both the US and Sweeden have a long ways to go to fully overcoming our unfortunate past, but they have come much further culturally (while it could be argued we have come along further politically and philosophically).
Except I'm not American, nor do I live in America. I am a Canuck, and while perhaps we are not as "liberated" (although I would debate, if I had the time and energy, what to be liberated really means) as the Swedes, making fun of American conservatism is a national sport here, especially where I live.
As for Swedes - I've met quite a few in my life, mostly through travels (backpacking - and such people are as about as liberated as they come), and they don't actually come across as all that liberated next to people here. And the most supposedly liberal one I've hung out with, who lives where I do - a young Swedish-bikini-team-worthy bisexual (as I discovered because she was, uh, attempting to court me for awhile years ago) woman with a liberal, wealthy, and sophisticated restauranteur husband also seemed to not be very happy or content (although I realize these are my observations, not an extensive study).
Well, not everyone is interested in academia...my criticism is not of those who do not pursue academia, but merely of those who are content living a boring and mundane life.
As I pointed out in a later, I didn't just mean academics. But the fact is that we all have to pay the bills. We also have kids to feed and therefore you are tied down. Mind you, while I know you'd never believe it (you wouldn't have any way of knowing unless you'd tried), kids are worth having to deal with the mundane. And, most women like their kids most of the time, so frankly they are more appealing than most (all?) jobs, at least most of the time. But I wouldn't expect you to be able to relate to that.
Perhaps that's becase the arguments really are that simple, the reality of the situation really is that obvious. My arguments may be simplistic and obvious, but the interesting fact is that no one here has been able to effectively dismiss these sophomoric arguments. If they are so primitive and unsophisticated, one would think that any number of people here would have little problem tearing them to shreds. Yet, instead, we see these arguments responded to with fallacies and pseudoscience...go figure.
Well, that was one of the holes I knew I should've covered and didn't for lack of time and energy. I knew you'd say that. And maybe you are right - maybe there isn't some man in the sky concerned with my sex life. Althoug, in light of my understanding of Orthodoxy, your statement is simplistic - I think the theology is far more nuanced, and if God is concerned with my sex life, it is because He knows what is best for me in this regard and doesn't want to see me harmed. And since He is omniscient, the idea that God would be concerned with such a supposedly petty aspect of one insignificant being's life when there are far bigger fish to fry just doesn't fly.
Anyway, I can't argue from a scientific point of view (actually, if I had oodles of time to do so, perhaps I could). I can only give you my experience. Maybe that's delusional, but then it's a mass delusion experienced by almost all in some form or another.
I used to have better arguments years ago regarding this, and just how silly and hypocritical my 18 year old arguments were. But since I am a mere mortal, I cannot survive on 5 hours sleep per night over a period of 3 months, not to mention I have many other concerns with which to deal, and expect my brain to actually work (including memory).
Well, the simple solution is simply not to mention god to children, either in support or denial of the concept. They can study about the evolution and cultural significance of religion in history and sociology. But in the home, just ignore the subject, it's nto that important...if asked, give your personal opinion, whatever it may be, and leave it at that...don't impose it on them.
I have to agree completely with ytterbiumanalyst on this one. Children usually thrive on being part of their parent's spiritual lives (again, an area you don't know much about as far as I can tell). As long as you are not putting a gun to their head (such as telling kids they will go to hell, which considering again much of Orthodox theology I know is entirely unnecessary with kids - again, it comes across as a simplistic, very black and white reactionary statement on your part), they will have the opportunity as they mature, gain more knowledge of other philosophies etc., (through, for instance, critical thinking based education - it's the only way I teach, by the way) and experience where at all possible. Ultimately, if it's not done with a gun to their head, who cares if the kids decide to continue with their parents' beliefs? So what? If they are adults and choose not to exercise their free will in this regard (although really they are if they choose to continue with their family's belief), what business is it of anyone else, unless the now grown children go out and hurt others based on such a belief?
Besides, GiC, I thnk your idea of saying nothing at all would really backfire from your point of view. Ya know, the whole forbidden fruit thing. Mom and Dad go to these secret "meetings" all week where they drink wine and then at home stand in front of an altar (you'll never completely hide it from them you know) whispering and performing rituals etc. etc. The kids will wonder why on earth they aren't privy to it. Which is why they'll want to be involved even more. They'd probably end up sneaking out of the house at night to attend vigils or something...
By the way, if you want your kids to eventually have the opportunity to visit various places of worship etc. and see these things as NORMATIVE, then it makes a big difference if they have friends who attend such places. Hence my commentary about the make-up of my child's preschool. Where I live and actually at the school I teach at too, peoples of different creeds, colours etc. actually do live (truly - my neighbours come from all over the world) and work together. And generally it is done quite harmoniously here, although I doubt it'll ever be perfect. It makes a big difference when you are constantly surrounded by the "other". Then the notion of the "other" as being a scary alien disappears. Now the "other" augments your life and makes it richer, even if you don't ultimately agree with them on everything. Being surrounded by those who are different than you on a regular basis, and befriending such people (and therefore breaking bread with them), really does make inroads into the kinds of experiences and discussions you can have regarding philosophies and religions. And as for books of different philosophies and religions, I have a wack of them and the kids are more than welcome to them once they are old enough to comprehend them. But I'll still tell them, "This is what I believe and this is why, and as a family we will do this, but as you mature and become old enough to make your own decisions, I'll respect that and always love you and hang out with you, regardless." There is no abuse in that. Trying to claim that it is, is to make a mockery of the real horrors many children go through on a daily basis.
Anway, GiC, thank you for gentle with me.