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Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.
It’s another example of religious circular reasoning. Take your prejudices and codify them int a a religion, then you can your religion to justify your prejudices.
Then all that’s left to do is use your republican congressman to push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
Probably while said Republican congressman is trying to pick up gay prostitutes in an airport restroom in his spare time.
One of there best comics yet.
I wish people would focus on the positive things said about same-sex couples in the Bible. Saul was disappointed his son Jonathan could not procreate with David and did all he could to throw one of his daughters at David to see him “twice married” into the family. And though Ruth and Naomi might’ve been an in-law Boston marriage, it’s worth noting their promises to each other are commonly used in Christian wedding vows.
I wish people would stop relying on the bible for anything.
If only! It’s frustrating when people try to spin the Bible as gay-positive. In the first place, it’s seems rather ludicrous to assert that that the writers were somehow pro-gay, living in the time and the place that they did. But more importantly, it just feeds into the whole notion that the Bible is a source of moral authority. It shouldn’t matter what the their religious book says about gay people one way or the other. If the Bible is homophobic or sexist, then that’s a problem with the Bible itself and is just another reason why everyone should discount it as a guide for morality.
I have Christian friends who are very gay-friendly, and are in basically a menage a trois relationship. They insist that the passages in Leviticus about stoning men who lie with other men only refer to *harmful* gay sexual activity (like molestation/rape).
I should have insisted that they provide proof of this, but I don’t do too well debating face-to-face. I was too stunned to say anything more than, “Ummm… OK then…”
Ah yes, same-sex relationships are so rational and natural, but wait, how does the species survive?
Refusing to see congenital brain disorders and or fashion for what it is looks like some sort of new bigotry.
Your comment betrays a deep ignorance of both science and the social issue at hand.
First, a same-sex relationship is no more rational or irrational than having blond hair or brown eyes. Homosexuality just is.
How does the species survive? You should know the answer, or at least I hope you’re not really that incredibly stupid to not know. In case you really are that ignorant; homosexuality isn’t some sort of plague. It’s not as if social acceptance and equal rights for gays will suddenly result in an outbreak of homosexual behavior amongst the general population, thus putting an end to all heterosexual sex and reproduction.
“Refusing to see congenital brain disorders and or fashion for what it is looks like some sort of new bigotry.”
Brilliant. Please…enlighten us all as to how refusal to see something your way is bigotry.
So just because gay marriage is made legal everyone will turn gay?
Yes, it’s in the Bible, so it must be scientific. In fact, once gay marriage becomes legal in Michigan, I’m going to lose my sexual attraction to my incredibly hot wife and embark on a whirlwind rest stop tour of the state. It’s not like I’ll have a choice in the matter.
Yes, unfortunately for my soon-to-be-ex-wife, it’s going to be nothing but non-stop man buggery and assless leather chaps for me, since this is what the Bible says being gay is all about.
Aren’t chaps normally assless? I love saying “assless chaps,” but I can’t help thinking about the redundancy.
HA! You got me!
I’m like you, however, and can’t resist the whole “assless chaps” thing.
I prefer the term “skinny blokes” myself…
“Assless chaps” is like “cellar door”; it’s just a wonderfully smooth phrase to say.
It is. I think I’ll call folks out of the blue this weekend and find excuses to work this phrase into the conversation:
Dion: Beautiful weather today. Going to the gun range?
Godless Monster: Yes, I’ve been dying to try out my Mosin Nagant 91/30 and that new pair of assless chaps I bought last week.
Well, she’ll be too busy having lots of hot homosexual sex to notice anyway!!
You’re right. Wait…hot one-on-one girl action and I won’t be around to appreciate it because I’m too busy being gay to even care?!
Oh the humanity!!!
congenital brain disorder? that sounds medically sciencey. Please provide the research behind this.
How do the 450 other species in which we’ve observed homosexuality survived? Oh, that’s right, just because something exists doesn’t mean it’s universally adopted.
I had no idea that every single married couple is required to procreate. Oh, that’s right, they’re not. Rush Limbaugh has been married four times (Is that okay with you?), but he’s never had children. Based on your logic, Rush should never been allowed to marry at all.
Even if homosexuality were a “congenital brain disorder”, our society does not discriminate against people that are blind or deaf or handicapped, etc. You’ve basically acknowledged that people do not choose their sexual orientation, so how can you rationalize discriminating against someone that didn’t choose the way they are? So, yeah, doing that is bigotry. Just like discriminating against people because of their skin color.
Variety is a strength, not a weakness. Same-sex relationships can, in fact, enhance the survivability of a species. Sex is not just for reproduction in a highly social species like ours. Non-reproductive sex is no more unnatural than using our mouths for talking instead of just eating is unnatural. Sex is for all sorts of social purposes: pair-bonding, reduction of aggression, elimination of intragender competition… it can even be used to establish social hierarchies.
In bonobo chimps, females who sexually bond with each other will defend their girlfriends’ offspring from outside male aggression. They are more likely to cooperate and share resources with each other. The net result is that more of their offspring survive into adulthood than the offspring of females that don’t engage in this sexual bonding.
“Naturally*” childless couples are also beneficial in a species that produces completely helpless offspring like we do. They are natural adoptive parents.
*Scare quotes used because being gay ! = being infertile.
Maybe you fucking breeders should stop bringing so many queers into the world. Ever consider that one, Einstein?
Not all breeders fuck though…
Obviously, you’re neither a zoologist nor an evolutionary biologist. And not even a smart enough lay person to figure out that, since many animals exhibit homosexual behaviour–animals as distantly related as penguins and bonobos and dolphins–there’s likely to be an evolutionary benefit to it and therefore, if anything, species survival is improved rather than deterred by it. It only takes a modicum of intelligence to speculate upon why this might be the case. Social bonding and “extra” childless adults to help with child rearing are just two possibilities.
More things to consider:
*people who are homosexual can still have children
*in every human society we know of, there have been people who chose not to procreate for a variety of reasons; I don’t see people like you trying to force celibate/single straight or asexual people to have children
*in case you haven’t checked recently, our species is not endangered; rather, if anything, we’re suffering from overpopulation
*marriage and procreation are not interdependent activities
And finally, what difference does it make to you what other people do in their bedrooms? Even if you want to classify that activity as unnatural, a congenital disorder, or fashionable, as long as you’re neither being asked to participate in it nor are harmed by it, what business is it of yours?
“there’s likely to be an evolutionary benefit to it”
Or homosexuality may be neutral from an evolutionary standpoint — it may be a side effect of some other (beneficial) genetic mutation, and at least it isn’t selected *against*.
Not a biologist, but it’s the ‘distantly related’ part that leads me to suspect a benefit (or more than one) rather than a neutral trait. It suggests that it’s a behaviour that has evolved more than once in different ways.
But, but, but… head explodes.
In most species, only a small percentage of individuals are reproductively successful. Yet the species survive, and there is every indication that they do so, in part, because of the presence of all those individuals who never reproduce at all. (How well do you think ants would do without any workers?)
Whether our species benefits from homosexuality is unknown. But there’s no evidence that it is harmed in any way. As in many other species, homosexuality in humans occurs naturally. At least for now, there’s nothing we can do to change that. If you consider it pathological, you have to recognize it as incurable, and “harmful” only to the homosexual, not to those around him. So what kind of person wouldn’t support anything that would make the lives of those “afflicted” more comfortable?
Fashion is for shoes, and congenital brain disorders are medical conditions like hydrocephalus and cerebral palsy. Your ignorance is not astounding, although it is offensive and bigoted. Yes, bigoted. Wanting people to have equal rights is not bigotry, but trying to deny them rights IS.
Also, are you really suggesting that people with actual, medically disgnosed congenital brain disorders should be barred from marrying? Really? So you’re bigoted against the disabled as well as against gay people?
This from the woman who tries to claim that *atheism* is akin to eugenics?
You’re right! How HAS the species survived all this time? We’re only down to about 7 or 8 humans now!
Same-sex relationships are rational and natural for PEOPLE WHO ARE GAY. No one is saying that EVERYONE should be in a same-sex relationship. If such a relationship doesn’t suit you or appeal to you, then it would not be rational or natural for you to pursue one. But, for people who ARE gay, those relationships are the ONLY rational and natural option.
Be careful about trying to label homosexuality as a brain disorder. Besides having no support from any credible medical body, you’re liable to back us right into the Americans With Disabilities Act, and then we get everything we want.
I don’t know squat about fashion, so I don’t know what you’re talking about there. But there is a certain bigotry in assuming that everyone needs to be just like you.
You do realize that homosexuals continue to exist even those most of the population is heterosexual, right? You also realize that a heterosexual man and woman can have a homosexual child, right? You are aware that there are 7 BILLION people on the planet and it seems that as a species we’re reproducing (too) fine, right?
Why do people want to even try to make the argument about species survival when discussing homosexuality? It makes NO sense.
You do realize gay people aren’t sterile, don’t you?
“A man who rapes a woman must marry her” in no way contradicts the statement that “marriage is one man and one woman.”
It’s abhorrent, but not contradictory in a discussion about same-sex marriage. I guess it’s relevant if the point is that society doesn’t follow traditional marriage in the biblical sense.
It doesn’t really support the statement either, since it doesn’t limit the number of rape-brides that a man can take. But yeah, I think it’s more to the point that society is touting a notion of traditional marriage that isn’t really traditional. When people say “one man and one woman” there’s an unspoken addendum: “with equal legal standing who choose to marry each other because they are in romantic love.”
Which is not as traditional as, say, one 40 year old man and one 14 year old girl being married against the girl’s will because only her father’s consent is needed, and he’s all for it since he stands to gain socially and financially from the marriage.
Correct. It’s not supposed to contradict “marriage is one man and one woman”. It’s supposed to contradict the “The bible says so” portion, by pointing out that the bible says a LOT of crazy, abhorrent crap.
So, how far back do we have to go for “tradition”? What about ancient Rome? Divorce and remarriage were very common especially for political advantage. Also, I think fathers kept control over their children even after they married, so I believe he could actually insist that a child divorce their spouse and marry someone else at his discretion. So, isn’t that an even more traditional marriage practice?
”the bible says so” pretty clearly states how far back he means by “traditional”.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Let the women keep silence in the churches: for
it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection,
as also saith the law. And if they would learn anything, let them ask
their own husbands at home: for it is shameful for a woman to speak in
Yet there are loads of female pastors.
So, has anyone thought to make a “church of homosexuality” so that it becomes illegal to legislate against such a thing? There’s the added benefit of considering any openly gay person a “priest” and they then become tax-free…
Cute, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to falsify my position in order to achieve my goal. That would cheapen it. Let other people make supernatural claims, I don’t have any.
‘Scuse me, but may I point out the small fact that SOLOMON IS NOT PRAISED FOR DOIN’ SO! I mean, come on, even David, a “Man after God’s own heart” murdered a faithful commander to hide his adultery… Of course, he got bashed for it. Anyway, the point is that no one ever, ever said that Christians don’t sin. So NEVER, ever try that one again, lest Reason smite you. Goodness!
Mind You, also, it does not mean marriage Should be traditionally started by rape. Duh. It is a requirement that the man who had done such a wrong must – MUST – take care of the person he has just scarred for life. By spending his life protecting her. Legally forced to be loyal to her. Much more humane than anything that usually happened back then.
Anyway, Go take a lap, read Chesterton, read the Bible (for once) while actually noticing things, blah blah blah, have a good day.
Oh, and I came over here from Bad Catholic’s page, go check him for a Biblical (and rational) consideration concerning Homosexuals.
It is a requirement that the [rapist] who had done such a wrong must – MUST – take care of the person he has just scarred for life. By spending his life protecting her. Legally forced to be loyal to her. Much more humane than anything that usually happened back then.
You’ve got to hand it to Montague. This comment has set a new standard for sheer unbridled stupidity that I can’t imagine being challenged for a very long time.
Tell me Montague, if someone was found guilty of picking your pocket, do you think “forcing” them to “protect” your money by giving them lifetime unrestricted access to your bank account would be an appropriate “punishment”?
I do not see how I am stupid. What I said was objectively true. It was a statement of fact – not a statement of the best possible moral situation.
But to reply – well, firstly, read the above replies. I think I make it clear that the law was better than the alternative. But I must point out that your analogy is incorrect because a married woman does not have less rights and protections than a raped woman. Certainly not then.
On a side note, it would be a hilarious and (potentially) effective punishment to make a pick-pocket forced to be a banker – as long as a firm and unblinking eye is kept on him, the results may be terrific. Ho ho!
And I do hear that In-laws are terribly keen-eyed… and a whole clan of Jewish in-laws making sure you keep their little daughter respected and well-kept may be as formidable a prison as Alcatraz. That man would most likely envy today’s man, who can of course recourse to porn, or web-dating, or whatnot. Not that we would pity him… : P
Why couldn’t the all-powerful ruler/creator of the universe had just said,”hey, women are people. Don’t shun them just because they got raped. Stop blaming the victims and only punish the rapists. Also, stop treating women like property.” I’m sure with his vast knowledge and power, god could have made this work.
Also, why would you think that daughter would want anything to do with the man who raped her? I would not allow that, no matter how many “eyes” I had watching to make sure she was safe. This law is hideous, and itmakes you look like an asshole for trying to defend.
…And makes you an ass for thinking like a pharisee. The Law is not the end of justice. It is a facilitator. No one says – except maybe the Pharisees – that the law all you ought to do. And for your information, the Almighty DID do that. Maybe even one-upped that. You know, Jesus and the woman caught in adultery? Or Mary mother of God? Or Mary Magdalene? If you want the whole story, you cannot by definition ignore the New Testament, in which Christ comes to “complete the law”- because the law is incomplete.
And I think you should stop trying to speak for the mind of someone you haven’t and cant meet over 2000-3000 years ago. With your modern mind-set, especially. Why, there’s even a story in which a woman disguised herself as a prostitute to trick an (unfaithful and duty-shirking) man into giving her a child. That says nothing about God, but it sure says volumes about the importance of progeny… which we don’t seem to believe in any more.
Ugh, disgusting! What about the woman and HER rights and HER choices?? That doesn’t count for ANYTHING does it??? How is that HUMANE for the woman?
Oh, I noticed you said “back then”. How can you claim the bible and your god is perfect and unchanging if you recognize today that treating people like your book dictates is just WRONG, IMMORAL and EVIL!! Seriously, it’s about time that you all get rid of that disgusting collection of nasty tales. I threw my copies in the trash where they BELONG!
Ummm…. History and human psychology, anyone? If it’s a matter of choice, I’m sure hte woman would rather not be raped. And as a matter of Justice, the man oughtn’t rape her. Pretty obvious from the Bible. In that age, Israel was the only place more or less where all women actually had rights. Even Widows and Children. ESPECIALLY widows and orphans and foreigners – the people easiest to victimize. All protected by the Law. Read it up.
And think about context. If a woman is raped, the options were: 1) she is considered an adulterer and killed or ostracized by society while the man goes free. This was the usual custom in the world at that time. 2) The man basically provides restitution, child-support, and prevents the loss of standing in a quite possibly inhospitable society (people are misunderstanding jerks in any age, God knows – so that’s why His laws prevent that).
The latter option is mandated by that law.
As for your point that it is wrong, well of course it is! In a society where we can support victims and where they are able to also work on their own, it is not necessary for the man to marry his victim (you of course would like him to pay support fines and spend time in jail). But you must understand that the law does not say this is the best or standard process today. It does not even say it is good for 2000 years ago. Remember how Jesus treated the Adulteress (quite possibly a victim, not by choice). But the law was written not as the height of morality, but the minimum. It was “because their hearts were hard” that the Jews had to obey this law. It was made to keep them from sinning as greatly as the other nations. It was not made to make them saintly. It was to make them decent and relatively civilized – though it often was not enough to do so. The Christian church is supposed to make humans saintly. The Church condemns rape – and is sworn to help victims. Go figure.
” Ummm…. History and human psychology, anyone? If it’s a matter of
choice, I’m sure hte woman would rather not be raped. And as a matter of
Justice, the man oughtn’t rape her. Pretty obvious from the Bible. In
that age, Israel was the only place more or less where all women
actually had rights. Even Widows and Children. ESPECIALLY widows and
orphans and foreigners – the people easiest to victimize. All protected
by the Law. Read it up.”
I don’t want to live in a society that thinks forcing me to marry the person who raped me is justice or respecting my rights.
“And think about context. If a woman is raped, the options were: 1) she
is considered an adulterer and killed or ostracized by society while the
man goes free. This was the usual custom in the world at that time. 2)
The man basically provides restitution, child-support, and prevents the
loss of standing in a quite possibly inhospitable society (people are
misunderstanding jerks in any age, God knows – so that’s why His laws
prevent that). ”
Fuck historical context. We’re talking about laws that were supposedly handed down by the allmighty ruler of the cosmos. He could have easily said,”Women and men are equals and should be treated as such. If a person rapes another person, punish the rapist–never the victim. The victim does not deserve to be shunned, and being raped can never be used as an excuse to call her ‘unclean’ or not fit for marriage,” and the Israelites would have shit their pants and said,”yep, creator of the universe said it. It must be true.” (They presumably did this when he told them to commit genocide as well, no reason why they would ignore this command). There’s no reason why the man should have to marry the woman to provide restitution or child-support. Those are things he could provide from afar–not while sharing her bed and household.
Do you think anyone would obey that? Were talking about a society that believed in objectifying women, you know. And what society you live in is really not your choice. Damn your choice. Do you think you’ve ever had choice about anything important? You can’t choose to be born – that’s important! You can’t choose how long you will live (except by idiot suicide) and that’s quite possibly important. Besides, you are still not answering the basic claim that it was the best thing that could happen in favor of the woman at that point. It’s not a nice world. IT WAS NOT A PUNISHMENT FOR THE VICTIM DAMMIT!!
As for “F**k historical context,” you have said something imbecile and idiotic. Context is the most important thing in reading the Bible. If you DON’T use context, people can (and do) use the Bible to justify racism, genocide, murder, and every sort of evil.
As for the Israelites, there’s a reason why they went to Babylon in exile. They kept spurning God. For Generations. For, like, 400 friggin’ years of prophet:”repent” People:”nah nah nah nanana” Prophet:”REPENT!”
Anyways, also you should notice that if it weren’t for this supposedly horrific law, you wouldn’t even be saying “treat women as equals” – and not objectifying women is a direct result of the Bible, by the way – because quite possibly Western civilization would not exist.
And by the way ” There’s no reason why the man should have to marry the woman to provide
restitution or child-support. Those are things he could provide from
afar–not while sharing her bed and household.” No. You couldn’t, not really. Not in however many years BC. Partially because at that time a woman didn’t Have a bed or a household “of her own”.
If the bible is true/perfect/yada, yada, Society should NEVER have been like that because the bible should have told them how horrible that behavior is! The bible should have mandated that people treat women better. That we know that behavior is morally reprehensible today means that the bible is WRONG, imperfect, immoral and just downright NASTY!
There is no CONTEXT. That’s what you can’t seem to understand. If there was a god and the bible is his “word” then there would not BE a context. However, morality has changed and we look back at those behaviors as disgusting, so obviously, there is no all-knowing god who told those people this thousands of years ago.
Not praised, but at no point does the Christian god ever express any disagreement with it. Kind of like how god seems to have no problem when David spies Bathsheba naked, covets her, and sends her husband off to be killed in battle so he can marry her. It’s not praised, but it’s certainly never objected to. I mean, it’s not like the Biblical god has a problem letting people know when he disagrees with them – when David decides to have a census and god objects, god supposedly kills 70,000 of his citizens. I think that’s a… fairly clear message there.
DID YOU FRIGGIN’ READ THE BIBLE!!!???? God sends Nathan the Prophet to tell him of his evil. “The Lord the God of Israel says… why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?” Read 2 Samuel 12
And, preemptively, I will note that it is a lesson learned that when one man sins, a lot of people get hurt, especially if the sinner is the King of the people. But before you go off complaining about people you’ve never seen 4000 years ago go and consider maybe the fact that despite, what, 2000 of pig-pigheadedness and srupidity, God still preserves the Jewish race – actually even to the present day – and brought salvation to the world by them so don’t say nothin’ about no “mercilessness”. READ THE CONTEXT OF EVERYTHING IN THE WHOLE BIBLE NARRATIVE AND THEN READ A WHOLE BUNCH OF GOOD APOLOGIA AND THEOLOGICAL EXPLANATION before you go and say God is stupid and mean. Gosh.
So maybe consider trying to bash me after you actually read the text under discussion, for we do not want you to be ignorant about that which you speak of.
So…you’ve read the Bible and you’re NOT an atheist?
Incredible. You are a rarity indeed.
Millions of people throughout history tend to disagree. Have YOU read the Bible… competently?
Yes, I’ve read it. 7 times. By competently, I assume you mean there is a special, magical way that it must be read in order to truly understand it. How original. Never heard THAT one before.
If your god wasn’t imaginary, he’d be a major cumstain for not putting together a tome that could be easily understood by all of those he created and purportedly wants to save.
“Competently” my ass. Don’t waste your time with a response, because its going to be no different than the same bullshit I’ve heard a thousand times before. Boring and stupid.
”And, preemptively, I will note that it is a lesson learned that when one
man sins, a lot of people get hurt, especially if the sinner is the
King of the people.”
If this is referring to god killing thousands of people in response to a census–the only reason people were hurt is because god killed them. Also, you seem to have some issues to work out regarding jewish people. You seem to be implying that they are “pig-headed” and “stupid,” but god still preserves them. Yeah, you don’t know much history if you think jews are the people to point to as an example of god’s mercy (they’ve had a rougher time than most, especially in Europe).
Try actually reading the Bible. I’m not talking about the world’s hate for Jews. That is merely a function of their closeness to God. But if you read the Bible, you see almost nothing but back-sliding, complaining, and ungratefulness from the Israelites. In this, or course, they are no different from most people… but it gets pretty annoying. How would you like to have a people you chose to give good land to (for no particular reason) and saved from slavery, and gave an (exceedingly healthy) diet to, and defended in war, and yada yada yada, forever bitch to you about it?
After all, the Jews did sell their souls to God, as it were – better than a deal with the devil, they say.
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