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 Post subject: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:37 pm 
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I am still unsure as to why sexuality that is consciously closed to reproduction is a misuse of sexuality.

It seems that the argument is that when we express our sexuality while closing ourselves to reproduction, we are acting contrary to our designed primary sexual purpose and thus we are inhibiting our ability to be truly happy (one with God). But I feel like I act contrary to my other designed primary purposes all the time.

The purpose of eating is nutrition and health.
And yet I have milkshakes all the time, seemingly without sin (or without inhibiting my union with God)

The purpose of my reason is to consider and understand God's presence in my life.
And yet I enjoy sophistic arguments with my friends, seemingly without sin (or without inhibiting my union with God)

The purpose of my physical health is to serve the less fortunate in the name of God.
And yet I play sports and engage in other physical activity, seemingly without sin (or without inhibiting my union with God)

SO, perhaps there is something unique to sexuality that makes the contrary action to these other things trivial.

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:41 pm 
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This is my take on it.

Quote:
The purpose of eating is nutrition and health.
And yet I have milkshakes all the time, seemingly without sin (or without inhibiting my union with God)


Milkshakes might not be nutritious, but they provide you with energy your body can use, so a drinking a milkshake isn't sinful, but it can be if you do so for the wrong reasons.

Quote:
The purpose of my reason is to consider and understand God's presence in my life.
And yet I enjoy sophistic arguments with my friends, seemingly without sin (or without inhibiting my union with God)


Your intellect also helps you to survive. Part of survival is forming social ties with other people. Conversing with friends about day-to-day things is part of learning to love your fellow man, which can bring you closer to god. If the conversation is leading you away from God, like you're talking bad about other people, then it can become sinful

Quote:
The purpose of my physical health is to serve the less fortunate in the name of God.
And yet I play sports and engage in other physical activity, seemingly without sin (or without inhibiting my union with God)


Serving the less fortunate is part of your duty, but it's not the only purpose of physical health. Sports helps you to maintain your physical health, hence keeping up your ability to use your strength to help the less fortunate. It's not sinful to exercise, even if it's fun or for pleasure, as long as it doesn't interfere with your other duties. Don't play football when you should be at Mass. Don't spend every night at the gym, when you should be spending time with you're family. Do it in moderation, and it's not sinful. Like anything else, do it in excess, and it can interfere with your duty to serve others, subsequently interfering in your relationship with God.

When you have sex and close yourself off from reproduction, it's a different scenario from the examples you've given. When you eat a milkshake, you're not refusing the energy it gives you. When you're talking with your pals, you're not refusing to build bonds with them, or refusing to accept the way it builds intellectual muscles. When you're engaging in sports, you're not refusing to accept the health benefits that go along with it. In fact, you can't refuse any of these things, because it's the natural order of things.

When a couple uses contraception it's interrupting the natural order of things.

It's like drinking the milkshake for the taste then spitting it out because you don't want the calories. Imagine watching someone do that on a regular basis. It's disturbing and disordered--don't you think? You'd tell them, if you don't want the calories, just don't drink it.

It's like playing sports, yet somehow refusing to accept the benefits of the increased strength and endurance it gives you.

It's like hanging out with the guys every weekend, but you close yourself off to their friendship.

It's like inviting your someone to debate you, when you're wearing earplugs.

When a couple has sex they ought to be open to procreation. That's the right reason to have it, even if the likelihood of having a baby is unlikely (due to age or infertility). Having sex is like sending God an invitation to your house. In the case of an infertile couple, there's little chance He's going to knock on the door, but in the case of a couple that uses contraception, they invite God to come, but if He actually shows up at the door, they hold up their hands and say, "Get back, You can't come in!"

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:57 pm 
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Very good thank you.
And can you draw a more distinct line between:
Part of survival is forming social ties with other people. Conversing with friends about day-to-day things is part of learning to love your fellow man, which can bring you closer to god. If the conversation is leading you away from God, like you're talking bad about other people, then it can become sinful.

And non-procreative sex?

And so what if someone spits out a milkshake because they don't want calories. If I just want taste from a milkshake and not the energy, is that sinful?

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:59 pm 
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Spitting out a milkshake is at least wasteful.

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:37 am 
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Will Storm wrote:
Very good thank you.
And can you draw a more distinct line between:
Part of survival is forming social ties with other people. Conversing with friends about day-to-day things is part of learning to love your fellow man, which can bring you closer to god. If the conversation is leading you away from God, like you're talking bad about other people, then it can become sinful.

And non-procreative sex?

And so what if someone spits out a milkshake because they don't want calories. If I just want taste from a milkshake and not the energy, is that sinful?

I think it is a question of proportion. When you eat, you are maintaining the body God and your parents created.

When a couple engages in the marital act, the end of that act is to participate with God in the formation of a new human life: an eternal soul!

Drinking a milkshake is nowhere near the creation of new life, is it? And what are people saying to God when they block the creation of a new human life?!?!?!?

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:41 am 
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but I oftentimes eat in a way that is not maintaining what God gave me.
In other words, isn't chewing gum just for the flavor?

Isn't non-procreative sex just for the pleasure of being with someone you care about?

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:33 am 
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Sex is supposed to be a sacred and holy act reserved for married couples. Yes, pleasure is supposed to be part of it. Even if getting closer to a spouse, giving one another pleasure is the goal, a couple needs to be open to procreation, open to God, with every act. A person chewing gum is not procreating. He's not inviting God into the act of chewing gum. He can enjoying the flavor, and spit it out, without defiling something holy, without purposely trying to thwart God's will.

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:11 am 
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I am just trying to draw an analogy here with purposes.

Isn't consciously non-procreative sex a sin because it is contrary to the designed purpose of the parts involved?

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:04 pm 
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Will Storm wrote:
Isn't consciously non-procreative sex a sin

Forget the 'because.' You need t demonstrate it's a sin on Catholic teaching. I can have sex with my wife when I know it is biologically impossible for her to have children at that time and it not be a sin--such sex would be consciously non-procreative. I can even intend to have sex only during those times when she is infertile so as not to procreate at this time, and that's not a sin. In other words, if conscious non-procreation in sex is sufficient to render it sinful, then both NFP and sex with a barren spouse is sinful. Obviously neither are.

So you need to refine your statement here.

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:53 pm 
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very well. And I agree for the most part. But you do NOT really know what is impossible when using the NFP method or even when your spouse is barren.

It is sinful to close one's self to procreation via artificial measures when expressing oneself sexually.
It is also sinful to express our sexuality using body parts that are not designed for expression of sexuality.

Right?

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:55 pm 
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Will Storm wrote:
very well. And I agree for the most part. But you do NOT really know what is impossible when using the NFP method or even when your spouse is barren.

Your statement below is better. Yes, God can miraculously cause a woman to conceive when she is infertile. But knowing that God can do a miracle doesn't change the fact that you are having sex with the full knowledge that, naturally speaking, pregnancy will not occur.

Quote:
It is sinful to close one's self to procreation via artificial measures when expressing oneself sexually.

This is firmly established by your church and I think gets to the heart of the issue. For whatever reason, it is wrong to express yourself sexually while artificially frustrating the natural end of pregnancy.

Quote:
It is also sinful to express our sexuality using body parts that are not designed for expression of sexuality.

Right?

I can't speak to that, as I don't know. You'll have to ask someone what the limits are here. I know sodomy is wrong. I am under the impression that mutual masturbation is wrong. I'm not sure where the line is. What qualifies as "designed for expression of sexuality"? Only the genitals? Is foreplay okay if it involves other body parts--different kinds of stimulation to help complete the act? At what point is the act "expressed"? At orgasm? Whose? Can a woman manually massage her husband to . . . ah . . . prepare him . . . so that he can know her? If she can't manually "finish him off," is it okay to get him to the point of climax and then let him finish in her? And what about her? Can he manually "warm her up"? Can she climax during such warm-up (suppose, for her, that makes penetration much easier?). Or does that qualify as using body parts not explicitly designed for the expression of sexuality? If so, what is the relationship between her climax and the expression of her sexuality? I am under the impression that most women are incapable of climaxing without manual stimulation (that is, most women can't climax via vaginal penetration alone). What, then, if she doesn't climax? Has she expressed herself sexually?

Lots of questions. I'm not qualified to give you an answer; I don't know the Catholic position here. I just know that the misuse of sexuality--to return to your OP--is much more nuanced than knowingly having sex in such a way that children will not (naturally) come from the act.

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:32 pm 
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jac3510 wrote:
I just know that the misuse of sexuality--to return to your OP--is much more nuanced than knowingly having sex in such a way that children will not (naturally) come from the act.


If you think about the body of Christ, the Church and the missionary mandate that justifies her existence... that being spreading the Word of God, the living Word, the seed to be spread to all men through sharing the Scriptures. The Church is fertile by nature in that way. What if the Church took the living Word out of the tabernacle and closed the Bible and decided to start sharing from Chicken Soup for the Soul or some other nice book? There's still a church building and people sharing words with each other. Would it still be Gods Church? That's what turning off fertility means to marriage. It changes everything so completely.

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:01 pm 
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ellietrish2 wrote:
jac3510 wrote:
I just know that the misuse of sexuality--to return to your OP--is much more nuanced than knowingly having sex in such a way that children will not (naturally) come from the act.


If you think about the body of Christ, the Church and the missionary mandate that justifies her existence... that being spreading the Word of God, the living Word, the seed to be spread to all men through sharing the Scriptures. The Church is fertile by nature in that way. What if the Church took the living Word out of the tabernacle and closed the Bible and decided to start sharing from Chicken Soup for the Soul or some other nice book? There's still a church building and people sharing words with each other. Would it still be Gods Church? That's what turning off fertility means to marriage. It changes everything so completely.

. . .

You do realize that the case against ABC is ostensibly rooted in natural law, right? Whatever value this analogy holds, it's out of bounds in terms of a basis for your position.

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:15 pm 
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jac3510 wrote:
ellietrish2 wrote:
jac3510 wrote:
I just know that the misuse of sexuality--to return to your OP--is much more nuanced than knowingly having sex in such a way that children will not (naturally) come from the act.


If you think about the body of Christ, the Church and the missionary mandate that justifies her existence... that being spreading the Word of God, the living Word, the seed to be spread to all men through sharing the Scriptures. The Church is fertile by nature in that way. What if the Church took the living Word out of the tabernacle and closed the Bible and decided to start sharing from Chicken Soup for the Soul or some other nice book? There's still a church building and people sharing words with each other. Would it still be Gods Church? That's what turning off fertility means to marriage. It changes everything so completely.

. . .

You do realize that the case against ABC is ostensibly rooted in natural law, right? Whatever value this analogy holds, it's out of bounds in terms of a basis for your position.


But are you not applying natural law justification through the lens of Protestant theology? It has to be a relevant aspect in a debate between Catholics and Protestants regarding ABC.

This was what I was wanting to know...

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Jac, it would help if you gave your concept of natural and divine law in regards to our sexuality. Even Richard Dawkins acknowledges that sex and fertility have been a married couple designed by nature for reproduction. That can be clearly demonstrated by observing mammals, birds and creatures whose reproductive process is similar to our own. Dawkins acknowledges this ‘marriage’ of functions… sex and fertility… as a rule of thumb, in describing his theory of ‘memetics’ or memes. He is of the ilk though (atheists) that promote man controlled population growth and other global issues that theists have always entrusted to Gods ultimate control. His theory for divorcing sex and fertility is tied to his belief that man should take unlimited design control over human functions for population control. For the ordinary joe on the street though, my understanding is that although there is a desire to avoid pregnancy, most ABCers are moved against fertility in this way by the desire for sexual freedom since NFP can also avoid pregnancy but the difference being by sacrificing sexual freedom. The differing element here is the sexual freedom aspect.

Likewise, most of us ordinary NFPers, aren’t attuned to that bigger picture in living our sexuality either. We make the obvious observation about the relationship of fertility and sexual function equalling reproduction in nature and we probably have a sensation of the 'marriage' in that equation but we primarily trust in Church teaching and have faith that that teaching is bound and beholden to God’s will for His people.

So I can understand theists approach to natural law and I can understand atheists approach but what I’m not understanding is where Christians who believe in voiding the bodies natural function are deriving that justification?

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:13 am 
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ellietrish2 wrote:
But are you not applying natural law justification through the lens of Protestant theology?

In other words, tu quoque?

I'm not reading natural law through a Protestant lens, but even if I were, that wouldn't justify your misstating the arguments against ABC. Now, if you want to say that the argument against ABC is NOT made from natural law, then fine. I've always said that if it's just a case of divine law, then whatever, we'll just go on about typical arguments from authority. But your church has never insisted that it's a divine law, but has always justified its position on natural law. You misunderstand and distort your church's doctrine when you undermine the basis she appeals to in justifying her own position.

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:36 am 
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I think the expression of sexuality involves whatever is necessary for procreation.
Insofar as that is true, using body parts not designed for such an endeavor be mere attempts at expressing sexuality. And even when people attempt to express their sexuality without a desire to become pregnant, they are still using at least some of the necessary steps/parts.

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:05 am 
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jac3510 wrote:
ellietrish2 wrote:
But are you not applying natural law justification through the lens of Protestant theology?

In other words, tu quoque?

I'm not reading natural law through a Protestant lens, but even if I were, that wouldn't justify your misstating the arguments against ABC. Now, if you want to say that the argument against ABC is NOT made from natural law, then fine. I've always said that if it's just a case of divine law, then whatever, we'll just go on about typical arguments from authority. But your church has never insisted that it's a divine law, but has always justified its position on natural law. You misunderstand and distort your church's doctrine when you undermine the basis she appeals to in justifying her own position.


I'm just trying to get a feel for your position on Artificial Birth Control as a non Catholic Christian but you are being terribly illusive. My understanding is that Protestants all held the same Christian position as 'my Church' until the Lambeth Conference of 1930 when Anglicanism gave reluctant approval for the use of Birth Prevention in 'hard cases'. They created a loophole where individual circumstances made the unnatural act of Birth Prevention a "'regrettable necessity". I'm not too familiar with the trajectory of Protestant theology since then, but Charles Gore, the Bishop of Oxford at the time, lamented what he predicted the inevitable outcome would be...

Quote:
No doubt they feel that their cases are 'hard cases.' In different ways we are all apt to feel that. They think that they have a morally sound reason for avoiding parenthood, and that they cannot practise abstinence. Now they learn that a representative assembly of the chief authorities of the Anglican Communion has 'removed the taboo' on contraceptive methods, and no doubt their scruples will in many cases be silenced and the easier course taken.


http://anglicanhistory.org/gore/contra1930.html

So the perspective of non Catholic Christians and Catholics, has a clear fork in the road moment of divergence to be contemplated here that isn't actually a dispute regarding natural law.

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:36 am 
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My wife and I don't use ABC, but I'm not as opposed to it as you are. I have a problem with all abortifacients, which takes out a large number of ABC options. We avoid barrier methods for our own reasons. I have a generally very pro-children attitude and see them as the primary purpose of marriage. I have problems with "marriages" that are entered into with the express caveat of never having children.

I don't, however, have a problem with someone putting on a condom and having sex with their wife in any specific instance. I'm open to changing my view on that, and as I said, my wife and I neither practice that or recommend it for our own reasons. If it can be shown that such acts violate NL, then a strong case can be made why even then they ought not be used. But to simply appeal to your church's theology is meaningless for me. And, again, I suggest that you are doing your church a disservice when you do it. For the argument is not (so far as I understand it), don't do it because the Church has declared it wrong; but rather, the Church declares it wrong because the Church understands that it violates the natural law.

So, for instance, I oppose "gay marriage" on NL grounds. I agree with the Church on that matter. If the Church, however, had no appeal to NL and instead simply said, "It's wrong because it's part of our theological tradition," I would reject that argument. We may still find agreement on that particular issue even then, insofar as a strong case can be made from Scripture against "gay marriage," but then problems get more complicated in trying to apply the issue to public policy--that gets back to the difference in an argument from divine law and one from natural law.

You are arguing against ABC from divine law. In doing so, you effectively concede the issue to non-Catholics in that you have nothing to say to them on the matter. Natural Law is the means by which you discuss public moral policy (cf. Rom 2:14ff). Moreover, when you take the approach you are, you suggest to other Catholics (especially on a board like this) that the best way to argue against ABC is by an appeal to the Church's theology. And that is wrong. You are effectively saying that the Church's appeal to natural law is insufficient or inadequate. You may not intend it to come across that way, but it does.

So, again, I strongly advise you--as a non-Catholic who is open to being persuaded that you are right on this particular moral claim--that you refrain from making arguments based on divine law against ABC and instead follow your church's lead in making an argument from natural law. That is harder to do, I know. Ask PED/MH, Obi, or anyone else here who knows a thing or two about the subject. But just because it is hard doesn't mean that it is not the preferred route.

Or, continue to appeal to your tradition, and I and the rest of the non-Catholic world will ignore you, just as much as you ignore Muslim tradition. And those of us who do know something of the argument will conclude that you personally don't think your own church's arguments are adequate.

Finally, underlying all this is the distinct possibility that I am wrong and that ABC is NOT a NL issue. But if so, then you may as well stop appealing to the natural order of things, to the whole idea of frustrating the natural end of the marital act, etc. That's a high price to pay for ignoring the NL in this debate, but if it's one you are willing to pay, so be it.

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:27 pm 
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Will Storm wrote:
I think the expression of sexuality involves whatever is necessary for procreation.
Insofar as that is true, using body parts not designed for such an endeavor be mere attempts at expressing sexuality. And even when people attempt to express their sexuality without a desire to become pregnant, they are still using at least some of the necessary steps/parts.


For God to allow us, a simple sinful husband and wife, the staggering honor and privilege to create a human life - a being that is eternal after that conception - it is an honor and a gift so precious that it should leave us speechless.

To poke our finger in God's eye and say "to hell with that gift, I just wannna get my jollies", you cannot see that as kinda different than chewing gum or drinking a shake?

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 Post subject: Re: Misuse of Sexuality
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:07 pm 
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I do. I absolutely do. It's just easiest for me to understand these things based on a principle. The principle I am struggling with is "Do not act contrarily to the designed purpose of something."

Like you point out, acting contrarily to creating life is still a lot different than acting contrarily to a few extra nutrients (eating rightly).
But it just doesn't stick for some reason. It is really hard for me and I am entrenched in the thought process of "I am not hurting anyone by having artificially non-procreative sex"

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From the beginning, Christianity has understood itself as the religion of the Logos, as the religion according to reason...It has always defined men, all men without distinction, as creatures and images of God, proclaiming for them...the same dignity: to live a faith that comes from the Logos, from creative reason, and that, because of this, is also open to all that is truly rational.


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