Disciple of Thecla
10/11/11 at 01:00 PM 0 Comments

Celibacy: the Original Deviancy

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Since the beginning of human history, humans have engaged in some type of sexual activity. The Bible is quite honest about this worldly obsession in discussing sins and warning against sin. Leviticus 20:10-12 condemn heterosexual sin while 20:13 condemns homosexual sin; these verses are clear evidences of what existed in biblical times.  Research into various areas of ancient history also verifies that this worldly obsession has been quite widespread - and thus commonplace - throughout human history.

What does Jesus say about this, and what does Jesus want for his followers?

In John 17:16 Jesus said that his followers "are not of the world, just as I am not of the world."

Sex of all types are of the world. Lust is materialistic and objectifying toward whatever is being lusted. Regardless of the specifics, all sex is of the world because it involves physical and fleshy attractions. There is nothing spiritual to it. And Jesus wants us to separate ourselves from the world in our desires. Even Paul in 12:2 of his Letter to the Romans states, "Do not be conformed to the world."

Celibacy separates people from the world and brings people closer to a spiritual and godly type of love. John wrote in 2:15-17 of his first letter:

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it."

Celibacy is the ultimate deviancy because it is completely separate from the world, and all sex is of the world. During a biology class, teacher referred a monk who made a scientific discovery. The teacher explained that monks abstain from sex, and all the students were very shocked and surprised. One student even asked: "Can anyone actually live like that?"

This story illustrates how celibacy is the most deviant behavior in our culture. Celibacy is not culturally normal or culturally accepted in a society obsessed with physical gratification and hedonism. Celibacy can free us from physical bonds and enable us to free our spirits. After all, according to Jesus, men and women can choose celibacy "for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven."

Just how that one student did not believe people could live without sex, the Pharisees did not believe it either. Another sign of the controversial, deviant and non-worldly nature of celibacy is seen in what the Pharisees believed (614:1) "A man who has no wife is not a complete man." To sum it up, a man who has no wife might as well be a eunuch. Pages 614 and 615 of The Book of Legends, a compilation of Jewish thought, are filled with their views of sex and marriage. In fact, the Hebrew language of the Bible lacked a word for bachelor (Colon, Field. pg 159). The absence of this word in the Hebrew language indicates just how foreign celibacy must have seemed to the Jews at the time of Jesus.

Using the language and cultural terms of the time, "eunuch" was the only world available to describe celibates or bachelors. After declaring that sex should occur only between a man and woman within the context of marriage, (Mathew 19:12) Jesus spoke of controversial celibacy, "There are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it." Other translations say "There are men who choose not to marry for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven."

All of Christianity is slipping away from the teachings of Jesus and are more often becoming of the world. For decades the world has portrayed sex as vital and essential. I read an article titled "Pastor Rocks Church with Sexual Sins Sermon." In that article, Pastor Perry Noble preached against all types of sexual sin, and people began to leave the church in the middle of his sermon. People were walking out when Noble was still talking about heterosexual sin. He left the homosexual sin for last in his sermon. The people's reaction there clearly shows that Christians have lost a biblical perspective.

In the book, Singled Out: Why Celibacy Must be Reinvented in Today's Church, Christine Colon and Bonnie Field describe a Christianity that has lost its perspective regarding celibacy. In their book, they describe a Christianity that has adopted the world's obsession with sex with views similar to the Pharisees who could not imagine anyone choosing not to marry and choosing celibacy (pg 164, 165). Some Christians in their book have even gone so far to start that marriage would make people closer to Christ or more Christ-like (pg 91). The majority of Christians forget that Christ was the original advocator of celibacy.

The secular world - and increasingly the church - have come to view having sex as somehow integral and essential part of what it means to be human. Some Christians attempt to maintain their values, yet they adopt the world's views when they describe sex as the goal or reward of marriage. And that emphasis is why most marriages fail. A man and a woman should marry with goals higher than their own bodies. Also, even the dogs, cats, snakes, and pigs have sex. In fact, so does the majority of land species. Perhaps indulging in this worldly obsession makes us more similar to the animals whereas abstaining from sex and exhibiting self-control enables us to understand what being a human truly means.

All sex regardless of the type or inclination is of the world. Jesus wants his followers to be "in the world, but not of the world." The ultimate deviation of sex is the complete absence of sex. In order to separate ourselves from the world, single men and women, divorcees, and many others must accept and embrace a celibate lifestyle. Humanity is the only species with a purely spiritual component. To embrace and accept ourselves as humans, we must abstain and exhibit self-control over our bodies.

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