On the heels of an earth-shattering exploration of the 237 reasons people have sex --I swear, someone's going to make this into a coffee table book and get rich off of it -- Chicago Tribune faith and religion blogger Manya Brachear wondered, "Can sex bring you closer to God?"
Brachear opened her August 1 "The Seeker" blog entry:
Why do so many people of faith seem obsessed with sex? Or it just the people who cover them?
Although Brachear tossed out the possibility that it's the media that are sex-obsessed, she quickly turned her attention to just how prudish she thinks America's numerous faith traditions are:
Teenage sex, contraceptives, premarital sex, masturbation, extramarital sex, abortion, gay sex, celibacy. Not a year goes by when some if not all of the issues just listed are not addressed or condemned by a religious denomination.
It’s one thing to tell people every day is Sunday. But today, religious organizations take it a step further, calling on couples to contemplate church teachings especially in the bedroom every night.
Pesky religion. Telling people to govern the totality of their lives by what it considers God's will in all things. The nerve!
Being a journalist whose blog is dedicated to "a personal and professional quest for truth," Brachear certainly could have interviewed some priests, pastors, imams, and rabbis about how their faiths inform sexual morality, particularly the notion of honoring God with one's body, not just one's faith or good works.
After all, the notion of honoring God with the body (living in sexual purity in marriage or celibacy outside of marriage), is a notion threaded throughout numerous faiths but particularly emphasized in Christian Scripture.
But instead of exploring the thoughts of Chicago area clergy, Brachear paraphrased sex researcher Gina Ogden as insisting that "some people admit religious doctrine does get in the way of sexual pleasure."
Well, duh. For instance, religious teachings against pre-marital sex or adultery stand "in the way of sexual pleasure," but they also guard against the emotional and spiritual harmful consequences of the same. Many faiths teach this principle and Christianity in particular addresses sexual immorality and sensuality in the New Testament epistles, many of which were largely written to Christians living within a sex-obsessed, decadent Roman Empire.
In closing, Brachear asked for reaction from her readers:
What do you think? Does sex bring you closer to God? Or it against your religion to talk about it?
Brachear could also have asked if "being close to God brings you a deeper appreciation of sex with your wife or husband," but that doesn't serve well the notion that spirituality should start with the self at its core and reach God as almost an afterthought.