Sunday, May 23, 2004

Muggeridge & family...

I've been thinking about Joe Carter's recent comments on gay marriage and polygamy (see - Three’s Company on the Slippery Slope: The Case for Polygamous Marriage). I responded to his post by commenting on the decadence we would be inviting in, were we to allow gay marriage into the fold. I said,
...heterosexual marriage will still exist, but it will now have to be framed within the context of a worldview that is ultimately at odds with the original intent of marriage.
Part of Joe's response was,
I think we are already there. The ease with which people can divorce has caused more damage to the institution of marriage than anything gay marriage could do.
While I agree with his opinion regarding the damage that easy divorce has brought upon society, I don't necessarily think that it is worse than what gay marriage is capable of doing. In Touchstone Magazine's December 2003 issue there is an article by Adam Schwartz titled, Vanity Fair's Thanatos Syndrome: Maclolm Muggeridge, Modern Capatilism & the Culture of Death. Besides giving a good synopsis of Muggeridge's life, Schwartz also highlights the reasons why Muggeridge vehemently supported a pro-family worldview. In speaking of Muggeridge views of Western culture, Schwartz states,
He argued that its favoring of the quality over the sanctity of life engendered sensualist attitudes inimical to the family: "The quality of life means simply gorging, fornicating, and never having children and so on." Moreover, because the affluent "have no material obstacles to shedding relationships," an acquisitive society erodes and degrades ties between spouses and between parents and children. He found it unsurprising that a culture that made sex a commodity considered the marriage bond a contract rather than a covenant, and regarded the family as "a factory farm whose only concern is the well-being of the livestock and the profitability of the enterprise." ...For Muggeridge, one crucial expression of the death wish was artificial contraception. He believed that sundering sex's procreative from its unitive function fostered many of the trends he feared. "The purpose of [sex] is procreation, the justification of it is love; if you separate sex from procreation and love, very rapidly you turn it into a horror." For example, he argued that only a society characterized by this bifurcation could simultaneously sanction in vitro fertilization and abortion. He judged this contraceptive mentality an essential element of consumerist society's eugenic bent, as it allows "all our procreation [to be] done in test tubes" by genetic engineers eagerly creating an army of ad-men while "leaving us free to frolic with our sterilized bodies as we please, unconstrained" by "unwanted children." He regarded contraception as the "crowning glory of the pursuit of happiness through sex," but deemed this quest for an "unending, infertile orgasm" a "death-wish formula if there ever was one."
That our society's attitudes towards marriage, divorce, sex, and children have degraded to such a low point appears to validate Muggeridge's forecasts. Yet, his comments are also interesting in light of the fact that the act of homosexual sex, in its unnatural and contrary to designed method, is the essential defining characteristic of homosexuality. What better way to pursue the pleasures of sex without the burden of children? But the Image of God is not so easily covered up. We, as a society, still want children, whether we be promiscuous hetero- or homosexuals. Interestingly enough though, the only means of procreation available for a so-called married gay couple, barring an adulterous relationship and/or surrogacy, would be the use of in vitro fertilization.

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