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Author Topic: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?  (Read 55388 times) Average Rating: 1
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Quinault
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« Reply #135 on: May 06, 2011, 07:12:53 PM »

Daedelus1138, you are mourning the idea of something. You don't actually have any evidence that losing your virginity at an early age outside marriage is a positive thing. I have twin brothers that are 37 and virgins. One has the symptoms of Aspergers due to some birth complications. He has all the symptoms/signs/behaviors of Aspergers due to prematurity, oxygen poisoning and other complications. His twin didn't suffer the same side effects from the complications. It is more like he acquired Aspergers rather than having it genetically. The effects are the same, but can't be assisted with any medications to manage the symptoms since his symptoms derive from lack of sensory/brain ability. Both of my brothers struggle with the same issues regarding sex/sexuality and modern culture.

It sounds like you should seek counseling on your feelings rather than think that the secular world view of sexuality is better. Your issues with it have as much to do with do with the current cultural ideas of sexuality and sexual health as anything. The sexual climate of today is not more lax than the society that people have dealt with in the last 2,000 years off and on. We like to think that today is the pinnacle of sexual depravity, but it really isn't close to certain other eras. The words on sexuality by church fathers/mothers shouldn't be discarded completely because "they just don't understand." That is a complete cop-out. Even pornography isn't a new innovation.
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« Reply #136 on: May 06, 2011, 09:34:18 PM »

I think we're being a bit unfair on Daedelus.

Let us not forget that the church's preference is for all of us to marry young and start experiencing our sexuality thereafter if we feel a calling to the married life. Paul and the fathers are clear that one of the purposes of marriage is to create healthy conditions for the expression of sexuality.

Being single and/or virginal in the world can be a great cross to bear. Virginity can manifest as a feeling of rejection rather than a state of exaltation. It can feel like, if everyone else is worthy of the intimate touch of another, what is so wrong with me that I am not?

I agree that part of the pain of singleness/virginity comes from buying in to secular logic about sex and its place in our lives, but I think there is also an element of that pain which is simply human.

I am not the first person to point this out, but right now, many of us Orthodox Christians are living in a (sub)culture which has one foot in the Christian tradition and the other in the secular ethos. None of us want our children committing fornication, but how many want them marrying at 18 or 19? I agree that asking someone who is not a monk and not married to remain virgin into their 30s and 40s is probably something we are bound by the force of scripture and the tradition to do, but we should do so acknowledging that this situation is not and should never be normative.

There is very little support for single people in Christian ministry. Everything is about families, families, families. A priest, in preaching on the great blessing that childrern are, can also alienate a person who is longing for martial intimacy and parenthood but just can't seem to make any progress in that direction.
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« Reply #137 on: May 06, 2011, 09:51:26 PM »

Daedelus1138

Nothing that I say here is meant to imply that I fully understand where you're coming from. I had a different experience, so the most I can do is try to understand (intellectually, if not experientially). I was a virgin until I got married at the age of 23. After that, well let's just say that I swung in the opposite direction and we didn't exactly have a traditional marriage. And at times I regretted waiting that long, and  I wondered what I'd missed. I now find myself at the age of 32 again not having a relationship, and I'm wondering what the future holds. While monasticism itself is not really an option for me, celibacy might very well be the route I go. Somewhat related to what you and akimori have said, I wonder what it would be like to be "single" for the rest of my life. As akimori was saying, the Church does seem to stress family (or if not family then monasticism). I know my situation is different, having been married and experienced all that sex stuff, so I don't really know what you're going through. But for what it's worth, at least in my opinion, there's no need to regret going without a serious relationship (and all that goes with it, including sex), until the right situation comes along. Even if it's hard to accept what the Church says... still, don't despair. Struggles, yes, I can only imagine they'd be natural, not only in an Orthodox culture, but especially in a western culture... but there is light at the end of the tunnel, I think.
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« Reply #138 on: May 06, 2011, 11:43:44 PM »

Being single and/or virginal in the world can be a great cross to bear. Virginity can manifest as a feeling of rejection rather than a state of exaltation. It can feel like, if everyone else is worthy of the intimate touch of another, what is so wrong with me that I am not?  

  Yes, that's pretty much it.  I come from a WASP protestant background (nominal Wesleyan/Methodist background, coupled with years of unbelief), marriage and family life are normative, but different from the Orthodox ideas:  a spouse is not a procreating outlet for sexuality that fits into a religious ideology or icon for the Church, a spouse is a "soul-mate" that helps you fulfill your purpose in life.  

   It is not just about genital lust, for me even this may not be that important.  Just not having anybody close to me physically/intimately sometimes bothers me.  After years of struggling to get to terms with having people near me and touching me, I'm finally OK with it to a certain extent, and I find sometimes touch helps me stay sane.

Quote
I aree that part of the pain of singleness/virginity comes from buying in to secular logic about sex and its place in our lives, but I think there is also an element of that pain which is simply human.  

  I am in the world, I have to deal with being a wordlly person, to some extent, until the day I die.  Maybe sometimes I've entertained the idea of monasticism as an "escape" from this.   I'm afraid this is something if I did, i would hold against God forever, i would not feel I was making a real sacrifice, just accepting something grudgingly.  Not a good place to be.

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There is very little support for single people in Christian ministry. Everything is about families, families, families. A priest, in preaching on the great blessing that childrern are, can also alienate a person who is longing for martial intimacy and parenthood but just can't seem to make any progress in that direction.

 I struggle with it alot, being upset and jealous at other peoples seeming happiness.  I go to an OCA church full of converts and young families.  I feel like St. Anna lamenting that she's barren to God, looking at the other creatures that seem to be fulfilling their natural ends, exceept for her.  As you said, a great deal of this is not cultural, its just human.  

 Thank you for your understanding perspective there.  FWIW, I do go to a therapist about this.   It's difficult to find ones that say unequivocally supporting things about the Orthodox faith though.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 11:45:10 PM by Daedelus1138 » Logged
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« Reply #139 on: May 07, 2011, 12:06:54 AM »

In Orthodox spirituality we believe we are single body-soul-spirit beings. We cannot be reduced to separate elements.  

  But you can certainly distinguish between between these different spheres of ones life.  

Quote
Since we are spiritual beings, that aspect of our lives is affected by all the others, and so, everything is spiritual. Because of this, the Church absolutely has the right—and obligation—to tell us how to live our lives.  

  We are not just spiritual beings we have obligations to our fellow human beings, to family, that are beyond those obligations to a religion.   It is true that Jesus Christ asks for alot, to leave family and friends behind if necessary, but my own priest told me that the Church's asceticism should not become an excuse to divest oneself of these responsibilities.   If salvation is saving the whole person, that must also include my relationshps in which i find myself.    Part of the responsibility to my fellow human being and my family is to keep guard over my psychological health, to not live in a way that harms myself psychologically.    And here perhaps the Church does not have the expertise, wheather or not it has the right should not be the issue.

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 Heaven knows there are things I desire that the Church has determined are not good for my salvation, and that's what this life is all about. ...  There are a lot of people who are having a lot of "fun", but it's actually destroying their souls. And as hard as it is to sit on the sidelines of life while others are living it up, it is far better to do what pleases God, because God is who we'll be facing on that Day.  

   What about "Christ is risen and life is freed"?   I thought Christ came into the world to redeem this world, not to whisk us away to another one.  I left a religion that I ultimately decided was too often distorted into a nihilistic death cult, despite the lofty claims (Buddhism), I don't see the Gospel as compatible with an otherworldly vision of life at all.   There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid.   Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2011, 12:25:00 AM by Daedelus1138 » Logged
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« Reply #140 on: May 07, 2011, 12:29:03 AM »

  What about "Christ is risen and life is freed"?

We can choose to be free or we can choose to be slaves to our passions.  The Church exists to heal us and help us get back on the path to theosis; which is the ultimate goal for an Orthodox Christian.

I thought Christ came into the world to redeem this world, not to whisk us away to another one.

You have to carry Christ's cross to do that.  Your (and our) reward, on Judgment Day, will be the world where there are no tears and everyone walks with the Lamb on their foreheads.  We have to struggle to get there in this world.

 I left a religion that I ultimately decided was too often distorted into a nihilistic death cult, despite the lofty claims (Buddhism), I don't see the Gospel as compatible with an otherworldly vision of life at all.   There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid.   Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.

You are creating your own interpretations of Gospel and declaring them as Scripture.  That is doomed to failure....
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« Reply #141 on: May 07, 2011, 01:24:55 AM »

I can understand how lonely it must feel in a community where there is such a great emphasis on family. But on the bright side, it really does feel like a safe refuge from the world outside, where people often get divorced at the first sign of trouble.

As for premarital sex, it reminds me a little of getting drunk. Sure, it feels great when it's happening. But the next day the guy doesn't call you back, or you get a phone call from the guy's girlfriend who you didn't know existed, or three years later you realize he still never wants to marry you (that's the hangover). It's not that sex is inherently bad. It's a gift! But after years of heartbreak and finally in a happy, healthy marriage, I really believe that any prohibition from premarital sex is not to restrict human enjoyment but to protect us from the kind of heartbreak that we can't even imagine would result from offering ourselves at our most vulnerable to someone who is not absolutely committed to us.

There seems to be some idea in society that losing one's virginity "makes" a man. We have this stereoype of the cool guy who has lots of wild sex and the nerdy guy who just can't get a girl to save his life. But it's really not like that. (My husband was not a virgin when we met, but to this day he's still plenty awkward and nerdy! Wink) Virginity is not just another sign of failure. It's a sign of success!
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« Reply #142 on: May 07, 2011, 05:19:47 PM »

  That's OK just realize not everybody feels the same way.    I myself, well, i'm a 35 year old virgin and have deep regrets about it.  I have Aspergr's syndrome, for me my virginity is a sign of social failure.  It grieves me.   You can talk all you want about virginity being a blessing but...  I don't feel it.  It cuts me off from most people for one thing, and hardly makes me any holier.   Its one thing for teenage kids or young adults to just give their virginity away casually, its another thing to tell somebody in their thirties that premarital chastity is some kind of bliss (I've had that happen from well-meaning Christians).   Be realistic:  people can potentially have alot of regrets with them in life, regardless of what we choose.
What if it doesn't work?
We are not just spiritual beings we have obligations to our fellow human beings, to family, that are beyond those obligations to a religion.
Then leave whatever religion that is and become Orthodox.

There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid.   Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.
Even the demons have something they call love.

If you were married and felt compelled to cheat on your wife, would you view your marriage as a tyranny, as joyless self-denial? Would you want to avoid your wife in this life and the next?

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« Reply #143 on: May 07, 2011, 06:42:16 PM »

What about "Christ is risen and life is freed"?   I thought Christ came into the world to redeem this world, not to whisk us away to another one.  I left a religion that I ultimately decided was too often distorted into a nihilistic death cult, despite the lofty claims (Buddhism), I don't see the Gospel as compatible with an otherworldly vision of life at all.   There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid. Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.


You have a huge hole in your logic here. That passage doesn't speak of only marital love. And sex is no more love than eggs are a cake. Yes, there are eggs in a cake, but you can make a cake without eggs and it will still be a cake.
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« Reply #144 on: May 07, 2011, 06:53:49 PM »

Daedelus; you are prescribing yourself premarital sex for your mental health? You are only a catechumen and you are already picking and choosing what aspects of Orthodox theology to adhere to? Are you sure you even want to be a catechumen? Either Orthodoxy is the truth, or you can choose what you want like those in the Protestant church do. Talk to your priest about your struggles, it is obvious that you aren't going anywhere spiritually or emotionally healthy by your current train of thought.
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« Reply #145 on: May 07, 2011, 09:58:58 PM »

Acts,

How about God creating Eve for Adam (thus uniting them, in the mystical act of union), and AFTER the fall they "know" each other? 
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« Reply #146 on: May 08, 2011, 09:07:03 PM »

http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Morality-Contemporary-Greek-Theologians/dp/0881410284


someone shoul take a look at this... and read it,as well
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« Reply #147 on: May 09, 2011, 10:30:00 AM »

It's not that sex is inherently bad. It's a gift! But after years of heartbreak and finally in a happy, healthy marriage, I really believe that any prohibition from premarital sex is not to restrict human enjoyment but to protect us from the kind of heartbreak that we can't even imagine would result from offering ourselves at our most vulnerable to someone who is not absolutely committed to us.

Just thought that this needed to be repeated. This is excellent and very much to the point.
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« Reply #148 on: May 10, 2011, 06:59:29 PM »

this is fear... dressed up in existentialism
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« Reply #149 on: May 10, 2011, 07:14:34 PM »

In Orthodox spirituality we believe we are single body-soul-spirit beings. We cannot be reduced to separate elements. 

  But you can certainly distinguish between between these different spheres of ones life. 

Of course. But you cannot say "This is in area X, therefore the Church has nothing to say about it." We're Christians—the Church has jurisdiction in every part of our lives.

  We are not just spiritual beings we have obligations to our fellow human beings, to family, that are beyond those obligations to a religion.   It is true that Jesus Christ asks for alot, to leave family and friends behind if necessary, but my own priest told me that the Church's asceticism should not become an excuse to divest oneself of these responsibilities.   If salvation is saving the whole person, that must also include my relationshps in which i find myself.    Part of the responsibility to my fellow human being and my family is to keep guard over my psychological health, to not live in a way that harms myself psychologically.    And here perhaps the Church does not have the expertise, wheather or not it has the right should not be the issue.

Celibacy (or any other similar thing) will only hurt one's psychology if one becomes so fixated and obsessed with what they can't have that they become mentally ill. The day a person accepts their station in life and lives for God's will instead of their own, it will not become such an overriding need that it interferes with other things.

I don't mean to make that sound easy. That is the struggle of our lives. But it is true. God gives us what we need in his own time. If we attempt to do it our own way, then we're on our own. God will accept us back if we mess up and repent, but it's a lot easier to simply obey from the outset and not become obsessed with what we can't have right now (or ever, in those cases).

One could say the same with a married person. If a married man falls in love with another woman and becomes obsessed with her, it will hurt his psychological health too. His other relationships, especially with his wife, will suffer. But that would be his own doing; it's not the Church's fault for telling him not to commit adultery.

What about "Christ is risen and life is freed"?   I thought Christ came into the world to redeem this world, not to whisk us away to another one.  I left a religion that I ultimately decided was too often distorted into a nihilistic death cult, despite the lofty claims (Buddhism), I don't see the Gospel as compatible with an otherworldly vision of life at all.   There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid.   Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.

Christ is redeeming this world, but it will only find its fulfillment after the Second Coming. If we are looking for ultimate joy and fulfillment in other people, including a spouse, we will be sorely disappointed. (I personally believe that's part of the dismal state of marriage today—everyone is searching for The One who will make them happy, but they're looking for a spouse, not Christ. When it gets old, marriages often suffer because it's built on a bad foundation. Marriage is a means for our salvation; it's not some end-all destination, nor is anything else in this world.)

Christ calls us to be his slaves. We can only be free—living the way we were designed to live—when we are slaves to Christ. This is not a tyrannical relationship, any more than a father is tyrannical for stopping his young child from running into the street. God prohibits us these things because they're not good for us. It doesn't matter how joyous and fun they are in the moment, they are not good for us.

You're right about 1 Cor 13. But love does not mean having sex outside of marriage. That is uncommitted lust, masturbation, not love. Love sacrifices, takes pains, makes commitments, etc. Love is about the other, not about the self.
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« Reply #150 on: May 11, 2011, 02:45:08 AM »

Okay, so technically this isn't an argument FOR premarital sex, per se, but here are some reasons why I don't see premarital sex as being a big deal in modern Western culture. Here's why:

In the time of the New Testament, and indeed for much of human history, marriages were arranged. There was no dating beforehand, no "getting-to-know-you" phase, no living together, no time to really do anything. Marriage had nothing to do with love and instead was an economic union between the two families. Sure, arranged marriages could conceivably blossom into love, but that wasn't the main point.

However, nowadays, in modern Western culture, this type of marriage is inconceivable. Indeed, I can't imagine it any other way, but this is only because I've grown up in this culture my whole life. Now, marriage is about getting to know someone beforehand. The ultimate end goal is being together with someone who makes you happy emotionally (and physically), not necessarily economically.

So, with this distinction in mind, it's easy to see why premarital sex was a big deal in NT times. It completely shattered the union between the two families, especially if you had sex with the "wrong person". Whereas now, there is no economic union to worry about. Now, everything is based on love (supposedly) so having sex with your girlfriend or boyfriend isn't frowned upon. There's no shame being brought on the family, no risk of doing it with the person you're not supposed to marry, etc. As long as it's based in love, I don't see the problem.

Also, birth control has significantly improved in the past couple centuries. Now, chances of contracting STD's are pretty slim, IF you practice safe sex. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but your chances are much lower now than they were in NT times. Having sex then was an unsafe practice. Imagine if we still followed the OT law of not sitting on anything a woman touches when she's on her period. That's ridiculous now, because we have tampons, sanitary pads, etc. The risk is virtually zero of contracting anything if the woman practices good sanitation habits. Same with sex now. We have condoms, birth control, etc.

Now, I'm still formulating my opinion on this which is why I'm awaiting your responses. But as far as I'm concerned, it's like masturbation. I actually seek out things that tell me that practicing masturbation or premarital sex is NOT a good idea. But instead, I get the opposite. Masturbation and premarital sex are completely normal practices, as far as studies have shown. There's really no reason to think otherwise other than outdated beliefs. Please don't mistake me here. I'm not one of those incredibly over-sexed people who masturbates 20 times a day and has one-night-stands with all the women in town. Believe me. That is definitely not who I am. But I simply don't understand how the Church can hold to these beliefs when literally every bit of evidence is to the contrary. Can't the Church abandon beliefs in light of new evidence?
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« Reply #151 on: May 11, 2011, 04:22:10 AM »

So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.
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« Reply #152 on: May 11, 2011, 04:39:21 AM »

So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.

No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.
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« Reply #153 on: May 11, 2011, 05:03:30 AM »

Also, birth control has significantly improved in the past couple centuries. Now, chances of contracting STD's are pretty slim, IF you practice safe sex. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but your chances are much lower now than they were in NT times. Having sex then was an unsafe practice.

Employing birth control happens to cut out one of the major results of sex--having children.

Quote
Imagine if we still followed the OT law of not sitting on anything a woman touches when she's on her period. That's ridiculous now, because we have tampons, sanitary pads, etc. The risk is virtually zero of contracting anything if the woman practices good sanitation habits. Same with sex now. We have condoms, birth control, etc.

I'm no expert on Jewish law, but my understanding of such practices was that the motivation had nothing to do with the fear of "contracting anything."

Quote
Now, I'm still formulating my opinion on this which is why I'm awaiting your responses. But as far as I'm concerned, it's like masturbation. I actually seek out things that tell me that practicing masturbation or premarital sex is NOT a good idea. But instead, I get the opposite. Masturbation and premarital sex are completely normal practices, as far as studies have shown.

Good luck finding spiritual feedback in academia.

Quote
There's really no reason to think otherwise other than outdated beliefs.

You haven't proven that such beliefs are outdated. You have simply indicated that academia has not produced a study that indicates the negative effects of such behaviours.

Quote
But I simply don't understand how the Church can hold to these beliefs when literally every bit of evidence is to the contrary. Can't the Church abandon beliefs in light of new evidence?

What new evidence?? The church has 2000 years experience that says sexual behaviour is only spiritually healthy when it takes place between one man and one woman living together in the sacrament of Holy Marriage.


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« Reply #154 on: May 11, 2011, 05:27:10 AM »

in modern Western culture... marriage is about getting to know someone beforehand. The ultimate end goal is being together with someone who makes you happy emotionally (and physically), not necessarily economically.
And in Orthodoxy, it's about being crowned a martyr.

Here's a question for you. If Christianity only advocated sex within marriage for economic/social/health reasons, then why did Christ, the founder of Christianity, seek to "unnecessarily" add to this limitation?

"And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, 'Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?' He answered, 'Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.' They said to him, 'Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?' He said to them, 'Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."

For our Lord Jesus Christ, the sanctity of marriage seems to be an issue of the heart, not of money or status.

The Holy Apostle Paul adds,

"Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, 'THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH."

Now, everything is based on love (supposedly) so having sex with your girlfriend or boyfriend isn't frowned upon.There's no shame being brought on the family, no risk of doing it with the person you're not supposed to marry, etc. As long as it's based in love, I don't see the problem.
What is love?
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« Reply #155 on: May 11, 2011, 06:39:17 AM »

Dude, I don't mean to be flippant, but can't you see that your entire argument is not an argument for pre-marital sex but rather an argument against modern western notions of romance and love?

Rather than conform the scripture to modern notions of romance, sex and love, we should seek to conform our ideas of romance, sex and love to the scripture. Not in a stupid, fundamentalist way, but in a nuanced and thoughtful manner.

Kh. Frederica Matthewes-Green, as inexplicably unliked as she is around these parts, has the right idea on this matter: asking the vast majority of people to remain celibate into their late 20s/early 30s (which is what we are essentially doing by buying into the modern, western notion of marriage) is both unscriptural and unnatural.

You are comitting a fundamental error by seeking to impose your own mindset on the scripture. Rather, do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your heart/mind/nous.

PS: by the way, every argument you have made is also an argument for homosexual sex -- it, too, is ubiquitous, widely approved of, mostly safe, doesn't cause pregnancy, &c., &c.
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« Reply #156 on: May 11, 2011, 06:41:03 AM »

Western cultures emphasis of a "love-based marriage" [...]

Yeah, cos marriage is in such great shape in the modern west.
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« Reply #157 on: May 11, 2011, 06:52:43 AM »

So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.

No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.

You're making the wrong assumption that it is based in ontological materialism and reasons set within that context (its for health, its for economics, etc), rather than being the divine order (that is how things are supposed to be, how they were made to be, according to Gods purpose).

If that doesn't make any sense, in other words, you're trying to conform the truth according to your own desires, with a world view that doesn't actually admit a spiritual reality or God which could take precedence over what we want, or understand. And there's all kinds of problems with that.
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« Reply #158 on: May 11, 2011, 08:31:30 AM »

It's quite normal that a person moving from a culture where pre-marital sex is not only accepted, but promoted in every possible way to the point of obsession, to one where it is absolutely forbidden would feel the need to rationalise and justify it. I held similar views when I initially encountered real Christianity.

As you immerse yourself more fully in the life of the Church, and try to understand Biblical precepts with a Christian mind rather than a secular one, you'll find that the need to justify modern Western attitudes slowly withers. Until you're convinced, it's better to err on the side of caution. It's difficult, but worth it.
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« Reply #159 on: May 11, 2011, 12:41:29 PM »

So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.

No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love throwaway-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.

I had to correct that for you.  Marriage has become a throwaway item in the secular West - people want to call pets "animal companions"; what's next, legal bestiality?   Huh
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« Reply #160 on: May 11, 2011, 12:47:29 PM »

I had to correct that for you.  Marriage has become a throwaway item in the secular West - people want to call pets "animal companions"; what's next, legal bestiality?   Huh

Only if the animal consents.
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« Reply #161 on: May 11, 2011, 01:39:20 PM »

I had to correct that for you.  Marriage has become a throwaway item in the secular West - people want to call pets "animal companions"; what's next, legal bestiality?   Huh

Only if the animal consents.

Does the animal voluntarily consent to being a companion?   Wink
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« Reply #162 on: May 11, 2011, 01:45:51 PM »

Does the animal voluntarily consent to being a companion?   Wink

Most do, but not all I suppose. Dogs seem quite happy, and cats as well, though in a different way. Now, as far as animals that need to be caged to keep them from running away...  Huh Grin
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« Reply #163 on: May 11, 2011, 01:51:30 PM »

So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.

No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love throwaway-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.

I had to correct that for you.  Marriage has become a throwaway item in the secular West - people want to call pets "animal companions"; what's next, legal bestiality?   Huh

Nice slippery slope there.

The definition of a pet is "...animal...companion" in any number of dictionaries.
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« Reply #164 on: May 11, 2011, 03:39:01 PM »

Daedelus; you are prescribing yourself premarital sex for your mental health? 

  No, not necessarily.  You are reading too much into what I said.  But when a priest or well meaning Orthodox Christian's advice goes against the advice of mental health counsellors, I think I will have to carefully weigh the expertise of one vs. the other.

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You are only a catechumen and you are already picking and choosing what aspects of Orthodox theology to adhere to? Are you sure you even want to be a catechumen? Either Orthodoxy is the truth, or you can choose what you want like those in the Protestant church do. Talk to your priest about your struggles, it is obvious that you aren't going anywhere spiritually or emotionally healthy by your current train of thought.

 So many Christians have no compassion or understanding because they have been graced with an "average life".  I wonder who is cursed more, me or you?  In the end, we will all be stripped naked of pretenses of holiness and the only thing we'll be judged by is how much we have loved.  Maybe you should consider that before you uncritically judge my motivations.
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« Reply #165 on: May 11, 2011, 03:51:52 PM »

Don't presume to know about how average my life is/was/ or will be. I am fairly sure you wouldn't desire to live the life I have led. I won't go into the difficulties I have undergone, because there is no point. Rest assured that what you think is easy, another person will think is hard and vice versa.

I do have the ability to know what it is like to be celibate and to desire a sexual relationship since my husband was deployed for almost 3 years between two deployments.
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« Reply #166 on: May 11, 2011, 03:55:41 PM »

One could say the same with a married person. If a married man falls in love with another woman and becomes obsessed with her, it will hurt his psychological health too. His other relationships, especially with his wife, will suffer. But that would be his own doing; it's not the Church's fault for telling him not to commit adultery.  

  There's a huge difference between a spouse commiting adultery and two unmarried people having sex.  One is a betrayal of trust to another human being, the other is not necessarily.

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Christ is redeeming this world, but it will only find its fulfillment after the Second Coming. If we are looking for ultimate joy and fulfillment in other people, including a spouse, we will be sorely disappointed. (I personally believe that's part of the dismal state of marriage today—everyone is searching for The One who will make them happy, but they're looking for a spouse, not Christ.

  I think there is alot of truth to that, still focusing on denial too much, denies the supposed goodness of creation.  

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We can only be free—living the way we were designed to live—when we are slaves to Christ.  

  We were designed to have free will, right?  In a real sense when we are doing what we want and what we find fulfilling, we are doing God's will.   If he didn't want us making up our own minds, he could have made us as robots without the will or intellect.

Quote
You're right about 1 Cor 13. But love does not mean having sex outside of marriage. That is uncommitted lust, masturbation, not love. Love sacrifices, takes pains, makes commitments, etc. Love is about the other, not about the self.

 Not every non-marital intimate relationship is about "the self".   Reducing these relationships to nothing but selfish lust dos a disservice to our humanity.  On the other hand, plenty of people get married and its all about themselves (even moreso if they view their wife as a posession), but its all masked behind layers of religious ideology so its suddenly "sacred" and their relationships are safe from scrutiny?
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« Reply #167 on: May 11, 2011, 04:10:42 PM »

We were designed to have free will, right?  In a real sense when we are doing what we want and what we find fulfilling, we are doing God's will.
Your logic and reasoning escape me. How can being selfish and self-centered (only doing what we want and what we find fulfilling) possibly be God's will? Or even real life?

Quote
  If he didn't want us making up our own minds, he could have made us as robots without the will or intellect.
Again your logic and reasoning are somewhat obscure. He wanted to us to make up our own minds to love Him, willingly.

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Not every non-marital intimate relationship is about "the self".
Pretty much, yeah, it is, if we're honest.
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« Reply #168 on: May 11, 2011, 04:22:35 PM »

I do have the ability to know what it is like to be celibate and to desire a sexual relationship since my husband was deployed for almost 3 years between two deployments.

   That's a stretch to compare 3 years of loneliness against decades of it.   Presuming to jump into my life and diagnose my spiritual malaise when you don't even know much about my life at all is arrogant.
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« Reply #169 on: May 11, 2011, 04:27:03 PM »

But when a priest or well meaning Orthodox Christian's advice goes against the advice of mental health counsellors, I think I will have to carefully weigh the expertise of one vs. the other.

I really don't want to be mean, and I should probably shut up, but I laughed so hard at this statement that I choked on my diet coke.
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« Reply #170 on: May 11, 2011, 04:36:18 PM »

Your logic and reasoning escape me. How can being selfish and self-centered (only doing what we want and what we find fulfilling) possibly be God's will? Or even real life?  

  God didn't create us just to have us sit in a garden forever.   This may not be part of Eastern theology but certainly in other theologies, God's goodness is revealed in human creativity.  Trying new things, even making mistakes, is all part of the divine order.

Quote
 
Again your logic and reasoning are somewhat obscure. He wanted to us to make up our own minds to love Him, willingly.  

 If God really willed obedience to rules as the highest good, he wouldn't have willed us to be free.  And God certainly doesn't need our love... so I think people having a certain amount of self-focus is not in itself evil, I think its part of God's creation.   (Likewise, a strict understanding of the Falll as a mistake makes no sense, since an omnipotent being just doesn't let mistakes "just happen" outside his will).
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« Reply #171 on: May 11, 2011, 04:41:31 PM »

(Likewise, a strict understanding of the Falll as a mistake makes no sense, since an omnipotent being just doesn't let mistakes "just happen" outside his will).
It was a choice on the part of Man.


God didn't create us just to have us sit in a garden forever.   This may not be part of Eastern theology but certainly in other theologies, God's goodness is revealed in human creativity.  Trying new things, even making mistakes, is all part of the divine order.
Making a mistake and condoning it are two different things. Also, if you're really studying Orthodoxy, you know that human creativity is considered sacred.
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« Reply #172 on: May 11, 2011, 04:47:01 PM »

It seems like you don't want to look at God as revealed through Christ. Christ took celibacy and marriage very seriously. Marriage is a microcosm of God's relationship to the Church, and is founded on agape love.

The type of sex/relationship you want contains, as I believe the Coptic Pope Shenouda III said, "the germ of self-destruction". What it calls "love" is uncommitted, fickle, self-serving, and highly individualistic.

You might say "but it's not always like that!" Well, the more it's "not like that", the more it approaches what marriage looks like, marriage being the end result of holy romantic love between men and women.

If you can understand why the Orthodox Church has closed communion, then you will be able to understand why it restricts premarital sex.
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« Reply #173 on: May 11, 2011, 04:47:07 PM »

There's a huge difference between a spouse commiting adultery and two unmarried people having sex.  One is a betrayal of trust to another human being, the other is not necessarily.

And they're both sins according to the Orthodox Church. They both separate us from God. The rest is a matter of degrees and commentary.

I think there is alot of truth to that, still focusing on denial too much, denies the supposed goodness of creation.

We can only enjoy the good when it's enjoyed in its proper context. And the proper context for sex is marriage.

We were designed to have free will, right?  In a real sense when we are doing what we want and what we find fulfilling, we are doing God's will.   If he didn't want us making up our own minds, he could have made us as robots without the will or intellect.

We do have free will. We are free to either pick up our cross and follow Christ, or we can live our own way.

We do make up our own minds. We make up our minds to be slaves to God or be slaves to our brokenness. We are supposed to be willing servants, and willingly sacrifice our broken wills for God's Perfect Will.

The things we find fulfilling are not necessarily good for us. A lot of people think getting drunk or shooting up with heroin is enjoyable and fulfilling too, but it's obvious to everyone else they're destroying themselves.

We are not robots, obviously. Robots cannot grow, cannot love, and cannot attain theosis. A robot cannot bear the image of God.

Not every non-marital intimate relationship is about "the self".   Reducing these relationships to nothing but selfish lust dos a disservice to our humanity.  On the other hand, plenty of people get married and its all about themselves (even moreso if they view their wife as a posession), but its all masked behind layers of religious ideology so its suddenly "sacred" and their relationships are safe from scrutiny?

What is a disservice to our humanity is denying our humanity by following our sexual impulses like animals. As I said above, sex and intimacy are good things, but only within their proper context. Everything in life is this way.

And as someone said earlier, marriage is a martyrdom. Sure there are selfish marriages, but it's still more grace-filled than unmarried and unbounded escapades.

You're tagged as a catechumen; have you spoken to your priest about all this?
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« Reply #174 on: May 11, 2011, 04:55:33 PM »

God didn't create us just to have us sit in a garden forever.   This may not be part of Eastern theology but certainly in other theologies, God's goodness is revealed in human creativity.  Trying new things, even making mistakes, is all part of the divine order.

Why would we try new things and make mistakes? There is nothing new under the sun; we have several thousand years of Hebrew and Christian history to show us what is right and wrong. Someone once said: "A smart man learns from his own mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others."

And having sex outside of marriage, which has been going on since Genesis, hardly qualifies as creative.

If God really willed obedience to rules as the highest good, he wouldn't have willed us to be free.

We don't obey rules for its own sake. We obey because God is trying to teach us the way humans were meant to live.
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« Reply #175 on: May 11, 2011, 04:56:09 PM »

Your logic and reasoning escape me. How can being selfish and self-centered (only doing what we want and what we find fulfilling) possibly be God's will? Or even real life?  

God didn't create us just to have us sit in a garden forever.   This may not be part of Eastern theology but certainly in other theologies, God's goodness is revealed in human creativity.  Trying new things, even making mistakes, is all part of the divine order.

Did I say anything like that? We are to be what God meant us to be, and that is a struggle. Making mistakes is a by-product, not the goal, as I'm sure you would agree.
 
Quote
If God really willed obedience to rules as the highest good, he wouldn't have willed us to be free.
Again, who said obedience to rules? The things you call "rules" are not God's way of spoiling all our fun. They are His way of healing and helping us.

Quote
 And God certainly doesn't need our love...
You're absolutely right - that's why the totally amazing thing is that He wants our love. He wants to be in relationship with us. He wants us to have joy and an abundant life.

Quote
so I think people having a certain amount of self-focus is not in itself evil, I think its part of God's creation.
No. It's a choice. Self-focus? Is that a fancy word for being selfish and self-centered?
Let me know how that works for you. It didn't (and doesn't) work worth a darn for me.

Quote
  (Likewise, a strict understanding of the Falll as a mistake makes no sense, since an omnipotent being just doesn't let mistakes "just happen" outside his will).
Huh?
Where did this come from?
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« Reply #176 on: May 11, 2011, 04:58:12 PM »

Preamble: Our cultural attitude toward marriage, which pushes marriage back into the time period between the late 20's and early 40's, and which also devalues the hard work and sacrifice necessary to sustain a long-term relationship with another person, does much harm toward the pursuit of a chaste pre-marital life.  Living as a celibate individual in the modern era is extremely difficult, and that fact should not be discounted even 1% in the course of this conversation.  There is little support for those who decide to wait for marriage, and instead we find numerous social roadblocks in he way.  Add to this the abuse of authority from those who have expertise in the human psyche and sociology - an abuse that recklessly tells us that "it's just sex" - and the conditions are borderline unbearable for someone committed to putting off sexual relations until they are married to Mr/Mrs Right.

But when a priest or well meaning Orthodox Christian's advice goes against the advice of mental health counsellors, I think I will have to carefully weigh the expertise of one vs. the other.
 I really don't want to be mean, and I should probably shut up, but I laughed so hard at this statement that I choked on my diet coke.

Mental health counselors don't always have the right answer because of a skewed POV; I should know, having a degree in Psychology and having worked with a number of psychologists and psychiatrists over the years (professionally, not personally).  Some people disparagingly discuss the negative effects of prolonged celibacy, and then suggest becoming sexually active, without recognizing that most of the issues that arise with prolonged celibacy have more to do with the support structure (familial, cultural, etc.) than with an individual being celibate.

I think, too, the perpetuation of the "its just sex" myth is extremely harmful - it's only "just sex" if you want to make it that way, and only after devaluing it through emotionally detached practice.  Otherwise, it's never "just sex," which is why we universally admit that in our modern era, for example:

- kids should never have sex before they're 16 (while I've believed this thoroughly, I was floored when I heard renowned therapist and love-line host Dr. Drew Pinsky reaffirm this point over the air; I never thought I'd hear that come from someone who hosts a talk show about sex)

- people age 18 and under should never have sex with someone who is not their own age (this is an extension of a similar principle: people 18 and under should never date someone who is not their own age)

Why is rape the terrifying experience that it is?  Why are rape victims quite often more traumatized than assault victims and war veterans?  Yes, for the rapist rape is about control - but they're using the most physically and emotionally intense means of control, and the most scarring abuse of the human psyche, to accomplish that exercise in control.  It's never "just sex."  Sex is a beautiful gift from God, a means of intimate union - and that union was only designed to be made once, never broken, never shared with others.  When we go against this principle, we cheapen the effect that sex has on us, we wound ourselves emotionally, and we risk becoming sexual sociopaths - completely divorcing meaningful emotional (and spiritual) union from the sexual act.

I have more thoughts on the issue, but I must stop for now - I have a pressing commitment to attend to.
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« Reply #177 on: May 11, 2011, 04:59:17 PM »

(Likewise, a strict understanding of the Fall as a mistake makes no sense, since an omnipotent being just doesn't let mistakes "just happen" outside his will). 

Theology fail.
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« Reply #178 on: May 11, 2011, 05:03:59 PM »

Mental health counselors don't always have the right answer because of a skewed POV; I should know, having a degree in Psychology and having worked with a number of psychologists and psychiatrists over the years (professionally, not personally).  

Not to veer too far off the track, but when my husband and I were looking for a marriage counselor, it was unbelievably difficult to find one that accepted much less respected and honored (rather than disparaged and even ridiculed) our Orthodox Christian pov, values and beliefs.
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« Reply #179 on: May 11, 2011, 05:56:38 PM »

So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.

No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love throwaway-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.

I had to correct that for you.  Marriage has become a throwaway item in the secular West - people want to call pets "animal companions"; what's next, legal bestiality?   Huh

Nice slippery slope there.

The definition of a pet is "...animal...companion" in any number of dictionaries.

We live in an era of disposable marriages and as humanity evolves - the ethicists are laying the groundwork for inter-species relationships above and beyond "pets."

Quote
The linguistic debate, which Serpell said has been covered previously in various academic journals, stems from animals being in a gray area: they are sentient creatures - more than objects or property - but less than fully human.

source

Humans can have disposable relationships with other humans ... and with their "animal companions" as evident by how many pets are left behind in foreclosed homes.  God told Man to have dominion over the animals; not to form inter-species relationships with them.   Huh
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