Sunday, April 6, 2008

What Does The Bible Say About Masturbation?

Dear Daniel,
I have decided to answer your questions in two separate lessons because they were too many. The first one I will entitle “Does God Condemn or Approve Masturbation?” and the second one will be “How does God want us to have sex” in another article.

Does God Condemn or Approve Masturbation?

Dr Joycelyn Elders, the former Surgeon General of the United States (09/08/1993-12/31/1994) was fired in December 31, 1994 for suggesting that masturbation should be taught in schools. Feb 19, 2008, Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) issued a trespasser warning to a dark skinned male because a female student strongly suspected he has been masturbating in the public library due to “motions or gestures in the area" of his private parts. Statistics show that 65 % of women masturbate even though most women know deep in them that this statistics is wrong because 90% and above masturbate. So what then is masturbation? Masturbation is self stimulation of the genitals to obtain sexual satisfaction. People masturbate to cure loneliness, release themselves of sexual pressure, and others to discover the mechanics and dynamics of their genitalia.
Many preachers and Imams have sermonized that masturbation is bad because the Bible and the Koran say so. Those that cannot find solace in religion find it in myth and unempirical medicine. Some have said it causes syphilis, hair to grow on your teeth and hands, gonorrhea, blindness, infertility, demon possession, mental retardation and a lot more, yet no medical journal has published that masturbation has caused or contributed to any of these diseases. Is masturbation then sinful?
Two passages in the Koran: Sura 23:5-7 and 70:29-31, recommend masturbation if one was afraid of committing adultery. The immediate question will be if it is inherently bad why even permit it as an escape route for adultery? Does that make any sense to you? 
The Christians use Gen 38:6-9 where God killed Onan for spilling his sperms unto the ground rather than into his brother’s wife, so she could bare his brother a child. The weakness with this doctrine is that, masturbation is a solo effort while Onan had sex with his brother’s wife. It was on basis of the levirate marriage that he was bequeathed with the inheritance of his brother's inheritance, including his wife although he selfishly does not want his brother to have off springs. Therefore, he is killed for selfishness and not withdrawal. You cannot eat your cake and have it.
Some Christians have also cited Paul’s advice to the Corinthian church: “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (I Cor 7: 2). The weaknesses with this doctrine is that, it takes two or more to commit fornication, but it takes only one to commit masturbation, so the passage is treating a different topic. The second weakness is that, within the confines of this passage, the couple acquiescently without objection adheres to verse 3-5. Meanwhile, nowadays it is generally accepted that a man cannot rape his own wife. Just like one cannot steal his or her own property except if someone else was carrying it. So too is the case with sex.
Before you got into marriage, you accepted the condition that your body belongs to your spouse and vice versa. In that case, someone could well be married but staffed from sex because the spouse partially obeys the scripture. When people are married, they have mutually agreed to surrender their bodies at all times anywhere without price and without restriction to each other. Except with mutual consent can they abstain from having sex.
One other reason why some people think masturbation is bad is that it has a residual effect. As is with all habits, any habit that is done in excess leads to addiction which is regarded as a residue of the primordial act. If you eat too much and start to fall in love with food, you will become a glutton because you eat too much. That is just plain common sense. If you love hating people, you will end up a killer. I don't understand why people say they fear the residual effect. In that case then, every act should be prohibited since every human action has a residual effect. Eating may lead to gluttony and drinking alcohol may lead to drunkenness.
Masturbation is to cure or tampon loneliness, and the Bible says it is not good that a man should be alone (Gen 2:18). The only place where sex is permitted is in marriage, and marriage is bond in blood sexually administered. How will it be bad when the bond in marriage is not broken since he or she is not bringing a third party inside? The marital bond is infracted only when a third party is brought into the union by consensus or unilaterally. In masturbation, no third party is brought in; rather it is a means to curb loneliness so that the to-be married partner could be preserved for their spouse.
Yet other Christians consider it a sinful act because they claim the masturbator must affixed his or her mind to an opposite sex to attain satisfaction. The weakness with this theory is that, it takes away the act of sex from a spiritual position to a physical one. Sex is not a physical act; it is a spiritual act (I Cor 6:17-20; 3:16-17). That is why we entangle our souls with the individual we have sex with. That verse refers to harlotry, prostitution or unlawful sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse, harlotry or prostitution are not solo exercises. They must be done with two or more people. It is merely saying that the fornicator should not think that his or her body belongs to him or her because he/she is of Christ, so he or she cannot just give it to another person  as they want. When man was conceived, he was conceived in iniquity; hence, sold to sin. Through propitiation, Christ's spills his blood;thus, redeeming mankind. At that moment, mankind belongs to God. Since sex is a spiritual affair, to have sex with another person out of the covenant, you are selling your body. In masturbation, you are not giving your body to anyone; therefore, you are not breaking any bond. The key here is the bond. It is like someone massaging their leg to feel relaxed or who takes a swim to feel good. Would that be sinful? 
Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. So anything that will involve your spirit must be attained by affixing your mind unto the desired or coveted object. Furthermore, just because someone lusts after something does not mean they have sinned because lust must conceive (take one a prisoner) to produce sin (James 1:14-15). A prisoner is anyone who does not have control over himself or herself. If we consider lust as sin then temptation is sin; meanwhile, we know that temptation is a test (bad test seeking to destroy) our faith and commitment to God. One has to fall into temptation to sin because though they may be tempted, they may overcome it.
Some have argued that if masturbation is an acceptable practice, the people of yesteryears would have been doing it. There is no proof they were not doing it. In addition, the people in the olden days may not have even needed masturbation because they married at early ages, even before their bodies were fully developed for them to play with.
Notwithstanding, masturbation may be permitted but not expedient when we consider that sex is the spiritual demonstration of our love using our bodies. Perhaps the only solution to masturbation will be self control and not marriage because even in marriage, one will need self control since they will be forced to masturbate in case their spouse refused giving them sex. The Bible neither condemns nor promotes masturbation. We are facing an adiasphora. When the bible does not condemn or promote an act, the individual will have to count on their conscience (if they have one) or on personal revelation, but I personally do not see anything wrong with masturbation!

Until then, let your conscience and spirit guide you.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk.

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