Whirr2006-07-18
A couple good quotes from Metafilter

First of all, a user called jefgodesky posted this quote from Peter Brown's 1988 The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity:

Citizens of the Roman Empire at its height, in the second century A.D., were born into the world with an average life expectancy of less than twenty-five years. Death fell savagely on the young. Those who survived childhood remained at risk. Only four out of every hundred men, and fewer women, lived beyond the age of fifty. It was a population ‘grazed thin by death.’ In such a situation, only the privileged or the eccentric few could enjoy the freedom to do what they pleased with their sexual drives. Unexacting in so many ways in sexual matters, the ancient city expected its citizens to expend a requisite proportion of their energy begetting and rearing legitimate children to replace the dead. Whether through conscious legislation, such as that of Emperor Augustus, which penalized bachelors and rewarded families for producing children, or simply through the unquestioned weight of habit, young men and women were discreetly mobilized to use their bodies for reproduction. The pressure on the young women was inexorable. For the population of the Roman Empire to remain even stationary, it appears that each woman would have had to have produced an average of five children. Young girls were recruited early for their task. The median age of Roman girls at marriage may have been as low as fourteen. In North Africa, nearly 95 percent of the women recorded on gravestones had been married, over half of those before the age of twenty-three.

Further down the thread, he had this to say:

The Bible doesn't really talk about contraception at all, good or bad, but there was a lot more than just the rhythm method to talk about. There was a whole catalog of highly effective herbs and other techniques. Some were bogus old wives' tales, but some put our own contraceptives to shame. Bible doesn't talk about those. Most you'll get from the Bible is the story of Onan, and if you can turn the story of Onan into a tale about G-d hating masturbation, then I suppose the whole point of that story of Jesus being tempted by the Devil in the desert was that Jesus didn't like bread. It's that kind of myopic focus on irrelevant details that turns the sin of Sodom into sodomy, when the Bible clearly states that the sin of Sodom was violence, pride and lack of concern for the poor.

I thought that those were both very interesting and very well said, so I thought I'd include them here.

Hah, and then later on he quoted Ghandi:

As Ghandi put it, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ."

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