Thursday, January 04, 2007

Onanism

JUAN RIVERA SAID:

“I'm surprised by your neutrality with regard to masturbation and single males. First of all, God created sex to involve two parties, ‘He made them male and female’.”

i) This is a good example of how our reading of Scripture is unconsciously conditioned by extrascriptural assumptions.

Juan defines masturbation as sex. But the Bible doesn’t define masturbation as sex. And the Bible doesn’t define it as sex for the simple reason that the Bible doesn’t discuss masturbation at all.

So his appeal is circular. He classifies a certain behavior as sexual, although the Bible is silent on this specific behavior, and then he plugs that extrabiblical definition into the Biblical framework of sexual sin.

ii) Aside from the above stated circularity, there is also a basic incoherence in his definition. If the Bible defines sex as a two-party transaction, and masturbation is a solo behavior, then, by definition, masturbation wouldn’t qualify as sex.

iii) Juan is half-right. Wherever the Bible talks about either licit or illicit sex, it’s a two-party transaction, whether premarital sex, extramarital sex, marital sex, sodomy, or bestiality.

So, one could agree with his premise, but draw a different conclusion. Since the only forms of sexual sin targeted in Scripture involve two-party transactions, masturbation doesn’t fall under the operating definition.

Again, I’m not saying that masturbation isn’t sex. And I’m not saying that masturbation isn’t wrong.

I’m simply noting that, as of yet, the critics of my noncommittal position aren’t coming up with very good arguments.

Instead, they’re importing extrascriptural assumptions into the text of Scripture, as well as resorting to very slipshod forms of reasoning.

This is well-meaning, but it illustrates the fact that they really haven’t thought through the issues before rushing to judgment.

iv) Let’s revert to an example which another commenter introduced. What about nocturnal emissions? This is something the Bible does discuss (Lev 15:16-17; Deut 23:10-11).

How does a wet-dream fit into Juan’s definition of sex as a two-party transaction involving a husband and wife?

Would this qualify as sex? Is masturbation sexual, but a wet-dream is asexual?

“Secondly, He created sex to be pleasurable within the marriage covenant.”

Is a wet-dream pleasant or unpleasant?

“As well as for the purposes of procreation.”

Is Juan’s position that a married couple should refrain from sex whenever the wife is pregnant?

What about couples in which either the husband or wife are infertile?

“Any departure from the clear testimony of Scripture with regard to God's purposes with regard to sex, is a perversion of it.”

i) What’s the purpose of a wet-dream?

ii) Should a husband divorce a barren or post-menopausal wife? Should a wife divorce an impotent husband? Should they stay married, but have a platonic relationship?

“Sex was not meant to be a one-man show.”

Is a wet-dream a one-man show?

Is a wet-dream sex? If not, what makes masturbation sexual, but nocturnal emissions asexual?

Note that, in Scripture, nocturnal emissions are discussed in the general context of sex (Lev 15:16,18).

“Nor does God's approval rest upon it because Scripture is silent.”

A strawman argument. The question at issue is whether we should infer either approval or disapproval where Scripture is silent.

“To my recollection, Scripture is silent with regard to necromancy also.”

Actually, the Bible has a fair amount to say on the subject of necromancy.

I assume that Juan said “necromancy” when he meant “necrophilia.”

“Does that mean it's OK for teenage boys or single men to engage in it?”

The question is whether we can mount an argument from analogy from what the Bible does discuss to what it doesn’t discuss.

This, indeed, is often possible. And it’s an essential element in the application of Bible ethics to our own time and place.

However, an argument from analogy is just that—an argument.

Too many critics are substituting an *assumption* from analogy in lieu of an *argument* from analogy.

“I am surprised that you suggest masturbation could be a safety valve for pre-marriage teenage boys or single men.”

Why is that surprising? If wet-dreams serve that purpose, why not masturbation?

“Would it not rather be God's intention that we exhibit some kind of self control, and realize our dependence on Him for grace to keep a pure heart and mind.”

i)That’s the way Pentecostals talk. If we fast and pray, we will pray our way out of temptation.

Church history is littered with the wreckage of conscientious, but naïve Christians who thought they could overcome temptation by performing spiritual exercises of one sort or another.

ii) We need to draw a couple of distinctions. It is possible to overcome a sinful temptation by the means of grace.

It is not possible to overcome a natural temptation by the means of grace.

Consider Paul’s discussion of sexual temptation in 1 Cor 7. Does Paul counsel a Christian to overcome his sexual appetite by fasting and prayer and other spiritual exercises?

iii) The fact that we can overcome a sinful temptation doesn’t mean that we can overcome it by any means whatsoever. Not just any means will do.

One of the best ways of queuing yourself for spiritual downfall is to foster a false expectation. To be overconfident in your powers of resistance because you think that you can simply pray your way out of temptation.

“In no way will masturbation simply be a physical stimulus, God didn't make men that way.”

Are you speaking from personal experience? Otherwise, what is the source of your insight?

If you speak from experience, why are you so disapproving?

You know the old saying—98% of men do it, and the other 2% are liars.

“You are attempting to light a camp fire that will, eventually, turn into a forest fire.”

i) The sexual appetite, like any other appetite, can degenerate into obsessive-compulsive behavior.

But that’s not the only source of danger. Many professing believers have succumbed to sexual sin because they were operating with a hyper-spiritual pietism and quietism which made them an easy mark when temptation came knocking.

And some of them have been so disillusioned by their downfall that they never underwent spiritual restoration. They fell away and never returned to the faith.

ii) In addition, a false sense of guilt over masturbation can be equally if not more destructive to a believer's moral, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.

“Waiting for marriage, focusing upon the Lord, denial of the flesh, make one's marriage to be truly delightful and an occasion to rejoice in God's goodness to us in providing the particular woman He has chosen for us.”

In 1 Cor 7, did Paul recommend “denial of the flesh” as a general antidote to sexual temptation?

“I think you've missed the boat on this topic.”

And I think your boat is taking on water.

“Masturbation is just as much of a perversion of sex as is fornication, homosexuality, and adultery.”

Are you now a prophet? Since the Bible never says any such thing, I take it that you have a private revelation to share with us.

“Solo sex is not beautiful, it's ugly and pathetic.”

Is a wet-dream ugly and pathetic?

“I think, if we are to be honest, everyone knows in their conscience masturbation is wrong. Would you, before God, care to defend it? Why does guilt accompany it? Not because of a misinformed conscience or Victorian social mores. The Holy Spirit testifies to its' sinfulness in your heart....”

i) This is another bit of Pentecostal pietism. Ironically, the reliance on spiritual impressions has led many professing believers to make shipwreck of their faith.

Juan needs to cultivate a more Biblical notion of decision-making, such as:

http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Will-God-Pagan-Notion/dp/0802839746

ii) How does Juan know about the guilty feelings which accompany masturbation? Is he leading a double life?

iii) There’s a circularity in the appeal to a guilty conscience. If you think it’s a sin, then, of course, you’ll feel guilty about it. But that begs the question.

Conscience is not an infallible rule of faith. Scripture is.

“Conscience” can easily degenerate into the self-justification that “if it feels right, do it!”

iv) I’d add that all Christians share his feelings. For example, this is how John Wenham describes his own experience:

“I noticed too that it was most likely to take place when I had had a blissful time of bedtime prayer with a great sense of love for God, when presumably erotic pressures were strong,” Facing Hell: An Autobiography (Paternoster 1998), 53.

Is that an argument *I’d* use to validate masturbation? No.

But it goes to show that Juan’s subjective appeal cuts both ways.

DAVE ARMSTRONG SAID:

“I find it equally remarkable that in 32 comments on masturbation and Scripture, not a single mention was made of Onan thus far. Yet his story was understood very widely as dealing with both masturbation and contraception, for many centuries.”

As this is a textbook example of why tradition is an unreliable guide to exegesis.

i) In context, Gen 38:8-10 is describing coitus interruptus rather than masturbation. These are hardly equivalent.

Onan was having sex with a woman. That is how he achieved a state of sexual climax.

Is that interchangeable with masturbation? I don’t think so.

ii) Talmudic literature draws a clear distinction between contraception and masturbation:

Cf. E. Ullendorff, “The Bawdy Bible,” BSOAS 42 (1979), 425-56.

So it’s Armstrong’s interpretation which is anachronistic.

iii) He also rips the verse out of context in another way:

“It refers to the levirate law of antiquity (the Latin *levir* means ‘a husband’s brother’)…Here and elsewhere (Deut 25:6; Ruth 4:10) it is for the preservation of the dead brother’s name and family. In addition, the law is one of inheritance so that the dead mans’ property will remain in the extended family. Finally, it is for the protection of the widow so that she should not have to sell herself for debt or have to marry outside the clan,” J. Currid, Genesis (Evangelical Press 2003), 2:209.

“Onan apparently does not want to father a son who will prevent him from receiving his deceased brother’s inheritance,” V. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis: Chapters 18-50 (Eerdmans 1995), 436.

“Onan’s refusal is explained by his knowledge that the son will not be his (38:9). We need to recognize, then, that there is a birthright issue here. Er was the firstborn and entitled to the birthright. If he has no offspring, the birthright will transfer to Onan. If, however, Tamar bears a son that is considered Er’s, the birthright will pass to that son. We can therefore conclude that Onan is punished by death for preserving his inheritance rights by disposing of the competition,” J. Walton, Genesis (Zondervan 2001), 668.

Does Catholic moral theology endorse bigamy? Does it sanction a married man cohabiting with his sister-in-law to keep the property in the family?

If not, why is Armstrong appealing to the tribal custom describe in Gen 38:8-10? It either proves too much or too little for his own purposes.

16 comments:

  1. oh my, I seriously didn't know Onan was already married when he had to sleep with his sister-in-law. What was God thinking?

    Aside from that, I should mention that under the law, death was not the punishment for failing to give your dead brother a posterity. Yet, God killed Onan, suggesting his sin was onanism.

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  2. Steve,

    Ever since reading your comments on the matter in TOO HOT TO HANDLE, and now also your recent comments, in all of these I've agreed that your views are correct.

    At the very least you've provided Scriptural interpretation that hasn't been challenged with counter-exegesis but with appeals to an already formed idea of masturbation being wrong.

    What I've noticed, and what I'm saying, is that despite my belief that masturbation is a valid tool for a man to release himself from ever-increasing sexual tension, it nonetheless produces within me a sense of guilt. And I'm talking about times where I've removed the lusting element. And not only guilt, but my "appetite to release" was afterwards only intensified, not satisfied.

    So it has seemed like a bad idea when I have tried it.

    Let's move from theology to application though. If I'm feeling guilty about something Scripture hasn't told me to feel guilty about, what must one do to have Scripture correct personal feeling or subconcious thought?

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  3. Berny,

    A few quick points:

    i) Not everything works equally well for everyone.

    ii) Since the morality of masturbation is debatable, there's nothing wrong with entertaining doubts.

    But we need to put doubt in its place. Give it as much or little regard as it warrants, depending on the quality of the arguments and counterarguments.

    iii) In a fallen world we must also live with the fact that we don't enjoy completely control over our feelings.

    Some of our feelings are irrational or unjustified or exaggerated. But that's the thing about feelings.

    It's like a phobia. Fear of heights. It may be irrational, but you can't suppress or eradicate the feeling, so you just learn to live with it and work around it.

    iv) Also, our feelings often change over time. What I feel about something at 15 may not be how I feel at 25 or 50.

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  4. Juan must be Reformed Indeed to have discovered the Regulative Principle of Sex: "Any departure from the clear testimony of Scripture with regard to God's purposes with regard to sex, is a perversion of it."

    I sure didn't see that on my last read of Westminster.

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  5. berny, paul wrote in romans that if your conscience tells you something is a sin (even though it is not), if you do it you have sinned.

    so listen to your guilty feelings.

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  6. --How does Juan know about the guilty feelings which accompany masturbation? Is he leading a double life?

    >>Steve, you're doing a really good job breaking down this debate and clarifying it. Please don't spoil it w/ out-of-place statements like this.

    So far in the discussion you've been dealing w/ the act itself, which I can understand. I would like to know your thoughts on it in relation to the fact that SO MUCH of the time, the act is accompanied by lustful thoughts (I speak from personal exp as well as common sense). Obviously, that would make it sinful.
    Given that, this debate is mostly academic. I don't have a problem w/ strictly or nearly strictly academic debates; I'm just saying.

    Respectfully,
    ALAN

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  7. Steve --

    I'm not sure I want to defend Juan here because, well, what's to defend, really.

    Here's my thought on the matter, and it's more than I'm usually willing to say on this subject: Christ made it clear that to look on a woman with lust who is not your wife -- that's adultery. Without saying more than I am saying, I find it hard to believe that a man can do the behavior in question here and not participate in the behavior Jesus has classified as sin.

    Masterbation may not be sin in and of itself -- but it is for all practical purposes tied to something Christ defines as sin.

    I don't think Onan enters into it, so to speak. I think the act has more than just one aspect we must concede, and when we concede the mental/motivational aspect of the act we have opened up Matthew 5 and the whole can of worms.

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  8. i) In context, Gen 38:8-10 is describing coitus interruptus rather than masturbation. These are hardly equivalent.

    Onan was having sex with a woman. That is how he achieved a state of sexual climax.

    Is that interchangeable with masturbation? I don’t think so.


    I anticipated this response and should have issued a "preemptive strike." The two are ethically similar if not identical insofar as they both separate ejaculation from its proper sphere (in the context and act of intercourse, open to procreation, which is its deepest ontological purpose). Onan deliberately removed himself from proper sexuality and "interrupted" it with de facto masturbation.

    Homosexual sex, or sodomy, is another instance of the same. They are all essentially the same on a moral plane because they deny the divine purpose of sexuality: procreation, and even the accompanying purpose of the unity and oneness of a man and a woman in lovemaking.

    Besides, most Protestants are no more opposed to contraception than (many) are to masturbation. You may say this is solely contraception and has no bearing on masturbation at all, but even if one grants that (I don't, per the above) you still have to explain how the Bible explicitly condemns it and Onan winds up dead. Theories about his failure to do the levirate duty, etc., fall flat with cross-referencing, as I showed, particularly in my longer paper.

    So you are in a position of defending a sexual morality that IS explicitly condemned in the Bible, in the case of contraception (specifically an old variant of it: coitus interruptus). Any way you slice the cake, the Protestant who has (knowingly or not) caved into the sexual revolution in part, has severe biblical problems to contend with.

    Talmudic literature draws a clear distinction between contraception and masturbation

    One may abstractly or conceptually distinguish the two, but it doesn't follow that 1) they were not both condemned by the ancient Jews, or 2) that Genesis 38 has no bearing on masturbation at all.

    Fr. Brian Harrison did a huge study on ancient exegesis of Genesis 38: "The Sin of Onan Revisited":

    http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt67.html

    He showed that your overall contention is incorrect and that the Talmud also associated masturbation with the condemnation of Onan:

    "6. In the parable of the sower, the idea of seed which falls upon the ground, rather than in it, symbolizes a fundamental sin: rejection of the Word of God (cf. Lk. 8: 5-6, 12-13). In Hebrew poetic thought a woman's body in its capacity for fruitfulness and motherhood is sometimes alluded to under images of a "garden" in which seed is to be sown (cf. Song of Songs 4: 12-16; 5: 1; 6: 1-2). Indeed, the very fact that in Hebrew the same word (zerah) is used for both 'semen' and 'seed' suggests that the potential for fruitfulness is understood as essential to any sexual activity."

    "The Encylopedia Judaica (Vol. 4, p. 1054, article "Birth Control") states: "Jewish tradition ascribed the practice of birth control to the depraved humanity before Noah (Gen. R. 23: 2, 4; Rashi to Gen. 4: 19, 23)." (For further confirmation of Jewish views on this point, cf. H. Hirsch Cohen, The Drunkenness of Noah [University of Alabama Press].) The Encylopedia article adds that on the basis of Gen. 38: 9-10, "the Talmud sternly inveighs against 'bringing forth the seed in vain', considering it a cardinal sin (Nid. 13a). . . . Strictly Orthodox [Jews], . . . for religious reasons, refuse to resort to birth control." In the same Encyclopedia, under "Onanism" (Vol. 12, p. 1495), it is stated that the act of Onan "is taken . . . by the Talmud (Yev. 34b) to refer either to unnatural intercourse or (cf. Nid. 13a) to masturbation. The Zohar [a 13th century work] expatiates on the evil of onanism in the second sense." Other works by Jewish authors corroborating this tradition include D. Feldman, Marital Relations, Birth Control and Abortion in Jewish Law (New York: Schocken Books, 1974) and J. Cohen, 'Be Fertile, Increase, Fill the Earth and Master It' (Cornell University Press, 1989).

    Fr. Harrison summarized:

    " The classical Jewish commentators - who can scarcely be accused of ignorance regarding Hebrew language, customs, law, and biblical literary genres - certainly saw in this passage of Scripture a condemnation of both unnatural intercourse and masturbation as such. A typical traditional Jewish commentary puts it thus: "[Onan] misused the organs God gave him for propagating the race to unnaturally satisfy his own lust, and he was therefore deserving of death." And this is undoubtedly in accord with the natural impression which most unprejudiced readers will draw from the text of Genesis 38."

    So it’s Armstrong’s interpretation which is anachronistic.

    Hardly, as just shown. Moreover, Joseph Schenker is the Professor and Chairman of the Department Of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Hadassah, University Medical Centre, Jerusalem, Israel, wrote:

    "The collection of semen can present problems because of the prohibition against masturbation and "seed wasting". Masturbation is strictly condemned by the rabbinical sources: "Thou should not commit adultery, neither by hand, nor by foot". Coitus interruptus, or withdrawal, and the use of condoms are generally prohibited on the basis of the Biblical injunction against "spilling of the seed needlessly". "

    http://www.obgyn.net/women/women.asp?page=/eago/art13

    See the texts in the Babylonian Talmud itself: Niddah 13a / 13b:

    http://www.come-and-hear.com/niddah/niddah_13.html

    iii) He also rips the verse out of context in another way: . . .

    Not at all. I already dealt with the "comeback" of appealing to the levirate law, in both my short and long articles. Here is my response in the shorter one, which is actually a chapter in my soon-to-be-published book, called The One-Minute Apologist:

    ----------------

    This involved what is known as the "levirate law": the duty to produce offspring with the wife of a dead brother. But this is not why God killed Onan, since the penalty for that was public humiliation and shunning, not death (Dt. 25:5-10). Context also supports this interpretation, since immediately after this (Gen. 38:11-26), is the story of Onan's father Judah refusing to enforce the law and allow his other son, Shelah to produce a child with Tamar, his daughter-in-law. He was afraid that Shelah would be killed like Onan and his other wicked son, Er (38:7,11). Judah acknowledges his sin in 38:26: "She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah." He wasn't killed, so it is unreasonable to contend that Onan was judged and killed by God for the very same sin that Judah committed (in the same passage). Onan was judged for contraception (sex with the deliberate intent to unnaturally prevent procreation).

    -----------------

    Does Catholic moral theology endorse bigamy? Does it sanction a married man cohabiting with his sister-in-law to keep the property in the family?

    If not, why is Armstrong appealing to the tribal custom describe in Gen 38:8-10? It either proves too much or too little for his own purposes.


    To the contrary, Onan was not killed for violating this law (nor was anyone else), but for the sin of contraception, which is essentially similar to the sin of masturbation. You are the one who is out to sea here in your exegesis (and your history).

    Since the morality of masturbation is debatable, there's nothing wrong with entertaining doubts.

    It only is in modernistic Christianity and biblical interpretation; this is the problem. Fancy that!: Steve Hays, the victim of modernism in both sexual morality and hermeneutics. How ironic . . .

    Some of our feelings are irrational or unjustified or exaggerated. But that's the thing about feelings.

    It's like a phobia. Fear of heights. It may be irrational, but you can't suppress or eradicate the feeling, so you just learn to live with it and work around it.


    That's right. The liberals make the same exact argument about kids having sex: they'll do it anyway and can't control themselves so we must let them do so and no longer say it is wrong. This reduces human beings to the level of the brute beast. Nice going there.

    They give them condoms: you wink while little boys play with themslves and arouse fantasies and improper sexual feelings. Let 'em dop it. This is pure sexual revolution thinking, through and through. It's not traditional Christian or biblical teaching, by any stretch of the imagination.

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  9. > "Aside from that, I should mention that under the law, death was not the punishment for failing to give your dead brother a posterity. Yet, God killed Onan, suggesting his sin was onanism."

    The surviving brother had a right to refuse sex with his widowed sister in law. If he refused, no death sentence. If he had sex with her, for the sole purpose of giving her a child, he had not committed adultery. The adulttery ban allowed this single, limited, narrow exception.

    What Onan did was neither refuse nor impregnate. He used his SIL for sex but made sure he did not impregnate her. He broke the deal.

    Onan stood in loco his dead brother for one single purpose: to carry on the dead man's line and give his widow a child. He acted outside that purpose.

    If my wife goes to a gynaecologist for a cervical examination, he has the right to undress her for a limited, specific purpose - to examine her gentitalia medically. If he abuses that right, and says "Take your clothes off because I'd rather look at you naked than do a boring old cervical examination", he has transgressed.

    If his SIL had been proven infertile, or had been post-menopausal, but Onan had said "Forget that glitch, I want to have sex with her anyway", he would have been committing adultery.

    Had he had sex with his SIL, but used Natural Family Planning to ensure he had sex only during her infertile times, he would still have been sinning.

    Yet, in the modern Catholic view, it is licit for a husband to have sex with his wife for pleasure even though she is infertile, post-menopausal, or in the infertile stage of her cycle.

    The real lesson of Onan is not "all sperm emitted must go into your wife's not-deliberately-rendered-infertile vagina", but "Don't play games by finding loophooles in God's commandments that subvert their overall purpose." And this is an area where Catholicism is skating on much thinner ice than Protestantism is.

    I stand by my point that masturbation should not come up as a pastoral issue in Protestant churches because we rely on public admonition rather than private confession. Having said that... I don't think masturbation is purely "private". Individal acts may be (waking up with wet dream that gets, uh, out of hand, soo to speak [*]), but cumulatively it adds up. There is a billion--dollar porn industry out there, and the fact that it would, I estimate, rival or exceed the prostitution industry in its profits indicates that masturbating *as a habit*, one that shapes what a man does when he's not masturbating, has very wide effects.

    [*] I don't think it's fair to play "gotcha" by saying "Either you do it and you're a hypocrite, or you don't do it and you're ignorant." The middle ground between "never done it" and "embrace it as a lifestyle" is "have done it but am seeking to go and sin no more." I'm sure Paul Manata could speak with authority on both the details and the wrongfulness of being a gangsta.

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  10. Just for the record and to let Steve know: I've compiled my comments, exchanges with Steve, and some of his other comments on my blog, as is my custom:

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/01/debate-on-morality-of-masturbation.html

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  11. Is that the same Fr Brian Harrison OP whom Mark Shea thinks has utterly miscontrued the proper Catholic [T]radition regarding torture? http://tinyurl.com/vsusv

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  12. Steve, keep this up and I'm going to sick the Bayly brothers on you (as if Armstrong wasn't enough)

    :)

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  13. Let's see Steve, when you use your sex organ, is it sex? If not, what is it then? Some kind of magical urination?

    Steve, does a man consciously and purposefully initiate a wet dream? A wet dream may be the result of lust in a man's heart, but it is not a conscious act, is it? It's amusing that you want to say masturbation is fine as long as you don't think about a "real" woman or a long dead one, or if it's just engaged in as a physical stimulus. Do I know from experience? Why yes Steve, I was a pagan once and I masturbated on a regular basis. I especially love this quote from you,

    "How does Juan know about the guilty feelings which accompany masturbation? Is he leading a double life?"

    I thought this was an "adult" conversation. Your little quip is the equivalent of a homosexual accusing me of being attracted to men because I speak out against homosexuality.

    The first year I was saved I struggled with masturbation, it plagued my heart. I cried out to God and He delivered me from it. Have I fallen into it since then? Yes, but with judgement day honesty it has been less than 10 times in 12 years. And by God's grace I have repented each time. So, you can mock that statement and not believe it, but praise God it's true. And I'm Reformed and a Calvinist, btw, not Pentacostal.

    Was Paul's answer in 1 Cor. to fast and pray when faced with sexual temptation? No, he said "it is better to marry than to burn". I don't recall him saying, well, if you can't find a wife, look for a nice, quiet dark place and Onanize it.

    Are you one of those guys that dances a jig around something because the actual "word" is not found in Scripture? Oh, OK, masturbation isn't mentioned in the Bible. What is God's intention with regard to sex Steve? When Adam was in the garden before the fall and before God made Eve, was masturbation OK then? If not, why not? God said that it was not good that man should be alone, He delighted in the fact that Adam "knew" his wife. Do you think God would delight in Adam "knowing" his hand? Well, that's not sex I guess. I mean, it's only one person...

    You asserted that necrophilia is dealt with in Scripture. I don't remember where. I'm not saying it isn't, but would you care to cite the passages?

    The reason I am animated about this topic Steve, is because I know that a lot of young men struggle with this. There are guys out there like Berny that have guilty consciences with regard to it. And this isn't like being afraid of heights, some irrational fear you have to deal with. This is a moral issue before God, and guilt is involved because man knows in his heart it is wrong. You can sear your conscience about it if you want, that's your business. But don't cause others to stumble because, while the biblical principles about sexual purity are all around you in Scripture, you just didn't come across the "word".

    The fact is, most people justify it because they do it. Ought the man of God be chained to his libido and his penus? Or is he in union with Christ?

    You're all "wet" on this one Steve...

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  14. And Berny, anonymous #2 brings out a good point. If you can't masturbate in faith that it is good and right, then to do it is a sin....

    Charles Sebold,

    Care to defend your opposition to what you quoted from me?

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  15. Juan: Um, there's really nothing for Charlie to "defend." He's basically just drawing a simple parallel between your statement and what's known as the Regulative Principle of Worship (cf. WCF 21:1). Although he's done so in a wry sort of way. Personally, I thought it was pretty funny.

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  16. Patrick,

    Um, he made an assertion that what I said wasn't biblically accurate. I'd like him to show how it isn't. I assume he was trying to make a point with the homorous parallel...

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