I'd just like to note that if God did not want murder to be wrong, he would not have made it so useful. Just because it's fun/useful does not mean it is an ok thing to do.
Right. But it also doesn't mean using something for a purpose other than its primary one is a bad thing. Nor does it mean that an object's primary purpose is particularly good or even better than other purposes; a brazen bull might look unassuming as a decoration in an antique store, but what it was actually built for is the kind of thing that gives your kids nightmares.
The entire line of thought is a complete red herring.
Teleology, like a lot of great pagan inventions, can be borrowed & applied to Christian theology without any muss or fuss. It's a religion-neutral tool of analysis.
I'll take your word on that ... even though I could swear that the Nicomachean Ethics occasionally used teleology precisely that way. However, Aquinas killed a lot of trees arguing that in light of Christian interpretations of Creation, moral implications are exactly what teleology yields. Aristotle and Thomas weren't applying teleology to the same categories, so it's not surprising that they generated different conclusions.
There's some dispute over Nicomachean Ethics on that front. One theory is that Aristotle was dealing with the law and morality separately (some of the demonstrative examples he uses seem to lend credence to that), but Aquinas's conflation of the two held so much sway that it was consequently translated that way. I'm not certain how much water that holds, so I'm okay dismissing it.
But yes, any discussion of that inevitably turns into Aquinas's door stopper of natural law. And again, I can't look at that without seeing too many leaps.
One of the more memorably WTF ones that jumped out at me was when he brought up that Aristotle's original formulation of natural law that he draws from (a good deal of which he takes for granted) explicitly states that natural law isn't absolute across all men. Aquinas brings that up as one of the objections, and then his reply to it is "yeah he was wrong on that." No explanation or anything.
Later on, during the Parts of Lust he makes a whole lot of other assertions that don't sit right. Even if one is to take teleological arguments for the purpose of sex for granted, and that any other purpose for sex is automatically badwrong, it still leaves a whole bunch of things that don't seem right to a conscience. Infertile couples come to mind, and we even have plenty of notable examples of that throughout the OT without so much as a batting of the eye from God).
He brings up uncleanliness, which goes back to early Hebrews erroneously conflating spiritual and physical cleanliness, and Jesus spending a good part of the Gospels berating them for that. Even if one is to go against that vibe and still
take cleanliness as a moral obligation, hygenic availability has advanced far beyond the point where masturbation and anal sex aren't really a huge deal with proper precaution.
Most of the weight against homosexuality specifically comes from a quote from Augustine that discusses the sin of Sodom, and obviously
anything to do with Sodom should be killed with fire. But from more detailed Jewish accounts, homosexuality and lust were not the sin of Sodom — it was abuse of foreigners, and war rape and sexual hazing
was one of the (very
many) ways they went about that. From a modern psychological understanding of rape, it rarely has anything to do with lust, and the story of Lot it's pretty clear that they wanted to gangbang him not out of lust, but because he was the head of the household.
I mean, I can see where he's coming from and going to. But the landmines, man.
I think it's psychologically harmful and physically risky. Then again, I'd consider any sex outside of Marriage psychologically harmful and physically risky.
Then you'll be happy to know that gays are observably better at marriage than we are,
and if anything we're the ones that should be taking notes.
edited 19th Oct '13 1:14:38 PM by Pykrete