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#770026 - 02/23/05 03:36 PM To Christians
yhabpo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/22/04
Posts: 489
Corinthians 6:9-10

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.


Corinthians 6:18

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

Thessalonians 4:3

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fronication.

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whore mongers and adulterers God will judge.

.
.
.

Your book clearly states that fornication is disallowed.
Here are questions for the fornictors of this forum:

Are you going against the will of God? Are you disobeying the Bible? Aren't you a Christian?

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#770027 - 02/23/05 03:45 PM Re: To Christians
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1157
Loc: NY
Yes I am a Christian.

It's just that I'm following the Bible in chronological order. I haven't gotten past "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth" (Genesis 1:28) yet.

Give me another few decades or so. I'll get to the parts you cited eventually.
_________________________
(watch this space)

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#770028 - 02/23/05 03:46 PM Re: To Christians
Nuaetvoaw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/05
Posts: 77
Loc: The South
 Quote:
Originally posted by yhabpo:
Corinthians 6:9-10

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.


Corinthians 6:18

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

Thessalonians 4:3

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fronication.

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whore mongers and adulterers God will judge.

.
.
.

Your book clearly states that fornication is disallowed.
Here are questions for the fornictors of this forum:

Are you going against the will of God? Are you disobeying the Bible? Aren't you a Christian? [/b]
I fully agree. Your point is valid, but it will be lost here, just wait until the village idiots come knocking with their torches and troll hunting gear. Do you agree? I agree!
_________________________
"He with whom neither slander that gradually soaks into the mind, nor statements that startle like a wound in the flesh, is successful and may be called intelligent indeed. ." -Confucius

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#770029 - 02/23/05 03:49 PM Re: To Christians
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
I like "whore culture" better. It has more cachet. :p

It is not my place to judge the actions of others, only my own. I live in my own glass house, thank you, and for better or worse, we all do.
_________________________
Sacred cows make the best hamburger. - Clemens

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#770030 - 02/23/05 03:50 PM Re: To Christians
Nuaetvoaw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/05
Posts: 77
Loc: The South
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matt G.:
I like "whore culture" better. It has more cachet. :p

It is not my place to judge the actions of others, only my own. I live in my own glass house, thank you, and for better or worse, we all do. [/b]
I agree! My house is made of glass and smells of rich mahogany!
_________________________
"He with whom neither slander that gradually soaks into the mind, nor statements that startle like a wound in the flesh, is successful and may be called intelligent indeed. ." -Confucius

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#770031 - 02/23/05 04:07 PM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by yhabpo:
fronication.
[/b]
Yessir, that's one bonehead name, but that ain't me no more. (apoligies to the brother's Coen).
_________________________
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770032 - 02/23/05 04:08 PM Re: To Christians
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
I'm not Christian, but I couldn't help but glance through such a discussion started by Yhapbo. It's basically what I expected.

I'm not a big fan, personally, of fornication because of the implications of it all. If a baby is born, what do you do? If you're going to have sex with somebody, shouldn't it mean that you want a strong relationship with that person anyways? Of course, sex should be put off until at least the late teen years (when marriage is legal, anyhow).

But if a couple is engaged, and they are going to share a life together, then I don't really see a problem with it.

Now, as Jew I can say that there are a lot of things in the Jewish law that I don't follow. For example, I play piano on the Sabbath. It doesn't say specifically, "Though shalt not play Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto on the Sabbath..." but it does say something to the affect of not working. Oh well. I eat only kosher foods in a kosher manner in my home, but I will eat a hamburger at a non-kosher restaurant. Oh well. I'm still Jewish, and a very good Jew at that.

Am I wrong, or is Christianity the same way? Can you choose to lead your life the way that you like, following many Christian tennets, not following others, and still be a good Christian? I think so, but let me know if I'm wrong about that! ;\)
_________________________
Sam

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#770033 - 02/23/05 04:22 PM Re: To Christians
yhabpo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/22/04
Posts: 489
This thread is aimed at fundamental biblicists, not at reasonable people such as yourself.

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#770034 - 02/23/05 04:35 PM Re: To Christians
NAK Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 2561
Loc: Canada

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#770035 - 02/23/05 04:44 PM Re: To Christians
kluurs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 3739
Loc: Chicago
Actually a lot of us are guilty of the "Jesus is a reasonable guy...He thinks a lot like I do..."

Or "Jesus thinks a lot like my (minister, priest) thinks..."

I think Jesus challenges us... thoughts, spirit and deeds. Rationalization is Evil's greatest tool.

Easier to focus on the sins of others... Most of us are guilty of this at some time or another.

My first crises of faith came as a child. A young boy near my house suffered a severe brain injury. It changed what was once a peaceful and loving kid into a violent child. I wondered then how God could judge his behavior and mine in the same way. For this boy's behavior seemed not to be fully under his control...

It was then that I decided that I needed to worry more about my behavior - and let God do the judging of others for only He could know what hand they had been dealt.

K

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#770036 - 02/23/05 04:47 PM Re: To Christians
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1157
Loc: NY
somebody's going to pay for all the time I'm spending on PW today when I should be doing other things... and that someone will unfortunately be me by working longer tonite than planned. \:\(

But, pianojerome, I did want to take advantage of the opportunity provided by your question.

Please, please do not judge Christianity in general by many, probably most, of the posts on this forum. This is not meant to disparage the said posters but, surprisingly to me, they represent a relatively narrow range of Christianity as practiced in the world today.

In particular, Roman Catholicism is a highly adaptive religion and considerably more refined, sophisticated, modern and intellectual than many non-Christians might appreciate.

I can tell you that there are many Catholic priests (especially Jesuits) who have a severe problem with the present Pope (he is a stubborn reactionary) and yearn for the days of Pope John XXIII.

By the way, it is entirely valid for a Roman Catholic to critique the Pope. To claim otherwise would be an example of Manichaeism, a heresy from the early days of the Christian church.

That's a rather fragmented reply to your question. I could have simply answered "yes," but I just so enjoy hearing myself talk.

Say goodnight, MM.

Goodnight.
_________________________
(watch this space)

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#770037 - 02/23/05 05:19 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Well said MusicMagellan


I will comment on the original question as an Orthodox Christian.
There are some fundamental Theological differences between me and some others, making this thread not "aimed" at me (interesting choice of words yhabpo).

The Bible is very clear that fornication is a sin.

So what?

I mean, what are you getting at?

If you're trying to draw a logical conclusion that a fornicator can't be a Christian because fornication is sin, then you don't have a very firm understanding of what "sin" is, and of what "Christianity" is.
First let's tackle Christianity because it is necessary to understand the terms of the religion before delving into concepts such as "sin".

Christianity, at least in the Orthodox world follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. It doesn't stop there though.
There are a few beliefs that make Christians Christians, beyond their appreciation of Christ's teachings.
Christ was fully God, and fully man.
Man is sinful, but doesn't have to be (Many Protestants would disagree with this saying that Man has inherited sin).
God is all knowing, all loving, and all powerful.
God loves all[/b] of his creation

Of course there are more things to list here, but I don't have time to write a thesis here.
So, Christians are these people who believe in Jesus' teachings right?
Well... kind of, but there's a lot more to it.

One of the fundamental ideas in Christianity is one of repentance. The idea isn't that Christians don't sin, and everyone else does. The idea is that everyone sins. A Christian though is (or should be) repentant.

As a Christian you may be sinful in a number of ways even in a single minute! This doesn't make you any less of a Christian. It is the repentance that is important.
Again, I'm glazing over things here with broad[/b] generalities. But I want to lay a foundation so that there is context.
Fornication is[/b] a sin. But being a Christian isn't contingent on not sinning (Thank God).
God's Grace, and Love, and forgiveness allow even "fornicators" to be Christians. But more importantly, God loves all of his Children equally[/b], Christian and non-Christian.

Again I ask, to what end is your question? Because if the supposition is that a person who goes against the Bible can't be a Christian, then there was only one Christian ever.
He did not fornicate, he did not lie, he did not hate, he did not lust. He did not covet, he did not steal, he had no greed, and did not cheat.
_________________________
Outlive Yourself - Become an Organ Donor

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#770038 - 02/23/05 05:29 PM Re: To Christians
kluurs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 3739
Loc: Chicago
KB,

I think the one thing that may be getting glossed is is whether a sinner can feel off the hook in sinning - knowing that he/she'll always be forgiven? Thus, do I have an unlimited sin account?

Can repentenance truly be sincere without an attempt to try and "sin no more?"

Ken

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#770039 - 02/23/05 05:35 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Ken,
I believe that part of being a Christian is exactly that... trying.
We all fall short, but we try.

No, a sinner can not have an unlimited sin account, because I don't think you can truly be sorry for their sin if they see nothing wrong with it in the first place.

It's not the act of asking for forgiveness that clears your sin account... it's not an act at all, but the recognition that what you did was wrong, and being sincerely sorry for it.
If those two things are sincere, then I would think you can't feel "off the hook".
These ideas are mutually exclusive (Christianity, and feeling "off the hook")
_________________________
Outlive Yourself - Become an Organ Donor

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#770040 - 02/23/05 05:51 PM Re: To Christians
kluurs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 3739
Loc: Chicago
KB,

I think we're on the same page...

Still, I'm nervous about thinking "well as long as I'm baptized and as long as I ask for repentance 2 seconds before I pass away, I'll be saved."

Ken

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#770041 - 02/23/05 05:57 PM Re: To Christians
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Suppose a Christian sins, and feels really bad about it. So he repents, and cries out his full sorrow. But then he doesn't think twice about doing it again, and repents again very emotionally. Is this really enough?

In my mind there should be a real attempt to not commit the same sin again... I know we all sin, and we all will continue to sin. But is just being truly sorry enough? Or does one also have to make a conscious effort not to repeat the sin?
_________________________
Sam

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#770042 - 02/23/05 06:41 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
To answer the initial question(s):

When I was younger, I engaged in premarital sex; i.e., fornication - not a lot, and at an age a lot more advanced than many if not most, but it still met the biblical definition.

It was wrong, and I knew it. I turned away from it and asked for forgiveness for it.

It's important to note that I didn't try to delude myself that premarital sex was okay, or that the biblical position was outdated and not relevant to modern times and sensibilities. When I did it, I knew it was wrong. And when I tried to avoid it and failed, the feelings of guilt set in less than a minute afterward - Paul referred to same internal battle when he wrote a particularly moving passage most known for his comment "that which I would do, I do not, and that which I would not do, that I do."

Now that I'm a married man, fornication isn't, by definition, an issue. But there are countless other sins (or failings, if that word rubs you the wrong way), I still have to deal with, and struggle with, and turn away from, and succeed, and sometimes fail, and ask for forgiveness...and the cycle begins anew. But I do not think that the answer is to merely change the definitions of right and wrong to fit one's behavior.

So yes, there are lots of professing Christians who play fast and loose with the Christian position that sex outside the bounds of a male/female marriage is wrong and sinful. And they should be called on it every bit as much as anyone else who tries to redefine right and wrong based solely on their own situation.

I'm not sure that I meet the definition of "fundamental biblicist" that you say you're addressing, but the thread simply says "To Christians," and I think I qualify on that score. Or are you suggesting that all Christians who are serious about their faith are what you call "fundamental biblicists"(whatever that really means)?

This question is related to one that I was thinking about posting earlier today, and decided against. Maybe I'll post it anyway & see where it goes.

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#770043 - 02/23/05 07:35 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Dwain - How does this apply to homosexuality? Seems that all their sex must be fornication. And how can they ever sincerely repent, since "fornication" outside wedlock is the only sex they can ever have without denying this central part of themselves? Seems to be a problem for those who claim to separate hatred of the sin from hatred of the sinner.

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#770044 - 02/23/05 07:44 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
It applies the exact same way that the Christian position applies to single heterosexuals. There is no distinction, or gradation of the sin, based on whether the sex is between members of the same or the opposite sex. The traditional Christian position doesn't discriminate against gays in this regard, it holds gays and straights to the exact same standard. So if a straight man who fails and fornicates is worthy of love and forgiveness, so equally is a gay man who fails and fornicates worthy of the same love and forgiveness. This is no problem or contradiction whatsoever with the concept of "hate the sin, love the sinner." As Christians, we are all called upon to deny things that would be equally considered to be "central parts of ourselves."

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#770045 - 02/23/05 07:48 PM Re: To Christians
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
You all sure know how to hit a lure.
_________________________
Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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#770046 - 02/23/05 07:49 PM Re: To Christians
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
But isn't homosexuality considered sinful anyhow?
_________________________
Sam

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#770047 - 02/23/05 07:55 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
Merely having a homosexual "orientation" is not a sin; acting on the inclination is considered a sin in traditional Christian theology. Some, perhaps as Jeffrey, would say that this is splitting hairs and hypocritical. Others, like myself, would say that it's the same as any other type of sinful behavior - being human, we are inclined to all types of sin, any of which are as potentially "irresistable" as a sexual urge, but it is only sin when we act upon the inclination.

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#770048 - 02/23/05 08:00 PM Re: To Christians
NAK Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 2561
Loc: Canada

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#770049 - 02/23/05 08:04 PM Re: To Christians
markjpcs Offline


Registered: 08/31/04
Posts: 3170
Loc: Wisconsin
hook line and sinker JBryan! :rolleyes:
_________________________
Visit us at:
The Piano World Practice Club

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#770050 - 02/23/05 08:09 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
"Remember, though, "He who even looks at a women lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Emphasis mine)."

Correct NAK, because God is looking at the intent of the heart, and if you've taken the ogling to the point of lust, then you have acted on the urge. Merely admiring the beauty of a woman does not necessarily rise to the level of lust.

Sounds like a standard that's impossible for us to live up to, doesn't it? Well of course, it is. We can't measure up to a standard set that high, it's beyond our human capabilities, and even the thought of such a standard offends our modern sensibilities.


...or, as someone once said using somewhat more archaic language, "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Means the same thing, eh?

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#770051 - 02/23/05 08:12 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
JBryan, I know bait when I see it. But every once in a while I figure, if even one lurker gets any benefit from something that I write, it'll be worth it. Call it a "future occupation"-al hazard.

G'nite. ;\)

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#770052 - 02/23/05 08:13 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Dwain: "The traditional Christian position doesn't discriminate against gays in this regard, it holds gays and straights to the exact same standard."

False. Yes, I know it is the line. But it is still false. Gays are not, in principle, allowed to meet any moral standard. Your version of God feels like sadistically tormenting gays, you are welcome to it.

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#770053 - 02/23/05 08:21 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
"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.

You and I will never agree on this issue because our definition of discrimination - or, in your opinion, "sadistically tormenting" gays - varies too much. I continue to stand up for tolerance and genuine love toward homosexuals, and fight against gay-bashing - particularly when done supposedly in the name of God. But there is a line that I draw, and I've defined it here: that in accordance with the traditional Christian position, that engaging in homosexual sex is viewed as a sin in the eyes of God - no more than my own particular sins, but no less so, either. To you, that's unacceptable. To me, it's applying the same standard to a gay man that is applied to me.

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#770054 - 02/23/05 08:45 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Dwain: Correction. My sentence should have said "Gays are not allowed to meet any moral standard, while remaining true to themselves as gay." I sort of assumed the second half of the sentence as understood. If you sin, you can repent, a gay person cannot (in this respect, and while respecting their own sexual orientation). This makes a mockery of the alleged distinction of hating the sin but not the sinner.

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#770055 - 02/24/05 04:20 AM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
It doesn't, actually, because one could use your phrase of "respecting their own sexual orientation" in the same way regarding any other thing that the person was inclined to do, that God defines as contrary to his will. Self-centeredness is as equally a part of me as homosexual orientation is to someone else. In order to follow the Christian model, I am not allowed to "respect" this part of my existence; in fact, I am told I must "deny" it - i.e., turn away from it. Yet in the midst of this ongoing struggle, I am still worthy of the love of God and fellow humans. That isn't a mockery of hating the sin but not the sinner; it's the definition of it - unless one defines the term "loving the sinner" as simply agreeing that their sin is not sin.

I think that the Christian Church has done itself great harm in its often inconsistent and hypocritical stance toward homosexuals, particularly regarding the issue of the ordination of gays. This issue is one that has come up a lot in our particular denomination in recent years, and it's given me opportunity to think through my own personal theology of the issue in detail. Our church policy is that "unrepentant homosexuals" may not be ordained leaders of the church. I agree with this policy. I also agree that anyone else, who is living a life that includes unrepentant sin is not a partcularly good pastoral role model, and should not be an ordained minister. This does not necessarily mean that either of these people is not truly a Christian, or that they may not be a member of the congregation, or even a valued lay leader within the congregation. The fact that they have an unrepentant spirit toward some sinful aspect of their lives is only indicative that they are at a different point in their personal journey of faith to become more Christlike than someone else - and that that point is not an acceptable one from which to begin pursuing ordination. Becoming a Christian is not a one-time, lightning bolt experience (even those who begin their "faith journey" via a distinct "conversion experience" realize that it's only the beginning of a lifelong journey, not the end of the process).

But that phrase "unrepentant homosexuals" leads to another scenario. Another man is homosexual. He, too, is deeply serious about his Christian faith, and feels a call to the ordained ministry. He freely tells people about his sexual orientation, while telling them that he realizes that to act on his orientation would be wrong in the eyes of God. He confesses that he is in a lifelong struggle to turn away ("repent") from this aspect of his life, and acknowledges that he, just like any of his potential congregation, occasionally fails in his attempts to avoid sin. Would this man be eligible for ordained ministry?

I say yes. Even though I know he'll occasionally stumble, his heart has turned in the right direction. Just as I stumble in sin, so will he. In fact, I believe that this man could be an incredible asset to the church, offering a powerful message and setting an example of love, hope, and support to the many members of congregations around the world who fill the pews on any given Sunday, who face the same struggle.

But here, sadly, the church fails itself. Because of social and cultural prejudices also held by many of its members, and not effectively fought by the church itself, the church continues the incorrect double standard applied to gays and lesbians - that their sin is in some way worse than the more "socially acceptable" sins of other parishioners. This attitude is wrong, and it's led many to call out the Church as hypocritical in this regard - and in my opinion, those critics are exactly right.

But the church's often incorrect, hypocritical attitudes toward gays can't be corrected by swinging too far in the other direction - that God does not call homosexual acts wrong at all, and that it's some sort of crime against the dignity of mankind to "deny" a person the right to act on homosexual urges without considering it sin. Just as I continually turn away from my sin as I go through life, I expect the gay man sitting next to me in the pew to be following a similar path of faith. And all the while, we are both deserving of love, support, and human dignity and respect.

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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.
_________________________
Defender of the Landfill Piano

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#770057 - 02/24/05 06:38 AM Re: To Christians
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3149
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
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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
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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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#770061 - 02/24/05 08:16 AM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
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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
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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
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Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14048
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
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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
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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
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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. \:\)
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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
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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
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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: 6162
 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
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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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Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"

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#770084 - 02/24/05 01:52 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
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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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#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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#770086 - 02/24/05 02:03 PM Re: To Christians
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

Eloquently stated!

But I will tell you a key problem for some of us who have been posting here on PW for a long time. These same discussions keep coming up again and again and again and again ad nauseum, especially this topic of homosexuality and religion.

So the first time one posts, one tends to take the time to lay out ones full case. Meanwhile, new people keep coming onto PW and then into the coffee room and you see basically the same points being made again and again and again ... etc.

So I try to say or add something different to what I said in the past. No doubt it still turns out somewhat repetitious because underlying it is the same set of beliefs and viewpoint.

In effect, Ive already made my dump on the subject way back when. The issue that gave me the strongest negative feeling against the anti-gay position, as I mentioned back then, is the one you stated. Having been married as long as I have makes me especially resonant with that position. To me, the deprivation you stated is the most mean-spirited consequence of an anti-Gay position.

But and a big but my position is based on the assumption that being gay is Natural, not merely a life-style choice. Again, we had a thorough discussion here on PW many many months ago about that topic. The consensus was that the scientific "jury" is still very much out on that premise.

As I said several times in the past, if I were gay, the main thing Id be doing to help my cause is to support, perhaps donate $, to such research. At the same time, if I observe general inaction from gays in this area (I dont mean here on PW, I mean irl) I will begin to suspect that perhaps they dont want such research to proceed because they know its only a life style choice after all.
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(watch this space)

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#770087 - 02/24/05 02:08 PM Re: To Christians
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

This certainly IS a merry-go-round. :rolleyes:

I think we old-timers here all have a touch of masochism in us.

Speaking of praying, please say a prayer for me that I'll never ever enter one of these threads again. And, if you want, I'll do the same for you. \:D
_________________________
(watch this space)

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#770088 - 02/24/05 02:10 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by MusicMagellan:
But I will tell you a key problem for some of us who have been posting here on PW for a long time. These same discussions keep coming up again and again and again and again ad nauseum, especially this topic of homosexuality and religion. [/b]
If you think you get tired of the same points made over & over again, try being Member #10, and a veteran of the "old board" before this forum existed. ;\)

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#770089 - 02/24/05 02:10 PM Re: To Christians
ivorythumper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: The Great American Southwest
I guess I kind of miss your point here, Sidd. If you are chiding me because faith is suprarational, then have your fun if you think its fun.

Is in not that my faith does not follow logic, but my faith is neither in logic nor constrained by it. The logical method is always predicated on how you define the terms of the equation. Logic is but a tool of human reasoning and expression, as is poetry, metaphor, and mythopoetics. What Aquinas could not syllogize he put into hymns.

I am sure that you can write a syllogism for why one form of condescension is better than another, but not based on Christianity's refusal to acknowledge logic. Regardless, condescension is condescension -- and I know it when I see it. \:\)
_________________________
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Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"

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#770090 - 02/24/05 02:10 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
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Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by KlavierBauer:
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 [/b]
I dont want to see it? Oh geez, not again.

I dont care if it wasnt in reference to me, it was condescending to a group of people with no basis for it. Thats what offends me. And yes, I do consider myself in that group of people.

I'm not telling you what you meant, I'm showing you your text. I think anyone with 6th grade reading comprehension skills knows what you meant. Its not tricky prose.

If you've rethought it, and feel otherwise, or now feel you misrepresented your thougths with that text, great. I clearly understand your follow up clarifications. But there is no misunderstanding of what that text meant. So dont try to sell me this.
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#770091 - 02/24/05 02:15 PM Re: To Christians
Matt G. Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
Faith may transcend logic, but neither trumps the other.
_________________________
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#770092 - 02/24/05 02:16 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by ivorythumper:
I guess I kind of miss your point here, Sidd. If you are chiding me because faith is suprarational, then have your fun if you think its fun.

Is in not that my faith does not follow logic, but my faith is neither in logic nor constrained by it. The logical method is always predicated on how you define the terms of the equation. Logic is but a tool of human reasoning and expression, as is poetry, metaphor, and mythopoetics. What Aquinas could not syllogize he put into hymns.

I am sure that you can write a syllogism for why one form of condescension is better than another, but not based on Christianity's refusal to acknowledge logic. Regardless, condescension is condescension -- and I know it when I see it. \:\) [/b]
No, I'm sorry, I didnt mean to be chiding you at all. In fact, I was showing respect for some of your actions on this forum, to the extent I felt I was being too flattering (I must work on my rhetorical skills, i guess).

My point was, I dont agree that condescension is condescension. Sure it all reeks, but condescension because "you dont agree with me (and my illogic)" is infuriating, whereas condescension because "you dont accept the facts" is more tolerable (to me anyway).
_________________________
I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?

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#770093 - 02/24/05 02:19 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matt G.:
Faith may transcend logic, but neither trumps the other. [/b]
They are from different decks. The suits dont coincide.
_________________________
I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?

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#770094 - 02/24/05 02:31 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by MusicMagellan:
RZ,

Eloquently stated!

But I will tell you a key problem for some of us who have been posting here on PW for a long time. These same discussions keep coming up again and again and again and again ad nauseum, especially this topic of homosexuality and religion.

So the first time one posts, one tends to take the time to lay out ones full case. Meanwhile, new people keep coming onto PW and then into the coffee room and you see basically the same points being made again and again and again ... etc.

So I try to say or add something different to what I said in the past. No doubt it still turns out somewhat repetitious because underlying it is the same set of beliefs and viewpoint.

In effect, Ive already made my dump on the subject way back when. The issue that gave me the strongest negative feeling against the anti-gay position, as I mentioned back then, is the one you stated. Having been married as long as I have makes me especially resonant with that position. To me, the deprivation you stated is the most mean-spirited consequence of an anti-Gay position.

But and a big but my position is based on the assumption that being gay is Natural, not merely a life-style choice. Again, we had a thorough discussion here on PW many many months ago about that topic. The consensus was that the scientific "jury" is still very much out on that premise.

As I said several times in the past, if I were gay, the main thing Id be doing to help my cause is to support, perhaps donate $, to such research. At the same time, if I observe general inaction from gays in this area (I dont mean here on PW, I mean irl) I will begin to suspect that perhaps they dont want such research to proceed because they know its only a life style choice after all. [/b]
Its kinda hard not to step in it again tho. I went through the rounds months ago, and was supposedly done with it. Particularly, with certain posters. I have declined to post responses to many many threads of this nature. But oops, I had a weak moment, and one post turns to many \:\(

But onto your juicy remarks here, I'm not clear on what exactly you'd be donating toward research ffor. You say you dont see gays pushing for this research. What research, what causes homosexuality? or a 'cure'? I'm not donating to research on what causes heterosexuality, so why would they want to? And I'm quite sure, not many are interested in a cure.

I do see you as an intelligent contributor here, MM, so it really shocks me that you would even suggest a 'life style choice' explanation. You must know better than that. Explain why you think ANYONE would choose that lifestyle? And then why did you choose to be hetero? and when did you make that choice? Seriously, you know better than this. Dont you? Please?
_________________________
I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?

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#770095 - 02/24/05 02:31 PM Re: To Christians
ivorythumper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: The Great American Southwest
OK, Sidd, I was a bit taken aback by "In other words, you acknowledge the logical, and choose otherwise."

As I tried to indicate, the definitions of the terms are important. I don't agree with Jeffrey on first principles or basic understandings of what constitutes "creation" (even terms such as this and cosmos are probably too laden with tradition), yet if I were a materialist I could see his logic being persuasive. I am not, and I don't.

Yours,

Steve
_________________________
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Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"

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#770096 - 02/24/05 02:45 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
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Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by ivorythumper:
OK, Sidd, I was a bit taken aback by "In other words, you acknowledge the logical, and choose otherwise."

As I tried to indicate, the definitions of the terms are important. I don't agree with Jeffrey on first principles or basic understandings of what constitutes "creation" (even terms such as this and cosmos are probably too laden with tradition), yet if I were a materialist I could see his logic being persuasive. I am not, and I don't.

Yours,

Steve [/b]
Oh, then perhaps I too misunderstood. I thought you have acknowledged that his premise is logical but your faith is not bound to logic. I'm not saying you need to find it persuasive. I'm not interested in you being persuaded into anything. I am interested in hearing you acknowledge logic, because so many dont.

Its difficult to lend creedence to someones argument if they deny logical premises "just because". You may say "yes, that all makes sense, religion and mythology are the same" or whatever "but my faith has called me into a space where that is irrelevant". That is fine, perhaps even beautiful.

But its when people say "no, religion is NOT mythology" (for example) "because, well, because jesus told me, and you just wouldnt understand". That makes no sense, denys logic, and renders any discussion impossible as no there is no definition of a common reality.

And frankly, I wouldnt even have a problem with this second scenario, if they would just attach "...for me, anyway. Your experience may be different". But all too often its "this is the way it is, for all people everywhere, because jesus told me, so I know, you dont get it, and everyone will burn in hell who doesnt get it." How can I not laugh and change the channel to the more intelligent Jerry Springer at that point.
_________________________
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#770097 - 02/24/05 02:50 PM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by MusicMagellan:
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.[/b]
I thought this was interesting. I have a nephew, who is the third of four sons (no sisters). I think everyone in the family thinks he is gay (except his parents, who might just be in denial). He is 16 years old. He has the stereotypical mannerisms, voice patterns and interests.

I am the youngest of five brothers (no sisters). The middle brother, now divorced in his 40's with children) also showed some inclination toward it.

Interestingly, both my brother and the nephew were teased and physically abused unmercifully(nothing violent, just a climate of fear and intimidation) at a young age by the older brothers.
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Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770098 - 02/24/05 02:57 PM Re: To Christians
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

If you check my post here somewhere in the coffee room today (i'm losing track of the threads) you'll see that I do believe it's Natural.

However, if I can find it, I'll send you a link to a past thread here where several of us went into specifics about such research that has been going on.

Also, if I can, I'll provide some references I used in the past on this topic. The evidence seems strong that it is Natural. But I would like to see an air-tight case before I see any body start using this as an argument lest it get shot down and undermine the whole case.

(My off-hand swipe at gays related to my past irritation at some people complaining about the problem without really doing anything constructive about it. Talk is OK, but constructive action to me is what ultimately carries the day.)

P.S. Your seeing me as an intelligent contributor is driven by your observation that you and I seem to have the same taste in women. Can't we revive that thread again? \:D

Edit: Kincaid, I'll look for the reference on that particular topic if you're interested.
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#770099 - 02/24/05 03:04 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:
Oh, then perhaps I too misunderstood. I thought you have acknowledged that his premise is logical but your faith is not bound to logic. I'm not saying you need to find it persuasive. I'm not interested in you being persuaded into anything. I am interested in hearing you acknowledge logic, because so many dont.
[/b]
I don't find the premises that we are in an entirely material and mechanical universe and that consciousness is a product of evolution to be any more reasonable (FWIW, logic is the product of a syllogism, not a predicate of a premise, which is a matter of reason) than the notion of a creator God. Again, faith is not bound by logic, any more than it is *bound* by mythopoetics. If I can make you happy -- maybe even give you spiritual joy -- by acknowledging logic, then I am pleased to do so. It is, however, only a tool of ratiocination, and must be used in recta ratio.

As far as the rest of your concerns, I thought I already addressed that when I wrote above: "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."

I am sorry that you have encountered judgmental Christians. I have encountered judgmental atheists and agnostics, who call me a bigot and hateful for my positions that they consider to be sadistic and benighted. Oh well, I hope we both think better of the other.
_________________________
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Ivorythumper

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#770100 - 02/24/05 03:07 PM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Kincaid, I'll look for the reference on that particular topic if you're interested. [/b]
That would be much appreciated, if you have the time.

I keep wanting to post on this subject but keep holding back - trying to keep more focused on my work and also afraid of my unsorted feelings on the matter being shot to pieces.
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Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770101 - 02/24/05 03:09 PM Re: To Christians
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
You folks realize of course that Yahoo purposely intended to lure you into a religious debate.
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#770102 - 02/24/05 03:09 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Sid Sid Sid....

I don't know what to say to you.
If I'm understanding you correctly, you took a statement not directed toward you, included yourself in an undefined group, then defined it (as including you), then put it back in my face telling me my meaning, and adding that any 6th grader could do the same?

Let me try to approach it a different way because I still don't understand the offense, or the hold up.

Do you and I have different understandings of faith, God, and religion?
If this is unknown, would it be safe to assume that our understandings are different based on the fact that you were previously religious and are no longer, while I still am?
Isn't it possible that we can't possibly understand each other's view points the way that the other does because we have already come to different conclusions regarding said subject matter?

This being the case, no you can't understand my position, at least not in the same way that I do, as you have already dismissed it.
I understand the premise of your position (as you do mine) having been where you are myself. But I also can not completely understand your position as I have already dismissed it.

Make sense?
For the last time there is no offense or value judgement here.
For all the logic that's running rampant in this thread it seems to be above comprehension.
I apologize if I am not communicating well what I am trying to, but continuing to tell me what I'm trying to say when I have explained what I am trying to say is essentially calling me a liar.
I don't think you're doing that, because we seem to get along most of the time.
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#770103 - 02/24/05 03:11 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Yes Larry, and even knowing that certain doom awaited us, we waded right in! \:\)
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#770104 - 02/24/05 03:14 PM Re: To Christians
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1157
Loc: NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matt G.:
Faith may transcend logic, but neither trumps the other.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

They are from different decks. The suits dont coincide.
I agree Sid. But let me extend the notion of logic itself a bit and move into territory which is sometimes misconstrued for faith.

Goedels theorem (I imagine you're familar with it) established that intuition and observation are necessary inputs to any complete system of logic. One can not compose a complete self-consistent (formal logical system) without it.

In my R&D (Research and Development) work, Ive observed a number of times that the most profound, and market-worthy, patents, are those that come to me by intuition. I always prove them subsequently by math modeling, simulation and emulation (bread/brass boarding, field testing, etc.).

On the other hand, my more mundane patents are invariably "conceived" by merely knowing the theory well and applying it systematically and "logically." Those in the R&D world likely share my cynicism but acceptance of the business reasons for the latter-type patents.

Maybe as an Engineer, you too have had such experiences.

I "know" there is a process of mind that lies deeper than we (at least to date) can externalize in some formal logical/mathematical/scientific structure.

Einstein apparently had such a belief (if you allow me the poetic license of interpreting his world view) when he just knew his general theory of relativity would be proven correct by experiment. He stated that, if it didnt, then he knew the experiment had to be wrong.

I suspect you've read about this yourself.

This is a top level, admittedly superficial, version of the beginning of a discussion I had here many months ago with the brilliant yet humble Moonbat. Moonbat is a scientist of the highest order. Sharp and precise. He also knew Quantum Mechanics and so I was able to open up on that topic which happens to be pertinent to what I just skimmed.

He thought I knew more than him, but I knew he knew more than me. ;\)

Moonbat, please come back!
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#770105 - 02/24/05 03:19 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
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Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
We should probably drop this.

 Quote:
Originally posted by KlavierBauer:

Isn't it possible that we can't possibly understand each other's view points the way that the other does because we have already come to different conclusions regarding said subject matter?


[/b]
you say that now, but before you said:

"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."

These are contradictory. Somehow, you understood 'us' just fine before, but now you couldnt possibly.

I have understood everything you have said in every post here, with no misinterpretation. Lets just let it go.
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#770106 - 02/24/05 03:46 PM Re: To Christians
yhabpo Offline
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Yes, I'm following closely.

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#770107 - 02/24/05 04:59 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
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Loc: New York
Dwain - Your analogies with self-centeredness, or with adultery, or other human traits and actions we must restrain are false. Egotism or adultery are commonly judged to be moral failings, and can be criticized in normal moral terms and shown to be bad. (Well, one could debate the meaning of egotism, but I'll allow for the sake of argument that it is commonly regarded as a moral failing.) If a family member acts selfishly, or steals, I might plausibly hate the sin but love the sinner.

Homosexuality is not like this. It is a normal, healthy aspect of human sexuality. It is not morally wrong in any respect at all. You have given no argument otherwise, nor have I ever seen on PW or elsewhere any actual argument (other than "God says so") to this effect. Therefore there is no distinction between hating the sin and the sinner on this topic, because it is only in the minds of the "haters" that there is any issue to begin with (unlike the other issues, which are plausibly regarded as independent moral failings, and can be argued to be such).

Also, you do not know if the injunction to self-hatred you propose for homosexuals is harder than what you put yourself through. You are not a homosexual. All the stuff about love and God and faith and etc. is off topic - your views are discrimination against homosexuals and morally wrong. If a religion preaches known falsehoods and moral errors, it may be judged accordingly.

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#770108 - 02/24/05 05:16 PM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
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Jeffrey,

What is the difference between my inclination to want to have sex with multiple females outside of marriage any different than a gay man's desire to have sex with multiple males? I know it is not just sex, but I also am drawn to love women, to care for them, to protect them, etc. I do not see the distinction.

Homosexuality is certainly not "healthy". I would also argue it is not "normal" even if fully 2-3-5% feel that way. Further, I would say that homosexuality seems to be a sin against God if you believe in that sort of thing or contrary to the theory of evolution if you ascribe to that.
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Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770109 - 02/24/05 05:17 PM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
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double post
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#770110 - 02/24/05 05:19 PM Re: To Christians
Matt G. Offline
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Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kincaid:
What is the difference between my inclination to want to have sex with multiple females outside of marriage any different than a gay man's desire to have sex with multiple males?[/b]
Nothing, but promiscuity has nothing to do with homosexuality, nor vice versa.
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#770111 - 02/24/05 05:27 PM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
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See! I told you I was afraid to wade in!
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Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770112 - 02/24/05 05:34 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
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K: "Homosexuality is certainly not "healthy"."

Why do you say this? I saw no argument. It is not against the theory of evolution, since the human species is thriving, and many humans are homosexual.

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#770113 - 02/24/05 05:39 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
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One final comment on "faith" as it is used in these sort of debates: usually after all evidence and reason based arguments are exhausted, and one point of view (call it X) proven false, people say, "Well, it's just faith, you don't understand since you don't have faith, I still believe X." The word "faith" is used as a talisman against actually accepting a logical, evidence-based train of thought. This, at least, is my observation.

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#770114 - 02/24/05 05:39 PM Re: To Christians
kathyk Offline
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Loc: Maine
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matt G.:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kincaid:
What is the difference between my inclination to want to have sex with multiple females outside of marriage any different than a gay man's desire to have sex with multiple males?[/b]
Nothing, but promiscuity has nothing to do with homosexuality, nor vice versa. [/b]
Actually, I think it does. I don't think it is much disputed that gay men are far more promiscious than straights and for the sole reason that men are much more driven by their libidos. Our own Johnny Moon is testament to that. :3hearts: So, in a hetero mix, you have a libido-raging male with the femme who keeps him in check, right? The man always wants it, and the woman is always holding back and restraining him? In a homosexual mix, you don't have the check and balance. That's one of the reasons I think gay marriage is a really good thing. Let's encourage commitment and monagomy. If gay guys strive toward comitted relationships, it can only stand to stablilize society - less sexually transimtted disease, more happiness all the way around, no?

Have you ever read "Sexual Personae" by Camille Paglia? She touches on this, and the breakdown of sexual mores in our society, in general, ultimately leading to a hedonistic, sadistic, death knell of ultimate destruction to the race. She's kind of out there, but I think she has a real sense of the evolution of human sexuality.

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#770115 - 02/24/05 05:46 PM Re: To Christians
Matt G. Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by kathyk:
In a homosexual mix, you don't have the check and balance.[/b]
Fine, if you wish to discount roughly half of the homosexuals, who happen to be women. So, what, lesbians just never have sex because they're always reining each other in? :rolleyes:
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#770116 - 02/24/05 05:49 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
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Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by kathyk:
Actually, I think it does. I don't think it is much disputed that gay men are far more promiscious than straights and for the sole reason that men are much more driven by their libidos. Our own Johnny Moon is testament to that. :3hearts: So, in a hetero mix, you have a libido-raging male with the femme who keeps him in check, right? The man always wants it, and the woman is always holding back and restraining him? In a homosexual mix, you don't have the check and balance.
[/b]
HUH?!?! I dont get this "femme holding him back" thing. That sounds like the dynamics of a relationship, which ofcourse, is one partner, whereas promiscuity is about several partners.

Men with the raging libidos can have sex as often as they like. If there is some femme holding back, the raging libido can find it elswhere. there is no shortage of women available for cheap taudry sex. And I have known many straight men who's women count is staggering. And many gay couples (men and women) who are extremely commited and faithful.

Again, promiscuity and homosexuality are entirely independent of each other.
_________________________
I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?

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#770117 - 02/24/05 05:56 PM Re: To Christians
kathyk Offline
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Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 6971
Loc: Maine
Sorry to not have clarified that, Matt. I was talking about men. I think lesbians are quite benign. Have you seen any of our contingent CW homophobes getting their dander up about them recently?


Really, do either of you (Sid or Matt) deny that men have a greater libido than women, speaking in generalities, of course?

And yes, Sid, men can go get it whereever they damn please, but they better be good players, have understanding partners, or just not care, because most women I know in supposedly monogamous relationships will not stand for their men satisying their primal urges outside the matrimonial bedroom. I trust the same holds for monogamous homo- relationships. That's all I'm saying. My point is very simple. Men are much more sex-driven than women. Put them together in sexual relationships (think bathhouses) and you have potential libido gone amuck, absent a committed monogamous relationship.

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#770118 - 02/24/05 06:06 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
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Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by kathyk:
Sorry to not have clarified that, Matt. I was talking about men. I think lesbians are quite benign. Have you seen an of our regular CW homophobes getting their dander up about them recently?


Really, do either of you (Sid or Matt) deny that men have a greater libido than women, speaking in generalities, of course?

And yes, Sid, men can go get it whereever they damn please, but they better be good players, have understanding partners, or just not care, because most women I know in supposedly monogamous relationships will not stand for their men satisying their primal urges outside the matrimonial bedroom. I trust the same holds for monogamous homo- relationships. That's all I'm saying. My point is very simple. Men are sex-driven. Put them together in sexual relationships and you have potential libido gone amuck, absent a committed monogamous relationship. [/b]
Yes, men seem to have stronger libidos.

But in your promiscous scenario, you seem to be assuming a significant other (who will or will not stand for it). Promiscuity occurs with single people too (if not predominantly). My point being, the topic is unrelated to a relationship.

Although I do have a friend who is cohabitating with a woman, been with her for about 3 years. They are supposedly commited. But he pretty much bangs a different girl every night. He works in the club industry, so he's around hundreds at all times. I've seen him operate, its amazing. He's brought them over to share. I have no idea how this relationship works. I've never met her (seen her, she does exist), but all I can think is she's playing prolifically on the side too. But he's been over here, with women, afterhours, and the cell phone rings every half hour "when are you coming home". "I'm just hanging with buddy for some drinks, we'll be done soon". How can that work?
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I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?

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#770119 - 02/24/05 06:17 PM Re: To Christians
kathyk Offline
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Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 6971
Loc: Maine
I'd say in your friend's case, his SO is very much contibuting to the rules of the game.

Of course, and indisputably, promiscuity occurs among both sexes, but I believe (Pardon my lack of energy to prove this with citations) that most studies will show that the sex-drive is much stronger in men, and ergo - promiscuity. And, in sex studies, the curbing force of that is monogamy, which traditionally, comes in the form a wife, children, and family to rear. For homosexuals, the counterpart would be a life partner.

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#770120 - 02/24/05 06:29 PM Re: To Christians
Matt G. Offline
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Loc: Plainfield, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by kathyk:
Of course, and indisputably, promiscuity occurs among both sexes, but I believe (Pardon my lack of energy to prove this with citations) that most studies will show that the sex-drive is much stronger in men, and ergo - promiscuity.[/b]
I don't think this is a correct conclusion. Libido has no direct link to promiscuity, only to desire for sexual activity. Two partners with equivalent libido levels would have little need for promiscuity, all other things being equal. I think that promiscuity is a personality issue, not a hormone-driven genetic issue.
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#770121 - 02/24/05 06:35 PM Re: To Christians
kathyk Offline
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Loc: Maine
Alas, no time at the moment to go and back myself up, but, a lot of what I've read would suggest otherwise. I think it's just a simple girl/boy difference thing. And, I am a strong proponent of the school of differences between the sexes. ;\)

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#770122 - 02/24/05 07:21 PM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
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Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
K: "Homosexuality is certainly not "healthy"."

Why do you say this? I saw no argument. It is not against the theory of evolution, since the human species is thriving, and many humans are homosexual. [/b]
The sex act in homosexuality is not as God or evolution designed. Please don't make me research the nasty things that can happen when going against nature. Not to mention HIV and AIDS.
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Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770123 - 02/24/05 07:26 PM Re: To Christians
Matt G. Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kincaid:
Not to mention HIV and AIDS. [/b]
Are you of the opinion that these are a consequence of homosexual activity? Someone needs a biology lesson....
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#770124 - 02/24/05 07:32 PM Re: To Christians
ivorythumper Offline
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I'd consult a medical doctor about the differences between the muscle structure of the vagina and the anus. I understand there is quite a difference, and the anal tissue is quite more susceptible to tearing. But I am not a doctor, and will leave that to the professionals.
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#770125 - 02/24/05 07:41 PM Re: To Christians
Matt G. Offline
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Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by ivorythumper:
But I am not a doctor, and will leave that to the professionals. [/b]
Thanks for sharing. :rolleyes:
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#770126 - 02/24/05 07:44 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
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Registered: 04/18/04
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Loc: New York
Actually, only a minority of male homosexuals (a significant minority, maybe 40%, but a minority nevertheless) enjoy anal intercourse, in either position. The most common, according to sex surveys I have read, are oral and manual sex. The same surveys indicate that about 10-20 percent of heterosexual couples enjoy anal activities.

Kincaid - "not as God or evolution designed"

This is clearly false, as a matter of factual evidence. Whether we were created by God or evolution or alien space beings, we were created with a certain large percentage (between 5 and 10 percent) who have homosexual desires. Homosexuality exists among both human and non-human primates. So homosexuality *is* clearly how either God or evolution or alien space beings "designed" some of us.

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#770127 - 02/24/05 08:43 PM Re: To Christians
Larry Offline
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Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
 Quote:
Originally posted by yhabpo:
Yes, I'm following closely. [/b]
I figured. To bad you aren't capable of understanding any of it, isn't it?
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#770128 - 02/24/05 09:02 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
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Boy this has taken an unfortunate turn. I'm almost embarrassed that Matt and Jeffrey offered rebuttals to these issues, as if these issues had the slightest validity without these rebuttals. This thread just lapsed back about 200 years.

Troglodytes abound. I'm loosing faith in mankind as an intelligent species.
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#770129 - 02/24/05 11:07 PM Re: To Christians
TimR Offline
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RZ made a very good point about love vs sex and I think it deserves some amplification.

I would assert a couple of things that I can't prove but I think make sense and are consistent with scripture.

I think that the love of which RZ speaks is a "good thing" biblically; despite some of Paul's reservations about women and marriage (probably due to his "thorn"). This love between two people, solemnized by marriage and blessed by the church, seems to me to be what Jesus wanted. I don't think He necessarily meant it to be male-female only, just because he didn't specifically specify other combinations. I'm not sure that homosexuality even exists unambiguously in the New Testament, by the way, but clearly it does not in the OT.

If I start from the idea that this love is a desirable state, then I can't help think the other two sides of the triangle are the church and marriage. As a Christian I come from the viewpoint that love is most successful within a congregation of faithful and assisted by a sacramental marriage. As a heterosexual I am fortunate enough to have that. I cannot see how to deny that to another Christian simply by the accident of his/her being homosexual.

If you are a Christian, and if you value your own marriage and think its success has something to do with your faith, then what about your children? Do you deny them marriage and faith, if they turn out gay? This is something any of us can face.
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#770130 - 02/24/05 11:25 PM Re: To Christians
AaronSF Offline
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Registered: 10/07/04
Posts: 732
Loc: San Francisco
 Quote:
Originally posted by Siddhartha:
Troglodytes abound. I'm loosing faith in mankind as an intelligent species. [/b]
Only just now loosing faith? I lost faith in mankind as an intelligent species in 1968 during a little imbroglio called Vietnam. Nietzsche calls it the "eternal recurrance of the same." Human nature doesn't change, at least not at a perceptible rate. We periodically think we're evolving, some of us actually get our hopes up, then we just sink once again back into the morass of superstition, suspicion, xenophobia, hyper-nationalism, anti-intellectualism, racism, antisematism, sexism, homophobia, conspiracy theory, fundamentalism, fear, and finger pointing. Then we destroy a large chunk of mankind, are momentarily horrified at ourselves, sincerely promise ourselves to do better "for our children and their children," and then, before you can whistle "Dixie," the inexorable backslide in to ignorance and superstition begins again.

I see no reason for hope. Continued overpopulation will, by itself, destroy us, aided by disease we will not be able to treat because it is resistant to every drug we've developed, an environment that will increasingly rebel in an effort to right itself after being capsized by the industrial world, not to mention the endless religious/racial wars that soon will be fueled by nuclear weapons. Oh joy!

I just pray to god that I'm not around when it happens. Of course there are those who welcome the apocalypse, which just makes all this that more discouraging. Imagine looking forward to the end of the world because you've convinced yourself that you are going to be magically and rapturously wisked away to the Kingdom. Is it any wonder we're in such a mess!
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#770131 - 02/25/05 02:27 AM Re: To Christians
bachophile Offline
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Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 742
Sid said...

 Quote:
as if these issues had the slightest validity without these rebuttals[/b]
i have been away, and so havent been involved in any threads lately, but having read this one, my only comment is...

tell the truth sid, u didnt realize you made a pun...
_________________________
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#770132 - 02/25/05 05:13 AM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
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Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
Dwain - Your analogies with self-centeredness, or with adultery, or other human traits and actions we must restrain are false. [/b]
Jeffrey, I have never seen anyone decry the making of categorical statements without offering proof of their corrctness, while making so many of them themselves, as you. You've made aa few just in this post alone. This was the first one.

 Quote:
Homosexuality is not like this. It is a normal, healthy aspect of human sexuality. It is not morally wrong in any respect at all. [/b]
There are the second and third.

 Quote:
You have given no argument otherwise, nor have I ever seen on PW or elsewhere any actual argument (other than "God says so") to this effect. Therefore there is no distinction between hating the sin and the sinner...[/b]
To be honest, I've never seen you offer a single "proof" of your beliefs, either - especially here and now. You only offer categorical statements, with even far less explanation and reason than I've offered. Therefore, your "therefore" above seems a bit weak and sitting on a pretty shallow foundation.

As I said to MM, this thread asked for beliefs and opinions, and I offered them. I freely stated that the beliefs were based on my personal determination that the Christian scriptures were a reliable source to form beliefs in this regard. In other words, I offered an answer "as a Christian," as requested by the thread topic. I said that anyone who had not made a similar determination would quite possibly not reach the same conclusion, and that I would not use this thread to veer into some attempt to "prove" God, to itemize in detail my arguments for why I accept the legitimacy of the scriptures and the Christian tradition - that I would only discuss my beliefs relative to the topic, that result from that belief.

 Quote:
Also, you do not know if the injunction to self-hatred you propose for homosexuals is harder than what you put yourself through. You are not a homosexual. [/b]
For the sake of argument, how do you know that this is true? Do you know all the aspects of my life and experience, and interpersonal discussions and counseling with homosexual friends over the years, that have helped shape my ideas on this issue? After all, we're just names on a computer screen. You don't really know me, and I know you far less. And if, as I suspect, neither of us is homosexual, then your position refuting mine is based, exactly as much as mine, in projecting your thoughts into the shoes of someone whom you are not.

 Quote:
All the stuff about love and God and faith and etc. is off topic... [/b]
They may be off your topic, but not the topic of this thread, and the follow-up questions that were asked. Let me refresh your memory. The thread is titled "To Christians." It asked for a Christian's take on the issue of fornication. The thread then asked the follow-up question (which was the obvious original intent of the thread starter) that, in light of that position, what are the implications for attitudes toward homosexuality? This was the thread topic, Jeffrey. Your attempt to derail the thread into another debate to prove or disprove Christianity is what's actually off topic in this case.

Jeffrey, you are a very intelligent person. You have obviously dug into the question of faith and religion in your own life. You've done far more than many people who blindly follow the religious or non-religious traditions they're accustomed to, and I respect you and your search far more than those who haven't really examined the issue. In fact, I get the impression that your search/research is far more than just an intellectual pursuit; it's far more driven than would be explained by a simple academic interest. I think you've been internally drawn to your search, out of profound inner questions. As a Christian, I would define that as the Holy Spirit working within you to look for answers to those questions. The fact that - at least, for now - your research points you in a different direction doesn't negate that. A Christian can offer evidences to his faith. Some of these evidences can be logic-based, but because the ultimate aim of the proof transcends logic, logic will not be able to offer a final, comprehensive proof. There is, as Steve said, a suprarational aspect to the question, at the end of the line of all other logical, rational arguments. In your many posts regarding this issue, you seem to need such final logic-based proof, and since it isn't forthcoming, you reject the possibility of God in general, and Christianity in particular.

It is interesting how many very intelligent, skeptical people, like yourself, keep digging into Christianity in an attempt to disprove its historical foundations and its spritual credibility, and after years, ultimately find themselves among the strongest "defenders of the faith." This model is nothing new; it goes back to the very beginnings of the Christian faith.

You may remain firmly convinced of the convictions that you hold today, for the rest of your life. You may not. Who knows? But given what I've seen of you in your writings, I wouldn't be at all surprised if someday you found yourself sitting on the other side of the table, having a similar conversation to the one I'm currently having with you, and thinking about the other person "that used to be me." Just like I'm thinking right now.

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#770133 - 02/25/05 05:42 AM Re: To Christians
johnmoonlight Offline
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Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 2384
Loc: Lancaster, pa
[Actually, I think it does. I don't think it is much disputed that gay men are far more promiscious than straights and for the sole reason that men are much more driven by their libidos. Our own Johnny Moon is testament to that. :3hearts: So, in a hetero mix, you have a libido-raging male with the femme who keeps him in check, right? The man always wants it, and the woman is always holding back and restraining him? In a homosexual mix, you don't have the check and balance. That's one of the reasons I think gay marriage is a really good thing. Let's encourage commitment and monagomy. If gay guys strive toward comitted relationships, it can only stand to stablilize society - less sexually transimtted disease, more happiness all the way around, no?

/QB][/QUOTE]

Finally, a woman who truly understands me!! Kathy, will you marry me? :3hearts:
Glad to see you're back!
_________________________
While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in.

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#770134 - 02/25/05 06:33 AM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
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Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
AaronSF,

Ever see the "Debbie Downer" sketches on Saturday Night Live?....

Just kidding. Your post is all too true.
_________________________
I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?

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#770135 - 02/25/05 07:49 AM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
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Registered: 12/08/04
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Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
In your many posts regarding this issue, you seem to need such final logic-based proof, and since it isn't forthcoming, you reject the possibility of God in general, and Christianity in particular.

[/b]
If I could just interject here (and I dont presume to speak for Jeffrey), but the intellectual's approach to the question I dont believe is based on "needing such final logic-based proof", rather it's about the recognizing the very obvious earthly origins of the mythology. The intellectual is well aware that there is no proof one way or the other, but when religion is so identifiable as an anthropological construct equal to mythology, why would the thinking man NOT adhere to such reasonable assessments?

The call for "proof" only comes when religious zealots wave around their faiths proclaiming them as fact and law that apply to everybody. The burden of proof is then squarely on them as they are the ones making the claims. Then the intellectual asks for proof, and is accused of lacking this "suprarational" capacity. Thats just game playing.

And I'm a bit saddened by the painting of the image of Jeffrey doing a 180 at some future date and arguing the opposite point of view. That seems to show a lack of respect for his sensibilities and comes off, to me, as a bit of gamesmanship.
_________________________
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#770136 - 02/25/05 08:12 AM Re: To Christians
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3149
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
Let me refresh your memory. The thread is titled "To Christians." It asked for a Christian's take on the issue of fornication. The thread then asked the follow-up question (which was the obvious original intent of the thread starter) that, in light of that position, what are the implications for attitudes toward homosexuality? [/QB]
But Dwain, I AM a Christian.

And yet I am unable to see any difference at all in the expression of love within marriage. This is based on my sincere attempt to understand the intent of scripture. (I am not a literalist nor a fundamentalist, admittedly. Proudly admittedly )

Because of that, I have concluded that it is my duty as a Christian to support gay marriage, so that they can have the same opportunity I do to express their love within a church sanctioned, sacramental marriage. So I argue this point on any forum where it comes up. I have yet to see a counterargument that is not based on either some active homosexual hatred, or some personal "gross-out" factor, and then is supported ex post facto by twisting some scripture.

I will admit that my own church (Anglican) does not support this stance, and has been badly hurt recently by one diocese's small movement in this direction. However, my conscience connvinces me it is the right thing to do. WJWD.
_________________________
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#770137 - 02/25/05 08:28 AM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matt G.:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kincaid:
Not to mention HIV and AIDS. [/b]
Are you of the opinion that these are a consequence of homosexual activity? Someone needs a biology lesson.... [/b]
I am of the opinion that HIV and AIDS have affected the gay community much more so than the straight community. This is, I imagine, due to the issue of promiscuity. At this point, I would also add that I think Kathyk has a lot of common sense on the issue of male v. female promiscuity.
_________________________
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770138 - 02/25/05 09:08 AM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
Actually, only a minority of male homosexuals (a significant minority, maybe 40%, but a minority nevertheless) enjoy anal intercourse, in either position. The most common, according to sex surveys I have read, are oral and manual sex. The same surveys indicate that about 10-20 percent of heterosexual couples enjoy anal activities.

Kincaid - "not as God or evolution designed"

This is clearly false, as a matter of factual evidence. Whether we were created by God or evolution or alien space beings, we were created with a certain large percentage (between 5 and 10 percent) who have homosexual desires. Homosexuality exists among both human and non-human primates. So homosexuality *is* clearly how either God or evolution or alien space beings "designed" some of us. [/b]
I think the anus was "designed" (or evolved, if one prefers) to assist in ridding the body of waste products. I don't think it was meant to be used in any other fashion. If 40% of gays and 20% of straights use the anus to pleasure their partners, it can cause unfortunate consequences. I think these health problems are decidedly unhealthy.

If we take sex out of the issue and just talk about the desire to love another person, I see no health consequences in this.

Regarding homosexuality being designed by God (if you believe in God), I would first say that we have a difference in opinion on what percentage of the populace is homosexual and what constitutes "large". I think the percentage is smaller than you think. Secondly, if homosexuality is not genetic, then I don't see how it can be of God. If it is genetic, it comes out of the state of the fallen world and is again, in my religious world view, not of God.
_________________________
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770139 - 02/25/05 09:25 AM Re: To Christians
katie_dup1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 1838
Loc: Canada
Just a point re physiology and anatomy ... adding to the trivia ...
Is this too much information for y'all?

[My apoIogies. I deleted the nauseating part. Don't want to sicken anyone here.]

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#770140 - 02/25/05 09:26 AM Re: To Christians
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kincaid:
I am of the opinion that HIV and AIDS have affected the gay community much more so than the straight community. This is, I imagine, due to the issue of promiscuity.[/b]
This guy was certainly promiscuous.

Super-HIV man had sex with 100[/b]
http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/284403p-243554c.html

The New York man who sparked fears of a powerful new strain of HIV had drug-fueled, unprotected sex with more than 100 men in the months before his diagnosis...the new strain is resistant to 19 of 20 drugs used to fight the HIV virus and becomes full-blown AIDS in months, not years.
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
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#770141 - 02/25/05 09:27 AM Re: To Christians
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
 Quote:
Originally posted by katie:
Is this too much information for y'all? [/b]
Yes.
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels

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#770142 - 02/25/05 09:32 AM Re: To Christians
katie_dup1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 1838
Loc: Canada
Sorry Gryph ... I deleted the nauseating part.

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#770143 - 02/25/05 09:38 AM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Siddhartha:
If I could just interject here [/b]
Sure, feel free.

 Quote:

the intellectual's approach to the question I dont believe is based on "needing such final logic-based proof", rather it's about the recognizing the very obvious earthly origins of the mythology. The intellectual is well aware that there is no proof one way or the other, but when religion is so identifiable as an anthropological construct equal to mythology, why would the thinking man NOT adhere to such reasonable assessments? [/b]
If, indeed, religious faith truly were so obviously of earthly origins, and a solely human construct, it would seem ridiculous - I'd even say impossible - for any thinking person to adhere to religious faith. The fact that so many, self included, actually do, and that we are equally convinced of its non-human origin, by definition negates the supposition that its falsehood is as obvious as you think.

 Quote:
The call for "proof" only comes when religious zealots wave around their faiths proclaiming them as fact and law that apply to everybody. The burden of proof is then squarely on them as they are the ones making the claims. [/b]
Actually, the reverse is true. One of the truly remarkable aspects of human existence is that regardless of time, place, or circumstance, the vast majority of humans have shown a belief in a deity or deities. The varieties of this expression have been many, but it is unquestionable that the norm of human existence is to have an innate understanding, and belief, that there is a supreme entity or entities of some description to which they are, in varying degrees, accountable to or originating from. Even more confounding than the fact that such beliefs are so universal, is the fact that they also exist - thrive, even - at times and places when such belief is uncomfortable, or trying to be quashed, even to the point of physical harm or death. The fact that so many have been willing to die for their religion indicates how deeply the beliefs are held, and how convinced the particular person is that their belief is significantly more than myth.

Given those facts, the concept of atheism, or nontheism, is actually the human anomaly, not the other way around. And it is therefore up to them to offer concrete proof of their belief that, contrary to the overwhelming understanding of human experience throughout time and place, God does not exist.

 Quote:
And I'm a bit saddened by the painting of the image of Jeffrey doing a 180 at some future date and arguing the opposite point of view. That seems to show a lack of respect for his sensibilities and comes off, to me, as a bit of gamesmanship. [/b]
I don't propose that, should Jeffrey change his beliefs in the future, that it would be doing a 180. I think his research is already following the right path. I'm just not convinced that his search is truly complete, or that he is, or will remain, fully comfortable with the answers that he's reached at this point based on his research. And there's nothing that I've said to Jeffrey that is disrespectful to him. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, and he knows it, based on both public and private discussion. I only offered a personal sense of his comments, tempered by my own personal experiences. People change as they progress through life. Some core concepts remain always, and others change. Who knows where we'll all end? I'd invite Jeffrey - and you too, Sid - to print this thread out, and tuck it into some papers that you have to keep, and forget about it. Then, some time down the road, maybe 10 or 15 years from now, you'll accidentally stumble across it and read it. You might see it and think, "My God, what a deluded idiot that Lee character was!" Or you might think, "Well, I'll be, that guy actually had a point." Either way, you'll enjoy re-reading it.

And my comments to Jeffrey (or you), are most definitely not gamesmanship. I respect Jeffrey, and the subject matter, too much to play games with either.

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#770144 - 02/25/05 09:47 AM Re: To Christians
RZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 515
Loc: Anaheim, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kincaid:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matt G.:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kincaid:
Not to mention HIV and AIDS. [/b]
Are you of the opinion that these are a consequence of homosexual activity? Someone needs a biology lesson.... [/b]
I am of the opinion that HIV and AIDS have affected the gay community much more so than the straight community. This is, I imagine, due to the issue of promiscuity. At this point, I would also add that I think Kathyk has a lot of common sense on the issue of male v. female promiscuity. [/b]
You may wish to study the horrendous statsistics coming out of Africa. AIDS has nothing to do with homosexuality.

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#770145 - 02/25/05 09:52 AM Re: To Christians
Horace Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 505
 Quote:
Originally posted by RZ:
You may wish to study the horrendous statsistics coming out of Africa. AIDS has nothing to do with homosexuality. [/b]
It is massively correlated with homosexuality in this country. In Africa, the vectors of the virus are different.

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#770146 - 02/25/05 09:53 AM Re: To Christians
RZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 515
Loc: Anaheim, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kincaid:
I think the anus was "designed" (or evolved, if one prefers) to assist in ridding the body of waste products. I don't think it was meant to be used in any other fashion. If 40% of gays and 20% of straights use the anus to pleasure their partners, it can cause unfortunate consequences. I think these health problems are decidedly unhealthy. [/b]
Oh my goodness. It has been a long time since I have seen any argument such as this seriously stated.

Do you reject oral sex because the mouth was made for eating and talking? Do you reject manual manipulation because the bad was meant to hold things and the scratch itches? Do you reject sexual attention being paid to women's breasts becauyse they were design to feed infants? Do you reject those who may incorporate legs and feet into their sexual activity because they were meant for walking?

Is there any other part of the human body that you think needs to be rejected for use for sexual purposes because it's primary design was for non-sexual use? Or is it just the anus that you think is set aside for only one purpose and thus cannot have a dual function?

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#770147 - 02/25/05 09:58 AM Re: To Christians
RZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 515
Loc: Anaheim, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Horace:
It is massively correlated with homosexuality in this country. In Africa, the vectors of the virus are different. [/b]
But this country is not the universe. If AIDS is correlated with homosexuality, then this correlation would follow in all places we find AIDS. It obviously does not.

Hence, there can be no valid correlation made nor argument for such a correlation.

AIDS is a pandemic that afflicts the human race. It is a threat to all of mankind. To the extent we put our head in the sand and pretend that it primarily afflicts homoisexuals because those are the statistics in this country, we put ourselves and all of mankind at grave risk.

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#770148 - 02/25/05 10:00 AM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by RZ:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kincaid:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matt G.:
quote:
Originally posted by Kincaid:
Not to mention HIV and AIDS. [/b]
Are you of the opinion that these are a consequence of homosexual activity? Someone needs a biology lesson.... [/b]
I am of the opinion that HIV and AIDS have affected the gay community much more so than the straight community. This is, I imagine, due to the issue of promiscuity. At this point, I would also add that I think Kathyk has a lot of common sense on the issue of male v. female promiscuity. [/b]
You may wish to study the horrendous statsistics coming out of Africa. AIDS has nothing to do with homosexuality.
I understand that AIDS is not a "gay disease" but to say it has "nothing to do with homosexuality" seems disingenuous.
_________________________
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770149 - 02/25/05 10:03 AM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by RZ:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kincaid:
I think the anus was "designed" (or evolved, if one prefers) to assist in ridding the body of waste products. I don't think it was meant to be used in any other fashion. If 40% of gays and 20% of straights use the anus to pleasure their partners, it can cause unfortunate consequences. I think these health problems are decidedly unhealthy. [/b]
Oh my goodness. It has been a long time since I have seen any argument such as this seriously stated.

Do you reject oral sex because the mouth was made for eating and talking? Do you reject manual manipulation because the bad was meant to hold things and the scratch itches? Do you reject sexual attention being paid to women's breasts becauyse they were design to feed infants? Do you reject those who may incorporate legs and feet into their sexual activity because they were meant for walking?

Is there any other part of the human body that you think needs to be rejected for use for sexual purposes because it's primary design was for non-sexual use? Or is it just the anus that you think is set aside for only one purpose and thus cannot have a dual function? [/b]
Did I say that the anus shouldn't be used for sex? I just said it exposed practitioners to health risks.
_________________________
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770150 - 02/25/05 10:03 AM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by TimR:
But Dwain, I AM a Christian.

And yet I am unable to see any difference at all in the expression of love within marriage. This is based on my sincere attempt to understand the intent of scripture. (I am not a literalist nor a fundamentalist, admittedly. Proudly admittedly ) [/b]
OK. Then we are both Christians, neither of us is a literalist or a fundamentalist, and we both sincerley search the scriptures for meaning and God's will. And we've come up with different interpretations. So, we offer and discuss our differing opinions in a thread that asks for Christians to discuss the issues of fornication and gay sex. I don't argue with your sincerity or your ultimate interpretation, and I certainly never claimed to speak for all Christians. In previous threads about this issue, I've pointed to particular Christian denominations that hold views opposite mine, and closer to yours. I've tried pretty distinctly to identify my interpretations as mine, and as being consistent with "traditional Christian theology." That doesn't mean that there aren't differing viewpoints within the faith. You and I will never get into a fistfight just because we disagree on the issue; my only point at all was only to express my own beliefs.

 Quote:
I have yet to see a counterargument that is not based on either some active homosexual hatred, or some personal "gross-out" factor, and then is supported ex post facto by twisting some scripture. [/b]
My position is not based on either homosexual hatred or personal "gross out" factor - although some in the forum would, and have, accused me of this. My posititions are based on scriptural references, which I don't believe have to be twisted to understand. My personal opinion is that they have to be twisted to be disregarded or ignored. And that doesn't come at any joy to me, personally. I actually wish that the scriptures did say that homosexual sex was in accordance with God's ideal; over the years it would have eliminated a lot of prejudice and harm against gays, and a lot of resentment from gays directed at God. But the scriptures are what they are, and so far, I have found no way consistent with sound practice, to simply say, "well, these are just mistakes, or they don't apply to today."

 Quote:
However, my conscience connvinces me it is the right thing to do. WJWD. [/b]
God alone is lord of the conscience, and whether we're talking about you, or me, it's to God we're both accountable. If you believe as you do, then in good conscience, you should find a denomination that supports your interpretation, or work within your existing denomination to change its stance to reflect your deeply held beliefs. You and I will never really know who's right or wrong until such time as it's a moot point anyway; and besides, my criteria for determining who is, or is not, a Christian is fully expressed in the Apostle's Creed:

"I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived of the Holy Spirit; born of the virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into Hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascendeth into Heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting."

Anyone who can honestly profess those things is a Christian. And I don't see anything in there about gays one way or the other.

WWJD? Jesus would love. But love is often not easy, or warm and fuzzy, or even appreciated.

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#770151 - 02/25/05 10:06 AM Re: To Christians
MusicMagellan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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

As per your request, the references I cited apparently were returned to an in-law (a psychiatrist) who loaned them to me.

However, you can find many decent, if slightly dated, citations in the following:

Steven Pinker "the blank slate"
Matt Ridley "Nature via Nurture"

In particular, Ridley addresses the brother birth sequence effect on pp 159-163. He also touches briefly on the well-trodden secular morality issue of the male sex drive bouncing off another males sex drive.

P.S. This was originally a meatier post, but my computer crashed and so this is a sufficient chunk of the original.
_________________________
(watch this space)

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#770152 - 02/25/05 10:07 AM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by RZ:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Horace:
It is massively correlated with homosexuality in this country. In Africa, the vectors of the virus are different. [/b]
But this country is not the universe. If AIDS is correlated with homosexuality, then this correlation would follow in all places we find AIDS. It obviously does not.

Hence, there can be no valid correlation made nor argument for such a correlation.

AIDS is a pandemic that afflicts the human race. It is a threat to all of mankind. To the extent we put our head in the sand and pretend that it primarily afflicts homoisexuals because those are the statistics in this country, we put ourselves and all of mankind at grave risk. [/b]
I think you're making some erroneous value judgements here, that is, if you think Horace and I are somehow oblivious to the threat of AIDS or are letting our beliefs get in the way of affectively dealing with it. I denounce promiscuity and support research to find a cure for AIDS and HIV.
_________________________
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770153 - 02/25/05 10:16 AM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Oh my... what a turn it's taken while I was sleeping!

First, I think we should leave the Church out of it. The Early Church Fathers were VERY clear on this issue, and while logical arguments may abound elsewhere, saying that Christ or the Church condoned homosexual marriage is a mighty stretch.
As an anglican I would think you to be very familiar with the Church Father's writings in general on such subjects.


Secondly... and again with all other logical arguments aside...
Is anyone really arguing that promiscuity has no relation to homosexuality? This relationship may not be causal, but certainly the two know each other. I am not supposing that all homosexual men are promiscuous (of the gay men I know, none are promiscuous), but certainly in general[/b] as KathyK said, this demographic has been more promiscuous than others has it not?
_________________________
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#770154 - 02/25/05 11:16 AM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
If, indeed, religious faith truly were so obviously of earthly origins, and a solely human construct, it would seem ridiculous - I'd even say impossible - for any thinking person to adhere to religious faith. The fact that so many, self included, actually do, and that we are equally convinced of its non-human origin, by definition negates the supposition that its falsehood is as obvious as you think.[/b][QUOTE]

Fair enough, I'll concede that it is obvious to me, and to many many people I've talked to on the subject.

[QUOTE]Actually, the reverse is true. One of the truly remarkable aspects of human existence is that regardless of time, place, or circumstance, the vast majority of humans have shown a belief in a deity or deities. The varieties of this expression have been many, but it is unquestionable that the norm of human existence is to have an innate understanding, and belief, that there is a supreme entity or entities of some description to which they are, in varying degrees, accountable to or originating from. Even more confounding than the fact that such beliefs are so universal, is the fact that they also exist - thrive, even - at times and places when such belief is uncomfortable, or trying to be quashed, even to the point of physical harm or death. The fact that so many have been willing to die for their religion indicates how deeply the beliefs are held, and how convinced the particular person is that their belief is significantly more than myth. Given those facts, the concept of atheism, or nontheism, is actually the human anomaly, not the other way around. And it is therefore up to them to offer concrete proof of their belief that, contrary to the overwhelming understanding of human experience throughout time and place, God does not exist.
[/b][quote]

No, the reverse is NOT true. Nontheism may be the anomaly, but that does shift the burden of proof. I dont argue that there is no god, i argue that you cant prove or know that there is and that the religious constructs as we see them are of earthly origin (which is very different from claiming no god) and that generally is the intellectual argument.

But since the lot on your side of the fence are the ones claiming it as fact, yes the burden of proof falls on you. I dont have to prove there is no god, because I'm not claiming such. You ARE claiming there is. The amount of people in agreement is utterly irrelevant to that. As I've said before, at one time everyone on the planet beleived in witches, that means nothing whatsoever, and has no place in a rational discussion.

I'm sure your quite familiar with the notions of how the human mind, in its subjectivity, may be prone to needing to invent the existence of god. What we know of psychology today can plot a fairly straightforward path from the human condition to the need for belief in god. I'm sure thats not new to you. So I guess I'm just not seeing anything that calls me to discount the dynamics of mythology and psychology (and a few other ologies) to explain the existence of these religious constructs. And that perspective is consistent with the ever evolving definitions of religions and cultural ties that are so evident.

You're the one saying theres somethign to it more than that. so I dont see how you feel I need to prove anything here. You're the one making the claims.
_________________________
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#770155 - 02/25/05 01:04 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Dwain: "To be honest, I've never seen you offer a single "proof" of your beliefs, either - especially here and now. You only offer categorical statements, with even far less explanation and reason than I've offered."

This was said w/r/t the idea that homosexual relations were a good and desirable thing. I will summarize: (1) Pleasure is in itself a good thing (2) Emotional bonding between humans is a good thing (3) Sexuality plays the same special and valuble emotional an psychic role in a homosexual's life as it does in yours and my life.

Any of these premises supports the idea that homosexual sex acts are a prima facie good thing, unless someone provides a reason (such as harm to a third person) otherwise. The default assumption is in favor of (voluntary) homosexual sex acts, unless there are countervailing reasons. Again, no argument against these good things has ever been provided in this thread or others, except "God says so."

" In fact, I get the impression that your search/research is far more than just an intellectual pursuit; it's far more driven than would be explained by a simple academic interest."

This comes from not knowing each other. I am similarly interested in other pursuits as well.

Somewhere above you said that the fact that most human societies have had some religion speaks to the truth of religion. Rather, since they can't all be correct, it speaks to their all being false.

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#770156 - 02/25/05 01:42 PM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
The default assumption is in favor of (voluntary) homosexual sex acts, unless there are countervailing reasons. Again, no argument against these good things has ever been provided in this thread or others, except "God says so."
[/b]
Is anal cancer a "countervailing reason"? According to J. R. Daling et.al, "Correlates of Homosexual Behavior and the Incidence of Anal Cancer," Journal of the American Medical Association 247, no.14, 9 April 1982, pp. 1988-90, the risk of anal cancer soars by 4,000 percent among those who engage in such intercourse.
_________________________
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770157 - 02/25/05 01:54 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Kincaid - May I assume then that you find homosexual oral and manual sex ok? Lesbianism too?? And that your problem with anal sex applies to both the homo and heterosexual versions?

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#770158 - 02/25/05 02:14 PM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I feel anal sex is always a poor substitute, in any kind of relationship, as the health aspects are undeniable. Regarding homosexual sex other than that, I do not have a firm position on it. I probably am more aligned with Dwain Lee but I have not made up my mind.

Regarding being gay, I do not feel that it is any more sinful then being straight. We all sin and fall short of the Glory of God. As I think I said before, I do not see homosexuality as a choice. Acting on homosexual desires is another matter, and I think (but am not ready to come fully to this conclusion) it is against God.
_________________________
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770159 - 02/25/05 02:17 PM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by Kincaid:
Regarding homosexual sex...I do not have a firm position on it. [/b]
Okay, waiting for the jokes! JBryan?

BTW, nothing more titillating to me than a couple of women going at it! :p
_________________________
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770160 - 02/25/05 02:25 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Siddhartha:
No, the reverse is NOT true. Nontheism may be the anomaly, but that does shift the burden of proof. [/b]
Sure it does.

I am a believer. I will tell you what I believe, and why. In all of the many words that I've typed on PW, I don't think I've ever tried to post the various evidences that have led me to what and why I believe (the "why" I discuss here is a "why" of secondary nature: why, as a believer, I believe X in light of my faith, but not why I am a Christian believer to begin with). I don't come to the CR to try to convince anyone to believe the way I do. I do so because a.)this would be a pretty stupid and awkward way to do that, and b.)I believe that even if I had concrete evidence - say, God's dental records or his graduation picture - a person can still only know of God's existence by means of God first reaching to the person, to allow their heart and intellect understand and know. I can't control that, so you will never see me, frothing at the mouth, Bible in hand, trying to beat someone into Christian belief. It's simply not my, or any other Christian's, job to "prove" God to any other person. Even if I knew you personally, and we ended up in the larger discussion of why I believe, I would still not be trying to "prove" it to you, I would only be explaining to you why I, personally, believe.

OTOH, if you're going to cross the fence, and try to tell me why I (or the majority of humans) should NOT believe what we do (and in that regard, I'm speaking strictly about a theistic outlook, nothing near the specifics of Christian belief), then you're going to need some awfully strong "proof" to contradict what we "know."

 Quote:

I dont argue that there is no god, i argue that you cant [/b]
a.)

 Quote:
prove [/b]
That's one thing.

b.)

 Quote:
or know [/b]
That's something totally different. See above.

 Quote:
I'm sure your quite familiar with the notions of how the human mind, in its subjectivity, may be prone to needing to invent the existence of god. What we know of psychology today can plot a fairly straightforward path from the human condition to the need for belief in god. I'm sure thats not new to you. [/b]
Yes, I'm familiar with these notions. I'm also familiar with the concept of interpreting the exact same phenomena as being an evidence for the actual existence of God. In other words, the internal need for a God in one's life is not merely a chemical/mental process, but one that is actually implanted in the human being by a Creator God as a means of pointing the human toward Himself. That we can "plot a fairly straightforward path from the human condition to the need for belief in god" is hardly evidence of no God; it can quite easily be seen as one manner in which the Creator reaches to the creature and points the creature in a certain intended direction.

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#770161 - 02/25/05 03:06 PM Re: To Christians
Horace Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 505
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
a person can still only know of God's existence by means of God first reaching to the person[/b]
Is this an official position of the church? If so, does the church have an official position on how God chooses people to reach out to? Do you have your own ideas on that subject? Or is it inscrutible to humans, by definition, and therefore effectively (from our perspective) completely random, who God chooses? I'd also be curious to know your guess about how many self-proclaimed Christians actually have been chosen by God to believe, and how many don't really believe even though they think they do (since unless you've been chosen you can't really believe in the same way that the chosen do). Is there any way God can choose someone from a culture that isn't exposed to His teachings?

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#770162 - 02/25/05 03:16 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
This was said w/r/t the idea that homosexual relations were a good and desirable thing. I will summarize: (1) Pleasure is in itself a good thing (2) Emotional bonding between humans is a good thing (3) Sexuality plays the same special and valuble emotional an psychic role in a homosexual's life as it does in yours and my life. Any of these premises supports the idea that homosexual sex acts are a prima facie good thing, unless someone provides a reason (such as harm to a third person) otherwise. [/b]
This is a pretty important qualification. But let me take your three points in order:

"(1) Pleasure is in itself a good thing."

Pleasure is a good thing. In my view, it's not merely a good thing, but is a gift from God. But it is certainly possible to seek pleasure to excess, to the detriment of other important things, to the point that pleasure can be not only not a good thing, but actually be a very bad thing. And this holds true even if we're discussing an individual with no family, no ties to others, no commitments to anyone other than himself. I can, but won't, list all sorts of activities, whether egaged in excess or even sporadically, that can give pleasure but which are harmful to the self, and therefore, not good.

"(2) Emotional bonding between humans is a good thing."

True in general, but again, not a universal constant - and the case you're trying to build depends heavily on these three things to be unversally constant. It is not a good thing for a married person to bond emotionally with a person not their spouse. It is not good for a person to emotionally bond with another person whose destructive nature will cause harm to the other.

"(3) Sexuality plays the same special and valuble emotional and psychic role in a homosexual's life as it does in yours and my life."

It can, but this ties very closely with your first two points. As I said regarding them, there are instances where an excess of, or misapplication of something good, makes the thing itself not good. This is not to deny or negate the real emotional and psychic connection enjoyed by a homosexual in a loving relationship at all. It does question the appropriateness, in the eyes of God, of the relationship. I can have a loving, emotionally/psychically connected relationship with a woman other than my wife, but all of the very real emotions and feelings that the relationship might cause does not make the relationship good or proper.

This is where I'll be accused of being unfair to gay couples - that I would deny them the same sexual connection and enjoyment that I, a stright man, am able to enjoy. It's so unfair, and is a double standard. But it isn't a double standard. I am under the same burden to deny myself of many pleasures that I would love to do - have loved doing - but I am told, as a Christian, is not in accordance with God's ideal, and I must turn away from. Sexual desire is one of the strongest urges in human existence, but it is not the only seemingly irresistible urge that dives us in diretions other than God's ideal. I've often thought "It's not fair" that I can't engage in things that I see other non-Christians doing, and even physically, financially, or in other ways benefittting from. "Why do I have to suffer with this higher standard? If I'm supposed to behave this way, why didn't you make me so it would be easy?"

I don't claim to understand the "why" of every bit of my faith - but I do know the "what," that despite those real, sometimes painful pleas and arguments, Jesus says that if I would follow him, I must deny my self and follow in his path, following his Word.

Yes, this is from a Christian perspective. No, I don't expect a non-Christian to have to adhere to these requirements, or even for every Christian to believe exactly the same as me. I've said that many, many times. I'm only explaining my beliefs regarding the issue, and how they relate to my faith.

 Quote:
" In fact, I get the impression that your search/research is far more than just an intellectual pursuit; it's far more driven than would be explained by a simple academic interest."

This comes from not knowing each other. I am similarly interested in other pursuits as well. [/b]
You're right, we don't know each other well. But from what I do know of you, I have a tremendous respect for you as a person. The fact that you have other driving pursuits doesn't negate my sense that in this topic you are at your most intense and passionate, and where your passion is, your heart is. Like I said, despite your position counter to mine, I honor your pursuit. And I was serious - and if it sounded patronizing, know that that wasn't the intention - that I wouldn't be surprised if your ongoing search ultimately took you in places that will surprise you.

 Quote:
Somewhere above you said that the fact that most human societies have had some religion speaks to the truth of religion. Rather, since they can't all be correct, it speaks to their all being false. [/b]
Or all partially right - and all being more essentially right than the non-theistic view.

My comment about the majority of humans, past or present, having a theistic belief was just that - a baseline commentary on theism. As I said to Siddartha, that's a far cry from the Christian belief that I hold. But since I was told earlier that it was my burden "prove" God - and not the more specific Christian God - reference to all theists is justifiable. But as I said to Sid, I'm not trying to "prove" my particular faith to anyone. As such, I'm only pointing out under what circumstances, and to whom, a burden of proof of one's argument would lie.

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#770163 - 02/25/05 03:23 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
Gee Horace, you got an awful lot of questions in there, and all of them good. I've got to go to dinner right now, but I promise I'll either anser your questions, or give you my take on them, or both, as appropriate to each of your questions, before the end of the night.

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#770164 - 02/25/05 03:35 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Dwain: "This is where I'll be accused of being unfair to gay couples - that I would deny them the same sexual connection and enjoyment that I, a stright man, am able to enjoy. It's so unfair, and is a double standard. But it isn't a double standard. I am under the same burden to deny myself of many pleasures that I would love to do - have loved doing - but I am told, as a Christian, is not in accordance with God's ideal, and I must turn away from. Sexual desire is one of the strongest urges in human existence, but it is not the only seemingly irresistible urge that dives us in diretions other than God's ideal. I've often thought "It's not fair" that I can't engage in things that I see other non-Christians doing, and even physically, financially, or in other ways benefittting from. "Why do I have to suffer with this higher standard? If I'm supposed to behave this way, why didn't you make me so it would be easy?"

Dwain, would you castrate yourself based on the arguments you've given? This is essentially what you ask of (male) homosexuals. Even if you say yes, I very much doubt that this will be the general answer.

I'll say I've proven this much: any heterosexual Christian male against homosexual sex acts outside marriage (and not willing to let gays marry) and not willing to castrate themselves, is guilty of discrimination and bias against homosexuals.

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#770165 - 02/25/05 03:40 PM Re: To Christians
Kincaid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 476
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by MusicMagellan:
However, you can find many decent, if slightly dated, citations in the following:

Steven Pinker "the blank slate"
Matt Ridley "Nature via Nurture" [/b]
Sorry to be so delinquent, but thank you very much, MM!
_________________________
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4:7-8 NIV)

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#770166 - 02/25/05 03:42 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Dwain: "I can have a loving, emotionally/psychically connected relationship with a woman other than my wife, but all of the very real emotions and feelings that the relationship might cause does not make the relationship good or proper."

This example and most of the other "counter-examples" you give involve a violation of the informed voluntary consent doctrine I said supported my view of sexual ethics. Such a relationship as you describe violates this because it involves lying or deception towards the wife. It is therefore coercive towards her. If she agrees and you have an open marriage, then there is no problem in my view.

Again, all three things above (in the context of informed voluntary consent for all relevant parties - I didn't repeat this criterion above, since I had said it about 50 times in the recent threads), are positive goods, and support the view that homosexual relations are valuble things that should not be suppressed. Your view has the burden of proof that something apparently good, is not really so.

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#770167 - 02/25/05 04:03 PM Re: To Christians
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Siddhartha:
No, the reverse is NOT true. Nontheism may be the anomaly, but that does shift the burden of proof. [/b]
Sure it does.

[/b]
I'm assuming you understood that was a typo, and I meant DOESNT shift the burden.


But regardless. We're not connecting. none of your treatise sheds any light on why the burden of proof is on me. In fact it seems you drifted and forgot that question (unless I misunderstood).

And aside from the burden issue itself, you keep putting on me that I'm claiming there is no god. I have stated many many times that is not and has never been my claim. So I dont know what else to say, but I'm tired and this is futile.

And we have different perception of very fundamental tenats like what it means to "know" something (in this case, to know there is god). If we cant agree on a simple definition of a word, we cant have the subsequent discussion about it. And I find that endless circular rhetorical quibbling over such things is not envigorating but rather the opposite.

I find you actually to be a very refreshing voice on this forum in that you maintain unyielding composure and never resort to hate speech and personal attacks like many others here. And I thank you for that. And I would be very interested in having an exchange of ideas on this subject with you, but again, we just cant seem to get past rhetoric. That is partly the nature of the beast of online forums.

So I respectfully step off this discussion with you. I'm sure we'll exchange again in the not too distant future, but since we've hit the point of diminishing returns here, I'd rather we part smiling for now.

Cheers.
_________________________
I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?

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#770168 - 02/25/05 04:11 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Sid said:
 Quote:
And we have different perception of very fundamental tenats like what it means to "know" something (in this case, to know there is god). If we cant agree on a simple definition of a word, we cant have the subsequent discussion about it. And I find that endless circular rhetorical quibbling over such things is not envigorating but rather the opposite.
Sid, this is what I was really trying to get you to understand earlier either in this thread or the other (they're beginning to blur).
Remember our whole misunderstanding about understanding? \:\)
I was simply alluding to what you've written above; that we simply have some different definitions, or assumptions, that affect the rest of reasoning down the line. We have some fundamentally different understandings, and it makes discussion hard, especially when we're not doing so in person.

So.. to clarify, I'm writing right now to agree with you, not argue a point \:\)
_________________________
Outlive Yourself - Become an Organ Donor

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#770169 - 02/25/05 05:12 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
Dwain, would you castrate yourself based on the arguments you've given? [/b]
Your question implies that you believe that the only way to not act on one's sexual desires is to remove one's sex organs. Since this is not true, whether discussing homosexuals or heterosexuals, the point you're trying to make is not valid.

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#770170 - 02/25/05 05:26 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
This example and most of the other "counter-examples" you give involve a violation of the informed voluntary consent doctrine...If she agrees and you have an open marriage, then there is no problem in my view....Again, all three things above (in the context of informed voluntary consent for all relevant parties - I didn't repeat this criterion above, since I had said it about 50 times in the recent threads)....[/b]
Repeating that criterion was unnecessary; I understood it. I was pointing out that to me, damage is not limited to solely "third parties," but to the individual: in many cases, excessive seeking of pleasure, in whatever form, harms third parties, but it harms the individual himself, in every case. That's the harm that I was referring to. In this case specifically, I mean that any person, doing anything that is contrary to God's ideal for humanity, is driving himself further from God, and is therefore harming himself.

 Quote:
Your view has the burden of proof that something apparently good, is not really so. [/b]
That's not much of a burden, if all that I have to do is prove that your three criteria aren't universals. Surely, you don't believe in the universality of the three concepts you've identified. And once there's one exception to them - and there are exceptions to all three - their use to support your position continually diminishes with every exception.

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#770171 - 02/25/05 05:42 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
Sid, I know you want to "disengage," but I'm going to reply - briefly - to your post. Don't worry, I don't think any of it will be controversial or give you any burning desire to reply/rebut.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Siddhartha:
I'm assuming you understood that was a typo, and I meant DOESNT shift the burden. [/b]
Understood.

 Quote:
We're not connecting. none of your treatise sheds any light on why the burden of proof is on me. In fact it seems you drifted and forgot that question (unless I misunderstood). [/b]
You did. The purpose of my "drift" was only to explain that I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone about how they should believe; so if there is a burden of proof on anyone, it would only be on someone trying to prove something to me. That may or may not be you, but it surely isn't me.

 Quote:
...that I'm claiming there is no god. I have stated many many times that is not and has never been my claim. [/b]
I got that point; it came through loud and clear.

 Quote:
And I find that endless circular rhetorical quibbling over such things is not envigorating but rather the opposite. [/b]
Same here, believe it or not. I don't know if you noticed, but I had "disengaged" from this thread earlier myself. The only reason I jumped back in, in fact, was that Jeffrey replied directly to me, and as I said before, despite our obvious differences, I enjoy chatting with him when I have the time to do so. So relax, this reply is definitely not an attempt to continue the merry go round. ;\)

 Quote:
I find you actually to be a very refreshing voice on this forum in that you maintain unyielding composure and never resort to hate speech and personal attacks like many others here. And I thank you for that.[/b]
You're welcome, and thank you for the compliment - although I have had some of my viewpoints characterized as hate speech in the past, and I suppose, will again in the future.

 Quote:
I'm sure we'll exchange again in the not too distant future, but since we've hit the point of diminishing returns here, I'd rather we part smiling for now. Cheers. [/b]
Peace.

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#770172 - 02/25/05 05:44 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Dwain: "Your question implies that you believe that the only way to not act on one's sexual desires is to remove one's sex organs."

No, it implies that it is a similar loss of one's sexual personality. The operation is painless, and hormone replacement therapy makes it safe long term. This is similar to what you propose to gays. Again, are you willing to give up your sexual personality in this way in total and irrevocably? This is what you recommend to gays, so it is not an unfair question. (Perhaps you would allow them masturbation, just not with another person of the same sex present?)

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#770173 - 02/25/05 06:36 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio

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#770174 - 02/25/05 06:44 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
Dwain: "Your question implies that you believe that the only way to not act on one's sexual desires is to remove one's sex organs."

No, it implies that it is a similar loss of one's sexual personality. The operation is painless, and hormone replacement therapy makes it safe long term. This is similar to what you propose to gays. Again, are you willing to give up your sexual personality in this way in total and irrevocably? This is what you recommend to gays, so it is not an unfair question. (Perhaps you would allow them masturbation, just not with another person of the same sex present?) [/b]
My reply has nothing to do with whether castration is painful or unsafe. It has everything to do with your apparent position that castration is the only way to not act on one's sexual urges.

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#770175 - 02/25/05 06:51 PM Re: To Christians
RZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 515
Loc: Anaheim, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Horace:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
a person can still only know of God's existence by means of God first reaching to the person[/b]
Is this an official position of the church? [/b]
It is the official position of much, if not most, of the Christian church. [/b]
Be careful how you characterize this, Dwain. This is not the position of the Catholic Church, which represents close to 2/3's of the Christian Church. Nor is it the position of the Orthodox Churches, if I recall correctly.

The emphasis on a selective God, the idea that God has not called all men or does not reveal Himself to all men is almost uniquely Calvinistic Protestantism.

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#770176 - 02/25/05 07:00 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
I am being very careful, RZ. I never said that God only revealed himself to some, or that he only loved some. I only said that in order for any human to come to know God, that God must act first by reaching out to the person. That statement is what I was asked about, and that is a position of most of the Christian church, Catholic included.

Only after that, when asked about my own opinions, do I reference the concept of "selective election," and if you read all of my post, you'll even see that, while a Calvinist Protestant myself, I personally hold a modifed view of the concept of election, to one of time and place, but not of total exclusion to anyone.

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#770177 - 02/25/05 09:37 PM Re: To Christians
RZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 515
Loc: Anaheim, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
I am being very careful, RZ. I never said that God only revealed himself to some, or that he only loved some. I only said that in order for any human to come to know God, that God must act first by reaching out to the person. That statement is what I was asked about, and that is a position of most of the Christian church, Catholic included.
[/b]
I appreciate that, Dwain, and I recognize we come from different Christian traditions and likely do not understand each other's completely.

While clearly God must reveal Himself, the Catholic Church would argue God reveals Himself to all people at all times. I understood you to say that God chose who to reveal Himself to and that it was a mystery as to why He chose one and did not choose another.

I am sorry if I misunderstood you.

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#770178 - 02/26/05 04:11 AM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by RZ:
While clearly God must reveal Himself, the Catholic Church would argue God reveals Himself to all people at all times. I understood you to say that God chose who to reveal Himself to and that it was a mystery as to why He chose one and did not choose another. I am sorry if I misunderstood you. [/b]
Personally, I make a distinction between a more general revelation of the existence of God (i.e., through nature, the existence of love, a rudimentary "conscience" or moral understanding of right & wrong, etc.) - which I believe is offered by God to all people at all times, and offers people a general understanding of the existence and rudimentary nature of a god - and a deeper, specific, more personal act of revelation - only after which can a person truly understand in heart, spirit, and intellect, the manner and implications of God's redemptive action and will for humanity and the individual.

It is this second type of revelation - or in the Reformed tradition, "election" - that I believe is not given to all people at all times. Some people belive there is a master list of humans, some being eternally selected to be on the "mailing list" for invitations to heaven, and others not making the cut to ever even get an invitation. I don't believe that. Carrying the silly analogy further, I believe that everyone gets at least one invitation, but God decides when to send it, and just how many times he's ultimately going to invite you to the party.

I don't believe that God makes the deeper revelation to everyone at all times. But my view of God's selectivity only relates to the specific time and place for the individual: God may choose to prepare a person's heart to receive the full truth about God once while the person is able to make an informed, conscious decision to accept or reject, or He may extend it multiple times during the person's life. The "when, where, and how many" are up to God, and do remain an eternal mystery. I believe that that is a logical corollary to the Creator's endowment of free will. If we are granted free will, to have been created more in God's image, we certainly receive it as a mixed blessing: it can, and has, done us harm. It is only logical then, that God's endowment of free will to every person come with a corresponding offering, to every person, of the ability to use that free will to achieve one's atonement for the harm that the free will itself has gotten for us. This means that God's deeper revelatory act must be offered to everyone, at least once, but not necessarily constantly, in their lifetime.

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#770179 - 02/26/05 08:11 AM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Dwain - Please look at page 10 of the "Oh Jesus, why didn't you make me straight" thread. The contributions by Kenny and Matt G are far superior to what I can write on the topic. You said that in 15 years I would look back and defend religion. I can only hope that far before then you look back in disgust and shame at what you write and preach regarding gay sexuality.

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#770180 - 02/26/05 08:24 AM Re: To Christians
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
I believe that that is a logical corollary to the Creator's endowment of free will. If we are granted free will, to have been created more in God's image, we certainly receive it as a mixed blessing: it can, and has, done us harm. It is only logical then, that God's endowment of free will to every person come with a corresponding offering, to every person, of the ability to use that free will to achieve one's atonement for the harm that the free will itself has gotten for us. This means that God's deeper revelatory act must be offered to everyone, at least once, but not necessarily constantly, in their lifetime. [/b]
I believe the choice is before us always, in plain sight, pure simple, do what is right or do what is wrong.. the simple parameter defined by the 'love' delineates good from evil.

It is absurd to think that sexual orientation is evil or good... it is as normal as freckles or leadership qualities.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#770181 - 02/26/05 08:47 AM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
apple: "It is absurd to think that sexual orientation is evil or good... it is as normal as freckles or leadership qualities."

Apple, serious question. How do you reconcile this viewpoint with your being Catholic? Given what the Pope says and the Church says on homosexuality and related topics?

P.S. Or do you distinguish "sexual orientation" from "sexual behavior" (same as Dwain tries to do)??

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#770182 - 02/26/05 08:53 AM Re: To Christians
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I am a "Take the good aspects of my religion" Catholic. I practice, I belong, tho I freely discuss what I disagree with, which is much of the dogma particularly and about some of Catholicism's interpretation of Christian teaching..

If I was presented with the choice of being good or being Catholic I would chose good in a heartbeat...

or in other words.. I am not a good Catholic
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#770183 - 02/26/05 09:35 AM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
Dwain - Please look at page 10 of the "Oh Jesus, why didn't you make me straight" thread. The contributions by Kenny and Matt G are far superior to what I can write on the topic. You said that in 15 years I would look back and defend religion. I can only hope that far before then you look back in disgust and shame at what you write and preach regarding gay sexuality. [/b]
While I learn new things about my faith and its implications every day, I'm comfortable with the potential risk that 15 years from now, my current thoughts will seem foolish. I hope you're equally open to that risk yourself.

You said something interesting in an earlier post, that I am asking that a gay person deny their sexual personality - in other words, that they deny their true self, or true being.

Your implication is that this would be a bad thing - perhaps even the worst of all possible things. I sense - and correct me if I'm mistaken - that you believe that the highest and truest obligation that a person has, is to not deny one's self. Granted, pursuing the ultimate satisfaction of self may also result in some altruistic acts, but only in a secondary role to the primary goal of not denying the self.

Before I go any further, I want to discuss the definition of the word "deny." It can have two meanings that, while related, can seem almost contradictory when used in terms of Christian belief. The first definition would be to "fail to acknowledge the true nature of a particular thing or state of being." The second definition would be "to refuse to give in to, or to refuse to be overcome by" some thing.

In Christian belief, we are taught to not "deny" (definition 1) our true character or nature. It is a key element of Christian faith to completely, truly acknowledge our true nature - and as part of that self realization and acknowledgement, acknowledge the flawed nature of our character, asking for forgiveness and strength in correcting it. Under the first definition, denial equals spiritual death.

Everything that I've said in this thread is consistent with this first concept. If a person is gay, that is an inherent part of his self, and it is ridiculous - and in a spritual sense, dangerous - to deny this aspect of one's personality or self.

Now let's look at the second definition - refusing to give in to, or refusing to be overcome by, something. This idea also goes to the heart of Christian teaching. Christians are commanded to turn the focus of their lives away from self - towards others, and most importantly, toward God. This shift of focus will require that a person "deny" (definition 2)his self repeatedly, in many aspects of his life. Sexual behavior, gay or straight, is only one of many facets of life - of self - that can potentially come into conflict with this Christian requirement.

Jesus was quoted as saying, "If anyone would follow me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

Many people have followed this command over two millenia. And they have done so in aspects far beyond the admittedly stong pull of sexual desire, to the far greater extent of denial and loss of their very life, in pusuing a life in accord with Christian teachings.

So here's the conflict: Your point seems to be that self-denial (in the second definition) is, at least in most instances, evil or at least very wrong. The Christian concept is that, in most instances, it is a requirement. It may not be concurrent with current philosophy or psychology. It may even be anti-American. But it is decidely the Christian command.

I've said this before, in this thread, and in greater detail in previous threads. My personal theology as regards homosexuality pertain only to people who have made a similar commitment to following Christ as I have. I do not say that any of my religious beliefs automaticaly tanslate directly to how to order a pluralistic civil society. That is a political/legislative issue that a person's religious beliefs will help to shape (religious people being part of the body politic), but not directly dictate. If a majority of people, religious or otherwise, feel that, for example, gay marriage is not conducive to the betterment and maintenance of society, and if the courts uphold the constitutionality of that decision, that that is what civil position should be established. If, on the other hand, a majority of the populace feels that prohibiting gay marriage, or an equal or lesser civil union, is an unfair infringement on civil rights, or if the courts decide that such a ban is unconstituional, then that should be public policy. It's a civil matter, and is only a religious issue in a secondary sense.

Note that that's the first time I've addressed gay marriage in my posts here. Till now, I've discussed homosexuality in general, or in terms of ordination of practicing homosexuals as clergy, but in both instances, as from within, and to, the Christian community. If a person is a professing Christian and disagrees with my personal take on the matter, it becomes a conversation, internal to the faith, among two believers. If a person is a non-Christian, then my take on homosexuality in a religious context is irrelevant to them. Kenny, as an example, is as unaffected (in both his eyes and mine) by my personal theology about homosexuality as would possibly be conceivable. I'm not trying to convince anyone, Christian or not, to believe as I do. In fact, earlier in this thread another Christian (was it RZ?) disagreed with my thoughts, and said that he strongly defended the concept of gay marriage. Rather than dispute the correctness of his(?) beliefs, I encouraged him to find a proper avenue withing the church to advance his beliefs, even though different from mine. I said this because this issue is not a core concept of Christianity, and sincere people will take wildly different viewpoints. Ultimately, neither side will get it entierely right, but the core issue to a Christian is following Christ, in whatever manner one's own heart has discerned his lead., So, as I've never tried to coerce anyone to agree with my belief system, it does seem odd when a non-believer would try to dictate what should, or shouldn't, be part of my belief system.

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#770184 - 02/26/05 10:23 AM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
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Dwain: "I sense - and correct me if I'm mistaken - that you believe that the highest and truest obligation that a person has, is to not deny one's self."

I do not recognize this as an accurate description of my belief system. Perhaps my view is closest to an Aristotelian self-development or "eudaimonia" ideal.

"If a majority of people, religious or otherwise, feel that, for example, gay marriage is not conducive to the betterment and maintenance of society, and if the courts uphold the constitutionality of that decision, that that is what civil position should be established."

"it does seem odd when a non-believer would try to dictate what should, or shouldn't, be part of my belief system."


Yes, however, your holding the religious views you do causes you to vote against equal rights for your fellow citizens, and to preach words of bigotry that cause unnecessary pain to them. Substitute "black" for "gay" in all your statements, and I think you will see my point. If your religion taught that blacks were properly slaves, or shouldn't vote, and you both preached this and voted against black enfranchisement, it wouldn't do any good for you to hide behind your religion and say "What business is it of yours to criticise my religion for claiming blackness is a sin (in fact, I am so openminded that blacks who hate themselves and try to bleach their skins can still be part of my religion).

For these reasons, your religious views are properly subject to external criticism. Again, Kenny and Matt G express these ideas better than I can, since I am not gay. All the round-and-round circles you go in about faith and love of God and how they apply only to fellow Christians do not change these facts. They are flimsy rationalizations for prejudice, nothing more.

"Kenny, as an example, is as unaffected (in both his eyes and mine) by my personal theology about homosexuality as would possibly be conceivable."

Not true. Read what he said. Here is a repost of his comment in the other thread: "Oh Gry, wake up and smell the roses.
Lots of "straight" men have sex with men.

Sadly they are the ones frequenting notorious parks, parking lots and bathrooms.
They see little alternative but to go for the anonymous quickie to satisfy their natural urges that won't go away.

They are not happy and adjusted men living proud dignified living lives as gay couples like I am.
They don't know that is possible.
All they see is hatred and shame imposed by people who found a way to feel better than the next group.
Perhaps you, Jolly and Ivory could accept us and welcome us as fellow human beings.
You know, karma just might make you kids come out to you as gay some day.
Then you won't be able to just log off to ignore reality.

A few months ago there was a article in the LA Times about the county regulating "gay" bath houses.
The owner of several of these establishments in LA county said one of his largest group of customers is straight married men.
I was shocked.
Very sad.
Isn't it?

I blame the bigotry and hatred evidenced in these threads, though of course it is disguised as religious doctrine and fancy words that can't be reasoned with.
If it was okay to be gay these guys would never had felt the need to appear "normal" and marry a woman.

The pope's panicked rhetoric only reveals he is clinging to ugly attitudes of the past.
His words hurt us more than the fists of gay bashers.
But, the pope is unwittingly breathing life into what he opposes.
He is actually motivating the good people of today who believe in equality for all.

This boils down to one group of people trying to feel better than another group of people.
Nothing more.

All people are equal.
No group is better."

Dwain - its really a shame that a smart and charismatic guy like you puts all this effort into rationalizing bigotry and prejudice.

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#770185 - 02/26/05 10:33 AM Re: To Christians
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Wonderful post Dwain.
You have stated very clearly and understandably (at least to me) where you stand.
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#770186 - 02/26/05 10:48 AM Re: To Christians
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Jeffrey:
I understand your points about racism and how it equates to homosexuality. But I don't agree with them.
I am not making any statement or judgment other than that it is unfair to equate being black with being gay. Again, no emotion in that statement, just the observation that they are not to most people analogous.

Dwain has made his case quite clearly that he does not view homosexuality in the way that you would have us believe he does.
He has been more than clear about his beliefs on an "ideal", and that all groups of Man fall short of it. He has done his best to not single out one group as being above another. I understand that you do not, and most likely will not agree with his conclusions, but at least read what he is saying and understand that he had made it clear that there is no group better than another. All ARE created equal.
His last post really rated this issue, and should dispel any thoughts you have on Dwain's ideas as being bigoted or prejudicial.
He has said his views on this topic as they pertain to religious are relative only to other people looking at it from a religious perspective.
He has made it clear that this plays no part, and should not, in political process. Please don't make it appear as though Dwain would vote that Gay men should be held as slaves, or that they shouldn't have the right to vote.

You are both simply in different worlds when it comes to the fundamentals that govern your moral process.
Dwain believes that there lies the possibility in this Universe that not all that a person desires is healthy for them. That there may be an absolute ideal that applies to ALL of creation, and that we are ALL in conflict with it in different areas.
You believe that this is not the case, and that basically as long as nobody hurts anybody else, not only is anything OK, but it is healthy, and ideal. Expression of self is ideal. Self...

Fundamentally two ideas are at work here, and I understand why you see Dwain's view as bigoted, I really do. But I don't agree. I don't think you understand the fundamental issues at work here. Not in the sense that you can't grasp the idea, but in the sense that your world is built up on your logic, not Dwain's.

I'm sure that sitting around a table, able to discuss things in real time, we would better understand each other. ALL of us.
This medium however lends itself to thrust and parry as we are always responding to the last post, rather than ever helping the other to understand the foundation of our own understanding.

I pray (hope) that all of us may have tolerance for one another, and more importantly, Love.

I don't want to put words in Dwain's mouth, but I know that I for one don't want to dissolve any healthy expression of Love between two people. I do though, have a different set of ideals than you. I can respect your position, but you are saying that logically I am a bigot, and there's no way around it.
I suppose that's where it will have to lie for now. But I wish you could see my heart, and understand my feelings regarding this.
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#770187 - 02/26/05 11:52 AM Re: To Christians
RZ Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by KlavierBauer:
Jeffrey:
I understand your points about racism and how it equates to homosexuality. But I don't agree with them.
I am not making any statement or judgment other than that it is unfair to equate being black with being gay. Again, no emotion in that statement, just the observation that they are not to most people analogous.[/b]
Even if most people do not find being black and being gay analogous, why do you think it is unfair to equate being racism against blacks with discrimination against homosexuals? Is it simply because you are not convinced that being gay is the natural state for the homosexual and therefore opt that it is not?

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#770188 - 02/26/05 12:00 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
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KB: "is unfair to equate being black with being gay."

To Dwain, KB, ivory, Jolly, etc.: Why not??

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#770189 - 02/26/05 12:03 PM Re: To Christians
ivorythumper Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by RZ:
 Quote:
Originally posted by KlavierBauer:
Jeffrey:
I understand your points about racism and how it equates to homosexuality. But I don't agree with them.
I am not making any statement or judgment other than that it is unfair to equate being black with being gay. Again, no emotion in that statement, just the observation that they are not to most people analogous.[/b]
Even if most people do not find being black and being gay analogous, why do you think it is unfair to equate being racism against blacks with discrimination against homosexuals? Is it simply because you are not convinced that being gay is the natural state for the homosexual and therefore opt that it is not? [/b]
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
KB: "is unfair to equate being black with being gay."

To Dwain, KB, ivory, Jolly, etc.: Why not?? [/b]
Some analogies just don't work in the public forum -- for instance drawing analogies between the Holocaust and abortion in America, or between the crimes vs. raised consciousness about sexuality with Kinsey and the crimes vs. raised consciousness about racism and genocide with the Nazis.

There is no doubt that race is genetically determined, there is no proof the sexual orientation is. A significant difference coupled with an explosive and emotional issue make the analogy dismissible by some.

yours,

Steve
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#770190 - 02/26/05 12:06 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
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Well as I said I was speaking stricltly on observation.
Homosexuality as has been discussed in this thread is as an act, not a state.
While there have been logical arguments that one can be born predisposed to a certain sexual identity, there is no gay gene. There is however a black one.
A homosexual man can wake up one morning and however unjust and damaging it is to his personal identity can choose to not appear or act gay. A Black man or woman can not do this.
Please don't take what I'm saying out of context. RZ, I am not making a judgement on homosexuality, or making a statement about discrimination.
Simply put if I am a homosexual male (which you have no evidence to the contrary now that we know most gay men aren't gay, but are married heterosexual men), I can appear to not be if I'm in a "dangerous" area that isn't sympathetic to my plight.
However, if I am a Black man in an unsafe, racist neighborhood, there is little I can do for myself. Simply obervationally (if that's even a word) these two are not fair comparisons... that's all I'm saying.

Now please don't everyone read something into my statement that was neither said, nor implied.
With all the scientists in this thread it should be easy enough to see what I'm saying in an objective fashion.
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#770191 - 02/26/05 12:08 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
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To make it more obvious what I'm saying from a scientific point of view based on observation:
Everyone post a picture of themselves... with no names attached.

We will then make guesses as to who is Black, and who is Gay.

We can then scientifically look at the numbers, and see which is easier to tell by appearance alone.
This one difference is enough to say that at least on some level these two things are not analogous is it not?
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#770192 - 02/26/05 12:11 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
KB: "is unfair to equate being black with being gay."

To Dwain, KB, ivory, Jolly, etc.: Why not?? [/b]
Because there is not one single scriptural verse that says that being black is contrary to God's ideal.

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#770193 - 02/26/05 12:12 PM Re: To Christians
RZ Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by ivorythumper:
There is no doubt that race is genetically determined, there is no proof the sexual orientation is. A significant difference coupled with an explosive and emotional issue make the analogy dismissible by some.
[/b]
While it may be dismissable by some as not scientifially proven, is there not enough anecdotal evidence from homosoexuals themselves that they simply are who they are that your Christian belief in the dignity of all human beings demand you opt in favor of providing them equal treatment rather than opt against it?

Do you think that Jesus would argue that He did not have certain scientific evidence as to the genetic cause of homosexuality and others might reject his reasoning without it, therefore He would deny homosexuals the same rights He would afford heterosexuals?

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#770194 - 02/26/05 12:14 PM Re: To Christians
RZ Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by KlavierBauer:
To make it more obvious what I'm saying from a scientific point of view based on observation:
Everyone post a picture of themselves... with no names attached.

We will then make guesses as to who is Black, and who is Gay.

We can then scientifically look at the numbers, and see which is easier to tell by appearance alone.
This one difference is enough to say that at least on some level these two things are not analogous is it not? [/b]
So are you arguing that the validity of discrimination is based on whether or not the group being discriminated against is visible to the eyes?

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#770195 - 02/26/05 12:17 PM Re: To Christians
RZ Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
KB: "is unfair to equate being black with being gay."

To Dwain, KB, ivory, Jolly, etc.: Why not?? [/b]
Because there is not one single scriptural verse that says that being black is contrary to God's ideal. [/b]
I can accept (though not agree with) your reasoning within a religious community, but what about civil law, Dwain?

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#770196 - 02/26/05 12:20 PM Re: To Christians
ivorythumper Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by RZ:
 Quote:
Originally posted by ivorythumper:
There is no doubt that race is genetically determined, there is no proof the sexual orientation is. A significant difference coupled with an explosive and emotional issue make the analogy dismissible by some.
[/b]
While it may be dismissable by some as not scientifially proven, is there not enough anecdotal evidence from homosoexuals themselves that they simply are who they are that your Christian belief in the dignity of all human beings demand you opt in favor of providing them equal treatment rather than opt against it?

Do you think that Jesus would argue that He did not have certain scientific evidence as to the genetic cause of homosexuality and others might reject his reasoning without it, therefore He would deny homosexuals the same rights He would afford heterosexuals? [/b]
RZ: You simply asked why some might think the analogy unfair, and I answered it. If the analogy works for some based on anecdotal evidence but not others, then it is not helpful in the public forum. What ever Jesus might have known about "scientific evidence" seems completely not germane to the question (and I can not even make heads or tails of what your Jesus supposition is really trying to indicate). The teachings of Jesus are not about "rights" but about obligations and methods to love God and your neighbor.

Yours,

Steve
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#770197 - 02/26/05 12:22 PM Re: To Christians
ivorythumper Offline
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#770198 - 02/26/05 12:25 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
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 Quote:
So are you arguing that the validity of discrimination is based on whether or not the group being discriminated against is visible to the eyes?
what? No....

I'm sorry, but I asked very clearly that you not put meaning into my words that was not there. I said multiple[/b] times that I was making an observation, with no value attached.

I was asked to explain a difference between being Black, and being Gay ... from an observational point of view I did. You can either find it valuable, or not. But I did not suppose anything about Jesus' teachings, or make arguments as to the validity of discrimination or anything of the sort.
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#770199 - 02/26/05 12:48 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
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#770200 - 02/26/05 01:00 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
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Dwain: "Because there is not one single scriptural verse that says that being black is contrary to God's ideal."

Does this mean that if there were scriptures supporting discrimination against blacks you would be a racist? The problem with a Divine Command Morality is that it makes moral rules arbitrary. Cruelty would be good, if only God commanded it.

KB: "A homosexual man can wake up one morning and however unjust and damaging it is to his personal identity can choose to not appear or act gay."

Translation: Gays can hate themselves and pass, so discrimination and prejudice against them is ok. By the way, many Jews and some very light-skinned blacks can "pass" as well. So by your logic, preaching hatred against them is ok as well. I don't think being gay is totally genetic, because I don't think any human behavior is totally genetic. Being Jewish is also not genetic. But being gay is not a passing preference like eating ice cream. It is a sexuality central to the human personality - whatever its ultimate cause - of those who are gay (and that requires only voluntary consensual actions to consummate). (I add this last comment only to stop Ivory from making his usual idiotic Straw Man objections and analogies.)


KB - I really wish you'd stop saying those who criticize you "don't understand". Believe me, I and others do fully understand your position and all its subtlies and ramifications in every tiny detail. It is because of this full understanding that you are being criticized. You can't use the words "faith" and "God says so" to wiggle out of a clear-cut case of sadistic discrimination.

Again, I will withdraw my accusation of sadistic discrimination only if you also agree to castrate yourself, for your love of your god. That is morally equivalent to what you urge on others who are gay: the permanent and complete rejection of your own sexuality and the possibility of its expression.

(Yes, I read Dwain's comment above about how there are other ways to control one's sexual desires. But for himself only (and not for gays) Dwain allows himself some sort of regular sexual connection to another person within his lifetime, however many other desires of his he restrains. For gays, however, his moral code forbids them ever to reach sexual connection to another person. Therefore, castration is the fully accurate and fair analogy.)

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#770201 - 02/26/05 01:09 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
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 Quote:
Translation: Gays can hate themselves and pass, so discrimination and prejudice against them is ok. By the way, many Jews and some very light-skinned blacks can "pass" as well. So by your logic, preaching hatred against them is ok as well. I don't think being gay is totally genetic, because I don't think any human behavior is totally genetic. Being Jewish is also not genetic. But being gay is not a passing preference like eating ice cream. It is a sexuality central to the human personality - whatever its ultimate cause - of those who are gay (and that requires only voluntary consensual actions to consummate). (I add this last comment only to stop Ivory from making his usual idiotic Straw Man objections and analogies.)
Then this is your translation... and be clear about it. Because it is not my translation, nor the intended translation.

Also....
 Quote:
I don't think being gay is totally genetic, because I don't think any human behavior is totally genetic.
So homosexuality is a human behavior? Being Black isn't a human behavior. Isn't this enough of a difference to validate my original observation without all of the values you have since attached to it?


 Quote:
KB - I really wish you'd stop saying those who criticize you "don't understand". Believe me, I and others do fully understand your position and all its subtlies and ramifications in every tiny detail. It is because of this full understanding that you are being criticized. You can't use the words "faith" and "God says so" to wiggle out of a clear-cut case of sadistic discrimination.

Again, I will withdraw my accusation of sadistic discrimination only if you also agree to castrate yourself, for your love of your god. That is morally equivalent to what you urge on others who are gay: the permanent and complete rejection of your own sexuality and the possibility of its expression.
Those two paragraphs have really solidified for me that you do not understand.
You consistently make your own rules for what something means... you make logical rules that "if A, then B." And there is no other way around it... only the set of rules you provide.

Well I am now going to do the same. Based on my rules, your speech indicates to me that you don't have the same understanding of what I'm saying that I do.

Enough said about it really....

You're wrong in your assumptions, and you honestly don't understand where I'm coming from, or you wouldn't make the logical absolutes that you are regarding what you understand my belief to be, and what it means in the real world.
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#770202 - 02/26/05 01:17 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
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KB: "So homosexuality is a human behavior?"

Yes, a behavior based on biology in some complex way we don't fully understand but that probably can't be reduced to a "gay gene". In fact, there is probably some continuum of sexual desire, as Sid said above (in one of the recent threads).

If your religion does not allow gays ever to reach sexual expression with another human being, then it is bigoted against gays. There doesn't need to be a lot of subtle theological gobbledegook about "faith" on this topic. It is very clear and black and white. You choose to participate in a religion that preaches discrimination against gays. If it works for you, nothing more I can do. I will try to follow Matt G's recommendation to hate the idea, love the PW member.

You may have the last word. I have Pete Johnson cds to listen to.

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#770203 - 02/26/05 01:29 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
Dwain: "Because there is not one single scriptural verse that says that being black is contrary to God's ideal."

Does this mean that if there were scriptures supporting discrimination against blacks you would be a racist? The problem with a Divine Command Morality is that it makes moral rules arbitrary. Cruelty would be good, if only God commanded it. [/b]
This question indicates why I once told you that long before anyone should try to prove the existence of God, they must first define God.

Part of my definition of God is that God is the ultimate in perfection: perfectly good, perfectly merciful, perfectly just, perfectly true. Conversely, God cannot be in the slightest non-good, unmerciful, unjust, or false. Any being that could have those attributes would be less than perfect, and therefore, not God. Therefore, God could not make a statement such as you suggest. Your hypothetical is the same as saying, "suppose God could be 'Not God.' " The only thing that God cannot do is to be "not God," to be something other than God's actual essence. "A" cannot be "not-A." As such, the impossible hypothetical is also impossible to debate. What might be more interesting to consider is why God says nothing about the sinfulness of the color of a person's skin, or of a person's actual sexual identity (even as Paul points out that there were homosexual believers within the congregations of the early church), but does comment on the sinfulness of various heterosexual and homosexual sex acts.

The problem, as you term it, with "Divine Command Morality" is not that it makes all morals arbitrary, but rather that it eliminates arbitrariness.

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#770204 - 02/26/05 01:44 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
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Jeffrey said:
 Quote:
If your religion does not allow gays ever to reach sexual expression with another human being, then it is bigoted against gays. There doesn't need to be a lot of subtle theological gobbledegook about "faith" on this topic. It is very clear and black and white. You choose to participate in a religion that preaches discrimination against gays. If it works for you, nothing more I can do. I will try to follow Matt G's recommendation to hate the idea, love the PW member.
But this is at the core of what you do not understand. You're making an illogical jump between what is considered ideal, and what is allowed.
My Church (can't speak for every other) makes no case that homosexuals can not be homosexuals, or that discrimination is OK, or accepted, or condoned.
I do appreciate that you will at least attempt to still accept me, as I am still accepting of you and your ideas. But please make no mistake, I do not practice discrimination, condone discrimination, or consider homosexuals in anyway beneath myself. If you continue to logically arrive at the conclusion that I am a bigot, want to disallow some behavior, or in some other way practice discrimination, it is not supported by my ideas, or the facts.
Nowhere has the corrolation been made between my considering most sexual behavior (straight or otherwise) in some way selfish, and me thinking that it should be disallowed. This jump is not only huge, but illogical. Again, I think it only works logically with your own set of rules... one I am not privy to.

For now, I'm off to Dialysis to get a couple 14 gauge needles in my arm. I'll try to post more when I get there, though I hope you all understand if I don't. \:\)

Jeffrey, I do enjoy discourse with you, and I think we have a civil understanding at least, in which we are not developing hatred for each other personally.
That would in my opinion be most unfortunate.
I simply feel a bit hurt that regardless of what I tell you I feel, you will still call me a bigot to my face, eventhough I have made it clear that there must be some sort of misunderstanding. Your response is essentially: "No, I understand everything completely, and you're a discriminating bigot".

Essentially you are either calling me an idiot (I don't understand what I think), or a liar (I understand it, but continue insisting that I love all equally).
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#770205 - 02/26/05 01:50 PM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
Jonathan, I don't mean to speak for Jeffrey, but no matter what you two discuss, and no matter how civilly, in Jeffrey's eyes you (and I) will always be considered bigots - sometimes even sadistic bigots, no less. As I know that I'm not, it doesn't bother me when Jeffrey calls me such. You're a tough guy, you've been through a lot in your life. But in this regard, since you know the claim to be untrue in your own life, you just need to toughen up a bit and let the epithet roll off your back - and then continue to have insightful, civil conversations. Sticks and stones, you know?

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#770206 - 02/26/05 01:56 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Dwain: "perfectly good, perfectly merciful, perfectly just, perfectly true."

For this statement to make sense (literally, to have meaning in the language you are speaking), you must accept that there is a standard of right and wrong, independent of God's say so. Otherwise saying "God is perfectly good, just, merciful" etc. is only to state the tautology "God says what God says". Again, if the definition of justice is "what God commands" then the statement "God is just" translates to "God does what God commands" - not a particularly interesting statement.

There is no content to the statement "God is just and merciful" unless the words "just" and "merciful" have meaning independent of God's will. This simple matter of logic and language was pointed out by Plato in the Euthyphro about 2500 years ago.

This means, however, that humans can use the terms "just" and "good" and "merciful" without reference to God's will, and they have meaning independent of God's will. (If you don't accept this statement, then you must accept that the phrase "God is just" does not ascribe him or her any property other than doing what he or she wants. Cruelty and sadism would be good, if God wanted, there being no meaning to the terms good or just outside of God's will.)

If humans can make use moral terms independent of knowledge of the divine will, then we can judge what is right or wrong without reference to revealed scripture. Again, this is a matter of simple logic that has not been in dispute by philosophers since the time of Plato. Otherwise saying "Scripture reveals the truth" is a tautology.

Therefore, you cannot simply say that homosexuality is wrong because that is how you read revealed scripture. You must give an argument, or properly be accused of serious discrimination. You have not even tried to give a moral argument against homosexuality. You just tell people "God said so." That is not an argument.

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#770207 - 02/26/05 02:07 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
KB: Hope your dialysis goes well. Sounds much worse than my flu.

"My Church (can't speak for every other) makes no case that homosexuals can not be homosexuals, or that discrimination is OK, or accepted, or condoned.
I do appreciate that you will at least attempt to still accept me, as I am still accepting of you and your ideas. But please make no mistake, I do not practice discrimination, condone discrimination, or consider homosexuals in anyway beneath myself. If you continue to logically arrive at the conclusion that I am a bigot, want to disallow some behavior, or in some other way practice discrimination, it is not supported by my ideas, or the facts."

In your church can practicing, open homosexuals participate in your ceremonies without criticism and be elected to higher functions within your church? If yes, then you don't discriminate, if not, you do. You say you don't regard them as beneath yourself (because we are all sinners, etc.) but some sins apparently remove one from church positions, and others do not (unless I am mistaken about the position of homosexuals in your church hierarchy). Some sins are therefore not equal to others.

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#770208 - 02/26/05 02:42 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Jeffrey:
sins ARE equal, and anyone unrepentant of a sin is in the same boat.
This removes lots of people from eligibility for clergy service. There is no specific discrimnation against homosexuals, but anyone "living in" or unrepentant of; sin.
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#770209 - 02/26/05 02:42 PM Re: To Christians
Horace Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 505
 Quote:
Originally posted by KlavierBauer:
I simply feel a bit hurt that regardless of what I tell you I feel, you will still call me a bigot to my face, eventhough I have made it clear that there must be some sort of misunderstanding. Your response is essentially: "No, I understand everything completely, and you're a discriminating bigot".[/b]
Seems to me that the difference between the two viewpoints is that one camp externalizes their thoughts and motivations, and abdicates responsibility for them, by claiming that it's not what they want, but rather what God wants. The validity of being able to do that is the fundamental issue.

It seems to me that Mr. Lee's viewpoint in which God chooses people instead of the other way around, is a pretty good way to defend that it's not what I think, but what God thinks. Without that, I see little reason to grant anybody amnesty from the *practical effect* of their opinions. It was, after all, their choice to begin with.

I would, however, say that labelling Christians "sadistic" is strictly innacurate. Sadism has a specific meaning, which is to derive direct pleasure from causing harm to others. I hardly believe Jeffrey or anybody else honestly believes that about the Christians in this thread. Taking such logic to an extreme, we would have to assume everybody on the planet is sadistic since clearly none of us is living our lives in a perfect manner in which we minimize the harm we cause to other people. IMO, Jeffrey thinks you're ignorant, but not sadistic. Everybody is ignorant to some extent.

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#770210 - 02/26/05 03:12 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Horace: "IMO, Jeffrey thinks you're ignorant, but not sadistic."

I will change and say that the viewpoint is sadistic in its effects on gays. The people who promote the viewpoint may or may not be sadistic - i.e. get personal pleasure out of the pain their illogical views (not god's views, neither KB nor Dwain have spoken to god recently) cause to others.

"It seems to me that Mr. Lee's viewpoint in which God chooses people instead of the other way around, is a pretty good way to defend that it's not what I think, but what God thinks. Without that, I see little reason to grant anybody amnesty from the *practical effect* of their opinions. It was, after all, their choice to begin with."

Good point. Even more so since people choose their religion.

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#770211 - 02/26/05 03:14 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
KB: "sins ARE equal, and anyone unrepentant of a sin is in the same boat."

Yes, but *your* sexuality isn't a sin and others is. How convenient.


I shall log off this debate, at least for now. More or less everything to say has been said.

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#770212 - 02/26/05 03:22 PM Re: To Christians
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
Jeffrey.... how do Jews articulate the concept of sin?
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#770213 - 02/26/05 05:21 PM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
apple - I am not a practicing Jew, so perhaps others will do better, but I believe the following to not be totally inaccurate:

A sin is an evil choice we make that violates our responsibilities towards ourself, towards others, or towards God. A sin is an immoral choice we make giving into our evil inclinations, not a state of our being or existance from which we need salvation.

Judaism does not have a notion of original sin from which we need to be freed. Humans are in an imperfect state, with the capacity to do good or evil based on their free choice. But overcoming sin (giving into the "evil inclination" - some combination of 'selfishness' or 'ill-will' towards others) is totally and completely a matter of free will and the responsibility of the individual. No external being (for example, God or Jesus) can remove or replace this personal responsibility for moral choice from us (i.e. humans can save themselves solely by their own moral action, rather than Jesus or God saving us).

I believe the Christian concept of original (or "innate") sin starts with Augustine and his interpretation of the Fall from Eden. Jews do not believe in inherited guilt from Adam's choice. We live in an imperfect and hard world as a result of his free choice, but we do not inherit his sin or moral guilt.

I don't know if this answers your question fully or not. Again, a practicing Jew might be able to explain various concepts better than I did.

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#770214 - 02/26/05 05:56 PM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Your description is very Christian actually. Orthodox Christianity does not for the most part subscribe to original or inherited sin. Jesus we believe was fully man, and was able to not sin, so the responsibility is ours.
We do fall short though, and because of that need absolution.
...

I would think the Jewish idea of sin is very cut and dry, as there is written law which when not followed is sinful.
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#770215 - 02/26/05 05:59 PM Re: To Christians
Roi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/05
Posts: 166
Loc: The Kingdom of Words
Ah! Religion! What a farce! I must retire now as my senses have been completely baptized, or should I say, submerged in the thickest of waters! Alas!
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#770216 - 02/27/05 08:27 AM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
KB: "We do fall short though, and because of that need absolution."

I believe that this notion is foreign to Judaism. In Judaism, moral perfection (bringing the coming of the Messiah) is achievable (and can only be achieved) by human moral action alone.

Also, Judaism has little emphasis on or discussion of the afterlife. There is an afterlife, but it is not the reason for moral action. The reason for doing a moral action is intrinsic - we do it because it is right, not because it leads to salvation.

One implication of this is that salvation is not limited to Jews only. I believe that Baptists deny salvation to non-Baptists (if you ain't dunked you are sunk, or something like that). Calvinists think that salvation ultimatly occurs solely as a result of God's grace or election (not exclusively via human action). I've had debates with Catholics over the phrase "no salvation outside the Church". Depending on how you understand that, it might be possible, on the Catholic view, for a non-Catholic to be saved or not. I am not familiar with the differences between the Orthodox and Catholic views on this matter. Perhaps you can explain them.

At any rate, being moral, not being Jewish, is the precondition for going to heaven under Judaism. Even hell is usually thought of as a temporary place (sort of like purgatory), where justice is meeted out for wickedness on earth.

"I would think the Jewish idea of sin is very cut and dry, as there is written law which when not followed is sinful."

This strikes me as a simplification or distortion. Perhaps a believing Jew can answer. My understanding is that following the rules and traditions of Judaism are one way to rack up "mitzvah" or good deeds, but that they do not totally encompass our moral obligations, nor are all our moral obligations written down in the Torah. For example, all the rules about "wicked speech" (on which there is a quite extensive Talmudic discussion) are not simply extrapolations from the law codes of Numbers and Deuteronomy. Also, there is a ruling that if there is a conflict between the human law of the Talmud and the revealed law of the Torah, the human law (as derived by the reasoning of the sages in the Talmud) wins. In short, the Jewish tradition accepts that all divine "revelation" (even of a law code) requires extensive interpretation by humans, and is therefore ultimately a human construction. Reason, not revelation, is the ultimate arbiter.

How does this relate to apple's original question about sin? Sin in Judaism is simply moral error. This does seem quite different from the conceptions of sin in Baptist or Calvinist theology, and I think in Catholic as well.

In Christian theology Christ "died for our sins". This simply makes no sense on the Jewish view of sin. It is a non sequitor. Moral action is a result of personal choice and free will only. No one else (even Jesus) can do anything (even die) to modify or change that responsibility.

These are some of the differences as I understand them.

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#770217 - 02/27/05 10:24 AM Re: To Christians
Dwain Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 2419
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
Dwain: "perfectly good, perfectly merciful, perfectly just, perfectly true."

For this statement to make sense (literally, to have meaning in the language you are speaking), you must accept that there is a standard of right and wrong, independent of God's say so. [/b]
Not at all, because in a large sense, I agree with essential truth of your follow-up statement:

 Quote:
Otherwise saying "God is perfectly good, just, merciful" etc. is only to state the tautology "God says what God says". Again, if the definition of justice is "what God commands" then the statement "God is just" translates to "God does what God commands" - not a particularly interesting statement. [/b]
I don't necessarily care whether the comment is interesting or not, only that it is what I believe to be true. Still, I'll explain what I mean in detail below.

 Quote:
There is no content to the statement "God is just and merciful" unless the words "just" and "merciful" have meaning independent of God's will. This simple matter of logic and language was pointed out by Plato in the Euthyphro about 2500 years ago. [/b]
My experience with Plato is somewhat limited, but what I have read of him I generally appreciate and enjoy. However, Plato's philosophy when relating to concepts of God had one critical limitation, and therefore, flaw. His reasoning was hobbled by the fact that his concepts of God were based in the concept of God - or more precisely, the gods - of ancient Greek culture. These gods were never conceived as infinite, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipresent, etc., as the Christian eternal God. In short, the Greek gods were nothing more than larger versions of humans. Each had a magical power, skill, or attribute, but their personalities were actually nothing more than larger scale versions of imperfect human nature.

So, if regarding the gods with whom Plato philosophized about - and found wanting - his logical argument may indeed have been valid. But the argument does not hold if considering the Judeo/Christian God, whose being and attributes exceed those of the greek gods, as the greeks themselves defined them.

The concept of God who is perfectly good, just, truthful, merciful, etc. can be thought of in this manner.

Let's consider the concept of "Good." Imagine a scale, a spectrum if you will. At the one end of the scale is "that in which there is absolutely nothing good; the abslolute lack of the presence of any good whatsoever." On would then move through the spectrum to places that might be described, "very little good," "somewhat good," "good", "very good," extremely good," and so on. Continuing to the most extrem end of the upper end of the scale would be something maybe called, "that which is entirely good; that of which nothing can be even slightly more good." Under Christian belief, the word used to define that point is God. And the reason that the concept of "good" makes any sense (in the literal sense you've mentioned) to humans is not because it is some arbitrary concept independent from or separate from God; but that God has given us a finite portion and understanding of the concept, as part of God's creation of the human being.

The same scale, with similar points along the way, could be made for the concepts of mercy, truth, and justice. And again, Christian belief is that human ability to understand these concepts is not arbitrary or independent, but is instilled in us by the God who is the culmination, the perfect embodiment, of them.

Just as various longitudinal lines mark the globe, and each starts from different points, they all eventually merge at one common point, which defines the ultimate end of all of them. In regard to these attributes, while they all have distinct and different meanings, they all untlimately converge on that one, precise point with the exact same definition: God.

In many ways, Plato was on the right track, but didn't go far enough.

 Quote:
...(If you don't accept this statement, then you must accept that the phrase "God is just" does not ascribe him or her any property other than doing what he or she wants. [/b]
You're right, I agree entirely with that - because, as God is defined as that being who is perfectly truthful, merciful, just, etc., it is impossible for God to do anything that is not truthful, merciful, or just. And to the Christian, if God decrees a thing or an act to be good, then it is good. If he decrees it to be bad, then it is bad. That is what defines good and bad.

 Quote:
Cruelty and sadism would be good, if God wanted, there being no meaning to the terms good or just outside of God's will.)[/b]
Again, this is an impossible hypothetical which is therefore impossible to debate. The key problem with your scenario is that you attempt to judge any decision of position of God by a human standard of understanding of concepts of good, bad, mercy, justice, etc. While we can only understand any subject within the limits of finite humanity, a Christian believes that there is a higher, more complete, infinite level of understanding, and that God being the infinite One, God's actions are only fully understood on an infinite level - and therefore, by definition, apprehendable but not fully comprehensible to us.

 Quote:
If humans can make use moral terms independent of knowledge of the divine will, then we can judge what is right or wrong without reference to revealed scripture. [/b]
See above. As indicated above, the Christian position is that humans can only apprehend a finite portion, not the totality of these concepts, and those portions that are apprehendable are possible only because of their exposition, their having been granted to us, by the ultimate definition of the concepts and the creator of the human being - that, in short, it is not independent of the divine will at all, whether the creature realizes this reality or not.

 Quote:
Therefore, you cannot simply say that homosexuality is wrong because that is how you read revealed scripture. You must give an argument, or properly be accused of serious discrimination. You have not even tried to give a moral argument against homosexuality. You just tell people "God said so." That is not an argument. [/b]
I certainly can say that I believe engaging in homosexual acts is wrong based on my interpretation of revealed scripture if I believe such. Whether you accept it or not is up to you. I do not need to give an argument - in fact, I've repeatedly stated that I will not make an argument to you as to why you should believe as I do, I will only explain why I believe as I do. And it doesn't bother me particularly if a person who does not believe as I do views my beliefs to be bigoted, or views me as a bigot. I'm OK with that, since I know it to be untrue, and the accuser's definition of bigotry to be flawed.

Now...

I tried to disengage from this thread a while back, and returned to reply to your post to me, because I enjoy discussing things with you. But, I've already stolen time away from work and family to post as much as I have in recent days. I have a busy work week coming up, and evening events almost every night. Plus, I'm doing the "visiting preacher" thing for a local congregation next Sunday, and I have to prepare for that. I'll be happy to have further conversations with you another time, but I've got to break off this one for now. Feel free to reply and have the "last word," as it were; otherwise, I've got to leave the conversation up to you, ivory, KB, RZ, and others.

Best,

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#770218 - 02/27/05 10:42 AM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Dwain - Thanks for your reply. All I can say is read Plato's Euthyphro. There is a basic logical flaw in your argument, one pointed out by Plato 2500 years ago. You cannot define God as "just" or "merciful" if in turn "just" and "merciful" are defined by God's will. It is a circular definition, under which cruelty would be good, if it was God's will.

Plato's argument does not depend on the common Greek understanding of the gods. Plato specifically and directly addressed the conception of a god you are talking about.

Best - Jeffrey

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#770219 - 02/27/05 11:26 AM Re: To Christians
RZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 515
Loc: Anaheim, CA
Concerning Plato and Christianity.

Plato did not connect his theory of Forms with the Greek gods. Indeed, he simply believed that all things had an ideal Form -- be they natural things such as trees and rocks or what was to him the highest of Forms, values. Plato believed that all men sought out the good and that the good was found in the ideal Forms he postulated existed.

Plato believed that the Forms existed separate from the world as we experience it. Because of this, he did not believe that all could come to an understanding of these Forms, even though all sought them out. Most experienced only shadows of the reality of the Forms, the world in which we live being just a shadow of the ideal Forms.

Plato did believe, however, that there are a few who could come to true knowledge of these Forms and those that did should be the ones who rule -- because they understood the true nature of existence and the good, and were not hampered by an imperfect understanding like most people were. Thus, they could lead the people in compliance with the ideal, which Plato believed is what the people sought anyway. Hence, the people would be led to happiness and satisfaction, even if it was imperfect because they could not experience them totally.

Augustine was the early Church Father who best applied the Platonic ideal to Christianity, in essense identifying God as the entity in which these ideal Forms were to be found. Just as Plato believed that all seek out the good, Augustine believed that all seek God and are only satisfied when God, the good, is achieved. Hence, his famous statement "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee."

Augustine also agreed with Plato's concept government -- the rule of those who had come to experience and understand the good. Hence, he argued for and supported a hierarchical Church, one in which those who understood God, the good, ruled. The structure of the Christian Church through the Reformation was based on this Platonic concept; the Roman Church continuing to be structured in this way.

Aristotle, of course, disagreed with Plato on how we come to understand these Forms. He believed Plato to be wrong in saying that the Forms cannot be understood through the natural world or human existence. He argued that they exist within the world we experience and that if we study and understand the universe, we come to understand the Ideal and find the good.

Throughout the Middle Ages, when the Greek texts were lost, religion and hence society, was based on the Platonic concepts, as "baptized" by Augustine. However, with the rediscovery of the ancient Greek texts during the Renaissance, Aristotle's theories gained ground.

Perhaps the greatest Christian theologian since Augustine, Thomas Aquinas disagreed with the Platonic underpinnings of the then-accepted theology and applied the Aristotelian theories to Christianity, showing through his writings how to find the eternal truths through an understanding of experience and the universe.

In more ways than not, the current battles we argue today continue to be the disagreement between Plato and Aristotle.

There are those who hold a Platonic view that God, the good, is found outside of human existence and that the highest Forms, those of values, exist outside of human experience -- but are the goal of human experience. Those who adhere to a concept of unchanging values to which human beings must adhere are arguing Platonic philosophy.

Then there are those, who argue that a greater understanding of the human experience and the universe, will bring us to a greater understanding of the good, that which is right. The greater the knowledge we have of existence, the more we understand what is good and what is not, hence greater knowledge mandates a change in the idea of how values are to be lived.

Thus, from a religious sense, this ever increasing human understanding brings about a fuller understanding of the eternal revelation of God, as Aristotle would argue, while those who believe that our understanding of revelation is complete and hence our moral responsibilities and actions must not change are Platonic in their views.

From a non-religious standpoint, Plato tends to become irrelevant and Aristotle becomes the basis upon which we determine morality. In a strictly humanist understanding, there is no God per se, and we come to understand man's responsibilitiues through understanding human experience and the world in which we live.

If you read all of the various discussions about religion and values on this Board -- and follow the debates about values currently going on in our society -- it is easy to see the Platonic/Aristotelian debate continuing. Dwain and those who believe as he does are more Platonic in their views than Aristotelian. Jeffrey and those who think as he does, on the other hand, are far more Aristotelian.

Plato and Aristotle have been going at it for 2500 years and they are likely to to continue their argument for another 2500 years.

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#770220 - 02/27/05 11:38 AM Re: To Christians
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
RZ - At the time Plato wrote the Euthyphro, the theory of Forms (and he had several different versions throughout his life) was not even developed. I simply suggested that one dialogue, for its logical point about DCM morality. At best, your description is a highly distorted summary of Republic, Book 5. How do you account for the Parmenides? Or the Theatetus??

The rest of your description has almost nothing to do with either Plato's or Aristotle's views.

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#770221 - 02/28/05 10:17 AM Re: To Christians
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Hello, sorry I was away for the weekend.

I hope the time off suited us all well. \:\)

 Quote:
Also, Judaism has little emphasis on or discussion of the afterlife. There is an afterlife, but it is not the reason for moral action. The reason for doing a moral action is intrinsic - we do it because it is right, not because it leads to salvation.
Jeffrey, I am trying not to use the word "misunderstanding" because I know you don't like it. But Christianity does not believe that you do what's right to attain salvation.
The reason for doing moral action is intrinsic. Out of love for God, and wanting to do what is right we try to live better lives... not for salvation.

Later in your post you list differences between different denominations in the Christian Church. But most churches that I know (or denominations) that are considered part of the Catholic (or Universal) Christian church would consider other people in other denominations Christian.
In other words, all of the examples you cited are basically saying the same thing. Catholics aren't saying you have to be Catholic, and baptists aren't saying you have to be a baptist (being baptized does not make you a baptist, as all Christian churches believe in baptism).

While all of these denominations may differ on these points, the basics of the religion are the same.
Are you familiar with the Nicene Creed? This is really a better measure of what Christians as a whole believe, and is a better measuring stick than individual practices of different denominations.
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