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Barb Wire

The Case for Heterosexuality

On Paul Scott Pruett’s “about” page at his blog he writes, “I am an Information Technology professional who does Christian Apologetics only as a hobby.” Last week he posted “The Case for Heterosexuality,” an article that many BarbWire readers will enjoy (especially those who hate everything about BarbWire and everyone associated with BarbWire).

Here is Pruett:

I’ve had a number of on-line debates on the issue of homosexuality. Mostly, these amount to unpacking the defenses of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, or just dealing with the ad hominem attacks against us “bigots” who are “obsessed” with this issue. However, I was recently challenged to make my own general argument against homosexuality, which I’d like to do now. I don’t presume that I will change any minds, especially given how personally invested some are in this issue in a way that transcends reason, but I’d at least like to demonstrate the reasonability of believing heterosexuality to be the norm and design for human beings.

The argument is pretty simple and straightforward, and almost so obvious it hardly needs to be spelled out. It’s why society has accepted it these long centuries, children intuitively understand it, and it takes a good dose of liberal reeducation to eclipse it. I believe it to be the foundational point of departure in the justification of homosexuality as a normal, moral, socially acceptable lifestyle.

The argument

Observe the healthy male and female bodies. Observe the intrinsic differences in the general form — size, proportions, musculature, etc. Observe the specific differences in the genitalia and reproductive organs. There are three important points that proceed from these observations.

First, physically speaking, there are two sexes. It is a binary thing. I know it has become fashionable to question this self-evident fact by appealing to psychological factors or congenital anomalies. However, one’s feelings about physical reality do not alter the truth of that reality, and what is normal is not defined by what is broken. It is simply data that nature has conspired to impart but two sexes to the human race.

Second, men and women are different. They are not interchangeable sexes. Two men, even on their best day, do not equal one woman. Each sex has distinct, functionally meaningful parts that can only be superficially counterfeited with medical intervention. Even so, the genetics remain and new reproductive capacity is not gained.

Third, these differences are complementary in nature.  Men and women are custom designed for each other.  Whatever other ad hoc and creative uses one may find for their sexual organs, their primary purposes involve the pairing of the two.  Not only are the male/female genitalia uniquely suited to each other, but the union can produce the thing which insures the very existence of humanity: offspring.  Even those who reject the opposite sex must avail themselves of them if they wish to have children of their own.

This complementarity and its necessity for reproduction are surely cues as to what nature expects for human relationships and the setting in which their offspring are to be raised.  If reproduction and child-rearing cannot be considered key factors in defining conjugal and domestic praxis, then it’s not clear to what objective guide we should appeal.

Given all these things, it seems reasonable to affirm as normative that men and women should pair in complementary relationships. It also seems reasonable to find curious those who do not.  Those who have not yet, cannot, or choose not to avail themselves of nature’s design are one thing, but those who entirely reject that design for another of their own making are on shaky ground in demanding the rest of society’s affirmation.

Taking the argument further depends largely upon one’s metaphysical presuppositions.  Since there are a variety of perspectives on the nature of man, morality, and the origin of sexual design, one must ultimately argue these things on an individual basis.  However, there are two major tracks to follow in this debate.  One is theistic and the other atheistic.

Arguing further with the atheist

If one is an atheist, then the “design” of the sexes is simply a byproduct of natural processes.  Some form of naturalistic evolution is the only option currently on the table for the atheist.  Given that evolution is our presumed maker, and all that it can be said to “care” about is reproduction and survival, then it stands to reason that mating with the opposite sex and the care of the resulting offspring should be considered the normal expression of what nature intended.  Those who reject this are living according to some program with which they have not been equipped by nature.

Atheists have one advantage in this debate, however.  Given that there is no Law-giver, or transcendent Designer, they are not subject to any principles or moral constraints that may be suggested by our natures.  Indeed, they are hard-pressed to make any meaningful sense of morality at all.  For this reason, even if it could be demonstrated that heterosexuality is the normal state of humans, and that homosexuality is a pathology, then they can still say, “Who cares?  Let people do whatever the heck they want to do.”

On the other hand, though, they cannot claim any moral status for those who reject nature’s designs or for those who criticize persons who do.  If following one’s own preferences is permitted to trump natural teleology, then it justifies the homosexual and the “homophobe” alike.  Once you cut yourself loose from the moral dock the entire ocean awaits.  You must navigate by charting your own arbitrary course, and the course of those seeking to comply with the reefs and currents of nature seems at least as reasonable as those plotting the course of sheer desire.

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