Sexuality has its own place in religion

Brandon Bills

For every system of belief, one can find a different or more nuanced view of the role of human sexuality. Some of the biggest disagreements about sexuality tend to arise from the context under which sex should take place.

“Compared to what the Canaanite religion was like, ancient Judaism was kind of straight laced when it came to matters of sexuality,” said Barry Crawford, professor of religious studies. ”

Crawford said that an early example can be seen in the Old Testament’s description of the Israelites’ disapproval of the Canaanites’ use of temple prostitutes in worship.

“In the Bible, the prophets are scandalized by this kind of behavior,” said Crawford.

Temple prostitution hasn’t recently been an issue here in the United States,.Still, religions’ viewpoints on sex often influence the way people live their lives.

“Judaism sees sexuality as natural, a blessing to be enjoyed,” said Rabbi Debbi Stiel of Temple Beth Shalom. “Something that’s meant to be done as part of a committed, covenanted, relationship.”

Though religions may differ slightly in their approach to sexuality, many emphasize commitment.

“Human sexuality was created by God for the preservation of mankind, but it’s also given as a gift by God to be enjoyed in its pleasure as well as in its ability to bring a whole new understanding of intimacy,” said Hank Nelson, college pastor at Topeka Bible Church. “It’s best enjoyed and discovered within the confines of God’s original design.”