Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Can you use natural law to oppose homosexuality, but not use natural law to oppose contraception?

Here is a simple question. Can you accept the natural law argument against homosexuality, explained here, without also accepting the natural law argument against contraception. The former argument is popular even amongst Protestants and Catholics who are not strict adherents of Humanae Vitae. But the anti-gay argument and the case for Humanae Vitae are structurally very similar. So the natural law argument looks like a package deal to me.


SteveK said...

"So the natural law argument looks like a package deal to me"

Depends on what your argument is. Maybe it's good, maybe it's not. "Structurally very similar" doesn't tell us anything.

BTW, you seem to be obsessed with the topic of homosexuality, Victor. You post a lot on the subject.

Victor Reppert said...

It is a puzzling and difficult issue for Christians--I find a lot of people who consider what they take to be the homophobic attitude of Christianity to be a reason to reject Christianity. In many classes that I teach, this attitude arises.

On Facebook, the immediate reaction of some people was to embrace both the argument against homosexuality and the argument against birth control.

I have been thinking about this and I think there is a difference--in the case of sex with birth control, you know it's not infallible and you might have to deal with the possibility of conception, but this would not be the case where homosexual conduct is concerned.

oozzielionel said...

The natural law argument is often an attempt to appeal to the unbeliever on common ground. The common ground from the Christian perspective is Natural Revelation. Special Revelation includes Scripture, dreams, prophecy, etc. Special Revelation requires the activity of the Holy Spirit to assist comprehension. Natural Revelation is available to all, yet is severely limited. It is limited in its content and effectiveness. One of the limitations is that a natural law argument may not agree with special revelation. Most often the expectation is for natural revelation to align with special revelation. Special revelation must take priority or the result may be a worship of the creation instead of the Creator.

Victor Reppert said...

The trouble with special revelation arguments is that in a society that separates church and state, there is a reason to disregard them in the area of public policy. We wouldn't want to live in a society that put into law the teaching of the Qur'an or the Book of Mormon, but if something can be common ground amongst people because it's natural law, it can be a basis for public policy. Also, of course, there are differences as to how people appropriate special revelation--in the case of Catholics it's mediated through the Magisterium, in the case of Protestants it's Sola Scriptura, in the case of Jews it is the Tanakh mediated, typically, through rabbinic tradition, for Muslims it's the Qur'an, (although there are schools of thought as to how it is appropriated), and for Mormons, the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator can come along and say God has a brand new message that needs to be followed. For the Mormons, there is nothing in Mormon theology that would prevent the President of the Mormon church from declaring that gay couples can marry, in which case, well, gay couples will be allowed to marry and there is nothing further to be said on the matter.