To review the history of human sexuality across the world would – surprisingly! – take considerable space; I simply note here that – regardless of the norm presented (which I take to be exclusive, permanent, heterosexual monogamy) – the history of God’s people in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible is already adequate evidence that there is nothing ‘usual’ about heterosexual monogamy; the Church of England is making an appeal which defines the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, &c. as aberrant on the basis of some generally-observable historical practice. All I can say is that, I would need a fair amount of evidence to be convinced…
As I have indicated before on this blog, I do not think that appeals to the normal or the usual are helpful in sexual ethics: a robust doctrine of the fall will suggest that all our sexual desires are misdirected, just as all our religious desires are misdirected and so tend to idolatry apart from the purifying work of the Spirit. That said, the Roman Catholic doctrine of asserting that heterosexual monogamy is normal is at least defensible: an argument may be mounted, which is able to account adequately for the historical prevalence of desires otherwise directed. The argument of the Church of England, which – let us be charitable – I take to be primarily an attempt at apologetics, making Christian positions explicable to the wider culture, is essentially incredible, because it makes claims about what is usual which are simply indefensible.
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My book is here: Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality.
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