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It seems that these days the whole controversial issue of homosexuality (though I would say it's becoming less and less controversial in North America) has degenerated into an argument about whether gay people were born that way or choose to be gay. We only need look to Lady Gaga for a prominent example. This is sadly an irrelevant argument though because it actually doesn't matter. At all. The fact is that whether you chose something or whether you were born into it has exactly no impact on whether it is right or wrong, true or false, moral or immoral. In fact, everybody knows this in almost every other area of their lives. For some reason though, homosexuality has become a social exception.

Let's think about this for a moment... 

Whether or not you were born into a family which sadly showcased violence in the home is not what makes it right or wrong in your own life later on. It is objectively wrong, and if you end up being violent toward your own family someday, you will not be vindicated from domestic violence charges simply because you were born into a domestically violent family (though perhaps it might be taken into account in the sentencing). Similarly, on the positive side of things, whether you were born inherently generous (if that were possible) would not determine whether or not it is a good thing either. Being generous is objectively good, regardless of whether you were "born that way" or not. These are rough analogies, but they serve their purpose. Like it or not, whether you believe homosexuality is totally ok or not, being "born that way" does not impact its being right or wrong. You must stake your claim of belief on some other territory. Logic is not on your side if it is a choice, nor is logic on your side if it is not a choice. You are simply arguing the wrong point.

Well, that neatly takes care of decades of unnecessary hostility.

Except of course that the question still remains: "Is homosexuality a simple difference to be accepted or is it somehow objectively morally wrong?"

The reactions on either side of this question will be outrage. Outrage on the one hand at how we could even ask such an "intolerant" question. Outrage on the other hand at how we could even ask such an "obvious" question. On the one hand, the disbelief that in our day and age we could possibly even consider classifying a certain sexual preference as wrong. Disbelief on the other hand at how we could possibly even consider that men were meant to be with men and women with women. Not an easy battlefield to wade through. Especially if you yourself are struggling with the fact that you are attracted to somebody of the same gender.

And we must at least try to address this issue. We must. Because what is at stake here is not simply an ideology or a moral belief. What is at stake is how people are treated. What is at stake is how to help and support those who are gay. What is at stake is everything.

As in many other cases, worldview has a lot to do with where we stand on issues like this, although the lines are not as clearly drawn as they once were. Generally speaking, throughout recent history, those who consider themselves religious or spiritual, especially Christians, have spoken out against homosexuality. Often, those who are gay or stand up for gay rights have turned away from God and spiritual belief for this very reason. The religious have driven them away with their cruel words and hatred. However, it is notable that in recent years, there seems to have been a massive increase in the number of people who publicly call themselves both spiritual and gay. This movement has been characterized by an enormous amount of courage. Courage in admitting an inward battle of being attracted to those of the same sex while being told by church or family or society that such feelings are wrong. Courage in publicly voicing one's struggles while fearing rejection by even close friends and family. I have several friends who grew up feeling an incredible sense of self-hatred and guilt because of their backgrounds and have recently come out as gay. Regardless of where you stand, these acts of courage are to be admired. They deserve respect. And love.

Having said that, our worldviews have definite implications on the answer to the question "Is homosexuality a simple difference of preference or a moral issue?" A belief in God necessitates an objective morality based on who that God is. Atheism does not require an objective morality; in fact, it cannot have an objective morality. Therefore, an atheist by way of their very beliefs, if consistent with them, should not have any issue with homosexuality whatsoever because they have no moral standard by which to judge it. However, they also would not in reality have any moral standard by which to judge anything and I have argued before that most atheists actually live as if they did subscribe to an objective morality and therefore also a deity, despite their intellectual beliefs. For a discussion of this logic, read my older post here.

A belief in God, on the other hand, can appear on the surface to be much more flexible. Many have decreed that God did not create men for men or women for women and therefore homosexuality is wrong. Many others have proclaimed that God made them just the way they are, and therefore they are beautiful in his eyes. However, we have made a very important observation above: that the sexual orientation somebody is born with does not necessarily impact its moral orientation. Many of the same people who believe God made us just the way we are also believe that people are born "sinful." Does this make the idea of "sin" ok too simply because we are all born into it? Most people would say no to that question, but that does not seem to follow from the logic of this line of thinking. Sadly, there are people who think that being born "sinful" makes sinful choices ok. "If God made me this way, then it's not my fault I make mistakes." This seems like a massive shifting of responsibility and blame to me, not to mention a disregard for our own choices in the matter. But this is the same justification used by many of us that we can know being gay is an inherently good thing simply because "I was born this way." 

Here we have made another important recognition: If you personally believe that people are born "sinful" or imperfect, then arguing that being gay is an inherently good thing based on the argument that God created you this way is actually made an illogical argument by your own beliefs. It is certainly important to recognize that simply because one believes God created us does not necessarily imply that everything we are born with is desirable by God. This is a highly illogical assumption for somebody who believes that men and women are also born "sinful."

So let's look at the other side of the coin. On what basis do people claim that God did not create men for men and women for women? I think there are three popular reasons in our society. One is that the Bible (or some other holy book) states that homosexuality is not God's original intention and is "sin." Whether the Bible is reliable and is actually the "Word of God" is a whole other topic. However, I will say that I do not think it is possible to make a sound argument that the Bible does not clearly state homosexuality to be opposed to God's original design, for all those who do believe in it. Many have attempted to reconcile the Bible with their view of homosexuality or with their own sexual preference, but a plain reading of the text seems clear, particularly in Romans 1, speaking of homosexual acts as "unnatural" and "degrading." Interestingly, the text seems to indicate that God does allow people to have homosexual desires, but not for positive reasons. These desires are explained as a byproduct of humanity's refusal to follow God. Before the outrage begins, this does not mean that the text is necessarily intolerant. Think for a second before you let your emotions take over your mind. Once again, if you believe that people are born imperfect, this idea is actually entirely consistent with your belief. If you personally believe that the Bible is the "Word of God," you must decide here whether you are willing to fully believe it regardless of whether it agrees with you or not rather than trying to change it. In other words, if you do personally believe that the Bible is the "Word of God," then who is your authority on this subject: you or God? Obviously, this argument means very little to those who do not believe in the authority of the Bible.

On a brief side note, I have heard it said before that Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality that we know of, so therefore we can't really know what he thought of it. Or, if he really thought it was a big deal, he would have made it clear. I think there is some validity to this point in the sense that Jesus' focus was on offering love and forgiveness to all regardless of who they were or what they'd done. Again, however, if you really do believe that the Bible is the "Word of God," then you must accept what it says of itself. The Bible claims that Jesus is "the Word become flesh" (John 1) and the implication is that Jesus is actually everything in the Bible personified. Another interesting note is that it would have sent more shockwaves in that particular religious and cultural period if Jesus, who was Jewish, had come out in support of homosexuality. His silence on the matter is interesting.

The second reason that many people disagree with homosexuality is that it seems unnatural and repulsive to many people's consciences. However, this seems to be becoming decreasingly so in our current generation because of more intentional and highly controversial education of children and because of a great push for tolerance. It is worth noting that many people throughout history, as well as today, at least claim to be instinctively repulsed by the idea of two men or two women together. Today, it is often referred to as intolerance, prejudice or homophobia, but that is not necessarily so. One's instinctive response to something does not necessarily mean that they are intolerant or afraid of it. The way they choose to react to their instincts and treat gay people may indeed make them intolerant, but simply being repulsed by something or even disagreeing with it is not in itself what makes one intolerant. I am personally repulsed by pornography, but that most certainly does not mean that I hate or am intolerant of those participating in it.

Thirdly, it is argued that homosexuality appears biologically unnatural. It is interesting that in all three of these objections, we find the claim that homosexuality is "unnatural." It seems more like one objection in the end with three manifestations of it. This particular prong of the argument becomes very interesting for naturalists and those who believe in evolution as the only guiding process to life on earth. If natural selection guides human life, though I would say there are significant problems with such a belief, then it would seem abundantly clear that homosexuality is unnatural to the process of keeping the human race alive. What is interesting about this is that from a strictly evolutionary standpoint, it doesn't seem to make much sense for men to be with men or women with women. This could possibly be the only grounds for an atheist to believe homosexuality is unnatural, though it is still unlikely that most would care.

Similarly, for someone who believes that God or some kind of higher power is the chief guide to life on earth, it is easy to see how homosexuality on the surface could appear to an unlikely intention. After all, why would a creator design humans to biologically reproduce in such a purposeful way, but also intend for some of his creatures to in a sense go against his own design with no similarly natural way of reproducing? It is not literally impossible, but it also does not seem to stand to reason when looked at objectively. Of course, it is natural to want to believe that God would not be opposed to an aspect of someone's being that feels so central to who they are, especially if you are that person. However, it is important that we remember that wanting something to be true does not by any stretch of the imagination automatically make it so. That is by very definition the opposite of objective. Regardless of how it makes us feel, and regardless of what you believe, from a strictly biological perspective, homosexuality at least appears on the surface to be "unnatural."

So back to the original questions. First, is homosexuality a simple difference to be accepted or is it somehow objectively morally wrong? I think our discussion indicates that this in part depends on whether or not there is a God. If there isn't, then even if homosexuality looks strange to natural selection, it doesn't really matter because morality does not exist objectively. However, this would also imply that murder is not objectively wrong, nor is anything else. I do not believe this to be the case. If there is a God, then it actually is likely to be a moral issue, as difficult as this might be to believe or accept. If God did design us the way that we are, then it does raise questions about his design of the human body. A possible explanation of this would be what the Romans 1 passage in the Bible talks about: that homosexual desires have come about as another byproduct of humanity's refusal to follow God. This does not mean that people with these desires are somehow less valued or loved or even that they are wrong for being gay. It simply means the world is not the way it was meant to be and people have been affected by it. What it would not mean is that having homosexual desires is an inherently good thing just because one is born this way. In this case, you may still disagree - but it must be on some other grounds.

Secondly, though, and in some ways more importantly, how should gay people be treated (and how should they treat themselves)? I do not agree at all with how gay people have historically and even today been treated. That is why I wrote an "open letter" to Westboro Baptist Church last year, publicly asserting that I believe their actions towards gay people are wrong. However, I also offered them compassion and love in spite of their hatred because this is the same compassion and love which I believe all people should be offered. I do personally believe that morality is involved here. But I also believe that the way people with homosexual desires should treat themselves is not with self-loathing or hatred, even if one were to accept the notion that their desires are not what they were originally meant to be. Instead, we should seek the truth and respond to it. The mistake that I think many people make is that they come to a point where they have held it in for so long, fearing rejection and judgment by others, that they eventually hit their breaking point and decide to compromise what they actually believe because they don't want to struggle with themselves anymore. I really do get that. It would be easier just to believe that there are no problems and let things be. But it is still important to recognize that easier, or even more desirable, does not necessarily mean true.

I imagine that many, especially those close to this controversy, will feel like I am a bit cold in presenting my thoughts on more of an intellectual level than on a heart level, as if I don't really care or understand what you are going through. But I want to assure you that that is not the case. As I mentioned before, I firmly believe that everyone who wrestles with an attraction to the same sex and has to deal with the fear of "coming out" is incredibly courageous, and I admire and respect my friends who have taken this step, fearing rejection, judgment and other consequences. If this is you, I absolutely sympathize with your struggle and my heart goes out to every person in this situation right now, feeling confused and unsure of what to do or who to turn to. I encourage you to talk about how you are feeling with someone you can trust and not to keep it inside. I also encourage you to really think about the points made in the discussion above. And just to be clear (because this was brought up in the original post), I am not saying that there is no hope for those who identify themselves as homosexual. I believe in the compassion and forgiveness offered by Jesus to all of us who seek it. However, I do think it matters whether we come to a place where we can admit that he knows better than we do and can submit our understanding of things to his.

Being "born this way" is irrelevant to truth.

So what is the basis of what you believe about homosexuality? 
Lady Gaga
11/25/2012 05:43:47

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Wes
11/25/2012 12:53:18

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Ryan Marshall
11/25/2012 15:11:40

Hello from Ottawa Wes,

Interesting post. I've never heard this topic discussed like this and layed out in such a detailed manner. I see your journalism skills are expressing themselves well on this blog :)

I echo your sentiments- I believe homosexuality is unnatural, and wrong. BUT I don't think people who are gay should be treated any differently than you or I- straight men. I think at the end of the day, we are all sinful and do wrong things. It's part of our nature. Whether it is attraction to the same sex, lying to our grandma, looking at porn, or engaging in drunken debauchery, it's all wrong. These are all symptoms at the root of the heart issue- we are born as sinners.

It's 1AM here in Ontario and I need to go to bed, but it was an enjoyable read.

Later Wes,

Ryan

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Joie DuViande
11/25/2012 17:16:31

(From Facebook) @Wes, Why do you think that an emotional response is somehow an inappropriate response to the things you've said? You do a bunch of judging and name-calling (unnatural, sinful, repulsive, degrading), try to back it up with a bunch of crack-pot arguments (that wouldn't fly even in seminary) and then act "surprised" that someone is angry, disregard their points by calling them "emotional" and try to tell them you're acting objectively out of compassion and love?

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

You are claiming to be "logical" and "objective" while relying on gross generalizations and unexamined assumptions to justify hatred and heterosexist supremacy. I think anger is an appropriate response to such a careless disregard for critical thinking. You say: "if you believe that the Bible is the 'Word of God,' then you must accept that Jesus is 'the Word become flesh' (John 1) and therefore everything in the Bible would represent Jesus' beliefs." Including the parts about the abomination of wearing cotton and polyester blends? Who are you to make such a tenuous argument and put words in the mouth of the Son of God? Don't you think that if it were really that important, the creator-of-the-universe-become flesh would have said it directly and made sure that we got the message? You know, like all that stuff he said about love?

You say: "The second reason that many people disagree with homosexuality is that it just seems unnatural and repulsive to many people's consciences." This is called prejudice and it can be corrected with education as you say. But then you claim that people are "instinctively repulsed" by homosexuality. Do you know the difference between nature and nurture? I didn't think so.

You call homosexuality "unnatural" and then in your comment to Rob you say that even nature is unnatural. You've defeated your own argument.

In your swiftness to dismiss me as "emotional" you disregarded my critique of your apocalyptic visions of homosexuality. Very few people think that everyone should be forced to become homosexuals. Same-sex intercourse has been around for thousands of years and it hasn't seemed to stop the world from becoming overpopulated. No need to incite some moral panic here.

You also dismissed my point about God wanting us to enjoy our bodies.

You make several claims to "objective truth" and yet you acknowledge that many other Christians would disagree with you. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. I would guess many people in your church, in your family, in your denomination would disagree with you. Perhaps you should start a separate sect of people who have the "objective truth" about God. I bet it's a pretty small group--you might even be the only one.

You claim that the Bible is the Word of God, and that may be true, but who are you to filter those words through such an ignorant lens that disregards the linguistic, gendered, social, historical, cultural, political and sexual contexts in which they were written. Do you think the Word become Flesh gave you the beauty of these verses for your "plain reading of the text"? Or for you to justify your "repulsion" of gays (let's be honest, you're not really talking about lesbians here)? Do you think the Word of God is for you to make hateful claims that flow from your insecurities and your subjective and privileged white, middle-class, heterosexual, Christian, male world view?

You are right--you are not my enemy. The things you are saying are enemies of mine and to be honest, I feel bad for you because they've contaminated your way of thinking, clouded your judgement and prevented you from enjoying communion with the brilliant diversity, complexity and wonders of God's creation. And I think you are right about another thing--it doesn't matter if queers are born this way or have some choice in the matter. So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

My previous point which you also "logically" disregarded was that you clearly have no idea what it is like to go through what any gay Christian goes through. You entire article is full of condemnation and judgement, you offer no hope and then you claim to be acting out of love. Spend some time and think about how you would feel as a gay person. Better yet, why don't you go tell a few people that you are gay and see how they react. See how much your Christian brothers and sisters love you then. Spend your nights dreaming of hell. Spend your days living it. Imagine what it feels like for people to tear you down every chance

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Joie DuViande
11/25/2012 17:28:45

...they can because you're an easy target. Do that for 20 years then tell me what you think about homosexuality. In the meantime, you need to do more listening and a lot more reading of things that will help you make sense of the complexities of the Bible. If you want to be logical, then don't count on magic. Go read another book. In the meantime, try not to say such hateful things that push (queer) people away from Christianity in general and the salvation that you claim is so fundamental.

What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people's faces. You won't go in yourselves, and you don't let others enter either.

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Tim
11/26/2012 00:28:52

Joie, you claim Wes's arguments are bias and illogical for all your own 'wisdom'. To be fair, it sounds like you have a fair bit of experience with the topic, and I hope so for the sake of your own arguments. BUT, you most certainly have not the experience or knowledge to denounce this article as simple slander.

I say this, and I can say this, because I for one am a person who grew up into a Christian family and struggled with (for quite some time) an addiction to specifically homosexual pornography. My situation is unique as anyone else, perhaps the defining difference is I never came to the conclusion that I was in fact gay. But rather over time came around to shutting pornography out of my life, and have found that any attraction I have or had for other men to be purely lustful / sexual. I understand the limits of my own experience, the only key difference is I don't identify as being gay since I am not confused as I perhaps once was (I am talking about myself not generalizing). Knowing this, I want to say that I completely understand and agree with Wes in what his article says. I can see exactly how his article was not intended to be hateful in any way. I also see how the words 'unnatural' or 'repulsive' may be off-putting, but that just proves your own bias in reading the message; because nothing Wes said is untrue. Joie, you say Wes is insulting, bias and illogical, yet you have not seen your own bias. You spout Bible verses as though they should validate your argument or make Wes feel bad for what he said, but you were and are the only one here speaking with aggression and or disdain. Please try to understand the truth in what Wes said, however few people you think his examples apply to does not mean there is no truth in what he says. I for one agree. You don't have to, but you do yourself and everyone else involved a disservice by dismissing this article.

P.S. The whole animal kingdom being affected by sin nature etc. may imply that 'nature' isn't natural but that doesn't mean much of anything: nature is a concept of our own making "the phenomena of the physical word collectively" or "the physical force regarded as causing and regulating these phenomena" are entirely human constructs. There is no evidence that any of the world is in a natural state. Assuming the Bible as the crux of debate here, than we have proof that the world is in fact not as God intended, and thus is potentially entirely unnatural.

Wes
11/26/2012 01:38:41

Joe, man, I do absolutely understand the emotion of your responses. What I don't understand is why you think I'm being judgmental or attacking you or even "calling you names." I haven't done these things you are accusing me of. I have laid out my observations about what the typical reasons of belief have been on both sides of the issue. And I have tried to wade through it a bit. But I have not called you anything personally. Even the comments you are making regarding my points about the Bible are not ones I made from a personal standpoint. I do believe that the Bible is the Word of God, but that's not even something I specifically said in my post. I did point out that many people are repulsed by the idea of homosexuality, but I didn't say it from a personal vantage point. Maybe what you are referring to is that I said ultimately toward the end of the post that these reasons do convince me to a degree. But man, I am not being a hypocrite at all here. I am not saying that I am somehow "better." I don't believe that. I am not condemning you. I love you, man. That's the truth.

It seems too like you are ignoring some of my main points in order to paint me as spitting out hatred (which is certainly not the case), which are that I have a huge amount of respect for the courage of those who have to fear "coming out" and believe we should be offering compassion and love to all those wrestling with this. If anything, I have condemned the way the church has historically and today treated gay people. I also encouraged anyone who is gay and has grown up in a "religious" environment to talk with somebody they trust instead of feeling self-loathing or hatred. How exactly in all of this do I come across as encouraging hatred and "supremacy?"

Tim makes a good point that perhaps I should have more prominently described how I believe that people should be treated more specifically. And perhaps I should have been more clear about the fact that I believe God loves every single person equally and I do not by any stretch of the imagination think that gay people are "less" than anybody else.

Tim
11/26/2012 01:10:40

I agree with the conclusions you came to and the process by which you found them. BUT, I think you glazed over the important part: How should we treat homosexual people? You briefly state you personal opinion but don't actually explain how you might actually behave towards a gay person. I think it would be beneficial to delve deeper into the practical actions one might take.

For example: Rachel linked a good article on facebook: http://sarahbessey.com/in-which-i-tell-you-the-truth/

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Love
6/25/2014 06:41:16

I believe you are missing the point. Those "struggling" with homosexuality do so because of religious and social persecutions. There are many that do not struggle with accepting their practice of sexuality, and do not struggle with their religion suppressing sexuality. The bible speaks about immoral sexual conduct, not a loving relationship between two of the same sex. Your article's thesis is unfinished and YOUR struggle is obvious.

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Wes
6/25/2014 06:59:44

Hi there, "Love!"

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I don't think I can be missing the point from my own post since I'm the one making the point, but I appreciate your comments. I know that there are many who do not struggle with their religious communities suppressing their sexuality - clearly I am writing to those who have gone through such suppression and still do. I do agree with you that the Bible speaks to immoral sexual conduct - and specifically discusses homosexual activity in that context. What the Bible does not do is speak in support of a loving relationship between two of the same sex, which is what it would have to do in order to warrant your conclusion amidst the religious culture of Judaism in that time period, which understood homosexuality in any context to be immoral sexual conduct as a result of the Old Testament Law. I understand your perspective, but I would suggest that perhaps you are seeing what you want to see rather than what is objectively there.

I'm not sure what you mean by saying that the article's thesis is unfinished, nor what you mean by my struggle. If you would like to discuss further, please do feel free to fill out the Contact Me form on this website. I would be more than happy to dialogue with you about your thoughts and feelings towards what I have written. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts! I greatly value them.

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Wes
9/19/2015 12:03:47

The actual, existent creator of the universe has deeply held preferences over where we rub our genitalia? Seems more likely that the vision of a male, patriarchal deity just shares our classically held feeling that gay romance/love/sex is "icky".

As for "unnatural", I submit that everything that occurs in the natural world is natural. Natural selection isn't a law of the universe. It's a description of a process. The random variations that it acts on can take lots of permissible forms. It's also worth pointing out that same-sex behaviour is *widely* documented in other species. Saying it doesn't help the species perpetuate itself, while being an accurate statement, doesn't make it different than being hopelessly unattractive for sexual mating. It happens in a small enough portion of the population that, obviously, our species has procreated just fine. To reiterate, if it happens, it's natural.

Additionally, I wish to strongly object (pun partially intended) to your use of "objective" in "looking at things objectively". No such viewpoint exists. You have a lens like every other observer and I suspect that the way to be most (not completely) general with our observations is to become extremely aware of that lens and try to see how it fits into the plethora of other lenses acting on the information we're analysing. I mean, on which side of a house does one stand to get "an objective view" of it?

Finally, I object to the suggestion (read, ubiquitously accepted piece of religious dogma) that the universe is broken and in need of restoration, or sinful and in need of salvation, or imperfect and in need of redemption. Who do we, the 7 billion inhabitants of a bit of coagulated dust in one star system in one galaxy in one super cluster in one corner of the observable universe, consult to learn of the way the universe "ought to be". Which one of those 7 bn people should we implicitly trust to have that knowledge? How would they know? If you say "Jesus" in that I'm-so-glad-you-asked sort of way, I'll be very disappointed and I think you'll know why.

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Wes
9/19/2015 12:06:20

Hmm, I should have specified my identity better to avoid name degeneracy. I, Wes K, wrote the above, not Wes H.

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Wes H.
9/19/2015 16:00:23

Hey Wes!

Thanks for your thoughts! Just a few of my own...

I would first point out that your first comment is moreso rhetoric designed to make something appear ridiculous than it is an argument. Actually, it seems quite rational that the God who created the universe and us would desire for us to live in accordance with His design and intentions. Now, if it were clear that God designed us without any regard for who we have sexual relationships with, then of course there would be nothing to talk about. But biologically, it does seem clear there there is a design. I think the reason this subject has become so controversial is because sexuality has become a source of identity for many of us. I contest that our identity is so deeply rooted in our sexuality. Why should I care about this issue at all? Because I genuinely believe we are missing out when we turn against God's ultimate good desires for our lives and I desire that everyone would experience how much greater He is than our desires which run contrary to His will, however deeply rooted they be for us personally. On a sidenote, it's noteworthy that many partriachal males of history took part in gay romance/love/sex (though they did not see it as an identity), which doesn't seem to fit with your theory.

Of course, if nothing has ever become broken in the universe, then everything is natural, as you pointed out. But if things are not as God first intended them to be, then many things are unnatural. This actually perfectly explains why same-sex behaviour is observed in other species as well. Humans are not the only ones affected by the brokenness of the universe.

Everyone indeed does have a lens through which they see the world. The desire of all of us should be to step outside of that lens as much as is possible when we talk about and search for the truth in all things. That's what I have tried and continue to try to do. I hope you do the same!

With regard to your last comment, I have a question for you. Do you think there is anything wrong with the universe? Do you think there is anything wrong with the world we live in with its wars, greed, corruption, murder, rape, general selfishness, depression, suicide, etc.? If your answer is no, I think that is far more concerning than the notion that the universe is broken.

Again, I appreciate your comments! My interest is in genuinely seeking truth, and I am happy to do that with you (not against you)!

Wes

Wes K
9/19/2015 20:12:10

After writing a bunch of stuff I think this is the part I want most to communicate. You can read the rest only if you feel like it. I also want to say I genuinely don't have a preference about your theistic beliefs. My opinion, I feel, is just here for the sake of conversation.


I will happily acknowledge my use of rhetoric. That was intentional. Rhetoric isn't bad, we use it every day. It can often help re-frame an issue in our minds in a way not previously considered. In this case, I want anyone reading this to reconsider their notion of a creator of the universe in a less philosophical context, instead framing it in more practical terms as a being which both established the grandeur and complexity and scale of the universe and vigorously and unrelentingly demands that some of the things he made only rub certain parts of themselves on certain parts of a certain subset of others. That idea is deeply silly to me and reflects neither nobility nor majesty... Not that it bothers me that much, since I have basically no reason, other than your word, to suspect such a being exists.


The other stuff:


If god wanted things to be his (I'll use the masculine pronoun because of the context this discussion is taking place in) way he could have, and perhaps should have, made things in a more deterministic way. Then he could have set things up and hit the start button and everything would proceed as desired. Apparently, he chose to create things which could choose to not do what he wanted and could make decisions based on their own rationales and axioms. For him to be surprised with these results would seem to make him out to be fairly shortsighted at best and stupid at worst. For him to be unhappy about this is fine but also short sighted since this was an obvious possibility from the get go. For him to threaten punishment for those who disagree with his ideas and plans or dole out special rewards for those that already agree with him or capitulate to his demands just makes him look petulant and violent, much like a totalitarian dictator who demands not only your physical obedience but also the loyalty of your thoughts.

I'm fine accepting the existence of god as you seem to be describing him (we could quite rightly call him "the god of Wesley Hynd"). But if he exists as described by you then I refuse to capitulate to his demands for he seems much more like the Ahmadinejads and Jong Uns of the world than like a noble king or loving father.

To quickly move through some of the other things you brought up:

- Sexuality = identity. I agree. But people root their identities in a great number of things. You seem to root yours in your existential beliefs as well as the religious culture of your upbringing and social circles. I see you also like writing, journalism, sports, your hometown, and I'm sure lots of other things. Some people see themselves largely in terms of their sexuality. On average, you and I are not likely happier than anyone else. So what is the argument being made here? Your identity should be based on x instead of y because I say so?

-Yeah, my understanding is that some Greek or Roman cultures treated same-sex relationships as a non-issue. I'm not talking about *their* thoughts about god. I'm talking about ours (yours?). My theory is that god really hated pork, shellfish, and mixed fabrics 4000 years ago in the ancient near-East and he hates gay-sex today in the conservative ranks of the Western world (and our bestest friends, like Saudi Arabia and Nigeria). In Ethiopia he hates intact vaginas and in basically all of North Africa and the Middle East he hates intact penises. What a coincidence that god looks so similar to the cultures that create him.

-Regarding your second large paragraph about "naturalness", this is a meta-narrative that you and a small subset of people subscribe to. Why should I or anyone else take your word for it (we both know the standard responses here about the credibility of Jesus' miracles/claims, the reliability of the records of these things, etc. so I'm asking you to give me something fresh that I haven't heard since, evidently, I remain unconvinced and I doubt any of those apologetics are the reasons you believe, apologetics being, of course, the defense of belief not the origin of it)?

-Perhaps you can convince me that the universe is "not as it should be"? Please don't start with the assumption of your god's existence since I clearly don't share that postulate (and it *is* a postulate as much as it is a postulate to say that there is a bizaro you and me on the other side of the universe's observable boundary).

-We appear to disagree on our ability to see "objectively". I don't think you can separate yourself from your perspective anymore than you can be in two places at once. You can change your perspective sometimes through empathizing with another or immersing yourself in another perspective but then all you've done is morph or change the lens. Objectivity, with reg

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Wes K
9/19/2015 20:16:55

Objectivity, with regard to our experience of the world, is a largely meaningless notion to me.

-On to your question. If I haven't made it obvious by now, no, I do not think their is anything wrong with the universe. To borrow a tautology, it is the way it is. Value judgements about anything live exclusively in the realm of subjectivity. *Can* we stone a thief to death? Of course. Should we? I bet you and I agree that we should not. But Joshua (the Israelite) thought it was okey dokey. We can write a list of facts about the universe and it will remain a bland list of facts. If we toss you into orbit you will experience the most unpleasant version of flatulence imaginable. That's a (fun?) fact. How we feel about that fact is a value judgement. So when you ask me if I think rape is wrong I say it is. Not because the universe cares. If the planet collided with an asteroid and killed us all no human would be left to feel sad about it. No one would be guilty of murder. It wouldn't be wrong, it would just *be*.

Of course there are ways I want the world to be, ways that I want society to be. Just like everyone. But those preferences disappear the moment we do. They are, as I've said, firmly subjective.

Did I get everything...?

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