Monday, December 8, 2008

Avoiding Politics

So... obviously I haven't been posting here. I stressed myself out and have been wanting to just bury my head in the sand. It is also the holidays and I just want to try to create some sort of Norman Rockwell views of our family, our home, and our country. I'm bored of the speculation of what Obama will do once in office. We'll find out soon enough. I haven't been keeping up with the political news. I just don't want to care about it right now.

However, I wanted to tackle the issue of gay marriage and did a lot of research. It has been causing me some real heartburn. It has brought me all the way back to my core beliefs and brought up so many questions that I just want to run away. But I can't. It is there. In the back of my mind. Bothering me. So, I am going to share some of those questions. Tell me what you think.

Questions:

1. If God has given us a free will to choose to follow Him or not, is it right to expect others to follow our convictions?

2. It seems to me that Christian morality has been under attack for some time. People are fighting against what they see as restrictions based on Christian principles. Aren't all laws based in some sort of morality? What is the standard? Who comes up with it? Some argue what is wrong for most is not wrong for all. Is our system really set up for majority rule?

3. Are there levels of sin? I always believed there were not. Aren't all of us guilty of sin?

I'll stop here for today. Believe me, I have many more questions. These questions are from a Christian trying to figure things out and I know all who read here are not of the same belief system.

20 comments:

Two Dogs said...

Any time that you have to use a modifier for a subject, something is wrong. "Gay marriage" or "honest Democrat" should never be used together.

1. It is not our right, but our responsibility to show the dimwitted the way to salvation. Have you ever tried to get a dog to look at something? They are so dumb that they just look at your hand. Instead, you have to go to where you want them to look and trust that they shall see what you are showing them. Same thing, same concept.

2. Mob rule is not the standard of our original constitution, yet has been gradually usurped in the years since Amendment 17. There are certain things that are never open to debate, in fact most things are clearly defined as right or wrong. The moral ambiguity of our educational system strives to teach our kids that there are varying shades of gray to most things. That is false.

3. Only those that are not Catholic are guilty of sin. Needless to say, Catholics are the only people that are going to Heaven. Live with it.

Belief system? Dang, Al Gore, your faith tradition is weird.

Roland Hulme said...

Ah! awesome stuff as usual, Ms. K.

1. If God has given us a free will to choose to follow Him or not, is it right to expect others to follow our convictions?

This is always the bit that seemed stupid with Christianity. God gave us free will, yet if we don't do what he says, when we die we spend an eternity roasting in hell? Or how a child rapist who 'finds Jesus' will go to heaven, but a Jew who's dedicated his life to charity and giving will go to hell for not believing in Jesus? It makes no sense. It's like explaining how 'acts of God' like the tsunami happen. No Christian I've known (and I've known a lot) has EVER given me an adequete explanation for these contradictions.

2. It seems to me that Christian morality has been under attack for some time. People are fighting against what they see as restrictions based on Christian principles. Aren't all laws based in some sort of morality? What is the standard? Who comes up with it? Some argue what is wrong for most is not wrong for all. Is our system really set up for majority rule?

The whole concept of 'Christian morality' is absurd. There are basic standards of human morality that existed long before Christ was born and are the same in non-Christian cultures. Don't murder anybody. Don't steal. Don't lie. These are basic HUMAN moral, not Christian ones.

If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? ...Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Law, June 13, 1814


Basic standards of human morality have nothing to do with the Bible and I resent the implication that they do. Law and 'right and wrong' exist wherever humans do - contrary to Victorian opinion, non-Christians aren't neccessarily savages.

The common law existed while the Anglo-Saxons were yet pagans, at a time when they had never yet heard the name of Christ pronounced or knew that such a character existed.
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Major John Cartwright, June 5, 1824


Christian morality is REMOVED from rational morality. Ideas like the 'sinfulness' of homosexuals come purely from scripture. Since right and wrong stems from human society, not the Bible, it's up to society, not religion, to decide what is 'moral' or not.

Christian morality is under attack because people are enjoying the freedom to question to legitimacy of it's origins - and they find them lacking.

As for majority rule, I think most people agree with you:

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." Thomas Jefferson

Yet, remember this:

What all agree upon is probably right; what no two agree in most probably is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson's Axiom, in a letter to John Adams, 11 January 1817


3. Are there levels of sin? I always believed there were not. Aren't all of us guilty of sin?

From my understanding of Christianity, we are all born equally sinful - which I find offensive and disgusting, as an idea. My baby boy is born guilty of no sin worse than some wicked, evil poopy diapers. How he chooses to live his life - in part, by the guidence his parents and teachers give him - establishs whether or not he will be a 'good' or 'bad' person. Christianity only established 'original sin' to make sure all its subjects were equally in thrall to the priesthood. In modern society, the concept of original sin should be seen for what it is: flawed and manipulative.

Two Dogs said...

What is really funny to me is that a bunch of folks quote Jefferson, but rarely quote Adams. Who was Jefferson's mentor? Just curious.

Roland Hulme said...

Oh, I like some of Adam's stuff, but he didn't have Jefferson's grasp of the English language. As Adams himself said to Jefferson:

"I am obnoxious, suspect and unpopular. You are very much otherwise... ...you can [also] write 10 times better than I can.

Coffee Bean said...

Hi Two Dogs!

I was being a bit politically correct when I chose the words "belief system." I was not raised in a home that really taught anything about faith or spirituality and we attend a non-denominational church (we are affiliated with Calvary Chapels which go through the bible verse by verse in order... expositional teaching). I'm not entirely familiar with the teachings of the Catholic church. I do know that some do not consider them real Christians. The ones I've known seemed to be to me... what is a Christian afterall? Someone who believes in Jesus Christ, right? I guess I've not really thought about it... but do Catholics really believe that you have to be Catholic to be saved?

Hi Roland!

I totally get your argument about free will and going to hell if you don't choose... and the rapist vs the good Jew. To me, where I am at right now, I think that it is about accepting the forgiveness available to all. If you don't accept the forgiveness than there can be no relationship. I don't think it is about what anyone does or hasn't done. This is something I've been struggling with. The disciples were sent out to spread the good news. The good news was that Jesus had paid the price and that we are free. It seems to me that it isn't really that good of news if you are free but now are back under a law different from Old Testament law. Of course, there are those that believe you are still to follow Old Testament law. I'm just trying to figure it all out.

As far as "Christian Morality" goes... I just came up with that term when I was typing out the post. What I am speaking of is any morality that seems to come from Christianity. You are right, morality is not exclusive to those that believe in Jesus. In fact, I've known many Christians that are lacking in morals.

As far as homosexuality goes I've been really trying to understand. I've been looking at studies and have even been reading some sites written by homosexuals. The fact is the homosexual act goes against nature. What I'm trying to determine is whether it is a sin greater than any other sin. Sexual sin is across the board. Do you see what I'm saying? I really wish I could find some homosexuals to talk to that are not into deviant behavior and are just regular people that happen to be attracted to the same sex... you know, the ones that have stable lives committed to just one person and want to raise children.

What is sin? Is it just simply anything that separates us from God?

As far as society determining what is moral... isn't that a bit scary? There's a man/boy love movement... what would you think of them gaining legitimacy through laws protecting them?

Your baby is at that stage where you cannot imagine him being deemed sinful. I understand that. You will find out soon enough though, once he's able to get about on his own, that he may gravitate toward things that you tell him not to. Not all children are willfully disobedient but you will see how selfish they can be. Because I am at the other end of things I have a different perspective.

We love our children and want them to have fulfilling and productive lives. There are things we know as parents that they do not yet understand. We've set forth "laws" of our own within our home. The "laws" were not put in place to control them but to protect them. I also know that no matter what our children do or say, we love them.

Through this past year we've really been put to the test. We've been here and waiting for our daughter to believe in our love for her. We could not force that and we've had to wait for her to return to us. It is only when she finally believes that we love her and want the best for her that she will cease to see us as wanting to control her. Things have been progressing and I believe she is beginning to get it. I think God is like that. I think He's just waiting for us to come back and to accept that forgiveness that was always there.

Two Dogs said...

CB, you stated that no matter what those kids do, you shall still love them. I cannot abide that definition of love and I certainly cannot live with the sacrifice of giving my love to someone that doesn't earn it. This explains my not "belief" mind you, but my assurance in God's will. I base my determination in the existence of God in the mathematics of the other's voodoo. Meaning, since science cannot offer even the remotest example of the lack of a God, then God is certain to exist because science has spent time unlimited trying to prove his non-existence and all they have produced is UBER-FAIL.

Since the entire profession that is paid for no other reason that to deny God's existence has failed, therein lies the proof of God's existence. There remains no question to anyone that understands the limitations of science without math.

Now, all we have to decide is the will of God. This is simple, really. If there is no God, there exists no morality. Sorry, morality cannot exist for no reason, just like everything else must have a reason.

In a world devoid of God, there is no rationale for good behavior and the people that do not believe in God are those folks that live the free-love, anti-intellectual lifestyle. That is why they never accomplish anything, because they have no reason other than their own personal, individual benefit of immediate satisfaction.

Since this is a philosophical post, I offer this with the hopes that others can see that there are definitive rights and definitive wrongs. And those different categories only come from one place and it ain't man.

Simplified? Certainly. Sin is doing something that is wrong. And you know what that is.

Coffee Bean said...

TD,

Love does not come without consequence. I may not agree with my children's decisions but I do not see my still loving them as condoning their choices. Sometimes you have to love people through to the other side and that includes people other than a person's family members. You have a tough outer shell but I believe you are also probably very tender hearted under that shell. Otherwise, why do you care whether other people are morons or not? Why do you point out those things which you see clearly to those who do not? What drives you? Isn't it possible that you really do care? I can see where you demand that others earn your respect. Could you be confusing that with love here?

I do believe that there is right and wrong. I also believe that the good we see in people comes from our Creator, whether the person exhibiting that goodness believes in God or not.

Sin is doing something that is wrong. What my question is is there really differing levels of sin? It seems to me that everyone has their list of sins that are acceptable and being gay isn't on it... but, what if it is just another sin? Are you sinless? I'm not. I fail miserably every day in one way or another... whether it is being lazy, overeating, being judgmental, being unforgiving... etc.

I'm really just trying to figure things out. In order for me to form cohesive stands on certain issues I really feel that I need to reconcile those stands with what I believe. I also need to know why I believe what I believe. Sometimes I find I feel a certain way about something without any real reasons behind it other than someone said something at some point in my life and I bought it. I want to be able to explain myself.

I'm curious... why did you say only those that are not Catholic are guilty of sin?

Two Dogs said...

To answer your last question first, it was a joke. However, there are certainly those Catholics that honestly feel to their core that anyone that is not Catholic is going skrate to Hell. I like to call those folks "CRAZY PEOPLE." When the Click-Clacks have never even seen a Coke bottle, how can they be subjected to Hell because of their lack of knowledge?

Muslims? All are going to Hell and are going to burn for infinity and never be consumed. My God is vengeful and jealous, yet He still loves. This is a certainty for anyone that cares to be honest. A religion that teaches at its core to murder anyone that doesn't bow to their 16th century beliefs is barbaric.

Another REALLY off-the-wall question you asked was, "Are you sinless?" Puh-leeze. There is no one that struggles daily with their character flaws to the extent that I do. Believe it or not, I can be somewhat headstrong. I know that you are truly shocked with that statement, but believe me, it is very true. I am certainly not perfect, no matter the impression you have developed of me. It is a difficult task for me every day to NOT pump fifteen red hot chunks of lead into hundreds of folks and the thought is as bad as the action itself according to Catholicism. That is why we have the box. For that box, I am grateful.

My point on the "unconditional love" statement was the exact thing that you pointed out. Even though Ben is my son, there are certain lines that he can cross that would destroy my trust and respect for him. What is love without those two things? It is pity. I have no pity to offer to those that make decisions that are not conducive to the ultimate goal. Therefore, there is some limit to me being able to offer my love to someone, I cannot ever make the blanket statement that I would always love someone no matter the circumstances. I am incapable of that type of love.

Are there levels of sin? Dang, I certainly hope so, otherwise I am done for. Hopefully, God was just kidding when he told us snake-handlers that the thought is the same as the action, otherwise I better get to packing my asbestos suitcase.

When you get right down to it, my thoughts tell me that we as Christians have perverted the things that we are supposed to do to achieve salvation and we have interjected man's will into the mix and called it God's. Episcopalians make a statement every year about how cool homosexuality is, need I say more on that? In a nutshell, I could not care less if every man on the planet started humping nothing but other men. God will certainly have to grade on the scale if he doesn't want Heaven to empty out. Plus, it would be up to me and me alone to populate the planet. I'm good with that. I am really, really attracted to the rib-made folks.

There is no doubt in my mind that homosexuality is wrong. If my son chose to live that lifestyle, I would try to help him get back on the right path, but if he didn't refuse to act on those sinful ways and live his life the right way, I would eventually have to avoid dealing with him. I equate homosexuality with murdering and thievery and my assumption kinda comes from that Bible thing that y'all other folks read. I find it laughable that homosexuals would try to justify their behavior by Biblical teaching while ignoring Biblical teachings. <--read that again, it makes sense.

Despite what you may assume, my caring and tenderness is reserved for those that offer value to my life. I never sacrifice anything for anyone. Please note that I use the word "sacrifice" in its intended meaning. Offering something of value for something of no value. To take sacrifice to its logical conclusion, you offer your very own life (God's Temple) to someone that doesn't value their own life. How much sense does that make?

This is a really easy search if you ask me, and you did. Just do what is right without fail. When you fail, offer your sincere apology and try to never make that mistake again. Adults that continue to follow the lifestyle of permissiveness and moral ambiguity are never happy at all. Witness the Prop 8 nutjobs in Cali right now. Are those gay folks happy? Of course not, they know that what they are doing is living a perverted lifestyle that in its basic sense is evil.

They are the same as gangbangers in my hugish brain and they look to us normal folks to accept their lifestyle. I refuse and we all know that is right.

Roland Hulme said...

Hey Coffee Bean!

Very interesting response - I'm thinking hard about what you wrote about kids, especially.

This I take exception to, though:

I really wish I could find some homosexuals to talk to that are not into deviant behavior and are just regular people that happen to be attracted to the same sex... you know, the ones that have stable lives committed to just one person and want to raise children.

I have at least a dozen homosexual friends and every single one of them fits the description above. This is why I find Christians attacking gays so bizarre. All the gay friends I have are just regular folk, who work a job, rent an apartment, want to have a monogomous relationship, eventually settle down and raise a family... They just happen to want to do it with somebody of the same sex.

I've never met a 'deviant' homosexual. Every gay person I know is just a regular person. I don't know what they get up to 'behind closed doors,' but I imagine there are some people who think what my wife and I do in the bedroom is 'deviant.'

I don't want to sound insulting, but if the only gay people you've met are wild sexual deviants, I have to wonder where you've been hanging out! The gay people I know I've met through work, etc, and they're just regular folk!

Just regular folk with really good dress sense and obsessive personal hygiene.

Two Dogs said...

Roland, just for your information, a man putting his hoo-dilly in another man's bohunkous is by definition "deviant behavior."

Coffee Bean said...

Hey Roland,

Seeing as I'm a Christian and former homeschooler, I've been fairly limited in my exposure to gays. When we were first married we had a next door neighbor that was gay. He was a very nice black man whose apartment was decorated very nicely (we had two babies and were still in the early American garage sale stage). We talked to him all the time. He was a professional and well educated. However, he had a lot of men over... sometimes groups of them. When his mother came out from Chicago to visit for a week he had a ton of women from his office come over for a party. He didn't want his mom to know he was gay. Some of what we saw in terms of the other men that came over was very disturbing.

My husband hired a gay man to work in the office when we were living in L.A. The temp agency had sent him over and his professionalism and proficiency is why my husband hired him. And they worked for a construction company.

When my grandpa was dying of cancer the hospice nurse in charge of his case was gay. He had been married and had a daughter and a granddaughter. He was a wonderful nurse! Two of the times I was hospitalized, once when I had a terrible infection right after having my second child and then when broke my back in a jet ski accident... both of which were long stays... I had gay nurses (male) and I actually preferred one of them over all the other nurses. He was incredibly gentle and very respectful of my need for modesty.

The rest of the gay people that I know were all married prior which is why I don't buy the it not being a choice. If it isn't a choice how could they procreate? Wouldn't the act the other way be so reprehensible that they couldn't? I could see where a woman might be able to live a lie like that... but a man?

Would any of your friends be willing to e-mail back and forth with me or would the suggestion of that be rude?

And Two Dogs... Good Lord Almighty Man! Thank you for not using the real terminology!

Two Dogs said...

CB, the gay guy with the Chicago mother had to have groups of gay men over, that soccer is just not going to watch itself now is it?

In case you are wondering, yes, only gay men watch soccer.

Roland Hulme said...

Hi CB,

The reason so many gay men have been married before they 'came out' is because society and religion tell them that being gay is 'wrong,' so they spent their formative years acting AGAINST their feelings and tried to fit in with 'normal' society. They were living a lie.

As for homosexuality being a 'choice' - I've asked this of ALL the gay men I know and they all say it's absolutely absurd. All of them say they new they were 'different' from boyhood and struggled with attraction to the same sex throughout puberty and young adulthood.

The notion of gay men 'choosing' to be gay is just UTTERLY ridiculous. Funnily enough, the loudest advocates of that absurd theory tend to be (not including you here, since you seem genuinely open minded about this) Christian people who don't know and haven't asked ANY gay people.

It's like me saying all lions are vegetarian, without going to Africa to see for myself what they eat.

Two Dogs said...

This needs to be said. According to some folks, homosexuals are born not knowing how to feed themselves, cloth themselves, protect themselves from any danger or do anything at all to continue their lifecycle, yet they are inbred with the notion that they want to hump folks of the same sex. That idea is silly and contrary to all natural laws. Insert that P.T. Barnum quote right here.

Coffee Bean said...

Hey Roland,

Hmmmm... I just don't get it. If you are gay how can you perform the act (I'm talking guys here)? How can a gay man fight against his "natural inclination" due to societal and religious pressure and go on to live a lie in a marriage and have children? Aren't they choosing to have sex with a woman? How can they do that if they are truly gay? Yes, they can say that they were attracted to the same sex from a young age but the very fact that they were capable of going the other way tells me that it is a preference.

You will find when it comes time for that birds and the bees talk with your son that he will be horrified... given you get to him with the talk before his peers. The mechanics of the sexual act is something that is initially met with repulsion by most when they first learn of it. I have not seen Broke Back Mountain but I did see one of the actors in an interview (I don't even remember which one, I just remember what was said) and he said that acting out those scenes was not as horrible as he imagined they'd be.

Could it be exposure that fuels those homosexual feelings? How do you explain bisexuals?

Two Dogs makes a good point above. How much of what we are is ingrained and how much learned?

Back to the sin issue. Could homosexuality be a sin because it goes against nature? Homosexuals cannot reproduce. Certain body functionalities are being abused in ways they were not created to be used. I can see where someone would feel that they did not choose their feelings but they do choose to practice it.

I did not choose to struggle with my weight... yet, it is my choice every time I eat.

We live in a weird sex obsessed culture. Sex is a need but it is not essential to survival. I find those individuals that talk about their need to be them true selves to be incredibly selfish. I'm talking from personal knowledge here of someone who married and had children and then decided he needed to be true to himself. When asked why he went ahead and married it was because he wanted children. He used his wife in the absolute worst way imaginable and he has done a disservice to his children by essentially telling them that his sex life is more important than anything else in his life. I'm sorry but I don't feel sorry for those that enter into marriage (male or female) under false pretenses and then feel they've done the good and right thing by being true to themselves when they back out. It is not the fault of society or religion. That is a character flaw of monumental proportion and the height of selfishness. We each have to take responsibility for our choices!

Sorry. The whole marriage and family as a ruse argument really gets to me.

Two Dogs said...

I offer this as a public service only.

I saw Brokeback (one word) and actually took the time to write up a review on my blog, admitting that I saw the first movie billed as "The Holy Grail for Morons." Oddly enough, it is not the worst movie that I have seen. Since I wrote the review, I have seen Southland Tales, it exceeds even the Queen of the Damned standard set for worst movie. It is Uber-BAD.

Here's my review. You are free to avoid Brokeback like the plague now.

Just Me said...

Different levels of sin? As a Catholic, I'm supposed to believe in the distinction between venial and mortal sin. Mortal sin is the level of sin that severs our relationship with God. Venial sins hurt our relationship with God.

I think those definitions were put in place not from God's point of view, but from man's. It's easier to ask forgiveness for slapping your neighbor than it is to ask forgiveness for burying your axe into his skull.

Note that I wrote: "I'm supposed to believe." As I look hard and long at the nature of sin and the purpose of free will, I don't think the level of sin matters. We're not supposed to stand around justifying our sin in comparison to others. "Well, shoot, I only took ten dollars from my sister's piggy bank. That guy embezzled thousands from his non-profit organization!!!" Our human nature, our ego, wants to believe that we are good persons, that we don't deserve the ill happenings that fall our way.

God gave man choice because He wants us to choose to let Him into our lives. At the risk of making God sound like he's on a massive ego trip, I suspect He wants us to want Him. Which is the better, a world full of people who pay homage to you out of fear and obligation or the masses who joyfully choose to worship you and follow your teachings?

In an earthly comparison, would you hire the guy who's simply there for the money or the guy who loves his job and loves doing it well?

I also know that I should, as a Catholic, believe in Purgatory, the eternal "holding cell" for sinners awaiting forgiveness. I'm not so sure about this. I've often read that once your dead, your chance to repent is gone with the wind. I suspect that's more likely the case. I mean, just like the saying about there being no atheists in foxholes, I suspect there are no non-believers in Purgatory. "Oh, s--t, there is a God. I'm sorry. Okay I believe." It sort of destroys that whole "believing without seeing" aspect of faith.

I'm sorry this is so disjointed. I'm really tired and I've had a long day. I could write more, but I'm getting rather droopy.

Two Dogs said...

Just Me, that was not disjointed to me at all. But I will say this, if Tookie Williams is in heaven when I get there, I am going to majorly upset.

Roland Hulme said...

Two Dogs just hit the nail on the head - Tookie might have murdered two people in cold blood, but he 'found Jesus' in prison, so he'll be waiting there, if there is such a place.

As for the homosexuality argument - First off, homosexuality is RIFE in nature. There are literally THOUSANDS of animals who have been witnessed in homosexual/bisexual relationships. I grew up on a farm. We had a couple of rams who weren't interested in the Ewes. To say homosexuality is 'unnatural' is to ignore the fact that it occurs, often, in nature.

Arguably, the only source for homosexuality being wrong is the Bible. Or the Qu'ran.

For example, homosexuality in punishable by death in Muslim countries, and it's certainly not 'condoned' or 'encouraged' by TV and media as it is in America. Yet they still have homosexuals. Why is that? Unless some people are just BORN that way?

Likewise, some people are just born bisexual. I have another friend who is just not interested, in either gender. People are individuals.

As for natural urges... Well, that's an interesting one. I'm a very strong believer in personal responsibility. I like my tipple, but I'm the one who is responsible for making sure I don't drink too much, or drink and drive.

But weight is a perfect example - certainly, you're responsible for what you eat - but people have addictive personalities, personal issues which encourage eating or a metabolism which means they gain weight faster. Somebody with weight issues might have the odds stacked against them. Other people are born skinny and can eat whatever they want (b*tiches.)

Also, we live in a society which expects women to be skinnier than they should be.

Society frowns at a woman who's 20lbs 'overweight' (although she's probably 'just right' in real life.) Yet if she makes no demands on public healthcare, why the hell shouldn't she be allowed to be whatever weight she wants.

Gay people - as long as they're in a consensual adult relationship, what the hell business of it is ours to judge?

I find it ironic that you argued against Obama because he would bring about big government that would dictate what we could and couldn't do. Conservatives argue so much about wanting 'freedom' from government, but then they insist on having the right to dictate how OTHER people live their lives.

THIS person is sinful. THAT personal is immoral. THEY SHOULDN'T LIVE THAT WAY! We want freedom from government, but CONTROL OVER EVERY ASPECT OF OTHER PEOPLE'S SEXUALITY/MORALITY!

It's whoppingly hypocritical.

Coffee Bean said...

Roland,

I responded to your last comment in a new post!