Both authors of tomorrow’s readings argue in favor of celibacy, but the way they argue for it could not be more different.
Gandhi argues for celibacy because he believes that there is an inner power that emerges from disciplining yourself into denying carnal pleasures and enforcing mental clarity . He believes that Brahmacharya is a way for someone – male or female – to achieve a higher state of being (52,68). For someone to be truly engaged in the life of the mind and with helping the world he should not be distracted by earthly pleasures (Br. I p.206). He finds fault with the fact that married women get accidentally pregnant too many times and have children that are either weak or that they don’t care for (54). He also argues against child marriage that produces children that the young parents cannot take care of, and burdens that they can’t undertake (55). The women also put their own bodies in danger when they undergo too many pregnancies. Gandhi doesn’t trust contraceptives so he argues for celibacy.
In contrast to Gandhi’s views of celibacy as something that is in the hands of anyone to achieve if they really want it, and as a way to help society in general, the Archibishop views virginity as something that only concerns women and that grants them marriage to Christ and eternal life in heaven (66). Gandhi tries to argue for celibacy by giving the reader the example of himself and arguing that anyone could do it if they really wanted to. The Archibishop argues that his sister should remain a virgin. Virginity seems to only have value for women and not for men, and if a woman was to lose her virginity, celibacy after that would not hold any value. So his argument is about preserving something that supposedly reverses the crime that Eve committed: a woman’s virginity (70). If a woman dies a virgin, she will be married to Christ in the afterlife. However the Archibishop takes that maybe a bit too literally and he believes that if his sister gets married to Christ, then his sins would be pardoned too, as Christ’s brother in law. He seems to enforce virginity on his sister in some way for selfish reasons (74). He also villifies married women who take care of their physical appearance. He advises his sister to avoid them because they want to attract any man’s lust, since they are concerned with how they look (80-84). He also says that married women objectify themselves because they sell their virginity by accepting the dowry for their marriage (67,78).
It was hard for me to fully understand Gandhi’s viewpoint and I could not agree with many of his points, but his viewpoint did not come off as selfish or oppressive like the Archibishop’s did.