Religion: Old Thread, New Poll!

Discuss literature (e.g. books, newspapers), educational studies (getting help or opinions on homework or an essay), and philosophy.

What religion do you follow?

Baha'i
0
No votes
Buddhism
8
3%
Christianity
87
36%
Hinduism
1
0%
Islam
12
5%
Judaism
1
0%
Nature-based/Pagan/Shamanistic/Indigenous Religions
4
2%
Sikhism
3
1%
Taoism
12
5%
Unitarian Universalist
2
1%
I'm agnostic
41
17%
I'm atheist
48
20%
Other (please explain)
24
10%
 
Total votes : 243

Re: Religion: Old Thread, New Poll!

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:45 am

Shikanosuke wrote:I'm a little confused here. From picking up on the argument you've asserted SX and James have said that love and sex are not intrinsically related. You move to intimacy which I assume you're filling in for the word 'love' here as James is using it. I don't see any obstacle to two humans of any orientation having intimacy without ever physically touching one another, or having a sexual component to the relationship. What am I missing?


'Intimacy' wasn't my own word - I was merely borrowing James's usage there from earlier in the thread. I took it logically to mean a physical and psychological 'nearness' which is inclusive of but not coterminous with erotic love. It seems, actually, that you are agreeing with my stipulation from the latter point? I don't think you're arguing against my definition there.

But James, if that isn't what you meant, my apologies - and I would appreciate some clarification there!

James wrote:My point is simply that because some things can be altered through actions that are a product of choice does not mean it is reasonable to expect people to alter them. Some parts of who we are are far more important to our being than others. Celibacy is not something unheard of, but there's a big difference between willfully making that choice to enter certain religious orders or to become a monk, and being told that you must do so in order to [obtain the highest reward promised by a faith], and then the difference is further struck in applying the expectation to a specific subset of people.


:D Ahh, now we're getting somewhere!

For what it's worth, I agree with you that 'simply that because some things can be altered through actions that are a product of choice does not mean it is reasonable to expect people to alter them', but I expect that when we each say that we mean different things.

For example, I don't see any contradiction between entering a celibate life by choice, and entering a celibate life because one is exhorted to do so by the faith for the sake of attaining peace. Orthodoxy forces no one into a coenobitic lifestyle. You can approach the faith as closely as you like or distance yourself from it as much as you like. But you can't force the faith to change its teachings according to your individual whims - the faith is that of the community going back all the way into antiquity. Everyone in the faith is called to either celibacy or marriage, and if homosexuals close themselves off from marriage by not being attracted to the opposite sex, if they want to draw near to the faith that leaves them with the option of celibacy.

SunXia wrote:Because there are people who are in love and like any person in love want to act on that love and share intimacy. I've never once suggested love doesn't exist or that if you are in love you shouldn't have intimate relations. But I still don't believe the two have to be present to have a stable relationship as there relationships are based on mutual respect and simple companionship or other things.


James wrote:That's a fair reply. Sex does not necessarily have to be tied to love for an individual—people can choose to have sex for reasons other than love—but for many people, sex is an important part of love, expressing love, of celebrating a relationship, of experiencing intimacy in a relationship. As surely as a heterosexual can have sex as part of a healthy, established relationship, so to can a homosexual.


Okay, so you two are both still explicitly holding to the logic that love (however defined) is a sufficient but not a necessary condition for a healthy sexual relationship. I have held thus far that love is sufficient and necessary for a healthy sexual relationship - that's one aspect of our disagreement here.

But my own issue was this. James goes on to say: 'for many people, sex is an important part of love, expressing love, of celebrating a relationship'. In arguing for the health of same-sex sexual partnerships and the validity of same-sex marriage over-against traditional Christian teachings, you - James in particular - were appealing to an assumption of the necessity of love to a healthy sexual relationship. (Otherwise, why use this language of 'importance' when bringing sex under love and expressions of love? Obviously, in other contexts such as heterosexual hook-ups, you very explicitly deny that importance.) I see this logic as contradictory, as a form of special pleading. Why say 'for many people', for example? Which people are these? Why is everybody not included?

If not, then you need to clarify your definitions. I think it's clear what we all mean when we say 'sex' (after all, I don't deny that homosexual sex acts are in fact 'sex'; I only dispute they're emotionally or physically healthy), but for you (James and SunXia in particular) it isn't clear at all to me what you want us to take away when you say:

a.) 'love' (as both noun and verb, and 'loving' as an adjective),
b.) 'relationship', and
c.) 'intimacy' (see above).

(Or 'established', 'stable', 'respect' or 'companionship'. Or, for that matter, 'simple' - as though casual sex and hook-ups with all of the elaborate social dancing and multiple levels of communication they demand, the messy emotions that they try to disentangle from sex or the damage any of the above can do, is somehow 'simpler' than marriage.)

All three of the above words are incredibly important ones, and we need to be clear what we're all talking about before we can have any kind of productive conversation in which any of them figure.

James wrote:As to sex and love being inseparably tied to having children, that's purely a religious construct.


James, of everything I've said so far, that sex is tied to having children ought to be the least religious.

Unless you're referring to viruses, bacteria or fungi (none of which humans are), in order for there to be offspring there has to be sexual reproduction, the union of gametes, which naturally occurs by a male organism inseminating the ova of a female organism (which necessarily involves sex). As Shikanosuke would have agreed back in his non-theistic days, that's completely non-religious. That's scientific. To say otherwise would be an exercise in creationism.

James wrote:Can a couple incapable of having children not have sex as a healthy part of love; of a loving relationship? Yes, they absolutely can.


Well, I'd say that depends, doesn't it? Is the reason a couple is incapable of having children accidental (as a result of age, injury, infertility or other personal circumstances), or is it on purpose (as a result of wilfully foregoing intercourse in favour of getting off on oral, anal or manual sex acts, for the sole purpose of avoiding pregnancy)? Even a heterosexual couple that does the latter for selfish reasons aren't respecting each other's bodies, or having sex in a self-giving way.
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Re: Religion: Old Thread, New Poll!

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:48 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:
'Intimacy' wasn't my own word - I was merely borrowing James's usage there from earlier in the thread. I took it logically to mean a physical and psychological 'nearness' which is inclusive of but not coterminous with erotic love. It seems, actually, that you are agreeing with my stipulation from the latter point? I don't think you're arguing against my definition there.


:lol: I'm a little confused myself as we're interweaving debates. I certainly believe intimacy can be achieved without a sexual component, though intimacy is a often a component of a sexual relationships.

Was my summation (in the previous post) of your logic accurate or inaccurate?



But my own issue was this. James goes on to say: 'for many people, sex is an important part of love, expressing love, of celebrating a relationship'. In arguing for the health of same-sex sexual partnerships and the validity of same-sex marriage over-against traditional Christian teachings, you - James in particular - were appealing to an assumption of the necessity of love to a healthy sexual relationship. (Otherwise, why use this language of 'importance' when bringing sex under love and expressions of love? Obviously, in other contexts such as heterosexual hook-ups, you very explicitly deny that importance.) I see this logic as contradictory, as a form of special pleading. Why say 'for many people', for example? Which people are these? Why is everybody not included?


I would suggest that people and their sexual identities and confines aren't rigid, and for some sex isn't a necessary component of their love for another individual. Either because they no longer have sex with that person, or they're able to have sex with individuals without feeling love for said individual.

Well, I'd say that depends, doesn't it? Is the reason a couple is incapable of having children accidental (as a result of age, injury, infertility or other personal circumstances), or is it on purpose (as a result of wilfully foregoing intercourse in favour of getting off on oral, anal or manual sex acts, for the sole purpose of avoiding pregnancy)? Even a heterosexual couple that does the latter for selfish reasons aren't respecting each other's bodies, or having sex in a self-giving way.


What about the third category which heterosexual couples engage in copulation but take precautions to prevent pregnancy? They're willfully avoiding pregnancy, they may or may not be engaged in a permanent long-term healthy relationship (and potentially church-sanctioned at that). Are they being selfish and not respecting one another bodies?
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Re: Religion: Old Thread, New Poll!

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:43 pm

Shikanosuke wrote::lol: I'm a little confused myself as we're interweaving debates. I certainly believe intimacy can be achieved without a sexual component, though intimacy is a often a component of a sexual relationships.

Was my summation (in the previous post) of your logic accurate or inaccurate?


:D Trying my best to be clear, here. Even if that means being more verbose.

I think the only thing that I objected to in your characterisation of my argument was my presenting 'intimacy' as interchangeable with 'love'. I don't think the two are interchangeable, especially not in the way we're using 'love' here, in the purely erotic sense. Other than that, yes, I agree with you. Just like you say, it is possible to have intimacy without erotic contact.

But in my view it is incredibly difficult, counterintuitive and even damaging to try to have erotic contact without intimacy.

Shikanosuke wrote:I would suggest that people and their sexual identities and confines aren't rigid, and for some sex isn't a necessary component of their love for another individual. Either because they no longer have sex with that person, or they're able to have sex with individuals without feeling love for said individual.


You're answering the wrong question, I think, with the first part. What I felt was at issue was not whether healthy sex is a necessary condition for love, but the converse: whether or not love is necessary for healthy sex.

With the second part, again, I don't doubt that there are people who are able to have sex without feeling love. All the same, I don't think that's healthy - I think that requires a psychological disconnect which is very difficult for most ordinary people even if they try to convince themselves otherwise.

Shikanosuke wrote:What about the third category which heterosexual couples engage in copulation but take precautions to prevent pregnancy? They're willfully avoiding pregnancy, they may or may not be engaged in a permanent long-term healthy relationship (and potentially church-sanctioned at that). Are they being selfish and not respecting one another bodies?


That's a fairly contentious issue.

Many Catholics take a total approach to the question and go so far as to say that all artificial contraception is wrong. Dong Zhou or Lady Wu would have to answer that one for me; I'm only familiar with what the CCC says and not with canonical Roman Catholic practice 'on the ground'.

The Orthodox Church takes a bit more of a hands-off approach, at least from the top, and (I think) advises marital fasting and priestly counselling in the use of contraception. But even they would say that contraception done for the wrong reasons is still wrong.
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Re: Religion: Old Thread, New Poll!

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:55 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:
:D Trying my best to be clear, here. Even if that means being more verbose.

I think the only thing that I objected to in your characterisation of my argument was my presenting 'intimacy' as interchangeable with 'love'. I don't think the two are interchangeable, especially not in the way we're using 'love' here, in the purely erotic sense. Other than that, yes, I agree with you. Just like you say, it is possible to have intimacy without erotic contact.

But in my view it is incredibly difficult, counterintuitive and even damaging to try to have erotic contact without intimacy.


Partially agreed on the last statement, but forgive me I was unclear. I meant was my other comment (below) in the post an accurate depiction of the logic.

"Picking up from above, I'm missing something here. I dont' want to jump on it as I'm trying to simply follow the line of argument. The argument as I understand it is: Love and sex belong to one another. For Sex to be healthy at all it has to be coupled with love. This love, however, has to be able to be tied to a permanent relationship. This permanent relationship has to be theoretically capable of producing offspring. As homosexuals are naturally incapable of producing offspring they are disqualified from such relationships and therefore their sexual acts together are unhealthy and can not be expressions of love? Is this accurate, because it sounds mostly like a construct of one's own making and not reality and I don't want to misunderstand or misrepresent your argument here."

You're answering the wrong question, I think, with the first part. What I felt was at issue was not whether healthy sex is a necessary condition for love, but the converse: whether or not love is necessary for healthy sex.

With the second part, again, I don't doubt that there are people who are able to have sex without feeling love. All the same, I don't think that's healthy - I think that requires a psychological disconnect which is very difficult for most ordinary people even if they try to convince themselves otherwise.


Hm. Fair enough.


That's a fairly contentious issue.

Many Catholics take a total approach to the question and go so far as to say that all artificial contraception is wrong. Dong Zhou or Lady Wu would have to answer that one for me; I'm only familiar with what the CCC says and not with canonical Roman Catholic practice 'on the ground'.

The Orthodox Church takes a bit more of a hands-off approach, at least from the top, and (I think) advises marital fasting and priestly counselling in the use of contraception. But even they would say that contraception done for the wrong reasons is still wrong.
[/quote]


My understanding of the Catholic position is the same as yours. But I was curious of your answer to that question. Are such activities selfish and not showing respect to one another's bodies? With the exception of attempting procreation they should satisfy all the other conditions that i think you require for your paradigm.
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Re: Religion: Old Thread, New Poll!

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:53 pm

Your right WWD on what the teaching is supposed to be. On the ground, as far as I'm aware, priests very much turn a blind eye or five.
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Re: Religion: Old Thread, New Poll!

Unread postby James » Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:41 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:'Intimacy' wasn't my own word - I was merely borrowing James's usage there from earlier in the thread. I took it logically to mean a physical and psychological 'nearness' which is inclusive of but not coterminous with erotic love. It seems, actually, that you are agreeing with my stipulation from the latter point? I don't think you're arguing against my definition there.

But James, if that isn't what you meant, my apologies - and I would appreciate some clarification there!

Oh, man. I'm supposed to remember nuance from stuff I wrote whole days ago? :shock:

'Intimacy' changes in meaning by context and I've probably used it in more cases than the below...

In any case, my position: sex is not exclusive to a loving relationship. A person may believe that sex should be a part of an intimate (if not married) relationship, but as an act others need not allow for that connection. For example, having sex just because it feels good. On the other hand, I believe sex is a healthy part of an intimate (common usage in context), loving relationship. A couple does not need to have sex in order to love one another or be in a relationship (fact; sometimes it's not even possible in any traditional sense), but for many it ranges from important to vital as a part of a loving relationship, and whether or not it is necessary in a literal sense (it may well be required psychologically, and dropping it can—frequently would—have a material impact on a relationship's health), it is wrong for someone on the outside to dictate terms.

"Asking (or telling, threatening) someone to not engage in the most fundamental drive and expression of intimacy associated with a loving relationship can have a profound impact on their life."
Asking someone not to engage in sex within a loving relationship.

"... but for many people, sex is an important part of love, expressing love, of celebrating a relationship, of experiencing intimacy in a relationship. "
Sex, for many people (most), is an important part of expressing and appreciating their love for another.

"And [a person] believing that [they] won't get to 'Heaven' if [they] act upon your sexual attraction to the only people [they're] intimately attracted to, with all psychological impact this choice can involve, is also a choice."
Choosing to have sex with another person you're attracted to (affectionately, lovingly).
... it is a choice to believe in the first place that the position of those saying otherwise is truth at all.

WeiWenDi wrote::D Ahh, now we're getting somewhere!

For what it's worth, I agree with you that 'simply that because some things can be altered through actions that are a product of choice does not mean it is reasonable to expect people to alter them', but I expect that when we each say that we mean different things.

For example, I don't see any contradiction between entering a celibate life by choice, and entering a celibate life because one is exhorted to do so by the faith for the sake of attaining peace. Orthodoxy forces no one into a coenobitic lifestyle. You can approach the faith as closely as you like or distance yourself from it as much as you like. But you can't force the faith to change its teachings according to your individual whims - the faith is that of the community going back all the way into antiquity. Everyone in the faith is called to either celibacy or marriage, and if homosexuals close themselves off from marriage by not being attracted to the opposite sex, if they want to draw near to the faith that leaves them with the option of celibacy.

Orothodoxy [or assorted other Christian faiths] may not force someone to become celibate, but they (whether on a foundational or individual level) frequently do explain to those people—homosexuals by subject—that doing so is a sin/wrong/an abomination; that doing so will exempt them from Heaven [aka whatever]. Telling someone the former has a profound impact on their lives, their self-image, their happiness. Telling someone the later may as well be 'forcing' them in the context of a believer. Is there a greater way to threaten someone than to tie their action with damnation/limbo/exemption from Heaven? It is true that the word 'force' does not apply here, but in reality, what stands in its place can be every bit as effective and destructive—and for many of those people, it absolutely is.

To simply say it is not 'forced' doesn't change the impact of the teachings and expectation.

"Do this or I will kill you."
"Do this or you will go to hell/not be admitted to heaven."

For a true believer, which is worse? Are they both awful?

And sure, many believe as a sin that one can repent. But does that materially change the argument? If one is to repent presumably they should also have made the choice they are called upon to make. It becomes the same thing.

WeiWenDi wrote:Okay, so you two are both still explicitly holding to the logic that love (however defined) is a sufficient but not a necessary condition for a healthy sexual relationship. I have held thus far that love is sufficient and necessary for a healthy sexual relationship - that's one aspect of our disagreement here.

A healthy relationship requires more than love. There we branch into a whole range of other things. You can love someone and not be happy with them, for example. But more to the point, the extent to which different expressions of love or other ingredients (so to speak) plays a role varies from one person to the next. The extent to which sexual intimacy (ranging from kissing to touching to intercourse) is important to a relationship plays a varied role from one person to the next, but it is typically extremely important, and is also one of the primary needs we are programed to desire.

WeiWenDi wrote:But my own issue was this. James goes on to say: 'for many people, sex is an important part of love, expressing love, of celebrating a relationship'. In arguing for the health of same-sex sexual partnerships and the validity of same-sex marriage over-against traditional Christian teachings, you - James in particular - were appealing to an assumption of the necessity of love to a healthy sexual relationship. (Otherwise, why use this language of 'importance' when bringing sex under love and expressions of love? Obviously, in other contexts such as heterosexual hook-ups, you very explicitly deny that importance.) I see this logic as contradictory, as a form of special pleading. Why say 'for many people', for example? Which people are these? Why is everybody not included?

If not, then you need to clarify your definitions. I think it's clear what we all mean when we say 'sex' (after all, I don't deny that homosexual sex acts are in fact 'sex'; I only dispute they're emotionally or physically healthy), but for you (James and SunXia in particular) it isn't clear at all to me what you want us to take away when you say:

WeiWenDi wrote:a.) 'love' (as both noun and verb, and 'loving' as an adjective),
b.) 'relationship', and
c.) 'intimacy' (see above).

I hope my responses above have clarified my position.

(Or 'established', 'stable', 'respect' or 'companionship'. Or, for that matter, 'simple' - as though casual sex and hook-ups with all of the elaborate social dancing and multiple levels of communication they demand, the messy emotions that they try to disentangle from sex or the damage any of the above can do, is somehow 'simpler' than marriage.)

All three of the above words are incredibly important ones, and we need to be clear what we're all talking about before we can have any kind of productive conversation in which any of them figure.

I don't think 'love' requires clarification here. Even if there is the slightest confusion in regard to an individual sentence (which ought to be questioned in the event of genuine confusion) the meaning should be clear enough from previous conversation.

'Relationship' depends on context (as it should). For example, 'loving relationship' (a relationship based on love), should be distinct from 'sexual relationship' (a relationship based on sexual activity), should be distinct from unqualified 'relationship' (which should draw upon context of conversation or be taken literally).

And in sincerity, I think there's a point where a person can focus so much on destructing language (especially if the hope is to debate nuance) that they begin to misunderstand the spirit of another person's argument and position. Language is imperfect, but when we draw on what we know about a person, their previous arguments, what they care about—much of what they say makes far more sense. And if an interpretation seems surprising, it may well be wrong.

WeiWenDi wrote:James, of everything I've said so far, that sex is tied to having children ought to be the least religious.

Unless you're referring to viruses, bacteria or fungi (none of which humans are), in order for there to be offspring there has to be sexual reproduction, the union of gametes, which naturally occurs by a male organism inseminating the ova of a female organism (which necessarily involves sex). As Shikanosuke would have agreed back in his non-theistic days, that's completely non-religious. That's scientific. To say otherwise would be an exercise in creationism.

The biological purpose of intercourse is to create children. We have evolved to seek it out and enjoy it (through means physical and psychological) to facilitate having children. Consequently, sex can be (and frequently is in humans and in the animal kingdom) employed for enjoyment. Because sex can be employed for enjoyment it can also be employed positively in other regards, such as an expression of intimacy. Because the primary function of intercourse is to create children does not make it 'inseparably tied' to having children except for the purpose of unproductive argument (argument which doesn't lend to a discussion or subject). Intimacy plays a significant role outside the creation of children and, today, the argument that sex should only exist in the context of creating children, at least in Western culture, is in every case I can imagine religious. Even where you could call it cultural (in the context of a small unit such as a family) it owes heritage to religion.

WeiWenDi wrote:
James wrote:Can a couple incapable of having children not have sex as a healthy part of love; of a loving relationship? Yes, they absolutely can.

Well, I'd say that depends, doesn't it? Is the reason a couple is incapable of having children accidental (as a result of age, injury, infertility or other personal circumstances), or is it on purpose (as a result of wilfully foregoing intercourse in favour of getting off on oral, anal or manual sex acts, for the sole purpose of avoiding pregnancy)? Even a heterosexual couple that does the latter for selfish reasons aren't respecting each other's bodies, or having sex in a self-giving way.

I think, given the definition of 'incapable', your answer misses the mark.
The answer is yes, they can.

And it's not a theological question. It applies just as surely to homosexual intercourse. And on that note, a person may choose to use their own definition of 'sexual intercourse' which excludes same-sex couples, but that is 1) their definition (not the dictionary's—the most support they get from a dictionaries is 'typically'), and 2) their bias.
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Re: Religion: Old Thread, New Poll!

Unread postby FoxWithWings » Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:48 pm

Whoo boy, I need to stop waiting so long to reply, I can't even get to the three replies I had. I'll just do my best to reply. I'll just say "reply" a few more times. Reply reply reply. There we go.

Shik

With the XY thing, again, you blew it out of proportion. If the X was "spreading the word of God", and the Y was "lets go steal from passerby", then yes, your example would be correct. It's all about the words that are being said.
My proof may not be so, and my argument may be weak, but fortunately, I don't really do the convincing. I am really a... vessel, or messenger, I guess. God does the real convincing. After that, the belief is hard to shake.
And look, if this sounds cultish, it's most likely because I am a rather conservative Christian, so I cling closely to my faith.

James

Sex is not always an expression of love. There is a difference between "making love" and "*******". One is out of love and a bit of lust, and the other is purely lust. Not considered holy by my standards, and I've done it (still a virgin, thankfully, I merely did a sexual action, many times).

Dong Zhou

First off, it's all good, not mad at you.
The reason my arguments have wavered is because Shik changed my mind a bit. I know recognize that the homosexual lust and impulse cannot be changed, that is a burden, according to my faith. However, it be ignored, and overridden. That is primarily the change I speak of. Something like that will cause internal strife and difficulty.

This I address to all of you. I do not say what I do because I hate homosexuals, the scriptures actually say that hating is murder in your heart, so I'm really not allowed to hate anyone. Oh, and I don't say this because I think any of you think I think this, it's just insurance.
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Re: Religion: Old Thread, New Poll!

Unread postby James » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:32 pm

FoxWithWings wrote:Sex is not always an expression of love. There is a difference between "making love" and "*******". One is out of love and a bit of lust, and the other is purely lust. Not considered holy by my standards, and I've done it (still a virgin, thankfully, I merely did a sexual action, many times).

What does that have to do with our conversation?

Based on your reply to DZ, are you suggesting that homosexual sexual relations are born of lust rather than love? If so, you're sorely and sadly mistaken. Homosexuals can love one another just as surely as any heterosexual.
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Re: Religion: Old Thread, New Poll!

Unread postby James » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:58 pm

Related to topic but not recent discussion, came across this while reading through some assorted PewResearch articles.

Public Sees Religion’s Influence Waning
"Nearly three-quarters (72%) of the public thinks religion is losing influence in American life, up from 52% who said so in 2002; and most people who say religion’s influence is waning see this as a bad thing. Perhaps as a consequence, a growing share say religion should play a role in politics."

There's a whole bunch of additional information in there. It basically breaks down a whole bunch of religious data on topics, parties, by age, etc. And indeed, polling suggests that it isn't just public perception. Some trends in polling suggest a continued decline in religious affiliation.

Also includes some other tidbits like support for same sex marriage (growing, obviously) and some other subjects such as expectation of how a business' 'right' to refuse service to a couple based on their sexual orientation ought to be viewed.
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Re: Religion: Old Thread, New Poll!

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:12 am

James wrote:In any case, my position: sex is not exclusive to a loving relationship. A person may believe that sex should be a part of an intimate (if not married) relationship, but as an act others need not allow for that connection. For example, having sex just because it feels good. On the other hand, I believe sex is a healthy part of an intimate (common usage in context), loving relationship. A couple does not need to have sex in order to love one another or be in a relationship (fact; sometimes it's not even possible in any traditional sense), but for many it ranges from important to vital as a part of a loving relationship, and whether or not it is necessary in a literal sense (it may well be required psychologically, and dropping it can—frequently would—have a material impact on a relationship's health), it is wrong for someone on the outside to dictate terms.


Now, we just seem to be rehashing old territory here. I don't think anyone can really dispute any of the above, but I also don't think any of the above is particularly groundbreaking or controversial. Like you said, common usage in common context. But we're not interested in common usages or common contexts here, because religions generally have no problem with them insofar as they are the ones setting the social norms defining 'common' - here we are talking specifically about the marginal cases, no?

James wrote:A healthy relationship requires more than love. There we branch into a whole range of other things. You can love someone and not be happy with them, for example. But more to the point, the extent to which different expressions of love or other ingredients (so to speak) plays a role varies from one person to the next. The extent to which sexual intimacy (ranging from kissing to touching to intercourse) is important to a relationship plays a varied role from one person to the next, but it is typically extremely important, and is also one of the primary needs we are programed to desire.


Okay - fair enough! So, just to get your argument down to the gist and make this as easy as possible for others following the conversation to understand, let me summarise your premises. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

a.) A healthy (sexual) relationship requires 'other things' (e.g. happiness) than love.
b.) Sex is 'typically' extremely important, and a 'primary need' within a sexual relationship.

I think I can alter my position and agree to both a.) and b.). In fact, I think Shikanosuke might argue (based on his statement quoted above) that I've sneakily been holding to a.) all along! But for the sake of argument let's assume you're right on both counts.

Before we can talk about what these 'other things' are, I still think we need to look more carefully at what 'love' is, if only for the sake of defining what 'other things' are necessary to a healthy sexual relationship.

For the sake of doing so, let me give you three examples - three character-sketches - and ask what you think of each.

(1) A newly-wed couple in an arranged marriage. Wealthy Mr. and Mrs. P have betrothed their daughter, Miss P, to the son of important politician Mr. R - let's call him R, Jr. Miss P and R, Jr. were introduced to each other by their respective parents and by a matchmaker, who evaluated their maturity and anatomical compatibility and decided they were suitable for each other. But they have very different interests, to the point where Miss P's first impression of R, Jr. was that he was unfeeling and his of her that she was childish. They barely exchanged ten sentences in all before they were married. Once they were married, they had very regular sex - let's say, three to five times a week on average. Née P did it because she felt it was her duty to keep R, Jr. satisfied, and R, Jr. did it because he wanted children. Neither one felt any particular erotic closeness to the other. However, R, Jr. never abused née P and she very rarely quarreled with him and never cheated on him, though we may say for the sake of argument that these were from completely selfish motives. In fact, let's go further. Let's say R, Jr. is a sexist and an egotist, and didn't abuse her because he felt it beneath him to ill-use someone so inferior to him in every way - in intellect, in physical strength and in emotional stability. And née P seldom argued with him because she felt it would be too troublesome, and never cheated on him only because she lacked the initiative, enterprise and opportunity to do so.

(2) The same couple, ten years later. R, Jr.'s edges have mellowed a bit, after having had two daughters by née P. He has a higher respect for women now generally, and for his wife in particular. After all, née P takes care of his house and kids well, and even occasionally helps him with his work. And née P has noticed that her husband maybe hasn't changed in essentials, but he's gotten more complacent and even unguarded around her. For the sake of keeping things easy for herself, she's come to notice his good qualities and ignore his bad ones. They still have sex three to five times a week, but now both of them are looking forward to it because having practiced so often on each other (and being anatomically compatible into the bargain!), he knows all her 'sweet spots' and she now knows how to keep him turned on and attentive until she's satisfied herself with an orgasm or two. Mr. R satisfies his emotional and intellectual needs by hanging out with his 'guy friends' and née P by hanging out with her 'girl friends'. They still don't share many interests and don't talk to each other very often, but they have managed to successfully cobble a fairly comfortable life together. Now, as said before, R. Jr. has a genuine and heartfelt respect for his wife, and now née P wouldn't think of cheating on her husband because she's physically satisfied with the sex, and emotionally content with the rest of her life.

(3) A completely contrary example. Mr. S and Miss T meet in a thoroughly unplanned fashion, without the planning or knowledge of their families or friends, and immediately and completely fall for each other. Over the course of a few days or a few weeks they discover they have all of the same interests, hobbies and habits. Miss T thinks Mr. S is a perfect gentleman. Mr. S is perhaps not the villain of the set piece as Hans was in Frozen, and genuinely does have feelings for Miss T. They have sex, they enjoy the sex. But some material circumstance arises such that Mr. S can only continue the relationship with Miss T at considerable cost to his own well-being. (Maybe Miss T's brother Mr. T threatened to knock all the teeth outta his mouth if the foo' didn't stop his jibba-jabba.) Mr. S has the opportunity to continue the relationship with Miss T, but because doing so would be inconvenient, he chooses to leave her instead.

[And yes, I completely set up all these scenarios just to use that Mr. T joke.]

In all seriousness, though, James (and Shikanosuke and SunXia as well) - do you think that love is present in any of the above three relationship sketches shown above? If so, which ones, and why?

(Note that, to make things simple, the sex in all three cases is physically satisfying to each party. For whatever reason, each party gets as many orgasms as they want, as good as they want and as hard as they want. I deliberately made it the case in (1) and (2) that the sex is not emotionally satisfying, because James and SunXia are holding that sex is not necessarily tied to emotion.)
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