Saturday, April 16, 2011

To Hell With Hell: Or "Moral Bullying: Why Not"

"I want to put out the fires of Hell, and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to God. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God." -Attributed to Rabia Basri

I was reading through a quite interesting article on how a strong undercurrent of anti-contraception politics runs behind a lot of the "anti-abortion" politics we see. For example, consider the recent fight over Planned Parenthood funding, although no federal funding goes to abortion, for some reason the anti-abortion lobby was quite keen to get rid of this funding. Although the article is well worth it, I've given enough extra work recently, if you don't want to read it here is the part that caught my attention.

"'Contraception helps reduce one’s sexual partner to just a sexual object since it renders sexual intercourse to be without any real commitments,' says Janet Smith, the author of 'Contraception: Why Not.'"

Now, as a hopeless and idiotic romantic, I am certainly against reducing "one's sexual partner to just a sexual object." I also must admit that just the other day I was thinking that acknowledging the consequences of one's actions is perhaps the foundation of a moral life. However, this quote seems to be encouraging us to manufacture consequences in order to reinforce a moral code, which I think is completely immoral!

This, of course, inspired me to remember the wonderful quote with which I began this article, if loving God is good, we ought not do it for fear of punishment or desire for reward. I think this extends to all our moral decisions. If we make what might be considered a moral decision out of concern for the repercussions it will have on our self, I don't think we have actually made a moral decision.

Let me once again emphasize that making a decision based on the consequences to others can still be moral, and, indeed, may be the highest form of morality, but insofar as our actions are simply to avoid bad or promote good outcomes for ourselves, they are not particularly moral. Consider, if God had simply wanted to minimize the bad things people do, it seems reasonable to theorize that a world in which deviation from God's will brought swift and messy retribution. However, it seems clear that the element of choice is somehow important, and for that to be the case, there must be multiple viable options from which to choose.

In conclusion, I think a world where sex was treated more reverently and treated as more important would be good, and those of you who know me KNOW how irreverent I am generally. However, celebrating unwanted pregnancies as undesirable outcomes of undesirable actions, or thinking that HIV/AIDS is a just-desserts for homosexual or promiscuous sex, is simply cruel, thuggish, moral bullying. This is another reason I am pro-choice, in the abortion context. I believe that not aborting a fetus is the less morally problematic choice, but in order for morality to come into play it first must be a choice!


Meredith Andersen-Elliott said...

Or how about birth control frees us to love without unintended consequences? I'm not advocating for "free love" or whatever, but you have to admit there is something to it. The physical expression of love and intimacy shouldn't be marred by worry or shame. Besides which, it's mostly married women who are on birth control. It's not the sole province of promiscuous teens and twentysomethings. It makes me just furious when certain people in certain parts of the country with a certain set of ideals persist I'n putting forth the idea that women can and should think for themselves, make their own decisions and fight for the right to do so. We're not just fucking incubators for your spawn!! We are people. Treat us so.

Which of course is not to say Kenny that you are doing any of that. Keep up the good work! Sorry, had to have a mini rant there... :)

Meredith Andersen-Elliott said...

Whoops! Meant that those certain people think we ladies CAN'T think for ourselves etc, etc. Heat of the moment, you understand!

Kenny said...

Personally, I feel the term "free love" describes something not involving a whole lot of love. But, who am I to judge?

Other than that, I have to agree, with your corrected version of course ;)