9 Arguments Christians Give Against Same-Sex Marriage

wedding cake

This is the continuation of our look at three interesting articles on same-sex marriage. In part 1, we looked at a recommended secret weapon that Christians use against same-sex marriage.

The second article is “How gay marriage harms people” (2017). Let’s critique the many popular arguments it makes against same-sex marriage.

1. “The Bible says that marriage is rooted in God’s creation of mankind (Matthew 19:4–8).”

The Bible also says that marriage is to be avoided. Paul said, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry” (1 Corinthians 7:8–9). This is one more example where the Bible is a sock puppet that can be made to say just about anything.

Marriage as one of God’s sacred gifts to mankind is a new idea. Marriage wasn’t a Christian sacrament until 1215, and that was only to give the church the power to annul marriages that made political alliances it didn’t like (more here).

2. “Throughout Scripture, it is clear that marriage is a lifelong, exclusive covenantal union of two people—a husband and a wife.”

Nope. God gives polygamy two thumbs up. God said to David, “I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.” (2 Samuel 12:8). More here.

One response is that God was simply working with the imperfect customs of the time, and that’s why he didn’t prohibit slavery or polygamy. In response, it’s ridiculous to imagine the perfect plan of an omnipotent god hobbled by the primitive morality of an Iron Age people. He didn’t have any problem putting the Ten Commandments into action immediately, with the death penalty for violating most of them.

Second, if “God was bound by the customs of the time” doesn’t constrain you from rejecting slavery and polygamy today, then you’re not constrained to keep other nutty Old Testament prohibitions like those against homosexuality. You can’t have it both ways—God’s clear preferences in the Old Testament either bind you or they don’t.

3. “The production of children requires both a man and a woman. So there cannot be any such thing as gay marriage, because marriage requires husband and wife.”

Well, that was a leap. Children require a man and a woman (no, they don’t have to be married), but so what? Reread the marriage vows—there’s a lot in that commitment, but none of it is about making babies.

And if marriage = babies, why focus on the tangential issue of same-sex marriage? Far more straight couples have a fertility problem than there are potential homosexual couples, and many more straight couples simply don’t want children. Why not complain that they are the ones who don’t understand what marriage is about? Or if you’re fine with childless straight couples, why not be consistent and accept childless gay couples? (The answer for those keeping score at home: they reject only gay childless couples because “marriage is all about the babies” is just a smokescreen.) More here.

Here again, the Bible is no friend to the Christian bigot. Paul says, “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman” (1 Cor. 7:1). So much for the celebrated role of procreation.

The Bible also uses marriage as a metaphor for the relationship of Jesus to the church—is making babies the point of this marriage as well, or can marriage be about something more? More here.

 


See also: 20 Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage, Rebutted


 

4. “Homosexual activity is harmful and destructive to oneself and others.”

Why? How? This statement is supported by no argument, so it doesn’t need an argument to be dismissed.

5. “If we abandon the Bible’s teaching on marriage and just make up new definitions as we go, then why couldn’t marriage be redefined in other ways?”

Uh, it has, and in your lifetime. Mixed-race marriage is now legal. Divorce has become no-fault. Marital rape is illegal.

Different states even have different rules defining marriage—whether you can marry your cousin, whether a blood test is required, waiting period, residency requirements, rules for divorced persons, and so on. No, the definition of “marriage” isn’t fixed, so don’t get your knickers in a bunch because marriage has changed again.

6. “The more we move away from the biblical teaching on marriage, the more we’ll have broken homes, because other arrangements simply do not work as well as God’s design.”

In the United States, the Constitution is completely secular. The First Amendment prohibits “because the Bible (or God) says so” from being the basis of any law. This is fortunate since statistics reveal that more religion in Western countries correlates with worse social conditions (more here).

Another problem with your desire to guide America with biblical principles is that the Bible’s punishment for homosexuality is death. You can’t have a crime without a punishment, so your hypocrisy is showing if you tell us that homosexuality is bad because God says so without also demanding God’s punishment.

Finally, and despite your best efforts, this doesn’t affect you at all. If you don’t like gay marriage, then don’t get gay married. If you are honestly concerned about attacks on marriage (rather than being a moral busybody, which is what it looks like), same-sex marriage is the good guy in this story. It is trying to expand and support marriage, not attack it. You want a problem? Divorce is a problem. Focus on why marriages fail if you want to help them.

Continue with the final part, “You Think You Understand What Leviticus Says Against Homosexuality?

Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things.

One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in Hell.
The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on Earth
and you should save it for someone you love.  
— Butch Hancock

Image credit: Bev Sykes, flickr, CC

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Mark Landes

    Damn you logic and facts. Disproving why I hated myself for 30 plus years.

    Thank you for your support!!

  • RichardSRussell

    “Every Time You See a Rainbow God Is Having Gay Sex” —bumper sticker

  • guerillasurgeon

    Well, numbers 1, 2, 5 and 6 are easily answered by “We don’t believe in your God or your Bible.”

  • Ford Warrick Jr

    Conservative Christians don’t approve of same-sex relationships and look to the Bible for evidence that justifies that belief. Progressive Christians accept same-sex relationships and look to the Bible for evidence that justifies that belief. The belief comes first, then the reasoning, making appeals to the Bible effectively meaningless.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The Bible is a sock puppet. Everyone should have one.

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        I prefer the analogy of the Rorschach inkblot. There is much which can be seen there by different people.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s a good one, too. Each analogy says something a little different. The reason the sock puppet works for me is that you can use the sock puppet to give authority to your opinions.

          “What’s that, sock puppet? You say that you hate fags? Well, I’ll be sure to pass that along!”

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          They’re valid in different situations, I’m sure, and also not mutually exclusive. So first they may open the Bible, find what they want there (the inkblot) later on using it as a sock puppet to support their view.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          A mirror is another useful analogy.

          “Hey! God hates all the people that I hate! Cool.”

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          That reminds me of this.
          https://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=AwrTcX9XbIFZucEA0KeJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTIzc3RlOHNiBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZAMxMWQ4M2QzOGM1ODg0N2M2MTZjOGUwOTY5MTMxMmUwNQRncG9zAzY1BGl0A2Jpbmc-?.origin=&back=https%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%2Fimages%3Fp%3DMirror%2BGod%26fr%3Duh-mail-web%26nost%3D1%26tab%3Dorganic%26ri%3D65&w=742&h=480&imgurl=silenced.co%2F2016%2F02%2Fa-god-who-looks-like-me%2Fjesus_mirror.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.patheos.com%2Fblogs%2Fcrossexamined%2F2016%2F09%2Fdoes-the-bible-reveal-objective-truth-about-homosexuality%2F&size=89.5KB&name=Street%2C+road%2C+avenue%2C+boulevard%2C+bypass%2C+cowpath%2C+they%E2%80%99re+all+names+…&p=Mirror+God&oid=11d83d38c58847c616c8e09691312e05&fr2=&fr=uh-mail-web&tt=Street%2C+road%2C+avenue%2C+boulevard%2C+bypass%2C+cowpath%2C+they%E2%80%99re+all+names+…&b=61&ni=108&no=65&ts=&tab=organic&sigr=13die564e&sigb=132h0163u&sigi=11sc9nsni&sigt=129371go2&sign=129371go2&.crumb=/oXki4ntPRF&fr=uh-mail-web

          Someone linked it with another post you did.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I suspect that adam, “Mr. Images,” was that other source.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Could be.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Reminds me of the old joke: A shrink shows a patient an inkblot and asks what it looks like. “Well, thats a couple having sex on a picnic table”. And this one? “Well thats two women having sex in car” . And this one? “Thats a great big orgy at a french nightclub”. The shrink says “It is obvious you are obsessed with sex”. “ME? I’m obsessed? You are the one with all the dirty pictures!”.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Yeah, that’s a good one.

    • Greg G.

      David’s relationship with Jonathan gets swept under the rug while everybody knows about David’s relationship with Bathsheba.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        In the case of Bathsheba, hubba hubba! Boys will be boys, amirite, gentlemen?! But no real man would do what the haters claim about David and Jonathan.

    • Mr. A

      Oh yes. I have heard bible verses used by christians supporting AND condemning the use of slavery. Vagueness is thier weapon.

    • TheNuszAbides

      … making appeals to the Bible effectively meaningless.

      technically meaningless, sure; unfortunately too many of us remain susceptible to invalid and unsound means of persuasion.

  • Michael Neville

    4. “Homosexual activity is harmful and destructive to oneself and others.”

    The bigots keep saying this but they’re woefully weak on evidence to support either of these claims.

    • mordred

      In areas where bigots like them are in power homosexual people come to harm?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Are you asking about anti-gay legislation in Uganda, Arab countries, and so on?

        • mordred

          That and our western countries not to long ago!

          It’s absurd when the bigots claim they are only against homosexuality because it’s bad for the people when we see the horror inflicted upon gay people by them and their ideological brothers when they get their way!

    • Ford Warrick Jr

      It can be as easily argued, and has been by Christians, that heterosexual activity is harmful and destructive to oneself and others. Christianity has always perceived sex as dangerous and something that needs to be controlled.

      • Chuck Johnson

        It can be as easily argued, and has been by Christians, that heterosexual activity is harmful and destructive to oneself and others. Christianity has always perceived sex as dangerous and something that needs to be controlled.-Ford

        Absence of sexual activity would be the destruction of a society because no babies would be produced.

        Excessive sexual activities would harm societies because people would ignore their tasks and their duties. Nature can lead people in this direction because sex is so much fun.

        The best survival strategy for humans is to have enough sexual activity to provide children, and to facilitate love, bonding and togetherness.
        But also to limit sexual activity so that the chores can get done.

        Biology and instincts provide much of the attraction which encourages sexual activity.

        Laws, customs, habits, taboos, etc. provide much of the inhibition which discourages excessive sexual activity.

        Our modern laws and customs are more sophisticated and functional ways of producing a balanced life which includes sex.

        The ancient laws and customs ( including Jewish and Christian ones) had some wacky, bizarre, violent, extreme and dysfunctional ways of producing a balanced life which includes sex.

        This is an example of cultural adaptive evolution.
        Today, we have better ideas about human sexuality.

        The ways that sexual activity is dealt with is just one small part of the cultural evolution of human societies.

        • lady_black

          NOBODY thinks sexual activity should be controlled “so chores get done.”

        • Chuck Johnson

          We could come up with a long list of reasons that cultural customs require controls on sexual activity.

          Not letting sexual activity displace other important functions in life is an important reason to keep sexual activity under control.
          People may not give such a reason, but when it comes to sex, a lot of incorrect explanations will be given. Ignorance, embarrassment and dishonesty are commonplace in discussions of sex.

          Some people are diagnosed as having a “sex addiction”.
          Any type of addiction can displace healthy, functional behaviors.

        • lady_black

          How is anyone’s sex life other than yourself, POSSIBLY any of your damn business? Control YOUR OWN life. I’m quite sure you have enough on your plate without being in charge of a stranger’s life.
          Even if sex is causing someone a problem, it isn’t your purview to swoop in and “fix it” and you certainly don’t get to control it.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Control YOUR OWN life. -lady_black

          That’s odd.
          You seem to think that I’m inventing reasons for people to behave one way or another.

          No, I am describing reasons which already exist.
          Human culture invents these ideas, and I just notice them.

          The fact that these motivations are hidden to you and to many others is the problem here.

          Moral codes, customs and laws are always based upon real, practical human needs. All too often, through cultural evolution, the original practical needs become unrecognizable due to exaggeration.

          Sexual taboos have had thousands of years to evolve from practical precautions to bizarre social behavior.

        • lady_black

          Uh, NO. What I’m saying is that if people just engage in sex all the time, to the exclusion of everything else, they won’t do it for long, otherwise their lives will go to shit.
          And there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT THAT. It’s none of your business. You can only run your own life.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Uh, NO. What I’m saying is that if people just engage in sex all the
          time, to the exclusion of everything else, they won’t do it for long,
          otherwise their lives will go to shit. -lady_black

          Their lives will go to shit?

          Lady Black, how can you be so judgmental?
          Besides, there is nothing you can do about it and it’s none of your business.
          You can only run your own life.

        • lady_black

          Correct. There is nothing I can do about it. Nor can you do anything about it.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Your understanding of how human societies actually work is very limited.

        • lady_black

          No, as a matter of fact, it’s far superior to yours.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Wrong again, Lady Black.
          That’s a matter of opinion, not a matter of fact.
          Learn what the word “fact” means.
          Now you are just arguing because you like to argue.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The best I’ve gotten is the ancient data that homosexuals had a significantly lower life expectancy. When your move the clock forward (y’know, to today), HIV isn’t that big a deal. Further, HIV infects women and men equally worldwide.

      And it all boils down to: have safe sex. Ah, finally something the Christian fundamentalists and the sensible people can agree on. I love it when that happens.

      • Ford Warrick Jr

        If HIV is divine punishment for immoral behavior, lesbians are God’s chosen people. Just like Mary, mother of Jesus, they often become pregnant without having sex with a man.

      • dala

        Since when is there agreement on that? Pretty sure religious people tend to oppose sex education and condoms.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Of course they do. I was simply trying to point out Christians’ hypocrisy. They worry about homosexuals’ health due to STDs? Great! Get on board with safe sex.

      • Tommy

        and HIV doesn’t discriminate between hetero and homosexuals. Anyone can get infected.

      • Kevin K

        Well, the Christian fundamentalists would alter that just a wee bit. From “safe” to “NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EXCEPT WHEN YOU’RE GETTING YOUR WIFE PREGNANT!!!!!”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And don’t enjoy it much, either.

      • lady_black

        I’m not too certain they are into “safe sex.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Agreed, but that is where this argument takes them.

        • lady_black

          Actually, I think it “takes them” to “keep your legs closed.”

  • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

    Paul says, “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman” (1 Cor. 7:1).

    Erm, here’s the full verse:

    Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” (1 Corinthians 7:1)

    Admittedly the quotation marks are not in the Greek, but that merely introduces ambiguity. Just previously Paul was dealing with a view very different from this:

    “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

    If these added quotation marks are to be trusted, then Paul would appear to be responding to two radically different groups: one which thinks any sex is fine (recall the Oedipus Rex taboo violated in 1 Cor 5:1–5) and one which thinks all sex is horrible. If Paul truly viewed sex as so terrible, then why would he write later on:

    Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? (1 Corinthians 9:5)

    ? Instead, it seems quite reasonable to think that 1 Cor 7 is largely addressed to a very particular group of problems who could only stand to hear a certain range of things. Just like … all of us.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Oh, yeah–Paul thought sex was pretty terrible (see 1 Corinthians 7:8–9, quoted above).

      • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

        Makes perfect sense:

        The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:3–5)

  • skl

    From a strictly evolutionary perspective, homosexuality might be seen as a harmful mutation, as in a mutation which is deleterious to the genetic variation provided by reproduction.

    • Joe

      That’s obviously not the case, due to its continued prevalence throughout the animal kingdom.

      At worst, it’s a non-harmful mutation.

    • eric

      It’s really hard to say. Here’s some things to remember.

      1. Helping 2 nieces or nephews survive to adulthood is the same as helping one child survive to adulthood. It’s an ‘equally valid strategy’ in terms of passing on your genes.

      2. Most developmental traits are not ‘one gene one trait’. They’re a combination. If a set of genes is adaptive in most combinations but maladaptive in a few rare combinations, those genes will persist…and it’s good for the population’s survival that they do so! Think malarial resistance and sickle cell anemia; having those alleles in the gene pool mean the population produces successful offspring, even if the rare individual gets an ‘extra dose’ of those alleles which is individually bad for them.

      3. Homosexuality does not prevent having kids. Neither does heterosexuality ensure it. In terms of passing on genes, evolution wouldn’t select against a trait that causes people to want to sleep with members of the same sex, so long as they also occasionally sleep with members of the opposite sex. Given human’s 9-month pregnancy period, ‘occasionally’ here means a gay person might only need to sleep with a member of the opposite sex a couple times a year to produce the same number of children as a straight monogamous couple. I suspect many gay people pre-1960 had straight sex a lot more often than that.

      4. Genetic traits that caused unusually low sperm count or malformed sperm or eggs would be deleterious to the individual in exactly the same way – it would reduce that individual’s likelihood of having children. So, should we prevent such people from marrying? Are we going to practice eugenics, and dole out marriage licenses only to those people we consider to have non-deleterious genes? Because any argument that gay marriage should be prevented citing the maladaptiveness of the trait logically leads to the conclusion that we should also prevent straight people with maladaptive traits from marrying and having kids.

      • skl

        Nevertheless, I would think that over the long haul a population with a high proportion of homosexuals would have less genetic variation provided by reproduction than a population with a small or zero proportion.

        To say nothing about maintaining or growing the population itself.
        I saw yesterday that Cuba is now making moves to get its people to have more babies. http://www.thedailybeast.com/cuba-to-citizens-have-more-sex
        Other countries such as Russia, China, Iran have been trying
        to do the same for years.

        • eric

          But we don’t have a high proportion. Studies of marriage rates in places like Holland, where it’s been legal for decades, provide estimates of around 2%. Keep in mind that before the 20th century, something like 33% of people didn’t make it to adulthood and human populations grew just fine. So 2% of the population not producing is nothing in terms of an evolutionary threat to human survival. We evolved to deal with much higher rates of non-reproduction than what [20th century medicine] + [gay marriage] creates. 60% would be a high proportion. 2% is peanuts. Laughable, evolutionarily speaking. An order of magnitude less impactful than deleterious factors humans successfully evolved to deal with.

          You also still have the problem of my point #4, which is that you seem to only want to consider preventing marriage to gays, not straight couples or individuals that might negatively impact the 2.1 child/couple replacement rate. Unless you’re willing to outlaw their marriages too, outlawing gay marriages is selective and biased.

          Perhaps we should just cut right to the heart of the replacement rate problem. AIUI, the biggest factors reducing the number of children/couple are: letting women get an education; letting women work for equal pay, and; letting women control their sexuality. Those factors result in women choosing to have kids later, which reduces the average number/woman significantly. So if maintaining a 2.1 child/couple rate is an important goal, it seems to me the social policy you should logically be promoting is less education and less equal pay for women. That would bring up the average number of children per household probably a lot more than preventing the 2% of the population that is gay from marrying.

        • skl

          I was under the impression the proportion of homosexuals was higher than your 2% figure. But regardless, I still think that over the long haul a population with a 2% (and possibly growing) proportion of homosexuals would have less genetic variation provided by reproduction than a population with 0%. Also, I didn’t say this would necessarily be an evolutionary threat to human
          survival. Only that it would provide less genetic variation.

          “You also still have the problem of my point #4, which is that you seem to only want to consider preventing marriage to gays…”

          Excuse me? Where did I say that? I am not against gay marriage.
          I merely asked a question about evolution.

          “Perhaps we should just cut right to the heart of the replacement rate problem. AIUI, the biggest factors reducing the number of children/couple are: letting women get an education; letting women work for equal pay, and; letting women control their sexuality.”

          Whatever it is, a lot of countries are concerned they’re not going to have much of a country left in a couple decades. But even if they die out, someone else, or something else, will fill the gap, and evolution will go on.

        • eric

          I still think that over the long haul a population with a 2% (and possibly growing) proportion of homosexuals would have less genetic variation provided by reproduction than a population with 0%.

          No, because you’re assuming (intentionally or perhaps without thinking about it) that everyone not gay has kids. This is not true and has never been true.

          As I said before, prior to the 20th century something over 33% of born humans never had kids; they died before they could. Wikipedia tells me that the childless rate more recently has fluctuated between 10-20%. Assuming for the moment that all gays don’t have kids, you still have to explain to us why you’re concerned about gays but not about the four to ten times more straights that are behaving in exactly the same way to limit human genetic variation. Where is your concern about them? When one ignores the mountain and claims the molehill is a big problem, it speaks to bias.

          The bottom line is that humanity doesn’t need >99% of its born individuals to have kids in order to maintain a healthy gene pool. Such a situation has never been the case, and would not be the case even if there were no gays. And AFAIK its not the case in any other animal species, either. When humans are down to 100,000 individuals and 75% of them don’t have kids and that pattern continues over a ten, fifty, a hundred generations, that will be a problem. 2% of seven billion people not contributing their genetic diversity to our gene pool? That’s not a problem. Arguably it’s a problem the other way – only 2% not contributing is likely to lead to overpopulation problems.

        • skl

          You make some good points.
          I’ll modify my original statement as follows:

          From a strictly evolutionary perspective, homosexuality and
          non-reproductive heterosexuality might be seen decreasing as the genetic variation provided by reproduction.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So what’s your opinion of asexuals, or just people who don’t want to have kids?

          Would you force them to reproduce, sacrifices on your strawman altar of genetic diversity?

        • lady_black

          And I would remind YOU that “gay” and “lesbian” are NOT synonymous with “sterility.”

        • MadScientist1023

          It depends on what kind of diversity you have to give up entirely to weed out the gene variants which cause homosexuality. There are a number of genetic polymorphisms which contribute to homosexuality. You could theoretically get rid of all of them through natural selection, but you’d likely be giving up a certain amount phenotypic and behavioral diversity in the process.
          Also, since we still don’t know the exact biological causes of homosexuality, we can’t rule out the possibility that it’s impossible to entirely breed out the potential for homosexuality. If the in utero environment turns out to be sufficient to determine whether or not someone is homosexual, then there’s just no getting rid of it with any kind of natural selection.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Keep in mind how much difficulty you had with space, the Big Bang, and so on. I hope you’re not relying much on your intuition.

    • Chuck Johnson

      From a strictly evolutionary perspective, homosexuality might be seen as
      a harmful mutation, as in a mutation which is deleterious to the
      genetic variation provided by reproduction.-skl

      Homosexuality only has some relationship with a person’s DNA.
      There are other, non-DNA factors which are important to an outcome of homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, and other variations of sexual attractions.

      • skl

        I could change that to ‘harmful mutation and/or harmful adaptation’.

        • Chuck Johnson

          I could change that to ‘harmful mutation and/or harmful adaptation’.-skl

          No, that still doesn’t fix the misunderstandings that you have about DNA and the ways that it affects the survivability of individuals and populations.

          To declare a gene to be “for ” or “against” homosexuality would be a mistake, although DNA does figure into it.

          You have imagined a simple system of sex-orientation inheritance, but that simple system does not exist. Things are much more complicated.

          Some biological inheritance patterns are simple to analyze and understand with regard to gene variations, but this is not one of those.

          This article from the LA Times helps to explain how complicated the inheritance influences might be:

          http://tinyurl.com/qhujdu2

        • lady_black

          Well, no. Because either way, you are still not merely the sum total of your genes.

    • PacMan

      I remember reading about a study saying that the sisters of gay males tend to have more children, thus passing on those genes.

      Here is a newspaper article from 2004 – https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/oct/13/highereducation.research

      So, overall, the genes (if any) added to the population growth. Very few things in biology are single purpose, nor are they, in general, be given a simple good/bad label.

      • skl

        Please don’t misunderstand. I wasn’t giving anything a “good/bad label”. I was just expressing what would seem to be happening in evolutionary terms. Just what is.

        • PacMan

          “Good/Bad” was probably a bad choice on my part.
          I was heading towards “Advantage/Disadvantage”. A bit like sickle-cell anemia genes.

          For example:
          1 or 2 copies in a female = better fertility
          1 copy in a male = no effect
          2 copies in male = same-sex attraction
          (Note: I know that this is over simplistic and incorrect, there would, as a minimum, be a lot more genes and interactions involved.)

          Is that gene an overall advantage to the species surviving, or a disadvantage?

          If it is an advantage, it “explains” why male homosexuality survives evolutionary pressure.

      • Anat

        Of course I ended up bucking that trend too, but then, trends are not absolutes.

    • Pofarmer

      Gay couples can’t have biological kids together. So if homosexuality is genetic, why hasn’t it died out?

      A study published last week in PLoS One
      tackles the question. It starts with four curious patterns. First, male
      homosexuality occurs at a low but stable frequency in a wide range of
      societies. Second, the female relatives of gay men produce children at a
      higher rate than other women do. Third, among these female relatives,
      those related to the gay man’s mother produce children at a higher rate
      than do those related to his father. Fourth, among the man’s male
      relatives, homosexuality is more common in those related to his mother
      than in those related to his father.

      http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2008/06/sexual_antagonism.html

      Third, if the authors are correct, we’re not really talking about genes for homosexuality. We’re talking about genes for “androphilia,” i.e., attraction to men. The importance of the genes lies in what they do not to men but to women, by increasing reproductive output so powerfully that these women compensate for the reduced output among their male relatives. You can’t isolate gay men as a puzzle or problem anymore. You have to see them as part of a bigger, stronger, enduring phenomenon.

      So it’s actually a reproductive advantage.

      • skl

        “So it’s actually a reproductive advantage.”

        The countries such as Russia, China, Iran, Cuba that are
        worrying about their shrinking populations should encourage more homosexuality! :)

        • Pofarmer

          Or just not worry about it.

        • lady_black

          No. They should quit worrying about their “shrinking population” because globally, human population isn’t shrinking.
          You know what you have to do, Cowboy… And it has nothing to do with forcing unwilling parties to procreate.

        • Otto

          China is worrying about its shrinking population?

          OK…that is news to me

        • skl
        • Otto

          Well maybe they could give all the girl children they don’t want to the gay people so the heterosexuals could have more children

    • Makoto

      Technically, color blindness could be seen to provide an evolutionary advantage (seeing troops in battle isn’t all that different than seeing prey animals in the foliage). Has about as much to do with marriage, too…

    • Michael Murray

      Surely not as bad as monogamy. Homosexuality affects a few percent of the population. Monogamy stops vastly more people from mixing up their DNA.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        Then it’s a good thing our species isn’t monogamous. (At least not in practice.)

    • MadScientist1023

      Maybe, but there are a couple flaws in that line of thinking.

      For one, if homosexuality were genuinely disadvantageous, you wouldn’t see it up and down the animal kingdom. However, it’s been observed in just about every terrestrial vertebrate and aquatic mammal people have bothered to observe and report honestly. It therefore stands to reason that homosexuality does have an evolutionary advantage, even if it isn’t an intuitively obvious one.

      Also, your premise assumes simple Mendelian genetics are at work here. While studies have found certain mutations increase the likelihood of homosexuality, there also seem to be epigenetic and uterine environmental factors which are involved as well.

    • Kevin K

      From a strictly evolutionary perspective, that’s complete and utter nonsense. There’s no evidence whatsoever that homosexual orientation has any impact whatsoever on the survival of the species. Partner preferences are independent of the drive to procreate.

      • skl

        I didn’t say it might have an impact on the survival of the species.
        I said it might have an impact on genetic variation provided by reproduction.

        • Kevin K

          The math is not on your side. I’d advise you to quit while you’re behind.

    • lady_black

      Evolution doesn’t find a rational need for all members of a species to reproduce in order to produce genetic variation.
      That’s a heavy load of bovine excrement.

      • skl

        What is a “load of bovine excrement” is your misstating my words and meaning.
        I did NOT say evolution needs for all members of a species to reproduce in order to produce genetic variation.
        I said homosexuality might lead to LESS genetic variation provided by reproduction.

        • lady_black

          No, because there isn’t enough of it to affect genetic diversity, plus many gay and lesbian individuals DO have children of their own. Do you get it now?

        • skl

          If you feel there isn’t enough of it to affect genetic diversity, why did you feel the need to add the “plus many gay and lesbian individuals DO have children of their own” ?

        • lady_black

          Because you are incorrect on more than one level.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          skl embodies ‘fractally wrong’

    • Rudy R

      And whom might say that? Any credible biologist?

      Just a side note, do you see your purpose on this blog as the devil’s advocate? Your responses are becoming more inane by the day. You’re starting to become an atheist’s useful idiot like Luke Breuer, et all.

    • Otto

      Many mutations can be harmful depending on the circumstance…or they could help in one situation but not another.

      What’s your point?

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Then how do you explain the fact SOOOO many species have homosexual members. Everything from fruit flies to dolphins.

      • skl

        This was an interesting article. But it concludes
        “We may never find a wild animal that is strictly homosexual
        in the way some humans are.”

        http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150206-are-there-any-homosexual-animals

        • Cozmo the Magician

          We may never find somebody as idiotic as skl, but we could keep looking… Nah , having found one is enough. Bye bye troll, Mr. Block button has met you and said “Yup, thats what I am here for”

        • skl

          If you’re blocking me, I think that’s unfortunate. But it’s your choice. However, if you’re blocking me because the BBC article is strong evidence against your earlier post, that’s even more unfortunate.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re demanding an exact correlation to human sexuality, in a way YOUR KIND would never demand for any other behavioral correlation.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      It’s been studied.

      Homosexual *men* (at least in this study) can be seen as promoting their genes by assisting their siblings children.

      And apparently that confers enough genetic fitness that it hasn’t selected itself out.

  • eric

    So, in summary:

    #s 1, and 2 cite religious proscriptions and thus are not a legitimate basis of law for a pluralistic religious nation with an ostensibly secular government.

    #s 3 and 5 are irrelevant to the question of whether gay monogamous marriage should be legal.

    #4 is a circular argument; assuming/asserting harm as a premise when the point of the article was to demonstrate it.

    #6 mistakes a short-term issue for a long-term one. In the long term, gay marriage can be expected to lead to fewer broken homes as gay people won’t try to get straight married just to be married. In the short term, yes, gay people in straight marriages are more likely to divorce if they have the option to marry another gay person.

    Another problem with #6 is that there may be many factors that correlate with/contribute to broken homes. There is no reason to treat gays any different than straights with those factors (poverty, cultural differences, etc.).

  • Chuck Johnson

    Yes, Bob, the Christians are once again providing us with “arguments from an abundance of evidence”.

    And once again, they are unaware of their own blindness and biases.

  • Kevin K

    This all falls under YKINMK.

    If you don’t want to get gay married, don’t get gay married. Simple.

    • lady_black

      Is YKINMK anything like MYOGB?

      • Kevin K

        Your kink is not my kink.

        • lady_black

          Oh, thanks!

  • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

    It’s not addressed here or in the article you cite, but I think Richard Dawkins (and others) are correct that one of the dangers is when religious people think the society as a whole will be judged based on the behaviour of certain sub-groups in society. Anyone ever heard the “Hurricane Katrina was God’s judgement on a wicked city (read: homosexual supporting)”?

    This means believers feel they have a civic duty to legislate against or condemn the behaviour of others.

    • lady_black

      Katrina negatively affected a lot of cities. Their god has terrible aim.

      • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

        Well, it’s an old debate within Christianity, I think. After many major natural disasters there will be some groups saying “This is a judgement from our God” (though they can’t always even agree what the judgement is for or why that place was targeted rather than another similar place). Other groups will say that it was a natural event and it would be wrong to view it as God’s judgement (Luke 13 is a popular citation, though I’m not convinced they interpret it correctly). And probably many groups trying to pretend it never happened or had no relevance to their religion…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          This is another example of God being unfalsifiable. The Holocaust would be the ultimate case where some (Corrie ten Boom, for example) have their faith strengthened for some unimaginable reason, and others use it to make a very eloquent proof that God doesn’t exist.

        • lady_black

          Mostly because they make shit up.

      • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

        Actually, I think this also shows the power of narrative. I couldn’t have told you which areas Katrina hit, but I could tell you that plenty of people said it affected New Orleans. The combination of the news cycle focusing on the most important city and fundamentalist outrage probably helped embed the notion that Katrina just affected New Orleans.

        • lady_black

          Katrina did hit New Orleans. But it certainly didn’t just hit New Orleans, and arguably, parts of New Orleans suffered the most devastating damage. Like super-storm Sandy, damage was widespread and multi-state.

    • Michael Neville

      Pat Robertson blamed the 2010 Haitian earthquake on a supposed pact some Haitian revolutionaries made with Satan in 1807. Robertson’s god’s agenda must be very tight.

      • Kuno

        Maybe his god not only has trouble correctly aiming in three dimensions but also in the fourth?

        • Greg G.

          God is OK with temporal collateral damage. How do we know that God isn’t punishing us for something our great-great-great-great-grandchildren are going to do? It would be too late to punish us when it actually happens.

    • Jack Baynes

      So either they never read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, or they figure there aren’t 10 righteous men among the Christians of America.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      How lucky for us that we have the gay-hating clairvoyants like Pat Robertson to tell us what God means by a natural disaster. Will they read goat entrails next?

      • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

        Well, it is similar to the Achan story. There is a disaster to the nation of Israel, it is determined to be one person’s sin that affects the entire people, they draw lots to find out which person that is, conveniently the lot picks the guilty one, him and his family are killed, then suddenly it’s back to making Israel great.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It’s weird that that doesn’t work today, not even for Christians.

        • Jack Baynes

          So even after they identify the “guilty” party, they still have to kill his whole family just to be sure?

        • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

          That is indeed what sacred scripture tells us. I guess if I were so inclined I could find a way of justifying it (maybe that they were accessories after the fact?), but I’ve heard too much about false confessions to be really happy with confessions extorted after the application of chance to find the guilty party.

        • Anat

          Wife and kids do not have their own identity, they are apparently part of the identity of the head of the household.

    • eric

      Yes, many Christians imply that the Christian God engages in collective punishment. And to be fair, He does that in the bible. What they don’t seem to get is that this directly undermines claims that God is omnipotent, and omniscient and just and merciful. Collective punishment is an imperfect workaround to actual justice practiced when authorities don’t have sufficient information; it’s not a just act.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        And his aim REALLY sux. So many natural disasters hit places where he has the most supporters. OTOH, many of those supporters are hypocritical assholes. On the gripping hand maybe his aim aint so bad after all (;

    • adam
    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      What is funniest about the Katrina example is that The French Quarter, where all the ‘debauched’ behavior occurs, was almost unaffected by Katrina.

      The parts of the city that got hammered were the fundagelical parts.

      • Greg G.

        The parts of the city that got hammered were the fundagelical parts.

        Where there was a church or two on every corner.

      • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

        The French Quarter was on high ground.
        Emphasis on the ‘high’ part. I kinda remember visiting there. Kinda.

  • lady_black

    Another way I have seen the definition of marriage change within my lifetime is the repeal of coverture laws.
    These (for you younger folks) were state laws that had the nasty little effect of subsuming a married woman’s legal identity into that of her husband, so that she could not own separate property, hold a bank account, or obtain credit in her own name. Her husband would be free to take and dispose of her property, including real property, as he alone saw fit.
    These laws far outlasted laws against interracial marriage. I believe the last one fell in the late 1970s.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Thanks for that addition. I should’ve put that in!

      From Wikipedia: ““Head and Master” laws were a set of American property laws that permitted a husband to have final say regarding all household decisions and jointly owned property without his wife’s knowledge or consent, until 1979 when Louisiana became the final state to repeal them. Until then, the matter of who paid for property or whose name was on the deed had been irrelevant.”

      And in a separate article: “Coverture was first substantially modified by late 19th century Married Women’s Property Acts passed in various common-law legal jurisdictions, and was weakened and eventually eliminated by subsequent reforms. Certain aspects of coverture (mainly concerned with preventing a wife from unilaterally incurring major financial obligations for which her husband would be liable) survived as late as the 1960s in some states of the United States.”

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      On a tangential note, I was watching The Game Show channel the other night and a 70s/80s episode of Card Sharks came on. It was shocking how overt the mysoginy was, particularly whenever innuendo came up.

  • Mr. A

    … so the first three arguments boil down to : “Because my favorite book says so”. Yeah, okay. Doesn’t really convince anyone who doesn’t like that book that gayness is horrible.

    Let’s see here… 4 is an assertion with nothing to back it up (including peer reviewed studies), 5 has already been done and we’re doing fine, and 6 is another assertion.

    These arguments are horrible.

  • Clayton Gafne Jaymes

    I’m pretty sure that God allows even same sex ppl to live in agreement with their own ‘free will’ even when ti goes agains God’s morals for humankind. Many other ppl carry out sin that they ought not be doing. These ones are in no better a place before God thant the same sex individuals.

    What same sex abwsoutely cannot do is claim to belong to God and be practicing or even deeper in that line of sin is be ‘married’ to another person of the same sex. As far as Scripture and God are concerned there is no such thing as a ‘christian’ that is ‘walking in sin’ or ‘practicing’ sin. Same sex practice is a matter of ‘fornication’ or ‘sexual immorality’. As one can imagine, if the act of same sex is condemned why would the marriage not also be?

    Like many other sorts of sins that others practice before becoming followers of Jesus, they must ‘repent’ of their sin and walk in a way that glorifies God. In trun glorifying God will lead to the person being ‘glorified’ as well.

    What all of us must understand is that God will never accept anyone who is intentionally walking.living in their sin/s. Those who love God ‘do’ as He says.

    • Jack Baynes

      What same sex abwsoutely cannot do is claim to belong to God and be practicing

      Of COURSE they can, because the Bible can be read to say anything you want, so Christians can justify being accepting of homosexual activity.

      even deeper in that line of sin is be ‘married’ to another person of the same sex.

      They’re not ‘married’, they’re married. Doesn’t matter what you think your God thinks of the matter.

      What all of us must understand is that God will never accept anyone who is intentionally walking.living in their sin/s. Those who love God ‘do’ as He says.

      As long as it’s not too inconvenient, like when he says to give away all their possessions and follow him.

    • Joe

      Sin is imaginary. So your post is hypothetical, I assume?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Gay sex/romance wasn’t discussed in the Bible. See tomorrow’s post for more.

      Those who love God ‘do’ as He says.

      Do they? God says that slavery is OK, and yet Christians today reject slavery. So why not disregard the Bible’s prohibitions against homosexuality?

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Well, there’s some pretty suggestive text between King David & Jonathan 😉

        • Greg G.

          Are you suggesting that kissing and rolling around in the dirt to say goodbye wasn’t just the way they said goodbye back then?

    • eric

      What same sex abwsoutely cannot do is claim to belong to God and be
      practicing or even deeper in that line of sin is be ‘married’ to another
      person of the same sex.

      AFAIK gays are not demanding that religious sects which reject them sanctify their unions as holy in the eyes of those sects’ gods. Nobody is demanding that a conservative catholic priest must declare a gay marriage holy in the eyes of their conservative catholic God. This is all about what the state does as a matter of civil law.

      As one can imagine, if the act of same sex is condemned why would the marriage not also be?

      Condemn it all you want with your free speech. Nobody is trying to take that right away from you. We just want it legal. After all, you can condemn lying even while accepting its legality. You can condemn people picking their noses even while it’s legal. You can condemn someone having a cheeseburger (dairy and meat!) or wearing mixed fabrics, even while accepting that such acts are legal. You can condemn interracial marriage even while accepting that it’s legal. You can condemn drinking alcohol while accepting that it’s legal. What liberals are asking is that, like all those things, you feel free to voice your condemnation of gay marriage while accepting that civil law legally permits it.

      [Edit] I recognize that the situation is complicated by the fact that many people are “dual hatted” – i.e., private individuals who sometimes through work also act as agents of the state. Judges, soldiers, police, teachers, and other civil servants all do that. I am sympathetic to the ethical quandries those folks may face, as I face one of those myself (I do not like research that uses animals…but my job is tangentially connected to it). However the options seem pretty cut and dried to me: (i) act as the state demands while you’re working for the state (and live with the internal frisson that sometimes causes), or if you can’t do that, (ii) find another position (note I’m not necessarily saying quit: many large employers may have other jobs with duties that don’t conflict with ones’ morals.)

    • MadScientist1023

      Your church doesn’t decide what constitutes marriage. It does not own the term or define the term. The state decides what constitutes marriage. Clergy have the right to sign certificates that the state issues, nothing more.

      Why would any of us want to glorify your God? He seems like a total jerk, and that’s putting it kindly.

    • RichardSRussell

      I’m pretty sure that God allows even …

      And I’m pretty sure that “God” doesn’t have a damn thing to say about it (whatever “it” might be) one way or the other. Doesn’t “allow” it (as if there were anything he could do to prevent it), doesn’t “condemn” it, doesn’t “glorify” it, doesn’t “tolerate” it, doesn’t “punish” it — doesn’t do squat.

      The reason why not is left as an exercise for the student.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        Raises hand… “um does not existing have anything to do with it?”

    • Cozmo the Magician

      You start of with a basic false premise. Your entire rant is based on the existence of your imaginary friend. From there you go on to tell us what YOU think your imaginary friend feels about things. You then go on to tell us that we should all behave a certain way based on your fairy tale. Sorry, as we say in World of Warcraft ‘EPIC FAIL’.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        LEEE ROYYYY JENKINSSSS!!!!!!!

        • Greg G.

          Oh, you’re not referring to the televangelist Leroy Jenkins, who recently began pining for the fjords. A 77 year old widow had hit the lottery for $6 million and her husband died. Three weeks later, Leroy married her to take care of her so nobody would take advantage of her with her dementia. Fortunately, the wedding was annulled.

    • adam

      “What all of us must understand is that God will never accept anyone who is intentionally walking.living in their sin/s. Those who love God ‘do’ as He says.”

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dc554b74af68425056b8a4228b7f09490a1e80f6c6bf14f85bbce2e8015a0bfb.jpg

    • Melissa Garhart

      that’s great and all, now explain why someone who isn’t a believer in the Christian faith should care what the bible says.

      • Clayton Gafne Jaymes

        Hello to you Melissa

        No one has to care if they choose not to. Though it would be wise for all to take some time to learn Scripture and determine whether or not they accept the truth of the Bible or not. As the Bible is the place to go to learn about the ‘true God’ who brings the Savior to the earth to give life to all sorts of ppl who repent and come to true faith in the name of Jesus. To say no to Jesus is to choose the grave that none of of such ones will come out of. Then ther are many other good things that come with trusting inGod and following the teaching of Scripture which are from God.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      **Assume I included some rude personal insults here**

      Your ‘god’ has no evidence supporting it that you would accept for any other proposed supernatural entity.

      So I don’t believe in your ‘god’ any more than I do anything else ‘supernatural’.

      Until you can demonstrate your ‘god’, stop trying to use it to commit such occult magicks.

    • Kevin K

      You know, back when the whole gay marriage thing was making its way through the courts, North Carolina passed a Constitutional amendment forbidding gay marriage. And the state was sued by many groups — one of which was the Church of Christ. Which complained that the prohibition was an infringement on that church’s right to perform gay marriages.

      So, you can’t claim that your god declares anything at all about the issue, when you have denominations in direct opposition to one-another, each claiming biblical authority. Get back to me when every Christian denomination everywhere agrees on the issue. Until then…fuck off.

      • j316

        What a particular denomination chooses to do has NOTHING to do with what is God’s will. Unfortunately there are many people walking around calling themselves Christians even though they’re really not, and yes, even church leaders. They are still human and humans are fallible. Your argument is so weak it almost wasn’t worth a response.

        • adam

          “What a particular denomination chooses to do has NOTHING to do with what is God’s will.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/96f7282d507681a8f2d9b1e0df55dadf5d1ee80173cca0745ada61eda096d945.jpg

          “Unfortunately there are many people walking around calling themselves Christians even though they’re really not, and yes, even church leaders.”

          Yes, just like YOU do:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b44c99f495406f1f80b97716ec7951aa63f124a9698cbfc51f2758edfdb3404d.jpg

        • j316

          I’m not sure what I did to you that inclined you to insult me.

        • Greg G.

          people walking around calling themselves Christians even though they’re really not

          If you are going to be that way, substitute “Christer” for “Christian”. There are Christians who don’t consider you to be a Christian. We are not that picky. The word “Christer” means anybody who calls him/herself a Christian though other Christian may disagree.

        • j316

          No, because I am not going around investigating everyone’s backgrounds and beliefs.. if somebody is calling themselves a Christian it is not up to me to say that they definitely aren’t- that is between them and God. It is not my job to call out individuals who are Christian or not. It is just a fact and general statement that there are many who call themselves such but Whose actions are counter to the core beliefs of Christianity. And not to say that a Christian is perfect, but it is the act of wanting to be perfect and being truly sorry for when we do sin that separates a said-faith from a true faith.

        • Greg G.

          If you are going to mention people who call themselves Christians but you cannot, or have not, determined that they are real Christians™, then “Christer” is the a good word to use.

        • j316

          That is a made up word in which the sole purpose is to insult someone.. thanks for the advice but like I said it is not for me to decipher who is what.. it’s not like I go around in real life addressing people by their religious beliefs.

        • Greg G.

          No, the word is to be able to refer to people who call themselves Christians with people who deny that others are Christians. Do you have a better word to use?

        • j316

          I see what you are saying now.. no, I don’t have a better word. I myself will probably just stick with Christian as it is not for me to say specifically who is and who isn’t. So do you meet people out in the real world and call them a christer to their face? Again I could only see that being an instigating remark.. I’m not out to belittle or antagonize anyone.

        • Susan

          I’ve looked it up in three dictionaries and can’t find Hermit’s definition.

          All the definitions seem to be disparaging.

          e.g. A sanctimonious or ostentatiously pious Christian.

          From https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/christer

          If that’s its general usage, then I see why j316 might object.

        • Greg G.

          I think it may have started out that way but it is useful in Hermit’s way. Some denominations got their names from that usage. I learned in Methodist Sunday School that they were called “methodists” because they did things according to their methods, so they adopted it.

          Oxford’s definition would be applicable to anyone who said another person or sect were not real Christians.

        • Susan

          I think it may have started out that way but it is useful in Hermit’s way.

          I’m a big fan of usage. It’s mostly how words work.

          I agree we need some term for everyone who claims that Jesus and/or Yahwehjesus is superspecial for whatever reason.

          Given the (fairly recent origin) and general meaning of the term, I’m not sure “Christer” works.

          Oxford’s definition would be applicable to anyone who said another person or sect were not real Christians.

          It seems fair to use the term for people who invoke the “No True Christian Fallacy”.

          As j316 hasn’t done so yet, I understand that he has a problem with the term.

          It was only Hermit’s recent explanation that gave us the idea that it might be something other than disparaging.

          All definitions I’ve found so far are disparaging. Premature attacks on an interlocutor.

          We can reserve it for people who employ the No True Scotsman fallacy.

          Which is most of them but not necessarily j316, at least, not yet.

          I hope that sounds fair and reasonable.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          My facebook feed is hilarious. In my life I have known a great number of religious people from Fundamentalists to the most liberal of Christians and they are always calling each other not true Christians. As a nonbeliever I can only last.

        • j316

          To be clear, I am not calling out any individual as being a non Christian.. I am just saying that there exists people in the world who claim to be Christians but their hearts and actions are questionable.. it is not my job to determine who they are. Individuals have the choice of questioning their particular church authority or finding a new church or denomination. Also, there are essential and non essential doctrines of Christianity. So it is true that there are some things that are up for debate. God knows that we do not live in isolation and that we are influenced by the world around us. He also knows if it is in our hearts that we WANT to do the right thing.

        • Jack Baynes

          He also knows if it is in our hearts that we WANT to do the right thing

          And yet he rewarded Abraham for being willing to murder his son…

        • j316

          I see what you are saying. The problem with that view point is trying to hold God , creator of the universe, to human standards. God was testing Abraham, which I’m sure you already know that. Abraham was rewarded for placing trust in God, not for being murderous.

        • Jack Baynes

          Yes, God was testing Abraham.
          By asking him to kill his son.
          God failed.
          Then Abraham failed by showing he was willing to murder his son.

          An evil God rewarded a man for being willing to murder. The Bible doesn’t say what God would have done if Abraham had wanted to do the right thing instead.

        • Jack Baynes

          If God can’t be bothered to correct his church leaders when they’re wrong, it can’t be that important to him.

        • j316

          That is just an empty istatement because we know that the world doesn’t work that way. That God doesn’t work that way. I certainly can’t speak to what is important or bothersome to God, but I surely know that we need him more than he needs us. All Christians should test what is true in light of scripture and if something is being taught in their church that is contradictory then it is up to them to hold their leaders accountable.

        • Greg G.

          That is just an empty istatement because we know that the world doesn’t work that way. That God doesn’t work that way.

          God doesn’t work any way but as a function of imagination.

        • j316

          we are all entitled to our opinions.

        • Jack Baynes

          The Bible says God spoke directly to his followers, so yes, the Bible does say God works that way. But you’re right that in reality he doesn’t. That should tell you something

        • j316

          Yes He already HAS spoken and we have that in writing.. yes, Jack, you are entitled to your opinions and views, but in addition to my own personal experiences I have thousands of years of human history backing mine. That should tell you something.

        • Jack Baynes

          So if you believe the Bible you believe God talks to his people, but then you claim that he DOESN’T talk to his people.

        • Greg G.

          It is one’s own responsibility to align one’s opinion with reality but there is nothing wrong with stealing the opinions of someone smarter than oneself.

        • j316

          Glad to see we agree on something 😉

        • Myles

          You are entitled to believe whatever foolishness you choose, but don’t try to push that stupidity on the world.Don’t expect anything but derision and scorn as well. Respect for views requires they be based on facts not lies and greed.

        • Jack Baynes

          Who do they hold accountable when the Bible is contradictory to itself?

        • Myles

          Since gods exist only in the minds of the mentally ill, isn’t it about time you sought treatment.
          Still, if you happen to be one of the leeches who benefits from that scam, which death-cult are you shilling for?

        • j316

          ” since god’s exist only in the minds of the mentally ill”

          Upon what facts and research studies have you arrived at that conclusion? Please enlighten me.

          Not sure what you mean by death- cult.

    • adam

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dc554b74af68425056b8a4228b7f09490a1e80f6c6bf14f85bbce2e8015a0bfb.jpg “I’m pretty sure that God allows even same sex ppl to live in agreement
      with their own ‘free will’ even when ti goes agains God’s morals for
      humankind. ”

      Then why command that they be killed?

      • j316

        Please tell me where in the New Testament God commands homosexuals to be killed.. I don’t think you will find any such verses.

        • adam

          God commands people in the Old Testament.

          So in YOUR WORLD, Jesus is NOT God?

          Here is what Jesus says about the Old Testament:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/89d230f179881be8275da4101e50e5e24d2a0bb95addba201026fbc36fa9a751.jpg

        • j316

          You cannot cherry pick isolated verses from scripture and claim to be an expert. You cannot understand the whole of the Bible without understanding the individual parts, and conversely you cannot understand individual verses of the Bible without understanding the whole. I do not have enough time or crayons here to explain to you the difference / transition between the Old and New Testament laws.

        • Jack Baynes

          Is the Old Testament God not also the New Testament God? Why should we excuse him for the evil laws he set down in the Old Testament?

  • markr1957

    Having witnessed a Protestant church leader and a Roman Catholic Arch Bishop use exactly the same Bible verse (from Leviticus naturally) to justify each side murdering the other while claiming to be peaceful it seems to me that if interpretation is purely personal what use is the book as a guide to morality?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The Bible is trivially easy to show as not an objective source of morality. One wonders why they keep riding that hobby horse.