Far More Intimacy In God’s Name
A group that advocates the need for less sex in relationships… is religious leaders. I am only acquainted with my own, so excuse the Christian bias, here.
Here’s why this isn’t helpful: they still advocate for intimate relationships outside family to include romance, marriage, children and sex, albeit after marriage. Such relationships are elevated in importance over all others. Worst case, relationships with people of other religions and friendships with other genders are actively discouraged.
Aside from the misinformation and social problems this causes, this theory is especially weird when contrasted with practice.
My religious community has provided me with a half-dozen types of relationships, from “habitual greeting on a Sunday, but member of the same community” to “see them every week in small groups and also hang out randomly because they’re cool people” I have no words for outside of that community, because “fellowship” has become a weird and icky word in the Christian propaganda.
It’s a relationship sandbox for people re-entering society after some type of isolation, such a long-term therapy, and sought out either by individuals or by organisations encouraging them to go to church. Social engagement is important, too, whether through volunteer work or by churches cooperating with non-profits and grassroots initiatives.
On top of that, and hardest to explain, is how central and intimate a relationship with God is. I guess with one or multiple gods, or saints, if your religion is different. Prayer is a private conversation. A religious text is a personal diary or a letter as much as it is a history. Science is an exploration into the endless wonder an eternal mind produces. Human variety is an expression of how limitless we can be, not how limited we are.
In other words, a church can provide a feeling of community and a platform for platonic (and yes, romantic or sexual) relationships few other organisations can. Prescriptive attitudes and a bias towards monogamous heterosexual marriages is detrimental to that.
So to this questionaire1 I’d like to add:
- Do you exclude any people or individuals out of principle?
- Have you ever outright told people they were “wrong”?
- Do you have a pro-active anti-discrimination policy?’
- Do you organise activities aimed at socialising?
- Do you encourage or discourage relationships of any kind?
Further reading (and image)
1. Self-evaluation guide for welcoming churches (blog post).