I wish to take issue in this public forum with the argument presented by Dr. John Corvino in his recent lecture on campus to the effect that homosexuality is not morally wrong. An important premise of his argument was that the Bible is not a trustworthy moral guide, and that this is chiefly demonstrated by the Bible’s permitance of slavery, which, he states, is obviously a moral evil.
Firstly, it is inconsistent for an atheist, such as Dr. Corvino is, to appeal to an obvious moral wrong. If we as a society arrive at our own standards through an explorative process as he suggested, then it takes no great historian to recognize that a position against slavery is not a foregone conclusion.
Regarding, however, what the Bible does say about slavery, I would say this: We find in the Bible a system of moral cause and effect – that is, there are negative consequences to wrong actions. I believe that a more careful analysis of the text would demonstrate that the slavery which the Bible allowed occurred as a consequence primarily of moral evil. God used the nation of Israel to punish the degradation of the surrounding nations, and when Israel fell into moral evil she became herself the recipient of trouble at the hands of her neighbors.
We must not overlook the fact that where Christianity has spread throughout the world it has always had the effect of countering human abuses – whether of slaves, women, or other vulnerable people groups – and by no mere coincidence. That the Bible does not present a sufficiently high standard of life is a most curious claim, for those who know the book best are most challenged by their own inability to live up to its lofty standards.
For more information on Corvino’s presentation, visit Speaker Shares Views on Homosexuality.