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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Not on Moral or Religious Grounds

"Martin Amis doesn’t attack pornography on moral or religious grounds. But the British author is deeply troubled by what he sees as the insidious effect porn is having not just on sexuality but on human nature itself."

So begins a Slate article on Amis's new book. I do not have any comment to make on the book, since I have not seen it, but the implicit idea of this sentence is troubling. It is nothing different than what the majority of people, even religious people believe. The contrast here between moral/religious and reason is false. It is why people are always trying to keep religion out of politics, because they believe that religious doctrine is unreasonable.

The reason the Catholic Church is opposed to pornography is not because it was decreed from the sky that we should be. The teaching does find confirmation in the teachings of Jesus and the commandments, but we do not think that Jesus is unreasonable either. When the Church teaches that such-and-such thing is a sin, this means that such-and-such thing is bad for us, against our nature.

Of course Amis did not write a book that consists solely of the sentence "The Catholic Church teaches that pornography is wrong." It would be too short. But if the author of the article thinks that what Catholics do after they begin with that sentence is any different, he does not understand what we mean by morality. The Church's claim is that its teaching reflects the truth: the same truth a person reaches if they seriously consider human nature and come to independent conclusions. There is only one truth.

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