On homosexuality …

Okay, for the first time I might be really getting myself in trouble with a post, but being at least nominally Catholic and having it come up all over the place in discussions over religion I think I should spell out my position on this.

For me, any and all sexual conduct are indifferents. This means that they are never in and of themselves right or wrong, and can only be wrong — or, I suppose, right — if someone treats them as either virtues or vices. Thus, one should always choose virtue over sex, and not do anything vicious in order to get sex. Being virtuous is always more important than having sex. But, taking on from Seneca, other than that enjoy all the sex you want. There’s nothing wrong with having lots and lots of indifferents if getting those indifferents is always done in a way to preserve virtue.

So I’m not terribly sympathetic to arguments that say that sex is incredibly and critically important and so it’s just in some way wrong to try to limit sexual contact. If a sex act is wrong, then one should avoid it no matter how strong one’s desires are. I recognize that sex is a strong desire, but don’t see how that would make it right. It might make it understandable that one would give in to temptation, but it doesn’t mean that giving in to temptation was the right thing to do.

So, if homosexuality is wrong, then we can indeed call it that and, unfortunately, say that people who have those desires might have to live sexless lives. However, the counter to that is that I don’t actually see any reason to think it necessarily wrong. Oh, sure, there are cases where it would be wrong, but that’s true of all sexual conduct, heterosexual, homosexual or whatever. I fail to see why it should be singled out in that way, and so don’t single it out.

So, my stance on homosexuality is basically this: I don’t think it wrong, but don’t think it impossible that it could be wrong. If it happens to be wrong, then right-thinking people shouldn’t do it no matter how much they want to or what wonderful experiences they end up missing, but I have not seen a convincing argument that it is wrong and so there’s no reason for right-thinking people to, in general, avoid it. I have seen the “disordered” argument and arguments about natural law, but find them unconvincing for the usual reasons, not the least of which is indeed deciding what counts as disordered and unnatural enough to be a sin.

So, for me, as long as homosexual acts are not considered one of the things that truly gives life meaning and something that one simply could not give up to have a good life, I have no actual problem with it. And if some people do consider it such, then I think them as wrong as I think of people who think the same thing as heterosexual acts.

(And if people did read this blog, I’d expect a rather nasty flame war over this, which I find sad. Although, on the bright side, I expect that it would be equally unpopular with both sides of the debate. Which probably means that I’m doing something right [grin]).

2 Responses to “On homosexuality …”

  1. cognifeeder Says:

    Interesting post. I also published my first post on homosexuality today as well. What a coinky dink.

  2. Alex Leibowitz Says:

    I agree with this. People often argue that homosexuality is not a choice, and since the desire is natural, it must be justified to pursue it. It may be natural, but whenever you have sex with someone, you choose to do so (except in cases of rape, I guess) — so that part of it *is* a choice. And it doesn’t follow that just because a desire is natural that it’s good.

    On the other hand, like you said, I don’t see any good arguments that it’s bad or impermissible (most of the arguments contain the same non-sequitur as the argument above, or else they rely on premises I don’t accept, such as that what’s forbidden in the Bible is impermissible).

    The only argument that could carry weight is maybe that one has a duty to society to have children, but in these times of overpopulation I find that less credible. Maybe one has a duty to one’s family or oneself to have children…

    (Incidentally one of the most memorable treatments of homosexuality in literature was in the Mormon inspired series “Memory of Earth”, where the homosexual character has sex with his wife even though he doesn’t desire to for the sake of having children. I guess it was propaganda, but it was very touching to me all the same.)

    Anyway, the issue isn’t as clear-cut as people seem to think. And I say this as a so-called homosexual!

    Well that was all nonsense. Nice site, by the way.

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