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Marriage vs. Religious Freedom

Black and white hands, claspedCatholic League president Bill Donohue hates the idea of same-sex marriage:

There is no world religion that embraces the bizarre idea that two men can get married, and there is no state in the nation where the people have directly chosen to approve it. Yet because of some judges and state lawmakers, the prospect of same-sex marriage looms.

In fact, the Seattle Times reports about my own state, “The state Senate is just two votes shy of making Washington the seventh state to approve gay marriage.” No, that wouldn’t be by a referendum of the voters, but so what?

Donohue is pleased, however, by “Marriage and Religious Freedom” a document recently signed by a number of conservative U.S. religious leaders that predictably rejects same-sex marriage.

The letter declares that ministers forced to conduct same-sex weddings is a manufactured fear, and it trusts in the First Amendment to rule out this possibility. The real problem, it says, is same-sex married couples imposing on religion. For example:

  • Religious adoption services couldn’t discriminate against same-sex married couples.
  • Marriage counselors couldn’t reject same-sex clients simply because they’re homosexual.
  • Religious employers couldn’t discriminate when giving health benefits to employees’ spouses.
  • Nor could they demote, reassign, or fire anyone for a same-sex marriage.

I’m not swept away with concern for the church. Here’s why:

However free the exercise of religion may be, it must be subordinate to the criminal laws of the country.

That is part of the opinion of the Supreme Court in Davis v. Beason (1890), which effectively made polygamy illegal in the U.S. In other words, when the state conflicts with religion on the definition of marriage, the state can prevail.

Another important Supreme Court case is Loving v. Virginia (1967), which overturned anti-miscegeny laws (that is, laws that prohibited mixed-race marriages) in 17 states. Time declared this one of the “Top 10 Landmark Supreme Court Cases.”

Today’s fight over same-sex marriage closely parallels this fight over mixed-race marriage. Let’s consider the facts in this case. In 1959, Mildred and Richard Loving, a mixed-race couple, were convicted by a Virginia court for the crime of being married. The judge used Christian justification for the decision:

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

Do you see the parallels? Here’s another comparison. First, consider this proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution from 1912:

Intermarriage between negroes or persons of color and Caucasians or any other character of persons within the United States or any territory under their jurisdiction, is forever prohibited.

Compare this to Proposition 8, a 2008 amendment to the California Constitution:

Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

If the first restriction is outrageous, why allow the second?

After listing some of the problems between religious organizations and same-sex couples, the “Marriage and Religious Freedom” manifesto says,

The refusal of these religious organizations to treat a same-sex sexual relationship as if it were a marriage marked them and their members as bigots, subjecting them to the full arsenal of government punishments and pressures reserved for racists.

Bingo! Now you’re seeing the parallels.

Imagine if the manifesto whined about restrictions on religious organizations because of the legalization of not same-sex marriage but mixed-race marriage. Adoption agencies couldn’t reject mixed-race couples who wanted to adopt. Marriage counselors would have to accept mixed-race couples as clients. Religious employers would be forced to give health benefits to (if you can believe it!) a “spouse” of another race. And they would be barred from taking any kind of punitive action against an employee who married outside their race.

It’s amazing that the signatories to this document are high-level leaders within the Christian church. Aren’t they supposed to be the enlightened, compassionate ones? Aren’t they supposed to be the ones encouraging society onto the correct moral path? Why is it the other way around?

I’m optimistic that the parallels between prohibitions on mixed-race marriage and same-sex marriage are too close for them to not eventually be treated the same. But take note of the status quo. Remember these religious arguments against same-sex marriage, because in 20 or 30 years, when same-sex marriage is as uncontroversial as mixed-race marriage, conservative Christians will be shocked that their leaders ever rejected it.

We’ll need to remind them of the harm that religious thinking can cause.

Photo credit: WolfSoul

Related posts:

Related links:

  • Christopher Shay, “Loving Day,” Time, 6/11/10.
  • “Time for Washington Legislature to legalize same-sex marriage” Seattle Times editorial, 11/14/11.

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Pingback: Christians and Religious Freedom: Your Faith Is Fickle | Philosopher's Haze

  • Bob Calvan

    The main concerns with same sex marriage that most people hold of all faiths and non faiths is we are changing the “definition” of marriage. Marriage from the start has always been between a man and a women. If two sodomites wish to live together fine. But the government does not need to change the definition of marriage. We already have companies that share health plans with “partners” married or not and same sex or not. So nothing else is needed.
    The second main concern is you are guaranteeing the child they raise will purposely be deprived of a Mother or a Father. The child will be forced of missing a mom or a dad.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Marriage from the start has always been between a man and a women.

      “Marriage” has been a moving target since biblical times. The OT makes clear that “marriage” is between a man and one or more women. And, as this post shows, it was last changed in 1967.

      Hardly the unchanging bedrock that many people imagine.

      But the government does not need to change the definition of marriage.

      Many Christians complain that marriage is on the rocks, with many ending in divorce and many young people choosing to live together rather than get married. And now here’s a group that actually embraces marriage. Maybe there’s a pretty large silver lining here that the church should capitalize on.

      We already have companies that share health plans with “partners” married or not and same sex or not. So nothing else is needed.

      Marriage benefits are far more extensive than this.

      The second main concern is you are guaranteeing the child they raise will purposely be deprived of a Mother or a Father.

      How many same-sex couples have kids? That is, is this a big deal or a red herring?

      A happily married man and woman with kids of their own, living in a great neighborhood with no gangs, with plenty of money, plenty of maturity, great parents, and so on sounds like a great environment for raising kids in. Unfortunately, most kids don’t have that environment, deviating from it in small ways (or big). I don’t see the parents being homosexual is that big a deal compared to other issues you could bring up.

      Lots of kids live in step families; this would be no different.

    • Retro

      The second main concern is you are guaranteeing the child they raise will purposely be deprived of a Mother or a Father. The child will be forced of missing a mom or a dad.

      I’d be interested to hear what verses you would cite to support this “Biblical” view.

      Can you cite any verses where the Bible displays “family values”?

      Matthew 8:22 and Luke 9:60, Matt 10:34-37, Matt 19:29.

  • Bob Calvan

    Retro

    I’d be interested to hear what verses you would cite to support this “Biblical” view.

    If you read my entire comment I was giving two reasons why people reject same sex ” MARRIAGE: I said all faiths. I did not give a Christian view. Most people even Atheist’s do not want the definition of marriage changed. After all If marriage can mean two men or two women (giving special rights to homosexuals) why not one man and 5 women, or one woman and 5 men, or one man and his sister, or one man and his son, or a man and his dog?

    And why force a child to never have the care and affection of a mommy?

    This is why the people reject special marital rights for a sexual preference. This is a secular issue.

    • Retro

      Bob C said: After all If marriage can mean two men or two women (giving special rights to homosexuals) why not one man and 5 women, or one woman and 5 men, or one man and his sister, or one man and his son, or a man and his dog?

      Or maybe even polygamy… oh wait, concubines and multiple wives ARE Biblical.

      And why force a child to never have the care and affection of a mommy?

      This happens all the time for various reasons.

      And what about marriages where no children are involved?

      This is why the people reject special marital rights for a sexual preference.

      Who said anything about “special marital rights”? If same sex marraiges get the same rights, then how do you consider it “special marital rights”?

      This is a secular issue.

      Do you have a problem with homosexual people, or is it just same sex marriages? Why would you have a problem with gay people unless it is for religious reasons? If you don’t have a problem with homosexuals, then why would you care if they get married or not? How does this affect you in the slightest?

  • Bob Calvan

    Bob I think once you said Intelligent athesit never convert to Christianity?
    I just read this interesting article
    Monday, November 21, 2011
    Autobahn To Damascus
    Yet another change of philosophy because of arguments for the existence of God.

    Oh the -threat- to the vested interests of anti-intellectualism!

    by Darrin Rasberry on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 9:05pm
    [The fb link is iffy, goodbye to them eventually anyway, but here's the post from there:]

    “There has been some confusion and more than a few requests for explanation about what is going on with my core beliefs. Some time last week, I realized that I could no longer call myself a skeptic. After fifteen years away from Christianity, most of which was spent as an atheist with an active, busy intent on destroying the faith, I returned to a church (with a real intention of going for worship) last Sunday. Although I know I may struggle with doubt for the rest of my life, my life as an atheist is over.

    The primary motivator in my change of heart from a Christ-hater to a card-carrying Disciples of Christ member was apologetic arguments for God’s existence. Those interested in these arguments may pursue them in the comments section, but I don’t want to muddle this explanation up with formal philosophical proofs. Briefly, I grew tired of the lack of explanation for: the existence of the universe, moral values and duties, objective human worth, consciousness and will, and many other topics. The only valid foundation for many of those ideas is a personal, immaterial, unchanging and unchangeable entity. As I fought so desperately to come up with refutations of these arguments – even going out of my way to personally meet many of their originators, defenders, and opponents – I realized that I could not answer them no matter how many long nights I spent hitting the books. The months of study rolled on to years, and eventually I found an increasing comfort around my God-believing enemies and a growing discontent and even anger at my atheist friends’ inability to kill off these fleas in debate and in writing, an anger that gave birth to my first feeling of separateness from skepticism after reading comments related to a definitively refuted version of the Christ Myth theory, the idea that Jesus Christ never even existed as a person at all. Line after line after line of people hating Christianity and laughing at its “lie,” when solid scholarship refuting their idea was ignored completely. It showed that the motive of bashing and hating Christianity for some skeptics wasn’t based in reason and “free thinking” at all, although it would be unfair to lump many of my more intellectually rigorous and mentally cool skeptic friends in this way.

    As time went on, I reverted the path I traced after giving up Christianity so long ago: I went from atheist to agnostic to … gulp … *leaning* in the direction of God, to finally accepting that he very well could exist, and then to coming out and admitting (quietly) He did exist. After considering Deism (the belief in a God who abandons His creation), Islam, Hinduism (yes, Krishna, don’t laugh), Baha’i, and even Jainism briefly, I have decided to select Christianity due to its superior model for human evil and its reconciliation, coupled with the belief that God interacted with man directly and face-to-face and had *the* crucial role in this reconciliation. This, of course, doesn’t prove that Christianity is absolutely true (although I can prove that God exists), but rather reflects my recognition that Christianity is exactly what I would expect to be the case given that God exists.

    There are problems that I have with adopting any specific layout of Christianity, which explains my current attendance at what many of you may consider to be a very liberal denomination in the Disciples of Christ. Their aim is to unify all believers in the essentials, while leaving nonessential beliefs (however important) up to the member to decide. The essentials are about all I can honestly grasp at this moment. At its philosophical core, I prefer the Reformed (Calvinist) tradition, perhaps by a long shot, but there are many very serious practical issues I can’t resolve. Conversely, Catholicism is a practical Godsend (pardon the term) but I have problems with their philosophy. And I don’t agree with many political issues of either of those branches or the majority of Christian branches in general. I have a long way to go and I know the many problems religion has in general and that Christianity has in specific, but they do not exceed the fatal problems in skepticism.

    I understand that this may confuse and even upset many of the friends I’ve had for a long time, both in my personal life and in the years-long journey I’ve made as a skeptic-to-believer. Christianity is not without its critics, and given the absolutely shameful way many “Christians” have treated homosexuals, drug addicts, people of other faiths (and of no faith) and races, and even people of different Christian denomination, and given the often intellectually embarrassing way we’ve handled science and philosophy, I would not blame you for a second if you did not want to associate with me based on the track record of those who claim to believe similarly to what I believe now. I am the same Darrin as I was before, a math teacher, a storm chaser, D&D gamer, drunk philosopher, a lover of beer that’s too strong and spice that’s too hot, and all the rest of it. I just hope to be a little cleaner, more honest, more Christ-like. I won’t throw the Bible at you and I won’t preach to you with wild eyes and a million mile stare about how you shouldn’t be gay or how you should focus on what Hitch calls the “eternal theme park.” This is all the evangelism you’ll get from me (unless you ask after I’ve had too much Guinness) and I do hope it’s quite enough to motivate you to study the evidence for God’s existence yourself and to read the Bible without the predetermined idea of tearing it apart. Come over to the dark side; we have tea and cookies.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Interesting–thanks for this.

      This article is incomplete for me. He says, “I grew tired of the lack of explanation for: the existence of the universe, moral values and duties, objective human worth, consciousness and will, and many other topics.” Wow–what atheist has a problem with these? This makes me wonder what explanations he’d heard or thought were the best. Again, my hypothesis wasn’t that no atheists become Christian (that happens frequently) but that no well-informed atheist becomes Christian. Was this guy well-informed about the conventional secular answers (or even “I don’t know” responses) to these questions?

      In reviewing his new position within Christianity, he mentions “the often intellectually embarrassing way we’ve handled science and philosophy.” Ouch! That’s gotta hurt. Any thoughts on that–or would you dismiss this guy’s analysis?

  • Bob Calvan

    Retro said

    “Bob C said: After all If marriage can mean two men or two women (giving special rights to homosexuals) why not one man and 5 women, or one woman and 5 men, or one man and his sister, or one man and his son, or a man and his dog?”

    “Or maybe even polygamy… oh wait, concubines and multiple wives ARE Biblical.”

    I listed polygamy above. Maybe you should take a moment and actually read what I wrote. Yes Polygamy is in the bible? So is beastiality, your point?

    Retro said:

    And why force a child to never have the care and affection of a mommy?

    “This happens all the time for various reasons.”

    Yes but the difference is this child will intentionally be raise for 18 years without a mommy..Forced into the situation.

    Retro asked

    “And what about marriages where no children are involved?”

    Well then it won’t apply. Gee isn’t that obvious?

    Retro asked:

    This is why the people reject special marital rights for a sexual preference.

    “Who said anything about “special marital rights”? If same sex marriages get the same rights, then how do you consider it “special marital rights”?

    Same sex couples are asking for special privileges ( to be able to change the definition of marriage based on their sexual preference for each other) to be married.

    Retro asked:

    “Do you have a problem with homosexual people, or is it just same sex marriages? Why would you have a problem with gay people unless it is for religious reasons? If you don’t have a problem with homosexuals, then why would you care if they get married or not? How does this affect you in the slightest?”

    No I have no problem with homosexual people. They need to repent of their sins as any unregenerate sinner does. My problem is like most peoples the changing the definition of marriage for a sexual desire. And intentionally depriving a child of a normal rearing of a mom and a dad.

    • Retro

      Bob C wrote: I listed polygamy above. Maybe you should take a moment and actually read what I wrote. Yes Polygamy is in the bible? So is beastiality, your point?

      Bestiality is condemned in the Bible. God, however, does not condemn polygamy, never calls polygamy adultery, wickedness or a fleshly perversion. Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon all had multiple wives and/or concubines. In 2 Samuel 12:8, God speaking through the prophet Nathan, said that if David’s wives and concubines were not enough, He would have given David even more.

      So once again, we see how God’s “absolute” morality changes.

      Yes but the difference is this child will intentionally be raise for 18 years without a mommy..Forced into the situation.

      And how many believers were encouraged to leave their families and children for the kingdom? (Matt 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.)

      Well then it won’t apply. Gee isn’t that obvious?

      Then you shouldn’t have a problem with same-sex marriages that don’t involve children then.

      No I have no problem with homosexual people. They need to repent of their sins as any unregenerate sinner does.

      So by your logic, maybe unregenerate sinners shouldn’t be allowed to marry either.

      Same sex couples are asking for special privileges ( to be able to change the definition of marriage based on their sexual preference for each other) to be married.

      So then they are not asking for “special” privileges then, they are simply asking for the same privileges.

      Let me ask you once again, how does same-sex marriage affect you in the slightest?

  • Paul

    What a pointless argument!
    Look if you don’t want a creator, God or someone to be responsible to. Well I say ‘bonk’ what ever you like. Maybe you can kindle a nice relationship with some of your monkey friends. I might add for this you will be judged, but you don’t care about that. So go ahead, why not.

    However if you want to be a ‘Christian’ then you must expect to follow the principles you have dedicated your life to and for this too you will be judged as to whether you have lived up to the expectations of Christ.
    For a ‘Christian’ it is very clear, No Homosexuals, even Paul said, “for both their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; and likewise even males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and recieving in themselves the full recompense, which was due for their error.” Rom 1:26,27.
    Paul twice refered to what is ‘natural’. This means when you look at the human body you see where the bits fit and go. To put it bluntly a rectum has a use but it’s not for a penus, nature tells us this. Paul said they would recieve the full recompense, and don’t we see AIDS is a result of this perversion against nature. No wonder God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. They were sexual perverts from small boy to old man. If God hadn’t of acted then AIDS would have taken over the world much sooner.

    Scientists, Instead of saying no to depraved acts they try and find a solution so the perverts can keep doing what they want without the recompense. Such scientists have no morals and in my view are as bad.

    And you want these perverts to look after children, we are truly becoming another Sodom and Gomorrah. I don’t think it will be long before we see some action from above. Repent while you have time, the first century christians did and changed their lifestyle from that of homosexuals. 1 Cor 6:9,11. Paul sid that is what some of you were! They obviously changed when they became christian.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Paul:

      For a ‘Christian’ it is very clear, No Homosexuals

      Lots of things were very clear to Jesus–no homosexuals, stone unruly children, death to spiritual mediums, death for adultery, and eat no unclean animals. And that’s just one nutty chapter (Lev. 20)! I’m pretty sure it comes as a package. You can’t not stone to death unruly children, witches, and adulterers but keep the anti-gay verse because of some personal agenda.

      Rom 1:26,27

      The beginning of 1:26 says, “God gave them over to shameful lusts.” What does that mean? That they wouldn’t have committed “sin” but for God taking some sort of action? What’s that all about??

      This means when you look at the human body you see where the bits fit and go.

      Homosexual activity has been documented in 500 animal species. It’s natural.

      (Typically, the apologist at this point blusters, “Well … natural doesn’t necessarily mean good! Cyanide is natural!” To which I say: harm is the issue. Cyanide does harm; cyanide is bad. Consensual homosexual sex doesn’t cause harm; therefore, it’s not bad. Easy, right?)

      don’t we see AIDS is a result of this perversion against nature.

      More research and less agenda, please! AIDS in Africa is an equal-opportunity disease. Gay sex doesn’t transfer HIV; sex does.

      No wonder God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. They were sexual perverts from small boy to old man.

      Oh? What’s your evidence for this?

      If God hadn’t of acted then AIDS would have taken over the world much sooner.

      Good ol’ God! He’s always looking out for us! What a pal.

      Tell him I said Thanks. And tell him that next time, destroy the disease, not the people.

      Scientists, Instead of saying no to depraved acts they try and find a solution so the perverts can keep doing what they want without the recompense.

      “Pervert” is in the eye of the beholder. How about someone who comes into the Emergency Room with a gunshot wound or an injury from a car wreck. You’d just not treat them, I guess, to teach them a lesson?

      Yeah, those scientists–don’t get me started. Ridding the world of smallpox (which killed 500,000,000 in the 20th century alone). And now they’re about to get rid of polio and Guinea worm! Fiddling with God’s Perfect Plan®™ (patent pending) is not a smart move, people!

      And you want these perverts to look after children, we are truly becoming another Sodom and Gomorrah.

      What does this mean—no gay schoolteachers?

      Dude, you’re an adult, right? Let’s think this through so we avoid embarrassment in the future—the problem is people (usually men, I’m afraid) who have a hard time keeping their libido in their pants. Once again, it’s sex, not gay sex. Thank you, God, for your gift of sex!

      • Paul

        Bob said; The beginning of 1:26 says, “God gave them over to shameful lusts.” What does that mean? That they wouldn’t have committed “sin” but for God taking some sort of action? What’s that all about??

        If you look at the previous verses, God has shown that his Godship is clearly seen in creation. It is empty-headed and unreasoning ones refuse to recognise a creator but instead give glory to corruptible man, birds, four-footed creatures and creeping things. In other words they reject a creator and would much rather venerate themselves and the created thing (evolution).
        The result is that God gives them up to the end result of such thinking, depravity, disgraceful sexual appetite and homosexuality. This is the result of not believeing in a creator.
        For which acts you will recieve the “full recompence”.
        It is man not God that put us on the path we are now. Adam and Eve rebelled at his rulership and what you see today is a result of this. Don’t blame God for what we have done. It is God’s plan to put it right once again and we can choose to be a part of it or not.
        True God gave man a penis, but we can use it for what it was intended or abuse it’s use. If I gave you a base-ball bat but you chose to belt someone over the head with it, it is hardly my fault is it? You have abused it’s intended purpose.
        That’s what the theory and teaching of evolution does, it abuses our God given gifts and allows people to have no morals or guidance, because they are not reponsible to anybody. One can leave a self-determined life with no responsibilty. If you are to blame anyone for the mess we are in, the teaching of evolution is a major contributor.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Paul:

          If you look at the previous verses, God has shown that his Godship is clearly seen in creation.

          That’s a bold claim. Is there something to back it up? “It’s obvious!” doesn’t help me.

          The result is that God gives them up to the end result of such thinking, depravity, disgraceful sexual appetite and homosexuality. This is the result of not believeing in a creator.

          But I don’t understand God’s part in this. 1:26 sounds like they wouldn’t have been homosexual if not for God’s actions. In that case, how is mankind culpable if they wouldn’t have done something bad but for God’s actions?

          It is man not God that put us on the path we are now.

          Why? I didn’t eat the apple. Why did I then come out of God’s factory imperfect, unable to make it into heaven on my own? Isn’t that unfair?

          Don’t blame God for what we have done.

          What have we done? And “eat the apple” isn’t an answer because neither you nor I ate the forbidden fruit.

          Anyway, why condemn Adam and Eve for breaking a moral injunction when they didn’t yet have moral insights??

          It is God’s plan to put it right once again and we can choose to be a part of it or not.

          “Choose”? You mean like believing in Jesus? I can’t just choose to believe.

          True God gave man a penis, but we can use it for what it was intended or abuse it’s use.

          And what was it intended for? Look in nature–homosexuality documented in 500 animal species. Looks like homosexuality is very much part of God’s Plan®.

          That’s what the theory and teaching of evolution does

          Huh? Is evolution the best explanation we have for why life is the way it is? If so, let’s teach it!

          … it abuses our God given gifts and allows people to have no morals or guidance, because they are not reponsible to anybody.

          It explains things; it doesn’t dictate morality.

          Anyway, what idiot would imagine that atheists and scientists aren’t responsible to other people? To their friends, family, coworkers, fellow citizens? Look around you–I can’t imagine you think that atheists blithely wander through life without responsibility.

        • Paul

          Bob said; That’s a bold claim. Is there something to back it up? “It’s obvious!” doesn’t help me.
          Design needs a designer, a simple truth. Order does not come from chaos. For example in recent years intelligent men have been designing and programing lifeless robots, what would it take to create a living cell, let alone a human being containing millions of such cells?
          Consider this; Think of the challenge facing researches who feel that life arose by ‘chance’. They have found some amino acids that also appear in living cells. In their laboratories, they have, by means of carefully designed and directed experiments, manufactured other more complex molecules. Ultimately, they hope to build all the parts needed to construct a “simple” cell. Their situation could be likened to that of a scientist who takes naturally occurring elements; transforms them into steel, plastic, silicone, and wire; and constructs a robot. He then programs the robot to be able to build copies of itself.

          By doing so what does it prove?

          At best, that an intelligent entity can create an impressive machine.

          Similarly, if scientists ever did construct a cell, they would accomplish something truly amazing, but would they prove that the cell could be made by accident?
          If anything, they would prove the very opposite, would they not?

        • http://crossexaminedblog.com Bob Seidensticker

          Design needs a designer, a simple truth.

          A claim needs backing, simple truth.

          Order does not come from chaos.

          Oh, but it does!

          Dissolve sugar in water. The sugar molecules are in complete disorder. Let it dissolve and see the beautiful ordered castles of sugar that are left behind (order).

          Think of the challenge facing researches who feel that life arose by ‘chance’.

          It’s the scientific consensus, my friend. I’m afraid you’re just going to have to get used to it. You’re like Don Quixote fighting windmills.

      • Marco

        Hi Bob, just finished the book, landed on this page and what do I see? The characters of the book coming to life. You must be like honey for the lunatic fringe. As I was reading the book I thought to myself “I hope this guy doesn’t have his comments open on his blog or he is going to have to spend eternity arguing with apologists”.

        Good job on this thread, by the way. I like your style. Love to see the apologists in tighter and tighter knots. Good luck.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Welcome to my world! Yeah, lots of people with lots of energy for these topics. I’m on the same page with some of them and very much not with others, but it’s usually educational for me.

          How’d you like the book?

      • nakedanthropologist

        Hi, Bob! I’ve been lurking around your blog for some time, and only very recently commented. But, I thought to send you a link on historical same sex marriage – which turns out, there were many. Here’s the link :

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_same-sex_unions

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Interesting information. Thanks!

  • Paul

    Bob said: But I don’t understand God’s part in this. 1:26 sounds like they wouldn’t have been homosexual if not for God’s actions. In that case, how is mankind culpable if they wouldn’t have done something bad but for God’s actions?
    I’m not sure how you draw the conclusion that through God’s action man became homosexual?
    Please explain??

    • Bob Seidensticker

      “God gave them over to shameful lusts.” God took an action. If he hadn’t, would Man have sinned? Sounds like not.

    • Marco

      Come on! If we are created in God’s image it means God created homosexual as much as he created heterosexuals.
      I have had the pleasure and honor to have many close friendships with many people that were gay and lesbian. Not a single one of them felt they had a choice in the matter. It was simply who they were. Homosexuality is not a trend or a style like I may decide one day to wear a turtleneck sweater. It’s an identity and it is very much part of the person. That means that it’s natural (as in “not a construct of men”) and it is often observed in other animals (as I Have done with my own eyes). For us heathens, the explanation stops there. If you must believe in a god, then it surely follows that this god was responsible for making these people who they are as they made me heterosexual.

      You are just a garden variety bigot trying to justify your intolerance by quoting a bronze age book.

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Whenever you see a rainbow, God is having gay sex.

  • Paul

    Bob said: Why? I didn’t eat the apple. Why did I then come out of God’s factory imperfect, unable to make it into heaven on my own? Isn’t that unfair?
    God’s factory (if you want to call it that) started us off perfect, but with free will. We could choose to follow our creator or not. That is what the tree represented. Sadly Adam and Eve along with a rebellious spirit creature decided not to listen to the creator, chose an independent course. They did not question his power (which would have been easy to answer), but they questioned Jehovah’s right to rule, and later the spirit creature (Satan) questioned our ability to serve God. Only letting time pass would prove Adams and Satan’s claim, that independence from our creator would be best.
    You may consider this ‘unfair’, but that is what they sold us into. Jehovah put into place a purpose to undo what they have done. As we have free will, we can choose to recognise Jehovah’s right to rule as our creator or follow Adam and Satan. Jehovah does not force this upon you. Millions have chosen to follow their creator and live a better life as a result and have a wonderful future ahead.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      God’s factory (if you want to call it that) started us off perfect, but with free will.

      I was made imperfect, according to God’s plan. So it’s my fault that I’m imperfect??

      We could choose to follow our creator or not.

      It would help to know that he existed …

      they questioned Jehovah’s right to rule

      That’s a lot to put on childlike creatures who had no understanding of good and evil.

      You may consider this ‘unfair’, but that is what they sold us into.

      Of course it’s unfair being punished for something you didn’t do. You don’t agree? Or are you saying that God can do whatever he wants (might makes right)?

      Millions have chosen to follow their creator and live a better life as a result and have a wonderful future ahead.

      God apparently made me so that I demand evidence. I guess he’s getting his money’s worth for putting that big brain inside me.

      • Paul

        Bob said; “God gave them over to shameful lusts.” God took an action. If he hadn’t, would Man have sinned? Sounds like not.

        God took action AFTER they had sinned. Previous to this his purpose was for Adam and Eve to live in paradise with perfect life, health and the prospect of bearing perfect children. They gave this up to the mess we have now.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          (1) They annoyed God. (2) “God gave them over to shameful lusts.” (3) They did homosex.

          My concern remains.

        • Paul

          How do you know it was designed? Did you meet the designer? Talk to him?

          I could name a building that you do not know the person who designed it and yet you know it was designed, WHY?

          Design by “supernatural” is everywhere Bob, open your eyes. The cell, the human brain, music.
          I am afraid Bob you just don’t want to see it. There is none so blind as those who don’t want to see Bob. You are of that category sorry. Beyond help and too clever for your own good. I rest my case and will endeavour to talk to more sensible people. Been an interesting chat over the months, but I’m wasting my time obviously.
          Your answers will come soon enough but not what you expect. You cannot continue to mock the Creator and come off a winner Bob. If I were you I would consider your situation very seriously the clock is ticking, but not for long.

        • Retro

          Paul wrote: I could name a building that you do not know the person who designed it and yet you know it was designed, WHY?

          Because we know people build buildings, we see examples of this all the time. We know that people exist.

          I can show you a person who designs buildings. You can talk to him or her. You can ask the designer questions and watch them draw up the plans.

          What you are proposing Paul, is that a God we’ve never seen, that has done something no one has seen.

          Can you show me God? Can I talk to God as I do a person? Can you show me God designing something? Can you show me God doing anything today?

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Paul:

          Design by “supernatural” is everywhere Bob, open your eyes.

          So just fall back to our Stone Age emotions? Forget what science has taught us these past centuries?

          I think I’ll stick with the one with the track record.

          I am afraid Bob you just don’t want to see it.

          Wrong. I’m afraid your clairvoyant sense isn’t working today.

          There is none so blind as those who don’t want to see Bob.

          Yeah, that, or … or maybe you’re blinded by an ancient superstition and are making rationalizations to shore up your beliefs. You want to tamp down that nagging doubt that maybe you’re little different than the Hari Krishnas or Moonies or Scientologists.

          Your answers will come soon enough but not what you expect.

          Ah, the good old finger wag. Nice touch!

          “You young whippersnappers these days! You’ll get yours, by golly!”

          You do know that Pascal’s Wager applies to you just as much as me, right? What if you backed the wrong horse? It’ll suck if you burn in Buddhist hell or Muslim hell or some other religion’s afterlife.

          If you understand why those aren’t worth worrying about, then you’ll understand why your threats mean little to me.

  • Paul

    Bob said: What have we done? And “eat the apple” isn’t an answer because neither you nor I ate the forbidden fruit.
    Unfortunately Bob we are their children, born into sin. (If you have a bread tin with a dint, all bread baked in that tin will have a dint) However you can break free from this state. Millions have, and I truly wish you would Bob.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      So we’re born into sin, but not for anything we did. So we’re burdened, unfairly, for something we didn’t do. Can’t God invent a saner, fairer plan?

      Sure, I can embrace Christianity. But why that religion out of the thousands to choose from? Indeed, why Christianity for you instead of the thousands of others?

      • Paul

        Bob said; So we’re born into sin, but not for anything we did. So we’re burdened, unfairly, for something we didn’t do. Can’t God invent a saner, fairer plan?
        Paul said; You have got it Bob, Not Fair, but here we are. God’s plan is exactly what we need, it could not be fairer even if you tried another way.
        Only time could establish if Satan and Adam were right. This has been done now and every conceivable government to try and get it right and has failed miserably. So it’s time to do it God’s way, hence the prayer “let your Kingdom come.”
        Bob said; Sure, I can embrace Christianity. But why that religion out of the thousands to choose from? Indeed, why Christianity for you instead of the thousands of others?
        Paul said; The simple fact is the truth only allows for one religion. You can’t have many truths for the same belief. The Bible does not teach multiple truths. It calls Jehovah the Only True God. Millions have done this search and found the answer, and I invite you to do the same Bob.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          You have got it Bob, Not Fair, but here we are.

          That’s all I’ve been saying–that God isn’t fair. I’m glad we agree.

          This has been done now and every conceivable government to try and get it right and has failed miserably. So it’s time to do it God’s way, hence the prayer “let your Kingdom come.”

          What do you propose? A Christian theocracy?

          Y’know, the evidence is in. Compare less-Christian gay-loving Western countries like those in Europe against the US, and we red-blooded God-fearing Americans are shown up on metric after metric. It’s pretty embarrassing, but there you have it.

          The Bible does not teach multiple truths.

          Who cares? Show me that it’s the truth.

    • Retro

      Paul wrote:(If you have a bread tin with a dint, all bread baked in that tin will have a dint) However you can break free from this state. Millions have,…

      If millions have broken free from this state, then why are their tins still dented?

      If Jesus truly solved the sin problem, then why hasn’t that fixed the death problem too?

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Retro:

        I have wondered why, if Adam’s sin was not opt-in, the redemption of Jesus is. Shouldn’t it be symmetric?

        If we get tarred with Adam’s brush whether we want to or not, we should be cleaned with Jesus’s Turpentine whether we want to or not.

        • Paul

          Then you would complain you had no choice. But then you would say I had no choice in the first instance!

          Well here is your chance Retro, you get to choose. So what will it be?

          God or Chance? Choose wisely your life is involved.

        • Retro

          Paul wrote: Well here is your chance Retro, you get to choose. So what will it be?

          God or Chance? Choose wisely your life is involved.

          What do you mean my life is involved? Unless God is going to strike me dead, I’m not going to live any longer or shorter than I would as a Christian.

          This is why I was asking about why people’s bread tins were still dented.

          I don’t really want to be too confrontational about this, but it’s nonsensical to say that Jesus changed the sin problem or death.

          The curse was that would PHYSICALLY die, correct? Believers will still PHYSICALLY die, correct?

          Switching the definition of death from physical to spiritual is called equivocation.

          God or Chance?

          Why should I choose a God that designed a “perfect” system that could be, and would be destroyed by a single bite of a single fruit by a single person? And when this God “fixed” the fruit eating problem, He didn’t undo any of the physical parts of the problem that we can actually see. No, this God you wish me to choose has only “fixed” the invisible problems.

          “Chance”, as you call it, would explain why things aren’t perfect. If it’s a bottom -up design, then we’d expect that things would be exactly as we see them now.

          Honestly, your God doesn’t sound much different to me than chance.

        • Paul

          Retro said; What do you mean my life is involved? Unless God is going to strike me dead, I’m not going to live any longer or shorter than I would as a Christian. This is why I was asking about why people’s bread tins were still dented. I don’t really want to be too confrontational about this, but it’s nonsensical to say that Jesus changed the sin problem or death. The curse was that would PHYSICALLY die, correct? Believers will still PHYSICALLY die, correct? Switching the definition of death from physical to spiritual is called equivocation.
          Paul said; As I mentioned earlier, the answer to Adam and Satan claims will take time. The questions have been answered, in that man can prove faithful to God despite hardship. There is a set time when God will act in behalf of the faithful, and it is not far away. Jesus gained back what Adam lost and has paid the ransom of his life on earth to get it, if we accept that and follow him we become his children not Adams, and in time we will get back what Adam lost. Perfect life in Paradise on earth.
          I will correct you if I may. The curse was not physical but spiritual, however the result has physical results as in death. Through Jesus and our accepting him we have our spirituality restored in effect and the result in the future is physical benefits. I hope this makes sense.
          God or Chance?
          Retro said; Why should I choose a God that designed a “perfect” system that could be, and would be destroyed by a single bite of a single fruit by a single person? And when this God “fixed” the fruit eating problem, He didn’t undo any of the physical parts of the problem that we can actually see. No, this God you wish me to choose has only “fixed” the invisible problems. “Chance”, as you call it, would explain why things aren’t perfect. If it’s a bottom -up design, then we’d expect that things would be exactly as we see them now. Honestly, your God doesn’t sound much different to me than chance.
          Paul said; He created us with free will, he desires us to worship him because we want to. Gave us a great start and good reason to love him. Foolishly Adam chose to believe lies that Satan told. Rather than destroy us at the time, God out of love for humanity has allowed time for the issue to be settled once for all time. The fact is he could have created us like animals, non reasoning and obey a set of rules from birth to death. But we are not unreasoning animals, he even gave us a conscience to guide us, no other creation on earth has this. So it is not chance but a choice that faces us.

        • Retro

          Paul wrote: Through Jesus and our accepting him we have our spirituality restored in effect and the result in the future is physical benefits.

          Exactly my point. Our spirituality (which we can’t see) is restored, but the physical (which we can see) doesn’t change until some time in the future, and by then… it’s too late for unbelievers.

          Show me one physical thing that changes, and maybe I’ll be interested to hear about spiritual ones.

          Wasn’t this the point of Jesus performing miracles… it was a physical demonstration of His spiritual authority? Why can’t we moderns have a physical demonstration too?

          Rather than destroy us at the time, God out of love for humanity has allowed time for the issue to be settled once for all time.

          …or, He could have settled the issue right away. Why wait for thousands of years? Why wait any longer? What excuse is there?

          Paul, are you familiar with the story of Elijah and the 400 prophets of Baal?

          When Baal failed to respond, Elijah taunted: “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”

          If your God has the power to show up like in 1 Kings 18, then why doesn’t He show up now?

          Why did Jesus show up physically, but then had to leave? Why not stick around here on Earth? Do you realize how suspicious it is that the main physical evidence of your claim flew up into the sky 2,000 years ago, not to be seen again?

          Now that the sin problem is fixed, what’s preventing Jesus from physically showing up to me or Bob S right now? No one burst into flames around Jesus when He was walking around 2,000 years ago. No one had there free will taken away by being in the presence of Jesus. What possible excuse could there be?

      • Paul

        I give up Bob, you wouldn’t believe it if I explained.

        Your just too clever. All hail Bob.

  • Paul

    Bob said: Anyway, why condemn Adam and Eve for breaking a moral injunction when they didn’t yet have moral insights??
    They had everything there to enable them to make the right choice. For example the Bible says that God spoke with them personally on a regular basis, they simply could have checked the claims of Satan by checking with God. But they didn’t even talk to him. Adam had been on the earth for a long time and before Eve was created he had been busy studying and naming all the animals. We know this must have been some time as when Eve turned up, Adam said, “At last, bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.” So Adam had obviously built up a relationship of daily conversations with his creator for many years. That is why Adam is blamed and not Eve.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      They had everything there to enable them to make the right choice.

      Yeah … except for the key thing, knowledge of good and evil. The obviously didn’t have that because they hadn’t eaten the fruit yet.

      • Paul

        Paul said; They had everything there to enable them to make the right choice.
        Bob said; Yeah … except for the key thing, knowledge of good and evil. The obviously didn’t have that because they hadn’t eaten the fruit yet.
        Paul said; They knew right from wrong, as God said they could eat anything from all the other trees except for one, and were told if you eat from it you will die. They knew what death was as Adam had been observing creation had obviously had seen other creatures die, decompose and become part of the earth again. The choice of eating from the tree was a course of self determination rather than listening to their creator for direction on what was ‘good and bad’ for them. Partaking of the fruit was a clear indication that they wanted to make up their own mind as to what was ‘good or bad’ for themselves. Yeah Right, we can see where that got them. DEAD and sold us into misery.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          [Adam and Eve] knew right from wrong

          Then what could they gain from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil if they already knew right from wrong??

          You must be consistent with your story, not hammer it to take your own theology.

  • Paul

    Bob said: “Choose”? You mean like believing in Jesus? I can’t just choose to believe.
    Yes you can Bob, why do you believe what you do now? It’s because you have researched and studied. Well give Jehovah the same amount of your time and energy and study God’s Word. Jehovah’s Witnesses can help you with this (for FREE) no obligation, just look at the facts from God’s Word.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Because evidence compels me to! I can’t choose to believe, just like you can’t choose to believe in unicorns (give it a try and tell me how that goes).

      And again, why focus on Jehovah? Why not any of the other bazillion religions?

      • Paul

        Bob said; And again, why focus on Jehovah? Why not any of the other bazillion religions?
        Paul said; Because he is the author of the Bible, Identifies himself as the creator. Jehovah is identified as far back as Adam and Eve, the beginning of humanity.
        Satan set himself up as a rival God at that time and all other God’s and religion spring from Babel where Jehovah confused mankinds languages. Babel became Babylon from which most false teachings, even some Christian religions get most of their false ideas about Jehovah. This is a discussion on it’s own, which I am happy to discuss if you wish.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Because he is the author of the Bible, Identifies himself as the creator.

          “Bob wrote on this piece of paper. This is genuine. I am the creator.”

          (I’m just transcribing from a piece of paper here on my desk. Sounds important. You probably need to change your allegiance.)

          You’re simply spouting theology. I have little interest in this; I’m looking for a logical, evidenced reason to accept your beliefs and am finding nothing.

        • Paul

          More evidence of talking to someone who is a fool. What idiotic reasoning and you know it Bob.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          There is indeed idiotic reasoning going on here, but I don’t think it’s by me.

          Don’t blame me! You’re the one who said that God’s identifying himself as the Creator in the Bible means anything. (You do know that this could all just be mythology, right? Just like the thousands of others?)

  • Paul

    Bob said: And what was it intended for? Look in nature–homosexuality documented in 500 animal species. Looks like homosexuality is very much part of God’s Plan®.
    You are saying this because you put animals on the same level as humans (by product of having faith in evolution). But we are not and KNOW what is right and wrong, animals do not have a conscience, another evidence by the way of creation. If homosexuality were part of Gods Plan why did he create a male and female in the beginning?

    • Bob Seidensticker

      You are saying this because you put animals on the same level as humans (by product of having faith in evolution).

      Faith?? What good is that? No, I have trust in science, and science gives us evolution as the (tentative) best explanation for why life is the way it is.

      Yup, we’re animals. Sorry if that’s a shock to you. And getting back to the point: homosexuality has been documented in 500 species. We’re just one more. The “that’s unnatural” claim doesn’t hold water.

  • Paul

    Huh? Is evolution the best explanation we have for why life is the way it is? If so, let’s teach it!
    Are you saying Bob that evolution is not true? You really are confusing at times Bob!
    Are you honestly happy the way life is today? Murder, rape, genocide, treat of nuclear bombs, deforestation, pollution, starving millions and not to mention a looming financial crisis just around the corner??
    You’re a sick man if this is the best we have got.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Are you saying Bob that evolution is not true? You really are confusing at times Bob!

      Only if you’re determined to be confused.

      Evolution is our best guess at why life is the way it is.

      You’re a sick man if this is the best we have got.

      You got better ideas? “More Jesus!” is obviously not working. Godless, gay-loving Europe blows us away on social metrics, I’m afraid.

  • Paul

    Bob said: Anyway, what idiot would imagine that atheists and scientists aren’t responsible to other people? To their friends, family, coworkers, fellow citizens? Look around you–I can’t imagine you think that atheists blithely wander through life without responsibility.
    What planet do you live on Bob? That’s exactly how they go through life.
    How do you think they justify making Nuclear weapons? Flame Throwers and bombs. 80% of the world’s scientist are involved in finding better ways to destroy human life.
    Wake up Bob.
    Scientist’s are imperfect humans, paid by corrupt governments. You really think they are above corrupt thinking?
    Actually I was out going door to door this morning and I meet and atheist lady, she had a beautiful little girl. She smiled at us and asked what we wanted, when I told her who we were, her demeanour changed into someone very angry and said she was an atheist and hated us religious people and basically to go to hell and slammed the door. Now she just lives around the corner, my neighbour. So here’s the question does being an atheist make you a better and responsible person, open to discussion? I wonder what her little girl is going to grow up like?

    • Bob Seidensticker

      What planet do you live on Bob? That’s exactly how they go through life.

      If you think that the prisons are full of atheists and that atheists feel no responsibility toward any other humans (family or otherwise), then your perception of reality is so skewed that we have nothing to talk about on this particular subject.

  • Paul

    Paul said; Design needs a designer, a simple truth.
    Bob said; A claim needs backing, simple truth.
    Paul said; Now who’s being difficult Bob. If you saw a beautiful building the first thing an intelligent person says is, “Who designed that?” You don’t say I wonder how that got there? Oh that was an amazing accident!
    What further backing do you need? The truth is so simple you miss it Bob. That is exactly what the Bible says Rom 1:20 – 22. “they have become empty-headed in their reasonings and their unintelligent heart became darkened. Although asserting they were wise, they become foolish.”

    • Bob Seidensticker

      I might indeed say, “Who designed that?” for something that I knew was designed! We have zillions of examples of “buildings.” By contrast, we have zero examples of “supernatural being.”

      Quote your ancient book if you want, but it means little to me. This verse is a case in point. You think you win the argument by citing a verse that says, “It’s obvious!”? Well, it’s not obvious to me. I need, y’know, evidence. I guess I’m old fashioned like that.

      • Hunter C

        Bob, what is the purpose of this blog if our ancient book “means little” to you? Clearly it perturbs you a great deal, because you seem to be incredibly dedicated to your book and website. (Don’t you think the fact that it is so lashed out against – yet has stood strong for millennia – suggests something about its lasting truth?)

        As to your comment about evidence of buildings vs the supernatural being: I think you misunderstood the analogy. The buildings are the evidence for the architect – you do not ask for further evidence that the buildings exist (unless you question your empirical abilities); likewise, the evidence of the “supernatural architect” ARE His “buildings.” The earth is so complex and unfathomable – we know intuitively that it had to have been created. There is no way that chance tumbled together a series of events and matter to create anything. The Big Bang theory purports that something came from nothing (how – unless by an outside force capable of creating?), and beliefs that the universe has always existed work against our understanding of time (if an infinite series of events led up to this moment in which I am typing a comment on your blog – how did we ever get to this moment? Aren’t there infinite moments before this that would have to occur, millions after millions after millions…? There would be no conceivable “point in time” ever). We have no proof for the theory of evolution (and I say theory emphatically), and no way to test it now. The universe – even if it was infinitely less complex than we do perceive it to be – would have to come from something intelligent and capable of creating.

        It is not by any means an easy concept to grasp – Christians can hardly claim that they know comprehensively the means by which God exists or created the world. However, any view on how anything exists requires faith. Christians simply put their faith not in chance or matter or time or any other impotent concept, but the absolute and intelligent Creator God. I pray you would have an open mind to understanding why others believe what they do, and that you will be able to critically look at your own faith, whatever it be.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Hunter: Thanks for the comment.

          Clearly [the Bible] perturbs you a great deal, because you seem to be incredibly dedicated to your book and website.

          If Christians in America saw the First Amendment the way I did, if Christians had a “live and let live” attitude, if Christians did their thing and I never saw evidence of it except the occasional cross on a necklaces or church building, I’d find another hobby. But that’s not the case. Christians are eager to see prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments on public property, and Creationism in the public school science classroom.

          Of course, that’s not all Christians. And probably not even most Christians. Nevertheless, there is a large fraction that are busily working to change America. (The same America that had the world’s first secular constitution.) Not cool.

          Don’t you think the fact that it is so lashed out against – yet has stood strong for millennia – suggests something about its lasting truth?

          Not in the least. Some religion will be #1. That says quite a lot about marketing and very little about truth.

          I think you misunderstood the analogy. The buildings are the evidence for the architect

          Because we know that buildings are designed by architects. We have many examples.

          the evidence of the “supernatural architect” ARE His “buildings.”

          And, as I stated, we have zero prior examples of a supernatural anything. Yes, there might be a supernatural architect, but this would be startling because we know of no supernatural beings so far.

          The earth is so complex

          Right. And we mustn’t confuse complexity for design. “It’s complex, therefore it was designed” is no argument.

          we know intuitively that it had to have been created.

          And that’s not much of an argument either.

          There is no way that chance tumbled together a series of events and matter to create anything.

          This just a gut instinct? Why not rely on science, which has proven its worth so many times?

          Evolution is the scientific consensus. I can’t think of a platform from which I’d reject the consensus view, being a layman.

          The Big Bang theory purports that something came from nothing

          Nope. The Big Bang was an expansion event, not a creation event. About what happened before, science says, “I don’t know.”

          if an infinite series of events led up to this moment in which I am typing a comment on your blog – how did we ever get to this moment?

          Yes, that’s an interesting thought problem. Here’s another: if God created the universe, what created God? That is, why does God get a pass and get to have been here forever?

          We have no proof for the theory of evolution …

          Indeed, science has no proof for anything. Proof is reserved for math or logic. Science must content itself with following the evidence where it leads. And that has obviously been a very fruitful path.

          … (and I say theory emphatically)

          Is this some slam against “scientific theory”? Theory is as good as it gets! A theory doesn’t graduate to something else.

          However, any view on how anything exists requires faith.

          Nope. When science reliably points somewhere, we accept that through trust.

          I pray you would have an open mind to understanding why others believe what they do, and that you will be able to critically look at your own faith, whatever it be.

          I don’t think I take anything on faith. If there’s not enough evidence to accept something, then I just don’t accept it. There’s no need to build a bridge of faith to access a belief with insufficient evidence.

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