Last month Theophilus talked with Mary about faith and reason and homosexuality, this month they resume their conversation.
Busy, Professor Theophilus?" Mary had materialized in my office and was rooting through her backpack. Retrieving a coffee mug, she asked "Is this yours? I think I walked off with it one day."
"Bless you, child — I'd been reduced to Styrofoam. Have some coffee." She filled the mug, sat down with it and rummaged again.
"What are you looking for?"
"For what I was going to ask you, Prof. Whatever I don't write down, I forget." She went on looking. "See, last time we talked I was angry because a Con Law classmate had said same-sex unions are 'against God's will.' Remember?"
"Yes. You couldn't see how anyone could know God's will, and thought your classmate should have just talked about what's good for society."
"Right. But after talking with you, I wasn't so sure I could know what was good for society either."
"I remember you said something about everyone depending on blind faith."
"Uh huh. But you got a funny look on your face, said "Not blind faith,' then said something else I didn't understand. I wanted to ask what you meant, but had to dash to class."
She looked up, beamed, and waved a slip of paper. "Look! I wrote it down. You said 'Faith doesn't mean you don't reason, it means you ground your reasoning on the trustworthiness of God.' Does that sound like you?"
"I even remember saying it."
"Then explain how Christians 'reason'!"
"What's not clear?"
"I thought all you people did was look up everything in the Bible. That lets me out, because I don't believe in it."
"What do you mean, 'That lets me out'?"
"Because I don't believe in your so-called revelation, so we don't have any common ground."
"You'd be right if you didn't believe any of God's revelation,' Mary, but you do believe part of it."
"No, I don't believe even part of the Bible."
"I don't mean the Bible. The Bible is only part of revelation."
"But — are there other Bibles?"
"Oh, no. When I say it's only part of God's revelation, I mean that although He reveals some things only in the Bible, He reveals other things outside of it — not only to those who believe the Bible but even to those who have never heard of it."
She cocked an eyebrow. "What 'things'? And in what ways?"
"One thing is His own glory, and one way it's revealed is through the beauty and orderliness of His creation. David wrote, 'The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.'"
"But there you go, quoting the Bible."
"Yes, but the Bible isn't talking there about what the Bible proclaims. It's talking about what the heavens proclaim."
She considered. "Well, even if the starry skies do proclaim God's glory I don't see what they proclaim about same-sex unions."
"Fair enough, but the beauty and orderliness of His creation is only one way God reveals things to us. In other ways, He shows us how to live."
"Negative guidance comes even from restlessness. God built into us a longing for Himself, and although we can worship false gods, like wealth or sexual pleasure, they always leave us empty. My example is out of date, but you know who Mick Jagger is, don't you?"
"One of the Beatles, right?"
"The Rolling Stones, but it doesn't matter. He used to sing a song called 'I can't get no satisfaction.'"
"I've heard my Dad play it."
"What was Jagger really saying?"
"Saying? Oh! You mean that mere satisfaction isn't satisfying!"
"I'm catching on. Does God also provide positive guidance?"
"Yes, for example through our 'blueprint,' the principles embodied in our human design."
"Our physical design?"
"Physical, emotional and spiritual, but we can start with the physical. Let me consider how to say this."
"You don't have to be delicate, Prof."
"At least I should try! But think of rectal intercourse, as practiced by homosexual men. One way it opposes our design is that it isn't open to the possibility of new life as normal intercourse is."
"Another is that it's physically destructive."
"Yes. The most obvious destruction is that it tears sensitive tissues. Because of that, something worse happens. The substance normally present in that place, and the substance which is added by the sexual act, mix and get into the bloodstream."
"Even your disgust should tell you something about the human design. Another point —"
"Is this one disgusting?"
"More pitiable, I'd say. Of course you've noticed that the two sexes are different."
"Have you noticed that they're different in a special way? They're complementary. There might have been just one sex that was sufficient for everything. Instead there are two, men and women. Each feels incomplete and longs for the other. Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually, women offer men something that other men can't, and men offer women something that other women can't."
"I follow you."
"Good. But in intercourse with someone of the same sex, there isn't any complementarity. It's like self-love with another body."
"You mean like —"
"Yes — you don't have to say it. Here's another way to view the matter. The sexual union of a husband and wife takes each one out of the Self for the sake of the Other. The union of two men or two women refuses the challenge of the Other. Each partner stays locked in Self."
"I never thought of that," said Mary. "Go on. Are there other non-Biblical ways God 'reveals' how to live?"
"Well, there's conscience. The Apostle Paul says that even non believers know God's basic moral law, because it's 'written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness.'"
"But gay people say they're not doing anything wrong."
"I said we know God's basic moral law, Mary — I didn't say we admit it to ourselves."
"You mean someone might be in denial?"
"I mean denial is pretty nearly the condition of the whole human race."
"You wouldn't get very far telling someone who disagreed with you, 'You're just in denial.'"
"No, but there are other ways of cutting through denial."
"Our bodies have their own language — we say things by what we do with them. I ask homosexuals what it means when a man puts the part of himself that symbolizes the generation of life into the place that stands for decay and expulsion."
"Oh, God. I get it."
"Do you? Tell me."
"It means 'Life, be dead." I never thought of that. It's horrible."
"It is, and I haven't even mentioned the last non-Biblical way in which God reveals how to live. This is the way He uses to shake us up when we're in denial."
"What is it?"
"You might call it the Principle of the Harvest. The universe has been set up according to cause and effect, right?"
"So every deed eventually has consequences. Whatever we sow, we reap."
"So what's the harvest of same-sex unions?"
"How about sexually transmitted disease and early death? They aren't subtle, are they?"
"No, I guess they're not."
"And then there are misery, emptiness and despair."
"Don't some gay people claim that misery, emptiness and despair come only from being rejected by the straight world?"
"If only it were so simple."
"How do you mean?"
"We saw before that same-sex unions lack complementarity. So instead of being moderated by the other sex, each sex becomes more extreme."
"Oh, I've seen that. Men are reinforced in their 'halfness,' and women are reinforced in theirs. I can see how that might be a formula for craziness and loneliness."
"Yes, and — "
"I'm not saying I'm convinced."
"I realize that."
"But I'm interested."
"Good, but my office hours are almost over. Would you like to talk again?"
"Yes, but do you have time for just one more question right now?
"If you can explain all this stuff without mentioning the Bible, what use is it? Why do you need the Bible at all?"
"Lots of reasons."
"I told you that God reveals some things outside of the Bible, and it's true. But there are more important things, like how to be reconciled with Him, that He reveals in the Bible and nowhere else."
"Besides, we need what He reveals in the Bible even to gain insight into the things He reveals outside the Bible. And to cut through our self-deceptions about them."
"Could you give me an example of how that works?"
"Tell you what. I'll write down some Scripture references for you. You can look them up, and if you want to discuss them you can come back another day."
"Great. Could I bring a friend or two?"
"All the better. Some subjects are just better to discuss in a group." After scribbling on a slip of paper I handed it to Mary.
"Thanks!" she exclaimed. "Bye." And she was gone.
Not until I'd been typing for 15 minutes did I realize that she'd taken my mug again.
Copyright 1999 J. Budziszewski. All rights reserved.