“Am I committed to any ‘truth’ so deeply that I am willing to die for it, and willing to live moment-by-moment,
hour-by-hour, year-by-year for that truth, until my death?
How does one find what is the Good, the True, the Just, the Beautiful?
How does any individual discover whether a philosophical, moral, or political claim is genuine, is true,
is an accurate reality
mass delusion, or
At 72 years of age, now, I look back…
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Friday, May 10, 2019
At this contentious time of physical and verbal harm,
this reflection is surely needed:
3 Ought Not Fight
Disking the rock strewn
Objected earth near Jerusalem,
Underneath the Middle Eastern sky
Rows of mean earth riven by the blades,
We cut away our anger, hate, and pride,
Stopping to drink, not from the liquor
Of fanatic corruption but from
The precious water welling up,
Our oasis of Jacob'd sharing,
In this Ramadan season
Months before Christ's birth
We three sons of Abraham,
Muslim, Jew, and Christian,
Ought to fight the true battle
Not each other,
Not with weapons of harm
To be found worthy
First pub. in
Saturday, May 4, 2019
“The sense of spiritual relief which comes from rejecting the idea of God as a
superhuman being is enormous.”
Julian Huxley, Religion Without Revelation
THAT'S one story.
HERE'S several others: The human species is "chemical scum;"
all humans are "biochemical puppets;"
all humans are "in essence, evil,"
all humans' sense of themselves is an illusion, etc.
And contrary ones such as: The human species is amazing in its abilities, achievements, and wonder--
that this one form of primate has become rationally, scientifically,
morally, and transcendentally aware,
is capable of creative choice and
has decoded the human genome, sent probes to the edge of our solar system,
has become aware or human rights, justice, and altruism
and creates aesthetics and music, and so many other positive, emotionally
and rationally new creations!
Astrophysicist Joel R. Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams wrote in their humanistic astrophysics and meaning book, The View from the Center of the Universe that human thinkers need to come up with a new meta-story for the human species that is neither superstitious (old religious myth) nor nihilistic (some philosophers' and scientists' claims--see examples above).
WHAT IS THE TRUE NATURE OF REALITY?
Andrew Greeley, an American sociologist, writer, and liberal Roman Catholic wrote:
Anthropologist Clifford Geertz "...thinks of religion as a set of symbols which provide man a “meaning system” that can answer his fundamental problems about the interpretability of the universe. The “templates” which guide the behavior of animals are for the most part provided by innate instincts, but man has rather few instincts
and is capable of surviving in the world not because he is endowed with an elaborate system of instincts but because he is able to evolve culture; that is to say, a series of meaning systems with which he can interpret and organize his life."
"Man’s religion is the most fundamental of his meaning systems because it is one which provides answer to the most puzzling and basic questions about the meaning of existence itself...
Most of us need, at least implicitly, some sort of rough and ready answers to questions of whether
life has meaning,
of whether good triumphs over evil; or evil, good;
of how the good man lives;
of whether the really real is malign or gracious;
and of whether man is capable of establishing relationships with the real.
Our religious symbols contain, frequently in highly poetic form, the ultimate meaning system or interpretive scheme
which we use to cope with these questions."
And in another book by science and meaning, writer Nancy Ellen Abrams explains:
"The clear goal of my book, stated from the start, is to present a scientifically impeccable yet personally empowering way to think about God in the modern age.
"An emergent phenomenon is not the sum-total of a collective – it’s something radically and unpredictably new that arises from the collective by the laws of nature. Each of us, for example, is made of trillions of cells, but we are not just the sum-total of those cells, or we would be a large and slobbering mass of unconsciousness."
Yes, we exist only because of our cells, but what has over the course of evolution emerged from the complexity of those cells’ interactions is a human being – a complicated, self-conscious, feeling, acting, intellectually curious, potentially spiritual being that far outlasts all its individual cells and is in no sense in the image of a cell."
[Negative secular thinkers] "are out there giving popular talks where they cynically condemn our universe as “the worst of all possible universes” simply because of something that may (or may not) happen in billions of years; or they describe the heavy atoms cooked up in stars, which we and Earth are made of, as the “waste products of supernovae” when they could just as accurately and certainly more inspirationally call those atoms “stardust.”
So true. Abrams shows that the facts of the existence are the same, but how one understands the facts makes a huge difference. Some human thinkers view them very negatively from an anti-humanistic life stance, while others do the opposite.
Contrast the positive life outlook of science writer Carl Sagan when he wrote that humans are made of "star dust," to those naysayers, nihilistic thinkers who claim that all humans are "chemical scum,"
"waste products," "biochemical puppets," etc.
Abrams gives an example:
"There is nothing uncomfortable about dark energy but thinking makes it so. Once we accept that dark matter and dark energy account for 95% of our one-and-only universe, our spiritual challenge is to discover the comfort in them – and there’s plenty, because we owe them everything.
Without dark matter and dark energy we would never have existed. For billions of years dark matter has been pulling atoms together while dark energy flings space apart. Their interaction with each other has spun the galaxies into being, thus creating the only possible homes for the evolution of planets and life."
"The way our species as a whole is behaving today is unsustainable and even self-destructive in the long term. Bronze Age ideas about God are a big part of the problem, not only for believers but for atheists...who still see their job as opposing those old ideas rather than transcending them."
"But [creedal religious] belief and atheism are no longer the only options.
We are living in an amazing time when the new cosmology is teaching us not only what kind of universe we live in but how to open our minds to the cosmic deep time
from which we emerged and the cosmically long term future our descendants could have."
"Atheism is a reasonable reaction to the many impossible notions of God, but it cannot be the final stage of our understanding if we humans want to rise to our full potential and cooperatively confront the global problems that threaten us all."
A God That Could Be Real by Nancy Ellen Abrams
SEEK WHAT IS TRUE. CREATE HUMAN STORIES THAT ALIGN WITH SCIENCE, ONES WHICH CAN INSPIRE US TO NEW DEPTHS OF PURPOSE.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
“God and King,” “The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire,” “Gott mi tuns” (on every German soldier' belt buckle-“God with us”)
“Holy Mother Russia,”
“God bless U.S.”
“Make America Great Again,”
“Change We Can Believe In”
"Allahu Akbar!" (“Allah is Greater!”)
“In this Sign, Conquer.”
So many idolatrous mottoes by human nations bent upon imposing their particular society on all others, declaring their particular nation is the only numero uno!
And endless subgroups of religion, politics, and ideology
Republican vs. Democrat
Capitalist vs. Marxist
Christian vs. Muslim
Hindu vs. Buddhist....
Notice, they all tend toward egocentric identities!
Power, Money, War, and In-Groupness.
According to the American theologian and social critic, Reinhold Niebuhr, all of us humans
have the tendency individually to behave less moral than each of us ought to do.
But more importantly, the central key focus and thesis of his book, Moral Man and Immoral Society
that generally every nation-society of humans will act even more immoral than individuals within each nation.
(He later wrote that his book ought to have been, 'immoral men, and even more immoral nations'.)
This tragedy happens because of of all human nations have group-egos.
History does seem to show that any given human society will tend to be more immoral and more unjust than some of its citizens.
The analogy would be like a bit of dye dropped into a glass of water. It quickly stains-discolors the whole glass of water even if only a very tiny bit of dye has been added.
Possibly, a nation could be morally better than its individual citizens, but it’s not likely. And it hasn’t happened in known history.
Here are a few more examples of the tendency toward ethnocentrism in history:
“Nobiscum Deus in Latin, Μεθ᾽ἡμων ὁ Θεός (Meth himon o theos) in Greek, was a battle cry of the late Roman Empire and of the Eastern Roman Empire. It is also a popular hymn of the Eastern Orthodox Church, sung during the service of Great Compline (Μεγα Αποδειπνον). The Church Slavonic translation is Съ Hами Богъ (S Nami Bog).”
“It was used for the first time in Germany by the Teutonic Order. In the 17th century, the phrase Gott mit uns was used as a 'field word', a means of recognition akin to a password, by the army of Gustavus Adolphus at the battles of Breitenfeld (1631), Lützen (1632) and Wittstock (1636) in the Thirty Years' War."
“In 1701, Frederick I of Prussia changed his coat of arms as Prince-Elector of Brandenburg. The electoral scepter had its own shield under the electoral cap. Below, the motto Gott mit uns appeared on the pedestal.”
It is shocking that in the 21st century, many nations are now turning back to autocratic, egocentric forms of governments.
Nationalism like what caused the cataclysm of the Great War at the beginning of the 20th century is back!
Let us work to counter this dire change for the worse.
Saturday, April 20, 2019
The following points appear to be the sort of reasonings for gay marriage that individuals such as Peter and Chasten hold toward marriage versus the contrary views of "the Mike Pences of the world" (Peter's phrase):
#1 While it isn't wise to abandon or jettison one of the central moral codes of the last 4,000 years, when new information,
new insights, new intuitions, new experiences call into question one of the tenets,
it is very important that we listen, think, dialog and if warranted,
CHANGE our minds.
According to statistics, about 5% to 11% of Americans aren't exclusively heterosexual. The numbers vary according to how one deals with the issues. For instance, about 8 million, 3.5% "identify as LGBT." But about 11% "acknowledge at least some same-sexual attraction."
When all of the numbers are crunched, at least 19 million to 25.6 million aren't only opposite sexual in orientation.
Those millions of same sexual human beings are equal to other humans, have the same inherent worth, have the same human rights, are just as precious as those humans who judge them as morally wrong.
WHY SHOULD THEY BE EXCLUDED FROM MARRIAGE because of the dominant ancient moral code?
Of course, Christians, Muslims, and Jews answer that the reason is the same as why robbers, molesters, polygamists, etc. ought to be excluded from various rights: same sexual relations, like the other moral violations, is contrary to what is true and same sexuality is harmful, degenerate, and an abomination similar to other 'gross' actions.
NOW NOTICE HERE: THIS IS WHERE THE CONTROVERSY GETS COMPLICATED!
Most conservative Christian-Jewish-Muslim leaders are equating identity with action.
ERROR? They generally reject the view held by many modern secular thinkers that same sexual individuals are born, (or born-nurtured), gay/transgender, etc.
IN CONTRAST, these religious leaders believe that all alternative sexual identities are CHOSEN. Many think that this is an immoral choice by each individual human and that all of them are actually born heterosexual. They think that the idea of "sexual orientation" is a falsehood like "evolution," "socialism," etc.
Other conservative leaders think that while homosexuality isn't self-chosen by some humans, homosexuality itself is part of the FALL, part of ORIGINAL SIN that infects all humans and must be resisted.
They emphasize that all humans are "totally depraved," that all of us are born "in essence, evil" but that this particular depravity, homosexuality, only shows in some of us humans, while other humans commit incest, molestation, robbery, lying, and so forth.
IN CONTRAST, same sexual leaders such as Peter Buttigieg, emphasize that they didn't choose their nature, nor is their nature bad, but on the contrary, “That’s the thing that I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand that if you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
The traditional moral rule against same sexuality doesn't apply to him as self-chosen. On the contrary, Peter says that for a long time his identity deeply grieved and troubled him: “It’s hard to face the truth that there were times in my life when, if you had shown me exactly what it was inside me that made me gay, I would have cut it out with a knife.”
"If you had offered me a pill to make me straight, I would’ve swallowed it before you had time to give me a sip of water."
The KEY point of Peter is that sexual orientation is from God, but that how we express our orientation is a question of right and wrong, good and bad that we humans choose.
For instance, in regards to President Trump's immoral actions, Peter said, "“I can’t believe that somebody that was caught writing hush money checks to adult film actresses is somebody they should be lifting up as the kind of person they want to be leading this nation.” (Meet the Press)
AGAIN, REASON #1, ACCORDING TO LEADERS LIKE PETER AND CHASTEN, TONY CAMPOLO, ETC. IS THAT ALL HUMANS NEED TO USE THEIR SEXUAL NATURE AND IDENTITY (WHETHER GAY OR STRAIGHT) IN THE LIFE-ENHANCING, MORAL WAY OF MARRIAGE.
What is wrong isn't sexual orientation, but immoral choices of promiscuity, infidelity, and so forth.
DENYING GAY HUMANS THE RIGHT TO MARRY is WRONG FOR THAT NOT ONLY DENIES THEIR ESSENTIAL WORTH AND VALUE, BUT LEAVES THEM LIVING THEIR SEXUALITY OUTSIDE OF SOCIAL COMMITMENT.
This seems to be a very strong point for the goodness of gay marriage.
How very different might famous Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin's life have been if he had been able to marry in the 1940's, have that public social commitment help him to overcome his tendency--temptations--to engage in gay promiscuous one-night stands.
His non-married sexual choices then hurt him, his close friends, harmed the image of Civil Rights, and kept Bayar hidden in the background of the Movement because of the immoral violation of engaging in sex in a car in Pasadena with a stranger, caught by California police.
It is tragic that a large number of gay men still make promiscuous choices because they have been taught by Western society and culture that their identity is morally wrong.
Gay marriage--its emphasis that gay humans are equal in worth and rights to heterosexuals--is surely an important reason why gay marriage is true.
Past generations of human leaders (the human authors of the MORAL CODE), didn't know about orientation so they misunderstood thinking that same sexuality in itself was immoral. They confused essence with particular immoral actions.
What do you think?
#1 One of the most important statements—which has proven tragically to be true-- made by religious people 20 years ago was that recognizing gay marriage wouldn’t create new ideals of moral realism but would become a slippery slope to the demand for more immoral behavior.
At the time, back then, I thought that the Christian spokesmen who were claiming that this would happen were fear-mongering and using scare tactics to hurt sincere humans who were gay.
HOWEVER, strangely, this odd contradiction has begun to happen. Some same sexual leaders instead of continuing to support monogamy, now that gay marriage has become legal in the United States, are, instead, supporting promiscuity,
‘polyamory’ a form of group marriage, where 3 or 4 or more individuals engage in temporary sexual relations.
After reading a bunch of articles and defenses of ‘polyamory,’ it does seem that the religious leaders’ warnings of the past have come true.
Heck, even some fairly orthodox Christian leaders have come out in support of 'polyamory' as good!
But ‘polyamory’ isn’t even the sometimes mild immoral practice of polygamy or concubinage but appears to be a western nation version of acceptable short-term (as short as 3 days or 3 months!) sexual relations like in 12er Shia Islam.
As a former hippie who lived in Haight-Asbury in the spring of 1966 before receiving my draft notice, I remember all of the glowing talk about “Make Love, Not War,”
but generally what this amounted to was lust for a night or a week or a month.
‘Polyamory” seems to just be a regress to those empty-user phrases made by young people who wanted sex without care,
sex without commitment,
sex without intimacy.
When I lived there near Haight street, that was still a somewhat idealistic time. However very soon the Haight lust and 'highs' descended into hate, violence, drug pushing and abuse, and other forms of unethical behavior.
So much for ‘love.’
Let us hope that more same sexual individuals will choose monogamous commitment in marriage like Pete and Chasten.
To be continued--
In the Light of the Good and the True,
Friday, April 19, 2019
Section #2: Peter & Chasten Buttigieg vs. Vice President Mike & Karen Pence, The Question of Gay Marriage
In the first section of this long article I explained why life-long monogamous marriage is the human ideal, what every individual ought to seek.*
The HUGE question of the last 40 years or so is whether or not those human couples who aren’t heterosexual have the right to monogamous marriage.
Of course, legally, this was decided in the U.S. by the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015 in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges.
The question we are dealing with here is whether or not the decision of the Supreme Court was morally true or not.
Leaders such as Vice President Mike Pence and his spouse, Karen Pence have stated that same sexual relations are morally wrong, so they oppose gay marriage as sin.
The new candidate for President in 2020, former South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg and his spouse, Chasten Buttigieg, in contrast, think that same sexuality is normal, not wrong, and that every human has a right to marry.
Intriguingly, both couples allege that they are devout Christians. Mike and Karen are Evangelicals; she teaches at a Baptist elementary school that prohibits same sexuality and gay marriage.
Peter and Chasten are Episcopalians.
BUT that isn’t the key difference between Peter and Chasten, because President George H. Bush opposed gay marriage when he was president, and he, too, is Episcopalian. (Intriguingly, though, at the time, Barbara Bush, supported gay individuals, thought that sexuality was a private matter, and that the Republican Party ought to not ban gay marriage.)
Also, while Mike and Karen oppose same sexuality and gay marriage, allegedly because they are “born-again” Evangelicals, there are even a minority of Evangelical Christian leaders who support gay marriage.(Strangely, Mike and Karen couldn't have been good "born-again Evangelicals back in my early youth, late-50's early 60's, because in Evangelical Christianity at the time, dancing was considered immoral. Dancing was an action that no good Christian would ever do. My own father, a Baptist minister and teacher helped lead the effort to ban the prom at Adams High School because no one ought to dance. YET notice Mike and Karen are dancing, and she is wearing an off-the-shoulder gown!)
Keep in mind that being a member of a Christian denomination doesn’t necessarily mean anything when it comes to morals and ethics.
Heck, former Vice President Dick Cheney was a Methodist, but his political views and many of his actions were immoral and unjust, completely contrary to the social ethics of Wesleyan beliefs. And President Richard Nixon belonged to a pacifist denomination! So much for the True Scotsman.
So, we are going to have to go deeper than the terms secular vs sacred,
or non-Christian vs. Christian,
or Episcopal vs. Evangelical, etc.
The Episcopal Church to which Peter and Chasten belong didn't even recognize gay marriage until about 2012! In that year, the Episcopal Diocese of New York began to hold same sex weddings.
However, the General Convention of 1976 did state, "homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church."
Let’s first briefly look at the history of Christianity in regards to same sexuality.
#1 The Bible (viewed as inspired by Jews, Muslims, and Christians)
Leviticus 18, 20
I Corinthians 6:9-11
2 Peter 2:4-10
#2 Traditional Theology and Ethics of Christianity,Judaism, and Islam
In the Quran, same sexual relations are prohibited and are to be punished.
In the Hadith, same sexuality is to be punished with the death penalty.
In Islam, gays are often charged with "debauchery" and are punished with flogging or execution. On the other hand, in the past in some forms of Islam, same sexuality was hinted at positively in poetry and wasn't severely punished; sometimes was ignored.
Besides verses in the Jewish Bible such as Leviticus, traditionally rabbinic leaders expanded the prohibition to include lesbian relations and any same sexual behavior.
Even, today, Orthodox Jewish rabbis condemn same sexual relations and oppose gay marriage.
(Though keep in mind the fact, there may be exceptions such as gay Orthodox Rabbi Steven Greenberg, just like there are exceptions in conservative and Evangelical Christianity including famous leader Tony Campolo.)
From the Church Fathers until recent times, creedal Christianity has opposed same sexuality. Roman Catholic leader John Chrysostom, in the 4th century, claimed that same sexual relations are worse than murder.
Over the centuries, some Christian governments ordered the death penalty for gays, sometimes burning them or using torture, castration, and banishment. Pope Nicholas V in 1451 had the Inquisition arrest same sexual men. They, like in the past, were burned to death.
Martin Luther stated that same sexuality comes from the devil.
The Eastern Orthodox Church condemns same sexual relations as sin and opposes gay marriage.
WHEN DID THE CHANGE TOWARD SAME SEXUALITY HAPPEN FOR SOME CHRISTIAN LEADERS?
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, in 1989 Denmark became the first nation to legally establish a form of non-religious marriage for same sexual couples. However, many leaders of the Lutheran Church of Denmark still opposed gay marriage in 2004.
The earliest acceptance of gay relationships by a few creedal Christian leaders seems to have occurred in the early 1970's.
So the weight of Christian history and tradition appears to be on Mike and Karen Pence's side--that same sexuality is sin, morally wrong.
Arguing from Christian history and tradition is VERY DANGEROUS! For in 16th century Europe, Mike and Karen could have been burned at the stake or tortured and drowned during that time by the Christian leaders including Roman Catholics, Calvinists and others. Beliefs of Evangelical Christians were considered heretical and evil.
Far more 'Evangelical' Christians were executed for being evil than same sexual individuals!
Even one of the heroes of Evangelicals today, Martin Luther, strongly condemned, not only homosexuals but the 'evangelicals' of his time. And Lutheran and Reformed leaders banished them and supported their executions in some cases.
#1 WHAT ARE THE REASONS TO SUPPORT A CHANGE FROM THE CONDEMNATION OF SAME SEXUALITY BY ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY, ISLAM, AND JUDAISM?
In other words, why ought we to agree with Peter and Chasten (and other such leaders) about gay marriage being good?
#2 WHAT ARE THE REASONS TO SUPPORT OPPOSITION TO SAME SEXUALITY AND GAY MARRIAGE, THE VIEW OF CREEDAL CHRISTIANS SUCH AS MIKE AND KAREN PENCE?
To be continued
In the Light of the Good, the True, the Just, the Caring,
Friday, April 12, 2019
This week controversy erupted, again, between Democrats and Republicans on questions of the meaning of sexuality and marriage. Let's short-step back from the political fracas and reflect on sexuality-marriage itself.
The meaning of human sexuality is deep, transcendent, complicated and controversial. Then there is the related question of marriage or not. It appears that no one can get away from the intense subject.
A few quotes to show the inexplicable contrariness and contradictory outlook of various human beings toward this incessantly fascinating topic of sexuality and marriage:
In some early Buddhism, such as the Theradvada writings, it was not possible for a woman to become a bodhisativa; a human is born a woman because of bad karma!
And most Buddhists chose celibacy.
Then there is the infamous verse by Paul in the New Testament:
“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”
1 Corinthians 7:1
And Orthodox Judaism' men's prayer thanking God for not making them a woman or a slave. And how women are unclean and have to take ritual baths.
On the other hand, some religious texts seem to glory in sexuality:
"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine:"
-Song of Songs, Chapter 1:2, Jewish Bible
"And God created the human in his image,
in the image of God...male and female...
And God blessed them, and God said to them,
Be fruitful and multiply
...and, look, it was very good."
"The [marriage] vows should be written like a dog's license that has to be renewed every year...I think vows should be changed because they've been in existence for 600 years when people used to live until they were only 35. So they only had to be with each other for 12 years, then they would die anyway. But now it's a big commitment because you're going to be with someone for 50 years. It's impossible...It's such a rarity for people to stay together that 68% of marriages fail. I don't want to urinate on the party, but one must consider that before getting married.
His rock anthem to romantic commitment:
"You're in my heart, you're in my soul
You'll be my breath should I grow old
You are my lover, you're my best friend
You're in my soul
My love for you is immeasurable
My respect for you immense
You're ageless, timeless, lace and fineness
You're beauty and elegance
You're a rhapsody, a comedy
You're a symphony and a play
You're every love song ever written...
You are my lover, you're my best friend
You're in my soul"
--Rock Musician Rod Stewart
“Sex is like pissing. People take it much too seriously."
--Famous Muralist and Painter Diego Rivera
“If I ever loved a woman, the more I loved her, the more I wanted to hurt her. Frida was only the most obvious victim of this disgusting trait.”
“Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?”
Yeshua, Jewish prophet
“Chastity: The most unnatural of the sexual perversions."
"I think I could fall madly in bed with you."
“Vanity, revenge, loneliness, boredom, all apply: lust is one of the least of the reasons for promiscuity."
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right...
I love thee with the passion...I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life..."
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“To me heaven would be...two lovely houses in the town; one where I would have my wife and children and be monogamous and love them truly and well and the other where I would have my nine beautiful mistresses on nine different floors.”
“The sweetest joy, the wildest woe is love.”
-Philip James Bailey
“Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.”
I Corinthians 7:1, New Testament
"Love is the word used to label the sexual excitement of the young, the habituation of the middle-aged, and the mutual dependence of the old."
"My own sexual mores...I do not believe that I should be passionately in love with my partner...and still less, married.
For there is a special and humanizing delight in erotic friendships with no strings attached..."
"My life would be much, much poorer were it not for certain
particular women with whom I have most happily and congenially committed adultery...”
-Philosopher Alan Watts
"I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love."
-Henry Ward Beecher
Roman and Grace are a married Spokane Indian couple. He is standing close to her with his basketball between them, as if the ball represents the expectant infant they will soon create…
“Michael Jordan is coming back again,” he said.
“You can’t fool me,” said Grace. “I heard it. That was just a replay.”
“Yeah, but I wish he was coming back again. He should always come back.”
“Don’t let it give you any crazy ideas.”
Roman pulled the basketball away and leaned even closer to Grace. He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing. Other people claimed that you can't choose who you love—it just happens!—but Grace and Roman knew that was a bunch of happy horseshit. Of course you chose who you loved...Damn, marriage was hard work, was manual labor, and unpaid manual labor at that. Yet, year after year, Grace and Roman had pressed their shoulders against the stone and rolled it up the hill together.
In their marriage bed, Roman chose Grace once more and brushed his lips against her ear.
Monogamous love and marriage
-From “Saint Junior” by Sherman Alexie
"In all, 10 women spoke to NPR about Alexie, who is a married man...but a clear pattern emerged: The women reported behavior ranging from inappropriate comments...unwanted sexual advances and consensual sexual relations that ended abruptly. The women said Alexie had traded on his literary celebrity to lure them into uncomfortable sexual situations.
WHY DO SO MANY HUMANS, ESPECIALLY LEADERS, (EVEN THOSE WHO AFFIRM MARRIAGE AND "LOVE") LEAD IMMORAL, HARMFUL LIVES?
Since sex only has 3 letters, how did it become a 4-letter word (to "plow" or "care" or "love")?
How does an instinctive procreative act characteristic of all humans
(and most forms of life down to fish and below) come to mean everything
from the degrading and sadistically obscene to the uplifting and creatively intimate?
From the violently aggressive to the joyfully receptive?
From one-sided selfishness to intimate communion of two lives?
Regardless of one’s worldview, most humans think humankind has reached a state in evolution
wherein individuals of our species can creatively use human innate characteristics,
adapting them for many different purposes and in very different ways.
This “plasticity” of human abilities enable billions of individuals to use their physical and brain skills, not only for time-immemorial practical acts such as plowing a field or constructing a building,
for transcendent goals or self-focused wants.
Humans can use their brains' consciousness and muscles to do acts that have no practicality at all such as play suspenseful sports in the Olympics or dance in complex moves across theater stages or construct beautiful poetic songs.
This “plasticity”—for good or ill--is, especially, true for human sexuality as shown by the wide variety of statements about sex by famous individuals as already shared.
Most of us aren’t too surprised by the sludge coming out in the media or by so-called red-necked vulgarity.
The guttural view of sex has probably been around since cavemen first spoke;-), but when brilliant well-educated humans glorify promiscuous sex, it is troubling and tragic.
So often in the news now, human sexuality
is very ambiguous with many strange variations,
and many of them destructive,
and so contrary to the Truth,
and the Beautiful.
We’re all sexual, and in different ways, but, hopefully, we don't major in being unfaithful, disloyal, and promiscuous and, even worse, declare our harmful dysfunctional behavior with pride to the world.
The Vietnamese Buddhist nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Thich Nhat Hanh, emphasized that humans seeking to become enlightened live their sexuality in enhancing ethical ways.
Yes, sexuality is a very powerful force/drive within humanity which has been shaped like soft plastic into countlessly different configurations by humans and their worldviews.
The earlier modern quote about the basketball player and his wife catches the true spirit of human sexuality, as God intends sexuality to be—a joyous monogamous life-long daily choice by two equals.
Let's say it again, sexuality is a whole life response by a couple committed to a life-long relationship, neither temporary glandular instinct nor a restricted negative necessity.
Here’s another fine explanation: “...Your understanding of love will change as you get older...I remember my second date...I totally lost my cool and told her I loved her. On our SECOND date!!"
"You know what? I recently told that very same girl how much I love her, and how glad I am that I married her...But what I meant when I really meant it 23 years ago is a lot different from what I mean when I really mean it today!"
"In 23 years, I’ve learned to put aside my selfishness more often, and I’ve learned more ways to love and cherish her...the heart of genuine love [in human sexuality] is an immovable decision to put your lover’s joy and welfare ahead of your own."
"Usually, you don’t fall into that kind of love; you climb into it. It’s not just something you feel [nor an instinctive urge]. It’s a decision you make.”
Duffy in Breakaway
Sexual love is a monogamous life-long commitment, a unique “ultimate” relationship—where two individuals give themselves to each other emotionally, mentally, and physically.
That’s true love.
True love (in the marriage sense) is unlike any other human relationship, except in some sacred writing where God is often spoken of as every individual human’s lover.
Indeed, romantic sexual imagery is often used in literature to describe the ecstasy of “knowing” God intimately. Makes sense doesn’t it?
YET now--in the midst of all of the sexual harassment, "Me, Too" bad news, there is the controversy of moral leader Peter Buttigieg versus moral leader Mile Pence, both even of the same religion, Christianity, who, while agreeing that sexual relations ought to be part of a monogamous, loving commitment for life,
YET they completely disagree about the nature of marriage!
Is marriage to only happen between a man and a woman (as held by traditional Christianity, Islam, and Judaism claims)
is marriage also right for a same sexual couple?
What do you think?
Please share your perspective.
To Be Continued:
In the Light,