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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Thoughts on Thinking and Truth

In two recent entries -- Think Not and Does Truth Matter? -- I asked similar or at least related questions. Why aren't we thinking? Does truth matter? The kind of response one typically gets to things like that is, "Oh, yeah? You're not thinking very straight, are you? Jesus never said anything about gay marriage or transgender stuff, but you still think it's wrong."

That's what I was talking about. Why don't people think? Does truth matter?

Let's think about it for a moment. Jesus never said, "Gay marriage is a sin" or "Transgender is a sin." So far, so good. We're in agreement. Jesus never said, "You can only marry one person" or "You can't marry your dad." So we're still in agreement? Jesus never said, "Don't drink and drive" or "It's wrong to molest children." Still in agreement? Here's one. Jesus never said we're not saved by works, but by grace. Still in agreement? Well, we should be (up to this point) because we have no record whatsoever of Him saying any of those things. But if we conclude "Jesus never said anything about gay marriage" should be understood to mean "Jesus thought it was okay," now we're going to have a problem. We're going to have a problem because we all believe that polygamy, incest, drunk driving, and child molesting are wrong and "saved by grace apart from works" is right. That should clue us into something. It's not just about the red letters that represent Jesus's spoken words. I don't believe it is and neither do you.

What, then? Well, if Jesus is "the Word" (John 1:1) and the Bible is God's Word, then it would stand to reason that Jesus said, either in person or in print, everything in the Bible. As such, we should be able to find answers to these "missing things" that Jesus never said. Those answers would be in the rest of God's Word.

So, let's see. Jesus never said, "Don't wear white after Labor Day." What does the Bible tell us on this? Not a thing. Not one blessed, single thing. Good. I won't fault you for wearing white after Labor Day. What about gay marriage? Well, there is not one single reference in the Bible anywhere that talks about that subject. That being said, every biblical reference to homosexual behavior lists it as a sin and every biblical reference to marriage lists it as "man and woman." Think about that for a moment. If Scripture -- God's Word -- was so abundantly clear, it seems like the answer to the next question would be obvious. "Why would Jesus say anything about a subject that God has already made abundantly clear?" I wouldn't expect He'd need to. So, no, Jesus said nothing about gay or marriage between same-sex couples, but He had no call to do so. It wasn't regarded as good in His day. (I should point out that neither Jesus nor the Bible has much to say about "transgender". It's a completely brand new thing and, beyond the fact that God made humans male and female (Gen 1:27) -- binary gender -- it doesn't seem like you'd expect Him to say anything either. I will also point out that I don't actually think of it as a sin -- a violation of God's commands -- except insofar as it is a product of the Fall. I do see it as a sickness, primarily mental. Not the same thing.)

This is just an example. People -- even people who are Christians -- don't think. They throw out irrational, unexamined ideas like they're valid and logical without thinking through their basis or their outcomes and think that they're thinking. They don't ask, "Is it true?" They don't actually think truth matters. What matters is "What I think is right" -- pursuing personal opinions and preferences. And that's a natural thing, but it's neither thinking nor truth.


Bob said...

The simple truth can be understood even by the simple minded. Those that have a greater interest in their own agenda, build complex defenses against the truth. we don't really need Jesus to weigh in on every decision, because we already know the answer. its just that the man who is being dishonest with himself, must by extension, be dishonest with the world around him. thank God that Jesus is in the business for tearing down our defenses, so that he may get to our trembling hearts. His perfect love cast out all fear.

Stan said...

"The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Rom 1:18).

Bob said...

Suppression is an interesting choice of words. the implication is that; they can never actually destroy the truth, only suppress it for a little while. But to what end? in our blindness we convince ourselves that it does not matter. hiding our heads in the sand. such a profound folly to those too wise to learn from children.
"but those that are OF the truth, will hear my voice and come to Me."

Stan said...

Yes. The suggestion is "we already know the answer" like you said. We suppress it.

Craig said...

Your point about gay marriage is right on point. Everyreference to gay sex is negative and every reference to marriage is man/woman so why would combining those two, somehow negate everything scripture says.

Of course, if someone insists on framing the discussion as a gay marriage discussion, they’ve just jumped over two things about which scripture speaks and onto something where scripture is silent, thereby arguing from silence that gay marriage is good.

Marshal Art said...

I've often made this same argument, that Jesus being God (I AM) covered most everything at one time or another, and from that, honest speculation can proceed. If homosexual behavior is called "abomination" by God, and thus Jesus, on what basis can we pretend the behavior is NOT abomination simply because of the context or scenario in which it takes place? It's absurd and no more than cheap rationalization.

As to the transgender, I'm pretty certain there is some prohibition against men dressing like women...wearing women's clothes (and naturally then vice versa for women). If this is true...and I believe it is...then how much more so with surgical methods for accomplishing the same thing? Again, truth and thinking. What's the truth and when do we get around to doing some legitimate honest thinking?

Stan said...

Marshal Art, there is indeed a command about dressing like the opposite sex, but that's not the same thing. Neither is intersex. I think the problem occurs long before any chemical or surgical alterations take place.

Marshal Art said...

But transgenderism IS the same thing. It is cross dressing taken to the extreme. The only way one could possibly suggest it is separate is if one claims only the desire to dress as a woman, without any desire to BE a woman. But that's no more than the other extreme of the same thing in my view.

As to "intersex", if I understand the term correctly, that's a biological defect in the same way as having three arms would be, in which case it's categorically different.

Stan said...

Yes, intersex is a biological error. When one looks into it more completely, however, one finds that they are still "male" or "female", just with some alterations. And in the case of intersex, as in one born without arms or legs, it isn't treated as "normal and let's embrace it." It's treated as "there's something wrong and let's fix it."

As for cross-dressing, there are those who intend to be the opposite gender and there are some who just do it because of some other motivation, perhaps sexual or otherwise sinful. (It is specifically countermanded by Scripture.) "Transgender" is something else, an actual belief that "the body God gave me is wrong." They refer to it as "assigned gender" without admitting that God assigned it.

Marshal Art said...

I don't disagree that transgenderism is also a defect, in this case of the mind. That's but one issue and the proper course of action is dealing with that disordered self-perception. But the act of appeasing that perception is the sinful part...that which is akin to cross-dressing.

Stan said...

The act of drinking too much is a sin. Alcoholism is a mental problem. The act of cross dressing is a sin. Transgenderism is a mental problem. They're related, but one is a problem and the other is a sin. That's how I see it. (And I think that's what you just said.)