Comment by Rene, 12 Dec, 2017
Hiya, and good analysis on the classic argument of "It's fine to slaughter people, just don't use too many naughty words and cover up the breast when you cut out the heart or someone will be offended!".
I think it all boils down to the Bible itself. The religious get their guidance for life from the Bible, and the Bible CLEARLY has no issues with grotesque violence and barbaric behaviour, gleefully describing it in detail every chance they get. So the implication to a Christian is that God loves suffering, as it brings you closer to Jesus (quote from Mother Theresa BTW), and that horrific violence is a natural part of our sinful natures and thus cannot be removed, only directed well. I mean, even Jesus himself said "bring him to me so that I may slay him" and he's the example of all that is good, right?
However look at sex ... everyone is capable of slaughter in holy rapturous ecstasy (in the name of God of course) they cannot stand the idea that someone might not want to fuck them, or that they might be fucking in a way that they cannot appreciate, and thus all sex is immoral. If THEY cannot appreciate the pleasures of humanity's touches, than NOBODY should, and since being judgemental is second nature to Christians, they judge all sex that isn't for the job of making Christian babies to be immoral somehow. Apparently they forgot that the Bible itself said "go forth and multiply" and that God would have given them the desires and parts, and that Eve was to be a COMPANION to Adam and not just an incubator, or that "virgin" just meant "unmarried" back them (she could have been the biggest slut in Bethlehem for all we know, but she never married and thus was a virgin by OUR modern definition for some reason) but no matter. God clearly loves violence and hates sex, and thus they feel the need to suck up a little more to him by carrying on the beliefs, and naturally imposing those values on everyone in earshot. After all, all love is GOD and OF GOD and supposedly NOTHING is greater than God, but an orgasm doesn't need his involvement to make you feel the best you physically/mentally could ... and it's done with a HUMAN lover, not God. They HATE that idea ...
It's pure hypocrisy of course, but then they need an excuse to justify God's love of slaughter and ironic punishments, and thus the blind spot. Otherwise they'd have to admit that their god is a tyrant who's got issues with human's basic COMPETING passions and thus not worthy of worship. Easier to just stab the heathen who suggests it in the name of God and hope he likes the devotion you show in emulating him. <lol>
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 12 Dec, 2017
Hi Rene. We also suspect that the underlying reason most people find violence and vengeance acceptable and entertaining (at least on the screen) and nudity and sex shameful (on or off the screen) is due to the Bible's insidious influence. Devout Christians, Jews and Muslims all derive their moral code from the stories in their holy books, stories which all share the same god, many of the original stories and most certainly the same submissive, backward attitudes. Believers are weaned on the graphic and often totally unjust violence and vengeance in the (fictional) origin stories of their ancestors, as well as learning that their god is utterly obsessed with controlling every detail, major or minor, that is connected to sex, and who, at the same time, is utterly appalled, disgusted and repulsed by it all. The sex that is, not the violence, he just loves the violence, the more barbaric the better.
In the first book of the Bible we're told that God made Adam and Eve and that, 'The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame'. This clearly states that they were not ashamed in being naked, and implies that God their creator didn't find the naked human body offensive either, after all, he had specifically designed us to look and function the way we do. And more importantly, having created them naked, God apparently intended that they remain naked, that nudity was natural and normal and nothing to be ashamed of. He made no attempt to clothe them. And as you say Rene, the naked Adam and Eve were instructed by God to go forth and multiply, to shamelessly put their genitals together and produce new life, and their offspring, which were also born naked, were to do likewise. And importantly, we were all to have great fun doing it. After all, God deliberately gave us the orgasm, it wasn't something invented by hippies in the 1960s.
Unfortunately, this idyllic lifestyle quickly took a turn for the worse when a talking snake decided to have a little chat with Eve, and everything went downhill from there. Next thing they knew they were being evicted from their Club Med home and forced out onto the street, brother was soon killing brother, tribes were warring with each other, and God was joining in the melee by confusing languages, spreading lies, picking favourites and encouraging genocide. Suffering, sometimes on a monumental scale, had entered the world. The orgasms were still great, but they were now usually tinged with a deep guilt, which naturally lessened their overall appeal, meaning that many god-fearing people tried to then suppress their god-given urges and live a life of near celibacy, or in the case of Catholic priests, absolute celibacy. And no, sex with little boys isn't "real" sex and so it doesn't count. It's not clear what turned God from a caring creator who strolled naked with Adam and Eve in their garden of an evening into a vicious, homicidal megalomaniac that now abhorred sex, and the naughty bits needed to perform it, but change he did. Apart from the first verses of the first book of the Bible, the rest have God baying for blood and threatening to torture for all eternity anyone seen naked or having sex for purposes other than procreation. That means no sex for pure enjoyment, no sex if you're unable to produce children for any reason or are beyond the age of child-bearing, no homosexual sex, no sex if you're pregnant, and no masturbation, because all these activities fail to produce kids, the sole justification for Christians to have sex. Some centuries ago the Church even taught that it was better for a son to rape his mother than to masturbate, since at least the rape might result in a child for God. God even saw no problem with raping Mary to get himself a human son that he could then reject, leaving Mary to raise him, and then later return to have him tortured and killed.
Many Biblical stories are well known, but most people, Christian or non-Christian, would be hard pressed to find one that at it's core doesn't involve the use of violence and/or injustice to achieve it goals, and in the stories where sex, the body and/or nudity is involved, find the view that it's not repugnant and shameful. Of course women will know this because they need to know how long they must shun contact with others during their periods because they are filthy and unclean. Because Christians are told they must love God and follow his moral code in order to emulate his ways, and because his stories often involve him slaughtering entire civilisations, or even having a father murder his own beloved daughter, then of course Christians are going to view violence as perfectly acceptable and nothing to be repulsed by, because it's the tool of choice of their beloved heavenly father. Likewise, because God only views sex as a necessary evil, and the naked body merely the disgusting tool that is needed to procreate, then when not doing the vile deed in some darkened room, sex and the naked body must be consciously kept hidden form public view, and anyone who transgresses this behaviour, accidental or otherwise, must have shame and disapproval heaped upon them.
Of course many people today would argue that they're not all that religious, and thus the Bible views of violence and sexuality don't inform their views. But we'd argue that for most, they are likely wrong. They might then say that we atheists just want to blame God for everything, even what we see in the movies, but today's movie censorship laws are merely a slightly modified version of that which was forced on us decades ago by the Christian Church and a society that was far more supportive of the Church, eg the Hays Code. Think of the views that most people, religious or not, have of homosexuality, masturbation, pre-martial sex, nudity, abortion and divorce through to capital punishment, parent's hitting children, retribution, suicide, theft, murder and even President George Bush's war against Iraq that he called a 'Crusade', saying that you were either with him or against him, a quote from Jesus. For nearly everyone, their views on these topics come from the Bible. Try explaining why homosexuality or masturbation is wrong without any reference to the Bible stories, or try arguing for retribution without thinking of the Biblical phrase, an eye for an eye, or arguing against suicide without mentioning the idea that our life belongs to God.
We may now be a secular society, but the reality is that many of the laws and customs of our present society are founded on the Biblical worldview of our Christian ancestors. And many of them are just plain wrong, and the world is only slowly starting to realise that an ancient book written by ignorant Bronze Age goat herders is not the best place to look for ideas on how to lead a good life. Look at how attitudes and laws concerning such things as homosexuality, abortion, suicide and even masturbation have changed for the better in recent years. All these involved the wholesale rejection of Biblical views. Look at people that bemoan these changes and they'll likely have a Bible under their arm or at least make some mention of God and their faith. We're not a Christian country, as some falsely claim, but there is no doubt that our society is riddled with age-old Christian beliefs, and their influence has been widespread over the centuries. Take the Pacific Island cultures. They didn't have a problem with nudity until after contact with Europeans. Accounts from Christian missionaries reveal that they had their work cut out trying to instil a sense of body shame in the carefree natives. But now, centuries later, Pacific Island cultures are more ashamed of nudity, and more religious, than even the European Christians that brainwashed them. Only after becoming Christians did Pacific Islanders start to view the body differently. Many people may have now forgotten exactly why their parents told them to cover up — Because I said so! — but push them for a plausible answer and soon you will run up against the Bible as the source, or an admission of complete ignorance, that they simply don't know why nudity is bad. We'd challenge any reader to explain why public nudity is bad, without referring to the dictates of some sky fairy.
Graphic violence easily finds its way onto our screens, while sex and nudity is hurriedly wrapped in a trench coat and marched down to the police station to be booked for obscenity. As it was in the Bible, so it is still.
Comment by Murray, 14 Apr, 2018
Morning! I'm pretty late to the blog entry, but I felt the need to share thoughts.
My most crystal sharp exposure to this attitude came some 20 years ago. My friends have three children and this was when they were pretty young, obviously. A video of "The Terminator" was procured for the evening's entertainment. I expressed some reservations if the movie was appropriate for kids, but the parents waved me away. Okay.
So, we watched Arnie kill and maim dozens of people in his brutal quest for Sarah Connor. An entire police station annihilated. Not a blink of concern for inappropriate viewing.
Then the plot reached the moment when the two hunted fugitives find safety long enough to catch their breath and unclench, if only for a few hours. They're desperate and hurting and exhausted. They've grown close in their desperate attempt to escape. We are now witness to a thoroughly plausible and certainly not gratuitous (unlike so many movies) scene of the two nude characters making love (as opposed to "screwing their brains out").
The wife and mother watching the movie had never seen "The Terminator". She wasn't aware of such a scene. She went volcanic on us for not warning her of such a disgusting moment and letting her children see it.
It baffled me then and it baffles me now.
There's this belief that runs thru our world that male humans are on a hair trigger, where the sight of one curvaceous ankle will turn us into slobbering simians of rampaging, red-eyed lust. Various religions around take this "axiom" to heart and require women to be smothered in layers of clothing. Maybe there is a more secular fear deep down that any human, especially teens, will see a nipple and plunge into wild bouts of bunny sex, leading to unwanted pregnancies and STDs.
As for acceptance of violence, it may be partly due to desensitization. Violence is part of the adventure in a story and writers have to keep upping the ante so consumers stay on the edge of their seats. For example, I finally saw Hitchcock's "Psycho" for the first time in the 1990's, but was well aware of many of the details, especially the legendary "shower scene". Well, the scene came and went and I was stunned all right. Stunned at how tame, and even "innocent", the scene came across to my sensibilities. I was not thinking in any critical fashion towards Hitchcock or the audiences some 35 years earlier. It was a staggering example of how... sophisticated... numb... we had become in the interim.
And, that's about it. On with the day!
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 14 Apr, 2018
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Murray. While I personally can't remember anyone going ballistic over encountering a sex scene in a movie, I can recall many examples of my fellow viewers exhibiting extreme embarrassment, often looking away, when suddenly confronted with scenes involving nudity or sex. And yet, the violence never really fazed them.
So why are we accepting of graphic violence in our movies but not sex or nudity? You're right that there is this bullshit notion that, 'male humans are on a hair trigger, where the sight of one curvaceous ankle will turn us into slobbering simians of rampaging, red-eyed lust'. I'm looking at you Muslims, and even some of you fundamentalist Christians. I suspect the religious upbringing that most people are subjected to, even in more liberal societies, is what informs their stance on sex and public nudity, and that stance is all about promoting shame and embarrassment and concealment. When you really push people to explain why sex must be hidden or why nude beaches should be illegal, their first answers are normally quite empty, eg it's what my parents taught me or it's what society demands. When you try to understand what underpinned their parents' or society's demands, it nearly always rests on primitive codes of conduct found in old holy books. Some god told their ancestors that sex was dirty and disgusting and that the naked body was ugly and shameful and thus both sex and nudity must be avoided where possible and always concealed from the public gaze. Let's remember that the Bible's New Testament proclaims that while sex is permissible within marriage for procreation, celibacy is the preferred option for everyone. I have yet to hear someone successfully argue that sex and nudity must be kept private due to some reason that doesn't ultimately fall back on silly beliefs found in some old religion.
The reality is that banning graphic sex and nudity from movies merely creates ignorant prudes. And any argument that claims that graphic scenes would be dangerous, that people will blindly emulate what they see in the movies is shown to be bogus and hypocritical since these same people permit graphic violence in movies with no fear (or evidence) that viewers will copy the violence.
I agree when you say that, 'Violence is part of the adventure in a story and writers have to keep upping the ante so consumers stay on the edge of their seats'. Moviegoers keep demanding something new, better special effects and unexpected twists on old stories. But while this helps explain why violence has become ever more pervasive, graphic and realistic in our movies, we must remember that sex is very often part of the story too. And this is nothing new, sex in storytelling is as ancient as violence in stories, and many famous tales would make no sense if the sex scenes were removed. Look at the Bible, it's not just graphic violence, it's also replete with stories involving sex and naked bodies, with the violence and sex often interrelated.
So, if because of desensitisation, movie violence must get more graphic to keep the stories believable and the viewers interested, why don't the sex scenes have to keep pace? The reality is that while there is just as much implied sex now as there ever was, as in heaving naked shoulders and moaning under the sheets, there is much less nudity in movies now than there was in the recent past (in the 1970s and '80s for example), and yet people keep flocking to the new releases. Why aren't moviegoers pushing the producers and directors to make the sex scenes more graphic and realistic, as they apparently are doing with the innumerable scenes of violence? Why are modern viewers happy to have the sex scenes regress to match the old-fashioned and conservative values of their great-grandparents, and yet still clamour for more realistic violence? Why do people have no problem seeing a beautiful clothed woman shot full of bullet holes and collapsing dead in a pool of her own blood, but wouldn't want to see her walk naked along a sun-drenched beach?
Comment by Nick, 14 Jan, 2021
Not sure how I found your site or indeed the article on 'nudity or violence' but I'm glad I did. I couldn't agree more when you say: The problem is not nudity but a society that is mired in primitive, superstitious, irrational beliefs. We don't need to rid the world of harmless naked bodies, we need to rid the world of prudes. It is frankly odd when the natural form is seen to be shameful yet gratuitous violence is applauded in films/TV. But your observation on the dreaded bed sheet cover is very apt. If a sex scene / nudity is needed for plot development than let it be no holes barred and maintain a level of realism — who after all has sex whilst wearing a bra? Or suddenly becomes so modest after already seeing each other naked feels compelled to drape a sheet across their 'privates'? And how have we got to the stage where pubic hair is offensive? Seriously society needs to grow up...
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 14 Jan, 2021
Hi Nick. Thanks for your comments, and you're quite right, society certainly needs to grow up regarding its fear of innocent nudity. Unfortunately it seems to be in no hurry to do so. Just the other night I was watching a TV news item about a man rescued from a tree in crocodile-infested waters in the Australian outback. As lucky as he was to be rescued, it seems the event was felt newsworthy mainly because the man was found naked ... Oh my Gawd!!! So shocking!
Of course the photos were censored, but the item's focus was clearly on the man's nudity. His two male rescuers said they wouldn't even let him into their small boat until he put on some shorts they gave him, and the newsreaders were almost tittering like little schoolgirls, with the female newsreader saying she didn't want to learn why he was naked. Apparently she was finding it too embarrassing. I found it embarrassing that adults could act so childishly, when these same adults had no problem providing the most graphic details concerning a murder or rape or war atrocity in the same news hour.
As for your question, 'And how have we got to the stage where pubic hair is offensive?', it was no doubt rhetorical but it's an interesting question, and I feel like a rant coming on. If it comes to anything I'll send you a link.
Comment by Nick, 14 Jan, 2021
Many thanks for your very quick reply and for including my comment on your website. I think in some respect society's hang up with nudity/sex is in part influenced with religion in particular the story of Adam and Eve — who knew no shame of being nude until they took a bite from the forbidden fruit and then they realised they were naked. Sex (and nudity) is seen by some as an evil temptation that needs to be avoided at all costs. And when sex is shown it is either made into a comic event that we ridicule or it's a violent act. How many films actually depict natural, realistic sex scenes? Or for that matter masturbation? That's for some very odd reason is the uber taboo in our society, an act that is so vile it can't be shown or really discussed (I recall only a very short discussion on masturbation during sex ed — it was a subject that caused much mirth and ridicule — you're seen as a loser if you enjoy pleasuring yourself). Whereas bizarrely watching someone being beaten to a pulp is not on the whole an issue society has (take for instance the Australian news segment that seemed to treat the man being nude as particularly shocking).
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 15 Jan, 2021
Hi Nick. No need to thank me, if people take the time to make a comment then I can take the time to put the comment online. After all, the purpose of our website is expose a wider audience to new views and encourage discussion.
And yes, as a vocal atheist and critic of religious bullshit, I certainly agree that the fairy tale featuring Adam and Eve is a big reason, if not the main reason, for society's fear of nudity, and other Biblical stories created society's many problems with sex, including masturbation. And speaking of masturbation, by coincidence I just happen to be half way through Lauren Rosewarne's book, 'Masturbation in Pop Culture: Screen, Society, Self' (2014). She looks at over 600 scenes from movies and TV shows that feature masturbation and analyses how they (society) treat the subject. Seldom is masturbation or those that do it shown in a positive light as something natural, normal and healthy.
As this comedy skit on YouTube by Megan Brotherton explains, 'Everybody Does It'. And if you don't ... geez ... seek some help. It's not rocket science.
But rather than being something natural, let's recall that the founding fathers of Christianity argued that horny young men should commit rape rather than masturbate. Seriously! Rape, even of your own mother, was seen as much less sinful than wanking. And you may recall that back in the USA in 1994 President Clinton was forced to fire his Surgeon General, Dr Joycelyn Elders, for encouraging masturbation education in high schools to help reduce teenage pregnancies and STIs. How puritanical is that? Look at America, what does it say about a country that idealises violence and fears sex and nudity? How much better would American society be if rather than violently storming the US Capitol, all those men and women had stayed home and simply masturbated to relieve their frustration over a lost election? The world, and especially many in America, has got some growing up to do.
Comment by Nick, 15 Jan, 2021
I read your comment — and we share the same sentiments. You're quite right the Bible does make it explicitly clear that masturbation is the lowest of the low — however Kant also makes the ridiculous assertion, arguing that it is better to rape than release sexual tension through masturbation; clearly he was inspired by the nonsense of Genesis! I do really wonder how such a natural, private and healthy act can cause so much derision in our society. I remember the debacle surrounding the Surgeon General and her views on masturbation (she was absolutely correct) — thankfully I live in the UK so at least masturbation was on the curriculum, however it was regarded as the lesser form of sexual expression and was prone to much mockery. Consequently whilst going through puberty I struggled to reconcile masturbation as a positive outlet — how could something so pleasurable and enjoyable be open to such scorn? It wasn't until I was 19 that I had the confidence to say: "yes, I masturbate".
While there's an element of humour if only the protesters discharged their frustration through a wank a day, studies have shown that this is incredibly beneficial and helps to promote well-being. Perhaps our 'political masters' like us to be tanked up with aggression as it suits their objectives.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 16 Jan, 2021
Hi Nick. I hadn't realised that Kant had made the same claims about rape and masturbation. I live in New Zealand and when I went to school (last century) there was no sex education, but luckily there was also no mockery over masturbation either. I'm sure most everyone did it but no one ever talked about it that I can recall. Like everyone else I had heard the silly stories from movies and such that you'd go blind or get hairy palms, but thankfully I was a skeptic from a young age and I treated those claims as utterly ridiculous and wasn't psychologically troubled in the least. Maybe teens from religious families were somewhat conflicted, but since no one spoke of it, I'll never know.
About an hour ago I watched a documentary on YouTube called 'Sticky: A (Self) Love Story' (2016). Google listed it yesterday when I was searching for that comedy skit by Megan Brotherton. As one blurb says, 'The movie is one of the first documentaries to address the myths and social taboos around masturbation'. I enjoyed it, finding it both informative and funny, and it's a doco that deserves a wide audience. Personally I didn't learn much (beyond the reassuring fact that I've been right all these years), but that's only because personal experience and reading had already revealed the facts to me. I've already been saved, but it's a doco that I think an enormous number of people could benefit by seeing. Unfortunately because of it's subject matter it will likely never screen on TV or even at the movies, regardless of the fact that there are no explicit images. It's like having a life-saving vaccine available that our 'political masters' won't allow the populace access to. That said, thanks to the Internet, more and more young people these days are learning that masturbation is a good thing, even if their parents are trying to hide it from them. So spread the word before it gets deleted.
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