Here’s a challenge I was just asked to respond to:
When did you choose your heterosexuality?
Though it’s a short question, this is actually a more complicated challenge because there are numerous hidden assumptions in this question. What questions would you ask to help your friend clarify his position and get to the bottom of what he is really claiming? What do you think that rock bottom claim is that you should head for? How would you respond to that claim? What other aspects of this issue might come up while you’re both working through this objection?
We look forward to hearing your thoughts! Check back here on Thursday to hear Alan’s response.
We have forgotten just how deep a cultural revolution Christianity wrought. In fact, we forget about it precisely because of how deep it was: There are many ideas that we simply take for granted as natural and obvious, when in fact they didn't exist until the arrival of Christianity changed things completely. Take, for instance, the idea of children.
Today, it is simply taken for granted that the innocence and vulnerability of children makes them beings of particular value, and entitled to particular care…. In fact, this view of children is a historical oddity. If you disagree, just go back to the view of children that prevailed in Europe's ancient pagan world.
Gobry goes on to describe the sexual slavery, infanticide, and abuse that was common and accepted in the ancient world, concluding:
This is the world into which Christianity came, condemning abortion and infanticide as loudly and as early as it could.
This is the world into which Christianity came, calling attention to children and ascribing special worth to them….
But really, Christianity's invention of children — that is, its invention of the cultural idea of children as treasured human beings — was really an outgrowth of its most stupendous and revolutionary idea: the radical equality, and the infinite value, of every single human being as a beloved child of God. If the God who made heaven and Earth chose to reveal himself, not as an emperor, but as a slave punished on the cross, then no one could claim higher dignity than anyone else on the basis of earthly status.
That was indeed a revolutionary idea, and it changed our culture so much that we no longer even recognize it.
Many atheists are convinced a society that rejects the idea of God can still uphold human rights and human dignity. They think that even if one begins with an atheist worldview, these things are simply “obvious” and/or products of reason. They are not. Our culture is swimming in Christian ideas. After the water is drained, we’ll still be wet for a bit. But not forever.
Under the new bill, prosecutors would be allowed to pursue murder and assault charges in cases involving "an unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth."
The language said it wouldn't apply to acts committed by the mother, medical procedures or legally prescribed medication.
Even though the bill specifically excludes deaths caused by the mother’s choice, the pro-choice politicians are objecting to it. They don’t want to set a legal precedent by calling an unborn human being a “person,” even if the cases it applies to are strictly limited. This fear is understandable. In order to protect abortion, they can’t allow a logical foot in the door. Once you admit that a fetus can be “murdered,” you raise questions that are difficult for pro-choicers to answer. David Harsanyi explains:
The truth is that pro-choice advocates don’t want district attorneys prosecuting people for killing fetuses because it sets up two dangerous debates.
First, the act of humanizing unborn babies that women want to keep means humanizing unborn babies others do not want to keep. Aurora got a name, but the other third-trimester babies disposed of aren’t as fortunate.
Secondly, any admission by liberals that life in the womb is human life worthy of protections sets up a host of uncomfortable philosophical questions and legal precedents. For starters, how can the act of killing a fetus – granted, for different purposes and with very different levels of violence – end a human life in one instance and not the other?
This murder has upset the people of Colorado, and with good reason. Real life examples can sometimes reveal moral truths to us in a way that propositional arguments can’t. There’s currently a law against “unlawful termination of pregnancy” in Colorado, but of course, that addresses the rights of the mother, not the child, and it carries different penalties from those for murder. Put a name to the deceased fetal human, and suddenly, “unlawful termination of pregnancy” doesn’t seem like enough—not when we know the question of whether or not Lane could be charged with murder depended entirely on whether or not the autopsy could prove Aurora lived outside the womb for at least a moment before dying. It’s obvious to people something is wrong with a law that makes that kind of an irrelevant distinction.
When it comes to standing against a law that would prosecute people like Lane for murdering fetal human beings like Aurora, these politicians would rather bite that bullet than create a law that might make people think a little too carefully. But if they’re worried about consistent, logical thinking leading from a fetal homicide law to fetal human rights, perhaps they should also worry about how their consistent thinking in rejecting a fetal homicide law will appear to the people of Colorado who viscerally recognize the morally horrific nature of this recent murder.
An ethicist, a same-sex marriage activist, and a polyamorist walk into a bar. The ethicist says, “Marriage is the mutual support and consent of a man and a woman.” The activist says, “Marriage is the mutual support and consent of two people.” The polyamorist says, “Marriage is the mutual support and consent of people.”
The Supreme Court will hear arguments today on whether or not it’s constitutional to define marriage as a man and a woman. Please keep in mind that, contrary to what you might be hearing, the Supreme Court isn’t deciding whether or not to ban same-sex marriage. The option to ban it isn’t something they’re considering (nor should they). Rather, they’re deciding whether or not same-sex marriage will be required in all 50 states. If they decide the Constitution does not require it, the states will be left to choose their own marriage policy.
1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
It’s important to reiterate that this is a question about the Constitution: Does the Constitution require same-sex marriage? The judges’ preference as to which marriage policy they think is better should not determine the outcome, and we can only hope it won’t.
4. The only way the Court could strike down state laws that define marriage as the union of husband and wife is to adopt a view of marriage that sees it as an essentially genderless institution based primarily on the emotional needs of adults and then declare that the Constitution requires that the states (re)define marriage in such a way….
5. Everyone in this debate is in favor of marriage equality. Everyone wants the law to treat all marriages in the same ways. The only disagreement our nation faces is over what sort of consenting adult relationship is a marriage….
6. Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife, to be father and mother to any children their union produces. Marriage is based on the anthropological truth that men and woman are distinct and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father….
8. There is no need for the Court to “settle” the marriage issue like it tried to settle the abortion issue. Allowing marriage policy to be worked out democratically will give citizens and their elected representatives the freedom to arrive at the best public policy for everyone…. Judges should not cut this process short.
Mere Orthodoxy’s Matt Anderson explains why “an anti-liberal approach toward dissenting views is part of the DNA of the logic of the currentgay rights argument”:
Imagine, for a moment, that cultural conservatives are right that the family which begins within the union of a man and a woman is a morally unique institution, irreplacable in its role in society and inimitable in its shape by other voluntary associations of free adults, such as gay unions….
Then grant this simple premise: that humans are fundamentally and inescapably truth-telling beings, and that falsehoods require an elaborate and complex support structure if they are to take hold and endure for a long period of time. A child might believe that Santa Claus is real and get on with the world just fine. But as they grow older, the kinds of backflips, self-deceptions, and tricks they would have to go through in order to maintain such a belief would be dazzling.
Now, momentarily return to that peculiar and strange thought that same-sex sexual relationships, whatever other goods [they] have, lack particular features which make heterosexual relationships morally unique. Given human sexuality’s clear importance, and given humanity’s truth-telling nature, what kind of artifice would need to be in place to support and sustain such a deception within a society over a long period of time? What kind of intervention into the course of normal human affairs would a society have to undertake in order to obscure the morally relevant differences between those forms of sexual behavior that can generate children and those that cannot? What kind of construct would we have to build in order to maintain the premise that all consenting erotic associations are equal, that the union of the lives of two adults (even where children are introduced via the tragedy beneath adoption or through the artifice of technology) is of the same kind as those families where a man and a woman’s love and life together introduces a third member into the community who bears witness, within their very bodies, of the love of that mother and father for each other and for no one else in a way that removing children from their biological parentage necessarily diminishes? And once this structure is built, would it have the structural integrity to allow for meaningful and public dissent? Or would it be so fragile, because false, that it had to “stamp out” competing accounts of the world?
Erasing or obscuring the moral uniqueness of the traditional nuclear family unit—if there is one— would require, dare I say, both an extensive and elaborate artifice that attempted to reconfigure not simply the family, but all those institutions which the family has some bearing upon. Maintaining such a support would require the most powerful and influential institutions in American life, of which there are currently (by way of hypothesis) three: entertainment, business, and the government. And as long as those dominant institutions established such an outlook on the world, any remaining institutions would come under significant pressure to reform themselves accordingly.
This is a similar point to the one Frank Beckwith made when he likenedbansagainst interracial marriage to the endorsement of same-sex marriage—both require the intrusive force of law to maintain because neither reflects the truth about what marriage is, either denying sex is relevant or insisting race is.