The Questionnable Legitimacy of Non-practitionners of Religion in Regards to Sexuality

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The topic of this paper is « The questionable legitimacy of non-practitioners of religion in regard to sexuality ». The purpose of this research was to provide information in order to demonstrate that religion and sexuality are globally two divergent concepts. The difficulties presented supported this purpose. Nonetheless, the end of this paper clearly intended to make someone understand that this problem is more complex than it seems in first and we cannot have a straight opinion because of all interpretations and factors that intervene in it


Our society has experienced really big changes within the last decades. It has been demonstrated by the rising of new mentalities and ways of thinking. Some of them which were not mainstream in the past, become more and more accepted by society and those ones turn around sexuality. The debates that emerge of this topic are numerous and problematic.

As one can imagine, the direct obstacle these new views confront is religion. The purpose is not to be judgmental but to provide an understanding behind the conflictual relation between Religion and sexuality. By being conscious of this fact, the central issue of this paper is to present the problems when trying to live the sexuality in conformity to the religion, either about sexual behaviors or sexual orientations.

Ethics and customs are in the center of most world’s religions. Some religions consider gender as a sacred act between a man and a woman, which must take place only in marriage; Other religions point out that certain forms of sexual intercourse are immoral or sinful or that sexual intercourse is for reproductive purposes only. Whether the birth control, polymorphism, or abortion, whether or not they are sexually active before marriage, are often religious beliefs, and those are the main proscribed behaviors.

According to the Interfaith working group, « In some religions, sexual behavior is regarded as primarily spiritual. In others, it is treated as primarily physical. Some hold that sexual behavior is only spiritual within certain kinds of relationships, when used for specific purposes, or when incorporated into religious ritual. In some religions, there are no distinctions between the physical and the spiritual, whereas some religions view human sexuality as a way of completing the gap that exists between the spiritual and the physical »

ln addition, sex becomes increasingly commoditized nowadays due to the hypersexualization of society This is something we experience through social media, tv programs etc. People and even practictioners of religion are Iess likey to follow the codes and rules of religion. As a direct consequence, most religions have lost power and influence. This phenomenon will worsen with time.

One of the religions whose practitioners remain strict on themselves is Islam According to Adamzyck, « Some cross-national and attitudinal studies find that Muslims and Hindus tend to have more conservative sex-related attitudes than do Christians (Finke and Adamczyk 2008). Likewise, in the few studies that survey people of different religions within the same nation, Muslims appear less likely than Christians to have premarital sex (Addai 2000) » (Adamczyk, 2012, p.5)

The Problem with sexual orientations in regards to Religion Conflict has always been present between sexuality and religion. Those two concepts seem to be divergent. Sexual orientation has been defined in many domains such as sociology, psychology etc. It has been increasingly accepted through the vehicles of politics (mainly on its acceptation in some countries, mostly western ones) and by the use of media and TV programs. The popular idea or argument is usually about freedom of expression and act. However, Religion is one of the pillars of society. Therefore this freedom is limited when we want to conform to religion codes. Christianity is a proper example.

According to Hunt, « The biblical texts directly condemning homosexuality are, in fact, few and far between. Other texts inferring condemnation are often quoted to support them. These include references to the ‘normality’ of two-gender divine creation and the ideal of the heterosexual monogamous marriage. The more explicit texts generally referred to are in the Old Testament book of Leviticus which declares same-sex sexual relations between men as sinful and, in the eyes of God, an ‘abomination’.


Such differences are explained by the sexual morality_ It can be defined as the beliefs and practices by which a culture or a group regulate their practictioners regarding sexual activations. Concerning sexual activity, many religions have rules. Some of them perceive sex as a way of natural reproduction only (sacred thing) and others just for the seeking of the pleasure of this activity only. The rules in one culture define, therefore, whether someone is immoral or correct about sexuality. ln fact it is crucial to understand that the expectations and standards of one are not necessarily the same for others and the generalization of the situation could lead to its misinterpretation. Mentalities are changing and religion becomes less and respected in terms of its sexuality codes than in the past.

According to Burke, « When it comes to stereotypical attitudes against sex, the Religious Right appears to be fighting a losing battle. Recent survey data suggest that religious conservatives who support abstinence-only sex education, restrictions on marriage for gay couples, and bans on women’s access to abortion are outnumbered by a majority of Americans who oppose these views. Today, conservative religion seems to be losing cultural relevance as Americans are less strictly devout and are increasingly progressive when it comes to sexual attitudes and practices » (Burke, 2016, p.5)

Concerning sexual orientation, it is different from sexual behavior and reflects feelings and self-esteem. People may express their sexual orientation or behavior in their attitudes. They suffer from it through discriminations, injustices etc. Unfortunately, it seems almost impossible from a religious point of view.

According to Hunt, « Despite sophisticated hermeneutics and apologetics, and irrespective of the fact that the liberal Christians may have current civil rights legislation supporting their views of homosexuality, the reality is that they do not have the weight of Church history on their side. The early Christian Church, and traditionally the Roman Catholic Church the Eastern Orthodox Churches and later the Protestant churches, have been explicitly condemnatory of same-sex sexual relations » (Hunt, 2009, p.13)

We understand that some liberal churches began to have a different opinion about this topic. In fact, one can say that “there are not doing something wrong because they are offending anyone, and it is technically true. However, the problem is way more complex.

Then, the question of legitimacy is difficult to address due to the fact that even if most religions have a straight opinion about sexuality in general. This difficulty is expressed by the fact there are still existing debates and contradictions about this topic. Consequently, experiencing entirely one means forgoing the other

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The Questionnable Legitimacy of Non-practitionners of Religion in Regards to Sexuality. (2020, Mar 13). Retrieved from

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