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Posted: 1/29/2006 9:28:44 AM EDT
I just want to say, right now, I am NOT trying to throw rocks at the hive. This is a serious question that's been bothering me for a while, even though I'm not Christian.

The reason I usually hear that many Christians believe masturbation to be wrong (and often I hear it as a reason against birth control) is, in Genesis 38:8-10 (here in the NIV):


8: Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother."

9: But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother.

10: What he did was wicked in the LORD's sight; so he put him to death also.



The backstory is, Judah is the father of Er, Onan, and a few others, and Er was killed by God for being wicked. So Judah told Onan to have a child by Tamar, Er's wife, and Onan pulled out, and for this God killed him.

However, from the way I see it, it doesn't seem so much like God killed Onan for the act of wasting his semen, but for disobeying his father and failing to do his "duty to [Tamar] as a brother-in-law."

So, was Onan's sin in the wasting of sperm, or in the disobediance against his father?
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 9:50:39 AM EDT
I've never read the biblical rationalization for not masturbating, but what you put there sounds like it can be taken either way.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 2:17:49 PM EDT
It's both this story AND the evidence from history that led the early Church (as early as 100AD) come out specifically banning contraception and masturbation.

The apostles were no wall flowers, They lived in the Roman Empire - which was incredibly hedonistic so they knew first hand the types of practices people can fall into and which ones are habit forming and which aren't.

They also knew from experience which ones seemed to lead to diseases and which ones led to disorders (lust) which broke down the family/marriage structure.

So it's not entirely arbitrary as in "the bible says so, so I say so". It's that plus what they saw with their own eyes happening among the pagans around them.

Now if you have this habit it's considered extremely hard to break....it co-opts your will to a degree so your freedom to say "no" is diminished. The Church preaches mercy and patience in such cases almost never fire and brimestone condemnation.

It is a gate way sin to worse stuff.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 2:38:42 PM EDT
Onans sin was his failure to impregnate the wife of his deceased brother and provide him with an heir, as was Jewish custom (and possibly biblical law--I don't know).
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 6:02:50 AM EDT
Yep. Onan failed to fulfill his obligation to his brother's widow.

IMHO, the problem with masturbation is what you are doing in your mind. Nobody performs that with a blank mind. Jesus said that when you look at a woman with lust, you have already committed adultery in your heart.

Thus, whether looking at porn or conjuring images in your mind during "the act", I believe one would be violating this principle.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 6:10:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MagKnightX:
However, from the way I see it, it doesn't seem so much like God killed Onan for the act of wasting his semen, but for disobeying his father and failing to do his "duty to [Tamar] as a brother-in-law."



Bingo.

That's the real sin in the story.

Not "wasting sperm".

The stance of many Christians about masturbation has more to do with Jesus saying that looking on a woman to lust after her is comitting adultery in your heart.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 8:17:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
Yep. Onan failed to fulfill his obligation to his brother's widow.

IMHO, the problem with masturbation is what you are doing in your mind. Nobody performs that with a blank mind. Jesus said that when you look at a woman with lust, you have already committed adultery in your heart.

Thus, whether looking at porn or conjuring images in your mind during "the act", I believe one would be violating this principle.



Well said, Brohawk.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 8:28:41 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/4/2006 9:27:51 PM EDT
Onan's sin was in pulling out (coitus interruptus), not in his "failure" to give Tamar a child. If he had properly had intercourse with her and she didn't conceive would God have killed him for not giving Tamar a child? No. His sin was in his action of deliberately robbing the sex act from its life-giving ability.

Judah and his younger son also violated the Levirate law, as did Onan. So why didn't God kill all three of them? The punishment for violating the Levirate law was public humiliation, not death! Judah broke the Levirate law by not letting Tamar wed Shelah, and Shelah violated the Levirate law by not insisting on the marriage when he came of age. Onan did more than just violate the Levirate law. He went through the motions, but prevented the act from bearing the fruit it is designed to bear. He deliberately contracepted.

I shall quote part of a booklet "Birth Control & Christian Discipleship:"

1. Biblical scholar Manual Miguens has pointed out that a close examination of the text [Gen. 38:9-10] shows that God condemned Onan for the specific action he performed, not for his anti-Levirate intentions. The translation "he spilled his seed on the ground" fails to do full justice to the Hebrew expression. The Hebrew verb shichet never means to spill or waste. Rather, it means to act perversely. The text also makes it clear that his perverse action was related towards the ground, not against his brother. "...His perversion or corruption consists in his action itself, not precisely in the result and goal of his act... In a strict interpretation the text says that what was evil int he sight of the Lord was what Onan actually did (asher asah); the emphasis in this sentence of verse 10 does not fall on what he intended to achieve, but on what he did."
2. In the context of the entire chapter, Genesis 38, it is clear that Onan is only one of three persons who violated the Levirate. His father, Judah, and his younger Brother, Shelah, also violated the Levirate law, and Judah openly admitted his guilt in verse 26. After Tamar had tricked Judah into having intercourse with her and getting her pregnant, thus getting Tamar accused of harlotry, he admitted, "She is in the right rather than I. This comes of my not giving her to my son Shelah to be his wife."

When three people are guilty of the same crime but onlyone of them receives the death penalty from God, common sense requires that we ask if that one did something the others did not do. The answer is obvious: only Onan went through the motions of the covenantal act of intercourse but then defrauded its purpose and meaning; only Onan engaged in the contraceptive behavior of withdrawal."



It goes on in more detail, but that gives you an idea of what the time-honored (meaning centuries-old) interpretation is, and not just by Catholics. What many people today don't realize is that for the vast majority of Christianity, artificial contraception was condemned and called Onanism, even by Protestants going back as far as Martin Luther. Until 1930 at the Lameth Conference (Anglican), not one single Protestant denomination approved of artificial contraception.

All of the anti-contraceptives law in the US at the turn of the century were put in place by Protestants. It was the SCOTUS case of Griswold vs. Connecticut that struck down laws against contraceptives that opened the door for... you guessed it... abortion. The two are inseparably linked (or so said Margaret Sanger, the foundress of Planned Parenthood), and the very same cases that opened the door for contraceptives and abortion are the exact same cases used to strike down Texas's anti-sodomy laws and are being used by judges to push same-sex marriage. Homosexual activity is the logical progression from artificial contraception (and this is coming from someone who supports artificial contraception). If it is ok to rob the marital act of it's life-giving property, making it a sterile act done solely for the purpose of orgasm, then any opening or device or creature will suffice as well, as they also make the sex act sterile and done only for pleasure.

Here is a quote from a man who very clearly identified himself as dissenting from the Catholic teaching on human sexuality:

It seems unreasonable to maintain that there is a difference between allowing a husband and wife to use the condom adn allowing them to ahve anal intercourse since netiehr fulfills the natural law doctrine's requirement of insemination in the vagina. Likewise there is no difference between using the condom and coitus interruptus or any of the other so-called sins prohibited under the doctrine such as masturbation, homosexuality, and bestiality." ~Michael F Valente, Sex: The Radical View of a Catholic Theologian


Here are a few quotes by some well-known Protestants:

"[T]he exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches . . . is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime. . . . Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore, God punished him." ~Martin Luther



"The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring." ~John Calvin



"Those sins that dishonor the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile affections. Observe, the thing which he [Onan] did displeased the Lord—and it is to be feared; thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls." ~John Wesley


Link Posted: 2/5/2006 4:25:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/5/2006 4:27:18 AM EDT by MRW]
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 12:41:27 PM EDT
I cannot speak from a theological stance, but personnally, it is the most destructive, addictive activity I have ever done, and it is the biggest sin obsticle I have between my earthly self, and my spiritual goals, faith, and (action) belief.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 8:02:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
Yep. Onan failed to fulfill his obligation to his brother's widow.

IMHO, the problem with masturbation is what you are doing in your mind. Nobody performs that with a blank mind. Jesus said that when you look at a woman with lust, you have already committed adultery in your heart.

Thus, whether looking at porn or conjuring images in your mind during "the act", I believe one would be violating this principle.



Just to play devil's advocate for a moment.....

Given that logic, what exactly is wrong with rubbing one out while conjuring images of one's wife, or looking at one's wife? Is that, or is that not still remaining faithful to one's wife, and if not, why not?
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 8:53:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
Yep. Onan failed to fulfill his obligation to his brother's widow.

IMHO, the problem with masturbation is what you are doing in your mind. Nobody performs that with a blank mind. Jesus said that when you look at a woman with lust, you have already committed adultery in your heart.

Thus, whether looking at porn or conjuring images in your mind during "the act", I believe one would be violating this principle.



Just to play devil's advocate for a moment.....

Given that logic, what exactly is wrong with rubbing one out while conjuring images of one's wife, or looking at one's wife? Is that, or is that not still remaining faithful to one's wife, and if not, why not?



1 Corinthians 19-20 " Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s."
Link Posted: 2/6/2006 1:43:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By WildBoar:

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
Just to play devil's advocate for a moment.....

Given that logic, what exactly is wrong with rubbing one out while conjuring images of one's wife, or looking at one's wife? Is that, or is that not still remaining faithful to one's wife, and if not, why not?



1 Corinthians 19-20 " Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s."



I'm not seeing the connection in that passage to masturbation or sexual activity.
Link Posted: 2/6/2006 3:40:54 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/6/2006 4:33:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/6/2006 5:38:42 PM EDT by WildBoar]

Originally Posted By MagKnightX:

Originally Posted By WildBoar:

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
Just to play devil's advocate for a moment.....

Given that logic, what exactly is wrong with rubbing one out while conjuring images of one's wife, or looking at one's wife? Is that, or is that not still remaining faithful to one's wife, and if not, why not?



1 Corinthians 19-20 " Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s."



I'm not seeing the connection in that passage to masturbation or sexual activity.



Wont be easy if you are not a Christian that knows his body is not his own.
Sorry about that. I thought you may have been a Christian who knew the implications of God basically owning us and whatever we do to our bodies, we may as well be doing to God. If you do not see that then it natural you will not see the implications or relevance. Until you see it, none of this or anything anyone here says will make sense to you. I guess I was just offering my particular view on it. Not saying you have to agree or understand. Just tossed it out there seeing as you asked the question.

Glad you are askng questions though.

Link Posted: 2/6/2006 9:47:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By WildBoar:

Originally Posted By MagKnightX:

Originally Posted By WildBoar:

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
Just to play devil's advocate for a moment.....

Given that logic, what exactly is wrong with rubbing one out while conjuring images of one's wife, or looking at one's wife? Is that, or is that not still remaining faithful to one's wife, and if not, why not?



1 Corinthians 19-20 " Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s."



I'm not seeing the connection in that passage to masturbation or sexual activity.



Wont be easy if you are not a Christian that knows his body is not his own.
Sorry about that. I thought you may have been a Christian who knew the implications of God basically owning us and whatever we do to our bodies, we may as well be doing to God. If you do not see that then it natural you will not see the implications or relevance. Until you see it, none of this or anything anyone here says will make sense to you. I guess I was just offering my particular view on it. Not saying you have to agree or understand. Just tossed it out there seeing as you asked the question.

Glad you are askng questions though.





All well and good, but it has NOTHING to do with why rubbing one out while thinking of one's wife is considered (by some) to be comitting adultery. Which is the point I was trying to get at with my question..
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 3:34:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MagKnightX:
I'm not seeing the connection in that passage to masturbation or sexual activity.



Christian principle teaches that the body of the individual is the dwelling place of God Himself, in the Person of The Holy Spirit. Thus the Christian body is supposed to be Holy as a means of reverencing the presence of God Himself.

God created sex to be a union enjoyed in the covenant of marriage. Jesus clearly taught that whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her commits adultery in his heart, and that is normally a part of masturbation. Sexual activity outside the union of marriage is also clearly taught against. These kinds of things, Paul is saying, defile the temple that we are supposed to be for God's Spirit.

Paul puts it like this in 1st Corinthians chapter 6:

"15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s."


Link Posted: 2/7/2006 3:36:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
All well and good, but it has NOTHING to do with why rubbing one out while thinking of one's wife is considered (by some) to be comitting adultery. Which is the point I was trying to get at with my question..



The arguement could be made that the very nature of the sex act is supposed to be mutual, and does not exist merely for self gratification.
Link Posted: 2/7/2006 4:17:47 AM EDT
The sin is not fullfilling his obligation, it must be done right away so that it appears to be the natural heir. As for sex, it was a very sexual time. Sex was and still is a normal part of life. Many groups, Even Early followers of Jesus included, practiced sex in a manner that today would be frowned on.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 4:31:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TheWind:
The sin is not fullfilling his obligation, it must be done right away so that it appears to be the natural heir. As for sex, it was a very sexual time. Sex was and still is a normal part of life. Many groups, Even Early followers of Jesus included, practiced sex in a manner that today would be frowned on.



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