Science and Other Drugs

….maybe a little less wrong….

Tag Archives: sex

God’s Standard for Victims, Part 2

It was a darkened dorm room at my college in the deep south in the mid-2000s. The rest of my life had just been decided for me in the space of around 25 seconds.

I wasn’t a virgin anymore.

Historically, the big ugly hangup about virginity was specifically limited to women. After all, women were the only ones with any sort of physical sign indicating whether they’d ever had sex (although this was a tenuous distinction to begin with). A woman’s value was directly determined by her sexual history.

Then came the fundamentalist purity culture of the late 20th century. Clearly, the whole virginity thing was wrong; women shouldn’t be vilified for their sexual history. Instead, they decided, let’s vilify EVERYONE for their sexual history! Equal-opportunity discrimination….that’s feminist, right?

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God’s Standard For Victims, Part 1

I’ve been meaning to write about the Purity Culture for some time now, and while I intend to do a more complete treatment of it soon, something came up recently that I simply couldn’t overlook.

Last week, forgedimagination wrote a post over on Defeating the Dragons that really ticked me off. Not because of what she wrote, but because of the response she received. Earlier, she had written about victim-blaming and rape repentance as outgrowths of the Purity Culture, and they were featured on No Longer Quivering. Then things got messy.

But before I can say anything about this particular example, I need to explain a little about the Purity Culture itself.

Purity or Bust

For those of you who didn’t grow up in it, the fundamentalist Purity Culture is a clever scheme to keep Christian teens from doing the deed until they’re safely on their honeymoon. Preferably and presumably, it also keeps them from oral sex, making out, kissing, holding hands, or appreciating each other’s sexuality in any way. Because, you know….LUST. If you enjoy looking at someone, you’re lusting in your heart, which means you’re committing adultery with them in your heart, which apparently makes both of you Guilty Of Fornication. Cover those bra straps, ladies! Bounce those eyes, guys!

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The quandry of moral contradictions

The ring-like arcs in this image are the light from even-more-distant galaxies, bent into a halo by the gravitational distortion of the central galaxy. This gravitational lensing allows us to measure the weight of dark matter inside the central galaxy….something we don’t yet really know anything about. But we’ll find out someday. Image courtesy NASA.

Some questions have answers. But some questions are just impossible. Absolutely, unquestionably, without-a-doubt impossible.

I was raised to believe that all answers were knowable; all problems had solutions. They were all in the Bible, somewhere; if you just looked long enough and hard enough, you’d find them. All of life’s answers could be found by study, prayer, and listening to what authorities told you the Bible meant. 2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,” was touted as the unquestionable proof that the Bible has All The Answers….despite the fact that this passage has nothing to do with the contents of Scripture.

Turns out, we were wrong. Not because the Bible isn’t useful. As it turns out, abandoning fundamental prooftext-crazed literalism doesn’t suddenly cause the pages of your Bible to crumble and fall apart. It’s still the same book. But we were wrong: the Bible doesn’t have all the answers, because some questions don’t have answers.

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Marriage equality, as seen on Facebook

EqualitySeen on Facebook:

“Marriage laws are already equal. Any unmarried man is free to marry any unmarried woman, pretty much without exception, as long as they mutually agree. God forbid that the leaders of our nation pervert the sacred institution of marriage by attempting to grant individuals the freedom to marry whoever (or whatever?) they please.”

Dear Facebook-friend-of-my-inlaws-who-will-not-be-named:

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Porneia – Part 2: Providential Prurience

Earlier, I wrote about the hypocrisy of treating an unmarried couple differently in order to signify disapproval for premarital sex. Here’s the Facebook quote that spawned it all:

“Shacking up and having a baby is not ‘cute’. Speak plainly and biblically about the soul-damning seriousness of fornication.”

I pointed out before that stigmatizing a family or relationship based on its origins is a hypocritical justification of prejudice, not some elevated level of holiness and biblical virtue. But I’d also like to focus on the second sentence, referencing the “soul-damning seriousness” of “fornication”.

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Porneia – Part 1: Pedantic premarital prejudice

This artist’s conception shows what it might be like to live on a planet inside a stellar nursery in galaxy NGC 604, nearly three million light years from Earth. Image courtesy NASA.

Seen on Facebook:

“Shacking up and having a baby is not ‘cute’. Speak plainly and biblically about the soul-damning seriousness of fornication.”

“Fornication.” Ewwww. What a horrible, dirty, terrible word.

But wait: let’s start by focusing on the initial portion of this particular individual’s statement. “Shacking up and having a baby is not ‘cute’.” Ostensibly it ought to properly be described by some other adjectives, like “regrettable” or “ugly” or “stigmatizeable”.

Hold on. Shacking up and having a baby is exactly what my wife and I did, and I’m pretty darn sure he’s quite cute.

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