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July 26, 2016

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How I would treat the matter; First, why it is unwise to build a hedge of noble causes around personal sin.

I found people will try to protect and defend their sin. They will justify it in the best way they can trying to associate it with things that are commonly virtuous.

Kind of a "product association" used in sales to sell one thing on the merits of another. This does not solve the problem, it only broadens it making it harder to detect and deal with. I try to focus on the original point and not let something virtuous become the issue.

If the person is "churched", I might bring up the Ten Commandments. I could ask if the Ten Commandments are good? Is stealing bad? Or murdering? Any descent person would say of course that is wrong. But when we arrive at the Tenth Commandment we could point out that coveting a wife, or coveting a male slave is wrong too. Not everyone would covet the male slave sexually as some do the wife, but some might. I could then elaborate on how Moses apparently built this Commandment into the laws against homosexuality and bestiality. And how Paul imported some of Moses into the New Testament.

"I don't like people telling me what to do, or how I should do it."

I guess my response would be something along the lines of this:

Are you a fool? People need each other. Imagine if someone who was an alcoholic said, 'I don't like someone to tell me what to do.' We would call that person a fool. You cannot escape alcoholism without a community of people around you helping you. Only fools tell themselves they always know best, and don't need anyone around them to ever hold them accountable for their actions. Only the most coldhearted and narcissistic people avoid asking others for their opinions about themselves.

Furthermore, he uses the word objectivity in the wrong way. Objectivity means the answer comes from without, not within. The tack he is actually taking is subjective. He feels like he wants to do it, so the rest of the world be damned.

Sadly, I find this individual to be a complete and total narcissist. He only cares what he thinks about himself.

Lot's of possible ways to approach this.

Given the arrogance of this person, I might take a "Kouklian" approach and ask some questions to put the onus on them.

Q1. What do you mean by "people"?
Here I'm trying to discern if what he primarily has in mind are pastors and other church-goers, or does he include the persons of the Trinity?

A1. If it's the pastors and parishioners, then I'd say "me too! That goes for my wife telling what to do as well. I don't know of too many people who actually like others telling them what to do or not to do. Though that doesn't mean I don't need it, or that their not correct. So liking or not liking something is not a tool I use to decide if advice or correction or prohibition is good for me or not"

If they include God in their answer, then I might say "I don't like it either, and neither did Adam and Eve, so they chose their own way, and that didn't work out quite like they had hoped!

Q2. Why do you think it is inappropriate for the creator of all the universe, the alpha and omega, not to provide rules to live by? Why do you think it is better for the creatures to dictate the terms of their existence?

A2. I think this will lead them to question the existence of God - which leads to a whole different, and in my opinion, more fundamental discussion than the one the objector started with, but one that can be argued rationally.

"It's about objectivity."

Is this a typo? I'm going to have to check out the rest of the article. Because the whole thrust of the particular paragraph is about SUBJECTIVITY. "I learned to be my own teacher when it comes to issues close to my heart."

What he's saying is essentially an argument like this: I'm not going to take other people's opinions into consideration if I don't like their conclusions. I'm not going to consider God, the creator of humans and human sexuality has anything meaningful to say about sexuality (in fact, there isn't much there about whether or not God is real or morality is real, just a resentment at feeling ordered about). I'm not going to consider that there might be, say 4,000 years of people thinking about these topics and their wisdom behind the teachings of the Church on issues like my own pet sin. I'm going to assume they're just unthinkingly parroting a bunch of outdated rules that have nothing to do with real life. I'm going to go to a bunch of people who have embraced my pet sin and see which of their self-deceptions, justifications, and lies I can use to justify myself.

There's a lot poor thinking in these sentences. "I don't like the idea of other people telling me what I should do" followed up by "I did my own research on the subject of homosexuality" translates to the idea that "I don't like being ordered around when I don't like what they are telling me to do, so I'm just going to go find people I agree with and let them tell me what to do. And then assert that I made up my own mind and came to my own conclusions.

I mean, seriously, try telling that to your boss, or guy from the DMV testing you for your driver's license, or the IRS, or the red light at the intersection. A lot of our lives involves following instructions, often which grate on us, often that seem to have no purpose other than to make our lives more difficult, and have a lot less wisdom behind them than anything in scripture. And millennials, especially, struggle with being a generation both most aware of efforts to manipulate them (like with advertising) and conversely being the most sheep-like followers. The pressures on my kids to conform makes the peer pressure I grew up with seem almost buoyant. And a lot of this is precisely because the post-modernism in which they are steeped (even in the church, unfortunately) leaves them crippled in the search for Truth (you can't find what your foundational philosophy asserts doesn't exist).

The interesting thing is that God wants us to figure things out on our own. But our thought processes need to take into consideration His thoughts on a subject, and the wisdom of the community of faith. That's the maturity thing he keeps talking about in places like 2 Corinthians 2:8-9 or Ephesians 4:13-14. In other words we shouldn't do things because other people tell us to. We do them because we have thought it over and discovered for ourselves why they are right.

And I will be the first to say that the Church in modern times sucks at explaining WHY the things we believe are right and wrong are right and wrong. It's why I like groups like STR and hope more people find them. On the other hand, "because you're a homophobic bigot" isn't the most logical argument either.

I would be curious if any of this young man's "research" into the issue of homosexuality included a Biblical understanding of sexuality, or those psychologists out there who still recognize the unhealthy psychopathology around homosexuality and gay culture, or if he merely dove into all the modern "scholarship" asserting that heterosexual monogamy is really the perverted view of sex (imposed on mankind by a bunch of religious prudes), and sexual perversion is really "normal" human sexual behavior.

We've been studying Proverbs recently in my Sunday class and I think this has a lot of application here. Proverbs says that the beginning of knowledge and wisdom is the fear of the Lord. It also says repeatedly that the wise person listens to instruction and heeds correction while the fool does not.

Using some of these verses might be a way to start talking to the person about the folly of "going it alone" and not having anyone or any authoritative thing (like the Bible) to check your thoughts against to make sure they are accurate and true. It's not an overtly religious concept so it might provide a way to start a conversation without turning them off right away. Then you can hopefully go from there and eventually lead into why following God's instruction is the best way to go about life.

Welcome to strict libertarian philosophy being taken to its logical conclusion. Commenter Liljenborg above is on the money with the problem. This isn't objective in the least. It's pure unbridled subjectivism.

The Bible has an answer for this. Look at the fruit of the Spirit. The same person who would make this kind of argument, and there are many, would also praise people who are kind to other people. That's what's behind the sentiment of accepting homosexuality. The problem is the observation that people, left to their own liberties, are not kind. Take homosexuality, for example. Homosexuals form some great groups that rival or exceed kindness to each other like that found in churches. However, they are more unkind to people who disagree with them than Christians are. If they are truly kind, then they would accept those who disagree with them. Christians who are truly being Christlike (and not all Christians are, sadly), while we recognize homosexuality as being contrary to the command of God, treat homosexuals with kindness. Why? Because homosexuality is inherently self-serving instead of self-giving.

Talk to someone and find out what they consider to be moral. Talk to them longer and you will discover where they are breaking their own moral rules. Point this out and you will likely find some form of denial. They will do things like move the goalposts or refocus on you with anger. Most people don't want to face their own hypocrisy. But some people will come to the end of themselves and confess the truth of it. This is the Holy Spirit working in them. Acknowledge your own failings at that point, because you have them too, and give them the hope of the Gospel.

If that hope is then acknowledged, then you have an objective foundation on which to build the truths of Scripture.

As has already been pointed out, the view presented in this challenge is not an objective framework for morality, but is rather subjective. Even further, it is not the softer blend of subjectivism which draws is norms from society, but is full-fledged individualistic moral relativism. When someone says “I don’t like the idea of people telling me what I should do” in reference to morality, everything really is reduced to “my own business”. And so, by way of answer to this challenge, I imagine the conversation should be directed by the following undergirding principal.

The question must be asked, “have you considered the implications of your view?” Obviously, this person believes that it is morally permissible to lead a homosexual lifestyle. That is his belief and his own business, informed by his own research and his own choice. But if this line of moral reasoning is sound, then I can just as easily follow this path to a very different conclusion. Suppose that I, instead of wanting to lead a homosexual lifestyle, decided instead to murder people who lead a homosexual lifestyle? After all, I really don’t like people telling me what to do. It’s my belief and my own business, informed by my own research and is my own choice. Any objection leveled at my conclusion may just as well be leveled against his.

At the end of the day, we must appeal to some standard of good and evil. But if you appeal to this standard, you have to accept the existence of God. If objective moral values and duties do not exist, then God does not exist. But objective moral values and duties do exist. Therefore, God exists. From the existence of God, it is one short step away from Christianity (what with the inspiration of the Bible and the resurrection of Jesus), and that leads you to the proper view of this whole issue.

This person's "issue" with being told what to do is tantamount to the teenager who leaves home because they wanted to live life on their own terms... so they join the military! :-) The truth is, this person's REAL "issue" isn't from the church or any individual, but from their own conscience, which seems like they are trying to sear as with a hot iron so they don't feel the "heat" of the Holy Spirit's convicting power. To be sure, EVERYONE has been given the power to do what they want; Romans 1 & 2 clearly state that God will not offer help to those who don't want it, and - in fact - God will turn them over to their own perverse desires... which WILL kill them!

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