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My quick hits are longer than most September 22, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Ecumenism, General Catholic.

Another quickie (for me) post, this time cribbing from Terry Nelson.  A protestant comes to terms with the fact that protestant doctrine on sexual theology is virtually bankrupt due to an inability to argue from the natural law:

I think the one thing that has happened in the last couple of years that has really forced people to think about this issue is the legalization of so-called same-sex ‘marriage’ in Canada. The idea of same-sex ‘marriage’ seems to entail a legitimation of homosexual behaviour, and when homosexual behaviour is legitimized, it is described as being morally equivalent to heterosexual sexual behaviour that is contraceptive in nature. This presents a real problem, because in order for Christians to say homosexuality is wrong, it seems inconsistent to say contraceptive heterosexual behaviour is right. And so if you’re relying on a strictly Biblical law perspective – simply the fact that homosexual behaviour is considered to be wrong in the Bible – if that’s your only basis, then the problem that is you may very well be able to say, “Well we Christians in the Church ought not to engage in that,” but for those who don’t accept the Bible, for those who are non-Christians, there doesn’t seem any way to justifiably require them to accept the anti-homosexual perspective.
And so without a natural law approach to it, it seems as though Christian support for traditional marriage collapses. And this is what we are seeing in our society. So I’m in the process of re-thinking the basis of Christian opposition to homosexuality, and asking the question of whether, in fact, it is justifiable to expect a society that is pluralistic, that is made up of Christians and non-Christians, to accept anti-homosexuality. While in asking that question one is driven to a natural law analysis of the morality of sex, which raises the question of contraception.
Theology of the Body
I have developed a great appreciation for the Theology of the Body, and it’s very possible to read the Theology of the Body as a massive explanation for why Humanae Vitae (Pope Paul VI’s encyclical) is correct from a Biblical theology perspective. The Catholic Church has always based its opposition to contraception, clearly and openly, on a natural law analysis.
As the sexual revolution took off in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, the western Church was divided between Protestant and Catholic thought; the Protestants had a Biblical theology/divine command approach to ethics, while the Catholic Church emphasized the natural law reasoning against contraception. Now, after Protestant opposition to contraception collapsed during the 20th century, I see the churches as having been put in a weakened position, because on the one hand we had Protestants with a Biblical emphasis on sexual morality and family issues, but then you had the natural law analysis of the Catholics. But the Catholic position didn’t seem compelling to Protestantism, hence the collapse of their opposition to contraception, and not sharing the Catholic natural position, Protestants were not able to speak strongly into the culture about the morality of sexuality

This is from a piece by a baptist, writing how they have come to oppose the use of artificial contraception.

What can I add?  I walked this road several years ago, and if you dig deep into Christian moral theology, there is no moral theology that is consistent and incapable of being deconstructed outside the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church has loads of problems, being  made up of sinners – Lord knows, I am one.  But it’s the only institution guaranteed by God to be kept free from error.  It’s very difficult to argue with that.

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