Despite the ongoing spread of STDs worldwide, most main religions around the world still negate the use of condoms and other forms of contraception, despite pre-marital sex being on the rise. No matter how diverse these religions seem to be, the general consensus among them is that it is better to champion the truth than come up against a mostly secular society.
The truth be told, whatever your religion, chances are that even talking about sex ranked way up there on the ‘things-we-don’t-talk-about-at-dinner’ list. Even growing up in a semi-relaxed Moslem family, my parents still entrusted their children’s sex education to chapter three of the school science textbook and, when they felt up to the challenge, short, inaccurate, stork stories.
The underlining truth of the matter is that religion is not equipped to deal with sex, much less with the more pressing matters that come along with it. Religion’s attempts to address sexual issues with young people are typically narrow in scope and fail to satisfy basic needs for knowledge and reason. This is moral theology, at its most incompetent.
Religion isn’t the only culprit when it comes to the ban on contraception. In many cultures worldwide, mindsets are formed against it. In Africa, there is a general unfavorable disposition towards contraception and homosexuality in general. Many cultures cultivate the idea that the male prowess is indicative of how many children he is able to sire.
The majority of belief systems also uphold that although it is generally wrong, contraception is allowed, at certain times, but within a limited extent. In Islam, progeny are seen as a divine blessing in which any attempt to prevent pregnancy is seen as rejecting God’s blessings, unless health issues are involved.
Effectively, a new religion is emerging on the horizon: education. On a global scale, societies and the organizations that govern them are starting to catch on that the more educated people are about sex, the better their decision-making when it comes down to the grind. In more established countries, the movement is starting to show results. In impoverished nations, however, sex education still takes a backseat to much more prominent issues such as war and famine. Steps are being taken all the same. Efforts to reach out to impoverished nations by NGOs and charity bodies now also include handing out free condoms to sex workers and the women of large families overburdened to the point of starvation.
What it all boils down to, is that religions are going to have to ‘adapt’ their schools of thought to accommodate these very real, very pressing issues, and at the time not compromise the values they are built upon. The term ‘the lesser of two evils,’ being bandied about by the Roman Catholic Church is a turning point for one of the worlds largest religions and instigates the use of condoms when abstinence is no longer an option. A step that some might say, is in the right direction.
Religion beliefs aside, society must be made to understand that the main issue is not about outlawing contraception, but opposing extramarital sex. And given that the only kind of ‘safe sex’ you can have without contraception is within the context of marriage, in a world where God has many faces and names, it might be the only thing that makes perfect sense.