13 May 2007
We open with See-Dubya of JunkYardBlog quoting Dawn Eden:
As you know, being Republicans in New York City, there is the so-called counterculture the feminists, global-warming fanatics, gay-marriage proponents, abortion activists, and so on and then there is the real counterculture. The real counterculture are those who are working to preserve the moral values that are at the foundation of western civilization. As a longtime rebel, I was attracted to chastity because where the real counterculture lies, chastity is pretty close to ground zero.
Which drew this comment from presumed JYB reader "ck":
Now chastity may be fine for women who don't really like men. But, as a man of 53, I've never seen a man do 10 years without going absolutely batshit crazy.
Michael Bates weighed in with this response:
If someone is just gritting his teeth and forcing himself to do without what he believes he really deserves, he might very well go guano loco as ck suggests, but if he puts abstinence [in] the context of learning to love and value others for their intrinsic worth, rather than what they are worth toward the fulfillment of his appetites and ambitions, he would find himself filled with contentment instead of frustration.
This thread, of course, is of maximum interest to yours truly, being as how I am fifty-three years old, and during the last twenty years there has been only one brief entry on my, um, dance card, which mathematically guarantees a ten-year dry spell.
In other words, my mental state right about now, were I to accept ck's assertion, should be positively reeking of Chiroptera residue. It's not. In fairness, though, he's never seen me, and even if he had, he might not know that I have no particular sense of entitlement anyway.
Posted at 12:15 AM to Table for One
Well, I gotta say this, but folks won't like it. When abstinence is done because of a "rule", one has missed the whole point of Christianity (i.e., to be beyond rules. Paul talked about it, look it up.). In cases where it is an obligation, abstinence may produce unintended results (i.e., a focus on buggering the alterboys). When abstinence is done because of the lack of opportunity, this, too, is undesireable. (As a friend of mine used to say, there is a lid for every pot. She was a cook, what can I tell ya. Take a bath, get a new suit, look harder, etc.) Abstinence due to real or perceived unattractiveness is no virtue in itself, and again produces bad results (an unhealthy fixation on Maureen Dowd, for instance). I never accepted the notion that Charles was so unattractive that no woman would have him, so there is something else going on. I don't know him well enough to say, and don't think I'd want to go there if I did. He has his reasons, and that's his business.
Abstinence as the central tenet of one's 'Christian' beliefs is simply bizarre. If one is a Christian and spending most of one's waking hours focused on, uh, celebrating one's celibacy, the point is being missed and in a BIG way. You might as well spend all your time polishing your cross collection.
Rabbis know (and Jesus taught) that a gift, to be truly pleasng to God, must be offered in secret. Abstinence 'for the sake of God' that is paraded around town like a cheap prostitute is no gift to God. It's self-aggrandizement, and rightly mocked as such by religious skeptics and atheists.
The point of abstinence in religion (and in other endeavors where it is practiced) is not as an achievement in itself, but to get one from here to there. It's to gather up spiritual resources, as it were, to grow and achieve goals.
Oddly, I was working on some Dowd-related material as you were posting this: watch for it later today.