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Old 2nd February 2019, 05:33 AM   #1
Robin
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Richard Swinburne's argument that homosexuality is a disability

This argument caused a bit of a ruckus not so long ago.

Swinburne, as part of a lecture on Christian moral teaching, wonders why God prohibits homosexuality. He says:

Originally Posted by Richard Swinburne
So I pass to consider what reason God would have for prohibiting such acts; and I suggest that the same kind of consideration applies to the prohibition of homosexual acts as to the prohibition of divorce or extra-marital intercourse. Having homosexual orientation is a disability – for a homosexual cannot beget children through a loving act with a person to whom they have a unique lifelong commitment.
It seems an interesting take on what constitutes a disability.

Suppose for the moment that we would accept that this is a "disabiility", notice that a bisexual does not have this disability..

So if this was God's reason for prohibiting homosexual acts then it would imply that there is no prohibition on homosexual acts by a bisexual. I don't think that this consequence would suit him or other Christian conservatives.

Come to think of it, the premise is incorrect in any case. Swinburne is assuming that having loving sex with someone requires sexual attraction both ways. Not so. You can love someone without being sexually attracted to them and you can have loving sex without being sexually attracted. Indeed there have been many lifelong committed relationships not based on sexual attraction.

Granted it is not what most gays or lesbians would choose, not what most would consider a path to fulfillment, but there is no "cannot" about it, therefore not a "disability".

And of course there are many happy gay and lesbian couples bringing up their happy well-adjusted children, although this is something he denies.

Richard Swinburne is adamant not only that homosexuality is a disability but that it must be cured, and prevented. He makes it clear he does not mean cure in any sort of spiritual way, but in a medical way:
Quote:
Medicine has made great strides in recent years. Diseases of mind or body hitherto believed incurable have proved curable; it would be odd if sexual orientation was the only incurable condition.
He is also interested in prevention and opines that making homosexuality socially unacceptable would prevent most young people from developing homosexuality:
Quote:
So if there was a general recognition in society of an obligation to abstain from homosexual acts, that would prevent homosexual behaviour being presented as an option for young people of equal value to the heterosexual one which makes possible procreative marriage. That would deter the young from wondering whether they are really homosexual when previously it would not have occurred to them, in consequence experimenting with homosexual sexual acts, getting accustomed to such behaviour and so developing a homosexual orientation. Such a climate of opinion that homosexual acts are wrong,would encourage those who have begun to develop such an orientation to go no further; and it would encourage research into how the orientation can be cured.
He gives no indication of being aware that social acceptability of gay and lesbian relationships is a fairly recent occurrence and one still limited to western countries and not all of them either.

So we have no indication of why he thinks that something that has been tried for centuries in most parts of the world and is the case in many countries today and has not had the effect he desires, would work.

He also shows the way for the gay community to help stamp out this "disability":
Quote:
Yet if older and incurable homosexuals abstained from homosexual acts that would have a great influence on young and curable ones; and the older ones would be doing a great service to others, and one which would help to make them themselves saints.
Anyway, you can read it for yourselves:

http://users.ox.ac.uk/~orie0087/pdf_...20teaching.pdf

(NB, I did a quick search for a previous thread on this and could not find one. I may have missed it though, and if so, sorry for the doubling up)
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Last edited by Robin; 2nd February 2019 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 06:37 AM   #2
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I wonder what this deep thinker’s opinion is about the general acceptance of homosexuality in cultures not afflicted with the Abrahamic religions?

Seems to be carrying on the old notion that sex is for procreation... Period.

I have no idea of the man’s sexuality, but all too often the most virulent anti-gay folks prove to be so themselves.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 06:51 AM   #3
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The Eternal Electrical Magnetic Energy Field Vibrational Being says:

A very weird thing happened to me which has caused me to be harshly discriminated against since around the age of 8. I had what people call a NDE or near death experience. Of course, since then, I have found out death is a lie. So I call people that believe in death the real disabled because they go through their whole lives being afraid of it. This fear radiates through their electrical holographic body forms constantly, as images, changing every circumstance or issue or so called coincidence to something totally different than what it would have been otherwise, IF, they had believed that they are constantly being created by their own souls.
I say "are" because I found out that we are all characters acting in a movie where death and time and space are illusions, just like the death and time and space in a movie on film. This is true because at the subatomic level electrical vibrations are spinning and vibrating and bursting forth so fast that solidity is impossible. So what are we if every atom that we consist of IS spinning and vibrating and constantly being created with each quark that bursts forth spinning billions of times a second as 3 points of light, forming what are CALLED protons and neutrons?
The consensus is that we are projected holograms. We are being projected from dimensions where our souls are immersed in an actual eternal state of affairs that allows for no age, no sex and sight there is 360 degrees. But then I have read channeled books for 35 years, Seth books being my favorite.
So as to homosexality, I read that as souls we are neither sex. This world is being created for the experience to see what seeing out of 2 eyes feels like and what having the organs of one sex feels like.
I don't understand this book called the bible that God was supposed to have written, yet must have written through someone, said to be a man with his own opinions that have been deleted over and over again according to another's opinions. Since a man would had to have channeled God, then what portion of God would have spoken? Couldn't Seth have spoken for God to tell us how to act? My Seth, channeler for God, says to condemn no one because within us all are the electrical magnetic energy field vibrations equal to what God is. I believe that in a bible somewhere these words are "The Kingdom of God is within you".
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Old 2nd February 2019, 06:54 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
...Christian moral teaching...
I actually chuckled.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 07:48 AM   #5
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That would deter the young from wondering whether they are really homosexual when previously it would not have occurred to them, in consequence experimenting with homosexual sexual acts, getting accustomed to such behaviour and so developing a homosexual orientation.
This is probably one of the most ignorant, moronic statements I've ever read. It's 2019. There is no excuse for this.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 08:04 AM   #6
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Nothing new or insightful there. He simply posits out of thin air that the only purpose for sex, sexual behavior, or sexual attraction can be procreation. He ignores any and all evidence to the contrary from science, and even from the more enlightened religions. Then -- further misusing science -- he argues that since it runs contrary to his religious dogma, it must therefore also be a secular infirmity. His curability argument falls flat when we see that the more medical science understands homosexuality, the less willing it is to do anything about it. Even here in Utah, the blessed promised land of homophobia, the legislature is poised to actually outlaw attempts to change sexual orientation.

No, I agree with sylvan8798. There's nothing brilliant or new or profound to Swinburne. It's high time we left such pathetic homophobia on the ash heap of regrettable history, where it belongs.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 09:01 AM   #7
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I'm not entirely sure why this whole thing is not simply dismissed not only as baloney. but as actual poverty of thought. Apart from everything else, including the ridiculous presumption that some god or other actually explicitly says anything about the issues at hand, it seems blindingly stupid to throw out the old and deficient argument that homosexuality is wrong because it prevents procreation when it clearly does not, and then to lump it with premarital sex and divorce, which anyone but an abject fool must realize do not.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 09:38 AM   #8
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His comments suggest to me that adhering to Fundamentalism is a disability, not a crutch, but a hammer to the shins.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 09:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
His comments suggest to me that adhering to Fundamentalism is a disability, not a crutch, but a hammer to the shins.
And to the gonads
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Old 2nd February 2019, 10:13 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
It seems an interesting take on what constitutes a disability.

No, it's twisted contortions to reverse engineer an argument to justify bigotry. It really should not be described as an "interesting take".
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Old 2nd February 2019, 03:24 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by sylvan8798 View Post
This is probably one of the most ignorant, moronic statements I've ever read. It's 2019. There is no excuse for this.
I agree. And this man is a senior philosopher with one of the most highly regarded Universities in the world.

This is the conservative Christians strongest case against LGBT rights.

This is the best they have.

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Old 2nd February 2019, 05:54 PM   #12
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I was being sarcastic there. My bad that it came across any other way.

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Old 2nd February 2019, 06:55 PM   #13
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I read an interesting article recently where a pastor argued this anti homosexuality stance is actually a misinterpretation of the Bible. I will have to go through my notes and find it to link here, but he essentially said the prohibition was against temple prostitution or other practices that worshipped outside the judaic faith. I will try to find the article tomorrow.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 07:18 PM   #14
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Feel the Love!

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
He is also interested in prevention and opines that making homosexuality socially unacceptable would prevent most young people from developing homosexuality:

Quote:
So if there was a general recognition in society of an obligation to abstain from homosexual acts, that would prevent homosexual behaviour being presented as an option for young people of equal value to the heterosexual one which makes possible procreative marriage. That would deter the young from wondering whether they are really homosexual when previously it would not have occurred to them, in consequence experimenting with homosexual sexual acts, getting accustomed to such behaviour and so developing a homosexual orientation. Such a climate of opinion that homosexual acts are wrong, would encourage those who have begun to develop such an orientation to go no further; and it would encourage research into how the orientation can be cured.
He gives no indication of being aware that social acceptability of gay and lesbian relationships is a fairly recent occurrence and one still limited to western countries and not all of them either.
Wow another so-called Christian actually calling for the lives of certain people to be made miserable and unpleasant and of course to operate has a coercive effort to force people to conform. I strongly suspect behind his desire to create a climate of opinion in society in general that Homosexual acts and it appears orientation is wrong is the desire to criminalize such behavior and enforce compulsory "cures". But of course he dares not say so openly lest it brand him has an obvious bigot, not that he isn't an obvious bigot anyway.

But it is so interesting to read that this "Christian" has no problem in creating a hell on earth for certain people. How loving!!??
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Old 2nd February 2019, 07:26 PM   #15
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My great aunt received electroshock therapy to "cure" her of being a lesbian. Then she was forcibly married to the only man who would take her. He beat her for not being womanly enough and turned her kids against her when she finally left him.

Homosexuality is a norm expression of the human range of gender and sex expressions and trying to "cure" someone of it is just downright evil.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 10:06 PM   #16
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Now I happen to agree entirely with the above, but as a sort of thought experiment, I wonder why, even if homosexuality were considered an illness or a deviation, it should follow that such persons must be cured by or for those who have no business intruding.

If one were to step over to the slippery slope, why does the lamely brain-dead procreation argument, or the supposed need for an enforced cure, differ from, say, arm restraints to prevent masturbation, forced eugenic marriage, mandatory procreation quotas, penalties for religious nonconformity, weight loss, correction of physical characteristics deemed ugly, on and on. Even if one were to accept the first premise that homosexuality is an illness, the procreative argument and the call for a cure are, I think, dangerously stupid by themselves. Their only virtue seems to be consistency, as when you have a pile of **** you might as well pile more **** on top of it rather than waste ice cream.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 11:10 PM   #17
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My whole problem with the religious argument against homosexuality is that it's logical conclusion shouldn't be the prevention/punishment/suppression of homosexuality. It should be that if a person sins, God will take care of it. I've never understood why men have been so quick to impose God's law on others. The guy is a god. If he has problems with someone, let him deal with it.

Nothing about anybody else's sexuality is interfering with my relationship with my god.* And if it's interfering with their relationship with their god, that's their own problem.


*I don't have a relationship with God. I mean, we nod when we pass each other in the hallway, but that's about it.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 11:15 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Magrat View Post
I read an interesting article recently where a pastor argued this anti homosexuality stance is actually a misinterpretation of the Bible. I will have to go through my notes and find it to link here, but he essentially said the prohibition was against temple prostitution or other practices that worshipped outside the judaic faith. I will try to find the article tomorrow.
I have seen this argument (not sure where), but itís a pathetic omnipotent god who didnít foresee the confusion and dissent these passages would create among the faithful. So yeah, no excuses.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 11:33 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
My whole problem with the religious argument against homosexuality is that it's logical conclusion shouldn't be the prevention/punishment/suppression of homosexuality. It should be that if a person sins, God will take care of it. I've never understood why men have been so quick to impose God's law on others. The guy is a god. If he has problems with someone, let him deal with it.

Nothing about anybody else's sexuality is interfering with my relationship with my god.* And if it's interfering with their relationship with their god, that's their own problem.


*I don't have a relationship with God. I mean, we nod when we pass each other in the hallway, but that's about it.
Two points, as I understand it: (1) Everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed (good, bad, unborn) because the people TOLERATED the gay. Not everyone was gay, but they didnít stone the gays like they were told to. Naughty, naughty. (2) obviously, if someoneís sexual interests pose a potential or real harm to others (children for example) we have an interest in protecting the vulnerable. Hey, youíd think god could have mentioned the abomination of molesting children, like in passing, whatcha think?
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Old 4th February 2019, 08:13 AM   #20
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Until christian employers start letting employees call out of work gay I don't see where this is going.
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Old 4th February 2019, 10:31 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by sylvan8798 View Post
Two points, as I understand it: (1) Everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed (good, bad, unborn) because the people TOLERATED the gay. Not everyone was gay, but they didnít stone the gays like they were told to. Naughty, naughty. (2) obviously, if someoneís sexual interests pose a potential or real harm to others (children for example) we have an interest in protecting the vulnerable. Hey, youíd think god could have mentioned the abomination of molesting children, like in passing, whatcha think?
The bible scholars i have read state the the sin was not guy-on-guy sex but rather inhospitality. When travelling through dangerous and harsh places you relied on the kindness of local people you encountered. If they raped you instead of offering you sanctuary and food, then no one would be able to travel.

That's why Lot (the only righteous man in the city) offered his daughters to the crowd. Surrendering loved family members was less of a sin than surrendering the travelling strangers.

.....

As for the opening post, i'll cite the old adage

When searching for a religion, know you have found the right one when God hates the same people you do.
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Old 4th February 2019, 10:34 AM   #22
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10 bucks says this guy would also somehow find a problem with gay people adopting, using surrogates, or other non-traditional means of having children.
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Old 4th February 2019, 10:45 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
I wonder what this deep thinkerís opinion is about the general acceptance of homosexuality in cultures not afflicted with the Abrahamic religions?

Seems to be carrying on the old notion that sex is for procreation... Period.

I have no idea of the manís sexuality, but all too often the most virulent anti-gay folks prove to be so themselves.
The argument that homosexuality is immoral because it can't result in procreation always raises the question in my mind, is a heterosexual relationship in which the woman is post-menopausal or one or both people is sterile also immoral? If not, why not?
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Old 4th February 2019, 10:50 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
The argument that homosexuality is immoral because it can't result in procreation always raises the question in my mind, is a heterosexual relationship in which the woman is post-menopausal or one or both people is sterile also immoral? If not, why not?
My wife had to have an emergency hysterectomy a few years back. Every time this topic comes up I ask people if our marriage is now immoral.

I've gotten nothing but silence or a blustering "well that's different."
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Old 4th February 2019, 12:30 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
My wife had to have an emergency hysterectomy a few years back. Every time this topic comes up I ask people if our marriage is now immoral.

I've gotten nothing but silence or a blustering "well that's different."
The "appropriate" response is that god can do anything, so your wife could still get pregnant if god wanted her to. Ergo, no problemo. Ditto the sterile and post-menopausal. After all, Sarah had Isaac at 90. In a self-contradicting statement, god can't make men pregnant.

ETA: also in a self-contradictory statement, it's wrong to use birth control because god can't just work around that. No uterus = no problem.
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Old 4th February 2019, 12:33 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
I have no idea of the manís sexuality, but all too often the most virulent anti-gay folks prove to be so themselves.
I keep hearing that, but do we have numbers to back that up?
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Old 4th February 2019, 12:49 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
10 bucks says this guy would also somehow find a problem with gay people adopting, using surrogates, or other non-traditional means of having children.
Or, presumably,, traditional ones. Plenty of gay or bisexual people have had kids the old fashioned way, just not enjoying the initial process as much as some of us do. My ex wife came out after she had her share of kids. If you use a procreation argument, it means that a childless couple sins more greatly than, for example, a famously gay relative of my family, a minister who was expelled, as I recall, for molesting a choir boy, but was married and had two kids. His wife later said she thought there'd been something missing as the two kids were the result of two couplings. But hey, he procreated. He's all straight with god.
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