It would seem to me that man has been on the downward side of certainty since he decided that reason was the sole arbiter of philosophical reflection. The ‘Age of Enlightenment’, initiated in the 17th century, brushed aside the cobwebs from the moral cupboard, relegating tradition and faith to the proverbial scrapheap! In some ways this was not a bad thing, for there were many ideas and practices which were no more than superstition and uninformed intent, but in other ways…?
In general man is a selfish, ‘I’ oriented being intent on satiating his own needs and desires above all else, the survival instinct one would suppose; but this begs the question – is this type of behaviour, this self-endowed mantle of moral pre-eminence really the pinnacle of humanity? These needs and desires which seem to drive our self-deception; are they no more than a justification for our actions? Are we re-inventing that, which in the past were regarded as moral and philosophical absolutes, just to satiate our propensity for what is essentially moral turpitude! What do statements such as ‘What is truth?’, ‘What is wrong for you is not necessarily wrong for me!’ and other relativistic utterances mean other than to justify man’s proclivity for immoral behaviour. One must perhaps conclude that, to this end, rationalism (man) excluded God for this very reason – substituting himself as his own moral compass to facilitate the egregious implementation of his own promiscuous agenda.
Tough or one sided, perhaps but quite close to reality I think; though today’s philosopher mighty even question that – ‘What is reality?’
Thus modern man’s pre-occupation with sexuality; his amoral reasoning that sexuality equates to the real love between two people irrespective of gender, wanders far from the real meaning of love between man and woman and the core meaning of sexual intimacy!
From a Christian perspective there is a simple guiding principal:
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply;
This statement, while of religious origin also carries with it a sense of the natural order of things, beliefs and moral certitudes that have been held through millennia. The bond of a man and a woman though opposite, are two sides of the same coin; yet despite this they are attracted through these very same complimentary differences, the ‘yin & yang’ so to speak. This conjoined pair forms the very core of the family unit, the reproductive progenitors of the human species.
As Douglas Farrow, professor of Christian Thought at McGill University states in the first of his thirteen theses on marriage: (1) “Homo sapiens is a sexually dimorphic species that depends for its propagation and socialisation on the complimentary differences between male and female” and the second of his theses elaborates on this: (2) “Sexual difference, not variation in sexual inclination or ‘orientation’, is fundamental to the existence and well-being of the human race.”
While these ideas adumbrate the regular theist, do they represent a broader representation of society?
All good and well when talking of the survival of species, how does one apply this rather banal description to the love needed to bond a man and a woman together?
Tradition and Christianity are close to the point when they describe it as that unreserved, unconditional love – agape love. It is the love used to describe God’s sacrificial love of humanity, that ‘no matter what’ type of love! It is this same type of covenant bond which links man and woman. The physicality of such a bond is summarised well in Farrow’s fifth and seventh theses: (5) “Well-ordered sexual intentions have in view goods both of body and of soul, goods that are at once personal and societal.” (7) “Consideration of these goods ought to respect the highest human good, which is the enjoyment of God and of one another in God.”
If this is descriptive of the bond between man and woman, how then does one describe the love bond of same sex couples? How does this relatively new concept of love, fit in with the original blueprint of the family as the encapsulation of the natural ideal? In addition and following on from this premise, is the question of the family unit as procreative nurturers of society – how do a same sex couple, who biologically cannot have children, raise children in a parental environment of ‘father father’ or ‘mother mother’, without impairment to the natural order of things?
Without the standards and norms which have governed humanity since time immemorial society, I believe, would long since have collapsed into individualistic anarchy – a proposition which seems to be portentously close!
This we find was one of the prime elements of Benedict XVI’s Christmas address to the Roman Curia. As he has articulated previously, the pope expressed concern over the threat to the family unit described as the “…authentic setting in which to hand on the blueprint of human existence.” He goes further to say that the family unit is not just about a specific social construct, but essentially about man himself – about what it is to be authentically human. The commitment so necessary for the strengthening of the human ideal is increasingly being rejected to the expedience of man’s relativistic intent. Consequently, he says, the key figures in human existence are also vanishing: father, mother, child – those essential elements of what it is to be human.
Quoting from the Chief Rabbi of France Gilles Bernheim, Benedict goes on to say that the very notion of ‘sex’ is no longer an element of nature but rather the choice of a social role that we choose for ourselves in life. A role previously determined by societal norms! He lifts up the very hypocrisy of a humanity, happy to censure the manipulation of the environment within nature but insistent on the manipulation of humanity within nature to suit a sexual whim.
For these observations, Benedict has been taken to task predictably by gay rights groups and by much of the popular media. Though this is a sad indictment of man’s moral sensibilities, it is in a perverse way, confirmation of the pope’s points of view!
Perhaps approaching this from a different perspective will bring more clarity. All of humanity is governed by natural law, laws derived from nature and binding on everyone everywhere. But what is natural law (lex naturalis) – Wikipedia mentions: “Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyse human nature—both social and personal—and deduce binding rules of moral behaviour.” And Miriam & Webster defines it thus: “A law or body of laws that derives from nature and is believed to be binding upon human actions apart from or in conjunction with laws established by human authority.” In both of these definitions, one can see the thread of morality running through, a thread of natural common sense.
Thus for me, even from a humanistic point of view, a view very much based on rationalism, the sexual adventurism which is capped by the call for legalising gay marriage, is the antithesis of the very rationality which seeks to govern our modern society. It just seems to me to go against the same natural law which governs our existence.
I would ask: How can society allow it?
 Genesis 1: 27
 (Farrow, 2012)
 Emphasis is mine
 This is my perspective.
 (H.H. Benedict XVI, 2012)
 (Gilles Bernheim – Chief Rabbi of France, 2012)
1. Farrow, D., 2012. First Things – Thirteen Theses on Marriage. [Online] Available at: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/09/thirteen-theses-on-marriage [Accessed 28 December 2012].
2. Gilles Bernheim – Chief Rabbi of France, 2012. Mariage homosexuel, homoparentalité et adoption : ce que l’on oublie souvent de dire. [Online] Available at: http://www.grandrabbindefrance.com/mariage-homosexuel-homoparentalit%C3%A9-et-adoption-ce-que-l%E2%80%99-oublie-souvent-de-dire-essai-de-gilles-bern [Accessed 28 December 2012].
3. H.H. Benedict XVI, 2012. Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI on the occasion of Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia. [Online] Available at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2012/december/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20121221_auguri-curia_en.html [Accessed 28 December 2012].
4. Lucie-Smith, A., 2006. Foundations of Moral Theology. 1st ed. Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa.
5. May, W. E., 2003. An Introduction to Moral Theology. 2nd ed. Huntington(Indiana): Our Sunday Visitor.
6. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 2012. Natural Law. [Online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law [Accessed 01 January 2013].