Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm Straight, and I'm Proud

Gay rights, freedom of worship...

Anderson Cooper is officially out of the closet, as if his "teabagger" comment didn't give us all a clue to where his mind was at.  I didn't even know what the term meant until he brought it up.  Then Jez came along and mentioned tromboning, and after investigating, I wished the subject had never come up.

So you're gay...  So what?

I don't care how you have sex, but that is how some people choose to define  themselves, forcing everyone around them to talk about it.

This will lead us inexorably towards discussions of church and state.  At what point will a church's opposition to homosexuality become criminal?

I've been engaged in a slow rolling debate on homosexuality and religion with a woman on Google +. She's pleasant and well-reasoned, but pretty much believes that since churches are tax exempt organizations they have no right to speak, or engage in "electioneering," as she calls it.

I disagree.  All Americans have the natural right to express opinions and attempt to influence lawmaking according to their beliefs.  Churches have the right to do it just like myriad other interest groups do. We live in a representative republic.

Tolerance, not Reconciliation

She started her thread looking for a reconciliation between between the church and homosexuality.  There will be no reconciliation.  The two are fundamentally incompatible.  What we need is good old fashioned American tolerance.  We are a diverse agglomeration of people with conflicting beliefs, but in a free country where government does not dictate every last detail of society and human activity, it doesn't matter.

All we need is to respect one another's right to worship, live and believe however one wishes.  If you're not denying another the enjoyments of their rights, you're good to go.  Homosexuality doesn't violate my rights, and churches refusing to perform gay marriages violates no one's rights, since there is no fundamental right to force someone to perform your marriage ceremony.

The "reconciliation" I support is this: Leave legal partnerships to the state, and leave marriage to the church. Some churches will perform gay marriage, while others will not. This protects everyone's natural rights and respects our constitution's understanding of individual liberty and freedom of religion.

68 comments:

lady di said...

well said! We are a different country today, ruled by the courts

Ducky's here said...

Marriage is a civil contract. My proposal is that you don't limit gay's rights and pretend you're supporting equality.

Always On Watch said...

I don't CARE that Anderson Cooper is gay. Why is he making such production number out of the announcement? Sheesh.

Should we all, upon introducing ourselves at any event, announce our sexual preference? And why stop there? Let's get specific about positions too.

Puhleeze. The madness is too much!

jez said...

"Leave legal partnerships to the state, and leave marriage to the church."

Does your proposal deny marriage to heterosexuals who want to wed without any religious ceremony? Sorry, I don't think any religion owns marriage, I consider state weddings legitimate.
I do agree that churches should have the right to refuse entry. They should have at least the same rights as a night club!

btw, I myself don't know exactly what tromboning is, I think I heard about it on south park. I have no intention of filling in the details, but whatever it is, I expect it's one of those joke things that nobody's ever actually done for real.

I used to play the trombone, in far more innocent times.

Don't know what I was really talking about, but clearly it distracted entirely from whatever my real point was, which I assume was as incisive and insightful as usual!

FreeThinke said...

NOTE: Google accounts may be easy to get, but they are not easy to use. It probably interests no one, but I would never have been able to use a Google account, establish a blog and learn how to navigate Blogger's balky, infernally limiting and often unresponsive software if I hadn't been the beneficiary of several hours of kind, patient concentrated instruction from those, who apparently, thought my Anonymous-but-always-signed contributions had sufficient merit to deserve wider exposure.

To those wonderfully kind and helpful friends I am most humbly grateful.

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silverfiddle said...

Jez: In many countries, the only marriage that legally counts is the one with the judge, performed by the state.

Having done that, the couple may then go and get an ecclesiastical marriage if they so wish.

That is what I advocate for the US. Homosexuals may get their legal partnerships and also the church wedding in a church that performs such nuptials.

All I fear is the slippery slope, where one day the state makes it illegal for a church to reject performing a gay union.

I do think religion, broadly speaking "owns" marriage since it is traditionally a covenant blessed by a deity, but that cat's been out of the bag a long time.

So the best I think we can do is take the libertarian approach that respects the rights of all.

FreeThinke said...

I happen to think the Church is dead wrong on this particular issue. The sheer viciousness, arrogance and barbarism of the Old Testament, the dour, pessimistic, anti-human Augustinian view of Christian doctrine, and the purse-lipped, puritanical prating of Evangelicals and Fundamentalists have done incalculable harm to untold millions of lives by fostering the kind of self-righteousness that leads to mutual suspicion, resentment, antagonism, and the kind of virulent hatred that has often led to violence against those perceived to hold attitudes or engage in behavior proscribed and haughtily condemned by a few verses in the Bible.




Having said that I agree with SilverFiddle in his insistence that The Church –– and all the rest of us –– have an inherent right to be wrong -- in each other's eyes.




However, once upon a time –– and not so very long ago –– I would not have been able to issue a statement such as the one made above, which clearly implies that the Bible is ANYTHING BUT infallible and still expect to see the sun rise on another day.




There is NOTHING more evil than SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, which is really nothing more than a pseudo-respectable venue for venting hatred and advocating intolerance. Not even MURDER is worse, because an assumption of righteousness used as a motive for condemnation of things not properly one's business is a mask for the kind of conceit and overweening pride that too often leads to the most dangerous form of GroupThink –– the Lynch Mob mentality.




Those who oppose The Church on this issue are probably right, but that doesn't mean that THEY have any more right to express THEIR views arrogantly, haughtily and with the kind of aggression that tends to foster violence than vain, puffed up, fired up Evangelicals or those Roman Catholics who not-so-secretly long for a reprise of The Inquisition.


IT’S THE BELLIGERENCE STUPID!




We've come a long way since we burned "heretics" at the Stake, and for that we should only be humbly grateful to Almighty God, who has slowly-but-surely led us out of the darkness of primitive savagery, pagan barbarism and the tragic, Mediaeval misunderstanding of Christ's Word into the Enlightenment and hopefully ––someday –– far beyond.




Anyone who does NOT want to see a world where EVERYONE may be loved and enjoyed for who they are –– and not some counterfeit society demands –– is PERVERTED in my never humble opinion.




God works in mysterious ways. He cares nothing for manmade Doctrine and Dogma –– the faulty perceptions of ignorant individuals whose motives may be highly suspect. He wants only for us to love one another and live in peace and harmony. 


Who knows? –– the admitted obnoxiousness of the Gay Rights Movement, which is really holding up a MIRROR to the twisted, mocking, hate-filled Face of the "Ignoscenti," may be a necessary step on the road to Social Salvation.




The hatred, scorn and mockery you see coming from the Gay Community today is nothing more than a REFLECTION of the abuse stated and implied they have had to endure from the Majority for countless centuries.




The REAL tragedy is the way Marxists have managed to MANIPULATE these ugly dynamics to further the ends of Cultural Marxism, the most ungodly ethos of them all.

Ironically, religious zealots –– and the dear “Mrs. Grundys” of this world –– have probably done more to deliver us into the hands of the Communists than all the “Greedy Capitalist Pigs” on Wall Street combined

.

~ FreeThinke

conservativesonfire said...

Freedom of religion means that religions must be free to practice their belifes. Period!

Finntann said...

Ecclesiastical Marriage should have no legal implications, just as civil unions have no religious ones.

As SF said, there are many countries where you either get married in a church and then appear before a Justice of the Peace, or vice versa.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"She started her thread looking for a reconciliation between between the church and homosexuality. There will be no reconciliation. The two are fundamentally incompatible."

But, of course, they are, since even you acknowledge this later in your post by stating that some religious sects will perform marriage ceremonies in their place of worship.

My niece, for example, belongs to a church that has been in existence in Massachusetts since the early 1700s. Two years ago her pastor announced to the congregation that he would welcome and perform marriages between same sex couples. The church lost about a quarter of its congregants. But it survived, as it has for 300+ years.

Certain religions actually DO reconcile with and embrace those who wish to marry in their places of worship.

The reason, I imagine, celebs make announcements of their sexual orientation is because not long ago in our history, just the hint of homosexuality on anyone's reputation was enough for that person to lose his/her job or ruin one's life.

My niece just had a reunion with some of her high school friends from the 1970s. One of them had come out as a lesbian--she had 3 children. Her then husband managed to not only take the children away from her and move to another state, but also managed to get a court order that prohibited her from visiting her girls. Why?

Because she is gay.

That was a short while ago. Can you understand why people who are gay feel liberated now?

Silverfiddle said...

Of course I can.

Z said...

SF, you exactly get it right.
And I believe you echo what millions of Christians, fundamentalists, evangelicals, etc., think, despite what the media and the rest of the secularists and left think.

A stumbling block is the state thing...what's a gay couple do, they're married in Vermont but one gets a job offer in AZ, where they're not considered married. Then what? (just picking states for the sake of discussion, I have little idea about which states honor gay marriage)

I'm hoping that along with the tolerance of Christians that is expected, Christians can stop being misrepresented and even insulted over their deep seated and Biblically based opinions.

And, yes, who CARES that Anderson Cooper's GAY!? WHO CARES?

Leticia said...

I'm like you, I wished I had never learned the meaning of that vile term. Disgusting.

And I really could careless about Cooper and his sexual preferences. Why would that be such big news?? I don't get it? Iran has threatened Israel and 35 military bases and to me that's news, not someone's alternative lifestyle. Please...

I stand on the Word of my God.

Steve said...

If there were never discrimination against gays, there would be no issue, but of course gays are and always have been discriminated against.
Marriage is a religious institution and the State should not have any say in it.
But since the State gives rights and benefits to married couples, then the State should not deny those those same rights simply because of sexual orientation.
I would NOT say Churches cannot participate in the political process, I would say Churches SHOULD BE TAXED.
What is the Constitutional basis for churches NOT being taxed?
The Constitution merely says the State cannot have its own church, or officially recognize any one Church, it does not say any Church can eliminate individual rights based on its religious practices.

FreeThinke said...

A RANDOM THOUGHT:

It's never an "insult" when the truth is told, even if the truth happens to be unflattering -- as it so often is.

We all need to sharpen up our understanding of the English language and increase our vocabularies. The language is perilously close to being lost in a welter of hyper-emotional jibber jabber and bibble babble.

And the smell of self-serving hypocrisy bears a remarkable resemblance to that of bullshit.

~ FT

Silverfiddle said...

@ Steve: What is the Constitutional basis for churches NOT being taxed?

Nothing specific, just he government's authority to levy taxes, and in this case it decided to not do so on churches and charitable organizations, to include gay rights advocacy organizations.

A church, by choosing to not perform gay marriages, is not "eliminating individual rights."

FreeThinke said...

I can't imagine what taxing churches might have to do with traditional Christian Doctrine condemning homosexuality, Steve.

Taxing the Church would do nothing to foster greater love, understanding or tolerance of ANYONE.

It's a complete non sequitur.

What we SHOULD be in favor of is the RADICAL REDUCTION in TAXES for EVERYONE.

When you're engulfed in flames, the last thing you need is for someone to throw gasoline in the fire
.

The Church has every right to despise, reject, condemn, vilify, patronize, condescend to anything or anyone of whom it disapproves -- just as obnoxiously outspoken renegades like me have every right to tell the Church it's full of shit for doing so.

That's the BEAUTY of DEMOCRACY.

People can't be imprisoned, tortured, maimed, blinded or burned at the stake for not paying lip service to mean-spirited, self-serving authoritarian dicates anymore.

I call that GENUINE Progress.

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

FT: The taxation thing is a standard line from statist liberals.

Their thinking goes that if you are tax exempt you should shut up and do whatever your government masters tell you to do.

Of course, these same people who believe churches should remain silent in the public arena because they are tax-exempt, have no problem with tax-exempt homosexual groups making their case in the same public arena.

Not very liberal, eh?

Beware, Beware, those who seek to restrict the rights of others.

Where I differ with these very illiberal "liberals" is that I believe the public marketplace should be open to all.

More speech, not less. That is the way of free people. It is the American way.

Steve said...

The church isn't, the State is by denying the same rights to gay married couples, that it gives to straight married couples.
Get the State out of marriage, and I would agree a Church can refuse to marry gay couples.
I fail to see why any profit making institution does not pay taxes, no matter what their profit is spent on. Is it because their expenditures are considered, for the benefit of society?

-FJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-FJ said...

It's time to tax the Sodomites to pay for the expenses associated with AIDS. Every gay marriage license should cost the same as the treatment of two AIDS victims... or $1.2
million
per marriage.

-FJ said...

Of course, the least expensive option would be to prevent the estimated 40,000 new HIV infections that occur each year in the U.S.

Gee, I wonder how we could do THAT. Perhaps we could START by outlawing sodomy.... and DISCOURAGING risk behaviours.

But no, we're far too civilized to apply COMMON SENSE.

Jersey McJones said...

Silver,

This is a redundancy: "representative republic" A republic, is by definition, representative - it is a representative democracy. I know you hate that word, but it is what it is.

And Anderson Cooper just came out of the closet?!?! I thought everyone knew he was gay for years now!

I also think the church should be allowed to express it's opinions on on politics and elections. As long as they do not actually electioneer - give money, resources, labor in the name of the church to an election campaign.

I completely disagree that "marraige" should be solely a church realm. Many non-religious people believe firmly in the institution of marriage (something that well predated modern religion).

JMJ

Unknown said...

Christians can stop being misrepresented and even insulted over their deep seated and Biblically based opinions.

----

Just as soon as you join a movement to strike down the "Defense of Marriage Act".

Steve said...

Then we should tax anyone involved in sex and passing STD's (mare than AIDS is deadly) that cause great expense (more than AIDS) to society.

Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: OK, I'll give you that one. And I don't hate the word democracy, so long as it is qualified as a representative democracy in a democratic republic.

-FJ said...

Then we should tax anyone involved in sex and passing STD's (mare than AIDS is deadly) that cause great expense (more than AIDS) to society.

Sounds fair to me.

Here's the breakdown. The 2% of the population that is gay get to pay 50% of the total STD bill.... and single/unmarried people the other 50%.

Steve said...

Pleas cite where you got those facts.
It is not true that gays are responsible for 50% of STD's. They are not even responsible for 50% of AIDS. So says the Center of Disease Control.

-FJ said...

They are not even responsible for 50% of AIDS

Nope. They're responsible for 100% of AIDS. They were the original disease vector that infected ALL straights. There would be NO AIDS were it not for gays infecting the world.

-FJ said...

... MSM represent approximately 2% of the U.S. population, but accounted for more than 50% of all new HIV infections annually during 2006–2009 . In 2010 MSM accounted for 61% of HIV diagnoses [5].

So much for the innocent gays...

jez said...

FJ's such a troll. Can't someone give him a shiny ring or something?

Z said...

FJ is brilliant and this is a subject he's very up on....I can only imagine what he'd do with a 'shiny ring'.......

Jack Camwell said...

I love what you're saying here Silver, but the only thing I take issue with is the notion that there can be no reconciliation.

Why?

As FT said, the Old Testament is filled with brutality and horror. Christianity has largely rejected the ideas of genocide and slavery. Fewer and fewer people are believing in the literal interpretation of Adam and Eve. And how many Christians still believe in a God that would smite innocent children because their fathers enslaved his "chosen" people? And this is the same God that supposedly allowed his chosen people to have slaves themselves.

Jesus said to turn the other cheek, yet we as a society are very okay with the notion of violent retribution. Jesus also said that if you divorce your wife and remarry, you're committing adultery. No one has believed that since like 1950.

So why, O why, do we single out homosexuality as one of those things that just can't be reconciled?

Homosexuality is as part of a person's nature as is anything else. We're all liars. We're all filled with desires that are "impure." We are an extremely decadent society, wasteful, and often times greedy, yet we don't go stoning and condemning everyone.

Why? Because we're all shitheads. We can't help who we are on the inside. A sin of the heart is just as guilty as a sin of the hand, is it not? So must homosexuals be ostracized more than liars? Or adulterers? Or theives? Or heterosexuals who engage in pre-marital sex?

I would argue that the reason homosexuals are treated more poorly than other perceived "sinners" is because so many people have a natural revulsion towards it.

People don't chastise homosexuality because it is sinful: they chastise it because they think it's gross. Otherwise, we should all be locked up and prevented from doing anything since we're all sinners.

Silverfiddle said...

There is so much wrong with what you just said Jack.

If God were an invention of man, everything you said would make since.

Slavery and slaughter were not laws that God handed down, they were realities of the time. That is the great distinction you fail to make.

Jesus didn't rewrite any of the Old Testament law, so unless you have some inside information, murder, adultery, fornication, stealing and homosexuality are still wrong in his eyes.

Having said that, we are not a theocracy, thank God, so adultery, fornication and homosexuality are ok under the law.

However, God's law does not change, so that is the basis for me saying there cannot be a reconciliation.

Some relativistic churches that change with the times, sure. But many churches do not, so they will never accept homosexuality.

Ducky's here said...

Actually Jack, the dirty truth is that we are probably bisexual to some degree. Generally not to the point that we engage in homosexual relations but it is the fear of the impulse that gets the hard core going.

Teresa said...

Spot on Silverfiddle! The problem is that gay activists will not accept mere tolerance from society. They demand full blown acceptance and if you don't do this to them you are a bigot, a gay hater, and a gay basher. They bash the traditional Christian view and display Christianophobia towards those who hold beliefs which have been around ad infinitum.

FreeThinke said...

"Beware, Beware, those who seek to restrict the rights of others"

Well, Silver Fiddle, in my never humble opinion that is THE quote of the day. There's a wealth of wisdom in those few words.

I hope all will heed them. (Fat chance! Ha ha ha!)

I wish more people had read the recent thread at FreeThinke's blog called ENEMETICS. I applies so well and so thoroughly to the particular class of sentiments expressed here today.

Oh well ... all the wisdom and knowledge humanity ever needed was given to us ages ago -- much of it before the advent of Jesus Christ.

The problem is that people, apparently, prefer to hate than to love. Conflict is more titillating than concord -- I guess.

The Mrs. Grundys, the Old Wet Hens, the Ladies Who Lunch, the Whining Weasels, and the Swashbuckling Would-Be Warlords might be surprised if they could be made to realize how very much they have in common.

The desire to tyrannize -- often kept closeted or couched in cryptic terminology is rife. Humanity is always in grave danger -- from itself.

May God save us from the Ignoranti -- those who THINK they know something, but in truth know nothing but the echoes of their own deep prejudices and foolish notions buffeting around in the vast caverns of their empty skulls!

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

Despite all that, Jesus deserves to have The Last Word:

"FORGIVE THEM, FATHER, THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO."

And that too applies EQUALLY to EVERYONE.

~ FT

Jack Camwell said...

Silver, if you believe that the Bible was divinely inspired, then that means all the stuff that's written in Leviticus and Deuteronomy comes from God, and therefore is God's law.

According to the Bible, God *commanded* the Jews to slaughter every last person in Canaan--men, women, and children--so that their faith wouldn't be tainted.

So in one time period God is totally okay with genocide and slavery (so long as it's not the Jews being slaughtered and enslaved) but in another time period he's not okay with it?

Furthermore, if slavery and genocide were simply "realities of the time," then wouldn't it stand to reason that the wrongness of homosexuality simply could have been a "reality of the time"?

If God's laws are eternal and universal, then that means they stand true for all men in all times. Just by giving laws and guidelines about slavery, the bible has it that God was okay with slavery or else he would have said "free all your slaves."

You might think there was a lot wrong in what I said, but there are many holes and logical fallacies in what you said.

That is, unless, you believe the Bible was not divinely inspired and purely a work of man. Given the numerous contradictions found in the Old Testament, it would not be surprising if it is in fact a work of human hands.

I have a hard time believing in an omniscient and omnipotent being that would be so ridiculous as to fall into the foibles of failboat human logic.

And no, Jesus didn't rewrite any law of the Old Testament, and I never said he did. What I DID say, however, was that American society doesn't stone adulterers. Hell, no one even really ostracizes them despite the fact that betrayal is probably one of the worst things a human being can perpetrate upon another (Dante had traitors in the lowest level of his Inferno).

My point was that it's pretty ridiculous that we choose fairly benign sins to oust people. How many people are tied to the back of a truck and dragged to death simply for being a liar or an adulterer?

None.

Ducky's here said...

FT, do we have to forgive the petit bourgeois for adopting Libertarianism to justify their privilege.

Silverfiddle said...

According to the Bible, God *commanded* the Jews to slaughter every last person in Canaan--men, women, and children--so that their faith wouldn't be tainted.

Yes. That one time and one place. It was not a universal command, so why are you still talking about it?

Also, God did not command people to enslave others, he told them to treat slaves humanely.

Do you even know what a logical fallacy is? Do you understand that we are dealing with exegesis and not strict logic?

By your own admission you worship a mean, capricious God and read a book that contradicts itself.

And when was the last time a church dragged an adulterer behind a truck?

You are the one riddled with inconsistencies.

Maybe you should start your own religion?

Jack Camwell said...

You've misinterpreted me entirely.

Of course I don't believe in a ridiculous God that commands his followers to slaughter children, and then sends his only son to tell us that slaughtering children is a bad idea.

By giving rules on slavery, the bible condones slavery. If God thought slavery was wrong, then God would have said "don't have slaves." According to Leviticus God seems to think that homosexuality is wrong, so he said "men don't have sex with men." (I'm paraphrasing of course).

My point, Silver, is that the Bible was not written by the hand of God, and probably was not even divinely inspired. It was written by men who were trying to understand the world around them. So all of the logical inconsistencies and hypocrisy that is claimed to be the "will of God," makes total sense when you realize that it was man, not God, that created the Bible.

So, if Christianity is based on the Bible--which it is--then it would stand to reason that an institution created by man can evolve and change according to man's whims.

And by that token, the irreconciability of homosexuality with Christianity is self-imposed, and thus can be reconcialable should man ever choose to do so.

That is unless, of course, you believe every word of the bible to be literally true and immutable. If not, then why should homosexuality be excluded from the evolution of ideas? Slavery wasn't. Genocide wasn't. Spousal abuse wasn't (yes, Leviticus says it's totally okay to beat your wife so long as it's "justified").

And for the record, it wasn't just one instance that God commanded the Jews to commit genocide. God commanded them to do that EVERY TIME they conquered any of the various peoples of Canaan. Or at least that's what the authors of the Bible would have us believe.

"So when was the last time a church dragged an adulterer behind a truck?" This isn't an attack on religion, Silver. This is an attack on short-sighted morons who like to pick and choose which ideas in the Bible are timeless and universal, and which ones were just "realities of the time." You missed my point entirely. I've never heard of an adulterer being dragged to death in the last 20 years or so, yet adultery is a sin. So why are morons dragging gay people to their deaths and not adulterers? Why don't they kill liars? Thieves? Fornicators? Gluttons?

Homosexuality is singled out because people think it's gross and most people have a natural revulsion to it. It has nothing to do with its perceived sinfulness.

And in case you still haven't caught on, I was criticizing people who believe the bible to be written by God.

If I started my own religion, it'd probably be pretty successful. Look at L. Ron Hubbard and Joseph Smith--and their ideas are crazy.

FreeThinke said...

Jack, I have recently troubled to read every word in the Bible. I had never read it all the way through before, and thought I owed it to myself to do so, because time is beginning to run out, and besides I've become more curious in old age, no that I don't think about myself very much anymore. (BOY! Is THAT ever liberating!!!)

Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly with your appraisal of the OT. It's a HORROR story.

Almighty God certainly exists, of that I'm morally certain, but He, She or It could not POSSIBLY be the monstrous, vituperative, sadistic, capricious, irascible old tyrant we find in the Old Testament.

I'm not going to go into it anymore than I already have, but I'm perfectly satisfied with the understanding that has come to me as to where the OT really came from and why.

Not ALL of it is "bad," by any means, (Thank Heavens for the Decalogue!) but Leviticus and Deuteronomy, et al. bear such a striking resemblance to the worst aspects of Islamic Fundamentalism it's a wonder any decent, compassionate, intelligent, educated person could subscribe to the arrant viciousness found in that material.

I do not see this point of view as a justification for atheism, however, only for a radically different understanding of who and what the one true God really is.

I'm quite unwilling to take the word of primitive Jewish tribal warlords -- most of whom were little better than any other garden variety barbarians -- as the Final Revelation of so enormously important and complex a subject.

Just all me the Happy Heretic. I've seen how Fundamentalism warps peoples' lives and deprives them of any chance ever to achieve fulfillment of the human potential. It's degrading, and it produces tremendous hostility -- and smugness as well.

Enough! For some reason this subject never fails to strike a nerve.

I think your last post was spot on, Jack.

~ FreeThinke

Jack Camwell said...

Theresa,
This has absolutely NOTHING to do with relativism. I'm not a relativist--not even a little bit. This is about the evolution of ideas.

Sorry to break it to you, but as time goes on and rational humans continue to use their brains for actual thinking, we tend to figure out that some of the things we found acceptable in the past were not actually acceptable.

Slavery. An Eye for an Eye. Monarchy. Denying women's suffrage. Prohibition. Genocide.

Those are all examples of ideas that we thought were good, but we later realized they were pretty stupid. This isn't relativism. This is what we in the rational world call "thinking."

Try it some time.

Jack Camwell said...

FT,
Thank you =)

P.S. - I'm far from an atheist. As you seem to believe, whether or not the Bible was divinely inspired is irrelevant to whether or not God exists (IMO). I tried to read the Bible word for word once. I think I got to Chronicles and said "enough."

=)

FreeThinke said...

Your last TWO posts, as it turns out. You sneaked another good one in while I was writing mine. ;-)


~ FT

PS: But don't take it all TOO seriously. Very very very few people get chained to pickup trucks and dragged to their deaths in OUR society, thank God. It's wrong to ascribe such a mentality to the majority of those who identify themselves as Christian. BELIEVE me, such is not the case. - FT

Teresa said...

Jack,

Do you believe in a woman's right to choose or in abortion rights? Do you believe that gay sex is okay? Is just as good for society or just as legitimate as heterosexual sex?

If so, then you are in fact a moral relativist.

It is impossible for God to commit genocide. He is the creator of all life and therefore has the authority to giveth and to taketh away. God is divine. Genocide is a human phenomenon.

Just because the bible is divinely inspired doesn't mean every word must be taken literally. There are parts of the bible are meant to be interpreted allegorically.

Ducky's here said...

Leviticus and Deuteronomy, et al. bear such a striking resemblance to the worst aspects of Islamic Fundamentalism ...

-------
Bingo !

Thank goodness that the Enlightenment has freed some of us.

Jack Camwell said...

Theresa,
What did Joshua and the Judges do when they conquered the peoples of Canaan?

And who commanded them to do it?

I'm not a relativist just because I think homosexuality is morally permissible. I just think you're absolutely wrong. Not wrong based on your perspective, just plain wrong.

I'm a universalist, and I think your condemnation of homosexuality is universally wrong regardless of time or culture.

We've been over this before. Your assertion that a creator has the right to take the life of his creation is asinine.

What God, omnipotent and unconditionally loving, would ever consent to taking the life of his creation, let alone do it himself?

I believe in a God of mercy and love, you believe in a conception of God created by men who were trying to justify their own horrifying actions.

Teresa said...

Jack,

Denier!

Kid said...

I will just say that I think homosexuals are Over-Represented in the media and in Government.

And that ain't a good thing.

Kid said...

PS - Marriage is by name a sacrament of the Roman Catholic Religion.

If gays don't respect that the word is important to a very large group then how can they demand respect in return.

Call it something else. I couldn't care less what you do in the privacy of your home or usually out in public with reasonable limits that would be imposed on Heterosexuals all the same.

Ducky's here said...

I will just say that I think homosexuals are Over-Represented in the media and in Government.

And that ain't a good thing.

----
What is the current level of representation?

What is the proper level of representation?

Why is it a bad thing?

Ducky's here said...

There are parts of the bible are meant to be interpreted allegorically.

------
Which books?

Exodus? Since there is absolutely no evidence of the captivity in the historic record, what are we to make of it? Little white lie, allegory, literal truth?

Kid said...

Duck, you haven't answered my questions yet. Do that first.

The answers to your questions are obvious to any sentient being anyway.

Silverfiddle said...

LMy point, Silver, is that the Bible was not written by the hand of God, and probably was not even divinely inspired

And in case you still haven't caught on, I was criticizing people who believe the bible to be written by God


Then why are you still hanging around that stupid cult called Christianity?

FT: Life is a horror story. Get over it. Why don't you and Jack build your own love shack free from the mean old OT God and start your own cult?

If you started from a basis of theological reason we could debate but you guys are off the hook.

More power to you, but at least develop a debatable theology first.

You go girls!

jez said...

SF: No argument that it's a horror story, and I am quite over it thank you. Only question is, why worship its author?

Thersites said...

Since there is absolutely no evidence of the captivity in the historic record,

The bible isn't even an "historic record" on the par with Herodotus? Who knew?

Always On Watch said...

I believe that the Bible condemns homosexuality -- as well as other sexual sins. This is particularly true of the Old Testament laws.

However, the New Testament teaches tolerance. TO A POINT.

A church should no more be forced to perform marriage ceremonies for a gay couple than a church should be forced to perform marriage ceremonies for couples who are not Believers and/or couples who are not members of the congregation. Yes, those restrictions are the norm in most Baptist churches -- and other churches as well.

The Methodist Church will marry any couple as far as I know.

IT IS NOT THE STATE'S BUSINESS TO TELL A CHURCH FOR WHOM THAT CHURCH MAY PERFORM MARRIAGE CEREMONIES.

FreeThinke said...

Oh WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! SilverFiddle!

Too many of us -- in my opinion -- are assuming the Bible is ABSOLUTE, INFALLIBLE, GOD-GIVEN TRUTH.

Any intelligent person, WHO BOTHERS to READ the THING in DEPTH and DETAIL would see in an instant that such an interpretation could not POSSIBLY be true, because it makes NO SENSE.

One of the poets talks of mind-forged manacles which in one form of "dicta and dogma" after another is exactly what has held humanity in thrall for millennia. Most people do not THINK they simply REACT and OBEY.

Thinking is hard work. Having sufficient time in which to think is a great luxury for most, which is probably why most people ho with whatever herd mentality happens to be in vogue.

I'm surprised at YOU, because I know you to be much too smart to embrace "canned" thinking of ANY variety.

Good morning and HAPPY WEEKEND.

~ FT

FreeThinke said...

I have to chuckle.

Several people rather loudly proclaimed they were not the least bit interested in Anderson Cooper's sexual orientation, and all that, but it's ironic that whenever his particular subject comes up (much too often for my taste!) it generates a near record number of responses.

There's something more than a little whacky about indulging in a morbid preoccupation with the way people live their personal lives -- especially when it has no practical bearing whatsoever on the quality of one's OWN personal life.

For myself, I don't care much about such things one way or the other, but I do care –– passionately -- about the very human capacity of wanting, needing and positively cherishing an unwholesome penchant for targeting objects to fear loathe, despise, lampoon and ultimately to PERSECUTE.

This is not Left-Right issue. It's a human failing all across the board.

I believe there are MUCH better things we could and should be doing with our time than constantly tell each other how much we dislike and disapprove of --- whatever.

Our country -- our whole world -- is DYING, because we are so steeped in NEGATIVISM.

Accusing and blaming others is so much easier than looking inward to try to find ways in which we might improve ourselves. It's easy, but it's worthless at best, destructive at worst.

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

FT: I used Cooper's coming out announcement as a springboard to discuss our rights under the constitution, not to indulge in prurience.

Secondly, you and Jack are blessedly free to believe whatever you want, just don't get pissy when the billions of other Christians don't join your cult.

The Bible is a very complex collection of disparate writings, and the study of it has filled libraries.

Churches had reached conclusions about the different parts based upon millennia of writings, study and analysis.

For example, did you know there are more than ten commandments? Traditional Judaism believes there are 613!

Scholars conclude that some admonitions and rules applied only to certain times and places while others were universal. It is generally agreed that The Ten Commandments fall into the latter category.

While I appreciate study that is controversial but grounded in scholarship, I have no patience for off the cuff comments like...

So, if Christianity is based on the Bible--which it is--then it would stand to reason that an institution created by man can evolve and change according to man's whims.

This relativism from a man who says he is not a relativist, insists upon it! And then calls himself a universalist.

Why not just say "I feel this no longer applies, so I'm excising it from my Bible?"

At least have the courage of Thomas Jefferson, who drew his conclusion based upon French Rationalism.

Finntann said...

@FT, do we have to forgive the petit bourgeois for adopting Libertarianism to justify their privilege.

Ducky, how about you enlighten us with your rational commentary on why you think you or anyone else is entitled to the fruits of someone elses labor.

PS. If anyone wants to read a commentary on the Bible placing the stories in geographical, historical and political context, try "Asimov's Guide to the Bible: The Old and New Testament".

Cheers!

Jack Camwell said...

I already explained exactly how I'm not a relativist, but I'll explain it again since you seemed to have missed it.

500 years ago, slavery was thought to be 100% morally permissible. Today, most rational people believe that slavery is *never* morally permissible, even if the slaves are "treated well."

So are we all reletivists because we wised up and realized that slavery is wrong?

800ish years ago, humanity thought monarchy was the right form of government, because somehow the monarch was chosen by God to rule the people. Then, 300 years ago (give or take) many rational humans decided that monarchy was not a good form of government. So are we all relativists since we now think democratic/republican rule is best?

Maybe only 100 years ago it was morally permissible for a man to strike his wife if she got sassy. Now, you go to jail for it.

A little over 80 years ago, we denied women suffrage.

And at one point, we all thought that the Bible was meant to be taken 100% literally. Sadly, there are some who still believe that and hold that the earth is only 5,000 years old. But today, most good theologians realize that the bible is ultimately a work of human hands and is open to interpretation.

I've spent *years* listening to all of that stuff. I am by no means a theologian, but I would say given my education, I am more familliar with the idea of biblical scholarship and theology than the average person.

The questions I'm asking, and the points that I'm raising, ARE in fact within the realm of theological discussion. Do you honestly think that the great theologians of human history didn't ask themselves these same questions?

In the case of genocide, you said to me that it was "one place at one time," and you're going to sit there and question MY knowledge of the bible and Christian theology? I'm not sure if you know this, but in the Catholic school system (at least in Columbus), Theology is taken very seriously and we're required to study theology for all four years of high school.

Then I spent 4 years at a Catholic college where I had to take more theology classes. So it's not like I have no clue as to what the hell I'm talking about.

So are you willing to address the logical inconsistencies that I brought up or not?

And create my own religion? I'm actually considering taking you up on that challenge.

Jack Camwell said...

Oh and in case it STILL wasn't clear: just because we realize that certain beliefs are just plain wrong, adopting a new believe *does not* make someone a relativist.

To be a relativist you have to believe that all morality, truth, or whatever is relative based on time, place, and/or culture.

I, and universalists like me, believe that there is universal truth that is true for all men, in all places, in all times.

Slavery was wrong in 5,000 BC just as it is wrong now. Dude on dude action was morally permissible in 1680 just as it is now.

So how am I a relativist? Just because I believe something different from you? Or are you having a hard time understanding how philosophy evolves over time?

The evolution of philosophy (and yes, religion is a part of philosophy) is not about changing ideas just to fit time and fancies. It's about coming to the realization that you were wrong, and that you need to work out the idea so that you discover what is right, viz. Truth (with a capital T).

Silverfiddle said...

Jack: You are discussing human history and human understanding, not God.

God does not change, people do.

Just because a majority thinks it's right doesn't make it so.

The Bible is a disparate collection of works, and each one must be analyzed on its own, but also in relation to others.

Genocide and slavery are not eternal laws of God. If you read the new testament, slave-traders are condemned along with murderers and adulterers.

Silverfiddle said...

I've turned comments off because I have a new post that is sure to further inflame those who hate this one.