Article Specs |
Article ID: 4925
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,259
Times Read: 5,681
Author: Darragh Nagle [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: November 24th. 2002
Times Viewed: 5,681
I'll start this discussion by stating for the record my own personal bias. I have followed a shamanistic path for 40 years. My opinions here reflect my views as such, and I do not expect everyone to agree with them.
With the Miss World contestants fleeing the violent protests in Nigeria (hundreds dead), and with the Iranian school's announcement that female students would be allowed to remove their face veils in the classroom as long as visual barriers are present to prevent males from taking "lavicious looks" at them, I wonder about the teachings of the various religions of the world concerning human sexuality and clothing, and how they might contribute to a safer and better world society.
Examining the spectrum of clothing requirements for the religions of the world, we find that the "most clothing required" award goes to Islam, for requiring the complete covering of the female body except for the eyeballs. Further along the spectrum we find many other faiths, including Judeo-Christian, who require that body parts associated with reproduction and or elimination be concealed. Finally, at the far end of the spectrum, we have a group of pagan religions that accept complete nudity in both social and sacred settings.
What does each of these set of standards teach?
One thing these religious standards teach is the sexual behavior of the participants, when confronted with nudity. The Islamic believe that men's thoughts and prayers are influenced negatively by female nudity. Many Judeo-Christians believe that in the presence of female nudity, male behavior cannot be controlled, and they therefore promote the covering of bodies, though to a lesser degree. (I.E. current Western swimwear.) The pagans believe that nudity has nothing whatsoever to do with proper behavior, and similarly that clothing has nothing whatsoever to do with proper behavior. Once can conduct social gatherings, business, or a sacred ceremony with as much or as little clothing as desired. This point of veiw conflicts with current U.S. case law, where perpetrators have sometimes been found innocent of rape, because their victims wore provocotive clothing.
The clothing-determines-the-behavior model assumes that people behave according to the dictates of an external authority. Islam is an institution of authority, and has the power of law in some contries. The Judeo-Christian religions are institutions of authority, and has similar power. These religions seek to dictate the proper behavior to their adherents, and threaten punishments, real and in the afterlife, for violations.
The Pagan religions are not institutional, there is no central authority. These religions seek to teach the individual how to behave responsibly under her/his own authority, with the reward of a happy and productive life for the individual, the community, and the world.
The difference comes down to enforcement. Who is there to enforce in all situations, 24/7, forever? The external authority? or the self? It is better to teach the children how to make their own rules for their own responsibility, using common sense and avoiding harm to others. We cannot always be the parent.
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Other Articles: Darragh Nagle has posted 3 additional articles- View them?
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