Here's to Charlie Hebdo - Thoughts on Fear, Religion, and Sex
The attack was horrific and disgusting and dare we say it; a great sign. When fanatics lash out, it's because they are afraid of the inevitable; change. They fear that their archaic beliefs are slowly eroding into obsoletion. They're afraid that in 20 years, or 50 years, or 100 years, the whole world will be free to laugh at something they take so seriously......
The bigger wall you build, the more you must invest in defending it. Out of love and respect, it's our charge as human beings to remind each other of the futility in building a wall at all. It doesn't matter whether it's a wall around your religion, sexual orientation, education, or anything else. A wall may provide you protection, but once it's there, you can no longer connect with others and they can no longer connect with you. Charlie Hebdo used pen and ink to tear down walls and we at Project Bluebird salute them.
In memory of their courageous efforts and in hopes that this attack will only strengthen their resolve, today we address religion and sex.
In June of 2014, Sharon Kay Edwards published a blog in the Huffington Post titled, Southern Sundays and Sex: A Memoir, in which she gives her account of life as a sexually active minister's daughter. As you might expect, the word "fake" scatters the text. It references the basic and wholly odd paradox of being tethered to the guilt and condemnation of sexual attraction in biblical texts during the years of your life when hormones saturate your every thought. So why on earth did humans develop such a gauntlet of repression and desire for us to repeat generation after generation? It may have something to do with the topics raised in this 2010 NPR article by Alex Spiegel titled, Is Believing in God Evolutionarily Advantageous?
The article details research exploring whether the perceived notion of a deity strengthens societal cooperation, thus helping our ancestors to make individual choices for 'the good of the group' when authority figures or judgmental peers were not present. But how did this evolve into the moral premise of abstinence? Why do Catholicism, Christianity, Islam, and other religions which promote having as many children as possible, saddle sex with guilt? The answers may lay once again, in evolution.
As prone as youngsters are to seek a mate, they are equally prone to break ties and find another. If during that time, procreation has occurred, a female is left to tend to her child alone and without the resources that a committed male counterpart would provide in a traditional society. In times of scarcity, this may mean the death of both the young female and her offspring. If however, the female is prevented from procreating until such a time as she is able to find a committed mate with resources to share, then she is more likely to produce multiple offspring over the course of her lifetime.
There are many other theories attributable to the evolutionary utility of sexual customs in religion. Young females have also not built up many of the biological reserves necessary for the production of healthy offspring. Religions which promoted waiting until a formal courtship ritual had taken place, likely aided in the survival of their followers, thus preserving their belief system into the future.
This is certainly not a promotion of religious beliefs as they relate to the health of society. Science can now provide us with logical conclusions for why teenagers should wait to reproduce. We no longer need to guilt each other through the perception of an invisible entity who gives you the stink eye while you sext your high school sweet-heart. Thanks to education, our children are more able to make informed decisions based on knowledge rather than fear. In the spirit of ending where we started - break down those walls, today more than many others, should remind us of that.
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