I was asked this question today by a theist. If there is no God why is safe sex between brother and sister immoral to an atheist? This guy was smart to add safe sex because it closed off my avenue to argue the health issue. So, I was thinking why is it immoral if it is consensual? I understand we find it gross but is that because of Christian influence?
It's hard for me to respond to the poll because it says 'Incest: immoral or moral', but then it limits it with one particular example- that actually does not define 'incest'. The most common form of incest worldwide occurs between girl children and their male parents characterizing a drastic imbalance of power that can not be explained or be limited by religion/s, and where invariably girl children suffer lasting damages.
As well, it's not a matter of 'morality', it's exploitation.
first of all, I know people who are the products of incestuous rape that have no deformities. I also knew a lot of people who come from parents not genetically related who have major disabilities, so that isn't an issue. Besides, off you're having safe sex.....
This is one area where we are taught that is gross. But since it happens, it's perfectly natural.
The fact is that morality isn't about what you think other consenting adults are doing. Morality is about conducting yourself with integrity, and not allowing your preferences to hurry other people. So incestuous rape is immoral. Incest between consenting adults is not. Just like any rape is immoral, but sex between consenting adults is not.
"So, I was thinking why is it immoral if it is consensual? I understand we find it gross but is that because of Christian influence?"
Yes and no. Incest tends to be a universal taboo. Other species (though not all) have evolved a host of strategies to prevent incest (for fitness reasons). Even plants tend to possess anti-incest mechanisms.
I voted that incest was immoral because most incest does not occur between two consenting adults. With that said, I don't see incest as an immoral act when every precaution has been taken to prevent pregnancy (if between male and female) and STDs between two consenting relatives. However, I find sexual relationships between mother/daughter, mother/son, father/daughter, father/son a bit disconcerting. Young siblings may do it out of curiosity.
The one you are in the debate with assumes it requires a god to see the problems that can arise with incest. It doesn't. Humans have learned by forming and testing hypotheses, building on working models of the social world as they interacted with it, and consulted these models when making moral judgments (Turiel, 1983). If incest wipes out half your tribe, it doesn't take a god or religion to figure out that this behavior isn't in their tribes best interest. Just my two cents.
It's not just religion that makes incest taboo. No matter how low the genetic aberration rate is, I don't believe society should condone incestual relations between any two people closer than second cousins. Reasoning: every form of birth control has a failure rate, even sterilization. No one human should decide it's okay to risk giving a child severe deformities.
Incest also increases likelihood of psychological disorder due to misplaced growth of one's "love map." It's never a good idea to encourage obsessive behavior between siblings. There's more than one way this hypothetical situation could go terribly wrong.
I moved 100 miles from the Piedmont of North Carolina to the Western Appalachian Mountains. I see far more genetic aberrations occurring here than anyplace else I've ever lived. Two siblings have no idea how far a genetic physical or mental disorder will travel in a lightly populated area.
As a humanist, incest is the height of selfishness and ignorance as far as I am concerned. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
In theory, incest wouldn't be immoral. But the way our culture works, brothers and sisters, children and parents do not have sexual relations. For this reason, there is too much emotional baggage and damage potential. I would not condone a sibling relationship, because it is fraught with potential for serious problems.
If I met someone who told me they were INVOLVED in such a relationship, depending on the details, I wouldn't feel the need to end the friendship or lecture them. I could accept it in some circumstances, I think. But relationships are hard enough without adding cultural baggage and emotional damage.
If it is safe sex, as stated, and the two people are adults I see no problem. The issue of incest has been mostly due to religious restrictions and due to the fact that if children are born from the union of the two people certain genetic abnormalities are very possible. As long as there are no children from the union then who am I, and why would society, have anything to say about two people enjoying each other sexually. Interestingly, due to my upbringing, my emotions are telling me to take away what I have just written above, but my mind over rules and says that if two consenting adults choose to enjoy a sexual union without children, why not?
I believe that if both parties are consenting and their intention isn't to have children, it is moral. Like other commenters are mentioning, incest can lead to birth defects and gentic mutations that would lower the quality of life for the offspring. If contraceptives or other methods are used, I see no reason why two relatives couldn't have a prosperous relationship.
I would vote 'amoral'. In some cultures, brother/sister incest in the royal family was require to keep the blood line pure (Egypt and Hawaii are examples). This of course, assumed there would be -- and even encouraged offspring.
It is really only very recently that fertility could be sufficiently controlled that a child would not result from a sexual relationship (given almost perfect contraception and the option of a medically safe abortion). In that case, the original basis for making incest taboo -- the probability of genetically undesirable characteristics appearing -- no longer holds.
In our society, incest is not uncommon, the most common being sibling incest. This form is not associated with nearly as much mental health damage as is parent/child incest because with siblings there is very seldom the power differential or the coercion seen in other forms. In fact in many cases the participants identify the relationship as consensual.
To follow the logic, then, if there will be no offspring and there is no coercion (physical or emotional), then it probably follows that it's difficult to make a case against it. (I will admit it still makes me uneasy, and I cannot identify the basis of this discomfort.)
Perhaps mine is not going to be a popular opinion, but my moral compass is governed by the principle of doing no harm. If incest is consensual and they aren’t trying to reproduce, then it does not harm anyone and both consenting adults have a right to be happy.
You should ask said theist how Adam and Eve populated the earth. Or remind them of the daughters of Lot.
I find this hard to vote for one way or the other. Incest may be an emotionally safe scenario if there's no power-play going on, as siblings know each other well and (if raised well) have healthy trust for each other. On the flip side, there is SUCH a stigma attached to it, their lives would be devastated if found out. Why risk it? So, I can't make a moral judgement, as I think that is a false dichotomy based on an outmoded value system. I think what I'm saying is that morals are a construct that can be good or bad.
(...see what I did there???)
Because no age parameters or relationships were given, I am going with immoral under the assumption that there is a significant age gap, disparate levels of education/power/wealth, or other inequalities that would put one party at a disadvantage. For example, a girl and her Father vs two 35 year old first cousins are vastly different scenarios.
I don't know if I would say that it was moral as much as i don't think its inherently immoral. Of course that statement has to be qualified. I think if both parties are consenting adults, and that assumes that there is no coercion, then I can see anything objectively wrong with it.
Your family is a place of safety where all emotions can be explored but the boundary to sex shouldn't. Physically, genetic mutations make it rightly taboo and emotionally it should be taboo as you can go out into the world and literally fuck up your life, but you shouldn't fuck up your family and place of refuge.
Here's a better question; why do Xians have a problem with incest when the bible advocates it prominently? If you believe the bible is the literal word of god then incest is the ONLY explanation for the continued presence of Man after the flood. Since nothing in the bible claims that god repopulated the world with, y'know, magic, then the only other means available would've been an ongoing exchange of genetic material within Noah's family.
Society has certain rules be you a religious or not. There are many religions, I'm sure that would welcome the practice of incest. I like to consider myself a liberal, live and let live, blah blah, but I also work in family law. The cases I have seen in 35 years with incest somehow end up to be more one-sided. Again, with the male convincing the female the it's ok. In fact look at all these people on this website that agree with me. I'm sorry but I disagree. If the only person you can find to form a loving sexual relationship with is in your immediate family, you might want to seek counseling.
There should be a third option..like depends. Because if people were separated for years through adoption or father was a sperm donor..if they somehow found one another and started a relationship..only to find out later on they were related..how can we as a society deny them when they were not aware of the relation? If two men and two woman either twins or brothers and sisters close in age start fool around..its taboo and morally wrong but if god does not exist like most of us believe..how is anything immoral? Who makes these rules? As long as you are not causing harm to others who cares what someone does. So I guess incest is fine in my book within reason..appropriate ages..and situations..and 100% safe sex so children can not be spawned from such actions.