This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
If Christian sexual ethics is mistaken, secularists need to work on a replacement
It is a selling point (not the only relevant reason, surely), and what is happening could turn out to be growing pains. But with respect to sexual ethics, there is too much criticism of the Christian tradition without serious attempts to clarify what is and is not morally acceptable. Christian traditionalists have a clear set of rules. Maybe too clear.
But tradition rules serve an important purpose, they protect relationships from the ravages of competition and insure that proper care is taken for children. If you are going to criticize traditional Christianity on sex, it seems to me that a lot of serious work has to be done to clarify what is moral, and what is not. A simplistic appeal to "consent" is not enough. How the vulnerable can be protected and children are to be cared for still has to be developed in a replacement sexual morality, and I see to little work done on that.
If there are strong standards of conduct that are difficult to follow, then you are going to have problems with people pretending to follow them who really don't, hence the problems on the Christian side. If there are really no rules, no occasions when a sexual impulse ought morally to be resisted, then there can't be any problems. But that doesn't seem plausible. You are probably going to have a certain number of people who find freedom from traditional rules who take it too far the other way, and this should surprise no one.
There are going to have to be rules, and it should be an important element in secularist thought to provide those replacement rules. But I see too little of it.