Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gay Marriage Continued...

Roland made a profound statement in his last comment on the last thread:

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.

As a Conservative I do want freedom from government.

My going back to whether homosexuality is a sin or not is me just working through it all in my mind from my core outward. I'm trying to understand and see homosexuals as people with histories, hopes, dreams, fears and lives they are trying to live in a world in which they are defined by their sexuality (whether chosen or not). I'm not known as a "heterosexual." I'm a woman... a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend.

I am trying to reconcile my faith with my political stands. Essentially, in this area, I have wiped out everything I previously thought and am attacking it from what is the beginning for me. My doing this on the blog is to, hopefully, draw others into the conversation to help me along the way. I know that in many ways my life experience is limited. I want to hear from others and what their experiences are and what they believe... and why.

Along with attempting to reconcile my faith with my political stands, I am also trying to decide how faith should or should not play a part in our governmental structure here in the U.S. I'm even wondering if Christians should be part of the political scene. Really, the inside of my head on these issues has become quite a mess.

That brings me to my questions for today:

1. If gluttony is a sin why do churches often participate in it? Why is it not condemned from the pulpits?

2. If we have the freedom to choose to accept the sacrifice of Jesus shouldn't we respect the freedom of others not to choose it?


Two Dogs said...

1. Churches over indulge in food and drink? Where can I sign up for that church? I like food and drink.

2. I prefer suburb living because it is less dense. I prefer a suburb-like Heaven population, too. Hopefully it really is a gated community. We gotta keep the riff-raff out.

Coffee Bean said...

Try Baptist Two Dogs!

Two Dogs said...

Naw, Baptist wimmen have ISSUES. That's cause they can't go in the box and get rid of the junk.

(Roland, this is a joke. Baptist women have car washes here. It's HAWT.)

Sarah said...

It's called the Lutheran Church, TD. I'm not even kidding.

Just Me said...

On Roland's comment:

I, too, want freedom from Government. I don't believe the Government needs to legislate every corner of our lives.

Every faith has its rules, Commandments, whatever you want to call them. There's a reason that they parallell the legislated rules of society, and it's because they make sense, for Pete's sake.

What gets confused is the distinction between crime and sin. Being homosexual/bisexual is not a crime, but it IS considered a sin in various faiths.

(Author's note -- I've been working on this post quite a while. The following is more or less my "thinking out loud" on the subject. I've been scrolling up and down trying to keep it sensible, but it's time to get my kids showered and into bed.)

Why is it considered a sin? Is it merely because most churches consider the main purpose of sex, while entertaining, to be procreation?

Again, in the Catholic Church, married couples are supposed to forego birth control. We can use "family planning" with a calendar, but pills, patches, surgeries, and barriers that prevent conception are not permitted. While we're having our fun, we're supposed to keep the lines of conception open. One is sort of a reward for the other. From that standpoint, I can almost understand why other means of gratification are sinful, which would include homosexual practices.

We are given free will to choose over sin, and in just about every instance I can think of, the right choice is just as easy to make the wrong one. For the homosexual, is there a choice? Don't ask, don't tell? Hide your true self and miserably live a lie?

The Bible says homosexual behavior is a sin. I don't believe, however, that homosexuals consciously choose their lifestyle. This isn't the same as the guy who had a clear choice on whether he should mug the old lady who just cashed her Social Security check.

You can say homosexuals "choose" to "come out," but their instinctive drives are inborn. The few gay men in my acquaintance all recall knowing at a very young age that they were different, even if they couldn't put a name to why until they were older.

We are told that God loves each and every one of us. If God made all of us, he made the homosexuals too. If God Himself condemns homosexual behavior as a sin, I don't understand what His logic would be in setting up His creation for a lifetime of misery on earth (in self denial) or an eternity of misery in hell for giving in to the urges He instilled.

On the other hand (I must be an octopus), if homosexuals are not sinners, what about pedophiles? Many pedophiles are also "born that way." Since we're no longer talking about "consenting adults," pedophilia is clearly (thankfully) a crime, but if we use the "born that way" argument, is it still a sin?

(In my view, of course, it is. Even though I'm not supposed to pass judgment upon the pedophile or any other, I openly hope and pray pedophiles burn for all eternity after rotting to death in a cell somewhere.)

Two Dogs said...

Just me, can you offer any reason at all that you should not pass judgment on anyone else? That is certainly not Biblical teaching. Hepp me out chere.

Just Me said...

Two Dogs, I'm human just like everyone else.

I understand that, in order to maintain our personal safety and order in a semi-civilized society, we are required to pass judgment every day. Not only do we judge our peers in courts of law, we pick and choose who we sit next to on the subway, when to cross the street to distance ourselves from the creepy-looking guy whose face we can't see, and when to pull over and help that person with the flat tire.

I think what "not passing judgment" means, in terms of "Judge not, lest ye be judged," is that I shouldn't immediately assume what God's decision is going to be regarding another sinner's actions, and I shouldn't assume that I'm going to Heaven when I compare myself to sinners who appear more depraved than I.

Two Dogs said...

I know, I was funning. I like the often pronounced JNLYBJ defense of homosexuals trying to justify their behavior with that argument. In a word, asinine.

Roland Hulme said...

"Roland made a profound statement."

I promise, I'm as astonished as you are!

What an awesome post, as always.

I've argued that you're not a 'real' conservative, because although you support many traditional 'conservative' opinions, you're open minded and consider the validity of all that you believe.

In my mind, true Conservatism, as practiced in America, is as blind and narrow minded a dogma as socialism, or libertarianism. The problem with any dogma, right wing or left, is that it doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

There's no such thing as a 'magic' system that answers all the questions - only a middle road that does the best job possible (but will, of course, not be satisfactory in some people's opinion!)

Benjamin Franklin was right when he said that being moderate was the only rational, reasonable route. Even democracy's a flawed system - the worst system of government in the world, Winston Churchill once said, apart from every other system that's ever been tried!

But I digress!

Your excellent questions:

1. If gluttony is a sin why do churches often participate in it? Why is it not condemned from the pulpits?

I guess you're talking about those evangelical 'super churches,' and televangelists, who demand their millions of viewers send in money. They rake in MILLIONS and wear $3,000 suits and drive custom Rolls Royces while their working class viewers send in money they can barely afford. In my mind, most modern evangelical churchs stem from nothing more that Victorian cults and these 'super churches' are the most disgusting examples of excess hiding behind the thin veil of 'faith'. Indefensible.

If we have the freedom to choose to accept the sacrifice of Jesus shouldn't we respect the freedom of others not to choose it?

Ah, the big question! I totally understand and support the Christian prerogative. Christ DID say to spread the message - and to find Christ in all people, regardless of faith. To 'recruit' for your Church is fair enough.

However, I've already mentioned my trouble with the 'freedom' aspect of Christianity. You're 'free' to accept Christ or not...

Only, if you don't, you're going to burn in hell for all eternity.

That's like somebody putting a gun to your head and demanding your wallet. You've got the 'freedom' to say no... But not exactly the 'freedom' to say no.

'Free will' and the existence of evil and 'acts of God' like Earthquakes and tsunamis are such BLATANT and unanswerable issues with the concept of Christianity that this is why I'm an Atheist.

If God is 'good', he wouldn't blackmail us into following him with the threat of eternal damnation if we don't. If God was 'good,' he wouldn't send cancer, or Earthquakes, or any of that Book of Job evil to 'test the faith' of his most loyal subjects.

I can only hope there IS no God, because if there is, I can't understand how anybody could consider him anything other than a demanding, insecure, callous and vengeful deity.

Perhaps, some day, somebody down-to-Earth like you will answer these questions I have and I will reexamine Christianity. But so far, nobody's been able to give me a reasonable answer to these deeply troubling questions.

Roland Hulme said...

Oh, and Just Me's post was VERY brilliant and well written.

Coffee Bean said...

Hi Roland!

I've often wondered the very things you do. It just doesn't make sense. If God created us with a free will and he is the creator of all... including hell, then how can we see Him as loving if our price for not loving him is eternal damnation?

I'm still trying to find that answer myself. What if what we are talking about here is just perspective?

I don't know... I'm just thinking here. But, what if our understanding is limited for our time on earth? If our spirits/souls are immortal than maybe this time in our physical bodies is a stage in our development... like two's, three's, or teens? What if things have been explained to us through the bible in a way that we would be able to identify with that we wouldn't be able to grasp otherwise... like our Creator as our Father? Like the church being the bride and Jesus the bridegroom? There was much that we didn't share with our children when they were little that we do now because they just wouldn't have understood or it wasn't yet appropriate.

What if by giving free will God gave up His ability to control everything? What if God came up with a way in which we could be saved from events set in motion within the Garden of Eden? What if God really is true and good and faithful? What if he paid the price that has to be paid by some law not of our understanding in order to save us while still giving us free will?

Did God create hell? Is it possible that hell is a creation of Satan? Lucifer who took 1/3 of all the angels with him when he decided he could be like God? What if the choices made in the Garden of Eden handed humankind over to Satan here on earth?

What if God cannot step in... unless you accept the gift of Christ which is atonement? What if atrocities that are attributed to God are really not from God? What if God is blamed for not preventing atrocities when He can't because of whatever spiritual law He must abide by as the price of giving us free will?

What if there really is a spiritual battle over each of us?

What if the price really was paid through the life and death of Jesus?

What if all the rules and regulations that come through different religions are a perversion of the truth?

What if the GOOD NEWS is that it was DONE on the cross and we are FREE?

The Maid said...

It has been explained to me that God is a "gentleman"...he is going to knock on the door of your heart, but he won't force himself in. We have a choice.

We can accept Christ and his mercy and grace without knowing all of the answers and I am thankful for that.

Knowing what I do know of God, His faithfulness and His love for me, I accept that I will never have all of the answers and probably don't need them. (Ever been given too much information...and wish you could "unknow" something...I have!)

God does not want us to have all of the answers...just like we as parents, don't want our kids to "know" everything that we know. Some knowledge we have may have been acquired through pain...we want to spare our kids that...some knowledge wouldn't be good for them at a certain stage in their know?

Example: We want our kids to have have time to have good experiences...we give them the choice to go outside and play...and in doing so, they fall down and get hurt. Could we have prevented it? Not unless we were to strap them to a wall (no choice, no fun, no experiences)...and watch them every minute of the day.

But guess what, just like God, we are there to pick them up, hold them, help them when they are hurt...right? are always commenting that coffee bean is not the traditional conservative...but I suspect that you are not the traditional atheist...most atheists not only don't believe in God, but hate him. You are allowing your child (so you say) to be raised knowing both what you know and what your wife knows in the faith department. If you didn't believe in God and hated him...why would you raise your child with that choice? Oh...must be that you want to give him "free will." Hmmm...

(You know I love you...I am just trying to understand you!)

Just curious,
The Maid

Roland Hulme said...

Hello Maid!

You are a smart cookie - yes, I want my son to see both sides of the fence, not just my opinion.

It's funny what you wrote about athiests... Somebody asked me: "How can you hate something you don't believe in?"

When I had my epiphany about God, I spent about a week HATING him and the very twisted concept of religion... Then I gradually realised that I had more questions than religion answered. Then, eventually, I realised that it made more sense and was more logical that God didn't exist. The facts were the facts. God not existing them fitted how I viewed the world. To believe in God meant I had to take too much on faith and 'twist' how I saw the facts so they didn't contradict his existence.

I am now in a much better place, where I don't feel threatened by people who believe in God, because I am secure in my own beliefs. I have accepted that to hate God is to accept he exists. Knowing that, I see that many so-called Athiests are actually almost creating a religion around their deibelief. They 'doth protest too much.'

I try and follow the example of open-minded people like Coffee Bean. Tomorrow, I could have a near death experience and rediscover my faith. I am always open to new possibilities. I'm just a historian, though, so I refuse to accept anything without credible evidence.

Very thought provoking words, Maid!

Just Me said...

Actually, Roland, I wonder whether God is as vengeful as scriptures portray.

I liked your comparison of choice with that of someone demanding your wallet at gunpoint.

There are multiple faiths in one God, all striving to follow the rules they're taught in an effort to serve that God. Many of the laws are certainly similar. Is it the same God across the board for all of them? If so, all of these faiths are diverse enough that it makes one wonder who's "right" and who's "wrong."

That being said, I have a hard time accepting the notion of eternal damnation for those who didn't have the right books for their schooling, so to speak. Can someone help being given the "wrong" rules?

If all of these faithful persons are worshipping and serving one and the same God in the way they were taught, I don't believe a just God would cast them into eternal misery.

It is our duty to share our faith with others, but it is not our duty to revile those who don't believe the way we do. Again, judge not...

Anonymous said...

You guys make my head hurt. I like the bumper sticker, "Jesus is coming and boy is he pissed"... God is bigger than all of us, our stuff, & our agendas. He's the man with the plan, and our approval of Him or His ways is irrelevant - but we are not. Yeah, Jesus is coming, I believe in our lifetime, and although the bumper sticker is funny and most laugh it off and want to see Jesus as a humble, loving, husband coming to collect His bride...He also kicks some serious butt in the book of Revelations, Him and His bride...and I have to confess, I do like a fight...and homey rest assured, I may not understand it all, but I understand enough. I won't miss that one.

Roland Hulme said...

Alternatively, Anonymous, there is no God and religion is just superstition intended to make us feel better - and allow the church (the greatest money-making corporation in history) to establish the 'pecking order' and keep us plebs in their place.

Even if Jesus WAS coming back in our lifetime, would we recognize him?

"Hi, I'm the son of God!"

Maybe he's already back, languishing in a mental institution. Presumably, Jesus only has one message and I could easily imagine some evangelical a-hole saying: "Ain't Jesus, 'cos he says we should let gays get married."

The Bible warned us about creating our own Church, which is more important to us than what's actually in the Bible. I think a lot of self-important, self-righteous evangelicals have done exactly that. If Jesus came back to Earth, they'd argue with him for not being as hard-core on certain issues as they are!

Two Dogs said...

If Jesus advocated gays being married, he would have to first start that idea with contradicting the Bible. Murderers and thieves, Roland.

Roland Hulme said...

I promise you, Two Dogs, Jesus' first words thumbing through the New American Bible would be:

"What the hell is this? I never said any of this sh*t! And who the hell is this Paul bloke?"

Two Dogs said...

Roland, I am unaware of the "New American Bible." Obviously, if Jesus uses the word "bloke" and cusses, it is not really based upon my limited understanding of historical Biblical references.

Maybe one of Barry Obama's many spiritual mentors wrote it, it sounds like something that particular type of "Christian" would read.

Roland Hulme said...

Well, my point is that even your King James is VERY far removed from anything remotely close to what Jesus REALLY probably said.

From a purely historical perspective.

Two Dogs said...

I'm Catholic, Roland, we use the Missal in our services. And I am certain that Jesus is not the cussing fag-hag that you make him out to be. Also, in the name of open-mindedness, pissing off the overwhelming majority of the country that welcomes you with open arms is probably NOT the smartest thing that you can do. Atheists always tickle my funnybone, for people that supposedly don't believe in God, y'all certainly talk about him an awful lot.

Roland Hulme said...

2Dawgs, it wasn't my intention to piss anybody off - just to point out some of the slightly fuzzier aspects of blind allegiance to a dogmatic text.

I saw Denis Leary on TV last night. He was funny. He said: "People call Tom Cruise crazy for Scientology, and believing that aliens came to earth 75 million years ago. I'm Catholic. We believe a woman had a virgin birth - and remained a virgin afterwards - and her son could walk on water, turn water into wine and rose from the dead... And TOM CRUISE is crazy?"

And I can't help but talk about God a lot. Don't you know most atheists haven't stopped believing in God. They're just really pissed off at him, so they get back at him by PRETENDING they have.

Two Dogs said...

Roland, an atheist is BY DEFINITION a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings. To say that you are atheist, but believe in God is to deny that words have a meaning.

And I was just poking fun at you anyway. I am a Conservative, that by definition means that I am open-minded and possess above average intelligence and a broad sense of humor. Liberal means someone that blindly follows any dogma of the day (or rather the minute) is of diminished mental capacity, and is completely overwhelmed with hate.

Roland Hulme said...

I was poking fun too, 2 Dawgs - at Atheists. You were right about how obsessed most of them are with something they don't believe in.

I don't believe in God myself. I think the whole idea of a higher power is, well, difficult to believe.

As for liberals... They can be as dogmatic as conservatives. But conservatives ARE often utterly dogmatic. As a so-called conservative, Coffee Bean constantly surprises and impresses me by questioning the dogmatic and figuring things out for herself. You and I could both take a leaf out of her book.