Frankl, who is the subject of my class paper, was a psychologist and the founder of Logotherapy. He taught that humanity’s basic drive is to find meaning in life. This happens in one of three ways:
1) through a work (book, art, etc.) or deed
2) an experience or encounter (beauty of nature, love for another, etc.)
3) one’s attitude in the face of suffering (being able to see it as opportunity for growth, test of dignity, etc.)
Frankl himself was a Jew who survived four different concentration camps during World War II. His book “Man’s Search For Meaning” recalls his experiences there.
A couple of quotes from that book on the subject of Love:
“Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self.” (p. 58)
“Love is as primary a phenomenon as sex. Normally, sex is a mode of expression for love. Sex is justified, even sanctified, as soon as, but only as long as, it is a vehicle of love. Thus love is not understood as a mere side-effect of sex; rather, sex is a way of expressing the experience of that ultimate togetherness which is called love.” (p. 134)
Now, what got me thinking about these quotes was a political issue I mentioned below – gay marriage. Any argument I’ve heard against gay marriage has been in terms of religion. Most of those arguments are pretty weak and amount to some Christians declaring “the Bible says being gay is bad”. Well, plenty of Christians also support gay marriage, including the United Church of Christ, which as a denomination has voted to support gay marriage (even though individual UCC churches may still oppose it). I don’t even want to get into a Biblical argument – I probably won’t be able to convince anyone that way and they won’t be able to convert me to their view either. People will believe what they want to believe (especially when the beliefs are grounded in fear of otherness).
For me, marriage comes down to love (hence why I started thinking of the Frankl quotes). Why should some group of Christians dictate that I can’t marry the person I love? Frankly, my own Christian church would (and has) performed a same sex marriage. So, if my church recognizes such a marriage, why does the government refuse to recognize it in favor of opposing religious beliefs? What is the non-religious reason to deny gay marriage? I suppose even if you remove the Bible from the equation, people will still argue that recognizing gay marriage will destroy moral order and cause societies to collapse. Funny, though, that Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and Massachusetts still seem to be standing and have not fallen into the general moral chaos that some would predict. So, why? Why is my love less worthy than the love of a conservative Christian? Well, of course, it isn’t.
In a previous post, I said gay marriage wasn’t a major issue. But, I think it really is. If a candidate isn’t supporting gay marriage then, for me, they are supporting one religious view point over others because they think it will get them votes (unless someone can give me a non-religious reason to deny same sex marriage). And in the process of endorsing government favored religious view points, they are not recognizing the worth of my love – my very humanity.