And a much higher laundry bill for bed linen
Speak for yourself
Tom/ TGB, I wanted to add some thoughts on your last post.
But why not apply the same criticism to celibacy or singleness? What should stop us from applying that very same criticism to any and all behaviours that fail to perceive/ achieve the goods of opposite-sex relationships?
Also, for many gay people, opposite-sexed relationships are not “good”, but actually harmful. For many gay people the choice is either lifelong celibacy or same-sex eroticism. For them, heterosexuality isn’t an option. And so they will “fail” to achieve the goods of opposite-sex relationships regardless.
But which also cannot be realized in celibacy or singleness.
(Note: I am not agreeing with you that gays are somehow missing out. Instead, my point is that even if they were missing out, we would need to apply that same criticism to celibate or single people).
But in the very same sense, celibacy and singleness are also harmful.
Aside from what I’ve already said about celibacy, I’m also still not sure as to why SSE would fail to embody trinitarian love. **What exactly is the crucial difference between OSE and SSE that enables one to be trinitarian but not the other? **
“In that sense one might say gay sex is harmful.”
We do know that such an act that is practiced is indeed dangerous and not natural to the body.
I assume you are referring to anal intercourse, but, of course, anal intercourse is not the same as “gay sex” given that many OS couples also engage in it. I also dispute the notion that anal intercourse is necessarily dangerous, but that’s really beside the point.
Same-sex eroticism (SSE) per se is not “dangerous” - it’s simply sexual and erotic activity between two people of the same sex. It does not have to be anal intercourse, but can include other activities that I don’t think I need to spell out
SSE can be dangerous, just as OSE can also be dangerous. But neiter are dangerous when we’re dealing with the per se sense. It’s dangerous for homosexuals to have sex with each other when one has an STD, but the same is true for heterosexuals. Anal intercourse can be dangerous, but it’s not restricted to homosexuals (who have other things they can do…).
So if two homosexuals are free of STDs and wish to sexually stimulate each other in gentle ways… well, where exactly is the danger coming from? As long as they’re not beating each other over the heads with pots and pans…
As to the “unnatural” issue: Can you please define “unnatural”? SSE occurs in well over 400 species of animals (often more frequently than in humans) without any consequences. Of course, we should never get our ethics from animal behavior, and I would never suggest otherwise, but my point is that SSE actually is natural in one sense. So how exactly are you defining “not natural”?
In a sense, eating junk food is unnatural because it is contrary to the function of the intestines, which is to absorb nutrients from food. So when you eat candy or Mcdonalds, you are doing something unnatural. Likewise, ears were not designed to be pierced, and so earrings are unnatural in a sense. Clothing, toothpaste, OTC pain medicine, and cars are also unnatural. Unnatural does not automatically equal immoral. Please offer a morally-relevant definition of “unnatural”.
Sorry to keep you waiting for a response. I don’t think I’ll have satisfying answers for you. But I’ll try to clarify where I think I’m coming from.
Tom: The point of my opening trinitarian argument attempts to establish a certain ‘harmfulness’ to gay relations, if ‘harm’ can include goods unperceived and so unachieved, the harm that obtains in failing to be all you can be.
Pat: But why not apply the same criticism to celibacy or singleness? What should stop us from applying that very same criticism to any and all behaviors that fail to perceive/achieve the goods of opposite-sex relationships?
Tom: Perhaps ‘misachieved’ (if I may make up the word) would better express what I’m trying to get at than ‘unachieved’, for it’s not the failure to achieve some potential beauty simpliciter which is in itself harmful. As you pointed out, celibates ‘fail’ to achieve a certain reflection of trinitarian oneness in the act of heterosexual sex by virtue of being celibates. That seems different that, say, one who does engage in (homosexual) sex which by virtue of its very nature cannot be an embodied reflection of trinitarian love. It’s one thing not to hit the target because you don’t aim and fire. It’s another to aim and fire and miss. These are not ‘failures’ in the same sense.
Pat: Also, for many gay people, opposite-sexed relationships are not “good”, but actually harmful. For many gay people the choice is either lifelong celibacy or same-sex eroticism. For them, heterosexuality isn’t an option.
Tom: I understand. Like I said, I’m just asking myself how trinitarian love might be said to be reflected in human sexuality and if so, how. Heterosexual relations appear to offer a rather natural, i.e., self-evident, embodiment of such unity. I’m struggling to see how homosexual relations instantiates the same. I may just be unable to see how it does so, but that’s where I am.
Pat: What exactly is the crucial difference between OSE and SSE that enables one to be trinitarian but not the other?
Tom: It’ should be right there in my original post about the Trinity. A union of ‘sames’ is less beautiful that a union of ‘differents’ at the same point/respect. Sometime like that.
I’m stuck in a chopper terminal in Baghdad and haven’t slept for two days. That might explain it too! ;o)
Well, you’re right; I was not satisfied … But that’s okay! I think we’re just coming from two totally different perspectives. When it comes to SSE, I think I have more of an “innocent until proven guilty” mindset.
That being said, I hope I will not be beating a dead horse by commenting on some of what you said.
Without being too graphic, I suspect that you’re thinking about this topic with a great emphasis on anatomical complimentarity. The penis fits nicely into the vagina, and the two together are sort of like artwork. I understand the temptation to look at anatomical completeness and draw certain conclusions.
Robert Gagnon is very explicit in this argument. He suggests that one cause (out of many) for depression among homosexuals is:
I have some thoughts though.
For one, anatomical complementarity is hardly a good indicator or predictor of healthy and loving relationships. Two people whose bodies “go well together” may hate each other’s personalities.** Something else is needed**
(Of course, physical attraction helps, but physical attraction, as we’ve seen, does not always depend on how similar or dissimilar the bodies are)
Also, you suggest that anatomical/genital similarity “misses the target”, but what about personality similarity? Would you object to an opposite-sex couple where both persons have virtually “everything in common”? Would you say such a relationship is permissible because there is enough anatomical difference? If so, that seems (to me) to constitute “an obsessive centering” on the physical (to borrow some of Gagnon’s language for my own purposes )
To further elaborate on that last point, note that it’s also possible for an opposite-sexed couple to have very similar bodies – e.g. a very muscular body-building woman with very masculine features. In that scenario, the only feminine quality of that woman would be her vagina. But surely, at least IMO, the trinitarian criterion is not mere genital difference.
Whether something is beautiful is subjective and depends on who is looking, when they are looking, etc. And I also don’t see why “beautiful” would be synonymous with “morally permissible” while “ugly” is “morally wrong”. But even within the trinity, there is indeed a union of sames in some sense; they’re each God. The difference is not biological or anatomical. The differences are closer to being psychological; the three persons/ personalities complete each other. And besides, I’m also pretty sure that the three persons are not sexually involved with each other
(Note: I’m not saying God has a personality disorder)
I think what makes a good relationship is romantic complementarity (or personality complementarity), which has little to do with anatomical differences. I think we need to recognize the role personality-interactions play in erotic attraction and that romantic complementarity is typically more psychological than anatomical.
(Note: I’m not saying anatomy makes no difference in a relationship; people still need to be physically attracted to each other. I just think that the focus on anatomical difference-vs.-similarity is unwarranted and cannot be justified by citing the trinity)
Finally, one last point on anatomy, although I think anatomy is morally irrelevant. I would say that most post-pubescent adults are anatomically compatible with each other in some sense, regardless of whether they are male or female. I would elaborate on that, but I fear being too graphic…
Ouch! I very much hope that you sleep soon! I know how hard everything can seem when you’re not sleeping enough.
But there may actually be an advantage to carrying homosexual genes, according to this source lrainc.com/swtaboo/stalkers/em_homosexuality.html. Because of this advantage, homosexuality continues in the human population despite the far lower reproductive rates of homosexuals. Let me explain.
Homosexuality may be a polygenic or polygenetic trait. That means homosexuality is a phenotypic expression of several genes not just one. “Male” copies of these several genes produce aggressiveness and selfishness. “Female” copies produce sensitivity, empathy, and kindness. A male who inherits mostly male copies will be too aggressive and selfish to be a good provider for his family, so his reproductive fitness will be low. A male who inherits mostly female copies will be a homosexual, so his reproductive fitness will be low, too. But males who inherit about equal numbers of both male and female copies of the genes will be the best fathers and be most attractive as mates to females. Thus, a balanced polymorphism exists; the intermediate state is fitter than is either extreme. The extreme male phenotypes (aggressive males and homosexual males) will persist, despite their lower fitness, because they are inevitably produced when the very abundant intermediate (fittest) males reproduce. A similar argument can be made for female homosexuals.
The best way to visualize this model and any other model that depends on polygenic or polygenetic inheritance is the normal curve. As more and more genes become involved with a particular phenotypic expression, the inheritance pattern resembles more and more the ideal bell-shaped or normal curve. In this example, the middle portion of the bell curve shows the abundant heterosexual male phenotypes. They are commonest because they are fittest–i.e., unlike male homosexuals, they are interested in mating with females and thus are considered appropriate mates by females and unlike aggressive heterosexuals, they are good providers because they are not overly aggressive and selfish.
These abundant heterosexual males have about half of their genes represented by the “female” alleles (alternate forms of the genes) and the other half represented by the “male” alleles. The names “female” and “male” are used to convey the idea that these alleles code for traits that relate both to sexual preferences and non-sexual behaviors that are more typical of females or males.
When these common heterosexuals reproduce, most of their offspring will also carry about half female and male alleles. But it is a statistical likelihood that small percentages of the offspring will carry nearly all “female” copies or all “male” copies of these genes. For example, if we designate the genotypes of two common heterosexuals mating as AaBbCcDd x AaBbCcDd, then there is a small probability (e.g., 1/256) that one of their offspring will be AABBCCDD and an equally small probability that one will be aabbccdd. These extreme genotypes and the ones nearly like them are more likely to become homosexual on the one hand or aggressive heterosexual males on the other hand, according to the model. Thus, even if these extreme genotypes seldom reproduce, they will continue to show up in the population due to the mathematical laws governing inheritance.
Despite “lower reproductive rates of homosexuals”? “Lower” reproductive rates?
Give me a number other than 0 for homosexual reproduction rates.
Zero IS a lower reproductive rate, and that will do for the argument.
But the term “lower reproductive rates of homosexuals” was used for completeness, i.e., to cover the possibility of a homosexual, for various reasons, having a heterosexual relationship, however temporary, that resulted in reproduction.
Iancia: But the term “lower reproductive rates of homosexuals” was used for completeness, i.e., to cover the possibility of a homosexual, for various reasons, having a heterosexual relationship, however temporary, that resulted in reproduction.
Tom: A homosexual’s having a heterosexual relationship and producing a child contributes to the “heterosexual” reproductive rate, not the homosexual reproductive rate. There is no positive homosexual reproductive rate. To include ‘0’ seems a bit…what’s the word?
Iancia: But there may actually be an advantage to carrying homosexual genes…
Tom: They’ve identified homosexual genes? I mean, that would end this debate and we could get on with things. If there’s a gay gene, let’s see it.
Or do you mean something like “supposing there to be homosexual genes…”?
The ‘rates’ aside, though, the argument seems plausible. I’m not a scientist so the details are lost on me. Sorry. But you seem to suggest a gene for things like “selfishness.” A selfishness gene? And then, of course, you appear to reduce sexual orientation to a combination of 'aggressiveness" and “passive” genes. That’s it? Sexual orientation and attraction are based on how aggressive/passive the other person appears to us? Why am I not attracted to so-called passive males, i.e., homosexual males? Shouldn’t I be attracted to them SIMPLY on account of the aggressive/passivity their behavior demonstrates? If not, then wouldn’t that mean sexual attraction is accounted on other grounds?
If that’s how you see if, fine. But whether one counts such reproduction as homosexual or heterosexual, it does not affect the argument. The point relevant to your initial post about the evolution of homosexuality is that homosexuality can persist even if homosexuals never reproduce. Homosexuality persists because heterosexuals that carry homosexual genes do reproduce.
I know of no study that identified a homosexual gene. But the much higher rate of concordance between homosexuality in identical (monozygotic) twins than in fraternal (dizygotic) twins strongly supports the idea that genetics plays a role.
But it is not unusual to infer that a behavioral trait has a genetic component even if a gene has not been identified. For example, learning in rats is thought to be genetically related because rats that quickly learn to find their way through a maze have offspring that learn as quickly, while rats that learn more slowly have offspring that learn as slowly. Also, consider the amazing diversity in dog behavior, which is largely determined by selective breeding within breeds and so must be genetic to a great extent. One of the hardest things to determine in genetics is what particular gene causes what particular characteristic.
No, it’s not that simple. When I introduced the argument above, I said, “The names ‘female’ and ‘male’ are used to convey the idea that these alleles code for traits that relate both to sexual preferences and non-sexual behaviors that are more typical of females or males.” Thus, the “male” alleles code not only for characteristics such as selfishness and aggressiveness but also for such characteristics as sexual preference. So, males with a sufficient number of male alleles will be attracted to females and will have certain characteristics more typical of males than females.
In addition, the major gene that triggers testis development is located on the Y chromosome, which occurs only in males. The testes produce hormones that trigger development of the embryo in the male direction. So, the basic body plan and sexual preferences of an individual with the Y chromosome, and thus with testes, are those of the typical male. It is upon this template that the male and female alleles I talked about above operate.
So, you are attracted to females, not passive males, because the effects of your Y chromosome have not been overwhelmed by a preponderance of female alleles, as would be the case in a male who has inherited mostly female alleles and becomes homosexual.
For those of us who are a bit intellectually challenged (me first in that queue ). Here is a good article Q&A: How do you define sex? on the BBC website following the furore surrounding the South African athlete Caster Semenya.
Although I haven’t done the research (and it may not exist), the fact that a teaching of Jesus Christ regarding homosexual actions or other actions spoken of as sin in the Bible cannot be proven to be true shouldn’t really alter whether a Christian should accept whether such an act is sin. Probably quite a bit of revealed ethical teachings are without rational proof. That’s the difference between revealed truth and that which can be reasoned to by proof.
I don’t see it that way because the perspective here is trying to explain how homosexual genes can persist in a population despite no genes being passed on in a homosexual union. So the focus is on any other possible reproductive acts that involve the homosexual. If a homosexual male reproduces with a female, however rarely, he is passing on HIS genes. Thus, such passing on of his genes makes the reproductive rate of that homosexual greater than 0, even if it results from a heterosexual union.
So, while a homosexual male/homosexual male and homosexual female/homosexual female “union” have an unambiguous reproductive rate of 0, a homosexual male/heterosexual female, a heterosexual male/homosexual female, and a homosexual male/homosexual female union, however rare, all potentially yield a non-zero reproductive rate for a homosexual.
I’m confused by this because I never suggested that Christians should dismiss Jesus’ teachings on anything. I have avoided getting into exegetics because I’ve lost interest in doing so.
That being said, I don’t think that the Bible actually does condemn SSE per se for all time. To understand my own views on the “anti-gay prooftexts”, I recommend checking into the sources I referenced earlier - work by Justin Lee (online article I linked to), Patrick Chapman (see his 2008 book “Thou Shalt not Love”), and Gareth Moore (see his 2003 book “A Question of Truth”). Those are some good starting places.
I agree with you, and I’m actually not sure which comments of mine that you’re replying to.
Thanks for the reply. Your mention that you had lost interest in exegetics was quite candid. I think that to find the truth one must be interested in finding the truth, don’t you think? How can we ignore exegetics and hope to find the answer here?
Hi Roofus, how are you today?
I’m sure that it was unintentional, but you have now twice falsely attributed something to me:
What I was intending to communicate is that I have lost interest in debating the prooftexts with people. If I gave you the impression that I “ignore” exegetics, then I’m sorry. It’s just that I have discussed them so many times. Call it a mental repetitive stress injury … I get the same way with universalism vs damnationism prooftexts.
If you re-read my last post, you’ll notice that I once again cited work by Justin Lee, Gareth Moore, and Patrick Chapman. IMO, those guys have done a good job arguing for a sort of “pro-gay” theology. And in a previous post I implied familiarity with Robert Gagnon’s work. Gagon is typically viewed as the top conventional scholar on this issue. So in fact, I have been keeping up with exegetical issues. I just don’t have much desire for debate.
That being said, if you’d like to discuss the relevant passages then I would be willing