Archive for February, 2011

This Just In: Christian Takes Right Side Of Argument For All The Wrong Reasons.

Posted on February 28, 2011. Filed under: Apologetics, Atheism, Atheist Ethics, Politics, Religion, Social Justice |

More than one blog that I have visited in the last few weeks has responded to this article from the HuffPo by a Presbyterian Minister in which she claims to want to attack “the feeble lie claiming that same gender love is a sin.”

I would normally have let this stand, as any of my friends know, I am an ardent proponent of gay marriage and LGBT equity.  I applaud Rev. Edwards stand in support of extending the institution of marriage to all loving and consensual couples.  Yet there is something profoundly wrong, in my mind, with trying to claim that same gender love is not a sin from a biblical standpoint.

The problem with taking this stand will show us one of the few places where Christians and atheists should agree.

As an atheist, I really do not want Christians to be able to whimsically pick and chose which doctrines they agree or disagree with.  The bible comes out firmly against homosexuality, and I consider this to be a fundamental liability to the faith.  Just as I want to be able to keep Christians scrambling to explain away God’s apathy toward slavery, I want to continue to question how you can argue against homosexuality from any place other than scripture.  I also want to be able to expose the logical flaw of affirming the Bible and being progressive.

As a Christian, you should stand against this too.  If homosexual love is not a sin, then several passages in scripture are called into question.  We all, by now, know which ones.  I suppose that you might take the stand that this falls under OT law, which was fulfilled by Jesus and therefor does not apply.  Then, though, you also have to affirm that the gospels authored by Paul are also not applicable to modern Christianity.  Paul affirms the law as it applies to homosexuals in Corinthians 6.   For all the “judge not”  and “love thy neighbor” rhetoric in the gospel, homosexuality is still a sin.

Christians can, I think, take the tack that their job is not a legislative one, that Christians have no inherent right to force their values on a pluralistic society.  They can argue that the bible does not impel them to stand in defiance of society’s right to have logically consistent laws.  I do not believe that Christians can say that the bible is ambivalent or supportive of homosexuality.  My issue is not with the stand Rev. Edwards takes, but the reasons she claims to take that stand.  Here is how I see it:

1.  IF there is a God,

2. IF He inspired the Bible, it is the Word of God

3. THEN homosexuality is a sin, and,

4. You cannot SUPPORT gay marriage, or the gay lifestyle.

It really is that simple.  You can take the position that you don’t wish to force your religious position on others.  You can take the position that you will reserve that judgement to a higher power.  You cannot take the position that it is not a sin.  You cannot take the position that the bible does not unambiguously condemn homosexuals.

My preference will always be that Christians take the position that they have no right to project their values on others or legislate their doctrines.  This is an enlightened and reasonable opinion.  I think it is also a biblical one.  I don’t think that we should argue that homosexuality is not a biblical sin.

I think, as well, that this issue will unintentionally hurt progressive Christians.  If you make arguments that are fallacious, as I believe this one is, you make mainstream Christians less likely to listen to those arguments that are constructive.  You risk having them write off all progressive thought and critique as being a perversion of scripture, you rob your faith of possibility.

I would love nothing more than to live in a world where the rights of LGBT people are not just respected, but unequivocally equal.  I just don’t think that comments like those of Rev. Edwards take the debate in the right direction.

Other reactions to the HuffPo article:

From a fellow Atheist-Somemusician has a post (and a number of comments)

From a Christian- John Barron Jr., of Truth in Religion & Politics

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Top 10+2 Tips For Reaching Out To Atheists

Posted on February 23, 2011. Filed under: Apologetics, Atheism, Atheist Ethics, Personal, Religion, Trolls |

I’m reblogging again.  This time I have  the pleasure of re-blogging from one of my favorite blogs, Camels With Hammers.  Dan has laid out some really good tips for theists looking to reach out to atheists. If you are looking to fulfill the Great Commission, as opposed to just making atheists tune you out, here is a good place to start.  There are many issues deterring productive communication between atheists and theists, I am sure I’ll get some tips from my Christian audience in the comments.  Numbers 1 through 10 are in response to an open letter that Dan responded to from a Rabbi. Credit goes to Crommunist for #11 and I will add #12 based on my own experience.

1. Do not “share the Gospel” with us.

I know, I know, you’re really worried we’re going to roast in hell and it’s really urgent to make sure we have heard about Jesus before that happens.  But here’s what you can do instead: pretend that we actually know all about the Gospel and that we are not just confused about what Christianity teaches.  Because, and I know this may come as a shock:  Assuming we come from a country where the dominant religion is Christianity, we actually have heard the Gospel. Many, many times.  And (sit down for this one) the odds are pretty good that we once believed it too.  Some of us even know the Bible better than many of you do.

The odds are that most atheists you encounter were raised as Christians. And even if we were not, you can bet good money that someone somewhere along the way has told us all about how Jesus died for our sins.  We get it.  We do not need to hear it again from you and you do not have a way of saying it that’s going to bowl us over with its genius.  (Yes, that includes Pascal’s Wager, we have heard that one too, thanks!)

2. Do not lie.

I know, this one sounds vaguely familiar but you cannot quite place where you have heard it.  Let me put it a way that might ring a clearer bell:  THOU SHALT NOT LIE, EVEN TO ATHEISTS.

Try to persuade us, if you like, but do not try to manipulate us in any way whatsoever.  Either reason with us like adults and equals or leave us alone.  Do not befriend us with ulterior motives of saving us when you do not really like us, do not try to subvert our reason by appealing to our hopes and fears, do not threaten us with damnation, etc.  Do not claim that you have no intentions of changing our minds when you do have intentions of changing our minds.  Do not claim not to judge us when you in fact do judge us.  Do not make arguments that you already know can be reasonably refuted. Do not raise evidence you know is misleading.  And do not try to appeal to our emotions where your reasons fail since doing so is underhanded and dishonest.

If you cannot persuade us with reason to believe, then you have no reason to believe and we will have no reason to believe.  If you cannot persuade us with the truth, then you do not believe the truth and those who are interested in the truth will not believe you.

3. Do not assume you are either morally better, spiritually more attuned, or happier than we are simply because you belong to your faith.


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Biblical Contradictions in Chart Form.

Posted on February 16, 2011. Filed under: Atheism, Religion |

This is a nice little graphic illustrating contradictions found in the Bible, the infallible testament of God.   Before someone points out that some of them are written twice, I have noticed this as well on two occasions.  This graphic still illustrates over 400 contradictions in scripture, which is supposed to be an infallible document according to literalists and those who believe in a plain reading.  Given the number of times that contradictions occur it is, I believe, indefensible to assert that the Bible contains no errors.

Thanks go to The Reason Project for the graphic and Jeremy Witteveen at Le Café Witteveen for the find.


Over 400 contradictions at your fingertips.....

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Future U.S. History Students: ‘It’s Pretty Embarrassing How Long You Guys Took To Legalize Gay Marriage’

Posted on February 10, 2011. Filed under: Atheist Ethics, Canadian Politics, Humour, Politics, Religion, Social Justice |

Until I have sufficient time to write several new blog posts, here’s a gem I found searching the web this morning.  Enjoy…

The class of 2086 said it was "laughable" that people against gay marriage were given a legitimate political voice in the early 21st century.

The classroom of 15-year-olds at MacArthur High School—all of whom were born in the late 2060s and grew up never questioning the obvious fact that homosexual couples deserve the right to get married—were reportedly “amazed” to learn in their Modern U.S. History: 2081 Edition textbooks that as late as the 2020s, gays and lesbians actually had to fight for the constitutional right to wed.

“Wow, that is nuts,” said student Jeremy Golliver, who claimed he knew gay rights was a struggle “like, a hundred years ago” but didn’t realize it lasted so long. “It’s really embarrassing, when you think about it. Just the fact that people in this century were actually saying things like, ‘No, gays should not be allowed to marry,’ and were getting all up in arms about it, as if homosexuals weren’t full citizens or something. It’s insane.”

“I mean, was everybody just a huge bigot back then or what?” Golliver added.

Read the rest of the article here.

Courtesy of the always funny Onion.

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