Friday, March 18, 2011

Pastor reveals another Pastor’s rape

We often hear (and some deconverts actively been involved) in church “cover-ups.” Where an incident occurs, and it all disappears in a hush-hush manner. Some member is no longer a Sunday School teach and stops attending.

Recently, a a pastor in Georgia—Shaun King learned another pastor—“Bishop” Alvarado was molesting boys. And he tweeted it.

Now Christians are taking sides—some supporting King’s actions. Others making death threats.

No need for analysis; the situation speaks for itself.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Homosexual Sex is the Problem—not Marriage

We have all had discussions with people who are trying to convince us of something. At times our intuitive senses set off alarms, thinking, “I hear what you are arguing, and it sorta makes sense, but isn’t there a deeper rationalization going on here? Do you have a different motive than this pietistic approach?”

Like when your children petition for pizza because “Pizza is healthy” (it has all four (4) food groups, right?) when you know they haven’t gained some new desire to eat a balanced meal—they want pizza because it tastes good!

I recently discussed the homosexual marriage issue with Ten Minas Ministries--the oft-used approach of “I’m not going to argue against same sex marriage from a biblical perspective; I will prove it wrong without utilizing Divine Command ethics.” It boiled down to the simple proposition: (1) Same-sex marriage results in homosexual sex acts, (2) Homosexual sex acts are immoral, so therefore (3) Same-sex marriage should be banned to prevent immoral acts.

Now, I recognize the numerous holes within this proposition (the greatest being proof—outside Divine Command—that homosexual sex acts are immoral), but I did appreciate it for its refreshing honesty. Christians aren’t against gay marriage; they oppose all forms of homosexual sex. In other words, they don’t want to ban gay marriage; they want to ban homosexual sex.

Unfortunately for the Christian in America, ever since Lawrence v Texas any law banning homosexual sex* (or heterosexual sex acts) is deemed unconstitutional. Unenforceable. Worthless. They can petition all day—they could even get a legislature to pass a law—and it would do no good. Homosexuals could still have sex.

*consent is assumed for this blog entry.

The battle cry of “Ban Homosexual Sex” is a loser, both from a political correctedness standpoint and a political effectiveness view.

So if you can’t eliminate it from happening, what is the next best thing? To reduce it as much as possible, I should think. Yet that raises the crucial question--How does banning homosexual marriage reduce homosexual sex? The simple answer—it doesn’t.

The push to ban homosexual marriage is basically retribution for the Christian’s inability to ban what they REALLY want declared illegal—homosexual sex itself. And all the arguments have the taint of disingenuous justification. The complaint, “It is unnatural!” comes from heterosexuals enjoying the exact same “unnatural” oral, hand and anal sex. (To put a blunt note upon it.) The criticism from celibate priests it fails to procreate. (Oh the irony!) The Mormons crying for “traditional” marriage. *Cough, cough.*

Like the child trying to convince us they have an interest in being healthy, when we realize they really want to eat something they like; we see this for what it is.

So step up—stop cowering behind the fa├žade of “protecting marriage.” Ask for what you really want—a ban on all homosexual sex. Instead of a marriage amendment to the US Constitution; ask for a homosexual amendment to the US Constitution.

Let us see the arguments for what they are.

Monday, March 07, 2011

A Helpful Quote

“If people are opposing me, I am clearly doing something right. Also, look at how many people use me. That ALSO means I'm right. Because both being opposed and being affirmed confirm what I already feel about myself.”


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Is the Bible Human or Divine? Neither or Both?

A frustrating aspect in discussing with Christians is how often they utilize one method or system in a conversation, but in another utilize the exact opposite. As outsiders—as skeptics—this causes us to question if they are looking for any rationalization to support the argument. Even if they have to disagree with what was said earlier.

I was part of a Long comment interaction over at Grace & Miracles, touching on a variety of topics. From historicity within New Testament Documents, apologetic tactics, inerrancy and inspiration.

I happened to be conversing on theopneustos (inspiration); other participants were talking about contradictions. As I read through, it struck me how on one hand Christians claim the Bible is confined by human limitations; yet on the other they think the Bible does not have such human limitations.

For example, one criterion given for determining which writings were theopneustos was time—had to be written within the apostolic period. When I asked why, it was pointed out how memories fade, legends are introduced, and we expect greater reliability closer to the event.

That is true. All things being considered equal, we give higher weight to accounts closer to the events. Humans do tend to forget or modify memories. Humans do introduce legend for their own agenda. Accounts are lost to history.

But isn’t that a human limitation? Let’s face it—we’re talking about a God interacting (in some way) on certain writings, unlike any other writings in all recorded time. Does a God forget? Is a God limited by the human mind’s frailty? Couldn’t a God “inspire” a document written today about an event in 3127 BCE that is 100% historically accurate?

Or is a God hampered by the human conduit it must use?

What made this particularly interesting was the parallel conversation about contradictions.

Besides humans forgetting, and introducing agenda, and modifying memories—do you know what else humans do? They contradict each other. They correct what they perceive as a mistake by another author. Yet the Christian defending inerrancy would not concede such a human limitation within the Bible.

Do you see the irony? One Christian claiming (under “inspiration”) a human limit upon God; another Christian refusing to recognize an equal human limitation in another aspect.

We see this with slavery. Both the broad claim it was Christianity that did away with slavery upon the human recognition of its evil; and the reluctant shrug that it was the best God could do was to “temper” slavery within the Tanakh.

That the genocides committed by the Hebrews were the best God could do with what he had, due to human limitations. Yet the doctrines within the Bible are pure God—no such human limitation. No human tampered with what God really wanted.

That God could “inspire” writings, but it took Christians 100’s of years to sort out which ones he did. (And still debate as to Canonicity.) That humans modified texts (such as the ending of Mark), and we find those by textual criticism, purging them out. But no human could have modified the original story.

Bart Ehrman is coming out with a book about Forgeries in the First Century. Including within the New Testament writings. (No surprise here to anyone studying the pseudopauline corpus.) I imagine a few Christians will be up in arms over the term “Forgery.”

Why? Humans forge. If God is limited by Humans’ ability to act, observe, remember, modify and converse, yet still manage to muddle through with a bit of “inspiration”—couldn’t this God equally work through the human limitation of forgery?

So which is it? Is the Bible the best a God can do, while utilizing the weak link of humanity, thus incorporating error, memory limitations and even forgery? Or is the Bible some great work where we have no such limitations, and shouldn’t claim human inabilities as an excuse for what is there?