The good news is that human beings are designed to fall in love. The bad news is
that they aren’t designed to stay there. According to
evolutionary psychology, it is “natural” for both men and women–at some times, under some circumstances–to commit adultery or to sour on a mate, to suddenly find a spouse unattractive, irritating, wholly unreasonable. (It may even be natural to become irritating and wholly unreasonable, and thus hasten the departure of a mate you’ve soured on.) It is similarly natural to find some attractive colleague superior on all counts to the sorry wreck of a spouse you’re saddled with. When we see a couple celebrate a golden anniversary, one apt reaction is the famous remark about a dog walking on two legs: the point is not that the feat was done well but that it was done at all.
~Time Magazine, 1995, By Robert Wright, August 15, 1994.
ROBERT WRIGHT, a senior editor at New Republic, adapted this article from his new book, The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life, published by Pantheon.
I read an interesting article in Time Magazine several years ago. It had to do with the evolutionary processes that have influenced human relationships. The thrust of the article was that humans were not, by nature, monogamous. Our human tendency is toward multiple partnerships. Hmm. That means that we were born to be wild.
So, what’s that got to do with my comments a few days ago about our attitude as followers of Jesus toward homosexuality? Just this: one of the arguments that I hear about practicing homosexuality is that “I was born with this sexual orientation.” The logical conclusion for those who believe that we are contemplated beings “intentionally and individually created by a creator” is that “God made me gay.”
If that be so, we should be able to apply similar reasoning to other social expressions. If time Magazine is correct, then we are not wired for monogamy, we are born for multiple partnerships. If the way we are born should govern our behavior, then we should have no problem with either polygamy or adultery. We cannot expect to be fulfilled as monogamous people if we are created to have multiple partners. God made us that way. Multiple sex partners are pleasing to God.
Now, there are those who will agree on both counts, but they are so far out of the mainstream that they may not be visible with a telescope. The vast majority of us wouldn’t be persuaded by the argument of intentional creation when it comes to adultery open marriage isn’t generally accepted. Likewise, we wouldn’t let somebody claim that joybells ring in the heavenlies when somebody’s innate tendency to overeat has made them morbidly obese; or when a cleptomaniac’s tendency to take things has resulted in yet another theft.
Moreover, I would call into question the notion that God’s greatest satisfaction is about our personal fulfillment here between the worlds. The idea of heaven on earth has long been a part of our utopian dreams, but I don’t think the Creator shares those. Heaven is best left to heaven. Furthermore, to what extent does God design us? Are we pre-wired “hardwired” from the moment of conception? If so, then those that argue that a predisposition toward homosexuality indicates the will of God, have a point. But that leaves the door open for others to make the same argument regarding a great many things, some good and some not so good.
Does the Creator really look down smilingly “the permissive deity” and sigh a satisfied sigh when he sees us doing what feels most right to us? I’m thinking that isn’t reality. I think that view is hard to defend based on how God has revealed himself. I think that is a view of God made in our image instead of the other way round. The question, then, is not what makes us happy but what makes God happy.
So, where am I going from here?
First, why might homosexual practice, like adultery and materialism, be seen as an opportunity for self-denial? Secondly, are there other practices widely seen as acceptable among “Christian” people that ought to be similarly evaluated?