Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al
2017-06-25 12:22 am (UTC)
I think there is a lot to be said for the approach that religion is homophobic so people who care about the welfare and rights of GSM people should give up religion. But I also think that religion isn't inherently homophobic and that people, whether Queer or their allies, shouldn't be forced to reject all the good things it offers.
Oh, I'll bite. Offered in the spirit of batting ideas around, and not meaning to raise a banner and march for it:
One of the criticisms of religion sometimes raised in atheist circles is that religions, per se, draw their
(morals) from their
(assertions about the existence of supernatural entities, i.e. gods), and because those descriptions are not falsifiable – either because they are inherently unfalsifiable propositions, or because of social rules which prohibit questioning them – religions necessarily have an intrinsic problem with being self-correcting. Because they insist they draw their moral precepts from unfalsifiable premises, when they come up with some awful moral position or contradiction – such as classing homosexual behavior a sin – there's no real way within the religion to revise the moral system.
What winds up happening in practice is that
religions and moral systems in the same society, if they are sufficiently socially powerful, exert pressure on the religion to change to fix their morality. Religions themselves are not self-sufficient to be self-correcting.
Worse, when they are pressured to change due to moral faults, there's usually a schism, while people who insist that "This is what our god told us to do! How can you compromise on the divine orders to conform to secular opinion?!" go one way, and everyone who is like, "Now that outsiders point it out, I have to admit this sort of sucks and we should change it" goes the other.
I think this is a reasonably good argument that religions – that subset of belief systems which we call religions – are, definitionally, inherently at very high risk of being morally awful with no internal mechanism to stop being morally awful. Homophobia is but one example of "morally awful".
ETA: Having now watched all of R' Dweck's shiur, I have to say, he seems like the perfect example of this. It makes me very sad. He clearly is a man of great character, compassion, and learning, and he clearly sees what a shonda the prohibition against same-sex sexual behavior is, and it sorrows him. He all but apologizes for it. But he cannot break with it, because God Said Don't and there is no help for it so long as he grants that that is true. He is a wise man forced to gulp out folly and a kind man forced to utter cruelty by his religion, and nothing can save him from it but apostasy.
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