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    Sex and the Church

    In another thread, I had promised to post the transcript of a BBC documentary--part 1, titled Sex and the Church. I have completed it and so here it is. it is VERY enlightening and hopefully will un-guilt those here about sexuality iif that's how they feel. In order to disspell toxic myths it is best to know as much as you can about their roots and so on
    Sex and the Church: 1. From Pleasure to Sin,
    Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch explores how Christianity has shaped Western

    attitudes to sex, gender and sexuality throughout history. (BBC 2 10th April

    2015)

    14:40 Rome was never quite the den of decadence and orgies which has become a

    disapproving christian cliche. Roman society officially supported self-control

    and public decorum over wanton self-indulgence. You might say that the Greeks

    and Romans taught that to Christianity, not the other way round. Because

    Christians became fascinated by another in Greek thought about sex. This was an

    austere denial of the flesh. it had a lasting effect on Christianity and on

    centuries of western society.

    The anti-sex school of thought began to spread throughout Greek society in the

    4th century BC when the philosopher Plato taught that there was a radical

    division between body and soul.
    He insisted that the world of the flesh false, an illusion. Only the world of

    the spirit mattered.
    Plato told a story to make his point; the Allegory of the Cave...[his point

    being] that what humans think is reality, the material world, is nothing

    compared with the world of the spirit
    Greek philosophers increasingly saw the human race as spirits imprisoned in

    fleshly bodies until released by death. They regarded all things associated with

    the flesh as inferior, worthless, and that included all forms of sex.

    Plato's division between body and soul, flesh and spirit, set a pattern for

    centuries in the classical world, but more than that it became a basic instinct

    in Christianity

    One of Plato's pupils, Aristotle, made an equally fateful contributions to Greek

    discussions of sex, and would be just as influential on Christian thinking
    Aristotle talked a lot about nature, and defined natural and unnatural sexual

    practices. he believed the most important factor in conceiving a child was male

    seed. he said it contained the entire unborn child in embryo. Woman's

    contribution was simply to act as an incubator for male seed. That made male

    semen very precious indeed. Man producing semen in any other context was a

    murderer. Masturbation was a crime against nature, let alone homosexuality. All

    unnatural. nature is a Greek idea, but it has resounded through Christianity

    27:40 The early Christians...embraced Paul's praise of celibacy. They were

    encouraged in this by the background noise of Greek culture which increasingly

    celebrated austerity which elevated the soul above the flesh. But there was also

    a new influence at work on christian thinking, the celibate lifestyle of monks

    and nuns which first appeared in the christian world in the 2nd century.
    If you read the New testament with a fresh eye you will notice something

    missing. There is no mention of monasteries, monks or nuns anywhere. Nothing like

    that in the Ceaser era(?) that the Christians once knew. And yet the monastic

    life has been crucial for later christian history. This is a bit of a surprise.

    A whole chunk of christian life missing from the Bible. In fact it came from

    much further East. The Syrians introduced the monastic life to the West. They

    were the great traders of the ancient world. When they came home to the Roman

    empire from tradiing in the East they brought back more than just spices and

    silk, they brought an idea. Groups of holy people living a life of spiritual

    contemplation.
    the christian adoption of the monastic life was inspired by the example of

    Buddhist and Hindu monks
    Some Christians were so driven by their belief in self-denial that they were

    prepared to give up their worldly lives completely and join communities. Some of

    them struck out by themselves as hermits. They went as far as the deserts. They

    lived in constant prayer. They denied their bodies food, comfort, and sexual

    pleasure in order to attain spiritual perfection
    35:00 there were plenty of intellectuals in the christian world cheering on this

    great shift towards celibacy and against marriage. In the early 3rd century, two

    early christian theologians set the anti-sex agenda.
    Clement of Alexandria emphasized that the only
    morally responsible reason for sex was procreation. He wrote: 'To have sex for

    any purpose other than to produce children is to violate nature.' Now THAT is

    pure Aristotle.

    But actions speak louder than words. It's said that one slightly younger

    Alexandrian theologian, Origen, actually castrated himself in order to avoid to

    avoid sexual temptation

    The early christians revered celibacy so much, that they showed little interest

    in marriage, for after all it was a gateway to a life of sex. So the early

    christian church made no effort to develop a special service for weddings. In

    fact, for the first thousand years of Christianity, most Christians would have

    looked at you in total bewilderment if you'd told them to go to church to get

    married. This may seem surprising considering how the modern church tries to

    keep a grip on the institution of marriage! Most recently in their fight

    against gay marriage when they don't even own the institution of marriage in the

    first place

    by the early 4th century, Christianity and its teaching about sex had spread

    across Europe ...It was Constantine though which brought Christianity into

    becoming a world religion

    As he was about to do war, he claims the christian God had sent him a vision. A

    cross appeared over the sun, and a voice told him to use the cross against his

    enemies. 'By this sign conquer'. He had the marks soldered on his soldiers

    shields, the result a famous victory. The christian God had delivered him the

    Roman Empire.
    Constantine aligned Christianity with Imperial power...The little sect from

    Jerusalem was on its way to ruling the western world. It had become the state

    religion of the Roman Empire. From now on, what Christianity said about sex

    today the western world said five minutes later

    Christianity was now a religion of power,so the rich and mighty of Rome rushed

    to join it

    [So now the task for the clergy was how to spin it that a religion which had

    been based on austerity now catered for the rich sipping expensive wine and

    nibbling on larks tongues in aspic], the turned to the super theologian Jerome]

    who had followed in the footsteps of the great hermit St Anthony who lived in the

    desert fathers. Like his hero, Anthony, Jerome was also tempted by sexual

    temptation whilst in the wilderness...To put it bluntly he couldn't hack it, and

    left the wilderness to go to the big city, and became the secretary to the

    Bishop of Rome, the Pope...He appointed himself the conscience of elite Roman

    society, and he preached...sex is bad for you, threatening it may seriously

    affect your salvation...He taught that sex was intrinsically defiling, that

    marriage was inferior to celibacy,,,As well as celibacy, Jerome encouraged

    fasting which caused anorexia, even when this brought sickness and death. [so it

    is like anything that gives sensual pleasure, which eating can, is fear and

    avoided by this sick mindset]
    ...Jerome found a powerful ally in the greatest christian thinker of his

    generation, the north African theological, Augustine. Augustine re-shaped

    western Christianity, not least, on sex.

    He crystallized all the past christian negative thinking about sex and came up

    with a startling conclusion...Augustine's sexual conflicts lay at the heart of

    his teaching about sex

    In 386 when Augustine was 31, his confused thinking about christianity and sex

    came to a head: One day he was alone in a garden in Milan. Augustine heard a

    child's voice repeatedly telling him to take up and read, and opening a Bible

    at random, his eyes fell on the words of St Paul 'Let us walk honestly as in the

    day, not rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering wantonness. Not in strifing

    and envying but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the

    flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.' Augustine wrote that 'as in an instant it

    was as though the light of confidence flooded into my heart and all the darkness

    of doubt was dispelled'
    Now Augustine wrote bitterly against what he say as the bestial movements and

    lust in sex. He was alarmed by the sheer lack of control in sexual intercourse.

    The violent passions unleashed in orgasm. Holiness demanded control.

    Augustine turned to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Augustine

    decided that God's punishment for their plucking the apple from the tree of

    Knowledge was to curse Adam and his wife with a new sensation; sexual lust. He

    believed that before they eat the apple, Adam and Eve had enjoyed full control

    of their genitals. Their sexual intercourse, had been cal;m, rational, and

    dispassionate. Now God filled them with sexual passion. In shame they covered

    their suddenly unruly genitals.
    But Augustine's conclusion was the real game changer. He drew a virtual equation

    between taking the apple and lust. Adam listened to Eve and had lust, sex, and

    that's how sin started. We all share in original sin. The sin originating from

    our first parents in Eden. So for Augustine, all sex is intrinsically evil and

    sinfull. Even sex within marriage for the purposes of procreation. All children

    are born into sin.
    As a result of Augustine's teaching that sex was a sin, western society began to

    see women as sexually unruly temptresses. All ancient societies had seen women

    as inferior. Judaism had cast Eve as untrustworthy leading Adam astray in the

    Garden of Eden. But now Augustine taught that Eve and lured Adam into sexual

    passion.
    Augustine's picture of female sexuality as wild and uncontrollable influenced

    western attitudes to women for centuries, and we can't seem to shake off his

    notion that sex is shameful. It explains our western fixation with sex, and the

    sense that sex is naughty. Augustine's pessimistic attitude to sexuality is

    hardwired into western thinking.

    Augustine's dark view of human nature was partly inspired by the fact he lived

    to see Roman society collapse in the west. In 410 Germanic tribes attacked and

    took Rome. The first time the city had fallen in 800 years.

    As the 5th century wore on, the Western Roman empire dissolved into a series of

    barbarian kingdoms, but when Roman government collapsed, Christianity did

    not--far from it. Christian leaders stepped into the power vacuum. The life of

    the church offer guidance and a sense of stability in an uncertain world

    Clergy didn't just celebrate Mass, they were one of the rare few who were

    literate and educated. The Christian Church became the only remaining safe

    deposit for knowledge and learning. It dispersed its message among the masses,

    increasingly controlling their beliefs, their attitudes, and actions. Christian

    values became western values

    Christian teaching was spread across Europe my monks. The founded monasteries

    right to the edge of the western world, as far away as the west coast of

    Ireland. Monasteries may have started in the East, but now they were central to

    western society.
    Celibate monks ruled the roost. Now men who'd chosen to renounce sex turned

    their attention to the sexual behaviour of everyone else
    [In these monasteries monks set to work making the laity fit for heaven by

    cataloging their sins and then showing them an escape route.
    Monks produced books of sins and tariffs of forgiveness called 'penitentials'.
    The idea was that individuals would confess their sins to their priests who

    would consult his penitential and then give them the appropriate penance or

    punishment, usually days of fasting, prayer, or sexual abstinence. Priests would

    then absolve the penitent of their sins. This was the origin of the

    confessional. The western church's very own way of shaping and controlling

    society
    The penitentials give a vivid sense of how the church attempted to impose its

    teachings on the west. They are filled with rules about sex. For instance, they

    set down precisely when you can and can't do it.
    The answer is, not very often. No sex during the three vast fasting times.

    That's 40 days before Christmas, Whitsun, and Easter. No sex on Wednesday,

    Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights. No sex during menstruation and no sex between

    conception and the birth of a child, and no sex after the birth of a child, 33

    days in the case of a boy, 66 in the case of a girl. That leaves you with around

    with only a 100 days a year when you are allowed to have sex...For the next 500

    years, Christian penitentials enforced a rigid Christian morality across the

    West.
    The Church was now invading people's sex lives as never before, telling them

    what they could and couldn't do between the sheets.
    Christian leaders had turned sex, of which Jesus had little to say, into an

    obsession...What had once been seen as a positive and natural part of life was

    now condemned as a sin, as a source of shame, and guilt, and as the Chruch

    reached its first millennium it was about to extend its reach even further and

    would leave no sexual act or thought untouched

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    Thank you for your time and effort in studying this subject. I will have to contemplate what you have said.

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    In the bad old days, before the arrival of antibiotics restraints on sexual activity outside marriage was considered common sense public health care, to restrict the spread of sexually transmitted infections the result of sexual promiscuity.....there being no treatments.

    Sexually transmitted infections remain a fact of life with thankfully, many treatments available for those who act irresponsibly when choosing not to use a condom....HIV remains a challenge....

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    This is great! Now, let's get parts 2 and 3.

    Homophobia kills!

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    Quote Originally Posted by kallipolis View Post
    In the bad old days, before the arrival of antibiotics restraints on sexual activity outside marriage was considered common sense public health care, to restrict the spread of sexually transmitted infections the result of sexual promiscuity.....there being no treatments.

    Sexually transmitted infections remain a fact of life with thankfully, many treatments available for those who act irresponsibly when choosing not to use a condom....HIV remains a challenge....
    Come on, that's just a bunch of bullshit. Sex outside of marriage has been common in all cultures including the Christian ones since the dawn of time. Where are the antique admonitions that extramarital sex resulted in disease? If that was their justification, where is the evidence? Were they just being coy?

    Let's not pretend the double standard we all know and love was some kind of aberrant thing, or was deterred by STD's. Male promiscuity was perfectly acceptable, including CLERGY, female promiscuity was the abomination, your assertion that Christian religions controlled sex for public health reasons is unsupported by any kind of evidence whatsoever
    ATTACK OF THE LIBERAL ELITE

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    Quote Originally Posted by TX-Beau View Post
    Come on, that's just a bunch of bullshit. Sex outside of marriage has been common in all cultures including the Christian ones since the dawn of time. Where are the antique admonitions that extramarital sex resulted in disease? If that was their justification, where is the evidence? Were they just being coy?

    Let's not pretend the double standard we all know and love was some kind of aberrant thing, or was deterred by STD's. Male promiscuity was perfectly acceptable, including CLERGY, female promiscuity was the abomination, your assertion that Christian religions controlled sex for public health reasons is unsupported by any kind of evidence whatsoever
    There are always exceptions but for the most part, the faithful understood that monogamous relationships served to stop the spread of sexual infections...and complied...

    Public health, soup kitchens, hospitals, etc was the territory of the church, and for good reason the church wanted to ensure that plagues spread by sexual promiscuity were the exception, not the norm....

    Good public health policy was supervised by the church, supplying the doctors, and nurses....while the kings raised taxes, to fund their armies, and navies....and enjoy the fruits of exploiting their subjects...

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    Here's an article that illustrates the historical reference when discussing matters of the church supervising public health:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholi...nd_health_care

    I quote:
    Geoffrey Blainey likened the Catholic Church in its activities during the Middle Ages to an early version of a welfare state: "It conducted hospitals for the old and orphanages for the young; hospices for the sick of all ages; places for the lepers; and hostels or inns where pilgrims could buy a cheap bed and meal". It supplied food to the population during famine and distributed food to the poor. This welfare system the church funded through collecting taxes on a large scale and possessing large farmlands and estates.[17] It was common for monks and clerics to practice medicine and medical students in northern European universities often took minor Holy orders. Mediaeval hospitals had a strongly Christian ethos, and were, in the words of historian of medicine Roy Porter, "religious foundations through and through", and Ecclesiastical regulations were passed to govern medicine, partly to prevent clergymen profiting from medicine.[

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    And yet in Biblical times AND the Middle ages extramarital, polygamous, and just plain old promiscuity for men was the NORM not, the exception.
    ATTACK OF THE LIBERAL ELITE

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    Quote Originally Posted by TX-Beau View Post
    And yet in Biblical times AND the Middle ages extramarital, polygamous, and just plain old promiscuity for men was the NORM not, the exception.
    Marital fidelity was the norm for even the ordinary person understood the perils of engaging in sexual relations outside marriage....while also recognising that those in positions of power took advantage...if I recall well King Henry V111 of England, and Wales died from complications arising from syphilis...

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    The early definition of adultery applied only to married women. The law was to insure that any children born during the marriage were sired by the husband since a monetary inheritance was at stake. A free man or man with property can have sex with his wife/wives; concubines or any of his slaves, male or female. They are all his property, chattel. The most notable example is where Abraham was told to have sex with his wife's handmaiden.

    Fornication is translated from the word porneia which has a literal translation of "under the arch." This is where prostitutes practiced their vocation. So, we are not to have sex for monetary benefit.

    If a single man has consensual sex with a single girl and gets caught, he is to marry her, pay the father a monetary sum for "property damage", or both. Women were considered to be property, chattel. There was no moral condemnation.

    All condemnation of men having sex with men is in the CONTEXT of idolatrous worship, gang rape or male prostitution.

    Also, I found this bit of history to be fascinating:

    The Emperor Constantine (354-430 A.D.) was perhaps the world's most important convert to the new religion of Christianity. Christianity was perhaps the only thing left to try to hold the Roman Empire together. While the political empire fell in the next century, the Church stepped in as the new central authority. Threats of burning in hell were even more effective than the army for controlling large and diverse populations.

    Augustine was a primary theological shaper of thought and went so far as to argue that sex was sinful even within wedlock unless the specific purpose was always conception! This reflects the need at the time for many more children. Infant mortality was very high and the economic and political structures were based on families. Likewise, clerical celibacy was in part shaped by fear that offspring would fight over Church property.

    Thanks to widespread illiteracy - or apathy -whatever the Church said was now law. Intercourse was no longer natural and good; sex was dirty and only for procreation. Celibacy was the new standard for the clergy. And it was a great money maker! If you sinned by enjoying sex, you must come to the Church for repentance, which required a donation to demonstrate your faith. What a perfect way for the Church to raise capital; make everyone a sinner because of their innate sexual desires and then offer to absolve them for a sizeable donation.

    The sexual morality of Christianity did not come from Jesus. It instead came from later Christians whose main interest was the control of the masses. It is important to recognize the source of religious dogma about sex - when and where it came from - and put it in perspective in present time and circumstances.

    Making polygamy a "sin" was a slow process. It was even common for Catholic priests to have multiple wives and mistresses. Pope Gregory II in a decretal in 726 said "when a man has a sick wife who cannot discharge the marital function, he may take a second one, provided he looks after the first one." Later, with concerns for protecting Church property from inheritance, Pope Pelagius I made new priests agree that offspring could not inherit Church property. Pope Gregory then declared all sons of priests illegitimate (only sons since lowly daughters could not inherit anyway).

    In 1022 Pope Benedict VIII banned marriages and mistresses for priests and in 1139 Pope Innocent II voided all marriages of priests and all new priests had to divorce their wives. This had nothing to do with morality (multiple women for males had long been the norm since before biblical times), but it was about MONEY!

    Polygyny (many wives for 1 man) was the norm due to the male-dominated society and the fact a man's status was determined by the number of children he fathered.
    SOURCE: Liberated Christian, "How Sex Was Made A Sin".

    Homophobia kills!

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    How Sex Was Made A Sin
    Even in earlier times the Hebrews per the requirements of The Mosaic Laws were entitled to stone to death a woman who committed adultery....in other words, engaged in sexual relations with a man who was not her husband....Jesus of Nazareth when presented with the case of the "fallen woman" was asked whether the woman should be stoned to death....Jesus' replied that those who were without sin should cast the first stone....the would be avengers melted into the ether....Jesus asked the woman to go, and sin no more.....how then:
    the sexual morality of Christianity did not come from Jesus.

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    Here is the "fallen woman" scene from Franco Zefferelli's "Jesus of Nazareth":


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    Re: Sex and the Church

    Any one who thinks that in the good old days few had sex before marriage needs there head examined. As to the Church in England a country of over 60 million less that 800,000 ever attend mass in The C Of E. fortunately 30 years expected most will be atheists !

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    Any one who thinks that in the good old days few had sex before marriage needs there head examined.
    Within ancient Hebrew culture, for women sex outside, and before marriage was prohibited....with Hebrew women making certain that they obeyed The Mosaic Law....knowing that the punishment for transgressing was stoning to death....a truly thought provoking incentive not to "sin."

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    The Transcript...an excellent read, and great for meditation! The descriptions of the early Desert Fathers as Hermits are exactly how I am striving to live out my life, as I am also thinking about the Hermit Monks of Mt. Carmel in the 1200's. I'd like to see more on this topic, if there's more.

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    Pretty good read.

    Just one point: the introduction of penitential books came about because most of the clergy were poorly educated and many were lazy. Private confession long predated the penitentials, but the priest, after hearing a confession, was supposed to give advice on how to avoid major sins in the future. Penitential books came to the rescue of those lacking in imagination for giving advice, and the lazy, and so spread rapidly. The people took a liking to them as well because they took away the need to actually address one's behavior, replacing real responsibility with magical recitation of prayers and/or Psalms.

    Some of the early penitential books still evidenced that the goal had been to correct bad behavior, giving advice on how to change, but those were less popular because they required more work on the part of both priest and penitent. As a result, with respect to sex they ended up promulgating an attitude that publicly said sex was bad but privately regarded it as no big deal, since the "correction" was just a few prayers and Psalms -- hardly anything enough to stir many at all to stop being promiscuous. The product was a two-faced view of sex, one that outwardly admonished the unchaste but under the surface gave a pass to those who were publicly pious about it all.

    So that period gave us an enduring schizophrenic attitude toward sex, on top of the surface attitude of condemnation.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Quote Originally Posted by Love me 2 View Post
    The Transcript...an excellent read, and great for meditation! The descriptions of the early Desert Fathers as Hermits are exactly how I am striving to live out my life, as I am also thinking about the Hermit Monks of Mt. Carmel in the 1200's. I'd like to see more on this topic, if there's more.
    Generally speaking, being a hermit is contrary to the Gospel, which not merely assumes but urges interaction with society.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    Generally speaking, being a hermit is contrary to the Gospel, which not merely assumes but urges interaction with society.
    I have plenty of interaction with general Society, and also interactions online through Facebook and Twitter, thank you. Jesus spent plenty of time in Solitude. Oh, and Hermits cannot go it alone without a good solid Spiritual Director and Confessor.
    Last edited by Love me 2; May 23rd, 2015 at 11:13 AM.

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    Quote Originally Posted by Love me 2 View Post
    I have plenty of interaction with general Society, and also interactions online through Facebook and Twitter, thank you. Jesus spent plenty of time in Solitude. Oh, and Hermits cannot go it alone without a good solid Spiritual Director and Confessor.
    Then you're not really a hermit...

    1.
    a person living in solitude as a religious discipline.
    synonyms: recluse, solitary, loner, ascetic, marabout, troglodyte;

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacquemar View Post
    Then you're not really a hermit...
    A Hermit does not have to be a recluse, nor foes he have to be totally excluded from the World. He can be in the World, but not of the World. Now, take in consideration that Solitude does not have to be a physical one, as it can also be an interior (of the Heart) Solitude. A Hermit does interact with outside neighbors for various reasons that are quite necessary.

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    English hermit

    Norman hermite/hermita

    Old French hermite

    Latin erimita

    Greek erimites

    from the Greek eremos: desert, uninhabited; solitary, alone, bereft, isolated


    OTOH, Christian erimitism apparently sprang up from a Syrian sort of mystical tradition in which men living alone, generally in the desert or arid locations, were considered holy. Part of this tradition was that a hermit lived to perform some service for humanity; indeed some were bridge keepers or ferrymen in isolated locations, or keepers of signal fires.

    Many early Christian hermits were basket weavers, especially in Egypt where reeds suitable for weaving were available close to desert places. Others served in ways we wouldn't think of as hermits now, such as gatekeepers, while at least a few kept lighthouses and signal towers.

    From almost the start, there were hermits in "communities", which early were in their own separate dwellings but who came together on a regular basis for meals. There still exist Greek hermitages where each hermit/monk lives in what was originally a cave, with a common building above or nearby for meals. The Greek tradition strongly continues the original Syrian aspect of service to others, even if it is so far removed as painting religious icons and emerging only when one is completed.

    On the gripping hand, the concept of non-physical solitude is a fairly late addition, still not considered generally to qualify for being a hermit -- the more accepted meaning requires physical isolation for at least most of each day. It is that aspect, the lack of human contact and/or companionship, which gave rise to the reputation of hermits as holy, and is still considered essential by most people.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    I've never understood monasticism. It seems wildly self indulgent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TX-Beau View Post
    I've never understood monasticism. It seems wildly self indulgent.
    In a way, I suppose. But I've met monastics who regularly put in twelve to sixteen hour days of labor from which they got no profit but the enjoyment of doing something they loved, in tasks ranging from restoring old rare books for scholars to administering a food bank for half a state to carving custom furniture for people with physical deformities to repairing old clocks no one else thought worth the effort. All these endeavors, and others, were done for no charge as labors of love.

    Though the one I couldn't relate to was the monk who specialized in digging through and tracking down medical records to make certain people were getting proper care, and along the way costing insurance companies a pretty penny by not letting them dodge paying. The last part I can see being fun, but to him that was just another way of seeing that needy people got proper care. He likened the whole thing to archaeology; I thought that was reaching more than a little, though in cases such as one where he traveled to three different states to find the hospitals at which an elderly lady had been treated and get the records -- with very thin descriptions on which to base his searches -- I could sort of see it (that was one where he cornered an insurance company for serious amounts of money, which I thought of when he referred to finding buried treasure, but to him the treasure was the proof of a condition the insurance company had been refusing to acknowledge).

    Many monastics have been very real servants of humanity, for whom the monastery was a base of operations and a support structure for helping others in ways they were good at and in which they found delight -- I even met a monk who recorded audio novels, specializing in ones no company would consider profitable (including some for which his prior had to grant dispensation for what he was reading!).

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Early Western Monasticism such as the Order founded by St. Benedict of Norcia, were the ones who had Original Hospitals, Hotels, and Pharmacies, and the likes.

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    Well, some Classicals actually were the ones who had the originals of all of that - but whatever. That's not the point.

    Whatever their labor, isn't the point of monasticism a separation from society and the world? Christ certainly did not set that example.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TX-Beau View Post
    Well, some Classicals actually were the ones who had the originals of all of that - but whatever. That's not the point.

    Whatever their labor, isn't the point of monasticism a separation from society and the world? Christ certainly did not set that example.
    A Challenge.....Try living and working without Radio, TV, Internet, and any and all outside noises for 1 whole week. That will mean being in absolute silence for that entire week, and since many do not pray, I'll add another challenge on top of the other....that is...pray as if you never prayed in your entire life, ie; pray as if your life depended on it (which in reality, our life does depends on prayer).

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    Why would I do that? If religious fanatics want to torture themselves for obscure reasons what is that to me?

    To what am I supposed to pray? The god I don't think exists?

    The implication you're pushing is that these kinds of deprivation are somehow inherently valuable because they are deprivations. So what. I have no intentions of stabbing myself with a fork over and over either.

    WHICH is why I called monasticism self-indulgent. It's kind of strange to say that you are going to suffer for god and then expect what, respect for it?

    Sorry, I'm not going to be getting on that train.
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    Here in Greece there is an autonomous region (self governing)...Mount Athos.... dedicated to the monastic life where monasteries (men only) are self supporting, producing a vast output of books on many spiritual, and non spiritual matters...they even feed themselves without resorting to support from our bankrupt Greek government....I have never visted άγιον όρον (the holy mountain) for the monastic life even, for a few days has no attraction for me.

    The information that I rely on indicates that men, or women who join monastic communities live a full, and happy life....the very, very few who choose a life of solitude usually rely upon a nearby monastery during illness, or need for medical, or dental attention...in other words they are not entirely cut off from their fellow man.

    It would be bizarre to describe the life of a monk in terms of self indulgence, or deprivation for the simplicity of a monk's life does not deny them the essentials needed by all human beings to live a fulfilling life....for they plough fields sow, and harvest crops including vegetables, and fruit...enabling them to be self sufficient, with other needs addressed by authoring, and printing books....ensuring that they earn sufficient money to pay for items that they must import into their respective communities...they even own jeeps to be able to transverse the very rough countryside that envelops Mount Athens...for tarmac roads are a luxury.

    Most of the Mount Athos monastic communities welcome male visitors for short stays, say ten days with the accommodation, and food provided for free....but the visitor is invited to contribute what ever they can afford to cover their food....the wine is also very good, and exported to the rest of Greece...again, contributing to the upkeep of the monasteries.

    A monastic life devoid of television, radio, and the Internet does not engender suffering rather, encourages the monk to enjoy the face, to face company of his fellow man....part of ones spiritual life dedicated to loving God, through loving ones neighbour...and for this reason most monks live a long, healthy, and rewarding life.

    This Wikepedia page is sufficiently comprehensive to offer the curious person an indepth understanding on the history, and communities on Mount Athos:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Athos

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    Quote Originally Posted by TX-Beau View Post
    Why would I do that? If religious fanatics want to torture themselves for obscure reasons what is that to me?

    To what am I supposed to pray? The god I don't think exists?

    The implication you're pushing is that these kinds of deprivation are somehow inherently valuable because they are deprivations. So what. I have no intentions of stabbing myself with a fork over and over either.

    WHICH is why I called monasticism self-indulgent. It's kind of strange to say that you are going to suffer for god and then expect what, respect for it?

    Sorry, I'm not going to be getting on that train.
    Me thinks many people are afraid they will hear the Truth in their Silence and Solitude, and they don't want to be held bounded by that Knowledge, as it will be their responsibility to share what they have gleaned from their time alone with the one thought not to existed. They are afraid to test the waters so to speak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    Generally speaking, being a hermit is contrary to the Gospel, which not merely assumes but urges interaction with society.
    Probably a haven for early autists.

    Quote Originally Posted by TX-Beau View Post
    I've never understood monasticism. It seems wildly self indulgent.
    Your two sentences seem incongruent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Love me 2 View Post
    Me thinks many people are afraid they will hear the Truth in their Silence and Solitude, and they don't want to be held bounded by that Knowledge, as it will be their responsibility to share what they have gleaned from their time alone with the one thought not to existed. They are afraid to test the waters so to speak.
    I'm not certain it is fear which deters people from a monastic life.

    But whatever does, so be it.

    A life of silence and solitude is appropriate for a select few.
    Fiji Crested Iguana
    The worst thing...is not energy depletion, economic collapse, conventional war, or the expansion of totalitarian governments. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired in a few generations. The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us.--e.o. wilson

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    Re: Sex and the Church

    In the English speaking world there has always been a prejudice against monasticism. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, tons of Gothic "monastic shockers" were devoured by the public. The stories usually involved some evil monk trying to rape a woman, or an evil abbess torturing a woman into taking monastic vows, felt to be unnatural. Titles include THE MONK. THE DEMON OF SICILY, THE ABBESS, GONDEZ, THE ITALIAN, THE FATAL REVENGE, etc.

    BTW, just to remind, a monastic isn't necessarily the same thing as a hermit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    Probably a haven for early autists.



    Your two sentences seem incongruent.
    Only one of those sentences is mine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Love me 2 View Post
    Me thinks many people are afraid they will hear the Truth in their Silence and Solitude, and they don't want to be held bounded by that Knowledge, as it will be their responsibility to share what they have gleaned from their time alone with the one thought not to existed. They are afraid to test the waters so to speak.
    Methinks you've willfully avoided the point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Love me 2 View Post
    Me thinks many people are afraid they will hear the Truth in their Silence and Solitude, and they don't want to be held bounded by that Knowledge, as it will be their responsibility to share what they have gleaned from their time alone with the one thought not to existed. They are afraid to test the waters so to speak.
    Meditative practices whether they be part of a spiritually focused life, or not offer the practitioner the opportunity to be their own psychiatrist, and healer....a late friend who regularly insisted I should be his dinner guest...no naughty stuff...just good food, and wine...often regaled me with stories of his battles with depression, defeated by his adoption of daily Transcendental Meditation practice way back in the sixties.

    Although I am happily partnered, I live alone, and each morning spend at least one hour meditating, without resorting to the Lotus position...for my armchair is sufficiently comfortable for me to melt into a state of total relaxation enabling my inner self to prepare me for the day ahead...the details can be time consuming...sufficient to say that I am not a consumer of anti depressants, or other such "remedies" having developed, and continue to develop faith in the wisdom that flows from my relationship with the interior life.

    There is much value in spending time alone, each day in an atmosphere of total silence enabling one to release ones frustrations, and become a willing pupil of the divine mystery guiding one into living a happy, and fruitful life...

    Many years ago when beginning marital arts practice I had absolutely no knowledge of the spiritual element that drives many martial artists to reject violence, except in self defence...however, a work colleague directed me to begin renting Kung fu movies produced by the Hong Kong based Shaw Bros., and Golden Harvest studios opening up an entry into a world where the spiritually focused person can become the master of their destiny...and where ones reality is firmly focused on creating ones own solutions for the adversities that life presents to every person , to grow us into the complete human being...a process of self discovery that concludes, at our death...


    To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.~Lao Tzu
    Last edited by kallipolis; June 3rd, 2015 at 01:03 AM.

  36. #36

    Re: Sex and the Church

    aha here was me thinking that posting that transcript would help people see through the toxic christian myth and instead rather up pop more apologists for the church and people who CHOOSE to become hermits and monks. This is the insidious nature OF this belief system unfortunately, that no matter what is exposed regarding its dodgy dogma of control-freakery some people will still choose to believe the hype and chain themselves to its oppression

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    Quote Originally Posted by ludolfo View Post
    aha here was me thinking that posting that transcript would help people see through the toxic christian myth and instead rather up pop more apologists for the church and people who CHOOSE to become hermits and monks. This is the insidious nature OF this belief system unfortunately, that no matter what is exposed regarding its dodgy dogma of control-freakery some people will still choose to believe the hype and chain themselves to its oppression
    Your opinion is duly noted....aren't I a big disappointment....I wish I were as wise as you...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TX-Beau View Post
    I've never understood monasticism. It seems wildly self indulgent.
    Your two sentences seem incongruent.
    Quote Originally Posted by TX-Beau View Post
    Only one of those sentences is mine.
    Perhaps this clarifies?
    Last edited by Kulindahr; June 23rd, 2015 at 10:53 AM.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Quote Originally Posted by TX-Beau View Post
    Come on, that's just a bunch of bullshit. Sex outside of marriage has been common in all cultures including the Christian ones since the dawn of time. Where are the antique admonitions that extramarital sex resulted in disease? If that was their justification, where is the evidence? Were they just being coy?

    Let's not pretend the double standard we all know and love was some kind of aberrant thing, or was deterred by STD's. Male promiscuity was perfectly acceptable, including CLERGY, female promiscuity was the abomination, your assertion that Christian religions controlled sex for public health reasons is unsupported by any kind of evidence whatsoever
    I think it's far more true of the East than of the West. Early on, anyway, Rome bought into far more legalism, and didn't care about reasons, just rules -- they didn't even like discussions of the reasons for the rules, regarding it as rebellious. The east was more open about such discussions, at least up until Byzantine times. In the East, people on the street argued theological issues; in the West, they were expected to shut up and do as they were told.

    Most of us here suffer from inheriting that Western tradition.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Quote Originally Posted by ludolfo View Post
    aha here was me thinking that posting that transcript would help people see through the toxic christian myth and instead rather up pop more apologists for the church and people who CHOOSE to become hermits and monks. This is the insidious nature OF this belief system unfortunately, that no matter what is exposed regarding its dodgy dogma of control-freakery some people will still choose to believe the hype and chain themselves to its oppression
    That's because you confuse the meal with the seasonings. Several of us at least are quite aware of the stream of garbage about sex down through church history, but that stream isn't essential or even integral to either Christianity or any form of monasticism.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  41. #41

    Re: Sex and the Church

    throw it out throw it out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    That's because you confuse the meal with the seasonings. Several of us at least are quite aware of the stream of garbage about sex down through church history, but that stream isn't essential or even integral to either Christianity or any form of monasticism.
    Noteworthy........................

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    Quote Originally Posted by TX-Beau View Post
    Only one of those sentences is mine.
    Which one?
    Quote Originally Posted by TX-Beau View Post
    I've never understood monasticism.
    or

    Quote Originally Posted by TX-Beau View Post
    It seems wildly self indulgent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ludolfo View Post
    throw it out throw it out!
    Throw out sex? That's been tried.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  45. #45

    Re: Sex and the Church

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    Throw out sex? That's been tried.
    obviously not sex. why do you think I posted the transcript...? Duh

    I mean this oppressive repressive abusive harmful belief system!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ludolfo View Post
    obviously not sex. why do you think I posted the transcript...? Duh

    I mean this oppressive repressive abusive harmful belief system!
    Oh -- all the stuff imported into Christianity that doesn't belong there. Well, most of us have.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    Which one?


    or
    Ahhh, I thought you thought Kuli's quote was mine. Anyway there in nothing contradictory about those two thoughts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    I think it's far more true of the East than of the West. Early on, anyway, Rome bought into far more legalism, and didn't care about reasons, just rules -- they didn't even like discussions of the reasons for the rules, regarding it as rebellious. The east was more open about such discussions, at least up until Byzantine times. In the East, people on the street argued theological issues; in the West, they were expected to shut up and do as they were told.

    Most of us here suffer from inheriting that Western tradition.
    So basically I've always understood that the Papcy et al was a Roman thing, but the prudish sexism was an eastern thing, more or less.
    ATTACK OF THE LIBERAL ELITE

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