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The Contender
Con (against)
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the bible does not say that masturbation is a sin

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/5/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,224 times Debate No: 35320
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)




the two passages that are often used as proof that masturbation is wrong, are usually misinterpreted.

one is onan. God said to onan, to impregnate his deceased brother's wife. instead, onan pull out, and spilled his seed on the ground. many argue that what was wrong here is that he spilled his seed, it went to unproductive use etc, that masturbation is likewise a sin. however, it's pretty clear that God was mad because he didnt follow his command to impregnate her.

the other is in Matthew. Jesus says something to the effect of 'whoever looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart". this makes some argue that if you even lust after a woman, which is usually the case with masturbation, you sin. the problem, is that the original word for "lust" is the same word, teated the same, as the word "covet". no one can really take the ten commandment bans on coveting your neighbor's wife or things, in too literal a sense. covet means something indordinate, not something like just wanting or admiring your neighbor's wife and things. covet means "best understood as forbidding fixing one"s desire upon obtaining something that is not rightfully one"s own". here is more on the use of covet and lust.

this fits my original interpetation of the verse "you would if you could". would you sleep with a man's wife if you could? then youve done the sin in your heart, even if you didnt actually do it. it also highlights that what's wrong here is unlawful marriage coveting. notice he didn't say the person commits fornication, or "unlawful sex". Jesus is probably stressing coveting a man's wife, not just lustful thoughts in general, and not even necessarily unmarried women.


I would like to thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate. This is my first
debate on this site and I have been looking for somewhere to jump in.

I would like to point out at the start that I agree with Pro's statements
regarding the given passages of scripture. I think the interpretations are
accurate and have never liked using those passages because they are weak at
best to prove the point of the argument regarding masturbation.

That is neither here nor there as the question is not whether or those passages
claim masturbation is a sin, but rather if the Bible says so at all. I think by
the time we're done, the answer will clearly be that it most certainly is a

As such, all I have to do is prove there is a passage or action relevant to
masturbation (i.e, a type of sin) and that the Bible does indeed claim that
action to be sin. Pro must refute all arguments or concede the debate.

I would like to ask that only the King James be used so that we have a standard
of comparison.

I assume we are speaking of solo, self masturbation in this debate. But what is
masturbation really? I submit that masturbation is the imagining of carnal
situations and sexually pleasuring oneself. It is inclusive both of fantasizing
and the physical act. I can prove that both actions are sinful and therefore,
the act of masturbating is sin.

My first bit of evidence is Ephesians, Chapter 4:

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Some words I would like to pull out of this text and define: Conversation, lasciviousness,
lust, and vanity. I would also like to define imagination now for future reference.
I will be using Webster’s 1st Edition 1828 Dictionary per


1. General course of manners; behavior; deportment;
especially as it respects morals.

Let your conversation be as becometh the gospel. Philippians
1. Be ye holy in all manner of conversation. 1 Peter 1.

2. A keeping company; familiar intercourse; intimate
fellowship or association; commerce in social life. Knowledge of men and
manners is best acquired by conversation with the best company.

3. Intimate and familiar acquaintance; as a conversation
with books, or other object.

4. Familiar discourse; general intercourse of sentiments;
chat; unrestrained talk; opposed to a formal conference.


1. Looseness; irregular indulgence of animal desires;
wantonness; lustfulness.

2. Tendency to excite lust, and promote irregular

LUST, n.

1. Longing desire; eagerness to possess or enjoy; as the
lust of gain.

2. Concupiscence; carnal appetite; unlawful desire of carnal
pleasure. Romans 1. 2Peter 2.

3. Evil propensity; depraved affections and desires. James
1. Ps. 81.

4. Vigor; active power. [Not used.]

imaginatio.] The power or faculty of the mind by which it conceives and forms
ideas of things communicated to it by the organs of sense.

1. Conception; image in the mind; idea.

2. Contrivance; scheme formed in the mind; device.

3. Conceit; an unsolid or fanciful opinion.

4. First motion or purpose of the mind. Gen.6.

VAN'ITY, n. [L. vanitas, from vanus, vain.]

1. Emptiness; want of substance to satisfy desire;
uncertainty; inanity.

2. Fruitless desire or endeavor.

3. Trifling labor that produces no good.

4. Emptiness; untruth

5. Empty pleasure; vain pursuit; idle show; unsubstantial

6. Ostentation; arrogance.

7. Inflation of mind upon slight grounds; empty pride,
inspired by an overweening conceit of one's personal attainments or
decorations. Fops cannot be cured of their vanity.

Ephesians 4 speaks of not walking as other Gentiles in the vanity of their mind, vanity
meaning emptiness, fruitlessness, pointlessness. II Corinthians 10:5 states we
are to cast down imaginations. I admit the context implies not being puffed up
in arrogance, but if you continue the verse, you find a very interesting
commandment: Bringing every thought into obedience. Obedience to what? Christ.

I Corinthians 6:

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of
the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

This passage is speaking to Christians, specifically, but it still shows the
expectation of God, to glorify him in body and spirit, your spirit being your
mind. This sentiment is echoed in Ecclesiastes 12:13 where it claims the whole
duty of man is to serve God and keep his commandments.

James 4:

17 Therefore to him that
knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

So the vain thoughts leading to or involved in masturbation are clearly sin. What
about the act itself? As I said, masturbation is also the action, the physical
pleasuring of self.

As defined, lasciviousness would easily encompass the act of masturbation. It is an indulgence
of animal desires, a primal need for sexual release. Lasciviousness is called
out in many places as a sin. Some references are:

  1. Mark 7:22
  2. II Corinthians 12:21
  3. Galatians 5:19
  4. Ephesians 4:19
  5. I Peter 4:3
  6. And others.

Therefore, while I agree with Pro that the passages submitted in support of the claim do
not accurately label masturbation as a sin, there are many, many areas in the
Bible that state in no uncertain terms that it is indeed a sin, an indulgence
of the flesh and a vanity of mind. The Bible calls for us to make NO provision
for the flesh (Romans 13:14) and to bring our every thought into obedience to
Christ (II Corinthians 10:5). How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer

I await any refutations of my arguments.

Debate Round No. 1


you say your arguments from scripture are shown in "no uncertain terms". but this is clearly not the case, as if that were true, there could be no logical uncertainty, no plausible uncertainty, no reasonable uncertainty, all which exist here.

vanity, lust, lusciousness, these are all sins that could be covered by other sins, going too far in lusting, coveting, adultery, sleeping around, homosexuality if you find that blame worthy, beastiality, could go on and on, etc. going overboard in masturbation anyone would have to agree is wrong.

you could lump masturbation in with all that, but we see no reason to from elsewhere in scripture, and we've got plenty of "natural law" weight behind it being natural, so i see no reason why we'd throw it in with all that.


Pro claims there is "plenty of 'natural law' weight behind [masturbation] being natural. Since there has been zero such evidence presented, I would like to point out that we do not, in fact have any thing of the sort.

Playing silly semantics games also in no way alleviates the fact that masturbation is, by definition, lasciviousness. It is not lumped in with that sin. It is that sin. You also cannot lump lasciviousness in with other sexual sins because it is listed side by side with those sins as in Mark 7:
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

Lasciviousness is clearly not adultry or fornication (which classification sodomy would fall into) but a seperate sin.

Masturbation is a sin of the mind as well and I have pointed out that God expects the mind to be sanctified for his use as well as the body.

Masturbation is clearly sin.
Debate Round No. 2


you question me on natural law, but i can point out many animals who masturbate. and it is a natural bodily function. not only all this, experts agree it is a normal, healthy activity. it actually promotes health. all these smart, scientific experts wouldnt be telling us to do something that was against the natural order.

are we to trust con's obscure interpretation of vague and obscure verses, over the scientific establishment, and over the most reasonable interpretations and understandings of the bible?

if it was so clear as con indicates, there wouldn't be so many people in these debates, see comments etc, who agree that the bible does not say masturbation is a sin. these are all people who are capable of reading, and are bright individuals. con can only say it's "clear" cause to him it fits the vague definitions listed. but that doesn't mean it's what the bible is referring to.

PS i would add pedophilia to that list of sexual sins. just to show there's plenty that is disordered sexually, that doesnt have to do with masturbation.

you say your arguments from scripture are shown in "no uncertain terms". but this is clearly not the case


Pro attempts to obfuscate the issue at hand with questions and arguments of natural law. Unfortunately, the debate is not about natural law or what animals do or what comes naturally. What the "scientific community" states is irrelevant. The debate is over the Bible's views on masturbation and its nature.

We are not discussing pedophilia. I am confused as to that point.

Neither is "doing what is natural" ever a defense of action in the realm of sin and religion. Many would say that to find your spouse in an adulterous relationship and killing them and their lover is a natural reaction. Yet the Bible clearly states, "Thou shalt not kill."

According to Genesis 1, man was created in the image of God. We are the representative of God on this earth. In the chain of authority, any person is responsible to those above, not defended by simulating action of those beneath. (i.e. the animal kingdom.)

If Pro wanted to argue that despite what the Bible says, they intend to masturbate anyway, that is each and every person's personal perogative. Obedience to the Word of God has ever been a choice.

I have shown that masturbation is considered to be a sin in the Bible. I've clearly defined it as both a mental sin and a physical act defined to be lasciviousness. Pro seems to only want to state that masturbation is natural and so they will continue, yet can't sincerely argue that omits it from being wrong in the eyes of God. To walk after the Spirit, we know means we won't fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

In my humble opinion, the point is moot either way, because Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and the wages of sin is death. (Rom. 6:23). Romans 1 says Christ died for the ungodly, though. Where sin did abound, grace did much more abound. The important question is, What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

God forbid.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Naysayer 3 years ago
You can't use the Bible as your point of contention and then argue opinions. That's why you lost that argument. It had nothing to do with what you argued. Your supporting information must be biblical.

As a side note, there's nothing in my argument that supports a conclusion that the Bible opposes contraception, although a case might be made. I'm not 100% settled on that and I know people that go either way.
Posted by dairygirl4u2c 3 years ago
i should have argued. most christians these days do not view contraception as immoral. only catholics. but, according to con, lavishisness etc is broad enough as to encompass contraception too. no?
i would say that's not the case, but if we follow con to include every possible thing, contraception suould be included too.

how not?
Posted by Naysayer 3 years ago
That's not really a suitable argument because any emission results in uncleanness including sexual relations with your spouse (Lev. 15:16). Uncleanness is also not the same as sin or it would warrant a sacrifice.
Posted by gordonjames 3 years ago
Both of you missed a few useful scriptures on this subject.
I presume that being "unfit for worship" (or public) until sundown shows clearly that there is a problem with masturbation.

Deut 23:10-11 (NASB)
10 "If there is among you any man who is unclean because of a nocturnal emission, then he must go outside the camp; he may not reenter the camp. 11 But it shall be when evening approaches, he shall bathe himself with water, and at sundown he may reenter the camp.

Leviticus 15:16-18 ESV / 5 helpful votes
"If a man has an emission of semen, he shall bathe his whole body in water and be unclean until the evening. And every garment and every skin on which the semen comes shall be washed with water and be unclean until the evening. If a man lies with a woman and has an emission of semen, both of them shall bathe themselves in water and be unclean until the evening.

this is talking about clean vs. unclean
Posted by Naysayer 3 years ago
If you want to have a chance at winning this, I would recommend switching it around and making yourself the Con. "The Bible states that masturbation is a sin." This way the burden of proof is on the other person. I'd also stick to the Bible. Thanks for the debate.
Posted by Naysayer 3 years ago
On a personal note, from your history, you seem a little obsessed with masturbation.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by JustinAMoffatt 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Con, an excellent performance on your part. I was blown away. Conduct - There was no blatant rudeness from either side. S/G- Pro, please capitalize. This drove me crazy. Args- Con blew Pro out of the water. The first argument went unscathed through the rest of the debate round. Sources- Con used more scripture, and used it in context.
Vote Placed by ModusTollens 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments almost exclusively boiled down to goal shifting and nitpicking the semantics of Con.