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Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?

SSM-flowchart

A lot of people online are sharing flow charts that are supposed to show the ridiculousness of opposition to gay marriage. For example (click here to expand):

There are several variations of this theme, almost all of which say the same three things: (1) Leviticus forbids homosexuality, but it also bans a bunch of other stuff, and nobody [a.k.a., no Gentile] actually lives by all those rules; (2) Paul seems to forbid homosexuality, but actually means something like temple prostitution; and (3) Jesus doesn’t mention homosexuality. Let’s look at each in turn:

What Does Leviticus Really Say?

Like every other flowchart I’ve seen on this question, the one above conflates three things found in the Book of Leviticus: (1) expressions of the moral law (like the Ten Commandments, or the prohibition against homosexuality and other forms of sexual immorality); (2) temporal punishments; and (3) the so-called ceremonial law (like the laws on keeping kosher).

The moral law, as an expression of what is good and evil, is timeless. Good doesn’t suddenly become evil, or vice versa, because it’s Tuesday, instead of Monday, or because it’s 2015 A.D. and not 2015 B.C.

But the particular statutory punishments *weren’t* timeless: they were quite explicitly the law books of the nation of Israel. These laws can be illuminating, in that they show the severity of certain sins, but the Church never considered Israel’s statutory punishments to be binding on Christians. And the ceremonial laws were a way of setting apart the Jewish people to signal them as chosen and to prepare them for Christ.

This was literally the first major dispute within the Church: the so-called Judaizers tried to enforce the ceremonial provisions of the Law on new converts, and the Church corrected them. Acts 10 is clear that the food laws aren’t still binding on Christians, and Acts 15 distinguishes between which of the Levitical precepts in ch. 17-18 are still binding on the Christians of the first century (and even these restrictions were later loosened).

So the early Christians clearly grasped that adultery was wrong but eating shellfish wasn’t. It’s remarkable that Christianity’s critics don’t realize this. I suspect that this is because the critics of traditional Christianity assume that we’re (a) all believers in sola Scriptura, and (b) senseless, so they seem to be genuinely ignorant that we might actually have an intelligent interpretive hermeneutic for knowing which parts of the Old Covenant are still applicable to the New Covenant.

What Did Paul Really Say?

The idea that Paul doesn’t really condemn homosexual behavior is based on a selective interpretative of two Greek words that he uses in 1 Corinthians 6:9: pornos (πόρνος) and malakos (μαλακός).

Pornos means:

  1. a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire
  2. a male prostitute
  3. a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator

And malakos:

  1. soft, soft to the touch
  2. metaph. in a bad sense
    1. effeminate
      1. of a catamite
      2. of a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man
      3. of a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness
      4. of a male prostitute

So the Greek terms used in Paul’s day weren’t specific to only adult male-male sexual behavior (since a great deal of it was man-boy), but they certainly included those behaviors. But besides this, Paul and several other parts of the New (and Old) Testament condemn fornication. That’s broader still, but it shows that non-marital sex is sinful… regardless of who the parties are. (This raises the question: what sort of sexual unions are marriage-material? We’ll get to that shortly).

Because he rejects homosexual sex, the chart up top angrily writes St. Paul off as a judgmental xenophobe and chauvinist. This is baseless name-calling. Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles, and he brought people from all sorts of nationalities and religious backgrounds into the Church, and fought hard to prevent them from being discriminated against or treated as second-class Christians.  Xenophobe? This is the same man who wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

But at least the chart is honest enough to admit that if you actually believe Leviticus and/or the writings of St. Paul, you’re not going to end up favoring same-sex marriage. So instead, they’re just going to mock faithful Jews and Christians as xenophobes and sexists… and then call us judgmental.

What Did Jesus Really Say?

There are two important points here. First, trying to pit Jesus against the Bible is a losing game. Since the people who make this argument like flow charts, I’ll lead with one from Adam4d:

2015-04-10-said1

2015-04-10-said2

But there’s a second problem with this claim. It assumes that the Bible is essentially a rule book full of Thou Shalt Not’s. That misses that both Jesus and St. Paul present a positive view of marriage. That is, Scripture shows us what marriage is, which is why we can also say what it isn’t.

This is important, because as we saw from the attempts to work around St. Paul’s prohibitions, the same-sex marriage side is essentially arguing: “but here’s an arrangement nobody had thought of back then!” With a positive view of what marriage is, we can easily establish whether some new sexual variation is compatible with marriage or not.

As part of a good Facebook thread on this topic, my friend Peter Ascik (a seminarian for the Diocese of Charlotte) explains:

Jesus does indeed comment directly on the nature of marriage in Matthew 19, and he reaffirms that marriage is founded on the sexual difference of man and woman (Matt 19:4-5), which is itself grounded in God’s creation of humanity in his image (Gen 1:27; Gen 2:24). St. Paul reaffirms the foundation of marriage in the doctrine of creation, again grounding it in the sexual difference of man and woman, (Ephesians 5:31-32), and teaches that it is a symbol of Christ’s union with the Church.
 
Jesus and St. Paul explicitly teach a doctrine of marriage that is incompatible with gay marriage. Even if Leviticus and Romans were silent on the subject of homosexual acts, the New Testament teaching that marriage is founded in the creation of male and female would be enough to reject same-sex marriage.

And Princeton’s Prof. Robert George chimed in to point out that this witness to marriage doesn’t start in the New Testament, and isn’t confined to Christianity:

The Biblical witness to marriage as a conjugal relationship first appears in Genesis 2. It is restated in various places, including in the teaching of Jesus. The same basic idea appears in the thought of Greek and Roman thinkers and even some teachers from the Eastern traditions. What, in fact, makes no sense is the idea of non-conjugal marriage–marriage as mere sexual-romantic companionship or domestic partnership. That explains why it has no patronage in the great faiths or traditions of philosophy.

George’s contribution is also important because it’s a reminder that even though you can’t be an orthodox Christian or Jew and accept gay marriage, you can reject gay marriage for entirely non-religious reasons. All you have to do is understand what marriage is, or understand that men and women are different, and that children deserve a mother and a father. Believing in Scripture will get you to that point, but you can get there apart from Scripture (or faith) as well.

So the gay marriage view that’s supposed to show that we’re a bunch of Biblical hypocrites more accurately shows that the best argument against Jews, Christians, and anyone holding to any of the great philosophical traditions, is just to shout us down, call us nasty names and, where necessary, to use simplistic and deceptive flow charts.

Joe Heschmeyer

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Until May 2012, Joe Heschmeyer was an attorney in Washington, D.C., specializing in litigation. These days, he is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, and can use all the prayers he can get. Follow Joe through his blog, Shameless Popery or contact him at joseph.heschmeyer@gmail.com.

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  • The Bible advocates forced marriage and child slaughter:

    Therefore kill all that are of the male sex, even of the children: and put to death the women, that have carnally known men. But the girls, and all the women that are virgins save for yourselves...Numbers 31:17-18 (DRA)

    I don't care what the Bible has to say about gay marriage.

    • "The Bible advocates forced marriage and child slaughter...I don't care what the Bible has to say about gay marriage."

      Paul, thanks for the comment. We've been around this issue before, so I'm surprised by your simplistic dismissal, which doesn't do justice to how Christians up and down the centuries have understood this passage. As just one example, Origen interpreted this metaphorically--he didn't think such a slaughter was ever literally commissioned by God, nor that it was carried out. Other voices offer reasonable alternatives.

      For a scholarly examination of this verse and other "dark passages," I recommend you pick up Paul Copan's recent book, Did God Really Command Genocide?: Coming to Terms with the Justice of God.

      I'm afraid your reaction is emblematic of the binary, black/white thinking that many non-Christians suffer from when it comes to biblical analysis: either the Bible is 100% agreeable or 100% dismissible. But what serious thinker, be he a historian, scientist, or literary scholar, treats texts in such a fundamentalist manner? Instead, they recognize that even if some passages in a text are problematic others may indeed be worth consideration.

      For example, I don't agree with Aristotle's view of women or slaves. But that doesn't mean I say, "I don't care what Aristotle says about virtue or metaphysics."

      So in the end, even if you were right that the book of Numbers unequivocally endorsed and demanded genocide, that says nothing about what other books in the Bible have to say about same-sex marriage. It's an altogether different question, and it deserves a more respectful engagement than the casual dismissal you gave it.

      • I begin with certain moral premises that I'm no longer willing to argue publicly (because I think arguing about them gives the opposite position too much credit):

        Premise: Killing children is wrong.

        Numbers 31:17-18 seems to advocate for killing children. But maybe a more nuanced reading is required! Maybe you need to carefully consider this text in its historical context, and that careful consideration leads to a reinterpretation, where genocide was never advocated, or where there was no genocide at all.

        Or maybe the Bible really does advocate for genocide.

        Either way, I don't care what the Bible has to say about genocide because I already know it's wrong.

        Premise: Gay sex can be a good thing.

        Leviticus and 1 Corinthians seem to say that gay sex is always a bad thing. But maybe a more nuanced reading is required! Maybe you need to consider this in its historical context, and that careful consideration leads to a reinterpretation, where gay sex was never condemned.

        Or maybe the Bible really does condemn gay sex.

        Either way, I don't care what the Bible has to say about gay sex because I already know gay sex can be a good thing.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          Okay, so why did not the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Indians, Chinese, German or Slavs have the institution of SSM when none of them had the Bible?

          • I don't care what the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Indians, Chinese Cermans, Slavs or Native Americans had to say about gay sex. I already know gay sex can be a good thing.

            As to why the range of ancient opinions on this issue seem to be narrow, I don't know. I'd speculate the reasons are partly cultural, partly biological. I'd further speculate that ancient homophobia is closely related to ancient misogyny. But I don't really know. The question doesn't interest me much.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            I don't care what the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Indians, Chinese
            Cermans, Slavs or Native Americans had to say about gay sex.

            I am only pointing out that the utter non-existence of gay "marriage" in human history has nothing to do with the Bible.

          • MarcAlcan

            I already know gay sex can be a good thing.

            How is depravity is a good thing?

          • William Davis

            The greeks did, but they used a different word, which is reasonable.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pederasty_in_ancient_Greece

            Nero married a man, best we can tell, but he only got away with it because he was emperor.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sporus

            At this point marriage has become symbolic of discrimination against homosexuals. I side with them in this issue simply because of the history of discrimination, though I would agree that in a perfect world same sex relationships might be better off with a different world. We clearly do not live in a "perfect" world, and a specific word can gain a great deal of meaning that wouldn't be there if it were not for background problems.

            In general I agree with the article. Any attempts to justify homosexuality with the Bible end up being extremely weak, though I think the "judgement" of Sodom was about homosexual rape, not just homosexuality. According to the story, it would have been much better if Lot's daughters were the targets instead, which is pretty deplorable to me, but I don't view women as property.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            The greeks did, but they used a different word

            But they did not regard the man as being "married" to the boy.

            Nero married a man

            No, he imitated the ceremonials of a marriage and outraged and scandalized the Roman public. Nero was a depraved individual, even by Julio-Claudian standards. This does not mean that there was a Roman institution for same sex marriages.

            At this point marriage has become symbolic of discrimination against homosexuals

            And VA hospitals are symbolic of discrimination against non-veterans.

            a specific word can gain a great deal of meaning that wouldn't be there if it were not for background problems.

            That's what you guys did in 1984. It was called Newspeak.

            Remember, the question before the house is the institution of same-sex "marriage," not the existence of homosexuals, man-boy relations, or Nero's depravity.

          • William Davis

            I don't see how you disagreed with anything I said, I pointed to Nero's marriage as an anomaly and even said he only got away with it because he was emperor.

            That's what you guys did in 1984. It was called Newspeak.

            I would ask who "you guys" is exactly. I loved 1984, and one can accurately accuse the Catholic Church of "newspeak". At this point both sides of the debate are playing that game, let's not kid ourselves about how this works. This is from Peter Kreeft:

            As a philosopher the thing that strikes me most is the brilliant strategy of the gay marriage movement. Like Orwell in 1984 it sees that the main battlefield is language. If they can redefine a key term like "marriage" they win. Control language and you control thought; control thought and you control action; control action and you control the world. Mussolini knew that too. He made it illegal for Italians to say "hi" in the traditional way. The Italian for "how are you?" is "Come sta lei?" "Lei" is the feminine inclusive pronoun. Fascist ideology held that this was emasculating and weak, so you had to say "Come sta lui?" from now on. "Lui" is the masculine pronoun. So no one could say "hi" in Italy without identifying themselves as pro or anti-fascist.

            In America, the feminists have succeeded in exactly the same way. They've labeled the traditional inclusive language, the language of every single one of the great books of Western civilization written in English, as exclusive because it uses "he" and "man" to include women; and they've labeled their new artificial ideological invention, which insists, contrary to historical fact, that "he" and "man" exclude women--they've labeled this "inclusive" language. And amazingly, nearly everyone follows like sheep! So it will be easy, I think, for them to redefine marriage. Hell, they've already redefined "human beings" or "persons" so that they can murder the littlest ones whenever they want to. Why should they feel any guilt about dishonesty when they don't feel any guilt about murder?

            http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/interview_boston-college.htm

            Need I say more?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Exactly what game do you see the Catholic Church (a la Kreeft) playing?

          • William Davis

            The cultural word definition game.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Explain?

          • William Davis

            Progressives and gay rights activists are succeeding in altering the definition of marriage which in turn affects the status quo and what people consider to be normal. Traditionalists/conservatives are trying to prevent the change and obviously (per Kreeft and others like the heritage foundation) agree not only with the nature of the game, but also the stakes. I'm not trying to trivialize anything using the word "game" here I'm thinking game theory and political/social "games".

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_theory

          • Ladolcevipera

            The Italian for "how are you?" is "Come sta lei?" "Lei" is the feminine inclusive pronoun. Fascist ideology held that this was emasculating and weak, so you had to say "Come sta lui?" from now on. "Lui" is the masculine pronoun.

            This example is very strange. The polite, formal form of How are you? (How do you do?) in Italian is "Come sta" (without Lei or Lui). I think what Mussolini did was to make the Italians use the "Voi" (2nd person plural) where the "Lei" (female form) is normally used as the polite form for men and women alike.

          • William Davis

            Even a subtle difference could be used as an ideological litmus test. The Nazi version was much more obvious. I can follow you on the Italian, as Spanish (took classes in high school and college) is similar. Does Italian also have a formal and informal version of "you" (usted and tu en espanol)

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_salute

          • Ladolcevipera

            The informal version of "you" is "tu"; the formal version is "Lei". With "Lei" you use the third person of the verb, as well as for the possessive pronoun ("tuo" vs. "Suo"). This is also the case in French ("tu" vs "vous"), in German ("du" vs "Sie"), in Dutch ("Jij/gij" vs "u").
            To complicate things, in the south of Italy people do not use "Lei" as the formal form, but "Voi" + second person plural. So you see English is fairly easy with only one version of "you"...The other way around it may be a bit complicated!

          • William Davis

            Of course, one thing we are missing in English is a plural "you". Technically we should say something like "you all" but here in the southern US it ends up being "ya'll" and some people in the northern US say "you's guys". I also like the fact that things in latin languages are almost always spelled like they sound, spelling in English is a mess. No language is perfect I guess :)

        • "Either way, I don't care what the Bible has to say about gay sex because I already know gay sex can be a good thing."

          You say "I don't care" several times in this thread and I'm afraid that's just a personal, psychological decision. I'm just as unable to engage that reaction as a parent whose angry teenager crosses his arms and mutters the same phrase.

          But I am curious about the second part of your comment above. You say you "know gay sex can be a good thing." How do you define a "good thing"? What criteria do you use to determine whether something is good, and where does that criteria come from? Did you just make it up or does it originate in some external source?

          • In completely general terms, a good thing is a thing that is good for the person who has it (or does it).

            A helpful guideline for doing good things is to always treat people as ends unto themselves rather than only as means to an end.

            If an activity does not treat someone only as a means to an end, but if the person is also the reason for the activity, then that act is generally a good thing.

          • Charlie Ducey

            So, you're basically taking the Kantian line of morality here. Ok. Fair enough. Two same sex partners could stimulate each other sexually without treating each other as a means to an end in the same way that two opposite sex partners could stimulate each other sexually without treating each other as a means to an end. However, "not treating a sexual partner as a means to an end" is not a sufficient condition for marital rights. Moreover, I would challenge the personal version of the categorial imperative here as a bit tricky: how do we know when we treat others as ends rather than means? What other sorts of behaviors could be justified or universalized in a like manner? What about the consequences of actions? I like Kant's thoughts on morality, but if you look into Mill or Hegel as contemporary responses, you'll see there are some problems with vagueness and moral-grounding for universalizability.

          • I am using the Kantian maxim, but I try to ground it in a Spinozistic ethical framework. The good is what is good for us. Good for me is whatever is useful to me. The content of the good is probably largely determined by evolutionary biology. It turns out that bringing about the good for others satisfies most completely my own desire for good things. What is useful will depend on the individual person and the individual circumstance. This generally involves seeking the good for other people, because we are social animals, and doing things for others tends to make us happy.

          • Charlie Ducey

            I am glad to see that you are taking a number of perspective into consideration regarding ethical theory. I suppose my main question, then, is how do we go about forming laws based on such a theory? Again, we could very well agree that homosexual sex acts are non-exploitative, but how does one progress from that observation to the idea that we must extend marital rights to same-sex couples? Sure, we can look at the Lawrence v. Texas case and agree that the police shouldn't be bashing down doors to accuse folks of sodomy. However, if we decide, by the ethical theory you propose, that what is (socially) useful for individuals is good, it seems to me that *prioritizing* families and granting particular rights to familial households would indeed be most useful and "good" for society.

            Also, I'm a little confused by the synthesis of utilitarian and deontological language in your description of "the good." Don't you think there's a bit of a conflict between doing what is useful and treating others only ever as an end and not as a means? For example, it could be quite useful to an individual, maybe even to all of society, if that individual's serially abusive father was executed. But such an execution, even if socially useful, would treat the abusive father as a means to the end of society's betterment. I think a synthesis of utility and duty is in order there. I'm also seeing some threats of relativism from the dependency on an individual's circumstances and place on the "good." I don't think either Kant or Spinoza would support the more extreme version of that provision (e.g., the "good" changes between time and place). Kant, for example, is pretty direct about the timelessness of his universal provision 'do not lie.'

          • To my understanding Kant makes two very important distinctions. The first is that there is a difference between pragmatic and moral ethics. The first can include many forms of self interest, which for me would acknowledge the benefits of utilitarianism and consequentialism. What makes something moral is its universal and necessary aspect. (Spinoza on the last one). However, recently I found a new interpretation of Kantianism, i.e. that when there was difficulty over a maxim such as 'do not lie', a moral choice could entail a discriminating balance of which maxim might have a greater morality, as in the case of protecting someone's life by 'lying' (to the Nazi's say???) (The usual example!!)

          • Also, I'm a little confused by the synthesis of utilitarian and deontological language in your description of "the good." Don't you think there's a bit of a conflict between doing what is useful and treating others only ever as an end and not as a means?

            I think calling it utilitarian would be a mistake. I think Spinoza's ethical foundation is instead ethical egoism (so it's worse for me!). It turns out that treating other people as ends unto themselves, in my own case, fulfils me. Treating other people as ends unto themselves is better for society. It leads to a more free safe and healthy society. A society where people are executed for their crimes is to me a society I'd rather not live in.

            So I think that ethical egoism and Kant's maxim actually work together very well, with almost no inconsistencies, not because Kant's maxim is essentially true (although maybe there's some objective moral realm that forces these two to align). Rather, I think it's a result of our evolutionary history. It turns out we are social animals, and social animals happen to live better together when they follow something like Kant's maxim.

            This does get at one big hole in my ethical framework. Can I actually justify this connection, rather than just assert it? The present justifications I could offer are laughable and vague. Maybe Sam Harris's project will find some success in this direction. His work on ethics has some striking similarities to Spinoza's. Or maybe this is a sign that the whole thing is a dead end.

            I don't know how subatomic theory really works, at its core. But I know my table exists. I don't know how ethics works, at its core. But I know killing babies is wrong and gay sex can be a good thing. I can use these principles to construct reductio arguments. If my ethical system leads to the conclusion "killing babies is ok", "gay sex is never ok", then I know that there's something wrong with my ethics. These are good test cases.

          • DJ Wambeke

            This ethical theory has some big holes and severe inconsistencies. It is very much a work in progress.
            Much appreciate that frank admission. My first thought when reading this comment was that this ethical theory's big weakness seems to be that there's absolutely nothing it can say to stop a psychopath from doing what he/she wants.

          • William Davis

            My first thought when reading this comment was that this ethical theory's big weakness seems to be that there's absolutely nothing it can say to stop a psychopath from doing what he/she wants.

            There is, it's retribution for crimes. The afterlife might be a nice incentive for some (Christian ethics are largely grounded in afterlife reward, thus they are not inherently altruistic...I do realize people aren't "supposed" to do it for the reward, but if it didn't matter why would it be a part of the system) but it has never deterred any psychopath that I'm aware of. There are still plenty of "active" psychopath's, sadly, in spite of all the world's religions and ethical systems.

          • DJ Wambeke

            The whole idea of Heaven as a Cosmic Carrot being dangled in front of us, while common, is actually not the point of Christian ethics, though. The actual point of it all is that we are made (designed) to be loved, and we only experience the true freedom of that love when we act in accordance with Love Itself.

            To the extent that the incentive/retribution scheme is nevertheless a motivating factor for a lot of Christians it's actually a concession to human immaturity. I often reward or punish my kids for their behavior, but having them choose their actions just out of anticipation for their dad's reaction is not where I want to leave them. I want them to grow up, mature, and be good for the simple sake of Goodness itself.

            That said, you're exactly right that even the Cosmic Retribution scheme isn't enough to actually prevent psychopaths from doing lots of harm. But it can at least give more of a reason for them not to than what Mr. Rimmer's ethical theory can.

          • Thanks for the response. I actually think you've hit on one of this system's strengths. This ethics doesn't lead people to just do what first pops into their head all the time. Imagine someone had a strange desire to jump off roofs. Jumping off roofs will eventually kill this person, and that won't lead to greater happiness or contentment for them.

            Most people with mental or social diseases are miserable. The happiest people I personally know are those who live by a roughly Christian morality. In this ethical system, that would mean I and others should follow a roughly Christian morality, in order to find fulfilment in life. This has certainly worked for me.

            As for how society deals with of those with mental or social diseases, I think the approach should be one of firm compassion. The rest of society should be protected from them, if they are dangerous, and we should work to rehabilitate them, both for their sake, and for the good of society as a whole.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            I can only add that normal boys do have the desire to jump off roofs.

          • I know this very well! My 5 year old is actually the one who inspired that example.

            Normal 5 year olds are nuts!

          • DJ Wambeke

            I couldn't agree with your last paragraph more!

            Thanks for the clarification. It seems to me that, in order for your system to "work" it needs to somehow distinguish, then, between what is objectively good, across the board, and what is subjectively felt to be good, on an individual level. How exactly does it have the ability to do that? Because it seems to me that the subjective point of view can always come back and say, "I truly don't care about effect X; I NEED activity Y in order to be happy and content." You mentioned jumping off houses, which actually is small beans compared to what people actually do in real life. It seems to me that the tight-knit communities that do exist of BASE-jumpers and other adrenaline junkies who pursue their sport religiously even though they know it will kill some of them might be a strong counter-example to your theory.

          • I don't think the latter is a strong counter-example to my theory. First, I think people who do base jumping or jump out of planes without any safety equipment are not acting in their best interest.

            In any specific situation, people may disagree. Disagreement may suggest that there is no best decision, or that the best decision is difficult to figure out given the circumstances. Since it makes sense to say that someone takes their extreme sport too far, it suggests there is an objective too far to take things, even if it's hard to nail down where the line actually is.

            When I want to determine what actions are good for me, I tend to look at people like myself, see how they live their lives and whether they seem to be content with their lives, especially those who suffer great hardships. Their way of life helps inform my own.

          • Charlie Ducey

            Paul: I am still thinking about some of the thoughts on ethical theory that you've forwarded. It seems that you accept objective moral norms, and you want the "Good" to be grounded in actions rather than postponed to post-death rewards. I think that is all compatible with Christian ethics, as DJ Wambeke noted. The main thing I would push you on, though, is the anthropo-centric and hence contingent nature of your theory. You mention that "evolutionary history" has lead to current moral standards, which sounds a lot like the argument of Chris Boehm's "Moral Origins" (2012) [I find the methodology and conclusions of this book flawed, by the way, since it equates extant "primitive societies" to those of 3000 years ago, which assumes an unjustifiable amount of stagnancy among these societies). However, saying that human morality is this way because it developed this way does not quite get at an objective moral grounding, for in an objective system you would be able to say, "if things happened differently, it would be wrong" and, more importantly, "if things develop into something different, it would be wrong." For example, if humans one day develop into less social animals for whom helping one's neighbor is no longer advantageous, we would still be able to say, in an objective system, that such behavior is immoral and just a result of deviance or deterioration. To really ground morals, then, you'd be better off turning to "some objective moral realm." Such a movement, of course, would entail the admission of non-material realities.

          • Thanks for the reference. I'll look at Boehm's book.

            I'm not shy about accepting non-material properties. The electron's charge and natural selection both seem to me to be non-material. Both also lead to predictions that have been thus far empirically upheld. But there are other ways to know things, too. I think the non-material has already been invoked within this ethical theory.

            To say that human morality is a product of human biology would lead to objective morality and an objective moral grounding, the way I would use the term 'objective'. I don't get to determine my biology. People don't tend to call biological facts subjective facts.

            It does make morality relative to the species, but this also seems to match my intuitions pretty well. Humans killing human babies is morally wrong. Apes killing ape babies is disturbing, but I don't think it's morally wrong. The good for the apes is not the same as the good for human beings.

            If we evolve into the Borg, and end up assimilating species, I'm not sure we'd be doing bad things. When I watch Star Trek, I want Starfleet to win in its fight against the Borg! But I want them to win in their fight against the ion storm. The actions of the Borg don't seem immoral to me. They would be, if humans were the ones doing them.

            If I kill a child, it's bad for the child and bad for me.
            If a shark kills a child, it's bad for the child. It's not bad for the shark.

            Ethical frameworks should account for this. I think mine does reasonably well.

            Thanks for your thoughts. Let me know what other thoughts or questions you have. I'm deeply enjoying this discussion.

          • I wanted to check with you, since you seem to know quite a bit more about ethics than I do:

            It seems to me that the relativism is a similarity between Spinoza's ethics and Aquinas's ethics.

            Imagine God had made us differently. He might have given us a different purpose. The end toward which we should strive would be different. Actions to achieve that end would seem likewise different.

            The Natural Law would be the same, but the way it would apply to us would be different because God would have given us a different nature.

            Do you think this is right? Is this a similarity between Spinoza and Aquinas?

          • Charlie Ducey

            Paul: Hmm, I'm not sure I can really claim to know more about ethics than you do. You seem to have thought quite a lot about this yourself.
            In response to your first comment, I'm fine with morality applying differently to different species, since different species have different faculties. We could speculate about the moral culpability of baboons and the like, had they the same reasoning capacity that humans do, but since they do not, I agree that there is a distinction here. Also, regarding non-material properties, your theory certainly does account for them (though, as philosopher Peter van Inwagen once said in a closertotruth.org interview "are there properties that are material? When one talks of immaterial properties, I just don't know quite what they mean. All properties are immaterial.") I suppose what I meant was more that the admission of "some objective moral realm" would entail realities beyond and/or independent of material reality, not only those that lack material composition (i.e., all properties that are not merely contrived or constructed).

            As far as Spinoza and Aquinas, the thought experiment you pose is not one I have come across before. From the embarrassingly little I know about Aquinas (mostly secondhand), I would say that Aquinas sees Natural Law and God's purpose as so closely bound that Natural law would, in any possible world, reflect God's purpose for humanity. So, basically, God could perhaps have created humanity slightly differently, but because God is all-loving and his creation reflects that (for Aquinas), God would not create a world in which, for example, Natural Law permitted humans to kill their babies as a moral action. Since Spinoza also sees Nature and the expression of the Good as intrinsically bound, I feel like he would also say that if God's purposes for human kind were different, the Natural Law would be different as well to correlate to that purpose.

            In summary, both Spinoza and Aquinas seem to think that Natural Law reflects the necessary unfolding of the Universe/divine will. So if God's purpose for humans was different, it seems that the Natural Law would also be different, or perhaps I am misunderstanding the claims of these philosophers or your question.

          • Fred

            "Disagreement may suggest that there is no best decision, or that the best decision is difficult to figure out given the circumstances."

            Or it may point to an inequality of information either through ignorance or either purposeful or inadvertent disinformation.

          • Anthony Evich

            God's punishment. Terrible diseases that can't all be remedied or explained.

            http://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/STD.htm

            It's not a coincidence.

            Food for thought: Since when does a chaste married man and woman suddenly get STD's?

          • Nick

            So eating feces could be a good thing. In general then it's a neutral action.

          • Michael Murray

            There are medical reasons for doing related things sometimes. Not quite eating in this case

            http://thefecaltransplantfoundation.org/what-is-fecal-transplant/

          • David Nickol

            Don't confuse disgusting with evil.

            Freud said, "A man who will kiss a pretty girl's lips passionately, may perhaps be disgusted at the idea of using her toothbrush, although there are no grounds for supposing that his own oral cavity, for which he feels no disgust, is any cleaner than the girl's."

            A lot of what even plain, vanilla heterosexuals do in bed—for example, "swapping spit"—is not particularly sanitary and would be experienced as revolting if done with the wrong partner.

          • I suggest that you personally try it to find out. Let me know what you learn.

          • Nick

            2 girls 1 cup taught me all I need to know in the matter. But from your description of "good", it is fine and dandy to do so if it's "good for you". The revulsion is just the same as some have to 'icky' gay stuff.

            I would argue that eating feces, like inserting a phallus into a waste-removing cavity, is a sign of disorder. I'm not going to stop you from doing it (legally speaking) but not going to cheerlead either.

          • I believe that references to viewing specific pornographic materials violate this website's policy. I'm commenting to let @bvogt1:disqus know I'm flagging your post for this reason.

            Beyond that, I'm not going to interact with you at all in the future. It's not worth my time.

          • Nick

            I have edited out the offending sentence as mere mention of it is admittedly too far. Though suggesting one to eat their own feces probably violates their policy also,

          • BXVI

            Paul, I am sorry that some are suffering from this terrible affliction / delusion, but it is pretty simple: THAT thing is not made to go into THAT space. It is a degrading, debasing activity; I don't care how "good" it makes them feel. Homosexual fornication is a sin, just like any other form of fornication, adultery, incest or yes, even bestiality. And sins of sexual immorality are especially egregious. Any sex outside marriage is sinful and marriage can only occur between a man and a woman.
            The latest studies show that about 1.6% of the population suffers from the affliction of same-sex attraction. It has been shown that, while there is no confirmed genetic cause, the orientation is essentially "innate" in almost all cases - in other words, not "chosen." But that does not make it okay to engage in sin. We all have our crosses. Some are heavier than others. I pray that those who suffer same-sex attraction will come to know God and follow his plan for their lives - i.e., to live a celibately.

        • werter

          "Either way, I don't care what the Bible has to say about gay sex because I already know gay sex can be a good thing."

          That's why I visited Biblical-related website.

        • neil_ogi

          quote; 'Either way, I don't care what the Bible has to say about gay sex because I already know gay sex can be a good thing.' -- then why can't you perform that in public square if that is not morally wrong?

          • Are you suggesting sex is wrong because you shouldn't do it in public? Are you suggesting that anything you don't do in public is morally wrong?

          • neil_ogi

            since it is about morality issues, why would you think that performing sex in the public square is wrong? where did you get that idea? not all legal is morally correct

          • As usual, I don't have a clue what you're talking about.

          • Michael Murray

            I think he means that atheists have no basis for their morality. Or we know the basis is God and refuse to accept it. Or some variant of that.

          • Oh, thanks for clarifying!

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Dude, are you saying married people can perform marital sex in the public square?

          • neil_ogi

            and why do you think it is absolutely immoral thing to do it? (whether gay sex or heterosexual sex) why did you think it is wrong? where did you get your morality? from rocks, from inanimate objects?

          • William Davis

            LOL. Kevin is Catholic...

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'where did you get your morality? from rocks, from inanimate objects?' -- this statement is for all religion (atheism and theism), and does not side to a person whether he is a catholic or not

          • William Davis

            Lol, nice try. We both know what you were thinking when you wrote that comment.

          • neil_ogi

            so you became a crystal ball reader, then lol

          • William Davis

            Did you, or did you not presume Kevin was an atheist? Simple question, God/Jesus is watching to see if you answer truthfully. If I'm wrong I'll take your word for it ;)

          • neil_ogi

            my answer is bold and clear 'and why do you think it is absolutely immoral thing to do it? (whether gay sex or heterosexual sex) why did you think it is wrong?' = i ask him if he believes that it is immoral to engage sex in the open (public square) and if he answers 'yes' then i will ask him again, 'how would you know why it is wrong.. where did you get that idea that it is morally wrong'? from rocks? '

            i wait for his (Kevin) answer but you crossed it

      • Ladolcevipera

        But what serious thinker, be he a historian, scientist, or literary scholar, treats texts in such a fundamentalist manner?

        I am an atheist and I interpret the bible as one of the poetic narratives that help people situate themselves in the universe. I see religion as a symbolic reference to a transcendent reality (if any...)
        I think a lot of christians and non-christians alike interpret the bible literally and take this literally reading as the criterion for judging and acting.That is the problem with this kind of texts. The bible - as other holy books - was written in a specific period of time and in a specific culture and context. Since then our moral awareness has grown, together with our progressive insight of reality. That is why questions as "What does Leviticus say?" "What did Paul really say?" "What did Jesus really say?" can only be stepping stones to: "What do their answers mean NOW, for US, in THIS period of time?" That requires a careful interpretation of old texts in order to know what biblical principles mean in a new reality. That is why hermeneutics are such an important tool for biblical exegesis.
        Same-sex marriage is here to stay, whatever the bible has to say about it. I am a heterosexual but I think that everybody has the right to love and be loved. I am sure that where the bible says "God is love" He will accept true love where he sees it.
        And now I am afraid I almost sound like a good christian...

        • Charlie Ducey

          The point about hermeneutics is duly observed. Despite the historical circumstances that accompany any text, though, I would say that there are points in ancient works, the Bible among them, that still have currency in our time and will remain current. I feel like you hint at this when you talk about everyone having a *right* to be loved. That's not a historical particularity. Pope Benedict XVI does very well to distinguish between these changing laws of the world (which he terms casuistic laws) and changeless moral norms (which he terms apodictic laws) in his assessment of the Sermon on the Mound in his work Jesus of Nazareth, which I highly recommend. Sure, civil laws change, but underlying moral principles remain, even with a bit of reapplication and flexibility.

          Perhaps the point to tag on to that is this: if we consider marriage as grounded in a changeless moral norm about child-bearing and child-rearing (which I suspect we will always need, lest we descend into a factory-produced-person world such as that of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World), then the change in civil law, while based in the admirable aim of promoting love, would not be marriage in a normative sense. People loving each other is right and good. But marriage is a particular kind of institution in the normative sense, and not all love is marital love.

          • Ladolcevipera

            But marriage is a particular kind of institution in the normative sense, and not all love is marital love.

            I think you have a point here. I still find it difficult to accept same-sex couples, but I think the partners have the right to be recognised by society as a civil partnership with all the rights and obligations that come with marriage. The term "marriage" however should be reserved for different-sex partners. The difference is, I think, the sexual complementarity and the openness to (not the duty to have) children. I know this is a very conservative view on marriage and I might change my mind.

          • Ladolcevipera

            My answer sometimes pops up and then disappears again. So in case it is gone, here it is again.

            But marriage is a particular kind of institution in the normative sense, and not all love is marital love.

            I think you have a point. The civil partnership between same-sex couples deserves to be recognised by society with all the rights and obligations that pertain to marriage. The term marriage" however should be reserved for the union between one man and one woman The difference is the sexual complementarity and the openness to (not the duty to have) children. I know this is a conservative standpoint and I may change my mind.

          • Charlie Ducey

            That's a rather novel viewpoint. I feel like most people are either unhesitantly for the extension of marital rights to same-sex couples or firmly, though not necessarily disrespectfully, opposed. I'm glad that you acknowledge the presence of sexual complementarity and openness to children as parts of marriage. Many folks today just want to say "it's love between two adults" or "it's for the couple to decide", to which I want to say: "Yes, it's love. Yes, couples have a certain control over their own marriages, but when we're talking about the extension of marital rights, we need to think a bit more legally." Ultimately, the marriage question requires consistent, big-picture thinking about what marriage is, as well as what love is.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Maybe, but my understanding is that under the US Constitution, "shoulds" and "oughts" as a matter of law are reserved to the States and to the people, not to the SCOTUS.

          • Ladolcevipera

            Now I am really on thin ice. Until a few weeks ago the only Scotus I knew was Eriugena... I have no intention to meddle with things that I have nothing to do with, but I am also curious. I understand that SCotUS is the abbreviation for the highest tribunal in the US for all controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the different states. It resolves important questions of federal law and gives the final interpretation of a same law. Now, important social questions are f.i. freedom of speech, the principle of anti-discrimination, the principle of equality. My question is: if the different states interpret the same law (f.i. anti-discrimination) in a different way, isn't it normal then that SCotUS gives the final interpretation?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            That is a good question.

            Here is one answer from this morning:

            http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/07/15266/

          • William Davis

            I thought the Supreme court ruling was fair here, and with the Hobby lobby case. Those on the far left do the same kind of complaining when they lose.

            http://www.politicususa.com/2015/04/01/hobby-lobby-ruling-opened-floodgates-indiana-discrimination-law.html

            The Witherspoon Institute is an activist group just like politicususa among others. The Witherspoon Institute is specifically invested in the gay marriage debate and thus must try to defend all the doom it has prophesied when the "gaypocalypse" occurs. Note the "doom" politicususa prophesies over the Hobby Lobby decision.

            These things can be fixed via constitutional ammendment...not easy to do, but possible.

        • Bill

          We Catholics believe that Christ established the Catholic Church to be the authority on moral issues. Consequently, when there is a moral question, there will always be one answer that is true.

          • Ladolcevipera

            And everybody else is wrong? Other religions think exactly the same ; they also think they "own" the truth and they also have their set of moral obligations.
            I do not belong to any church and yet I do not kill, I do not lie or steal, I respect other people. I avoid doing harm as best as I can, and when I can I do some good. Is my moral judgment not to be trusted or of no value if it is different from the official standpoint of the catholic church?

          • Bill

            That is correct. Although you and many religions have bits of truth, only the Catholic Church can be trusted to contain the fullness of truth. You and I can not trust our moral judgement if it differs from the Church. It is therefore necessary to read the catechism of the Catholic Church to see what it teaches. That is not to say that any Catholic, including Popes, have been able to consistently follow it. We are all sinners.

          • Ladolcevipera

            I think that the catholic church may contain one of the bits of truth. I'll wait until the end of time then to see them all come together.

        • werter

          "Same-sex marriage is here to stay, whatever the bible has to say about
          it. I am a heterosexual but I think that everybody has the right to love
          and be loved. I am sure that where the bible says "God is love" He will
          accept true love where he sees it."

          And I'm homosexual and I think marriage should be restricted only to two people of the opposite sex. Also, I fail to understand how love should be limited to marriage only.

          • Ladolcevipera

            Love (in the case of consenting adults of course) should not be limited to marriage. Deep down I find it difficult to accept same-sex love but I think it is right that society recognises it as a civil partnership, giving the partners essentially the same rights as civil marriage. I agree with you that the term "marriage" should be reserved to the union of one man and one woman.

        • jstan442

          but ppl forget that God judges--see sodom and gommorah etc and He will judge those who call Him a liar--becoz that is what this attack on marrriage is--calling God a liar(He performed the first marriage in genesis with adam and eve--i think if He wanted to He could have created 3 couples-1 herterosexual and the other 2 homosexual--and since the gays can not reproduce He would have made His point that their marriage is as valid as the heterosexual one--but He did not)---but He did call it an abomination--these ppl want what feels good not what is good according to God--that's okay- they have free will--but all will be judges and those that are hard hearted to His word will end up in hell (if you believe in His word that is)

          • Ladolcevipera

            A fundamentalist interpretation? Hmm, almost extinct where I live. I suppose Eve was made from Adam's rib and the sun still revolves around the earth?

          • jstan442

            don't really care what you think--read the Bible it is accurate and truthful--whereas men are not

      • VicqRuiz

        Quite right, Brandon.

        Many articles you've curated for SN make it quite clear that on Catholicism, various portions of the Bible may be read as pure metaphor, as partially-fictionalized versions of a real event, or as historically accurate reportage.

        And it's likewise clear that Catholicism has a verse-by-verse take on how the Bible should be read, which occasionally differs from that of other Christian denominations.

        So perhaps this article should be titled "Does the official Catholic interpretation of the Bible support same-sex marriage??" Which I think is what you and Joe are actually prepared to defend.

        • Kevin Aldrich

          I think you have hit the nail on the head.

    • neil_ogi

      you should first read the entire context.

    • jon teseract

      I don't care what the Bible says about gay marriage is a very lucid thought that can be used to quickly dismiss your willingness to consider Christian/religious aspects of the debate. I have no problem there.

      But the issue that this article addressed is not those who dismiss the Bible's moral authority, rather thse who try to explain to Christians that the bible doesn't say what they think it does.

      • Ladolcevipera

        So non-christians are left out and have no say in the matter?

        • jon teseract

          Say in what matter? Whether samesex marriage should be legal or what Christianity teaches? My answer would be yes and no respectively

          • Ladolcevipera

            I think it should be yes in both cases. The bible claims to speak the truth about reality. Non-christians live in the same reality and have a different explanation for it. If christianity wants to be taken seriously outside its own (shrinking) circle its worldview and teachings must be open to dispute; both can be challenged and in some cases proven wrong. If this openness is not possible, then christianity is completely irrelevant and for all I care you may still believe that Eve was made from Adams's rib or that the sun revolves around the earth.
            But this is not what I want. An open dialogue is exactly the purpose of this forum.

          • jon teseract

            OK I don't disagree with what you're saying. I think Biblical critique is welcome and fair game for nonbelievers. What I'm not a fan of is taking choice quotes out of context misinterpreting, over looking 2000 years of Christian thought and making a snarky quip or flowchart that condescendingly tells Christians what they really believe.

            If an atheist really wants to debate chrsitian principles or the Bible, I welcome them. But they do their own credibility a disservice when they knowingly ofuscate Christian thought right out of the gate and post polemic nonsense.

          • Ladolcevipera

            I fully agree. A dialogue means that both parties respect the cooperation principle: "Make your contribution such as it is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged" . Otherwise we have a dialogue of the deaf or a rant.

    • Guest

      Drive by.........

      Yet another Sola Scriptura Atheist!!!!!

      According to Philo of Alexandra Infant Boys in Numbers 31:17-18 & young male children where in fact spared.

      According to the Talmud & I quote from memory "A woman (of age) is acquired in marriage with her consent and not without".

      A Woman can't be forced to marry her rapist but she can force him to marry her. Captured War Brides according to Josephus didn't have to stay with or marry the man who captured them.

      Jewish men may only marry Jewish women.

      The Punishment for Fornication with a Gentile woman in the Talmud is death without trial at the hand of Zealots who kill the perp when caught in the act. At least gay Jewish males in theory get a trial if caught(& if they stop when caught then no charges are brought) not that there is any record in the Talmud or Mishnah of anyone being convicted of being a man who lay with another man.

      • radiofreerome

        According to Philo of Alexandria, gay men don't get trials they are to be murdered on sight. Philo was also a jurist. Since, the Philo is called the Father of the Church Fathers, I care as little about what the Church Fathers would say about same sex marriage as a Jew would care about that Hitler would say about Passover.

        • Diaris

          Liar, Philo was a Jew, not a Christian, you emptyheaded fool.
          Gays know nothing about history, you're just showing how ignorant you bath-house rats are.

        • Guest

          I keep trying to get out they drag me back in...

          >According to Philo of Alexandria, gay men don't get trials they are to be murdered on sight.

          Where does he say so? You provide no quote or reference?

          So far this is all I could find.

          https://withalliamgod.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/philo-on-homosexual-practice/

          http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/philo/book29.html

          Quote" Moreover, another evil, much greater than that which we have already mentioned, has made its way among and been let loose upon cities, namely, the love of boys,….And it is natural for those who obey the law to consider such persons worthy of death, since the law commands that the man-woman who adulterates the precious coinage of his nature shall die without redemption, not allowing him to live a single day, or even a single hour, as he is a disgrace to himself, and to his family, and to his country, and to the whole race of mankind."END

          You will find volumes of testimony in the Talmud and Church Fathers talking about how God detests back door sodomy and that as a sin it merits death.

          But I can't seem to verify your claim homosexuals are to be killed on sight without a trial in the writings of Philo? At best in the above quote I see Philo implicitly upholding the traditional rabbinic view when a guilty verdict is handed down the person must die on the day it is handed down.

          But nothing about not getting a trial.

          Also thought it is likely Philo would not have approved of consensual adult homosexual acts so far all the quotes I find of him dealing with it is in regards to the "love of boys".

          How can anybody outside of a NAMBLA sympathizer object to condemning that?

          • David Nickol

            It makes no sense to apply contemporary standards or speak in contemporary terms about the mores of ancient cultures. Philo of Alexandria didn't say anything at all about "gay men." The concept didn't exist two millennia ago. Also, it is ludicrous to discuss ancient Greek sexual practices of men and boys as if they were in any way comparable to contemporary, criminal pedophilia in the United States.

          • Guest

            Thank you sir and with that observation you vindicate Philo of the charge he advocated killing gay men on site without a trial.

  • James Chastek

    It's strange to speak of the New Testament teaching on homosexuality while leaving out Romans 1: 21-27, in which Paul gives a sort of genealogy of homosexual attraction.

    W/r/t to Christ and homosexuality, we should keep in mind that he does clearly condemn the sin of Sodom (Mt. 10:15 and Lk 10:12). And even though there is a good deal of scholarship dedicated to showing that the sin of Sodom wasn't sodomy, this doesn't seem to be how it was understood in Christ's own time. (cf. Jude 1:7, which also gives a sort of mini-genealogy of homosexuality.)

    On the whole, the idea that "commitment" can formally constitute a moral act of sexual intercourse is an anachronism, even if one thinks it is true. There is likeness between sacred vows and commitments, but a vow remains something very different.

    • What you say seems to be right, from what I can tell.

      It seems that Christians who think gay marriage is acceptable need to either retcon the Bible or throw the Bible out.

      • "It seems that Christians who think gay marriage is acceptable need to either retcon the Bible or throw the Bible out."

        Now with that you'll find much agreement among the Catholics here at Strange Notions.

        • Raymond

          Now that we have a certain level of agreement, let's extend the discussion a little further.

          Does the Catholic Church hold the position that the Supreme Court's ruling that state-level bans of same sex marriage are unconstitutional is de facto infringement on the Church's religious freedom? Does the ruling limit or forbid the Church's teaching on the disordered nature of same sex attraction or the grave sin of sexual intimacy between people of the same sex? And should Christians who are not Catholics and people who are not Christians care what the Church's teaching is?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            In regard to the impact of the SCOTUS ruling on the Catholic Church, you should only care that Americans should not be forced to act against their consciences--so it never comes to pass that you are forced to act against your own.

          • Raymond

            And how does a ruling that makes bans on same sex marriage unconstitutional force anyone to act against their conscience?

          • Kevin Aldrich
          • William Davis

            I read number 4. Hasn't this been happening for quite a while now? I don't see how this court decision changing anything about calling people bigots. I've seen Catholics allude to laws in Canada, but Canada does not have the same speech protection via Constitution that the U.S. does. In the U.S., hate speech must be directly threatening in order to not be protected.

          • Raymond

            Not only that, but the arguments in #4 are not convincing. The discussion on the website boils down to "same sex marriage should not be legal because there are people out there who will hate on people who disagree." That is not a legal argument - it's an emotional one. There are people who demonize others for a range of reasons. Because they support different sports teams, because they have different political views, and because they have different religious views.

            In November 1855 in Louisville KY, mobs of anti-Catholic people barred Catholics and "foreigners" from voting. Many of the Catholics that fled to their homes were forcibly dragged into the streets and either beaten or killed, and many Catholic family homes were set on fire and the residents were shot when they fled the flames.

            Nine African American churchgoers were murdered during a Bible study, and African American churches in the South are set on fire at a such a rate that it has stopped being news.

            THIS is what religious persecution looks like. If you and the dissenting Justices are arguing that another Bloody Monday is the end result of of the same sex marriage decision, then you have deeper problems than same sex marriage.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Ryan Anderson presents four distinct harms of the SCOTUS decision. They don't boil down to what you say. The emotional argument comes from Justice Kennedy.

            Currently the couple who operated Sweet Cakes by Melissa have not only been fined $135,000 but have been ordered not to speak about the case.

          • Raymond

            Of course, we were talking only about #4, unless you insist on moving the goal posts. And that argument is very much an emotional argument.

            And I disagreed with the decision to fine the bakers who refused service to a gay couple. But last I heard, they are alive and their home hasn't been set on fire.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Sorry, I didn't read your comment carefully enough. You *were* only referring to #4.

            The bakers' business failed due to all the negative publicity and on top of that they are fined $350,000 and told to keep their mouths shut. That is not big deal?

          • Raymond

            Was it $135,000 or $350,000? You don't seem particularly good at details.

            And I said that I disagreed with the decision in that case. I agree that it was outrageous that the case went that way. But as I said, they weren't killed or driven out of their homes. To my knowledge.

          • Indeed, they violated the law by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. They were ordered to pay damages, which were very high because the couple went all over the news and talked about how they proudly discriminated and planned to do so in the future.

            The tribunal ordered that they stop saying they intend to continue to violate the law and discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation.

            This is a reasonable award. You can read it here:

            http://www.oregon.gov/boli/SiteAssets/pages/press/Sweet%20Cakes%20FO.pdf

          • Same sex marriage has been legal in Canada for over a decade and this has not occurred. Some find religious views on homosexuality bigoted regardless of whether or not same sex marriage is legal. And if the state continued to exclude same sex couples from marriage based on one minority groups religious views, I think it is reasonable to expect more strife.

            No one has to get gay married because it is legal, no one will force a priest or church to sanction it.

            No democratic society should accept religious freedom to justify denying rights to others. The right to practice your religion ends where your practice significantly infringes the rights of others.

            Even if you could establish a bona fine religious practice was to live in a country that denied marriage to people on the basis of sexual orientation, this is rightly abridged by the rights of others to substantive equality on the basis of sexual orientation.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            How quickly they forget. SSM was not practiced anywhere until about a decade ago. Marriage laws were based on the universal understanding that marriage was between a man and a woman. Your arguments are novel, but, unfortunately were adopted by Justice Kennedy.

          • I haven't forgotten. The historic and widespread discrimination against homosexuality and other human rights ground is the whole reason why liberal democracies have adopted equality protections.

            What you are seeing is them being applied.

            The reason why Kennedy and the majority adopted it, is because it is right.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            It is not the role of the Supreme Court to decide what is right. It is their job to interpret cases before them in light of the Constitution. That it did not do. The audacity of five judges thinking they could define what marriage. is.

          • No they did interpret the constitution, namely whether the definition of marriage excluding same sex couples discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. That is squarely within the jurisdiction of courts.

            Whether it's right or wrong is not the issue. If a constitution provides equal treatment under the law without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, it cannot have laws that restrict the statutory right to marry on that basis.

            You are free to think they are wrong, that no such relationship is a legitimate marriage like hetero marriages are. Just as you are entitled to think women aren't persons for the purposes of voting rights.

            The arguments to justify the exclusion on marriage being inherently procreative and heterosexual are very weak and denied by the reality that in fact SSM is not significantly different than OSM.

            Other than sexual mechanics, SS couples are no different than any other inferte spouses.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            It is going to be a long battle.

          • There is no battle and there is no harm from extending the right to marry. This is only an issue for religious people and homophobes.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Thank you at least for separating religious people from homophobes.

          • Do u have any thoughts on Sherif giris's arguments for traditional marriage? Marrital rates did not change immediately with no fault divorce. While there are multiple reasons for falls in marital rates and increases in divorce rates, no fault divorce definitely played a part. Do u believe marital rates will change with same-sex marriage or stay the same. Will Canada and USA go down the route of Scandinavian countries in regards to marriage or do u believe it is going to remain at 50%?

          • William Davis

            I thought it was interesting to see what someone from Sweden had to say bout the "decline of marriage".

            http://www.nordicreach.com/its_about/lifestyle/135/

            These scandinavian countries are the happiest countries in the world. Isn't that more important than some marriage statistic?

            http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mef45ejmi/01-norway/

          • Thanks for the post William. It was a good post from a very pro-Scandinavian source. It did site a number of sources, but I didn't see links to the sources. Maybe I missed them. U wouldn't have links to any of the sources? In regards to the happiness statistics, they are very good to have, but they are not necessarily good to look at for the long term happiness and sustainability of an economic and/or social policy. What makes one generation happy is not necessarily going to work out for future generations, and what works for one society is not necessarily going to work for all societies. The Scandinavian countries have a tremendous amount of natural resources for a comparatively smallsmall and also homogeneous population and the social policies implemented in Scandinavian countries is not necessarily attainible in all countries. Here is just one article that questions the Scandinavian model: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/dec/01/why-scandinavia-is-not-the-model-for-global-prosperity-we-should-all-pursue

          • I have no idea. With same sex marriage there will be more marriages and more divorce. I think there should be as few barriers to divorce as possible. No one should stay in a marriage they don't want for economic reasons.

          • OK, thanks for your thoughts. I hypothesize the opposite and believe marital rates will start looking more like Scandinavian rates within a few generations. As our government has changed marriage into nothing more than a legal contract between two consenting adults (the only consenting adults not legally allowed to marry being family members, but there is now really no legal justification left standing to prohibit this) members of society will start treating it more and more like the way the government now treats it: nothing more than another legal contract. Those who choose to marry will do so because it is legally advantageous, but many will sidestep marriage or choose to not enter into the relationship because the potential cost of divorce outweighs the benefits of marriage.

          • Well, not really. I don't see anything particularly problematic with a reduced rate of marriage.

            It is not just a legal contract, it is a legal status of a relationship and indeed from the government point of view it is not and has never been more than that.

            This is a separate question from the social and personal or religious status of marriage or cohabitation.

            Whether or not you have the state license your marriage, there is also common law marriage, so failing to get the licences does not usually change the economic situation much.

            As for allowing family members to marry, or polygamy. Governments can allow that if they wish. But there would be no legal argument under equality protections in a constitution to extend it to siblings or other family members.

          • "But there would be no legal argument under equality protections in a constitution to extend it to siblings or other family members"

            Thanks for your thoughts. If u have the time, please explain your thought process with the above quote.

            http://theweek.com/articles/443410/how-liberals-are-unwittingly-paving-way-legalization-adult-incest

          • William Davis

            The great irony here (to me) is that 6 of the 9 justices are considered to be Roman Catholic:

            http://www.infoplease.com/us/supreme-court/supreme-court-members.html

            No doubt the Catholic Church might say otherwise. The constitution does not define marriage, of course.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Sotomeyer is not a Catholic. She is a "wise-Latina." Kennedy, well, he is a Kennedy.

          • William Davis

            How do we define "Catholic"

            Sotomayor was raised a Catholic[2] and grew up in Puerto Rican communities in the South Bronx and East Bronx; she self-identifies as a "Nuyorican".[12]

            For grammar school, Sotomayor attended Blessed Sacrament School in Soundview,[26] where she was valedictorian and had a near-perfect attendance record.[21][27]

            Sotomayor does not belong to a Catholic parish or attend Mass, but does attend church for important occasions.[2] She has said, "I am a very spiritual person [though] maybe not traditionally religious in terms of Sunday Mass every week, that sort of thing. The trappings are not important to me, but, yes, I do believe in God. And, yes, I do believe in the commandments."[58]

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonia_Sotomayor#Awards_and_honors

            Seems Catholic at first glance, but perhaps there is some litmus test I'm unaware of.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            To me, a Catholic is someone who practices the Catholic faith and lives the Church's moral teachings.

            That said, there are admiral things about Justice Sotomeyer, in my view.

          • David Nickol

            To me, a Catholic is someone who practices the Catholic faith and lives the Church's moral teachings.

            But really, that's just your personal opinion. It seems clear to me that the Church considers anyone who has been baptized in the Catholic Church to be a Catholic under almost all circumstances. Certainly Kennedy and Sotomayor would be considered Catholic by the Church. You are not trying to answer the question, "Who is a Catholic?" You're just telling us whom you approve of and whom you disapprove of. You are just saying, "If Catholics are like me and live and believe as I do, then I will call them Catholics, and everyone else I will call not Catholics."

          • Kevin Aldrich

            You are right. They are bad Catholics.

            What is worse--in this context--is that they are bad Supreme Court Justices--at least according to the other four Catholics on the court.

          • Jim Ranger

            No, the point is just the opposite. It has nothing to do with whether or not people are like me. It has to do with whether or not I, and those others, are like Christ and his Churxh. There is a standard outside of ourselves. This is the essence of the matter. And it's also what makes being truly Catholic fundamentally unselfish.

          • Jim Ranger

            Catholicism is not a race. It's a choice. One chooses to practice the teachings of the Church. This is what makes one Catholic, that is, in the sense that orthodox Catholics are referring to here.

          • cminca

            I'd bet that the CC is counting them both as catholics when the CC is trying to exhort political pressure.

          • William Davis

            I agree with you, except for people in public positions like magistrates. Of course, they don't have to act against their conscience, they can resign. For a magistrate to refuse to do their job is like someone in the military refusing to shoot...find a new job.
            I'll be up in arms with you if anyone tries to force Catholic Churches to perform gay marriages, but that hasn't happened anywhere in the world (much less here) as far as I'm aware.

          • Michael Murray

            I'll be up in arms with you if anyone tries to force Catholic Churches to perform gay marriages, but that hasn't happened anywhere in the world (much less here) as far as I'm aware.

            I doubt anyone will but the argument for me is simple. If anyone wants a license to perform marriages recognised by the state then they should follow the rules laid down by the state for such marriages. Such rules will no doubt include some non-discrimination. Of course if they don't want their marriages recognised by the state, as happens in some countries, there is no problem.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            The court ruling was that rights in any State must be recognized in all the States.

            We can hardly wait for the same principle to be applied to the right Arizona confers for people to carry concealed firearms without a permit, or of 18 states to carry firearms openly.

            Does the ruling limit or forbid the Church's teaching on the disordered nature of same sex attraction

            Wait for it.

          • OverlappingMagisteria

            Wait for it.

            Oh, we will wait. And wait.... and wait....

            I'm not sure why people suddenly think that the 1st Amendment will suddenly disappear.

          • Mike

            bc it will prove politically disadvantages. the ruling was based on a fad and on activism from the bench - the elites decided they wanted something changed and so the same will apply to churches who "hide behind their so called theological positions aka veiled bigotry to demean homosexuals"...it's coming and quickly.

          • OverlappingMagisteria

            The ruling also explicitly stated that religions have the First Amendment right to continue teaching against same-sex marriage, if they so choose. I find it odd to say that a court ruling will do the exact opposite of what is clearly written in it:

            Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.

            - pg 32: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf

          • Mike

            Unless there is a historic compromise reached the church will lose its tax exempt status i predict.. IF arguing that 2 men are essentially NOT like 1 man 1 women is really equal to racism then the churches have to lose their tax status.

            so i ask you are 2 men or 2 women essentially like 1 man plus 1 woman? and if you see an essential difference does that make you a "hater" a "bigot"?

          • OverlappingMagisteria

            But there are racist churches even today that did not lose tax exempt status. Churches have always been exempt from non-discrimination laws. I remember that there was some buzz about a year ago when a church refused to marry an interracial couple... it caused buzz, but that's it. The church had every right to do so.

            I'm afraid there does not seem to be any basis for fearing that churches will not be able to teach their religious beliefs.

            Whether someone is seen as a "hater" or a "bigot" is not really relevant to the issue. The First Amendment allows people to make any statement, even if the majority labels it hateful or bigoted. And having someone call you a hater or a bigot is not a violation of that right, no more that you calling them a hater or a bigot would be a violation of theirs. That is just the free expression of ideas.

          • Mike

            sorry when i said churches i didn't just mean the actual building and direct employees i mean notre dame university for example, ave maria press etc. etc. How about the many hospitals that are church run, the innumerable charities.

            i agree with your second paragraph but if 1man 1women really is like racism there can be no room for that belief in the public square...which is why i predict that ortho christians will be marginalized and forced into "cultural ghettos" of sorts.

            hey you didn't answer may q. about whether there really is an essential diff. btw 2 men/2 women and 1m1w.

          • OverlappingMagisteria

            Businesses are required to follow non discrimination laws. Churches do not. I certainly hope that hospitals, religious or otherwise, would not discriminate based on race, sexual orientation, or any other trait.

            I do agree that being against same-sex marriage will be increasingly seen as unacceptable in public opinion. There may be a time when supporters of traditional marriage will have to watch who they voice their opinions to (much like how supporters of same-sex marriage had to a few decades ago.). But this is public opinion, not law. I hope you do not think that the law should intervene with people's opinions on the matter.

            Regarding your last question... I didn't answer because it didn't seem relevant. Whether or not I personally agree with SSM (I do) or think you are a "hater" (I don't), doesn't seem to be related to whether the government will take away 1st Amendment rights.

          • Mike

            but a catholic hospital or university can for example hire w/o reference to "marital status" o fcourse but what if it is asked to refrain from saying officially that marriage is 1 man 1 women? and for example st. luke's hospital says well we can't say that...will it lose public funding will it lose its accreditation?

            the issue is not the operations of the huge institutions but their ability to official pronounce their beliefs, beliefs that a huge subset of elites think are identical to racism.

          • OverlappingMagisteria

            Well... let's step back and take a look at how far the goalposts have shifted during this conversation. First the discussion was on the government actually forbidding the Church from teaching what it believes. Then it was about removing churches tax exemptions..... and now removing government funding to universities and hospitals. I'm guessing that you agree that the government won't be criminalizing any homilies, given that we've inched away from that claim.

            But regarding this new, lesser claim: the removal of public funding of religious universities/hospitals. Personally, I don't think that the government should be funding religion. I know that most religious schools are privately funded. I never heard of anyone claiming that they have a right to receive public funding.

          • Michael Murray

            I never heard of anyone claiming that they have a right to receive public funding.

            That would depend on what country you live in. In Australia no government would survive long if it tried to strip private schools of public money. The argument is something like "I choose to send my child to a private school so why shouldn't some of my taxes be spent on them just as it is for people sending their children to public schools".

          • Mike

            one step at a time...first gov contracts then gov recognition then tax status then freedom to discriminate then freedom to preserve special identity narrower and narrower and narrower until the gov gets to assist in the selection of bishops and finally approves/disapproves of what's preached and what isn't...this is the trajectory right now, let's hope it doesn't keep going in this direction.

          • David Nickol

            one step at a time...first gov contracts then gov recognition . . .

            Government money (federal, state, and local) accounts for 65% of Catholic Charities' budget of about $2.3 billion.

          • Mike

            how can they partner with groups that are no different than jim crow?

            if 2 men/2 women really are not essentially a different kind of union than 1m/1woman then the catholic church must be shunned legally and officially...however if the unions really are somehow profoundly not alike on a fundamental level, well in that case, the situation in reality becomes very different.

            ps as an aside remember that 25% of the pop is catholic and therefore alot of this money is their own money.

          • VicqRuiz

            There may be a time when supporters of traditional marriage will have to watch who they voice their opinions to

            Do you look forward to that time??

          • jon teseract

            But the problem is that the neat distinction between Church, charity, and business is not some universality. From a certain point of view disallowing the church or members of the church from running its businesses under their own principles is discrimination. You might say it's not, but that is the very issue that is being debated. People are saying there will be discrimination in X area, and you are saying no there won't because that's not how I define discrimination. It's begging the question.

            If the US government says that religion is by definition only what the organization does in the pews on Sunday and religious freedoms don't extend to other Church ventures, that is a very myopic view of what religion is,

          • OverlappingMagisteria

            Yes, I agree that the distinction is not neat. On one end, there are churches - clearly religious organizations. On the other end, businesses - clearly not religious. Then in the middle are the religiously affiliated schools hospitals, etc. Which bucket they fit into is certainly debatable.

            In either case, I think the claim that the government is going to start restricting speech in churches is pretty far fetched.

          • jon teseract

            I agree. Restricting free speech in churches does seem far fetched, is highly unlikely and people should stop muddying the waters with those predictions of doom.

            However, I don't find it unlikely at all that there will be restrictions applied more and more to how auxilery functions of the faith are allowed to operate in the public sphere, like charities, schools, or businesses. Or that churches could lose tax exempt status, effectively forcing them out of high land value areas.

            One could argue that such organizations should be completely disentangled from gov monies anyway. I do agree to a large extent, but its not simple. When the gov says you must be a gov.contractor to legally provide charity to illegal immigrants and then all gov contractors must provide abortion coverage, they are essentially saying church based charities can't work with illegal immigrants. Situations like that are not far fetched.

          • VicqRuiz

            If Catholicism was just a collection of churches, in which doctrines were preached and sacraments delivered, tax exemption would be a relatively minor issue.

            But, especially in the United States, the Catholic Church has come to encompass a whole network of social service agencies and other charities. And rather than operate them as standalone, self funded institutions, it has allowed them to become heavily intertwined with government funding and government regulation at all levels.

            Whether the Church values its historical doctrines enough to sever all its ties with Caesar is the question which it may be required to answer in the near future.

            Personally, I hope it does sever those ties......I would welcome the Church as an ally against the modern leviathan, atheist though I may be.

          • David Nickol

            Unless there is a historical compromise reached the church will lose it's tax exempt status i predict..

            When do you see this happening?

          • Mike

            at this rate, soon as in like the next 10 years.

          • $50. I bet you $50 that the US government does not make preaching Catholic dogma in homilies illegal within10 years.

            You should take the bet! If you lose, that means you still have your religious freedom. If you win, well, at least you'll be $50 richer!

            We can make sure to meet on July 4, 2025, and you can either pay me or I'll pay you, depending on who wins. Then we can go out for drinks.

          • Mike

            Have you ever heard about Hosanna v Tabor?

            the only thing that kept this current admin from forcing progressive ideas about discrimination on churches was SCOTUS...now it was a 9-0 win for sanity but still the fact that the case got as far as that and that the admin saw nothing generally wrong with their position should send a chill down every liberals back.

            no of course not in 10 years but at this pace who knows...also they'll never come right out and say this is criminal to say of course. it'll all be couched in progressive kind diverse tolerant etc etc euphemisms meant only to protect the dignity and civil rights of ppl to attend whatever social cultural institution they wish without being reminded that they are somehow disordered...something to that effect - it'll all be very pc very polished and very "compassionate".

            this is a dictatorship of relativism - soft kind brightly colored totalitarianism for the 21 century.

            either way i should make clear that all things considered NO ONE not even you will ever believe in their heart that 1m/1f is no different than 2m/2f...the facts are written on our hearts or in our dna...and so alot of prog propaganda will do damage to democracy and to families but in the end nothing on a fundamental level will change.

            see you 2025 for pints!

          • I'd love to have a beer with you anyway. I really hope I don't lose the bet (for many more reasons than $50). I don't think I will.

          • Mike

            I sincerely hope you don't either.

            Yes, pints on me!

          • Chad Eberhart

            Something from Zizek you might find interesting: http://bigthink.com/videos/slavoj-zizek-political-correctness-is-fake

          • David Nickol

            Have you ever heard about Hosanna v Tabor?

            Nobody has heard of Hosanna v Tabor because there was no such case. It was Hosanna-Tabor v EEOC (Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Also, the case was heard during the Obama administration, but the government began the case under the Bush (43) administration.

            Do you actually know what the case was about? Can you give a brief explanation of the facts of the case without looking anything up? Do you have any idea what you are talking about.

            the facts are written on our hearts or in our dna...

            You can't possibly believe that. No one could believe that. :P

          • Mike
          • Michael Murray

            The real irony here is that the threat to the Catholic Church doesn't come from government legislation it comes from all the birth Catholics who don't want to sit and listen to homophobic preaching. They are voting with their feet. Why would anyone legislate against the Church when it's dwindling so quickly without any help? In time we will be left with a small group of fervent followers. Or as Life of Brian tells us a number of small groups of fervent followers. Everybody will be happy then I guess as the fervent followers will be surrounded by their own brand of "real" Catholics and the reduced Church(es) will have lost all political power so the rest of us can safely ignore it.

          • werter

            Interestingly enough, it's progressive protestant churches that - thanks God - lose their members rapidly. Hopefully, they'll cease to exist soon.
            http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/opinion/sunday/douthat-can-liberal-christianity-be-saved.html?_r=2

            By 2050 the "fanatical" Pentecostal Church will outnumber Catholics and here is you carefully constructed myth doesn't hold water.

          • Michael Murray

            I'm not sure how it helps the Catholic Church that some other Christian sect is losing members more rapidly.

            Are you suggesting these numbers for Australia are mythical ?

            Catholicism is now the largest church tradition in Australia and the Catholic population continues to grow, although weekly Mass attendance has declined from an estimated 74% in the mid-50's to around 14% in 2006.[5][6]

            Largest Church tradition I assume means what people put on the census form which seems to be independent of what they actually do in performing the rites of a religion.

          • werter

            I never said it does. I merely wanted to note that your notion saying that the "conservativeness" of CC is a factor of decline is bogus. If it was true, then progressive churches would soar.

          • William Davis

            What Michael said if fact, based on Pew research

            Majorities of former Catholics who are now unaffiliated also cite having stopped believing in Catholicism’s teachings overall (65%) or dissatisfaction with Catholic teachings about abortion and homosexuality (56%), and almost half (48%) cite dissatisfaction with church teachings about birth control, as reasons for leaving Catholicism. These reasons are cited less commonly by former Catholics who have become Protestant; 50% say they stopped believing in Catholicism’s teachings, 23% say they differed with the Catholic Church on issues such as abortion and homosexuality, and only 16% say they were unhappy with Catholic teachings on birth control.

            http://www.pewforum.org/2009/04/27/faith-in-flux3/

            Damned if you do, damned if you don't, I guess. Religion, in general flourishes where education is poor and poverty is high, like large parts of the southern US. There are a variety of interpretations for these facts, but they do seem to be facts. Muslims, specifically, are booming in places like Africa. I'd rather see more Africans become Catholic myself, if that's any consolation.

            http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/

          • Michael Murray

            I don't see why that follows. The conservativeness of the CC might just drive people away from religion in general. Why would it have to drive them to progressive churches ?

          • werter

            If that's the reason of their discontentment...

          • Jim Ranger

            Because anyone that would be driven out of a Catholic Church because of orthodoxy is obviously behaving on an emotional not an intellectual level. If they were operating on an intellectual level, with such a misunderstanding of what God is, they would not have been there for so long in the first place. They'd be closer to where you are. Because they are operating on an emotional level they most likely go to Church because of how it makes them feel. They will probably still crave this feeling after they decide to leave the Church, and they will need some place to go and satisfy this. Maybe they have to appease a guilty learned conscience because they were brought up going to Church. Maybe they just like the feeling of being around others. Who knows. But something put them in the sanctuary to begin with other than brains.

          • Jim Ranger

            Homophobic. Really? Can one not oppose a particular practice without having a phobia? Are you certain-Catholic-preaching-aphobic? That's just silly talk.

          • Michael Murray

            Are you certain-Catholic-preaching-aphobic?

            I estimate I sat through 500 sermons before giving up around the age of 18. So maybe not phobia so much as allergy due to over exposure.

          • jon teseract

            Mike didn't say that. He said lose it's tax exemption in the next 10 years

          • He took the bet, though. Maybe just cause he's a nice guy.

            If it was over losing tax exempt status, I'd bet $20. I don't think religions will lose their tax exempt status. Churches that refuse to perform interracial marriages keep their tax exempt status.

            I hope the State keeps tax exempt status for religious groups. It provides a great incentive to keep them quiet on politics.

          • jon teseract

            Well fair enough, hope you guys enjoy the beer

          • Doug Shaver

            I'm not sure why people suddenly think that the 1st Amendment will suddenly disappear.

            Simple. If your religion says X is a sin, but the civil law allows people to do X, then you don't have freedom of religion. Isn't that obvious?

          • OverlappingMagisteria

            You mean other people aren't required to follow my religion? What has the world come to!?

          • Ladolcevipera

            I think you should read Thomas Reese's article "How the bishops should respond to the same-sex marriage decision" http://ncronline.org/blogs/faith-and-justice/how-bishops-should-respond-same-sex-marriage-decision
            At least one person with the common sense not to spread fear and panic without justification.

    • William Davis

      You are correct about Romans 1, but let's look at it closer:

      26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

      28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. 29 They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters,[f] insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.

      So gay people are not just gay, they are: "filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters,[f] insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them." The last part is especially problematic "they deserve to die." I can say Paul is quite wrong here, there is no known association with between homosexuality and "every kind of wickedness, murder, deceit, ect." The idea that they all "deserve to die" is homophobia at it's finest. In my view it appalling that someone would think this kind of rant belongs in the "word of God". If God exists, I expect something much better from the creator of heaven and earth.

      An unjustified homophobic rant is just an unjustified homophobic rant, whoever wrote it. We could discuss the nature of homosexuality in the time of Paul, but most Christians wouldn't find that relevant, and that's on them.

      • Kevin Aldrich

        I think you need to become a better Biblical interpreter. ;) Paul is talking about the entire range of sins of fallen mankind, not just homosexuals.

        • William Davis

          Backing up a bit, perhaps you are right to an extent. He's talking about anyone who does not acknowledge God (the God of Abraham at least). Thus any atheist should also be all these things, which probably makes it worse. I'll post a fuller text so nothing is left out.

          18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; 21 for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

          24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

          26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

          28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. 29 They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters,[f] insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.

  • These distinctions in Leviticus are not so nearly clear cut as is advanced by Joe. Okay Leviticus 18 seems to we rules for the nation of Isreal, and deal with sexual taboos. Joe is saying that these are timeless and are binding on all humanity. (one questions then why they were given to only Israel and not say to Noah.) Anyway, the flip side of this is that other rules such as prohibition on shellfish, were not timeless, but I guess arbitrary rules and punishments for this people at that time. But how are we to know the difference. I'm not sure who made the chapter divisions in th OT but even if we accept these have meaning, we find in Lev 19, a mixture of things which must fall into each category, without any way of distinguishing them.

    For example Leviticus 18-19 has what I think Christians would agree is a fundamental moral teaching of god and Jesus: "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" so in the context of to verse we are being given a timeless moral tenet.

    And yet, we find the next verse "Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee" probably the most arbitrary prohibition in the Bible, or at least obviously not a timeless moral issue.

    So, we have Lev 18, that is all moral and timeless, so you can't take verse 22 out and say this is no longer binding, but then we have Lev 19 where it is fine to do this with verse 20' but not verse 19.

    The question is what is the basis for doing this? I would say that this is interpreting dietary and garment restrictions as non-moral issues, but sexual restrictions as moral. Why? Is this arbitrary? I would hope we could agree that same sex relationships do not cause inherent harm, rather what underlies the sinfulness is that it is conduct that is in the wrong category, sex is for propagation, same sex is not, thus it is sinful, contrary to gods natural order or something. But can we not say similar things about wearing mixed fibres? Planting mixed seeds?

    I think what is really happening here is that we reject the laws on mixed fabrics because we recognize (what may not have been evident in the Bronze Age) that there can be no harm from this practice and concerns that it is "disordered" or "unnatural" or "unclean" are not credible. Some religions, and interpretations recognize the same with Leviticus 18,22. Catholics don't interpret it this way, which is unfortunate and results in a great amount of acrimony these days. The interpretation is not insane, but it is a stretch.

    In any event I think the idea that there are verse are clearly meant for ancient Israelites vs those right next to them which are timeless moral teachings is not the case.

    • Raymond

      One term for this is "cherry picking".

    • neil_ogi

      leviticus deals only for jewish people. levitical laws like the ones you mentioned above also deals with morality and health issues, these are also binding today (not only jews), they are for the benefits of humanity. the laws on unclean/clean (food) animals are scientifically proven to be accurate. for example, 'do not eat fat' (lev 7:23), we all know that eating fats can contribute heart ailments and clog blood vessels

      • So how do we know the difference between the laws in Leviticus that apply only to Bronze Age Jews, as opposed to those that apply to all humanity?

        • neil_ogi

          Levitical laws , for example, 'an eye for an eye' is applicable only for ancient jews, and God even endorsed this law for them. when Jesus died on the cross, every ceremonial laws (levitical laws, like circumcision) were demolished, but dietary laws are not ceremonial, although some of it have ceremonial affinity, yet they are still applicable for our healthy lifestyle. the original diet God prescribed to man is only plants and herbs and He just allowed animal flesh to man's dietary requirement after the flood.

          • But why? How can you tell the difference? Are you just picking the laws that make sense to you and saying these apply? Are you applying your understanding of health and morality and saying these laws still apply? If so, why bother with the Bible at all?

          • neil_ogi

            since God is the creator of the universe, He naturally formulated laws accordingly. the 10 commands is divided into two, the first is man's obligation to his Creator (e,g,1. thou shall have no other gods before me), and the other 6 is man's obligations with his fellow man (eg, thou shall not kill). matthew 22:40 says that 'On these two Commandements hang all the Law and the Prophets.' kjv. in my personal view, the 10 commands is the mother of all moral laws, and that only moral laws have the power to judge man of his sins. ceremonial laws on the other hand, pertain to the prophesied coming of the Messiah. when Jesus came, the ceremonial laws are still in effect, but when He died on the cross, the temple, and other ceremonial activities are torn down, signifying the end of ceremonial worship services (eg. killing and sparkling of shed blood of sheep)..

            dietary laws, according to other churches, are ceremonial in nature, and i somewhat agree with them.. but since these laws are concerned with health of our body, they are still binding, not ceremonial in nature, but for health purposes.

          • So, given that, tell me what the injunction against lying with another man as you would a woman is. Is it a moral law or ceremonial? And, how you know. To me it doesn't engage morality or ceremony.

            Same for the injunction on wearing clothing if mixed fibres. Is this moral or ceremonial? If ceremonial, is it still binding? How do we tell the difference? Do we tell just by your personal view of whether it is healthy?

            I suppose you can take Matt 22:40 and then cherry pick from the laws those that you decide are related. But how do you reconcile Matthew 5:17-18?

            "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.…"

            To me this seems quite obvious that at least the author of Matthew believed the law was to stay in place.

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'So, given that, tell me what the injunction against lying with another man as you would a woman is. Is it a moral law or ceremonial? And, how you know. To me it doesn't engage morality or ceremony.' -- are you talking about homosexual behavior here? God condenmed homosexual behavior. see http://www.gotquestions.org/homosexuality-Bible.html http://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_homosexuality.htm

            quote: 'Same for the injunction on wearing clothing if mixed fibres. Is this moral or ceremonial? If ceremonial, is it still binding? How do we tell the difference? Do we tell just by your personal view of whether it is healthy?' -- the Bible has also laws about wearing dress and hairstyles. the Bible sees that extravagances and 'braided hair' are sometimes linked to power, arrogance and unhumility. (Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.… 1 tinothy 2: 9-10). http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1210

            quote: '"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.…"

            To me this seems quite obvious that at least the author of Matthew believed the law was to stay in place.-- you may also notice the word 'fulfill'. as i've said before, the death of christ already 'fulfilled' the laws of the prophets, and the new laws (moral laws) are to be implemented as long as the heaven and earth pass away.

          • Oh, I see so you accept all of the laws in Leviticus as being binding? This includes mixed fibres, so no cotton-polyester blends, even if it is a nun's habit. Do you think this law had anything to do with modesty?

            This law against homosexuality is literally in the chapter next to banning the wearing of linen and wool together. How can one of them be "new"?

          • neil_ogi

            i didn't say that i accept levitical laws are still binding today. the issue about dress codes do not necessarily mean that one has to follow this codes in order to be morally upright, nor it suggests that one would be committing sins. for example, a worshipper should be expected to dress accordingly (e.g not 'sexy' dress). nor one should dress inappropriately (e.g. sando). but even if one wears them, it's just fine, as long as it won't disturb the peace and harmony inside the church.

            the case about homosexuality: the Bible forbids homosexual acts or tendencies to have sexual relationship with the same sex, and not the person himself.

            on unclean and clean animals: the bible specifically give instructions on how the ancient jews identify which animals are clean/unclean. Leviticus 11 and deuteronomy 14 list several qualifications on how to distinguish them. the explanation on why unclean animals are unclean or unfit for consumption is not explained, the only explanation is: ' I am the Lord who deliver you out of bandage' or something like this; 'i am the Lord, therefore you must be holy'.. the explanation why homosexual acts is sin is also similar to the explanations on unclean/clean animals

          • Leviticus laws include an absolute prohibition on wearing polyester cotton blends, you consider that binding on you?

          • neil_ogi

            i have already explained to you that levitical laws are for ancient israelites only, these includes circumcision, even stoning to death a prostitute, etc. and yet the dietary laws are still binding to all mankind because it concerns with healthy lifestyle.

            i have nothing to lose if i wear polyester cotton blends. even if God does prohibit wearing it, does that mean the man who is violating it is committing a serious crime? decrees and statutes are 'minority' laws that have nothing to do with morality issues. it's like observing traffic laws. it is okay here in Manila's streets to violate traffic laws if the streets are still not crowded (mostly at dawn or rush hours are not yet arrived, or there's still no police at the site)

            i already explained further that the new commands that Christ has established 'fulfilled' the 'shadows' of ceremonial laws (mostly levitical and deuteronomical laws). actually these laws aren't really new. these laws are already observed by the first couple (the first murder story of abel by cain)

          • Cool so you would agree then that homosexuality, like wearing of mixed fibres, though banned in leviticus, it is fine to do because it doesn't harm oneself or others, it is not a serious crime or a moral issue.

          • neil_ogi

            nope. do not equate a 'fiber' with homosexuality.
            i already explained it

  • Steven Dillon

    I think it can be fairly questioned whether the Bible's prohibition against active homosexuality should be interpreted as a moral injunction binding throughout the ages; but, certainly not on the grounds enlisted here, and I think Joe does good job of illustrating why.

    That said, I don't think the jab against Sola Scriptura is entirely fair: Christians of all denominations certainly exegete Scripture as if it were the only extant source of special revelation binding on the Church. I don't think I've ever seen a Catholic explicitly appeal to a special revelation initially preserved through oral tradition that wasn't later codified in Scripture. But, this is all besides the point I suppose.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    Because he rejects homosexual sex, the chart up top angrily writes St. Paul off as a judgmental xenophobe and chauvinist.

    I think this is a slight (though understandable) misreading of the chart. The chart does indeed write off Paul as a chauvinist, but the claim of xenophobia is directed at the Old Testament. I'd agree that Paul did not seem to be xenophobic, but the writings attributed to him in 1 Timothy are certainly sexist. Interestingly, and perhaps understandably, Mr. Heschmeyer did not wish to defend Paul in that regard.

    But I think that the accusation of Paul's chauvinism is more than just name-calling. It is a call to consistency. If a Christian is going to say that gay relations are wrong because Paul said so, then why ignore what Paul said so regarding woman's authority over man?

  • But there is no argument from me that a plain reading of scripture prohibits homosexuality and fornication.

    I think these graphs are blunt and generalizations, but they are a different interpretation that is accepted by many Christian faiths. Christians and theists have endless debates and schisms about how to interpret and apply a document, that, really, could have been a heck of a lot more clear on these issues!

    Atheists do not accept that this text has any special meaning and the resolution of these debates is of little import, though to some like me they are fascinating.

    I see marriage in the context of the Supreme Court ruling as a state sanctioned social relationship that carries civic rights and privileges. What is being sanctioned is a committed long term relationship between 2 people. If by conjugal, you mean people who, generally, will be having sex, I agree that is part of it. Restricting people from this right on the basis of sexual orientation cannot be justified in a free and democratic society that does not devalue or marginalize homosexuality. Catholocism does devalue and is an afront to the dignity of homosexuals in my view.

    • DJ Wambeke

      If by conjugal, you mean people who, generally, will be having sex, I agree that is part of it.

      I may not be telling you something you don't already know, but in reading this comment what hit me was that you've definitely got a different definition of "conjugality" going on here. You seem to be operating off something more like sex = two people achieving orgasm with each other. But "conjugal" is really getting at the union of opposites through sexual intercourse (or at least that's what it used to mean). There's no actual "intercourse" with the same parts, if you get my drift.

      • I'm not sure how prof George was using it. But what I mean is what we might call romantic love as opposed to fraternal or patent child relationships.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    But
    the particular statutory punishments *weren’t* timeless: they were
    quite explicitly the law books of the nation of Israel. These [moral] laws can
    be illuminating, in that they show the severity of certain sins...

    Homosexual acts, according to Lev. 20, are punishable by death. Working on the sabbath is also punishable by death (Num 15). So is blasphemy (Lev 24). Both are also based on the Ten Commandments which are moral, not ceremonial laws.

    Should we conclude, then, that working on Sunday is just as sinful as gay relationships? Is the freedom of speech and religion (which includes the freedom to say what might be blasphemous) just as severe of a sin as homosexuality? If so, should Catholics fight to repeal, or at least modify the first amendment and forbid businesses from being open on Sunday? Should the fight just as they fought against gay marriage?

    • William Davis

      The Sabbath was always Saturday, so we even get the day wrong ;)

  • Doug Shaver

    Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?

    Marriage? It certainly does not explicitly say that it's OK.

    The point that the liberal exegetes are trying to make is that the Bible does not, contra conventional wisdom, condemn homosexual behavior. Even if they are correct, that is not the same as supporting homosexual marriages. Quite a few of us in this country, until just a few years ago, had no objection to homosexual behavior but would have balked at legalizing gay marriages.

    I don't think they are correct. I don't think the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality is quite as unambiguous as most conservatives would have us think, but to construe what it says so as to remove any hint of disapproval presupposes a level of moral enlightenment on the part of the author of Leviticus and of Paul for which I see no shred of evidence.

    That noted, I think Christians could find a way, if they were sufficiently motivated, to interpret the overall message of their scriptures in a manner that would render that particular prohibition irrelevant. If would hardly be the first time in their history that they had done that sort of thing.

    The rest of us, of course, couldn't care less what the Bible says about homosexuality or anything else.

  • Closed questions (like the flow charts above) limit thinking. Closed questions normally start with “Do, Have, Will, Can, Are, Is…” Open questions should be used to gather, learn and sort new information. They normally start with “What, Where, When, How, Who, Why…”

    If someone asks the closed question, "Do you still think homosexuality is sinful?". A response that might start a fruitful conversation could be an open question like "How do we know what's true?"

  • David Nickol

    So the gay marriage view that’s supposed to show that we’re a bunch of Biblical hypocrites more accurately shows that the best argument against Jews, Christians, and anyone holding to any of the great philosophical traditions, is just to shout us down, call us nasty names and, where necessary, to use simplistic and deceptive flow charts.

    This strikes me as more than a bit pugnacious, and ironically so, since according to the latest polls, 56% of Catholics support same-sex marriage.

    • werter

      American Catholics of course. I'd like to believe, and I can say more - I'm sure basing on my experience, Catholics anywhere else in the world are better catechized. Secularism is to blame.

      • Mila

        Some think that because a poll tells them that so-called Catholics or whatever passes for Catholics think contrary to the Church then the Church is wrong. If the Catholic Church was more like the Episcopalian church where truth is voted on then that should be a concern. Thank God truth is not up to fallen humanity.

        • David Nickol

          Some think that because a poll tells them that so-called Catholics or whatever passes for Catholics think contrary to the Church then the Church is wrong.

          I don't think I made my point quite clear enough. In his piece, Joe Heschmeyer is lamenting "gay marriage view that’s supposed to show that we’re a bunch of Biblical hypocrites," and others are predicting dire violations of religious liberty (like the Church losing its tax-exempt status), and my point is that it's not "us (Catholics) versus them." The Catholics in the United States belong more in Heschmeyer's "them" column than in the "us" column.

          Of course you will respond with the "no true Catholic" argument, that is largely irrelevant to the politics of the matter, which is what interests me here.

        • werter

          The Episcopalian church is a joke. :-)

          • Michael

            Moderators, is werter's comment appropriate?

          • William Davis

            Personally I think the Episcopalian Church is great. Roman Catholics definitely get to claim more consistency with tradition. The amount of value that has is subject to opinion, of course.

      • David Nickol

        I don't think it is a matter of "catechization." I think that American Catholics are well aware of the Church's position on same-sex marriage (and other sexual issues, like contraception) and don't agree.

        But it's not just American Catholics. Look at Ireland! With 84% of the population identifying as Catholic, they just voted overwhelmingly (62%) to permit same-sex marriage.

        • werter

          And I think it is a matter of lack of proper religious education. Sort of arguments like "gud'z luv", "ur bigut", "ur h8er", "luv'z luv" are the best proof of that. I'm simplifying of course, but my intention is to depict how intellectually offensive logic is used in such debate. As I said, secularism is to blame, but American clergy, very often coward and conformist, should also be liable for this failure.

          The perfect evidence is the decision of bishop Cordileone regarding Catholic schools and, so to say, code of conduct that were requested from the teachers in the diocese of San Francisco contrasting with the deafening silence of USCCB.

          And look at Poland! With 90% of the population identifying as Catholic, there are like, don't know, 10% (?), who would endorse the idea of gay "marriage."

          It seems to me that this religious dishonesty and tint of decadence is symptomatic for English-speaking countries. Have no idea why.

          • Mila

            "Have no idea why"
            Sin....

            I knew a girl who was friends with us and she told us she was Catholic. Never went to confession, mass (only on Christmas), but she claimed she was Catholic. We, had just arrived to the United States and we regarded her as an atheist. We couldn't believe that she had the audacity to claim she was Catholic. One day she told us she was Catholic because her ancestors were.
            Like I said, just about anything passes for Catholic these days. If your grandma was Catholic in Italy, then you can claim you are Catholic in the United States.
            If one is against the teachings of the Church then one ceases to be Catholic.
            The false church within the Church is becoming more evident these days.

          • David Nickol

            If one is against the teachings of the Church then one ceases to be Catholic.

            This is so vague as to be meaningless. Those baptized Catholic do not cease being Catholic—in the eyes of the Church—because they disagree with the Church on same-sex marriage, because they use contraceptives, or even because they go to Mass only on Christmas and/or Easter.

          • Michael Murray

            A remarkable number of Catholics, when they do decide to have children, don't seem to see a need for Holy Matrimony either.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legitimacy_(family_law)#Extramarital_births

          • Michael Murray

            Perhaps you should raise this with the Catholic Church themselves who seem only too happy to count baptised Catholics as Catholics in the political sphere. How many real Catholics would you think there are in the US ?

          • David Nickol

            It seems to me that this religious dishonesty and tint of decadence is symptomatic for English-speaking countries.

            The problem is, according to you, "lack of proper religious education," then "secularism," then "coward and conformist" American clergy, and then "religious dishonesty and tint of decadence." This adds up to more than inadequate catechization!

          • cminca

            Cordileone came up with the code of conduct by himself. It was not requested by the teachers.

        • Michael

          There's a difference between being "well aware" that the institutional church is opposed to same-sex marriage and actually understanding the reasons why. It is not my impression that many US Catholics have a firm grasp on the latter. According to Wikipedia, "Natural law is a basic source for Catholic teachings on sexual morality." Do many US Catholics have a through understanding of Catholic teaching on natural law? I doubt it.

          • David Nickol

            There's a difference between being "well aware" that the institutional church is opposed to same-sex marriage and actually understanding the reasons why.

            I suppose so, but do you really think the vast majority of Catholics who now use contraception or support same-sex marriage would find natural law arguments convincing? I think that I, having gone to Catholic school from 1953 through 1965, was very well "catechized," although in many ways "indoctrinated" might be a better word. There was a huge reaction against Humanae Vitae, and it wasn't just from those who were not well catechized. It seems to me Catholic teaching on sexuality is pretty much all of one piece. If you don't accept Humanae Vitae, you are unlikely to accept teaching on same-sex marriage.

          • Michael

            do you really think the vast majority of Catholics who now use contraception or support same-sex marriage would find natural law arguments convincing?

            Perhaps not, but many or most Catholics who use contraception or support same-sex marriage have never taken the time to study natural law arguments in the first place. I'd venture a guess that a substantial number of US Catholics assume that the institutional church opposes same-sex marriage for pretty much the same reasons as right-wing, sola-Scriptura Evangelicals, when in fact the reality is more complex than that.

            If you don't accept Humanae Vitae, you are unlikely to accept teaching on same-sex marriage.

            Yet widespread support among Catholics for same-sex marriage is a recent phenomenon, while widespread dissent from church doctrine on contraception is not.

          • William Davis

            To put it simply, it's impossible to take anyone seriously who thinks contraception is immoral. Google's search AI finds decent answers to these kinds of questions pretty quickly.

            In its 2007 survey on marriage, CARA found 34 percent of Catholics reporting high familiarity with church teachings on marriage, and 37 percent somewhat familiar. The percentages jumped when examined through Mass attendance, what CARA identified as "a strong indicator of the general importance of Catholicism in a person's life and of his or her level of commitment to living out the faith." Among weekly attendees, 59 percent describe themselves as very familiar with marriage teachings.

            Catholics showed little interest (30 percent) in further learning of marriage teaching, with CARA noting "perhaps because they are already relatively familiar with Church teaching on marriage." At least a quarter expressed interest in learning more about commitment and fidelity; divorce, remarriage and annulments; and interfaith marriage. Just 19 percent were interested in further information about the church's family planning teachings. The preferred medium for such information was print or online resources (40 percent) -- almost twice as much as interpersonal interaction, whether in groups, retreats or conversations with their pastor.

            For the most part, CARA reported that Catholics could accurately identify church teachings on marriage -- it is a sacrament when between two baptized persons; openness to children is an essential part; considered good for individuals and the community -- but other studies found that recognition did not necessarily equal adoption.

            In the 2011 D’Antonio et al survey, researchers pointed to a post-Humanae Vitae effect, where the Vatican's rejection of contraceptives dented its moral authority, evident in the five surveys conducted since 1987. The latest figures show Catholics siding with personal conscience as the final decision-maker on the morality of remarriage without an annulment (47 percent), abortion (52 percent), nonmarital sex (53 percent), homosexual activity (57 percent) and the use of contraceptives (66 percent).

            http://ncronline.org/news/people/studies-us-catholics-provide-insight-synod-questions

          • Michael

            That many Catholics believe themselves to be highly informed about church teachings doesn't mean that many Catholics are actually highly informed about church teachings. Most Catholics, both pro and anti-choice, are very ignorant of the changes in Catholic teaching over the centuries regarding the status of the embryo. I wonder how many of these would claim to have "high familiarity" with church teaching on the issue?

            For the record, I reject all of these teachings myself.

      • Michael

        In my experience the overwhelming majority of Catholics in the US, including those who attend Mass weekly or even daily, are indeed poorly catechized. That said, where in the world do Catholics receive better catechesis? Surely not in Latin America, where the Catholic Church is hemorrhaging to Pentecostals and Evangelicals. A well catechized Catholic would never join a church that views the Eucharist as an afterthought. Of course that still leaves Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Canada, and Australia. I'm interested to know which of those regions are home to Catholics that are generally better catechized than the American faithful and how you reached your conclusion.

      • William Davis

        Secularism is to blame.

        Could be better education as well. They go hand in hand.

  • Dede Deder

    Have you (author) ever read the part of Old Testament describing what happen with Benjamin's folks? They made a sin, so awful that they die, didn't they?

  • David Nickol

    Suppose you are a Catholic and you have a good friend or close relative whom you love and respect. This relative and his or her partner are entering into a same-sex marriage. Is it a sin to bake a cake for the couple? To attend the ceremony? To go to the reception? To buy the couple a gift?

    Suppose you are a Catholic who runs a for-profit bakery and a same-sex couple orders a wedding cake for their upcoming "gay wedding." Is it a sin to bake them a cake?

    • Mike

      it's a matter of conscience and not being forced to violate it.

      • David Nickol

        You didn't answer any of my questions.

    • DJ Wambeke

      Is it a sin to....

      I'm not fond of the word "sin" in these circumstances.

      What is definitely is, for the Catholic, is cooperation with evil. Not of the "formal" (intending the evil) kind, but certainly of the "material" (providing assistance with) kind. And so the question about sin really becomes how "proximate" one is to it, what the precise circumstances are, etc., which is why there isn't a one-size-fits-all rule for the Catholic conscience here. It is sometimes possible to materially cooperate with evil without actually "sinning".

      That said, Catholics are suppose to cooperate with evil as little as possible. :-)

      • David Nickol

        I think I understand fairly well the Catholic principles regarding cooperation with evil. I don't see how it could be argued that a Catholic owner of a for-profit bakery would in any way be formally or materially "cooperating with evil" to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding. The cake, after all, is not really for the wedding itself. A cake in no way facilitates a wedding ceremony. Nor would the provision of flowers, or the services of a photographer. I suppose, if a same-sex wedding ceremony is considered evil, it might be "cooperating with evil" to rent out a space in which the wedding would be performed. But I don't see how one could claim that providing cake, or flowers, or photographic services could be considered "cooperating with evil."

        I think the argument of for-profit businesses like florists or bakers is that they "don't believe in" same-sex marriage, and they see being forced to provide cakes or flowers as coercing their approval, which of course it is not. What for-profit business reasonably considers taking money for the services they provide as endorsing the activity of the customers?

        Do (or should) Catholic bakeries and florists and photographers refuse to provide services for second marriages that are adulterous in the eyes of the Catholic Church? From my viewpoint, divorce has done far more damage to American families than we evil gay-rights advocates can ever hope to do in our wildest dreams. :P

        I'm not fond of the word "sin" in these circumstances.

        Why not. It does seem to me that "conservative" Catholics would have to say it is a sin for a Catholic parent, sibling, or friend to participate in any way in a same-sex marriage not because it is "cooperating with evil," but simply because—unlike a bakery supplying a cake—expressing approval in any way is encouraging or endorsing something sinful (a same-sex relationship).

        • DJ Wambeke

          From my viewpoint, divorce has done far more damage to American families than we evil gay-rights advocates can ever hope to do in our wildest dreams. :P

          No argument from me there!

          Do (or should) Catholic bakeries and florists and photographers refuse to provide services for second marriages that are adulterous in the eyes of the Catholic Church?

          I won't answer the "should" question because that gets into the individual conscience thing. But if a Catholic would decide to forego participation in "marriages" that were clearly (I emphasize clearly here because this is the sort of thing that could more easily slip under the radar) adulterous, yep - it would certainly be consistent with Catholic moral theory. In fact, given currently common behaviors in our society, if one wanted to be extremely consistent there are probably a lot more things that one ought to reconsider participation in. (I knew of an old guy a number of years ago who was renting out a house locally and steadfastly refused to rent to any couple that were cohabiting. It was a very principled position for him to take, though legally it didn't work out so well for him....)

          You're right that bringing the cake for the after-party isn't directly facilitating the marriage vows. But it is still material cooperation in the wedding because it's facilitating the party that exists solely for the purpose of celebrating the wedding.

          And you're also right about the separate (and actually greater) issue about communicating "approval" or "endorsement" of the act. That's why there's sometimes hand-wringing in Catholic families about whether to attend a wedding that violates a core tenet of the faith (i.e. 2nd marriage, wedding outside the Church, etc) and usually its considered justified only on condition that it is fairly clear that one is attending to support the people, and not the particulars of the situation.

          Regarding my avoidance of the word "sin" - it's just because to me it generally implies a culpable moral fault. If you are materially cooperating with evil but aren't culpable for it there's no sin. Maybe you were just using the word in its more objective sense of something against the objective norms of good/evil in which case I wouldn't really have a problem with it.

          • David Nickol

            You're right that bringing the cake for the after-party isn't directly facilitating the marriage vows. But it is still material cooperation in the wedding because it's facilitating the party that exists solely for the purpose of celebrating the wedding.

            I don't agree with your analysis here, at least when for-profit businesses are providing services such as flowers or cakes. What is the evil act a baker or florist is participating in? It seems to me that even a civil same-sex wedding ceremony—let alone a party to celebrate it—is not an evil act. Suppose two men or two women decide to go through a civil wedding ceremony for legal and financial reasons. Suppose they are celibate. Is the wedding ceremony itself evil? Even in the case of same-sex couples who fully intend to have sexual relationships and claim to be truly married, I don't see how the ceremony itself (or the party afterward) could be claimed to be an evil act.

            Now, I can understand why a Catholic judge or justice of the peace would be deemed to be doing something wrong to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony. But I still don't think it would be a matter of cooperating with evil.

            It seems to me that from the Catholic point of view, the "evil" of same-sex marriage is the sexual relationship between the partners. Indeed, I would imagine that if a married same-sex couple came to a priest and said, "How can we resolve our irregular situation so that we can receive communion?" the priest would not say, "Get a divorce." He would say, "Live chastely, and if you really can do that living together as a couple, then there is no reason why you should separate."

          • DJ Wambeke

            I think your last paragraph there is spot on about how a pastoral priest would handle the situation. At least that's how I would handle it, were I a priest. :-)

            And I see what you are saying elsewhere too, but I think this is where the difference lies: you seem (unless I misunderstand you) to be seeing lots of activities (i.e. the after-party) as being purely "neutral" in and of themselves, whereas Catholic ethical theory (keep in mind I can't quote magisterial text on the particulars of this, but this is derived from principles in Veritatis Splendor and elsewhere) tends to see NO human act as "purely neutral". The reason simply being that every act itself is part of a larger context of goals, purposes, and situations.

            Say, for example, I'm walking down the street. What could be more innocuous than that, right? But if I'm on my way to the bank to rob it, my very act of walking down the street with that purpose in mind is rendered evil by that context. Whereas if I'm walking down the exact same street but am just walking to get in shape, that exact same act is now rendered not just innocuous, but actually virtuous because it's ordered towards health. If you walk with me (giving me emotional support on my walk) you are therefore participating in my evil (even if you don't go in the bank) or virtue (even if you don't keep walking enough to get some exercise out of it yourself).

            Obviously showing up at a gay wedding with a cake isn't exactly the same, but I think the analogy is similar enough to illustrate the point of view. A party is never just a party.

        • VicqRuiz

          Suppose there are ten bakeries in town who will gladly bake a cake for a same sex wedding, and three bakeries who will not.

          If those "evil gay-rights advocates" choose to lawyer up against the three rather than patronizing one of the ten, then they are within their legal rights to do so.

          Nevertheless, they are jerks, and in my opinion not helping their cause.

          • David Nickol

            Nevertheless, they are jerks, and in my opinion not helping their cause.

            The question is, do "they" exist?

            To the best of my knowledge, the handful of gay-rights cases involving bakeries, photographers, and florists have all been cases in which the complainants have been genuinely surprised and offended by the refusal of services.

            If those "evil gay-rights advocates" choose to lawyer up against the three rather than patronizing one of the ten, then they are within their legal rights to do so.

            I suspect it would be extremely difficult to win a discrimination suit in a case where you deliberately set out to try to be discriminated against. What harm could be claimed by someone suing a bakery for not providing a cake, or a florist for not providing flowers, if someone goes to them with the intention of being denied services?

          • cminca

            "Why can't they eat at their own lunch counters?"

            "It isn't like the "colored" water fountain doesn't have water"

            "The back of the bus gets there at the same time".

            Yep-- you are right. Rosa Parks was just a jerk and not helping her cause.

          • VicqRuiz

            Superficially similar. But in all those cases segregation was in fact enshrined in law and enforced by the local police and courts. In no way is this comparable to the various "bakery" cases.

          • cminca

            When you are living with your partner of 20 years with a child you've parented for 15 years and your partner and child do not have the same protections as Brittany Spears and her latest drunken Vegas spree then you can talk about discrimination not actually enshrined in law.

            Fact--if the breadwinner in the above scenario dies, his partner will get no benefits, the child (depending on who is on the adoption paperwork) may get no benefits, and anything the breadwinner leaves them will be taxed as a GIFT.

            The bakers are breaking the law. Period. You don't get "special rights" for being Christian.

          • VicqRuiz

            Yes. because losing benefits as you have described is exactly the same thing as having someone tell you they won't bake you a cake. Not quite.

            I don't claim any "special rights for being Christian" because I in fact am an atheist. And in fact, if SSM was on the ballot in my state I would vote for it.

            But I would not want to be compelled by the government to produce materials in support of a cause that I oppose. In this case, these Christians are in the right as far as I am concerned. And if the law in question permits that kind of overreach, it needs to be changed.

          • cminca

            "Yes. because losing benefits as you have described is exactly the same thing as having someone tell you YOU HAVE TO SIT AT THE BACK OF THE BUS. Not quite."

            Keep going skippy--I can do this all day.

            You want to claim "separate but equal" is OK. Well it isn't.

            Ant those Christians, and you, are wrong. Plain and simple.

            And as someone who has worked dozens of weddings I can tell you that the florist, the photographer, and the baker are NOT participants. They are staff. Nothing more.

          • VicqRuiz

            I think we'll have to cordially agree to disagree here.

    • Kraker Jak

      To attend or not to attend the wedding./b>

      Catholics may attend all presumptively valid marriages of Catholics, non-Catholics, and non-Christians. Validity in the eyes of the church seems to be key here.
      http://www.catholic.com/blog/michelle-arnold/to-attend-or-not-to-attend

      • David Nickol

        So Catholics, let your informed conscience be your guide.

        You didn't include the following, which is in the piece you link to:

        In the case of same-sex partners, the Church has spoken so strongly against "same-sex marriage" that I cannot recommend attending or celebrating "same-sex weddings" under any circumstances.

    • Mike

      Would a Catholic baker be able to refuse to bake a cake for someone who is divorced, and being civilly married?

      Suppose you're a Jewish baker, and neo-nazi's ask you to bake a cake for them with a swastika on it. Would you have a right to refuse?

      Or, would a devout Muslim be required to produce a cake with a picture of Muhammad on it? Would that be good cause for refusing service?

      Note, David: I'm not disagreeing with your question, just asking others that are related. Is the customer's right to have what is asked absolute? Where does a just society draw the line on religious freedom?

      • David Nickol

        Is the customer's right to have what is asked absolute? Where does a just society draw the line on religious freedom?

        To the best of my knowledge, in all the cases where a bakery or a photographer or a florist has had some action taken against them because of a refusal to provide services for a "gay wedding," it has been because of a state anti-discrimination law that specifically prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. So it makes little sense to invent scenarios like the ones above, unless you really believe that somewhere in the United States either now or in the future, there will be civil rights laws that protect neo-Nazis and the like.

        One can invent all kinds of outrageous scenarios, but in reality there is no need to fear that a Jewish baker will be forced to provide a cake with a swastika on it unless some state passes a non-discrimination law protecting the rights of neo-Nazis (and whether refusal to provide a cake with a swastika on it constitutes discrimination). If you want to ask a serious question, it should be about whether or not there should be anti-discrimination laws, and if so, who should be protected by them.

        • Mike

          Hi David. It is a serious question. I'm not disagreeing with the premise that same sex couples should be denied service. But the typical justification for denying service is typically "religious freedom, or religious objection". My goal is to probe if religious/personal objection is sufficient grounds to deny service, and if so, where does the line get drawn? How does one distinguish between conscious objections and discrimination? Moreover, under what circumstances should a business be able to deny service? Is there any?

          Your answer seems to be "well they're not really covered under current law". According to your analysis anti-discrimination against LGBT individuals and couples would outweigh religious objections. Why wouldn't one be able to argue that denying first amendment free speech rights should also be covered?

          • "My goal is to probe if religious/personal objection is sufficient grounds to deny service"

            It is not. The context of this is people who have chosen to run a business that is open to the public. The laws state that when you do so you cannot discriminate (e.g. refuse service) on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation and so on. That discrimination is part of your religion is no defense.

            Freedom of religion protects a person's ability to practice their religion without state interference. The state cannot force you to do something that violates your faith, but even this is limited when it infringes the rights of others.

            Here no one is forcing anyone to violate their faith, people do not have to run bakeries, but if they do they have to do so in a way that does not exclude anyone on the basis of race religion etc.

          • David Nickol

            I am not quite sure what position you are defending now. Are you still worried about neo-Nazis's rights to order cakes with swastikas from Jewish bakers? Do you think because we have anti-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity that we should have anti-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination against any group you can think of no matter how noxious?

            Moreover, under what circumstances should a business be able to deny service? Is there any?

            Well, there are certainly expensive restaurants that require men to wear jackets. I don't think anyone would win a lawsuit because they were turned away from the Four Seasons in Manhattan. I remember a case from some years ago in which a landlord refused to rent an apartment to a lawyer because he considered lawyers "nothing but trouble." The lawyer sued and lost, because lawyers are not a protected class. If you want to print a pornographic ad in the New York Times, no law forces them to accept it.

          • Mike

            I'm not defending any position. All I'm wondering if is there is ever a case where religious objections can be legitimate grounds for denying service?

            Why wouldn't free speech be treated the same way? Does one lose all of their first amendment protections to practice their religion when they enter the economic market? The answer can be yes, but then what good is the first amendment?

      • "Would a Catholic baker be able to refuse to bake a cake for someone who is divorced, and being civilly married?"

        No, this would be discrimination on the basis of marital status, a protected human rights ground.

        "Suppose you're a Jewish baker, and neo-nazi's ask you to bake a cake for them with a swastika on it. Would you have a right to refuse?"

        Probably, human rights laws are designed to prevent discrimination on the basis of certain grounds, being a neo-nazi, could potentially fall under political opinion, but taking all of the circumstances into account I do not thing this refusal would be held to be furthering negative stereotypes or historic marginalization of certain protected groups, which is what the law is designed to do.

        "Or, would a devout Muslim be required to produce a cake with a picture of Muhammad on it? Would that be good cause for refusing service?"

        Again, the refusal here would not be on the basis of a protected human rights ground.

        "Note,
        David: I'm not disagreeing with your question, just asking others that
        are related. Is the customer's right to have what is asked absolute?
        Where does a just society draw the line on religious freedom?"

        It draws the line when there is a substantial infringement on the rights of others. I cannot see how operating a bakery is a religious practice in the first place. But even if it is, your right to exclude homosexuals is limited to your private life, you cannot run a business and exclude people based on race, religion or sexual orientation. People have the right to be served without discrimination on these grounds, freedom of religion does not trump this right to equality.

        • Mike

          The argument would be that denying someone their civil right (i.e. to get married) is wrong. But we hold free speech rights to be most prized. Why wouldn't those be protected?

          The state has said that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is wrong. On that basis religious/personal objections are not legitimate means to deny service. If the state said that discrimination on the basis of free speech is wrong, would personal/religious grounds be sufficient to overrule the state? Can the state compel any behavior from businesses? Individuals? What wouldn't the state be able to compel?

          Lets take another example, say the state has a pressing interest in making sure that weddings can be held on weekends (the reason doesn't matter, but lets say it's to promote economic activities that typically take place during the work week) would a Jewish bakery be able to refuse service based on the observation of the Sabbath?

          • Human rights and freedom of expression should be equally respected, but they are often in conflict. Human rights legislation limits the rights to expression in certain sectors, employment, services, contracts. This is why you can say Catholics are immoral jerks all you want in your daily life, but will get in trouble saying such things in the workplace. You can exclude black people from your house, but not from your accountancy practice.

            I don't understand your second paragraph. You can discriminate all you want on the basis of what people say, just as long as it is not on the basis of a protected groundl in a designated area such as employment.

            No, the state needs to accommodate people on the basis of religion. So no, a law that required a business to be open on the sabbath would likely violate freedom of religion. The purpose actually does matter a great deal. An employer who wants an employee to work on a religious day would also be required to accommodate this. Even an employee who was required to draw Mohammed or bake a cake for a gay wedding may have a case for accommodation. The difference is that the employee has a right to freedom from discrimination. The employee is in an employment relationship with the employer. But the bakery, is in a service relationship with a gay customer, so it is the customer's right to freedom from discrimination in services that applies. No business has a right to be accommodated by their customers.

            This was actually the exact issue in a landmark case of freedom of religion in Canada. There was a law that criminalized opening on Sunday. It was found to be unconstitutional because it violated the freedom of religion, of those who did not hold Sunday in any way sacred. The law's purpose was held to be to impose or privilege Christian religion, and the court found that this is not a legitimate legislative purpose.

            You can read about it on my blog.

          • Mike

            So, if a bakery said they wouldn't cater any weddings would that be ok?

            The point I was trying to make in the second paragraph is to ascertain where the power of the secular state ends, and the point where religious beliefs trumps the state's dictates? Is the state's power limitless (i.e. any law that is passed must be obeyed).

          • Yes, there is nothing discriminatory about not doing weddings.

            Any constitutional law must be obeyed. That's what law means. It is a coercive rule backed by the full power and authority of the government.

          • Mike

            Thanks for your response Brian. If all laws must be obeyed, than you would agree that in the US in say 1857 when the US had laws requiring all individuals to return fugitive slaves individuals couldn't object on the grounds that their religious beliefs forbid slavery? Reminder the supreme court in the US held these laws to be constitutional at some point.

            If the state is all powerful, then why have amendments protecting religious freedom. It would be more like the state granting you religious (or lack thereof) privileges until they notify you that you don't. A good state follows majority rule, while granting minority rights, but according to your statement there is no such thing as minority rights, i.e. any law must be obeyed, backed by the full authority of the state.

          • Yes that is correct, the constitutional remedy for such laws is under the equality protection, which should render any slavery laws as unconstitutional, or that they are cruel and unusual punishment. Yes, the Supreme Court did uphold these laws, and an amendment to the constitution was required to abolish slavery. I don't really know much about 19th century American law, and why those laws were upheld.

  • David Nickol

    Does the Bible prohibit charging interest on a loan? Yes it does. Close out your savings accounts, ye sinners!

    • werter

      Yawn.
      Have "Leviticuz-shelfish", "Jezuz said n0ffin' 'bout h0mo", "God'z luv" been worn out and it's time for argumentum ad usury?

      • David Nickol

        And what about slavery? I don't think anyone will ever be clever enough to "interpret" the Bible to support same-sex marriage, but if usury could be so thoroughly condemned in the Bible and in the Catholic Church for over a millennium, and if slavery could be so supported by the Bible, with both positions being reversed, then there is enough "wiggle room" in biblical interpretation to find some room for morally licit same-sex relationships.

        The topic is "Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?" I think the appropriate response is that "the Bible" doesn't support much of anything or condemn much of anything. It is a matter of how the Bible is interpreted.

  • Michael Murray

    So the gay marriage view that’s supposed to show that we’re a bunch of Biblical hypocrites more accurately shows that the best argument against Jews, Christians, and anyone holding to any of the great philosophical traditions, is just to shout us down, call us nasty names and, where necessary, to use simplistic and deceptive flow charts.

    Shock. Horror. People on the internet are using name calling and simplistic graphics to try to win an argument. I'll bet they haven't read all of Aristotle and Aquinas either.

    As usual this is a post designed to "rally the troops" not engage with atheists.

    • jon teseract

      I'm a bit confused by this sentiment. Isn't thoughtfully pointing out issues with viral atheist talking points a way of engaging them?

      • Michael Murray

        This website is supposed to be about

        But StrangeNotions.com is different. Our goal is not to defeat anyone, embarrass them, or assault their character. Our goal is only the Truth, and to pursue it through fruitful discussion. Like Socrates, like Jesus, we embrace healthy dialogue as the path to Truth, even and especially with people we disagree with. That's why the comboxes at Strange Notions are so central and important.

        If Catholics are wrong about God, then we hope our critics can correct us so that we will no longer be ignorant. We hope atheists will be open to the same kind of correction. The goal here isn't to win an argument, but to help each other find the Truth.

        How do you achieve this by only addressing the weakest of your opponents arguments ?

        • jon teseract

          Ah, understood

  • VicqRuiz

    Joe:

    I realize that the flowchart you posted is not your creation, but wanted to let you know that I see what it does in this box:

    God has existed eternally as God in three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - as the Bible teaches

    Really, it should say:

    "God has existed eternally as God in three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - as most conventional Christian denominations have traditionally interpreted the Bible"

    .....and see where the flowchart goes from there.

  • werter

    There are some more important points that could be added to the "Jesus-part"

    1. Not everything Jesus said or done is recorded in the Bible, as shown in John 21:25.
    "Jesus did many other things as well.
    If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole
    world would not have room for the books that would be written." So he might have raised this issue, but it wasn't written in the New Testament.
    2. But even if he didn't address homosexuality, does it mean than he endorsed it? No. He was an observant Jew and there's no reason to believe he condoned sexual acts between two people of the same sex.
    3. Jesus hasn't raised every single issue, especially those issue that were obvious to practicing Jews at the time. He didn't speak about neglecting your parents, he didn't speak about child sacrifice. Does it mean he was OK with that? To say "Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, so he was ok with it" is ex-silentio fallacy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_silence
    4. He was very strict when it comes to fidelity, marriage, adultery, fornication. See Matthew 19. Unlike Pharisees, he did not endorse divorce. There's no reason to think that, given his rigorous attitude towards those things, he wouldn't mind sexual intercourse of two people of the same gender.

    based on
    http://www.thinkchristianly.org/part-1-answering-the-toughest-questions-about-homosexuality-with-alan-shlemon/
    http://spiritualfriendship.org/2014/08/18/disputable-matters-sex-vs-food/

  • David Nickol

    Catholic activist: Justice Kennedy betrayed Christ in gay marriage decision

    By NATHAN RUBBELKE

    With his decision to legalize same-sex marriage, Catholic Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy betrayed Christ similarly to Judas, a Catholic activist said Wednesday.

    "Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Anthony Kennedy betrayed him with a vote," Hugh Brown of the American Life League said at a press conference on the Supreme Court's decision last Friday to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.

    And he should be ex-communicated from the church for his ruling, said Michael Hichborn of the pro-Catholic Lepanto Institute. . . .

    Justice Kennedy (and Justice Sotomayor) should be excommunicated. Agree or disagree?

    • VicqRuiz

      Whether or not he "betrayed Jesus" or not is moot to me. But I do think he betrayed James Madison.

      Although I personally do not oppose gay marriage, it should have come about via the legislative route, not by a poorly-reasoned 5-4 Supreme Court decision. This will not end well, or end soon.

    • Disagree. The majority of both American Roman Catholics and Americans in general don't understand the purpose of excommunication. It wouldn't do what it's intended to do and it would most likely end up backfiring on the church.

  • Phil Rimmer

    Any argument hinged on the concept of "made in His image" is immediately discountable by non believers not because of a lack of belief in Him but because it is not even a sustainable metaphor.

    Our genes do not constitute a crisp clear body plan but a rather less reliable list of sequenced fabrication processes from which form and function emerge. The result is that errors accumulate from tiny initial local variations of environment, within the mother.

    We are a richly and stunningly variegated species many of whose strengths emerge from being able to culturally co-opt our variety, the Aspie, social duffers, systematising our knowledge the schizotypal, generating new narratives and new possibilities to try.

    If we are, in fact, made rather approximately in His image, what regime of racial hygiene is required of us to put things right? Are our cultural inventions co-opting our varieties, working against Divine Intentions?

  • One thing which I hope is evident is that whatever is responsible for the text of the Bible, it did not think it was important to clarify this issue. Presumably because it was inconceivable that this question would ever come up in any serious way. Whereas issues of circumcision, and wearing mixed fibres were explicitly laid out.

    Such lack of foresight is not unexpected if it was written by Iron Age individuals, but striking if written by a god.

  • neil_ogi

    the Bible forbids marriage of the same sex. a penis is created for vagina, and vice versa. it is very clear that marriage's principle is for continuity of life.

    • Michael Murray

      a penis is created for vagina

      so how come it fits in the hand so easily ?

      • Ignatius Reilly

        Using logic often employed by creationists, I think it is plain to see that it is actually created for condoms.

        • neil_ogi

          vagina and penis are designed specifically for copulation and reproduction, and not by 'chance, and unguided process'
          so what's the explanation of evolutionists why these sex organs exist?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Firstly, our sex organs were not designed. They evolved.
            Secondly, the actual point of the comment was that creationists often mistake our adaptation to our surroundings for evidence that the earth or universe was designed for life. That is the point.

          • neil_ogi

            oh, i am reading again this word 'evolve'... can you explain for me how it evolve?? i don't want to hear 'just so' stories

          • cminca

            Actually Neil you can google that information-but it comes down to the fact that mammals, for the most part, inseminate internally where other forms of life have evolved to inseminate externally.

          • neil_ogi

            i'm reading again this 'google, thing.. just tell me how the sex evolve?

          • cminca

            Actually Neil I have to disagree with you on a previous comment you made--"vagina and penis are designed specifically for copulation and reproduction" is actually incomplete. They also evolved to eliminate fluids from out bodies.
            As for your most recent comment--I would respond if I thought you were asking with any real interest. I don't, so I won't.

          • neil_ogi

            kidneys, lungs and skin are the organs for eliminating wastes from our bodies. penis/vagina act only as channels for eliminating these wastes (urine). 'specifically' these organs are involve in copulation and reproduction.

            actually the issue here is: how the sex organs evolve? were they just 'accidentally' compliment with each other?

            quote: 'As for your most recent comment--I would respond if I thought you were asking with any real interest. I don't, so I won't.' -- actually you did't answer my question, seriously

          • cminca

            No--your actual position is that you think they were designed.

            And how do you know God didn't first intend man to urinate standing, and then decided "what the hell--we'll use that for sex, too"? If we take Genesis seriously, man was not intended to know his wife--he only did so after he ate the fruit of the tree. Therefore for all we know God never intended man and women to copulate.

            So again--I don't think you are having an honest discussion.

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'No--your actual position is that you think they were designed.' -- they are designed for some purposes.

            quote: ' And how do you know God didn't first intend man to urinate standing, and then decided "what the hell--we'll use that for sex, too"? If we take Genesis seriously, man was not intended to know his wife--he only did so after he ate the fruit of the tree. Therefore for all we know God never intended man and women to copulate.' -- the Bible is very clear on creation event. He made first Adam, and since Adam has no companion, He created Eve out of his rib (the first 'clone' surgery ever had). or course, the Bible is not concern about the specific functions of every organs and parts of the human body, because the theme of the Bible is all about history and salvation of man.

          • Phil Rimmer

            Again, neil. You have the answers at your fingertips. Shubin Kindle edition £6.64.

            You will learn how anatomy's evolve from reusing existing features to produce merely "good enough" new features to relieve the selection pressure. Teeth evolved before skeletons in cartilaginous fish to help attacking and eating prey. The super hard hydroxyapatite flakes in mutations started to be deposited elsewhere on the fish. Those that helped protect the brain survived better, evolving a into a skull and from there on down the nerve chord, protecting it and then out to a full skeleton.

            Evolution takes existing anatomical features, the result of existing DNA features and by using them additionally and out of sequence, can create them in other places. Cloacas from earlier reptiles and later monotremes which served as both birth canal and waste disposal service were duplicated to create separate rectum and vagina in like fashion for marsupials and placental mammals. Penises were evolved it seems from study of embryo development from co-opting hind leg and tail features. Evolution is a bodger, relieving selection pressures through using materials nearest to hand.

            http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bodger

            Now why do you think the anus has as many nerve endings as the entrance of the vagina? What is your just so story to explain God's intention behind this? Or is it an evolutionary relic?

          • neil_ogi

            quote:'Teeth evolved before skeletons in cartilaginous fish to help attacking and eating prey' -- then how the teeth were able to 'stick' tightly to the still-developing skeleton of fish's skull if the teeth 'develop' or 'evolve' first? how would the fish tear the flesh of the prey if the skull is still 'soft'?

            quote: 'Evolution takes existing anatomical features, the result of existing DNA features and by using them additionally and out of sequence, can create them in other places. Cloacas from earlier reptiles and later monotremes which served as both birth canal and waste disposal service were duplicated to create separate rectum and vagina in like fashion for marsupials and placental mammals. Penises were evolved it seems from study of embryo development from co-opting hind leg and tail features. Evolution is a bodger, relieving selection pressures through using materials nearest to hand.' -- how i wish this 'wishful writings' can be observe directly in the lab!

            quote: 'Penises were evolved it seems from study of embryo development from co-opting hind leg and tail features.' -- even in the embryonic stage of human, evolutionists say that the gills became/evolved into bones of the ear! but it is proven to be incorrect. if penis evolved from co-opting hind leg and tail features, then how about the physiology and anatomy of accessory organs of the penis, like the cowper's gland that secrete lubricants for sexual pleasure? the prostate gland? as i said many times, anybody can write 'scientific papers' (like the one you said above), but if it's not proven, then all the efforts have become nil.

            quote: 'Now why do you think the anus has as many nerve endings as the entrance of the vagina? What is your just so story to explain God's intention behind this? Or is it an evolutionary relic?' -- there are many functions of nerve endings, some are pain and some are pleasure (sex-stimulated). since the anus is created as passageway of waste materials, obviously, it has many nerve endings for pain. vagina has also numerous pleasure nerve endings, because it is created specifically for sexual stimulation. if vagina evolved, then explain its accessory organs like the uterus, fallopian tubes, birth canal, etc?

          • Phil Rimmer

            Cartilage is very strong, if flexible stuff. It is utterly incapable of creating the hard sharp edges that the first teeth provided, but it is more than capable of supporting teeth. Shark are a case in point.

            "how i wish this 'wishful writings' can be observe directly in the lab!"

            But much of this now can be. From genetic manipulation, deletion and splicing in genes and transplanting cells in the embryo we can see the hypothesised mechanisms at work. mechanisms at work.

            Jaw bones at the hinge became ear bones.

            "then how about the physiology and anatomy of accessory organs of the penis,"

            Most existed and were needed before intromission evolved. Besides subsequent improvements (exactly like the eye) simply were that. We continually imagine that our current set of equipment is the set needed. No. A degree of functionality remains in the "sub-equipped". This applies to the adjunct apparatus in the female. Remember eggs and their conducting tubes came first. Vaginas and their specific tubular details were finessed later.

            The anal nerves are C-Tactile Afferent nerves, terminating near hair follicles that act as mechanical amplifiers. These are not nociceptors, but pure oxytocin triggering pleasure nerves. They have no other function. (Other nerves in the region do other forms of touch and pain etc.)

          • Phil Rimmer

            For an account of these newly discovered nerves read-

            http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/32487/title/Pleasant-to-the-Touch/

            We are built for pleasure and in some curious ways.

          • neil_ogi

            did it tells you that evolution has occurred?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Genetic changes which are chosen via natural selection.

          • neil_ogi

            so tell me what specific 'genetic changes' are involve?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Not sure. Doesn't really matter though. We know how evolution works. It is a well evidenced theory. We can see some of the developmental milestones in the evolution of sexual organs.
            In order to prove evolution true, it is not necessary to trace out every genetic change.

          • neil_ogi

            so you're not sure, then you are just invoking the 'arguments from ignorance'. since atheists claimed they are 'brights' then how come they are not sure for the answer? or they maybe guilty of making 'just-so' stories to make them sound like 'scientifically' proven facts? just like the origins of the universe, they have many answers: 1. the cause of the universe is 'unknown' 2. started from a 'nothing' 3. big bang - an 'infinite' dot created the universe.

            so if atheists don't know the answer, then don't be so proud of themselves that they have the truths (i already said this 3x already).

          • cminca

            Actually you are ignoring the argument.
            J
            ust because Ignatius "doesn't know" doesn't mean it is wrong.

            And you've totally (intentionally?) skipped over the next statements. And the FACT of evolution. Because evolution is a fact. We know, as fact, that organisms evolve.

            What you are getting wrong, among so many other things, is your mistaking evolution with Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection.

          • neil_ogi

            just present, thru lab and direct observation, that evolution is a fact. only micro-evolution is a fact, even Genesis says, '...according to its kind'.. a cat will not evole into a dog, just like a square will evolve into a circle. that's a fact. the fact that it's still a 'theory' , although the 100% of evolutionists still can't elevate its status to laws of evolution.

            natural selection, as the name implies, only 'selects' what is best for the organism, it doesn't explain the 'arrival of the fittest'

            quote: 'Just because Ignatius "doesn't know" doesn't mean it is wrong.' -- then if you don't know the answer, then don't declare that you have all the answers. that's why evolutionists always say these statements/phrases when they don't know the answers: 'chance did it' 'it happens to be that way' 'unknown mechanisms' 'chance and blind, unguided processes did it'

          • Ignatius Reilly

            One can know that evolution is true without being able to trace the evolution of every organ.

            Just stick to the topic, which is evolution. How do you explain the diversity of species?

          • neil_ogi

            it's like China telling to my Philippine gov't:: 'we have full sovereignty over south china sea and spratly islands' without presenting evidences that they really own them.

            evolutionists always say that evolution is a fact, but no explanatory power is presented. they can't explain how a LUCA evolved! how it emerged in the legendary prebiotic soup. all these were just claims. nobody was there to observed it. a top apologist of evolution has even published a book (why evolution is true).. is he lobbying or making plea to the public to 'just accept' it? by faith or by facts!

            quote:'How do you explain the diversity of species?' -- this must be the 'headaches' for evolution. how did a single celled LUCA diversified into thousands of species? nobody from evolutionists are able to explain it.

          • Michael Murray

            how did a single celled LUCA diversified into thousands of species? nobody from evolutionists are able to explain it.

            neil, neil, surely you shouldn't being tell lies on Sunday ! even if you are lying for Jesus ! You know that Darwin called his book

            On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

            I'm always interested in this site that when we get these ludicrous attacks on natural selection the Catholic's never defend it. Where is the pursuit of truth we are all in favour of? Is that because most of you are US Catholics? The Marist Brothers who taught me in Australia never had a problem with natural selection.

          • neil_ogi

            michael, i'm asking how did a single celled LUCA diversified into thousands of species?

            darwin never addressed the issue of origin of life, he simply says that it all started 'with a little warm pond....' sounds like a fairy tale.

            quote: The Marist Brothers who taught me in Australia never had a problem with natural selection.' -- natural selection never explained how the arrival of the new species came into existence.

          • Michael Murray

            michael, i'm asking how did a single celled LUCA diversified into thousands of species?

            Answer: evolution by natural selection. Look it up.

            darwin never addressed the issue of origin of life, he simply says that it all started 'with a little warm pond....' sounds like a fairy tale.

            So. You are asking me how LUCA diversified. Not how it arose. Read your own question.

            natural selection never explained how the arrival of the new species came into existence.

            Yes it does. That is why Darwin called it "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection".

            EDIT: This has all been explained above

            http://strangenotions.com/does-the-bible-support-same-sex-marriage/#comment-2124057570

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'So. You are asking me how LUCA diversified. Not how it arose. Read your own question.' -- ok, then tell me how it arose?

            quote: 'Yes it does. That is why Darwin called it "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection".-- a claim is just a claim. we don't accept a claim until it is furnish with solid evidences and lab experiments.

            the books of darwin are the holy writs of evolutionists. but these books were already outdated. darwin didn't know about DNA, etc. he just described the cell as a 'bleb'

          • Michael Murray

            - ok, then tell me how it arose?

            Around and around we go in circles. Ignore my answers and just ask the question again. Read what I told you a month or so back.

            a claim is just a claim. we don't accept a claim until it is furnish with solid evidences and lab experiments.

            Rubbish. You don't accept a claim unless it agrees with your Bible. A number of people have given you laboratory experiments and you just reject them.

            darwin didn't know about DNA,

            Sure. But he had the basic idea right.

          • OldSearcher

            Michael & @ignatiusreilly1 I do really admire your patience.

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'Around and around we go in circles. Ignore my answers and just ask the question again. Read what I told you a month or so back.' -- of course i won't believe any evolutionists explanations because this LUCA was not even observed 'billion years' ago. Got it?? all are claims. all are just conjectures.

            quote: 'Rubbish. You don't accept a claim unless it agrees with your Bible. A number of people have given you laboratory experiments and you just reject them.' -- it's because evolutionists' claims are not even testable and failed observations (e.g. macro-evolution). the Bible has only one answer about the origin of the universe, whereas atheistic scientists have at least 3 theories (1. eternal 2. big bang 3.'nothing' ). which one is the correct answer? none

            quote: 'Sure. But he had the basic idea right.' -- really? he just said that the cell is just a 'bleb'!!

          • Ignatius Reilly

            I'm always interested in this site that when we get these ludicrous attacks on natural selection the Catholic's never defend it.

            Maybe they have more pressing theological concerns to worry about like angels dancing on pins.

          • Phil Rimmer

            "they can't explain how a LUCA evolved! how it emerged in the legendary prebiotic soup. all these were just claims."

            But they can explain it. And I've told you many times where the best most detailed explanation yet is given and by whom. It will cost you less than £20 pounds for the Kindle editions, or just £12 for the Nick Lane to get you started with the most important bit.

            "Just so"? Decide for yourself.

            Its a big detailed story. It may change your mind if only about how God works. But you will be a little closer to observable truths than you were.

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'But they can explain it' -- then subject them to lab experiments. that's easy.

            if computer-makers (computer inventors) can explain the complexity of the computer, and then they can prove it by creating an actual computer, then their 'theory' will be true. and they can even produce computers not only one, but millions..

            but evolutionists' explanations of evolution are merely theories. not even observed directly or not. they even experimented the fruit flies, they bombarded them with 'mutations' and the results were: fruit flies with little wings, sterile, etc

            "Fruit flies breed new generations every couple of days. If you run experiments on them for several DECADES, as has been done starting in the early 1900s, then the experiments will involve more generations of fruit flies than there have ever been of humans or anything close to humans on this planet. What this was, was a laboratory test of the theory of evolution in an attempt to create new animal species via mutation, as evolution requires.

            These flies were bombarded with everything known to cause mutations: chemicals, radiation, extreme temperatures, blast, noise,, etc. etc. and attempts were made to recombine mutants, and all they ever got was precisely what the breeders told Chuck Darwin would be all he'd ever get, which was sterile individuals, and individuals which returned, boomarang-like, to the norm for a fruit-fly. Basically, all they ever got was fruit flies. No gnats, no wasps, no ants, no roaches, hornets, spiders, or anything else, just fruit flies. With our present knowledge of the information code called DNA/RNA, we now know that this was because the entire process was driven by information, and the only information they ever had to begin with was that for fruit flies.

            Again, a decades-long experiment like that would be equivalent to hundreds of thousands of years worth of accumulated genetic change amongst humans or higher animals. The results were so unambiguous that a number of the people involved publicly renounced evolution as a consequence, the most notable case being Goldschmidt who noted that, as a consequence, we was subjected to treatment similar to the two-minute hate sessions in Orwells famous novel. Such is American academia."

            http://www.pathlights.com/ce_encyclopedia/Encyclopedia/10mut10.htm

            quote: 'Decide for yourself.' -- i'd rather go for directed observations. i don't buy 'scientific papers that even peer-reviewed by 100% PhD scientists if their papers are 'just-so' stories..not verified by experiements, tests, and observations.

          • Phil Rimmer

            This is antique science, neil! This is when we didn't even know what carried inherited information. And the experiment is devoid of any selective pressure!!! (Darwin's pigeon fanciers understood better than this, one hundred years before.)

            Fruit flies have been stable for hundreds of millions of years as a body form. They are unlikely to change just because of mutation rate changes.

            Evolution happens only over a very narrow and low range of mutation rates. If mutation rates increase above this no attributes can ever be reliably passed on and amplified. And mutation without selective pressure is a recipe for a nonsense result.

            E.coli have been cultured over thousands of generations with no meddling in mutation rates but a consistent (food) selective pressure applied. Result their internal biochemistry evolved to be able to feed off citrates by developing a citrate transportation capability.

            This is grown up science-

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

            Read stuff later than fifty year old early fumblings.

            I have recommended the very latest from the leaders in the field to you

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'Great stuff. But sadly this is antique science, neil. This is when we didn't even know what carried inherited information.

            Fruit flies have been stable for hundreds of millions of years as a body form. They are unlikely to change in a specific direction just because of mutation rate changes.' -- it's because evolution was debunked? just admit that this experiment was able to show that evolution is just an imagination of evolutionists. in this experiment alone, not counting the other millions of species there, it already debunked the claims of evolution.

            quote: 'Evolution happens only over a very narrow and low range of mutation rates. If mutation rates increase above this no attributes can ever be reliably passed on and amplified.' -- have you read entirely the article that i showed to you?? if that's your claim, then subject them to lab experiments. all you do is just talk, talk, and talk. just give lab experiments

            quote: 'E.coli have been cultured over thousands of generations with no meddling in mutation rates but a consistent (food) selective pressure applied. Result, their internal biochemistry evolved to be able to feed off citrates by developing a citrate transportation capability.' -- like our biceps, our biceps will not 'bulge' until we do some barbell exercises.. these e.coli remained e. coli, no new specie was ever produced

            quote: 'This is modern science doing lab experiments on evolution.' -- where's the evidence that e.coli produced new species. they remained e.coli forever

            quote: 'You need to read stuff later than fifty year old early fumblings.' -- therefore you have to discard what charles darwin had written? his books were sooooo absolutely outdated. charles darwin didn't even know the complexities of cell, the DNAs and so on.

          • Phil Rimmer

            "just admit that this experiment was able to show that evolution is just an imagination of evolutionists."

            No because it didn't mirror any real world circumstance, not least because they misunderstood the role of mutation.

            "just admit that this experiment was able to show that evolution is just an imagination of evolutionists."

            Yes.

            "no new specie was ever produced"

            Indeed. It was a new strain. The last speciation of E. Coli came about 100 million years ago when it split from the Salmonella of reptiles and birds and was hosted exclusively by mammals.

            The experiment will proceed. Reproductive separation nets sufficient change and so far the rates of change have shown no signs of slowing up.

            "charles darwin didn't even know the complexities of cell, the DNAs and so on."

            So he made no claims about the specifics of mechanisms.

          • neil_ogi

            quote: ' The last speciation of E. Coli came about 100 million years ago when it split from the Salmonella of reptiles and birds and was hosted exclusively by mammals.' -- did your evolutionists have personally observed these? wow, 100 million years!.. and yet they are still e.coli

            quote: 'The experiment will proceed. Reproductive separation nets sufficient change and so far the rates of change have shown no signs of slowing down.' -- so where's the experiment?

            quote: 'So he made no claims about the specifics of mechanisms.' -- it's because Darwin never knew of these

          • Phil Rimmer

            "yet they are still e.coli"

            "Escherichia coli encompasses an enormous population of bacteria that exhibit a very high degree of both genetic and phenotypic diversity. Genome sequencing of a large number of isolates of E. coli and related bacteria shows that a taxonomic reclassification would be desirable. However, this has not been done, largely due to its medical importance,[21] and E. coli remains one of the most diverse bacterial species: only 20% of the genome is common to all strains."

            The term species in non sexually reproducing single celled bacteria is not hugely helpful. With E.Coli the idea of phylo-groups or subspecies is often used.

            The original experiment is ongoing.

            The Darwin comment is my comment to you.

          • neil_ogi

            it doesn't show any new organisms evolved into new ones (e.g klebsiella)?? it doesn't tell that evolution has occurred.

          • Phil Rimmer

            Yes they are distinct organisms. They would survive differentially in different environments.

          • neil_ogi

            then no evolution has occurred

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Evolution has a great deal of explanatory power.

          • neil_ogi

            mythical explanatory power.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            so vestigiality is mythical?

          • neil_ogi

            evolutionists have reported at least 200 vestigial organs in the human body, but bit by bit, every one of them has been debunked as not true. for example, the appendix is thought to be a useless organ, and now science claim, thru observations and tests, that this organ plays important role in immune system. that 98% of DNA is junked, is now considered to be false, the male's nipples, also serve as 'sexual' pleasure, in my opinion. (i already explained why males have nipples)

            'History is littered with body parts that were called "useless" simply because medical science had yet to understand them, Laitman said.

            "People say, You can remove it and still live. But you have to be careful with that logic," he said. "You could remove your left leg and still live. But whenever a body part is moved or changed, there's a price to pay." excerpts from:
            http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090730-spleen-vestigial-organs_2.html

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Vestigial organs can still maintain some functions or develop new functions different from the ones the organ originally evolved to fulfill.
            For instance, the human tail bone does not support a tail, but muscles are attached to it.
            The ears have muscles which were originally used to move the ears to better detect the direction of sounds. These muscles have no uses for modern humans.
            The appendix used to have digestive functions.

          • neil_ogi

            humans don't have tail bones, they just exist in the imagination of atheists

            what will happen if you remove your own ear muscles? just make some experiments yourself

            the appendix has specific use, it compliments with immune system. if it has digestive functions, then, what it secretes? what it participates?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            humans don't have tail bones, they just exist in the imagination of atheists

            No, we do.

            what will happen if you remove your own ear muscles? just make some experiments yourself

            I don't know. The point is that those muscles no longer have their original function. Indeed, they have no function as far as we can tell.

            the appendix has specific use, it compliments with immune system. if it has digestive functions, then, what it secretes? what it participates?

            Perhaps, but it originally evolved to have a different function. That is the whole point of vestigial organs.

            Honestly, you should really read a few books on evolution. It is a fascinating subject and well-evidenced.

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'No, we do.' -- i just went to the stand mirror nude, and i just can't find it.. seriously..

            quote: 'Perhaps, but it originally evolved to have a different function. That is the whole point of vestigial organs.' -- how did you know for sure? evolutionists are best for guessing games

            reading books about evolution really is an exciting one. full of fantastic claims. of course, even hanna barbera can write also about evolution. i might be as well

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Concerning tailbones - did you know that some children are born with an extended tailbone, which has to be removed? We can also see it in the fetal stages.
            Concerning vestigial organs - We know, because we can see the organ functioning that way in other species. We can also surmise based on the structure of the organs.
            Have you ever read a book about evolution by a respected biologists? It seems odd to completely dismiss something without investigating it thoroughly, especially when the scientific consensus is in favor of it.
            I have read quite a few ID and creationist books. In the end, proponents of evolution have the evidence.

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'did you know that some children are born with an extended tailbone' -- must be errors due to mutations. you see, mutations always result in organisms' organ's malfunctions, or no use at all.

            quote: 'Concerning vestigial organs - We know, because we can see the organ functioning that way in other species' -- vestigial organs don't mean that an organism has just in the process of evolution. that's why i challenge you to surgically remove the muscle/s of your part of the ear, and see what will happen.

            quote: 'Have you ever read a book about evolution by a respected biologists? It seems odd to completely dismiss something without investigating it thoroughly, especially when the scientific consensus is in favor of it.' -- respected biologists, like myers? nope. how did they know the 'common ancestor', for example, the neanderthals? lucy? where are the fossil records? tell me what's the 'common ancestor' of apes? i ask you, is it possible that a non-living matter will evolve into living matter? evolutionists actually didn't address the issue of the origin of life.

            quote: 'proponents of evolution have the evidence.' -- where? can you name even one organism?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            vestigial organs don't mean that an organism has just in the process of evolution.

            Not sure what you mean here.

            that's why i challenge you to surgically remove the muscle/s of your part of the ear, and see what will happen.

            Not really interested in undergoing surgery to prove a point to someone on the internet, especially one who is too lazy to look at the evidence for one of the most well-evidenced scientific theories. It would be much easier for to *gasp* read a book.

            respected biologists, like myers? nope.

            Considering that nearly every biologist takes evolution as a fact, you can read any of them. Some are better writers than others. You could read Stephen Jay Gould for instance. I believe another poster gave you a few recommendations as well.

            how did they know the 'common ancestor', for example, the Neanderthals?

            I do not think that is a settled question. There are a few candidates. So, you do accept that the Neanderthals are a separate species from H. Sapiens.

            i ask you, is it possible that a non-living matter will evolve into living matter? evolutionists actually didn't address the issue of the origin of life.

            Evolution explains the diversification of species not the origin of life. You really need to get your facts straight.

            where? can you name even one organism?

            As in transitional fossils?

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'Not really interested in undergoing surgery to prove a point to someone on the internet, especially one who is too lazy to look at the evidence for one of the most well-evidenced scientific theories.' -- you and your atheist friends say that there are vestigial organs in the human body. how did you know for sure that they have no use at all? that's why if you believe there are vestigial organs in your body, then, surgically remove them.

            quote: 'Considering that nearly every biologist takes evolution as a fact, you can read any of them. Some are better writers than others. You could read Stephen Jay Gould for instance. I believe another poster gave you a few recommendations as well.' -- again, if evolution is a fact, then why not elevate its status to the 'laws of evolution' so that it settles all the claims of creationists? why evolutionists are trying their best to publish books that tell that evolution is a fact? for what? for plea? bargaining plea?

            quote: 'I do not think that is a settled question. There are a few candidates. So, you do accept that the Neanderthals are a separate species from H. Sapiens.' -- why not just say 'i don't know what is the common ancestor of neanderthals'!! that's why evolutionists will have to face these simple questions from creationists: tell me what is the common ancestor of h. sapiens? of lucy? of neanderthals? because it all boil down to a 'single LUCA' and then to the evolution of living matter from non-living.... i ask you: do you believe that evolution only happen in living matter? yes or no.

            question: 'Evolution explains the diversification of species not the origin of life. You really need to get your facts straight.' -- since you believe that a non-living matter 'EVOLVED' to living matter is actually the mythical version of evolutionists' origin of life!! or is it just another face-saving theory, and actually, you have a some sort of 'creator' too, the aliens!

            quote: 'As in transitional fossils?' --you just can't even provide a hard evidence for transitional fossils let alone the existing, living ones

      • werter

        Indeed it fits better than piston fits exhaust pipe.

        • cminca

          Then you aren't doing it correctly.

          • werter

            Because piston should work in cylinder?

          • cminca

            Not should, sweetheart.
            DOES

          • werter

            Don't be such a exhaust-pipe-fobic. Some like it in a different way. Against the nature. *cough* I meant against the system.

      • Kraker Jak

        Is that why you keep polishing your bishop;-)

        • Michael Murray

          Surely that is a cardinal sin ?

      • neil_ogi

        a hand can do many wonderful things, it can do good painting jobs, write poems and letters, etc. therefore the hands are crafted and designed for purposes.

        quote: 'so how come it fits in the hand so easily ?' -- then why don't you do that to any of your loved ones? (anyway, they are just 'bags of chemicals' too)

        • Michael Murray

          Indeed there are all kinds of hand jobs.

    • George

      men have nipples, therefore men should breastfeed babies.

      • neil_ogi

        when the fetus (it is not yet female or male) is still in the process of determining what would be the 'sex' of it, the nipples were already in place. but when after weeks, when the sex of the fetus is already known (ex: if the fetus is female), the nipples increase its size and become the future 'milk containing' organ (mammary glands). but if the fetus is male, the nipples remain but in dormant status

  • Mike

    What I find most interesting from Joe's article is the notion that one shouldn't need derive morality on every particular issue from the Bible. For example Jesus never explicitly forbid the use of nuclear weapons to destroy entire cities, but I can hold that it's wrong. Jesus never spoke out against the death penalty in his teachings either, but I can (and do) argue that it's morally wrong.

    What I find more interesting is examining the broader impacts of the topic of same-sex marriage. My understanding is that the argument goes "Marriage is a societal construct to legitimize and provide benefits to couples based upon romantic attraction...and that sexual orientation is not a good reason to discriminate against same-sex individuals" I suppose one could argue that a relationship like this would be covered by a right to privacy, and the government does not have a compelling interest in discriminating against these individuals. But if that is true I wonder what would be a compelling government interest in regulating (aka discriminating against some individual) marriage at all?

    I mean why not be intellectually honest and say that government has no interest in regulating marriage, and dispense civil unions between anyone who requests one?

  • Kraker Jak

    Some interesting stats for Canada 2015

    64,575 — The number of same-sex couple families in 2011, up 42.4% from 2006.

    21,015 — The number of same-sex married couples.

    43,560 — The number of same-sex common-law couples.

    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/dai/smr08/2015/smr08_203_2015

  • Kraker Jak

    Ecclesiastes Revised
    For everything there is a season,
    A time for every activity under heaven.
    A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to stop beating the dead horse.

  • Phil Rimmer

    Romantic Love is a comparatively recent cultural invention. It is a mutual dedication for its own sake and despite the requirements of those conventions, the securing of property by contract and of old age by means of children.

    It is argued this "important as life itself" dedication to another, that Romantic Love constitutes, saw its first clear expression in the Gymnasion of Greece between two soldiers needing the other to look out for them on the field of battle. Such dedication based on a life-or-death mutual care finds expression in the literature of the time and the oxytocin-fueled, as-if-kin-bonding, of intimacy.

    Only very recently have Heterosexual Romances escaped the tyranny of children and the old conventions. Even now we haven't got out of the old exploitation of children mindset that drove marriage contracts, when children-property were obliged to exist, fulfill this and that requirement and be grateful for it.

    Shakespeare as much as any helped build these ideas with sonnets and a young Juliet pre the responsibilities of her position.

    And we have fallen on it with a passion. We have pension schemes and a world bursting at the African seams. Too many children are unloved; harmed beyond help in Romania. It is the Mutual Romance that now more often sweetens our lives and sets us into a happy confidence that someone has our back...as it were, and that confident, makes us generous, better people.

    And marriage now? It is still a contract to combine our economic fates but also it is like a public declaration of going on a diet. It is an appeal to the public and all friends and relations that for the good of our mutual health we are cutting down our intake. We will content ourselves with the wholesome and necessary and by telling the world our resolve is strengthened and their help is co-opted to guide us through our wavering.

    Love and marriage go together rather better than Love and the future estate.

  • From Rev. Delman Coates, senior pastor of the Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD., on On Point "Politics, Tragedy And Religion In The Public Sphere" :

    "As a pastor and a Bible scholar, I do not believe that the Bible condemns homosexuality. I have yet to find one passage of scripture that condemns consensual same gender loving people. The texts that are often appropriated and used to condemn gays and lesbians, are texts that are condemnations of sexual violence, rape, abuse, and exploitation. All of them."

    Interesting. I guess by "condemn" he means something other than, calls it a sin and immoral. But it goes to show how different religious scholars tend to interpret the text.

    • neil_ogi

      Leviticus 18:22, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."1
      Leviticus 20:13, "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them."
      1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
      Romans 1:26-28, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."

    • Kraker Jak

      Thanks Loreen, but not many are any longer interested in what fundamentalists have to say on the matter.
      Edit: Addendum....other than fundamentalists of course including the Catholic ones.

      • Yeah! But sometimes I have trouble deciding whether a person is or is not a fundamentalist politician or a fundamentalist religionist.

        • Kraker Jak

          A moot point.Mostly hypocrites one and all with few exceptions...at all levels of government.

          • Oh yes. It's full of Trumps trumping all!!!!

      • Actually - just read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Carter#Religion He's been 'quite progressive' over the last couple of decades!!!!???

        • Kraker Jak

          I always did like the man....he oozed sincerity.

          • I always feel it is so important to 'see people' within the context of their lives. Back in the 80's there was no internet of course, and I could not, for many reasons follow politics then as well as I do today. (Which is still minimal by comparison to many). But it's so good to read up even on these Wikileaks (edit Oh dear - error - I really did mean Wikipedia!!!!) articles to get some perspective on the times, and relate it to what's happening, even today. (Plus I think that with age, (again) I really am seeing 'people' a little 'clearer now'.) As a general comment, and a apropos to your remark, maybe today certain presidential candidates could benefit a little if they developed some of his 'sincerity'??? Tomorrow - new post---Slowly, hopefully, I'm distancing myself from them.....

  • David Nickol

    I think some people worried about religious freedom are concerned that gay rights will trump religious rights, and some people concerned about gay rights are concerned that religious rights will trump gay rights. Clearly there are going to be conflicts, but there have always been cases where common sense, legislatures, and the courts have had to balance some rights against other rights. It is perfectly reasonable that Catholics and other religious groups see possible unwanted difficulties arising from the Supreme Court's decision in favor of same-sex marriage. Their fears are not wholly unfounded, although in my personal opinion they are exaggerated. But it would be foolish of them to be complacent.

    This will all have to be worked out by the various interest groups involved, by the democratic process, by legislators, and by courts. It should be remembered that religious freedom has never been absolute. No one can get away with saying they have a religious objection to putting money in parking meters, or paying subway fares, or any one of a thousand such things, even if they are perfectly sincere and belong to a religion that will back them up. White people lost some of their freedoms, including some they considered to be religious freedoms, with the (somewhat limited) success of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.

    One of the things that very much frightens religious groups at the moment is the loss of tax-exempt status some decades ago by Bob Jones University.

    Bob Jones University v. United States, 461 U.S. 574 (1983), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court holding that the religion clauses of the First Amendment did not prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from revoking the tax exempt status of a religious university whose practices are contrary to a compelling government public policy, such as eradicating racial discrimination.

    I personally don't see religious schools losing tax-exempt status for teaching that their understanding of marriage cannot accommodate same-sex marriage. But it seems to me that religions, especially Catholicism, has always taught that civil marriage in the United States is not "marriage in the eyes of God." Setting aside the whole issue of same-sex marriage, there are millions upon millions of civil marriages in the United States that are not recognized as "real" marriages, but instead as adulterous unions. I don't believe anyone has ever suggested that the Catholic Church should lose its tax-exempt status because it teaches that remarriage after divorce is actually adultery.

    • VicqRuiz

      I don't believe anyone has ever suggested that the Catholic Church
      should lose its tax-exempt status because it teaches that remarriage
      after divorce is actually adultery.

      Should a Catholic institution be required to employ those who openly reject and campaign against that teaching? That's much more likely to be the test case.

      • David Nickol

        Should a Catholic institution be required to employ those who openly reject and campaign against that teaching?

        Why in the world would the Court's ruling on same-sex marriage introduce that as a new issue? Abortion has been a constitutional right for over forty years, and the Church has opposed abortion from the dawn of time. The Court ruled on the right for adults to buy and use contraceptives in 1965. The Catholic Church says no. Here's a good summary of what Catholic legal experts are worried about from Mirror of Justice.

        • Mmmmm... In many ways, this is very much a new issue. Things such as the use of contraception and abortion are generally things done behind closed doors. You can't tell just by looking at a person or their family whether they have had an abortion or if they use contraception. In regards to contraception, you can bet there's a very good chance that they use it, but you can't be sure unless you ask, and most religious institutions aren't going to ask. Abortion is hit or miss.

          If someone is married to someone of the same-sex, it's not something you can really hide. It's a legal document that anyone can look up. Soooo... in general, while teachers at religious institutions can hold particular views against the church's teachings on contraception and abortion, those views are often kept to oneself (one can be fired for expressing such views) and it is not such an open rejection. This is different in regards to same-sex marriage. The below quote from the article you provided sums it up nicely I think...

          "That religious persons and organizations may teach the truth about marriage according to their religious beliefs does not mean that they may live out their beliefs in other respects (an important point that Thomas notes in his dissent, pp. 14-16). Kennedy's limited language speaks of the freedom of religious belief, not the broader, more traditional notion of religious liberty where a person is free to act on his beliefs in the world."

          So, a religious institution can teach that same-sex marriage is wrong, but would a religious institution be allowed to deny employment to someone in a same-sex relationship even though it goes against the religious institution's beliefs? Even though someone in a same-sex marriage is quite openly saying that they reject the church's teaching that marriage is only between those of the opposite sex? I believe the answer would be no.

  • neil_ogi

    why atheists marry? are atheists follow the laws that God implemented during biblical times? why atheists just have sex with one person and do it to another persons? just like dogs?

    • Phil Rimmer

      They fall in love with each other, and wish for their loved ones no harm or hurt to their feelings. Unlike many religious people who claim effectively to be psychopaths, with little innate human sentiment and in dire need of God's judging gaze to keep them decent.

      • neil_ogi

        where did you get the 'love' that atheists have? from rocks? from inanimate objects? you can't get love from non-living matter. since atheists are creatures too, (whether they like it or not) they can experience love

        pls no ad homs, you're making yourself uncivilised

        • Phil Rimmer

          There were no ad homs in my last post. Of course religious folk are not psychopaths, though they often say without God instructing them they would be.

          Our shared humanity is the result of tens of millions of years of evolving as social mammals. Nurtured by mothers and soothed and pacified by affection and cuddles stimulating oxytocin and bonding. We carry this same apparatus into adulthood and also an ability to "read minds" and "feel others pain" due to a mixture of early use of mirror neurons to synchronise our thoughts and actions with parents and a cultural evolution of applying these skills to those in the wider world. Because a broad mutual dependency was possible that proved a more robust social form (with individual misfortunes and good fortunes becoming shared through reciprocal altruism resulting from feeling others pain) oxytocin-fueled close bonding in adulthood (not only predicated on mere breeding and lust), became an increasing occurrence.

          Read my comments on Romantic Love for the rest of the story on adult mutual dependency.

          The religious fear psychopathy is some natural state and that religion somehow inoculates them against it. As a species we did very well being good and kind to each other. As we have progressed we have discovered through rapid cultural evolution and its inventions of justice, fairness, love and mutuality that things get better.

          The next books for you are

          "Mindwise" by psychologist Nicholas Epley and

          "The Better Angels of our Nature" by psychologist Steven Pinker.

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'There were no ad homs in my last post. Of course religious folk are not psychopaths, though they often say without God instructing them they would be.' -- not necessarily, our moralilty is implanted by the Creator before anything else. some christians say that the moral laws (10 commands) was just created and implemented just in the days of moses.. but to examine the Bible closely, the first sins committed was 1. disobeying God 2. murder of Abel

            quote: 'Our shared humanity is the result of tens of millions of years of evolving as social mammals. Nurtured by mothers and soothed and pacified by affection and cuddles stimulating oxytocin and bonding. We carry this same apparatus into adulthood and also an ability to "read minds" and "feel others pain" due to a mixture of early use of mirror neurons to synchronise our thoughts and actions with parents and a cultural evolution of applying these skills to those in the wider world.' --love is already implanted in our brain, it just not happened to evolve, it's part of the Creator's workmanship.. that's why laws of morality is created.

            quote: 'The religious fear psychopathy is some natural state and that religion somehow inoculates them against it. As a species we did very well being good and kind to each other. As we have progressed we have discovered through rapid cultural evolution and its inventions of justice, fairness, love and mutuality that things get better.' --again, love is created, not evolved.

            quote: 'Atheists wouldn't describe themselves as creatures. They were not created (nor was anything). But most know themselves to be evolved animals and specifically on the topic of affectionate bonding, mammals.' --so you just 'pop'?? don't deny that. if you and everything just 'pop' then, it's just a waste of time studying sciences, because every one will just say, 'oh there is, love just 'pop', oh, the universe just 'pop' out of nothing

            so are you referring books for me to read? you must be fond of collecting fairy tales books. 'make-believe' and 'just-so' stories are just 'make-believe' and 'just-so' stories, no evidences are presented

          • Phil Rimmer

            Neil, I have presented a wealth of evidence and referenced sources for it, which I invite you and others to study. The evidence is astonishingly extensive for evolution, for the neural underpinnings of our behaviour, and the "fossil" records of DNA in the tree of life, even into its abiogenetic roots that converge on LUCA.

            The only "just so" story is the one a few men made up for you.

            The bibliographies of the books I have mentioned open out on to vast libraries of books and papers of other primary researchers and the wealth of corroborating evidences. The door to this spectacular array of knowledge is ever open. I'm sorry you won't even step through to look for yourself. Thank you, though, for the chance to show others.

          • Phil Rimmer

            neil??

            I've gone deaf.

            Here's a few for you-

            Why is comparing atheists to dogs in matters of sex not an ad hom? How is that statement of yours the product of a civilised mind?

            Am I uncivilised to link this?

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2064787/Catholics-likely-commit-adultery-Church-England-faithful.html

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'Why is comparing atheists to dogs in matters of sex not an ad hom? How is that statement of yours the product of a civilised mind?' -- nope, i didn't. you said that! i am asking you on how morality came about? was it originate from a rock? from a nothing (just like the universe?)

            quote: 'It clearly isn't.' -- then explain

          • Phil Rimmer

            "why atheists just have sex with one person and do it to another persons? just like dogs?"

            Black and white

          • neil_ogi

            so what's wrong with my statement? remember i used 'just like dogs'?

            quote" '"why atheists just have sex with one person and do it to another persons?' -- because atheists don't have objective morality, then why you can't have sex with other animals? aren't they are 'so related with humans', according to your worldview (evolution)??

          • Phil Rimmer

            Ah! Its your English fooled me. I understood it to mean we are like dogs in our morals.

            But what you have said is may imply this for you.

            Atheist folk are entirely as moral as any on the planet (and seemingly less likely to commit adultery than Catholics by that little survey.)

            They don't have sex with certain others for the simple reason that consent is not possible. Often this is presented as a simple feeling of disgust at the prospect. We have evolved to not harm and precisely because we are emotional kin with animals through sharing many emotional systems including that of oxytocin-mediated bonding we treat them often as surrogate and doted upon children.

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'Atheist folk are entirely as moral as any on the planet ' -- nobody has denied that! even if i'd be converted to atheist, i still have morals on me. got it?

            quote: 'They don't have sex with certain others for the simple reason that consent is not possible.' -- evolution doesn't know everything about morality. chemicals just react with each others.

            quote: 'We have evolved to not harm and precisely because we are emotional kin with mammals,' -- tell that to carniverous animals

            quote: 'oxytocin-mediated bonding..' - the Creator uses different kinds of chemicals in our body. for example, he will use certain chemicals (hormones) for the development of secondary sex characteristics for males (testosterone). God can't use other chemicals for that specific purposes (e.g. He can't use csf for male's secondary characteristics).

          • Phil Rimmer

            " nobody has denied that! even if i'd be converted to atheist, i still have morals on me. got it?"

            Splendid! This is so much better than religious folk who think without God they would become immoral. Thank you for stating this clearly. It could not be infered from your earlier answers.

            "evolution doesn't know everything about morality."

            Cultures evolve as well as animals. Cultures are hinged on morality.

            The drift to vegetarianism and better animal welfare is very steady. Most religions have nothing to do with this having gifted animals to us as insensate fodder.

            Oxytocin is a hormone. You are just making stuff up.

          • neil_ogi

            quote; Splendid! This is so much better than religious folk who think without God they would become immoral. Thank you for stating this clearly. It could not be infered from your earlier answers.

            "evolution doesn't know everything about morality."' -- the real issue is: how morality originate? as i said earlier, humans are 'created beings' and not evolve from other organisms. humans are the only organisms who have morals on them (eg. killing is morally wrong, whereas in animal kingdom, they don't recognize killing as morally wrong). chemicals, among other things, because they lack awareness, consciousness, they don't know about morality, they just react. if a toddler touches a live wire, does the live wire 'aware' or stop a very high voltage of electricity to 'flow' to the toddler? nope!

            quote: 'Cultures evolve as well as animals. Cultures are hinged on morality.' -- so tell me how cultures adopt on promulgating what is right and what is wrong? tell me its origin. (oh, you have the anwer already, it 'evolve' - another facet of 'chance-did-it' 'it happens to be that way' 'it evolve')

            quote: 'Oxytocin is a hormone.' -- yes, i know, but you don't know that it's made up of chemicals?

          • Phil Rimmer

            Mostly answered in my response to your exchange with Alexandra.

            It, unsurprisingly, turns out that caring for our next of kin and those as-if-kin is entirely beneficial to our own gene's reproductive fitness in times of hardship.

            We have always lived on the brink of disaster and pulled ourselves through by the disproportionate survival of team players.

            Now with the evolved ability of foresight, we see plenty of threats. But to avoid being parasitised by religious, political and nationalistic self-serving but mutually destructive groups, we now see morality must come to entail the identification of all as THE group to form.

          • neil_ogi

            well, that's fine with me! but i'm asking you what's the origin of morality? experiment shows that chemicals, elements and energy just react with each others. you said that man 'learns' to make and/or promulgate laws, then how about 'non-living matter'? like the stars, planets, galaxies.. why do they have to follow the laws of physics, gravity? where did all those laws came from? i only knew that laws only and will originate from a conscious being.

          • Phil Rimmer

            " i only knew that laws only and will originate from a conscious being."

            Exactly right. The laws are our creation to describe what we reliably see. Laws don't make things happen in physics. Things happen from their own natures. We observe them happening and embody those reliable observations in the most general way we can and call them laws.

          • neil_ogi

            i wonder who make and implement traffic laws? are laws able to make themselves? wow, only cpnscious agencies can do that!

          • Phil Rimmer

            These are not the same kind of laws. The first traffic ticket would prove the law was not a law of physics but the law of whimsical authority issued with no regard to the nature of things but an intent to reshape the natural.

          • neil_ogi

            you just missed the real issue: laws are created, promulgated and governed by intelligent beings, like God and man

          • Phil Rimmer

            you just missed the real issue: laws are created, promulgated and governed by intelligent beings.

            Exactly. But the laws of physics are observations after the facts. Other laws are broken yet still remain. These laws cannot be broken and yet remain.

            "Law- A statement of fact, deduced from observation, to the effect that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present:
            the second law of thermodynamics

          • neil_ogi

            i already ask you: what are the origin of laws? are laws created by rock? by unconscious beings? by unconscious agents? by unconscious entities? tell me!

          • Phil Rimmer

            Are you asking how does gravitation work? How do forces act etc?

            All laws, of both kinds, moral/legal and observational, are man made.

          • neil_ogi

            my question is loud and clear: 'what are the origin of laws? are laws created by rock? by unconscious beings? by unconscious agents? by unconscious entities? tell me!

            so laws are man-made, a clear indication that laws are made and created by conscious beings, like man. how about the laws in the universe, before God created living matter on this planet?

          • Phil Rimmer

            These laws are entirely man made and are observational about behaviours. They represent a high confidence in the inductive processes that revealed them and a high confidence in their ability to be used in deductive processes based upon them.

            If an observational law (eg of physics) is broken, it is broken for good, and the confidence in it may be lost entirely. Unlike laws that are legal behavioural mandates. These are not broken in any destructive sense by transgressors.

            Are you asking how do things behaviourally interact from their own natures?

          • neil_ogi

            i ask you whether laws are made, promulgated and governed by conscious beings (eg. God and man), and you answered that laws are made by man. how about the universe, iwhere ntelligent human beings are not yet created by God, who made those laws? we can't prove scientifically that laws just 'pop'.. or that laws are created by unconsious, dead matter. you are making things complicated.

          • Phil Rimmer

            Laws of physics are not laws that make physics happen as traffic laws try to make traffic behave. These laws are observations about natural phenomena.

            The law of gravitation for instance is an observation about the forces between masses and how they relate to the size of the masses and their distance from each other. This is Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation and is an accurate enough observation to allow us to send a probe to Pluto with astonishing precision. This law in no way constitutes a mechanism for the effect of gravity.

            It is in the nature of mass that it distorts space time, that distortion being greatest near to the mass and falling off with distance. It is in the nature of space distortions, that the point of two of these distortions first meeting from two masses results in an apparent force appearing at each directed towards that meeting point.

            The basic form of the distortions is mathematically and topologically akin to a weight being placed on a trampoline, a heavy ball say, causing a curve down towards it. Two balls placed on the trampoline will be drawn directly towards each other exactly because of the addition of the two curves. On the line between the two balls, near one ball say, there is the curve due to its own mass but also the faint downward curve into the valley of the second ball/mass. Both, in effect, roll down into each others valleys, giving the appearance of an attractive force between them. A better understanding is that the medium so distorts as to minimise its net energy and transfers that into the two balls movements.

            This effect arising from the nature of mass and of spacetime is perfectly clear (though you do need good mathematics) and needs no law to drive it.

            You may be pleased that a child after any explanation can ask "But Why?" endlessly when asking about the nature of things. Rest assured that hoping God will stop the questioning is vain.

          • neil_ogi

            i ask many times where's the laws originated? you speak complicated things again. laws make the universe run smoothly, without these laws, every thing will be in chaos. we have different laws in nature: (e.g. the law of entrophy suggests that 'all things, regardless of whether they are in open/closed systems, are subject to chaos and ruins, but atheist's law is different in this situation (they are guilty of 'cherry-picking'), the universe's big bang was an exemption.. they believe instead of 'chaos to cosmos' 'disorder to order' - which have no bearing in scientific observations and tests. have you personally observe an explosion creating orderliness? be honest!

            just answer a 'yes' or 'no', do you believe laws originate from rocks? from unconscious elements, agents and entities?

            in christian perspectives, laws (e'g' moral) act like a mirror, when a person looks at the mirror, it tells whether you have a speck of dirt on your face or not, it only points out sin, and not to save a person.

          • Phil Rimmer

            No law compels the earth to orbit the sun. The earth orbits the sun because matter affects its surrounding by merely existing. It is a quality of matter. Things interact the way they do because of the qualities they possess.

            Are you asking how matter (rock) has qualities like mass, energy and possibly momentum?

          • Michael Murray

            No law compels the earth to orbit the sun.

            If it did I wonder which one it would be:

            Thou radial line to the sun shalt sweep out equal areas in equal time ?

            Thou shalt feel the force of an inverse square law ?

            Depart not from the path of thee ellipse ?

          • Phil Rimmer

            Good try, but it was, in fact-

            If the square of your orbital period is not proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of your orbit, per your stable and obedient brethren, thou shalt be cast into the fiery pit or the uttermost darkness.

            Conform or be kicked out....Gets 'em every time, provided they are clever enough to perceive the fearful psopect and that they can do the maths....

          • neil_ogi

            so the 'law' of gravity has nothing to do with the motions of stars and planets? you skipped it just to 'fit in' your idea that laws are not needed? well, you might question hawkins, he says that 'because there is the law of gravity.....'

            i am asking you if laws originate from the rock. you still didn't provide any a 'yes' or a 'no' answer.

            ok,, i'll answer it for you: since atheists 'faithfully' believe that a non-living matter evolved into a living matter, then of course, laws can be originated from rocks. (because the former has become a 'living' matter from non'living)..silly and yet it's true according to them/you :-)

          • Phil Rimmer

            The law of gravity is a description of what we observe, so it has lots to do with it. It is just not a cause.

            Causes come from the nature of things and their various qualities. For matter one quality is how it bends spacetime in which it exists. This leads to an impression of forces and the release of energy when two masses are close enough to experience the bending due to the other. Mostly, forces (other than gravity) act through fields, which are one of the best ways to understand the nature of matter itself

            This idea that all matter is really just a set of fields that necessarily interact was put forward first in an unpublished letter by (devout Christian) Michael Faraday, (a Sandemanian) around 1860, I think. It dawned upon him seeing the similarity of electric and magnetic fields that the forces even of "solid" objects pushing against others may be again just the result of fields interacting. He thought the idea too outlandish at the time but, was indeed proved correct. He saw the universe consisting entirely of interacting fields

          • neil_ogi

            so tell me where's the law of gravity's and other laws originated? yes or no? (oh i forgot, i already answer this: from non-living matter that evolved into a living matter, and all these came from........nothing!)

          • Phil Rimmer

            The Laws mentioned by MMurray and myself that related to planetary movements, were devised by Kepler and Newton. The more general expression of the Law of Universal Gravitation is due to Einstein and accounts also for the movement of "mass-less" particles like photons in the presence of mass. (They have a quality of relativistic mass and follow geodesics [straight lines within curved space]).

            All behaviours described by these and other human laws of science flow from the innate properties of matter, the fields they are constituted by, and the properties of spacetime, in a readily comprehensible manner.

          • neil_ogi

            the universe is governed by the laws of physics, and physics didn't just originated from nothing. laws are discoverable, and laws are created only by conscious agents like God and man

            you still didn't provide answer if laws are created by lifeless matter or a conscious agents

          • Phil Rimmer

            The Universe isn't governed by the laws of physics.

            The Universe and its form is the result of " the innate properties of matter, the fields they are constituted by, and the properties of spacetime".

            Try rephrasing your question given this new information. Think about how these properties might arise.

          • neil_pogi

            then why the earth needs to rotate around sun?

            if there is no law to govern them, then the earth would fallout from its orbit and wander endlessly in space of the universe.

          • Phil Rimmer

            It doesn't NEED to. Did you watch and understand how planets are formed from the dust clouds surrounding young stars?

            Did you see how many potential planets were formed, but most either collided with each other got re-directed by near misses and fell into their star or flung off into space? The few surviving planets were "lucky"* to be travelling at just the right speed for their distance to be stable in position. That localised bending of spacetime due to the planet stores energy. If the planet were to move closer to its star some of this energy would be released and re-appear in the rotational energy of the planet increasing its tangential velocity and having the effect of carrying the planet back out again.

            This effect is the inevitable result of the nature of matter and of spacetime and their interactions.

            * There was little actual luck involved as the particles that formed the planet were moving at the right speed at the right distance to form a stable near in position planet anyway. The luck is not having too many near encounters with other proto-planets.

          • neil_pogi

            quote: 'Did you watch and understand how planets are formed from the dust clouds surrounding young stars?' -- then there must be trillions of planets out there.. but astronomers can't find even one!

            quote: 'Did you see how many potential planets were formed, but most either collided with each other got re-directed by near misses and fell into their star or flung off into space?' -- but where are they?

            if planet formation is observable, then the universe must be in just thousand years old, and not billions. how much time the astronomers observe the formation of planets?

            oh i'm reading again the word 'luck'.. why luck?

          • Alexandra

            Hi Neil. That's an interesting idea. If both atheistic materialism (strict) AND evolution are true then it does seem like we would be any other animal. More sophisticated? Bigger brains? But still just animals. And I agree with you that we are more than that. I am curious what an atheistic materialist would say about this.

          • neil_ogi

            atheists just can't explain the origin of morality. they always say, it evolve. so many excuses, or they just don't know the answer

          • Alexandra

            I agree that I haven't seen it really explained.
            Athiests just don't believe in God, so they don't have to explain it. (But I think it is a good question for them.)

            Of course Atheists, and non religious people, can in many ways be morally righteous, and care about things like justice and rights and charity. We can have that in common.

            So it is good that we can ask them questions here about how they see the world, how they see themselves.

          • neil_ogi

            atheists just believe they just exist without purposes, and die. that's all. they object to objective morality but they can't kill, steal, lie, perform sex in the open public, shoplift, holp-up, cheating, dishonor their parents, etc. . these are all objective morality. or they just 'borrowed' these basic moral laws from believers in God.

            i wonder if ever an atheist accidentally kill one person, is he get some remorse? or guilt? (the fact that they view 'life' as just 'bags of chemicals'

          • Phil Rimmer

            Another book for you, neil.

            "The Age of Empathy." Frans de Waals. You will see the remarkable and extensive capacity of mammals to exhibit forms of moral thinking, fairness, kindness, even in cross-species encounters.

            These are the substrates for later cultural evolutions which in more circumstances than not, proved beneficial for the particular cultures. Reciprocal altruism, and co-operation enhances "survivability", especially in tough times.

            Read some books.

          • neil_ogi

            i can't find a cat sharing food with its own kind! how much more to its non-kind? have you seen one? that's just a simple assessment you might experience yourself. i read books but i subscribe my thinking to facts, and not 'make-believe' stories

          • Phil Rimmer

            Cats are not social animals. They do not hunt in packs, nor have they developed anything akin to primitive cultures. (Though we see some expression of this in larger related species in the wild, when moderate eusociality exists. Alpha males feed first then share.) They haven't evolved that particular advantageous skill, because they haven't needed to.

            Besides bigger brained animals are more likely to consider outcomes.

          • Ladolcevipera

            You obviously don't know cats. They are so much more intelligent than humans; they don't have to be social or hunt in packs. We are their servants.They just pretend to be idle, but they are meditating and thinking very deep thoughts indeed. "A cat's mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation of the thought of his name: His ineffable effable Effanineffable Deep and inscrutable singular Name" (according to T.S. Eliot).

          • Phil Rimmer

            "A dog's life" has the species wrong. It is certainly cats that have the greater capacity for a faithless hedonism. They have learnt of the barest of minimums needed to maintain their sybaritic life style and that does indeed make them the smart ones.

            Domesticated animals, smart in being cared for, though, have lost much of their brain capacity compared to their unfortunate wild relatives. Use it or lose it is the energy minimising backstory of evolution. Mouse deterrence is not as onerous a task as hunt assistance and the domesticated cat is more noticeably different from its wild brethren than say hunting dogs from wolves and hyenas.

            I think this entirely consistent with Eliot's shrewd insights, though.

          • neil_ogi

            quote; ' They are so much more intelligent than humans; they don't have to be social or hunt in packs. We are their servants' -- my observation is that cats can't write, sing, and built buildings. that's not even my own observations, all humans have that same observations.

            are you trying to equate animals with humans? oh how foolish are you to believe in that.

          • Ladolcevipera

            I wouldn't dream of equating animals with humans. Animals are far above us. My cat says I'm to ignore your answer

          • Michael Murray

            At the risk of going off-topic (moi? ) I offer you this video reply to neil's previous post about cats not sharing food.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqkPlyKj8zk

          • neil_ogi

            that's the doctrine of evolution why hitler considered jews 'below' animals' status, or i can say, much lower than slime's.

          • Ladolcevipera

            That's why my cat said to ignore your answer. That's also why he is superior to some humans.

          • neil_ogi

            that's the doctrine of evolution why hitler considered jews 'below' animals' status, or i can say, much lower than slime's.

            ignoring me just make you useless and dumb

          • Ladolcevipera

            ignoring me just make you useless and dumb

            Judging people does not define who THEY are. It defines who YOU are

          • neil_ogi

            i'm not judging you. you just judged humans to be 'slaves' of cats. and then you agreed that we are. you praised animals than humans.. maybe you are one of them.

          • Ladolcevipera

            That's right. I am an OWL but I defied the chief owl and for my penance I have to live as a human during the day. I am always glad when the night falls and I become an owl again. It's hard to be a human and ignorant of so many things.

          • neil_ogi

            oh i forgot, you were the product of evolution: from slime to owl

          • neil_ogi

            ..not only cats, but every animals in the world..

          • Phil Rimmer

            Then the book will surprise and amaze you.

          • neil_ogi

            yes, the books may surprise me. but i have to remain true to what i've observed in nature, and not just 'make-believe' stories.
            i just watched a movie 'dawn of the planet of the apes', and really surprise to see apes and other bunches of monkeys 'gathering' to implement laws, and develop language (as in human language/s).. the movie really is very creative and imaginative, made specifically for entertainment purposes.

            even in movies, they indoctrinate movie-watchers (although this is just a movie) to believe that everything is under evolution

          • Phil Rimmer

            What has that got to do with observations from real live?

            Is there a great conspiracy to lie to you? How does that work?

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'What has that got to do with observations from real life?' --of course, it should be observed in real life settings, otherwise, a claim would just be a claim forever

            quote; 'Is there a great conspiracy to lie to you? How does that work?' -- what conspiracy?

            quote: 'How do you invent all of science so that it works together seamlessly and get the faked information to hundreds of thousands of complicit scientists?' -- all i need is just evidence. evidence from observations, tests, and experimentations

          • Phil Rimmer

            Do you believe that the majority of scientists arguing for the truth of evolution are part of a conspiracy? If not how do millions of pieces of evidence for it fit seamlessly.

          • neil_ogi

            quote; 'Neil, I have presented a wealth of evidence and referenced sources for it, which I invite you and others to study. The evidence is astonishingly extensive for evolution, for the neural underpinnings of our behaviour, and the "fossil" records of DNA in the tree of life, even into its abiogenetic roots that converge on LUCA.' -- where's the evidences? i need lab results and not merely opinions.

            quote: 'If we had god-given morality that was any good how could sinning be possible? He clearly didn't do a good enough job. He made us so we could "Fall". He made us so we could be psychopaths if we didn't obey his laws.' -- free will.

          • Phil Rimmer

            "where's the evidences? i need lab results and not merely opinions."
            Lane, Wagner and Shubin all work in labs. Read their evidence. The biochemistry is real. The fossils are real.

            "Free will".
            Thank you. Let me now restate, the religious fear they will act as psychopaths without God's guidance. As you have free will, would you behave as a rapist, say, if God weren't watching you?

          • neil_ogi

            quote: 'Read their evidence. The biochemistry is real. The fossils are real.' -- of course, they are real. fossils are real but transitional fossils are either fake or misinterpreted. nobody refutes that chemicals 'run' our body, but is that all? if chemicals are the only factor that make us alive, then why scientists can't copy, for example, the sperm and the egg? since these cells are entirely made up of chemicals, then why they can't produce a life? even artificial life?

            most christian churches teach that evil and unrepentant sinners will suffer 'unending' torments in hell, but how come that even they know of this, why humans (christians included) continue to do evil things? it's because they have free will. if you are a father to your son or daughter, you can't dictate them what to do with their life. they have to choose for their own, even if they choose evil.

          • Phil Rimmer

            You have a tendency not to see the big picture. "Chemicals" aren't alone in running our body. Nerves may have electrochemical interfaces at their terminations but they are simply electrical wires as far their bodies are concerned. The white-ish myelin coating that some of the nerve cells have is a fatty insulation that serves identically to the plastic insulation on wires, reducing losses and cross-interference. Electrical stimulation of nerve fibres along their length e.g. as experienced in things like Ephaptic Coupling, are exploited by evolution to create capabilities like stereophony in chickens and their ability to tell the direction a sound comes from. Electrical stimulation. Strict electrical characteristics define the unique properties of Spindle Cells unique to the highest mammals and particularly humans whales and elephants. These super-fast transmission lines are the key to us having a moral life. They enable us to think again, before we do something rash. They stay the raised primitive hand.

            Artificial life? Well we are much further along than you realise. (Read the books to find out.)

            The first self-replicating synthetic bacterial cell was five years ago.

            http://www.jcvi.org/cms/press/press-releases/full-text/article/first-self-replicating-synthetic-bacterial-cell-constructed-by-j-craig-venter-institute-researcher/home/

            We have most of the early chemistry possibilities nailed and people are working with lipid films and finding they possess innate pouch-forming abilities. (One of the last problems to solve.)

            The start environments (most probably mid ocean vents) have yielded the right thermodynamic and material environments. New advances are published every month now we are closing on a complete scenario.

            Read Nick Lane.

            I'll respond to why Catholics often fear they would behave as psychopaths without God to actively guide their choices in a later post. Would you not be able to choose right from wrong without God telling you (directly or indirectly)?

          • neil_ogi

            quote: '"Chemicals" aren't alone in running our body. Nerves may have electrochemical interfaces at their terminations but they are simply electrical wires as far their bodies are concerned. ....' -- may i ask you, can a natural process did this? it is the work of an intelligent creator. if scientists can't even create this how much more the natural and unguided processes?

            quote: ' Strict electrical characteristics define the unique properties of Spindle Cells unique to the highest mammals and particularly humans whales and elephants. These super-fast transmission lines are the key to us having a moral life. They enable us to think again, before we do something rash. They stay the raised primitive hand. They help us subvert our baser instincts.' -- so tell me how morality arises with these! it has nothing to do with morality or consciousness or awareness. maybe, just subject that to a lab, or is that another 'wishful thinking'??

            quote: 'Life is not just about chemistry, it is about, physics, thermodynamics, the localised reduction of entropy in a non equilibrium environment. Its complicated, but with thousands upon thousands of man-years we are approaching the finish line of understanding for at least the very basic fundamentals.' -- ok fine.. but i needed you to do an experiment in the lab, otherwise, it falls under the category of fiction novels

            quote: 'Artificial life? Well we are much further along than you realise. (Read the books to find out.)

            The first self-replicating synthetic bacterial cell was five years ago.

            http://www.jcvi.org/cms/press/...' ---- but scientists are able to 'extract' chromosomes from mycoplasma, the already pre-existing life. it only shows that making artificial life is done thru the efforts of INTELLIGENT MINDS (scientists) and not chance, randon, unguided processes. even God performed the first 'clone' surgery, He created a woman 'out of man's ribs'.. i want scientists or natural cause to produce a life out of rocks and water.

            quote: 'The start environments (most probably mid ocean vents) have yielded the right thermodynamic and material environments. New advances are published every month now we are closing on a complete scenario.' -- is this another scenario of the origins of life on earth? after prebiotic, after the 'rim of the volcano', after the blistering heat of the desert? what will be the next?

            quote: 'Neil,would you not be able to choose right from wrong without God telling you (directly or indirectly)?' -- what about you, what makes you think that stealing, killing and raping your own daughter morally wrong? since you are an atheist, is God telling you that they are wrong? i know they are wrong because i have a moral codes implanted by God, and not rocks, to my mind.

  • Doug Shaver

    So the gay marriage view that’s supposed to show that we’re a bunch of Biblical hypocrites more accurately shows that the best argument against Jews, Christians, and anyone holding to any of the great philosophical traditions, is just to shout us down, call us nasty names and, where necessary, to use simplistic and deceptive flow charts.

    Nonsense. That's the easiest argument, which is why we see it so often. The best argument takes a bit of hard intellectual work to formulate, and it's human nature to avoid hard work of any kind whenever possible.

  • Ann Smith

    Excellent write-up!

    Paul Brandon Rimmer: The Bible contains stories about many sinful behaviors. These are God's "teaching moments" if you will. Just because something is in the Bible, it doesn't mean the Bible "advocates" it!

  • radiofreerome

    Your argument just demonstrates that Jesus is a fiction.

    • Diaris

      You are one fcked up assho/e, creep.

  • EPluribusUnum

    Our humanity is in a whole lot of trouble if we even need to go near a religious text for this one. Try an anatomy or biology class instead. So one can learn why a female has a vagina and ovaries while the male has a penis and testes.

  • To understand Christian teaching on homosexual relations you just have to interpret the Bible in the light of tradition (that's what the Church does). You'd have to be barking mad to suppose that such relations are anything other than sinful.

    Sorry.
    http://ecclesandbosco.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/god-apologises-for-causing-hurt-and.html

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