Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sex & Murder: The Morality of the Christian Mind

Two basic activities that both humans and all other species engage in are sex and murder. Virtually all species are forced to eat some other living thing to survive (although a "merciful" omnipotent God could've obviously created a world where this was completely unnecessary) and nearly all species rely on sex, for both pleasure itself and to produce offspring.

Yet these two activities are rationalized within the Christian mind in two very different ways. Even though murder is one of the "sins" explicitly forbidden by God in the Ten Commandments, "sex" in many forms is thought by many Christians to be expressly forbidden, even though the only mention of it in the Ten Commandments is limited specifically to adultery.(Christians have gotten around this rule concerning adultery, by the way, by simply implementing polygamy, like the Mormons and the Old Testament.)

A Christian may tell you, for example, that "murder is always wrong," but will then find any number of ways to defend not only the genocides committed in the Old Testament for God, but even the flood sent by God to kill a humanity that God had decided was just too sinful to go on enjoying the "gift of life." But if two people of the same sex want to get married or even if a young man and woman want to "live together" prior to marriage (what Christians used to call "living in sin"), they are treated as if they are engaging in an act far worse than murder.

Many of the same Christians who also try to explain away the many murders and other atrocities committed for God or by God will often find ways of defending war as sometimes morally justified, and perhaps even required. In fact, Hannah Arendt even pointed out how morality has been used to make it seem that NOT murdering the enemy during war is itself an immoral act.

Both St. Augustin and St. Ambrose, for that matter, have put forward "just war theories" about when engaging in the murdering of fellow human beings is (almost) a perfectly moral thing to do. Then there is of course Jesus, who's murder God needed to forgive humanity it's disobedience, rather than simply "turning the other cheek," as God commands everyone else to do. (This is presumably because God does not have "cheeks.")

 In addition to this, many such Christians, who so often seem to think that "sex" of various kinds may all be worse or as bad as "murder,"  will defend the act of hunting animals as a perfectly normal thing to do. After all, all animals tend to hunt other animals, and humans, by being at the top of the food chain, are simply doing what is natural when we engage in hunting animals as well, even if we do so simply because we wish to hang their head on the wall in our den. ( Imagine if other animals did the same thing. In fact, the only human beings that do this with human heads are serial killers.)

Yet the same Christians who defend hunting and murdering other animals (and sometimes even other human beings) as perfectly "moral," and often for no other reason than that it is perfectly "natural," argue that many different kinds of sex, and especially homosexual sex, are perfectly "immoral" because they are completely "unnatural," even though thousands of other animals species have all been found to engage in the practice, including that species that is closest to our own, the bonobo.  

Hence, for some Christians, like Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, some kinds of "murder" are perfectly natural, because animals engage in it, but some kinds of "sex" are unnatural, no matter how many different species of animals engage in it. But this tells us less about whether some kinds of "sex" are unnatural and far more about how some Christians think what two people do in the privacy of their own bedroom poses a greater threat to humanity than a war, genocide, or a God who threatens to kill us all and send us to eternal damnation.

And in fact, many such Christians would prefer to see World War III before they would ever attend a same sex marriage. Yet they think the problems with the world are not them, but anyone who supports the latter and opposes the former.

Welcome to the morality of a Christian mind.

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