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Can Christians Masturbate?? (revised)

30 Aug
             Topic of a masturbation is more or less closed topic for the public society. But still, it is opened topic in church circles. Most of the christian men struggled or are still struggling with this night mare. But is masturbation really bad? In this blog I am trying to go deeper into scripture to find out what is the truth. Example I am using is a real story of one good friend of mine. Name is changed.

John was a 13 years old boy from a catholic Christian family. He was normal, healthy and intelligent young boy, loved by his parents. Once John heard the word “masturbation”. He did not know what this word meant so he started to be curious. After short time he found out what did it mean and he tried it. John liked it and he naturally started practice it regularly. Then later on, as John was living in a surrounding of his teenage school-mates, he came to contact with pornography materials. He was falling deeper in it, he needed more. This process of building an addiction took 5 years and everyday it was becoming stronger and stronger. It effected his everyday life. His sexuality and way of perception of opposite sex turned uncontrolled. His relationship with parents, achievements in the school went bad and he couldn’t do anything without thinking of it. Sometimes he spent up to 4 hours watching porn and masturbated several times. He came to the point where he couldn’t control his lust and curiousness and so, it led him to pay for sex. It first time happened when he was eighteen, when he paid a prostitute for a night and till he was twenty one he tried it seven times. He felt guilty and unworthy. His psychic was in a horrible condition, until he brought it to light. But even he realized it is bad, even he decided to end it still is a battle. Today, thanks to God’s impact and fellowship God on his life, he can be now set free from this addiction and live mostly victorious life.

This is a story of a normal boy. But the question is: What is wrong about it? What does this problem mean? Today, most of the people would say nothing. I am convinced that there are several negative sites of it. John was only 13 years old when he started to live sexually. He started to masturbate even he did not really know what is the effect of it. He was not prepared for opening this chapter of his life. He used his sexuality in inappropriate way. Then it lead him to the point where he realized that it is uncontrollable. People say that masturbation is healthy, but is it really true? On the Internet there are many arguments for doing it. People say that masturbation helps body to create serotonin, the “feel good” hormone which causes us to relax and feel better and then as a connection to it that masturbation helps us to sleep. Different and not less important is that masturbation lowers the risk of prostate cancer it also tones penis which would mean that it helps us to stay in a “good shape”. And also that animals masturbate. But the questions are; “Are these arguments relevant?” and then later on; “Is there a healthy and morally innocent usage of masturbation?

As we saw in an anecdote, masturbation is mostly connected to pornography or sexual imagination, and it later effects also first sexual relationships. In our example kid was a Christian boy. He could be easily convinced by his Christian surrounding that masturbation is bad. As this theme is usually taboo in church circles, his first contact and most of his knowledge came from his young friends. He only knew about positive site of masturbation and that it feels really good. That is the point of view of today youth. In this assignment I will give medicine view on why should people do it and why is it dangerous and also moral, Christian and biblical view if there is any chance that it is okay.

Another question is, if this is the God’s plan for our life “What is the meaning of sex?” As we look to the roots of problem we find out that people don’t do it because of their health. Motives usually are to satisfy themselves or to feel better as their need to stop thinking about their problems. Then if we are under stress constantly and this is the way how we learned to work with it, we can easily fall into addiction. Is it really so harmless as it appears?  

As doctors say, it is good and healthy because it helps people work with their stress. As mentioned above, during orgasm serotonin the “feel good” hormone is released into brain and because of that even we are stressed we feel good. Question is, if it is really the healthy way how to handle stress. If it was a sin it would never be healthy. Body and brain can get used to serotonin and so later masturbation can become a habit. Later, from the habit there is just a small step to addiction. Maybe we think we have a control over it, but let’s just try to stop and maybe we would not be able to stop for more than, let’s say 2 weeks. We say to ourselves; “I don’t need to stop because there is nothing wrong about it and I like it. Everybody does it. I have freedom and I can do whatever I want. If I would like to stop I would just stop.” But are we really free then? How can we know if we never tried it?
Church in the past was really frighten of sexual sins but in the topic of the masturbation they just said it was wrong and used example of Onan, the second son of Judah, from Old testament. We read about him in Gn. 38:8–10 but as we easily see this argument is not relevant. He did not die because of he masturbated but because he did not follow God’s commandment to bring offspring to his older brother. For a long time masturbation was treated in church as one of the worst sins and people fought against it. So what is the truth? Can we find the answer on our questions?

Latest researches show that almost every man and still more and more women have tried or are using masturbation and pornography. The reasons are different. Stress, dissatisfaction partnership, depression or just simple for a pleasure, good feelings. But as mentioned above, masturbation can not solve the problems only move away the solution. So as the problems will not just fly away this habit develops. That means that there is a danger of becoming addicted to it.

So people say that thanks to masturbation our body releases serotonin but in contrary during normal sex our body creates five times more serotonin. That would say that there is a big difference
in quality. So does it look like masturbation is the best way? People say that it lowers danger of prostate cancer. On the website of U.S. Cancer Institute, doctors feature several ways how to prevent prostate cancer but there is no reference to masturbation which means that there are much better ways how to protect or at least prevent from this sickness. Different argument is that animals also masturbate. But the thing is, that we are not animals. There is nothing wrong about the fact that animal kills another animal. It is natural. But if we bring this into human society there is a big difference. We have a moral law that we should follow. We should listen to our conscious and to God’s voice in this topic. As a Christians we are to glorify God with all our deeds. Is it possible to glorify Him through the masturbation?
Even though bible doesn’t directly talk about masturbation, it definitively speaks about lust and adultery that are deeply connected with masturbation and pornography. If using porn or sexual imagination with masturbation there is no other answer then to say that it is simply wrong. One of the ten commandments in Exodus 20:14 says that we should not commit adultery. As Jesus says in Matthew 5:28; “Everyone who looks at woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” That means that automatically when we watched porn or had sexual imaginations on purpose, even without masturbation we committed adultery and using the masturbation it is even more obvious. It is then not happening only in our mind but also our body is involved. During masturbation with sexual images concerned we are having real sex with the images.

Somebody would ask then; “O.K. But what if I masturbate without imaginations or porn?” Answer has to be more complex. The masturbation is a form of sex but a bit different then usual. When we masturbate we have sex with ourselves. This actually means it is outside of marriage. We can not be married to ourselves. If we were in marriage it would mean that we actually cheated on our spouse. Where is the problem? Gen 2:24 says; “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (The word flesh – In the OT the principal word is baśār (found 269 times), though še’ēr (16 times, 4 times translated ‘flesh’ in rsv) also occurs. bāśār denotes the principal constituent of the body, human (Gn. 40:19) or animal (Lv. 6:27)). So that means bible talks about physical unity of two bodies. We dedicate that it is God’s will for us to live in a sexual unity between man and woman. Not between two men, not between two women and not alone. God planed sex for one man and one woman.

On the other site, as God created us into His image as male and female. We are then to be like Him. God is holy. Leviticus 20:7 says; “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.” So what does that mean? The word “Holy” in the text from the Hebrew is translated in Old Testament differently, as follows;

HOLYקֹדֶשׁ qodesh (871c); from an unused word; apartness, sacredness: consecrated, consecrated thing, consecrated things, dedicated, dedicated gifts, dedicated things, holiness, Holy, holy, holies, holy ones, holy portion, holy things, most holy, most holy place, most holy things, sacred, sacred gifts, sacred things, sacrifices, sacrificial, sanctuary, set apart, things dedicated. (NASB Dictionaries)

As the God’s nation we should live holy lives. The focus Jesus taught is somewhere else than where we would expect.

As Old testament talks more about what should we not do, Jesus is focused more on how can we glorify God in our lives in action. John Ortberg writes in his book “Everybody’s normal till you get to know them” that “We are most scandalized by sins of the flesh. Jesus was most scandalized by sins of the spirit.” If we would be more focused on how could we serve more to God’s glory with all our personalities, we would have less time to think about living next to the edge called sin.
The holy life-style is something what nowadays is not very popular. We should listen to what Paul says in his letters. In Romans 13:14 “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” and in 1 Pet. 2:11-12 “Abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” As we read these verses we see that it does not show us straight answer but connected to experience and our story, we see that the practice of masturbation does not bring good fruits. Only danger is to fall into the point were we would pharisaically judge others. However, we are to be focused on our lives, try to live holy life and ask God about what is his will in for us. As I said, we are created in His image so we should act like Him. I certainly can not imagine God masturbating.

The very last though is that the masturbation compared to sex in marriage is full of selfish desire and does look only on good of myself. In James 3:13-18 we read; “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” Everything has its right time. God is the best manager. Envy, selfishness, evil practices… I am not able to show with my wisdom that masturbation is bad. And in fact I do not think that that would be my task. Because if we believe in something because somebody told us it is not a living truth. But if we choose the right way on our own then we come closer to God and if it is him who is speaking, then we really understand.

Even the masturbation is discussed so much it is still a topic that is pretty much covered by a fog of privacy. We tend to cover our sins even almost everybody is struggling with the same problems.“Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” John 3:19-20 If we bring topic of masturbation and pornography into light in our churches with an awe of God, He will be faithful and He will help us discover truth. Our vision can be renewed but the fight is just beginning. We need to be prepared to fight. Cover each others backs and be aware of what we are dealing with. Do not be scared because God is with us. Focus on holy life on Jesus, can lead us to right answer. There are many questions and many answers. “But whoever lives the truth comes into the light so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:21 But do not be afraid to use these struggles later. Jesus is strong in our weaknesses. We are to think and ask about this topic. God will show us what is his plan for us.

God is showing me purity. Holy-life style, radical, but resigned to Jesus. Be sensitive and listen to what God tells you. Just glorify him with everything you do. He gives amazing peace and joy to everything. Furthermore, those who belong to Christ “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24) “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other”.
 
written by Jakub Kriška
 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Ethics, Theology

 

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3 responses to “Can Christians Masturbate?? (revised)

  1. factorysense

    May 29, 2013 at 1:27 am

    Thank you VENUSJUDGE666 for coming here and reading our blog and writing your comment. I can surely speak with you about some issues you’ll raise or challenges you might see with our posts, yet it seemed that until now you didn’t mention any.

     
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    July 19, 2013 at 5:39 am

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  3. Xavier

    September 8, 2013 at 3:36 am

    When you said: However, we are to be focused on our lives, try to live holy life and ask God about what is his will in for us. As I said, we are created in His image so we should act like Him. I certainly can not imagine God masturbating. : My Jaw dropped wide open, and I felt guilty, and I started thinking a lot. I agreed with that part, but then I thought about it, and then I thought to myself, that I certainty don’t think that God has these really strong temptations, hormones, and flesh, but we do. No I’ve taken porn out of the subject, because I know it is defiantly a sin, in many ways and I don’t view it, but masturbation is just something that I can’t rake out. Is masturbation alone ( without lust, porn, or anything else) a sin? Because I find it extremely difficult to go 2 weeks without it, ive tried, but it it is just this feeling that is too strong in me, and I can’t hold back. I’ve sincerely prayed about it, but the feeling keeps coming on very strong, and every other week I masturbate. I still can’t tell if it bad or not, but it is just so strong. I’m 14, BTW and started at 12, very hard, and I just want to make sure it is not a sin. Thanks

     

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