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The Fallacy of “Forward”

“Forward” is more than just a political catchphrase for some; it’s a moral imperative. Religious and social progressives are fond of portraying the human species as evolving, discarding out-dated mores, unenlightened beliefs, and barbaric practices (i.e., most of the commands in the Old Testament).

But is all progression good? Is “forward” always better?

Wherever you find yourself on the ideological scale, conservative or liberal, you must draw moral lines. Truly consistent relativists are rare. Even those who disavow moral Absolutes seldom disavow them absolutely. So even progressives believe that “forward” is NOT always better. In this sense, going forward has no inherent value. It is relative, determined entirely by one’s direction. I mean, if your goal is to complete a marathon, then once you reach the finish line, you stop. And celebrate. If there is no finish line, then the race becomes pointless. Heck, you might as well turn around and run backwards.

Morally speaking, the issue is always the finish line, the ideal. What is it? Who’s drawn it? And how do we know if we’re going the right direction? Which means Forwardism is a fallacy. Real “progress” means moving in the right direction.

But moral direction is exactly where we can’t agree.

Many suggest moral direction is personal, arbitrary. But if moral direction is arbitrary, determined solely by individuals and their current societies, then “forward” can always be defined as “better.” And “backward” can always be defined as “bad.” This is, I’m afraid, where we’re at as a society. Postmodernism has dismantled our moral compass. Because we are confused as to what constitutes Good, we more easily drift into what was once considered Bad. Every direction is the “right” one for the sailor without a destination. Or a compass.

Which brings me to the springboard for this little doodle.

The latest issue of Salvo Magazine contains an article on the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) incremental softening toward pedophilia. Salvo notes how, over the last several decades, the APA has changed the classification of pedophilia from a “deviation” to a “sexual orientation.” Until,

…in 1994, the diagnostic criteria shifted such that a diagnosis of pedophilia hinged, not on a perpetrator’s objective behavior, but on his subjective feelings about the behavior. (emphasis in original)

This led to the conclusion that “an adult sexual predator who felt no compunction about molesting children and had no desire to change could be classified as psychiatrically normal.” Then, in August of last year, a group of mental health professionals and sympathetic pedophile activists, staged a conference in Baltimore in which they advocated sympathy for “minor-attracted persons” and encouraged tolerance, if not, decriminalization of pedophilia. (You can find a detailed article about the conferee’s objectives HERE.) Compound this with the recent discovery of a “pedophile gene,” and you have all the makings of a powerful academic and scientific basis to downgrade pedophilia and move it one small step closer to social acceptance.

Question: Would the re-labeling of pedophilia as “normative” or the suggestion of the decriminalization of pedophilia be considered moving forward?

I’m assuming most of my readers will answer a resounding “no.” Interestingly enough, however, if you apply that same question to homosexuality (also once considered deviant), your answer may look completely different. But why? (And before you level the “consensual sex” rebuttal, please know that advocates of pedophile leniency use consensuality to bolster their arguments for man / child sexual relationships.) Dr. Michael Brown in his book A Queer Thing Happened in America notes that the same arguments being used to legitimize pedophilia today are the same arguments used to reclassify homosexuality in 1973.

Question: If the redefining of homosexuality, the portrayal of same-sex attraction as normal, is now considered “progress,” what keeps us from not approaching pedophilia the same way?

Simple: We haven’t moved the line that far yet.

This slow, incremental redefining of what was once (and still is in many quarters) considered deviance, should be a sobering example of postmodernism’s corrosive creep. And make no mistake, the issue is the Moral finish line.

Social and religious progressives only move “forward” by first moving the Line. Problem is, once you start moving the Line, who says when and where it stops? Eventually, the line will have been moved so far that Good is called Evil, and Evil, Good.  Yet, not only do we continue to move that Line further and further, we are in danger of eliminating it completely!

Going back is not going backwards, especially when you’re headed over a cliff. You can rename the cliff anything you want — “civil rights,” “emancipation,” “freedom,” or “social progress.” If it is, indeed, a real cliff, all the world will watch us splat.

As long as we remain divided on where to draw that line of Morality, we are like a sailor without a compass: Any wind is the right wind.

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{ 75 comments… add one }
  • Jim Williams October 24, 2012, 12:15 PM

    Mike you make some interesting points, but in your zeal to equate pedophilia with homosexuality, you conveniently ignore perhaps the most important fact of all. Consent. Just as in heterosexual relationships, a socially and morally acceptable age of consent must be required. Try to remember that the vast majority of pedophiles identify as heterosexual. Pedophiles may be unable genetically to resist, but that simply means that they should be excised from the body of society, as a tumor would.To compare this to homosexuality is to create a non sequitor. Since it is clear that homosexuality has existed in human society from (the proverbial) beginning, where is the harm? Without a demonstration of harm, there is no reason to avoid “progress”.

    • Thea October 24, 2012, 12:55 PM

      Genes do *not* determine behaviour. They may make people predisposed to certain behaviours, making it very hard to not engage in them, but they are never completely unable to resist their genes. Nature and nurture interact with about equal strength; it’s never just one or the other.

    • Mike Duran October 24, 2012, 5:34 PM

      Jim, on what grounds is pedophilia wrong and homosexuality not? Because there are consent laws? Those can be changed. As far as I know, many other forms of deviant behavior have “existed in human society from (the proverbial) beginning.” Does this alone make something not deviant?

      • Jim Williams October 24, 2012, 6:12 PM

        Mike, on the very simple grounds that pedophilia is harmful to a protected class–our children. It is harmful whether it is heterosexual child sex or homosexual acts with children. It harms them. It is psychologically scarring.
        I see no correlation at all with “normal” homosexuality. Who is the victim of homosexuality? Wrongness implies that there is damage, to someone, somewhere. I ask you, Mike. Where is your victim?

        • Mike Duran October 24, 2012, 6:28 PM

          Jim, so if psychologists can prove not all pedophilia is “psychologically scarring,” would that make it right? And what if the age of consent is simply moved to a younger age? Would that make it right? Point is, people have other “lines” they can draw on this subject. In fact, they are! If consent is the ONLY reason you believe homosexuality is normative, then if consent can be established in a pedophile relationship, you have no basis to denounce it.

          • Jim Williams October 24, 2012, 7:52 PM

            Mike, ok. If psychologists can *prove* that pedophilia is not damaging, then lets all join NAMBLA! If you, Mike Duran, can’t tell the difference between child sex and adult sex, then you have a deeper problem than you have previously shared. I think blindly linking pedophilia to homosexuality requires a serious lack of critical thinking. You are dogged in your pursuit of this connection. It is not there. I believe homosexuality is normative because it exists across every single boundary that a person can name. Culture, religion, politics, history, countries, continents, genders, professions, generations, everything. And, I don’t see any victims, except some people’s sensibilities.

            • Mike Duran October 25, 2012, 3:47 AM

              Jim, you’re dodging the point in favor of being outraged. This article is mainly about how progressivism is fallacious because any social progress is relative to moral direction. But if moral direction is arbitrary, there is no viable reason to oppose any democratically agreed upon lifestyle. Yes, I used pedophilia and homosexuality as examples of how society deconstructs what was once considered deviant. You seem especially angered by any possible connection, even calling me “dogged in [my] pursuit of this connection.” Huh? As I said, this post isn’t about homosexuality or pedophilia (or a possible connection). It’s about how without Absolute Morals, society can downgrade ANY deviancy. In fact, “deviancy” itself is relative. But for some reason you’re intent on missing the forest for the trees.

              And as far as I can tell, you don’t have an answer… except to flippantly say, “If psychologists can *prove* that pedophilia is not damaging, then lets all join NAMBLA!” Uh, way to dodge. So let me ask again: “…if psychologists can prove not all pedophilia is “psychologically scarring,” would that make it right?”

              If you’re primary reasons for believing that (1) “homosexuality is normative because it exists across every single boundary that a person can name” and (2) there aren’t “any victims,” then you’re argument for tolerance is terribly weak. As I pointed out, (1) pedophilia (and other forms of sexual deviancy) also exist across the spectrum, and (2) there is a move to declassify victimization. In your thinking then, any sexual practice is “normative” as long as it (1) can be found to exist in all cultures and (2) has no victims. Is this what you’re saying? Because if it is, you’re proving my point.

              Really, Jim. You’re bringing lots of heat, but no light.

              • Jim Williams October 25, 2012, 10:06 AM

                It’s ok, Mike. I had no great expectation that you would see the light. Perhaps it’s enough that you feel the heat. I suspect strongly that your treatise here is an attempted vilification of not pedophilia, but homosexuality. It is a classic straw man argument. Tie the subject to another, more radical subject, then have at it. You pick and choose which facts matter to you. I think it is of crucial importance that homosexuality not be equated with the rape of children. You see these things as steps on the same path. I say the difference is victimization. You dismiss this as “terribly weak”. To me, it is the absolute fulcrum of the debate. There is no way that pedophilia will be “legal” or “decriminalized” or accepted. Ever. It is in the same bag as rape. To assert otherwise is simply hysterical posturing.

                • Mike Duran October 25, 2012, 10:45 AM

                  Another dodge. Wow! And more name calling. Well, if you can’t answer my questions directly, might as well pull out the “hate speech” card and obfuscate.

                  • Jim Williams October 25, 2012, 11:26 AM

                    Did I call you a name in that post? I didn’t intend it. I think you have made some interesting arguments. You are quite dismissive of debate, though, which is troubling. If we differ on what is important to society, am I obfuscating? I don’t think so. I don’t think my argument is defeated by you simply saying “that doesn’t matter”. My style of disagreement seems to upset you. Again, not my intention.

                    • Mike Duran October 25, 2012, 2:08 PM

                      Jim: “If we differ on what is important to society, am I obfuscating?”

                      Mike: No. You’re obfuscating if you never directly answer my question. Which I’ll ask here for the third time: “…if psychologists can prove not all pedophilia is “psychologically scarring,” would that make it right?”

                      Jim: “I don’t think my argument is defeated by you simply saying “that doesn’t matter””.

                      Mike: Neither do I.

                      Jim: “My style of disagreement seems to upset you.”

                      Mike: Obfuscation has that effect on me.

                      Jim: “You are quite dismissive of debate, though, which is troubling.”

                      Mike: Uh, yeah. There’s only 50+ comments on this post.

                    • Jim Williams October 25, 2012, 7:18 PM

                      Mike, I do not believe that there is any real chance that pedophilia could ever be “proven” to not be damaging to children. I am saying this clearly, because you apparently could not pick that out from all the times I have assailed pedophilia in this discussion. It will never be “right”.
                      In reading the links you provide, it is not really clear that anyone not a complete nutter is really trying to do so, in any case. I did see more hyperbolic non sequitors, mostly on right wing blogs, similar to yours.

  • Melissa October 24, 2012, 12:22 PM

    Jim, did you miss Mike’s comment? ” (And before you level the “consensual sex” rebuttal, please know that advocates of pedophile leniency use consensuality to bolster their arguments for man / child sexual relationships.)

    • Jim Williams October 24, 2012, 1:29 PM

      Melissa, on the contrary. I keyed in on that comment. My point is that whatever angle the pedophile “lobby” tries to use, if it a question of consent, they lose. I feel that in my comments, I am in complete agreement with Mike that the “consensual sex” rebuttal is specious and sickening. I think it is the lynch pin of the whole issue.

      • Mike Duran October 24, 2012, 5:40 PM

        Jim, I too was confused about this. And frankly, your response doesn’t clarify. The age of consent can be changed. So if pedophilia is deviant, on what grounds is it deviant? If it’s simply society’s chosen repugnance over pedophilia, then that’s fairly arbitrary and can be changed throughout generations.

        • Jim Williams October 24, 2012, 6:18 PM

          The age of consent can be changed, and if it is, then the definition of pedophilia would be changed as well. In other countries, the age of consent is quite low. Deviance would then be evidenced if the pedophile pursued children younger than society’s standards. Are you trying to gloss over your whimsical connection between pedophilia and homosexuality? It is not a fact. It is hate speech.

          • Mike Duran October 24, 2012, 6:37 PM

            Exactly! So if the definition of pedophilia can be changed per culture and custom, then the morality of pedophilia is arbitrary… according to you.

            And you seem adamant about denying any connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. That’s your prerogative. But please don’t throw out the “hate speech card simply because I connected those two. Obviously, they are different in many ways. the simple connection I make here is that both homosexuality and pedophilia were once considered deviant and socially unacceptable. There’s a process to homosexuality’s gradual acceptance in culture. It’s the same process that pedophilia may be experiencing.

            • Jim Williams October 24, 2012, 8:14 PM

              I think you may be trying to be a bit disingenuous. The “simple connection” you make is one that is VERY FAMILIAR to anyone who has been following the Gay rights movement in the last 10 years or so. Along with the bestiality connection that another commenter immediately made. These are common themes, ridiculous as they are.
              I think it is hate speech to frighten people with the idea that bestiality, pedophilia, homosexuality are all just steps down the road to the destruction of mankind. The same arguments were used against civil rights for blacks in the 50’s and 60’s, integrated schooling, and ultimately interracial marriage.
              I am putting forth the not so radical idea that the world is a demonstrably BETTER place if we stop vilifying homosexuals. A homosexual person is quite capable of being a moral and ethical person.
              To be quite clear, I am with you on most of this. There is no way that pedophilia should be rationalized. No way. It is damaging. Using the same logic as was used to remove homosexuality from the “deviancy” list is offensive. But the fault lies with the person making that argument.

              • Mike Duran October 25, 2012, 3:59 AM

                “I am putting forth the not so radical idea that the world is a demonstrably BETTER place if we stop vilifying homosexuals.”

                So if the world changes its mind as to what makes it a “demonstrably BETTER place,” does that make it right? What if society decides (w/ the help of academics and doctors), that “if we stop vilifying” pedophiles the world will be a ” a “demonstrably BETTER place”? On what grounds do you prove them wrong?

                See, Jim? Without some sense of Absolute Morality, there is no compelling reason to argue for tolerance or reprehension of ANY chosen lifestyle. Thus, every cultural wind becomes the right one.

              • sally apokedak October 25, 2012, 8:55 AM
                • Jim Williams October 25, 2012, 10:23 AM

                  Sally, I am well aware that the comparison between the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement makes many minorities uncomfortable, and not just the outspoken Christians. You can’t ignore the obvious parallels. The most telling truth may well be the generational divide between people who identify as tolerant or intolerant. Broken into demographic groups, younger people of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds are simply more accepting. This is true even among minorities. And, it’s a very good thing. Hate and bigotry is learned behavior. As gay bigotry fades (like racism), society is improved.

                  • sally apokedak October 25, 2012, 10:49 AM

                    Hate and bigotry are not learned behavior. We are born with those in our little black hearts. Love and tolerance are learned behavior and it is good that school children are taught to be loving and tolerant. It is not good that they are indoctrinated with the belief that those who think homosexuality is a sin are hateful bigots.

                    • Jim Williams October 25, 2012, 11:37 AM

                      Sally, I think I know what you are trying to get at, but here is a link to what *I* was getting at…


                    • sally apokedak October 25, 2012, 11:54 AM

                      Well, I agree with that article. So why do so many gay rights activists call me a bigot and a hater simply because I believe differently than they do? I am not similar to them–my religious beliefs and practices set me apart from them. Is that OK with you? Or do you think I’m an intolerant bigot because I’m not in favor of legalizing gay marriage?

                    • Jim Williams October 25, 2012, 9:23 PM

                      Sally, I certainly do not think you are a bigot for not being in favor of legalizing gay marriage. I have plenty of friends, some who identify strongly as conservative Christian, some who do not, who also are not in favor of legalizing gay marriage. I think bigotry is more a verb than a noun. And, I think there are firebrands on both sides. Many gay activists are angry and vocal.

                      I am unfazed by homosexuality. I have decided it doesn’t matter. I understand that many people will not be able to agree.

  • Nicole October 24, 2012, 1:21 PM

    I didn’t take this as a comparison between homosexuality and pedophilia at all. He said once upon a time homosexuality was also called deviant behavior as is pedophilia. If you have no moral compass, no beginning, no end, no structural guide that rings true and stands true throughout the ages, then anything goes – or will eventually. Declassify it, eliminate barriers, and there you have homosexual marriage, consent of “wayward-genetic” people preying on defenseless others, beastiality, etc. Let’s add rape to that while we’re at it. If you’re “pre-disposed” to rape children, girls, women, boys, men, then what’s to stop you? Hide behind your deviant genes and blame them? We all have tendencies (it’s called our sin-nature to Christians) to do wrong things. Hurtful, harmful, wrong actions. Never will those actions be right no matter how much we want to do them and campaign for them to be right.

    • Jim Williams October 24, 2012, 1:37 PM

      Nicole, you are possible not being exactly truthful here. In your first sentence you disavow any connection with homosexuality and pedophilia. Just a few moments later, you go much further than Mike did, and equate homosexuality with not only pedophilia, but bestiality and rape. All of these deviant behaviors have one common denominator that homosexuality does NOT share. And that is CONSENT. Can an animal give its consent? Can a child? Did a rape victim consent? Society’s mores do not depend upon Chrisitianity. They can exist without religious framework. Pedophilia, bestiality, rape. These are CRIMES. To continually equate homosexuality with criminal behaviour is to deny adult human beings the right to self determination. Take that to it’s ultimate conclusion, and you have a police state. A balance of decency is what we strive for. Some, like possibly you and others, are uncomfortable with where the line has shifted. I am not.

      • Jon Mast October 24, 2012, 2:28 PM

        Are we talking about crimes at all though? Is the point of this to talk about what the federal or state government considers crimes, or what is right and wrong? While there’s overlap, they’ve never been the exact same thing. For instance, I think we’d agree that in general deception is wrong, yet except in certain cases, deception isn’t a crime. It’s just a jerk move. I don’t think the goal here was to talk about criminalization of anything, but finding the compass to determine right and wrong.

        • Jill October 24, 2012, 4:58 PM

          Then what is the point of this article, if it isn’t meant to argue for the legality or illegality of certain behavior? I doubt Mike is attempting to find his personal compass. He already has it–the Bible and the Holy Spirit. This must, necessarily, be a political post that is deeper than personal conviction–not, how do I regulate myself, but how do we as a people regulate society? This is an important distinction to make, and one that gets at the very purpose of government. Jim (above) seems to be saying that government’s role is to regulate where there is force involved (homosexual relationships are consensual; sex with children is not and, therefore, government must, if it is not tyrannical or corrupt, punish those who violate children. Conversely, it should have no say in how consensual adults associate with each other). Because lines in the sand can be terribly arbitrary, I would have to go with Jim on this one. My moral lines are drawn from the Bible and the way it interacts with my conscience. And the government ought not to have any say in this unless I’m treating others fraudulently or forcefully. Sometimes I wonder if we’re confusing what “society” is, and on what level it operates, or should operate.

          • Jon Mast October 24, 2012, 5:35 PM

            I agree that the government has no place to say anything unless someone is using force or hurting another. I can get behind this.

            Which is why I posted to Jim that there’s a difference between saying what should be legal or illegal vs. what is right and wrong. Jim brought up criminalization, which seems to indicate legal or illegal in my reading. (Jim, please correct me if I’m misreading you!) Unfortunately some do blur the lines, and there is overlap (for instance, murder is both wrong and illegal), which can cause confusion between the two.

            I don’t think Mike was talking at all about legal vs. illegal, though I hope he steps in here to clarify. I read this as looking for a compass for society. As you stated, I trust Mike has his compass (yon Bible!). Our culture, as a whole, either doesn’t have the compass or doesn’t make use of it. We need as a culture to make use of that compass to find right and wrong — we don’t need the government to determine it for us with legal and illegal.

            So, in the end, I really think we’re saying the same thing, taking a look at your last two sentences. I agree with those two sentences absolutely!

          • Mike Duran October 24, 2012, 5:53 PM

            Jill, if the government eventually agrees with the doctors and psychiatrists who are trying to normalize consensual pedophile sex, would that make it right? If not, on what grounds is it wrong? And if society’s view about pedophilia changes, would that make the government right for allowing legal pedophilia?

            • Jill October 24, 2012, 9:08 PM

              Mike, I’m speaking philosophically about the purpose of government–that it ideally should restrict itself to regulating force or fraud. We do not have this kind of government. We have a government that chronically allows and encourages force and fraud. When I criticize the government, it is mainly because it steps out of its rightful place and plays patriarch to all of us unwitting dolts who think we’re free because we still live relatively easy lives. If the government goes this far–to allow adults to take advantage of children–I certainly hope we wake up to the corruption, that we start a revolution, that we blow away some of these sorry bastards. I know I don’t sound like much of a pacifist when I say this, but sometimes men must rise up against those who harm children. So in answer to your question, NO. Forcing a child to engage in sexual activity is wrong and always will be wrong because sex is an adult activity that requires adult consent.

              • Mike Duran October 25, 2012, 4:16 AM

                Jill said, “…sometimes men must rise up against those who harm children.”

                But right now there are men of science and academia that are constructing a scaffold for just such a thing to happen! Why aren’t we rising up against them? Not standing against them now is what progressively desensitizes us to the practice later.

                While you and I probably disagree about homosexuality, we are using the same principles to decide its place in culture. We are drawing moral lines based on our understanding of Absolutes. The reason you will advocate opposition when the line of “pedophile acceptance” is crossed is virtually the same reason I suggest opposition when the line of “homosexual acceptance” is crossed. Both are deviant and lead to moral and cultural decline. The difference is that we simply draw the line at different places.

                I’m suggesting that the further we move the finish line (which I think those who seek to “normalize” homosexuality do), the closer we come to normalizing the next form of deviancy.

          • Jim Williams October 24, 2012, 8:46 PM

            Jill, I guess I could have saved a lot of typing simply by stating that the idea that decriminalizing homosexuality might lead directly to decriminalization of pedophilia is abhorrent to me. It makes me ill. I’m actually in agreement with Mike Duran that acceptance of “child oriented” sexual attraction creates a world I don’t want to live in.

            • Jill October 25, 2012, 8:05 AM

              agree 100%–I don’t want to live in that world either

          • sally apokedak October 25, 2012, 9:04 AM

            And do unborn babies give consent to be murdered?

            The folks who engage in zoophilia contend that their animals do consent and how can you argue that a pony on top of a man, pentrating his anus, is being forced?

            And how can you argue that a five-year-old boy who begs his mother or father to play doctor with him is not giving consent?

            Monica Lewinsky gave consent but it was still a huge abuse of power for the president of the United States to have sex with an intern. A doctor can be put in jail for having sex with his patients. Even though the patients gave consent.

            We consent to many sinful things. Does that mean it is healthy for society to legalize them all? I believe it was bad for society to legalize no-fault divorce. It tore up our families and set us off on a path of entitlement and took us away from the idea that we should sacrifice our own hapiness for the sake of our children.

            • Jim Williams October 25, 2012, 10:13 AM

              Sally, your examples of hypothetical “consent” are ludicrous. No thinking person is making those arguments. Certainly I am not. I would never advocate for changes in the consent laws. As the father of 4 children, I have strong views on the emotional maturity needed to engage in sexual activity. I have communicated these views to my children early and often. I also have made clear to them exactly why they are called “private parts”. Sexual predators are a cancer.

              • sally apokedak October 25, 2012, 10:36 AM

                Oh…OK, Jim. The NAMBLA people aren’t thinking and the women who abort their babies aren’t thinking and the zoophiles aren’t thinking.

                That must be it. It’s not sin, it’s a lack of intelligence that causes these people to put forth their arguments that little boys can consent and do enjoy sex with men, and animals enjoy sex with men, and women have the right to kill their unborn babies. They are all just stupid. But you are smart. You who believe that there is no injured party in a sexual relationship between consenting adults are a thinking man.

                There are always plenty of bloody victims to extra-marital sex. The men and women having sex are injured—by giving in to sin and when they break up. The future sexual partners are injured by the baggage these consenting sexually active people bring into future relationships. The babies they birth when they are too spiritually immature to be parents and the babies they abort are victims. The society that slides farther and farther into hedonism is injured.

                • Jim Williams October 25, 2012, 12:42 PM

                  I am trying to use the word “thinking” in a sense of using reason and logic, not necessarily intelligence. I consider NAMBLA a criminal organization. And, since I am not a committed Christian, I am not bound by your notions of sin. You are not free to impose them on me. I am, however, a committed father, husband, citizen, human being. I think that decency can be described without religious overtones. I hope that you and I are not continuing an argument that we actually haven’t had yet.

                  • sally apokedak October 25, 2012, 1:19 PM

                    But you say that no thinking person could ever say pedophilia was OK. And why do you say that? Because YOU don’t think pedophilia is OK. Why don’t you think pedophilia is OK? Because the children haven’t given consent. But you blow off my saying that a horse mounting a man is obviously enjoying himself and consenting. No one is making the horse do it. So why are you against bestiality? Why are you imposing your idea of sin on people who want to have sex with animals? Why are you allowed to impose your beliefs while I’m not allowed to impose my beliefs.
                    You’re inconsistent.

                    My beliefs are not changing. I believe the Bible is the ultimate moral authority. But your beliefs will change with time. As Mike was trying to point out in this post.

                    • Jim Williams October 25, 2012, 7:28 PM

                      Sally, your insistent visual imagery about the horse and the man notwithstanding, unless the horse can talk, I’m gonna go with non-consent there, too. If your current argument is to try to convince me that the horse “wants it”, then I’m pretty much done here. The ick factor is building quickly…..
                      Also, you have really no idea if my beliefs will change in time. We don’t know each other.

                    • sally apokedak October 25, 2012, 8:42 PM

                      You know, forty years ago the majority of the people in the US thought homosexual couplings were hugely icky, too, right?

                      But who cares what people think is icky? Should homosexuals have stopped fighting for their rights because people thought they were icky?

                      It’s not about what people think is icky. It’s about what God has said.

                      I’m sorry for saying your beliefs would change with time. That wasn’t right. I should have said many people’s views have changed and will change more. You’re right–I don’t know if your views will change or not.

        • Jim Williams October 24, 2012, 6:22 PM

          Jon, I was responding to the various “other” deviant lifestyles that Nicole was comparing to homosexuality, all of which are actually illegal. So, the criminal angle came from Nicole, who apparently puts it all in one basket. I am attempting to make the point that “simply” being homosexual is not deviant, not criminal, and certainly not harmful, however much it might make Christians uncomfortable.

      • Nicole October 24, 2012, 7:16 PM

        Jim, you’re saying I’m comparing the specific acts by naming them all together here. I’m not comparing people here. I’m comparing behaviors which have been considered wrong and/or deviant. You’re fine with homosexuality. I’m not. I’m certainly not against the people who practice it as individuals, but I think it’s not a “good” behavior. “Society’s mores” might not depend on Christianity, but in this country the principles outlined in the bible set the foundation for right and wrong. You don’t have to like them or agree with them, but it’s still true that those principles were applied. And I’m not “disavowing any connection between homosexuality and pedophilia” because sometimes they’re intertwined. This isn’t a comparison of people here, Jim. It’s a comparison of wrong actions and behaviors. And “consensual” has nothing to do with evaluating these behaviors.

        • Jim Williams October 24, 2012, 9:15 PM

          Nicole, ok. You were naming behaviors, but somehow you were not comparing them? Ok. It seems like Mike (and perhaps you) agree quite a bit with the premise that since homosexuality is now not seen as deviant, of course pedophilia will be normalized next! I see no such connection, and actually view this as hurtful. Clearly, all the things you listed (for informational purposes only!) are crimes. So, now that it is no longer a criminal act to fall in love with another adult human being, naturally, children (and animals..) being raped with impunity is just around the corner..
          Do you see where the logic breaks down? I hope so….

          • R.J. Anderson October 25, 2012, 6:18 AM

            It’s not a criminal act to love anyone. People of the opposite sex, people of the same sex, children, the elderly, animals. Love, meaning a deep and unselfish caring for another individual and the desire for that individual to be healthy and fulfilled and joyful, is never wrong.

            What the Bible says is wrong, and which the law of any given society may or may not choose to legislate is wrong, is the act of having sexual intercourse with certain other individuals. The nature and depth of the feelings that drive people to have sexual intercourse are entirely irrelevant to the law, either morally or criminally.

            But I agree that using pedophilia as a comparison hits a lot of hot buttons about consent and child abuse which can damage the central argument. Personally, I prefer to compare it to (adult) incest. If I as an unmarried person feel overwhelmingly sexually attracted to my unmarried brother* in addition to my feelings of familial love and affection for him, and he returns those feelings, and we determine that one or both of us is infertile so there is no danger of having children, and therefore we decide to have consensual sex on the grounds that we’re not hurting anybody, that does not make incest any less forbidden by the moral law, or legal by the government’s standards. Not does the intensity of our feelings, however passionate they may be, legitimize the act of having intercourse.

            Sexual intercourse does NOT equal “love”, nor is it the inevitable and natural and highest expression of love, and those who oppose the idea of same-sex intercourse on moral grounds are not telling other people “who they can love” or condemning them to a life of miserable isolation bereft of all friends and comforters. They are simply affirming what the Bible says about lawful sexual practices. Emotional relationships are not under scrutiny here.

            * I do not, for the record. Hypothetical situation only!

            • Jim Williams October 25, 2012, 7:43 PM

              Your comments are fascinating. Obviously, I am unhappy with the comparison that Mike made (or repeated, really). Your example is an intriguing question. It would seem to come down to how “society” might be harmed by the consensual sex of two adults. Any two adults. If the family unit is harmed by incest, then it should be banned/shunned/illegal. If the family unit is harmed by homosexuality, then it should be banned/shunned/illegal. Outside of a Christian-values based application of what is immoral, I think a convincing case against incest can be made.
              Another commenter correctly pointed out other ostensibly consensual but clearly immoral types of sexual relationships. Teacher/student, et al. Incest would seem to fall into this category. The parental role is life-long. Parents raising children is a basic tenet.
              I fail to see how homosexuality threatens the basic fabric of society. You have adult spouses, parents, children. It’s all there. Outside of the Christian/sin argument, my theory is that society is not in danger. Obviously, I’m in the minority in this comment thread.

              • R.J. Anderson October 26, 2012, 7:21 AM

                So the good of society is the highest standard of moral law? If we can prove that something harms society, it’s bad and we should legislate against it, but if we can’t prove that it does any harm to society, it’s okay? Fair enough.

                My question then would be, where do you derive the moral framework that tells you to care about society? What makes you believe that to do good for society is not merely expedient or useful, but actually morally good?

                And furthermore, what do you think it is that causes you to have a visceral, emotional reaction against the idea of pedophilia as morally repugnant — not merely damaging to society, but actually bad and wrong and evil and terrible in itself? Where does that reaction come from, what makes you sure that it reflects (or should reflect) a universal standard and not just your personal preference, and are you really sure that your opposition to pedophilia wouldn’t diminish if you had more exposure to the pro-pedophilia arguments and saw more positive portrayals of “consensual” pedophilia on TV and in movies?

                • Mike Duran October 26, 2012, 7:29 AM

                  Great questions, R.J. This is spot on with the intentions of this post. If society’s mores are not tied to something universal and absolute, then there is no compelling reason to prefer one lifestyle over another. If cultures have reclassified whole classes and races of people (blacks, Jews, women, homosexuals, etc.) what’s stopping us from doing it again? Thank you for getting my point!

                • Jim Williams October 26, 2012, 7:35 AM

                  R.J., all good questions. Just as we derive our language and culture from a polyglot of other languages and cultures, I believe that basic standards of decency, morality, etc are derived from tenets that are gleaned from those cultural standpoints included in that mix. Christianity is clearly a strong influence. I am not anti-Christian, and I don’t believe our country is, either. Occasionally, I see a too-strong foray into society by Christian “forces” (?) that makes me uncomfortable. The issue of homsexuality and tolerance is one of those.
                  As to if I’m really sure that exposure to pro-pediphilia arguments or portrayals wouldn’t diminish my disgust? I can point to all the murdering I see on TV everyday. Every action movie out there makes it seem cool to kill people. I know it’s not. Some movies, like Natural Born Killers, for example, are told from the viewpoint of the psychotic killer. I found it difficult and unpleasant to watch. Even Kill Bill was a non-starter for me, and I skipped the sequel.
                  I don’t have all the answers. I feel very strongly that pedophilia is not really very close to being “made normal”. And I think that tolerance for homosexuality has nothing to do with it whatsoever.

          • Nicole October 25, 2012, 7:19 AM

            No. My basis for right and wrong lie in God’s word. You don’t have to believe in it, acknowledge it, or agree with it. That’s my source for an absolute morality. Fornication is considered equal to homosexuality, beastiality, rape, pedophilia, etc., if that helps you with the “logic” of this argument. Add lying, cheating, murder, etc. to those and you have the directive for an absolute meter for morality. Sin is sin to God. God set the original moral compass. And when it’s upheld, behaviors are identified as good and bad. Man’s laws may try to supercede God’s laws, but His will prevail in the end. In the meantime this process that Mike described continues to erode right and wrong. Just because it’s no longer “illegal” to maintain a homosexual relationship doesn’t make it moral. And those who deem to “professionally” move the markers to additional wrong behaviors – whatever they may be – are not going to make them any more right than they definitely are not according to the absolute moral compass.

          • D.M. Dutcher October 25, 2012, 8:26 AM

            The example is over the top, but the argument isn’t. You yourself actually illustrate it but in a different way:

            You believe that homosexual behaviors are an innate orientation, right? That it’s a part of the person with a strong or total genetic component, and it can’t be changed or even resisted without self-harm. You do so probably because the alternative delegitimizes it as a protected class, and because of other ideas like the freedom of the individual to follow their own path, the importance of romantic love, etc.

            But because of this, you have also inadvertently slid down the slope, in a different way. You take for granted that the other behavior is also innate and immutable, and can’t be treated or even resisted, only identified and “excised from society” to use your phrase. Changing the line affects other behaviors too, because morality is a linked system, not just random rules.

            Others slide down the slope in expanding the sexual orientation’s genetic traits to things like a predisposition to promiscuity and a demand to change the idea of marriage to include it.

            You’re getting hung up on a pretty hyperbolic example, but his point in general is right-redrawing lines often leads to more lines being redrawn, and without some coherent set of moral principles, it can lead to some pretty horrid redefinitions. It doesn’t really help to have a hyperbolic example like this though-like I said below I disagree with it, and there’s plenty of plausible and actual examples you can use otherwise.

  • Jon Mast October 24, 2012, 1:23 PM

    Thank you for this article — you clearly show some strong parallels that many I’ve talked with deny. You’ve put some tools in my toolbox for the next conversation!

    You quote A Queer Thing Happened In America — would you recommend this work for further info? I’m guessing you would, thus your use here, but I’d like to see an actual recommendation before I seek it out myself!

    • Mike Duran October 24, 2012, 6:01 PM

      Jon, I have only read sections of the book. It’s cited a lot in conservative research, but it’s also very controversial. My quoting from it is not necessarily a recommendation of the book. So I’d suggest you proceed with caution. go to the author’s website and read some reviews. Okay?

  • Brandon October 24, 2012, 7:58 PM

    An important facet of this discussion – and one that I believe makes Mike’s point so much more relevant – that I don’t think has really come out in the discussion is this: As a culture, we have a tendency to equate “legal” with “moral”. If we declare something to be legal, then society as a whole says we dare not call it wrong. At the same time, we allow “majority rules” to be what determines the morality of a thing. We say that as long as a majority of the people see something as moral, then it should be legal. And if it’s legal, it’s moral. And round and round it goes.

    So, as I read Mike’s point, he’s saying that our society has lost its moral compass, and no clearer is this demonstrated in the fact that we willy nilly declare things moral that once we did not. The evidence of this lack of moral compass is in the things we make legal, and the long term ramifications may be more awful than we realize.

    We need a better moral compass than “majority rules”.

  • D.M. Dutcher October 24, 2012, 8:23 PM

    I don’t know Mike. The big difference is that it is impossible to argue informed consent from children, or that what pedophiles do is anything but sexually exploitative and harmful. You can argue for a lot of morally wrong things by linking them to goods: lotteries raise tax revenue to the state, or the autonomy of the self in its pursuit of pleasure . But the goal posts can only be moved so far, without falling down completely. There will never be a world which says that murdering your friends is all right, on a society-wide scale. You’d have to completely destroy children’s rights and protections to even attempt this, and it’s impossible in the western world.

    I think a less extreme example proves your point though. Apparently, millions of women seem to think what Christian Grey does to Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey can be considered an enticing fantasy of a fulfilling romance. The pursuit of pleasurable highs in anything can lead to forwards based thinking that does exactly what you say. Without a grounded morality of love, sex, and marriage, it is deadly easy to redraw the line, and we all suffer the effects from it today. What sucks about the progress/forwards mindset is that it is never holistic-it’s people trying to redraw their one personal line without realizing that doing so affects other lines, too.

    I do agree with your point in general, but not the example given. My own feelings are that homosexual practice can’t be endorsed by the Christian faith, but when it comes to politics, this is trying to tell the unbelievers what to do when they don’t share our beliefs on it. Or, in worst cases, when we don’t even know we cross lines ourselves.

    • Kenichi October 24, 2012, 9:07 PM

      “You’d have to completely destroy children’s rights and protections to even attempt this, and it’s impossible in the western world.”

      Erm… not so fast. The birthplace of the “western world,” that is, ancient Greece, had a formalized system of patronship-pedophilia called “pederasty.”

      I wouldn’t assume that it’s impossible for us to return there, as horrifying as that sounds.

      • D.M. Dutcher October 25, 2012, 7:55 AM

        I don’t think it is possible. Some ideas and values are central to a culture and simply can’t be transgressed so radically through a slippery slope. I do believe certain changes can happen, but for better or worse there is a limit to how much a society can alter itself and make it sustainable. You’d have to break down the whole to get certain things changed.

        • sally apokedak October 25, 2012, 9:23 AM

          They left their babies out to die–exposed them to the elements. And we also leave our babies out to die when they have the audacity to live through an abortion. I don’t see why you would think we can’t return to a world of pedophilia. Have you read any YA books lately? Seen any kids movies? Whate age do you think went to see the second Transformers movie? Transformers are toys for little children and the second movie was one of the most sexualized movies I’ve seen in a long time. It promoted out of wedlock sex between young people and between different species. Do you really think we aren’t grooming our children for sex?

    • sally apokedak October 25, 2012, 9:16 AM

      There will never be a world which says that murdering your friends is all right, on a society-wide scale.

      Well we live in a world where murdering you children is fine on a wide scale. Abortion is the number one cause of death in the US and probably in the world. In the US we kill 1.5 million of our own children yearly. So don’t say we won’t live in a world where murdering people we are supposed to love and protect isn’t legal. That’s an outrageous claim in light of the brutal, sinful, selfish age we live in.

      • D.M. Dutcher October 25, 2012, 9:42 AM

        Sally, the only way this even exists is because people made a concerted change to redefine the fetus as not a person. There was also linking abortion to sexual liberation as well as a host of other reasons across the spectrum ranging from population control to eugenicism. In every case they had to change the philosophical idea of when human life began and link it to a tremendous amount of good things moderns tend to like, and we still have bitter wars about it today.

        My point wasn’t to mean humans can’t be wicked, but that you can’t just snap your fingers and Hitler appears. A society doesn’t just wake up and decide to do something, but it’s the culmination of a lot of things, and for the grace of God there’s enough resistance that changing it too far will cause it to collapse rather than perpetuate a horridly immoral society.

        • sally apokedak October 25, 2012, 10:10 AM

          Oh, well, yes it will collapse. Our country is on the road to collapse.

          The point is that forty years ago homosexuality was seen as abnormal and sinful and now it’s hate speech to suggest such a thing. Ten years ago pedophilia was considered abnormal and sinful and now it’s not considered abnormal and sinful, apparently. No one is saying you can snap your fingers and have Hitler appear. There was a long hard battle for women’s right to kill their children. And there was a long hard battle for homosexuals’ right to marry people of like gender, and there will be a long hard fight for pedophile’s rights to have sex with ten-year-olds. Mike seems to be entering that battle now. I think it’s the right thing to do, even though I believe it’s a battle that can’t be won without a revival of Christianity in this country.

          We still have to speak the truth even if we’re accused of being haters. If we fail then we’re guilty of aiding the oppressors by our silence, I believe.

  • Albert October 24, 2012, 11:43 PM

    If a sodomist is entitled to his rights no wonder God destroys this kind of behaviour, What I would like to know where morality is concerned what gives the right for any Doctors or Judges to have this sort of subject to be included for them to decide. I think morality should be left in the hand of the church by right to have a say or decide between right and wrong. Paedophilia Homosexuality plus sadist animalist all this is nothing for some and but indirectly it is nothing more than abnormality. Do you not realise how many people have ended up killing themselves how much these people are hunted with inn themselves. Sodomy is an abnormality in the mind which in exact word means to have your satisfactions in any possible way no meter whom you heart.

  • sally apokedak October 25, 2012, 9:17 AM

    You’d have to completely destroy children’s rights and protections to even attempt this, and it’s impossible in the western world.

    And are you even aware the aborted babies born alive are usually set off to the side and left to die? They are routinely denied medical treatment.

  • John October 25, 2012, 1:49 PM

    Perhaps a poorly chosen example by Mike, considering the firestorms that erupt around such topics (even when only used as examples). However, I appreciate the post, and its main point absolutely stands firm. It’s frustrating to see Jim Williams constantly picking fights with the commentators and choosing — yes, choosing — to be so offended at the post. It’s high time he grew up.

    • D.M. Dutcher October 25, 2012, 5:10 PM

      Yeah, I’m trying to pick my own words carefully. I’ve been in the middle of these types of arguments many times, and it’s like dancing in the middle of a minefield.

  • Jim Williams October 25, 2012, 1:59 PM

    Sorry to have frustrated you John. I grow up a little bit each day. Rather obvious attempt at baiting–are you new at this? I think the subject matter is important, and stating my opinions and sticking to them is not exactly “picking fights” to me, but mehh.

  • Bob Avey October 25, 2012, 3:21 PM

    You nailed it, Mike, with “Real progress is moving in the right direction.”

  • Mike Duran October 25, 2012, 7:48 PM

    Jim Williams said: “I do not believe that there is any real chance that pedophilia could ever be “proven” to not be damaging to children. I am saying this clearly, because you apparently could not pick that out from all the times I have assailed pedophilia in this discussion. It will never be “right”.

    Mike: So you don’t believe pedophilia could ever be proven right or healthy or good or loving. Great. (BTW: That still doesn’t answer my question. *Sigh*) Well, doctors and academics are already seeking to re-define the deviancy down, as the link above shows. Call them “nutters” if you want. But in the end, they start the ball rolling. So what you believe is moot.

    You say it will never be “right.” On what grounds do you say this? Jim Williams’ personal ground of beliefs? So what? Or is there a larger set of Morals you’re drawing from? Because I’m saying the same thing about homosexuality. It will never be “right.” In fact, what I’m saying in this post — which you have continued to skirt in favor of indignation that I would dare equate homosexual deviance as anything close to pedophilia — is that w/out some sense of Absolute Morals… “your right” is not “my right.” So huff and puff all you want.

    Alas, all this, and you haven’t even addressed the point of this post. Oh well, you can take comfort in the fact that I specialize in “hyperbolic non sequitors,” the kind found “mostly on right wing blogs.”

  • Lyn Perry October 26, 2012, 7:18 PM

    I can easily envision a society where sexuality, sexual expression, and the sex act itself is so banalized that there are no more mores against it. The issue of consent becomes irrelevant when taboos disappear. Children can be shaped (if society is thus shaped) to believe that sharing their bodies with adults is as normal as eating dinner with grownups. Take away the shame, take away the guilt, take away the condemnation, take away the taboo and there is no reason for restricting sex to adult/adult relationships.

    In fact, if we’re simply byproducts of an evolutionary process, then this seems a preferable future – it’s good for society! We have an evolutionary urge for sex, why not work toward the eventual state where all can experience it equally, mutually, lovingly? I’m not advocating this. My point is, like Mike’s, without cultural mores based on an absolute morality (where taboos and shame and guilt and condemnation for wrongdoing originate), then anything is permissible.

    Without God’s restraining hand (2 Thes 2.6,7) society might very well “evolve” to that point. We already clothing optional cities, we have parents attempting to raise genderless children, we have the APA example above, we have the current debates on the redefinition of marriage, et cetera, et cetera. Religious values are simply holding us back from John Lennon’s vision of the future. Imagine! So, let’s shed all those outdated rules about sex. Forward unto dawn!

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