Thursday, July 26, 2007

Condoms, Catholics, and HIV

I have had a chat going on about Catholics, condoms and HIV with onthesideoftheangels, here (scroll down)

He defends the Catholic Church's position not to recommend condom use (except in v special medical circumstances), not even in Africa, where, I suspect, they might save millions of lives by blocking the transmission of HIV.

Thought it now worth dragging into the main postings. Here's my latest comment:

So now let's suppose condoms are 90% effective in preventing infection. That seems an underestimate, in fact. Here's one quote I found:

"In a study of discordant couples in Europe, among 123 couples who reported consistent condom use, none of the uninfected partners became infected."

Seems condoms are pretty effective in preventing infection when used properly, doesn't it?

In which case, were those having sex outside of marriage in Africa to use them, millions of cases of infection could be prevented.

That is current medical opinion, isn't it (at least among non-Catholic experts)?

Let's suppose that this is the case, and let's also suppose what seems very likely, that very many Africans are going to continue to have sex outside of marriage, whatever you or the Pope happen to say.

Then why not say, "We'd prefer you not to have sex, but if you are going to, please use a condom"?

Can I suggest that saying anything else puts you onthesideofthedevil?

36 comments:

Jezebeau said...

On the contrary. The Catholic Church seems willing to go to extreme irrationalities to promote celibacy.

Two years ago I watched a documentary featuring the Archbishop of Brazil speaking on behalf of the Church on the issue of condoms and HIV. He mentioned (without specifics) research which showed that, in 30% of cases where neither partner has HIV, the use of a condom could cause one or both partners to contract it. The program was intended as an argument against Carnival.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much longer the catholics can hold on to these obviously harmful policies.

Do they still believe in Papal infalibility?

Would that mean that the pope can't change his mind about anything? If he says something he can never change his position?

Timmo said...

Stephen,

One thing that you need to take into account in your criticism of the "othordox" Catholic opinion, the view proclaimed by the Holy See, is that the use of condemns is not just immoral, but gravely immoral. As a result, the use of condemns should not be recommended, even in extreme circumstances, such as the enormous prevalence of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. If that is right (and I do not think it is), then it is not morally permissible to recommend it, even if the consequences are favorable.

The condom issue strikes a lot of people (Catholics and non-Catholics alike) as a no-brainer, but it is not. The Church's position flows from its philosophical-theological vision of human sexuality (natural law), and refuting the Church's position on condoms requires confronting its larger vision.

Timmo said...

Stephen,

I do want to clarify something! Re-reading my previous comment, I did not intend to insinuate that you have not considered the Catholic, natural law view in detail. I mean only to say that many people take the issue to be a no-brainer when it is not.

Stephen Law said...

Thanks Timmo - I am sure you are right. Check the Aquinas link to the left for something on that (the thing that gos onthesideoftheangels started, in fact.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Hi Stephen,
We've never met before. I'm a former fundamentalist, editor of Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists, and I work at a campus library. I sometimes get into discussions at the blogs of Christians, mostly moderate Christian theologians (the type who compose articles for the Biblical Studies Carnival) and Christian philosophers, though I have also had my share of discussions with blog-pologists for conservative Christianity as well. *smile* Your blog caught my eye recently. Since you're a philosopher I'd be interested to know what you thought about the blog of moderate Evangelical Christian philosopher, Victor Reppert, author of C. S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea?

Getting back to the topic at hand however, below are some pieces on AIDS, condoms and Catholicism:

Thousands of Aids and HIV patients are risking their lives by refusing medication in favour of holy water.

God and the Fight Against AIDS by Helen Epstein appeared in The New York Review of Books. Epstein mentions her experiences in Uganda, seeing Pentecostal and Evangelical revivals in huge stadiums and huge amounts of money being given to various "abstinence only" groups that use the money simply to try and make more converts, while the number of AIDS cases continue to rise higher and higher. The article mentions that even the animistic religions are preaching abstinence to no avail. (Zulus even have huge rallies in stadiums where young women are all checked out to see if their hymen is still intact.) The article also mentions that Africans are forming increasing numbers of "abstinence only" groups, partly because that's the easiest way to obtain relief money from the American government, which gives millions to "abstinence only" groups. But the statistics demonstrate the failure of such policies, and why a more varied policy should be undertaken, including condom promotion.

AIDS

If AIDS represents “God’s condemnation of homosexual behavior,” what do measles, mumps, small pox, tuberculosis, and polio represent, “God’s condemnation” of “childish” behavior? Half the children who were born two hundred years ago never reached the age of eight, due mainly to diseases like those. When the influenza epidemic of 1918 to 1920 made half the world sick and killed nearly 40 million people what did THAT represent? Was “God” “condemning” people for touching the same things and breathing the same air?

E.T.B.
____________________________

If I read them correctly some Religious Right figures seem to be saying that AIDS is “God’s punishment” for homosexuals, as well as for babies perverse enough to be born of women raped by hemophiliacs, drug abusers, or Haitian men. (According to data collected in Africa in 2003, “God’s anger” appears to have been poured out only secondarily on “sexual offenders,” and primarily on hundreds of millions of people unlucky enough to share needles being reused in poor hospital and immunization facilities.--E.T.B.)

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Pope Paul II, Pope Julius III, King James (who decreed the production of the King James Bible), Erasmus (who collected the Greek and Latin manuscripts for that Bible), Lawrence of Arabia, Oscar Wilde, Chief Crazy Horse, Sigmund Freud, Florence Nighingale, J. Edgar Hoover, as well as famed comporsers Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Schubert, Copland and Leonard Bernstein were all gay or bi. Why didn’t God give them AIDS? Did God think that the sexual acts they committed were less wicked than those practiced in California and New York today?

On the brighter side, this tragic disease has prompted more research into immune processes in twenty months than we have gained in the last twenty years. If and when AIDS is cured homosexuals will be safer than ever before. And where will God’s efforts have succeeded then?

Frank R. Zindler, “AIDS: A Blessing From God?” Dial-An-Atheist, Greatest Hits from Ohio
____________________________

If AIDS is God’s punishment, why is a little piece of rubber so effective in avoiding it?

Rev. Jim Huber
____________________________

If AIDS is a divine punishment does that make lesbians God’s chosen people?
____________________________


CONDOMS AND CATHOLICISM

The Vatican recently admitted that Catholics in Third World countries are failing to practice “church-approved methods” of birth control. Isn’t it about time the Vatican threw in the towel (or “the sponge”) on this one, and just started selling their own condoms in the shape of the Pope’s hat with cross-shaped ribs (for her pleasure and an added “heavenly” dispensation)?

E.T.B.
____________________________

Didn’t the Catholic Church and its contributions to civilization peak centuries ago? Now it seems to distinguish itself from the rest of the world’s splintering Christianities by merely being the one that prohibits condom use, and teaches that Mary rose into the sky after her son did.

Again, speaking of the Catholic Church, exactly how many millions did it accept from Mussolini? And how much money did the Vatican Bank eventually have stolen from it decades later? Where was God then? Why didn’t he warn the Pope? I guess God didn’t think the Catholic Church could or should have all that money. Or maybe the God of Catholicism, just like the God of all other Christianities, just can’t handle money. He’s always begging for more.

E.T.B.
____________________________

My Mom and Dad were Catholics and used the rhythm method of birth control. At the end of eight years they had their own rhythm section.

Steve Wolski
____________________________

If God is Catholic how come he only had one child?
____________________________

Mother Teresa used to say, “God always provides. He provides for the flowers and the birds, for everything in the world that he has created. And those little children are his life. There can never be enough.”

“God provides?… There can never be enough?” Scientists who study birds have found that one-third of adult birds and four-fifths of their offspring die of starvation every year. (David Lack, “Of Birds and Men,” New Scientist, Jan., 1996).

Frank Miele, “Mother Not So Superior?” The Skeptic, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1996
____________________________

THE WISDOM OF MOTHER TERESA (and E.T.B.)

Mother Teresa On Aids: “It is the retribution for ‘improper sexual misconduct.’”

(Then what were the Black Death, smallpox, influenza, measles, mumps, polio, and TB “retribution for?”--E.T.B.)

Mother Teresa On Poverty: “It is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot. The world is much helped by the suffering of poor people.”

(The more poor people there are who “accept” their suffering, the more rich people there will be who manipulate them. The rich complain that the poor want something for nothing. But the rich often stop at nothing to get everything. Where is Mother T.’s indignation at the “rich” like Jesus displayed?--E.T.B.)

Mother Teresa On the Intense Pains of a Man with Cancer: “You are suffering like Christ. Therefore Jesus must be kissing you.”

(Mother T. was against the use of anesthetics to deaden pain, and she repeated the above story of intense suffering as an illustration of that belief. However, she also revealed the man’s reply to her. In response to Mother T. telling him that “Jesus must be kissing you,” he replied, “Then I wish he’d stop.”--E.T.B.)

Mother Teresa On Overpopulation: “There is no problem of overpopulation, only of God’s will.”

(So if you live in a country whose population growth is outpacing its food production and economic growth, then you ought to throw away those rubbers and birth control pills, and get down on your knees and embrace starvation and poverty, because according to Mother T. that’s “God’s will.”--E.T.B.)

Mother Teresa’s statements are drawn from The Missionary Position by Christopher Hitchens
____________________________

EXCERPTS FROM “THE LOST ENCYCLICAL AGAINST PENICILLIN”
(A PARODY)
Beloved children, I [the Pope] write to you today to offer you loving guidance against the unnatural use of antibiotics. God created bacteria and viruses for the purpose of infecting organisms sometimes seriously, sometimes less seriously--and we must never presume to interfere with the right order of God’s creation. Just as all forms of birth control go against the natural purpose of conjugal relations--namely, procreation--so the use of all forms of man-made antibiotics interfere with the God-given design of bacteria and viruses and how He intends them to interact with the human body. Each and every bacteria-body interaction must remain open to the transmission of bacteria. It is immoral to impede development of a natural process. That is why we have so exhaustively spoken out against artificial birth control and now antibiotics. We cannot impede a process that God has created. No impeding, no impeding! God created syphilis to infect sexually immoral people, and cause them suffering and eventual death. In no way should a man-made antibiotic interfere with this God-given process. Also, the fear of syphilis is a natural encouragement toward marital fidelity, which could not otherwise hold its own in a free market.

Christopher Durang, Free Inquiry, Spring 1996
____________________________

Christropher Durang’s parody is not very far from the truth of a genuine papal decree: Pope Leo XII (1823-1829) decreed that vaccination against smallpox was “against God’s will.”

E.T.B.

Stephen Law said...

Thanks Edward - this is v. interesting. Especially interested in C.S. Lewis, for reasons that may become apparent shortly....

Sceptic Anonymous said...

Sorry to budge in and start a nitpicking disucssion but:

Where is the proof that Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Alexander the Great were homosexual or bisexual?

And please spare me of the cliches that back in the day in Classical Greece homosexuality was widely practiced.

It's all nonsense. There was no homosexuality in the modern sense, itself a modern construction. In one of Plato's dialogues, I can't remember right now but if you really want me to I will drag up the reference, Plato does discuss the love between an older man and a young boy. Should it be sexual or simply a tutoring relation. And Plato clearly is on the side of a platonic love between the old man and his young protege. Hence the term Platonic love.

So please do not abuse history so lightly just to make a point about homosexuality or to reclaim homosexual pride however one defines it.

Different age, different ethos and sexual norms. Of course this is not to say that homosexual intercourse did not take place, of course it did, but I am extremely sceptical whether people back then were self-consciously homosexual or bisexual the way present day homosexuals are.

Stevie B said...

I'd like to add that there is a flaw in the arguement of Catholics who assume that condoms stop the creation of a living being.

Not every sexual act creates a living being and since that is the case, what then was the purpose of the act of sex when no human being is created? I can only conclude that creation is not the only reason for sex and so there must be another, more pleasurable reason.

If we can conclude that sex is not always for the purpose of creating a human being, then we can say that the sex with a condom is the equivilant as having sex without a condom but with no creation of a human being. So it is okay to have sex with a condom.

Steve

Psiomniac said...

stevie b

If I wanted to construct a coherent justification for the Catholic position I would invoke the idea of sex being a gift from god which is intended by him to be used in the context of marriage. Marriage would then be defined as the union of man and woman with the intent of procreation.
Individual sexual acts would take place within that context. Each would culminate in an act that does in some instances give rise to new life.

Stevie B said...

Psiomniac,
I'm sorry, but you've contridicted yourself in your statement.

You first state "the idea of sex being a gift from god which is intended by him to be used in the context of marriage."

Or in other words you can only have sex if you are married.

Then you state "Marriage would then be defined as the union of man and woman with the intent of procreation."

In this sentence you state that marriage is only for procreation. Therefore, since sex can only be done in marriage and marriage is only for procreation, then sex is only for procreation.

However, you then state "Each would culminate in an act that does in some instances give rise to new life." which contridicts your first point because if sex was only for procreation you wouldn't state that the act creates life in some instances.

If sex was meant for procreation, then the act of sex should create life in all instances. Thus, you can conclude that sex isn't meant for only procreation. There must be multiple reasons for sex. If there are multiple reasons, one of which is pleasure, then sex with a condom is okay as it is one of the multiple reasons for sex.

The merit of my arguement is based on the fact that sex doesn't always create. Because of that reason, you can conclude that sex has multiple reasons. Only if you can show that sex only has one purpose then the catholic arguement is correct.

Anonymous said...

Stevie b :

You claim that Psiomniac is contradicting himself. He is not.

He stated
'Marriage would then be defined as the union of man and woman with the intent of procreation.'

If sex does not always result in procreation, does that alter the intent?

It seems like dodgy logic to me to suggest that because sex does not always result in new life that there must therefore be other reasons for it. This is a false conclusion.

You are assuming that the process is perfect. The reproductive systems are complex and reliant on very many factors. Is it at all unexpected that it does not always work?

If a weapon system was designed to shoot down incoming missiles but was not 100% reliable, would that therefore mean it has other uses?
It MAY have, but it is not logically sound to be certain that it does.

It is also possible to use something in a way which was never intended. If someone uses a calculator as a paper weight, does that mean that a calculator was intended to more than calculate.

The Catholic position on condoms is really odd though. Is it, even by their own standards, morally better to allow many people to die when you can prevent it or allow then to use condoms?

Stevie B said...

"If sex does not always result in procreation, does that alter the intent? "

I am stating that there are multiple intents for any one act. I know this because there are multiple results from one particular act. Since I could choose to enjoy one of those results, I could continue to refine my act in a way to get that enjoyable result all the time. Therefore, my intention determines the result, not the act.

So you cannot state that one act is meant for one intention because I can choose from a multiple of results outside of that act.

For example, I can have sex for multiple reasons and not only one (i.e. showing someone I love them vs. creation or even both) and I know this is the case because I don't always create but I do show my love. If I wanted to keep showing my love and not create, I could then keep acting in a way that doesn't create.

I think you would agree as your examples show that a missles and a calculators have the potential to do more then one thing. What determines its use is the intent of the person using that one thing.

Thus the act of sex cannot be for one intent, as the world will let you use it for whatever intent you have. So sex cannot be only for creation, as it will have other intents as well. If there are other intents, and showing someone you love them is one of them, then using a condom is okay if that is your intent.

As for the point around a missile not doing what it is intended to do, one can keep learning until the missile does do what it is intended to do. However, if your intention changed to one of not intercepting a missile, then you know how to do that too. So realize that the missile isn't only there for the purpose of intercepting, as it can also be there for not intercepting. In fact, you could probably think of a dozen other purposes for the missle and the only correct one is based on the person who is intending it.

So if you intended on creating during sex, you would probably do some things differently then if you didn't want a baby and it is this learning that will help you to create. However, you cannot state that creation is the only reason for sex because there are multiple reasons for it. I know this because creation doesn't happen everytime people have sex.

Psiomniac said...

Stevie b :

I think you are conflating the reasons people have for doing things with the reason something might be created. To pick up anonymous' analogy, you are saying it is fine to use a calculator as a paperweight, this just demonstrates that calculators have multiple uses. I agree. This does not address the issue of intended use though. Now, in the calculator case we probably don't worry about the manufacturer calling us to account for not using their product in the proper context. Those who believe that god gave us sex as a gift to be used responsibly will not be persuaded by your arguments.

Psiomniac said...

Anonymous,
The Catholic position on condoms is really odd though. Is it, even by their own standards, morally better to allow many people to die when you can prevent it or allow then to use condoms?

Well I wonder whether this is a matter of perspective. After all, within the Catholic worldview, the innocent are headed for eternal bliss. They already have to justify so much arbitrary suffering, famine pestilence, tsunami, earthquake. AIDS is just the new kid on the block.

Anonymous said...

Stevie b:

I think you are missing my point. I entirely agree that almost everything has many uses, or can be put to many uses. YOU may have many different intents for sex but
catholics are arguing that GOD meant only one intent.

New life is not created every time people have sex. This is not sufficient evidence to conclude that GOD intended more than one use for sex.

As in the missile system analogy, the system designers may have had only one intent for how it should be used.
If it does not perform this function every time it is used, is this sufficient evidence to suggest that the designers intended other uses?

Catholoics are not arguing that sex can only be used for procreation, they are arguing that it should only be used for procreation as that is what GOD intended.

Stevie B said...

"Those who believe that god gave us sex as a gift to be used responsibly will not be persuaded by your arguments."

My goal is not to persuade, but to understand. I have a position that I need to understand by seeing how it stands against other thoughts, which is why I stated what I stated.

"YOU may have many different intents for sex but catholics are arguing that GOD meant only one intent."

My question would be then why did God allow for multiple results if God's intent was to only have one?

I can understand God's intent of giving me energy every time I eat food, which happens all the time and never changes, but why have multiple results of something if God's intent was to only have one result?

Stevie B said...

"As in the missile system analogy, the system designers may have had only one intent for how it should be used.
If it does not perform this function every time it is used, is this sufficient evidence to suggest that the designers intended other uses?"

This would be similar to looking at an apple and stating that it should be an orange. Intention doesn't make an apple an orange. It is only in understanding that the apple is an apple and that you must continue to look for an orange in order to make the statement "This is an orange".

In otherwords, the missile is not a missle that intercepts, even though that is the intention. Just like an apple isn't an orange. It is only until you find a missile that will intercept can you state that I intend this to intercept, or that this orange is an orange.

Psiomniac said...

stevie b,
My goal is not to persuade, but to understand.
Well I don't think you have met that target either.
I think the idea that sex has different purposes in different situations seems so persuasive to you that you have failed to engage with the alternative viewpoint. That is not to say I would expect you to agree with it, neither do I after all, but I can see how it might make sense from the perspective of somebody who thinks that god is remotely interested in our activities, sexual or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Stevie,

The apple and orange analogy doesn't really fit. An apple was not designed specifically to be an apple. It simply is an apple. Missile systems dont grow on trees. The difference between the two is that with the apple we apply a purpose or a function after it exists. In the case of a missile system, it is built in response to a particular need or are you suggesting that military weapon system designers build something and only then decide what it might be good for?

It's intended function is the reason for its construction. If it consistantly fails to function in the desired manner, then the designers have failed.

You said
"It is only until you find a missile that will intercept can you state that I intend this to intercept, or that this orange is an orange."

Surely weapon system designers say something like
"I intend to build a missile interception system."
If they build something that isn't able to intercept missiles, does that alter the intent for the system?
Also, if it only successfully intercepts missiles 70% of the time, is it no longer an interception system? - I would say it is, it's just not perfect.

Stevie B said...

Anonymous said:

It's intended function is the reason for its construction. If it consistantly fails to function in the desired manner, then the designers have failed.

Spencer Silver from 3M was trying to design a super adhesive. Instead what he created was what is now called a post-it note. Is that a failure?

My point is that a product or service can have multiple results. Take coca-cola for instance. Here are but some of the results you can get from coke:

- It removes gum from your hair
- Clean ancient coins
- Remove oil stains from a driveway
- Power a TV

In fact the list goes on forever. Here's the website where I pulled this from:
http://members.tripod.com/~Barefoot_Lass/cola.html

So are we to say that Coca-Cola's only intended use is to drink it, or can it be said that the person's intention with Coca-Cola actually determines what happens?

I'd say intention determines the outcome. With the added dimension that if Coca-Cola can not create a result that I want, such as give me wings to fly, then I cannot intend Coca-Cola to give me that result unless it is refined to change my dna somehow.

However, if it can give me wings, then I can use that as the intention of Coca-Cola.

This is similar to the missle analogy such that if it cannot create the intended result, then it cannot be used based on its intention. If the result gives the intention, then the intention determines the use of the object, given that there are multiple results an object can have.

Therefore, if sex has multiple results, then it can have multiple intentions. If it can have multiple intentions, then it is okay to have sex with a condom beacuse it is just giving the same result as having sex without a condom and not having a child.

I hope that makes sense...

Steve

Ann Russell said...

Well worth listening to - Archbishop Tutu gives his 'take' on this subject pretty succintly on the Radio 4 Podcast:
'Radio 4 Choice, November 30th -
Michael Buerk reports on the divide over homosexuality in the worldwide Anglican Church. He talks to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who gives vent to his feelings of shame over homophobia.'

Wojciech Żełaniec said...

"We'd prefer you not to have sex, but if you are going to, please use a condom"?, Why the RCC won't say that?


Well, not 'we'd prefer' but 'you must not have (extramarital) sex', this is what that church is saying (to its faithful, only). (Unless in your idiolect 'we'd prefer ... not' means 'you must not..', of course.)

Then, you require that it (the RC church) should say: 'OK, if you have extramarital sex, you must/may use condoms'.

So it &the church) should be saying, at the same time:

1. You must not p;
2. If you p, then you must/may q.

Do you think that is quite consistent, no matter what 'p' and 'q' stand for?

Wojciech Żełaniec said...

Stephen is writing:

'Then why not say, "We'd prefer you not to have sex, but if you are going to, please use a condom"?'

Well, another difficulty that I seem to see with a no doubt well-meaning suggestion like that above is the practical results of its implementation.

Suppose the RC church says 'OK, if you choose to be promiscuous, which we say you must not, then it is henceforth OK, nay, mandatory to you to use condoms'. What would the to-be-expected results thereof be for an average African (or American, European, ... etc.)?

Imagine that after a proclamation to that effect by the Holy See, a promiscuous man is on his way to his next exploit, say a brothel, or lying in wait for somebody to rape, or something like that.

Now first off, is he Roman Catholic at all? If not, the hypothetical Instruction by Pope will not impress him in the least, maybe even in the opposite direction: 'If these asinine fools, the Catholics, who teach that the Earth is flat and what not, say a thing like that --- it must be wrong, I won't use a condom from now on'. But most likely, the Papal Instruction will fail to have any influence on the playboy in question.

If he IS Catholic, he will probably have heard of 'Thou shalt not commit adultery', and should care. But---by hypothesis---he don't care. He just don't. (If he's a Catholic who hasn't ever heard of that commandment, he's such a queer Catholic that his responses to any Papal instructions must be viewed as highly impredictable.)

Now behold the moment arrive when he's 'at it': the virile parts tumescent and ready, etc., he is, let us presuppose for the sake of argument, somehow in the position to pause for a moment and reflect on what his Church teaches him and---inspired by a holy awe of the hypothetical Instruction from the Vatican (you boys, do wear condoms while sleeping around) BUT AT THE SAME TIME BY AN UNHOLY CONTEMPT OF THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT he---obediently---slips on the odd rubber... ?

Does anybody think a scenario like that is any likely? I mean, not just in few isolated cases, where it certainly is, for most weird things happen in few isolated cases
---men bite dogs, rabbits kill snakes---but as a matter of general rule?

Wojciech Żełaniec said...

To put the point made in the above posting in a somewhat differenlty, and in a more succint manner:

The rc church does not want to---it seems to me---make itself appear ridiculous by giving advice to people who by hypothesis do not care about most important advice (nay, commandments) previously given by that very selfsame church.

Imagine a secular legislator legislating that burglaries are illegal, but if you do burgle, it's OK, but please be so kind as to not demolish the premisses your burgle more than necessary for your burglary-related designs.

Even if you disapprove of the rc church (or any other organization) it is somewhat unwise, methinks, to begrudge it for not wanting to appear ridiculous.

Stephen Law said...

The RC appears ridiculous on this in any case. But, setting that to one side, there is a subtle distinction we need to make here.

Sometimes it is perfectly reasonable to say: You ought not to X, but if you are going to X, do Y. Other times less reasonable.

Doctor: You ought not to drink, but if you are, avoid spirits.

If you want a moral example:

Animal rights activist: You ought not to keep pets, but if you are going to, treat them humanely.

That's reasonable, and certainly consistent.

This seems odd though:

You ought not to rape, but if you are, use a condom.

But why? It is not inconsistent, I think. But it seems a silly thing to say because:

(i) anyone who rapes doesn't give a stuff about their victim, and so won't bother protecting them with a condom. So it's a pointless request (hence ridiculous, if safeguarding the victim is the aim), and

(ii) in the animal rights case, the activist recognizes you may not share their fairly unusual moral position, and so it is reasonable for them to add that even if you don't agree with them about keeping pets, you should still treat your pets humanely. But it is odd to add something similar about rape, as presumably the rapist knows what he does is wrong.

WZ's burglary example is odd for the same two reasons.

For the RC to say "You ought not to have homosexual sex, but if you are going to, use a condom" would thus involve (i) no inconsistency, and, indeed, (ii) not even any of oddness of the sort that attaches to the parallel remarks about rape and burglary.

Anonymous said...

The reason why the church vehemently oppose the use of condom or other artificial contraceptives is the church's fear in the future that there will be less pregnancies and therefore less children thereafter less children to molest

Anonymous said...

Hello. I am a devout Christian but I am kind of disturb to know that the reason why the church oppose the use of condom is related to there future fear that there will be less children especially the male species and because of this priest or church people will have less children to molest.

David Harvey said...

(I apologise if someone has already pointed this out - I haven't read through all the comments and I appreciate that this is a post from 5 years ago.)

When someone tells you that something (like the use of a condom) is wrong, you must firstly ask why they think that. I believe all morals should be rationally justified!

Let's assume the Catholic says it's because they stop pro-creation. This takes you into the nature of sex. They may see the purpose and indeed sole function of sex to be an act of pro-creation, in which case you must also remind them that sexual activity between an infertile or elderly couple would also therefore be immoral. If they dispute this then clearly their argument is not based on this logic, but something else.

After digging a little further, they will probably arrive at the following conclusion: it is so because God says it is so, which is an appeal to authority and has no basis of explanation whatsoever

Anonymous said...

Hi, I work in a communication company I want to share my testimony to the world, my name is maria katrina, i am from united kingdom in belfast north ireland, I was a stripper in a club I got effected with HIV due to the nature of my job, In april 15 2013 i was tested positive to HIV, This is not design to convince you but its just a personal health experience . I never taught doctor hakim could ever get my HIV-AIDS cured with his healing herb spell, i have tried almost everything but I couldn't find any solution on my disease, despite all these happening to me, i always spend a lot to buy a HIV drugs from hospital and taking some several medications but no relieve, until one day i was just browsing on the internet when i came across a great post of !Michelle! who truly said that she was been diagnose with HIV and was healed that very week through the help of this great powerful healing spell doctor ,I wonder why he is called the great papa hakim, i never knew it was all because of the great and perfect work that he has been doing that is causing all this. so I quickly contacted him, and he ask me some few questions and so i did all the things he asked me to do,He ask me to buy some herbs and which I did for my cure,only to see that at the very day which he said i will be healed, all the strength that has left me before rush back and i becomes very strong and healthy, this disease almost kills my life all because of me, so i went to hospital to give the final test to the disease and the doctor said i am HIV negative, i am very amazed and happy about the healing doctor hakim gave to me from the ancient part of africa, you can email him now for your own healing too on his email: dr.hakimherbalspellworld@gmail.com. thank you doctor for healing me from HIV. I am free and happy. here is my mobile number to really confirm from me +44702407844 and here is my email:communicationzonetrader@gmail.com

marian duss said...

HI My Name is MARIAN DUSS, I wish to share my
testimonies with the
general public about what this man called Dr LAWCY
of( drlawcyspellhome@gmail.com ] has just done for me , this man has just did what I thought nobody will ever do for me, i was HIV positive when one of my family friend introduce this man to me, I never believed that great DR LAWCY could do this, when I contacted him on this same issue on ground, he casted some spell for me and gave me some parcel to drink, now I am so happy to say that the virus I was having In my body have left me.
All thanks to DR LAWCY. If you are out there passing through this same kind of
problems you can
contact him today on his mail ( drlawcyspellhome@gmail.com )
and he will also help
you as well with his great spell caster, THANKS BE TO DR LAWCY....

Anonymous said...

I Am Mrs lara, i live in Texas (USA). [READ MY STORY. ON HOW I GOT MY AIDS CURED]. Truthfully, i was tested HIV + positive last 3years. I keep on managing the drugs i usually purchase from the health care agency to keep me healthy and strenghtful, i tried all i can too make this disease leave me alone, but unfortunately, it keep on eating up my life, this is what i caused myself, for allowing my fiance make sex to me unsecurely without protection, although i never knew he is HIV positive. So last few 4days i came in contact with a lively article on the internet on how this Powerful Herb Healer get her well and healed. So as a patient i knew this will took my life 1 day, and i need to live with other friends and relatives too. So i copied out the Dr SALAMI the traditional healer's email id: salamispiritualspelltemple@gmail.com, and i mailed him immediately, in a little while he mail me back that i was welcome to his temple home wereby all what i seek for are granted. I was please at that time. And i continue with him, he took some few details from me and told me that he shall get back to me as soon as he is through with my work. I was very happy as heard that from him. So Yesterday, as i was just coming from my friends house, Dr Atakuma called me to go for checkup in the hospital and see his marvelous work that it is now HIV negative, i was very glad to hear that from him, so i quickly rush down to the nearest hospital to found out, only to hear from my hospital doctor called Browning Lewis that i am now HIV NEGATIVE. I jump up at him with the test note, he ask me how does it happen and i recide to him all i went through with Dr . I am now glad, so i am a gentle type of person that need to share this testimonies to everyone who seek for healings, because once you get calm and quiet, so the disease get to finish your life off. So i will advice you contact him today for your healing at the above details: Email ID:salamispiritualspelltemple@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I Am Mrs lara, i live in Texas (USA). [READ MY STORY. ON HOW I GOT MY AIDS CURED]. Truthfully, i was tested HIV + positive last 3years. I keep on managing the drugs i usually purchase from the health care agency to keep me healthy and strenghtful, i tried all i can too make this disease leave me alone, but unfortunately, it keep on eating up my life, this is what i caused myself, for allowing my fiance make sex to me unsecurely without protection, although i never knew he is HIV positive. So last few 4days i came in contact with a lively article on the internet on how this Powerful Herb Healer get her well and healed. So as a patient i knew this will took my life 1 day, and i need to live with other friends and relatives too. So i copied out the Dr SALAMI the traditional healer's email id: salamispiritualspelltemple@gmail.com, and i mailed him immediately, in a little while he mail me back that i was welcome to his temple home wereby all what i seek for are granted. I was please at that time. And i continue with him, he took some few details from me and told me that he shall get back to me as soon as he is through with my work. I was very happy as heard that from him. So Yesterday, as i was just coming from my friends house, Dr Atakuma called me to go for checkup in the hospital and see his marvelous work that it is now HIV negative, i was very glad to hear that from him, so i quickly rush down to the nearest hospital to found out, only to hear from my hospital doctor called Browning Lewis that i am now HIV NEGATIVE. I jump up at him with the test note, he ask me how does it happen and i recide to him all i went through with Dr . I am now glad, so i am a gentle type of person that need to share this testimonies to everyone who seek for healings, because once you get calm and quiet, so the disease get to finish your life off. So i will advice you contact him today for your healing at the above details: Email ID:salamispiritualspelltemple@gmail.com

marian duss said...

HI My Name is MARIAN DUSS, I wish to share my
testimonies with the
general public about what this man called Dr LAWCY
of( drlawcyspellhome@gmail.com ] has just done for me , this man has just did what I thought nobody will ever do for me, i was HIV positive when one of my family friend introduce this man to me, I never believed that great DR LAWCY could do this, when I contacted him on this same issue on ground, he casted some spell for me and gave me some parcel to drink, now I am so happy to say that the virus I was having In my body have left me.
All thanks to DR LAWCY. If you are out there passing through this same kind of
problems you can
contact him today on his mail ( drlawcyspellhome@gmail.com )
and he will also help
you as well with his great spell caster, THANKS BE TO DR LAWCY....

jane thomas said...

i want to share a testimony on how i was cured from HIV by a man called Dr. Aluta of ALUTASPELLTEMPLE@HOTMAIL.COM who is very good in what he does for people. I was diagnosed of HIV in NOV. 2011 and since then i have not been living a normal life with my family, my husband and kid left me because they tested negative, i was the only who was carrying the disease and i have been living a life full of pain and sorrows because of the disease i was having inside of me, until i meant a testimony about a woman who was cured be Doctor Aluta, i was skeptical at first, but latter on i decided to give the Dr. a try, and in just 4 days after i contacted him, he told me every thing to do which i did and then he told me to go for a test to check if the cure he gave to me had worked, and i really went for the test and to my greatest surprise the disease i have been carrying for almost 3 years disappeared, and i was very happy, after that i called my husband and told him of the good news, and now i am very happy to tell you that i and my family are now living happy with out problems, and if you are also in this kind of situation, i will advice you to contact him today through his email. ALUTASPELLTEMPLE@HOTMAIL.COM or call him with his mobile number. +2348077526430. god bless Dr. Aluta for the good work he did in my life.

Rebecca Kemaya said...


i was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS for over 5 years which made loose my job and my relationship with my fiance after he discovered that i was having HIV, he departed from me i tried all my best to make him stays with me, but neglected me until a friend of mine on Facebook from Singapore told me Great healer, who will restore my life back with his powerful healing spell, he sent me the email address to contact (dr.marnish@yahoo.com) and i quickly contacted him, and he said my condition can solved, that he will treat the disease immediately only if i can accept trust him and accept his terms and condition, i Agreed because i was so much in need of help by all means, so i did all he want from me and surprisingly on Sunday last week He sent me a text, that i should hurry up to the hospital for a checkup, which i truly did, i confirm from my doctor that i am now ( HIV NEGATIVE) my eyes filled with tears and joy, crying heavily because truly the disease deprived me of many things from my life, This is a Miracle, Please do not en-devour to email dr.marnish or call him at +15036626930 for healing and solution
Rebecca from London