Giant Sequoias – 250 feet Topic 3: Religious views on sexual behaviour and human relationships Objective: • Introduction to sexual ethics and relationships Definition: Sexual Ethics (also referred to as sexual morality) Where do we get The constellation of moral and ethical our ideas from? considerations and obligations that a person or group has in the context of consensual penetrative sexual activity morality with respect to sexual relations IN 584 Lyon France, A Catholic COUNCIL DEBATED THE QUESTION: “Are women human?” After a vote women were declared to be human by 32 votes to 31. For a long time after this many Christians believed that women had no souls and were less holy than men. Through the centuries there have been many examples of inequality and sexism. ‘Church of England votes no to women bishops’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz6ILmFl3zE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HbSwSjxUeI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw_h_HDqzFQ&playnext=1 &list=PL5293C4B2FCFB48DF http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shWDY0Cjves&feature=rel ated http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oftOCN1jkNo&feature=rela ted Introducing sexual ethics Sexual ethics ‘is this: that sex, like any other physical act, is not inherently good or bad, that it may be used to cause suffering and used to cause joy. Therefore, there ought to be no restrictions upon sex, except only those restrictions which prevent suffering.’ Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737– June 8, 1809) was an EnglishAmerican political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. Sexual Ethics • TASKS: 1. What issues/taboos can you think of to do with sexual ethics? Write as many of these down as you can • 2. Now highlight as many of these that are still MAJOR issues today • 3. Can you divide sexuality / sexual acts into those that are legal and illegal? Sexual Ethics LEGAL • Having sex in private • Having sex with many people or partners • Adultery • Homosexuality • Prostitution • Paying for sex • Most forms of pornography ILLEGAL • Having sex in public • Indecent exposure (there must be intent) • Marriage to more than one person (polygamy) • Sex under the age of 16 (specific laws protect under 13s) • Sex without consent (rape) • Kerb Crawling H. L. Hart (1907 – 1992) • Draws a boundary between public and private sexual acts – separating the acceptable and unacceptable On the other hand, he suggests that no private sexual act could harm anyone ‘apart from a few neurotic persons who are literally “made ill” by it’ Do you agree? What might be unacceptable? Sexual intercourse between husband and wife is not immoral, but if it takes place in public it is an affront to human decency’ Discuss …In sharp contrast to misogynous Taboos today Athens, Sparta did not (hatred of women) disdain and ridicule women's sexuality, incest, but cannibalism, female circumcision, Aristotle; blamed all of Sparta's ills on the fact that respected it. etc. the paedophilia, women were inmasturbation, control of things – a fact that he attributed to the lack of homosexuality in Spartan society Sparta's generally.laws recognized women's sexuality and were encouraged it withintaboos or were Consider, these always marriage. In the rest of that Greece, wivesthem?. who there some societies accepted liked sex were disdained, and men sought sexual pleasure outside of marriage with slaves, boys, and prostitutes. Ancient Egyptian Sexuality By Caroline Seawright ..Revel in pleasure while your life endures And deck your head with myrrh. Be richly clad In white and perfumed linen; like the gods anointed be; and never weary grow In eager quest of what your heard desires do as it prompts you... Sexuality in ancient Egypt was open, untainted by guilt. Sex was an important part of life - from birth to death and rebirth. Singles and married couples made love. The Egyptians even believed in sex in the afterlife. Sex was not taboo... Even the Egyptian religion was filled with tales of adultery, incest, homosexuality and masturbation... Many have concluded that incest was rife. Really…Surely not? Roman census declarations attest to many husbands and wives being brother and sister. The most well known of these relationships were in the royal family. The famous Cleopatra VII was married to her younger brother, Greek law allowed marriage between a brother and sister if they had different mothers (3,100 bc – 900 ac) Modern sexual taboos and their morality. Things today which are detested by some: masturbation, homosexuality, prostitution, paedophilia, nudity, zoophilia (sexual attraction towards animals), rape and incest. Should we accept a doctrine simply because it was taught to us by parents and society, no matter how delicate or sensitive an issue it may be. Michael Foucault (1926 1984) French philosopher Argues that ‘normal/abnormal are not meaningful terms; ethics are to be thought of as practices relative to time and place’. Moreover, ‘illustrates how Western society since that time has increasingly developed controls over sex by arbitrarily defining what is normal’. Sexual ethics ‘is this: that sex, like any other physical act, is not inherently good or bad, that it may be used to cause suffering and used to cause joy. Therefore, there ought to be no restrictions upon sex, except only those restrictions which prevent suffering.’ Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737– June 8, 1809) was an EnglishAmerican political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. The Inuit "People" are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, the United States, and eastern Siberia. Inuit tribes have altogether different beliefs about what constitutes illegal and moral/immoral incest A victimless crime is a term used to refer to actions that have been ruled illegal but do not directly violate or threaten the rights of any other individual. Some groups were especially served by wife sharing practices, as a key to the survival of their tribes, as from a social standpoint the limited population had long-before broken down the incest taboos with respect to kinship. In these villages, relations with family members were accepted, because without this kind of relationship the same people would have disappeared long ago. Female Genital Mutilation is considered by its practitioners to be an essential part of raising a girl properly—girls are regarded as having been cleansed by the removal of "male" body parts. It ensures pre-marital virginity and inhibits extra-marital sex http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_circumcision To think about… The Origins of War in Child Abuse by Lloyd deMause Objection: An objection to a sexual act is the fact that its thought may be disturbing. Some people may find it disgusting that two people can consent to things which they find abominable. Although it is true that there may be no suffering exchanging in such a sexual act, they detest it on the grounds that it is grotesque. This objection can quite clearly be seen: an action being ugly does not mean that it is immoral, just as an action being beautiful does not mean it is moral. Natural law… An action is either natural or unnatural. The question is, if something is natural or unnatural, does that actually have any impact on moral implications? Such as a murderer's actions being natural, would that mean that they were any less immoral, or a saviour's actions being unnatural, would that mean that they were any less moral? There is no logical or humane reason why men should not be allowed to have sexual relations with each other. Are there… What do you think… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYwZsp uE3pM Key questions 1. Should religion have anything to do with sexual behaviour? 2. Is religion too patriarchal to be the basis of a sexual ethics in the modern world? 3. Should sexual ethics be based on what the majority of people in society think to be true? 4. Are religious views of sexuality and marriage hampered by backward ideas of what is natural or fixed ideas of the roles of men and women?