Sometimes it seems that large portions of the world's population and institutions are presently in a state of denial when it comes to sexual morality. In the so-called “developed” regions of Asia, America, the Antipodes and Europe the notion of celibacy before marriage has more or less been abandoned. The notion of marriage for life is crumbling rapidly and homosexuality is being promoted as a valid and worthwhile lifestyle.
In one sense this is almost refreshing because none of these things are new. Previous generations also indulged in premarital sex, extra marital sex, perverted sex and divorce; what happens in the 21st century also happened in the 20th century and the 19th and the 18th and 17th and the 12th and the 1st centuries and probably also in every other century that has ever existed. Consequently the fact that these things are no longer hidden away is, in one sense, a form of communal honesty — it happens and we don't try to hide it. The same things also happen in all the other regions of the world but are not portrayed quite so publicly.
However the matter for discussion is not sexual immorality of itself but, rather, the contemporary attitude towards it. The denial is not a denial of what actually happens but, instead, a denial of its moral worth.
Fornication, adultery and homosexuality are all morally wrong; they are evils which tend to undermine stable society, create unhappiness and detach pleasure from the other aspects of a worthwhile life. This is what is being denied.
In most cases the “love” referred to by this particular myth is apparently just a romantic feeling of the sort that comes and goes with the passing of time, clouds and other people. However even if it were love in the biblical, substantial sense that were meant, it wouldn't change the foolishness of the claim.
It might be that a two people come to love one another but if they are both already married to two other people then how does their love for one another justify the hurting of their existing spouses? How does this love justify the breaking of the explicit and implicit promises that they made to their spouses, their spouses' families and to wider society when they married? Of course this love that they feel for one another justifies neither the hurting of other people nor the breaking of promises. What about if the two people who love one another are of the same gender and wish to have sexual relations? Does their love somehow transform the evil of homosexuality into something good? Of course it does not: A claim of “love” cannot be used to justify acts that are fundamentally wrong; a love that attempts to justify wrong acts is probably either not love or, at the very least, somewhat muddled. Right and wrong do not move to suit somebody's feelings of the moment.
Erotic love can certainly kindle a large romantic or sexual desire but the love of eros needs to be controlled by the love of agapé, or at least by something. The passion of Eros is neither automatically good nor bad but only becomes good or bad according to how it is allowed to grow and what it is used to accomplish. When Eros is used to build-up and strengthen a marriage it is a good and wonderful thing but when Eros is the force that, through adultery, destroys a marriage then it is a terrible thing. Eros must be tamed by the rational mind, held on a rein, and allowed to flower in passion only when that passion will not be destructive.
If a gang of thieves commit themselves to sharing the proceeds of their stealing equally does that make robbery a good act? Commitment can be good and useful, but it is only a tool and a good tool can be used for an immoral purpose. The fact is that the commitment doesn't change the morality of sexuality one tiny bit but a person who commits themselves to doing something wrong is certainly very foolish, if not actually evil.
Homosexual inclinations might or might not be genetically programmed — there is much debate about this — but either way the claim is irrelevant and silly. It is irrelevant because heterosexuality is undeniably genetically inherited and that fact does not alter the morality of sexual behaviour. I, as a man, have a very strong genetically inherited inclination towards having sex with pretty young women ... but does my genetic inheritance provide a justification for me to have sexual relations with lots of pretty young women? No, of course it does not. The desire is merely one component of my human nature but how I express that desire is a matter for my rational mind to decide after taking moral guidelines and social structures into account.
Naturally enough this particular excuse is normally heard from those who also have some sort of belief in an omnipotent deity. The first problem with this feeble excuse is that if a person can excuse their sexual adultery or perversion by claiming that God created them thus adulterous or perverted then they should also allow murderers, rapists, thieves, child molesters, fraudsters, gangsters, and everybody else to justify their particular failings with the same feeble excuse. In other words, if a homosexual or adulterous person really believed this then that person should also be campaigning for all of the world's jails to be emptied and they should be pleased when they themselves are robbed, mugged or raped because their robber, mugger or rapist would only be expressing their own god-given character.
The second problem is that even if God did make somebody with a perverted sexual orientation he might have done so in order that they could struggle to overcome the defect and thereby grow into the kind of creature that God ultimately intended that person to be. For Christians, the Bible makes it clear that there is nobody who is perfect and that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but that same Bible also teaches people that they are not to succumb to sin but that they are to resist it, to struggle with it and to learn how to persevere in doing good. Implicit in this teaching is that good and bad, virtue and evil, are not arbitrary fashions and that they are not defined by us.
Nobody is created in their final condition; our parents and our planet provide only the raw molecular material from which we are formed but the formation of our characters, while complex, is something that we ourselves contribute to throughout our lives. A person who denies their moral defects and indulges their lusts will not form a strong and healthy moral character, any more than a person who denies their laziness and indulges in idleness and sweet foods will form a strong and healthy body. Self control and self-discipline are essential traits for all aspects of good living, and need to be encouraged.
Each of the arguments used to justify sexual immorality makes the same assumption, namely that morality is something flexible, pliable and that can be readjusted to suit the comfort of a particular person.
If I insult somebody and by doing so make myself feel happy, does that turn my rudeness into politeness? Of course it does not, and my rudeness remains rude. However, if being rude makes me happy then that would certainly indicate a flaw in my own character ... and if I then go on to claim that because I am happy then the rude deed itself is therefore politeness (and hence good) then I am proving to the world that I am not only rude, but also that my sense of reason and my sense of morality are warped in some way. The simple fact is that the morality of good manners and bad manners is not altered even one tiny bit by my feelings about it. If I have a strong desire to be rude to somebody then that is my opportunity to practice self-control and restraint.
In the same way the morality of sexuality is not altered by a person's desires or feelings, and sexual acts that involve adultery or homosexuality are, were, and will be wrong.
Parliaments may change their laws as much and as often as they like but pandering to liars, cheats and perverts will certainly not please God. Strong nations are not constructed or maintained with liberal policies that deny the reality of evil or that attempt to redefine evil to accomodate whatever political agenda happens to be fashionable at the time.