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Puritans And Sex Vs. Society Essay, Research Paper
The View of Puritans and Sex vs. Today s Society
Sex continues to be an ongoing topic in today s society. Is our morality and culture that much different from what is known of the Puritans? In this essay we will discuss both today s moral society, and that of the Puritans. We will look at the different views of each, and reflect on what is believed the Puritans would say about the sexual mores of today s society. If the Puritans were looking down upon us today, I m not so sure they would agree with the way sex is viewed in our society.
Sexual intercourse was a human necessity. This is stated clearly in Morgan s The Puritans and Sex. But, one may be surprised that even back in the Puritanical culture, sex was viewed in much the same way we see it today. Although there are vast cultural differences, one aspect that stands certain is that sex is just part of human nature.
Lets look at some of the different views between the Puritanical culture and that of today s society. Puritans believed that the one limitation on sexual relations is that it must not interfere with religion, but bring the Puritans closer to God. By this they meant that God is superior to all things, including sex. Their relations should bond them closer, rather than pushing them further away. It seems that if one looks at today, sex is not bringing anyone closer to God. In this aspect, it seems the Puritans have a very different view on sex than that of what is in today s culture. As stated in Morgan s essay, Man s
chief end was to glorify God, and all earthly delights must promote that end, not hinder it. Love for a wife was carried too far when it led a man to neglect his God. By this statement again it is saying that God is to be superior to all thing. It was not right or moral for a man to let his wife or his relations get in the way of his religion.
For the vast majority of today s society God plays no such role in ones sexual relations. They are two separate parts of society, which greatly differentiates us from the views of the Puritan culture. In general, the Puritans believed if they did not follow God, they would be severely punished. Today God is ever present, and in America Christianity is the leading religion, however being severely punished for not following all acts of God is not something the majority of Americans believe in. In most of the views between the Puritans and today, we find that there is a close relation.
To the Puritans sex was seen just like any other type of pleasure, On a day of fast, when all comforts were supposed to be foregone in behalf of religious contemplation, not only were tasty food and drink to be abandoned but sexual intercourse too. (Morgan, 58) The Puritans saw sex as something that was just as important as their religious obligations. They took it very seriously. Today sex is not related to the religious aspect of life, as they have stated it.
An alternate view that is different between Puritans and American culture is sexual intercourse outside of marriage. Toward sexual intercourse outside of marriage, the Puritans were as frankly hostile as they were favorable to it in marriage. The passed laws to punish adultery with death, and fornication with whipping. (Morgan, 58)
Today it is clearly looked down upon to commit adultery, but it is much more common than in the times of the Puritans. This is one topic that Americans have just come to accept as a part of society. In the time of the Puritans, there were incidents in
which one found pleasure outside of marriage, for according to Morgan, it was only natural-since the fall of Adam-for human beings to break them. In this case them is referring to the laws. So as we can see from this statement, although it was looked down upon to stray outside of marriage, they did realize that it was human nature to break the laws.
If one looks at the President of the United States, he provides a perfect example of the direction in which American mores are heading. This figure in society is supposed to be one of the greatest role models our children have. Yet his actions display exactly what we are teaching our children not to do. If an incident such as this were to happen in the Puritanical culture, they would most likely serve a very severe punishment. But, today most Americans have come to accept it. Not that they are happy or proud of what happened, but it is much more widely accepted than what would have been in the Puritans society. In an excerpt from Sexual Moral FAQ, the author writes, To accept as legitimate traditionally proscribed conduct, such as adultery, fornication and homosexuality, is to deny that sex has a specific nature and function and the sexual tie between a man and a woman a unique value and seriousness. By, this he means that just because adultery and fornication have been going on for years, is it right for us to accept this? By accepting it, would be to say that sex has no meaning or value to us.
Another example of the direction in which American culture is heading is the rising number of Hollywood actors and actresses having children out of wedlock. In school and church it is taught that children outside of marriage is wrong, yet look at Hollywood. The majority of these men and women are not married, yet have children with another Hollywood figure. Again, these figures in society are to be role models to our younger generation, yet they are doing exactly what we teach our youth is ethically and morally wrong to do.
If we were to look at the number of teen pregnancy it makes one wonder if there is something that we could have done to prevent it. This is another part of life that has become much too accepted. In the years past, when a teen was pregnant; which was not very common, she was taken away to have the baby so that no one in her community would know she was pregnant. But, today it is very common in a school to have as many as five girls pregnant in just one school year. And for the most part, the girls are seen in the same way any normal teen is looked at.
If the Puritans were to look at the American culture and reflect what they thought of it, one can only think that they would be stunned at what the world has come to. Most of the things that happen today would clearly not be accepted in the Puritan s society. The moral values of Americans are falling at a very fast rate, as well as the ethical values. Yes, sex may just be something that is part of human nature, but have we taken out the beauty of sex, and made it into a negative part of today s culture?
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