Thursday, 8 March 2018

A Direct Christian understanding of sexual identity and sexuality

Since the sexual revolution is now the true socio-political divide (The Left being in favour, and those in favour being The Left) it seems clear that an understanding of sexual identity and sexuality is a core part of any viable religious understanding.

The only way of opposing the sexual revolution that most people acknowledge or understanding is as a part of church-teaching; and as obedience to church teachings. Yet, such knowledge is indirect.

What is needed, I believe, is direct, personal, experiential knowledge of sexual identity and sexuality. in other words, people need to know about sex in what might be termed a 'mystical', esoteric, or (I would prefer to say) intuitive way.

The problem is that most traditional mystical 'systems' regard celibacy as the ideal - this applies to the Eastern and Western Catholic Christian traditions, and to Hindu and Buddhist traditions - the mystical path is for 'monks'.

I can't go into the arguments about this here - but this is not the correct answer. Intuition does Not tell us that not-sex is higher than sex...

Celibacy is Not the highest ideal. Intuition tells us that celibacy is only partially human.

The error is seen in that the celibacy ideal seems to encourage loss of sexual identity, loss of spontaneity and creativity, loss of a coherent relationship between men and women and children - destruction of the family. It leads to a maiming rather than a completion. The ideal of celibacy thus, by another path, actually abets the sexual revolution.

What is instead needed is for people to address the nature of sexual identity and sexuality in a direct and intuitive way - to understand that sex goes very deep in our natures. Sex is not something to be transcended, but something to become transcendent.

It is possible to reach an intuitive understanding of sex that tells us, personally, why and how the sexual revolution is wrong, why it is anti-human, why it is a social and personal disaster. And this kind of understanding is necessary - nothing else will truly suffice.

We need to know for ourselves, and we can know for ourselves - that sexual identity and sexuality are objective metaphysical qualities. They are not something dogmatic which we merely obey, they are not something that is 'for the good of society'. They are not merely expedient towards something else.

The result is close-to (but not identical-with) many of the traditional dogmas, and against most of (but not all of) the sexual revolutionary doctrines.

But we cannot just be told these things, and should not believed them just because we are told them; there is no short-cut: to be adult and spiritually developed persons we need to know-for-ourselves and freely choose to live-by this understanding.

'The truth about sex' is an absolutely solid-and-mystical reality, that can be known by anyone who makes the effort with the right attitude.

Reference: Direct Christianity


August said...

I came to what may be a similar idea through God as the God of the living.
It seems to me certain things logically follow, and Jesus said something about life and having it more abundantly.
In fact, this seemed to me to be a recurring theme as I worked my way through the bible.

The Social Pathologist said...

Western Christianity has long had a very ambivalent attitude to sexuality. Nietzsche's view that "Christianity gave Eros a poison to drink" is in my opinion justified. And here I'm not talking about sexual perversions or lust. It took until 1930's for Roman Catholicism to recognise the legitimacy of the unitive aspect of the conjugal act. Prior to that there were quite strong strains of Catholic though which denied the legitimacy of even that.

Eros is essentially carnal, i.e. worldly. Christian conceptions of sexual identity have focus on the moral instead of canal elements, more an element of choice than physical reality.

Bruce Charlton said...

@SP - Carnal, yes- but not 'essentially' perhaps - I would say in origin eros is metaphysical in nature. I mean that ultimate reality is structured primarily in terms of persons (God and others), and these persons are men and women, either one or the other.

I got this 'idea' originally from Mormon metaphysics, but the point of this post is that I had to validate theology personally and directly; after trying and failing to validate several alternatives. Mormonism also has it that incarnation is a higher state than spirit (which is why Jesus) - that also helps make deep sense of sex.

Lucinda said...

I think an important aspect of understanding these things directly would be to undo in our minds and hearts the subversion of the concepts of diversity and equality. A man and a woman cannot become one by becoming the kind of equal that means same. And yet this seems to be the way that most people attempt to bridge the divide of the sexes, and many other divides, especially when generalizing.

I don't know if it's just an immature way of thinking that happens naturally or if we are somehow being conditioned to think this way. Probably some combination of both. But it does seem to me that it's part of the problem of short-termism, which is why so many must rely on a belief tradition even to avoid the most obvious and pretty immediate pitfalls.

I think the reason celibacy takes the 'lead' in many traditions has to do with how badly small errors in implementation of society-wide tradition can foul things up when sex is involved. But like you say with goodness being simply and attainable, I really believe that enough individuals throughout history have gotten their sexuality mostly-right, and that the modern population is descended mostly from such people. I do think it is an area where natural selection has a very strong influence even in a technologically advanced society. I mean that a child raised by biological and married parents will have a reproductive advantage measured over generations of time (with a coherent understanding of marriage, of course.)

I have been strengthened by thinking of my ancestors in this way, with gratitude for the ways they got things right, which I've had to do somewhat deliberately with the help of the Spirit because what I've always been taught through the culture is to be suspicious of previous generations sexism and uneducated, intolerant bigotry.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Lucinda - "what I've always been taught through the culture is to be suspicious of previous generations sexism and uneducated, intolerant bigotry". And of course their is *some* truth in this criticsm - but that truth has been distorted, and indeed inverted.

The Social Pathologist said...

Carnal, yes- but not 'essentially' perhaps.

I don't really understand what you mean there Bruce. For want of a better term, I think Eros is primarily concerned with the reality of "meatspace." Eros is primarily concerned with physical persons and their phyisical characteristics, hence its real world importance in sexual distinction.

It is possible to have erotic fantasy but even then the object of such a fantasy is primarily understood with regard to it's physical characteristics.