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Conservative christian leader James Dobson of Focus on the Family: Masturbation is OK

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by Bill777, Dec 28, 2005.

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  1. Bill777

    Bill777 New Member

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    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica] Masturbation[/font] [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Dr. Dobson Answers Your Questions[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Q. My 13-year-old son is in the full bloom of adolescence. I’m suspicious that he may be masturbating when he’s alone, but I don’t quite know how to approach him about it. Should I be concerned, and if so, what should I say to him? [font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=+1]There is no scientific evidence to indicate that this act is harmful to the body. [/font]

    [/size][/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]A. I don’t think you should invade that private world at all unless there are unique circumstances that lead you to do so. I offer that advice while acknowledging that masturbation is a highly controversial subject and Christian leaders differ widely in their perspectives on it. I will answer your question but hope you understand that some Bible scholars and ministers will disagree emphatically with what I will say.[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]First, let’s consider masturbation from a medical perspective. We can say without fear of contradiction that there is no scientific evidence to indicate that this act is harmful to the body. Despite terrifying warnings given to young people historically, it does not cause blindness, weakness, mental retardation or any other physical problem. If it did, the entire male population and about half of females would be blind, weak, simpleminded and sick. Between 95 and 98 percent of all boys engage in this practice — and the rest have been known to lie. It is as close to being a universal behavior as is likely to occur. A lesser but still significant percentage of girls also engage in what was once called “self-gratification,” or worse, “self-abuse.”[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]As for the emotional consequences of masturbation, only four circumstances should give us cause for concern. The first is when it is associated with oppressive guilt from which the individual can’t escape. That guilt has the potential to do considerable psychological and spiritual damage. Boys and girls who labor under divine condemnation can gradually become convinced that even God couldn’t love them. They promise a thousand times with great sincerity never again to commit this “despicable” act. Then a week or two passes, or perhaps several months. [/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Eventually, the hormonal pressure accumulates until nearly every waking moment reverberates with sexual desire. Finally, in a moment (and I do mean a moment) of weakness, it happens again. What then, dear friend? Tell me what a young person says to God after he or she has just broken the one thousandth solemn promise to Him? I am convinced that some teenagers have thrown over their faith because of their inability to please God on this point.[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]The second circumstance in which masturbation might have harmful implications is when it becomes extremely obsessive. That is more likely to occur when it has been understood by the individual to be “forbidden fruit.” I believe the best way to prevent that kind of obsessive response is for adults not to emphasize or condemn it. Regardless of what you do, you will not stop the practice of masturbation in your teenagers. That is a certainty. You’ll just drive it underground — or under covers. Nothing works as a “cure.” Cold showers, lots of exercise, many activities and awesome threats are ineffective. Attempting to suppress this act is one campaign that is destined to fail — so why wage it?[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]The third situation around which we should be concerned is when the young person becomes addicted to pornographic material. The kind of obscenity available to teenagers today has the capacity to grab and hold a boy for the rest of his life. Parents will want to intervene if there is evidence that their son or daughter is heading down that well-worn path. I will discuss that danger in a subsequent chapter.[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]The fourth concern about masturbation refers not to adolescents but to us as adults. This habit has the capacity to follow us into marriage and become a substitution for healthy sexual relations between a husband and wife. This, I believe, is what the apostle Paul meant when he instructed us not to deprive or “defraud” one another as marital partners. The apostle Paul wrote, “Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:5).[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]As for the spiritual implications of masturbation, I will have to defer to the theologians for a more definitive response. It is interesting to me, however, that Scripture does not address this subject except for a single reference in the Old Testament to a man named Onan. He interrupted sexual intercourse with his sister-in-law and allowed his semen to fall on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother, which was his “duty” (Genesis 38:8-9). Although that verse is often cited as evidence of God’s disapproval of masturbation, the context doesn’t seem to fit.[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]What should you as a father say to your 13-year-old son about this subject? My advice is to say nothing after puberty has occurred. You will only cause embarrassment and discomfort. For those who are younger, it would be wise to include the subject of masturbation in the “Preparing for Adolescence” conversation I have recommended on other occasions. I would suggest that parents talk to their 12- or 13-year-old boys, especially, in the same general way my mother and father discussed this subject with me. [/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]We were riding in the car, and my dad said, “Jim, when I was a boy, I worried so much about masturbation. It really became a scary thing for me because I thought God was condemning me for what I couldn’t help. So I’m telling you now that I hope you don’t feel the need to engage in this act when you reach the teen years, but if you do, you shouldn’t be too concerned about it. I don’t believe it has much to do with your relationship with God.”[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]What a compassionate thing my father did for me that night in the car. He was a very conservative minister who never compromised his standards of morality to the day of his death. He stood like a rock for biblical principles and commandments. Yet he cared enough about me to lift from my shoulders the burden of guilt that nearly destroyed some of my friends in the church. This kind of “reasonable” faith taught to me by my parents is one of the primary reasons I never felt it necessary to rebel against parental authority or defy God.[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Those are my views, for what they are worth. I know my recommendations will be inflammatory to some people. If you are one of them, please forgive me. I can only offer the best advice of which I’m capable. I pray that in this instance I am right.[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica] — Dr. James Dobson[/font]

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]This article was adapted from Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide by Dr. James Dobson with the permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Copyright 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

    http://www.focusonyourchild.com/develop/art1/A0000553.html

    [/font]
     
  2. Bill777

    Bill777 New Member

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    Now from a theology perspective I believe Dr. Dobson is correct. The bible does neither encourage nor condemn masturbation, the bible is simply silent about it. I believe that we as christians should do the same, never encouraging it but never condemning it. Doing anything different would be unbiblical, and we would be relying on our own understanding and the wisdom of man. I prefer the wisdom of God over the wisdom of man any time of the day. And if God never encouraged nor discouraged christians from practicing masturbation, neither should christian leaders encourage nor show any condemnation of the practice of masturbation.
     
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  3. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote

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    That was an excellent essay by Dr. Dobson. I believe that he addressed some of the principal dangers of masturbation (e.g. masturbation combined with pornography addiction, masturbation as a substitute for mature sexual activity with a spouse) while presenting a balanced view of this activity when practiced by young adolescents at a particular stage of their development.
     
  4. in2Nas

    in2Nas ...using the brain God gave me.

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    Wow that was a long read.

    This was a pretty good assessment as far as I'm concerned. I thought he answered his patient's/client's question with integrity, sincerity and more importantly tackled the issue. At no time did I see Dr. Dobson glamourize masturtbation, in fact he brought up some potential problems that could incur and several issues that surround it. I see no reason why someone should get "infammed" over it.
     
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  5. jckstraw72

    jckstraw72 Doin' that whole Orthodox thing

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    Masturbation is a result of lust. Let Christ control it.
     
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  6. Entertaining_Angels

    Entertaining_Angels New Member

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    I think his answer sounds fine.

    edited to add: I really admire Dr. Dobson. I don't necessarily agree with his position on spanking but that has been the only area I've disagreed and that is certainly a 'disputable matter'. I know when I was recovering from some bad theology I was raised believing, I was in contact with people from his ministry and Billy Grahams and I will be forever grateful for their help and comfort.
     
  7. Paleoconservatarian

    Paleoconservatarian God's grandson

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    This is what happens when modern evangelicalism acquiesces to pagan psychology. Is there any manner of sin we will not commit if we can just find some way to justify it to ourselves? I agree with jckstraw. Let Christ control it.
     
  8. canadiancatholic

    canadiancatholic Regular Member

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    The trouble I have with masturbation is that it is a cause for shame. It's not something that is easily looked upon or accepted. The world may well deem this politically correct, but if a teenager admits it to someone then he/she is in for some form of ridicule. There is always some form of resistance in the brain telling you that it's not right otherwise the stigma of shame wouldn't apply. This desire to keep the act "secret" is 1. God warning you that it isn't acceptable or 2. Satan telling you that the act is acceptable. Understandable in this day and age of "enlightenment and political correctness", that there should be defenders of this act, because in this day and age every act needs defending from someone elses beliefs. Wading through the quagmire of different beliefs and opinions is the greatest trick of the evil one. A way to deflect attention away from the real issues that need to be toppled. God gave each of us our own inherent guidance system to allow us to navigate the worlds troubled water, especially when topics like this, or abortion or birth control arise. Keep focused on our lord and the spirit and what it takes to make it to our promised land. Remember that in the day and age that he walked with us many of these issues weren't on the radar. Not to say that there isn't relevance in the bible for this age, but if the only passage in the bible is about Onan spilling his seed, why take the chance that someones erroneous interpretation of this passage could lead you away from Gods true intent. I'd play it safe and say that spilling of the seed regardless of the circumstance may lead you astray and therefore not spill. Is his kingdom not worth the extra effort on your part to ignore these impulses?
    canadiancatholic
     
  9. Joykins

    Joykins free Crazy Liz!

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    Thumbs up to Dr. Dobson for having the guts to stand up to the sex-loathing element of Christianity and affirm that this is part of normal development and has to be evaluated situationally as to whether it should be considered problematic, state that associating this with unwarranted guilt is faith-destroying, and point out that it is not condemned specifically in the Bible.

    I don't agree with him on much but he is dead right on this.
     
  10. jckstraw72

    jckstraw72 Doin' that whole Orthodox thing

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    If its such a necessary part of development and its healthy and all that, then i can assume that Christ masturbated, correct?
     
  11. Veritas

    Veritas 1 Lord, 1 Faith, 1 Baptism

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    I'm certain He didn't. He was like us in all ways except sin. :holy:
     
  12. jckstraw72

    jckstraw72 Doin' that whole Orthodox thing

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    EXACTLY!!
     
  13. in2Nas

    in2Nas ...using the brain God gave me.

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    Jesus = Divine
    Us = Not divine

    Comparing apples to oranges.
     
  14. jckstraw72

    jckstraw72 Doin' that whole Orthodox thing

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    But Jesus was also fully man, and went through the same experiences and temptations that we did.
     
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  15. CaliforniaJosiah

    CaliforniaJosiah I now post at CARM Supporter

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    There's a reason why Dr. James Dobson is probably the most respected Christian psychologist ever...


    (I wonder, however, if this thread would more logically be in the ethics forum?)


    Thanks for the quote!


    - Josiah



    .
     
  16. Joykins

    Joykins free Crazy Liz!

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    Who said it was necessary?

    I said it was normal. Which it is. That doesn't mean everyone does it. Some people don't even like it or aren't tempted to it. Whatever.

    I make no assumptions about any individual when it comes to this.
     
  17. in2Nas

    in2Nas ...using the brain God gave me.

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    This can be an assumption as well, in detail to the OP's topic is refering to. It is considered natural because statistics shown by Dr. Dobson reveal that 98% of young adults experience this. If you still feel that Christ went throught the same experience and temptations we did, I guess he would fall into the 2%.
     
  18. BarbB

    BarbB I stand with my brothers and sisters in Israel!

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    Not really. It's actually pretty specific. But you probably won't like it. :)
    Part of what God gave to Moses was that when a man had an emission, he was unclean until evening. Even if it was while he was sleeping. Does that mean that someone could masterbate up to but not including orgasm? I don't think so. Emission is emission.
     
  19. revduane

    revduane New Member

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    This is a subject that is addressed very well by Dr. Dobson. It is a matter of working out our own Salvation. We need to remember God's Grace, though we don't want to sin that grace may abound. A 12 or 13 year old is not complex enough to know how to totally control his hormonal urges.

    For those that are honest like me whe I was a teenager. Knows all about this situation. It isn't God's will for us to feel guilty, or condemned as Christians. So if a teenager is born-again, he or she will at some point find the realization, and conviction to not do it.

    God understands our weaknesses, and He is merciful. This is something to be worked out with Him intimately.

    Blessings. Rev.
     
  20. CaliforniaJosiah

    CaliforniaJosiah I now post at CARM Supporter

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    Probably in most cases. But not all shame is from God.
    I might be ashamed that I got a B+ on a test, but I'm not sure that's shame form God. A boy may feel shame that he has zits, but I'm not sure that's from God. Guilt and shame can be powerful tools of Satan.

    I wonder how many young teens have been driven away from God because they were told all kinds of things about masturbation that we all know aren't true? I just wonder...

    My point: Just because someone feels shame or guilt, doesn't mean God is condemning them, that God MUST be the sole source of such and fully so intends...


    I must be misunderstanding your point, because it seems you would then argue that married couples should have sex in public or else they feel it's unacceptable or it's from Satan.

    I suspect, rather, that our sexuality is a personal issue not generally flaunted publicly - even in our society, that they are called "private parts" for a reason. When a married couple shares their sexuality in private - with the door closed, I don't assume that God is telling them what they are doing is sinful or that Satan is telling them it's acceptable.


    So has our parents
    So has our peers
    So has the society around us
    So has our own inner self
    So has our church (perhaps)

    And yes, so has God.

    It's not always as easy as you seem to indicate to sort out all the voices...
    Perhaps especially when we're 10 or 13, perhaps especially when new hormones hit and introduce a new reality.


    Pax


    - Josiah


    .
     
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