Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The maturation of morals and virtues

I always contend that it's important for our kids to learn the truth in school, and that includes when it comes to truths that we don't necessarily agree with.  One of the best examples all time when it comes to avoiding the truth is when it comes to morals, virtues and religion.

This goes for both the right and the left.  It's quite apparent that many on the left try adamantly to get Jesus out of schools.  They don't want anything that has to do with Christianity to be mentioned, including God, Jesus and even Christmas.  Hence the term "Holidays" is used.  This is true even Holiday is in reference to a "Holy-day."

I won't delve into that because we read about it adnauseum, hear about it adnauseum, in the news, mainly news from the right.  Yet what we don't hear about is the truth about the moral and virtue shift.  A perfect example here is that in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, where the weather was fairly warmer, it was normal to walk around naked and have people not even do a double take.  

Yet it was also considered normal to be gay, for a man to have a boy lover, for a man to seek prostitution, to have out of wedlock children, and to abort an unwanted boy or girl.  In fact, a man was more likely to be seen in public with his boy child rather than with his wife.  

Pederasty was an accepted and universal institution in the Greek world.  This doesn't imply Greek men were homosexual (it doesn't prove they weren't either), because a majority of men were married, had normal sex relations with their wives, with slave girls, and with courtesans at times.  Yet the woman stayed home and took care of the kids, and were ready when her husband was ready to have sex.  Her job was to take care of the home, cook, make kids and take care of them.  (1)

Because a woman stayed at home, a man was more likely to be seen in public with his adolescent boy lover than his wife.  Yet he would take care of his boy, and he'd mentor him and make sure he grew up to be a productive member of society.  

Henry Sigerist, who wrote "A History of Medicine," contends that the sexual frustrations of adolescent boys did not exist in antiquity.  As soon as a boy was ready he was allowed to have sex. In fact, in Sparta boys were encouraged to go out and rape a girl, but if he got caught he was whipped.  This was standard and accepted practice. (1, 2)

War was common in the ancient world, and to a soldier far from home it was normal to seek satisfaction by a prostitute.  This was also common in Ancient Egypt, and if a child was born it was okay because extra hands were always needed.  Yet in Ancient Egypt 8 out of 10 babies were not born alive, and therefore nature was the most common form of contraception.  Plus many kids died before they reached the age of two due to diseases they were highly susceptible to.

Homer mentions relations between men, although this was most common during periods of war.  Alexander the Great is written about by some historians as a man who had relations with boys or other men, yet this, once again, does not mean he was a homosexual.  It was simply accepted the practice during his time.  

In Egypt it was common for young girls to be married off at the age of 12 or 13, as soon as they reached puberty.  Their husbands were 15 or 16.  Marriage to brothers and sisters was not uncommon, and to have many wives and many children was not abnormal either.  Ramses II had 170 children.  (2)

Lesbian acts were also common in Greece mainly because the women were confined to the house, and their husbands were often off abroad for long periods of time, or simply off at work or in the markets or participating in sports all day long.  

Sigerist explains this way of living:  
"when we study ancient cultures our task is not to judge but to understand them.  To that end we must avoid measuring them with the moral yardstick of our own time, realizing that our own morals have no absolute value but are the result of certain historical developments in which we happen to be involved at the moment.  This is particularly necessary when we study the sex life of other civilizations.  Customs vary; the style of living changes.  to the superficial observer it may look as if the Greeks had been highly promiscuous, having intercourse with whoever happened to be around -- wife, slave girl, courtesan, boy, man -- but this was not at all the case.  Affections were at least as deep as they are today.  No Don Juan creates an art, literature, and philosophy as the Greeks have.  Human relations were broader and deeper, and there was less hypocrisy in matters of sex than in our present world." (2, page 222)
Somewhere along the line our moralistic views changed.  Perhaps men like Moses, who lived withing the Egyptian world, saw how difficult life was for children living amid these circumstances. It was men like him, thousands of years ago, who saw the value in creating a stable environment for children to mature in.  

Perhaps it's for this reason that homosexuality and prostitution were frowned upon, as well as extramarital affairs, sex with young boys and girls, multiple marriages, etc.  Perhaps I'm safe in making this speculation because the Bible in itself is a book of virtues, values, morals, family unity, discipline, individualism, capitalism, etc.  

So when people today talk about making homosexuality, abortion, sodomy, and the like normal parts of our life, or acceptable, they are in a sense trying to take the morals of mankind full circle, back to the way they were during ancient Greek and Egyptian times.  

I doubt that most of these people know this.  I doubt they think of the consequences of this change that they are calling for.  However, it's hard to argue with them when as Americans, as people who live in a free world, we preach the importance of freedom, personal choice, and accountability. 

People should have the right to live the way they choose, whether that be by their environmental choice or natural calling.  If such a choice has a consequence on their children, family life, or on society as a whole, it is their choice not the choice of government.  Such may be the case, or argument, by those who call for gay marriage or the right to abortion (choice).  

Yet it is the risks of such a promiscuous living, or choices, that have many in our society, mainly the religious among us (either Christians, Muslims or other).  It is the religious majority who wish to place restraints on society, and who yearn to encourage governments to make abortion, homosexuality, and other such activities abnormal.

Such values and virtues were recognized by the founding fathers.  Jefferson and Madison wrote letters at length discussing the importance of the government inculcating religion among the people. And hence is why we have religious words all over Washington, on our coins, and why Presidents said prayers and encouraged prayers in schools.  

The founding fathers new that the government could not afford a military or a police, and so they needed to do something to encourage people to be good.  The recognized this by studying ancient societies. 

So even those who did not believe in God decided that God was important.  People who believe in God also believe in the Devil and Hell.  People will try to be good to get to Heaven and to avoid the fires of Hell.  

Those who wish to change what the founding fathers created for America wish to go back to life as it was in Ancient Greece or Egypt or even Mesopotamia.  Yet now that we have studied our history, and wrote the truth about that history instead of telling children the history we want them to know about, we can understand both sides a little better. We must continue to strive for a happy medium.  

What do you think?

  1. Sigerist, Henry E, "A History of Medicine," volume I; Primitive and Archaic Medicine, second printing, 1955, New York, Oxford University Press, pages 240-241
  2. Sigerist, Henry E, "A History of Medicine," volume II: Early Greek, Hindu, and Persian Medicine, second printing, 1955, pages 219-221

No comments: