Friday, May 19


I read with interest this response to the Harvard study about teenage virginity pledges.

At the same time, I've been listening to the outrage about The Da Vinci Code's assertion that Jesus was married and impregnated his "wife," Mary Magdalene.

(I'll briefly go on record here, as a devout Christian, that I don't for one minute believe Christ was married. I don't believe this because I WANT to, I believe it because the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are more credible, since they were witnesses to the events they describe and were written decades, even centuries, before the gnostic "gospels" and thus less apt to be colored by gossip and cynicism, and there is no evidence in them, or any other accepted historical documents, that Jesus married.)

But what I'm interested in, and what links the two stories for me, is the notion that sex is a most heinous sin, and that if Jesus had married, that would prove he wasn't divine.

It's patently obvious to me that many people, even "religious" people, link sex, even marital sex, with sin. Since Jesus was, we Christians believe, without sin, the proposition that he might have married is for some evidence that he was not without sin, and thus not divine.

The apostle Paul, though he never exercised it, appealed to Jesus' brothers for a dispensation to marry. If Jesus had been married, why would that have been necessary? Yet Paul, who was an ascetic, recognized that sex is a human imperative. "It is better to marry than to burn," he said. Paul recognized that the sexual instinct is ingrained in humanity and difficult to deny.

I believe that just as Lauren Winner seems to me to indicate, that many Christians really still attach a stigma of sin to sex, even if blessed by the Church. Why else would the Catholic Church forbid sexual activity, even if blessed by marriage, to their priests? And forbid birth control, as if only procreation is a valid excuse for the (distasteful, otherwise-sinful) act of intercourse?

How ironic that they think so. After all, Christ's first miracle was performed at a wedding ... and most theologians interpret that as a sign of God's special blessings upon marriage. And I've never understood how they could reject the obvious sexual content of the Song of Solomon -- Solomon, who was blessed by God.

Are we back to the Dark Ages, when even marital sex was considered sin and an indication of lack of faith and discipline?

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