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#770056 - 02/24/05 06:31 AM Re: To Christians
Steve Miller Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 3290
Loc: Yorba Linda, CA
Dwain, if you begin from the admonitions in the Old Testament, then it is indeed necessary to do the tap dance you just outlined to allow gays to exist - or at least exist within the graces of the Church.

If however, you begin with the teaching of Jesus - who generally stuck to variations of the golden rule - you will find no such tap dance necessary. You will find that when you do that, everything becomes much simpler, much more loving, much truer to the message He brought to us. The admonitions then - rather than existing as a stumbling block to work around - reveal themselves to be little more than historical oddities.

There are any number of oddities such as those in the Old Testament. They're freely ignored by even the most literal of followers. To insist that these oddities are more important than the teachings of the man you profess to follow is to change the very essence of the message.

Start with love, Dwain. The message reveals itself so much more clearly when you do.
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#770057 - 02/24/05 06:38 AM Re: To Christians
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3214
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
"Gays are not, in principle, allowed to meet any moral standard."

I don't know what this sentence means, Jeffrey. Gays are held to the same moral standard as straights who do not marry. And regarding all other moral issues that do not pertain to sex, the standard is, again, the exact same.

[/b]
Oh, Dwain, so close! So close!

I think the Bible is pretty clear (at least New Testament-wise - the oft quoted Leviticus obviously does not apply to this issue).

Biblically, gays are and should be held to exactly the same standard as straights. END OF SENTENCE. And what this requires of the true Christian is that he/she support gay marriage. This is the clear intent of the scriptures. It is ignored by many Christians because of a somewhat understandable personal repugnance.

Gays are not allowed to meet that particular moral standard because humans, for personal and not divine reasons, have imposed an artificial ban on marriage. If gay marriage were okay, there would in principle be no biblical prohibition against gay sex within marriage. Sadly, my church along with most has not seen this yet.
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#770058 - 02/24/05 07:51 AM Re: To Christians
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1157
Loc: NY
Oh no TimR, I disagree. Dwain was nowhere close. As far as I'm concerned, Jeffrey check-mated him.

Just to clarify. What Dwain is in effect saying is that heterosexuals have an out for their God-given, Natural, sexual tension. They simply have to get married.

Gays are afforded absolutely no such out. They have to forever bottle up their natural sex drive and, at least as "evil," never ever consummate the valid love they have for that special someone.

Oops, excuse me, they do have an out. They can marry the opposite sex and release their sex drive that way. Of course, this, for all practical purposes, is tantamount to asking a heterosexual to marry a sheep to release their sex drive.

Hmmmmm ... on second thought \:D
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#770059 - 02/24/05 07:56 AM Re: To Christians
Quidam Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 866
Loc: USA
But the Bible, even the New Testament, is very clear that homosexuality is a sin. I don't believe it's any less of a sin just because the people involved are married. Why do you think that allowing gay marriage is obviously the intent of the teachings of Christ, TimR?
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#770060 - 02/24/05 08:01 AM Re: To Christians
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
baaaaaaaaaaaaad idea (the sheep)

heterosexuals established long ago that the little piece of paper was meanlingless if passion were the order of the day, or protocol decreed their relationship unsacrosant...

"What's a piece of paper when one is in love?"
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accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#770061 - 02/24/05 08:16 AM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
Steve, my position is simply examining the heart of the individual in relation to its response to the will of God. That's hardly a tap dance, it's actually at the core of Christian belief.

My position is based on the numerous scriptural references that begin in the Old Testament and continue through New Testament scriptures. The key in understanding the Bible as a unified canon that tells a continuous story is to look at the overriding emphases and for consistency of meaning. I think that there's ample consistency throughout scripture to support my personal theology regarding this issue. Also, it is Christian theology that Christ is the fulfillment of the Law. In part, that means that certain aspects of the Old Testament may be, not void, but redefined in Christ - but that argument can't be made regarding stipulations that continue to be applied in New Testament scripture, both during and after Christ's earthly ministry.

I also think that it is consistent with Jesus' own words. Some people would say that the only scripture that qualifies as the Word of God are those words actually attributed to Jesus. I disagree with that philosophy, as does all traditional Christian theology and exegesis going back to the days immediately following Christ's death and resurrection. However, even looking at Christ's own words, we find the following. This is Matthew 15:17-20; the story can also be found in the Gospell of Mark:

"...Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile."

The passage above uses the word "fornication" to translate a particular greek word - porneia. Obviously enough, it's the same word that our word "pornography" originates from. In Jesus' time and earlier, this word was used to define any form of illicit sexual intercourse, and it included adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals, sexual intercourse with close relatives, or sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman.

Jesus' use of the word, then, takes in a much broader range of practices than what current English language generally defines as "fornication."

It's true that (at leat as far as we know)Jesus didn't actually speak Greek, but the ancient Greek translations are far closer to the original source than 21st century English, so I still place more trust in the original text than subsequent translations for different languages, cultures, and times.

I also think that my personal theology is consistent with Christ's message that love - love for fellow humankind, and most importantly, love of God - are the most important commands. I don't think that it is expressive of love to not point out that a particular behavior is sinful, and is therefore a stumbling block to a person improving their relationship with God. The biblical definition of love includes instructing and reproving each other in order to strengthen our faith and understanding of God.

Jesus was never afraid to stir the pot, making comments and redefining faith in ways that were (and continue to be) considered revolutionary. During his earthly life, homosexuals in the Hebrew tradition had a tough life, to say the least. At the same time, the Greco-Roman tradition was extremely tolerant and supportive of homosexual activity. It's revealing that despite what must have been many opportunities, Jesus never is quoted as saying anything even remotely like: "Don't you see that what is important is love; and that love may be expressed sexually between members of the same sex? Do you not see that marriage, as defined by tradition and the Law, is actually a stumbling block to expressing love? So whether it is with a man and a woman, or a man and a man, love is love, and should not be denied by denying marriage." Jesus' ministry was a continual example of helping the sick, the poor, the forgotten, the outcasts of society. Yet he didn't say anything like the words I used just now. Why?

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#770062 - 02/24/05 08:35 AM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by MusicMagellan:
What Dwain is in effect saying is that heterosexuals have an out for their God-given, Natural, sexual tension. They simply have to get married. Gays are afforded absolutely no such out. [/b]
That's correct, and it would be awfully unfair and mean if the story ended there. But it doesn't end there. I have natural urges in my being that are as ingrained as sexual urges, that are also defined as being contrary to God's ideal, and which I am commanded to turn away from. Neither I, nor any other Christian, has been given a path in life any easier than any gay man. We just have different, equally irresistable sins to battle with. That's why no one can condemn simply due to the fact that a person is gay, or even that the gay person will fail to always avoid the temptation, because we are in the exact same boat. The key is the state of acknowledgement that it is not God's ideal, the act of asking for forgiveness, and the ongoing life of avoiding the sin.

Just like me - different sin, same problem.

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#770063 - 02/24/05 10:42 AM Re: To Christians
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14051
Loc: Louisiana
Well done, Mr. Lee.
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#770064 - 02/24/05 10:43 AM Re: To Christians
Freedom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 1192
Loc: Scotland
 Quote:
Originally posted by NAK:
yhabpo, I hate to say it, but you're right. Those who profess Christianity should not fornicate, as it is going against God's Word. Does that mean they're not a Christian if they do? Not necessarily.

That's all I will say on the subject. [/b]
I agree:)
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#770065 - 02/24/05 11:39 AM Re: To Christians
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1157
Loc: NY
Dwain,

I neglected to mention a key premise of mine. And that is that being gay is Natural, not a life style choice.

No I can't prove that, although there is much evidence that most gay men effectively had no true choice in the matter. I haven't seen such evidence for gay women yet but, of course, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Further I have a gay male cousin who the entire family "knew" was naturally gay from a very early age. Again no proof, but overwhelming "obvious" from observation.

Interestingly, he meets the common profile of being born as the third of three successive sons. Also, he happens to be the best true Christian in the family in the sense of the Sermon on the Mount which to me is the essence of true Christianity.

So those are some of my biases in this matter.

Others include a different take than yours on the relevance of the Old Testament to Christianity. I won't get into that here.

One more. I was for a long time a lapsed Catholic, in fact ,really an atheist. Look at my profession. Any surprise? But then I came back to my faith. In the interim I, in effect, developed a litany of arguments against every argument for Christianity.

You've seen only some of them so far from others on PW. But make no mistake about it. This is an especially intelligent set of anti-Christians you have here on PW.

I will tell you that your kinds of arguments will not work with those who approach religion with a more, let me say, scientific, "logical," "rational," approach. In fact, it's decidely offputting.

I had this problem with my children, particularly my son who I might mention had a full scholarship in EE at MIT from undergraduate through his graduate degrees. Get the picture again? But I finally got through to him.

So you might get huzzahs from the "choir" here, but it ain't gonna work with the people who really need it.

This is meant to be constructive. I, like you, would wish to share our Gift with others. But you know as well as I do that, for that to happen, they first have to be receptive and open to Jesus finding them. I just don't see this process making that happen.

You see, I'm not at all interested in defending or validating my position. I don't give a flying fig what others might think of my beliefs. But, at the same time, I'm not exactly thrilled about seeing any goings on that might turn them off to the possibility of receiving that gift.

OK, end of story.
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#770066 - 02/24/05 11:46 AM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Wonderful post musicmagellan!

I knew I liked you.

Dwain:
I wish that I could articulate as well as you. I would love to try to communicate some of the things going on in my head right now, but unfortunately communication is not one of my gifts.
I would love to lend you support in this thread, but unfortunately as MusicMagellan says, the people arguing the hardest are not at all interested in understanding where you and I are coming from. We understand where they're coming from just fine, because we've been there.
Unfortunately they can't understand the very foundations of what we're talking about, and therefore will likely not "take" to what we're saying.

Anyway, you have my support, but I will not jump into the fray with you for I wish not to risk that my stupidity somehow be transferred to you! \:\)

In the words of aveau:
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#770067 - 02/24/05 11:50 AM Re: To Christians
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1157
Loc: NY
KB, Dwaine, Jolly et al,

We can help them! It's called prayer. If you think for a second I could have made any real headway with my son otherwise :rolleyes: \:\)
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#770068 - 02/24/05 12:00 PM Re: To Christians
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I see we are in perfect agreement. \:\)
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#770069 - 02/24/05 12:08 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by KlavierBauer:
Wonderful post musicmagellan!

I knew I liked you.

Dwain:
I wish that I could articulate as well as you. I would love to try to communicate some of the things going on in my head right now, but unfortunately communication is not one of my gifts.
I would love to lend you support in this thread, but unfortunately as MusicMagellan says, the people arguing the hardest are not at all interested in understanding where you and I are coming from. We understand where they're coming from just fine, because we've been there.
Unfortunately they can't understand the very foundations of what we're talking about, and therefore will likely not "take" to what we're saying.

Anyway, you have my support, but I will not jump into the fray with you for I wish not to risk that my stupidity somehow be transferred to you! \:\)

In the words of aveau: [/b]
my goodness. Well, I think you've exposed part of the problem (as well as MM did). Why do you think your detractors both CANT and ARENT INTERESTED in understanding where you're coming from? These are very unfortunate attitudes and really indicates a nonproductive mindset on your part. As well as a demonstration of your failure to read comprehensively. There was a time in my life I was deeply religious. I know the terrain very well, thank you. I believe Jeffrey has thoroughly explored the terrain as well.

There is no lack of understanding where you are coming from. I have spent a great deal of my life exploring the dispositions of different theologies, as has Jeffrey.

And to MMs remarks. I havent seen anyone expressing "anti-Christian" attitudes here. The only focus has been on anti-bigotry. The two are not synonymous, but much of the expressions here by christians have been bigotted. I am actually very pro-christian as a philosophy of how to treat one's fellow man. I find that my behavior is actually more christ-like than many who claim to be christian. It can be a very beautiful ideology.

And of course, remarks like "those who need it" and "we can pray for them" are at a level of condescencion that really diminishes everyone here.
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#770070 - 02/24/05 12:21 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Sid:
I wasn't referrring to you in my post, so perhaps you're a bit hasty.

 Quote:
There is no lack of understanding where you are coming from. I have spent a great deal of my life exploring the dispositions of different theologies, as has Jeffrey.
But that's just it... How can we possibly understand each other beyond comprehension of words when the very framework of our lives are fundamentally different? I understand that you and Jeffrey both have a very educated view of religion and theology. That's much more than I have (I have never studied theology...always assumed T.U.L.I.P. was a flower).

I you know both feel that you understand the whole thing very well... but I'm sorry you don't. Your words often show a lack of understanding in a an experiential fashion. I have no doubt that you and Jeffrey both understand more than I ever will about the ins and outs of theology. But to be fair, you're both limited in your experiential knowledge. That's not a negative thing by the way... I'm just trying to explain why I think we will have trouble finding common ground when we both have very different experiences with regards to this subject.
I don't think you AREN'T interested in understanding where I'm coming from.
I'm also not trying to pass judgment on your ability to understand.
I hope that clear up some what I'm trying to say. I apologize also, because I often have trouble placing into words the complex thoughts that are racing through my brain. I feel often that what you're taking from my words is not what I intended to put in them.
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#770071 - 02/24/05 12:30 PM Re: To Christians
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1157
Loc: NY
Sid oh Sid oh Sid,

I wasn't talking about praying for anyone here on PW in particular or anyone in general.

I was referring to the special people in my real life, not here. As I read it now, my post together with KB's could cetainly be taken the way you took it. So I accept full blame for the confusion.

Geez, that's really funny to me that you thought I meant praying for anyone here on PW. I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing at the comical misunderstanding itself.

(Truly lol. It's too funny. \:D )
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#770072 - 02/24/05 12:32 PM Re: To Christians
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
I think that anyone who conjectures that the experience of being a Christian is anything but a personal, unique experience demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of the works of the Holy Spirit. Trying to equate anyone else's experience with one's own is sheer folly, IMHO.
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#770073 - 02/24/05 12:32 PM Re: To Christians
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6186
 Quote:
KlavierBauer wrote:

I feel often that what you're taking from my words is not what I intended to put in them.[/b]
Whao, J.C. just might feel the same! ;\)
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#770074 - 02/24/05 12:37 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Axtremus:
Fortunately he was fully God, and fully capable of communicating. I am not however.

Unfortunately, we are often incapable or unwilling to accept the true meaning of his words.
So as you say, I am sure he might also feel the same.

It is very hard to love one's enemy or his neighbor as he loves himself. It is also very hard to love God in everything we do. And these two things were what Christ specifically we needed to learn as his followers.
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#770075 - 02/24/05 12:38 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by KlavierBauer:
Sid:
I wasn't referrring to you in my post, so perhaps you're a bit hasty.

 Quote:
There is no lack of understanding where you are coming from. I have spent a great deal of my life exploring the dispositions of different theologies, as has Jeffrey.
But that's just it... How can we possibly understand each other beyond comprehension of words when the very framework of our lives are fundamentally different? I understand that you and Jeffrey both have a very educated view of religion and theology. That's much more than I have (I have never studied theology...always assumed T.U.L.I.P. was a flower).

I you know both feel that you understand the whole thing very well... but I'm sorry you don't. Your words often show a lack of understanding in a an experiential fashion. I have no doubt that you and Jeffrey both understand more than I ever will about the ins and outs of theology. But to be fair, you're both limited in your experiential knowledge. That's not a negative thing by the way... I'm just trying to explain why I think we will have trouble finding common ground when we both have very different experiences with regards to this subject.
I don't think you AREN'T interested in understanding where I'm coming from.
I'm also not trying to pass judgment on your ability to understand.
I hope that clear up some what I'm trying to say. I apologize also, because I often have trouble placing into words the complex thoughts that are racing through my brain. I feel often that what you're taking from my words is not what I intended to put in them. [/b]
But as I've said, I have EXPERIENCED catholicism profoundly, from the inside. For you to say I lack experience in the area is ridiculous, and impossible for you to even know. And to say I dont understand it just parades ignorance. How could you possibly have a thorough insight into my life's experiences in theologies based on a few paragraphs on an internet forum.

There is nothing in my posts that indicates a lack of experience in the field. My posts indicate a different conclusion from my experiences than what you have drawn from yours. I find it very short sighted for you to characterize that difference as a lack of understanding on my part.

The biggest frustration is debates of these sorts is that the christians so often (not always, but very often) resort to such self important, condescending arrogance such as this. "They dont understand, they dont want to understand, we must pray for them, they need help". With remarks like that (coupled with the bigotry), it is very difficult to maintain a healthy respect for the person speaking it, as healthy respect is so absent from those remarks.
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#770076 - 02/24/05 12:46 PM Re: To Christians
Horace Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 505
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
I have natural urges in my being that are as ingrained as sexual urges, that are also defined as being contrary to God's ideal, and which I am commanded to turn away from. Neither I, nor any other Christian, has been given a path in life any easier than any gay man. [/b]
Yes you have. The set of sins to which heterosexual Christians are potentially "naturally inclined" is a strictly smaller subset of the set to which homosexual Christians are potentially naturally inclined. Where is the fair trade-off such that you believe your path to avoid sin is no harder than that of a homosexual, in the abstract? They can't non-sinfully alleviate their sexual tension while you can. But what sins are heterosexuals potentially drawn to that homosexuals are not?

I don't really think it invalidates a religion if some people would find the practice of that religion more difficult than others "through no fault of their own". But I don't see any reasonable basis for denying that that difference exists in this case.

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#770077 - 02/24/05 01:03 PM Re: To Christians
RZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 515
Loc: Anaheim, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by MusicMagellan:
Oh no TimR, I disagree. Dwain was nowhere close. As far as I'm concerned, Jeffrey check-mated him.

Just to clarify. What Dwain is in effect saying is that heterosexuals have an out for their God-given, Natural, sexual tension. They simply have to get married.

Gays are afforded absolutely no such out. They have to forever bottle up their natural sex drive and, at least as "evil," never ever consummate the valid love they have for that special someone. [/b]
I have to disagree -- but not in the way you may think.

The problem those who see gay sexual activity as the issue have is that this is exactly what they see as the issue -- that homosexuals are seekinga way to legitimately act on their sexual urges.

This is not about sexual urges. This is about love, with all that means. This is about finding a soul mate, a life partner, one person who understands who you are and whom you understand, the one individual with whom you can be completely open and completely vulnerable. This is about two becoming one.

Sex is simply an expression of that love. It is not really sex, though, that homosexuals are being denied. They can find that and can have sex. However, it is living their love fully, in its deepest and most profound sense, that people deny them.

Those who argue against gay marriage would never define their own marriage as simply a means for sexual satisfaction. Never. They would be appalled and rightly offended if someone told them that their marriage, their relationship with their spouse, was simply or even primarily a sexual interaction and one they entered into so they can have licit sexual relations.

Yet for some reason, they cannot get past their view that sex is the driving force behind the homosexuality and they cannot accept that loving someone for all of one's life in all meanings of that word is the driving force behind the desire for marriage among gays.

It is a blind spot that too many have. Try as they might, for whatever reason, they cannot get past it.

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#770078 - 02/24/05 01:05 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Sid,
I have tried to state plainly that what you're getting from my post was not my intention.
I don't know how else to say it...

It's clear that you and I have had different experiences in life. I have stated plainly that I am not attaching a value to that, simply observing that we have had different experiences, as have all human beings.

Like I said very clearly: I am not making a judgment on your ability to understand or comprehend, I have simply observed that given different experiences, we naturally have different conclusions. You have said the same yourself.
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#770079 - 02/24/05 01:09 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by KlavierBauer:
Sid,
I have tried to state plainly that what you're getting from my post was not my intention.
I don't know how else to say it...

It's clear that you and I have had different experiences in life. I have stated plainly that I am not attaching a value to that, simply observing that we have had different experiences, as have all human beings.

Like I said very clearly: I am not making a judgment on your ability to understand or comprehend, I have simply observed that given different experiences, we naturally have different conclusions. You have said the same yourself. [/b]
You stated this very plainly:

"I you know both feel that you understand the whole thing very well... but I'm sorry you don't."

That is what I'm responding to. I dont know how else to say that either.
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#770080 - 02/24/05 01:17 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
I think I am simply trying to state that clearly we have different understandings of what religion means, and what it is. You obvioulsy have come to different conclusions than I have regarding religion, and the fact that you were once profoundly affected by it, and aren't now is proof of that.
Once again, I am not attaching value to that, I am simply observing it.
I'm not inferring that you can't understand religion, rather that your understanding and mine differ widely.
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#770081 - 02/24/05 01:24 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
MM, you may be surprised at how much we agree:

 Quote:
Originally posted by MusicMagellan:
I neglected to mention a key premise of mine. And that is that being gay is Natural, not a life style choice. [/b]
Me too. I think that being gay is genetic, or if not genetic, it is extremely ingrained, so much so that the distinction between genetic or non-genetic is moot.

 Quote:

Also, he happens to be the best true Christian in the family in the sense of the Sermon on the Mount which to me is the essence of true Christianity. [/b]
Very possible. I think I said earlier that being gay does not mean that a person cannot be a Christian of deep faith.

 Quote:
But make no mistake about it. This is an especially intelligent set of anti-Christians you have here on PW.[/b]
I agree, and I haven't ever said or implied anything to the contrary. I do think, though, that often the reverse assumption is exhibited - that all of the Christians here are, by definition, backward and uneducated.

 Quote:

I will tell you that your kinds of arguments will not work with those who approach religion with a more, let me say, scientific, "logical," "rational," approach. In fact, it's decidely offputting. [/b]
And here's the rub. You think that I'm making arguments to convince someone to believe the same way that I do. I'm not. I first replied to this thread because the originator asked for Christians' take on the issue of fornication/premarital sex, and whether their beliefs were, in fact, hypocritical. I answered that request for my opinion, and when someone asked for my take on the implications of that opinion regarding homosexuality, I answered in detail. Not once in this thread have I ever argued to convince anyone to believe the way I do. I've only stated my beliefs, what they are grounded in, and how that squares with Christian scripture and classical ecumenical theology. My beliefs begin with certain a priori assumptions about the reliabilty of scripture as a reliable witness to the will of God. If a person does not have those same assumptions, it's reasonable to assume they're not going to share my beliefs.

I could, in fact, engage in apologetics - i.e., arguing that people should follow the Christian faith - and therefore, share my assumptions - for reasons x, y, and z. If I were to do so, x, y, and z would come from rational, experiential, spiritual, and other directions. But that wasn't, and isn't, the purpose of my posts in this thread. Even if I were arguing apologetics, I'd only do it for a short while, for reasons I'll detail below.

 Quote:

So you might get huzzahs from the "choir" here, but it ain't gonna work with the people who really need it.[/b]
Since I'm personally uncomfortable with praise, huzzahs or otherwise, I wouldn't spend the considerable amount of time required for these types of posts, just to get some pat on the back from someone else. Further, I'm sure that to some people who read my posts, the thought that any gay person could, or should, ever be a minister, is appalling. To be honest, I didn't want to respond at all. But for some reason, I felt that my thoughts regrding this issue may be helpful to someone who reads this - maybe someone who's just lurking here, someone whose name I'll never even know, but with whom my beliefs might resonate. Your position that my beliefs won't resonate with "them" might be true if you're only discussing the few people replying to this thread. The "them" that I took the time to write to was a considerably larger potential audience - and not all of "them" view the world in the exact same way. The same words that may be "off-putting" to some, may in fact be the exact words that someone else needs to hear.

 Quote:
But you know as well as I do that, for that to happen, they first have to be receptive and open to Jesus finding them. I just don't see this process making that happen.[/b]
Again, we agree. That's why I'll far more often - as in this thread - share my beliefs, and why I believe them, but I won't get involved in stupid, circular arguments to try to "prove" the existence of any God, much less the infinite/personal/triune God of my belief. To begin with, it is impossible to fully comprehend a God whose immenseness is by definition, beyond our limited capabilities to fully grasp. Second, I firmly believe that no person will ever grasp what I call the "irrational rationality" of the Christian faith, until and unless God has worked within their heart to be able to understand its simplicity and power (or, to have been "elected" by God, in the Reformed tradition) - that in fact, you can't just reach out to God, God must reach out to you first. And until that happens, no amount of jawboning or arguing will make a person change their beliefs. Despite whether the arguments ar based on logic, emotion, experience, or anything else, that is not something in my control. So I'm not going to get all hot and bothered, here or in person, trying to argue and browbeat someone to become a Christian. It isn't my job; I can only say what I believe and why. The rest is in God's hands.

 Quote:
You see, I'm not at all interested in defending or validating my position. I don't give a flying fig what others might think of my beliefs. [/b]
Nor am I, and I've long ago given up caring what others think of my beliefs. I don't hold them to please others, I hold them in an attempt to please God. But I have no problem actually explaining them, since quite often, I see people speaking at length at what the Christian position on some topic is, and it's clear that they have no real clue regarding Christian theology. Or, as in this thread, if someone asked for my opinion.

 Quote:
But, at the same time, I'm not exactly thrilled about seeing any goings on that might turn them off to the possibility of receiving that gift.[/b]
Your point is valid; unfortunately, it's not universal. Like you, I've heard explanations of Christian faith that did nothing at all for me, my understanding, or the way that I process and digest information - only to talk to someone else who couldn't say enough about how enlightening the presentation was for them. I think it's important for all believers to remember that we all are listening for, and often we are all hearing, different things at different times.

 Quote:
OK, end of story. [/b]
Same here. Like I said, I first posted because a direct question was asked, and specific follow-up questions were asked. We're now getting into Circular-Land, and that's where I get off the Merry-go-Round. ;\)

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#770082 - 02/24/05 01:25 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by KlavierBauer:
I'm not inferring that you can't understand religion, [/b]
But you said exactly that:

"We understand where they're coming from just fine, because we've been there.
Unfortunately they can't understand the very foundations of what we're talking about, and therefore will likely not "take" to what we're saying."

You can fathom us, be not we, you. So glad to see you've come around to something more reasonable. See, learning can occur from these discussions. \:\)
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#770083 - 02/24/05 01:28 PM Re: To Christians
ivorythumper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: The Great American Southwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Siddhartha:
The biggest frustration is debates of these sorts is that the christians so often (not always, but very often) resort to such self important, condescending arrogance such as this. "They dont understand, they dont want to understand, we must pray for them, they need help". With remarks like that (coupled with the bigotry), it is very difficult to maintain a healthy respect for the person speaking it, as healthy respect is so absent from those remarks. [/b]
Sidd: I agree with you, but I see traces of arrogance and superiority among the "post religious" as well: "If only you weren't so benighted as to cling to antiquated notions of spirituality or a personal God or to personify evil, etc." or "Belief in an order to the universe is naive, and leads to bigotry and hatred, war, and persecution of homosexuals." I don't think this is a caricature, but please don't take offense if you find it so.

Now such reaction is certainly understandable. Some would say that such shifts either to religion from secularism or to secularism from religion are so momentous that we are always fighting old ghosts.

I too find it difficult to retain respect for those who attack faith. But I also think that I fully understand why those like yourself see the Christian story as just another myth, while still maintaining a respect for the message encoded in the myth. For me, the power of the "myth" has proven to be more than persuasive, it is coercive (and that's not a bad thing). I find Christianity entirely unique in that respect, but I also see the world as sufficiently complex that it is by no means persuasive to everyone.
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#770084 - 02/24/05 01:52 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by ivorythumper:
Sidd: I agree with you, but I see traces of arrogance and superiority among the "post religious" as well: "If only you weren't so benighted as to cling to antiquated notions of spirituality or a personal God or to personify evil, etc." or "Belief in an order to the universe is naive, and leads to bigotry and hatred, war, and persecution of homosexuals." I don't think this is a caricature, but please don't take offense if you find it so.

Now such reaction is certainly understandable. Some would say that such shifts either to religion from secularism or to secularism from religion are so momentous that we are always fighting old ghosts.

I too find it difficult to retain respect for those who attack faith. But I also think that I fully understand why those like yourself see the Christian story as just another myth, while still maintaining a respect for the message encoded in the myth. For me, the power of the "myth" has proven to be more than persuasive, it is coercive (and that's not a bad thing). I find Christianity entirely unique in that respect, but I also see the world as sufficiently complex that it is by no means persuasive to everyone. [/b]
Oh, I agree, attitudes can fly in both directions. In my perspective, however, what I often am seeing is one person saying "2+2=4" and if the other person wont agree to that, some condescension and insult may come in. That may be unfortunate, but I can follow the logic.

The other way is someone saying "well, 2+2=4, but so what, I'm gonna call it 5" and then condescends at the lack of agreement. This is the variety that offends me.

I'm very glad to see you admit that you can understand how the picture can be viewed as just a myth. Otherwise, you would be denying logic. It is logical to equate it to mythology. In many of your posts, you say that Jeffry's arguments make perfect logical sense. Thats very nice to hear, because they do. And you've also remarked that your faith does not follow logic. In other words, you acknowledge the logical, and choose otherwise. If you choose to invest faith contrary to logic, I respect that, I can understand that, and I support that.

So I think there is a significant difference between condescending to someone because they refuse to acknowledge logic, and condescending to someone because they've chosen not to buy into one's particular preference of myths. Condescension is always unfortunate (yes, i've done it too), but its just SO unfortunate when it stems from asserting 2+2=5 as logical, and that if you think its 4, you just dont understand.
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I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?

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#770085 - 02/24/05 01:59 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Sid,
I can't make you see something if you don't want to see it....

But I stated clearly that the post you quoted: "We understand where they're coming from just fine, because we've been there.
Unfortunately they can't understand the very foundations of what we're talking about, and therefore will likely not "take" to what we're saying."
Was not in reference to you.
I have also tried to state in finer detail what I mean with my words regarding your understanding and my understanding.

You can either choose to keep telling me what I meant, or you can accept my explanation of what I was trying to say, and what I do in fact mean.

fin
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