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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Question of the Day #26: Pedophiles

Image hosting by PhotobucketSo we've all heard this one. The most dastardly of appeals when the Christians attack homosexuality is to liken it to pedophilia. But wait, if we dare say that pedophilia is abuse of a child and that homosexuality is a consentual relationship between adults, certain obnoxious Christians (you know who) may accuse us of making an arbitrary distinction of at what point a child becomes an adult, or that we're making a judgement based on our feelings that a child who engages in sex with an adult is being abused.

So how do we know that pedophilia is wrong?

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8 Comments:

At 2/11/2006 3:33 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

I think we have to be careful not to fall into the trap of not defining where the child/adult distinction lies. I certainly think the way we think about it today is so twisted that any discussion of pedophilia within these parameters cannot be rational. We've got to redefine the distinction first, THEN answer the question.

 
At 2/11/2006 7:40 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

I agree. It's not easy to make the distinction. There's the physical distinction of puberty, but this is a gradual process that takes many years to finish. We can, with a certain degree of certainty, make the distinction between an individual who has not yet entered puberty, and individual who is in puberty, and an individual who has completed puberty. The problem is that there is no discrete boundary between the three stages. Aside from physical maturation, there is emotional and mental maturation, which are not always concurrent. To be able to consent to a sexual relationship, an individual has to be able to understand sexuality and make informed value judgements. This is why sex with mentally handicapped people is often immoral- they may be physically mature, but they are unable to understand sexual values.

So, it's not arbitrary, but it's not clear when this distinction applies. Interestingly, Christians (even the obnoxious ones) realize that there's no mention of an age of consent in the Bible, so they're forced to grapple with the same ambiguity. Which is probably why they place the burden on atheists.

 
At 2/11/2006 1:19 PM, Blogger Vic declaimed...

ZM said:

"To be able to consent to a sexual relationship, an individual has to be able to understand sexuality and make informed value judgements."

This sounds good to me, but I guess begs the question of how we are to know whether or not a person is able to make these kinds of value judgements for themselves. There's no absolute age barrier, and educating them on sexuality doesn't necessarily mean they will have the reasoning skills to USE that information...

... still, though, it's clear that prepubescent children are absolutely unable to do this, and it's usually this age group that the sicko theists accuse the 'evil' atheists of wanting to molest.

At least the rational are dedicated to examining the question; as has already been noted, the bible doesn't say a whole hell of a lot about the subject.

 
At 2/16/2006 10:03 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

"At least the rational are dedicated to examining the question; as has already been noted, the bible doesn't say a whole hell of a lot about the subject."

As has been evidenced by the dearth of Christians submitting answers to this question.

 
At 2/16/2006 12:13 PM, Blogger chinookbrad declaimed...

the point that keeps getting missed is that age is a different factor, in that it's linear, and gender is binary. or something like that, i'm no physicist, anyway my point is that morality is gender-blind because genitals have little to do with victimization, which cannot be said for pedophilia. they are completely different variables.

 
At 2/16/2006 4:47 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

What???

 
At 2/16/2006 5:21 PM, Blogger chinookbrad declaimed...

lol. pedophilia and homosexuality can't be compared because age and gender are completely incomparable qualities. age changes, it is something we all experience, whereas gender just is. except when it isn't, of course, but that's another discussion.

 
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