Monday, April 21, 2008

No Good Deed

[As a preamble, I want to make clear my usage of the word “good” when applied to a person in the following post. I do not imply the possibility or innate/divine nature of a person, but an active cultivation or pursual to cultivate one’s divine and innate goodness.]

I have been reading C.S. Lewis’s work, Mere Christianity, and have recently come across some thoughts which I feel illustrate my bewilderment of how one (specifically a Christian) can claim homosexuality destroys the purpose of God; yet, in the same breath, this same one can label those who promote gay lifestyles as good and/or respectable people.

Now, don’t tort my meaning – I am not confused how one can believe a person involved in a bad lifestyle can still be a good person; I am confused how one can believe a person promoting a bad lifestyle, proclaiming such as good, can still be a good person. Such the latter is deceit – and deceit in itself is bad, but deceit that leads to an innate damnation of one’s divinely appointed purpose is much, much “more bad.”

Also, don’t confuse the intent of this post. I do not want to convince anyone of any specific belief or stance except the stance of how I feel I should be seen and treated (whether positively or negatively).

To perhaps backtrack for a moment and paraphrase from the aforementioned work, Lewis describes the Law of Nature as an innate sense of what one “ought/ought not to do” in terms of what is good and what is bad. Lewis also mentions that every [sane] person knows at least deep down when he/she is doing something that one should not.

This is a universally Christian belief, and this post is dependent upon this belief.

If a person is being deceitful then this person is doing something one ought not do. Accordingly, the Law of Nature will tell this same person that he is, indeed, doing something one ought not do. If he ignores the Law of Nature, then he is being doubly deceitful – and will be told so by the Law of Nature. Now, if he continues to be deceitful about his deceit and continues further and further with this pattern of deceit, he will be infinitely wrapped up in deceit and becomes therefore either a madman (who cannot recognize the Law of Nature) or a devil.

Such Lewis applied (though with different wording) to Jesus Christ. Jesus proclaimed to be God. He proclaimed to be perfect in all things, including humility and meekness. If Jesus was not truly God, then he was being deceitful – and not just a little bit – and the Law of Nature would have told him of this error. Yet he never backed down from his claims; therefore, he would have to be 1) God, Himself; 2) a madman; or 3) the Devil of Hell.

Again, Lewis doesn’t necessarily term things as I – using deceit – but the concept (meaning not just the concept of deceit but the concept of my post in general as well) I feel is the same as found in Lewis's statement:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

The same ought to be applied to those of us who are proclaiming a gay lifestyle as a good lifestyle. If such is not a good lifestyle (specifically if such is a lifestyle directly attacking the goodness and nature of man), then we are being deceitful; we are doing something we ought not do, and we therefore, deep down, know we are acting contrary to goodness. Yet we persist, and therefore are 1) Proclaiming actual good doctrine; 2) madmen; or 3) deceivers and devils who cannot be trusted in any way.

Let me be clear of one specific concept: persistent, cognisant deceit. If one is ardently persistent, never backing down in doing what one ought not do, despite the natural prompting that one is in violation of goodness, then that one is a deceiver and a devil. I believe the common Christian term is ‘unrepentant.’

This is where a sinner can be a good man but an unrepentant promoter of sin cannot.

Therefore, one cannot call me good if one believes homosexuality is absolutely evil. As I am sane, I cannot be good in this context. I simply cannot. I would be a devil and deceiver, and no part of me could be trusted (after all, I could simply be putting on a “good” façade in order to perpetuate my lie). This is especially true as I am becoming more and more persistently supportive of a homosexual lifestyle – specifically committed, monogamous, parenting couples.

As I would be completely untrustworthy in this sense, one who believes homosexuality is evil ought not respect me or anything about me. “[One] can shut [me] up for a fool, [one] can spit at [me] and kill [me] as a demon; or [one] can [shed one's belief that homosexuality is absolutely subversive to God’s plan]. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about [me] being a [respectable being]. [I have] not left that open to [anyone]. [I do] not intend to.”

Let me be clear of one more specific concept: absolute subversion. I do not propose here anything that concerns the eternal nature of gender roles, what will be in the next life, but only that which concerns the innate damage and damning effect practicing homosexuality here and now would have on society and on one’s eternal salvation. I am proposing that monogamous, committed homosexual coupling is the best life here and now for gays, no matter what the eternities hold, that such a sincere life will not detriment, in any way, one’s eternal salvation, let alone society.

Again, to paraphrase Socrates, “This is my doctrine. And if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, then I am a mischievous person.” One should, therefore, not patronize with “respect” if one believes my doctrines are corruptive and mischievous in any way. Such, as Lewis says, is a “really foolish thing” to do.

However, if one cannot feel honest in treating me as a mischievous person, if one's “ought nots” flare up, I would hope that such would reveal something to that one concerning the doctrine I propose.


I feel I should also mention that such a conclusion cannot be applied to those who are seemingly persistent that homosexuality is absolutely evil. That is to say, if homosexuality is not absolutely evil (please be aware that any following statement is dependant on and a child of this conditional statement), then those who are proclaiming such cannot be deemed devils and deceivers... You see, their stance is softening – even if it’s in the slightest of degrees, there is nonetheless some repentance – therefore, they can be trusted and respected according to the belief system presented in this post.

I feel I should also mention that such a conclusion cannot be applied to those who would propose any type of gay lifestyle as a good lifestyle... You see, their stance is showing signs of repentance in terms of my presented belief concerning the best possible life for gays.

The only stance that is not showing any signs of repentance were it wrong is the one I have adopted. Such is the only stance that would draw my presented conclusion. And I am fully aware that this conclusion makes me 1) a madman; 2) a deceiver and a devil; or 3) a proclaimer of some goodness. One could furthermore argue that I could not possibly be a madman as I am fully aware of the consequences and logics; therefore, I am then either 1) a deceiver and devil; or 2) a proclaimer of some goodness.

Again, it would be foolish for anyone to respect me were I a deceiver... but, again and again, if one's “oughts” are telling one that I deserve respect, then I would hope such would tell that one something about my proposed beliefs – and that one would at least listen to the words I hold concerning my beliefs with the same respect one's “oughts” are encouraging.


  1. The quote you included by C.S. Lewis was actually one of the occasional places where I believed Lewis's logic failed when I read it a few years ago. It is an absolute I don't believe he rightly drew.

    There are subtle interpretations of biblical history and veracity which open up other views of Jesus, however accurate or erroneous, including one in which the writings of the Bible actually exaggerated and twisted his own claims of divinity, which would then definitely allow for the view of him as a moral teacher and messenger of true and beneficial principles whose followers became overzealous and self-deceived. Ha, ever seen The Life of Brian? So bad.

    Such a view most certainly allows the opinion that Jesus was a great teacher but not God With Us without an ounce of patronizing tone. I realize that seems "lukewarm" and therefore no more acceptable to God than outright rejection of Christ according to common interpretation of certain scriptures, but it is nevertheless a viable perspective IF the Bible isn't as absolute as many believe. And by what authority can you tell people who believe that way that your experience and understanding are more valid or accurate than theirs? You can only perceive based on faith in the accuracy of records and historical accounts given primarily by those who worshipped the man or god in question.

    Aside from that, drawing parallels between someone proclaiming himself to be the way, the light, and the truth, and someone teaching specific principles as paths to happiness, seems a leap.

    Some of your loved ones proclaim the hazards, dangers, and wrongness of living in a same-sex relationship. They preach the unhappiness it will "surely" bring upon you in the long-run. By this logic, you must also decry them as something other than "good people with untrue beliefs". If that is your stance, then I guess you must assume it with integrity, but I tend to think there's a less absolutist way to view them.

    Sorry, I don't want to become one of those pesky former friends who only comments to disagree with you. I just like you and see you writing in increasingly black-and-white patterns and hope you don't cause yourself undue stress and division over them. But I also definitely understand that sometimes writing comes across as more intense than the actual thoughts. OK, I'm shutting up now.

  2. That's quite the essay.

    What you say makes sense, and I agree with it to an extent. I know what you mean when you talk about inherently knowing right from wrong, and for myself, I know that pursuing a gay relationship isn't wrong, evil, or sinful. That in and of itself is the strongest argument to me that what I'm doing is right(for me).

    Because I know that, its really frustrating when others (like my parents) say that everything I believe and say is wrong and will lead me away from God, but that at the same time I'm a good person. For some reason they don't see the contradiction in that like I do.

  3. Oh, and I'm an INFJ.

    INFJs place great importance on havings things orderly and systematic in their outer world. They put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done, and constantly define and re-define the priorities in their lives. On the other hand, INFJs operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. They are usually right, and they usually know it. Consequently, INFJs put a tremendous amount of faith into their instincts and intuitions.

    Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in an INFJ stubborness and tendency to ignore other people's opinions. They believe that they're right. On the other hand, INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves - there's always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don't often take time to revel in their accomplishments. They have strong value systems, and need to live their lives in accordance with what they feel is right. In deference to the Feeling aspect of their personalities, INFJs are in some ways gentle and easy going. Conversely, they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families. They don't believe in compromising their ideals.

    This really exactly explains the way I think about these things. Even now I feel that I can't quite explain why I know what I do, its not really based in logic, like your arguments are. Its all about how I feel that determines what I think about some topic, and this is why its often so hard for me to explain what I mean (and why I think so many people misunderstand what I write). Its also why I'm so critical of others when their beliefs contradict mine.

    I think its fascinating how well (for me at least) the Myer-Briggs personality types are able to describe people.

  4. Heh, well guess who else is an INTP? I like Keirsey's adaptations in "Please Understand Me II". His descriptions of the types can be dry and heady, but they are also pretty meaty and nuanced, as well, which makes them interesting to types such as myself.

    I just skimmed the site you linked to. I like his closing comment: "I hope that this may have provided new insights into a relatively rare and enigmatic temperament." Yeah, I've been accused of being both of those things.

  5. I'm an INFJ, myself...

    I am intrigued by Lewis' natural law principle. It kind of correlates with the Mormon notion of the Light of Christ.

    I think we do have to pay attention to the fact that gay people in general do not feel anything wrong with their attractions, nor with their relationships. We are told we must believe they are wrong based on certain doctrines or commandments, and my perception in the Moho blogging community is that the more authoritarian types go with the belief it is wrong because that is what the authorities teach, not because of any inherent sense that entering into gay relationships makes you a horrible person.

    I'm not suggesting that something is automatically right just because it feels good. But our innate sense of what is right or wrong does, I believe, deserve to be part of the moral calculus (as this quote from Lewis suggests).