That’s what I was going to say!

by nonewsisnew

Sometimes my work is done for me, and the above post is one example.  Governor Christie’s signing into law a bill to ban helping those who experience same sex attraction does express our countries increasing fondness for the heresy of gnostic dualism.  As the article states, it “confirms the growing gnostic assumptions about human reality, enshrining feelings and impulses as sacred, while instrumentalizing the human body”.

Gnostic dualism splits the person apart into body and soul.  In this particular article, it sees the soul as “feelings and impulses”, which is a bit different from historic gnosticism, which saw the soul as mainly knowledge and will.  Regardless, the soul needs to triumph over the body, which is why the article talks about “instrumentalizing the human body”.  For Gnostics, the body is a thing to subject to the soul, because the body is material and therefore imperfect.  While I doubt modern dualists would say the body is imperfect, there does seem to be a clear understanding that the body needs to match the soul, and never vice versa.  So with the Pill, the soul doesn’t want children, so the body must be made sterile.  Or with people who are transgendered, the soul dictates what the body should look like.  This even is true with most cosmetic surgeries, which don’t restore damage from an accident but rather take away the signs of how old the soul is.

That said, the article might go too far in their support for conversion therapy.  Science seems to suggest an epigenetic component to homosexuality.  Recognizing what a body is and what its desires are is important.  One shouldn’t follow Marge Simpson’s advice:

“It doesn’t matter how you feel inside, you know. It’s what shows up on the outside that counts. Take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down past your knees, until you’re almost walking on them. And then you’ll fit in, and you’ll be invited to parties, and boys will like you. And happiness will follow.”

This would be to take dualism too far in the other direction, where the body dictates everything to the soul.  It is the heresy of Materialism, which places the whole of a person in the body and excludes the soul as a source of truth.

To attain the middle between Gnostic and Materialistic dualism, the Church teaches that “Homosexual persons are called to chastity” (CCC 2359).  They aren’t called to change their attractions, but to have the Courage to live chaste lives, just as all people are.  Priests sometimes talk about the “Sublimation” of their personal desires.  Because priests are people, they have sexual urges.  The approach used is not to push that urge away (which might make the urge express itself in an impure way), but to recognize the urge for what it is, and then use that sexual energy in another and holier way; such as to go for a run, or do some repairs around the rectory, or pray.  In this way, priests can be authentic to who they are while dissipating that energy in a positive way.  The body is recognized for it’s influence, the soul is recognized for its influence, and the person as a whole acts in a pure manner.