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Monday, October 31, 2011

Paul's Moral Relativism

I love Romans 14, because if you hold your mouth just right and pick out just the right verses you can make it say the most amazing thing. Here, let's give it a look:
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions (14:1).

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls (14:4).

Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind (14:5).

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? (14:10)

Let us not pass judgment on one another any longer (14:13).

Let us pursue what makes for peace and are mutually upbuilding (14:19).

The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God (14:22).
There you go, just some of the choice tidbits from Romans 14. The message, of course, is abundantly clear. We are not to pass judgment. (I mean, seriously, how many times in that one chapter does he say that?) Instead, we are to try to welcome everyone regardless of their beliefs ("faith") and keep our own opinions to ourselves. You think it's wrong for that couple to have sex out of marriage? Well, you just keep that to yourself because they are "fully convinced" in their own minds and you have nothing to say about it. And that goes for a host of other "sins" you might want to toss out there. Just keep it to yourself. Live and let live. That's Paul's message in Romans 14. Right and wrong are determined by your own convictions, and no one should say otherwise.

Is it? I suppose, if we weren't thinking and didn't mind labeling Paul as a lunatic that might work out. Of course, since it isn't internally consistent with the text nor consistent with the rest of Paul's writings nor consistent with the rest of Scripture, that might not be advisable.

First, the contradictions. In Romans alone Paul makes many commands, instructions on how believers are to live. If he meant "do what you are convinced is right", then he should have kept his mouth shut. I mean, what if I'm not convinced that every person should be subject to the governing authorities (Rom 13:1)? Isn't Paul being a bit judgmental telling me I should? And, look, that whole first chapter thing about suppressing the truth and futile thinking and becoming foolish and all ... come on, Paul, that's not "mutually upbuilding". And those are just a couple of examples. The book is full of judgment and conviction. All of Paul's epistles have this concept of declaring what is right in God's eyes and commanding the followers of Christ to do that. He leaves no sense of "Let each one be fully convinced in his own mind" or "Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another?" on those issues. And, of course, the rest of Scripture is the same. One key example: In what is considered the best known verse in the Bible, Jesus said, "Judge not, that you be not judged." "Well," you will say, "there it is, plain as day." Is it? Then why does He follow with instructions on taking the speck out of your brother's eye, the Golden Rule, the problem of the narrow gate versus the wide gate, and how to discern a false prophet ("wolf in sheep's clothing") from the real thing? All of that is judgment, isn't it? No, if the 14th chapter of Paul's letter to Rome was intended to tell us not to judge anyone for anything, it did so in stark contrast to everything else in Scripture including Paul's own words and Christ's teaching.

So, if this does not mean "Judge not that you be not judged" in the sense that I presented it above, what is it saying?

Let's start with verse 1. The quarrels and judgment addressed here is not over what God declares to be good or bad. It is over opinions. Paul gives a examples. "One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables" (14:2). "One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike" (14:5). Now, I would submit that you would be hard-pressed to find Scripture that says, "Thou shalt eat only vegetables." Indeed, being a vegetarian or a carnivore is not a matter of morality. It's ... opinion. Some people think that Good Friday (as an example) ought to be a special day set aside for special observation and others think that it's just another day. Look it up. What does the Bible say about it? I'll wait. What, you couldn't find anything? No. It's ... opinion. Paul was convinced that it wasn't sinful to eat meat sacrificed to idols. The Bible doesn't say he was wrong. Thus, it's ... opinion. On matters of opinion, let's not be judgmental. Let's be peaceable. On these matters, keep your ideas to yourself. Is it a sin to send your kids out on Halloween dressed as princesses and pirates? The Bible doesn't say. Keep it to yourself. Let's not fight about it.

There is a second thought laid out in this passage which is quite often missed. A main point is not "Keep your ideas to yourself" as much as "Don't cause others to stumble because of your ideas." "Let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother" (14:13). Don't let your freedom trip up a brother in Christ. Less about enlarging your freedoms, this passage, then, asks you to limit your freedoms for the sake of the weaker brother.

One other consideration, then. I pointed out that this passage is not commanding us to "live and let live" morally. That would violate all of Scripture. As such, it is not saying that we get to determine what is right and wrong in all things. The principle, typically derived largely from this passage, is called "Christian Liberty". This principle refers specifically to the areas in life in which God has chosen to be silent. The basic principle refers to those areas of life which are not explicitly commanded or clearly modeled from Scripture. When God chooses to be silent on something (like vegetarianism or honoring Good Friday, etc.), we ought to do the same. It becomes a matter of faith. Paul says, "Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin" (14:23). Christian Liberty does not include those things that are in the Bible. So if you became fully convinced in your own mind that stealing from the local grocery store was acceptable if you were hungry (as an example), you would be doing so in direct violation of God's specific commands and this would not be covered under Paul's "opinions" category of Romans 14. This passage is not a statement of moral relativism. It is not permission for you to pick out your own version of morality. The text is in regards to opinions, matters that are not covered in Scripture. "But, abortion isn't covered in Scripture!" Well, if you can figure out how to terminate the life of a child without murdering (which is covered), you might have an argument. You don't.

It is true that there must be room for differences among people. It is true that there are those with stronger and weaker faith. It is true that we need to be careful in judgment. It is not true that the Bible endorses moral relativism or the misguided notion of "judge not at all". Don't let picking and choosing through Romans 14 lead you to that faulty conclusion. Now, if you wanted to conclude, "Well, maybe I need to keep my kids at home on Halloween because the neighbor believes it's evil and I don't want to cause her to stumble," you might be on to something there.

55 comments:

Marshall Art said...

And that's the issue, isn't it? That is, with some, if it isn't specifically spelled out, then it falls under your premise and thus can be lived out without "judgement". This opens a lot of doors for some, and I can think of one person in particular who uses it in blog debates on a particular issue. I'm being purposely ambiguous so as not to provoke tangential discussions.

Stan said...

There are many who are perfectly willing to argue that it's not "specifically spelled out" even when it is.

Dan Trabue said...

That is, with some, if it isn't specifically spelled out, then it falls under your premise and thus can be lived out without "judgement".

For "some" like Paul, you mean? That IS the purpose of this passage. It tells us specifically, "not to quarrel over opinions."

In the NIV, it's put this way: "...without quarreling over disputable matters."

That's the purpose of this passage. Yes, yes, of course it is okay to disagree, to pass judgments on SOME issues, as we see Jesus and Paul modeling doing just that. But then, there are OTHER issues that fall into the category of "disputable matters."

I'd suggest the biblical witness of "disputable matters" is those areas where God has not told you, "THIS is what I want you to believe," and where there is no oppression or harm being done.

If you have an area where God has not spoken to you specifically, where there is no clear biblical opinion, where there is no harm being done, THAT is a disputable matter. In THOSE areas, let grace, sweet grace, reign.

I can't PROVE to you that God's opinion is for us to live simply, or to not engage in war, or to not take oaths or to not invest. God has not told me that and there is no definite word from the Word (although there is a compelling case that I'm right on those points, it seems to me). These are disputable matters. You can disagree with me on these issues and I will still, by God's grace, treat you as my brother.

Gay folk being free to commit to one another in a loving relationship, flat taxes, the Penal Substitution Theory of Atonement... these are all disputable matters.

Let grace reign, my brothers. In DISPUTABLE MATTERS, in matters of personal opinion, this passage is teaching us pretty clearly and strongly to live and let live.

Are you getting something other than that?

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

Stan,

I've been going through Romans in my daily devotions and so it was so nice to read your commentary. I've often considered this issue, at least in part, as a misunderstanding between "being someone else's final judge" and "making judgments concerning another's actions." Your comments are toward the latter and address when we can and cannot make judgments based on the clear and unambiguous principles set forth in scripture. This of course is done for the purpose of bringing someone to the knowledge of areas in their life that do not align with the purpose for which they were created. Ergo, it is written to the church since they already know the purpose for which they were created. When dealing with non-Christians we must consider that the light has not come to their heart and so the Gospel is necessary first. Perhaps we make a mistake by jumping to making judgments with non-believers before addressing the condition of their soul (although this is done by way of making a judgment of their behavior). I suppose my most immediate point is the motivation behind the judgment. Are we making the judgment and addressing the person for the sake of the Gospel and their eternal benefit, or for some other reason?

Stan said...

Dan, by your own perspective, just about anything in Scripture would be classified as "opinion". We, for instance, see "A man shall not lie with a man" and see it as a manifestly clear condemnation of homosexual behavior, but your opinion is that it doesn't mean that at all. You read "Blessed are the poor" and argue that it is quite obvious that being poor is, in and of itself, a blessing. If we are "not to quarrel over opinions" and everything is opinion, what in the world is the point of this discussion? If all matters are disputable matters, how can we even be allowed to express it? And if we're not supposed to dispute over opinions and you make a practice of disputing with me and everyone else whose opinion you disagree with, are you not exactly violating your own understanding of this passage?

Dan Trabue said...

It is okay to have Bible study. It is okay to disagree about interpretations on "disputable matters." These are GOOD things to do to have these sorts of discussions, it seems to me. But hold them in grace, not as a matter of condemnation.

I don't think you even disagree with me, Stan. This IS a passage that is condemning - directly and clearly - fights and quarreling over disputable matters.

It's just a matter of what is and isn't disputable. For you all, you seem quite well prepared to say, "I think that God disapproves or doesn't believe in marriage between gay folk and I AM SPEAKING FOR GOD WHEN I MAKE THAT CONCLUSION AND ANYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH THAT CONCLUSION IS NOT DISAGREEING WITH ME, BUT WITH GOD..." That is, you all seem to have a wide swath of topics where you appear prepared to speak for God, as if God has told you what the "right" answer is on gay marriage or the flat tax or the "right" understanding of atonement.

Whereas folk like me are quite willing to say we are offering only our opinion on most topics. We gladly own up to not having a perfect understanding of God, because WE see through a glass darkly and we recognize that we are NOT someone else's "master" (as Paul speaks of) and because we value the priesthood of the believer and religious liberty.

But we ARE prepared to speak out against that which causes harm or oppression, which I think is another area where we can legitimately rebuke.

So, in areas of "disputable matters," (ie, anything God has not told you in an abundantly clear manner - which is most things) by all means, disagree and ponder together, but do so with a smile and with grace. That's what this passage says to me.

Stan said...

The big difference, of course, is what you and I define as "disputable matters". I say, "The text says ____ is sin, so that sin." You say, "Well, that's your hunch."

And the notion of "holding them in grace" sounds oh so friendly, but if ____ is sin and you say, "Well, I don't see that it's causing any harm" (where "I don't see" is the key concept) "and so I won't make an issue of it," you're standing in opposition to God. That can't be a safe position for anyone.

But you still haven't said. Since (almost?) everything is "opinion" and we aren't to dispute on opinions, on what possible basis can you continue to dispute?

Dan Trabue said...

Stan...

The big difference, of course, is what you and I define as "disputable matters". I say, "The text says ____ is sin, so that sin." You say, "Well, that's your hunch."

No. You say, "the text SUGGESTS TO ME that there is no such thing as gay marriage," and I say, "well, that's your hunch." Yes, the text very well may SUGGEST TO YOU something that it does not say, but anything it SUGGESTS to you or SEEMS TO YOU to imply is YOUR HUNCH.

Now, if you said, "the text says, 'love your enemies,' and, 'sell your belongings and give to the poor,'" I would NOT say that is your hunch because that IS what the text says in those cases.

I'm just pointing out it's your hunch when you've moved away from what the text actually says and when you move into implying that what the text says is some sort of universal standard (that is, if you were to say that the text says rape victims should marry their assailant, you'd be right, but that is no universal standard for morality.)

Stan...

But you still haven't said. Since (almost?) everything is "opinion" and we aren't to dispute on opinions, on what possible basis can you continue to dispute?

I'm sorry that I was not clear. I DID say, but let me expound...

It is okay to have Bible study. It is okay to disagree about interpretations on "disputable matters." These are GOOD things to do to have these sorts of discussions, it seems to me. But hold them in grace, not as a matter of condemnation.

In Romans 14, we had some people being and feeling condemned by others for their positions on disputable matters. It's okay to discuss things and have a difference of opinion. What ISN'T okay is to claim that one person is speaking for God and the other is not, not when we're speaking about disputable matters and when there is no harm involved.

Thus, I'm not violating my own principle by disagreeing with you since I don't disagree with disagreeing. I disagree with ARGUING and doing so gracelessly (ie, in a way that suggests that the speaker is presuming to speak for God, rather than humbly acknowledging it is their own opinion).

Does that explain it better?

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

Isn't this line the big difference in Christianity today? One camp essentially writes "This is what the passage says" and the other camp writes "This is what the passage says TO ME." If there is one thing that is undeniable it is that the whole problem is with ME. Because of the fall I can't trust ME. I am the problem. There hast to be something that I can go to and compare ME with that is not MY opinion. That is the crux of the matter, Truth. The Word is Truth and therefore our opinions must be put up against the Word. In this very thread WE introduce concepts like "disputable matters", "no oppression or harm being done", "God has not specifically spoken to you", "no clear biblical opinion". These do not exist with God. Read the Truth without asking what it says TO ME and just read what it says, period. That is the basis on which we are to live, judge, encourage - according to and for the sake of the Truth of the Gospel.

Stan said...

No, I don't say, "The text SUGGESTS TO ME that there is no such thing as gay marriage." I say "Every biblical reference to marriage is in terms of male and female. Every biblical definition of marriage is in terms of male and female. No biblical reference to marriage includes 'same sex'." I've even asked multiple times of multiple people to explain to me the biblical role of the "wife" in a male-male "marriage" (or vice versa). No answers are forthcoming. There are absolutely zero references or instructions for "same-sex marriage" in the Bible. Thus, as I wrote in the post, "The basic principle [Christian liberty] refers to those areas of life which are not explicitly commanded or clearly modeled from Scripture." Further, when I say, "The text says that God commanded Israel to kill the Amalekites", you are again going to have to go with "That's your hunch" because you do not believe that is the case.

And, no, your explanation doesn't clear it up. To most of my readers, your favorite pastime is "to quarrel over opinions." So it would seem as if you're violating your own standard.

Stan said...

Jeremy, precisely! It is absolutely essential that we take our views, our beliefs, our selves and compare them to "Thus saith the Lord" rather than "what it means to me". Unfortunately, "what it means to me" has become the standard in far too many circles.

starflyer said...

Jeremy,

You are figuring Dan out...Glenn used the term "rank heretic" on the other thread. That may sound harsh but Dan does continue to twist what the Bible says, accusing those who believe that the Bible means what it says as having "hunches" or "opinions".

He does this so that he/they can justify holding positions like pro abortion/pro gay marriage, etc. If they were to believe the Bible is the Word of God then they would have to give up these positions held so dearly. So he will tell you "that's your opinion" when you CLEARLY point out CLEAR (easy to understand) Scripture.

Dan Trabue said...

Stan...

There are absolutely zero references or instructions for "same-sex marriage" in the Bible. Thus, as I wrote in the post, "The basic principle [Christian liberty] refers to those areas of life which are not explicitly commanded or clearly modeled from Scripture."

But as any logically-minded person can tell you, the argument from silence is not a compelling one. Merely that marriage between gay folk is not mentioned (like, for instance, opposition to slavery or considering women to have the same rights as men aren't mentioned) is NOT NOT NOT logical "proof" in any sense at all that God opposes marriage between gay folk here today.

Merely the existence of a story in the OT is not in any logical sense "proof" that the story must be considered to be a literal history.

And on and on.

That YOU HAVE A PERSONAL HUNCH about the best interpretation should not logically nor biblically be confused with God having given you a personal opinion about marriage between gay folk or considering slavery or sexism as "wrong." God has NOT told you these things. These are things that YOU IMPLY from Scripture, rather than what they plainly say.

And the difference between my camp and yours is that we don't confuse our opinions with God's opinions especially on "disputable matters." For you all, it appears MOST of your personal hunches have become NOT disputable matters because you have conflated your personal hunches with God's will.

That is unwise and contrary to what Paul is speaking of in this passage. That would be what is clear to me. You are welcome to your opinion, just don't ask me to bless it as God-ordained.

Stan said...

Dan, again you seem to fail to grasp the meaning of standard definitions. An "argument from silence" is an argument based on something about which nothing is said. The Bible has a lot to say about marriage ... but as I said, all of it is in terms of male and female. That is not silence.

Here, let's see if I can help here. The Bible calls us not to sin. (I think you and I are agreed on that.) Nowhere does the Bible call us to sin. (I think, again, we're in agreement.) There is no possible contradiction. So we're agreed that the Bible tells us not to sin because 1) all references to it tell us not to sin and 2) there are no contradicting references that tell us otherwise. If you had a reference to "same-sex marriage" that would offer a possible contradiction to all of Scripture's explanations of marriage, you might have a point.

Oddly enough, while you mandate that the Bible has nothing to say about this topic, you've made it your crusade to "dispute over opinions" on this topic every chance you get. Look, here's the difference between us. I argue that it is not a "disputable matter", a matter of opinion. I argue that the Bible is abundantly clear on the topic, offer suitable references as to why I say that, and, as such, believe I need to dispute over the topic. You argue that the Bible is silent on the topic, offer zero references (which is consistent with your argument), and believe that you need to dispute over it while contending that we ought not dispute over matters of opinion.

Dan Trabue said...

Starflyer is positing all sorts of unsupported and false charges (you know, the sort of thing that Christians AREN'T supposed to do)...

That may sound harsh but Dan does continue to twist what the Bible says, accusing those who believe that the Bible means what it says as having "hunches" or "opinions".

1. Dan does NOT "twist" what the Bible says. I have a different understanding of some passages than you do. That I have a different understanding is no more "twisting" than to say that Starflyer is "twisting" the Bible because he disagrees with me.

False charge.

2. I point out your opinions AS opinions when they ARE opinions.

IF you say, "The Bible says in the OT, 'men shall not lie with men, if they do, they should be killed...'" that is not an opinion. The Bible DOES indeed state that.

IF on the other hand, you say, "And therefore, marriage between gay folk is condemned by God," THAT IS AN OPINION.

Understand the difference?

3. If I merely point out something is your opinion when you are trying to give it the weight of "GOD," that is just doing good bible study, good exegesis, good reasoning and moral/ethical conversation.

Starflyer continued making garbage up by saying...

He does this so that he/they can justify holding positions like pro abortion/pro gay marriage

4. I hold my position BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT TO BE THE MOST GODLY, BIBLICAL POSITION TO HOLD, and I am interested in following God, not pleasing slanderers.

Now, I would suggest that, EVEN THOUGH you may disagree with my conclusions on what the Bible teaches and what God's will is, the CHRISTIAN thing to do would be to apologize for making false statements. Apologies are good for the soul, my brothers and good for your Christian witness.

Slander and false witness, on the other hand, is just sin and ugly as, well, sin.

Brothers, we can disagree and study the Bible without the acrimony and false witness that we too often dip down to. Let's rise to our Christian calling, my friends.

Dan Trabue said...

Stan...

An "argument from silence" is an argument based on something about which nothing is said.

I understand fully what an argument from silence is. YOU are engaging in an argument from silence BECAUSE the Bible no where CONDEMNS marriage between gay folk and yet, you are assuming that it is something God would disapprove of.

Unless you can cite something from God to actually support your claim, then it IS AN ARGUMENT FROM SILENCE, by definition.

Consider this: The Bible has much to say about slavery. It tells us how to treat slaves, it tells us how not to treat slaves. It tells how long an Israeli can serve as essentially an indentured servant. Etc. BUT, nowhere does it say that slavery is wrong. To conclude then, that slavery is NOT sinful and that God is okay with slavery is to make an argument from silence. ie, "Nowhere does God condemn slavery, therefore, God must be okay with slavery."

T'ain't reasonably so, my brother.

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

Starflyer,

I've been on hiatus for a year, but i've been around before and Dan T. and I actually had a thread on my blog concerning marriage in particular. I argued that the very best he could do would be to hold a position of not knowing whether same-sex marriage was allowable or not Biblically. For the reasons Stan mentioned, there isn't single reference or example of same-sex marriage being condoned, accepted or blessed in all the Bible. Even if he were to somehow be able to explain away all the "abomination" passages, there is still no positive case to be made for same-sex marriage. Based on his own line of reasoning with Stan he would be "arguing from silence".

More generally, the topic of relativism I think can be funneled down to a matter of pride. We want to decide for ourselves, not submit to the Biblical principles that ought to govern our lives. It seems intuitive that as we more fully realize the Holiness and Awesomeness of God, and more fully realize how finite, dependent, contingent, and sinful we are and recognize through experience how far we miss the mark, the more determined we will be to not even approach the line of disobedience as opposed to trying to find out how close we can get without crossing over. I've found that only sin will drive us to search for the line in the first place.

starflyer said...

Dan,

You agree then that "men shall not lie with men"? So you support gay relationships so long as there is no sex involved? Do you think that any of the gay folks who are in relationships (you call it marriage) are living "biblically" by not having sex? Does your church approve of relationships between same sex, AS LONG AS they refrain? Or do they support full intimacy? Thanks.

Dan Trabue said...

SF...

You agree then that "men shall not lie with men"?

I agree that the OT has a line that says, "men shall not lie with men, if they do, kill 'em."

Levitucus absolutely says that. It also says, "don't cut the hair on the side of your head," and "rape victims: Marry your assailants," and other stuff that obviously aren't universal morals that apply for all times in all places.

Here's the thing, SF: YOU don't think that "men shall not lie with men, if they do, kill 'em" is universally applicable. I'm quite confident you don't believe in killing gay folk (at least, I hope you don't).

But acknowledging that this line exists does NOT equate with saying, "And therefore, God is opposed to marriage between gay folk."

The first statement is a statement of fact, that line DOES appear in the Bible.

The second statement is a statement of opinion. YOU have this hunch that lines like this in the Bible mean that God is opposed to a committed loving marriage relationship between gay folk. The Bible doesn't say that, YOU have that hunch.

Do you understand the difference between how one is a factual statement and the other is an opinion?

I recognize that sometimes it's easy for us to be so blinded by our cultural traditions and expectations, that we can't even see the difference between statements of fact versus statements of opinions. But I'm not thinking that's the case for you all. I believe that you are not so blinded that you can't see the difference.

But you tell me.

Stan said...

Dan, the Bible is not silent about marriage. Now, I suppose, going by your argument, it could be argued that marrying a goat is not a problem since the Bible is silent on the subject, but surely you wouldn't got here.

Further, you are radically missing the point of Christian Liberty. Let me repeat it: "The basic principle [of Christian Liberty] refers to those areas of life which are not explicitly commanded or clearly modeled from Scripture." All marriage is clearly modeled from Scripture as male and female. This makes it part of the definition. More to the point, the aim of Romans 14 is not to find as many loopholes as possible. "What's the bare minimum we can do for God?"

Your slavery argument falls very short. Indeed, you are making the very argument that you say I'm making. There is no condemnation of slavery in the Bible, but you will argue that it is wrong, evil, foul, detestable. I would venture to guess that you might even campaign against it if it reared its ugly head in your backyard. It is not a matter of opinion, not a "disputable thing". And you have offered no biblical argument for your position.

I'm not saying that slavery isn't evil. I'm saying that there are sufficient biblical reasons to conclude without doubt that God defines marriage as between a male and a female and anything else is wrong, and there are sufficient biblical reasons to conclude that modern-day slavery is evil. Neither is an argument from silence.

In the meantime, I'm looking up the passage that says "rape victims: Marry your assailants", because I'm not finding that one. And while the Bible is abundantly clear that homosexual behavior rated the death penalty, I'm pretty sure that no one was allowed to "kill gay folk". It was a function of the legal system, not a personal vendetta. Trying to make a case by overstating reality doesn't help. And since my opinion and starflyer's opinion and Glenn's opinion is perfectly as acceptable as your opinion, why do you continue to dispute over matters of opinion? (That's a subtle hint suggesting that you're at your end of the rope of being allowed further responses.)

Dan Trabue said...

Stan...

There is no condemnation of slavery in the Bible, but you will argue that it is wrong, evil, foul, detestable. I would venture to guess that you might even campaign against it if it reared its ugly head in your backyard. It is not a matter of opinion, not a "disputable thing".

Brother Stan, I respectfully ask that you read closely and prayerfully think it through:

My point would be that THE BIBLE DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY CONDEMN SLAVERY. Those who say it does are misstating what the Bible does and doesn't say. We can know in OTHER ways that slavery is wrong, and we can even infer it from the Bible, but the Bible does not state such emphatically.

Similarly, THE BIBLE NEITHER ENDORSES NOR CONDEMNS GAY MARRIAGE. Those who say that it does are misstating what the bible says. They are entirely welcome to have strong opinions about the point, but they should remember, IT IS ONLY MY OPINION, God has not told me this...

Thus, the difference is between FACT (the bible says "men shall not lie with men, if they do, kill 'em") and OPINION (and based on this and a few other verses, I THINK God does not support gay marriage). The former is fact, the latter is opinion.

That is all I'm saying. And for some here to claim to be speaking FOR GOD, when in fact, they're merely offering their opinion, those folk have presumed too much and to everyone's detriment.

As it relates to this post, those folk are presuming to claim "GOD SAYS," about a topic that is, at best, a disputable matter, a matter of opinion.

That is shaky ground to be standing upon, my friends. I'd prayerfully suggest you prayerfully reconsider that sort of hubris.

Dan Trabue said...

And should I assume from all of this that, IN SPITE of the fact that some here have borne false witness (misrepresenting my position, which has now been pointed out), that no chastisement of that bit of slander/false witness will be coming, nor will any apology, but only a kicking off of the heretic?

Does the very lack of Christian traits (grace, especially) in the way you all deal with "dissenters" here not give you pause to prayerfully consider your own behavior, the plank in your very eyes?

Condemnation of gracelessness is not printed because it contains the accurate descriptor ("hell" - and what IS gracelessness if not hellish?) but slander and demonstrable and obvious misrepresentations are just passed on merrily...? What am I missing, my dear, dear brothers?

May God grant us wisdom and grace (that very same grace by which we are saved...)

Stan said...

Hint not received.

Marshall Art said...

For some reason, God seems to refuse Dan's request for wisdom as he continues to make the same exhaustively refuted arguments in support of that which cannot be held as possible by honest Biblical study. Very sad.

By the way, since slavery in the Bible is not condemned, perhaps it's not wrong at all, but only the manner in which it manifests. However, homosexual relations are always wrong as the Bible clearly shows, and marriage is always between a man and a woman, as the Bible also clearly shows. To pretend there's room for homosexual marriage requires conscious twisting of Scripture. THAT'S more apparent than the evidence in Scripture to oppose homosexual marriage.

Dan Trabue said...

Again, with the slander. Come, brother Stan, have some backbone!

I'll quit pointing it out, now, as you're aware and I guess just not willing to stand against biblically condemned behavior (slander, false witness, gossip) all the while taking a HUGE stand against a "sin" that isn't even mentioned in the Bible...

Sigh. It saddens me.

David said...

Dan, if sex is an essential part of marriage (and seeing as husbands and wives are told not to withhold themselves in Scripture) and you agree that God has clearly condemned sex between same genders, in what sense can you say God approves of gay marriage? Sex is a crucial part of marriage, if that sex is condemned by God, then that marriage would also be condemned based on the importance of sex in marriage.

David said...

Gotta love it when Dan sees he's getting nowhere he falls back on the victim card. He's being slandered and lied about and gossiped about. (Seriously, where is the gossip?) He upholds himself as the logical, loving, openminded fellow who's only concern is our love for each other, and yet accusing everyone else of being illogical while he argues from those very positions he claims are illogical. God says nothing about gay marriage, thus it must be good. God says nothing about pornography, then it must be good. God didn't say anything about going to war, so it must be bad. Oh, and He said it in the Old Testament so it doesn't count. The Bible isn't the rule of life and faith, its more like a guideline. Oh, he is such a victim. Noone understands the difference between fact and opinion but him.

Dan Trabue said...

Answer his question or not, Stan? If you want me to...

and you agree that God has clearly condemned sex between same genders, in what sense can you say God approves of gay marriage?

Thank you for asking, David, I appreciate the respectful question. But to clarify...

I did NOT agree that "God has clearly condemned sex between genders." I DID agree that Leviticus clearly states, "men shall not lie with men and if they do, kill them...," along with "don't cut the hair on the side of your head" and other rules that we recognize as not being morally universal in nature, but that does not mean that I think it biblically, logically or morally correct to agree with this extrabiblical conclusion.

To be clear: MY HUNCH is that the Bible records a condemnation of SOME GAY BEHAVIORS (ritual sex orgies and gay gang rapes, amongst them), but NO WHERE condemns any and all gay behaviors. MY HUNCH is that it is patently obvious that a loving healthy committed relationship between two folk of the same gender who are gay or lesbian, that this is self-evidently obviously a good thing.

It is YOUR ALL's hunch that this passage is a universal condemnation of any and all gay behavior in any and all contexts in any and all times. And you're welcome to your HUNCH, as long as you don't try to legislate your hunch into law. In that regards, it is a matter of opinion because God has not told us that marriage between gay folk is or isn't good.

Does that make my position more clear?

Dan Trabue said...

I can clear this up, David, if Stan wants to allow it (or not, Stan's call). David said...

Noone understands the difference between fact and opinion but him.

I have indeed pointed out some places that you all have offered opinions and appeared to mistake them for facts. I have supported that point by demonstrating the difference in what is and isn't factual. Is that a mistake to do this?

If you wish to correct me, all you have to do is this: WHERE you hold a position to be a fact, demonstrate that it is a fact. Prove it.

Where you think I have offered something as fact and have been mistaken, all you have to do is support the charge.

My brothers, if we wish to correct one another, let's do it rationally and with SUPPORT. Just making unsupported and false claims is, I hope we can agree, not of the Christian Way.

Support your claims or acknowledge with a bit of humility that you cannot. Be prepared to defend your faith, my brothers, and don't get defensive when someone points out an error in your reasoning.

To be clear, I DID NOT STATE, NOR DO I BELIEVE, "God says nothing about gay marriage, thus it must be good." That is NOT my reasoning, it is a false representation of my reasoning.

Marshall Art said...

It's clear, Dan, that you insist upon referring only to Lev 20:13, rather than Lev 18:22. Obviously you do this so you can refer to the punishment for the sin, death, and do so with the words "kill 'em" rather than "They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." (NIV) so as to appeal to the liberal-christian "oh, that's so awful" mindset in making your very weak case. How dishonest.

You also like to refer to Lev 18:3, wherein God says, "Do not follow their practices." as if by "practices", He's referring to pagan ritual. I don't recall that you've ever supported that notion in the least. From verse 6 to 24 we are given a list of "practices", "customs", behaviors, none of which are described as only taking place within the context of religious ritual. One can engage in the "practice" of taking a walk after dinner, without it having to mean a religious experience or ritual.

I say all this (again) to point out the God indeed is making a specific prohibition toward a specific behavior without regard to the context in which it might be carried out. Thus, it does not fall outside the parameter specific command or modeling. There is no doubt that God is opposed to the behavior in question. Thus, no justification exists for the possibility that a same-sex marriage is a good thing in any regarding Scripturally. You must twist Scripture to come to that result, and you do and there's no slander in saying that which is demonstrably true, as this is. The mere existence of two compatible and complimentary genders contradicts such a goofy assertion.

Craig said...

"God says nothing about gay marriage, thus it must be good."

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to recall Dan suggesting on earlier threads that God "blessed" "gay marriage", and that "gay marriage" was a good thing. I am a bit confused how the statement above contrasts with what appears to be a different perspective in earlier conversations.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to recall Dan suggesting on earlier threads that God "blessed" "gay marriage", and that "gay marriage" was a good thing. I am a bit confused how the statement above contrasts with what appears to be a different perspective in earlier conversations.

Again, to clarify:

THE BIBLE SAYS NOTHING ABOUT GAY MARRIAGE. IN THE BIBLE, GOD SAYS NOTHING ABOUT GAY FOLK MARRYING, NEITHER PRAISING IT, NOR CONDEMNING IT. THE TOPIC OF MARRIAGE BETWEEN GAY FOLK IS NOT SPOKEN OF IN THE BIBLE.

That is just a statement of facts. It is not my opinion, it's just reality.

Now, I HAPPEN TO BELIEVE that marriage is a blessed (bring pleasure, contentment, good fortune, held in reverence, good, holy, set apart for a special purpose) thing. I HAPPEN TO HAVE THE HUNCH that God blesses and approves of that which is Good. But that is my opinion that I have derived based upon observation of the world and truths taught in the Bible, which (need I remind you), does NOT tell us what God thinks of marriage between gay folk.

Does that help?

Marshall, you are welcome to whatever hunches you wish to hold about this topic. I find your case much less than moral, Godly, logical or biblical, but you are welcome to your hunches. Just don't try to legislate your religious biases and expect folk to go along with them.

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

Stan,

I've thought about this a lot again in the last few days and spent an hour or so last night getting everything arranged on my blog in a full post that answers two specific questions asked in a separate comment thread. Please see that for the extended version, but in a nutshell for me it comes down to the motivation of the one asking about "essentials" and "non-essentials". Ultimately there has to be an unmoving standard that is eternally settled (perfect principles as I term them in the blog post). Otherwise all is opinion. This is the purely logical problem I think many have with Dan T.'s line of argumentation. To say that the words in the Bible are final, but ANY interpretation is a hunch or opinion requires him to make a declaration that is not opinion (namely that the interpretations are all our individual opinions). But what unmoving standard requires that declaration to be anything more than opinion. Such is the inescapable loop of relativism and opinion. At some point there has to be something that transcends human opinion on which to base a standard true for all people. Therefore we must establish as a first principle that what is sacred and transcendent are the perfect principles of the Word of God. We then use our reason and wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit to challenge one another to more closely align with those perfect principles as we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ.

starflyer said...

Dan you seem to be using a new tagline "Just don't try to legislate your religious biases", and becoming more militant about this issue. Definitely seeing an agenda here.

I'm sorry but I will not apologize for the "heretic" comments - although I didn't originate them; I only pointed them out (though I do agree).

I'm sorry, but you continue to twist Scripture for your own liking, and I honestly feel for you. I don't take this lightly... but you seem so blinded by such falsehoods... and I'm afraid for you. I don't mean disrespect to you. But you are trying to make a mockery of the God I love, and I can't sit idly by and watch this. I think pointing out your error is the best thing that can happen for you...you just don't seem to get it...Like Marshall said, God isn't granting you the wisdom you seek.

Stan said...

Jeremy, that has also been my issue and contention. I suppose, in a world populated solely by people, it makes sense that everything is opinion and truth can't, in an ultimate sense, be known, at least on some matters. And I suppose that the alternative -- that the Holy Spirit leads His own into the truth -- sounds arrogant. But we don't live in a world populated solely by humans. There is a God. And, while it may sound arrogant to say that the Holy Spirit leads His own into the truth, since He makes the claim, true arrogance would be to deny it. And true humility would require that we accept it. The problem comes when one side says, "So, we have the truth revealed by the Holy Spirit" and the other side says, "Prove it!" and we're back into a world populated by sinful humans. The fact that it can't be "proven" (proof is evidence or argument sufficient to establish fact, a premise that assumes that such evidence or argument is accepted) doesn't make it false.

Craig said...

Dan,

Thank you for clarifying. So it is your opinion that God blesses "gay marriage", but you have no Biblical support for that opinion.

Sounds like an arguement from silence to me.

Dan Trabue said...

SF...

you continue to twist Scripture for your own liking

Don't make unsubstantiated (and, in this case, FALSE) claims, my dear brother. SUPPORT them.

I'm telling you that this comment is a false witness (the bible condemns that clearly, you know?). I KNOW it is a false witness, because we're talking about me and I personally know I have not twisted scripture and certainly not to my own liking.

As I have pointed out in the past: In the case that you all fixate on so much (homosexuality), my "liking" was the same as yours: I was opposed to the normalization of homosexuality and the notion of gay folk marrying. That WAS my "liking." It was prayerful Bible study and seeking God's will that led me AWAY from "my liking," so you can see in that instance, that this IS a false witness.

If you have ANY support for such a claim, support it. If not, don't make false and unsubstantiated claims, my brother. It's bad for you and it's bad for the body of Christ.

For my part, I count it all joy.

Peace.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

So it is your opinion that God blesses "gay marriage", but you have no Biblical support for that opinion.

Yes, that is my opinion. You, on the other hand, have the opinion that God does NOT bless marriages between gay folk, and you hold THAT position with nothing from the Bible to support that claim.

Sounds like an argument from silence, to me.

Fellas, pointing to support for marriage between a man and a woman in the bible IS support for a marriage between a man and a woman. But it is NOT support for the suggestion that loving, committed, healthy marriage relationships are anything but good.

And, in fact, you have no evidence of any sort (biblical or otherwise) for that suggestion. An argument from silence in the Bible AND an argument from silence in the real world.

Whereas I freely acknowledge that the Bible does not speak of marriage between gay folk, but I have plenty of evidence in the real world that such marriages are good, thus NOT an argument from silence when we look at actual evidence.

Dan Trabue said...

Earlier, Jeremy made a point that is right on target with the actual topic here...

Ultimately there has to be an unmoving standard that is eternally settled (perfect principles as I term them in the blog post)

The problem is, it seems to me, is that no such "unmoving standard" exists or ever did exist.

Even if you believe, as I do, that the books of our Bible are as scripture and, as such, are profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction, etc, you still will ALWAYS be stuck on the "moving standard" of our opinion.

Yes, yes, yes, we can agree that we ought to love our neighbor. the Bible clearly says that and we all can agree that this is God's will for us. BUT, what does that mean? What are the applications of that? Can we KILL our neighbors whom we are commanded to love? The Just War Crowd would say yes. The Just Peace Crowd would say no.

Can we kill the children of our enemies, whom we are commanded to love? Again, there is disagreement.

There is disagreement because EVEN IF each word in the 66 books of the Bible were absolutely, objectively True (and I don't think we can reasonably make that claim carte blanche), we STILL have the problem of, "But what does it MEAN to say, 'Thou shalt not cut the hair on the side of your heads..."? what does it MEAN when the OT says, kill men who lay with men? In what context is "men laying with men" wrong? What does it MEAN when the Bible says, "men who rape women must marry their victim..."?

All these questions and a million more can and do come up as we read the Bible and to ANSWER these questions, WE MUST USE OUR GOD-GIVEN REASONING, and as soon as we do that, we move away from an "unmoving standard" and to a subjective standard.

It is for this reason that the church has argued all these years over a million topics.

Yes, the Bible IS a great source for teaching and correction, but the Bible does not magically cure us of our fallibility. Yes, God does promise to guide us, lead us, teach us by God's Holy Spirit, but that does not magically cure us of our fallibility. We remain and WILL remain fallible because we are human. Thus, as long as we must use our fallible reasoning to sort out what is and isn't God's will, I don't see how we can have an "unmoving standard."

Do you?

The problem, of course, is not the Bible's fault - it IS a mostly unmoving standard - but our own fallibility once we apply our prayerful reasoning led by the Holy Spirit in rightly understanding the standard.

Craig said...

"Whereas I freely acknowledge that the Bible does not speak of marriage between gay folk,..."

So, your argument from silence is compelling, but...


"... but I have plenty of evidence in the real world that such marriages are good, thus NOT an argument from silence when we look at actual evidence."

There are so many problems here I don't know where to start.

1. Your "evidence" is not Biblical.
2. Your evidence is not objective, or hard evidence.
3. You can't possibly be personally acquainted with enough "married" gay folk to even begin to draw such a sweeping unfounded conclusion.
4. You can't possibly know to any degree of objective certainty that God blesses, has blessed, or will bless, any of these happily "married" gay folk.
5. You can't possibly know that every single (or even a preponderance) "marriage" or these "happily married" gay folk are actually healthy, happy, committed, or in any way positive. This might surprise you but many married folk appear to happily married, when in fact they are not.
6. You do realize that your "observation" of some unquantified and undocumented "happily married" gay folk does not actually constitute evidence in any meaningful sense of the word.
7. Your "evidence" does not support the conclusion that God "blesses" "gay marriage".

That's probably enough for now.

Craig said...

Dan,

It would seem that there might be some actual evidence that just might not support your opinion, at least as you seem to be willing to extrapolate that the folk you know are representative of the gay community at large.



http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02

http://eyeonapologetics.com/blog/2010/08/07/studies-show-that-less-than-3-of-homosexuals-are-truly-monogamous/

http://eyeonapologetics.com/blog/2010/08/07/studies-show-that-less-than-3-of-homosexuals-are-truly-monogamous/

http://www.gaypatriot.net/2009/03/16/is-monogamy-essential-to-marital-bliss/

http://www.homorazzi.com/article/open-relationship-gay-study-statistics-monogamy-threesome-trust-sex/

http://www.homorazzi.com/article/open-relationship-gay-study-statistics-monogamy-threesome-trust-sex/

David said...

Wow, that really didn't make any sense. The Bible is an unmoving standard, but we can't know what that standard is. So, if there is a standard, but we can't know it, why bother? This is exactly what Stan was talking about in this post. Dan, you claim we shouldn't quarrel over opinions, yet claim that ALL interpretations are opinions, and yet you say its alright to "lovingly debate" about these things. But why? If we can't ever know the Truth, why bother debating it? If the Truth is A for me, and Truth is B for you, where A CANNOT equal or be close to B, why bother? Let everyone believe as they please and leave it be. You give the impression that we can have debates that come to logical, rational, prayerful conclusions, but that is an illogical idea if there is no standard to compare to. If logic is merely what anyone says it to be, how can anyone deny that claim? You constantly argue with Stan and his commentors like you know the Truth (have a hunch). If all hunches are unprovable, stop arguing since it is a waste of effort.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

There are so many problems here I don't know where to start.

1. Your "evidence" is not Biblical.


Not all evidence need be biblical. We know that it is wrong to harm innocent folk, right?

And if we see evidence that Company A is dumping waste in Mr Smith's backyard and he and his children all die, that is evidence of harm to innocent people and thus, we can know that this was wrong.

Agreed?

2. Your evidence is not objective, or hard evidence.

? Says who?

3. You can't possibly be personally acquainted with enough "married" gay folk to even begin to draw such a sweeping unfounded conclusion.

If I have seen with my own eyes, ten families who are happily married and having a great, Godly life, raising healthy children together, being productive members of a community together, growing together in faith at their church, supporting one another, loving one another, being together in good times and bad, this all seems to me to be evidence that, for these families, things are working together for the good in their marriage, for at least these families.

Do you have ANY evidence whatsoever to contradict what is obviously true in these cases? ANYTHING AT ALL?

Seeing as how you don't know these families, the answer is obviously, NO, YOU DO NOT HAVE EVEN ONE SHRED OF EVIDENCE to the contrary - evidence that this is not a good, healthy thing for these families.

Do you feel qualified, then, to comment on their status?

If so, based on what?

Craig...

4. You can't possibly know to any degree of objective certainty that God blesses, has blessed, or will bless, any of these happily "married" gay folk.

No, God has not told me this so I can't "know" that God blesses them. On the other hand, the Bible does tell us that whatsoever things are good, are true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things... and WHY think on these things? Because they are objectively good. It's a tautology, if something is good, then it is good.

Do you have ANY SINGLE BIT of hard evidence that my married gay friends who have found happiness, contentment, support, love, respect, companionship and peace of mind in their relationship together, that God does NOT bless this arrangement?

The answer is, "No," you don't. So?

Cont'd...

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

5. You can't possibly know that every single (or even a preponderance) "marriage" or these "happily married" gay folk are actually healthy, happy, committed, or in any way positive. This might surprise you but many married folk appear to happily married, when in fact they are not.

No, I do NOT know that every single marriage (gay or straight folk) is happy, healthy, committed and/or positive. In fact, I can GUARANTEE you that a good number of marriages (gay AND straight) are, at least at times, less than happy, aren't committed and aren't positive.

But that does not mean that marriage itself is a bad thing, gay or straight. In fact, I'm convinced that for a good many folk, marriage IS a good ideal, even if living it out is not always easy. That some marriages are less than totally happy is, in no way, a condemnation of marriage nor does it mean that we should tell folk to get married. Can we agree on that?

Craig...

6. You do realize that your "observation" of some unquantified and undocumented "happily married" gay folk does not actually constitute evidence in any meaningful sense of the word.

Of course, JUST AS my observation of some "happily married" straight folk does not constitute evidence that marriage is good for all straight folk.

So?

Craig...

7. Your "evidence" does not support the conclusion that God "blesses" "gay marriage".

Nor does yours. So?

Craig...

That's probably enough for now.

Enough of what?

The point remains: You have NO biblical evidence that God opposes gay marriage. None. Nada. Zip. You have YOUR HUNCHES that the Bible probably implies that, and you're welcome to your hunches. I disagree with them. In seeking God's will and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, is has been MY conclusion that marriage is a good thing for folk, gay or straight.

I base that on the potential for goodness, purity, holiness, respect and other admirable, Godly traits that exists in the institution of marriage.

Further, you have NO hard real world evidence that marriage is a bad thing in any cases, at least that is my guess. I have not seen you present any.

Yes, of course, you can point to studies that show the negative results that come from promiscuity or a lack of monogamy, BUT THAT IS EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF MARRAIGE IDEALS, NOT IN OPPOSITION TO THEM!

And that is probably enough for now.

Dan Trabue said...

David...

The Bible is an unmoving standard, but we can't know what that standard is. So, if there is a standard, but we can't know it, why bother?

1. I said, "The problem is, it seems to me, is that no such "unmoving standard" exists or ever did exist."

2. The Bible IS profitable for teaching, correction, etc.

3. Thus, for that reason, I believe in good, solid Bible study, seeking the Holy Spirit's guidance prayerfully.

4. Thus, for THAT reason, I am opposed to poor, weak Bible study - study that says, "The Bible says X and those who disagree, disagree with God, not with me..."

5. Why bother with Bible study? Because we are called to do it, because all Scripture IS useful for teaching, rebuke, correction and training.

I BELIEVE in good, solid bible study. But the Bible is not a magic book, it doesn't tell us perfect answers that we have no need to question. Rather, it is text that we have agreed is inspired and useful for teaching, but we must use our God-given reasoning to get to its meaning.

Otherwise, we're not engaged in Bible study, we're engaged in pablum recitation and regurgitation.

Does that answer your question, David?

David...

Dan, you claim we shouldn't quarrel over opinions, yet claim that ALL interpretations are opinions, and yet you say its alright to "lovingly debate" about these things. But why? If we can't ever know the Truth, why bother debating it?

If you were asking, why study? I'd think that is obvious.

We are called to study (again, not brainless memorization, but STUDY, using our God-given reasoning)

But why debate? Well, I'm not usually involved in too much debate, myself. Rather, I'm presenting my position for the prayerful consideration of other brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as those not in the church. I don't consider that debate, but study and studying with my fellow Christians, especially those with whom I disagree on some points, that I think is a good thing. Done correctly, I'm convinced it has the ability to bring folk together and, if not agree on points, celebrate God's Lordship even in our lack of agreement.

Done incorrectly, of course, it can be rather snippy and contentious.

I engage in these conversations in an effort by God's grace through the leadership of the Holy Spirit to learn how and improve on doing this study the correct way and to learn from my mistakes to move away from doing it the incorrect way.

That seems to me to be a worthwhile thing. What do you think?

Craig said...

"Not all evidence need be biblical."

Didn't say all evidence needed to be Biblical. However, when you speak of what God blesses some Biblical evidence would be a good place to start.

"We know that it is wrong to harm innocent folk, right?"

It would help if you responded to what I actually said. This is totally unrelated to anything else in this thread.

"? Says who?"

?Really?

"...this all seems to me to be evidence that, for these families..."

Thank you for making part of my point. There is no reasonable way that you can extrapolate anything from 10 families that you claim to personally know. Had you limited your original statement in this way, there would be no confusion.

Since I have never made any claims about these families, I am forced to conclude that you are talking to someone else. I'll refrain from further response to this silliness.

I'm skipping now, since your response in no way relates to what I said.

"Nor does yours. So?"

I've never claimed that God blesses 'gay marriage", you have.

"You have NO biblical evidence that God opposes gay marriage"

As has been pointed out ad nauseum, in EVERY case where the Bible refers to marriage it is heterosexual. In every case where the Bible refers to homosexuality it is in a negative context.

Further, you have no biblical evidence that God blesses, supports, condones, or is even neutral to "gay marriage". So, feel free to argue from silence.

"...BUT THAT IS EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF MARRAIGE IDEALS, NOT IN OPPOSITION TO THEM!"

Yes, as long as you don't redefine marriage to include multiple sexual partners as noted in the articles I linked to.

Craig said...

"I engage in these conversations in an effort by God's grace through the leadership of the Holy Spirit to learn how and improve on doing this study the correct way and to learn from my mistakes to move away from doing it the incorrect way."

Dan Trabue


“Each time that someone suggests "well, I (hoity toity, wonderful ME) rely upon the Holy Spirit, NOT my reason, while YOU merely rely upon your flawed reason..." each time someone suggests that sort of verbal vomit, they are exposing their arrogance and hypocrisy and all-around plain goofiness, not to mention a bit of diabolical divisiveness. Stop it.”

Dan Trabue


So Dan, is that second quote an example of God's grace or the leadership of the Holy Spirit?


Stan,

If this crosses the line don't let it past moderation. However, both are direct quotes from Dan.

Dan Trabue said...

I was going to let this go, as it's off topic, but I'll give this another shot and Stan can decide whether or not he wants me to address Craig's vast misunderstandings:

Craig...

However, when you speak of what God blesses some Biblical evidence would be a good place to start.

Yes, sure, and I've done that multiple times in multiple ways. Likewise, when you speak of something that God condemns, some biblical evidence would be a good place to start.

Unfortunately for both of us, GOD HAS NOT OFFERED us God's opinion of marriage between gay folk. YES, God HAS talked about marriage between straight folk, but endorsing various notions about marriage in general and referring to straight folk and marriage IS NOT A CONDEMNATION of marriage between gay folk.

CAN WE NOT AGREE ON THIS VERY BASIC ENGLISH LANGUAGE, LOGICAL ASSUMPTION? NOT MENTIONING SOMETHING IS WRONG IS NOT THE SAME AS SAYING THAT THING IS WRONG!

Very basic logic stuff here, my brother.

And so, since there is no direct message from God on this topic (and that is just a plain fact and if you can't acknowledge that, then you are totally blinded by your cultural prejudices), we both look to basic principles found in the Bible to glean some hints as to what is right.

You find some passages that make you think God would not support loving, committed relationships between gay folk. I find passages that make me think it OBVIOUS that God would support it.

But neither of us can prove that we're right and neither of us can speak for God on the point.

Those are just the facts of the situation, my brother.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig went on...

There is no reasonable way that you can extrapolate anything from 10 families that you claim to personally know.

In fact, I can extrapolate that IF it's good for these families and IF NO ONE else can find one single solitary bit of real world evidence that there is something negative happening with the marriage experience (and NO ONE has done so, just to be clear), then it is reasonable to say, "Seeing that marriage has been a beautiful wonderful holy thing for these families and seeing no rational evidence that there is anything wrong with it, WHY would anyone oppose faithful, loving, committed relationships?"

That is an entirely reasonable extrapolation. You'd have to come up with something like ACTUAL evidence to the contrary to say that is an invalid extrapolation. You have NOT done so.

And read carefully and understand this rational point:

Pointing to infidelity and abuses of relationships IS NOT evidence that marriage is bad, whether those infidelities and abuses are between straight folk or gay folk. That is just a nonsensical grasping at straws. I'm sure you would agree that if someone said "You know, a large percentage of men in marriages cheat and many married folk are unhappy, therefore, marriage between straight folk is bad," that there conclusion is a faulty one.

Your conclusions are just plain faulty, insofar as actual real world evidence goes.

David said...

Let's see, real world "evidence" states that the universe and everything in it doesn't need to be created. It can all happen by chance. Real world "evidence" shows that true power comes from money. In another post Stan has pointed out that real world "evidence" says that women are most happy making $120k, without young children, and the list goes on. And yet Scripture opposes this "evidence". Just pointing out that you can't always trust real world "evidence". I call your "evidence" bunk. If you're going to depend on the world to inform you of right and wrong, just let go of the Bible since its clear you don't actually care what it says. Your refutations of the Scriptures presented as anti-"gay marriage" is that they don't count. They weren't written to us, so they don't count. So, based on your "logic", we should throw out the Old Testament, since it was only written to the Jews and has no bearing on us today. But based on that "logic" you should throw out most of the New Testament since most of it was written to specific churches, and even those not addressed to specific churches were addressed to a specific time and culture, so throw out the New Testament. That is your argument, that it was a different time and culture, so those things God considered abominations don't count in our time. And the fact that the Holy Spirit has failed to do His job in some 4000+ years is lost on you, since the Jews and the Church have agreed that homosexuality is a sin, but now the Holy Spirit has changed His mind. What was once a sin is no longer a sin. I wonder what other sins are no longer sins. All you want is the loving, cuddly, sweet Lord of the New Testament, but forget that the Old Testament shows us that He is righteous, wrathful, and harsh. My Bible shows that He is both, where yours only shows the one. Now how can you claim we worship the same God, when yours loves everyone equally, and mine hates sin and punishes sinners?

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, here's not really the place to talk about me, as flattering as it is that you all tend to try to do exactly that.

Beyond that, I'd hope that you could agree that if someone is being hypocritical and pharisaical, that calling that sort of verbal vomit "verbal vomit" is an appropriate thing to do.

You don't have a problem with Jesus or the prophets using harsh words with those who act with arrogance, especially those who have done so repeatedly.

Speaking of moral relativism...

Marshall Art said...

Been away for the weekend. So glad to see this goofiness goes on so that I can jump in.

Skimming somewhat over some comments and reading more deeply others, one thing that is clearly misunderstood is here:

"Pointing to infidelity and abuses of relationships IS NOT evidence that marriage is bad..."

Didn't seem to me that Craig was doing this. I took his links to support his contention that you, Dan, can't know just how wonderful the "marriages" of your homosexual friends truly are. The point was that not all is as it appears to be and though your friends might put on a good front, you can't possibly know just how solid their union is unless you are living with them 24/7. Craig can correct me if I'm mistaken.

But what is even more true is that should we concede that all is peaches and cream between subjects of each union you have in mind, when you use the following...

"On the other hand, the Bible does tell us that whatsoever things are good, are true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things... and WHY think on these things? Because they are objectively good."

You must first keep in mind that the Bible isn't talking about what YOU regard as good or noble or true, but what IS according to He that determines such things. If the behavior is regarded as worthy of death by Him, there can be no doubt that anything that is based upon that behavior cannot be regarded as good, noble or true. It can only be regarded as equally sinful. THAT is a logical reasoning based on what the Bible DOES say. And just to reiterate, it does not speak to any particular context in which the behavior takes place, such as pagan ritual.

Thus, to pretend that these friends of yours are examples of people living a Godly life, growing in the faith when they clearly live in sin, well, that's exactly the type of moral relativism the reeks the worst. You have to first establish that the behavior that defines their relationship is not sinful. Even if they are living in a platonic manner, they are still acting on the sinful compulsion of their dysfunction by joining together in the manner of a man and woman.

We could also throw in Deut 22:5 for further support against same-sex unions since marriage, as has been said ad nauseum, is always regarded in Scripture as between a man and a woman. For two of the same gender to "marry", one, if not both, is assuming the sex opposite their own in order to join with their partner. That is, a normal man pairs up with a woman. If a man pairs with a man, that man is acting like a female (as is the other). Deut 22:5, though dealing with dress codes, is thought traditionally to be a warning against confusing the God-created differences between gender. There's nothing good, true or noble about that. One must disregard every admonition against same sex practice in the Bible, every reference to marriage as being between a man and a woman, and in addition, throw in some wild assertions based on incredibly loose interpretations of unrelated verses in order to hold Dan's position.

That's really not moral relativism at all. That's moral redefinition.

Craig said...

"Pointing to infidelity and abuses of relationships IS NOT evidence that marriage is bad, whether those infidelities and abuses are between straight folk or gay folk."

Dan,

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you didn't read my links carefully. Several of them were from folks who support the various gay agendas (including marriage). These are very clear that within the gay community there is minimal desire for marriage to be monogamous. Further, if you look at the statistics this seems to be the case.

I can only assume that you would consider monogamy to be a critical component of marriage.

Finally, you can extrapolate all you want, it still doesn't rise to the level of proof, or evidence.

You can make your pronouncements, "IF NO ONE else can find one single solitary bit of real world evidence that there is something negative happening with the marriage experience (and NO ONE has done so, just to be clear),...", yet the very nature of such a blanket pronouncement renders it meaningless in any real sense.

"However, when you speak of what God blesses some Biblical evidence would be a good place to start."

You say the following.

"Yes, sure, and I've done that multiple times in multiple ways."

then you follow with.

"GOD HAS NOT OFFERED us God's opinion of marriage between gay folk."

So which is it either you have evidence that God blesses gay marriage, or God hasn't offered an opinion, it seems you should probably choose one or the other.

Finally, (Stan correct me if I'm wrong) the issue has never been about "gay marriage", it's that the underlying homosexual behavior is sinful. Simply adding marriage to a sinful behavior doesn't mitigate the sin.

Craig said...

"Nearly anytime someone makes a blanket statement like this, you can be sure it's a false statement. That's certainly true in this case."

Dan T.

"...IF NO ONE else can find one single solitary bit of real world evidence that there is something negative happening with the marriage experience (and NO ONE has done so, just to be clear),..."

Dan T.


??????????

Stan said...

I just wanted to say that I'm still getting comments on this thread. I'm sure they're all good comments and worthwhile and all that, but I don't think that either side of the debate is seeing that the other side makes sense and I'm pretty sure that both sides think the other side isn't being fair or kind or something or other. Neither side thinks the other side is treating Scripture or the other side fairly.

Okay. So, I think both sides have made their case and I'm pretty sure there won't be further movement on either case. If you believe you have something new to add, I'm willing to add it to this string of comments (and, of course, its subsequent retort). If not, maybe we can let this poor horse rest in peace.