Saturday, July 7, 2012

Homosexuality is a Sin



Hell is other people.
 -- Jean Paul Sarte

Nothing gets things going here at Western Hero like a good theological debate, or better yet, a poor one.  

I admit that I am ill-equipped to discuss deep theological matters. I have done quite a bit of study, and I read The Bible every day, but when a religious throwdown breaks out, I must rely on the arguments of scholars, because I don't have the depth.
 
Mention homosexuality, or some other hot-button issue, and the relativists move in, demanding that all Christianity change its millennia-old beliefs that came from God. Even worse, some will posit the ridiculous notion that homosexuality is not a sin under Jewish and Christian law!  

No scholarship, no reasoned debate based in biblical exegesis or historical hermeneutics, not even a link to a cogent argument. Just a post-modern stamp of the feet:  Because I say so!

Well... I'm here to help.

The "Homosexuality is OK" Argument

Like the anti-homosexual argument, it starts with Leviticus:
22 “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. (Leviticus 18:22)
13 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (Leviticus 20:13)
Reverend Timothy Shirley takes the Levitical argument against homosexuality and turns it on it's head in a short, well-written piece. Here is his conclusion:
Bottom line -- the arguments suggesting and concerning homosexuality in Leviticus as well as in all of scripture, must be treated equally. The Bible is not a cafeteria, there can be no picking and choosing! The rules of interpretation must be consistent across the board. Therefore, the Leviticus text must be critiqued as a whole, and not willy-nilly in order to defend or condemn a particular point of view. A verse taken out of its context is never an appropriate rule of measure for doing biblical exegesis and interpretation with integrity. This is especially so with the Book of Leviticus. A little common sense never hurt either! (Leviticus and Homosexuality)
A further argument along this same line says that if you agree with it, you must agree with all of it, including the execution of people who commit homosexual acts.

For a treasure trove of thoughtful Christian writing that ministers to gay Christians, see Whosoever Magazine.

The "Homosexuality is a Sin" Argument

Reverend Shirley is right; we cannot pick and choose what we like and don't like from the scriptures. Where the Levitical argument breaks down though, is that Christian objection to homosexuality does not rest solely upon that book.

Paul condemns homosexuality in the book of Romans:
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1, 24-27)
He speaks harshly of it again in 1 Corinthians:
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6, 9-10)
Again in his first letter to Timothy:
9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. (1 Timothy 1, 9-11)
So it is an absurdity to say homosexual acts are compatible with Christianity.

The Old Testament Condemns Homosexuality

The other problem with the Levitical argument is that other parts of the Old Testament reinforce the book's admonition against homosexual acts.
While the Old Testament’s ceremonial requirements are no longer binding, its moral requirements are. God may issue different ceremonies for use in different times and cultures, but his moral requirements are eternal and are binding on all cultures. (Catholic Answers - Homosexuality)
This long excerpt from the same source explains it well. Taking all passages and commentary as a whole, it is clear that the Old Testament condemns homosexual acts:

The rejection of homosexual behavior that is found in the Old Testament is well known. In Genesis 19, two angels in disguise visit the city of Sodom and are offered hospitality and shelter by Lot. During the night, the men of Sodom demand that Lot hand over his guests for homosexual intercourse. Lot refuses, and the angels blind the men of Sodom. Lot and his household escape, and the town is destroyed by fire "because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord" (Gen. 19:13).

Throughout history, Jewish and Christian scholars have recognized that one of the chief sins involved in God’s destruction of Sodom was its people’s homosexual behavior. But today, certain homosexual activists promote the idea that the sin of Sodom was merely a lack of hospitality. Although inhospitality is a sin, it is clearly the homosexual behavior of the Sodomites that is singled out for special criticism in the account of their city’s destruction. We must look to Scripture’s own interpretation of the sin of Sodom.

Jude 7 records that Sodom and Gomorrah "acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust." Ezekiel says that Sodom committed "abominable things" (Ezek. 16:50), which could refer to homosexual and heterosexual acts of sin. Lot even offered his two virgin daughters in place of his guests, but the men of Sodom rejected the offer, preferring homosexual sex over heterosexual sex (Gen. 19:8–9). Ezekiel does allude to a lack of hospitality in saying that Sodom "did not aid the poor and needy" (Ezek. 16:49). So homosexual acts and a lack of hospitality both contributed to the destruction of Sodom, with the former being the far greater sin, the "abominable thing" that set off God’s wrath.
(Source: Catholic Answers - Homosexuality)

While I appreciate studies and arguments that are controversial but grounded in historical analysis and educated study, I have no patience for off-the-cuff comments ungrounded in any scholarship whatsoever, especially when they mischaracterize God's word.

So while snarky comments about not eating BLTs or wives leaving the house during their period in conformance with Leviticus are funny, they all deal in false equivalence and a superficial understanding of the scriptures.

You can argue that Christianity itself is wrong in declaring homosexuality immoral, you can reject its teachings, but you cannot argue that the two are in any way compatible. A clear reading of the Bible shows that idea to be the absurdity that it is.

Catholic Catechism on Homosexuality
Christian and American
Catholic Bible 101 - Homsexuality

184 comments:

Rational Nation USA said...

Well, faith is faith I suppose. So, since religion is essentially a faith in what men (allegedly those with divine wisdom) have written proclaiming the desires and word of God to be it is by the very hands that wrote the Bible that it is suspect.

One only need to look through the prism of science and objective reality to see the many inconsistent and hypocritical conclusions that religon has foisted upon humankind.

So I throw my lot (faith) in with science and look to rational objective expanding knowledge rather than that which would still have us in the Dark Ages were it to have had its way.

Spirituality is one thing. Organized religion is an altogether different issue.

Ducky's here said...

Look Silverfiddle, you know as well as I do that the reason the church opposes gay marriage is because it means married priests

Robert Hagedorn said...

For something different, a change, Google First Scandal. It's relevant. And it really is all about sex.

Ducky's here said...

Throughout history, Jewish and Christian scholars have recognized that one of the chief sins involved in God’s destruction of Sodom was its people’s homosexual behavior.

-----
Nonsense. Sodom was guilty of many sins and homosexuality is barely mentioned.

Ducky's here said...

... interesting that the sin of homosexuality comes from Islam.

Keep digging.

Silverfiddle said...

Ah, I knew the clashing gong would chime in.

You're ignorant Ducky, or you're a liar. Which is it?

You can't read either.

The OT predates Islam and the evidence I have provided reveals your comments to be the stupidity that they are.

Keep shoveling...

Teresa said...

Great post, Silverfiddle!

FreeThinke said...

Explore the sexcapades of Thomas jefferson


http://freethinkesblog.blogspot.com/?zx=da63e836789862c5

Ducky's here said...

No Silverfiddle, I was referring to the fable of Sodom and Gomorrah which is very much in the Islamic canon and emphasizes homosexuality unlike the O.T.

You're wrong and I am not liar.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

I don't mind what Christians [or any other religious adherents] think of homosexuality. As long as it stays within the confines of their religion...more power to them.

It's when tenets of a solely religious nature [having no secular value] creep into the arena of civil law, that I have problems.

One cannot proclaim to be the protectors of individual liberty and deny basic social and legal liberties to certain classes of consenting citizens.

And that is exactly what many try to do.

Rational Nation USA said...

"One cannot proclaim to be the protectors of individual liberty and deny basic social and legal liberties to certain classes of consenting citizens.

And that is exactly what many try to do."

Well said The Constitutional Insurgent. All the prittle prattle about homosexuality being a sin is nothing more than the weak cover that those who would deny a class of individuals their liberties use.

Elmers Brother said...

Thomas Jefferson's sex life is conjecture. The bulk of the evidence points to his brother as the father. There are 26 different Jeffersons' who could have fathered that child with the DNA evidence. The man who started the rumor was a disaffected public worker who wanted to be postmaster.

Elmers Brother said...

I would suggest that before FT suggest such a thing, that he should be intellectually honest in presenting this as a fact.

Elmers Brother said...

Well said The Constitutional Insurgent. All the prittle prattle about homosexuality being a sin is nothing more than the weak cover that those who would deny a class of individuals their liberties use

Except there is a stark difference between a class of people based on the color of their skin and one who indulges in a certain behavior.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

@Elmers Brother - "Except there is a stark difference between a class of people based on the color of their skin and one who indulges in a certain behavior."

Not when that behavior is intrinsically the same [or very nearly the same] behavior as conducted by the protected classes.

And, when the behavior in question poses no damage nor theft to the fellow citizen as skin color, the difference is moot.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

And to link a tract from the Family Research Council?

Really?

FreeThinke said...

"I don't mind what Christians [or any other religious adherents] think of homosexuality. As long as it stays within the confines of their religion...more power to them.

"It's when tenets of a solely religious nature [having no secular value] creep into the arena of civil law, that I have problems.

"One cannot proclaim to be the protectors of individual liberty and deny basic social and legal liberties to certain classes of consenting citizens."


Egg-ZACK-lee!!!

BRAVO!

Those words ought to be chiselled into the frieze of a classically-styled marble temple constructed on the Mall in Washington DC for that express purpose.

Putting them on a host of bronze plaques mounted near the front entrance of city halls, on plinths in public parks and in the reading rooms of myriad public libraries wouldn't be a bad idea either.

I amy think The Church is an ass on this issue (I most fervently do!) but I would never never want the governmentto assume any kind of power whatsoever over the doctrinal tenets of any branch of Christianity.

Islam, Voodoo, Snake Worship, Satanic Cults, The Church of the Most Holy Whore -- you know -- the cuckoo, cockamamie religions -- are another matter, because they are incompatible with and injurious to the values that founded and built this country.

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

@ Les: All the prittle prattle about homosexuality being a sin is nothing more than the weak cover that those who would deny a class of individuals their liberties use.

The only reason I wrote this was to rebut the ignorant nonsense and willful distortions of God's word by the likes of Ducky.

Facts be damned, he'll spout off anything, no lie too big.

So, this is strictly a religious debate and has no bearing on our nation's laws or people's rights.

Kid said...

Thoughts.

Let he who is without sin....

This is not a commandment if one wants to take that approach. Therefore, It's not my position to judge someone else and worry about them in any facet of. And I don't.

Like anyone else or any other group, if the activists among them get in my face, I am highly motivated and justified in telling them to FO. Don't like your station in life or any aspect of your life? TFn Bad.

I know and have known some gays. They're not all alike, but I do know some guys who literally have the absolute brain and mind of a female. Do you really want to deny them sex/relationships ? How'd you feel if as a hetero man someone wanted to force you to have sex with another man? The idea is barbaric and absurd.

Let them live in peace, just don't get in my face or tell me you deserve more of *anything* because you are *fill in the blank*

FreeThinke said...

Elbro,

You have a most desperate need to learn how to lighten up a little.

From what I've observed over a long period of years you are seriously deficient in the humor department.

As I never tire of pointing out, self-righteousness -- a form of bigotry -- is a most unattractive quality.

I'll do as as I damned well please, and you -- and everyone else -- can ether like it or lump it.

Come to my blog. It's a VERY nice place. We don't chastise, castigate counsel or condemn, we just enjoy lively sparring when –– or if –– it seems appropriate.

If anyone gets too far out of line, they won't be scolded or criticized. Instead they will just be quietly excised.

~ FreeThinke

http://freethinkesblog.blogspot.com/?zx=da63e836789862c5

Faith aka Connie said...

Actually, "the values that founded and built this country" were different depending on when you think this country was founded and built or, to put it another way, WHICH America you have in mind.

It turns out what the Constitutional/Revolutionary generation in many respects contradicted the original values of the original founders of the first colonies. The early founders were solid Biblical Protestants and they promoted solid biblical values.

The later founders of the federal nation, which we usually, and I'm coming to believe, erroneously, think of as the true origin of America, did have a more secular nation in mind based on Enlightenment values.

They laid the groundwork for the elimination of states' rights. They erased the Protestant identity of the separate colonies. They betrayed the original Protestant vision of the colonies -- and England too for that matter.

The predominantly Protestant philosophical underpinnings and population at large kept us Christian nevertheless until rather recently.

Well, it's too late now. There's no point in arguing about homosexuality after the Bible has been thrown out as the standard.

Quickb said...

Ducky,

Do you have any comprehension for history in the bible? How you
conclude the married priests theory is beyond me.

http://0.tqn.com/d/birding/1/0/o/9/-/-/dabbler.jpg

Silverfiddle said...

@ Ducky: No Silverfiddle, I was referring to the fable of Sodom and Gomorrah which is very much in the Islamic canon and emphasizes homosexuality unlike the O.T.

You're wrong and I am not liar.


And the Israelites and their writings came first, so it did not "come from Islam."

Christianity predates Islam as well.

And the Bible passages prove you wrong about the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Someone call Ducky's children! He's soiled himself and is rambling incoherently!

FreeThinke said...

Thanks, Kid. I'm beginning to se that you may be the wisest and possibly the kindest of us all.

~ FreeThinke

Kid said...

FT, Well, that's awfully generous. I think I'm just the average silent majority bear. I hope I am anyway.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

Silverfiddle - First of all, I apologize for taking this topic into the realm of the political, if it was your specific intent not to.

However, funny and snarky as commenting on other entries in Leviticus may be...we constantly and consistently hear that the Bible is God's word...and God's law.

The problem that modern religion has, I believe is that we know full well that regardless if a God exists or not, religion and it's various tomes, were used for the express purpose of explaining the scientific and natural manifestations to a society that was unarguably ignorant of their origins.

Now modern clergy is tasked with the unenviable job of ensuring continued relevancy of those tenets, in the face of factual counter-positions [at least in the face of some tenets].

Clergy has, I believe, latched onto only the most culturally popular decrees and by and large discarded the inconvenient.

Silverfiddle said...

Constitutional:

No apology necessary!

If you read the post before this one, and various others on the topic of homosexuality, you'll see I'm libertarian on the subject and that I believe trying to use the state to enforce religious strictures is unconstitutional.

This post is addressed to those who would distort Biblical teachings.

There are many reasons for the writings contained in scripture, and the fact that the venal and the ignorant have used them incorrectly or against God's wishes does not detract from them.

Interesting to see two atheists chime in, and I do appreciate your comments.

You and Les believe differently than I do, but I think all of us do a good job advocating for our position while respecting the right of others to believe differently.

I have never been offended by anything you or Les have posted, and even if I were, tough. It's your blog and your right to express your opinions.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

Back at'cha!

But I would like to clarify that I'm not an Atheist. I do consider myself a devout Agnostic, but I truly hope there is some semblance of afterlife and higher purpose to our existence....I just think that free will is a far larger component to our design that much of what religion would have us believe.

Silverfiddle said...

I apologize for mislabling you, and I can respect where you're coming from.

Kid said...

Free Will is the greatest gift. Why do libtards constantly want to interfere with it.
And some people that call themselves conservative unfortunately, that are Not.

Jack Camwell said...

Silver, do yourself a favor and go look up the definition of moral relativism. Please.

Why do you ignore every single point that I've brought up about the inconsistencies of the OT? Why do you completely dodge the question of whether or not the Bible is divinely inspired or purely a work of man?

You won't say what you believe because you know it would cause your entire argument to colapse.

If you admit that the Bible was divinely inspired, then that means it's all true in some way, and that means that God is a sadistic asshole who can't make up his mind. Refer to my many other comments for those very specific examples that I gave.

If you admit that the Bible is purely a work of man, then that means that the entire basis of Christianity was as fabricated as Mormonism or Scientology. We can't have that, now can we?

My whole point was that given the ridiculousness of the OT, it stands to reason that the Bible is more of a work of human fiction than the words or will of God put on paper. If God is perfect, then why would he let a bunch of dumbasses pain him out to be a monster? According to Exodus, God slaughtered the first born sons of Egypt. And what makes it even better is when you read the phrase "but God hardened Pharao's heart . . ."!!! So not only did God apparently slaughter innocent children, but he repeatedly hardened the Pharao's heart throughout the plagues.

Seriously, what kind of God would do such a thing?

I'm not a theologian, but I'm also not an idiot. It doesn't take a scholar to look at those glaring inconsistencies to sense that there's something amiss with the Bible.

What makes someone a Christian, Silver? What is it you Protestants say? "Accept Jesus as your personal savior?" You call it "being saved." So the basis of Christianity is believing that Jesus died for your sins. It's not all the other stuff.

Let's kill all homosexuals. The bible tells us to, right? That's what it means to be Christian: to follow the bible to the T. Or else you're not Christian.

Anything that even remotely goes against ANYTHING that's said in the Bible is automatically incompatible with Christianity.

Whatever, I guess. I know you're not going to answer ANY questions I've asked you, so all of this is rather pointless.

Question: if I had a degree in Theology and was a known theologian, would you believe anything I've said thus far? Nope. You'd just say that I was a bad theologian, or that my conclusions are wrong.

Isn't it funny that the only people in the world that are "right" are the people you agree with? Man, what is it like being right all the time? It must feel great!

Silverfiddle said...

Jack: Why can't you focus on one issue and stop throwing in irrelevancies?

If you believe the OT is not relevant, then you do need to start your own religion. Seriously, you don't accept the OT as valid, so we really don't have a debate. If it feels good, do it.

To save your sanity and credibility, all you have left is to pitch the whole Bible over and start anew.

If you can't trust some parts of the OT, how can you trust others? How do you know what to trust and what to throw out?

This comment makes it apparent you did not read what I wrote, because I did address it:

Let's kill all homosexuals. The bible tells us to, right?

Seriously Jack, you are incoherent. You need to abandon the Bible if you want any hope of your world view making any sense, because it is not compatible with Christianity. That's not a condemnation, just a helpful suggestion.

You cannot square homosexuality with homosexuality, and your scattershot ramblings make that clear.

Ducky's here said...

Willful distortions?

You got stuffed Silverfiddle, now accept it.

Silverfiddle said...

Stuffed?

You didn't even get close to rebutting the argument, old man.

Taxi! Ducky's got a big stain on the front of his trousers and he's mumbling, but he's harmless,

Please take him home where he can continue arguing with his cat.

Jersey McJones said...

Silver, there are teachings in the Bible, that theoretically, if you truly adhered to the Word, would put you in prison for the rest of your life, or worse.

That is not because today's society is too decedent to live the Word, but quite to the contrary, because we are far too advanced and civilized to observe such obnoxious behavior.

And that's why today, in the real world, many people, including many if not most Christians, feel homosexual behavior should be tolerated as long as it is between consensual adults.

You can't just quote a few verses from a text that includes many passages that are today understood as obsolete, irrelevant, and out of context to make your point.

The fact of the matter is that many, many people find homosexuality quite tolerable and within the acceptable behavior of erstwhile Christian or Jewish faith - not to mention people of other faiths.

JMJ

Jack Camwell said...

Silver:
Why can't you just actually answer my arguments?

I guess I should just use your argumentative tactics.

You're wrong Silver. You're incoherent, and you're bringing irrelevancies into the argument.

See? I can do it, too. So what makes my assertion that you're wrong less potent than yours? Oh, because you've got facts and logic and reason and bla bla bla bla on your side?

FT didn't think that my argument was incoherent or irrelevant. So maybe you just completely failed to understand everything I've said up to this point.

Just because you don't understand doesn't mean my argument is incoherent.

You're a smart man. You and I both know that I check-mated you by bringing the divine veracity of the Bible into question.

The question was: do you believe the Bible is the absolute word of God, divinely inspired?

You didn't answer because you knew that no matter what you said, your argument would completely fall apart. I've explained (at least three times) how that is the case.

You don't want to say "yes, the Bible was divinely inspired by God and is absolute truth," because you know in your heart that there's a whole TON of inconsistencies in the Bible that cannot be reconciled.

You don't want to say "no, the bible is not divinely inspired, it is purely a work of man," because then that would render your whole life meaningless (at least in your perception of what makes life meaningful). It would mean that you would actually have to THINK about moral truths rather than just point to the Bible.

But of course, you will reject everything I've said as "irrelevant," or "incoherent." That's what most people do these days.

Satan is just tempting you through me, right? I'm an agent of the devil, sent to test your faith in God.

I'm done with this topic, because you're not going to listen. Anyone who does not see the value of evaluating sources--in this case, the Bible--is someone who is not equipped to engage in meaingful discussion.

beamish said...

Why do we need religious mandates to condemn homosexuality when the science and history of tracking behavior-related epidemiological disease vectors more than adequately explain the millenia of cultural conditioning responsible for the generally negative views of homosexuality?

Nobody likes being around an open sewer.

Always On Watch said...

Duck quacked:

Sodom was guilty of many sins and homosexuality is barely mentioned.

Is that so?

See THIS and THIS, particularly verses 4 and 8.

Also see these Old Testament verses mentioning sodomites.

In 1 Timothy 1:9-11, homosexuals could be classified as sexual perverts. See THIS, which lists the following as specific sinners:

sexual perverts, homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, and perjurers.

Full chapter HERE. Note verses 8-11.

Always On Watch said...

Kid,
Let them live in peace...

I personally have no problem with that.

What I DO have a problem with is all the demands and the descent into what can only be called farce (certain parades).

Teresa said...

"Satan is just tempting you through me, right? I'm an agent of the devil, sent to test your faith in God."

You are either a tool (or a useful idiot) being used by the devil or/and progressives to advance their homosexual fascist fantasy agenda - that is forcing everyone to believe that homosexuality is good/okay and must be not only tolerated but accepted and thus be promoted by every citizen in public or else we're considered bigoted, intolerant, and persecutorial when there are those of us who simply choose not to ignore 2000 years of history, that homosexual acts are a sin and is perverted behavior which goes against the common good and the true purpose of sex. We choose not to be deniers of truth and history like you and your ilk. Progressives are the militant homosexual fascists shoving a falsehood down peoples' throats.

Teresa said...

Leviticus 18:22 - You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.

Only Leftist libertarians and liberals could twist that to mean "homosexual acts are good and moral" Progressives twist words, twist truth, and twist reality in order to further their own agenda.

Faith and reason go hand in hand. It is those who reject our moral responsibility as human beings and thus perceive wrongly that faith and reason collide when in fact they support one another.

Teresa said...

Faith and reason go hand in hand. It is those who reject our moral responsibility as human beings who perceive wrongly that faith and reason collide when in fact they support one another.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

@Theresa - "Only Leftist libertarians and liberals could twist that to mean "homosexual acts are good and moral" Progressives twist words, twist truth, and twist reality in order to further their own agenda."

But surely you must admit that it's not twisting words if someone doesn't believe in fairy tales, no?

And further, the statement that faith and reason go hand in hand, is usually relevant only to those who promote faith over reason.

Teresa said...

Go on, keep living in fantasy land and rejecting reality @The Constitutional Insurgent. Hopefully one day you will accept the truth. Hopefully one day you will wake up from your slumber. Only those who reject faith altogether solely rely on secularist reason to promote their fairy tale agendas. By rejecting the fullness of the truth you will always be promoting fallacy.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

I'm not rejecting faith, I'm looking for provability.

Reality is ultimately provable. Secularist reason has provided factual documentation for far more than faith has.

FreeThinke said...

Don't TALK ABOUT the Bible -- READ IT.

Christ Jesus said, "Ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free."


It never ceases to astonish and distress me to be confronted with the extraordinary lengths we human beings will go to defend our prejudices and all the things we learned at our mother's knee that help us feel comfy and cozy in this terrifyingly hostile world.

"For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face ...

How arrogant it is for any of us to presume we really know much of anything!

The "arguments" here quickly dissolve into a series of tautologies –– It is what it is, because it is what it is. Every word in the Bible is true, because every word in the Bible is true. Homosexuality is sin, because the Bible says it's a sin, and every word in the Bible is true and that's all anyone EVER needs to know PERIOD!

Perhaps God gave us Intelligence and Curiosity, because He knew it was bound to get us into trouble, and that would mean He'd have to punish us?

Isn't it obvious then that the thing He likes most is PUNISHING his children? Heaven knows every one of us SUFFERS constantly.

That MUST be the reason He fathered the human race -- so He could have an endless supply of fresh VICTIMS on which He could inflict His Almighty and Everlasting Wrath.

Yes. Yes. Yes! That's IT!

There's no question about it GOD is a SADIST.

Okay boys, drag me away form this dungeon, tie me to the stake. I'm ready to burn. I KNOW the TRUTH, and I'm ready willing, able and EAGER to be MARTYRED in SERVICE to the TRUTH.

A couple of hundred years from now I'm sure to get canonized, and THEN I'll be VINDICATED.

WOO HOO! WOO HOO! WOO HOO!


~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

@ Jersey: And that's why today, in the real world, many people, including many if not most Christians, feel homosexual behavior should be tolerated as long as it is between consensual adults.


I believe that also. What consenting adults do with one another is none of my business so long as they are not interfering with my exercise of my rights.

This post is about people trying to assert the absurd notion that homosexuality is not a sin.

Homosexuality, disrespecting your parents, stealing, adultery... They are all sins.

Silverfiddle said...

Jack:

Yes, I believe the Bible is the divinely-inspired word of God.

Do you?

Now, let's focus. You obviously believe Christianity is OK with homosexuality. Please provide reasons for it.

You've impugned the Bible, which means you can't use that as your source. So now, what is your basis for discussion?

Do you throw the whole Bible out, or do you just use parts of it?

This is what I mean by incoherence.

I have provided sources explaining how some parts apply to a specific time and place, others are rules for a certain tribe to follow, while other parts contain eternal truths.

We get this from centuries of scholarship.

Now, what say you about Paul's comments in the New Testament?

Please leave the emotional drama out of it and let's focus on the main point.

Rational Nation USA said...

@ Silver: "So, this is strictly a religious debate and has no bearing on our nation's laws or people's rights."

Yes, Yes, I see that. Which brings me full circle back to my original comment.

"Well, faith is faith I suppose. So, since religion is essentially a faith in what men (allegedly those with divine wisdom) have written proclaiming the desires and word of God to be it is by the very hands that wrote the Bible that it is suspect.

One only need to look through the prism of science and objective reality to see the many inconsistent and hypocritical conclusions that religon has foisted upon humankind


Spirituality is one thing. Organized religion is an altogether different issue."

When one takes a moment to think about the violent history of religion(s) throughout recorded you can't help but realize organized religion is, and always has been about controlling peoples lives through quilt and or punishment. At least I can't.

Silverfiddle said...

AOW: You can quote Ducky chapter and verse and he'll just deny it...

@FT:

The "arguments" here quickly dissolve into a series of tautologies –– It is what it is, because it is what it is. Every word in the Bible is true, because every word in the Bible is true. Homosexuality is sin, because the Bible says it's a sin, and every word in the Bible is true and that's all anyone EVER needs to know PERIOD!

What twaddle. Christianity is a teleological, ethics-based religion. It's not mathematics.

God inspired people to write down his teachings, and Jesus instructed the 11 to go out and teach all the world.

They did that, and we have much of Paul's writings. Was he wrong? Did someone mistranslate, or put words in his mouth?

When the evangelists call Jesus a teacher, did they really mean that, or was he really a mechanic?

As I've stated previously, different parts of the Bible have different purposes, and if you can't understand that then I can't help you further.

So I'll as again. Was Paul full of it?

Silverfiddle said...

Yes Les, I saw your comments. This post is not about the merits of religion, but a debate among believers about what it means.

When one takes a moment to think about the violent history of religion(s) throughout recorded you can't help but realize organized religion is, and always has been about controlling peoples lives through quilt and or punishment. At least I can't.

The same can be said of culture, and latterly, science.

Man has an urge to dominate man, and he'll use any tool he finds close at hand. That doesn't indict the tool.

Jack Camwell said...

Thank you for finally answering the question.

If you believe the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God then you believe that God commanded man to commit unspeakable acts and attrocities.

If you then believe that we can't pick and choose parts of the Bible to our liking, then that means you have to conclude that homosexuals must be put to death. After all, that's what God commands, yes?

But you DON'T believe that. In fact, you went to some great length to say that homosexuals should be tolerated. So what's funny is that you accuse me of cherry-picking while you're grabbing your ladder to get to the top of the cherry tree.

So my point is this: YES, there are parts of the Bible that we can discard in terms of moral guidance because we, as humans, have figured out that they're not a good idea.

It's not a good idea to put homosexuals to death. It's also not a good idea to kill women and children simply because they might taint our culture and faith in God.

I never said that homosexuality is compatible with Christianity, I merely refuted your assertion that it can never be compatible.

I can, however, prove its compatibility without the use of anything that comes from the Bible.

Few people believe that sexual acts that do not pro-create are morally wrong. Oral sex isn't immoral. Sodomy isn't immoral. S&M isn't immoral. Sure, you might find those things disgusting or weird, but just because you can't stomach them doesn't mean they're immoral.

Homosexuality is no different. Honestly, I have a genuine revulsion towards dude-on-dude action. But if it's not wrong to be attracted to a woman, then why is it wrong to be attracted to a man? Just because you think it's gross and "unnatural"?

If it's not wrong to have sex for pleasure with a woman, then why is it wrong for a man to have sex for pleasure with another man?

It's compatible with Christianity because it's a part of human sexuality: it's sharing the most intimate bond with another human being.

Why does sexual reproduction exist? If God indeed created all things, even reproduction, then why did he make it so damn pleasurable? I think the reason is because he wanted humanity to have the ability to experience that intense intimacy, that ultimate companionship and closeness.

So why deny that to someone simply because they're gay? They are no less deserving of happiness than you or any other straight person.

How can love be incompatible with Christianity? And before you distort that question, I'm talking of love in the sense of willing the good for another person, and wanting to share your life with another human being.

Jack Camwell said...

Theresa,
You talk of faith and reason as if you actually employ the use of both.

I've read Aquinas, and he is one of my favorite theologians/philosophers. So don't preach faith and reason to me as if you know something about it.

In case you missed my jab at you, I was suggesting that you're all faith and no reason.

Silverfiddle said...

The most common explanation for harsh punishments in the OT has to do with God building up his chosen people. Adultery, homosexuality, not being clean, eating stuff that's bad for you all worked against that.

Their enemies and their strange Gods also threatened the Israelites.

If you read the NT, the tone changes because they are no longer wandering nomad tribes surrounded by hostile enemies. The Roman occupiers are a cakewalk compared to the OT enemies.

When we read the Bible, everything must be put into context.

Paul calls out slave traders as not entering the kingdom of heaven in the same passage he mentions homosexuality.

I still don't see, in the face of those plain-spoken words, how someone can say homosexuality is compatible with Christianity.

Can you explain it?

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

@SF - "I still don't see, in the face of those plain-spoken words, how someone can say homosexuality is compatible with Christianity."

It may not be compatible for many, but what about those who believe they are God's children, and that God made them intrinsically what they are.....homosexual?

I don't see such a dichotomy between the belief in a creator and the biological understanding that one is gay.

FreeThinke said...

"Can you explain it?"

Apparently, not to you, you Master Tautolgist, you! ;-)

Don't worry about it. You're still greatly admired for your many other fine qualities.

We all have our blind spots.

I forgive you yours.

~ FT

-FJ said...

I'm with beamish. Homosexuality is a damgerous disease vector, nothing more, nothing less.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

@ FJ - As is much of heterosexual sex. Both the sexual acts and the manner in which they're pursued.

Thersites said...

Heterosexual sex leads to the continuation of the species. Homesexual sex contributes nothing. We can't stop having heterosexual sex, or the species is kaput. We stop having homosexual sex, and the species gets healthier. Imagine THAT!

Thersites said...

btw - Most of the disease vectors of heterosexual sex were introduced to it by homosexual sex. Ooooops.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

So STD's go away if homosexual sex goes away? Really? Do you have any reference for that and your follow-on assertion?

And how would one propose eradicating homosexual sex in a free society? Furthermore, why would you?

Jersey McJones said...

Silver, you seem to have a very hard time separating text from context and rhetoric from reality.

Christianity is more than just the Bible. It is a culture, a faith shared in many different ways by many different people, all with their own way of understanding it.

So, Paul ostensibly wrote a letter to some early churches telling them to adhere to the OT's understanding on homosexuality because it separated those churches from the particular regional hyper-sexual Greek pagan culture around them at that time that was quite tolerant of men having sex with little boys.

Today, that is not the case. We do not as a society tolerate that sort of irresponsibly hyper-sexual behavior anywhere in or around Christendom.

Context, Silver, context.

JMJ

Silverfiddle said...

Judaism and Christianity are revealed religions. God spoke to, or inspired people, who taught it to others and wrote some of it down.

Both are teaching religions. Jesus told his disciples after his resurrection to go teach, and that is what they did.

An agnostic can argue that they got it wrong, or put their own twist on it, or whatever, but a person who says they are a Christian cannot deny what the Bible, NT and OT says about homosexuality, and a whole host of other human activities.

Now, FreeThinke, answer my question. Was the apostle Paul full of it?

How do you square his plain words with your assertion that homosexuality is not a sin?

Silverfiddle said...

You've almost got it, Jersey. Almost...

The Church is a teaching church. So now, to support your contention, you must show who changed what Paul said. When did it happen?

See, you're now engaging in conjecture in full contradiction of a plain church teaching.

Silverfiddle said...

Constitutional:

We are all God's children, all the time, even when we sin.

You ask a good question, and I am sympathetic to those with dispositions that put them in opposition to their Christian Faith.

I don't have an answer. All I can do is point to what the Bible says.

If you read this link you'll get an understanding of the orthodox position:

http://www.catholic.com/tracts/homosexuality

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

SF - I get the orthodox position, but it still seems inherently illogical to me...to cast a condition as a sin, when so many other conditions go against natural and moral law, but are not.

This position states unequivocally that although a gay man or woman merely desires the same disposition towards finding a mate, falling in love and sharing their life with another....they must abjure those base, human components for their entire life...even though God surely made them as they are.

Teresa said...

Jack, you may have read St. Thomas Aquinas but what the heck happened between the time you read his works and it hit your brain? Must have missed by a long shot because you have failed to employ both reason and faith as he did. You minus faith altogether which is something Thomas Aquinas rejected adamantly. Believe me you don't want to go here because I have read a good bit of his works and learned much about Thomas Aquinas from my husband who is a Thomist philosopher. I believe and employ both reason and faith. I know you are unable to recognize that since you clearly reject truth which is in accordance with both faith and reason as Thomas Aquinas defended and believed. I have his words embedded deep into my soul and brain and employ them every chance I get.

Kid said...

I just want to say one more thing.

WORLD PEACE!

heh

Rita said...

My faith calls for me not to judge my gay friends and family. I accept them for who they are and I think they deserve every right of a married couple BUT that does not mean I believe that the church should condone gay marriage. I believe a civil union should protect the right of a gay partner to visit their ill partners I'll and believe they should be allowed the same benefits of spouses but that does not mean I think the church should encourage it. Jesus loves the sinner, but that doesn't means he loves the sins. And we all sin.

Jersey McJones said...

"plain church teaching"

LOL!

Do you have any idea how many sects, how many various teachings, of the church there have been over the past two thousand years???

Heck, the very Great Schism itself has it's theological roots in the separation of the church by St. Peter, Rome, and St. Paul, Constantinople, as each had very different CONTEXTUAL backgrounds.

You're again solely relying on text and just ignoring CONTEXT and REALITY. Not all Christians are literalists or believe every word in the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

JMJ

Kevin T. Rice said...

@Jack Camwell

I pity you. I can't believe someone actually went there! Do you really believe St. Thomas Aquinas, who Teresa DEFINITELY reveres and understands more than you do, would grant that YOU, in fact, use both faith and reason while Teresa does not? Do you imagine for a moment that you could, in dialogue with the Master, prove to him that your positions on sodomy, abortion or your view of the non-divine nature and origin of the Bible, are, any of them, even CONSISTENT with sound reasoning, let alone demonstrably true? If you are able to entertain such a fantasy for one moment, then I must pity you even more than I already do.

Silverfiddle said...

@ Jersey: Not all Christians are literalists or believe every word in the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

You've conflated two issues.

First, literalism. Fundamentalists, and I think many Baptists and others are literalists, meaning they believe it exactly as written and it happened just like that.

I am not one of those. I believe some parts are allegories that reveal transcendent truths. I even believe that a historical account may not be exactly accurate, seeing as how it was observed and related by a human being, but I believe that nonetheless those accounts transmit important eternal truths.

Inerrancy. I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. "Christians" who do not are walking in quicksand. What then would one base their belief upon?

Yes, we have Tradition, but it accords with God's word.

I respect your ALLCAPS! emphasis, but the schism was not over a disagreement of how to interpret the Bible, but over ecclesiastical disputes and disagreements over arcane points of theology not even mentioned in the bible.

Finally, why do you find plainly-written words so laughable. Paul spoke clearly and without ambiguity.

Do you think adultery is now OK as well. That is also stated quite plainly.

Thersites said...

And how would one propose eradicating homosexual sex in a free society? Furthermore, why would you?

If I were interested in eliminating homosexuality, the best way would be for me to legalize it...

Slavoj Zizek, "Excursions into Philosophy"

...while the object of desire is simply the desired object, the cause of desire is the feature on account of which we desire the desired object (some detail, tic, which we are usually unaware of and sometimes even misperceive it as the obstacle, as that in spite of which we desire the object). Perhaps, this gap between object and cause also explains the popularity of The Brief Encounter in the gay community: the reason is not simply that the furtive encounters of the two lovers in the dark passages and platforms of the railway station “resembles” the way gays were compelled to meet back in the 40s, since they were not yet allowed to flirt openly. Far from being an obstacle to the fulfillment of the gay desire, these features effectively functioned as its cause: deprived of these undercover conditions, the gay relationship loses a good part of its transgressive beguilement. So what we get in The Brief Encounter is not the object of the gay desire (the couple is straight), but its cause. No wonder, then, that gays often express their opposition to the liberal “inclusive” policy of fully legalizing gay couples: what sustains their opposition is not the (justified) awareness of the falsity of this liberal policy, but the fear that, being deprived of its obstacle/cause, the gay desire itself will wane. (Hmmm Log Cabin Republicans in the house???)

Gay activism and corresponding melancholia are driven by prohibition. W/O prohibition, the "cause" of desire will soon "wane" and almost disappear entirely.

But in the meanwhile, the damage to heterosexual relations will have been done. Sodomy in all its forms, and the disease vectors that they represent, will have been "legalized" and in full bloom around the planet.

Thanks for nothin', gay activists! Heterosexual sodomy (and AIDS and ALL the other STDs) will live on, long after your desire for bending over for a quickie in the Men's Room has subsided.... as straight men "get their gay on" with loose women.

Ducky's here said...

"Brief Encounter"? Judy Garland would feel snubbed.

I've wondered why I've always felt that film stinks.

Jack Camwell said...

@Kevin T. Rice

Do you even know what faith is? Faith is believing in something that you can't prove.

So how can you pity me?

Let me clarify the question. In order to pity me, you would have to *know* with certainty that I am wrong, misguided, and doomed. But the truth of the matter is that you can't know. Sure, according to the Bible--a text that was written a few thousand years ago--I might be doomed, especially if you take a very narrow interpretation of the text. But you don't even *know* that the Bible is true.

You don't even know whether or not the Bible was divinely inspired. You CAN'T know. None of us can. So because you can't know, you have to have faith that you're not being snowed.

So if you haven't the faintest idea of whether or not I'm actually right or wrong, how the hell can you pity me? For all you know, you're the one who's way off and who will be thrown into Hell.

You dont' have faith, because you believe that you are right and certain (that is an assumption I'm making about you which I admit could be completely wrong, but I'm guessing that you "know that you know" you're going to heaven). You think you KNOW that the Bible is all true.

You know what I have faith in? I have faith that there is a God that created existence, and that we human beings have been blessed with the amazing gift of free thought. And what I'm going to do with that gift is live my life in a way that I think is good, and moral, and just. I'm not going to go against what I feel is morally right simply because a book tells me to.

So if God wants to fault me for that, if he wants to send me to hell because I try to live a life of service and good moral character, then so be it. But I have faith that a loving, merciful God would not punish me simply because I tried to do the right thing.

But do I have faith in a book that was ultimately written by human beings? Nope. Just because a bunch of people from a few thousand years ago said that the book was divinely inspired doesn't mean that it actually was.

Jack Camwell said...

And Silver,

I've explained my position about 7 times now across this post and your previous post. By this point you either don't understand my position or are completely avoiding it so that you don't have to actually try to refute anything I've said.

I will give it to you that you brought up Paul, but he's really the worst example you could have used. Jesus said "judge not lest ye be judge." Jesus also said "before you remove the speck out of his eye, you must first remove the plank out of yours." And then Paul doubles back on the whole non-judgmentalism thing, and says that we're SUPPOSED to judge people, despite the fact that Jesus basically told us that we're all shitheads and shouldn't be so quick to judge others.

Paul was a zealotrous persecutor of Christians, and he was a zealotrous Christian after his conversion. I take what he says with a grain of salt.

IMO, when in doubt, go with what Jesus said.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Constitutional Insurgent said...

@Thersites - "Gay activism and corresponding melancholia are driven by prohibition. W/O prohibition, the "cause" of desire will soon "wane" and almost disappear entirely."

Interesting theory. Only valid however if one takes a chemical and biological subset that has existed since the beginning of human history and twists it into merely a recreational hobby to suit one's agenda.

Equally interesting is the theory that homosexual relations have an adverse impact on heterosexuals since sodomy is not [and has not been] relegated to the homosexual arena.

And you unsurprisingly end by asserting that promiscuity has homosexuals as the sole culprit as well. Your selected quote is additionally debunked by the popular support for marriage equality among gays....and a plurality of straights.

So many illogical theories all nicely packaged in one post...reason need not apply at your doorstep.

Silverfiddle said...

OK Jack, your position is becoming clearer now. So you stick specifically with Jesus and reject the apostolic teachings that came after?

Do I have it right?

Z said...

I marvel at a bunch of poverty stricken fishermen and tax collectors, etc, in old sandals and with no education who could pull the history and stories in the Bible out of thin air; allegories, parables (saying so much in a paragraph that most modern authors would covet the talent)..and that most of them alive during the time of Jesus died horrid deaths when they could have said "Hey, we're taking this way too far...I was ONLY KIDDING, cut me down from here!"
Peter wanted to be crucified upside down so's not to emulate Christ in any way....feeling unworthy. man.

Thersites said...

Reason is ALL that apply's at my doorstep. Unlike youself, I don't have a dog in the clamour for sodomy and promiscuity fight. I've already renounced both in the name of "western civilation" and its' foudational bedrock, heterosexual marriage. Manque makes the heart grow fonder?.. ;)

Zizek (cont.)

The rise of melancholy in Europe temporally overlaps with the prohibition and gradual disappearance of different forms of carnival, of manifestations of “collective joy” (Barbara Ehrenreich) from public life (late 16th, early 17th century) —what conclusion are we to draw from this? The obvious one would have been that the prohibition came first: it deprived individuals of a key source of libidinal satisfaction, and this loss caused melancholy—melancholy bore witness to the fact that modern subjects live in a grey dis-enchanted secularized world from which ecstatic collective experienced disappeared…

What, however, if the causality is the opposite one? What if melancholy PRECEDES prohibition? What if prohibition is a way to resolve the deadlock of melancholy? One has to be very precise here about the structure of melancholy – in contrast to mourning, melancholy is not only the failure of the work of mourning, the persistence of the attachment to the real of the object, but also its very opposite: “the melancholy offers the paradox of an intention to mourn that precedes and anticipates the loss of the object.” Therein resides the melancholic’s stratagem: the only way to possess an object which we never had, which was from the very outset lost, is to treat an object that we still fully possess as if this object is already lost. The melancholic’s refusal to accomplish the work of mourning thus takes the form of its very opposite, of a faked spectacle of the excessive, superfluous, mourning for an object even before this object is lost. This is what provides its unique flavor to a melancholic love relationship (like the one between Newland and Countess Olenska in Wharton’s The Age of Innocence): although the partners are still together, immensely in love, enjoying each other’s presence, the shadow of the future separation already colors their relationship, so that they perceive their current pleasures under the aegis of the catastrophe (separation) to come (in the exact reversal of the standard notion of enduring the present hardships with a view to the happiness to emerge out of them). In short, the mourner mourns the lost object and “kills it the second time” through symbolizing its loss, while the melancholic is not simply the one who is unable to renounce the object; he rather kills the object the second time (treats it as lost) before the object is actually lost—how are we to unravel this paradox of mourning an object which is not yet lost, which is still here? The key to this enigma resides in Freud’s precise formulation according to which, the melancholic is not aware of what he had lost in the lost object —one has to introduce here the Lacanian distinction between the object and the object-cause of desire: while the object of desire is simply the desired object, the cause of desire is the feature on account of which we desire the desired object (some detail, tic, which we are usually unaware of and sometimes even misperceive it as the obstacle, as that in spite of which we desire the object).

Silverfiddle said...

Z: So true. How many people have died if it all were a fraud?

Here's a short commentary on Jesus and Judgementalism. Hint: He's judgmental, and he wants us to judge also, but fairly, and according to God's law. And judging actions does not mean condemning a person or treating them harshly.

http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2007/06/14/jesus-and-judgment/

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

@Thersites - "Unlike youself, I don't have a dog in the clamour for sodomy and promiscuity fight.'

Sory...how is it that I have a 'dog in the clamour'?

The canine contestant I back has a tag labeled individual liberty.

Z said...

SF, I don't know anybody who'd have died like they did (one was skinned alive) if it was a fraud.
Jesus did Judge because He loved that much to get us on track and brought instances to the attention of those who'd do better after being judged and led in the better direction.....and He told us how to get on track, and that everyone's invited to the banquet.

In daily life of a believing Christian, I like to remind that there's a difference between the words JUDGE and DISCERN. If we didn't discern all day long, we'd be constantly getting hurt (Forgive, don't forget if that means you'll be hurt again, etc.)...We are in no position to judge; that's reserved for the Great Judge.

A terrible mischaracterization is that Christians hate everything they discern to be unbiblical, dangerous to oneself and/or others, etc........Christians don't hate the homosexual, for example...(yes, some nuts might, but they don't represent loving, Bible believing Christians and they'd hate them if they were secularists, too, out of sheer lack of education)

Thersites said...

The individual liberty to spread disease wasn't one that the Founders recognized... even if it was a responsibili that they generally deferred to the individual States. Evidence, The US Public Health service frequent use of the "quantine" to protect the public from otherwise libertine "typhoid Mary's".

Thersites said...

The USPHS has done Leviticus proud...

The separation of infected people in order to prevent the spread of disease was practiced in many early societies, as recorded in Leviticus chapter 13 of the Hebrew Bible.[2]

Now send the Lepers to Molakai!

Thersites said...

Leviticus 13

45 “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

Thersites said...

The Bible is a guide to healthful living. Discount its' precepts at your own peril.

Z said...

Jack, "But I have faith that a loving, merciful God would not punish me simply because I tried to do the right thing."

What informed you of that? How do you know He's loving and merciful?

Leticia said...

Brave man for posting this! Bravo!

No matter how the liberals or homosexuals will defend this "lifestyle" the bible doesn't lie and as long as you stand on that truth, you can never be wrong.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

@Thersites - Got it. When you take as much umbrage at the alleged destructive behavior of heterosexuals [in those many instances where you can't blame homosexuals] I'll surely take note to your brand of 'reason'.

You also didn't answer my question...but you always have your inconsistent tome to healthy living, so rock on.

Thersites said...

Speaking of inconsistent tomes.. are you into "freedom" for pedophiles, too? How about "freedom" for rapists to "get their rocks off"?

Freedom's just another word for "nothing left to lose"... right Bobby McGee?

Thersites said...

btw - Libertarian or libertine? There is a difference, you know.

Kid said...

Speaking of inconsistent tomes.. are you into "freedom" for pedophiles, too? How about "freedom" for rapists to "get their rocks off"?

Well ya screwed up there. There are Victims in these two situations, where are the victims in two consenting adults or children (child + child) for that matter, even though the central scrutinizer types would cringe. No Victim.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

The consensual aspect was just covered...but I'm still waiting to hear what 'dog I have in the clamour'.

Since you obviously base your position on the Bible rather than the concepts of liberty...I'd say you have more stake in the clamour than I do.

Thersites said...

So you've renounced all forms of sodomy, heterosexual oral sex included?

...and Children (pedophilia) can't "consent", by definition.

And as for the bible, I'm not even a Christian. So there's no stake there.

I've a feeling you have a dog in the fight. I don't.

Thersites said...

btw - 2 children having sex are just two wrongs... they CERTAINLY don't make a "right".... as minors cannot "consent" legally to ANYTHING, let alone the consequences likely to arise from risky sexual behaviours.

Thersites said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kid said...

btw - 2 children having sex are just two wrongs... they CERTAINLY don't make a "right".... as minors cannot "consent" legally to ANYTHING

Pretty pathetic attempt at changing the subject which was you trying to equate a situation with victims and another without victims.
Even this is pathetic. Believe me, I consented legally many times as a child with children of the opposite sex, and in my case I'm not talking about intercourse.
But if it were, it would be stupid but not against the law. Else you'd have kids arrested all over the country these days wouldn't you.

Documented cases of kids having sex all over the place. 3rd graders having oral sex I read.

You just don't have a leg to stand on and you dig deeper with each reply.

Where you headed next?

Thersites said...

and before you get too hung up on arguing the " rights" of consenting adults, just realize that the courts don't give a whit about your ideas as to what constitutes legal consent.

Rita said...

Z: I love how you distinshed the difference between judgement and discernment. Gonna remember that one as that us exactly what I was trying to convey.

Thersites said...

kid DEFINITELY has a dog in the fight.... a pretty dumb one.

"I consented legally as a child"... lol!

Kevin T. Rice said...

@Jack

I pity you because of your absurd, baseless and totally false assumptions about Teresa, and now, about me. Most people would be too embarrassed to offer such presumptuous statements in the absence of any justifiable basis whatsoever, but not you. They just flow out of your fingers, through your keyboard into the ether, with hardly an iota of sensible caution to slow them down. They provoke comparable amounts of pity and mirth.

Since you ask, I do know what faith is, and your definition is inadequate. It is missing an absolutely essential element that makes faith a virtue. While I do not know you, I have an intuitive suspicion that you do not understand faith to be a genuine virtue on any level. Please correct me if my suspicion is mistaken. Because I do still pity you, I will help you with your definition, no charge. You're welcome.

Faith is believing to be true that which cannot be verified by reason or knowledge from the senses on the basis of an appropriate trust in the person or persons who are the source of the information and justified by the relationship which serves as its contextual environment. That final element is indispensable. Faith is not belief in the truth of a proposition or a statement as such. It is belief in the testimony of someone with whom one is in a relationship that justifies such trust. It is personal rather than propositional. That is what makes it a virtue. If you trust your friend or lover to keep his or her word and to tell you the truth, that is faith, and it is all the more virtuous when there is a lack of sensible evidence to support such trust. Lack of that trust when it is properly called for and justified by past performance is not an intellectual virtue. It is light-years from honest critical skepticism of unproven propositions of natural or speculative philosophy as such.

Faith in the testimony of scripture is a supernatural virtue in the context of a relationship with God and is justified by that relationship. Faith is belief, not in a book as such, but in a book because you know the Author and trust Him. It is in the context of such a trust that belief in what the book says is appropriate, and rejection of what the book says is a rejection of the Author, which may be culpable, depending on how conscious one is of what one is doing by rejecting that testimony.

Since you are hung up on certainty as a necessary condition for knowledge as such, I will help you with that, too. Classically, knowledge is defined as justified belief whose propositional content is true. Certainty does not enter into it. Therefore, you can know something even if you are not certain of it, provided that:
1. You have good reasons for believing it to be true.
and
2. You are right - that is, what you think is true is in fact true.

That means that you can know something before you can prove it. You can know something before you are sure of it. And you can know it on the basis of faith if someone you have good reason to trust told you so, and they should know.

Kid said...

kid DEFINITELY has a dog in the fight.... a pretty dumb one.

"I consented legally as a child"... lol!


Gets more pathetic by the minute. This has now devolved into you in a fetal position screaming Did Too!

Wake me up when anyone under the age of 18 faces legal recourse for being involved in ANY kind of intimate situation with someone of the same or opposite sex.. MMMKay? Else Shut up already.

Ducky's here said...

This thread is proof the Shakers got it right.

Ducky's here said...

Farmer, since you're fascinated by Žižek

Z said...

Rita, thanks, it's an important distinction, isn't it.

Mr. Rice, I'm sorry you don't seem to be blogging anymore because that EFT thing sounds extremely interesting and I appreciate your points here.

Thersites, do you know what Kid's talking about? Who didn't 'consent' to a kid of the opposite sex, even very young? It's what kids DO, if I'm reading Kid's point correctly. It's part of healthy exploration, it's what kids sometimes DO.

Kid, yes...I hear horror stories about kids having oral sex very, very young....damagingly young. I believe it's a part of the liberal sexual exposure thing; kids think it's normal because they see films and hear teachers talking about it. very hard times on children who are now having no childhood (in the guise of being OPEN and FREE..and even PROTECTED ...in knowledge is power..baloney...it's backfiring)

Rational Nation USA said...

Reading this thread as left me with a loss of words. Not anything easily done. But tonight it has been accomplished.

Z said...

Rational Nation; trust me, we believers are at a loss for words, too.

Kid said...

Z, as far as Thersites goes, he latched on to a minor point trying to deflect away from his major mistake of trying to couple a victim situation with a Non-victim situation and that's what got my dander up.

As far as liberal enabled sex at young ages, it is part and parcel with dumbing down the kids. Make them Dependent. It's the section of society where most of the democrat voters come from.

Ducky's here said...

OK Jack, your position is becoming clearer now. So you stick specifically with Jesus and reject the apostolic teachings that came after?

Do I have it right?

----------
Are we to reject the historical record?

We know the Exodus story is almost entirely myth. There is no record f a mass migration of Israelite from Egypt.

The Gnostics are probably more historically accurate than the Gospels but we completely reject them. Why?

Paul's epistles are instructive in the formation of the early church and many controversies over Jewish law that are rooted in the very suspect O.T.

The epistles of Paul are not something I would use to exclude people from a civil contract.
The story of the human effort to form the early church is just that, a HUMAN story of a HUMAN institution.

Jack Camwell said...

Rice:
You said "Faith is believing to be true that which cannot be verified by reason or knowledge from the senses on the basis of an appropriate trust in the person or persons who are the source of the information and justified by the relationship which serves as its contextual environment."

My definition of faith is a paraphrase of that.

BELIEF. That is the key. Belief. Believing has nothing to do with knowing.

Lets go with your premise that you don't have to be able to prove something in order to know it.

Answer me this: how can you *know* something that you cannot even perceive? How can you know that God exists? You can't. You simply have to have faith.

Yes, knowing has everything to do with certainty. That's the whole point of knowing: you're certain that whatever it is you know is true. Your problem, and the problem with many Christians, is that you think that by admitting that you don't know, that you CAN'T KNOW, for certain anything that has to do with God that your belief in God will be shaken.

You can believe in God all you want. You can believe in the Bible all you want. But I hate to break it to you: you will never, ever know for sure if God exists until you die. That's a fact of life, and that's why faith is a virtue, because it requires us to go beyond the senses and place our trust in something that we can never hope to comprehend with our limited perception.

So yes, Rice, I understand what faith is and what it means. I only made the assumption about Theresa because she's an idiot, and she's proven on other threads that she hasn't even got a shred of reason or sense in her brain. If she is indeed familiar with Aquinas, it certainly doesn't show in anything she says.

Silver,
I don't outright reject the apastolic teachings, but I am skeptical, mostly of Paul.

Sure, Jesus was judgmental. I'll give you that. But guess what: Jesus was ALLOWED to be judgmental. He was, afterall, a fucking divinity for crying out loud. Jesus was supposedly God made flesh, so of course he was allowed to be judgmental. But, Jesus TOLD US to not be judgmental, more than once. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone? Judge not lest ye be judged? Remove the plank from your eye before you remove the speck from someone else's?

And then we have Paul directly contradicting what Jesus told us to do. Shouldn't that make you skeptical?

My whole point in all of this is that the problem with most Christians these days is that they still cling to an ancient ass text for damn near everything. YES, there are some universal truths in the Bible that ring true for all men in all times, but that doesn't mean everything in there is still true.

ANd what drives me battier is that you and many others will accuse me of cherry-picking, and then follow up that accusation with an example of your own cherry-picking viz. the whole idea of executing homosexuals.

You cherry pick just as much as me and the rest of humanity. The only hangup is that we're cherry picking different things. And my whole point was that the only reason people cling to the notion that homosexuality is a sin is because most people find it really gross and unnatural. That's it.

And let me close by quoting Leticia:

"as long as you stand on that truth, you can never be wrong."

That is exactly why so many of you fail so. incredibly. hard. Please, one of you describe to me what it's like to be right all the time. I'm dying to know.

Z said...

Jack, how is it again that you know God is "loving and merciful?"

Rational Nation USA said...

Jack, I am an atheist after many years of struggling to find a reason to believe. But that's not important really. What is is that you made the strongest, most reasoned argument I've heard from a Christian on a very long time.

Kevin T. Rice said...

@Jack,

Your inadequate definition of faith was not a paraphrase, and belief as such was not the key. The key element, as I stated very clearly for anyone with a competent grasp of written English prose, was the personal relationship that makes a belief faith, renders that faith virtuous, and, in light of the classical philosophical definition of knowledge which I quoted in my comment but which you showed no sign in your reply of having read, empowers the propositional content of that belief, when true and epistemically justified, to be rightly understood as something known.

God's existence can be known by unaided reason apart from the light of divine revelation in several ways. God's voice in the soul can be heard as the promptings of conscience, which carries supreme weight and authority in any morally decent atheist's estimation, infinitely more weight and authority than that which he or she would attribute to anything that the he or she could cite as a naturalistic explanation for that prompting as a phenomenon of human consciousness. The divine origin of that experience is not too hard to infer. Other aspects of the world of our experience call for a not disimilar inference to the best explanation that nothing serves better for than God (the obvious teleological nature of living things, the fact of a beginning of the universe and of time without a non-divine causal explanation to account for them). Moreover, the possibility that God IS invites the sincere Seeker to attempt to interact with God as a real Being - prayers, and then when prayers are answered in a way that cannot be reasonably denied, one then may know that one is in a relationship with a Real OTHER, SomeONE, not merely someTHING. And that is the essence of faith - belief in someONE, not in someTHING. If you, in faith, believe in some THING that you do not know, it is because you KNOW SomeONE.

If in your ignorance of basic epistemology you cannot distinguish knowledge from certainty then you are in no position to criticize your betters who are more informed and better educated than you or to call your intellectual superiors names like "idiot". My hope for you is that you sound like a teenager because you still are one, not because your mental development stopped when you got stuck there however many years ago. If you are the twerpy little teenage potato head you come off as, then we may hope that someday you will wake up and grow up.

Finntann said...

We'd all be a lot better off if everyone simply worried about their own salvation.

Perhaps this simple story will help:

Two monks were traveling together, an older monk and a younger monk. They noticed a young woman at the edge of a stream, afraid to cross. The older monk picked her up, carried her across the stream and put her down safely on the other side. The younger monk was astonished, but he didn't say anything until their journey was over. "Why did you carry that woman across the stream? Monks aren't supposed to touch any member of the opposite sex." said the younger monk. The older monk replied "I left her at the edge of the river, are you still carrying her?"

Cheers!

Always On Watch said...

116 comments?!!?

I'm all out of steam to continue in this discussion. Sorry.

Always On Watch said...

Oh! I have to say this....

Duck said:

This thread is proof the Shakers got it right.

Now, that's funny.

Silverfiddle said...

Jack and Ducky: Having a contextual understanding of the Bible backed by over 20 centuries of scholarship is not "picking and choosing."

Deciding Paul's words no longer apply is picking and choosing.

You're rejected his words. That's all I wanted to know, after all.

You don't agree with something in the Bible, so you reject it.

You haven't explained the basis for your rejection other than because you disagree with it, but it now makes sense why you hold the position you do.

If I'm a mass murderer, I can believe I'm ok with God, because that whole "Thou Shalt Not Kill" thing was way back in the Old Testament, and he let Israelites kill people, so why can't I?

Context, my friends, is important.

Rational Nation USA said...

No man has the right to infringe upon another's, no man has the right to commit an act of aggression against another except as an act of self defense, no man has the right to tell another how to live his life, a man who respects himself will respect others, and reason, philosophy, and ethics teaches this irrespective of whether God exists.

My guess is if God exists he will be quite pleased to accept anyone into "kingdom" who has lead a decent and honorable life.

I put that young women down at the river bank long ago Finntann.

jez said...

Wow. I want to respond to almost everything here, but that's impossible. Here are a few points in no particular order. Apologies if I repeat points already made in the above 116 comments!

0) Like SF, I need to confess that I don't have much theological depth. Furthermore, I am not a Christian! The latter is possibly an advantage since I am under no pressure to believe Christian teachings, nor have I any motive to bend those teachings so that they accord to my own opinions.

1) According to the catholic encyclopedia faith is "the assent of the intellect to a truth which is beyond its comprehension". Of course we're talking about supernatural faith here, faith in your wife for example is a different concept, albeit related. The essential element which is missing from Jack's mere belief in the unproven and Kevin's submission to authority is that the truth in question is beyond comprehension. Not only are we mortals incapable of proving it, we're incapable of understanding it too.

2) Kevin continues with a reference to the classical definition of knowledge. This is correct, but please acknowledge the Gettier problem. Also, notice that you might have good reasons for believing something which turns out to be not true, so without certainty (ie proof) we are unable to distinguish between knowledge and a reasonable mistake.

3) SF is correct to flag up the conflation of infallibility and inerrancy. The bible itself claims neither of these properties. The second epistle to Timothy comes close, but obviously the NT wasn't complete and in fact the OT canon wasn't yet closed at the time that was written, so it's not clear exactly to what it refers. So maybe SF is too hard on Christians who don't accept this non-biblical doctrine of inerrancy.

4) SF: "We get [which parts apply temporarily and which parts apply eternally] from centuries of scholarship." Are you implying consensus on this? AFAIK reasonable theologians are disagreeing over these matters even after centuries.

5) The Greek words that have been translated as "homosexuality" from 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy are "arsenokoitais" and "malakoi" (see a transliteration here), and there is some debate around how best to translate them. I'm not in a position to disentangle the politics from this question -- there are claims that the former is too rare a word to be translated confidently, while the latter is a much commoner word meaning, from wikipedia, "a particular type of cowardice, associated with effeminacy in men" ie not necessarily sexuality.

6) Romans 1 is an interesting & popular chapter, which I must have read dozens of times before I started to notice that the homosexuality is inflicted on the people by God as a punishment for their prior sins (idolatry mostly). Imagine that bit in star trek where the aliens force Kirk to kiss Uhura. It's not necessarily a sin for Kirk to kiss Uhura, but it could be a punishment to force them if they didn't want to.

7) You accuse Freethinke and Jack of "creating a new religion" by jettisoning the OT, in fact if they were to do so they might be following the teachings of Marcion of Sinope, which dates back to at least the 2nd century. His canon, which did without the OT, came before the Church's.

8) All that said, I think I agree with SF's summing up. That is, if we insist that Christianity demands that the bible be inerrant, that it is not possible for gay sex to be unsinful. However, there are many self-professing Christians who do not consider the bible to be inerrant. Will you dismiss them airily, I wonder?

FreeThinke said...

This thread -- and myriad others like it -- prove only one thing:

Reason is, indeed, only the Slave of Passion.

Thank you, David Hume!

With malice toward none and charity for all,

~ FreeThinke

jez said...

"The divine origin of [the phenomenon of conscience] is not too hard to infer."

It is, in the light of evolutionary psychology, difficult to prefer a theory which demands a deity.

Also, neither the teleological nor cosmological arguments are one sided.

Silverfiddle said...

Excellent summation, Jez!

My point was merely a logical one: You cannot discredit a source, and then use it to base your argument upon.

You are right that there has been a diversity of belief and interpretation, but to throw out St Paul is to reject a large and critical chunk of Christianity. It's my opinion, but I don't know how you do that and still call yourself a Christian.

Anyway, thank you for the summary, it was excellent.

Jack Camwell said...

Silver,
Yes, I did say why I disagree with a lot of what Paul says. Some of the things Paul says blatantly contradict the teachings of Jesus. Do I have to repeat myself? Did you read what I wrote?

Let me quote myself just in case:

"Silver,
I don't outright reject the apastolic teachings, but I am skeptical, mostly of Paul.

"Sure, Jesus was judgmental. I'll give you that. But guess what: Jesus was ALLOWED to be judgmental. He was, afterall, a fucking divinity for crying out loud. Jesus was supposedly God made flesh, so of course he was allowed to be judgmental. But, Jesus TOLD US to not be judgmental, more than once. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone? Judge not lest ye be judged? Remove the plank from your eye before you remove the speck from someone else's?

"And then we have Paul directly contradicting what Jesus told us to do. Shouldn't that make you skeptical?"

That is my basis for rejecting some of the things that Paul writes.

I'll ask this question again: if I had a graduate degree in theology would that make you believe that I'm right? Nope. You would just call me a "bad" theologian, or misguided, or wrong, or whatever. Do you really think it took TWENTY CENTURIES of scholarship for human beings to realize that genocide was wrong, even if God "commands" it? Do you think it took us 2,000 years to figure out that slavery is inherently evil? No. It might have taken the scholars that long to figure it out. It took slave owners a mass murdering governments that long to figure it out.

But the fact is that there were people who realized that mass murder and slavery are inherently wrong. Do you think all the slaves were just like "jee, I'm totally okay with being a slave," and then when scholars came out and said that slavery is wrong, all the slaves in the world suddenly wised up?

Or do you think that people awaiting slaughter from their conquerors were just like "well, I'm sure their God commanded that we be killed, so it's cool." Do you think that we really need 2,000 years of biblical scholarship to tell uswhat we already know in hearts to be true?

Jez,
I spent some length on explaining the notion that we humans, with our limited perception, are incapable of comprehending things that are beyond our senses and brain capacity. That is precisely why we can't know, and that is the basis of faith: believing in something you have no chance of ever understanding.

Rice,
WHat I find funny about your response is that you are little different from me. I called Teresa an idiot. You called me an idiot. The only difference is that I just simply used the word "idiot," and you spent an entire paragraph to say it, as if that somehow justifies you more, or makes what you're saying less insulting.

You, and people like you, love to think that faith has something to do with knowing because it makes you feel better about the whole thing. That allows you to get rid of all the doubt. It helps you put all of those nagging feelings further into the back of your head.

And I know why you do it: because it sucks to be in constant conflict about whether or not God exists. Part of me almost wishes that I had your conviction and certainty about it all, but I realize that I'm better for having that doubt. I'm glad I doubt, because that means I'm always being honest with myself. It means I'm not closing off my mind to real possibilities.

Until you realize that ultimately you have no way of knowing which one of us is right, you will be stuck in the prison of your own mind. And that's exactly where the powers that be want you: trapped.

For the record I'm not an atheist, nor am I agnostic. I actually do believe in the existence of God, but I also don't have to kid myself in order to believe it.

jez said...

SF: the whole discipline of history is based on making inferences from flawed sources. Theologians have identified some of the less reliable bits of bible.

Silverfiddle said...

Jack: you mention divinity degrees. Don't you find it strange that you see contradictions where literally hundreds of thousands of scholars (many religious people of various denominations) do not?

And Jesus also said to judge a tree by its fruits. Do you really think he was just talking about trees?

You may want to do some research, Jack. You are close-minded.

I humbly refer you to two articles.

The first partially confirms what you say. Christ did not want us throwing rocks and accusing one another. He wanted us to treat one another with charity. I agree with every word of it:

http://xristocharis.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/ethics-of-jesus-judgment/

Here is another take, and it is not contradictory. Jesus was a teacher, and his teachings demanded that we make judgements every day about right and wrong.

http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2007/06/14/jesus-and-judgment/

His "Judge Not" admonition was just as he said it. Look at yourself. If you judge others harshly, the father will judge you by that same standard.

Indeed, saying that stealing is wrong is not a judgement. It is applying God's law to a situation.

See the difference?

Silverfiddle said...

@ Jez: SF: the whole discipline of history is based on making inferences from flawed sources. Theologians have identified some of the less reliable bits of bible.

So true, I agree. The "less reliable bits" so far have proven inconsequential to the central message of God the creator and lawgiver and Christ as lord and savior.

And I think such scrutiny and analysis is healthy for Christianity. If it is true, it can stand such scrutiny.

Rational Nation USA said...

I find statements of mindedness quite often invoked by those with closed minds themselves.

At the end of the day it truly is up to the individual to choose how and what they believe. Something about free will methinks.

jez said...

SF:
I had in mind the entire gospel of John, and 8:4-11 in particular. (let he who is without sin cast the first stone...). However, by now we have thoroughly strayed from the topic. BTW, thanks very much for this post -- I knew it was going to be a classic from the opening sentence "Nothing gets things going here at Western Hero like a good theological debate, or better yet, a poor one." Excellent!

Z said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z said...

Jack, how DO you know God is merciful and loving?

Kevin Rice said:
"...Moreover, the possibility that God IS invites the sincere Seeker to attempt to interact with God as a real Being - prayers, and then when prayers are answered in a way that cannot be reasonably denied, one then may know that one is in a relationship with a Real OTHER, SomeONE, not merely someTHING. And that is the essence of faith - belief in someONE, not in someTHING. If you, in faith, believe in some THING that you do not know, it is because you KNOW SomeONE.?"

This, indeed, is not what can be proven or even explained but what is felt by MANY....I know the prayer and reading I do during doubt has always brought me back stronger and stronger. It's something that doesn't happen with all. The mystery is WHY....it is not that I and other believers here are stupid, that's for sure...and we are not alone by a very long shot, as SF says above, " ...literally hundreds of thousands of scholars (many religious people of various denominations" believe after years of studying.

Most Christians are seekers, readers, ponderers...it never ends....Insulting them for questioning and only coming back to God is unseemly. Then to call someone an idiot for it, as was done in this thread?? Is that necessary? And then the Christians are accused of being in conflict which somehow doesn't feel good so they can't let God go just because they've drawn a different, much more powerful conclusion than some here? REALLY? Don't take my word for it, but ANY conflict is so outweighed by the immense peace and unexplainable answers and 'coincidences' and simply astonishingly positive changes in people that it would go without saying were all of you as open to it as some here.
God bless you all.

FreeThinke said...

SIlverFiddle, whether the feeling is mutual or not, I have come to love you like a brother. Nevertheless, I find serious flaws with any attempt to evaluate and promote understanding of anyfacet of human character and behavior that relies on over-intellectualization of matters spiritual, emotional and humanistic –– a purely legalistic approach to thinking –– and unquestioning assumption of rectitude and accuracy in obviously-flawed dicta from highly dubious ancient sources.

Also, the position you and several others have taken so adamantly is –– whether you realize it or not –– a direct insult to those of us who strongly identify ourselves as Christians, but who take a much broader view of what Christ's message means and how it ought to apply to human behavior and interrelationships.

How dare you -- or anyone else -- judge whether someone is or is not a Christian? I'm more than willing to let God, Himself, make that determination for me when the time comes. I trust His judgment more than I do that of any fellow human being.

Why? Because God is embodiment and perfect expression of Love, Truth, Intelligence and Principle -- metaphysical elements no human being has ever been fully equipped to understand.

I do have to laugh a bit at the way this lengthy discussion began on the previous thread. Wasn't it supposed to be about Anderson Cooper's "official" coming out?

Several made vociferous claims that they were not the least bit interested in Anderson Cooper's sex life, and claimed indifference to the subject.

NEVERTHELESS, what you posted initially has spawned by far the largest number of responses -- on two threads yet -- than many other topics of far greater importance to our national health, strength and well-being.

Why is that do you suppose?

I believe it reflects a morbid curiosity about matters that might be deemed "prurient," and an avid eagerness to mind other people's business in areas that have no direct bearing on the quality and content of the lives -- and loves -- of those who appear so desperately "concerned."

I'm quite sure that it hurts Our Jesus very much to see how His words and His great Sacrifice for the sake of ALL people have been twisted and perverted so as to give an emblem of "righteousness" -- an imprimatur -- to attitudes that defame, deny, loathe, lampoon, despise, reject and deprive a significant segment of humanity from being full participants in the rights and privileges others enjoy without having to resort to subterfuge.

Apparently, you wanted to confine the discussion to a purely "academic" examination of an issue that incites great passion.

You failed, because the implications of your position -- that no one can be a Christian if they are willing to accept homosexuality as a valid state of being -- are too cruel, cold-hearted and fundamentally immoral to ignore.

You can't throw gasoline all over people, set it ablaze and then pretend to want only to discuss the physical properties of fire or the theoretical notions of how arson affects society.

~ FreeThinke

Z said...

SF, sorry for the two deleted comments...I wanted to reword my comment and then I again mistyped a word...thanks

Silverfiddle said...

FT: By your own admission, you are walking in quicksand...

...unquestioning assumption of rectitude and accuracy in obviously-flawed dicta from highly dubious ancient sources.

Highly dubious? Then why even argue over it?

FreeThinke said...

" ... Most Christians are seekers, readers, ponderers...it never ends....Insulting them for questioning and only coming back to God is unseemly. Then to call someone an idiot for it, as was done in this thread?? Is that necessary?"

If you really were a Christian, it would never occur to you to feel moved to ask such a question, or if it did, you would think better of it.

If you really felt the joy and serenity you claim to experience in the next part of your statement because of the beliefs you say you espouse, the things other people think, say and do would not be so disturbing to you, and you would not be moved to exhibit a plethora of petulance over things that don't properly concern you.

Apparently, it never occurs to you how painful, "insulting" and enervating it can be for many, who do not share your prejudices, to have to witness the open expression of beliefs, opinions, interpretations, and pet peeves you and others share routinely with absolute impunity.

In never ceasing to take offense whenever the spirit moves -- as it does so very often -- you never consider for one split instant that you too might be every bit as offensive as those you chide.

The best way to confront Truth is often to take a good, long, searching look in the mirror.

It's invariably humbling, believe me.

Where is the Scripture that talks about asking forgiveness "with a broken, contrite heart?"

If most of us had any clue as to how we truly effect others, most of us would want to retreat and hide our heads in shame and embarrassment.

And that certainly includes me.

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

"Highly dubious? Then why even argue over it?"

Because what you have chosen to accept without question or pause has done incalculable, irreparable damage to millions of lives and has spawned monstrous persecutions in the name or "Righteousness." That's why.

And probably because I abhor smugness and complacency.

What is that quote from André Gide Finntann so often cites?

Something to the effect that "We should show respect to those who SEEK the Truth, but have little or no trust in those who claim they have FOUND it."

I argue against his, because I see great danger and boundless pain and sorrow in embracing these traditional assumptions.

~ FreeThinke

jez said...

"How dare you -- or anyone else -- judge whether someone is or is not a Christian?"

Did you know that around half of all self-proclaimed christians in the UK do not think of Jesus as the son of God? I'm with you for the most part, but maybe that counts for something.

Do you insist that no doctrinal line be drawn at all?

Silverfiddle said...

So, FT, by your logic, a command of God can be ignored because stupid, hateful people use it as an excuse to persecute others?

I do not judge others. What I did do is wonder how someone can call himself or herself a Christian while rejecting substantial chunks of the source document.

Can I call myself an American while rejecting the bill of rights?

Z said...

FT you say "If most of us had any clue as to how we truly effect others, most of us would want to retreat and hide our heads in shame and embarrassment."

After what you have said to me and done to my blog, you can say this? I have ignored your nasty comments and constant baiting for a long while now, as you and many of my friends know, and will not sink to your depths here now, either.
Let me just say I would hate to have to post emails I have. Please help me not to.
I don't know what your obsession is, but it's almost scary.

By the way, you would not know "Humble" if it bit you in the ASS.

Kevin T. Rice said...

Jack: WHat I find funny about your response is that you are little different from me. I called Teresa an idiot. You called me an idiot. The only difference is that I just simply used the word "idiot," and you spent an entire paragraph to say it

My response: An additional difference is that Teresa is not an idiot. Another reason why you fit my descriptive more than Teresa fits yours is that you still don't seem to get how I know that. If you were anywhere near half as clever as you think you are, you would have made the connection with what she said in her most recent comment, and you would have further understood why I told you I pitied you.

Jack: You, and people like you, love to think that faith has something to do with knowing because it makes you feel better about the whole thing.

My response: Unless you also rule out of your knowledge base everything anyone ever told you and everything you ever read that you did not take the trouble to confirm with absolute certainty, and unless you treat people you know personally and who have proven themselves to be trustworthy as being no less suspicious as sources of any information than those who have proven themselves to be unreliable or dishonest, that is, unless you are prepared to jettison all common sense and decency and never trust anyone again for anything, you will have to accept that knowledge is, as Plato defined it, Justified True Belief, and accepted trusted sources and proven authorities as sources of knowledge. You can't verify everything you know. That doesn't mean you don't know it. But you can, if you wish, accept an absurd, arbitrary and counterintuitive epistemic rule that eliminates trustworthy authorities as sources of knowledge in order to consistently deny faith any epistemic status. But you may only do so for yourself. You can only sacrifice your own mind that way. You can't lay down arbitrary rules to bind others. You can't pretend that Plato didn't already formulate the natural, true, common sense definition of what it means to know something.

To be continued.

Kevin T. Rice said...

@Jack

Continued

As to any conflict about the existence of God, no reasonable and reflective theist should ever have to suffer from doubt about that. No non-divine causal explanation exists for any of the following facts about the world and our experience of it:

1. The origin of the universe
2. The origin of life
3. The teleological nature of living things
4. The existence of conscious, intelligent, volitional beings with freedom of causal agency in a physical universe
5. The absolute authority of conscience

It's not as if there is an array of candidates for the non-divine explanation for those facts to choose from and to prefer over God. There is NO alternative. Darwinian explanations for living things at best provide a Just So story as to account for a variety of species, but they assume and leave unexplained the origin of life per se. Big Bang cosmology assumes and leaves unexplained the existence and initial conditions of the primordial atom - they don't even explain why THAT began to expand. The best secularists can do is lay down an arbitrary rule that causal explanations must not be pushed back further than the first 10 to the -43 of second of elapsed time AFTER the Big Bang. The whole universe and everything about our lives becomes an insoluble riddle when we banish God from our accounting of ourselves and the world, and the best that those who prefer it that way can do is to deny the problems. They have no solution.

Jack: Until you realize that ultimately you have no way of knowing which one of us is right

My response: Hang on a minute, Jack - what are we disagreeing about if, as you say, you "actually do believe in the existence of God"? Is it only your insistence that you prefer uncertainty and doubt over true knowledge and confident assurance of your beliefs? Because if God exists, we are both right about that, and my liberating confidence is justified while your doubt is "the prison of your own mind" where you are trapped exactly where nefarious "powers that be" want you, specifically those of an infernal diabolical nature.

jez said...

The richest faith accommodates doubt, the two are not in opposition. There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.

Rational Nation USA said...

So many carrying the weight of morality on their shoulders . Fascinating indeed.

Free Thinker I do believe you have it about right. Not that the opinions of an atheist amounts for much in the world of mystical thinking.

Teresa said...

Free Thinke -

Would you agree that God decides who is saved and who isn't saved?

I believe Christians have every right to judge others based on peoples' actions and beliefs. We look to the bible for what is right and what is wrong, what is considered to be Christian and Unchristian, or that which violates Christian principles. According to God's laws in the bible homosexuality (homosexual acts)is a sin, abortion is wrong and morally illicit, murder is immoral et al. Yes there is forgiveness and God's forgiveness is abundant but that doesn't give any person the right to reject God's laws and decide for themselves what they perceive to be right or wrong based on feelings, based on the subjective, or based on rationalizations - I know this is wrong but...

Do you believe that there are unjust laws? If you believe that there are unjust laws how do you justify that we look at issues of morality simply based on legalistic logic?

Do you believe that the concept of truth exists? In morality, science, math, history, et al? Do you believe that when facts or reality are distorted or even misinterpreted and that which is false is presented as truth or true that persons have an obligation to correct them charitably out of love so these people don't continue thinking such information wrongly?


Truth -- The quality or state of being true: "the truth of her accusation".
That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality: "tell me the truth".

Teresa said...

"The richest faith accommodates doubt, the two are not in opposition. There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds."

I agree. But there is a difference between doubt and unbelief, or rejection of certain beliefs.

“There is a difference between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is a matter of the mind. Unbelief is a matter of the heart. Doubt is when we cannot understand what God is doing and why He is doing it. Unbelief is when we refuse to believe God’s Word and do what He tells us to do. We must not confuse the two.” ( When We Doubt by Greg Laurie http://bibleportal.Christianpost.Com )

Of course the diametric opposite of unbelief is faith, but doubt is somewhere in between. Sometimes it seem very similar to unbelief, but at other times it seems to be an essential component of faith. Are you confused already? Well, let my try to clear up the confusion:

To doubt something is to be in a wavering state of mind. You hesitate between two opinions. You are not quite sure which is right. You would like to take the right path but you are not absolutely certain which is the right one. That is doubt. In the New Testament the Greek word used here means “to be uncertain, to waver or to hesitate”. There's more on the subject here - http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=142931

Rational Nation USA said...

Perhaps when all "faiths" respect the rights of other " faiths" and individuals to believe ad they will the world will stop being a slaughterhouse.

FreeThinke said...

For what it may be worth I do not think ANYINE here is an "idiot," and I strongly disapprove of bandying such terms about.

We obviously have deep disagreements on certain issues.

After -- what is it? -- close to two-hundred posts on two different threads no one is any closer to changing anyone else's mind than he was at the beginning.

I do think it's time for EVERYONE to admit he doesn't REALLY know much about this, and give it a rest.

No matter what anyone says -- or threatens -- or implores us to accept, --we will all continue to believe what are ABLE to believe.

Trying to force others to accept ideas incompatible with their sense of right and wrong, of honor, of decency, of kindness and consideration, or just common sense is a poor practice at best -- persecution at worst.

For the sake of "harmony in the ranks," and "solidarity" I could cheerfully PRETEND to go along with the beliefs of the majority, and be a happy little hypocrite assured of communal love and approval.

For some reason that's not possible, since hypocrisy is one of the more despicable sins.

Whatever else may or may not be true, you cannot BULLY people into Salvation by threatening to ostracize them, force them into exile in the desert, put them in a dungeon, disembowel them with a red hot poker, tear them limb from limb, or burn them at the stake.

All we're doing here is aggravating the snot out of one another to the point where we say things that may do lasting harm to otherwise-decent, possibly productive relationships.

Almost against my better judgment I'll be posting a piece based on these discussions with numerous illustrations later on in the week.

Watch for it at

http://freethinkesblog.blogspot.com/?zx=da63e836789862c5


~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

"FT you say 'If most of us had any clue as to how we truly effect others, most of us would want to retreat and hide our heads in shame and embarrassment.'

"After what you have said to me and done to my blog, you can say this? I have ignored your nasty comments and constant baiting for a long while now, as you and many of my friends know, and will not sink to your depths here now, either.
Let me just say I would hate to have to post emails I have. Please help me not to.

"I don't know what your obsession is, but it's almost scary.

"By the way, you would not know 'humble' if it bit you in the ASS."


Oh dear! It appears that your opinion of me, and what-you-continue-to-insist-is-my-opinion-of-you make a RORSCHACH image, Z.

What you said up there is not very nice, and I doubt if it reflects well on you. (You might do well to remember the story of Peter and Paul ;-)

I've never threatened you in any way -- quite the opposite in fact --, yet you've repeatedly threatened me with publishing private letters I sent you in confidence years ago back when I believed we were friends and confidantes.

I understand that you've taken an extreme dislike to me, but I'll never understand why, and I have NO intention of going all over it again here or anywhere else. That would not only be distasteful, it would be an imposition on SilverFiddle and completely out of order, but your determination to interpret everything I say as "nasty," is as absurd as it is untrue.

I plead guilty to three things only:

1. being fiercely outspoken

2. being intolerant of what-I-perceive-to-be nonsense and arrant cruelty.

3. I never have and never will run for a prize in anyone's idea of a popularity contest

All the best always,

FreeThinke

PS: If people don't like me, it doesn't bother me in the least. I try to stand up for ideas, achievements and phenomena I believe worthwhile, that's all. No one has to love me for it. Seeking adulation is an act of vanity. - FT

Teresa said...

@Rational Nation USA

I get what you're saying but 1) Don't you think all the faiths which claim to be Christian should at least live by certain basic Christian principles? 2)For if certain faiths don't wouldn't that preclude them from truthfully claiming to be Christian?

When certain beliefs violate moral absolutes which are in accordance with Christian Tradition how can people expect us not to challenge them on their claim that they're "Christian"?

Also when different beliefs which are radically different from 2000 years of history are forced upon those in society who oppose those beliefs - such as funding abortion via taxes or gay marriage - that is different than just respecting their right to do whatever in their own bedrooms. When something forces society and its citizens to recognize it as moral and legitimate then that is other people whether it be people of faith or not, imposing their faith on other people of faith who believe differently.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

@Theresa - I think even you would have to admit that there is quite a difference between your definition of imposition where it regards something such as gay marriage....and the imposition incumbent with denying gays the liberties other citizens enjoy.

One definition had a tangible restriction on freedom, the other merely makes one uncomfortable [or angry, or whatever emotion is most apt].

Teresa said...

@Constitutional Insurgent I am okay with civil unions. If the gay couple is afforded all the rights as those who are married without changing the definition of marriage how is that infringing on their liberty?

Their imposing on me, or forcing me to recognize them as legitimately married is an imposition on my liberty, specifically my religious liberty to not recognize and publicly support their lifestyle which runs contrary to my religious beliefs is much more a restriction on my freedom and liberty than gays liberty and freedom especially when it is possible for them to have the same rights as married people without perverting the true meaning of marriage.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

Fair enough - I am fine with civil unions also. I don't get wrapped around the usage of a word, since whether or not gays can get married has no effect on my marriage.

But you do understand that 'recognition' is limited to treating others within the span of the law? Recognition doesn't impose an action nor a punishment on you individually; no more so than the extent I am required to 'recognize' Christians.

Public support is an equally ambiguous argument. Gays don't rely on your support nor your recognition.....but to enjoy the same liberties and freedoms that you enjoy as a citizen.

The 'true meaning of marriage' is also up for reasoned debate, as the Bible is replete with polyamorous marriage.

But I am happy that there is at least some common ground, re: civil unions.

jez said...

"To doubt something is to be in a wavering state of mind."

This is almost the opposite of what I had in mind, which was more along the lines of an "essential component of faith".
Faith is like a melody around which doubt weaves a descant, with any luck the result will be harmonious.

That's not my idea, I heard it from Richard Holloway (Bishop of Edinbourgh). In my research for this response, I notice that Kierkegaard got there before first. :)

Silverfiddle said...

Faith is like a melody around which doubt weaves a descant, with any luck the result will be harmonious.

That is positively beautiful.

jez said...

SF: it certainly is. I paraphrased from Richard Holloway's short series about doubt and faith on BBC radio called "honest doubt". If you can access it somehow, do. The title refers to Lord Tennson's long poem "In Memoriam," which is also jaw-dropping.

jez said...

Teresa: "forcing me to recognize them as legitimately married is an imposition on my liberty"

applies equally to divorcees on their 2nd (or 3rd etc.) marriages, doesn't it? Surely this cat is already out of the bag?

Ducky's here said...

"Their imposing on me, or forcing me to recognize them as legitimately married is an imposition on my liberty, specifically my religious liberty to not recognize and publicly support their lifestyle which runs contrary to my religious beliefs is much more a restriction on my freedom and liberty than gays liberty and freedom ..."
==================

What's the difference between this and some crazed Muslim.

FreeThinke said...

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."

~ Jesus Christ

Submitted by FreeThinke

Kevin T. Rice said...

Since it is looking like Jack left me the last word, I am going to turn my attention to other comments worth responding to.

jez's most recent comment suggested a moral equivalence between the recognition of civil marriages contracted by divorced persons and the recognition of same sex marriages. I can only assume that this is due to the fact that both same sex coupling and the re-marriage of a divorcee (which our Lord equated with adultry) are deviations from the sacramental ideal which our Lord was teaching. But civil marriage has always been understood to have a distinct standing independent of sacramental marriage - that is why you can be civilly married without being sacrmanetally married, but not the other way around.

My response is that for something to be a marriage, whether civil or sacramental, it has to be anchored to a meaning of marriage that could be applied coherently to both kinds. I suggest that the reason why both kinds of marriage have been traditionally and exclusively two people, one man and one woman, is because that is the procreative unit. Marriage's primary meaning is not to affirm the romantic attachment of two people, but has always been about the begetting of children. That is why communities, tribes, societies and states have sanctioned it and codified rules and taboos around it. It is because that relationship is how the larger community gets added to. If we were growing children in beakers as a general rule civil governments would have no standing whatsoever to legislate and define people's couplings.

The civil recognition of divorcees re-marrying does not damage the essential meaning of the institution as the community sanctioned social space for procreation the way that civil recognition of same sex relationships as marriages must damage that meaning, and the way that recognition of such relationships as non-specific domestic partnership contracts could not damage it. Recognition of same sex "marriage" amounts to the community formally declaring that two people of the same sex can procreate and that we give this particular same sex couple our blessing to do so. We can also say 1+1=3, but that won't make it so. You do not broaden marriage that way, you render it meaningless for all.

Kevin T. Rice said...

The Constitutional Insurgent has said that: "The 'true meaning of marriage' is also up for reasoned debate, as the Bible is replete with polyamorous marriage."

If we anchor our debate about the true meaning of marriage to the Bible and limit its conceptual flexibility to what we find there, I think we will find ourselves able to reach some definite conclusions about its true meaning that bear directly on the homosexual issue. Let's start with the issue named above: polyamory. On its face that doesn't seem to have any effect on the meaning of marriage as an institution. Loving many does not mean marrying more than one. So let's get more specific: polygamy. There is certainly polygamy in the Bible practiced by Biblical patriarchs and kings. Abraham had one wife and one concubine. Jacob had two wives and two concubines. King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Obviously once the exclusive element of marriage was compromised, it was just a matter of time before abuse of the institution took on an absurd character. But I want to call attention to something that you do NOT see in the Bible: polyandry. All the polygamy is polygyny. There are no widowed pagan queens marrying multiple male consort husbands, not even among Israel's enemies. Before you assume that this was because such cultures were all so patriarchal that such a thing could never have been tolerated on those grounds (that, by the way, is simply not so), give some thought to some basic and highly relevant biological facts: One man can beget many children at the same time with many wives, but one woman can only bear one man's offspring at one time. Thus even those departures from traditional marriage that we see in the Bible always affirmed its procreative character, retaining its essential meaning. Marriage is the foundation of the family which is the foundation of community and society. Tribes and nations were always built out of families, not primarily out of isolated individuals. They grew through treaties with neighboring groups for the purpose intermarrying, not by recruiting. It is about population. It is about the community sanctioning and regulating its growth in numbers. That is why there was polygamy in Biblical times - it was about growth in wealth and power through growth in numbers. One man with many wives can do that. One woman with many husbands cannot. Neither can she do so with one or more women, nor can one man do so with another man or many men for that matter.

As one gay activist once derisively (but not inaccurately) said, "marriage is for breeders."

jez said...

"Recognition of same sex "marriage" amounts to the community formally declaring that two people of the same sex can procreate"

It doesn't, you know. I don't demand that my wedding couples be fertile, and neither has society, ever.

If you think that the most important, defining quality of marriage is the genders of the participants, then I say you've been missing the point of marriage all these years.

"Marriage's primary meaning is not to affirm the romantic attachment of two people, but has always been about the begetting of children."

Have you got any sources to support that? Sorry but in my marriage the primary meaning is to affirm the romantic attachment with my wife -- I had no idea that this makes us unusual.

"[if not for procreation] civil governments would have no standing whatsoever to legislate and define people's couplings."

Are you claiming that governments have, for thousands of years, felt so shy about interfering that, if it weren't absolutely vital to the upbringing of children, they wouldn't have got involved with private affairs?

Marriages are linked to households are linked to collecting tax. That's why I guess the primitive governments got involved in it.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

@Kevin - I don't have much of an argument against Biblical polyamory, other than it flies in the face of obnoxious argument by some.

However - "Marriage's primary meaning is not to affirm the romantic attachment of two people, but has always been about the begetting of children."

This was surely true in the era of human history where procreation was paramount. That need has decreased significantly....and commensurately, the meaning of marriage for likely a plurality, is the romantic attachment between two consenting adults. If one wishes to tie it inextricably to acknowledgment of procreation, then marriages between couples who cannot or do not desire to procreate, must be rendered invalid as well.

Beyond the argument of what "marriage used to mean, so it must remain defined so"......homosexual unions and/or marriage does not have a deleterious effect of procreation, because homosexuality is not a communicable disease. Those born with that biological orientation will exist whether homosexuality is criminalized or tolerated. If criminalized, at most, as we have seen through history....would be an increase of dishonest and thoroughly unhappy marriages....likely soiling the perceived intent of the institution in the first place.

Teresa said...

@Constitutional Insurgent

I will tackle this part while Kevin is at work.

"If one wishes to tie it inextricably to acknowledgment of procreation, then marriages between couples who cannot or do not desire to procreate, must be rendered invalid as well."

Actually tying marriage to procreation does not render the marriages of those couples who experience infertility invalid. Here's why: The infertile couple is open to procreating naturally. There is always the possibility that the creation of life will occur, or could occur. But with a homosexual couple this is an impossibility. The homosexual can NEVER be open to procreation naturally. The act between two males or two females will never produce offspring whereas the act between a man and a woman may produce offspring even if the couple experiences infertility.

The infertile couple has a condition/disease which is an impediment to procreation but without the disease procreation (natural) is always a possibility when sexual intercourse occurs whereas with homosexual couples when they engage in sexual intercourse with their normal (without disease) natural selves there is no possibility of procreation(natural).

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

@Theresa - You make a fine defense of Catholic values, but you're not arguing against any factual assertion I made, you're arguing against the proposal of logical consistency.

The bottom line is that marriage is a civil institution. Except in one's heart and mind, it is guided by civil edicts [no matter how much I oppose them], not religious dogma. Marriage without intent of procreation [which you seemingly ignored half of my post] is illegitimate only in the eyes of the faithful who pursue living under such doctrine.

In short, it almost doesn't matter what makes marriage valid or invalid; for civil law as laid out in our Constitution and other founding and guiding documents renders that perception moot.

You wish to keep the label of marriage for a distinct subset of the population, as opposed to keeping it a civil liberty for all who are of maturity and consent.

The problem is that your ideal can always define your marriage...whereas you would have no [in my opinion] moral or civil right to deny it to others.

Personally, I would wish for civil unions for all citizens as contractual bodies without licensing or other encumbrances....and have religious institutions perform whatever symbolic ritualism they wish, if they believe it sanctifies or morally legitimizes it in some way.

Kevin T. Rice said...

To Constitutional Insurgent and Jez -

CI, I like your response to my assertion about the primary meaning of marriage. Jez should read it:

" 'Marriage's primary meaning is not to affirm the romantic attachment of two people, but has always been about the
begetting of children.' This was surely true in the era of human history where procreation was paramount."

Of course. That's when marriage was instituted. We did't invent it. We inherited it. It already means what it means and has for a very long time. I don't think that we will be doing ourselves or our posterity any good service by evacuating it of its primary meaning now. Besides, we're not in the brave new world yet. We still beget children the old fashioned way, and no matter how many people fill the world right now, we still have to have SOME children if we want the species to continue to exist beyond this generation. Traditional marriage is still the best social space for that. That's what it is for.

To those who believe that an institution whose essential meaning is anchored in the community's consent to be added to by the natural procreation of two people who wish to publically vow to narrow their sexual expressions toward union with each other to the exclusion of all others should change its meaning to accomodate a special interest group whose pairings are incorrigibly sterile by nature and who therefore do not seek to participate in the institution because they have an intention to be open to procreating with each other (assuming the parties are sane), I have only one simple question: WHY? Who benefits? What does fictitiuos marital status afford the same sex couple that a non-specific domestic partnership contract such as a civil union does not?

Now for Jez - I could cite anthropologists (Edvard Westermarch, George P, Murdock), catechisms of all Christian sects, texts from Judaism and Islam, and I am sure I could find material from Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, and anything committed to writing of various tribal cultural mores if I looked hard enough. But ultimately we all know what marriage is for if we are honest with ourselves. Everyone does. It is a cultural universal. If you don't think marriage was instituted for the purpose of providing a social space to legitimize potentially procreative sex and the resultant offspring thereof, can you make a case that it means some other definite thing? Can you provide a concrete alternative account of the meaning of marriage?

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

Kevin - To be clear, I'm not fantasizing of some biologically sterile test tube baby-factory world. What I thought I clearly communicated, is that many people in our era enter into a marriage with the primary purpose of romantic attachment and shared ideals. Children usually become a part of that, but not always...and certainly not always within the bounds of marriage.

As to your question of "What does fictitiuos marital status afford the same sex couple that a non-specific domestic partnership contract such as a civil union does not?" - Nobody tangibly benefits from equality in marriage, so long as civil unions are available...which I fully support. I don't fall on the sword of semantics...which is what the fight of the label of marriage is. To turn the question around....who benefits - or who is harmed, by denying what are essentially civil unions but labeled as marriage?

I presume Theresa is your wife - and earlier she posed a statement that I didn't key in on at first, but since has struck me as profoundly nonsensical. She wrote:

"Their imposing on me, or forcing me to recognize them as legitimately married is an imposition on my liberty, specifically my religious liberty to not recognize and publicly support their lifestyle which runs contrary to my religious beliefs is much more a restriction on my freedom and liberty than gays liberty and freedom especially when it is possible for them to have the same rights as married people without perverting the true meaning of marriage."

I am at a loss to understand how denying 'marriage' to gays is a restriction on anyone's civil liberties, when the burden of the restriction falls on gays. Excepting an emotional response, their is literally no imposition on anyone.

Kevin T. Rice said...

CI,

I think you must realize by now that I have been talking about the meaning that the institution of marriage has had from the time of its origin, the meaning it has consistently retained across cultures and down through history even to the present day. That many people in our culture and in our age have a tendency to enter into marriage solely for secondary gains and accompanying desirable but non-essential benefits that are often associated with it to the exclusion of its historic and transcultural primary meaning is not yet enough to change the primary meaning of so ancient and universal a tradition as the institution of marriage. Not until people everywhere have long since been using it for those purposes and those alone, to the exclusion of the primary meaning, would the essential character of the institution change. Abusus non tollit usus. Not until such departures from the traditional meaning of marriage became the rule rather than the exception, and that would necessarily take more than one generation no matter how many people were eschewing the traditional meaning in this one. Even now it is only unhinged secularized western cultures that treat marriage this way. Everywhere else it is still understood to have the primary meaning it has always had.

Nevetheless, whenever and wherever it is evacuated of its primary meaning we are all intellectually and culturally impoverished by that. Though it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket when a time honored traditional social institution, a cultural heirloom that I value, is disfigured and rendered effectively meaningless by a culture that is being systematically dumbed down, I nevertheless feel that I am being imposed upon. It feels like being mugged. I feel that my nieces and any children God may bless my wife and I with are definitely being robbed, and I resent it.

Rational Nation USA said...

Nothing to say you can't or should't bring up your eventual children and instill in them the values and beliefs you hold propr and right.

Tolerance for those one disagrees with when the other petson is harming no one is a virtue.

jez said...

Kevin:

1) the original purpose for marriage is not necessarily important. To take another cultural universal, eg. dance was probably "invented" primarily in order to control events via superstition. We still dance today, but that original meaning has been cast aside.
You've done nothing to show that loosing procreation as a definitive aspect of marriage would be of any importance. Can you?

2) You don't know why marriage was invented. Of those books & authors you listed, neither those you have read nor those that you haven't were written early enough to be an authority on that. Their claims no more settle the matter than yours do today. The origin of marriage was then, as it is now, lost in the mists of time.

3) You hand-wave away the infertile couple's marriage by saying that procreation is still possible for any heterosexual couple -- in fact it doesn't take much imagination to come up with cases for which there is no possibility of natural procreation: eg. a elderly bride, a groom army veteran who's lost his testicles, a cancer survivor who's had extensive surgery.

Infertile couples (including gays!) might like to adopt, and thereby put their marriage to what you claim is its primary, definitive use.

"Can you provide a concrete alternative account of the meaning of marriage?"

No, but my case in no way rests upon it; yours does.

Here are my (mostly unsupported but plausible) beliefs.
I believe that the pair-bond became the dominant style of relationship via natural selection due to the advantage of shared nurture of offspring. I read that there is some evidence of pair-bond in the neolithic period, but I'm not familiar with the paleontology so let's just say that the pair-bond is old compared to civilization. So I can agree with this modified version of your claim:

The primary advantage of the pair-bond is as a context for raising children.

This was true before marriage was invented, and it remains true now, and it will remain true even if marriage shifts to take account of modern standards in ethics.

Once the pair bond exists, why bother with marriage? Marriage is just the state poking its nose into what was happening naturally through biology in any case. I believe it is primarily to do with property: both how ownership is shared within the pair bond and, traditionally, with how ownership of the bride is passed from her father to her groom.

Since it became economically feasible for a woman to support herself, the bride-as-property dimension has seemed increasingly out of place. However, the novels of Jane Austen demonstrate how central this aspect of marriage was just 200 years ago. You can follow that literary thread all the way back to Genesis.

Back when women were reliant on men for material survival, it was probably particularly important that all women be married. Hence polygamy, and hence crazy Levitican rules for marrying your widowed sister-in-law.

My genuine gut feeling is that compared to how marriage has changed since the OT, same sex marriage is a tweak. A bug fix. Hardly worth even updating the version number. For you, it's a complete overhaul. But it's still for pairs of people who love each other and want to share everything forever, right? Is that so bad?

Kevin T. Rice said...

Jez, I am impressed. In my judgement, you put some honest effort of reflective critical thought into your most recent comment. That, to me, seems like a good thing. Good honest critical reflection is not nearly common enough to be taken for granted. Far more often than not comment boxes on political blogs are places to flex a jerking knee.

In your estimation the original purpose for marriage may not be that important. Well, I suppose that is fine if that is what you really think. But later statements in the same comment suggest that you don't personally find value in marriage as an institution at all. Obviously we were not approaching the issues of homosexuality and marriage from the same perspective, but to engage in dialogue at all, some minimum common ground is required. If you don't value marriage at all, clearly you will not care if it is completely despoiled and rendered devoid of meaning. Fine, but what does that do to the cogency of your position? Nothing good, I am afraid, since it is not obvious that even if you saw a dramatic shift in that institution's meaning sufficient to effectively destroy it and leave an empty shell in its place under the original name you would care enough to be able discern what happened.

"You don't know why marriage was invented. Of those books & authors you listed, neither those you have read nor those that you haven't were written early enough to be an authority on that. Their claims no more settle the matter than yours do today. The origin of marriage was then, as it is now, lost in the mists of time."

I had a hunch that your request for sources wasn't an invitation for me to furnish you with quoted material, so I didn't. Clearly the right move on my part. In any event, much of the substance of your comment appears to be a concession to my argument about the original meaning of marriage, and you have now shifted ground to a new argument, which we can call The So What Manuever (that could be a Big Bang Theory episode name!). The So What Manuever is an effective argument stopper because it is an open and obvious confession that there is no common ground on which to build a worthwhile dialogue. The So What Manuever is illustrated as follows.

Kev: S cannot be intelligibly and sanely admitted as a change to M because M is essentially about P and S is incompatible with P. Thus S renders the result Not-M. No one who values M should support that.

Jez: That's crap. M isn't about P. Where did you get the idea that M is about P? Cite your sources.

Kev: I can name some names, such as Dr. X, Rev. Y and ancient and honored sage Z, but I won't waste valuable time quoting them when it is clear to anyone with common sense that the reason X Y and Z said that M is about P is because it is obvious that M is manifestly about P.

Jez: M is older than X Y and Z, so what do they know? Anyway, So What if M is about P? I still support adding S to M. M is rubbish anyway. M has been historically associated with H, F, and Q, which are null and void, so the hell with M. M is just G poking its nose into B. If it destroys M to add S to it, so much the better.

Kev: That's fine. I think we're done here.

My position can be re-stated as follows - no one who values traditional marriage and supports its continued existence as a meaningful institution should support the adjustment of its definition to extend it to same sex couples. We didn't end up having to agree on much on the end, nor even to have had sufficient common ground in the first place, for the dialogue we had to confirm the truth of my position as I re-stated it.

jez said...

Hey, that 1st para is almost a complement, if you don't look too hard. strange then that you follow it up with so crude a mischaracterisation of my remarks.
Oldest, shoddiest trick in the book, kevin. and you write such long sentences too :) i expected better.

jez said...

Some clarifications for anyone who is still interested, probably doesn't include kevin.

Kevin's position is that

1) marriage is important
2) its importance is entirely due to its primary or original purpose
3) that reason was something to do with procreation
4) it would destroy marriage if it didn't exclude couples incapable of procreation
4a) no, not irrevocably infertile heterosexual couples, just gays.

Now, 1) is a value judgment, so there's no point arguing over it and anyway I happen to agree.
2) is clearly not true by necessity, for there are many institution which were set up for unwise reasons but which turned out to be useful for other reasons.
3) is a statement of fact which Kevin has not supported with anything other than appeal to ignorance (he spells it "common sense"), which is a fallacy. He claims to have non-fallacious arguments in his arsenal, but says I don't deserve them (the "screw you guys, i'm going home" maneuver).
4) I don't think Kevin has touched this one. He ignores the history of change that marriage has survived thus far.
4a) Nothing. Maybe he approves of excluding infertile couples in principle, but finds that identifying truly infertile couples is impractical, but he hasn't said anything.

Infertility of course is no barrier to doing the important bit of raising children: nurturing. While there are children to be adopted, infertile couples can still but their marriage to what Kevin says is its primary purpose. Champaign?

Kevin, forgive me if I have simply missed comments where you addressed these issues. Given that I missed them or they are not there, can you appreciate that there were so many missing pieces to your puzzle that it was hard to know where to start. It's not a "so what maneuver", it's a "got to start somewhere" maneuver.

"M is rubbish anyway. M has been historically associated with H, F, and Q, which are null and void, so the hell with M. M is just G poking its nose into B. If it destroys M to add S to it, so much the better."

Be honest, is that what you really think I was saying?

Kevin T. Rice said...

Ok Jez, maybe my interpretation of the following comment as disparaging to marriage as an institution was mistaken (was it really? Am I really wrong here?):

"Once the pair bond exists, why bother with marriage? Marriage is just the state poking its nose into what was happening naturally through biology in any case."

If my interpretation is mistaken, is that so hard to understand and excuse?

You have made it clear that you object to the way I characterized your argument. But you have come back with a mischaracterization of your own. An appeal to common sense is not an appeal to ignorance. Every person who reflects on marriage can see its relation in all its elements to what I called the procreative unit and what you called the pair bond. That was already granted in this thread by The Constitutional Insurgent in very strong terms ("surely true", though admittedly he, like you, thinks that this should be open to change). So it isn't just my peculiar unsupported assertion even on this thread - it is a shared perception with third party verification. My argument isn't "it hasn't been disproven so that means its true". Indeed, my statements about marriage being about procreation can't really be rightly called fallacies since they are not arguments. You rightly called them statements of fact (whose truth you happen to reject). That is what they are. They are statements of a fundamental premise whose truth is obvious as to deserve axiomatic status. Your refusal to grant that premise would much more justly deserve to be called an appeal to ignorance in a non-technical literal sense of those words than my appeal to common sense. I am appealing to what we all already know. You are denying that we know it. If that is not an appeal to ignorance then perhaps the appeal to ignorance fallacy needs to be updated as much as you think the definition of marriage does. Nevertheless I wouldn't want to characterize your move here as a new form of ad ignorantium. I already have a name for it. I call it the Ditch Out Of Whatever Premise manuever, and unfortunately that is not a fallacy. It is no less annoying than a fallacy, but it is a legitimate move that I reserve the right to use myself. It also happens to be one of the most common moves in the playbook of the political left - when reality knocks at the door, simply refuse delivery. You will certainly be wrong, but at least you won't have to endure the humiliation of formally losing an argument in front of witnesses.

But I don't want to be any more presumptuous about what you think than I already have, so let me ask you - why a reserve social recognition of domestic bonds to pairs? Is it just arbitrary? Could a threesome not do just as well or better? How about a quartet? Should there any gender requirements for the members of a multi-partner bond that exceeded two people? If same sex pair bonds which are ESSENTIALLY and BY DEFINITION sterile (as opposed to being infertile per accidens, due to age, conditions of health or structuaral anatomical injury) can count as marriages, then what objection, if any, would you have to polygamy (whether homosexual or heterosexual) and how would you support that objection?

Since you have rejected common sense as a reference point to what marriage essentially is and have not offered an alternative definition that would allow us to clearly distinguish marriage from a non-marital relationship, I am very interested in knowing your views about polygamy and how you support them. It would go a long way towards clarifying your position on marriage in general.

Kevin T. Rice said...

To be fair, I have to admit that Jez' criticism that I have not touched on everything offered in reply to my arguments is absolutely fair.

Jez, if you want to wait until I have the time to address those issues before you answer my latest question about polygamy, that is fair, but please let me know if you have no intention of addressing that issue. I don't mind going back and filling in the missing pieces that you have rightly pointed out if I have your word that you will address the polygamy issue, but otherwise I don't mind leaving the dialogue to stand exactly as it is.

jez said...

I apologise, I'm in a rush.

I can forgive it, but your quote was a rhetorical question which I went on to answer straight away with a theory about property. Not a disparaging reason, property is important, but also not the most valuable aspect of marriage, as it turns out, imo accidentally, to enrich, strengthen and extend the pair-bond.

The appeal to ignorance is inverted -- you are ignorant, indeed incredulous, of any argument to the contrary, so you must be true. Perhaps it is an appeal to the majority, it certainly is now that you submit CI is evidence.

I haven't thought much about polygamy. It strikes me that you might have better luck arguing against polygamy on the basis of my property theory of marriage than under your procreation theory. If A already shares everything with B, he cannot then enter a relationship with C where he shares everything. That seems to be the end for OT style polygamy, where a man's wives are not also married to each other. Genuine 3-ways are more plausible I suppose.

I don't really object to polygamy. People can try it if they want. I don't expect them to succeed, I think psychology is against them. (Psychology can probably cope better with OT style non-transitive polygamy, which is necessary when we need to reproduce our way out of a crisis).
Demonstrably though, gay pairings can be lasting, stable and rewarding. Psychology doesn't seem to rebel against it, so I don't see any reason for us to.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

Kevin - Work has kept me from replying sooner. I have no beef with the historical underpinnings of marriage, from either a religious or a procreative standpoint....though there remains some gray area in regards to it's practice in both culture and religion.

My problem is the restriction of this label [and in many cases institution itself] to a specific demographic...at the expense of the entirety of the citizenry. If it could be argued that this restriction was a necessity for reasons of public safety or some other such society imperative...then the debate would make sense.

But arguments against equality of marriage, in my opinion, rest utterly and completely on emotion and detraction from the idyllic worldview of a subset of the population.

I defend your right as a religious adherent to not personally accept or approve of gay marriage....as strongly as I support equality of marriage. And I likewise support your right as a citizen to advocate for laws that conform to your worldview. But I absolutely disagree with your position. Equality of marriage, or homosexuality in general poses no tangible threat to society or the institution of marriage. Isn't your relationship with your spouse defined by what it means to your both - and probably your church? If it's defined by someone else against your will, then there are larger personal issues at play.

Procreation isn't going away. Traditional marriage isn't going away.

Neither will be defined by allowing couples of the same sex to enter themselves to a lifelong commitment, or those who marry but do not wish to procreate....unless you allow it.

Teresa said...

@Jez and @Constititional Insurgent

I am going to chime in here for a moment. Within the last day I posted a video which explains the public purpose of marriage quite well IMO if you are interested in taking a listen. http://teresamerica.blogspot.com/2012/07/essential-public-purpose-of-marriage.html

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

Theresa - It was an interesting video, but it doesn't answer what is for me the fundamental question in this debate - how is equality of marriage going to tangibly affect the vast multitude of couples who get marriage and procreate?

Allowing gays to marry isn't going to alter the percentage of heterosexuals who ascribe to traditional marriage. It isn't going to turn anyone gay....and it isn't going to persuade couples to have children.

If protecting children within the bonds of a functioning heterosexual marriage is an essential public concern, ought not your labors better used in combating divorce, rather than restricting the use of a label...based on your feelings?

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

The line in the second paragraph should have read "dissuade couples from having children".

Teresa said...

@Constitutional Insurgent

Would you grant that females and males have different psychological traits? Would you grant that when one of them is removed from the home, whether it be the mother or father, it negatively affects or impacts the child?

You don't think the more society accepts and promotes same-sex "marriage" that that will lessen the number of heterosexual traditional marriages? Just look to how society has accepted cohabitation and divorce and the number of couples who either divorce at least once or don't get married has risen over the years since the acceptance of cohabitation in our society began years ago.

The need to combat divorce does not legitimize the further downfall of marriage and the changing of its original meaning which is what same-sex marriage does. The children need both the different psychological influences and balance that two men or two women are unable to give their children. I am not saying they don't love their children but it is impossible for them to give their children the adequate psychological support given traditionally by a man and woman - the parents.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

Of course males and females have different traits, and having parents of both sexes is ideal...but as proven, not mandatory.

"You don't think the more society accepts and promotes same-sex "marriage" that that will lessen the number of heterosexual traditional marriages?"

No.....How is that a given? Having legalized marriage equality wouldn't have stopped me from marrying my wife. Do you really think that allowing gay Americans to enter into a contractual commitment based on love...is going to persuade other Americans to ditch the tradition of marriage any more than already occurs?

I refute - from personal experience, that having only one gender in the home is equal to inadequate psychological support.

FreeThinke said...

I highly recommend two articles at


http://freethinkesblog.blogspot.com/?zx=da63e836789862c5


1. Enemetics

2. It's the BELLIGERENCE, Stupid!