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Old 11-15-2009, 12:31 PM   #31
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So, two people who both profess to have absolutely no belief in God - flat out deny his existence - are ok, because you believe God enters the room anyway. But two people who may even have a strong belief in God are out simply because they're the same gender.

Do you not see how irrational that is, Aeon?
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Old 11-15-2009, 12:37 PM   #32
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So, two people who both profess to have absolutely no belief in God - flat out deny his existence - are ok, because you believe God enters the room anyway. But two people who may even have a strong belief in God are out simply because they're the same gender.

Do you not see how irrational that is, Aeon?


my guess -- and AEON can speak for himself -- is that whether or not those two people choose to believe in God, he is still there.

still, doesn't it seem creepy that there's some sort of metaphysical threesome going on?

i would like to know the answer to this -- yes, it is true that the union of a man and a woman could possibly (but not always) result in the creation of a new human being from the two parties. i can get that. i can see how that could be considered spiritual.

but, then, don't we have to put all non-procreative sex, or any sex outside the bond of marriage, on the same level as homosexual sex?

because if we don't do that, then we have to say that no matter who's doing it or what it's for, two 15 year old kids fucking in the woods is more spiritual than two lesbians who've been together for 20 years doing it on their wedding night in Northampton, MA.
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Old 11-15-2009, 12:42 PM   #33
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Don't you mean civil union night?
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Old 11-15-2009, 01:37 PM   #34
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I believe I've answered this at least a few times. If I accept the definition that a marriage is between a man and a woman, and I do - then that automatically excludes a marriage between a man and another man or between a woman and another woman. They cannot exist by the very definition of the word, therefore there is nothing to deny or protect.

The discussion that naturally follows is concerning the "why" I accept this definition, which is NOT an extreme position as indicated by current votes and the a the very liberal President, Barack Obama.
Once again we've come full circle to the "because that's what the dictionary says" argument. I think we've made the 'evolution of the conservative argument against gay marriage' circle at least twice in the last two days.

It's exhausting, if no one is really willing to answer questions and come up with an intelligent reason then I'm out...
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Old 11-15-2009, 01:40 PM   #35
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I think one way of looking at it is this: the Bible contrasts those actions above by offering numerous examples and passages of positive heterosexual relationships. In the thousands of years of recorded history in the Bible (maybe only 1,000 for the skeptics) - there is not one example of a positive homosexual experience to offset the negative ones (assuming homosexual admonitions are confined to rape and temple worship).
Hah...well, it's funny. Researching my response, I found this page, which probably outlines our fundamental philosophical disagreement:

SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS IN THE BIBLE: CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL VIEWPOINTS

Quote:
Conservative Christian theologians tend to accept English translations of the Bible, such as the New International Version (NIV) and the King James Version (KJV) as authoritative. They generally accept the inerrancy of the Bible. They interpret passages literally, unless there is a good reason not to. They consider all Bible passages as instructive in today's society. When they see any same-sex activity condemned, they believe that this applies to all homosexual activities. All homosexual behavior is sinful, regardless of the nature of the relationship. Homosexuality is a chosen, unnatural, abnormal, changeable, and perverted lifestyle, which is hated by God.

Liberal Christian theologians tend to follow a wider variety of translations, and to be more concerned with instances of copying errors in the original Hebrew or Greek, of forgery, and of biases among the translators. They consider some passages (e.g. those referring to slavery, burning some hookers alive, raping female prisoners of war, etc.) as not being valid today, as immoral, and against the will of God. They differentiate among various homosexual and heterosexual sex practices, treating some (rape, prostitution, temple sex rituals) as immoral and some (within committed relationships) as positive. Homosexual orientation and behavior is seen as a normal human sexual expression among a minority of adults. It is not changeable or chosen. Like all sexual behavior, it can be a sin if it is exploitive or manipulative or not carried out safely within a committed relationship.
I'm guessing you can figure out on which side of the divide each of us is on here.

But the main reason I'm bringing up this page is that "liberal Christian theologians" would argue that there is evidence of positive same-sex relations, not entirely cognate with modern homosexuality (as, again, it is as futile as seeking Plato's approval for representative democracy over a millennium before it existed), but in keeping with Ancient Near East custom. In the case of David and Jonathan, you can argue all day as to whether the relationship was sexual or not, but I believe that's the wrong preoccupation. There is no doubt that substantial love between the two men is present.

Quote:
"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." - 2 Samuel 1:26
So I ask one question: if I were to briefly describe your marriage, as an example, would you rather I discuss the love between you two or the fact that one of you has a penis and the other a vagina? To me, this semi-crude example serves a point: with conservatives fixated on sex, they have completely (and I'd argue purposely, as a way to belittle and dehumanize) ignored that same-sex relationships, like their opposite-sex counterparts, are just as defined primarily on love.

Indeed, there is an argument that David and Jonathan's relationship was "homosocial"--that is, a same-sex relationship with a strong emotional bond, but not of a sexual nature--but one researcher who has advocated this stance, Martti Nissinen, ultimately concluded:

Quote:
"Perhaps these homosocial relationships, based on love and equality, are more comparable with modern homosexual people's experience of themselves than those texts that explicity speak of homosexual acts that are aggressive, violent expressions of domination and subjection."
So, again, I guess this takes a bit more analysis and forethought than just regurgitating a one-line Biblical verse, but I believe it to have worth all the same.
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Old 11-15-2009, 02:49 PM   #36
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Mind elaborating a bit? I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts.
I really don't want to elaborate much on this topic

I did vote 'no' on the Maine question, but I'm still unconvinced by either side. The posts that financeguy made pretty much sum up my position:


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Quoted from the previous thread. I don't have a strong opinion on gay marriage myself, my attitude is there are few valid grounds against legalisation, so why not legalise it, but I don't really see it as a fundamental human right to be honest.

It goes without saying, or at leas ought to, that what a religious text has to say about the subject is really of no import in adjudging whether or not it should be legalised.
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Exactly. The laws of modern secular states should not be based on some old book of fairy stories, so I don't even know why we're talking about the Bible here. BTW, it is possible to construct arguments against gay marriage on purely secular grounds, just as it's possible to construct arguments against, say, legalised divorce or pornography on purely secular grounds - though I don't necessarily agree with them.
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Old 11-15-2009, 03:36 PM   #37
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Well, it goes without saying that I agree that religious texts should have no bearing whatsoever on law, although I do believe that marriage is a fundamental human right, as concluded in "Loving v. Virginia" in 1967, which vacated laws against interracial marriage.

I must admit that, from an intellectual perspective, I have a particular interest in history, philosophy, and theology, and so I guess it is quite easy for me to fall into one of those traps, even if it has only a tangential relationship to the topic at hand!
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Old 11-15-2009, 03:48 PM   #38
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^ The detail you put into your posts is appreciated.
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Old 11-15-2009, 03:49 PM   #39
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but I don't really see it as a fundamental human right to be honest.
Even if this is true, isn't equality a fundamental right?
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Old 11-15-2009, 04:14 PM   #40
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Well, it goes without saying that I agree that religious texts should have no bearing whatsoever on law, although I do believe that marriage is a fundamental human right, as concluded in "Loving v. Virginia" in 1967, which vacated laws against interracial marriage.
I'm not really interested in jumping back into this discussion -- I'm of two minds on this issue -- but if we're going to be intellectually honest, your application of "Loving v. Virginia" is incorrect (or at the very least, beyond the definition of the case), since its decision was solely constrained to the racial issue, as debated and ruled two years later by "Baker v. Nelson"'s decision when applied to this specific issue.
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Old 11-15-2009, 04:48 PM   #41
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memphis and i went for a very long walk down to the Tidal Basin. it was beautiful today, with highs approaching 70, and perfectly clear sunshine.

i took note of the following at the Jefferson Memorial:

Quote:
"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

as ever, the world only spins forward.
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Old 11-15-2009, 05:03 PM   #42
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TJ ftw.
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Old 11-15-2009, 05:05 PM   #43
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I'm not really interested in jumping back into this discussion -- I'm of two minds on this issue -- but if we're going to be intellectually honest, your application of "Loving v. Virginia" is incorrect (or at the very least, beyond the definition of the case), since its decision was solely constrained to the racial issue, as debated and ruled two years later by "Baker v. Nelson"'s decision when applied to this specific issue.
I've read that ruling, and I disagree with it, much like John Harlan's dissent against Plessy v. Ferguson in 1892, which, as you know, stated that racial segregation was compatible with equality.

Quote:
"But in view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved."
It seems rather preposterous that marriage can be one of the "basic civil rights of man"--but only if you want to marry another race.
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Old 11-15-2009, 05:32 PM   #44
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Conservative Christian theologians tend to accept English translations of the Bible, such as the New International Version (NIV) and the King James Version (KJV) as authoritative. They generally accept the inerrancy of the Bible. They interpret passages literally, unless there is a good reason not to. They consider all Bible passages as instructive in today's society. When they see any same-sex activity condemned, they believe that this applies to all homosexual activities. All homosexual behavior is sinful, regardless of the nature of the relationship. Homosexuality is a chosen, unnatural, abnormal, changeable, and perverted lifestyle, which is hated by God.

Liberal Christian theologians tend to follow a wider variety of translations, and to be more concerned with instances of copying errors in the original Hebrew or Greek, of forgery, and of biases among the translators. They consider some passages (e.g. those referring to slavery, burning some hookers alive, raping female prisoners of war, etc.) as not being valid today, as immoral, and against the will of God. They differentiate among various homosexual and heterosexual sex practices, treating some (rape, prostitution, temple sex rituals) as immoral and some (within committed relationships) as positive. Homosexual orientation and behavior is seen as a normal human sexual expression among a minority of adults. It is not changeable or chosen. Like all sexual behavior, it can be a sin if it is exploitive or manipulative or not carried out safely within a committed relationship.
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I'm guessing you can figure out on which side of the divide each of us is on here.
Thank you for bringing this up. I actually get into heated discussion in Bible Studies over this very topic. For instance, there are some Christians that believe only the King James Version is an accurate translation and that he was a "Bible Believing" Christian (as opposed to other Christians that I guess are not) - but I asked him, since he was a "Bible Believing" Christian to please find that passage that supported that the KJV was authoritive. As you could guess, the sound of crickets is what followed.

I am always more concerned with finding the deeper meaning of passages instead of accepting the English translations. With the small bit of Greek and Hebrew that I've learned, I, like you, see the weaknesses in the English translations. For instance, my actually username (Aeon) is from the Latin version of the Greek word "aion". I actually took it from U2's (Until the End of the World) - which is from Jesus saying to His disciples in Matthew 28:18 "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Jesus said, or what He is quoted as saying, in the Greek, is until the end of the "Aion" - which could also mean "age" or "and indiscernible amount of time" - it is also the word used to describe the length of Hell, which English translators insert "forever" when in fact, it could also mean - for an "age" or "and indiscernible amount of time"(and it can also mean "forever). Unlike my "fundamentalist" brothers - I do not feel an eternity in Hell is just - the punishment doesn't fit the crime. How can infinite torture equal even a whole human lifetime of sin? When Jesus is speaking of Hell (Gahenna), I believe He is quite often talking about being in a spiritual trash heap - which is what Gahenna was in ancient Jerusalem (and unfortunately, this word gets translated into Hell - which is more influence by Dante and Milton than actual biblical passages). This is just one example where I stray from the Fundamentalists. Trust me, there are others...

I quite often disagree with Conservative Christian theology on a great many topics. For instance, I think that astrophysics has demonstrated that the known, visible universe is around 12 to 13 billion years old. I accept that, and I see no contradiction with Genesis. Even an elementary understanding of ancient Hebrew would clearly show that the Hebrew words have multiple meanings. What is important, and why the Bible is not a science book, is that God created the universe and placed Man in it for a relationship with him. The rest of the Bible is about that relationship.

If you had to pinpoint my actual theology - I would probably more in line with Narrative (or Post-Liberal) Theology (read about it here).

Postliberal theology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

With all that being said - can anyone agree on anything in the Bible? To a certain degree - no. You will rarely find universal consensus on any passage either on the original intent or in the translation. For instance, in Luke 17: 21, the NIV states "nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." While the NASB version of the same passage reads "For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst" and others read "the kingdom of God is amongst you". Are all of these wrong? The Greek phrase entos humon literally means "inside you" but was also a common way of saying "within reach" So, as it turns out, the different translations are both right and wrong at the same time.

So how can we discern anything from the Bible? That is what Narrative Theology addresses. By the stories, the word pictures, the parables, the examples - we can get to the root of the teachings, to the real gemstone. Jesus, and other rabbis of the time, used parables because their audience could relate to them. We don't need to a be a wealthy prince that ran off and squandered a fortune or a rich father to understand the parable of the Prodigal Son. When you take the Bible as a whole, there are certain themes that reoccur and are emphasized. The importance of the family is there. The fact that God chose to come into this world by way of a family and not a lightning bolt from the sky is not a small point. Of course, we can debate forever on the what the Greek and Hebrew words used for family mean - but I think it is evident that Bible uses examples of relationships to help us understand - examples of father, son, mother, brother, sister, bride, groom...etc. And it is through these examples, through this narrative, that the Bible instructs us on how God wishes us to live.
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Old 11-15-2009, 05:52 PM   #45
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that because you cannot defend your position in a secular manner
And as I've pointed out, I cannot defend any moral decision in a purely secular manner.
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