Today, boys and girls, we are going to learn some tricks to writing good propaganda, using the following example, printed in the Independent newspaper on the 29th of June 2006:
Move The Goalposts
See how the example talks about a 74% increase in “homophobic incidents”, but then goes on to talk about “abuse” and “assault”, thereby subtly equating the two – whereas no definition of what constitutes a homophobic incident is actually given. The large blood stain in the picture also helps to lead the reader into believing that what has risen by 74% is the number of violent physical assaults.
The Gay Police Association exists to help gay people in the police service. They have no official role in collecting statistics about anything. However, the reader is not to know this – having them presented by an organisation with the word “Police Association” in the title gives the impression that these are official or government statistics.
Define Your Own Terms
One person’s homophobic incident is another person’s verbal expression of religious conviction. If you get to control the definitions, you can make the statistics much more impressive. If someone politely says they think that homosexual practice is morally wrong, you can easily class that as a “homophobic incident”. Also, a usefully wide definition of “religious belief” can include white supremacists and neo-Nazis, who often mix a bit of pseudo-religion with their hatred.
Use Loaded Words
Make sure that your allies are “men and women”, whereas those you are attacking are “perpetrators” and “criminals”. (Even if they aren’t; see “Move The Goalposts”, above.)
Attack The Weakest Group
Christians have historically complained less about propaganda denigrating their beliefs than Muslims, who have a tendency to get rather angry (remember those cartoons?). Hence the wise use of a Bible, and a Christian quotation for the headline, rather than a Quran, even though the advert talks about generic “religious belief”.
Using techniques like the above, you can lead your readers into thinking that there is an epidemic of Bible-wielding Christians violently assaulting gays while screaming verbal abuse, when in fact they’ve just discovered a few more elderly couples running Bed and Breakfasts who refuse to let a double room to two men in a civil partnership. Result!
[I should point out that Christianity teaches a) that any sexual practice outside of a marriage between a man and a woman is morally wrong, and b) that physical assault of anyone is equally wrong. For the hard of thinking: the purpose of this article is not to support assaults on gay people.]
You’re going to get flamed for calling Christians ‘the weakest group’ when statistically they are a majority in Britain and the US.
People should check their definition of the word Christian. Millions of people go to church for something to do on Sundays. That doesn’t make them a Christian no matter what box they check in the census.
Gerv, I see your propaganda made it to the feeds area again. Any chance of removing it? I’m sure this has happened before. Interested in technology != interested in your religious rants.
Excellent article! You can easily find almost the exact same type of propaganda over the abortion issue.
Umm Id definetly disagree. Christians have mastered the art of propoganda far beyond nearly every other organized group. It has leaked into our very society onto our money, into our politics and into our schools. The christian proganda machine is so efficient it is able to quite often override concrete scientific knowledge.
>Umm Id definetly disagree. Christians have mastered the art of propoganda far
>beyond nearly every other organized group. It has leaked into our very society
>onto our money, into our politics and into our schools. The christian proganda
>machine is so efficient it is able to quite often override concrete scientific
What are you disagreeing with? I don’t agree that “Christians have mastered the art of propaganda beyond nearly every other organized group”, but even if I did: because Christians have propagandized does that mean that this flyer is not propaganda? I don’t see Gerv asserting that Christians never are responsible for propaganda – just that this flyer is a good example of propaganda… Do you disagree with that contention?
Good post Gervase…
I don’t mind receiving Christian stuff in my feed. And your post helps people understand how propaganda works.
Jeremy, what are you disagreeing with? Your hypothesis is not in conflict with Gerv’s hypothesis – they are two different questions entirely.
I believe that independent of any propaganda machine (or spelling errors :P ) most people have difficulty with concrete scientific thinking. Your post helps my case so far. ;)
Zathras, I happen to be interested in Gerv’s thoughts, but regardless it is his blog. Not sure why you object so much – that’s the point of feeds, skip over a title and don’t read it if it doesn’t interest you. I don’t generally read every post in my feedstream. Do you?
Mike: As you say, official statistics make Christians a majority, but that’s not a good picture of the truth. But my main point is that Christians are less likely to complain about perceived insults to their faith. And there’s some good in this – after all, we follow One who was insulted and humiliated yet did not retaliate.
ScW: Funny you should mention the abortion issue. I might have a post relating to that in a week or two as well. It’s a current hot topic in the UK at the moment, as some people are pushing for a review of the law.
jeremy: That’s a giant red herring :-)
While I agree with the general point about propaganda, it bothers me a lot the way most Christians act on the issue of homosexuality. Abortion – now that I can understand, because there IS no answer that isn’t horrible, and the only question is what’s less horrible.
But while the Bible may say that homosexuality is wrong (and I’ve yet to hear an actual NT citation for that; it’s usually Deutoronomy, and most of that’s considered long ago superceded, why not the homosexuality stuff too?) what the Bible *certainly* says is “Judge not lest ye be judged” and “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.
While I’m not a Christian myself, I strongly believe that if Jesus *was* who Christians say he is, he’d be just as horrified at the attitude of most Christians towards homosexuals as I am. And he’d ABSOLUTELY let them stay at his bed and breakfast! Anyone who doesn’t believe that needs to reread their gospels a little…
Stuart: the New Testament “citation” for the Christian attitude to homosexuality (or adultery, or pre-marital sex) is the consistent teaching that sex is something to be reserved for a man and a woman in marriage. There are many, many direct and assumed references for this.
In his life, Jesus often encountered people who were sinners. He did several things. First, he associated with them rather than condemning them from a position of moral superiority (although he had one; we don’t, which is even more reason not to pretend we do). Second, he called them to repent of their sin and believe the good news. Thirdly, he didn’t do anything to facilitate them continuing in sin.
This last one’s a negative, and it’s rather implied by the second – but it’s a point worth making if you are going to think about the bed and breakfast case.
That’d be the holy, righteous, morally perfect creator and judge of the universe, who is the only way to the Father and the only hope of humans for forgiveness, then?
My problem with your first point is that it’s something of a circular definition if you’re not careful: homosexuality is bad because sex is reserved to marriage, but gay marriage is invalid because homosexuality is bad. Since my own perspective is to try to deduce moral guidelines from first principles rather than accept Biblical teachings as axioms, my attitude towards the morality of sex (and many other things) is that it’s okay as long as nobody is being hurt, even indirectly. Which means that yes, in general, adultery is wrong because the spouse is being hurt; premarital sex might or might not be depending on the circumstances; but homosexual sex should be treated exactly the same as heterosexual.
Point taken about the bed and breakfast, if you accept the premise of homosexuality being sinful which I don’t ;)
And yes, I’m aware that’s who Christians believe Jesus is :)
Many christians believe that marriage between those of European and those of African descent is morally wrong (fewer now than in the past, of course). If assaults and harrassment of mixed-race couples was common, do you think there would be anything wrong with politely telling such a couple that their relationship was morally repugnant and contrary to God’s will? Would it be ok to shout this at them from across the street? How about if they were surrounded by a hostile crowd at the time?
Is there actually anything in the new testament about homosexuality being wrong?
I’m not a Christian and I sure haven’t read the bible in a long time (and probably never fully), but I’m pretty sure that all the “You go to hell if you ” bits are in the old testament, along with plenty of other things that society in general no longer agrees with.
Stuart, Gerv said that “sex is something to be reserved for a man and a woman in marriage.” There’s nothing circular about his definition.
Ken, although I don’t agree that “many” Christians believe that, there is a big difference between what some people personally believe and what the Bible explicitly states. I’m a Christian, and I believe that SeaMonkey is the best browser, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who believes in the Bible necessarily agrees with me (although it would be nice ;) ).
Anyway, great post, Gerv. People need to realize that just because someone thinks homosexuality is wrong does not mean that person hates everyone who is homosexual.
So… do we have any evidence that the anti-gay prejudice of many Christians (and, indeed, believers of other religions and, sadly, even people of no religion) is only manifesting itself in “harmless” ways like refusing to let a gay couple stay at a private B&B as opposed to harmful ways such as those alluded to in the advert? Or is that just more propaganda? :-)
My point was more concerned with the question of whether it might be a “homophobic incident” to tell someone that their sexual identity, love life, and maybe family are morally wrong (but, for goodness sake, *politely*).
However, the idea that the “sons of Ham” were cursed to be servants is based on a biblical incident, and was commonly interpreted in the past to justify a view of Africans as those inferior sons. Various “Christian Identity” groups today believe that the bible tells them that Europeans, specifically “Aryans”, are a superior race. If they (politely) regard race-mixing as morally wrong, who are we to gainsay their Christian principles?
Re Ben and Stuart:
Usually people cite Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10 as referencing homosexual behavior. There is some debate about the meaning of the passages: some would have them refer only to male prostitution or pederasty rather than homosexual activity per se.
It is significant, however, that the uniform witness of the Church has been that homosexuality is outside of God’s will for believers. This consistency of opinion has been (I think) not because of a specific citation, but because the Bible has a clear and consistent attitude towards sexuality. God intends it to aid in uniting a man and a woman into a new single entity – any use outside this aim is also outside God’s will.
Even when allowances were made (divorce, polygamy in ancient times), the Scriptures make it clear that this was outside God’s best for his creation. Christians don’t really need to speculate on what sexual practice Paul had in mind with the word malakoi when the universal thrust of Scripture is clear enough…
Good conversation here, but again this is mostly outside of Gerv’s point I suspect. Society at large is moving in the direction of equating moral disapproval of certain acts with hate crimes (cf. comparing race w/ homosexuality in Ken C’s comment). The propaganda Gerv cites is part of that general thrust and in my opinion it is of value to challenge the assertions and messages it is attempting to reinforce whether you agree with Christians about the morality of homosexuality or not…
Gerv said “Christians are less likely to complain about perceived insults to their faith”.
HA! Just last year we’ve had to endure all manner of Christian  commentators kicking and screaming because there was a War On Christmas(TM), a war that had no attackers, the weirdest battleground ever (Sears!) and just some total wackos trying to improve their ratings. Apparently all the churches had also been magically deleted because they were somehow no longer allowed to worship (never mind that no law, proposition, amendment or judicial ruling has passed within the last decade+ on this topic), yet they could not point out a single instance where their right to worship had been stopped. So please, spare us the victimization line. My Catholic faith is alive and well, both personal and institutional.
 This really should be an implied disclaimer, but what the hell: calling one self Christian doesn’t mean one is Christian.
Stuart: your moral derivation “from first principles” is nothing of the sort; but we’ve had this conversation before. :-) My description of Jesus was merely to point out that a morally perfect, holy (set apart for purity), sin-hating figure is unlikely to wink at two guys going into a bedroom and say “Don’t ask, don’t tell”…
Leaving aside your use of the words “anti-gay” and “prejudice” (see “Loaded Words”, above), it depends on your definition of “harmless” (see “Define Your Own Terms”, above). I’m sure many “gay rights” campaigners would argue that the B&B case is anything but harmless.
My point is that the poster gives no information on this subject, even though it pretends to. I have no additional information on the exact acts committed by Christians (or people who claim to be Christians), or those of other religions for that matter, which may be counted in the GPA’s figures.
Your analogy falsely equates race and homosexuality. For one thing, race is entirely genetically determined. The amount of genetics which goes into homosexuality is hotly disputed, but whether one commits a homosexual act or not is clearly something that is controlled by conscious decision. If I have a genetic predisposition to overeat, that doesn’t make greed any less of a sin for me.
Yet, despite having “no evidence”, you strongly imply that the homophobic incidents are largely less serious than the “assault” and “abuse” mentioned on the advert. Furthermore, the incident involving the Scottish B&B – your example of something which is neither assault nor verbal abuse – did in fact involve verbal abuse, with the couple in question being described as “sexual deviants” with a “perversion”.
These aren’t loaded words. Or at least I’m only using them according to their usual definition to describe the negative attitude that many people have toward homosexuals (“anti-gay”) for no reason other than their sexuality (“prejudice”). Perhaps if the words sound unpleasant it’s only because the attitude is unpleasant?
Two hundred years ago, the bible and the Lord God Almighty told us that slavery was just fine.
A hundred years ago, we realized that no, that was simply an over-interpretation of certain biblical incidents, and a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the bible allowed us to conclude that indeed, slavery was a hateful oppression. However, the bible and the Lord God Almighty told us that, plainly, race-mixing was a crime against all that is holy.
Today we realize that no, that was simply an over-interpretation of certain biblical incidents, and a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the bible allowed us to conclude that indeed, race-mixing was just fine. However, the bible and the Lord God Almighty tell us that two men kissing is a crime against all that is holy.
It is in this way that the absolute truths contained in the bible dependably guide us, now and forever. I’m perfectly comfortable with that.
Note that nothing in the above *equates* race and homosexuality, or views them as “comparable”.
I want to applaud all commentors on the intelligent and rational (or at least not flame throwing!) discourse so far. Though we may disagree quite a lot, we can still learn a lot from each other and even respect each other with the type of comments posted here. Bravo!
It’s great that you’re shining the torch of critical reason on areas where, if we merely put our faith in the reliability of the word as it’s handed down to us, we’d be lost!
And it’s a good job that only dodgy liberal types uncritically accept the authority of certain, erm, texts, as gospel truth.
So I bow to your greater knowledge–but as a gay man, I was surprised to learn that the disapproval of guesthouses is the worst I have to fear. Personally, I’ve always had a very warm welcome in B&Bs, whereas the Christian-Union types who’ve ranted at me about my private emotional life, have, at times, been quite scary. But I’m sure your penetrating facts have a far more solid base than the kind of propaganda born of experience.
Incidentally, I have much in common with you as a devout believer in Christ, and in the benefit of Faith (something I also share with those Christian-Union folks whose aggression–usually, I feel, a sign of immaturity–we must make allowances for). I also share your desire to slash through the obfuscations of propaganda.
But Gerv, please–given that what you write appears in the Mozillazine feedhouse with the semi-official endorsement of the Mozilla foundation–I implore you to think before you post. Old folks with B&Bs are *not* a problem for gay couples–but bigots of whatever stripe still are. The Gay Police Association ad is a little over the top, but no more so than the ernest outpourings of open-source advocates bent on making their point…
Nice wording. So when did you decide to commit only heterosexual acts?
Stating somebody is wrong by nature sounds pretty hateful to me.
igraham, remember the point of the post. He wasn’t refuting the evidence. He was illustrating that we have no idea what the evidence was, yet the ad obviously is meant to give a distinct impression of certain kinds of evidence, without actually stating it.
Put another way, Gerv just showed us a (controversial) ad that practically defines the term propaganda. Are you disagreeing that the ad is propaganda?
I think by his use of “Loaded Words”, he means your terms convey certain notations or meanings beyond their technical meanings, especially in terms of this discussion. In this case, yes they are loaded. You seem to agree, as you then go on to defend why they are loaded.
Dao, you illustrate a great point with the comment “Stating somebody is wrong by nature sounds pretty hateful to me.”
Read the comment you quoted – there is a clear delineation between an act or set of acts (homosexuality) and a “somebody” (homosexual).
Here’s what your comment illustrates: there are very different points of view between different people, and if we aren’t aware of those differences we will misread their comments. I’m sure I’m often guilty of this.
So, for example, you identify homosexuality as an integral part of a person, thus identifying it as wrong could be seen as hateful towards that person (still a bit of a stretch I think). However the previous commenter identified homosexuality as a decision, or group of decisions, and was able to separate the person from the acts. Thus for them it’s not about “hating the sinner”, but “hating the sin”.
Ken C, I didn’t leave two hundred years ago, or even a hundred years ago, so my ability to comment on those times is limited to my experience today and what I can learn of history and mankind.
I shudder to think I might have believed such fallacies had I lived back then, and I sincerely hope it isn’t true. Of course, I have always had a great interest and respect for different cultures and peoples, so that leads me to believe that I wouldn’t have been easily misled on those subjects.
Perhaps it’s because sexuality is a bigger issue for me, but I feel fairly comfortable discussing this. I don’t know anyone who will admit this, but I can see easily how someone could become bi or homosexual. This may be a twisting in myself, because of my upbringing, as I don’t know any (non-gay) males that admit this. As a counter-point, I feel absolutely no temptation in any way to drink (alcohol) or smoke. I have never done either, and don’t feel very qualified to comment on these subjects as it is not a temptation of mine.
So when I say that I believe homosexuality is wrong, and that the Bible is quite clear on the subject, I also philosophically and experiencially can back this belief up. This would be a rather long post, however, to go into that in detail, so I’ll stop here.
Sorry for the many misspellings in my last post. I’m running out the door and was careless with my post.
leave = live
experiencially = (not even close to a real word!?)
This post reeks of hypocrisy.
And Christians the ‘weakest group’? I’m afraid reality is in stark contradiction with your runaway paranoia.
I have just reported you to the Gay Police Association! So take that! Maybe in next week’s ad they’ll say 75% and I’ll know I was able to contribute to that.
What is the point of this anyway? Why are you complaining about a misleading ad? There are tons of misleading ads out there.
I cited two different people. Besides, I’m confident that homosexuality isn’t a decision just like heterosexuality isn’t. If this is the case, every “sinner” will feel being hated.
re Remy: Where is the hypocrisy in identifying propaganda? Since hypocrisy usually connotes disapproving of something in some that you approve of in others or yourself, you must mean that Gervase is a propagandist! Perhaps you have some examples you would like to cite. If that isn’t what you meant, perhaps for you “reeks of propaganda” is another way of saying “I don’t like it”. I don’t suppose I can argue with that, except to ask that you say what you really mean…
As to HeroreV: you speak in jest (I hope) but aren’t far off from exactly the idea I suspect Gervase is attempting to combat: having the act of expressing an opinion about the morality of behavior be considered a crime in itself. As to your second bit though, the point is that this is Gerv’s blog. He is a Christian and so is interested in misleading ads that attack Christians. Think of it like geeks combatting FUD with the Gay Police Association in the role of Microsoft…
No; I merely drew attention to the fact that the ad implied they were the same, but offered no evidence to back it up.
I wasn’t actually consciously aware that such an incident had occurred; it’s merely been used as a hypothetical example in some other information I’ve read. You seem to be better informed than me about some particular occurrence. My use of this situation is not to defend any particular incident but as just that, an example.
Do you actually know who led the parliamentary campaign in the UK to have slavery abolished? William Wilberforce. Although I’m quite impressed that Wikipedia can have an article about him without once mentioning directly that he was a Christian, as were many other leading figures in the movement to abolish slavery.
A correction: MozillaZine is not officially connected to the Mozilla Foundation, and the feedhouse is an informal collection of blogs belonging to Mozilla people. This blog is my own, not Mozilla’s – I think the content makes that quite clear.
Do open source advocates accuse their opponents of assault?
If that were true, that would show that they are padding their “homophobic incidents” statistics with incidents which are neither homophobic, abuse nor assault. Moral disapproval of an action does not equal hatred of the person performing the action.
That’s a straw man. I said that committing a homosexual act was a decision. I know it’s not possible to just “decide” to feel a particular way. It may be that a Christian struggles with homosexual feelings all their life. I don’t know exactly what that’s like – but I struggle with different sinful feelings, such as pride and arrogance. That doesn’t mean that it is any less a sin when I act arrogantly.
Arrogance hurts people. Homosexuality does not, so I say it isn’t a sin. Discriminating against homosexuals probably is.
The article says he was an Evangelical. That’s pretty direct. Most people at the time in the UK were christians, so saying that would not be imparting any significant information.
Yes, of course some people’s christian principles lead them to oppose slavery. Other people’s christian principles lead them to champion slavery. And then?
The “hypothetical” example has actually occured and, predictably, wasn’t so innocuous as you presumed such an event would be. In principle, I have no problem with the B&B enforcing whatever rules they please*, but I also think that they deserve to be delisted from the tourist information if their rules display discrimination against some section of the population.
Initially, sure. Later you go on to say “you can lead your readers into thinking that there is an epidemic of Bible-wielding Christians violently assaulting gays while screaming verbal abuse, when in fact they’ve just discovered a few more elderly couples running Bed and Breakfasts who refuse to let a double room to two men in a civil partnership.” – making the strong implication that the true situation (note the use of “in fact”) is that all the “homophobic incidents” are of the “you two can’t stay in a double room at this B&B” type as opposed to the more serious assult and abuse mentioned in the poster. The reality is that your “fact” is a conjecture and that presenting it as a fact is propoganda of exactly the type you’ve taken pains to help us identify.
*Probably. Though regulating these things can force people to overcome their prejudices. I also vaugley wonder whether all the people who will undoubtedly shout “their B&B, their rules” would be so happy to make the same argument if they were refusing to let black people or Christians stay.
I thought it was a joke when I read “Gay Police Association.” Anyway, great post, Gerv.
The way I chose to present my critique of the advert was as a “guide to propaganda”. Therefore, I finished it with an ironic endorsement of the wonderful effects that such writing could achieve. Just as the picture of Bible-wielding Christians is a false extreme, so is that of the legions of old lady B&B owners. I was using double hyperbole.
It is very likely that whatever collection of incidents the GPA have pulled together from whatever sources they are using includes some incidences of violence. They may even have been committed by people who call themselves Christians. Those people may even be Christians (although only God knows for sure), who were sinning at the time. None of this is particularly relevant to my points about the quality of the advert.
Dao, your comments are very succinct, so it’s hard to understand why you would believe that to be true. What makes you think that homosexuality doesn’t hurt anyone?
Also, since you’re talking with Christian’s, what you say is a sin isn’t really the issue. The question would be what does God say is a sin. Of course we can have differences of opinion about what God says, but it’s wise to have a well-informed opinion on a particular subject if you want to discuss with someone who has different views.
To give a very unrelated example, I have a good Christian friend who speeds (goes above the speed limit). As I don’t speed, we’ve had discussions about whether speeding is sinful or not.
One thing I’ve found useful in discussions like this is to be able to see both points of view. When that is the case, such as with speeding or with sexual sins, I can understand the arguments, rationals, some of the thinking because I myself have used the same in the past.
If I’ve never been tempted to have the opposite point of view (say smoking), then I have to listen even more carefully to the person to try and understand their point of view. Otherwise there’s no point in discussing it, if I’m not going to listen to them and try to see where they’re coming from.
Of course, maybe it’s a sin because it hurts people, because they think it’s a sin, because that’s what they were told. Anything else? Seriously, how exactly could it hurt anyone?
Nobody knows what God would say. Citing the Bible in order to guess is insane if you ask me. So I thought Christians would also ask their conscience in order to get an idea about what God would say, which would be a decent basis for a discussion.
Right, I’d like to bring up a third point of view, namely the homosexuals’. Because I do see a lack of brotherly love.
The fact that I disagree with you about whether it’s from first principles or not is obvious and I wouldn’t bother commenting to point that out, but I’m genuinely confused about what you’re getting at when you say it’s “nothing of the sort”. The derivation is straightforward: I take “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you” as a moral axiom; I wouldn’t want others to do things that hurt me, but otherwise their choices of what sexual acts to perform affect me in precisely no way whatsoever. Conversely I wouldn’t want others to tell me what is or isn’t okay for me to do if it’s not affecting them. Which is entirely sufficient to derive my position. So unless you don’t accept “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you” as an axiom, I can’t see how you can dispute that as a derivation from first principles.
Only if you accept the act as sinful in the first place. To my mind a morally perfect figure is likely to celebrate an act of love between two people exactly equally regardless of which two people it’s between; depending only on whether the act *was* out of love and whether others were being hurt or not.
Great, Stuart. That’s exactly what I’m trying to say.
If my comments seem succinct, that’s mainly because I’m not that eloquent when it comes to English. ;)
Right on gerv! Loved the post. Good analysis and unfortunately we see a great deal of this in the press on both sides of the pond.
Strange to read this from you, Gerv.
Even if unintentionally, you do support discrimination. It is hidden in the last two paragraphs:
See “Define your own terms” above.
Sometimes obedience is not about whether or not we can see whom an action helps versus whom it hurts. It’s about accepting your superior’s wisdom, guidance, and will in the action. The Bible states that God designed man and woman to be sexual complements and for sexual activity to occur in the context of a man-woman marriage; the fact that different pairings (or groupings) of individuals can achieve sexual pleasure with no apparent harm does not negate God’s intention for sex.
The Bible does not call for Christians to assault those who participate in unBiblical sexual activity, but it is clear that believers should not act in any way that reinforces unBiblical behavior. To speak out against disobedience is not to malign the disobedient but to call them forth to the obedience that will lead them to an abundant life. Such is an act of love, not hate.
Wow. This has been a long thread that is remarkably civil for the internet… Despite the general civility, it always amuses me to see the strength of people’s opposition to the mere expression of a moral opinion. The confidence that that holding religious beliefs in opposition to certain practices is de facto hatred, oppression, discrimination, and so forth, always seems very odd to me.
Whatever happened to tolerance? I understand the chain of reasoning some people engage in to oppose the orthodox Christian position on homosexuality: that (very roughly) homosexuality is perceived to be an identity, it is intrinsic to who some people are, therefore to oppose homosexual expression is to oppose the very existence of some people, which is wrong and oppressive. QED.
I obviously disagree with this line of reasoning. Without engaging in debate over its flaws, however, why can’t its proponents at least concede that this is not the basis on which the vast majority of Christians oppose homosexual sex! I believe (and obviously some of you disagree) that sexual expression is a part of who we are but is not our defining characteristic. Every human being expereinces sinfulness (as the defined by the Bible) in the realm of sexuality as a result of the brokenness of the creation (the Doctrine of the Fall). To each one, no matter what the sin is, Jesus shows the way to repentance, forgiveness, and wholeness.
From my perspective, to cling to homosexuality as an intrinsic expression makes no more sense than clinging to any other sin as somehow central to your identity. To recognise with sorrow that some people will have attractions only to the same sex and never to the opposite sex is not to prove the inevitability and therefore acceptability of homosexuality. Rather it confirms the absolute brokeness of creation, that things are not as they should be and God intended that they be. Life as we know it is broken. There are sins I will struggle with all my life, I expect, and Jesus has only compassion on my weakness and only calls me to repentance and acceptance of His life.
Notice that none of this is argument on the basis of genetics or nature or civic morality or first principles. For Christians, belief in the sinfulness of all sexual expression outside of marriage as defined by Scripture is a matter of faith. You are free to consider all this nonsense; superstition that enlightened beings have grown past.
What I don’t understand, I suppose, is why this particular issue is the target of so much abuse, so much willful misreading of motives, so much insistence on the perception of malice. By analogy, if I stayed in a Bed and Breakfast run by (say) Hindus, who believed that their religion showed them that it is a sin to eat beef and I personally love a good steak… If they were polite in their insistence on a meat free menu I would tolerate them politely, if they were aggressive in proselytizing for their beef-free ways I might be irritated and cut my stay short. It would never occur to me, however, to denounce all Hindus as bigots and insist that oppostion to beef consumption is practically a crime and proof of their hatred for meat-eaters…
And yet, somehow, in the debate about this particular topic it is always the Christians who are told that they are intolerant… I just don’t understand it.
We’ve already been there. The point is that you’re considering homosexuality as an axiomatic sin, without thinking about it. Without applying any moral aspects (or commandments) that can be applied to real sins. Do you think God’s intention is to prevent you from thinking?
Actually I’d say, believe what you want. But as soon as you injure others, it’s too much.
The “have a good steak in India” story is a non-analogy. Homosexuals are not visitors in our countries, they live here and we must not ask them to “cut their stay short”. You don’t have the right to tell two women or two men that they cannot live together as you can. As they don’t harm you, leave them alone. Let them go to hell for all I care.
I think you’re absolutely right that that ad is a nasty piece of propaganda. It strongly implies that Christians habitually go about violently assaulting gay people, which is very unfair.
However, I also think you’re underestimating the amount of harm caused “if someone politely says they think that homosexual practice is morally wrong”. Gay people to a greater or lesser extent do live in fear of homophobic violence. That means that “polite” criticism might be a threat of something that could escalate. The fact that violence is also frowned on by your particular brand of Christianity is not much comfort. As you said yourself, an individual Christian might be sinning when they decide to attack me and my partner. Or they might be the kind of Christian you would define as a false one who does believe that God wants them to beat up gay people. You can’t tell.
In the workplace, it’s more likely to be discrimination that a gay person might fear than violence. But a policeman who is constantly hearing “polite” negative comments about his sex life might be afraid that he will be dismissed from his job on a trumped up excuse. At the moment, that fear is justified, because the proportion of homophobes who are as reasonable as you (including people using the label “Christians”) is small.
Also, you’ve never had a serious relationship. I completely respect your decision not to take part in dating. But I would put it to you that you probably don’t really understand how it feels for someone to tell you that a relationship that really, deeply emotionally matters to you is morally evil or perverted or unnatural or whatever. I’ve experienced walking through public streets holding hands with my girlfriend, and being called insulting names and so on, including getting hassle from some people who quoted the Bible and claimed (perhaps falsely, who knows) to be Christian. And I can tell you, it’s very unpleasant and also quite scary. Sure, my relationship with D was a morally bad relationship according to your particular version of Christianity. But you know, I was doing plenty of other things that are against your religion, like, you know, the whole not believing in Jesus thing! And being in a same-sex relationship drew far more negative comments than any other aspect of my life which goes against Christianity. Including being in a sexual relationship outside marriage when it happened that my partner was male.
I’m not saying that Christians must change their principles and accept that homosexual relationships can be morally right. I’m saying that making a big deal out of homosexual relationships between people who are not Christian anyway (while ignoring all the other not approved by Christian teaching things they might do) is homophobic. And “homosexuality is against my religion” is not a justification for homophobia, which I think is the point that the ad was trying to make, albeit it made the point in a very crass and prejudiced way.
So a sin isn’t “real” unless it causes objective harm to another human being? God wants us to use our minds — He wouldn’t have given them to us had he wanted us to just sit and look pretty — but He also wants us to accept His authority whether or not we understand the consequences of disobedience. If you believe that God is omniscient and you are not, you must accept that He may call you to actions that do not “make sense” to you because His understanding is so far beyond yours. Usually the consequences of obedience / disobedience become apparent in hindsight, but not always.
And what do you define as injury? Physical assault is unquestionably injury, as is extreme verbal assault, but condemnation of sexual activity? Statement that such is sin? If you hold strongly to your belief that homosexual activity is not sinful, then you should be able to shrug off the arguments of Christians or others who believe otherwise.
First off, his argument involved having a good steak at a B&B run by Hindus, not necessarily in India. If he visited a B&B in India, there would be an assumption that he would conform to the customs of that country regarding the consumption of beef. However, if this was a B&B in the United States run by Hindus, there might be an expectation that the B&B owners would cater to the desires of the area.
Here, though, are you saying that individuals don’t have the right to express beliefs about behavior, or that they don’t have the right to enforce these beliefs as rules? I don’t have the authority to tell any two people not to live together, but I don’t see why it should be a problem for me to tell them why they shouldn’t, as long as the language doesn’t cross the line into verbal assault.
Your final statement, “Let them go to hell for all I care,” contradicts one of the foremost commands of Christianity (and likely of other religions): if you see someone walking in a way that will lead HIM or HER to harm, you must love him / her enough to try to bring him / her to the path to a joyful, abundant life. Ultimately it must be an act of that person to choose to change paths — not one forced on that person through physical or verbal assault — but a Christian is charged with making sure that the person knows the choice he or she is making.
Individ-ewe-al: thanks for dropping by, and for your thought-provoking comments.
I’m saddened that you still define me as a ‘homophobe’, even a ‘reasonable’ one. As I understand it, homophobia is fear of or contempt for homosexuals, and I would hope that you would classify my stance as neither. Or is it because there is no word for someone who disapproves of homosexuality on moral grounds, but without fear of or contempt for those doing it?
This entire paragraph leads to a good point, which I try and make when having this discussion. The first thing homosexuals hear from Christians should not be condemnation, just as the first thing people having heterosexual relationships outside marriage hear shouldn’t be condemnation either. To condemn first (and, if the person being condemned decides to walk away, only) is not a way to make the gospel of Jesus Christ attractive to people. This is particularly important in this situation because, as you say, homosexuals are expecting discrimination and condemnation.
And also, we so easily forget our own moral state before God. It is hard to see an attitude which begins with condemnation as anything other than arrogant.
I think any attitude which appears to treat homosexuality as a more serious sin than adultery, for example, is lopsided. So I would agree with your last paragraph – although I don’t think that making too big a deal out of it should be labelled “homophobic”, if it is still done without fear or contempt/hatred.
No. First of all, the potential to cause harm has to be considered, that’s why I asked “how exactly could it hurt anyone?”. Secondly, for example harming nature is also a sin in my opinion.
That’s why religion is potentially harmful. You do not communicate with God, you are following an institution that is run by human beings. They can fail, as you state correctly. Hence I would recommend to use your minds more extensively.
I do not believe in God, so I do not have to apply your rules to me. This is what you should accept.
See Individ-ewe-al’s comment. She describes it much better than I ever could.
Whatever, you are a guest, it doesn’t matter which country you’re at. I still don’t see the comparativeness. This isn’t about B&B and homosexuals aren’t guests in our countries. Now let’s say you’re in a restaurant, do you think a Hindu would annoy you because you eat beef? Note that he isn’t the host, both of you have the same rights.
That’s nothing but theory. I don’t see the love. I see disgust and discriminating treatment. If you inforce laws that prohibit same-sex marriage, there’s no option to “choose to change paths”. Also this implies that a homosexual could actually choose. If she or he is not bisexual, the only alternative is to love nobody.
Morality is a point of view based on combinations of society, religion, history and so on. One could argue that you have no greater moral grounds from which to criticise homosexuality than they have to practise it.
The point made was that at the present time, Christians (or at least the public, vocal ones) don’t go around picking on people who are having sex before marriage or doing whatever else that the Bible considers a sin, but they are doing things like publicly condemning homosexuality by trying to prevent laws that allow homosexuals to live equally alongside heterosexuals.
I personally find this counter-productive, because civil partnerships allow you to keep “marriage” as a straight-person-only club, something that Christians want, anyway.
You’re obviously not like that, which makes you better than the (unfortunately very vocal) Christians that are.
This is another opinion based thing. I have no contempt or hatred for Christians, but if I tried to “save” you from Christianity, I suspect you might take my view point in such a circumstance as christianphobic.
metapundit: You must have missed the memo. I this day and age, ‘tolerance’ only applies to the peopole ‘that I agree with’ and also includes thoughtcrime (i.e. if you disagree with the people I agree with your intolerant).
Ist Gott homophob?
Gervase Markham, dessen Blog ich regelm��ig �ber mozillaZine besuche, ist Christ und l�sst es sich nicht nehmen, das regelm��ig in mehr oder weniger provokativen Eintr�gen heraush�ngen zu lassen. Dieses Mal nimmt er sich eine streitbare Kampagne der Ga…
I agree with your first point, and I probably should have stated that “real” sin, under your definition, would have the potential to cause harm. I also agree that nature should be treated with respect (as I consider myself a steward of the earth). However, I still think we’re not going to come to a consensus on what harm is. Emotional distress may seem like harm at the time, but in my own life I’ve had to endure such to find my way closer to maturity (and I know I’ve got so much farther to go).
It depends on how you choose to follow. There is a danger (and I’ve seen this happen far too often) of being too dependent on a pastor or teacher to dictate rights and wrongs, elevating him or her beyond the fallen human being that he or she is. The Bible, too, can be spun in so many different directions. That’s why we have to rely on our minds AND communication with God (not in the literal sense, but in terms of confirmation) to understand not only the Bible but also how our faith applies to specific situations — and to correct us when we get it wrong.
Again, I said if. I’m trying to make the point that a God who is greater than man has greater understanding and would not necessarily give man all the details of a specific command.
I think her post was one of the best I’ve seen, and it brings to light some issues on which Christians (and society as a whole) have so far to go. Those Christians who choose to follow their words regarding sin with violence defame His name and the Church as a whole.
This is a different comparison, and perhaps more appropriate to the discussion. A question: what, according to the Hindus, are the consequences of eating beef?
There’s a difference between enforcing laws and having discussion. Abortion is legal in the United States, and I can’t prevent a woman from aborting her child, but I can discuss why I believe God wants her to carry that child to term.
You don’t see love, and that’s probably for good reason — among many who object to homosexual activity, there is no love, and there is disgust. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t those out there who desire to see homosexuals freed from the bondage of sin out of love. We all as Christians have so far to go in terms of being able to see the sin of homosexual behavior as no worse than the sin in our own hearts and lives. I hope that the dialogue continues, because nobody is helped by the continued perception of those engaged in homosexual activity as low or disgusting.
We’re still getting desires, love, and acts all intermingled with one another. I don’t believe any person can choose whom he or she will desire. I also agree that strong bonds of love can happen between different pairings of people. Where I disagree is whether or not someone who feels a strong physical and emotional desire towards someone MUST have a sexual relationship with that person. I’m 25 and still a virgin, and it STINKS, but my life isn’t ruined because I have yet to have sex. It’s hard not having a “love of my life” to wake up next to every morning and fall asleep next to at night, but I don’t need that to make my life whole. God is blessing me in different ways, and I believe He will continue to bless me to the end of my life even if He never grants me a wife.
I probably shouldn’t have called you a homophobe, sorry. My point was that if people start criticizing a gay person’s choice of partner, the gay person can’t tell if they are confronting a homophobe, potentially a dangerous homophobe, or if they are confronting a reasonable person who believes that homosexual sex is morally wrong but doesn’t feel any fear, contempt disgust etc for them as a person. That’s why simply stating your moral position in a polite way can provoke strong reactions, reactions that may seem disproportionate if you haven’t tried to empathize with the gay person being targeted.
I got that point, but I wanted to extend your thoughts: If rules are based on belief only, you can’t expect others to follow them. That’s where tolerance is in demand (on both sides).
Is that a catch question?
I don’t know the answer.
I wrote “love”, not “have sex”. More important, I didn’t say people must act out their feelings in any way. But they also shouldn’t be handicapped in doing so. It’s their decision.
Probably. After being suppressed, there may be an emancipating urge, mixed with a feeling of frustration and pricked pride.
If I was gay, I wouldn’t want to be “upgraded”, in order to be just as good as a heterosexual, finally. The mistreatment is fundamentally wrong and fixing isn’t easy. Saying “Okay, now you are accepted as being normal” only conceals that people have a problem accepting others who don’t seem normal or straight to them in the first place.
I don’t think so. Polygamy has another quality because it usually discriminates women. Again I’m trying to ask who could be harmed. Here I see the potential, clearly, so that’s where I would draw the line.
I’d like to jump back into the conversation, but there’s ever so much to comment on!
Remy, I rather thought that was the point. Gerv’s post is rich with irony, and I imagine it was intending to influence people’s opinions to some degree. Nevertheless, it did provide information in that it pointed out elements in the GPA’s ad that were misleading and intended to mislead. So I doubt Gerv’s article qualifies as propaganda, though if the joke of the last paragraph is missed, then that would qualify.
Dao, my guess at your biggest question / objection is that you don’t see how a homosexual relationship hurts anyone else. Is that correct? If so, I’ll have to think for a bit on how to put the answer in just a few paragraphs, as I think it is a good question and deserving of a thoughtful answer.
Before I do that, I want to question the principle of your question. You said how you can easily see how polygamy is hurtful. Two thoughts come from that:
1. Perhaps you can, but others couldn’t. Perhaps others (such as myself) find it easy to see homosexuality as hurtful to others. So then where do we draw the line? This isn’t a challenge, it’s just a thought I had and brings me back to providing reasons why I think it’s hurtful.
2. If widespread acceptance of homosexuality (I’m talking about the act, not the people) leads to an acceptance of polygamy and other kinds of sexual deviance, wouldn’t that be a consideration for whether homosexuality is hurtful?
In support of the hypothesis in #2, there has already been a “dual-marriage” where four people were married to each other (in California, no surprise there). There are also activists who believe child-porn is not wrong, and are pushing to eventually realize a society that accepts pedophile activities as a normal sexual activity.
Dao, you have some very insightful thoughts.
There are a lot of good points and counter-points above, far too many to reply to in one post.
In order to easily live together in the same society, we should discuss it and come to a conclusion. (Thus I’m glad you want to provide reasons.)
This reasoning wouldn’t be fair to homosexuals (I don’t know how to separate the actor from the act). Likewise you could argue that whitehouse.gov is hurtful because the Internet spreads child-porn.
As soon as you accept morals as the basis for discussion, I see more of a chance than danger. I mean, if the society considers polygamy morally harmless, so be it, but I don’t think this is gonna happen.
That’s a good point, because it leads me to the Netherlands. It was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. People accept it. Now they do have a party that wants to legalize child-porn and pedophile, indeed. But this is not accepted but strongly opposed by the vast majority. I think they do discuss morals and I think it leads the right way.
Dao, I went for a run this morning and structured my reply in my mind, but have been swamped with work ever since. So sorry for the delay, I’ll try to get the post up early tomorrow.
I did happen to see the following news item pop up in the BBC’s general news ticker… here’s a link I found via Google news just now:
Be sure not to mix up cause and result here … If they were accepted, there would be no vocal lobby.
The majority is always potentially wrong (and this must not be forgotten).
If I said most of the Germans were Christians, you would probably argue that they weren’t real Christians. You would be right, but I would argue more generally that there was a lack of morals. I don’t want to base morals on the opinion of the majority; I want to base rules on morality. And in fact, it was the maximum absence of any morals.
That’s very compatible to what I was saying. Although I would have accepted another ruling by the court, I think it decided reasonable. Either way the party won’t be in a position to decide anything. (See “The group would need around 60,000 votes, and pollsters estimate it would get fewer than 1,000” and “the party likely would fail to register for the elections because pedophiles seek anonymity.”)
My post will come around to rest on moral grounds. I think that’s inescapable, and actually a good thing. Though by your last comment, perhaps you agree? I was surprised to see you want to base rules on morality, so I may have misunderstood where you are coming from.
Here’s a number of points that add up for me:
1. Romans chapter 1 seems very clear to me. This may just be because of my unique background, but taken together with a general study of scripture I find it hard not to read ch 1 as saying homosexuality is a sin.
2. a. Human body functions / design: I thought that homosexuality (at least among males) is damaging to the human body. So in that instance the people involved would be hurting each other.
b. A male / female relationship is designed to have desire lead to reproduction. Of course, this assumes a belief in a creator and a purpose to have children. But the act of sex is not only a act of pleasure and enjoyment of a lover, but also leads to birth. Obviously homosexual relationships are without this (benefit? consequence?) :)
3. Societal impacts have already been mentioned by someone else, and you have responded. My belief is that once a society begins accepting other sexual relationships as not only normal, but worthy of the same benefits as man-woman marriage/traditional family (put another way, once a society decides traditional family is not unique or worthy of special attention) the society begins to decay and fall apart.
4. I was not a history buff in school, so only over the last several years have become interested enough to start learning from history. But this is one thing I think it teaches us, that the traditional family is a cornerstone, for whatever reasons, of a stable and successful community. I also can see many possible reasons why this would be so, most of them not tied to any moral or “religious” beliefs but just cause and effect, observations of human nature.
5. “the dutch news article” – you and I both see this as supporting our points, and rightly so I think. Yes, there is mass outcry – but nonetheless, a court has given people with an acknowledged criminal intent (sex with 12 year olds) the right to form a political party with those goals. Now whether it should have been ruled different, I won’t say. Instead, look at your (and my) response: could have accepted a different solution. Now 30 years ago, what would have been the response? I submit there would barely have been a decision (had there been men who even tried), and that no one would have accepted this outcome had it got this far. One could say that we have become more enlightened, or more tolerant. I would agree with the second part – tolerance can be a never-ending slope. If you don’t have defined points on which to stop, there’s nothing to keep you from continuing forever down it. Anyone can say ‘no’ to stopping, and it takes everyone to say ‘yes, stop here and go no further’. Only enough time is needed.
You may have noticed each point growing longer – I haven’t been able to sum up these thoughts into one or two sentences, though many others here seem to be good at that.
My conclusion: though it’s not the government’s role (or ability) to rule too tightly in people’s sexual lives, accepting homosexuals as a special rights group is something else altogether, and not in society’s best interest.
As a homosexual, I might very well want to be able to “marry” my spouse and have all the related privileges. I would be upset and think it was silly if someone said I couldn’t, since it would seem to defeat their arguments about homosexuality being a promiscuous sin, and that homosexuals couldn’t commit, and shoot it would even be supporting the family unit.
As a christian, and an amateur study of culture and history, I think it’s clear that homosexuality does result in hurting both individual people and society in general. So even though I feel compassion for someone with those feelings / tendencies, I don’t support it. Nor do I think we should endorse activities such as speeding, or doing drugs, or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol – even though each of these activities has several sponsors and lots of people with tendencies towards them.
I’ve skipped over a lot of thoughts and supporting evidence. Sorry I couldn’t find a succint way to communicate who I think homosexuality hurts. I’ll wait for your response.
It’s been said several times already, but no Christian should support violence. Attacking homosexuals is just as much of a sin as anything else we’re discussing. I would never attack someone like a homosexual – I’ve always been vehemently (heh) opposed to gangs bullying anyone, regardless of the reason. Yes, there are ignorant people on both sides of the equation who do really stupid things. The reasonable discourse here indicates none of us support those who go out and picket or fight or bomb, etc… Nothing more should need to be said on this subject, I don’t think.
Maybe for you, I can’t tell. Remember, your rules that are based on belief only don’t apply to me :)
Actually, when I asked “who could be hurt”, I meant others. Do you think you should prevent homosexuals from hurting themselves? Most certainly, if the alleged pain exceeded their feelings, they wouldn’t do it. You can’t know better than them, not accepting this would be arrogant.
Yes, I think there’s pretty much no consequence. Firstly, homosexuality truly is not the way to survive. Yet it’s part of nature and mankind. Secondly, not accepting homosexuals doesn’t help, because they can hardly be part of a healthy heterosexual relationship. Thirdly, reproduction is one of the least problems mankind has to face.
The main problem with same-sex relationships is that people think it’s a problem. You could accept it as normal and it would be fine. I bet many of them would want to start families that — if you didn’t look at the sex — you would consider traditional.
And all this wouldn’t prevent me from starting a family. So, where’s the decay?
Their intent is to change the law, not to commit crime. That’s a progress any democracy should bear.
After reading the article, I think the ruling isn’t about acceptance and tolerance at all.
And again, this isn’t fair to homosexuals. The fact that there have to be “points on which to stop” doesn’t imply that homosexuality is beyond this point, thus it can’t displace a debate.
Not comparable to homosexuality.
Attacks can be very subtle but not less hurting.
That’s not the point, though. He is explaining what he thinks and why he thinks it. If you want to have a sensible discussion, rather than saying “but your reasoning isn’t valid for my situation”, you need to try and step into the other person’s shoes and interact with their argument – just as he is doing with yours.
This argument isn’t valid. To see why, examine a parallel situation. Is injecting hard drugs harmful to the injector? By your argument, they can’t be, because people do it nevertheless. But I don’t think the argument holds.
Do you have any evidence for that statement? The studies I am aware of show that the homosexual lifestyle is characterised by many more sexual partners and much shorter relationships. For example, Saghir and Robins (1973) found that 75% of homosexual men over the age of 40 had never had a relationship lasting longer than a year.
Your argument’s a little weak here :-) Why not?
I’ve already accepted that, but I don’t see the impact. What is a non-Christian homosexual supposed to do? Without believing in God, should he impair his own life heavily in order to please you? Wouldn’t that exceed the meaning of tolerance? Shouldn’t be Christians more tolerant here, applying their special rules to themselves only?
Drugs are addictive; even if junkies realize the pain (I doubt that), they can’t choose once they’re in it. Contrary, I don’t see why homosexuals wouldn’t realize the pain of intestinal bleeding and — if it’s bigger than the “having sex” experience — stop it (or use lube …).
Of course, there are still people that harm themselves consciously for no purpose. But putting homosexuals into this category would require further argumentation.
No, but since many of them ask for the right to get married (and even adopt children), it seems likely to me. I don’t think such a study tells much unless homosexuals are actually allowed to live under normal circumstances.
Well, we’re still discussing if it’s harmful. If it turns out it is, and if we all ignore the fact that homosexuality is an integral part of a person, feel free to compare it to speeding.
Am sure you saw this Gerv.
Iain Dale: “I think this is a prime example of where the Church of England needs to be far more robust in defending itself and its faith.”
Sexual gratification is also addictive.
No, it’s neither physically nor psychologically addictive. Most people can bear not having sex for days, weeks, months or years with ease.
Remy here; I guess it’s pretty convenient to filter out comments that really irritate you. Here’s to the art of opinion-shaping…
BTW, if you don’t like critique, maybe you should disable comments.
Remy: I’m not sure what you mean. I’ve never intentionally deleted a contentful comment on this blog. I have to clean out the spam manually so I guess it’s possible that something you said got deleted by mistake. If so, I apologise and please feel free to repost it.
Sex addiction is now a very well-known psychological condition. In fact, the brain is designed bio-chemically for sex to be addictive to a degree. This is one reason why some people argue that sex is most suitably conducted within long-term stable relationships (ideally marriage).
Your statement is basically the same as saying “Most people can bear not taking drugs for days, weeks, month or years with ease”. Of course they can as most people are not drug addicts.
Ask a person, though, (or perhaps try it yourself?) who has been having sex regularly to forego all sexual activity (including masturbation) for one month. Let them describe the experience.
Quite amusingly, group of people who tried just that some time ago as an experiment and posted the results on a web forum (I lost the link) descibed the proceeding withdrawal symptoms as worse than giving up cigarettes! (None of them took harder drugs, though, so I don’t know how it would have compared to that). Most couldn’t last more than a week. None were religious and had no problem with the concept of pre-marital sex. I am speaking from experiencing this myself also (although there are probably people who have not experienced this or only to a lesser degree – there are likely a number of factors involved in chronic sex addiction)
Most people are not drug addicts and most people are not sex addicts. Right. That’s what I said. Though the difference is that most people have sex.
You like it and you want to do it again. It does not imply an addiction. If you don’t find a sexual partner, even if you had sex on a regular basis before, you usually don’t go crazy. I don’t see why this would be different for homosexuals.
Of course we have to exclude masturbation, because it has nothing to do with homosexuals having sex. Step wanted to say that they hurt themselves and I replied that it can’t be that bad, otherwise they wouldn’t do it again. Unless they are addicted (i.e. to having sex with a partner, no matter what it costs).
And don’t forget that until Step came up with that point, we were talking about how others could be harmed. The new argumentation is kind of vacuous. Don’t tell me that Christians detest gays because they feel responsible for them and want to prevent them from hurting themselves physically. That’s a shabby excuse.
I’m not sure the addictiveness or otherwise of sex is particularly relevant to the broader points here, but I have one small comment on this statement. In the general case, why is this type of motivation “shabby”?
Christians are called to love their neighbour; if my neighbour is engaged in a self-harming action, for example cutting themselves or drinking too much, then surely the loving thing to do is to point this out and help him or her to stop?
Dao: I wasn’t arguing for or against the original argument – just pointing out that your statement “No, it’s neither physically nor psychologically addictive.” was, in fact, incorrect. The addictive component of orgasm can have both negative and positive consequences depending on a number of factors and circumstances.
I suggest you read the articles I posted links to for further information.
Not as a motivation but as an excuse. As stated before, I don’t see the proclaimed love. If this was the motivation, the treatment would look different. You’ve written it yourself: “we so easily forget our own moral state before God. It is hard to see an attitude which begins with condemnation as anything other than arrogant.”
It just seems that Step was looking for reasons why it’s valid to say homosexuality is bad, instead of really thinking it’s bad because of certain reasons.
Mark, I’m actually aware of the fact that sexual gratification in general can be considered addictive. I couldn’t really negate this; yet I did, because I was focused on having sex with a partner, which is our topic.
There are too many inconsistencies in your above posts. Nobody thinks any less of someone if they acknowledge they got something wrong.
Anyway, feel free to ignore me and return to the topic at-hand. I’ve made the point I wanted to make.
Somehow I don’t get through to you. I negated “Sexual gratification is also addictive” and I was wrong if you take it literal. But actually, regarding the context, there’s no point in taking it literal. Hence I read it as “Having sex with a partner is addictive”. That’s what I intended to negate.
It is true that you aren’t making a lot of sense to me. I can only interpret your meaning from the actual words you provide on the screen, not what you may or may not have intended to say or imply without actually saying it, and what you have said hasn’t always been very clear.
I understand that you responded to my point in the context of the discussion about the morality of homosexuality. Hence, I later explained that my comment was not intending to address this issue but the erroneous statement regarding the non-addictivity of sexual gratification. This statement remains false regardless of whatever context you put it in (heterosexuality, homosexuality or autosexuality (i.e. no partner). To negate this is to negate known science (again, the articles).
To illustrate my point: Endorphins are released in large amounts during sexual gratification. These opiate-like compounds (whose functions are approximated by abusive drugs such as heroin and crack) and their receptors make up the pleasure/reward system of the brain which also serve to reinforce the survival instincts such as eating and procreation. Biologically, in a non-complex scenario, one becomes mildly addicted to sexual pleasure and in the right circumstances this is not harmful and can indeed be beneficial (such as reinforcing the bonding process with a mate). What leads this “addiction” to become a harmful addiction is largely dependant upon the context and the resulting consequences.
A question could be then: in what context is this “addiction” wrong as experienced within homosexual behaviour?
I could suggest a few possibilities but I don’t think this discussion is going to be resolved any time soon in the space of this rapidly dying thread
(The articles I mentioned provide interesting information to anyone of any perspective in this discussion.)
Mark, addiction to sexual gratification does not imply addiction to having sex with a partner. Sexual gratification can be obtained in many ways. That’s why singles don’t go crazy. That’s why gays don’t depend on anal sex. That’s what I wanted to say. And I’m not interested in a further debate that is based on your denial of the context. Although my statements were not always clear, I was trying to explain them several times. But you don’t listen. I’m going to ignore further comments by you.
Dao: It is not that I don’t listen. The problem is, as you have said it yourself, your statements are not always clear. I have been listening and trying to understand you; the purporse of my posts have been, in fact, not to oppose you but to try to seek clarification for the sake of the discussion. This is not something anyone should be taking offence at in a forum for debate. Again, please do not get offended if people do not understand what you “intended to say” if you didn’t actually say it. Clarity of communication is paramount to effective discussion otherwise it all falls apart just like this.
Furthermore, I am not “denying” context at all. I am, in fact, emphasising the importance of context as to whether the addictive properties of sex become harmful or not. Hence, it is you that has not been listening to me. I have stated my position that there are contexts where the addictivity of sex is not harmful and there is, in fact, room within that statement for you to argue your position that it is the scenario you have described that falls within this context.
However, even though I now see what you were intending to say I am still going to disagree with you and I doubt you will understand why unless you are prepared to read legitimate scientific articles on the subject as opposed to relying on personal opinion or public “common knowledge”. You do not indicate whether you read the articles I mentioned but if you do not wish to, or do not have the time then that is just fine with me – so long as you are prepared to acknowledge the fact and are prepared to continue to remain ignorant in a subject in which you are attempting to speak with some authority.
If you wish me to elaborate further on the above point I will. Alternatively, if you wish to ignore me that is your prerogative, but I think a little more maturity and stomach for open debate is required if one is going to partake in a public forum.
This thread is long dead, but I just wanted to point out the news that the GPA has been reprimanded for this advertisement. I’m not personally thrilled about this (I don’t think political speech should be subject to governmental regulation) but did find it interesting that “The GPA’s advert was also found to have been untruthful in its claim that calls about homophobic incidents had increased by 74 percent, and it was criticized for not being able to back up its statement with evidence”…