is a common misconception that humankind began to think of sex
as dirty or shameful (sinful) with the development and institutionalization
of the religious impulse. And while it is empirically true that
the world’s major religions place restrictions on all
but conservative (monogamous) relationships, man’s turning
away from the instinctive expression of his sexuality began
significantly prior to the birth of formal religion: the Vedas,
3,500 years ago.
is a compelling anthropological line of thought that argues
that the imposition of restraints on human sexuality dates back
to the first modern human, Homo Erectus (1.9 million years ago).
[At the risk of disappointing an unquantifiable percentage of
readers, ‘Homo Erectus’ refers to bipedalism.] However,
placing even an approximate date on that momentous development
is problematic since it required hundreds of thousands of years
for our immediate ancestors, the great apes, to evolve into
most striking development in the history of life on the planet
Earth is the emergence of sentience, when life became conscious
of itself, recognized itself as separate from the world and
all other forms of life. As soon as man utters “I exist,”
he understands it is possible not to exist. The birth and development
of human culture is coeval with that first utterance that continues
to toll in the echo chamber of time.
and Space, Being and Nothingness are man’s non-negotiable,
existential progenitors. From their direct issue he find himself
thrown into a world where and when after 1.9 million earth years
he still does not feel entirely at home.
better understand the emergence and implications of sentience
(self-consciousness), consider the transition from the innocent,
pre-pubescent children we once were into self-conscious adults;
an imperceptible transformation that takes place over a period
of many years. Getting a handle on it is like trying to watch
a flower grow, or the minute hand of a watch advance. We only
become aware of the change after the transition is either well
on its way or is complete, at which point we can reflect on
our prior, unselfconscious, uninhibited earlier selves. In like
manner, when life first became self-conscious, it would have
taken place only very gradually, perhaps requiring hundreds
of thousands of years, and it would have been appreciated as
such only when the new sentient life form recognized itself
as distinct -- and uniquely privileged -- from all other forms
epochal significance attributed to the birth of self-consciousness
(the birth of Being) cannot be separated from species-specific
changes in man’s behaviour as he gradually comes to understand
that self-consciousness is both a gift and a bane; on the one
hand a source of unprecedented power (over one’s destiny)
and on the other hand, a source of anxiety (the knowledge that
cellular suicide is programmed into every human being). There
can be no better example of mixed emotions than the empowerment
that derives from being able to exercise choice and judge others
– contrasted with the knowledge that one can choose poorly
(catastrophically), and the person rendering judgment can in
turn be judged and turned against himself.
self-conscious proved to be a condition almost impossible to
bear without some form of daily relief. To see one’s self
mirrored in others in every possible manner, from the way one
walks, talks, dresses, dines, excretes, hunts, makes love, must
have been at a minimum daunting, if not at times overwhelming,
resulting in a state of mind that ached to escape its brave
new neo-cortical imperatives. Out of this longing (to be insensate,
mindless) arises the universal urge to seek out the means to
temporarily revert to animal unselfconsciousness (Freud’s
Death Wish). Such is the incredible heaviness of Being self-aware
and the desire to be relieved of that uniquely human condition.
There isn’t a culture in the world that doesn’t
incorporate into its rites and reasons the employment of either
alcohol or drugs to achieve that end.
in anthropology suggest that the concept of privacy, the staking
out of an inviolable territory of one’s own, represents
a significant developments -- born in the crucible of self-consciousness
– in the affairs of man. It marks the beginning of the
end of communal existence in respect to a shared, common territory,
as the more dominant males began to mark out their personal,
sacrosanct space. As the concept of privacy became more explicit
and the demand for it more widespread, the need and respect
accorded to it eventually became enshrined in the rule of law
that forbade unlawful trespass. The formalizing of privacy privileged
those (family members) who were granted unconditional access
to a particular address. Closer to the present, the right of
entry to the adult bedroom, especially during conjugal relations,
is usually off-limits.
the fascinating new objects of the world upon which early man
could cast his gaze was the animal world, which he had just
left behind. And while he might have shared as much as 95% of
his physiognomy with the species to which he no longer belonged,
his new understanding of himself threw into sharp relief that
his animal predecessors were dumb, that is totally unselfconscious,
uninhibited. To more effectively demarcate the ever-widening
gap between himself and the animal world, which corresponded
to a new way of perceiving the world, the notion of hierarchy
and pecking order became more explicit, with Homo sapiens at
the apex. Out of this informal taxonomy a new pejorative was
entered into the world. To accuse someone “of acting like
an animal” implies the accuser is more evolved than, superior
to the person being compared to the animal. From here on in,
early man would pounce on every available occasion to differentiate
and distance himself from his animal heritage.
new and better brain was tantamount to the discovery of a superior
weapon, and with this new power (of choice) he expressly discouraged
behaviour that recalled his animal origins, and rewarded behaviour
that marked the great divide that now separated him from his
animal predecessors. And this was especially true in respect
to his sexual conduct. In order to demonstrate his superiority
over the apes, early man began to frown upon the free and spontaneous
manner of copulation commonly practiced in the animal world,
and at some point in his evolution he decided it was more dignified
for sexual activity to take place in private, a constraint that
was reinforced by a growing reluctance to be gazed at or judged
during sexual congress. Urination and especially defecation
would have followed a similar timeline. To further distance
himself from his animal heritage, he began covering up his sexual
parts, which conveniently provided protection against the elements
even at this very early stage of man’s development, if
sex hadn’t come to be regarded as dirty or shameful, it
was already being regulated. Of course none of this prevented
the alpha male from imposing his will on the females of his
choice, who, when it was required, vaunted his authority via
public copulation. But in general, intimacy became a leisure
pursuit reserved for the private sphere.
is only very recently in human history, with the emergence of
formalized religion, that sex came to be regarded as dirty or
shameful (sinful). The reasons speak volumes to the fears and
frailties of men.
has never been comfortable with women’s more formidable
sexual powers. The
latter are exempt from performance issues, they can copulate
all day long and are multi-orgasmic; superiorities for which
men have never forgiven them. So with the advent of formalized
religion, ever resourceful man -- recognizing the propensity
of humans to surrender to a higher power: God (his edicts and
decrees) -- stumbles upon a subterfuge that allows him to recast
women’s sexuality as an evil that must be kept on tight
is not a fortuitous development that all the major religions
place profound importance on women’s purity (virginity),
punishing, in certain instances to the death, female sexual
conduct deemed sinful or untoward. To reinforce this view, from
their earliest years, little girls are taught that virtuous
women go to heaven, sluts go to hell. Conveniently, there is
no masculine equivalent for slut.
is not a coincidence that all of the man-founded major religions
have turned the notion of female purity into a quasi-fetish,
which in Catholicism culminates in the concept of immaculate
conception (virgin birth or parthenogenesis); code for sex is
Judaism makes bed sheet inspection compulsory for proof of virginity.
recently, Hinduism infamously called for Sati (bride burning)
in the event of an impure bride. And Indian women who survived
their husbands were expected, via the rite of pyre and fire,
to join him in the next world. Since men (God’s emissaries)
wrote all the rules, those who lost their wives were of course
free to remarry.
the 11the century, Catholicism introduced the concept of celibacy
as a requirement for priesthood, and that women seeking to ingratiate
themselves into God’s favour were encouraged to become
nuns. In both cases, conjugal life is regarded as an obstacle
to serving God. In Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche
marks this development as a point of civilizational decline
when the effete, sterile and unmanly are raised to spectacular
eminence at the expense of the alpha male.
enforcing the notion that sex is dirty, Catholicism forbids
widows to remarry, obliging them to dress in black for the remainder
of their lives.
not to be outdone, at the onset of puberty imposes the wearing
of the burqa under which the woman’s body is disappeared
for life, and obliges her to submit to a sunna, a religious
ceremony that culminates in the excision of the clitoris (FGM).
constant that runs through all religions is that the most prized
and virtuous woman is the virgin, and the least virtuous are
women who have given or sold themselves to many men. We note
that men are quick to assign pejoratives to women who expressly
make themselves available to them, and that women are demonized
for the same behaviour that is envied in men. Edith Wharton,
in The Age of Innocence, observes that there are women
men respect and women men enjoy.
the past 150 years all religions have been waging a losing battle
against the rising tide of secularism. Emerging out of this
sea change is the feminist movement that dared to challenge
the male hegemony. Not without setbacks and a high casualty
count, the movement continues to spread, and thanks to social
media the whole world is watching as women begin to wrest erstwhile
absolute power from men.
thoroughly modern woman now enjoys the right to vote, own property
and participate as an equal in every field of endeavour, and
just as importantly, to exercise control over her body and sexuality.
In light of these new developments that are forcing men to radically
revise their behavior and expectations as it concerns female
sexual conduct, the idea that sex is dirty, shameful and sinful,
like the religions that enshrined the view, is losing purchase,
especially in urban centers.
when man first became man, it would have been a matter of course
that he would want to place restrictions on his sexual conduct
in order to distinguish himself from the animal world, it is
altogether something else to repurpose that inclination (through
religion) in order to control women by designating all but conservative
sex as dirty or sinful. But that is what men did until women
decided to rewrite the playbook.
especially the West, it is now possible for a woman to be considered
virtuous as a consequence of the totality of her life, a dispensation
men have enjoyed for their entire history.
may have taken thousands of years of catch up for women to even
out ‘some’ of the playing fields (many remain off
limits), but the winds of change are blowing in their favour
and the smartest of the men are setting sail to their breeze.
This is one rambling mess of an opinion piece.
Articles like this are always dumb. You can’t pretend
“religion” is a single thing and get coherent results.
Anyway, the one single thing this article says about Judaism
is wrong. Orthodox Judaism makes bed sheet inspection compulsory
for proof of virginity. Nope, that’s not real.
"Islam, not to be outdone, at the onset of puberty imposes
the wearing of the burqa under which the woman’s body
is disappeared for life, and obliges her to submit to a sunna,
a religious ceremony that culminates in the excision of the
clitoris (FGM)." This is just wrong. Neither the burqa
nor FGM are universal in Islam. Also, sunnah just means a practice
or a custom, usually referring to a sunnah of the Prophet.
g0dlessanimal/ Secular Humanist
Yikes, whoever wrote this article needs to be fired. So many
inaccuracies already pointed out in the comments.
FGM and burqa are not mandatory. FGM isn’t even allowed
in Islam it is a cultural thing. u/artsandopinion. You have
to be the most ignorant person in this subreddit. You possibly
have set the lowest standard for atheists here. Go to back to
r/atheism if you want a circle jerk, we are not going to give
it to you.
Actually there's a hadith that allows a minor form of fgm, however
it isn't an actual endorsement, nor is it said that fgm is beneficial
in any manner other than aesthetics. Even then its authenticity
can be devated
"As soon as man utters 'I exist', he understands it is
possible not to exist." What a *HUGE* load of junk. Question:
If the “christ-based” god can make a word become
flesh, why would it need a virgin to create a son?
Answer: So that Christianity can dictate when sex, and what
forms of sex, can be labelled as being 'dirty' and be dealt
Conclusion: Religious restrictions create their
along with the sheet and FGM already mentioned, we can add Sati
as examples of conflating cultural practices with the dominant
Go take your error riddled atheist circlejerk to r/atheism
If it's not dirty you're not doing it right
That’s a pretty poorly written piece.