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  #121  
Old 07-06-2011, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
Several gnostic gospels, as well as evidence in the canon. The Eden story in Genesis, and the Song of Solomon are both based on the heiros gamos, or sacred marriage concept. In the New Testament, if you take into consideration the plethora of Marys, and a couple of unnamed women, and bring them all together into one unit as a recurring goddess figure, you'll see the heiros gamos tradition subtly presented. Mary Virgin brings Jesus into physical being. Mary Magdalene anoint Jesus and then finds him risen at his tomb. She is called the Apostle to the Apostles, the only apostle that truly understands his message.

Yahweh splits the first human into male and female in Eden. Male and female are reunited in another garden in the synoptic gospels.

Jesus was a Jewish rabbi. Rabbis were/are required to be married. The idea that it is more spiritual to be celibate came from Paul, who seemed to have trouble dealing with his sexual urges.
Rabbinic Judaism did not exist before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and was not fully developed until the third century. Also John the Baptist, who was a teacher to Jesus, was an unmarried, celibate figure. It appears that parts of the Jesus message had a rather strong anti-family ethos, which is common in end of times cults and echoed in Paul.

The Old Testament figure of Wisdom as the consort to Yahwe seems to be the remnants of a Mesopotamian Mother Goddess figure, which is called Asera in the Hebrew Bible and by various other names around the Ancient Middle East (Ishtar, Astarte, possibly Isis). Later Christian writers identified Jesus as the Wisdom or Logos of God, and the Mother Goddess was re-identified with Virgin Mary.

It seems that in early Christianity, women were much more involved as apostles and leaders of home churches, but this was at odds with the accepted morality of Imperial Roman society and early Jesus movement was eventually forced through persecution to wipe out women from leadership positions. This process began with Paul's frowning upon women praying with their hair exposed and was finished by the time of the Pastoral Letters, where the assertation that the leader of a congregation (a modern bishop) has to be an upstanding man of one wife.

I am familiar with Elaine Pagels and Dan Brown, although the latter is a fiction writer. Thank you for the other references, I will check out the article when I can. I am curious, however, how you combine the virulent anti-body ethos of the Gnostic Gospels with the idea of a sexual union between Jesus and MM?
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  #122  
Old 07-06-2011, 12:16 PM
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Rabbinic Judaism did not exist before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and was not fully developed until the third century.
Well, technically. Jesus was called rabbi and rabboni in the Bible, however. He might have been a Pharisee himself. The Pharisees were proto-rabbis. Hillel was a 1st century elder who began the Talmudic tradition. Jesus seems similar to him.

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Also John the Baptist, who was a teacher to Jesus, was an unmarried, celibate figure. It appears that parts of the Jesus message had a rather strong anti-family ethos, which is common in end of times cults and echoed in Paul.
True. Yet Mary was a close companion, and according to gnostic writings, he used to often kiss her on the... [lost text]. Some people think the unnamed disciple in the Gospel of John actually referred to Mary, who rested on his bosom during the Last Supper.

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The Old Testament figure of Wisdom as the consort to Yahwe seems to be the remnants of a Mesopotamian Mother Goddess figure, which is called Asera in the Hebrew Bible and by various other names around the Ancient Middle East (Ishtar, Astarte, possibly Isis). Later Christian writers identified Jesus as the Wisdom or Logos of God, and the Mother Goddess was re-identified with Virgin Mary.
And don't forget the sex partner goddess, the other Mary. Isis was a magician, sister and wife to Osiris, and mother to Hathor, who triumphed over his evil uncle Set. Isis combined the madonna/(sacred) whore concept, which became lost in our culture.

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It seems that in early Christianity, women were much more involved as apostles and leaders of home churches, but this was at odds with the accepted morality of Imperial Roman society and early Jesus movement was eventually forced through persecution to wipe out women from leadership positions. This process began with Paul's frowning upon women praying with their hair exposed and was finished by the time of the Pastoral Letters, where the assertation that the leader of a congregation (a modern bishop) has to be an upstanding man of one wife.
Agreed!

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I am familiar with Elaine Pagels and Dan Brown, although the latter is a fiction writer.
That's OK. The whole Bible is fiction as well, hehe. Myth anyway. Jesus' story is a midrash largely based on the Exodus story of Moses and Joshua (Joshua, of course, is translated into Greek as Jesus/Iesous).

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Thank you for the other references, I will check out the article when I can. I am curious, however, how you combine the virulent anti-body ethos of the Gnostic Gospels with the idea of a sexual union between Jesus and MM?
That is covered quite well in the linked article. I don't hold that gnosticism is so anti-flesh as you propose.
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Last edited by Magdlyn; 07-06-2011 at 12:19 PM.
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  #123  
Old 07-06-2011, 04:24 PM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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The idea that it is more spiritual to be celibate came from Paul, who seemed to have trouble dealing with his sexual urges. Humans back then were suspicious of any woman having power. Therefore Christianity became anti-woman, anti- sex, and wholly patriarchal (thanks, St Augustine!), despite Jesus' different attitude towards women as found in the gospels.
You seem to be assuming that celibacy is necessarily "anti-woman, anti- sex, and wholly patriarchal." Both men and women can practice celibacy, and I don't even see celibacy as an absolute thing - it's more like an ideal of abstaining from sexual activities and thoughts when possible. Celibacy, imo, can enhance the joy of sexuality by rarifying it; the way eating certain foods less often renders them as special treats whose flavor becomes more intense because it's not something you get desensitized to by consuming everyday. Ultimately, I also think celibacy/abstinence can result in sexual energy finding its way into other expressions. Furthermore, the ability to resist sexual desire makes it easier to choose to decline the sexual opportunities that present themselves if they're not really what you want for whatever reason. Sexual domination is often recognized as a problem, but isn't sexual submissiveness just as much so? If practicing celibacy/abstinence helps free people from sexual submissiveness and vulnerability to sexual domination, isn't that a positive effect?
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  #124  
Old 07-06-2011, 05:43 PM
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...I also think celibacy/abstinence can result in sexual energy finding its way into other expressions. Furthermore, the ability to resist sexual desire makes it easier to choose to decline the sexual opportunities that present themselves if they're not really what you want...
How's that been working for the Catholic Church lately? I was talking to an ex-Catholic lately, who was raised in the Church and was close with several priests and ex-priests. He told me a question priests often ask each other is, "When did you receive 'the Gift?' " The Gift being having been raped by a priest as a young boy. It's that common, it's just assumed to have happened to just about every seminarian and priest, who then pass the Gift on down the line.
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  #125  
Old 07-06-2011, 07:10 PM
jasminegld jasminegld is offline
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I find it interesting to discuss these ideas but I would like to note that I want to keep it academic. I don't want to get caught in a trap of being asked to take sides in a trial of Christianity or polyamory. ...I'm still trying to figure all this out for myself ...
I'm glad you said this. I remember when I first got serious about trying to figure it all out for myself, and I remember how huge these questions felt to me at that time. It doesn't feel that way to me anymore because I've wrestled through them so many times... and I forget in these conversations. I need to be reminded.

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However, I'm sure a lot of polyamorous people would disagree with the Christian approach to sexuality as a diversion from higher spirituality.
Christians approach sexuality in a variety of ways. Sexuality as a "diversion from higher spirituality" is only one of those ways. Sexuality as an integral part of our authentic selves is completely in keeping with Scriptural teachings that God created humankind in God's own image and that we are commanded to love and honor ourselves.

So yes, poly folk often disagree with "sex as diversion" teachings/traditions/interpretations that are associated with some Christian traditions. Meanwhile, "sex as integral" Christian teachings/traditions/interpretations are, unfortunately, less well known. Nevertheless, these teachings/traditions/interpretations do exist. Polyamory and Christianity are compatible. No one has to give up one in order to have the other.


Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing
http://www.religiousinstitute.org/re...ce-and-healing

Jasmine

Last edited by jasminegld; 07-06-2011 at 07:27 PM. Reason: Add link
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  #126  
Old 07-07-2011, 03:32 AM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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Christians approach sexuality in a variety of ways. Sexuality as a "diversion from higher spirituality" is only one of those ways. Sexuality as an integral part of our authentic selves is completely in keeping with Scriptural teachings that God created humankind in God's own image and that we are commanded to love and honor ourselves.
Yes, I see that sex is also valued as a positive part of incarnation in the creation. I think it is like the whole idea of Lucifer as a fallen angel, i.e. that good things can get perverted to become evil depending on the intent and manner in which they are used. So while sex may be positive in Christianity, just as food may be, gluttony would be a sin and fasting would be regarded as having spiritual value. Starving oneself to death wouldn't be regarded as virtuous, but the temporary diversion away from the flesh toward spirit is considered positive. That would be a very different value than hedonism, for example, which some polyamorists might value more than Christianity in their regard to sex and sexuality. I DO think Christian polyamory is possible but I don't think ALL polyamory would be Christian just because it's polyamory. Does that make sense? I think you can still distinguish different perspectives of different issues and that's just diversity within polyamory - to be expected, no?

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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
How's that been working for the Catholic Church lately? I was talking to an ex-Catholic lately, who was raised in the Church and was close with several priests and ex-priests. He told me a question priests often ask each other is, "When did you receive 'the Gift?' " The Gift being having been raped by a priest as a young boy. It's that common, it's just assumed to have happened to just about every seminarian and priest, who then pass the Gift on down the line.
This is completely unrelated to celibacy, imo. When people say that this activity is caused by celibacy, why wouldn't the result be heterosexual rape or simply affairs with adults? It sounds more like pedophiles were using the Catholic belief in forgiveness and redemption to get in positions of access to their fetish.

People who truly believe in celibacy tend to value it as a spiritual orientation toward sexual energy. They want to express their sexual energy in non-sexual ways. You could be heterosexual and I don't think your celibacy would stimulate homosexual or pedophilic desires unless those were already latent in your sexuality and you started subconsciously thinking you had more sexual access by choosing that route instead of others. Arguing that celibacy encourages pedophilia is practically the same as saying that you could convert homosexual pedophiles to heterosexuality by providing them with ready sexual access to adult women.
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  #127  
Old 07-07-2011, 12:38 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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serial, you constantly misunderstand and misconstrue my posts.

I do not say celibacy encourages pedophilia in general. I referred specifically to the Catholic Church, where institutionalized "celibacy" has worked as a cover for condoned pedophila for hundreds of years.

Paul's end times predictions and recommendations on how to live til the Kingdom came has backfired in a most tragic and damaging way. While of course there are kind and truly spiritual celibates in the Church, the perverts/criminals are so common as to be casually accepted and even encouraged by the most high cleric, the pope himself.

Celibacy is a dangerous concept. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature. Also, priests do rape girls and female adult parishioners as well.
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  #128  
Old 07-07-2011, 02:44 PM
jasminegld jasminegld is offline
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Originally Posted by serialmonogamist View Post
I DO think Christian polyamory is possible but I don't think ALL polyamory would be Christian just because it's polyamory. Does that make sense?
Of course. Freedom of religion. Diversity.

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You could be heterosexual and I don't think your celibacy would stimulate homosexual or pedophilic desires
Evidence shows otherwise. I learned in a sociology class of heterosexual men who were confined in all male populations (prisons, naval vessels, military deployments) who engaged in same sex behavior for the purpose of sexual release because that was the only option available to them. These men did not identify themselves as either gay or bisexual. They all returned to completely heterosexual lives as soon as they left the all-male environments and had access to wives, girlfriends, and female dating partners. They simply had no other options during that period of time. All these men were supposed to be celibate at the command of other people; not by their own choice.

To me, this says that celibacy MUST be freely chosen to have positive value without unintended consequences.

I disagree with Magdlyn about the Pope. It's much more complicated than that description. And the Pope is not here to defend himself.

I don't like this conversation about "those other people" who aren't here to defend themselves. I wish we'd talk about ourselves and our own issues, instead of critiqueing other people.

Jasmine
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  #129  
Old 07-14-2011, 09:44 PM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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serial, you constantly misunderstand and misconstrue my posts.

I do not say celibacy encourages pedophilia in general. I referred specifically to the Catholic Church, where institutionalized "celibacy" has worked as a cover for condoned pedophila for hundreds of years.
Sorry, this was something I have read/heard elsewhere and it just sounded like you were implying the same thing. I'm not yet completely convinced that all the accusations regarding the Catholic church are not attempts to demonize the church and squeeze money out of it. Of course I wouldn't want to disrespect true victims in any way. It's just that when it seemed like it was about getting the church as an institution to take responsibility, that would provide access to the funds of a wealthy global organization, which would be a motive for generating false claims. I'm not defending the church, per se, only I'm generally suspicious of claims that are potentially lucrative.

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Celibacy is a dangerous concept. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature. Also, priests do rape girls and female adult parishioners as well.
It's not like you can starve from avoiding sex the way you can if you don't eat for a long time.


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Originally Posted by jasminegld View Post
Evidence shows otherwise. I learned in a sociology class of heterosexual men who were confined in all male populations (prisons, naval vessels, military deployments) who engaged in same sex behavior for the purpose of sexual release because that was the only option available to them. These men did not identify themselves as either gay or bisexual. They all returned to completely heterosexual lives as soon as they left the all-male environments and had access to wives, girlfriends, and female dating partners. They simply had no other options during that period of time. All these men were supposed to be celibate at the command of other people; not by their own choice.
Why not just masturbate if you don't want to have sexual contact with other men?

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To me, this says that celibacy MUST be freely chosen to have positive value without unintended consequences.
Since sexual intercourse requires consent to be legal and ethical, celibacy is sometimes the only option available.

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I disagree with Magdlyn about the Pope. It's much more complicated than that description. And the Pope is not here to defend himself.

I don't like this conversation about "those other people" who aren't here to defend themselves. I wish we'd talk about ourselves and our own issues, instead of critiqueing other people.
well said. It's not about defending the guilty but resisting making assumption on the basis of hearsay.
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  #130  
Old 07-15-2011, 12:07 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Wow.
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