This is a beautiful chart by no one other than the controversial Tim Hsiao. There will be more charts like this at Flowchart Philosophy. I’ll be posting some of my own on WC. Like all charts, only so much can be said. The intention of these charts is to combat our sound bite culture with something pleasing to read and look at. If you’re looking for more comprehensive arguments for this position, just do a search on our site here or look at the related posts at the bottom of this post.
A year ago, I participated in a debate on SSM at DDO. It turns out that this debate compellingly converted a pro-SSM supporter, which really surprised me. It reassures me that there are still people out there that are willing to go wherever the evidence leads. Too often will people read into a debate their “intuitive” presuppositions and therefore end up rejecting the argument regardless of how compelling it was. Most people who read this argument will think that something must be wrong with it but fail to provide a rational counter-response. For example, I had two friends on AIM who ended up raging at me. Their best response? I’m a homophobic ignoramus that lacks empathy. Ended up getting unfriended by them. Arguments don’t have sexual parts and they certainly don’t depend on what your sexual orientation is. Whether you’re gay or straight, the earth is still round and gravity is real. Similarly, whether you’re gay or straight, SSM is still not marriage no matter how much it pains you.
Guest Post by Adrian Urias. This is a note that was posted by my friend, Adrian, on his Facebook page. He granted me the permission to go ahead and post it here. I felt he did a great job of outlining his own position on the matter, and his journey is pretty much the same one I had on the issue, except mine started with the acceptance of Natural Law. I was planning on doing a post on this anyways, but since Adrian beat me to it (and wrote it much better), I decided to have it here as a guest post. I’ll maybe provide my own post some time in the future where I make the connection to natural law a little more explicit. You can find his website here.
I have been engaged in many conversations lately about contraception. I think I’ve thought through it enough to actually throw it out on Facebook (I have tests I make ideas go through before I adopt it personally with full confidence and conviction, and putting it up on Facebook is one of those last stages. I’m weird, I know). So here is how I came to these conclusions.
It started with marriage. As some of you may know, I wrote an article for knowitstrue.com attempting to defend traditional marriage. At the time of my writing this, it is currently the article with the most comments on the website. So I thought to myself, how can I go about making such an argument? I read around, looked at some articles, some in books, some in magazines, and some online. I took what I thought were good points and meshed them into what is now that article. I also considered criticisms and I constructed my article with those in mind to sidestep some pitfalls. So what you see was that product of all that. Looking back, I would reconstruct the argument differently to make it stronger (I never stopped studying), but basically, what I came up with was this, and this is important:
1. All married couples have sex.
This seems obvious. First, marriage is complete when you consummate it, that is, at the first act of sex. Secondly, failure to consummate is grounds for void marriage. Not divorce. If a partner refuses to have the first act of sex in a marriage, the other partner can completely nullify the marriage. It wasn’t even valid to begin with, so it’s different from a divorce. Thirdly, marriage is a comprehensive union. Everything needs to be shared. This includes bodies. That means sex. Fourthly, if there was not a union of sex, then a divorce on grounds of infidelity would be no grounds at all. But it is grounds for divorce, therefore, there is an understanding of sexual exclusivity in marriage. But that implies marriages are sexual, hence, they have sex.
2. No same-sex couple can have sex.
This gets into the nature of sex. What is sex? In order for there to be sex, there needs to be sex organs. No sex organs, no sex. The sex organs for humans are the male penis and the female vagina. These sex organs have a proper function. There is a right way to use them. The proper function for these sex organs is to meet. If they do not meet, then it isn’t sex proper. I like quoting Francis Beckwith who said, “You can eat an ashtray, but that wouldn’t make it food.” What he is saying is that you can do many things with your sex organs, but that wouldn’t make it sex. There is still a right way to use your sex organs. Now, in the case of same-sex couples, there is no proper function for two-penises and two vaginas. There is just no right way to use two of them. They can stimulate each other, but that wouldn’t make it sex. Therefore, no same-sex couple can have sex with each other.
3. Therefore, no same-sex couple can be married.
This logically follows from the first two premises.
Now, buried somewhere in this argument against same-sex marriage is also an argument against contraceptives. The formulated argument was worded thus to avoid as much religious language as possible so to convince even the non-believer. Since it is secular reasoning, it appeals to everyone, regardless of religion stance. So, in my second premise, I say sex has a nature. But included in that nature, is a teleology. That is, an end. Sex has a design. That end is children. In my article, I mention this, but I didn’t make the divide in argument so clear. That is one of the things I would change in that article. Anywho, sex is not like any other physical act because it has the ability to produce children. Imagine if sex did not produce children. Sex would just be a rubbing up against someone. It would be like a massage or even a leaning on someone on a crowded bus. At worst, it would be like poking your finger into someone’s ear. In this light, it would be difficult to see what exactly is wrong with rape, if really you aren’t doing anything worse than giving someone a wet-willy. The ability to procreate through sex is one of, if not THE biggest reasons why rape is so wrong. But I digress. So, it isn’t just some weird coincidence that when we have sex, we have children. No one has sex, then has a child, and say, JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM!? We understand that children happen that way. So, the teleology of sex is children.
But Adrian, where does contraception come into all this?
Well, lets begin by taking a look at condoms, perhaps the most common form of contraceptives. What is a condom? It’s a piece of rubber that acts as a barrier between the man and the woman. If sex is supposed to be a union of man and woman, and a condom literally prevents that union, can we say that sex with a condom is really sex? No, we can’t. It would be like trying to bite into an apple with a rubber covering over it. Also, if you used a condom on your first night of marriage, then you didn’t actually consummate the marriage that night since consummation requires union. Are we starting to see the problems?
I was really encouraged to hear my atheist philosophy professor blast condoms as being one of the stupidest things he’s heard of. “Why would you want to reduce such a wonderful feeling?!” He said to me. I mention this to point out that this has been reasoned to without any Biblical reference. Through logic and reasoning, we can see why contraceptives are wrong. But here is where some of the force might be lost if we continue to reason without Scripture, for the non-believer can simply say, “Ok, using contraceptives is against human nature. So what?” We can still push the argument successfully through, but it loses some persuasive power at this point against the non-believer. So, since most of my conversations about contraceptives have been with believers, I now take a theological approach from here.
Now, most of what I have said so far is just very Biblically obvious. Of course men and women are supposed to be together. Of course marriage is only between men and women. Of course sex leads to children. Of course parents are supposed to raise their children. Of course homosexuality is not in human nature. Of course! But now, when we get into contraceptives, suddenly, this is not so obvious. Why? I’m not sure, but a few months ago when I started wrestling with this, my friend Stephen Weltz, said that up until 1930’s, every church was against contraceptives. It’s just the Catholic church for the most part (he is Catholic, and so is Beckwith and Robert P George from whom I got the core of argument against same-sex marriage from, so interesting correlation there). So fun fact there.
So what does the Bible have to say about marriage? Marriage is a covenant. It is not a contract. A contract involves an exchange of property, whereas a covenant involves an exchange of persons. Jesus dying on the cross is symbolic of the marriage covenant. Jesus is married to the church. But how does a marriage covenant work? It is a blood covenant. When the male enters the female, there is blood because she is a virgin. The blood traditionally signifies the first marital act. In the same way, Jesus being married to the church, also gives a blood covenant, and it’s his blood on the cross that creates the new covenant. So Jesus on the cross actually represents something more feminine than masculine, the submissive one who sheds blood. But anywho, it’s a marriage covenant. There is the exchange of persons.
Now, we have to understand how important marriage is to God. God has said that he hates divorce. That’s strong. But we understand how much God longs for marriage when we look at the history of covenants. The covenant with Adam was marriage, Noah was the household, Abraham was the Tribe, Moses was twelve tribes, David was Israel as a nation, and then God COMES BACK to marriage when Jesus marries the church of not just Jews, but Gentiles as well (notice the increase of people as history goes on). I suspect God came back to marriage because that is the covenant before the entrance of sin. So God does a marriage covenant AGAIN! The church as his Bride.
Every covenant has an act where that covenant is renewed. For Jesus and the church, the renewing of that covenant is communion. When we take the body and blood, we are taking part of that act where Jesus officially married the church. When we partake in communion, what happens? We have new life. In basically the exact same way, when we renew the marital covenant with our spouse through sex, we have the chance for…new life! Otherwise known as children! Therefore, taking contraception to avoid new life is the equivalent of taking communion and spitting it on the ground!
I mentioned that marriage was the covenant before the entrance of sin. This takes us way back into Genesis, an incredibly difficult book to interpret. But hey, lets give it a shot. Since marriage involves people and now apparently God, we realize there is a much deeper connection between the man and God. For Christians, we know that God is a Trinity. This is sometimes known as the Divine Family: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yet there are not three Gods, but one God. In the same way, when a man and his wife are one flesh in the marital act, there is one being, but two persons. But, lets say in sex, a child is conceived. In this case of one flesh, how many persons are present? Three. Three persons, one being, just like the Trinity! In this way, we reflect the image of God, in complete unity.
Another bit about Genesis, and I’ll move on. One of the first things we learn about God is that God is a creator. That like the first sentence of the Bible. Is it a coincidence then that the first command God gives us humans is to create life? In this way again, we reflect God, by creating life.
Isn’t contraception then a smearing of God’s image?
Now, let me get this straight with many of you. I am not too happy about my discoveries about this. And I’m not even sure I can call them discoveries. I’m just recovering certain theological positions that everyone agreed with 100 years ago, and just siding with what the Catholic church has been saying for a long time in those 100 years. Contraception goes against God’s plan. But like I was saying, I’m not thrilled about this. I mean, I’m thrilled I’m learning about who God is (Trinity), who we are (reflections of the Trinity), and what marriage is (the complete self-giving love of the persons in the Trinity). I’m excited about that! But honestly, I would like to have sex with my wife as much as I can without the chance of children. I would like to use contraceptives, but it doesn’t seem Biblically permissible. I mean, that means, when I get married, I must be open to the possibility of children on the very first night! That’s a lot to ask for!
It seems like I’m wrestling with God. I mean, Jesus is Lord, but does that mean he has to be Lord of my body? My wife’s fertility? The timing of my children? Then you run into passages like 1st Corinthians 6:19-20 and Romans 12:1-2, which reads, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” and “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
That last part. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. That’s it, isn’t it? We are so brainwashed by society that tells we can decide when we have children, and we can decide what we do with our own bodies. Do you see how when right teaching is taught, when there are no teachers professing what God wants from us, when we don’t have knowledgeable preachers preaching, do we see how Satan gets a foothold into our lives, and we don’t even recognize it? He has surrounded us for so long, we drowned him out. And we accept it. But enough of my preaching.
Each person of the Trinity gives themselves fully to each other. In the same way, a wife should give herself fully to her husband, and he to her. Contraception is you holding back. To my future wife, whomever you are, wherever you may be, I love you so much, and it’s possible that we might not have even met yet, but I’m already thinking about us. This is for you! Let’s not hold back.
Straightness is order, is union, is simple, is complimentary, is godly, is good, and is forever. Everything else is crooked. A straight line does not get to be a crooked line, nor does it get to be an orientation. It is a way of being – both in heart, mind, body, and soul. If a straight line is not straight all the way, it is not straight. Similarly, if you are straight in orientation but support crooked lines in your mind, you are not a straight line. Crookedness has no real boundaries, so choose your side carefully. What you chose shall define what you are and what you are shall put you against that which is straight or crooked. Those who support straightness align themselves with God, the angels, christians and their straight lovers. On the other hand, those who support crookedness align themselves with Satan, liberals, sinners, and their prostitutes. Where do you stand?
I stand straight with God.
Excellent article written by my friend Wintery Knight. Check it out here
(Guest Post by Tim Hsiao. Tim is a philosophy major at the Florida State University)
Marriage is an institution grounded in human nature that is primarily centered around responsible procreation and child-rearing. It is for this reason that the state confers legal and economic benefits upon married couples, for it recognizes that both procreation and child-rearing are difficult tasks that require considerable amounts of time and labor. Since responsible procreation and child-rearing are essential to the advancement of society, the state has a vested interest in protecting a stable relationship under which this can take place. The state therefore ought to give special recognition to heterosexual unions, for they function as a precondition to society. Indeed, had there only been one gender, it seems unlikely that the institution of marriage would have ever arisen to begin with. Relationships which do not have procreation as their core do not deserve such recognition, for they are not foundational to society. The recognition of homosexual unions as marriages would therefore be unjustly denying the special social value of heterosexual unions. Moreover, since a healthy marriage culture is necessary for the flourishing of a just society, the legal recognition of the natural institution of marriage is a proper function of government. This counts against the libertarian idea that marriage should be privatized.
Perhaps the most common argument against the traditional understanding of marriage is that it would violate the rights of homosexual couples via some legal or moral principle, such as the 14th Amendment, due to the fact that it discriminates against such relationships. This is mistaken. Mere discrimination is morally neutral – it is not immoral for a prospective employer to discriminate against a lazy job candidate on the basis that he lacks the skills that are required of him. Discrimination is only unjust when someone is denied something they have a right to on the basis of criteria that are irrelevant to what is being denied. And in order to know what is irrelevant, we must first know what is relevant. The same is true of rights. We must first know what we are talking about before we can determine who has a right to it. The main issue in the same-sex marriage debate is thus over the nature of marriage. Rights derive their very content from the thing that they are grounded in, such that it is necessary to first determine what the latter is before we talk about the former. It is question-begging to argue for a revisionist conception of marriage on the basis that it recognizes the right of same-sex couples to marry, for this presupposes that they have such a right to begin with. This, however, is precisely what opponents of same-sex marriage deny.
So before we can claim that the traditional conception of marriage would discriminate against homosexual couples, we must first settle the issue of what marriage is. If the nature of marriage excludes same-sex couples to begin with, then no discrimination would be taking place, for they are not being unjustly denied something they deserve because they do not deserve it to begin with. It’s up to advocates of same-sex marriage to argue for their account of marriage instead of just assuming it.
What About Sterile and Interracial Couples?
It may be objected that the traditional conception of marriage prevents sterile heterosexual couples from marrying due to the fact that they are unable to procreate. But this objection fails to understand the argument. The traditional conception of marriage is based on human nature as being a type of relationship under which procreation is intrinsically possible, and this remains true even if the possibility is never realized due to some defect.. A heterosexual union is always oriented toward procreation, even if it doesn’t happen due to some defect. Indeed, we refer to such couples as sterile precisely because they lack the ability to realize a capacity that is grounded in the nature of their relationship. We recognize that there exists a privation of what should be there. By contrast, homosexual relationships are such that procreation is impossible in principle. Their inability to procreate is not merely accidental to the type of their relationship, but essential. Thus, this objection confuses acts that are reproductive in type with acts that are reproductive in effect.
Neither will comparing same-sex marriage to interracial marriage work, for the analogy falsely assumes that there is no relevant difference between race and gender. While race is irrelevant to procreative ability, gender certainly isn’t. A heterosexual interracial marriage is still a procreative type union and thus falls under the traditional conception of marriage. This is precisely why bans on interracial marriage were unjust. Gender, however, is a different story. A homosexual union is intrinsically incapable of procreation and thus would be excluded from counting as a marriage. Therefore, the state has a principled reason to exclude couples from entering into marital relationships on the basis of their gender, but not race.
Love Is Not All You Need
It’s sometimes said that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry because marriage is about love. But this is all too vague. The million-dollar question that needs to be asked is “What is love?” Unless one defines what love is, there is a risk of begging the question. By love do we mean merely an intense emotional feeling, or do we mean the state of satisfaction that flows from living properly? While the latter is how love was traditionally viewed, its grounding in human nature excludes same-sex marriage and thus cannot be an option for its proponents. Hence one will have to opt with something like the former. But viewing love as an intense emotional feeling is too broad, for the state would have no reason to exclude any types of relationships as long as those involved “love” each other in this regard. Friendships, business partnerships, incest, polygamy, self-marriage, group marriage, and virtually any sort of arrangement (One can be creative!) would not be excluded under this view. But obviously this is mistaken. Indeed, if one’s view logically implies the conclusion that the state is obligated to legally recognize incest and polygamy, then that implication alone is a sufficient reason to reject it. Such a conception of marriage renders inexplicable why the institution exists in the first place and why the state is so interested in it.
An informative article by Ryan Sorba on the consequences of homosexuality. This is one of the reasons I regard the anti-marriage ideology and all of its glorious consequences as nothing but dangerous to our society. Unfortunately, too many people are so emotionally involved that they cannot think rationally.