Why is masturbation considered to be a "grave sin"?

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Magna
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29 Dec 2019, 2:07 pm

Perhaps members more knowledgeable about this than I am can clear some things up for me about masturbation and certain Christian faiths such as Catholicism believing masturbation to be a "grave sin".

"Onanism" is defined as 1) masturbation. 2) coitus interruptus or vice versa depending on the dictionary used.

Onan was a man in the Old Testament who performed coitus interruptus, "spilling his seed" on the ground or "pulling out" presumably to avoid impregnating his wife. Given that Christian faiths such as Catholicism believe that sex should not prevent the possibility of conception, it makes sense that within that construct, coitus interruptus is considered sinful.

I don't get why masturbation is considered sinful, however. Onan was not masturbating, he was having sexual intercourse. It seems a stretch to me that masturbation is equated with Onanism.

A man who masturbates isn't preventing a procreative act. Neither is a woman who masturbates. Moreover, a woman doesn't "spill her seed".

There are many ways that a person seeks pleasure and which are not considered sinful by the same Christian faiths: taking a hot bath, watching a movie, eating ice cream, getting a massage, reading a good book, and on and on and on. Why is masturbation, a solitary pleasurable act and therefore not an act that prevents procreation considered to be a sin?


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envirozentinel
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29 Dec 2019, 2:25 pm

It depends who you ask and which sources you refer to.

The onanism thing is taken out of context.


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29 Dec 2019, 2:39 pm

I suspect their reasoning would go something along the lines of:

"To have sex with another, with the intent of reproduction, serves a practical purpose which justifies the act in the eyes of god. Even the act of sex with another, without the intent of reproduction, while married, is still an act of love towards another within a holy union - so long as the possibility of pregnancy is not interfered with, such as the spilling of his seed, or any other form of contraception. To engage in masturbation serves no practical end other than self-pleasure, and as such would then be construed as an act of lust, which is one of the deadly sins."

That's my best guess based on what I know of christian scripture and belief. I suspect it also has to do with the idea that spilling one's seed is to waste god's gift of life for an act of lust. In their eyes, masturbation does prevent procreation, because every orgasm could have been a pregnancy if you'd had sex instead of masturbating. Also the lust thing. Sexual acts tend to get singled out as a sin like that. Of course, religious doctrine doesn't want you to question it - it just wants you to obey - so it doesn't have to make sense - you're just supposed to obey it anyways.



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29 Dec 2019, 2:46 pm

There’s the idea of “lust.” The Bible does discourage fantasizing about people. (Read Matthew 5:28, 29)

Also, Romans 1:26, 27 gets pushed to an extreme (as I mention in another thread) as far as only sex between a man and woman being okay. Some think this would preclude self love.

Masturbation is usually considered more of a “minor sin” by the very religious which can be absolved through prayer and avoiding repeat offenses.



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29 Dec 2019, 2:49 pm

envirozentinel wrote:
It depends who you ask and which sources you refer to.

The onanism thing is taken out of context.


What do you mean it's taken out of context? One of the definitions of Onanism is masturbation and as such is a basis for masturbation being considered a "grave sin" from my understanding.


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29 Dec 2019, 2:56 pm

Magna wrote:
envirozentinel wrote:
It depends who you ask and which sources you refer to.

The onanism thing is taken out of context.


What do you mean it's taken out of context? One of the definitions of Onanism is masturbation and as such is a basis for masturbation being considered a "grave sin" from my understanding.


Read Genesis 38:8,9. Those scriptures are not actually referring to masturbation but using the pull out method as birth control during sex.



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29 Dec 2019, 3:01 pm

uncommondenominator wrote:
I suspect their reasoning would go something along the lines of:

"To have sex with another, with the intent of reproduction, serves a practical purpose which justifies the act in the eyes of god. Even the act of sex with another, without the intent of reproduction, while married, is still an act of love towards another within a holy union - so long as the possibility of pregnancy is not interfered with, such as the spilling of his seed, or any other form of contraception. To engage in masturbation serves no practical end other than self-pleasure, and as such would then be construed as an act of lust, which is one of the deadly sins."

That's my best guess based on what I know of christian scripture and belief. I suspect it also has to do with the idea that spilling one's seed is to waste god's gift of life for an act of lust. In their eyes, masturbation does prevent procreation, because every orgasm could have been a pregnancy if you'd had sex instead of masturbating. Also the lust thing. Sexual acts tend to get singled out as a sin like that. Of course, religious doctrine doesn't want you to question it - it just wants you to obey - so it doesn't have to make sense - you're just supposed to obey it anyways.


It's possible for people to masturbate without thinking lustful thoughts or without thinking anything at all. This makes it an act of seeking pleasure, but I don't see how that's different than seeking pleasure in a myriad of other ways.


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29 Dec 2019, 3:23 pm

No, that's known as coitus interruptus and isn't the same thing. It was considered a sin in Onan's case because of the circumstances (which I forget for now - bit rusty) but masturbation is quite different. Besides, a lot of the OT stuff is no longer taken as wrong e.g. most of the laws and regulations about clothing, eating pork etc.


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29 Dec 2019, 3:41 pm

envirozentinel wrote:
No, that's known as coitus interruptus and isn't the same thing. It was considered a sin in Onan's case because of the circumstances (which I forget for now - bit rusty) but masturbation is quite different. Besides, a lot of the OT stuff is no longer taken as wrong e.g. most of the laws and regulations about clothing, eating pork etc.


I understand what you're saying, but if you Google Onanism, every definition I've seen includes masturbation as a definition of the word as well as coitus interruptus being a definition.


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29 Dec 2019, 3:52 pm

Magna wrote:
envirozentinel wrote:
No, that's known as coitus interruptus and isn't the same thing. It was considered a sin in Onan's case because of the circumstances (which I forget for now - bit rusty) but masturbation is quite different. Besides, a lot of the OT stuff is no longer taken as wrong e.g. most of the laws and regulations about clothing, eating pork etc.


I understand what you're saying, but if you Google Onanism, every definition I've seen includes masturbation as a definition of the word as well as coitus interruptus being a definition.


That still doesn’t reflect the Biblical account.

Read Genesis 38:8-10

It’s taken on this “every sperm is sacred” idea because it was viewed as “wicked” for Onan to “spill his seed on the ground” which has carried over to views about masturbation. “If God felt that was wicked, he’d think this would be, too” sort of stuff.

It was largely “wicked” because Onan was commanded to provide offspring for his dead brother by sleeping with his sister-in-law, but he didn’t want to so he used the pull out method.

Sometimes people who are against birth control focus on this account too because they feel that they have been commanded to “be fruitful, become many, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). They don’t want to be “wicked” like Onan for failing to heed this command.

Who wants to have 10 kids? :P



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29 Dec 2019, 9:02 pm

It really sucks that I used to get boners watching cartoons like The Little Mermaid and Sailor Moon, before I even knew what sex was, and then later on being told that looking at women lustfully is a sin, after fantasizing about cartoon characters millions of times by then.



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29 Dec 2019, 9:16 pm

uncommondenominator wrote:
I suspect it also has to do with the idea that spilling one's seed is to waste god's gift of life for an act of lust. In their eyes, masturbation does prevent procreation, because every orgasm could have been a pregnancy if you'd had sex instead of masturbating.
Well even with sex, there's millions of sperm and obviously only 1 is needed, so I guess that means that even married men sin when they ejaculate.

What confuses me about all this is that I thought that god doesn't judge? When the bible was written, people were getting married when they were 12-14 years old. Obviously, things have changed drastically and some people still believe that it's wrong to climax at all until your wedding night.

It is also believed that god created all of us. In that case, if he thinks that homosexuality is wrong, than why did he make some people gay? Why did he give people all types of disabilities? Why does he "create" children when teenagers have sex even though they're not in an ideal spot to raise them?



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29 Dec 2019, 9:55 pm

CubsBullsBears wrote:
In that case, if he thinks that homosexuality is wrong, than why did he make some people gay?

And why would god create intersex people if he was so black and white about gender. What do the anti-gay religion conservatives say about intersex people. They probably have never heard of them because they don't make sense in their black and white moral view. Or maybe they think intersex is a choice :roll:.


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29 Dec 2019, 11:28 pm

CubsBullsBears wrote:
uncommondenominator wrote:
I suspect it also has to do with the idea that spilling one's seed is to waste god's gift of life for an act of lust. In their eyes, masturbation does prevent procreation, because every orgasm could have been a pregnancy if you'd had sex instead of masturbating.
Well even with sex, there's millions of sperm and obviously only 1 is needed, so I guess that means that even married men sin when they ejaculate.

What confuses me about all this is that I thought that god doesn't judge? When the bible was written, people were getting married when they were 12-14 years old. Obviously, things have changed drastically and some people still believe that it's wrong to climax at all until your wedding night.

It is also believed that god created all of us. In that case, if he thinks that homosexuality is wrong, than why did he make some people gay? Why did he give people all types of disabilities? Why does he "create" children when teenagers have sex even though they're not in an ideal spot to raise them?


Perhaps the Bible is just a collection of books that were written by men over a specific time period which reflect the thoughts and opinions of those times.

That’s how I see it.



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29 Dec 2019, 11:58 pm

Me too, yo!



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30 Dec 2019, 12:01 am

Regarding Onan, his crime can be considered masturbation in the sense that he used his wife for a "Fleshlight" and that's just dehumanizing. Then he jizzes all over the floor. If there were people whom it would be nice to nuke from heaven, this guy qualifies. "Oh, people do a lot worse!" Yes, and we don't know what else Onan did.

Regarding who wants to have ten kids? Well, I've seen people quite happy to have three or four, and then other people who have ten (that particular family, I think, is fixing to have No. 11 in a few days) and some people are just fond of children. I think a lot of people are not able to handle the lifestyle. Other people are happy in the smugness of luxurious first-world living. Just because I don't want to own a smart phone doesn't mean they aren't awesome. And just because some folks don't want ten kids doesn't mean ten kids is a bad family size.

People marrying at 12-14: yeah, it's kind of gross, actually. Just because it's in the Bible doesn't mean it's a good thing. For example, there's a lot of slavery, rapes, murders, suicides, arson, vandalism, disembowelments--even a very long narrative of the torture and death of the Son of God. Pretty weird stuff. People tend to justify their own weird stuff because it's in the Bible, but that doesn't mean it's not weird stuff.

I kind of think all history books reflect the thoughts of the time they cover. It's nice--they don't ask you to believe in it, just say "this is how it was."

There are a lot of questions in here and I had a rough day so I don't have the energy to answer all of them, but honestly guys and gals, there are about zero things in here from anyone who's seen anything other than Protestantism. Which (I think) is a ghastly parody of Christianity in most cases, though I am biased from growing up in the American South among the Evangelicals. I like their moxie but they're kind of short on sense when it comes to the brain side of it.


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