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August 27, 2005

Comments

John

but at the same time, will not demand coherence between my public profession of faith and my private behavior.

Is this disconnect a transient state you are getting out of, or a permanent one of which you're rather proud?

Hugo

Neither. It is a reality about which I am troubled, and one I am struggling to resolve -- but whether it is transient or not is yet to be determined. I'm proud of my candor, but not of my hypocrisy.

stanton

Hugo - I give you props for your willingness to self-reflect. And double props for doing so in the light of day, or rather, under the spotlight of your widely-read blog. I believe we would all be better persons for following your example here, and I am inspired to look for ways that I can do this more effectively in my own life.

Tony Vila

So I'm uneducated enough that I have to ask, what does Jesus specifically say about sexuality and masturbation? Not Aquinas's thoughts or what some letter written decades after his death, but what He actually said. He did actually say to turn your cheek, but what was it that He said about masturbation?

Hugo

Well, remember Tony, I'm not "anti-masturbation." That said, Jesus does tell us in Matthew 5 that to look with lust at a woman in some sense is to commit adultery. Most folks who masturbate do so with fantasy or pornography or some kind of internal or external visualization (yes, I know, not all of them, but most). Some conservative Christians thus make the argument that given that fantasy is almost inxtricably linked to fantasy, it is logical to assume that Jesus would have had a problem with it. But that's about as close as you can get.

Of course, Jesus never said anything about not killing animals for fur, either. But that doesn't stop many Christian environmentalists/animal rights activists (myself very much included) from considering Jesus an ally! I think it's dangerous to say "Jesus never said anything about X, and if He had opposed it, He would have, therefore X must be okay." On the other hand, it can lead us to conclude that whatever the ethics of masturbation, the subject can't have been of "salvation issue importance" to Him.

Tony Vila

I'm sorry, I'm not sure I get the relevance then. Is that line relevant to the discussions of masturbation (supposedly since you're probably lusting after someone when you practice)? If so, why aren't you anti-M then? And if you believe that you can masturbate without commiting mental adultery, why do you feel any hypocrisy for only following some of Jesus' message?

Clearly we shouldn't use Jesus' limited amount of preaching to grant licentiousness across the board. It just seems so many people get very worked up about issues He didn't personally discuss, and don't spend so much time questioning Christians with respect to violence, intolerance, or a desire to judge (all things He very explicitly mentions).

Hugo

Tony, I don't know if it's relevant to masturbation or not.

Where others have certainties, I have doubts, and as so often, I find myself being handicapped by being almost equally convinced of the merits of contradictory arguments on the issue.

Tony Vila

Ok, just I guess that wasn't clear.

And I was as much responding to your fundamentalist commenters as to you.

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