My Discussion of Gays With Right Wing Radio Host Jesse Lee Peterson (Free Audio and Transcript)

On December 11, 2013 I appeared on the nationally syndicated Jesse Lee Peterson Show to discuss my blog post “How I Wish The Homosexuality Debate Would Go”. Usually old episodes of the show can only be heard with a subscription, but you can listen to my appearance for free by using this link for Camels With Hammers fans provided by the show’s producer, James Hake. The segment featuring me starts at 2:25 of the mp3. Thanks to the heroic efforts once again of Josiah “BibleName” Mannion, I have a transcript which I have been given permission to post below. (January 13, 2014 I returned to the show and discussed atheist ethics in general and the problem of dealing with hypocritical moral leaders.)

Jesse Lee Peterson: It is Manhood Hour! [Four Tops, “Are You Man Enough?” music plays] Manhood! [music] Rebuildin’ the family by rebuildin’ the man. If we don’t bring men back to the order of God, it’s over for America. It is absolutely over.
A lot of talk about Atheist Movement out there, it seem as though they are on the rise right now. The attack on Christmas, all kind of stuff goin’ on. And I wanna talk about some of those issues after we move forward today. I have with me Dr. Daniel Fincke. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University. He is currently an Adjacent [sic] Assistant Professor of Philosophy at both the City College of New York and Hofstra University, I believe. He has a blog, Camels With Hammers, on the Patheos Blog Network. He wrote a very interestin’ article and I wanted to talk to him about that, and other things. “How I Wish the Homosexuality Debate Would Go…” I’m sorry, “How I Wish the Homosexuality Debate Would Go,… I Wish It Would Go,” Adjace… Adjunct. Adjunct. I said somethin’ else, but it’s Adjunct. I’m excited from the last hour, I gotta get myself together here. Let’s see here. Dr. Daniel, welcome to the show, sir.

Daniel Fincke: Thank you, Jesse, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Jesse Lee Peterson: And you said I could call you Dan, right?

Daniel Fincke: Yeah, sure, if I can call you Jesse.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Yes sir. Is it true that you’re an atheist?

Daniel Fincke: Yes, I am an atheist.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Define that. What does that mean?

Daniel Fincke: It means I don’t think that there are any gods. I don’t think that… I don’t think there are personal gods who intervene in history. I’m more of an Agnostic Atheist on the question of whether or not there is some sort of ground of all being from which all things emanate. But the kind of God who I’m sure you believe in, who intervenes in history and gives commands, I don’t think there’s any reason to believe in any of those kind of gods. So, I think that we can know that those kind of gods don’t exist. That’s what I mean by an Atheist.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Have you always been an atheist?

Daniel Fincke: No, I was a devoutly religious Evangelical Christian, until I was… and I went to one of the most Evangelical Christian colleges in the country, Grove City College, and I became an atheist while there, studying philosophy.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Wow. And then what happened?

Daniel Fincke: Well, there were a series of things. I kind of thought, philosophically, that there were, you know, the better way to put the world together, the way that made more sense to me, philosophically, was one that was purely naturalistic. And there were some issues involving, you know… I’d read a lot of Friedrich Nietzsche, and he kind of gave me a perspective on the world which kind of made me realize that Christianity could sometimes be a really dark thing. And I had a very bad experience, where a friend of mine was gay, and I was the only person who knew. And he kind of relied on me as his sole source of support. And he was–you know, we both believed this was sinful–and he would confess to me everything that was going on in him and everything he was thinking, and we were tryin’ to work through this. I was tryin’ to love him, but still judge the sin, while loving the sinner. It came to the point, though, where he became suicidal, and it was very upsetting. And I kind of came to believe later that it was immoral for me to hold to a belief by faith that I couldn’t prove with knowledge, when it could have the kind of devastating effect on someone, when I… to hold to a belief that didn’t really have that kind of grounding was irresponsible. I should base my beliefs, based on, you know, evidence rather than things that could lead to damage when I don’t even know they’re true.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Amazing. And then at that point, you decided that there was no God.

Daniel Fincke: Yeah, well, I decided that… yeah, that the evidence seemed to be against it. And I should be chastened and not believe without good evidence.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Why… and why did he become suicidal?

Daniel Fincke: Well, you know. It’s a neurological thing, for the most. I mean, even after he came back to… at that time, he was going through a deep period of doubt, but he’s always had this mental illness, and even when later on he became a Roman Catholic monk, he wound up still having these sorts of mental illness, and he wound up cutting himself, and it was very scary. So he deals with sort of mental illness, but it was compounded in all of these cases by being isolated, and feeling like he couldn’t articulate his experiences to people for fear of, you know, that he was deeply sinful, because of his gayness, and all these various issues. But also, it’s neurological. No matter what his ideology had been, Catholic, Atheist, this was gonna happen because of, it seems to me, because of the way his brain works. They put him on anti-depression medication. It’s not rational, it doesn’t connect to the rest of his worldview all the time.

Jesse Lee Peterson: How is he doin’ today?

Daniel Fincke: He’s doing very well. He recently wound up, after a decade of struggling with being gay and also being a monk, he wound up [JLP laughs], you know, for several years he was both. This past year, after I did an interview with him on YouTube, where we talked about these issues, about what it is for him to… he was trying to be gay, and yet celibate, and do both, and kind of live that way. We had a long conversation online, and some people objected, and they wound up stalling his process to become a priest. He was also going to become a priest. And because he had been so open about his struggle, even though he wasn’t trying to live gay, you know, in a “gay lifestyle”, or gay relationships, he was still nonetheless, for speaking openly about even struggling with his homosexuality, he was… people complained, and it forestalled his becoming a priest, and the next thing you know, he fell in love with a man, and wound up deciding to leave the monastery. And he’s building a new life now.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Amazing. And so did he have conflict because he knew it was wrong, being a homosexual? Or did he have it because of what people were thinking, what Christians were thinking about it?

Daniel Fincke: I think… you mean, in the beginning?

Jesse Lee Peterson: Yes.

Daniel Fincke: I think in the beginning it was because he believed that it was wrong, yeah. And I think as time went on… Yeah, I think all along, it’s been because he has believed it was wrong. And…

Jesse Lee Peterson: So he knew within himself that it was wrong, he just didn’t how to overcome it. And that brought on the conflict.

Daniel Fincke: Well, he thought within himself that it was wrong, yeah. But I don’t think he actually knew that. I think that…

Jesse Lee Peterson: But it, had not he known that it was wrong, with himself, he would not have had the conflict.

Daniel Fincke: Well, you know, you could say that, but you could also say that if he really knew it was wrong, then who wants what’s wrong? Right? Nobody wants what’s wrong. But he had strong desires that were leading him to what for him would really be good. What’s gonna be good for any given person is what’s going to lead them to happiness and fulfillment. And if this is gonna be a constant source of torment, I don’t see how it could be wrong for him to abandon fighting it, and actually find love in a relationship. How could that be wrong?

Jesse Lee Peterson: Well, we all are born in sin, and within us we know, at some point we start to understand, that the sin is wrong. And if we don’t repent, it does bring on conflict. It brings on guilt. And then that guilt, you know, we want to try to get out of thet guilt. So we either accept it, or blame others for whatever people do. Lemme take a quick break, I’ll come back, Daniel, and you can pick up on that. We’ll be back in a moment.

[commercial break, which in the podcast, is the lasciviously subtexted song, “Santa Baby”]

Jesse Lee Peterson: My guest is Daniel Fincke. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy at both the City College of New York and at Hofstra University. I’m talking to him about his article on Patheos Blog, “How I Wish the Homosexuality Debate Would Go.” Daniel, I asked about… I said that we’re all born in sin, and if we don’t overcome it, it will cause conflict. Because we feel guilty about the sin. And then the world, sometimes the world, people come and want you to accept your sin as a norm. And it sound like that’s what your friend did. He wasn’t… he knew it was wrong, was not able to overcome it, and it sound as… and so he had a lot of conflict about it, because he judged himself for being that way. And then now he’s accepted it, and he feels better about himself, right?

Daniel Fincke: Yeah.

Jesse Lee Peterson: And do you agree with me that homosexuality is a sin?

Daniel Fincke: No, I don’t, because I’m not sure why you would think that. Why do you think that?

Jesse Lee Peterson: Because it goes against the order, or nature of God. It’s not something that God would put into you.

Daniel Fincke: And how would you know that, though? Because we see all throughout nature, homosexuality arises, and we see it regularly in humans. And if God created all of this, it seems like God has put this into people.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Because we see all sorts of sin in nature. You know liars, and thieves, and robbers, and murderers, and adulteress, and adulterers, and all kind of things out there. And that’s not because of God. When you say, ‘I wish… How I wish homosexuality debate would go,’ how do you wish it would go?

Daniel Fincke: Well, what I wish would happen would be that we would see that when Christians are saying that they love gays, but that they just hate the sin, I wish that they would be confronted with the reality that if you’re gonna love somebody, you can’t call their entire romantic psychosexual orientation a sin. When you compare someone… when it’s the kind of thing that does no actual tangible harm. When you say that it’s against God’s order, you have to kind of show, I think, how when you say natural order, you’d have to show how it’s un… you know, how it’s actually harmful to people to fulfill this, naturally. And so when I look at it, and I say, What is it natural for a human to flourish? I think it’s natural for a human to flourish by having love, and by being in relationships, and developing these powers of sociability. Whereas… so if someone is deeply drawn towards love and romance and sex with someone of the same sex, then it seems to me that it’s irrational to say to them, “Marry someone of the sex you’re not attracted to.” You know, we would never do that to a straight person. You know, could you imagine being forced by your church, or being told, God will only love you if you marry someone who is a man, if you’re straight? Like, that would be mind-boggling to us, you couldn’t even try to do that. To ask… to say that God’s order is to give people these drives, and, you know, to want to love someone of the same sex, and yet never fulfill it that way; to instead marry someone that they’re not sexually and romantically attracted to? Raise children with someone they’re not romantically and sexually attracted to? That doesn’t seem like it makes any sense out of nature.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Well, God does love us all. But he just doesn’t love us the way we are. He doesn’t love us as we are. That’s why he ask that we repent, and turn away from evil, toward good. Because he want us to be his children, and he can’t accept evil as a good. And as you know, homosexuality is not about love, it’s not about family, it is not about civil rights. It is about sex. And whenever you have sex like that, whether with a man and a woman, or so-called, two men or two women, you create a desire or an emotion that feels like love, because you’re confused, so you don’t really know what love is. So you think this emotion that comes about, which is really a need that come from doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. That’s not love. So a lot of homosexuals are not in love with one another. They really resent one another, but resentment bring on a feeling of love.

Daniel Fincke: Now, how would you… how in the world would you know that? If someone feels love, and commits their lives to someone, and does all the various things. They hold their hand at the bedside, they raise children together, they sometimes… they’ll be monogamous, they’ll marry each other, they’ll join their bank accounts together. To say that secretly, it’s resentment is… there’s no evidence for that.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Well, first of all, and I’m sure you’re aware of this, love is not a feeling. Anyone who feels love, don’t have love. Love is the ability to see what’s right, and do it, without a feeling or thought of it. And that’s what happens when you overcome sin, you awaken to a true love, God’s love, that works through us. And it has nothing to do the way you feel. Then only reason people feel love, especially the gays, is because they’re having this… in this dark fallen nature, they are creating an emotional need for one another. You’ve had… Are you married?

Daniel Fincke: No.

Jesse Lee Peterson: You’ve had sex with a woman before, though, right?

Daniel Fincke: Yes.

Jesse Lee Peterson: And then, have you noticed that when you have sex with her, the moment you have sex with a woman … an emotion arises out of that, comes out of that; there’s a sense of need, that you want more of it, you can’t get enough of it, or you think of her more, you want to be around her more, once you have sex. And then you confuse that as bein’ love.

Daniel Fincke: Sometimes. But the issue is…

Jesse Lee Peterson: You say, sometimes, right?

Daniel Fincke: Yeah, and…

Jesse Lee Peterson: So, so… that’s where that is comin’ from, so… when these homosexuals are having sex, quote-unquote, sex, all they’re doing is bringing up a false love. It’s not real love.

Daniel Fincke: But the issue is that they’re… you know, that happens with straight people…

Jesse Lee Peterson: Right.

Daniel Fincke: … who sometimes will have sex and will be deceived, but that doesn’t mean that for straight people there’s no way to have sex that doesn’t lead to a genuine love. Or just to be in love first, and then have sex. And so it doesn’t make sense to say that straight people can have the bad kind of… the confused kind of love, and then the real kind, but gays can only have the confused kind, when you can see that, yes, sure, love is more than a feeling. It’s things like commitment, etc. But, like, why do you think gays have been fighting so hard for the right to marry? They want to commit to one another, they want to have these sorts of bonds that are socially recognized, and where they’re bound to each other, and committed, so…

Jesse Lee Peterson: No, they…

Daniel Fincke: They show all the other signs. It seems like a prejudice to say that, No no no, in their case, it’s only the bad kind. That’s just so unfair.

Jesse Lee Peterson: What they’re looking for… what they’re looking for is a comfort zone. They’re looking for somebody…

Daniel Fincke: Aren’t we all?

Jesse Lee Peterson: … to make them feel good about being wrong. And so, and that’s what happens. They finally find someone who agrees with them, that they’re lifestyle is correct, so they feel better about being wrong. But that doesn’t mean love. Is sex love? Does sex have anything to do with love?

Daniel Fincke: Sex has some things to do with love. We’re not…

Jesse Lee Peterson: What? What does it have to do with love?

Daniel Fincke: Well, you know, let’s put it this way. We can’t just totally abstract sex out of love, in the sense that… it would be like saying, you know, if you said, Well, hanging out with friends, is that really friendship? Well, no, it’s not friendship itself, but hanging out with friends, and caring for friends, and spending with them, and, you know, conversation – all this adds up to friendship, and if you took any, all those things away, you wouldn’t have friendship. Romantic love involves many things, and it’s expressed through many things, and it’s created through many things, and one of those things is sexual love. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Jesse Lee Peterson: [talk over]: But you still haven’t told me what does sex have to do with love. I know men, and I was one of those men, at one point, I could have sex with everybody and their mama, and felt love with each and every one of them, but it had nothing to do with love. It was just about the sex.

Daniel Fincke: Well, it’s a component. It doesn’t have to be only with love, but when you’re in love, it’s something which intensifies that, and it’s something which expresses it. And so it’s part of love, it’s not just identical with love, but it’s a part of love. It can be, it doesn’t have to be.

Jesse Lee Peterson: But it has nothing to do, absolutely nothing, not one iota to do with love. Lemme take a quick break, Daniel. When I come back, everybody and their mama wanna talk to you. Back in a moment.

[commercial break. This time, we get the stylings of Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love.” Seems legit. Followed by Johnny Nash, “I Can See Clearly Now (The Rain Is Gone).”]

Jesse Lee Peterson: “How I Wish the Homosexuality Debate Would Go.” Talking with Dr. Daniel Fincke, and you can call him Dan. He is an atheist, and he wish that the Christian would treat the homosexuals… Am I right, you wish they would be treated the same as straight people?

Daniel Fincke: Yes.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Oh, okay. Let’s go to Greg, out of Wilmington, Delaware. Are you out of Delaware, Greg, or Virginia?

Greg: Yeah, Wilmington. Hey, Jesse, how you doin’.

Jesse Lee Peterson: He got Virginia up here for some reason. Delaware, ok, thank you.

Greg: That’s close enough.

Jesse Lee Peterson: I know, huh? Hey Greg! Go ahead, buddy.

Greg: How you doin’?

Jesse Lee Peterson: All is well.

Greg: By the way, Dr., first of all, I like the way you debate, it’s a very calm style, which is unusual for people who are arguing against Jesse. So I respect that. what would be the sort of endgame if you were successful in your arguments? And can you point out an area where, a country, or a subsection of a country, where your argument has won out, and that area has been successful for a period of time?

Daniel Fincke: Well, you know you have… My endgame would be that gays would be treated with the same sort of moral respect, and their relationships seen as equally valid on a full level culturally, as straight people. And I don’t know if that’s, you know, fully happened anywhere, but I would say that we’ve made a lot of progress, in Massachusetts in at least the legal dimension of that, and certain portions of the country like that, New York…

Greg: So that’s all it’s about? I mean…

Daniel Fincke: Yeah.

Greg: … I mean, if that part of Christianity is wrong, then much else of it must be wrong. So, you’re just, like, this one little sliver you’re debating, but then you’re gonna leave Christianity alone otherwise? I don’t understand.

Daniel Fincke: Oh, well, I mean, this isn’t about, you know… The issues related to gays are separate than Christianity entire, but, sure, Christianity can survive this. It’s not… I don’t think it is the entirety of Christianity. You know, people have moved on from stoning disobedient children, or committing genocides like are in the Old Testament, or now they eat shellfish. Christianity has changed a lot of… you know, it doesn’t own a lot what’s in the Old Testament. A lot of those codes… in fact, Christianity has survived divorce! I mean, right? Jesus said that you could never ever divorce, and yet, now most Christians, I hope, would tell a battered woman to divorce that man, right? But Christianity will survive.

Greg: (garbled interruption) Aren’t you saying… You’re an atheist, correct?

Daniel Fincke: Yes.

Greg: So aren’t Christians every bit as cuckoo as, say, somebody who believes in the tooth fairy?

Daniel Fincke: I wouldn’t say “cuckoo”, I think it’s wrong…

Greg: Well, no, I mean, wouldn’t you say by definition then that they just believe in something that doesn’t even exist?

Daniel Fincke: Yes, they do. Yeah. … But I don’t that that

Greg: [Simultaneous] Well, then, are you saying…

Daniel Fincke: Yeah?

Greg: So, then, you don’t want ‘em to disbelieve, but you do want ‘em to believe that homosexuality is okay. [garbled]

Daniel Fincke: Well, let’s put it this way. I would prefer people not believe false things, so, yeah, on a separate issue, I would argue against believing in Christianity if I think it’s false. But separate from that, I don’t think, you know, if people are going to remain Christians, I would rather that they had the kind of interpretation that made it an acceptable world for gays.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Thank you, Greg.

Greg: So, so…

Jesse Lee Peterson: Go ahead, Greg, real fast.

Greg: I was actually, I’ll let the next caller go.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Alright.

Greg: Thank you, I appreciate it.

Daniel Fincke:: Thank you Greg, I appreciate it.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Thank you, Greg. It was good to hear from you. uh. Dan, I agree with you that Christians should not hate the gays, as we should not hate any sin. When you… What it is, we should not accept sin. Don’t think of sin as being good, and then that way, we can overcome it. And we should treat all people the same, but we should not accept wrong as a good, or right. And I think that’s where you’re confused.

Daniel Fincke: Well, what I would say to that, though, is that if you’re going to say that you hate only this one thing about someone… Like, I could hate someone for being…

Jesse Lee Peterson: But not to hate, you shouldn’t hate it, because we all born in sin, and come short….

Daniel Fincke: Right.

Jesse Lee Peterson: … And so, we should not hate it, but we… even in our selves, whatever our sins are, we should not hate the sin, so that we can overcome it. Because the moment you hate it, you will never overcome it.

Daniel Fincke: Okay, so you’re not even say to hate the homosexuality. So, we should love the homosexuality?

Jesse Lee Peterson: No, we should not accept it, we should know that it’s sin, that it’s wrong, so that we can encourage folk… you know, anybody can overcome whatever sin that they are dealing with, and homosexuals need love that says, What is in you is wrong, and you can overcome it.

Daniel Fincke: But that kind of love is, in practice, if you call that love, in practice, gay teenagers are being thrown out of their homes. You’ve got a situation where there’s this high rate of gay suicide because of bullying. Because that kind of “love”, in practice is actually hurting people. Like when… imagine if someone were to say to you, Jesse, I love you, but just don’t talk anything about your wife, or don’t talk anything about your history with this… you know, your interest in women. If someone were to say to you, to tell your life story, but pull out that part, or call that whole part Sin, there’s no way that someone could have their psychology intact. Gay people… this is their life story, who they love, and what they want, and their aspirations. And so to be an obstacle to that, is to… you can’t really be fully in love with this person. You can’t really support them fully.

Jesse Lee Peterson: If homosexuality is natural, why didn’t nature, because you don’t believe in God, you believe in nature, I assume…

Daniel Fincke: Yeah.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Why didn’t nature make it possible for them to have children without having to go outside of their homosexuality, as God did with the straight folks?

Daniel Fincke: Well, you know, because I believe that there is no God, I don’t think nature designed this on purpose. It worked out this way.

Jesse Lee Peterson: It was an accident?

Daniel Fincke: Well, it’s a natural selection process, right? So there were some benefits to having gay people around, apparently, or else they wouldn’t have…

Jesse Lee Peterson: What’s the benefits?

Daniel Fincke: Well, there’s some theories that, like, it’s good to have certain adults who don’t have children, so that there are extra adults in the tribe. There are things like that it could be.

Jesse Lee Peterson: [laughs] This is made up idea, that’s not real.

Daniel Fincke: Well, no. I mean, this is something that’s speculated about. There’s arguments both ways, but what I would say is this, when you talk about nature. If, you know, because these arguments come out a lot. And if you were to say, Well, the nature of your, you know, your genitals are for you to reproduce. But the question is, the nature of the human being, the whole person, is to love, and to have relationships, and to have freedom, and to have all these good things. So, if you’re going to say to someone, “So that your genitals can do their business of reproducing, you can never have romantic love, you can never have sexual love, you have to deny all those sorts of relational goods, and freedom goods; you have to let go of all of that, so that your genitals can do their thing…” That is, that’s animalizing, that’s putting the cart before the horse here. That’s saying that what’s more important is that your genitals reproduce in the natural way than that you fulfill your nature as a loving, rational, emotional being.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Then, what is love?

Daniel Fincke: Love is a lot of things. I would say it’s a combination of admiration, affection, commitment… sexual, in certain kinds of relationships, it has a sexual expressive dimension.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Let me take a break. Human beings don’t have love. Humans cannot love. It’s impossible. Back in a moment.
[commercial break – Phil Collins’ “Easy Lover”]

Jesse Lee Peterson: Okay, movin’ right along. Dan, let me just ask, then we gotta take some calls, so I need a short answer or a quick answer for this.

Daniel Fincke: Sure.

Jesse Lee Peterson: In your definition of love, why is there hate, too? Because who love that way, they also have hate. They love and hate.

Daniel Fincke: Well, but everybody hates, right? Hate’s just part of the spectrum of emotions, that’s all.

Jesse Lee Peterson: But not… right, of emotion, that’s why this phony love, it’s part of emotion. That’s why it goes from love to hate. But when you have the God love, lovin’ through you, his nature operating through you, there is no love and hate. It’s just love, it doesn’t deviate from one to another.

Daniel Fincke: But we don’t see that consistently among Christians, that they’re consistently more loving than anybody else. Here’s…

Jesse Lee Peterson: And that’s what the problem is.

Daniel Fincke: … You won’t even acknowledge the feelings and commitments of gay people. There’s a prejudice there, that’s not love.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Well, the problem is, you don’t see real love, for the most part, it’s not considered a rule, but you don’t see real love from Christian families and other Christians toward other people, such as the gays. So it appears that the Christians don’t have love, and that’s what turn a lot of people away, or some people away from Christianity. Lemme go to let’s see here, “The Bible Go To Guy” in Los Angeles. Welcome to the show, sir, you’re on with Dan.

“The Bible Go To Guy”: Yes, hello thank you, Jesse. Hello, Dan.

Daniel Fincke: Hi.

“The Bible Go To Guy”: You know… you’re trying to paint homosexuali… homosexuals in general as a victim class, and it’s really not working. Homosexuals are the most predatory type of individual on the planet. That’s why they’ve been caught in so many, you know raping of boys in, no matter where they are, whether they’re in the Catholic priesthood, or whether they’re, you know with the Boy Scouts, or whatever. They are a predatory type people. See, that’s how they multiply these days…

Jesse Lee Peterson: But not all of them.

“The Bible Go To Guy”: … is they go after ‘em.

Jesse Lee Peterson: … you mostly find …

“The Bible Go To Guy”: … in general! In general!

Jesse Lee Peterson: … You mostly find it with those who accept, who think that homosexuality is normal. But there are a lot of homosexuals who don’t want to be that way, and they’re not out there doing that.

“The Bible Go To Guy”: Yes, true.

Daniel Fincke: This is…

“The Bible Go To Guy”: But they have become that…

Daniel Fincke: … there’s no evidence for this. Psychologists say that pedophiles are not interested… Pedophiles are different than homosexuals. Pedophiles are only interested in children, they’re not interested in adults. And they’re equally prone to have sex with boys or girls.

“The Bible Go To Guy”: No, listen…

Daniel Fincke: It’s a slander against gays. Most gay men…

“The Bible Go To Guy”: No, it’s a vicious slander…

Daniel Fincke: … only want to have sex with other gay men.

“The Bible Go To Guy”: It’s actually a vicious slander to say that a man who is desperate for sex will go after a boy. That’s just saying, that’s a vicious [garbled] …

Daniel Fincke: No, it’s not a vicious slander. There’s what’s called regressive pedophilia, which is when, you know, when you have an adult man who is under stress. He’s married, he’s… He’s not desperate for sex. Men are raping their own daughters, they’re raping their own sons. These are people who have adult relationships. They’re pedophiles of the regressive sort. And then there’s another kind that are constantly sexually attracted to children. According to the American Psychological Association, the direct quote is, “Homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” There’s… that’s the American Psychological Association, that’s not a scheme.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Let me, oh “The Bible Go To Guy” is gone. Let me go to “Realist.” The Realist , out of Lakeland, Florida. Welcome to the show, sir, you’re on with Dan.

Realist: Thanks a lot for taking my call.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Yes.

Realist: Actually, I guess it’s more of a statement than a question.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Okay.

Realist: bottom line is, for one, you can’t have moral, uh… you can’t have a moral balance if something is wrong. And the ultimate moral compass is God’s compass. That’s why when different organizations want to further their agenda, knowin’ it’s going against God’s word, the one moral compass that everybody points to to try to get rid of it is God’s, is God’s moral compass. No other compass that they try to compare to, it’s God’s word, that’s why they try to get rid of it, to make themselves think right.

Jesse Lee Peterson: How do you respond, Dan?

Daniel Fincke: Well, for one thing, there are plenty of gay Christians, and that’s, you know… We wouldn’t have gay marriage legal in so many places were it not for so many gay Christians, and Christians who support gays. It doesn’t have to be against Christianity in order to have that view. But also, morality exists way, all around the world, apart from Christian cultures. And there are moral standards related to not harming each other, they’re related to principles of fairness that are innate in all of us. And so you really… there are many other moral standards people employ…

Realist: Yes, it does, but they ultimately still have resonance of God’s compass, so, uh… Yeah, God still is the ultimate authority and moral compass. That’s why most organizations who wants to do wrong, that’s the first thing they want to get rid of, is God’s word, to make themselves seem right.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Thanks again…

Realist: You can’t deny that. Thanks a lot.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Thanks for being with us. Go ahead, Dan.

Daniel Fincke: Well, I mean, again, there’s plenty of Christians who don’t think that they have to abandon God in order to think that homosexuality is not wrong. And there are many atheists who, separately from that, have a different sense of what’s right and wrong, and they… The final point on that is that, How do you know what God’s compass is? If you’re going to trust the book of Leviticus, who, you don’t even know who wrote that, and it’s centuries ago. You know, to be in all time, “that’s God’s compass”, when you’re ignoring other things in that book, seems arbitrary to me.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Well, the way you know, is that you’re born into God’s nature, into his identity. So you gain his mindset. You know, your mind… his mind become your mind, which is the consciousness of God. And in that, he guides you in the right way. Where do you get your moral values from?

Daniel Fincke: Well, you know, as far as… I mean, there’s two issues. There’s psychologically, we all get it from natural tendencies toward empathy, towards considerations of fairness. There’s sort of a logic of recognizing formal consistency in actions, when some people are acting in a way that doesn’t, isn’t consistent with the way they’re demanding others; we all intuitively see that as problematic…

Jesse Lee Peterson: But where does all that come from, though? Where does it come from?

Daniel Fincke: Well, you know, evolutionarily speaking, it was valuable for us as a species to be a cooperative species that would work together to a large extent. And so it makes perfect sense that the kinds of tendencies we had would be to care for one another, because we are in this together, in passing on our genes, competing against other species…

Jesse Lee Peterson: But why isn’t it working? It’s not working.

Daniel Fincke: Well, it’s not perfectly set …

Jesse Lee Peterson: But it’s not working at all.

Daniel Fincke: No, it works well enough that we have billions of people alive on the planet. It’s just that we’re not perfect because sometimes there’s an advantage to being a cheater, naturally. And unfortunately our moral instincts, you know, don’t go so far as to make a morally perfect.

Jesse Lee Peterson: My final segment with Dan, and I’ll take some more calls right after this break.

[commercial break – “This Thing Called Love,” by Queen]

[announcements omitted]

Jesse Lee Peterson: Dr Dan, what is your… do you have a website or something I can give out, so that folk can your, you know, your writing there?

Daniel Fincke: Sure, Cammelswithhammers.com.

Jesse Lee Peterson: If… a short answer, if there is a natural advantage to being a cheater, what is moral perfection?

Daniel Fincke: Well, what I think is that normally the advantage isn’t to being a cheater. I think that, if we look at it in the long term, what I would argue moral perfection is, is to be able to maximize all of our abilities in such a way that we empower the most other people. And so the ways that… if you think about it, what is it to be a good writer, but to be able to be someone who encourages others through one’s writing to become better people. Or what is to become an architect? It’s to build buildings that people can flourish in. And all of these things that we strive towards, they’re all most realized when we’re able to empower others through them. And so if we develop our moral codes, our rules for getting along in a way that leads us to each of us, in short term circumstances, or when we have a selfish advantage, to think about the way instead to act that will lead to the greater flourishing of everyone instead of just ourselves, then we will flourish more by making others flourish more. That’s my view on that.

Jesse Lee Peterson: Amazing. Let’s go to “Guy” out of Phoeniz, Arizona. Guy, welcome to the show, sir.

Guy: Good morning, Jesse. Good morning, dear guest.

Daniel Fincke: Good morning.

Guy: Daniel, my question is, you’re an atheist and you believe in science, right?

Daniel Fincke: Sure.

Guy: Okay, then you must believe in what came out… in… the difference between a man’s wainbraves [sic] and a woman’s wainbraves [sic], the way they locate. You think, being a homesexuality, they could have a screw loose somewhere?

Jesse Lee Peterson: [laughs]

Daniel Fincke: Well, I don’t know if it’s a matter of being a screw loose. You know, the issue… I don’t know specifically the science, these things are very vague about men versus women, a lot of these things aren’t as scientifically grounded as people think …

Guy: [interrupting, garbled]

Daniel Fincke: Well, let me put it this way…

Guy: [speaking over] … there is a complete difference between a man and a woman. What I’m sayin’, do you think that homosexuals could have… be a mentally disease, could maybe have a path goin’ different in their brains?

Daniel Fincke: No. There are people who are… Let me just clarify one thing. There’s a difference between being gay, which is where you have a sexual orientation towards members of the same sex, and gender dysphoria, which is when you identify with a different gender category than your culture gives you…

Guy: I know, I’m very familiar with that.

Daniel Fincke: Yeah, so, transgender people are those who identify as the opposite gender their society would recognize them as. That’s not an issue of being gay…

Jesse Lee Peterson: Dr. Daniel Fincke, thank you so much for being with me. We’re out of time. I enjoyed talking to you!

Daniel Fincke: Yeah, it was a pleasure, Jesse, and I love “I Won’t Back Down,” it’s my favorite song in the world, so at least…

[music, ads fade up]

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Related articles:

My Systematic, Naturalistic Empowerment Ethics, With Applications to Tyrants, the Differently Abled, and LGBT People (an article in which I explain my systematic approach to an atheistic ethics and explain how a naturalistic ethics should assess homosexuality.)

How I Wish The Homosexuality Debate Would Go (my article rebutting conservative Christian apologetics for their stance on gays).

How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count The Ways (my article philosophically defining love).

How I Deconverted: My Closeted Best Friend Became A Nihilist and Turned Suicidal (the story of my gay friend’s role in my leaving Christianity, with a video interview with him.)

Short Videos and Transcripts of Discussions with My College Best Friend, John Hazlet, About How Being a Gay Catholic:

How My Best Friend Helped End My Faith and then Became an Openly Gay Monk
Out of the Closet for the 1st Time, at Oxford
On Anglicanism and On Celibate Love
How Catholic Moral Teaching On Sexuality Is Evolving
Does A Good God Guide The Catholic Church? A Debate
Is The Catholic Church’s Treatment of Gays Morally Defensible? A Debate
Does Celibacy Infantilize and Create Child Molesting Priests?
A Gay Monk Argues Against Reparative Therapy
On Treating Mental Illness, Rather Than Romantically Theologizing It
How the Catholic Church’s Views on Gays Might Evolve

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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