Date of publication: 2017-07-09 02:42
At present, Church and State divergences in the understanding of marriage are tolerated with respect to divorce, and it is expected that this will be the same with respect to the admission of homosexuals to the married state. However, Catholic adoption agencies in the UK have now been expected to comply with the allowance of gay adoption (which has led to their closure) and by analogy there can be no guarantee that this situation will go unchallenged.
Relativism may offer a more coherent account of religious conflict than pluralism, but it can be argued that it falls short of the actual beliefs of religious adherents. For most religious adherents, their beliefs are generally understood to be true in an objective sense. This leads to the third, and most commonly held, response to conflicting religious claims.
Another recent approach to the problem of evil has been offered by Eleonore Stump. She considers the problem to be not an intellectual one attempting to solve a logical puzzle, but rather a deeply personal one involving interpersonal relations, the central relations of which are between God and God’s creatures. She treats the problem of evil as centrally a problem of suffering and utilizes an account of second-person experiences and second-person biblical narratives to make her case.
As James Alison - one of the most subtle and profoundly orthodox Catholic advocates of a theological recognition of homosexual practice - puts it, it is rather like comparing soccer to rugby (or maybe the other way round!): the rules as well as the objectives are simply otherwise. As a Girardian, Alison might appreciate that this has to do with the triangle of solidarity, rivalry and attraction.
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For this reason the Church needs already to face the fact that it is quite likely to lose this debate, even if it should still try to win it. But if it does lose it, then how should it respond?
Descartes famously compared the living body to an automaton, while nineteenth century polymath Charles Babbage, a father of modern computing, was so fascinated by automata as a boy that he wrote a treatise in which he compared the outcomes of God’s natural laws to “the results afforded by the Calculating Engine.” Babbage, in other words, conceived of God as a kind of computer programmer.
However, this dilemma only appears to arise from a neoconservative perspective. By contrast, a genuinely Catholic view will not be surprised to learn that the family was, from the outset, embedded in general ritual and social norms. Indeed, heterosexual exchange and reproduction has been hitherto the very "grammar" of social relating as such.