Which Came First? Chick Fil-A or Valuable Debate?

2011 January 5
    by Michael Parmele, et al.

    Below follows the transcript of a thread conversation which took place on January 5th, 2011, generally about equal rights, marriage equality, religion, and, as always, the place our government has in this world.  The jumping off point was an article posted concerning Chick Fil-A’s support for conservative Christian groups actively opposing equal rights for the GLBT community.  I am grateful to the participants for allowing me to post this for the Moose herds out there.  This,  I think, is a shining example of what discussion can be and what the Moose hopes to promote: respectful, vigorous, thoughtful, debate and discussion on issues that leave people satisfied at the body of work created and not angry that all thought is not uniform.  Please, enjoy, comment, discuss, and debate, but please maintain the integrity of this discussion as to do anything else would be disrespectful to its intent.

  1. PS:  In pondering this…here is my response, let it be! Since they are a Christian organization, they probably have the Bible as their spiritual book, and the Bible does speak often of homosexuality as a sin, but states you love the person, hate their sin/behavior. They are not saying they hate the people, they don’t like the behavior (based on their beliefs). They chose to support their beliefs, isn’t that what any organization/business/person should do, speak up and put action behind your beliefs?
  2. VBW: or you can just stop eating at their establishment if you disagree with their affiliations or politics! America is a great country that way!
  3. CC:  I thought objective criticism. gays repulse me, but if chic fil a gains a reputation, I don t care. I think gays deserve equal treatment. kids don’t deserve gay parents. what does the bible say, how do most gays get along, judging. i feel irritation.
  4. Michael Parmele
    @ PS: the Bible also allows me to stone my daughter to death for not respecting me and, should she wise up a respect me before I stone her to death, sell her into slavery, wh…at do you think the right price per pound should be (I don’t have a daughter, but I’m thinking ahead)? Or, since swine are unclean, should we require NFL players to wear gloves, regardless of temperature or personal preference? Or, I dunno, interest rates above 10%, that’s usury and prohibited…wouldn’t I be right in wanting the CEO of Visa, MC, et al, stoned to death? Bible says I can/should…

    I prefer a slightly altered approach to “love the person, hate the sin,” how about, “love the God, hate the religion…”

  5. Raul Bustamonte:
  6. There’s nothing wrong as far as basic business ethics go. They fully have the right to back and partner with any group they choose. As consumers, we also have the right to make an informed decision about who to patronize. Fred Phelps leads a Christian group. If chick-fillet chose to partner with his group, would the implications be the same? I would not patronize a company which allied itself with a group disgracing soldiers’ deaths in the guise of Christianity (soapbox, me, off it now). If I supported a company based only on a common religious phylum, I would want to know that the genus was not the opposite of what I supported. A number of Christian organizations in the US are not against homosexual relationships.

    Also, with a little more research, the partner company seems to target other demographics for the purpose of attack. The co-sponsored event may be all candy canes and lollypops, but financial support is support nonetheless. I have no issues from a business standpoint, just personal ethics.

    (I’m not meaning to challenge anyone’s beliefs or religious faith/interpretation here, just interested in what you all think)

  7. Michael Parmele
  8. @ Raul Bustamonte:  I’d be happy to challenge people’s religious interpretations here, not the sincerity of their faith, but the factual fallacies in the interpretations themselves…anyone?

  9. Michael Parmele
    ‎”I thought objective criticism. gays repulse me, but if chic fil a gains a reputation, I don t care. I think gays deserve equal treatment. kids don’t deserve gay parents. what does the bible say, how do most gays get along, judging. I feel …irritation.”

    @CC: you’re basing your conclusion on the behavior of 21st Century homosexuals from what you read in a three thousand year old book, written by humans? And kids don’t deserve gay parents? Because they deserve a fifty percent chance at being a child of a divorced home? Admittedly, I’m making an assumption, but do you feel that gay parents will “turn the kid gay?” If so, am I correct in assuming that you think homosexuality is a choice? If so again, when did you choose to be heterosexual? See More

  10. G:
    Chick fil A is a Christian organization, so it makes logical sense that they would partner with other organizations that share their values. The bible is very clear about God’s viewpoint on homosexuality. Yes, the bible was written by man…, but it was inspired and directed by God. (If you will note, the Gospels are four separate books, written by four different people, but they all tell the same story from different viewpoints.) Now if you want to make the case about WHEN it was written, and try to say that it is not reflective of current times, you must be one of those people that agrees with the modification (censorship) of Huckleberry Finn. The language may be different, but it is still valid.

    It is not our place as Christians to judge others. That is GOD’s job, and God’s alone. Yes, you DO love the sinner and hate the sin. Christians are supposed to speak and spread the gospel, and to live the lifestyle that reflects it. When you talk about stoning, you are referring to the Old Testament laws (the Ten Commandments), which were replaced by the new covenant when Jesus was crucified. Again, those are Christian beliefs. If you want to talk about stoning, go over to the Middle East where they still do that…

    I can say that AS a Christian, I disagree with homosexuality because of my faith, but I’m still bothered by the fact that my gay friends can’t get married. Yes, it is quite contradictory. I realize that. While I don’t want to see them unhappy, I have to decide whether I really believe what I say that I do. If I really believe the bible, and if my faith is strong, then I have to disagree with gay marriage.

    Bottom line about Chick fil A- if you disagree with them, don’t go there.

  11. NK: I read the article, and they don’t sound “rabid” to me. It would be rabid if one was foaming at the mouth and attacking homosexuals. Personally, I think marriage is rooted, and defined in the monotheistic religions, and nobody has the right to culturally assault it. Kinda like a copyright. I eat at Bojangles, btw.
  12. Michael Parmele
    ‎@ NK: Historically, marriage is a political or civil convention used essentially to determine property rights (women excluded of course) and to establish paternity. By the way, pagan Greeks got married too, for thousands of years before Christianity. Which is why, for the sake of the “gay marriage” debate ongoing in the United States, which is, “in no way founded on the Christian Religion (According to the Treaty of Tripoli, carrying the force of law in the United States),” every “marriage” in the United States (hetero or homosexual) should be a civil union, providing the same rights and privileges, leaving the myriad religions to choose for themselves whether to “sanctify” that union.
  13. NK: ‎@Michael – It’s ours. IT BELONGS TO US; our patent. This is clearly a matter of legal, and political will. Done.
  14. Michael Parmele
    ‎@NK, I don’t understand, what belongs to you? Marriage? History begs to differ. We live in a country that does not recognize an established religion and, in fact, states that, ” [As] the Government of the United States of America… is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797). Treaties, by the way, hold the same force as any other law in the United States. I’m not claiming that the religious institutions in the United States should or can be forced to SANCTIFY a union of any couple as a “marriage,” but the government of the United States has nothing to do with any religion. I understand you’re hung up on the word “marriage,” but unless you can come up with a reason, other than “God says so,” to object to homosexuals being able to form the SAME CIVIL unions as heterosexuals and enjoy the same rights/protections guaranteed by those unions, then your argument holds no merit in a discussion of “gay marriage” in the United States.
    Cheers!
  15. Michael Parmele
    ‎@ G:
    First and foremost, I do not write to insult, merely to discuss and I do not question the sincerity of anyone’s faith, but I do question “facts” used to justify that faith.

    Second, Mark Twain made no claim that Huck Finn was authored by God, but nice try making that intellectual leap. Kudos for not judging, mighty Christian of you.

    Third, nowhere in the Gospels, the only books alleged to contain direct quotes from pre-resurrection Jesus (God according to Triune philosophy), is homosexuality even mentioned. If you can find it, you can retire because you will have revolutionized biblical scholarship.

    Fourth, if you will note, there were far more than four Gospels written (dozens, in fact), telling the story of Jesus from Nazareth, whom Christians call the Christ, but only the four Canonical Gospels made it into the book. The others were deemed heresy and anathematized throughout the early “church,” as it tried to determine who it was, culminating with the Council of Nicea, and the production of fifty Bibles by Constantine (once the Emperor says what’s in the Bible, that’s that). The Gospel of Timothy, for example, depicts a philosopher/magician Jesus (not what Constantine or the Patriarchs wanted to depict as the foundation for the new, imperial, religion). None of these Gospels (Canonical included) were written during Jesus’ lifetime. The earliest guess is 10 years after the crucifixion, to as far out as 100 years. Also, biblical scholarship, for the most part, agrees that there was a common source document, “Q,” from which the Synoptic Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) based their works. This is, of course, in addition to the Hebrew Bible, which the Evangelists most assuredly based much of the “prophecy fulfillment” proclaiming Jesus as the Christ. Wouldn’t you agree it’s rather simple to claim that something happened to fulfill prophecy when you have the prophecy in front of you and no one was actually present at any of the events you describe as fulfillment? Watch how easy it is: Isaiah portends that the Christ will be “born of a virgin” (the Hebrew word translated as “virgin,” in actuality, most likely, should have been translated as “young woman” not indicating chastity, but the age of Mary, but I’ll grant that King James was correct and that Mary was chaste for the sake of this point). The Evangelists claim that Jesus was “born of a virgin” (see translation issue above), but no one was there at the birth of Jesus and the Virgin Birth is, again, nothing that Jesus (God) claims for himself in the texts. It is just as simple to claim that I was born of a virgin, because you can’t prove I wasn’t, there I fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah, am I the Christ?

    Fifth, to think that even the four Evangelists (the name given to the Canonical Gospel writers) told the same story overlooks one, small, point, John is OUT THERE when compared to the Synoptics. From John’s point of view, Jesus is basically in control of everything that happens to him. John portrays Jesus, truly, as God incarnate, a much more mystical, less historical account of the events. The Jesus of John even selects Judas Iscariot as the betrayer (a necessary role in the drama, wouldn’t you agree? Why don’t we celebrate Judas as bringing about the New Covenant and revelation of the Messiah in our midst?).

    Sixth, the New Testament did not replace the Old Testament (why would Christians canonize it if it did?) “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Know who said that? Allegedly Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth was born, lived, prayed, worshiped, and died a Jew. To claim that the New Testament somehow replaces the Old Testament is, according to Christian dogma, heresy and wildly unfounded. The fact that Christianity, originally merely a sect of Judaism whose adherents believed Jesus was the Messiah, was eventually separated from Judaism (demonizing it in the process and setting the stage for the continued, enhanced, and increasingly hostile, persecution of the Jews, yes, in fact, leading to the Shoah, or Holocaust) was not ever envisioned by the Jesus of the Gospels, again I challenge you to refute that. And, for the sake of accuracy, stoning (or any other punishment, for that matter) exists nowhere in the Ten Commandments, the laws to which I was referring appear in Leviticus.

    Seventh, you are absolutely right, Chick Fil-A has the absolute right to behave as it wants based on whatever beliefs it chooses and I will defend that right to the death, not because I agree, but because if someone gets to decide that its beliefs are invalid, then someone gets to decide that my beliefs are invalid and that is unacceptable. It’s the same theory that requires Neo-Nazis be allowed to march in Skokie, Illinois and protest. If some speech/religion, etc is allowed to be quashed, then the right no longer exists, it becomes a privilege extended by the decision making authority (which, unless that authority is me, because I trust me but you probably don’t, I don’t want that decision making authority to exist), subject to the whims of the day. The other side of that coin is that I have the right, in fact the duty, to express my opposition to Chick Fil-A’s business choices and let the market decide if it stays in business.

    Eighth, again, I do not write to insult and I don’t believe I have. I merely discuss, as many of the early Christian philosophers, the merits, conclusions, and basis of beliefs. I eagerly anticipate your opinions on what I’ve said here.

    Cheers!

  16. NK:  Hmmm. How interesting. What do you say to a straight up vote on the issue?
  17. Michael Parmele Hmmm…indeed interesting, equating a majority vote with correctness. What do you say to a straight up or down vote on whether blacks can marry whites in the 1950’s? Or whether blacks count as people in 1860? Or whether the Colonies should be independent from Great Britain in 1776? Or whether women should have the vote in the 1890’s, or, for that matter, whether the Sun revolves around the Earth in the 1400’s? The majority very certainly can be, and oftentimes, is wrong.
  18. NK:  and they need an enlightened intelligentsia for their illumination?
  19. Michael Parmele no, just that 50% + 1 vote doesn’t mean a position is correct. Should we instead rely on the teachings of a 2000 year old institution, created by humans, shrouded in secrecy, mysticism, and faith to tell us what’s correct?
  20. NK: If it was 50+1 in favor of your position would you take it?
  21. Michael Parmele
    NO, I reject the premise that whether a position is correct or not can be determined by a majority vote. I obviously would be pleased that the position with which I agree carried the day. But popular appeal is in no way a metric of the validity of a position. Things are true, or not, based on facts, observation, etc. Table salt is NaCl no matter the outcome of a referendum on the issue

    Post Script: the majority of the world’s population is not Christian.

  22. NK: If the ruling effects how society will be shaped, everyone shouldn’t have a say? How can the fallout of such a ruling be predicted with any certainty? The kind of world our descendants will live in is what’s at stake here.
  23. Raul Bustamonte:
    Sheesh, I go play a little poker and I come back to a book. :)

    I appreciate that I have friends with varying belief systems and that, even as the convo strayed into religion and politics in general, everything has remained civil. I am headed down the mountain do to some shopping. You all be good now.

  24. G:
    I don’t have time to read all of this, but nowhere did I say that God had anything to do with the writing of Huck Finn. I’m merely pointing out that if you choose to think that the bible is outdated because it was written 3000 years ago, perhaps you think it should be updated to be “more relevant” for today. You must agree with those that think we need to redo the fiction works of Mark Twain in order to prevent someone from being offended by a word that should no longer be used, even though it was common when the book was written. I’ll respond to the rest of this later.
  25. Michael Parmele
    No, I’m not saying that everyone shouldn’t have a say, I’m saying that a vote doesn’t make something inherently correct. By the way, American history is replete with examples of rulings that effect how society will be shaped that would not… have carried a majority of support in the public (Brown v. Board, Furman v. Georgia, etc.).

    Do you believe that homosexuality is a choice? Or do you believe that homosexuals (and heterosexuals, for that matter) are born that way? I understand your position (however fervently I, science, and common sense, disagree) if you believe that homosexuals CHOOSE to be homosexual. If, however, homosexuality is not a choice, like race is not a choice, how can the majority abrogate rights and privileges guaranteed citizens based on a factor that the affected minority cannot control?

  26. Michael Parmele ‎@G: I did not say that you claimed Huck Finn to be divine. I reject your logic that because I believe that a strict adherence to tenets written 3000 years ago means I “MUST (your word, my emphasis)” agree that Huck Finn should be changed. That argument fails any test of logic. I look forward to your further responses.
  27. NK: Correct, and we are living with those decisions, and they’re not always easy to live with. I can’t honestly say what makes a homosexual, though. I’ve seen some people that characterize themselves as such, but in some cases I think they’re fooling themselves, and trying to fit into a sub-culture.
  28. Michael Parmele But just because something isn’t easy to live with doesn’t mean that path shouldn’t be taken. Are you suggesting that segregation, for example, should have remained until 50% + 1 vote of the population said otherwise? The entire premise of our Grand Experiment in the United States is that the majority rules while protecting the minority from a “tyranny of the majority.”
  29. NK:  What if we just abolished marriage all together. We are in a secular, capitalistic society. You are responsible for you, and no one else. If being correct is the goal, shouldn’t we consider this?
  30. Michael Parmele
    Sure, I’m down with that. That would be more in keeping with the claims of American freedom and liberty, rather than keeping the institution but having some animals “more equal than others.” I would absolutely be fine with two people choosing to draft their own LLC or other type of corporation, specifying all the things that the current civil marriage license necessarily includes. Obviously, we’d only be talking about civil marriage, as any law passed in the United States abolishing the religious institution of marriage would be patently unconstitutional as a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
    But the issue with that suggestion is this: I doubt you would get 50% +1 vote for that measure, which would seem to mean that opponents of homosexual civil marriage want the privileges and rights recognized and granted to married couples, but they ACTIVELY seek to deny equal rights to others, based solely on a status. In all aspects of American jurisprudence, you cannot criminalize or discriminate because of a status (example: it is not illegal to BE a drug addict, it is illegal to possess drugs, paraphernalia, etc.). I am simply saying that, if we are going to have civil marriages in this country, then the government cannot discriminate who chooses to avail themselves of it.

    How’s this for continuing the twisted world that is my own, I don’t know that I could philosophically oppose Chick Fil-A (assuming that Chick Fil-A receives ZERO dollars from the Federal or State governments) if it wanted to deny service to homosexuals, blacks, whites, or anyone else. They are a private corporation and the Constitution guarantees equal rights and protection from abuse by the government, not private individuals or corporations.

  31. NK:
    Tyranny is tyranny, and our branches of government are entertaining a tyranny of the minority in this matter. If the government continues to foist edicts upon a majority, and there is real say-so, then it has become a social engineering ma…chine; not what was intended. We live with the decisions of a few, and have virtually no real say in how society will be in the future. Do you see how that could be characterized as tyranny, no matter how right the powers-that-be see it? A vote would enforce things. Then people can’t look back and say it was thrust upon them.
  32. Michael Parmele
    We have elections every two years at the Federal level. We do not live in a democracy, we live in a republic. The government is not organized so that all the citizens get input on every issue. The people select their representatives who …then go and make the decisions on issues affecting society. Don’t like how your Representative represented you? Vote for someone else, or run for office. We get the government we deserve, every time. In a nation of 310 million people and 600 million guns, nothing is ever thrust upon the American people. Revolution is the right of the people, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness (Declaration of Independence).” The problem with revolution is, you have to win, or you’re just a traitor. Think of it this way, if the Colonies had lost the War for Independence, they would have been terrorists, but they won, so they are patriots.
  33. NK:  true dat.
  34. Michael Parmele I accept your surrender on the issue and I’m glad you see it my way…lol.
  35. NK: I guess I’m trying to get to perception on the individual level. If enough people don’t like the product their gettin from government, then they won’t care about the flowery language. Things could get primal. That should be anticipated, and avoid, naturally. I’m being vague because the concept is a little cloudy to me. Just a thought.
  36. Michael Parmele
    I understand what you are saying, but I disagree that we suffer from a tyranny of the minority (unless you include the United States’ Senate, regardless of the party in power). It seems that we, as a species, have continually moved towards… more and more hyperbolic speech, such that everything and everyone easily becomes equated with the Nazis, Hitler, Fascism, tyranny, etc. etc. etc… Do you know what I mean? When was the last time a soldier was quartered in your home? Rounded up into a ghetto? Gas Chamber? Lashed for not picking enough cotton? I think that our tendency to magnify the “significance” of an issue by equating it with those things, a) desensitizes us to the gravity of the tragedies of history and b) shuts down the possibility of reasoned debate (once one says someone is Hitler, where is the room for discussion, one doesn’t negotiate with Hitler). I just wish that the conversations, debates, and discussions that ACTUALLY result in policy could be more like the one we are having in this thread, right? How refreshingly simple it would be to have people talk about issues with rational, reasoned, arguments.
  37. NK: I’m diggin it. Time to grab coffee. Peace.
  38. Michael Parmele Later man, “good talk, Russ.”
    • For the record, from the American Psychological Association: “Research over several decades has demonstrated that sexual orientation ranges along a continuum, from exclusive attraction to the other sex to exclusive attraction to the same se…x. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships are normal forms of human bonding.”
  39. G: Okay, I’ll make this as brief as possible since so much has been stated above… As I said before, I never said Huck Finn was inspired by God. It just seems like your statement about the bible being written 3000 years ago means that you think it is too outdated for the times and shouldn’t be taken seriously. That leads me to believe that you take no issue with those that wish to “update” other things (Huck Finn for example) to keep up with the times. There are a bunch of people out there that think that the constitution is outdated too. Would you have that be modified?? Yes, it was written by man, and yes, that means that it’s not going to be perfect, but if something is wrong with the words contained in the document, then it should be settled with an amendment.
  40. I never said that homosexuality was discussed in the gospels, but it is discussed very openly and clearly in the bible. Ultimately I don’t think the post was about whether homosexuality is right or wrong, but whether Chick fil A should have partnered with the group they have.

    To say that the gospels may have been written in an effort to fulfill a prophecy that was already in place is a stretch to me, especially since it was written in so many other places that are in the bible, namely Daniel. It’s just a matter of faith as to whether you believe or not. I understand that there were other books of the bible that have not been included, but seeing as how I’m not a biblical scholar, I don’t know Greek or Aramaic, and I’ve only studied the books that ARE there, I’ll just be confident in my knowledge of what I HAVE studied.

    Yes the gospels were written by four different people, and maybe John was out there, but different people will have different viewpoints and opinions (this discussion for example). It seems obvious that they would have different thoughts on what happened and who Jesus was/is.

    Finally, the NT doesn’t replace the OT, but the COVENANT changed. In the OT, people had to make animal sacrifices to find favor with God. After the crucifixion, Jesus was the sacrificial lamb, and that wasn’t necessary any more. Perhaps I didn’t state that very well.

  41. Michael Parmele:
    • Agreed that, according to Christian teaching, the Covenant changed, the word you used was replace and I took my cue from that.  However, The Law and The Prophets remained and the sections of Leviticus I referenced by paraphrase are consistently and continually used to justify the “God says so” approach to the denial of equal rights to homosexuals.
    • Would you like differences in the bible to be settled with an amendment? The problem with your argument here, I see, is that most Christian believers believe the Bible to be perfect,… authored by God, with Moses, et al. acting as conduits (much like Muhammad in Islamic tradition, same God, by the way), infallible, unerring, and the literal Word of God. How do you amend that?
    • I didn’t suggest that the Bible needs to “updated,” it’s a beautiful work of, at least, literature and contains the cultural history of an entire People (the Jews) and many wonderful tenets, etc. I was merely questioning why one would rest one’s opinion solely on the contents of a 3000 year old book, when there is so much knowledge, experience, and evidence that has occurred since then. Why use only one source as a basis for a conclusion.
    • FYI with no snarkyness, many of the extra canonical biblical works are available in English via a Google search, don’t need to read Greek (the language of the New Testament) or speak Aramaic (the language in which Jesus most likely spoke).
    • My point about homosexuality not being in the Gospels is that those are the only books in which we hear Jesus actually speak. I just wonder if Jesus of Nazareth would want St. Paul or other New Testament writers attributing their own personal views to Jesus?
    • You really think that it is a stretch to think that humans, motivated by all the things that humans are motivated by, would craft a document justifying their belief to others by tying it to already accepted belief?
    • Ultimately, what I think this post was about is whether the religiously motivated belief that homosexuality is a sin, should in any way affect how citizens of the United States are treated and whether the justification that “God said so” is a valid one to deny fellow citizens full rights and equal protection under the law.
  42. To think that early Christians were not motivated by politics is to ignore the actual history in which Jesus of Nazareth lived. For whatever reason, the early Christians BELIEVED that Jesus was the Christ BEFORE the New Testament was written and, I contend, spent their time looking for evidence in their religious texts to justify, broaden, and export that belief to others. I guess I view, historically speaking, the New Testament as the sales pitch for Christ. That’s not insensitive, that’s honest.

    I do not deny that what should have been a dead end sect of a minor monotheistic faith based on a cult of personality of one man inexplicably has grown, matured, and had an enormous impact on the rest of human history. And the part of me that seeks for something greater than myself (the “leap of faith” required in St. Aquinas that overlays all actual evidence for the existence of God) is intrigued by that fact: how could Christianity survive if there wasn’t something to it? Although, when you get the political backing of the most powerful ruler on the planet, Constantine, who decrees that it shall become the official religion of the realm, how can it not survive? Why should Jesus be worshiped and not Mithra (another virgin born, baptized, resurrected Messiah of the Mediterranean), or any other of the at least 16 crucified saviors of the world???

    To separate the foundations of Christianity, the teachings of Jesus, and the political reality of First Century Palestine from actual history, I contend, challenges the notion that there exists a God that interacts with the created world. And to accept the literary works intended to evangelize, justify, and espouse the Truth of what Christians believe in a vacuum is like me saying, “believe what I believe because I believe it and let me tell you why I believe it, because I believe it.” I think that kind of acceptance without question wastes the gift given humanity that separates us from all other animals, the ability to reason and renders us incapable of fulfilling what we are commanded by God to become: God. That is Orthodox Christian belief, as Christians, we are commanded to “become god,” the doctrine of Apotheosis.

    Ultimately, what I think this post was about is whether the religiously motivated belief that homosexuality is a sin, should in any way affect how citizens of the United States are treated and whether the justification that “God said so” is a valid one to deny fellow citizens full rights and equal protection under the law.

    G: 1. Yes, I do believe the bible to be the word of God, and no, I don’t think it should be amended. My reference to an amendment was regarding the US constitution. …You are correct in saying that the bible is 3000 years old, and yes, there ARE other frames of reference since it was written. However, for a Christian, the bible is the basis for your core beliefs, and anything that differs from that flies in the face of our faith. Are there discrepancies in the bible? Yes. It was written by so many different people that it stands to reason.

    2. “you’re basing your conclusion on the behavior of 21st Century homosexuals from what you read in a three thousand year old book, written by humans?” This was the comment that was made that led me to think you would have no issue with “updating” things to fit with modern times. Oddly enough, there are so many things in the bible that are exactly the same as modern times – extramarital affairs, homosexuality, wars, lying, theft, murder, etc., so it seems that it still applies…

    3. Maybe I’ll take the time to read the additional books of the bible online someday, but as of now, I haven’t done so, so I can’t speak intelligently about them.

    4. We only hear Jesus speak in the gospels because he was crucified and went to heaven after that, so he wasn’t on earth to have his words documented. While it is always better to have actual quotes from the source, the disciples were commissioned to preach the gospels, and in turn, teach about their beliefs and what they learned from Jesus.

    5. Finally, I DO think it’s a stretch to say that the writers of the bible tried to make the story of Jesus fit with what they already believed. Other people, maybe, but not who actually wrote it. Those that wrote this were having angels appear to them, were having prophetic dreams, and were actually EYE WITNESSES to Jesus and the miracles that he performed. The disciples were with Jesus during his life on earth, and even AFTER the crucifixion before he ascended to heaven. So yes, I trust their interpretation of the events in the bible. Completely.

    BK: Hi, G. You do realize that even if you do accept the literal interpretation of the gospels, the gospels do not include all eye witness accounts. The entirety of the gospel of which Luke is the purported author, for example, following …the Biblical tradition, was not written by an actual eye witness, but by a later converted Christian during the early period (notice he switches and begins using the equivalent of ‘we’ during the course of the book of Acts).

Moreover, I think most Christians put so much faith in the infallibility of the Bible and treat it as the unaltered work of God because, frankly, they don’t read it much. I mean, the books attributed to John, including the gospel, are obviously part of a different gnostic influenced tradition, and by context were set in tone to take specific aims at specific components of the conflicts between early Christianity and its contemporary judaism – a thread not in the Synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as these were probably compiled from an earlier source – either literary or oral – one Biblical scholars traditionally refer to as Q.

Certain components of the modern Bible are even in direct opposition to each other, and probably represent conflicts between different elements in the early Christian community. One gem in particular is the conflict between the authors of Romans and James, Romans 4:2 and James 2:21 are the critical points ->

Romans:

4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

James:

2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

That looks suspiciously like two writers, one having knowledge of the other, turning the other’s argument against them. The author of Paul says that you can omit works (worketh not) and be saved through belief alone, whereas the author of James says that “by works a man is justified.” Can you think of any giant splits in Christianity that occurred because one group went with Romans and another with James?

3 Responses leave one →
  1. wes permalink
    January 6, 2011

    What if the chicken was gay?

  2. January 12, 2011

    Depends on who you ask, God may, in fact, hate said chicken.

  3. January 15, 2011

    Ben Franklin said, “I may disagree with what they say, but I’ll defend to the death their right to sell those delicious, delicious chicken sandwiches.”

    That’s a direct quote.

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