Tag Archives: secular

A secular case for government involvement in the institution of marriage

There is a secular case to be made for government involvement in the institution of marriage. Marriage is the only institution wherein a new life may be created. No, the generation of new life is not an automatic given nor are those who choose, for whatever reason, not to generate new life to be considered less in any way than those of us who do. But the fact is that without children, marriage would really devolve into little more than a contract or partnership.

Now one of the problems that clouds the whole debate on marriage is that most people tend to think that the issue is only a positive one. That is, that the issue is about the creation of a marriage and the state’s recognition thereof. That is sadly not the case, if that were all there were to it then the state would really have no reason to create and maintain such a registry at all. No, the real debate is on the unfortunate and often unavoidable issues that arise at the end or dissolution of a marriage. Who gets what and, more importantly, what about the children?

You see, marriage exists to proactively protects the rights of the children. Among these rights are the right to know and have a relationship with both of their parents, which means their mother and father. Marriage in this respect, serves to attach mothers and fathers to children and to each other. Can this be done outside of a legal marriage? Perhaps, but statistics show that without the commitment that comes along with marriage men are far less likely to remain in a family unit and children are far more likely to be hurt in all kinda of ways, including physically, emotionally, mentally, developmentally, etc.

When it comes to homosexual unions, the issue of children’s rights becomes even more sticky, and it is the rights of the children that are often overlooked altogether. You see, while people are busy talking about the rights of the gay and lesbian couple few people seem to be concerned with the rights of the children that are inherently and necessarily violated.

These rights are inherently violated because a homosexual union cannot biologically bring about new life, therefore they must either adopt which has historically been seen as an exception to the rule, but homosexual marriage would make it the rule and biological parentage the exception. In other words, the state would move from recognizing parentage based on biological fact to assigning parentage based on subjective standards. Something that has been done in countries like Canada that have already implemented homosexual marriage, and something that is being considered in homosexual-friendly states like Massachusetts.

Children’s rights are also necessarily violated because if marriage is not kept to the natural, historical, and biological definition, the state is required to intervene in the affairs of married couples even more than it does currently. Currently the state only intervenes when there is a dispute. That means that the only role the state has in regards to marriage is to resolve disputes if they arise. Ideally, most marriages will not require much, if any, intervention. However if marriage is redefined, the state must go from being a passive spectator that only intervenes when a dispute arises to intervening in many areas now, especially when children are involved, to cover over the biological gaps opened up when we separate from a biologically-based definition of marriage.

Sure, governments also interact with the institution terms of offering tax breaks (or supposed tax breaks) to encourage the formation and sustaining of healthy marriages. However that is really out of a selfish motive as biologically-based marriages are historically self-sustaining, requiring little in the way of government services or interference and also capable of producing well adjusted offspring by themselves. By contrast, on average, single parents (mostly mothers thanks to our sexually permissive culture) and homosexual unions require much in the way of government assistance, services, and general interference (ie. to strip/assign parentage in the case of homosexual marriages). If for nothing else than out of a commitment to limited government, the idea of homosexual marriage ought to be rejected.

So while families may not necessarily be defined by legal marriage but they are most certainly modeled on them if they wish to be anything short of a train wreck and an unnecessary drag on society.

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Secular sources against abortion

Why is abortion always treated as a Catholic issue?

I get highly annoyed when people speak of issues such as abortion as if they were purely the invention of the religious right and devoid of any other supporters than “the crazy Christians”.

So to help put things in perspective, here are several secular sources who, like Christians, thought that abortions were a bad idea. Boldness liberally applied by myself.

“There are five kinds of evil Karma which are difficult to extinguish, even if one were to repent of them. What are the five kinds of offences? The first one is killing the father, the second one is killing the mother, the third one is abortion, the fourth one is to injure the Buddha, the fifth one is to create disharmony among the Sangha assemblies. These five types of evil and sinful karma are difficult to extinguish.” -The Dharani Sutra of the Buddha

“I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.” -Hippocratic Oath – Greek, 4th century BC

“The law enjoins us to bring up all our offspring, and forbids women to cause abortion of what is begotten, or to destroy it afterward; and if any woman appears to have so done, she will be a murderer of her child, by destroying a living creature, and diminishing humankind.” -Josephus, 1st century Jewish historian

Do not abort a foetus or kill a child that is born.” -The Didache – the first manual of the Christian Church, AD 100 (Ok, this doesn’t exactly fit the criteria of a secular source, but it does show that this isn’t a recent tirade of the religious right.

“You shall not kill your awlad [born or unborn children] due to fear of poverty. We provide for them, as well as for you. Killing them is a gross offence.” Quran 17:311

“It seems to me clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime.” -Mahatma Gandhi

“They are killing the baby in the womb. How cruel! In this age of unwanted population, man is losing his compassion. That living entity must again take on that same life form to complete its designated life term in that body. And the killer must return to pay for damages.” -A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, founder of the Radha-Krishna movement

  1. Come on, this is even more potent coming from one of the most blood-thirsty religions on the planet. []
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Tuesday bonus: The Secular case against abortion and homosexuality.

In a stimulating discussion with a friend of mine following my earlier post on homosexuality I was asked to provide further support from a wholly secular standpoint to substantiate my position against homosexuality. Here’s my response:

My secular argument against homosexuality mirrors my secular argument against abortion and that is: Population.
Human capital is the greatest asset any nation has. This has been true for all nations at all times in all places. In fact, there is almost nothing that can’t be solved with a brute force application of people (just ask the Chinese).
While your assertion of homosexual couples adopting unwanted children (a product of a highly feminized culture I might add) is a nice sentiment, the reality is that selfishness does not produce the sacrificial environment required for the rearing of children. homosexuality, as you so eloquently put it above, is not something done for the mutual pleasure of the other person nor is it done for biological means. It is wholly done, as are the vast majority of abortions, for selfish motives.
For the single and simple reason that a population in decline is readily susceptible to merely being out-bred by foreign cultures (as is the case in in the EU currently in regards to Islam), I would strongly argue that the last thing we ought to be doing as a culture is worrying about the myth of overpopulation or propping up anti-family and anti-children ideologies.
Simply put, we need babies. Lots of them.
Not babies that are left to the state to support and care for. Or the army of single mothers created in recent decades by liberal legislation. no, we need strong families with men who give a damn about someone other than themselves.
In retrospect, the issues of homosexuality and abortion share more in common than being anti-family and anti-children. They are both only sustainable in a culture that is anti-men which got that way when men became fat and lazy.
Incidentally,

My secular argument against homosexuality mirrors my secular argument against abortion and that is: Population growth.

Human capital is the greatest asset any nation has. This has been true for all nations at all times in all places throughout the history of human civilization. In fact, there is almost nothing that can’t be solved with a brute force application of people1.

While your assertion2 of homosexual couples adopting unwanted children (a product of a highly feminized culture I might add) is a nice sentiment, the reality is that selfishness does not produce the sacrificial environment required for the rearing of children. homosexuality, as you so eloquently put it above, is not something done for the mutual pleasure of the other person nor is it done for biological means. It is wholly done, as are the vast majority of abortions, for selfish motives.

Simply put, we need babies. Lots of them.

Not babies that are left to the state to support and care for. Or the army of single mothers created in recent decades by liberal legislation and social programs. No, we need strong families with men who give a damn about someone other than themselves.

In retrospect, the issues of homosexuality and abortion share more in common than being anti-family and anti-children. They are both only sustainable in a culture that is anti-men which got that way when men became fat and lazy.

It should concern us that the countries with growing populations are not in the first world. They are in “less developed”3 countries where things like abortion on demand and pure pleasure seeking aren’t luxuries the average man can readily afford.

For the single and simple reason that a population in decline is readily susceptible to merely being out-bred by foreign cultures4, I would strongly argue that the last thing we ought to be doing as a culture is worrying about the myth of overpopulation or propping up anti-family and anti-children ideologies.

Update:

After publishing this I received a challenge regarding my assertion above regarding population decline being a real issue in many countries. My opponent pointed out that the population of the US in particular was actually increasing. Here is my response:

The US’s population is increasing due to immigrants, specifically the Spanish-speaking community not because we are choosing to have the required 2.2 children required to merely sustain our population.

As far as military service or society, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing for a society to discriminate against behaviors/lifestyles that aren’t conducive to their growth. Russia found this out not too long ago as their national policies against sex plunged their country into a population crisis such that now they are forced to almost completely reverse their stance on the matter and hold national sex days in hopes of merely staving off a massive population shortage.

In short, its not just the type of sex that is an issue here, it’s the selfish lifestyle and attitude towards procreation in general (which is why I lump abortion in with this argument as well).

We should, as a country, at least be focused on the fact that killing off our population (abortion) or promoting selfish lifestyles (which stretches beyond homosexuality) is not something that strengthens us a country nor something that has benefited any country in history.

  1. just ask the Chinese []
  2. This is in reference to a rather colorful description of anal intercourse which I’ll leave up to your imagination while sparing you the details. []
  3. Read: less selfish []
  4. as is the case in in the EU currently in regards to Islam []
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The myth of secular morality

This is a response to a post a friend of mine recently made outlining a secular basis for morality1 centered on empathy or “the golden rule” as the objective standard by which we ought to order our lives.

This comes as part of a long-running discussion where I maintain that, in order for morality to be of any substance2 , it must first be objective3 , timeless4, and transcendent5. To that end, I would like to offer two conjoined arguments in opposition to the proposed secular basis for morality based on empathy and the golden rule.

1.) The philosophical foundations of naturalism do not support the case for empathy being a standard.

If by secularism we mean philosophical naturalism in the sense that the only reality is the physical reality of atoms, particles, and “laws of nature” to the exclusion of metaphysical constructs such as a soul then our biggest hurdle to overcome, long before we deal with the grounds of any objective morality, is to answer where we get the notion of “ought to” from.

In other words, if matter is all there is, then all of our actions are essentially predetermined by our genes through chemical reactions happening in our brains. In this scenario we can no more will ourselves to be good, upright individuals than a sociopath who has no conscience.

Furthermore, as naturalists, we remove from ourselves the categories of right and wrong and are merely left with preferences which, even if applied to a societal level, still find no objective basis since it is still the subject (whether an individual or collective) that is determining the correctness of any given action (or intention/motive) and not a fixed standard that fits the criteria outlined at the outset which is required if our goal is a standard that is truly objective.

The only imbalance that can be found in this scenario is an imbalance of opinion and preference so that, when I say that you have wronged me, all I am doing is merely expressing a difference in opinion over your actions or intentions.

However, the fact that humans throughout history, and even the secular humanist, feel the need for a basis to morality is a rather curious notion6 since, without a truly objective standard to go by, all we would be left with would be moral relativism which, being relative to the individual or culture, would provide no real guidance at all, let alone one based on empathy.

2.) The philosophical presuppositions in the argument of empathy seem to assume that all humans have some sort of inherent worth and are of equal value which, given the secular or naturalistic view outlined above, is as incoherent in a naturalistic or secular world view as the notion of a free will able to effect a downward causal change in the mind/body7.

At a certain level we agree that empathizing with animals is a good thing to do. However, at some point we tend to eat our small furry (or feathery) friends which seems to indicate that humans are in a category of their own8 indicating either speciesm or an indication that humans are, indeed, unique among the other “animals” in the evolutionary struggle.

Given that nature is also “red with tooth and claw“, and that animals regularly eat their own kind9, we can safely conclude that humans are alone in their ability10 to “empathize” which seems to indicate that the notion of empathy is, at best, ambiguous11 and, at worse, completely irrelevant to simple propagation of the species12.

The bottom line is that empathy, while sounding like the holy grail of secular ethics and morality does not line up with the philosophical naturalism it is built upon.

In conclusion; only in a world where humans were created equal13 would the golden rule or “empathy” make sense. Indeed, I would submit the fact that we find this golden rule upheld in some degree amongst nearly all cultures across the world and across time give us a good indication that we are, indeed, created equally and ought to therefore question seriously the foundation of our equality just in case that foundation happens to be a person like us14.

  1. As opposed to a theocentric model where morality is ultimately based on God and His Law []
  2. That is, not a myth. []
  3. That is, outside of myself. []
  4. Not constrained by time and space. []
  5. Cannot change with time []
  6. “Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and can’t really get rid of it.” –C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity []
  7. That is, naturalism presupposes a deterministic view of causal actions which, by default, makes the concept of a “free will” incoherent. []
  8. or at least view themselves as such []
  9. Cannibalism, not only for food, but, in the case of preying mantises, even as a means of sexual arousal []
  10. and willingness to do so consistently []
  11. that is, just as much of a cosmic accident as we supposedly are []
  12. especially since altruism and self-sacrifice are values directly opposed to the Darwinistic notion of self-preservation []
  13. That is, their metaphysical souls created in the likeness of God []
  14. Yes, I am referring to God which, if he exists would require us to extend the rule of empathy to him as well. More so, since having created us he would occupy a higher place of importance than a fellow human being created in his image which, coincidentally, is what Jesus taught when he summed up the teachings of the Bible in two statements dealing with love. Both of God and of men. []
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