Thursday, October 12, 2006

Homosexuality discussion

Things are, as expected, heating up at "Shadows of Divine Things" where T.B. Vick is discussing homosexuality. In his latest instalment, he argues from what is natural (based on Romans 1).'

The problem with arguing for or against anything base on it being "natural" or "unnatural", is that it is essential aspect of being human to transcend the "natural", the given. Not to embrace that which lies outside our given biological nature is to sink beneath what is human, to exist as an animal. It is nothing "natural" with using my fingers to press down buttons that produce text on a screen. Still no one would take this as a reason to judge it unnatural. So basically, when one is criticizing homosexual behaviour because it is against nature one is at the same time criticizing human culture as a whole.


Weekend Fisher said...

Oh I think calling human culture "unnatural" is stretching it a bit there.

We're by nature creators; it's part of the image of God. Interesting special case, whether "culture" is a natural human outgrowth (man as natural creator) or whether "natural" stops at what God directly made.

And sometimes culture is creative and sometimes destructive ... and sometimes just a waste of time. Speaking as someone who spent a good part of the evening playing minesweeper. :)

T.B. Vick said...


I agree to a certain extent with what you are saying, however when you use an example of something that is unnatural like "using my fingers to press down buttons that produce text on a screen" these type of things, which can be called unnatural, have no moral quality about them - so its like comparing apples to oranges.

Issues of sex, are moral issues. Arguing in light of a natural law would mean that certain moralality is either natural, via creation, or unnatural via creation (or the natural moral law). Granted, one may not agree (or even like) this avenue of ethical argumentation, within that given frame work, when dealing with moral issues, that which is natural or unnatural seems to be a little more obvious (as far as the moral aspect of things).

I think, in Romans chapter 1, Paul is demonstrating immoral behavior through the natural law, and thus he calls certain behavior, "unnatural." This is the language Paul uses.

As humans, we have a natural ability, built into our being human, to procreate, this can only be done via male/female relations, not same sex relation, thus same sex, in this context, is truly "unnatural." That's all I'm getting at in my last post.

Thanks for your feed back, and btw, I have enjoyed reading your posts on Tillich.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes think that the loudest voices denouncing what is 'unnatural' come from those who are most clean-shaven.

beepbeepitsme said...

If you do not approve of homosexuality, it is inaccurate to call it unnatural. That argument is a dead-end.

hewson said...

it is essential aspect of being human to transcend the "natural", the given. Not to embrace that which lies outside our given biological nature is to sink beneath what is human

An "essential" aspect? Are you using the term in its proper metaphysical sense or in its modern epistemological sense? If you are making a metaphysical statement (e.g. "It is of the essence of human to..."), then you are only half-right. If you are making an epistemological statement (e.g. "It is essential to humaniy's noetic function to..."), then homosexuality has nothing to do with your statement.

That said, you must be making a metaphysical statement. If it is "essential" to man to "transcend" the natural, it is equally true that it is "essential" to man to be embedded in his natural environment, lest we speak in terms of some twisted transcedental gnosis. Because man is capable of transcending (noetically) the natural while that very transcendence is based upon the natural (i.e. his body, his senses, his knowledge of singular beings), he is never capable of immediate transcendence. But here, we are only speaking in terms of man's essence and his accidental faculty of knowing.

Introducing the moral sphere, that is, the sphere in which human action takes place with or without explicit knowledge and intent, moves us out of a discussion of pure essence or even abstract epistemological treatments. Thus, your contention that homosexuality cannot be 'unnatural' based upon man's essence does not follow. Indeed, there is no such thing as a transcendental ethics. Perhaps we can have transcendental ethical principles that are too abstract to cover the specific issue of homosexuality (a la Kant), but we cannot base our moral judgments of specific acts on metaphysics alone.

Ultimately, the 'unnatural' argument boils down to biology where "good" or "bad" for a given species is determined on a quid pro quo basis. And in that light, it may rightly be asked, what "good" does homosexuality serve for man.

Anonymous said...

Sounds as though we have an out and out confusion of terms here. If we mean by natural what animals do then you have a point. But if we mean by natural what is natural to humanity -as in its sensible, logical sense -what fits into our purpose -how God created us. So it isn't natural for a lion to type on a computer but it is for a human. It isn't natural for a lion or a human come to it to spend all their life underwater without ever coming up for air. It's natural for a fish to do that -it's how they are made. So the natural, unnatural argument isn't a comparison with nature it's about how did God create us -what was his intention/purpose etc and the answer is male and female to fll and subdue the earth. From that there are a whole host of things that humans do or don't do that are unnatural