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Georgetown

Wait, isn't most religion cool with asexuality?

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Woodworker1968

We should remember that the major religions are the product of their times, Sikhism being the most recent (founded 15th century). Back in ancient times there wasn't a whole lot of understanding of traits and behaviors that make some people distinctly different, nor was there much desire to accommodate those differences. That's true of all major religions, and I don't see anyone currently founding a contemporary fact-based faith.

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Hobbes∞

I measure religious beliefs and perspectives by their motivation, and for Christianity, it's supposed to be love. I read all about Jesus, and let me tell you, he's well into the whole 'love' thing.

So if a Christian says or does something that doesn't stem from some kind of love, then in my mind you can just separate that from other Christians' beliefs. As in, if someone who is a Christian says they don't like carrots, I would assume that was just their own personal belief, and not related to Christianity, and thus not all Christians dislike carrots. (Though really eating healthy is important)

And if a Christian rejected and hurt someone because they were asexual/homosexual/fond of carrots, then that doesn't spring out of 'love', so I treat it as their own personal belief rather than a Christian idea, and so it doesn't represent other Christians.

Really that principle can be applied to any religion or belief system. (Unless it's a cult that hates carrots)

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TheLeafBunny

My current favorite is the Mormon elder who told me that my asexuality is evidence of the devil working in my life because "People who live in and love God are given the desire for sex in order to have many children to give to the service of God." That I do not want sex or children is proof that I'm, apparently, under demonic influence.

Wait..... WHAT? I mean I've heard plenty from being a Mormon nearly all my life about the importance of getting married and having babies - and while having more is preferred if you can't afford/don't want a ton that's fine too, far as I've heard, but this is probably the first time I've ever heard someone in the Church actively condemning asexuality outright (maybe because it never comes up in those terms but I digress). I mean I guess the "desire for sex to have babies" bit is accurate to our beliefs but that's given to a good chunk of the human population, not just "those living in and loving God." And I fail to see how simply not wanting that - especially of it's because of things you can't control like asexuality - means "the devil's working in your life." :/ I'm guessing said elder was a young missionary; he may not have known better but dang. (Apologies for butting in or if I'm drifting from the topic at hand.)

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Jade Cross

I don't know the doctrines of Mormon religions nor am I one but that whole not wanting to kids being a sign of "demonic workings" is something I have heard from my Christian teachers/priests. Basically to them (and no offense to anyone who follows this religion) anyone who doesn't follow "God's plan" is deemed to be under demonic forces if not a demon themselves. So I guess that makes me a demon because I don't seek to have kids of my own?

Hmm, *looks in a mirror* Nope no horns or red eyes, *looks at back* Nope, no wings or tails either. I know:

Arise chicken arise!...

Well, no horns or red eyes, no wings, no tails and I can't even summon a chicken? Are you sure I'm a demon for not wanting kids?

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Purnkin Spurce

It seems not. It's been my experience when I was raised christian, that you're shamed for having marriage before sex. Shamed for not pleasing your wife/husband when they wanted sex, and shamed if you desired other people (even if it was secretly.) When I started to experiment with wicca, it was so wrapped up in sexual freedom, women's sexual freedom and even sexual magic and sacredness. I really understood that because religions like christianity and so on....always tried to control people's sexuality, specifically women's. So wicca took sex very seriously as something that should be viewed as sacred and natural.

What's considered sacred sexual acts over the other? Is hooking up sacred cuz your're being "free?" Is waiting till marriage sacred because you saved it for some guy? Either way, too many rules and too many ideas on what I should do with my non sexual life. Those were just my thoughts over the years.

So I didn't fit in with wicca, or christianity. I didn't want to be in a religion that condemned sex, nor did I want to be in one that obsessed over it. So I just straight up figured out I'm agnostic and asexuality isn't something to feel ashamed for.

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humantoafault

If you explain asexuality as "the lack of interest in sex", I don't think even most conservative Christians would have a problem with it. I didn't when I first heard about asexuality, and I was a lot more conservative back then. (Religiously conservative and politically conservative are not the same thing, but here I am referring to Christian neo-conservatives.)

If you go explaining it as an orientation, then I think some probably would not agree with that. They would be more likely to reject the notion of orientations being an innate thing, I think.

I don't know too many Christians, even having associated with fundamentalists and baptists for much of my life, that think that women are to totally submit in relationships. If you say so, they'll point out the verse that says for husbands to respect and love their wives, and say that means it's a two-way street and respecting someone means respecting their wishes and boundaries. (And I would agree with this assessment. There's more to it than that, but that's a lengthy discussion.)

I have come across some who think that Christians are supposed to procreate, but I haven't experienced pressure from them on it. I've expressed that I'm not sure I'd make a good mother, so I don't know that I'd want kids. If I ever do get married, I'll accept the possibility of children being an outcome (because baring surgery or being rendered infertile, there's no removing the risk of pregnancy), but I'll use birth control and try to limit the amount*. The statement about birth control and limiting the possibility of children drew a bit more disagreement and discussion, though. The argument being that God knew how many kids I could handle and I needed to accept that. Well I'm a strong Christian, but I don't think God has anything against me making intelligent and informed choices.

Honestly, though, anyone who takes the verse from Genesis about procreating is missing the historical context, I think. According to Christian beliefs, only two people existed at the time. With the population at billions now, I don't think it applies anymore. I also don't think it was meant to apply to the reader.

*There's a medical reason for this, too. My mother had a condition with blood clots that got worse each time she had a kid, and it'd have gotten worse if she'd had more than two kids. As it is now, she has to take blood thinners for the rest of her life and give herself injections when her bloodwork doesn't come back right. My grandmother had this, too, worse because she had four kids. So it's very possible I've inherited this issue, though I haven't tested for it yet.

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Sally

Honestly, though, anyone who takes the verse from Genesis about procreating is missing the historical context, I think. According to Christian beliefs, only two people existed at the time.

Genesis was written down approximately three thousand years ago. There were a few more than two people around then. However, the Jews at that time considered it necessary to increase the tribes' members.

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humantoafault

Well I dint have the verse in front of me right now or anything, but regardless of who wrote it I always got the impression that the context was in regards to Adam and Eve specifically. Guess I'd need to examine it again.

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Null_and_Void

Not even gonna bother reading any comments, just gonna say the brutal truth.

Because most people that are religious tend to be the sorts of people that can't accept anything different than what they are, and they tend to hate what they can't accept.

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Touchofinsight

I would say its more confused/willfully ignorant people who hate on things that are so different from them that it confuses them or just in general don't align with their world view. Religious doctrines are just another crappy tool to ostracize the people who dare to deviate from whatever the perceiver deems as "Unhealthy" "Weird" or "Immoral". Insert whatever negative adjective you want here.

Basically it's the people in my experience. This is coming from someone who isn't trying to defend religion but rather get down to the bottom of the bullshit. People just like to use religion as some kind of authoritative source to be taken more seriously.

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*a*rteest

I'm under the impression that Abrahamic religions would pretty much detest asexuality as much as homosexuality...for similar reasons. Asexuality is an orientation.. Homosexuality is an orientation. Orientations are not choices, they're bioengineered and for the most part unchangeable.

Celibacy is CHOICE. A constant, consistent, lifestyle CHOICE.

Faiths like buddhism seems to be most comfortable with an asexual orientation. Wiccanism doesn't really seem to care what you are. These two are examples of faiths whose entire philosophy isn't "men and women, married, with multiple children they can barely afford and gets all help through the church/synogogue". Big families also are ideal for the financial stability and future members of the faith.

For the most part, Abrahamic religions simply try and have always tried to just outbreed one another, and asexuals, for the most part, are averse to big families. I personally adore Orthodox Judaism lore but I'd never run out and convert to it because IMHO my orientation is a huge handicap in the Orthodox world.

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Otohime

I grew up in a very Fundamentalist Christian environment. Most of these people would not be "cool" with asexuality.

("Fundamentalist Christian" is a radical group that follows the Bible literally, is very conservative, patriarchal , etc. )

Okay, let me define. Fundamentalist Christians would not have an issue of an asexual person who stayed single. Christians who follow the Bible literally, would read this verse: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” If it's good for a man to not have sex, then no problem with asexual people.

Growing up in this Fundamentalist Christian religion, it's not just what the Bible says, however. Being a single woman was not something that was praised. To a fundamentalist Christian, a woman is always under the authority of a man. If she never gets married, she stays under the authority of her father. While an asexual man who was single would be celebrated as he was sent off to go explore the world, an asexual woman who was single would stay at her father's home while other people wondered why wasn't married and having children. These Christians wouldn't say she was sinning by being unmarried and childless, but it's not looked at as particularly "cool."

It gets worse, however.

If a woman gets married, it is her duty to please her husband. As a teen, the absolutely freaked me out. The only way I was taught that I could be in a romantic relationship would be to get married and have sex. The Bible verse in 1 Corinthians: "
The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband." "Sex when desired" by either partner, and the only way to acceptably not have sex is if BOTH partners mutually decide to not have sex.

Put it this say: if a husband wants sex, it is a considered a sin for his wife to refuse him. The word "sin" is very serious, and that word was absolutely said. To me, HAVING to say yes whenever a husband asks sounds very non-consensual, but this is what the biblical teachers teach. Not that a man should force the woman, but that the woman should always say yes (thereby giving her "consent"). I say consent loosely because I do know women who have gotten into abusive situations and don't even know it, because they don't believe they have any right to deny their husband. They are only consenting because they would otherwise feel ashamed. They believe they have no choice because they no longer have complete ownership of their body.

(BTW. The Bible does also say that a man's body also belongs to his wife, but I don't know what young men are taught because I'm not a guy to ever intend classes on that. All I know that "It is a wife's duty to please her husband" was one of the "rule's" of marriage that I was taught about.)

Fundamentalist Christians take the verse "
The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband" to mean that a man's husband has final say on other parts of her body - her hair, her clothes, her body type... and even birth control." It personally makes me sick.

Anyway, to finish this... I have to address one more thing. What about an asexual man and an asexual woman who get married? They would fall under the "mutually declining sex," thus it would be acceptable for them to abstain from having sex. To a point. Fundamentalists believe married couples should have kids. "Be Fruitful and Multiply." It wouldn't be favorable for a married couple to never have sex and have kids.

Also, I can't imagine fundamentalists ever acknowledging asexuality. Women are taught to submit to their husbands. If I said I was asexual, the teachers would have just told me I still have to submit because I should want my husband happy -- or not get married. But going around trying to find an asexual partner to match me wasn't ever thought to be an option. Plus, I was pretty much taught that all men were going to want sex. If I give him that, then I get love in the return.

I never agreed with the "married women should always say yes" crap. I didn't even know what asexual was when I was a teen, but getting married and having to have sex sounded awful. Anyway... I left this Fundamental Christian religion FAR FAR behind me.



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humantoafault

Also grew up as a Fundamentalist Christian. (Not anymore. Nondenominational now.)

I don't recall my childhood church ever teaching that women had to submit to a husband's sexual desires, but I guess they probably never would have considered the idea that people who don't want sex exist, either. It's probably a very foreign concept to them.

Also, I think the teachings of my childhood church when I was five and the teachings of my church when I was 10 and older probably went through a lot of changes. The pastor when I was five had some considerably different views from the next pastor, who was very young, and he had pretty different views from the next pastor after him. The first one I mentioned was the most conservative and fundamentalist of all of them. The middle, young pastor would have been the most "liberal", but he was still very conservative.

Anyway, I'm not sure what any of them would think of asexuality. The oldest one actually died recently.

Though I can say that my very conservative, very fundamental stepdad encouraged me to remain single. He was going by Paul's teachings on that being the preferred path. My dad was a very open minded guy, though. While he held unpopular opinions, he had little to no qualms considering other viewpoints. (And he influenced me tremendously in that regard.) I shared much with him as I grew older, including some stuff I knew he disagreed on.

I think he would have been open to the concept of asexuality. Though, I don't think he would have accepted the idea of orientations...he would have acknowledged, I think, that not everyone necessarily desires sex as much as anyone else. The Bible even says as much, really.

On Fundamentalist Christianity...I do want to make a note that fundamentalism and Fundamentalism are not necessarily the same thing.

Fundamentlist, at it's purest definition, is simply accepting a few doctrines as the "fundamentals", as an essential part of the one's faith.

Whereas, Fundamental Christians are more of a denomination and tend to hold the views on doctrines, but be more dogmatic about it in that they will actively "separate" themselves from churches that are not fundamental. They also have a reputation for having other strong views such as absolutionism, KJV-onlyism, and have far stricter views on gender roles. Most are probably very neo-conservative, too.

Many Christians who do not identify with Fundamentlism as a denomination are still fundamental in that they place a belief on the five fundamental doctrines. (Even though Fundamentalism and fundamentalism aren't quite the same thing, technically the only requirement for a church to call itself part of the denomination is to hold the essential doctrines and actively promote, protect, and preserve them and practice separation. So not all Fundamentalist churches are necessarily like what I described above. I've heard of some who are more like the Southern Baptist church I attend now.)

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Otohime

Also grew up as a Fundamentalist Christian. (Not anymore. Nondenominational now.)

I don't recall my childhood church ever teaching that women had to submit to a husband's sexual desires.

Ya. There are some differences in Fundamentalist teachings. I was referring to an ultra-conservative theology. The most famous example I can think of is the Duggar family. Outside of remaining single, it is hard to imagine them being okay with asexuality. I believe Michele Duggar is quoted as saying one of the keys to a happy marriage is the wife always saying yes to sex even if she's tired.

Anyway, in this ultra-conservative theology, women submitting to men is part of its foundation. (Not sexually submitting at its core but more about other aspects, especially regarding his leadership).

I don't have the data, but I would guess that very few churches today are that conservative. The teachings and beliefs I got on that were more from my homeschool groups and small conferences than from my church (which was conservative, but not that patriarchal)

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Busrider

From my understanding of Christianity: You seem to be free to be aromantic and acting that out asexually. - If you don't choose to be a monk / hermit / bachelor etc. but get married to somebody sexual asexuality becomes a big issue.

IMHO asexuals have a moral duty to stay out of religious folks' dating circles.

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humantoafault

Also grew up as a Fundamentalist Christian. (Not anymore. Nondenominational now.)

I don't recall my childhood church ever teaching that women had to submit to a husband's sexual desires.

Ya. There are some differences in Fundamentalist teachings. I was referring to an ultra-conservative theology. The most famous example I can think of is the Duggar family. Outside of remaining single, it is hard to imagine them being okay with asexuality. I believe Michele Duggar is quoted as saying one of the keys to a happy marriage is the wife always saying yes to sex even if she's tired.

Anyway, in this ultra-conservative theology, women submitting to men is part of its foundation. (Not sexually submitting at its core but more about other aspects, especially regarding his leadership).

I don't have the data, but I would guess that very few churches today are that conservative. The teachings and beliefs I got on that were more from my homeschool groups and small conferences than from my church (which was conservative, but not that patriarchal)

That is true. Even the church I attend now is kinda like that. In regards to women submitting to men, I mean. Sadly I don't think that's an idea that's going to leave the baptist denomination anytime soon. (Oh well. I love my church otherwise.)

I don't understand what it in particular has to do with being religiously conservative, but those who I have debated with on the subject definitely seem to agree with you there. I gave sources that showed that the Bible does not teach what they think it does on that, they got called liberal sources just on virtue of arguing that women can and should serve as pastors. Whereas I saw no conflict because the article constantly looked to scripture, which is a big part of religious conservatism.

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Otohime

I gave sources that showed that the Bible does not teach what they think it does on that, they got called liberal sources just on virtue of arguing that women can and should serve as pastors. Whereas I saw no conflict because the article constantly looked to scripture, which is a big part of religious conservatism.

Do you have the article?

The Bible says a woman can't teach men. "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man." To someone who tries to follow the Bible exactly, it seems hard to get around that? So yeah, to a conservative, it'd be "liberal" to consider otherwise.

Not that that has to do with sexuality, but I'm curious. I guess it's vaguely connected to sexuality, in that the Bible tells a woman to submit to her husband. People who take that to the extreme... well...

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humantoafault

I gave sources that showed that the Bible does not teach what they think it does on that, they got called liberal sources just on virtue of arguing that women can and should serve as pastors. Whereas I saw no conflict because the article constantly looked to scripture, which is a big part of religious conservatism.

Do you have the article?

The Bible says a woman can't teach men. "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man." To someone who tries to follow the Bible exactly, it seems hard to get around that? So yeah, to a conservative, it'd be "liberal" to consider otherwise.

Not that that has to do with sexuality, but I'm curious. I guess it's vaguely connected to sexuality, in that the Bible tells a woman to submit to her husband. People who take that to the extreme... well...

It was one of a series of lengthy, detailed articles from here: http://christianthinktank.com/femalex.html

I have to admit that women as teachers may still remain a bit iffy even with this data. One of the points the article on Paul and women mentions women in ministry in the Bible. When I brought this point up to my debate partners, several of these mentions were pointed out to be male in some manuscripts, or too ambiguous. I still think it makes an interesting and compelling case.

In any event, the author brings up a lot of interesting points, including on submission in marriage. Oh, and on the idea of male headship, too.

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yyy

I could not read all posts, not yet,  but  I have  heard that some  religious people think of asexuality as being part of the occult and the idea is that since God  gave humans sex to enjoy and to procreate,  not having sex at all  is  part of going against "god."  Of course I am referring to the god of the bible  that  the majority of the civilized world is familiar with though there are other religions  that  also have the same  outlook about sex being for human pleasure and for procreation. 

It is an argument  I have often read  by  religious groups who oppose Catholicism  since  Catholicism  is big on celibacy (unless you are married)    and celibacy is not  the same as asexuality, but probably  centuries  before  these modern times , the  distinction  was not important to point out. 

 

I think that though Catholicism  is filled with rituals and beliefs  that  are  not in tune with what it says in the Bible,  the one thing that they do have right is the emphasis on celibacy.  i am not religious either, but  I don't see how  religious people can think that it is better to  procreate than not to procreate.  It seems that you are only creating people who will end up in,  let's  say, NOT  in heaven.   

 

Anyway, that may take the issue a bit away from  the real point, but   religions  may not be so cool with asexuality than with celibacy, but  certain other religions think of it as 

an overt  rejection of  God  and Gods  ways.

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Topic locked due to necromancy!

You can always create a new topic if you'd still like to discuss this subject

Jayce, Asexual Relationships moderator

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