Friday, September 01, 2006

Puberty and God

Nothing seems to get the believer so furious as an orgasm. In spite of their protestations to the contrary they are anti-sexual to the core. Now most people assume they are just very supportive of heterosexuality. Not quite. They restrict it so much as to condemn most heterosexual acts as well. And since they haven’t discovered a means to have a virgin birth themselves they are pretty much stuck with it whether they like it or not. It’s either that or no being fruitful and multiplying.

The largest Christian denomination, the Roman Catholics, have a theology that is anti-sexual to its very core. They not only condemn all sex outside of heterosexual marriage but a good share of sex acts within marriage. Basically with them every sexual act must contain the possibility of reproduction or it is condemned. Of course that condemns most human orgasms. It also gives priests an excuse, during confession, to push their younger wards for information about their masturbatory practices.

They have a theological excuse for getting their personal jollies. And since such practices are basically universal among adolescents it is a means to manipulate youths through guilt.

Protestants were just as anti-sexual, if not more so, that their Catholic counterparts but those denominations that actually went through the Enlightenment with the rest of the world started to change their views. Well the Bible addicts got furious about that and started leaving the more humane denominations for the intellectual wasteland of fundamentalism. The fundamentalist movement and their evangelical allies have been rushing to adopt the Catholic perspective on sex.

They may condemn Catholicism and despise the Catholic Church but they are quickly adopting Catholic views on sex. They do so because of the gay marriage issue. They need to come up with a justification for their inhuman antigay bigotry. And they don’t have many plausible candidates. They can’t demand that marriage be about love since gay’s love. (Something that sends shivers up the spine of the Jesus mongers.) They can’t argue marriage is about commitment as gays can commit to one another. But they know that absent modern technology a gay relationship itself will not produce children.

And so that is the clause they jump upon. Marriage is only about children. The rest is not important. They have basically adopted the Catholic view of sexuality.

Now this brings us to the main point I want to discuss: the contradiction between the Christian view of “creationism” and their anti-sexual views.

Remember that the bulk of Christians officially believe that an orgasm outside marriage is sinful and ditto for orgasms that can’t lead to reproduction: oral sex, masturbation, anal sex, sex with condoms, etc. Also remember that the Christians have continually raised the age of consent and marriage from their historical norms. And now consider a third fact: puberty.

No one denies that puberty hits and when it does it makes the individual extremely sexually. The hormones are churning and the individual has orgasms -- lots of them typically. If they aren’t with someone else they are self-induced and certainly for the males if they aren’t self induced they happen anyway. No choice in the matter whatsoever. One way or another it will happen. And virtually all of them happen outside marriage and most without the possibility of reproduction. Since we don’t need more pregnant young girls this is a good thing.

The churches solution is abstinence. No sex. No orgasms. But orgasms are not merely a matter of choice. It’s not like deciding if you want fries with your burger or not. It is part of human nature. And supposedly their deity made it that way.

But here is the oddity. If we are created by some god then why did he push children into puberty when they aren’t intellectually and emotionally prepared for it. Even if the adults around them were rational (most aren’t) and they educated these children about what to expect the bulk of adolescents simply are not mature enough on the mental level to make the sexual choices their bodies compel them to make.

God supposedly created humans this way. He gave them adult sexual desires but gave them a childish mind to grapple with the problem. It doesn’t say much about his compassion. Nothing would have forced him to do this. After all he’s supposed to be the creator of the universe. Anything is within his power to do -- sort of.

Certainly there is nothing to have stopped him from creating humans slightly differently. He could have easily made it so that our minds mature before our genitals do. Imagine all the human suffering that would have been spared if he did. He didn’t. Why?

We don’t demand of children that they establish their career for the rest of their life when they are twelve years old. We don’t do it because we know they are not mature enough to make that decision. If we did they would all be actors, ballerinas, astronauts and firemen. In addition we’d have millions of presidents --- and we can barely endure just one.

But this god is playing a joke on us. He gives us minds that takes a couple of decades to really mature. Then he gives us bodies that can mature as young as ten years old but certainly most do by thirteen. Adult bodies with adult desires coupled with immature minds is a dangerous combination. And we see the results all around us.

Now of course as an atheist I don’t think a god had anything to do with this at all. But the believers need to ponder their own theory and explain this cruel joke of their deity.

So what did happen? Well, no designer planned us. We evolved. And evolution can be messy. A creator who knows it all shouldn’t screw up. Evolution messes up all the time. But we evolved at a time when this made sense. Consider what was happening.

For the species to survive it must reproduce. Humans need a decade or so minimum to reach a stage where they can take care of themselves minimally. During our evolution our life spans were much shorter than they are today. Modern capitalism allows us to live for decades longer than our ancestors did. When we evolved as humans an average life span would be into the early 20s and those who survived childhood often died in their 30s. Life was truly short and brutish then.

For successful reproduction to take place the humans not only had to have babies but have them live into maturity so they could reproduce as well. Today that’s easy. If you have a child when 25 you will likely be around when they marry and have children and quite possibly when the grandchildren marry and have children. Not so during our evolutionary beginnings.

If many adults were dead by their 30s the only way they could have children who would survive is to become sexually mature at an early age. It wasn’t just birth that was important but living long enough for the child to mature as well. So if they gave birth in their early or mid teens they could have a few children and raise them to maturity. If they started having children in their 20s or 30s as is common today many wouldn’t live long enough to raise the kids.

Also remember they had to work fast and be prolific otherwise we wouldn’t be here. A large number of children died at childbirth. Another large number died in infancy. A couple to reproduce their numbers need to have more than two children. It was not usual for them to five or six or seven or more. And yet, during this time period, human population hardly grew at all. The world’s “population explosion” was never due to high birth rates. We had high birth rates for most of human existence. It was caused when modern capitalism started reducing the high death rates! It was caused by our success at preventing death not by our failure to prevent births.

So during our early evolution the successful individuals, when it came to reproduction, were those who had sex early enough that they would live long enough to raise them to maturity. Late bloomers might still have children but die before the child was old enough to care for himself. Having our sexual abilities mature earlier was a means of survival for the species.

Of course the necessity for that no longer exists. But then other survival mechanisms which evolved in humans also create problems due to the success of modern life. We know that the body stores calories for famines. Yet most of us never experience famine. The result is we get fat and that’s not healthy either but it is preferable to starving to death. We diet to lose the weight. The survival mechanisms that evolved to keep us alive see the diet as a famine. So the body slows the human metabolism making it harder to lose weight. When you go off the diet the body sees the famine as being over and quickly replaces the weight with new fat in preparation for the next famine. So we see people balloon back and forth with weight. The evolutionary mechanism is counterproductive when there is abundant food supplies.

Basically the same is true for sex. Humans matured sexually earlier because it increased the likelihood they would live long enough to raise their children into maturity. But today that is not the issue. What evolved for good reasons millenniums ago no longer makes as much sense today.

Evolution at least makes sense of this conundrum. But the creationist believers have a problem. They have no choice but to conclude that a god did this intentionally. He decided to torment adolescents by flooding them with hormones giving them the sexual desires of an adult yet chose to do so before they were mature enough to deal with the issues created by these desires. A real mensch this Jehovah.


Blogger Indioheathen said...

Most indigenous and contemporary European societies consider puberty as the first stage of adulthood.

Most industrialized American societies, on the other, hold the archaic view that puberty and adolescence are the last stage of childhood, which is why those soceities have such high age of consent laws, and basically a war on puberty in the way of sexually oppressive laws against teens and those adults who they like to make love to. And nevermind that the U.S. has the world's highest drinking age of 21 in most of its states.

September 01, 2006


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