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Why Christianity is Opposed to Homosexuality

An atheist friend challenged me to give this answer after I explained to him the difference between opposing something and feeling justified to act violently about it.  You may guess this started with the recent Egypt/Libya thing.  The particular example, predictably, was homosexuality.  He seemed to think, like many secularists, that because Leviticus calls for the Jews to execute homosexuals that somehow this meant Christians ought to do the same, or else they are inconsistent.

While there are a million things wrong with that kind of insinuation that anyone truly conversant with the Scriptures could point out, I will address that issue only incidentally.  He wants me to stay focused like a laser on homosexuality;  evidently, he believes that Biblical prohibitions against homosexual behavior have their strongest expression in Leviticus, and, well, Christians don’t follow through with most of the Levitical stuff, do they?  Jesus, he believes, was silent on the matter.  Paul and John were mere men, so what do they count for?

In short, I perceive that he thinks the strongest argument against homosexuality in the Bible is the material in the Old Testament, and Leviticus in particular, and if we’re willing to dispense with much of the other stuff in Leviticus, why not that?  He’ll be along presently to correct my perceptions, but I wanted to lay out some context explaining why this post is in the form that it is.

Jesus, in point of fact, was not silent on the matter.  He was emphatic.   People looking for proof texts will have trouble finding Jesus’ remarks on the topic.  In order to understand Jesus’ strident views on the matter, one has to likewise dispense with scouring the Bible for proof texts.  That’s just not how the Bible was written.  Sure, in some areas we can find ‘proof texts’ on certain issues, and sometimes get more direct affirmation or repudiation than in other cases, but it is not common that the writers themselves had that intent.

The point is important.  Most of the time, a writer was making an entirely different point, and we glean something else along the way.  There is a danger in taking that point in isolation, paying no mind to the main point the author was making.  This is the case both narrowly, within specific passages, chapters, and books, but it is also the case broadly, concerning the whole Bible.  There is a main point to the Bible, and it is decidedly not to repudiate homosexuality.  It is not even to establish a moral code.

The main point of the Bible is to make perfectly plain what kind of skubala we are all in unless we fall in with God’s rescue plan.  How much skubala are we in?  Let’s put it this way:  according to the Bible, no matter how good you think you are, no matter how earnest your religious practice is, no matter how moral you are, such things WILL NOT SAVE YOU FROM THE JUDGEMENT TO COME.

Trying to weasel out of different proscriptions and limits on our behavior is akin to the teachers of the law asking, “And just who is our neighbor?”  They wanted to be able to justify their behavior in the sight of God, so they started probing around the edges.  They wanted to find a way around the law while staying within God’s good graces;  or at least, their perception of God’s good side.

What I am saying is important.

Perhaps I can illustrate it by thinking about my life as a father.  Anyone who has worked with kids will know what I mean.  If I say, “I want you to clean your room before you use the computer,” I can expect a barrage of questions like this:  “But dear father, what if I think I might have cancer, and I need the computer for research?  Surely that’s more important than a clean room, right?”  Or, “Father, I only want to use the computer to look at a map.  I wasn’t playing a game…”  Or what if I say, “You may have only 2 cookies.”  One will surely say, “But can I have 3?  You didn’t say I couldn’t have three.”  You’re right, kid.  I said you could have 2, and 2 precludes 3.  I don’t need to preclude all the other options individually.  I can affirm just one option,  “Two cookies.  Deal with it.”

In other words, I can put out the thing that I want, but there are a million ways to try to get out of it.  The one thing precludes the others.  They needn’t be mentioned specifically.

Homosexual behavior is just so;  with it are any number of behaviors that are outside of God’s stated desires.  “But what if they love each other?” or “What if they are monogamous?”  Or… “What if I want to have sex with a prostitute?”  Or, “What if I want a divorce?  You know, Moses let us get a divorce.”

We could go on and on for hours and days imagining excuses for not doing what God says, just like every night my kids have a new reason for why they didn’t brush their teeth when I told them to.  A thousand variations of a thousand excuses are offered, but in the end, my request was the same:  “Brush your teeth, and get ready for bed.”

But the proof-texter would get out the family manual and say, “Well, see here.  Once we were on a trip and we were in the car at night, and we didn’t brush our teeth then…”  And of course every parent knows what’s going on.  They’re just trying to get out of doing something they don’t want to do.

This phenomena explains in large part why you don’t see long lists of precluded behaviors in the Scriptures.  If God says, “Love!” but you can think of a thousand different reasons for why you won’t, God doesn’t do us any favor by going into each one and giving his argument against it.  After all, the next person will have his own set of a thousand different reasons for why he won’t love.

Homosexual behavior is just so;  but just what is it then that God said?

In the beginning, God made man and woman.

The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Genesis 2:23-24

I will make two important observations from this text.  First of all, I note that the pattern–before Man and Woman had even sinned–is that marriage is something between a man and a woman.

Enter the Mormon of old:  “But it doesn’t say ONLY one woman.  And there are people in the OT with more than one wives, and they are even people of faith.” Sure, and I can’t think of a single instance where that worked out well… but for our purposes here, the important thing to note is you trying to wriggle out of what is otherwise pretty plain.

The second thing I note is the assertion that they will become one flesh.

Again, this all happens before sin has entered the world.  In other words, this arrangement is established for humanity from the very beginning, right from the start, even in the Edenic paradise.  We see that proscriptions and rules and requirements sometimes change in the Bible, for example when God comes to live with the Jews.  Do we have a good reason for believing this is one of them?

Malachi 2:13-16 reads:

Another thing you do:  You flood the LORD’s altar with tears.  You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.  You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.  Has not the LORD made them one?  In flesh and spirit they are his.  And why one?  Because he was seeking godly offspring.  So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

“I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel…

Here we see a reference back to the Genesis formula: a man and a woman have become one flesh.  We find out the purpose of the one fleshness:  because God wanted godly offspring.  We learn that God takes this very seriously, interjecting upon the prophet to declare:  “I hate divorce.”

The justifying attorneys chime in:  “But what if the chick is old?  Can I divorce her then?  Oh wait, you answered that.”  Or, “What if she doesn’t cook my favorite supper?”  Or, “What if I see another woman that I’d rather be with?”  My atheist friend adds, “I note that it doesn’t specifically say that the man can’t be married to one man or a woman to a woman.”

Yea… the parent knows these are not sincere questions.  The kid just doesn’t want to brush his teeth.

It is worth observing that if God’s plan for making them one flesh was so that there would be godly offspring, in the case of homosexuals, there are no offspring at all, godly or not.  You know, by definition of the behavior.

“But they could adopt… or they could get a surrogate… they are just as loving and kind as heterosexuals….”

Yea… there has got to be some way you’ll let me get into bed without brushing my teeth!

Now, the only person in the Bible who seems to hate divorce more than the Lord God of Israel is Jesus called the Christ.

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

Right away we spot the rationalizing and attempts to justify oneself.  Isn’t it lawful to get a divorce?  Because of course they knew all about what God said in Malachi, but Moses said you could give the lady a certificate and dispose of her.  Isn’t it legal? they want to know–as if that would excuse it.  Jesus puts the kabosh on this idea so emphatically, that even the disciples are like, “Holy crap.  If we have to actually stay with the woman for the rest of our life, and it’s adultery to leave her (except for sexual immorality), it might be better to not get married at all!”

But note Jesus’ explicit citation of the Genesis formula:  in the beginning, the Creator ‘made them male and female.’  For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.  So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

We learn something new, that was alluded to in Malachi:  this one-fleshness is done by the deliberate act of God.

So, Jesus–and Christians believe Jesus is God–goes all the way back to Genesis to state the original plan, and dispenses with any attempt to erect this caveat or that excuse.  The plan was good when the world was perfect and unfallen, it was good while God lived with the Jews when they were a covenant nation, it was good after the covenant had been dissolved and the Jews were dispersed to the four winds, it was good when they were brought back together and God again walked among them.

A man and a woman.  One flesh.  God does this.  He has his reasons.  You don’t have to like it.  He doesn’t have to counter your every imagined relationship structure.  This is the plan.  One man, one woman, one flesh.  God joins them.  The state doesn’t join them.  God does it.  They don’t join themselves.  God does it.

And you want to contemplate a divorce in light of how seriously God abhors it?  By all means, go ahead, but it is still outside of God’s plan.  Do you have any other variations you’d like to propose?  He’s not going to counter them all.  He’s said his piece.  Now it is for you to obey… or not.

Now, as it happens, the Genesis passage gets cited in full once more in the New Testament and alluded to at least once more.  Clearly, since God made all humans and established marriage before the fall, and then doubled down on it in Jesus, the Genesis pattern applies to all humans, everywhere, in any time or place, until the end of time.  But there are some extra considerations for Christians in particular, as the next citation shows.  Ephesians 5:

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Note again the explicit quotation of Genesis 2.  It’s almost like all the people in the Bible believed that stuff!  I thought Paul invented it or something.  I can’t keep up with all the latest conspiracies.  There is a twist, though:  just as the man and the woman are one flesh, Christ and his Church are, too.  Could this mean what it really sounds like it means?  Paul, could you clarify?

1 Cor 6:

12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”[b] 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.[c]

Why yes, it really does appear that by virtue of the fact that a man and woman have sex together, they have become one flesh–that is, God joins them in marriage–and by virtue of this man’s relationship with Christ, he brings the woman with him into Christ.  (or vice versa, see 1 Cor 7:14)

If you’re not following that, pretend that someone puts water in his mouth and then gets in his car.  Sure enough, the water is in the car, too.  If A = B and B = C then A = C.  One flesh, all the way around.

It would appear that in the Scriptures, old testament and new, this whole ‘one flesh’ thing is taken very seriously.  Whether it is in the beginning or the end or the middle, whether it is the Law Giver of Moses or the Grace bringer, Christ, God’s plan for marriage remains.  It is part of the order of creation.  You may as well wish that gravity stopped working… “But God, I didn’t want the person to go splat on the pavement when I pushed him off the building… I just thought it would be fun…  How about an exemption?  No?  Then I’m going to pout.”

This added insight provided to us by Paul about how the marital act is not only a pattern of Christ joined with all his believers but further, it is a real unity–just as the man and the woman having sex are made into a real unity–serves to drive home the point that for Christians, it is extremely, extremely important to abide by God’s plan for marriage.  Not because it saves us, mind you, but because in it we find out that evidently, God has good reasons for what he is doing, and these reasons are very likely in our best interest.  Godly offspring, yes, but also, a pathway towards understanding the mystery of salvation:  we are saved by virtue of the fact that we are in the literal body of Christ, and when that body stands up under the punishment, we are ourselves spared.  (See Romans 6 and 1 Peter 3)

If A = B and B = C then A = C.

You can make excuses for why you don’t like God’s plan, and start looking for ways around it (“But I would have preferred scientific evidence…”), justifying–only to yourself–why you shouldn’t be swept away in the flood of judgement, but it won’t change the fact.  God sent a lifeboat:  it was himself.  All you had to do was climb in.  You preferred to inspect the hinges and kick the sides and hem and haw and dispute whether or not there was a need to be saved at all.  “What I really wanted was a fancy yacht to pluck me out of these shark infested waters!  I’m not getting into that!”  Now you’re floating away.  C’est la vie.

To bring this matter to a close, the Biblical case against homosexuality does not rest because God emphatically precludes it, but because he emphatically affirms something else, and this something else precludes it.  Likewise, we can imagine all sorts of variations of sexual behavior (any behavior, really) that are not emphatically and explicitly treated in the Bible.  Does that mean they are on the table for consideration or pursuit?  Negatory, good buddy.  The something else that God affirms precludes that other stuff.

I would like to here note that I did not once cite any of the ‘negative’ passages often cited to defend the proposition that homosexuality is outside of God’s plan.  I think some of those passages are pretty clear-cut and decisive, but I also know how people pick and pick and pick at them, trying to get them to say (or be conceived as possibly saying) something that they do not say.  I also know that the argument for God’s plan for marriage explains why those passages would exist at all.   And since God’s plan for marriage is stated via positive affirmations, clearly and repeated constantly–in fact, affirmed by the Son of God–that seemed the better way to go.

At any rate, that is the main way I approach the question, and I think is very near to the answer, though of course much, much, much more could be said.  But isn’t 3,467 words enough for one evening?

 

 

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23 Responses to Why Christianity is Opposed to Homosexuality

  1. The atheist friend makes another appearance!

    “He’ll be along presently to correct my perceptions.”

    Dude, I’m not your monkey.  But ok, since I’m here… 🙂

    Your argument is that the reported words of both God and Jesus contain strong imperatives about marriage, specifying that it be between a man and a woman, and that this implicitly legislates against homosexual relationships.  Whatever is not mandatory is forbidden, in other words – the classic attribute of totalitarian systems.  I have to point out that this argument, taken at face value, mandates just as strongly against lifelong celibacy (take Mother Theresa as an example) as it does against homosexual relationships.  However, Jesus gave a caveat on that subject, which you helpfully quoted:

    “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

    Some rabbinical tradition holds that the Old Testament condemnation of homosexuality was applicable only to the nation of Israel at that time, and identifies the Hebrew word usually translated as “eunuch” (saris) as being virtually synonymous with the word “homosexual”.  The Talmud discusses the characteristics of a “eunuch” which are in many respects similar to what we would today recognise as a “camp” or effeminate man.  What they do not mention is castration, because that was not relevant to their definition, just a man who had no sexual interest in women.  Rabbi Eiliezer even states that “congenital eunuchs” can be cured (i’m seeing him as a kind of Second Century Marcus Bachmann), Josephus talks about the King’s eunuchs engaging in homosexual relations with him, and Maimonidies says that if a eunuch was “born in this way [then] he is fit to enter the congregation, because it was by the hand of Heaven”.  Links below:

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Eunuch.pdf
    http://home.earthlink.net/~ecorebbe/id18.html
    http://www.well.com/~aquarius/josephus-ant-iud.htm

    So, the circumstantial biblical case against homosexuality that you are making appears to ignore some suggestive evidence to the contrary – that Jesus spoke without condemnation of gay people, who were born that way, not being required to observe his teachings on marriage.

    Have I mentioned that one of my least favourite things about religious morality is the way in which it disconnects questions of right and wrong from the issue of human/animal wellbeing?  Things which do no one any harm and some people considerable amounts of good can still coherently said to be “wrong” by the faithful who indulge themselves in the the colossal arrogance of claiming to know God’s will on the subject.  So divorce is always wrong, except in cases of (ill-defined) sexual immorality, because God hates it – and you fulfil you apologist role by listing the most superficial reasons possible as representative of why people might question this precept (“But what if the chick is old?”, “What if she doesn’t cook my favorite supper?”, “What if I see another woman that I’d rather be with?”).  What about physical abuse?  Does God hate battered wives more or less than He hates divorce?

    “This is the plan.  One man, one woman, one flesh.  God joins them.  The state doesn’t join them.  God does it.  They don’t join themselves.  God does it.”

    You are entitled to add as much metaphysical baggage to your own marriage as you wish, but its fairly patronising to tell me that God takes the credit for my marriage, despite the fact that he deliberately wasn’t invited to attend.  You are mistaken, as a matter of fact – we joined ourselves together of our own free will, with the cooperation of the state, and the parties of Yahweh, Zeus, Poseidon et al get no royalties whatsoever.

    Anyway, back to your main point.  You argue that the pro-heterosexual marriage theme of the Bible equates to the consistent biblical case against homosexuality which I challenged you to produce.  As I pointed out, Jesus himself provides a caveat to this commandment to marry and multiply which can be read in several ways, some of them extremely subversive to the point you are trying to make.

    “To bring this matter to a close, the Biblical case against homosexuality does not rest because God emphatically precludes it, but because he emphatically affirms something else, and this something else precludes it.”

    Except for the inconvenient fact that Jesus is quite emphatic about making the whole business entirely optional.  “The one who can accept this should accept this”, is what he is reported to have said.  So I am happy to accept your point that God appears to like heterosexual marriage, and good for him.  But your argument that this liking precludes all other possibilities is not supported by the words of Jesus which you yourself quoted.

    By the way, I responded to your post on the subject of Todd Akin some weeks ago.  Did you see it?

    Later,
    Dan

  2. I think you’re totally misunderstanding the eunuch business and misreading the text. Put it into context. Jesus just said that God joins a man and woman together in one flesh and hates divorce, and they’re like, “Oh, you mean we really are stuck with one woman for our entire lives? Even if they burn our toast? That totally sucks. Who would get married?” Jesus is basically shrugging, “Well, if you think you can be satisfied without being married, good luck to you.”

    You’re reading way too much into that little bit. But the real rebuttal is that the formula in question is re-iterated throughout the Scriptures, and Jesus doubles-down on it. It isn’t an isolated bit. Your ruminations on the eunuch is based on an isolated bit. In short, your answer does not obtain, and my argument stands.

    The main problem with your remarks is that they are grossly out of line.

    😉

    Sorry, dude, but they are. There are two issues here. 1., What the real Biblical argument is–what you refer to as ‘metaphysical baggage’ and 2., How you feel about it… ie, ‘baggage.’

    Guess what. How you feel about it has nothing to do with what the real Biblical argument is. It was not my purpose to try to persuade you to the position, only to let you know what the real position was, because it seemed to me that you seemed to be pretty ignorant on that point. I’m not knocking you for being ignorant, I’m making an observation. How you feel about that position is totally irrelevant, but I would hope at the very least that you would grapple with the real position, and not a caricature. As you can see from my post, I drew from the ENTIRETY of the Scriptures, not just a few select passages. If you want to respond to Christianity with integrity, you’re going to have to go beyond your perceptions of it, and your visceral reactions to it, and objectively study it, on its own terms.

    Now, I will just say one more thing in response to this:

    “Have I mentioned that one of my least favourite things about religious morality is the way in which it disconnects questions of right and wrong from the issue of human/animal wellbeing? […] What about physical abuse? Does God hate battered wives more or less than He hates divorce?”

    Point 1. Context. Under the very same Mosaic law that was being cited to Jesus, only the men could initiate a divorce. To keep it in parity, it would have to be “Does God hate battered husbands more or less than He hates divorce?” What you regard as ‘superficial examples’ were in fact the ones the disciples themselves had in mind, as indicated by their response, as I already mentioned, and you ignored in your haste to attach significance to the eunuch business.

    Point 2. You realize that this whole statement fits into the category I thoroughly described thusly, “In other words, I can put out the thing that I want, but there are a million ways to try to get out of it. The one thing precludes the others. They needn’t be mentioned specifically.”

    The Malachi passage I mentioned goes on to say IN THE VERY NEXT SENTENCE that God hates men who cloak themselves with violence. One might presume this is tied in with the marital relationship. Methinks that God does not approve of physical abuse.

    Point 3. In line with point 2, are you really going to sit there and multiply scenarios endlessly when a main thrust of my argument is that people, like the disciples, who don’t like what God has to say, think multiplying scenarfios endlessly show that they aren’t really interested in what God has to say?

    Point 4. I have addressed the ‘harm’ of creative relationships elsewhere, but as far as divorce goes, you just go ahead and have some kids and then when they are about 10 years old get divorced. Then you watch your kids cope with that, and see if it qualifies as something “disconnect[ed] from the issue of human/animal wellbeing.” As someone who is a product of such a situation, and as a teacher been one who has interacted with and even counseled dozens and dozens of kids in a similar scenario, I can assure you this issue is not ‘disconnected.’

    And a final note:

    I don’t say that God takes credit for your marriage. I say that God made you and your wife ONE FLESH. I don’t care if you find it patronizing or not. The question is what the Bible’s real position is, and the Bible’s position is that it is God who unites people, just as it is the Bible’s position that God ordained the laws of the universe.

    Frankly, it seems a little ridiculous to me that you would find the former patronizing and not the latter and offer that up as something you think I should respond to. I DON’T CARE. It isn’t about your feelings, it is about the facts; and by facts, I don’t here mean that I’m offering the Scriptures as containing facts you should adhere to. I mean, they say what they say and if you’re going to react to them, you should at least react to what they really say, and not what you THINK they say.

    I know what the Muslims say about me, and I don’t find it patronizing or offensive at all. Who cares? From within their paradigm, their claims are based on the real statements from the Koran. My not agreeing with them on those points, or rejecting the authority of the Koran, does not change what the real statements are from the Koran.

  3. “Whatever is not mandatory is forbidden, in other words – the classic attribute of totalitarian systems. I have to point out that this argument, taken at face value, mandates just as strongly against lifelong celibacy (take Mother Theresa as an example) as it does against homosexual relationships. However, Jesus gave a caveat on that subject…”

    Your major mistake here is inferring that getting married is indeed being promoted as “mandatory.” The “caveat” would seem to indicate that getting married is no more “mandatory” than driving a car. What it’s saying is if you do it, do it THIS WAY. Drive on the correct side of the road. If you can’t, then don’t drive. End of discussion. Same with marriage.

    “So, the circumstantial biblical case against homosexuality that you are making appears to ignore some suggestive evidence to the contrary – that Jesus spoke without condemnation of gay people, who were born that way, not being required to observe his teachings on marriage.”

    No, it ignores the logical gymnastics one needs to make to put forth “suggestive evidence to the contrary” even exists. Clearly, Jesus didn’t promote homosexuality. He promoted a monogamous heterosexual union (as did everywhere else in the Bible). He didn’t “speak with condemnation” specificly about incest, pedophilia, beastiality, etc. etc. etc. (so by your logic I guess the Bible puts them on the table too, right?), because He didn’t need to. He promoted this one method, and this one method excludes all others by definition. You personally don’t like it? Well that’s too bad, but you clearly don’t like a lot of things the Bible says, and we don’t see you debating on whether the Bible in fact actually says those things, do we?

    All you can do with the eunichs is show that He acknowledged that ‘if you can’t do it this one way, then don’t do it at all.’ And you want to put forth that this can sanely be interrpreted as ‘do it any way you want.’ Seriously?

  4. Tony,

    While I quite agree that how I personally feel about a particular theme of the Bible, Quran, Book of Mormon or Iliad has no bearing at all on the substance of that theme, that wasn’t actually my argument but more of a sidebar commentary.  I had asked you (in our Facebook discussion) for a clear and unambiguous scriptural argument against homosexuality, taking into account the uncertain relevance (not to mention dubious morality) for Christians today of the commandments explicitly directed by God at the Ancient Jews.  What you seem to have provided me with instead is a scriptural argument in favour of heterosexual marriage, with the added interpretation that anything else is off the cards.

    You make what I think is quite a good case that the Bible favours consummated heterosexual marriage, but for that to be a conclusive argument against homosexuality EVERYONE would have to be enjoined to do it.  However, Jesus explicitly provides exceptions, saying that only people who feel like they can stay married forever ought to get married.  That’s a fairly large loophole given the number of people such an exception might cover – homosexuals included, whatever you personally think about the subtleties of interpretation regarding the word “eunuch”.

    Just as it is pretty clear that the statement “Everyone should eat with chopsticks at all times except for those who cannot or do not wish to do so” does not exclude the possibility of eating with a knife and fork, so your argument does not actually do what you claimed – mandate against homosexuality – because of the very words of Jesus which you quoted.  This does not require a qualification in formal logic to comprehend.

    “The Malachi passage I mentioned goes on to say IN THE VERY NEXT SENTENCE that God hates men who cloak themselves with violence. One might presume this is tied in with the marital relationship. Methinks that God does not approve of physical abuse.”

    Would that not count as an “isolated bit”?  I think that we both know that I could draw from “the ENTIRETY of the Scriptures” to make a case that women are considered subordinate, inferior, and unequivocally under the control of the men in their lives.  And whether God disapproves of wife beating or not He certainly seems to consider it less contemptible than sexual immorality, for which He is prepared to allow a marriage to be dissolved.  But only by a man – thank you for pointing that out – which presumably means that we are only talking about female sexual immorality here.  Rather like the way that only women are described as being “barren” in the Bible – the concept of male sterility is not even entertained.  See my previous point.

    “I have addressed the ‘harm’ of creative relationships elsewhere, but as far as divorce goes, you just go ahead and have some kids and then when they are about 10 years old get divorced. Then you watch your kids cope with that,…”

    Seems like you should be taking that up with God, not me.  Or do these consequences not also apply in cases of divorce resulting from sexual immorality?  I’m not saying that divorce is ever a good thing, just that there may be situations – and God apparently agrees – where it may be the least bad option for all concerned.  I would simply add that if severe and persistent domestic violence does not qualify as one of those situations then I don’t know what else would, so your response seems to be somewhat misdirected.  If divorce is acceptable when the woman has been having sex with the family pet, why is it unacceptable when the man has been beating the woman half to death?

    The man-made (by which I mean “masculine-made”) nature of these supposedly divinely-authored principles could not be more clear.

  5. Just to be clear. When Anthonry wrote this post he deliberately did not include all the many scriptures in which God condemns homosexuality as a sin. He is not saying that those scriptures aren’t there, he was merely pointing out that you can make an argument without using them.

  6. “You make what I think is quite a good case that the Bible favours consummated heterosexual marriage, but for that to be a conclusive argument against homosexuality EVERYONE would have to be enjoined to do it.”

    Translation of DB’s argument – Waaah! I don’t want to brush my teeth before I go to bed! Jimmy and Ryan don’t brush their teeth! You let me go to bed without brushng my teeth when we went camping! You didn’t say I couldn’t just rub my finger over them real quick! I didn’t have any chocolate today so they’re not that dirty! Don’t you want me to sleep? Waaah!

    “Just as it is pretty clear that the statement “Everyone should eat with chopsticks at all times except for those who cannot or do not wish to do so” does not exclude the possibility of eating with a knife and fork…”

    Then one wonders why say “everyone should eat with chopsticks” in the first place if what is being meant is ‘eat however you want.’ One would think the person would actually say ‘eat however you want’ if that is what’s being meant.

    Besides your example is wrong in relationship to the “exception” Jesus provided. It acutally would be “Everyone should eat with chopsticks, but those who can’t or would be happier not eating should not eat.” When the only “exception” explicitly provided is actually an exclusion to participate in the act in totality, that does entail excluding forks and knives as never being used.

  7. Quite right. And what Nicole said is important. You need to understand that contrary to accusations, the Bible taken in its totality is not a series of moral proscriptions or negations. Sexuality is positively affirmed in the Scriptures 100% of the time, in the context of God’s specific plan for marriage. To put a finer point on it: in the Bible, sex is marriage; the sex act ‘gameos’ the man and the woman. You might recognize that word from its modern usage: gamete. The Bible calls this ‘one flesh’ and it is clear that this happens via the sex act, as 1 Cor 6 makes plain. Repeating:

    “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.'”

    Obviously, there is no wedding ceremony or vows of any kind associated with partaking in the services of a prostitute. There is only one thing that can be referred to in this passage, and that is the sex act itself. The rationale is not that there is a violation of monogamous vows, per liberal Christian pleading, but that the act, in uniting the man and the woman (citing the Genesis formula), also unites the prostitute with Christ because the believer is united with Christ.

    It is the overarching vision for God’s plan for ‘marriage’/one fleshness that should set the tone here. Or, to put it another way, the Bible is perfectly happy to define marriage by what it is rather than what it is not.

    With that in mind see:

    “However, Jesus explicitly provides exceptions, saying that only people who feel like they can stay married forever ought to get married.”

    This again is proceeding on the view that marriage in the Bible is merely a legal arrangement of some kind, that people can enter into and out of as long as a certificate is issued, etc. Jesus is not giving an exception about people feeling like they can ‘stay married.’ Once they have had sex, ie, their wedding has been consummated, they ARE MARRIED FOREVER, til death do they part. The point is that if you don’t like the fact that in marriage God joins the two together, you’ve got just one option, as EB said, and that is simply to refrain from sex altogether.

    It doesn’t mean some other sexual behavior has the green light. 😉

    “This does not require a qualification in formal logic to comprehend.”

    I agree, so what’s your problem. 😉

    “And whether God disapproves of wife beating or not He certainly seems to consider it less contemptible than sexual immorality,”

    No, that is not accurate. It is not that it is ‘less contemptible’ it is that even in cases where someone is abused, beaten, etc, etc, the two ARE ONE FLESH. There is no hint at all in the Scriptures that this one fleshness is dissolved, even in the case of a divorce, even for ‘marital unfaithfulness.’ Death, and death alone, is the only way that the one fleshness is dissolved.

    Such abuse would be a very serious thing, but it would not change the fact that “God has joined them together.” This fact is not obliterated just because the man is an ass that other men should take to the woodshed.

    See 1 Cor 7:12-16 and 7:39.

    Paul says that a Christian ought only marry a believer, but in the case where a Christian is already married to a believer, he/she is not to seek a divorce. Why not? Because they are one flesh: “otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”

    “But only by a man – thank you for pointing that out – which presumably means that we are only talking about female sexual immorality here.”

    I’m pretty sure you can find lots of examples where the Bible denounces male sexual immorality. 🙂 Given the alleged ‘man-made’ nature of the Bible, one wonders why men would put any limits on their sexual expressions. 😉

    “Seems like you should be taking that up with God, not me. Or do these consequences not also apply in cases of divorce resulting from sexual immorality?”

    I don’t understand the question. Divorce is always painful, and it always has some negative consequences associated with it, all the more when there are kids involved. Sanctioning divorce will never change this, no matter what.

    “I’m not saying that divorce is ever a good thing,”

    Why not? On your view, why not? Does the fact that ‘divorce is never a good thing’ make more sense on my worldview, which is derived from the notion that in marriage God literally makes the man and woman into one flesh in some unseen, but powerful way, and divorce is liking amputating one’s arm, or on your worldview, where sex is just about the hook-up and furthering the species?

    “just that there may be situations – and God apparently agrees – where it may be the least bad option for all concerned.”

    If the primary situation is marital unfaithfulness, what does this suggest about why this particular option justifies divorce and nothing else? Assume I am right about the whole ‘God has joined them together’ thing when contemplating that (from a Biblical worldview pov).

    “I would simply add that if severe and persistent domestic violence does not qualify as one of those situations then I don’t know what else would,”

    Just because divorce is off the table it doesn’t follow from the Bible that the woman should remain in the house and take the abuse. I don’t know if this will surprise you, but I have had numerous, numerous conversations with Christians about this stuff; you are not the first person to try to figure out how the Scriptures apply to real life. In fact, you don’t even know a fraction of it, because you don’t think you need to. For those of us who try to live by the Bible, wondering how the principles play out in a real, broken world, is something we work very hard on. In all this time, I have never heard a Christian suggest that the abused person should remain in the situation or that the abuser be given a pass. They have every right and warrant to get to a place of safety. But even if you are separated by 3,000 miles and a certificate of divorce from your local judge, you are still one flesh by the act of God. That is what the Bible says.

    I see that we’ve now moved away from homosexual ‘one fleshness’ to an examination of the infinite number of exceptions we might imagine might justify the dissolution of that ‘one fleshness.’ That’s an improvement in one sense, but unfortunately predictable in another–see my initial post.

    I don’t have time to go through 10,000 possible scenarios by which we might imagine ‘divorce’ is justified and warranted. They are all answered the same way: the abusive behavior that might lead to that justification is elsewhere condemned in the Scriptures more often than not, and none of them obliterate the one fleshness the Bible clearly describes.

  8. Nicole,

    The Old Testament pronouncements against homosexuality are problematic, because they appear in the same context as commandments against other things which most of us have no problem with doing today (eating seafood, wearing mixed fabrics, etc).  Apologists like Tony will say that those verses were clearly addressed by God to the Jewish people of the time, and so should not be considered as binding commandments for Christians today – all well and good, but if that explanation applies to the shellfish injunction then it’s hard to see why it doesn’t hold true for the directly adjacent ban on homosexuality.  Many people DO use Leviticus (for example) when giving a Biblical argument against homosexuality, but if they do so while wearing a polyester t-shirt with a graven image on the front then they look like cherry-picking hypocrites to me.

    So I think that any consistent Christian who wants to make a scriptural argument against homosexuality needs to do so in the way that Tony is doing, by leaving out the “Thou Shalt Nots” which have only very dubious relevance to modern day life.
     
    Regards,
    Dan

    Tony,

    Your account of the “one fleshness” theme of Biblical relationships seems to gloss over instances in the narrative where God explicitly commands or approves of that apparently sacred bond being broken.  What about Abraham and Jacob, and their various wives, concubines, and slave-girl baby mamas?  What about Moses and Joshua instructing their armies on the taking of young virgin sex slaves?  What about biblical verses where God refers without condemnation to plural marriage, such as Deuteronomy 21:15?  In 1 Kings 11 God gets angry with Solomon because he turned to other gods, not because he had thousands of wives and concubines.  These examples seem to go against your argument.

    “Sexuality is positively affirmed in the Scriptures 100% of the time”

    Paul is quite anti-sexuality, I would say.  He explicitly states (I forget the verse) that it is better for men not to have any physical contact with women, and only if they can’t live up to the celibate ideal then should they marry.  But Paul, of course, thought the world was imminently coming to an end, and so saw no need for procreation.

    On the sex=marriage issue, I accept the point, and can see that it makes the whole “eunuch” argument a bit irrelevant.  However, your argument also requires that the “one fleshness” principle be firmly established, which I think you have yet to conclusively do.  At a minimum it looks like there are some exceptions that a Mormon Fundamentalist could make use of. 🙂

    “I’m pretty sure you can find lots of examples where the Bible denounces male sexual immorality.   Given the alleged ‘man-made’ nature of the Bible, one wonders why men would put any limits on their sexual expressions.”

    It is rare for religious cults to have no position on sexuality, and there have been numerous examples of these groups in history (surely all-but-one of which you would agree were man-made) which have taken stances ranging from completely free love, to only the leader being able to exercise the prerogative, to complete abstinence, and every stop in between.  So, as to why some men would choose to restrict their sexual expression when purposely designing a new system of ethics, who knows, but it clear that they do often do so.

    “Divorce is always painful, and it always has some negative consequences associated with it, all the more when there are kids involved. Sanctioning divorce will never change this, no matter what.”

    Agreed.

    “Does the fact that ‘divorce is never a good thing’ make more sense on my worldview, which is derived from the notion that in marriage God literally makes the man and woman into one flesh in some unseen, but powerful way, and divorce is liking amputating one’s arm, or on your worldview, where sex is just about the hook-up and furthering the species?”

    Since my worldview, rather misrepresented there, is largely concerned with promoting human wellbeing, it appears that you have already significantly undermined your own position in favour of mine by referring to the harm that divorce does to children.  That is surely irrelevant under your view, where a Britney Spears style divorce within a few days of tying the knot and with no children involved is exactly as tragic as the bitter split of a twenty-year marriage which shatters the emotional and physical security of a number of dependent kids.  They’re both the dissolving of that essential “one fleshness”, but is it even coherent to argue that they are remotely equivalent in terms of the harm done?

    So, I would say that my worldview accounts for the harm of divorce rather better than yours does.

    “For those of us who try to live by the Bible, wondering how the principles play out in a real, broken world, is something we work very hard on.”

    I don’t doubt that for a moment.  I just sincerely wish that you could find a more productive way of spending your time, not to mention your prodigious intelligence and energy.

  9. Would you be happier with the New Testament pronouncement against homosexuality?

    Romans 1:18-32 “18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

    24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[a] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[b] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

    Verse 26-27 is about homosexuality.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

    So you see, it’s not just in the Old Testament, but a consistent theme. Marriage is to be between 1 man and 1 woman, regardless of what people actually do, this is God’s plan for a good marriage and the foundation for a family.

  10. It’s a bit futile Nicole.

    DB isn’t interested on what the Bible REALLY says and is just going to continue to pout and make up endless amounts of excuses and scenerios no matter how explicitly and consistently the Scriptures say ‘monogomous heterosexual relationsip = good, every other sexual relationship = bad.’

    As an atheist who rejects the Bible wholesale, one wonders why he even bothers to not just admit it, and just say ‘that was some human bigot’s invention that was false and I reject utterly’ (he ultimately thinks that’s the case anyway). But what he’s really interested in isn’t so much on what the Bible REALLY says, but our lack of doubt in what it REALLY says. You see he deplores conviction, especially in “fundementalist” Christians, So he’s just going to continue to try to punch as many holes as he can in order to make us as uncertain as possible.

    The evidence has been laid out. Nothing anyone says or feels will change it. Only thing left to do is not waist time in trying to convince people who spend so much effort in trying not to be convinced, and prove they aren’t interested in the evidence to begin with.

    DB,

    “Since my worldview, rather misrepresented there, is largely concerned with promoting human wellbeing…”

    Quick correction DB – What SJ said IS your worldview. Promoting (what you percieve as) human wellbeing is your subjective opinion and feelings. And the two are not the same.

  11. Hi Nicole,

    “Would you be happier with the New Testament pronouncement against homosexuality?”

    Happiness is relative. 🙂  I suppose it would all depend on what point of view I was taking when I looked at them.  From the perspective of someone who views the Bible as inerrant in every detail, the passages you quoted have some similar problems to the Old Testament ones I mentioned.  For example, they share the superficial context of Paul’s remarks about women staying silent in church, learning anything they need to know by asking their husbands (1 Corinthians 14: 34-35), and being ruled over by their husbands in the same manner as their husbands are ruled over by Christ (1 Corinthians 11 and Ephesians 5:22-24).  Accepting one precept but not the other would be a bit inconsistent, but maybe you’re happy to take all of those things as binding too.

    If, for the sake of argument, I wasn’t a literalist then I could look at the scholarship surrounding the alleged writings of Paul of Tarsus and see that a significant number of the New Testament books usually attributed to him are not generally thought to have actually been written by him, since they show discrepancies of literary style and references to hierarchies and conditions within the early Christian churches which did not arise until well after Paul’s death.  The NT books widely considered to be pseudographical (a nice way of saying “forged”) are Colossians, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Hebrews.  Also, the 1 Corinthians 14 bit that I refered to above about women staying silent and learning only from their husbands appears to be a later insertion – its placement is suspicious (between two segments which flow seamlessly together if it is removed) and it somewhat contradicts other things Paul said about women’s heads being covered WHEN they speak in church.  So, adding a little nuance resolves some of the difficulties of the first approach.

    However, as someone once said, it is not possible to be just a little bit heretical.  Once you start picking away at the fabric more threads are likely to unravel.  If we admit that the men who assembled the canon in the form which we now see it made some mistakes – including in the New Testament letters attributed to Paul but not actually written by him – then that only leads to more questions.  Why should we consider Paul to be authoritative at all?  Wasn’t he just a man?  If God really inspired him then it seems distinctly careless to neglect the strict editorial authority needed to make sure that only the legitimate stuff made it into the final draft.  Lots of people, after all, have claimed to have received direct revelation from God throughout history, and many of them were clearly crazy.

    It might seem reasonable, having developed this line of thought all the way through to the very liberal Christian position it has now reached, to only put stock in things said by God or the Son of God.  Thomas Jefferson’s approach was to cut out of the NT everything except the reported words and deeds of Jesus.  I think there are some reliability problems there too, but I’m just trying to give you an idea of the approach I would be taking if I were a Christian, which (perhaps obviously) I am not.

    Regards,
    Dan

  12. Dan,

    It is interesting that you would mention those verses considering you are not a woman and the only people who should take issue with them are women. But here’s the thing, just because a woman doesn’t want to subject herself to her husband, does that make her right in not doing so when God clearly commands it? Do you know what happened when woman started protesting and saying they wanted to be equal to men? Abortion happened. Because no longer is it the husband’s decision, and I believe that most intelligent men would always decide to keep their children, but now we say it is the woman’s right to choose. This may surprise you, but considering that God made man the head of the family, I agree that women should not be allowed to teach men. Obviously there are exceptions, such as Deborah in judges, only female judge. But I think it is safe to say that we should follow the rule, not the exception.

    Furthermore, I would like to ask where you are getting your sources. If the information you receive is from other atheists and people who when they began their research began with the premise that the Bible is false, then why wouldn’t their search lead them to the same conclusion? I am sure they would ignore any evidence that prooved otherwise, seeing as how the purpose for the search was to disprove the Bible to begin with. You believe in evolution and that it is real, and yet many scientists have already disproven the theory. Yet we still teach it in our schools as fact. http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0055/0055_01.asp (this is a cute simplified way of looking at it.)

    I suspect that End Bringer is correct, you are not searching for the truth, only hoping to put perceived holes into it so that “believers” will also doubt. But a true believer in Christ has His spirit. He cannot doubt because he knows the truth. You may say, “Well doesn’t the person who believes in (insert whichever religion you like here) also believe they have the truth?” And I would say to you, that the key difference in a true believer in Christ, and EVERYONE else, is that they understand that man has absolutely NO power whatsoever to save himself. NO measure of good works will ever be enough to get one into heaven. The only way for man to be reconciled to God is through the blood of Jesus Christ. It is by Christ and Christ alone that we are saved. Research that for yourself.

  13. Nicole,

    “It is interesting that you would mention those verses considering you are not a woman and the only people who should take issue with them are women.”

    Respectfully, I disagree.  I am also not Black, Jewish, Homosexual or elderly, but I would certainly take issue with the suggestion that any of those groups of people should be denied basic equality in life and/or relationships, and I hope that you would do so too.

    “Do you know what happened when woman started protesting and saying they wanted to be equal to men? Abortion happened. Because no longer is it the husband’s decision, and I believe that most intelligent men would always decide to keep their children, but now we say it is the woman’s right to choose.”

    You don’t seem to have a very high opinion of your own gender.  Interestingly, the early feminist movement (in the late 1800s) was very anti-abortion, because they saw it as a means of patriarchal control over women’s bodies.  Strange as this may seem, the position that women are people worthy of full human rights does not logically necessitate any particular belief about whether or not foetuses are.  Anyway, from my point of view the emancipation of women AND the legalisation of abortion (which still takes place in countries where it is illegal, by the way, just with a far higher death toll) were both good things, so I can’t really get on board with either the premise or the punch-line of your point there.

    “This may surprise you, but considering that God made man the head of the family, I agree that women should not be allowed to teach men.”

    You are welcome to your beliefs on that subject, but don’t you think that there are some things that men could usefully learn from women?  Just on this thread I can think of at least one man who could benefit from your example of civilised discourse. 🙂

    “If the information you receive is from other atheists and people who when they began their research began with the premise that the Bible is false, then why wouldn’t their search lead them to the same conclusion? I am sure they would ignore any evidence that prooved otherwise, seeing as how the purpose for the search was to disprove the Bible to begin with.”

    That is a universal problem, but I wonder if you also recognise it’s implications for yourself?  We all have the tendency to seek out information which supports what we already believe and discount information which undermines it, which makes it important (if we are concerned about getting to the truth) to expose ourselves to alternative viewpoints.  Ironically, by making that statement, you personally ignored – or at least declined to address – my summary of the evidence for New Testament errancy, something which you might perhaps find it unpleasant to consider.  Overcoming confirmation bias is a challenge for us all.

    “You believe in evolution and that it is real, and yet many scientists have already disproven the theory. Yet we still teach it in our schools as fact.”

    In the spirit of your previous point I would suggest that you should reconsider the motivations and ideological biases of the people that you are getting your information from.  If they all have either a professional or a personal stake in the idea that the Bible is literally true then perhaps their opinions on this matter are not wholly reliable.

    Regards,
    Dan

  14. “Just on this thread I can think of at least one man who could benefit from your example of civilised discourse.”

    Hey! I take offense to that.

  15. Heh, not you dude. By the way, any chance you’re going to be dropping in on Sword of Truth once in a while as the election gets nearer? Because you know that’s when it’ll start getting really fun, right. I’m just stockpiling four year old predictions about what an Obama presidency would do to the US, so we can test your (among others) prognosticating skills in retrospect. You wouldn’t want to miss that. 🙂

    Dan

  16. hey, Darwin had his bull dog, I’m entitled to mine, too. I like’m.

    My predictions have come to fruition, as near as I can tell. Not sure I’ll get there though. I’ve been keeping myself busy, causing trouble as always.

  17. I’m more of a cat person myself.

    And you predicted a McCain victory in ’08. In fact, in ’08 you stated that you had been predicting a McCain presidency since 2000. At a minimum that prediction has not yet been fulfilled, don’t know if you think that it still might happen. 🙂 Believe me, I have more, but I’m hoarding them for a fish-slap of truly epic proportions.

    Take care buddy,
    Dan

  18. lol yes, well I was obviously wrong about that one. I think that I’m right in saying that America has a collective case of buyer’s remorse at this point. Make sure you get the time scale right. A lot of my predictions have language that clearly says I’m not putting a time on it.

    I have to say, even if I’m the subject of it, an epic fish-slap would be fun to watch. It has been awhile since I’ve seen one. Excepting my own distributions, of course.

  19. I was thinking about you the other day because I wrote this post a while back: http://sntjohnny.com/front/tips-for-atheistsunderstanding-the-bible/1264.html

    Two of the items in particular seem to fit here:

    Prescription versus Description.

    A variety of covenants, or agreements/contracts/testaments are in play.

  20. Interesting that “prescription vs description” issue precisely describes what you have always failed, whether deliberately or not, to understand about evolutionary theory. Anyway, I’ll have a read.

    And for you, the epic fish-slap that I promised you:

    http://swordoftruth.us/philosophy-history-and-more/epic-fish-slap-for-sntjohnny/msg48686/#msg48686

    Enjoy 🙂

  21. hmmm, I was expecting something a little more impressive than that. I’m disappointed, honestly. Interesting, though devoid of any context that could give it all some punch.

    I’ll file away this for after the upcoming election.

    I don’t think I’ve failed at all at the ‘pre’vs’des’ re: evolutionary theory. I think you’ve failed. It’s a bit in the eye of the beholder, and that in fact marks the difference. “The cat is blue” is clearly a descriptive statement that entails no ‘ought.’ No sane person halfway knowledgeable about grammar could derive an application from this sentence, without a great deal more context. (Eg, “All blue cats are poisonous. Poisonous things should be killed. The cat is blue. Kill it.”) Basic rules of grammar do not allow an extension from an ‘is’ to an ‘ought.’ There’s not much subjectivity to that. Evolution, on the other hand, is not merely an observation. It is an observation that according to you and your fellows explains every facet of humanity, and all life forms on the planet. This must include the brain and rationality, morality, and so on and so forth, bounded by the explanatory framework of Darwinism, which essentially means that all organisms are in one way or another seeking to survive long enough to reproduce in a quest for scarce resources. This latter point entails a long series of ‘evolutionary oughts’; the degree in which any given evolutionist (such as yourself) is willing to embrace and act on those oughts is entirely subjective, and seems to come down only to how strong a stomach an individual evolutionist has. Your stomach is pretty weak. Others, like Jacob Appel and Julian Savulescu are more willing to act on their evolved nature. (Peter Singer talks a big game, but I think he’s soft; I don’t think he really believes what he’s selling).

    But at any rate, its completely subjective. You cannot point me to any rules of grammar to keep us on the straight and narrow and serve as an arbitrator between a right and wrong interpretation. I’m not here trying to discount the fact that literary interpretation is sometimes difficult, complicated, or even impossible (eg, try: “this statement is false.”) but the boundaries are in the realm of logic, and so outside you and me. That is, they are immaterial and transcendental, and on their own disprove your worldview. 🙂

  22. To extend your analogy, evolutionary theory gives an explanation of how the cat came to be blue in the first place. Your contention is essentially that in order to subscribe to the idea that someone painted it one must necessarily advocate the compulsory painting of cats, and that is – obviously – a failure to distinguish between prescriptive and descriptive narratives.

    So, while it is quite possible for people who believe in evolution to make the same error that you do (i.e. Social Darwinism), that has more to do with the strength of their rational faculties than of their stomachs.

  23. “To extend your analogy, evolutionary theory gives an explanation of how the cat came to be blue in the first place. Your contention is essentially that in order to subscribe to the idea that someone painted it one must necessarily advocate the compulsory painting of cats, and that is – obviously – a failure to distinguish between prescriptive and descriptive narratives.”

    Not really, since you seemed to miss the fact that evolutionary theory also has to account for the brain as SJ pointed out. Which is basicly the root cause of where all compulsive behaviour stems from according to the philisophical materialism evolution/atheism opperates under. And as such the evolutionary paradigm essentially has us believing that some time from the primordial soup the brain evolved in to such a physical state that we’re compeled to paint cats in some indirect or left-over part of continuing the species.

    “So, while it is quite possible for people who believe in evolution to make the same error that you do (i.e. Social Darwinism), that has more to do with the strength of their rational faculties than of their stomachs.”

    Says the guy who appeals to ‘less perfectly evolved’ as an explanatory for people’s tendency towards “wrong” behaviour. Does that mean you’re admitting your rational faculties aren’t very strong, or is it a (more obvious) case that this is another attempt to insolate evolutionary theory from any criticism, which you yourself can’t even stay consistent with?

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