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Flashcards in Sexual ethics Deck (96)
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What quote does Richard Holloway use on human sexuality?

"Human sexuality is like a runaway car". It can be destructive or creative, but we are never quite in control of it.


How did Pythagoreanss view sex?

He believed that humans should refrain from physical activities and live a more ascetic life. In this way the soul, which is imprisoned in the body, is freed to mote to a new form.


How did Greek philosophers originally view sex?

They saw sex as something weakening to the mind. However, for the Grreks sexuality is naturally excessive and so the moral problem is not whether it is right or wrong but how to control it. This did no involve laws which prohibited certain sexual acts, but required individual self-discipline.


How has Plato's model been interpreted in relation to sexual relationship?

In his model of the soul as the charioteer with his two horses; the beautiful white horse that is a model of self-control and responds to the spoken word, and the ugly black horse that needs controlling with a whip. There are in this many levels of interpretation as far as sexual desire/pleasure is concerned- the desire needs controlling but it is allowed to exist; after all, the charioteer needs both of his horses.


How did the Cynics view sex?

They saw no point in controlling sexual desire/pleasure and saw no shame attached to the sexual act, even going so far as to perform it in public.


How did the Stoics view sex?

THe Stoics reacted totally against the Cynics, and advocated overcoming any emotions that threaten self-control- the Stoics were the original 'stiff upper lips' and sex became linked to reproduction and the continuation of the human race.


what view does the Old Testament have to sex?

The Old Testament is a reflection of its times and does not seem to have one particular view on sex and relationship. Many sexual acts are recounted in a factual way, without judgement.


How is sex portrayed in Genesis 1 and 2?

There is an understanding that sex is created by God and meant for procreation. However, sex is not seen as wrong but good; yet the contradictions also appear, as sex should not be practised in sinful ways. Sex is a gift from God. "Be fruitful and increase in number"- purpose procreation?


What does the story of Lot in Genesis 19 suggest about sexual ethics?

Rape or those under protection is not permitted; or homosexual relations? Incestious rape to preserve the family line is suggested as acceptable.


What does Leviticus suggest about sexual ethics?

Adultery is not permitted. Arguably homosexual acts are not permitted. Incestuous relationships aren't permitted. Bestiality is not permitted.


What does 1 Kings suggest about sexual ethics?

Sexual involvement with non-Israelites was forbidden, as it would lead away from God.


What does the teaching of Jesus suggest about sexual ethics?

Jesus himself said very little about sex; in fact he gave very few rules and instructions, but called his followers to live as part of the kingdom of God, to reflect through their lives God's love for all people and to live justly with each other. As far as sex and relationships are concerned, Jesus seems to have left the issues open.


What does Jesus say about divorce?

It is not possible to be sure what he said of what he meant in his teachings about marriage and divorce. However, it is clear that Jesus is challenging the view of the wife as the man's property- he is talking more about equality than about sexual relationships. One thing is clear however, and this is that Jesus is setting out an ideal and divorce falls short of it.


What was much of Paul's writing influenced by?

His expectation of the imminent return of Christ and the end of the world. There was not much point in giving a detailed ethic on sex and relationships, as all human relationships were soon to end. Additionally, he was influenced by Greek thinking, attempting to move the CHristian people away from the body towards the soul.


What does St Paul say in 1 Corinthians?

That Christians should not let their bodily emotions control them, that sexual activity is to be kept within marriage, that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and should be respected.


What quotes does St Paul say about sexual ethics?

"The fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?"


Why can St Paul's views be considered inconsistent?

Sometimes he was positive about women, saying all are equal "For all of you are one in CHrist Jesus", yet elsewhere he argues that women should "be subject to your husband as you are to the Lord", thus returning to the Old Testament view of the wife as the property of the man. WHen he is positive about marriage and does not just consider it for the weak-willed, he compares it with the relationship between Christ and his Church.


What was the view of Gnosticism on sex?

Central to Gnostic teaching was an intense dislike of the body and its needs, a total pessimism about sexuality which infiltrated the early Church.


What did Augustine say sex was?

A Necessary evil.


Why did Augustine teach that sex was 'dangerous'?

He argued that the devil uses women to lead men away from reason, and pleasure in sex leads men away from reason. For Augustine the problem, and the solution, dated back to Creation and the Fall. Adam and Eve, he concluded must have been made for procreation, though they would not have needed to procreate before the Fall, or at least would have experienced no desire or pleasure. However, God knew that Eve would take the fruit and so prepared for the consequences. Therefore, sexual desire is a constant reminder of man's rebellion against God- it is our original sin.


What did Pelagius believe about sex?

He believed that sexual desire could be controlled by the will.


What did Augustine say was the idea of sexual relationships?

For Augustine, chastity was the idea, but sex was allowed, so long as it was not enjoyed, within marriage.


What was Thomas Aquinas' view on sexual ethics based on?

Aquinas based his thinking about sex and relationship on his understanding of Natural Law, in which he attempted to unite the thinking of Aristotle with Christian theology.


What did Thomas Aquinas believe about human life?

He believed that human life had a purpose or telos; good acts developed our human nature and bad acts went against human nature. Aquinas assumed that humans shared a common human nature and so general principles could be applied to everyone, everywhere and at all times.


What did Thomas Aquinas believe was the purpose of sex?

Aquinas concluded that the purpose of the sexual organs and sexual activity was procreation, and any other use of sex was intrinsically wrong. Sex for Aquinas was to take place within the bounds of marriage, and must be open to the possibility or procreation.


What two ways did Aquinas argue that sexual acts can be morally wrong?

1. Sex is wrong when 'the act of its nature is incompatible with the purpose of the sex act [procreation]. In so far as generation is blocked, we have unnatural vice, which is any complete sex from which its nature generation cannot follow."
2. Sexual acts can be morally wrong even if natural; in these cases, "conflict with right reason may arise from the nature of the act with respect to the other party" for example, incest, rape or adultery.


What four examples does Aquinas give for unnatural sexual acts?

"The sin of self-abuse" (masturbation", "Intercourse with a thing of another species" (bestiality), acts with a person of the same sex (homosexuality), and acts in which "the natural style of intercourse is not observed, as regards proper organ or according to other rather beastly and monstrous techniques" (foreplay)


What two important questions does Natural Law raise?

1. Is an 'unnatural act' always wrong, even if it is consummated with mutual and informed voluntary consent?
2. Are there some non-procreative sexual acts that might be natural to human beings? Do we, in fact, share a common nature, but might God have created a variety of human beings with different forms of sexual expression?


How does the categorical imperative cause Immanuel Kant to take a conservative attitude to sexual ethics in many ways?

A husband who commits adultery cannot want extra-marital sex to be a universal law unless he wants his wife, children, parents and so on to also engage in extra-marital activities. Neither can homosexuality be universalized, since every homosexual is conceived through a heterosexual relationship- although artificial insemination could change this.


What view does Kant hold on sexual ethics?

According to Kant, the pursuit of sexual pleasure is only allowed when serving more valuable goals, such as marriage. The categorical imperative does not allow people to be treated as a means to an end. The Kantian viewpoint seems to be that sexual acts are wrong in themselves, as the involve using another person for one's own pleasure, but this seems to apply to prostitution not marriage.