Thursday, 22 August 2013

Gut reactions

This post has caused a whole lot of responses in my timelines, mainly from people who seem to find a desire to gag at this whole idea. To summarise, the argument is that we should trust our gag reflex and the fact that we find gay sex "yukky" should be a clear indication to us that it is wrong, and that it is against Gods word.

I have to say, irrespective of your position on homosexuality, I think this is an appalling piece of writing and justification of a particular position. I want to explore why for me it is so poorly argued.

Firstly, the core argument that "this is yukky, so it must be sinful" is really poor theology. The reason is that "normal", heterosexual sex is pretty yukky. pre-teen kids are still, often, feeling that the opposite gender is "yukky", and, if you were to start discussing sexual activity with them, they tend to be "yukked-out". So surely this mean that all sex is sinful and against Gods laws? Ah no, of course, it is only certain peoples "yuk" reflexes that are divinely inspired - the conservatives, the traditionalists.

So secondly, the problem is that historically, all sorts of things have been considered "yukky". Women taking any place in society was once considered "yukky", so should we deny women the vote, the right to own property, the right to self-determination? At one time, the idea of coloured people being considered as equals would have been "yukky", so should we roll back the racial equality advances of the last 50+ years? Sadly, the answer from some of these people is yes, although they might not express it so. In fact, some of the conservatives would seem to want to roll back the whole of society by at least this amount.

That is a problem, because as a society, we have moved on - there is no "halcyon days" to hark back to, there is no point in our history where the imagined Christian society actually existed. Let me be clear about this - throughout our history, there have been people campaigning for various injustices, and there have been significant parts of society where what we consider today to be "Christian" were not observed.

Thirdly, and this is the core problem, our "yukky" responses, our gut reactions to ideas and events should not be a driver of our theology, because God does not inhabit our intestines. The thing is, a lot of the events of the book of Joshua especially - there are other examples, but the genocide and slaughter in Joshua is a prime example - make me feel "yuk". Should we therefore disregard these passages? The answer is no - we cannot disregard bible passages because they are difficult, and we cannot reject homosexual practices because we don't like them.

I can accept that the writer of this article does not like homosexual practice, does not feel that it is biblical, and finds homosexual activity "yukky". I have no problems with this, however much I may disagree with him. The problem is to argue that his gut reaction is an indicator of divine approval is wrong and misleading. That is bad theology.

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