FAITH column November 15,2015
The origin of original sin springs from religious teachings that still shroud our social sexual mores thousands of years after Adam and Eve. The quest for equality for both males and females must be considered in this perspective, and the faith in our intellect must transcend the vestal virgin mythology that is still extant today. That doesn’t imply discarding the precious tenets of both the Old and New testaments for the religious; indeed I feel enriched by the spiritual significance of my religious education, appreciating the adage to ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.
In our secular environs, with the separation of church and state enshrined in our legislation, it is important to acknowledge that our personal and private sexual behaviour should be just that; a matter of our own choice and our own business, underpinned by the proviso that this behaviour does not harm others. Mutual consent must be paramount. Centuries of double-think about sexual mores for males and females still predicates our social norms of behaviour, the slut/stud divide wreaking havoc in our heavenly ideal of an equal destiny; yet to be attained. It is not just obvious in the same-sex marriage debate, but permeates our social attitudes to sexual behaviour for all of us, despite Jesus not commenting on homosexuality or sex per se. The nascent women’s movement in the 1960s, with the introduction of the contraceptive pill, was applauded for liberating women from unwanted pregnancy, but 50 years later, it is still a problem on our social sexual landscape as much for teenage girls as older women. Is there something too blatant about admitting to wanting sex? Even needing it when procreation is not the desired outcome so that both males and females are protected; not just from STIs but from facing the often agonising decision about an abortion. Or is there a religious residue in our midst?
To achieve real equality of the sexes, we need to reflect on our religious teachings to understand that sex is not sin but can be a spiritual and intimate connection between people of whatever gender. This understanding about sex does not necessarily imply abandoning faith in God or Jesus, Mohammed or Abraham et al; it does however implore us to appreciate sex as a natural, human need for us all. It demands we rethink our Biblical heritage in a new context and with a new faith so that as humans we can enjoy sex as equals without abuse or angst pervading our world.