Kissing: Did Christians Advance or Hinder It? February 14, 2012

Kissing: Did Christians Advance or Hinder It?



What is the history of kissing anyway? Everybody does it, or wants to (asexuals excepted). But where does it all come from? The Today Show webpage at MSNBC took a retrospective to review this ubiquitous cultural practice.

How does Christianity fit into all of this?

The biggest kissing killjoys of all were the early Christians. Kissing is prominently mentioned nine times in the Bible, but only once, in Romans, does it refer to a romantic kiss. There are kisses of treachery (the Judas kiss), kisses of greeting, kisses of subjection and the kiss of life (in Genesis).

Several popes tried over the years to ban romantic kissing. In 1312, Pope Clement V decreed that “kissing done with the intent to fornicate was to be considered a mortal sin.”

At that time, kissing remained unknown in much of the world. When European missionaries fanned out to Africa, Asia and Oceania in the 19th Century, they popularized kissing in places that found kissing abhorrent.

“They carried the word of kissing as well as the word of God to many of these people,” Bryant said.

So despite attempts to ban kissing that continue even today, we find that Christians probably did more to promote “sin” than they did to stifle it.

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  • interestingly, has an article up this valentine’s day that, in part, addresses this.  one hypothesis regarding kissing is that it evolved as a sort of inoculation.

    edit: it’s the article “The 5 Weirdest Reasons We Have Sex (According to Science)” and the first of 5 listed.

  • Anonymous

    Kissing, like handshaking, arose before we knew about microorganisms and how they can cause infectious diseases.  From a rational hygienic perspective we should probably do neither, especially during cold and flu season.

  • girlgenius

    That has got to be the creepiest pic I’ve ever seen on this web site… Now I have to go stab myself in the eyes. Thanks.

  • Silver_fox-trot

    Very interesting, except the part about asexuals. Yes, some of us are not fond of kissing, but there are others that don’t mind it. Being asexual just means that they don’t want to have sex. It’s like saying all atheists dislike Christians. There are probably some that do, but most are indifferent about Christians themselves.

    Don’t mean to nitpick, but it’s one of those things that erks me.

  • Bollywood movies are not less romantic or amusing because the lovers never kiss onscreen. 
    What about Jesus’ on-the-mouth kissing of Mary Magdalene?  Romantic or inoculation?

  • The article says everybody wants to do it, except asexuals. “Some asexuals don’t mind it” doesn’t contradict that at all. “Want to” is a desire, “don’t mind to” is a tolerance.

  • Silver_fox-trot

     Actually, he said “Everybody does it, or wants to (asexuals excepted)”. This implies that asexuals as a whole neither do it or want it. That’s what I was objecting too. I’d be fine he he said someting alone the lines of “with some asexuals excepted”.

  • Michael

    I think it probably means “some asexuals excepted”

    Though I knew a heterosexual who didn’t kiss, so maybe it would be better to prefix “everybody” with “almost”.

  • Griffox

    I was actually going to comment that I appreciate the nod towards asexuals. I would rather have a minor mis-generalization be made about asexuals than to be completely ignored. I get so tired of hearing that sex is universally loved by everyone. It can be very isolating to have that constantly thrown in my face. I, personally, enjoy some kissing, but I wasn’t at all offended at that statement. Thank you for acknowledging Asexuals, Jason. 

  • Skjaere

    Wait, isn’t there a whole bunch of snogging in the Song of Solomon? And I will forever maintain that the kiss David and Jonathan shared was romantic. Or are they only including the New Testament in the above bit?

  •  He says everyone who isn’t asexual wants to kiss. This is the aggravation.

  • TiltedHorizon

    That picture requires a caption, like:

    “this one time at band camp….”
    “Kissing, a means of getting two people so close together that they can’t see anything wrong with each other.”
    “Tastes like chicken”

  •  Song of Solomon contains a lot more than just heavy snogging. It’s outright pornographic, and full of Unusual Euphemisms.

  • Jett Perrobone

    I didn’t find that comment about asexuals’ not liking kissing annoying, just puzzling.  As an asexual, one thing I do find annoying is when my father says “Oh, you’re just shy” after I tell him that I have no desire whatsoever to have a girlfriend.

    I like how that Jason mentioned asexuals too.  I’d like more people to understand that there is nothing wrong with us.

  • Skjaere

    *nod* There’s also Mark Driscoll’s infamous “it’s all about blowjobs” version.

  • T-Rex

    Pope is probably imagining he’s a young boy and the cleric? is probably imagining hes a prepubescent girl. Sick fuckers.

  • Just trying to put out a nod. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Caitlin

    That was my reaction too. I’m an aromantic asexual, so definitely no kissing for me. But I was glad to see Jason acknowledge that there are asexuals out there. Most of the time we just get ignored, especially around Valentine’s Day, lol.

  • “or” want to. Not “and”. everybody does it, “or” they at least want to do it. My interpretation of that is it implies only that asexuals  don’t have a desire for it.

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