i am catholic and my boyfriend is jewish. he doesn't see anything wrong with any sexual activity before mariage but i always have that guilty voice even when i just do small things like kissing or touching. my thing is, is their anything in our religions, either one, that says you can't do stuff before marriage. i am not talking about sex, cuase i know catholics don't allow that, but like other stuff is what i am wondering about.
I'm Catholic. Kissing, etc. is fine. The Church is against all forms of sex outside of a marriage. Although I do know some bits about the Jewish religion, I don't know enough...perhaps there is a Jewish kid on the board.
I'm Jewish, and we are really not supposed to be doing any kind of sexual stuff before marriage either! The Rabbi said that sex used for fun and not directly to make babies is wrong. You have to remember that Jesus Christ was Jewish, and Christianity has its roots in Judiasm. We actually both follow the exact same Ten Commandments!
Posts: 384 | From: Malibu, California, USA | Registered: Jun 2000
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Hmmm, sounds to me like your Rabbi might be a little off. I must admit that I AM NOT JEWISH. However I grew up in a community that was largely jewish and so I understand judiasm better than most gentiles.
From what I understand, sex within the context of marriage is perfectly ok according to the jewish faith. You can do whatever you want and have a great time doing it. Now this may be an aspect of a particular sect of judiasm that isn't shared by others. I can't really say for sure.
What your Rabbi said sounds a lot more like christian doctrine to me. We can all thank St. Peter for the whole "sex=evil" theme that has forever plauged christianity.
Personally, and this is just a personal opinion, I think that all religion is a scam. I believe in god but you're going to have a hard time convincing me that anyone on the face of this earth has any kind of special insight into what god is or what he/she/it wants from us, if anything. Especially since there are so many different religions, few of which have anything to do with each other. Religion has always been a tool for social control, a way for those in power to keep the rabble down. Until recent times it was highly successful at this because the nature of the universe was not very well understood. But today we know that human beings weren't spawned in 7 days in some garden any more than they are the children of Vishnu or the result of one of Zeus's thunderbolts. But sadly the old superstitions remain because parents who have been brainwashed do the same to their children and it takes a few generations for the cycle to break down. Also religion is like a drug, it provides a sense of security and a purpose for life, something few people are willing to give up in exchange for uncertainty and chaos.
Anyway I'm talking too much again so I'll stop (for now).
As far as your own religion and your guilt, ultimately, no matter WHAT your tradition (even if you don't have one) you shouldn't be doing anything that makes you feel bad. It's just that simple.
Catholicism indeed has mandates against sex before marriage, but it also has mandates against a lot of things that most people ignore completely, though they are given no less weight, like: * charging interest on a loan * shaving or getting a hair cut at certain times * sex during menstruation * the cross-breeding of animals * sex outside of marriage * eating pork or shellfish * and women wearing pants
So, most people practice Biblical beliefs selectively, not totally. While in Catholic doctrine premarital sex is not okay, it's hard to say what the definition of sex then was, and it also helps to remember that at the time it was written, most people got married in their early teens. Ultimately, you need to decide how serious you are about that tradition, and if you're only following doctrine selectively, why you are, and which things are important to you. All in all, quite frankly, if you're being a kind person who is generous and charitable, I think Jesus would have been okay with you. But, really, if you're serious about catholicism, these questions are best asked of your priest.
And Lee, on some level I agree with you, but I think you're taking about the difference between organized religion and personal tradition or spirituality. A belief system can be healthy and empowering as long as it is used not to control others, but to be part of each of our individual lives, and as long as whatever our tradition, it is one we choose willingly, not are forced into, which we feel comfortable adapting to our modern lives. Buddhism, for instance, makes very clear that it MUST be adapted, or else it will have no relevance to people as the world grows and changes.
All I can say is, if your confused about what you can or can't do because of you religion, why don't you just go by what you feel? If your doing something with your boyfriend, and it feels wrong, don't do it. There's lots of things that you can do with your boyfriend that isn't really sexual like kissing, (okay i guess that's sexual but it totally depends on the kiss)cuddling, and just being with eachother. Besides, it's always the little things that count the most.
Posts: 46 | From: Winnepeg, MB, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000
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Honestly, I don't care WHAT tradition anyone belongs to: if you are a good person, and care for yourself and those around you respectfully, with thought and mindfulness, and live a balanced life, you aren't going to hell.
Any tradition that says you would isn't really catering to the spirit at all if those things aren't what's most important.
Well, my family follows what is basically called conservative Judiasm. And sex before marriage is considered to be forbidden (although most Jewish kids that I know are sexually active). After marriage it is OK. However, many of my friends are called modern orthodox, and they forbid almost ALL physical contact between men and women prior to marriage! Plus, within the context of marriage you can not have sex for 2 weeks out of the month! And, the focus of all sex within marriage is only supposed to be procreation... NO birth controls!
Posts: 384 | From: Malibu, California, USA | Registered: Jun 2000
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quote:Honestly, I don't care WHAT tradition anyone belongs to: if you are a good person, and care for yourself and those around you respectfully, with thought and mindfulness, and live a balanced life, you aren't going to hell.
Well, seeing as we're getting into a religious argument...
We need to respect other people's religions. If a person thinks that premarital sex is wrong, and they do it anyway, that's a sin, in my opinion. Yes, the bible has a lot about "love thy neighbor" and stuff, but it also has a lot of rules. If a person wants to respect those rules, we ought not reprimand them.
Where it gets tricky, though, are in situations like this one, where someone is of a tradition for which they don't know the rules, may or may not agree with the rules, and may or may not have chosen that tradition for themselves.
In that case, I truly have to say that my feelings are until you CHOOSE your tradition (and to follow the rules of whichever one you choose) you aren't going to "go to hell" or be a bad person because you aren't following rules you neither know, understand, nor claim allegiance to.
quote:Originally posted by Miz Scarlet: [B] Catholicism indeed has mandates against sex before marriage, but it also has mandates against a lot of things that most people ignore completely, though they are given no less weight, like: * charging interest on a loan * shaving or getting a hair cut at certain times * sex during menstruation * the cross-breeding of animals * sex outside of marriage * eating pork or shellfish * and women wearing pants B]
Um...I don't want to be rude or anything, but I'm Catholic and I've never heard any of these things. I do know of another religion that says that women shouldn't wear pants...Pentecostal, I believe, but it's not Catholic. And we can eat pork--it's Jews and Muslims that do not (and the shellfish thing is also a Jewish tradition). There is something about not eating meat on Fridays during Lent, but that's about the only dietary restriction. The others I've never heard of also.
Actually, all of those things are in the Bible, Rhiannon. Whether or not they are taught as doctrine by any different chruch or denomination is that church or denomainations call. But that's my point. Very few people follow every doctrine in the Bible.
MOST (not all, but most) Bible scholars - people who study the Bible, not people who preach it -- will point out these and other things in discussions like this. I studied the Bible for close to a year solid when in college (and I am not judeo-christian, I am Buddhist and Wiccan), and I can tell you, those things are indeed in there.
I figured they were somewhere in there. Catholicism isn't a fundamentalist religion, though. Oh...I've followed Wicca for a while too, as you may be able to tell from my nickname. (And I know that would cause some issues with a lot of my Catholic friends). By the way, I'm not one of those people who follows (or necessarily agrees with) everything about my religion (in fact, I only go to Mass every now and then)...I just wanted to clear a few things up, that's all.
that stuff miz scarlet said was in the bible (no eating pork/shellfish, no sex during menstruation, cross-breeding of animals, etc) IS actually in the bible. i took a 2 year humanities course, and in it we studied parts of the old testament, and that's where all that stuff is found.
now, from what i understand, jews only recognize the old testament of the bible, while catholics (which what i am) focus more on the new testament, which don't emphasize those restrictions (except the sex before marriage deal... that's always been considered bad).
if i'm mistaken, then someone please correct me. ciao....
Ok i understand that the sex before marriage is bad, but, what does the bible consider sex? Like do they consider oral sex to be sex or like groping sex or actual intercourse. That is where i get confused.
That's the real issue, Ep. There is absolutely no way of knowing that whatsoever.
At the time, it was MOST conventional to consider "sex" to be the activities one would do with a spouse, in other words, general sexual activities. However, it wasn't even called "sex" then. In the Bible, and other western documents of the time, it was what was termed "sharing the marriage bed."
Your guess is as good as anyone elses. If it's your tradition and it's important to you to adhere to it, then most likely, the best person to ask is your priest or pastor, since they will have some idea of what your tradition considers that to be now, or how it applies.
What religions teach and what people do are often two very different things, as people obviously already know.
What religious *communities* teach -- Catholic, Jewish, or otherwise -- usually falls into three categories:
1) literal commandments -- what that religion believes to be the laws set by God or Gods. In Judaism (I'm a Jew and a person who studies Jewish sexuality law and practice), there are 613 mitzvot or "commandments," some of which are in reference to sexuality, most of which are not. The Ten Commandments (also known as the Decalogue) are 10 of those 613 -- and are the ones Judaism is most likely to share with other religions.
There's a biggie in there about sex: "thou shalt not commit adulter." We'll use that as an example for how the other kinds of religious teachings about sex develop.
2) doctrinal law -- religious doctrine and religious law is developed by people as a response to the demands of direct commandments. This means rabbis, priests, scholars, and other people getting together and saying "Okay, so we have this commandment. What does this really mean? How do we make sure we're following this commandment? What laws do we make to make sure that people won't disobey this commandment?"
In the case of "Thou shalt not commit adultery," this means that doctrinal laws have developed in religions which prohibit things like marrying more than one person at a time. The original commandment doesn't say "Thou shalt not marry more than one person at a time," right? But the interpreters of the commandment decided that it seemed reasonable enough that if you weren't going to commit adultery, you should probably just stick to being married to one person. So they made being married to one person into a religious law, a doctrinal law.
3) Community tradition -- different communities have different practices that develop as ways to try to assure that both commandments and doctrinal law are followed by members of that community. (By "community" here it can be a big community, like "North American Catholics" or a small community, like "Jews who worship at a particular synagogue." If the group is cohesive enough to share traditions, it is considered a religious community.)
These practices are not usually laws or commandments. They are not given in the Bible, and they are not written laws in the doctrinal legal codes. They are practices -- things that people do, practically speaking, on an every day basis -- that become traditional in a given community. Traditions sometimes carry the force of law and people can pay as much attention to them as they do to laws. Sometimes people assume that a tradition must BE a law, because it seems like one.
For an example, let's go back to "Thou shalt not commit adultery." That's the literal, direct commandment.
Then we had the doctrinal law saying that the religion would not marry more than two people, because the religious officials interpreting the commandment agreed that it seemed reasonable enough that marrying more than two people seemed like it might encourage adultery.
On the level of community practice, let's look at two different examples:
In the Orthodox Jewish world, many married women (in some cases, women over the age of puberty) cover their hair, either with a hat, a scarf, or a wig. They do this because the community tradition says that women's hair is too sexually attractive, and that if a woman went around with her hair hanging out for everyone to see, men might be attracted to her and might be led to want to commit adultery. Women in the Orthodox world who don't cover their hair might be cast out or considered sinful, bad people -- even though it's not a law, and there's no commandment that says they have to do it.
In the Old Order Amish communities in the Midwest, where I spent a summer as a farm kitchen helper when I was a teenager, people do not wear bright colored clothes, and women do not wear makeup or even colorful barrettes or ribbons in their hair. Why? Because it would be too immodest and would call too much attention to them in a way that could be perceived as sexual. A woman who wore lipstick or a red blouse, for instance, would basically be saying "I'm an adultress and a whore" in that community. Is there a law against wearing lipstick, or bright colors? No. It simply doesn't happen.
Sorting out where a particular prohibition comes from -- whether it is based in commandments, doctrinal law, or community tradition -- can be really difficult. There are professors with Ph.D.s who spend their whole working lives trying to unravel these things.
The important issue is to evaluate what *you* feel is right for you, both morally, religiously, and personally. It can be very helpful to read up on the issues that affect you, and to talk to religious leaders whom you respect (rabbis, ministers, priests).
When it comes to sex, it's tempting to pass judgement based on what you think is "The way things are supposed to be." The truth is that there's only one entity that gets to pass judgement on people's sexuality, and it's not you, it's God/Goddess/the Divine Force. The best thing you can do is learn as much as you can, think about things seriously, and do what you feel is the right thing for you based on what you believe about yourself, your religion, your religious community, and your relationship with the Divine.
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