In This Biography
Celibacy in Religion
Celibacy refers to the act of being unmarried on a voluntary basis or sexually abstinent both, typically for religious motives. It is usually associated with the position of an official of a religion or a devotee. In its strict meaning, the term “celibacy” is only used to describe those whose non-married status is the result of an act of oath, a vow of renunciation, or religious conviction.
In a broad sense, it’s taken to be abstinence from sexual contact.
Celibacy has been practiced in some form or the other all through history, and in nearly every major religion in the world. The opinions regarding it are diverse.
Classical Hindu culture promoted asceticism and celibacy at the end of the stage of one’s life, once the individual has fulfilled their social obligations. Jainism however, contrary encouraged complete celibacy, even for young monks, and considered celibacy to be a fundamental way to achieve moksha. Buddhism is like Jainism in this way. However, there were distinct cultural differences between the different regions where Buddhism expanded, which influenced the attitudes towards celibacy in the region. Similar circumstances were observed in Japan where the Shinto tradition is also opposed to celibacy. In the majority of indigenous African or Native American religious traditions, celibacy was viewed in a negative light also, however, there were exceptions such as periodic celibacy that was practiced by a few Mesoamerican warriors.
SEE ALSO: Covenant in Religion
The Romans believed that celibacy was an untruth and enacted financial penalties against it however, the only exception was the Vestal virgins, who made the vow of chastity for a period of 30 years to dedicate themselves to the study of and proper respect for the state rituals.
Celibacy in Christianity is the promise of being a virgin or celibate person in the near future.
Judaism, as well as Islam, have both rejected celibacy because both religions place a high value on the importance of marriage and family.
Celibacy was first introduced in Christianity due to belief in the Apocalypse. The first Christians were of the belief that the Kingdom of God was coming as well as that during the coming time there would not be union, as everyone would be angels. A few disciples of Jesus have given up their family lives to dedicate their lives to proclaiming the arrival of the kingdom of God.
The pre-Christian belief that sexual activities were especially inappropriate for priests who performed on the altars was accepted by Christians and it was common for ordained priests to end their sexual interactions with their wives.
Celibacy In Islam.
Islamic beliefs on celibacy vary, Muhammad has criticized it, however, certain Sufi orders support the practice. Islam does not encourage celibacy but rather opposes premarital and sexual relations that are not married. According to Islam, the marriage ceremony allows people to attain the highest kind of righteousness within the sacred bond of spirituality, however, this isn’t the case because the Qur’an does not define it as an obligation.
Celibacy was a method of female saints of Sufism.
Celibacy was the subject of debate as was the role of women in Sufism during the medieval era.
Celibacy In Christianity.
There isn’t any requirement found in the New Testament that Jesus christ’s followers must remain in celibacy. It is widely believed that Christ himself led an exemplary life of celibacy, hence “Voluntary chastity is the imitation of him who was the virgin Son of a virgin Mother”.
SEE ALSO: Religion and Confession
Paul the apostle spoke of that it is important to overcome the fleshly desires and considered the celibacy state being superior to marriage. The apostle Paul used parallels to describe the relationship between spouses as well as Jesus’ relationship with the church. “Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church. Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.” (Ephesians 5:25-28). The first Christians were of the view they were awaiting it was likely that the End of the World would shortly be upon them and they saw no value in planning a new family or having children. According to Chadwick, this is the reason Paul advised both celibates as well as married lifestyles among congregation members. The Corinthians congregation viewed celibacy as the better option over the other.
There were many of the earliest Christian martyrs were girls or women who had committed their lives to Christ in perpetual virginity, like Saint Agnes as well as Saint Lucy. According to the majority of Christian belief, the first sacred virgin was Mary Mother of Jesus who was dedicated through the Holy Spirit at the Annunciation. It is also believed that Apostle Matthew was the one who consecrated virgins.
Despite some debate, the successive Popes have decreed that priests’ celibacy must be maintained. The argument is that celibacy permits priests to devote themselves fully to their job. They believe that celibacy is a way to be a priest.
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