"This is the generation of the great LEVIATHAN, or rather, to speak more reverently of that mortal god, to which we own under the immortal God, our peace and defense." -Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan
Come to think of it, I haven’t written a hair raising note in some time. Well, here it is. As usual, when my title is outrageous, it promises an interesting mental journey. You wouldn’t be disappointed.
An Evolutionary Explanation
Suppose we begin with some basic definitions, let’s just define homosexual desire as the desire for the bodily form of a person of one’s own sex. I shall not deal with the more complex idea of desiring a certain gender type, since gender, unlike biological sex, is a much more complicated idea, besides being of very little relevance and has a very minor significance in the phenomenon in question.Let’s make certain empirical postulates based on, what I hope, are reasonable generalisation.
First, the desire for a bodily form is not just the bare desire for that form, to put it bluntly, in most cases, it is an attraction to “hot” bodies. Thus, there is no such thing as a sexual attraction to ugly or, by definition, unattractive bodily forms. All sexual desires are desire for the more attractive bodily form, being “turned on” by hot bodies.
Second, a significant majority of homosexual people tend to groom their own bodies in accordance to their homosexual desires and drives. Note, I said significant majority, I never said all or even most. Thus, it can be easily observed that a significant majority of homosexual persons, especially amongst males, tend to “buff” up, or tone their bodies, exercise, be extraordinarily obessed with health, etc, in order to achieve the body which they are attracted to, namely, hot and attractive forms of their own bodily form and biological sex.
Based on these two postulates, let me propose an evolutionary hypothesis in a crude form: Homosexual desires exists in everyone to drive them towards “making their own bodies” more attractive, thus, increasing their chances of attracting a mate.
I do not think this is an unreasonable theory. If no one had any internal sense of what attracts the opposite sex, then no one will be able to know how to present oneself attractively to the opposite sex, and further, if no one had any desires or attraction towards the more “hot” bodily form, no one will ever bother to groom one’s own body towards attaining and fulflling their desire for that form, and thus no one will ever have bodies which are sexually attractive.
Notice so far I’ve conducted the entire discussion in terms of homosexual desires, not orientation. I have no idea what an “orientation” is, its conception is as ambigious and elastic as the concept of “evangelicalism” (sorry, couldn’t resist this cheap shot). Therefore, I would argue that everyone may have, or even should have, a degree of homosexual attraction.
Thus, being “gay” is more like being “bald”, there isn’t a magical “line” dividing bald people from other people with hair. (What, hair covering 15% or less of one’s head surface area?), but the “baldness” of a person is a question of degree, some clearly aren’t, some are botherline, some definitely are. Thus, if a person is “gay”, it is like being “bald”, the homosexual desires is predominant, compared to the heterosexual desire. But this is a quantitative question, a question of “how much”, it is not a qualitative difference, a binary “yes” or “no” answer. But I’m actually deviating from my main point.
Therefore, if my evolutionary theory is correct, that means that the “optimal” homosexual to heterosexual attraction ratio should be that which has sufficient homosexual attraction to drive a person to desire the more “hot” form of one’s own body and thus causing one to exercise and shape one’s body to look good and attractive, and yet not so much as to cripple one’s heterosexual desires for the opposite sex and impairing one’s drive to mate with the opposite sex and propagate.
On Causes and Meanings
To identify the cause of something is not to identify its meaning. To identify the cause of something, one looks at the phenomenon with an objective eye, one “stands back” and detaches oneself from the phenomenon, and makes connections between related events from such a third-person standpoint, like what I just did. But of course, it is obvious that the people in question whom I have been discussing do not think of their desires or experiences this way. Nobody interprets their desires as being a drive for evolutionary fittness, that’s not what their desires mean to them. Thus, looking at something externally is not the same as the internal point of view of the person in question. Roger Scruton illustrates the difference very well in the following terms,
An institution [or phenomenon] can be looked at from outside, with the eyes of an anthropologist [or scientist], who observes its social function [or cause and effects]. Or it can be looked at from inside, with the eyes of a participant, whose life it transforms. And what is observable from one perspective may not be observable from the other. The anthropologist who studies the seasonal war-making of a tribe may understand this situation as a way of securing territory, a way of controlling population, and a way of reaching a renewable equilibrium with neighbors. The warrior understands the institution in quite another way. For him is a source of brotherhood, a mystical affirmation of identity between myself and the tribe, and a call to his soul from “ancestral voices.” The concepts used by the anthropologist — social function, solidarity, ideology, and so on — make no contact with the warrior’s experience. If he were to make use of these concepts in describing what he feels, he would immediately cease to feel it. And the concepts that inform the warrior’s self-understanding — brotherhood, destiny, sacred obligation — play no part in the anthropologist’s explanation of what the warrior does.
Thus, my evolutionary language so far does not tell us the meaning of homosexual desires, how it is related to the internal experience of the person in question, my language so far only identifies its cause. But why should evolutionary language identify its meaning? The business of science is in causes, effects and corelation, but it is not their business to past judgements about ends, values and purposes. Such questions are for ethics, literature, philosophy and religion.
The Christian Meaning of Homosexual Desires
I know I’ve written before about my Augustinian understanding of how I think homosexual desires are inevitable in everyone because of the fallen nature of man, thus resulting in “corrupt desires”. But when this insight occured to me, it moved me to amend my views and give a more positive role to homosexual desires.
Thus, in the light of my evolutionary explanation of the existence of homosexual desires in all, what is the possible Christian interpretation for it?
As a tentative hypothesis, let me proposed that God gave homosexual desires to all persons so that they would exercise and look good and give pleasure to their spouses.
Again, I have to emphasize that homosexuality is not a question of qualitative binaries but of quantitative degree. Thus, my argument is that the role of homosexual desire/attraction and appreciation for the beauty of one’s own bodily form, is so as to drive us to make oneself attractive and give happiness to our spouses.
In most Christian marriage liturgies, we are take a vow to love our spouses, we don’t take a vow to be in love with our spouses. Its the agape-eros duality in marriage. Agape is selfless and generous, it gives and sacrifices oneself for the other’s benefit, without consideration to oneself, one’s interest or desire. While eros is inherently jealous, it seeks to possess the object of desire for oneself, it is drawn towards it and acts to “have it”. To put it simply, agape wants your good, eros wants you.
Thus, when we vow to “love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live” it is fundamentally agapistic in nature. We do not vow to be attracted to our spouses, but to love, comfort, honour and be loyal, to give ourselves, while our spouses vows the same loyalty to you. To love is an act, to be in love is a state.
Thus, it seems to me that for those people who are “gay”, or who have a predominant homosexual desire, I do not see why they cannot go on to have a heterosexual marriage with homosexual desires. It is true that gay people will find it hard to “be in love” with their spouses or may find themselves more sexually attracted to person of their own sex, but “being in love” has nothing to do with marriage. Love does. But more importantly, I think it is possible for them to be unshamed of their homosexual desires and even treat it as godly and holy, because their homosexual desires, their drive to look good and attain a body that is pleasurable and enjoyable to their spouses, is a great gift which they are giving their spouses, it is part of their agape love to make their spouses happy with such a beautiful/handsome partner. Admittedly for the gay person, the relationship has more “agape” than “eros”, there is more self-sacrifice on the part of the gay person then for the heterosexual partner, since the gay person will be giving up on a more intense sexual experience*. Such a marriage may be tragic in a way, but in a manner no different from a couple who cannot conceive, the result being that their love shall be fruitless and without children, but I see no reason why it cannot be as loving and as happy as any other marriage, given that the element of loyalty, honour and trust to one another, bound together by the most intimate friendship and ultimately by God.
MM Lee Kuan Yew after his wife died remarked that his marriage had both Eastern and Western elements. In the East, you love whom you marry, in the West, you marry whom you love. In Biblical terms, there are plenty of instances of arranged marriages between Israel’s patriachs (think Isaac and Jacob), where the woman is simply married without having even seen their husbands!
Of course, the whole idea that one must be “in love” in order to have a “true marriage” is a western catholic idea, because in the Western Catholic tradition (which most of us are descended from), it is consent which makes a marriage. Thus, only when one knows to whom one is “consenting to”, and knows that he/she is “the one”, makes a “valid marriage”. But the biblical world does not promote such an idea. There is no reason why “eastern marriages”, those who love those whom one marries, are less happy, or less holy and pleasing to God, then “western marriages” where one is “in love” with the one whom one marries.
Thus, while it may be good to have the best of both worlds, but ultimately, I come down on the “eastern” conception of marriage, that love is an act, and that the priority of the marriage state takes precedence over the state of “being in love”. Therefore within such a framework and with my interpretation of how homosexual desires are both holy and godly, do I submit my idea to all.
*Actually, it may not be necessarily true that a gay person may not be able to enjoy heterosexual sex fully. As I’ve argued elsewhere before, it may be instrinsic to every phenomenon of sex that it contains a homoerotic element, a summary of this “Hegelian” reasoning is that in sex, my sexual desire is for my partner to desire and be “turned” on by my body, I wish to see my partner sexually aroused by my body, I wish “to see myself” through my partner eyes, thus I am sexually aroused by how sexually arousing I am. What else does this boil down to, but that I am erotically moved by my own body as seen through my partner’s eyes? And what is this but homoeroticism? Thus, it may be that even those who have predominantly gay instincts may “vicariously” as it were, enjoy the male body form through the pleasure and sexual desire of their spouse. The full argument can be access here,