The best comment on the Bible and masturbation I have ever seen

Onan was stealing from his dead brother; this is a point that doesn’t make sense without the context of old property law. He was avoiding having a son with his dead brother’s wife while putting on the pretense he was trying (as he was legally obligated to), because legally that son (wait for it) would’ve magically been his dead brother’s, thus an heir to his property. Onan was ensuring his brother’s property would go to his own son(s). So one or more counts of fraud and theft. It just happens the theft involved his wang’s lovejuice. Ironically, he was “laying” with the wife, so he isn’t even self stimulating.

I have a thing for theology… I still get an intellectual kick out of it, and I get annoyed when people–whether religious or non–make theologically ignorant assertions about a faith.

I love this comment; it’s the best concise explanation of the Onan story I’ve ever seen. Please refer people to this if they ever tell you the Bible says masturbation is wrong. I don’t know if the Catholics ever revised their interpretation of this passage, but the “sin of Onanism” was born purely (as far as I can tell) out of the body-hating culture of the middle ages, and has exactly zero basis in scripture.

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  1. The argument (against) I’ve heard most often comes from 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 but it can also be used to put down obesity, drunkenness, tattoos, and pretty much anything that involves a person or their body.The last issue most Christians have with masturbation (which they do *not* talk about, in my experience) is that it’s almost inseparable from lust, however you define that.If you can separate masturbation from thoughtcrime territory, you could have a decent theological argument.

  2. Interesting point about Corinthians. Of course, that requires an implicit preexisting assumption that masturbation is an unholy thing to do. At that point you might reasonably ask whether pooping is allowed in the temple of the holy spirit either.The lust aspect (which some Christiands DO talk about) is, as you say, the one closest to making any kind of theological sense. Jesus says that to commit a sin in your mind is to commit it in fact, so there’s an argument to be made that masturbating to thoughts of anyone besides your wife is a sin.*practically* speaking I’ve realized since becoming more philosophically…flexible, that any religion that tries to put a damper on masturbation is anti-human and anti-peace, because people who jerk/jill off regularly are about 100 times less likely to spontaneously combust (metaphorically speaking) and/or try to murder a woman for the sin of showing her ankles. But that is not a theological argument.

  3. “Jesus says that to commit a sin in your mind is to commit it in fact, so there’s an argument to be made that masturbating to thoughts of anyone besides your wife is a sin.”I would argue that one can even lust after their own spouse. It’s like “friends with benefits” without the friendship part. Basically, masturbation likely objectifies the person you’re thinking about.While I’m not a Catholic, I think they have the most logically air-tight argument for condemning any sexual act where procreation is not the goal. In each case, the power we’ve been given to create life (in a co-creation sense) is essentially being willingly abused or squandered with the sole purpose of gaining personal pleasure.

  4. If lusting after my spouse is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

  5. I’m not saying that desiring your spouse is wrong, but “taking shortcuts” is questionable.

  6. > implicit preexisting assumption that masturbation is an unholy thing to doProbably true, but you could also say that the body is designed for specific purposes and abuse of the purpose is abuse of the body (and the body is a temple, yada yada). So instead of reducing it to an assumption about masturbation, you reduce it a an assumption about purpose, design, and the body, which is relatively easy to swing into alignment with whatever will support one’s argument :)As to anti-human and anti-peace, I think most thoughtful Christians would agree, but the purpose of the law is most definitely *not* to make people comfortable with their humanity. Assuming this is a legal issue, I’d say it’s appropriate to feel uncomfortable or put-upon by the ideal (“masturbation is wrong”) so ultimately you either have to argue that this is not law (more likely) or that following the law, at all or in this case, is not necessary (highly unlikely).On the issue of believers living in harmony with non-believers (spontaneous combustion, etc.) the Christian church is still trying to come to terms with that. Wasn’t until the last few generations that it was obvious we were living in a post-Christian, or at least post-Constantinian, world. Most Christians never got to the part where it said you weren’t really supposed to hold everyone else to your own standards.As far as masturbation, the most messed feature of the discussion (in the Christian church I’ve known) is the dead silence on the topic. Anything that is so common and so private but is left hidden, mysterious, secretive, and forbidden is going to leave a lot of people messed up or in a very hard place. I’m not passing judgement on the act (too grey to give black white answer), but its treatment is shameful.

  7. abachman: great point, re: holding up non-believers to Christian standards.

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