But homosexuality isn’t a sin

If you’re going to discuss, complain about, the Catholic theology concerning sex and homosexuality then it would seem sensible that you actually know what the Catholic theology concerning sex and homosexuality is:

The west already has. Rome’s teaching on homosexuality is in big trouble in Britain, Australia and North America. According to the excellent Pew Research Center, most Catholics in the US don’t even see homosexuality as a sin. Barely half thought it was in 2003 and a decade later that’s dropped to a third.

The Catholic church doesn’t think that homosexuality is a sin either.

What the church does say (whether you or anyone else believes it, whether I do or not, is entirely beside the point, but this is what the church does say) is at root that any form of sex which is not open to the possibility of conception is sinful. There’s other bits too, marriage, man and woman all that, but at root that really is it: must be open to the possibility of conception.

Homosexuality, the preference for, desire for, innate compulsion to, whatever you want to call it, same sex sexual activity is no more (or less) sinful than than the preference for, desire for, innate compulsion to, heterosexual sex.

Monica’s blowjob on Bill Clinton was no more, and no less, sinful than whatever Jimmy Somerville might get up to on Hampstead Heath.

It’s the act, not the prediliction, that is the sin.

That we all might think this is the most glorious cock and bull (my personal view) is entirely beside the point. The Catholic church simply isn’t going around stating that homosexuality is a sin. And if you’re going to start discussing the Catholic view on homosexuality it would probably be a fairly good idea to work that out before doing so.

50 thoughts on “But homosexuality isn’t a sin”

  1. Absolutely correct Tim.
    I agree it’s cock ‘n’ bull but at least though the Church view is coherent. Try to explain – logically explain- why one thinks homosexuality is right and proper but porn is bad bad bad and corrupting; now that is pure cant.

  2. Well, that’s not quite and ceratinly hasn’t always been the case. Jesus said that anyone who looked lustily upon a woman had already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    And I think we can fairly extrapolate from that to men having lusty thoughts about the Bishop of Bath and Wells (or indeed women having the same). There’s no reason it should be restricted to heterosexual males who wouldn’t mind taking their not-wife halfway up the Hindu Kush.

  3. Pretty much the Anglican view as well. But they too periodically get their surplices in a twist over it.

    Logically the pope should allow condoms, since they are not 100% effective.

  4. Strangely, condoms are allowed: if, for example, one party is HIV positive. But there must also be a hole, so that there is that possibility. Rather limiting the HIV protection but still.

  5. What’s remarkable to me is how attitudes on this have changed in about a generation and a half. And I want to know how, given the press and public attitudes at the time, Freddie Mercury got away with being, very publicly, er, Freddie Mercury, in the 1980s.

  6. I’ve never understood why only homosexuals get to be upset by Christian doctrine. Who speaks for the fornicators, masturbators and adulterers?

    Also, as a fan of bacon sandwiches, am I allowed to be offended by the anti-pig meat bigotry of Judaism and Islam? And as an artist, can I denounce the declarations in all three Abrahamic religions against art as unacceptable bigotry?

  7. “Monica’s blowjob on Bill Clinton was no more, and no less, sinful than whatever Jimmy Somerville might get up to on Hampstead Heath.”

    You know there’s something broken in your brain when you read a sentence like that and immediately form a mental picture of Jimmy Somerville standing forlornly in a rhododendron bush, while the opening vocals to “Don’t Leave Me This Way” sound their rising “ooooohhhhhh”s.

    Anyway.

    If folks want to get upset at Catholics, that’s their right. But why be lazy about it? Politically correct types peeved because they imagine the RC’s hate gays and women are as absurd as evangelicals who think the Papists worship statues and believe everything the pope says is infallible.

    At least the Jews get the benefit of more interesting libels. Probably because they control the media.

  8. Ian B – “Who speaks for the fornicators, masturbators and adulterers?”

    And let’s not forget the sloths and the gluttons. And people who covet their neighbour’s ass.

  9. There’s other bits too, marriage, man and woman all that, but at root that really is it: must be open to the possibility of conception.

    The Vatican have recently clarified their position on this, Tim, and they say you’re not quite right. The marriage bit isn’t just a detail; it’s vital. The point they clarified recently was that they effectively have no position on the issue of whether you use contraception outside wedlock, except that you shouldn’t be having sex at all outside wedlock. If you do have extramarital or premarital sex, the Catholic Church say they don’t give a damn whether you’re using contraception.

    Whether this really is a clarification or is in fact a complete change of position while claiming it’s merely a clarification of the position they’ve always held, I have no idea.

    And of course there’s always been a massive difference between what the Vatican say is Catholic doctrine and what actually gets preached to congregations by their priests.

  10. I’m baffled why the 3 main monotheisms are so down on homos and wankers. Surely it’s a private matter. The one which is most phobic has the most, too. Indonesia (90% muslim) probably has more trannies than the rest of the world put together.

  11. Squander Two – thank you, kind sir (bows)

    bloke in france – I have a sociological theory on this. It’s all about fertility.

    Abrahamic religions traditionally tended to frown on wanking, bumming, and blowjobs because, as Monty Python put it, every sperm is sacred.

    If you’re wasting your seed spilling it on the ground instead of putting it in your wife’s baby incubator then you’re not contributing to the survival of your tribe and faith.

    A belief system that doesn’t encourage procreation is a belief system that will soon be overrun by the offspring of more fecund faiths.

  12. > A belief system that doesn’t encourage procreation is a belief system that will soon be overrun by the offspring of more fecund faiths.

    Exactly. I find it baffling that so many people are baffled that the religions that have successfully grown from a handful of people to billions all encourage their followers to have as many children as possible. Where’s the baffling bit?

  13. “any form of sex which is not open to the possibility of conception is sinful”: but if it’s not open to the possibility of conception, in what sense is it “sex”? Clinton’s point wasn’t altogether daft.

    Put otherwise, in the absence of the possibility of conception how do you distinguish “sex” from any other sensual pleasure?

  14. Squander Two – yarp. Especially when you consider that the Abrahamic faiths emerged from the fertile cresent, which in the ancient world was chock full of tribes trying to murder each other. (Thankfully it’s completely different today.)

    Where are the Canaanites or the Amalekites now?

    You can see why the patriarchs of the Old Testament would have been upset if they saw a young man messing around with catamites or doing the hand jive behind the wood shed instead of providing the tribe with future harvesters and warriors.

    They would have been keenly aware that at any moment a rival tribe could come rushing over the hill to murder the men, rape the women and enslave the children – or worse.

    Their emphasis on procreation wasn’t an abstract religious idea. It was a practical necessity for survival.

    Not that this was unique to the Middle East. When you look at reconstructions or ruins of early dwellings in Britain – the crannogs and the brochs and so on – it strikes you that ancient people must have lived in constant fear of being murdered. Otherwise they wouldn’t have chosen to live in damp wooden shacks built on a freezing loch, or dank stone hovels they had to crawl through mud to enter.

    And what are the most common religious figures found in archaeology? Fertility symbols such as Venus figurines and representations of the erect phallus.

  15. Steve (and others)

    I may be a complete wanker but I fail to see how teenagers in their bedrooms or in the shower are reducing population growth.

    Keeping it in the family (the pharaohs) or the tribe (samaritans) did do it.

    If you could point me to some research that shows falling fertility in either male or female masturbators I’d be much obliged.

  16. bloke in france – I may be a complete wanker but I fail to see how teenagers in their bedrooms or in the shower are reducing population growth.

    I take your point, but we can agree they’re not contributing to population growth, right?

    The no wanking thing makes sense as part of an overall strategy – albeit not a conscious strategy – for demographic success.

    Obviously you can’t stop teenagers wanking. But if your religion/culture successfully shames forms of sexual relief that don’t lead to procreation and encourages the one that does, those onanistic youngsters are more likely to become parents and your religion/culture is more likely to survive and thrive.

    Also bearing in mind that, what we call teenagers, many ancient and even not-so-ancient cultures would have called men and women. The modern day young English or American or Japanese chap may very well still be wanking and playing videogames well into his 20’s, an age by which his great grandfather probably had a wife and kids.

    Are our currently catastrophic birthrates a coincidence? Not entirely. They’re not caused by wanking of course, but because our society is currently failing to execute an overall strategy for demographic survival.

    In this respect, the rise of the infantilised 20-something girlfriendless masturbator is the chicken-choker in the coalmine. His jap’s eye japes point to a more seminal problem. Communities that are still serious about their religion generally have no trouble making babies.

  17. Nice try, Steve

    As ever, compellingly well argued.

    Sadly, historical bollocks. Persia, Greece and Rome were stuffed with pederasts. Didn’t stop them conquering the ancient world.

    Likewise, delayed marriage is correlated (cv. Clark et al) with social development. OK the numbers are only available from the 18th C, so I’ll not force this point.

    To refer to the original post, I suspect that Jesus would have replied in the same way as he replied about taxation. Redditere Caesare, or “do it in a handkerchief”.

  18. bloke in france – thank you 🙂

    Persia, Greece and Rome were stuffed with pederasts. Didn’t stop them conquering the ancient world.

    Well, where are they now? Long since supplanted by more vigorous, less pederast-y cultures, no? But there are still plenty of Jews and Christians.

    Of course you can have a society with a high degree of pederasty – or wanking, or bestiality, or robot sex or whatever – that still manages to procreate enough to sustain itself for a very long time. Boy-love was seen as a diversion or “education” by the ancients. They didn’t marry them.

    The point I’m trying to make isn’t really about any one aspect of sexual mores. It’s that the collective sum of sexual mores either add to your group’s collective survival, or your group won’t survive. Not all groups face the same demographic challenges and those challenges change over time – the situation of Bronze Age Jews was rather different to and more precarious than that of first century Romans.

    Likewise, delayed marriage is correlated (cv. Clark et al) with social development.

    Makes sense to me. I’m not talking about social development, just numbers.

  19. The rtighteous whites do seem to be fading from the scene.
    But very PC of course. This will be on the gravestone of their tribe.

  20. So Much for Subtlety

    Tim Worstall – “Strangely, condoms are allowed: if, for example, one party is HIV positive. But there must also be a hole, so that there is that possibility. Rather limiting the HIV protection but still.”

    Sorry but what? Having a hole defeats the purpose as far as HIV protection goes. And so there is no chance that they allow a condom with a hole in it. Do you have a source? This just seems to be an urban legend based on the urban legend that orthodox Jews have sex through a sheet with a hole in it.

    And yes, the Church thinks homosexuality wrong. Even if they do not do it. More wrong than getting a blow job from your intern. They do make kind of a big deal about the fact that the thought is wrong – it is one of the moral breakthroughs the Christians gave us. The thought counts.

  21. Steve

    My bafflement was genuine. I really don’t know why the three monotheisms are so het up about homos and wankers, The first you can do nothing about – there is no “cure”. The second is so widespread and does no harm (as any parent since Adam would agree). So why the focus on those subjects, instead of say lying, bearing false witness, murdering prisoners of war. etc.?

    You say the collective sum of sexual mores either add to your group’s collective survival, or your group won’t survive (end quote)
    But I can’t see that these shibboleths would be more than very marginal to group survival.

  22. I’m even more baffled by the modern mutation of religious doctrine. Time was (Timmy can give you the stats no doubt) that a confession to self abuse had a standard tariff of 3 hail marys or thereabouts. Now the churches are so into navel gazing they want to look into every bedroom and bush on Hampstead Heath. Even while they are regarded as increasingly irrelevant.

    One day the churches (and the mosques) might begin again to campaign against slavery, kidnapping, ethnic warfare, genital mutilation, multiple cousin marriage, etc if they want to be the leaders of social cohesion instead of division. They don’t have much time left. Discussing how large the pin hole in a condom should be just doesn’t cut it.

  23. SMFS,
    No, the RCC does not think that celibate homosexuals are wrong, or that being one is worse than getting a bj from an intern.

    You need to google google.

  24. Steve,
    The Persians, Greeks and Romans are still around aren’t they?

    There is strong evidence that gay-bashing history has a link to history. The Emperor Augustus banned it, so it is said, as the better class of men were devoting insufficient time to impregnating their wives. There was no moral objection.

  25. Ironman, I don’t speak for adulterers. I don’t hold with that, breach of contract and so on, not very libertarian.

  26. bloke in france – I really don’t know why the three monotheisms are so het up about homos and wankers, The first you can do nothing about – there is no “cure”. The second is so widespread and does no harm (as any parent since Adam would agree).

    K. I think we agree to disagree about sexual morality in religion serving the purpose of expanding the flock. That’s cool – Christians, Jews and Moslems would disagree with me too.

    So why the focus on those subjects, instead of say lying, bearing false witness, murdering prisoners of war. etc.?

    I think the short answer is – there isn’t a focus on those subjects.

    I’m strictly a Christmas and weddings churchgoer myself but spent a lot of Sundays sitting in the pews when I was a lad. Number of times the subject of sex came up in sermons? Zero, from memory. (And believe me, young me perked up at the mention of sex – I’d have remembered).

    The problem is, the average media person or layperson doesn’t give a stuff about what some boring clergyman has to say about charity, forgiving people who have wronged you, or the importance of prayer.

    And they certainly don’t care to hear about the big J.C. – which is unfortunate, because he’s usually what Christian clergy talk about.

    No. Pretty much the only times the Christian denominations are “news” is:

    * sex scandals
    * some sort of bunfight about gay sex
    * something else about sex

    I have no idea what they do in mosques but I’d be surprised if your average Moslem spent much time worrying about homosexuality.

    Because why would you?

    Now the churches are so into navel gazing they want to look into every bedroom and bush on Hampstead Heath.

    Really? I’m pretty sure they don’t.

    Go into any random Catholic, CofE, or Presbyterian church and I would bet you a shiny pound coin that global warming comes up more often in sermons than sex does.

    One day the churches (and the mosques) might begin again to campaign against slavery, kidnapping, ethnic warfare, genital mutilation, multiple cousin marriage, etc

    You do know that Christians are still being martyred in some parts of the world, and it’s not all that uncommon for Christian missionaries to be murdered while they try to help some of the poorest people on the planet. Right?

    That they run schools and hospitals and orphanages in the most poverty-stricken, disease-ridden, war-torn places on earth, trying to help those who need it?

    That Christian Aid and other churchy charities are pouring money and resources into helping fight the ebola outbreak?

    Unfortunately it’s not “news” though. No sex involved. So maybe you didn’t hear.

  27. Jack C – I think I heard that somewhere too.

    Also I think the idea of people being strictly homosexual is a fairly recent one that wouldn’t have made a lot of sense in ancient societies.

  28. So Much for Subtlety

    bloke in france – “I really don’t know why the three monotheisms are so het up about homos and wankers, The first you can do nothing about – there is no “cure”.”

    That is a statement of political belief, not a statement of fact or science. The homosexual lobby works very hard to ensure there is no research into cures, but a lot of people used to be homosexual and then stopped. While some people used to be straight and then decided to be Gay. People can and do change. The fact we do not know how to make them if they don’t want to doesn’t mean it is not possible (although obviously strongly inadvisable).

    “The second is so widespread and does no harm (as any parent since Adam would agree).”

    I am not sure that is true. Japanese men seem to prefer cartoon porn to the extent they can’t be bothered to sleep with real women.

    “So why the focus on those subjects, instead of say lying, bearing false witness, murdering prisoners of war. etc.?”

    It is not as if they do not focus on those as well. And have done a pretty good job by and large. However the stability of the monogamous family is the basis for pretty much all stability in other areas of society – look at Harlem – and it is clearer and clearer that “porn-utopia” is not compatible with a stable society.

    bloke in france – “One day the churches (and the mosques) might begin again to campaign against slavery, kidnapping, ethnic warfare, genital mutilation, multiple cousin marriage, etc if they want to be the leaders of social cohesion instead of division. They don’t have much time left. Discussing how large the pin hole in a condom should be just doesn’t cut it.”

    The idea that the Churches have to adopt whatever cause du jour you support this week or they will die is absurd. They can support what everyone else does and die, or they can stand up for a radically different society and survive. It is not as if the Churches have been silent on all those issues. Fat lot of good it does them – those religions that are loudly in favour of most of those things will be running the UK in a generation or two.

    Jack C – “No, the RCC does not think that celibate homosexuals are wrong, or that being one is worse than getting a bj from an intern.”

    Yes they do. Homosexuality is an objective disorder. Having a strong desire to sin is sinful. The Church links the thought and the act with sin in a way Judaism and Islam do not. It is wrong to want to sleep with children too. They don’t say it is fine to do so as long as you do not act on it.

    Jack C – “There is strong evidence that gay-bashing history has a link to history. The Emperor Augustus banned it, so it is said, as the better class of men were devoting insufficient time to impregnating their wives. There was no moral objection.”

    I bet he didn’t. At least not for those reasons. Source?

    Ian B – “I don’t hold with that, breach of contract and so on, not very libertarian.”

    What contract? Should Catholics who marry in Church be prohibited from divorcing?

  29. Like SFMS, I’m enchanted by the idea that condoms are OK so long as they have holes in them.

    And like Bloke in France, I’ve never quite understood why the three great monotheisms have always been so down on the gays. It can’t be anything to do with “group survival” in evolutionary terms, given that same sex activity is so common in the animal kingdom.

    My assumption is that organised religions are big on control – what you can eat, what clothes you can wear (I’ve noticed that many religions are very interested in hats, for example), what you get up to in the bedroom, whether you should mutilate your children’s genitals, and so on. The detail hardly matters – if you ain’t telling people what to do, you ain’t a religion.

  30. Churm Rincewind – “I’ve noticed that many religions are very interested in hats, for example”

    You can’t be a proper religion if you don’t have hats. Of course, if you were starting a new religion today, it’d probably be one of those grotty plastic wristbands instead of an impressive hat. Because modern life is shite.

    “given that same sex activity is so common in the animal kingdom”

    It’s one of those factoids you hear so much, yet see so little evidence of, that I’m convinced it must be a woozle.

    All these supposedly gay animals, and I’ve yet to see a dog interested in Versace designs or the work of Elton John.

    The following animals are gay:

    * peacocks
    * flamingos
    * dolphins

    All the rest are red-blooded heterosexuals who just want to get it on. Except earthworms and snails – they’re just wankers.

  31. So Much for Subtlety

    Churm Rincewind – “I’ve never quite understood why the three great monotheisms have always been so down on the gays. It can’t be anything to do with “group survival” in evolutionary terms, given that same sex activity is so common in the animal kingdom.”

    Same sex activity is not common in the animal kingdom, at least not in the sense of homosexuality. If you mean that activists have taken over large parts of science and if they see two male dolphins swimming together, they demand Gay marriage, sure. But consider what an alien scientist would make of graeco-roman wrestling. Or a rugby scrum. Neither of them is overtly homosexual.

    “My assumption is that organised religions are big on control – what you can eat, what clothes you can wear (I’ve noticed that many religions are very interested in hats, for example), what you get up to in the bedroom, whether you should mutilate your children’s genitals, and so on. The detail hardly matters – if you ain’t telling people what to do, you ain’t a religion.”

    Not an uncommon assumption. I think it is trite. It is more likely that these religions are run by people who have tried it and so think gay sex is so good we all would be doing it if they didn’t ban it.

    The truth is probably that it is a historical accident. But that strict regulation of people’s sexual lives is necessary for a stable society. So it works. Because it works, it has thrived in the world of competing religions. You can see what a sexually liberated society looks like – Detroit. We probably don ‘t want to go down that route and will regret it once we reach it.

  32. SMFS- the marriage contract. I define adultery as breaking the monogamy clause. That doesn’t mean that it should not be possible to dissolve the contract as with any other contract. I just don’t really approve of adultery. Somebody is always being hurt by it. This is admittedly somewhat subjective; as a young man I was at one point the “other man” to an older woman, and the whole thing just left me feeling sordid, and I vowed never to get involved in anything like it again. And never have.

    ***

    Regarding the “utility of sex rules to religions”, I’ve skipped a bit but I think everyone’s missing the point. The Jewish religion’s morality (from which Christianity and Islam descend) came from the society that invented the religion. The religion didn’t invent them. Religions uphold the moral codes of their inventors. Cart and horse and all that.

    In the case of Levantine pastoralist cultures (Jews, Arabs, etc), their societies had very strict sexual controls due to the requirement to bind large clans of blood-related herdsmen to protect the flocks. Polygamy, endogamy, authoritarian clan family model under the iron grip of a patriarch/matriarch (“honour thy father and mother”). You can’t maintain that strict control of kinship without severe sexual controls on the clan members, particularly the females. This leads to all kinds of rules to discourage sexual activity of any kind. All that got bound into the religion as Yahweh got upgraded from “a” god to “the” God, and the Persians came along and took the tribal cult and turned it into an advanced religion with a written law, nattily dressed priesthood, etc.

    In that form, probably considerably under Zoroastrian influence, the Jews became utterly obsessed with ritual purity, and the sex control laws became strongly bound into that idea of ritual cleanliness. And everyone affected by it (most of the Earth’s population) have struggled with harmonising the extreme puritanism and body shame with reality ever since.

  33. SMFS:
    “Yes they do. Homosexuality is an objective disorder. Having a strong desire to sin is sinful. The Church links the thought and the act with sin in a way Judaism and Islam do not.”

    Well, you do speak with massive authority on absolutely everything, but RCC doctrine, and Papal pronouncements say otherwise.

    Leave it old chap.

  34. A more interesting question might be, why did (the Jewish) God invent gays? What was the purpose?

    If we only had the Old Testament, then I suppose that’s fairly easily answered: God was an absolute hooligan in those days, and giving homosexuals a choice between eternal frustration and eternal damnation would have appealed to the old pervert.

    However, by the time of the New Testament, God had mellowed slightly, even wanton murder must lose it’s frisson I suppose, and there’s great wodges of hippie bilge about peace, love and forgiveness.

    Is gayness one of those crosses to bear, a test on the road to eternal bliss? Or are we just supposed to use the Confessional get-out-of-hell free card once we’ve done doing the fun things?

    And the hats are ludicrous.

  35. Anyone who thinks there is no homosexuality in Islam hasn’t seen it up close. There is lots, but they do enough mental gymnastics to convince themselves they are not engaged in a homosexual act when, for example, an Afghan rapes a young boy.

  36. So Much for Subtlety

    Jack C – “SMFS, you’re asking me for a source? You? The Random “Fact” Generator?”

    Yes. I am asking you for a source. Before I call your bullsh!t the bullsh!t it clearly is.

    “Anyway, Robert Graves I think.”

    So you’re full of sh!t. The guy couldn’t even tell the truth about his own military service.

    Jack C – “Well, you do speak with massive authority on absolutely everything, but RCC doctrine, and Papal pronouncements say otherwise.”

    The incompetence of people like you merely make me look like a massive authority. The Churches doctrine is as I quoted it.

    Jack C – “A more interesting question might be, why did (the Jewish) God invent gays? What was the purpose?”

    Why did he invent murderers and petty embezzlers? It doesn’t matter really does it?

    Not that He did. Homosexuality is an invention of the 19th century. Eventually this phase of our cultural development will pass and we will consider the concept quaint.

    Tim Newman – “Anyone who thinks there is no homosexuality in Islam hasn’t seen it up close. There is lots, but they do enough mental gymnastics to convince themselves they are not engaged in a homosexual act when, for example, an Afghan rapes a young boy.”

    Homosexuality is a cultural construct. If some Arabs, or someone who has been influenced by them, like a Hispanic, says homosexuality is restricted to the passive partner and there’s nothing wrong with being taking the active role, well, it would be culturally insensitive to laugh.

  37. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian B – “Regarding the “utility of sex rules to religions”, I’ve skipped a bit but I think everyone’s missing the point. The Jewish religion’s morality (from which Christianity and Islam descend) came from the society that invented the religion. The religion didn’t invent them. Religions uphold the moral codes of their inventors. Cart and horse and all that.”

    I don’t think people have missed the point. It is not quite true that people invent religions rather than the other way around. Rather there is an interaction between text and society with each influencing each other. The Romans did something very different with those texts than the Jews did. Or the Muslims.

    “In that form, probably considerably under Zoroastrian influence, the Jews became utterly obsessed with ritual purity, and the sex control laws became strongly bound into that idea of ritual cleanliness. And everyone affected by it (most of the Earth’s population) have struggled with harmonising the extreme puritanism and body shame with reality ever since.”

    And produced highly functional societies as a result. It may be unpleasant, especially if you are a teenage boy, but it is also necessary. At least it is arguably necessary. We can look at people who decide those rules are quaint and they don’t need them. They produce Baby P and Detroit. We can look at people who never had them. They produce Africa. We can look at people who internalised them to the best of their ability. They produced Switzerland.

    Nothing has changed except we think we are far more clever than we are. We need those rules.

  38. Neither Baby P nor Detroit has anything to do with a lack of puritanism, however much you may wish it SMFS. Secondly, there is a difference between extremity, moderation and a free for all. You can have moderate sexual mores (what England had before the Victorian insanity), or you can have extremity (traditional Jews, Muzzies, Puritans). And so on.

    There is no evidence that sexual extremity benefits a society. Rome and pre-Victorian England did fine without it; indeed the imposition of Victorian Values coincided with Britain’s economy starting to falter. By 1960, nigh a century of sexual extremity correlates with a country that was an economic basket case due to an excessively command economy (which itself associates with an excessively command society).

  39. And of course after Rome adopted Judaic values, they lost the Western half of the Empire and ended up gradually rotting away in Constantinople, killing each other over whether to have pictures in churches or not.

  40. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian B – “Neither Baby P nor Detroit has anything to do with a lack of puritanism, however much you may wish it SMFS.”

    Something has happened. We need to explain what. Most people come around to the social changes argument in the end. Certainly puritanism has collapsed in both societies. Something like three quarters of Black children are now born to single mothers. And Baby P speaks for itself.

    “Secondly, there is a difference between extremity, moderation and a free for all.”

    That may be true. We need some degree of it. It is hard to tell about past societies because very often we read the vocal minority as representing the majority. I am not sure much changed in the UK in either direction until the Pill.

    “There is no evidence that sexual extremity benefits a society. Rome and pre-Victorian England did fine without it; indeed the imposition of Victorian Values coincided with Britain’s economy starting to falter.”

    And Britain’s Empire reaching its peak. Rome did not do so well without it. They had the puritanism of a small peasant society on their way up. I also guess it means what you mean by well.

    “By 1960, nigh a century of sexual extremity correlates with a country that was an economic basket case due to an excessively command economy (which itself associates with an excessively command society).”

    I don’t think that is a fair description of Britain in the 50s. By the 70s Britain was a basket case, but the 50s were not too bad economically. Also of course those command economy was not a result of that puritanism but an alternative to it.

    Ian B – “And of course after Rome adopted Judaic values, they lost the Western half of the Empire and ended up gradually rotting away in Constantinople, killing each other over whether to have pictures in churches or not.”

    So they did. Rotting away though? Hardly fair. What those values did though was support and buttress the eventual growth of modern Western society. Not nothing.

  41. If your object is to maximise the number of new believers, surely it’s the women you’ve got to watch? Isn’t it tampons that are the sin? There’s a lost opportunity to make another believer right there. Who cares what the boys do in their spare time?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *