Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Arguing Gay Marriage. Again.

The passing of Proposition 8 in California and the aftermath have re-ignited arguments surrounding gay Marriage. Thought I would address a few…

1. It is not traditional

Certainly the most common. We hear, “Marriage has traditionally been defined as one man; one woman, and to allow something other than that traditional definition would be wrong.”

Why? Traditions change. Laws change. People change. Interest rates fluctuate. Limited time offers end. Believe it or not, humanity managed to muddle on.

Marriage, at one time, “traditionally” meant one man and multiple wives. “Traditionally” required a dowry. “Traditionally” required the father’s blessing. (Tevye sings vociferously on this very point!) “Traditionally” required the church’s blessing. “Traditionally” prohibited mixed races from marrying.

And those traditions changed. This is simply another change.

Yes, we ARE asking what you consider “traditional” to change. So what? Where is it written “Traditional is always, always, always correct. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye?”

This is a horrible argument, because it fails to demonstrate why we must stick with what is “traditional.” (And why didn’t we in the past?) It is a law. It is established by the government. Laws can change. Even Constitutions can change. We are asking for a change in the law. To whine, “Hey, we can’t change” is a pretty stupid argument.

2. Children

There are a variety of arguments under this heading. Gay’s can’t naturally produce children. Children would be harmed by learning of a law allowing gays to marry. Children will be taught in school that gay marriage is acceptable.

First, the thing about gays not naturally producing children. True—but marriage is not defined by “having children.” I thought (see above) the “traditional” definition was “one man; one woman” Not “one man; one woman; one child.” Ain’t it funny in one breath the complaint is how gay marriage violates some definition by asking it to change, and in the next, the person is asking for a change in the definition!

I’ll try to make it clear--Marriage has nothing to do with children. If a couple has a child, and the child dies—are they no longer married? If a couple is married without a child (either by inability or choice) are they not married? If a couple is not married, but has a child—are they married? If a couple leaves Boston on a train going 60 kph, and they don’t have any children on the train coming from San Francisco at 80 kph—are they still married in Kansas?

Second—I hate to tell you, but kids already know about homosexuals. They already talk about it. To pretend they don’t know is to remove yourself from the real world. If you are really interested in what is being taught to your children in school—ask yourself these questions. How many school board meetings have you attended in the past year? How many classes have you helped out? How many field trips have you been a parent helper?

3. It is not natural

Well…homosexual sex has been observed in other creatures, so I am not certain what is meant by “natural.” Are you saying there are penguin marriages? Presided over by Penguin pastors, attended by the little penguin bride and her penguin flower girl? (The penguin bridegroom is formally attired, of course.)

Marriage is a human construct. Yes, some creatures mate for life. But they aren’t “married.” Only humans, by definition of law, are “married.”

This is a re-wording of the “against tradition.”

4. The Bible is against homosexual acts.

Finally. A legitimate argument. Many people don’t like homosexual marriage. In their opinion (and that is all it is—an opinion), they do not want it. They can bolster this by claiming their God says it is wrong.

Hey, if you want to live your life and vote for/against laws by your opinion of what aliens whisper in your brain during sleep—so be it. In the same way, if you want to vote for/against homosexual marriage because of your opinion about some Holy Writing—that is equally your right. Heck, if you want to vote by roll of the dice—you are free to do so.

What surprises me is that this argument is mixed in amongst the others. If one’s god teaches against it—who cares if it is traditional, natural or whether children are involved? If this is a person’s reasoning—this should be the ONLY argument, and more than sufficient.

Here’s the thing—the person is concerned this isn’t convincing. They recognize that maybe—just maybe—other people do not hold their Holy Writing in such high opinion. Therefore they stretch out, trying to bring in other arguments. Other “reasons” (and I use the term as loose as an XXXL shirt on an anorexic) to persuade non-Holy-Writing-believers that homosexual marriage is wrong.

Do they understand by abandoning their own standing of this being the “Word Of God” by bringing in other arguments they undercut any force the “Word Of God” argument has? If they consider their Holy Writing insufficient to be a sufficient argument, and need these other arguments to make their point—why should we consider it a sufficient argument either?

When are we going to cut it to the quick? Lose the dross of “non-traditional” or “not-natural” or “no-children”? Call it what it is—certain people have an opinion against homosexuality; they find support for their opinion in their God, and will vote against homosexuality because of their distaste.

Not because of their concern over re-writing dictionaries.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Do No Harm

In these theistic debates, we often see the argument over who killed more people. How atheist leaders killed this many millions in the 20th Century, or Christians killed that many millions in the Crusades and so on. As if “who killed more” is some indication of truth…

Rather than focus on these huge numbers, and the grandiose crime of murder, I thought I would look at something more here-and-now. More relevant.

Dallas Academy is a school for kids with some learning problems. They have about 20 girls, most of whom have never played basketball. Not surprisingly, their team is not very good. They haven’t won a game in four years.

But on January 13 2009, they played a north Dallas Christian school called “The Covenant” losing the game 100-0.

Think about that. 100-0.

The Coach for Dallas said “They are really good. Their point guard is terrific. This is what it came down to in the second half: steal at half court and layup. Steal and layup. Steal and layup. It was a layup drill. They finally eased up when they got to 100 with about four minutes left."

The score at 1st quarter was 35-0, at half 59-0 and at 3rd quarter 88-0. One player obtained 48 points.

The Coach for The Covenant said, "It just happened, and we are not happy about that. Please know Covenant intended no harm against them. I see this as a real learning opportunity, so we can prevent this from happening in the future.”

Excuse me? “It just happened…”???

No, you let it happen. You wanted it to happen. You have a program where other teams are struggling and you deliberately pounded them into the ground. Were there “Boo’s” from The Covenant’s home crowd as score after score were made? Did the coach tell the players to stop shooting baskets, and start working together?

There are complaints in public schools of “running up the scores”—and this Christian school couldn’t figure out what they were doing?

No—they knew exactly what they were doing.

Then the story broke out in the newspapers. Dallas Academy has pulled out of the league after this game. Dallas Academy was proud of how well the girls held up under this beating. Now the world looked at the Christian school The Covenant as a monster. What does it do?

AFTER the story broke, it offers up a formal apology and a formal offer to forfeit. (Here’s the thing—you don’t need to do a “formal forfeit” through an administrative process. All one has to do is forfeit. A bit of trumpeting one’s own horn.)

Not before. Not on the 14th. Nor the 15th.

What is the difference between a secular school and a Christian one?

In the secular school we have:

1. Runs up the score.
2. Gets caught.
3. Makes formal apology.
4. Moves on with no change.

Whereas in the Christian School there is:

1. Runs up the score.
2. Gets caught.
3. Makes formal apology.
4. Moves on with no change.

However, there is one subtle difference. The secular school is left shouldering the responsibility. It did what it did. No blaming others, no absolution. The Christian school, however, is considered “good” for making an apology. “Isn’t it great it stepped forward and so kindly offered to forfeit the game?” [After it got caught, of course.]

The Christian school doesn’t have to live with what it did—because it is “forgiven.” It asked for forgiveness and Jesus washed away all its sin. Forgiven and forgotten. The Christian is better for getting forgiveness from its God; while the poor non-Christian is doomed to a hotter hell when performing the same deed..

In all this bickering about who is better than whom—I find it odd the Christian is satisfied with only being “as good as” the non-Christian.

It isn’t “who killed more?” It is that both killed.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Blog Boredom

I have started a number of blog entries. One on Rick Warren at the Inauguration. One on arguing against Liberal Christianity. One on the Problem of Evil. And each one I get halfway through and think, “Meh…who cares?”

Isn’t this all the same tired old stuff?

So here is the capsulated version of three (3) blog entries:

Rick Warren

Fail. If President-elect Obama wants Rev. Warren to give a prayer—fine by me. If Obama thinks he is winning any political points with the Evangelical front by using someone he doesn’t want but picked for political perception at the inauguration (like having the token Republican in the Cabinet to show how unbiased, balanced and fair he is) then he doesn’t know who he is dealing with.

Anyone see an article from an Evangelical who was pouring it on against Obama prior to November say, “Hey wait a minute. He DID pick Rev. Warren to pray. Maybe he isn’t the child-killing, liberal, anti-christ we thought he was.”? Hardy Har Har.

He gains no points by having Warren. Even Warren wouldn’t vote for him if the election was held again tomorrow.

Problem of Evil

Its one thing to make all these excuses about how God has to allow some Evil sneak into the world. To show his Glory. To account for Free will. To allow choice. To allow True Love.

But what about all the evil committed in his name? People beating their children to death to “get out the demons.” Women being brutalized in abusive marriages. People justifying lavish lifestyles while the poor of their charities starve.

President Bush.

Wouldn’t it piss you off, if you were God, that in all the evil that has to be allowed, people were doing it in your name? Would ya try to at least eliminate THAT evil?

Debating Liberal Christians

Defining the difference between a fundamentalist and a liberal and an in-betweener is the devil itself. Not that it matters since the most fundamentalist thinkers rarely consider themselves fundamentalists, and nor do the liberals.

I argue against Liberal Christianity because it is wrong. Just because it may get a few things right, it is still wrong. A person who claims water freezes at 10 degrees Celsius is wrong. The person who disagrees, and says “I feel water freezes at 5 degrees Celsius” may be right about water not freezing at 10 degrees, but they are still wrong.

What I see amongst both fundamentalists and liberals is picking and choosing what parts of theism they like and discarding the others. Simply because fundamentalists have a mean streak doesn’t make the method any better; it is just as subjective.

A friend said it best about Liberal Christianity. “The fact you are only part of the solution means you remain part of the problem.”