230: CHRISTIAN ATROCITIES #8: The defamation of sexuality and of women

“A warm welcome to the 230th Post on the Zingcreed blog. You are welcome to listen in as I chunter on about God (mainly negative thoughts) and Jesus (mainly positive vibes). I hope you get as much pleasure out of reading it as I do out of writing it!” Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.

Defamation of sexuality

The ideological basis of the hostility of Christian ethics towards the sexual impulse, which has been and still is so disastrous in its consequences, is to be found in the Greek Scriptures (New Testament). Jesus’ teaching in the gospels was quite clear:

  • ”For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” (Mk 12:25) Sexuality in other words  belongs to a sinful world which is passing away.
  • Existing marriages have either to be given up  for the sake of Christ (Matt. 19:29) or,
  • because divorce is categorically prohibited (Mk 10:11) they must be endured like lifelong imprisonment,
  • with any desirous glance making a person fit for hell. (Matt. 5:28)

History’s most famous mysogynist (can’t remember his name, begins with a P…..!) can always be relied on for some priceless quotes in this Christian Atrocities series. Here’s the founder of the Christian religion at his best, or should that be ‘worst’? When you think of the amount of suffering his trash caused down the ages …..SPOILER ALERT!!!

  • “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” (1Cor. 15:50)
  • “It is well for a man not to touch a woman” (1 Cor. 7:1)0
  • “Christ…will transform our lowly bodies…” (Phil. 3:21)
  • “God will destroy the stomach” (1 Cor. 6:13)
  • In eternity “there is neither male nor female” (Gal. 3:28)
  • At the resurrection, Christians will be clothed with an asexual body made of ethereal heavenly substance (1 Cor.15:42; 2 Cor. 5:1)
  • “I wish that all men were as I am” (i.e. celibate) (1 Cor. 7:7)
  • “If the (unmarried and the widows) cannot control themselves, then they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Cor, 7:8-9)
  • “Remain as you are . Do not look for a wife.” (1Cor. 7:26-7)
  • Paul outlawed extramarital sexual intercourse for the strange reason that “the immoral man sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18), not because the couple might treat each other as mere objects or commodities, nor because they might treat each other as instruments of purely physical satisfaction.
  • Paul also demanded that “those who have wives” should live “as though they have none.” (1 Cor. 7:29)
    Marriage for the Christian then was to be a joyless brothel in his own home! (Tertullian, faithful to the Christian tradition, attempted to correct this by insisting on the renunciation of marriage since it was based on the same act as harlotry.)

Defamation of women

The defamation of sex inevitably leads to the defamation of women. All the NT writers exhibit the Jewish patriarchal view that women are not equal to men.


  • treated women like second class citizens
  • allowed himself to be served, looked after, and supplied with money by them (Mk 14:3-9; Lk 7:36-50; 8:1-2; 10:38-42)
  • did not allow any into the intimate circle of the twelve
  • was not concerned with the emancipation of women: see his use of the word “marry” for men and “given in marriage” for women (Mk 12:25; Lk 17:27)

1 Corinthians spells it all out, especially chapters 11 and 14 – this neurotic philistine’s views are not his alone, but are found throughout the Greek Scriptures (New Testament). These male authors regarded human sexuality not as a source of joy but as a source of anxiety; not as a means of expressing love but as a means of expressing sin. Sometimes overtly, but sometimes in a more concealed manner, the NT writers outlawed everything to do with man’s body.

Paul justified the privileged position of men by pointing out it was not Adam who was tempted but Eve (2 Cor. 11:3); and that man was not created for the sake of woman but woman for the sake of man (1 Cor. 11:9). Only man is the image and glory of God – woman is only the glory of man (1 Cor. 11:7). Even in communal worship, woman’s subordination to man had to be made quite clear by her wearing a veil (1 Cor. 11:5) and by her keeping silent (1 Cor. 14:34). If she wanted to know something she had to wait until she got home and then ask her husband (1 Cor. 14:35).

Elsewhere in the Epistles  we read that woman’s place is in the home. As the Germans used to put it when I was younger “The role of a Hausfrau is Kuche, Kinder and Kirche.” (The housewife’s 3 tasks are cooking, kids and church). I expect they were influenced by the 2 following quotes:
“Let a woman learn in silence, with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet woman will be saved through bearing children.” (1 Tim. 2:11 ff)
“(women are) to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be discredited.” (Tit. 2:4 ff)

This sexist, offensive crap has been read out from pulpits across Europe for nigh on 2000 years.

The suppression of man’s natural instincts inevitably leads to psychological repression and aggressive fixation on scapegoats – namely women, lascivious pagans and Jews. Sexual impulses which were contrary to the norm were ‘projected’ onto women. It was after all not Adam but Eve who brought sin into the world. In this dishonest way male domination and superiority were justified by appealing to mythological arguments.

The early Fathers
were unanimous in regarding sexual abstinence as superior to marriage, it was just for those weak souls who lacked self-control. The ideal form was a ‘spiritual marriage’ where the couple lived in continence as Mary and Joseph were supposed to have done. The doctrine of perpetual virginity was coined, disregarding the fact that Jesus has at least 6 siblings in the gospels, and undermining the embarrassing fact that Jesus’s brother James led the church in Jerusalem for decades after the crucifixion. No, Mary was a virgin, the Mother of God, who never did anything as animal as have sexual intercourse, because that would have defiled her! and that’s that! Perish the thought that this flesh-and-blood young Jewess had 7 kids! (See Post ‘Two red Jewesses‘ comparing Mary with anarchist Emma Goldman).

Extra-marital intercourse was regarded, like murder or apostasy, as an unforgivable mortal sin which would get you booted out of the church.
Clergy, and altar ‘boys’ had to be celibate, (Synod of Elvira, 310 C.E.)
Menstruating women were forbidden from coming to church. A 7 year penance for breaking this ban!
Listen to these early fathers’ hostile obscenities:-
“Woman is the gate through which the devil enters,”  Tertullian.
“Woman is the way of evil, the sting of the scorpion,” Jerome.
According to St Augustine, sin reaches its peak in sexual desire and is inherited by way of the sexual act. That is why Jesus had to be born of a virgin: if he had not, he would not have been sinless. This twisted logic echoed down the centuries through the hallowed naves of every church and monastery.

Middle Ages
(Part of the Dark Ages, [ca.600-1600 C.E.] when the church had its way for a whole millenium in Europe, see Post ‘Christian atrocities #7 The dark Ages‘ ).

Things got worse.

As my main source, Kahl, narrates (p.78) “The whole history of the Middle Ages is characterized by an increasing attempt on the part of theologians to repress man’s sexual urge or at least to regulate it. Confession proved to be an excellent weapon  for achieving this domination of sex life by the church, with the result that it was imposed on all Christians as a duty by the fourth Lateran Council in 1215.”
People felt fearful and guilty because they could not obey ‘God’s will’. Only the clergy had the power to forgive them and save them from hell. The clerics messed with their minds as well as with their private activities.
Sex was forbidden…
-on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays
-during the 40 days of Lent
-for 40 days before Christmas
-for 3 days before communion
Wet dreams were a sin, and 7 psalms had to recited that night and 30 more in the morning!
Wanking was thought worthy of the most extreme punishment; Aquinas described it as a worse sin than harlotry. (Wanking is the commonly used term for masturbation in the UK. Because of our puritanical, christian history, to call someone a wanker is to insult them.)

The celibate clergy were as guilty as anyone, and just as today, they had sex with their cooks, with prostitutes, with each other and with any available child. Hypocrisy was the name of the game. Brothels flourished whenever a Church Council was convened. Whores had to pray regularly and not miss mass.  No pagans or Jews were allowed to use their services.
The church of St Peter’s in Rome was partly paid for by taxes on papal courtesans.

The feelings of guilt and anxiety felt by men were projected onto the temptress woman. Theologians considered them sub-human, failed men, unworthy of equality in the church or in civil society. Fit only to serve men by producing their meals and their heirs. This deep hostility reached a horrifying climax in the Christian witch hunts which resulted in several million women being tortured and burnt at the stake from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century.






Related Zingcreed Posts:
Sex #5: Jesus and the prostitutes
Equality in the greek scriptures (NT)
Was Jesus a babe magnet?

Kahl, J “The misery of Christianity” Penguin (1968)


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