Ten Years Later, Why Gay Marriage Is Winning

A decade after Massachusetts became the first state to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples, the gay marriage movement has all the momentum.

What a difference 10 years makes.

In May 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriage. Six months later, with dire warnings about schoolchildren being forced to read “Heather Has Two Mommies” and threats of legalized polygamy, so-called “values voters” passed bans on same-sex marriage in 11 states and ushered George W. Bush to another four years in the White House.

Fast-forward to 2014, and the cultural and legal landscape could hardly be more different. Today, 19 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage, and federal courts have struck down bans in 11 more states. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages after ditching a central portion of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act last year, and 44 percent of Americans now live in states that allow same-sex marriage.

After four same-sex couples filed suit Wednesday (May 21) challenging Montana’s ban on same-sex marriage, neighboring North Dakota is the only state that isn’t facing a challenge to its gay marriage ban — at least not yet.

So what changed? The issue is far from settled — and some conservatives insist that it never will be — but pro-gay groups clearly have the momentum. Here’s why:

1. Rapid cultural shifts

The culture changed faster than conservatives thought possible. Led by the popular gay characters on “Will & Grace” and “Glee,” gays and lesbians are more visible in public life, and Americans are growing increasingly comfortable with that. A generation ago, coming out as gay was a career-killer; now it’s almost trendy.

Within religion, the 2003 election of openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson dramatically shifted the conversation about gays in leadership, and Presbyterians and Lutherans voted to allow gay clergy with barely a shrug. The wildly popular Pope Francis changed the tenor of the discussion by famously asking “Who am I to judge?” as his church struggles to reclaim its moral credibility on sexual ethics in the wake of the clergy abuse scandal.

Coupled with an aggressive campaign targeted at gays and lesbians to come out to their families and colleagues, America now has innumerable friends, co-workers, celebrities, siblings and children that are the new face of the gay movement. And that, says Evan Wolfson of New York-based Freedom to Marry, carries more weight than any court ruling or legislative vote.

“There’s no question that popular culture and celebrities and religious figures who speak out create the air cover for the ground game of personal conversations,” said Wolfson, whose group has been at the forefront of the legal fights over marriage. “And that is what really closed the deal.”

2. An ally in the White House

It’s hard to overestimate the power of a bully pulpit, and there’s no bigger microphone than the chief executive’s. While President Obama may be the country’s first black president, he will also be remembered as the most pro-gay occupant of the Oval Office — even if it took him time to get there.

Obama’s White House shaped the cultural narrative around gay rights by ending the 17-year Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell ban on gays and lesbians serving in the military. Like Obama, millions of Americans reached the same conclusion: If gay men and women can die for their country, why shouldn’t they be allowed to get married? And if it’s OK for the military, why not for everyone else?

Perhaps most significantly, Obama’s Justice Department dropped its defense of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, concluding that the federal ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Attorney General Eric Holder encouraged state attorneys general to do the same, and when the attorneys general in Pennsylvania and Oregon followed Holder’s advice, federal courts swiftly struck down bans in both states.

“No one defended the law in court,” fumed Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, the Catholic bishops’ point man on same-sex marriage. “Is this justice, or just a farce?”

Whatever it was, it worked for the gay rights side.

“If we would have known 10 years ago that the rule of law would no longer be in play, maybe we would have had a different strategy,” added Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who accused Obama of “unleashing lawlessness on the country.”

3. A problem of overreach

Starting with the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, conservative activists concluded that the only solution to stopping gay marriage was a nationwide ban. A federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage has languished in Congress for years — and now Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, calls such a strategy “a politically ridiculous thing to talk about right now.”

In addition, conservative groups resisted moves to compromise on a half-measure like civil unions; Perkins’ organization calls civil unions nothing more than “a slow-motion surrender.” And that, said veteran gay marriage proponent Jonathan Rauch, was a critical mistake.

“They set an impossible goal for themselves by saying from day one that the goal of success would be not one gay marriage on not one square inch of American soil, and that was never going to happen,” said Rauch, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

That, in turn, only strengthened the resolve of gay rights groups, even if it meant passing gay marriage state by state, or mounting legal challenges one ban at a time.

“I don’t think a lot of gay people are really in a mood to say ‘Let’s meet the other side halfway’ because the other side has never been interested in meeting us halfway,” Rauch said.

4. Religious influence rises — and falls

In 2004, popular support for same-sex marriage was stuck in the low 30s. According to the latest Gallup Poll released this week, that number is now at 55 percent. It’s now rare to see a poll that finds only minority support for gay marriage.

But another poll number may be more telling about the underlying cultural shift: A decade ago, 71 percent of Americans said religion was “increasing its influence” on American life. Today, nearly the exact opposite is true — 77 percent of Americans say religion is “losing its influence” on public life.

In short, Americans have concluded that while marriage may well be a sacred institution, couples tying the knot have to seek a marriage license at the courthouse, not the altar. With the moral influence of organized religion on the wane, more Americans have decided that there’s a difference between marriage rights — and all the legal and financial benefits that go with them — and matrimonial rites.

“Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage,” federal Judge John E. Jones III ruled in striking down Pennsylvania’s gay marriage ban. “However, that same-sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection.”

5. ‘Hateful and bigoted’

Perhaps the biggest obstacle facing proponents of traditional marriage was a negative image that they were never able to overcome. While chafing at comparisons to racism and Jim Crow laws, the matriarch of the traditional marriage movement, Maggie Gallagher, concedes that her side has been labeled as “hateful and bigoted.” It’s no accident that opponents of Proposition 8 — the 2008 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in California — adopted the logo of “No H8T.”

Some conservative activists say they brought it on themselves.

“There was the evangelical belligerence, often, in the last generation that spoke, for instance, about the gay agenda, in which there was this picture, almost as though there is a group of super villains in a lair, plotting somewhere the downfall of the family,” Moore told a gathering of journalists in March.

Conservatives also weathered a host of guilt-by-association charges, which were equally hard to dislodge. In Arizona, a bill that supporters said would protect religious freedom was conveyed as license to turn gays away from public businesses. Evangelical opposition to homosexuality was exported to Africa, which took the form of harsh laws to jail or even sentence to death known homosexuals.

In short, it was no longer popular or politically correct to stand against popular culture and a swiftly changing popular opinion.

“They showed no compassion for gay people, they didn’t offer any substitutes like protecting gay families or gay kids,” Rauch said. “That lack of compassion came through. It took a little while to register, but the American public does not like lack of compassion.”

  • Ryan Manns

    Gay marriage should be legal. We shouldn’t have laws in place that are only laws based on the Bible because not everyone follows the Bible. There’s no good reason to have it illegal other than “The Bible says it’s wrong.” And that’s not a good reason.

    • Richard W. Fitch

      There are some of us who attempt to live the example of Jesus who question the validity of Fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible. There are very few things that the Bible says plainly ( perhaps with the exception of “and Jesus wept”). As an Episcopalian, I look not only to the English translations of Scripture, but also to newly discovered ancient scrolls which bring new clarity to these texts. Also there is the place of Tradition and Reason in determining the most faithful means of living out our various paths of faith. For several years, the United Church of Christ has used as a core of its many teaching programs the motto: “God is still speaking; don’t put a period where God places a comma.” Now we just need more people to try and listen.

      • orienteer01

        You are grossly mistaken. The Bible could not be any more clear that marriage is between one man & one woman. See Matthew 19:4-9.

        • Rusty Reiter

          orienteer01: Matthew 19 is Jesus answering a question about divorce and remarriage. It is outrageous that evangelicals totally ignore the actual teachings of Jesus there while pretending Jesus was addressing civil laws in the US 2,000 years later on marriage equality. Evangelicals have the highest rate of divorce in all of society, higher than atheists, higher than gays. It is time for evangelicals to admit they are destroying the family instead of pointing the finger at the 1% of marriages that involve same-sex couples.

          • orienteer01

            Rusty, Jesus is quoting Genesis 2:24 where God defined marriage as one man & one woman for life in Matthew 19.
            Please cite your source for your assertion that the divorce rate among evangelicals is higher than the rest of society.

        • Ryan Manns

          Problem is not everyone in the country follows the bible as a moral authority.

          • orienteer01

            But what is YOUR moral authority?

          • Ryan Manns

            Doesn’t matter what mine is. The point is you shouldn’t discriminate against a minority. You can’t impose your bible beliefs on a group that doesn’t hold that book as their holy book. Muslims think the Quran is the ultimate authority I take it you wouldn’t like it if they took over the country and imposed their books authority on you since you don’t believe that book. You’d fight for freedom of religion, freedom to believe what you want. To say gay people shouldn’t be able to get married you need to supply moral reasons why not. You can’t just say “because the Bible says so” that’s not a moral reason. That’s a cop-out.

          • orienteer01

            Ryan Manns, you are completely missing the point. The moment you say, “it is wrong to discriminate against a minority”, you are making a moral judgment. So my question is: who says? According to what moral authority are you making the judgment that discriminating against minorities is “wrong”?
            You see all laws on based on a moral judgment. The question is: “whose morality shall we base our laws upon?”

          • Ryan Manns

            My point is you don’t need God or a holy book to know what’s right and wrong. If we are all made in the image of God we have a moral code built into each of us. We have the ability to think and discover what’s right and what’s wrong. We don’t need a book to tell us that it’s right to not harm anyone, and to treat everyone fairly. Since not everyone believes the Bible is their moral authority it’s not right to use “the Bible says so” to make laws, especially on issues like marriage. This is why I ask anyway to give me some reasons as to why gay marriage is immoral. Otherwise what’s stopping us from trying to make stoning people who commit adultery a law again? Also not everything that is immoral is illegal. For example, lying and adultery.

          • orienteer01

            Ryan Manns,

            Bingo! I don’t know whether you meant to do so or not, but you just gave the Moral Argument for the existence of God! It goes like this:
            1) if absolute morality exists, then an absolute moral giver must exist (God)
            2) absolute morality does exist, therefore an absolute moral giver exists (God)
            Homosexual behavior is defined as sin in both the Old & New Testaments.
            Why should we limit “marriage” to just two adults? Based on your reasoning, you should have no problem with 5 adults being “married”. Are you okay with that?

          • Ryan Manns

            Technically, they should be allowed to marry. If it’s five consenting adults it’s not my business how they want to conduct themselves in private. Even if I don’t like it. It’s like telling people they can’t eat ice cream because I’m on a diet. Solomon had 700 wives. It wasn’t the best thing for him nor an ideal situation but it wasn’t illegal. It doesn’t matter if I’m ok with gay marriage because it’s not my business what two consenting individuals who are in love want to do. That’s why it should be legal. I’m not even saying it’s right or moral…just that there’s no reason other than “The Bible tells me so” to make it illegal. Why not stone people who commit adultery or break the Sabbath? Are you ok with the death penalty for that? Because God is.

          • orienteer01

            Well according to the CDC, men who have sex with men accounted for 60% of the NEW cases of HIV in the United States last year. That is clearly a public health issue.
            We don’t stone people to death because Jesus fulfilled the law in the new covenant. We don’t obey laws that were put on place for the nation of Israel because Jesus fulfilled the law. However, the New Testament clearly defines homosexual behavior as sin.
            I don’t care if 2 adults want to engage in homosexual behavior. However, when they start demanding that we change the definition of marriage, I do have a problem with that.
            If eating ice cream was responsible for 60% of the new cases of HIV, then yes, I would have an issue with the eating of ice cream….

          • Ryan Manns

            Well if you want to play that game the majority of STDs transmitted through heterosexual sex than homosexual sex. Infact, the majority of HIV cases in women are aquired through heterosexual sex. Plus, if you’re in a monogamous relationship (regardless of sex…ie, marriage) you are way less likely to get any STDs. The New Testament isn’t as clear as people think when it comes to homosexuality. The verses in Timothy, Corinthians, and Romans, focus a lot on abusing self, adultery, and lusting (whether it be among the same sex or opposite sex). Like I’ve said, there needs to be reasons outside of the Bible before we can make it a law for people who don’t follow the Bible. So I need to hear some reasons why it’s immoral rather than “The Bible tells me so.” Risk of HIV doesn’t make it an immoral action. Eating gives you the risk of obesity, guns risk murder, wanting things risks stealing…that doesn’t mean it’s immoral to eat/own guns/own things. So I still need to hear reasons outside of the Bible as to why it’s immoral.

          • orienteer01

            LOL! Ryan Manns,
            The reason heterosexual women contract HIV is because one of their partners along the way was bisexual & typically contracted HIV through homosexual sex & the reason why more heterosexuals contract STD’s is because the VAST majority of human beings are heterosexual! However, when you consider that at best, homosexual men constitute 2% of the population, the 60% statistic is drastically out of proportion & cannot be ignored. Additionally, recent studies in Canada of homosexual “marriages” revealed that most of those “marriages” were not monogamous. Homosexuals statistically have 40% more sexual partners in their lifetime than heterosexuals.
            The New Testament references to homosexual behavior could be any more clear. Romans 1:26-27 & 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 are clear & irrefutable.
            You still haven’t defined how absolute “morality” can exist without an absolute moral-giver that transcends humanity.

          • Ryan Manns

            That’s not always the reason man, HIV can be passed by more ways than just sex, their partner doesn’t necessarily have to be bisexual or homosexual. And again I say risks do not make something immoral. Even if homosexual relationships have the highest risk of acquiring HIV this doesn’t mean that all homosexual marriages are immoral. Where did you get that stat anyway of most homosexual marriages not being monogamous? Though it doesn’t matter considering 50% of marriages today end in divorce which is a sin (outside cheating and abuse). Better make divorce illegal. Also premarital sex should be illegal too since the BIble is very clear that it’s wrong. Now I will say of course premarital sex is wrong, but should it be illegal? No. That’s ridiculous. Why does absolute morality “have” to exist? Maybe it’s subjective to what’s best for mankind? There’s no rule that says there HAS to be objective morals. Is there? Maybe. But there doesn’t have to be. You still haven’t given me any reasons why homosexual marriage is immoral. Not a single reason in days.

          • orienteer01

            Laws are usually put in place based on what is best for society. The stats from the CDC demonstrate that homosexual behavior is clearly a risk to public health and therefore, such behavior should not be encouraged. I never said homosexual behavior should be illegal. I said that the definition of marriage should be re-defined to include homosexual marriage. The PRIMARY purpose of marriage is procreation & the rearing of children. Children do BEST when they are in a stable home with a mother & a father. I want what is BEST for children. Don’t you? I realize not all marriage result in children but those are the minority. As I said the primary purpose of marriage is procreation & child-rearing.
            If there is no absolute objective morality, then nothing is truly right or wrong or “immoral”. Everything is just a matter of opinion if there is no absolute objective morality.
            I believe that “no-fault” divorce should be abolished. Divorce is terribly destructive. Biblically speaking, there are only two justifications for divorce. See Matthew 19:4-9 & 1 Corinthians 7:15-16.

          • Ryan Manns

            Exactly laws are put in place on what’s best for society. Two people in love being able to marry is good for society no? Gay people should have the right to marry and you should be supporting their right to. Maybe if it was legal it would decrease the level of risky homosexual activity that occurs outside of a marriage union? I’m glad that you agree the definition of marriage should be changed to include homosexual marriage.
            It’s too bad that you’ve reduced the purpose of marriage to simply procreation and child-rearing. It’s so much more than that. It’s taking a stand to commit to someone you love for the rest of your life. To wanting to honor them, spend time with them, support them, advocate for their rights. I would argue the primary purpose of marriage is to express your love, and while procreation is a part of that, I would not say that is the primary purpose of marriage.
            Studies show child are raised based in a two parent home. I’ve never seen any studies saying children don’t do well in a same sex couple home. In fact it’s better than a divorced home or a single parent home. So technically it could be what’s best for children.
            Even if there is no objective morality (and I’m not saying there isn’t, this is just hypothetical) don’t you think we could use our opinions to come up with subjective morals that are right and fair? Even if it is just the majority opinion?
            Anyway, maybe just clarify for me because I’m unsure about something. Are you in support of gay marriage or not? Because at first it seemed like you weren’t but now it seems like you do support their right to marry (even if you disagree with it).

          • orienteer01

            I will never support homosexual “marriage”.
            Children do BEST in a home with a mother & a father. It’s disappointing that you don’t want what is BEST for children.
            If right & wrong is determined by majority opinion, then then you can’t say the actions of Nazi Germany were wrong because the majority of Nazi Germany thought they were right! Also in 32 states, the majority of people in the states decided that marriage should be defined as one man & one woman. So I’m glad that you agree that we should adhere to the vote of the majority & keep marriage defined as one man & one woman. :)

          • Ryan Manns

            That’s too bad that you don’t support the right for people to enter into a loving and committed relationship.
            There’s really no evidence that says Children do better in the home of an opposite sex couple compared to a same sex couple. Studies show children do best when there are two parents in the home. That’s what we know so far.
            Right and wrong is determined by the moral code instilled in each of us by God. I don’t know why you bring up the Nazi regime considering the majority opinion on a global scale was they were in the wrong that’s why a war was started…because basic human rights were being violated.
            In the Bible husbands often had multiple wives and concubines…it wasn’t illegal and no one was stoned over it. So even if it wasn’t ideal it was permitted because in those situation people had rights to chose for themselves. This is why you should support same sex couples rights to marry. You can’t expect them to respect your beliefs and rights as a christian if you don’t respect theirs.

          • orienteer01

            Without God they have no “rights” because our founding fathers understood that “rights” come from our Creator & not from mankind. The Creator has stated that homosexual behavior is immoral.
            Your statement about Nazi Germany’s actions being condemned globally is incorrect. Their actions were supported by the other Axis powers: Italy & Japan. The Japanese committed many atrocities. The Soviets under Stalin murdered millions. Without God, there are no “human rights”. Without God, might makes right and the Law of the Jungle prevails.

          • Ryan Manns

            “Without God they have no rights” that’s a pretty extreme view to hold. Even atheists recognize humans have rights. If you need a God to tell you to respect others and that others have rights, well that’s just pretty sad. I wonder why the majority of mankind, even those who have never heard of God, recognize that it’s wrong to steal, kill, commit adultery?
            You say God says homosexuality is immoral but yet you can’t think of any reasons why homosexual marriage is immoral. That just seems strange to me. Everything God clearly states is sinful I can see the reasons why…but not homosexuality. You would think he would have put it in the ten commandments or Jesus would have said something about it if it was actually a sin or immoral.
            So Germany, Italy, and Japan are the majority of the world now? You’ll notice that in each of the circumstances you’ve listed the whole world now recognizes the acts committed to have been immoral and violations of basic human rights. The majority of mankind can recognize immoral acts. People can be corrupt and can do evil things and the majority of people recognize that.
            Can you tell me at all why homosexual marriage is immoral? Because it doesn’t seem like you can. All you seem to be able to say is “God says so” even though he’s never explicitly talking about homosexual marriage in any of those passages. Come on man, support the rights of others.

          • orienteer01

            atheists may recognize human rights, but under an atheistic world view, they have no justification for human rights. You see, if atheism is true, then man us just another animal. What gives one animal anymore rights than another? Is a lion violating the rights of a zebra when he kills it?
            It doesnt matter what God’s reasons are for declaring homosexual behavior as immoral. As the creator of the universe and all that is in it, He has that right! When you figure out how to create your own universe, I guess you can make the rules! Jesus didnt say anything about pedophilia, does that mean He was okay with it?
            If Germany, Italy and Japan had won WWII, then they would be making the rules and perhaps their actions would not have been viewed as wrong and immoral. To the victor go the spoils!
            God defined marriage *explicitly* in Genesis 2:24 and then He, in the person of Jesus, reiterated that definition in Matthew 19:4-9
            Can you tell me how anything can be “right” or “wrong”, “moral” or “immoral” if there is no absolute objective moral lawgiver that transcends humanity? All you seem to be able to do is contradict yourself by saying, “morality is subjective” and then in the next sentence make an objective, absolute statement such as, “It is wrong to deny people who engage in homosexual behavior their rights”. You acknowledge that our rights come from our Creator, and then argue with that Creator over what He has defined as immoral! The day you can create your own universe is the day you can make your own rules to govern that universe! :)

          • Ryan Manns

            Atheism doesn’t have to be true for atheists to figure out right and wrong because we are all made in the image of God with his moral code in us.
            So basically, no…you don’t know why it’s immoral. Thanks.
            I’m not saying morality is subjective…I’m saying it doesn’t have to be objective. Theres no rule saying objective morals have to exist. That said I do think there are certain objective morals God gave us and treating others as I want to be treated (supporting people’s right to marry the same sex) falls into that category for me.
            Like I said, the Bible isn’t explicitly clear on homosexual marriage and you have given zero reason for why it’s immoral (because there aren’t any). So I urge you to reconsider you stance and at least support mankinds right to marry the same sex, even if you believe it to be immoral, you should recognize that you can’t make it illegal based on the Bible alone.

          • orienteer01

            Show me in Scripture where God re-defines marriage to include people of the same gender & I will reconsider my position. I have offered multiple clear & unambiguous verses that demonstrate that God defined marriage as one man & one woman.

          • Ryan Manns

            This is the whole point if my discussion with you. You need to support the gay right to marry because it doesn’t matter what the Bible says because not everyone follows the Bible! You shouldn’t legally define marriage as God defined it. This is immorally imposing your religious beliefs on people who might not be religious. This is why gay marriage needs to be legalized on a government/national level. I’m actually not arguing that the Bible defines marriage as anything other than man and woman. But until you can give me a single reason outside “god tells me so in my holy book” you need to support others right to chose to marry who they want. You need to support gay marriage even if you dislike it for religious reasons.

            Funny how after days and days you still don’t know why you believe it to be immoral….that should say something. “I don’t have any reasons to believe it but I believe it!” Lol!

          • orienteer01

            What do you mean by “immoral”? Immoral according to whom?

          • Ryan Manns

            Just why/how is it wrong for two people in love and actually committed to each other to marry simply because they are the same gender. I just want one reason outside of the Bible. Like it’s easy to see why lying, stealing, cheating, murder etc are wrong without using The Bible to tell me but it’s not easy to see why gay marriage is wrong. I’m fact I can’t think of a single reason.

          • orienteer01

            1) it is contrary to the natural design of sexuality. One need not be a biology major to understand that anatomically men were made for women & women were made for men.
            2) it is not possible for a homosexual couple to reproduce naturally. As previously stated the PRIMARY purpose for marriage & family is for procreation & the rearing of children.
            3) it is an unhealthy lifestyle that should not be promoted by society. I have already cited the stats from the CDC about that. Rates of anal cancer are higher among homosexual men as well.

          • Ryan Manns

            1) so is cancer, so is having cancer a sin now? Should we make having conditions/diseases illegal because they are not what was intended? Even if being gay wasn’t how things were intended that doesn’t give us the right to keep gay marriage illegal.
            2) procreation is a part of marriage but not the sole purpose of it. There’s legal, physical, financial, emotional reasons to marry. Simply because they can’t procreate is no reason to keep gay marriage illegal. Maybe all infertile couples should be prevented from marrying too then….since they can’t procreate?
            3) doesn’t make gay marriage immoral. Gluttony is unhealthy, lack of exercise is unhealthy, smoking is the number one cause of actual death…none of these are illegal. STDs occur in heterosexual couples so maybe we should also ban all forms of marriage/sex since all forms carry risk. Risk==immorality and is not a good reason for not supporting gay marriage. Highest forms of cervical cancer are transmitted from male to female…maybe we should make opposite sex couples illegal too?

          • orienteer01

            1) having cancer is not a sin. It might be the result of a person’s unhealthy lifestyle choices however.
            2) I disagree. The PRIMARY purpose for marriage as it relates to societal well-being is to procreate & rear children. While not all marriages result on proceation, those are outliers. I will not support redefining marriage in order to accommodate the outliers.
            3) and society should not support & condone gluttony. Exercise should be encouraged by society. Unhealthy lifestyles should be discouraged by society. In order for the human race to continue, heterosexual sex MUST occur. So outlawing heterosexual she wouldn’t make much sense would it?

          • Ryan Manns

            First off, thanks for a good discussion, I feel we’ve both been able to be fairly respectful over a long discussion which seems to be rare on the internet. So thanks, just thought I’d let you know I appreciate it.
            1) right, being gay isn’t a sin either than.
            2) so no support of infertile opposite sex couples. K. Seems to me there any many reasons for marriage and the primary purpose varies depending on what the couple wants. The primary reason might be procreation for one couple, but might be love for another couple.
            3) right discouraged sure. I’ll discourage promiscuity in the context of gay or heterosexual sex activities since both are risky. This is different than keeping same sex marriage illegal. We should support it being legalized while discouraging risky unhealthy activities. Both are possible.

          • Ryan Manns

            If there are no moral reasons as to why homosexual marriage is wrong please just admit it so we can end this discussion. Or even better a reason why it should be illegal. Because there simply is no reason to outlaw marriage between two adults who love each other and are in a consenting relationship. Heck Solomon had 700 wives which wasn’t right, but also wasn’t illegal. There’s a difference.

          • orienteer01

            You just don’t get it do you? When you speak of “morals”, where do those morals come from? They come from God. God clearly teaches that homosexual behavior is immoral.
            If morals come from the opinions of man, then nothing is truly immoral! It’s just one man’s opinion vs. another man’s opinion. If there is not a source for morality that transcends mankind, then morality is just a matter of personal preference. When you speak of moral vs. immoral Ryan, you have to explain where morals come from…for days now you have dodged that fact.

          • Ryan Manns

            You keep saying God clearly teaches homosexuality is wrong yet you’ve not provided one moral reason as to why being gay or gay marriage is an immoral act. You would think God would have reasons for declaring something to be right or wrong. If we are made in the image of God than we have the ability to reason out what’s right and wrong in conjuction with what the Bible says together. Right? Because that’s what that means, we are made with a moral code in us. You can’t just say “The Bible tells me homosexuality is wrong” and have no other reasons to believe so. Maybe it was wrong in the OT to keep Israel pure and separate from other nations? Maybe Paul was talking about lust more than homosexuality itself (he certainly wasn’t talking about gay marriage)? The point is not everyone believes the Bible to be a moral authority and EVEN if homosexuality was immoral you can’t make gay marriage illegal anymore than you can make divorce, adultery, premarital sex, breaking the Sabbath, etc illegal. My point is if you want people to respect your rights as a Christian you should be advocating for their rights (like for a gay couple to marry) even if you disagree with it. I haven’t doged your question at all, I’ve submitted that perhaps objective morals come from God, or perhaps subjective morals come from man. There’s no rule that morals have to be objective or have to be subjective. You still haven’t given me a reason why gay marriage is immoral.

          • orienteer01

            1) in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul uses two Greek words in describing homosexual behavior as sinful: “malakos”(soft one) and “arsenokoites” (a man who has sex with a man). That’s clear & unambiguous. Elsewhere, Paul cited the homosexual/lesbian way of life as symptomatic of humanity’s rejection of God & His design at creation. (Romans 1:22-27, Genesis 2:24 & Matthew 19:4-9). God/Jesus defined marriage as ONE man & ONE woman.
            2) if morals are subjective, then rhey are not morals at all but preferences/opinions
            3) you keep talking about “rights”. Where do our “rights” come from Ryan? According to the Founding Fathers, our rights come from our Creator (read the Declaration of Independence) & our Creator has declared that homosexual behavior is sin. If you disagree, then your argument is God & not with me….

          • Ryan Manns

            1) Fact is, it’s not entirely clear if Paul is saying homosexual behavior is wrong. For example, “arsenokoites” is used to describe “abusers of themselves with mankind” (KJV), “sodomites” (YLT), or “men who have sex with men” (NIV) depending on your translation. Again, even if this is talking about men having sex with men it’s obvious it’s outside of a marriage union, in the context of lustful desires. Is that not different than a comitted loving monogamous relationship? God and Jesus may have defined marriage as one man one women but what of those who don’t believe in God and Jesus? Do they not have the right to chose a same sex union? Also, even if God defined it as one man one women originally does that mean it’s a sin for a same sex couple to marry? I don’t see any reason to think of it as a sin or immoral anymore than God intended humans to live forever disease free. Does that mean having a disease is also a sin since it’s contrary to God’s oringal plan for us? Gay people didn’t chose to be gay just like a cancer victim didn’t chose to get cancer.
            2) So you it’s impossible for subjective morals to exist? It’s either God said it’s right or there is no right? That seems like an odd view to hold but ok fair enough.
            3) I thought our rights come from being human? Isn’t that what basic human rights are? Isn’t that why whether theist, athesit, or agnostic we all have basic human rights to freedom, to choose, and to live? Not to mention that if God gave us freedom of choice shouldn’t we honor it by allowing homosexual couples to enter into a loving union together? Even if we think their lifestyle is wrong?

          • orienteer01

            1) you are making the mistake of eisegeting rather than exegeting
            2) homosexual behavior is a CHOICE. Just because a person has same-gender attraction doesn’t mean that person should act upon those attractions. In the same way, a heterosexual man who is married to his wife may still be “attracted” to other women, but that does not give him the right to act upon those attractions. An alcoholic May have the desire to get drunk, but that doesn’t mean he should get drunk.
            3) in the Declaration of Independence for the United States of America, it states that our rights come from our Creator, not from man.
            4) you are conflating Chrisianity & Islam. The 2 are quite different and lumping all religions into the same bucket is intellectually dishonest.

          • Ryan Manns

            1) Am I? I hope it’s talking about homosexuality and not self abuse because I have a feeling a lot of Christians masturbate.
            2) What kind of choice is that? You are born with a same sex attraction and fall in love with a member of the same sex. But you can’t marry the person you love because God said so. At least the heterosexual man got to act on his feelings and desires and enter a loving relationship. I really don’t think entering a loving marriage is immoral. I do think at one time, in the past, homosexual behavior was highly affiliated with lust and fornication and at that time it was wrong. I think times have changed and maybe our attitudes towards same sex marriage should as well. Similar to how it was seen as acceptable to have slaves or multiple wives in Bible times but not anymore.
            3) Right, each man has rights put in to him by the Creator. So let’s respect people’s rights of free will and support them if they want to be in a same sex marriage.
            4) You are missing my point. If you were born in a muslim country you’d be muslim. You’d support everything the Quran says as moral even if it violates basic human rights. If something was wrong in a particular context in ancient times, is it not possible that it’s acceptable now? For example, it wasn’t ok for the Israelites to sow multiple seeds in the same field back then because it was an example of remaining separate from surrounding nations. Isn’t it possible that homosexuality was wrong because it was associated with fornicating nations around Israel? Isn’t that different than two men who actually love each other and want to spend their lives together?

          • orienteer01

            1) Yes you are. It is, in fact, talking about homosexual behavior
            2) You said, :”I don’t think entering into a loving marriage is immoral”. Okay that’s YOUR opinion! See what I mean? I think homosexual behavior is immoral. It’s just your opinion vs. mine if we have no objective standard by which to measure. Suppose a pedophile says, “I can’t help that I am attracted to minors, I was born this way.”? Or suppose a thief says, “I can’t help that I steal, I was born this way.”? Or a brother and sister say, “why can’t we get “married”? “we love each other!”
            3) That same Creator who gives each man his “rights” says that marriage is between one man and one woman and says that homosexual behavior is a sin and immoral.
            4) Have you heard of the logical fallacy known as the “Genetic Fallacy”? You just committed it! The Old Testament Levitical laws were specific to Ancient Israel and they were not reiterated in the New Testament. HOWEVER, homosexual behavior was condemned in BOTH the Old Testament and the New Testament. God defined marriage as one man and one woman. Not two men, not two women, not 6 women and 1 man, etc., etc.

          • Ryan Manns

            1) It’s funny you seem so sure when scholars do not. Also homosexual behavior in the context of orgies, pagan worship, and lustful activities is different than homosexual marriage between two loving committed people.
            2) Yes it is my opinion and that’s how we reason with the moral code God built into us to find out what’s right and wrong. Like you said God didn’t explicitly say pedophilia was wrong but we all know it is because we are made in his image and have the ability to reason what’s right and wrong. My guess is if the Bible didn’t say homosexual activity was wrong you’d find gay marriage completely acceptable. If we are created by God we have objective morals built into us. Homosexual marriage is very different than stealing/pedophilia/marrying a sibling. I hope you can see that.
            3) Even if it is a sin according to God you should still support the peoples right to chose it for themselves. You can’t expect them to respect your beliefs if you don’t at least support theirs (you don’t even have to respect it). You can’t use the Bible to make something like this illegal unless like I’ve said you want to make lying, divorce, breaking the Sabbath, worshipping idols, adultery, premarital sex etc all illegal. Is it wrong to lie? Yes. But people have the freedom to lie if they want to. It’s different than stealing and killing in terms of violating basic human rights (which is the main standard for what is legal and illegal).
            4) Like I said, it doesn’t matter what God said. If the country has a non-Christian population that wants same sex marry we can’t impose our holy book’s rules on them anymore than a Muslim can impose the Quran on us. And I think it’s very debatable that homosexual marriage is prohibited in the Bible. Quick googling will tell you it’s not as striaght a case as you seem to think it is.

          • orienteer01

            1) Really? would yo care to name these “scholars”? Either way you slice it, Jesus defined marriage as one man and one woman multiple times in Scripture. If you can find a passage in Scripture where Jesus re-defines marriage to include people of the same gender, please let me know.
            2) And the God who built this “moral code” into us tells us that homosexual behavior is wrong and immoral & He defined marriage as one man and one woman….period. You are missing the point about pedophilia/stealing. If a person who has same-gender attraction can justify his/her behavior by saying, “I can’t help myself, I was born this way.” Then so can a pedophile/thief say, “I can’t help myself, I was born this way.” What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
            3) So should we respect the right of an adult brother and sister to marry? if not, why not? Don’t they have the right to choose for themselves? Should you respect the right of an adult to be a prostitute? Should you respect the right for an adult to shoot heroin or do crack cocaine? Actually it is illegal to lie. If you lie in a court of law, its called perjury. You are making a strawman argument (another logical fallacy committed by you). I am not arguing that homosexual behavior be made illegal. I am arguing that marriage should NOT be redefined to include same-gender couples.
            4) You might want to expand your research beyond Google. It is not a scholarly resource. LOL! You do realize that not everything on the internet is true or been peer-reviewed don’t you? If you can show me in Scripture where God redefines marriage to include two people of the same gender, then I might change my mind…..Because I have already provided multiple verses where it is clear and unambiguous that God/Jesus defined marriage as between one man and one woman!

          • Ryan Manns

            1) You are completely missing the point if all this. You can’t make gay marriage illegal based on the Bible because not everyone believes the Bible! You need to support gay marriage unless you can give reasons other than The bible tells me so! That’s not a moral reason!! Where does Jesus ever define marriage? Again, it doesn’t matter because not everyone follows Jesus! You can’t use how he defines marriage to exclude people from marrying who don’t follow him. This is why you need to support gay marriage being legalized. You don’t seem to understand this no?
            2) Again, he doesn’t define gay marriage as a sin anywhere. That’s all you interpreting the Bible as you see fit. Homosexual activities in the context of the ancient times is much different than gay marriage.
            3) Thats actually a great question. Why is brother and sister marriage immoral? Perhaps you can answer this without using “the bible tells me so” which isn’t a reason. If prostituion is legal you should respect their right, if it’s illegal you should comply with the law no? Same with crack or heroin, you can’t physically prevent someone from trying it, you can advise them not to but they have the right to try it even if you don’t like it. Lying in general isn’t illegal man, get the point of what I’m saying instead of being nit picky. You’re creating the straw man here. And I’m saying marriage should be redefined because not everyone should be subjected to Jesus’ definition of marriage because they might not follow Jesus.
            4) umm I mention google because it’s an easy access to information…don’t believe everything you read but don’t dismiss everything either.
            And that’s the problem. You’re using a biblical definition of marriage and using it to prevent non believers from marrying who they want and that is wrong. Is it not immoral to impose your beliefs on others against their will?

          • orienteer01

            1) dude I have told you where Jesus defined marriage as one man & one woman several times already. Are you even reading my posts? He defined marriage in Genesis 2:24 & Matthew 19:4-9
            2) you are eisegeting and not exegeting. That’s a no-no.
            3) why is anything illegal? If people should be able to choose what they do,then let’s do away with all laws!
            4) as I stated from the start of this thread, all laws are based on morality. The question is: whose morality? America was founded upon Judeo-Christian values and principles. That’s one reason why Moses holding the Ten Commandments is carved into the US Supreme Court building!

          • Ryan Manns

            1) neither of those are defining marriage… genesis is telling of how God created man and woman for each other and Matthew is talking about divorce. Neither of those should be used legally to define marriage in this country.
            2) You are interpreting the verse as you want without considering context and other possibilities. That’s dangerous.
            3) that’s a silly thing to say. Look at how laws are made. They all have reasons beyond “my holy book says…”
            4) Doesn’t matter if America was founded on Christian principles if a lot of the population isn’t Christian. We can’t just cater to our Christian beliefs when we need to consider others legally. Is gay marriage ideal? No, probably not, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be legalized in this country. The Bible says so isn’t a reason.

          • Ryan Manns

            I feel like we’re getting further from the point and just arguing a bunch of different topics now and maybe we should just get back to the point of what started it all. So maybe just answer my original question as to why God says gay marriage is immoral and if you can’t say why maybe reconsider your position and fight for the rights of people to legally (not Biblically) marry a member of the same sex. Because legal shouldn’t depend on Biblical for those who don’t believe the Bible.

          • orienteer01

            Okay, then since I don’t believe in things that are backed by Biblical affirmation, it is “immoral” for you to impose your non-Biblical beliefs on me! Turnabout is fair play! LOL!

          • Ryan Manns

            I wouldn’t try and force you to do anything against your morals that affects you. I would respect your right to worship who you want, marry who you want, try what you want as long as it doesn’t violate the rights of others. The difference is you’re using your beliefs, and solely your religious beliefs, to tell people who aren’t religious and don’t share those beliefs, what they can and can’t do.

          • orienteer01

            Au Contraire. You are trying to impose homosexual marriage on me & society. I find homosexual behavior to be offensive. You are trying to impose your beliefs on the majority of people in the 32 states who voted to define marriage as one man & one woman.

          • Ryan Manns

            How does “my homosexual marriage” effect you in anyway?? That doesn’t even make sense. You are directly effecting others lives by telling them they can’t marry who they want…them marrying each other in no way whatsoever effects your life. It doesn’t impose in any way how you live your life and how your life plays out. It’s not violating any of your basic human rights. Even if you find it offensive…I find swearing offensive, I find racism offensive…these aren’t reasons though to make either illegal. If someone wants to swear I respect their right. If someone wants to be racist, I really don’t like it, but I can’t stop them. That’s the difference here. Your beliefs are violating others free will, my beliefs are not.

          • orienteer01

            Because it is my deeply & sincerely held belief that marriage is between one man and one woman & nothing will change my belief about that. Natural marriage should be honored & protected. I know that redefining marriage is a slippery-slope. If we redefine marriage for people who engage in homosexual behavior, the. The polygamous & incestuous will be next in line. At that point, marriage will have no meaning. So you are wrong, it does effect my life because it effects society as a whole in a negative way. You will demand that my children be taught in school that homosexual behavior is okay & normal. That clearly effects me & my family, etc.

          • Ryan Manns

            Well if nothing will change your mind perhaps this is a good place to end our discussion? Maybe polygamy and incest will be next in line, maybe it won’t. We can’t base our decisions on gay marriage on what might or might not be an issue in the future. Saying two people who you don’t know and never talk to can’t get married if they love each other really doesn’t effect your life (even if it did a little tiny bit, it’s no where near how close to how it effects their life). It’s very discriminatory, unfair, and violating others rights…doesn’t that seem more immoral than allowing two gay people to marry and do what they want I the privacy of their own home? I wonder how you would feel if you loved your wife but society was telling you you couldn’t marry her because they found it offensive. Would that be fair?

          • orienteer01

            I think an exchange of ideas is healthy. Even if neither of us changes the other’s belief.
            I have already stated & demonstrated how redefining marriage will adversely impact society and my family.
            I have already stated, ad infinitum, that the Founders of the United States of America wrote in the Declaration of Independence that our “rights” come from our Creator. The Creator has stated that marriage is between one man & one woman. You may not like that fact, but it is nonetheless how our nation was founded.
            You have already stated that sometimes “right” & “wrong” is just a matter of opinion. The majority of the people in 32 states have decided that marriage should be between one man & one woman. Therefore according to your own logic, that should be accepted as “right.”

          • Ryan Manns

            Me too.
            I don’t see how it negatively effects you at all other than it offends you.
            The majority isn’t always right, that’s why we have ethics. The study of ethics helps us answer moral questions that the Bible might not tell us.
            Anyway gotta run, all the best.

          • chaskins

            Evolutionary biologists and psychologists can show we have morality because it is integral to our very survival and flourishing as a species. Your argument that to have a morality or ethics requires a belief in God is based on the idea of morality as equivalence and it doesn’t hold up. Human beings value goodness and morality even when we fail to achieve it at times. The only people who don’t are sociopaths. And Though we sometimes use the same words to talk about moral principles and human legislation, they aren’t necessarily analogous. Human laws can be changed but moral principles are typically thought to be unchanging. Also, it is possible to have a bad human law, but it is impossible to have a bad moral principle. However I’d suggest it is more wrong for a national law to relegate part of the population to sub-human status than the wrong in a law that forbids churches from marrying same sex couples (first amendment rights not withstanding as well as religious liberty see North Carolina making it a misdemeanor for churches to hold ceremonies for same sex couples talk about stupidity and overreach) But even assuming you are right, ontological issues aside, the question of course then becomes well yes, but which one?

            Regardless we allow men and women to marry why not allow a man to marry more than one woman or vice versa. It is more reasonable to assume heterosexuality leads to polygamy than the other way around. The polygamy strawman fallacy has done nothing but a disservice to your side. (in fact it is my personal preference that you keep using it oh and the bestiality argument too) Namely polygamy is not orientation in the same way that homosexuality is. And even a polygamist is able to marry one of the people of their choosing and in alignment with their sexual preference (even if polygamy is part of biblical marriages in some instances). And please don’t tell me homosexuality is a choice, it is complicated, but I have no doubt that you didn’t have to work for years at consciously to trying to choose heterosexuality.

            The thing about your entire argument from God to Gays is that it is one whole logical fallacy after another which is why these arguments haven’t held up in any court in the country and why your side is continuing to lose at a rate of two states a month. Of course you and whatever church you belong to are free to believe and preach as you wish given your first amendment rights. But your rights with regards to this matter in the civil and constitutional arena end where mine begin. The definition of civil marriage has already been altered and you simply don’t have the numbers you need to reverse it. Frankly it is doubtful you ever will again. Civil rights are rarely reversed once granted. And those that are the most unhappy about it the bulk of which are usually older traditionalists, eventually attrition out. 70% of the population was against interracial marriage when it was made legal 47 years ago. Where are they now?

          • orienteer01

            you wrote: “Evolutionary biologists and psychologists can show we have morality because it is integral to our very survival and flourishing as a species.” Hogwash. Evolutionary biologists know nothing about morals & ethics. That is a weak Argument from Authority. The strong don’t need the weak to survive & flourish so why should the strong care? Either way, you are confusing epistemology and ontology. Why is anything absolutely wrong or right?
            “Human beings value goodness & morality”. Really? Says who? History demonstrates that you are utterly incorrect in this assertion.
            2). Where do these “moral principles” come from? Who decides what is moral it immoral?
            3) a person may have same-sex attractions, but acting on those attractions is a *choice*. A married heterosexual man may still be attracted to other women, but he *chooses* not to act on those attractions. And try as you may, there is just no consistent scientific evidence that a person is genetically “born” homosexual & since the VAST majority of humans are heterosexual, the burden of proof is on you.
            4) please name the logical fallacies I have committed. Be specific.
            5). Actually in 32 out of 50 states where the people were allowed to vote on the issue, the people voted to define marriage as one man and one woman. That’s democracy I’m action! Since your side can’t win fair & square via the democratic way, you resort to judicial activism.
            6) please cite your source for the 70% statistic. There is no Biblical prohibition regarding interacial marriage. There is Biblical prohibition on homosexual behavior.

          • chaskins

            Several points, I really don’t care to discuss God, there really isn’t any point. Many things the bible bans people accept like divorce, some things the bible doesn’t seem to have a problem with like slavery are considered one of the greatest moral evils known to humankind. It doesn’t matter if many christians also had a hand in helping to end it, many also argued for it by virtue of the fact they felt the bible supported it. So even on no brainer issues like owning another human being we had christians on either side of the debate. And with more complicated issues we some on either side of the debate. But that aside there is a reason we don’t use it as a guide in legal proceedings.

            The interracial stats are from Gallup, you can look it up yourself. In 1967 when it was made legal everywhere it had a 20% approval rating and a 73% disapproval rating. Same Sex Marriage is at a much higher approval rating than 20%. Should the supreme court take any of the number of pending cases, I’d be surprised if they went against the majority.

            Next, the referendums you that you keep lauding as an example of how people really feel happened about a decade ago for the most part. Since then, of the 20 states that now have SSM, over 50% were done by vote of legislatively and not by ‘activist’ judges. But you are right that by the end of this most of it will have been decided by the courts. As an aside, however, I doubt that the people who were allowed to finally marry someone of a different race back in the late 60’s bemoaned the fact that it was done by activist judges or by legislative processes. I don’t think that they rightly cared.

            But more to the point since 2004 the shift has been pretty momentous and a plurality now disagree with you. This is for several reasons listed in the original article but I’ve also done some number crunching form the census and voting data. Here is an estimate of the attrition rate since 2004:

            65 and older cohorts have died at a rate of about 1.8 million per year. That is about 17 million people. 70% of that group arguably was statistically against marriage equality which means 12.6 million Trads are out of the picture since 2004. Now only 61% of that group votes but that is still more than most other cohorts which is about 7.5 million voters during those referendums that are no longer around. Now consider, since 2004 we have added 33-35 million new voters in the 18-28 cohort. 70% of so support marriage equality. Only 25% of them vote making about 6 million voters who would vote for SSM. This trajectory is only going to continue.

          • orienteer01

            1) never judge a philosophy by its abuse. Just because people who called themselves Christians have done bad things or eisegeted Scripture does not make Christianity false. Jesus Christ was less concerned about social change and mostly concerned with changing the hearts of people. If social justice was his top priority, He would have encouraged His followers to overthrow the brutal Roman Empire. BTW, have you read all 66 books of the Bible? If not, your credibility in Biblical critisism is quite lacking.
            2) Bible-following churches still frown upon divorce & Scripturally divorce is only permissible in cases of adultery or if a Christian is married to a non-believer & the non-Believer abandons the marriage.
            3). Legislative process you say? More like legislative fiat. Let the people vote on the issue via referendum. That’s the democratic way to do it. If your case is so strong, what do you have to be afraid of in letting the people decide the issue?
            4) the trend is changing you say? Tell that to the people of North Carolina where 2 years ago they voted by more than 60% to define marriage as one man & one woman. Even in liberal California, the majority voted to define marriage as one man and one woman. And it took an activist judge overturning the will of the people combined with the über-liberal (&most frequently overturned) 9th Circuit court of Appeals to disenfranchise the majority of Californians who voted on Prop 8. I believe defining marriage should be left to each individual state. The Federal govt. should stay out of it.

          • chaskins

            Who said I was afraid? I’m not actually. And like I states previously VT, NH, DC, NY, WA, ME, MD, RI, DL, MN, HI and IL were all decided using the democratic process by vote or legislature (and legislature is the way this is supposed to work not referendum we aren’t a straight democracy but a republic.) Regardless that is more than 50% of the states that now have it. But the rest will be decided by Judicial means very much the same way anti-miscegenation laws were, and desegregation was and a host of other things. (I must confess however I have no idea why we should let a majority vote on a minorities rights at all, it is not constitutionally conservative nor did the framers approve it at the federal level for reasons that are obvious. I certainly wouldn’t approve of a voter referendum to strip churches of their tax exempt status)

            It’s very possible SCOTUS won’t take any of the cases and let all the circuit court decisions stand from the appeals at the state level. But even without the legal challenges I don’t see how eventually it won’t go this way. It would just be slower. If Loving V Virginia hadn’t decided for the entire south, eventually the legislatures would have shifted. But again it would have been a problem for people who moved to a new area from one that did recognize their marriage to a place that didn’t and a lawsuit probably would have occurred because that is how people challenge laws they find unfairly disenfranchise them when the majority who aren’t being affected don’t care to do anything about it. I don’t, however, think the issues surrounding interracial marriage and those surrounding same sex marriage are the exact same but I find their legal arguments for and against similar and I’m finding they are following a very similar trajectory with regards to legal arguments and moral disapproval. Except that we allowed people to vote on the latter and not the former.

            And like I said before North Carolina is only California circa 2000. Prop 22 61% in favor. Amendment 1 61%. The difference between CA 2008 and 2012 is that Prop 8 couldn’t pass 4 years later. It’s fair to assume North Carolina is about 12 years behind CA so by 2022-24 that same amendment couldn’t pass. Also North Carolina is the only win the opposition has had in 5 years. And the demographic shift is very very real. Even George Will acknowledged it and so did Maggie Gallagher formerly of NOM. I think even the shift of focusing on trying to protect religious liberty is signaling the way the religious right believes this is going.

          • orienteer01

            Nah. A referendum is perfectly feasible & the only true way to determine the true will of the people. As I said, if your argument is so sound, then a referendum should be no problem for your side.
            As stated before, the definition of marriage should be decided at the state level. THAT would be in keeping with the intent if the founding fathers. They believed that decisions and power should belong to the states, thus Article X in the Bill of Rights. & church tax exemption is protected by the First Amendment & not subject to a referendum.
            Your projections are pure speculation. Your side was shocked at the landslide victory my side won in NC.
            You are conflating race with behavior. The color of a person’s skin is unchangeable. A person’s behavioral choices can be changed, & as previously stated, a person chooses to engage in homosexual behavior.
            Either way, I don’t care which side of “history” I’m on. I only care that I stand for what is morally & Biblically right…that marriage is between one man & one woman.

          • chaskins

            Actually I did exactly the opposite of conflating race with behavior. I explained the similarities in legal arguments and trajectory of demographics and disapproval ratings. That is hardly saying they are the same. Legally they bear a resemblance. But with regards to experience they are quite different things.

            I wasn’t at all shocked by North Carolina, and any one looking at polling data wasn’t either. But my point is that can only last another 10 – 12 years. North Carolina could be expected to go the other way by that time but it will be decided before that the same way the South got dragged into modernity. I’m not debating how it should go down, I’m telling you how it will go down because the writing is on the wall. There isn’t one state left without a lawsuit and striking sec 3 of DOMA changed the whole game. I imagine there will always be people who don’t think gays deserve the same rights. But their numbers are only going to get smaller and smaller. In much the same way that those that thought interracial marriage was wrong in 1967 made up 73% of the population and now only make up 11%. That change is not because so many people from 1967 changed their minds though a lot did. Mostly they died off and those that replaced them didn’t see it as a problem. I think support for Marriage Equality is growing, will continue to grow and is going to look the same way down the line.

            In any case I guess the future will tell. I really don’t mind if you never change your mind on the matter. Truly.

          • orienteer01

            1) well, the courts get it wrong all the time. SCOTUS gets it wrong quite often. They got it wrong in the Dred Scott case for sure & the got it wrong with Roe v. Wade. The judicial branch of govt. is out of control. The founders intended the judicial branch to be the weakest branch. That’s been turned on its head and because of that we are now an oligarchy, ruled by 9 unaccountable black-robed tyrants.
            2) don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched. Public opinion polls show that more people are now pro-life than are pro-abortion. That is because of grass roots efforts that have changed minds & hearts. The homosexual agenda is over-reaching & Americans are beginning to push back against it. They are beginning to see that redefining marriage is a slippery slope that they don’t want to go down. The tide will turn in due time.

          • chaskins

            That is always possible. But given the tendency of democratic societies to move towards openness and historical trends in civil rights combined with data over the last 30 years and especially with the level of acceptance increasing further in states where it is legalized, I’m disinclined to give your theory much chance of possibility.

          • orienteer01

            Many people are beginning to realize that homosexual “rights” & religious freedom are incompatible. Seeing business owners forced to shut down because they refuse to serve in a SSM ceremony because it contradicts their religious convictions. Seeing pastors put in jail in Canada for preaching that the Bible calls homosexual behavior a sin. & the militant intolerance from the so-called “gay Gestapo” is turning people against the homosexual agenda….

          • chaskins

            Well I don’t believe it is a zero sum game though I recognize that is your perspective. The loss of privilege is uncomfortable but I do feel that often times success in making society work for the most people as often as possible generally means no one is completely happy with the outcome. We do have a vested interest in protecting 1st amendment rights and freedom in expression of faith. The freedom of one church to marry gays an not be charged with a misdemor as in NC amendment 1 is the same freedom to not be compelled to marry people in a church. Public accommodation however is different. In contracting a business license they fall under different rules. Some of those businesses were shut down by boycotts not by government intrusion, the first amendment rights of others were being exercised. They have a right to not spend money or hire that business. But remember gay people can still be fired for simply being gay in about 30 states. You can’t be fired for being a Christian. And I don’t think you should be fired for being either or both.

          • orienteer01

            I agree with some of what you wrote. A church should be governed by its members or its hierarchy & not by the state govt.
            what you say about not being able to fire someone because they are Christian is not exactly true. Case in point, a Christian professor named Mike Adams @ UNC-Wilmington was denied tenure on the basis of his conservative Christian beliefs. He sued the school & won the case, but the fact that he even had to do so demonstrates the discrimination against his Christian beliefs.
            A Christian business owner should have the right to deny services if he/she feels they violate his/her convictions just the same as a Muslim or Jewish deli owner has the right not to serve pork.

      • oldagg

        “There are very few things that the Bible says plainly”…Lev. 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Romans 1:27 “And
        likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in
        their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is
        unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error
        which was meet.” Oh, call me confused but those (and others) seem pretty plain to me.
        oldagg

        • JCF

          OK, you’re confused. In Biblical times, heterosexual orientation was ASSUMED. Ergo “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind” was addressed to ***heterosexuals*** (furthermore, any male-on-male sex was going to be of the furtive, temporary and probably *exploitive* kind: nothing like committed, public same-sex MARRIAGE!)

          Romans speaks of punishment for idolatry: for a *heterosexual* man to suddenly “burn in lust” for another man would be (at least) pretty weird, wouldn’t it? While I don’t agree w/ this cause&effect analysis of “religion not my own” (i.e., “idolatry”), at the very least, it has nothing to do w/ a faithful gay Christian in a same-sex marriage.

          Cite the Clobber Verses all you want: they’re just not On Topic.

          • Rusty Reiter

            Matthew Vines’ new book, God and the Gay Christian does a great job of covering those topics.

        • Rusty Reiter

          oldagg: No Christians today follow Leviticus, nor should they. It is a book of laws for Levite priests. We don’t even have those anymore. And it is certainly not addressing civil laws. But, if you want to pretend you take the bible literally, do you call for executing gay men? How about adulterers? How about children who get angry with their parents? (that one is in the New Testament too) “Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death” – Matthew 15:4

          • oldagg

            Of course I do know we don’t follow the old law today. My reference to both old and new testaments was meant to show that in this particular case, God did not change his opinion of the homosexual acts from then to now. I notice you ignored the very plain reference in Romans (although JCF above does try to side step it, he does not succeed). I do not call for execution of homosexuals or adulterers but certainly wish and pray that any caught in those sins could repent and see the light. As to the ridiculous and totally misapplied reference to killing “children”, I suggest you go read it again and study its context…God is not talking about little Johnny refusing to clean his room and getting stoned for it. Grown off spring who have have reached accountable age and knowingly, continuously rebel are the subject….God is not capricious or cruel.

    • orienteer01

      On what standard then should our laws be based, Ryan Manns?

      • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

        Excellent question. Let’s see if Ryan will answer it. I doubt he will.

        Of course, he may say the Constitution’s. However, who’s to say the late Enlightenment founders’ ethics were any better than any other man’s ethics. Yahweh’s moral laws are immutable. Man’s are fickle and, therefore, if based upon man’s law, any man’s ethics, regardless, what they may are just as valid as any other man’s.

        • Rusty Reiter

          The United States has never been a theocracy. Ted and orienteer are viewing scripture the way Pharisees and Taliban leaders do. The scriptures are meant to inspire love for God and love for one another (so said Jesus). Jesus never said to impose his teachings on all society via civil laws. In fact, the group Jesus always warned us against were the religious conservatives, not the gays. Jesus never spoke a word against gays during his life. Go, therefore, and do the same.

          • Rusty Reiter

            If you believe Yahweh’s laws are immutable, I have a practical question: Since Yahweh’s word clearly says I can sell my daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7), what do you think is a fair price for a young virgin these days?

          • orienteer01

            No one said anything about a theocracy. You’re attacking a straw man. I don’t care what you do in private, but when you start trying to change the definition of “marriage”, that’s when I have a problem. Jesus did speak against sinful behavior. Jesus first public sermon was: “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” Homosexual behavior is defined as sin in the Old Testament and it is reinforced in the New Testament (Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

        • Ryan Manns

          Explain what gay marriage is immoral and should be illegal without using the Bible to do so please.

          • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

            I’ll be pleased to answer your question once you’ve answered Orienteer01’s question.

          • Ryan Manns

            I did answer him. Now please stop dodging the question and tell me why it’s morally wrong for gay couples to marry.

          • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

            Here’s his question: “On what standard then should our laws be based, Ryan Manns?”

            I must have missed your answer, so please repeat it for me.

          • Ryan Manns

            No problem here it is:
            One laws should be based on what is harmful to self and others in the community and what is fair to everyone. Being in a committed relationship with a consenting adult should be allowed. On what grounds should gay marriage be illegal? Because it makes you feel awkward? Because the Bible says so? These are not good rules of thumb for law making in a country that isn’t 100% religious.

          • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

            Why is your standard any better than any other man’s–say someone who believes law should be based upon the survival of the fittest?

          • Ryan Manns

            I will answer your question when you answer my original one. Without using the Bible why is gay marriage immoral?

          • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

            If I weren’t to use the Bible, my standard of ethics would be as fickle as yours or the next man’s. Since you have no regard for the Bible, there’s no need for me to answer you. Furthermore, I’m sure you know what the Bible declares about the capital crime of homosexuality as well as I do; you just don’t want to hear it.

          • Ryan Manns

            So you admit there’s no actual moral reasons why you think homosexual marriage is wrong. You’re only reason is that the bible maybe declares it to be a sin. So I guess it’s morally reasonable to pass laws demanding death for adultery, breaking the sabbath, sexual orientation etc. Why not try to make cheating on your spouse illegal? Where’s the fight for that law? Or divorce outside of cheating? Where’s the fight for that law?

      • Ryan Manns

        One laws should be based on what is harmful to self and others in the community and what is fair to everyone. Being in a committed relationship with a consenting adult should be allowed. On what grounds should gay marriage be illegal? Because it makes you feel awkward? Because the Bible says so? These are not good rules of thumb for law making in a country that isn’t 100% religious.

        • orienteer01

          Ryan mann’s, says who? You see what one society considers to be “good” another society considers to be “bad”. The Nazis thought it served the greater “good” of society to kill Jews. See what I mean? If “good” & “bad” is determined by majority opinion, then nothing is truly good or bad?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1624570576&ref=profile JohnVisser

    Rauch was exactly right when he said, “I don’t think a lot of gay people are really in a mood to say ‘Let’s meet the other side halfway’ because the other side has never been interested in meeting us halfway.” Reminds me of the time Rhode Island Governor Carcieri vetoed, at the urging of NOM, a bill that would have allowed domestic partners to oversee and care for a same-sex partner’s funeral arrangements. Actually, I think this is an example of overreach and hateful/bigoted.

  • Tom from North Carolina

    This is a really good article Kevin. it’s clear, concise and nonjudgmental. You very accurately describe the impact modern culture had on “coming out of the closet” although I would have added Modern Family to your list of very influential TV shows.

    The times they are a changing.

  • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

    I think you overlooked the greatest reason: The late 1700 founders failed to establish society on Yahweh’s immutable morality as reflected in His perfect law and altogether righteous judgments (Psalm 19:7-11). Had the framers established government on Yahweh’s commandments, statutes, and judgments (including Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13), there would no homosexual agenda today because no sodomite or lesbian would dare risk exposing themselves to petition government for their “rights.”

    • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

      For more on how Yahweh’s triune moral law (His commandments, statutes, and judgments) apply and should be implemented today, see free online book “Law and Kingdom: Their Relevance Under the New Covenant.” Click on my name, then our website. Go to our Online Books page and scroll down to the title.

    • Christian Iconoclast

      Absolutely, Ted. While the opponents of homosexual unions (and homosexuality itself) have a righteous cause, as long as they fail to hold up the divine standard of the One True Law, including its judgments, the enemy will continue to steamroll across our nation and our children will curse us for bringing them into a world which we ALLOWED to fall apart through our own inaction.

      • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

        Christian Iconoclast, thank you for responding. And Amen! to what you posted.

        I think you might enjoy Chapter 17 “Amendment 8: Bail, Fines, and Cruel and Unusual Punishments” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective,” especially the section under the heading “Christian Fear of Yahweh’s Judgments.”

        Click on my name, then our website. Go to our Online Books page, click on the top entry, and scroll down to Chapter 17.

    • Tom from North Carolina

      What exactly is Yahweh’s immutable morality? That one should be careful from where you get your slaves? Or that if a man collects wood to build a fire on the sabbath, even if it’s just to feed his family, he should be put to death? Or is it the sin of eating shellfish that has sealed my fate? Or maybe because I wear clothes made from different threads?

      • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

        The Bible is essentially made up of epistles/letters (AKA mail) written to its intended recipients. You are obviously not one of the intended recipients. Stop pilfering other people’s mail and thinking you can interpret what’s intended for them:

        “Now we [the intended recipients] have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man [non-recipients] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:12-14)

        • Tom from North Carolina

          I wasn’t aware that this website was reserved for people with only one set of beliefs. It’s interesting that your faith in the holy spirit is so strong that you can’t address comments contrary to your way of thinking.

          This is really a good example of “preaching to the choir”.

          • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

            My comments have nothing to do with trying to limit who posts here. That’s none of my business. That’s for this site’s administrator to decide.

            I DID address your contrary comments, as I felt led by the Holy Spirit.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Was that the same holy spirit who lead to the torture by religious people of thousands in Europe for 300 years on suspicion of witchcraft? Or was it the holy spirit who lead southerns in the US to embrace slavery? Or was it the holy spirit guiding southern states to truly believe that races must be kept separate and pure?

            Or maybe it was the holy spirit guiding crusaders to slaughter Jews in what is now Poland and Germany, on the way to the middle east to fight in the holy lands.

          • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

            The examples you’ve provided only go to further prove my point, not yours. They prove what comes from even the slightest deviation from Yahweh’s perfect law (Psalm 19:7).

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Which actually supports my point — that your view of Yaweh’s law is going to be different than Joe’s which will be different from Jane’s which will be different from Sally’s. And at no time did God correct any of these misinterpretations. He never intervened during the Spanish or Italian Inquisition. He never intervened in the south.

            There’s a story in the new testament about the disciples preaching and because they were inhabited by the holy spirit, no translation was necessary; each heard “the word” in their own native tongue.

            If the holy spirit is real and active, why did monks have to translate the bible into Latin? Why did Martin Luther have to translate it into German? Why can’t anyone of faith, inhabited by the holy spirit, read the bible in its earliest Greek form?

          • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

            In your dreams!

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Well thought out response.

          • orienteer01

            Well Tom, all I ask for is consistency. You see, when God does intervene as He did with the Canaanites who were practicing child-sacrifice to their false god Molech, you call Him a moral monster. When God does not intervene, then you criticize Him for not intervening! Make up your mind!
            If God always intervened, then mankind would have no free will. We would simply be mindless automatons. That is not what God wanted when He created man.
            Jesus promised His disciples that the “parakaleos”(helper/Holy Spirit) would come to them. It did and gave them to ability to speak many languages. This promise was a one time deal for His disciples, just like some of His disciples had the ability to perform miracles. Jesus did that to authenticate them as His messengers.
            The true miracle is the accuracy with which the New Testament has been preserved over thousands of years. Even Bart Ehrman, an agnostic NT scholar admits that the original meanings and teachings of the NT has been preserved. Here is a quote from Dr. Ehrman: “Essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.” From Ehrman’s book, “Misquoting Jesus”

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Sorry for the slow response o. I’ll give this a more thorough response as soon as I can carve out some time. By the way, I have two books from Erhman one of which is Misquoting Jesus. And just like the bible is subject to personal interpretation, so are other books with the exception that with contemporary authors who are still alive, unlike god, they can set the record straight. I’ve watched some of Ehrmans lectures, after all, he’s also a North Carolina transplant. He’s not an agnostic. He is no longer a believer due in no small part to the recognition that we don’t have any idea what the original texts said.

            More to come.

          • orienteer01

            “We don’t have any idea what the original NT texts said.” Utterly & demonstrably false, as Ehrman himself admits

          • Tom from North Carolina

            So we do have the original texts? Really, when were they found? Why didn’t someone tell me?
            To my knowledge, the earliest texts we’ve found are dated around 150 AD and encompass all of one part of John 18. If I recall, that manuscript is about 4 inches by 3 inches. Are these the original texts of the bible you are referring to?

            Now, to your point about preserving the original meaning that would be particularly difficult since we don’t have ANY original manuscripts. We don’t even know what the originals said so it would be really hard to compare copies of copies of copies of copies to determine how far from the original they’ve strayed. Without the original, comparisons from 300-500 years later are impossible.

            There are also other ways used to measure the amount of variation that one would expect over time. For example, simply take the resurrection story and create a little cheat sheet of who saw what and who talked with who and when. You’ll find that virtually every detail of the story varies from gospel to gospel. I’d be happy to post a list of the specific contradictions but based on your posts so far, you probably know this as well as I do. It’s what you do with that information that defines whether you have an open or closed mind regarding the veracity of the bible. Looking at this objectively, I would say if the gospels can’t even agree on who visited the tomb and with whom they spoke and what that person said, then why would any other details of what Jesus said or Paul wrote, be taken as accurate?

          • orienteer01

            Hi Tom, thanks for your questions. I usually avoid such discussions with internet skeptics because most of the time they are not “open-minded” about Christianity’s validity as they so often have made up their mind and will not accept any evidence that is offered to them. But just for giggles, I’ll play along.
            1) As I have already stated Tom, we don’t have the *original* texts of virtually anything from antiquity. We don’t have the original texts of Homer’s Iliad. We don’t have the original texts of Herodotus and Plutarch regarding Alexander the Great. If your standard for the validity of ancient history is that we have the *original* texts, then you must throw away everything we know about ancient history

            2) Regarding the alleged “contradictions” of the resurrection story, these have been refuted time and time again. If you really are “open-minded”, I suggest you read ‘Cold Case Christianity” by J. Warner Wallace. He was a cold case homicide detective and an atheist for 30 years. He decided to apply his cold case methodology to the Gospel story. He ultimately became convinced that based on the evidence, the Gospel writers were telling the truth. Now Tom, are you open-minded enough to read that book? or at least watch some of J Warner Wallace’s Youtube presentations?

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Sure. I’ve actually read quite a few apologists responses to the kinds of issues I’ve raised in our discussions. I’ve also read others that don’t rely on faith and belief. There’s actually a pretty easy test to determine whether you are open or closed minded about a particular subject. It goes like this.

            What evidence could you cite for me or could I uncover that would convince me to change my mind. I could list 50 things, any of which would cause me to rethink my position about the existence of God. Examples are, if independent historical documents were uncovered that recounted some of Jesus’ miracles in detail. The key would have to be in detail. If we went to another planet and found a book similar to the bible. If new interpretations / translations of the bible predicted specific events that would happen in the future and we saw those specific events happen. (Saying there will be a war is like saying I’m going to go to the bathroom some time today). If any of the world’s holy books contained mathematical equations that predated our understanding of math by thousands of years. If there was any accuracy in any holy book as to its description of the universe. If someone of faith sat down to read the bible and it was written in a language in which they were unfamiliar and they could read and understand it.

            If any of these things happened, I would rethink my positions and that’s why I have an open mind. I’m open to new evidence.

            Now, turn the question around. What evidence could you see that would cause you to rethink your belief in God and of Jesus as his son/other earthly self? If there is none, then you have a closed mind.

          • orienteer01

            Produce the body of Jesus….

          • Tom from North Carolina

            That’s it? Other than ancient mummies, do we have any bodies from people 2,000 years ago?

            Let me ask you this. What makes you believe that Jesus’ body was resurrected and not simply moved by someone who didn’t tell anyone about it? And I’ll remind you that a number of gospel stories about the resurrection included people talking to Jesus who they didn’t realize was Jesus. Now, why would that be? I don’t know, maybe it was someone pretending to be Jesus to carry on the faith. Or maybe, because other accounts talk about meeting an angel, that people wanted to believe so badly in the story not ending that they simply made it up.

            Is there corroborating evidence for Jesus being resurrected? Nope.
            Is there historical evidence for a 3-hour eclipse? Nope
            Is there historical evidence for dead people being raised along with Jesus? Nope
            Are there huge and numerous discrepancies between the accounts of what happened? You betcha

          • orienteer01

            Just produce the body of Jesus and Christianity is dead in its tracks. Tell me this, why didn’t the Jewish & Roman authorities just go & exhume Jesus’ body & display it in Jerusalem when His disciples proclaimed He was resurrected? That would have stopped Christianity then & there. Why didn’t they simply do that? Who had the means or the motive to move the body? The disciples did not have the means to move the body & no one else had a motive to move the body! Even if you claim the disciples moved the body somehow, that means that they endured persecution and death for a lie that they knew was a lie!

          • orienteer01

            Corroborating evidence from secular historians: Cornelius Tacitus, Seutonius, Pliny the Younger, Celcus, Mara bar Serapian, Lucian, Josephus, Phlegon, Thallus….what else ya got?

          • Tom from North Carolina

            You don’t really consider the insertions in Josephus accounts, as nonspecific as they were, to corroborate the Jesus miracle myths, do you? Most biblical scholars say the references to Jesus by Josephus are bogus, are not specific nor do they read as well as they do when those references are removed. The words that he uses when referring to Jesus are different than the rest of his historical documents. The conclusion: His documents were altered by Christians.

            Cornelius Tasitus is an example of an independent source who confirmed the existence of Jesus and that he was crucified. Again, there is no evidence of miracles, no specific citations for miracles and no talk of resurrection. Jesus was crucified. It provides no support for your claim as to his divinity.

            In the same way, Seutonius mentions Jesus in his account of the great fire. Like all the other references you cite there is a mention of a man who was crucified. Show me the money. Show me where someone without an agenda saw Jesus raise someone from the dead or documented a resurrected Jesus or changed water to wine (a neat trick that I’m sure Josephus would have documented).

            Pliny the Younger in the same way mentions the followers of Jesus in a letter. No mention of resurrections, miracles or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

            I was looking for historical evidence that Jesus is divine. I’ve yet to see it.

          • orienteer01

            Except for the fact that an Arabic version of the Josephus testimony has been discovered that does not contain the “interpolations” you are mentioning. & Josephus also corroborates John the Baptist & James, the half-brother of Jesus, leading the early church in Jerusalem.
            See what I mean? I offer you external evidence that corroborates the NT narrative and you reject it….this is pointless…

          • nevilleross

            You’ve been led by the holy bullshit.

          • JCF

            Try taking the homophobia blinders/earplugs off, then maybe you’ll have more of a clue about what the Holy Spirit is saying. [And we all need to better model the Love of Christ.]

        • oldagg

          Ted, now that is an interesting comment – and the Cor quote just nails it down – good work. The Bible was written for ALL mankind and All men can understand it…of course there are those who have ears but do not hear and eyes but do not see. They are those who have a man centered worldview. Thinking man is smarter than God, they interpret everything according to how they feel and what man says refusing to accept God’s simple proven plan for a happy life. oldagg

    • oldagg

      Ted – your concept is good but I must disagree with the conclusion. It is clear that the founders did give us a moral nation founded on God’s laws…search and get The Silencing of God dvd….we just threw it away…we can get it back.

      • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

        Oldagg, thank you for responding.

        I hope you would agree with me that there is only one standard by which everything much be ethically judged: Yahweh’s immutable morality as reflected in His commandments, statutes, and judgments. When the Constitution is actually examined by this standard, it is found to be anything but Biblically compatible. There is hardly an Article or Amendment that in some fashion is not antithetical, if not seditious, to Yahweh’s sovereignty and morality.

        For the evidence, see online book “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective,” in which a chapter is devoted to examining every Article and Amendment by the Bible, Click on my name, then our website. Go to our Online Books page and click on the top entry.

        If you (or anyone here) will take our Constitution Survey in the right-hand sidebar, you’ll receive a free copy of the 85-page “Primer” of the 565-page “BL vs. USC.”

        • oldagg

          This could be a long discussion! I will check out your site but here’s my summation of my current belief: God and Christ (but I repeat myself) knew we would always be in the minority living under pagan or at best secular governments of various kinds (hence his “render to…” instructions). What we in America ended up with was, before we threw it away, the best of both worlds. We had a government made by God fearing men, based on recognition of him as king, with that government exercising limited power, administered by God fearing people elected by God fearing people.

          • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

            Thanks again for your thoughts.

            1) Please consider the following alternate interpretation for “render to…”:

            “…In Mark 12:17, we find Jesus’ oft-misused statement “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Many people interpret this to mean Yahweh and Caesar have separate jurisdictions, powers, and possessions. Is this true?

            “The term “Caesar” is used today to represent government in general. However, at the time Jesus made this statement, Caesar was a flesh and blood Roman dictator. What was it that Jesus was saying should be rendered to the Roman Emperor? Did the bodies, souls, and spirits of man belong to Caesar? Did reverence and obedience belong to Caesar? Did the people’s land and other possessions belong to Caesar? What about taxes? Romans 13:7 tells us to “render therefore to all their dues: tribute [tax, NASB] to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” In Verse 6, Paul indicated all these things are due to God’s ministers or servants. Did Caesar qualify as one of the ministers of God described by Paul in Verses 3 and 4?…

            “Because only Yahweh determines what is good and what is evil (Romans 13:4), the government described by Paul in Romans 13:1-7 is clearly a Christian government established upon the moral laws of Yahweh.10 Therefore, the taxes Paul described as due to God’s ministers, are Biblical taxes. Are we to believe Jesus was suggesting Christians pay Biblical taxes (tithes) to Caesar?

            “What belongs to Yahweh? And what belongs to Caesar? The answer to the first question answers the second question. Yahweh reigns over and owns everything:

            ‘The earth is YHWH’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.’ (Psalm 24:1)

            “What does this leave for Caesar? Even Caesar didn’t belong to Caesar.

            “Jesus’ answer was merely another example of His trapping the Pharisees with their own words – in this instance, forcing them to choose their god, Yahweh or Caesar….

            “When interpreted correctly, Romans 13:1-4 proves that, apart from the areas where his law agreed with Yahweh’s law, Caesar had no legitimate power or authority – except over those who, like the Pharisees and Herodians, had chosen him above Yahweh. Mark 12:17 was never meant to be general instruction to everyone, but only to those who forsake Yahweh’s authority….”

            For more, see online Chapter 19 “Amendment 10: Counterfeit Powers” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.”

            2) As for the late 1700 founders being “God-fearing men,” Google Dr. Albert Mohler’s interview with Dr. Gregg Frazer. Dr. Frazer demonstrates from their own writings that the key founders were neither Deists in the purest sense of the word, nor were they Christians in the Biblical sense of the word. Instead, they were theistic rationalists.

  • orienteer01

    All laws are based on morality. The question is: whose morality? Shall our laws & rights be based on man’s fickle & changing opinion; or shall our laws and rights come from an objective & unchanging standard? Our founders stated that our rights come from our “Creator” & that those right are “unalienable”.

    • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

      Orienteer, I was cheering your post until the last sentence. Please consider four inherent problems with your last statement:

      1) The god of the founders (particularly antichrist Jefferson’s, who was principally responsible for the Dec. of Ind.) is not the God of the Bible. (Google Dr. Albert Mohler’s interview with Dr. Gregg Frazer. Dr. Frazer demonstrates from their own writings that the key founders were neither Deists in the purest sense of the word, nor were they Christians in the Biblical sense of the word. Dr. Mohler is President of the Southern Baptist Seminary. Dr. Frazer is Professor of History of the Master’s College in California.)

      2) Except PERHAPS as the Paper’s timekeeper in Article 7, the Constitution knows nothing of God.

      3) God and His Word knows nothing of optional rights. Instead, the Bible is replete with God-expected responsibilities. (Click on my name, then our website. Go to our Blog and scroll down to article titled “America’s Road to Hell: Paved With Rights.”)

      4) The Bible and the Constitution are incompatible with each other. There is hardly an Article or Amendment in the Constitution that is not antithetical, if not seditious, to Yahweh’s sovereignty and morality. (Go to our Online Books page, click on the top book entitled “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.” If you’ll take our Constitution Survey in the right-hand sidebar, you’ll receive a complimentary copy of the 85-page “Primer” of the 565-page “BL vs. USC.”)

      Blessings in Christ!

      • orienteer01

        Ted, I think you & I are sympatico. I would add though, that Jefferson was not the only Founding Father. Most signers of the DOI were avowed Christians & many were ministers such as Witherspoon, etc.
        Also, I’d like you to consider this:
        A study by Professors Donald S. Lutz and Charles S. Hyneman, titled
        “The Relative Influence of European Writers on Late 18th-Century
        American Political Thought” published in American Political Science
        Review, 1984, revealed that after examining nearly 15,000 writings of the 55
        writers of the Constitution, including newspaper articles, pamphlets,
        books and monographs, that the Bible, especially the book of
        Deuteronomy, contributed 34 percent of all direct quotes made by the
        Founders.

        • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

          Orienteer, thanks for responding.

          Note, I said particularly Jefferson and did so being he was the author of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson’s (and the vast majority of the other founders’, including Witherspoon’s) god was NOT the God of the Bible, and, therefore, in light of 2 John 1:7-11, I would caution you about promoting any of these men. Please, take the time to read Dr. Mohler’s interview with Dr. Frazer.

          As for Professors Donald S. Lutz and Charles S. Hyneman’s study, I’m very familiar with it. In fact, I quote from it (a portion that you’ll never get from cherry pickers like David Barton) that put’s the entire report in it’s proper light:

          “…The only means of determining whether the framers were Christians is to compare their actions to the Word of God:

          ‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [anomian – lawlessness].’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

          “This is a perfect description of the constitutional framers. Although some of them claimed to be Christians, they openly practiced lawlessness. For example, David Barton (founder and president of WallBuilders) and others laud Benjamin Rush, a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, as one of America’s great Christian founding fathers, and yet in “An Enquiry into the Effects of Public Punishments Upon Criminals, and Upon Society” (which promoted the unbiblical prison system and rejected Yahweh’s punitive system of public executions and restitution), Rush lauded capricious reason as the means of determining what is right:

          ‘Reason, tho’ deposed and oppressed, is the only just sovereign of the human mind. Discoveries … have derived their credit and usefulness only from their according with the decisions of reason…. These things are … the secret voice of God himself, speaking in the human heart….’48

          “The framers nowhere attributed the inspiration for any specific article or amendment in the Constitution to the Bible or the laws of Yahweh. After reviewing over 2,200 political writings published between 1760 and 1805, David S. Lutz and Charles S. Hyneman came to some very interesting conclusions regarding the Bible’s influence upon the constitutional framers and others of that period. Lutz admitted that while the “book … most frequently cited by Americans during the founding era [was] … the Book of Deuteronomy, … the Bible’s prominence disappears [during the Federalist/Anti-Federalist debate over the Constitution],” and “the Federalists’ inclination to Enlightenment rationalism is most evident here in their failure to consider the Bible relevant.”49 Between the 1770s and ‘80s, Biblical quotations decreased among both
          Federalists and Anti-Federalists, while Enlightenment and Whig citations
          increased….”

          For more, see online Chapter 3 “The Preamble: WE THE PEOPLE vs. YAHWEH” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.” Click on my name, then our website. Go to our Online Books page, click on the top entry, and scroll down to Chapter 3.

          • orienteer01

            Ted,

            I’m think I hear the sound of bagpipes playing as you are committing the “No true Scotsman Fallacy” regarding the founding fathers. A few points to consider:
            1) Jefferson did not author the DOI alone & unilaterally. Additionally, the men who signed the DOI were giving it their endorsement & to suggest that every man who signed the DOI was not a true Christ-follower is quite presumptuous.
            2) Benjamin Franklin, one of the alleged “Deists” of our founders, quoted from Scripture when he spoke @ the Constitutional Convention. Why would a “Deist” do such a thing?
            3) Yes, the Scriptures are our guide for how we live our lives. However, Jesus does ask us to “check our minds at the door”. We are to love the Lord,our God, with all our heart, soul and MIND. He doesn’t call us to be mindless automatons, He calls us to make disciples of men & showed us how to do so by His example. When Jesus instructed His disciples, He often used parables. He did so to teach His disciples how to reason & think like He thinks. He did so because He knows that He created us to be creatures who think & reason and not as creatures who operate according to blind instinct.

          • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

            1) You’re correct about Jefferson. He was, however, the overwhelming principle contributor of the DOI. (unless, of course, you take into account Locke’s Enligtenment influence upon Jefferson).

            I did not suggest that every man who signed the DOI were not true Christ-followers, only most of them. Have you read Dr. Mohler’s interview with Dr. Frazer yet?

            2) I never accused Franklin or the other key founders of being Deists. As I pointed out, Dr. Frazer demonstrates from their writings that they were neither Deists in the purest sense of the word, nor were they Christians in the Biblical sense of the word. He coined the phrase “Theistic Rationalists” to described their true religious persuasion. Read the interview (or Dr. Frazer’s book) and I would hope you would agree with his assessment.

            By the way, Deists wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to quoting Scripture. Praying to a personal God, however, like Franklin proposed at the Convention, is another matter altogether. Franklin’s prayer proposal is often mentioned by those who so desperately want the framers to be Christians. But the rest of the story seldom told is much more telling on how Christian those men were:

            “…Although it is true that four or five weeks into the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin proposed “prayers imploring the assistance of heaven, and its blessing upon our deliberations, be held in this assembly,”73 his proposal did not even merit a vote.74 Franklin wrote, “The Convention, except three or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary.”75 This alone is an abomination to Yahweh:

            ‘…I will cut off … them that are turned back from YHWH; and those that have not sought YHWH, nor inquired for him.’ (Zephaniah 1:4-6)….”

            For more, once again, see online Chapter 3 “The Preamble: WE THE PEOPLE vs. YAHWEH.”

            3) Amen!

          • orienteer01

            Okay.

            I am not proposing that the founders were attempting to establish a “Christian nation”. I am proposing that the foundation for their framework of govt. was the Judeo-Christian moral code.
            The founders were very concerned, as you know, about preventing sectarianism such as the kind that plagued Europe, particularly England, from the time that Henry VIII declared himself head of the Anglican Church.

          • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

            How can the foundation of the framework be the (I think you mean) Christian or Biblical* moral code when nearly every Article and Amendment in the Constitution is, in some fashion, antithetical, if not seditious, to Yahweh’s sovereignty and morality?

            Christians so desperately want the framers to be “our” guys and the Constitution to be “our” document that they have failed to actually examine the document by the only standard by which everything must be ethically judged: Yahweh’s morality as reflected in His triune moral law (His commandments, statutes, and judgments). When the Constitution is finally examined by this standard, it is found to be anything but Biblically compatible. Please take our Constitution Survey so I can send you a free copy of the 85-page “Primer” of the 565- page “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution.”

            *Judeo-Christian is an oxymoron. Judeo represents Judaism and Judaism is one and the same as the traditions of the elders Christ so vehemently denounced while here on earth (e.g., Matthew 15:6-9) and which circa 500 AD was codified into what today we know as the Babylonian Talmud, the antithesis of almost everything found in Yahweh’s moral law as provided in the Torah.

          • orienteer01

            Eh….you’re losing me with the Constitution and our founders being “antithetical” to Scripture. The Bill of Rights would certainly not be considered antithetical to Christian beliefs and orthodoxy.
            I disagree that Judeo-Christian is an “oxymoron”. Jesus was quite Jewish. He opposed the legalism and hypocrisy of the Jewish Sanhedrin for certain, but he was Jewish. He was and is the fulfillment of all of the OT prophecy of the Messiah. Jesus himself said that “He came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it.” Yeshua is the fulfillment of Daniel 7:13-14.
            Regarding codification of the Torah, it was codified long before 500 A.D. To begin with, it was translated in Alexandria, Egypt from Hebrew to Greek in 250 B.C. That translation is know as The Septuagint. Also the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery in 1947 gave us the oldest surviving copies of the OT writings in Hebrew & those scrolls date to no later than 120 B.C.

          • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

            1) The Bill of Rights, particularly the First-Commandment-violating Amendment 1, is perhaps the most seditious and antithetical portion of the Enlightenment founders’ supreme law of the land. PLEASE take our Constitution Survey so I can send you our “Primer.” I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the information found therein and its free, even the postage is on me.

            2) Jesus was Jewish or more properly a Judahite of the house of David and thus of the tribe and the house of Judah. But he certainly never taught Judaism.

            3) I did not say the Torah (the moral law of Yahweh as provided to us in the Old Testament) was codified circa 500 AD, but instead the antichrist, antichristian, antinomian Babylonian Talmud, the codification of the traditions of the elders, which has come to be known today as Judaism. A little study will prove that the three are one and the same and that they are unrelated to the Hebrew religion (based on the Torah) of the Old Testament, except as it’s antithesis.

      • Tom from North Carolina

        You guys are downright scary. The moral values described in the old testament, especially Leviticus, paint a world where no too many people would want to live. The constitution’s emphasis on freedom and equality is far superior to anything the bible describes.

        • orienteer01

          The Levitical laws for ritual purity were for ancient Israel under the Old Covenant. Of course, God’s moral laws regarding sexual purity and conduct remain and in fact were reiterated in the New Covenant.
          My question for Tom from North Carolina is: what standard are you using to judge whether one set of rules & values is superior to another?

          • Tom from North Carolina

            My moral value system is relatively easy to define. If my actions relieve suffering of other people without increasing the suffering of others, it’s probably moral. If my actions increase suffering, either mental or physical, it’s probably immoral.

            It makes decisions like support for gay marriage easy. It brings joy to people without harming anyone else. It’s good. My question to you orienteer is how do you explain all the instances where people of faith did awful things under their misguided notion that they were doing what their god wanted?

          • orienteer01

            Tom, if there is no God and no objective transcendent standard of right & wrong, then why is anything “moral”? If morality is subjective, then nothing is truly right or wrong, good or bad. It’s all just one person’s opinion vs. another’s.
            Just because people who called themselves Christians did bad things doesn’t mean that Christianity is false. You shouldn’t judge a philosophy by its abuse.
            Stalin & Pol Pot were avowed atheists and they killed millions of their own people, how do you explain that?

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Morality is culturally based. There are no standards of right and wrong anywhere. There are evolving standards by which cultures have coalesced and these become that culture’s moral standards. Almost all cultures have gotten around to the idea that killing someone is bad, stealing is bad, deceiving people is mostly bad (when my mother’s Alzheimers got so bad that she couldn’t remember much, it was much easier on her to stop correcting her. This is a lesson that my wife learned far earlier than I did, unfortunately).

            It took no sacred book in order for societies to learn how to get along with each other. And now our culture seems to value freedom and equality far more than we used to. It now seems unimportant whether the person you love is of the same nationality, same race, same religion or even same gender. That emphasis on freedom bodes well for our society.

            Stalin & Pol Pot were avowed atheists and they killed millions of their own people, how do you explain that? They killed in the name of extending and holding power. They did not kill in the name of atheism. They did not kill in order buttress their views of no god. They killed for the same reason that lots of dictators kill — to hold onto power.

            The examples I cited were all of religious institutions that killed because of a misguided notion of what their god wanted. It supports the point I was trying to make which is that religious people only think they’ve been given absolute moral laws when in reality, it’s their personal interpretation of what each one thinks their god wants them to do, based on a series of stories handed down orally, copied by hand with commensurate errors and of course, reinterpretation.

            How do you explain the thousands of religions and even thousands of denominations within Christianity, with differing beliefs, differing understandings of what heaven and hell are and how to get to one and avoid the other? The pure answer is your views as to what god wants people to do are completely subjective, based on your interpretation of book by unknown authors, copied by hand over and over again. And yet, cultures completely separated from contact with Christianity have come to the same basic set of moral laws regarding murder, stealing and lying. How is that possible?

          • orienteer01

            Tom Tom Tom….SMH. You are still confusing epistemology & ontology. If society determines what is right & wrong, then you can’t say that Nazi Germany was absolutely wrong. You cannot tell a cannibal tribe that eating humans is wrong, because, after all, their society says it is okay, right? If morality “evolves” then suppose that a society determines that rape is okay on order to encourage procreation. Is that society wrong? According to your logic, they would not be wrong!
            Stalin & Pol Pot’s atheist worldview led to their actions Tom. When there is no higher authority than man, then whoever has the most guns determines what is “right” or “wrong”! Might makes right….

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Let’s take your points one by one starting with Nazi Germany. Hitler claimed to be a Christian. His understanding of what was right and what was wrong is the perfect example of how belief in cherry-picked religious books can result in awful actions. I don’t claim that Hitler did these things because he was a Christian — no, that was reserved for Christian religious leaders from 1470’s top roughly 1800 and again during the Crusades and again today in the Middle East. These latter cases are perfect examples of religious people doing awful things because that’s what they thought God would want. It illustrates my point which you still haven’t addressed; how does society defend itself from people who misinterpret their holy scriptures?

            You see Orienteer, the other point you haven’t answered is when people do things that are awful, in the name of God, why hasn’t god ever intervened? There is declining belief in god because humanity has learned through science that evidence and reasoning are the most effective way to understand the world. There’s no evidence for god ever intervening in any of these horrific events. Now, if every time a guard in Auschwitz dropped dead while trying to gas people, I would say that’s divine intervention. But he never has. He never stopped any mass murderers even when they were children like in Sandy Hook. He’s never caused a firearm in the middle of killing people, to backfire. He never stopped any of the 9/11 hijackers. In fact, there’s not a single historical example where only god could have intervened and he did so. Not one. In all recorded history. With that kind of track record, even if he existed, he would be unworthy of our worship.

            Stalin and Pol Pot were no different from Assad or Hitler or Idi Amin or Hirohito or Saddam Hussein or Nicholas II or Mao Zedong. The only thing they have in common is a quest for power and forcing untold suffering on their people and other people. Some were religious — Hitler claimed to be a Christian and had the belt buckles of the SS inscribed with God is with US. Hirohito was believed by his people to be a god. Only with religious people is the suffering exacted on people in the name of one or more gods. And wouldn’t you agree with me that these people incorrectly understood the scriptures? Which leads to my next point.

            Why isn’t god a better communicator? When I want to talk to one of my sons, I can call on the cell phone, I can text message, I can email them or I can Skype them. If there are so many instances where God’s word has been misunderstood and god has NEVER set the record straight, why hasn’t god evolved a better way of communicating? Why doesn’t he materialize some new bibles or send text messages?

            The answer seems obvious to me — there’s no one to send any messages.

          • orienteer01

            Tom,
            I get so tired of hearing the same old long-refuted arguments from internet atheists. But let me educate you:
            1) Calling oneself a Christian does not make one a Christian anymore than calling oneself a tree makes one a tree. Christians are known by their actions and whether or not their actions are consistent with the teachings of Christ. Jesus Himself warned that “many false prophets would come in His name.” He told His disciples that His followers would be known by their “fruits”. He said, ” A good tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree will bear bad fruit.” Hitler’s “fruits” were most certainly incompatible with the teachings of Christ.
            2) God is an excellent communicator, in fact, He has preserved the accuracy of His written word to man over thousands of years. Examples: 1) The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in 1947 A.D. and dated to around 120 B.C. contained every book of the Old Testament written in Hebrew except the Book of Esther. When those scrolls were compared to the Masoretic texts of the same books from 900 A.D. They were virtually identical. The only differences were in spellings and a letter here and there! No change in meaning over thousands of years! In fact, the 24 foot long Great Isaiah Scroll, discovered with the Dead Sea Scrolls, is in a museum in Jerusalem today and you can see it yourself! 2) We have approximately 5800 manuscripts of the New Testament in Greek alone today. Many of those manuscripts date back to the early 2nd century. The oldest New Testament manuscript we have is from 115 A.D. containing portions of the Gospel of John. It is known as the John Rylands Manuscript and is kept in Manchester, England. Now, keep in mind that no serious historian doubts that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified in 33 A.D. That means that the Gospel of John HAD to have been written within less than 100 years of Jesus’ life! When it comes to ancient documents that is like a news flash! Why? Because the earliest manuscript we have today of Homer’s Iliad dates to 500 years after Homer lived!! The earliest documents regarding Alexander the Great come to us from Herodutus and Plutarch and their writings are over 350 years after Alexander lived! So in order to be consistent, if you are going to disbelieve the authenticity of the New Testament documents, you must also throw away everthing you know about ancient history!
            3) When Jesus died on the Cross, Tom, He said, “it is finished”. God has given us His final Word in Scripture. Why you try reading the entire Bible and get back to me?
            4) If there is no Creator, then why is there something instead of nothing, Tom?

          • Anneke Swart Vela

            They will know we are Christians by our love! By our love for ALL! Not by actions or words or reciting Bible verses or by trying to “educate” someone who doesn’t agree with you! Little education for you orienteer01- you are not the judge!

          • orienteer01

            Anneke, when did I “judge” anyone? I’m simply quoting the Word of God. Yes, we are to love people, but loving people does not involve accepting their sinful behavior!
            Tell me this Anneke, after Jesus told the adulteress who was about to be stoned that her sins were forgiven, did He say, “now go & continue to sin because I love you & it’s all good.” Or did Jesus say to her, “now go & sin no more.”????

          • orienteer01

            Anneke, please show me where I “judged” someone. I’m simply quoting the Word of God. Yes we are to show Christ’s love to people but that does not mean that we accept or condone sinful behavior!
            Tell me Anneke, after Jesus told the adulteress that her sins were forgiven, did He tell her, “Now go & keep on sinning because I love you & it’s all good.” Or did Jesus say to her, “Now go & sin no more.”?????

          • orienteer01

            Then why are YOU judging ME, Anneke? :)

          • orienteer01

            Then why are you judging me, Anneke?

          • orienteer01

            Then why are you judging me? ;)

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Some really good specific information given in this post Orienteer. Some of your facts are wrong and you left out some facts as well. For example, about 40% of the scrolls are copies of texts from the Hebrew bible. Another 30% are similar, bible like, but were never included in the Hebrew bible. This includes the book of Enoch, Julilees, Tobit and one called the Wisdom of Sirach. As an objective observer, why weren’t these books included in the Hebrew bible and more importantly, why aren’t they considered to be the divinely inspired word of God? Just like in the selection of the new testament gospels, there’s a significant amount of randomness or human judgement as to which books to include and which ones to exclude. Your point about preserving the original is contradicted because we don’t know what the original manuscripts said from either the old or the new testament. Hebrew bible scholars still consider the dead sea scrolls to be copies of even older Hebrew manuscripts.

            To your third point, I’m glad you selected this quote because it illustrates my point even better. Thank you. Whip out your bible again and make a cheat sheet of Jesus last words while dying on the cross as described by each gospel. Just like the resurrection story you will find no agreement between the gospels. Each one quotes something different. The one you quote is from John 19:29. Matthew and Mark are the only gospels that agree (on some of what he said) by quoting Jesus as saying “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? And then there’s Luke who says Jesus’ last words were, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

            Why do you claim accuracy when the gospels can’t even agree on Jesus’ last words?

            In answer to your 4th point, I don’t know why the universe exists. Maybe it has always existed expanding and then contracting to a single, infinitely massive point only to explode and expand again. Maybe there are numerous universes popping in and out of existence all the time. But for whatever reason, I would ask you, “Why is there a creator rather than no creator”?

          • orienteer01

            1) In addition to the Dead Sea Scrolls, we have the Septuagint, the translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek that happened in 250 B.C. Why werent the books of the apocrypha included in the Hebrew bible? Because they were NEVER considered divinely inspired. They were considered historical. For example, the Books of the Maccabees tell of the rebellion of Israel against Antiochus Epiphanes. Historic but not divinely inspired. The books of the apocrypha were added to the Roman Catholic Bible in 1545 A.D. in response to the Protestant Reformation that kicked off in 1517 A.D. The books of the apocrypha are never quoted by Jesus or His disciples. The books of the apocrypha were not considered divinely inspired by the earliest church fathers such as Clement of Rome (C. 95 A.D.), Polycarp (110 A.D.), and Papias (105 A.D.). Those men were the students of Peter and John!
            2) No two eyewitnesses tell the same exact story Tom, if they did, you would accuse them of collusion! Again, read “Cold Case Christianity” by J. Warner Wallace
            3) Scientific evidence has demonstrated that the universe is not eternal. There are 5 points of evidence that show this: 1. The Law of Entropy, 2. The expansion of the universe. (Since the universe is expanding, that means if you reversed time, the universe would collapse back into nothing, 3. The Red Shift in the star light. (this is the evidence that Hubble showed Einstein at the Mt. Wilson observatory that convinced Einstein that the universe was not eternal), 4. The remnant heat from the “big bang” explosion that was detected by NASA’s COBE space satellite in the 1990’s. 5. Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. Additionally, NASA scientists have stated that based on the acceleration rate of the expansion rate of our universe, it is unlikely that it will ever contract upon itself, but continue to expand until it acheives heat death.

            4) The “Multi-verse Theory” only kicks the can down the road Tom! Where did the FIRST universe come from? Even if there are “numerous universes” out there, the first universe had to start somehow! What caused the FIRST universe to begin?

            5) Why is there a creator rather than no creator? Because the Law of Causality tells us: Everything that has a beginning has a cause. The overwhelming scientific evidence points to the universe having a beginning. Therefore, the universe must have had a cause. That cause must be independent of the universe and its physical laws because it created those laws! That cause must be timeless, spaceless, and immaterial. We call that “cause” God.

            What else ya got, Tom from North Carolina?

          • Tom from North Carolina

            I must say, I’m enjoying this discussion immensely.

            You said, “Because they were NEVER considered divinely inspired.” Again, making my point. Who is doing the consideration? It’s people. So we have people saying well this book looks divinely inspired to me but this one doesn’t. If the all to human judgement is what determines what is divinely inspired, then to use your words, then it becomes a matter of opinion. Whose opinion? On what basis did they make that judgement? The problem with your approach to morality, it transfers the responsibility from empirical event, as discussed by W Maxwell, to personal interpretation. And you know where that leads to; thousands of different interpretations which is exactly what we have today — thousands of interpretations of what god said or wants. We call these various, conflicting interpretations denominations.

            2) No two eyewitnesses tell the same exact story Tom, if they did, you would accuse them of collusion!

            No actually, if all the witnesses agreed that they saw the same thing, I would call that corroboration. But alas, the bible contradicts itself all over the place. What do police call two contradictory accounts of the same event? Unreliable.

            3)Scientific evidence has demonstrated that the universe is not eternal.

            In the words of Ronald Reagan, “there you go again.” It seems funny to me how you can employ good, rigorous reasoning to conclude that the universe is not eternal (I would conclude that we don’t know whether it is or not) and yet you’ve never cited a single fact that would lead you to conclude that God is real. You’ve talked a lot about what you think god has revealed but there is no historical support for God and a lot of evidence that would contradict the idea of a loving god who cares about people.

            4) The “Multi-verse Theory” only kicks the can down the road Tom!

            Actually, it’s an acknowledgement that there are many things science has not yet uncovered, the kind of acknowledgment that people of faith never seem to make about their understanding of god.

            5) Why is there a creator rather than no creator? Ah, the old God exception. I’ve heard it many times. The universe couldn’t possibly be infinite but God, by definition is. Everything needs a first cause except of course for god…..he was always there. I don’t understand what he was doing when Satan tempted Eve since it’s not like he had a gazillion prayers to listen to.

          • orienteer01

            Exactly as I thought Tom. Your mind is already made up.
            You understand that something that is eternal, by definition, has no beginning & no end don’t you?
            I’ve pointed to the empirical evidence that demonstrates that the universe itself is not eternal & you don’t accept that.
            I’m done with this. I don’t waste my time with internet skeptics who will not accept any evidence. Time to “shake the dust off my feet.”

          • Tom from North Carolina

            You must have missed my discussion of a closed versus open mind. I think I demonstrated that I’m open to new ideas. Are you?

            Most of your discussion of an eternal universe was actually a discussion of an expanding universe. They are different. You conclusion is based on the wrong assumptions.

            Yes, typical of someone of faith — when reason and evidence fails — claim the opponent is close minded or just doesn’t understand or is not inhabited by the holy spirit.

          • orienteer01

            Hogwash. Einstein immediately understood the implications of an expanding universe. He knew that if time were reversed that expanding universe would collapse into nothing. Ergo, the universe is not eternal….

          • lily johnson

            That is a misunderstanding. We only have evidence for what we think happened to the universe shortly (VERY SHORTLY) after the big bang. Even with the newest discoveries – currently being tested further- about gravitational waves that tell us what happened shortly after the big bang, there is still a tiny gap in time where we have no idea what conditions were like. Also we have no idea what happened before the big bang or if there was a “before” or whether that kind of language and logic could even apply.

          • orienteer01

            And we know through empirical evidence and observations that from nothing, nothing comes…..

          • lily johnson

            You need to read up on what is happening in physics right now. There actually isn’t enough empirical evidence to suggest our universe absolutely isn’t eternal. :/

          • orienteer01

            I am quite well-versed in some of the latest theories in physics. The empirical evidence demonstrates that our universe had a beginning & thus is not eternal….

          • lily johnson

            There is enough evidence to suggest it might be me more probable but barely anyone in the field thinks there’s enough evidence to call it fact. Many physicists lean more towards one or the other however none of them will claim to say its undisputed fact, which is what you are trying to assert. I am saying at this point we aren’t sure, and your Creator theory is done no favors by resting on the back of an uncertainty.

          • orienteer01

            except for the fact that from nothing, nothing comes….

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Except of course with your god. Aren’t you in fact trying to define the probability of various theories — laws of thermodynamics, an expanding universe — but are unwilling to place god within the same constraints. The so-called god exception is simply a way of gaming the discussion when you’ve run out of evidence and reason. If everything had a beginning, who created god? If god was here forever, why couldn’t the universe have always existed in one form or the other?

          • orienteer01

            Dude, you do understand that something that is eternal & infinite, by definition, is not created don’t you?
            If you have evidence that the physical universe is eternal, then present it. The burden of proof is upon you….

          • lily johnson

            Why does the cause have to be conscious and have an ethical standard rather than not?
            How do you come to such a specific conclusion when the only criteria to go off would be that the cause just has to be independent of the universe?

          • orienteer01

            Because that “Ucaused First Cause” had to make the conscious decision to create….

          • lily johnson

            We don’t know how the universe came to be but actually there are many models in modern physics that suggest it is possible our universe has no beginning because time does not even exist outside the confines of our own universe. In other words, asking “how could something come from nothing” isn’t even necessarily the right question. Cosmology has pointed out that conditions within our universe don’t necessarily apply to the universe itself. The conditions of our universe imply that certain logics work, like that of cause and effect. However, it is wrong to assume that our intuitive logic applies to the nature of the universe itself, and the progression of modern physics has shown that you are asking the wrong kinds of questions and succumbing to answers that don’t actually explain what we observe. At this point WE JUST DON’T KNOW, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that we are very in the dark about the nature of the universe and fundamental reality. It makes absolutely no sense to just settle for the Creator theory when it can’t be upheld with any evidence. A philosophical question about cause and effect is not sufficient evidence for something by any rational standard.

          • orienteer01

            If you deny cause & effect, then science is no longer possible because science, by definition, is a search for causes.

          • lily johnson

            No you are misunderstanding. Haha seriously please just educate yourself on modern science. Cause and effect most certainly applies within our universe but modern physicists suspect that this idea may not apply to the universe itself (and whatever may lie “outside” of it) because time and how it functions is specific to our universe’s conditions. It is bad science to just succumb to an assumption without sufficient evidence.

            I suggest you look up a great cosmologist named Sean Carroll. There are people dedicating their lives to understanding what we are talking about and none of those people agree with you.

            It is possible that our universe is eternal and therefore you are asking the wrong questions. But the point is, at this point we just don’t know. It’s a field moving along very quickly though.

            For real though modern cosmology and quantum mechanics are utterly destroying so many assumptions we have about the universe and the nature of cause and effect. Our discoveries keep being more and more counter to intuition.

          • orienteer01

            Ha ha. Seriously, I am familiar with Sean Carroll and his speculation and conjecture. Tell me, how do you expect science to develop an understanding of whatever lies “outside” of our universe, if they cannot use cause and effect? How can science, which is designed to measure the *natural* world develop an understanding of something that is “outside of” nature? It would be like expecting to use an flashlight to conduct an MRI.
            It may be *possible* that our universe is eternal, but all of the empirical evidence is against that possibility. Unless of course you happen to have some empirical evidence that the universe IS eternal. You see, the burden of proof is upon you….

          • lily johnson

            It could be that we would never know! But its better to accept that than to fill in the gaps with stuff we make up. Why not apply your same skepticism and burden of proof to your own beliefs? If you actually have a strong burden of proof that is consistent you would NEVER consider the universe existing as real evidence for your specific God.

            There is more evidence for the eternal universe than there is for the existence of the specific Creator you are saying exists…..

            I just don’t understand the inconsistency.

            None of the physicists who are working at the forefront of this field right now, who lean towards the finite universe would ever assert that there being a Creator is the logical conclusion to come to. o_o

          • orienteer01

            That’s not true at all. I have applied my skepticism and examined the evidence and am convinced that Jesus is who says He is. You see, I dont believe by blind faith. I have looked at the evidence and I am convinced.
            I would have to ask you what you mean by “evidence” to begin with, and this is not a “God of the Gaps” argument. We know from all empirical evidence that from nothing, nothing comes….unless you can provide a counter-example….can you?

          • lily johnson

            Within our universe! What if there is no time outside of it? It’s a definite possibility. You already admitted we don’t know what could possibly lie outside of it. Therefore how can we assume?

            Even if I were to give you assertions about the finite universe, it makes no sense to assume that it came from specifically a conscious Creator and even more specifically that this conscious Creator is the Christian one.

            Your standard of proof when it comes to Jesus is way lower than is acceptable for theories in the scientific community, which is why no cosmologist agrees with you. Don’t you think more of them would side with you if there actually was enough evidence to say its undisputed fact that the Christian God created the universe?

            “What caused the FIRST universe to begin?”

            WE DONT KNOW.

          • orienteer01

            Your appeals to authority are just weak. And since we know that from nothing, nothing comes; The burden of proof is upon you to show otherwise.
            My standard of proof for Jesus has nothing to do with cosmology, so I don’t give two hoots about what a cosmologist has to say about it. I rely on history, archaeology, etc. for the evidence that Jesus is who He said He is.
            What do you mean by “evidence”?

          • lily johnson

            Im willing to read anything.

            If its possible just send me something that would convince you if you were a skeptic, or at least something you think would lead someone to less skepticism on the subject. If you haven’t always been Christian then something that set you on the path.

          • orienteer01

            Good.
            “Cold Case Christianity” by J. Warner Wallace. A cold case detective and atheist for 30 years. He examined & researched the Gospels the same way he would approach a cold case and determined the evidence led him to believe the Gospel writers told the truth.
            “Darwin’s Doubt” by Stephen Meyer

          • orienteer01

            “Cold Case Christianity” by J Warner Wallace. He was a cold case homicide detective for 30 years and an atheist. He decided to put the claims of the Gospel writers through the same procedures he used to solve cold cases. In the process, he became convinced that the Gospel writers told the truth.

            “Darwin’s Doubt” by Stephen Meyer.

          • orienteer01

            “Cold Case Christianity” by J Warner Wallace. He was a cold case homicide detective for 30 years and an atheist. He decided to put the claims of the Gospel writers through the same procedures he used to solve cold cases. In the process, he became convinced that the Gospel writers “told the truth.

            “Darwin’s Doubt” by Stephen Meyer.

          • orienteer01

            “Cold Case Christianity” by J Warner Wallace. He was a cold case homicide detective for 30 years and an atheist. He decided to put the claims of the Gospel writers through the same procedures he used to solve cold cases. In the process, he became convinced that the Gospel writers told the truth.

            “Darwin’s Doubt” by Stephen Meyer.

          • JCF

            “Christians are known by their actions and whether or not their actions are consistent with the teachings of Christ.”

            Consistent ACCORDING TO WHOM??? Whose opinion, yours? How about mine? How about the Pope’s? (ixnay on that last, BTW. Though this one seems *to me* more inSpired than the last few, thus far)

            Opinions, opinions, and more opinions: this side of heaven, that’s all we’ve got. And I’m FINE w/ that. Alleluia!

          • orienteer01

            When it comes to the teachings of Christ, the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things. For example, Jesus defines marriage as one man & one woman for life in Genesis 2:24. He reiterates this definition in Matthew 19:4-9 just to eliminate any confusion. His definition of marriage is clear, unambiguous, & not open to “interpretation”. :)

          • orienteer01

            When it comes to the teachings of Christ, the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things. For example, Jesus defines marriage as one man & one woman for life in Genesis 2:24. He reiterates this definition in Matthew 19:4-9 just to eliminate any confusion. His definition of marriage is clear, unambiguous, & not open to “interpretation”. :)

          • lily johnson

            No he would just be saying that its “wrong” by his standard. It doesn’t eliminate meaning to the word completely. Also I can just as easily say that I dont care what a creator of the universe says is right and wrong. I would never derive my morality from that authority even if it were true. Its just another link in the chain.

            I am less concerned about whether something is “wrong” and more concerned about whether someone is suffering. I don’t want to help people b/c Im trying to uphold a standard, I want people to be unharmed for the sake of themselves.

            Btw a world where right and wrong is nothing but people’s opinions is scary but welcome to reality…..Your “BUT THEN” scenarios literally just describe our planet…

          • orienteer01

            Then why are you telling me that I’m wrong? After all, that’s just your opinion…:-)

          • lily johnson

            It’s just your opinion whether you want to admit it or not…..literally the only difference is that you are saying your opinion is backed by the Creator of the Universe, which is something you cannot prove.

            Also I don’t really like diminishing the power of ethics by calling them “just” an opinion. What we think gives us the power to alleviate suffering and improve and save people’s lives.

            Basically your argument comes down to “if there was no absolute standard of morality then people would just do what they want based on their opinion” and I’m just saying yeah thats a really good description of human history actually.

          • orienteer01

            Epistemology vs. ontology. Why is anything right or wrong? Says who?

          • Allen

            So if God tells you to kill your mother for no reason you will do it because God created morality and anything it says is moral?

          • orienteer01

            God speaks to us through His revealed Word in Scripture. His revealed Word does not tell me to do any such thing. Im curious though Allen, what is your source for morality? What standard do you use to measure whether something is right or wrong?

          • Allen

            So God can never speak to you directly? What do you pray for? Morals are devolved and also come from our instinct. Human empathy and society development. For instance race mixing was immoral based of religion (God separating the races) but now its a none issue. divorce was immoral and only permissible if a couple cheat (excluding abuse) but now everybody gets divorce . If we measure the standard on the bible a rape victim should marriage her rapist would be moral but we consider that down right wrong today. I mean if you want to live by God standards you are welcome. if you or your daughter are raped you should go ahead and marry or have her marry the person that raped you/her. That was one of God standards in the past and he reorders it im sure you will go along.

          • orienteer01

            Allen, it is obvious that you have never read the Bible in its entirety. Because you have not done so, it harms your credibility greatly to criticize its teachings.
            1) Nowhere in Scripture is “race mixing” deemed immoral. See Galatians 3:28 for a direct refutation of that concept.
            2) Divorce is still considered wrong according to Bible-believing Christians. That is not to say that people who claim to be Christians dont divorce. But when they do so, they are outside of God’s will according to His Word. That is why divorce for unBiblical reasons is frowned upon by Bible-believing churches
            3) many of the Old Testament Levitical laws were specific to the ancient Israelites and were about maintaining ritual purity. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament laws and therefore eliminated the need for ritual purity today. However, God’s unchanging moral law has never changed. Again, if you have ever bothered to truly read and study the Bible in it entirety, you might understand this….
            4) If morals come from our “instinct” then are you stating that what we do by “instict” is moral?

          • lily johnson

            Lol so you admit at one point the Christian god ordered women to marry their rapists and you have no problem with that? That happened to REAL people. That HAPPENS to real people. But its okay because Jesus changed the rules? How does that help those victims?

          • orienteer01

            2 names: William Wilberforce & William Lloyd Garrison….look them up….

          • lily johnson

            Both abolitionists, seem like cool dudes. I don’t see the relevance?

          • orienteer01

            Both motivated by their Christian convictions to lead the abolitionist movements in England & the US….

          • lily johnson

            Oh yeah I think Christianity or any religion can be a motivator of morals I think benefit mankind. Im not trying to dispute that. I don’t even think the world would necessarily be a better place if everyone was an atheist like me. People’s opinions on morality would still be just as varying and just as potentially harmful.

            I just don’t see the relevance in terms of my beef that this creator of morality was also a staunch defender of misogyny, rape culture, and the suffering of women in order to preserve “ritual purity.”

          • orienteer01

            Be honest. Have you even read all 66 books of the Bible? Or if not that, at least all 27 books of the New Testament?

          • JCF

            “Allen, it is obvious that you have never read the Bible in its entirety”: translation, “How Dare You Disagree w/ Me!!!”

            This kind of cheap ad hominem is Just So Sleazy—and lazy. I’m a Bible-reading (in entirety, many times), Bible-believing, Bible-praying Christian, and I don’t agree w/ tiny *fraction* of what you posted above. Reading the Bible IS NOT MAGIC, orienteer01: it doesn’t suddenly make everyone agree w/ each other…about anything. Least of all, INTERPRETING the Bible!

          • orienteer01

            I never said reading the Bible was magic. However, for a person to have any credibility regarding Biblical issues, that person should at least have the intellectual honesty to actually read the Bible (all 66 books of it) first. Yes?

          • Tom from North Carolina

            And yet God was unable to speak to Germans and Austrians until his revealed word could be translated into German by Martin Luther. Why is there a need for any translation? Why couldn’t the holy spirit translate it for any faithful person with a genuine desire to understand God’s word?

            Is God out of miracles? Is the holy spirit no longer fluent in all languages like he was during Jesus time (supposedly)?

          • orienteer01

            Why are you so hung up on whether God could speak German or Austrian? I fail to see what that has to do with anything. At the time of the Gospel writings, Koine Greek was the predominant language of educated people in the ancient Near East. English didnt exist as a language at the time. Why would you expect the Gospels to have been written in a language that didnt even exist yet? LOL!

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Because it would be evidence of the sacredness of the bible; that god would want his word known and would perform whatever miracles were needed to be to have his word heard, unaltered. But alas, we know that’s not the case. We know the bible was copied and copied and so on for generations, each version introducing intentional or unintentional changes. We know the bible needed translating in whatever language the reader was familiar because apparently, the holy spirit was weakened by the heavenly equivalent of kyrptonite. So not only do we have no idea what god originally said, but each individual who reads the bible interprets these words based on their own, personal experiences and understandings. That’s why we have thousands of religions and thousands of denominations, all with different “interpretations” as to what is sinful, how to get to heaven and avoid eternal punishment.

            The idea that God couldn’t write his words down in such a way that they were understood by all is evidence that these sacred books were written by man and primitive man at that. There is nothing in any book of the bible that couldn’t have been written by men 2,000 years ago with the possible exception of the book of revelation. Revelation seemed to have been divinely inspired by the god of cannabis or possibly the god of opium.

          • orienteer01

            Isn’t that just YOUR interpretation Tom? If so what validity does your interpretation have?
            Do you have any evidence to support your assertions?

          • orienteer01

            Isn’t that just YOUR interpretation Tom? LOL!

            Do you have any evidence to support your assertions?

    • Allen

      hmm so we should instane laws that slavery is fine and blacks are not full people. I mean the bible is for slavery so it make sense..

      • orienteer01

        The Bible is not “for slavery”. In fact, in Galatians 3:28, “All are one in Christ Jesus.” Tell me Allen, have you read the Bible in its entirety? Be honest.

        • Allen

          If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only
          six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for
          his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married
          afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married
          before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master
          gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the
          man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still
          belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my
          wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his
          master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door
          and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to
          his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

          Christians who are slaves should give their masters
          full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If
          your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You
          should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your
          efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.
          (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

          The servant will be severely punished, for though he
          knew his duty, he refused to do it. “But people who are not aware that they are
          doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom
          much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.”
          (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)
          When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will
          not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the
          man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not
          allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract
          with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he
          may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter.
          If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her
          food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of
          these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.
          (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

          When a man strikes his male or female slave with a
          rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If,
          however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since
          the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

          However, you may purchase male or female slaves from
          among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of
          such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You
          may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent
          inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel,
          your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

          • orienteer01

            1) I noticed you didnt cite Galatians 3:28 Allen. Why not? Did you look it up?
            2) By what standard are YOU judging slavery to be wrong Allen? Is it just your opinion that slavery is wrong? If so, why should anyone care about your opinion? What I’m getting at is: if you have no objective, transcendant standard outside of man’s opinion, then nothing is truly right or wrong. If right and wrong is simply a matter of majority opinion, then NOTHING is truly right or wrong! Do you get that? I know it requires some critical thought and not just soundbytes and cutting and pasting on your part…

          • Tom from North Carolina

            So slavery is okay with you because god never specifically criticizes slavery. Again, that’s the point I was trying to make over a week ago — that god nor Jesus ever says “you shall not own or buy another human being”. And as I’ve said before, Galatians 3:28 does NOT condemn slavery. It only says all are the same in the eyes of Jesus whether slave or free person. It does not say people should NOT own other people.

          • orienteer01

            And you still have not offered an explanation of how you can say that slavery is absolutely wrong. According to whom? based on what standard Tom? If there is no God- no external source of right and wrong outside of mankind- then there is no absolute right or wrong. Everything is just a matter of opinion at that point. Is right and wrong just a matter of what the majority of mankind decides is right and wrong?

          • JCF

            “if you have no objective, transcendant standard outside of man’s opinion”

            Because there’s No Such Thing. If you cite a text like the Bible, you can ONLY do so ****through man’s opinion****. For example, when someone brings up homosexuality, and the Clobber Verses are cited, why is that? Isn’t it because such believers were TAUGHT (from a pastor, a tract, a Bible course, their parents, etc) that these specific verses are the ones that apply to “the Question of Homosexuality” (and that they mean “No Way, No How, or else Fry”)?

            We’re human beings, w/ our fallible human opinions—we can’t turn our opinion-making brains off no matter WHAT Book we’re reading/citing/quoting/preaching/teaching. Homo sapiens: “Thinking Man”—read “Opining Man”. That’s just the way God created us. Praise!

          • orienteer01

            Isn’t that just YOUR opinion/interpretation? LOL!

          • oldagg

            Correct! Without that transcendent law giver – no one can logically or Morally criticize Hitler. Indeed, without that transcendent law giver, morality has NO meaning at all. Anarchy reigns.

  • Christian Iconoclast

    Sodomites are winning this war simply because Christians have lost their
    backbone, have rejected the moral Law of YHWH, and denied the dominion
    mandate. While waiting to be “raptured” to heaven or to inherit some
    “pie in the sky” kingdom when they die, they have sat on their hands and
    allowed the Muslims, humanists, Judaizers, etc take over what
    rightfully belongs to the King of kings. As long as Christians insist on
    a “this world is not my home” attitude, the enemies of the Kingdom will
    trample us under their feet as salt that’s lost its savor, and it will
    be entirely the Christians’ fault. Christ will NOT say to them, “Well
    done, good and faithful servant”, but rather, “I never knew you. Depart
    from me, you who work lawlessness.” It’s time we pulled on our boots and
    got to work, relying on YHWH’s Law as our answer, rather than relying
    on a manmade, humanistic Constitution that opened wide the doors for
    sodomite unions in the first place.

    • http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ Ted R. Weiland

      Amen!

    • Indiana Conservative

      Right on brother!I know that there are big churches like Covenant Church,211 Knox Drive in West Lafayette who won t even touch the fact that the current occupant in the oval office & his Brown Shirted ag will not defend DOMA.I have gotten information into 2 main leaders hands about DOMA namely Robery Eyeman of Pathway Lane and Senior Pastor & Chief ringleader Dave “Mr NO Doma”Henderson of Hartman Drive & these to idiot bozo fools will not even the up in the pulpit and preach on DOMA which has me beside myself over their intolerance reluctance to get up & take a stand.But Wait!it even gets more macbre because Hendu Henderson had a son get married on 8/6/11 which is less then 6 months after Black Satan Obummer came out & said that his administration would no longer defend DOMA which I find very ironic.BUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT even with Mr No Domas own son getting married that is amazingly not enough to get his apathetic assend up into his pulpit & preach on DOMA like Chuck Colson’s pastor did.WHAT A DAMMMED SHAME!Covenant Church has a idiot schit that says growing followers of Christ.When it comes to DOMA & the fight over marriage in this nation I for one would like to know where do the commands of Christ fit into tis logo of “growing followers of Christ”?Like being salt & light?LIke occupying till I come,like taking dominon over all the earth.Like taking what Genesis 1:28 says & applying it to all areas of like.

    • Wordmahn

      Okay. And, what do you propose to do once you get you’ve “pulled on [y]our boots”?

    • JCF

      “… take over what rightfully belongs to the King of kings”: by which you mean, your bigoted, pseudo-Christian selves. ***God made people ‘sodomites’***, bigot, and in trying to oppress them, you’re going against God.

      “Christ will NOT say to them, “Well done, good and faithful servant”, but rather, “I never knew you. Depart
      from me, you who work lawlessness”: yes, that’s what bigots will hear come Judgment Day. I pray for your repentance! God have mercy on us all…

      • Christian Iconoclast

        JCF, it’s apparent you and I serve different gods. While yours apparently condones sodomy, my God, YHWH, specifically condemns it, even going so far as to list it as a capital crime. The Bible, which is YHWH’s Word to man, is very clear on this. I suggest you carefully study the topic so you can see for yourself.

        You use the term “bigot” very loosely, much as the rest of the humanist world which has rejected and repudiated the Law and its Author. I urge you to look up its etymology and actual definition (rather than the definition applied to the word within the last few decades). The word comes from the German and literally means “by God”. So, if my stance is “by God” (conforming to His Law and morals), and if that makes me a bigot, then I welcome the label.

  • John H.

    Anyone who thinks this is just a matter of live and let live
    is grossly mistaken.

    As we, once again, have the courts continue override the votes of the people who passed state constitutional ballots, we will soon next see open persecution
    of those who dare to continue to base their morality on the unchanging, transcendent law of God. It is already happening and when the rest of the state
    constitutional bans are completely overturned it will be open warfare on all those who dare to say homosexual marriage is immoral. Those who aspire to
    public office or might be presented as an appointment to a judgeship will be ipso facto disqualified. The educational system will even more openly engage in
    indoctrination of the children, calling into question the morality of their parents and clergy. The homosexual community will not allow for differences,
    its only goal is to see their immoral behavior declared normal and good and right.

    • Tom from North Carolina

      The states in the south all passed laws legalizing slavery, should they still be in place?

      My state prohibited races from dating and marrying even after slavery was abolished and preachers in the south used the bible as justification. Were the courts wrong in striking down those laws?

      The courts serve two primary purposes. First, to rule on the constitutionality of legislation and second, to protect the rights of the minority from the majority. That’s exactly what they are doing.

      • orienteer01

        Tom, there is no Bible justification for racism. See Galatians 3:28.
        Slavery is not condoned in the Bible. If you take the time to read the Bible in its entirety, instead of cherry-picking it & repeated long refuted soundbytes, you will see that.

        • Tom from North Carolina

          You know orienteer, I can find references to where the bible instructs masters to set slaves free in the seventh year unless they want to keep their wife if they were married during their enslavement, then they remain slaves forever. Exodus 21:2

          I am found references where the bible tells you where to buy slaves, both male and female. Leviticus 25:44

          I found references to selling daughters into slavery whose term of servitude ends after 6 years unless she fails to please her master. This same section prohibits selling slaves to foreigners. Exodus 21:7

          I saw references where masters are allowed to beat slaves enough that they survive for two days. The prohibition is against beating them hard enough to kill them immediately. Exodus 21:20

          I found references where Christian slaves should respect their masters at all times in order to prevent embarrassment by God. 1 Timothy 6:1

          In both the old and new testaments, there are plenty of rules and warnings about slavery — how much to beat them, where to purchase them, how long to hold them, who owns the children of slaves — but at no point does God, any book of the bible or Jesus say slavery itself is wrong. If there’s any cherry picking going on, it’s fundamentalists trying to ignore or explain the awful things written in the bible.

          • orienteer01

            Au Contraire, Tom.
            1) see Exodus 21:16 & 1 Timothy 1:10, Deuteronomy 23:15, Galatians 3:28
            2) Jesus was primarily concerned with changing individual hearts & not social change. If that was His primary concern, He would have told His followers to overthrow the oppression of Rome.
            3) A devout Christian named William Wilburforce led the abolitionist movement in England & Christians in the United States led the abolitionist movement here…

          • Tom from North Carolina

            I don’t think so Orienteer. Exodus 21: 16 says, “And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.”
            That doesn’t criticize slavery. That simply says you shouldn’t steal someone else’s slaves just like you shouldn’t steal anyone’s property.

            First Timothy 1, says nothing about slavery.

            Deuteronomy 23: 15 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:

            Galatians 3, 28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
            This is simply symbolic speak designed to say all are the same in the eyes of Jesus. But of course male and female are not the same. Nor is the life of a slave the same as that of a free person.

            Again, this is no criticism of slavery. Now if someone in the bible, old or new, it said thou shall help to free slaves or thou shall never purchase slaves or thou shall treat runaway slaves as a guest, then the bible might assume some moral authority regarding slavery. But it clearly doesn’t say anything like this. I’m afraid there is nothing in the bible critical of the institution of slavery. Why else would newer interpretations gloss over the issue by substituting the word “servant” for slave?

          • orienteer01

            Tom….Exactly. All people are one and the same in Christ!
            You glossed over the fact that Christ’s primary concern was with the heart of the individual, not in social change, etc.
            If I apply your logic, then since Scripture does not explicitly condemn pedophilia, then Jesus must be okay with such a deplorable act. Do you see the flaw in your logic? Just because something is not specifically condemned in Scripture doesn’t mean that Jesus endorsed it. In fact, if you apply the teachings of Christ in their entirety, you would clearly understand that He did not condone slavery or homosexuality or pedophilia for that matter!

          • Tom from North Carolina

            I can almost see the acrobatics you have to perform in order to excuse the lack of criticism of slavery. Jesus never spoke of pedophilia so one would expect silence on the issue. But he did speak of slavery, not to warn against the practice but to caution where to get slaves from and more tellingly, to warn slaves to obey their masters.

            Even if your point that Christ was more concerned with individual change it doesn’t absolve god or Jesus from failing to speak out against a practice that the world today recognizes as morally repugnant. And it’s not like Jesus or God didn’t try to change societal problems. Working on the Sabbath, marriage, even the food we eat have all been the subject of extensive coverage. To consign slavery to its own classification separate from other cultural behaviors like what you eat, is cherry picking in my book.

          • orienteer01

            Tom, you are dodging the central question. What standard are you using to judge slavery as repugnant? Is it just your opinion? Is right & wrong just a matter of what the majority of society says is right & wrong? You see, you are borrowing from God’s objective moral law to argue against God. If there is no God & there is no objective, unchanging transcendant standard for right & wrong then right & wrong is just a matter of opinion, or right & wrong is just determined by who has the power (might makes right). See Tom, you have no basis for your morality if you take God out of the equation. You are making the classic error of conflating epistemology and ontology Tom. Why is anything absolutely right or wrong if there is no higher authority than man’s opinion?

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            You dodged his question by changing the subject to ontology, when he was talking about the internal logic of the bible. The internal logic of the bible is unrelated to the larger question of what morality is, and whether the christian assertions about it are correct. He’s arguing that an internally consistent reading of the bible will lead one to coexist with slavery, rather than be opposed to it.

            For the record morality is fairly simple on the surface of it. Suffering and wellbeing are measurable, increasing suffering is bad and greater wellbeing is good. Simple and objective. When you go beyond the surface, figuring out what ‘wellbeing’ means can be difficult in some situations and easy in others, though the meaning of ‘suffering’ is generally pretty obvious. Even with the relatively difficult nature of ‘wellbeing’ that doesn’t mean it’s not objective, after all the science of medicine isn’t made any less scientific by the transient nature of the term ‘physical health’.

          • orienteer01

            Ah but you see, an internally consistent reading of the Bible in its entirety would lead one to understand that enslaving another human being is NOT consistent with the teachings of Christ. A point which I have already demonstrated as nauseum. And you still have not answered the central question: if there is no God and therefore no objective unchanging standard for “right” & “wrong” “good” or “bad”, then why is anything absolutely right or wrong, good or bad? Says who? Why should a person who might benefit from someone else’s suffering care? If the suffering of one group of people is considered by society to be beneficial to society (vis-a-vis Nazi Germany) then why not? According to an atheist Utilitarian morality there should be no problem with that. Survival of the fittest right? The strong rule the weak based on a Darwinian ethic right?

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Hi Orienteer,
            First of all, there is no absolute right or wrong. There never has been. Morals change with cultures as I said earlier and most cultures have gotten around to the idea that societies thrive more if they prohibit killing, stealing and lying (like in contracts). Almost every society has coalesced around these ideas and they didn’t need any help from god or the bible since many cultures did it without the benefit of the bible or god.

            You asked an interesting question, “why should a person who might benefit from someone else’s suffering care?” The answer is it’s in everyone’s best interest. In the same way people learned to cooperate early on, which may not be of immediate benefit but it definitely is of long term benefit. For the same reason formed tribes, then towns then cities, cooperating more and more in the process. Survival of the fittest is exactly what early tribes were based on. That went away in the same way as human sacrifice to gods in order to protect the village. Most early religions practiced some form of human sacrifice, usually children, we’ve outgrown that except for Christianity which continues to celebrate a human sacrifice as if that was a good thing.

            I’m an unbeliever. My moral values are easy to define as I did earlier. I believe in doing what I can to reduce suffering and to enhance well being. Your approach to moral values is much more difficult and far more prone to errors as evidenced by the thousands of religious people who have undertaken these actions that you would define as immoral.

          • orienteer01

            Tom, I am begging you to look up the difference between epistomology and ontology.

            1) If there is no absolute right or wrong, then why are telling me that I am “wrong” for opposing homosexual “marriage”? You see, by your own statement, you cannot say that I am wrong in my opposition. That’s just your opinion vs. my opinion! Don’t you get it?

            2) You did not answer my question: If a society benefits and prospers by enslaving another people group, then why should that society care what happens to the people they enslave? As previously mentioned, this is a classic case of Darwinian ideology. The stronger people group benefits from the weaker people group in order to advance their “superior gene pool and society.” Why should the society who is prospering from the enslavement of other people care what the ‘Long term benefit” (whatever that means) is?

            3) You still have no justification for your moral values Tom and you overtly contradict yourself when you call something “immoral”! In one sentence you say that there is no absolute right and wrong and then in the next sentence you call something “immoral”! LOL! Immoral according to whom? Who says? Thats just YOUR opinion…..are you so blind to this that you cannot see the contradiction?

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            You keep mentioning a ‘standard’ and pointing the finger at us for not having a ‘higher opinion’, but that’s exactly what you yourself are doing. You’re just subjugating yourself to someone else’s opinion (a person who you call god), while I’m talking about empirical data. We can know empirically when people are suffering. Also, ontology is a hilarious tail-chasing theological waste of time which only applies in our conversation to moral judgements which fit into the Morality by Fiat category of moral philosophy eg “good is what god says”.

            The distinction in the case you presented me (group A “deems” that the suffering of group B benefits them) is that we can empirically determine whether the suffering of group B benefits group A. Group A’s assertion that it does, is not equivalent to a fact. It’s an assertion that must be proven via evidence. Only if that has been established (group A is poor people and group B is rich people, and the action being considered is income-variation applied to taxes) can we continue to consider the situation from that point.

            P.S. “survival of the fittest” has nothing to do with morality. It’s a statement about who is more likely to survive: those organisms which are most fit for their niche. Not the fittest as in the highest test scores or best physical ability, the fittest as in the most fit to their niche. For example mosquitos are quite well-fit for their niche; they are the fittest and so they’ve survived.

          • orienteer01

            Rubbish. God,the eternal creator of all things, is not a “person”. He transcends creation.
            How can you “empirically determine” whether something is good or bad Maxwell? Tell me, how does one apply the scientific method to morality? How does one define what is good or bad outside of his own opinion? If you say that morality is determined by majority, then there really is no true right or wrong now is there?
            P.S. Darwinian theory states that the stronger creatures who are better adapted to their circumstances will be the ones that survive. Therefore, in keeping with that, you should have no objection to one people group who are stronger & better adapted dominating a people group who are weaker and less adapted. That’s just natures way of “culling the herd”…..

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Funny, you sure want to view your god as a being even if you say he isn’t.

            “How can you “empirically determine” whether something is good or bad Maxwell?”

            Keep up, I already explained this to you. Suffering and wellbeing are measurable, I said that in my first post. I never said morality is determined by the majority.

            “Darwinian theory states that the stronger creatures who are better adapted to their circumstances will be the ones that survive.”

            False. Darwinian theory states that the creatures who are better adapted to their circumstances will be the ones that survive. Strength, intelligence, speed, none of that matters. It’s all about fitness (into one’s niche). I don’t know why you keep asserting a continuation from “likelihood of survival” to “moral philosophy”. The theory of evolution by natural selection is about biology, not morality.

          • orienteer01

            Ah but Maxwell ol’ boy….God is the source of all being. He is the “uncaused First Cause”. The “Unmoved Mover.”
            While suffering may be measurable, morality is not. If all morality is subjective, then nothing is right or wrong. It’s just a matter of preference @ that point.
            Certainly it doesn’t take a mental giant to understand that Darwinism’s philosophy can be extrapolated to society as a whole. After all, if only those societies that adapt the best to their “niche” prosper, then all the better right? & if taking advantage of another group of people who didn’t adapt as well to their “niche” benefits the society that does, then why not? If you can’t make that connection then you are just being intellectually dishonest….

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            The theory of evolution is already solely about populations. Individuals don’t evolve biologically, populations do. There is no “extrapolation to societies”, because that’s what the theory of evolution is about in the first place. You still haven’t explained your leap from “likelihood of survival” to “moral philosophy”. It seems like you’re talking about the reasons someone might act good or bad, which is a distinct topic from which actions are good or bad and why.

            “While suffering may be measurable…” that’s the whole point, congratu-fucking-lations. Increased suffering is bad, greater wellbeing is good. That’s what morality is, the judgement of actions as good or bad, ie increasing suffering or increasing wellbeing. Some examples:

            Is creating a law to illegalize the marriage of gay couples an action that will produce suffering or increase wellbeing?

            Is giving $20 a month to the Against Malaria Foundation a choice that will produce suffering or increase wellbeing?

            Can you please stop responding to whatever straw man atheist exists in your mind? You keep spouting platitudes that are irrelevant to what I’ve actually been saying. It’s like I’m trying to have a conversation with you while you’re sitting there eyes down reading from a list of generic rehearsed responses.

          • orienteer01

            Who says suffering is bad, Maxwell? According to the Nazis, the suffering of the Jews was good for Nazi Germany. According to Stalin & the Bolshevics, causing people who opposed their ideology to suffer was ultimately good for the Soviet Union. According to Mao Tse-Tung, causing people who were opposed to his government to suffer was ultimately for the good of greater Chinese society. According to the Khmer Rouge, causing the suffering of people who opposed them was for the greater good of Cambodian society. Would you like me to go on? That’s the problem with your Utilitarian system of morality. In that system, terms like “good” & “well-being” are just a matter of opinion. Surely you understand this right? If you cannot grasp that then you are truly being intellectually dishonest.

          • orienteer01

            Who says suffering is “bad”? Nazi Germany thought the suffering of the Jews was for the greater good of Nazi society. See what I mean?

          • orienteer01

            Who says suffering is “bad”? Nazi Germany thought the suffering of the Jews was for the greater good of Nazi society. See what I mean?

          • orienteer01

            Who says suffering is “bad”? Nazi Germany thought the suffering of the Jews was for the greater good of Nazi society. See what I mean?

          • orienteer01

            Who says suffering is “bad”? Nazi Germany thought the suffering of the Jews was for the greater good of Nazi society. See what I mean?

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            I say suffering is bad. You asked me how I define morality and I told you. My definition of morality is empirical and, notably compared to yours, systemic rather than fiat. I can run a considered action or rule through my moral system and come out with a result, while divine command theory is just a collection of absolute rules to be followed or suffer punishment.

            Do we have to keep going over this again and again? I think this is the third time I’ve explained this to you: suffering is empirical. It’s measurable. It either happens or it does not happen, regardless of whatever assertions group A or group B make about it. Same with wellbeing. It doesn’t matter whether the nazi military party thought aryan purification via mass violence was beneficial to them, they were wrong.

          • orienteer01

            The reason we have to keep going over this again & again is because you are refusing to acknowledge that you are conflating epistemology and ontology when it comes to morality. You have explained how you personally decide that something is wrong but you haven’t explained why it is absolutely wrong. Simply because YOU say something is wrong does not make it absolutely wrong. Hitler and the Nazis would disagree with you & says they were not wrong. See what I mean? At that point, right and wrong is just a matter of preference & personal opinion.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Hi orienteer,

            I think you are missing W Maxwell’s point that according to his moral compass, reducing suffering is good while increasing suffering is bad. You seem to this because a dictator will personally benefit from increasing the suffering of his people, we are unable to judge whether the actions of the dictator are moral or immoral. I disagree. One can measure the increased benefit to say Pol Pott by taking the food from a 100,000 people. When measured against the increased suffering, under my moral system, those actions (taking food) would be immoral or, to use a technical term, bad.

            Your entire moral system is based on an illusion of perfect understanding. In other words, you not only understand what god meant by reading copies of copies of copies of translations of translations, but your understanding is perfectly accurate. Based on the historical evidence of the millions of people with a differing understanding of what god wants them to do or what constitutes a sin, how can you look around and not recognize that your interpretation is bound to be different from Joe’s which will be different from Max’s which will be different from Jane’s, going on forever. There is no other explanation for the thousands of different Christian sects other than a failure to reach perfect agreement on what god says.

          • orienteer01

            Tom, do you hear that sound? Its the sound of me banging my head on my desk….:-). While you say that reducing suffering is “good”, that is just *your* opinion. Pol Pot thought that the “greater good” would be served if he caused the suffering of those who opposed his views. While YOU might say his actions were immoral, Pol Pot would say they were not. You see? Your opinion vs. his opinion.
            You are special pleading Tom. How do *you* know that *your* interpretation of right and wrong is correct?

          • orienteer01

            Ah now we are making progress. It is “wrong” because you say it is wrong. See what I mean? Your opinion vs. Hitler’s. The only measuring stick you have is whether it causes people to suffer. Suppose a certain group of people doesn’t define the suffering of others as “wrong” if it advances the cause of their greater societal interests?

          • orienteer01

            Ah now we are making progress. It is “wrong” because you say it is wrong. See what I mean? Your opinion vs. Hitler’s. The only measuring stick you have is whether it causes people to suffer. Suppose a certain group of people doesn’t define the suffering of others as “wrong” if it advances the cause of their greater societal interests?

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Take a step away from your presuppositions and really actually read the words I wrote. I did not say “it’s wrong because I said it’s wrong”, that’s just the reverberation of your atheist straw man echoing inside your head. That is not my position.

            This is your definition of morality: “good is what god says”.

            This is my definition of morality: “increased suffering is bad, increased wellbeing is good”.

            Now, with a fresh perspective, we can continue our conversation.

          • orienteer01

            Actually that is a mischaracterization/oversimplification of my position. My position is that without an objective source of morality that transcends mankind, nothing is truly and absolutely good or bad. While YOU may define “suffering” as bad, others may not view all suffering as a bad thing and human history is replete with examples of such. As I have stated many times, people groups throughout history have decided that the suffering of one group of people was good and necessary in order to advance to cause of another group of people.

          • orienteer01

            Actually that is a mischaracterization of my position. My position is that without an objective standard that transcends mankind, nothing is absolutely right or wrong. While YOU may define “suffering” as bad, not all would define all suffering as being bad. History is replete with such examples. Some people groups have had no issue with causing one people group to suffer in order to advance their cause.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            I haven’t misrepresented your position, you just expanded on it there. Your expanded explanation fully envelopes my simplified characterization of it. You require an objective standard because your morality is based on someone’s opinion, while mine is based on empirical evidence. My
            “objective standard” is reality, yours is another person.

            I don’t care what other people do or don’t define suffering as. You asked what morality is and how it can be consistent without a god. At least have the guts to acknowledge that my definition is both evidential and internally consistent, even if most people on earth have a religious morality or otherwise disagree with me.

            Now that I think about it, I don’t know what your point is in bringing up the fact that not everyone was nice throughout history. That’s irrelevant to both of our positions.

          • orienteer01

            Incorrect. I have already explained to you that my morality is not based “on someone’s opinion”. It is based on the immutable, unchanging objective moral law set forth by the Creator of all things. It is based on the revealed Word of the “Uncaused First Cause”, the “Unmoved Mover”. Now if you want to have a debate about whether such a Being exists and whether His Word has been revealed to us, I am happy to have that debate with you.
            It is not irrelevant at all. My position all along has been that just because suffering is measurable that doesn’t mean that other people will define all suffering as being bad. That is why your system is totally subjective and based solely on your opinion of what constitutes “good” and “bad”.

          • orienteer01

            Incorrect. I have already explained to you that my morality is not based “on someone’s opinion”. It is based on the immutable, unchanging objective moral law set forth by the Creator of all things. It is based on the revealed Word of the “Uncaused First Cause”, the “Unmoved Mover”. Now if you want to have a debate about whether such a Being exists and whether His Word has been revealed to us, I am happy to have that debate with you.

            It is not irrelevant at all. My position all along has been that just because suffering is measurable that doesn’t mean that other people will define all suffering as being bad. That is why your system is totally subjective and based solely on your opinion of what constitutes “good” and “bad”.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            If that’s your argument then your definition is also totally subjective. Don’t you realize that words don’t have objective meaning? There is no magical ‘real’ meaning for words, they just mean what we all agree they do. That’s what language is. The fact that people can disagree with my definitions is irrelevent to my content. Is semantics all you have to rely on?

          • orienteer01

            It’s not semantics, it’s logic. And if words don’t have any objective meaning then why are you using them? Special pleading much?

          • orienteer01

            It’s not semantics, it’s logic. And if words don’t have any objective meaning then why are you using them? Special pleading much?

          • orienteer01

            And I said God is not a human being. I didn’t say He is not a Being….

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Ah right, I refer to any sentient being with higher cognitive functions as persons. Dolphins, apes and monkeys, humans included, all beings with at least some level of rationality/intelligence. Sorry I didn’t make that clear. You refer to your god as a sentient being, which falls under my definition of person. Either way we’re talking semantics since you already admitted that you do indeed imagine your god as a being, and my original reference was to opinions rather than personhood. Whether you want to call him a person or not you believe he has opinions that he’s shared with us via your religion’s holy book, which you call commandments, yes?

          • orienteer01

            My position is that the eternal Being who created everything from nothing, including you & me, might have greater insight into matters than we have. Therefore, I am interested in that Being’s “opinion”.

          • orienteer01

            My position is that the eternal Being who created everything from nothing, including you & me, might have greater insight into matters than we have. Therefore, I am interested in that Being’s “opinion”.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Good, now that’s settled, we can refer back to where I stated that I don’t care to follow a person’s opinion on morality, because suffering and wellbeing are empirical. “X is good because I said so” or “X is bad because I said so” holds zero value to me.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Fair enough. So you rely on an argument from authority, but that’s a fallacy in logical discourse. I try to determine based on evidence and valid argument what’s likely to be true, rather than sitting back on someone else’s opinion and ceasing to care about whether or not what they say is true. So don’t act like your moral basis is superior, it’s actually just a fallacy and nothing more.

          • orienteer01

            Rubbish. It is not an argument from authority. If there is an omnipotent, omniscient Creator of everything and we have that Creator’s teachings in writing (& the evidence is quite good that there is and we do) then I will follow that Creator’s teachings and not the fallible opinions of finite men.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            You said it’s not an argument from authority, and then you literally outlined why you think it’s reasonable to use an argument from authority in this circumstance. I’m sorry, you must not understand how logic works. If a thing is true, it is true for reasons, not “because X person said so”. Even if a god does exist and has told us via your particular religion’s special book what good is, it’s not good because he said so, it’s good for actual reasons. If you want to find out what good is, follow valid arguments and evidence to wherever they lead. “Because X said so” is a fallacy, not a valid argument. If you can’t argue what good is and you’re just falling back on a fallacy, then you don’t know what good is.

            Omniscient and omnipotent, which you know how? Oh right, because it’s written in the same book that makes the other assertions.

            It is directly laughable that you think there’s a strong case that we have the words of an existant god on our hands. You’ve just made a mockery of yourself with that sentence.

          • orienteer01

            Incorrect. Jesus proved His divinity by His resurrection. Therefore, He is who He says He is: the omnipotent, omniscient Great I AM. Now Maxwell, if you would like to debate whether or not Jesus of Nazareth was resurrected and thereby proved that He is God, I am happy to have that debate with you. You asked me how I know God is omnipotent & omniscient? I know because Jesus proved He is God at His resurrection.

          • orienteer01

            And your ad hominem attacks demonstrate the weakness of your position Maxwell….

          • orienteer01

            Your ad hominem attacks demonstrate the weakness of your argument, Maxwell

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Ad hominem attacks are not equivalent to ad hominem fallacies. I didn’t say “you’re ridiculous and that’s why you’re wrong”, I said “you’re wrong, and you’re also ridiculous”.

            Would you like to actually respond to me pointing out your argument from authority fallacy, or are you going to throw in the towel and stomp away?

          • orienteer01

            That’s just your opinion Maxwell. Remember, according to you, there is no absolute right or wrong…;)

          • orienteer01

            That’s just your opinion Maxwell. Remember, according to you, there is no absolute right or wrong…;)

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Do I have to keep repeating this over and over? Quit responding to the atheist strawman that exists in your mind. Actually have a conversation with me, stop referring to your script. Quote a single sentence where I said there is no absolute right or wrong.

            Are you going to continuously dodge my point about your argument from authority fallacy, or are you going to be an adult in a reasoned debate and admit when you’re wrong?

          • orienteer01

            If it is an argument from authority, then the “authority” whom I am referencing is the omniscient, omnipotent, infallible Creator of the universe. As opposed to relying on the fickle, fallible opinions of man….

          • orienteer01

            If it is an argument from authority, then the “authority” whom I am referencing is the omniscient, omnipotent, infallible Creator of the universe. As opposed to relying on the fickle, fallible opinions of man….

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Right, so you’re finally admitting that saying “X is true because Y person said it is” is a fallacy?

            Hell I feel like I’m trying to run against hurricane winds. You know, getting a concession on a clear point from a discussion between two adults is not supposed to be this difficult.

          • orienteer01

            Incorrect. You are question-begging. Remember, God is not a “person”. God is the omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, uncaused First Cause.

          • orienteer01

            Incorrect. You are question-begging. Remember, God is not a “person”. God is the omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, uncaused First Cause.

          • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

            Oh fuck my head is hurting so bad right now… we’ve gone over this before. You conceded that your god was a sentient being, which makes him a person. Wow this is nuts, it’s insane trying to talk to you when you keep backing up out of positions you had previously accepted just so you don’t have to concede a single point.

          • orienteer01

            You still don’t get it. God is not a human being….

          • orienteer01

            Ah but you see a reading of the Bible in its entirety would cause one to see that being a follower of Christ & enslaving other people are inconsistent, as I have stated ad nauseum.
            And my central point has not been refuted: if there is no objective, unchanging standard outside of mankind, then why is anything absolutely right or wrong, good or bad? Says who? If the suffering of one people group is deemed by another people group to be beneficial and essential to their own well-being, then according to your logic, that should be okay!
            In an atheistic Darwinian model, the strong should rule over the weak because only the fittest survive & anything that contradicts that principle is only weakening the gene pool, right?

          • Tom from North Carolina

            So why didn’t god or jesus say slavery is bad. It’s wrong. It’s immoral. I find slavery abhorrent. Why is he / they so silent on the issue requiring that you “interpret” the meaning of Galatians to imply that god is against it? If God has defined absolute morality, you would think that something discussed in detail in both the old and the new testaments would be mentioned as to whether it’s moral or not. Your reference to Galatians does not criticize slavery. It merely states that in the eyes of god, whether you are a slave or not, you will be treated the same.

          • orienteer01

            I think we might be making progress. You say you find slavery abhorrent. Why? What makes it wrong?
            I find homosexual behavior abhorrent.
            Jesus said there were two great commandments: ” Love the Lord, Your God, with all your heart, soul and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.” Now based on that it is easy to see that loving one’s neighbor as oneself would imply that enslaving one’s neighbor is not loving one’s neighbor. But it seems to me that no matter what I say about the matter, you will never be satisfied Tom AND you have conspicuously ignored that fact that it was devout Christians like William Wilberforce and William Lloyd Garrison fought to end slavery….

          • Tom from North Carolina

            From Orienteer: “I think we might be making progress. You say you find slavery abhorrent. Why? What makes it wrong?
            I find homosexual behavior abhorrent.”

            I think I’ve already answered this one. My personal morality concludes that any actions I take that increase suffering is probably immoral. Control all aspects of another person’s like increases suffering. Therefore, slavery itself is immoral, words which your god never explicitly stated in any form.

            Orienteer also said, “Jesus said there were two great commandments: ” Love the Lord, Your God, with all your heart, soul and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.” Now based on that it is easy to see that loving one’s neighbor as oneself would imply that enslaving one’s neighbor is not loving one’s neighbor.

            Still, you are filling in the gaps left by your god’s absolute moral laws which never directly criticize slavery. And want an example of how easy it is to misinterpret the bible, just turn to Fox News’ temporary hero Cliven Bundy. He seems to think that owning slaves is better for slaves than letting them be free. See my point? It’s left up to the individual to interpret the bible for themselves because as I’ve stated above, there’s no sign that the holy spirit is going to help you out. And one interprets the bible on their own, you get vastly different understandings as to what’s sinful and what’s not. In the case of Bundy, he thinks owning slaves is better for their lives.

            Another example is the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). About 6 years ago, they undertook a study of sexual relations and concluded, using the same logic you just used, that Jesus’ message of love trumps all. Since you can cherry pick almost anything you want to prove a point from the bible, they focused on the overriding messages of Jesus and concluded it was love. That’s why today, the ELCA accepts committed gay couples because the message of love and acceptance overrides the other messages of judgement and exclusion. You did exactly the same thing when you implied that treating people the way you would want to be treated contradicts the idea of slavery. But if that is your point, then you would also agree with the ELCA on homosexuality unless you honestly believe that exclusion and rejection is how they all want to be treated.

          • orienteer01

            But you see Tom, you haven’t answered the question. Just because YOU say suffering is bad doesn’t mean that all people think that all suffering is “immoral”. As I’ve already stated, Hitler and the Nazis thought that the suffering of the Jews and other undesirables of German society was good and moral because it was for the greater good of Nazi society.
            Your ECLA example helps me make my point Tom. If you “cherry-pick” scripture, then it is easy to misinterpret/misunderstand it. Jesus NEVER condoned sin. Even though Jesus loved sinners, He told them to repent from their sins and follow His example. When Jesus saved the adulteress from being stoned to death, He told her, “Your sins are forgiven you. Now go & SIN NO MORE.” He did NOT say, “It is okay to sin because I love you and its all good.” Jesus would consider not telling someone about their sin to be an unloving act. True love is calling someone out about their sins and bringing them to repentance. Don’t believe me? See Matthew 18:15-17
            The ECLA committed the sin of eisegeting scripture rather than exegeting scripture.
            Bottom line: Because people misunderstand God’s word either intentionally or unintentionally does not mean that God’s word is false.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Orienteer said: But you see Tom, you haven’t answered the question. Just because YOU say suffering is bad doesn’t mean that all people think that all suffering is “immoral”.

            I never said all people will agree with me on my moral value system. Society defines what’s moral and what’s legal and where to leave the decision as to morality versus legality to the individuals. And as you know, our moral values change over time. What used to be considered immoral 60 years ago, interracial marriage or unmarried people living together, is one of those areas where we’ve decided to leave it to the individuals involved.

            What I find fascinating is that even with almost immediate feedback, you and I cannot agree as to the interpretation of what we are both writing. Doesn’t this make my point that the bible is really subject to personal interpretation and no two people will agree on the interpretation of everything?

            The point that I was trying to make is that the bible contradicts itself all over the place. You want to justify killing people for working on the Sabbath, pull out Exodus. You want to justify treating races differently. That’s easy enough to do. You want to justify killing and raping? The bible’s got that in there as well. Since there are so many conflicting moral directions within the bible, you have no choice, you have to pick and choose which ones you want to follow. In my book, that’s worse that letting society decide.

            Over the weekend, I had made shrimp scampi. According to Leviticus 11:9-12, I should NOT eat them.
            “These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat. But anything in the seas or the rivers that has not fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you. You shall regard them as detestable; you shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall detest their carcasses. Everything in the waters that has not fins and scales is detestable to you.

            And yet according to Genesis 9:3, every living thing is food for me:
            Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.

            So which is it? Should I treat shellfish as detestable or as good food?

            You can’t help but cherry pick from the bible because it contradicts itself all over the place. In recognizing this the ELCA did what any thoughtful, loving organization would do. It choose to evaluate the overall message and weight what it thought were the most important parts of these contradictory message. In the case of homosexuality, they decided that Jesus’ message of love trumps exclusion and rejection.

            And the final point I would make to you is about judgment. You seem to think it’s your job to judge people because you are “saving” them from eternity of pain. But I think Romans 14 says it best where it causes one person from judging another simply based on differences you may have.

            Romans 14:1

            As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another?

            My pastor said it best: Let god do the judging.

          • orienteer01

            1) if society defines what’s moral, then you cannot say that the actions of Nazi Germany, or Mao’s Chinese communist government, or Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge were immoral! Because, after all, their society determined that their actions were moral. Likewise, you cannot say that the Confederate States were immoral for supporting slavery because as a society they defined slavery as moral! Do you still stand by your statement that society defines what’s moral?
            2) This is why you must read the Bible in its entirety and it is obvious that you have not done so & have no idea what your talking about. The Levitical dietary laws for ritual purity were specific to the ancient Israelites. Additionally in Acts 11:6-9, and in Mark 7:14-19, Jesus abolishes all dietary restrictions. If you would actually read your Bible instead of just blindly following you pastor, you would know this.
            3)It is not loving to allow someone’s sin to keep them out of the Kingdom of Heaven. Homosexual behavior is listed as a sin that will keep a person from the Kingdom of Heaven in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. The ELCA chose to overlook Jesus’ teachings about sin and the need for us to repent from our sins. In the case of homosexuality, it is clear and unambiguous that homosexual behavior is sinful, and Jesus did NOT tolerate sin.
            4) God judges a person’s soul. However, we are called to evaluate a person’s actions against the truth of Scripture and determine whether that person’s actions are in line with the teachings of Christ. This is why Jesus told His disciples, “you shall know them by their FRUITS.” Fruits being a metaphor for “actions.” We must evaluate the actions of others and determine whether their actions are sinful based on scripture.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            1) Society did not decide on the actions of Nazi Germany or Mao. In many cases, people become aware of actions long after their dictatorial rulers had implemented them. To hold a country responsible for the actions of a dictator is just silly.

            2) Yes Orienteer, continue to make my point that the bible is subject to interpretation by explaining to me how wrong my interpretations of the bible are. Whose teachings you look at are just one form of interpretation. And as you know, the bible contradicts itself all over the place so any conclusions you come to are subjective based on what you think is important. Even the two verses you quoted require a whole lot of interpretation to conclude Christ abolished food restrictions.

            14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:
            15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
            16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
            17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
            18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
            19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

            Anyone who reads this and concludes it’s perfectly clear and will be interpreted the same by all people is either blinded by their own ideology or just plain foolish. (ps I don’t think you are foolish)

            3) Since my theory is that you can justify almost anything you want to from selective bible verses, I’ll put that theory to good use by explaining to you why you should not judge other people. See Matthews 7:1-3

            4) So you think that you are called to evaluate other people’s actions again (your interpretation) of the scriptures. I don’t think it’s your place to judge. Plus, treating people like you would want to be treated kind of eliminates the idea that you would exclude gays and lesbians from your church. That’s the point of the ELCA’s findings.

          • orienteer01

            1) Au Contraire, Tom. Hitler and the Nazi party were elected by the German people, and a simple reading of his “Mein Kampf” would have informed then of his intentions. The Nuremberg Trials decided that the people ARE in fact responsible for the actions of their leader, Tom.
            2) isn’t that just YOUR interpretation, Tom?
            3) if it is wrong to judge others then why are you judging me Tom?
            4) Jesus NEVER, I repeat never condoned or endorsed sin. I don’t give 2 hoots about what the ELCA thinks. Scripture calls homosexual behavior sin, & Jesus said we must repent of our sins.
            5) You are special pleading Tom. Accusing me of letting my “ideology” cloud my thinking, all the while not realizing that your ideology does the same to you!

          • Tom from North Carolina

            1) The Nuremberg Trials were for soldiers and not for civilians. Those trials had nothing to do with the consent of the German people. Your premise, that dictators really derive their power from the people contradicts the definition of a dictator. Even if there are short-term setbacks to one culture or the other, the number of horrific things done in the name of god makes in painfully obvious that basing one’s morality on their interpretation of what they think their god wants, is dangerous.
            2) Yup. My interpretation is that this set of verses are anything but crystal clear as you have been stating. Like most of the bible, different meanings can be implied by two people of faith, that are dramatically different. Again, I ask you, how do you explain all the different religions and denominations if what god says is so intuitively obvious.
            3) I’m not the one who says it’s my responsibility to judge others. You indicated that judging someone is a way to show love. I disagree.
            4) But did Jesus say it’s your job to determine who is sinful and who is not?
            5) What’s my ideology Orienteer?

          • orienteer01

            Okay. Just for giggles, let’s jettison the dictator examples. (Hitler was elected @ thus not a dictator, BTW.
            In a tribe where cannibalism is accepted, is cannibalism still “wrong”?
            2) different denomination are more about preference or style & less about theological issues….
            3) I didn’t say that judging someone was a way to show love. You’re attacking a straw man. I said that accepting & condoning behavior that scripture unequivocally calls sin is not loving it is enabling.
            4) actually, yes He did! He said “remove the plank from your eye do you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye”! So clearly He does want us to remove the speck from our brothers eye!
            5) liberalism

          • Tom from North Carolina

            You said, “2) different denomination are more about preference or style & less about theological issues..”

            So the fact that more than 50% of Catholics (women) are prevented from holding positions of leadership is a matter of preference and style? I disagree. Catholic’s literal interpretation of the bible (Jesus only had male disciples) is a major impediment to equality and based on the misogynistic culture of the time. And since God hasn’t updated his bible in thousands of years, Catholics are left with the idea that women just shouldn’t be leaders. I think this is more than style. This is what happens when people interpret the bible as if it’s more than just a book. And women priests or bishops for that matter are theological issues.

            You said, “3) I didn’t say that judging someone was a way to show love. You’re attacking a straw man. I said that accepting & condoning behavior that scripture unequivocally calls sin is not loving it is enabling.”

            No matter what you call it, you are judging their behavior and declaring it sinful. You are judging it against your interpretation of the bible and ignoring the part where Matthew says not to judge people.

            So it is your responsibility to judge others.

            5) Liberalism. If you mean by that striving to extend freedom to all and relying on individuals (adults) to make choices about who they love and when they have sex, then guilty as charged. If you mean recognizing that faith is the basis of belief only when evidence, logic and reason work against you, then guilty again.

          • orienteer01

            Wow Tom. There are so many things wrong in that last post that’s it’s hard to know where to begin.
            1) Scripture does not forbid women serving in leadership positions. In fact, in the early church, women served as deaconesses. Scripture does forbid women from being the pastor of a congregation. This is because God established the man as head of the household & that applies to the church as well. It has nothing to do with misogyny, & everything to do with how God established order.
            2) Have you also read Matthew 18:15-17? Or Luke 17:3? Those passages give instruction from Jesus Himself about what to do when a fellow believer sins against you. Now tell me Tom, how can you determine if someone has sinned against you if you don’t make “judgments” about their actions?

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Oh, the joy of being judged “there are so many things wrong in that last post”…….You mean in your opinion but then you go on to use god to justify misogyny since he made man the head of the household. It’s funny, but 1 Timothy clearly says “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” At its face, this passage is abundantly clear. Paul restricts women from teaching or having spiritual authority over men. How would you interpret that?

            I didn’t say scripture forbids women to lead the church although the first Timothy passage above sure seems to stipulate that. I said the Catholic church, in interpreting (there’s that word again) the stories of the bible, has concluded that since Jesus only had male disciples to continue his ministry, only males can lead the ministry of the church. But you would still say that these difference — Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists — all allow women pastors where as Catholics don’t allow women priests. Are you trying to say that the differences are merely style? I believe these differences reflect huge different understandings of what god wants and that’s why we have so many different religions and beliefs.

            To your second point, there is no way that someone can sin against me. Sin implies offending a divinity. Can I tell whether someone has harmed me or offended me? Sure. But even if I did believe in God, I would have a hard time understanding what offends him / her especially considering the poor job god has done in communicating with people.

          • orienteer01

            1) Are you not saying that I am wrong? Are you not then judging me? LOL! you are doing the very thing you are accusing me of doing!
            2) I’m begging you to stop attacking strawmen. I never said anything about the Catholic church. There are deep theological differences between Catholicism and Protestantism far beyond the role of women in the church. Primarily, Protestants hold to the doctrine of “Sola Scriptura” meaning “Only Scripture”. Scripture is the final authority in Protestant theology. Catholicism believes that tradition and papal edicts can supersede Scripture. That is one of the main reasons Luther broke from the Catholic church and started the Protestant Reformation in 1517 A.D. Either way, in the 1st Century church women served as deaconesses, etc. However, women were not allowed to serve as pastors.
            3) Obviously you didn’t read Matthew 18:15-17 or Luke 17:3. Jesus speaks specifically about what to do when a fellow believer *SINS* against you. So your argument is against Jesus and not with me…..

          • Tom from North Carolina

            “There are deep theological differences between Catholicism and Protestantism far beyond the role of women in the church.”

            Exactly, which is what I’ve been saying now for quite a while. The reason why there are so many different religions and within religions so many denominations, is that individuals interpret what they think god wants them to do differently. You believe that god’s word is perfectly clear. I suspect that most people don’t. There is no universally accepted sense of right and wrong, there’s only what each culture believes to be right or wrong at the time. And just like religions change over time, the split between Catholics and Protestants or the split between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, even within a particular congregation within a particular denomination within a particular religion, you are bound to find differences in how people judge right from wrong. As as much as you don’t want it to be that way, the sheer number of religions and denominations are evidence that faith is a matter of personal understanding and there are vast differences throughout the world. This is what I’ve been saying lo these last 9 days.

            And for those aberrations in behavior that we, as a culture, find particularly harmful to society, we define that behavior within the legal system. More and more we are seeing a separation of what is called “sin” from what is legal. Obviously, under our constitution, the sin of worshiping the wrong god is perfectly legal. But other sins — living together out of wedlock — which is still considered sin by most religious people is no longer illegal. This separation of church and state is in general, good although there have been minor setbacks recently. (Supreme court ruling in favor of opening official government business with prayer).

  • Carstonio

    Since no one is calling for, say, Catholicism to solemnize same-sex weddings, it doesn’t make sense for the archbishop quoted above to have an interest in what constitutes marriage under secular law. His interest should be in whether Catholics are abiding by their denomination’s command to marry only the other gender. If he believes that secular law should follow Catholic teaching, then he arrogantly dismisses the whole purpose of secular government. To hear people like him talk, you would think that legalization of same-sex marriage means the outlawing of opposite-sex marriage, like straight people are going to be pulled from their homes and forced to exchange vows with same-sex spouses. Any religion is free to forbid homosexuality for its members. But if the religion insists that everyone in the world has a moral obligation to be straight, then it should present a secular argument for this, one that doesn’t require everyone to accept the religion as unquestioned fact.

  • Mark

    No bigger example of the “lack of compassion” of Christians towards homosexuals exists right now than the movie Bridegroom, the crowd funded tribute to Tom Bridegroom by his partner Shane Bitney Crone. The treatment he received from Tom’s “Christian” family after his passing was totally disgraceful to anyone who claims to be a Christian. The fact that no “Christians” here seem to even be aware of it betrays their ignorance of what is going on out there in the real world. This film has become the biggest campaign tool for the left to promote same sex marriage than anything else out there. This film is obviously a tribute to Tom and cathartic to Shane, who is obviously hurting from the loss of someone so close to him and, outside his family and friends, has received no notable sympathy from anyone in the “Christian Community.” Not doing the right thing is just as much a sin as doing the wrong thing; sins of omission vs, sins of commission. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, ” Romans 3:23. Until Christians get that through their pious thick skulls and stop trying to take Christians out from under Grace and back under the law, the battle is lost. There are saved sinners and lost sinners, and our job is to win the lost to Christ, and show a “…meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:4.
    Christians need to show compassion to lost sinners in need of a Savior, and let the Holy Spirit do more of the changing of hearts and minds from the inside, rather than trying to impose it from the outside. A more helpful verse to be using rather than all the Old Testament quotations, is 1 Corinthians 10:13: There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it. If we stop offering hope and only rebuke, we are no better than those we condemn, and are rightly condemned by them in so doing.

  • David Tong

    And popular culture did not help Sodom or Gamorrah either. Granted, Old Testament, but Christ will come again to judge the Living and the Dead.

  • ArborialBiped

    The theological arguments may be interesting, but IMHO are largely irrelevant to explaining the political and legal happenings on this issue.

    Quite simply, America is not a theocracy. It becomes increasingly hard to convince citizens in the “land of the free” that one person’s right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the most intimate aspect of his/her life, ought to be curtailed due to someone else’s particular interpretation of a particular chosen religious text.

    The number of gay people isn’t growing; perhaps the number of people who approve of homosexuality or marriage equality isn’t even changing all that much. Perhaps, as in the days of women’s suffrage, of civil rights for black Americans, more Americans are simply “walking the walk” of the “talk” in the Bill of Rights.

    We’re all still free to disapprove or be disgusted by things — I’m no fan of drunkenness or conspicuous consumption and rampant materialism, for example — but as an American I recognize that I can’t turn my own beliefs into universal bans on vodka or on Porsches.

    • terrie

      Sex is made reason for entertainment and experimenting in diverse kinds, pushing the acceptance of the deceived and willing players. It is with fearful humility and grave concern for the souls of our children and yet to be born, that I see God as our only hope and prayer. God help us!

      • Tom from North Carolina

        The religious fanaticism with sex has taken many varied and in some cases perverse forms. Catholics are supposed to use sex only as an instrument of procreation. Muslims are so fearing of sexual attractiveness that single females must be accompanied by a relative and women must be covered head to toe.

        What we’ve found in the last 40 years is that sex is just another, albeit important aspect of humanity. We’ve discovered that what two adults do in the privacy of their homes regarding sex, is no one’s business but theirs. Just like I wouldn’t force my color preferences (teal is one of my favorites) onto someone else, I should force my sexual preferences on any other adult.

        • orienteer01

          I have no problem with what you do in the privacy of your own home. I do however, have a problem with redefining marriage. BTW, if we do redefine marriage, why stop @ just 2 people? Why can’t 6 people get “married”? Who says it can only be limited to 2 adults? Why deprive polygamists of “equal rights”?

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Are you seeing a demand from millions of people to engage in polygamists relationships?

          • orienteer01

            You seem to be suggesting that “rights” and “equality” are dependent upon how many people are demanding said rights. Is that your position?

          • Rusty Reiter

            orienteer01: that is the silliest argument I have ever heard. Polygamy was accepted, not in the 72 nations with marriage equality and civil unions, but in most eras covered in the bible. Sadly, the bible has also been used to fight every single civil rights advance in the US since the abolition of slavery. Bible verses were used to defend slave owners, Jim Crow laws, fighting women’s rights, interracial marriage and now civil laws on marriage equality. Yet, Jesus Christ always warned us against the dangers of religious conservatives and never in his life spoke a single word against gays.

          • orienteer01

            Rusty, correction: the Bible has been *misused* by certain people who twisted the meaning of Scripture to fit their agenda. That is the sin of eisegeting Scripture instead of exegeting Scripture.
            There are many things Jesus didn’t specifically speak against in His ministry. He didn’t speak against pedophilia. Does that mean He was not opposed to it?

      • nevilleross

        Lady, go and see a shrink.

        • TheSotSays

          You should go and see one yourself Nibblenutz

  • Susan

    Sodomites/Satanists are in control of Hollywood and parents have sacrificed the minds of their children to their worldview, and lets the State shape and raise their children. (Lenin: give me your children for four years and the future is mine). With conditioning and brainwashing (Wundtian Psychology and Pavlovian methodology) embedded in curricula since John Dewey, the Socialist, the ability to use Logic is destroyed. Operant conditioning in the Satanic public schools (like Common Core) strips children of the ability to Reason and use Logic, because they are fed lies and twisted truth and sexualized (emotionalized), so their foundation is non-existent for Truth and understanding Reality.

    Their emotions control their “thinking”. IOW, they are incapable of using Logic and Reason. They “feel” everything and emotions determine Good and Evil. They are ignorant of the Great Minds of Western Civ and can’t process any idea because they are taught to be ideologues/Marxists/Satanists. They are ignorant of Truth/God.

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    The author missed one very important, perhaps the most important, point. For far too long America has been thought of as a “Christian Nation”. All one had to do was profess to “believe in Christ” and they were counted Christian. Never mind how they lived their life. “Judge not” became the new Gospel. Get ‘em in. Don’t even have ‘em walk down an aisle now. That’s too difficult for them. Just look up and make eye contact. Or just bow your head, close your eyes, and repeat this after me… Come, get your Fire Insurance. Add Jesus to your life. Ask Jesus into your heart.
    Why would Jesus take up residence in your wicked, evil heart? You need to ask Jesus to remove your heart and replace it with one that desires to follow Him in obedience. The other side brings up the red-herring about the Bible and Slavery. And Christians run from it. Why? You will either be a slave to sin and yourself or a slave to Jesus. Are you willing to be a slave to Jesus? If that causes the hackles on the back of your neck to stand up, you better do some real soul searching because you gotta problem and it’s not with me.
    Why is Same-Sex Marriage and Homosexuality winning? Because all have turned astray and gone their own way. Because each is doing what is right in their own eyes. Because this country has broken the 1st and 2nd Commandments. Both of the Ten and of the greatest Jesus spoke of. Rather than surrendering to God and acknowledging that they are a creation made in the image of God, they create a god in their own image and worship the creature rather than the Creator. Sin is winning and people are dying in masses because the Gospel has become nothing more than a watered down, pick me up, to add to your existing life instead of becoming the Good News that says if you will die you shall live.

  • http://www.redeemedwarrior.com/ Justin Davito

    Thanks for sharing this.

  • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

    Laws regarding marriage should be for the benefit of children, not adults. Once this understanding was neglected and adult interests were made paramount, the stage was set for the chaos we are seeing today.

    • lily johnson

      Except there were already children being raised by gay couples and marriage helps out financially, for those already existing families.

      • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

        The change I’m talking about happened 50 years ago.

        Moreover, gay couples by definition deny children that to which they are entitled: a mother and father. As they were produced by a mother and father, so they deserve to be raised by a mother and father.

        The legalization of homosexual “marriage” repealed the gender requirement of marriage while retaining the numerical requirement – but without any rational justification for the distinction. Thus the “logic” that allows homosexual marriage will allow polygamy and all sorts of other perversion.

        Again, however, the fundamental issue is that marriage laws exist, or should exist, for the purpose of making sure that when a human being is brought into the world, we have done all that we can to insure that the mother and father through whom that human being came stick together and stick around to nurture that human being to adulthood. Thus marriage laws are for the benefit of children, not adults.

        • Tom from North Carolina

          The marriage laws exist as we know them for little more than a few hundred years. Most marriages from middle ages and before were either arranged or were simply a matter of making some promises. Nothing formal, no wedding cakes and certainly lots of different variations including polygamy, child brides and a lot of arranged marriages. Marrying someone you love is a relatively recent change and certainly was not universally accepted by all cultures.

          • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

            What you’re saying, even if it were true, is irrelevant to my point. I’m arguing that good public policy establishes marriage laws for the benefit of children and not for the benefit of adults.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            When has marriage ever been about the children? Historically, it’s been about connecting two families for mutual benefit. If your point that society benefits from only one man and one woman raising children, then you are implying that people shouldn’t be allowed to divorce if they have children. Children out of wedlock should be illegal. Is that what you are saying?

          • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

            Public policy cannot stop people from divorcing if they insist on it. Neither can it prevent children from being born out of wedlock. Nonetheless, public policy can either discourage these negative situations or encourage them. When I was a child, public policy discouraged them. Now, public policy encourages them. Going this direction has only made matters worse. And, to the point of my original comment on this article, this direction has established an environment wherein discussions about marriage are focused on the desires of adults instead of the needs of children.

            If a child comes into the world without a married father and mother, chances are society is going to have to pick up a lot of the tab for that new human being. In the 1960’s, Daniel Patrick Moynihan bemoaned the future of African-American culture because its out-of-wedlock birth rate was 25%. The current out-of-wedlock birth rate of all Americans, irrespective of race, is 40%! Leaving aside the social impact, the economic impact alone is more than the U.S. Treasury will be able to bear.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            I’m actually a fan of Daniel Patrick Moynihan and have concluded that his take on emerging social trends was far ahead of others. Some of what you say is true but I think goes against current trends toward letting adults decide for themselves what’s best for them (provided it doesn’t hurt other people).

            So when you were a child, you indicated that public policy discouraged what you’ve classified as negative situations. During that time, it was also illegal in some states. Unmarried males and females were not allowed to rent an apartment together in my part of the country only 30 years ago. “Living in Sin” was not only discouraged, it was illegal. This was brought home three years ago when a dispatcher working for the police department in a town nearby, was fired when the chief found out she was living with her boyfriend. She sued. She won and the police were forced to pay back pay and interest.

            The point I’m trying to make is that the idyllic environment that I suspect you are speaking, was not so idyllic for many people especially African Americans and gays. Do you think the solution is to bring back laws or social stigmas associated with unmarried couples living together or people from different races getting married?

            What public policies do you see that encourage these “negative” situations?

          • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

            You’ve raised – perhaps inadvertently – a host of issues. The best I can do with the time and space allowed is to respond to each very briefly.

            – “current trends toward letting adults decide for themselves what’s best for them” is just the problem. It’s hurting other people – mainly children. The freedom to swing my arm ends when it reaches the other fellow’s nose. Children’s noses are the ones being put out of joint. Infants are being brought into the world without a committed mother and father at the rate of almost half of all births! Does it sound to you as if these parents are making wise decisions with the freedom you’re glad they have? Unlike other deprived minorities, children lack the resources, sophistication, and political savvy to protect themselves from such exploitation by organizing themselves and clamoring for redress.

            – “So when you were a child…” I don’t venerate the ’50s. They were far from idyllic. They were, however, considerably better than the ’60s and what has followed since.

            – “what you’ve classified as negative situations.” It’s not just me. Moynihan described out-of-wedlock birth as a negative situation. Be willing to own the consequences of your perspective.

            – “Unmarried males and females were not allowed to rent an apartment together.” Do you think there’s no correlation between this behavior and the out-of-wedlock birth rate that alarmed Moynihan?

            – “especially African-Americans and gays” I completely reject the idea of lumping these two groups. I recognize how politically advantageous it is for the latter to piggyback on the former, but that doesn’t make it rational or right.

            – “What public policies do you see that encourage these negative situations?” For one, no-fault divorce, which, for all practical purposes, means unilateral divorce, wherein one party can end the marriage at will – even against the will of the spouse. Listen to Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of The Ruth Institute for a host of social science studies demonstrating that “the sexual revolution” has brought about horrendous outcomes for children and, ultimately, for the selfish parents.

            America is well down a path of moral decadence and currently lacks the character or will to create a better environment for its children. No law can stop its decline. Moynihan’s prophecy regarding African-American culture has been proven true. The out-of-wedlock rate that was 25% in the ’60s is now 70%. Since broader American culture currently has an out-of-wedlock birth rate of 40%, we can be sure that the Moynihan prophecy will hold true for broader American culture as well. It’s sad. Very, very sad. And all the more so because well-intentioned people like you are continuing to defend the “values” that got us here.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Very well written and very reasonable. A thoughtful response requires more time than I have now, but as Arnold famously said, “I’ll be back.”

          • Tom from North Carolina

            You said, “I don’t venerate the ’50s. They were far from idyllic. They were, however, considerably better than the ’60s and what has followed since.”

            In what way were the 50’s better? Separate schools, separate bathrooms, back of the bus? Would you agree that they weren’t better for all Americans?

            You said, “Unmarried males and females were not allowed to rent an apartment together.” Do you think there’s no correlation between this behavior and the out-of-wedlock birth rate that alarmed Moynihan?”

            I think there are a number of correlations not all related to loosening moral standards. While I was growing up, I knew quite a few families who were in loveless marriages, held together simply because that’s what you did, at least until the children were old enough. And I don’t know what’s better for the children — being in a home with only one parent or being in a home with two parents constantly fighting. I don’t know the answer to that question because it probably depends upon the circumstances.

            You said, “”especially African-Americans and gays” I completely reject the idea of lumping these two groups. I recognize how politically advantageous it is for the latter to piggyback on the former, but that doesn’t make it rational or right.”

            I disagree. There were social and legal taboos restricting races from dating and marrying and many of the social taboos were based on biblical interpretation. Today, the same thing can be said about gay marriage — there are social and legal impediments to gay marriage and most are based on biblical interpretation. I see the social taboos being torn down as more and more Americans recognize that talking about freedom and extending freedom goes hand and hand. Maybe the part of our culture that you don’t approve of is the general recognition that two adults should be able to decide for themselves who they love, whether to engage in sex and who they marry.

            I’m reminded of the discussion I had with my good friend who happens to be a strong Catholic. A good friend of mine, a retired GE executive was widowed about 7 years ago. Four years ago he met a woman who was also a widow and they started seeing each other. Since they had both been married for 30+ years and lived in separate states on opposite coasts, when they got together it was for a couple weeks at a time. My Catholic friend believed that they should not have sex. I believed other wise. Do you think that adults should not be able to make these kinds of personal decisions?

            You said, “America is well down a path of moral decadence and currently lacks the character or will to create a better environment for its children.”

            I disagree. Extending freedom to more people and giving choice to adults as to who they love, when they have sex and whether they get married enhances morality. The same values that got us here — more freedom and more equality — are generally understood to benefit society as a whole. What are your prescriptions — less freedom, restrict choices as to who you can love or have sex with?

          • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

            I will answer all your questions, but first please tell me if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ? That is, do you call him Lord? I will answer your questions in any case, but I don’t want to misdirect my words.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            No. I don’t believe there is any evidence for a god or a son of god who is really god in human form. I also don’t believe that my children should be held accountable for something I did or my father did or his father did. In the same why I don’t believe that a sacrifice 2,000 would reconcile me with a god, even if there was one. I simply think transgenerational sin is a ridiculous notion and the same thing for transgenerational reconciliation.

          • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

            “In what way were the 50’s better? Separate schools, separate bathrooms, back of the bus? Would you agree that they weren’t better for all Americans?”

            Yes, segregation was a black eye for the 1950’s. However, the meteoric rise in out-of-wedlock birthrate for African-American children – from the 25% that alarmed Pat Moynihan to the 70+% today – has been devastating for the very people for whom desegregation was supposed to bring about improvement. High school graduation rates, incarceration rates, recidivism rates, and similar statistics have all been going the wrong direction since the 1950’s. To brag on the 1960’s through 2014 based on the outlawing of segregation is like the student who brags on gettting a C in PE class while he failed every other subject.

            “Do you think that adults should not be able to make these kinds of personal decisions?”

            Adults always have and always will make such decisions. The question is whether public policy will seek to incent their wise decisions and discourage their unwise decisions. Free and ubiquitous contraception were supposed to reduce the number of unwanted pregnacies. Instead, they have incented unwise behaviors and abortions still occur in the millions. When single mothers have to raise children or fatherless teenagers get into trouble with the law, it is taxpayers who have to foot the bill.

            “What are your prescriptions — less freedom, restrict choices as to who you can love or have sex with?”

            As I suggested above, our current problem isn’t so much that we lack laws to restrict bad choices but that we have laws that encourage bad choices. Examples include ones I’ve already given above.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Here are a couple of quick points.

            One, I question some of your statistics. High school graduation rates have increased among all segments of Americans since the 50’s. America now graduates a higher percentage of high school students than at any other time in history. You would agree that this is a positive trend, would you not?

            America incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than any other developed country. From 1980 to 2008, we went from 500,000 to 2.3 million people in jail. Did crime really quadruple during that time period? Did police work get that much better or are we just plain locking people up for years for crimes that earlier were not viewed as reasons to hold people for extended periods of time. I have concluded that we treat similar crimes differently depending upon factors like race and your ability to hire lawyers. The American justice system is tilted against poor people and mandatory sentencing has a lot to do with high incarceration rates. Hopefully, this trend can be reversed through equal treatment of criminals for similar crimes and by eliminating mandatory penalties.

            In places where free and ubiquitous contraception is available, there has been reduced incidence in unwanted pregnancies. Abortion occurs for a few reasons one of which is the correlation between availability and affordability of contraception. Another is a lack of education. For all the howls of conservative parents bemoaning attempts by schools to educate students about sexuality, the religious idea of “promised virginity” until marriage was and is a total failure. And young people who need an understanding about reproduction other than anything related to sex before marriage is bad, were woefully unprepared. So your position is that readily available and affordable contraception will lead to more unwanted pregnancies?

            I suspect that including contraception as part of the affordable care act would have gone a long way toward reducing unwanted pregnancies. As usual, religions are fighting that just as they have other advances — medical research, blood transfusions, use of cadavers. Whenever we confuse sin with law, we wind up in trouble.

  • hopechurch

    Kevin, thank you for your summary on the various causes of the rise of homosexual sin. I accept that man’s depravity expressed as defiance against a Holy God and his clear prohibitions in his law, but because this is a worldwide immoral defiant cultural change what do think is ultimately driving it?

  • Chris Candide

    It is dishonest to call marriage laws and amendments “gay marriage bans.” Marriage has been defined a particular way for the entire history of this country, indeed for the entire history of Western Civilization. “Gay marriage” was not ever contemplated, and remains, despite the logic twisting of this movement of the elites, an oxymoron.

    Calling a marriage law that recognizes what marriage actually is a “ban on gay marriage” is like calling a horse show a “ban on zebras.”

    • JCF

      With how many parties to the marriage? (That’s changed, and varies time to time, culture to culture) Who gets to contract the marriage? The actual spouses, or, say, the parents of one or both spouses? (That varies time to time, and culture to culture) What’s the age of the marrying parties? (That varies time to time, and culture to culture)

      Expanding two party/freely consenting-adult marriage to same-sex couples, is a lot LESS radical, than parent-contracted polygamy of a girl-child, in my humble opinion—but the latter is STILL the standard, in a whole lot of the world. Why don’t you go enforce YOUR ideas of “traditional marriage” on those parts of the world, and then get back to us about Teh Gays, OK?

      • Chris Candide

        Re-read my comment and you’ll understand that your response is irrelevant to what I wrote.

    • Tom from North Carolina

      Very clever comment — ban on zebras — but your historical references are not particularly accurate. First, you indicate that western civilization throughout its entire history has been defined in a particular way. That’s simply not true. Even in this country, marriages on the frontier were little more than living with someone. And as you conclude gay marriage was not contemplated, it was only because being gay was believed to be so wrong as to be punishable by death.

      Marriage was more often than not, a contract among two families, many times arranged at an early age and without the requirement of love, something we find paramount today. In fact, in the middle ages and earlier, almost everything favored the man in the marriage. He could sue for divorce but not the woman. He could engage in “extra curricular” activities whereas his wife, if she did the same, would probably have been hanged or stoned.

      Extending marriage to gay and lesbian couples simply solidifies the importance society places on freedom and equality. If you are using history as a precedent, you don’t need to go back too far to find polygamy, children marriages, arranged marriages and all sorts of variations, none of which necessarily match your notion of what marriage is or should be.

  • Irvin Jackson

    This is for Tom from North Carolina
    I feel you on a lot of this stuff bro. I am a Christian, but I guarantee you orienteer and Ted would not consider me one, and perhaps “student of Jesus of Nazareth” is a better way to describe it. When I went on my personal soul-searching, here is what I found, and understand that these are my personal conclusions and are all internal, but they could, in theory, answer some of the questions.
    1. Christians duck a really important conundrum. God is supposedly omnipotent and all-knowing. If so, then why has his efforts to teach us failed so epically? Even with free will, you’d think he’d be more successful as a teacher. I still believe there’s a God. I just don’t believe that his goals are what we think they are. I think Christianity, as people like orienteer view it, was designed to fail. God knew people wouldn’t follow the law. God knew Jesus’s message would only be partially heard. And that has to be part of the plan, unless you think God is incapable of knowing these things and powerless…not much of a God. If god is all-knowing, then he knows every variable in every quark in every particle in all of existence from the dawn of time until the last star burns out because it ran out of fuel…and beyond. Thus, even though we have true free will, he HAS to know what we’re going to do before we do it. So he HAD to know that you, Tom, wouldn’t believe in him. He had to, or he’s not God. So unless we think God is the biggest asshat in the universe, we have to believe that he didn’t make Tom destined for eternal damnation.
    2. So if that’s the case. what’s this all about? Well, God’s actions have all been toward the making of companions. We, in our current state, have absolutely no way of comprehending, communicating with, or relating to an omniscient being. None. Therefore, we have to be put on some kind of path to get there, and for reasons that would be inscrutibly his, he decided to do it the long way (I believe that if God can observe us and can’t be observed, and outlives time as we know it, that pretty much guarantees he’s extradimensional in nature. Scalar laws here say we can’t observe anything extradimensional in nature, but the scalar laws in other dimensions would differ, allowing such a being to exist and affect our universe, unobserved (see Carl Sagan’s “flatland” lecture…you can find it on youtube). So he sets us on a course for enlightened evolution. The more we advance, the further he pulls back, to prevent from stifling our growth as reasoning, learned beings. If God were to actively become involved in the every day workings of life on Earth, advancement would come to a screeching halt. There’s be no need for us to excel at anything but worshipping. We’d be useless as a species beyond giving praise and then waiting for bread from the sky. But suffering, struggle, the need to overcome…that gets stuff done. That gets people thinking, creating, evolving….and one day….wayyyyyyyy down the line, far beyond anything you or I can imagine, maybe even so far beyond where we are now that we don’t even remember Earth as anything but a legend, we’ll evolve to the point where we can relate.
    3. So why the bible: Well, he wants the word out there. He wants us to know what’s right and what’s wrong. But to say it’s the guide to imortality doesn’t make any sense. We know there are amazonian tribes where people are born, live, and die without ever hearing anything about God’s word. To assume they were created just to go to hell assumes God’s a real….well, uniquely male piece of anatomy.
    What is it then? It’s a rorshack test. if you watch, anyone who picks up the bible. Whatever they want to be, they can find it. Hitler opens the bible, reads it, and kills millions of Jews. Martin Luther King, Jr. reads it, and leads the civil rights movement. Does Hitler’s negative interpretation invaildate MLK’s positive one? Of course not. But what did happens that those two men made up their minds before that on who they were and what they wanted to be. The bible just confirmed it for them, even though they had wildly different reads on it. A rorschach test…and a really effective one at that.
    4. Ultimately, I tend to travel the path of Pascal’s wager. I believe that the core teachings of “do unto others” traverse time, while many other teachings, like levitical laws were always meant to be culture-specific and time based. The world has changed vastly since 33 A.D. and we don’t know what’s in God’s mind. Could be because nobody’s there, but you have to admit that a being that powerful could do that by choice as well. I am pro-gay marriage, pro-tolerance across the board, because I believe that the essence of Jesus’s teachings were to do unto your fellow man as you would want to be done unto you. I also believe that a forgiving, all-loving God, will actually be accepting of you, myself and orienteer, as long as our hearts are in the right place. he knows we ere, even in reasoning that could lead us to or from him. he made us after all. If he’s loving enough to send his own son to die to forgive us, we have to assume that sacrifice wasn’t limited to some small few who toed a very fuzzy, very debatable line.
    I know I have some of that wrong because I’m human, and I think that’s okay because the heart is in the right place. If god is as loving as we say, he knows our fallacies too, even in beliefs, and there’s a significant amount of wiggle room for all of us.
    Just one guy’s perspective. Nothing history based or factually referenced there, take it for what it is.

    • Tom from North Carolina

      It’s a really interesting post Irvin. Many of your concepts I definitely agree with and can relate to. I guess I would ask you, since you are almost there, if there’s no sign of a loving God actually intervening and if the bible is subject to personal interpretation and at no time has God intervened and corrected all of the misinterpretations, why do you continue to believe in God?

      Religious people have fought science throughout history. Advancements we’ve made as a species have come about not because of faith but in spite of faith. Religion fought early astronomers, early medical practitioners and continue to oppose science whenever it conflicts with faith. Blood transfusions, using cadavers to learn about the body are two good examples of where advancement in medicine was hindered by religion. I see no need for religion. What makes you continue to have faith, on some level?

  • JCF

    “Why Gay Marriage Is Winning”

    Shorter version: because God wills, and blesses it! :-)