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A friend of mine recently pointed me to this page where in the author crafts an argument against the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman. His argument is based largely on biological anomalies which give rise to odd situations where if we consider the person to be male or female depending on what aspects of the male or female biological makeup we choose to measure by (ie. testosterone, estrogen, physical features) we might end up “mandating and legally sanctifying exactly the sort of same-sex marriages they’re intending to ban”.
First off, it needs to be pointed out that no one is required to marry or procreate. They may have the freedom to or not depending on their physical characteristics, but they are by no means forced to marry anyone.
Additionally, since genetic abnormalities are quite common (ie. cancer) I fail to see why offering medical treatment to resolve these conditions would be less preferential than redefining the institution of marriage.
As to government’s involvement. I would agree with government’s non-intervention and I would argue that any attempt at redefining commonly used words would constitute a major intervention. If you want to strengthen contract law to rectify situations like visiting a loved one in the hospital or prison then I would be all for that. But you don’t need to redefine a word in order to accomplish that end. Likewise it makes no sense to say that a group of people are deprived of a right because the definition of words functions in an exclusionary sense in order to convey meaning. In order words, if we, as a society, start monkeying around with our language such that marriage is no longer biologically bound, then what we would have accomplished is the destruction of language and constructive discourse.
We would not, however, have done anything to increase freedom or equality.
“We are living at a time where some people, as my daughter used to say, they want to test whether the milk is good before they buy the cow,” he said. “For some people that’s where their journeys are.
Why should we condone this “Try before you buy” mentality? I, for one, will vociferously fight this trend among my own children if nothing else than on the personal experience of what it almost did to my own marriage.
The only thing that saved us is something I desperately hope happens for the Royal newlyweds. A radical change in heart towards the creator under whose eyes their respective vows were undertaken.
Without that, they are in serious danger of walking down the same road as Prince William’s father and late biological mother.
A friend on Facebook pointed out the following in a disussion on a recent post of mine:
You point out that there is nothing to stop homosexuals from “drawing up contracts” and calling that a marriage; but their legal position on many issues would be quite different from actually legally married couples – eg inheritance rights, being forced to testify against eachother, tax issues etc.
Here’s my response:
I would be all for discussing legislation that discusses specific changes like those. In fact, I think a big help in regards to taxes would be the adoption of a flat tax system (paper here).
I’d be all for allowing the creation of contracts wherein both parties voluntarily agree to enter into agreements which provide things like testimonial coverage, (tax free) inheritance guarantees, and guaranteed access to one another in crisis situations (ie hospitalization). However none of that necessitates that we redefine the fundamental institution of marriage nor that we create a rival institution like “civil unions”. All of that can and should be accomplished through strengthening existing private party agreements.
Do you hear that? I think I just heard the minds’ of my liberal friends being blown.
California bill SB48 is touted as another step in combatting discriminatory practices by teaching students about the contributions to humanity made by gays, lesbians, and transgendered persons.
“Most textbooks don’t include any information about (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) historical figures or their civil rights movement, which has great significance to both California and U.S. history,” the bill’s author, state Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said during a news conference Thursday.
“This selective censorship sends the wrong message to all young people, and especially to those who do not identify as straight,” said Leno, who is openly gay.
Leno, however, begs the question when it comes to teaching GLBT issues in an age appropriate manner. As child psychologist Miriam Grossman testifies:
Personally, I think this whole situation underscores the need for robust voucher programs to empower parents to opt their children out of things like this.
It needs to be pointed out that their attitude towards sex as a sterile, recreational activity unconnected with any biological consequences combined with their view of children as parasites are not unique. These are the predominant views of our society, pushed in all facets from politics to education to entertainment.
The future looks very bleak for any children produced and raised in the homes the people above will provide (when they choose to provide it, of course). One protester even had a sign “would you trust me with a child?”
What the above video shows is how it is socially acceptable, indeed fashionable, to spurn our biological design in pursuit of unbridled hedonism.
In late March, 2007, a spate of articles and news releases were released from Drs. Paul and Kirk Cameron purporting to demonstrate that the life expectancy of homosexuals is 20 to 30 years lower than that of straights. Behind this flurry of activity was a poster session presented at the March, 2007 Eastern Psychological Association convention in Philadelphia.
This is part of the introduction of “An exchange between Warren Throckmorton, Morten Frisch, Paul Cameron and Kirk Cameron
regarding the lifespan of homosexuals.”
In it, the often criticized methods of Drs. Paul and Kirk Cameron are discussed. Specifically the objection given by Morten Frisch:
Since, as noted, age is a strong determinant of openness about homosexuality, the study groups of deceased homosexuals in Cameron and Cameronís report were severely skewed towards younger people. Consequently, the much younger average age at death of these openly homosexual people as compared with the average age at death in the unselected general population tells nothing about possible differences between life expectancies in gays and non-gays in general. All it reflects is the skewed age distribution towards younger people among those who are openly homosexual.
Paul Cameron responds with a couple of points:
- it has been shown that homosexuals are more likely to respond to surveys
Further, in that study, analysis of the patterns of missing answers among respondents showed that those with homosexual interests were more, and not less, likely than those with only heterosexual interests to respond to questions about sexually non-conforming behavior.
- no one, on either side of the issue,
knows for sure how often people deliberately lie when they respond to sex surveys, or how many individuals simply refuse to respond in order to hide their sexual preferences. We also donít know whether refusals of that particular sort are more common among the older. All we know is that several well-funded research teams have not found many differences along behavioral dimensions ó including items about sexuality between the first responders and those who eventually responded after repeated visits or call-backs.
- the death of older homosexuals would be difficult to simply cover up. But even so, no one can know this with any certainty either.
It was partly because of the uncertainties in self-report that we decided to examine other kinds of data. Obviously, obituaries depend upon human reporting but are not ‘self-reports.’ To keep oneís past sexual behavior secret after death can be difficult unless no one else knows, presumably even oneís own partners. As Ben Franklin wisely said, ìthree can keep a secret, but only if two of them are dead.î Again, neither Dr. Frisch nor anyone else knows whether in fact the older are disproportionately less often represented than the young among obituaries in gay newspapers.
- the report also used data from public records
That is why it is of more than passing scientific interest that three rather different sources and kinds of data ó sex surveys, obituaries, death registries all indicate fairly similar declines in homosexual prevalence with age.
Its interesting to also note that Dr Frisch apparently mentioned “in an email that no more than 5% of Danish gays take advantage of the marriage laws there.”
In his response, Warren Throckmorton cites the following report
In a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday. (Hogg et al, 1997, from the abstract)
There is a lot more in the paper, and I highly encourage anyone interested in engaging others in a rational discussion regarding homosexuality to read it. One thing to note, however, is that all sides agree “that there may some difference in life span”. The only difference seems to be that those who are sympathetic towards the homosexual agenda are unwilling to speculate on how much that difference is.
Ayn Rand is famous for arguing for a political stance wherein men were seen as sovereign beings. While this view has merits, one of its pitfalls comes when discussing man’s relationship to other men. It seems that any appeal to community is lampooned by her and her followers as “collectivist”. Rand centered her philosophy in the rationality of the mind. However, I believe that it is precisely the mind where we find the strongest reason we have to believe that man is made for community.
When I pressed one of Rand’s followers what reason we have for believing the mind to be an accurate source of true beliefs, I was told:
The reason I trust my mind is due to a long road of trail and error. Started as a baby with simple concept formation.
The process of trial and error is only valid once you have information and a mechanism for evaluating truth from falsehoods. Babies rely on external agents to provide them with information AND the ability to sort out truths from falsehoods.
For example, I jokingly told my kids that landsharks would get them if they didn’t stay in bed a while back. My daughter firmly denied their existence based on prior argumentation of there being no such thing as monsters. My son, however, has been convinced they exist. Both of them have also subsequently been exposed to “evidence” for landsharks in the form of a shark ride at a local park and a youtube clip from SNL (its pretty funny too). Now, how are they supposed to find out, without me or some other external agent telling them, that landsharks are, in fact, not real?
I would agree that a man’s mind is essential to his survival. But the mind alone does not produce information. Like logic, all the mind can do is process what is already in it.
If you maintain that the mind is merely a physical chunk of meat I would wager that your burden of explaining how true beliefs are formed even more difficult since, under such a view, the mind would merely be a slave to the stimuli in the environment around it. This would also further call into question the mind’s design (or lack thereof) of producing true beliefs for it’s owner.
In opposition to this, I would maintain that true beliefs require the intervention of intelligent agents external to ourselves. This condition indicates that man is not complete in and of himself but rather is dependent on others, on the community.
No man is complete in himself, and children are a prime example of this fact.
Felicity Dale has written an excellent series of posts intended to answer the question “Do organic/simple churches believe in leadership?”.
Here is an excellent video which I believe summarizes what the Bible teaches with regard to leadership in the Body of Christ:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
In a recent Baptist Press article titled “When people criticize church leadership”, Thom Rainer took on the task of addressing why it is that
The level and frequency of criticisms toward pastors and other leaders has increased significantly in the past several years.
Thom’s observations begin with:
First, the standards of church membership have been low in many churches for many years. As a consequence our churches have more and more unregenerate members. Frankly, I would be not be surprised if some of the most vitriolic criticisms come from those who are not Christians.
I’ve heard this line of reasoning offered by several professional pastors so its hardly surprising that Thom would offer this as his initial point. What is surprising is the amount of arrogance required to sustain such a position. Who is Thom or anyone else to call into question anyone else’s commitment to Christ? Oh sure, we could if the person in question fit any of the Biblical criteria for doing so, but as far as Thom is concerned, merely asking questions is enough grounds to call into question one’s salvation.
Second, church members have been unwilling to take a stand when they see and hear unwarranted criticism toward the pastor and other leaders. This silence is shameful and sinful. Belligerent critics remain critics often because other church members are fearful of rebuking them. In some ways, the silent majority is just as wrong as the constant critics.
I’m not sure what churches Thom has been to, but in my experience quite the opposite is true. A member of the congregation is expected to face considerable odds if they wish to even raise a question regarding their pastor or leadership. And when they do, there is an inevitable wall of deacons and other groupies that usually descend on them like jackals to corral them back into line. This is what most pastors consider “unity”.
The first seven verses of Acts 6 tell the story of complaining by a group in the early church. In this case, the concern was warranted because a group of widows was being neglected. The Twelve appointed seven men to take care of the widows and thus, stopped the criticisms.
Though it may not be the central thrust of the text, we see clearly that a divided and critical congregation was a serious concern for early church leaders. The ministry had to continue, and the divisiveness had to stop. We also see that the entire congregation had a stake in this issue (verse 5, “The proposal pleased the whole company”). There was no sinful and silent majority unwilling to tackle this issue.
This exposes a common trait among professional church leaders. Thom assumes here, with admittedly no Biblical support, that the primary focus of church life is on the leaders. So much for that whole bit about the greatest being servants and all that jazz. No sir, that’s not the sort of stuff that will allow pastors to build massive churches based off of the tax free donations of others.
At least in principle, the solutions are simple. The standards of church membership must be held high, and the benefits are numerous beyond just dealing with critics. We can’t expect unregenerate church members to act like Christians.
Apparently regenerate church members are people who don’t cause any waves. They don’t ask questions. In fact, the really regenerate church members are barely distinguishable from zombies.
Its little wonder that churches today are bleeding members left and right. Or that the average “regenerate” church member is unable to answer even the mildest challenge to their faith.
Second, church members must be willing to confront the sinful behavior of the perpetual and ill-intentioned critics. While no church leader should be above legitimate criticisms, the tide has turned too far in the other direction. Criticisms are paralyzing too many good leaders.
Its fascinating that Thom spends so much time assuming that the bulk of criticisms are illegitimate and yet provides no concrete basis on distinguishing between the two. In fact, Thom’s remaining article addresses how to throw out what he considers to be threats to the church business. Little, if any, consideration is given to the question of how we are to tell if the pastor and leaders is wrong and what to do if they are.
My guess is that this omission is due to the underlying assumption of most pastors that they are “god’s men” and have somehow been rendered infallible (likely by their supposed special calling and subsequent ordination into the ‘priesthood’).
Even though Thom’s article is almost 100% wrong, it is useful in pointing out one thing. I believe the attitude Thom displays here is a large reason why men like myself steer clear of most institutional churches as much as we can.
Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit. -Matthew 15:14