Friday, November 05, 2010

Science vs Religion

Judge Snyder: As for science vs. religion, I'm issuing a restraining order. Religion must stay 500 yards from science at all times.
- The Simpsons
I'm a great believer that knowing more about how the world works can make it seem an even more magical and incredible place. And that science and religion don't have to be mutually exclusive. While learning about science has always made me feel in awe of how spectacular nature and the universe is and how minuscule humans are, I can also see how it could inform and strengthen one's faith, too.

That said, there is such a thing as stupid religion. And stupid religion, sorry to say, needs to stay the hell away from science.

First, Tzvi Fishman plugged his anti-sex website on his blog. As he put it, "Have a good time." Whatever you say, Tzvi.

Question: My wife is usually too tired to have marital relations at night. She prefers the morning, after sending the kids off to school, when she feels more refreshed and uninhibited. Is this OK?
Answer: A husband is permitted to engage in marital relations during the day if his wife shows her desire for it, or if he feels that he will otherwise think about other women and thus fall into sinful fantasies or actions. However, because it is generally forbidden to have marital relations by day, or in a lighted room, we will quote the laws as summarized by Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu, former Chief Rabbi of Israel, in his book, "Darkei Taharah," Chapter 22:
A person should not engage in marital relations where there is light because of modesty, whether it be daylight, moonlight, candlelight, or electricity, etc. Someone who has relations by candlelight may cause his offspring to be epileptic, even if the wife is already pregnant.
Oh sweet crap. So now light is considered as dangerous as lead poisoning? You do know that Song of Songs happens during the day, right?
...It is forbidden to have relations by candlelight, electric light, and the like, even if the light is darkened by a covering. If the candlelight is in another room which lights up the room where they are, a Torah scholar can cover themselves with a covering and engage in marital relations. If the candle or light are in the same room, he can set up a curtain (mechitzah) that divides the room into two, making it like two rooms, and thus a Torah scholar can cover themselves with a covering and conduct relations. The length of this room divider must be 192 centimeters with a height of at least 80 centimeters. It must be sturdy so that it will not sway if there is wind. On the Sabbath day, one should not set up a divider like this, unless there are special requirements that can be met.
So, if they do it with the lights on, the baby gets deformed, but this can be stopped by the magical powers of... a sheet? Wow, that's some sheet. 
There is another possibility if he cannot extinguish the light, and that is to cover it with a vessel or thick towel, or the like, even if a weak dim light remains, and this may even be done freely on the Sabbath and Festival Days, but on these days, he must be careful not to extinguish the light in so doing.
How about being careful not to cover a candle with a freaking towel
An alternative solution is that your wife take a nap in the afternoon or early evening, or in the morning after sending the kids off to school. That way, you could most properly conduct marital relations at the most propitious time, after midnight, when the kids are fast asleep and your wife is more refreshed because of her nap.
Wait, really? The proper time for sexual relations is after midnight? Do these folks not have jobs? (Oh, right...)
Not mind-numbingly painful enough? Oh good:
QuestionIf a man can control himself and not "spill seed" when engaging in different positions or when engaging in oral sex, why are they forbidden?
Answer: We have clarified in several places on this site (example 1example 2) the serious consequences of spilling seed (semen) in vain, be it through premature ejaculation, masturbation, or literally spilling from the woman's reproductive organ due to change in her position.
In answer to your question: Firstly, most men cannot control themselves during bouts of sexual gymnastics and very often semen is spilled. It is similar to a tightrope and high-wire act. While there may be a circus performer who can balance his way across the wire without falling, most people would plunge to their deaths.
Dramatic much?
Furthermore, in the heat of sexual passion, a thin clear fluid is often released from the male organ. According to the Kabbalah, this fluid originates in a very high spiritual sphere, and wasting it causes a blemish on the brain.
Ok, guys, really-- it's one thing to say that not spilling your seed helps you "spiritually," it's enough thing to claim that losing it causes brain damage. Two words: wet dreams.
Regarding abnormal positions, for instance if the wife is on top of the man, they cause a reversal of the spiritual order in G-d's blueprint for the world and bring about harsh judgments.
So, what, to God woman on top is like, the spiritual equivalent of Reform Judaism? Is it as bad as a BLT?
Regarding oral sex, remember that the reproductive organs are also the channel for urination and menstruation in women. In addition to the prohibition of looking at the sexual organs, oral sex transfers these impurities to the mouth, which is considered the "goblet of the King," associated with the sefirah [illumination] of "Malchut." After polluting your mouth in this fashion, your prayers will certainly not be found pleasing in the Heavenly Court above. 
Am I the only one thinking that calling the mouth "goblet of the king" sounds much dirtier than anything secular folks could come up with? Also, I like the fact that spiritual impurity in your mouth stops you from offering "pleasing" prayers to God. Does this apply to everything you put in there? What about alcohol? Pot? Pork?
According to Lazer's friend Moe, the answer is apparently yes. As part of a "coming to teshuvah" tale in which he describes slowly getting over his pot habit, he offers this insight:
non- Kosher food also puts a coating on the body, not allowing Divine Light to seep through
So, lobster is spiritual sun-block. God-kryptonite, if you will. Wow, you make this whole "taking religion seriously" thing really hard.
And speaking of Lazer, he has 5,000 new CDs for you to buy. He can help you get rich, lose weight, be a better spouse, parent, whatever. What's that? You don't care about stuff like that? All you care about is looking good? Fear not, Lazer's got you covered:
Natural & Spiritual Remedy for Acne
Oh just kill me now.

Lazer's tips include such obvious suggestions as adjusting diet and washing your damn face, as well as more creative ones like throwing away any medications, drinking lots of water, not gossiping, and of course, asking God to heal your skin (while also thanking him for giving you this character-building challenge. You know, the challenge you're totally trying to cop out of). Simple, no?
In related news: Cross-Currents made Dovbear similarly sad.


Mike S. said...

Me, I find being a scientist a profoundly religious experience. Nor do I find that science undermines religion. Of course, there is both stupid religion and arrogant science, but in real life, as opposed to the web, I find the influence of both pretty minimal.

However, with regard to your view that:
That said, there is such a thing as stupid religion. And stupid religion, sorry to say, needs to stay the hell away from science. Science is hardly bothered, or even aware of this sort of silliness. Religion, on the other hand is degraded by things like turning Galenic anatomy or Aristotelian physics into dogma. So, as a religious scientist, I am far more concerned about keeping stupid religion away from religion than from science.

Contrarian said...

My wife and I always screw during the daylight hours or with a light on, and our kids all turned out fine.

Geezer said...

My wife is now post-menopausal. Now that we don't have to worry about bringing epileptic children into the world, does that mean we can shtupp with the lights on?

Friar Yid said...

Contrarian- I'm glad to see someone managed to buck the trend.

Geezer- Be careful, God might decide to pull a Sarah and give your wife a magic pregnancy with an epileptic kid just to teach you a lesson. Apparently he can be a jerk like that.