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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Logical Practicum 1 - Homosexuality

What's with this series? Don't I have a lot of them around? And why only certain topics? Is it a case of 'methinks the lady doth protest too much'?

Well, not really. But also yes. I come across many, many Web sites that hash the same old tired arguments over and over again, and nobody ever seems to get anywhere in a hurry. Not that I'm going to change that in a hurry, but why don't people think these things through? Hence, my way of venting is through my blog - that maybe one or two people actually read. Still.

So, Topic One: Homosexuality.

In order to approach the issue logically, it is also important to examine one's own biases and axioms. When you lay out the presuppositions, then at least people know where you're coming from and can reason with you as well.

So, here is the Christian take on the matter. I'll linkify everything once I've got the necessary supporting evidence and such - but believe me, this is not a major problem were it not for my inveterate laziness.

1. Homosexuality is a sin (against God's divine will, plans and purposes for human beings)
Homosexuality is part and parcel of the twisted, warped, inherently sinful and evil nature of Mankind ever since Adam and Eve fell from grace. In this, it is not different from covetousness, greed, sloth, arrogance, homicidal impulses, lying, and so forth. Insofar as it is human nature to do these things, it is human nature to bear sexual attraction towards someone of the same sex.

2. Homosexuality is sinful in thought, word and deed - but not in mere existence
Like every other sin, however, homosexual impulses are a form of temptation, and we should be fleeing from it, not giving in to our base impulses. Therefore, it is not a sin to be tempted, just in giving in. Similarly, while it is no sin to be alcoholic, it is sinful to give in and drink to excess; nor is it a sin to be a paedophile, but only in giving in and harbouring the thoughts, or speaking the words (think chatrooms) or acting it out.

3. Homosexuality is classed with other sexually immoral practices
The only sanctioned sexual activity (one not only permitted, but celebrated, encouraged and revelled in) is monogamous sex between husband and wife in holy matrimony. Everything else (fornication, adultery, necrophilia, zoophilia, homosexual activity, BDSM, auto-asphyxiation, etc etc etc) is just dead wrong. Marital sex is the only form of sex God intends, as written right from the start in Genesis, and reaffirmed by Jesus.

It is important to note that the Bible as a whole does not speak about sexual orientations as we are wont to do. Instead, it speaks about sexual practices i.e. the result of giving in to various temptations and lusts. It is really obvious that the Biblical view of humanity is that our kind is a complex kind, and that the sexual attractiveness of others is not a binary thing. So, that too is my view - homosexuals are classed not by orientation per se, but by actions.

Having set forth my prejudices therefore, let's move on to the meat of the argument. The causes of homosexual attraction are usually the linchpin of the debates and arguments of its acceptability - after all, if it can be proven that this is no choice, but 'wired in' from an early age, then as it is said, what harm is it? And why persecute us for something we cannot help?

This is a specious argument. Thought crimes are not prosecuted, or so one would hope. Note that any 'laws' against homosexuals as such are usually only aimed at their behaviour (i.e. actions), and usually at sodomy. Public opinion and the actions of bullies react otherwise to the stated laws of the land, of course, but you cannot hope to change that by passing new laws.

So, let's set aside the Christian viewpoint for a moment, and consider a secular look at the root causes of homosexuality. Again, homosexuality is usually seen in a binary viewpoint - either you're gay or you're straight. And if you were previously straight and now you're having a homosexual relationship, then either you were faking (closeted) or you're really bi - but you can't have 'turned' gay - it's not contagious and people cannot change your orientation.

This is important; homosexual advocates cannot admit that you could really have been fully heterosexual earlier on in life, and then later on become fully homosexual - or even bisexual - because if they admitted that then (a) the charges of 'recruitment' and 'perverting morals' are so much more easily substantiated and (b) the converse is also true i.e. you can have been gay and now you can go straight. Either way, the element of choice has now been injected into the picture, and the cry of 'I can't help myself! It's not my fault!' is answered by 'Yes you can, you just don't want to'. The whole platform of gay rights hinges on this - if you can choose, then why should we give a toss when you choose poorly?

Anyway, let's accept the argument that for the vast majority of homosexuals, no element of choice exists; they truly cannot help themselves. Let's take it one step at a time. Suppose a person is 'born gay'. There are two major factors at play within the womb to make this turn out, genetics and the environment. Time to examine each one.

Here's an interesting fact about genetics. Ceteris paribus, any given set of genes (say, the entire genetic makeup of a human being) will always express itself in exactly the same way. Any inherited traits will also be expressed identically. Hence, if you have identical twins, if one of them has cystic fibrosis, the other one must also have it. Similarly, if you have haemophilia, so must your identical twin/triplet/tuple. Strangely enough, there is a sufficient body of research indicating that in pairs of identical twins, sexual orientation is not a 1:1 match. That alone is enough to say that genetics plays no significant role in determining sexual orientation.

Moving on to the environment then, you can imagine that the womb is a shared environment between identical twins. It is always remotely possible that one twin gets more exposure to certain hormones or other compounds and hence develops into a homosexual, but seriously, we can probably throw that out of the window as well.

Okay, so sexual identity is not fixed at birth. Which means to say, the external environment plays a role. This changes homosexuality from a pre-existing condition to something that occurs to you as you walk through life; neither fixedly genetic nor congenital, but something that happens during your growth and maturity process. This is really the root for many mental disorders such as kleptomania. Actually, that was a lie. We don't really know the root causes of kleptomania, just as we do not really know the root causes of homosexuality. But just as kleptomania can be treated, so can homosexuality, and don't let anyone else convince you otherwise. You'll never be free of homosexual temptations. but here's the secret - nobody else is free from their temptations either. We all have our crosses to bear - granted that homosexual attraction is a hard cross to bear.

Here's another secret. Jesus of Nazareth, God's own Son? The Perfect Sinless Man? That guy? He is truly human, being tempted in every way just as we are, and yet without sin. Think he might know a thing or two about temptation and resisting it?

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