Chastity - where does affection end and sexuality begin?

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Posted by Gerry ( on August 14, 2002 at 06:16:04:

I would like to return to the subject of chastity, since I do not believe it was properly answered in the various posts earlier:

It has been quoted: "Women and men must not embrace each other when not married, or not about to be married. They must not kiss each other. If women kiss women, that is not bad. If men kiss men, that is not bad. But men and women must not embrace. Such conduct is not taught in the Baha'i Revelation. AND IT MUST NOT BE DONE. IT IS NOT PERMITTED. If they wish to greet each other, or comfort each other, they may take each other by the hand."

Does the quotation imply that various forms of affection between women and women as well as men and men are acceptable? Then, at what level does the act of affection stop and become an act of sexuality (non-chastity)?

In Baha'i, homosexuality is strictly forbidden but science is explicitly accepted. The Science of Sexuality includes that as many as 40% of homosexual men and women do not engage in intercourse, but they are homosexuals, notwithstanding that homosexuality has been now excluded as a mental illness.

Explicit sexuality that includes orgasm would, by any definition, be the negation of chastity. But within heterosexual marriage and with love, it is not sinful. In fact, it is honoured and perhaps the most sacred act of union between a man and wife.

Now, the subject of chastity must also include the subject of non-chastity, which, in North Amnerica, is the norm, especially among young people. If a Baha'i boy and a Baha'i girl are, sincerely, in their minds, chaste, but with their own definition of chastity they exclude hugging and kssing, how does one provide a 'boundary' for them between affection and sexuality. I propose that it is impossible.

This is one of the difficulties with Baha'i teachings - the constant reference to UHJ legislation, or the words and writing of Bab, Baha'u'llah, Abdul-Baha and Guardian. Not only do interpretations of "Law" differ depending on the culture or society that does the interpreting, science also causes interpretive changes since it, itself, is always changing, establishing new norms and definitions which must/should be incorporated into the Baha'i Faith.

I would not cherish being nominated as an interpreter of "The Words". he probability of error is 100%.

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