The University…open debate? Academic freedom? The great market of ideas?
It used to be, but no longer. For most universities today, indoctrination in political correctness (interpreted total liberal leftist ideas) is the only thing on the menu.
This is a fascinating video, that needs to be seen discussed and acted upon.
Warning! Watch with caution as there is some raw language in the video.
John Meacham, the editor of Newsweek in commenting about Lisa Miller’s article shows just how irresponsible Newsweek has become as a news organization. Sadly, the misrepresentation and methods of irrational discourse create a more hostile environment. When people can no longer reason rationally what is left is emotional appeal, anger, hardening of heart, and eventually violence. We are seeing this kind of escalation in our culture now and it will only get worse.
I will review several of his points and point out how he sets the stage for an irrational form of discourse and false attacks. You can read his comments in full here.
After some obligatory comments, Meacham makes this blanket statement:
“Briefly put, the Judeo-Christian religious case for supporting gay marriage begins with the recognition that sexual orientation is not a choice—a matter of behavior—but is as intrinsic to a person’s makeup as skin color. The analogy with race is apt, for Christians in particular long cited scriptural authority to justify and perpetuate slavery with the same certitude that some now use to point to certain passages in the Bible to condemn homosexuality and to deny the sacrament of marriage to homosexuals.”
What Meacham in one simple statement has done is unjustifiably set the groundwork of the discussion with no proof either from science or the Bible. If one were to accept this presupposition, then all argumentation would already be over, and the conclusions he seeks would already be accepted. It might be equivalent to a flat-earth creationist saying that the Christian discussion begins with the fact that God only works in two dimensions.
The very idea of “sexual orientation” as an identity issue is foreign to biblical revelation, therefore a Bible-believing Christian should at the very least be highly skeptical of a position that sets this as the groundwork of discussion. As I posted earlier, in the book Marriage on Trial, by Glenn T. Stanton and Dr. Bill Maier, published by IVP press in 2004. On p.15 they discuss the difference in attitudes on this issue historically in America as described by Mark Steyn, in the Chicago Sun-Times in an article entitled “There’s No Stopping Them Now”
“Steyn explains that historically, moral concern for sexual activity between two persons of the same sex was identified as sodomy, an act. And an act is what it is. You can either think it is a good idea or you can think it is bad. Either way, it’s very objective. It’s what someone does. Then, Styen explains, in the late nineteenth century the act was re-described as a condition of certain persons, and it was termed ‘homosexuality’ – a condition a person is in. Next, a few decades ago homosexuality got upgraded again, now referring to a person’s very identity, so that we now identify people as being or not being ‘gay’. Now it describes who a person is. Steyn explains: ‘Each formulation raises the stakes: One can object to and even criminalize an act; one is obligated to be sympathetic toward a condition; but once it’s a fully-fledged 24/7 identity, like being Hispanic or Inuit, anything less than wholehearted acceptance gets you marked down as a bigot.’ This is where so many good people get stuck. If being gay is a person’s identity, how can you object to what they do without objecting to who they are? We find ourselves torn between our desire to treat other people as we would want to be treated, the golden rule, and our un-comfortableness with homosexuality. Thus we seem to have one foot on the dock and other on the boat heading out for sea.”
I challenge John Meacham or any other to show where any Biblical author recognizes “sexual orientation” as some form of acceptable God-created condition of being. If it is God created, then by definition (Genesis 1) it is good, and should be recognized this way somewhere in the God-breathed scriptures. The Bible speaks of homosex behavior always in a very negative manner. At the most Scripture would recognize homosex desires as a sinful fallen “condition”, but nowhere do the scriptures speak of a “sexual orientation” as an innate God-given quality.
If the Bible does not indicate a “sexual orientation”, does science help? As I have indicated in a blog entry before, The American Psychiatric Association states in their Fact Sheet on Sexual Orientation (2000) that “there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality”. Three major scientific studies set out for the stated purpose of proving that homosexuality was genetic – Dr. Simon LeVay and the study of the INAH-3 in the hypothalamus, Dr. Richard Pillard and Michael Bailey’s twin study, and Dr. Gene Hamer and the Xq28 chromosome study. Despite the fact that when the results of these studies were released, some news sources stated that the studies proved that homosexuality was genetic, the reality is that the authors of the three studies stated emphatically that their research did not conclude that there was an identifiable “gay gene”. These studies had the goal of proving a “gay gene” but found there to be no conclusive evidence of such. Remember, these were not objective studies, but ones attempting to prove what they presupposed, and still they could not do so. Even if sometime in the future there could be found some kind of genetic predisposition, it would still not show “homosexual identity” but only a condition, much like alcoholism (to which there is evidence of a genetic predisposition). Therefore, the issue is nothing like “skin color”.
If the Bible does not support his contention of a starting point of sexual orientation and neither does science, what possible ground does Mr. Meacham have for contending that “…the Judeo-Christian religious case for supporting gay marriage begins with the recognition that sexual orientation is not a choice—a matter of behavior—but is as intrinsic to a person’s makeup as skin color”? My contention is that he has no ground for doing so whatsoever. Rather, this is an attempt set the foreground of the discussion so that the conclusions he desires are inevitable. This is a dishonest and irrational methodology that destroys social discourse rather than creating it.
We cannot look to the Bible as a marriage manual, but we can read it for universal truths as we struggle toward a more just future. The Bible offers inspiration and warning on the subjects of love, marriage, family and community. It speaks eloquently of the crucial role of families in a fair society and the risks we incur to ourselves and our children should we cease trying to bind ourselves together in loving pairs.
I have to entirely disagree with her on the first part of this statement. I believe that the Bible is an excellent and infallible source as a “marriage manual”. God’s Word clearly lays out for us what marriage is to look like…what is out of bounds…and how to make marriage all that God intended for it.
I finally found a portion of a sentence with which Ms. Miller and I are in agreement. The Bible is certainly a terrific source for universal truths as we struggle toward a more just future. Part of that more just future, is to help people who are struggling with same-sex desires find some level of healing, not subject them to a sinful and broken lifestyle. She is also right about the Bible giving us inspiration and warnings about marriage, family and community. It also speaks with fervor that all are sinful, lost, and separated from God and deserving of God’s wrath. But that God has made a way of reconciliation by placing the penalty of sin on Jesus Christ (the one and only Son of God) and raising him bodily from the dead. We can now be reconciled to God, but only through grace, by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Somehow Ms. Miller seems to have neglected that very prominent message in the Bible.
Gay men like to point to the story of passionate King David and his friend Jonathan, with whom he was “one spirit” and whom he “loved as he loved himself.” Conservatives say this is a story about a platonic friendship, but it is also a story about two men who stand up for each other in turbulent times, through violent war and the disapproval of a powerful parent. David rends his clothes at Jonathan’s death and, in grieving, writes a song:
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
You were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
More wonderful than that of women.
Here, the Bible praises enduring love between men. What Jonathan and David did or did not do in privacy is perhaps best left to history and our own imaginations.
Now, Ms. Miller goes back to completely misrepresenting the biblical evidence. David has clear sexual immorality issues, and the Bible is not shy about pointing those out and condemning those sins. This also shows a very clear misunderstanding and misrepresentation of ancient near-east relationships between men.
It also requires me to ask, “why must good caring relationships be sexualized?” It is quite popular to do so in our current culture of Western modernity and that is a real shame. This is also a very popular method used by the pro-homosex defenders to normalize a deviant behavior. In years past, it was suggested that this was true of Abraham Lincoln and others, without a shred of evidence. If it can be implied that someone others respect might be engaged in homosex, then the suggestion is that the behavior can be seen as normal. Ms Miller is right that the Bible represents David and Jonathon’s relationship as one of enduring love, but nowhere is it hinted that there was anything sexual. The Biblical writers had no problem condemning David for marital infidelity, why would they have a problem with doing so in the more biblically heinous area of homosex? They would not, and therefore it did not happen.
In addition to its praise of friendship and its condemnation of divorce, the Bible gives many examples of marriages that defy convention yet benefit the greater community. The Torah discouraged the ancient Hebrews from marrying outside the tribe, yet Moses himself is married to a foreigner, Zipporah. Queen Esther is married to a non-Jew and, according to legend, saves the Jewish people. Rabbi Arthur Waskow, of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia, believes that Judaism thrives through diversity and inclusion. “I don’t think Judaism should or ought to want to leave any portion of the human population outside the religious process,” he says. “We should not want to leave [homosexuals] outside the sacred tent.” The marriage of Joseph and Mary is also unorthodox (to say the least), a case of an unconventional arrangement accepted by society for the common good. The boy needed two human parents, after all.
I am not sure what Ms. Miller’s point is here. The Old Testament clearly allowed and in fact called on Israel to be a blessing to the nations. It was also expected that many from other nations would come and join with Israelites and “stream to the mountain of God” to hear the truth and be converted. Inviting and inclusive of everyone, is not to lower the bar of sexual immorality. There was no concept of homosexuality as an identity, because the Bible (as God’s final and full revelation) does not recognize this as an “identity”. As Genesis clearly indicates and Jesus affirms, humans are created in the image of God, man and woman, and the two are to be united (in marriage) as one flesh. This is a part of being created in the image of God. Nowhere is there even the slightest hint that humans are to have sexual intimacy any other way, allowable and seen as good by God. No one is being left out. All are called to be reconciled to God, but not so that they can continue on in sexual immorality. There is always accompanied a call to repent, be reconciled to God, and to partner with the Holy Spirit in the work of sanctification. Humans are never recognized as “homosexual” as an identity in the Bible, but rather homosex is seen as an abominable “activity”. There is probably some room as viewing homosexuality as a condition (a person being trapped in a cyclical pattern of sin) biblically.
What precisely is “unorthodox” about Joseph and Mary and their marriage? I hope that she is indicating the virgin birth, but because of her extremely liberal stance on the homosexual issue and her constant misrepresentation of Scripture, I am more inclined to believe that she is insinuating something else.
In the Christian story, the message of acceptance for all is codified. Jesus reaches out to everyone, especially those on the margins, and brings the whole Christian community into his embrace. The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, cites the story of Jesus revealing himself to the woman at the well— no matter that she had five former husbands and a current boyfriend—as evidence of Christ’s all-encompassing love. The great Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann, emeritus professor at Columbia Theological Seminary, quotes the apostle Paul when he looks for biblical support of gay marriage: “There is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ.” The religious argument for gay marriage, he adds, “is not generally made with reference to particular texts, but with the general conviction that the Bible is bent toward inclusiveness.”
- The woman at the well was told by Jesus to “go and sin no more”. What we don’t have is… I accept you no matter what, so go and continue to live in sin with as many husbands as you like. Yet this is what Ms. Miller wants us to receive from this episode. This type of overlooking or misrepresentation of the text is what is most heinous in her article. Why would you leave this out? Why not at least acknowledge this? The woman recognized her sinfulness and sinful behavior. She never says, thank you Lord for accepting me as a “serial sexual law-breaker” and not asking me to change. Jesus calls us to come as we are and find salvation and acceptance in him, but he does not then leave us in that same situation. Part of the coming to Christ is recognizing our own sins and sinful bent, not justifying ourselves and saying this is who I am and always will be.
- A bend of inclusiveness for all does not mean a lowering of the bar on anything the Bible calls sin, let alone something that the Bible holds out as utterly heinous.
- Where does this inclusivity end? Doesn’t Jesus also include pedophile’s, murderers, thieves, and drunkards? Why should they be excluded? If not excluded, why should they repent of their sins, and not find shelter in an identity with their sin?
- The inclusive argument is absolutely ridiculous when applied to something the Bible consistently and without exception considers a sin. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense in regards to social class, sexes, and religious barriers. The message is that all are welcome and all are included, without the bar of what is considered a sin being lowered on iota. All are called to repent and be reconciled to God, no matter what sinful behavior you were formerly involved in. Come and be reconciled to God.
The practice of inclusion, even in defiance of social convention, the reaching out to outcasts, the emphasis on togetherness and community over and against chaos, depravity, indifference—all these biblical values argue for gay marriage. If one is for racial equality and the common nature of humanity, then the values of stability, monogamy and family necessarily follow. Terry Davis is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hartford, Conn., and has been presiding over “holy unions” since 1992. “I’m against promiscuity—love ought to be expressed in committed relationships, not through casual sex, and I think the church should recognize the validity of committed same-sex relationships,” he says.
Still, very few Jewish or Christian denominations do officially endorse gay marriage, even in the states where it is legal. The practice varies by region, by church or synagogue, even by cleric. More progressive denominations—the United Church of Christ, for example—have agreed to support gay marriage. Other denominations and dioceses will do “holy union” or “blessing” ceremonies, but shy away from the word “marriage” because it is politically explosive. So the frustrating, semantic question remains: should gay people be married in the same, sacramental sense that straight people are? I would argue that they should. If we are all God’s children, made in his likeness and image, then to deny access to any sacrament based on sexuality is exactly the same thing as denying it based on skin color—and no serious (or even semiserious) person would argue that. People get married “for their mutual joy,” explains the Rev. Chloe Breyer, executive director of the Interfaith Center in New York, quoting the Episcopal marriage ceremony. That’s what religious people do: care for each other in spite of difficulty, she adds. In marriage, couples grow closer to God: “Being with one another in community is how you love God. That’s what marriage is about.”
More basic than theology, though, is human need. We want, as Abraham did, to grow old surrounded by friends and family and to be buried at last peacefully among them. We want, as Jesus taught, to love one another for our own good—and, not to be too grandiose about it, for the good of the world. We want our children to grow up in stable homes. What happens in the bedroom, really, has nothing to do with any of this. My friend the priest James Martin says his favorite Scripture relating to the question of homosexuality is Psalm 139, a song that praises the beauty and imperfection in all of us and that glorifies God’s knowledge of our most secret selves: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” And then he adds that in his heart he believes that if Jesus were alive today, he would reach out especially to the gays and lesbians among us, for “Jesus does not want people to be lonely and sad.” Let the priest’s prayer be our own.
The American Psychiatric Association states in their Fact Sheet on Sexual Orientation (2000) that “there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality”. Three major scientific studies set out for the stated purpose of proving that homosexuality was genetic – Dr. Simon LeVay and the study of the INAH-3 in the hypothalamus, Dr. Richard Pillard and Michael Bailey’s twin study, and Dr. Gene Hamer and the Xq28 chromosome study. Despite the fact that when the results of these studies were released, some news sources stated that the studies proved that homosexuality was genetic, the reality is that the authors of the three studies stated emphatically that their research did not conclude that there was an identifiable “gay gene”. These studies had the goal of proving a “gay gene” but found there to be no conclusive evidence of such. Remember, these were not objective studies, but one’s attempting to prove what they presupposed, and still they could not do so.
Even if sometime in the future there could be found some kind of genetic predisposition, it would still not show “homosexual identity” but only a condition, much like alcoholism (to which there is evidence of a genetic predisposition). Therefore, the issue is nothing like “skin color”.
I absolutely agree with Ms. Miller, that we all “…want as Jesus taught to love one another for our own good…” The question is how do we truly love another? Are we really loving an alcoholic by claiming that alcoholism is good and encouraging a person in that lifestyle. Is it a loving culture that legalizes “gay marriage”, which the Bible understands as a horrendous sin against God and an activity that is ultimately destructive to the person engaged in the behavior?
I have no doubt that Jesus would reach out the gay and lesbian in our communities, as many in our churches are doing. Onebyone is a great example. We as Christians should be reaching out in love to those trapped by the deception of our culture in a destructive lifestyle. Reaching out in love means helping them see that they do not have to be trapped in this sinful lifestyle, but that there is love, grace, power and strength at the cross.
This is now my third installment of my response to Lisa Miller’s article. If I have not said anything positive about the article it is because I have yet to find anything of value in the article. One aspect of this article that distresses me greatly is the misrepresentation of evangelical exegesis and hermeneutics. She is either entirely ignorant of how evangelical scholars and even lay people interpret scriptures, or she simply wishes to paint all opposition as ignorant and homophobic. And I think the first part of the article I will be dealing with answers that question.
Religious objections to gay marriage are rooted not in the Bible at all, then, but in custom and tradition (and, to talk turkey for a minute, a personal discomfort with gay sex that transcends theological argument).
I believe that this is one of the nastiest forms of argumentation. First she wrongly concludes that objection to gay marriage is not rooted in the Bible, but rather in custom and tradition, but then as an aside attacks conservatives as having a “personal discomfort with gay sex”. This type of nasty backhanded attack is quite typical. Her argument is simple:
- The Bible does not object to gay marriage.
- Anyone who reads it will see this.
- Opponents of gay marriage who say it does are therefore homophobic bigots (this said in a backhanded way).
As I have shown, the objection to gay marriage is completely and fully rooted in Biblical revelation. The Bible is quite unequivocally clear. Nowhere is there even a hint that homosexual acts can be viewed positively in any way whatsoever.
Common prayers and rituals reflect our common practice: the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer describes the participants in a marriage as “the man and the woman.” But common practice changes—and for the better, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” The Bible endorses slavery, a practice that Americans now universally consider shameful and barbaric. It recommends the death penalty for adulterers (and in Leviticus, for men who have sex with men, for that matter). It provides conceptual shelter for anti-Semites. A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism. The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it’s impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours.
The reference to Martin Luther King Jr. here is for the purpose of making the debate about justice. This would only be true if homosexuality is in fact shown to be a positive genetic trait (such as the color of one’s skin), which science has clearly excluded. But in speaking of someone who wants to practice an act in this way does a disservice to Martin Luther King Jr. and all his accomplishments.
The Bible nowhere endorses slavery. Slavery is actually a fascinating exegetical issue in the Bible. Willard Swartley, Slavery Sabbath War and Women, points out how the Bible deals with the issue and the interpretational methodologies that are possible. I believe it would be accurate to say that the Bible accommodates certain forms of slavery (we usually think of slavery only within American history but this is not the form of slavery found in most Biblical texts) for different reasons and purposes throughout very sinful and violent eras for purposes of justice and compassion. The Bible never would have accommodated the American forms of slavery. Yet, accommodation is not approval, and the swing of Biblical revelation is toward freedom of slaves and the removal of this institution and any that disgrace the image of God in humans (just as I would argue a defense of homosexuality as an identity does).
Lisa Miller also mentions the death penalty for adulterers in Leviticus. There is a clear distinction between national Israel and the laws for a nation, and the Christian church which has no nationality. Much can be written on this, but suffice it to say that the Christian church does not adopt civil punishments for moral law breakers, but rather calls on them to repent and be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, who pays their penalty for sin. We do not remove or lessen moral requirements, but we do not instigate civil punishments either.
The Biblical world is much like and much unlike ours. In a moral way it is much like ours. All of the moral depravities that were quite popular in the different biblical eras are still popular and with us today, but more so. Ms. Miller’s arguments continue to be ad hominem and of no value.
Marriage, specifically, has evolved so as to be unrecognizable to the wives of Abraham and Jacob. Monogamy became the norm in the Christian world in the sixth century; husbands’ frequent enjoyment of mistresses and prostitutes became taboo by the beginning of the 20th. (In the NEWSWEEK POLL, 55 percent of respondents said that married heterosexuals who have sex with someone other than their spouses are more morally objectionable than a gay couple in a committed sexual relationship.) By the mid-19th century, U.S. courts were siding with wives who were the victims of domestic violence, and by the 1970s most states had gotten rid of their “head and master” laws, which gave husbands the right to decide where a family would live and whether a wife would be able to take a job. Today’s vision of marriage as a union of equal partners, joined in a relationship both romantic and pragmatic, is, by very recent standards, radical, says Stephanie Coontz, author of “Marriage, a History.”
Religious wedding ceremonies have already changed to reflect new conceptions of marriage. Remember when we used to say “man and wife” instead of “husband and wife”? Remember when we stopped using the word “obey”? Even Miss Manners, the voice of tradition and reason, approved in 1997 of that change. “It seems,” she wrote, “that dropping ‘obey’ was a sensible editing of a service that made assumptions about marriage that the society no longer holds.”
It is wonderful to know that Ms. Miller has such intimate details of the wives of Abraham and Jacob. She once again returns to her attack on marriage by arguing that sinful Abraham and Jacob had multiple wives and so marriage between one man and one woman should be dismantled. But instead of saying that we too should accommodate polygamy, she instead argues for something even the Bible never accommodates because of hardness of heart, because it so objectionable and an abomination before God. Arguing from accommodation and a cultural acceptability of sin is not a positive argument. For instance, the church in many parts of Africa continues to struggle with issues of polygamy. Why? Because many who are coming to faith in Jesus Christ and realizing that polygamy is wrong, are currently married to more than one wife. What are they to do? Divorce all but one? Is divorce a better option? Who will care for these women who do not have Western freedoms and opportunities?
Marriage can be difficult and messy, and can to differing degrees accommodate differing cultures. But adaptation with certain bounds does not mean allowing even what is considered heinous in scripture. Today there are many that prefer more traditional roles in marriage while others are much more egalitarian. Some still prefer the terms “obey” and “man and wife” in marriage ceremonies. Once again these are mere ad hominem attacks and are in no way exculpatory of marriage traditionally defined.
“In any case, one might add, Paul argued more strenuously against divorce—and at least half of the Christians in America disregard that teaching.” Lisa Miller, Newsweek article
I have just listened to NPR’s presentation with Lisa Miller and Albert Mohler on what the Bible teaches about “gay marriage”. She once again used the above argument to defend her position. Let us take a closer look at this argument:
- Paul argues strongly for life-long committed marriages and against divorce.
- At least half of Christians disregard this.
- Therefore, they should disregard Paul’s view of homosexual acts and allow gay marriage.
I wonder how well this argument works for other areas of moral failure?
- The Bible argues strongly against theft.
- Many Christians have at one time or another taken something that is not theirs (such as a pen from work).
- Therefore, we should affirm theft as a positive behavior trait.
The argument simply does not work.
Both Paul and Jesus allow for divorce in certain cases, even though it is never God’s ideal situation. It has often been summarized as divorce is allowed in the New Testament for reasons of infidelity and abandonment. There is still sin involved and moral failure that requires repentance and a contrite and humble heart. The church currently has a relatively weak response to divorce and the way we approach the issue certainly needs reconsideration, but this should never mean that we abandon all the ideals and moral views of divorce. Yet this is the position that Lisa Miller takes in her analogy of divorce and the biblical views of homosexual acts. The horrendous forms of argumentation that are used by the religious left to attack evangelical Christians should be seen for what it is: morally bankrupt.
I recently discovered a very good article on Politico that had me thinking on the marriage of Darwinianity and Global Warmism. Darwinianity as I have defined it earlier is the ludicrous unfounded belief (religion) in Darwinian Evolution despite all evidence to the contrary. There is another religion that is quite popular among the religious and political left and that is Global Warmism. The religious leader of this new religion is certainly Al Gore. I have been writing for years about the absurd and horrendous so-called “science” that is human caused global warming, and it seems that many scientists are now putting down the kool-aid and waking up to reality. A recent US Senate minority report indicates that there are 650 scientists from around the world that are indicating that this is all bovine excrement after all. The voice of skepticism is growing exponentially.
Yet despite all this, what do you hear from the major news organization? Nothing…they are too busy drinking the kool-aid. If Darwinianity is a religion (and I believe it is), then Global Warmism is more like a cult, with brain-washing in effect.
And theological liberals in mainline denominations continue to drink deeply from the fount of Darwin and one of the political crazes of the day – Global Warmism. They abandon Orthodox faith to replace it with a completely foreign religion. They sacrifice children at the idol of Darwin in order to reduce their carbon footprint (abortion) — I kid you not. They refer to Conservative Evangelical Christians as ignorant (often stupid) and foolish, while embibing deeply at the fount of modern insanities.
Human caused global warming is false. Darwinian evolution is false.
Here is the Politico article:
Scientists urge caution on global warming
Climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill are quietly watching a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation.
While the new Obama administration promises aggressive, forward-thinking environmental policies, Weather Channel co-founder Joseph D’Aleo and other scientists are organizing lobbying efforts to take aim at the cap-and-trade bill that Democrats plan to unveil in January.
So far, members of Congress have not been keen to publicly back the global cooling theory. But both senators from Oklahoma, Republicans Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe, have often expressed doubts about how much of a role man-made emissions play.
“We want the debate to be about science, not fear and hypocrisy. We hope next year’s wave of new politics means a return to science,” said Coburn aide John Hart. “It’s the old kind of politics that doesn’t consider any dissenting opinions.”
The global cooling lobby’s challenge is enormous. Next year could be the unfriendliest yet for climate skeptics. Already, House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) has lost his gavel, in part because his peers felt he was less than serious about tackling global warming.
The National Academy of Sciences and most major scientific bodies agree that global warming is caused by man-made carbon emissions. But a small, growing number of scientists, including D’Aleo, are questioning how quickly the warming is happening and whether humans are actually the leading cause.
Armed with statistics from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climate Data Center, D’Aleo reported in the 2009 Old Farmer’s Almanac that the U.S. annual mean temperature has fluctuated for decades and has only risen 0.21 degrees since 1930 — which he says is caused by fluctuating solar activity levels and ocean temperatures, not carbon emissions.
Data from the same source shows that during five of the past seven decades, including this one, average U.S. temperatures have gone down. And the almanac predicted that the next year will see a period of cooling.
“We’re worried that people are too focused on carbon dioxide as the culprit,” D’Aleo said. “Recent warming has stopped since 1998, and we want to stop draconian measures that will hurt already spiraling downward economics. We’re environmentalists and conservationists at heart, but we don’t think that carbon is responsible for hurricanes.”
D’Aleo’s organization, the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project, is collaborating on the campaign with the Cooler Heads Coalition, a subgroup of the National Consumer Coalition with members including Americans for Tax Reform, the National Center for Policy Analysis and Citizens for a Sound Economy.
More than 31,000 scientists across the world have signed the Global Warming Petition Project, a declaration started by a group of American scientists that states man’s impact on climate change can’t be reasonably proven.
If the project gains traction, it might give skeptical lawmakers an additional weapon to fight cap-and-trade legislation to curtail greenhouse gases — a move they worry could damage the already fragile economy. At the least, congressional aides say, it could caution additional lawmakers from rushing into a hasty piece of legislation.
Many Hill skeptics have varying opinions on whether the earth’s temperature is warming more slowly than some environmentalists predict and how much man is actually contributing to it.
Inhofe’s staff has been steadily compiling a list of global cooling findings. And aides report that they have received countless e-mails from scientists worldwide supporting the theory. While Inhofe hasn’t indicated that he will move forward with the information anytime soon, his aides continue to compile it.
Republicans aren’t the only ones who are wary of hastily passing a greenhouse gas bill. Ten Democrats wrote to Senate leaders earlier this year, citing economic concerns as a key reason why they didn’t vote for the Senate’s cap-and-trade bill.
And despite Democrats’ pickups in the Senate this fall, several of the new Democrats are from conservative, energy-producing states and may not be supportive, either.
But congressional aides say it could be a long wait before lawmakers are comfortable pushing science that contradicts the global warming theory. And until the lobby gains traction, skeptics plan to continue pushing their ideas by arguing for protection of the economy, where they hope to meet middle ground with global warming supporters.
“Never underestimate the ability of Congress to offer nonsolutions to problems that do not exist,” said Marc Morano, communications director for the Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “We could spend weeks arguing the mounting scientific evidence refuting man-made warming fears,” he added, “but it’s the economic arguments that have the most immediate impact.”
At the Cato Institute, senior fellow Patrick Michaels, a contributing author of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said most of Washington is already too deeply entrenched in the global warming mantra to turn back.
“You can’t expect the scientific community to now come to Washington and say this isn’t a problem. Once the apocalypse begins to deliver research dollars, you don’t want to reverse it,” said Michaels. “Washington works by lurching from crisis to crisis.”
Despite the growing science, the world’s leading crusader on climate change, Al Gore, is unconcerned.
“Climate deniers fall into the same camp as people who still don’t believe we landed on the moon,” said the former vice president’s spokeswoman, Kalee Kreider. “We don’t think this should distract us from the reality.”
I will begin this 2nd portion of my review of Lisa Miller’s Newsweek article in defense of homosexual marriage by recommending a very good book on the issue entitled Marriage on Trial, by Glenn T. Stanton and Dr. Bill Maier, published by IVP press in 2004. On p.15 they discuss the difference in attitudes on this issue historically in America as described by Mark Steyn, in the Chicago Sun-Times in an article entitled “There’s No Stopping Them Now”
“Steyn explains that historically, moral concern for sexual activity between two persons of the same sex was identified as sodomy, an act. And an act is what it is. You can either think it is a good idea or you can think it is bad. Either way, it’s very objective. It’s what someone does. Then, Styen explains, in the late nineteenth century the act was redescribed as a condition of certain persons, and it was termed ‘homosexuality’ – a condition a person is in. Next, a few decades ago homosexuality got upgraded again, now referring to a person’s very identity, so that we now identify people as being or not being ‘gay’. Now it describes who a person is. Steyn explains: ‘Each formulation raises the stakes: One can object to and even criminalize an act; one is obligated to be sympathetic toward a condition; but once it’s a fully-fledged 24/7 identity, like being Hispanic or Inuit, anything less than wholehearted acceptance gets you marked down as a bigot.’ This is where so many good people get stuck. If being gay is a person’s identity, how can you object to what they do without objecting to who they are? We find ourselves torn between our desire to treat other people as we would want to be treated, the golden rule, and our uncomfortableness with homosexuality. Thus we seem to have one foot on the dock and other on the boat heading out for sea.”
This is a very good description of the dilemma that many Christians find themselves in today. We have allowed our perception of the issue to be drawn by our culture and those who are advocating for “gay rights”. Another important book on the issue is David Kupelian’s work entitled The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell us Corruption Disguised as Freedom. The terms of the discussion have already been stacked so that we cannot win on this issue. And it is from there that this author is now taking the attack directly at the church.
Once again I will be making my comments in blue and the article is in black. You can find part 1 of this blog entry posted on December 10th.
If the bible doesn’t give abundant examples of traditional marriage, then what are the gay-marriage opponents really exercised about? Well, homosexuality, of course—specifically sex between men.
Here is a fine example of the Straw man argument once again, an obvious favorite for Ms. Miller. Here is the line of reasoning (I use the term loosely):
1. The Bible does not give an adequate amount of examples of “traditional marriage”
2. Therefore, this must not be the real issue with opponents of gay marriage.
3. It therefore must be homosexuality in general.
4. By implication therefore, it is merely prejudice and bigotry.
Her first premise is clearly wrong. There are many Biblical examples of one man, one woman marriages, as well as examples of sinfulness and hardness of heart ( a great theme of the Bible, referred to in Reformed circles as total depravity). What seems to not register for Ms. Miller is the clear and unequivocal commands and requirements of scripture. Paul in Ephesians 5:33, makes it clear what a marriage relationship is to look like. The requirements of all church leaders are made clear on this issue, with no equivocation in 1 Timothy 3:2, 12 & Titus 1:6. When clear commands and directions are broken because of hardness of heart, this does not lower the bar, or eliminate the requirement.
Sex between women has never, even in biblical times, raised as much ire. In its entry on “Homosexual Practices,” the Anchor Bible Dictionary notes that nowhere in the Bible do its authors refer to sex between women, “possibly because it did not result in true physical ‘union’ (by male entry).”
Once again Ms. Miller is simply lying, confused or a terrible researcher. I am inclined to believe that she is a terrible researcher, not interested in providing a fair portrait of the issue, but only interested in furthering her own agenda. The major line of biblical attack by pro-homosexual marriage advocates has always been directed at Romans 1, because they know that Christians are most familiar with that section of scripture on this topic.
Paul writes in Romans 1:26-27 “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
Paul includes the women in first position as the more heinous of the act, in the exchange of natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. There is either a clear agenda here of painting a picture of traditionalists as extremely bigoted and fearful of the male homosexual act, or extreme biblical ignorance. Finding this in the context of this article as a whole, I am inclined to believe the former.
The Bible does condemn gay male sex in a handful of passages. Twice Leviticus refers to sex between men as “an abomination” (King James version), but these are throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world, a text that devotes verse after verse to treatments for leprosy, cleanliness rituals for menstruating women and the correct way to sacrifice a goat—or a lamb or a turtle dove. Most of us no longer heed Leviticus on haircuts or blood sacrifices; our modern understanding of the world has surpassed its prescriptions. Why would we regard its condemnation of homosexuality with more seriousness than we regard its advice, which is far lengthier, on the best price to pay for a slave?
Dr. Gagnon does an excellent job of presenting a thorough refutation on this in his response to this Newsweek article, so I will not go into great detail on this. Only to say that this too does a great disservice to how the church has understood Biblical hermeneutics and interpretation throughout the centuries. Holiness codes in sexual behavior have shown not only continuity throughout both testaments, but the New Testament often increases the requirement. Much of Leviticus 18 focuses on incest, which was popular in the ancient near-eastern cultures of Moses’ day. Would Ms. Miller be willing to allow incestuous marriages? How about child sacrifices…that restriction was for past ignorant people, why don’t we start that again (ooops…it looks like we already are in a slightly different form in abortion clinics, sacrificing children to the God of selfish convenience)? How about Leviticus 19:18, referred to by Jesus as the 2nd greatest commandment – Love your neighbor as yourself? Should we be rid of that idea as a “throwaway” line.
When it comes to understanding Old Testament Laws, there are three simple rules, put as questions that are traditionally followed in application of them today
#1 Is the law/regulation repeated, clarified or enforced in the New Testament?
#2 Is there a fulfillment aspect in Jesus Christ? Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” It is in Jesus Christ as the Gospel of John and the book of Hebrews make clear that we find that ultimate rest for our souls, so there is fulfillment of the Sabbath law. It is in Jesus Christ that we find fulfillment of the food laws and many of the purity laws (inner holiness) because we are clothed with his righteousness at the time of conversion.
#3 Are there allowances in the law because of the hardness of our hearts, therefore we should not look for loopholes – this applies directly to sexual purity laws and marriage relationships. Jesus in Matthew 19:8 makes it clear that Moses allowed divorce in the law because of the hardness of people’s hearts, not as a normative loose loophole.
Paul was tough on homosexuality, though recently progressive scholars have argued that his condemnation of men who “were inflamed with lust for one another” (which he calls “a perversion”) is really a critique of the worst kind of wickedness: self-delusion, violence, promiscuity and debauchery. In his book “The Arrogance of Nations,” the scholar Neil Elliott argues that Paul is referring in this famous passage to the depravity of the Roman emperors, the craven habits of Nero and Caligula, a reference his audience would have grasped instantly. “Paul is not talking about what we call homosexuality at all,” Elliott says. “He’s talking about a certain group of people who have done everything in this list. We’re not dealing with anything like gay love or gay marriage. We’re talking about really, really violent people who meet their end and are judged by God.” In any case, one might add, Paul argued more strenuously against divorce—and at least half of the Christians in America disregard that teaching.
Dr. Gagnon has an excellent and once again very thorough response to Neil Elliott’s article, which I will refer you to for further research. I will only say that Elliott’s creative exegesis is inaccurate and reads into the text assumptions that are simply not there. Simply because there are examples of a more egregious nature in Gentile national leadership does not mean that this is what Paul is referring to. It also takes these verses of Paul in Romans completely out of context. Paul is laying out the complete argument that all are guilty and sinful before God (this being one very important example) and are therefore without excuse. All will be judged as guilty and only those who by faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ, the only way to be justified before a holy God, will be found justified. In context Paul is in fact, speaking about homosexual behavior of an example of depraved idolatry and where sin leads. Elliott is clearly wrong when the text is read in context.
I will post the final part of this review in the next few days.
Harry Frankfurt has written a fascinating little book, which I have been mulling over, called “On Bull%#@^” On pp.42-43 he writes this:
“When we characterize talk as hot air, we mean that what comes out of the speaker’s mouth is only that. It is mere vapor. His speech is empty, without substance or content. His use of language, accordingly, does not contribute to the purpose it purports to serve. No more information is communicated than if the speaker had merely exhaled. There are similarities between hot air and excrement, incidentally, which make hot air seem an especially suitable equivalent for bull#^%. Just as hot air is speech that has been emptied of all informative content, so excrement is matter from which everything nutritive has been removed. Excrement may be regarded as the corpse of nourishment, what remains when the vital elements in food have been exhausted. In this respect, excrement is a representation of death that we ourselves produce and that, indeed, we cannot help producing in the very process of maintaining our lives. Perhaps it is for making death so intimate that we find excrement so repulsive. In any event, it cannot serve the purposes of sustenance, any more than hot air can serve those of communication.”
It is from this understanding of bovine excrement and hot air that I would begin to address the movement of theological liberalism within mainline denominations (the PCUSA being one with which I am most familiar) and the wider culture. Even within modern evangelicalism an acceptance of deviant and destructive forms of theology seems to be on the rise. What seems so often to be wisdom at first glance turns out to simply be bovine excrement or hot air in disguise.
Not long ago I was informed about the so-called clergy letter project , a movement, mostly involving liberal mainline denominational leaders, formed to bring Darwinian evolution to full acceptance within the Christian churches. There are many dozens of Presbyterian pastors, along with pastors of all the mainline denominations that have signed on affirming this movement. They do so boldly, brazenly and often with the full acceptance of denominational leaders (many are denominational leaders). The utter illogic of affirming God as creator in a Theistic context alongside an affirmation of Darwinian evolution, which utterly rejects the need for an intelligent all-powerful creator is a perfect example of bovine excrement. Mind you, they are affirming Darwinian evolution and celebrating Darwin’s birthday (while at the same time many are actively demeaning Christ’s birthday), not affirming a form of theistic evolution. Some might term this as hypocrisy…others might indicate this is done out of ignorance or foolishness. Reading many of their writings, I am utterly convinced that their belief systems have nothing to do with historic orthodox Christianity, but everything to do with bovine excrement.
Excrement being the “corpse of nourishment” and a “representation of death”, so too is the hot air theology espoused by theological liberal Darwinianity. This is also true for a denomination that openly espouses that it has such a wide theological belief system that it wishes to include everyone from conservative historic believers to Darwinianists and even so-called Christian atheists. This by definition would be a place that a bull regularly wallows in its own excrement. While a church might at times produce excrement it certainly need not wallow in it. The dangers of wallowing in a “representation of death” is massive especially considering the fact that the church is called out to bring life (eternal life in Jesus Christ). Many solutions have been posited to the decline of the mainline churches and the PCUSA in particular. A recent proposal that has created a great deal of comment, both positive and negative is a restructuring giving greater control to the leaders of the larger churches in the denomination. While I find some positive aspects to this proposal, especially as it would activate those who might be more conservative in the denomination. In my opinion none of these proposals for renewal will work until we are willing to shovel out the bovine excrement. It is a dirty smelly job, but if it is not done, no one will want to worship because of the continued stench.
One section of his essay is especially insightful and exhaustive and I include it here:
Other Evidence for Jesus’ Negative Stance on Homosexual Practice
In addition to arguments already brought forward, the following ten factors confirm the case that Jesus was absolutely opposed to homosexual practice:
1. Jesus’ retention of the Law of Moses even on relatively minor matters such as tithing, to say nothing of a foundational law in sexual ethics; and his view of the Old Testament as inviolable Scripture, which Scripture was absolutely opposed to man-male intercourse.
2. Jesus’ further intensification of the Law’s sex-ethic in matters involving adultery of the heart and divorce (Matt 5:27-32), suggesting a closing of remaining loopholes in the Law’s sex-ethic rather than a loosening; also his saying about cutting off body parts, warning that people could be thrown into hell precisely for not repenting of violations of God’s sexual standards (Matt 5:29-30).
3. The fact that the man who baptized Jesus, John the Baptist, was beheaded for defending Levitical sex laws in the case of the adult-incestuous union between Herod Antipas and the ex-wife of his half-brother Philip, a woman who was also the daughter of another half-brother.
4. Early Judaism’s univocal opposition to all homosexual practice.
5. The early church’s united opposition to all homosexual practice (completing the circle and underscoring the absurdity of positing a pro-homosex Jesus without analogue in his historical context: cut off from his Scripture, from the rest of early Judaism, from the man who baptized him, and from the church that emerged from his teachings).
6. Jesus’ saying about the defiling effect of desires for various forms of sexual immoralities (Mark 7:21-23), which distinguished matters of relative moral indifference such as food laws from matters of moral significance such as the sexual commands of his Bible and connected Jesus to the general view of what constituted the worst forms of porneia in early Judaism (same-sex intercourse, incest, bestiality, adultery).
7. Jesus on the Decalogue prohibition of adultery, which in its Decalogue context and its subsequent interpretation in early Judaism as a rubric for the major sex laws of the Old Testament presupposed a male-female prerequisite for valid sexual bonds.
8. Jesus’ saying about Sodom (Matt 10:14-15 par. Luke 10:10-12), which, understood in the light of early Jewish interpretations of Sodom, probably included an indictment of Sodom for attempting to dishonor the integrity of the visitors’ masculinity by treating them as if they were the sexual counterparts to males.
9. Jesus’ saying about not giving what is “holy” to the “dogs” (Matt 7:6), an apparent allusion to Deuteronomic law (Deut 23:17-18) and texts in 1-2 Kings that indict the qedeshim, self-designated “holy ones” identified as “dogs” for their attempt to erase their masculinity by serving as the passive-receptive partners in man-male intercourse.
10. The fact that Jesus appropriated the context of the “love your neighbor” command in Lev 19:18 by insisting on reproof as part of a full-orbed view of love (Luke 17:3-4; cf. Lev 19:17: reprove your neighbor lest you incur guilt for failing to warn him); and defined discipleship to him as taking up one’s cross, denying oneself, and losing one’s life (Mark 8:34-37; Matt 10:38-39; Luke 14:27; 17:33; John 12:25), indicating Jesus’ willingness to make hard demands of people.
The idea that the historical Jesus provides any basis for affirming homosexual unions represents revisionist history at its worst.
Here is how Dr. Gagnon ends his response:
Lisa Miller’s article is so poorly researched and so badly (and arrogantly) argued that the editors of Newsweek should be ashamed of themselves for publishing it. But they are not ashamed. In fact, managing editor Jon Meacham sets up Miller’s cover story in his “Editor’s Desk” column by writing:
No matter what one thinks about gay rights—for, against or somewhere in between —this conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism. Given the history of the making of the Scriptures and the millennia of critical attention scholars and others have given to the stories and injunctions that come to us in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament, to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt—it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition.
Let’s see if I understand this: Basing one’s views on the overwhelming witness of Scripture regarding an important issue of sexual ethics, including the teaching of Jesus—a witness understood, of course, in its historical and literary contexts—is “unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition”? Does Meacham not realize that obedience to scriptural authority and the teaching of Jesus is precisely how “the great Judeo-Christian tradition” formulated its theology since its inception? And how is a negation of appeals to scriptural authority consistent with the subheading for Miller’s article: “Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side”? So as an alternative to submitting to the overwhelming witness of Scripture on moral issues, which includes the voice of Jesus, believers should prefer the sloppy moral reasoning of people like Meacham and Miller?
Here is Meacham’s whole case in a nutshell: “Briefly put, the Judeo-Christian religious case for supporting gay marriage begins with the recognition that sexual orientation is not a choice—a matter of behavior—but is as intrinsic to a person’s makeup as skin color.” Miller makes a similar simplistic observation: “If we are all God’s children, made in his likeness and image, then to deny access to any sacrament based on sexuality is exactly the same thing as denying it based on skin color.”
The alleged analogy is wrongheaded for two main reasons. First, race is very different from “sexual orientation.” Race or ethnicity is a non-emotive condition that is 100% heritable, absolutely immutable, primarily nonbehavioral, and thus inherently benign. Homosexual “orientation”—which is no more than the directedness of sexual urges at a given period in a person’s life—is an impulse that is not 100% heritable (i.e. no purely deterministic mechanism for homosexual development has been discovered but at most only congenital or early childhood risk factors), is open to some change (i.e. certainly at least the raising or lowering of the intensity of impulses; if the Kinsey Institute is to be believed, some limited movement along the Kinsey spectrum from 0 to 6 is normal over time), is primarily behavioral (i.e. it is a desire to do something), and therefore cannot be regarded as inherently benign.
Second, as even two prominent, homosexualist researchers of congenital causation factors for homosexual development have acknowledged:
Despite common assertions to the contrary, evidence for biological causation does not have clear moral, legal, or policy consequences. To assume that it does logically requires the belief that some behavior is non-biologically caused. We believe that this assumption is irrational because … all behavioral differences will on some level be attributable to differences in brain structure or process. Thus, no clear conclusions about the morality of a behavior can be made from the mere fact of biological causation, because all behavior is biologically caused…. Any genes found to be involved in determining sexual orientation will likely only confer a predisposition rather than definitively cause homosexuality or heterosexuality. (my emphasis; Brian S. Mustanski and J. Michael Bailey, “A therapist’s guide to the genetics of human sexual orientation,” Sexual and Relationship Therapy 18:4 : 432)
This is a fairly elementary moral point but Meacham and Miller miss it completely. Studies have shown that it is a cross-cultural (and cross-species) phenomenon that males find monogamy considerably more difficult than females (certainly due in part to high testosterone levels in males). Since men don’t ask to think about sex so often throughout the weak and don’t ask to be sexually aroused by the sight of beautiful women whom they know nothing about, shouldn’t society dispense with the monogamy principle for men? Isn’t a “polysexual” orientation “as intrinsic to [most men’s] makeup as skin color”? It is certainly not a “choice.” So why not promote committed, consensual sexual relationships with more than one person concurrently? Should we not rather reflect on the words of Dr. Fred Berlin, founder of the Sexual Disorders Clinic at Johns Hopkins, on another sexual orientation? “The biggest misconception about pedophilia is that someone chooses to have it…. It’s not anyone’s fault that they have it, but it’s their responsibility to do something about it…. We’ve learned that you can successfully treat people with pedophilia, but you cannot cure them.” Few immoral impulses, sexual or otherwise, are matters of “choice” in the strict sense. So it makes no sense to formulate a moral argument based on an absence of choice as regards the mere experience of an impulse. “No clear conclusions about the morality of a behavior can be made from the mere fact of biological causation, because all behavior is biologically caused.”
Meacham, consistent with Miller’s article, then adds: “The analogy with race is apt, for Christians in particular long cited scriptural authority to justify and perpetuate slavery with the same certitude that some now use to point to certain passages in the Bible to condemn homosexuality and to deny the sacrament of marriage to homosexuals.” In this faulty line of reasoning Meacham is asserting that it doesn’t matter whether or not an alleged analogy is in fact an accurate exegesis and application of Scripture. The only thing that matters is that an analogy was attempted, which makes all “similar” analogies wrong, even those that do accurately interpret Scripture. In short, Meacham’s (and Miller’s) reasoning treats as functional equivalents both inaccurate interpretations of Scripture and accurate interpretations of Scripture—an absurd view.
Meacham stumbles on: “This argument from Scripture is difficult to take seriously—though many, many people do—since the passages in question are part and parcel of texts that, with equal ferocity, forbid particular haircuts.” No, the forbidding of certain hairstyles is not approached in Scripture with “equal ferocity”—nor with equal pervasiveness across Scripture, the same backing from Jesus, the same absoluteness, and the same countercultural force. Any attempt to compare Scripture’s stance on a male-female prerequisite for sexual relations with its stance on “haircuts” shows the complete “intellectual bankruptcy” of the formulator of the argument. Meacham and Miller also make a comparison with the use of Scripture to promote anti-Semitism, which is absurd given that Jesus, Paul, and virtually the whole of the early church leadership consisted of Jews. Even the comparison with attempts to use Scripture to devalue women runs up against the numerous positive references to women and women’s roles in Scripture. Relative to the ancient Near East or Greco-Roman world the views expressed in Scripture toward women and women’s roles appear positive. But, again, as regards homosexual practice, Scripture’s views are more negative than the surrounding cultures. Scripture’s liberating message there involves freedom from enslavement to homosexual desires and behaviors. To claim that Scripture is opposed to Jews and women in a manner comparable to its opposition to homosexual practice is be either ignorant or disingenuous in one’s reasoning.
The question must be asked: What is it with the “elite” newspapers and newsmagazines over the past decade? Are they so obsessed with promoting the homosexualist agenda that they have now given up even a pretense to objectivity, balanced research, and good sense? Do they care nothing for destroying their reputation, built up over many years, as credible sources for news and commentary? These news sources are more and more resembling a homosexualist Pravda—a different agenda but the same style of propaganda “news” reporting that would make the old Kremlin leadership proud.
We should, of course, continue to dialogue with homosexualist advocates like Miller and Meacham. However, their support for a homosexualist ideology is so brazen and offensive in its blatant misinformation—obviously they are very angry about the passage of Proposition 8 in California—that subscribers to Newsweek should give serious consideration to canceling their subscription. For such homosexualist zealots as Miller and Meacham, reasoned argumentation is unlikely to have any major impact. They will understand the language of money, though. It is clear that, ultimately, Miller and Meacham have little desire to make responsible arguments about the merits of moral appeals to Scripture (their refusal to consider any major argument against their position is evidence enough of this). They have only one objective; namely, to intimidate Jews and Christians who appeal to Scripture for their opposition to homosexual practice. Such persons must either shut up or else be treated as the ignorant religious bigots that Miller and Meacham claim them to be.
A final note: Should believers work to prevent government from foisting the homosexualist agenda on the population? Yes, very definitely so. The withholding of governmental incentives for homosexual practice is as much a civil issue as society’s prohibition of incest and polygamy (even of an adult, consensual sort). As Jesus argued, it is the twoness of the sexes that is the foundation for the limitation of the number of partners in a sexual union to two (bringing together the two primary sexes makes a third party both unnecessary and undesirable). And incest is prohibited in Scripture on the basis of the principle that too much structural (embodied, formal) sameness (here, as regards kinship) is problematic for sexual relationships—a principle established by the prior prohibition of sexual relations between persons too much alike in gender or sex. Paul made use of a nature argument in Romans 1:24-27, for those who don’t know (or don’t care) what Scripture says, alongside of an echo to Genesis 1:26-27. Both Jews and Christians in antiquity viewed the prohibitions of same-sex intercourse, incest, adultery, and bestiality as applicable beyond the sphere of God’s people. Today’s people of God should take the same view.
I will complete my own response to this Newsweek article in the next installment.
The cover story of this week’s Newsweek is on gay marriage, entitled “Our Mutual Joy”, by Lisa Miller. The article is full of so many distortions, bad hermeneutics, and out and out lies that I had to write an assessment of the article. My analysis can also be a helpful lesson in Biblical interpretation and critical/logical thinking. I will be quoting the entire article with my notes in blue.
Let’s try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does.
This is wonderful. Where will you start? Will it be the creation account – Genesis 2:24, where we get, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Or will she begin with Jesus’ restatement of this in Matthew 19: 4-6, where Jesus is being tested over the issue of divorce by some Pharisees, “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Or will she choose Paul’s reaffirmation of this in Ephesians 3:31, where he discusses the sacrificial love a man is to have for wife and how it should be like Jesus’ love for his church.
Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists.
Wow! There is clearly no agenda here. Just because we find sinful behaviors that the Bible clearly condemns among sinful leaders, does not mean that these are held up as models of what marriage is supposed to look like. At the outset of creation, we find this mandate of what marriage is to look like in God’s commands to Adam and Eve. But because of the Fall of Genesis 3, sinful behavior enters in and from there we find the breaking of God’s desire for marriage. It is therefore absolutely no surprise that marriage vows are broken by many. As the Israelites are called out from and surrounded by polygamist, incestuous, homosexual nations, they are called to be different and to live out pure lives, but they fail and often fail miserably. Deut. 17:17 indicates that God’s calling and law for the king is to, “not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.” Yet, the kings often did so, and the results were that their hearts were led astray. The kings were to be the model for the people..the call was marital purity (one man, one woman), but they failed, and often so did the other people in the nation.
The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. “It is better to marry than to burn with passion,” says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?
Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.
False! Jesus is the one and only Son of God, the God-man, fully God and fully man, come for the purpose of atoning for the sins of many. While it would not have been wrong or sinful for him to marry, this was not his purpose for coming to earth and being incarnate as a man. Rather, it was to humble himself, even to death on a cross, as a propitiation for sins. He was therefore single on purpose—for his mission.
Paul too, called some to be single for the purpose of the spread of the gospel. He saw that it allowed for greater freedom as a missionary in his time and culture. This does not mean that he didn’t have a very high regard for the institution of marriage, and called for extreme devotion of both husbands and wives in marriage, with divorce being allowed in only extreme circumstances.
The Bible has much to say that is very positive about marital love and romance – see especially Song of Solomon and 1Cor. 13. It also has much to say about the devotion of one man to one woman – holding up the model of Jesus’ love for his church.
These forms of ad hominem attacks show clear signs of disdain toward the Bible.
The battle over gay marriage has been waged for more than a decade, but within the last six months—since California legalized gay marriage and then, with a ballot initiative in November, amended its Constitution to prohibit it—the debate has grown into a full-scale war, with religious-rhetoric slinging to match. Not since 1860, when the country’s pulpits were full of preachers pronouncing on slavery, pro and con, has one of our basic social (and economic) institutions been so subject to biblical scrutiny. But whereas in the Civil War the traditionalists had their James Henley Thornwell—and the advocates for change, their Henry Ward Beecher—this time the sides are unevenly matched. All the religious rhetoric, it seems, has been on the side of the gay-marriage opponents, who use Scripture as the foundation for their objections.
The clear intent of this section of the article is to equate pro-gay marriage advocates with the anti-slavery movement, and marriage traditionalists, with pro-slavery leaders. This non-sequitorial argument is baseless and in fact reverses he Biblical positions of these movements. The anti-slavery movement saw a clear Biblical movement toward anti-slavery. Slavery (remember that the Israelites were enslaved for 400 years in Egypt and later enslaved by the Assyrians and Babylonians) was never viewed with in positive terms, but always called on slave-owners to treat slaves with human dignity and respect, the Biblical movement was toward liberation of slaves. For a more detailed discussion of this read Willard Swartley’s Slavery, Sabbath, War, and Women an excellent resource book on the hermeneutics and interpretive methods of the different positions on these issues. In fact, there is more interpretive methodology in common with the pro-slavery side and the pro-homosexual marriage movements.
The argument goes something like this statement, which the Rev. Richard A. Hunter, a United Methodist minister, gave to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in June: “The Bible and Jesus define marriage as between one man and one woman. The church cannot condone or bless same-sex marriages because this stands in opposition to Scripture and our tradition.”
This form of simplification demeans the opponent. It is also a straw-man argument. By indicating that the opposition are mere fundamentalist simpletons, we can dispense with any real defense.
To which there are two obvious responses: First, while the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman. And second, as the examples above illustrate, no sensible modern person wants marriage—theirs or anyone else’s —to look in its particulars anything like what the Bible describes.
See above notes on how Jesus defines marriage. This is an outright deception and distortion of what the Bible truly says. The Bible describes very clearly the devotion and commitment of one man to one woman – more lies.
“Marriage” in America refers to two separate things, a religious institution and a civil one, though it is most often enacted as a messy conflation of the two. As a civil institution, marriage offers practical benefits to both partners: contractual rights having to do with taxes; insurance; the care and custody of children; visitation rights; and inheritance. As a religious institution, marriage offers something else: a commitment of both partners before God to love, honor and cherish each other—in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer—in accordance with God’s will. In a religious marriage, two people promise to take care of each other, profoundly, the way they believe God cares for them. Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married—and a number of excellent reasons why they should.
These are simply more outrageous lies and misrepresentations of the Biblical witness. There are many Biblical reasons why homosexual marriage is an atrocity.
Rather than mention them all here, I will simply point you toward Robert Gagnon’s wonderful article on this issue.
What is more egregious about this paragraph is the indication that the Bible is a “living document” and what the author means by this statement. I would use this statement to mean that the Holy Spirit uses His breathed out Bible to effect change in the believer’s life, and to bring sinners to repentance. What the author clearly means is that the Bible can be changed, ignored, misrepresented at whim to suit whatever cultural, worldly, politically correct notion that an author wishes to promote.
In the Old Testament, the concept of family is fundamental, but examples of what social conservatives would call “the traditional family” are scarcely to be found. Marriage was critical to the passing along of tradition and history, as well as to maintaining the Jews’ precious and fragile monotheism. But as the Barnard University Bible scholar Alan Segal puts it, the arrangement was between “one man and as many women as he could pay for.” Social conservatives point to Adam and Eve as evidence for their one man, one woman argument—in particular, this verse from Genesis: “Therefore shall a man leave his mother and father, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” But as Segal says, if you believe that the Bible was written by men and not handed down in its leather bindings by God, then that verse was written by people for whom polygamy was the way of the world. (The fact that homosexual couples cannot procreate has also been raised as a biblical objection, for didn’t God say, “Be fruitful and multiply”? But the Bible authors could never have imagined the brave new world of international adoption and assisted reproductive technology—and besides, heterosexuals who are infertile or past the age of reproducing get married all the time.)
Ah yes, those ancient, ignorant, unsophisticated, pre-moderns could never have foreseen the wonderful new morality that would evolve within humanity. This might be true if you completely reject any notion that God is involved in the writing, inspiring, moving, carrying along of Holy inerrant Word, which of course the author of this article entirely reject being a completely sold-out theological liberal.
Ozzie and Harriet are nowhere in the New Testament either. The biblical Jesus was—in spite of recent efforts of novelists to paint him otherwise—emphatically unmarried. He preached a radical kind of family, a caring community of believers, whose bond in God superseded all blood ties. Leave your families and follow me, Jesus says in the gospels. There will be no marriage in heaven, he says in Matthew. Jesus never mentions homosexuality, but he roundly condemns divorce (leaving a loophole in some cases for the husbands of unfaithful women).
What in the world is the author’s confusing point here? Maybe Jesus is a schizophrenic, calling believers to leave families, but roundly condemning divorce? The author’s clear intention is to mock the Biblical witness. Jesus clearly calls his followers to prioritize placing devotion to him (as God) above all other devotions. Of course there is no marriage in heaven, because marriage is very closely tied to physical bodies that are suited for one another (one man and one woman), and heaven is a spiritual realm. I want to thank the author for bringing out this point, because it is in actuality a strong Biblical point for the defense of traditional marriage.
The apostle Paul echoed the Christian Lord’s lack of interest in matters of the flesh. For him, celibacy was the Christian ideal, but family stability was the best alternative. Marry if you must, he told his audiences, but do not get divorced. “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): a wife must not separate from her husband.” It probably goes without saying that the phrase “gay marriage” does not appear in the Bible at all.
The apostle Paul had a very high view of marriage and roundly condemned all forms of sexual deviancy that were accepted within the wider Roman culture. This is counter-cultural and no accomodation was considered by Paul on this issue. See also this article by Robert Gagnon.
Can Homosexuals change? An Ex-Gay Group Leader’s Experience
By Brad Grammer
Posted here with permision from OnebyOne on Dec. 10, 2008
It is high time that we dispense with the categorical separation of truths in science and religion. Truth is truth, whether it is found in philosophy, religion or science. Science does not produce one kind of truth, while religion produces another kind.
Truth as I am defining it here is firm conformity to reality that proves to be wholly reliable, so that those who accept a statement can depend on the fact that it will not turn out to be false or deceitful.
Scientific Truth: 2 basic forms of science
Science of regularities: This is the science that we normally understand as science. Experiments can be performed over and over again with the same results. This type of science looks at regularly recurring patterns, creates hypothesis and tests them expirementally.
Scientists like all the rest of us, view reality through the mist of ideas and assumptions that are our world-view or paradigm (as Thomas Kuhn puts it).
When a paradigm is established it becomes the organizing principle for further scientific research. “…normal science seems an attempt to force nature into preformed and relatively inflexible box that the paradigm supplies. No part of the aim of normal science is to call forth new sorts of phenomena; indeed those that will not fit the box are often not seen at all. Nor do scientists aim to invent new theories, and they are often intolerant of the theories invented by others. Instead, normal scientific research is directed to the articulation of those phenomena and theories that the paradigm already supplies.” –Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution (this is still required reading for many undergraduates in science and is considered by many as a basic book in philosophy of science).
Science of Singularities: This type of science deals with one-time events that one can observe in the present, events that occurred in the past (like a forensic science). Science that concerns itself with the origins of the universe is more like historical and forensic research.
Intelligent Design research is exactly the same kind of forensic science as evolutionary research. It assess much of the same evidence and looks at the full evidence from a different paradigm, taking into account data and variables that are often ignored by Darwinian Evolutionary scientists.
William Dembski has a terrific article on the verifiability and testability of Intelligent Design here:
Scientific truth is working to discover truth wherever it may find it.
Christian Truth: Christianity unlike most other religions lives or dies by historically verifiable truth claims. Other religions are based on believing certain doctrines and philosophies that have no basis in historical fact. But to be a Christian requires for us to have a certain view of truth that is based upon historical, evidentially-reliable facts. For if the death and resurrection of Jesus is not an undeniable historical fact, then our faith is useless and as Paul puts it in 1Corinthians 15:14 – 19: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”
We as Christians are called to believe in Christ’s death and resurrection, and to place our trust in Christ to forgive our sins. But if Christ is not raised from the dead, according to Paul, that means we not only do not have present forgiveness but have lost our hope for the future eternity with Christ as well. And if we have believed in redemption and a heavenly future existence (with a new heaven and earth to follow) when in reality there is no future, than of all human beings we are the most to be pitied. If the claims of the event of the literal physical resurrection of Jesus are in any way not really physically true, then our faith is absolutely useless.
Therefore, quite clearly there is the same definition of truth (conformity to reality) that is at work in Christianity just as it is in science.
There are not two kinds of truth – scientific truth and Christian truth. They define truth in the same way. Origins science (both Darwinian, and Intelligent Design) make truth claims about origins and historical realities. Christianity also makes truth claims about historical reality. They are dealing with the same arena and therefore come into conflict when they make opposing truth claims. Christianity requires faith (trusting in the hypothesis and truth claims of God in his Word) and Science has an element of faith (see Kuhn’s work), especially in the arena of Singularity Science.
Let us therefore dispense with the dichotomous view of different kinds of truth within Christianity and Science.
Reading recent books by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, I am now considering the so-called new atheism to be in reality Darwinian Evolution as religion. It has many of the earmarks of a religion.
- It attempts to answer many of the larger questions of life — existentially.
- Where do I come from? Answer: from a pool of chemicals by way of apes.
- Where am I going? Non-existence.
- How am I saved? (1) By being green and accepting a new-age oneness with creation. (2) Read Dawkins. (3) Attack those ignorant Christians.
- What is good and evil? (1) Darwin is good. (2) Relativistic morality (3) Except when it comes to those evil Christians. The most ironic aspect of this new religion (new atheism) is it’s dogmatic stance that religion is bad. Yet, how do they measure good and evil, if we all just come from a mindless pool of chemicals? (4) Religion is evil.
- Why am I here? (1) To survive as a species. (2) To worship Darwin and enjoy him forever, or at least until I am worm food. (3) To evolve into a higher form of Darwin believer. (4) To attack Christians. (5) To save the planet by being green and using flourescent bulbs.
- What is truth? (1) Philosophical materialism. (2) Whatever Dawkins says it is.
- Who or what is my authority? (1) Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins is his prophet.
- It has its own leaders – Darwin, Dawkins and Hitchens to name three.
- It has its own place of worship – New Age churches, Universal Unitarians, and most liberal mainline denominations.
- It is highly dogmatic and rejects all opposition.
Can you add to the list? Sacraments?
I found two recent articles to be somewhat related and very insightful. It has become quite popular to characterize conservative Christians as ignorant and gullible because of their firm belief in the essential tenets of historic evangelical conservative Christianity. But it turns out that it is the secularists and theological liberals that are more likely to believe nonsensical, unproven bull excrement.
An article by Mollie Hemingway found here reviews a comprehensive study by Baylor University, entitled “What Americans Really Believe”. She writes…
“…traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.”
So it turns out that evangelical conservative Christians are less likely to believe in irrational myths than so-called progressives and secularists—fascinating, but not surprising. As Ms. Hemingway writes at the end of the article,
“Anti-religionists such as Mr. Maher bring to mind the assertion of G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown character that all atheists, secularists, humanists and rationalists are susceptible to superstition: “It’s the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense, and can’t see things as they are.””
The other article highlights the often irrational grasping of straws of the so-called scientific community, Which is utterly sold-out on Darwinian evolution. The title of the article is a misnomer, “Why the universe may be teeming with aliens”, as the author argues that it must be the case that life must exist on other planets. After giving some of the reasons (but not even close to exhaustive) of why our planet is perfectly suited for life, leaving out all other planets (though he does not indicate that most of those planets are purely theoretical). He then simply concludes that this must be true, because life arose through the magical fairy dust process of Darwinian evolution, so it must be happening elsewhere. The illogic and unscientific method is astounding. The myth of Darwinism resembles that of aliens.