Moral purity is highly valued in many religions and most cultures. In Christian and Muslim thought, moral purity is associated with virginity, abstinence, monogamous marriage relationships, and avoidance of sexual thoughts and feelings. However, these faiths have also perpetuated and reinforced doctrines of male supremacy and control, which continue to inhibit the potential of women and abridge their human and civil rights.
Notions of purity are firmly ingrained within religious dogma. In Buddhism and Hinduism, for example, purity or perfection of personality is necessary for Nirvana to be obtained. Purification rituals are vestiges of primitive beliefs, intended to purge individuals of uncleanness or sin, in hopes of life after death, attainment of a status of sinlessness, innocence, moral perfection, or moral acceptability.
Purity is commonly seen as the highest quality of anything. For example, pure water and clean air are environmental ideals. Similarly, virtues are the purest, most valued essences of human character and social behavior. Einstein stated that every person of good will should ‘make the teaching of pure humanity a living force, so far as he can’.