Category Archives: Marriage

Case Against the Case for Gay Marriage, part 2

David, an atheist who is dedicated to exposing Christianity for what it is, has begun a new blog that I discovered quite by accident.

Though he deleted the post that this series is replying to, I am still running my series.

David lays out the following argument in favor of gay marriage:

  1. Homosexuality is not unnatural. (answered)
  2. Neither homosexuality nor its acts have been proven inferior to heterosexuality or its acts.
  3. Marriage is a basic human right.
  4. Homosexual unions are unfairly not being given full and equal rights as heterosexual unions.
  5. Therefore, homosexual marriages with full and equal rights should be legalized and put into effect.

Premise (2) pretty much deserves a rhetorical “Are you kidding me?” in reply and nothing more.

David’s incoherent explanation:

According to the American Psychological Association, it has officially been declared that homosexuality is not a choice or a decision. (source)

Which we already acknowledged in the refutation of premise (1).  The issue with premise (1) is that homosexuality was immoral, not that it is “unnatural;” it is certainly found within nature and is likely a part of our human nature.

But that doesn’t make it “good.”

Now, this premise takes it that we haven’t proven it “inferior,” but it never takes the time to define what would constitute the act being inferior. Read the rest of this entry

Case Against the Case for Gay Marriage, part 1

David, an atheist who is dedicated to exposing Christianity for what it is, has begun a new blog that I discovered quite by accident.

It’s actually a funny story, which I’ll tell even though it has nothing to do with the actual argument that I’ll be critiquing from the site.  I was trimming my RSS feed and noticed that, very long ago, John W. Loftus had started a blog called Counter-Apologetics Master Program.  He intended to create a degree program to combat Christian apologetics.  I noticed that it hadn’t been updated in a long time, so I visited the site to see if it was even still active.

Turns out, the blog address had been abandoned by Loftus, but claimed by David.  David started his blog as a counterpoint to Matt Slick’s ministry CARM, even calling his blog by the same acronym.  Probably to get accidental traffic.

So, anyway, I literally wandered into this by total accident.

In a deleted post, David challenges CARM to reply to his argument in favor of gay marriage.  I don’t know if David deleted the post because it’s a terrible argument, or because he’s attempting to refine it.  However, I’m still going to answer it, a piece at a time, in this series.

Even though I’m not affiliated with CARM.

Read the rest of this entry

New Proofs on Reply to God is Imaginary

I have completed two new proofs on my slow-going re-write of God is NOT Imaginary, a reply to that unfortunate spectacle of a website allegedly authored by Marshall Brain.  The newbies:

As always, enjoy!

More on Traditional Marriage: Classic Francis Beckwith

When the mayor of San Francisco was passing out marriage licenses for gay couples in defiance of state law in 2004, philosopher Francis Beckwith suggested a better way to handle it than the legal remedy which was sought:

I believe, however, that given present circumstances that the best strategy is to take the mayor at his word and employ “street theatre” in a provocative way in order to force the other side to defend their marital nihilism in all its glory. Here’s the plan: Have about 50 folks go to San Francisco city hall and request marriage licenses, but not for gay marriages, rather, for other sorts of “unions” that are also forbidden by the state: three bisexuals from two genders, one person who wants to marry himself (and have him accuse the mayor of “numberism,” the prejudice that marriage must include more than one person), two married couples who want a temporary “wife-swap lease,” a couple consisting of two brothers, two sisters, or a brother and a sister, an adult mother and son, and a man who wants to add a second wife and a first husband in order to have a “marital ensemble,” etc., etc. Let’s see if the mayor will give these people “marriage” licenses. If not, why not? If not, then the jig is up and the mayor actually has to explain the grounds on which he will not give licenses to these folks. But what could those grounds be? That it would break the law? That marriage has a nature, a purpose, that is not the result of social construction or state fiat? If so, then what is it and why? (source)

Beckwith goes on that article to state that marriage isn’t a social construction, but an institution with precise meaning and confers a specific benefit to society.

. . . [O]nce marriage is defined merely as a contract between consenting adults rather than as an institution grounded in our natures as men and women, recognized and honored by the wider community, then marriage simply does not exist. According to the mayor of San Francisco, marriage is not something we enter; it is something we create or undo by our willfulness. It is not part of the order and nature of things that we honor and preserve by subjecting ourselves to its moral grandeur; rather, it is like the colors of traffic signals, diplomatic immunity, or the dollar amount of parking fines, arbitrary rules created by governments in order to facilitate safe travel, economic transactions, international relations, state funding, and/or public peace.

Marriage is a covenantal institution recognizing that men and women need each other to survive and flourish.  We’re two sides of the same coin.  If men can marry men, and women can marry women, why not the other institutions that Beckwith suggests, above?  No, marriage has a meaning and a purpose grounded in something greater than just state law.  It is grounded in our own nature, which must have both genders present to see its fulfillment.  Which means that folks like myself who, according to detractors, “deny” gays the “right” to marry are not denying them anything–they never had this “right” in the first place.  You can’t deny a man something that isn’t his to begin with.

On Traditional Marriage: Where Charlie Went Wrong

Martin over The Atheist Experience chided a recent caller going by Charlie the Atheist Homophobe:

When he called Tracie and me two weeks ago, the burden of his argument was that the word homophobia has a colloquial meaning that has changed and evolved from its dictionary definition, so as to incorporate such things as “disgust” rather than strictly “irrational fear” (the meaning of “phobia” in a nutshell). Charlie was supportive of this evolution of homophobia’s meaning, of course. (source)

Then, Martin points out that it is inconsistent not to be supportive of the same evolution for marriage:

While homophobia gets to expand its meaning to include a variety of emotional states, marriage does not get to expand its meaning to include a variety of relationship commitments, including same-sex couples (even though the almighty dictionary says it can). And Charlie’s whole justification for opposing any expansion of marriage‘s definition is an appeal to tradition and consensus, the very things he thinks should be ignored in the case of homophobia.

It’s a pure double standard, of the sort that people who are smart enough to know better often hold, so as to convince themselves that an intellectually and morally offensive point of view is in fact intellectually and morally justified. But as Russell said, if the guy isn’t actually out to impinge on anyone’s rights, then his word games are just so much noise.

Martin is absolutely right.  But, the essence of Charlie’s arguments hold, provided that he would have been more careful about phrasing himself. Read the rest of this entry

Ever Wonder Why Atheists Have Certain Misconceptions About the Faith?

Atheists have the misconceptions that they have because believers have them, too. I follow several blogs attached to the website XXXChurch.com. Why? Because both implicitly and explicitly I have made mention that my spiritual weakness is pornography and lust. So I read the Confessions Blog and follow the Couples, Men, and Parenting Blogs from that site for moral support to stay away from that stuff.

One of the misconceptions that atheists often have is that God will take care of everything for you and make your life easy. Since that never seems to materialize, the atheist then concludes God doesn’t exist. The problem? God never once promises to make life easy.

After Adam ate the forbidden fruit, God cursed the ground, the earth, and all of creation. God decreed that, instead of living in the lap of luxury, we would now toil and labor to get anything from the earth. That hasn’t changed just because Jesus hung on the Cross. Our sins are now forgiven, but that doesn’t mean that we automatically get a gold ticket.

Atheists think that we should, and argue in that manner. Prime example: God is Imaginary, proof #28. The author (Marshall Brain?) states:

A rational person rejects all human gods equally, because all of them are equally imaginary. How do we know that they are imaginary? Simply imagine that one of them is real. If one of these thousands of gods were actually real, then his followers would be experiencing real, undeniable benefits. These benefits would be obvious to everyone.

He states that all prayers would be answered affirmatively, and followers would live longer, be healthier, and be wealthier. In other words, God is somehow obligated to bless us with vast material wealth, even though this same God warns us repeatedly not to rely on or accumulate excessive material wealth. (Here’s my full rebuttal to proof #28).

Where are atheists getting misconceptions like this? God has blessed us with all of the heavenly blessings (Eph 1:1-3), which are far greater than any earthly things (Heb 8:1-13). Why must God give us earthly blessings as well?

What’s the source of the misconception? Believers. Believers also seem to think that God will provide everything for them . He will take care of our needs, but he is not going to bow to our every desire. Just because we want something doesn’t mean we automatically get it (Phil 3:19).

Here’s a prime example from the Men’s Confessions Blog of XXXChurch.com of a Christian who should know better nonetheless having the idea that God is going to do everything for him:

Um well my first introduction to porn was about when I was 12. But it was nothing serious or anything, just a curious mind. I thought it was just normal at first. But that first time turned into hundreds of times.

That’s how it works. Trust me. I didn’t even like my first exposure to pornography. I couldn’t understand what was so hot about looking at a girl without clothes. Naked people look kind of silly, I thought. Oh, how my opinion changed. And changed quickly, I might point out!

It is really sad because I am a very strong Christian, in fact I am a minister. Even further than that I am the youth minister and director of my church.

Well, not surprising. He may be a minister, but he’s also a guy. Guys like to see women in nothing or next to nothing. Human sexuality creates some powerful urges, but it’s all in how one directs and uses them because they won’t stop and God doesn’t take them away. Hold that thought, and remember it; etch it on your forehead with an Xacto knife if you must: God doesn’t take sexual urges away. It would do more harm than good.

It used to be just a fun thing to do but now it is consuming my free time, even my life.

I can relate, unfortunately. Porn consumed a lot of my time and untold amounts of my money. And it starts out as just something fun to do every once in a while.

And I know God is able to remove the desire from me, but I have been praying for so long and still not seeing any change.

This guy’s a minister? Doesn’t this situation sound familiar to him at all?

I have the faith that He will do it for me, . . .

He didn’t for the apostle Paul, why would God do it for this guy? I’m not knocking his ministry, because he probably does quite a bit of good, but I’m pretty sure Paul was a lot more important in the grand scheme of God’s plan than this one church. If God used a persistent sin to humble Paul into the realization that the grace of God is sufficient for all sins, then he’s probably going to do the exact same thing for this guy.

. . . it’s just why does it have to take so long. I really am tired of doing it. I’m tired of living this double life. I want to be completely and totally sold out for God. Please continue to pray for and with me.

If he wants to be free, then be free. God has already given all Christians the resources needed to live a spiritually fulfilled life:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. (Eph 1:3-4)

Notice the present tense: “who has blessed us in Christ.” It’s not a future blessing we’re expecting. It’s a present tense blessing we receive!

Stop waiting for God to remove the desire. He’s not going to do that. Instead, look for more productive ways to channel the desire. Redirect it. Celibacy is a discipline; here’s Jimmy Akin on that topic, with several distinctions of confusing terms.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Illustrated

A new believer named Ronni needed some relationship advice, so she did the only logical thing and turned to Pat Robertson.

Robertson is giving a biblical answer for a change. He’s referring to 2 Corinthians 6:14-18:

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?  What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

It’s not a blanket prohibition on “hanging out” with unbelievers. How are we supposed to evangelize if we’re not permitted to hang out with unbelievers? The idea of a “yoke” is a rabbinical term referring to various interpretations of the Hebrew bible. A rabbi was said to teach and follow a specific “yoke.” It’s similar in terms to a Christian denomination of today, but not exactly. For example, a rabbi who came up with a new yoke (rather than teaching an existing one) had to have his new yoke blessed by the laying on of hands by two other rabbis.

What “unevenly yoked” means is that a person shouldn’t have a very different set of beliefs than their spouse.

My wife is an Arminian, and I’m a Calvinist. I’ve heard that that doesn’t work very well. But that hasn’t been my experience so far. Calvinists and Arminians agree on the basic premise that faith in Christ alone is what is necessary for salvation, and that is exactly what my wife and I plan on teaching our kids. The difference between Calvinism and Arminianism is in how the person arrives at saving faith–through God’s action alone (Calvinism) or by God’s response to a free will decision (Armininism).

The real problem for Ronni in the video is that her fiancee is an atheist. It probably isn’t impossible for such a marriage to work, but my concern would be for any future children that the couple would have. How does one decide what religion the children will be raised to believe?

Ronni’s fiancee, as an atheist, probably believes that the Bible is a collection of myths rather than historical facts. He also likely denies the Resurrection (perhaps even the historical person of Jesus). Ronni, as a Christian, is going to want to teach her children about the existence of God and Jesus, that the Bible is a reliable history book, and that Jesus died on the cross and rose again on the third day to defeat sin and death.

I don’t know many atheists who would want their children to be taught such “nonsense.” In that scenario, mom teaches one thing, then dad undermines it behind mom’s back. The kids are going to be confused.

An additional problem presents itself. The church, as a whole, fails in apologetic instruction. I doubt much that Ronni has any way to counter the arguments that her fiancee will expose the kids to: contradictions in the Bible, Jesus never existed, there is no evidence for God, evolution removes the need for God, and other atheist talking points. The kids, in this scenario, are far more likely to be atheists since the atheist is able to present and defend his reasons for being so, while the Christian is left with “You just have to have faith.”

Unless the fiancee is going to agree to not interfere with the religious upbringing of the children, and if he is going to agree to be supportive of Ronni’s Christian faith, then this might be fine. But I don’t know many atheists who are willing to do such a thing. At least, the impression I get from the commenters on this site.

So, what say you, atheists? Am I wrong? Could you be supportive of your spouse if your spouse was religious and wanted to bring the kids up in that religion?

The 3 Bonus Sections are Up!

Last year, I was surprised to find that God is Imaginary added three proofs as a bonus. I was able to write answers for all of them in about a day.

As I had suspected, it was very easy to update those bonus sections. Since I had written only about a year ago, they reflect my current theological understandings more than many of the other proofs. They had no comments from skeptic readers that were worth addressing, so they required very little rewriting.

They are now up for your perusal, with comments enabled at the bottom:

Why Christians Can’t Have a Meaningful Debate About Homosexuality

Many conservative Christians do not adhere to these verses [Lev 19:18 and Mt 22:39]. If they did then gays would have the same rights as heterosexuals to lawfully join in union. It is because of American Christians hatred of homosexuality that gays cannot legally bond in most states. Some Christian parents have been known to disown their children who happen to be homosexual. (source)

Mark (proprietor of Proud Atheists) has demonstrated the reason that Christians can’t have a meaningful debate with social liberals over homosexuality. We consider, with good reason, homosexuality to be a grave sin. However, calling it that causes the other side to immediately label us “homophobes,” “bigots,” or other nice names.

It is because we love our neighbors that we try to communicate that homosexuality is a sin. If we didn’t care about our neighbor’s eternal fate, then we’d just shut up and allow homosexual marriage to take place.

Mark is doing serious violence to the definition of love by making his initial claim. He’s saying that if we loved our neighbors, then we’d leave them be to express their individuality. But that’s absolutely absurd.

If my neighbor asserted his individuality by playing with matches and lighter fluid and I didn’t stop him, one could hardly make a case for me being “loving.” If another neighbor asserted his individuality by keeping 14 year old girls for sex slaves before killing them, I would hardly be called “loving” if I allowed him to continue unabated. If another neighbor decided that gambling and drinking were more important than his wife and kids, I would not be considered “loving” if I didn’t try to reason with him and show him that he’s losing his family and ruining his future.

The radio station K-Love once ran a spot where several criminals who had committed crimes of increasing severity appeared before a judge. Each time, the judge said to the offender that he was forgiven, and he could go free to sin no more–never once punishing him. The end of the spot asked, “Do you consider this judge loving?”

Of course not. We might describe that judge as apathetic, but not loving. Same as my behavior in the three hypothetical examples above.

Returning to the homosexuality example, since we consider it to be a grave sin, we would be apathetic if we allowed people to walk in it unabated. It would be no different than if we failed to denounce murder. Where we are failing to communicate is that society doesn’t think that there is anything wrong with homosexuality.

Rather than listen to what we’re trying to communicate about homosexuality, however, we are simply labeled bigots or homophobes. Emotionally loaded terms. There is no meaningful debate after that.

UPDATE:

Daniel just did the exact same thing over at Unreasonable Faith: he’s not considering that homosexuality is a sin, or that Christians should speak against it like any other sin. He’s just calling the pastor a bigot. No argument. Just name calling.

This is just . . . WOW! (part II)

In a previous post, I criticized Mark of Proud Atheists for this post. Mark listed 14 things that he simply does not adhere to, given his naturalistic worldview. In all cases, I’ve been finding that Mark misunderstands or mischaracterizes Christianity. Today, we continue exposing his errors on points eight through 14, and offer some concluding thoughts. Read the rest of this entry