For my entire life as a follower of Christ I've heard people say that the biblical proof against that act comes from Genesis 38, where Judah's son Onan refuses to sire a son for his dead brother. He does have sexual relations with his sister-in-law, Tamar, but when it's time to fire, he pulls out and spills his seed on the ground, knowing the child won't be counted as his own in the all-important genealogical records. At that time this was considered a grave sin.
Under our current covenant with God, men are not required to sire offspring for their brothers who die without an heir, so this passage is irrelevant in its literal sense. (It's still relevant in terms of us following God's will for our lives.)
The gist is, Onan didn't masturbate; he actually had sex with a woman. In fact, it was God's will for him to have sex with that woman. There were penalties for early withdrawal.
The only thing Onan's deed has in common with the deed O'Donnell has opposed is that the seed is given no chance to fertilize an egg.
O'Donnell, in a 1990s MTV documentary on abstinent people, argues that it is impossible to pleasure oneself without lusting in one's heart. Jesus equated lusting in one's heart to actually committing adultery -- so that's bad.
But suppose you're married. What if you masturbate while thinking about your spouse? That's not adultery at all. And there isn't a single verse in the Bible that specifically addresses masturbation.
So the problem is masturbation for single people, which O'Donnell is. They, according to Scripture, aren't supposed to have sex with anybody, and therefore not even fantasize about having sex with anybody.
So on that count I'll agree with her.
But Paul notes that all these rules for Christian behavior are for ... Christians only. What people outside the church do is none of our business. So going on Bill Maher's show and MTV is a waste of time and "casting your pearls before swine." (No offense intended if you don't like being compared to hog.)
O'Donnell is running for Senate in Delaware, and hasn't made her opposition to masturbation a campaign issue. Comedians and political opponents have. But if tapes of her Maher and MTV appearances didn't exist, opponents and comedians couldn't drag them out so easily. If she'd said it in a church setting and tapes were found, so what? That's her personal life and she would have been speaking to people who were purporting to hold themselves up to such standards.
One other thing:
And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. 1 Timothy 2:9 (New Living Translation, emphasis added)I know Christine O'Donnell covers herself up. Still, she's pretty hot.
And that might make some single Christians who like her, uh, like her.
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