One Dilemma in Sexual Ethics and Outline Different Ways
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AO1: Examine one dilemma in sexual ethics and outline different ways in which it may be resolved. Homosexuality is a term that applies to both men and women who have sexual feelings towards members of the same sex. It is a key issue in sexual ethics and one that many groups are keen to resolve. Many areas of science resolve the issue of homosexuality as a sexual ethics dilemma by analysing the causes of homosexuality. Sigmund Freud claimed that homosexuality is a personality disorder resulting from a person’s failure to deal with repressed issues of sexuality from infancy and to develop fully into mature sexuality. He claimed that the causes of homosexuality simply trace back to the relationship between a child and their parents. Many researchers believe that homosexuality may be the result of an imbalance of the hormones or a genetic disorder. Both these arguments go some way to solving this dilemma as both conclusions suggest that homosexuality is not a moral choice and cannot be prevented or supressed. The Roman Catholic Church provides a view on homosexuality which they claim solves the issue of homosexuality as a sexual dilemma. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that homosexuals should be treated with respect and compassion and that discrimination should be avoided.
The Church teaches that homosexual feelings are not wrong, but putting those feelings into practice is. Homosexual actions are sinful because they are contrary to natural law as they do not allow for reproduction. Homosexuals are, therefore, encouraged to pray and seek the help and support of their church to live a life of chastity. The Catholic Church will argue that they have resolved the sexual dilemma of homosexuality by reaching a sort of compromise which states that homosexuality is acceptable to a certain capacity. This solves the issue from a religious perspective and provides the view that homosexuality is not morally wrong. Liberal Christians claim to have solved the sexual dilemma of homosexuality. Liberal Christians regard homosexuality as the natural way in which some people have been created by god and that homosexuals should be as welcome in the Christian community as heterosexuals. Further still, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement maintains that human sexuality is a gift from god which should be accepted and claims that for homosexual relationships, sexuality can be an appropriate way of expressing their love.
The liberal Christian movement therefore states that homosexual sexual relationships can be appropriate and that there is no moral issue involved in this. The religious dilemma is therefore solved by claiming that homosexuality is acceptable in every capacity. Opposite views to the liberal Christian community claim to solve the issue of homosexuality by claiming it is unacceptable. In 2003, a schism developed within the Anglican Church. The split happened between the liberal churches of the West and the traditional churches in Africa, most notably in Africa where homosexuality is punishable by stoning. The Nigerian church, which has 17 million members, openly opposed the ordination of a gay bishop in the USA. The President of Nigeria said ‘such a tendency is clearly un-biblical, unnatural and definitely unAfrican.’ As a result the Nigerian Church broke away from the western churches. So ultimately, the Nigerian church claimed to solve the issue by regarding homosexuality as completely unacceptable and against the bible and god. There are several passages in the Bible that seem to condemn homosexual practices.
The scriptures suggest that the only sexual relationship that god approves of is one between married heterosexual partners. The most important aspect of the marriage bond in Christianity is the requirement to reproduce (‘Be fruitful and increase’ (Genesis 9:1).). Clearly a homosexual partnership does not have this potential and could be said to be in the biblical sense, unnatural. It can therefore be said that the Bible solves the sexual dilemma of homosexuality by claiming it to be wrong and invalid in terms of reproduction. AO2: To what extent are religious approaches to sexual ethics no longer relevant to the modern world? The bible can be seen by many people to provide an outdated and draconian view on homosexuality. As described earlier there are several passages in the Bible that seem to condemn homosexual practices. The marriage bond serves for reproduction which clearly cannot occur in homosexual relationships. In Old Testament times, homosexuality carried the death penalty and in the New Testament, Paul included homosexuality in his list of moral wrongdoing that could jeopardise a person’s chance of eternal life.
However, some scholars such as Bailey have suggested that the biblical views on homosexuality are based on ancient cultures and traditions that are not relevant today. This is supported by the laws imposed in England which places homosexual couples in the same legal standing as heterosexual couples. Homosexual marriage is fully legal which provides couples with tax breaks and further legal rights. So as a developed western country, England has fully legalised homosexual relationships thus showing that the country disagrees with Old Testament laws on homosexuality which shows it to be wrong and an invalid relationship. However, within the Church of England many high-ranking clergymen have admitted to being homosexual, although this has not always had a happy result. In July 2003, following an outcry from the evangelical wing of the Anglican Church, Canon Jeffrey John, an open homosexual although celibate priest withdrew his acceptance of the post of the Bishop of Reading to avoid creating a split in the Anglican Church over homosexual priests. This caused a great divide as on one side evangelicals were pleased who argued that the appointment of Jeffrey John was wrong in the first place but liberal Christians were dismayed by this view.
So it could be argued that the Bible teachings such as “…nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders… will inherit the kingdom of god’ (1 Corinthians 6.9-10) are still applied by conservative Christians today who take the view that homosexual relationships are inferior and immoral. So, therefore, this act supports the view that religious approaches are relevant to the modern world. The biblical view that homosexuality is sinful and can only be dealt with through repentance, forgiveness, prayer and healing is supported by the highly controversial evangelical Christians; the majority of whom are compassionate in their approach to homosexual people. An example of these groups is the Westboro Baptist Church which hosts a highly homophobic website. The teaching is an example of extreme Christian intolerance to homosexuality and is a stance that is based on Old Testament teachings which have been applied to the modern world. In conclusion I think it can be said that negative views on homosexuality are heavily adopted in the modern world, throughout both western and un-developed countries. Homosexuality is still heavily viewed as an immoral and unnatural act and is heavily discriminated against, mainly due to religious teachings.