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Sexually Fluid America

A new study shows that Americans are four times more accepting of gay sex than they were 25 years ago, and twice as likely to have it themselves. [1]Unsurprisingly, the Millennials are driving this. And what’s driving the Millennials? Excerpt:

But all of these factors — the increased acceptance, the increased behavior  and the trend toward sexual fluidity — make Twenge think she knows the real driving force behind this cultural shift: We care more about ourselves. She believes this comes from an increased sense of individualism.

“Some thinkers have made the case that individualism has been increasing in Western culture since the Renaissance, but that this change accelerated beginning around 1965 or 1970,” she explained. As societies become more comfortable in terms of resource availability, one doesn’t need to worry as much about fitting in to the rules and expectations of the larger group.

“Think about what an enormous group effort it used to be to make a meal. Now you just need two bucks and a microwave,” Twenge said. This security means less motivation to follow cultural “rules” that don’t suit an individual’s personal desires.

And that individualism could make us more tolerant, too.

“Individualism says basically that you do what you want to do and let other people do what they want to do,” she said. “People are more willing to accept behaviors they have no wish to engage in. There’s more of a sense of, you know, I need to do what’s right for me.”

Read the whole thing.  [1] It really is Anthony Kennedy’s world:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

Justice Kennedy, in those 1992 words, stated something that is at the core of the modern American sensibility. It is past time for conservatives to get over our tic of blaming every social change we don’t like on the judiciary. I agree entirely that the Supreme Court has been, on balance, a malevolent force for destructive social change. But we can now see that Justice Kennedy was more in touch with America than we were, and are.

This story is yet another milestone in the moral disintegration and cultural collapse of America. But you knew I would say that. I would just point out that Harvard sociologist Carle C. Zimmerman, in his 1947 sociological history Family And Civilization [2], said this was one of the marks of a declining civilization (it was observed in Greece and Rome near the end of their lives). When expressive individualism becomes the guiding principle of a people’s understanding of sex and sexuality, it becomes far more difficult to form stable families. The State will grow ever more powerful as it is called on to do the work that families used to do.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it: Christians who allow this rotten culture to catechize them and their children are going to lose their faith. There is no choice but to withdraw into our own institutions and communities, where we can form the next generations. I was e-mailing earlier today with a well-known public intellectual who is a committed Christian. I often wonder how he manages to find the strength to take on the battles he fights in the public square. I found out from him today that he has a long history of youth formation within thick Christian communities. Of course he does. He works in the heat of battle in the public square. He would have been wiped out long ago if not for his formation in the faith.

The same is true for us and our children. You have been warned.

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128 Comments To "Sexually Fluid America"

#1 Comment By anonymousdr On June 4, 2016 @ 7:28 am

Frank:

And how could I forget abortion! Again, not optimal for a conservative.

#2 Comment By Kurt Gayle On June 4, 2016 @ 9:55 am

I’m disappointed that most commenters seem to have relied upon the Washington Post article for their understanding of what this 18-page report contains. By my count, only one commenter of the 101 so far cites the report itself.

On page 5 of their “Changes in American Adults’ Reported Same-Sex Sexual Experiences and Attitudes, 1973–2014” the authors say:

“Across all eras, men who had sex exclusively with other men were 1.7 % of the population, while women who had sex exclusively with other women were .9 % of the population…The percent of those having sex exclusively with same sex partners did not change consistently over time…”

Indeed, the 2% (1.7%) estimate for men and the 1% (0.9%) estimate for women appear to be in line with long-standing estimates. There seems to be little change there.

I remember the Kinsey Report hoax of many years ago and I guess that makes me suspicious of this sort of report on sexual practices and attitudes – always difficult areas of human behavior to assess accurately. However, I do give the authors credit for acknowledging in their introduction:

“Estimates of the population of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals and the prevalence of same-sex sexual behaviors vary widely.”

#3 Comment By JonF On June 4, 2016 @ 10:57 am

anonymousdr,

I know people who tell me that medical marijuana works for moderate (not severe) pain. If that helps them function without becoming an opioid-popping zombie– which I have seen firsthand in a family member– I’m all for it.

#4 Comment By Rob G On June 4, 2016 @ 1:15 pm

“Now you are bringing in Harm and jettisoning out Consent.”

No — I understand that consent is part and parcel of the thing, so didn’t feel the need to mention it. But it doesn’t really help, because it too is rooted in subjectivity. The age of consent is arbitrary, and anyways does not account for, say, activity between minors.

You still end up ultimately with a clash of subjectivities, with the winner being the one that has the power to establish and then enforce its view on the rest of them.

#5 Comment By Oakinhou On June 4, 2016 @ 4:27 pm

“No — I understand that consent is part and parcel of the thing, so didn’t feel the need to mention it. But it doesn’t really help, because it too is rooted in subjectivity. The age of consent is arbitrary, and anyways does not account for, say, activity between minors.

You still end up ultimately with a clash of subjectivities, with the winner being the one that has the power to establish and then enforce its view on the rest of them”

Your last paragraph vitiates the whole concept of Consent. You are arguing that because consent is a clash of subjectivities, as long as you can force others to your will they have effectively consented. That as long as the husband can force himself on the wife, she has consented to sex. As long as the Master can keep the slave chained, he has consented to his slavery.

With respect to your other objection, saying that consent is a function of maturity, and immature humans cannot consent, is trivial. Nevertheless we know more or less when humans are mature, somewhere around 15-20 years (it used to be that 15 was the traditional age at which kings were deemed mature enough not to need a regent). Modern society has more or less settled at 18. I don’t have a problem if it is 17 or 19. YMMV

But the blurriness of the age of consent has nothing to do with the need for consent. Again looking at the examples you ignored: at what age can I assert that I did not consent to be a slave notwithstanding Capital A Authority? At what age can I withdraw consent from spousal rape?

The problem of two minors engaging in sex, none of which can legally consent is solved -or should be solved- in terms of fairness and avoidance of harm. To put both in prison would be more harmful to the and to society than to let them go.

I think you are trying to assert that Morality does not exist absent an external Capital A Authority that defines in black and white what is immoral and what isn’t, and that there are no grey areas. Modern culture (Liberal culture if you prefer) says that the morality or immorality of every act can be determined by looking (mainly) if:

– All the parties consented (validly) to the action
– Harm to third parties not involved in the act is minimized.
– Conflicting claims of harm are solved equitably, giving more weight to the party that can prove the bigger harm (slavery is wrong because the harm to the slave is bigger than the harm to the slaveowner losing his property)

Also, not all morality is about proper or improper sexual acts. Slavery is a moral problem. The death penalty is a moral problem. Spousal abuse is a moral problem. Tax cheating is a moral problem. Your Capital A Authority moral system must be able to deal with those

#6 Comment By redfish On June 4, 2016 @ 5:50 pm

“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

@Rod,

There’s nothing wrong with this statement in and of itself. At its core is just a statement of “freedom of conscience.” This is what Christians and conservatives are fighting for.

Where it goes wrong is where someone believes the social expression of some type of concept meaning somehow threatens an individual’s ability to have his own concept.

Its a basic hypocrisy inherent in a lot of postmodern thought, which would require us all to agree, and agree together, that there is no universal truth — as a universal truth.

#7 Comment By Michael Guarino On June 4, 2016 @ 8:31 pm

“Polyamorous relationships” are new? There have not always been a lot of them? I know the terminology is new, but the concept is … of time immemorial.

Look, no one is so innumerate to think that answering either of those questions bears on the trendlines of polyamory in our society.

Social arrangements resembling polyamory existed before. Whether it happened a lot bears a truth value as flexible as the phrase “a lot”.

#8 Comment By TR On June 4, 2016 @ 9:33 pm

My own experience and my reading of literary biography tells me that–at least among the literate classes–the number of those at least tempted by same-sex relationships is much higher than the usual numbers suggest.

Ironically, one can also find a goodly number of people whose libidinal life is almost wholly devoted to same-sex attraction, but who believe as much as RD in the value of the traditional family. I have no idea whether such types will disappear in the future.

#9 Comment By Lee On June 4, 2016 @ 10:11 pm

Internet and media seems to be where the problem is… We’re talking about less than 3 percent of the population.

So the “off” switch is an easy solution…

#10 Comment By JonF On June 5, 2016 @ 7:30 am

Re: it used to be that 15 was the traditional age at which kings were deemed mature enough not to need a regent

Minor quibble, but not in England, where it was 18. Henry VIII and Edwards III both being examples. I think French kings occasionally took full power younger than that.

#11 Comment By anonymousdr On June 5, 2016 @ 12:29 pm

@JonF

I agree that a little of the ol’ ganj is much much safer than opiates, and do hope that it can help some people in severe pain. I’m thinking more of healthy 25 year-olds who develop man boobs and amotivational syndrome who might otherwise have been gangbangers.

@Oakinhou

I agree with you that liberalism/modern culture has developed an internally valid system of ethics/morality which you nicely outline (not my cup o’tea, but, I get it).

I do think that consent is a much more murky area than it is often given it credit for. Hence all of the problems with sexual assault on campus that involve alcohol and the insistence on affirmative consent. How do you document it? Do you need a BAL? I’d also argue that consent gets really tricky when looking at things like the doctor patient relationship or the relationship between people who have a fiduciary relationship to their clients. How do you meaningfully consent to a “1:1000000” chance of death or financial ruin? What does that even mean? The human mind can’t really comprehend such small numbers so how can you meaningfully “consent” to such things?

Also, how do you draw a line around who gets harmed? The typical liberal answer is often very narrow. Arguably, I’m harmed by legal divorce and single parenthood. The children of divorce are more likely to need expensive social services from the state, which I’m now on the hook for. We spend $13 billion a year on STD treatments, so, yeah, I’m harmed by strangers hooking up.

#12 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On June 5, 2016 @ 8:13 pm

And how could I forget abortion! Again, not optimal for a conservative.

The abortion rate is higher than I’d like (I think abortion should be illegal except when there are threats to the mother’s health), but it’s actually a lot lower than it was in the early 1980s, both in absolute numbers and relative to our population. (The absolute rate is a little over half of what it was, and our population is almost half again as big, so we have only about 37% as many abortions per capita as we did then).

I think the rate could go a lot lower, and tougher laws are a necessary part of that, but contraception helps a lot too.

#13 Comment By Oakinhou On June 5, 2016 @ 8:23 pm

@anonymousdr

Re consent

By your nick I assume you are an M.D. How do surgeons discuss and obtain consent for a surgery that has 1/10000 chance of killing you or turning you into a vegetable? Yet it happens every day in your profession. How does someone consent to become a soldier? You consent to certain risks. As long as you are not impaired in a way that invalidates consent, you are taking the surgery risk.

What is impairment? If I convince you to buy a time sharing resort, or to send money to my think tank because I will eventually get Obergefell reversed, are you impaired because I’m more intelligent or more experienced than you and was able to swindle you? In order to let society function we have set some big lines about being impaired to consent. There might be some fuzzy cases in the border (is an 80% I.Q. above or below impairment level?) and we let judges rule those border cases. Otherwise you could argue every retired person that sent money to the National a Organization for Marriage did not validly consent because they believed that N.O.M. will indeed get Obergefell overturned, whereas every N.O.M. representative knows they will never get that. Caveat Emptor.

Now, consent to sex in college might be tough to document. Date Rape exists. Rohypnol exists, Women that consent and then regret it and claim rape exist. Sometimes is tough and we need to try various solutions until we find the best one? But I don’t understand what you propose. That consent is always always assumed? We are back to spousal rape territory again.

I’m harmed by conservative Catholics that do not use contraception and have plenty of kids that increase my school taxes.

Not all harms are the same. It is arbitrary to say that the harm to Catholics’s Religious Freedom being forced to use contraception is greater than the harm of me paying ten more dollars in school taxes. The harm to the Religious Freedom of a Catholic H.R. Manager processing the insurance paperwork of a gay employee is less than the harm of that spouse not having insurance. It’s difficult, but it starts recognizing that both sides have honest claims, and see what it means to each of them if they win or lose their claim

#14 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 5, 2016 @ 9:20 pm

Mike Schilling and JonF… the report said more people ARE engaging… if just the same number are engaging, but are more open about it, that’s a different conclusion. Its not an unlikely one, and if true, would mean we really don’t have a change to talk about. But these things are notoriously hard to prove, in part because people lie on surveys, and are notoriously likely to lie about sexual experience (in several directions for several reasons).

#15 Comment By JonF On June 6, 2016 @ 6:56 am

Siarlys,
We already know there is some plasticity to human sexuality. It’s a very long-understood fact that people who find themselves in circumstances where they have no contact with the opposite sex (prisons, monasteries, old-time sailing ships) may resort to homosexuality. This does not negate the fact that they still have an innate sexual preference: the released prisoner goes back to his woman, the ship docks and the crew goes on a tear at a brothel. And of course throughout history a great many homosexuals nonetheless married and begat offspring for family’s sake.

#16 Comment By Rob G On June 6, 2016 @ 10:03 am

“Your last paragraph vitiates the whole concept of Consent. You are arguing that because consent is a clash of subjectivities, as long as you can force others to your will they have effectively consented.”

On the micro level this is rightly found appalling by almost everyone. I’m speaking of its ramifications at the macro, i.e., socio-political level.

“I think you are trying to assert that Morality does not exist absent an external Capital A Authority that defines in black and white what is immoral and what isn’t, and that there are no grey areas.”

No, only that morality without an objective standard is ultimately vacuous. That doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent, or even necessarily bad. But it does mean that at root all the various subjective moralities are relative. Which is what Dostoevsky meant when he had Ivan K. say “If there is no God, everything is permitted.”

I agree with little that R.J. Rushdoony said, but I think he was dead on when he said that infallibility is an inescapable concept.

#17 Comment By Oakinhou On June 6, 2016 @ 2:20 pm

@ Rob G.

“No, only that morality without an objective standard is ultimately vacuous”

It might be that you are right, but it is impossible for limited humans to know what that objective standard is. Confucius thought he knew what it was, and that it was rooted in filial duty. So did the Viking raiders, for whom a glorious death was the key to eternal life, know that morality is rooted on courage in battle. So does in our days Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, for whom morality requires the total submission to the will of God, about which he too knows all there is to be known.

The Vikings, the Japanese Samurai, the Classical Chinese, the Muslims, and many others, all of them believe morality to be rooted on an objective standard. And yet I would venture you believe all them were mistaken.

So I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you [Rob G.] may [too] be mistaken.

#18 Comment By Hound of Ulster On June 6, 2016 @ 3:38 pm

What are ‘traditional’ sexual practices? Every culture has taken a radically diverse view on this question, because humans, like all higher primates, do have a latent tendency to bisexual attraction (see ‘gay until graduation’, homosexual conduct in prison, etc). A good argument, that sadly SoCons haven’t made for some reason, is that just because we CAN do something, doesn’t we SHOULD do that thing, as we were made by God in His image for something greater and more noble than acting like animals. Promiscuous sexual conduct is bad/unhealthy no matter who is doing it, and most religious traditions condemn sexual promiscuity. In terms ‘gender fluidity’ more research is needed on the causes of sexual attraction…is it nature, is it nurture, is environmental? We don’t know…if sexuality is more fluid, then the gay rights movement is in serious trouble, if it is more set in stone from birth, the religions that contain condemnations of same-sex behavior will need to do a major rethink. Both cannot be true at the same time.

#19 Comment By anonymousdr On June 6, 2016 @ 4:18 pm

“By your nick I assume you are an M.D. How do surgeons discuss and obtain consent for a surgery that has 1/10000 chance of killing you or turning you into a vegetable? Yet it happens every day in your profession. How does someone consent to become a soldier? You consent to certain risks. As long as you are not impaired in a way that invalidates consent, you are taking the surgery risk”

You are correct, I’m an MD and I often get consent for and preform dangerous procedures. However, this consent often is fairly pro forma. Most patients have no idea the real meaning of the kinds of things they are risking. I think I go above and beyond to really explain what can go wrong, but if you haven’t been around medicine and seen people with some of these horrible complications it is difficult/impossible to consent in any meaningful way.

So, as someone who “obtains consent” I’m just very skeptical of the whole concept, especially when we are talking small odds and large differences in knowledge and experience. Now, this doesn’t mean that I think we should go back to the bad old days of paternalistic medicine when we didn’t explain anything to patients. I think we should continue do the sorts of things we currently do. I just think that consent is a flimsy foundation on which to build ethics, and that you need a far more robust system to guide right action, which is difficult for liberalism to generate without drawing on illiberal sources of value.

As for the campus sexual assault issue: I agree that it is real and a huge problem. Many of the cases are clear cut, and the perps need to go to jail–look at the recent Stanford case, it is disgusting. But the deeper problem is that we are trying to walk very close to a dangerous ledge: high levels of intoxication and anonymous sex sometimes being o.k. and sometimes not.

A more traditional solution would be that getting blacked out (or so drunk that you don’t care who you are sleeping with) is never ok, because it undermines the defining function of the human intellect and is intrinsically wrong no matter the consequences. Also, the traditional solution would be: don’t have sex with people you aren’t married to. It violates natural law. We could revise that to don’t have sex with people you aren’t in a relationship with. Just following these two rules would eliminate a huge number of the problems we see on campus. This doesn’t mean that we should get rid of the idea of consent all together (or go back to spousal rape days), just that consent and harm aren’t enough to generate a coherent, robust ethics.

As far as your later points, I think you anticipate many of the criticisms of utilitarian ethics. How do you compare non-commensurable goods and harms? Your answer seems to be judges, which are really a proxy for “social and political power”. In a democracy this may be the best we can do, but again, hardly ideal from a philosophical sense.

“I’m harmed by conservative Catholics that do not use contraception and have plenty of kids that increase my school taxes.”

I get your point, but those kids are probably homeschooled or go to parochial schools and actually help the public school system by paying but not using the resources. Plus they will be paying your social security benefits 🙂

@Hector St. Clare

As always, excellent points. That was part of a much longer response to “if crime rates are down, why are conservatives sad?”. I think we would both agree that abortion is a suboptimal crime prevention strategy.

#20 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On June 6, 2016 @ 4:27 pm

What is impairment? If I convince you to buy a time sharing resort, or to send money to my think tank because I will eventually get Obergefell reversed, are you impaired because I’m more intelligent or more experienced than you and was able to swindle you? In order to let society function we have set some big lines about being impaired to consent. There might be some fuzzy cases in the border (is an 80% I.Q. above or below impairment level?) and we let judges rule those border cases.

It would actually be trivially easy to make a consent-based argument in favour of banning homosexuality. Just define homosexuals as ipso facto mentally ill (because no sane person would consent to sodomy), mentally ill people can’t consent to sex, and therefore any or all homosexual activity should be banned. A law of this nature wouldn’t particularly be much more outlandish than the laws that various societies, including some in the west, have passed within recent memory.

Now, I don’t actually support banning homosexuality (needless to say), and I don’t particularly think homosexuality is immoral anyway, but this kind of thought experiment should indicate why consent, by itself, is kind of a pointless red herring here. Cultural liberals think that homosexuality is the kind of thing one might validly consent to, because they don’t see it as essentially wrong or unnatural. I think they’re probably more right than wrong there- certainly I don’t think the Thomistic arguments to the contrary are good ones- but the whole issue of consent is a secondary rather than primary one, and it isn’t really the ground on which liberal argument rests.

#21 Comment By Oakinhou On June 6, 2016 @ 7:33 pm

@anonymousdr

Thank you for your kind, thorough, response

Not two months ago my mother (late 80s) had brain surgery to insert a brain shunt. I had to go at length with the neurosurgeon discussing the risk, up to requesting and signing (both me and my mother) a Do Not Resuscitate (or as they called it, a No Blue Code order). She’s back to normal, fortunately, but we faced surgery risks, tried to understand and gauge them, and consented.

I understand that I’m probably more educated than most and had done my homework about what we were doing, plus it was not an emergency situation, but a scheduled, albeit urgent, procedure. So consent is tough, and implies a responsibility about the consequences of what you consented to, be it dying in the OR or being saddled with a time sharing vacation home in FL.

I agree with most of your other points. Me too I’d rather have sex take place only between people in a relationship, though I acknowledge I have broken that rule myself.

I agree that sex under the influence (or anything under the influence) is a terrible risk to you and to others (harm creeps again) so it’s never OK, and I’m happy to say I have never engaged in sex under the influence of alcohol. You probably have access to better data (or more anecdotes) but you will probably agree that modern society is less tolerant of people that act recklessly under the influence of alcohol (college binges notwithstanding). Compare today’s attitude towards alcohol to that of the 1950s John Cheever short stories, where all husbands, and most wives, were inebriated every evening as a matter of course.

Judges are indeed some sort of proxy for political and social power, no doubt. But just to a point. Judges are not the mob. Since time immemorial all societies have appointed judges from among their more experienced, more learned, more equanimous, elders. They have to follow the law (political power) and the mores (social power) but in a less passionate, more reflexive way. Or so we hope. I too would like philosophical clarity on how to act at every instant of my life, but regretfully life is full of details.

(last point: I think too much reading Rod’s blog is making you overestimate the number of homeschoolers. Homeschooling is a middle class option, not available to great many Catholics, like, for instance, most of the working class Hispanic community)

@ Hector St. Clare

Appreciate your comment. I can understand that Consent might not be the cure-all to moral problems (I actually think Harm is a bigger issue), but if we take out Consent, what do we replace it with?

(BTW, your banning homosexuality because only mentally impaired people would consent to it seems awfully close to those Soviet rulings that said that only mentally impaired people would reject Soviet communism and thus they should be committed for treatment. It might be an urban legend, but if so is one that Solzhenitsyn subscribed too)

#22 Comment By redfish On June 6, 2016 @ 8:10 pm

@Joseph,

As one of the resident LGBT persons here in Dreherworld, let me just express that nothing makes me angrier than when people (gay or straight) get into the nature/nurture discussion regarding sexual orientation.

What does LGBT have to do with it? We could also have a discussion about whether being straight is influenced by nature or nurture. Ultimately, the question isn’t about being LGBT, its about sexuality in general, and human emotions in general.

And why should people discussing basic issues of life make you angry? If people are using the discussion for ulterior motives, how about we just all commit to discussing it honestly and get angry at the people who put politics into everything.

That’s *my* frustration. That we can’t honestly talk about things because everything becomes political.

But for my part, I am more concerned about the breakdown of basic social norms like politeness, civility, and respect for “others” (all others, not just those in recognized “minorities”) than I am about who loves whom. We could drive every trace of the LGBT community underground, and there would still be racism, absentee fathers, violence in movies and television, etc. If I were a social conservative, I would be worried not so much about sexual liberation, and much more about the death of… I don’t know what to call it. Virtue? Decency? Kindness?

The fact that you chose to euphemize sexual liberation as being only about love is a topic in and of itself.

I wouldn’t consider myself a social conservative, and nor am I interested in driving the LGBT community underground, or doing anything to stop gay people from living their lives in peace according to their own consciences.

However, I do think that the easy equation of sex with love — where if you love someone, you must have sex with them, and if you’re sexually attracted to someone, that means you love them — is harmful socially in a lot of ways.

And is linked to the things you’re concerned about like virtue, decency, and kindness.

Because it teaches us to lie to ourselves about our emotions; and being kind and decent to others requires some self-awareness and self-restraint. Not snapping in anger at someone requires you to hold back your tongue. Not forming judgments about others requires you to step back and cool your feelings. The easiest topic in the list you mentioned is absentee fathers. Absentee fathers happen in a lot of cases because the father isn’t emotionally situated to deal with the consequences of sex; but chooses to have sex anyway, something which has been helped a lot by messages about sex in entertainment. Obviously, the best thing for the father to do in that situation is make the right decision to stay with the child, but one bad decision will naturally follow another.

The point here is not anything to do with gays or other members of the LGBT community, who I believe should be left alone if they’re in consensual relationships, but that we have to get down to some of the core issues of human nature and be willing to be honest about them.

Our media right now is an emotional hyper-drive. I believe Jon Stewart called it a “cyclonic perpetual emotional machine.” Do you think that reflects anything about us culturally?

I don’t think that its much of a coincidence at all that the sexual revolution and the decline of decency in public life happened at the exact same time. I wouldn’t blame one for the other, but I think they’re both the result of the same cultural factors.

#23 Comment By Rob G On June 7, 2016 @ 10:30 am

“It might be that you are right, but it is impossible for limited humans to know what that objective standard is.”

If there is a God, and we are made in His image, what you say reflects a rather low view of His creative capabilities.

Also, to say that we can know the standard does not mean we can know it exhaustively. On the other hand, if there is one but we can’t know it at all, it’s no better than not having one to begin with.

#24 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 7, 2016 @ 12:49 pm

We already know there is some plasticity to human sexuality.

Of course. Are we having an argument about that?

If there is a God, and we are made in His image, what you say reflects a rather low view of His creative capabilities.

Scripture strongly indicates that we over-reach ourselves in God’s eyes if we aspire to “be as gods.” Further, if God’s creative capacities, and purposes, extended to making our judgment perfect, then “free will” would be a non-issue.

Yes, there is an objective Truth. Yes, we can strive to understand it, and even come close at times. But we can’t dictate authoritatively to each other as to exactly what that Truth is.

#25 Comment By Rob G On June 7, 2016 @ 2:40 pm

~~~Scripture strongly indicates that we over-reach ourselves in God’s eyes if we aspire to “be as gods.” Further, if God’s creative capacities, and purposes, extended to making our judgment perfect, then “free will” would be a non-issue.~~~

As I said above, it’s not a zero-sum game. Just because we cannot know exhaustively does not mean we cannot know truly.

#26 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On June 7, 2016 @ 9:40 pm

I agree Rob G, my point is that we cannot know Authoritatively.

#27 Comment By Rob G On June 8, 2016 @ 6:49 am

“my point is that we cannot know Authoritatively”

If we know truly, then to that extent we know authoritatively, as truth exerts a claim that all must heed. Or as J. Budziszewski put it, there are some things “we can’t not know.”

To argue otherwise is to say that there is no “truth,” only the “truth for me.”

#28 Comment By loolaa On June 8, 2016 @ 1:22 pm

Even if same-sex sexual experiences are rising, nothing in the above or WaPo indicates we’re actually at risk of ceasing reproduction, which, to me, would be the only way that what essentially amounts to gender expression could threaten families. Seems like promiscuity and divorce—no matter the genitals of the people involved—are far greater threats, and these do not inherently have anything to do with gender.

Gay couples, like straight couples, can contribute to stable, even natural, families, by rejecting artificial reproduction and adopting/fostering instead; or, if you believe gay couples are unfit to parent (I do not), perhaps you could get behind the idea that gay couples can serve as a source of support to their communities and extended families. They’re very well-positioned to do play this role since they are at no risk of reproducing unexpectedly. Sister and her husband die in a car crash? Uncle Adam and Uncle Steve can adopt the orphaned children. (Or would Christians theoretically prefer that the children be put up for adoption by strangers rather than placed with Adam and Steve?) Tragic, yes. But life is often tragic.

Let’s be practical and promote the values—monogamy, indissoluble marriage, chastity—that actually make an impact on families. It’s possible to know and live the birds and the bees while acknowledging and accommodating the existence of gay/bi people. A narrow path (gate?), sure, but it’s there. For instance, it’s rightly no longer considered ethical to raise adoptive children by pretending that the adoptive parents are the bio parents, so a gay couple adopting a child really doesn’t “violate” the natural family because the child is not being lied to about his or her natural origins (and their bio father doesn’t have to be willed out of the picture a la “single-moms-by-choice”).

Adoption is almost always the result of a tragic situation, and we should strive for it never to be necessary (and I do NOT mean by way of abortion). The degree to which adoption (and abortion…) is practiced, as well as the rate and wedlock status of new births, is an indicator of how stable/healthy our families are.

Gender expression in and of itself does not stand in the way of reducing the need for adoption/abortion; and until there’s a full-on gayness epidemic spreading like wildfire, humans are going to continue reproducing. (I don’t support abortion, but the fact that so many women do feel that it’s necessary says to me that 1. there’s too much promiscuity and/or 2. they believe they are materially incapable of providing the children with a stable home. and/or 3. they believe it’s a morally neutral act.) Again, these issues fundamentally do not have anything to do with gender; some of them do contain the threat of sex-guided-by-individualism though.