Today I’m going to talk about five other claims of masturbation besides the claim that masturbation is a sin.
Masturbation as less than ideal
This position is considered wrong in that masturbation falls short of God’s ideal level of sex. God’s original intention was for men and women to become one through sexual intercourse because masturbation is impossible. Walter Trobisch describes this point poetically as follows.
But because of masturbation, sex extends beyond its goal. It must be for this reason that masturbation is a worthless or inhumane expression of sex. It divides one person into two, therefore two roles that are incompatible with one another should overlap. Masturbation is not a language, but silence, or a state of alienation where the voice is dead. As a result, there is no communication or relationship. He doesn’t talk to anyone and doesn’t give anything to anyone. By himself, he is taking something.
John White described this form of vocal behavior, saying, “In a sense, you are living alone on a remote island,” and Thomas Howard said it was a form of solipsism, referring to masturbation.
Helmut Thielieke also pointed out the problem of masturbation, citing the fact that Luther said, “Every action that focuses on the self without focusing on human self reversal, God and its neighbor, is the realization of sin.”
Some argue that masturbation is not God’s most appropriate option from a slightly different angle. In other words, masturbation is a sign of a lack of trust that God will provide the most suitable supply in relation to sex. It is considered that there is a problem with the dogmatic attitude to living one’s life.
Although this position is quite convincing, it is also not an appropriate argument. This is because, as stated on two previous occasions, humans can be far from the realization of this ideal.
Two kinds of masturbation
Advocates of this position believe that there are two kinds of masturbation: guilty and innocent. The representative advocate, Herbert J. Miles, revealed as follows.
“When is masturbation a sin?” (1) When its only motivation is purely biological pleasure, which has nothing to do with any other purpose, and (2) is bound by the entire character by allowing it to become a compulsive habit, or (3) stems from a sense of inferiority and causes a sense of guilt. A young man should be taught to have a limited and temporary masturbation program until he gets married and reaches his maximum sexual potential. In other words, a man should exercise sexual restraint until marriage. In other words, he should never have sex with anyone else in order to meet his personal needs. He must rely on wet dreams and sublimation, and if necessary, he can supplement it with a temporary and limited program of masturbation.
On the other hand, David A. Seamands distinguishes between temporary masturbation and compulsive masturbation, and James Dobson explains that masturbation becomes dangerous while trying to take an illegal approach as group-level public exposure, masturbation to replace marriage, and destruction of personality due to guilt.
It is considered beneficial to divide masturbation into two categories. However, this position is unconvincing if it can be explained that the grounds for “guilty” masturbation are not as bad as first thought.
Masturbation as morally neutral
This position believes that masturbation is not sinful from a moral point of view, nor is it ultimately a desirable sexual pattern. Lewis B. Smedes explains this sympathetically as follows.
Young people need to learn that the void after masturbation is not guilt but just incompleteness. It is therefore necessary to take masturbation as a temporary plateau of sexual development with that frustration in mind. Although this act is not morally wrong, it is not sufficient from a personal perspective. This is not as accidental as any other act and it is not a frightening secret sin.
Therefore, Letha Scanzoni says that they do not want to judge others and each of them in their own minds. This is because they belong to Christian freedom, which must be determined by the individual’s conscience and the Lord. In a slightly different context, some scholars argue that masturbation is not an inherent sin, but it may be a sin depending on lust’s involvement.
Masturbation as morally permissible
There are at least two things presupposed in the logic of those who insist on this. It is that first, the physiological needs of young people should be released through proper channels. Second, if Christians use masturbation properly, they can prevent serious crimes such as adultery or rape. “When sexual energy boils inside oneself, it is better to release a woman through sexual acts than to seduce or rape her as a man.” Psychiatrist M. O. Vincent describes this as the example of a believer from the perspective of efficiency, which is slightly different from the preventive aspect of a greater evil.
What about a seminary student thousands of kilometers away from his fiancee for 10 months? Occasionally, I’m forced to study New Testament or church history, and his erotic fantasies travel to his fiancee. He continues to be filled with happiness when he sees his fiancee wandering, kissing, hugging, or dreaming of his future bedroom. What is this young man going to do? Waiting three or four days for this physiological tension to be relieved by a dream, should you be able to study at all while daydreaming? Can he say that it is wrong to study intensively for three or four days after completing his five-minute delusion by masturbating? I’m sure it’s helpful if masturbation is used to reduce lust or excessive sexual fantasy.
Contrary to the above points, there is also an argument for self-defense purely based on biblical evidence. James R. Johnson seeks to form the biblical basis for masturbation based on Leviticus 15:16-18.
We must admit that in a morally neutral context, the Bible contains vocal acts. This passage from Leviticus means that, if the holy act does not conflict with the moral-ethical principles of God in other parts of the Bible, God will accept it.
In my view, this argument is more persuasive than any other position, but it is a bit unreasonable to make such an argument based on Leviticus.
Masturbation as a gift of God
This theory is the most active position in relation to masturbation. This is beneficial to the sexual development of young people and a gift from God who knows their physiological needs. Charlie W. Shedd, a representative scholar, presents his position as follows.
Teenage sexual tension is a natural part of the process of maturity. This remarkable drive is from God. I think masturbation is a gift from God that allows us to keep our cool in the midst of all sexual tensions. Consequently, it is impossible for me to believe that a wise creator would have put such physical momentum into us without a convincing means of release.
The advantage of this argument is that it grants psychological freedom to those who are caught up in unnecessary guilt related to masturbation.
But at the same time, the biggest weakness is the tendency to overlook problems such as the psychological circumstances involved in masturbation, stimuli for selection purposes, and sexual fantasies.
Naturally, he also mentions the negative effects of masturbation, but it is regrettable that it is only a passing comment and lacks sufficient explanation.
In particular, it is worrisome that if the extraterritorial nuance of the phrase “God’s gift” turns out wrong, it can sometimes be restrained and useless even if necessary.
As a matter of fact, even without using the phrase “God’s gift”, the above two arguments are the most reasonable because they can be used to refer to the limited necessity or usefulness of self-defense.
This time, we looked at other evidence that is believed to support the sin of masturbation. Protestant positions on masturbation vary widely.
We classified them into six positions and tried to evaluate each of them, and concluded that morally neutral’ or morally permissible’ was the most plausible.
In other words, masturbation itself is not a sin, but some things related to masturbation may be a sin. We will talk about this later. But let’s first look at the evidence in the Bible, which appears directly and indirectly, to see if masturbation is a sin.