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Defence of Chastity

36 DEFENCE OF CHASTITY (Haven Bradford Gow) .According to the American Social Health Association, 12 million Americans from all areas and walks of -life are affected by sexually transmitted diseases. In 1988, one million Americans contracted gonorrhea and about 500,000 new cases of genital herpes appear each year with the virus currently affecting an estimated 30 million across the United. States. Child psychologist Dr. David Elkind observes that Contemporary teenagers are more sexually active than at any earlier time in our history There are more than a million’teenage pregnancies in this country each year, a higher percentage than in any other Western country In this connection, the Gallup organization recently conducted a study of U.S. college students said they have sexual relations regularly or occasionally, while 51 per cent of the Protestant students surveyed said they likewise engage in sex. Fifty three percent of the Catholic students said they have had sex with more than one partner, while 49 per cent of the Protestants said that they had. Ten per cent of the Protestant students had procured abortions, while 8 per cent of Catholic students said they had. Hunter College professor of philosophy Dr. Alice von Hidebrand, in her new book, By Love Defined (Sophia Institute), observes that all too many in our society think selfgratification is the essential purpose of sex. Happily, they’re wrong…. To view sexuality as merely-biological, as an instinct that craves satisfaction is totally to misunderstand it. Such a view is the-opposite of the sublimity.of sexual union that is’experienced when you are both animated by love, when you seek sexual intimacy not for its pleasure, but as a way of manifesting the deep love which exists between you. At these times, your sexual ecstasy transcends bodily pleasure and includes a genuine joy that springs from the union of your souls deeply ‘delighting in each other. In his work, Purity (Franciscan University Press), the late Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand, an eminent philosopher and the husband of Alice von Hildebrand, pointed out that Human purity involves a distinctive attitude to the important domain of sex. According to the attitude which a man adopts to sex he is pure or impure. Impurity, said Dr. von Hildebrand consists in the abuse of sex In the first place Ifling myself away by giving up this personal REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 37 secret to another with no intention of a real and final surrender to that person or of entering thus into a lasting external union with my partner. Where the foundation has not been laid by wedded love and the deliberate purpose of forming a permanent objective community of life, secure from arbitrary whim, the act, which represents a unique self-donation and effects an intimate union of the most” fundamental nature, signifies a specific squandering of self, the betrayal of “one’s self and one’s partner. Julia Duin, a religious writer for The Houston Chronicle and the author of Purity Makes the Heart Grow Stronger (Servant Books), tells us that Many of ‘our friends consider life without sex abnormal. If we are divorced or widowed, they wonder why we don’t use our newfound freedom to explore sexual frontiers; if:we used to sleep around before conversion but now do not, people wonder why we are acting virtuously all of .a sudden. Virginity is rarely mentioned except during references to the Virgin Mary. Miss Duin observes that Our culture is not enamoured with chastity, chastity meaning faithfulness within marriage and abstinence from sex outside of marriage. The view that people should be chaste, she points out, is different from celibacy, which means permanent abstinence from sex. In sharp contrast to the concepts of chastity and celibacy and sexual purity is society’s popular view that expects that everyone needs and wants sex. The unmarried are portrayed as sexually active on most TV sitcoms. Sex between the unmarried is considered normal, accepted and fashionable. Julia Duin notes the disconcerting statistics regarding sex devoid of commitment and responsibility: Only 20 per cent of all unmarried women in their twenties are still virgins, including a 19 8 3 study paid for by the National Institute of Health…. One-third of all single women in their twenties, about 2-4 milh’on people, have lived with a man at some point, the study said. Clearly, in contemporary society, the most glaring assaults on the intrinsic moral worth and dignity of human beings are a result of our popular sexual attitudes and practices. For too many, sex is simply a plaything or a tool to enhance one’s popularity or to alleviate one’s doubts about one’s masculinity or femininity. For them, sex is not a sacred union of life and love — as it should be — but simply a tool of masturbatory and voyeuristic gratification. Premarital sex is considered the norm, and there are immense pressures on young people to engage in sex before marriage, to procure abortions and to live together. These pressures emanate from the media, 38 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS popular literature and films, the deleterious influence of the peer group and the pernicious moral climate that permeates society. Young people who practise chastity are considered odd; indeed, they are scorned, ridiculed and ostracized by those people —• young and old •—• who smugly and arrogantly think premarital and extramarital sex is a sign of love. Consequently, our families, churches, schools and social organizations once again must emphasize the teaching and learning of such values as chastity, self-respect, respect for others and moral responsibility; they must courageously affirm — in word and deed —• the sacredness of sex, marriage, family and human life. [Mr. Gow is a Wilbur Foundation Literary Fellow and a columnist for The New York City Tribune, Christian News and Chinatown News.] (from page 2) as the animal is inferior to him so he, also, is inferior to God and should, therefore, be ready to sacrifice himself-and all his personal interests and inclinations for the sake of God when he is required to do so. The attainment of righteousness should be the goal of every Muslim. The Holy Quran states: Verily the most honourable among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most righteous among you. . (49:40) Those who do good and act righteously shall have a great reward. . (4:173) Verily he truly prospers who purifies himself, and remembers the name of his Lord and offers prayers. (87:15) The act of sacrifice is in no way an atonement for the sins of the person making the sacrifice. Islam emphasises that no creature or person can atone for the sins of anyone else and, therefore, rejects the Christian Doctrine of Atonement which declares that Jesus atoned for the sins of mankind by shedding his blood on the cross. Eid-ul-Azha is an occasion .on which Muslims everywhere are encouraged to make every kind of sacrifice for the spiritual, moral, social and economic uplift of mankind and especially their own. If they make it a common cause and strive to manifest in themselves the attributes of God in accordance with the teachings and guidance of the Holy Quran and teachings of the Holy Prophet then, indeed, the message of Eid-ul-Azha would have borne fruit. BID MUBARAKI

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