At his blog, [Correction: A commenter says she’s a woman] in a post having nothing to do with the present topic, EvolutionistX writes
Take the most common argument against homosexuality: “God says it is a sin.” Young people are fairly atheist, believe in separation of church and state, and think a god who doesn’t like gay people is a jerk. This argument doesn’t just fail at convincing young people that gay marriage is bad; it also convinces them that God is bad.
By contrast, a simple graph showing STD rates among gay people makes a pretty persuasive argument that the “gay lifestyle” isn’t terribly healthy.
She’s not the only one to make such an observation. Radio talk show host Michael Medved has said much the same thing, that we should avoid religious arguments against homosexuality in the political arena.
Problem is, if God doesn’t oppose homosexuality then there’s ultimately nothing wrong with it.
For the purposes of this post, I’ll use the following idiosyncratic definition of “atheism:” Any system in which God does not oppose homosexuality, either because He does not exist, or because He does not oppose homosexuality.
Under atheism, homosexuality cannot be opposed on any grounds other than personal preference. The argument from poor health given above ultimately fails for at least two reasons. For one, it’s quite possible that advances in medicine will make the homosexual lifestyle healthy. For another, if God does not oppose homosexuality then we must respect the individual’s decision to live as a homosexual despite the risk: Actualizing your potential even in the face of danger is a respected activity within our current liberal system. And if homosexuality is good, as it is under liberalism, then we must respect it no matter what side effects it has.
Now, atheism does not necessarily say homosexuality is good, only that it’s not bad. And atheism could conceivable oppose homosexuality on purely utilitarian grounds, as indicated in EvolutionstX’s quote. But given social conditions for the foreseeable future the utilitarian argument is a non-starter. Indeed, it’s the duty of society, under liberalism, to facilitate the individual’s self-definition.
Atheism ultimately provides no reason other than personal preference to oppose the legitimization of homosexuality. And personal preferences are unreliable as a means of building a civilization or living a good life.
What we need is the Word of God to validate the true intuition, which I believe is present in all people but suppressed by some, that sin is bad. That intuition is a powerful clue about the true structure of reality, but it can be subverted if not validated by a Word from God and reinforced by the authorities, both religious and secular. Simply pointing to bad outcomes from the homosexual lifestyle is necessary, and will convince some of the people some of the time, but it’s not sufficient.