Wednesday, October 14, 2015

You gotta have a license?

In the case of gay marriage, one place to look to start with is the whole issue of what the government is doing giving out marriage licenses in the first place. With fishing licenses and driver's licenses, the government will stop you from fishing or driving if you don't have one. In the case of a marriage license, there is nothing you can do as a couple where the government will say "If you want to do that, you gotta have a license."

46 comments:

Cal Metzger said...

I will leave it to you to research your ignorance.

For the record, you wrote: "In the case of a marriage license, there is nothing you can do as a couple where the government will say "If you want to do that, you gotta have a license." "

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/an-overview-of-federal-rights-and-protections-granted-to-married-couples

Victor Reppert said...

That wasn't exactly what I was referring to. It is true that there are differential ways in which governments treat the married and the unmarried, with respect to (mostly) monetary issues. What I was saying is that government officials will forcibly stop you from fishing or driving without a license, and expose you to criminal penalties or at least fines in those cases, but not in the case of marriage licenses. I see these things as actions by the governmental agencies that are different, not actions on the part of the couple themselves.

cl said...

Of course fishing and driving is of no use to the Gay Mafia, so that makes sense....

I see Cal Metzger is back presumably to waste more of people's time!

B. Prokop said...

I am half way through a truly excellent book on this subject, Truth Overruled by Ryan T. Anderson. I can only speak for the half I've read so far, but if you think there isn't a clear, rational, unbigoted, reasonable argument in favor of "traditional" marriage only, then you really need to read this book. You may not agree with his conclusions, but there is simply no denying he presents a dispassionate, objective case that deserves a hearing - a hearing, by the way, which America has yet to hear, because one side of the argument has shut down all debate with hysterical screams of "hater" and "bigot" without actually listening to the other side.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Gyan said...

Marriage licenses are not universal--many big nations do not have them. It is rather ironical that freedom-loving Americans need license from their Govt to marry and find nothing strange in this. It just tells one that there is nothing a person could not get used to.

Victor Reppert said...

Marriage licenses, at the very least, require explanation. It would be interesting to know what other countries do on this issue.

One argument on this issue might be this. People who enter marriages naturally bring children into the mix. But having children means adding mouths to feed, and children to educate, etc. So the government compensates people who risk this with various financial advantages. However gay relationships don't incur this risk, so they should not receive this kind of compensation.

One firm conviction I have on this issue is that my government is not competent to adjudicate the moral question of homosexuality one way or the other. I am against sodomy laws and forcing bakers to bake rainbow shaped cakes with two grooms on top for exactly the same reason.

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "What I was saying is that government officials will forcibly stop you from fishing or driving without a license, and expose you to criminal penalties or at least fines in those cases, but not in the case of marriage licenses. I see these things as actions by the governmental agencies that are different, not actions on the part of the couple themselves."

If you marry more than one person (at the same time), you will face criminal prosecution. I believe this is true across the U.S. Marrying another person when you're already married to another is an action on the part of the couple being married.

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "One argument on this issue might be this. People who enter marriages naturally bring children into the mix."

No they don't. Many couples are infertile, and that is natural. Are you suggesting that infertility is not natural? Many people marry late in life, with no intention of having children, but wishing to share companionship, and provide support to one another. Is that unnatural?

VR: "But having children means adding mouths to feed, and children to educate, etc. So the government compensates people who risk this with various financial advantages. However gay relationships don't incur this risk, so they should not receive this kind of compensation."

You seem to ignore the part where infertile or other couple who don't wish to procreate are burdened with the cost of educating other people children as well. Is it your wish that only people with children should pay school taxes, because that seems like the logical progression of your line of thinking? And if a gay couple wished to adopt a child, is it fair to that child (when no other couple is willing) to not provide them the same kind of compensations allowed to other couple who face the challenge of raising children "naturally?"

VR: "One firm conviction I have on this issue is that my government is not competent to adjudicate the moral question of homosexuality one way or the other."

Then leave your country. Leave it. Go to that other, best place where there is a government that can "adjudicate the moral question of homosexuality" competently enough for you, and for all others. I am certain that that place will give you everything you deserve. In the meantime, don't mind the rest of us as we figure out how to get along without your prissy and misanthropic assessments.

VR: "I am against sodomy laws and forcing bakers to bake rainbow shaped cakes with two grooms on top for exactly the same reason."

I am glad you are against sodomy laws. I think that the government has no place in people's bedrooms. But you seem to think that the government can "force" bakers "bake rainbow shaped cakes with two grooms on top" when in fact it cannot. The government can, however, try and live up to applying its laws consistently, and asking those who partake in its benefits to abide by the laws that we all enjoy. But for some reason, those who are infected with religion seem incapable of seeing that what they demand are special privileges, when the best we can ask for (for both ourselves and others) is consistency and fairness.


Victor Reppert said...

Is the supreme court's decision an adjudication of the moral status of homosexuality? A lot of people think it is, but this is a confusion. There is no moral test for marriage licenses, nor should there be.

You know the cases where the government has penalized business for refusing to provide wedding services to gay couples, where those services are expressions of approval of that relationship. Now, the gay marriage decision isn't really about this.

I'm not even against SSM per se. I voted no on a defense of marriage law in Arizona that was on the ballot.

cl said...

"those who are infected with religion"

I'd rather be infected with religion than BIGOTRY like Cal ... where does this guy get off? He's so arrogant I suspect a POE but at the same time he seems to take himself seriously.

Victor Reppert said...

But the fact is, you can be a gay person, you can have a gay relationship, you can have a ceremony in front of the Metropolitan Community Church which they understand to be a holy covenant between same-sex couples, you can kiss in public, you can adopt children, and it's all perfectly legal with or without same-sex marriage.

What is the basis of equality in America, the underlying argument for same-sex marriage? According to the Declaration of Independence it is this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

But you don't believe in the basis for equality, or unalienable rights. We weren't created equal, since on your view we weren't created and there is no creator. So, why equality, gay or otherwise?

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "Is the supreme court's decision an adjudication of the moral status of homosexuality? A lot of people think it is, but this is a confusion. There is no moral test for marriage licenses, nor should there be."

The Supreme court decision is a ruling that government cannot apply the law unequally to one class of people in regard to the rights of marriage. This should be plain.

VR: "You know the cases where the government has penalized business for refusing to provide wedding services to gay couples, where those services are expressions of approval of that relationship. Now, the gay marriage decision isn't really about this."

Sigh. First, who wants to give a business, carrying out a commercial transaction, authority of approval? Should fat people not be allowed to buy iPhones because they make the technology look unattractive? Should book stores refuse to sell to people who wear crosses around their necks because the bookseller doesn't approve of religious garb?

VR: "I'm not even against SSM per se. I voted no on a defense of marriage law in Arizona that was on the ballot."

Good. And for the record, it seems that (by and large) you have a good heart. It just seems to me that your involvement with religious thinking has stunted your otherwise natural empathy, compassion, and sense of fairness.



Cal Metzger said...

VR: "But the fact is, you can be a gay person, you can have a gay relationship, you can have a ceremony in front of the Metropolitan Community Church which they understand to be a holy covenant between same-sex couples, you can kiss in public, you can adopt children, and it's all perfectly legal with or without same-sex marriage."

Gay marriage isn't about activities; its about equality before the law, and access to the same rights and privileges that other people enjoy. As long as there is one privilege or right that's given to one class of couples, that isn't offered to another, we should all be in favor of same-sex marriage. The simple fact is that one class of couples (gay) were not given equal access to the right and privileges offered to others across the U.S., and that is what the Supreme Court decision settled.

VR: "What is the basis of equality in America, the underlying argument for same-sex marriage?"

It is the 14th Amendment. As you may recall, there were slaves in America for almost 90 years after the Declaration of Independence was written. After, not so many. (But it has taken decades, and more than a century, to have the full effects of the 14th come to fruition, a slow progress due in no small part to the recalcitrance and close-mindedness of religious believers. Particularly in the South. And please don't tell me that abolitionists, suffragists (ha!), and civil rights advocates were motivated by their religious belief; for every one of those there are at least as many who justified the status quo based on their bible, etc.)

VR: "According to the Declaration of Independence it is this: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.' / But you don't believe in the basis for equality, or unalienable rights. We weren't created equal, since on your view we weren't created and there is no creator. So, why equality, gay or otherwise?

Strawman much?

Where do you get off asserting that one has to believe in a magic man to support equality before the law?

planks length said...

Where do you get off asserting that one has to believe in a magic man (sic) to support equality before the law?

You may not have to believe in God to support equality, but you most certainly would have never even heard of the concept without the generations of religious, and specifically Christian, thinkers who gave it to us. The very idea of equality before the law springs from the realization that we are all equal before God. This is historical fact.

Cal Metzger said...

Planks: "You may not have to believe in God to support equality, but you most certainly would have never even heard of the concept without the generations of religious, and specifically Christian, thinkers who gave it to us. The very idea of equality before the law springs from the realization that we are all equal before God. This is historical fact."

I used to think that the trait all apologists seem to have in common is their poor background in basic science; but it's comments like yours (and sooo many others) that have lead me to believe that apologists first share a terrible background in History.

You are wrong (and obviously so), but your ridiculous assertion that a historical explanation could ever be a "fact" indicates that demonstrating your poor thinking and education about all this would take way too long. As Inigo Montaya says, "There is too much."

planks length said...

Not sure why I even waste my time with you, but if you don't believe in historical facts, then you're even more hopeless than you've let on so far. What? So you don't believe that D-Day occurred on June 6, 1944? That Caesar crossed the Rubicon? That Constantinople fell to the Turks in AD 1453? That Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon in 1969? That the idea of human equality originated with Christian theologians?

I knew that atheists were truth-deniers already. I just didn't realize how far the rot had spread.

Victor Reppert said...

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are evolved equal, that they are endowed by evolution with certain inalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Now does anyone besides me think that this is a howler?

B. Prokop said...

"Now does anyone besides me think that this is a howler?"

Keep in mind, Victor, that those words were penned by a deist - a man who believed there were no consequences to his actions (or inactions). His "God" was a distant, uninvolved, non-actor, Who cared not what happened in the creation He (quite unaccountably) set in motion aeons ago.

Lord, give me an honest atheist any day over a damned deist!

Jezu ufam tobie!

Cal Metzger said...

Planks: "Not sure why I even waste my time with you, but if you don't believe in historical facts, then you're even more hopeless than you've let on so far."

I didn't say I "don't believe in historical facts." Read what I wrote.

You suggested that an explanation ("The very idea of equality before the law springs from the realization that we are all equal before God") is a historical fact. You seem oblivious to the fact that you are putting for a historical explanation and (voila!) calling it a fact because, well, I remarked on the why above.

Here's a historical fact: The U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in August of 1945.

Here's a historical explanation: There were many factors that led to the U.S. dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in August of 1945, and they included a desire to end the war decisively so as to avoid a costly land invasion, to avoid giving the Russians opportunity to become involved in postwar Japan. Also, Japanese atrocities throughout Asia, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the extent of popular and military dehumanization of all Japanese as a result of a protracted and costly war, etc., all contributed to an environment in which the use of an atomic bomb became inexorable.

Like I said, this is very, very basic stuff concerning History. Fact, explanation. One is simple and accepted, the other is (almost always) complex and, to some extent, debatable.

But why don't you disagree some more, and underline my point about how apologists all seem to have this queer understanding of history -- in particular this typical notion that all human events are supposed to spring from a Christian center.

Cal Metzger said...

VR: ""We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are evolved equal, that they are endowed by evolution with certain inalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." / Now does anyone besides me think that this is a howler?

What's a howler is your silly notion that equality and fairness were new ideas that sprung from the pen of Thomas Jefferson on that day, and that no human being had ever conceived of before the bible was written. And that took 1700 years to come about, as a result of the source of their inspiration. And that hierarchy is inherent in the Catholic Church, and that feudalism flourished under Christianity, and that monarch across Europe justified their rule under the conspiring auspices of Christian religious authorities, and ohymgod do apologists have any idea how queer and uninformed they seem whenever they try and stick their thumb in the pie of history and exclaim, "Oh, what a good religion that gave us everything I see!"

Please keep on trying to give me a history lesson. I don't think it makes your apologetics as respectable as you might imagine it does.

Crude said...

And that took 1700 years to come about, as a result of the source of their inspiration.

And it took even longer, and Christian influence, for the idea to catch on elsewhere.

And the first atheists government to pop up immediately tossed the idea.

Watching effeminate modern atheists wail and gnash their teeth at the prospect of ever having to admit to the good influence religion in general - and Christianity in particular - has had historically is as amusing as it is sad. Almost as good as their yammering how 'queer' it looks for said atheists to act as if they embody the views of the majority, as opposed to some isolated minority that even the irreligious generally regard as sad and creepy.

Cal Metzger said...

In other Historical breakthroughs, please all come assert that Socialism could have only come about as a result of the pyramids.

Crude: "Watching effeminate modern atheists..."

Effeminate?

planks length said...

I don't know about "effeminate", but I'm mostly with crude on this one.

Atheists everywhere, if they had even an ounce of integrity, would get down on their knees and thank God for Christianity, which, because if its insistence on the innate dignity of each and every human being, gives them free space to exist. Everyone else on this planet treats them as they deserve, and basically cuts off their balls, lest they reproduce.

Cal Metzger said...

PlanksLength: "Atheists everywhere, if they had even an ounce of integrity, would get down on their knees and thank God for Christianity, which, because if its insistence on the innate dignity of each and every human being, gives them free space to exist."

Ephesians 6:5: "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ."

Isaiah 42:6 (God to his chosen people, who are still somehow equal with all other humans?) "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth."

John Calvin: ""Predestination we call the eternal decree of God, by which He has determined in Himself, what He would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is foreordained for some and eternal death for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say he is predestinated either to life or to death." Institutes, Book III, Ch. XXI, Sec. 5."

Martin Luther: "I brief, dear princes and lords, those of you who have Jews under your rule­­ if my counsel does not please your, find better advice, so that you and we all can be rid of the unbearable, devilish burden of the Jews, lest we become guilty sharers before God in the lies, blasphemy, the defamation, and the curses which the mad Jews indulge in so freely and wantonly against the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, this dear mother, all Christians, all authority, and ourselves. Do not grant them protection, safe­conduct, or communion with us.... .With this faithful counsel and warning I wish to cleanse and exonerate my conscience."

Now, what's all that talk about integrity again?

planks length said...

Hah! Quoting heretical protestants doesn't cut it, when you're talking to a Catholic.

Try again.

Victor Reppert said...

If you are going to quote Ephesians 6 on slavery, you have to quote the whole thing.

5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

Remember this is addressed to people who don't make public policy. Christians didn't start doing that until the days of Constantine. And we do have to wonder why Paul didn't just say "Free the darn slaves, you have no right to own anyone." (It could be that the slavery here was more like an system of indentured servitude than it was like antebellum black slavery).

But I would like to hear about anyone in that time who put limits on the way you treat slaves in that time, or imply that just because you are an owner doesn't mean that you have any real superiority before God that allows you to do what you want with these people.

Cal Metzger said...

Planks: "Hah! Quoting heretical protestants doesn't cut it, when you're talking to a Catholic. / Try again."

Jefferson wasn't a Catholic. But you move the goal posts and special plead all you want. You seem to be as I have described you. Imagine my surprise.

B. Prokop said...

Cal,

Although you haven't given the impression so far of being a person open to new ideas, you might want to ponder that tossing out "proof verses" is the crudest and most ineffective way of arguing a case - especially when you're up against people who read it daily and might possibly know it backwards and forwards. You're not going to be able to surprise anyone here with something they haven't already seen and pondered. The Bible needs to be read as a whole and not dismembered into a series of gotcha soundbites torn from context.

One of the many consistent themes of The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is the dignity of the individual human being, "created in the image of God." From the Exodus story of liberation from slavery in Egypt to Paul's declaration that there is neither "Jew nor Greek" with God, the message is we are all individually loved by God and that "God shows no partiality" (that's also in Paul - look it up).

And Jefferson didn't have to be a Catholic to have soaked into his weltanschauung ideas and concepts developed over two millennia of European Catholicism. By the way, that's precisely how contemporary atheists manage to pull off "being moral without believing in God" - they're the beneficiaries of living in a society and culture molded and formed by Christianity. Had you lived in a pagan society, you atheists would be sacrificing your first born to Moloch with the best of them.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "If you are going to quote Ephesians 6 on slavery, you have to quote the whole thing."

Why? Jesus just goes on to explain that things will be better in heaven; it's the opposite of a plea to change things here -- put up with inequality and don't complain, because later everything will be rewarded.

VR: "But I would like to hear about anyone in that time who put limits on the way you treat slaves in that time, or imply that just because you are an owner doesn't mean that you have any real superiority before God that allows you to do what you want with these people."

Why?

The claim here couldn't be more specious. I have pointed out that a "cause" that takes 1700 years to have its purported effect doesn't seem to be much of a cause. I have shown that there's plenty in the bible (old and new), and in the writings of two of the most influential interpreters of the bible, that promulgates or justifies INEQUALITY among our fellow human beings. And I have pointed out that declaring a single cause for a historical explanation is a vapid exercise -- and that's because historical explanations are, by their very nature, simplifications, and even then they typically account for a wide range of factors.

Equality because Christianity! isn't just vapid; it's the kind of assertion that you only see (suprise!) among people who don't really have a good education or background in the study of History. And it's particularly common among apologists, who just can't seem to get over the idea that Christianity is just one among many, many human organizations that have interrelated with so many others in our past.


Cal Metzger said...

Prokop: "The Bible needs to be read as a whole and not dismembered into a series of gotcha soundbites torn from context."

Context! If you agree with what the bible says it's literal. If you don't you ignore it. If you can't ignore it, explain it doesn't mean what it says because of "context!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK7P7uZFf5o

planks length said...

The funniest thing in the world is an unbeliever lecturing a believer on how he is supposed to read The Bible. What chutzpah!

News flash, Cal: The Bible belongs to the Church (i.e., believers), and the Church knows how to interpret it. Unbelievers don't have a say in the matter. Do I tell you how you're supposed to read Ayn Rand?

Victor Reppert said...

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2015/07/08/christianity-the-good-stuff/

Obviously you won't take anything Christians say as anything but apologetically inspired ignorance, so I want to see if you will accept these same points from an atheist.

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "Obviously you won't take anything Christians say as anything but apologetically inspired ignorance, so I want to see if you will accept these same points from an atheist."

What tripe. I am pointing out that the Christian pronouncements here are simplistic at best.

It's also amusing that you somehow still think I am guilty of the the genetic fallacy. I think you are confusing me with, well, you.

I love the fact, too, that rather than concede the obvious flaws I have pointed out in the Christian assertions here, you think that by trotting out a post on another topic you are somehow responding to my points here.

The Christian comments here: "Christianity invented EVERTYTHING!"
Me: "That's way over the top, for obvious reasons a, b, and c."
The Christian response: "You MUST THEREFORE think Christianity is NOTHING!"

Sigh.

Cal Metzger said...

Planksy: "News flash, Cal: The Bible belongs to the Church (i.e., believers), and the Church knows how to interpret it."

Um, no. The bible is an ancient document. It's available to all (unlike the documents of some mystery religions, like Scientology, etc.) So, you are just flat out wrong. Unless you are talking about a secret bible, that only you and other Christians have seen, and non-believers have not.

Planksy: "Unbelievers don't have a say in the matter."

This from the man who has been preaching that Christianity taught us about human equality. Good stuff. I think you would have fit right in during, say, the Inquisition.

Planksy: "Do I tell you how you're supposed to read Ayn Rand?"

I have taken an anti-dogmatic, liiberal-minded interpretation in my comments here. Devotees of Ayn Rand are, well, the opposite of that. You appear confused about a great many things.

Victor Reppert said...

A great deal of fundamental ideas which we all accept as a matter of social justice came from Christians that was not accepted by, say, the leaders of Roman society at the time. Now, the history isn't perfect, and there is plenty you can use against it in the Bible and in Christian history. But what does evolution give you? Evolution says that certain critters have certain advantages over certain other critters, and that using those advantages allows the critters with those advantages to pass on their genes. There is nothing in reality that supports treating people with prima facie disadvantages as equal, as opposed to simply using your advantage over them for you and those you feel close to.

It is not as if everything in morality is religious, it's not. There are two forces in human nature that very often push us in a moral direction: social utility and sympathy. But we get social utility from those like ourselves (the social disutility of being a n-lover at a Klan meeting should be obvious), and we tend to lack sympathy for others when the others are one of "them" and not one of us. The antidote to this is found in the parable of the Good Samaritan but it cuts against human nature to a very large extent.

I find it distressing that movements within atheism are starting to see the conflict between belief and unbelief as a war, not a debate, and are starting to adopt an us vs. them mentality. I remember the well-intentioned ideas that launched the French Revolution and the Russian revolution, and remember also where these movements ended: with guillotines and gulags. As a result I am concerned about what is going to happen if the secularist movement today gets a lot of political power. These people started off with combining secularism with a passion for social justice, and look what happened to them. The death tolls of the Soviet Union far outstrip all the "holy horrors" of Christianity, such as the Inquisition. It's not even close. One commentator over on Debunking Christianity started talking about putting Christians in camps and preventing them from reproducing. Of course most people of that mindset don't actually come out and say this stuff, but that doesn't mean they would resist the temptation if they thought they could actually cure the great "mind virus" that way.

Victor Reppert said...

First, who wants to give a business, carrying out a commercial transaction, authority of approval? Should fat people not be allowed to buy iPhones because they make the technology look unattractive? Should book stores refuse to sell to people who wear crosses around their necks because the bookseller doesn't approve of religious garb?

The answer to this involves a distinction between commercial services that provide expression, or speech, on behalf of gay weddings, and those that don't. For the former, I there is a problem with a business putting a sign up in their hardware store that says "no gays." (So if a gay person needs a screw, they have to so somewhere else). However, businesses that provide celebratory expression should be able, if this is a stated policy, to provide that expression only if that is what they support. If you are a professional speechwriter, should you be accused of discrimination if you will only provide your services for Republican candidates and not Democratic candidates?

planks length said...

So if a gay person needs a screw, they have to so somewhere else.

Victor, couldn't you have chosen a less... (ahem)... suggestive example?

Victor Reppert said...

I have a weakness for bad puns.

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "A great deal of fundamental ideas which we all accept as a matter of social justice came from Christians that was not accepted by, say, the leaders of Roman society at the time."

Could you be more specific? ""A great deal of fundamental ideas which we all accept as a matter of social justice..." sounds way too wishy washy to me; it's like you're trying to re-assert your earlier claim (Christianity gave us equality!) without actually establishing that.

VR: "Now, the history isn't perfect, and there is plenty you can use against it in the Bible and in Christian history."

Which really waters down the earlier claim, don't you agree?

VR: "But what does evolution give you?"

Evolution gives us an explanation for biodiversity. What did you think it gave us?

VR: "Evolution says that certain critters have certain advantages over certain other critters, and that using those advantages allows the critters with those advantages to pass on their genes."

Kind of (I'll just roll with it), but what does this have to do with establishing your claim?

VR: "There is nothing in reality that supports treating people with prima facie disadvantages as equal, as opposed to simply using your advantage over them for you and those you feel close to."

Except for kin selection and group selection. But what makes you think that evolutionary principles are on what we should base morality? Is that what you think people who don't believe in a magic sky man MUST do in order to support equality and fairness in our society? If so, why is there so much evidence to the contrary?



Cal Metzger said...

VR: "t is not as if everything in morality is religious, it's not. There are two forces in human nature that very often push us in a moral direction: social utility and sympathy. But we get social utility from those like ourselves (the social disutility of being a n-lover at a Klan meeting should be obvious), and we tend to lack sympathy for others when the others are one of "them" and not one of us. The antidote to this is found in the parable of the Good Samaritan but it cuts against human nature to a very large extent."

I think that empathy is innate and common to all humans (except those with pathologies, like sociopaths, etc.). I would agree that our natural empathy comes in conflict with our tendency toward groupishness, and navigating this conflict is a common crucible for many moral systems. I have always liked the parable of the Good Samaritan (perhaps my favorite in the NT), and would agree that it's a good tool for Christians to encourage empathy outside one's immediate circles. But you should realize that the parable is one of many expressions found in many cultures that extend the idea of the golden rule, neither of which is unique or original to Christianity.


Cal Metzger said...

VR: "I find it distressing that movements within atheism are starting to see the conflict between belief and unbelief as a war, not a debate, and are starting to adopt an us vs. them mentality. I remember the well-intentioned ideas that launched the French Revolution and the Russian revolution, and remember also where these movements ended: with guillotines and gulags. As a result I am concerned about what is going to happen if the secularist movement today gets a lot of political power. These people started off with combining secularism with a passion for social justice, and look what happened to them."

All political systems present a risk toward totalitarianism. But I would agree that there are individuals on the Left (including those who self-describe as atheists) who are as vindictive and strident and anti-intellectual as some on the Right (which includes many who describe themselves as religious).

Where I would disagree is that you seem to think that the gravest risk to life and a liberal, democratic society that values individual rights comes from atheists; nonsense -- the gravest threat today to those things I mention is clearly Islamism. Pointing towards atheists as a graver threat risks a great deal.

VR: "The death tolls of the Soviet Union far outstrip all the "holy horrors" of Christianity, such as the Inquisition. It's not even close. "

For sure numbers, perhaps. For length of time, for violence committed against other populations, and for sheer cruelty, I believe that religiously-motivated or religiously-justified state actions cede no peer. But I do get your point that the liberal left of 2 generations ago (of which the modern day version has many atheists, which is I why I assume you are making the comparison) have a great deal to answer for the excuses and support they gave to murderous and dogmatic regimes who cloaked themselves in Socialism.

VR: "One commentator over on Debunking Christianity started talking about putting Christians in camps and preventing them from reproducing. Of course most people of that mindset don't actually come out and say this stuff, but that doesn't mean they would resist the temptation if they thought they could actually cure the great "mind virus" that way."

The problem with this is that the godless Scandinavian countries, and largely godless modern Europe, are free of the kind of state persecution of the religious you seem to think would appear should atheists attain positions of influence here. So you need to explain why that differs so much from your vision of where this is all headed.

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "However, businesses that provide celebratory expression should be able, if this is a stated policy, to provide that expression only if that is what they support."

That's ridiculous. "Celebratory expression" is not a protected right -- if it was, we'd be able to fire our guns in the air whenever we had a birthday, or our sports teams win. Did you just make that term up now, or is that some meme running in the far corners of the religious blogs nowadays?

VR: "If you are a professional speechwriter, should you be accused of discrimination if you will only provide your services for Republican candidates and not Democratic candidates?"

If you are a professional speechwriter who operates or advertises in the general maketplace, then you should accept either Republican or Democrat. I don't know of any speechwriters who operate or advertise in the general marketplace. Do you?

Victor Reppert said...

If you state the purpose of your business you should be able to run your business as you desire. If you say your business is Christian wedding ceremonies, then you should be able to say that is who you will serve. If you don't say, and then you decide when a gay person walks in the door that you don't want to serve them, that is another matter.

Another well-known example would be this. If you ran a bake shop in a heavily gay area of San Francisco, and the Focus on the Family came in and wanted a cake that says "Change the Court and Overturn Obergfell," would they have to serve you? It's been tried and people those bakers said no.

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "If you state the purpose of your business you should be able to run your business as you desire. If you say your business is Christian wedding ceremonies, then you should be able to say that is who you will serve. If you don't say, and then you decide when a gay person walks in the door that you don't want to serve them, that is another matter."

Although there might be some problems with pulling this off, in spirit I agree with you.

"Another well-known example would be this. If you ran a bake shop in a heavily gay area of San Francisco, and the Focus on the Family came in and wanted a cake that says "Change the Court and Overturn Obergfell," would they have to serve you? It's been tried and people those bakers said no."

Let's not confuse expression of speech with serving all members of a community. As far as I know, conservative Christian cake shops haven't been asked (and refused ) to produce cakes that say something like, "Remove all religious observances from public life." They've been asked to make a cake.

Victor Reppert said...

The cakes asked for can explicitly indicate that the couple is gay. Usually cakes have inscriptions on them.

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "The cakes asked for can explicitly indicate that the couple is gay."

I can't recall ever being at a wedding where the cake had an inscription on it. Look up images for "wedding cake" on google, and see how many cakes there have inscriptions on them. (The answer for me was: none).

It's pretty hard to not let the cat out of the bag at some point that the two getting married are same sexing it. But that's more of a fact, and less of a matter of speech - like the political action inscription you were equating to at the SF cake shop.