Re: David Hegg, commentary, March 26.
I went to a parochial grade school and the Catholic nuns preached abstinence from sex until marriage (easy thing to say for someone who’s celibate). They told us sex was bad unless it was performed between husband and wife and that if we did it before that, God would punish us. That’s how the Catholics taught us everything — through fear and guilt. Well, it just didn’t make any sense to me, so I went to the monsignor and asked him if God would punish me if I had sex before I got married. The monsignor sort of smiled and said “no,” then gave me something a bit more solid to hook my mind into.
He was a pretty cool guy for a “priest,” and I often wondered why such a cool guy would choose such a ridiculous profession, but what he told me was enough to significantly reduce the number of sexual adventures I had before I got married. What he told me had nothing to do with human emotions, ethics, or morality, or even the possible jading of my soul. It was real down-to-earth logic and reason. He asked me if I knew about syphilis and gonorrhea. I said yes. He asked me if I’d like to contract either one of them. I said no. He asked me if I’d like to get someone pregnant. I said no. Then he told me that every time I had sex with someone I was rolling the dice on either of those two happening. Well, that did it. It didn’t prevent me from having sex before getting married, but it did make me fanatically selective on who it would be with, as in, “Papers, please.”
Long before humans became “civilized,” humans were apes. Most humans are still apes, and apes are animals who act on instinct. Speaking ethics to instinct is like trying to feed tree bark to a carnivore, and that’s what Judeo-Christians do all day long. Barking up the wrong tree is what I call it. If you want to increase your effectiveness and get better results, then get out of the ethics game and hit with harsh reality. If you want to prevent someone from playing with fire then take them to a burn center and introduce them to some of the patients and have them touch their wounds. Sadly, in the end, you won’t be able to reach everyone, as for some, the burned hand teaches best.
Rev. Hegg is a real hoot — ethical intimacy, indeed. Good intentions, but faulty reasoning.