Leif Carlsson, a speaker at the Hönö Conference, wants Christians to come to terms with the faith’s negative views on sex and compare them with those found in Judaism, according to a report in Christian newspaper Dagen.
The Hönö Conference is has been held since 1945 and is organised by the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden (Svenska Missionskyrkan).
Since the days of the early church, Christians have devoted their energy devoted to evangelism, not reproduction, given that Jesus is coming soon and a new world will be established, the report surmised.
“There are few role models in the New Testament. Jesus is not married and does not say much about sex and we will not get into Paul,” Carlsson told Dagen. We could wish that the New Testament would say more about sex, but it says almost nothing.”
The silence surrounding sexuality went from being influenced by a body hostile to Greek thought to becoming a negative view of sex.
“However, the church’s skeptical attitude throughout history has changed such that one sexuality is view much more positively today,” Carlsson told Dagen.
Within Judaism, sexuality has always been viewed as something fundamentally good. According to Carlsson, this may be because the Jews were a minority and childbearing was essential for survival.
“In rabbinical Judaism, it is heavily emphasised,” Carlsson told Dagen. “They say that sex is more important than studying the Torah.”
There is also a generally more positive attitude to the body and desire, Carlsson added.
“Men have sexual obligations to women. There are old rules on how often the man must satisfy a woman, different for different occupational groups. For a sailor, it is once every six months, for an unemployed person, daily and a teacher of the Torah, every Friday,” he laughed.
The Jewish tradition has clear patriarchal features, but Carlsson sees signs that there is respect for women.
“In a Jewish Kabbalistic text from the 1200s, it prohibits forced sex within marriage. That only happened in the 1970s in Sweden,” Carlsson told Dagen.
As to why so many are hurt by sex if it is such a positive thing, Carlsson told Dagen, “The Jews would say that sexuality is one of the strongest forces that humans possess and must be tamed to have a positive effect.”