Friday, January 11, 2013

Greetings

I suppose it best to begin this project with an introduction. I am a gay, celibate Catholic man. I have been encouraged to start this blog because people have appreciated some of the things I have written in the past on other websites (and somewhat in the comments here). I have been hesitant to start for a couple of reasons, though. One, I prefer anonymity, especially as it concerns this topic. Two, I am going to be discussing philosophical issues, and such discussions often lead to a number of difficult complications that take a significant amount of time to work through. But I have decided that these concerns should not stop me from trying, especially considering the fact that there is nothing out there (as far as I can tell) that approaches these issues how I plan to here.

But I've gotten a little ahead of myself; let me explain what I'm actually trying to do here. This blog is intended to be a place where I can discuss sexuality morality, especially as it concerns homosexuality, through a philosophical lens, specifically from a natural law perspective. I will spend a lot of time with philosophers that are part of the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition, and I will attempt to explain how and why natural law condemns homosexual behavior. From this basic natural law argument, I will develop larger arguments as they relate specifically to homosexuals living in the modern world. I have found that there is a lack of discussion about natural law, especially on the internet. While some Catholic websites may have a general explanation of it, very few writers that I have found go into a significant analysis of the topic. A disclaimer: I am not professionally trained as a philosopher, nor am I part of any clergy. I simply have a strong interest in the topic as a homosexual man. I have spent significant time with the issue, though, and I think some of what I have to say will be helpful and perhaps important.

I want to emphasize that this blog is not about religion. These arguments about homosexuality (and sexuality in general) are purely philosophical. I want to avoid direct appeals to religion, as they are often counter-productive to discussion of the issue. If religion is mentioned, it will only be mentioned in reference to the underlying philosophical issue. I would also like to note that this blog is not just about philosophy. A lot of the observations I will make are necessarily personal, and as someone who has personally worked through a number of these issues, I think my experience will be beneficial to readers.

I have three major target audiences:

One, the homosexual himself (or perhaps herself), especially the religious homosexual. There is little-to-no philosophical support that exists for religious homosexuals. Homosexuals that happen to be religious often feel completely alone and lost. They are faced with impossible decisions, and most eventually leave (or reform) whatever religion they happen to be a part of. The only explicit justification they are given by their churches are arguments like "God doesn't want you to do it, and God loves you, so you shouldn't do it" or "The Bible says it's wrong." While perhaps persuasive arguments for a short period of time, they are ultimately insufficient to really help the homosexual individual, whatever path he might choose to take. Homosexuality is a moral issue, and morality is a philosophical problem. I will attempt to address these problems as best as I can. I have found that nothing is as encouraging or helpful as arguments that attempt to reveal the truth, unencumbered by unnecessary theology. And this is what I want to do above all: help the homosexual to be able to understand and treat his situation appropriately.

Two, the general sexually-active public, specifically the secular world. Sexual morality is all but dead in the Western world. There are no clear or significant standards by which people evaluate sexual behavior. As the vast majority of males (single or married) have substantially healthy pornography addictions, it is something that need be addressed. Further, I hope my work here serves as a kind of apologetic against modern sexual standards. Homosexuals who choose to pursue sexual purity are not silly, they are not confused, they are not repressed, and they do not hate themselves. Traditional sexual morality is not based in stupid, outdated religious doctrine; it is vibrant, and it is incredibly compelling. Finally, the act of politicizing sexuality (specifically on cultural-Marxist terms) has only served to confuse the issue even more. I plan to address just this issue.

Three, the Western (specifically American) religious world, whether Catholic, Protestant, or otherwise. Most churches approach to sexuality morality are little more than appeals to divine command. Even the Catholic Church, which helped to popularize and crystallize Natural Law, rarely mentions or provides any significant explanation of it. While philosophy is more easily available today, most church members know nearly nothing about the underlying philosophical tradition that precedes the Church. There will also be issues outside of sexual morality, whether political or cultural, but sexual morality will be my main focus. If I offend anyone, especially as I criticize the Church's work in this area, I apologize in advance. I do not mean to attack the Church. I merely mean to exhort its members to seek and understand its rich, impressive philosophical history.

I will of course appeal to people outside of those three groups, but you will notice that my posts will generally address these three groups. I plan to write a number of posts on how to kick the pornography/masturbation habit, for example. Such posts will surely apply to any interested person, whether they directly fall into one of the above groups (though I suppose such posts fit well with the second group of people).

A short aside on the title of the blog. It is, most obviously, Latin. I have not been trained in Latin, though I have a great deal of experience with Hebrew and Greek. That said, I spend a lot of time with Latin, and I thought it appropriate to explain the title. It is two words: the first roughly meaning "happy," while the second meaning "man." I am going for a number of meanings with the title. First, the blog concerns Aristotelian and Thomistic notions of "happiness" (many more posts on this later), and the two words connote the idea of happiness as it applies to man. Second, the two words normally appear in a saying: "Beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam..." Which translates roughly to "Blessed is the man who finds wisdom..." (I believe beatus homo is a predicate nominative---any Latin wizzes out there, please let me know if this is correct.) The blog concerns specifically philosophy, the love of wisdom, and such a saying is surely applicable. Third, I wanted to do a play on words with "homo" as man and "homo" as homosexual. That is, this blog is concerned with what happiness (again, in the Aristotelian-Thomistic sense) is for the homosexual specifically.

A little about myself though. I am in my twenties, and I am also a recent convert to Catholicism. This may shine through as I discuss Catholic doctrine. I ask you to be patient with this. I have decided that this post is already too long as it is, and that I can save my life story for the next post. I don't want to rush it or squeeze it in.

I know I have lofty plans here, and I will perhaps raise more question than answer, but I think this is important. I am aiming for one substantive post a week (though this may vary a lot), and I hope I can meet that goal. I encourage you to comment, but please know that I am a law student, and we law students can get very busy! I will do my absolute best to answer any questions I can answer. Thank you. And welcome.

7 comments:

  1. Catholic Redditor(and hopefully a future law student) here! I have enjoyed all of your posts which I have seen on reddit and look forward to reading your blog here. I am a latin major. I think your latin is correct: homo(qui invenit sapientam) would be the subject, beatus would be the predicate adjective with an assumed to be verb (est).

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    1. I appreciate that Latin explanation, heh. That's how it would work in Greek, and I just assumed it correct here as well. And thank you for the encouragement; it means a lot.

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  2. I too have stumbled here from Reddit and I've bookmarked your blog. I also am gay (lesbian), Catholic (converting as we speak)and celibate (my partner's disabled). I look forward to reading your posts and good luck to you.

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  3. Thanks for the post I think you're blog is one that needs to be read. Look forward to reading more in the future.

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  4. I haven't read through your blog yet, but from what I've seen on this page, this project is urgently needed and much appreciated. I found this page in the comments section of the Amazon.com page for a book about traditional marriage.

    I'm an evangelical Christian, and I've been practicing law for ten years. I have a particular interest in Natural Law Theory (and in discussing the subject with my lesser-educated peers at my church, because as you say, nobody talks about the subject anymore, opting instead for divine command theory). Keep up the good work, I look forward to reading more.

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  5. you lost me at cultural marxism. sorry, but that idea is on par with social darwinism as a valid social theory. it is a decontexualized "theory" drenched in conservative semantics, prejudices and stereotypes in order to perpetrate irrational fear. you seem like the dentist from Seinfeld who converted to Judaism in order to use those jokes.

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