Same Sex Marriage and the Norm

The big story this week has been the President’s announcement that he support’s same sex marriages. The responses have, not surprisingly, taken us down that familiar road of arguing whether people are homosexual by choice or by genetics.

One local radio talk show personality made the argument that it is ridiculous to believe it is choice. The logic used in this argument was that if it was a choice the person could change their choice and could be changed. Going on, they argued, therefore If I could change someone from homosexual to heterosexual then it stands to reason I could do the inverse – change them from heterosexual to homosexual. Well, what’s to say you can’t?

No case was made to refute the idea that this would indeed be possible – it was just assumed that it was utterly ridiculous to imagine a person being convinced to change from heterosexual to homosexual. The logic used for this argument is awful, almost as bad as ‘If A equals B then B must equal C’. If one’s opinion is that homosexuality is a choice then by default the homosexual chose to change from heterosexual to homosexual. They were indeed convinced (by someone, by circumstances or some combination) to change . Whether you agree with the premise of choice or not, there is nothing in the talk show host’s argument that disallows the possibility to change – in either direction. If you do agree with the premise of choice you have to believe one can change in either direction.

The logic falls apart even further if we examine it deeper. The argument for genetics is that you either are attracted to people of the opposite sex or people of the same sex and it is determined by biology. The assumption that must hold true is that attraction is biological. But is that true? Is that what all of the evidence says?

The basis for this assumption and the reason it is so popular is that heterosexuals seem to be attracted to numerous people of the opposite sex – therefore it is driven, yes, determined by biology. That leads to another assumption, specifically, that this is the norm. I will certainly grant that if it can be established that it is indeed the norm for people (whether heterosexual or homosexual) to be attracted to many different people in a sexual manner the assumptions and ultimately the theory stand on much firmer ground. I am not convinced that this latter assumption has been established.

First, lets discuss the word norm. In many cases people will use the word norm to express what happens in most cases. But this is not an accurate description for this word. In America most people will refer to a soccer match as a soccer game, but it was meant to be referred to as a match. The actual norm is to call it a match. Calling it a game is a derivative or corruption from the norm – even though the vast majority call it a game.

Let us begin with the premise that there is a norm for attraction and that there are certainly corruptions or perversions of that norm. Another big story this week involves a 33 year old female teacher having a sexual relationship with an underage student. People are upset and outraged by this story. The teacher has been indicted for doing something illegal. Very few people do not see this as corrupted or perverted. It would not matter how many of these cases took place we would not see them as normal because normal in this case is not based on the number of incidents but rather on what we believe acceptable, an absolute right or wrong. Thoroughout society we do not believe that it is normal for a 33 year old teacher to be attracted to an underage boy.

While some cultures may differ as to whether a man should have one wife, or two or five for that matter, no culture believes a man should have as many and whatever woman he wants. We do not believe that is normal. If it is purely biological then why not? How does biology provide for a morality; a morality that on some level all people’s agree?

As Christians we believe that man was created a certain way. We then, through rebellion went astray. We believe there are all manner of consequences and effects of that history. As Christians we believe that God made man and he made a companion woman. What if this was the norm? What if when God created man the norm was for a man to be attracted to one woman and a woman to be attracted to one man? What if the fact that we certainly seem to be attracted to multiple people is a corruption or perversion of the norm? We can see other corruptions of our original state of creation – for example, we die.

There is evidence there is a norm and that it is built into us, for example our view that the unnatural attraction of a 33 year married woman to an underage boy is abnormal. Or the universally accepted morals that we live by providing limits. If it is true there is a norm and it is built into us and has simply become corrupted it blows up the assumptions that the genetics argument is built upon. It doesn’t just address the homosexual issue though. If it is true it means it is just as much a corruption of the norm to desire more than one person of the opposite sex as well. While it may be the norm in the sense that is common among people it does not mean it is the norm in relation to how we were made.

Comments (2)

  1. stevethnz

    I agree with you, but was it not true that in the Old Testament quite a few me had more than one wife? How then, is the ‘one man one woman’ morality hard-wired into us, if many of the heroes of the Bible had several wives and hopefully were attracted to them all.

  2. Revraney (Post author)

    Thanks for your response Steve. Many men of the Old Testament did have multiple wives, but this practice was never prescribed by, nor blessed by God. Often the people that we refer to as heroes of the Bible did things that God did not command, recommend or even sometimes disapproved of. For example, Abraham on two different occasions told Sarah to say she was his sister to save his own hide. Still, Paul reaffirms for us that Abraham was a man of righteousness, credited to him from God by faith.

    The people of faith in the Bible were corrupted by the sinful nature just like everyone else and sometimes their actions and even practices reflected this. It is this corruption that causes us to live outside the norm. In the case of this current topic, the norm being the deisre of one woman for one man and vice-versa. Thats why Paul said don’t live according to the flesh (or sinful nature) but live according to the Spirit – because the flesh (sinful nature) is a corrupted (strayed from the norm, i.e. how we created or intended).

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