If we decided that to hate the sin necessarily involved hating the sinner, at least when the sinner held the sin as a good, then what would follow? First, such a position depends on a level of moral relativism if it is to be extended as far as murderers.
us suppose that we restrict the position to actions where there are no
non-consenting persons directly involved. The idea, then, is that those
persons form a closed moral system within which others are not allowed
to judge because they are outside that moral system. If it were
established that the moral system in question were closed, then this
would hold, however the simple fact that the actions in any hypothesized
"closed moral system" are to be observed by others "outside it" proves
that it is not a closed moral system as those who observe it are
affected by it. Thus, let us suppose that the argument is that only
those who participate in a moral system can critique those who are part
of it. This is effectively a return to moral relativism again, except
that there are no non-consenting persons directly involved in what
Why not allow any action which directly
involves only consenting persons? This is the basic issue of ethical
philosophy which is being argued over in our culture at the moment. One
side says that all actions affect the whole society, while the other
side says that what happens between consenting adults stays between
consenting adults (until they produce a child, and note that none of us
ever consented to be born).
A useful argument here will
not take that form "there are no actions which involve only consenting
persons in the relevant way," since we disagree about how direct the
involvement must be to count. The argument will need to take a different
tack on it, not head on, but reaching the point about what actions
should be permitted via a route which is not bound by this question.
problem is with the question: "should actions where consenting people
are the only people directly involved by allowed?" The side which has
been answering "not necessarily" needs to stick to "not necessarily" and
not diverge into "those don't exist" since our taxonomies of action
and/or involvement are not such that we can talk at that level. "Not
necessarily," here, it seems to me, means "well, it depends on the
action. How much who is involved, at least at the human level, is not necessarily relevant."
How much who is involved may be relevant in some cases, but simply that no one else is involved is not necessarily enough reason to say that an act is to be permitted. Even if it were, the problem of saying who is relevantly involved means that an ethical system predicated on that assumption would still be incomplete.