SEX & GOD
How Religion Distorts Sexuality
Darrel Ray, Ed.D.
IPC Press, Bonner Springs, KS
279 pages plus bibliography and index Paperback $10.85
As this Journal's publisher, I receive many books and films to review. I tend to shy away from books and films about religion except in my role as an educator. I need to expose my students to the wider view of sexuality held by the world's religions. When this book arrived from Dr. Ray, author of The God Virus, I took it on as a learning project. I am very glad I did. Anyone living in our religion filled culture should read this book, especially anyone concerned that our young people receive the information they need to make safe and responsible choices regarding their sexual lives.
Dr. Ray has been a psychologist for 35 years, and in his early education planned to become a minister. He spent years training ministers, chaplains and other church officials, and learned that they were just the same as the people they ministered to, having sex in ways they preached against, cheating on their mates, and pretending they were not doing it, while feeling shame and guilt. They all knew their god was watching them have sex. The cycle of having fun sex, feeling guilty about it, experiencing shame that drove them back to religion for forgiveness, and then, unable to give up the fun, repeating the cycle over and over. This book is designed to challenge the reader "to look at the sexual training and indoctrination you received from childhood and make informed choices about how to conduct yourself as a sexual being."
Chapter 1, Religious Foreplay, is a masterpiece, noting that fear is the foreplay of religion. It points out that "Religion's goal is to propagate religion." He lists the "toxic trio" of key beliefs:
Belief in an afterlife.
Belief in a voyeuristic, all-knowing god that determines your status in the afterlife.
Belief that the god dictates a specific kind of sexual behavior to the exclusion of all others, as a condition for entry into the afterlife.
All this is part of our sexual map, one we learn early in our lives, and then try to follow as we become adults. But what good is a map that is thousands of years old? Why would a religion try to keep us to such an old and outdated map? Because all sexual restrictions are critical to the propagation of religion. It does not matter what religion, because, with few exceptions (Unitarians and Pagans), they all use the same...