Monday, 26 September 2011
The following is meant as a narrative-dialogue work. Although the conversation below never actually happened, the concepts and ideas are mirrored by actual philosophies and mindsets of several individuals with whom I have been discussing the topic of homosexuality and Christianity.
Since I do not have the time to sit down and post a follow-up response to several of the blogs, or reply to the messages, from several individuals regarding this topic I decided that I would write a collective response in a narrative manner- containing each of the arguments my “opponents” presented, and further going over the “ground we have covered.”
Some of it will seem as repetition to the individuals familiar with my conversation, others it may seem as new ground- but all of it is part of my final response to each person I have had this conversation with. So if the conversation seems redundant please, bear with me and no I am not purposely attempting to play a loud fog horn and simply repeat myself until you feel that you must agree to what I say for the sake of silence or peace- rather I am attempting to make sure we are all on the same ground, or on the same path which leads to my presented, or shall I say proposed conclusion.
It is all about boiling the arguments down to what I perceive as being the real issue- so with each step I propose to do just that- slowly turn up the heat so as to cause the excess, secondary issues to evaporate until we are left with the true solid issue of what I believe is the key to what we disagree on.
Since many of the conversations have shown a tendency to become heated, where emotion takes the edge over logic, I have decided to present this narrative in a very casual manner, as I prefer to have most of my discussions. Though the role of emotions in such discussions is understandable, for there is much at stake within this discussion, more at stake than I believe those engaged in the discussion are apt to acknowledge.
If this piece seems tiresome and boring please do not scan the work- there is fewer more dangerous ways of partly fulfilling one’s epistemic duties than a partial scan of an opposing view. I ask that you, my reader- my coffee companion, please come to terms with my thoughts and reasoning. To paraphrase Atticus Finch- there can be no better way to understand a man than to walk a mile in his shoes.
The setting: A small Coffee Shop.
Coffee and Christian Homosexuality
"Thank you for agreeing to have a cup of coffee with me. I would like to finish our conversation regarding Sodomite rights- or as you would say “gay rights.”"
"Now please calm down- I understand your objections to me using the term sodomite- that term stems from my worldview just as much as the term gay stems from your worldview. Your worldview cannot furnish you with an understanding of what I mean of the term “sodomite” without carrying connotations which obscure the depth of its meaning."
"Very well, in order to avoid losing sight of our discussion and getting lost in semantics, I will use the term “homosexual rights”- a term we can both understand and agree upon."
"Is that agreeable to you?"
"Now please, have a seat and enjoy your cup of coffee."
"Now, as you have aptly stated in our previous conversation, you believe that not only should Americans support the advancement of equal rights for homosexuals- particularly in marriage- but that it is the duty of every Christian to do so as well. I believe that is a fairly simple and reasonable summary wouldn’t you agree?"
"During our previous conversation you also suggested that my “resistance” to the progress of “gay rights” could be compared to the Religious people and orders that fought against the abolitionists and fought for segregation. And consequently you likened my view to that of many other church leaders who opposed “social progress” in its many forms."
"And if you recall correctly, I pointed out that argument held no validity as it was outside of the realm of logic and had its base in mere opinion. In order for it to be a logical argument one of us had to first have a view of the future or an understanding of things to come to see the outcome of this particular issue. And since that is not possible- and to do so is only speculation or guesswork- you agreed that you would not use that argument."
"You may also recall your charge of me being a “homophobe” collapsed when I countered that you could just as easily be a “Christophobe” since you seemed to show the same resentment towards my opinion as I did towards your view."
"I also illustrated that both of the terms, “homophobe” and the spurious “Christophobe” were so ambiguous that they were pointless in defining or illustrating any point. I found the homophobe charge to be a simpleton copout to a much larger and deeper issue."
"Yes, I know that you disagree with my point but you did, rather reluctantly, agree to drop that argument and retract your “homophobe” charge. Did you not?"
"Now, I could very well go onto a long and detailed explanation about the dangers to the health of society by the promotion of homosexual acts. I could cite countless figures which show how AIDS has historically been rampant in areas that promote homosexual relations. I could also list the statistics of countries that endorse homosexual behavior and show how their own health departments report the high levels of STD’s."
"Yes- and I know well that you have figures and facts showing that the level of STD’s and AIDS are high in generally heterosexual regions of the world as well."
"Which is precisely why I do not believe the “general health claim” is worthwhile in supporting my argument- as the real issue is something deeper."
"Your knowing look seems to suggest that you believe yourself to be aware of what I am going to say next, but please before you say another word let me continue."
"I can assure you that my argument is founded in nothing as simple or common as many of the arguments you have heard before."
"The other argument I could attempt to throw at you would be the so called “moral argument.” At its core it claims that by permitting homosexual rights we as a nation would be opening the doorway for all kinds of sexual crimes and abuse."
"However I know you can easily show me examples of how our standard “heterosexual society” is culpable of heinous activities- and even within the “Christian” realm sexual abuse and sexual crimes are not scarce."
"Crimes and offenses seemingly equal to that of the homosexual community (Seemingly) are just as common among heterosexuals. Though I would believe otherwise we would again be battling it out in an area where both of us hold to different terms and view the terms from opposite angles."
"So I will not present that as a qualifier for my argument."
"Lastly I could cite the popular historical argument- stating and illustrating that throughout history whenever sexual liberality (especially in regards to homosexuality) was endorsed by a government it weakened the morality and shortly led to the destruction and downfall of the nation."
"However, I know this “civilization morality” argument can easily be countered with examples of our present time."
"You could simply cite the many nations of our day which have supported “gay rights” or even point to the great “culture producing” nations of the past which also permitted for “gay rights” –nations such as ancient Greece, Egypt, and even Assyria."
"And since we do not share a common definition of morality or share a common ground to determine what is equivalent to a society’s destruction and the role of “progressive thinking”- we would soon find ourselves reducing our disagreement to a childlike state of “no, it isn’t” vs. “yes, it is.”"
"So I will not attempt to use the society morality argument, for the real disagreement is still something deeper still."
"You looked puzzled.Why?"
"Did you really think my objections to homosexuality resided with the simple issue of a common morality?"
"I can assure you that the common morality is only part of the issue, though I will admit it is a part not the WHOLE."
"To summarize my objections as merely being a common morality would make them much too ambiguous, too easily misunderstood to serve any real defense or qualifier of an argument."
"For morality appears to vary by culture, time and region. What was considered acceptable in 18th century France would have been considered completely immoral in Victorian England."
"I perceive homosexuality as the ultimate expression of a selfish hedonism. For an individual to decide that their recreational sexual pleasure (for that is exactly what it is- there are no redeeming reproduction values in homosexuality) should be allowed to determine the person’s entire life and perspective."
"Homosexuality contradicts the laws of nature and any notion of natural order."
"Now, be careful don’t choke on your coffee- surely you must have been expecting such a statement from myself."
"There is no need to roll your eyes or toss your head- you agreed to come to terms with my argument and in order to do that you must first listen to me and permit me to finish explaining myself before you respond."
"And, yes, you are right in saying I am begging the question when I cite the laws of nature. But I am fully prepared to help define what I mean by the laws of nature."
"When I reference the “laws of nature” I mean the laws which govern and set forth the order and method to all of the created world- that is the Law of God."
"And as a Christian I believe these laws are to be found in the Scriptures- otherwise called the Bible."
"Please, let me get you a refill- your coffee must be cold and we are only now nearing what I consider to be the deep core of our argument. There is nothing worse than a cold cup of coffee during an engaging conversation and I believe the added caffeine may help keep you alert to hear what I have to say."
"Now, I understand you consider yourself to be a Christian."
"But, I must ask: do you believe in God?"
"No need to look at me oddly- I haven’t lost my mind. I heard you say you were baptized and you are active in church but judging from our previous conversation I believe it is a fair question to ask of you."
"Well, if you are confused permit me to rephrase my question."
"What god do you believe in?"
"No, I have not suddenly become polytheistic on you- I am merely trying to illustrate a key element that is essential for our discussion."
"Now you look puzzled."
"That is understandable, I am often inclined to jump into a deeper end of a discussion before most are prepared to jump in. I will try to clarify"
"As a Christian- we are to define how and what we know about God not just through our surroundings but first and foremost through the scriptures."
"But, as you say the scriptures are “full of interpretations, agenda’s, and hard to decipher texts”- and I must disagree."
"And so we have at last reached the heart of our conversation."
"When we first began our discussion a few days back, I am quite sure that you believed our disagreement over homosexual rights was simply over brute facts."
"One “fact” was my being an unreasonable “fundamentalist” and the Second fact was your belief that “evidence” and reason were on your side."
"But that wasn’t the real issue."
"The real issue is what you and I were placing our faith in- what we are using for interpreting our world around us."
"I was using the Christian Faith as the foundation for my view, and consequently the teachings of God, while you were basing your disagreement upon a humanistic agnostic view."
"And it is from that view which you based your entire argument."
"You may be shaking your head in disagreement but that is the truth."
"Yes, you may say that you were using scientific evidence or sociological facts as the basis for your argument- but couldn’t I have done the same?"
"For each of your facts and figure arguments I could have presented an equal opponent- and if facts are simply mere brute facts one of us should have been able to convince the other with the simple “flooding of evidence.”"
"The reason why I decided not to assault your argument using a “fact battle” wasn’t because I was afraid I couldn’t produce a tide of facts. But because I knew as long as you were viewing the facts and judging my argument through your agnostic humanist mindset- I would have a better chance of telling this coffee cup to refill itself- than to convince you of the validity of my argument."
"You claim to be a rational Christian in how you live your life. But instead of looking to your “claimed” Lord, Christ, for the answers and direction you are instead living and reasoning as your own lord."
"You say that since you are a Christian you view the world differently- well that is only partly true."
"You are going about in life wearing colored glasses- glasses which have the name “Christian” on them, but if you were honest with yourself and with Christ you would admit that the extent to which they are Christian is only in name. For you share nothing in common with the God of Christianity, as revealed in the scriptures."
"Until you acknowledge that fact and submit your life to Christ we will never agree on this issue or many other issues, I can assure you."
"But much more than a simple disagreement is at stake. For the matter of faith and allegiance is of the most extreme importance in one's Christian walk. "
"Until you acknowledge you have placed a blind, foundationless faith in a god of your own making, a false idol of yourself, and continue to think and reason in rebellion against God, you are destined to a live a life bent towards self destruction."
"You think you are being wise by living your life by your ever changing own set of rules and feelings. You believe yourself to be set and secure in "rationalism" which and having a superiority over such a simple "man of faith." "
"But know this, you are just as much a man of faith as I am. Though my faith is firmly grounded in God's Word. An objective constant logically sound Truth. While your faith is grounded in nothing more than your own feelings and the throws of an ever changing society."
"You’re yawning and it is getting late."
"You have no doubt already begun to collectively disregard my point as the rantings of some fire and brimstone "born again bible thumper""
"That is fine. There is nothing that I can say or do to change you."
"And so it is now time for us to go our separate ways. I will, without doubt, continue with my Christian view of the world on this issue and on every other issue."
"And you will most likely continue in your way- though, I pray, you will keep in mind at least some of what I said to you."
"Thank you for sharing a cup of coffee with me."
Is it an accurate charge to propose someone is a Christophobe? What do you think about this dialogue?