God & Penises & Vaginas

Isn’t sex just about the most unlikely thing to be God’s handiwork? Imagine the Almighty sitting alone in the vastness of heaven with only His alter-ego Son and Holy Ghost to entertain Himself. Imagine Him after trillions of years trying to figure out some way to break the boredom. Is that how we got sex?

No, because if there’s one thing we can be sure of regarding sex, it’s that God’s not having any. Sure, I suppose He could entertain Himself as Supreme Voyeur watching us go at it for a while, but ultimately what’s the appeal in that for Him? It’s not like He has any sexual desires of His own—he doesn’t even have genitals, much less hormones like testosterone coursing though His disembodied spiritual Holy Self.

The problem with sex from a spiritual perspective, is that it just doesn’t fit the picture. Would a God who only wants us to reach the zenith of spiritual existence have invented penises and vaginas? Sorry, don’t think so. Doesn’t fit.

Even the Bible stumbles over sex. Right at the beginning of Genesis, when God created Adam and began searching for a “helpmeet” to mate with him. What follows—this is right there in the Bible—is God parading all the animals of the world before Adam to see which one he would choose for a mate. After Adam found none suitable, God finally hit on the idea of creating Eve, a creature just like Adam but with vulva and curvy breasts. That worked well for Adam, but God seems to have never gotten comfortable with the idea. Sexual intercourse wasn’t supposed to be part of His plan.

Which perhaps explains why Christians—not to mention Jews and Muslims—have stumbled over sex from the beginning. Genitals have never meshed with the divine plan. And they never will.

Face the fact: sex is not Godly. It’s ungodly. And that’s a good thing—it wouldn’t be any fun otherwise. Ungodly sex kicks with life, it pulses with a physical spirit that can only come from bodies being together, doing their thing.

Ungodly good.

[Also published at http://thenakedatheist.com – used with permission]

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Frog Sex

When Peter was fifteen his grandmother had given him a pair of frogs.

“I know how you love animals, so I ordered you a frog aquarium for your birthday,” she told him.

And it was true Peter did love animals.  Over the years he had a succession of pets: dog and cat of course, but also turtle, snake, rabbit, hamster—always one of each until the rats. The rats were supposed to both be females, but that turned out not to be the case. He separated them, but Romeo escaped from his cage and impregnated Juliett through the mesh of her cage, and suddenly Peter found himself with eight naked hairless little rat babies. He managed to give away all but one of the babies, mostly to girls at school who found the baby rats irresistibly cute and the idea of a rat for a pet enticing.

The frog aquarium did not come with frogs. But it came with a coupon with which to order a pair of tadpoles. When the tadpoles arrived in the mail Peter dutifully prepared their home, and over the next few weeks watched them grow into frogs. Every other week or so he would pour out their old dingy water and replace it with carefully prepared water which he had de-flourided—tap water with little “rocks” added and allowed to sit for twelve hours.

One day when he arrived home from school he saw that the male frog had climbed onto the back of the female and was fiercely clutching her with what looked like a wrestler’s death-grip around her stomach. The female tried clumsily to swim, while the male seemed determined to prevent her from moving around in the water.

Peter took the straw from his drink and attempted to separate the two frogs. Then it hit him: they were copulating!

If they were having sex, it was quite passive. Peter could not detect any “thrusting action” of the sort he would have expected on the part of the male. He was merely clutched firmly onto the female’s back, conjoined but otherwise motionless. For her part the female propelled her legs in a swimming motion—perhaps in a feeble attempt to knock him off?

They continued in this position while Peter completed his homework. He turned on some music and watched them, wondering how long they would “do it.”

When Peter returned from supper, the frogs were still in mating position. “They must be trying to set the record for sexual intercourse,” he thought.

The frogs were still copulating the next morning, and when he returned from school (where he had bragged about the frogs olympian endurance to his friends) he went immediately to the frog aquarium. Amazingly, the male was still mounted on the female frog as if they had never stopped.

They continued like this the rest of the week, all weekend, and the following week too. At first Peter watched, voyeuristically, for half an hour or more at a time, never detecting any sexual “action,” just the male clutching the female from his position on top, apparently content to have his erect penis embedded forever in the female. For her part the female would periodically propel them through the water with her powerful rear legs, including up to the surface for air or perhaps food. Peter began to wonder if her leg thrusts caused muscular contraction around the male’s penis.

It seemed strange to Peter. In the wild, he thought, prolonged sex like this would surely have made the frogs unacceptably vulnerable to predators. Why did they copulate for so long? Did he do it to prevent other male frogs from having the opportunity to fertilize her eggs? But there were no other males in the little world of the frog aquarium, obviously.

As Peter pondered this, he wondered what it felt like for the male, clutched like that against the female, penis enclosed in her body as if it had become a way of life. It had to be pleasureable—otherwise why keep it up for such a ridiculously long time? Days, weeks beyond what was biologically necessary. Peter felt guilty watching them. Yet it was strangely fascinating. He couldn’t resist.

Day after day he would come home from school and see them still coupled, until how long it had continued became a blur. Had it been two weeks now? or three? more? He no longer remembered.

And then one day it was over. The water had gotten quite dirty. Peter had not wanted to change it while the frogs were so occupied, but had done so once anyway. And the frogs had stayed coupled throughout that ordeal. Now he changed the water again.

The male frog did not survive for long after mating with the female. For her part, the female frog survived another year and a half. There were never any baby tadpoles, but most likely because Peter had so dutifully changed their water. Whatever eggs were laid would have gone into the toilet.

Once during this “frog time” Peter was with a couple of friends—Cindy and Cory. They had gone to a movie together, a matinée, and afterwards wandered over to a park. As they sat on a picnic table talking and joking, Peter suddenly wondered what it would be like to clutch Cindy like some mad male frog, clutching and copulating with her as if that alone was their way of life. They would be facing each other of course, unlike frogs or other animals, forced to look at each other’s eyes while the eternal clutching took place. To be embedded in her like the frog—not thrusting, but wordlessly together, conjoined, bodies doing their silent instinctive thing, while he looked her directly in the eyes and said—what?

What could he say? What could she say? What thoughts would run through their minds? How could their minds put up with this “indignity” of copulating for days on end?

He would love her, he thought. But somehow all the love he could imagine feeling as he faced her in this frog-reality seemed shallow and fleeting. Surface stuff. While their passive frog bodies instinctively and fundamentally underrode everything they thought or might think.

Peter realized that if he loved Cindy—and he wondered if he ever could—it would be on the level of their likes and aversions, their individual personal preferences for things, the compatibility of their thoughts and personalities. They would be drawn together by mutual jokes and experiences, a sort of happy mixing and meshing of their thoughts as individuals. They would love each other because they liked the same bands, the same music, the same food, the same comedians, the same internet videos.

The frogs showed him the possibility of something far more physical and fundamental, a connection that made human love look like only a glint of light on the surface. The frogs sexual connection occurred deep in the water; it was biologically fundamental.

Could he, Peter, ever be biologically fundamental with Cindy? Or any other girl he knew. Or would their minds reject it outright as ridiculous? He knew the answer. Frog-love was out of the question. It would be too embarrassing. It would undo the human mind.

Imaging clutching a woman as if it was life itself. No, there was something about the sex act that was shameless. Too biological. Too physical. Too much life. Too unmental.

Even without ever having had any experience like it, you could watch those frogs and sense the utter shamelessness of sex. But, Peter realized, the human mind could never accept it or allow it, at least not for long. The mind would feel shamed.

He knew that Cindy—really, all the girls in his circle of friends—would be derisive and dismissive at the thought. They would make jokes, as would Cory of course and the guys he knew at school. The human mind had to be in control; the sex act had to be something the mind could stand above. In one’s stream of thoughts, it had to be explainable and put in its place.

With your friends you had to be witty and all-knowing. Intercourse would have to be relatively quick, the mind never absent for long. The witty mind had to stay on top.

Somehow, Peter thought, this was wrong. The frogs were right and people, the human mind, was wrong. Minds were afraid of biological connection, of being subsumed. Sex was threatening to the mental self. But why?

Perhaps Peter says something to Cindy and Cory about the frogs. And they joke. Perhaps he speaks too seriously about the fundamental biological nature of life, about the grounded physical connection his frogs experienced in sex. Perhaps Peter admits aloud that the frogs showed him there was something deeper in life, something that made his interactions with them (even though they were his best friends) seem like surface reflection.

Cory and Cindy cover it up with joking and Peter’s face flushes. With the hint of a tear he shrugs, “I’m just trying to be honest with myself.”

Afterwards Cindy and Cory are wary of him, uneasy. Behind his back they laugh about it. Still, uneasiness persists. Over the next few days both feel a desire to defend Peter, but find themselves unable to bring it up without joking.

After that their friendship gradually fades. The three grow apart.

[Previously published as “The Frogs” at http://thenakedatheist.com – used with permission]

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Litmus Test for Sanity

Nudity is the litmus test for sanity. Sane societies are clothing-optional; they are built on the principle that no one has the right to control the appearance of others. The clothes someone wears or doesn’t wear, the manner in which they style or color their hair and body—these are sacrosanct to the individual.

We were born naked and we will die naked. Our skin requires broad exposure to sunlight in order to synthesize vitamin D, and that alone tells us that the right to be naked is innate. It is a health right.

The importance of being nude in the sun was recognized 150 years ago, when enlightened American doctors advocated sun-baths. Their instincts were right on target. Today the benefits of vitamin D and sunshine are being teased out by scientific studies, and those benefits appear to be extensive and far-reaching. You don’t get them from the small amounts of D added to milk and other products.

Summer sun exposure can result in your skin creating upwards of 20,000 IU of vitamin D  in a single day.  You can’t get anywhere near this amount from food. A serving of vitamin D fortified milk contains only 120 IU—you would be forced to drink 167 glasses of milk per day to get as much as your skin can make from a few hours of sunshine.

Furthermore, when D is synthesized in the skin from sunlight, it’s impossible to get an over-dose. The human body automatically regulates how much is synthesized based on its needs.

Nor should we forget that there are other benefits of outdoor nudity, both physical and social. This should not be surprising. After all, our bodies evolved to be naked in the world—it is part of our natural inheritance.

[This was previously published at http://thenakedatheist.com – used with permission]

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Honesty

Honesty is about being brave enough to embrace life as it is in reality. It’s about taking our clothes off—figuratively and literally—and loving ourselves just as we are. It’s not honest to make up feel-good stories about heaven, or hope vainly for some kind of spiritual salvation after we die, or fool ourselves with other illusions from our popular religions. What is honest is to accept ourselves as physical beings, perishable bodies alive only for a short time before we disappear forever.

It is to admit that existence is something temporary.

Instead of tainting our lives with a spiritual flagellation which dismisses our animality and denigrates sexuality, let us own up to the fact that, from beginning to end, we are bodies. This is the naked truth. We are not angels muddied into physical form as some sort of perverse punishment from God. Rather, our desire to be angelic and God-like is what is perverse. We are body-beings rather than spirit-beings, and to admit this is not degrading. Instead, it elevates us into the only realm in which life is actually possible.

Without a body, there can be no movement, no action, not even a thought. Scientists have shown clearly that our thoughts and feelings are products of our brains, of chemical reactions in synapses themselves dependent entirely on the makeup of the physical nutrients we happen to consume. This knowledge has consequences. It means there can be no bodiless God who created us or our world, for without physical body even God Almighty could not move or think.

The truth is that there is no intelligence behind or before the world. Our own species of intelligence evolved long afterwards on a dim speck of a planet far from the center of our galaxy, incredibly farther still from the center of the universe. On this small blue planet we evolved, thinking thoughts every bit as physical as our aches and pains—thoughts which proceed not from some realm of spirit, but directly from our naked mammalian brains. We are bodies that think, not thoughts that have bodies.

Admitting this does not degrade us. Rather, it places life squarely where it belongs: here on earth now. Life does not belong in some bodiless heaven or imaginary afterlife.

True enough, we must admit that we will die, and that our death is final. There is no God, and when the body ceases, all that constitutes us will cease with it. This is the honest reality. But by beginning here with these facts, we can adjust to life. We can make the most of it.

We can be naked atheists.

[Also published at http://thenakedatheist.com – used with permission]

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Are you a Sinner?

Christians talk a lot about Sin.

They say we are all Sinners.

Sin was the moon god, worshipped 2000 years BC .

In the the ancient city Ur of the Chaldees (located on the Euphrates near its point of entry into the Persian Gulf, in present day Iraq), there is—if it has survived the present war—the remains of a zuggurat (a pyramid-shaped tower of brick) built around 2100 BC to worship SIN.

If you worship the moon-god Sin, you are a Sinner.

And Christians talk about you a lot.

I’d like to see this zuggurat myself. Like to bow down at its crumbling bricks beneath the full moon rising in the darkness and worship Sin.

Maybe do a little Sinning myself there on the moon-spilt ground. Be a Sinner.

Sinning with other Sinners under the beacon of the cloudless moon.

[Previously published – used with permission of the author]

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Born Naked

I was born naked, without belief in gods or God. I believed only in what I could touch and hear and see: the breasts I suckled on, my mother’s cooing voice, the funny faces my father made, the lullabies my grandmother sang. I believed in what was palpable and real.

Almost from my birth adults attacked both my nakedness and my atheism. They wrapped me in clothing. They filled me with talk of imaginary beings—Easter bunnies, tooth fairies, Santa and his tiny reindeer (who never seemed tiny in my imagination—or Santa either). King of all these imaginary being was the one even my parents believed in: the God who, they cooed, created and loved us all. With God came angels who were (so they told me) thoughts from God, But try as I might, I could never imagine angels as “thoughts.” I had to imagine them with wings and bodies and faces. God too, had to have a body and a bearded face—or he couldn’t be imagined either.

It seems that to be imagined—much less be visualized doing things—even imaginary beings must have bodies of some sort or another. Though we are told that God is pure spirit, bodiless and eternal, the truth is we can’t imagine spirit without imagining body. Thus even adult Christians must imagine their God transformed into bodily Jesus in order for their deity to seem real. It is a truth every baby is born knowing: real things have substance. Soul requires body for its expression: otherwise it is static and absent. Official definitions notwithstanding, bodies are necessary for existence.

The established definition of God says he is bodiless—yet no one can imagine him without imagining something. Him, did I say? God cannot be him. Embodied in human form, imagined as Jesus walking the earth or hanging on the cross, God can have a penis even if he never uses it. But take away the body and you take away God’s penis, his maleness, his masculinity, all. Nor can God be feminine, since the disembodied cannot have a vulva either. God must be sexless and genderless, forever “it”.

Note that if a theist insists on masculinizing God, turning it into he, they are not taking their theism seriously. Any pronoun other than “it” is just the infant’s intuition that real beings must have a body reappearing in the grownup. The infant is right. No matter how much intellectual brainwashing the adult theist has undergone, they can never quite escape the infant’s truth.

Let me repeat that: whenever anyone refers to God as “he”, they are failing to take the concept of God seriously. If your God is bodiless nonetheless very real, then you will readily concede that the God you believe in must be an it. On the other hand if your God is merely an imaginary fancy of yours—like Santa and his tiny reindeer or like the tooth fairy—then impossibilities don’t bother you, and you will have no hesitation in insisting on God’s bodiless masculinity.

If God is merely a fantasy, incoherent details don’t matter. Pretend doesn’t have to make sense. But if your God is not pretend, then it can be neither masculine nor feminine.

As for me, I was born a naked atheist and I will die atheist and—God willing! (that was a joke)—I will die naked. If nothing else, when I die it will be me, my body not my clothing, which does the dying. Only naked me can die. I was born naked and I will die naked and my profound wish while alive is to be allowed to be naked me. It is the most profound wish any of us can have: to be fortunate enough while we breathe and live to be our naked selves. Me and you, meeting as we are despite the cultural smokescreens of clothing and religion. Naked me and naked you in naked life—from beginning to end and everything between.

[This was previously published at http://thenakedatheist.com – used with permission]

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