Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Theological Suicide

The United Church of Christ has just approved a resolution giving the stamp of approval to gay unions. They revised the resolution and, as far as I understand it, it is not yet law. Although even that is a slippery term.

"UCC churches are autonomous, meaning the leadership does not create policy for its more than 5,700 congregations."

Forgive a simple Catholic but I don't get it. So basically it's a P.R. move? What's the point of a resolution if it's not enforced? The UCC must be taking a page from the U.N. playbook.

"Still, members of the committee acknowledged Sunday that some congregations could leave the church entirely if the resolution is approved as written."

You mean that Christians want their churches to follow His teacings? What a novel idea.

"The wording was revised Sunday, however, to include the "recognition that this resolution may not reflect the views or current understanding of all bodies within the gathered church.""

Again, then why have a resolution at all. A resolution, by definition takes resolve, something that is obviously lacking here. The UCC may as well resolve that the sky is blue. That would be much more correct, and just as ineffective.

"Some argued the same-sex resolution contradicts Biblical instructions.

"Throughout the Scriptures, marriage is always defined as being between one man and one woman," said the Rev. Brett Becker, pastor of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Cibolo, Texas."

Brett gets it. Religion is supposed to be something that makes us better, not something that lowers standards to the political winds of the day. This move is obviously done, not for doctrinal reasons, but to pacify the homosexual lobby. This is not only immoral, but ineffective.

I have discussed at length the Biblical reasons that homosexuality is immoral, so I will not delve back into it. However, is it effective from a theological perspective to toss aside Christ's doctrine?

It is my contention that it is not. Many may disagree with the Catholic Church's dogma and that is fine, but one must admire her consistent stand for truth. In short, her dogma may be wrong, but she has a dogma. The UCC appears to have no dogma and therefore isn't even trying to get at truth.

Obviously this is going to raise objections. To my detractors I have but one question: does the biblical tradition of Christianity support homosexuality?

I say no. The UCC is making a grave mistake. If one does not like Christ's message, toss Him aside if you will. There are other religions to follow if one is so inclined. Don't water down His teachings to conform to your viewpoints.

Moral cowardice is a poor way to win converts.

13 comments:

Loyal Achates said...

"Forgive a simple Catholic but I don't get it. So basically it's a P.R. move? What's the point of a resolution if it's not enforced? The UCC must be taking a page from the U.N. playbook."

Maybe the UCC believes in letting its congregants have minds of their own.

"You mean that Christians want their churches to follow His teacings? What a novel idea."

Really? Where does Jesus say "And I hate gay marriage"? Where?

"I say no. The UCC is making a grave mistake. If one does not like Christ's message, toss Him aside if you will. There are other religions to follow if one is so inclined. Don't water down His teachings to conform to your viewpoints."

Christianity is (I believe) supposed to be about justice, love, and peace, not hatred and fear.

"Moral cowardice is a poor way to win converts"

Moral cowardice? The foes of gay marriage are well-funded and will stop at nothing to tear down those who desire equal rights for all citizens. It takes alot more courage to support gay marriage than oppose it.

"The UCC has no dogma"

The Taliban has lots. if you really think 'dogma' is necessary to finding the truth, you're way off.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

"Maybe the UCC believes in letting its congregants have minds of their own."

We all have minds. I'm a Catholic, does that mean I get all of my talking points from the Vatican? The Church doesn't tell people what to think, they tell us what Jesus would think. If a religion doesn't tell people what to think, it's an amorphous philosophy. Which is fine, but those are a dime a dozen.

Really? Where does Jesus say "And I hate gay marriage"? Where?

Jesus didn't say I hate gay marriage any more than He said that He hates genocide. The fact that He didn't mention gay marriage at all is not an issue. I've already extensively clarified this. The point is, you may doubt that Jesus gave the nix to gay marriage--although I think it's obvious He would have--but you can't tell me you honestly think He'd be marching in the gay parade.

"Christianity is (I believe) supposed to be about justice, love, and peace, not hatred and fear."

While, simplistic, this is pretty accurate. Were my words hateful? I didn't wish the UCC ill at all. I just said they were making a mistake, both theologically and practically speaking.

Though we Christians have always been called to love, we are also called to lovingly instruct and correct. If Christians were just passive love-everybody-types, where would the abolition movement have come from?

Now I am not equating slavery and homosexuality in degree. That would be absurd. However, Christians see both as societal evils. As such, we are obliged to lovingly speak out.

"Moral cowardice? The foes of gay marriage are well-funded and will stop at nothing to tear down those who desire equal rights for all citizens. It takes alot more courage to support gay marriage than oppose it."

Oh come on. That last statement isn't intellectually honest in the least bit. Watch as one by one the Christian churches capitulate on this issue. Homosexuality will be legal in the not to distant future.

This doesn't quite address your comments though. Perhaps a majority does not support gay mariage at this juncture, though I think that will change. Meanwhile I am stuck arguing next to people who actually hate gays.

Also, I'm not "tearing down" so-called "equal rights". This was a post about the UCC. It is a theological argument, not a political one.

"The Taliban has lots. if you really think 'dogma' is necessary to finding the truth, you're way off."

Obviously a dogma isn't worth anything if it's a false one. But from a practical standpoint, taking no stance is bad policy. The Taliban is quite wrong, but they seem to have no trouble gaining converts. Only a practical point, the Taliban's theology does not need to be dwelt on.

I don't expect you to agree with me on this one. Non-Christians shouldn't be expected to follow Christian beliefs. Christians, though, obviously should.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Achates,
My questions are thrice:
How does individualism resolve the issue of an unenforced resollution being a P.R. move?

You seem to make some pretty bold statements about the nature of Christianity. What is you authority for doing so? Are you Christian (don't answer that)? Have you studied it? Or do you just spout of what you think you've heard about it?

Do you think that supporters of same-sex marriage actually are the recipients of more public attacks? It seems to me that opponents of it are on the receiving end of most of them.

You show a lack of understanding of theology. The concept of it, as well as Catholic theology. You cannot answer claims in a language different from that in which the claims are made. 1) it doesn't work 2) it looks foolish.

The position of Christianity, as stated in the Bible, is that Jesus is the Word of God. Therefore, when God is speaking to the Hebrews (that's you I believe) in the Old Testament, it is Jesus speaking. You can check the passages on your own time. You can deny that and logically deny the rest. But if you accept that position, it is not possible to present a solid argument against any of it.

Broken thimble said...

I cannot argue with a Christian. It never ends well. I would say that a false dogma is in the eye of the beholder. I would say that Christians supported slavery before the abolitionist movement occurred and many nearly divided our country over it. And I realize that my comments on the entry entitled "Same-sex Nonsense" will largely go overlooked because Christians believe in a fundamental difference between man and the "lesser animals."

You have mentioned your disagreement with gay marriage on a religious level, but I don't recall your opinion on legally denying homosexual couples the right to marry. Refresh my memory.

AK

A Wiser Man Than I said...

I shall try to enlighten. I am, as my reader's know, an ardent state's rights man. Therefore, it might stand to reason that I would want gay marriage left of to the states. In a perfect world, nay, in a reasonable world, this would be my stance. The world is anything but reasonable.

I can no longer support allowing the states to determine gay marriage laws because I have no confidence that the supreme court would let these rulings stand. Furthermore, in Nebraska, a recent attempt by the people to amend their constitution was deemed unconstitutional.

I guess we shouldn't have been able to repeal prohibition. As long as liberal activist judges continue to spit upon the constitution, they mean war, and we must bring it.

Now that being said, contrary to my posts, I am not gung-ho about defining marriage as between a man and a woman. I think we could start out with term limits for Congress, a balanced budget amendment and do other things before squabbling about something that should be trite.

The reason I push this aside, when other Christians cling to it as if it is the most important thing on earth is that I know it is not the most important thing on earth. The aim of a Christian was, I thought, to save souls. Now I haven't the foggiest idea how to do that, but I don't think making gay marriage forever reprehensible legally speaking will do one bit of good. Banning gay marriage may be morally correct--and according to the Christian teaching it is--but it will be largely ineffective at turning the tide in our cultural war.

Why then do I comment about this? I believe the Christian perspective on all of this is quite misunderstood, especially by Christians, which is unfortunate. I do not plan on convincing anyone who does not believe the Bible to be the word of God unless he or she be a Christian.

My words then, may fall on deaf ears, just as those links you sent me, fell on my deaf ears. For the record, I did look at them, but they were ineffective precisely because of what you stated, I believe--arrogantly or not--that humans are better than animals and should behave as such.

Having different theological perspectives, you and I, like Loyal and I, will just have to respectfully disagree. I hope I have made my point clear, and at the very least, shown that though Christians may be closed-minded--and you better believe that when it comes to my faith I am--we can also, at least at times, be intelligent and honest.

Loyal Achates said...

Anonymous:

Since you write English as if it were your fifth language, I will try to put it simply.

I have studied Christianity. Not, perhaps, in the greatest depth, but enough to now the basic tenets.

I can say with complete confidence that the opponents of gay marriage are more vicious, more brutal, and more willing to slander and libel and commit violence against the supporters of gay marriage than the other way around. That's what happens when one is convinced that a battle for the soul of humanity is going on.

As for Jesus being the Word of God, Jesus never spoke on homosexuality. Some of his apostles did, but if they're not the Word of God, who's to say they can be trusted? And do you really believe everything it says in the Bible? If so, let me know the next time you sacrifice a calf or sell your children into slavery.

Broken thimble said...

You say that you are not "gung-ho" about defining marriage, but if I understand your position correctly, you do believe that it is the state government's position to determine the definition of marriage, and you would likely support state law that did. Stop me if I'm wrong. Now, I can consent to your right to attempt to teach me the word of God. What I cannot consent to is legally forcing that belief onto me. From what I have read, you seem to have no desire to force your beliefs upon anyone, only to instruct and attempt to convert. If that was done, I think we would all be a bit happier.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

I am very uncomfortable with the government legislating morality. That's why I believe gay marriage should be a state's issue. Unfortuantely this is no longer an option because of liberal judges.

My reasons for disliking homosexuality are moral ones. Yet I still believe it is entirely practical to prohibit gay marriage from the stat's perspective.

This is not an easy one, and I don't have it all figured out, that's for sure. I wish we'd just ressurect the 10th amendment and leave it to the states. Yes, that's a copout, but it's also the most overlooked brilliant move our founders made.

One last point, the government forces morality on us all the time. My belief in God is part of my morality. Are Christians and other relgious not allowed to legislate then?

I hope this answers your questions.

Anonymous said...

"Since you write English as if it were your fifth language, I will try to put it simply."

One typo does not constitute poor writing skills. I will concede that I spell like a bafoon.

"I have studied Christianity. Not, perhaps, in the greatest depth, but enough to now the basic tenets."

The thing with Christianity is that the basic tenets are issued in clear language their meaning is not always as such. As Christianity is studied further and more in depth, its truth becomes apparent, and often irrefutable. Much like any other subject, a basic understanding does not qualify one for speaking on behalf or against a topic. Atheists don't believe in God, put simply. Does that mean if I just remove God from the equation I know enough about atheism to speak about it?

"I can say with complete confidence that the opponents of gay marriage are more vicious, more brutal, and more willing to slander and libel and commit violence against the supporters of gay marriage than the other way around."

Atrocities have been committed by those who hate gays. They are not homophobes as the media terms it. They're not afraid, they're hate filled. They are not oppsed to gay marriage, they are opposed to gays, very different from being opposed to gay marriage. I will reference a comment by wiser for the reactions of proponents when opponents take legal legal action.

"As for Jesus being the Word of God, Jesus never spoke on homosexuality. Some of his apostles did, but if they're not the Word of God, who's to say they can be trusted? And do you really believe everything it says in the Bible? If so, let me know the next time you sacrifice a calf or sell your children into slavery."

Since you read like a fifth grader...J/K. But if you reread, the point of stating Jesus is the word of God was not to show that the things He says in the New Testament are from God's mouth, but to say that the things from God's mouth in the Old Testament are from Jesus. The Apostles are given authority by Jesus and the Holy Spirit. That's from the position I'm defending and arguing for. You can debate the position, but not the results of it, not from a permission standpoint but a logic one. As for selling children into slavery, Lev25:44 makes it clear that you can't sell your children, but only the children of the heathens among you. But thats besides point. The Old Covenant was one of sacrifice in attemps to make an attonment. The new one is not. In the New Covenant, the attonment has been made in the only way possible. It is now a matter of, that which you are so fond of, saving souls.

Anonymous said...

"I am very uncomfortable with the government legislating morality. That's why I believe gay marriage should be a state's issue. Unfortunately this is no longer an option because of liberal judges."

Hi. This is Tyler, long time reader, first time commenter.

"Liberal judges" is your overused catchall term. It should be replaced with something else, because there certainly aren't any conservatives in any branch of our government that are trying to give states any more power than they already have. In fact, almost all of the impetus behind the government legislating marriage seems to be a republican (read: "conservative") thing anyways. Blaming a group of “liberal judges” for everything seems to be a bit of a copout.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

Hi Tyler. Let me clarify here. I am a strict constructionist and a "small l" libertarian. I do not like when either liberals or conservative legislate from the bench.

What I was referencing was the assault on the 10th amendment by liberals. Conservatives too may toss aside the 10th amendment when it is convenient, but in my following of the Supreme Court's rulings--and other lower courts--it has been liberals who have thwarted the founders intent.

In regards to gay marriage then, it should be a state's issue. However, because liberal judges will, I feel, rule that defining marriage between a man and a woman is unconstitutional--as they did in Nebraska--I am willing to tolerate a lesser evil, that is, conservatives amending the constituion to circumvent a state's right.

I hope that clears things up, and I apologize for using partisan rhetoric when I should not have.

Anonymous said...

your arguement is a good one, i just think that partisan rhetoric usually doesn't help it.

tyler

A Wiser Man Than I said...

Thanks Tyler. I try to focus on the issues here at "Thoughts and Ideas" and I appreciate it when people call me out when I become a partisan mudslinger.