Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#21  Postby archibald » Oct 11, 2013 10:23 pm

Moses de la Montagne wrote:

As for Onan, Christianity is not unique in interpreting that passage as a proscription against masturbation. Jews read it likewise.


Which is again interesting or indeed makes it all the more interesting. Why do that? One might assume there was 'some general cultural idea' (at least among Abrahamic cults in that region) that masturbation was bad and wrong. Hence a passage which didn't refer to it was misappropriated.

Obviously, what with Xianity being a Jewish offshoot cult, it may in that case have been inherited from Judaism.

I wonder, was it a prevalent idea in other, older religions?

I can't imagine it being as much of an issue for some of the ones Chritianity eventually superceded, the so called 'pagan' ones.
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#22  Postby archibald » Oct 11, 2013 10:26 pm

This from the wiki page on 'Religious views on masturbation', regarding Buddhism:

'Masturbation (sukkavissaṭṭhi) is the act of stimulating one’s own sexual organs (sambādha) to the stage of orgasm (adhikavega). In the Kāma Sūtra male masturbation is called "seizing the lion" (simhākāranta). Some people during the Buddha’s time believed that masturbation could have a therapeutic effect on the mind and the body (Vin. III, 109), although the Buddha disagreed with this. According to the Vinaya, it is an offence of some seriousness for monks or nuns to masturbate (Vin. III, 111) although the Buddha gave no guidance on this matter to lay people. However, Buddhism could agree with contemporary medical opinion that masturbation is a normal expression of the sexual drive and is physically and psychologically harmless, as long as it does not become a preoccupation or a substitute for ordinary sexual relations. Guilt and self-disgust about masturbating is certainly more harmful than masturbation itself.[4]'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_ ... n#Buddhism

At least they had a word for it. None of your repressive 'the thing that can't be mentioned but we all know what we mean when we refer to its unnaturalness'

And 'seizing the lion', now there's a nice phrase. I wonder what the equivalent phrase was for women.
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#23  Postby archibald » Oct 11, 2013 10:31 pm

From the same wiki page, regarding Hinduism:

'The Hindu treatise on sex Kama Sutra (4th to 6th centuries AD) does not condemn masturbation at all and moreover explains in detail the best procedure to masturbate; "Churn your instrument with a lion's pounce: sit with legs stretched out at right angles to one another, propping yourself up with two hands planted on the ground between in them, and it between your arms".[30]'
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#24  Postby SafeAsMilk » Oct 11, 2013 10:41 pm

That doesn't sound like fun at all.
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#25  Postby archibald » Oct 11, 2013 10:52 pm

Don't knock it out until you've tried it, as they say.
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#26  Postby Moses de la Montagne » Oct 12, 2013 12:07 am

archibald wrote:
Moses de la Montagne wrote:

As for Onan, Christianity is not unique in interpreting that passage as a proscription against masturbation. Jews read it likewise.


Which is again interesting or indeed makes it all the more interesting. Why do that? One might assume there was 'some general cultural idea' (at least among Abrahamic cults in that region) that masturbation was bad and wrong. Hence a passage which didn't refer to it was misappropriated.

Obviously, what with Xianity being a Jewish offshoot cult, it may in that case have been inherited from Judaism.

I wonder, was it a prevalent idea in other, older religions?

I can't imagine it being as much of an issue for some of the ones Chritianity eventually superceded, the so called 'pagan' ones.


I think the pagan Greeks can be partly to blame, having stressed an important dichotomy between the soul and the body. There is a certain asceticism there, where the material world is viewed with hostility. That the soul inhabits a material body was viewed as a kind of punishment, or accident, or unfortunate twist of fate. The surest way to make things right, and to soar off into the ether, was to not give in to fleshly desires (which would naturally include indulging in masturbation) and to focus instead on spiritual contemplation or whatnot. It seems like nearly all the early Christian sects, both gnostic and mainstream, took up this attitude in one way or another.
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#27  Postby Moses de la Montagne » Oct 12, 2013 12:10 am

archibald wrote:From the same wiki page, regarding Hinduism:

'The Hindu treatise on sex Kama Sutra (4th to 6th centuries AD) does not condemn masturbation at all and moreover explains in detail the best procedure to masturbate; "Churn your instrument with a lion's pounce: sit with legs stretched out at right angles to one another, propping yourself up with two hands planted on the ground between in them, and it between your arms".[30]'


:lol:
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#28  Postby Onyx8 » Oct 12, 2013 12:57 am

So why isn't god offended by rape again?
The problem with fantasies is you can't really insist that everyone else believes in yours, the other problem with fantasies is that most believers of fantasies eventually get around to doing exactly that.
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#29  Postby Moses de la Montagne » Oct 12, 2013 4:47 am

Onyx8 wrote:So why isn't god offended by rape again?


According to Aquinas, God is offended by rape. But not as offended as he is by masturbation and sodomy. Because rape (the rape of a woman, at least) does not confound the all-important procreative aspect of sex.

In the same portion of the Summa, Thomas (following St. Jerome's exegesis) indicates that rape, although a sin, can nevertheless serve as a crude means of courtship:

"Three kinds of lawful marriage," says he, "are mentioned in Holy Writ. The first is that of a chaste maiden given away lawfully in her maidenhood to a man. The second is when a man finds a maiden in the city, and by force has carnal knowledge of her. If the father be willing, the man shall endow her according to the father's estimate, and shall pay the price of her purity [cf. Deuteronomy 22:23-29]. The third is, when the maiden is taken away from such a man, and is given to another at the father's will."
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#30  Postby willhud9 » Oct 12, 2013 5:03 am

If the father be willing and we are also talking about a time when a father gave away his daughters. So I mean :dunno:
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#31  Postby Moses de la Montagne » Oct 12, 2013 5:14 am

What part of it do you find confusing, Will?

To concede it again, Thomas was a product of his culture and his time: this was a Christian culture informed by the bible, and a time, though a thousand-odd years removed from Deuteronomy, in which Deuteronomy still held the day because it was Holy Writ. Morality was grounded in God's word; it wasn't reasoned out independently of God. That's the problem. There are people out there still, who think Aquinas is shit-hot.
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#32  Postby archibald » Oct 12, 2013 7:09 am

I agree we can't really blame Aquinas personally, because as suggested he was a product of his time and culture. Bad as masturbation was seen to be, I wouldn't be surprised if it was even worse to people like him to use the word 'God' as a swear word. These guys were, ostensibly, putting 'don't offend god' at the apex of the naughty pyramid, because they reeely reeely believed this was the most worst thing one could do.

Underneath all this superstitious claptrap, of course, as has been said, may have been the imperative to procreate (one can imagine how vital this was to cults in those days, especially fledgling ones), in which case rape could be viewed comparitively more sympathetically, since it is still procreative. I doubt a man could rape his wife in those days in any case. It wasn't even legally possible in some states of the USA until about 15 years ago, as I understand it.

So, for Aquinas, 'rape' may have had more to do with breaking that other pragmatic imperative 'don't spread nasty, group-endangering diseases' by having sex with more than one person, than with what we might now see as an issue to do with forcing sex.

I have always found the Samaritans interesting, because they seem to have developed a dud 'procreate imperative' whereby marriage has to be with another Samaritan, and also, as I understand it, you can't convert to Samaritanism, and the upshot is that they are gradually extinguishing themselves. :)
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#33  Postby archibald » Oct 12, 2013 7:09 am

Moses de la Montagne wrote:
I think the pagan Greeks can be partly to blame, having stressed an important dichotomy between the soul and the body. There is a certain asceticism there, where the material world is viewed with hostility. That the soul inhabits a material body was viewed as a kind of punishment, or accident, or unfortunate twist of fate. The surest way to make things right, and to soar off into the ether, was to not give in to fleshly desires (which would naturally include indulging in masturbation) and to focus instead on spiritual contemplation or whatnot. It seems like nearly all the early Christian sects, both gnostic and mainstream, took up this attitude in one way or another.


I think you are probably right. I doubt we can simply blame the Jews or the Xian offshoot alone.

Despite some religions being more tolerant about such things, the notion that they (the naughty things) basically aren't all that 'good' seems to be more globally widespread than the reverse.

And of course we are talking about times when 'law' and 'religious law' were basically much the same thing, that is to say a receptacle for group social rules among apes with relatively thick brain cortexes.
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#34  Postby willhud9 » Oct 13, 2013 9:38 pm

Moses de la Montagne wrote:What part of it do you find confusing, Will?

To concede it again, Thomas was a product of his culture and his time: this was a Christian culture informed by the bible, and a time, though a thousand-odd years removed from Deuteronomy, in which Deuteronomy still held the day because it was Holy Writ. Morality was grounded in God's word; it wasn't reasoned out independently of God. That's the problem. There are people out there still, who think Aquinas is shit-hot.


Well it's own thing to take the good material from Aquinas and apply it to one's theology.

The Founding Fathers of America, people of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire and Hume and Locke, etc believed some things such as Slavery, but does that mean we should negate all of what they had to say in history? No, because just because there are bad qualities in the person's teachings in accordance with today's standards does not mean there was no good in it.

So unless these people are completely hailing Aquinas as a genius in everything he did, which I doubt as I think more Christians view him as a rational Christian and make rational points in regards to the Christian faith, more so than a moral teacher, than there is nothing wrong with defending the good material from Aquinas.
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#35  Postby Moses de la Montagne » Oct 13, 2013 10:47 pm

archibald wrote:Bad as masturbation was seen to be, I wouldn't be surprised if it was even worse to people like him to use the word 'God' as a swear word. These guys were, ostensibly, putting 'don't offend god' at the apex of the naughty pyramid, because they reeely reeely believed this was the most worst thing one could do.


That's true. Aquinas elsewhere opined that blasphemy was the greatest of all sins, and worse than murder. He conceded that a blasphemy doesn't kill God, but "as the blasphemer intends to do harm to God's honor, absolutely speaking, he sins more grievously that the murderer."
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#36  Postby Moses de la Montagne » Oct 13, 2013 11:05 pm

willhud9 wrote:
Moses de la Montagne wrote:What part of it do you find confusing, Will?

To concede it again, Thomas was a product of his culture and his time: this was a Christian culture informed by the bible, and a time, though a thousand-odd years removed from Deuteronomy, in which Deuteronomy still held the day because it was Holy Writ. Morality was grounded in God's word; it wasn't reasoned out independently of God. That's the problem. There are people out there still, who think Aquinas is shit-hot.


Well it's own thing to take the good material from Aquinas and apply it to one's theology.

The Founding Fathers of America, people of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire and Hume and Locke, etc believed some things such as Slavery, but does that mean we should negate all of what they had to say in history? No, because just because there are bad qualities in the person's teachings in accordance with today's standards does not mean there was no good in it.

So unless these people are completely hailing Aquinas as a genius in everything he did, which I doubt as I think more Christians view him as a rational Christian and make rational points in regards to the Christian faith, more so than a moral teacher, than there is nothing wrong with defending the good material from Aquinas.


I wasn't making the case that Aquinas has no good material whatsoever. Even Rod Stewart had some good songs. The problem that Aquinas illustrates so well is that theology mucks up morality. His concern over offenses to God causes him to grossly misprioritize things, and so you end up with a conclusion like "masturbation is worse than rape." I doubt most modern Christians would agree with him there, but that's only because they've been liberalized: they've been influenced by secular, humanistic ethics, and not by their own traditions. They aren't reasoning with a theocentric view anymore, as Thomas surely did. They know that's absurd.

As for whether Aquinas's current fan club "hails him as a genius in everything he did," you might be surprised. "Traditionalist" Catholics frequently exhibit fanatical tendencies; they're like Rome's answer to the Russian Orthodox Old Believers, or some of the Protestant apocalyptic sects. These are people who believe in the Three Days of Darkness prophecy. After that, agreeing with Thomas on masturbation is not exactly a big test to their credulity.
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#37  Postby SkyMutt » Oct 13, 2013 11:54 pm

willhud9 wrote:. . . people of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire and Hume and Locke, etc believed some things such as Slavery . . .


Of those three, only Locke actually defended slavery. Voltaire, while holding views that today would be described as unequivocally racist, expressed disgust at the practice.

From "Voltaire - Biography" | The European Graduate School:

As for slavery, Voltaire in one hand harshly criticized it and in the other hand, together with fellow philosophers Guillaume Thomas Raynal, Denis Diderot, and Buffon, he speculated and tried to explain that the different races had separate origins and at times seemed to doubt that black people possessed the same intelligence as white people.


Hume also, while expressing ideas which now would be described as racist, was anti-slavery.

From "Of the Populousness of Ancient Nations" quoted in Body, Mind and Self in Hume’s Critical Realism:

The remains which are found of domestic slavery, in the AMERICAN colonies, and among some EUROPEAN nations, would never surely create a desire of rendering it more universal. The little humanity, commonly observed in persons, accustomed, from their infancy, to exercise so great authority over their fellow creatures, and to trample upon human nature, were sufficient alone to disgust us with that unbounded dominion.
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#38  Postby willhud9 » Oct 14, 2013 1:50 am

Well thanks for that!
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#39  Postby archibald » Oct 14, 2013 8:10 am

willhud9 wrote:.....view him as a rational Christian and make rational points in regards to the Christian faith.....


Sheesh. It's not often you see two oxymorons in one sentence. :mrgreen:

Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Re: Aquinas: Masturbation is worse than rape

#40  Postby LoneWolfEburg » Oct 14, 2013 8:46 am


And to be fair, Aquinas was, of course, a product of his culture and his time. Injecting Christian theology into ethics was the thing to do.

Yeah, you could make an argument that Aquinas' scholastic approach was partially a precursor to all that fluffy Enlightenment hoopla.
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