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What exactly IS marriage anyway?

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Essorant
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350 posted 07-29-2004 10:13 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Marriage is not just a part of being religious, it is a part of being human.
Stephanos
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351 posted 07-29-2004 10:46 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Please do, Stephen. I've seen nothing in the Bible that says salvation is dependent on sinning less and less (the flow away from sin, as you put it). John 3:16, the foundation of the Gospels, says nothing at all about sin.
Repentance, which I suspect is what you really mean, is evidence of salvation, not a prerequisite for it.



No need to.  You just conceded my point.  I didn't say that salvation depended on sinning less and less.  What I did say was that salvation would result in sinning less and less.  Whether "repentance" is a prerequisite for salvation or evidence of salvation is to quibble over semantics, when my point is much broader.  Practicing, unrepentant homosexuals are not Christians.  The particular type of relationship repentance has to salvation is irrelevant to this discussion ... as long as we agree it cannot be absent.


Stephen.  
Stephanos
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352 posted 07-29-2004 11:29 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
You still need to prove why it is truly wrong in††life.††Until then the bible doesn't have much weight.††Books and words don't go the length if life doesn't confirm something that is said in them.



Essorant, the fact of the matter is, you are using double standards.  I'll just bet you're morally opposed to fornication, polyamory, and pornography.  Yet in each of these examples, those participating usually do so of their own volition.  Everyone is consenting ... the woman who bears it all in front of the camera, as well as those who commit the voyeuristic act of watching.  So no one is "hurting" anyone else (hurting in the sense that Ron likes to use the term- meaning immediate physical harm).  Now you could go into all of the reasons as to why these practices have been harmful, in order to establish your case that they are immoral.  And I could do the same exact thing for homosexuality.  Statistics hold much evidence of unhappiness surrounding the homosexual lifestyle, increased STDs, unstable relationships, multiple partners.  But all of this is anecdotal evidence, since ill results can always be attributed to other things and there is no hard "proof" that the behaviors always cause the alleged negative effects.


That doesn't mean that the evidence is not persuasive, it just means that those who demand "proof" in the sense that you're using it, aren't satisfied with such observations.  There's nothing wrong with you demanding such, it's just that I want you to realize that you don't demand such proof for other things that you KNOW are wrong and destructive.  There's not much in the "irrefutable" category for tthose things either.



That was my first issue with what you said.  My second one is this...


Morality cannot or should not primarily be determined by statistical averages and pragmatic perception.  What do I mean?  I mean that the moral question goes deeper.  Is adultery really only wrong because the wife is offended, or is the wife offended because adultery is wrong?  I've heard of women who said they "didn't mind" their husbands speaking to them in a degrading way ... does that make it therefore morally right?  Is it right to swing and have extramarital affairs if your wife says it's okay?  I don't think so.  I don't think you do either.


Placing morality in the relativistic category of percieved benefit versus loss, is egoism ... which I find to be untenable.  It is a philosophical outlook or system which cannot adequately give account for the morals of it's adherents.


That brings me to what you say about the Bible.  Believing the Bible to be more than anecdotal, but authoritative in nature, certain moral precepts are accepted on authority.  Accepting things on authority blindly can be problematic.  But accepting things on authority which prove to be right, is not such a bad thing.  Now I believe that the Bible's placard about homosex is right.  But I also believe it PROVES to be right in actual experience.  That's where all of the negative examples would come in, as anecdotal evidence.  That's where history would come in  (as I believe that the destruction of Sodom is more than Jewish folklore).  That's where common perceptions of morality would come in (the greater percentage of people believe homosexuality to be immoral).  That's where arguments from nature would come in (homosexuality at least appears to be against design).


So it's not that evidence doesn't exist.  It's that you aren't prepared to accept that kind of evidence for something you've predecided is okay.  And you're not ready to accept it on authority.  I respect that.


But to me, the question of morality of homosexuality is based upon something deeper than percieved benefit versus loss.  And I also believe very much believe that what the Bible says goes beyond mere detached aphorisms, and is confirmed in life itself.  But when incontrovertible proof is what you're looking for, the Bible, or life itself, seldom offers it.


Stephen.  


      
Stephanos
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353 posted 07-30-2004 12:19 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hush:
quote:
Ah, screw it, let's just trash that whole separation of Church and state thing and implement a Judeo-Christian theocracy... woohoo! Now my life of sin shall become a life of crime!



It always happens that arguments become polarized and caricatured.  I am NOT arguing for Theocracy.  Nor do I think all "sin" should be made illegal.  In fact I consider the aim to reverse laws which forbid homosexual marriage as a public institution to be agressive and oppressive, headed up by extremists.  Defending and seeking to maintain the traditional definition is a more defensive and passive aim by far.  And yes, though morality is an issue, it's NOT the only one that has been offered.


quote:
lung cancer doesn't stop smokers from smoking, and the idea of divine punishment doesn't keep sinners from sinning... at least, not the ones who really want to anyway. Look, I respect that you see it as a sin, but I romp around with my live-in boyfriend in biblically sinful ways, are you going to say cohabitation should be illegal, too?



No.  Cohabitation (with it's various degrees of commitment) has existed as a contrast to what covenential marriage offers.  That's quite different than pressing something so fundamentally different to the point of redefining Marriage as a public institution.  Cohabitation comes with the assumption (whether right or wrong) "Marriage isn't needed".  So it's not the same thing as pushing that something else BECOMES marriage, when it wasn't/ isn't/ hasn't been.    


quote:
I mean, it's "bad" in all the same ways gay marriage is... bad for the kids, unstable relationship, more likely to cheat, screws up your chances of getting into heaven, etc. etc.



Wow.  Finally.  A recognition that there are reasons for my position beyond naked morality.


quote:
It's like Regina said tho... same-sex marriages will exist, at least in that couples eyes, and the eyes of their friends, whether a law consecrates it or not. You can't stop it, and furthermore, there's no real good reason to stop it...



Yeah.  But as I've said before.  I believe that on the biggies, our government has the responsibility to uphold what's right, especially as regarding foundational public institutions.  And law DOES affect the way a society views something.  If law embraces homosexual marriage, the society/ culture will be helped along the path of viewing it as normative and perfectly acceptable.  (In fact if you ask the homsexual activists that's exactly what their pushing for ... not legal recognition, but cultural moral approval).  And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see, that if I'm right that homosexuality is morally wrong, and that homosexual marriage will speed the fall of our culture, there IS a good reason to make illegal homosexual marriage.  But that's the whole argument right?


And to those (like my friend Jim) who think I'm opting that law is the entire solution, I would deny so.  It's not evangelism OR law.  Just as it's not really Grace OR law.  Why so quick to dismiss the school master?  It's those who graduate who understand grace, not those in perpetual truancy.  Also, I'm not opting for the fullest possible (or impossible) marrying of divinity and law ... only a degree which I believe is necessary for national survival.  Not the whole house, but some essential framework nonetheless.    


Stephen.
Ron
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quote:
What I did say was that salvation would result in sinning less and less.

That's not at all what you said, but it's equally wrong. By that logic, given enough time, you will stop being a sinner. Wanna bet that happens?

quote:
Practicing, unrepentant homosexuals are not Christians.

There you go playing God again. Sorry, Stephen, but *you* don't get to decide that.

quote:
The particular type of relationship repentance has to salvation is irrelevant to this discussion ... as long as we agree it cannot be absent.

The path to salvation isn't irrelevant, especially when someone tries to confuse it. Still, do you sincerely believe, Stephen, that you know all there is to know about sin and God's will? Didn't think so. Or, at least, hoped not. Do you repent the many, many times in this thread you've arbitrary placed your will over God's? Or does failure to recognize your transgressions free you from the burden you would cast on others? (Slippery slope, ain't it?)

quote:
I'll just bet you're morally opposed to fornication, polyamory, and pornography.

Good examples, Stephen. Let's stop all of them from marrying first, and save the homosexuals for later. Sound's like a perfectly workable compromise to me.  

quote:
That doesn't mean that the evidence is not persuasive, it just means that those who demand "proof" in the sense that you're using it, aren't satisfied with such observations.

LOL. You might want to look up the word persuasive. I'm not satisfied by such observations because, duh, they're not at all persuasive. You can't point at any single facet of homosexuality that isn't equally present in an equally promiscuous heterosexual lifestyle. Sex isn't a toy and people get hurt when they think it is. When you advocate a law that no one can have sex until they're married, and no one can get married if they've ever had sex, then we'll have something to discuss. Until then, you're still applying the double standards you accused Essorant of following.

quote:
Morality cannot or should not primarily be determined by statistical averages and pragmatic perception.

Morality cannot and should not be determined by men. That's God's role. Ours is simply to determine laws that will allow us to live together in relative peace. You follow your sense of morals, I'll follow mine, and we both will abide by man's laws. That should work out real well for both of us on this Earth, and God will sort out what comes after that.

quote:
Cohabitation (with it's various degrees of commitment) has existed as a contrast to what covenential marriage offers. That's quite different than pressing something so fundamentally different to the point of redefining Marriage as a public institution. Cohabitation comes with the assumption (whether right or wrong) "Marriage isn't needed". So it's not the same thing as pushing that something else BECOMES marriage, when it wasn't/ isn't/ hasn't been.

That's either incredibly paradoxical, Stephen, or incredibly enlightening. Sounds like you don't have a problem with sin and morality after all? You just want it to be a sin with which you're comfortable. That sin can even evolve into sanctity (common law marriage) as long as you're comfortable. Hey, I got no problem with that, either. Not until your comfort becomes someone else's discomfort.

quote:
If law embraces homosexual marriage, the society/ culture will be helped along the path of viewing it as normative and perfectly acceptable.

Let's hope so. Of course, it won't happen overnight. In spite of laws passed more than thirty years ago, racial prejudice and bigotry hasn't been erased quite yet. Homophobia, sad to say, will likely survive well past my lifetime, too. People will probably always fear and hate what they can't comprehend.

quote:
It's not evangelism OR law.

We can certainly agree on that, Stephen. Your proposal lacks the compassion of one, and the justice of the other.


jbouder
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355 posted 07-30-2004 04:10 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Stephen:

I think you know I'd argue that the Reformation view of sin and grace more closely resembles Apostalic teaching than the papist semi-Pelagianism that has found its new home in modern-day evangelicalism.  

What I'd have to ask you Stephen is what do we contribute to our righteousness?  Righteousness itself is a legal term - what you are talking about is the process of sanctification ... the ongoing process of being "set apart" or comforming more closely to the Godly ideal.  Some of the misguided believe we can perfectly conform in the lifetime - others slightly less misguided believe the progressiveness of the sanctification does not involve stumbles or that much of it should begin immediately following the time of decision.

But that's a bit off topic.  I'm pretty much in agreement with Ron on this, with the qualification that I don't think believing homosexuality is immoral means that belief is driven by fear or hate.

Jim
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Actually, if these laws are passed, a Church that does not believe in homosexual unions will not be able to deny them. Thats what I think is wrong.

Also, as I said, man and woman create life. Thats what makes man and woman the couple, because they are mates. Even if they are past childbearing age, they are still the couple ordained by God and nature, man and woman. Men and men and woman and woman aren't mates.

Oh, make me Thine forever
And should I fainting be
Lord, let me never ever
Outlive my love for Thee

Ron
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quote:
Ö with the qualification that I don't think believing homosexuality is immoral means that belief is driven by fear or hate.

Jim, I don't believe that every aversion to homosexuality is necessarily driven by fear or hate. I wouldn't even say that most are. Just some.

In my experience, people who are irrational and uncompromising are inevitably motivated by a great fear of something they don't or won't or can't understand.

quote:
Actually, if these laws are passed, a Church that does not believe in homosexual unions will not be able to deny them. Thats what I think is wrong.

That's entirely untrue, Erica.

Priests and ministers can and do, right now, deny a church-sanctioned marriage to anyone who doesn't pass *whatever* criteria they choose to set. Many denominations require counseling before marriage, and woe be to the couple who refuses (or otherwise doesn't pass muster). Not enough to convince you? Try getting married in a Catholic ceremony should you be unfortunate enough to fall in love with a divorced man. You'll discover very quickly, I think, that any church can do just about anything it wants short of blood sacrifice. That's the way it is, that's the way it should be, and that's the way it will remain even when civil marriage for homosexuals is legally recognized. And, that's totally cool. At least it's cool until a religion decides to force its way on people outside the church. Then it becomes domination and ain't so cool.

quote:
Even if they are past childbearing age, they are still the couple ordained by God and nature, man and woman.

You're certainly free to decide for yourself, Erica, what you believe God has or hasn't ordained. I'm a little less clear on the entirety of God's will, but hey, that's just me. The question, however, isn't what you or I believe, but rather whether either of us should be free to force our beliefs on the rest of the world.

Giving everyone the legal protection of marriage, Erica, doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with religion. We don't protect the rights of alleged murderers because we think murder is something we want to do ourselves, but rather because we want our own rights protected should we be falsely accused. People are innocent until proven guilty not because some religion or denomination believes that God said so, but because it's the right thing to do.
Stephanos
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358 posted 07-31-2004 12:23 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Stephen:  What I did say was that salvation would result in sinning less and less.


Ron:  That's not at all what you said, but it's equally wrong. By that logic, given enough time, you will stop being a sinner. Wanna bet that happens?



Is it really wrong to assert that willful unrepentant sin is incompatible with true Christian conversion?  That is the gist of what I was trying to say.  


And Ron, If you and I are truly Christians, given enough time, we WILL stop being sinners.    

quote:
Stephen:  Practicing, unrepentant homosexuals are not Christians.

Ron:  There you go playing God again. Sorry, Stephen, but *you* don't get to decide that.



Can you see no difference between stating what was said by someone else, and arbitrating?  If I, as a co-worker, point out to you a policy which our boss implemented, does that mean that I'm trying to arrogantly exalt myself over you, my equal? There are only two ways you can say that I am, 1) claim that the boss never clearly reveals anything, and the documents are dubious, therfore I'm deluded or 2) try to show I'm wrong by referring to the actual policy in question.  Typically you're attempting the former approach by playing the ambiguity card again, denying any possibility of getting anything clear from God.  I haven't been stating something that orginated with me, and the things I state apply to me as well.  I never claimed anyone must achieve moral perfection to gain eternal life.  But a willingness to repent is inseperable from the gift, at least according to scripture.  That's a sobering thought, for me as well as anyone.


quote:
Stephen:  I'll just bet you're morally opposed to fornication, polyamory, and pornography.

Ron:  Good examples, Stephen. Let's stop all of them from marrying first, and save the homosexuals for later. Sound's like a perfectly workable compromise to me.



Stop them from marrying?  Consider how each of them are quite out of the context.


Fornicators:  Content to enjoy their sexuality outside of marriage.  Therefore forbidding them to settle down and enjoy monogamous marriage makes no sense.


Polyamory:  Last I heard polygamous marriage IS illegal.


Pornography:  What does that have to do with marriage?  However it is public enough that I wouldn't be opposed to it's production and sales being illegal.  


quote:
Your proposal lacks the compassion of one, and the justice of the other.



Ever heard the saying that an enemy multiplies kisses?  Or that the wounds of a friend are faithful?  I'm not ignorant that there is cruelty and even hatred for homosexuals by some of those who disagree with their lifestyles.  I believe in love, gentleness, tact, and good deeds regardless of what a person practices.  


But IF homosexuality is a sin, couldn't you be encouraging people in what is wrong by denying that it is a sin?  And IF homosexuality were sin, would that approach be somehow more conducive to evangelism?


Stephen.
Stephanos
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359 posted 07-31-2004 12:40 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Stephen:
I think you know I'd argue that the Reformation view of sin and grace more closely resembles Apostalic teaching than the papist semi-Pelagianism that has found its new home in modern-day evangelicalism.



Jim, how is my claim that repentance is a necessary ingredient in salvation, semi-Pelagian?  I never did deny that repentance is a gift of God.


I think you're over-complicating my whole point.  The question was asked by Reg, in effect, whether or not homosexuals who deny it is sinful behavior, and reject even the idea that they might have something to repent of, can be authentic Christians.  What is your answer?  


By bringing in the Pelagian debate, you only change the charge of being unrepentant, to being perhaps unchosen.  But it certainly doesn't change it into being "okay".

Stephen
  †
Ron
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quote:
And Ron, If you and I are truly Christians, given enough time, we WILL stop being sinners.

Time is neither sufficient, Stephen, nor even relevant.

quote:
Can you see no difference between stating what was said by someone else, and arbitrating? If I, as a co-worker, point out to you a policy which our boss implemented, does that mean that I'm trying to arrogantly exalt myself over you, my equal?

Depends on whether you're trying to warn me or condemn me. So far, all I've heard is condemnation. As an equal co-worker, Stephen, it's never your job to tell someone they've been fired. That's the boss's job.

quote:
Stop them from marrying? Consider how each of them are quite out of the context.

Hey, you brought them up, big guy. I won't compare innate sexual orientation to free choices if you won't?  

quote:
But IF homosexuality is a sin, couldn't you be encouraging people in what is wrong by denying that it is a sin? And IF homosexuality were sin, would that approach be somehow more conducive to evaneglism?

It's not my job, Stephen, to either define or deny sin. It's not my job to encourage or discourage my own vision of morality. It's not my job to protect people either from themselves or from God.

What doesn't, in any demonstrable way, harm me or mine simply isn't any of my business.
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quote:
Depends on whether you're trying to warn me or condemn me. So far, I've all I've heard is condemnation.


If it's possible for me to get the two confused in your eyes, ever think it might be possible for others? ... even you maybe?

Have valid warnings ever been dismissed as arrogant and even cruel?

Stephen.
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Actually, the will of God is quite clear in His word.

And if gay marriage is legal, everyone WILL have to accept the fact that these two people are married, even if they walk into a church that doesn't believe it is so.

Also, marital benifits exist because most married couples start *families*. That is something that homosexual couples cannot do. I can  understand the desire for a gay couple to have things like power over life support choices, esc.. but I'm pretty sure that anyone can be given power of attourney, and that if you make a will, you can leave your money and belongings to anyone you wish, no legal marriage needed.

Also.. I don't hate homosexuals, and I'm not afraid of them. I'm a music major in a large university! I have several gay friends.. and I believe that homosexuality, as I believe I said before, is a sinful tendency. We all have sinful tendencys, so I'd be silly to hate someone for that, when I have sinful tendencys of my own.




Oh, make me Thine forever
And should I fainting be
Lord, let me never ever
Outlive my love for Thee
Ron
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quote:
Have valid warnings ever been dismissed as arrogant and even cruel?

I'm sure they have, Stephen. Did their validity make them any less arrogant or cruel, though?

At the end of the day, denying someone a right or privilege that you and others enjoy isn't a warning. It's a punishment for being different.

quote:
Actually, the will of God is quite clear in His word.

Over the past two thousand years, Erica, some very smart men, like Thomas Aquinas and C.S. Lewis, have spent a lot of time and effort exploring the meaning and intent of the Bible. Why do you think that is?


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I agree that many things are open to interpetation.. but I think on this issue, it's quite clear. I know there's always some wiggle room, but this issue seems to have very little of that in the Bible.

Oh, make me Thine forever
And should I fainting be
Lord, let me never ever
Outlive my love for Thee

hush
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365 posted 08-02-2004 09:32 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

"Wow.  Finally.  A recognition that there are reasons for my position beyond naked morality."

Stephen, I know the internet can be fairly hard to read emotions and implications on, but when I said:

"I mean, it's "bad" in all the same ways gay marriage is... bad for the kids, unstable relationship, more likely to cheat, screws up your chances of getting into heaven, etc. etc."

The quotation marks were meant to imply sarcasm. I don't think cohabitation is bad (or I wouldn't be doing it) any more than I think gay marriages and families are bad, any more than I think single-parent families are bad. Yes, they all have challenges, and so do mom-and-dad families, especially with wife-beating husbands, and parents who cheat on each other, and the divorce rate... might I suggest to you that it's better to be raised by one parent than have a 50% chance of being exposed to divorce? I'm sure you'd disagree- and for good reason, because there is nothing inherently wrong with two-parent families, despite the challenges they encounter. Just as there is nothing inherently wrong with any other kind of family.
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366 posted 08-03-2004 09:31 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Stephen:

quote:
The question was asked by Reg, in effect, whether or not homosexuals who deny it is sinful behavior, and reject even the idea that they might have something to repent of, can be authentic Christians.  What is your answer?


Another hypothetical: a Christian missionary converts a Third World tribal leader who has ten wives.  Biblical texts frown on polygamy (at best) and consider it sin.  Could, then, the new convert continue to reject the idea that polygamy is something requiring repentance and still be an authentic Christian?  Should he immediately disown all but one wife?

Your question really is about the degree of sanctification that takes place concurrent with justification (i.e., derivative sanctification).  This is, what you alluded to earlier, what gives us both freedom from the wages of sin AND the dominion of sin.  The real question is whether homosexual behavior is necessarily changed at the moment of faith in order for the profession of faith to be validated.  I donít think so.

Regardless of whether you admit it or not, by tacking homosexual behavior to derivative sanctification, you are linking this specific moral conduct to salvation (hence, semi-Pelagianism).  Certainly, there will be some moral change immediately following the moment of faith (which is evidence of the authenticity of faith), but I think youíre in error if you believe homosexual behavior must be completely and immediately extinguished as a requisite to a valid salvation experience.  In time, I believe the homosexual will be faced with some important decisions as he or she grows in faith.  Those struggles may involve failures, but biblical teaching is pretty clear that we are not judged on our failures because Christ atonement efficaciously covers our past, present, and future failures.  If it didnít, how could we say with any confidence that we are indeed freed from the wages of sin?

Jim
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367 posted 08-03-2004 02:53 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron:
quote:
Over the past two thousand years, Erica, some very smart men, like Thomas Aquinas and C.S. Lewis, have spent a lot of time and effort exploring the meaning and intent of the Bible. Why do you think that is?

  
Multiple Choice:


a)  The Bible is of a divine origin and therefore worthy of deciphering to the best of our ability


b)  The Bible is practical, meeting the needs of the pragmatist in us all, and therefore requires study and practice.


c)  The Bible is intriguing and mystical and describes the ineffable, meeting the needs of the philosopher/ mystic in us all, and therefore requires study and speculative discussion.


d)  All of the above.


e)  The Bible is ambiguous, arbitrary, and patched with cultural bias and error, and pretty much as pliable as we want it to be.


Stephen.
Ron
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The problem with A, B and C, Stephen, is that none of the choices explain why study is either necessary nor even desirable if, as Erica contended, "the will of God is quite clear in His word." Is there something more important than the will of God, something perhaps not entirely clear, that we should be getting from the Bible?

The problem with E as a choice is that you're mixing far too much into one bowl of stew. Throwing lizard gizzards in with the steak doesn't make the gizzards more palatable.

I don't want to take this thread any more off-topic than it is (since marriage has nothing to do with Christianity), but will quickly say that "arbitrary" should be removed (or at least moved), and "All of the above" should be shifted to indeed include ALL four choices, not just the three you seem to like.
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369 posted 08-03-2004 07:42 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hush:
quote:
The quotation marks were meant to imply sarcasm. I don't think cohabitation is bad (or I wouldn't be doing it) any more than I think gay marriages and families are bad, any more than I think single-parent families are bad.


Hush, there are several different threads running in this topic.  One is the moral issue.  Is homosexuality immoral or not?  There are those who think it is, as well as those who think it's not.  And then there is the legality issue.  What should marriage be according to law?  There are different views on that as well.  Jim and I (as far as I can tell) seem to be in agreement that homosexuality is immoral.  We are not however in agreement about the legal issue concerning marriage.  Ron and I, however, part ways on both questions.


The moral issue is further divided I think into morals based on pure pragmatism versus morals based upon something more foundational.  You (if I've learned anthing of you from our discussions) tend to decide whether or not something is right, by your perception of outcome and whether or not it "works" for the individual.  


I think my moral view differs from yours on two points.  1) Pragmatically.  Those things you mentioned "sarcastically" that were bad about co-habitation and homosexual marriage, are valid concerns to me.  So we simply disagree about outcomes.  And while I'm aware that my view of outcomes can be biased by my ethos, I think you should also be aware that yours can also be biased by your individualistic view of ethics.   2)  Foundationally.  While you think that the moral question is pretty much suspended until the chips are cashed in, and pros and cons are measured, I think the moral question goes deeper.   I think that immoral things can often be justified on pragmatic grounds, either negatively or positively, either by a perceived lack of ill effects or perceived benefits.  In fact if every moral issue were decided by evaluating personal wellbeing alone, the whole idea of "morality" is lost.  Of course the problem lies in our perception.  Ron settles this by talking of the "long-term or enlightened self interest" versus "short-term self interest".  I agree with this partly, but don't dream that that can be the whole story.  No one can know enough of what will be "long term" or even "short term", in order to justify refusing the moral imperatives of God.  Even if the results of "cohabitation" were statistically more bad than pleasurable, if my ethic was based on that outcome alone, I wouldn't necessarily be against playing against odds either.  Heck, I've always admired the daringness of gamblers anyway.  But although morality often determines outcome, outcome does not always determine morality.  Therefore, even if one can be the  "exception" rather than the rule, by playing against the odds, that doesn't make it right.


Having said that, I would reemphasize that I don't think everything considered immoral should be illegal.  I am a LONG way from that view.  However I think differences between making a private personal decision illegal, and preserving a publicly sanctioned institution are not hard to see.


Stephen

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (08-04-2004 12:43 AM).]

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370 posted 08-04-2004 12:37 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Regardless of whether you admit it or not, by tacking homosexual behavior to derivative sanctification, you are linking this specific moral conduct to salvation (hence, semi-Pelagianism).



Not at all.  Sanctification is evidence of salvation, not the grounds for it.  If you attack all such references to evidence of salvation, you also will end up attacking much scripture as "semi-Pelagian" ... such as "You shall know a tree by it's fruit" and many others.


Look, I never was denying the possibility of homosexual temptations, struggles, even actual sins and failures existing alongside a true Christian faith.  I was responding to what I felt was a question aimed at making homosexuality out to be compatible with the gospel of Christ ... something acceptable, perhaps even the way God made us, and certainly nothing to repent of.
  

quote:
The real question is whether homosexual behavior is necessarily changed at the moment of faith in order for the profession of faith to be validated.††I donít think so.



I thought the real question was whether homosexual behaviour is necessarily changed AT ALL.  At least that's the one I was trying to answer.  Contextually that's the question Reg and others have seemed to be asking.  I think you and I actually agree on this, if we can just agree on which question we're answering.      


quote:
In time, I believe the homosexual will be faced with some important decisions as he or she grows in faith.††Those struggles may involve failures, but biblical teaching is pretty clear that we are not judged on our failures because Christ atonement efficaciously covers our past, present, and future failures.††If it didnít, how could we say with any confidence that we are indeed freed from the wages of sin?


How true Jim.  However, referring to homosexual acts as "failure" pressupposes a goal, and one in the opposite direction of homosexuality.  I was really talking of homosexuals who join the church and try to justify the sin, and ask God to change his mind rather than themselves, who admit no need for repentance, and therefore can technically have no "failure".  We are, I believe, talking about two different situations.  Grace can be no license to sin, though "Grace Alone" is certainly an indispensable creed of our faith.  


Stephen
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371 posted 08-04-2004 01:04 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
"All of the above" should be shifted to indeed include ALL four choices, not just the three you seem to like.



Ron, my point was, there is no necessary connection between how much something is studied, by so many intelligent scholars, and a lack of clarity.  We continue to study the stars, yet don't doubt the basics we have learned.  We continue to study mathematics, biology, chemistry, psychology, etc.  But that doesn't mean there are not things about these which are very clear to us.  


If you want to make the point that scripture is nebulous in areas, I'll concede.  If you want to make the point that homosexuality is one of them, you'll have to do more than just say it is.  It's one of the clearest categorical emphatic statements in the Bible.  It occurs multiple times throughout it's pages, with NO countering scriptures.  (Hey, even Paul's statements about long hair had a counter-example in the Nazarite of the Old Testament, and was only ONE scripture).  It is trans-testamental. It is even connected with historical judgements and the wrath of God in the book of Genesis.


What I'd like you to attempt, is to defend the claim that the Bible is ambiguous about whether or not homosexuality is sin ... using nothing less (notice I didn't say nothing more) than the Bible as your proof-text.  Doing this by referring us to the scriptures, and the actual subject under discussion, is more difficult than constantly referring to separate issues (such as Geocentrism, long-hair, and Slavery), and throwing red herrings... but it is more persuasive.


(all this talk about lizard gizzards and red herrings is making my stomach growl! )

Stephen.  
Ron
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quote:
We continue to study mathematics, biology, chemistry, psychology, etc.  But that doesn't mean there are not things about these which are very clear to us.

Good analogy, Stephen. Both science and Christianity include abundant historical instances where we thought something was very clear, only to discover it wasn't. Indeed, the greatest stumbling blocks we've face throughout time, in both science and religion, have almost invariably been our reluctance to reevaluate our seeming clarity.

quote:
What I'd like you to attempt, is to defend the claim that the Bible is ambiguous about whether or not homosexuality is sin ... using nothing less (notice I didn't say nothing more) than the Bible as your proof-text.

I already have. "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone!" Any interpretation of scripture that advocates prejudice and persecution instead of acceptance and love is at odds with the underlying foundation of Christian teachings. Either the interpretation is faulty or we need to redefine the message of Christ. I, obviously, prefer the former.
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373 posted 08-04-2004 08:29 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Stephen-

I agree with your assessment that in a lot of ways I tend to see what works practically and apply it to life. But I don't think I take it to extremes- there's thisguy- I forget his name, but a big utilitarianist, who thinks that infanticide should be legal because infants aren't aware of themselves and therefore don't value their lives... however, it is wrong to kill animals of higher intelligence, such as certain mammals and birds, because there is the possibility that they do ahve the intelligence to value their own lives.
I agree with you when you say:

" I think that immoral things can often be justified on pragmatic grounds, either negatively or positively, either by a perceived lack of ill effects or perceived benefits.  In fact if every moral issue were decided by evaluating personal wellbeing alone, the whole idea of "morality" is lost."

I think that there is a point where you ahve to step up and say "This is wrong."  I just think that point is so different for everyone, and that's why we get into these endless debates. To you, infringing upon the sacred institution of marriage is wrong, to me, infringing on people's right to do what they wish is wrong. I'm basically ready to agree to disagree here, with one minor point for thought to add:

"However I think differences between making a private personal decision illegal, and preserving a publicly sanctioned institution are not hard to see."

Should we have preserved the publicly sanctioned institution of voting as a club open only to white landowning males? It's an expansion of the institution, not a destruction of it.

Anyway, I'm done here, I just can't do it anymore... have fun everyone.
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374 posted 08-05-2004 01:12 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron:
quote:
I already have. "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone!"

There's a problem with your use (or misuse I think) of this scripture.  The scripture seems to take for granted that the sin being judged is truly sin, never questioning that point.  It only questions the state of those ready to inflict punishment, and the right they have to do so.  This scripture is anything but a defense of sin.  But your stance is quite different from the one offered in this scripture, you deny it is sin at all.  How could you say with Christ, "Go and sin no more", if you think it's not really sin?


Now you can argue how legislating a protection of traditional marriage is "casting a stone".  But I'm still trying to hold your feet to the fire on the issue of "sin or not".  Because I think the legislative view is influenced heavily by what we believe about the moral issue.


Your "don't cast any stones" argument may or may not hold up on these issues of public policy, or even private action.  But it doesn't provide any Biblical argument for homosexuality not being really sin.


Don't you see that the scriptures you're quoting have conceded the point of the behavior(s) being wrong?  In fact the strength of such scriptures hinges on that very thing, as if to say "Don't judge!  You're doing the same thing".   Would such a rebuke make any sense if the woman caught in adultery wasn't really an adulterer, but a victim of social prejudice?


Stephen  
 
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