Saturday, February 10, 2007

Dialogue With an Atheist on Homosexuality

"drunkentune's words will be in blue. Rated "R" for subject matter; not for the faint of heart. Don't come complaining to me about the paper; those of you who don't care for the discussion. Just stop reading now if you are in that category.

* * * * *

How is homosexuality (not homosexual sex) "deficient"?

It's an arbitrary distinction that you make. Mere love between the same gender is fine; nothing wrong with that. But eros (of the four loves: the others being storge [affection], phileo [friendship], and agape [unconditional love] in Greek) towards the same gender is not.

The erotic desire towards the same gender obviously is ultimately directed towards the sexual acts, just as erotic desire between a man and a woman involves that: intrinsically, by its very nature.

Everyone believes certain things are unnatural. Do you go around sticking your big toe in people's noses or in their ears? Would you think it was strange and unnatural if someone did? Why is that? Where does that reaction you have that this is "weird" come from?

How about bestiality? Is that unnatural? Is it wrong? Is there anything wrong with it? If so, why? If not, why?

*** CLICK ON "Tolle, lege!" immediately below to finish this article ***


Things that are unnatural and unhealthy lead to (surprise!) bad health and physical maladies and disorders. If you eat a poisonous mushroom, you get poisoned. If you drink gasoline, something bad happens. If you crack your skull repeatedly with a two-by-four, you'll reap the consequences of that. Poison, gasoline and stomachs do not go together. Hard objects banged against skulls do not, either. If you drink sewer water, you'll get very sick. If you collect ear wax or snot for your mid-day snack, people will think you are extremely odd, and will probably avoid you, and you will probably become ill too, as a bonus.

Likewise, following the reasoning I have set forth, a penis has nothing to do with a rectum, which was strictly designed for elimination of waste, not all this "friction"-type activity. Therefore, there are dire consequences to be paid if someone insists on doing the unnatural; all the more so as promiscuity is greater (and many homosexuals are quite promiscuous, as we know).

One can, therefore, conclude (completely apart from any biblical morality or cultural stigmas) that this is a "bad" and "unnatural" and "abnormal" thing, based on nature itself and what things were designed for (either by God or evolution or both).

Not to be crass or crude, but a penis obviously is designed for a vagina, and vice versa. Why must this even be argued? Since the semen is designed to fertilize an egg, and we all know how that comes about, there is your natural act. Two reproductive organs . . . an anus has nothing to do with reproduction.

But if you're looking for a "hole" to do your thing and no woman is available, and you only desire men anyway, then you choose what will do the trick, on another man. That doesn't make it "normal" or "natural" simply because someone has a desire to do it, anymore than having sex with a rhinoceros or a baboon becomes "normal" simply because a certain percentage of people want to do that. It's against nature itself.

The secular, pro-homosexual argument seems to be: "if a certain portion of the population does something, no matter what it is, it must be right, and no one else can say it isn't."

But this doesn't follow. A certain portion of the population are child molesters, too, but we don't say that is right. So you say that is forcing a child against his or her will, and this is why (as with rape) it is wrong. Very well, then. I'll grant that (it makes sense), and simply discuss cases where the child is perfectly willing to have sex with an adult.

Now, why is that wrong (if you think it is)? On what basis is it wrong, other than an instinctive knowledge that we have, that it is: that young children shouldn't be sexually active, let alone with an adult?

So you think homosexual acts are fine; nothing wrong with them or unnatural at all, and they are exactly the moral and "natural" equivalent of heterosexual acts? Okay, fine. So you think it is perfectly natural for someone to ingest urine: the very thing that the body is eliminating as waste product: as if that is normal, healthy, and a wonderful thing?

So now deliberate acts of destruction of our health are perfectly normal? How about ingestion of feces? That goes on, too. You want to defend that? Again, the body is trying to eliminate worthless waste product, and someone else wants to eat that? Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Would anyone naturally desire to grab the poop out of the toilet and eat it? Why restrict it to humans, if that is the desire? Why not eat a dog turd you find on the sidewalk? Is that normal, natural behavior too?

If we are in the realm of complete unconcern for health, complete abandonment to desires, no matter what they are, no matter how obviously, unarguably unhealthy something is, who cares? Why care if there are any germs or bacteria or other harmful things involved? It's the same with homosexual sex (many refuse to even use a condom, despite repeated warnings, even from the more responsible and health-minded in their own sub-communities), so why not embark on similar behavior elsewhere?

Lest anyone think I am being completely crude; how can one talk about homosexual acts and not be? This is what it is. But no one wants to talk about it. It's either "improper" or the one doing it is automatically labeled as a "homophobe" (fear of sameness? hmmm, that's an odd description).

If you think I am being crude, then you merely prove my point: your very disgust at what I describe proves that you know it to be unnatural and unhealthy. Yet this stuff is done by homosexuals all the time. I merely did one of my "notorious" reductio ad absurdum arguments. I say that the logic is impeccable.

If you say nothing is unnatural or abnormal at all (in the natural law sense, as I have been arguing), then you have to deal with the consequences. Make some argument as to how to draw the line: sex with animals; sex with children, etc. If nothing is wrong in matters sexual, and everything just is, then other things follow from that, and they are not pretty.

You want to talk about homosexual sex: the s-word (sodomy)? Very well, I have done so. I am talking about what active homosexuals do. It should (by your reasoning) cause no more discomfort than talking about sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.

But did you react differently? Just answer the question in your own mind, and then ponder as to why you reacted the way you did.

* * *

Why didn't God take away Paul Barnes’ homosexuality, even after Barnes prayed to God? ("I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a five-year-old boy… I can’t tell you the
number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away.")

Now this is an excellent question. Thank you. I don't know why that is. I don't know all the particulars, so could hardly comment intelligently, anyway.

But I do know from my own experience, that we all cultivate various sins, and embrace and coddle them to such an extent that it no longer, at some point, makes sense to blame God for them. We have made them our own. How can God take away what we have cultivated for so long that it becomes second-nature? God gives us a free will to do what we like and what we should do.

Addictive behaviors are extremely difficult to get rid of. Look at alcoholics or heroin addicts, or child molesters (who are considered virtually unredeemable by law enforcement). It goes very deep.

I think there are a lot of factors involved (as I almost always do, with my sociologically- and psychologically-trained mind)

I do know that God holds us responsible to do the right thing, and He can give grace to do it. I prayed many hundreds of times when I was single for God to take away my heterosexual lustfulness and sex drive. Do you think that is easy? It's not, and almost all men know this firsthand.

When I thought premarital sex was fine; perfectly moral and permissible, then it was easy. But when I came to agree with the Christian view that it was wrong (and understood the rationale behind it), then it was extremely difficult to abide by. C.S. Lewis wrote that the strength and force of temptation are only known when we are trying to resist something, not when we give in to it. It didn't make sense to me that God would give such a strong drive but not allow a moral way to satisfy it till marriage.

But it's really not rocket science. For most of history, puberty came late and people married young. So most sexual desire was able to be fulfilled within marriage. But in modern times we have puberty a lot younger and marry later, so there is a long period of "limbo".

It's very difficult, but it can be done. People can live without sex, and live up to the Christian view. I did it; my wife did it, and believe me, I was no goody-two-shoes in adolescence or some kind of prude. I was a thoroughly secularized liberal. God's grace made it possible to live by the command. Millions of kids today who have taken a pledge of abstinence, have been able to live by it. It's a growing movement.

So I say that it is possible (not easy) to abstain, for both heterosexual and homosexual. But if you are fed lies day in and day out that it is absolutely impossible, then it'll be harder to carry out, by the same principle of peer pressure and the sheep mentality that afflicts most human beings.

Let me get this straight: If "unnatural" is essentially pain and suffering due to incompatible things in the world with our biology,

What if we used the evolutionary term "maladaptive" instead? Would you better relate to that?

since having sex in Africa can lead to bad health and physical maladies, is having sex in Africa unnatural, but natural between two disease-free teenagers?

This is poor reasoning because it is one-dimensional and simplistic. The situation in Africa with AIDS is due to many factors. See, e.g., the article: "AIDS Risk in Africa Vastly Different From Western Countries or the U.S."

Not using a condom can lead to bad health and physical maladies. Therefore, is using a condom natural?

That's poor reasoning too, because you create false associations and parallelisms when again, other factors are involved. It's not simply not using a condom that leads to bad health, but not using it when there are already unhealthy conditions such as STDs, etc. The opposite of sex with a diseased person is sex with a disease-free person, in which case a condom for the purpose of remaining disease-free would be irrelevant.

Not wearing a seatbelt can kill or maim you. Therefore, is using a seatbelt natural?

This is equally silly. "Natural" in the context I used it referred strictly to how human beings use their own bodies and those of others. Certain things are meant to fulfill certain purposes.

How do you know what is natural and unnatural?

Basically, by looking at the functions of various parts of the body and by using our intelligence to figure out if doing certain things lead to deleterious consequences. How do you know if bestiality or sex between adults and children are natural? Do you think they are? if not, why? I don't see anyone answering my hard questions, as usual. People want to skate all around them and pretend that they don't pose any problem for their positions. But I suppose that's good (from where I sit). If nobody is willing to deal with my questions directly, then they must be hitting home, so perhaps I am getting somewhere.

The secular, pro-civil liberties argument goes: "if people are doing something you personally don't like, but aren't hurting anyone else, why should we care about it? It makes you
uncomfortable, but so what?"

Well there is the fallacy right there: assuming that homosexuality doesn't hurt people. It certainly does, as I showed in my extensive medical data posted in another paper. Therefore, it is both in the public interest and an act of love and concern for personal well-being of individuals to point this out.

Why should I care if someone eats feces?

Because they will likely become very sick by doing so. Why should I care if someone is destroying their life and health by heroin or anorexia or by sodomy? Because they are fellow human beings, and I don't want to see anyone suffer or be unhealthy or at risk of death, insofar as it is in my power to prevent those things. And I believe proper government should have laws that align with those goals" public health and happiness and harmony as much as possible.

Of course it’s stupid,

Then why do people routinely pretend that it is not stupid at all, or avoid talking about it? Because they're scared to offend or be put in a box as a hateful homophobe? At least you have the guts to come right out and call a spade a spade, but in your glorious libertarianism you are content to sit back and let people wreck their lives and health and that of others.

. . . but why is it my business what you do on your time?

My point exactly. If one is concerned about others (which is what Christianity and most religions are supposed to be about), then one feels that one should speak out and do or say something about it, lest many more people die or become sick when it could easily be prevented insofar as homosexual acts are concerned, by more education.

I think what's really behind your thinking is a sliver of fascism.

Yes, of course. What else could it possibly be? Here we go again, down the drunken road of intelligent discourse and persistent mind-reading.

In your heart, you just want to regulate not just the actions of others, but their very thoughts.

Absolutely! Bingo! I want to be God so BAD . . .

* * *

But would you, Dave Armstrong, enter someone's private life and forcibly stop them from nailing their hand to the wall, getting a tattoo,. . . having sex with multiple partners, eating bad food, popping pimples, . . . having homosexual sex, masturbating, watching too much TV, getting too much sun, reading bad books, or getting fat?

I believe proper government should have laws that align with those goals: public health and happiness and harmony as much as possible.

Public health, happiness and harmony at the expense of liberty - the right to do wrong? How would the government enforce such laws? If it walks like a duck…

If people want to destroy their lives by eating fatty food, not exercising, having sex before marriage, or having homosexual sex - but do not harm anyone else - who am I to tell them
they cannot?

First of all, my arguments are not about coercion, but about rational persuasion.

Nevertheless, you talk a good (libertarian) game of nobody being coerced to do anything, but then I ask you: what is law itself? Is that not coercion? The Supreme Court until very recently even had laws against sodomy.

So obviously someone in this country felt that it was the purview of government to have laws about sexuality. We have many such: against rape, child molestation, etc. We have laws against drugs and drunk driving and against suicide.

Every person who has any social conscience at all tries to pass laws that reflect this (by voting for folks who will do that). If you want to characterize that as fascism, go ahead. I call it simply intelligent democratic republican government.

I personally don't care about passing laws about homosexuality because it doesn't do any good anyway. It's not enforced. There were laws and there continue to be now, but it doesn't matter. So I approach this from the perspective of persuasion by reason, as I do all topics.

And you haven't answered my two questions (1 & 2) at the end.

And I don't intend to, since:
1. There is no hope for this dialogue going anywhere.

2. You are either ignoring my arguments wholesale or distorting them and recasting them in your own image. Fundamental to any good dialogue is understanding of the opponent's position before setting out to demolish them.
To top it off, you speak all about fallacies and then commit a blatant one yourself:
I think what's really behind your thinking is a sliver of fascism. In your heart, you just want to regulate not just the actions of others, but their very thoughts.
This is, of course, the good old ad hominem fallacy. You cited Wikipedia in logical matters. Let me do so too:
An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the person", "argument against the man") is a logical fallacy consisting of replying to an argument by attacking or appealing to the person making the argument, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument. It is most commonly used to refer specifically to the ad hominem abusive, or argumentum ad personam, which consists of criticizing or personally attacking an argument's proponent in an attempt to discredit that argument.

[ . . . ]

Ad hominem as logical fallacy

A (fallacious) ad hominem argument has the basic form:

Person A makes claim X
There is something objectionable about Person A
Therefore claim X is false

Ad hominem is one of the best-known of the logical fallacies usually enumerated in introductory logic and critical thinking textbooks. Both the fallacy itself, and accusations of having committed it, are often brandished in actual discourse (see also Argument from fallacy). As a technique of rhetoric, it is powerful and used often, despite its inherent incorrectness, because of the natural inclination of the human brain to recognize patterns.
Applied to you and your "argument" against me, this runs as follows:
1. Dave says homosexuality is unnatural.

2. But Dave is motivated by fascism. In his heart, he wants to regulate not just the actions of others, but their very thoughts.

3. Therefore we can safely reject Dave's opinion on homosexuality.
It's a fallacy in and of itself, even if I were a fascist and desired to control people in this manner. But I have no such desire; I don't even want to pass laws about homosexuality, as stated above. So it is a fallacy coupled with a bald-faced lie about my supposed motivations.

Dialogue is impossible when one takes such a rock-bottom view of the other participant.
In your glorious libertarianism you are content to sit back and let people wreck their lives and health and that of others.
In my libertarianism, I allow people to live their lives as they see fit - as long as they do not harm others, defined by Thomas Paine as "the power of doing whatever does not injure
another." You want to shoot yourself in the foot? Go ahead! But you might not want to because… You want to participate in risky situations? Go ahead! But you might not want to… etc.

Liberty is indivisible. Unjust action to curtail one person’s freedom is an insult to all.

* * *

High horse: you called me a libertarian as an insult to my character.

I called you a libertarian because you are one, by your own open admission. Are you saying it is an insult to simply call you what you are?

Obviously I care very little for libertarianism. But it is not the ad hominem fallacy to describe one as what he is (anymore than it is for you to call me a Catholic or apologist or pro-lifer or Beatles freak or health food advocate or Detroiter. What I think of libertarianism is irrelevant vis-a-vis the fallacy.

You, on the other hand, called me a fascist and advocate of coercive thought-control: rank insults and lies and completely unnecessary to the discussion we were having. And you did so
to discount my argument.

In my libertarianism, I allow people to live their lives as they see fit - as long as they do not harm others,

But this is precisely what is so absurd and implausible about your libertarianism when you apply it to homosexuality. You admit that aspects of common behavior of homosexuality are unhealthy. Yet you won't go the next logical step and admit that, therefore, given the high promiscuity rate among homosexuals, and continued inexcusable rate of non-condom use, that to engage in such behavior will harm many others as well, since these diseases are highly contagious and spread by sexual contact.

So your premise doesn't hold. Every atomistic individual in your libertarian schema isn't just harming himself, but potentially many others, with implications for larger public health issues.

* * *

You say "no", so you’re not a fascist. Ok? Fine with me. You're not a fascist.

Great. Progress.

So tell me: what do you think does motivate me when I give my views about homosexuality if it isn't fascism and mandatory chastity belts and castrations or what not?

You don't like homosexuality for biblical (or possibly non-biblical) reasons, and you don't want them practicing homosexual acts.

And why is that? Because I hate and despise them as individual people? What is it that makes me not "like" homosexuality?

I said, "I think what’s really behind your thinking is a sliver of fascism," and I still think so.

Fascinating. Above you agreed that I was not a fascist, but now you still think so (within a span of 43 minutes). Which is it? Does one have to be an anarchist to satisfy your absurd demands for governmental non-coercion and so-called "liberty"?

There is such a thing as a law, and every law I am aware of is coercive: one has to obey it on penalty of fines or imprisonment. Government presently coerces many private behaviors.

I said that it was not my personal interest to coerce and pass laws about homosexuality, but at the same time I recognize that all laws coerce and restrain behavior, so that in the end, it's simply a matter of what laws for what and some means of selecting when law is appropriate and when not (assuming a non-anarchist position).

My other main argument contra libertarianism is that it is a fallacy that most homosexuals are simply atomistic individuals harming no one except possibly themselves. Masturbators may be that, but active homosexuals (many of whom are quite promiscuous) are not, and quite obviously so.

* * *

But all of them should (biblically) be stoned to death. That doesn't sit right with me.

Have you never read this passage?:
John 8:1-11 (RSV)

1: but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2: Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.

3: The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst

4: they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.

5: Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?"

6: This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

7: And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."

8: And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

9: But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.

10: Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

11: She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again."
The only stoning recorded in the NT was of St. Stephen (Acts 7:51-8:1, with St. Paul's approval, before he became a Christian). This was done by the Jews, not the Christians. The Jews who didn't accept the gospel wanted to stone Jesus (e.g., Jn 10:31-33,39). Paul actually was stoned by Jews and unbelieving Gentiles and left for dead (Acts 14:19).

But as we saw above, Jesus did not teach the continuance of the practice, on grounds that all people were sinners.

So your point is irrelevant to any Christian teaching on the subject. The only folks getting stoned these days are found in bars or in places like Saudi Arabia or Iran (not Christian - or Jewish - the last time I checked).

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