Burkas and tight skirts (Part 2): Think of God, not which gender is right.

· Philosophy, Popular culture, Religion

Not every sin has the same negative consequences. The fewer sins we commit, the happier we are, but some sins are worse than others. Sexual sin is very serious because the consequences are so enormous. The simplest life is the happiest. That means someone grows up, gets married at a young age, say 18, has lots of children, and benefits from a large, loving and close family. The fact that this does not often happen does not negate the reality that this represents the ideal life. I know some will say that not everyone wants this lifestyle, but I think they would be hard pressed to illustrate why it represents a bad idea. Some people don’t want children, for example, and they have that right, of course. But often if someone does not want children, that doesn’t mean they don’t like the idea of children; it just doesn’t fit in with what they want for themselves. Our desires in life are circumscribed by events of which we may only be casually aware.


For example, perhaps we don’t want children but there is a hidden reason why that is. Maybe if we had therapy and figured out why we don’t want children, a childhood incident would surface that explains our dislike of the idea. There are so many things that happened to us as children which have had a formative influence on our likes and dislikes, but we don’t ever really think about it, or get help that we need from a qualified professional.


Sexual sin, sex outside of marriage, complicates life unduly. Let’s say a man does not really love a woman, but he wishes to have sex with her. They have sex; she becomes pregnant, and he marries her, but they are not that happy together and they eventually get a divorce. Their child does not now have a home where both parents live there. This is a recipe for disaster. Of course, two people might get married, never having had sex, and still discover that they want a divorce, leading to the same negative result for the child they have created together. But the existence of one sin does not justify the committing of another. For instance, if two people divorce, at least one of the parties has sinned; otherwise, there would be no divorce. Someone violated their marriage contract. The fact that this will happen regardless of whether or not couples had sex before marriage does not make couples having sex before marriage suddenly a good idea.


Let’s take the specific issue of burkas. The idea behind it is that women should cover their hair, because a woman’s long hair is one of the physical attributes that men find tempting in a sexual sense. One of the criticisms of this rationale is, why do women have to change their behaviour because of what men might think? Shouldn’t men have control over their own actions? However, I feel that this misses the point. The point is that whatever we can do to lessen the occurrence of sexual sin is a good thing. If women were the visual sex, and men were not, then it would make sense that men not wear tight jeans for fear of tempting women sexually. That is not the biology, though. Men are the visual gender, and they are attracted by what they see. I personally do not think it is necessary for women to cover their heads; however, I’m not offended by it.


And I think it highlights an issue that we do not talk about enough. We often get offended by people’s attempt to do good because we disagree with the surface aspect of what they are talking about. We worry about the wrong things, and miss the bigger picture. Our first thought should be “How does God feel about this?”, rather than “Do men benefit from this more than women?” or “Do women benefit from this more than men?” We need to stop playing gender games, and pitting one gender against another. The idea of burkas, whether one specifically agrees with it or not, is not meant to escalate men or subjugate women. It is in keeping with what people sincerely believe God wants for them. Many people believe that sexual sin is serious, and can have untold negative consequences for those who engage in it. Rather than criticize them for a sincere belief, we should look at the deeper meaning behind it. 

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