What It Really Means To Tell Gays To “Resist Their Temptation”

Via Dan Savage, A Christian decodes for his brethren:

When you tell a gay person to “resist” being gay, what you are really telling them—what you really mean—is for them to be celibate.

What you are truly and actually saying is that you want them to condemn themselves to a life devoid of love.

Be alone, you’re demanding. Live alone. Don’t hold anyone’s hand. Don’t snuggle on your couch with anyone. Don’t cuddle up with anyone at night before you fall asleep. Don’t have anyone to chat with over coffee in the morning.

Do not bind your life to that of another. Live your whole life without knowing that joy, that sharing, that peace.

Just say “no” to love.

Be alone. Live alone. Die alone.

The “sinful temptation” that Christians are forever urging LGBT people to resist is love.

Being, of course, the one thing Jesus was most clear about wanting his followers to extend to others.

Can we stop with this cruel idiocy already?

This is the heart of the matter. In talking about what is good or bad morally, it is inescapable that we talk about what is beneficial or detrimental to both individual and collective flourishing and there is no way to see how denying gays the moral right to love can in any way be to the good of either their minimal emotional and psychological well-being or to the maximum benefit of their overall happiness in life. To dismiss love as a trivial, expendable good is to divorce oneself from reality.

Maybe some people, whether straight or gay, are really good at being single and could do it all their lives. But for all those who aren’t and for all those who regardless of whether they could happily live a life of celibacy nonetheless happen to be in love anyway, it is reckless with their hearts and their lives to impose on them strictures against the full embrace of love. Most people need love. It cannot be a good to suppress this.

And any God which was worth listening to about morality would know this. Anyone claiming to speak for God, as Christians so blithely do, can have their claims about morality made on behalf of God tested with the simple question, “Does what they say God thinks is good really test out as good according to independent measures of value?” If it doesn’t, they’re either not speaking for God in any logically intelligible way or God is just an evil being and not a good one after all.  (Or, of course, there is just no God and that’s the real reason for their error.)

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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