Saturday, October 15, 2016

Good without God?

 Where does the objectively valid moral standard come from for being moral except from religion, or at least metaphysics (something like the Form of the Good).  If on the other hand it is subjective whether something is right or wrong, then all we mean by being moral is that we like what they do. If that is all you mean, then, sure, there are plenty of nonreligious people who meet that standard. But is that interesting?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

More on gay celibacy

By gay I mean a person who is same sex attracted. There are Christians who consider same sex attraction to be an inescapable fact about themselves, and not a sin in itself. However, in obedience to Christ, they maintain that they are obligated as a matter of obedience to Christ to live celibate lives. 

It is possible to hold that homosexual acts are sinful, and something to be ashamed of, but homosexual orientation is not. 

I am very sympathetic to the orientation/act distinction. One of the things that has fueled the gay rights movement has been the perceived failure of Exodus International. Biblical injunctions seem exclusively directed toward homosexual acts, not homosexual orientation. But charges of prejudice make sense only if what one is accused of prejudice against is something about which one has no choice. We can choose our actions, even if we can't choose our orientation. 

See Wesley Hill's discussion here. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Proud to be gay, celibate for Jesus

If something is an unchangeable fact about someone, then one should not be prejudiced against them on that account. If gay means same sex attracted, then I think there are cases of persons who are gay, and they can't change that. Christianity may require that they be celibate, but there is no just prejudice against them based on who they are attracted to. I realize "phobia" is probably an inapt term. 

A group of Christian gays might apply to march in a Gay Pride parade with the intent to carry a sign that says "Proud to be Gay, Celibate for Jesus." Now the parade organizers would probably deny the application, but that would be religious prejudice. But if I am right in thinking that these people can't, as it were, "pray the gay away," then to treat them poorly because they are same sex attracted would be anti-homosexual prejudice.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Where have you gone, William F. Buckley, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you

I've often wondered what Bill Buckley would have said about the Trump campaign. Actually, Trump considered it in 2000, and Buckley said this. 

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Is this homophobia?

The equal treatment of persons is, for the most part, supported by religion, but traditional Christians tend to accept moral restrictions on sexual activity, and it might be that if you are gay in orientation, Christianity requires you morally to be celibate. It also require you to be celibate if you can't find a marriage partner, even if you are heterosexual.

Christians might say this: whether you are gay or straight does not mean God is against you. It just means if you are gay, you can't have a moral sex life. But being heterosexual doesn't guarantee that you can have a moral sex life, either, so why is this a prejudice against homosexual people?

To go from opposition to homosexual activity to prejudice against homosexual persons, additional steps in the argument are needed.

Were the crusades just wars?


Do you accept the law of noncontradiction? Based on what evidence?

Is the law of noncontradiction based on evidence? What possible evidence is there for it or against if? If you accept the law, and it is not based on evidence, does that mean that you accept something without evidence? 

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

An argument against religious morality

Some would make this argument. The parts of morality that are productive for society are those parts that religious and nonreligious people agree with (murder, theft, etc.). The parts of morality that religious people accept and nonreligious people reject are the parts of morality that are really harmful (such as opposition to homosexuality). Therefore whenever religion adds anything, it adds something counterproductive.

How would you respond to this argument?

Whose notion of virtue is this?

“If throughout your life you abstain from murder, theft, fornication, perjury, blasphemy, and disrespect toward your parents, church, and your king, you are conventionally held to deserve moral admiration even if you have never done a single kind, generous or useful action. This very inadequate notion of virtue is an outcome of taboo morality, and has done untold harm.” -- Bertrand Russell 

But what religion teaches this concept of virtue? Not Christianity. 

Matthew 25:31-46New International Version (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.