The Instigator
RationalTheism
Pro (for)
Losing
245 Points
The Contender
VenomousPen
Con (against)
Winning
343 Points

Homosexual Behavior Is Immoral

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/15/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 24,406 times Debate No: 12351
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (131)
Votes (102)

 

RationalTheism

Pro

I wish to thank my opponent for engaging me in this debate. I look forward to a spirited exchange.

I will be defending the historic Christian position that homosexual behavior is immoral. Using the same method that Paul employed in Romans 1:26-27, I will argue that homosexuality is wrong because it is unnatural, meaning that it is contrary to the proper functioning of human sexual organs. Additionally, because both myself and my opponent are Christians, I will also make use of Biblical passages to support my position.

[[--Natural Revelation--]]

Let me begin with an analogy. The purpose of eyes is to see. We say that one has a pair of "good" eyes if they function in accordance with their purpose. By that same token, we say that one has a pair of "bad" eyes if they do not function in accordance with their purpose. Now, since good is something that ought to be pursued (that's the definition of good), the proper thing to do with bad eyes is to turn them into good eyes. In other words, the proper function of eyes gives us insight on how they ought to function. [1] According to this position, known as classic virtue ethics, "[h]uman nature defines what is unique and proper for human flourishing, and a bad person is one who lives contrary to human nature." [2]

Now, it is a self-evident fact that the purpose of our sexual organs is to reproduce – that's how they're structured. Just like how a key fits a lock, the male and female sex organs are complementary to each other. Given that their purpose is to reproduce, they are functioning properly when used in conjunction with this purpose. Homosexual acts are therefore wrong because they run contrary to the proper functioning of our sexual organs.

Aside from the fact that homosexuality runs contrary to the proper function of our sexual organs, it is also physically destructive. Yet, if homosexual behavior were morally acceptable, then it's odd as to why these harmful consequences result. Consequently, this lends credulity to the fact that there is something deeply wrong about homosexual behavior. Here are some examples:

-The lifespan of homosexuals is shorter by 8-22 years. Smoking, by contrast, only shortens one's lifespan by 7 years! [3] If there's something wrong with smoking, then there's definitely something wrong with homosexuality.
-The lifespan of the average homosexual is significantly lower than that of the general populace. For married men, the average lifespan was 75 years, with 80% living past age 65.. For single/divorced men, it was 57, with 32% living past age 65. By contrast, the average lifespan of homosexual men is 42, with 9% living past age 65. For homosexual men with AIDS, the lifespan is 39, with 2% living past age 65. [4]
-"As of 1998, 54 percent of all AIDS cases in America were homosexual men... nearly 90 percent of these men acquired HIV through sexual activity with other men." [5]

Thus, because homosexual behavior both goes against the intrinsic purpose of our sexual organs and is physically destructive to those involved, it is reasonable to suppose that homosexual behavior is wrong.

[[--Special Revelation--]]

In Genesis, God explicitly ordained a heterosexual framework for human relationships. Prima facie, it appears that nowhere in the Bible are homosexual relationships endorsed. Thus, given the fact that Scripture prima facie condemns homosexual behavior (See the following passage), it is reasonable to suppose that it is immoral until proven otherwise.

I would be impractical and unnecessary for me to post the entire passages, so let me just note several passages in which homosexuality is condemned. These include: Genesis 19:4-13 (The homosexuality of Sodom and Gomorrah was condemned) , Romans 1:26-27 (Where Paul refers to homosexuality as unnatural), I Corinthians 6:9; 10, and Leviticus 20:13; 18:22 (Which indicate that homosexuality is prohibited by the OT Mosaic law).

Before going in depth on any exegetical issues, I will wait to hear my opponent's interpretation of these passages, lest I attack strawmen.

[[--Sources--]]

[1] – I owe this analogy to J. Budziszweski in personal correspondence.
[2] – J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, "Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview" p.455
[3] – http://www.allaboutlove.org...
[4] – See Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, "Legislating Morality: Is It Wise? Is it Legal? Is it Possible?" p.132-134
[5] – http://www.catholiceducation.org...
VenomousPen

Con

Many thanks to my opponent for engaging in this debate with me, and I look forward to an entertaining and rigorous discussion.

I will begin by briefly summarizing my position and providing definitions of terms that will be used on my part for the remainder this debate. My opponent is free to provide his own, but I will unless explicitly stated otherwise will be using terms with the definitions provided in this post. I do not expect these definitions to be terribly controversial for this discussion, though any constructive criticism is welcome if my opponent feels these definitions are insufficient for this debate.

My own position, informed by Christian ethics, is that most homosexual behavior is immoral, like most heterosexual behavior, with the exception of homosexual behavior engaged in a monogamous, homosexual union between two consenting adults. Homosexual behavior includes any contact between two persons of the same gender for the purpose of inducing sexual arousal, up to and including an orgasmic response, in either individual. Heterosexual behavior is otherwise similar with the exception that both participants are of opposite genders. A union is a socially recognized, legally protected living arrangement of two individuals for the purpose of sharing and providing emotional, financial, romantic and physical support between both participants, with legal consequences and recourse for the dissolution or violation of the union.

Instead of detailing why most homosexual behavior is immoral, I will instead expound on the view that, at the very least, homosexual behavior engaged whilst in a monogamous, homosexual union is not immoral. The aim is to show that the two sources most individuals appeal to for ethical norms do not provide sufficient evidence that all homosexual behavior is immoral. I posit that a behavior is only to be considered immoral if evidentiary support affirming such a conclusion can be provided; otherwise the behavior is to be considered morally neutral. Moral actions must also meet a burden of proof to be considered such.

The two sources of moral knowledge relevant to my position are natural revelation and special revelation. Natural revelation includes any source of genuine ethical information any agent with sufficient epistemic faculties can understand without regard to any divine inspiration. Examples of such sources can include natural law and even rational investigation into or rumination of ethical problems and topics. Special revelation is a source of ethical information that cannot be discovered or interpreted by any rational agent without divine assistance. This type of revelation is typified by ethical information found in holy texts provided, in some direct or even indirect way, by a deity.

For clarification, an example of natural revelation would be reasoning that humans are of intrinsic value, and so murder is unjustifiable because murder devalues and violates a person. An example of special revelation would be dietary restrictions, where eating certain otherwise nutritious food is considered immoral because a deity, either in direct contact or through the communication, recorded or otherwise, of a prophet, states it is the case. Further, this example assumes that such a deity has the epistemic attributes required to declare such a judgment, or can, at least, actualize a state of affairs such that eating a kind of food is immoral.

As far as natural revelation is concerned, there is no evidence for the idea that homosexuality should be considered immoral under the setting enumerated above, but this assertion will have to wait for future rounds before it can be properly defended due to space constraints.

Special revelation is also topic that deserves more space than can be accommodated in this post, but it will be treated at length in future rounds. For now, my position can be briefly stated to be that the Bible, which I consider to be authoritative when it discusses relevant ethical issues, never discusses modern homosexual behavior, but that it does provide some keen insight in how Christians should approach the question in the modern world.

On a personal note, this particular topic is extremely important for the modern church, and to me, since the cost of being wrong, even being right, can lead to great distress for homosexuals and those who know them. Indeed, the stakes are very high especially for homosexual teenagers, who are five to seven times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, not because they are immoral, but because they feel God hates them for who they are. Homosexuals have been, like other minorities, mistreated by society and the church throughout history, and it would behoove the church to be careful and responsive to every social, emotional and psychological nuance involved in individuals who feel compelled to practice alternative sexual lifestyles to best show them the love of Christ and his Gos
Debate Round No. 1
RationalTheism

Pro

Since my opponent not elected to make an opening argument (He instead stated his position), I will extend my arguments from my opening speech. Let me, however, make some comments on Con's opening argument.

He writes:

"Instead of detailing why most homosexual behavior is immoral, I will instead expound on the view that, at the very least, homosexual behavior engaged whilst in a monogamous, homosexual union is not immoral"

Con's position seems to be that homosexual behavior is immoral unless it occurs within a union (Such as a marriage). Before responding to his arguments (Which he will lay out in detail in his next post), I want to raise two key issues:

1) The general question of whether homosexuality is intrinsically moral or immoral must be dealt with first. If homosexual behavior is shown to be intrinsically immoral, then whether or not it occurs between two consenting adults should have little significance. So the primary question is: is homosexual behavior itself immoral? If the behavior itself is immoral to begin with, then it's not clear how it would be morally permissible if two adults consented to it. The arguments which I have raised against homosexuality deal with this primary question, and thus must be addressed before we get into secondary issues.

2) From a biblical perspective, the only recognized union is that of marriage. However, marriage was explicitly established in Genesis as a union between a man and a woman for reproductive purposes. There seems to be no mention in the Bible of "civil unions" or anything like that. Thus, for my opponent to justify his position on the grounds of special revelation, he must argue demonstrate that homosexual marriage is morally permissible.
VenomousPen

Con

Since the outcome of this debate hinges on the evidence presented in support for the proposition that homosexual behavior is immoral, I will focus the remainder of my responses on showing all evidence provided by Pro is simply unable to support the proposition.

Pro begins with what I can only surmise to be a conflation of very different normative and descriptive concepts. I am immensely skeptical that the sort of discussion of what is or is not a proper function for eyes or any other kind of instrument can be of any genuine interest in a conversation about ethics, and results in Pro committing an equivocation in discussing "good" and "bad" in relation to the function of instruments (e.g. eyes) and moral agents. I shall use Pro's own analogy to illustrate this.

Eyes that function properly are called "good" because that is simply a synonym for 'properly functioning' (the addition of 'according to a purpose' is presently an unjustified condition, and so will be ignored until such justification is provided by Pro). This is of a far different concept of "good" found in discourse about ethics, which speaks of what moral agents ought to or should do and is irrelevant to non-agents. Using this equivocation, the intentional damaging or destruction of any properly functioning instrument (i.e. turning something "good" into something "bad") is to be considered immoral, as moral agents apparently ought not turn something "good" into something "bad". One must ask Pro what that means for individuals who have a habit of biting their fingernails or get a little carried away in 'tapping' their computers when a particular program doesn't care to cooperate.

Special attention must be paid towards Pro's position regarding "human nature" and the proper use of sexual organs, as it is fraught with many difficulties. Sexual organs, in addition to providing the means for reproduction, also have a function of providing pleasure. Establishing which function is primary is difficult, to say the least. It is a very questionable claim that using sexual organs only to provide pleasure is immoral if it is one of its, and especially only, primary functions. Pro must show that the sexual organs exist primarily, or only, to facilitate reproduction. Further, Pro must show that using sexual organs in a way that does not allow them to facilitate reproduction is immoral. If he defends such a view, then that results in sex during pregnancy, post-menopause, or with an infertile partner being immoral acts. Oral and anal sex and masturbation also become immoral acts, some of which are common sexual behaviors among healthy heterosexual couples and are considered to be ethically permissible even in Christian married couples.

Apparent now is that Pro must lift a heavy burden to properly support the debate's proposition. He must demonstrate the primary function(s) of sexual organs and also why failing to use them towards such is immoral, in knowledge that his present position, conflated and confused as it is, mean the vast majority of sexual behavior in traditional marriages is immoral. There are many other weaknesses in this position as it fails to take into account the full scientific understanding of sexual organs, but I think I have presented more damning weaknesses in Pro's position. Presently, Pro's position is entirely underdeveloped, divorced from an understanding of how sex is used among sexually active individuals.

Sexual behavior is presently used among healthy, monogamous couples as a way to provide emotional connection, physical pleasure and intimacy. Whether sex will lead to pregnancy is an incidental concern to some married couples, who hold the immediate effects of sexual behavior as more important than reproduction. Sex is used primarily to solidify bonds or even as entertainment, and sex for reproduction is important only when a couple decides to have a child.

As far homosexuals and physically destructive lifestyle, Pro has not provided necessary information about the studies used to support his points. The type of methodology used in the studies to provide his information is absent. If Pro wishes to be taken seriously from a scientific standpoint (I am trained in both mathematics and biochemistry), he must provide studies that use a representative sample of the homosexual population and fully describe the methodology employed, especially including sample selection.

Pro must show the homosexual population exhibit these types of dangerous behaviors for the debate's proposition to be even marginally supported. More specifically, he must provide evidence that homosexuals in committed, monogamous unions exhibit such negative consequences. If even one subset of homosexual do not exhibit such effects, then the proposition is failed to be supported. Having myself searched through the literature, Pro has a difficult task before him.

Evidence from special revelation will be discussed in future rounds.
Debate Round No. 2
RationalTheism

Pro

Con seems to fault me for confusing descriptive concepts with normative concepts -- by equivocating non-agents with agents. It appears to me that his objection is that I am illegitimately deriving a prescriptive conclusion from descriptive premises. This objection (Called the naturalistic fallacy), I believe, is mistaken.

It has been recognized that there are perfectly valid ways to get a prescriptive conclusion from descriptive premises. Philosopher Peter Geach, in his 1956 paper "Good and Evil" pointed out that some descriptive adjectives retain their meaning no matter what they're applied to. He referred to these as prescriptive adjectives. An example would be "red" -- it means the same no matter what it's applied to (Red ball, red hat, red cup, etc...). Other adjectives, however, he called attributive -- they have a different meaning when applied to different things.

Now, the adjective "good" is attributive -- it has a different meaning depending on what it's applied to (Good car, good knee, etc..). So how do we know when something is good and when it isn't? According to Geach, we have to bear in mind the function of the object in question. A knee is good if it moves property, a car is good if it runs properly, etc... For humans, it is our nature which provides the basis with how we ought to function. So, homosexuality is wrong because it is contrary to proper human functioning. It if were really impossible to derive an "ought" from an "is" in this sense -- then the discipline of medicine would make no sense, since it's involved with how things should function.

Con notes that my position would result in actions such as oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, etc... as being immoral. But, this is intuitively false since most Christian couples recognize that such actions are perfectly fine. However -- I simply don't share these intuitions. I see nothing counter-intuitive about them.

More serious, however, is Con's objection that sex during pregnancy or with infertile spouses turns out to be immoral because it is not being done for reproductive purposes. Let's use the example of eating. Eating is indeed pleasurable, but that's not the purpose of eating -- the purpose is nutrition. The pleasure is good if it cooperates with nutrition. If it doesn't (Such as through gluttony or binging and purging), then it's bad. In the same way, sex merely for pleasure is good if it cooperates with its purpose, which is the "procreative partnership of the spouses." [1]

He also objects to reproduction as being the primary purpose of sex. I see no grounds, however, to believe otherwise. Is it not obvious by the way nature of our anatomy that our sexual organs are for reproduction? Pleasure, it seems, is more of an aid to facilitate reproduction than a purpose in and of itself. This would make sense from an evolutionary perspective, since pleasure would encourage more sex and thus reproduction.

Con asks that I support my statistics with more information about the studies so that they can be seen as reliable. While I do not see why this is necessary (The burden of proof should be on Con to show that they are unreliable), I will be happy to do so. For the linked studies, however, I ask that he consult the links due to space considerations. I will focus on the Omega Study, as cited in my forth source.

The study compared 6,737 obituaries and death notices from eighteen different homosexual journals within the United States with obituaries from two conventional newspapers. Even for homosexual men with a long term partner, only 7% made it past age 65. For those with aids AND a long term partner, it was less than 2%! [2] It may be objected that not all homosexual deaths (Ie: those who were still in the closet) were reported, thus skewing the study. However, the results may have actually been skewed the opposite way, since the activists in charge of these newspapers were "particularly eager to highlight the accomplishments of older homosexuals." [3] Moreover, other studies have verified the conclusions of the Omega Study. These include Edward Laumann's study in "The Social Origins of Sexuality." In that study, 3,400 anonymous respondents in every adult age group all the way up to age 59 were asked about their sexual orientation. For men aged 50-59, only 0.5% identifying as homosexual, compared to 4.2% in the age group of 30-39 and 2.2% in 40-49. The number was even lower for women, with 0.4% identifying as homosexual in the 50-50 age group. [4]

_______

[1] -- J Budziszewski, personal correspondence (3/06/10)
[2] -- Geisler and Turek, 133
[3] -- Ibid, 259
[4] -- Ibid
VenomousPen

Con

This post will focus on explaining my opinion of the evidence found in special revelation, particularly in the Bible. Future rounds will answer whatever criticisms Pro forms.

Genesis provides interesting theological thoughts, but it is of little use in ethics, even Christian ethics. Of interest in the creation narrative in Genesis, which is best read in its theological significance rather than its historical accuracy, is the account of humanity being composed of two genders, of which a union is said to make them into "one".

This narrative provides insight into how the culture and writer(s) of Genesis viewed human nature, but it is inadequate to explain what is known of human nature today. We now understand sexual orientation, gender and physical sex to be a spectrum of a whole host of differences that defy the simplistic explanation found in Genesis. In other words, the creation narrative is scope is too small to explain the origins of the whole host of human sexuality, from hermaphrodites, homosexuality and bisexuality. Christians may answer that this results from the Fall, but it is hard to fathom how to view otherwise functional people, as such people are otherwise valuable, productive and well adjusted members of society, as dysfunctional on the basis of the 'mistake' being discussed. In other words, homosexuality is thought to make a person dysfunctional on the basis of a creation narrative that has nothing to say about such people, as they were thought not even to exist when the creation narrative was written. The significance of this fact makes the creation narrative useless in supporting a normative view of human sexuality, as it does not explain or acknowledge the origin of atypical sexual 'natures'.

Genesis 19's account of attempted gang rape of two angelic strangers will be given a brief mention, but it is of no interest to the debate's proposition as it deals with ancient middle eastern concepts of inhospitality (Christians would do well not use this particular account as an ethical wellspring of information considering what Lot attempts to do with his daughters to 'satisfy' the demands of the denizen's of Sodom). Leviticus will also not be dealt with; such commands no longer apply, as New Testament thought holds instead a new source of ethical information, the Holy Spirit, the ultimate guide to ethical living.

This leads to the New Testament. Jesus or the Gospels have nothing to say on homosexuality. Romans 1 is of particular interest, though it also provides no real ethical information on homosexuality. Indeed, homosexuality is seen as a result or judgment for other immoral behavior, namely idolatry, than anything that is ever condemned outright, though Paul almost certainly viewed homosexual passion and behavior in a very poor light, but that is not surprising given his ignorant view of human nature found in. Some might bristle these harsh comments of Paul, but I do not hold to the evangelical view of inerrancy or inspiration, as I think a person may be inspired by the Holy Spirit and still commit error, even regarding faith and morality (for biblical support, Acts and accounts of Paul's hostilities with other Apostles provide some information. It is problematic the Apostles disagreed with one another on the basics of Christian practice, morality, and doctrine and had their own memories of Jesus to guide them, how much the worse for us, 2,000 years removed from their culture and language!).

This makes suspect very much of what Paul himself said about homosexuality, at least when viewed with a modern, scientifically informed eye, as he largely thought of it as a way of usurping what he considered divinely and socially appointed gender roles, incapable of generating, the development of intimate, emotionally supportive relationship, unlike what is known today. Such was associated with usurpation of social roles, and, worst of all, idolatry.

Homosexual behavior today is associated with none of these things, and is simply another component of some loving, committed relationship, in line with Jesus's commands of loving both God and neighbor as ourselves. Truly loving unions among homosexuals are capable of providing all that is good of heterosexual marriages, including well adjusted children from adoption.

I come from a viewpoint informed by biblical principle of love, made manifest in Jesus. As a result, when I observe loving unions, whether among friends, spouses (of either gender), or family members, I see the work and love of God. It is only through an ignorant understanding of today's current scientific understanding, ancient conceptions of homosexual behavior and of ethical discourse that loving, homosexual unions should be condemned. If the greatest value is love, and love is found in these sorts of unions, then the Christian is well justified in thinking God is also found there, or at least has his blessing.
Debate Round No. 3
RationalTheism

Pro

Con holds to a view of Biblical errancy which leads him to conclude that the Biblical writers were simply incorrect on some matters of human sexuality. However, this seems conveniently "rigged' in order to avoid all criticism of homosexuality on grounds of special revelation.

There is no indication that the intent of the author of Genesis was to give an exhaustive treatment of human sexuality. Indeed, he only seemed to be concerned with establishing a general norm (Man and woman) for sexual behavior. Other details were not included, or were revealed later. This accords with the notion of progressive revelation. Now, one would think that if God would have at least some mention of homosexual behavior if such relationships were to be approved of. Why would God endorse heterosexual relationships and not homosexual relationships if both were part of his intent for human sexuality? Moreover, why didn't God design/guide evolution to produce sexual organs that would be compatible with both genders? One does not have to be a Biblical inerrantist to notice that something is missing that should be there. There thus seems to be no good reason to toss out God's intent for human sexuality in Genesis other than its being too simple (Which it was arguably supposed to be).

Con argues that is it not homosexuality which is condemned in Genesis 19, but inhospitable behavior. But this interpretation doesn't seem to be correct. Why did God judge the two cities? Con seems to propose that they were judged not for their homosexuality, but for their inhospitably in wanting to rape the angels. But this seems unlikely. Homosexuality is elsewhere listed a capital crime, and there's no evidence that the same was true of inhospitably. Why would God judge Sodom and Gommorah for having bad manners while ignoring the more serious crime? Moreover, God couldn't have judged the two cities for their inhospitality -- for he had already issued his judgement days before. Did he judge them for their homosexuality, then? The spotlighting of homosexuality in verse 5 as well as the various mentions of their immoral behavior throughout the Old and New Testaments makes this very likely.

In regards to Leviticus, while it was true that the ceremonial laws no longer apply, the condemnation of homosexuality, incest, bestiality, adultery, and child sacrifice still do. Those commandments were addressed not to the priests, but to all the sons of Israel (Lev 18:2, 20:2). These were not just ritualistic commands, for commands that were to be observed by everyone. Writes Dennis Prager, "It is one thing not to put a Torah punishment into practice and quite another to declare that a Torah sin is no longer a sin." [1]

Coming now to Romans 1. Let me begin by saying (As I already did in the first paragraph) that it seems rather "convenient" for Con to hold that Paul erred on his analysis of homosexuality. But more to the point, is homosexuality condemned outright? It seems so. Even though homosexuality was a judgement for another immoral behavior, it's still seen as immoral. Writes JP Holding, "according to Jewish thought, this sort of homosexual behavior was a symptom of Gentile idolatry. It is because they were idolaters that they engaged in the sinful homosexual act, which was sinful completely apart from religious considerations." [2] Despite the fact that my opponent is a Biblical errantist, the fact that condemnations of homosexual behavior can be found throughout the Bible should be enough to at least shift the burden of proof on him.

________

[1] -- As cited by Greg Koukl, What Was The Sin of Sodom and Gommorah? http://www.str.org...
[2] -- JP Holding, Paul and Homosexuality, http://www.tektonics.org...
VenomousPen

Con

The Apostle Paul is arguably the most influential thinker in Christian thought. Even though much of Paul's thoughts are misinterpreted by Christendom, I admit his thoughts on homosexual behavior are fairly straightforward, as, according to Paul, homosexuality is a violation of divinely established gender roles and was a form and result of idolatrous behavior, an indication God had given up idolaters to their passions.

In a significant way, I agree with Paul regarding homosexuality. I do consider the majority of homosexual behavior to be a result, not of love and commitment, but of lustful behavior, in opposition to the ideals of Christian love. It is not this set of homosexual behavior I will focus on. For Paul, it is no wonder he considered it a deviant lifestyle, since it was associated with defiance of the natural order and associated with idolatry; the two thoughts are easily connected. Any Jew would be easily persuaded to join Paul in his condemnations, since it was the prevailing and, at the time, obvious Jewish opinion. Romans 1:22-27 is a synthesis between two ideas: the homosexual connections to idolatry and violations of the natural order are clearly evident, which in turn offers insight to Paul's thoughts on the topic in other writings.

In modern times, homosexuality is understood very differently. The connections to idolatry are absent, but what of violations of the natural order, that God set down? Leaving aside the fact Paul and Jesus disagreed about the union between men and women, the ancient interpretations of human nature and sex fail to account for the range of sexual and romantic behaviors observed and studied by scientific analyses. Homosexuals are fully capable of providing a loving, supportive and romantic environment relationship to each other in committed unions, including even a healthy environment for raising adopted children; an idea both foreign and without precedent in Paul's understanding of the natural order, which defined how society should function. Further, homosexuals in such unions are capable of giving complete and full honor to Christ and his Gospel and caring for other Christians both emotionally and physically. This would be yet another impossibility for Paul.

The fact these instances are not only possible, but prevalent, in gay, strongly Christian communities across the Western world is an impossible event given what Paul understood. Considering such unions as evil which provide benefits, including intimacy, love, romance and mutual support to two committed individuals, but are also Christ-centered seems contrary to and ignores science and Christian understandings of love. Paul's thoughts on the matter, while applicable during his culture and time, are without empirical support against modern understandings of homosexual behavior. Paul's writings were indeed motivated out of a selfless concern for proper ethics, but applying his principles today would leave many of God's children without the hope for a satisfying, romantic union. As commonly understood in Christianity, a person may be gay and Christian but cannot act on homosexual urges, even in a committed relationship, though God has evidently not blessed this person with the gift of singleness or celibacy. Such a person is doomed to a lifetime without the fundamental partnership afforded to straight people; it's cruel. That is unacceptable given the grace and mercy inherent in Christ, and there is no evidence that either secular or religiously informed therapy, including prayer, can provide treatment for homosexual attraction.

This requires the Christian to reflect on the ethic the Holy Spirit instills in all God's children, love. Is it loving to condemn unions that produce both social and spiritual good works on the basis of Paul's words, which would have considered the existence of such an impossibility? Obviously not. It is precisely the opposite. There is no room in the Church for such ideas. Psychological associations and gay, Christian communities all point to what should be impossible according to Paul: goodness in homosexual unions. The alternative to love leaves us with a cruel punishment for majority of gay Christians: solitude and lack of fulfillment in another person in an intimate, romantic union. This is inexcusable. Would our wise God consider this acceptable? No, God is neither rigid nor cruel. He is benevolent and would not condemn any of his children to a life without romantic fulfillment for an attribute they are incapable of changing, and that God apparently does not change, even after much earnest prayer.

Christ's love is an omnipresent guide. If ever there is a violation of such love, God is not found there. If there is such love, then God is found there. God is a living God, who understands our weaknesses, so if his children suffer needlessly because of the ignorant opinions of some, then God is not pleased.
Debate Round No. 4
RationalTheism

Pro

We both agree that any type of sexual behavior outside of marriage is immoral. However, that is where our agreements end, as I hold homosexual behavior to be immoral under every circumstance.

Con's most recent argument appears to be that the traditional Christian understanding of homosexual behavior is outdated, given that modern sociology has shown that loving homosexual relationships are possible.

Unfortunately, that a relationship can be loving does not imply that it is morally permissible -- mere love does not make something right. Paul, even if he were confronted with modern observations about loving homosexual couples, would still maintain that homosexuality was wrong. This is because his rationale was not that homosexuality was wrong because of _sociological_ matters, but because of _theological_ matters -- it violated God's original design plan. Indeed, Jesus himself agreed with Paul that God intended sex to be between a man and a woman (Matt 19:4). Con's statement that "Paul and Jesus disagreed about the union between men and women" is thus simply false. Moreover, Jesus himself indirectly condemned homosexuality. How? Jesus believed himself to be God (It doesn't matter if you agree that he was God) -- the same God who delivered the Old Testament scriptures condemning homosexuality. Thus, though Jesus never expressed it explicitly, he was critical of homosexuality.

Let me also note in passing that Con has not responded to the Old Testament condemnations of homosexuality, which carry over to the NT, nor my arguments from general revelation.

Quite a bit of emphasis seems to be placed on love, as if it is what makes homosexual relationships permissible. However, love, in and of itself, tells us nothing about whether or not an activity is moral. Indeed, what about incest, polygamy, pedophillia, pederasty, etc...? Surely these acts are immoral, yet there exists loving relationships under which some of these acts take place. Indeed, organizations such as the North American Man/Boy Love Organization argue that some of the former practices should be legalized because some of the individuals involved love each other.

As Bill Stepp has said, "God _accepts_ you the way you are, but he loves you too much to _leave_ you the way you are." [1] Even granting the fact that some people are born gay (The research is still quite speculative), it doesn't make homosexuality acceptable. Suppose that one day we discovered a gene which predisposed some people to violently axe-murder others. Suppose further that when caught, an axe-murder argues that he did nothing wrong because "That's the way I was born!" Would you accept that as a legitimate defense?? Surely not. Now, I'm not trying to compare homosexuality to axe-murdering. Rather, my point is that if we justify something based on natural inclination, then we can also justify a host of other immoral activities on the same basis. Moreover, sincerity does not make something acceptable. The Christian believes that in the beginning, God created everything good. Unfortunately, man's sin has resulted in the corruption of creation, of which homosexuality was a result.

One must also note that the Bible does not condemn homosexual inclinations, but homosexual _behavior_. Thus, even if one was "born" gay, he is not condemned by God for having homosexual inclinations (Indeed, everyone is predisposed to sin, per the fall). "We're ALL twisted in one way or another by the fall; we're not what God meant for us to be spiritually, psychologically, sexually, physically, or mentally. However, that doesn't mean that we should ACT according to our damaged inclinations." [2] Simply because gay Christians are sincere or unable to change their inclinations does not therefore imply that their actions are acceptable. Similarly, we're all unable to change our sin inclinations, but on the Christian tradition, this does not mean that mean we all get a free ticket to heaven. Rather, we should try our very best not to act on these inclinations.

In closing, I want to note several things. First, as we are both Christians, this debate should be judged on the basis of arguments from special and general revelation, with special revelation taking incumbency. Second, note that Con's position is that "homosexual behavior engaged whilst in a monogamous, homosexual union is not immoral." This means that not only must Con establish that homosexual behavior is moral, but that homosexual _marriage_ is also permissible. However, Con has failed to do so both on the grounds of special and general revelation. Indeed, it's virtually impossible for it to be justified on the former basis, both because marriage is explicitly intended to be heterosexual (In Genesis, reaffirmed by Jesus & Paul), and because a homosexual marriage cannot be consummated. [3] Space considerations do not allow me to elaborate on the latter, so please see my source.

Sources: See comments
VenomousPen

Con

Pro cites the Omega study to provide evidence for the assertion that homosexuals suffer a shortened lifespan. There is a critique (short version: Cameron's use of sources are biased and stacked in favor of his presupposition, namely the unhealthiness of homosexuality) of this study published both in a peer-reviewed journal and online by Dr. Herek, the link to which will be provided in the citations to be posted in the comments section. The critique is final, and the resources provided by Dr. Herek for further reading are also very illuminating of the real nature of homosexual relationships. Further, a link will be provided to the American Psychological Associations' (the largest group of psychologists in the United States) brochure for understanding homosexuality and is very readable, which simply shows Tim's assertions to be without any scientific support, while mine are.

Turning to Pro's few relevant contentions, Pro escaped my contention that he is equivocating by throwing up a smokescreen of the attributive nature of the term "good". Unfortunately, that provides more support for my contention than his own, as what is good in terms of, say, a car is very different from what is good for agents. Pro failed to explain why a human behaving contradictory to our proper functioning is "wrong". Pro simply assumes it is, but we would hardly moral place blame on a car for failing to live up to its function, yet we do this for agents. What is "proper" for agents requires a moral foundation Pro never provided. Pro merely claims failing to be "good" (whatever that means under this attributive system is never really explained) for agents is "wrong", yet he never explains why or how this is the case.

More troubling is Pro's attempt to reduce sexual intercourse as being only permissible when it leads to reproduction. Pro never really rebuts the contention that sex for infertile married couples becomes immoral in his system. The repeated points that sexuality is rooted in reproduction and any sexual act not in line with this purpose is immoral reinforces such an interpretation of his position. Such a rigid and horrific conclusion is unpalatable to the majority of individuals who understand that such reasoning is ignorant of the true nature of sex, which is not only for reproduction, but also for pleasure and intimacy. Further, the idea that sex is only morally permissible when involved with reproduction is a point that is never substantiated nor is it intuitive.

Pro's criticisms of my interpretation of special revelation show he misunderstands the main thrusts of my assertions. I do not deny that Paul and every other biblical writer thought homosexuality was never permissible; I simply think they thought so wrongly. Genesis is of no use for a normative ethical framework for sexual intercourse, as it fails to explain either the origin of homosexuality or, for that matter, heterosexuality. Sexual orientation, now understood to be a major factor in human identity and sexuality, was thought not to exist during the times of Biblical writers, and its origin is simply never explained. Yet if biblical writers were aware of its existence, I am sure their prescriptions would show a decidedly different flavor. In other words, if Jesus and Paul were to view modern homosexual unions, they would indeed declare them to be healthy displays of human sexuality and intimacy.

Pro greatly misunderstood my points about love, as there is a severe problem Pro never deals with regarding homosexuality that is simply unpalatable with the simplistic conception of love provided in Pro's responses. Namely, Christian homosexuals must choose between either being alone for their entire lives or to live a lifestyle that dooms them to hell. This is a choice no other putatively harmful inclination forces a person to make. To use Pro's own example, an ax murderer, in prison, would not be denied a right to get married . In fact, some prisons even allow for conjugal visits with spouses. Even ax murderers, predisposed that way or not, have the right to marry another person, and to even enjoy that marriage to a limited extent. In other words, even being an ax murderer does not inherently doom a person to a life of solitude.

This is the plight of the Christian homosexual: either remain single and miserable, as God has apparently not chosen to bless such people the gift of singleness and so have a desire for a romantic relationship, or form a loving relationship and go to hell. The choice is either be good or be miserable. God is not so cruel, and his son's burden is light. A loving person should see the stability and strength of homosexual unions and understand that there is no moral law against it. Since my opponent fails to provide an ethical and empirically tenable 'solution' to this issue, then the Christian should hold that such unions are permissible, perhaps even praiseworthy, as they provide happiness and support for those in them.
Debate Round No. 5
131 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by thg 1 year ago
thg
Thanks for the interesting debate. I'm new to this site and would like to join or start a debate related to this topic. I am gleaning a number of clues as to how to do this simply by reading several of the debates, but I'm still uncertain about some things (for example, how to determine opening "rules" or parameters, etc.). Is there a guideline somewhere that I'm missing, or do I simply learn by doing? Also, if posting this comment here is not the place to ask such questions, can anyone advise me on where to go? Thanks!
Posted by laurenak 1 year ago
laurenak
Love your neighbor as yourself, be respectful to even your enemies, and realize that Jesus died for our sins for a reason. You are obviously not doing well with God if you are putting down others in order to feel better about yourself! People are born under their sexual orientation. People are not born bullies! Bullies are of the devil's work!
Posted by sgtasnerincoming 1 year ago
sgtasnerincoming
THE REAL FACTS about HOMO SExuals.
Anyone who studied biology should know this about gays and lesbians.
Chromosomes contain the set of instructions to create an organism. Men have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, the latter being responsible for the characteristics that make men male, including the male sexual organs and the ability to produce sperm. In contrast, women have two copies of the X chromosome.

SO what does this have to do with homosexuals?

The world "homo" means "the same" so once in a while it is VERY VERY rare as in 1 in 10,000 people might get it, when a male might get a birth defect of having more of the X chromosome or even all of the x chromosome from the female instead of having a clear X and Y it would be "X X" this is "the same" hence "homo sexual" same can happen for females, once again this is very very rare it is highly unusual and when it happens a male will almost always have female body parts or functions, or a female will have male body parts or functions, THESE TRUE homo-sexuals are not active, they dont' go to the campaigns, they dont get married, there are VERY few of them and they hide in the dark, they are embarrased for the most part and will not parade around showing everyone they are gays, in fact true homosexuals are not fully attracted to any man or woman, they prefer to be alone.

SO given this scientific information which every child should have learned in school, YOU CAN-NOT WAKE UP ONE MORNING AND SAY YOU ARE GAY!
IF you suddenly in your life change from not being gay to being gay, this is considered a "mind-set" and you are in fact mentally ill, sick in the head, and this is what makes up 99% of our faggot homosexual community, and they would love nothing more than to see your child one day taking it up the butt hole.
Posted by morganhill 2 years ago
morganhill
It is Immoral, and wrong. People who are gay should be given treatment because i believe it is something wrong with the brain. This should be further looked into
Posted by i8JoMomma 3 years ago
i8JoMomma
it is immoral...and those tea bags should be hung from the nearest tree
Posted by unidentified.corpse 3 years ago
unidentified.corpse
I find this argument kind of... finicky. And, perhaps, not in a bad way. Only, I am curious about what CON and PRO are arguing... Considering that morality is entirely subjective, one person's morals are not always the same as another's. For example, I could find it moral to murder whereas another would not. Therefore, murder would be moral according to my moral code but, at the same time, immoral according to the others... so... This is certainly a strange debate.
Posted by socialpinko 3 years ago
socialpinko
pro does not understand that he must provide evidence that anything from the bible is historically true and that there are numerous occasions of polygamy in the bible.
gen 26 34
gen 4 19
gen 31 17
judges 8 30
1 samuel 1 1-2
1 kings 11 2-3 ext.
Posted by BruteApologia 3 years ago
BruteApologia
@AntiChrist666

You have missed the point of the argument here. It makes no difference what sexual orientation you have, this is in regard to the behavior. It is not immoral to have the orientation, it is however immoral to act out on that orientation. Whether we're born "homosexual" is a matter of scientific debate as there's no evidence to suggest that. It is more or less a psychosocial development from what I have gathered.

In any case, you have misunderstood the definition of "natural" here. You're judging natural with regard to behavior but Pro's concern is with the proper function of our sexual organs. Just because we see animals murder each other does not mean that therefore murderers should remain unpunished because we think they're born that way. They still are held responsible for their actions, regardless of what they're internally inclined to doing.
Posted by AntiChrist666 3 years ago
AntiChrist666
I am straight, and I do not choose to be straight anymore then somebody chooses to be gay. Did you know that most mammals have large numbers of homosexuals in their populations. This is a fact. Homosexuality is natural, although I do no believe sexuality is as in stone as a lot of people, I do think people can sometimes shift around a bit, but at the end of the day they are born one way or another.
Posted by 17november95 3 years ago
17november95
I am gay and cannot be changed I assure you, not because I don't want to I wish with everything in me that I was normal and I have asked god to save me but he has said no. I think god has a plan for me and this is possibly a big part of it so if you believe god is all loving all knowing and allways in the right then who are you to question his plan is it not then you who is in the wrong is it not then your prejudism that is immoral .
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