Monday, 18 May 2015

Not 'because religion'

I directed someone on Twitter who was asking why I was opposed to Same Sex Marriage, to my blog, as I did not want to simplify the argument to 140 characters. 

He or she responded 'Had a quick peek. The general argument is "because religion". Not the most satisfactory argument.' The joys of Twitter...

In fairness I hadn't pointed to a particular post, and the most recent post on the blog at the time was either the one about the Chartres Pilgrimage, or the one about the Ascension, so that may have been the reason for that response. I should have pointed to (and eventually did point to) my posts In Praise of Equal Marriage and The Destruction of Marriage.

Because actually, 'because religion' is only a small part of the argument.

One could as well say 'because educated.' For if we look at this matter through the eyes of any reasonable education, it leads to the same conclusion. I will use the three faculties of a typical university as a structure for this part of the discussion: Science, Medicine and the Humanities.

Let us start with Science: biology is the most relevant one here, and if one considers sex from a biological point of view, it is clear that its purpose is procreation, its modus operandi is one male and one female; pleasure is associated with it in order to promote procreation, and to form pair bonds in order to provide the best environment for the protection and raising of the children.

If we move on to Medicine, we can quickly discern that there are healthy and unhealthy sexual behaviours. Healthy sexual behaviour is adult, heterosexual and monogamous, and avoids incest. All other variants include varying degrees of risk to health.

And that brings us to the humanities... History is an interesting place to start. What we find is both that homosexuality as a state of being is a new invention, and also that wherever sexual licence takes over a civilisation, that civilisation collapses shortly thereafter.

But actually, where I really want to go is Philosophy. Because if you want to reduce my intellectual stance to 'because...' one true answer would be 'because philosophy.'

That is true, of course, of either side of the debate. The pro-SSM stance is based on philosophical assumptions, whether the proponents are aware of that fact or not. Any appeal to evidence is based on a philosophy; for it is a philosophy that dictates that such evidence is the way to inform decisions, and it is also a philosophy that determines how evidence is interpreted. It is also a philosophical issue to determine how we decide what is good (or fair, or just, or whatever other evaluative criterion one chooses to use...)

In my case, the philosophy is a classical Christian understanding of man's purpose, happiness and so forth. So 'because religion' if you like - but recognise that the opposing argument is equally 'because philosophy,' or, if you prefer, either 'because religion' or 'because irreligion.'


Anonymous said...

That's pretty far out, man.

akp5401 said...

This is really useful. Clear, and concise enough to remember. Thank you.