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Gay Bob & Christian Bob

Mike Cosper has a parable about tolerance and understanding between traditional Christians and the LGBT community: [1]

There once were two neighbors, both named Bob. One is an evangelical Christian, the other is gay and agnostic. They’ve lived next to one another in a duplex for several years, and have been good neighbors: getting one another’s mail when the other travels, hauling each other’s garbage cans to and from the curb, and have occasionally had a cookout together. They are friends, but they’ve never really had a discussion about their differences.

One day, during March Madness, a stiff gust of wind knocked a tree limb into their power lines, and they found themselves without electricity, five minutes before the U of L game. They wandered out onto their respective porches and decided to go to a nearby pizzeria to watch the game.

Somewhere before the end of the game, this conversation began:

Bob 1: Isn’t it surprising that we’ve become friends?

Bob2: What do you mean?

1: Well, one of us has a rainbow sticker on their bumper, and the other has a Jesus fish. According to most folks, we shouldn’t get along.

2: Yeah, I’ll admit it’s crossed my mind once or twice. Does it bother you?

1: Does what bother me?

2: Well, that I am who I am?

1: Hmmm… I don’t know how to answer that. Does it bother you that I am the way that I am?

Read the whole thing to see how the conversation continues. [1] It’s a Rorschach test: which Bob is the gay agnostic, and which is the traditional Christian? Cosper’s point is that Bob 1 can be the gay agnostic, or the traditional Christian, and the same moral would apply. If you can’t see how either one could play either role in the conversation, perhaps you need to work on your empathy.

Interesting piece. Made me think of Pink John.

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142 Comments To "Gay Bob & Christian Bob"

#1 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On January 27, 2015 @ 1:08 pm

@VikingLS, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was used to win the Hobby Lobby case, so it’s seen as having widespread impact by allowing corporations to claim religious exemptions from federal laws. That hardly seems like a Pyrrhic victory. It seems like a major win.

As far as other court cases. The town of Greece NY recently won their Supreme court case, as did the Good News club against Milford Central School back in the early naughts. There’s also been a few other victories for the
[2] which bills themselves as the Christian version of the ACLU.

#2 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 27, 2015 @ 1:24 pm

Does the traditional Christian belief require Christians not to hire, rent to or conduct business with gays or to deny them the right of civil marriage? No, it requires only that you consider homosexual conduct a sin, not engage in it and teach others that they shouldn’t engage in it.

True.

Most people know that’s all that’s called for, and I genuinely believe you also know that is all that’s called for.

No, many “pro-gay” positions condemn Christians for even hinting that homosexual acts are sinful. And, many Christians go beyond merely saying that homosexual acts are sinful.

Instead, *some* Christians are punished when they go further than this and discriminate against gays in the workplace, housing or commerce or seek to deny gays certain civil rights (e.g. marriage) that have been granted to them under either the federal or state constitutions.

I agree, EXCEPT that nobody has been denying gays the “civil right” to marriage. What gays choose to enter into does not constitute a marriage, not even civilly, not unless the legislature so provides, as the New York legislature did.

#3 Comment By J_A On January 27, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

VikingLS

“And how is that description any different from your side. No matter how many food banks a church runs, no matter how many people it clothes, no matter how many houses it builds for the poor, if it teaches that homosexual sex is forbidden, it’s immoral.”

I agree homosexual sex is sinful, but sinfulness doesn’t seem to be enough for Traditional Christians. They want to call it immoral. They are the ones bringing the immoral label to the discussion.

And no, teaching that homosexual sex is forbidden doesn’t make you immoral, same as saying that eating shrimp or drinking alcohol is forbidden -for the members of your religion- is immoral.

Fighting in the public square to make sure that shrimp eaters, alcohol drinkers or practitioners of homosexual sex cannot create families of their own, irrespective of their respective religious beliefs, that is an objective harm that you are causing to these shrimp eating, alcohol drinking, buggery practicing kitty rescuing firefighter. And that harming is what people call immoral. The immorality is not in proclaiming your beliefs, or even in policing them within your group, to make sure no Haredim sins by eating shrimp. The immorality is in fighting that no shrimps are served in your community, to either Haredis or Gentiles.

#4 Comment By VikingLS On January 27, 2015 @ 1:33 pm

@Charley

What’s frustrating is that you all can’t seem to read it every time I write that I don’t oppose gay marriage. I oppose the strong arm tactics and I oppose the notion that suddenly all Christians are fair game even if they never said a word about the subject in their lives.

#5 Comment By CharleyCarp On January 27, 2015 @ 2:20 pm

Viking, I’m taking you at your word that you don’t oppose marriage equality. I don’t believe that my recent comment should be read otherwise.

I also oppose strong arm tactics. However, I do not think that a person who thinks they’ve been denied rights guaranteed by the law — whether the equal protection clause or some state statute — is engaging in strong arm tactics if they avail themselves of the processes our society has created to adjudicate whether someone has been denied their rights.

New Mexico has a law that forbids discrimination based on orientation. A couple thought that a photographer who wouldn’t take pictures at their party was violating that law. The photographer thought she was within her rights to say no. The couple complained to the agency set up to hear such complaints. The agency found that the couple was right, the photographer wrong, and was looking at a nominal fine at most. The photographer didn’t like the result and took the agency to court. The court ruled against the photographer, but the photographer did not accept this result, and appealed to the New Mexico Supreme Court. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled against the photographer, who then asked the United States Supreme Court to overturn the New Mexico Supreme Court’s interpretation to the New Mexico statute at issue. The photographer was supported by millions of people who agree with her, including our host, and a number of people who comment here. (I don’t remember your position Viking; and don’t really care, since I don’t have any animus towards you in particular.)

But I don’t think “open season” is a particularly apt description of what happened.

As a society, we decided, some 50 years ago, that certain values come in higher than a business’s “right” to select its customers. Anyone is free to go stand over there with the guys in the white hoods saying we made the wrong decision, or that as a society we don’t have the authority to make that kind of decision, but for the most part, people understand and accept that a society can do this. The question is who’s going to be on the list of people that cannot be denied business. Christians are on the list. In a great many places, and under the federal law, gays are not on the list. You must understand, Viking, that no amount of good will and willingness to compromise makes ‘I should be on the list and you should not be on the list’ sound fair.

#6 Comment By c matt On January 27, 2015 @ 3:33 pm

I agree homosexual sex is sinful, but sinfulness doesn’t seem to be enough for Traditional Christians. They want to call it immoral. They are the ones bringing the immoral label to the discussion.

????? So what is the difference between something being a sin and something being immoral? Is murder merely a sin, or is it immoral?

#7 Comment By c matt On January 27, 2015 @ 3:36 pm

Anyone is free to go stand over there with the guys in the white hoods saying we made the wrong decision, or that as a society we don’t have the authority to make that kind of decision, but for the most part, people understand and accept that a society can do this.

“White hoods,” really? How do you know you aren’t the one wearing the “white hoods?”

#8 Comment By J_A On January 27, 2015 @ 4:07 pm

c matt

Eating shrimp is sinful if you are an Orthodox Jew. Is it immoral?

And by the way, homosexual sex within marriage (pr an analogous commited monogamous relationship) is not sinful in certain Christian Churches

#9 Comment By panda On January 27, 2015 @ 4:24 pm

“????? So what is the difference between something being a sin and something being immoral? Is murder merely a sin, or is it immoral?”

According to Jewish law, eating shellfish and pork is a sin. Is it also an immoral act?

At least some Jewish religious philosophers disagree.

#10 Comment By CharleyCarp On January 27, 2015 @ 5:16 pm

C Matt, yes or no: does a state or city have the right to pass a law telling a business in that state or city that it may not refuse service to someone based on that person’s race or religion?

#11 Comment By The Wet One On January 27, 2015 @ 5:55 pm

Hey look who’s saying something similar to Rod et. al.:

[3]

That’s interesting isn’t it?

Or not?

#12 Comment By The Wet One On January 27, 2015 @ 6:02 pm

This dynamic brings up something I’ve wondered about for the last few years.

Why is it that it seems to be an absolute necessity to keep someone down? Why does someone, somewhere in one’s society have to be trampled underfoot and oppressed?

Anyone know or got any ideas on that?

I would look to our closest relatives and note that among them, the same dynamic is always at play (some are the bosses and some are the underlings and the underlings always play up to the bosses). It’s not totally the same, but at a certain level it’s the same.

As civilized rational beings, surely we should be able to overcome this animal tendency fairly easily but we can’t. Why?

My rote answer for such things is that humans simply can’t jump over their own shadows, but I’m wondering if a more precise answer than “It is what it is,” is known to someone here.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance. I appreciate what wisdom is on offer. If there’s none, I’m no worse than before.

#13 Comment By Rob G On January 27, 2015 @ 7:08 pm

“In Which Rob G and Ludovic Omit Exactly Half of the Gay Population”

If you mean lesbians, come on. Anyone can see that it’s the boys that are driving this thing, not the girls.

#14 Comment By VikingLS On January 27, 2015 @ 7:31 pm

“You must understand, Viking, that no amount of good will and willingness to compromise makes ‘I should be on the list and you should not be on the list’ sound fair.”

And yet you presume that because I am a Christian I think it does.

#15 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 27, 2015 @ 9:55 pm

Fighting in the public square to make sure that shrimp eaters, alcohol drinkers or practitioners of homosexual sex cannot create families of their own, irrespective of their respective religious beliefs, that is an objective harm that you are causing to these shrimp eating, alcohol drinking, buggery practicing kitty rescuing firefighter.

Horse apples and navel oranges here. They don’t mix, except in the human mind. Eating shrimp has nothing to do with creating a family. Neither does drinking alcohol, per sel; an alcoholic can make the lives of their spouse and children miserable, and it may be true that beer creates “lust and urine” as Shakespeare wrote, but being alcoholic is no bar to doing all that is necessary to create a family.

But sex is fundamental to family. Thus, there is no equation, no analogy. Whether homosexual sex is a foundation for a family is open to debate, regardless of the disposed analogy, but neither shrimp nor alcohol are relevant.

#16 Comment By J_A On January 27, 2015 @ 10:29 pm

Syarlis

We are not discussing if shrimp is analogous to sex. The question is, can something be a sin and yet not be “objectively immoral”.

For Orthodox Jews, eating shrimp is sinful, yet not even them will probably argue that a gentile eating shrimp is acting immorally.

No one discusses that for many religions, but not all, as well as for many, but not all, branches of Christianity, homosexual activitity is always sinful. Now, is there something that makes homosexual activity immoral per se, irrespective or religion? Or isn’t it? Are non celibate gay kitty rescuing firefighters always immoral? Or are they just sinners in the eyes of some (a majority) of religions.

c matt apparently believes that all siins are inherently immoral, and he uses the example of murder, both sinful and immoral. The question that he is still to answer is whether shrimp eating, also sinful in certain religions, is, like murder, immoral?

#17 Comment By Chris On January 27, 2015 @ 11:03 pm

“????? So what is the difference between something being a sin and something being immoral? Is murder merely a sin, or is it immoral?”

From the chrhisian perspective sin is “Amartia” or to miss the mark. In other words it means to fail to abide by the standards God has set for us. The problem is the church has conflated sin with immorality. The two concepts are distinct. I can accept the Orthodox church’s teaching that homosexuality is a religious sin but I can not accept that it is immoral in any way. The analogy of a jewish man eating a bacon cheeseburger is a perfect analogy. It is a religious sin but hardly immoral. Calling it by its theologically correct term of
amartia” would be too kind for those who have an unthinking bigotry in this matter. The word “immoral” fits better with unthinking prejudice. If it is immoral, there must be an ethical issue at the heart of the behavior. I ahve never heard anyone on this blog or other blogs ever articulate the ethical issue at stake with homosexuality. Theological statements and references to natural law, which is theology by another name yes. But ethics .. nary a peep.

#18 Comment By GregJ On January 28, 2015 @ 12:24 am

@Rusty, just as an FYI, it wouldn’t be half the gay population as there is almost 1/3 to twice the percentage of males who are gay than females.

As to the inevitability of gay marriage, it became inevitable when society decided that multiple divorces and remarriages among heterosexuals was legal and acceptable, starting in the 1950’s. The problem is that so many people who claim they are defending “traditional marriage” are not. They just don’t realize it. They are defending the right of the heterosexual majority to divorce and remarry as many times as they wish. Something that as late as the 1960’s would have gotten you barred from employment in many companies, or from a teaching job in parts of the country, or from winning political office, or even being friends with your neighbors, as it was considered by generally every American, and every Christian denomination, as state sanctioned adultery. Just as before that same 1960’s, using birth control was considered immoral and was in fact, illegal under most circumstances in a large part of the country, and was part of most state’s statutes related to sodomy. Both are still considered, immoral, mortally sinful, and contrary to nature, by my Church.

That is why gay marriage is inevitable; because it is really only an argument for license being given to the heterosexual majority to have their immoral relationships validated by state contract, but not the homosexual minority’s. Just as so many want the state to keep legal and immoral sexual practice between heterosexual couples while arguing that homosexual acts should never have been made so in the SCOTUS decision of 2003. Whatever the American people may think, they have a dislike for hypocrisy and a basic sense of fairness which is why they have so rapidly changed on this issue.

#19 Comment By EngineerScotty On January 28, 2015 @ 2:55 am

Ludovic’s protests about (and explicit descriptions of) anal intercourse kinda remind me of that Midwestern bishop (later outed) who was concerned that young virginal straight men around the world would be seduced to the gay side of the Force by the “wanton anal sex” featured in in Brokeback Mountain.

#20 Comment By The Sicilian Woman On January 28, 2015 @ 3:55 am

the battle will be more or less finished from a legal standpoint and I sincerely believe that will dissipate much of the heat.

I’m sure people thought the same about abortion after Roe v. Wade.

The heat will never truly dissipate when disordered actions, be they murder via abortion or slapping the misnomer of “equality” on a pairing that is unequal to the union of a man and a woman in form and function, are declared rights, and good.

#21 Comment By Rob G On January 28, 2015 @ 10:04 am

GregJ, in a certain sense you are correct. The game was really lost in the victory of no-fault divorce, which many Christians didn’t protest much, partly because they didn’t realize the threat.

“The problem is the church has conflated sin with immorality. The two concepts are distinct.”

Distinct, perhaps, but related. All immorality is sin, but not all sin is immorality. Christianity has long taught that homosexual behavior is immoral, hence sinful. Trying to get around this requires what theologian Robert Shank called silversmith hermeneutics — “All manner of fancy turnings and twistings done here!”

“I ahve never heard anyone on this blog or other blogs ever articulate the ethical issue at stake with homosexuality. Theological statements and references to natural law, which is theology by another name yes. But ethics .. nary a peep.”

You betray your modernity here. Since when has the Church, East or West, ever looked at ethics in isolation, as you are proposing? Such a move is only possible after the death of virtue ethics and the acceptance of some or other form of consequentialism, which Christianity rejects.

#22 Comment By Rob G On January 28, 2015 @ 10:33 am

~~The heat will never truly dissipate when disordered actions, be they murder via abortion or slapping the misnomer of “equality” on a pairing that is unequal to the union of a man and a woman in form and function, are declared rights, and good.~~

Hear, hear. No matter how loud you shout or what you call us, acceptance of 2 + 2 = 5 will not be forthcoming.

#23 Comment By J_A On January 28, 2015 @ 12:14 pm

Rob G:

“You betray your modernity here. Since when has the Church, East or West, ever looked at ethics in isolation, as you are proposing? Such a move is only possible after the death of virtue ethics and the acceptance of some or other form of consequentialism, which Christianity rejects.”

Does God command it because it’s good? Or is it good because God commands it?

If I understand you correctly, homosexuality is immoral because God said it was not only a sin, but also immoral per se, and not because you could identify what exactly made it immoral absent God saying it is so.

#24 Comment By MikeCA On January 28, 2015 @ 1:13 pm

The Sicilian Woman,the Damon Linker piece I mentioned addresses this very issue and he does a far better job than I could. Abortion makes even those who are pro choice uneasy because the whole question of when life begins is one that is unanswerable for many. It’s a very difficult & I susoect heart wrenching decision for the vast majority of women. Letting gays & lesbians marry is not in a literal sense a life or death decision for anyone but the couples getting married. You may not approve,God may not approve (whose God and besides,who really knows?) and you might refuse to view it as a marriage. Legally it will be and with majority support- last poll I saw was around 57% nationally. If having legally married gay couples causes you to cheat on your spouse or in some way dishonour your marital relationship,you’re fooling yourself. People have & will continue to marry for all the reasons they do today: love,companionship and for many but not all,to start a family. If fewer people do decide to marry in future it won’t be because Ted & Jake or Cindy & Linda tied the knot; there are far greater pressures,many of them economic that come into play. If there’s a paucity of good paying jobs with a secure future and a weak social safety net a lot of people will stay single or at least defer having kids. The days of when my grandmother was one of 13 living on a fairly self sufficient farm are long gone minus the Amish & a few other sects. Our society has changed and will continue to do so. It’s the only constant as they say.

#25 Comment By Thursday On January 28, 2015 @ 1:28 pm

Interesting that people like Greg can’t even conceive of any ethics except consequentialism/utilitarianism. I guess that’s the problem.

#26 Comment By Thursday On January 28, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

“No matter how loud you shout or what you call us, acceptance of 2 + 2 = 5 will not be forthcoming.”

Yup.

#27 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 28, 2015 @ 1:36 pm

J_A… from shrimp to red herring…

We are not discussing if shrimp is analogous to sex. The question is, can something be a sin and yet not be “objectively immoral”.

We are? The answer is no.

For Orthodox Jews, eating shrimp is sinful, yet not even them will probably argue that a gentile eating shrimp is acting immorally.

That’s because Orthodox Jews consider kosher law to be God’s commandment to His Chosen People, a way of sorting themselves out from the gentiles. It doesn’t apply to gentiles, so it isn’t even a sin for them.

However, Orthodox Jews do consider the Noachide laws applicable to all human beings, thou shalt not kill, etc. One could quibble about homosexuality, since some of the “others” served gods who accepted homosexual rites as worship, but it seems that refraining from gay sex is not merely a particular burden of the Jews.

None of this, of course, settles whether there is any good cause for civil society to condemn or inconvenience homosexual acts… and I would submit any coherent answer to that question is complex, and not reducible to cute one-liners or dubious analogies.

Why is it that it seems to be an absolute necessity to keep someone down? Why does someone, somewhere in one’s society have to be trampled underfoot and oppressed?

How is that relevant to this discussion? We are talking about a demographic defined by acts that have been held to be constitutional protected against police intervention. Trampled? Oppressed?

#28 Comment By GregJ On January 28, 2015 @ 1:41 pm

@ Rob G & Sicilian Woman, but again, those arguments would have real weight if they were based on a legal restoration of traditional western, moral and divine law, as an integral aspect of American positive law for all, but they are not. They are as I’ve said, an advocacy of restoring that moral and divine law…only as long as it applies to a small minority of the American population that is gay, while placing virtually zero effort in advocating that such moral law be applied to the heterosexual majority. It is an effort based in hypocrisy and a textbook case of why one should, “not judge lest ye be judged”.

#29 Comment By J_A On January 28, 2015 @ 3:16 pm

Syarlis

Very good, so since in my religion homosexual acts in a monogamous committed relationship are not a sin, I’m glad to know that they are not immoral.

#30 Comment By Irene On January 28, 2015 @ 3:46 pm

Rob G: “The game was really lost in the victory of no-fault divorce . . .”

This doesn’t make sense.

If no-fault divorce inevitably led to SSM, then aren’t whatever factors that led to no-fault divorce really the true cause of SSM? Why arbitrarily pick the link in the chain of events that is no-fault divorce and not the link that preceded no-fault divorce?

#31 Comment By Irene On January 28, 2015 @ 4:06 pm

J_A to Rob G: “If I understand you correctly, homosexuality is immoral because God said it was not only a sin, but also immoral per se, and not because you could identify what exactly made it immoral absent God saying it is so.”

You’re headed down a rabbit hole with this one. Rob G et al can’t accept that they believe homosexuality is wrong for no other reason than God said so, and that is why they ultimately turn to the Get-out-of-logic-free-card of natural law, although Rob G may not yet even realize he will ultimately make a Natural Law argument. If you are ever lucky enough to get an answer to the obvious question of, “How is Natural Law ultimately established?”, you’ll be told something along the lines of, “Some important people several millenia ago observed it in the cosmos (whatever the heck that is).”

“Natural Law” explanations are the refuge of people who don’t have the courage to simply say that they’re going to do what they believe God told them to do even though they don’t understand why he said it. Of course, they know right off the bat that that kind of explanation is a non-starter in any society except the most stringent theocracies.

Natural Law is like what someone once said about Newt Gingrich: It sounds like what stupid people think smart people would say.

#32 Comment By Rob G On January 28, 2015 @ 5:46 pm

J_A and Irene, you seem to think that the only Christian version of ethics is “divine command ethics,” which is not the case. My comment was directed at the poster who attempted to separate Christian ethics from theology and natural law arguments. Of course one can posit an ethical system that operates outside of religion, so to speak, but it would be a fallacy to call it Christian. Ethics isn’t like metallurgy or meteorology; one’s religion or lack thereof always will come into play.

“If no-fault divorce inevitably led to SSM, then aren’t whatever factors that led to no-fault divorce really the true cause of SSM? Why arbitrarily pick the link in the chain of events that is no-fault divorce and not the link that preceded no-fault divorce?”

Of course there are other factors, but no-fault divorce was the first and major one that dealt with marriage as such and directly.

~~“Natural Law” explanations are the refuge of people who don’t have the courage to simply say that they’re going to do what they believe God told them to do even though they don’t understand why he said it. Of course, they know right off the bat that that kind of explanation is a non-starter in any society except the most stringent theocracies.~~

Frankly, I do not have a specific opinion on natural law. While I appreciate a lot of what Thomism says I’m not a Thomist, and I tend to lean more towards Plato than Aristotle. Having said that, I do know enough about natural law to know that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Was Burke a theocrat? That natural law equates to theocracy is simply ludicrous.

#33 Comment By Thursday On January 28, 2015 @ 7:01 pm

It sounds like what stupid people think smart people would say.

Alas, this is a perfect description of Irene’s own comment.

Religious people think that things in the world have purposes, and it isn’t that hard to see what those purposes are. Less religious people think of the world as a bunch of meaninglessly arranged, manipulable “stuff.”

Just because you haven’t bothered to figure something out doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense.

#34 Comment By Thursday On January 28, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

Rod Dreher (in another thread):

[T]he difference between the modern age and what preceded it is that in the pre-modern era (that gave birth to Dante, and that more or less died with Dante), people believed that the point of life was to conform the soul to Reality — to harmonize with a cosmic order that exists independently of the soul, but that can be known. In the modern era, man regards what he once saw as cosmos as, instead, inert matter that can and should be manipulated and shaped according to man’s will and genius.

#35 Comment By Irene On January 28, 2015 @ 8:24 pm

Rob G: “Was Burke a theocrat? That natural law equates to theocracy is simply ludicrous.”

Of course it is, and that’s not my claim. In fact, the two could even be considered mutually exclusive.

The theocrat does not identify natural law as the source of his rules; he explicitly identifies his deity as the source. Whereas the natural law proponent explicitly disclaims a deity as the source of law, but instead relies on a source that (a) is equally nebulous, (b) requires speculation about what is right and wrong, (c) is informed by tradition that arises out of deistic thought.

The fact that the natural law proponent does not recognize or acknowledge part (c), along with the fact that he lacks the certainty and intolerance common among theocrats, is why he’s only a natural law proponent and not an actual theocrat. Both ultimately rely on a relgious source, but only the theocrat recognizes it.

As an aside, thank you for pointing out that your initial comment was in direct response to a different point. I hate when people critique a comment I’ve made without appreciating the specific context in which I made the comment. I apologize.

#36 Comment By Irene On January 28, 2015 @ 8:28 pm

Just to be clear, my comment about a “lack of certainty” refers to the absence of a written authority such as the Koran, Bible or other religious book.

#37 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 28, 2015 @ 10:00 pm

since in my religion homosexual acts in a monogamous committed relationship are not a sin, I’m glad to know that they are not immoral.

Not in your religion, no. Your neighbors may believe othewise, not that you have to conform your behavior to what they believe to be true. And then God may or may not exist, and may or may not have something to say to you in the hereafter, which may or may not credit you for sincerity, even if you were wrong. Who knows?

#38 Comment By GregJ On January 29, 2015 @ 12:26 am

@ Thursday, boy did you totally miss the boat on my argument! Perhaps you should read the last post I made before this one, to get a better sense of by how much you did. Ironically, every comment I have made is to point out that the fight against same sex marriage was lost long ago due to the basic hypocrisy of an effort, not to restore the moral law to positive law to all, but only to the homosexual minority. My argument is that any restoration of moral law must be universal, in the interest of justice and mercy for all and in order to not engender a disregard for the law by it’s application to all. That is as far from a consequentialist/utilitarian argument as there is.

#39 Comment By Rob G On January 29, 2015 @ 9:57 am

“The fact that the natural law proponent does not recognize or acknowledge part (c), along with the fact that he lacks the certainty and intolerance common among theocrats, is why he’s only a natural law proponent and not an actual theocrat. Both ultimately rely on a relgious source, but only the theocrat recognizes it.”

I don’t really think this is accurate, but I’ll let one of the natural law proponents among us respond. To me it seems that the only real (or perhaps minimal?) “religious” requirement for natural law theory is belief in some transcendent ground of being, which is not necessarily “God,” or which might be called “the God of the philosophers.” It is a fact of Christian doctrine that one cannot reason one’s way to the Christian God, on the other hand, as His specific “attributes” are known only by revelation. Therefore it would be incorrect to see natural law theory as a specifically and necessarily Christian concern, regardless of the fact that many Christians espouse it.

#40 Comment By Thursday On January 29, 2015 @ 11:42 am

Sorry, Greg. That was Chris who made the statement I criticized.

#41 Comment By Rob G On January 29, 2015 @ 12:29 pm

Re: natural law, etc., this quote from Carlo from another thread is pertinent:

~~“Authenticity and autonomy” do not reflect any reality recognized by a shared form of rationality (say, human nature, or the Platonic world of ideas, or Rosmini’s order of being). As such, they are empty words that ultimately have to bow to the only shared form of rationality, which is the empirical sciences. But since science cannot settle ethical questions, all that will be left will be a war of all against all in which the appeal to the “liberal values” will sound increasingly empty. The Enlightenment did not happen in a religious vacuum.~~

#42 Comment By Irene On January 29, 2015 @ 2:08 pm

Thursday: “Religious people think that things in the world have purposes . . .”

I agree completely. The issue is whether the animating factor behind those purposes is a deity? Most religious people I know say “yes” and some of them believe that “natural law” is the expression of that deity’s purpose. I don’t have any problem with those people or that line of thinking.

My problem is with people who believe things in this world have a purpose and the animating factor behind those purposes is NOT a deity (or other metaphysical or supernatural thing that, for all intents and purposes, is a deity).

Stated differently, my problem is with people who subscribe to natural law, but reject its connection to a deity.