Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chris Bryant on the ‘silliness’ of the Roman Catholic Church


According to Labour’s Chris Bryant, the Roman Catholic Church ‘has got its cassocks so firmly in a twist’ that it is no longer able to think or communicate rationally on the subject of homosexuality. And he surmises that this is perhaps because so many of its priests, bishops and cardinals are gay. He observes:

In the old days it was all very simple. Homosexuality was a deliberate choice, a perversion, a sin. Gay men were skipping along the rose-pink path to the everlasting bonfire and gay clergy who were caught in the act were dismissed, disgraced and defrocked.

“But nobody seriously believes that anymore,” he avers. “Most church leaders know your sexuality is not something you choose, but something you discover. So you could even argue that God has made some people gay, which is why the Roman Catholic Church no longer condemns anyone for just being gay. Indeed, it even teaches that homophobia is immoral.”

But in a classic twist of Roman logic, Mr Bryant points to the absurd hypocrisy of the Holy Mother Church, which, despite many of its priests and bishops being inclined towards homosexuality, considers it a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

Celibacy is the rule – for all clergy (except pre-married converting Orthodox and Anglicans) – and same-sex sex is definitely off-limits.

There are two problems with this, Mr Bryant observes: “For a start it is a great big lie. It ludicrously pretends that the Roman Catholic Church has no gay bishops.

“What is even worse,” he adds, “is that the Church's double-speak is so cruel. It condemns people to a life without the joy of sexual intimacy – and all to placate a theology that is as misplaced and out of date as Christianity's onetime advocacy of slavery.”

And he ends by asking: “Is it too much to hope that one day the Roman Catholic Church will get this silliness out of its system?”

O, hang on.

His Grace may have got this very slightly wrong. Silly him.

If Chris Bryant thinks the Church of England is being ‘silly’ over this issue, what on earth does he think about the Roman Catholic Church, which is rather more robust on the issue?

Or Islam, which he might find even more robust?

It is astonishing that an MP attacks the Established Church on this matter, not least because it is one of the few expressions of faith in this country which has bothered to commission and convene endless debates, committees and reports on the issue, tearing itself apart and driving it to schism and not-quite-schism over the last decade and more.

The Church of England has been adapting, compromising and perpetually 'modernising' along via media after via media since 1534. The genius of Anglicanism is that it seeks to reconcile opposed systems, rejecting them as exclusive systems, but showing that the principle for which each stands has its place within the total orbit of Christian truth.

The Church of England is not a political party that may be recreated in the image of man. It is no-one’s private fiefdom (though it may once have been). Her Majesty the Queen is the Supreme Governor, and Jesus Christ is the Head.

It is acutely concerned with many pressing prioritries: the persecution abroad of homosexuals; the adoption of children by suitable parents irrespective of sexuality; the provision of services for the poor and marginalised; the expression of compassion to the alienated, outcast, oppressed and persecuted, irrespective of their gender, skin colour, sexuality or religion. The doors of the Church of England are open to everyone in the land. For centuries before the Labour Party even existed, it has possessed the capacity for the via media which was never in its essence compromise or an intellectual expedient but a quality of thinking, an approach in which elements usually regarded as mutually exclusive were seen to be in fact complementary. These things were held in 'living tension', not in order to walk the tightrope of compromise, but because they were seen to be mutually illuminating and to fertilise each other.

This is the ‘living tension’ which was first advocated by Hooker (whom Mr Bryant has probably long forgotten since his Cuddesdon days). This finest of Anglicans (Hooker, that is; not Bryant) was opposed to absolutism in both church and state and an exponent of conciliar thought. This ensures that the laity, clergy and bishops all participate in guarding against autocracy in a system of checks and balances that in many ways apes the parliamentary process. If authority is dispersed, spiritual tyranny is prevented. The similarities between the synodical and parliamentary procedures are unsurprising when both expressions of representative government have a common root in mediaeval political thought.

Yet Chris Bryant appears to be intent on pursuing the Harman agenda and forging an absolutism in sexuality: dissent is ‘silliness’. The Archbishop of York once said of Labour that they were ‘in danger of sacrificing Liberty in favour of an abused form of equality – not a meaningful equality that enables the excluded to be brought into society, but rather an equality based on diktat and bureaucracy, which overreaches into the realm of personal conscience’.

While Mr Bryant’s grievance may have some vailidity, it only adds to the perception that the Church of England seeks to exclude or is out of sympathy with some distinct groups of people for whom it should have a pastoral concern. This would be less of a problem if the Church’s Supreme Governor were not also the Head of State, for by virtue of being so, she is obliged to exercise her public ‘outward government’ in a manner which accords with the private welfare of her subjects – of whatever creed, ethnicity, sexuality or political philosophy. The Royal Supremacy in regard to the Church is in its essence the right of supervision over the administration of the Church, vested in the Crown as the champion of the Church, in order that the ‘religious welfare’ of its subjects may be provided for.

While politicians may argue over the manner of this ‘religious welfare’ in a context of ‘equality’ and ‘rights’, by focusing on such issues they alienate and distance the Church from political engagement.

His Grace would very much like Chris Bryant to reflect on these matters, and to ask himself why he does not show equal contempt for the Roman Catholic Church or even greater contempt for Islam on this same issue.

Or would that run the risk of accusations of being ‘anti-Catholic’ or ‘Islamophobic’?

Ah, much easy to be anti-Anglican, isn’t it, Mr Bryant?

279 Comments:

Blogger G. Tingey said...

Mr Bryant is only partly correct.
The correct word for the RC church is:
EVIL
Since Nicea, 1700+ years of torture, lies, oppression and murder.

But then, it's an organised religion, isn't it?

17 January 2012 08:06  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

Tingey, are you mentally sick or just trying to get a rise out of the Papists? I'm guessing the latter. I could be wrong.

17 January 2012 08:42  
Blogger Gary said...

This Christophobe states:

“Most church leaders know your sexuality is not something you choose, but something you discover. So you could even argue that God has made some people gay, which is why the Roman Catholic Church no longer condemns anyone for just being gay. Indeed, it even teaches that homophobia is immoral.”

He obviously has never read Romans 1...

17 January 2012 08:51  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Corrigan
"Papists", such an old fashioned term - I take it you mean Catholics? Point well made though.

Tingey
Ready to volunteer for treatment yet? I can arrange a fast track session.

17 January 2012 09:38  
Blogger Albert said...

Is it too much to hope that one day the Church of England will get this silliness out of its system?

I cannot comment for the CofE, but no reasonable person is going to change his mind on the question of homosexuality, until those proposing a change start using reason to argue, start engaging with the arguments against (instead of just banging on about equality, which in some cases assumes the point to be proved), and stops calling people names who disagree, so that the debate is blurred or shut down altogether.

Are the pro-gays going to allow this debate to happen properly? Not any time soon, they have too much to lose.

17 January 2012 10:38  
Blogger Richard Gadsden said...

Celibacy is the rule – for all clergy (except pre-married converting Orthodox and Anglicans) – and same-sex sex is definitely off-limits.

And Greek Catholics (Uniates), like the UGCC. I believe that they are not permitted to undergo the sacrament of marriage after ordination, but that non-regular priests are usually expected to have undergone that sacrament before the sacrament of ordination is performed.

17 January 2012 11:06  
Blogger Demetrius said...

Errare humanum est.

17 January 2012 11:28  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace;
It had to be 'The Independent' to publish bile such as this.

17 January 2012 12:24  
Blogger BrianSJ said...

Perhaps the professional gays could start their own religion rather than trying to hijack an existing one.

17 January 2012 12:50  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

The great and unassailable strength of the Catholic Church is that it's philosophy is complete and self-supporting. It thinks in centuries, operates sub specie aeternitatis, and does not trim and tack with every breeze that blows; its function is not to bring the gospel to the world, but to bring the world to the gospel. In this, it's the complete opposite of the Church of England, and that was always its glory. It only started to go astray when it went against its own grain and attempted to start getting down with the people. There are signs that it has snapped out of this half-century long, post-Vatican II madness and is going back to its roots. Fortunately, a half-century is nothing to the Church and if the new generation of priests coming through the seminaries are as disgusted with the trendies as I am, (and the word seeping out is that they are), so much the better for everyone. To Hell with the phoney compassion of modern liberalism, let's get back to black and white. It can't come soon enough for me.

Oh, and to Hell with Chris Bryant as well.

17 January 2012 12:59  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

“But nobody seriously believes that anymore,” he avers. “Most church leaders know your sexuality is not something you choose, but something you discover.

Well, actually I believe this. Seriously, even. Homosexuality is a behavior. That means people choose to engage in it. The "unchosen" aspect is an assertion of nature. Homosexuals choose to have sex with those of the same sex because (it is asserted) they are by nature constructed to desire sexual relations with those of the same sex. But this is nothing more than an assertion of the primacy of desire. "We desire what we are by nature supposed to desire." Except we by nature desire many evil things.

None of this is really controversial. Everyone understands and agrees that men choose their behaviors. Some behaviors are considered evil, and so those choices are restricted whether men want to choose them or not. Nature or nurture is irrelevant. So what has changed is not the understanding that sexuality is discovered rather than chosen. What has changed is the understanding of good and evil. People no longer believe that homosexual sex is evil behavior anymore. At which point, the nature/nurture argument becomes moot.

To suggest that the church simply 'drop all this silliness' is to suggest that the church adopt a materialist understanding of good and evil. It is an assertion that the church should adopt an anthropology that is contrary to the Revelation of God. For the only way that we would know that homosexual behavior should be considered good is by subordination of Revelation to the desires of men. We would have to decide that the stated desire of homosexuals becomes in itself a form of new Revelation - all the while blinding ourselves to the obvious complementarity that exists everywhere in the created world around us.

carl

17 January 2012 13:28  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"The great and unassailable strength of the {Holy Roman} Catholic Church" Don't be shy lad, its yer real name not yer dog licence....Not like it's got anything to be ashamed of, is it begorra? ;-)

E S Blofeld

17 January 2012 13:30  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

It's the Church of England that has divided and blurred the boundaries by accepting gays, women and embracing the confusing anything goes culture. They are the ones that have emptied the pews with their sycophantic bending over backwards to appease all these minorities and this silliness. They are the ones that have caused the rot.

The Roman Catholic Church has always had a battle with the Priesthood attracting men who know they are homosexual and who use it as an excuse to practice it in quiet. To be a genuine Roman Catholic Priest you are a virgin and celibate. It does not condemn people to a life without the joy of sexual intimacy in order to placate a theology that is misplaced and out of date. You have a spiritual calling from God for the life and love of God which transcends any desires of the flesh. If you experience a desire for the pleasures of the flesh then I think you are not suited to become a priest.

17 January 2012 13:53  
Blogger Albert said...

Well said Carl. Part of the irrationality of "homosexualist" (for want of a better world) thought is to try to deny natural law by appealing to an "is/ought" gap, and then to reinstate nature to justify homosexual behaviour ("We desire what we are by nature supposed to desire"). If ever there is an is/ought gap in ethics it is surely to be found between "I desire X" and "therefore X is acceptable behaviour". This observation does not show gay sex is wrong in itself, but it does show how inconsistent some homosexuals are in defending their behaviour and in attacking people who think more coherently. Isn't it time they stopped this silliness?

17 January 2012 14:39  
Blogger Oswin said...

Thank you, Your Grace, for an excellent exposition of the encompassing tenets of the C-of-E. Which further exemplifies the need to stay, and to fight one's corner, rather than scurrying towards anathema.

17 January 2012 14:45  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace;
You are right to question Chris Bryants attack on the C of E. I suppose it's to do with the fact that the RC church goes back two thousand years that there is much scandal associated with the hierarchy. A considerable number of Popes were married prior to Holy Orders, several were sexually active after Holy orders and it is reported that four Popes died whilst having sex. Two were supposedly murdered by the cuckolded husbands and one supposedly whilst being sodomised by a page.
I don’t think our Archbishops can compete with that list.
It’s a great shame that these things happen but there has to be a realisation that sin happens. Fortunately God provides his grace so that we can repent and turn from our wicked ways.

17 January 2012 15:03  
Blogger Albert said...

I think the real reason he's attacking the CofE is because he is (or was) an Anglican Clergyman. Also, he knows there is a hypocrisy in the CofE over homosexuality. It's not just that people say one thing and do another, it's that some people say one thing while believing and doing another.

17 January 2012 15:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Mr I,

You are quite right: the CofE is simply not old or large enough to clocked up as much scandal as the Catholic Church.

17 January 2012 15:27  
Blogger non mouse said...

Your Grace: You provide specific lenses (papasetoism and genderism) for today's thread, but thank you also for addressing their place in the larger system that employs them. This postmodern-ist force has engineered the personas of politicians like Bryant.

Enforcers of ‘-ism-ism’ maintain that their system provides essential "underpinning" for argument. In practice, their term "underpinning," transferred from house-construction,* requires that post-up-to-date mental constructs must shape themselves around received hypotheses about gender, sect, race, Freud (trans: crazy-paving), imperial domination, social stratification, etc.

Yet, do not all these applications treat of domination? At least one theorist I knows has taught “The Merchant of Venice” on the premise that homosexuality (yes, it’s in there) is essentially about dominance.

It is axiomatic that this drive to domination simultaneously suppresses individual rights to choose (say, gender or sect). So yes, you hoist them with their own petard of "public/private." I say you, and several communicants today, are right: it is time again to consider these things in terms of good and evil. That way we can allow the physical plane to feed the spiritual. That’s how traditional constructionists built their edifices and texts: to the glory of Supreme Good.

I don’t think anything they dedicate to modern idols can stand as well, or as long.


“Underpin” s.v: 1a.trans. To support or strengthen (a building or other structure) from beneath, spec. by laying a solid foundation below the ground-level, or by substituting stronger or more solid for weaker or softer materials (OED Online. December 2011. Oxford University Press. Web. 17 January 2012).

17 January 2012 16:07  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Article: "The Church of England is not a political party that may be recreated in the image of man."

Unfortunately, that's essentially what it is: a political party of sorts with its own agenda and supporters. It may assert itself as something more transcendental in nature but that's mere assertion.

"His Grace would very much like Chris Bryant to reflect on these matters, and to ask himself why he does not show equal contempt for the Roman Catholic Church or even greater contempt for Islam on this same issue."

The specific problem for the CofE is that it's a social institution and therefore fair game for all of us. I'd much rather the CofE that either of those other two iniquitous religions of course but I'd prefer nothing at State level to all of them.

17 January 2012 17:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Marie: "You have a spiritual calling from God for the life and love of God which transcends any desires of the flesh. If you experience a desire for the pleasures of the flesh then I think you are not suited to become a priest."

I'm pretty sure almost all priests experience sexual desire whether or not they have convinced themselves they have a 'calling'. What sort of god would require celibacy anyway? A man-made one, I dare say, and one maintained by sexual repressed control freaks.

17 January 2012 17:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Homosexuality is a behavior. That means people choose to engage in it."

Just like heterosexuality.

17 January 2012 17:18  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace. The Inspector has made the point before that homosexuals are far too prominent for their tiny position in society. Shameless attention seeking seems to be very much a symptom of the condition. “See me – feel me – touch me”. Your man Bryant posed in his underpants on a gay dating site. The Inspector rests his case.

Politics is therefore the wrong place for them. No integrity you see, always have gay rights on their minds whatever the issue. Sadly politics are awash with them, and we suffer their bleating now on a weekly basis. Perhaps parliament should operate on a quota, as in the way women were considered under represented. However in this case it’s to redress the over- representation of these types. Let’s see, one homosexual and one bi-sexual for every 20 MPs. Now that’s fair, AND population representative, which is what democracy is all about, what ! Of course, any prospective parliamentary candidate that is prepared to keep their sexuality to themselves and just be and act normally (…what an idea !..) could be counted among the 18.

So, come on Chris Bryant, why don’t you announce you’re standing down at the next election. Give a straight type the chance. There’s a good fellow…

17 January 2012 18:20  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Mr integrity. I don’t think our Archbishops can compete with that list..

Judging by the way the Anglican ministry has gone downhill in the last 35 years, it’s just a matter of time, old chap, a matter of time...

17 January 2012 18:23  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

Just like heterosexuality.

Well sure.

1. A man chooses to have sex with his wife.
2. A man chooses to have sex with his girlfriend.
3. A man chooses to have sex with another man.
4. A man chooses to have sex with his mother.
5. A man chooses to have sex with the little girl from next door.
6. A man chooses to have sex with his Shetland Pony.

All of these are choices. The fact of choice however is not at issue. It is the moral nature of the choice that is at issue. Not every choice is a licit choice. The mere presence of desire does not imply that acting on that desire produces a licit choice - as the above list more than adequately demonstrates.

The homosexual apologist asserts that his choice is licit because it is consistent with his nature, but the only evidence he can produce to substantiate his nature is the authenticity of his desire. He knows he is just bootstrapping. In fact autonomy is the true basis of his argument. But autonomy would justify the whole list except for number 5. He struggles with the implications of consistent principle consistently applied. So he retreats to nature, and hopes no one notices the inconsistency.

carl

17 January 2012 18:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "It is the moral nature of the choice that is at issue. Not every choice is a licit choice."

Indeed. So, on what basis is any sexual act a moral act? On what basis is (say) masturbation a moral act? I always ask this yet no-one answers. Or rather, they assert some sort of god thing which is no basis except for those who believe in whatever god or gods they choose.

17 January 2012 19:07  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Corrigan1
Both - wheteher you are evangelical (as I was brought up) or atheist (now) winding u p the RC is always fun!

Dodo kd
What treatment?
only if it involves BEER ( or single-malt Scotch)

Corrigan 1
(later post)
NO - the RC church is WRONG, murderous and lying.
Why do you think the communist party is modelled on it?
Got it yet?

17 January 2012 19:15  
Blogger Roy said...

Chris Bryant said:

“Most church leaders know your sexuality is not something you choose, but something you discover. "

What of the cases where someone "discovers" one thing at one time and then "discovers" the opposite at a later time? The current girlfriend of a certain cabinet minister comes to mind.

17 January 2012 19:33  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

On what basis is (say) masturbation a moral act? I always ask this yet no-one answers.

Do you mean on what basis is it an immoral act? Because it is contrary to natural law.

17 January 2012 19:45  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Corrigan1: "The great and unassailable strength of the Catholic Church is that it's philosophy is complete and self-supporting."

Well, in the sense of holding yourself off the ground by your own bootlaces is self-supporting anyway.

17 January 2012 20:05  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace;
Inspector. Further to your post at 18:20 and your comments on the superfluity of Gays in politics etc. I quote from ‘Anglican Mainstream’ regarding funding of the Gay lobby groups.
'European human rights lawyer J.C. von Krempach has taken a close look at the funding stream of the International Gay and Lesbian Association – Europe (ILGA) and concluded that most of their money comes from governments. Writing in the foreign policy blog Turtle Bay and Beyond, von Krempach found a vast majority of ILGA’s funds come from just two governmental entities, the European Commission and the Dutch government'.
If the EU is funding them, that is us funding them. The EU is probably attempting to undermine the moral and spiritual foundation of the UK for the purpose of inhibiting opposition to further involvement of the UK with the EU. Their budget for ‘propaganda’ is enormous.

17 January 2012 20:09  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Inspector
Have you been surfing gay dating sites?!

Mr Integrity
All human organisations have the capacity for evil and to have evil men within them.

Albert
Isn't this 'issue' as much about Anglicanism and the 'via media'as it is about homosexuality.

I remember at school actually supporting much of the Reformation and the Fathers at the school had no problem with this. let's face it, the Church was in a shocking state. In the wrong hands and used for the wrong purposes, the Catholic Church potentially could have become the greatest tyranny known to man. However, this would contradict the promise given by Jesus that the Holy Spirit would prevent any such thing happening.

Hooker laid down the priciples of the 'via media' over 400 years ago. This was before the 'enlightenment', liberalism and democracy. And before 'modernity' and its attacks on Scripture. I doubt he imagined any person calling himself a Christian would ever support homosexuality, abortion or divorce, let alone seeking to justify this through a reinterpretation of Scripture. And what would he say to those in the Church questioning the historic reliability of the Virgin birth, the Incarnation, the Crucifixtion and Resurrection?

MrCranmer wrote ...
"The genius of Anglicanism is that it seeks to reconcile opposed systems ...". The balance struck 400 years ago between Puritanism, Lutheranism and Catholicism in Britain may not be in balance anymore. Perhaps the 'strength' of Anglicanism is proving to be its undoing.

DanJ0
It is possible for anyone to overcome sexual desire - including Priests, without becoming unbalanced!

And masturbation is a serious failing in Christian and Catholic theology. You may "always ask this" but as you reject any morality based on the Bible you also reject the explanation.

17 January 2012 20:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "It is possible for anyone to overcome sexual desire - including Priests, without becoming unbalanced!"

Yes. Well, most people anyway. But why would most people choose to overcome it and live a celibate lifestyle when they can have a sex life? It's just normal, everyday stuff to most people. Part of being human, really.

"And masturbation is a serious failing in Christian and Catholic theology. You may "always ask this" but as you reject any morality based on the Bible you also reject the explanation."

Well, exactly. You may assert a biblical morality all you like but it's an assertion and it binds no-one at the moment except those fools who choose to be bound by it. I'm happy for Catholic adults to wear boxing gloves to bed if they're not getting any. What I won't accept is for those Catholics to try to foist their institutionalised sexual repression on the rest of us. Why would I? It's absurd, and weird.

17 January 2012 20:29  
Blogger The Value of Sparrows said...

For me, this issue is all about respect. Respect for the homosexual, respect for the church and her beliefs, respect for the world at large trying its best to get a grip on things. But, again for me, I don't find much respect for any of these things: homosexuals are treated in general as two-year olds who when they scream enough get their way for the sake of getting their way; the church in her dissension is swept off with a rude hand gesture; and people are disallowed the opportunity to discuss this issue with courtesy and patience from those leading the debate.

17 January 2012 20:33  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Albert @ 19.45, so masturbation is contrary to the natural law and celibacy isn't?

17 January 2012 20:34  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Well done Integrity for bringing that to our attention. That’s the spirit ! One only has to consider what DanJ0 posts to see what kind of a morally bankrupt pit of self indulgence these people would have us live in. We have only ourselves to blame. For far too long we have tolerated their rantings, probably out of pity for them if the truth be told. Well, today it stops, their intentions are harmful to society. No longer will LGBTQ types get away with ANYTHING. The Inspector will see to it they are addressed, at least on this site. Do hope you and others can join in.

I say chaps, voice your opinion now with a post – Who’s up for joining the Inspector in a crusade to put the gays firmly back in their place, ie a nothing special group and just a tenth of society??

17 January 2012 20:35  
Blogger Albert said...

Bluedog,

so masturbation is contrary to the natural law and celibacy isn't?

Yes, exactly. But if you think there is a contradiction there, spell it out.

17 January 2012 20:38  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

You may assert a biblical morality all you like but it's an assertion and it binds no-one at the moment except those fools who choose to be bound by it.

I'm asserting natural law. You do not need to be biblical to accept it. If the notion is true, then it binds us all.

17 January 2012 20:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I trust everyone will listen with courtesy and patience when Muslims insist on Sharia Law covering everyone in the UK in the area of crime. Afterall, Islam contains a moral system too and who's to say it's not founded in truth?

17 January 2012 20:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "One only has to consider what DanJ0 posts to see what kind of a morally bankrupt pit of self indulgence these people would have us live in."

You can live in whatever pit you like. As an adult, you can do your mumbo-jumbo in front of your painted idols, click your beads, whisper your so-called sins to your sexually-repressed demi-gods, pretend you've been absolved by your dead god, carry whatever unnecessary guilt you like around with you, imagine you're 'saved' to help your fear of death, and immerse yourself all the rest of the religious garbage you see fit. I'm not stopping you. But if you try to be a religious fascist, extending your institution's hegemony over the rest of us then you're in for a fight. Also, if your priests and nuns want to fuck or beat up vulnerable kids then they can expect to be jailed now the cat's out of the bag there.

17 January 2012 20:54  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Danj0 17:14
“I'm pretty sure almost all priests experience sexual desire whether or not they have convinced themselves they have a 'calling'. What sort of god would require celibacy anyway? A man-made one, I dare say, and one maintained by sexual repressed control freaks.”

God does not require celibacy as a job requirement, it happens in one because the person just has no desire for the lower pleasures as the energies are directed onto a higher plane of consciousness. And prayer, learning, teaching, caring and doing good satisfies their personal needs a lot more than a sexual relationship would. I don't suppose they even think about sex as that department shuts down. The body does not have to have orgasm, the testes in men will cease to produce sperm if not used. The drive will be to become closer to God and doing His good works.
I think those who have the true calling are quite special. I think they feel this calling from quite a young age too.

17 January 2012 21:17  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Ah, there you are DanJ0. Allow the Inspector to remove your cloak of ‘special interest group and pampered member of society’. Look, now you stand naked in front of us. And what do have have ? Big disappointment, all the Inspector can see is a sodomite, and someone you would be most well advised not to leave alone with young male children, which as you correctly pointed out, the Catholic church was guilty of.

17 January 2012 21:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Big disappointment, all the Inspector can see is a sodomite, and someone you would be most well advised not to leave alone with young male children, which as you correctly pointed out, the Catholic church was guilty of."

You're the single man. Strange, that. One who seems to have a particular interest in anal sex here, as some of your fellow Christians have noted. I bet you have unrelated children call you "uncle" too. Tell me, have you considered joining the Catholic priesthood at all?

17 January 2012 21:30  
Blogger The Value of Sparrows said...

Concerning listening with respect and patience, and the reality of Muslims' laws, what is not respectful, courteous, and grateful is not God. And there is significant difference between the homosexual community and the Muslim religion: the former is a misrepresented, misunderstood group of people in significant spiritual pain; the latter are people who appear to intentionally mishandle the tenets of their own religion in order to accomplish world domination (this applies to the radicals who justify terrorism, etc.).

17 January 2012 21:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Sparrows: "the former is a misrepresented, misunderstood group of people in significant spiritual pain"

To be honest, I think you have the misunderstood bit right if you think we're in significant spiritual pain as a group. It's not a description I recognise, that's for sure. There's a danger of losing 'social capital' as one gets into very late middle-age at the moment but that's not really anything spiritual. I think marriage and changes to social mores will help with that anyway.

17 January 2012 21:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Well really DanJ0 ! A somewhat tame response. You must be in shock, understandable though because for you, for the party is well and truly OVER !

17 January 2012 21:44  
Blogger The Value of Sparrows said...

Signs of spiritual pain: an insistence on treating Orthodox Christians with ridicule and derision; a seeming desperation to have the church give them what they want, no matter the cost; the fact that a significant percentage of homosexual youth are depressed and consider, if not commit, suicide; the substantial amount of misuse of drugs and alcohol; and the forcing, in the midst of the AIDS epidemic, that bathhouses be reopened.

17 January 2012 21:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I suppose you can label it "spiritual pain" if you like but it's in your own terms and for your own sake by the look of it. This particular homosexual has made it very clear that it's civil marriage he advocates, I don't give a stuff about churches or mosques regarding this topic. The teenagers and suicide thing is more to do with social acceptance, I think. In particular, within families and from friends. It certainly feels orders of magnitudes better now than when I was a teenager. Social media has had a big impact, as has changes in the law in the last decade or so. I could comment on the rest too but I'll leave it for now.

17 January 2012 22:01  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Inspector
He's a vile little, twisted attention seeker, is DanJ0. Congratulations for being so restrained in your response. Best to ignore him as, by his own admission, he's on here to wind Christians up and not to engage in constructive debate.

17 January 2012 22:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. What have we here ? A man in late middle age (...it’s alright kids, you can come out now...), and another more detailed response to Sparrows. All Stinks of self justification to the Inspector. On the back foot are you, well bloody well good. We’ve suffered enough from your guff in the past. You really should learn to keep you deranged gay thoughts to yourself and leave decent society be...

17 January 2012 22:12  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

len
Nothing to say? I bet your watching.

Have you noted how DanJ0 has acquired your terminology in criticising the Church and the foul language and innuenduo he uses? Does it make you feel proud?

Your serving your master well.

17 January 2012 22:14  
Blogger Preacher said...

Quite a debate going on folks. My
Bible says "ALL have sinned & come
short of the glory of God. There is NONE righteous, NOT ONE".
Paul referred to himself as "The chief of Sinners" & said "All your GOOD deeds are as filthy rags".
The Lord was called "the friend of sinners" & I for one agree with all the above & include myself in that group & thank Heaven that despite my ignorance & sin, He saw fit to redeem me with His death &
to pronounce me pardoned.
Before we try to take the moral high ground, I feel that a little
humility is called for gentlemen.
Go back to scripture & see how we ALL looked to God, before the death of Jesus set us free.

Regarding celibacy, I would say that Peter was married, as were many of the first Church leaders & that was Normal for first Century Jewish men, celibacy was a personal choice not a religious requirement, Paul makes this very clear.
So my question on the matter of it being essential if one wished to become a priest would be ....Why?.
Let each man choose accordingly.

Be Blessed Sleep Well. Preacher.

17 January 2012 22:14  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Preacher
Of course we are all sinners - that's a given. However, as has been pointed out, it's quite a different matter to throw oneself on Christ's mercy and commit to reforming, than trying to justify sin by reinventing Scripture to suit one's purpose.

It's not a lack of humility to defend Christian morality for fear of offending sinners because we are all sinners! It didn't stop Saint Paul from being out spoken. It's that sort of equivocation that's so damaging.

So for celibacy, I think you know there is Biblical support for this and there are spiritual and temporal benefits.

17 January 2012 23:11  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Albert @ 20.38 suggests 'Yes, exactly. But if you think there is a contradiction there, spell it out.'

Fail, of course there is a contradiction.

At a practical level a celibate man is going to find the need for a certain release. That release either comes from a wet-dream or from jerking off. So to claim that masturbation is immoral/sinful/whatever when masturbation is a likely consequence of male celibacy is patently absurd.

Where RC priests are concerned, at a very basic biological level they are confronted by the above, absent an accomodating house-keeper if they happen to be straight.

Now Mr Albert, you have told us that you are an Anglican convert to Rome. When asked if you were an ordained convert, you declined to answer. Conclusion: assume yes, you are probably now Mon Albert. In which case, as a former Anglican priest, you may be married and thus being spared the ordeal of celibacy, still cleave to the flesh of your wife.

If you are prepared to comment on the above speculation, it may be possible to calibrate the non-celibate with an appropriate grade of hypocrisy.

17 January 2012 23:15  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

bluedog said ...
"At a practical level a celibate man is going to find the need for a certain release. That release either comes from a wet-dream or from jerking off."

Assertion without any supporting evidence. How can you possibly claim this?

Celibacy, properly understood, accompanies the calling to the Priesthood. Do you doubt the power the power of God or is this simply a prejudiced attack on Catholicism?

17 January 2012 23:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The mischief involving the left-footed sprites aside, I'm still interested in what basis a sexual act, in particular masturbation, is a moral act (as opposed to an amoral one).

Asserting one's religious moral system won't cut it fopr everyone, Tab A into Slot B suffers from its own problems, and teleological arguments clearly stand on disputed foundations.

For me, sexual acts usually have moral consequences. They're also covered in various ways by our value systems. As such, I don't think I have much trouble justifying some types of act but not others myself.

18 January 2012 05:54  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

Good! I knew this question would surface again sooner or later. Last time I was suffering from jet lag, and had no energy to answer. Rather I was returning to the hotel at 8:00 and falling asleep by 9:00. Even so, I felt this question was owed an answer. So I waited. It was not however important enough to interrupt my nightly episode of 'Midsomer Murders' - which I am plowing through on Netflix.

So, on what basis is any sexual act a moral act?

If we were going to successfully address this question, we would first have to agree on the definition of a moral act. We don't agree on that matter. What then is the point of your question? To demonstrate what is already known? I am going to provide an answer according to my definition, and you will respond according to yours. Where does this get us?

To answer your question (absent all the theology), a sexual act is a moral act because of the immense capacity for both direct and indirect harm contained within, because of its central place in the necessary organization of life and procreation, and because of man's ability to use sex to objectify another person for his own gratification. Simply put, the moral nature of a sexual act is found in the purpose of sex itself. That is fundamentally why we don't agree. We don't agree on the purpose of sex. More to the point, a sexual act is a moral act because the God who created us sexual beings has declared it so. I know that means nothing to you, but that is the only actual basis for morality that we have - your ruminations about empathy notwithstanding. You can run from Nietzsche, but you can't hide.

On what basis is (say) masturbation a moral act?

By definition. It's a sexual act. Curiously enough, the Scripture is absolutely silent on masturbation. The one verse usually applied has absolutely nothing to do with the subject, and RC arguments against it stem from the idea that all ejaculations must be open to the possibility of conception. (I am a curious entity having taken the NFP course offered by the RCC.) I will not condemn it in principle for I don't feel I have the Scriptural grounds. In practice there can easily be difficulties - like for example using it to defraud one's spouse who is supposed to be the proper object of sexual desire. Associated sexual fantasies can also be problematic. The Sermon on the Mount makes quite clear the nature of lust.

Or rather, they assert some sort of god thing which is no basis except for those who believe in whatever god or gods they choose.

How unfortunate for you that the authority of the 'god thing' does not depend upon you. All you are saying is "I don't believe there is a god." That's nice. You don't define objective truth by the force of your will. He will call you forth, and you will come forth. You won't want to, but you will. That's the thing about authority. It doesn't require your agreement.

carl

18 January 2012 05:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "To answer your question (absent all the theology), a sexual act is a moral act because of the immense capacity for both direct and indirect harm contained within [...]"

I agree! However, I would do because in reality that's a consequentialist argument. Harm is quite core to this for me, the issue of consent follows from that. As I understood it, you've thought consent is a primary thing in the past. Not so.

"[...] because of its central place in the necessary organization of life and procreation, [...]"

I suspect that's sugar-coating a religious argument of teleological form. On the face of it, you're in 'is implies ought' territory I think but there's bound to be more underneath there.

"[...] and because of man's ability to use sex to objectify another person for his own gratification [...]"

Well, yes. There's something a bit distasteful there in terms of social interaction at least. Seeing others as objects to be used is not great as a general theme in life. Is that deontological? Virtue ethics? Or related to causing harm again? I'm tempted to argue its the core of Sales and Marketing job in our capitalistic society too but that might be too much of a digression.

"Simply put, the moral nature of a sexual act is found in the purpose of sex itself. That is fundamentally why we don't agree."

Well, we know that we don't agree. I have arguments for why child sex is wrong, why adult rape is wrong, why deceit to gain consent for sex is wrong, why incest is sometimes wrong, why sex with animals is wrong, and why homosexual sex in some situations is wrong. I don't need marginal religious constructions for those arguments. I can justify homosexual sex in terms of heterosexual sex in a secular society, which is to say that it ought to need no specific justification.

"More to the point, a sexual act is a moral act because the God who created us sexual beings has declared it so. I know that means nothing to you, but that is the only actual basis for morality that we have - your ruminations about empathy notwithstanding."

It was inevitable that "because my god says so" would come up eventually. I welcome it coming up so soon though I always predict it. That said, I don't think you can really say that we need god for morality at all. It's very useful of course, especially if one wants to assert a consistent, coherent, single moral code. But not necessary. Besides, these things are rarely cut and dried, relying on the rather subjective What Would Jesus Do? Or perhaps What Would Mohammed Do, There Must Be Something In the Hadith To Tell Us? Asserting a religious moral system for humanity is, in reality, a group of humans deciding what they want and claiming authority for it from an apparently non-existent god which can't be argued directly against by other humans. It's Veil of Oz stuff, isn't it?

"How unfortunate for you that the authority of the 'god thing' does not depend upon you. All you are saying is "I don't believe there is a god." That's nice. You don't define objective truth by the force of your will. He will call you forth, and you will come forth. You won't want to, but you will. That's the thing about authority. It doesn't require your agreement."

Or not. Who knows? I don't worry about Zeus, or Allah, or Brahma+Visnu+Shriva, or Baal, or any of the myriad of other gods we have invented. I don't suppose you do either. We're both well and truly stuffed if a human-centric god exists and it's actually Allah. It won't require your agreement to throw you on the pyre, you know. In the meantime, I'm going to get on with my life as best I can.

18 January 2012 06:43  
Blogger Steve Compton said...

Speaking of the RC, they always believed that all expressions of human sexuality are of a suspect nature & a kind of gateway drug to perdition - Adam, Eve, the apple, snake, etc. Something about detachment from the sorrows of the material world - sounds so Buddhist in a way.

If I remember correctly, it wasn't until Vatican II that married couples were allowed to enjoy their orgasms. At least that was an evenhanded policy.

18 January 2012 07:05  
Blogger Flossie said...

Interesting to hear that you regard homosexual sex in some situations as wrong, DanJo. I wonder which homosexual acts you think are right? Buggery, perhaps? Or rimming? Fisting? Felching? Scats?

I hope nobody is disgusted by these, because your children and grandchildren are being taught that they are normal, now that the Terrence Higgins Trust is being handed taxpayers' money to go into schools, and all these practices are graphically described and illustrated on their website.

18 January 2012 11:04  
Blogger Preacher said...

Dodo.
I have probably offended more people than most of the contributors on this Blog. But I have never to my knowledge been offensive. I take a tough line on sin, because I care enough about the eternal destiny of sinners (Hell).
I see many christians stand in judgement & condemnation of those trapped in the sins that have lured them until there willpower is broken & they start to reason & make excuses for it. I learned long ago that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, making people aware of the danger they are in & the solution that the Lord freely offers.
The devil condemns them & steals hope away, leaving them cut off from the God who loves them.

The Lord warns us about seeing the splinters in anothers eye while ignoring the plank in our own. He also warns about being whitened Tombs, lovely to look at, but full of dead bodies inside, (I wonder if there is a spiritual connection to the hidden sins that many of us try to hide from God?).
If we are not careful we are in danger of driving people away from the only chance of rescue that exists by our wrong attitude.

Our part is not to condone sin, no matter who it is that is guilty & what they have done. But to Offer God's pardon that cost Him so much.
Whether they accept it or reject it is up to the individual, their choice not ours. The same is IMO true of the celibacy issue. It is or should be up to the individual to choose, not a requirement of the job.


Blessings. Preacher.

18 January 2012 11:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

On what basis are any of those acts morally wrong, Flossie? They're not homosexual acts either, they're sexual acts performed by heterosexuals too. None is necessary in a homosexual sex life either. I've done none of them myself, they seem rather extreme for the most part. The word 'normal' is a loaded word but I wouldn't say any of those acts are normal or should be taught as normal or desirable as activities in schools. Homosexual attraction and homosexual relationships are normal. Your particular focus on extreme sexual acts indicates the difficulty you face, I think.

18 January 2012 11:33  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Mr Jacobs

RC arguments against it stem from the idea that all ejaculations must be open to the possibility of conception.

Whilst technically true, this is misleading. It is far more to do with the nature of sex and sexuality as being both loving and productive. That is to say that sex is inherently more spiritual than physical. Sex that deliberately excludes the possibility of children is responsibility free and leads to the notion that it is nought more than a leisure activity or a selfish method of pleasure. In this case I'd compare sex to an opiate addiction rather than something spiritually positive.

In response to your earlier point, my own experience in my 20 years of celibacy is that the less I think about sex the less I feel any need for 'release'. In fact I'm far happier when my mind is on more important things. From my personal experience, it appears to me that sexuality is a socially acceptable addiction. How many people here have gone a month without thinking sexually? Try it and tell me that, despite deliberately avoiding any sexual thought and quickly snapping out of any that occur, you still had a physical need for release. That's how to prove that the 'tension' is all in your head.

I'm not saying the fire is out. I'm not an asexual (or at least I don't think so) and I'm certainly not an aromantic. The pilot light is still on: I've just turned the gas down.

18 January 2012 11:53  
Blogger Flossie said...

Well I don't know, DanJo. I have scoured the THT website (some of us don't like to be kept in the dark about what our children are being taught behind our backs) and I cannot find any homosexual practices which I would like my children to know about. (Taking drugs anally? For heaven's sake!)

From their interesting list of recommended reading and their online publications The Bottom Line and Below the Belt (which any child can find, I would deduce that the THT can't see anything wrong with them.

Perhaps you mean holding hands? That is certainly practised by straight couples.

18 January 2012 12:37  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Lakester91

Sex that deliberately excludes the possibility of children is responsibility free and leads to the notion that it is nought more than a leisure activity or a selfish method of pleasure.

Yes, I would agree with one qualification. I would change 'sex' to 'a sexual relationship.' Not every act of sex within a sexual relationship has to be potentially fertile to be licit. It was after all God who made women fertile for only a few days a month. And guess what? The RCC agrees. NFP when practiced as intended deliberately excludes the possibility of conception from specific acts of sexual intercourse, and yet NFP is endorsed by the RCC. If the RCC consistently held to your stated position on this matter, it would tell all married couples to be providentialists.

In response to your earlier point

What earlier point are you referring to? I don't think I made any earlier point of the subject. Are you sure you haven't confused me with someone else?

carl

18 January 2012 12:49  
Blogger Oswin said...

Flossie @ 11:04: yes, I was initially appalled as I read through your list of 'nasties' - I thought you'd lost it, big time!

What you say, however, is the truth; and something of an old truth at that.

Twenty years ago, whilst working with disturbed adolescents, our establishment was visited by a 'Health Bus' - specialising in 'sexual health' matters etc.

The enterprise was run by a bona fide charity; but what we didn't know at the time of booking, was that the charity hired-out the bus, to other organisations!

Imagine my reaction when I caught sight of pamhlets re' 'rimming' and 'fisting' being carried away from the bus by these vulnerable children!

Enraged beyond the bounds of professionalism, I gathered up some of the 'literature' and charged onto the so-called 'Health Bus' and bellowed at them to ''f**k-off out of it''!

I won't labour the point, but the ensuing, brief contretemps, might well have lost me my job, and a possible charge of assault too.

Indeed, it took some time to convince my boss of the true use that day, of the 'Health Bus' - I couldn't really blame him, it really was beyond all belief; and, I had acted rather precipitously.

Anyhows, the appropriate 'authorities' dealt with the issue, and my actions were vindicated. I do wonder though, how often the scam had worked beforehand, under the guise of normality; it just doesn't bear thinking about!

18 January 2012 12:50  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Carl,

I almost certainly have, I only skim threads when they're this long. Someone made a point about masturbation not being immoral and celibacy being a mistake.

After skimming again I can conclude it was Bluedog. Whoops!

18 January 2012 12:58  
Blogger uk Fred said...

Has anyone here, or indeed Chris Bryanbt, read Robert Gagnon's book "The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Text and Hemrmeneutics"

18 January 2012 13:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Flossie, I'm not an apologist for various organisations like THT. I'm arguing here about homosexuality which most definitely doesn't require those activities you list to be performed. In terms of moral wrongness, where does oral sex fit in? Have you ever tried it yourself and were you racked with terrible guilt afterwards if so? Of all my peer group, gay and straight, I don't know anyone who doesn't consider it completely normal sexual behaviour. Perhaps there are some Aquinas fans out there who blanch at the thought of something so debauched but, well, they're hardly normal are they?

18 January 2012 13:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Flossie, I'm almost too afraid to mention this. In fact, I will have to whisper it. *whispers* Some people use their hands to masturbate other people. Straight people do too! Shocking, I know. I'd understand if this fact means you need to take a few hours away to recover your equilibrium.

18 January 2012 13:18  
Blogger Albert said...

Bluedog,

you are probably now Mon Albert

It's much more fun to leave that kind of question unanswered, but if it helps, no, I am not "Mon Albert" or "Mon X".

I don't see what difference it makes (with your reference to hypocrisy). Although there have been confusions over the course of the Church's history, I don't think the celibacy requirement is about sex. It's about being free, as St Paul says.

At a practical level a celibate man is going to find the need for a certain release.

It's this sense that sex acts are inevitable, rather than freely chosen that I would want to challenge. You've not shown there is a contradiction here, you've not provided any evidence to support this assertion, and as it happens, I think Lankester has falsified it.

There's been a kind of social brainwashing, in which people are taught that they cannot live without sex. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and in some cases bad choices are made as a result. People become unable to conceive of life without sex.

18 January 2012 13:51  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

NFP when practiced as intended deliberately excludes the possibility of conception from specific acts of sexual intercourse, and yet NFP is endorsed by the RCC.

You're not actually disagreeing with Lankester there, who had expressed himself with commendable precision. Have you read Anscombe on NFP? Also, you don't seem to be taking account of the Catholic Church's attitude to the contraceptive mentality

18 January 2012 13:56  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

See, I told you it would be pointless.

I have arguments for why child sex is wrong, why adult rape is wrong, why deceit to gain consent for sex is wrong, why incest is sometimes wrong, why sex with animals is wrong, and why homosexual sex in some situations is wrong.

Well and good. Not one of these arguments will proceed from authority. Any man can construct any consistent (or inconsistent, for that matter) system he likes and make arguments from it. It all means nothing when coming from a limited finite creatures whose opinions are naught but the dust of which he is composed.

I don't need marginal religious constructions for those arguments.

No, but you do need God to make them mean anything beyond the expression of your own transient opinion on the matter.

I can justify homosexual sex in terms of heterosexual sex in a secular society, which is to say that it ought to need no specific justification.

Which is no justification at all. It is an assertion of the primacy of the will. By force of will, a man can justify sex with animals in a secular society, which is to say it ought to need no justification at all. By force of will, a man can justify sex between mother and son in a secular society, which is to say it ought to need no justification say all. And you will disagree based upon arbitrary boundaries that you have established based upon your own (non-existent) authority. Neither the system you would construct nor its polar opposite would have any greater validity than the power of the advocate to enforce it. There is no objective standard by which to measure the difference.

As it stands, I am still waiting for someone to demonstrate that homosexual behavior stems from nature without appealing to the authenticity of homosexual desire.

carl

18 January 2012 13:57  
Blogger Flossie said...

It pleases DanJo to imply that I have some sort of prudery problem. Well, personally I don't care what gay people get up to, or straight ones, for that matter, but I do not want my children to have access to the Terrence Higgins Trust, and I resent very much my taxes being spent on giving THT access to my children. Anyone who exposes this kind of material to children is a danger to them. This would never have happened before the repeal of Section 28 and the SORs.

If anyone else thinks I have a problem, here are the links to the publications I mentioned. I don't suppose THT are daft enough to actually take these documents into schools - preferring to indoctrinate in the dark via the 'anti bullying' trojan horse - but the average eight-year-old could easily find his way there once they know that their school supports the THT.

http://www.tht.org.uk/informationresources/publications/gaymengerneralinformation/bottomlinethe124.pdf

http://www.tht.org.uk/informationresources/publications/gaymengerneralinformation/belowthebelt125.pdf

Hands up everyone who thinks these are okay for children to see.

18 January 2012 14:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Flossie, I was merely responding in kind to your comment about holding hands. Your THT thing has nothing really to do with the morality of homosexuality itself. You didn't need to use my comments to spring board your own.

18 January 2012 14:30  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

[Y]ou don't seem to be taking account of the Catholic Church's attitude to the contraceptive mentality

Rather I don't accept the moral distinction the RCC tries to make between contraception and NFP. It is a distinction without a difference. Latex is a barrier. Time is a barrier. Time is in fact a much more effective barrier than latex. In each case, the moral intent on the part of the couple is the same.

carl

18 January 2012 14:31  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

Have you read Anscombe on Contraception?

18 January 2012 14:35  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

Thank you for talking Dan so thoughtfully. He never replies to me!

18 January 2012 14:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl, those arguments are made on the basis of a combination of things, including things people tend to recognise in themselves and in their society. You can make as many poetic allusions to the finite and the infinite as you like but ethics are about how we must go on in life and you have no means to demonstrate the truth of your personal religious beliefs to the rest of us. Furthermore, you have no means of demonstrating the truth of your claim over that of others who claim their own god and moral system deriving from it. You have no more authority than anyone else save by force of arms. You're waving your hand at your own Veil of Oz and hoping we are all impressed. I, for one, am not.

18 January 2012 14:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl, your thing about justifications of various sexual acts is all very well but it insists on a problem space that doesn't necessarily exist. I daresay the overwhelming majority of heterosexual people in the UK just get on with their sex lives in the context of the rest of their personal lives without worrying about what a Christian god thinks about it. For them, it's just normal, everyday stuff. Why should gay people who are not Christian be any different? That's the problem space.

18 January 2012 14:58  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Oh! Flossie that is really disgusting, children don't need to see all those things being carried out. It is not normal at all, the dirty sick bastards are going too far. These groups are taking society to new depths of depravity. There needs to be some checks and balances.

18 January 2012 14:59  
Blogger Oswin said...

Marie: there needs to be a few bullets spent!

18 January 2012 15:24  
Blogger Flossie said...

Agreed, Marie (and Oswin!) Unfortunately the mainstream media seem to be afraid to inject this material into the public consciousness. Parents are simply unaware, and need to be far more vigilant about what happens in their children's schools.

THT don't appear to have approached the schools in my area yet, but I know they already have in some parts of the country. Parents must galvanise into action and tackle the governors if necessary. I would at one time have gone to the police if I found anything like this, but nowadays I think I am the one more likely to fall foul of them for 'hate crime'.

Nothing personal, DanJo. But social conservatives are fed up with being sneered at and accused of hate when we have opposed gay activism. The portrayal by the media and individuals of nice cosy gay relationships have lulled the public into a false sense of security, and here we see the results. And I don't think we have plumbed the depths yet!

And here we have jolly old 'Mr Underpants' Chris Bryant, boasting about the House of Commons' gay bar. It really doesn't inspire one with confidence for the future.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/01/13/chris-bryant-mp-on-the-house-of-commons-gay-bar/

18 January 2012 15:38  
Blogger Luther said...

Well pointed out Flossie. Thank you.

Well said Preacher. Thank you.

18 January 2012 15:43  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Ah, the anti-THT people are in favour of keeping "children" in ignorance, are they?
How typical of religious believers.

Can't have facts, like geocentrism floating around, can we?

18 January 2012 16:34  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Danj0 said “you have no means of demonstrating the truth of your claim over that of others who claim their own god and moral system deriving from it.”

In an absolute sense this is true and it makes us wonder what sort of world we would have if things were so clear that we didn’t need to reason about it. I see that as an indication of the way Almighty God respects our freedom and our minds but not everyone would agree. However, whatever side we come from we do so either by reason or obedience or our sense of right and wrong. Obedience is absolute, but it cannot guarantee validity so we are left with reason or feelings. Are those two legitimate? Yes. Can they be manipulated? Yes. It therefore comes down to a choice and our ability to use our reason honestly (another debate in itself) and to discern our feelings truly (whatever truly might mean in that context. Without prejudging the outcome, we can however I think agree that if the idea of morality is to have any value it must be something which applies to all people, of all cultures and not adjustable to suite particular times or conditions.

18 January 2012 17:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Flossie. All school children need to know about Terrence Higgins is that he’s a dead man. A victim of a nasty and incurable disease spread by promiscuity and intravenous drug abuse…

These gay activists probably think they are out to HELP young people by bringing their muck into schools. Just goes to show that the condition affects the sanity of the individual afflicted (…similar to what syphilis can do…) so there is little point remonstrating with them. They can’t accept society’s norms, they don’t know what it’s like to think normally. Regrettably, one has to be prepared to threaten or use physical violence on them to get the point through. Of course, if they still don’t get the message even then, they’re risking brain damage as Tatchel believes he has…

18 January 2012 17:34  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Shacklefree: "Without prejudging the outcome, we can however I think agree that if the idea of morality is to have any value it must be something which applies to all people, of all cultures and not adjustable to suite particular times or conditions."

The word 'morality' on its own is not particularly useful but I'll set that aside for now. If you're thinking we must have a single system which has a moral principle or principles from which all others must be derived with a system for working out the rightness or wrongness of a particular action in a particular set of circumstances then, no, I'm afraid we can't agree. There is an implicit assumption in there that has to be challenged. Why must it be that way in reality, or why must it be that way in order to have any value?

18 January 2012 17:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Also, to put it in a religious context, what's the 'morality' that Joshua used to justify razing Jericho to the ground and murdering every last man, woman, and child (except the spies), together with all the animals, which all of us across the world ought to apply today? Is it "because my god says so inside my head and expects complete obedience" by any chance?

18 January 2012 17:43  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

For the benefit of Christians on this site, I will spell out how we should deal with the 'Gay' problem. So that they don't find out our plans, I will use invisible ink. ................................................................................................................................OK?

18 January 2012 17:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I've just looked at those publications posted earlier. Who knew you could get such muscular action man figures with tattoes and everything? Blimey. I have to say I'd be pretty surprised and fairly shocked to find those being handed out in or around schools. However, if people are going to do stuff like that in those leaflets then they need to know what they're doing I suppose and it's better to have the information available rather than not. I'd have thought just online and easy to find once one got to a more general site would be more appropriate. But hey. I bet the blog owner is ecstatic to have such things linked to his blog.

18 January 2012 18:04  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Danj0
God would not have instructed Joshua to kill the inhabitants but to teach them as weren't they the Canaanites moon worshippers?
I suspect it was the usual problem of the fact of man's greed, they wanted the land and resources and could easily gain power over the inhabitants.
God had intended they enter Jericho and mix together not as Joshua ordered them to to namely kill all inhabitants except a prostitute! Ha ha.

18 January 2012 18:07  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

I have nowhere on this thread talked about justifying acts between two people. I am concerned with justifying relationships. What I find interesting is that you demand from others what you will not provide to me. You assert that your relationships require no justification at all. And yet you would require justification for a relationship between father and adult daughter. You say the authority I cite hangs in mid-air, and yet you would condemn others on the basis of nothing more than your own speculations. You accuse me of imposing arbitrary boundaries on you, and then you impose arbitrary boundaries on others. What have you done besides attempt to organize the world to your own liking and benefit as if your were an authority?

You believe that sex is a private matter instantiated in a private relationship, and nothing more. Unless of course you disapprove of the private relationship - according to whatever bit of boiled beef you consumed that morning. Then you would impose public restraints on it. All very rational of course, where 'rational' is defined as "What DanJ0 thinks is best." Yes, yes, I know. It's an expression of the things that people as a collective tend to "recognise in themselves and in their society." Unless the collective doesn't happen to agree with DanJ0 in which case the collective becomes a dangerous expression of fascism. I am beginning to see the true authority emerging from the vapor.

carl

18 January 2012 18:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "What I find interesting is that you demand from others what you will not provide to me. You assert that your relationships require no justification at all."

No. I say that my relationships, if you mean homosexual ones, are subject to the same justifications as heterosexual ones. They're pretty well established now.

"You say the authority I cite hangs in mid-air, and yet you would condemn others on the basis of nothing more than your own speculations."

My speculations? I'm mainstream. My views are in accord with my society at large, and other societies in Europe too. It is your views that are unusual! The authority you cite is no authority at all. It's an assertion based on your claim that your particular god exists despite the fact that you cannot demonstrate its existence to anyone. Furthermore, other people take the same position as you but with a different god. You have no way of arbitrating there either.

"You accuse me of imposing arbitrary boundaries on you, and then you impose arbitrary boundaries on others."

You, the religious, cannot impose boundaries without force and we're fighting over who controls that force. I'm a liberal. You may live by your own rules in as much as you don't significantly harm others. I'm arguing for boundaries about equi-distant between us. It's religious fascists that are interested in what goes on in my bedroom, I don't give a fist-fuck (thanks for that, Flossie) what you do in yours if it's between consenting adults. Who has the high ground here? Moi, I think.

"You believe that sex is a private matter instantiated in a private relationship, and nothing more. Unless of course you disapprove of the private relationship - according to whatever bit of boiled beef you consumed that morning."

That's a complete misrepresentation. As you have already been told, I'm particularly interested in harm in any arbitration.

"All very rational of course, where 'rational' is defined as "What DanJ0 thinks is best.""

Which seems to be very much in accord indeed with what my society currently thinks is best, as it happens. Why does it think that? Because it's been thought about, and argued about, and tested in the real world over time.

"Unless the collective doesn't happen to agree with DanJ0 in which case the collective becomes a dangerous expression of fascism."

Hey, I'm a liberal. Fascism is a natural enemy. Liberal principles in the John Stuart Mill tradition are well established, I'm pleased to say. It doesn't have to be that way of course. We could go back to the days of (say) Mary Tudor in the UK, burning and slicing up protestant heretics if the left-footers get full control again. That's the chance we take in the real world. Afterall, in all probably we are on our own and have to make the best of it. I'm not a great fan of Utopians.

18 January 2012 18:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Speaking of past religious brutality, The Crusades is on tonight on BBC2 at 21:30 if anyone is interested.

18 January 2012 18:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

Why does it think that? Because it's been thought about

No, its not been thought about, a careful campaign has been staged to prevent people carefully thinking about homosexuality. Those who offer a different view are scorned and called names. Those who can't or don't think for themselves are intimidated and just go with the flow. Seriously, how many people in the public who have right on views about this have given it the thought that Carl has for example?

But beyond that, you and I are agreed. I expect most people agree with you: it is not up to the state to interfere with consenting homosexuals who have some sort of sexual relationships. But the same liberalism really ought to allow disagreement on this issue, which in turn rules out things like gay marriage. It is the coerciveness of the present pro-gay movement which is objectionable.

18 January 2012 19:07  
Blogger len said...

The Catholic Church is 'big' on sin .....as long as its not theirs.

18 January 2012 19:15  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Danjo said "Why must it be that way in reality, or why must it be that way in order to have any value?"

It only has to be that way if we think that morality has an objective value. If morality is a changeable thing then we have to accept that the Caste system, or Nazism, or or any form of genocide in certain circumstances can be acceptable if. In that scenario we have to work out what makes actions legitimate and there are usually two options 1) the will of the majority or 2) the will of the strongest. However, we would be talking about local regulation in both cases rather than morality.

18 January 2012 19:25  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Preacher said ...
"Our part is not to condone sin, no matter who it is that is guilty & what they have done. But to Offer God's pardon that cost Him so much."

I take your point but what happens when a society goes on the slide and children are corrupted? What happens when our spiritual leaders stay silent in the face of blatant sin and the degeneration it brings to a society?

No, I believe a Christian has to name homosexuality, and those other vices choking our society, for what they are.

Have you any idea of the harm being perpetuated in name of liberty, understanding and acceptance?

Flossie
Beleive me the perversions associated with homosexuality get worse. These practices are spreading to the heterosexual community as these repugnant behaviours become more mainstream. Next we'll be teaching our children about 'safe' chemical stimulants, BDSM and such things. It's a one way path.

DanJ0 said ..
" ... incest is sometimes wrong."

When is it ever right and how are you deciding on this?!

Try to keep crudities out of your comments and the backhanded taunting of heterosexuals with questions about our sexual behaviours.

Just soyou know, so far as I am aware the Church has no issue about stimulating one's partner in whatever way one desires - preluding obvious perverstions such as sodomy - provided these practices are not ends in themselves to the exclusion of normal conjungal relationships.

18 January 2012 19:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Shacklefree: "It only has to be that way if we think that morality has an objective value."

We make moral judgements, often inconsistently, all the time and they have plenty of value: they allow us to go on in the world. If you want some sort of moral objectivism then either moral facts actually exist or they don't. If a god exists then perhaps moral facts actually exist whether or not we recognise them. If a god doesn't exist, and how would we all know whether it does or doesn't, then there are either no existing moral facts or we make up a system to recognise things as moral facts which are independent of opinion or convention in our reality and hope people follow it. People like Immanuel Kant have argued for such a system but there hasn't been much of a take up of it. Perhaps people feel that there's more to 'morality' than that, or that the premises of his arguments are wrong, or that the answers it provides in some situations don't feel right in some way. Whatever it is, you may not feel this apparent lack of a single 'morality' that we can realistically argue for and accept is very desirable but, well, we live in the real world and take it as we find it.

18 January 2012 19:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "When is it ever right and how are you deciding on this?!"

I think it's hard to argue that brother/sister sexual relations are always wrong. It certainly feels wrong to me and I think society is right to maintain a taboo on it but on what basis can one say it is always wrong, aside from "because my god says so"? Perhaps you'll get all drama-queen-ish over this but look at other European states if you think I'm being outlandish here.

"Try to keep crudities out of your comments and the backhanded taunting of heterosexuals with questions about our sexual behaviours."

Dodo, you have no standing to start issuing edicts like that around. If you had any integrity or sense of shame then you'd have been long gone. Yet you maintain your outrageous behaviour almost nightly.

"Just soyou know, so far as I am aware the Church has no issue about stimulating one's partner in whatever way one desires [...]"

Good. If one chooses not to accept the theology of your church, or the historic pollution of Aquinas as I'm inclined to view it, then the secular practice seems to be fine. I'll take one of those justifications and apply it to same-sex relations, thanks. It seems pretty harmless afterall.

18 January 2012 19:56  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Danj0, “ If a god exists then perhaps moral facts actually exist whether or not we recognise them. If a god doesn't exist, and how would we all know whether it does or doesn't, then there are either no existing moral facts or we make up a system to recognise things as moral facts which are independent of opinion or convention in our reality and hope people follow it.

Agreed, these are the two options and you are right the ask “How would we know?” One would assume that if there is a God he would have given us more than the ability to speculate. I think he has and I think we can see his effects. I think we might agree that if he is there, then his effects are expressed quietly and would require a listening ear.

18 January 2012 20:10  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The trouble is, Shacklefree, you want a universally applicable 'morality' across time and geography. Therefore lots of people need to hear your god expressing his effects quietly to take it on board at society level, or its followers needs to get into positions of power and force the issue on society. The latter's been done already, across time and geography, and it wasn't particularly great when all is said and done.

18 January 2012 20:18  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

On incest, DanJ0 is very much correct in what he says because, from a legal perspective, it is no worse than any number of sexual practices that are legal or, indeed, regularly practised and accepted within society.

However, from a religiously moral perspective it is clearly wrong and to be treated as such forever and a day. The problem comes when people start applying societal views on the law and expect it to then become law. This happened with homosexuality (this is not a dig either way at homosexuality, merely stating facts), is very likely to happen bigamy and, given that there are many countries in the world where it is currently not legally prohibited, incest could well be the one to follow.

The key problem is that within all of this change where does it leave the Church (and, indeed, other religions) in how this impacts the way they are allowed to live out their beliefs. If memory serves, anyone who has a sex-change is to be considered as being the gender they changed to, not their previous designation. That may well mean that the Church of England cannot say no if they want to get married. Also, because of issues of data protection, it may well be that no one can know that they have had a sex change unless the person in question tells them. This could mean that the government has, by how it makes the law, caused a vicar to marry 2 people who were of the same gender without their knowing. This is no different, in principle, to meat being killed Halal-style and then used in both Halal foods and non-Halal foods with no labelling to say it's there.

In direct relation to the post, it is, perhaps, a sad indictment of the Church that it has tried so hard to be liked for being "modern" that it's message on some fairly important issues is lost to a thousand and one competing views on the same point, not so much watering it down as being drowned at sea.

18 January 2012 20:43  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

DanJ0
Aquinas, like the other Doctors of the Church, did not speak for the Magisterium and indeed some of his theology has been rejected.

How on earth you can attempt tojustify sex between siblings is beyond me. Do you know no depths of depravity?

And, as I'm sure you know, you ommitted the signifivant qualification to my comment about heterosexual behaviour:

... precluding obvious perverstions such as sodomy - provided these practices are not ends in themselves to the exclusion of normal conjungal relationships."

I trust you understand the terms without my having to spell them out.

To be honest, this is not something I spend a great deal of time discussing with my confessor.

Shacklefree
I believe the consequences of not following the Divine order are abundantly clear from history and from the problems both individuals and our own society as a whole confronts today.

Abandon the moral, natural order and humanity pays the price. There's only so much evil God will tolerate.

18 January 2012 20:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "How on earth you can attempt tojustify sex between siblings is beyond me. Do you know no depths of depravity?"

Yep, drama queen. :)

18 January 2012 21:03  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Dodo - "There's only so much evil God will tolerate"

Actually, the story of Noah says the opposite

18 January 2012 21:35  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

DanJ0
If it's being over dramatic to express horror at your amorality then I'm guilty as charged.

So if a brother and sister, (and presumably brother and brother or sister and sister) can have sexual relations what about other relatives? Why exclude anyone from doing whatever they want with whomever they want provided it is "consensual"?

18 January 2012 21:36  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Youthpasta said...
"Dodo - "There's only so much evil God will tolerate"
Actually, the story of Noah says the opposite"


I don't think so! God promised not to destroy the world by flood again.

Why would God continually hold back 'judgement' and protect man from the consequences of his behaviour, if it results in more and more sin? Immorality has consequences for individuals, communitie and society.

18 January 2012 21:41  
Blogger Phil said...

Carl

Your enlargements are persuasive.Succinct and to the point. I have copied them all for future reference

Please write some more. How about a book?

Just what I needed to get my head straight on these issues.

Well done

18 January 2012 21:57  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

For anyone interested 1 Corinthians 5:1. It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles, that one has his father's wife. Note; not his mother but his step mother.

18 January 2012 22:55  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

carl said ...

"I don't accept the moral distinction the RCC tries to make between contraception and NFP. It is a distinction without a difference."

Before rejecting it, consider its basis.

Following Albert's question to you, I came across an article - link below. I think you might enjoy reading it.

www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles/AnscombeChastity.php

18 January 2012 23:50  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Home from work. Let me tie up a few loose ends.

Phil

Thank you for your kind words, but really I am an amateur. Just an Engineer. Yes, I know. In a perfect world, Engineers would run everything. But we aren't there yet. ;)

Albert

Have you read Anscombe on Contraception?

Not to my knowledge. About ten years ago, I suffered a moment of weakness, and thought the RCC might be right about something. (Little joke) I asked a RC friend for a book on the general subject of contraception that would make the Scriptural case against it. He gave me a book written by some theologian at the Vatican, I think. It was full of Papal Bulls, and magisterial pronouncements, and tightly woven philosophy. In the back was an appendix that made the Scriptural argument - one paragraph on Genesis 38:8-10. It wasn't even on point. I was underwhelmed.

Dodo

Before rejecting it, consider its basis.

I have considered it. An explanation of the difference was part of the NFP course I took. It was also central to the book mentioned above.

carl

19 January 2012 01:04  
Blogger Dodo the Renatus Dude said...

carl

Never mind the Papal Bulls have a read of Anscombe. I'm sure you'll find it interesting and it is somewhat more contemporary than many of the Vatican documents; not so 'flowery' in its language.

Catholic theology, as in Humanae Vitea, is so much a case against contraception, it's more of a case for morality and virtue in human sexuality.

19 January 2012 01:15  
Blogger Dodo the Renatus Dude said...

... is *not* so much a case against contraception ...

19 January 2012 01:17  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

Seriously, how many people in the public who have right on views about this have given it the thought that Carl has for example?

I'm not sure that DanJ0 would agree that what I do is thinking. I suspect he would say that I have surrendered myself to fairy tales. To think, I would have to begin by presuming the 'real world.' The 'real world' is the cold dead universe devoid of any metaphysics.

In such a world, man is a limited but radically free moral agent who is subject to nothing but other limited but radically free moral agents. The conflict is by definition a conflict among peers. The moral agents involved may be meaningless creatures who fight meaningless conflicts in the course of living meaningless lives, but what is important is that they are free to live meaningless lives.

This is what some find so troublesome about the introduction of religion into the public square. It denies radical freedom. It imposes moral constraints that are beyond appeal. Man is no longer the master of his own destiny. He is no longer a little god in his own world but a little creature in Someone Else's world. There can be no radical moral freedom under such a condition, and DanJ0 is mostly concerned to protect his freedom to act. His autonomy is his most treasured possession. Not surprising since, in his materialist universe, he could never possess anything else.

DanJ0 wants to be free. That doesn't mean he wants to allow every behavior known to man. He clearly doesn't. What he wants clearly understood and acknowledged is that only man has the right to limit man's conduct. He wants it clearly acknowledged and understood that man cannot appeal to anything beyond the physical universe when establishing those limits. The freedom he desires is freedom from the divine authority that attaches to God. Instead he recites his own commandment. "Man is the Lord Thy god. You shall have no other gods before him."

And man is a very jealous god indeed.

carl

19 January 2012 01:58  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

I say that my relationships, if you mean homosexual ones, are subject to the same justifications as heterosexual ones. They're pretty well established now.

Well, except for that whole "complementarity of the genders" thing, and the fact that heterosexuality is necessary for the existence of the species. There is nothing like that for homosexuality. In fact, outside of "I want it" there isn't much of anything to justify it. The "well-established" part is simply a reflection of autonomy as the ascendant moral principle in a culture that lacks any other moral anchor.

My speculations? I'm mainstream.

Oh. I see. So when your views weren't 'mainstream' then they were wrong? No, you won't admit that. You know very well that the mass behind the view does not determine the correctness of the view. Or perhaps you used the word "mainstream" when you meant "People who think like me now make the rules, so the rules must be right at last." In any case, it doesn't change the character of your moral claims. They are founded upon nothing but you.

You, the religious, cannot impose boundaries without force and we're fighting over who controls that force.


You, the atheist, cannot impose boundaries without force either. You are not trying to stop the imposition of boundaries. You are trying to stop the imposition of boundaries to which you object. You want to establish those boundaries that serve your own vision. A vision founded in you. And yet you would call my boundaries 'fascist' while you call your boundaries 'rational.' According to what authority? You.

That's a complete misrepresentation. As you have already been told, I'm particularly interested in harm in any arbitration.

It's not a misrepresentation at all. You can't hide from the implications of your own ideas by dropping the word 'harm' in a sentence and expecting it to be treated as an objective standard chiseled on stone and brought down from Mount Sinai. You don't recognize objective standards, remember? 'Harm' is in fact a moral category all by itself. So who then defines 'harm?' Why, you do of course. A man who has sex with his adult daughter causes harm, but a brother who has sex with his sister does not. Thus spake DanJ0. Who is DanJ0 but an arbitrary transient speck of dust, and why do his arbitrary words have authority? Who are you to tell a man who wants to have sex with his adult daughter all the things I would tell you about wanting to have sex with another man?

carl

19 January 2012 05:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "If it's being over dramatic to express horror at your amorality then I'm guilty as charged."

Clearly I'm not amoral given the rest of the things I say and you may be expressing horror for effect but you could simply think about it calmly and rationally instead. It's not as though I haven't already said that I personally find it intuitively wrong myself? Have you thought about a career in the theatre?

19 January 2012 05:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "DanJ0 wants to be free. That doesn't mean he wants to allow every behavior known to man. He clearly doesn't. What he wants clearly understood and acknowledged is that only man has the right to limit man's conduct."

You have the basics correct. The trouble is, who or what else other than man has the right to limit man's conduct? You're merely asserting your chosen god, allocating the right to that concept, and then acting as its agents with that right. It's smoke and mirrors to get what you want.

"He wants it clearly acknowledged and understood that man cannot appeal to anything beyond the physical universe when establishing those limits."

You can appeal all you like, as can (say) Muslims to something different, but the authority you get from the appeal is a wordly authority which depends entirely on your convincing your fellow man that your beliefs are correct. The extent of your success determines just how much force, because you'll always need some in the apparent absence of the god you assert, you end up needing to back it up in the real world.

"The freedom he desires is freedom from the divine authority that attaches to God."

More correctly: to which you attach to your theoretical concept of a god which may or may not actually exist in the form you want. In the meantime we must go on in life, individually and as societies, and that means trying to understand the 'human condition' and setting up ethics accordingly to enable us all to live together.

19 January 2012 05:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Well, except for that whole "complementarity of the genders" thing, and the fact that heterosexuality is necessary for the existence of the species. There is nothing like that for homosexuality."

Well, at least you're solidly in the territory of "is implies ought" now and I'm sure most of us know the difficulties that follow from that.

"In fact, outside of "I want it" there isn't much of anything to justify it. The "well-established" part is simply a reflection of autonomy as the ascendant moral principle in a culture that lacks any other moral anchor."

What is there to justify? What exactly is the problem with two consenting adults engaging in a relationship which doesn't inherently cause significant harm to anyone? You're assuming a moral conclusion and arguing backwards for the premises of your argument.

"Oh. I see. So when your views weren't 'mainstream' then they were wrong? No, you won't admit that. You know very well that the mass behind the view does not determine the correctness of the view."

The point I was making is that it is you who needs to back up your assertions now. It is you who is the challenger to the 'received wisdom' of the day yet the tone of your comments tries to throw it the opposite way.

"In any case, it doesn't change the character of your moral claims. They are founded upon nothing but you."

No. They are founded on a number of things, including some sort of conventionalism. As I said to Shacklefree, either moral facts actually exist or they don't. If they don't then we are not completely stymied and unable to go on in the world. We must do what we appear to have done in this area. I suspect there isn't actually a single, consistent, coherent moral system to find or one that can be designed to do the job we, or rather people like you, want.

"You, the atheist, cannot impose boundaries without force either. You are not trying to stop the imposition of boundaries. You are trying to stop the imposition of boundaries to which you object."

It's liberalism that comes to the fore here, that's the political philosophy involved. Undoubtedly we need boundaries in society. Liberalism provides a mechanism to arbitrate based on notions such as the Harm Principle. We atheists win some arguments over boundaries and lose some. Unlike during the reign of (say) Mary Tudor here, liberalism seeks to make space for people of Mary's religion, people who have a different religion, and people who have no religion. I rather like it.

"'Harm' is in fact a moral category all by itself. So who then defines 'harm?' Why, you do of course."

No, not me. As you say, it's not objective. It's not very precise either. Nonetheless, the structure we have allows it to be discussed, argued about, and some sort of agreement reached in society. Let's face it, it's not that hard to agree some core things about harm is it? It may not necessarily jump across centuries of time but it's pretty consistent stuff.

What's the alternative? That a group of men, and it's almost always men, sit down and codify the same sort of stuff? Write it down in a book, create a diety to give it some oompf, surround it with superstition, and set it free in a political arena to sink or swim. The successful swimmers then get asserted and defended by people like you, or people with Arabic-sounding names for other successful swimmers, centuries down the line. I'm not seeing that approach as any better (and arguably it's much worse) than our current one, to be frank.

19 January 2012 06:27  
Blogger Flossie said...

Inspector General - yes, Terrence Higgins is dead, and the Trust was set up with a view to preventing other men dying from AIDS.

What has happened? Levels of HIV have doubled in the last decade. This can only get worse with young people being encouraged to experiment with sexual activities described in the THT's literature.

THT has failed in its objective. It should be shut down, not handed a cool quarter of a million quid of our money to entice others.

Reading again the account of Chris Bryant's proud boast about the House of Commons 'gay bar', I couldn't help wondering why, if he is so happy with his 'husband', he felt the need to pose on a gay dating website in his underpants.

19 January 2012 06:52  
Blogger Jon said...

Dodo - You are the very definition of a a clanging cymbal. You have not love for your fellow man - you sneer, imply, judge, deliberately misinterpret, and innuendo your way through others' arguments, apparently untroubled by the supposed conviction you received for your own sin, and unburdened by the humility you should feel in the sacrifice you have supposedly accepted from your Lord and Saviour.

Are you Richard Dawkins in disguise, come to discredit the Roman Catholic Church? If so, you're doing a great job!

19 January 2012 10:27  
Blogger Jon said...

Flossie - it's possible of course, that HIV infection rates could have been much worse if THT hadn't been doing it's work? It's also possible that they would be much lower if the RCC hadn't instructed its agents in developing countries to lie and tell their flock that condoms actually promoted the spread of HIV.

As to your thoughts about "our money" - I'm fine with withdrawing taxpayer support from THT - once the Church starts paying tax on its global income like any other company, I guess it will get more of a say. Render to Caesar and all that...

Your earlier "think of the kids" based arguments against the availability of information online is a little spurious. I don't wish to shock you, but the most profitable businesses online are generally based on pornography or gambling. If the THT website is the worst thing you can imagine, you're just not trying hard enough.

19 January 2012 10:37  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Danj0, The trouble is, Shacklefree, you want a universally applicable 'morality' across time and geography.

True. Here's what Chesterton says: This, therefore, is our first requirement about the ideal towards which progress is directed; it must be fixed. … So it does not matter … how often humanity fails to imitate its ideal; for then all its old failures are fruitful. But it does frightfully matter how often humanity changes its ideal; for then all its old failures are fruitless.
A strict rule is not only necessary for ruling; it is also necessary for rebelling. … Man will sometimes act slowly upon new ideas; but he will only act swiftly upon old ideas. … This is the whole weakness of certain schools of progress and moral evolution. …

You may not agree with Chesterton but I'm sure you will agree he is an excellent writer and certainly gives concise food for thought.

19 January 2012 11:25  
Blogger Flossie said...

DanJo dear, nobody else is trying to push porn into schoolrooms! There are certainly so-called 'sexperts' trying to sexualise children far too early, but that is another subject.

As for the condoms myth, I thought that had been busted, and that everyone knows by now that the countries most awash with them are the ones with the highest rates of HIV/AIDs. The catholic church's stance is that abstinence outside of marriage is the only way. You can twist this to read whatever you like, but that is still how it stands. Not much mention of abstinence on the THT website. None, in fact. Only instructions on how to carry out dangerous sexual practices. So who is right and who is wrong?

19 January 2012 11:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Flossie, Jon and I are separate people. Also, I'm not sure the 'dear' thing is helping you much.

19 January 2012 12:01  
Blogger Flossie said...

My apologies, DanJo.

19 January 2012 12:17  
Blogger Jon said...

Flossie - I don't think those leaflets are pornographic - Action Man certainly doesn't get me going (well, not any more - I loved him when I was 6 - no, not in that way Dodo). Have you seen one of these leaflets being handed out in a school, or are you saying that because THT produce this, they can't produce something else for teenagers?

In general though, sex education is pretty valuable because it can help kids to realise that the changes going on in their bodies are perfectly natural, and to help arm them with the facts about pregnancy, STDs, and yes, sexual identity. I'm sorry you disagree, but I think these things are "facts of life" and won't be taught in all homes, and so schools are an excellent place to help kids understand this aspect of their lives before ignorance causes them long term harm like an unwanted pregnancy of a disease which scars them for life.

As to your other points - I could argue that the countries with the largest concentrations of hamburgers are also the ones with the largest concentrations of large cars - do hamburgers cause large cars? You are confusing correlation with causation.

I don't know which condoms myth you're referring to - can you explain? You're right that abstinence will prevent HIV infection, (leaving aside accidental infection during blood transfusions etc.) but many people don't regard it as realistic. As for people whose partners are unfaithful and who catch it from them - are we to simply accept that the sins of the husband are visited on the wife? This seems perverse to me.

Condoms aren't perfect - but they're the best thing we've got at the moment. Let's work to design something better. The Church is being deliberately disingenuous to pretend otherwise. Meanwhile, I suspect that you're conflating information about some of the things that some gay (and straight) people get up to with some kind of general moral panic about the presence of information in schools about some people being gay.

Every time the blog owner puts a link up here about something gay- related, the comments go crazy almost instantly. I don't think any other topic excites the inmates as much. My advice is this - in general, we don't want your church marriages, we don't want to colonize your children's brains, and we aren't seeking the overthrow of the monarchy in favour of President Cher. Please, stop panicking. There are plenty of things that are worth expending energy worrying about. Gay people subverting British society isn't one of them.

19 January 2012 13:00  
Blogger Dodo the Renatus Dude said...

Jon said ...
"Dodo - You are the very definition of a a clanging cymbal. You have not love for your fellow man - you sneer, imply, judge, deliberately misinterpret, and innuendo your way through others' arguments ..."


Good, I'm glad I'm getting up your nose. And let's be clear, I'm not on here to be all nice and loving towards those in favour of people acting with gay abandon and being sexual libertines, whatever form that may take. There's been too much tolerance of the subversive ideas you peddle and they are, in my view, toxic and corrosive.

Christianity lifted pagan culture out of self-centred, hedonistic sexual relationships. It placed mutual love and fidelity at the centre of relationships between men and women and emphasised the importance of sexual activity in transmitting life. You and your illk are advocating a return to the dark ages.

You support the use of condoms outside of permanent relationships to protect against disease and pregnancy. No doubt you also support abortion if contraception doesn't work too. Divorce is okay because self-fulfillment is the goal. Chastity and virtue in sex is a "no-no" because this life is all we have; there's no God; no natural or moral order. Homosexuality, beastiality and incest? Well why not, where's the harm nowadays? And masturbation, mutual or solitary, is fine if its all that's available.

When it comes to being loving and tolerant about this world view I agree, I'm an abject failure.

19 January 2012 13:44  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo: this is a true story, heard from the Judge, herself:

Man is arrested for having carnal knowledge of a horse. In his later defence, he stated that: ''on previous occasions, the horse hadn't seemed to mind''!

Possibly apposite?

19 January 2012 14:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

When I see the same sort of histrionics and condemnation here about sex before marriage, adultery, and divorce in the general population, I might take Dodo and his sidekick more seriously. Not much more, obviously, but certainly more than now. I'm tempted for a laugh to look up those past comments where he was boasting of his sexual exploits in his youth, too.

19 January 2012 15:08  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

Re condoms and HIV:

The Church is being deliberately disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

No, the Church isn't pretending anything. As Edward C Green, Director of the Harvard AIDS Research Centre pointed out: the Pope is right, when it comes to evidence based AIDS prevention in Africa.

I am sure you will note with interest that he points out that UNAIDS quietly dropped a report it commissioned on the effectiveness of HIV prevention in Africa. Isn't it obvious, when the evidence is assessed, that it is not the Church that is being disingenuous?

19 January 2012 15:30  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

Well, at least you're solidly in the territory of "is implies ought" now and I'm sure most of us know the difficulties that follow from that.

But worrying about the "is/ought" gap is deadly to your own position: "X is harmful therefore X ought not to be done" or "X is harmful, therefore the state has the duty to protect people from X". You're just sneaking in the natural law you reject by the back door aren't you?

The problem you raise only arises if you accept a certain metaphysic. Given the difficulties that arise from that metaphysic, it is surely the metaphysic that needs to be rejected, not the natural law.

19 January 2012 15:40  
Blogger Jon said...

Dodo - you don't get up my nose - I just think you're a bit of a plonker. I think you probably get up God's, though, if he's bothered noticing you at all. You and wasps are pretty strong evidence for his non- existence at present....

Albert - here's a question for you then. If you were forced to have sex with a woman who you knew to be HIV positive - would you rather use a condom, or not? Perhaps a more careful review of the link you posted could help;

"... condom promotion has worked in countries such as Thailand and Cambodia, where most HIV is transmitted through commercial sex and where it has been possible to enforce a 100 percent condom use policy in brothels (but not outside of them). In theory, condom promotions ought to work everywhere. And intuitively, some condom use ought to be better than no use. But that's not what the research in Africa shows."

but....

"Another factor is that people seldom use condoms in steady relationships because doing so would imply a lack of trust. (And if condom use rates go up, it's possible we are seeing an increase of casual or commercial sex.) However, it's those ongoing relationships that drive Africa's worst epidemics. In these, most HIV infections are found in general populations, not in high-risk groups such as sex workers, gay men or persons who inject drugs. And in significant proportions of African populations, people have two or more regular sex partners who overlap in time. In Botswana, which has one of the world's highest HIV rates, 43 percent of men and 17 percent of women surveyed had two or more regular sex partners in the previous year."

Indeed;

"In Uganda's early, largely home-grown AIDS program, which began in 1986, the focus was on "Sticking to One Partner" or "Zero Grazing" (which meant remaining faithful within a polygamous marriage) and "Loving Faithfully." These simple messages worked. More recently, the two countries with the highest HIV infection rates, Swaziland and Botswana, have both launched campaigns that discourage people from having multiple and concurrent sexual partners."

I don't see the Holy Father banging on about polygamy as the solution, do you?

The Pope believes that condom use is bad per se because condoms are evil and every sperm is sacred, or something. The empirical research you referred to suggests that ceteris paribus, abstention or faithful monogamous or polygamous relationships are better that condoms. But it's not condoms that are the problem, it's the way that people use them (or don't) that causes the epidemic to widen.

You only have to look at the history of Thailand's HIV problems and subsequent hugely successful condom promotion schemes to realise that the Pope is wrong - condoms don't assist the spread of HIV. But the false assumptions people make about their partners, and their possible use of condoms can. More education is necessary and the Pope is firmly in the way.

19 January 2012 16:04  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

If you were forced to have sex with a woman who you knew to be HIV positive - would you rather use a condom, or not?

You seriously think that's a question that will trouble me? If I am being forced, then I am no longer a moral agent, in which case, a condom is a form of self-defence, an attempt to limit an act to which I am not consenting, but which is being imposed upon me.

I don't see the Holy Father banging on about polygamy as the solution, do you?

I don't read it as saying polygamy is the solution. The solution is to stop people having sex outside of fixed and closed relationships. In Africa some of those fixed and closed relationships are polygamous. Obviously, it is safer if you don't have sex in polygamous relationships also. The more people involved, the more chance there is that someone is "grazing" and that will infect everyone very quickly.

But it's not condoms that are the problem, it's the way that people use them (or don't) that causes the epidemic to widen.

Exactly, it's a human problem, it's about human behaviour and being realistic about human behaviour. Obviously, if someone is going to engage in risky sex, then a condom is safer. Bur safer still is not engaging in risky sex. And the evidence from both Africa and Thailand confirms that. Among high risk groups, such as prostitutes, condoms help prevent infection. In the rest of the community, condoms don't help, but sometimes hinder.

Now I was hardly going to disagree with the link I gave you was I? My point was to show that your suggestions that you were wrong to call the Church disingenuous.

19 January 2012 16:43  
Blogger Dodo the Renatus Dude said...

Oswin
I don't think I'm breaching a professional confidence, but I once worked with a young man who had sex with a horse too. His 'defence' was that he was in love and the horse enjoyed it. When I placed him in the hostel the warden asked if the cat would be safe!

Being serious, this young man was disturbed and had convinced himself he was doing something perfectly acceptable.

So yes, I do take your point.

DanJ0
Do grow up. We all have a 'past'.

Jon
I'll take my chances with God. You'll have to do the same too.

19 January 2012 17:58  
Blogger Jon said...

Leaving aside the fact we're now well, well off topic....

Well done Albert - you've rather proved my central point. Absent the moral position of your church, you accept that condoms lessen the chance of the spread of HIV by preventing its transmission.

In which case, if it's good enough for you, it's good enough for people in developing countries, and so the Vatican should stop its dangerous nonsense about the HIV virus slipping through latex etc. and accept that condoms are part of the battle. To pretend otherwise, as the church does, is disingenuous.

Not incidentally, I disagree with your reading of the latter parts of the article- which misunderstand in my view the parts about sex workers. The reason why their use has been successful in sex workers in Thailand is that it was mandatory. Their partial use in some programmes in Africa has led to people increasing the riskiness of their behaviour which has more than offset the benefit of condom use in the first place. This is not an argument against condom use, but it's an argument in favour of better education about their use.

Unfortunately, the Vatican has backed itself into a corner on an issue which the bible makes no reference to (as Carl Jacobs points out earlier), on a point of human- inspired dogma rather than compassion. It would do humanity a service if it lent its pulpit to the spread of education rather than misinformation.

19 January 2012 18:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

19 January 2012 18:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Do grow up. We all have a 'past'."

We do. However, boasting here not that long ago about your sexual exploits in your youth, if I remember correctly, and now engaging in histrionics about the evils of sexual activity outside of marriage would look rather daft.

19 January 2012 18:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Flossie. It is hard to argue against the sense you post but in jumps Jon. Then again, it could have been DanJ0. You see, to be gay means you MUST tow the gay line. You have no choice in the matter, seemingly. Any reservations you may have about the line must never be aired, otherwise you’re letting the side down. And that is why homosexuals have been so amazingly successful since decriminalisation. (…or even decimalisation, a typo the Inspector nearly missed…).They really have all got it together.

However, Terence Higgins or not, the gays are on a loser when it comes to disease. And not just AIDS. Syphilis and Gonorrhoea are all up to record levels not seen since before the discovery of penicillin. Sadly, their hedonistic nature prevents them from taking this into account when they publish details of their (…somewhat disgusting…) lifestyles that they hope to ‘educate’ the young into accepting as ‘normal’ (…God help us!...).

Incidentally, understandable you getting Jon and DanJ0 mixed up. They do speak with one voice, don’t they...

19 January 2012 18:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. The Inspector notes you are being serenaded by the choir gay. Courage, that bird...

19 January 2012 18:30  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

I think this is quite an egregious misreading of the document. The link was to an article by one of the world's leading specialists in HIV, referring to many other sources, saying that the Pope is right and yet, somehow, you still see to think he is saying the Pope is wrong.

The problem, it seems to me, with your position, is this: there is more to having a safe sexual relationship than just using a condom. There is the human element of the kind of relationship that one chooses and the elements that affect that choice. One of the elements that affects that choice in an adverse way, is the presence of condoms.

For example, they even tried an experiment. They gave one group a really heavy duty course on using condoms and compared the results with a control group which didn't have that course. They found that the risky behaviour of the first group wiped out any benefit. It doesn't matter what question you ask: higher HIV rates always correlate with higher condom usage.

I think that people who are being raped ought to be able to use a condom - so does the Church. But quite how you arrange that is beyond me, and given those difficulties, I cannot see how you could make a difference in that area without creating a much bigger problem in other areas.

Of course, the real irony in all this, is not that condom promoters are flying in the face of evidence, but that one of the most tragic causes of the HIV spreading is rarely mentioned: witch-doctors who tell men that sex with a virgin cures HIV. Perhaps it's more important to knock the Catholic Church than to prevent young girls being raped and infected with HIV. That's what I call dogma rather than compassion.

As for Carl's view on the Bible: it's hardly surprising the Bible says nothing about artificial contraception and I think it is important not only to look at what it says but to try to see what the logic is behind what it says. Christians of all hues did this for centuries and concluded that artificial forms of birth control are wrong. I am not aware of any new revelation in that regard.

19 January 2012 18:38  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

it's hardly surprising the Bible says nothing about artificial contraception

This is a good argument. But technically I didn't say that Scripture was silent on contraception. I said the book I read contained no significant Scriptural case.

Christians of all hues did this for centuries and concluded that artificial forms of birth control are wrong.

This is also a good argument, but it's not binding.

The birth control pill was the critical enabling technology for the Sexual Revolution. It allowed women to sever sex from conception without reference to their male counterparts. This is the significant unadmitted aspect of contraception - it alters human sexual behavior by removing the possibility of parenthood. It enables both the primacy of personal gratification and the subordination of procreation. The wide distribution of condoms is thus a de facto surrender to the idea that sex is primarily about personal gratification. That's why it is promoted, and that's why it is resisted. For example, giving condoms to school children doesn't just provide them a means to prevent pregnancy and disease. It teaches them a moral understanding about the appropriate place of sex in life. Never doubt that this is not understood. It is in fact the principle motivation behind the campaign.

My disagreements with the RCC on this issue are pretty narrow, and involve the allowed responsible use of contraception within a marriage to regulate childbirth. It really focuses on the issue already presented - is NFP a form of contraception? Only a true Providentialist would absolutely disagree with me.

carl

19 January 2012 19:09  
Blogger len said...

So Dodo admits to 'winding people up' to get his point across....well I never!.

As for 'taking ones chances' with God?.
Well I certainly will not be doing that, I am relying totally on Jesus Christ not myself at all!.

To lay it on the line we are ALL sinners(of different varieties) with some it will be arrogance , others pride,perhaps stealing lying etc,God does NOT have a 'sliding scale'for Judging sinners anyway who would want to be the' best sinner' that ever went to Hell?.
ALL have sinned, ALL have fallen short of the Glory of God,NONE can save themselves,ALL need a Saviour(whether they recognise the fact or not)

So the important fact is to recognise that we are all sinners and that God holds His arms out towards us in love hoping ,praying that we will repent and accept His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ His Son.

19 January 2012 19:29  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

My apologies for misrepresenting you.

For example, giving condoms to school children doesn't just provide them a means to prevent pregnancy and disease. It teaches them a moral understanding about the appropriate place of sex in life. Never doubt that this is not understood. It is in fact the principle motivation behind the campaign.

Well said. Something like that is perhaps behind the fact that we don't seem to have an "evidence-based" response to HIV in Africa - despite the fact that we have the evidence.

As for NFP and contraception. It is only artificial contraception that is wrong according to Catholic teaching. I can only refer you to Anscombe's article, already cited for a defence of permitting NFP but disallowing artificial contraception.

You made an interesting point earlier, that the book had little biblical grounding and this is what put you off (if I understood you). But now you seem to be accepting that having little biblical grounding is inevitable and that we must go further than simply what the text says, in order to grasp its moral meaning. After all, I imagine the biblical case for allowing responsible use of contraception within a marriage to regulate childbirth will run into the same biblical problems as NFP.

19 January 2012 19:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len. Yes, the sin of arrogance. Do reflect on it, there’s a good chap...

19 January 2012 19:41  
Blogger len said...

Insp, As I said we are ALL sinners,
even I am not perfect :)

19 January 2012 19:49  
Blogger len said...

I think the important thing is to freely admit we are sinners and THAT gives God the chance to save us.

Its called repentance.

19 January 2012 19:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len. Humble before God, we should all fear Him, for we are not worthy. No more ‘arrogant’ swipes at the RCC then...

19 January 2012 20:10  
Blogger Dodo the Renatus Dude said...

len
I actually concur with your post @ 19:29. There's nothing any Catholic would disagree with. Its good to see you accept too that even those "born again" remain capable of sinning.

And of course I wind people up on here! And why not? Its not done to harm or wilfully offend (well, not all the time) but to challenge and provoke. Cool reason and logic just don't work with some people. There are enough 'kindly' Christians sharing their 'understanding' and 'love' to provide a counter.

You will notice that Catholics tend to have a theological underpinning to the morality they advocate. (Homosexuality, abortion and contraception are cases in point). We do use reason in understanding God's purposes and how to apply this in world as it changes - we do not just 'religiously' serve 'rules and regulations' for their own sake because a Pope tells us to.

DanJ0
Oh please, do get over it! So the Inspector and I shared a light hearted exchange about our teenage years. This included references to sexual shenanigans. I was a teenager in the 1960's and freely admit to letting the spirit of the times get the better of me. Big deal! I would never defend it now and even at the time when we were talking about 'free love' knew in my heart it was wrong.

19 January 2012 21:43  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

But now you seem to be accepting that having little biblical grounding is inevitable and that we must go further than simply what the text says

I didn't expect them to go beyond the text. I expected them to go deeper into the text. Abortion is a good example of what I am talking about. There is no direct reference to abortion in Scripture. But there is plenty of Scripture on directly related topics so that a coherent position can be developed. The book by contrast did not base its argument on development from Scripture at all. The authority behind the argument was the authority of the Magisterium. The implication was that there was no coherent Scriptural case to be made, or else they would have made it.

carl

19 January 2012 23:10  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Oh please, do get over it!"

It's your histrionics, Dodo. You set yourself up for a good kicking. You and your sidekick are not some sort of stormtroopers of god, trying to fight back against the hoards of sexual libertines (gay ones only of course). You're a couple of armchair warriers, sipping your cocoa and trying to spice up your boring lives with some forum shenanigans every night. It was the same over the abortion issue where masses of real, actual, proper babies were supposedly being murdered on a daily basis. You were all shrill and outraged, yet again, but when challenged you had to call in reinforcements to knock up a risible Just War defence for not taking it to its conclusion by taking off your old man slippers and actually doing something about it, baby life by baby life.

20 January 2012 05:41  
Blogger Flossie said...

Coming rather belatedly back to this discussion - we get crazies like Polly Toynbee and Peter Tatchell blaming the Pope for 'millions' of AIDS-related deaths because of his condom ban. This would be risible if it weren't so wicked. The Pope cannot be responsible for one single death.

The Pope (being a Catholic) teaches that sexual activity is only permissible within marriage. That is it. Artificial birth control is a secondary issue. Any Catholic who is going to ignore Catholic teaching on sex outside of marriage is hardly likely to stop short at using artificial birth control, for heaven's sake.

Then there is the fact that countries with the highest proportion of AIDS sufferers have a miniscule Catholic presence. So who exactly is listening to the Pope there? There is evidence that countries with a higher Catholic presence actually have lower rates of AIDS.

You really have to look at the bigger picture. I see that Albert has already mentioned the work of Dr Edward C Green, whose conclusion after many years of research backed up this basic logic - that using technical methods of reducing risk actually increases risk-taking. Look what effect The Pill has had in the West. Has it reduced unwanted pregnancies? I don't think so!

I'm not a Roman Catholic, but even my simple brain can grasp that doctrine on sex hangs together perfectly. No sex outside marriage means no STIs including AIDS. Other societal ills such as broken marriages, divorce, dysfunctional children, abortion, would also decrease if more people could heed this.

20 January 2012 07:22  
Blogger Jon said...

Inspector - I'm rather flattered that you think I speak with the same voice as DanJ0 - he's much better at utterly demolishing you lot than I am. We don't meet beforehand to co-ordinate an agenda though - we're just thinking for ourselves - you should try it sometime. On the other hand - I guess your thinking is done for you, so you needn't bother.

However, I suspect you're rather trying to turn one of the best attacks on you to others, but it's not going to work. You see - Dodo regularly quotes your church's dogma back at me, and DanJ0 and Len and anyone else who dares to disagree with you, as if a latin title and authorship by an aging virgin in a dowdy frock with a penchant for pederasty was the recipe for intellectual coherence.

20 January 2012 09:47  
Blogger Jon said...

Flossie - you're doing it again. Correlation is not causation. Please try to understand this.

As for your evidence of the "presence of the catholic church" and reduced HIV infection rates - please present it.

There is one fact in this discussion, acknowledged by even Albert - condoms are the best way we have yet found to prevent the transmission of HIV during sexual intercourse. Everything else is sociological detail. (BTW the idea that someone being raped is in a position to ask their attacker to use a condom is typical of the misunderstanding of the nature of this crime by the catholic church!)

As Carl has pointed out - the rest of their argument amounts to "trust us, we're Catholic" and thankfully, hardly anyone buys that any more in western europe. Sadly, millions in the developing world still do and are catching diseases as a result.

20 January 2012 09:56  
Blogger Flossie said...

Jon - please understand this.

2003 statistics from the World Factbook of the US Central Intelligence Agency shows Burundi at 62% Catholic with 6% AIDS infection rate. Angola’s population is 38% Roman Catholic and has 3.9% AIDS rate. Ghana is 63% Christian, with in some regions as much as 33% Catholic and has 3.1% AIDS rate. Nigeria, divided almost evenly between the strongly Muslim north and Christian and "animist" south, has 5.4% AIDS rate.

Strongly Christian Uganda continues to frustrate condom-pushing NGO’s by maintaining its abstinence and fidelity AIDS prevention programs and one of the lowest rates of AIDS in Africa, at 4.1%. Uganda’s population is listed by the CIA Factbook as 33% Roman Catholic and 33% Protestant.

Of African countries with low Catholic populations, Botswana is typical with 37.3% AIDS, one of the highest in Africa, and 5% of the total population Catholic. In 2003, Swaziland was shown to have a 38.8% AIDS infection rate and only 20% Catholic population.

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2007/mar/07030610

No matter how hard you try, you cannot prove God's plan for humankind to be wrong.

20 January 2012 10:49  
Blogger Jon said...

OK - good, thanks for your stats, Flossie. Leaving aside that according to your stats, Burundi rather contradicts your suggestion, do you think that the presence of Catholicism is the only variable which influences HIV infection rates in these countries? Could you even suggest that it's the most significant variable? What other variables can you think of?

How does Thailand (not noted for its adherence to Catholic doctrine) feature in your analysis?

No matter how hard you try, you can't prove God's plan exists. That's why it's called faith.

20 January 2012 11:44  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Jon

condoms are the best way we have yet found to prevent the transmission of HIV during sexual intercourse.

Yes - once you accept sexual promiscuity as the given unalterable norm of human behavior. The problems you are seeking to address by the use of condoms are all the result of sexual incontinence. All of them. To the last jot and tittle. Your solution amounts to "Here, let me teach you how to be safely incontinent." The unspoken implication is "Go screw to you heart's content. It doesn't matter so long as you don't get a disease or get pregnant." You are re-enforcing the very attitudes that produce the problems you are trying to address. Those attitudes have collateral impacts way beyond just unwanted pregnancy and disease.

Men as a rule don't particularly like condoms. When possible, they will find ways to not use them. Remember the penetrator uses the condom to protect the penetratee. If the penetrator doesn't care about his partner, then what is his incentive to use a condom? It's easy to not care about the other person if that person is nothing but a means to personal gratification. Yet this is exactly the attitude that is being encouraged. Over time the educational effort required to get people to keep using condoms starts to show diminishing returns. But the attitudes towards sexual promiscuity remain.

The true solution is to reshape attitudes towards sexual promiscuity. The suspicion is that those who advocate massive usage of condoms are not interested in reshaping such attitudes; that they don't see promiscuity that as a bad thing; that they are interested in making promiscuity safe so that men can be free to indulge their sexual desires. These suspicions are only re-enforced by the use of language such as 'sex worker' instead of prostitute.

I suspect that many people think traditional sexual morality is a product of primitive medical technology that has been rendered obsolete by modern advances. Today we have a campaign to Normalize Incontinence through Science. Except it won't work. The problems have only gotten worse since the Sexual Revolution. You may reduce HIV transmission for a time. But unless you change the heart behind the condom, you haven't really solved the problem.

carl

20 January 2012 12:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I suppose the chance of there being something between god-based sexual morality and sexual incontinence is pretty much zero. If it's not inherently wrong then we'll fill our boots as a matter of course.

20 January 2012 13:06  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

I didn't expect them to go beyond the text. I expected them to go deeper into the text.

Perhaps you were reading the wrong book. But I'm not so sure that asking for a clear biblical exposition of a topic that is not addressed in the Bible and was probably not even entertained at the time is reasonable. What matters is that we know natural law comes from God, and is endorsed by scripture.

BTW, I am not sure I agree with there being no biblical teaching on abortion.

20 January 2012 13:24  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

the idea that someone being raped is in a position to ask their attacker to use a condom is typical of the misunderstanding of the nature of this crime by the catholic church!

That's an astonishing misinterpretation of what I said. The point is simply that someone is not a moral agent in an act they are not choosing. In such circumstances they can defend themselves. As I indicated, it is obvious that someone in that position cannot actually use a condom. It is your original illustration that was at fault, not the logic of Catholic teaching. A related example (which is real) is of nuns on a medical mission being raped. Can they take the pill to prevent ovulation? Yes, they can. It's disgraceful of you to pretend that the Catholic Church has no experience of these matters. A quarter of all AIDS care is carried out by the Church. It is spread by people encouraging others to disregard Church teaching.

the rest of their argument amounts to "trust us, we're Catholic"

No, it is evidence based, but no evidence will convince you, because you are a fundamentalist.

Sadly, millions in the developing world still do and are catching diseases as a result.

Where couples follow Catholic teaching they are at no risk of catching HIV from sex.

As for Thailand, you could compare the rate the with Malta. But - and this point has been made endlessly, not least by Green himself - the issue is that in Thailand HIV is not so widely among the population, but among the prostitutes. It is there that condoms reduce risk, because such persons are going to engage in risky sex anyway. For those who wouldn't otherwise engage in risky sex, all the evidence is condoms are a problem.

20 January 2012 13:37  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Jon you are being underhanded. The statistics clearly show that HIV infection is lower in more strongly Catholic countries. You cannot simply say 'correlation does not equal causation' and feel satisfied that there is no link. In medical statistics, a correlation leads to three possible conclusions.

1. One causes the other directly
2. There is a common cause or train of causes to both
3. A mixture of 1 and 2

So we're left to deduce...

1. Does HIV infection reduce the proportion of Catholics in the country?

2. Does the proportion of Catholics in the country reduce infection rates?

3. Is there a factor that both reduces infection rates and increases the population of Catholics?

1 a) If we were to say that contraception reduces HIV infection, then it would give a natural advantage to non-Catholics, who would be free of infection whilst Catholics got infected. This would eventually reduce the population of Catholics leading to a non-Catholic majority.
b) The statistics give the living infected, not those who have died.
c) Given the argument in a) we would assume that the non-Catholic component of the country would have low rates of infection
c) There are far more infected in minority Catholic countries than there are Catholics
d) Therefore even if 100% of Catholics were infected, an immense proportion of non-Catholics would also be infected
e) Catholics are more likely than animists (for example) to remain monogamous, so the chance to transmit infection is limited
f) a) is not supported by history
g) Therefore it is highly unlikely that HIV infection reduces the population of Catholics

2 a) There have already been some brilliant arguments put forward as to why this might be the case
b.1) Contraception leads to more risky behaviour, without contraception, people are more cautious
b.2) Condoms have a practical success rate of ~80%, this is reduced in poor conditions (such as in sub-Saharan Africa), and further reduced in HIV infection (HIV particles found in semen are small enough to pass through latex)
c) The Church teaches chastity as equally if not more important than not using contraception
d) Were a man to ignore chastity, he would be unlikely to follow the Church's teaching on contraception.
e) The Church does an enormous amount of charity work, working with and helping to treat HIV infected persons as well as funding development (e.g. in health and education)
f) This is the most likely reason that Catholicism correlates with low HIV rates

3 a) A highly moral society would be more receptive to Christianity and to remaining monogamous
b) Tribal differences would probably be less tense
c) So these societies would also have a reduced history of violence and war
d) Infrastructure, sanitation and health facilities would likely be more developed
e) Whilst plausible, this theory requires a knowledge of African history that I do not possess
f) It is not mutually exclusive to point 2

20 January 2012 13:40  
Blogger Flossie said...

Goodness, I can't compete with that, Lakester! But what Carl says in his erudite way is perfectly true.

There is absolutely no way that condoms can be more effective than abstinence. How sad that we are so controlled by our hedonistic culture that it is now viewed as impossible to be sexually continent. Surely people cannot really be that weak?

It should be remembered, too, that AIDS is a multi-million dollar industry. There are vested interests in keeping it going. There will be snouts in that particular trough. Love of money, (as it says in the Bible)is the root of all evil.

20 January 2012 13:56  
Blogger Dodo the Renatus Dude said...

DanJ0
You live in a sad little world - not me. I know nothing about the Inspector but I can assure you what I say here I believe and I also do whatever I can in my private and personal life to promote the values I hold dear.

You and your band of amoral (to my mind they're immoral) cohorts publish your corrupt, perverse views on sexuality (not just homosexuality) and I have and will continue to aggressively challenge them. I'm not one of your sensitive types who's going to hold back for fear of upsetting your delicate dispositions or offending your sensibilities.

20 January 2012 13:57  
Blogger Jon said...

Lakester - firstly - I don't disagree that abstinence is most likely to prevent HIV infection - in fact I'm sure I've said so already in this thread - I'm just saying that that's not a course most people feel able to stick with. Have you?

What's more - insistence upon monogamy does nothing to protect the wife whose husband is unfaithful and contracts a disease. Condoms could. You don't address this.

Statement 2 rests upon your supposition in 2d. What evidence do you have that if the church teaches that condoms are against the will of God, this will not filter into the minds of potential adulterers? After all, as you've pointed out - condoms are annoying, whereas I hear that adultery is quite a lot of fun!

My point (and I've made it on today's post to) is that people need to be aware of the full range of choices available to them. I'm not anti the educating of the young to understand the virtues of being in control of their own sex lives and in waiting until they're ready. Evidence on birth rates shows that with education of women comes more controlled population growth. Condoms are one of these choices people need education about, but the church would deny this without good biblical justification.

I'm not sure where you're going with point 3, but 17th century european history contradicts your stance in my view.

Lastly - no one has responded to the (presumably in Flossie's view) anomalous experience of non- catholic Thailand. Those godless Buddhists have mounted the most successful anti- HIV campaign in the world, whilst having one of the largest sex industries, all without the benefit of a "moral" Pope condemning their sexual activity and their use of condoms. However do they manage??

There's money in religion too, Flossie. The Catholic Church, scientology, the mormon church - they're all very, very, very wealthy. Maybe there's some financial interest in keeping them going too?

20 January 2012 14:33  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Jon

Those godless Buddhists have mounted the most successful anti- HIV campaign in the world, whilst having one of the largest sex industries, all without the benefit of a "moral" Pope condemning their sexual activity

Hooray! Excess Thai girls can now be sold to brothels without fear. There they can spend their youth as objects to gratify their customers every sexual desire, and then get thrown away like a used oil filter. And no one - neither prostitute nor customer - ever need to worry (overly much) about getting a disease. That's certainly the career I would choose for my daughters. What a success story. We have protected both our capital investment in the sex industry, and the interest of our customer base. The future for the sex industry is certainly looking up. Perhaps we should all buy stock.

carl

20 January 2012 15:12  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Jon,

Firstly thank you for your reply.

I have indeed managed to stick with it. The fact that I have doesn't mean all will, and if I hadn't it doesn't necessarily invalidate the argument.

2 doesn't necessarily rely on 2d as there are plenty of reasons why a faithful Catholic is more likely to remain HIV free. I thought 2d was a minor argument which addresses the notion that the Catholic Church can selectively alter people's behaviour. It's like saying that a Catholic in this country will cheat, rape or murder but still keep meat free Fridays. It's possible in isolation, but when dealing with a large population the statistics would be negligible. Your argument seems to agree with me though. If people are committing adultery and they do not use contraception, then isn't it logical to assume it is because they don't want to rather than because they consider it immoral? After all it is the same moral logic that prohibits both adultery and contraception.

Point 3 is simply conjecture and not something I would put forward as an argument. For one it contradicts the notion that it is the Church that is helping to reduce HIV rates! The point that you would want to riposte is 2 and you would want to come up with a better point 3 in order to refute it.

Evidence on birth rates shows that with education of women comes more controlled population growth

I would not say this is a positive thing. Increasing populations correlate with increases in prosperity. This is before we mention that the population in less than 200 years will be.... 7 billion! The peak will be around 9 billion, but after that it will fall. The population is only getting bigger because people are getting older, not because they are having more children.

I would also add that this correlation is also subject to the 3 deductive causes of correlation.

Albert answered your question on Thailand. This is one of the reasons I didn't address it. Even if we ignore the brilliant point Albert makes, we need to understand that we are talking about statistics as a whole.

A few points...

1 a) Catholicism correlates with lower comparative HIV rates in Africa. We have ascertained by deduction that the balance of probability favours a causative relationship.

b) Exceptions do no disprove a correlation, as there are almost always anomalous outliers.

c) Therefore an African country with high rates of Catholicism and high rates of HIV or a country with low rates of Catholicism and low rates of HIV would not disprove the correlation but rather raise questions about that particular country (were it Islamic, then it would support the notion that strong sexual ethics are the main factor).

2 a) The main argument made for contraception is that it reduces HIV rates

b) We associate Catholicism with reduced contraception use

c) Catholicism is associated with reduced HIV infection rates

d) Therefore contraception is unlikely to be a factor that reduces HIV infection rates, given that the country is Catholic

e) Given that the Pope's influence lies only in Catholic countries, we can conclude that his objection to contraceptive use is well founded

f) The Pope is not responsible for millions of HIV related deaths

I understand that this doesn't account for the argument that contraception increases HIV infection rates, but it does refute the notion that it is a panacea for it.

As there is no evidence that widespread (note the term widespread) condom use is effective in HIV prevention on the whole (see Albert's response for why Thailand is the exception), I would conclude that the policy is flawed, and the money best spent elsewhere.

20 January 2012 15:24  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

I would correct 2e to say 'not unreasonable' rather than well founded. It is well founded, but not due to the points given in 2.

20 January 2012 15:29  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

BTW, I am not sure I agree with there being no biblical teaching on abortion.

There is no direct assertion about or even mention of abortion in Scripture. However, there are plenty of references to unborn children and the humanity thereof. From the later we can conclude that abortion is a monstrous crime. Is that what you were referring to?

carl

20 January 2012 15:52  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

The passage is Ex.21.22-25:

When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.


For some reason the Hebrew is translated "miscarriage" here. According to Paul Copan, the Hebrew word is "yalad" is always used of giving birth, never of miscarriage (there is a different word for miscarriage which isn't used here). Re read the the passage again with "Gives birth [i.e. prematurely]" and you'll see why I say I am not sure I agree there is nothing in the Bible on abortion. It seems to be saying if the woman gives birth prematurely but there is no harm done to mother or child then the man who caused it should be fined. If there is harm to mother or child, then the man shall pay for it according to gravity, life for life etc.

20 January 2012 16:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "You and your band of amoral (to my mind they're immoral) cohorts publish your corrupt, perverse views on sexuality (not just homosexuality) and I have and will continue to aggressively challenge them."

Knock yourself out, as they say.

Point of order though: I have a strong set of morals which I can readily defend and which I act upon all the time. I'm differently moral to you, with your institutionalised, bought-in system, not amoral or necessarily immoral. When I say that I think sexual acts are inherently amoral, it doesn't mean that I think there are no associated moral consequences. I'd have thought everyone would simply have got that as it's hardly a complex notion but I'm not so sure you've actually got it yourself given what you say. I hope you're just being, ahem, theatrical again and you aren't as thick as your comment suggests.

20 January 2012 17:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. The Inspector does indeed think for himself. It’s just that the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church happen to closely follow his own thoughts on many, but not all, subjects. Remember, old chap, correlation IS NOT necessarily from causation. Surprised no one's mentioned that to you before. In fact, those areas where the Inspector thought he had differed from RCC teaching, he’s beginning to come round to. And that is absolutely remarkable. You see, the RCC has it all worked out ! There is a problem though, to fully benefit from its teachings, you need to believe in God, and live an honest, truthful, and decent life. Now, understandably, this is going to compromise you as it appears that being gay means your thinking is done for you. But don’t despair, leave you gay identity behind and jump on board. And if you fully succeed, we might even make you a saint !

20 January 2012 17:37  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Carl, I think the following passage condemns both abortion and euthanasia.

28 But Jesus turned to them and said, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children.
29 For look, the days are surely coming when people will say, "Blessed are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne children, the breasts that have never suckled!"
30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, "Fall on us!"; to the hills, "Cover us!"
31 For if this is what is done to green wood, what will be done when the wood is dry?'

20 January 2012 17:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Remember though, if you're a single man then definitely no sex, preferably no thoughts about sex, and no knocking one out yourself. It's probably enough to drive someone to drink, and verbal violence on the internet, I shouldn't wonder. :O But, hey, treasure in heaven and all that. At least people will be pretty prepared for eternity, what with earthly life already seeming to pass like it and all.

20 January 2012 17:52  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

I have a strong set of morals which I can readily defend and which I act upon all the time.

Except that if your morals are based on some kind of doctrine of harm, your morals die in the is/ought gap you worry about.

20 January 2012 17:57  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

I don't disagree that abstinence is most likely to prevent HIV infection - in fact I'm sure I've said so already in this thread - I'm just saying that that's not a course most people feel able to stick with.

If you look at the evidence Green offers, you will see that he shows it is easier to get people to be faithful than to get them to use condoms. This is not that surprising when you think about it.

20 January 2012 18:10  
Blogger Dodo the Renatus Dude said...

Albert said to DanJ0

"Except that if your morals are based on some kind of doctrine of harm, your morals die in the is/ought gap you worry about."

There is also the issue about the harm being apparent to the individual and to society. An act may not appear harmful to an individual but, in fact, be harmful to both them and the group they live with.

Inspector said ...

" ... the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church happen to closely follow his own thoughts on many, but not all, subjects. In fact, those areas where the Inspector thought he had differed from RCC teaching, he’s beginning to come round to."

Well done - you know Catholicism makes deep sense both as the surest path to Christ as well as a system of moral philosophy! Many people reject Catholic teaching on morality because they fail to take the time to explore the foundations for them. That or they react adversly to simply to the fact the teachings come the Church.

Faith and reason; faith and reason.

20 January 2012 18:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "There is also the issue about the harm being apparent to the individual and to society."

You can ditch the also, there isn't an existing problem to add yours to.

20 January 2012 20:26  
Blogger Dodo the Renatus Dude said...

DanJ0
You're either in denial now or being untruthful. How can you pretend the 'sexual revolution' has not caused harm to individuals and to society?

20 January 2012 20:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, you haven't really grasped this stuff at all, have you? Either that or you think that slipping and sliding stuff all over the place gets you somewhere sensible.

20 January 2012 20:58  
Blogger Dodo the Renatus Dude said...

DanJ0
I get it very well and your silly and immature tactic carries no weight with anyone of intelligence.

You have no morals beyond personal gratification with yourself if no substitute is available to you. Enjoy your perversion - in private and in silence.

20 January 2012 22:19  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

You have no morals beyond personal gratification

That isn't strictly speaking true. DanJ0 does possess a moral code. According to the standards of the temporal world, we have no reason to think he is other than decent in his behavior towards others. The problem is that he has no consistent basis for his moral code. He has invented it out of whole cloth. It has all the authority of a random number generator.

It's important to represent your opponent accurately. DanJ0 provides a sufficiently target-rich environment such that we don't need to attack straw-men. We can leave that to him. ;)

carl

20 January 2012 23:01  
Blogger Dodo the Renatus Dude said...

carl
Agreed, not strictly true - but to me a temporal 'morality' is no morality. I mean he thinks sex between siblings is acceptable!

20 January 2012 23:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "The problem is that he has no consistent basis for his moral code. He has invented it out of whole cloth. It has all the authority of a random number generator."

There's a real point about the very nature of morality in there: there may not actually be a consistent basis. I have said this a number of times myself, you're not revealing anything from the force of your arguments here. What you see as a problem may actually be the nature of it in the real world however much you would rather it be otherwise.

You yourself are making a claim to some sort of moral objectivism based on the sandy foundations of your religious beliefs. Either your beliefs are true and moral facts actually exist independently or they are not and moral facts come from us. You have no means of demonstrating the truth of them. That is a significant problem.

"It's important to represent your opponent accurately. DanJ0 provides a sufficiently target-rich environment such that we don't need to attack straw-men. We can leave that to him."

I have to say I'm quite disappointed in you here, you're normally better than that, 'smiley' notwithstanding. Of course, the arms-length reader may note that it was actually you that went quiet in our recent dialogue up there. Of course I'd be naturally biased on this but I'd have said I shone a very harsh light indeed on your position.

21 January 2012 06:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Well, except for that whole "complementarity of the genders" thing, and the fact that heterosexuality is necessary for the existence of the species. There is nothing like that for homosexuality."

I think I'll revisit this now. The context of it was in regard to similar justifications for homosexual acts as heterosexual ones. I said you're in is-ought territory. In past threads, I think I said it was nudging a naturalistic fallacy too. I'm not trying to argue about core meta-ethics here, I'm making a more earthy point.

It is a commonly made point on the 'Net in discussions about homosexuality that Tab A and Slot B clearly have a functional and biological link. But does that descriptive fact actually imply that Tab A ought to be used with Slot B and that it ought not to be used with Slot C? No. In fact, most people seem quite happy to use Tab A and Slot B on their own, and to use Slot D and Bracket E too. Something else is being used by some people to make the leap to value.

I've illustrated the point in the past using paraplegic people with wheelchairs and left-handed people with can-openers and pens. We don't confine paraplegic people to bed because their legs don't work as expected and their arms ought not to be used as substitutes for legs. No, they live broadly similar lives through the inherently harmless use of wheelchairs. We also drop pavement kerbstones by design now and open up our shared world by other means too. The issue of non-working legs is not inherently a moral problem.

So, what is being used to make the leap to value? Well, I suppose for Christians following the party line it is that our reality is intended, that things have a purpose by design and that the designer calls the shots, that some things have a specific purpose and no other, that we have in our very nature an impulse to make the leap to that value, and so on. But that's the very thing being contested, an appeal must be made to people to accept it.

How does all this affect my position? How do I make a leap to value regarding my use of harm in arbitrating the moral value of some actions? Well, in theory I appeal to people too. I ask how people feel when they are unnecessarily and significantly harmed by others. I explain how I feel too. I point out the similar place we both have. In short, I seek agreement that harm is a valid thing to be using, and that some things ought to be done and ought not to be done as a result, and almost everyone seems to agree.

Of course, all this has happened long, long ago and it's very well-established. That is, it's not 'anything goes', and it's not merely my making stuff up on the fly, and it's not my deciding on the basis of what I had for breakfast despite the undue characterisations made here for, I suppose, rhetorical reasons.

21 January 2012 07:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Incidentally, I'm going to be away from the 'Net for a few days in a few hours so I won't be able to respond to replies. This is not as Dodo would almost certainly have it: that I am unable to respond because I have been stymied by religious arguments.

21 January 2012 07:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Me: "But that's the very thing being contested, an appeal must be made to people to accept it."

Just to ram that home a bit more: one reason it's contested is because the evidence highlighted by the theory of evolution by natural selection very much suggests otherwise. Also, we have people like you, Carl, making elaborate and vaguely poetic florishes at a Veil of Oz and inviting people to be impressed but there's every chance a bunch of power-hungry men are actually behind it. The authority you claim is prima facie just wishful thinking. We see no evidence of the power behind it to back the diktats up. By observation, it's a post hoc explanation of our reality. An explanation that nominally allows people to control others, as it happens, and we've seen plenty of different attempts to do that.

21 January 2012 08:11  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

Your argument is only running at all because

(a) You fail to face up to the fact that while you reject other philosophies on the basis of the alleged is/ought gap, you quietly smuggle the same principle in to your own philosophy. You cannot have it both ways.

(b) You misrepresent and refuse to answer the whole case against you. You constantly make it sound as if everyone who opposes you is a divine command theorist. But this is not true. Even if it were true, you would still need to respond to the fact that God's commands are good because God is good.

(c) You seem to think that natural law stems from the idea that God post factum imposes a purpose on things which is external to them. This is false, the order is there for all to see, it is inherent to the very nature of things, it implies an orderer. We move from the order to God. We do not start with God and assume that therefore things must have a purpose. But even this is ironic, for there have been many supporters of natural law who denied God was the cause of the order, but they still thought the morality applied. So even if you play the "You're assuming a God I reject" argument, you still haven't escaped from the claims of natural law.

(d) You use the word purpose rather than used by natural philosophers: end. Purpose is a stronger term and is therefore easier to defeat. But failure to identify purpose does not mean there is no end.

(e) The reference to evolution is confused as there is no conflict here. As numerous philosophers - most notably Gilson - have point out, scientists cannot do without teleology. At most they simply assume efficient causes are sufficient to cause the effect, and do not realise that they are still working with final causes.

(f) The example of paraplegic people reads natural law back to front. The point is that we see that something isn't working according to the way it is ordered and so we attempt to restore its proper order or to make up for its lack of order by other means. What we do there confirms natural law.

21 January 2012 10:41  
Blogger Albert said...

But in saying all that Dan, remember: I am not wishing to say homosexual relations should be illegal. I am not saying people should be able unjustly to discriminate against homosexuals. I am not saying people should mock homosexuals. I oppose all those things and I speak out against them more often than you might think in the real world.

I am saying nothing more than this: given that a conclusive argument for the equality of homosexual relationships does not exist, given that reasonable people may have reasonable moral objections to such relationships, could we please maintain the freedom to hold different opinions and abide by what we believe is true, and not have structures illiberally imposed upon us which require us to behave in ways which we regard as contrary to reason and morality? And while we're about it, could homosexuals like Chris Bryant please stop misrepresenting us and mocking, simply because he cannot answer us and doesn't want that fact to be known?

Is it so much to ask?

21 January 2012 10:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "In fact, outside of "I want it" there isn't much of anything to justify it. The "well-established" part is simply a reflection of autonomy as the ascendant moral principle in a culture that lacks any other moral anchor."

I'll comment on this too. My society and its culture has a number of moral anchors, you misrepresent it to further your own argument. Like most religionists, you seem to hanker after certainties in life and in their apparent absence you allow them to be invented for you. It gets you no further though, comforting though you no doubt find them. They're still opinions when all is said and done, and other religionists clearly have different so-called certainties.

The thing about autonomy is a topic in itself and one which I don't have time to address properly now unfortunately. I expect it means something different to you than it does to me, perhaps involving Free Will but also your status as a created being within your own belief system. For me as a liberal, it mostly has political meaning but it also has value in itself as part of my well-being. That of course takes us on to notions of the 'human condition' which is actually core to all of this.

21 January 2012 11:44  
Blogger Dodo the Renatus Dude said...

DanJ0 said ...
"My society and its culture ..."

Me,me,me! So now you have a seperate society and culture, do you? Shall we find you a seperate 'homeland' where you can all go live in peace together and set your own rules?

Mind you, after a generation you might find you're all rather old with no young people to look after you or do the chores and work necessary to keep your "society" going. Succession planning will be difficult with no children coming along to maintain the population. Presumably you'll operate an open immigration policy, subject to a some sort of test to establish suitability. Of course you could admit all those who want to live libertine lifestyles.

DanJ0's Queendom Rules OK!

National Dish - Huntley and Palmer's!

21 January 2012 13:19  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

I have to say I'm quite disappointed in you here, you're normally better than that, 'smiley' notwithstanding.

I suppose it might have been that I was worried about coming across as harsh and scolding, and so I thought to use you as a foil for a little joke. It might have been that I trusted you were perceptive enough to pick up on this. I did not intend to insult you with the straw-man argument. I didn't mean that statement to refer to anything you have said. I simply wanted to dull the perceived sharpness of what I had written. Please accept my apologies for the offense I caused you.

You would make a great mistake in assuming that a lack of response indicates an inability to respond. There are many reasons why a dialogue on a thread will end - not the least of which is that I decide the subject has played itself out, or that I have decided to focus my efforts on other threads here and elsewhere. I trust the reader DanJ0. I do not demand the last word.

It is also true that I do have other things to do with my life after all. Many posts can be made quickly. I cannot respond quickly to you. I have to decide how much time I wish to allocate at the expense of other tasks. So if I decide that the problem space has been explored to my satisfaction, then I will let it go. It is often nothing more than that.

carl

21 January 2012 13:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, my society (the UK) as opposed to Carl's society (the USA). Honestly, I can imagine Jesus saying "Dad, you know that unconditional love thing we do? Can we make an exception for Dodo? I mean, we all have our crosses to bear but the idea of eternity with a berk like that is too much to bear even for me!"

21 January 2012 13:48  
Blogger Oswin said...

sniggers ...

21 January 2012 14:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Haven’t you gone yet DanJ0...

21 January 2012 14:41  
Blogger Dodo the Renatus Dude said...

DanJ0
I can think of a worse fate. Really, I can!

Do think about the possibility of a National Homeland. I'm sure we could find a bit land somewhere going spare. You could have a Pink Flag and even YMCA as the national anthem. Just imagine all the fun you could have running your own little parliament.

Oswin
I preferred Marathons.

21 January 2012 14:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl, there's no need to apologise for giving offence by writing stuff. I've only been offended on this blog a couple of times as I recall and that was by what I thought was dishonourable conduct even by the standards of a forum. No, I was just disappointed by what appeared to be your switch to a Dodo/OIG style of merely vexatious interaction. I'll put it down as a misunderstanding. Btw, I unexpectedly have a signal on my iPhone hence the commenting and possible embarrassing text replacements.p

21 January 2012 15:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Well Dodo, we face a few days without a particular attention seeking individual hi-jacking threads to air his insecurities and continually (...ad infinitum...) justifying his somewhat odious life philosophy and sexual habits. Most pleasing situation – what !

21 January 2012 15:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, our society is very much more accepting these days and getting better as time goes on. People are realising that it's an insignificant difference. However, if you're thinking of homelands for minorities then have you considered moving to somewhere like Rome yourself? It might suit you better given your foreign religion and our society's liberal nature these days?

21 January 2012 15:11  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

possible embarrassing text replacements.

So that explains the unfortunate insertion of a 'c' into the word 'offense.' I am going outside to remove the snow from my driveway (again - third time in 24 hours), and consider my response to your Tab A/Slot B post. It's the one issue I thought I should still address, and since you brought it up again, I will take that as Providential.

Have a good trip. At least I assume you are travelling.

I really hate snow, btw.

carl

21 January 2012 15:14  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older