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Commonalities between Sexuality and Spirituality

By Carl S ~

Ecstasy of Saint Teresa
The 16th century Spanish saint and mystic Teresa of Avila wrote of her intense experience when she was “pierced by the grace of God." Her church calls this "spiritual ecstasy." An experienced adult or adolescent male will recognize "orgasm" right away. Now think about Islamic Paradise; a place of perpetual orgasms, with many partners, without consequences from bodily exhaustion.

In fact, Islam's Paradise resembles typical hardcore porno movies where well-endowed men and women copulate (even in contorted positions) without tiring. As the cliché goes, it’s "to die for." Sure, it's pure fantasy. Notice that both ISIS and Israelite conquests involve kidnapping virgins for sex, thus obeying their mutual god's orders. Oh how these religions reward men for being "obediently moral," but not women!

Maybe it's time to change the way we talk about religious conversions as being "born again," and instead compare them to being "initiated into a sham of sexual joy.” For example, religious conversion begins like sexual pleasure: a fusion with the other, letting go, abandoning one’s self to a higher power beyond logic, reason, and caution. Some fools rush in, while others slide in.

The difference between natural falling in love and "spiritually" falling in love is telling. In one case, a real person is involved, but in a religious ambiance, the "other” is an invisible product of the imagination such as God, Jesus, Krishna, Jehovah, Venus, Buddha, etc. (There are exceptions: On occasion, the “other" might be a charismatic, self-proclaimed "prophet." Some clerics used children for sex by telling them they would experience "spiritual" love thereby. Well, well, well. What have we here?)

Initially, the time and the place in one's life, the exceptional meeting and state of mind - but most of all one’s vulnerability - create the circumstances for falling in love. One is open to exploitation, but who cares?

I listened to a Concerto for Orchestra by Jennifer Higdon. While its fifth movement played, I found myself saying, "Why this sounds like it was stolen from Igor Stravinsky's “Rite of Spring!"” It wasn't, but even if it was, who cares? I enjoyed it thoroughly. Did it revive the feelings I had when first hearing the "Rite?" Probably. And I think that's how believers feel their rites: "We don't give a hoot if it's true or not; we're just hoping it's true because we feel so good about it!" (You might compare that feeling to giving way to unprotected copulation when you should be wary about the one you're having sex with, or of not being wary of those who would convert you.)

A lover might explain his/her relationship with Jesus thusly: “I do not question why I believe in his love for me any more than I question my love for you or you for me." Shouldn't we ask, "Does this believer love you or the idea of you, because this believer is obviously in love with the Idea of Jesus?" Falling in love with the idea of you, or falling in love with love?

Married and unmarried couples go off to recreate, re-enforce their intimacy. (My older brother and his wife, both deceased, would take time away from the kids and go to a motel.) Love needs not just to be, but to be reinforced, even revived. So, too, religions hold revivals where the ambiance and emotional intensity might make us compare them to... orgies. Lovers will add fresh kindling to the embers of dwindling expressions of affection to reignite their love on Valentine’s Day, or whenever the "spirit” moves them. Churches are famous for copying this. This is why they encourage members to regularly attend; to keep the "relationship" with an invisible, untouchable, "isness" ongoing, to try and renew the initial conversion encounter.

Lovers might try to repeat their first sexual experiences. They will sometimes go so far as to re-create the initial places, circumstances, complete with ambience, romantic songs, and reminiscing. Churches copy this. The passions resulting from repressed and/or delayed gratification burst into the channels of hymn-songs, babbling in tongues, clapping, etc.

Aren't all churches in the business of making arranged marriages between their members and their versions of a god? Don't they groom individuals for these arranged marriages from their youth? Shouldn't that be obvious? According to dogma, didn't the Christian Jesus warn, "No man can serve two masters," while requiring spouses to love him more than each other? When you see public proposals of marriage, aren't the reactions of the bystanders the same as you see from believers witnessing a convert saying, “I accept Jesus as my savior?"

When lovers change as time goes on, if their relationship becomes more unsatisfying than satisfying, some will seek to recreate sexual satisfaction with others, to begin new honeymoons. So too, believers will change churches or religions for related feelings. Believers may divorce their relationship with God and church with as much difficulty or ease as they divorce a mate. They might also realize that feelings for the other - mate or god - have not been reciprocated. (Maybe they didn't even exist on the part of the other?)

They may feel they have been lying to themselves about the relationship all along, or have evidence they’ve been outright exploited. The lover or the god did not meet expectations. Were they fooling themselves, or allowing themselves to be fooled for love? Maybe both. Still, no one should have regrets for falling in love or for loving, while wising up and being better off.

Maybe it's time to change the way we talk about religious conversions as being "born again," and instead compare them to being "initiated into a sham of sexual joy.”For thousands of years, wives had to stay with their husbands to survive, no matter how abusive, unfaithful, or alcoholic they became. This was reflected in spousal relationships with God. Likewise, when women were property of men, so were humans the property of God. When couples were incompatible, they stayed unhappily together, and likewise stayed with their god. To remain faithful, even superficially, was socially expected. Times have changed relationships dramatically, for the better. Now that couples are at liberty to separate, often amicably, so also they may separate from their god. Friends and relatives might be disappointed/surprised, reject them, or may try to unite them, also with "God/church," but love and god died.

There ought to be a way to prevent the heartache and bitter disappointment resulting from making bad relationship choices. Author John Allegro suggested it should be just as difficult to get married as it is to get divorced. Shouldn't unsuspecting individuals be forewarned about what they're getting into before committing to a relationship with that biblical god?

While religionists of all stripes will tell you that conversion to their beliefs/gods are "only natural," you might think about this; sexuality is natural and "spirituality" mimics sexuality in many ways. In both sex and religion, be careful what you're getting yourself into. Religions are as sneaky and tempting as their despised mythical serpent in the Garden of Eden. Warning: Don't get into bed with religious “spirituality." Use your feelings for relating to real people.