Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Homosexuality and Nature

In my opinion, the reasons given by liberal Protestants for why they have conformed to the neo-pagan culture around us on the issue of sexual morality are confused, shallow and lacking in substance. They have caved in to social pressure, not just on homosexuality, but on a host of issues including divorce, cohabitation, premarital sex, casual sex and the acceptance of homosexuality. The current debate on homosexuality is just another stage in a series of capitulations to the spirit of the age.

In this post and a couple to follow I want to analyze liberal Christian arguments justifying adopting the neo-pagan position on homosexuality. Liberal Protestants argue (1) from nature, (2) from history and (3) from Scripture to justify their position. In today's post, I look at the arguments from nature.

Nature "Proves" Homosexuality
When it comes to nature, pro-homosexualists argue in contradictory ways. On the one hand, they are quick to sieze on anything in nature that seems to support their point of view. One would think they were fervent natural law theorists from their delight in discovering penguins that seem to engage in homosexual behaviour or their triumphant announcement that homosexuality is "in our genes." (Don't think about the fact that cystic fibrosis and other genetic diseases are also "in our genes.") The argument here seems to be that we can derive an "ought" from an "is" after all, that what is found in nature is a justification for ethical decisions, that animal behaviour is a valid precedent for human behaviour. Just to state it in these terms, however, is rather deflating. But, for the sake of argument, let us conceed (though in truth there is much to debate) the whole empirical package of evidence. Let us say that homosexuality does exist in nature.

First, with regard to animal homosexual behaviour, clearly it is a "blip," an exception, an abnormality compared to how many animals reproduce heterosexually (i.e. all of them). So if we take nature as our model, we can easily interpret the evidence as teaching us that homosexuality is abnormal. We can say that it occurs. Now, by saying that, have we made a moral statement yet, let alone come to a moral conclusion? It should be obvious that we have not. Humans are not animals. When a male lion vanquishes the head of a pride and takes over as leader, he typically kill the cubs of the old leader. Is that a valid precedent for a man murdering the children of the divorced woman he marries? Would that stand up as a defence in a murder trial? How could anything be more blindingly obvious than the fact that not all animal behaviour is a valid model for human behaviour?

Second, with regard to the so-called "gay gene," there are two problems. One is that no such gene has been found, even though many researchers had talked themselves into thinking that it must be there. The American Psychological Association has quietly revised its public education materials to drop claims for the existence of the "gay gene." See here, here, and here.

But, secondly, even if there is a genetic predisposition to homosexual behaviour, it would only be that: a predisposition. It would not be an iron clad "you can only act in a homosexual manner" kind of by-passing of free will. People have genetic predispositions to all sorts of things, like obesity and alcoholism. From my family history, I strongly suspect that I have a predisposition to alcoholism and so that is why I don't drink. I have no desire to find out for sure, since there is only one way to do so! Most clinicians would agree that a genetic predisposition, combined with certain family situations and other environmental factors plus a healthy dose of free will all go into the formation of a homosexuality identity.

So there is no such thing as exclusive, genetically determined homsexuality. Most homosexuals have had heterosexual sex. It isn't really true that there is a "third" sex called homosexual that is exclusively homosexual. In fact, even homosexual activists don't claim that we all are either one or the other. In fact, they claim that some people are bisexual, which is what one would expect if free will is part of the equation. So the idea that everybody is born exclusively heterosexual or homosexual is just bogus. Everyone is on a spectrum and homosexual behaviour is a minor temptation for some, a strong temptation for others, and not a temptation at all for others - just like alcohol.

The attemt to portray homosexuality as "natural" is a rhetorical strategy for deceiving little old church ladies and gullible Anglican bishops into thinking that homosexuals are "just like us" except for one little relatively insignificant detail. But homosexuality is not just like heterosexuality, especially male homosexuality. Male homosexuality and the homosexual ideology in general valorizes pormiscuity and regards heterosexual monogamy as too limiting or even oppressive. To approve of homosexuality is to lay a foundation for approval of polyamory.

Nature is Irrelevant to Homosexuality
But, on the other hand, homosexualists also argue that nature is irrelavent when it suits their purpose. One of the strongest arguments against homosexuality - one that most people in Western culture found convincing for centuries and has never been refuted - is that the male and female bodies were obviously made to fit together. We are "naturally" designed to complement each other - and that complementarity goes far beyond simply intercourse. Males and female are complementary in many ways and these sex roles are rooted in nature.

So, confronted with this argument, the homosexualist activists deny that "biology is destiny" and downplay the significance of nature for what should be a matter of freedom and choice. (So much for geneitics or "homosexual penguins.") It turns out that nature is just so much raw material that we can alter, manipulate and utilize by an act of will for whatever purposes we choose. No one should have the right to "impose" his sexual preferences on anyone else. Everyone should be "free" to express him or herself sexually in whatever way he or she desires.

Having One's Cake and Eating It Too
Well, here we arrive at a logical contradiction. Can we derive an "ought" from an "is" or not? The liberal Protestants who argue for homosexuality often argue both ways and hope no one will notice the contradiction. Or individual apologists or books stress one side of the coin or the other (either the absoluteness of choice or the "naturalness" of homosexuality) but they don't usually contradict the other side of the coin. The reason they keep coming back to arguing that homosexuality is in some sense natural is interesting. My observation is that they do this, even though they are really engaged in a gnostic project of overcoming nature by means of will, because the idea of reason and nature being in harmony is so strongly ingrained in our culture because of the 2000 year legacy of Christianity. So the appeal to nature is powerful. Unfortunately, for the pro-homosexual position it is also self-contradictory.

Nevertheless, 0ur modern society has embraced moral relativism to such a great extent that many people are easily manipulated by slogans, emotions and the intensity of the feelings of those who portray themselves as victims. Unfortunately, the appeal to nature and the denial of nature go hand in hand in liberal Protestant after the face rationalizations of a behaviour they want to adopt on other grounds. But nature really has very little to do with it.

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