Wednesday, June 11, 2008

tfam A Gay Conversation

Derrick, Doug and Daphne

2008 June 11, 07 Nur, 165 BE

Mavaddat writes:




John, you made many references, none of which seem to answer my very simple question. So I will repeat it:

Why do you take it for granted that homosexuality implies promiscuity?

Why is it inconceivable to you that two people of the same sex could fall in love, want to marry, and stay committed and monogamous for the rest of their lives?

This seems like a rather simple question. I don't see why you need to make all sorts of references to other apparently irrelevant side-discussions. Do you think it's possible that you have written so much about the subject of homosexuality that you have surpassed the ability to have a regular conversation about it? No references to past posts, no links to other sites, just a good old fashioned conversation. What do you say?




Alright, I am sorry Mavaddat, we will have a conversation.


First of all, I concede question one; homosexuality in principle does not necessarily imply that there is more or less promiscuity going on. A case could be made, and some studies back this up, that in practice gay male couples have sex more often than other gay males, and more than heterosexual couples. Least often, it seems, are lesbian couples.


But for our purposes, I hand you your point, which seems to be primarily concerned that gay couples practice safer sex by confining their act to one rather than many other gays. Nobody is going to argue that. Gay couples are probably going to be less promiscuous than otherwise, and therefore less likely to die from STD's. This is not only conceivable; it is indisputable, as far as it goes. Congratulations, you win.


Problems arise, though, in your other, simultaneous response to the earlier Badi' essay on "Moral Sustainability." This essay held that there is such a thing as sustainability in protecting the family just as there is with the environment. Your objection to the essay is its contention that gay unions (in spite of their merits relative to gay promiscuity) are a standing threat to the continuance of society and marriage as an institution.


On the contrary, you argue, "If God wants healthy families, then homosexuality is no barrier to that." In fact, you go further by saying that encouraging gay unions (in Canada we call them "unions" rather than "marriages" in order to placate the objections of faith groups) is the best way to support the family. Gay couples can adopt children; sex between them promotes intimacy and a stronger bond of love. Also, you say, there are other ways for gay and lesbian couples to have children and serve society together. Again, as far as it goes, this logic has some validity.


Leaving God out of it for the moment and looking at it purely from the perspective of evolutionary science, I encourage you to think carefully about what you are trying to maintain.


Homosexuality is known to be quite common among animals, where, along with predation, it performs an important role of moderating growth and keeping populations from exploding. This makes sense, since rapid expansion in numbers leads to depletion of resources and eventually famine, a cruel, precipitous and dangerous drop in numbers. Since homosexual sex is inherently sterile, it allows healthy adults fully to express hardwired sexual passion while still acting as a kind of birth control pill. It seems that physical and organic functions operate on a "use it or lose it" basis, which is why even sexually inactive men, for example, still maintain an involuntary erection during REM stages of sleep. In a natural environment homosexual animals can switch to heterosexual sex when prosperity increases and a need for expansion kicks back in. This is part of the balance of nature.


The conclusion is that human society, like animals in an ecosystem, can be tolerant of the homosexual tendencies of a percentage of the population. We can accommodate a certain amount of homosexual practice without major consequences, and even, as you say, with certain benefits. Since human numbers are growing beyond sustainability some even hold that gay unions are helping us by keeping our numbers down. This certainly seems to be the case in Europe and the Americas, where there is the most tolerance of homosexuality and where birth rates have dropped below sustenance levels.


Following the same naturalistic chain of reasoning, humans have an even more effective means of keeping our numbers down, suicide. Animals do not kill themselves, the myth of lemmings notwithstanding. We can therefore actively and effectively reverse our overall growth in numbers by promoting both gay marriage and suicide booths throughout the world. These booths, by the way, look like a telephone booth, as depicted in the animated television series Futurama; if you want to commit suicide you put in a quarter and are instantly killed by the weapon of your choice. Quick and easy. Like gay marriage, this would be a definite check on the population.


As long as we keep God out of the equation, nobody can refute this. Indeed, this utterly reverses morality as understood by religion. A suicide and an actively gay person are _more_ moral than one who chooses to continue living, or who resolves to be chaste. As Abdu'l-Baha once pointed out, though, this is the logic of the grave. Dead bodies never sin or do anybody any harm, so they are morally superior to us, the living. This does not matter, though, since there is nothing to choose between life and death.


If you do not believe in God, Mavaddat, I am afraid this is as far as we can go in this conversation. We have different worldviews that cannot refute one another, or reconcile. If you do believe in God, though, it is entirely different. God says: Choose life. That is all we need to know about Him for the purposes of this argument. God cares whether we live or die. He wants us to live. He loves us, made us in His image, and wants us to succeed by using a faculty that is not available to animals, reason. Our faculty of reason places our sexual passions in our own control, and makes them our own responsibility to express or not. So, let us reason together, and live.


If you think you believe in God and at the same time think that the divine order to choose life can be reconciled with negations of life like abortion, homosexuality and suicide, I hasten to point out that you may be making the same error in logic that I saw a guy named Derrick make. I knew Derrick when I first moved to Dunnville. They had just built a new pub in town. Derrick walked in and ordered three drinks. "Why three drinks?" the bartender asked. Derrick replied,


"Well, my brother Doug and my sister Daphne just became Baha'is. I just came back from the airport seeing them off. Doug pioneered to Africa and Daphne went to China. We swore when we were kids that we would always be together in spirit. We have a sustainable family. Since religion is separating us physically, we decided that even if we are on opposite ends of the earth we would take one drink of spirits for each of us at noon every day as a symbolic token of our spiritual unity."


Everybody agreed that this was a wonderful gesture and Derrick became a regular at the establishment, turning up like clockwork on his lunch break just before noon and downing three shots, one after the other. This went on for years, every day the same routine.


Finally Derrick came in, sat on the stool and ordered only two drinks. A stunned silence followed as Derrick slowly sipped at his two glasses. Finally the barkeep offered his condolences and asked if it was Doug or Daphne who had passed on. "Neither," Derrick replied, angrily,


"What are you talking about? Doug and Daphne are Baha'is. They believe that life extends beyond this limited plane. Besides, even if both Doug and Daphne died, I would still take a drink for them. Nothing can break the spiritual bond between brothers and sisters."


The barkeep was puzzled. "But if they are both still alive why only the two drinks? Why not three?" "Well, you see," Derrick replied, "I just became a Baha'i myself, and Baha'is do not touch alcohol."


Alexander M Zoltai said...

Whoo-Hoo !!!

You remind me of the Dawnbreakers...

~ Alex

Anonymous said...

Murder, suicide, and birth control (even permanent birth control like gay marriage would effectively be) are not morally identical. I think you'll find that later guidance to Baha'is strongly implies that we don't at this point in time understand why gay marriage isn't allowed.

Anonymous said...

I should add, that as a transgender Baha'i, whose transition was not forbidden or discouraged when I asked the House for guidance, and which has been recognized by my NSA, I think the "choice" to not reproduce that results from my physical state, is not remotely morally equivalent to murder or the promotion of suicide.