The Raving Theist

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Why Do You Really Care?

January 5, 2009 | 428 Comments

Some conversions from one belief system to another provoke more interest and emotion than others. Religious conversions seem to produce the most, to the extent that the term “conversion” is primarily associated with them. And conversions from atheism to belief in God (as opposed to conversions between
particular religions) may generate the most heat of all.

Conversions from one worldview to another do, of course, occur outside of the religious context. For the purpose of this discussion, I’ll examine the reaction to a hypothetical conversion from a belief in empiricism to a belief in rationalism. By way of background, the distinction between the two is roughly the difference between believing that knowledge arises from matter or from mind.

A strict empiricist adheres to the former view, that all knowledge is derived from observation of the world by the senses. Thus, the theory goes, We cannot determine whether water quenches fire, whether a ball will bounce, whether there is a cat under the bed or whether our feet are still attached to our legs without looking or experimenting. Even math, to the strictest empiricist, is some sense dependent on observation of the world, as we count particular things. If there were no things in the world there would be nothing to count. To know whether two marbles plus two marbles equals four marble we must simply put them on the table and count.

This (mostly) common sense view forms the heart of science. We look at facts and data to discover the truth about everything. Neither speculation nor even logic can tell us anything about what is out there, about what actually exists, about how things interact. One disturbing consequence of this view, as David Hume observed, is that we cannot make assumptions about how things we have observed will act (or exist) later, or when they are out of our view. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The “law” of cause and effect — or any supposed scientific law — is simply an inference we make upon seeing various events “conjoined” in some way after repeated observations. But logic cannot tell us whether matters will continue as they have; as Hume says, the “ultimate springs and principles are totally shut up from human curiosity and enquiry.” Only seeing is believing. Any firm conviction in a law is mere leap of faith.

A rationalist, however, sees reason as the starting and ending point of all knowledge. It is crazy to view the universe as merely a huge bucket of messy, random, and possibly ever-changing facts. Rather, all experience is a question of consciousness and thinking and reasoning — the facts may present themselves to our minds, but it is our minds which categorize, interpret and organize the information according to principles which are not provided by the data itself. The rationalist also “knows” that the laws governing the physical world are real and that all the events happen for some “reason.” It would be absurd to view a law as just a large collection of coincidentally connected events or anecdotes, just as absurd as doubting the existence of the rest of the world which lies outside of your immediate, empirically-confirmable view.

My discussion of empiricism and rationalism is necessarily incomplete, and the terms are broad enough so that that at least some formulations of the two worldviews may be compatible. But there is a history of spirited debate between the adherents of each view, with the “extremists” on either side believing that theirs excludes the other. In a particular case, the change in perspective could be as radical as a conversion from atheism to a deep religious faith. So with respect to conversion, my question focuses on why a “pure” empiricist who announced a new-found dedication to rationalism (or vice versa) would not be greeted with the same outpouring of love, hate, joy, sadness, praise, insults, prayers and cursing that often confronts side-
switchers in the religious context.

I have a couple of theories. First, a person who declared a conversion from empiricism to rationalism might discover that no one knew or cared about what what he or she was talking about. Even if dramatically illustrated with a picture of Spinoza, dressed in all his finery and otherwise historically accurate, the line between the underlying philosophies is not one which demarcates a battleground in modern society.

This not to say that some people do not have have strong opinions on the empiricism/rationalism debate, or that those unfamiliar with the positions, would not form a strong convictions as to one side or the other once the theories were explained to them. People still do debate whether the the world vanishes when they fall sleep, whether falling forest trees make sounds, whether gravity might reverse itself, or whether it is grounded by some immutable law. But discussions of such matters rarely engender great strife, even among those who would consider the opposing opinion to be nearly delusional. The converted empiricist is generally not confronted with accusations of stupidity, insanity, betrayal, intellectual dishonesty or fakery from his or her friends, family or blog-commentators.

Ultimately, the difference probably turns more upon morality and politics than anything else. Debates about religion are rarely solely philosophical ones about the nature of God. While the issue may not be expressly raised, the convert (or deconvert) is frequently viewed as having moved more forcefully in the rightward or leftward direction favored or disfavored by those greeted with the news. The empiricist/rationalist debate rarely carries the same baggage.

Comments

428 Responses to “Why Do You Really Care?”

  1. Brennon
    January 5th, 2009 @ 4:10 am

    Ultimately, the difference probably turns more upon morality and politics than anything else.

    This is because atheists do not want to be told there is somebody who has set a moral law for His creatures to follow and will judge them accordingly

  2. Pikemann Urge
    January 5th, 2009 @ 4:53 am

    Some interesting stuff there, TRT. I think that because religion involves truth (or claims to such), people are exceptionally reactionary.

    Not all religious people are like this. The large minority are the ones who go raving apeshit just because somebody else’s Christianity is a touch different than theirs. This stems from the familar devil, insecurity.

    What you are going through is in the public realm and the public is naturally interested in other people. I wouldn’t knock down doors to find out, but darn it, I am very interested to see what you have to say.

    Why? Because! I haven’t read your blog before your announced conversion on the 22nd (I think). At the time I thought it was a joke or a ‘Poe’.

    I want to know to what degree you will end up discussing with non-believers and believers. Will you join in debates about morality, the nature of God, the claims of exclusive Truth etc? And that request by Brian Flemming? ;-)

    I also am curious as to whether you are interested in textual criticism, translational issues, textual provenance, harmonization, the definition of what a Christian should be (and is the other baggage okay or necessary), whether you think that orthodox Christianity is the only correct and valid form of it, the up-coming Jesus Project etc.

    Or… are you after no more than pure, simple faith? No debates, no textual studies, no apologetics, no scholarship – just Simple Faith?

  3. Beelzebub
    January 5th, 2009 @ 5:07 am

    Interesting and thoughtful post.

    First I would have to expressly disagree with Brennon above, though that is a frequent charge leveled. From my fairly extensive experience in the polemic trenches of this divide I think it really has more to do with intellectual outrage. Each side simply cannot bring itself to believe that the other can be dumb enough to believe what they believe. If you think atheists awake each morning cursing the notion that there may be a God forswearing rape and pillage, then I enjoin you to leave the mental Neolith.
    There is also the issue that groups on each side of the divide have (or can have) formed various biases/bigotries/grievances/ and grudges with the other side — and for various reasons. I’m at least fortunate to not be among these; I’m more in the outraged category. I’ve never believed since being inoculated from an early age. I traveled with my family around South America in preteenage and witnessed the masses groveling up stone stairways to the foot of the Virgin, etc. Never made any sense to me at all, and always seemed undignified, unfitting to a self-respecting person. Some people, however, have endured horrific experiences from childhood. I don’t think I need to go into examples.
    On the flip side, as I’m sure you know, the religious are offended by abortion and other moral turpitudes, which they identify with atheism. See comment above.
    So… yes, interesting post, but I think we all know why. Don’t we?

  4. Beelzebub
    January 5th, 2009 @ 5:07 am

    I mean comment above comment above :-)

  5. Beelzebub
    January 5th, 2009 @ 5:08 am

    Oh, DAMN IT.  I mean comment above comment above comment above comment.  HAAha

  6. Beelzebub
    January 5th, 2009 @ 5:34 am

    I’ll say one more thing and then quit. You’ve stated, I believe, that you feel no need to apologize to your former acolytes, which is fine, but also frees me to say something that is perhaps not very charitable.

    Atheists, as you no doubt know, often view religion as a mind virus, that people, buffeted by the vicissitudes of life, fortune, or emotion can resort to — and yes, by intellectual and moral evaluation. The atheist, however, considers these latter to be arrived at erroneously.

    This is for the atheists reading, tell me if I’m totally off-base. Have you ever seen “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”? Not the cheesy 50’s version, but the truly horrifying 1978 version with Donald Sutherland and Leonard Nimoy. The one that can actually give you nightmares. At its beginning and through the middle the tension and terror builds, but throughout you always have Southerland’s strong character to hold onto. But at the denouement you see that he’s turned, opens his mouth and that horrifying plant sound emerges. The pods have won. It’s such striking moment.

    That’s what it’s like. Sorry, but it is. I would actually feel remiss if I didn’t relate it.

  7. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 8:49 am

    It’s the company you’re keeping, frankly, and that you’re allowing yourself to be used by the sleaziest among the religious blogosphere. 

    You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, and, yes, I know that Christ hung with outcasts, blahblahblah.  He did NOT, however, hang with Pharisees, a group for which he saved his strongest language.

    If you’ve found God — really God, great.   I just doubt it, given the people who are now linking to you right and left and using you to bolster their own egos and promote themselves. 

  8. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 9:07 am

     he’s turned, opens his mouth and that horrifying plant sound emerges

    Exactly.  And I can recreate the “plant sounds” we’ll all probably be treated to from RT in the future:  condemnation after condemnation of those who don’t appreciate the “right” hymns, worship Mary as “co-redemptrix”, prefer Mass in Latin, wear head coverings (if they’re female), limit their family size for reasons not approved of by him, etc., etc., etc.
    He’ll turn into an uptight, anal, judgmental asshole, his real “gods” will be the approval of “St. Blog’s” and his sitemeter, and we’ll probably all be treated to a looooong series of rants on how anyone who doesn’t use NFP is merely using their husband or wife as a sex toy, a blow up doll, a dildo, a vibrator, or whatever, that they don’t really love each other (even if they’ve been married upwards of fifty years, stuck with each other through tragedies and illness and heartaches).

    God will only ever be allowed to manifest himself to others if, when, and how the Catholics say he may, and only if they approve of the “others” in question. 

    Caring for the sick and poor, the needy, homeless, etc., will be ridiculous hippie-dippy stuff those warm, fuzzy, buddy-Jesus people do.  Charitable work like that is for the peons, not for elitist holier-than-thous like him.  His “vocation” will be praying.   Lots of very public, very showy, repetititive praying — prayers of thanksgiving that he is not like those silly Jesus-people, prayers protecting him from demons when someone actually disagrees with him or points out that he might be ~gasp~ wrong about something, or at fault himself.
    That “forgiveness” stuff Christ was so high on will be something he does through a completely unrelated third party in order to make him feel good about himself. 
    Blech.  What a frickin’ waste. 

  9. Alphonsus
    January 5th, 2009 @ 9:13 am

    Nina,
    Wouldn’t a charitable attitude be better?  You seem to be doing the same kind of thing that you’re worried RT will do.

  10. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 9:23 am

    Alphonsus,

    Touche’

    Something about a plank in ones own eye?  Now what was she saying about the pharisees?

  11. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 9:24 am

    Nina,

    As the title of the post asks, so do I.  Why do you really care?

  12. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 9:36 am

    I really care because I really, really, really hate what being Catholic has become, largely due to the revolting phenomenon known as “web Catholicism”. 

    That’s why I care.

    Because the Catholic Church used to be an amazingly beautiful thing, but these shallow, vain, vapid, self-aggrandizing assholes have destroyed it. 

  13. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 9:38 am

    Alphonsus,

    I’ve seen what Catholic “charity” is.  As I mentioned on an earlier thread, I have an inbox of Catholic “charity”. 

    Hey, y’all preach that “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” deal.   Why so upset when someone does?

  14. Alphonsus
    January 5th, 2009 @ 9:58 am

    Nina,
    What is your relationship with Catholicism?  Practicing? Lapsed? Liberal? Observer? You didn’t specify.

    I agree with you that Catholic blogging, even when defending traditional beliefs and practices, can get a bit obnoxious.  I think, however, that it’s an over-correction of the “Spirit of Vatican II” junk that’s been going around for the last forty years.

    Sorry to hear that your dealings with Catholic online haven’t been very good.

  15. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:04 am

    “Catholicism” is dead to me.

  16. Alphonsus
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:08 am

    Nina,
    Not to pry, but what killed it for you?  I’m not going  to judge you, so just be frank.

  17. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:12 am

    Nina,

    Catholicism may be dead to you, but at the risk of causing you further pain, it sounds like you are not done grieving.

    I’m asking this in ALL sincerity.  I hear some serious pain in your comments, and I would really like to know what caused this view of the church.  I love my faith, but often get frustrated at the way it has become so watered down as to be almost ineffectual.  I sense that you have the opposite view, but I don’t want to make any assumptions.

    What in particular has caused your present departure from the church?

    I promise to be gentle in my response.

  18. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:13 am

    ~sigh~

    Online “Catholicism”.

    When you see what the people sitting in the pew next to you are really thinking about you, or what the priests are really thinking about your confession, you see what a sham it’s all turned into. 

    That’s the problem with blogging.   It’s kinda fun to get all the other shallow, moronic dipshits kissing your ass 24/7, but other people see you, too.   They see that the lady they always thought was nice and sincere actually harbors some pretty nasty frickin’ thoughts about her fellow parishioners, or the man who paints himself as the model of Catholic “chastity” has an alter ego who sleazes around on the web making disgusting comments to women he doen’t agree with.

    You see the icky little man behind the curtain.   You see the smoke and mirrors, the tricks, the fakery.  You finally see it all for what it really is.

    So it’s really a good thing in the long run.

  19. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:20 am

    At the risk of upsetting you more, may I quote Chesterton?

    “When the world goes wrong, it proves rather that the Chruch is right.  The Church  is justified, not because her children do not sin, but because they do.”

    Aren’t we all awful?  Isn’t that precisely why we need the Church?  Doesn’t that hypocrite sitting in front of you need her just as much as you or I do?  Aren’t we all struggling with our personal failings?  Are any of us immune to sin?

    To say that the church is dead to you, because it is full of sinners is sort of missing the point, no?

  20. Larry Castle
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:20 am

    @ Beelzebub, I can see what you mean about the plant sound analogy as I try to consider it from your perspective. But consider the impact of perspective on the analogy. Comment number 56 on his announcement post about initial assumptions shaping conclusions says it well.

    If you keep an open mind and are willing to consider the possibility that your basic assumptions are wrong, you would better understand how I view the trt’s coversion. You know how in the recent movie, The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent is faced with a decision several times in the end. The Joker successfully deludes him into blaming everybody but The Joker for Rachel’s death.

    Didn’t you just want Harvey to drop the Joker in the hospital while he had the gun and the chance? Most of all, didn’t you want to see Harvey repent when he was threatening Gordon’s family? I did. That’s what I wanted him to do-the right thing.

    I feel about trt’s conversion how I would’ve felt about Dent’s repentance. From my perspective, IF your basic assumptions are correct THEN the philosophy the joker proposed to Dent is preferable-chaos rules and to each his own. We should break loose of the shackles of other weaker men’s fabricated order by whatever means necessary.

    As an aside, The Joker didn’t really subscribe to the philosophy he proposed. He didn’t really want chaos; demolishing a hospital would involve a great deal of planning. His plan was extremely elaborate and he did nothing arbitrarily. He wanted order. He just wanted to set the order according to his own preferences. I would have loved to see Dent find his way through the Joker’s hypocrisy and do the right thing, wouldn’t you?

  21. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:20 am

    I love my faith, but often get frustrated at the way it has become so watered down as to be almost ineffectual. 
    That’s the thing.  God is just an intellectual construct to these brave new, oh-so-radical “web Catholics”.  A construct created entirely in their own images of course…
    There’s no sense of a living God, a God who is greater than all their silly little sixth-grade playground shit. 
    And it’s gone all so Oprah.   These new Catholics are the center of their Catholic universe.  Me, me, me, my personal holiness, my journey towards sainthood, feeling good about myself.
    Oh, puke.  Really. 
    And then there’s the victimization mentality, and the group mentality, and the circle jerk mentality.
    It’s shameful.  Shameful.
    When did it all become so self-involved?  When did God take a back seat to cheap, tacky gew-gaws and self-promotion and incessant navel-gazing?

    It’s amazing to me how so many privileged people will find a thousand ways to justify not giving some poor homeless schmuck a goddam dime while at the same time spending ridiculous amounts of money on the tackeist damned trinkets you’ve ever seen.  Shit the Home Shopping Network would shy away from selling.  Seriously.  

    When did it all lose it’s honor?

    That’s what I”ll never, ever get.

  22. Matthew
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:24 am

    Nina,
    Sounds to me like the shock of Online “Caholicism” is that the members of the Catholic Church are human!  Shocking?
    I always thought the Church was supposed to be a hospital for sinners not a country club for saints.

  23. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:27 am

    Yes, but using sin as an excuse is bullshit.  

    And claiming your sin is okay, but other people’s are not is worse (“you” generally speaking).

  24. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:29 am

    Nina,

    I’m confused.  Do you mean our new found love of old things?   Having been born in the 50’s I can tell you that the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s dropped the ball on catechisis.  So many of us have no idea what the church is, what she teaches.  We are in our 40’s, 50’s and 60’s now…only discovering our faith for the first time.  We are madly in love with it, and like any one in new love, it’s all we want to talk about.  There is so much catching up to do. 

    While I am very familiar with the “Theology of the Body” crowd (heck, I’m one of them), I am not familiar with the “Don’t feed the hungry” crowd.  I’m afraid I’ll need you to clarify what it is exactly that you are finding so distasteful.

    Is it the focus on the church and her teachings pre vatican II, is it the reiteration of her stand on certain social issues?  Is it that she is too focused, or not focused enough on social justice issues?  I’m just trying to get a handle on exactly what you are saying.

  25. A Random Catholic
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:32 am

    To Nina:

    For all “uncharity” you have witnessed and especially for that portion you have received at the hands of my fellows, I am truly grieved and sorry.

    I beg your forbearance and on behalf of the offenders, I beg your forgiveness.

    Please understand that behavior contrary to charity specifically, and contrary to principals in general is not merely the state of  ersatz Catholic charity, but of virtually all human “charity’ where the would-be practitioner holds ideals that require aspiration to reach (as opposed to “principals” that can be amended on the fly to suit the “practitioner.” 

    I observe that humans tend to “practice as we preach” primarily when we “preach” what we wish to do anyway.  Embracing Christian morality in and of itself does not automatically switch off our propensity to do so.  The Christian behavioral mandate “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is is not a lowest-common-denominator “standard” we magically hold by default and then regularly abandon through malice.  It an ideal to which we Catholics are commanded to apprehend as part of a life-long aspiration: a part of the “running of the good race;” it is a “conversion” process. Its achieving requires individual dedication, maturity, genuine willingness to (by our own wills) subvert natural selfishness, to confess our sins, to discipline our minds, to repent, to amend our way and (we believe) to daily accept the working of what we call “grace” in our lives (and we Catholics believe, even afterward).

    We acknowledge that our two greatest commandments: 1) to love our Creator with all of our being, and 2) to love our fellow human creatures as we love ourselves represent our two greatest practical hypocrisies–even when we are at our best–and in the confrontational environment of the blogosphere, how easy it is to fall far short of our best!

    Given the above, what can we do but confess our wrongs, do what we can to mitigate whatever harm they cause and strive to amend our lives as best as our own flawed natures by grace permit?

  26. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:34 am

    Nina,

    What sins are people excusing?  Which ones are they focusing on?  I just don’t see this happening.  I’m not saying that it isn’t, I just haven’t seen it.

    I have definitely seen a cry for more traditional masses.  I have been part of the NFP  crowd, but can’t see how this is contrary to the Churches teaching all along.  I guess I’m having a problem with how you perceive the things you said in your 9:07  post as “changes”.    They are things that have been taught from basically day one.  If we appear to be changing, it’s because we  are trying to get back to that honor you so dearly miss.

  27. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:34 am

    The self-absorbed new traditionalists love all the stuff — the candles, the incense, chapel veils, arcane liturgies, etc., and they love any teaching that allows them to grub around in other people’s crotches, but ask them to feed a homeless person?  Work a soup kitchen?  Why, that’s totally beneath them, that’s all that Vatican II touchy-feely nonsense!  Everyone knows Jesus never actually meant giving people food and water and medical attention and shelter in any material sense — he just meant letting the poor bask in the glow of your personal holiness and let you tell them how their suffering is a good thing!
    That’s the thing — it’s not an either/or.  It’s both.  You don’t get to pat yourself on the back for knowing exactly how many candles belong on the altar if you aren’t also doing the stuff that actually requires you to give up something real in the way of time, money and hard work. 
     

  28. Alphonsus
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:37 am

    People say nasty things online, but that doesn’t mean that there are no sincerely kind Catholics, that there is no goodness in the religion.  What about John Vianney, Miguel Pro, Theresa of Avila?  If they were alive today, they would never engage in the kind of crap that’s sometimes found on Catholic blogs.  If you find a lack of Catholic  charity online, its probably because living saints are too busy doing other, more important things.

  29. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:40 am

    What sins are people excusing?  Which ones are they focusing on?  I just don’t see this happening

    That’s just my response to the people who always blow off everything with a sort of  off-hand “well, we’re all sinners, so whatever…” attitude.
     
    Yeah.  We’re all sinners.  Thing is, it’s not an excuse for anything.  
     

  30. Irreligious
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:41 am

    Brennon wrote:
    “This is because atheists do not want to be told there is somebody who has set a moral law for His creatures to follow and will judge them accordingly.”

    And no Roman Catholic would want to be told  that he/she must abide by the Koran or else he/she is going to be judged by Allah. I imagine you would perceive a threat like that as coming from an ordinary, flawed and mortal human being. That’s if you were being charitable.

    Well, when it comes to your, um, entreaties,  that’s exactly how I feel.

    When you talk about your powerful god to me, all I see is you. Truly. I have zero concern about being judged by an all-powerful entity after death. I’m concerned only about  those who claim to speak on behalf of their god and how their  collective judgements will be manifested in the here and now, the only realm that I know.     

  31. Alphonsus
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:45 am

    “That’s the thing — it’s not an either/or.  It’s both.”

    Too many liberal Catholics focus on social justice to the exclusion of religious faith and contemplation.  Instead of looking to the cooperative/communitarian thought emphasized in Rerum Novarum and other documents, some Catholics rely too much on flawed Marxist understandings of economics.  Personally, I think that these Marxist influences have greatly harmed the theological and philosophical grounding of Catholic social justice.

    We need Marys and Marthas in this world.

    By attacking spirituality, you’re just falling into the same sort of rut that you find fault with.

  32. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:46 am

    Nina,

    I can, obviously, only speak for myself.  I love the candles, the incense, the homilies, the Scott Hahns, the hymns…but I also donate time, money and prayer to those in need.  Our parish just fought and lost a long and ugly battle trying to get a homeless shelter in our building.   It was the secular world that stopped us.  But as of next week, we will be hosting a soup kitchen.  I never pass a homeless person without offering to help, whether with conversation, or some spare change.  Last winter we kept a group of homeless men alive (they were living in the woods across the street from the abortion clinic we counsel outside of) by bringing then food and cots and blanets, etc. for the entire winter.  I don’t tell you this to  toot my own horn, but to show you, that in my experience, Catholics have risen to the challenge of loving our less fortunate brothers and sisters in a meaningful and tangible way.  I also take an hour at our Adoration Chapel each week.  (As you said, it’s not either/or…it’s both)

    We can and must help  the poor, yes, but we must also have a liturgical life.  We must pray as well as give alms. 

    I guess, I just view the whole thing as a journey.  Some are further along, but we can’t judge others journey’s unless we have walked in their shoes.  I could ask what the homeless person has done for his fellow man, but that would seem silly as he is not in a place to help anyone.  Perhaps some of the Catholics you are meeting, are simply not in that “place” yet.  But it doesn’t mean they are valueless.  It simply means they are on a different part of their journey.   We must pray for them and view them as our unfortunate brothers, just as we view the homeless the same way.  One is lacking material goods, one is lacking spiritual.  But they are both lacking.  One needs food, one needs prayer and guidance.

    The Church is a work in progress.  Not a finished product.  Don’t you think?

  33. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:56 am

    Nina,

    I have a blog that is both Catholic and Prolife.  We have a resident commenter that is something of a character.  Most people can’t stand him.  I adore him.  I see something deep inside of him, that is just begging to be set free.  He can be really offensive.  He is a  nurse practitioner in an abortion clinic.

    We recently posted on whether it was right to withhold communion from Catholics that support abortion.

    His response made me laugh.  He said he wished we would excommunicate ALL dissenting Catholics.  That way it would be easier to round up all of the true Catholics that were left, put them on a single bus and ship them off to live in the Vatican!  (I responded that that would be silly as there are no houses in the Vatican.  We want to be shipped to Malta)

    But you see my point, and his.  There are so few Catholics that get that it IS both, the spiritual works of mercy as well as the corporal ones, that they could probably fit into a Miata!    What he doesn’t understand is what I’ve been trying to say to you.  Being Catholic isn’t about getting it right.  It’s about wanting to get it right.  Sure there are some rules that might rub you the wrong way, like the withholding communion one, but not being able to receive communion doesn’t stop you from being a member of the church.  It just means you have some growing to do before you can be in FULL communion with her.  (I am also using “you” in general, not personally).  Do you see what I’m saying?

  34. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:57 am

    Oh, it’s finished.  Cooked.  Done.  Deader than a dead thing that’s been dead for a very long time.

    When you say some are further along on their journey than others, but we can’t judge others’ journies […], you just have — by assuming one person is “further along” than another (by whose standards, anyway??), you’ve already judged.

    Comparison games are for losers. 

    Christ was quick to point out that those who might think they were right up there at the head of the line would actually find themselves all the way in the back in the eyes of God. 

    I’m not attacking spirituality.  I’m attacking pretentious, showy, self-asserting type spirituality.  I’m attacking priding oneself on one’s spirituality.  I’m attacking raising the importance of the priest wearing the correct color chausible over that of just not being a complete dick. 

  35. Alphonsus
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:57 am

    “And no Roman Catholic would want to be told  that he/she must abide by the Koran or else he/she is going to be judged by Allah. I imagine you would perceive a threat like that as coming from an ordinary, flawed and mortal human being. That’s if you were being charitable.”

    Actually, Catholics believe that the Natural Law (that is, basic human morality) is accessible to all people through the light of reason.  If someone rejects the Natural Law, so the idea goes,  it is generally due to irrationality, prejudice, or perhaps some sort of ignorance (e.g. being unfamiliar with some feature or human nature).
    This link below, if memory serves, elucidates some of the characteristics of contemporary Natural Law theory. (Yes, its from a right-wing organization, so it may be somewhat polemical.  If you want more detail I would advise that you to do some reading on the subject)
    http://isi.org/lectures/flvplayer/lectureplayer.aspx?file=v000242_george_061108.flv

  36. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 10:59 am

    Irreligious,

    The Muslims DO contend that we will not reach heaven if we don’t follow the Koran. 

    The thing is, I don’t see the Catholic Church forcing anyone to do anything.  They invite yes,  but it’s been ages since She had the audacity to try and force Herself on the world.

  37. Alphonsus
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:06 am

     
    ‘When you say some are further along on their journey than others, but we can’t judge others’ journies […], you just have — by assuming one person is “further along” than another (by whose standards, anyway??), you’ve already judged.’
    Are you a complete relativist, then?  Must we refrain even from moral judgments?
    “I’m not attacking spirituality.  I’m attacking pretentious, showy, self-asserting type spirituality.  I’m attacking priding oneself on one’s spirituality.  I’m attacking raising the importance of the priest wearing the correct color chausible over that of just not being a complete dick.”

    You’re attacking a strawman, a kind of spirituality that any spiritual director with half a brain would see as problematic.  It’s not fair to judge a religion or philosophy by those members who practice it poorly or hypocritically.

    To facilitate this conversation, would you mind telling us what your current belief system is?

  38. Alphonsus
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:08 am

    “The Muslims DO contend that we will not reach heaven if we don’t follow the Koran. ”

    Well, there are verses of the Koran which state that virtuous Christians, Jews, and monotheists will be rewarded by God.

  39. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:09 am

    Nina,

    I’m not attacking spirituality.  I’m attacking pretentious, showy, self-asserting type spirituality.  I’m attacking priding oneself on one’s spirituality.  I’m attacking raising the importance of the priest wearing the correct color chausible over that of just not being a complete dick.

    How is this attitude different than the very attitude you despise?  Aren’t you saying that you are further along in the journey as you can see that the journey is a sham, and I cannot?

    We most certainly can see how far along we are.  We have the saints, the catechism, the gospels.  We can check ourselves regularly.  We know what the Church expects of us, what Jesus expects of us.  We can see for ourselves how close or how far we are from the goal.  We aren’t really traveling forward.  Rather, we are traveling backward.  Trying to get back to where we were before the fall.    We have only to look at Adam and Eve to know where we want to be.   We have only to look to the Saints to know how to get there.  We must examine ourselves.  We must challenge our selves, and yes we must compare ourselves.  Not to each other, but to those that have attained what we have not.  If we see a brother or a sister that are stumbling, we must help them.  This is not judging in the sense you are using the word any more than seeing a drowning person is judging.  We see that they are floundering in the water and we jump in to save them.  Have we judged them?  Or have we judged that they are in trouble?   Sin exists.  We must point it out where we see it, whether in ourselves or our neighbors.   That’s real love.  Ignoring sin, whether in ourselves, or in one of our neighbors, is not love.  It’s horrible.  It means you are standing by and watching them drown, or committing suicide.  Neither of which is right. 

    This is NOT to say that you stand on a soapbox pointing out everyones flaws.  But isn’t a doctor obligated to point out an illness in his patients?  Wouldn’t he be remiss if he were to ignore glaring symptoms?   How successful as a doctor, would he be, if he always told his patients they were fine and would live forever?

  40. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:11 am

    Alphonsus,

    Well, there are verses of the Koran which state that virtuous Christians, Jews, and monotheists will be rewarded by God.

    Killjoy.

  41. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:12 am

    It’s about wanting to get it right. 

    Unfortunately, I think it’s become more about looking like you’ve gotten it right than wanting anything at all.   Or wanting to look like you’ve gotten it right. 
     
    I know more people who are not members of any particular brand of organized religion, who aren’t particularly spiritual or religious, and who many not even believe in God who get it right more often than not, and I know far too many Catholics and Protestants and non-denoms and fundies and even orthodox Jews who get it wrong with stunning consistency. 

    The religious affiliation, if any, doesn’t seem to matter.  I find it hard to believe God is going to place more value on designer names than what’s inside the heart and mind of any individual. 

    That’s just not who God is.   God doesn’t care if you’re Catholic, Jewish, Wiccan or atheist.   He cares about things like honor and integrity and sincerity.   He knows people fuck up.  It’s what they do after they fuck up that counts.  Trying to sweep your mess under the rug, or pretty it up somehow, or use it to garner yourself some personal glory isn’t going to impress God. 

  42. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:15 am

    Nina,

    That’s just not who God is.   God doesn’t care if you’re Catholic, Jewish, Wiccan or atheist.   He cares about things like honor and integrity and sincerity.   He knows people fuck up.  It’s what they do after they fuck up that counts.  Trying to sweep your mess under the rug, or pretty it up somehow, or use it to garner yourself some personal glory isn’t going to impress God.

    Well, you got a lot of that right.  But I think He does care, very much, whether you are Catholic, Atheist or Wiccan.  He doesn’t love you any more or less, but apparently, He DID have a preference.  He was willing to die to make that preference clear to us.

  43. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:20 am

    mk,

    Of course.

    But you go tell one of the gold medalists in the Catholic Olympics that they’re sinning and see what happens.

    Usually you get called demonic and they start praying the prayer of St. Michael at you. 

    The people who hide behind “Christian charity” and claim it’s a license for them to point out everyone else’s flaws (because they just love them so much…/rolleyes) are the last people who are willing to take any “admonishment” from anyone else.

    The thing about journeys is they’re not road races.  We’re not competing with each other.   Nor are we measured against some saint somewhere.  We’re not even measured against Christ.   Journeys are private (which is why “journals” used to be private things — notebooks and pens, not public blogs).  They’re, for the most part, solitary. 

    The only thing that matters is God and the truth.  Candles, buildings, traditions, robes, incense, beads — don’t mean a thing.  When it’s all over and done, when all this earthbound stuff is evaporated, the buildings and candles and robes and traditions will be gone in an instant.   If they help you, fine, but if they’re replacements for the real deal, forget about it.

  44. Alphonsus
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:22 am

    “The religious affiliation, if any, doesn’t seem to matter.  I find it hard to believe God is going to place more value on designer names than what’s inside the heart and mind of any individual. ”

    To say the the difference between religions is negligible indicates that truth isn’t important.  I’m not saying that God isn’t going to reward non-Catholics or non-Christians, but I don’t think that ignoring the significant philosophical and theological differences between Buddhism/Wicca/Materialism/Hinduism/Islam/Christianity/Judaism/etc does justice to the people of religions other that my own.  If I talk to a Buddhist who believes that life and the soul are illusions to be escaped through the annihilation of self, I am not going to insult his intelligence by pretending that we believe the same thing or that our differences of belief and philosophy are unimportant.

  45. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:22 am

    He DID have a preference.  He was willing to die to make that preference clear to us.

    Really?  LOL! 
    No, he died to show us what the ideal for human behavior, especially in our encounters with each other, is.   When we’re all on the same page as far as that’s concerned, Catholic, Muslim, Jew, agnostic won’t matter. 
     
     

  46. Alphonsus
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:25 am

    “The only thing that matters is God and the truth.”

    If truth matters, doesn’t belonging to a true religion also matter to some degree?

  47. Irreligious
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:26 am

     But, MK, don’t Roman Catholics also contend that human beings who actively reject the Bible as the word of God will not reach heaven? What’s the difference?

    And, no, the Catholic church is not in any position to literally force its will on non Catholics in a country in which Catholics are not the majority, but Catholics can certainlyalign themselves with other Christians to achieve their mutual political ends. Sure, it is their right as American citizens. But I can still grouse about them seeking to exert their will over me and unwilling others, can’t I? ;)

    I mean,  as demographics change over several generations and people with a different faith view from yours are in a position to legally exercise their will to, say, require your great-great-great granddaughter to wear hijab because they think it’s appropriate for everyone, she might be the one grousing then.

    Anyway, I really did not mean to interrupt this scintillating dialog going on between you and Nina. It’s the most enlightening conversation I’ve read on this blog. Sincerely. So please carry on.    

  48. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:26 am

    Nina,

    When we’re all on the same page as far as that’s concerned, Catholic, Muslim, Jew, agnostic won’t matter.

    Which page would that be?  Are you saying that Jesus did NOT come to fulfill the prophecies?  Are you saying that the Old Testament was made up?

  49. Alphonsus
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:32 am

    “But, MK, don’t Roman Catholics also contend that human beings who actively reject the Bible as the word of God will not reach heaven? What’s the difference?”

    It would depend on his reasons/his understanding of the Bible’s nature.  Why did he reject it and what did he honestly believe the Bible to be?  Ignorance of its divine origin would certainly reduce moral culpability for rejecting it.

  50. Geoffrey
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:36 am

    Dear Raving Theist,

    DEATH TO EMPIRICISTS!!!

    Cordially,
    Raving Rationalist

  51. Lily
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:38 am

    Nina:
    I don’t want to increase your pain but I have to ask you– if Christ’s death was meant to show us the ideal for our behavior in our encounters with one another, did you live up to that ideal in your remarks about RT? You were certainly deeply unfair to him in ascribing to him all sorts of unpleasant characteristics and motives than cannot be derived from his actual behavior over the last 3 or so years that I have been reading him.

    I get that something painful has happened to you and such raw pain moves me deeply.  But to generalize, as you are doing and to harden your heart against others, can only increase your alienation from your fellow human beings. I simply haven’t seen the kind of behavior you are describing, as though it were the way things always are. I think that is what others are telling you too.

    I certainly run into a bunch of different people at mass; weak, strong, healthy, sick, happy, depressed, repressed, liberal, conservative, etc. In other words, a microcosm of the world.  Heaven knows, I am as quick to judge as anyone, perhaps quicker. But when I take a deep breath and step back, I am deeply moved to see how we all want the same things and have many of the same struggles. We are human.

    Leaving aside the question of whether or not RT has joined the RCC, which does not seem self-evident to me, people don’t become something radically different immediately upon conversion to Catholicism. If we love God, we will let Him remake us in His image.  I know that it is hard. But if you can forgive yourself and those whom you love for their failings, can you not spare some forgiveness for those you don’t love?

  52. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:48 am

    Irreligous,

    Yes of course the Catholic church teaches the same thing.  I was just saying that using the Muslims claiming we have to be Muslim as making us feel the way you say we say you must be Catholic…what the heck are we talking about?  Oh,  never mind.  You get what I’m saying.

    But see, even as a Catholic, I don’t  want a theocracy.  That would defeat the  whole “Good News” thing.  It ain’t Good News if it ain’t by choice.  That would be Bad News indeed.

    I agree we can be a thorn in your side by joining forces and becoming the acting majority, but we take the same chance.   IF the Muslims ever insisted I wear a veil on my head, it might be the Atheists and Catholics that join forces…now that would be interesting.

  53. A Random Catholic
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:49 am

    “But you go tell one of the gold medalists in the Catholic Olympics that they’re sinning and see what happens. “

    He might say, “I am the chief of sinners,” as did St. Paul, and encourage others to strive to imitate whatever he does do that is right, and not imitate his flaws. 

    What then should someone do who does not reach his goal?  He can reset the goal, moving it closer (or even to a point he’s already passed) so he  (or anyone) can reach it without effort, or he can continue, and strive to reach the goal, even though he feels unable to go the distance. 

    To the Christian, the object of the race is the prize at the end of the race is eternal life and the course to the goal is not set by his own preference.  He cannot reset the line for himself.  He cannot reset it for someone else. Further, he acknowledges that in the end, he can never finish the race under his own power–nor can anyone else subject to human frailty.  None of this releases him from his obligation to run–and non of it releases him from his obligation to encourage others to do the same.

  54. Irreligious
    January 5th, 2009 @ 11:54 am

    Alphonsus wrote:
    “It would depend on his reasons/his understanding of the Bible’s nature.  Why did he reject it and what did he honestly believe the Bible to be?  Ignorance of its divine origin would certainly reduce moral culpability for rejecting it.”

    Interesting. I understand the Bible to be the work of long-dead, flawed human beings (have there ever been any other kind?) indulging in speculation about the unknowable. That’s what I sincerely believe. 

    As for a “divine origin,” I honestly don’t know what divine is supposed to  mean in that context, apart from its colloquial usage.

    So based on what you wrote above, you believe that even an nonbeliever, like me, could potentially be a candidate for heaven, even if I never wind up believing as you do before I die. Have I got that right?  

  55. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

    Nina,

    Sorry, I missed this one….

    The only thing that matters is God and the truth.  Candles, buildings, traditions, robes, incense, beads — don’t mean a thing.  When it’s all over and done, when all this earthbound stuff is evaporated, the buildings and candles and robes and traditions will be gone in an instant.   If they help you, fine, but if they’re replacements for the real deal, forget about it.

    You actually have all of that right.  The question is “What is the Truth?”  How do we know?  Well, Catholics believe that the Truth was laid out for them, first in the Old, then the New Testament, as well as through the succession of apostles.  Our Sacred Tradition. 

    And part of that tradition involves the Eucharist, the other sacraments, certain behaviors (or refraining from certain behaviors).  No of course the candle color won’t matter, or which Sunday in Advent you wear pink, or if you use Holy Water.  But these things are symbolic.  They are rites.  They are rituals. 

    But what they represent, matters very much.  Baptism?  A must.  Christening gown?  Optional.  Eucharist?  Mandatory.  The color of the Chalice?  Unimportant (though the material it is made out of,  IS important.  The sign of the Cross?  Nice, but not necessary.  Believing in what it represents, the Trinity?  Oh yeah, that’s a given.

    Anyone that is ignoring what the symbols represent and focusing on the symbols themselves is one of those brothers or sisters that must, WITH LOVE, be corrected.  That’s the kind of helping hand I was talking about.  People correct me all the time.  It’s why I have a spiritual director.  I’m also hard on myself.  Maybe not hard enough, but I’m a tough taskmaster with myself as well as with those that I love.

    As for being on the journey alone…haven’t you read the Lord of the Rings.  You gotta take an elf or two along.  And a dwarf and even a smelly, little, bug eyed guy.  The Catholic Faith is a faith of relationships.  To deny the relationships is to deny the faith.

    When you are questioned on that final day, you will be held responsible not so much by how you did on your own, but what you did for and with others.  We can only truly see ourselves when we see ourselves in relationship.  Otherwise we have no point of reference.  

    Yes, the final end all relationship is between you and God, but it will be judged by how much of God you reflected to others.  Not by how well you conversed with Him.  But by how much you imitated Him, reflected Him.

    Earlier Irreligious said that when He looks at “me” he sees “me”.  Then I must not be doing a very good job.  When someone looks at me, they should think  “If Christ is anything like you, I can’t wait to meet Him”…

    Anything short of that means I need to reexamine the image I am showing the world.  Thanks a lot Irreligious….now I’ve gotta go and figure out why I’m a failure!  Way to go ;)

  56. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

    Irreligious,

    So based on what you wrote above, you believe that even an nonbeliever, like me, could potentially be a candidate for heaven, even if I never wind up believing as you do before I die. Have I got that right? 

    I think that what we are saying is that there is a blue print laid out.  It is meant to be followed, hence commandments, not directives.  But the more you know, the more you are responsible for what you know.  I will certainly be held more accountable than you, and my priest will be held more accountable than me.  Wouldn’t want to be the Pope for ANYTHING…poor guy.   I can just hear God  “Luuuuuucy, you gotta lot a esplainin’ to do”.

    There is one way to get to heaven.  That is to believe.  But as I said elsewhere, believing is tricky.  If you believe in the Moral Law, even without realizing it, and are following it to the best of your ability, then you are actually following God.  You just don’t know it.  This is different than following your own law, and it just happens to fit.  It means doing what you know is right, even when you don’t want to.  It means sincerely seeking the Truth, and doing the right thing for the sake of the right thing.

    This year, some Atheists put up that sign about being Good for Goodness sake.  I hold that that is the same as being good for God’s sake since Goodness and God cannot be separated.  You don’t really have to understand or know a thing to follow it.

    So the bottom line, is that we are not God.  We do not know what He will do.  We can trust in His Mercy, which is infinite.  We can only give you what we know to be True, and you will have to face the Man yourself.  Plead your own case.  Then, it’s up to Him.  Not me.  Not Alphonsus.   As Nina said, on that last day, there will just be two of you.  And one is not democratic.

  57. Irreligious
    January 5th, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

    MK, why are you calling yourself a failure? That is not my perception of you.
     
    Please allow me to share something with you:

    Recently, in a professional capacity, I met a nun who I thought was among the most charming and kindest people I’ve encountered in a long time. She’s a Felician nun who runs a charity in the city in which I live.

    I give to charity and belong to a professional organization in which I serve as a mentor to so-called underprivileged youngsters seeking to one day join my profession. But I’ve been seriously thinking about donating a few hours a month to this Felician nun’s organization. 

    Why in the world would an avowed atheist want to do that? 

    Well, it’s not because I aspire to be like Christ, though I know that is this nun’s raison d’ etre.  I really don’t care why she wants to help those who are less fortunate, only that she’s actually doing it.  We all have our ulterior motives. I certainly have mine.

    If this nun turns out to be overbearing and self-righteous (and that’s entirely possible, because she’s only human), I’ll look elsewhere to help.

    Nina here reminded me of something that is important to me: It’s our concrete actions that matter while we’re here. In all of her anger and vituperation, I can still see her idealism and her humanity, just like I saw in that nun. And maybe, just maybe, spending time working with her will remind me that there are actually some religious people out there of good will. Ooops. There’s my ulterior motive.

    If this blog is still around, I’ll let you know how it works out.
     

  58. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

    Baptism?  A must.  Christening gown?  Optional.  Eucharist?  Mandatory.  The color of the Chalice?  Unimportant (though the material it is made out of,  IS important.  The sign of the Cross?  Nice, but not necessary.  Believing in what it represents, the Trinity?  Oh yeah, that’s a given.

    Sure, they’re mandatory for Catholics.  Doesn’t mean they’re mandatory in God’s eyes. 
    The Lord of the Rings question is hysterical, but you really can’t know why, so it’s not fair to be snarky about that one.  However, yes, road trips, travelling companions — as you say, nice but not necessary.  Some people like company, some prefer to be hermits.  And, to follow the analogy through to my issues with the Catholic blogosphere, the nine companions didn’t really choose each other, nor were they always pleased to be in each other’s company.  The most interesting people we share any road with are the ones we meet along the way, or get thrown in with inadvertantly.   In the blogosphere, one’s travelling companions end up being carefully chosen, the dissenters and the upstarts and the critics are carefully winnowed out, and the yes-men and the ass-kissers are made welcome.  Journeys of any kind are not a form of spectator sport.  Nor is faith.  It’s always the quiet, unforeseen individual encounters that mean the most in the long run.

  59. Great gift particularly for Atheists « DaTechguy’s Blog
    January 5th, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

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  60. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

    Irreligious,

    I would love you to share your experience.  Yes, Nina is just as much of a person as your nun.  As you are and as I am.  That’s the trick.  To see who people really are, and not  who they want you to think they are.  Yesterday we talked about attacking one another.   I said that there was a difference between attacking an attack and attacking person.  Nina has expressed some very hard sentiments here.  But she didn’t attack me.  Heck, she didn’t really even attack the Church.  She attacked an idea.  She attacked actions.  This allowed me to approach her.  I could see past the attack to the person.  I could hear the pain behind the anger.

    There are actually a lot of good religious people out there.  Maybe Nina has a point.  Maybe the internet is not the best place to see them in action. 

    You stated earlier that you are gay.  I imagine this has only added to your suspicions of religion.  I can’t say I blame you.   We are not always very good at getting across that we can recognize sin, while still respecting the dignity of each human being.  That isn’t as trite as it sounds.  People have a really hard time doing this.  They can’t separate the two, and either end up hating both, or accepting both.

    On my prolife blog, I have to say over and over and over, that I hate abortion, but I do not hate the beautiful women that come to the site and fight in favor of abortion.   Abortion is the enemy.  Not them.  Yes, as a Catholic I believe that all sex outside of marriage is sinful.  My own sons are sleeping with their girlfriends.  I love them just the same.  Sin is real.  Sin is harmful.  People are good. They just sometimes choose to do not so good things.  Sometimes these things harm society, sometimes they only harm themselves.  Sometimes the harm is invisible or only visible later.  Sometimes it’s immediate and obvious. 

    As a Catholic I am obligated to vote and live according to my beliefs.  Am I for gay marriage?  No.  Civil Unions.  Sure.  Do I hate homosexuals?  How could I?  I’ve never met all of you.  The ones I know, I love.  Very much. 
    It’s a complicated world.  We are complicated.  Which only complicates the complicated world further.  Faith is complicated.

    Mother Teresa is one of the best examples of this that I know.  She certainly didn’t give her charges, Catholic tests before she picked the worms off of them.

    We love unconditionally.  That’s rule number one.  Rule number two, is that we love enough to be willing to be unpopular.  Sure, we sound condescending, holier than thou, as if we know what’s best for everyone.  But what would be the point of Faith if it didn’t ask you to walk the walk?  What good would a faith be that said “Do whatever and who cares what happens later?”.    I know we can come across as pompous.  I get that.  It’s just one of those complications.

    But for the most part, we like you, are just folks trying to do what we think we need to do.  We do it honestly, or at least we should.  And if we are doing it right, we do it from the heart.  

  61. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

    if Christ’s death was meant to show us the ideal for our behavior in our encounters with one another, did you live up to that ideal in your remarks about RT? You were certainly deeply unfair to him in ascribing to him all sorts of unpleasant characteristics and motives than cannot be derived from his actual behavior over the last 3 or so years that I have been reading him.

    No, but I don’t have a big icky blog wherin I tell the world how frickin’ holy I am 24/7.   I’m a major bitch and never pretend to be anything else.  
    I was also being sarcastic and using hyperbole to make  a point.
    People care about this because they have experienced terrible things at the hands of Christians/Catholics.   When you see who is getting the most mileage out of this big conversion story, it’s cause for concern.  The world does not need another preachy hypocrite, and the preachiest, most hypocritical Catholics are starting to own this “story”.  

  62. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

    Nina,

    But how do you know that some of the “Ass kissers” aren’t the very people you are supposed to be in contact with? How do you know they aren’t you Pygmalion’s?

    You say baptism isn’t a must, and I think you’re wrong.  Not in the strictest sense.  There are always extraordinary circumstances.  But God Himself is the one that instituted this sacrament.  Not the Church.  Certainly not MK.  So I wonder, why would He lay it out for us, die for it, and then say, “Ahhhh…it doesn’t matter anyway?”  Do you see what I’m getting at? 

    Now if you are not arguing Catholic anymore, but strictly as a pagan or an atheist, the argument must take a different turn.  But as a Catholic, as someone that believes in Jesus and what He taught us, then how do you reconcile His words with your interpretation?  I’m not accusing here.  When I say argument, I don’t mean ARGUMENT…I mean differing ideas. ‘kay?

  63. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

    But how do you know that some of the “Ass kissers” aren’t the very people you are supposed to be in contact with?

    Or me them…LOL!  But that’s the problem with the blogosphere — they pick and choose, so I can’t imagine it’s how we’re really meant to encounter each other.  There’s a lot to be said for the old “the eyes are the windows to the soul” saying.  

    Me?  I’m not Catholic anymore. 

    But even from a Catholic perspective, the Church teaches baptism of desire for those who, through no fault of their own, have not experienced the message of Christ.  AFAIC, “no fault of their own” includes having experienced Christ in a terribly negative way, or (and I think this is why sin is sin — this is the real crux of the matter — the heart of what sin is) having had their trust broken — trust in God, trust in their fellowman.  

  64. A Random Catholic
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

    “I’m a major bitch and never pretend to be anything else. ”

    This is nothing to tout. Were I to choose a life of unkindness, I’d likely find it much easier to execute successfully than one of charity.  Does the mere fact that I could easily succeed in the former while almost never fully succeed in the latter make unkindness a better thing?   

    I would rather my neighbor were someone who attempts charity and fails than one who attempts major bitchiness and succeeds. 

  65. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:08 pm

    I don’t  just “attempt” bitchiness.   I raise it to an art form.

    Besides, being a bitch and being unkind are not mutually exclusive.

  66. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

    Nina,

    LoL!  Okay, art form it is!

  67. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

    Nina,

    That’s true (about baptism) but it’s also what I meant by extraordinary reasons…

    Okay, so we’ve established that you don’t need the Catholic Church.  But what if She needs you?   Someone that is determined to live the Truth, a ball buster, a hard worker, a “volume”?  What if She desperately needs more Nina’s, because of and in spite of the nonsense that is going on?

    I mean, you sort of deserted a leaking ship… ;)

  68. Helen
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

    Dear Nina,
    I am very sorry you have been hurt, by members of the Church I love, perhaps by me at some point.   I am not perfect, so it very well could have been me. I am a blogger, who occasionally attempts to explain my faith, so it could have been me.   I love some of the symbols, hopefully while still loving people, but still, it could have been me.  So I am sorry.  I apologize.  I won’t make excuses.  Just, I’m sorry.
    Love,
    Helen 

  69. A Random Catholic
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:24 pm

    “Being a bitch and being unkind are not mutually exclusive.”

    You are absolutely correct, of course.  I now invite you to engage in some introspection: ask of yourself whether or not you are “bitchy” for kindness’ sake.  Regardless of how you know or discover about the answer, what are the implications?  If you are indeed “a major bitch” out of kindness, what might that tell you about those who offend you?  Are their offensive “acts of kindness” somehow less virtuous than yours? 

    Regardless, I would rather my neighbor were someone who attempts kindness and fails than one successfully raises bitchiness to an art form.  

  70. A Random Catholic
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

    Bravo Helen.  Well said.

  71. Melissa
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

    Nice blog RT! :)

    As for the comments, I can relate to what people are saying. Personally, I battled with a lot of legalism of what you need to do and not do as a Christian. It wasn’t until the last year or two that I really began to understand that it’s all about mercy and grace. It’s not about rituals and religion, it’s just about relationship with God. If the law could save, there would have been no need for a new covenant. The whole purpose of the law was to show all of us that we CAN’T do it without Jesus!!

    Of course, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t observe and obey the “law” and keep sinning so that grace my abound (Romans 6:15). And, of course, faith without works is dead (James 2:26),  but we shouldn’t obsess over trying to do everything “right” and earn our way to righteousness. If we could actually do that, we would have no need for a Savior (Galatians 2:21, Galatians 3:18). In my case, once I let go of trying so hard to perfect myself through all that legalism, the tireless burden of frustration was gone. I finally understood what every person who had ever prayed over me was saying when they told me I was trying too hard and trying to do it all myself. One lady gave me the scripture Isaiah 28:10 which reads: “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” That was exactly what I was doing, but I didn’t understand my bondage of legalism until a few years later.

    All the debating and arguing can be a real distraction from the good we could be doing with our faith. Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak about or defend our faith by any means. We just need to be careful that we don’t get roped into the unprofitable arguments that drain away our time and don’t get anyone anywhere (2 Timothy 2:23, Titus 3:9). Maybe that’s why RT isn’t answering every single little question thrown at him. We all have offline lives. Sharing our faith online is GREAT, but we also demonstrate our faith in other ways than just online. We need to spend our talents and gifts in the ways that will most benefit the Kingdom and as we are led by God’s Spirit to do. Timing is everything. There are times to engage and explain, and times to refrain and let go. It’s just as important to know when NOT to speak just as it is to open one’s mouth. Coming from one who has always had a hard time shaking the dust off her feet, I can tell you it’s not easy. LOL I have such a heart for people, and I desperately want them to know and experience God. Therefore, I always thought I was “giving up” on someone by walking away, but that’s not so. I can always pray for those who don’t receive. Pushing too much can have the opposite effect if I don’t know when to just say only what God wants me to say and then let go and let Him work on them.

    Speaking of which, my heart is done speaking for now. I wish you all a blessed day!!

  72. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:37 pm

    I’m just bitchy. 

  73. Irreligious
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:37 pm

    MK wrote:
    “You stated earlier that you are gay.  I imagine this has only added to your suspicions of religion.  I can’t say I blame you.   We are not always very good at getting across that we can recognize sin, while still respecting the dignity of each human being.  That isn’t as trite as it sounds.  People have a really hard time doing this.  They can’t separate the two, and either end up hating both, or accepting both.”

    MK, I don’t ask anyone to accept my homosexuality. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not their business. They are, of  course, entitled to their own opinons, just like devout Muslims and orthodox Jews are free to look askance at those who choose to eat pork .

    I have no expectation that a devout Roman Catholic is going to approve of me having  civil marriage rights. It goes against their religion, after all. No, what I resent is them (and others) being put  in a position to have a say over whether or not not I ought to have the same civil rights  they already enjoy.

    I really don’t seek “Christian” charity. It often comes with strings attached.

     That’s why I’m intrigued by the idea of working with this nun. In addition to the opportunity to, perhaps do a little concret good in the world, I want to see for myself just how much good she actually does  for goodness sake, as opposed to doing it as a  form of “Christian” charity 

    I’d like to know if she and I (and others working with her) are genuinely capable of doing good for its own sake, not tmerely to please Jesus or as a means to get to heaven, but because of a  shared conviction  that  it is quite simply the right thing to do.

    I don’t see the two as being the same.

  74. Helen
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:43 pm

    Dear Nina,
    I am not proud of this, but I know that I, too, get bitchy when I feel hurt.  I hope your hurt heals.
    Love, Helen

  75. Lily
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

    Irr:  you have the same right to a civil marriage as everyone else and, in fact, you have exercised that right. You even produced a child. Marriage has nothing to do with ratifying our romantic choices; it has everything to do with the state trying to ensure that children are brought into and raised in the most stable environment possible.

    For whatever reasons, you cannot or will not accept that no man is an island. You don’t get to order society according to your wishes. Steve tried very hard to get you to understand that all of us are in the same boat. All of us give up some things we would like and accept certain limitations, as the price of living in a community.

    I suppose if you are wealthy enough, it might be possible to buy an island or a mountain where you could reign in splendid isolation as king.  But short of that, I don’t know what options you have. The majority is not going to give up its understanding of marriage to accomodate those for whom it is a bad fit with their desires.

  76. A Random Catholic
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

    “I want to see for myself just how much good she actually does  for goodness sake, as opposed to doing it as a  form of “Christian” charity”

    She might believe (as I do) that doing “good for goodness sake” and doing “good for Christian charity” are exactly the same thing: that all that is done that is truly “good” is done in imitation of Christ whether the practitioner is aware of it or not; and even more importantly, that every act toward another–good or bad–performed by those who profess Christ is an act for which he is accountable–believing Jesus’ statement, “Whatsoever you do to the least of these, that you do unto me.”

  77. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

    mk,

    But does God need the Catholic Church?  I suppose he doesn’t need anything, but I can’t imagine what he’d do to occupy those endless hours.  Although time is a human concept…so…tree, forest and all that…

    Can’t the church or Church be defined as all Christians everywhere — or can’t you even expand it to include all those truth seekers or righteousness seekers, no matter what the path?    Why would God need anyone to be specifically Catholic as long as they “got it”?  What’s in it for him? 

    The Catholic Church itself wouldn’t really have much point, either, if everyone was Catholic.  

    I can’t accept that God bows to man, that man’s rules define and limit God, and that’s what the Catholic Church does.  The older I get, the notion that mere humans get to decide who is and who isn’t worthy of God really, well, pisses me off.  How dare they?  If the Eucharist is what they claim it to be, every priest in every parish ought to be down on every street corner giving it out 24/7.    How can somone possibly, with a straight face, say “I have God, really, truly, the flesh of God in myhand, his genuine, right-here-right-now presence, but I don’t think you’re good enough, so nyah-nyah, none for you” — and then think that’s gonna fly with God come judgement day. 

    Maybe that’s what’s wrong with the world today.  Maybe the Eucharist really is God himself and maybe people are being a bit too stingy about sharing. 

  78. A Random Catholic
    January 5th, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

    “The Catholic Church itself wouldn’t really have much point, either, if everyone was Catholic.”

    Actually, that’s the goal.  :-)  We’re sort of The Borg of Christian theology.

  79. Irreligious
    January 5th, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

    Lily wrote:
    “Marriage has nothing to do with ratifying our romantic choices; it has everything to do with the state trying to ensure that children are brought into and raised in the most stable environment possible.”

    Really? So, where are laws preventing heterosexual couples who don’t intend to have children and those who are past child-bearing age  from enjoying civil marriagess rights?  Why are these people availing themselves to the civil institution if it’s not for romantic reasons? Should not a stop be put to this as well, if we’re going to keep our arguments consistent.  

    And if civil marriage is all about protecting children’s welfare, what are Roman Catholic activists (and others) doing to outlaw divorce? Far be it from me to say it, but if that’s your objective, you need to be more public about that as well. 

  80. A Random Catholic
    January 5th, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

    “I can’t accept that God bows to man, that man’s rules define and limit God,…”

    Neither do I.  Neither does the Church.

    “… and that’s what the Catholic Church does.”

    God forbid! 

  81. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

    Nina,

    Can’t the church or Church be defined as all Christians everywhere — or can’t you even expand it to include all those truth seekers or righteousness seekers, no matter what the path?    Why would God need anyone to be specifically Catholic as long as they “got it”?  What’s in it for him?

    Well, I could describe it as anything I wanted.  But I am not God.  He made and makes the rules.  But first let me say that all Christians ARE considered part of the family.  They are not in full communion with the church, but they are certainly part of her.  All Christians are part of the primary family.

    But in the Old Testament God, the Father, laid out pretty much what He expects from us.  Starting with Adam and Eve, then Noah, Moses, David…all of them were told quite clearly and quite directly what God wanted from them.  Of course if you don’t accept scripture as the Truth, then we are again, speaking from a different place.  For now, let’s go with we both accept scripture, for the sake of argument and because we are discussing what I believe as a member of the Catholic Church.

    God has made a covenant with us.  And we have made one with Him.  This means we are bound, obligated to fulfill our end.  What does that mean?  Well, look to the New Testament.  He tells us first that we must love Him above all else, then He tells us to Love one Another.  That much is simple.

    But how do we love Him?  We know He instituted the sacraments.  All 7 of them.  We know that He thinks of us as His Bride.  Like any groom, He has chosen us.   And we have chosen Him.  When we are baptized the stain of the that first sin is washed away.  Gone.  No more.  When we take advantage of confession we get to start from scratch all over again.  When we go to mass we renew or end of the covenant, and He renews His.  When we get married, we imitate His relationship in the Trinity.  These are all ways to relate to Him.  He put them in place.  Who are we to say we think we could have done it better? 

    We see throughout scripture that He IS a merciful God, but He is also a Just God.  He tells us what He wants from us, and then we either agree or not.  If we do, we benefit from His Mercy.  If not, we are subject to His judgment. 

    All people are equal.  Equal in dignity.   But all religions are not equal.  He laid out the road He wants us to follow, and He was absolutely clear about it. 

    We were made in His image, and we are meant to fulfill that.  Again, always go back to Adam and Eve.  Until they screwed up, they were in a physical relationship with God.  They could speak to Him.  See Him.  It was they that broke that bond, not God.  And we have been trying, like Humpty Dumpty, to put it back together again ever since. 

    What does He get out of us being Catholic?  He gets to bring us all home again.  He gets to have that relationship with us again.  Why He’d want to, I don’t know.  We’re pretty rotten an awful lot of the time.  But hey, He’s God.  If he wants to Love us, who am I to complain?

    He made many, many creatures, from skunks to Seraphim, but of them all, He loves us most.  Go figure.

    I know what you are saying about the Eucharist, but it just cannot work that way.  Receiving communion is to our relationship with God what having sex is to our relationship with our spouses.  You don’t (or shouldn’t sleep with strangers) and if you are not in a proper relationship with God, you should not be receiving Him into your body.  As a husband and wife become “one flesh”, both body and soul in that most intimate of acts, so too, we become “one flesh” with God in Holy Communion.  I guess He’s just picky about who He shares His body with.

    He cannot dwell in sin.  It hurts Him.  How much do you think it hurts to be consumed and forced to dwell in a place that if filled with lies, and hate, and sin?  It’s the difference between consensual sex and rape.    Receiving the  Eucharist when you are not in the state of Grace is akin to  forcing yourself into the relationship.

    How can you ask Him to live in a body when that person is advocating the killing of His children?  Or when they are abusing the gift of sex?  When they are objectifying His greatest gift to us? 

    In essence, what you are asking God to do is to change how He is.  Doesn’t it seem more reasonable for us to change who WE are?  

  82. Fr. Larry Gearhart
    January 5th, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

    Another form of this debate is the one between the nominalist (typified, if that word makes sense to a nominalist) by William of Occam (or Ockham) and the realist (typified by Plato).

    In more modern form, we have the debate between the relativist (who’s only truth is either that truth is non-existent or that it is purely subjective) vs. the realist scientist, who believes that the structure is objectively there before he or she finds it and characterizes it.

  83. Lily
    January 5th, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

    Nina: The Catholic Church recognizes everyone who has been validly baptized (valid=with water in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit) as part of the Church, even though Protestants don’t have the sacraments which are, after all, vehicles of grace. They are gifts, in other words, not stumbling blocks.

    It is God who makes the rules. He makes them about baptism and He makes them about the Eucharist. Do you recall what Paul said about a man examining  himself before receiving and what the penalty for doing so in bad faith is?

    I know that you are no longer a Catholic but do you have any spiritual home at all? It is very tough to go it alone.

  84. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

    Irreligious,

    Mother Teresa was once cleaning one of her patients, when a reporter commented that he wouldn’t do what she was doing for a million dollars.  Her response?  “Neither would I”.

    You want to know if Christians can do good for the sake of good.  But you don’t understand that to us God and Good are the same thing.  We hope to please Him yes, but we do it out of Love.  Wild, crazy, passionate,  unexplainable, sweep you off your feet, no longer thinking rationally, Love.

    I love my husband very much.  And I often do things for him because I love him.    Most times he is pleased.  But I don’t do it to please him.  I do it because I love him.

    Once, a few years ago, I asked my husband if he wanted to go to a movie.  He said sure.  It came out later that he was doing it because I wanted him to.  I was actually hurt.  I didn’t want him to go to the movie FOR me.  I wanted him to go to the movie WITH me.  I wanted him to want to go.

    Sometimes we do things for God, simply because it will please him sure, like washing my husbands socks.  But mostly we do what we do, because like any couple in love, it gives us pleasure to see them happy. 

    I’m assuming you have a partner, or have had one.  Do you do things for him, because it’s the right thing to do?  Or because you care for him?

    When I see a homeless man, and buy him a cheeseburger, I don’t say to myself, “Oh God is gonna love this!  This ought to please Him”…I feel Him move my heart.  I see Him IN that homeless person.  I show love to that homeless person because that is what I am moved to do.  Love works in me, I pass it along.  When I ‘relate” to that homeless person I am relating to God.   When I love my brother, I love Him.  If anything I do it because it pleases ME.

  85. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

    mk,

    So you’re saying that everyone who receives on Sunday is in a state of purity?  C’mon! 

    Besides, how can any human being discern what another’s true relationship with God is?  How?  Only God knows the hearts and minds and stories of each individual. 

    Your analogy would permit a third party to enter into the intimate moments of a husband and wife’s relationship and decide whether or not they were individually worthy of the other.  

    People, even in their best moments, can only operate from a  flawed state, therefore they are not capable of judging whether or not anyone is worthy of being in God’s presence — or God in theirs.

    Also,  either God is God, or he’s a weenie.   If he can’t deal with dwelling amidst sinners and screw-ups, well, then he’s a weenie and the atheists have the right of it.

  86. Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

    Lily, no one is alone if they’re seeking God.  They have God.  Plus, some people actually are faily solitary folks.  Community suits some, others not so much.  That’s just the way of things, and that’s okay. 

  87. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

    Nina,

    Yes, some people choose to keep the relationship between themselves and God.  To go it alone.  But they need to be very, very sure that their reasons are sound.  Running away from the difficulties of being in relationships is not a sound reason.

    And even hermits spent their time praying for others.  Contemplatives, monks…they are still in spiritual relationships with others.  In praying for them, they are relating to them.  They are still bonded.  We were made for each other.  If God only wanted a one on one relationship, He would never have created Eve, and given the directive to be fruitful and multiply.

  88. Lily
    January 5th, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

    I understand what  you mean, Nina. I am a bit of a loner myself. But sometimes it is so good to  have someone to unburden oneself to.

    Well, you’ve got a bit of a community in us! Although I agree with you that a virtual community is not the same thing as a community of real, living, breathing people. Still, it is a done deal. For better or worse, all of us who have been responding to you here, have decided that we want to help share, as best we can, that burden of pain you have been carrying. Even though what we can do is limited, the thoughts and prayers being offered up for you are very real.  

  89. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

    Nina,

    So you’re saying that everyone who receives on Sunday is in a state of purity?  C’mon!

    Would that it were so!!! lol.

    The Catholic Church is not in the habit of scrutinizing each and every communicant.  At that moment it is between the person themselves and God.  But She does teach us to receive in the state of Grace.  To do otherwise, is to compound one sin with another.

    The only reason that the church ever steps in, is because some people make their sins public.  When Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden stand up publicly and defy God, then go to the communion rail, the Church MUST speak out.
    Not only to protect the souls of Nancy and Joe, but to protect the rest of the Church.

    If you have three kids and one of them is poundin’ on another, do you stand by and say, well, it’s between them.  For the most part you let them work it out, but sometimes you need to intervene.

    Millions of people are watching.  If Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Biden are allowed to receive communion after publicly thumbing their nose at God, then they run the risk of scandalizing other Catholics.  Anyone seeing the receive communion can then believe that the church is saying it is okay to espouse anti Catholic sentiments in the public forum, and still partake of the Sacraments.  This is dangerous.  It’s how we got where we are…

  90. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

    Lily,
    Amen.

  91. Forrest Cavalier
    January 5th, 2009 @ 4:11 pm

    People aren’t going to have any opinion on the unfamiliar.  People have passionate opinions on topics they have invested a great deal of thought into, and they want to share those opinions.  You are seeing the effect of something that is in the genes. Everybody has thought a lot about religion and God.  Everybody.

    In this century, even the well-educated need your hundreds of words summarizing empiricism and rationalism before you could make your point.  

    Besides familiarity of topic, you are a lightning rod for attention.  I’m sure thousands of people “switched sides” in religion this past month.  Why aren’t they getting the attention you are?

    After all the limelight fades on the conversion, I hope you return to the “clash of religion and politics” beat.  I know you vowed to never malign religion, but there is a lot of politics masquerading as religion that deserves attention and you are in a much better position to see that now. 

    Maybe you can re-examine your vow.  Or start another blog.

  92. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    January 5th, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

    Ultimately, the difference probably turns more upon morality and politics than anything else.

    For me that only partially covers it. { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>Embracing any canned philosophy; religious or political is a cultural means of abdicating thinking – a cultural dumbing down – that has the effect of relieving stress, but with negative consequences to your health.

    If you announced that you were giving up sex and masturbation forever, I would also advise against it for the sake of your prostate.  When you ignored your sage commentators  and carried on with your risky plan, morbid curiosity would compel me to stop by each day to stare.

  93. Irreligious
    January 5th, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

    MK, like any human being, I do good for a whole lot of different reasons, depending on the contex:

    Sometimes I do good for nakedly selfish reasons, like when I do it just for the reward attached.

     Sometimes I do  good despite myself.

     Other times I intentionally strive to do good,  only to find out later I actually did something that wound up being not so good. 

    Sometimes I do good out of obligation.

    And other times I do it out of  personal conviction.

  94. Livingstrong
    January 5th, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

    Nina said:

    Do you have a blog?
    I really like your honesty. And you are funny on top of that.

     

  95. Livingstrong
    January 5th, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

    Oh gee, I clicked the ‘Submit Comment’ before I was done copying and pasting what ‘Nina said’.

    Comment corrected.

    Nina said:

    “I don’t  just “attempt” bitchiness.   I raise it to an art form.
    Besides, being a bitch and being unkind are not mutually exclusive.”
    This is what made me laugh so much.

  96. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

    Irreligious,

    MK, like any human being, I do good for a whole lot of different reasons, depending on the contex:
    Sometimes I do good for nakedly selfish reasons, like when I do it just for the reward attached.
    Sometimes I do  good despite myself.
    Other times I intentionally strive to do good,  only to find out later I actually did something that wound up being not so good.
    Sometimes I do good out of obligation.
    And other times I do it out of  personal conviction.

    Well see there…we aren’t so different as you think.   I do “good” for all of those reasons, too.  I would say that doing good despite myself, is the closest of all to doing good out of Love for God.  Doing it even when we don’t really want to…

  97. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

    Irreligious,

    What do you use as your gauge for whether something is “good” or not?  I’m asking  sincerely, out of curiosity.  I mean, I know where I turn when I’m unsure, but where do you turn?  Do you have a code of sorts that you live by?  Does it change?  Or do you pretty much see good as an objective thing?  Falling into the second category of “The Abolition of Man”?

  98. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    January 5th, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

    mk,

    Everyone’s code is a product of their hard wiring, personal experience, and parental and peer teaching – including yours. 

    Consider that you’ve probably never participated in a public stoning.

    The difference between atheist and theist is not a fixed vs relative morality, but to whom it is attributed.

    We just don’t attribute it to supernatural forces.

  99. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

    VJ,

    I understand that.  But what I’m asking Irreligious, is does he indeed have a fixed morality.   Not everyone does.  If he does, I’m aware that he doesn’t attribute it to “someone”. 

    I’m wondering where he goes when he is in a moral dilemma.   Does he/you decide what is right or wrong?  Does it change?   Yes,
    of course, we are all products of our past.   But we are not bound to them.

    So say Ir enters a situation where two things seem right.   Does he ask himself what would mom or dad say?  What would my third grade teacher say?  Probably not.  He pulls his morality from somewhere, even if it is from within himself. 

    What I’m curious about, is if it is laid out in his mind, clearly.  His own set of commandments, that he would not break no matter what the circumstances, or does he decide as each thing as it comes up?  Do you see what I’m getting at?

    Is his morality truly fixed?  Or is it fluid.  Objective in his mind, or subjective, depending?

    This is what I meant by the second group in “Abolition of Man”.  This group does have a fixed morality.  Rules that they would never break.  Rules that they have chosen themselves, but that are non negotiable.

  100. Suzy
    January 5th, 2009 @ 5:24 pm

    I enjoyed reading this wonderfully well balanced and thoughtful post :0)

  101. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    January 5th, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

    to mk,

    Oh I see what you are saying.

    I think you are right, we would do it by feeling, but I think the feelings are the product of evolution.  It is evolutionarily advantageous for tasty animals with no fangs, claws, nor shells to hang out in groups.  So you need rules for getting along.

    And when faced with two unhappy choices – say the revulsion we feel towards a dead animal vs a starving family – we can assume enough detachment to make a choice.

  102. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

    VJ,

    Okay, I can see that.  I have been debating with a guy for years now.  I think he has the same philosophy that you do.  I know there’s names for all of these ways of thinking, but like I said, I barely made it through high school, and never learned them.    His thinking is that every thing we do comes from desire.  We do what we desire most.  So if you desired to eat meat, you would kill an animal and eat it.  Even if you didn’t desire to kill the animal, the desire to eat the meat was stronger, so you killed it anyway.   

    Is that how you see it?

    I’m wondering if all atheists think this way.  I don’t think they do, because as I said, my brother in law doesn’t.  Doug would say that he does, he just doesn’t know it.  But my brother in law would say that he does good because it’s good. 

    It sure can get confusing.  No wonder you can get a PhD in philosophy!

  103. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 7:16 pm

    VJ, (and Irreligious),

    Okay, a few more questions.  Is that okay? 

    You say it’s evolutionary.  Do you mean that our needs evolve to meet different things to survive?  Or do you mean that we need different things to survive because we evolve?    Do we evolve, our needs evolve (our morality) or both?

    Also, you say you need rules.  How are those rules decided.  Earlier we were talking about the marriage/civil union debate.  How do we decide what is the right thing to do?  The majority of people feel one way.  The minority, those that are directly affected, feel another.  Here in the US we put it to a vote (as in California) but in other states the government officials decided.  In other countries  they just accept it as the norm.  In other countries they kill you.  (I just got a picture of Achmed).

    So what is the right way?  I mean, how do you make the “rules”.  Does that evolve too?   Does it depend on the time, the place and the people?

  104. Catholic chickadee
    January 5th, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

    I’m sorry this came so late. but.
    Wow. Nina’s words really sting.
    I mean, I’m a practising Catholic. I go to church and confessions and all that jazz.
    I also do volunteer work- in education, I go to the soup kitchen, make blankets for the needy… I hope soon to do some volunteer work at a crisis pregnancy center. There are lots of catholics who do that. They don’t don’t brag about it for the very reason you accuse the bloggers of.

    I know my older sister is absolutely in love with the “traditionalist faith.” And she does indeed come off as holier-than-thou.  Wears the veils, lights the candles, and whenever I complain she says, “Well offer it up.”

    Nina, I don’t care if the mass is in latin and the women wear mantillas or if it’s in Canadian french and everyone’s wearing jeans. That’s not the point. The point is, mass is celebrated, and you are there to honor Christ. That’s what it’s all about.

    God isn’t going to judge people on whether or not they only ever went to Tridentine  Mass. He’s not going to say, “Okay, meredith, you get a higher place in heaven because you wore a chastity ring.” He isn’t going to reward someone because they only ever prayed by singing gregorian chant.  That’s stupid. He’s going to judge them on whether or not they loved their neighbors, how they helped bring God to others, and if that person was true to HIS Word -not the Catholic blogosphere’s.
    People use blogs as an excuse to stand on their soapbox. Is it obnoxious? Yes. I’m a big believer in works AND faith though. If someone goes to mass but never helps a stranger, and tells you how to practise your faith, just remember:
    God will judge them according to His Law, not the ones these bloggers think is His Law.
    When you think they’re being self-righteous, just remember. Pride is a sin. A true Catholic would be humble. I’m not calling bloggers or RT prideful, not by any means- just that we should ALL remember that people’s perceptions on things are very different. And while many bloggers like to encourage awesome traditionalist things, sometimes the enthusiasm comes off as “This-completed-my-life-and-yours-won’t-be-until-you-celebrate-the-mass-in-Latin.”
    The Church allows diversity for a reason, and I think when so many bloggers agree on a certain way of doing things, it makes people like Nina feel as though it’s the “only way” to do things, and you’re irreligious if you don’t agree.

    My sister once called me a heretic because I didn’t agree with her that recieving communion on the tongue is the only way. She says things like this all the time. Over the very things you talk about-veils, candles, Latin mass…You know what I did? I shrugged her comments off, Nina, not the entire faith.

  105. mk
    January 5th, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

    Catholic Chickadee,

    It’s hard sometimes.  Because while there are some things the Church won’t/can’t bend on, there are so many others that they say “Do whatever  you want”.  Guitar Mass, Trumpets, Gregorian…Ring the bells, don’t ring the bells,  Gothic or Modern, tongue or hand…so many things that we can decide for ourselves.  Each mass is exactly the same, and each mass is unique.    I prefer one thing, you prefer another…the trick is to know changeable law f rom unchangeable law.  We can sing what we want, but only men can be priests.  We can receive on the tongue or in the hand, but we must be in a state of Grace.  You can focus on the social justice, I can focus on the catechisis.   There is a place for everyone.  We can do it all. 

    If you find a place on the blog that likes the things you like then go for it.  But remember, that this is preference and not doctrine.

    Also remember, that a lot of the folks on the far conservative side are just  as much in dissent as those on the far  liberal side.  There’s a whole faction that doesn’t recognize the present pope.   That’s as bad as Nancy Pelosi saying that the church hasn’t always been against abortion and contraception. 

    It’s our responsibility to know what the church teaches.   What is a must and what is a can.   I agree with you.  If something doesn’t sound right, move on.  But don’t move out!

  106. Ames
    January 5th, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

    So who’s Audrey?

  107. TotaTua
    January 5th, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

    Nina
    January 5th, 2009 @ 2:59 pm:”But does God need the Catholic Church?”
    God doesn’t NEED the Church, but people do NEED the Church. For humans have a tendency to look at me first. Our call to be obedient to God makes following the rules and structure of the Church easier for us to be human. it is when we get into relativism that we tend to end up in “trouble” / sin. 

  108. Joanne
    January 5th, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

    “You know what I did? I shrugged her comments off, Nina, not the entire faith.”

    I have been assisting at (attending) the daily Latin Mass for a while now on the days that I can. I’m blessed that it is offered at a parish not too far from my home. By choice, however, I go to the Sunday Extraordinary Form much less frequently. Without getting into alot of detail, and hoping very much that this thread will not devolve into an uncharitable conversation about TLMers (for which I would blame myself as much as anyone), I will say that the negative experiences that people have had with some traditionalists resonate with me. Definitely. DEFINITELY. And I know others, including a priest who offers the TLM himself, with whom they would also resonate. While I wouldn’t say I have just “shrugged off” the bad experiences, I have, with some effort – a great deal of effort actually! – tried to make the bad experiences instructive, eg, I try to keep in mind how unattractive and offputting a lack of charity (or even a lack of friendliness is); I try to refocus my energy and attention to the stuff I should be doing, eg, good works, speaking of others charitably, developing my prayer life, reading good books about the Church and its history and culture, focusing on the GOOD people I know within the Church, etc.

    My point in writing I guess is to say that I can empathize with the bad experiences people have had with certain members of the Church (of all liturgical and ideological persuasions), and I understand the bad feelings they generate. I guess my unsolicited advice would be, not so much to ignore those people, but to learn from the experiences you have with them, and also to keep them in perspective – no human has the final say. He knows what is going on in your heart and theirs, and ultimately, He is the only one who needs to know.

  109. Irreligious
    January 6th, 2009 @ 2:06 am

    MK wrote”
    “…Also, you say you need rules.  How are those rules decided.  Earlier we were talking about the marriage/civil union debate.  How do we decide what is the right thing to do?  The majority of people feel one way.  The minority, those that are directly affected, feel another.  Here in the US we put it to a vote (as in California) but in other states the government officials decided.  In other countries  they just accept it as the norm.  In other countries they kill you.  (I just got a picture of Achmed).”

    The way I see it, rules are decided either by consensus or dictators. A rule’s status as a rule doesn’t necessarily make it fair or reasonable, just enforceable, presumably.

    Rules are not always static. They can change with new rulers, new information or evole with changing circumstances.

     For example, the “rules” for modest dress that applied to a western woman of the 1950s would have been considered unreasonably provocative 100 years earlier, and in some parts of the world today, wearing such tasteful and classic apparel is too hot for the locals to handle. Why does it offend them and not us? 

    Well, I don’t have to tell you that we all learn and develop our sense of right and wrong and our sense of justice from a variety of sources: We have our families, our individual cultures and our various religious creeds as our primary guides. None of us is bound to agree with every rule we encounter, and in a diverse, pluralistic culture, it’s even more likely that we’ll meet up with rules that don’t suit us, ironically.  

    Still, as I assume you do, I follow the social compact and live by the laws of the land.  But I also reserve the right to agitate for change when it’s my perception that a rule is unreasonable or unfair. I’m sure you do, too.

    As for my personal conduct– that is, rules I apply to myself without active outside enforcement– I first adhere to a principle that seeks to avoid doing intentional harm to others. The second principle to which I try to adhere is to treat others as I would like t them to treat me. They are my base.

    Sometimes I fall short and that disappoints me, because it is personally important to me to be a fair person. So, when I’m wrong, I seek to make amends, if that’s at all possible. And I strive to learn from my transgressiions and do better at the next opportunity.

    But I also know I’m human and not,  ahem, a saint. So I don’t aspire to be a saint, just the best person I can be. I try avoid assuming that what is appropriate for me is necessarilywhat’s best for everybody else in the world. I try to respect the individuality and unique sensibilities of other human beings as much as I can, and try to be clear on what is my business and what is other people’s responsibility to figure out for themselves.

    I try not to presume that I know what I don’t actually know, and I try to maintain a sense of humility to balance my ego. Hardest of all, I try to be flexible without tying myself in knots. 

    It’s more art than science. Sometimes it comes easy — don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t cheat others. But other times a lot more nuance and contemplation is required than applying mere rules  to get it “right.” 

    I don’t know if any of that makes sense to you, but that’s my basic approach.         

  110. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)
    January 6th, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

    Who knew?  The way Nina bagged on “Catholicism” getting in the way of Christ, I 1st pegged her an non-denominational “I’m not religious I just love the Lord” type.  Who knew?

    >Because the Catholic Church used to be an amazingly beautiful thing, but these shallow, vain, vapid, self-aggrandizing assholes have destroyed it. 

    I reply: Not likely.  Fr. Groeschel tells the story of Napoleon & the Pope.  Napoleon says to the Pope “I’m going to Destroy the Catholic Church”.  The Pope replies “You can’t my son.  The Clergy have been trying to destroy it for 1800 years & have failed completely”.

    Sweetie.  Some advice…..Don’t shit where you eat & don’t become the thing you hate or you lose.

    Our Lord & Our Lady be with you. 

  111. Nina
    January 6th, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

    Don’t call me “sweetie”. 

    I am also a female body builder.  No shit.

    I will kick your ass.

  112. Albert
    January 6th, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

    I think the more accurate analogy would be to followers of sports teams.  Imagine if you were raised in Boston and suddenly announced at over Christmas dinner to three generations of your Red Sox-loving family that you were now a New York Yankees fan.  It’s kind of like that. :)

  113. mk
    January 6th, 2009 @ 4:33 pm

    Irreligious,

    First, I hope you haven’t left because I took so long to answer!

    Second, I really, really appreciate your answering  my questions.  Atheism is as foreign to me, as Catholicism is to you.  I have vague notions of what you believe, but no details.  Which means I tend to fill in the blanks, and that’s not fair to you or any other non believers.

    Third, I am struck by a few things that you said.   I don’t know if you read the post in the last thread about the Abolition of Man, so if I’m repeating myself, I apologize.  The first chapter talks about Objective Law.  For the sake of argument, Lewis (Did I mention that C.S.Lewis was the author?) does not call Objective Law, Christian Law.  I don’t think he once mentions where the law comes from.  He just says that it exists.  It is something real, and it must be discovered, not  invented.   It has an author.  Or a source.  He calls it the Tao.

    In the second chapter, he talks about how some men have “invented” their own Tao/laws.   These laws more often than not, are very similar if not identical to the Objective Laws from the first group.  So in the first group, you have the 10 commandments.    Most people in most cultures throughout most of time, have had laws that they live by.  Almost always they include, not murdering, not stealing, not lying, not cheating, not committing adultery.  Basically the ten commandment sans the Honor God ones. 

    In Christianity we say “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  In Buddhism they say “Do  not do to others what you would not want them to do to you”.  In Wicca  they say, “Do what ye will, harm ye none”.  Same idea, different words.

    In the third group, people have an entirely subjective Tao.  They do what they desire to do.  They follow the laws of man, because they do not desire to suffer the consequences of not following the laws.  They make up whatever other laws they want as the situations arise.  We would call this moral relativism.

    You stated that  “I first adhere to a principle that seeks to avoid doing intentional harm to others. The second principle to which I try to adhere is to treat others as I would like t them to treat me. They are my base.”

    You can see how this would fall into that second category.  These are almost verbatim, the second of the two greatest commandments.  What we call the golden rule. 

    So my question is, how did it come to be, that peoples of different cultures, different needs, different times…almost all come to the same conclusions of how we are to live with each other?

    You might say that it ingrained in our consciousness, but then I must ask you why?  You might say that we are  “programmed” to survive and multiply, and following these rules insures that we will continue…but then why wouldn’t you steal?  If survival of the fittest is the modus operandi, then wouldn’t stealing further that end?  If you steal from your neighbor, chances are better that your  neighbor won’t make  it and you will.  Wouldn’t this be beneficial?  Or if you kill everyone that isn’t doing it your way…wouldn’t that mean that those that are left would make it more likely that you and yours would survive?

    Or take your homosexuality.  What evolutionary benefit is gained if you cannot produce offspring?  Isn’t this just insuring that your line will NOT survive?  Do you see what I mean?  I’m not making any moral statement  here…I’m just saying that speaking from a strictly rational viewpoint, wouldn’t homosexual unions be anti evolutionary?

    Or birth control?  Or aboriton?  If the goal is to survive (and by that I assume we mean our lineage as well as our own selves) then does it seem logical to kill our unborn, prevent conception or enter relationships that have no hope of procreating?  I realize animals engage in homosexual behavior, but not to the exclusion of heterosexual.  The goal for them should be the same as the goal for you…to survive.   

    If you think about it, Catholics,  Protestants and Muslims are the ones that will be around long after homosexuals, and childless couples are dead.  Don’t you find it ironic that we will be the survivors?  In a way, we are living what you are preaching…Doesn’t todays morality fly in the face of all that the modernists claim is true?

    If I’m stepping out of line, feel free to stop me.  Again, I’m really not coming at this from a moral perspective.  I’m just trying to see how this makes sense to you?  Do you understand?

    And understand that I think your moral compass is sound.  It’s very universal and stands up to the test of accepted morals throughout history.  Not that you needed my approval, just saying that you sound like a very decent human being.

    So to recap, if you believe in Objective Moral Law, where does it come from?  If you don’t, then how do you explain the universality of most of our moral laws?  Next, how do certain lifestyles promote or hinder the success of the species, the survival of the fittest?  And lastly, if you got much of your morality from your parents and teachers, where did they get it?

  114. TSP
    January 6th, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

    I don’t think rationalism is opposed to empiricism, rather dogmatic empiricism is opposed to rationalism.  I think in converting, you have opened your mind to a wider universe.

    As to why I care; it’s because you matter.

  115. Skeptimal
    January 6th, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

    Raving Theist: Your post here is a good one, but you are overlooking an important aspect of religious conversions, and it is something that you yourself  have demonstrated.  Most of the time, when someone converts to a religion, particularly Christianity or Islam, they become smug and condescending toward those who hold their pre-conversion views.   It isn’t just that you see things differently, it’s that you look down your nose at all those who didn’t convert with you. 

    Your first post back from hiatus was an attack on a religion reporter, because a “‘religion reporter’  means, particularly one who writes for a national newspaper: it means a religion-hating, left-wing atheist.”  This obscene oversimplification may be your true belief about religion reporters.  However, since you were so recently a “religion-hating, left-wing atheist,” one might expect you to have a little humility toward those who hold your former position.  As with most new converts, however, that is not the case. 

    Perhaps you *should* shut down this site or more fully explain your motives in maintaining it.  I think a skeptic could be forgiven for suspecting you have two goals: to share your enlightenment with the religion-hating atheists who desparately need it and/or to impress your newfound brethren with an intriguing salvation “witness.”   If you really expect to reach anyone for Jesus, maybe you should go live with your religious choice a few more months or years and regain some credibility.

  116. mk
    January 6th, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

    Nina,

    Don’t call me “sweetie”.
    I am also a female body builder.  No shit.
    I
    will kick your ass.

    You made me smile :)

  117. Margaret Catherine
    January 6th, 2009 @ 9:42 pm

    I rather like the Body Snatchers analogy. The whole thing did begin with someone being duplicated while he slept, after all.

  118. Irreligious
    January 7th, 2009 @ 2:29 am

    MK, I guess the mindset of the Roman Catholics I have encountered on the Internet is alien to me, but the religion itself? Not so much. I have lots of Roman Catholic friends (of varying committment)  and I live in a majority Roman Catholic community. City government completely shuts down on Good Friday.

    I don’t know how much insight I can give you into the so-called atheist point-of-view, since I don’t know that such a thing really exists. A heism is just a position in opposition to theism. It’s not a religion with tenets or a rule book.  
     
    My own atheism was not borne out of some slavish devotion to science, either. There are plenty of theists who know far more about science than I ever will. So I can’t really speak from that perspective.

    It just seems obvious to me that a sense of  justice and the concept of right and wrong is an inherent part of  being human. We have to have rules. We’re big-brained social creatures who possess the power of speech.  How else are  the goals of the collective and the presumed rights and responsibilities of each member of the collective supposed to be conveyed? We make rules. Or those in charge do. 

    It does not seem all that remarkable to me that many of the basic rules are universal. We’re all human, after all, and at least some of what humans decide to codify is based on common needs. “Honor thy mother and father” and its variants make pretty good sense. It would hardly be effective to allow or encourage young,  inexperienced, dependent people to run roughshod over the folks who bore them and are obligated to care for them until adulthood. That would be evident no matter what culture one is living in.

    Admonitions to not murder,  not steal or not cheat promote social cohesion and a sense of safety and order for big-brained social animals who can talk. Of course, those would be universal.

    The ones that aren’t evolved out of the specific needs and life circumstances encountered by all the different human groups in existence, groups that were once tribes and that, ultimately, became nationalities. Some rules change, while other remain well past their pragmatic usefulness. And, even those can retain some value in terms of promoting social cohesion. Is there a genuine, practical value in saying “God bless you,” after someone sneezes? A lot of folks I encounter still think it’s rude not to.

    Anyway, on to another issue you raised in the context of rules, which is homosexuality. I don’t have the space here to explain it, but it’s an orientation, just like your sexuality is an orientation (albiet, the more common one). I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to piss off a whole mass of people by becoming gay. It’s what I am and not by choice. I don’t know if I was born this or what, but it’s the way I am.

    Sure, I could fight my sexuality and live a completely celibate life to appease other people, but why should I do that? I would never dream of asking that of you or anyone. Even as a homosexual, I play by the rules and never involve anyone who isn’t a consenting adult. The rest ain’t nobody else’s damn business. I don’t go peeking and nosing in Christians’ bedrooms, even though I suspect plenty of them have sex in them. It ain’t my business.

  119. Irreligious
    January 7th, 2009 @ 3:10 am

    I just had to try and address this.

    MK wrote:
    “If you think about it, Catholics,  Protestants and Muslims are the ones that will be around long after homosexuals, and childless couples are dead.  Don’t you find it ironic that we will be the survivors?  In a way, we are living what you are preaching…Doesn’t todays morality fly in the face of all that the modernists claim is true?”

    I know very little about what modernist claim. What I do know is that I have personally met homosexual Catholics (even dated a couple of them),  homosexual Protestants and, believe it or not, homosexual Muslims! Muslim Morocco, which I visited a decade ago, was brimming with Muslim gay men, very much undercover, of course. I can’t imagine that  Muslims lesbians don’t exist there, too, but women, in general, lead much more circumspect lives than men in Morocco,  as is the custom (they’re weren’t  even allowed to work at McDonald’s when I was there), so they weren’t nearly as obvious to me.

    Honestly, I don’t,  personally,  know why homosexuals exist. I don’t believe it’s to intentionally vex and pique the ire of  the majority of folks whose orientations are decidedly what we call “straight,” and I don’t believe  they’re going to disappear, even if Christians, Muslims and others would like them, too.

    Of course, we can be driven underground,  persecuted and even killed, but that won’t cause the orientation to disappear. Homosexuals are, by and large, folks who were raised by heterosexual parents, in heterosexual communities and with immense social pressures put on them to act like heterosexuals. I suspect they can be found among every different grouping of peoples around the world,  kinda like left-handed people. ;)

  120. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 7:12 am

    Irreligious,

    Actually you gave me great insight in that second paragraph.

    I don’t know how much insight I can give you into the so-called atheist point-of-view, since I don’t know that such a thing really exists. A heism is just a position in opposition to theism. It’s not a religion with tenets or a rule book. 

    Just understanding that each atheist is an individual and came to their belief (unbelief?) in a unique way,  and lives it out in a unique way, each with their own set of beliefs, tells me a lot.

    Your worldview seems as different from ViolentJanes as it does from mine.   I didn’t realize that.

    Don’t you ever wonder why human beings are as they are?   Don’t you ever wonder what makes us want to live together peacefully?  Or to respect each other?  Or why we have a sense of fair play?   Not who, but why?

    You’ve been really candid, and I know that I’ve been prying quite deeply into your (soul?) private life.  I am truly grateful.

    I totally understand that your homosexuality is “who” you are and not “what” you are.  I also understand that you would not ask someone to deny “who” they are.  I don’t think the church does either.  Not for “themselves” anyway.  Not being a believer it probably seems like She does, but from my point of view that is not at all what She is doing.

    What She asks if for you, not Herself.  Does that make sense?

    Sometimes when we’re playing a board game, one of my kids will get miffed and quit, pouting, and leave the room.  I always say to them that the only one suffering is them.  We will continue to play the game and laugh and have fun, while THEY are the ones off sulking.  They aren’t hurting us.  They are only hurting themself.

    Which is not to say that being a homosexual is like stomping off and sulking.  The point is that from the churches point of view, you’re lifestyle choices aren’t going to affect Her very much.  The person that will really be affected is the homosexual.  The desire for celibacy is not to make the Church feel good about herself, but to give the homosexual a shot at eternal life. 

    You don’t agree, and I understand that, but I wanted you to understand that we aren’t judging.  Or we SHOULD’NT be.  We believe, rightly or wrongly that we are helping.  Granted you don’t want that help, and if it was being forced on you, I’d be fighting for your side.  But it is an offer, not a dictate.

    Yes, the church views homosexuality as disordered.  Just as she views blindness as disordered.  In the world before the fall, nature never had abberations.  EVERYTHING went according to plan.  Only after the fall, did stuff start to get off track.

    Before you get upset that I have called you disordered, it might help to know that each and every one of us is disordered.  I am disordered.  My husband is disordered and the pope is disordered.  Meaning none of us has escaped the upset that Adam and Eve caused.  Babies are born with defects, because that process is now faulty.  Addictions, mental illness, physical illness…

    The fact that we all die, is a disorder.  Every time nature doesn’t behave the way she was created to behave, it’s because she is “out of order”.

    Having said that, it is no ones fault and there is no culpability whatsoever in our disorders.  We are who and what we are, disorders and all.

    The only morality involved, is in the actions we do or don’t do stemming from our own free will.

    Asking you not to be homosexual would be like asking a deaf person to hear.  Or judging them morally, because of their deafness.  This would be wrong, and morally disordered.

    Each of us is given something that we must deal with.  We must make choices, and act accordingly.

    I myself have fought drug addiction.  My son has bi-polar.  Someone else might have an eating disorder.

    We, as Catholics always go back to the beginning and ask, how was it meant to be?  We believe he created them, Man and Woman.  So we assume this is how it was meant to be.   That’s why we think it is disordered to express our sexuality as man  and man, or woman and woman.

    Again, and this is really, really important.  We MUST NOT judge a man for who he IS.  Judging actions, choices is a different thing.  We can believe that an action is “bad” but we must NEVER believe that a “person” is. 

    You NEVER lose your dignity.  Anyone that doesn’t understand that is committing a far greater sin, than someone engaging in homosexual acts.

    I hope I have not offended you.  I don’t mean to.  Without stereotyping, (God I hope I’m not) I find that sans the act itself, the homosexual men that I have known (granted they don’t number the thousands) have a very beautiful uniqueness about them.   They are sensitive in a way that heterosexual men rarely are.  They are intuitive in a way that even women aren’t.  They  have had some of the sharpest wit (something I hold in very high esteem indeed) I have ever encountered.  They have had an artistic bent, that I found inspiring.

    As persons, I find much to celebrate in men that are gay.  I wish that I could find a way to bridge the gap, so to speak, as I would love to have more of you as friends…(gosh that sounds like I want a pet, doesn’t it?).  I could be way off the mark, and the few men that I have known are NOT a good representation of the whole.  It’s just what I have seen.  I have only one true friend that is gay.  I adore him.   He lives in a different state now and I miss him terribly.  If he is any indication of what most gay men are like, the world would do well to take notice. 

    I hope I have not sounded condescending.  I’m truly seeking to understand, and in my own disordered way ;) I fear I might be making matters worse.  I just wanted you to know that the Church truly does NOT teach us to hate homosexuals, and those that think She does are fighting their own disorder.  One of hatred.  The greatest sin of all.

  121. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 7:23 am

    Irreligious,

    May I say just one more thing, before I attempt to remove my disordered size 11 foot from my mouth?

    Many Catholics struggle with the churches teaching on homosexuality.  Many leave the church because of it (and here I mean heterosexuals).  They have been taught to be compassionate, and then taught to recognize homosexual behavior as a sin, and this simply doesn’t compute to them.  I wonder if you know how many (and there are a LOT) of Catholics struggle with particular teaching of the church. 

    Unfortunately, what gets played up in the public forum are those groups that actively hate homosexuals.  This leads the public at large to assume that ALL Christians believe this way.

    That would be like me judging all homosexuals based on the Folsum Street Fair.  Unfair, to say the least.  But this is the image that we see.  The extreme side of homosexuality.  Not the human side.  Just as  you are presented with the extreme side of Christianity, and not the compassionate side.   We see Gay Pride Parades, and don’t hear you say that what you do in the bedroom is your own business.  Those extreme groups have made it our business.   You see Fred Phelps and believe that all Christians want to bang down your bedroom door and tar and feather you.   He has made Christianity your business.  The reality is something different entirely.

    Neither view is fair to the two groups as a whole.

  122. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 8:33 am

     Meaning none of us has escaped the upset that Adam and Eve caused.  Babies are born with defects, because that process is now faulty.  Addictions, mental illness, physical illness…

    And that’s where the Catholics lose rational, sane, caring people.
    According to you, there’s this all-powerful, infinitely loving God who decides to willy-nilly torture and punish perfectly innocent human beings ’cause some chick in the Garden of Eden pissed him off. 

    The other problem with the appalling teaching on homosexuality is that it’ s smug and self-serving.  You would deprive fellow human beings of the most basic of needs just to make  yourself feel better.  Hey, you don’t tell a blind person that they’re disordered and that if they try to emulate sighted people or have the same lives as sighted people, they’re going to hell?  By your logic, Braille and audiophones and the like are as sinful as gay sex, as are wheelchairs and artificial limbs and so on. 

    If random disordered states are the never-ending punishment God has decided to mete out because he’s all bent out of shape, count me out. 

  123. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 8:36 am

    One more thing, because this hate-disguised-as-Christian-charity bullshit REALLY makes me angry.

    Would you walk into a school for the mentally retarded or the physically handicapped and smugly announce to all the parents there that their kids are disordered as a result of Adam and Eve’s fall in the garden of Eden?

    Probably not.

    So why do so-called “Christians” feel that it’s perfectly fine to tell the gay community the same thing?

    That kind of thinking is appalling and hateful and needs to stop immediately.  

  124. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 9:05 am

    Nina,

    I realize that you are angry, but you obviously missed the whole point of my post.

    First, I wouldn’t need to walk onto a bus full of mentally handicapped and tell their parents that their children are disordered.  They already know it.

    We can know the aberrations by the norm.  The norm is that people are born with fully fuctioning brains.  The abnormal is that something goes wrong and they are not.  I doubt that any parent of a mentally handicapped child would claim otherwise.  This in no way deters from their dignity as a human being.

    I went to great lengths to make clear that there is a huge difference between who people are and what people do.  It seems to me that you, not I, are the one making judgment calls.  I have not judged anyone based on their straying from the normal course of things.  You are the one that is implying (or inferring if you prefer) that these aberrations are someone how demeaning.

    I also stated that each and every one of us, myself included, are disordered.

    I NEVER stated that God punishes us through disorder.  Adam and Eve, of their own free will, chose disorder.  They rejected order.

    Often the punishment for wanting that which is not good for us, is that we get it.

    I don’t think I could have done a better job of saying that being blind or homosexual or having eyes of different color was a moral statement.  There is nothing wrong with the persons who have these distinctions.  There is something wrong with the process of nature.  We know that people normally have two legs.  If they are born without them, we understand that something in nature has not worked properly.  This says NOTHING of the rightness or wrongness, the morality/dignity of the person.

    The fact that you think I am accusing someone with a physical or mental handicap of being morally questionable, says more about you then it does about me.

    Nature goes wrong.  It just does.  Cancer is nature going wrong.  Is there anyone with cancer who would not wish to eradicate it?  Does anyone say that the person is morally questionable because they have cancer?  No.  We make the distinction between the disease (nature going wrong) and the person.  I have made the distinction.  Have you?

    It saddens me to know that you read my entire post and came away with the exact opposite of what I was saying.   Perhaps you have some preconceived notion of what Christians believe and this has colored your objectivity.

    I also made it clear that the Church does not force, nor does she wish to force, her beliefs on anyone.  She invites.  There is a difference.  Note the example of the Westboro Church.  This is a group that does not understand the difference between force and invitation.

    A blind person cannot see.  Using aids to help them adapt is not the same as claiming that they can now see.  A homosexual is who he is.  What you are saying is that we are asking them to be heterosexual and then being judgmental when they do not comply.  This would be akin to blaming the blind person for not seeing.  If a blind person were to deny that they have a disablility and insist that they could fly a plane or drive a car, then we would step in and say, excuse me, but I don’t think so.  This would be an immoral behavior.  Being blind?  Not immoral.  Driving a car at 60 miles an hour down a public freeway if your blind?  Immoral.

    Being homosexual?  Not immoral.  Acting on it, in the churches veiw, immoral.  I realize you don’t agree.  That’s your view.  You have the right to it.

    The problem comes in, when things like marriage are in question.  You say the homosexual has the right to marry as well as anyone.   What is your criteria for marriage?  Is it because two people love each other?  Is this all that is needed?  Because, like a homosexual, I do NOT have the right to marry anyone that I love.  We actually have the same rights.  I can marry a person of the opposite sex that I love, and so can a homosexual.  I cannot marry a person of the same sex that I love and neither can a homosexual.

    I cannot marry a child of 9 no matter how much I love them.  I cannot marry 11 men at one time, no matter how much I love them.  I cannot marry my brother even if we both love each other very much and want to marry each other.  Even if we both consent.

    If you allow homosexual marriages, then you will have to redefine the definition of why we marry.  If it is for love , then all persons that love each other should be allowed to get married. 

    Either brothers can marry sisters, mothers can marry sons, aunts can marry neices, women can marry multiple men,  people can marry animals men can marry men,  and men can marry boys, or you run the risk of offending someone.  IF love is the criteria, then any persons or peoples that want to get married should be allowed to.

    Even if you define the reasons for getting married as two consenting adults you will only succeed in eliminating  adult/child marriages.

    If you use that reasoning that if men and women should be allowed to marry, then why shouldn’t men and men or woman and woman be allowed to marry, then you must be prepared to allow marriage for ALL persons to marry whomever they want.  If you are prepared to do so, then you have an argument.  If not, then I’m afraid you will be as guilty of judgment as I am. 

    Again, I’m sorry if you have not understood what I was saying in my above post.  I tried to be as clear as possible about the difference between the disorder of nature and the disorder of the human person.  I don’t know what else I can do.

  125. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 9:33 am

    First, I wouldn’t need to walk onto a bus full of mentally handicapped and tell their parents that their children are disordered.  They already know it.

    Yes, but are you sure they’re aware of your uniquely hateful views on WHY they’re disordered?  That an all-powerful, infinitely loving God decided to punish their kids for the actions of two people?  Funny how Adam and Eve become two very real people when it comes to homosexuality, but when it suits you people’s interests to consider the Adam and Eve story as allegorical or symbolic, that’s what it becomes.

    You are the one that is implying (or inferring if you prefer) that these aberrations are someone how demeaning

    No, you are.  You demean fellow human beings and you demean God when you make these claims.  

    I NEVER stated that God punishes us through disorder.  Adam and Eve, of their own free will, chose disorder.  They rejected order.

    So Adam and Eve are more powerful than God?  God is their bitch?  They fucked up, so now God is going to allow innocents to be born, ah, “disordered” ? 

    Also, that you equate a sexual orientation with disease and disability tells me exactly WHO you are.  It’s not a disease.  It’s not a disability.  It’s not nature gone wrong.  It’s JUST an orientation, just like some people have brown eyes and some blue, etc. 

    If homosexual orientation is a “disorder” (what a filthy term….really…the Christians have rendered it into another thinly-veiled “fuck you”, right up there with “I’ll pray for you”), then why have scientists not been able to map it out just like they’ve been able to do with mental illness, cancers, other genetic mutations?   Why, with all the research and with the truly bizarre obsession Christians have with the subject, have scientists not been able to answer even the simplest questions about the origins of homosexual orientation?  They’ve unravelled the mysteries of complex and obscure diseases by the hundreds, pin-pointed the genetic markers and mutations, the causes, the treatments, etc., yet something as simple and straightforward as sexual orientation?  Nope.  The scientific community can’t come up with a shred of hard science proving it’s a “disorder”.  

    If you allow homosexual marriages, then you will have to redefine the definition of why we marry

    So?  We’ve been redefining the whys and wherefores of marriage since the dawn of time.    Incest has been allowed in various communities throughout history.   It’s not genetically healthy for any community to allow this to go on, however.  Also, power imbalances are recognized by decent societies, hence banning sexually mature adults from marrying pre-pubescent children.  However, marriages between very young teens and older adults have been going on for centuries.  Just recently, the Catholic blogosphere was full of  people supporting the crap that was going down in the Warren Jeffs cult, claiming the state had no right to interefere with marriages between 60 year old creeps and 13 year old girls.  
     
    Marriage has been used for political purposes, trade purposes, and purely agricultural, if you will, purposes.  Wives and children were considered property and domestic abuse wasn’t even a term in the English language because husbands and fathers were allowed to do what they wanted to their property. 
     
    Polygamy has been the norm and remains to be the norm in various religious/social communities.   Much of the world has redefined marriage to forbid such a thing, but it’s still considered a legitimate form of marriage all around the world. 

    So we redefine marriage once again.  Big deal.  What are you so afraid of?

    The only reason blind people aren’t allowed to drive is because they’d kill other people.  Being in a gay relationship hurts no one, most especially not the people in it (assuming it’s a healthy, consentual, sincere relationship, but that goes for ALL relationships). 

    That you cannot see a difference between sexual orientation and cancer is disturbing.  Deeply, deeply disturbing.  That, in your mind, you have to equate sexual orientation with disease in order to justify your completely unfounded and unexplainable hatred of them is disgusting.

     

  126. Lily
    January 7th, 2009 @ 11:38 am

    Nina:
    What is the point of such hostility? Do you feel better after you write messages like the ones you have just written here? I am guessing not. I suspect you feel just as angry and just as alienated as you did when you wrote them. Why not try a different approach? Why not try grounding your views in reason rather than in emotion? (Please don’t threaten to kick my ass. I have been lifting weights for most of my adult life and can probably take you and your five older brothers on and win. With one hand tied behind my back. In the pouring rain.)
    Your attempt to defend gay marriage by telling us that marriage has been constantly redefined is obviously false. Polygamy and arranged marriages have always been between male and female. Political marriages have always been between male and female. Economically grounded marriage have always been between male and female. The fact that there are variants of male/female marriage does not support a case for same sex marriage, human/animal marriage, or incest.

    There is no sense claiming that mk is “demeaning” God or any person by describing what the entire church has believed for 2000 years. The teaching is what it is. You cannot badger any one of us into denying fundamental truths about the human condition. We didn’t make Christianity up. It is not ours to change at whim. We are free only to accept or reject it, as you have. 

    I can’t even imagine what could possibly motivate you to make so many hateful claims. Nobody could possibly read into what mk wrote of homosexuals “unfounded and unexplainable hatred of them”.  Moreover, she is not the one equating disease and orientation. You are.

    She is using the word “disordered” in its theological sense which she has tried very hard to make you understand. Disordered ultimately refers to the broken harmony between God and mankind whom he created perfect in every way– physically and spiritually. Something broke that harmony. The story in Genesis involves Adam and Eve. Whether they existed or not is irrelevant. The story affirms that something happened that disrupted the original bond between man and God.

    Come, let us reason together …

  127. deb
    January 7th, 2009 @ 11:54 am

    How unfair and perhaps a tad bit arrogant to decide ahead of time how this recent convert is going to manifest his conversion to Christianity. Must one choose between being an “uptight a-hole” or some hippy dippy freak trying to change the world? Are there no alternatives? And what’s wrong anyhow with reaching out to others? Admittedly I know next to nothing about Atheism (except for the obvious)–but is there some creed they all subscribe to about not helping out your fellow man? Hmm, well maybe that’s what happens when one takes God out of the picture.

    Maybe the author of this blog could be allowed to simply speak for himself?

  128. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

    Lily, no you can’t.  I bodybuild.  I don’t lift pink fluffy weights at a girly gym.  And don’t tell me not to threaten you in the same breath you’re threatening me.

    I post messages like this when they’re deserved.  That disgusting bullshit Christian crap about gay people is absolutely no different than calling a black person a nigger.  

    Gay marriage is male and female, too.  It’s just the males marry other males and the females married other females.  God created male and female.  Some are straight, some are gay. 
    Unless you’re trying to tell me gay people are neither male or female?  

    The entire Church has believed a lot of things over 2000 years.  That doesn’t make anything right.  Human sacrifice was around for a pretty damned long time, too.  So was (is)  slavery.  So was (is) legalized rape.  That something has been around for a long time is meaningless.  Bigotry, racism and hatred have been around forever.  Are you going to defend them, too.

    And, yeah, a LOT of “Christianity” has been made up along the way.  
     
    You’re right, though.  I can’t badger you into realizing just how hateful and dehumanizing your words are.  But I’ll give it my best shot every time I see it, just like I would if you were putting someone down because they happened to be born with a different skin color than yours.
     
    MK is equating disease and sexual orientation.  I am not.  I realize Christians can’t get off their treadmill on this issue, but you’re dead wrong nonetheless.  
     
    I don’t reason with bigots.  I think the biggest mistake anyone can make is trying to have a conversation with a bigot or a racist.  The only possible reaction is to utterly and completely shut them down, shun them, get in their face, call them what they are, and make it very, very difficult for them to spew their smarmy bullshit about how they really, truly, deeply love someone while at the same time they’re denying them basic human rights. 

    Fuck that shit.  It’s evil, pure and simple, and it needs to stop.  It is the responsibility of every decent human being to do their best to prevent those who engage in such ugly-mindedness every chance they get.
     
     

  129. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

    …something happened that disrupted the original bond between man and God.

    And?

    This is what I mean…

    From there Christians go immediately to “homosexual orientation is nature gone wrong”.

    The complete lack of logic is astounding.

    How do you know God didn’t intend for their to always be a certain percentage of the population that is homosexually oriented?  Why is it bad?  What is “disordered” about it?  Because it’s different than the majority?  Because it’s scary, or icky, or…or what? 

    Or do you all spout this ridiculous garbage because you think  you’ll get to go to heaven if you do? 

    What the hell is the point?  

    You completely destroy other humans, shred their spirits, their sense of self, their entire being just so you can smugly assume you’re holy and good and on the fast track to paradise?

    There is not one single shred of ANYTHING anyone can come up with to show that there is anything wrong or negative or bad about being gay.  Not one.  The ONLY thing this is rooted in is hate and fear and selfishness. 

  130. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 12:25 pm

    Nina,

    Yes, but are you sure they’re aware of your uniquely hateful views on WHY they’re disordered?  That an all-powerful, infinitely loving God decided to punish their kids for the actions of two people?  Funny how Adam and Eve become two very real people when it comes to homosexuality, but when it suits you people’s interests to consider the Adam and Eve story as allegorical or symbolic, that’s what it becomes.

    I am truly baffled as to how you are coming to this conclusion.  Would you show me where and what I have said that is making you think I feel this way.   I’m so confused.  I just don’t recall ever saying that God is punishing anyone.   I’m probably wrong, but I don’t remember saying it.  If you could show me exactly the part of my post that you are objecting to I might be able to address it better…’kay?

  131. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

    Yes, the church views homosexuality as disordered.  Just as she views blindness as disordered.  In the world before the fall, nature never had abberations.  EVERYTHING went according to plan.  Only after the fall, did stuff start to get off track.

    There.  That’s what you said.

    Before Eve took the apple and fed it to that frickin’ loser, Adam, everything was hunky-dory and peace, love and daisy-chains, we were all always somehow twenty-something, perfectly healthy, childbirth was completely painless (it doesn’t sound like there was either childbirth or children, however…but Christians just gloss that one over and go on their merry way with the fairy tale…), no one got old, we were all exactly the same, just witless little clones romping around naked in the park having a good time…
     
    S0unds like the Summer of Love…/rolleyes.
     
    But then naughty Eve exercised her free will and took the apple and Adam was talked into it by the evil little temptress, and so now God has decided the appropriate punishment for this event (on the days when Christians decide it’s an actual event and not a story, anyway…the other days it gets pretty sketchy) was to let horrible diseases, deformities, chemical imbalances, accidents, etc., just happen, willy-nilly, to whomever. 
     
    And then social trends at the time Jewish law and then the New Testament were written lumped homosexual orientation in with a lot 0f other bad stuff, like mixing fibers and menstruation, and the Christians have decided homosexual orientation is the most evil thing ever in the history of the world and have made it their primary focus for decades now.  

    Killing?  Okay.  Hoarding money while others die of starvation?  Okay.  Gay marriage? OMIGOD THERE GOES MARRIAGE AND SOCIETY AND EVERYTHING!

  132. Lily
    January 7th, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

    Nina:  Could you possibly have proved my point better than by taking my claim that I could whip you and your 5 older brothers in the pouring rain with one hand tied behind my back as a threat? On what planet? Rage has deranged you.

    You are not going to shut us down. At some point we are going to start ignoring you and leave you to shake your impotent fist in fury at the entire universe.  You cannot change the nature of reality. You can ignore us or scream and rage until you turn purple– but you cannot change anything, when you are fundamentally wrong. You can ignore reality, if you wish; you cannot ignore the outcomes of reality.

  133. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

    Anyway, it doesn’t matter — no one has any reason to believe homosexual orientation is an “aberration”.  That’s just a belief and is completey unsupported by science.  Diseases and deformities CAN be linked to actual tangible genetic malfunctions or mutations.  Homosexual orientation can’t. 

  134. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

    Nina, Nina, Nina,

    Do you honestly not hear yourself?  Stop, breathe and listen to yourself.

    You HATE Christians because we are hateful.
    You won’t TOLERATE us because we are intolerant.
    You think we are ARROGANT and not worthy of your glance.
    You say we can’t REASON and then you post unreasonably.
    You call us BIGOTS and then claim to detest all of us on principle.

    And this:
    So?  We’ve been redefining the whys and wherefores of marriage since the dawn of time. . .Incest has been allowed in various communities throughout history. . .

    And in the next breath you say:
    The entire Church has believed a lot of things over 2000 years.  That doesn’t make anything right.  .  . Bigotry, racism and hatred have been around forever.  Are you going to defend them, too.

    You are doing every single thing that you are accusing us of doing.  Do you really not see this?  Everyone else does.

    I’m not trying to infuriate you.  I have not once used the word hate.  I have not once used the word intolerant.  I have certainly not used the word bigot.  And the only time I have used the word judgment was to clarify that I was NOT judging the person, but judging the  behavior.

    I want to continue this discussion, I really do, because I think that behind your anger you actually have some real things to say.  But we can’t hear them.   We want to, but we can’t get past the venom. 

    If you will give us a chance, I’m sure a few of us would be entirely open to explaining why the church views homosexuality as disordered. 

    And Lily is right.  Disordered is a neutral term.  You are the one that is spinning it negatively.  There is nothing “inherently” wrong with being different.  It is what you do with those differences that matters.

    The sun comes up in the East and sets in the West.  Roses bloom in June and die in December.  

    If tomorrow the sun came up in the west and set in the east, or didn’t come at all, we would say that was disordered.  Out of the ordinary.  Not within the realm of what we know to be almost always true.  We can’t even know order, except that in nature it is what happens consistently.  When something changes that, we call it disordered. 

    If roses suddenly began blooming in December and fading in June we would also call that disordered.

    Now while there would be no foreseeable bad affect on us if roses suddenly started blooming in the middle of winter,  there would be some pretty serious consequences if the sun did not come up one day.

    The disorder itself is neutral.  It’s effects however, can be bad or good depending on the how the disorder manifests itself and how we react to it.  Oranges have seeds.  We have reordered them to be seedless.  This is a good use of disordering something, but it is disorder nonetheless.  Disorder is not bad, in and of itself…

    There are theological reasons that we believe man and woman are meant to be together.   As well as more obvious ones.  If you are truly intereseted in hearing them, I, as well as some others, will be happy to share.

  135. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

    You cannot change the nature of reality.

    This from someone who insists that homosexual orientation is unnatural…

  136. Lily
    January 7th, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

    There  you go again, Nina. I have not said once that homosexuality is unnatural. Not once. Try again.

  137. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

    I’m sorry Nina.  I really am.  But how you got that I hate anyone or anything out of

    Yes, the church views homosexuality as disordered.  Just as she views blindness as disordered.  In the world before the fall, nature never had abberations.  EVERYTHING went according to plan.  Only after the fall, did stuff start to get off track.

    is simply beyond me…

    I can’t decide if you are being obtuse or really aren’t getting this…help me, please.

  138. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

    You HATE Christians because we are hateful.
    You won’t TOLERATE us because we are intolerant.
    You think we are ARROGANT and not worthy of your glance.
    You say we can’t REASON and then you post unreasonably.
    You call us BIGOTS and then claim to detest all of us on principle.

    I have zero respect for bullshit Christians.   I think “tolerance” is overrated.  I think some attitudes are incredibly arrogant and deserve nothing but the same in return.  I don’t reason with those who are unreasonable.   I never claimed to detest ALL of anyone.  I abhor the kind of cruetly that Christians perpetrate and then try to disguise behind “Christian charity”. 

    Big difference.

    Also, I didn’t defend incest.  I merely used it as an example of how marriage and sexual relations have been defined or accepted or expressed through history.   I am most certainly NOT doing what you’re doing. 

    Juding the expression of sexual orientation IS judging the person.  It’s one thing to take issue with promiscuity or rape or hypersexualization of small children, or a thousand other dishonorable sexual behaviors.   But to claim the expression of an orientation is wrong is something very different. 

    I never said there was anthing wrong with the word disordered or that things are disordered.  I said that Christians have twisted it in a way that has turned it into a negative.  When you see a blind kid, you can say he or she is disordered because [insert genetic mutation or disease or accidental damage here], but when you tell a gay person they’re disordered, the only thing you can say is because God made you disordered. 

    That’s the problem.  That’s the difference.

    You personally want to believe gay people are inherently disordered, fine.  There are neoNazi clubs and organizations, and KKK units and whathaveyou the world over, all of which espouse the same feelings about black people or Asians or Jews or Hispanics or whatever.   No one can stop you.  

    Just don’t think you can fool everyone into thinking this is all some sort of righteous and charitable worldview, however.  
     
     

  139. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

    If tomorrow the sun came up in the west and set in the east, or didn’t come at all, we would say that was disordered.  Out of the ordinary.  Not within the realm of what we know to be almost always true.  We can’t even know order, except that in nature it is what happens consistently.  When something changes that, we call it disordered. 

    So, if something is out of what is ordinary in YOUR world, it’s disordered and the result of broken harmony with God…? 
     
    Homosexual orientation IS consistent.  It’s as consistent as heterosexual orientation.  It’s just that there are more heterosexuals than homosexuals. 
     
    Kinda like the way it used to be with black people….less of them, more of the white people, out of the ordinary in a white-dominated world….
     
    Yeah.  I get it.

  140. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 1:22 pm

     Would you show me where and what I have said that is making you think I feel this way.   I’m so confused.  I just don’t recall ever saying that God is punishing anyone.   I’m probably wrong, but I don’t remember saying it. 

    That’s what you asked — where I got the notion you claimed God is punishing humans for the Fall. 
     
    That’s what I answered. 
     
    To me, to think such a thing is hateful.  To you, it isn’t. 
     
    That’s what YOU don’t get.

  141. Irreligious
    January 7th, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

    MK wrote:
    “Don’t you ever wonder why human beings are as they are?   Don’t you ever wonder what makes us want to live together peacefully?  Or to respect each other?  Or why we have a sense of fair play?   Not who, but why?”

    Human beings are all kinds of ways.

    Some of them do want to live together peacefully. Plenty of others prefer to control those around them for their own selfish ends. And, of course, there are plenty of  human beings who don’t respect each other and who feel entirely justified for not respecting those with who they disagree. That’s part of the reason we have wars and other strife.

    Those who do value peace have to work damn hard at, understanding that sometimes it’s far more delicate than brain surgery.

    Yes, so even though we all have a sense of fairplay,  we most certainly do not share the same sense of  fairplay. Different people come at that concept from different perspectives. What I consider fair may not seem fair to you at all, and vice/versa.

    The racial segregationists of the deep south (in the U.S.) most likely thought they were being fair by imposing and enforcing Jim Crow laws 40-odd years ago. It was predicated, in part, on their belief and firm conviction  that white people were naturally better than black people. That’s what they believed, and their particular sense of fairplay reflected that.
        
    Still, we all have a sense of this concept called fairness– however we individually perceive it– because,  ultimately, it is vital  for promoting cooperation. And as social animals, cooperation is a part of our survival strategy. Hell, you can’t even wage an effective war without cooperation among the troops fighting on either side. 

  142. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

    Oh Nina,

    I don’t know where to go from here.

    You say that it is okay to be intolerant.  As long as you are the one that is being intolerant.  If anyone else is intolerant, they are a bigot.

    I never said you were defending different sexual practices.  I said you were using the argument that some things have always existed and therefore they should be allowed to exist.  There have always been homosexuals, therefore they are normal.  But when we use the 2,000 year old Catholic teachings to back up our view, you say that we cannot use something to back our claim simply because it has been around forever.

    I ask you to show me where I have been hateful, and you show me an example that does not mention the word hate. 

    I ask you if you want us to share with you why we feel as we do, and you attack me.

    I’m trying.  I really am.  But I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall.  You are not hearing anything I am saying.   If and when you are ready to continue this conversation in a calm and respectful manner, I will be here.  But if all you are going to do is attack me, I’m afraid I need to bow out.  I’m sorry.  I wanted this to work out. 

    Peace my friend.

  143. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

    Irreligious,

    Let me ask you…(for the sake of peace, lets stay away from the homosexual argument…it’s not working out so well…lol)

    We know, objectively that everything that exists had a cause.  Perhaps there is evolution.  But where did the first thing come from, the thing from which all else evolved.  Perhaps there was a big bang.   But where did the things that went “bang” come from….

    You know.  The original uncaused cause?

    Okay.  So I am proposing that there was one uncaused cause.  One.  And that it (He) caused all of the others.  I am asking you, in essence, to believe in one uncaused thing.

    You on the other hand, do not believe that there was an original uncaused cause.  So, you are actually asking me to believe that there are millions of uncaused causes.  You see what I’m saying?  In the end, you are asking me to believe some more fantastical than I am asking you to believe.  We have evidence that everything came from something.  Rationally we must accept that at least one thing was always there.  To start the ball rolling.

    But if this is not true, then the planets just spontaneously appeared out of nowhere.  Man just appeared out of nowhere.  Either one thing was always there, or many were.  Both concepts are unimaginable, but  it seems that believing in one uncaused cause is easier than believing in infinite uncaused causes….did that make sense?

    Also, what is “life”.  Not what is the meaning of life.  But what is “life” itself.   What causes corn to grow and die and grow again.  What causes a new human life to come about.  What is that “something” that takes an inanimate thing and makes it animate?

  144. Irreligious
    January 7th, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

    MK wrote:
    “Your worldview seems as different from ViolentJanes as it does from mine.   I didn’t realize that.”

    From my own observation, not even Roman Catholics share exactly the same worldview. How could they? They all inhabit separate physical bodies. But, as members of the fold, they do have a rule book and a central authority that tells them how far they can stray outside the officially approved  doctrines. For example, they are not allowed to make concessions for homosexual behavior. I understand that. Yet, I also know that some do it, anyway.  

    MK wrote:
    “You’ve been really candid, and I know that I’ve been prying quite deeply into your (soul?) private life.  I am truly grateful.”

    You are most welcome, MK and, likewise, I honestly do appreciate your indulgence of me .

    MK wrote:
    “I totally understand that your homosexuality is “who” you are and not “what” you are.  I also understand that you would not ask someone to deny “who” they are.  I don’t think the church does either.  Not for “themselves” anyway.  Not being a believer it probably seems like She does, but from my point of view that is not at all what She is doing.
    What She asks if for you, not Herself.  Does that make sense?”

    Frankly, I’d be lying if I said I agree with your perspective here. For the sake of civility, I’ll leave it at that, but please know that I am as sincere in my stance as you are in yours.

    Again, a lot of this is a matter of perspective. I don’t perceive a world that was “designed” to work any other way than it does. It is what it is: A big, wonderful, mysterious, terrifying and messy place. At least it is from where I sit and observe.

    We indulge our amazing powers of manipulation to make it less messy and more amenable to our own ends but, ultimately, we are limited in how far we can order the world to accommodate our individual needs and desires to make it  a  “perfect” place. I am compelled to accept that by seeking to change what I can and accept what I cannot. We’re here only for a short time.

  145. Irreligious
    January 7th, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

    MK:
    “We know, objectively that everything that exists had a cause.  Perhaps there is evolution.  But where did the first thing come from, the thing from which all else evolved.  Perhaps there was a big bang.   But where did the things that went “bang” come from….
    You know.  The original uncaused cause?”

    Honestly? I don’t know. That’s far too big a question for me to seek to answer. I totally lack the tools to tackle that one, thus, it is not all that imperative for me, personally, to attempt to do so. Even with a gun to my head, all I could do is engage in unfounded speculation, and that wouldn’t be worth my short time on this planet.

    I fully expect to die  and never know the answer to that question and it does not bother me at all.

    But I realize– and try to respect– that everybody is not like me. Some people have to know.

  146. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

    You say that it is okay to be intolerant.  As long as you are the one that is being intolerant.  If anyone else is intolerant, they are a bigot.

    Huh?  I don’t even buy into the whole “tolerance” deal.  All tolerance implies is that you still think, believe and feel all the negatives, but you’re just not going to say them publicly, probably because the price of getting caught is too high.  What a wishy-washy concept.

    Besides, there are plenty of Christians who do not espouse the Catholic Church’s teachings (among other Christian denominations’) on homosexual practice.   Catholics, even.  Lots of them.  They disagree with their churches on this issue in increasing numbers.   If it weren’t for the highly specious actions of the Mormon church in California,  Proposition 8 would have been overturned. 

    I never once implied that just because things existed they should be allowed to exist.  I said that marriage has meant and still means different things to different societies and religious groups and that we’ve been redefining it since the dawn of time.  I’m merely asserting that it’s ridiculous to think it’s a big deal to redefine marriage because it’s already happened several times over.  That IS a good thing. 

    Being hateful doesn’t have to include the word “hate”. 

    There is something essentially hateful towards gays when you claim it is wrong for them to enter into physical relationships with each other.   You go on to defend this by implying homosexual intimacy is tantamount to child sex abuse or incest.  That you can’t see there’s a difference between two fully consentual, sincere, caring, committed adults who are in  a physical relationship,  and sexual predation of children or a psychologically unhealthy and physically dicey intimate relationship between a brother and sister (although if they were sterile, this wouldn’t be an issue and I suppose, culturally speaking, the “ick” factor has a lot to do with this) is really just awful.   It’s rooted in something that justifies your sense of homosexually oriented people as something “other” than yourself.   That’s a form of hate.  It’s the first thing people do when they want to destroy a group — they turn them into something “other”, something less human, something unnatural, something alien, and then it’s easier to justify what they do to them.   It’s easier to vote against gay marriage if you see gay people as something less than straight people.   You can keep on saying you don’t believe gay people are lesser, but the action of denying them the same rights you and I have indicates otherwise.

    Also, outside of your particular religious beliefs, you cannot show one reason why gay people can’t be physically intimate.   Why not?  Where’s the evil?   How does encouraging healthy, sustaining relationships for all a bad thing?  You still can’t answer this.  You can’t show it’s a disease or malfunction or disorder or deformity or even a genetic accident in the same way you can with Downs’ or Alzheimer’s or MS or cancer or a chemical inbalance of the brain.  It’s not really even much of an anomaly, statistically speaking.

  147. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

    Irreligious,

    Frankly, I’d be lying if I said I agree with your perspective here. For the sake of civility, I’ll leave it at that, but please know that I am as sincere in my stance as you are in yours.

    Oh goodness, I didn’t expect that you’d agree with me.  That would be crazy talk.  No, I just wanted you to know that no matter what it looks like to the “other side” the motivation of the Church is not control.  It comes out of love.  Now whether you wish we’d keep our love to ourselves, thank you very much, is a different story.

    I hope that you didn’t read into my posts what Nina did.  Because her perception could not be farther from the truth.   I get uncomfortable myself talking about sexual orientation, because even tho we are talking about the “idea” of it, I can’t help but feel like I’m  treating people as if they were bugs under a microscope.  I would hate to think I’ve made you feel that way. 

    We talk of homosexuals as if they are another species.  Like you’re some sort of aliens.  That’s not how I feel.  Honestly.  If this wasn’t a “religious/anti religious” blog, I don’t think I’d give a persons sexual preferences much thought whatsoever.    I mean, I’m not in the habit of meeting people on the street and wondering “hmmmm…do you suppose the prefer to be on the top or on the bottom”.  It’s just that this particular issue is a rather devisive one amongst members of the secular world as well as with members within the church.  Discussing it reasonably, to me, it the only way we can hopefully come to some sort of understanding and dare I say, truce?

    I like you Irreligious.  I like you very much.  I’m glad to have gotten to know you.  I’m sure I’ll be back with more obnoxious and annoying questions.  Will that be okay with you?

  148. Margaret Catherine
    January 7th, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

    Nina – ” I never claimed to detest ALL of anyone. ”

    And yet you know, before RT has really said anything ab0ut his Christianity, what sort of Christian he will be. He has not even said that he is Catholic – other denominations do use the Apostles’ Creed – and yet you tell everyone exactly what insulting behaviors and claims you expect from him in future. On principle, by the mere fact of his conversion, you detest him. And you detest all of us who welcomed him as a brother in Christ. You know that we hate; we may not say it, but you are just that good at reading between the lines. You know that we are  hypocrites all, patting ourselves on the back and parading  our own holiness, and yet you have no idea of what work we do in the “real world.” You don’t know. And you don’t care, not in the slightest; because your mind is made up before any of us says  a single word.

    What blinded you? It wasn’t some group of traditionalists, and it wasn’t “St. Blog’s.” Where is it you are coming from, that you are this angry?

  149. Irreligious
    January 7th, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

     Thanks for the conciliatory words, MK, but if you met me in a different context, you might not find me so likeable. Ask my good friend, Lily. We’ve had plenty of ugly battles between us elsewhere on the World Wide Web. ;)

    I’m working overtime here to avoid a fight; it’s counterproductive. So I am purposely choosing my words as carefully as I can. My posts here reveal a part of who I am, but they don’t represent all of me.

    I can be as belligerent as anybody when it comes to defending my points of view, but I don’t want to specifically defend them to you. Just share them as you have been doing with me.  I appreciate it and I respect your right to view whatever I’ve had to say  however it makes sense to you. 

    I   

  150. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

    Irreligious,

    I appreciate the constraint, but I’ve got pretty thick skin.  I don’t mind heated.  I just find that it’s best to get to know and respect your opponent first.  I am sincerely trying to understand, and I do really mean all the things that I say.  But as I ‘m sure you can tell, I still view certain things as sinful.  I haven’t really budged and inch, and neither have you.  But there is a way, I believe, to hold opposing views without holding clubs…

    Once we have established a friendship(?) and built on it, we may come to blows yet!  I’ll actually look forward to it.  But that’s down the road some. 
    If Lily likes you, then I like you.  Trust me, there are a few people that I am quite fond of that have been kicked off of more sites than they’ve been allowed on.    I am no goody two shoes.  I have friends that call me Tilly, short for Attilla the Hun.    But I don’t care to fight for fighting’s sake.  I prefer it to have a point. 

    My past is quite seedy by my own standards.  To coin a phrase, I’ve circled the block a few times myself.   The one thing that I can say for sure is that I do NOT think I am better than you.  I might think I’m in a better place, but I am NOT a better person.  If there is a purgatory, I fear I’ll be there long after the sun has breathed it’s last.  

    I honestly don’t care if you run the Folsum Fair and are one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.  You have been nothing but fair with me, treating me with respect and making me laugh.  As far as I am concerned, that makes you okay in my book.  I just hope I haven’t made you work TOO hard at remaining civil … 

    If I’ve hit any nerves, feel free to slap me.  But do in on my left side, my right tooth is killing me today. 

    Besides, you have possession of my right arm.  You know what they say, never piss off your hairdresser, your doctor or the guy that controls your right arm…

  151. Lily
    January 7th, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

    True dat, what Irr said. The thing is, I liked him two years ago (or whenever it was we first came into contact) and I still like him. He used to like me, until he found out I was quite serious in holding the positions I do. Ah well. I would like to have him as a neighbor, any day. I am pretty sure he wishes I would relocate to Mars with all my cats.

  152. Irreligious
    January 7th, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

    MK wrote:
    “…If Lily likes you, then I like you.”

    :lol: I guess I’m not being as careful in choosing my words as I thought. I doubt seriously that she has anything approaching “like” for me. Calling her my good friend was a misguided attempt at being facetious. Because of our combative approach to engagement, we brought out the worst in each other, is what I meant. I’m not calling her a bad person here, just one with whom I found it extremely difficult to get along and I accept my role in that having been the case.

    So, I don’t want to make that mistake here, as there would be no point. I will give Lily credit for one thing and that is I have learned through my interactions with her just how far I can push before things go terminally awry.

  153. Nina
    January 7th, 2009 @ 4:38 pm

    Margaret Catherine

    You must have missed the part where I explained those words were sarcastic and hyperbolic in nature in answer to his question.

    I don’t hate ALL of anyone.   This is a fact.

    I distrust  at first ALL Christians for reasons that are private, and will probably never be able to completely trust a Christian I haven’t known for a long, long time. 

    I dislike intensely and know far too much about certain of the rah-rah-he’s-one-of-us crowd to believe THEY are sincere about, well, anything.   I know THEY are generally self-centered, self-absorbed hypocrites who are beyond hateful — they’re mean-spirited in the truest sense of the term.   

    I don’t know what anyone on the internet does or is in the real world.  None of us can ever really know unless we have an established relationship in the “real world”.   I don’t necessarily disbelieve Christians I don’t know very well as far as their charitable efforts are concerned, either.  

    I don’t truly think he will be like them at all.   Personally, I suspect, if he did indeed convert to Catholicism particularly, that he’ll be a terrible Catholic but a very good Christian, which is much better than being a very good Catholic but a terrible Christian.

    Tell you my story, eh?  Just trust you, eh…? 

    Yeah, I did that once and saw how well that turned out.  No thanks.

  154. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

    Irreligious,

    Then let me rephrase.  If I like you, then Lily will like you.  Besides, she beat us both to it.  She already admits that she likes you.  Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah…so there.  You nowhere near as irascible as you think you are.  Or we are just pathetic pushovers.  Either way, I am happy to have made your acquaintance.  I hope this isn’t the last of our “talks”…however, if you ever want me to disappear just say the word.  Of course, if I don’t tell you the word, you can’t say it…hmmmmm….bwahahahahha….

  155. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

    Oh Look! I’m official!  I have an “image” to uphold now!  Thanks Lily!

  156. mk
    January 7th, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

    Nina,

    Thank you toning it down.  Much easier to respond.  I admit, I was getting worn down.

    The thing is, I’ve never claimed that I could explain why homosexuality is morally wrong outside of a religious view.  Asking me to stop thinking like a Catholic is like asking Irreligious to stop being gay.  It’s WHO I am, not what I am, just as it’s WHO he is, not what he is.

    BTW, the caps are cuz I’m lazy, not cuz I’m yelling.  I could bold them or italicize them, but I’m just too dang lazy.  Sorry if you thought I’ve been yelling.

    I remember when I first started blogging on Jill’s.  I was trying to figure out a way to differentiate between what I was saying and what someone else had said.  So I left their words small, and made mine all caps…I had never blogged before.  I learned very quickly that caps mean MAD!  lol

    Actually, I keep forgetting that I can just highlight and click, not HTML here.  But still…it’s so much work…

    Anywho.

    I wasn’t/am not passing judgment.  I was explaining how and why the church sees this situation as sinful, and Irreligious was explaining to me how he thinks, as an atheist.  We were simply swapping ideas.  I wasn’t trying to convince him or you or anyone else of anything.  I have a view that I think is misunderstood, and I wanted to put it out there.  He has views that I think are misunderstood and I wanted to understand them.

    I’m sorry you have viewed that as hateful.  I stand by the fact that I think homosexual sex is disordered.  I regret that that upsets you.   If it’s any consolation (and somehow I doubt that it will be…lol) I view ALL sex outside of marriage as disordered.  I even view certain acts within marriage as disordered.  It is, in my view, disordered to have sex without being open to children.  It is also disordered, in my view, to have sex ONLY to have children.  As I said.  We are ALL OF US disordered. There is not a single person except for Our Lady that has been born since Adam and Eve that is not, in some way, disordered.  Not the saints, not the pope, not even me.

  157. nkb
    January 7th, 2009 @ 11:32 pm

    I have been skimming some of these posts, but I just wanted to share some thoughts:
    .
    1. mk, if I hear one more person use “survival of the fittest” as an argument as to why we shouldn’t just kill each other, I am going to have a fucking coronary.  Please, please, please, do yourself and everyone else a favor, and educate yourself on what that term actually means.
    .
    2. mk, you say that you understand that a homosexual just “is”, and in the same paragraph, you mention a person’s choice of sexuality.  That means that you don’t understand.  Irr mentioned the fact that he didn’t choose to be gay, but you apparently ignored that.
    .
    3. Lily, you are big, fat liar.  I’m surprised you still have any pants left after that blaze.  You like Irr?  Would you like me to go to the RA forum, and post some of the nasty things you’ve said about him?

  158. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    January 7th, 2009 @ 11:35 pm

    mk, you said that?

    If so answer me this.  At what age did you choose to be heterosexual?  Did you consider it carefully?  What influenced your decision?  Did you choose a heterosexual life for your parents or because of the Bible?

  159. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 5:23 am

    NKB AND JANE, 
    I don’t recall saying it.  I might have been typing fast and meant to chase a homosexual can choose his “behavior”, but I don’t think I would have said he chose his sexuality…You’d have to show me the comment and let me figure out what I meant.

    I DO believe that most homosexuals are born homosexual.  I also believe that some are “made” by life events.  Fewer, but some.

    But the only thing that they have a choice about, that would make them culpable either way, is their behavior…which holds true for all of us.  I went on and on with Nina about the difference between choosing and being…so I can only imagine that what NKB is talking about was a typo, or read wrong.

  160. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 5:27 am

    I did write this, which pretty much backs up what I just said above.  Can’t find where I said that homosexuals “choose” their sexuality tho…


    Having said that, it is no ones fault and there is no culpability whatsoever in our disorders.  We are who and what we are, disorders and all.
    The only morality involved, is in the actions we do or don’t do stemming from our own free will.
    Asking you not to be homosexual would be like asking a deaf person to hear.  Or judging them morally, because of their deafness.  This would be wrong, and morally disordered.
    Each of us is given something that we must deal with.  We must make choices, and act accordingly.
    I myself have fought drug addiction.  My son has bi-polar.  Someone else might have an eating disorder.
    We, as Catholics always go back to the beginning and ask, how was it meant to be?  We believe he created them, Man and Woman.  So we assume this is how it was meant to be.   That’s why we think it is disordered to express our sexuality as man  and man, or woman and woman.
    Again, and this is really, really important.  We MUST NOT judge a man for who he IS.  Judging actions, choices is a different thing.  We can believe that an action is “bad” but we must NEVER believe that a “person” is.
    You NEVER lose your dignity.  Anyone that doesn’t understand that is committing a far greater sin, than someone engaging in homosexual acts.

  161. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 5:50 am

    NKB,

    And I also can’t find anywhere that I’ve said, being an atheist means it’s okay to kill one another (not saying I didn’t, just saying I can’t find it) so you’ll have to show me that one too.

    I did find where I was asking if, like Jane, Irreligious believes that our sense of right and wrong is evolutionary, and if he did, didn’t he see homosexuality as “not surviving”…

    Or take your homosexuality.  What evolutionary benefit is gained if you cannot produce offspring?  Isn’t this just insuring that your line will NOT survive?  Do you see what I mean?  I’m not making any moral statement  here…I’m just saying that speaking from a strictly rational viewpoint, wouldn’t homosexual unions be anti evolutionary?

    This is what jane said:

    I think you are right, we would do it by feeling, but I think the feelings are the product of evolution.  It is evolutionarily advantageous for tasty animals with no fangs, claws, nor shells to hang out in groups.  So you need rules for getting along.

    Which led me to respond to the evolutionary theory of survival of the fittest.  After talking to Irreligious, I found out that he does not think the same way.  It is similar, but significantly different.

    This is what I meant by seeking to understand.  I assumed, incorrectly, that there was a particular way of thinking among atheists.  I see now that the only objective thing that you ALL believe, is that there is no God.  The rest is different for each individual.

    I still haven’t found anything that says if your an atheist you should feel free to kill people. 

  162. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 6:06 am

    NKB,

    Ahhhhh..I think I’ve found what you were referring to…

    If survival of the fittest is the modus operandi, then wouldn’t stealing further that end?  If you steal from your neighbor, chances are better that your  neighbor won’t make  it and you will.  Wouldn’t this be beneficial?  Or if you kill everyone that isn’t doing it your way…wouldn’t that mean that those that are left would make it more likely that you and yours would survive?

    So this line of questioning bothers you?  Well, there are plenty of folks that felt exactly this way.  Dictators throughout history have killed off anyone that disagrees with them, leaving only those behind that “fit” the profile.

    Isn’t this the same thing?  I understand that you are not talking about survival of the fittest as a conscious thing.  That our bodies evolve and the weakest don’t make it.  But why wouldn’t we subconsciously wish to eliminate anyone or anything that gets in our way?  

    The way I see it, we have two choices.  Either we are just a higher, perhaps even the hightest, species in the animal kingdom and the only thing that makes us different is our intelligence, or being human is a unique thing.  “Something” undefinable, makes us different, than all other living things.

    If we are just animals, then why would suggesting that we kill each other off in order to further our own chances offend you?   Men have done this.  I don’t mean randomly killing everyone for no reason.  I mean is they are in the way of our own evolution/survival?

    If there is “something” else…something that makes us unique, then what is it?  What stops us from eliminating all threats to our survival?

    If these questions irritate you, I don’t know what to say.  In seeking to understand, people ask questions.  There is not a single question about Catholicism that you could ask, and I would respond “If one more person asks me that, I’ll have a coronary”…

    I mean, how are we supposed to learn if we don’t ask questions?  They are honest questions.  I’m not being spiteful.  I’m really asking.  If the questions bother  you, or insult your intelligence, then let someone else answer them.  But trying to bully me into silence, is counterproductive.

    This isn’t easy for me, laying my ignorance of the topic on the table this way.  I know that you and others are just waiting to jump down my throat.  But my sincere desire to understand, outweighs my fear of being ridiculed.   And so I take a chance and ask questions.  I guess  you could just ignore me?

  163. Lily
    January 8th, 2009 @ 6:45 am

    Lily, you are big, fat liar.  I’m surprised you still have any pants left after that blaze.  You like Irr?  Would you like me to go to the RA forum, and post some of the nasty things you’ve said about him?

    Indeed, I would. It will keep you occupied for months trying to find something to fill the bill and you will get to review the endless intelligent arguments I have made in vain on a number of subjects (that will do you some good. I hope.)

    It is amazing. You come here stinking of that sewer, you address mk with your usual surly condescension and you demand that she educate herself! Physician, heal thyself. You aren’t sharing thoughts. You are spewing.

  164. nkb
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:26 am

    Lily,
    The day I find some intelligent arguments that you posted is the day I convert to being a Roman Catholic.
    .
    I told mk to educate herself on what the phrase “survival of the fittest” means.  Are you implying that she understands it correctly?  If so, then you need to get educated on it too.

  165. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:44 am

    nkb,

    Please tell me what I am getting wrong.  You tell me to educate myself?  Okay, then help.  Explain where I’ve gone wrong.  I think that evolution is the process by where the physically strong survive, while the physically weak die off.  Perpetuating the species, modifying it and making it better.  Where am I making a mistake?

  166. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:53 am

    I need to say tho, nkb, that we christians take a lot of heat for looking down our noses at anyone that doesn’t believe as we believe.  I don’t think I’ve read a single post where that has been done on this blog so far, but I’ll take your word for it that it happens.

    What I want to know, is why you feel you can do the exact thing you are accusing us of?  Every time you have posted it is to mock us and make us feel small, which I assume makes you feel big.  But it is really unfair…Don’t  you think. 

    I do not look upon Atheists with derision, any more than I look at Muslims or Hindus with derision.  I respect their right to believe whatever they want to believe.  So I’m finding it a bit disconcerting, that while I am going out of my way to pick and choose my words carefully so as not to perpetuate the perception that Christians are arrogant, you seem to be going out of your way to prove that atheists are.

    I take people one at a time.  I don’t lump all of anybody into any category. I think that’s a sign of adulthood.  You on the other hand assume, out of hand, that every Christian you meet will be an exact replica of your preconceived sterotype.  

    That just doesn’t seem right to me.

  167. Skeptimal
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:56 am

    Deb,

    I’m not sure who you’re writing to here.  If I’m being presumptious in thinking it might have been me, I apologize.

    You said: “How unfair and perhaps a tad bit arrogant to decide ahead of time how this recent convert is going to manifest his conversion to Christianity.”

    Maybe it is unfair, but it’s also reality that new converts of every stripe have to live in their new beliefs for a while before they have credibility.  Whenever his actual conversion took place, on this site, less than three months ago, RT was the Raving Atheist.  Conversion apparently did not change his love for arguing, but in no time, he is now arguing against the position he used to hold.  The turn has been too quick to inspire anything but vertigo and nausea.  A little humility about having switched positions, along with an explanation, is not too much to ask given the semi-public nature of a blog which is, after all, hosted by the former RA.

    You said: ” Must one choose between being an “uptight a-hole” or some hippy dippy freak trying to change the world? Are there no alternatives?”

    The last I checked, there were at least two billion ways to be a Christian.  I’m not saying he should be anyone other than who he is.  Furthermore, even after eight years of George Bush and Dick Cheney, this is still a free country.  I salute RT’s right to say what he thinks is right. That’s not the point.  

    “And what’s wrong anyhow with reaching out to others? Admittedly I know next to nothing about Atheism (except for the obvious)–but is there some creed they all subscribe to about not helping out your fellow man? Hmm, well maybe that’s what happens when one takes God out of the picture.”

    This is the part that makes me think you might not have been talking to me.  I can’t figure out where you got this from anything I said.  Were you talking to someone else?

  168. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:02 am

    Actually, it’s more like the more adaptable survive and the less adaptable eventually become extinct, but it’s even more complicated than that.  It’s really a dance between genetic traits and a changing environment, if you will.  Lots of physically “strong” (big, fast, predatory…) creatures have become extinct because they could not adapt to the changing environment around them, nor did they have enough genetic traits compatible with the new environment to pass along, or pass along quickly enough, or have large enough, diverse enough and widespread enough populations to mix it up with, genetically speaking.

    So it’s a combination of genetics, variation, and adaptability (which is, I guess, another way of saying “natural selection”). 

    That’s my completely unscientific, layman’s definition of “survival of the fittest”.

    Bottom line, it has nothing to do with the strong beating up the weak, or winning out over the weak.  Actually, big, dumb strong animals like, say, T.Rex, were the first to go bye-byes.

  169. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:11 am

    Sorry, that last post was about survival of the fittest, only because I think it’s a much more complicated theory than most people realize. 

    Anyways…

    I was struck by this:

    but it’s also reality that new converts of every stripe have to live in their new beliefs for a while before they have credibility

    Didn’t Paul warn the early church that a new convert should be precluded from leadership roles  “so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil”?

    I think this is a common problem for many converts.  However, in spite of what I had previously written, I stand by what I later wrote, that I don’t really see this as an issue here. 

    Although it might be preferable to the puns at this point…;-)

  170. Lily
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:18 am

    Skeptimal: What arguments has RT made about anything?  You write: Conversion apparently did not change his love for arguing, but in no time, he is now arguing against the position he used to hold.  The turn has been too quick to inspire anything but vertigo and nausea.  A little humility about having switched positions, along with an explanation, is not too much to ask given the semi-public nature of a blog which is, after all, hosted by the former RA.

    In fact, he hasn’t argued anything yet. I don’t think there is anything here that could be taken as an argument against his previous atheism. Unless I am very much mistaken, all he has done is announce his conversion. While I don’t blame anyone for being curious about what happened, he does not, in fact, owe anyone an explanation, in my opinion.  I imagine he may say a bit about it at some point. But what he says and how deeply he goes into anything are up to him.

  171. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:21 am

    Nina,

    That’s why I said “Modified”.  I realize that they adapt.  What I was originally asking Irreligious, was why if the object is to survive, we DON’T have a built in mechanism to eliminate any threats.  I wasn’t saying we do.  Just wondering out loud, why if the whole point of evolution is to make it to the next rung alive, wouldn’t we up the chances by eliminating the competition.  To me, this would have made the most sense.  See what I’m asking?  Not morally, why don’t atheists think it’s okay to kill everyone, but why wasn’t that built into us in the first place…

  172. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:27 am

    why if the whole point of evolution is to make it to the next rung alive, wouldn’t we up the chances by eliminating the competition

    Because that behavior is neither genetically or environmentally driven and ultimately doesn’t benefit the human species.
     
    Also, the “whole point” of evolution is never for the individual to make it up the next rung of the evolutionary ladder.  It’s for the species to make it up the next rung.  It doesn’t serve the species for the members of the group to be genetically programmed to be offing each other willy-nilly. 
     
    And we do have built in mechanisms to anticipate and react to threats.  They’ve become dulled by contemporary living, and may eventually go the way of the Do-Do, but we do have a biochemical fight-or-flight instinct.

  173. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:36 am

    Nina,

    Because that behavior is neither genetically or environmentally driven and ultimately doesn’t benefit the human species.

    Exactly.  It isn’t.  And I’m wondering why.  Wouldn’ t it benefit the whole species to eliminate any members that are dragging it down?  Like eliminate all people that are born mentally handicapped?  So that they can’t breed and produce more people that are mentally handicapped, thereby promoting the species as a whole?

    Why wouldn’t this be genetically ingrained?

    Isn’t that what Hitler and Margaret Sanger were trying to do?

  174. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:37 am

    Nina,

    We do it with dogs.  By selective breeding.  What would make it different with Humans?  In a way we ARE doing that now, with genetic engineering.  Do you think that that is morally ethical?

  175. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:44 am

    But mental handicaps are not necessarily genetic traits.  So, in short, no.

    Plus, the species depends on genetic variation, on being able to move back and forth and breed between populations.  Offing anyone who is “different” will ulitmately negatively impact the species.

    Just because Hitler and Margaret Sanger and European and American colonists and tribal factions in various third-world countries have assumed this is a good thing and have used brute force or psychological manipulation (a tool developed through evolution), or a combination of both to go about doing this doesn’t mean it’s beneficial to the species.  On the contrary — it isn’t.   Those actions may serve a particular sub-set of the group for a very particular purpose over a short period of time, but it always comes back to bite ya in the ass.   

    Also, I’m not an atheist, so I believe there are other forces at work when it comes to humans. 

  176. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:48 am

    mk, I’m not arguing for selective breeding of humans, or for abortion of the handicapped — I’m opposed to those things.  I just wanted to dispel the notion that evolution has to do with physical over-powering of others and with survival of the  individual.

    But it you want to keep it on a strictly evolutionary level, it obviously doesn’t benefit us as a species to continually and overwhelmingly make morally poor choices.  Look around you — look at the damaged people you see, broken homes, kids out of control, addictions, a hypersexualized society that doesn’t value children (either having them or protecting them) — look at Europe and the countries that are now in negative population growth (or that are only increasing their population through immigration). 

    You’re preachin’ to the choir, sistah…

  177. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:02 am

    We do it with dogs.  By selective breeding. 

    This, btw, is a good example of why too much in-breeding is a bad thing.  Ultimately, when the gene pool becomes a little too shallow, you see the negative traits start to dominate — hyperplasia, deafness, epilepsy, disc problems, respiratory problems — various breeds have specific hereditary predispositions to these conditions and breeders are continually looking to broaden the gene pool while maintaining the “good” genes that keep a particular breed what it is.   This is why zoos and game parks exchange animals in breeding programs, for example.   Breeders, too, will fly their dogs across the country to be bred with mates from a different family line. 

    But…again…it’s not immoral to just drown the runts or the deformed or defective when it comes to dogs.  It may be distasteful to people, but it’s not immoral. 

    With people, it’s a whole ‘nother can o’ worms…

  178. Skeptimal
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:47 am

    Lily,
     
    You say that RT has not made any arguments against atheism.  I guess that depends on what you consider an argument.  He has certainly expressed some smug opinions that are at odds with his previous views.  I’m not saying he is wrong in his new opinions, nor am I saying that smugness is a crime, but it is not accurate to say that he has approached the blog with any humility since he came back.
     
    On his first post back from Hiatus, 12/1, his post attacked the credibility of a religion reporter.
    On 12/11, he questioned Obama’s credibility
    On 12/16, he mocked Christopher Hitchens and sarcastically implied Hitchens is a hypocrite
    On 12/17, he highlighted the possibility that atheists might have stolen the capitol rotunda’s baby Jesus as a publicity stunt
    Admittedly, on 12/18, he did point out the hypocrisy of a religious leader.
     
    Now all of this is from the guy who points out that he was part of “The God Who Wasn’t There,” a *public* position that he took willingly and now disputes. 
     
    The title of this string, “why do you *really* care,” seems to express some incredulity that people might expect an explanation.  Are you *kidding?*  If he is not kidding, then he is not looking at his situation with much clarity.  RT  can not be compelled to explain anything to anyone, but I think it’s ridiculous to restart the blog and think that people are going to have much respect for his silence on the subject.  If he wanted people not to ask questions and expect answers, RT should not have come back.
     
    Let me put it this way…if Rick Warren were to suddenly accept that Christianity is mythology, his credibility would also be in question. If he started a TV show on the subject, you can bet that people would be demanding answers.  This is just a part of the reality you live with when you take a public position and then publicly change your mind. 

  179. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:54 am

    Just thinkin’…because I’m the world’s worst procrastinator and the fact that I have to pack up and move an entire household to Europe over the next five weeks is kinda freakin’ me out and I’d rather do anything than deal with it…

    mk, just to play a sort of devil’s advocate here, I think you’re still missing the point on evolution and survival of the fittest.

    The survival of the species is always the primary objective. 

    In a wolf pack (a species that lives and operates as a society), resources are limited and the amount of energy output required to procure those resources is very, very high.  Therefore, any single member of the group who cannot meet that energy output level in order to justify its intake of resources is a detriment to the group — to the species.   This is why the old, weak, sick, deformed are shunned and left to die. 

    In human society, we have evolved (and I’m keeping it strictly on an evolutionary level for sake of argument) to the point where our society can easily absorb those who cannot fend for themselves and who may even require extra energy output and extra resources just to maintain basic life requirements.  Therefore, the sick, weak, elderly, etc., don’t present any real threat to the survival of the species.

    So, even from a strictly evolutionary perspective,  it would not be advantageous for humans to be genetically programmed to destroy the weak or deformed or diseased or what have you.   Which, actually, is why we are NOT genetically programmed to do just this. 

  180. Irreligious
    January 8th, 2009 @ 11:56 am

    I’m an atheist and, apparently, I don’t know half of what Nina, a Christian, knows about the mechanics of evolution. Ain’t that a kick in the head? I hope this dispels any notion that atheists necessarily worship at the altar of Charles Darwin. Sincerely, thank you for the brief education, Nina. ;)

    Frankly, I don’t understand why homosexuals are being compared to those with physical handicaps. Other than being minorities among the majority, there is no equivalence between members of the two groups.
    Well, that, and the fact that the members of both groups apparently  fall short of someone else’s ideal of what a human should be. 

    Generally, people with physical disabilities are not judged for their alleged moral unfitness. They are condescended to in other ways, but that isn’t usually the tack others use to judge them.

    Of course, I could become physically handicapped tomorrow. So could any of us posting here. It’s unlikely that any physically handicapped person with a heterosexual orientation is going to suddenly be struck gay. Although, I do know some physically handicapped people who are already gay. 

    I don’t understand this argument about gay people being “disordered,” like handicapped people or drug-addicted people. There is no condition that precludes people from being gay. I’ve met alcoholic gay people, stone cold crazy gay people, obese gay people, kind gay people, mean as fuck gay people, deaf  gay people,  gay people who were born blind (think about that for a minute), red-haired gay people, gay people with alopecia, incredibly tall gay people, gay people who were born with dwarfism, rich gay people, indigent gay people, atheist gay people,  super religious gay people and gay people who seem to never give a thought to pondering the imponderables.

    What they all share in common is other people’s unreasonable obsession with who they screw.

     

  181. Lily
    January 8th, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

    Ok. Skeptimal. I take your point. We don’t have the same view of what an argument is. I personally would just call those posts social commentary thrown out there to get a discussion going.  But I see what you mean.

    The amount of cyber ink spilled over the term “disordered” seems excessive to me. In Church-speak it means something along the lines of “not functioning, as intended”.  Thus, sex functions as intended, when reserved for two opposite sex people in monogamous marriage, as the Church understands the matter. 

    I would not use the term of handicapped people because, as far as I know,  the sorts of things that are normally considered disordered are things under our control, e.g. gluttony (disordered appetite), promiscuity (disordered sexuality), etc.  This why they are considered morally wrong.   But then that pesky original sin comes into the picture and thwarts even our best attempts, at times, to live the way we would like to– or say we would like to.

    But none of that applies to mental or physical handicaps. No physical or mental handicap is morally wrong.

  182. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

    Nina,

    Oh no.   I didn’t think  you were.  I’m just curious as to why it wouldn’t be genetically driven.  Why it wouldn’t be programmed into us.

    I realize that it isn’t the “strongest” in the physical sense.  (Loved the T-Rex example), but I’m talking about strongest as in healthiest, smartest, the most physically fit…the whole enchilada.

    It just seems like the most logical thing that would follow from believing that we are creatures that try to keep our species alive and thriving, would be to have, programmed into us, tendency to “eliminate” by whatever means, those that threatened our survival. 

    I would say, and now I see that you probably would also, that we have an ethical code which would prevent us from doing this.  But if we were not moral creatures,  our morals only being that which furthers the species, then why would we feel appalled by the notion of killing off anyone that was “weaker” (again I mean mentally, least healthy, least physically fit…the whole enchilada).

    It just doesn’t seem logical.  Either we have a moral code that has nothing to do with keeping the species alive, or we have do not have a moral code, and the only thing that drives us is a desire to preserve the species.  But it can’t really be both. 

    Because if we have a moral code that goes against preserving the species (ie, eliminating those that hold us back) then that would have to come from someplace else.  And we would have to answer the question, where did it come from?

  183. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

    Nina,


    But…again…it’s not immoral to just drown the runts or the deformed or defective when it comes to dogs.  It may be distasteful to people, but it’s not immoral.
    With people, it’s a whole ‘nother can o’ worms…
    YES!!!! Exactly.  Now what I have been asking is WHY?

  184. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

    Irreligious,

    I think that Lily says it well.  You are thinking that I am saying you HAVE a disorder.  Which I am not.

    I am saying that when nature go awry, meaning it does something that it does not do almost everytime, and changes the primary purpose of the thing that goes awry, we call it “disordered”.  Not a malady.  Just not working as it was meant to work.

    Do you deny that the womans body and the mans body are supposed to work in a certain way?  Do you not agree that homosexuality doesn’t seem to be quite the way our bodies were designed to work.   I’m not asking a moral question here.  I’m just saying that our bodies have certain  parts and when those parts are used a certain way, life is created.  Since we know that part of what we do as humans is to procreated, that it is one of our natural functions and a pretty important one at that,  doesn’t it stand to reason that using those parts for something other than their primary purpose, is not the “norm”?

  185. Irreligious
    January 8th, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

    Lily wrote:
    “The amount of cyber ink spilled over the term “disordered” seems excessive to me. In Church-speak it means something along the lines of “not functioning, as intended”.  Thus, sex functions as intended, when reserved for two opposite sex people in monogamous marriage, as the Church understands the matter.”

    I understand that this is Roman Catholic church doctrine, but I am not Roman Catholic. I never volunteered to be a subject of Rome, and neither did a lot of other people living in the U.S.A.

    In the broader world, there is plenty of room for argument as it concerns Roman Catholic doctrine on a lot of issues. Even though I’m here participating on this forum, I don’t have much desire to argue with Roman Catholics over their doctrine. I will surely lose every time.

    However, I would like someone to offer me a compelling reason why people in a pluralistic culture should be required to live under the dictates of someone else’s religion. Sincerely, I do not argue with the Roman Catholic church’s right to impose whatever reistrictions it wants on those under its control. Same goes for Jehovah’s Wtinesses, Mormons, Sunni Muslims and the like. They all have doctrines of their own and, even if I wanted to, I could not possibly live up to them all.
    But, suffice it to say, I don’t want be required to wear magic underwear because some stranger has a religious reason why, ideally, everyone should. I don’t want my daughter to be required to wear hijab because my neighbor’s religious doctrine says it’s appropriate. I don’t want to be prevented from celebrating my own birthday because it goes against the religious doctrine of the woman who lives across the street from me. And I don’t want to be enjoined from enjoying rights that  heterosexual people are allowed to take for granted.

    All of these people have their reasons for wanting to proscribe the behaviors of others that make sense to them. I do not question the sincerity of their desires.

    I suppose, what I am saying, in short, is I don’t understand why I should be held captive to any of these people’s desires if they cannot offer me a solid Constitutional reason for imposing their will on me. Pre-emptively, please allow me to say that adherence to tradition is not a valid argument. There are plenty of  longstanding traditions that have gone by the wayside or,  at least, are in the process of being dismantled: Forced racial segregation and the egregious subjugation of women, just to name a couple. 

    Telling me that I have the same civil  rights you do because I can marry a woman is disingenuous. I’m talking about equivalent rights to marry the consenting adult of my choice, not yours.

    All I ask of the people who have been given the authority to decide what my rights ought to be is the Constitutional justification for denying me and my partner the right to the protections and responsibilities of a civil marriage under the law, not their god.

  186. Irreligious
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

    MK wote:

    Do you deny that the womans body and the mans body are supposed to work in a certain way?  Do you not agree that homosexuality doesn’t seem to be quite the way our bodies were designed to work.   I’m not asking a moral question here.  I’m just saying that our bodies have certain  parts and when those parts are used a certain way, life is created.  Since we know that part of what we do as humans is to procreated, that it is one of our natural functions and a pretty important one at that,  doesn’t it stand to reason that using those parts for something other than their primary purpose, is not the “norm”?”

    MK, by that reasoning, folks who know they can’t have children because they have a lazy ovary or are shooting blanks should also refrain from having sex, too. After all, they are not functioning “normally,” either. Neither are post menopausal women and men who require Viagra and other man-made medications in order to get it up.

    From my non Roman Catholic perspective– which I value as much as you do your perspective– two consenting human beings of the required legal age ought to be free to have sex for reasons other than to procreate. They do it all the time. Many of them are not even gay.

    I don’t think it’s a sin to have sex purely for pleasure and, so far, no religious person has persuaded me that this is the case. Two men can have sex purely for pleasure in the non Catholic, non Christian, non Islamic world in which I dwell. The equipment they possess if perfectly suited for that purpose, I assure you.     

  187. Alphonsus
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

    “Telling me that I have the same civil  rights you do because I can marry a woman is disingenuous. I’m talking about equivalent rights to marry the consenting adult of my choice, not yours.”

    An honest advocate of traditional monogamous marriage would say that they do not have the right to marry any consenting adult of their choice.  For instance, they couldn’t marry two or more people (polygamy) or a close relative (incest).

    It seems that the argumentation used to advance same-sex marriage (e.g. consent, love, and personal sexual preference as the basis for marriage)  could just as easily justify the legalization of polygamy and consensual incestuous unions.  Though fathers marrying their own daughters might seem ridiculous now, so did gay marriage 50 years ago.  All you need are activist groups and a few court decision (based on the same principles as same-sex marriage) to make it a reality.

    No one is “owed” the legal benefits of marriage simply for being sexually dedicated to someone.  Governments originally granted those rights to support and facilitate the creation of biological families by men and women.  The vision of marriage advanced by same-sex marriage supporters undermines the original reasons for government recognition of marriage.  (To be honest, straight people, through things like no-fault divorce, have already done a lot to undermine these reasons)

    For example, if a gay couple with no children wants to get married, what is the interest of the government in granting those benefits?  They neither reproduce nor provide an example of stable relationships in which reproduction is possible.  Making sure that people who are having sex get some sort of tax kickback?  If that is justiofication, why couldn’t those same benefits go to non-involved roommates or siblings?

    You end up with a legal contract system which is too vague to really mean anything and, if it doesn’t really serve any purpose, government has no compelling interest in granting marriage licenses so freely.  What would be the purpose?

    Of course, one’s opinions on this matter are greatly influenced by one’s view of society and its relationship with government (e.g. libertarianism vs. communitarianism).

  188. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

    mk — a man with a heterosexual orientation is supposed to work in a way that is sexually oriented towards the opposite sex.  Same for a woman created with a heterosexual orientation. 

    And it follows that a woman designed with a homosexual orientation is designed to be sexually responsive towards other women, and so on…

    That, I think, is the sticking point.

    It’s easy to point out and scientifically map out the “disorder” behind cancers, chemical imbalances in the brain, etc. 

    No one can map out the actual point of supposed disorderedness in same-sex attraction. 

    Why, to you, is it impossible to believe that God intended for a certain portion of the population to be homosexually oriented?   Why is it even outside evolutionary desirability for a certain portion of the population to be naturally designed with homosexual orientations?

    The ONLY basis for your belief that homosexual orientation is a disordered rendition of God’s design is your belief.

    Which, as Irreligious said, is fine because you have the right to hold that belief as long as it doesn’t infringe on his ability to access all the rights THIS society has granted its citizens. 

    No one asks that the Catholic Church start marrying gay people.   All anyone asks is that all rights and privileges granted to citizens of this country be extended equally to all citizens. 

    Once we’ve established legal adulthood (which applies to ALL citizens, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religious persuasion, sexual orientation, etc.), we cannot start letting one group of citizens vote down the ability of another’s to access all the rights and privileges of citizenship. 

    Irreligious — I hope I’m getting the evolutionary stuff right — I’m truly not a scientist or even a scholar by any means. 

  189. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

    Hey!!!  Post-menopausal women are TOO functioning normally!  I resent that — menopause is perfectly normal. 

    It just makes sex better…nyah-nyah.  No babies, no birth control, no kids knocking on the door, lots of expendable cash for romantic getaways…

    Menopause rocks.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  ;-)

  190. Alphonsus
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

    “MK, by that reasoning, folks who know they can’t have children because they have a lazy ovary or are shooting blanks should also refrain from having sex, too. After all, they are not functioning “normally,” either. Neither are post menopausal women and men who require Viagra and other man-made medications in order to get it up.”

    Though not all married heterosexual are able to procreate, their union still provides an example of the kind of relationship which is needed for a thriving society.  Many people, I am sure, have been inspired by the love and devotion shown by infertile couples.  Though homosexual couples can also love each other, their physical relationship is one which can never produce a family and, therefore, can never symbolize what heterosexual love does.  There is a difference between a good function impaired and a good function misused.

  191. Alphonsus
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

    “No one asks that the Catholic Church start marrying gay people.   All anyone asks is that all rights and privileges granted to citizens of this country be extended equally to all citizens. ”

    No one has a right to marry anyone they please.  I couldn’t marry a close relative, for instance.

  192. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

    Yes, but neither can any other citizen of this country.

  193. Alphonsus
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

    And no one in most states can marry someone of the same sex as themselves

  194. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

    “Many people, I am sure, have been inspired by the love and devotion shown by infertile couples. ”
    And that means what?  The point of Irr’s remark is that if the infertile are  are having a sex, obviously it’s for reasons other than procreation, ergo procreation is not the only valid reason for having sex, even among the faithful.

    “There is a difference between a good function impaired and a good function misused.”
    Not following this one.  Alphonsus, is love = to sex in your mind?

  195. Irreligious
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

    Sorry, Nina. I meant functionally “normally”  in the context of being able to conceive children through heterosexual congress.

    And, Alphonsus, I’ve heard your argument before. I say, let each of those groups make their own case, if they want to. If there are valid Constitutional reasons for disallowing these people from marrying, so be it.

    We could make arguments against allowing all kinds of people who are currently allowed to marry from doing so. Fifty years ago, some people were insistent that there were perfectly valid reasons for keeping a black man from marrying a white woman or white man from marrying a black woman. Telling these sincere people who objected to the idea back then that both parties were still of opposite sexes did not quell their adamance.   

  196. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:32 pm

    “And no one in most states can marry someone of the same sex as themselves”

    Tradition?  This was already addressed.

  197. Irreligious
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:37 pm

    Er, functioning “normally,” that is. Damn these fingers.

  198. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

    Nina,

    No one can map out the actual point of supposed disorderedness in same-sex attraction.
    Why, to you, is it impossible to believe that God intended for a certain portion of the population to be homosexually oriented?   Why is it even outside evolutionary desirability for a certain portion of the population to be naturally designed with homosexual orientations?
    It doesn’t matter where it comes from or where it doesn’t come from.  It’s not the homosexual orientation that is immoral.  I spent all of yesterday trying to say this.

    It is not impossible for me to believe that God created or allowed them to be created exactly as they are and because he desired to do so.  Not only is it not impossible, it is in fact exactly what I believe DID happen.

    What am I saying wrong?  Honestly, I spent hours yesterday saying this exact same thing.  As you yourself said earlier, you are preaching to the choir.

    Let me try again, and make it simpler.

    There is NOTHING morally wrong with being homosexual.  There is NOTHING morally wrong with BEING homosexual.  I do not say so, the church does not say so.

    There  IS (in mine and the Catholic Churches view) something morally wrong with ACTING on their homosexuality.

    Why is this not getting through?

    One is not an act of the will and one is.
    It is ONLY with an act of the will, that one can commit an immoral act!

  199. Lily
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

    Irr: we have covered this ground repeatedly, here and elsewhere. The case against same sex marriage does not need to be made on religious grounds, at all. It can be made on purely sociological ones. I have done so in one of the threads on this blog and have done so for you in the past.

    At a certain point, there is no further point in discussing it. Society makes decisions about what, on balance, serves its interests. So far, proponents of SSM haven’t made their case. I, personally, don’t think they can. If they think they can, they need to get to work.

    As I have said repeatedly; marriage does not exist to ratify our romantic choices.

  200. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

    Because, after declaring that there is nothing wrong with being homosexual, you use the argument of physiology to explain the wrongness of homosexual sex. 

    If God made someone desire a same sex partner (a seemingly illogical choice if procreation is the objective), then who is to say (outside of some ancient semitic nomads) that he didn’t intend for certain body parts to touch on the basis of logic?

  201. Irreligious
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

    Lily, I know you and I have reached an impasse on this topic long ago.  In addressing your point, I was also communicating with other posters here with whom I still have yet to reach that brick wall. I have no doubt it’s coming, though. ;)

    But you are right. We still have a ways to go to make our case in the courts of law. The agitators are still working on it as we speak. It may take a generation or more, but I don’t think they’ll stop. After all, it took nearly a full 100 years between the Emancipation Proclamation and the 1964 Civil Rights Vote Act. Agitating is long, arduous and sometimes dangerous work. We know that. 

  202. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

    It is not impossible for me to believe that God created or allowed them to be created exactly as they are and because he desired to do so.  Not only is it not impossible, it is in fact exactly what I believe DID happen.
    What am I saying wrong?  Honestly, I spent hours yesterday saying this exact same thing. 

    Yesterday you implied that the reason homosexuality (which you claim is disorderd) is the result of our broken relationship with God, that in his perfect design, before people screwed it up, there would be no pain, suffering, illness, disability, or homosexuality.

    Now you’re saying, hey, God totally wanted to create homosexually oriented people.
     
    Which means the upshot of what you believe is that God WANTED to create homosexuals and then WANTED them to have to live without physical intimacy, and that, if they defy him on this, he WILL send them to hell…
     
    Wow.

  203. Irreligious
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

    Sorry, I meant 1964 Civil Rights and Voting acts.

  204. Alphonsus
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

    “And, Alphonsus, I’ve heard your argument before. I say, let each of those groups make their own case, if they want to. If there are valid Constitutional reasons for disallowing these people from marrying, so be it.”

    I this your statement quoted above exemplifies the difference in our juridical understandings of the issue, i.e. with whom the burden of proof lies.

    “We could make arguments against allowing all kinds of people who are currently allowed to marry from doing so. Fifty years ago, some people were insistent that there were perfectly valid reasons for keeping a black man from marrying a white woman or white man from marrying a black woman. ”

    1) “Race” is a social construct in the sense that definitions of race are entirely dependent upon subjective interpretations of phenotypic traits.  Given that all human beings are related, one cannot scientifically or legally divide people into “races” without running into all kinds of problems.  The “one-drop” rule is an example of the ludicrous guildlines one must create to enforce anti-miscegenation laws.  And, if you note, the one-drop law is based upon the idea that “white” people are superior and are irrevocable poisoned by “colored” blood.

    2) Given the issues sketched above, it seems impossible to conclude that race can have any rational connection to marriage.  Sex or, rather, the governments recognition of sexual relationships, is at the heart of what marriage has traditionally meant.  Same-sex marriage seeks to change the focus of marriage, re-building it upon feelings rather than biological realities.

    An example of government’s interest in marriage:
    Tax benefits for married people, like tax deductions, essentially mean that the government is giving up money to which it has a legal right.  In the case of marriage, this is done because it provides a benefit to families.  Given the consent/feelings-based understanding of marriage exemplified by same-sex marriage, what interest does the government have in granting these benefits and who would not qualify for them?

  205. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

    It is ONLY with an act of the will, that one can commit an immoral act!

    Oh, honey…don’t ever say that to the NFP crowd…

  206. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

    Lily said:

    The case against same sex marriage […] can be made on purely sociological [grounds].

    Oh, well, then it’s bound to change.  Inevitable, really.  Sociologically, as older generations die and younger, more socially liberal ones mature, gay marriage is merely a matter of time.

  207. Alphonsus
    January 8th, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

    “Oh, honey…don’t ever say that to the NFP crowd…”

    Could we please drop language like “the NFP crowd?”  Either name the specific group(s) or site(s) that ticked you off or lose the vague generalizations.  I doubt you’ve met every NFP-using couple and found them wanting.

  208. Alphonsus
    January 8th, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

    “If God made someone desire a same sex partner (a seemingly illogical choice if procreation is the objective), then who is to say (outside of some ancient semitic nomads) that he didn’t intend for certain body parts to touch on the basis of logic?”

    It’s generally a bad idea to make ethical decisions based solely on a person’s “inborn” or “natural” feelings.  Would a person’s strong, inherited tendency towards violence justify any acts of violence committed by that person?  Contemporary natural law theory focuses more on intentions and acts themselves (human beings are assumed to be rational, so irrational inclinations aren’t granted much weight).

    On the causes of SSA, as with most complex psychological states, the difficulty of distinguishing the influences of nature (chemistry, genetics, developmental abnormalities, etc.), nurture (conditioning, acceptance/rejection of societal standards, etc.) and self-determination leads me to adopt a certain agnosticism regarding reductionist explanations of and divine intentions regarding SSA.

  209. Alphonsus
    January 8th, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

    That should be “divine intentions concerning SSA”

  210. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

    No Nina, 

    That is NOT what I said.  I said that God wanted and ALLOWED.  He willed to allow.

  211. Alphonsus
    January 8th, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

    Looking at the responses from Jane and Irreligious, I think its pretty safe to say that we are arguing about the issue from very different, perhaps irreconcilable perspectives.  I suppose for the time being we will have to agree to disagree.

    One note, we should be clear in the future to distinguish between the morality of same-sex marriage and whether or not same-sex marriage is good social policy.  I think that might make the conversation somewhat more clear.

  212. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 8th, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

    Alphonsus, your statement only furthers position. 

    My problem with mk’s argument was that first she claimed God was illogical (making people desire the same sex), and then she claimed that homosexual sex was wrong because it wasn’t logical.

    If God is illogical, then how our we to assess, outside of a text of dubious sources, what his intent is.

    You can’t.

    One thing about opposing homosexual sex is that it allows 90% of the faithful to feel pious without any cost to self.  How curious that any rule that is inconvenient to the majority- shellfish, mixed fibers, beards, unloading personal belongings – is dispensed with, but something as benign to heterosexuals as two consenting same sex  adults having sex remains verboten.

  213. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 8th, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

    On the subject of the social benefits of same sex marriage,  I’m of the opinion that we should eliminate the state recognition of marriage completely.

    What service does it’s recognition by the government serve?  No positive one that I can see.

  214. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

    Nina,

    God created the world.

    It was perfect.

    When He created the world He created Natural Law.  Nature follows laws.
    In the beginning Nature followed the laws perfectly.

    God created man (and woman).

    He created them “perfect”.  They image Him perfectly.  They were a physical expression of His Love.  He breathed His Spirit into them.  The spirit animated them.  They were perfect.

    He gave them free will, because He desired that they love Him.   Love is only Love if it is given freely.   He created the animal kingdom to obey Him, but only man can Love Him.  This was God’s will.  This is what He WANTED.    He wanted man to love Him freely.

    Because of their free will, they rejected His Love.  Perfect Natural Law was damaged due to the will and choice of Man.

    Man became imperfect.  Natural Law became imperfect.

    Sin entered the world.  All that was good, could now be perverted to be bad.  Evil had arrived.

    Man knew shame for the first time.  He knew lust.  He knew selfishness.  He knew that He and Eve were separate beings in separate bodies.   They saw each others bodies for the first time, as objects.  Something to be desired for themselves.  Instead of total giving, they now thought of taking.
    Instead of uniting in the sexual act, it became something separate from the perfect union of the couple.  It became something in and of itself.  It became DISORDERED.

    Other things became disordered.  Nature herself.  Sometimes, rain which was meant to quench the earth and feed the plants and animals, would come down too much or too little.

    Wind which was supposed to scatter seeds and cool their skin, sometimes became disordered and blew too hard.

    Babies were born imperfect.

    Some people were born with a desire for a same sex union.  Some people desired to use the body as an object and became addicted to sex with many women, and outside of marriage.  Some people were born with an insatiable hunger, eating past the point of fullness.  Some desired things, to the point of taking more than they needed.   Sex is GOOD.  Things are GOOD.   Food is GOOD. 

    When it becomes disordered it is bad.  Pornography is BAD.  Gluttony is BAD.  Anorexia is BAD.  Greed is BAD.

    God WANTS every soul that He creates.  He loves them as they are.  He does not Love conditionally.  He still allows us to accept or reject Him.  If we accept Him, He will take all of imperfections and make us anew as we were meant to be before the fall.  Before we became disordered.

    He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” 7 6 They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss (her)?” 8 He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 I say to you, 7 whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” 10 [His] disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 He answered, “Not all can accept [this] word, 8 but only those to whom that is granted. 12 Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage 9 for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”Matthew 19:4-12

  215. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

    Jane,


    On the subject of the social benefits of same sex marriage,  I’m of the opinion that we should eliminate the state recognition of marriage completely.
    What service does it’s recognition by the government serve?  No positive one that I can see.
    Amen!  Finally we totally agree on something!

     
     

  216. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 8th, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

    I think we have at least one other area of agreement, mk.  I’m not opposed Hospital DNR orders (and I suspect that you object to them), but I am very much opposed to assisted suicide.

  217. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

    Jane,

    My problem with mk’s argument was that first she claimed God was illogical (making people desire the same sex), and then she claimed that homosexual sex was wrong because it wasn’t logical.

    The fall caused what we call concupiscence, the selfish human desire for an object, person, or experience.

    God does want EVERY human being that He creates.  Flaws and all.  He wants blind people, gay people, short people and tall people.  He wants short blind people, tall gay people,  and short, blind, gay people with red hair.  He wants people that tend towards avarice and people that tend toward gluttony.

    He does NOT want gluttony.  He does NOT want avarice.  But He DOES want people.

    How curious that any rule that is inconvenient to the majority- shellfish, mixed fibers, beards, unloading personal belongings – is dispensed with, but something as benign to heterosexuals as two consenting same sex  adults having sex remains verboten.

    The laws you speak of were not Moral Laws.  They were meant to be directives on how to lead a healthy life.  If the doctor tells you to wash your hands and your mother tells you not to eat the bella donna, they are not giving you moral standards.   They are keeping you healthy and alive.
    If your mother however tells you not to tell lies, she IS teaching you a moral lesson.

    Surely, you are smart enough to see the difference.

  218. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

    Jane,

    I think we have at least one other area of agreement, mk.  I’m not opposed Hospital DNR orders (and I suspect that you object to them), but I am very much opposed to assisted suicide.

    Actually, you might be surprised to know that I am not opposed to DNR orders.   My own father had Vascular Dementia for 10 years.  He was bedridden, unable to talk,  walk, feed himself or use the bathroom.  We cared for him at home.   He died this October.  We had strict orders NOT to resucitate him.  The trauma caused to him physically (moving him, operating, feeding tubes) would have been greater than letting him die.  This is accepted Catholic Teaching.  What you cannot do is withhold food and water as long as the patient is able to take them.   But you are not required to use EXTRAordinary means to keep a person alive.

    Wow!   That’s 2 in one day.  I hope they have warm coats in hell :)

  219. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 4:45 pm

    Alphonsus,

    Sex or, rather, the governments recognition of sexual relationships, is at the heart of what marriage has traditionally meant.  Same-sex marriage seeks to change the focus of marriage, re-building it upon feelings rather than biological realities.

    YES! YES! YES!  you really said that well.

  220. Lily
    January 8th, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

    Nina said: Sociologically, as older generations die and younger, more socially liberal ones mature, gay marriage is merely a matter of time.

    What can  you possibly mean?. Sociology has nothing to do with socially conservative or liberal. “Liberals” pushed for and passed no fault divorce and have devastated the lives of a couple generations of children and weakened marriage– possibly to the point that same sex marriage will deliver the coupe de grace (supply your own diacritics. I don’t have any.) 

    UVJ said:  On the subject of the social benefits of same sex marriage,  I’m of the opinion that we should eliminate the state recognition of marriage completely.
    What service does it’s recognition by the government serve?  No positive one that I can see.
      To which mk replied: Amen!  Finally we totally agree on something!

    Oh my dear friends, you can’t be serious. The family is the bedrock of a stable society! Of course the government (which is us by the way), has an interest in it. Quite a lot of interest. Rather than number all the ways, let me refer you to the Princeton Principles which lays out much of the case for marriage that needs to be made: ( http://www.princetonprinciples.org/)
    Irr, I am just amazed that you are talking about winning the “gay marriage” argument in the courts. We are not governed by the courts. Your case needs to be made to the American people. This you have never managed to do. It is a long, long distance from the courts’ ruling that separation of races and race-based discrimination are unconstitiutional to –It is fine to redefine human nature and abolish marriage”.  

    It is possible that we will have so rogue a court, if Obama lasts 8 years that you will get your way. But the price is high and you can expect the same sort of trouble that the court imposition of abortion caused.  But mark my words. The thinking that drives the push for same sex marriage can be used for every other combination the mind of man can conceive. We have already seen a woman marry herself. Another married a dolphin. Can you really believe that a society that says two men can marry because they love each other can tell 2 men that they can’t marry the one woman they love? Or the goat?
     

  221. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

    Lily,

    We don’t recognize civil marriages as valid anyway.  So what’s the difference?   If marriage is strictly a religious enterprise wouldn’t we have more valid marriages and less invalid ones?

  222. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

    mk —

    I think the problem you’re having expressing your take on sex and nature and God and disorder is that you don’t really know what you’re saying at all, which is why it’s coming across as so contradictory and flip-floppy, depending on what others are saying in response.

    So….your latest rendition, besides the bad Bible gobbledygook, is that God “…wanted and allowed. He willed to allow.” 
     
    Which is a slightly watered down version of your second assertion re this topic which went like this: 
    “It is not impossible for me to believe that God created or allowed them to be created exactly as they are and because he desired to do so.  Not only is it not impossible, it is in fact exactly what I believe DID happen.”

    So now “because he desired to do so” (which you most emphatically, at least at the time you wrote it, believed DID happen) has now morphed into he allowed it to happen, although he sort of allowed it and willed it and wanted it all at the same time without really desiring it now, or…or…or…???

    I think, from what you’ve written here, and what Lily has written here and from her posts at the RA forum,  you’re not really here to “discuss” anything.  

    Also, you really need to study up on what the Church teaches, why they teach what they do, and what the theology behind it is.   You’re ill prepared to enter into this sort of apologetics, my dear.

    I may not agree with the Church on many, many things, and I may even think the Church has turned into something that is no longer of God, but at least I know what I’m disagreeing with and why I’m disagreeing with it.

    Lily, you’re an idiot.  Have a lovely day!

  223. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

    Nina,

    Seriously, how is saying He willed it or allowed it different from saying He willed it or allowed it?  Your failure to understand church teaching might be the problem.  Not my failure to express it.  So far you are the only one that has not understood what I’ve been saying.  While most disagree, they HAVE understood it. 

    You have repeatedly pulled out phrases and words and twisted them to mean what you want them to mean and not at all what  I said.  I have not contradicted myself at all.  If God wills something to be so, then He wants it to be so.  While He doesn’t desire the disorder, He does desire the people.  Perhaps if you say it enough times, it will click. 

    While He doesn’t desire the disorder, He does desire the people.
    While He doesn’t desire the disorder, He does desire the people.

    Perhaps if you, like He, could say past peoples flaws and respect them where they are, you’d understand the concept better.  Love the people, flaws and all, detest the flaw itself.  It’s pretty darn simple.

  224. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

    how is saying He willed it or allowed it different from saying He willed it or allowed it

    Huh??
     
    Okay, willed, allowed and desired are three different words with three different meanings. 
     
    Hugely different meanings. 
     
    I do understand Church teaching on this matter (as well as others).  I reject it.  I realize this is the usual tactic for your sort — the second someone refuses to capitulate, you insist they don’t understand.   That’s not true.  It is possible to understand a belief or a doctrine and completely reject it.  

    I do understand what you’re trying to say, which is why I can see how badly you’re expressing it. 

    Your words are still there for everyone to read.   People can see that you have waffled on the whys and wherefores of homosexual orientation and have lumped homosexual orientation in with cancer and mental illness, and so on.   They can also see where you claimed to believe, really believe, that God desired to create some humans with a homosexual orientation.  Your words.  Not mine.  Still there.  Scroll up.  Read. 

    You NEVER said he “desires the people”.   You said, and I’ll copy and paste again so we both know it’s YOUR words I’m putting here:

    It is not impossible for me to believe that God created or allowed them to be created exactly as they are and because he desired to do so.  Not only is it not impossible, it is in fact exactly what I believe DID happen

    See, that’s what YOU said.  And then, when I pointed out how wrong you were theologically according to YOUR Church’s teachings, you redefine once again your take on this teaching and continue to claim you know this inside and out and I just don’t get it.
     
    I do get it.  I get what the Church teaches.   I get that the Church teaches that God did NOT desire to create homosexually oriented humans, but that this orientation, which the Church considers “disordered” and working against natural law (referring to God’s design, not “mother nature”, or some other such silly concept), is one symptom, among others, of the fall of Man, of our fallen nature. 
     
     
    I get that.   I understand what the Church is saying and why they’re saying it.  I reject the teaching, however, when it comes to homosexual orientation.  Misuse of sexuality, yes.  But I don’t consider practicing homosexuals to necessarily be misusing their sexuality. 
     
     
    Do you?

    Also, you continue to mix up orientation and practice, even when you’re claiming you’re not and practically jumping through hoops to prove you’re not.

    Is orientation the flaw?  You imply this when you say that God desires and loves the people, flawed and all, when you refer to those with homosexual orientation.  In other posts, you loudly claim the orientation is not sinful.  You’ve even gone as far to say the orientation is perfectly within God’s desire for humanity (when you claimed you believed God desired to create people with homosexual orientation). 

    You’re the one screwing up here, not me.  

  225. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

    how is saying He willed it or allowed it different from saying He willed it or allowed it

    Huh??
     
    Okay, willed, allowed and desired are three different words with three different meanings. 
     
    Hugely different meanings. 
     
    I do understand Church teaching on this matter (as well as others).  I reject it.  I realize this is the usual tactic for your sort — the second someone refuses to capitulate, you insist they don’t understand.   That’s not true.  It is possible to understand a belief or a doctrine and completely reject it.  

    I do understand what you’re trying to say, which is why I can see how badly you’re expressing it. 

    Your words are still there for everyone to read.   People can see that you have waffled on the whys and wherefores of homosexual orientation and have lumped homosexual orientation in with cancer and mental illness, and so on.   They can also see where you claimed to believe, really believe, that God desired to create some humans with a homosexual orientation.  Your words.  Not mine.  Still there.  Scroll up.  Read. 

    You NEVER said he “desires the people”.   You said, and I’ll copy and paste again so we both know it’s YOUR words I’m putting here:

    It is not impossible for me to believe that God created or allowed them to be created exactly as they are and because he desired to do so.  Not only is it not impossible, it is in fact exactly what I believe DID happen

    See, that’s what YOU said.  And then, when I pointed out how wrong you were theologically according to YOUR Church’s teachings, you redefine once again your take on this teaching and continue to claim you know this inside and out and I just don’t get it.
     
    I do get it.  I get what the Church teaches.   I get that the Church teaches that God did NOT desire to create homosexually oriented humans, but that this orientation, which the Church considers “disordered” and working against natural law (referring to God’s design, not “mother nature”, or some other such silly concept), is one symptom, among others, of the fall of Man, of our fallen nature. 
     
     
    I get that.   I understand what the Church is saying and why they’re saying it.  I reject the teaching, however, when it comes to homosexual orientation.  Misuse of sexuality, yes.  But I don’t consider practicing homosexuals to necessarily be misusing their sexuality. 
     
     
    Do you?

    Also, you continue to mix up orientation and practice, even when you’re claiming you’re not and practically jumping through hoops to prove you’re not.

    Is orientation the flaw?  You imply this when you say that God desires and loves the people, flawed and all, when you refer to those with homosexual orientation.  In other posts, you loudly claim the orientation is not sinful.  You’ve even gone as far to say the orientation is perfectly within God’s desire for humanity (when you claimed you believed God desired to create people with homosexual orientation). 

    You’re the one screwing up here, not me.  
     

     

  226. Lily
    January 8th, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

    mk said:
    We don’t recognize civil marriages as valid anyway.  So what’s the difference?   If marriage is strictly a religious enterprise wouldn’t we have more valid marriages and less invalid ones?

    We  do indeed recognize civil marriages as valid. We don’t regard them as sacramentally valid, which is a very different thing. If we didn’t recognize them at all, we wouldn’t have umpteen million reverts and converts trying to see if they can annul previous marriages and have the current one recognized/blessed as a sacramental one. 

    Marriage is not a strictly religious enterprise.  Marriage = pair bonding/family formation.  It predates the church, the state, the clan and the tribe. No society can let it go unregulated and none ever has.  Again, I recommend taking a look at the Princeton Principles to see the usual sociological case that is made for it laid out. Naturally, one can argue about the details but it captures most of what is essential.

  227. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

    No Nina,

    I’m sorry but no.

    It is not impossible for me to believe that God created or allowed them to be created exactly as they are and because he desired to do so.  Not only is it not impossible, it is in fact exactly what I believe DID happen

    That is what I said, and that is what I meant.  He desired them to be created exactly as they are, because by desiring free will, He desired to allow the fall to begin with.  He ALLOWED them to be created with flaws and all, because He loves us and shows us mercy.

    The only thing I could have said differently is that He desired them to be exactly WHO they are.  But I forget that you don’t make a distinction between who and what, and assumed that you would understand what I meant.

    He created them exactly as He wanted and allowed the flaws to remain out of Love. 

    The problem is not  with my explanation.  The problem is that when I explained it in simple basic terms you didn’t understand it so I’ve had to repeat it and say it in so many different ways…

    You know what the real issue is?  You don’t see homosexuality as a disorder and therefore anything that comes after that is flawed as far as you’re concerned.  I never, ever, ever asked you to agree with me.

    From the start I have known that you DISAGREE with me.  If nothing else you say is clear, that certainly has been!

    Is orientation the flaw?  You imply this when you say that God desires and loves the people, flawed and all, when you refer to those with homosexual orientation.  In other posts, you loudly claim the orientation is not sinful.  You’ve even gone as far to say the orientation is perfectly within God’s desire for humanity (when you claimed you believed God desired to create people with homosexual orientation).

    I think you that is mixing up flaw and sin.  Not me.

    From nine ways til Sunday I have been saying, and saying it often and saying nothing BUT, that God loves the homosexual the way that He is BECAUSE He is a person…but that He detests the disorder of homosexuality.    While a sin is a flaw, a FLAW is not a sin. 

    I am quite clear on that.  You however do not see homosexuality as either a flaw OR a sin.

    I have written enough stuff here to fill a book, and you pick out one sentence or two, that might have been poorly parsed and accuse me of not knowing what I’m talking about.   Show me where I have contradicted myself.

    I have said from post one that God loves the person in spite of the flaw in his nature.  That the flaw in itself is not sinful.  It is not evil, it is just nature gone wrong.  You don’t like that so you twist it to mean I liken it to cancer.  Then I say that God loves the homosexual just as he is, as the person he is, but does not care much for the flaw.  And you twist that to say that God can’t love the person because he is flawed. 

    I’m not the one that has a problem with homosexuality.  It’s just an abberation.  It’s NOT, NOT, NOT a sin. 


  228. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 7:21 pm

    Lily,

    Marriage is not a strictly religious enterprise.  Marriage = pair bonding/family formation.  It predates the church, the state, the clan and the tribe. No society can let it go unregulated and none ever has.  Again, I recommend taking a look at the Princeton Principles to see the usual sociological case that is made for it laid out. Naturally, one can argue about the details but it captures most of what is essential.

    Fair enough.  I just get so tired of the whole argument, you know.  It seems like it’s coming down to we either disgrace marriage by making it a secualr toy, allowing every kind of marriage, thereby making marriage itself a joke, or we put in a place where it’s safe.

    You’re probably right.  I just feel like it’s everyone marries or no one marries.  I’ll check out the Principals.  Heck, I’ll probably end up blogging on it!

  229. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

    Nina,

    Let me try this one last time.

    Man and Woman were created perfect.
    They fell.
    Because of that sometimes they are born with flaws.  God does not wish us to be flawed, but loves whether we are or not.  Homosexuality, is a flaw.
    Some of the flaws are moral flaws.  These require an act of the will.  The person must do them, of their own free will.  They must choose to do them.  This is sin.
    Some flaws, which in and of themselves are not sins, do involve a tendency to sin.  Acting on your homosexual impulses, is a sin. It is a sin caused by a flaw which is not a sin. 

    God loves us even with our flaws, and even when we sin. 

    He does not desire us to be flawed. He does not desire us to sin.  He does desire us to be.  He always loves the who we are, but does not always love the what we do.

  230. Nina
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

    That is what I said, and that is what I meant.  He desired them to be created exactly as they are, because by desiring free will, He desired to allow the fall to begin with.  He ALLOWED them to be created with flaws and all, because He loves us and shows us mercy.

    There are so many things theologically wrong with this statement, it’s hard to know where to begin.  This is not Christian, much less Catholic, theology.  

    Also, nice, what is it? fourth? back-pedal on the homosexual ORIENTATION issue.    I have always made a distinction betwen “who” and “what”, but if you think I don’t, please quote me as I have quoted you.  You made that assertion, now back it up.   You are the one waffling between the “who” and “what”, not me.   Either that, or you just don’t really know what the words you use actually mean.
     
    The problem with your explanation is not that I don’t understand what you’re TRYING to say, it’s that you’re not actually SAYING what you think you’re saying, and out of frustration you keep claiming I don’t understand no matter how you try to “simplify” it for me.   The more you, er, “simplify”, the deeper you dig yourself.  The reality is you don’t really know what you’re talking about, you’re trying to parrot and paraphrase concepts you don’t really understand.  
     
    I’ve already shown you several times where you’ve contradicted yourself, pulling the contradictory statements as well.  You’re just refusing to see that you’re getting it all quite wrong in your determination to insist your belief trumps everyone else’s beliefs.  
     
    I do not believe being created with a homosexual orientation is a flaw.   You do (for now, anyway, but as we all can see, this may change in the next post or two).   I’ve asked you to explain how being created with a same-sex attraction is flawed — where’s the actual “flaw”. 

    You’re mixing it all up again when you write this:

    that God loves the homosexual the way that He is BECAUSE He is a person…but that He detests the disorder of homosexuality.    While a sin is a flaw, a FLAW is not a sin. 

    So…God willingly creates humans with the disorder of homosexuality, which is a disorder he hates…
     
    What the bloody hell are you trying to say??    That God deliberately creates people with disorders he hates?   This is NOT Catholic teaching.   Go ask your priest, your bishop, a professional apologist.  Seriously.  You’re just…wrong.   Sorry, but there it is.

    That last post is just another mess…theologically, from a Catholic point of view, a big, huge mess…
     
    My dear, you really just don’t know what you’re saying.  
     
     

  231. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

    God does not create homosexuals.  He creates people.  Simple enough?

  232. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:21 pm

    So…God willingly creates humans with the disorder of homosexuality, which is a disorder he hates…

    Sure Nina.  That’s it.  If that’s what you’ve gotten from what I’ve been saying, then I give up.  It doesn’t matter what I say or how I say it.  You’ll keep coming up with that.  Fine.  Sure.  Yeah.  That’s what I mean.  Why not?  It’s easier, right? 

  233. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

    What the bloody hell are you trying to say??    That God deliberately creates people with disorders he hates?   This is NOT Catholic teaching.   Go ask your priest, your bishop, a professional apologist.  Seriously.  You’re just…wrong.   Sorry, but there it is.

    Oh yeah, like that’ll work.  So let me get this straight.  I can’t quote from the bible because it’s gobbledygook, but I can ask a bishop, a priest or a professional apologist what his opinion of the gobbledygook is…?

    Priceless.

  234. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

    mk, if God creates people, does he or does he not create them as they are?

    if he creates them as they are, he creates them with a sexual preference, correct?

    even if he doesn’t have a negative opinion about sexual preference anyone can see that it would be sadistic to say, create a person that needs to pee, and then make peeing a sin, right?

  235. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:27 pm

    I don’t know Jane.  You’ll have to ask Nina.  She knows everything.  If I try to answer I’ll just be told I’m inept.   Seriously.

  236. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:32 pm

    Ok, well, maybe we’ve beaten this to death. 

    Let’s talk about something cool, like the atheist advertising campaign in the UK and the newly announced pending lawsuit!

  237. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

    I’m sorry Jane.  That wasn’t fair to you.  Nina has just warn me down and I’m not sure I can handle any more abuse tonight.

    Here’s what I think.  I honestly don’t know if homosexuality is genetic, or happens somewhere after birth.  Probably both.

    As I have said, we were meant to be created perfectly.  But because we are each stained with original sin from the moment we are created we are all flawed.  If homosexuality is something that is there from conception, then it is a result of sin, not of God’s desire to create flaws.  He set a system in place.  Adam and Eve broke it.  We have been living with the consequences since that time.  One of the consequences is that we are born imperfect.  We will all be perfect again.

    Sex is not relevant in the next life.  Sex is only relevant here, because it is the design God chose to create new life.  It is meant to have two parts.  Unitive and procreative.   It is wrong to have sex in any situation which does not involve both parts.  If you cannot create children, that is a flaw in design but not a sin in itself.  As alphonsus said earlier ““There is a difference between a good function impaired and a good function misused.”  Homosexual behavior, birth control, sex outside of marriage are all misuses.

    The inclination towards homosexuality is a flaw.  Blindness is a flaw.  He creates blind people too.   If there was no  sin, if Adam and Eve had not committed that first act of defiance, there would be no blind people or homosexuals.

    But in the end, all flaws are removed and we become the perfect people that God created.   We will not always be flawed.

    He doesn’t just create bodies.  He creates persons.  If the body is messed up  in some way,  it does not mean the “person”, or the soul is messed up.     The flaws of the person/soul, are choices.  These are sins.

    Maybe the confusion is coming because we are talking about two different flaws.    One is a flaw that happens to us, and one is a flaw that we choose.

    So while the tendency might be a flaw in the body/phsyche, it does not become a sin in the person until it is acted upon.

    So to answer your question, He did not in the beginning intend for this to happen.  If we all just did what He wants us to do, there wouldn’t be any of this stuff.

    If every single person followed the faith, and believed and lived the commandments perfectly (which we won’t and can’t) but if we could and did, there would never be another illness, or blind person, or gay person.

    We would all be as we were meant to be before the fall.  It is not God’s fault that we are blind.  It is not Gods fault that we are flawed.  It is ours.

  238. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

    Jane,

    Let’s say a mother buys her daughter a beautiful doll.  Perfect.  Right out of the box. 

    The little girl takes the doll, cuts off it’s hair, writes on it’s face with marker and pokes out it’s eyes (nice kid).  The father comes home, sees the doll and says to the mother, why did you buy her that awful doll?

    The mother didn’t buy her an awful doll.  The mother never desired the doll to be trashed.  The mother desired the doll to be beautiful.  A beautiful doll for her beautiful daughter.    The mother still loves the little girl, even tho the little girl ruined her gift.   But the doll remains flawed.  It’s not the mother’s fault.  It’s the child’s fault.  The child made a choice.  The child is responsible, not the mother.

    You asking why God would create flawed people, is like the father blaming the mother.  You should be asking why people keep cutting their dolls hair and poking out their dolls eyes.

  239. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

    Jane,

    Yes. Tell me about the atheist campaign and the lawsuit.  I’m tired of cute kittens and mean cats.

  240. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

    Ahhhhh…I just googled it.  Convenient that Atheism isn’t a religion, isn’t it?  It keeps you exempt from the state/church separation laws.

    (I don’t know if they have those in England, but the idea is the same.  If it’s not a religion then it can be promoted like one, and no one can say anything…hmmmm….)

  241. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 9:26 pm

    I think I see now where we are getting screwed up.

    God creates the person with the disorder.  But WE created the  disorder.

  242. Bobby Bambino
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:12 pm

    MK rules!

  243. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

    Oh Bobby.  I swear, I just said a prayer not 20 minutes ago.  I said, God you’ve gotta help me here.  I’m out of my league.  I know what I’m sayin’ but I ain’t got the “big” words…If Bobby was here, he’d know what to say!

    And here you are! 

    HELP!!
    BTW,  we put up a Happy Birthday to Rae post.  You should stop by and wish her a happy B-day.

  244. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:20 pm

    Bobby,

    If you’re still there…

    after three days of posting basically the same thing I said this:
    It is not impossible for me to believe that God created or allowed them to be created exactly as they are and because he desired to do so.  Not only is it not impossible, it is in fact exactly what I believe DID happen.

    Then Nina said this:
    There are so many things theologically wrong with this statement, it’s hard to know where to begin.  This is not Christian, much less Catholic, theology. 

    Tell what I’ve said wrong…I’m soooo confused.  (Must be cuz I’m hangin’ out at Vals…lol)

  245. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

    Ahhh well, tomorrows another day…

  246. Bobby Bambino
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:30 pm

    No, I”m here… just thinking… still confused about what the question and objection is…

  247. Bobby Bambino
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:39 pm

    Maybe let’s look at it this way.  A tendency to be attracted to those of the same sex, a tendency to be attracted to pornography, a tendency to be attracted to cheating on tests, a tendency to be attracted to yourself (i.e. pride) etc. etc.  These are all the result of concupiscence; that is, because of original sin, we have a tendency to be attracted to that which is not good.  So yes, some are born being attracted to those of the opposite sex, some are born being attracted to lying, etc. 

    But God does provide an antidote through his grace.  Jesus Christ came to free us from our sexual addictions, our pride, our gluttony.  So we’re fallen, we are born “messed up”, not in a state we were originally intended for.  But as I mentioned above, God’s grace is given to us precisely to free us from such sins. 

    Is that sort along the idea?

  248. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:39 pm

    Okay.  I hold homosexuality is a flaw caused by the fall.  Not a sin.  A flaw.
    Only the action can be a sin.

    I made the statement that God created (the homosexual) and allowed (the homosexual) to b created exactly as they are.  

    Nina, a girl here, says that that is not true.  That it is theologically unsound.
    Will you stick around for a couple.  I’ll try to condense a post that grabs a few highlights, but it will take a minute or two…

  249. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:41 pm

    Yes, that’s the idea.  The problem we are having is the notion that God created someone homosexual to begin with.   I’ve been trying to say, and think that I have said, exactly what you just said, but it’s getting lost in translation…hang on..

  250. Bobby Bambino
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:42 pm


    I hold homosexuality is a flaw caused by the fall.  Not a sin.  A flaw.
    Only the action can be a sin.
    I made the statement that God created (the homosexual) and allowed (the homosexual) to b created exactly as they are.  ”
     
    This sounds exactly right to me.
     
    “Nina, a girl here, says that that is not true.  That it is theologically unsound.”

    Maybe.  I would like to see some Vatican documents to support that.

  251. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

    Nina asked me why I found it impossible to believe that God created homosexuals the way that he did intentionally.  To which I responded:

    It is not impossible for me to believe that God created or allowed them to be created exactly as they are and because he desired to do so.  Not only is it not impossible, it is in fact exactly what I believe DID happen.

    To which Nina responded:


    The problem with your explanation is not that I don’t understand what you’re TRYING to say, it’s that you’re not actually SAYING what you think you’re saying, and out of frustration you keep claiming I don’t understand no matter how you try to “simplify” it for me.   The more you, er, “simplify”, the deeper you dig yourself.  The reality is you don’t really know what you’re talking about, you’re trying to parrot and paraphrase concepts you don’t really understand.  

    I’ve already shown you several times where you’ve contradicted yourself, pulling the contradictory statements as well.  You’re just refusing to see that you’re getting it all quite wrong in your determination to insist your belief trumps everyone else’s beliefs.  

    I do not believe being created with a homosexual orientation is a flaw.   You do (for now, anyway, but as we all can see, this may change in the next post or two).   I’ve asked you to explain how being created with a same-sex attraction is flawed — where’s the actual “flaw”.
    You’re mixing it all up again when you write this:
    that God loves the homosexual the way that He is BECAUSE He is a person…but that He detests the disorder of homosexuality.    While a sin is a flaw, a FLAW is not a sin.
    So…God willingly creates humans with the disorder of homosexuality, which is a disorder he hates…

    What the bloody hell are you trying to say??    That God deliberately creates people with disorders he hates?   This is NOT Catholic teaching.   Go ask your priest, your bishop, a professional apologist.  Seriously.  You’re just…wrong.   Sorry, but there it is.
    That last post is just another mess…theologically, from a Catholic point of view, a big, huge mess…

    My dear, you really just don’t know what you’re saying.  


  252. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:48 pm

    I keep trying to say that he creates people and they have flaws.  But this does not make them sinful.  Some flaws incline us towards sin, but the flaw itself is not a sin.

    Then she comes back with I’m saying that God purposely creates flawed people. 

    I don’t know what I’m saying wrong…

  253. Lily
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:49 pm

    At the risk of confusing things more I will say that I don’t quite agree with this:

    It is not impossible for me to believe that God created or allowed them to be created exactly as they are and because he desired to do so.  Not only is it not impossible, it is in fact exactly what I believe DID happen.

    God allows the world to continue, for a time, in its fallen state.  Is that because he desires it?  I don’t know how he could, since it cost him His Son to redeem it. God does not desire babies to be born with diseases or handicaps– he allows it to happen because that is what disordered nature brings forth. He would have to intervene supernaturally each and every time to prevent these things from happening. He has not chosen to do that. He has chosen to send  his Son– once to offer redemption and eventually, once more to put an end to human history. Everything will then be put right– in God’s own time.

  254. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:49 pm

    BTW, Danny and Vanessa lost their baby… :(

  255. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:51 pm

    Lily,

    I’ve clarified over and over that He does NOT desire the flaws.  OVER AND OVER AND OVER…He creates people.  He wishes they weren’t flawed.  That was the plan…

  256. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

    Lily,
    When I said that he created homosexuals the way that they are, (and I can see how this might be misunderstood) I also said he allowed.  I admitted that I parsed that poorly.

    He does create homosexuals.  He creates everything.  But He doesn’t want them to be flawed.  That was OUR doing.  He allows the flaw.  But He still did create the person.  See?

    It was one poorly parsed paragraph among hundreds that said the same thing, but not so clumsily.  You’ve been following along.  You know what I’ve been saying…

    It’s not an easy concept to convey.  That He created us knowing we would have flaws, but not liking the flaws.

  257. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 10:58 pm

    Here, I wrote this yesterday

    Having said that, it is no ones fault and there is no culpability whatsoever in our disorders.  We are who and what we are, disorders and all.
    The only morality involved, is in the actions we do or don’t do stemming from our own free will.
    Asking you not to be homosexual would be like asking a deaf person to hear.  Or judging them morally, because of their deafness.  This would be wrong, and morally disordered.
    Each of us is given something that we must deal with.  We must make choices, and act accordingly.
    I myself have fought drug addiction.  My son has bi-polar.  Someone else might have an eating disorder.
    We, as Catholics always go back to the beginning and ask, how was it meant to be?  We believe he created them, Man and Woman.  So we assume this is how it was meant to be.   That’s why we think it is disordered to express our sexuality as man  and man, or woman and woman.
    Again, and this is really, really important.  We MUST NOT judge a man for who he IS.  Judging actions, choices is a different thing.  We can believe that an action is “bad” but we must NEVER believe that a “person” is.
    You NEVER lose your dignity.  Anyone that doesn’t understand that is committing a far greater sin, than someone engaging in homosexual acts.

  258. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

    I also said this:

    Yes, the church views homosexuality as disordered.  Just as she views blindness as disordered.  In the world before the fall, nature never had abberations.  EVERYTHING went according to plan.  Only after the fall, did stuff start to get off track.
    Before you get upset that I have called you disordered, it might help to know that each and every one of us is disordered.  I am disordered.  My husband is disordered and the pope is disordered.  Meaning none of us has escaped the upset that Adam and Eve caused.  Babies are born with defects, because that process is now faulty.  Addictions, mental illness, physical illness…
    The fact that we all die, is a disorder.  Every time nature doesn’t behave the way she was created to behave, it’s because she is “out of order”.
    Having said that, it is no ones fault and there is no culpability whatsoever in our disorders.  We are who and what we are, disorders and all.
    The only morality involved, is in the actions we do or don’t do stemming from our own free will.
    Asking you not to be homosexual would be like asking a deaf person to hear.  Or judging them morally, because of their deafness.  This would be wrong, and morally disordered.
    Each of us is given something that we must deal with.  We must make choices, and act accordingly.

  259. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

    Bobby,

    Either you’ve left or you’re catching up.  Either way, I’ll check back later or in the am.  It’s really late, and since I don’t know if you’re still there, I’ll call it a night night start again tomorrow.

  260. Lily
    January 8th, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

    mk– you already, and Bobby in different words, have described accurately what the Church believes. Nina is going to have to accept it or reject it. But she is not free to change what the Church believes. You should certainly feel free to  walk away. Unless you are actually enjoying trying to explain things to her, I think you have said everything that can be said on the subject. For your own peace of mind, you might want to read the Cathecism on the subject once more,  starting with para. 2331 Male and Female He created them…  http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt3sect2chpt2art6.shtml

  261. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 11:37 pm

    Lily,

    I’ve read the catechism 5 times today alone.  And a huge article from Notre Dame explaining it.

    I know what I am saying is correct.  He DID create homosexuals because he created EVERYONE.  He ALLOWED them to be flawed, because of OUR sin.  He didn’t intentionally make them homosexual.  But He did intentionally make them.  Thus He created them and allowed them to be exactly as they are, because he desired to so.   He created them and allowed the flaw.

    I’m sorry.  I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but I would be absolutely sick if I was getting the teaching wrong.    I don’t care about what Nina thinks, I just want to be speaking the Truth, and if there is anything to what Nina is saying I should know it…

    Thanks so much.  I was nearly in tears.  I can sleep now.  You’re the best.

  262. mk
    January 8th, 2009 @ 11:42 pm

    Lily,

    He would have to intervene supernaturally each and every time to prevent these things from happening.

    Or He would have to stop the whole process in it’s tracks.  Not let anyone be born, ever.  But it was His Mercy and Love that allowed it to go on.   And His Mercy and His Love that gave us a way back…I mean it’s not like He allowed the flaws and then just abandoned us to them!

  263. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:29 am

    Alphonsus wrote:
    “It’s generally a bad idea to make ethical decisions based solely on a person’s “inborn” or “natural” feelings.  Would a person’s strong, inherited tendency towards violence justify any acts of violence committed by that person?  Contemporary natural law theory focuses more on intentions and acts themselves (human beings are assumed to be rational, so irrational inclinations aren’t granted much weight).”

    This is one of the reasons I give no credence to religious people who claim to “hate the sin, but love the sinner.” I would so much rather these people be honest and say what they really feel about gay people. In an odd way, that would be kinder than the platitudes.

     When you can blithely compare gay people to violent people, there is no mistaking how you actually feel.

    I don’t recall reading any post of yours, Alphonsus, in which you claimed to have any affection for gay people, so it is not my intent to call you out specifically for any hypocrisy. However, I do want to point out that something other than clear, cool reasoning is going on here.

    People with violent tendencies? What have gay people got to do with people with violent tendencies? Are you saying that granting civil rights to gay people is equivalent to granting civil rights to violent people?

    Again, I don’t mean to single you out, Alphonsus but, as a general principle, it is galling to be told you are loved by someone who actually habors bad feelings towards you. One is within his or her rights to dislike whomever they genuinely dislike, but they should not expect to be able to  have their cake and eat it, too.

    And for clarity’s sake, there was never any argument made here that laws should be establish laws based on gay people’s “feelings.” The argument was about fairness and equity.

    Gay people are not straight people. Generally speaking, they are not sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex. Despite that, some of them marry people of the opposite sex anyway, mostly because they  succumb to the social pressures that say they should.

     If the person they marry is heterosexual–which is often the case– they are setting that person up for a world hurt, anger and recriminations. “Why did you do this to me?” is the often-heard refrain in the aftermath of these ill-advised unions.

    Unless the heterosexual person is informed in advance that what they have bargained for is a mostly sexless marriage, this is grossly unfair to the unwary heterosexual partner, setting him or her up to be the victim of the “evil” gay man or woman who didn’t own up to what he or she was in the first place.

    So, what are the options for gay people who want to exercise a modicum of integrity? A life of abstinence to appease sincere religious people? I’m sorry, but they don’t owe you that, especially when you cannot guarantee them a blissful afterlife for their sacrifice.

    Perhaps, they should just settle for a life of  serial intimacies. That’s fine for those who want it, and plenty of gay men I’ve met seem to want that. But what about those gay people who are lucky enough to find someone (and, of course it would be someone of the same sex)  with whom they want to share a life, a house and all the domestic responsibilites that go with it? I know gay couples who are doing that. Some of them have been doing it for decades. I personally know some of these people.  A few of them either are raising or have raised children together, and without the benefit of the legal protections that are afforded by civil marriage. They have to hire lawyers,  at great expense,  to access  the basic protections under the law that any heterosexual couple with civil marriage rights can blithely take for granted.

    And why is that? Merely to appease someone else’s worldview. And that someone usually has the termerity to tell them that they love them even if they hate what they stand for.               

  264. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:15 am

    It has been pointed out over and over again that other kinds of partnerships are also not able to exercise all the rights that heterosexual married couples have. I recently read of two elderly sisters who live together and can’t do something (I forget what– I think it had to do with their joint property) that they could easily arrange, if they were a married couple. So, should sisters be allowed to marry? Or would it make better sense for the laws to be so written that partners can do, whatever they need to do to arrange their property and legal affairs in the way they wish?

    We don’t need to redefine  marriage to accomplish that.

  265. Nina
    January 9th, 2009 @ 5:24 am

    omgod, mk…

    I have pulled quote after quote where you say God created people with homosexual orientation, and now you’re trying to back-pedal (jeez…talk about beating a dead horse!!!) and say you just meant God created people…?

    Your words are still there.   There isn’t a serious Catholic here supporting you in this ridiculous prideful attempt to “be right” at all costs.

    That prideful attempt, that ACTION, is, uh, sinful, btw….just sayin’…

    For those who need, er, ‘Vattican” documents, start with the CCC.  It’s right there, everything you ever wanted to know about being Catholic.

    From there, move on to a dictionary, please, and learn the meanings of simple words like “will’, “allow”, “desire”.   Once you’ve got that down,  try “homosexuality”, “orientation” and “practice”. 

    You still didn’t pull the quotes supporting what you claim I’m doing or saying, mk, with your explanation for your interpretation.  I’m waiting…

  266. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 6:07 am

    I have pulled quote after quote where you say God created people with homosexual orientation,

    Yes Nina, once again you are right.  God did not create people with homosexual tendencies.  He created everyone else, but not them.   I see that now.  The tooth fairy created homosexuals.  What was I thinking????

  267. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 6:43 am

    I have pulled quote after quote where you say God created people with homosexual orientation, and now you’re trying to back-pedal (jeez…talk about beating a dead horse!!!) and say you just meant God created people…?

    Actually, you’ve pulled ONE quote and posted IT over and over…there is a difference.

    Perhaps if you were to gather ALL of the posts where I have contradicted myself, we might get somewhere.  Until then, I count exactly, ummmmmm……

    one.

  268. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 8:17 am

    Irreligious,

    And that someone usually has the termerity to tell them that they love them even if they hate what they stand for.

    I have a son that got a girl pregnant out of wedlock.  He has stated that he doesn’t believe this was a sin, and that he will continue to live with her in an illicit relationship.  He claims he is Catholic, but not the way the Catholic Church wants him to be Catholic.  This sort of attitude is why the church is in the state she is in right now.  People picking and choosing what they want to believe, and dismissing the rest.

    I abhor this sort of attitude.

    I love my  son.

    But I hate what he stands for.

    Temerity, indeed.

  269. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 8:23 am

    mk–
     my best, and purely unsolicited, advice is to walk away. This is clearly upsetting you which is unnecessary. Nina is wrong. She rejects the Church’s clear teaching because she doesn’t want it to be true. You are correct; she is wrong. It is as simple as that.  You are not responsible for making her like it or find it reasonable.

    We have seen from day one that rage is eating her alive. That is painful to see but no one here deserves to be her whipping boy. Until she works through her anger and has some measure of unimpeded reason again, she is going to lash out. I really think that you are taking the brunt of her anger because you are the most  “out there” talking about Catholic doctrine.  Assuming that she is sane, she is absolutely responsible for conducting herself in socially acceptable ways. That includes responding to everyone here with a bare modicum of civility.

    The truth is, even if you had misspoken, so freaking what? That is what conversation is all about– sharing views, clarifying them in the light of objections raised, and moving on. If she wants to score points, let her go join a basketball game.

  270. Bobby Bambino
    January 9th, 2009 @ 8:32 am

    MK,

    I’m going to email you in an hour or so (after I feed the baby), but I strongly agree with Lily’s advice.

  271. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 8:50 am

    Lily and Bobby,

    I will take your advice.  My heart broke for her when I heard the pain behind her anger, and I so wanted to reach out.  But alas, you are right.  After having slept on it, I realize now that she really doesn’t want to be reached.   She just wants to vent.   I didn’t really mind being her whipping boy, but I should have seen it for what it was.  What I was really concerned about was the other readers believing what she was saying and that I was misrepresenting what the church teaches.

    I also don’t have a problem with being disagreed with.  But I hate being disagreed with because I have been misunderstood.

    Bobby knows me well, and knows that I do not have a mean bone in my body.   For years he has watched me debate abortion, and will testify to the fact that I rarely if ever, strike to hurt. 

    All I can do is to pray for Nina.  Perhaps one day, she’ll be able to come at this in a more open way.  Anger can really cloud a persons objectivity.  I hope she compartmentalizes her anger and it is confined to the blogosphere.  I would hate for it to spill over into her “other” life.

    I do thank both of you for being there.  I felt so alone last night.  And there you both were.  My angels.  Thanks.

  272. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 8:54 am

    Nina,

    It saddens me to say this, but I fear our “conversation” has digressed into something I never intended it to be.    As I said before, if you ever want to debate calmly, and civilly, I’ll be here. 

    I will leave you with thought.  You have accused me of arguing poorly, contradicting myself and not having a clue what I am talking about.

    All of this from someone who’s idea of a profound and insightful counterargument consisted of “Lily, you’re an idiot”.  Think about that.  It’s not you’re arguments I am having a problem with.  It is your method.

    While I can debate you, I cannot debate your anger.  Peace.

  273. Nina
    January 9th, 2009 @ 10:43 am

    Lily is an idiot.  Go read her history at the RA forums. 

    You know, you’re the one who pushed for this.

    You were the one who was so quick to paint herself as an authority on Church teaching, yet you’ve gotten it wrong several times over, and when this is pointed out, you pretend you said something else.

    It’s either that or you’re illiterate.   You can take your pick — it doesn’t matter.

    To your sort, and Lily’s, when a person refuses to agree with you and pronounce you’re right about everything, they’re then painted as the one “getting it wrong”.

    If you scroll up and read, you will see that I outlined the Church’s teaching on this matter while at the same time disagreeing with it.  At least I know _what_ I’m disagreeing with.  You aren’t all that clear on what you claim you’re agreeing with.  Of course, when you agree to let someone else do your thinking for you and when you agree to sign your free will over to some organization with an agenda, this is what happens. 

    Rage is eating me alive….????
    Bwaahhaahahahaha….ROFLMAO!!
     
    No.   It’s not.  
     
    I know that Catholics cannot understand that rational, intelligent people who have experienced first hand the ugliness underlying the hierarchy of the Catholic Church find it easy to walk away from the Church.  I know you don’t get it.  I know it’s really, really scary for you that God can do things without your permission or the permission of the Catholic Church.  I _know_ I am a child of God.  I _know_ God created me and loves me.  I know these things.  Nothing else matters.  Not you, Saint Whoever, Doctrine A, B or C, Bishop Whatshisface, Pope JoeBlow, or anything else.  Just God.  And that makes me very, very, very happy.  That fills me with joy, with hope, with gratitude, with grace — even if it pisses off the Catholics.   That, however, is YOUR anger and rage to deal with, not mine.  Don’t project it onto me.

    That you could not stand the tiniest bit of criticism of the substance and delivery of your brand of apologetics speaks to the sin of pride, mk, and that you think Lily is an “angel” shows you’re just looking for any idiot to agree with you and tell you you’re special and right.  Because all this was only ever about you, dear.  That is stunningly obvious.

    But y’all have a lovely day — I know I will.   I have things to do — like enjoy the blessings God has given me, like enjoying my life, even if you choose to think I don’t. 

    Whatevs.  Y’all have merely confirmed what I already knew.
     
     

  274. Margaret Catherine
    January 9th, 2009 @ 11:00 am

    Yes, Nina, it is. In this area if not in all areas of your life – no one is pronouncing on those. That rage is why I stayed out of the conversation…not because I had nothing to say, not because your arguments would have silenced me, but because your anger would not have permitted you to hear what I was saying. Something hurt you, you won’t specify what – which is entirely your right, and entirely understandable from what you  have said. But neither I, nor MK, nor Lily, can argue against that pain; particularly so long as you do not give details and it remains amorphous. You say you love God, whom you do not see – please, for that love, try to love your neighbor whom you do see. Even someone disagreeing with you on the Internet! ;)

  275. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 11:06 am

    Dealing strictly on the issue of equity, I may be willing to make a concession here, Lily. Keep in mind that I am fully aware that we are just talking and what I am about to say is not necessarily an idea that is being actively pursued or one that will be amenable to a lot of folks.

     Others here have made this suggestion, so it is not anything that I conceived on my own.

    Perhaps, it makes sense for the government to completely remove itself from the marriage business and leave that strictly to the religious institutions. That way, couples who seek to have the legal protections and responsibilities of domestic partnerships can have them under the law.  Religious institutions can claim marriage or whatever they want to call it (depending on the religion) for themselves. The government would not be bound to recognize these religious arrangements, because they would be under the strict purview of the churches, synagogues, mosques and temples of the various religions.

    It  seems as though the problem here might be semantical. Basically, what we would be doing is changing the name of what the government confers on legally sanctioned domestic partners. All current and future married heterosexual couples would have access to both the religious institution of marriage and the state-conferred domestic partnerships.

    That would be fair–albeit,  an extremely tall order to fill for all the resistance even that idea would meet–  but that could be a fair solution, and possibly open legally sanctioned domestic partnerships up to those two elderly sisters you were talking about, as well.   

  276. Nina
    January 9th, 2009 @ 11:17 am

    Armchair psychology is for losers.

    Listen, there are things I am angry about and will continue to be angry about, and among these things are the hideous evil I encountered via the Catholic Church and the behavior of a particularly shitty little group of “online Catholics” (apparently some new kind of Catholic, although I’m not sure they’re recognized by the Vatican…/rolleyes).

    If, because I will not kiss the ass of every Catholic I encounter, you need to insist I’m all full of rage 24/7, fine.  If that makes you feel good about yourself, go for it, babe. 

    However, when in the course of a discussion, when someone is claiming something that just isn’t true and refuses to acknowledge it merely because they might not be “right” or they might have to correct it in front of someone who disagrees with them, that has nothing to do with rage or Catholic or atheist or whatever.  That’s a personality flaw.   Y’all seem real quick to point out my personality flaws, hell, you’re practically bonding over them, but when I point out that mk did get this wrong, that it was her own fault that people weren’t “getting it” because she wasn’t expressing it correctly, now it’s back to big, bad, rage-filled Nina again.

    Whatever.  Like I said, every time you people open your mouths you prove what you are all over again.

    But if it makes you feel all gooey and warm inside, you’re all perfect and right and favored over all by God and I’m nothing but garbage and shit and wrong and going straight to hell.  Fine.  Nothing I haven’t heard from your ilk before.  Big deal.

    Now off you go — quick!  You have to pray the prayer of St. Micheal because I’m a demon sent by Satan to sidetrack you from your express ride to the right hand side of God! 

  277. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 11:18 am

    MK, the only thing your son and I share is that you don’t like our respective choices, which is your right.  However, your son’s situation is not my situation. I am not doubting your love for him. He’s your son.

    But what if  I, a perfect stranger, told you that I hated your religion and all that it stands for but I still love you? Is the latter part of that statement in any way logical or believeable to you? 

     

  278. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 11:26 am

    I have no problem with laws being written that recognize the need for people who live together to arrange their affairs, so that property, medical treatment, et al. can be handled as the partners wish. But the idea of getting the government out of marriage won’t fly for the very same reason gov’t would be involved in the lives of cohabiting partners– that is the necessary result of any arrangement being subject to laws.   People who merely become house or room mates ( a pure economic and not emotional relationship) and share a dwelling, domestic partnerships, civil unions, and marriages are all regulated (or would be) by laws governing contracts and, in the case of children and parents, by laws surrounding divorce, custody arrangements, inheritance, education, etc.  There is no way to keep the gov’t out of it.

    But making sure that unmarried people can arrange their affairs as they wish, does not require that marriage be abolished or relegated to a purely “religious” ceremony. As I have tried to point out, and as the Princeton Principles I have linked to argue much more fully, marriage has a much more fundamental meaning and function in human society. To abolish it or “privatize” it, would be societal hara-kiri.

  279. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 11:36 am

    But what if  I, a perfect stranger, told you that I hated your religion and all that it stands for but I still love you? Is the latter part of that statement in any way logical or believeable to you? 

    It seems logical and believable to me. I have a couple of muslim friends you see. While I loathe Islam, I like those two people very much.

    Does it help any, if I point out that the “love” we are talking about here is “agape” which has the sense of active benovolence (sp?), actively willing the good of the other (which means helping to secure it, if need be), etc. ?It is, in other words, not a warm, fuzzy feeling but an act of the will. That sounds cold but I mean only that it does not need to involve emotional liking, though it doesn’t exclude it. I don’t have to like a given person to do the right thing by him or treat him justly.

  280. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 9th, 2009 @ 11:37 am

    Agreed, Irr

    There is a world of difference between casting judgment on behavior that does not affect you – consenting strangers – and having strong opinions about people who are related to you and part of your life.

    It’s only function – the gay bigotry thing – is the provide the pious with a cost free method of piety.  Sexuality, and sexual expression are a huge part of a person’s identity. 

    If you’ve ever known anyone who’s religious devotion kept them from expressing their sexual orientation then you know what sick mind fuck that is.  Sad, lonely, and mistrustful of their most basic instincts for intimacy.  I put it on a level with female circumcision.

    What a shame that christian compassion is only ever extended to non sentient human tissue.

  281. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 11:48 am

    Lily wrote:

    But making sure that unmarried people can arrange their affairs as they wish, does not require that marriage be abolished or relegated to a purely “religious” ceremony. As I have tried to point out, and as the Princeton Principles I have linked to argue much more fully, marriage has a much more fundamental meaning and function in human society. To abolish it or “privatize” it, would be societal hara-kiri.”

    Of course, you are entitled to that view, but I disagree as marriages would not disappear. Religious institutions would still recognize them, but just like baptisms, the government would not be bound to. Our secular government– which is not supposed to respect or pass judgement on any religion– would, instead, recognize that consenting adult couples share responsibilites as heads of  households, and that the vast majority of them are heterosexual couples of legally consenting age.   

  282. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

    Lily wrote:
    “Does it help any, if I point out that the “love” we are talking about here is “agape” which has the sense of active benovolence (sp?), actively willing the good of the other (which means helping to secure it, if need be), etc. ?”

    Frankly, no. It does not help. I was never under the misapprehsion that the context  of “love” as we were using it here had anything to do with the warm and fuzzies. No, I was talking about genuine mutual respect.

     It may make feel good to think that you can loathe Islam while simultaneously sharing a sort of benevolence with devout adherents of the religion, but that is not believeable. It would be even less believeable if you actually perceived that these Muslims were in any way an active threat to your way of life,  and if you were compelled to perpetually judge  their actions based on the incompatibility of your respective religious viewpoints. 

    I can certainly believe that you are capable of sitting down and having a nice cup of coffee together, scrupulously avoiding all of the secret hostilities you harbor towards each other. We all have to do that to get through our day with something resembling a spirit of cooperation in a pluralistic society.    

  283. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

    Irreligious,

    But what if  I, a perfect stranger, told you that I hated your religion and all that it stands for but I still love you? Is the latter part of that statement in any way logical or believeable to you?

    Honestly?  Yes.  As I’ve stated before, there are people from Jill’s that I did not know any better than I know you, that hate my religion, and we have become good friends.  At least one has slept in my home.   The other has visited here.  Hung out with my kids.  The others are welcome here anytime they want to come.  One just emailed me from California yesterday.  I sent a gift to one upon her graduation…and each and everyone of them HATES the Catholic Church, and each and every one of them became my friend after knowing that I loved it.

  284. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

    Our secular government– which is not supposed to respect or pass judgement on any religion– would, instead, recognize that consenting adult couples share responsibilites as heads of  households, and that the vast majority of them are heterosexual couples of legally consenting age.  

    May I ask A.) why they can’t do that now, without calling it marriage?
    and             B.)would you explain, please, the types of benefits that are being withheld?  I hear about “them” alot, but don’t really understand which benefits they are?

  285. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 12:19 pm

    It may make feel good to think that you can loathe Islam while simultaneously sharing a sort of benevolence with devout adherents of the religion, but that is not believeable … I can certainly believe that you are capable of sitting down and having a nice cup of coffee together, scrupulously avoiding all of the secret hostilities you harbor towards each other. We all have to do that to get through our day with something resembling a spirit of cooperation in a pluralistic society.    

    Frankly, Irr, this says everything about you and nothing about me. I harbor no secret hostilities towards my two muslim friends. If I thought they were terrorists, they would not be my friends. I harbor no secret hostilities towards gays. I hired one into an important position in my dept.,  knowing he was gay. I have black neighbors and Korean neighbors whom I visit, who visit me; with whom I enjoy block parties, backyard cook outs, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    It very much looks like you are the one who harbors lots of secret (or not so secret) hostility and assume everyone else does too. I don’t know why that comes as a surprise to me– I should have realized it sooner.

  286. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

    IR,

    I can certainly believe that you are capable of sitting down and having a nice cup of coffee together, scrupulously avoiding all of the secret hostilities you harbor towards each other. We all have to do that to get through our day with something resembling a spirit of cooperation in a pluralistic society. 

    I can promise you that anyone that knows me knows that I am not capable of sitting down, having a cup of coffee and scrupulously avoiding all of the secret hositilies that I harbor.  Chit Chat is not something I do well.  If there is an elephant in the room, you can believe we’re going to discuss it. 

    With every one of the persons I talked about above, the topic of my Catholicism has come up over and over again.  The same is true of my friend who is gay.  If you talked to him, he would tell you that we talk about his ‘gayness’ in relation to the Catholic Church all the time.  We love each other and it simply doesn’t get in the way.  We exchange ideas, and unlike some people, we are able to do so without resorting to name calling.

    We share other bonds as well.  Our love of art, our former drug addictions, our sense of humor, our wonder of  life.  Those far override any disagreements or  “hostilities” we might harbor.

    Could I get along with EVERY person that disagrees with me?  Or hates my church?  Well, you’ve read Nina and my discourse…obviously not.  It requires  the sincere desire of BOTH parties.  But it CAN be done.

  287. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

    MK, hating your religion and ignoring– for the sake of peace–  what they hate about it as you embody it, are not the same thing. The latter is called tolerance and it’s an intricate dance that we all have to employ at some time or another to get through our day together. It has its limits, of course.

    As a black man, I have worked with some virulent racists who actually claimed to like me but, otherwise, do not like black people. What often escapes them is that I make myself easier to be liked by not challenging their dumb, racist statements and keeping our interactions superficial and mostly focused on the mutual task at hand.

     Few people want to think of themselves as hateful, and I actually enable some of these people to continue under the delusion that they are not. I don’t do it for them. I do it to avoid the potential for serious conflict, because that would not benefit me at work. Do I love these people? No. I mostly feel sorry for them   

    Now, you would be one hell of a lady if you could take perpetual assaults to your worldview– and in your own home, no less– and actually cultivate a sense of respect and feeling of good will towards someone who would have the termerity to ridicule  and express open disdain for your religion when you simutaneously felt that you had done nothing to invite that kind of behavior. 

  288. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

    Lily wrote:
    “….I harbor no secret hostilities towards gays.”

    I never accused you of secretly harboring any hostilities towards gays. You’ve always been very open about your hostlities towards gays with me.

    I am also aware that as long as gay stay in their place and not overstep their bounds– as you reserve the right to define those boundaries– you can tolerate gays.

  289. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

    Ir,
    As I said, if a person were coming in and totally ripping into my church, I would not tolerate it, not because it was my church, but because I do not care much for the type of people that are rude…on any topic.

    You asked if I could believe that someone loved me, even tho they hated my faith.  I am saying yes. 

    Now if you are asking me if I could love someone that insulted me (about anything) every chance they got, my answer would be different.  Capiche?

  290. Livingstrong
    January 9th, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

    hahaha, all Christians who think that homosexuality is a “flaw”,  let me tell you something:

    WE ARE QUEER, WE ARE HERE…GET USE TO IT!

    Please,  get a life and stop ‘worrying’ so much about homosexuality. Other countries are waaaaay more advanced than the US and have evolved into real human beings and treat everyone with the same rights.

    Sheesh! It’s old already. While you are so preoccupied about if you -moral self righteous people- should give us -gay and lesbians- permission to marry or not…..WE ARE HAVING FUN!  Do the same, please.

    Again: WE ARE QUEER, WE ARE HERE…..GET USE TO IT!

    HA!

  291. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

    Thank you Dr. Martha for that sober assessment of the issues under discussion. Your input has shed valuable light on the matters we are discussing.

  292. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

    Ir,
    MK, hating your religion and ignoring– for the sake of peace–  what they hate about it as you embody it, are not the same thing

    But Ir, that’s just it.  I said that we do NOT ignore what we disagree about.  As long as it is done respectfully, there is no problem.

    It’s not like I go around judging the people I meet by giving them a mental test…are they gay?  Do they drink too much?  Did they vote for Obama? 
    Do they hate my faith?

    I think it’s you that are having the problem here, and I don’t mean that as an accusation.  I’m just saying that if someone doesn’t care for my faith, whatever.   I could understand if I came into your home and the first words out of my mouth were “You know,  you might be okay, but what you do in the bedroom makes me sick”…I wouldn’t blame you for throwing me out.  Heck, I wouldn’t even THINK that. 

    I would probably feel sad that you aren’t a believer, and I would most certainly be willing to talk about my faith and why I believe what I believe, but I wouldn’t cram it down your throat.  We MIGHT decide to keep the topic taboo.  Me might only talk about when we were both feeling up to it.  I don’t spend much time thinking about the gay issue one way or another.  Truth be told, I dabbled in a few relationships myself in my wilder days.   Trust me, if you knew my past, you’d know that I am NO ONE to judge anyones behavior.  Dig deep enough and every single one of us has something that the other disagrees with on a profound level. 

    Tell me honestly…have I made you feel bad about yourself?  Have I offended you?  I assume you know how I feel about your lifestyle, and I am certainly not avoiding talking about it for the sake of peace, but haven’t we been doing okay?  If we kept this up for a year or two, in the same tone that we have been, couldn’t you see a friendship blossoming?

    I may not go to a gay bar with you (or I may, who can say) but I certainly wouldn’t walk into your house with a bottle of holy water and an exorcism rite! 

    Trust me, I have far less respect for people that voted for Obama than I do for people of the gay persuasion.  ;)

    I have two things that I feel passionately about.  My faith and the abortion issue.  And I have friends that hold opposite views on both of those issues.

  293. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

    Ir,

    Now see, Livingstrong is a perfect example of  someone I would probably NOT become friends with.  Not because he’s gay, but because he has the tact of a 4 year old.  I can’t imagine I would want to discuss aphids or apricots with him…

  294. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

    MK wrote:
    “May I ask A.) why they can’t do that now, without calling it marriage?
    and             B.)would you explain, please, the types of benefits that are being withheld?  I hear about “them” alot, but don’t really understand which benefits they are?”
    As you are probably aware, each state in the U.S. defines what marriage rights and responsibilities are. In some that recognize domestic partnership or civil unions, these legal arrangements are not necessarily equitable when compared to marriage rights and, I believe, other states that don’t have them are not bound to recognize them anyway, which is an unnecessary complication for those who possess inferior civil unions should they choose to move to another state.

    As for the benefits of marriage in most states, there are tax benefits, inheritence and property rights that cannot be usurped by other family members, hospital visitation rights when one spouse falls ill, certain legal rights that cannot compel a spouse to testify against her husband or his wife, legal rights and responsibilities as it pertains to raising children together and what the responsibilites of the parents to the children are in the event of  the dissolution of a marriage, and more that I cannot think of off the top of my head.

    Marriage is a holy sacrament in the eyes of the church, but it’s basically a legal contract as far as the government is concerned. Most gays who even want to get married are seeking access to the latter.  

  295. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

    Lily,

    Judging by his picture, I would say that he won’t be “here” for long…he appears to be passing thru at great speed.  Reminds me of the folks that drive by abortion clinics at 60 miles an hour screaming at the top of their lungs…don’t they realize that if they want us to hear them, they need to SLOW DOWN!  ;)

  296. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

    I’m a little confused.  You guys are talking about what it would be like, if domestic partnerships were an entirely secular affair, with relgious institutions having their own restrictions on it.
    That’s exactly what we have right now, with the only difference being that both sides are calling it the same thing.
    .
    Marriage stopped being solely a religious concept a long time ago.  Unless I’m mistaken, and some states are different, you can’t get married without the government, but you sure as hell can without a church.
    When getting married in a church, you have to get the paperwork straight first.  The priest is just a “contractor” who has a license to do the state’s work for it, along with his/her additional responsibilities to his/her own church.
    .
    So, what it all boils down to is, same-sex marriage opponents, for the most part, are hung up on semantics.

  297. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

    Ir,

    Most gays who even want to get married are seeking access to the latter.

    Then why is the word marriage even brought up?  Why not just fight for something “new”…call it something else?  wouldn’t that for one, get you what you want quicker and two, get it without so much opposition?

    I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think there is nearly the same negativity towards “civil unions” however you iron them out, than there is agains “marriage”.

  298. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

    Livingstrong is a woman, mk.  She just really, really likes Lance Armstrong.

  299. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

    mk,
    Do you think that people who had a civil ceremony should be calling themselves “married”?

  300. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

    nkb,

    So, what it all boils down to is, same-sex marriage opponents, for the most part, are hung up on semantics.

    You could look at it that way.  Or you could say “So what it all boils down to is, same sex PROPONENTS, for the most part, are hung up on semantics?  They are the ones insisting it be called marriage.   Since marriage is already defined (and has been forever) don’t you think that since they are the ones creating a new type of legal union, they should also come up with their own word?

  301. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:22 pm

    Livingstrong is a woman, mk.  She just really, really likes Lance Armstrong.

    *blush*  oops.

  302. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

    mk,
    Do you think that people who had a civil ceremony should be calling themselves “married”?

    I don’t think so.  I think they should come up with a new word to describe a new type of union.

  303. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

    nkb,

    Do you think that a man can be a mom.  Not act the role, do the mom things, but BE a mom?

  304. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

    MK, I think your reaction to Livingstrong perfectly illustrates my point.
     I don’t expect you to enjoy that kind of interaction. Why would you. You shouldn’t like it any more than you should expect me to think that someone who continually makes reference to studies done by the Family Research Institute to back up her assertion that gay domestic partnerships are inherently dysfunctional and portend disaster for society at large is someone that actually respects me.

    We’re certainly capable of getting along if I don’t challenge such a person and flatter their vanity. As I said,  I do that all the time in real life just to keep the peace. But should I also delude myself into thinking that because we are not fighting that we’re sharing something Agape?

  305. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

    something called Agape, that is.

  306. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

    You could look at it that way.  Or you could say “So what it all boils down to is, same sex PROPONENTS, for the most part, are hung up on semantics?  They are the ones insisting it be called marriage.   Since marriage is already defined (and has been forever) don’t you think that since they are the ones creating a new type of legal union, they should also come up with their own word?
    .
    Apparently, you missed my point
    Can a man and a woman get married in this country, without ever stepping foot in a church, or having a religious person presiding?
    .
    If so (and it obviously is so), do you not consider them married?

  307. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

    Do you think that a man can be a mom.  Not act the role, do the mom things, but BE a mom?
    .
    You’ll have to be more specific: what does being a mom entail?

  308. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

    nkb,

    You’ll have to be more specific: what does being a mom entail?

    That’s the point…I”M asking YOU…

  309. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

    MK wrote:
    “Since marriage is already defined (and has been forever) don’t you think that since they are the ones creating a new type of legal union, they should also come up with their own word?” 

    The proponents of  civil marriage rights are not seeking anything that isn’t already accessible to you. They are not seeking to redefine what the state calls marriage. They are seeking to get in on those protections and responsibilities that you enjoy and they don’t.

    Again, perhaps, the word “marriage” is the problem. The way I see it, some religious people jealously guard that word for themselves, maybe because they attach to it the church definition of it as a sacrament. I say,  let them have it, if it really means that much to them (but I’m only one gay man and there are probably other gays who would disagree with me).

    In short, MK, what you and your husband have that the state  currently calls a marriage is a contract. I’m saying, perhaps the state should stop calling it that as a legal term. You would still be married, of  course, because the Roman Catholic church has already conferred that on your union. You would lose nothing and me and my partner  would gain the same legal protections as you and your husband.

    And, perhaps, more importantly, your god would still be free to abhor us . ;)

    Come on. Laugh with me. I’m just trying to throw a little levity into this here conversation. :lol:  

    I keep forgetting to highlight the comments to which I am responding. Doing that sure makes these posts a lot more readable.   

  310. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

    I’m confused IR,

    We’re certainly capable of getting along if I don’t challenge such a person and flatter their vanity. As I said,  I do that all the time in real life just to keep the peace. But should I also delude myself into thinking that because we are not fighting that we’re sharing something Agape?

    Are you asking if I could get along with EVERY person that disagrees with me?  Cuz I’ve already said no.  I do not choose my friends for what they believe, I choose them for who they are combined with how they treat me.  I would not like someone because he is a homosexual or because he is not a homosexual.  I would not like someone because they like the catholic church or because they hate the catholic church.  I guess.  I pick them for the types of people they are. 

    My closest friends do think like me, but hat only seems natural.  We all gravitate towards those that are most like us.

    But if you are asking about a more general love…

    Do I really dislike Livingstrong…heck, you see how little I know about it her.  I thought she was the guy on the bike ( I GOTTA get out more)!  But I did not care for her delivery.  Could I get past that?  Maybe.  Do I wish she’d crash her bike?  Not at all…Do I wish she’d get hers?  Not even a little.  Do I want her phone number?  Probably not.  But who can say.  I’ve only  heard her speak once and her tone was rather unfriendly and aggressive.  Given the topic, could I get beyond first impressions?  Yes I think so.  Could we become best friends?  I don’t know.  I don’t know anything about her.  That would depend as much on her as me.    I’m not going to judge her on her gayness.  I’m going to judge her on her honesty, abililty to love and be understanding, her sense of humor…I know Catholic people that believe every thing that I believe down to the letter, and I find it very hard to be around them for more than an hour.

    My point is, I don’t think I put as much weight as you on being gay, or being protesant, or being being atheist.  I’d be willing to drink a beer with any of them.  IF they were decent people. 

  311. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

    A man cannot be a woman, at least not without sexual reassignment surgery, and still that legal “she” would not be a woman “chromosomally.”

    Now that we’ve gotten that out the way, can a man take on the role of mom. Absolutely, with limitations, of course. But all moms– even female moms– have limitations. Some are really good at, and some stink, frankly.

    Some people grow up without moms, because their mom died or ran away with mailman. That’s a hardship for the kid, but lots of kids endure hardships without growing up to become serial killers and unrepentent serial fornicators.

    Thoughtful parents are aware of their limitations and can seek to cultivate relationships between their children and other trusted adults in the community who can also serve as mentors to their children. Heterosexual parents do this all the time. There is no reason to think that gay couples wouldn’t also do this for their children. 

  312. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:11 pm

    Oy vey, MK. You are tough, girl! (Please don’t take that the wrong way).

    All I’m saying is that neither you nor I should be expected to feel affection or undue respect for someone whom we genuinely feel is not respecting us.

    I am not saying you can’t genuinely like an individual gay man or woman. But I would ask you to think about the hoops they might jumping for you when you continually misunderstand who they are and when you innocently convey to them that they are not quite as normal as you are. If they can overlook those things, chances are good that they genuinely find something likeable about you.

    And if you are capable of ignoring their kidding remarks about Roman Catholics being delusional and them sharing their thoughts with you that they actually think Father Flynn at St. Aloysius is some hot piece of ass, then maybe you genuinely like them. However, I would not fault you if you didn’t.   

  313. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:16 pm

    IR,

    And, perhaps, more importantly, your god would still be free to abhor us .
    Come on. Laugh with me. I’m just trying to throw a little levity into this here conversation. :lol:
    I keep forgetting to highlight the comments to which I am responding. Doing that sure makes these posts a lot more readable.

    I was laughing before I got to the part where you told me to laugh…honestly, I’m having a good time here.   I hope you are too.  I have not once felt attacked by you or insulted by you…

    Italicizing the words is getting to be a pain.  I’m used to  HTML.  The dang italics button doesn’t always switch back.  I’m going to try bolding for awhile…
    You are right tho.  Marriage does mean something different to us.  But it has also meant something different to the entire world for pretty much ever.  It has almost always, in all cultures across the board, meant the legal or sacramental union of a man and a woman.
    What you want is the legal  union of a man and man (or a woman and a woman).  That is different than the accepted definition of marriage.  So I propose that a new name be created for a new type of union.
    You know how I feel about sex.  It must only be between a man and a woman within the context of marriage.  *OW*…no kicking.  I’m not asking   you to refrain from such relationships, but to allow gay marriage is to me, the same as condoning, making it equal with, heterosexual marriage.  For me, this is no more possible than me becoming a priest.

    I’m not asking you to agree, I’m just asking you to see why it’s important to us.

    Look at my son.  I could never condone what he is doing (living with his girlfriend).  They stayed here for 3 weeks and slept in different rooms.  To allow them to sleep in the same room, would mean condoning their relationship.  To give it my blessing.  Something I cannot do.  He respected that.  As soon as he got back to California, he went back to his old living arrangements.  I’m not storming his house.  I don’t call daily to quote him scripture.  I don’t go on FOX news telling the world that my son is a sinner (I guess I do go on blogs tho…I digress).  But I also cannot give the relationship my “seal” of approval.

    Now I know that you are not my son.  I know that you don’t want  my seal of approval…personally, but you actually are asking me and millions of other Americans to give you our seal of approval and vote for gay marriage.  We are willing to  meet you halfway.  We understand that you have the God given (like how I slipped that in there?) right to do what you want with your own life, but asking to use the word marriage…well it’s like theft, in a way.  You want us to sanction your union and we can’t.  So you’ll try to just “take” it.  That’s not right either.  So live your life, form a  union and enjoy.

    How would you feel if Catholics took the rainbow and made it a symbol of abstinence?  Wouldn’t you be like, hey, that’s our rainbow and it means exactly the opposite of what you’re using it for?  Multiply that by a gazillion and you’ll know how we feel.

  314. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

    I suppose, after so long, I shouldn’t be surprised that you can’t even be honest about where the research I cite comes from. You are wedded (pardon the pun) to your position and will not yield to any evidence no matter how good and how overwhelming it is.

    In fact the evidence I cite  does not come from the Family Research Institute. Just the three or four I cited here recently, obviously came from  scholarly, peer-reviewed research–all of it conducted by researchers at legitimate research univerities, like the University of California. 

    Actually, even if it did come from the FRI (and who knows after this long whether I have actually cited something they published) that would be totally ok, assuming that the research was peer-reviewed and used legitimate sampling methods, etc. So nice try but nobody who understands the research process will buy your argument.

    Let’s see: sociology, common sense and religion argue against your wish to redefine human nature and its institution. What else do you have?

  315. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

    Dang!  I forgot to bold.  I’m also way use to being a moderator.  I rarely used to proofread because I could always go in an correct any mistakes.  Can’t do that anymore, but old habits die hard….

  316. Margaret Catherine
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

    I _know_ I am a child of God.  I _know_ God created me and loves me.

    Yes. You are, He did,  and He does. Completely and happily agreed. I’ve only said otherwise in your mind, Nina. I certainly never said you were garbage, or s—, or going straight to Hell. And I am very well aware that I too have flaws and sins. (They even get mentioned on my blog from time to time. ;)) I didn’t say what I did to feel warm or gooey; I said it because I felt it needed saying, even though I knew what sort of reaction it would very likely draw down on me. And it did. And there is nothing more to say.

  317. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

    A man cannot be a woman, at least not without sexual reassignment surgery, and still that legal “she” would not be a woman “chromosomally.”
    Okay.  That’s important.  Now, the question that nkb asked is  “If a man and another man, form a civil union, would I call them married”.  I could not in good conscience call them married any more than I could call a man a mom.  To me, it just isn’t physically possible.  Do you see?  You could take on the roles of husband and wife, you could wear a dress and a wig and call yourself Mrs. Cleaver, but you would never truly be a mom, and you would never truly be married.  Because by the very definition of the word mom, you would need to be female.  By the very definition of the word marriage, you would need to be a man and a woman.
    Now that we’ve gotten that out the way, can a man take on the role of mom. Absolutely, with limitations, of course. But all moms– even female moms– have limitations. Some are really good at, and some stink, frankly.
    Believe me, getting married in the church does not in any way guarantee that you’ll do it well.  But it will fit the definition.
    Being a woman does not mean you’ll be a good mom.  But it does fit the defintion.

    We are not really talking about whether a man and a man can love as deeply, or provide good care for each other or their children.  We aren’t even close to that conversation …. yet ;)  Right now we are only speaking of the definitions of words.   You want to change the definition of a word.  I want to keep the definition of the word as it is, but am willing to turn a blind eye to the idea of creating something new.  Something that would satisfy your need to take care of each other, protect each other and provide for each other.  But I just can’t call that marriage, because that is not how marriage is defined.

  318. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

    MK, the state should not care whether I am a man or a woman when it comes to my domestic responsibilities. As I said, you can still have your marriage recognized by your church.

    Your domestic responsibilities to your husband and dependent children don’t have to be called a marriage under the law. I’m only asking for the same thing that you have under the law and you seem to be fixated on making sure that what you and I would have is something different because you are a woman in a legal domestic partnership with a man and I would be a man in a legal domestic partnership with a man.

    How about this: Under the law, you would have a man-woman domestic legal partnership and I would have a man-man domestic legal partnership?

    They are the same thing, but called something slightly different by the state so folks don’t get confused. And, of course, you would still be married in the eyes of the church. I, of course, would not be.

    Or would you prefer that the state continue to call your union a “marriage,” and mine could simply be called  “an abomination before god.”  

    Would that appease you?

    Come on. We’re still laughing here, aren’t we?

  319. Nina
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:43 pm

    I said it because I felt it needed saying, even though I knew what sort of reaction it would very likely draw down on me. And it did. And there is nothing more to say.

    So you got your particular bit of meanness in and now I’m the bad guy again for giving you exactly the reaction you wanted…??
     
    You people are so fucked in the head it’s hard to know where to begin.
     
    Oh, wait…you don’t begin.  You don’t ever, for one second, believe a word out of a Catholic’s mouth, trust them, think even for an instant that they’re anything but completely self-absorbed, self-promotional (nice blog plug!  — I get it now — this was all about ramping up your blog traffic!  Of course!) and mean-spirited (in the very real sense of the term).  

    As I said, every time you open your mouths y’all just prove it all over again…

  320. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

    But I would ask you to think about the hoops they might jumping for you when you continually misunderstand who they are and when you innocently convey to them that they are not quite as normal as you are. If they can overlook those things, chances are good that they genuinely find something likeable about you.

    Probably the same hoops I jump through trying not get bent out of shape when they joke about  my big mouth, or my blunt way of talking, or my faith.   This is what I’m trying to convey.  None of us are normal.  We all like things about each other and dislike other things.  We put up with what we don’t like and ignore it and instead, if both parties think its worth it, focus on what we share.

    Good Lord man, do you think I approve of everything about my husband???  Remember that movie with Jack Nicholson (can’t think of the name of it) where his wife dies?  The morning before she dies, he’s looking at her in bed, sleeping (the camera does a phenomenal job of getting  you to see her the way Nicholson’s character sees her) and he thinks to himself, “Who is this strange woman and what is she doing in my bed?”

    I often look at my husband that way.  He annoys the crap out of me.  He’s down there right now shootin’ off the nail gun and I jump fifteen feet every time he does.  But I’m not sitting here with a burning hatred for him.  Harboring hidden hostilities (well, maybe a little).  The guy thinks the sun rises in the “workshop”…I don’t get it, but there you have it.

    Granted that’s not a moral issue, but the principle is the same.  I tolerate some things about him that drive me nuts, and he does the same.  But he brings me a cup of tea everynight and I make him meatloaf every week.
    It works, because we respect each others right to be “different” even to the point of dislike, because the good far outweighs the bad.

    I’m am fighting against a concept.  The concept that two men can be married.  I am not fighting you, even tho it might feel like it. 

  321. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

    Well, you guys are probably still laughing, as am I. In my case, however, I am laughing at the notion that male and female are interchangeable. They are not. The idea that it doesn’t matter to children whether they have opposite sex parents is refuted in the literature that studies how children and parents interact with there opposite sex parents– which I have already cited here, I believe.

    This does not, in fact, always mean irreparable harm to all children. But it does mean that they miss something important that nature intended them to have.

  322. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

    mk,
    That was not the question I asked.  I asked you whether it is possible for a man and a woman to get married, without a church or priest.
    .
    Do you not consider them “married”?

  323. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

    So I got the name of your research foundation wrong, Lily. Shoot me.

    The point remains, whatever the hell it is (or they are) called, the studies always seem to back up your assertion that gay couples would be disastrous parents. I know you sincerely believe the conclusions reached by these  studies. And if you believe them, you cannot possibly claim– with any shred of credibility–  to think that gay people are as good as you. 

    They’re fine as stereotypes– nelly hairdressers and interior decorators who are cute and nonthreatening. The two of you might even share a love of  the opera and classic literature and darling little bistros in the chic part of town. What’s not to love as long as they don’t disturb your comfort?  

    Lily wrote:
    “Let’s see: sociology, common sense and religion argue against your wish to redefine human nature and its institution. What else do you have?”
    So, are you implying that my nature is not human? Last I checked, gays were still a part of the human family. Are you now taking it upon yourself to kick us out?   

  324. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

    mk,
    You keep bringing up the example of your son, and his “immoral” ways, but you’re comparing apples and oranges.
    .
    It is legal to live with someone, and be parents, without being married, yet you disapprove.  Fine, that is your prerogative.
    Are you lobbying for laws to be made that criminalize it?  Why not?
    .
    Why can’t this same scenario extend to same-sex couples?  You can disagree all you want, and impose whatever rules you want in your own house, but it is none of your business otherwise.

  325. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

    nkb,

    I’m sorry…duh!  Well, as Lily said, we recognize the validity of the marriage in a legal sense, but not in a sacramental sense.  So if you got married to a woman (I’m just guessing your a man, switch it if need be) then, yes, I would call you married.  If my son, however, got married outside of the church, I would not view it as a valid marriage.  I probably wouldn’t even attend it tho  I’m not sure.  One is a contract between a man and a woman, and one is a covenant between a man and a woman.  I (we) require the covenant to be a true marriage by Catholic definition.

    But either way it is between a man and a woman.  So yes, I would call them married.

  326. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

    mk,
    Irr addressed the “mom” question quite nicely, and far more eloquently than I would have, so I won’t try to improve on it.
    .
    But, it seems that you are arguing that if you can’t provide the traditional “mommy” and “daddy” figures, that it necessarily means that you can’t competently raise children, which is the part we’re disagreeing on.
    .
    A single parent also can’t be both mom and dad.  But, if they’re good, they can provide everything needed to raise a happy and well-adjusted child.
    Do you agree with that?

  327. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

    nkb,
    It is legal to live with someone, and be parents, without being married, yet you disapprove.  Fine, that is your prerogative.
    Are you lobbying for laws to be made that criminalize it?  Why not?
    .
    Why can’t this same scenario extend to same-sex couples?  You can disagree all you want, and impose whatever rules you want
    in your own house, but it is none of your business otherwise.

    You were closer to understanding my position when you called it “semantics”.    No I don’t want to criminalize it.  But neither do I want to condone it.  Most importantly, I don’t want the definition the word redefined.   I’m not telling you not to live with each other, I’m not forcing you to remain apart. I’m asking that you respect the institution of  marriage and the definition of marriage the way that it is and has always been.

    It’s much like the abortion issue.  Abortion proponents have done this a number of times.  They take a word, twist it mean something it doesn’t mean, and then use that new definition to negate the old definition and justify abortion.  They have changed the definition of baby, the definition  of right, the definition of life, the definition of pregnancy,  the definition of conception…they have even changed the words in the hippocratic oath.  This just doesn’t seem right to me.

  328. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

    mk,
    That’s exactly my point.  You already accept the government’s version of marriage, but, as you nicely pointed out, they’re not “really” married, since it wasn’t done in God’s name.
    .
    All we’re asking you to do is to continue as before.  Let gay people get governmentally married 9nobody is forcing a church to marry them), and you decide for yourself whether you want to accept that.
    What’s the difference?

  329. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

    You keep bringing up that marriage has always been defined as between a man and a woman.  Uhh, no, it hasn’t!  Are you forgetting your own holy book, where it was quite common to be between a man and many women?
    .
    So, the definition of marriage has been changed quite fundamentally in the past, why can’t it change again?

  330. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

    nkb,
    It is legal to live with someone, and be parents, without being married, yet you disapprove.  Fine, that is your prerogative.
    Are you lobbying for laws to be made that criminalize it?  Why not?
    .
    Why can’t this same scenario extend to same-sex couples?  You can disagree all you want, and impose whatever rules you want
    in your own house, but it is none of your business otherwise.

    You were closer to understanding my position when you called it “semantics”.    No I don’t want to criminalize it.  But neither do I want to condone it.  Most importantly, I don’t want the definition the word redefined.   I’m not telling you not to live with each other, I’m not forcing you to remain apart. I’m asking that you respect the institution of  marriage and the definition of marriage the way that it is and has always been.

  331. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

    MK, I don’t care what’s it called. I already told you, you can call my union that is legally sanctioned by the state “an abomination before god,” if that pleases you. All I’m seeking is the same protections and responsibilities. I don’t want to take your sacrament from you and I don’t want it for myself.

    You can be married and I can be in what you consider a pretend relationship, as long as I get from the law what you get. Unless, you don’t really want me to have the same rights as you. 

  332. Margaret Catherine
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

    No, Nina, it was about you. :( It was about pointing you somewhere  where you could see a bit more about the person who was talking to you, and who is not at all the stereotype you’ve fit her and all Catholics for. It was about trying to get past your blind hatred (which yes, I know, we’re responsible for…), and if one way wasn’t working maybe another might. Obviously, it didn’t have a chance of working. So, anyway.

    To the rest of you, I apologize for dragging this on :(; I’m not opening this thread again.

  333. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

    I hate to breka this to you, mk, but pro-choice people aren’t the ones who have changed the definition of the word “baby”.
    .
    It’s the anti-choice crowd that has decided that a fertilized egg is now a baby.  In the past, before people knew what the hell was going on inside a pregnant woman, people called the end-product a “baby”.
    .
    Niec try!
    .
    But again, you missed my point.  You have no choice but to allow your son to live “in sin”, since you have no legal leg to stand on in trying to curtail his behavior.  You have said yourself that you must tolerate it, but do not condone it.
    .
    Fine.   Mind your own business with regard to gays getting legally married, as it does not mean you condone it.

  334. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

    You keep bringing up that marriage has always been defined as between a man and a woman.  Uhh, no, it hasn’t!  Are you forgetting your own holy book, where it was quite common to be between a man and many women?

    :wall: :wall: :wall:

    No, it is not a fundamental difference.  It is a variant. Polygamy is still between man and woman. There are just a few more women than we currently allow. But, don’t worry! If you get your way, polygamy will be back.

  335. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:35 pm

    nkb,

    You keep bringing up that marriage has always been defined as between a man and a woman.  Uhh, no, it hasn’t!  Are you forgetting your own holy book, where it was quite common to be between a man and many women?

    First, it’s not fair to ask me to defend something in a book that you consider made up.  From your perspective that’s like saying, but they had more than one wife in Rapunzel!

    Second, I have been really careful, but of course have probably missed a few, to say almost always. 

    I realize that I have used that in my argument, but it was not the sole reason for my opposition to same sex marriage.  For the most part, this is what marriage is and has been.  One man, one woman.

    The focus is not on the how many tho.  It is on the sexes themselves.
    Marriage is so much more than just a piece of paper.  It’s  a union of souls. It’s a union of bodies.  The male and female.  We image God in marriage, we image the Church in marriage.  We image the relationship between God and the Church in marriage.

    The masculine and the feminine are meant to compliment each other in a way that a man and a man cannot.

    This is not my forte.  I’ve actually never had this discussion in depth before.  This is all so new to me.  I mean, I’ve stated my position before, but always in a Catholic Context.  Mostly talking to other Catholics.It’s just not something that I’ve really dug deep into.

    So I can only argue from a Catholic viewpoint…it’s really hard for me to be able to give my reasoning except through a Catholic view.  Because I haven’t needed too.  I’m going to read the Principle thingy that Lily recommended for just that reason. 

    It’s not that I don’t think there are secular reasons, it’s just that I’ve never tried to express them before.

    If you allow me to give the Catholic view I can do this much better.  But that would be meaningless to you…

  336. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

    Ir,

    But the state is the people and the people DO care.

  337. Livingstrong
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

    Lily said: “Thank you Dr. Martha for that sober assessment of the issues under discussion. Your input has shed valuable light on the matters we are discussing.”

    You are very welcome, professor Lily. At your service.
    Whenever you need my ‘sober assessment’ in the future, just call my name…and I’ll be there.

  338. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

    Oh Irreligious,

    You can be married and I can be in what you consider a pretend relationship, as long as I get from the law what you get. Unless, you don’t really want me to have the same rights as you.

    I’m sorry that is the impression I am giving.  I don’t think you are in a pretend relationship.  I just don’t think it can be a marriage.  I’m sure that you’re feelings for your partner (if you are presently in a relationship) are as real as mine.  I don’t mean to insinuate that you aren’t capable of love.  Real love.  I just hold that it can’t be expressed in marriage.  Not that it can’t be real. 

    If you say that you would be okay with calling it something else, then we are really in the same place right now.  I wouldn’t try to stop that.  I would respect your right to do so, and I would acknowledge that you can deeply love another man.

  339. Livingstrong
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

    mk said: 

    “Lily,
    Judging by his picture, I would say that he won’t be “here” for long…he appears to be passing thru at great speed.  Reminds me of the folks that drive by abortion clinics at 60 miles an hour screaming at the top of their lungs…don’t they realize that if they want us to hear them, they need to SLOW DOWN!
    Irreligious and nkb know I’m a woman. So there.
    Oh, and I don’t drive…..I ride…at great speed.

  340. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

    MK, I know you don’t think this is what you’re saying, but this what you are conveying to me, a gay person here trying his damnedest to give you the benefit of the doubt:

    Just give the poor souls something to shut them up already. The nice gays I know don’t have the audacity to think that they are capable of having a true, genuine bond like me and my husband. They’re two MEN!!! for chrissakes!

    Not only does my church not approve (and my church speaks for me), but I don’t even want MY government to approve such an abomination as two fornicating  MEN!!! or TWO women living together in a pretend relationship and in mockery of all  that I hold sacred. And please keep the kids away from these people who think a child can be raised unharmed without a real mommy or daddy present.

    But I am a good person. I know they must be suffering, perhaps, through no fault of their own, but merely for Satan and his wickedness. I know some of them are capable of being sweet and pleasant people because some of them are my friends.

    Maybe the state can give the ones that want to live together a little certificate acknowledging that they’re really good friends who want to live together.”

    Now, I am embellishing here and not claiming that you have ever said any of this verbatim. But I am being really honest, not to be mean or court any animus between us, when I say that is what is being conveyed to me.

    Help me, please. Disabuse me of this notion. I am now asking you to tell me what you think two gay men or two lesbians who want to live together as domestic partners ought to be entitled to under the law. In unambiguous language, what would make you comfortable?   

  341. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

    nelly hairdressers and interior decorators who are cute and nonthreatening. The two of you might even share a love of  the opera and classic literature and darling little bistros in the chic part of town. What’s not to love as long as they don’t disturb your comfort? 

    I get my hair cut at the corner place, decorated *cough* my own house, don’t like opera (please don’t tell SoMG), find classic literature boring, and think the idea of spending the afternoon in a cute little bistro akin to root canal.  But I’ll be just about crushed if you tell me they don’t like Streisand!  ;)

  342. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

    Please ignore my last post, MK. I hit that submit comment button before I got a chance to read your last post, and now I have a “corrected” perception of where you stand. Sincerely, I thank you. 

  343. Livingstrong
    January 9th, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

    Testing smilies:

    ;-) :-) :-( :-?

  344. Irreligious
    January 9th, 2009 @ 4:07 pm

    I know you’re kidding about Streisand, because of the little winky face. I like her quite a bit, but I have gay male friends who are not particularly enamored of her, Judy Garland or any of the iconic pop divas. 

    Quite a few of them I know have hideous taste when it comes to decorating, would butcher your hair to shreds without necessarily meaning to if, nontheless, given the opportunity.

     In fact, a couple of my really good gay male are obsessed mostly with cute running backs and their stats– on  and off the field, that is. ;) — and consuming too many beers to wash down the fried, fatty foods they enjoy. They are the mostly hidden stereotype in our underground community.

  345. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

    Help me, please. Disabuse me of this notion. I am now asking you to tell me what you think two gay men or two lesbians who want to live together as domestic partners ought to be entitled to under the law. In unambiguous language, what would make you comfortable?  

    Well I can try.  And I’m not copping out here but I swear I have never paid a bill, couldn’t tell you where our bank is, have never seen a tax return up close,  just signed the papers at the closing of our house completely clueless as to what I was signing, never balanced a checkbook…

    It’s not that I don’t want to answer, it’s just that, God help me if my husband ever dies, but I’m a moron when it comes to stuff like that.  I’ve never had to, so I never have.

    Certainly you should be able to co own a house, and be on each other’s insurance, and sign together for a car…see, this is why I asked you what rights you weren’t getting, because I can’t feel outraged at you not getting them if I don’t know what they are. 

    I know I’ve heard that in some states you can’t visit a loved one because you aren’t a family member.  That seems totally nuts to me.  Children? That one stumps me.  I wouldn’t want to say yes to something that is morally wrong, but there are so many abandoned and abused kids out there…would it be best if a child were in a mother/father home?  Well sure.  But we can’t always attain the ideal.  My heart tells me that a home with two loving parents even if they are both men is certainly better than living on the streets.

    I think two men could do a great job at parenting.  My problem is that the child would then be told that sex between two partners is okay, and that would be wrong (in my eyes).

    If there were no sex involved (I realize that would be missing the point…I’m just saying, all things being equal) yes two men could most definitely raise a child and do a dang good job of it.  Better than many heterosexual couples.  But of course there is that sex thing…hmmmm…

    So which would be the greater good…I just don’t know, but I think I would lean towards the greater good would be children that were loved by two people that also care for each other.  You’d be teaching them to love, and be decent folks (I’m assuming you wouldn’t raise them to hate Catholics ;) so I guess I wouldn’t fight the kids thing either.  I don’t see anything that you couldn’t have…

  346. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

    First, it’s not fair to ask me to defend something in a book that you consider made up.  From your perspective that’s like saying, but they had more than one wife in Rapunzel!
    .
    What are you talking about?  I am asking you to defend that which you believe, not what I believe.
    I assume you believe in the divine nature of the bible (I would hope so, otherwise Lily will throw you out of the RCC).  So, explain to me why you ignore the rather major change to the definition of marriage in your holy book when you make your statement?
    .
    I realize that I have used that in my argument, but it was not the sole reason for my opposition to same sex marriage.  For the most part, this is what marriage is and has been.  One man, one woman.
    The focus is not on the how many tho.  It is on the sexes themselves.
    .
    That’s an unrelated argument in this case.  The point is that the definition of marriage is not set in stone, therefore you can’t insist that it can’t be changed.
    .
    Marriage is so much more than just a piece of paper.  It’s  a union of souls. It’s a union of bodies.  The male and female.  We image God in marriage, we image the Church in marriage.  We image the relationship between God and the Church in marriage.
    .
    Why are you giving me the Catholic view of marriage?  I am not arguing with you that it is different from the secular one, so what’s the point?  Nobody is asking you to change what marriage means in the context of your church, so this is all a non-sequitur.
    .
    The masculine and the feminine are meant to compliment each other in a way that a man and a man cannot.
    .
    I don’t know about you, but I’ve met some gay men that are more feminine than my wife (and she’s no slouch).
    On a serious note, I think it’s ridiculous that you are proclaiming what a gay relationship can and can’t be.
    .
    This is not my forte.  I’ve actually never had this discussion in depth before.  This is all so new to me.  I mean, I’ve stated my position before, but always in a Catholic Context.  Mostly talking to other Catholics.It’s just not something that I’ve really dug deep into.
    .
    Maybe it’s time you examined it from a secular view, because we’re arguing apples and oranges here otherwise.

  347. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

    BTW, with the kids thing, I assume you mean adoption and not in vitro.  That’s a whole different moral issue and I would object on different grounds.  And of course, I would exempt Catholic Charities or such from having to provide the adoptions.  That wouldn’t be right either.  I mean, it would be morally objectionable for them to take an active part.    But there is a difference, again, between being a party to, and allowing something.

  348. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 4:19 pm

    mk,
    I know you’re “battling” on two fronts here, but you never answered this question:
    A single parent also can’t be both mom and dad.  But, if they’re good, they can provide everything needed to raise a happy and well-adjusted child.
    Do you agree with that?

  349. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

    I have to take the kids to see Marley and Me now…I’ll try to get back later. I want to address nkb.  

    Livingstrong,
    Then my comment still stands…slow down…I can’t hear……………….you! ;)

  350. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

    mk,
    You really need to read through what you’re writing before posting.  Could you have possibly made this sound any more condescending?
    .
    My heart tells me that a home with two loving parents even if they are both men is certainly better than living on the streets.
    .
    Wow, what a concession!
    My heart tells me that two Christians raising a child is better than having a gang of child-raping murderers do it.

  351. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

    And of course, I would exempt Catholic Charities or such from having to provide the adoptions…
    .
    Yuo can afford to have this stance as long as the charity is not accepting public funds.  But they do, don’t they?

  352. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

    Yes, they do (did) take public money. And they got out of the adoption business in Massachusetts rather than compromise their moral position. What a mess–the single most important adoption agency in the state forced to give up one of its most important social services because gays decided their need to force public acceptance trumped that of needy children. Way to go, guys!

  353. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    January 9th, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

    Wouldn’t it have been the Catholics who thought their agenda trumped that of needy children.  It was their decision to close, right?

  354. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

    Nope. It wasn’t a matter of the Catholic agenda “trumping” needy children. If this insane belief that children can thrive in any situation adults care to thrust them into is ever going to be defeated, people of principle will have to stand up for what is right– even when it costs. And standing up for one’s principles has always cost.

  355. UnspeakableyViolentJane
    January 9th, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

    LOL! Lily, you are so busted.

  356. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 5:22 pm

    Lily,
    You are so funny when you pwn yourself.  That you didn’t see it coming makes it even funnier.

  357. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

    Yeah, right. Holy Batman! Circular logic! Strawman! 

    You are both to be pitied. Of course “I saw it coming”. It was just an illogical attempt to argue a non-point. No one can force anyone to act against his conscience. Do you honestly believe that those children weren’t immediately assigned to other agencies? Or do you suppose when Boston CC closed out its adoption services they put the children (which they kept in a back room) in the trash? Left them in a closed up building with no food or water?

    Do you ever think before spewing this nonsense?

  358. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

    So teh gays’ evil plans didn’t trump the needy kids?  What’s the outrage about then?

  359. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 9th, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

    No one can force anyone to act against his conscience.

    But the point is that Catholics are not the only ones with conscience or a moral position.  They closed rather than bending and likewise their opponents chose not to bend their own principles.

    I think anyone would be hard pressed to accuse the gay rights movement of being overly aggressive.  No riots, no shootings, and the only violence is that which they have been on the receiving end of.

  360. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 7:12 pm

    I will give you the benefit of the doubt. I suppose you think you are arguing honestly, NKB.  But! It was not an evil plan on teh part of gays– it was their refusal to understand that their success in getting the courts to make discrimination of any kind against them illegal would necessarily cause trouble when they came up against religious agencies. I suppose they didn’t think those agencies would really act on their principles.  

    This is the constant miscalculation that political activists make– just as Irr did in any earlier message, when he talked about fighting and winning gay marriage in the courts. We are not ruled by courts in this county. We govern ourselves. Their case needs to be made to the citizens of this country. So far, the country has not been persuaded. Court imposition of unlimited abortion worked out real well and smoothly, didn’t it?

    And please don’t trot out the nonsense about discrimination against African Americans, blah, blah, blah… There is absolutely nothing inherently immoral about African Americans. That community is rightly insulted by having their history of discrimination equated to what homosexuals face when they insist on having their preferences normalized.  They know the comparison is bogus. Homosexual acts are immoral. The fact that you don’t think so is quite irrelevant to the Church and it will not be badgered into saying otherwise. 

     Is it hopeless to recommend that you inform yourself about the issues involved?  You wouldn’t do it with Brian Camenker, so why would you do it now?  But, hope springs eternal. If you google “Boston Catholic Charities adoption” you will be able to find and read the Boston Globe articles on the matter, as well as other discussions.

    Actually, since CC never forced loyalty (to Catholic doctrine) tests on its employees, the various agencies were doing some small number of gay adoptions. When the bishop of the Diocese of Boston found out, he put an end to it. Catholic Charities in other Dioceses have had to face the same problem. I do not know how they were resolved, if they have been.

    CC shouldn’t have had to get out of the adoption business. It is an outrage that an agency that specialized in placing special needs children (successfully, I might add) should have been forced to choose between doing what is considers intrinsically evil or getting out of business.  I don’t know  how quickly those children were placed in permanent homes, if at all. I don’t know that state agencies can be trusted to find the most suitable homes. They have large numbers of children to place and are always under pressure to place them  quickly.  No, this business  was yet another outrage perpetrated in the name of “fairness” or “equity”.

  361. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 7:25 pm

    I think anyone would be hard pressed to accuse the gay rights movement of being overly aggressive.  No riots, no shootings, and the only violence is that which they have been on the receiving end of.

    UVJ– You are kidding right? Have you not seen any of the videos of the rioting, thanks to their calm measured response to losing on Calif. prop 8? Did you not see the elderly woman who was attacked by a mob in Palm Springs? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcKJEHrvwDI&feature=related

    How about the girl who was struck upside the head, knocked to the ground and kicked?   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqCXONxwqPs&feature=related

    How about the Michigan church that was invaded by “gay activists” during Sunday services? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlqPP2FboUA&feature=related

    Must I multiply examples? Gays are not the epitome of all that is good, pure and noble in the world. They are a mixed bag just like the rest of us and they are not above violence. 

  362. nkb
    January 9th, 2009 @ 8:47 pm

    I suppose you think you are arguing honestly, NKB
    .
    Ever the condescending bitch, Lily.  Good to see that some things don’t change.
    .
    Where to even begin on your post?
    .
    But! It was not an evil plan on teh part of gays– it was their refusal to understand that their success in getting the courts to make discrimination of any kind against them illegal would necessarily cause trouble when they came up against religious agencies. I suppose they didn’t think those agencies would really act on their principles.
    .
    I’m not sure what you’re arguing here.  Are you saying that human rights take a backseat to someone’s religious faith?  It’s ok to discriminate against a minority, just to appease someone’s feelings?
    .
    This is the constant miscalculation that political activists make– just as Irr did in any earlier message, when he talked about fighting and winning gay marriage in the courts. We are not ruled by courts in this county. We govern ourselves. Their case needs to be made to the citizens of this country. So far, the country has not been persuaded. Court imposition of unlimited abortion worked out real well and smoothly, didn’t it?
    .
    And that is why we have the courts, to guard against injustices perpetrated against minorities in the name of the majority.  No, might does not make right in the case of equal rights.
    .
    And please don’t trot out the nonsense about discrimination against African Americans, blah, blah, blah… There is absolutely nothing inherently immoral about African Americans.
    .
    And neither is there something inherently immoral about consenting adults doing whatever they want without harming others, except in the minds of people who are ruled by archaic books.
    .
    That community is rightly insulted by having their history of discrimination equated to what homosexuals face when they insist on having their preferences normalized.
    .
    And just like some other poster (I forget who it was, maybe Eric), you show that you just don’t get it.  A homosexual chooses to be gay as much as a black person chooses to have dark skin.
    .
    They know the comparison is bogus.
    .
    Are you speaking for the black community now? :lol:
    .
    Homosexual acts are immoral. The fact that you don’t think so is quite irrelevant to the Church and it will not be badgered into saying otherwise.
    .
    The fact that you and your church think that homosexual acts are immoral is quite irrelevant to the law, and nobody gives a shit what your church decrees for its own members.
    .
    Is it hopeless to recommend that you inform yourself about the issues involved?  You wouldn’t do it with Brian Camenker, so why would you do it now?
    .
    Your definition of informing oneself is pathetic.  You wanted me to read a heavily biased webpage, written by an angry, bigoted Christian, in order to get the “real” picture of what is happening in Massachusetts?  That’s like telling someone to watch Fox News to get the real news.

    But, hope springs eternal. If you google “Boston Catholic Charities adoption” you will be able to find and read the Boston Globe articles on the matter, as well as other discussions.
    .
    What exactly are you expecting me to find here?  The Catholic Church would rather hang onto its ability to discriminate than to care for children.  Got it.
    .
    CC shouldn’t have had to get out of the adoption business. It is an outrage that an agency that specialized in placing special needs children (successfully, I might add) should have been forced to choose between doing what is considers intrinsically evil or getting out of business.
    .
    It is an outrage that an organization that purports to care about the children in its charge would choose blind obedience to a bunch of men in dresses over the kids’ welfare.
    .
    I don’t know  how quickly those children were placed in permanent homes, if at all. I don’t know that state agencies can be trusted to find the most suitable homes. They have large numbers of children to place and are always under pressure to place them  quickly.
    .
    And, this one is all on them.  Shame on this Catholic organization for pouting, taking their ball, and going home, despite the knowledge that kids would get hurt in their decision.

  363. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

    nkb,

    You confuse me.  If I argue from a Catholic perspective you call me on it.  If I don’t, you tell me you want to hear why I believe what I believe as a Catholic…

    Maybe I’m hearing you wrong? 

    First you say:

    What are you talking about?  I am asking you to defend that which you believe, not what I believe.
    I assume you believe in the divine nature of the bible (I would hope so, otherwise Lily will throw you out of the RCC).  So, explain to me why you ignore the rather major change to the definition of marriage in your holy book when you make your statement?

    and then you say:
    Why are you giving me the Catholic view of marriage? 

    My views, my opnions, are colored as much by my belief in God as yours are colored by your disbelief.  If I asked  you to argue using Catholic Teaching, you’d be hard pressed.  Do  you see?  So I’m trying to come up with ways of saying things that don’t fall back strictly on Catholic Teaching and that is hard to do, since I think as a Catholic.

    For instance.  Take the children thing where you say I’m being condescending.

    You would say, what do you feel.

    But as a Catholic, I don’t judge things by what I feel.  I have to reason them out.

    I believe that homosexual acts are morally wrong.

    I believe that children deserve parents.

    Now I can’t according to Catholic reasoning ever choose and evil.  I cannot choose the lesser of two evils.  However if two things have evil components, then I can choose the one with the greatest amount of good.

    So I have to ask my self.  Which gives me the greatest good in this situation…giving children a home, even tho I believe that a moral wrong is taking place, or leaving the children on the streets so that they are not exposed to a moral wrong.

    I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I think homosexual acts are intrinsically sinful.  To do so now would be disingenuous.  I’m trying to answer honestly here.

    If I didn’t believe that homosexual acts were morally wrong, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.   So the premise is always assumed that you understand that I believe these acts are morally wrong.  To point out over and over that I sound condescending is pointless.  That has already been established.  The question now, is would these children be better off.

    If there were no homosexual acts taking place in the home, then there would have been no reason to ask the question.  Of course I think two men could raise a child.  The issue isn’t whether or not it’s too men.  The issue is the homosexual activity that the child will witness.

    Having not given this much thought, having not read what the Catholic Church teaches, my own feeling would be that a homeless child is greater evil than a child being raised by two homosexuals.

    In ALL other things…being fed, being clothed, teaching, playing, loving…I think this would be as good if not better than any other parenting situation that didn’t have a mother and a father.  But it isn’t like all other things, because there is that dang moral issue.

    And again, I’m not saying and you better believe this too or else.   I was asked what my opinion was.  I’m giving it.

    Tell me honestly, if I had said that I would have no misgivings whatsoever about 2 gay men raising a child, would you have believed me?

    All of that said, I’d watch his kids,  let my kids play with his kids, welcome him and them into my home,  and that would be the end of it.  

    I know you say I keep bringing up my son, but they really are two very similar moral dilemmas.  I wouldn’t want Catholic Charities to give my unmarried son and his girlfriend a child either.   The sexual acts of both my son and homosexuals is a sin against marriage, and God.  In the same way.  They are both misuses of sex.   That’s  why I keep bringing them up.

    But I still love my son, and don’t interfere when he is not in my own home.
    I’m not interfering with Irreligious either…am I?

  364. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

    Oh Lord  I have to proofread….

    Having not given this much thought, having not read what the Catholic Church teaches, my own feeling would be that a homeless child is greater evil than a child being raised by two homosexuals.

    When I use the word feeling here, I mean sense.  My own conclusion.  Bad choice of words considering I just said that I don’t go by feelings, but I’m just talking like I’d be talking to a person and not writing a paper that is going to be graded and I know you’ll jump all over me for that faux pas so don’t bother cuz I caught myself…neener, neener, neener!

  365. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

    nkb,

    Wow, what a concession!
    My heart tells me that two Christians raising a child is better than having a gang of child-raping murderers do it.

    Now see, I don’t have a problem with that statement.  First of all, wouldn’t they be?  And second of  all, wouldn’t you have misgivings about Christians pounding their crazy thinking into little unsuspecting minds?

    I would wonder if you were telling the truth if you didn’t.

    Tell me this…if you had a child that needed a home, and in front of you, you had a devout Catholic couple, seriously religious…I mean the woman admits she’s been praying the rosary for this kid for years, and already has it’s communion outfit picked out and you know her stance on homosexuality…and an atheist couple…who would you choose.  Everything else about them is equal…

  366. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

    nkb,

    A single parent also can’t be both mom and dad.  But, if they’re good, they can provide everything needed to raise a happy and well-adjusted child.
    Do you agree with that?

    I don’t view being a single parent as morally objectionable.  Do you?  There is no sin in being single.  The child would not be exposed to anything morally questionable, simply because the woman is single.

  367. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

    Yuo can afford to have this stance as long as the charity is not accepting public funds.  But they do, don’t they?

    So does Planned Parenthood.

  368. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

    nkb,

    May I ask how you can say this:

    The fact that you and your church think that homosexual acts are immoral is quite irrelevant to the law, and nobody gives a shit what your church decrees for its own members.

    and call me out on saying this:

    Wow, what a concession!
    My heart tells me that two Christians raising a child is better than having a gang of child-raping murderers do it.

    At least how do you do it with a straight face?

  369. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 9:28 pm

    It is an outrage that an organization that purports to care about the children in its charge would choose blind obedience to a bunch of men in dresses over the kids’ welfare.

    That one is a “give me”…men in dresses not giving children to men in…ahhh, it’s too easy.    I’ll show self control.  ;)

  370. mk
    January 9th, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

    And, this one is all on them.  Shame on this Catholic organization for pouting, taking their ball, and going home, despite the knowledge that kids would get hurt in their decision.

    Why is it wrong for a Catholic Organization to be allowed to be a Catholic Organization?  Are they the only Adoption Agency around?   Who’s being the bully now? 

    Why do doctors have to perform abortions?  Why do Catholic Hospitals?
    Why do pharmacists have to give out the morning after pill? 

    Is it not possible for Catholic Charities to deal in Catholic adoptions, and Catholic Hospitals to live by Catholic principles?  Is that really asking too much?  You won’t be happy til everyone follows your morality, but darned if the other side tries such tactics…?  tsk, tsk.

  371. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

    And kids would get hurt by being put in inappropriate homes. The Catholic Church was right.

    And  how on God’s green earth did you decide that Camenker is an angry, bigoted Christian, pray tell? Everything he has written is factual and easily verifiable even apart from the dozens of links  he provided–like an NPR report, like the books used to which he and other parents objected, like the parent arrested for protesting the school’s imposition of inappropriate matter on his child …

    You have repeatedly called me a sheep, a bigot, dishonest, condescending and heaven only knows what else over the years. Yet I can verify/ prove all of my factual assertions and I can  support every one of  the opinions I express with good solid research. You cannot support yours and have never tried. You merely pronounce yourself right and me wrong.  Thus you cannot and never have argued with me honestly. You will not review the information I provide for you nor can you be bothered to find any on your own with which to refute me. Which one of us is a sheep bleating unsupported opinions? Which one of us is condescending? dishonest? 

    You need to look in the mirror and trim that woolly hide that covers you.

  372. Lily
    January 9th, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

    My last message, if it isn’t obvious, was in response to NKB’s thoughtful response to my previous post.

  373. Irreligious
    January 10th, 2009 @ 1:37 am

    Lily wrote:
    “…Their case needs to be made to the citizens of this country. So far, the country has not been persuaded. Court imposition of unlimited abortion worked out real well and smoothly, didn’t it?
    And please don’t trot out the nonsense about discrimination against African Americans, blah, blah, blah… There is absolutely nothing inherently immoral about African Americans…”

    Am I to infer from this that you think there is something inherently immoral about gay people? I’m not surprised that you feel this way, but I still don’t understand the method you use to convince yourself that this sentiment  in any way exemplifies good will. It reads a lot  like garden variety hate to me. Who takes that tack with people they actually like? If this is the attitude you take with your friends, all I can say is that you’ve given me an interesting education on what “Agape” is all about. Sincerely, I don’t want any part of that. 

    And, yes, I know you don’t want to hear it, but once upon a time it was the common presumption that  black people were inherently inferior and, perhaps, inherently immoral, too. How else could the majority God-fearing white Christians in the southern United States have defended Jim Crow laws and excluding black people from as many spheres of public life as possible?  And how could the rest of the country tolerate it? Was that Agape, too?

    And, according to Wiki, from 1913 to 1948, 30 out of the 48 states then in existence had laws that explicitly barred blacks and whites from marrying each other. Why would this be if white people, in general, did not think there was something inherently wrong with black people? There were still 16 states with these so-called miscegenation laws in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled them null and void. It sure wasn’t the majority white people in those states who petitioned the Supreme Court to take action to abolish them.

    And it wasn’t the white majority that appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn that landmark 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision that sanctioned separate facilities for blacks. Lots of white people at the time liked that idea of “separate but equal” and obviously thought it was fully justified. They didn’t petition the Supreme Court to overturn it with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, but guess who did?

     By and large, God-fearing white citizens throughout the south remained unpersuaded  by the court ruling and many morally justified in openly ignoring the new law of the land,. It  sure wasn’t because they felt black people were inherently good and moral, like them.

    I guess that’s why black people and sympathetic white people from way back then felt compelled  to force the issue with a public bus boycotts in Montgomery, Ala.,  sit-ins at public facilities across the south and other acts of civil disobedience. It’s arguable that all that effort resulted in shaming the bullies into acknowledging what they really were, but the 1964 Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts seemed to settle the matter, and not in the bigots favor, it seems.

    I thought everybody knew that that was the basic blueprint  for legal and social change. It’s an arduous process, as I said earlier, but it has proven successful., So, no, you don’t get to trample other people’s rights forever just because you’re bigger. Not in the U.S. of A.          

  374. mk
    January 10th, 2009 @ 7:22 am

    IR,

    In Lily’s defense, that was said in the heat of the moment…nkb, was pushing her buttons, and she was reacting.

    If you read over the posts, some pretty nasty insinuations have been made about Christians too.  I assume most of you don’t really walk around thinking we believe in leprechauns.  I assume most of you know that, right or wrong, our beliefs are sincere.  So when you say things like “your imaginary playmate” or hold contests on YouTube asking people to blaspheme God and win a movie, you’re not attacking us personally, but rather a concept.

    Even you, have admitted that you’ve had to work really hard not to say certain things…which implies that there are “hidden hostilities” that you are harboring.

    But we let them go, or at least I do, because I realize that it’s not ME you detest, but my church and how she interferes in your life…how she seems to look down her nose at you.

    We feel that you look down your nose at us too…that you think we are all imbeciles for believing in fairy tales, and why don’t we just move to Mars and leave you guys alone already.

    Even if you don’t say it out loud, it’s there, in every post.  

    We are working with two premises here.  One, that Catholics believe that it is inherently evil to perform the  sexual act outside of marriage…obviously homosexual acts fall into that category.  None of us has denied feeling that way. 

    Your side believes that we are a bunch of lunatics, incapable of rational thought, trying to take over the world and shove our fabricated lies and fantasies down everyone else’s throat.

    We don’t hate you,  as individuals.  You don’t hate us, I hope.  You hate an idea, a concept.  And you resent our intrusion into your lives.  We hate what we perceive as a sin, a behavior, and resent being made to accept it as the norm.

    These “feelings” are up front and out there.  But I can’t help feel like you guys are trying to “trick us” into admitting them out loud.  Except we already have.  We don’t put things out there, hoping to catch you in the act of bashing the church.  We already know you don’t like her.  We, or at least I, am trying to have a debate, fully knowing what the “terms” are.

    I don’t take offense every time one of you slips up and says something derisive about my faith.  I just skip over it because I already know how you feel, and those kinds of comments are to be expected.

    No where has any of you even attempted to say that while you don’t like the idea of Catholicism, you like Catholic people.  Nowhere have you said that while you think the church is wrong, you recognize that people who believe in the faith aren’t inherently bad. 

    I realize you don’t believe in good and evil, per se, but if you did, wouldn’t you say that you view the Catholic Church as evil?   Wouldn’t you say that you think she is “bad”?  

    I don’t take that personally.  I get it.  She is stepping your toes.  But form our perspective, you often step on ours.  You ask us to accept something that goes against the very core of who we are, just as we ask you to do the same.

    My point, my long, long point is that we will never get anywhere until we  acknowledge that we each view the other side as less than perfect and move on.  But jumping  on every little “slip” is not helping.

  375. mk
    January 10th, 2009 @ 7:35 am

    btw,  I’m LOVING that we are civilly discussing this…but I fear that a few more “PUN” posts will drop this page…shall we continue somewhere else when that happens?   Meet on a different thread?

  376. Nina
    January 10th, 2009 @ 7:54 am

    That one is a “give me”…men in dresses not giving children to men in…ahhh, it’s too easy.    I’ll show self control

    Oh, you’re showin’ something alright, you and that piece of filth, Lily…
     
    It sure isn’t self control, though…
     
    mk, you reveal yourself the more you try to explain yourself. 
     
    The stereotypes and bigoted descriptions of gay people alone show you for what you are, and that’s a nasty, hateful bigot who thinks she or it or whatever the fuck you are is better than millions of people the world over merely because of your sexual orientation.  Oh, you’ll deny this, but your words speak for themselves. 
     
    You hate gay people.  We get it.  That you’re just LOVING having this discussion which is becoming increasingly offensive to gay people and that you THINK your comments are “civil” merely because you’re not using eptithets is pretty damned telling. 

    There is nothing civil about you.   You are a repulsive, hateful bigot, who, apparently, for all that she thinks she’s so fucking morally superior and more fit to be a parent than a gay couple, has failed spectacularly when it comes to instilling these oh-so-superior moral values in her own children.

    Get the fuck over yourself and admit what you are.  Everyone else already knows it.

  377. mk
    January 10th, 2009 @ 9:27 am

    Nina,
    you sure do have a way with words…

  378. Nina
    January 10th, 2009 @ 10:06 am

    Oh,honey, I have nothing on you…

  379. Lily
    January 10th, 2009 @ 10:32 am

    Irr– This is the last time I am going to respond to you. Your dishonesty in this discussion and in everyone we have ever had on this subject is stunning. I realize that this is very personal to you and hits you very hard but there is no help for that. mk has turned somersaults, stood on her head and twisted herself into knots to try and explain hard truths  gently and in as conciliatory manner as possible. She has met with NKB’s usual aggressive condescension (ah! I know it well) and your inability to understand our position. I don’t think it can be explained better than she has. If you don’t understand it (not accept it– understand it), what is there left to say?

    If you had a shred of decency in you you would admit that you know damned right well that I don’t think homosexuals qua homosexuals are intrinsically evil.  There is no such thing as an intrinsically evil human being.  There are intrinsically evil acts.

    Over and over and over again I, mk, umpteen thousands of others and the Church have said that homosexual acts wrong.  There are other misuses of sexuality, besides homosexuality, too– they are also evil. You don’t like it? Fine. We are not persuaded. You are not persuaded. End of story. 

    What more is there to say?

  380. Irreligious
    January 10th, 2009 @ 11:24 am

    MK:
    “Even you, have admitted that you’ve had to work really hard not to say certain things…which implies that there are “hidden hostilities” that you are harboring.”

    Absolutely. I thought it was a given that I have zero love for a theology that enables so many  people to exalt their very human fears and hatreds and use them against other people. If I am to be honest, that is what I perceive with a lot of different kinds of theists out there, especially among some professed, devout Christians.

    Yet, I still acknowledge these people’s right to subscribe to their theologies, however repugnant I may personally find them to be.  The U.S. Constitution guarantees them that right, and I am bound to live with it.

    Sorry, MK, but I don’t like your religion at all, even though I have met  many, many adherents of the faith whom I consider to be basically decent people. Given some of  the harsh dictates of the theology as I understand them, these decent people somehow manage  to not use their religion as a club to batter other people.  All I can say is kudos to them. 

    Some of these basically decent people may not like my choices or understand them from my perspectives, but they don’t go out of their to keep me from exercising them, especially when they can clearly see that my choices have no tangible effect on how they choose to conduct their own personal lives.

    These are people I can respect and with whom I can share a measure of good will, even if we disagree.  Conversely, I think it would be unreasonable to expect me or anyone to get along with people who seek to have dominion over others who don’t owe them that kind of submission.

    As I said in a couple of earlier posts,  for me, it is about understanding what is my business and what is other people’s business. Too many Christians I have met on the Internet (and quite a few in real life) have a very poor sense of that concept, I think. Your religion is your business. If it’s not affecting me, it’s not my business, no matter what I may think about the particulars of  it.  Unless and until it becomes an impediment to my own personal life’s creed, I have nothing to say about it.
        

  381. Irreligious
    January 10th, 2009 @ 11:33 am

    Lilywrote:
    “If you had a shred of decency in you you would admit that you know damned right well that I don’t think homosexuals qua homosexuals are intrinsically evil…”

    I’m sorry, Lily, but I don’t know that to be true about you. I will not flatter you by telling you a lie. I can’t know the depths of your apparent hatred towards gay people or what undergirds it, but the sentiments you express speak for themselves. 

  382. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 10th, 2009 @ 11:41 am

    Let’s try this from a different angle: Lily, mk, Christians everywhere.  Define “homosexual.”  That is, what makes a person a homosexual?

  383. mk
    January 10th, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

    Jane,

    Do you mean what “makes” them as in what mechanisms are in play, or what attributes do I consider a person to have that qualifies them  in my mind has homosexuals?

    You see what I’m asking?  Are you asking the born/learned question?  Or traits?

  384. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 10th, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

    I’m asking your definition because I suspect that it will be someone who longs to or has sex with a same sex partner.  I would argue that if the only thing that defines a homosexual is the behavior then “hating the behavior” is hating the person, no matter how you flower it up.

    Additionally I would say that “hating” anything, even behavior is a bad policy.  The new brain research shows that hate is addictive and hating in general makes you more prone to hate.

  385. mk
    January 10th, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

    Ir,

    Yes I do understand that you don’t like my faith.  That’s what I’m saying.  We are starting with the premise that I find homosexual acts as sinful, and you, IF you believed in the concept of sin, would say that the Catholic Faith is sinful…

    We both think that the other is “flawed”.

    My point is that while you take offense at our view, we do not take (or at least I don’t) offense at yours.  I accept the underlying distate, because I realize this is the reason we are having this discussion.

    When you same something negative (or imply, or hint) about the church, I just roll with it, but every time one of us mentions that we find homosexual acts as evil, we get jumped on.

    We need to just accept that this is how the other feels, and get past it, to a place where we can find some understanding. 

    Unless and until it becomes an impediment to my own personal life’s creed, I have nothing to say about it.

    This is the real issue.  Not whether or not we find fault with each others choices.  But how to live with them.

    You say you don’t have a problem with us as long as we don’t interfere with your choices.

    But we feel the same way.  I just don’t think you understand that.  When you want to redefine marriage,  you are interfering with our choices, just as we are interfering with yours by opposing such marriages.  When you want to adopt kids, you are interfering with our perception of what makes a moral role model, just as we are making moral judgments about whether or not you are fit to parent.

    Neither of us likes, we even resent, the others interference.

    So how do we meet somewhere, where neither of us gets it all, but each of us gets enough that we can live with each other.

    But it’s not a one way street.  It’s not only you that is having your choices challenged.  Do you see?

    I agree that we should not care what you do in your private life.  I don’t.  I would not try to stop you from having a partner, living with a partner or forming a legal union with a partner.   For the most part, it wouldn’t even enter the equation as to how I look at you as a person.

    But there are some areas that have been made public.  These are the areas that we feel the “other” is interfering.

    The first is marriage.  You and I have pretty much agreed that if legal unions were allowed, with all the benefits of heterosexual couples (sans kidss) that there would be no problem, and you agree that it would not need to be called marriage.

    That’s good.  That’s meeting halfway.  The problem is that you and I are not the ones making this decision, but if we were able to find common ground, there is hope for the rest of society.

    The second area is children.  I was asked if a single person should be allowed to adopt and I said yes.  I would be concerned if that single person was bringing home partners (of either sex) and having relations with them where the children were being influenced.  I would not like to see children going into homes where couples (of either sex) are just living together without benefit of marriage.

    Now if that couple were to conceive children, there is no issue as it is not my business.  However, when the state has been given charge over children, to place them in homes, that is a different story.  Even then, however, I would be hard pressed to have a leg to stand on legally to object.  I could vocalize my apprehensions, but legally, I don’t think there is much I could do…But, if the organization that is in charge of the Children, that has been entrusted with their well being, is a Catholic organization, then I think the table flips, and by prohibiting them from doing what they believe is right, you are the ones interfering in my choice.

    Do you see?  It’s not just us, that is asking you to accept something you think is wrong, you are asking us to do the same.

    I propose, as I said that, if an organization is in the adoption business (and I use the term “business” loosely here) THEY should be the ones that, unhindered, decide what is best for the child.

    So to sum up.  Legal unions not called marriage.  Adoptions done at the discretion of the individual agencies. 

    Now I am asking you if that would be acceptable.

  386. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 10th, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

    In other words, if you say “I don’t hate red heads.  I hate their red hair.” and we later discover that the only thing making someone a red head is their red hair, I think it’s safe to conclude you hate red heads. 

    If they didn’t have red hair, they wouldn’t be red heads.

  387. Irreligious
    January 10th, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

    Recognizing  that this is an open forum ( that is, as open as RT wants to make it and, admittedly, he has been exceedingly generous), I have to ask, with all due respect, Jane, why pursue this line of questioning?

    It is apparent to me that no one really knows the answer to that question. I’m gay, and I don’t. All any of us can indulge is idle speculation from the perspective of our various worldviews.

    Is this a way to try to understand the justifications some theist use to make homosexuals’ business their business? I’m just curious to know in advance where this conversation is headed.

  388. mk
    January 10th, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

    I’m asking your definition because I suspect that it will be someone who longs to or has sex with a same sex partner.  I would argue that if the only thing that defines a homosexual is the behavior then “hating the behavior” is hating the person, no matter how you flower it up.

    This is what we have been trying to clarify.  There is no sin in longing.  There is only sin in that which comes from your choice.  An act that you do.

    If a homosexual (and I’m not proposing this…I might be insane, but I’m not nuts) were to live a celibate lifestyle (we would use the term chaste) then there would be no sin at all. 

    It is only when two homosexuals engage in an act that is meant to gratify them sexually, that it becomes a sin.

    That is why I keep bringing up my son.  His longing to have sex is not a sin.  His HAVING sex is.
    99.9% of men long to have sex.  They might long to have sex with six women.  They might long to have sex with their girlfriend…this is not a sin.  But actually having sex is.  It’s the same sin that the homosexual is committing.  Having sex outside of marriage.  ANY sex outside of marriage.

    But simply being attracted to something sinful is NOT a sin.

    Again all sin is a flaw, but not all flaws are sin…

  389. mk
    January 10th, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

    Jane,

    If they didn’t have red hair, they wouldn’t be red heads.

    I’m being serious here, so don’t misunderstand…

    If I hate red heads, then I am committing a sin.  That would be crazy talk.   Having red hair is NOT a moral issue.

    If you want to make an analogy you need to use something that has moral implications.

    But to answer your question, no it does not mean that I hate redheads.  It means I hate red hair.

    Red hair is a physical attribute.  It has nothing to do with the person.  Hating a thing is not the equivalent of hating a who.

    Some people hate fat.  They might even say that they hate fat people.   What they really hate, is the fact that they perceive these people as having no self control.  They find their lack of self discipline distasteful.  They hate that the people are making choices that are making them fat.  Their fatness says something about who they are.  They hate what they see as immoral choices…ie: overeating.  It is the actions of the person that they hate, not the person themselves.  They hate the sin of overeating, and they lose respect for the person that is giving into their “longing” for more food than they need.

    It is in the choosing, that the sin enters.

  390. Irreligious
    January 10th, 2009 @ 1:22 pm

    MK, I don’t know how much plainer I can make this point to you:

    I really do not care what you think about homosexuals. Honestly, I don’t.  I care only about your actions as it pertains to me. I care  not that you think homosexuality is a sin. I care that because you think  homosexuality is a sin, you also think you have a right (a God-given one, at that)  to place legal restrictions on me that you don’t otherwise get to place on other people.

    You think homosexuality is bad. I think Christianity is mostly bad. The difference is, the law enjoins me from interfering in your right to practice your religion. It does not, apparently, seem to grant me any such similar protection against your interference in my life. That is what I am very specifically objecting to.

    All the rest is just so much blather. It’s the nature of human beings to disagree. Some like cheese. Others don’t. Inherently, that’s a not a problem. It becomes a problem when those who like cheese can force those who don’t to eat anyway, or those who don’t like cheese can keep those who do from enjoying it. 

        

  391. Nina
    January 10th, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

    Overeating and eating improperly are scientifically and medically proven to cause all kinds of serious, often lethal, health issues.

    The serious health issues are the cause of the overwhelming majority of the billions of dollars spend on healthcare in this country.  Those costs are passed on to all citizens one way or another.   Another person’s overeating (or smoking) directly impacts every citizen of this country in a material way.

    Gay people entering into a physical relationship with each other has zero negative impact on either themselves or anyone else.   Actually, gay people entering into physical relationship with each other lessens the taxpayers’ burden because it has been scientifically and medically proven that living in a positive, nurturing, supportive, physically intimate relationship directly impacts a person’s health in all kinds of positive ways.

    Are there unhealthy (in a medical sense)  forms of sexual expression?  Yes.  But they span the continuum from strictly homosexual to strictly heterosexual and have absolutely nothing to do with orientation.

    This is the problem.  If you want to hate on gays (because that’s all any of this ever is, no matter how you try to package it), fine.  The world is full of cowardly little bigots, you won’t be alone.   But to deny a group of people based on something such as skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and even religious persuasion is morally wrong. 

    If this country offers monogamous marriage to its adult citizens, then it must offer monogamous marriage to all its citizens.  If the polygamists want to push for polygamist marriage, let them.  Better it should be out in the open where the state can monitor the groups who would use their religious beliefs to justify raping young girls and defrauding the taxpayers out of millions of dollars in welfare funds.

    As for the Catholic Church, they can make what rules they like regarding marriage and their members can decide to comply or not, to stay or leave, or whatever.   If the Church (among other tax-exempt religious organizations) wants to enter the political arena on this or any other secular issue, then let them and let’s take away their tax-exempt status. 

  392. Irreligious
    January 10th, 2009 @ 1:40 pm

    MK wrote:
    “When you want to redefine marriage,  you are interfering with our choices, just as we are interfering with yours by opposing such marriages. ”

    This is the crux of  our disagreement. You keep saying that I want to redefine marriage, but all I am seeking is to enter into a legal domestic partnership with my partner just like the one you enjoy with yours.

    How that affects you, you have yet to explain, other than to keep telling  me about your religious beliefs, of which I am already well aware and I keep telling you have not one thing to do with me.

    My being married to another man would have zero impact on your life choices. You would still be free to marry and you would still be free to hate the idea that I am, too . The only thing you would lose is the choice to keep me from being legally married to another man.         

  393. Nina
    January 10th, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

    How is “redefining” secular marriage, a form of marriage the Catholic Church does not recognize as sacred, or “valid”,  any business of Catholics?   No one is asking the Catholic Church to redefine sacramental marriage. 

    And if “redefining” marriage to mean anything but one man and one woman, where the hell are the Catholics protesting the institutionalized rape being perpetrated by the various Mormon cults around the country?  Oh…wait…that’s right…the Catholics were defending the Jeffs’ cult during all that.    And why?  Because they felt the state had no right to interfere with religious marriage…
     
    Too bad they can’t extend the same courtesy they expect from the state to the state…

  394. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 10th, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

    Actually, I think longing is a sin

    “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart”

  395. mk
    January 10th, 2009 @ 10:59 pm

    Ir,

    In the same paragraph you say that you are happy with legal unions, and that you don’t need to call them marriages, but then you say we are stopping you from getting married…do you see that?

    The only thing you would lose is the choice to keep me from being legally married to another man.

    No,  what I would lose is the institution of marriage as I know it.  I am trying to protect something that to me is very important.  You are asking me to give that up.  Once marriage becomes something that can happen between a man and a man, it ceases to be marriage and becomes something else.  You ARE asking me to give up more than just my choice to keep you from getting married.  You are asking me to give up marriage altogether.

    So you need to be very clear now, because you have just contradicted yourself in that last post.   Is it the union, or the union being called marriage that is important?

    This is the crux of  our disagreement. You keep saying that I want to redefine marriage, but all I am seeking is to enter into a legal domestic partnership with my partner just like the one you enjoy with yours.

    My being married to another man would have zero impact on your life choices. You would still be free to marry and you would still be free to hate the idea that I am, too . The only thing you would lose is the choice to keep me from being legally married to another man.     

    I    don’t mean to keep harping on the semantics here, but that is the real issue.  Have a legal domestic partnership…call it a LDP…it’s the calling it marriage that is the issue for me.

  396. mk
    January 10th, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

    Actually, I think longing is a sin

    Only if you encourage the longing.  Only if you enjoy the longing.  Only if you embrace the longing.

  397. Joanne
    January 10th, 2009 @ 11:12 pm

    Religious people have the same right as non-religious people to vote, voice an opinion, and try to influence the culture in whatever way we think best. And those in positions of responsibility within in the Church, such as parents, priests, those who teach in Catholic institutions, etc, have an obligation to instruct their charges as to what the Church teaches. (Are people honestly not clear on these things?) 

    I oppose same sex marriage because no one has demonstrated to me that redefining marriage and family life, which are the building blocks of a society, benefits the culture at large. Fortunately for me, my Church teaches what my reason tells me on this issue. Ditto abortion – abortion takes an innocent human life and is therefore wrong. Again, reason is in sync with what the Church teaches.

  398. Irreligious
    January 11th, 2009 @ 2:55 am

    MK wrote:
    “In the same paragraph you say that you are happy with legal unions, and that you don’t need to call them marriages, but then you say we are stopping you from getting married…do you see that?”

    If it were up to me, I’d call them legal domestic partnerships. But no matter what these unions are called, it is the access to  the legal protections that I am advocating here.  In essence, theyare what the government has conferred on you and your husband. Even in a civil context, we call that marriage.

    Applying that word to a male-male or female-female union offends you. I get that.  But I am talking about the law and you keep talking about your church.

    I don’t know how many different ways I can say to you that I don’t want anything your church is offering.  Nothing. Not one thing.

    I do not want access to the sacraments that your church is offering,  particularly the sacrament that your church calls marriage. I do not want to interfere with your church and its religious business. I do not seek to put your church out of business. I do not seek to  influence your church and its many, many members on what to believe or how to live their lives.

    I don’t even wish to compel your church to approve of me and what I do. I do not seek  Agape with its members. I don’ t want anything from your church. Not even a kind word is necessary. I’d prefer that your church pay me no mind. Ignore me, altogether.

    My appeals are not to your church.  My appeals are to my government and, on this particular issue, the government of the state in which I live, the state that confers what it calls “marriage licenses” on mutually consenting adults who seek to be joined under the law– and absolutely, positively not anyone’s church– as a legally recognized couple with domestic partnership rights and benefits.

    It is most unfortunate that the state calls these unions marriages, but they do. That is the only reason  I used the term married.

    I’m not sure I can be any clearer than that. 

    Honestly, I don’t want to take anything from religious people that they are not willing to give.   

    But I am not really appealing to them. They’re just fellow citizens whom, I believe, should not be put in a position to have any say over my acquiring rights they already possess under the law.

    I fully recognize they don’t see it that way. Apparently, many of them don’t make any distinction between the civil law we all must live under and the church law they choose to live under.  And that is quite problematic for the time being.  Of course,  Roman Catholics are not the only ones unable to make  this distinction. It  would appear to be a fairly common perspective across Christendom. On this issue, at least.  

  399. mk
    January 11th, 2009 @ 7:02 am

    IR,

    I don’t know how many different ways I can say to you that I don’t want anything your church is offering.  Nothing. Not one thing.

    I understand that.  I’m not sure where you are getting the idea that I think you do. 

    It is most unfortunate that the state calls these unions marriages, but they do. That is the only reason  I used the term married.

    Well, that helped clarify why used the term marriage…thank you. I had no idea where you lived and was unaware that you had “marriage” in your state.   Hence, the confusion…

    I f your state (and all states) were to stop calling it marriage, we wouldn’t be having this conversation…

    But I am not really appealing to them. They’re just fellow citizens whom, I believe, should not be put in a position to have any say over my acquiring rights they already possess under the law.

    I understand that you think we are saying that because of our religion and only our religion, we want to keep the word marriage out of it…but as a person, I don’t want the word marriage messed with.  My reasons don’t have to matter.  The fact remains, that the majority of people in America don’t want the word marriage redefined.  The majority of people in America are opposed to defining marriage in any other way than between a man and a woman.

    While majority doesn’t always rule, it does play a huge role in what is and is not legally acceptable. 

    I find recreational drug use to be morally unacceptable.  Right now marijuana use is illegal.  I would like it to stay that way.  A lot of people would like it to be legalized.     They argue that marijuana is not addictive, hurts no one, is something that is done in private, ad infinitim…but I would vote to keep it illegal.

    Sometime, that might be out of my control.  But I will always vocalize my opinion, given the chance I would always vote to keep  it illegal, and I will teach my children and grandchildren,  that it is wrong.

    It is the same with gay marriage.  Someday that too might be out of my control, but I will still vocalize my opinion, given the chance I will vote to keep it illegal, and I will teach my children and grandchildren, that it is wrong.

    You have the right to do the opposite.  I’m sure marijuana users want me to shut up too.  I’m sure they wish I would stay out of their business. 

    I want the legal age for drinking to remain 21, I want the legal age for smoking to be raised to 21.  I’m sure that 19 year olds across the country would say that they want the same rights that I have.  The right to drink and smoke, if that’s what they want to do.  They could claim that I have the right to drink and so should they.  I have the right to smoke and so should they.  Just as you claim that you should have the same rights that I have, and be able to get married.

    My response is that they do have the same rights as I do.  I can’t drink unless I’m 21 and I can’t smoke unless I’m 18.  You have the same right that I do.  I can marry someone of the opposite sex, and you can marry someone of the opposite sex.  I cannot marry someone of the same sex, and you cannot marry someone of the same sex. 

    The way it works in America, is you push for what you want, I push for what I want, and we see how it plays out.

    For now, my side is winning.  In the abortion scenario, the other side is winning.  We keep fighting to make abortion made illegal, you keep fighting to make gay marriage legal.  And on and on it goes.  I’m not infringing on your right to make your case…

    Meanwhile, we hold discussions like this, and see if we can’t find some kind of compromise.  Civil unions is a perfect example.

    Abortion only to save the life of the mother is another.

    Marijuana use for medical purposes is another.

    If abortion is made illegal, the other side will continue to fight to make it legal again.   If the drinking age is lowered, I will fight to get it raised again. If your side succeeds and marriage becomes legal between 2 men, our side will fight to change that.

    For right now, it’s just you and me having this discussion.  We aren’t going to settle things for the country no matter what we come up with, but it is hopeful that we, you and I, can civilly discuss the topic.  Don’t you think?

  400. Lily
    January 11th, 2009 @ 10:04 am

    At a certain point discussion is useless. I don’t know if Irreligious actually believes what he is saying or not. For at least two years I have told him that there are sound, sociological reasons to resist gay (and other combinations) marriage and I have sketched them out. He insists on casting it as a religious interference  vs secular rights argument. That is a political strategy; it is not an argument. If enough people buy it, he will get what he wants and another generation of children, what few are allowed to escape the abortionist’s knife, will be damaged further, as our reckless, hedonistic culture continues to commit demographic suicide, in its relentless pursuit of sexual freedom sans the natural end of the sexual act.

    Of course, how he and other homosexuals will fare under Islam (our future– they are outbreeding the entire west–5 children to Europe’s below replacement average of approximately 1.5), we will have to wait to see. 

  401. Nina
    January 11th, 2009 @ 10:34 am

    So…

    If we don’t allow gay men to marry, they’ll all ultimately become straight, marry women and father lots of little babies for the Pope…or for the state…whatever.

    That’s why this garbage about allowing gay men to marry will destroy the family is just that: garbage.
     
    If gay men aren’t allowed civil marriages, they’ll still be gay!!!   And they’ll still live together in committed relationships.

    And straight, Christian couples, Catholic couples, will continue to abort babies, use birth control (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but they’ll use it so they can have less kids and more cars, McMansions, tickity-tackity handbags that cost $1200+, or $300 face cream or the latest toy the tech gurus have to offer), have affairs, beat their kids, cheat on their income taxes, download porn, hotchat strangers while they’re spouses and kids are sleeping, gossip, lie, etc., etc., etc.

    Refusing gay men and women the right to civil marriages is not going to stop the damage straight Christians are doing to themselves.   They know this.   This crusade against gay marriage is merely a diversion, a distraction.  If they p0int their fingers and scream loudly enough at the gay community, they can deflect the scrutiny of the world around them from their own disgusting, hypocritical, selfish behavior.   They can even continue to deny the reality of what the majority of straight Christians and Catholics are to themselves.

    Because all this amounts to is the age-old blame-game.  Not me, God — look, look at those dirty gay people, with their sinful acts — it’s THEIR fault I cheat on my wife because THEIR liberal attitudes have made it haaarrrdd for me to follow my own conscience, wahwahwah…

    What a pack of whiners Christians are.  It’s always someone else’s fault, but never their own.  Satan, Vermont, the gays, the liberal media, Hollywood,  France,  Obama…   Yeah, because the fact you’re a weak minded little hypocrite who can’t live up to the standards you insist everyone else live up to is the fault of some lesbian who lives 2000 miles away from you.   And all the other little phony Christians will support you because then THEY can use the same excuse, and next thing you know you have entire churches spouting this crap and it becomes your sacred tradition and how dare anyone tell you otherwise because telling you otherwise would infringe on your right to practice your faith as you see fit…

    And around and around and around it goes…

    And God weeps, weeps, because of what people do to each other in his name.  
     
     

  402. Irreligious
    January 11th, 2009 @ 11:48 am

    MK wrote:

    “Well, that helped clarify why used the term marriage…thank you. I had no idea where you lived and was unaware that you had “marriage” in your state.   Hence, the confusion…
    I f your state (and all states) were to stop calling it marriage, we wouldn’t be having this conversation…”

    MK, every state in the union calls what I have described to you in my previous  post “marriages.” That is what the state I live in calls them. That what the state you live calls them. That’s what these unions are called, marriages.

    The gist of my position is that my hypothetical legal union would have nothing whatsoever to do with yours. I’d have my cake and you’d still have your cake.  I’m not personally wedded to the word “marriage.”
    But that is what they’re called by the state.

    If I understand your position, you don’t think that the marriage license the government has conferred on you and your husband is an appropriate thing to confer on same-sex couples.  

    Your position is that the government should give them something else. Having the government call their legal unions what you call your legal union with your husband would be a diminishment of your sacramental union, the one conferred on you by the Catholic church, which is called a marriage.  And, from your point of view,  it would also be a mockery of  the legal union you have with your husband (the one conferred on you by the state, also called a marriage). 

     

  403. Irreligious
    January 11th, 2009 @ 11:58 am

    Lily, I believe everything I’ve said in this thread.

    You have been telling me for two years now that I should accept your religious views, your political views, your prejudices and your petty hatreds and wear them as my own.

    And I keep telling you that I don’t want your particular brand of  Christian charity. It doesn’t look good on you, and I don’t think it would do me any favors, either.

  404. Lily
    January 11th, 2009 @ 5:04 pm

    I have told you no such things. You do not know my political views, you cannot name my “petty hatreds” (hint– eggplant is the main one), nor have I told you that you should accept my religious views. Ever.

    If you really believe what you just wrote, then I fear you are as irrational as you are irreligious.

  405. Irreligious
    January 11th, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

    Lily, please.

    You dislike liberals, intensely. You don’t the mainstream media. You loathe Islam. You don’t like gays who engage in homosexual sex, because you believe they are selfish and sinful, and you are convinced that, uniformly, they would make disastrous parents.

    You also think those who have sex without benefit of marriage– perferably the sacramental kind– are selfish and sinful, and are leading to the downfall of what was once a more perfect American society in your eyes, which is why it’s any of your business at all.

    Your are partial to the Roman Catholic faith and think that it is your sacred duty to share your religion with others, whether they want you to or not.

    You don’t really like to be challenged on any of your viewpoints because, in your mind, there are few people in the world as smart as you.

    You don’t like most atheists unless they can stomach kissing your butt or they know almost as many arcane factoids about your religion as you do and, again, do not challenge you too aggresively on any points of disagreement.

    It’s all on the record, Lily. All one has to do is read your copious posts here and at the raving atheist forum.

  406. Irreligious
    January 11th, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

    That is, you don’t like (or trust) the mainstream media.

  407. Irreligious
    January 11th, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

    I should have said you don’t like sex-having homosexuals and unmarried people because you think they are “immoral.” From your point of view, all human beings are “sinful.”

  408. Lily
    January 11th, 2009 @ 9:15 pm

    You’ve repeated this nonsense so many times that you actually believe it. That is a shame. This is why you can’t hear anyone but yourself.

    Let’s run through a couple of your loonier assertions:

    1. “You dislike liberals, intensely”. I dislike a great many political positions that are passed off as “liberal”. Since most of my family and friends are “liberals”, I would be in a pickle, if I disliked them intensely.

    2.”You loathe Islam”. As any sane person must, who knows what it preaches.

    3. “You don’t like gays who engage in homosexual sex, because you believe they are selfish and sinful”… Selfish? Where did that come from? We have long since established that homosexual acts are sinful. This has been the consistent witness of all Christianity for the last 2000 years.

    4. …”and you are convinced that, uniformly, they would make disastrous parents.” I have never said this and do not, in fact, believe it.

    5. “You also think those who have sex without benefit of marriage– perferably the sacramental kind…” There is only marriage. There are no other “kinds” of marriage. A sacramental marriage is one entered by two people understanding and agreeing on the essential characteristics of Christian marriage: “unity, fidelity, indissolubility, fruitfulness; the conscience of faith regarding the priority of the sacramental Grace which associates the spouses, as subjects and ministers of the sacrament, to the love of Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church; the willingness to carry out the mission proper to families in the educational, social and ecclesial areas” (From ” Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage.)

    “.. are selfish and sinful, and are leading to the downfall of what was once a more perfect American society in your eyes, which is why it’s any of your business at all.” Nonsense. American society was never “more perfect”. The west is committing suicide precisely because it is hedonistic, materialistic and profoundly egocentric. We are all guilty and it is everyone’s business.

    Do you really not understand the writing on the wall? Just this last week, one of the co-inventors of the birth control pill was lamenting publicly that if he had only known that it would allow the west to sever sex from procreation and thus cause its own eclipse, he would never have been party to it.

    6. “You don’t like most atheists” … This is pathetic. I certainly don’t like the majority who are stll at the forum who despise us and call us, among many other things: godidiots, god botherers, shitlords, christards, mouthbreathers, and an array of disgusting scatalogical names (and amazingly revolting names for female genitalia). Given the high number of really smart, well-socialized atheists who have left in disgust, I am perfectly aware that there are reasonable, smart atheists who are fine citizens and people I enjoy knowing and would be pleased to have as colleagues and friends.

    The forum is a cross between a sewer and an insane asylum and I bitterly regret the time I spent there. Except for the fact that I cannot in good conscience recommend any decent person go there, I would be very happy to have anyone read anything I have written there. I have never advocated any position that is not fully congruent with mainstream values and plain old ordinary Christianity.

    The fact that you all deem that “hate speech” says a whole lot more about you than you than any words of mine could convey.

  409. jolly atheist
    January 11th, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

    Lily:’You loathe Islam’ as any sane person must, who knows what it preaches: I don’t agree at all. Islam is no worse or better than other religions. It is very typical of the religous to degrade another. Have you forgotten all those who suffered by the Inquisition of the Christian Church? And the Crusades? And all that happened in Africa? And all that Bush – by word of God – caused in Iraq? And all that Israel – by word of Old Testament – causes in Gaza? What muslim terrorists do – actually they are made to do by manipulating the Koran – is small compared to the institutional terror caused by more powerful countries. Let’s try to be fair when we attempt an analysis.

  410. Lily
    January 11th, 2009 @ 10:58 pm

    My connection is too slow and I am too tired to refute this nonsense now. The 200 odd plus souls who suffered during the inquisition are sad– and what? 500 years in the past? The Crusades originally defensive wars against an aggressive and much stronger and more successful Islam are now what? 800 years in the past? Bush does not speak for Christendom and does not have its blessings. Let’s deal with reality. Islam is a warrior religion. Christianity is not.

    Which one, followed faithfully, poses a present danger to the world? Which one preaches that Jews are dogs and that it is right to kill them? Which one executes homosexuals? Which one stones supposedly adulterous women? Which one punishes 16 year old girls for being mouthy by hanging them? Which one forces school girls to stay in a burning building and roast, rather than let them outside with out head coverings. Which one is committed to converting the world by force?

    Moral equivalence is intellectual suicide. Ignorance is death. Put the kool-aid down and live.

  411. michael williams
    January 11th, 2009 @ 11:47 pm

    Islam and Christianity both commit the same sins, as belief without proof is sin, and antropomorphizing god is sin. This thread began with distinction between two types of knowing. Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel all dove into the question, each sought truth, each would have been an Alaydian if Alaydianity had existed at the time, as they had the recognition of what the Alaydians call the only two miracles, namely consciousness and logic. The concept of a-prior knowledge is the heart of this, along with the notion of didactic proof. Nobody has ever seen a perfect circle, yet we know what one is. Why? It cannot be from empirical data alone, since none exists. Are some things knowable without experience? Apparently so. And a-posterior knowledge exists as well, since I can observe my self doubting. (sorry, Descartes…) Ignorance is not necessarily death, but it is a sin, and teaching opinion without proof is the definition of a daemon.

  412. Irreligious
    January 12th, 2009 @ 2:40 am

    Lily, Lily, Lily. Always spouting about things you don’t really know.

    My ex-wife– also now an ex-Muslim– was undoubtedly a mouthy and “rebellious” teenage Muslim girl. She and her devoutly Muslim father butted heads constantly, but she was never hanged for being strong-willed.

    I don’t want to defend Islam any more than I would want to defend Christianity, but the Muslim world is big and broad. There are about a billion folks around the world who claim adherence to the faith. I doubt that you know any of them intimately, whereas, I do know a few which, over the years has included my ex-wife’s extended family and assorted friends.

    They are not all fire-breathing, cartoon caricatures. Some, like my ex-father-in-law, prefer to focus on the positive aspects of their religion, just like some Christians do with their religion.

    Of course, there are plenty of theists of all stripes who would rather focus on all the ugly parts of their religions. Some Christians do that, too.

  413. Nina
    January 12th, 2009 @ 6:03 am

    In Catholicism, whether or not a person “counts” depends on statistics. Abortion kills millions, therefore it is the only form of murder the Catholic Church recognizes. 200 people? A long time ago? Doesn’t matter. They don’t count. They’re not statistically relevant, therefore they’re not really human beings.

    Who punishes 16 year old girls for being “mouthy” by hanging (stoning, legalized rape, etc.)? Well, I suppose that imbecile, Lily, needs to acquaint herself with the Magdalene convents of Ireland in our more recent history. The Catholic Church in Ireland punished girls of 16 and younger for, uh, being pretty. For being sexually assaulted (because it’s always the dirty female temptresses’ fault) by incarcerating them, beating them, taking away their identities and throwing their bodies into mass, unmarked graves upon their deaths — after decades of slave labor for the Church. Oh, and if a girl dared to become pregnant out of wedlock, her child was taken from her against her will and given to someone who was supposedly a better parent (if you can consider baby-stealing an ideal parental virtue). That went on here and all over the world (still does), and, Lily, you dumb fucking cunt, was perpetrated by Catholic Charities adoption agencies right smack here in the good old USA during your lifetime.

    Then, again in recent history, the sex abuse scandal…yeah, systematic, supported, aided and abetted sexual molestation, abuse, rape, etc., all blamed, once again, on “the gays” because the majority of the abuse was male to male. Of course, the fact that the deck was stacked BY THE CHURCH for it to be male to male is why, but, no, priests raping kids and bishops giving them the green light to do it again is the fault of Gay Pride Day.

    So educate yourself, you fucking retard, before you go casting stones at Islam (not that I’m defending Islam, by any means).

    Clean up your own house before you go looking to criticise others.

  414. mk
    January 12th, 2009 @ 6:35 am

    If anyone is interested in continuing this conversation, I think the new thread (on marriage) would be a good place to do so…

    See you over there…

  415. jolly atheist
    January 12th, 2009 @ 6:40 am

    M.Williams: Sorry, English is my second language and I couldn’t get whether you are for or against the concept of a prior knowledge. I couldn’t get the link Alaydians. Do you mean that knowledge is prior concept (conscioussness +logic)+didactic proof? I seem to think that a perfect circle is my perfection (in my mind) of a clumsy circle I perceive in daily life. Just like I (not me, the religious) create heaven which is the utopic model of our chaotic world turned into cosmos. They just take it one step further to another life. If I accept the concept of a prior knowledge, that means I accept God, not antropomorphically but as Actuality. Do you defend this idea? (Or have I misunderstood completely what you said) On the other hand, I agree that belief without proof is nothing to be respected.

  416. nkb
    January 13th, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

    “You confuse me. If I argue from a Catholic perspective you call me on it. If I don’t, you tell me you want to hear why I believe what I believe as a Catholic…
    Maybe I’m hearing you wrong? ”
    .
    Apparently, you are. You are conflating two different parts of our discussion.
    .
    In the first part, I was asking you on what basis you were arguing that marriage (from a Christian standpoint) can’t be redefined, when it clearly already has been (polygamy to monogamy), as illustrated in the holy book of your choice, the bible.
    .
    The second part, which is independant of the first, was that when we are arguing about marriage rights, we are specifically referencing the secular version, not the religious one, yet you keep coming back to what marriage means in the context of your church. Nobody here (and I mean nobody) is arguing for changing what the Catholic Church believes is a valid religious marriage. Why do you continue to try to impose your religious definition on the secular world?

  417. nkb
    January 13th, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

    I wrote: “My heart tells me that two Christians raising a child is better than having a gang of child-raping murderers do it.”
    You said: “Now see, I don’t have a problem with that statement. First of all, wouldn’t they be?”
    .
    That was sarcasm, mk. I was trying to illustrate how amazingly condescending your admission was that having a gay couple raise a kid is preferable to the kid being homeless, like that even needed to be said.
    If you are invited to dinner, do you tell the host/hostess that their meal was better than a dog turd? Whether the food is good or just mediocre, it’s technically true (unless the cook is completely inept), but is that something that you would even think of saying?
    .
    “And second of all, wouldn’t you have misgivings about Christians pounding their crazy thinking into little unsuspecting minds?”
    Yes, absolutely. But in my heart I know that Christ-pounding is preferable to dismembering the kids and putting them in the meat grinder. ;)
    .
    “Tell me this…if you had a child that needed a home, and in front of you, you had a devout Catholic couple, seriously religious…I mean the woman admits she’s been praying the rosary for this kid for years, and already has it’s communion outfit picked out and you know her stance on homosexuality…and an atheist couple…who would you choose. Everything else about them is equal…”
    .
    If I had the choice, I would choose the atheist couple, no doubt. I am strongly opposed to dogmatic indoctrination of children.
    But, if the devout Catholic couple is the only option, I will curb my feelings for the good of the kid.
    .
    Wow, does that mean that an atheist is more compassionate than a Christian?

  418. nkb
    January 13th, 2009 @ 3:35 pm

    “I don’t view being a single parent as morally objectionable. Do you? There is no sin in being single. The child would not be exposed to anything morally questionable, simply because the woman is single.”
    .
    No, I don’t view them as objectionable, but some of your fellow Catholics apparently do. Paolo said it was a disgrace, and Lily mentioned that it can be argued that singles shouldn’t raise children (if it was at all enforceable).
    .
    But, what if this single parent (men can be single parents too, right?) is dating, and having sex, without being married? Is this something that should be legislated against, in your opinion? Is that just as bad as a gay couple having sex in a monogamous relationship, or are there different degrees of sinful behavior?

  419. nkb
    January 13th, 2009 @ 3:43 pm

    I wrote: “You can afford to have this stance as long as the charity is not accepting public funds. But they do, don’t they?”
    You wrote: “So does Planned Parenthood.”
    .
    Last I checked, Planned Parenthood does not discriminate in providing their services. If they did, they should not be eligible for public funds either. But, it’s a moot point, and completely irrelevant to this discussion.

  420. nkb
    January 13th, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

    You wrote: “May I ask how you can say this:
    “The fact that you and your church think that homosexual acts are immoral is quite irrelevant to the law, and nobody gives a shit what your church decrees for its own members.”
    and call me out on saying this:
    “Wow, what a concession!
    My heart tells me that two Christians raising a child is better than having a gang of child-raping murderers do it.”
    At least how do you do it with a straight face?”
    .
    Apart from the first statement being serious, and the second one facetious, I don’t see the discrepancy, since they are unrelated. Am I missing something?

  421. nkb
    January 13th, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

    “Why is it wrong for a Catholic Organization to be allowed to be a Catholic Organization?”
    .
    It isn’t. Who said it was?
    .
    “Are they the only Adoption Agency around?”
    .
    No, they’re not. Who said they were?
    .
    “Who’s being the bully now?”
    .
    I don’t understand. Nobody is being a bully. The Catholic Organization is the one in the wrong here, because they’re pouting about not being able to discriminate, while accepting public funds, and would rather screw over a bunch of kids to prove a point.
    .
    “Why do doctors have to perform abortions?”
    .
    To my knowledge, no doctor is forced to perform an abortion. Care to elaborate?
    .
    “Why do Catholic Hospitals?”
    I am not familiar with the situation of Catholic hospitals, and whether they are forced to provide abortion services. If they are being coerced, please provide some links.
    .
    “Why do pharmacists have to give out the morning after pill?”
    .
    Personally, I don’t think they should be able to make the decision for the woman, but if I remember correctly, they aren’t forced to, unless there is no other reasonable option available (rural setting, only one pharmacy scenario).
    The morning-after pill is a completely separate issue from abortion, in my opinion, since the pharmacist is not actively involved. The woman makes the decision on her own on whether she takes the pill or not (I realize that there is a little bit of gray area here).
    Should a store owner refuse to sell wire hangers to a pregnant woman, in case she decides to self-abort?
    .
    “Is it not possible for Catholic Charities to deal in Catholic adoptions, and Catholic Hospitals to live by Catholic principles? Is that really asking too much? You won’t be happy til everyone follows your morality, but darned if the other side tries such tactics…? tsk, tsk.”
    .
    mk, please refrain from telling me what my motivations are, as I have not informed you of them.
    .
    I do not require anyone to follow my morality (outside of my family), and wouldn’t even dream of compelling anyone to do so. All Catholic organizations can discriminate as much as they want, as can any other private organization, but they sure as hell can’t accept public funds at the same time.
    Is that concept really that hard to understand? Public funds = no discrimination.

  422. nkb
    January 13th, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

    “And kids would get hurt by being put in inappropriate homes.”
    .
    No argument here. It’s the definition of “inappropriate” where we have a disagreement.
    .
    “The Catholic Church was right.”
    .
    If the RCC said that a warm cup of piss was a refreshing drink, you would agree.
    .
    “And how on God’s green earth did you decide that Camenker is an angry, bigoted Christian, pray tell?”
    .
    Well, the “angry” part is quite evident. Are you saying he isn’t angry?
    “Bigoted”? Well, he dislikes teh gays, because they are gay, so that was a pretty easy one too.
    .
    I’ll admit that I didn’t read all of links, but it comes back to “How many bites of a shit sandwich do you need before giving up?”.

    “Everything he has written is factual and easily verifiable even apart from the dozens of links he provided–like an NPR report, like the books used to which he and other parents objected, like the parent arrested for protesting the school’s imposition of inappropriate matter on his child …”.

    Ahhh, you have pronounced everything factual, therefore it must be. How convenient. There couldn’t possibly be any personal bias in his stories?
    Well, let’s tackle the specific story you mention of the parent getting arrested, as a prime example. Was he really arrested for protesting the books? Or was it because, after being told by the principal that there was nothing further to discuss, he refused to leave? Are you sure that you read the stories? The charge was “trespassing”.
    .
    “You have repeatedly called me a sheep, a bigot, dishonest, condescending and heaven only knows what else over the years.”
    .
    And they are all factually accurate.
    .
    “Yet I can verify/ prove all of my factual assertions and I can support every one of the opinions I express with good solid research.”
    .
    There you go again, proclaiming something factual, just because you said so. I won’t argue that you support your bigoted, condescending opinions with research (not so much on the “good” and “solid”). So what? As Irr pointed out already, you can always find studies that support any view.
    An argument comes to mind on the RA forum, where you quoted a religiously-motivated splinter group of doctors that supported your view, over the actual respected doctors’ association (comprised of the vast majority of the doctors, both religious and not), because they didn’t. That was probably good, solid research in your book too.
    .
    “You cannot support yours and have never tried. You merely pronounce yourself right and me wrong. Thus you cannot and never have argued with me honestly. You will not review the information I provide for you nor can you be bothered to find any on your own with which to refute me.”
    If you say so, Lily. If you are pronouncing it so, it must be true.
    .
    “Which one of us is a sheep bleating unsupported opinions? Which one of us is condescending? dishonest?”
    .
    Still you.

  423. nkb
    January 13th, 2009 @ 5:16 pm

    Lily wrote: “There is only marriage. There are no other “kinds” of marriage. A sacramental marriage is one entered by two people understanding and agreeing on the essential characteristics of Christian marriage…”
    .
    :lol:
    So, there is no difference between getting married in a Catholic church, or going to a justice of the peace?
    .
    Lily wrote: “Just this last week, one of the co-inventors of the birth control pill was lamenting publicly that if he had only known that it would allow the west to sever sex from procreation and thus cause its own eclipse, he would never have been party to it.”
    .
    That is hilarious. What did he think the pill was going to do? Can you link this, because I want a laugh?
    .
    Lily wrote: “The forum is a cross between a sewer and an insane asylum and I bitterly regret the time I spent there.”
    You are, and always will be, a big, fat hypocrite. Why, if you “bitterly regret” time spent there, do you still go there? You haven’t posted in months (thank you for that), but you just can’t stay away.

  424. Flower Power : The Raving Theist
    January 14th, 2009 @ 12:01 am

    […] 14, 2009 On an earlier post, commenter Beelzebub compared my conversion to the moment in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 version) when Donald Sutherland turned […]

  425. John Matthewson
    January 21st, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

    This division into Empiricism and Rationalism might be a bit simplistic. There are some forms of empiricism, such as Radical Empiricism, that maintain that all knowledge is gained from the contents of mind rather than directly from the senses. Rationalism is also multiple, for instance a Platonic Rationalist would base theory on primitive forms whereas a scientific Rationalist would only accept those rationalisations that were empirically testable. (See Science: empirical or platonic or The nature of the soul for an empirical account of mind)

  426. Why Do You Really Care? : The Raving Theist | Eng raving live today
    August 27th, 2009 @ 7:12 am

    […] more here: Why Do You Really Care? : The Raving Theist Posted in Uncategorized | Tags: a-burning-desire, and-reading, express-with, following, […]

  427. antireligious t shirts
    January 11th, 2010 @ 8:44 pm

    Hi there ! Thank for posting.

  428. Jenny Amway
    March 2nd, 2010 @ 10:47 pm

    The first thing about religion at most of them is that the child has no choice as the parents choose the religion for them before birth. That is one of the reasons why there are people who convert to another religion or to disbelief of the culture (religion is a culture for me). Once they are exposed to the knowledge of the world and what not, it will certainly spark some interests and question… of which they may find in religion or still in science.

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