The Skeptic's Guide to The Universe

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Atheists and sexuality

Often when religious adherents encounter an atheist for the first time a common comment they say is that they don't think pornography is right. I have heard this several times from different religious adherents in various places and times around the country. Of course this represents a very gross misunderstanding of what an atheist is. As I have stated before it has little to do with what one does but with what one fails to believe. Usually this is due to the lack of evidence to conclusively show that there is a supernatural nature to, well, anything. This being the very defining characteristic of an atheist. If you notice there is nothing in it that relates to or is dependent on anything sexually.

So why is there such a misconception among the religious adherents about the sexual mores of atheists? There are several paths that we can take to lead us to the answers. One is due to the belief that adherents see their morality as being derived from a supernatural source they make the mistaken assumption that the absence of this moral code would result in the practice of what that code set up as prohibitive. This is, of course, nothing but a logical fallacy, a non-sequitur. The facts of the issue are much less enticing.

While it is true that as a generalized group, atheist are more likely to be accommodating or practicing in some sort of sexual behavior that is otherwise prohibited in most religious dogma. The reality is much less fatuous and frivolous. As we are “fortunate” to learn that the promoters of such sexual moral codes are often the ones that are the ones that are often most entangled in the same behavior that the try so hard to restrict. It has been said before that the more one protest or wishes to restrict a behavior are the ones most likely to be the ones involved of most willing to accommodate it's practice in their own lives. From this, I personally view that the more a person or group promotes restrictive sexual behavior the more likely it is that somewhere in the group these taboos are practiced. Is there a sexual restriction that seems unusual from an ethical point of view? I would say that this is either used as a cover for some other sexual behavior or for the particular sexual behavior that they are against in their dogma. This is my opinion but it is based upon the reports and experiences that are reported in the news from time to time.

To this end, I find that atheist are fortunate in that these dogmatic hang-ups that so many religious adherents are forced to suffer through. The prohibition of natural behavior is something the religion is quite good at. When it comes to food, sex and clothing, religion has something to say almost every time on these subjects. So it should come as no surprise that normal sexual behavior is one of the most restrictive areas that the adherents of religion focus on. Things such as homosexual partners, sexual actions, number of sexual partners, time for sexual behavior, age of sexual actions and so on have “answers” in the dogma of religious adherents. Theses answers, of course, are already part of the moral and ethical codes of human behavior. There are reasons for and against certain sexual behavior and the reason for practicing them. Atheist are more likely to be less restrictive of sexual actions that are committed by mutual consent by adults.

Biologically there is no reason for most of the restrictions that religious adherents push including the right or a woman to control her own body and the time and place she wishes to have children, if she even wants to have any at all. It is a real problem for the male dominated religions to accept the idea that woman are able to exercise the freedom that men have been able to enjoy for so long. This is really a none issue with atheists other than wishing that a person makes the best decision for their particular situation.

So under the banner of atheist, there is plenty of room for persons of atypical yet totally acceptable sexual behavior to find acceptance. It is not uncommon to find a person at an atheist meeting that is homosexual or a couple that by choice desires to not have children or even a relationship that involves more than two persons. The only level of acceptance is that the people are pleased in the conditions and are not trying to force or otherwise promote illegal activity. Rape is still viewed as a violent action and is generally viewed as a action that requires the perpetrator to be punished. Sadly, even this has exception with in the range of religious dogma.

To surmise, atheists are not the sexual perverts that the religious adherents may believe that they are. That would more likely be the actual religious adherents themselves. Atheist are generally more accepting of a wider range of sexual behavior than the religious adherents. This acceptance is borne out of the idea that it really doesn't matter after all. As long as one can function and productively contribute then that should be the moral standard for acceptance of a person. Not the person they have sexual relations with.

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