Categories
Abortion and Other Evils

Do “Gay Birds” Prove Homosexuality is Moral?

This is certainly an interesting topic and certainly one which will get people to click. Apparently a number of species of birds and mammals have been known to display homosexual behavior. There were two penguins, for instance, called Roy and Silo who lived together in New York City’s Central Park Zoo. They began performing mating rituals together in 1998 and in 1999. They attempted to hatch a rock as if it were an egg and steal eggs from other penguin couples (evidently, they were alright with kidnapping in order to have a child). Eventually, the zoo staff allowed them to adopt a young penguin girl called Tango who grew up to be a lesbian and began dating another penguin called Tanuzi. It seems Roy and Silo became more aggressive once another couple forced them out of their nest. They eventually broke up and Silo got with a female called Scrappy. Roy remained single to the end of his days. It should be noted that they were never seen in a sexual act, but apparently were doing the penguin equivalent of making out. Apparently, two children’s books starring Roy, Silo, and Tango were released—controversial for obvious reasons.

Some have argued that this may not have been sexual after all, since they never had any sexual acts. Although this may be true, I would not be at all surprised if same-sex attraction exists among penguins. However, some have argued that since animals display homosexual behavior, this some way suggests it is natural and moral to do. I beg to differ.

My objection is very simple: if people are to decide from animals what is moral, this should follow for all animal practices. The majority of humans do not do this. For instance, rabbits occasionally eat their young, especially when varmints, household pets, rodents, or some other unusual visitor enters the rabbitry soon after the doe has delivered her young or the does are dehydrated (I certainly hope the reader does not support mothers eating their babies if they are dehydrated). Frogs will eat any critter they can swallow—including other frogs. Cute little hamsters can, in fact, be territorial and eat other hamsters who invade their personal space. They are even known under some circumstances to eat their young. Occasionally even chimpanzees, probably the most intelligent species on the planet, have been known to cannibalize their former friends. Some might say that this does not happen often among chimpanzees as it does not happen often among humans, which may be true, but neither do penguins often have homosexual relationships. It is a rare occurrence. But if we are to say that since some animals are homosexual, this is reason to suppose that humans can be, we might also just as well conclude that cannibalism is permissible.

I honestly do not understand why we should base our morality off of animals at all, since they have less of it. What, apart from the religious claims of the immortality of the soul, differentiates us from the animals? Rationality and volition. Monkeys are said to show some sense of fairness, but animals in general are not so ethically based as humans are. So why should we practice morality based on what the animals do? Why should we sink to our animal instincts in such a way? In other words, if a few animals mature abnormally so as to practice behaviors which would be immoral for humans, why does that mean that we should do the same?

So I do not really see why the fact that certain animals display homosexual behavior means that we should as well. If we sink to our animal instincts, nothing really makes us greater than they.

Bonum Certamen Certemus

I am the Catholic of Honor

A page from the controversial children’s book, And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, which tells in a narrative form the story of Roy, Silo, and Tango.

Categories
On Non-Christians

Q&A: Is Pastafarian Morality More Reasonable Than Christian Morality?

I received the following email recently:

Thanks for writing the blog post about Pastafarianism. As a Pastafarian myself, I found your analysis quite entertaining. One thing to keep in mind is that Pastafarianism expects its adherents to follow their own innate sense of right and wrong when making decisions. 

Although it is suggested that we shouldn’t kill anyone, it is only suggested because an outright command means that there is no room to account for the context of a situation (eg. killing in self defense, or as per Numbers 31:1-18, committing genocide of an entire country and raping the women and girls). 

Similarly with the lack of laws over fornication or adultery, there are a few: refer to The Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts, #4 and 8. Basically, if your partner is ok with it, then go ahead.

With your analysis of the Pastafarian afterlife, I could say the same towards the Christian afterlife.

All the same, thanks for your analysis! It was an enjoyable read!

Miguel

I am actually rather surprised that the first person who wrote to me objecting to the Catholic Faith was a Pastafarian. But I suppose they have as much a right as any. I am glad you enjoyed my article. There are probably relatively few Christian apologists who seek to present the teachings of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in an objective light and I did so. I suppose it would be wrong to mock Pastafarians as it would be wrong to mock any religion with which we disagree. Now I will respond the best I can to each of these claims.

So you say Pastafarianism (and, I suppose, the FSM) expect Pastafarians to follow their innate sense of right and wrong and make their own decisions. The Catholic Church would agree with this as far as it goes. We are called to follow our consciences, provided they are properly formed. Now, is it written in our hearts not to murder, but it is generally easier to follow this law if we see it written in stone from God. Also, if one’s conscience is badly poorly formed (as it can become by repeatedly doing evil, for instance), it is much easier to reform them properly if we have written laws.

Both Christians and Jews have always understood God’s command “Thou shall not kill” to refer only to murdering people. It is the only thing that makes sense, considering that in the same book, Exodus, God commands the Hebrews to kill people on multiple occasions. My problem with phrasing all the FSM’s commands as suggestions is that it appears to me that there is no fixed morality. There are, for example, exceptions to “Thou shall not kill”, but these exceptions themselves are fixed. It is always wrong to wantonly and deliberately take innocent life, for instance. This is part of the reason I am uncomfortable with the FSM’s command: “Speak unto the children of the seven seas, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the 8 “I’d Really Rather You Didn’t’s” of the FSM concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them: I really don’t care that much. I’m all for flimsy moral standards.” (Piraticus 4:2-4) I will get into that later.

Numbers 31:1-18 is the section in which they kill the Midianites at God’s command. Genocide would generally be wrong, but God, the Lord of life and death, has the authority to command such. Moses did not commit this wantonly, but he carried out the justice of God. Pastafarians, perhaps, might not have much a different viewpoint. The FSM on multiple occasions cautions against Holy Wars, but obviously they hold that at some point in a person’s life, the FSM takes him to the Great Pasta Bowl. However, it is certainly false to say that they raped the women and girls. I think you are referring to Numbers 31:17-18, “Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” They did not spare their lives for licentious pleasures. That was against the Hebrew law. He preserved the lives of the girls because they might be presumed innocent and live to do good. The boys were slain, either because they might be inclined to avenge the injury done to their relations or possibly because they were consecrated to the demon Beelphagor.

The two “I’d Rather You Didn’ts” which you quote are as follows:

4. I’d really rather you didn’t indulge in conduct that offends yourself, or your willing, consenting partner of legal age and mental maturity. As for anyone who might object, I think the expression is go f*** yourself, unless they find that offensive in which case they can turn off the TV for once and go for a walk for a change.

8. I’d really rather you didn’t do unto others as you would have them do unto you if you are into, um, stuff that uses a lot of leather / lubricant / lass Vegas. If the other person is into it, however (pursuant to #4), then have at it, take pictures, and for the love of mike, wear a condom! Honestly, it’s a piece of rubber. If I didn’t want it to feel good when you did it I would have added spikes, or something.

This is obviously differs from Christian morality, but that is not directly relevant. So basically the FSM calls for only willing sexual behavior and usage of contraception. As you have noted, it seems that that one’s partner should approve of it. But as noted, unless I am misinterpreting Piraticus earlier, the FSM does not care very much and is “all for flimsy moral standards. But thou shall try to remedy thy ignorance and read them. They’re actually pretty funny.” (Piraticus 4:5-6)

I would question, however, why it matters that one’s partner should approve. I would assume one of two things: either it the FSM condemns it or it hurts others. If the former is the case, three possibilities arise: first, things are good because the FSM says so; second, the FSM says things because they are good; or third, those things are good because they are in line with the FSM’s nature. If the first is true, then the FSM could suggest anything including rape, murder, and so forth, and it would be good. Since all these things are suggestions, we are still technically free to still do them. Alternatively, if the FSM suggests things because they are good, there must be something greater than the FSM, who is said to be “omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent, and the creator of all reality.” (Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster 157-158) I believe the FSM is said to be an invisible spirit who chooses to manifest himself as spaghetti and meatballs and not actually made of these things. As for the third possibility, that goodness is the nature of the FSM, this is the Christian viewpoint, but I am doubtful that this would be true of a monster who describes himself as “all for flimsy standards.” As for the other possibility, that whatever is good is good because it does not hurt or it even helps others, what is intrinsically good about the anti-aggression principle? Some would say we cannot hurt people because we must continue of our species, but then I do not quite see what is so special about our species which makes us need to be furthered, as I have explained in depth here. If, however, one says that we are not to hurt others because the FSM has endowed us all with dignity, I have a problem with that as well, since anything he gives to us must already exist to a greater extent in him. So I hardly see how our dignity infused by a deity who is “all for flimsy moral standards” is a good reason to behave with moral rectitude.

As for my views on the Afterlife, I suppose that same argument would be efficacious on Muslims. I do not know precisely what your qualms with my arguments are, but I am again glad you enjoyed it.

Bonum Certamen Certemus

I am the Catholic of Honor