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July 29, 2013

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Yes, homosexuality is utterly benign. But why do you suggest left-handedness is benign? Throughout history people have demonized the "sinister" left hand. Even today, I must admit I get a weird feeling when I see Barack Obama signing a bill, for example. How can he do that so flippantly with his left hand? It's kind of disgusting. I for one could never bring myself to write with my left hand. It would just creep me out ... although my sister has tried it.

It's not a matter of moral significance; it's a matter of obeying God's clear commands: at stake is our view of God's sovereignty.

Let's play "what if" to illustrate what I mean by God's sovereignty: what if God had stipulated a decree that we were to be right-handed, and that being left-handed is a sin?

Our natural human reaction would be to clamour about the seeming unfair-ness of such a decree; how can I help it if I'm left-handed, and why would I be punished for it?

And, if we were only allowed to stop there and judge by human standards, yes, that would be totally unfair. However, the point is that God is so sovereign and so holy, and we are so destitute and depraved as humans, that we would actually have no business even raising such a clamour.

In this case, in reality, God has made no such stipulation or decree about being left-handed or right-handed, so there is no moral connotation attached to such a thing. However, He has made stipulations and decrees about homosexuality being sinful, and therefore, because He is so sovereign and so holy, He has every right to do so, and we have no right to rebel and question, and we do so at our own peril. Paul actually addresses this attitude in Romans 9 when dealing with those who would raise the same objection about God's gracious purpose of divine election:

"You will say to me then, Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will? But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?" (Rom. 9:19-21)

Further, lest someone raise an objection making God out to be a tyrannical dictator, I say again that would be a judgment by mere human standards. Turns out that God's decrees and standards are not only sovereign and inviolate, they are good as well. God's commands are good, and they are good to be obeyed; Psalm 119 is a great example that illustrates this, and I highly recommend it. So in a sense, yes, God is an absolute, authoritarian dictator; however, I submit that is a good thing, and I for one would rather be the lowliest slave in my Father's household than be the "free-est" free-man in the universe and yet condemned to eternal hell.

The bible does not make it "very very clear" that homosexuality is sinful.

@brgulker,

One example from 1 Corinthians 6:

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." - 1 Cor. 6:9

You're right, it's not "very very clear." It's actually "very very VERY clear!"

Your statement is either founded in not knowing what the Scriptures say or a deliberate refusal to admit what is plain for all to see. If it's the former, then I encourage you to a deeper study of God's Word; if it's the latter then I implore you to repent and come into conformance under the Scriptures. Above all, I pray that God in His grace will give you the ability to do both of those things.

j,

Oh, maybe it's very very VERY clearly written in your scriptures. But that doesn't even hint a wee little tiny bit that it might be true.

The video offers only the bible and an argument from antiquity. If you want to argue this point outside Christianity, you have to do more that.

RonH

J, haven't you heard? The Bible is true because it says it is.

The contrarians are back.

Quoth the Goat Head,

Clearly, from an evolutionary standpoint, homosexuality is a birth defect, a bad mutation that will be selected out unless we intervene with artificial means.

Using evolutionary morality, clearly wrong.

Unless, of course, it is simply a bad behavioral choice and isn't genetically determined.

Goat Head 5

Goat Head 5,

Clearly, from an evolutionary standpoint, homosexuality is a birth defect, a bad mutation that will be selected out unless we intervene with artificial means.

It's not as simple as you think. Your objection has a long history: Darwin anticipated it and showed that his theory could accommodate such situations.

Since then, the mechanisms of inheritence have been uncovered and evolution has become the subject of mathematical modelling.

The result? Darwin's insight is confirmed and built upon.

Don't take my word for it.

RonH

RonH,
You said previously that moral matters are grounded in human nature. Since many of us disagree on moral matters is that because humans have more than one human nature, or is it because some human natures have been corrupted, or is there some other reason?

If it's either of the first two, how do we determining which human nature correctly grounds moral matters or which have been corrupted?

RonH

Could you point me to the science showing homosexuality isn't an evolutionary dead end?

Please don't send me to some advocacy site. Science. A journal article.

Don't repeat Brad B.'s error, when he attempted to prove a scientific assertion by pointing to a religious blog.

Goat Head 5

SteveK,

It's our nature to take others into account.

Well OK, it's an acquired taste. (I've seen toddlers.) But its our nature to acquire that taste readily.

Mothers know what response to expect when they say: How would you like it if someone did that to you? I can almost hear my mother's voice saying it and I can almost feel how it felt to hear it. I didn't want to be making people feel bad.

We acquire this taste - for taking others into account - to varying degrees, but with few real exceptions.

We do disagree a lot about how to take others into account.

Sometimes, we even allow that the other side is 'well meaning (taking others into account), but wrong'.

By nature, we (learn to) like taking others into account.

This makes it possible for us to live as we do in families, villages, towns, cities... It's the thing that makes it safe to turn your back on thousands of strangers every day. Reward and punishment would never be sufficient to allow us to live the way we do if we didn't like taking others into account and do it automatically from an early age.

The tendency to acquire a taste for taking others into account is not the only thing in our nature. I am not saying that.

We're selfish too - by nature. We do need to take care of ourselves.

Sometimes the other side is not well meaning - not taking others into account. Sometimes the other side is mainly being selfish. Sometimes we are.

But, the fact remains: we like taking others into account.


RonH,
I don't see the connection between your reply and my question. Can you explain?

Goat Head 5,

Darwin anticipated that someone would object

Clearly, from an evolutionary standpoint, sterility is a birth defect, a bad mutation that will be selected out unless we intervene with artificial means. So what about (sterile) worker bees?
He answered the objection. Others have since worked out more detail. Here's a telling of the story that should meet your specification.


RonH

Doesn't really work for me. Insect colony specialization isn't analogous to homosexual humans at all. Seriously? THAT is your scientific proof?

Pretty weak. Even if it were explanatory, which it isn't, the article begins with a disclaimer that the "suggestion" remains "contentious" within the research community.

Far from "worked out", wouldn't you agree?

Goat Head 5

"Don't repeat Brad B.'s error, when he attempted to prove a scientific assertion by pointing to a religious blog."

Seriously Goat Head, you should've let it lay. Having one foot in the arena and one in the cheap seats, you're bringing attention to yourself.

The Goat Head demonstrates his unstellar reasoning by bringing up something that a more sober minded person might want to forget.

His reasoning goes like this:
1) Religious blogs cannot provide substantive commentary on scientific studies
2)First Things is a religious blog
3)Therefore when First Things has a blog post that examines the current scientific studies regarding homosexuality and genetics....it cant possibly provide substantive scientific commentary. No matter the qualifications of the post writer, the actual substance, the careful and coherent argumentation, etc...

Classic ad hominem dismissal...hand waved away a level headed logical treatement of the scientific surveys of a particular topic that just happened to support my contention--to wit: no studies support the notion that genetics proves that homosexuals are "born that way".

How does one then deal with the rich bounty of commentary provided by STR? It,[STR-a religious blog] according to the Goat Head cannot provide legitimate [substantial, reasonable] commentary on scientific studies. Kinda takes a lot of apologetic ammo from the average Christian lay person.

Or, the Goat Head needs to think more clearly and coherently about things before just hand waving away a dissenting position from his own,[because he's too lazy to examine the actual argument being presented?]

Brad B.

Ron H pointed to an article published in the genre that was full of actual references to real research.

Are you able to understand how this differs from what you offered?


As to your earlier contentions, bring the actual science, so that it can be examined. Can you? No?

That's what I thought.

Yet Again, if you are going to make assertions about scientific research you need to bring actual science to the table. Simple really.

Your "arena" comment. Do you consider this forum combat? If true, this explains much of your behavior here.

Proudly from the cheap seats,

Goat Head 5

This whole gay is an "evolutionary dead end" versus "could be explained by evolution" debate is itself a non sequitur and distracts from the real issue. By having the debate, RonH and the other atheists are accepting the hidden premise that being gay is only acceptable if it has some kind of long term reproductive advantage. I reject that. By the same premise, I could argue that any individual who chooses not to reproduce is immoral - Catholic priests anyone? And by the way, gay couples do reproduce through surrogates, in vitro, and adoption - heck, many even have conventional marriages and natural children. So the whole premise is false.

So, back to the real question: why would we believe it is acceptable to persecute homosexuals? So far, nobody has offered anything other than "God told us to".

Bill, I guess I missed the part of the argument where people are advocating persecuting homosexuals. Which of the comments here is suggesting that? Your suggestion that "God has told us to ... persecute homosexuals" is a complete mischaracterization of Christian teaching.

The argument about evolution is not to say that choosing a route the does not reproduce is immoral, but simply that natural selection by definition selects against those who do not reproduce. A gay couple who adopts can certainly be said to have children in a very real sense, but from an evolutionary perspective their genetic material is not being passed along.

Hi Goat Heat, your selective memory has tainted your view of reality. No matter, my synopsis of your stated parameters still stands from what you've said above[in blockquote]. According to Goat Heat, First Things, STR, Reasons To Believe,....etc cannot provide legitimate substantial commentary on snything science. Unless these organizations do science they are disqualified!

Nevermind that science comes with a wide range of presuppositions thst are not scientifically derived and ought to be inspected by religious blogs.

As far as the cheap seats/arena metaphor, its just that, a metaphor...that you seem very proud to carry on since you take every opportunity to perpetuate it.

Hi Bill, what do you mean by persecution?

Bill, I guess I missed the part of the argument where people are advocating persecuting homosexuals. Which of the comments here is suggesting that? Your suggestion that "God has told us to ... persecute homosexuals" is a complete mischaracterization of Christian teaching.

It's typical of those who are trying to advocate a losing position. Invent tragedy where none exists to illicit undeserved sympathy, all in an excuse to rationalize away what is known to be an immoral, sinful behavior. You want sympathy? How about sympathy for a soul going to hell because of their refusal to repent of their sin! You want persecution? True persecution consists of condoning such behavior and marginalizing all attempts to warn those involved of the spiritual consequences. True love speech means we have to proclaim the gospel to all, and for this particular issue means we exhort those involved to repent and turn to Christ.

If a car were driving along toward a washed out bridge, wouldn't you make every effort to flag down the driver and warn him of the danger? Imagine if the driver not only refused your warning, but then turned around and castigated you for attempting to save his life! "Leave me alone, I'm going to do what I want to do, and how dare you attempt to stop me and impinge on my right to drive where I want when I want! In fact, I'm going to have you brought up on charges for interfering!" Utterly ridiculous, and simply points to the total depravity of mankind.

Brad B.

As is your habit, you are arguing against a straw man. You put words into my mouth and then argue against them. Another fail on your part.

Go back and read carefully what I actually said.
"Yet Again, if you are going to make assertions about scientific research you need to bring actual science to the table. Simple really."

Argue against that.

Goat Head 5

Personally, I think that as a Christian, I can't really expect people who are not Christians to understand or accept all Christian ethics. Christian ethics sometimes are counter-intuitive. I believe homosexuality is morally wrong, but I might not be so inclined to believe if I were not a Christian. Therefore, to someone who is not a Christian, I wouldn't try to actively force them to live out all Christian ethics until they become a Christian. There are some Christian ethics that I would try to enforce upon others, but probably not this one. Christians who believe homosexuality is morally upright before God are another issue altogether.

However, I think it is reasonable for me to voice my opinion publicly about what I think is morally right and wrong, without being berated for it. I also think that if anyone believes that homosexuality is wrong, they should not have the view that it is right forced upon them, or be punished for dissent. I am also highly against the idea that same sex "couples" be allowed to adopt other children and thus be allowed to inculcate others with their mistaken ideologies. Children should not be factored into something as controversial as this. When it comes to children, the "rights" of the adult are less important than the child. We really do not know what the results over time would be of a same sex couple raising children, and there has been little research done on it. No one really knows for sure what the results could be. It's not right to socially experiment with children just to satisfy your rights. I've actually heard plenty of non-Christian psychologists and experts say the very thing I'm saying.

Goat Head, your revision still disqualifies STR and other Christian blogs. You say I'm putting words into your mouth, I'm only taking the roof off of your rediculous rules of engagement to show you the absurdity. You should learn the difference-my appraisal of your statement is right on.

The Goat Head continues to respond in his petty squabble with Brad B.:

The Goat Head stands charged with "revision". No revision. Again, the statement, word for word; "if you are going to make assertions about scientific research you need to bring actual science to the table." You see, Brad, this was the problem with the blog post you earlier pointed to, lack of citation of actual science.

Verdict: Not Guilty. Brad B.; Another fail. (cheering from the cheap seats)

Charge # 2: "your revision still disqualifies STR and other Christian blogs". Absurd! STR, and in fact anyone, is perfectly free to make pronouncements about what "the science" or "scientific studies" says if they are willing to point to the ACTUAL SCIENCE to justify their statements. Nobody is "disqualified".

Verdict: Not Guilty. Brad B.; Fails again. (Raspberries from the cheap seats)

Assertion: "I'm only taking the roof off of your rediculous (sic) rules of engagement". You need to learn, Brad B., what "taking the roof off" actually means. Go back and read your Schaeffer. To take the roof off you have to understand the original statement first, something you clearly failed to do. My "rules of engagement" are already at their logical end. No roof to take off.

Verdict: Another fail.

Let me again restate. If someone wants to make sweeping statements about what "scientific studies" say, they need to be able to answer the question, "why do you think your statement is true"? The answer needs to point back to actual science. It isn't enough to say, " I read a post on a religious blog and that person said he reviewed all the science, but couldn't be bothered to cite the science he says he reviewed." (Your position, Brad, BTW)

RonH understands this.

From the cheap seats,

Goat Head 5

Hey Goat Head, all of what you said would be well and good except one thing....you should've read the First Things blog post, the author did comment on the actual scientific studies, and he even commented on the study RonH offered. You keep using that word fail, it might be good if you look up the definition.

You set the standard back then, not me, and your rediculous rules of engagement effectively eliminated everyone who's not actively engaged in writing or reading scientific studies cant comment. This is the standard you set when you refused to accept the commentary from a religious blog writer Stanton L.Jones who is a capable and credible writer on that topic. Like I said many times now...no matter that Jones did a thorough, fair minded, coherent evaluation of the scientific studies up to time of writing, you dismissed the content for the wrong [invalid ad hominem], reason.

Did the obvious fact that Jones did a stellar evaluation escape your attention, or did you simply just refuse to read the reference? I think the latter since you could not have possibly come away with such an ad hominem dismissal of his treatment on this topic if indeed you had read it.

If I've assumed incorrectly, and you did read, but disagreed with the writer, why didn't you point out where he erred, either in fact or in logic? btw, this is what commentary from the cheap seats always looks like...shallow dismissals of opposing evidence no matter the quality of the actual content, but of course you're comfortable and proud in that element.

Oh and by the way, The Goat Head or anyone else who'd want to really have me eat my words, produce even one legitimate scientific study that proves homosexuals are "born that way" in the same sense that someone is of color/race, or left handed, or male/female.

You can/do feel free disregard a sane counter argument and ask for your interlocutor to do the work of an exaustive search of any and all studies on the topic to prove his statement, or you could do the most effective thing at your disposal....produce for him proof his statement is erroneous!

All it would've taken in this instance is one single letitimate study. ONE! This is the epic fail in this whole petty squabble, you could've shut it down months ago by one simple means yet you fail to do so. Why Mr. Goat Head? If you want me to concede that my sweeping statement was wrong, produce the proof.

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