This post is a direct response to a comment I received on a quickie article I did called Heinz Ad Pushes Gay Marriage and Family – Features Homosexuals Kissing. I thought the article itself might spark debate, but I didn’t really know when I posted it the different directions the discussion would take.
The comments on that article were getting long and fairly in-depth so I decided that breaking a couple of them out into their own posts might be a better way for me to respond and for others to get involved in the discussion should they desire.
I understand that not everyone will agree with my opinions (nor those who oppose my opinions), but I do ask that we all keep the debate and discussion civil and respectful as I always try to do. I have a firm grasp of my own beliefs and why I believe the way I do so I always enjoy debating and discussing my ideas and beliefs be they religious or political or whatever, but it’s only constructive and only enjoyable when everyone feels free to share their honest opinions. I welcome and encourage everyone to do so.
Now then, you might want to hop over to the other article if you want to read all of the comments, but I will be quoting and responding directly to the last comment made by Michael for now with plans to also respond to Tamara’s last comment (her last comment as of right now) on that article as well.
The Bible, to me, is essentially like this. “Some guy said that God told him to tell you…”
How do I know that “story” that the person wrote isn’t a personal belief or spin on what God told him to write? How do I know, that the people who have rewritten the bible thus far (apparently 40 individuals, all told) to fit the standards they deem sufficient at the time? If they were merely translating from previous texts, who’s to say that their interpretation is correct? I realize what I’m saying is somewhat blasphemous, but I take the word of the Bible with a grain of salt – it’s authors were human, and humans aren’t perfect. I’d feel a lot more confident in its content if this was God’s own written text. Surely a omnipotent deity is capable of putting things down on paper, and in such a way that it will last for eternity.
I understand what you’re saying, but I would argue that that is exactly what God did. I believe that there is reasonable evidence to assure us that the Bible is, in fact, the word of God. Since the space required to demonstrate my reasoning and show the evidence on this issue is considerable, I have decided to write a separate article that goes a little more in depth. It is entitled How Do We Know The Bible Is The Word Of God?
It’s a huge leap of faith, and all the discrepancies I find in the new/old testaments doesn’t always help my confidence.
Well, I really don’t think it’s a “huge leap of faith” to believe in the Bible, but I can understand why you might feel there are discrepancies between the Old Testament and the New Testament and why these seeming discrepancies would cast doubt on your faith. The thing is, there really aren’t any discrepancies between the Old and New Testament. What seem like discrepancies just seem that way because you haven’t been taught or have never heard the logical explanation for it. Since this is also a huge issue for a lot of people who aren’t Christian, I have written a separate article on this issue as well. It is entitled An Explanation of the Apparent Contradictions Between the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible.
Regardless, I DO believe in God, I just don’t believe in the establishments that say that their religion is the TRUE one.
I find your comment interesting. You say you believe in God (a God at any rate), yet you do not believe in “the establishments that say that their religion is the TRUE” religion. I don’t understand. They can’t all be true. Some of the various religions of the world are so diametrically opposed to each other that there’s simply no way they can all be correct in their assumptions. Many of them, in fact, do not even recognize that there is a God as you have already admitted you do.
My question to you is this: If one is to believe in a religion at all, why would you put faith in a religion that didn’t believe it was the one TRUE religion? Who would want to believe in a religion where all the followers went around saying “we think we’re right, but you probably are too…okay, yeah, you’re right, we’re probably wrong.” That religion wouldn’t require anything but someone with a weak will and an open pocketbook.
It’s all nice and very modern of us to say that every religion has valid points and that no one is going to go to Hell if they are good people and we shouldn’t tell anyone that their religion is wrong because it might hurt their feelings and besides, we don’t really know if ours is right anyway, etc…but that kind of thinking goes against logical reasoning. Everyone ISN’T right. They can’t be. If you believe there is a God then there are a LOT of people who are believing things about God that aren’t true. That’s just basic logic.
Besides, who would want to worship a God that would allow us to worship other Gods? What kind of God would that God be to allow His followers to worship gods that He knows aren’t real? It goes against common sense.
Like you said before, we certainly are capable of opening up a Bible, and reading it ourselves, and drawing our own conclusions from said readings. We are intelligent human beings, and God did give us free will and the ability to reason and think accordingly.
Here you’ve said something that makes me think you have some preconceived ideas about God even if you don’t want to admit it. You used the phrase “God did give us free will and the ability to reason and think accordingly.” That gives me the impression that you believe in a God who grants “free will.” Believe it or not, not every god out there does that. If you honestly believe that God has given us free will you’ve just narrowed down your list of possible religions for yourself quite a bit.
Here’s my trepidation in regards to intermixing religion and politics. Both arenas are supremely charged with varying emotions and thought processes – and there are so many denominations of Christianity. Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the list goes on. The way that people feel about such things are often swayed by their own personal convictions, of which religion plays a part.
This is where I feel it could potentially be misleading – everyone has a different background, and thus, may feel different about a certain issue, not just gays/lesbians. It’s hard to remain neutral and unbiased, but the fact is, if we let religion take a part in how we decide our political beliefs, we’re imposing that religious belief on others. Who’s to say one religion is better than another? That’s always a subject of discussion for anyone, and wars have been fought over the simple matter of religion. It is not always a simple thing to remove one’s religious beliefs from their thought processes, and some would argue that it’s impossible. Fair enough. I try not to let my personal beliefs sway how I vote, and I try to vote in such a manner that I feel will benefit myself and my fellow man in the best way possible.
Wow. You’ve said enough in this one section to merit an article all by itself.
First of all, I have to ask you a question. Where does it say that we aren’t allowed to impose our religious beliefs on others? At what point did freedom OF religion become freedom FROM religion? There is nothing in the US Constitution or anywhere else that says everyone should be completely isolated from religious influences. Our nation was founded on the very opposite of that idea. There are books upon books that document the Christian influence on our founding fathers and the establishment of our nation.
Noah Webster, often considered the father of public education, said, “The religion that has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles … to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government … no truth is more evident to my mind than that Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
I think Mr. Webster would be among the many who would find it highly ironic that there are those among us who strongly oppose the political involvement of Christians in a system that was predominately established by Christians.
I don’t understand why you, or anyone for that matter, feel that our leaders or even the voters need to somehow remain completely unbiased and religion neutral when making decisions for the country as a whole. Our nation’s history is littered with the deeds of men and women who most certainly did not remain neutral yet managed to create the world’s most successful Republic and the freest nation the world has ever seen. It was their religious beliefs oftentimes that led directly to their involvement in the causes that led to change (from the patriots of the Revolution to MLK and the equal rights acts).
The truth is that governments are established to govern people. The government decides whether or not its citizens will live as free people or as an oppressed people. And governments, by the laws they establish, decide on how we are going to worship God – whether it be freely and in the open or hidden and under persecution. Governments also set the standard for morality by the laws that are enforced. The big question, however, is – by what standard are they going to govern?
You see, it is impossible to not legislate morality. After all, all legislation is someone’s morality. Our leaders and elected officials are not trying to separate their decision making process from their religious beliefs and opinions. They are, in fact, using their religious beliefs and opinions to help them determine what decisions they should make. And they should. Just over two hundred years ago Edmund Burke pointed out with logical reasoning that elected officials have a basic right to act according to their own principles provided that, prior to being elected, they have explained to the electors their particular value system. We should expect them to do so. If they aren’t using their own principles than whose are they using? Whoever gives them the most money?
It’s not a matter of determining what religion is better than another. It should be assumed that each person would claim their religion to be the superior religion. Therefore, it should also be assumed that a person who believes a certain way or has a certain set of principles would seek out a candidate who shares those beliefs or values and will act accordingly upon taking office. That is precisely what democracy is all about.
To argue that one group of people (Christians perhaps) are imposing their beliefs on another group is folly. After all, the beliefs and principles of one group are always being imposed upon another group. If Christians do not attempt to elect Christian candidates who will pass laws that support the Biblical interpretation of an issue then they will instead be electing candidates who, by default, will be enacting laws that are most likely opposed to their Biblical teachings. Once again it’s a simple matter of logic.
All the rhetoric aside, let’s put religion on the back burner for a moment. Let’s look at this from a political point of view. Now, the supreme law of the land is the U.S. Constitution (politically and legally speaking). Under this Constitution, we all are accorded rights that our founding fathers deemed non-negotiable, basic rights and liberties.
First, is the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. That is a basic right – we have the freedom to life and work and do as we please, insofar as we do not infringe on other’s abilities to do so. I’m sure you know where I’m headed, but please bear with me for a moment.
That basic right above this sentence, is accorded to EVERY U.S. citizen. It’s a freedom we often take for granted. We pursue our everyday life, tasks, and doings in such a way that makes us happy, and we have that freedom to do so.
Now, the homosexual community – last I checked – are also citizens of the U.S. They too, have those rights. They too, deserve the freedom to pursue their happiness, and live their lives as they see fit. Marriage happens to be one of the things they wish to do, and that’s something they have a right to do. Who am I to deny them that right? Why would I want to deny someone’s right to pursue their own happiness? I surely wouldn’t want someone else squelching my right to pursue my happiness, at the cost of their own religious beliefs.
To me, all the religious debate aside, I feel that denying them this liberty, is to give them a second class citizenship. I think it’s a slap in the face for them. They too, are taxpaying citizens, who support our government, and our government is telling them that they can’t enter a legally binding civil union or marriage? That, to me, is a hard pill to swallow, and I’m not even a member of the gay/lesbian community.
The right to the “pursuit of happiness” is not an all encompassing freedom. There are many examples of things that the government prohibits us from doing for various reasons that one could argue infringes upon our “pursuit of happiness.” You can’t simply say we all have a right to pursue whatever makes us happy then say that right automatically gives homosexuals the right to marry.
Throughout human history, in all kinds of cultures and major religions, marriage has always (until recently) been defined as the union between a man and a woman. The concept is so predominately universal that no one ever thought that marriage would need to be defined by law or that its very definition could be accused of infringing someone’s pursuit of happiness.
But the truth is that marriage is both a religious partnership as well as a legal partnership. You could put aside the religious part of the equation but you’d still have to deal with the legal part of it. You ask the question, “Who am I to deny them (homosexuals) that right?” But, as I’ve already demonstrated, law is always the imposition of the will of some of the people on the others. Do you think everyone in the South was happy about the Equal Rights Amendments? Yet the will of some people were imposed upon the will of others.
Those who support the definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman have a long history of precedent behind them to support their claim that marriage should stay the same way it has always been. Opening up the definition of marriage to additional interpretations would almost certainly be opening a Pandora’s Box. If marriage can now be defined as the union of two men to each other or two women to each other what would stop different groups from petitioning to have even more definitions added? Why not allow three women to be married? How about two men and an underage girl? What about a man and an animal? By that reasoning it would seem illogical to suggest that our current laws should be changed to accommodate a small segment of our population no matter how vocal they may be.
And I know that you and many other people reading this are thinking that my comparisons of a homosexual couple wanting to get married to a man and an animal getting married is ludicrous, yet it wasn’t so long ago that the very notion of a same-sex marriage was equally ludicrous. If what was considered ludicrous only maybe a generation ago is now to become law, what will happen a generation from now with what is considered ludicrous today?
Speaking as a Christian I am also concerned with what could happen to my rights if homosexual marriage were made into law. In Canada and in some European countries, speaking against homosexual practices and same-sex marriage is now classified as a hate-crime. Is it possible for that to happen here? If same-sex marriages are made legal, how long will it be before I am no longer allowed to speak out against the homosexual lifestyle as I believe the Bible tells me to do? How long before the vocal minority begins to assert their new found rights and begin to slap lawsuits on preachers who stand behind the pulpit and preach sermons where they read from the Bible the scriptures that say homosexuality is wrong? Talking about the shoe now being on the other foot…
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot for a second. Let’s suppose, for a moment, that they heterosexual community was the minority and that the homosexual people are the dudes/dudettes in charge. They say we can’t get married, because our “sexual orientation” is immoral, that it’s wrong, and that we shouldn’t be thinking in such a way. I don’t know about you, but I’d fight for my right to get married too, if such a situation was presented to me.
I believe I’ve made a logical case for why I believe the way I do. I believe your argument here to be an irrelevant argument. We could do a thought exercise as you suggest and perhaps some heterosexual people would change their opinions. Unfortunately, it’s just not the same thing. Nature itself provides the basis for what societies throughout history have predominately considered “normal” sexual practices and behavior. A world where the homosexual community is the majority could never exist because homosexuals cannot procreate without artificial means. That’s what I mean by nature providing the basis.
It has always seemed odd to me that people who claim same-sex attraction claim it is in their genetic makeup. These people are often people who do not believe the Bible and claim evolution as their belief system. But wouldn’t a genetic trait that prevented its members from reproducing eventually fade away through evolution? How could it be passed on to offspring prior to the invention of artificial procreation? Wouldn’t a vast majority of the individuals who possessed the gene simply die before the gene was passed on thereby eventually eliminating the trait?
At any rate, I hope I have explained myself thoroughly. I have attempted to argue my positions as completely and as respectfully as possible. However, I have not changed my opinions as a result of your arguments.