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Morality -  Is it Anti-Sexual or Anti-Violence?

Gerald Moonen, New Zealand, 2006

"There is nothing either good or bad, 
but thinking makes it so"

Morality is a standard which society has set for itself in which it distinguishes between “right and wrong”. What then is right or wrong? Mostly it is anything that does or does not seem to correspond with people’s belief systems, which have been indoctrinated into us by religions over 2000 years or more.  

Take away the belief systems and then there is no right or wrong. Most actions are neutral, like eating, drinking, sex, walking etc. These things are neither good nor bad. What about intergenerational sex, isn’t that wrong? Well, here we have arrived again at the word “wrong”. You see how easy it is to judge everything through the “right and wrong” belief systems? But you might say to me; but if it is harmful surely that must be wrong? I purposely have written the above sentences like that to illustrate how trapped we are in judging with the ‘right and wrong’ paradigm. We have been brought up with this “right and wrong” thinking since we were young.  

When I don’t use the “right and wrong” paradigm how then do I judge anything at all? Good question! I think that the question of moral judgment needs to be differently framed, instead of asking if it is “right or wrong” we have to ask ourselves: “But is it harmful?” That, in my opinion, is the true moral question. To come back to sex and intimacy, above I said, that this was totally neutral like eating or drinking. How then do I morally judge, for surely some sexual acts are not acceptable, like rape, non-consensuality etc? The question to ask here, but is it harmful?  

The moral question one has to set oneself is to look for harm or possibility of harm. For instance, when one is in a sexual situation, and one goes knowingly only one fraction beyond where the other person is comfortable with then I see this as an immoral act which is capable of - or does cause harm. If I would only think of my own sexual satisfaction and ignore the wellbeing of the other, then I am not in a situation where I am aware of the needs of the other. In such a situation one can easily go beyond that what the other person is comfortable with. Making love or being intimate is playing (like on a musical instrument) with the other person’s wellbeing.  

I am sure that you will agree with me that non-consensual sex is not acceptable and is a violation of the other person. This can be harmful psychological or otherwise. If we look very carefully at that, we are not really talking about a sex act, but about a violation of the other person i.e. an act of violence. Sex is only the tool that has been used to violate another. Anything can be used to violate someone else with. However we cannot make the tool itself as the guilty aspect of such a situation. This is the mistake that is often made with the “right and wrong” paradigm, for in religious thinking most sex act are classified as “wrong”. An this is reflected in most laws as they are mostly based on the old belief systems of right and wrong, and are therefore mostly anti-sexual not anti-violence.  

Our society has made a basic mistake a long time ago. The religions and the worldly powers were very much involved in violence, and still are. They are still finding excuses for their wars and unjust incarcerations. So they have put up smokescreens and are pointing with their bloody fingers at the sex acts that do not fit in their (im)moral paradigms or belief systems. They call them wrong and sinful and with this attitude they whitewash their sins of violence with the persecution of the innocents.  

There is nothing harmful with consensual sex and intimacy. Personally I see sex and intimacy as a glorification of the Creator. But I can see a lot of harm being done by our violent society. They still bend over backwards to justify their disgusting violent behaviour.  

So next time you use the term “right or wrong”, or hear someone else use it, do correct it and ask “is it harmful?” That is the true moral question and by doing that it will change your moral perspective.


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