Doing Your Theology Backwards

There’s a scientific theory, based on some neuro scientific  experiments, that at the short-term level at least free will is a myth. Thinking about the whole same-sex marriage thing, it sometimes seems to me that maybe we do it at a much greater level.

Maybe it’s just because I never make my mind up clearly on these things. But did my evangelical acquaintance study the Scriptures carefully and prayerfully, consider the changing views of the science and psychology of same-sex attraction and then come to the considered opinion that the sin of Sodom was homosexuality (as compare Ezekiel’s view on the matter, for example)? Did he read the KJV where the use of the word “sodomite” owes more to the  traditional view of what people did in Sodom? Or did he decide, based on upbringing, tradition or his own basic reaction to the concept, that what gay people do is a bit funny and not to be encouraged?

And when we put the question like that, then we can turn it round, and look at the arguments for same-sex marriage, and look at the quotations that are used, and the arguments drawn from the fact that Jesus never condemned it (in, I suppose, the same way that I’ve never explicitly condemned cricketers who don’t walk when they’re out – we just assume these kinds of things are taken for granted, and ideally should never be mentioned).

And you have to ask yourself – which came first in both cases? The decision or the backup? Because we can’t ask either argument to show its workings, as the workings shown are more evidence of the presuppositions that seem to be there. Rather like the experiment I once carried out when, feeling lazy and reckoning Boyle probably knew what he was talking about, I wrote up the results without actually doing the practical. There, it’s hung over me these thirty years and I’m glad I’ve finally admitted it.

Some scientists used to try to treat homosexuality as a disease, providing psychoanalysis and occasionally more physical approaches to heal it. They’ve mostly moved on now, following the assumption that it’s not actually a disease. But they had their presumptions before they had the evidence.

So I guess there’s nothing for it. We need to find a brilliant theologian who’s never thought about the issue at all. Lock him / her in a room with the best texts, supply copious quantities of coffee, and ask him / her to come out, like Deep Thought, with the answer – and all the workings. And then one side can hail the theologian as a prophet, and the other side look for some rocks to throw.

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