Saturday, 30 March 2019

Changing Morals as Society Evolves

Utah Governor Gary Herbert
Utah Gov. Signs Bill That Legalizes Sex Outside Of Marriage : NPR

A lovely example of how the morals of human society evolve and change over time was unwittingly provided by the legislators of Utah, USA, a few days ago, despite a die-hard campaign by the religious fundamentalist forces of reaction.

Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill that decriminalizes sex outside of marriage in the state. Until that point, consensual sexual intercourse between non-married couples anywhere in the state of Utah, USA, was a criminal offence, liable to a fine of up to $1000 and a 6-month prison sentence.

You might think this was some anachronistic law left over from colonial times (except that the state of Utah didn't exist in colonial time) or maybe from the puritanical 19th Century. After all, it was a 'crime' without a victim that did no harm to society. It was an 'offence' only in that it contravened some religious code from a book in which this code seems to have been as flexible as the circumstances demanded.

But this was not some old, anachronistic law left on the statute book from earlier, puritanical and illiberal times. This was the 1973 Fornication Act. Consensual sex between adults outside marriage was considered to be a crime in 1973, because it met the religious definition of the 'sin' of fornication.

Is there any couple alive today who did not or does not have sexual intercourse prior to marriage? Such a thing would be almost unthinkable today and tantamount to a problem requiring medical of psychiatric help. Sexual activity, even casual sex, is almost the norm in developed Western societies today.

And yet in 1973, the legislators in Utah, USA, considered it a crime deserving imprisonment and a hefty fine.

What has changed in the interim?

Society has changed. Society no longer sees sex as requiring the sanction of God and the status passage of a religious ceremony. Sex is casual and relaxed, not the duty of a wife tied by oath to a husband. The fact that we now see this law as ludicrous, unnecessary and intrusive is a measure of how the culture we now live in has changed.

Sex has been liberated from the strictures of religion. Society has evolved and left religion behind, shouting ineffectually and being ignored. Bound as they are by dogma and unable to change, religions are simply unable to keep up.

Society's morals are not handed down by a magic sky deity as fixed and unchanging and revealed to us by prophets and priests. Society's morals evolve and when religions can no longer control the behaviour of people and dictate even their sexual activities to them, religions get left behind and are eventually consigned to the trashcan of history, along with all the other religions that were unable to keep up.

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1 comment :

  1. Hurrayy, say I. Sex is fun, amazing and should be practised in or outside marriage. Go and have fun while you still can...… Death is the arbiter of life. Ain't dat the sad truth.


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