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Of the entire contents of this bible, probably the most controversial portion will be the rules regarding human sexuality. Accordingly, one of the first perspectives drafted is a justification for the proposed rules, as opposed to some theme and variation on the rules of our present society. First, as society has grown more complex, requiring society to cram increasing amounts of knowledge into the heads of our children (and we should not forget that "knowledge is power"),81 our children have grown increasingly sophisticated at younger and younger ages,82 while being required to stay in school for longer and longer periods of time. Two centuries ago, the vast majority of those few people who actually went to school at all were basically finished by age 12, at which time they usually began some sort of apprenticeship, essentially joining the work force. It was not at all uncommon for marriages to be arranged (by their families) for youngsters in their early teens. Our modern society demands a college education for a very large portion of our population, and demands a minimum of a high school education for virtually all workers except for the most menial. This forces children to stay in school until at least age 18, and at least age 22 for a large number of them. Second, our modern society has accelerated the sexual development of children as a natural consequence of better nutrition, which causes much younger children to be granted both the ability and the desire (at least the hormonally related desire) for sexual activity, but the "blue nose" factor, combined with grossly negligent parenting (addressed separately, below), has denied these same children much of the knowledge and skills which they need to cope with their own sexuality. Third, the economic realities of life are that a single income no longer provides enough money to live at even a poverty level, forcing most people to enter the work force (the two income family is now normal, at least where there are two adults in the family unit), and making it virtually impossible for young people to start a family and raise their children properly in a "traditional" family setting. To sum up these three main points, modern society has essentially torn young people apart by giving young people the knowledge (of sexuality), ability, and desire at a much younger age, while denying these same young people the knowledge (of proper ways to cope with their own sexuality) and health care facilities they need, and by making it economically unfeasible for young people to marry, live together as a family, and produce children much before their thirties. A failure to have children before a woman is 30 will have a severe impact upon the health of the woman much later in her life.83 The present state of affairs, with large numbers of teenage and/or unmarried women getting pregnant,84 is a natural consequence of this combination of factors. With this statement of the problem in mind, the next few sections allow us to look at a number of individual factors which led to the rules which are initially proposed.

Children are our most important natural resource. Children are the future of any society. The most important function of society is to provide for the development of children to be "better than"85 their parents, for only in this way can society progress. With this stated, it is easy to see that Western Civilization has totally broken down, and is no longer performing this very basic function for the majority of the population. The well educated, white, middle class defers having children until their thirties, and then if they choose to have any at all, they find one to be such a hassle, that one becomes the limit. On the other hand, the poor, uneducated, immigrant population living in the ghetto areas of our inner cities have numerous children at very young ages, most of whom have no real future at all because it is virtually impossible for more than a very few of them to get a college education. These children are far more likely than not to commit crimes because it is so much easier to fall into a life of crime than it is to claw and scratch out a meager existence on the "right" side of the law. The incentives in our present society are all wrong. The best and the brightest of our people (regardless of their original background) are deterred from having children, while the poorest and the least educated (and the least able to properly raise their own children) are encouraged to have children "out of wedlock" in order to get welfare payments. This is totally crazy.

A minister recently collected thousands of pledges from young people (ardent believers in his fundamentalist Christian sect) each promising to not have sex until after they were married.86 Each of these children is thereby promising to avoid sex for about ten years (considering the average age of the children compared to the average age of marriage). You might as well ask them to become priests or nuns. While many people have the self discipline to deny themselves something that the rest of society considers as natural, the majority of people do not even have the inclination to so deny themselves. Sex is a natural bodily function, and sex drive is a natural consequence of reaching puberty. Just as most people are going to eat at mealtime so long as food is available, while some people consciously fast, most people are going to have sex if it is available, even while some exercise their self discipline and abstain. Empirically, we know that many children have sex now, even at very young ages.87 Less than half of all girls are virgins when they reach their eighteenth birthday, the first day upon which they legally could consent to have sex in most parts of the United States. Society really cannot expect a different result because society still encourages boys to have sex as soon as they can.88 So, if the majority of children are going to have sex anyway, in spite of the fact that it is prohibited, frowned upon, and otherwise discouraged, wouldn't we be better off as a society if we simply acknowledged the realities of life, encouraged sexual activity for both boys and girls (as opposed to the "boys only" encouragement of modern society), and provided a proper support system for avoiding the "bad" things which can happen as a result of sexual activity? I certainly think so. The hypocrisy of our present system is most disgusting to me. Society encourages boys to have sex as soon as possible and as much as possible, but encourages girls to avoid sex totally. The only other alternative would be to do what the minister has tried, and that is to encourage both boys and girls to avoid sex. I reject that alternative because it asks these young people to reject their own sexuality at the very time when their bodies are pushing the hardest for sex, and because it discards the entire period before marriage as a time when people could be easily educated about various aspects of sexuality. This goes to the fundamental concept of what it means to nurture children and provide for their development as individuals. Does it nurture and develop children to ask them to defer sex for ten or more years to a time when they are in the work force, not in an educational setting, and therefore lacking in the support systems needed to provide a learning and growing experience? I think that this is clearly not the right answer, and that this "solution," which is really just the present way of doing things, has clearly led to more harm than good (in the form of various sexual "hang-ups," inherent marital tensions, and many other "downstream" consequences which are too numerous to list). A century ago, the prevailing morality was that sex was only to be had as part of a marriage, and that the only reason for having sex was to have children.89 The prevailing morality was also that a woman was not even supposed to enjoy sex, but was supposed to have sex as her "duty as a wife," so long as it was intended to produce children. Modern society has now rejected both of those concepts, to the point of even establishing the crime of rape within marriage. The sexual revolution of the 1960's had as its primary result the concept that women were now supposed to enjoy sex (although, clearly, women had been enjoying sex for quite a long time).90 I do not believe that it is possible (or even desirable) to roll back that change. The principal effect on young people was that girls now realized that sex could be enjoyable, and thus they were more disposed than ever to engage in it. Since boys had always been encouraged to explore their own sexuality as soon as possible, the discovery that girls were now interested in trying it out naturally led to quite a bit of sex. The real difficulty arises because society did not give these young people any guidance as to how to have sex, how to enjoy it the most, and how to avoid the "bad" consequences which can occur. In other words, society encouraged this sexual activity with little more than instinct as guidance. This led to the concept of sex education in the schools. However, sex education was pointed primarily at teaching consequences as a "scare tactic." The minute that avoidance of consequences was mentioned, that was somehow construed to be encouragement of sexual conduct, which put the "blue nose" busybodies into orbit. This is the approximate present state of affairs in 1994. Confronted with a binary decision between either returning to absolute avoidance of sexual conduct until at least after the completion of school (at which time many couples arrange to get married) or else the encouragement of sexual conduct in a nurturing environment, I have opted for the latter choice as the only rational choice. In other words, in spite of the controversy I expect this position to generate, I believe this is the only choice which is supportable by logic.

The principal problem with the present concept of sex education is that it really does not educate young people about sex. It gives young people just enough information to know how to perform the act and (usually) avoid pregnancy (usually by using a condom). It does little or nothing to educate about sexual techniques. For example, while girls usually learn that a female orgasm exists, boys rarely learn anything about what it takes to bring a girl to orgasm. All you have to do is go down to any bookstore and pick up any number of books written by any number of experts in sexuality and you can only come to the conclusion that most men and women are absolutely ignorant about the most fundamental techniques involved in sexuality. Since sex is a fundamental aspect of being human, it should clearly be taught in our schools, at least to the same degree as nutrition or physical education.91 While some would find the characterization of sex as "recreation" abhorrent, in plain point of fact it meets all the requirements of that kind of activity. We teach our children how to engage in many different sports as recreation, many of which have far more severe dangers as possible "bad" consequences to them than does sex. It is only the lingering Victorian morality which causes people to recoil from the thought that sex should truly be taught in the schools. By joining the Agnostic Church, you are discarding Victorian morality and buying into the concept that a new morality is required as part of the formation of a new society, which will rise, phoenix like, from the ashes of Western Civilization.

The second major problem is that the kind of social education kids need in order to have a good relationship is not taught until the upper division of college to people who are majoring in psychology. A number of critical subjects need to be taught at a very young age, no later than when children begin dating: 1) What is a good relationship; 2) What is a bad relationship; 3) What steps to take to get out of a bad relationship if you find yourself in one; 4) How to handle conflict in a relationship; 5) How to divide responsibilities in a relationship, particularly if the two parties are living together; 6) How to avoid a "crisis of expectations"92 in a relationship; etc. Even though everyone agrees that "dating" is nothing like "living together" or "marriage," we expect our young people to prepare themselves for marriage by dating. Present society gives our young people absolutely no preparation for living with another person in a relationship. Children learn to get along with siblings, and to tolerate parents, but none of this prepares a child for an adult relationship. Part of the overall concept promoted herein is to allow young people time to experiment with relationships beyond merely dating before thrusting them into the position of going out into the cold cruel world on their own, to make their own way, with no support system available to them. This must begin with education.

Throughout history, relationships have been formed in a number of different ways. One way was for the parents to arrange for their children to marry. The children were expected to comply, and usually did. Another way would be for the young man to ask the father of the young woman for permission to marry. In both of these cases there was at least one older (and presumably wiser) person passing judgment upon the proposed relationship and committing to support it (or to not allow it to exist). In modern times, we cast our young people out into society and expect them to find their own way in a relationship, with little or no support from either society or the parents of the children involved with one another. It is no wonder at all that so many modern marriages end in divorce. We cast our young people out into a complex society and expect them to function properly, with little or no preparation. Just as parents now recognize that "dating" is a necessary period of experimentation before forming a committed relationship, parents should also recognize that a (temporary) committed relationship is a necessary period of experimentation before marriage and children should occur. The best time for such experimentation is when the price of failure can be kept very low, which translates to the time before the children move away from home to form households of their own.

The principal motive behind this altered morality is the concept of doing what is best for the children. The Agnostic Church believes that all intelligent individuals must agree that doing what is best for the children should be a principal goal of any social order. The present social order is based on a fundamental dishonesty and hypocrisy by formally requiring young people to avoid sex altogether, and then encouraging sexual thoughts at every turn. This is particularly true of the so-called "double standard" for young men, who are encouraged (either blatantly or through subtlety) to have sexual experiences as soon as possible and as often as possible, while young women are expected to fend off the advances of all young men and totally avoid sex. Once society exposed these young women to the thought that sex might actually be enjoyable, the dam was forever broken. However, the present system trains these children that they must be dishonest about sex (girls are trained to always deny having ever had sex, even though the majority of them have had sex by age 18), they must be secretive about sex (having it in the back seats of cars and other horrible locations), and that if they do have sex under these circumstances, it should happen quickly and instinctively, getting it over with as quickly as possible. All of this is unhealthy, and therefore "bad" for the children who are being trained in this manner. We hold George Washington up as the very pillar of honesty (for admitting he chopped down a cherry tree), but we train young people to lie, cheat, and steal by making the consequences of honesty all out of proportion to the offense admitted (in this case, having had sex). By training young people to be secretive, and to hide things from their parents, it makes much more difficult the already too difficult task of parental supervision.93 But perhaps worst of all, by failing to train young people in correct sexual techniques, and relying upon them to find their own way by pure instinct, we end up creating the principal tension between husbands and wives, which is the tension which occurs when the men want sex and the women do not.94 The two most frequent causes of divorce are battles over money and battles over sex. As professional therapists have proven time and again, proper training on sexual techniques can eliminate much of the battling over sex, and if the sexual relationship is improved, perhaps the battles over money might get less intense (because, for example, the man might not need to go out drinking anywhere near as much, etc.),95 thereby eliminating much of the divorce which now occurs in our present society. Divorce is clearly bad for the children of divorce, and thus anything which tends to eliminate divorce is best for the children. Teaching young adults all about relationships before they form a committed relationship and have children of their own is the best way of preventing divorce. After all, you would not teach an inexperienced person how to drive a car by first giving them the keys to see how well they do on their own before you decide what lessons they need. Similarly, why should we expect that two people who form a relationship have any knowledge about how to survive (and even thrive) in that relationship without some external source of knowledge? What is clearly best for our children's children is to train our children about relationships before they find themselves to be married or parents or both. While the concept of allowing experimental "living together" arrangements among children may seem radical at first glance, it is really not that far from what we allow our teenagers to do now (to go to wild parties and have sex there), and is surely far more healthy in the long run (because of the availability of parents to supervise and educate as necessary). This is predicated on the principle that if failures must occur at all, they should occur earlier rather than later (giving each participant more time to find a more suitable mate), and they should occur at a point in time where the injury due to the failure is lesser rather than greater.96 Considering all of these factors, of the two available choices,97 experimental relationships are by far better for the children, and also far better for the future children of those children, than is the present system of hypocrisy and deceit.

Some scholars assert that science's "declaration of independence" from religion occurred in the 1860 debate between Thomas Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce over Darwin's theory of evolution.98 It is clear that in more ancient times, scientific investigation was to some degree proscribed by religious dogma. In modern times, that attitude has been totally discarded for the physical sciences. It has not, however, been discarded for the social sciences. As the Principle of The Supremacy of Science declares, the results of scientific investigation have no less application merely because they investigate questions which have been formerly associated with religion and morality. If a moral standard is provably incorrect, it MUST be discarded. If it is not discarded, then it is society which is sick and is refusing treatment from a competent doctor. Accordingly, arbitrary religious moral codes are acceptable only to the extent that they do not conflict with the proven knowledge provided by controlled scientific inquiry.

81 The original quote is attributed to Francis Bacon, from Meditationes Sacre [1597], De Haeresibus, "Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est." A more recent quotation is from a commencement address delivered at the University of California, Berkeley on March 23, 1962 by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy: "In a time of turbulence and change, it is more true than ever that knowledge is power."

82 I don't recall who said that "If Booth Tarkington were to write the novel Seventeen today, he would have to call it Twelve." [It was written in 1917.]

83 In point of fact, some scientists assert that the health of the woman during her later years improves directly in proportion to how young she is at the time when her first child is born.

84 In a recent speech, President Bill Clinton cited statistics showing that over 25% of all pregnancies end in an abortion, while 40% of the babies which are actually born are born to mothers who did not marry the father. Combining these two numbers results in a finding that of all of the babies conceived in a given year, only 45% are actually born to mothers who are married to the father at the time of birth!

85 By use of the phrase "better than" I do not imply any particular measure of how they are better, but instead an over-all qualitative state of being "better than" their parents, perhaps only marginally in many areas, but overall, clearly "better than" their parents.

86 It would be very interesting to do a follow-up study of those kids in about five years.

87 Public hospitals report fairly large numbers of 12 and 13 year old girls showing up for maternity care. That does not happen without having sex first (in spite of what you may believe about Jesus Christ).

88 This is a "macho" thing. Whether you despise "macho" things or not, the plain facts are that young boys, especially those involved in school athletic programs, are constantly encouraged to have sex as part of proving their "manhood." This encouragement is often subtle, such as ridiculing some young boy for being a virgin, or stating that "he wouldn't know what to do with a girl." There is only one way to not be a virgin, and that is to have sex. Other sexual encouragements are everywhere, in movies, on television, on radio, and so forth. If society wants its young men to be monks, then society should arrange to put them into monasteries, not into co-educational schools.

89 The Roman Catholic Church still clings to this clearly outmoded concept.

90 The stories about Catherine the Great of Russia [1729-1796] are legendary, and of course, there are many other stories going back to the beginnings of history to illustrate this point.

91 Just imagine a high school course catalog: "PE 103 Beginning Sexuality, Lab [Elective]." Do you think many students would ditch that class? It certainly would make high school more interesting! Of course, explaining your grade might be embarrassing. . . .

92 A "crisis of expectations" occurs when one party "assumes" that the other party intends a certain course of conduct when the other party has no such intention at all. The crisis comes to a head when one party finally says: "I thought we were going to . . . ." Typical assumptions which lead to a crisis are: 1) Assuming that the relationship is intended to be permanent; 2) Assuming that the other party desires some particular sexual activity; 3) Assuming that the other party will not make any plans for any future event without consulting you; etc. Each such crisis is easily avoided if it is anticipated in advance. However, failing to avoid a crisis can lead to a total breakdown in the relationship, or even a violent confrontation.

93 It is also much easier for young people to become drug abusers once they have picked up the techniques of secrecy, lying, cheating, and stealing.

94 The principal reason women do not want sex is because it is not enjoyable for them. The principal reason it is not enjoyable for them is because neither they nor their partners were ever trained on how to make sex enjoyable for the woman.

95 Training on money issues should also be mandatory.

96 It seems clear that two kids who are essentially "camped out" in the household of a parent are much less likely to sustain a serious emotional or financial injury due to a potential breakup of the relationship than are two older people who have probably rented an apartment together and acquired a relatively complete set of household goods, the division of which then needs to be fought over by the separating couple.

97 The first choice is sexual abstinence and living separately prior to marriage (except for liaisons arranged with hypocrisy and/or deceit). The second choice is experimental relationships, as defined herein.

98 Bishop Samuel Wilberforce [1805-1873], in attendance at the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1860, supposedly asked: "If anyone were to be willing to trace his descent through an ape as his grandfather, would he be willing to trace his descent similarly on the side of this grandmother?" Thomas Henry Huxley [1825-1895] supposedly replied: "I asserted - and I repeat - that a man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor whom I should feel shame in recalling it would rather be a man - a man of restless and versatile intellect - who, not content with an equivocal success in his own sphere of activity, plunges into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent digressions and skilled appeals to religious prejudice." (Leonard Huxley, Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley [1900], Volume I.)

Copyright 1994-1999 by the Agnostic Church

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