Focus on sexuality issues

I was talking to a friend (agnostic) and the topic of religion came up. He is of the opinion that religions in general focus too much on sexual issues and tend to ignore other, more pertinent issues that can affect their members. I do agree to a small degree that some church (I can only speak for christianity) focus too much on sexual issues
What do you think?
Should there even be more focus on these issues?
What issues do you think the church is not paying enough attention to?

My feeling and I know that I am not alone in this, but moral issues including issues of sexuality get very little attention from the clergy. When was the last time you heard your pastor say anything about pre-marital sex.? We have young people ignoring marriage for shack ups. When I was in RCIA we had a young girl that was taking RCIA so that her and her fiance could be married in the Church. One day she announced that she was pregnant. It seemed like everyone in my class was giving her congratulations including my instructor. I was floored. Instead of being stunned like I was they were so happy for her. I’m not saying we should go back to a time when we shame a person that’s with child before marriage, but I couldn’t be happy for her. I know so many young girls that have had babies BEFORE marriage instead of being married first. I’m for more teaching on sexual issues. Lets all pray for an increase in the vocation of marriage.

Sexuality is incredibly important. Pope John Paul, II created a masterpiece devoted to this subject (“Theology of the Body”). There is a reason. From the beginning, sexual matters have been at the forefront of sins of the flesh. Currently, human sexuality is being turned on its ear and we are losing touch with why we were created “male and female”. The Church should very much be involved with this subject as it touches on matters concerning life itself and the essence of what it means to be human. In fact, the human family (Dad, mom and the kids) is the greatest reflection of being made in the image and likeness of God. The two become one and the result of this oneness is life. God himself is a family; Father, Son, and the love between them, the Holy Spirit. Makes complete sense to me.

In general, the Church focuses on things that really matter.

When you say Father, Son and the love between them…are you envisioning the two as separate? This is what’s so difficult to understand about the ‘trinity’. It’s easy to understand how other religions often view Christianity as NOT monotheistic!
The essence of Humanity depends on a lot more than the human family ( we are not alone in the animal kingdom in having maternal instincts or even bonding for life).
I think churches do indeed spend far too much time being concerned with the minutiae of people’s sex lives, often causing a great deal of distress and even to the detriment of some individuals’ mental health. It is indeed ‘off putting’ for outsiders and therefore works against the otherwise good things the church can do in society.
It seems absurd to think that the creator of all things would be as obsessed with sex

No. There is absolutely no separation. They are “distinct”, but not separate, and they are only distinct in their relationship with each other; Father, Son and Holy Sprit. But this thread is not about the Trinity. I only mentioned it to emphasize one reason why the Church cares so much about families, and, therefore, sexuality. It is the image and likeness of God.

Well I am not that familiar with the Catholic Church but in the Holiness Churches they do talk about sexual issues (mostly premarital sex, homosexuality, adultery etc). There are some “born-again” evangelical churches for example where if you become pregnant and are unmarried you may even be asked to leave the church.
If I have one criticism when it comes to talking about these sexual issues, I think we need to focus more on those where the victims tend to be silent and may not seek help. I have sat through numerous “hell and brimstone” fiery sermons on homosexuality, adultery and premarital sex but I don’t ever remember hearing a sermon on rape, date rape or incest.

Are you saying then, that the people in a family are ‘distinct but not separate’ - like the trinity?
(I still don’t quite get how ‘they’ (trinity) can be ‘not separate’) To claim that the family is the image and likeness of God on this basis seems to me a man-made concept - fitting the ‘pattern’ of the belief to the ‘pattern’ of the family unit. But humans are not the only animals with family units and I don’t think you’d suggest those bondings have any such significance. Other religions value the family as a unit too.

People with that opinion tend to be worshiping sex anyway. When I watch tv listen to the radio, or read a book, sex is the biggest part of it. At Mass, sex is rarely even talked about. People who have that view about religion have their own god, sex. Gay marriage, abortion, mandatory birth control coverage, these are not issues pushed by the Church, these are issues pushed by those who oppose religion but worship sex.
Sex is a huge part of humanity so of course religion addresses it. But ask your friend why song writers and TV writers feel that sex is the primary focus of life. And then ask him if he really thinks religion focuses more on sex than these things?

No. We are not God. God is unique in his divine nature. If you wish, you are free to start a thread on the Trinity, but we should not derail this thread, the topic of which is “Focus on sexuality issues”.

I am not derailing the thread…I am considering the trinity because you used it as part of your argument. You likened it to the human family and mentioned the ‘image and likeness of God’ …it being why the church is so concerned about sex. I am saying that it is a human concept which makes a nice but false analogy with the human family. Controlling people’s sexuality might be a way of exerting power over them. On the other hand it can turn people away from the church so it causes suffering either way. Maybe some people’s seeming obsession with sex is because so much of it is banned by the church - most of it, from the sound of it. I have no interest in couples’ sex lives - straight or gay. It’s how they take part in society that matters.

I absolutely do agree that churches spend far too much time and effort on sexual issues! It causes much unnecessary suffering and anxiety and at worst, probably causes some sexual abuse…people denied a normal outlet for their sexual energies eventually crack some way or another.
Inequalities in society, conservation of our environment, our attitude to, and use of animals, our attitude to exploitation of the 3rd world…all these are far more important issues…

Do not the terms “Father” and “Son” denote a familial relationship?

We received the terms “Father” and “Son” when speaking of God from Christ. It is not a human concept but a divine reality.

Agreed. And how does the Church exert power over people’s sexuality? We are all free to do as we will, are we not? We can either view our sexuality in light of God’s teachings, as given by the Church or we can ignore those teachings and make up our own. How does the Church exert power other than speaking truth?

You obviously have never read anything the Church has to say about sex, have you? The Church recognizes the gift that is our sexuality and asks that we use this gift in accordance with God’s plan. Sex outside of marriage has caused untold suffering among humanity; single mothers; children who have never known a father, and worse, killing our children before they take their first breath. If you want to compare this to the suffering caused by a mother and a father, within the bonds of marriage, who are committed to each other through sickness and health until death, and who raise their children with these same values, I would be happy to have that discussion with you.

And society is built upon the fundamental building blocks of traditional families. If you destroy that, you destroy society.

Yes absolutely. Sexual issues are very rarely (if ever) brought up in sermons. Even disregarding homosexuality, issues such as the use birth control and abortion, or use of pornography are not brought up, even though all of these lead to a very sex-obsessed culture, with little regard for the death of the unborn and the sanctity of marriage, which ultimately lead to the downfall of society.

It is an interpretation…a belief

It exerts power through the use of guilt. Someone who wants to be part of the church community for all other reasons, has to buy in to the teachings on sex. Consequently, there is a lot of grief caused for all sorts of reasons. A person might not agree with the teachings (a gay person knows they are gay through birth, not choice) but the guilt and fear of rejection will be there in the background.

The comparison here is not worth making…

Not necessarily. Society is made up of communities of which family units are a part. I know several gay people who have happy monogamous partnerships, and I have single friends too. Our society shows no signs of breaking down, on the contrary, it is a thriving and caring place to live and work.
I agree that promiscuity is what is the problem.

It makes sense that your friend should say that, because the media is obsessed about sexuality issues as well, so if that is all that is reported about the Catholic Church it should not come as a surprise that people think we are too obsessed about these issues. The media rarely reports on how we are involved in education, health care, humanitarian aid, or spiritual care. What sells are: abortion, redefining marriage, and sex. Well, the Church has made itself more than crystal clear on these issues, but we have to keep re-iterating our beliefs when that seems to be the only thing that the media wants to talk to us about :frowning:

Totally agreed. If anything, they think religion focuses on sex too much because they are the ones focusing on sex too much, so that they see their opposition in a disproportionate way. And if religious people are focusing on it a lot, it’s because people need to hear it now perhaps more than ever.

It’s the exact opposite in the Islamic community (I’m basing that on my own experiences). Sexual purity and sexual sin are not talked about enough by our khatibs. Our preachers are certainly not naive of the fact that sexual sin is a huge issue, so it ought to be addressed more.

The thing is that many Christians try to force the beliefs of the Church on society such as, for example, the law when they have absolutely no right to. I’ve seen many Christians try to change people’s sexual orientation by telling them that they’re “sinning” or “it’s against God” or even “it’s morally wrong” or other kinds of things that they should really keep to themselves. If you believe homosexuality is a “sin”, that’s your business and no one can force you otherwise. But if you attempt to force it on everybody by demanding that they all believe in the same thing or try to have the laws change to better fit your religion then you are making it everyone’s business and have no right to be doing that. If another religion were to convince the courts to outlaw Christianity because they believe that following Jesus was “idolatry” you wouldn’t think that’s fair would you? Of course not, you would most likely be saying that they are violating your civil rights by making the law biased towards a particular faith. It’s the same with sexual orientation.

I will say this, though. Same-sex marriage shouldn’t be forced to be in a Church either if they don’t accept it just like how any religious belief shouldn’t be forced on the laws that would restrict same-sex couples from marrying if they don’t believe in that particular faith.

But the basis for objecting to same-sex “marriage” legislation isn’t religious. It is natural reason.

Rights are tied to what naturally belongs to a person. Marriage and the benefits that the government provides with it naturally belong to a man and woman founding a family. When the state gives legal recognition to the union between a man and a woman, it only recognizes what has been already been designed by nature with respect to a man and woman. Biologically speaking, a man and a woman are designed to be joined in a union that has a natural capacity to procreate and perpetuate society. Thus, they deserve the benefits that come with marriage.

The same cannot be said for same sex relationships. They are neither naturally/biologically compatible and such a “union” doesn’t contribute to procreation. Why, then, should they demand the benefits given to heterosexual couples for their unique role in society?

Also, take note that it is the gay marriage lobby that seeks to impose itself to the entire public by seeking legal recognition.

Homosexuality has been found in over 1,500 different species of animal. I suppose those animals “chose” the “unnatural” way as you put it with human same-sex couples? Homosexuality cannot be considered unnatural just because two members of the same sex don’t procreate. Love between members of the same sex is very real and does infact occur in nature. And if im not mistaken, the whole point of life is survival, not reproduction. Infants, children, elderly or infertile people don’t reproduce but all ranges of life have one thing in common and that is living. We live, some reproduce, some don’t and we die. Being in a same sex relationship does not hurt anyone, does not have anything to do with devil-worship or idolatry or whatever religious practices people often associate with Homosexuality, and it certainly isn’t something that people try to impose on everybody. Gay marriage rights are specifically for those in a same sex relationship that are truly in love and want to marry but can’t because society’s laws were ignorant about homosexuality and now that people are becoming more educated, the hostility towards homosexuality is reducing and the laws against Gay marriage are being deemed “unconstitutional” in more and more states. Nobody is telling you that heterosexuality is wrong or to try to “become” Gay or anything else. So don’t try to say that homosexuality is being “imposed” on the public. If you don’t like it that’s fine because those are your BELIEFS, if you think it’s unnatural you’re wrong, if you try to keep or change the laws so they better fit your beliefs you shouldn’t be doing that because it’s wrong and unjust.

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