Thursday, June 19, 2008

"But all the other nations are doing it!"

One of my most secular professors at the University of Maryland once said to me, "No man can rightly consider himself educated who has not wrestled with Augustine's Confessions." I began to read the confessions the next week. Augustine is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest minds and greatest hearts that has ever graced the planet. Listen to his words on the rush to embrace homosexuality as a legitimate alternative lifestyle sanctioned by the state and its laws.

“Even if all nations should do these deeds . . .”—Augustine (354 –430)

Augustine of Hippo is a towering figure in Christian theology. In his Confessions (written c. 397), he countered the claim that homosexuality is morally acceptable simply because, as some argued, it is widely practised. Being contrary to nature, homosexuality pollutes society, and, like Sodom, deserves punishment.

Can it be wrong for any of us at any time or in any place to love God with his whole heart, and with his whole soul, and with his whole mind, and to love his neighbour as himself? Therefore, vicious deeds that are contrary to nature, are everywhere and always detested and punished, such as were those of the men of Sodom. Even if all nations should do these deeds, they would all be held in equal guilt under the divine law, for it has not made men in such fashion that they should use one another in this way. For in truth society itself, which must obtain between God and us, is violated, when the nature of which he is author is polluted by a perverted lust.1

Augustine recognizes the point that while custom counts for something, it does not count for everything. Customs must stand before the bar of God’s righteousness. Of course, in the case of homosexuality, God and custom agree that it is evil.

But when God commands something contrary to the customs or laws of the people, it must be done, even if it has never been done before; if it has been neglected, it must be restored; and if it has never been established, it must be established.2

1 Augustine, The Confessions of St. Augustine, trans. John K. Ryan (New York: Doubleday, 1960), 87. In other translations see: Book 3, Chapter 15.
2 Ibid.

"There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25) Pray that our nation would embrace God's will and life over its own rationalisims and death.

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