Is It Ethical To 'Correct' Religious Folks?


That’s definitely the church’s interpretation of the account, but it’s not actually what Gensis says.

edit: I see DocCathode has beat me to the explanation so I won’t rehash it.

Yeah, Onan’s sin was definitely that he tried to cheat God. It is nonetheless traditionally forbidden for a man to masturbate, because it is seen as killing potential human life. Not murder. Even causing a woman to miscarry isn’t murder.


I just want to make clear, ‘man’s seed’ containing a full baby was something I heard about in religion class, in RC high school. It would be hard to provide a cite. (I am presently doing a search. But all the hits I get are religious-based views on the subject. And those are notorious for not providing scientific or even historical information on the matter.)

I thought the Onan verse would be enough. That is usually what is cited by most people, I know. And notice I did point out that the Roman Catholic Church uses the entry in the Bible that way. I didn’t mean that they even were necessarily correct.

All the Genesis verse seems to show is that the Hebrew word for “semen” is the same as “seed”. They may well have believed that the seed contained a fully formed human, but I don’t see how that particular quote demonstrates it.


Keith Shannon on Quora seems to agree with me:

“…The second theory is much as Nick Lilavois stated; before we learned how human reproduction actually works, it was thought that a man’s seed literally contained a fully-formed but very small human. Life, then, began before conception in this model, and so spilling one’s seed into any place other than into “fertile ground” (a woman’s womb), not giving it the chance to grow, was murder…”

Not to extend the tangent further, is the phrase “the seed of Onan” or “the sin of Onan”? I am not sure what I have heard, but given the info shared here (and appreciated), I just wanted to gain clarity.

I’m not clear on what you’re trying to prove, Jim. Is is that the RCC holds masturbation to be tantamount to murder, and justifies that with a ludicrously stupid misreading of the Onan story? Seems like an RCC site would be the best place to check that.

If the claim is that actual Mosaic law holds, or ever has held, that masturbation is murder or otherwise merits the death penalty, several people in this thread have already told you otherwise.

I’d be interested to see an authoritative cite proving or disproving this. I’ve heard this claim (at least about people in “the old days,” not necessarily biblical), but I’ve been sceptical. Surely people noticed that children resembled their mothers as well as their fathers?

But maybe they attributed this to the influence of the “soil” in which the “seed” grew? i.e. environmental rather than genetic factors?

Jim_B, Thudlow_Boink, Thing.Fish & Johnny_Bravo

If there is interest in continuing this digression, please start a new thread.

To answer the OP…if you and this other person, whom you say you are “correcting”, enjoy such discussion, back and forth, so to speak, then sure…go right ahead.

If you are jumping, uninvited, into such conversations that another person may have initiated to proselytize others, and they are taking offense of your “correcting”, then you’re being more of a harasser, and should back off. It’s is very highly likely, that your “correcting” will be unheeded and you will come off more as an asshole. But if that’s how you enjoy your weekends…it’s a free country and go to town.




brb, I’ve got to go to the bank and put a Stop Payment on a check.

But the analogy still holds, because True Scotsmen are a subset of ALL Scotsmen.

Well, to people who argue about porridge, anyway.