1.6.2 sexual ethics – christian, libertarianism and utilitarianism

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1.6.2 sexual ethics – christian, libertarianism and utilitarianism

  1. 1. Sexual Ethics – Christian,Libertarianism and Utilitarianism responses By the end of today’s lesson you will have: •Have reviewed your ‘Just War’ essay mark, making appropriate comments on how to improve •Re-capped on the changing social attitudes towards sexual ethics •Have made thorough notes on the Christian, Libertarianism and Utilitarianism responses
  2. 2. Homework Re-Cap• EVERYONE but Will and Sophie need to complete this question for homework – due in by Thu• i) Outline the main features of Just War and pacifism (21)• ii) To what extent is Just War compatible with pacifism? (9)
  3. 3. Homework Re-Cap• EVERYONE must show me evidence of their research thus far for unit 2.
  4. 4. Christianity and Sexuality• Augustine: In the distant past, Christian writers portrayed sex in a negative light and argued that it was sinful except for reproduction. This was partly based on the fact that Jesus did not marry, partly based on St Paul’s teaching:• ‘But they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion’ – Corinthians 7:9• It was thought that celibacy was maybe a more holy way of living.
  5. 5. Christianity and Sexuality• Aquinas: Aquinas, who was heavily influenced by Augustine, also believed that celibacy was an important element of the Catholic faith, and took a Natural Law view of sex – that it should only lead to reproduction. Therefore, masturbation and homosexuality are sinful.
  6. 6. Christianity and Sexuality• Modern Day: Both Augustine and Aquinas have heavily influenced the views of the Catholic Church in the modern day. Monks and Nuns have to take a vow of celibacy, alongside Roman Catholic priests. Homosexuality is heavily frowned upon and sex outside of marriage is regarded as a sin.• However, Anglican opinion is much more liberal towards sexual attitudes and accepts homosexuality as well as encourages priests to have children.• Evangelical Christianity, on the other hand, has started to promote chastity amongst teenagers with bands such as the Jonas Brothers.
  7. 7. Christianity and Sexuality• Marriage is fundamentally regarded as the grounds of a healthy sexual relationship in modern day Christianity• For a family to flourish sex must only take place within a loving marriage• Marriage and the Church’s Task (1978) states: love finds expression in the lover’s bodily union...it’s an act of personal commitment which spans past, present and future’ - Anglican• Pastoral Constitution (1965) This love is uniquely expressed and perfected through the martial act - Catholic
  8. 8. Libertarianism and Sexuality• Libertarianism accepts that sexual relationships are morally permissible if both parties are over the legal age limit and consent. Freewill is an important factor.• Libertarianism is against rape, paedophilia, sex where someone has been manipulated, or any form of deception.• J.S Mill’s harm principle influences this view a lot – as long as no harm is being done to parties then people are free to do as they please. In this way adultery would not be permitted.• A contractarian approach is often deployed in which the most important principles are human freedom and autonomy
  9. 9. Libertarianism and Sexuality• Advantages: Allows consenting adults to do as they please and seems to offer a more tolerant and permissive lifestyle.• Weaknesses: If there is an imbalance in the relationship, then freewill and consent are often limited. For example, someone may reluctantly agree to have sex in exchange for money or to get a job.
  10. 10. Utilitarianism and Sexuality• Most utilitarians would argue that sex is acceptable as long as they take place in private amongst consenting adults. If the partners are able to increase their own happiness then it is okay.• Many arguments about ‘safe sex’ are based on a utilitarian perspective.
  11. 11. Feminism and Sexuality• Feminist critics often worry about the role of women in sexual relationships in the eyes of Church and Society. Are women often seen as the child-bearing companions. Socially constructed opinions about female sexuality often suppresses female desires.• Catherine Mackinnon Feminism Unmodified argued for a complete rethinking of society’s values regarding sexuality, to reflect the true status of men and women• J.S Mill The Subjection of Women The legal subordination of one sex to the other is wrong in itself and ought to be replaced by perfect equality• Liberal views of sexuality are often criticised for assuming that men and women have equal status in sexual relationships, which turns a blind eye to underlying male dominance
  12. 12. Computers and Sex• Modern technology is increasingly changing sexual behaviour.• With the aid of computers people can have intimate relationships with people that they have never met in person.• Chat rooms, pornography, cybersex and computerised sex toys have all changed the face of sexual behaviour, the damage being that people are seen as sex objects as opposed to real people.• ‘Anyone who looks at another lustfully has already committed adultery in their heart’ Matthew 5:28
  13. 13. Questions• 1) What was the ancient Hebrew attitude towards sexuality?• 2) How has sexuality changed in the 21st century?• 3) Which Christian scholar influenced Christian ideas about sex being unholy?• 4) Which denominations of Christianity believe that homosexuality is wrong?• 5) What was J.S Mill’s belief about sexuality?• 6) Which feminist scholar argues for a complete rethinking of attitudes towards sexuality in western society?• 7) Which Bible passage poses a problem for modern technology and sex and why?

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