TL;DR at the bottom
According to Terranism, sex is a sacred act between consenting souls attempting orgasm. It is sacred to the souls involved in the act. Rape, a violation of sex, is a sin. I believe that bestiality is a form of rape.
Bias Disclosure: I am disgusted by bestiality, and I find the moral problem surrounding it fascinating. My disgust and fascination fuel this argument.
Before I get into my Terranic argument I want to use this opportunity to make a meta-comment. Morality is difficult to talk about without myth, which is why I use my Terranic definition of sex here. Obviously there’s good reason to disagree with me, but the way I see it, moral considerations are couched in mythology. The individual is valued because their sacred soul is assumed. Objectivity is valued because God’s perspective is assumed. Universal human rights are valued because God’s creative hand is assumed. Most of our modern values assume, or are descended from, mythological roots. It is for this reason that I had a difficult time defending my judgement against bestiality as an atheist. There was simply no reason to argue against it without breaching the Is/Ought distinction. I have to turn to mythological language to defend myself, because if not, my moral arguments will be empty. Working through this problem of bestiality over the years has demonstrated to me a place religion should fit in the modern world. It is a place to explore moral problems without violating the Is/Ought distinction. Whether or not my following argument is valid, the process of figuring it out has shown me one of the niches religion should fill.
You’ll likely need primers for this post so my posts for spirits, souls, and my thoughts on bestiality as an atheist are here.
Bestiality exists because there is a boundary between humans and animals. This boundary is different from the boundaries of gender, race, sexuality, etc. Most arguments for bestiality attempt to break down this boundary between human and animal. Many of these arguments appeal to other transgressed boundaries to validate their point. Due to the boundary’s superficial similarity to other prejudices, breaking it down seems easy and a matter of course. Transgressing the taboo against bestiality appears to have a similar magical structure to transgressing the interracial boundary, or the homosexual boundary. Since progressive society has deemed these transgressions good, it is tempting to imagine that spells transgressing the species boundary are also good.
However, the transgression of boundaries is a byproduct of social progress, not the cause. Transgression of boundaries to avoid prejudice is not inherently good. The good which caused this transgression is advocacy from souls. Social progress is not systematic destruction of taboo, it is rather, a systemic recognition of souls. Advocacy is the core of social progress, not transgression.
So where is the advocacy for bestiality coming from? We must disabuse ourselves of the notion it is coming from animals. Advocacy for bestiality comes from humans who engage in it, not animals who engage in it. Animals do not have the magical ability to advocate for their sexual relationship with humans.
This means that unlike the constructed fences between race, gender, sexuality, etc., the boundary between humans and animals takes a form of a chasm. The fences between men and women, or homosexuals, or races, was constructed by human spells. But human spells are not responsible for other animal’s lack of magical ability. There are some barriers built by human spells (like this one), but they border a deep chasm inherent to the lack of magic animals possess.
We must see clearly. When homosexuals advocate for their rights and acceptance, both (or all) parties engaged in the sexual relationship are involved in advocacy. Each of their souls powers their various spells. Bestial advocates are one-sided, arguing why they should be allowed to have sexual relationships with animals. A soul is advocating for a sexual relationship with a spirit which cannot advocate for itself. This changes the advocacy dramatically.
Since animals cannot advocate for themselves, it reveals a significant power differential between the human and the animal. The human, by merit of their magical ability, possesses an order of magnitude more power than the magically limited animal. Such a vast difference indicates that the human likely controls the material conditions surrounding the animal’s existence. This means the animal’s temperament or desire for the sexual relationship doesn’t have a big impact on whether the relationship continues or not.
Bestiality with Animal Spirits is Rape
Imagine a human who has a sexual relationship with a dog. We will approach this example twice using Terranic views; once through alterview (the view from another body) and once through omniview (a view of hypothetical omniscience).
Using alterview, imagine entering the home of a man who has sex with his female dog. You know of their sexual relationship, and so you have arrived to investigate. The man claims the dog is an adopted stray. The man demonstrates how his relationship with the dog works and assures you that the dog enjoys the relationship. He calls the dog over and speaks to the dog familiarly. The dog appears happy and receptive; tail wagging, back hair flat, head up, ears perked, feet planted directly under the body. The man gives the dog a particular sequence of words that you don’t recognize as a command. The dog immediately assumes a position of sexual receptivity. No temperamental difference has changed for the dog, and the man uses this as evidence the dog enjoys the experience. “What’s the harm?” he asks.
From this experience, you don’t know many things. Firstly, you do not know what is the reason for the dog’s happy temperament. The dog could be excited about sex, but it also could be excited to properly follow commands or any other number of reasons. You don’t truly know whether the dog is bought or an adopted stray, since the man could be lying to you. If the dog were truly a stray, it might imply that the dog knows it could leave at any time. Finally, and most importantly, you don’t know whether the dog has been trained for sexual behaviour or whether it does it out of its own volition. All in all, it is difficult to know exactly what the dog wants or needs, so you are put into a position where you must work primarily from the man’s advocacy for his behaviour with the dog. Due to the discrepancy in the parties’ magical ability, the situation is not both parties defending their feelings for each other. Rather it is one party defending its behaviour on another. The internal world of the second party is mostly unknown. The man’s soul has more power than the dog’s spirit.
Now let’s approach this example with omniview. Omniview works differently from alterview so instead of telling a story, we will work with assertions.
The first assertion is that the man found the dog as a stray and adopted it. The dog is aware of a life without a human companion. Secondly, let’s assert the dog was not “trained” in the traditional sense to present itself sexually to the man. Instead, the behaviour developed mutually. Finally, being omniscient, let’s assert that the dog genuinely enjoys its sexual relationship with the man.
“What’s the harm?” we might ask. None, obviously; no harm is being done to the animal or the man. But harm is not the issue here. The issue is that the dog cannot advocate for itself. The dog, regardless of how happy it may be, cannot advocate for its sexual preference for humans. Even if we look at this situation omnisciently, it does not change the chasm between the man and the dog. No matter how well the man advocates that the sexual relationship is good, the dog cannot advocate for it themselves.
Why is this important? Terranism asserts that sex is a sacred act between consenting souls seeking orgasm. If one party is incapable of granting or refusing consent to the others, the act is rape. Terranism asserts that rape is a sin.
Since the dog cannot advocate for itself, we cannot know the status or nature of its consent.
To illustrate, let’s continue using omniview. Let’s multiply this scenario but loosen our grasp on our assumptions with one exception; lets assume the animals can consent. Watch as bestiality is practiced a million times with millions of female dogs and male humans. Being omniscient, we can see the facts of these encounters, including whether the animals do not consent anymore. What do we find? Of the dogs which no longer consent to their sexual relationship, none of them are able to say so. Further, many of them which cannot say they consent will continue to participate in the sexual relationship due to habit, training, fear, force, ignorance, etc. The dogs simply do not have the magical ability to negotiate or change their circumstances.
Now, descending from omniview back to somaview (the view inside your body), what can we know? We know that we do not know if or whether a dog is consenting. Unlike omniview, we do not have enough information to assert the dog can consent. Again, this is due to a dog’s limited magical ability as a spirit. So, if we do not know if or whether consent is present, we must assume it is not present to uphold the sanctity of sex.
Therefore, if the animal is a spirit, bestiality is rape.
But this establishes that bestiality is rape if the animal is a spirit. What if the animal is a soul?
Bestiality with Animal Souls is Rape
We must look clearly at an animal’s relationship to humans. Humanity is one of the most powerful species on the planet due to our magical prowess. Aside from some species of ants, trees, and algae, few other species can compare with their physical influence on the planet, and none can compare magically. Due to this massive power differential, even if a species other than humans was a soul, the power difference would put caveats on their ability to consent. It might be more justifiable, but no less questionable.
For instance, it might be argued that elephants, apes, or some porpoises have souls, and thus sufficient magical abilities to effectively consent to sex with a human. But that consent becomes questionable when the power difference between the human and the animal remains so vast.
Let’s go into omniview again and assume that chimpanzees have souls. Imagine a zookeeper having sex with a chimpanzee they ward. While the chimp is aware of the situation and provides meaningful consent, the power of the zookeeper over the chimp is a major caveat to whether the consent is coerced. This includes the physical abilities of the zookeeper to withhold needs from the chimp like food, water, and socialization, but it also includes the spells the zookeeper might cast to rally society around them to demonize the chimp in the event that something goes wrong. Whether the chimp has a choice depends primarily on the benevolence of the zookeeper.
Returning to somaview, we can see that, even if a chimp consented to sex, the consent would be invalid due to the chasm of difference between the magical powers of the chimp and that of the zookeeper. This does not depend on whether the chimp enjoys the experience or not, it depends on the sanctity of the sexual act. Since the consent is invalid, the sanctity of sex would be violated, and the act would be rape.
Therefore, I will assert that Terranism’s definition of sex prohibits bestiality. Whether animal is a spirit or a soul, bestiality is rape.
To summarize, my logic goes as follows:
- Sex is a sacred act between consenting souls attempting orgasm.
- Animals spirits cannot advocate for themselves to humans.
- Therefore, animal spirits cannot provide sexual consent to a human.
- Animals spirits cannot advocate for themselves to humans.
- Consent is only valid when the souls are comparable in magical power.
- Humanity are the most magically powerful species of Terra.
- Therefore, even if an animal had a soul to consent, the undue power humanity wields over that individual animal invalidates any consent that animal may express towards an individual human.
- Humanity are the most magically powerful species of Terra.
- Therefore; the consent necessary for sex’s sacredness is violated by bestiality with souls and spirits.
- Therefore; bestiality is not sex, it is rape.
This is my personal rendering of the Terranic definition of sex and rape. I don’t believe bestiality is a good sexual act, nor do I believe zoophilia (the sexual desire for animals) is a good desire. The boundary between humans and animals is not arbitrary, it is a chasm of ability which makes animals vulnerable to abuse. While it might be possible that bestiality is not harmful, it is certainly rape.
See my Animal Rights and Bestiality post for more resources.