Christians Are Creating a Scouting Group of Their Own… Because the Boy Scouts of America Is Too Inclusive(?!)

It’s not like the Boy Scouts of America isn’t godly already.

The Scout Oath requires members to promise “To do my duty to God and my country.”

The Scout Law requires members to be “reverent.”

And, because the BSA offers no alternatives to those two things, the organization effectively bans atheists from becoming members.

That’s still not enough for John Stemberger and Rob Green. Because the BSA is now allowing gay scouts to join the organizations, they’re retaliating by creating a Christian alternative. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it does have a website:

“The organization’s membership policy will focus on sexual purity rather than sexual orientation,” Green said in a conference call with reporters.

“The issue with Scouting is just that when you’re going to allow a young man to be in the program to be openly flaunting sexuality, that’s just inappropriate and parents do not think that’s a clean and safe environment for their kids,” [Stemberger] said.

I would love to know what Stemberger and Green consider “flaunting” one’s sexuality and how gay kids do it in a way straight kids do not… I’m guessing they’re just talking out of their ass.

They even take a jab at the Girl Scouts in the process:

The Boy Scouts could easily go the way of the Girl Scouts if they open the door to allow open expressions of sex and politics in the program.

Please… the Boy Scouts could be so lucky as to be like the Girl Scouts.

In any case, it sounds like gay kids can’t join their group.

What about everyone else?

It will be open to all boys irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin. Parents from all faiths are welcome to place their children in the program. While boys may come from every religious background, adult leaders in the program — from the National Board level to individual unit volunteers — will adhere to a standard statement of Christian faith and values.

Leaders will have to be Christian even though the children won’t… which makes this sound like a glorified way to proselytize to kids of non-Christian faiths.

One thing isn’t clear in that statement, though: Are atheists allowed to join? It says people of all faith backgrounds are welcome, so are we part of that mix?

I asked them that question (via Twitter, email, and phone) and have not yet received an answer.

The organization will launch on January 1, 2014 — the same day the new gay-inclusive BSA policy goes into effect.

Overall, we’re looking at a group that wants to be just like the Boy Scouts, but with a few more restrictions as to who can join. The upside is that it’s explicitly Christian — that means it may siphon off the fundies from the BSA and it means they will not receive money or land from the federal government.

The downside is that it means there are actually people out there who look at the BSA’s current policy and think that it’s too inclusive.

These guys actually sat down and had the idea “Let’s copy the BSA but make it even more discriminatory!”

It’s all in the name of Christianity, though, so I guess Jesus approves.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • fatherdaddy

    My dad was a group leader for a Christian scouting group about 10 years ago. Fundies have been complaining about BSA before this. Now, it’s just more popular.

  • ShoeUnited

    Why stop at sexual orientation or lack of religion? Keep going until you’ve got your own little Klan and then a party of one.

  • A3Kr0n

    This sounds a little like Spanky’s He-man Women Haters Club. It’s on YouTube, I don’t want to make a big box here.

  • Gus Snarp

    I wonder if the BSA has a trademark on the Fleur de lis as a logo of a youth organization. Because that logo looks like pretty clear trademark infringement to me.

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

    There’s already one such group in existence, the Royal Rangers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Rangers

    I was unaware of them until a recent case in my area. A school official who had previously worked at one of my daughters’ schools was recently arrested for a child molestation incident that had happened a few years before on a Royal Rangers camping trip.

    Such an improvement over the BSA. Sheesh.

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

    It actually appears to be a direct ripoff of the logo shown on this page:

    http://troop41.cgtechsolutions.net/?page_id=27

    I can’t figure out if this is specific to this troop or if it’s an official Boy Scout logo or what. Alas, I’m on my way out the door and don’t have time for Googlefu right now.

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

    Oh, “the On My Honor Award is the Latter-day Saint religious award for Boy Scouts.” I’m not sure that this is the award, though; this may be something different. In any event, the image above does appear to be a BSA design, barely altered.

    https://www.lds.org/callings/aaronic-priesthood/leader-resources/scouting/on-my-honor

    NOW I’m on my way out the door. Darn Google, sucking me in that way!

  • Gus Snarp

    The issue with Scouting is just that when you’re going to allow a young man to be in the program to be openly flaunting sexuality, that’s just inappropriate and parents do not think that’s a clean and safe environment for their kids

    Yeah, because the last thing twelve to eighteen year old boys are going to talk about when they get away from their parents for a weekend is sexuality. Sure, that’s not the first and most prominent topic of conversation when boys get to have a quiet moment away from grown ups.

    Parents: please stop pretending your kids are different from the way you were at their age.

  • C Peterson

    If deliberately involving your kids in an openly divisive, discriminatory, and exclusive organization isn’t bad parenting, if not outright abuse, I don’t know what is.

    The parents are assholes; the kids are victims. Victims who will form the next generation of assholes.

  • DavidMHart

    I’m just enjoying the fact that the fleur-de-lys looks, just for a moment, out of the corner of your eye, like an erect-knob-and-bollocks doodle that a mischievous boy scout might draw. Unwittingly appropriate?

  • Gus Snarp

    Oh wow, following links there led me to this site where you can buy your temple garments: http://store.lds.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category3_715839595_10557_21160_-1_N_image_0

    Also, I think the On My Honor award is different from the logo above. The phrase comes from the Scout Oath, so it gets used all over. I’m pretty sure the BSA has a solid copyright or trademark infringement case against this organization if they keep using that, but IANAL.

  • Rain

    I wonder if the BSA has a trademark on the Fleur de lis as a logo of a youth organization. Because that logo looks like pretty clear trademark infringement to me.

    Yep it’s in there:

    http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/Licensing/Protecting%20the%20Brand/Boy%20Scouts%20of%20America%20Trademark%20Listing.aspx

    And they don’t like infringement:

    http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/Licensing/Protecting%20the%20Brand.aspx

  • Gus Snarp

    Your ability to see phallic symbols is stronger than mine. Does that say something about you? ;-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTRGK-DPq_M

  • phantomreader42

    The organization’s membership policy will focus on sexual purity rather than sexual orientation
    You know who often has an obsession with sexual “purity”? Pedophiles.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and a symbol really does look sort of phallic. You know, like Cathedral entrances all look like vaginas.

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

    I agree (and I’m still here, darn it); upon further reflection I don’t think that’s the On My Honor award. I think that’s a ribbon. Still, it’s a BSA symbol and they ought not to be using it. Also, their Facebook page is entitled OnOurHonorBSA when they’re actually anti-BSA, which seems rude.

  • edb3803

    I’m sure atheists will be welcome, as long as they completely hide the fact that they are atheist, and vocally acknowledge that god does exist.

  • Erp

    There are some that will think even this new organization is too inclusive (not denominational enough). They are explicitly saying they are going to work with American Heritage Girls which splintered from the Girl Scouts some 20 years ago so that is probably a good place to see what some aspects will be (accepting all girls who can take the oath but adults have to be ‘proper’ Christians is straight AHG).

    BTW one big difference between the BSA and the GSUSA is the Latter Day Saints will not be leaving the BSA and so will remain a large block within the organization.

  • Amor DeCosmos

    Google image search: http://bit.ly/13MkMqR

  • Michelle

    The nation as a whole is becoming more progressive and less religious. A lot of Christians I know are more like Deists than Christians and essentially ignore the entire old testament. Let the fundamentalist Christians form their super inclusive groups and soon enough they’ll be extremely outnumbered (if they aren’t already) that they’ll just be an ignorant joke to everyone. I see all of this as their last ditch effort to force their religion on the masses, they’re losing and they know it.

  • edb3803

    What is up with their insane obsession with sex???

  • Darren

    Old news, Stemberger and Green are way behind the curve.

    I was never allowed to be a Boyscout owing to their lax moral character back in the early 1980′s! Oh no, it was the Royal Rangers for me. They are still around, they even have a Wiki entry:

    “A Royal Ranger is: Alert, Clean, Honest, Courageous, Loyal, Courteous, Obedient, Spiritual.

    ALERT. He is mentally, physically, and spiritually alert.

    CLEAN. He is clean in body, mind, and speech.

    HONEST. He does not lie, cheat, or steal.

    COURAGEOUS. He is brave, in spite of danger, criticism, or threats.

    LOYAL. He is faithful to his church, family, outpost, and friends.

    COURTEOUS. He is polite, kind, and thoughtful.

    OBEDIENT. He obeys his parents, leaders, and those in authority.

    SPIRITUAL. He prays, reads the Bible, and witnesses.”

  • Darren

    Considering that the founder of Scouting had a, shall we say, keen appreciation for tween boys… especially when swimming naked.

    or so rumor has it…

  • Rod

    Both Quebec and the Prince of Wales use the same logo. Don’t think that BSA or ayscout organisation has a lock on it.

  • Miss_Beara

    “The organization’s membership policy will focus on sexual purity rather than sexual orientation”

    I am just guessing here but I don’t think the BSA focuses on sexual orientation.

  • Tainda

    I took my daughter out of Girl Scouts because I picked her up after a meeting and she said they prayed at the meeting.

    They can have their club if they want because the more they whittle down their memberships the more likely they are to become extinct.

  • Gus Snarp

    Obviously the fleur de lis is far too old and common for anyone to trademark it outright, but according to the link posted by Rain below, they do actually own a trademark on it when used in association with scouting activities, like this case.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Perhaps the idea that sex is beautiful and sacred and should be a total gift of self to one’s spouse, and that promiscuity, perversion and acts of sodomy should not be promoted as “normal” or glorified, especially not in organizations of kids.

  • The Captain

    I’ll bet anyone that while they say that they will allow any child from any religion into their little club which is probably true, what they really mean is sure your jewish and muslim kids can join, but we will make them pray in Jesus’ name when if they do. See, we are open…right?

  • Oranje

    The beginning is all socially constructed. Sex is beautiful. I’m not sure what sacred means or what a total gift of the self is. Promiscuity and perversion are remarkably subjective words, aren’t they? Acts of sodomy. Yeah. Because whatever is defined as sodomy isn’t practiced by straight couples, too.

    And the end is not what anyone actually thinks. Glorified? Are you expecting there to be a scout badge for gay sex or something? Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING is going to change, other than some people being a bit more welcoming to people different from them and discovering that they’re more alike than they thought.

  • MineApostasy

    Fine, let ‘em have their club. They can’t get federal funding, but I’m certain that there are a lot of fundie churches that would love this. Maybe this will allow the BSA to go even more inclusive. Maybe we’ll see a joining of Boy and Girl Scouts into a better organisation.

  • Art_Vandelay

    I can actually say with certainty that I wasn’t this way.* Any talk of sex in my adolescent years made me wildly uncomfortable and wore on my conscience. Part Catholic guilt and part just being afraid to let go of my childhood, I think.

    *No, I won’t be holding my kids to the same standard nor do I think it’s a remotely healthy one to have.

  • Machintelligence

    A dirty mind is a thing of joy forever.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I’m not against discriminating against anyone who may be struggling with same-sex attraction. However this seems like yet another step on the slippery slope of the normalization of perversion and immorality as is amply documented in the case of the girl scouts (see link to girls scouts in the article above).

    You may think that promiscuity and perversion are “remarkably subjective” but this view is only the product of the morass of moral relativism in which we are quickly sinking (and yes, I agree with you that there is plenty of immorality also practiced by straight couples). Actually there is an objective truth regarding the meaning of sexuality, for example as expressed here: http://goo.gl/FPr8F

  • Blacksheep

    “It’s not like the Boy Scouts of America isn’t godly already.”

    Yes, but that may soon change with outside pressure. It’s certainly a goal of many here to strip any mention of God from the BSA, so creating something new is a way to deal with that without arguing.

  • Paul in Canada

    Funny – the idea to an alternative existed long, long ago. I was raised evangelical and we were part of the Christian Service Brigade. Had badges, levels, the whole nine yards. Old ideas new again. And sad.

  • talkingsnake

    Anything other than the missionary position is off-limits, damn it! It’s perverted I tell you!

  • Blacksheep

    Paul, I was raised in the same group, CSB. Did you go to Northern Frontier in the Adirondacks? I have great memories of that place, and of the guys who worked / volunteered there.

  • blasphemous_kansan

    Could you please provide a quote from one of the “many here” who have stated, explicitly, the goal to “strip any mention of God from the BSA”?

    That would be neat.

  • Blacksheep

    I’ll answer you even with the smarmy sign off –

    There have been many mentions here that allowing gay leaders in the scouts is not far enough – that it won’t be fair until members do not have to mention God in the oath, etc. I’m not going to do homework for you, but an honest assessment of the FA position on scouting is that since it’s government funded / soupported, Gos should not be a part of it.

    Are you saying that you’re OK with God and religion being part of the BSA? Are you OK with the current oath?

  • unclemike

    The vatican?? Objective?? Hahahahahahaha…

    Ha, I say!

  • SinginDiva721

    Perhaps that is YOUR objective truth (and that’s perfectly fine…for you!). But I am not catholic nor have I ever been so this is not my objective truth. I care very little about what the Vatican thinks of mine, or anyone else’s, sex life. If they don’t like it, sounds like it’s their problem.
    Also, please note that the Vatican has been covering up for pedophile priests for decades if not centuries. I’m pretty sure that no matter what religion or lack thereof you follow, that’s pretty fucking immoral. So I don’t think they’re in a position to preach to anybody.

  • blasphemous_kansan

    I’ll reply to you, even with your smarmy sign on.

    “I’m not going to do homework for you”
    When anyone says this, they might as well just say “I made a claim that is probably incorrect and I’m just as lazy in researching it now as I was when I made it”

    So you couldn’t find even one supporting quote to your claim that people here wish to invade the curriculum of the BSA? Got it.

    I’m totally fine with god being part of the BSA, and the oath. I have as much of a ‘problem’ with those things as I do with a Sunday church service that takes place a block away as I comfortably nap. You’ve actually gotten the point completely ass-backwards: it’s not that god should be removed from the BSA’s curriculum, it’s that government should be removed from the BSA’s donor list (in the form of their support network the receive implicitly in many school districts, sweet deals on property/rent from local and federal govt’s)

  • unclemike

    Scouting is funded by the government? Do tell!

  • Lucilius

    As a former Orlando, Fla., resident I’ve had plenty of contact with John Scumbagger. Almost everything he and his Florida Fascism Council pumps out is fearmongering over Teh Gheys.
    Frankly, I’d be surprised if this group ever has any meetings beyond a few for the TV cameras – it’s all a show to squeeze donations out of scared and gullible fundies. I got on their mailing list (long story), and three years later they’re still sending me begging letters about how it’s THE END OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION!?!?!!! every time a gay person votes or gets a job.
    Everything they do boils down to “Send us money, send us money, send us money.”

  • Blacksheep

    “On my honor, I will do my best
    To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
    To help other people at all times;
    To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

    That’s the oath – I’m happy that you have no problem with it! I’m curious if any others here agree.

  • waldteufel

    I went to their website, and it seems to me that their uniform should be a white sheet with a funny inverted cone white hood.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    adult leaders in the program — from the National Board level to individual unit volunteers — will adhere to a standard statement of Christian faith and values.

    Hmmm, I wonder if their “standard statement of Christian faith and values” includes Mormonism.

  • blasphemous_kansan

    You fail again.

    As long as government is not supportive of an organization that discriminates, why would I have a problem with the god-talk of others?
    The oath is not offensive. Time-honored institutional approval of bigoted organizations is.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar…

    Yeah, I remember the jokes about that from the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal.

  • Blacksheep

    I said that the FA POSITION on scouting is that it’s government funded. I don’t necessarily agree… here’s one summary of ways that people assert that the scouts are govt funded:

    “The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has taken legal action to stop governmental organizations from serving as the chartered organizations (sponsors) of Scouting units in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. The Department of Defense announced in 2004 that it would end direct sponsorship of Scouting units in response to a lawsuit brought by the ACLU.[65][66] “The ACLU of Illinois charged that the Boy Scouts’ policy violates the religious liberty of youth who wish to participate but do not wish to swear a religious oath, and that direct government sponsorship of such a program is religious discrimination.”[67]

    The BSA agreed in 2005 to transfer all charters it had issued to governmental entities to private entities in response to a request from the ACLU.[68] Previously, about 400 Scouting units had been sponsored by U.S. military bases and over 10,000 by other governmental entities, primarily public schools.[69]“

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    There is no morality more subjective than “Because I said so”, which is what Yahweh preaches (and practices for that matter). Feel free to try again.

  • edb3803

    What is considered “normal” (as you appropriately quote) is your opinion, and based on your religious beliefs, at least what you have been taught by your authorities. And your opinion should be kept to yourself — once you push your opinion onto others through organizational rules and laws, you have just crossed the line into authoritarinism. Please don’t define for everyone what *you* think is “normal”.

  • Blacksheep

    There’s no fail, I simply now know that you personally have no trouble with the BSA oath.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    They’re going to need a new uniform. May I suggest white sheets?

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    “The sign says ‘No Pedos‘. We’re allowed to have one.”

    /TheSimpsons

  • Glasofruix

    Add some pointy hats.

  • blasphemous_kansan

    Do you have any problems with the Micky Mouse Club song? Such info will be exactly as relevant to me as my feelings about the scout oath are to the current topic.

    Nice job obfuscating and misdirecting, though!

  • edb3803

    You are absolutely discriminating against homosexuals. You are calling them perverted and immoral. Go away, and take your prejudiced beliefs with you!

  • Ray Tindell

    I am an Eagle Scout myself, and now an attorney, had an awesome Scouting experience as a teenager….the problem with the new BSA policy as I see it is openly out and gay scouts will be targeted by the closet pedophile scout masters that volunteer specifically because of the access to boys, yes unfortunately these monsters exist…the BSA has always been plagued by lawsuits of this nature, and over the decades has paid out 100′s of Millions in claims made by young lives ruined…..thankfully nothing ever happened to me and most other members, but this new landscape will be like pouring gasoline on a fire, the BSA better be ready and have their checkbook out….

  • Andre Villeneuve

    “YOUR objective truth” is an oxymoron. That would be a subjective opinion, not an objective truth. Objective truth, by definition, means a truth that is universal and applies to all people, such as the law of gravity, or in the case of moral laws, things such as “you shall not murder” or “you shall not commit adultery”.

    Ironically, you seem to believe in objective truth too wen you say that “no matter what religion or lack thereof you follow, that’s … immoral”.

    Is pedophilia just immoral “for you”? Or for everyone? If the latter, then who are you to decide that it’s wrong for them? Why are you imposing your values on others?

    Do you see the inconsistency of your position?

    Now I agree with you that the sexual scandals (by about 4% of priests) and their cover ups (by a small minority of bishops) are immoral and scandalous – for everyone.

    Still, the failures of some clergymen to live up the Church’s teachings does not invalidate these teachings – quite on the contrary. Perhaps they are worth considering for their own worth (it was a reply to the comment above asking about the meaning of sexuality), rather than obsessively falling back on the scandals at every opportunity (I knew someone would bring them up sooner rather than later).

  • Oranje

    That would be an objective truth only if they still had the power of the Inquisition. Otherwise it’s a statement of faith, by definition subjective. I do not believe moral relativism is any form of sinking. It is the discovery that difference is not something to fear and that what is right for one (or even the majority) is not necessarily right for all. I am not in a conventional relationship (my wife and I are open) and I rather resent the implication that somehow how I live is below anyone else.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    The fleur de lis has a lengthy history in European heraldry, although more often that not it stands for French heritage. The Prince of Wales does not have French ancestry, but rather German, and his symbol is Prince of Wales’s feathers, to indicate his intellectual prowess, with the slogan “Ich dien.” The resemblance to a fleur de lis requires squinting.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Shaming a group that overtly practices discrimination against children into improving itself isn’t the same thing as the forceful methods that you are oh-so-”honestly”-in-a-Christian-sense implying that people want to use.

    “Deal with that without arguing”? Jesus man, did you eat a big bowl of Liar-O’s for breakfast this morning? This group is ABOUT intratribal divisiveness, judgmentalism, and cultural warfare.

  • Oranje

    The inconsistency in your opinion is that you believe the world to be seen in completely binary terms, when reality is a grey place. Jumping to extremist examples like pedophilia, lumping non-consent in with incidences of consent, is wrong.

    How do you define adultery? Sex outside of marriage? With deceit and with consent? Why do you consider that universal?

    It is intellectually dishonest of you to point out an example of non-consent and then claim it as an inconsistency of opinion when it was never defended in the first place. If you cannot see these shades of grey, well, perhaps there can be no convincing you.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Yeah, I thought that right off also. This new group is not going to get to use that. The fact that they’re fool enough to even try is a strong indicator that they’re going to fail badly.

  • Carmelita Spats

    Pedophile priests are not “normal”, especially “not in the organization of kids”. Let’s talk “abnormal”…Being impregnated by a ghost is NOT “normal” or “natural”, is it? I’d even venture to say that ghostly insemination, opening Mary’s capacious vaginal dimensions to Yahweh’s black cosmic goo, is hot and sticky “paranormal parthenogenic perversion”. Mary’s biology responded in the manner of aphids. Yes? The Bible should really, really, go into more detail and explain how, exactly, did a horny teenager named “Mary” become inseminated, by a Space Ghost known as Yahweh, with Himself so as to sacrifice Himself to Himself. There was no consent because, you know, she couldn’t say “NO” to Yahweh’s *cough* charms. Promiscuity? We have no way to gauge Yahweh’s promiscuity because we don’t know how many other “lucky gals” received his black cosmic goo. Furthermore, since the Father and Son are ONE, this means that Jesus was his own father! EWWWW! Not even in Alabama!

    This is all so completely abnormal and NO CHILD should EVER be exposed to a creepy manger scene! Decent, responsible, parents are forced to explain to a MINOR that Joseph was not Jesus’s real daddy because Mary had a special, special, baby-maker who was really Jesus-In-Ghost-Form so Jesus made a baby (himself) with his own mommy which means that in family court, Jesus could very well end up paying child support to himself and having custody of himself.

    Mary’s Fling:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X41FANcPohk

    Let’s think of the children: Keep ALL paranormal perversions OUT of the public square and on TAX-EXEMPT property. Praise!

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Quick to judge I see. You have obviously not read anything of the article (which speaks quite a bit about the nature of love, and not just of commandments as divine diktat). Sexual morality is not just based on the Bible. Many people, whether religious or not, reject the emptiness of secular hedonism and agree with a similar vision of the dignity of marriage, love and sexuality.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    I have a couple of objections to your statement.
    1) Sure there are closeted gay pedophile scout masters. But you need to be careful not to imply that gay = pedophile, which is unsupported by any data.
    2) The solution is to get everyone out of the closet. Then, if a scout master shows an inappropriate sexual interest in scouts, you prosecute the individual, rather than slander the general, and most definitely you do not sweep it under the carpet.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    “your opinion should be kept to yourself” – that sounds a lot like authoritarianism to me!

  • Hat Stealer

    In other words, the idea that sex is magic. For those of us who don’t believe in magic, your words ring hollow.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    When you’re reduced to defending yourself with a tu quoque, true or not, you’ve lost. Go eat some carbs and wake up.

  • Tainda

    As long as the act is between consenting ADULTS, no one has any right to say it’s wrong or not normal. “Normal” is boring anyway.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Pedophiles look for vulnerable targets. Gay children are MORE vulnerable when they have to hide themselves. So no.

  • edb3803

    What part of ‘once you push your opinion onto others through organizational rules and laws’ did you misunderstand? Have your opinions and prejudiced beliefs — just don’t make them into laws that others are supposed to adhere to — that’s authoritarinism!

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I never said that pedophile priests are “normal.”

    Your blasphemous, angry ranting is completely off topic and not worthy of a response. Try a different approach if you are genuinely interested in discussing these issues.

  • Ewan

    “his symbol is Prince of Wales’s feathers, to indicate his intellectual prowess”

    Indeed. He’s a bird brain.

  • Monika Jankun-Kelly

    Please stop equating secularism with hedonism, and being gay with hedonism. Don’t you know there are monogamous, loving gay couples who have been together for decades? Do you think the gay and the secular all have sex just for physical pleasure? That said, why should you or I or anyone be bothered if someone has casual sex, provided no one is hurt physically nor emotionally? That has zero effect on my relationship, on what I do, what I feel.

  • Sven2547

    It reminds me of how conservative Christian caterers and florists are horrified and outraged at the notion that they might be asked to serve same-sex weddings. They’re sending the clear message that if they’re not allowed to treat certain people as second-class citizens, they are unhappy.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Quick to make up things I see, since my response doesn’t rely on the gibberish contained in that article. YOUR version is based on the ultimate subjective morality. Feel free to try again.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Well, I was writing in that someone had made an account to misrepresent themselves as being Blacksheep, but it looks like it was already spotted and deleted. Not that I have much sympathy when someone goes a long time without creating an account and then that happens.

    Of course, knowing DISQUS, it could have just been a glitch assigning the wrong user name to posts…

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Florida police officers entangled in widespread sex scandal
    Therefore, using Ray Tindell logic (TM), we should not allow heterosexual men to become police officers, because they might abuse the position of authority to coerce sexual favors from subordinates.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I didn’t call anyone anything. You are confusing the person with the act. *People* with same-sex attraction are created in the image of God, unconditionally loved by Him, and called to chastity and sanctity. Homosexual *acts* are perverted and immoral and the person who engages in them will never be genuinely happy. I realize you may not agree but the distinction between the person and the act is essential.

  • SinginDiva721

    My point is your rules are your rules. They are not my rules and no one should be required to follow them. Your religion’s rules do not get to dictate what others do behind closed doors. Gays having sex do not have any impact on your life whatsoever. Just like your sexual habits have no impact on them.
    As for the pedophilia, children can’t consent. Adults can. That is where the difference lies.

  • Hat Stealer

    The article is a bunch of religious and philosophical bullshit. When you posted it, you were essentially saying “How can I preach to a bunch of atheists? I know! I will quote the teachings of the Vatican! That ought to persuade them!”

    The problem with this approach is that we think the Vatican is full of shit as well.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    “As long as the act is between consenting adults, no one has any right to say it’s wrong or not normal” – is that just “YOUR truth” or is this an objective truth for everyone? By what universal standard do you get to decide for everyone that consent should be THE absolute norm for all? and even more, by what absolute authority do you claim to decide who has the right to say what?

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Your sick claim that people should never find a partner and love them because you think they were born wrong is twisted and evil.

    Your claim to know what people are “really” feeling, thus claiming that you have the wisdom of God, is noted. See you in Hell, false prophet.

  • Tainda

    “and the person who engages in them will never be genuinely happy”

    And on that note, you’ve lost every argument you have or will have here. You have NO idea the happiness of others. You cuddle up to your fictional deity and live your life in blissful ignorance and leave others alone.

    Have a nice day.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    I KNOW you’ve been told before about consent and how it relates to pedophilia. Why do you lie for Jesus?

    Acting pissy about the Church’s now-public immorality doesn’t magically negate its relevance. You’re terrible at this, Liar For Jesus.

  • edb3803

    Really? So, love the sinner, hate the sin, huh? I’ve never heard that argument before :D . I guess that helps you sleep at night. But you are still a bigot.

  • Tainda

    I will never look at another cathedral entrance the same way

  • RobMcCune

    The slippery slope argument is a logical fallacy, fyi.

  • unclemike

    I don’t believe anybody on FA has ever claimed BSA is funded by the gov. Another thing you claim about this website you can’t back up with evidence.

    What has been said here is that, since many local governments, schools, etc., have non-discrimination policies in place, they should not be giving meeting space to a discriminatory organization.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    The secular, Western standard for morality: It involves consent and doesn’t harm others.

    The Yahweh standard: It’s immoral because I said it is.

    Asking the same questions you’ve been given the answers to before on FA (and certainly other sites) doesn’t magically make a “gotcha”. It just makes you a dishonest douche who thinks he can win by aggressively demanding answers to whatever he can make up.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Actually that’s incorrect, I view the world not in binary terms but as incredibly complex. I am not the one who brought up pedophilia, I was merely responding to another comment.

    How do I define adultery? Sex with someone who is someone else’s spouse. Sex outside of marriage? Seems pretty self-explanatory to me… Why I consider these things universal? See the document that I posted earlier (http://goo.gl/FPr8F). While it is a Catholic document, it does try to articulate the meaning of love, marriage and sexuality in a broader way that a series of “thou shalt nots”.

    I agree with you that deceit is bad and consent is important, but who is to say that consent is the only standard to follow for the sexual act to be good? Is that not a rather binary way of seeing things?

  • Guest

    Also, ACLU != FA

  • TheG

    I’m sorry, but the biggest moral relativism going on in this country these days isn’t among those asking for equal rights and the neutrality of government.

    It is among the religious, especially Christians in the United States.

    Christians have a figurehead that dictates helping the poor, eschewing the collection of wealth, that no sin is greater than another, and private expressions of faith. This is quite different from the followers that use relativism to explain why they don’t give healthcare to everyone or their employees, have vast megachurches and their own opulent cities, ignoring some vices while criminalizing others, and forcing the public to fund and listen to their prayers.

    Plus, Christians, in an extreme lack of irony on relativism, often have the same opinion as you.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    You’d be more credible if you weren’t either too stupid or too dishonest to actually discuss things instead of repeating yourself over and over whenever you think enough time has passed for people to forget that your questions have already been answered on FA multiple times.

    Not to mention your being too stupid or dishonest to know the definition of a basic word like “angry” and how it doesn’t apply to Carmelita’s post. It does, however, apply to your reaction to it. Would you like some tweezers to help extract that plank?

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    They contradict themselves when they claim, “The organization’s membership policy will focus on sexual purity rather than sexual orientation,” but then they state, The issue with Scouting is just that when you’re going to allow a young man to be in the program to be openly flaunting sexuality.”

    I am assuming that mentioning you are gay or that you have a boyfriend is flaunting your sexuality according to them. They were and still are hypocrites of the highest order. You can’t claim that it will be about sexual purity and then claim that gay people are the problem because they “flaunt it.”

    I think my biggest problem with this is that it does appear to be all about proselytizing and also seems to be an extension of the purity movement, but trying to, surprisingly, get young men to stay pure instead of focusing on women.

  • baal

    Hidden jump link targets to the vatican’s RCC guide to fucking while god watches.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Since you are for diverse opinions, then why not be open to other points of view then?

  • edb3803

    “Actually that’s incorrect, I view the world not in binary terms but as incredibly complex.”

    hahahahahahahaha!

    Either it’s the pope’s interpretation of this 2000 year old book or nothing! Sounds incredibly complex! I guess those interpretations can get rather twisted and tangled up as modern culture keeps progressing.

  • baal

    “Homosexual *acts* are perverted and immoral and the person who engages in them will never be genuinely happy.”
    Fuck you.
    Your definition of genuine happy is wrong and wrongful.

  • RobMcCune

    Not to mention the Vatican has terrible page layout making those 7 pages of text nigh unreadable.

  • TheG

    Because that poster won’t torture someone forever and ever and ever and ever for disagreeing. That is the difference.

    When a truth is it’s own reward rather than being shoehorned in so that someone is seeking an external reward or avoiding a punishment, that is when it is universal. You know, as in the opposite of arbitrary.

    Look, just because the Bible stumbles onto a few universal truths doesn’t mean it is objectively right. Those isolated accidental good moments don’t give credence to all the moments where it was wrong and arbitrary (shellfish, the Earth is flat, slavery is not condemned, no mention of iPhones…)

  • baal

    You can only be happy if you follow the Vatican’s sex guide sounds like authoritarianism to me.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    What am I “pushing”? You have the right to your opinion and the right to reject mine. So you are basically saying that whoever doesn’t agree with your idea of sexual morality has no right to speak. Therein lies the true authoritarianism.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Not at all. You are free to do whatever you want.

  • TheG

    I thought the same thing. They are flaunting their sexuality, it just happens that it is heterosexual and it emphasizes abstinence. One is irrelevant and the other is scientifically foolish. But it is their right to flaunt it, I guess. And it is our right to call them hypocrites for it.

  • Blacksheep

    You can read comments on the following posts, not that this is just a sampling. I said “Funded / Supported”, so holding me to one word is entirely missing my point which is that most Atheists would like God out of the BSA.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/06/12/the-boy-scouts-of-america-are-missing-out-on-gay-and-atheist-leaders/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/04/09/new-california-legislation-would-remove-tax-breaks-from-the-boy-scouts-for-discriminating-against-atheists/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/02/03/president-obama-nobody-should-be-barred-from-the-boy-scouts-but-atheists-still-will-be/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/01/28/proposed-boy-scouts-of-america-policy-that-could-allow-gay-members-would-still-exclude-atheists/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2011/08/11/seven-year-old-may-not-get-to-join-brownies-group-because-of-god-oath/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2009/06/10/would-you-allow-your-child-to-join-the-boy-scouts-of-america/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/06/24/ffrf-runs-ad-in-new-york-times-opposing-atheist-discrimination-by-boy-scouts-of-america/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/23/boy-scouts-of-america-will-now-allow-gay-youth-but-gay-leaders-and-atheists-are-still-banned/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/16/believing-in-a-higher-power-shouldnt-be-a-prerequisite-to-becoming-a-boy-scout/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/04/20/new-boy-scouts-of-america-policy-could-allow-gay-scouts-while-still-banning-gay-scout-leaders-and-atheists/

  • Ray Tindell

    the police scandal involves adults, on a whole different level

  • TheG

    Being open to viewpoints that are for refusing to accept other viewpoints just isn’t the same. For example, intolerance of bigots doesn’t make someone a bigot. Not tolerating pedophiles isn’t a negative viewpoint. You’re just trying to use semantic mumbojumbo to obscure the point.

  • Ray Tindell

    then why does the BSA not allow gay scout masters in their new policy??? this seems hypocritical with their new policy, they are telling gay scouts it’s fine but then when you reach 18 you cannot be involved and cannot volunteer, even though they push their scouts to volunteer as adults later on, those kids will be left out

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You are indeed not required to follow what you call “my rules.” However does that mean no one has the right to present any other vision of sexuality that is different from your own?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Fine for you if that’s your response. Good luck.

  • unclemike

    Well, I just went through the first two articles you linked to, and since neither one of them had a commenter suggesting, much less explicitly stating, that the government funds scouting, I’m going to assume that, again, you can’t actually provide evidence of your claim.

    If you don’t want somebody to hold you to your word, don’t use the word.

    Edit:
    Also, ACLU != FA.

    Also, too: “the FA position” is hardly represented by one or two random commenters, but still.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Yeah, that’s true. I’ll grant you that one :)

  • RobMcCune

    You don’t make that distinction. You think merely allowing someone who is attracted to the same sex to participate is ‘glorifying sodomy.’ Maybe you should start practicing what you preach, rather just making the distinction when convenient.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Define love. I am all for “loving” a partner. Love between two persons of the same sex has an ancient name: it’s called “friendship.” Love is wanting the best for the other person, not wanting to satisfy one’s urges. For this reason, acts of sodomy have nothing to do with love. I’m not discounting the fact that two men or two women can have a genuine element of love for each other, only that the sexual element in the relationship doesn’t fulfill that love but damages it.

  • edb3803

    I never said what you are claiming I said. Sorry, but now you are being dishonest.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I’m not against discrimination against anyone who may have a same-sex attraction. I did not equate this with ‘glorifying sodomy’

  • edb3803

    You can twist and redefine abstractions to try and feel better about being a bigot, but your argument is still just a subjective opinion showing your homophobic prejudice.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    No, it just shows the inconsistency of your position: pretend you are so enlightened while actually being quite intolerant of anyone who doesn’t agree with your own views (while of course distorting and falsifying these other positions, such as the incorrect claim that biblical morality is just “immoral because I said it is”)

  • SinginDiva721

    ” However does that mean no one has the right to present any other vision of sexuality that is different from your own?”

    Um, no. There are different visions for everyone and that’s what I’m trying to say. For some people that includes homosexuality. You’re the one who seems caught up that only heterosexuality is the correct one and everyone else is just a dirty sinner. You envision heterosexuality as being the only way it should be. That is your opinion and you are entitled to it. But I don’t see it that way. There are many different facets of sexuality that I find beautiful.

  • RobMcCune

    So then what was this referring to?

    …and that promiscuity, perversion and acts of sodomy should not be promoted as “normal” or glorified, especially not in organizations of kids.

    The BSA has no such policy that I know of, though they did recently change it’s policy of not allowing openly gay scouts.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    I think you’re working under the assumption that the BSA’s discrimination is based on logic and information and not squickiness.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I think it’s totally fair to critique Christians and hold them up to the standard that they preach. However, do keep in mind that no one claims that Christians are perfect, they are forgiven and a work in progress (yes, I know, oversimplification, no need to begin argument on that one).

    But actually most of the examples you propose are wrong:

    helping the poor: yes

    eschewing the collection of wealth: not really, Christianity warns against the *love* of money/wealth and avarice; it doesn’t say that wealth is an intrinsic evil (how can you help others if you don’t have anything?)

    no sin is greater than another: incorrect, see Mt. 23:23-33

    private expressions of faith: incorrect; Jesus warned about praying in public to attract praise. He never said anything about keeping one’s faith to oneself, quite on the contrary (Mt 5:14-15)

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Sure, drawing a laughable caricature of Catholicism that no Catholic holds immediately settles the argument. How did I miss out on that gem of wisdom until now?

  • TheG

    Moral relativism. Thank you for the dazzling demonstration.

  • Jonathan Duran

    They are many years too late to that party…I was in the “RAs” (Royal Ambassadors) when I was a kid decades ago. It was basically a Jesus-filled version of the Boy Scouts. There was camping and knot-tying and patches to sew onto sashes, but it was all related to Jesus and Bible verses, even if there was really no connection. They had a girls version too, but I forget what it was called. They still appear to be going strong: http://www.royalambassadors.org. All in all, it was pretty miserable…

  • TheG

    Can you also demonstrate how Christians are full of love by belching out hateful catchphrases? I love it when that hypocrisy is on display as well!

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Anyone who goes to hell will not be surprised that they are there. They will know themselves that it is the place where they belong because they have suppressed the truth in their own conscience. In other words, people who go to hell go there really by their own choice, not because God positively wills it. His positive will is the salvation of all people.

  • TheG

    So, your god creates the universe, but can’t be held responsible for the results? It reminds me of the times that my big sister would stand in front of me while swinging her fists in a windmill and then walked towards me. It wasn’t her fault I got punched.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Then my job here is done. :)

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I agree with you that some actions need to be absolutely rejected, and in some cases viewed as criminal (e.g. pedophilia).

    However, define “bigot”: many would like to define it as “anyone who doesn’t agree with secularist/hedonist views of just about anything goes in matters of sexuality.”

    I find it to be very problematic that people who view marriage as the faithful union between man and woman to be increasingly viewed as “bigots”. Now that is totalitarianism.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Apologies if I misunderstood you, but that is certainly the basic vibe that I’m getting from others here. Disagree with the secularist idea of libertine sexuality and you are vilified and called all names.

  • The Other Weirdo

    That’s a very bold assertion. I don’t suppose there is anything to back it up.

  • Gus Snarp

    Yes, I always turn to a bunch of “celibate” old men as the arbiters of sexual morality!

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I’m not twisting terms, you are. A “phobia” is an irrational fear of something or someone. I am neither irrational nor fearful nor prejudiced. I have nothing against people with same-sex attractions. I just think that homosexual acts are morally wrong. You are free to disagree, but please don’t use nonsensical terms like “homophobia” when they don’t apply.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I reject your attempt to combine secularism and hedonism. You don’t speak for me, you don’t know me.

  • Oranje

    You’re arguing a strawman there, don’t you think? The application of the term bigot has much more to do with those who would deny equal rights to people different from them. If you are applying your brand of morality to everyone through being in a position of power, then that’s a problem. But you’re beating up a statement that is skewed to make you look innocent.

  • Oranje

    Now you’re just being intentionally obtuse.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I’m pretty sure there was a verse about a very distraught young man who had to give up all his wealth to become a Christian..

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Fair enough. You have the right to your opinion too, obviously. You believe in moral relativism and I don’t.

    And by the way, we are all sinners, though I don’t think the adjective “dirty” is necessary to qualify ourselves.

  • 3lemenope

    Your argument about prayer would be more convincing if it weren’t for the passage’s context, where Jesus follows his criticism of the public preening prayers of the Pharisees with a positive prescription of proper penitence. He doesn’t just tell them how not to do it, he tells them how to do it. And he doesn’t garnish it with any sort of caveat that it is a training-wheels sort of prayer that the more humble Christians can deviate from without risk of doing it wrong.

  • Oranje

    If I may borrow the style of Eric Holder…

    “Is that not a rather binary way of seeing things?”

    No.

  • TheG

    I’m sorry, but there is no equality between positions. If I tell a child not to bully other children, that doesn’t make me a bully.

    The problem with your definition is that it has several fallacies (that have been pointed out to you many times before) such as that secularism = hedonism (it doesn’t), hedonism = “anything goes” (it doesn’t), and that calling someone a bigot for trying to limit the rights of others is totalitarianism but limiting the rights of others for reasons outside of the law is not totalitarianism.

    Why is it totalitarianism when you are on losing side but not totalitarianism when you are on the winning side? I mean, other than blatant hypocrisy?

    ETA: The reason I’m not a bigot for calling people who hold the viewpoint of “traditional marriage” is because I’m not advocating that such small minded people should have their rights restricted. If any of the supposed defenders of marriage said “I believe in man-woman marriage only, but I don’t have the right to stop same sex couples from getting married”, I wouldn’t think they were ALL bigots. As soon as I say “You’re a Christian, you can’t own land” or “Christians can get married, just not to others of the same faith”, then I can be called a bigot.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I think I was referring to the Girl Scouts, as documented in the link in the original article. It seems like the Boy Scouts indeed have not yet gone down that path.

  • 3lemenope

    If you cannot articulate a rational and persuasive reason why homosexual acts have the moral status you believe they do, then that belief is nonetheless irrational.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    No it isn’t. Totalitarianism would be to say you’re not allowed to say that or think it, with fines and/or jail time for it. Calling people who think that some people’s loves are worth less than other people’s loves because of arbitrary measures of genitalia bigots is just accurate. It carries nothing but social stigma. You’re still totally allowed to believe and/or say your awful, bigoted things; almost everyone here has repeatedly assured you of that.

    Totalitarianism: that word doesn’t mean what you think it means.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Yes, penitence should be private too. But the claim that the Christian faith should be kept to oneself is preposterous. What did Jesus do throughout his whole ministry? Preach the kingdom of God. What did he commission the apostles to do? Go out into all the world and preach the good news.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    yes, that’s true. Wealth is certainly a snare, but not an intrinsic evil. The fact that the rich young man didn’t want to part of his wealth to follow Jesus shows how he was attached to it. However you can also be wealthy and very generous. Is that supposed to be a sin?

  • The Other Weirdo

    He also repeatedly told his followers not to tell other people about it, to keep it private, an order they repeatedly disregarded.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Calling people to repent from self-destructive sin and turn to God’s love and salvation is not a “hateful catchphrase.” It’s actually caring enough for people, even though many of them are hostile to the faith, to wish for their salvation. You may disagree, but do you not see that there is a good intention behind it?

  • The Other Weirdo

    Yes, it is.

    Matthew 19…20The young man said to him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21Jesus
    said to him, If you will be perfect, go and sell that you have, and
    give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and
    follow me. 22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. …

    There are also several verses against the collecting of wealth and possessions(how you become rich). Generosity is meaningless; you’re supposed to give it all up to follow Jesus.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Clever analogy but it doesn’t work. God is the source of life and love, and He calls us to partake in His life and love. Since he made us free, we have the choice to say either yes or no to this invitation. Saying no is crazy, but it’s the result of free will. People going to hell are the equivalent of a fish deciding to leave the ocean and go for a trek in the desert. How could they blame anyone else for their death?

  • TheG

    No.

    YOU see it as a “good intention”. I know YOU think of it as a positive thing.

    For many people, they see it is nothing more than hate towards those that are different, smugness, and an attempt to curry favor with daddy.

  • 3lemenope

    The first rule of Christianity is, you do not talk about Christianity.

    The second rule of Christianity is, you do not talk about Christianity.

    Third rule is, If someone says “stop”, goes limp, taps out, it’s probably just the Holy Spirit goofing off.

    Fourth Rule: Only three persons to a Trinity.

    Fifth Rule: One commandment at a time. Six hundred and thirteen is just too damn difficult.

    Sixth Rule: No hats, no jeans.

    Seventh Rule: Sermons will go on as long as they have to.

    And the eighth and final rule is, if this is your first night in Christianity, to the dunk tank with you!

  • The Other Weirdo

    But he didn’t make us free. He made us thought-slaves, to live lives empty of meaning, to adore him always, to obey authority without thought. It wasn’t until the incident with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that the first humans were cursed with freewill.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    The RCC has incredibly long and silly lists of rules for when someone is allowed to have sex. The rules are here: http://exconvert.blogspot.com/2012/12/medieval-sex-flowchart-for-penitents.html. They include no sex on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, while naked(!), during the day, during feast days, during fast days, during Lent, during Advent, during Whitsun week, and during Easter week. Also no sex until you’ve been married three days. Also no sex while the woman is menstruating, pregnant, or nursing. Also, the only acceptable position is missionary (man on top) and there is no oral sex, foreplay, or kinky stuff allowed. Anal sex (sodomy) is, of course, right out.

    By what right does the Church micromanage the sex life of its own members, let alone anyone else? You can follow all of those rules if you like- the moment you try to get those rules put into the lawbooks of the USA, we have a serious problem. Legislating against homosexuality is exactly, 100% the same thing as legislating that no one is allowed to have sex during Lent.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Fair enough, perhaps is was too much of a sweeping generalization, but it seems to me that both often go hand in hand.

  • 3lemenope

    And the generosity of the poor is greater than the generosity of the rich, even when the rich give more. It’s all in the book.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Do they have a rule that reads, “Have no sex in the presence of or with little children.”?

  • 3lemenope

    What atheists do you hang out with?

    And why do you get invited to all the hedonistic drug and sex parties? The invitations are wasted on you. Where’s *my* invitation?! :)

  • The Other Weirdo

    Which is why I prefer to actually investigate and ask people questions. What seems to someone often has a nasty habit of being totally bogus.

  • b s

    You missed one:

    No poofters!

    And there is NO…rule six

  • 3lemenope

    When the world is set up pretty much in every way so as to convince a fish that the desert is exactly what they need, it’s hard to blame the fish. Who made the desert, again?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Nope! Well, they do say no sex outside of marriage … that sort of covers it? It makes adultery with a consenting adult, open relationships, premarital sex, and nonmarital rape all the same level of sin/crime, though, which is clearly immoral. The sin/crime isn’t the rape or pedophilia, it’s the extramarital sex, and marital rape isn’t a sin/crime at all in the RCC.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Not to tell other people about what? the faith? did you ever even read the New Testament? It’s all about spreading the Gospel to all nations.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    That’s what the Franciscans and other orders do. It’s a radical way of following Jesus indeed, but not absolutely required. You know you’re just playing games to try to trap me.

  • 3lemenope

    Ananias and Sapphira.

    Optional?

    I suppose, in a very demented sort of way.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Please stop the primitive fallacy of equating rejection of certain sinful acts = “hate towards those that are different”. You can very well disagree without having to twist the facts.

  • Gus Snarp

    I don’t think you actually know what objective means. Just because you and the Pope say it’s objective does not make it so.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    I’d be shocked, actually. All evidence suggests consciousness just ceases when we die; the mere fact of continued existence as myself in any form would be immensely surprising. To find out that the Yahweh/Jesus/Spirit trilogy was the actual deity(ies) would be even more shocking, given how much sense it (they) do not make.

    I reject all things that don’t make sense. Christianity is only one of a multitude of not-real-things I don’t believe in; I don’t believe in magic or fairies or fae or unicorns or zombies or werewolves or yetis or spirits or ghosts or Zeus or Odin or Tlaloc or Izanagi and Izanami or Vishnu or Gaia either. Stop thinking my rejection of Christianity is special- it really isn’t. It goes in a very big box of “supernatural bullshit” with a whole lot of other stuff.

  • TheG

    Please stop the arrogant fallacy of assuming that the viewpoints of a primitive culture are absolutes and that they can or should be imposed on consenting adults up to 6000 years later.
    ETA: If it was just a “rejection of certain sinful acts” and there was no attempt to force other adults to act in the same way, I don’t think anyone would give two damns about those beliefs.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Before and up to my conversion, most of my friends were atheists and/or agnostics. Many of them remain my friends, so it’s not like I”m making this up.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Well yeah! Optional in exactly the same way going to Hell is optional.

    “Do what I say or I’ll kill/torture you” is totally giving you options, didn’t you know that?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    The problem is that they intentionally lied and tried to deceive the apostles, not that they had possessions.

  • 3lemenope

    You see, you keep saying this, and all we keep hearing is “hate towards those that are different for really good reasons, I swear, so I couldn’t possibly be a bigot!“. Which is the sentence, twists and turns aside, uttered by literally every bigot ever.

    Of course you feel justified by your metaphysical opinions on sin, whatever that is, which separates you from exactly nobody. Everyone has reasons they think are good. Doesn’t mean they are.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    IT IS NOT HATE!!!!

  • Octoberfurst

    Oh I get so tired of this “You send yourself to Hell” nonsense. As if God has no power to prevent you from going there. He’s just helpless I guess. And what person in their right mind would CHOOSE to be tormented throughout eternity? In every sermon I ever heard about the matter God JUDGES the person and sends him/her to Heaven or Hell. So yes, God wills it! And it it his will for “the salvation of all people” why does he let his will get thwarted? Not much of a God is he if puny humans can prevent him from doing what he wants. Your “reasoning” gives me a headache.

  • Ryan Hite

    I could see this going downhill very fast. They just want to hold on to Christianity so badly because they realize their religion is dying fast and they can’t see the world post-Christianity.

  • Frank

    Children are not gay. In fact according to the American College of Pediatrics reports:

    Rigorous studies demonstrate that most adolescents who initially experience same-sex attraction,or are sexually confused, no longer experience such attractions by age 25. In one study, as many as 26% of 12-year-olds reported being uncertain of their sexual orientation , yet only 2-3% of adults actually identify themselves as homosexual.Therefore, the majority of sexually questioning
    youth ultimately adopt a heterosexual identity.

    So children are not mature enough to identify themselves sexually. Anyone trying to do that is practicing child abuse.

  • 3lemenope

    More specifically, it is that they lied in order to withhold some of their possessions from the group. Plenty of characters lie in the Bible. Not all of them are struck dead. The X factor had to be some other detail. Or is this too much logic to use when reading the Bible?

  • TheG

    TO YOU!!!

    The rest of us see it in reality.

  • Matt D

    First, don’t describe my sex life as “sodomy”, or I’ll describe yours as “rape”.
    Second, I was a Life Scout and my BF (seven years now) was an Eagle, and we had zero sexual experiences, yet were in the BSA until we were 18.
    Third, We had secular scoutmasters. So it seems the problem here is letting religious authority figures lead children, and considering their history of abusing them, that’s a mistake.

  • Frank

    There will be no post-Christianity no matter how much you wish it. Christianity is continuing to grow at a fast pace in our world.

  • Gus Snarp

    Blasphemous? Fantastic, sounds like she got her point across then.

  • Frank

    Exactly!

  • 3lemenope

    Let me ask you, do you think it possible that a person could be motivated subconsciously by a motive they weren’t exactly aware of?

    See, you have access to the conscious parts of your mind. We have access to what you say. What you say seems to concord perfectly with the “uncomfortable bigot” archetype; you’re a bigot who, either due to social pressure or a lingering conscience isn’t wild about being called out on being a bigot in public. You claim otherwise, but it isn’t all that persuasive mainly because human beings are motivated primarily by machinations of mind they themselves are not aware of.

  • blasphemous_kansan

    Screams the bigot, calmly.

  • 3lemenope

    So, what were your favorite activities at the sex and drug parties? Any good combos?

  • Michael Harrison

    Ah, this game.

    Thing 1: “Gay sex is unnatural!”
    Thing 2: “What? But there are plenty of species in nature that engage in same-sex coitus.”
    Thing 1: “Oh, so if animals do it, it’s all right? Sure, go eat your young!”
    Thing 2: “Wait — are we playing a game of Miss the Point? You didn’t tell me!”

  • RobMcCune

    So then, I assume you welcome the BSA’s decision to stop identifying children by their sexuality?

  • Spuddie

    So rather than actually address the problem of pedophile scout masters you would rather they work slightly harder to find children to prey upon. I fail to see how this is supposed to make sense.

    Of course the real idiot logic here is that the old policy encouraged gay scouts to be more secretive, and thus a much easier target for a pedophile looking for someone not to tell of their deeds.

  • Spuddie

    Because they are bigots who do not want the LDS and other major religious contributors to bolt.

    Their new policy is either a half-assed attempt to either save face or an insidious one to create an atmosphere where they can exclude openly gay former scouts once they get older and purge the organization.

  • Matt D

    Then why are you here?

  • Michael Harrison

    I think this is the religious version of “I’m not touching you!”

  • GubbaBumpkin

    then why does the BSA not allow gay scout masters in their new policy???

    Because they’re bigots. I’m certainly not going to be the one to defend that policy.

  • RobMcCune

    Only by converting infantile minds. That’s not an insult to christians, they’re indoctrinating children who can’t reason as well as adults.

  • Verimius

    Having been a teenage boy in the past, I can say with certainty that sexual purity was the opposite of what was on my mind most of the time.

  • TheG

    Unfortunately, you are right. There will be no post-Christianity because of the populations of Christians that would rather destroy the world than be proven wrong. I believe that the second Christians realize they aren’t always going to be in control, someone is going to find a reason to nuke us into the delusion that is the rapture.

  • RobMcCune

    Still, by your logic heterosexual women should not be allowed in organizations with police officers (society) because of what those officers might do to victimize them.

  • Spuddie

    In other words the fundamentalist notion that one should abide by the most extreme notion of human relations, kept under strict control by the religious leader of choice.

  • Hat Stealer

    You are allowed to present a vision, just don’t try to force others to follow your vision by making it the law.

  • TheG

    No, you just believe so strongly in your own relativism that you don’t see it as such. Your viewpoint is the only correct absolute and everyone else is just rationalizing away from your truth.
    BTW. This is exactly how rapists go about their day.

  • Hat Stealer

    The question I like to ask to determine who has better morals is “Is eternal torture just?” You believe it is, I don’t.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    If I have anal sex with a man, that’s not perverted and immoral, then? What about fellatio? Can I use a strap-on with him? Can he use a dildo on me? We’re assuming, of course, that I’m married to said man, because we all know Catholics are not OK with premarital sex, so lets take that complication out of the picture.

    But if a man does it with another man, that’s just a horrible, awful, perverted and immoral act? Even though it’s the same sex act(s) between two consenting adults? That doesn’t make any sense.

  • TheG

    In your analogy, your viewpoint is that of the fish. And anyone that lives on the land must be dying from lack of water. Except living in the water is not the only way to live. Heck, some species can even live in the desert. Believing that going onto land means certain death is the perfect analogy for your religion induced myopia.

  • Anna

    That was my first thought, too. There are already many religious versions of the Boy Scouts. The infamous Duggar family, for example, have their sons in the ALERT Cadet program, which is specifically for their brand of fundamentalist Christianity.

    http://www.alertcadet.org

  • TheG

    And this response shows your dishonesty. You ignore specific questions so that you can bring up your dribble again, forgetting that someone already addressed your point. You are a walking, typing, breathing little metaphor of your own religion! How adorable.

  • Frank

    The greatest lack of reasoning I have ever run across has come from people who say they believe their is no God.

  • Nate Frein

    [Citation needed]

  • Frank

    I do.

  • Frank

    This blog and the comments.

  • Nate Frein

    Thanks for the laugh!

  • TheG

    With Catholics having a lavish, gold encrusted city, megachurch pastors having their own mansions and jets, whole holidays centered around feasts and presents, and entire banks founded on religious monies, I’m sure the same argument could be made that hedonism goes hand in and with Christianity.

    Boy, you aren’t very good at this game.

  • RobMcCune

    How is the most irrational people you’ve come across are the ones who don’t subscribe to irrational beliefs?

  • Anna

    Wow. I find this to be a revealing comment on the destructive and, shall we say, perverted nature of childhood indoctrination. You weren’t born thinking such terrible things about LGBT people, and you weren’t born born with the desire to advocate for such bizarre restrictions on human sexuality. It’s just very sad that you can’t conceive of people of the same sex having happy and fulfilling romantic and sexual relationships.

  • TheG

    Again, assuming that your experience is the only one. I’m aware of drug and sex parties, but I’ve never been to one that was exclusively or even mostly with secularist people. That doesn’t mean I assume that there aren’t those kind of parties out there, but then again I have more than one marble rolling around in my head.

  • Matt D

    I think they are obessed with victimizing minorities, not sex.
    I doubt any of these fools faith could survive, without tangible wolves to bray at and be told to fear. Such organizations literally create enemies to battle until they tire (or their victims fight back, or gain support) then they move on and start the process again. It reminds me of what I used to do when I played alone as a child….using my toys, I had to create villains to fight the heroes….it was a necessity to the scene.

  • TheG

    I am almost more comfortable with the bigots that are proud of it and make no excuse for it than the intellectually vapid crowd that tries to make excuses for it.

    It reminds me of an old Louis C.K. routine from over a decade ago.

    “People make excuses for racists. ‘Oh, that’s just his way. He grew up on a farm.’”

  • RobMcCune

    Good, the BSA’s recent decision not kick kids out for who they like has far too many christians acting like it’s the end of the world or something.

  • TheG

    Relativism.

  • Nate Frein

    Yeah. Keep telling yourself that.

    Bigot.

  • Nate Frein

    Sounds like relativism to me…

  • The Other Weirdo

    I am not playing games. It is what’s written in the Bible. What’s more, this is what Jesus himself has said, according to the Bible. This isn’t Paul or anybody else after Jesus’ delayed respawn coming and saying things. This is Jesus himself issuing commands on a particular topic, what to do about wealth and what must be done to be his follower. This doesn’t appear to me to be optional.

  • Anna

    What makes you think that? The vast majority of atheists support the Girl Scouts, and “God” is still mentioned in their Promise.

    http://www.girlscoutsla.org/pages/about/promise_law.html

    The only difference is that the GSA accepts atheist girls and allows them to use an alternate word. I’m perfectly happy with that compromise, and I’m more than willing to let my daughters join the organization.

    As far as I know, no atheist groups have been demanding that the GSA remove the word “God” entirely.

  • TheG

    This is exactly the kind of crazy where someone doesn’t know they are crazy. OF COURSE you don’t think you are irrational or prejudiced! It seems so logical to you. Which is why I laugh so hard whenever you complain about how closed minded some people are…

  • Nate Frein

    Right.

    Okay.

    So I totes wasn’t masturbating to gay porn in high school?

  • TheG

    But gay Girl Scouts cannot, by definition, engage in sodomy. So, you’re totes cool with them, right?

  • Ryan Hite

    Christianity in 50 years will not be recognizable as we see it today. There are many predictions as to how it will come but with the way my generation is looking at the world, it will be radically different.

  • Mario Strada

    Well, OK. Let’s pack it up guys. Frank has spoken. It was good while it lasted, but then Frank came along and the jig is up.
    It was nice knowing you all.

  • TheG

    “Your blasphemous, angry ranting is completely off topic and not worthy of a response.”

    And, yet, you responded.

  • Spuddie

    The same American College of Pediatrics which has no relation to the professional organization recognized by the entire medical profession but is just a shill organization for Fundamentalist Christian bigots.

    Your facts are bullshit. Frank, if you had a legitimate point to make, why did you feel the need to lie so blatantly?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_College_of_Pediatricians

  • Really?

    Actually that “consent of the persons involved” represents the highest standard of OBJECTIVE morality can be shown by every non-relativistic philsophy developed in the last 200 years.
    Kant would define that as central to the categorical imperative
    Neitzche would identify the point of mutual concent as the point at which both persons maximize their own growth
    Mill would say that concent of both persons involved clearly promotes the greatest happiness
    Rawls would say that concent of both partners is the only just outcome of mutual interaction because it is the only outcome that were both individuals alloted to their postions randomly they would both accept.

    Actually, I think we could do even do say Jesus
    who when asked what the most important commandment is
    responds in mark 12:31 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these”
    or again in Mathew 7:12 where he states “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets”
    So if you acutally are a true believer and believe that Jesus was God and said the things he supposedly said in the bible, then the words stright from Gods mouth are
    “There IS NO RULE more important than never taking an action that you would not concent to have your neighbor do back to you.” None, its the grand summary of all old and new testament law and it fundamentally implies that mutual consent is the final standard of morality recognized by the god of abraham.
    So basically, mutual concent is the highest objective moral standard.

  • RobMcCune

    You mean a renegade organization founded out of spite can’t be trusted? I am shocked.

  • Tom

    According to you, apparently not.

  • RobMcCune

    So then you must believe in celibate friendship marriage, since sex has nothing to do with love.

  • RobMcCune

    Oh, what are the Girl Scouts doing to glorify sodomy?

  • RobMcCune

    His mother always told him that if you don’t have anything nice to say, PROCLAIM YOUR INEVITABLE TRIUMPH!!!!!!

  • Tom

    Pretty much how I’d react. I’d like to add, however, that after the initial shock of discovering that they existed, I hope I would still have the moral strength not to start obsequiously worshipping such callous, narcissistic monsters anyway, torture for my continued noncompliance notwithstanding.

  • edb3803

    Okay, you’re not a homophobe. You’re a homo-bigot.

  • Tom

    Accused of being quick to judge by a Catholic. Whoa.

  • Anna

    Considering how bent out of shape these people get about the word “homophobic,” it’s easier just to go with “anti-gay.” I don’t think they can plausibly deny that.

  • Guest

    I was about to say that would be me, but it’s not entirely true. I’m actually fine with the BSA continuing to have troop chaplains, have optional religious services during events, and offer religious awards.

    I only want the BSA to strip God from the oath and the requirements for membership and advancement.

  • Gus Snarp

    Speaking only for myself, I am not at all OK with the current oath, but I am OK with religion being part of the BSA. I’m fine with the BSA continuing to have troop chaplains, have optional religious services during events, and offer religious awards.

    I only want the BSA to strip God from the oath and the requirements for membership and advancement.

    In short, I want them to stop discriminating against the non religious.

    This is not at all the same as wanting to strip every mention of god from the BSA.

  • Tom

    According to the book, he also commissioned his apostles to steal livestock, whipped people, got angry at a tree, and wandered off into the desert to starve himself.

  • Gus Snarp

    There’s an FA position? Has Hemant personally approved this FA position? (I’m assuming FA stands for Friendly Atheist, so Hemant would get to determine that position, can you point out where he (not the ACLU) has done so?

  • Tom

    Well in that case, send the acts to hell and let the people into heaven.

  • marzipanpieplate

    That still doesn’t answer edb3803′s question. What do you care how people are having sex? According to your church’s philosophy, I will never have a truly fulfillling sex life. Go feel smug about that somewhere else. Children are not somehow corrupted just by being near people you deem “sinners.” I’ll bet plenty of scout leaders break all sorts of Catholic teaching — don’t go to church, don’t confess, premarital sex, don’t believe a wafer is the body of Christ. Somehow, you’re not railing on those issues. That’s because you know the US is a secular country and you can’t expect everyone to follow Catholic teachings. Yet somehow, when it comes to sexuality, you can’t help yell about the immorality! Won’t someone think of the children?! That should give you some idea of why we’re calling you a bigot. You’re very specific about who you think shouldn’t lead children, and it’s the “sin” that’s got to do with whom people have consensual sex with.

  • Gus Snarp

    You sound like a textbook case of Christian persecution complex where you think not forcing members to express a fealty to god is the same as stripping god out entirely. It’s not.

  • Tom

    Nonsense – if sex damages love, then why wouldn’t it damage heterosexual relationships as much as homosexual ones?

  • Andrew S. Balfour

    That’s very kind, but we won’t be needing luck.

    After all, if you’re right, we’ve got nothing to look forward to but eternal torment at the hands of a loving, benevolent sky-tyrant, so luck is irrelevant.

    On the other hand, if we (and all available evidence) are right, then luck doesn’t even enter the conversation, because we already know where we’re going (the ground, in most cases, though I’d rather like to be shot into the sun).

  • Spuddie

    I guess the internet has made that easy to do. In the old days people had to go to magazine shops for their porn. If you were of that age, I would guess, it would have to be a little difficult to find.

  • Rain

    Perhaps the idea that sex is beautiful and sacred and should be a total gift of self to one’s spouse, and that promiscuity, perversion and acts of sodomy should not be promoted as “normal” or glorified, especially not in organizations of kids.

    And then proceeds to argue with an incredibly unending series of “tu quoques”, never justifying one single unwarranted assertion (because he can’t)…

  • Nate Frein

    You misjudge me :<

    I could purchase hentai rags at the local convenience store when I lived in Japan. Sometimes for a change of pace I got yaoi instead of the regular stuff.

    EDIT: I may sound like I'm making light of it, but in truth it was the yaoi that i was terrified of being found. I was lucky in that my mother's only policy was that anything pornographic be not in plain view if she entered my room, and when my brother got caught w/ straight porn it was just laughed off. I'm not sure things would have been so simple if the gay stuff got found.

    I hated my childhood.

  • JA

    Some Christians are a little too focused on retaining their bigoted attitudes rather than accepting the fact that society and culture are marching on.

  • Stev84

    You aren’t just presenting a different vision. You try to force everyone to adhere to it by both passing laws and by threatening eternal torture. You want to punish people in this life and the next for not adhering to your ideas.

  • Spuddie

    I stand corrected! I was just thinking back when I was a teen, it wasn’t that difficult to obtain a copy of Hustler or Playboy. one could always find a store willing to sell it to a teenager in pretty much every community.

    I just tried imagining the effort it took for a gay teen to buy their equivalent. Its not like the average magazine store in the burbs would necessarily be carrying that sort of thing back then. I could be wrong about that. =)

  • Stev84

    You are just a nutcase obsessed with genitals and sex

  • Stev84

    Everything but penis-in-vagina sex without contraceptives is bad according to the Catholic Church. They also hate mutual masturbation.

  • Nate Frein

    I also tend to forget that growing up in Japan made for a somewhat different set of opportunities to a growing kid then growing up in the U.S.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    There’s no such thing as absolute equal rights regarding roles in society: a six-year old child doesn’t have the “right” to drive; a blind person doesn’t have the right to get a pilot’s license; an 80-year old man doesn’t have the ‘right’ to be a policeman. A woman doesn’t have the “right” to be a father. This doesn’t detract from their equal dignity as human beings, but it does show that there are different roles for different people.

  • Gus Snarp

    Wait, did you just provide a citation for the fact that there has been government support for the BSA as evidence that we claim the government funds the BSA? I don’t think you know how this game works. First, neither we nor the ACLU claimed funding in the sense of cutting checks directly, but here the ACLU filed a suit because the government was sponsoring troops (which does not necessarily mean they provide any money, or really anything but a name to mark down on the form as sponsor, though a meeting place is usually provided). That sponsorship is support, certainly in discussing whether the government is excessively entangled with an organization that discriminates on religious grounds, it is worthy of consideration that government agencies are listed as sponsors. Not only that, but there’s no argument here. Troops were sponsored by governmental entities. The BSA acknowledged it, the government acknowledged it, the ACLU just asked them to stop it.

    You’ve not provided any evidence of anyone claiming funding. Instead, you’ve provided evidence of entanglement and support of a non-financial sort. So you’ve failed to show evidence of the funding claim and you’ve also shot in the foot your argument that there’s no “support” or that “support” automatically means funding. Nice job.

    Sadly, the case you cite has a bad outcome. It would have been far preferable, far more beneficial to this nation’s youth, for the BSA to stop discriminating instead of transferring those charters to private entities (probably mostly churches).

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Yeah, I know. But Andre doesn’t call that sort of sex perverted and immoral when it’s between a man and a woman, so I want to know what makes it uniquely bad when two men or two women do the exact same act. The RCC doesn’t like any of it, but it doesn’t go after, say, a man performing cunnilingus on a woman at noon nearly as much as it goes after two men doing any sex acts together. I want to know why some “immoral sex acts” are considered more perverted than other “immoral sex acts” when done between consenting adults.

    If the RCC is going to be an asshole about sex, it should at least be a consistent asshole.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    That’s reasonably fair. I concede that secularism is not necessarily equal to hedonism for everyone, but the fact is that they often go hand in hand.

    Question is, who gets to define marriage? Is it a purely social construct? If so, what prevents you from declaring polygamy or bestiality as alternate forms of “marriage”? There are plenty of arguments against the redefinition of marriage that are not necessarily based on religion. Undermine the basic cell of society and you (or the next generation, if they are not all contracepted or aborted) will certainly see the bitter fruits of such dangerous social experiments.

  • Stev84

    “But if you don’t follow our rules our master will torture you for eternity.”

    And of course for most of its history, the church did the torturing itself.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Just look at human anatomy. It doesn’t take a genius. Most previous generations in the history of humanity would think you’re insane for even asking the question. Of course, according to you, most people in previous generations were bigots.

  • RobMcCune

    Looking…. Looking… I’ve looked at human anatomy, and I just don’t see it. I will keep looking though.

  • Gus Snarp

    I would say that some of them are bigots, some of them just lack the moral courage to stand up to the LDS, the SBC, and the Catholic Church, and the rest are outvoted.

  • Nate Frein

    I see…lots of nerve clusters in lots of places that seem to enjoy stimulation…

  • Michael Harrison

    Andre: When you can sell a house to a dog, I’ll buy your claim of bestiality equivalence. Until then, your comparison of a consensual same sex relationship to sex with animals is disgusting.

    As for me, it’s been my experience that most secular folk buy into the typical relationship pattern of one couple, committed to each other (I personally couldn’t bring myself to subject another person to being stuck in a relationship with someone who has my issues).

  • Spuddie

    That’s right. I was being a little harsh. =)

  • Michael Harrison

    Are you willing to say that individuals who have lost their reproductive organs to cancer should be banned from marriage? Should old couples have their marriages annulled if it’s been decided they’re too old to have children?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I appreciate your magnanimity in allowing me to speak my “bigoted” views. However, the tendency towards anti-Christian totalitarianism is not exaggerated. For example: http://goo.gl/2wKKT

    And by the way, human anatomy (not just “genitalia”) seems to me to be anything but “arbitrary”. If that’s not an objective criterion, then what is?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I don’t feel like a “thought-slave” at all. Every morning when I get up I can choose to do good or evil, to follow God or reject Him. I believe you are in the same situation.

    And your last statement is incorrect. It is standard Christian theology that Adam and Eve had free will from the first moment of their existence.

  • Michael Harrison

    From the link Andre provided: “German history teaches us that long before NAZIs got to the stage of
    people ovens, first came the systematic vilification of Jews in society
    and gradual suppression of their legal rights.”

    Care to take a guess as to what other groups might have been persecuted by the Nazis?

  • Michael Harrison

    For the record: I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume you didn’t read the article with enough attention to notice the invocation of Godwin’s law. Because the comparison of a few emotional outbursts, no matter how scary, to the SYSTEMATIC, GOVERNMENT-SANCTIONED MURDER of members of groups considered undesirable is where I draw the line.

  • b s

    Standard christian theology teaches that two people who never existed had free will? That’s…useful.

  • b s

    “I concede that secularism is not necessarily equal to hedonism for everyone, but the fact is that they often go hand in hand.”

    Exactly what definition of secularism are you using to come to this conclusion?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Um, penises fit in anuses. A lot of people (men and women both) enjoy the sensation. There’s also dildos for that purpose. Human anatomy, if you are to claim it as a criterion, doesn’t support your assertions at all. By your logic, we wouldn’t have pleasure-reporting nerve endings there if we weren’t supposed to, or at least able to, use them.

    I’ve read that article before, and it’s no more compelling the second time around. Canada has gay marriage, and it’s not led to persecution of anyone. Government officials are required to perform ceremonies for people who meet the requirements for marriage- it’s their job. Government officials aren’t allowed to break the law for their own personal religious reasons. When you say awful things in public that make it look like you can’t do your job of teaching impressionable children, you get fired (just as racist and sexist people get fired). He didn’t get fired for “supporting traditional marriage”; he got fired for saying gays are icky and gross and perverted and immoral or words to that effect, which means he’s likely unable to treat his gay students fairly. If a teacher in my city wrote a letter in the newspaper arguing that African-American students were all criminals and female students were all stupid, you’d better believe he’d get his ass fired. That attitude is going to stop him from doing his job. Anti-gay teachers are apparently treated just like all other bigoted teachers in Canada; no better and no worse.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Human anatomy means that humans are almost hairless, and thus have little protection against the weather. So by your argument, humans shouldn’t wear clothing because anatomy says we’re meant to be exposed. Oops!

  • b s

    “And by the way, human anatomy (not just “genitalia”) seems to me to be anything but “arbitrary””

    And just look at the shape of a banana! (oddly enough, this works on more than one level here)

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    He didn’t even read it with enough attention to notice its attempt to paint victimizer as victim in order to justify others. Y’know, as the Nazis are documented as having done.

    I think I’ll refer to Andre as a Nazi from here on out. He wanted to lay down with dogs, so hey.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Frankly, to refer to a rather humorous chart from an anonymous “Medieval history book” claiming to represent a medieval Catholic view of sexual morality is hardly honest. As the user comment following the article rightly points out, even if the chart faithfully represents *some* medieval manuals/penitentials, it doesn’t mean this represented the universal teaching of the Church (anyone who understands anything about Catholicism knows it obviously doesn’t). Such things are the result of localized customs, not of authoritative Church teachings. And I fully grant you that you will find plenty of weird aberrations in localized Catholic customs throughout history.

    The Church doesn’t try to “micromanage the sex life of its own members.” It proposes a beautiful and fulfilling vision of love, marriage and sexuality. I am thankful that it helps us to understand right and wrong for those who wish to hear it.

    Issues of legislation affecting an entire society are another thing – the question of the common god.

    “Legislating against homosexuality is exactly, 100% the same thing as legislating that no one is allowed to have sex during Lent.”

    It is beyond me that you fail to see how the two cases are entirely different – one is rooted in biology and the very nature of marriage and the family (impossible in the case of homosexuals), while the other indeed is an entirely arbitrary custom.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    If they remain your friends, you must not be sharing this new attitude of yours with them.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    And you’re trying to force unequal roles on people for no legitimate reason. Good job, Nazi.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Listen, you can critique the Church as you like but that doesn’t give you the right to say outright lies. You are intelligent enough to know that rape and pedophilia are considered grave (mortal) sins in Catholicism. If you don’t know it, at least have the honesty to read up before writing such nonsense. This is where it becomes obvious that your argumentation is not made with good will but is downright malicious.

  • Gus Snarp

    What’s with shortening the links? This isn’t Twitter, there’s no reason to do that, unless you’re trying to obfuscate and hide the low quality and biased nature of your sources.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Here’s your Snickers bar, Frank.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Of course, the analogy limps. The “desert” means a state of definitive self-exclusion from the eternal source of goodness, truth, life and love. Listen to your conscience, begin to turn away from evil and you will eventually understand.

  • Michael Harrison

    Is that really necessary? I get a gut feeling telling me it cheapens the historical tragedy, and I don’t think Andre’s worth it.

  • 3lemenope

    Just look at human anatomy.

    OK.

    [...]

    Hold on, I thought you said no porn?!

    It doesn’t take a genius.

    Apparently it does, because after having seen many examples of human anatomy, your point still seems excruciatingly stupid.

    Most previous generations in the history of humanity would think you’re insane for even asking the question.

    That’s hilariously, ridiculously false. It takes breathtaking ignorance of sexual practices throughout history to even contemplate writing something that wrong.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Then humbly seek goodness and truth with an open mind and heart, and don’t limit these to the very narrow confines of your own intelligence. There is much more out there than we think.

  • 3lemenope

    Does everyone have a conscience?

  • Nate Frein

    I prefer evidence based reasoning to decide if an action is “good”.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Nope, they’re both rooted in arbitrary custom, or we wouldn’t see any homosexuality or anything other than man/woman pairs anywhere in human cultures.

    We do see lots of variations, though. We see polygamy, polyandry, loose sexual relationships that don’t always lead to pair-bonding, strict pair-bonding, serial monogamy, hijras and other transgender categories, belief in the sacredness of hermaphrodites as being both male and female in some Native American tribes, Japanese erotic wood carvings that show male/male pairings, Greek warrior relationships, and so on. Remember, if sex was purely rooted in biology, anal sex wouldn’t feel good (to a lot of people). Neither would scissoring. Neither would PIV sex at unfertile times, for that matter, or sex between people too old to procreate.

    Homosexuals can procreate if they want- they just usually don’t want. They can adopt and often do. Your argument that gay people can’t form families is one reason why we call you a bigot- you’re denying people one of the intrinsic things that make us human, which is forming families. Families come in all shapes and sizes; your arbitrary dismissal of several types of family is incredibly hurtful to people who have fought long and hard to see those families recognized.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Jesus you’re bad at the truth. Does Jesus love that you refuse to Google?

    I know a hell of a lot of people who were aware of their attractions before they were in Kindergarten. Try again, liar.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Oh God has plenty of power to prevent you from going to hell – but He will not violate your free will. He is calling you today: turn away from sin, seek goodness and truth, call upon Him, and turn to Jesus Christ who loved you and gave His life for you so that you may have eternal life. The invitation to eternal life is there; what you do with it is your choice.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Actually, rape, pedophilia, adultery, open relationships, and premarital sex are all in the same box of “sexual sin”, with all being considered mortal sins, none of which is any more serious than another. So yes, rape and pedophilia are seen as mortal sins, but they are not distinguished from other much less bad (or not even bad at all) “sins”.

    I hope you understand why that’s a problem.

  • Nate Frein

    What about my free will to not have existed in the first place?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    If you try to squeeze God into your small minded logic, you will obviously not discover Him. Yes the verdict with Ananias and Sapphira seems pretty harsh. Bottom line, sin will be judged.

  • Nate Frein

    Hah.

    That “small minded logic” is the reason you’re blithering away on a computer in the first place.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I know myself quite well and I know what hate is. I hold no ill will against any of you, though certainly you annoy me tremendously in deciding that I “hate” you just because I disagree with certain moral behaviors. Confusing the act with the person is such a infantile fallacy, and yet you pretend to have an intelligent discourse about these things…. makes it very hard to take it seriously.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    You wound me! To suggest that I’m arrogant enough to think I know everything or to limit things to my own intelligence. The universe of what I don’t know is very, very large; I know some thing, really quite a lot of things compared to most, but it’s a tiny fraction of all the things out there to know.

    Here’s the thing, though. Everything I know came about that way through a method we like to call ‘science’. It started with an idea, got tested, got refined, got tested more, and eventually went into the “99.9999999% likely true” category. The things I reject went through the same process, except they failed out of testing. Thus far, this method has brought us cars, computers, AC, central heating, antibiotics, sewer systems, and open heart surgery. It works. The ones that failed out of testing failed for a reason- they didn’t work or there wasn’t any evidence for their existence. I’m standing on the shoulders of giants; should I, in my limited knowledge and intellect, reject the world as it has proven to be for the world that has no evidence for it at all? That seems awfully non-humble and really pretty stupid.

  • Gus Snarp

    Do you get that even if those statistics are accurate, it doesn’t mean children aren’t gay. So a lot of kids have questions about their sexuality, and if you include them in the count, you find very few of those turn out to actually be gay. Duh. It doesn’t mean that the ones who are gay aren’t gay. A venn diagram might help, but try this. The 2-3% of adults who are gay may know from any age that they are gay. They may not have any doubts at all. We have no idea what the overlap is between the 26% who are uncertain and the 2-3% of gay adults (keep in mind, I’m not saying those numbers are right, I’m just accepting them for the sake of argument). In all likelihood some of the confused kids are gay and some are straight. Some of the never confused at all kids are gay and some are straight. That’s not evidence at all kids aren’t gay.

    Your statistics also don’t say “children are not mature enough to identify themselves sexually”, they say “74% of children over twelve are quite certain of their sexual orientation”.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I’m sure that we all have some subconscious motivations. Perhaps do you just as much (or more) than me?

    The “bigot” and “hate” insult is so stupid, infantile and irrational… of course one gets annoyed at hearing it all the time, so probably you will notice a tone of impatience in my posts. I should be more patient but it’s not that easy.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Read the article and then got sucked into these discussions. Probably my own fault for that…

  • Andre Villeneuve

    No, as a fellow citizen, on the civil level, I would say that you can do whatever you want. As a Christian concerned for your salvation, I would encourage you to turn away from sin and seek salvation while there is still time.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Make up your mind – am I an absolutist or a relativist?

    Answer: yes, I am an absolutist regarding divine law. But divine law doesn’t seek to regulate everything. God’s law is the way to freedom and abundant life. Sin is what enslaves us.

    Your comparison of Christian beliefs in the dignity of sexuality with rapists shows the bankruptcy of your moral relativism. So in other words, Mother Teresa, who was an absolutist regarding God’s law, was just as bad as Hitler, who was an absolutist regarding the supremacy of the Aryan race and subhuman status of Jews?

  • baal

    “IT IS NOT HATE!!!!”
    mmmmm. I suppose we could split that up a little and say you aren’t personally feeling hateful when you type statements that look and feel like hate to the people on the other end of your statements. This disconnect is an element of being a psychopath but could also arise from merely sloppy thinking or even intentionally trained behaviour.
    People on the receiving end can be in error but I don’t think that’s the case here.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    And legislate it. That’s the part we’re all against. You want your personal religious beliefs to be the law of the land.

    We won’t stand for it. We think you’re wrong, but you’re allowed to be wrong. You’re just not allowed to impose your wrongness upon us with the force of the state.

  • baal

    “Confusing the act with the person”
    Most of the folks who are more capable thinkers than me are convinced that you cannot split a person from their acts. Unless you’re a robot or a puppet on strings, your acts are your responsibility and arise from you personally as a person.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I don’t even know the meaning of some of the terms you mention, and frankly, I don’t want to know. All of these (as much as I understand them) are immoral. You are right, a double standard between men and women would not make any sense.

    However, it’s not accurate to think that the Catholic view on sexual morality is just focused on prohibitions. The underlying idea is to learn love fully and beautifully, as expressed in the document I posted earlier (in case you missed it: http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/pcfsexed.htm)

  • baal

    “try to trap me.”
    Well, beware the tricky atheists. For we are filled with the words of Satan. Or reason and logic and empathy. One or the other.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    of course the analogy limps. You are obviously more interested in arguing for the sake of arguing than in understanding another perspective. Continue you walk in the desert my friend.

  • b s

    “I don’t even know the meaning of some of the terms you mention, and frankly, I don’t want to know.”

    Terms like “two consenting adults”?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Sorry, it’s a bit hard to discuss with about 10 people simultaneously. I don’t have time to answer all the questions, especially when I perceive such arrogance as yours, where you are obviously not interested in a real dialogue.

  • baal

    What?! I didn’t make the list of unbelieved deities? I’m going to have to stop doubting myself.

  • baal

    “There is much more out there than we think.”
    Like Agent Scully?

  • Octoberfurst

    Hmm. We have “free will” to reject God. Of course if we reject him he will torture us forever. Kinda f*cked up don’t ya think?

    What if a robber accosted you and pointed a gun to your head and said “I am going to give you a choice, You can either ‘freely’ hand over your money to me or I will shoot you in the head.” Would you consider that a “free choice”? I mean, the robber IS giving you an option right? You can freely choose to NOT give him the money. Of course the consequenses are rather dire. So that is really not a free will thing is it? Same with your God. Love me and grovel to me or I will burn you in Hell. Call me crazy but that makes your God look a bit psychotic.

  • Blacksheep

    Amen.

  • Anna

    You know, reading through the discussion it also seems obvious to me that these people think about sex in a very different way than most of us do. Instead of sex being one part of a gay relationship, they see sex as the sum total of that relationship.

    To them, a man saying he has a boyfriend or a husband is “glorifying sodomy” because (in their fevered imaginations) they see it as an announcement of the kinds of sexual acts he prefers. Whereas, when a man says he has a girlfriend or wife, somehow they see it as having a different connotation. A man’s relationship with his female partner isn’t reduced to certain sexual acts, while a relationship with a male partner is.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I wasn’t indoctrinated at all. I came to these conclusions myself after years of study and observation of human nature. How do you know YOU aren’t the one indoctrinated? After all, it is the LGBT idea that is a totally new social experiment/construct. If you would have tried to push this stuff with anyone even 30 years ago (or at just about any time in human history, for that matter) they would have thought you’re out of your mind.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You are really confused about the nature of relativism

  • baal

    “being quite intolerant of anyone who doesn’t agree with your own views”
    Actually, we’re fairly specific in what we don’t tolerate. Generally, we like facts that are backed up by science and social positions (politics) that maximize weal and minimize woe. We don’t tolerate the opposite of those and we are a contentious lot about how much to weigh the weals and woes.

  • Nate Frein

    Mother Theresa was a twisted individual who prolonged suffering out of a misguided notion of “love”.

  • baal

    “hard to discuss with about 10 people simultaneously”
    I agree completely. Consider being selective in how you reply. Hint, you get points for addressing arguments and it’s not counted against you for ignoring plain insults.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You are confused about the nature of relativism. Or you read the Bible like a fundamentalist. Or you have this caricature of Christians in mind, thinking that we have a narrow box and predetermined answer for every single moral question.

  • Nate Frein

    Or you have this caricature of Christians in mind, thinking that we have a narrow box and predetermined answer for every single moral question.

    I don’t know about caricature, since that seems to be the very essence of “absolute”.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You read the Bible like a fundamentalist. Catholics understand the Bible through sacred Tradition, and the official teachings of the Church’s Magisterium. Jesus said lots of things that aren’t meant to be take literally, such as plucking out your eye if it leads you to sin.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty
  • Blacksheep

    Matthew 19 – continued:

    22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

    23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

    25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

    26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

    Notice that the disciples, who had already given up wealth and possessions to follow Christ, were “greatly astonished” and said, “who then can be saved?” In other words, they recognized what Christ was saying was much deeper than money, it was about giving up what we cling to and identify with. Otherwise, the statement would have made perfect sense to them. They may have thought, “Exactly. We gave up everything, and we are saved. Good for us!”

  • Blacksheep

    Half right…. During the early part of his ministry, he wanted things kept under wraps. But His last commandment, also known as the Great Commission, was for the faithful to share the Good News with the world. he also said that if we kept quiet about who he was, that the “stones would cry out.”

  • Blacksheep

    Atheism does not accept theism as a valid viewpoint.

  • Blacksheep

    Sorry Andre – I’m pretty much on your side here but I laughed out loud when I read this. maube it’s the combination of the line and the deadpan photo of 3lemonope.

  • Nate Frein

    Yeah! How dare we ask you for evidence to support your viewpoint!

    Especially when you want to justify legislation with that viewpoint!

  • Anna

    So you just came to be judgmental of LGBT people and their relationships out of the blue? Where did you get the idea that same-sex relationships were “sinful” or inferior? You sure weren’t born thinking that way. Children don’t come into the world with anti-gay attitudes. Preschoolers don’t judge the romantic relationships of the adults around them, unless they are told that certain relationships are wrong.

    Did your “study and observation of human nature” involve having actual LGBT people as part of your life? I can’t imagine anyone who actually had gay friends and family members all of sudden deciding to believe that their relationships were inferior.

    And 30 years, really? Aside from everything else, you have a poor sense of history. You’d think most people would know that Stonewall took place in 1969. The Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis were founded in the 1950s. Heck, the first American gay rights organization was founded in 1924. LGBT people have always been around, and they’ve been fighting for their rights for a very long time.

  • Nate Frein

    (or at just about any time in human history, for that matter)

    [Citation needed]

  • baal

    “people who say they believe their is no God.”
    Frank, when you’re not here and we’re talking amongst our selves, we wonder at the religionists inability to understand irony. We have more or less given up on ‘irony-meter’ jokes because even the metaphorical ones couldn’t handle the strain of things like your statement or Pat Robertson saying there were bad christian TV personalities who shouldn’t be given your money.

  • b s

    Personally, I like snorting meth off the ass of a male hooker.

    Oh, wait, that was someone else.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I don’t deny that mutual consent constitutes an important building block for morality. The question is, is it the ULTIMATE and ONLY criteria for morality?

    We see its flawed and dangerous results in the “culture of death” of abortion and euthanasia. Those who are most weak and unable to express their “consent” are brutally put to death whenever they become inconvenient.

    Moreover, if mutual consent is all that counts, then there is no moral problem with someone taking a massive heroin overdose if he feels like it? Suicide is perfectly OK since it’s up to the person’s own choice? What’s the problem with acts of bestiality if a man wishes to do so and his dog doesn’t mind?

    You may quote your philosophers, but to lump Jesus in the same category is quite wrong if not dishonest. According to Mark 12:13, Jesus refers to the commandment of love of neighbor as the SECOND most important. The first and most important is “‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mar 12:29-30)

    Since the love of God is expressed elsewhere as keeping His commandments, I think you will agree that this flies in the face of any theory of “mutual consent” as the highest standard of morality – at least according to Christianity.

  • Anna

    It’s a peculiar way of looking at the world, too, to assume that all cultures have the same sexual taboos and that the only “human history” that matters is Western history.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I never said that sex has nothing to do with love. There are different kinds of love: phileo (love of friendship), eros (erotic/sexual love), agape (divine, self-giving love). Sex has everything to do with love. But because it’s such a powerful way of expressing love, it can easily become debased and perverted.

  • baal

    The history of so called ‘third genders’ across the world is fascinating. The term gets applied to multiple not quite parallel situations but is one point against Villeneuve’s view of a unified straight hetero binary as the norm everywhere and everywhen.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Everyone is invited to heaven, but there will be no sin in heaven. So turn away from sin and seek goodness and holiness. They are found in Christ.

  • baal

    “As a Christian concerned for your salvation”
    As a humanist and an atheist, please stop being concerned about my salvation. The expression of your concern often lands in what I call the ‘harms’ bucket.

  • Nate Frein

    If god were real I would prefer hell.

  • baal

    As my wife says, “Never read the comments.”

  • Blacksheep

    “Funded / Supported” is what I wrote – and in many, many cases in BSA articles the overwhelming opinion was that government support = government funding.

    But again – not my point, that’s just the one someone grabbed on to. My original point is so far from where it was dragged that it’s barely worth going back there. In a nutshell:

    Atheists would like God to be taken out of the BSA, for example in the oath, so that atheists can join in good conscience, and that Christians starting their own faith-based version of the scouts would enable them to skirt the issue and avoid it entirely.

    I much prefer arguing on the grounds of what someone (obviously) means than to pounce on a word to win an argument. I try to extend the same courtesy.

  • baal

    “secularist idea of libertine sexuality”
    Consenting adults should not have negative consequences added to otherwise harmless activity (this world!) by religionists or the state. Yes, such a disagreeable statement that.

  • Scott_In_OH

    Actually, the RCC is OK with all of that stuff as long as (a) it’s between a husband and wife and (b) the man doesn’t ejaculate anywhere but inside his wife’s vagina. So Feminerd’s point stands.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I don’t have a problem with what adults do in their bedrooms, and yes, I know that all Catholics sin. I do have a problem, however, with the attempts at redefining marriage and the brainwashing of kids, telling them that their gender is their choice and their sexual acts are morally indifferent – along with the increasing persecution of Christians who think otherwise. See a few examples here: http://goo.gl/2wKKT

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I didn’t say that sex damages love within its proper context of marriage between a man and a woman. It’s the most profound and beautiful expression of life-giving love. I said that debased/disordered sexual acts damage love.

  • Blacksheep

    I believe that many here would much prefer God out of the BSA entirely, and I believe that not admitting that is dishonest. (I’m saying that you feel that way, since you obviously don’t).

    I’m far from a text book case Gus – I have stated several times on FA that I’m not one who believes that modern Christians are persecuted (in the west). I don’t think we are.

  • Nate Frein

    What a load of anecdotal, unsupported rot.

    If your case were really so strong, you could link to actual provable cases.

  • DavidMHart

    What does it matter if it’s an ‘objective truth for everyone?’ It’s a truth that applies to the people who happen to be involved. If A and B do something that does no harm and risks no harm to anyone else, then there is no one who can conceivably say that they have been wronged by it, and therefore no plausible basis for saying it is wrong – because the morality or immorality of an action has to be judged on its outcomes (or its likely outcomes averaged across many iterations, in the case of things like drunk driving).

  • baal

    “telling them that their gender is their choice”
    We also tell them that the gender of the person they choose to have sex with is their choice (once they are old or mature enough for it). Also, Canada has hardly been a bastion of christian persecution since they allowed gay marriage.

  • Blacksheep

    …meant to say I’m NOT saying…

    How do I do italics? I don’t like all caps.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    God is calling you to his love and salvation every day. Just repent from sin, turn to Him and seek His forgiveness found in Christ.

  • Nate Frein

    And my abusive ex boyfriend still calls me now and then.

    Doesn’t mean it’s healthy for me to answer.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You have a really reductionist view of the human person if that is all you see.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I realize the comparison is disgusting, but the point was that a morality exclusively based on “mutual consent” doesn’t go very far.

  • Nate Frein

    You said to look at human anatomy. I did.

    You are the one guilty of a “reductionist view” of humanity if you think that (not so) simple anatomy is enough to prove your case.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    No of course not. It is the teaching of the Church that man and woman are still naturally ordered for each other, even if they are sterile. So the cases you name are not moral problems at all.

  • Anna

    I’m glad to know it’s impossible for homosexuals to have families. Clearly, my brother and I must not exist, because we were conceived and raised by lesbians!

    By the way, about that micromanagement thing, you do know that the Vatican has very specific rules about where a husband is allowed to ejaculate, right?

  • Nate Frein

    No, the comparison is entirely not germane (in addition to being disgusting).

  • Andre Villeneuve

    who? homosexuals? no one here is talking about persecuting homosexuals. The question is about whether people have a right to redefine marriage.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Since secularism has no real standard of morality apart from mutual consent, it easily follows that “anything goes” as long as two (or more) people agree to do it. I realize not everyone takes the idea to this logical conclusion, but it’s certainly easier to get there than when you have a divine lawgiver who is the author of an objective morality binding on all people.

  • Nate Frein

    When the term “marriage” is attached to secular benefits and responsibilities, then those secular benefits should be given without sectarian restrictions.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    They’re really normal stuff- fellatio is oral sex performed on a man. Cunnilingus is oral sex performed on a woman. The RCC doesn’t like either, even though they can make sex a lot more fun and enjoyable.

    Are you really going to tell me that oral sex and (tame) sex toys are immoral? If you want to love fully and beautifully, isn’t it best to figure out how to please one’s partner?

  • Nate Frein

    Since secularism has no real standard of morality apart from mutual consent, it easily follows that “anything goes” as long as two (or more) people agree to do it.

    *bzzzt*
    Wrong!

    That does not follow. At all. Two people deciding to do something that harms a third party (or imposes on a third party in a significant way) without the consent of a third party is still wrong.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Yes, but you can certainly trample it and numb it.

  • Nate Frein

    I know, right? It takes a heck of a lot of trampling to justify the Catholic Church

  • Anna

    What really galls me about fundamentalist Catholics is that that they are so dismissive of other people’s relationships. For someone like Andre, a gay relationship can never be anything but inferior. By default, gay love is inferior to straight love. Gay families are inferior to straight families. They do not see the hatefulness in their comments.

    And the ironic thing is that they state these terrible things while also claiming to respect people’s dignity! I haven’t forgotten the previous Pope using his Christmas message to assert that people like me are evidence of the disappearance of human dignity. How is it respecting someone’s human dignity to say that their very existence erases it? I’ll never understand that.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Not true. Where there is an act of violence (rape, pedophilia) in addition to the sexual sin, the sin is greater.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Good point. There is the saying: “God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us.

  • Nate Frein

    [citation needed]

  • Nate Frein

    Meaningless rot.

  • b s

    “Since secularism has no real standard of morality apart from mutual consent, it easily follows that “anything goes” as long as two (or more) people agree to do it. ”

    As nate just beat me to it, you are wrong. Even if you want to state that secularism has no standard of morality, how do you get from that to it and hedonism often going “hand in hand”?

  • DavidMHart

    So why does your god create people with same-sex attraction? It seems mightily unfair of him to make some of us with an in-built desire for ‘perversion’ and some of us with an inbuilt desire for sanctity. If he wants sanctity, and he is capable of creating most of us with the desire for god-approved sexual acts, why can’t he just make all of us with that desire?

    You can claim he’s mysterious, if you like, but you can’t then also claim that he’s un-mysterious enough for you to be able to know what he does and doesn’t want consenting adults to get up to behind closed doors.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    No I didn’t say anything at all about legislation here.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    How not? Mutual consent excludes things that hurt unwilling participants and people unable to give consent. That rules out rape, pedophilia, and bestiality. It requires that all participants consent, which rules out cheating on one’s partner (the partner is part of the relationship, so must consent to any and all sex both within and outside of the relationship). It lets adults set their own rules, while protecting children and others who cannot consent for whatever reason. It sets up rape as the worst sexual crime one can commit, which is accurate; it respects all persons as persons who can decide for themselves what sexual rules to follow. If a Catholic wants to follow RCC rules, a consent-based framework allows that. What more could you possibly ask for than an ethical framework that allows choice while still protecting people?

  • Nate Frein

    But I bet you voted against marriage equality.

  • The Other Weirdo

    See, here’s the thing. When Jesus is speaking in parables, he is very clear to say, “I am about to tell you a parable.” There is no such bracketing in any of what we’re talking about here. What this tells is me that early Christians read the Bible, saw it was nonsense and came up with their theology, paying only lip-service to the Bible itself except for those parts they really, really LOVE, like what to do with homosexuals and that every fetus is more precious than the woman in possession of it.

    Jesus is quite clear on a number of things. Christians don’t like it and don’t want anything to do with it, so they rationalize it away as as being metaphorical. That’s fine, it’s all nonsense anyway, but at least have the fortitude to admit it. Of course, without the Bible, you have absolutely no basis for your religion, but it would be the decent thing to do.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    God is real, and you completely misunderstand him.

  • Nate Frein

    Then he needs to be a better communicator.

  • Stev84

    Look in a mirror. It’s you who is obsessed with genitals and anatomy. It’s you and your sick cult who can’t see anything else.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Not in any of the Catholic teachings I’ve read, and you’ve linked a lot of them, plus you’re not my only source.

  • Stev84

    And again, you are just obsessed with sexual acts.

    This comes to mind:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=nt1v5ficjQA#t=158s

  • Stev84

    There we go again with the silly buzzwords.

  • Stev84

    The truth hurts

  • Scott_In_OH

    The question is about whether people have a right to redefine marriage.

    Surely you have seen some of the many, many discussions of how the definition of “traditional marriage” today is vastly different from what it was in, say, biblical times. People have redefined marriage time and again. (And each time, social conservatives have objected vehemently right up to the point when they realize God was actually OK with, say, inter-racial marriage all along.)

  • Stev84

    “Redefinition of marriage”
    “Persecution”

    You are getting to the point where one can play buzzword bingo or a drinking game with your posts

  • Stev84

    And then – with a completely straight face – they accuse us of reducing people to sexual acts.

  • Dez

    Thankfully marriage was redefined by the Loving case so now I can marry my boyfriend of another race. Many racists have used the same arguments that you have used to deny marriage to gays.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    that comparison is really sad. God could not be more different than an abusive ex boyfriend. He is pure love and goodness.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    it’s not enough, but it’s a good start.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Restating a large number of unconvincing stock phrases, especially when you’ve stupidly done it before, doesn’t turn them into an argument, Nazi.

    It’s trivial to disprove the doctrine of Free Will: Brain damage, hormones, mental illness, and environmental factors affect one’s ability to make decisions.

    It’s likewise trivial to demonstrate the disconnect between a person’s actions and any reward or punishment due to a theoretical “soul”: The “soul” has no effect upon decision-making; if it did, there would be human actions that had no accompanying neural activity. Thus a soul, if it were to exist, is not responsible for the actions of the person. Punishing it is thus not even merely irrational; it’s insane. It’s stomping on a puppy because its mother ate a baby squirrel for food to produce milk for the puppy.

    You’re welcome.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Gibberish.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Your dignity as a human person is equal to that of every one else, quite obviously. And I’m not discrediting the two women who surely invested much to raise you. However, did you never miss the presence of a father in your life?

    And yes, the Church does say that every sexual act must be open to life, I do know that.

  • Nate Frein

    but it’s a good start

    Except it’s not

  • Nate Frein

    As has been pointed out here already (so I shan’t relink to it), the Christian “god” almost perfectly parallels an abusive relationship.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You may think that marriage is a purely arbitrary human arrangement that people have the right to construct and deconstruct as they wish. Lots of people of many different faiths disagree with that.

  • Nate Frein

    Why should your (and their) views impact my ability to get government benefits?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Dammit Nate, why you gotta be all concise like that? I was going my usual overly-verbose route and you just cut right to the chase.

    Well done.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    The Catholic position, as far as I understand it, is that foreplay etc… is ok, as long as every sexual act be open to life, meaning that its completion happens in the complete sexual union. Yes, I think that pleasing one’s spouse is great, however within certain boundaries. Pleasure is not the be all end all goal of sexuality.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    yes, but just about anything goes between consenting partners: polygamy, orgies, etc… a bunch of consenting people can do pretty awful things together

  • Nate Frein

    I love your posts. You articulate complex arguments much better than I can.

  • Nate Frein

    How does it hurt you?

  • Nate Frein

    Pleasure is not the be all end all goal of sexuality.

    So?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    God certainly doesn’t create people with same-sex attraction. No one is born gay, as many people, including homosexuals themselves acknowledge. See here on this gay website for example:

    http://socialinqueery.com/2013/03/18/no-one-is-born-gay-or-straight-here-are-5-reasons-why/

    We may all feel different attractions but it doesn’t mean that they are all good or that we must act on them. We are not slaves to our urges and desires. We all suffer different temptations and evil inclinations that we should resist, not indulge in.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    That’s another topic, but indeed, the very term “marriage equality” is a misnomer, since there is no such thing as gay “marriage”. It’s an oxymoron. Marriage is not a humanly built social construct.

  • Anna

    You can tell yourself that all you want, but those who are negatively affected by anti-gay rhetoric find it very hateful indeed.

  • Nate Frein

    Marriage is not a humanly built social construct.

    The parts involving the human built government are.

  • Stev84

    You are truly a disingenuous, lying piece of shit, you know that?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    No. Selling your belongings is indeed a Christian ideal to perfectly follow Christ. Being attached to your possessions and wealth is indeed dangerous if it will prevent you from following him. Total poverty is not an absolute requirement. But it seems you know better than the whole history of Christian tradition.

    As for your comment on the fetus, you’re misrepresenting Christians again.

  • Matt D

    You didn’t get “sucked” into this discussion anymore than a child is “sucked” onto a playground at recess.
    In any case, you didn’t answer my question, so let me reiterate. If people are “free to do whatever they want” then why are you here saying they are not?

  • Stev84

    Cynthia Nixon is bisexual. What she chose to do is be in a same-sex relationship. A comment which she later clarified. Them using her as an example discredits everything else they could ever say.

    Also, that article it just one person’s personal opinion. It doesn’t mean shit. The author generalizes way, way too much and simply extrapolates a few points and assumptions onto everyone. Lots of fail there.

    In any case it doesn’t matter if it’s a choice or not. If it were a choice it’s one people are allowed to make, no matter what your shitty cult thinks about it.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    He’s actually a very good communicator, but normally He reveals himself only to the humble and pure of heart. He remains hidden to the proud. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1Cor 1:18)

    “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1Pe 5:5)

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Feminerd, once again your understanding of Christianity and Catholicism is very, very basic. If you’re not sure of something, perhaps you should refrain from making such sweeping judgments about the Church.

    http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/2356.htm

  • Nate Frein

    *snort*

    Yeah, okay. God supposedly gives me a rational brain, makes human advancement possible only through rational thinking…and then decides rational thinking is pride.

    Not buying it.

  • DavidMHart

    No one is born knowing that they are gay, or straight. Just like no one is born knowing that they will grow up to prefer the taste of chocolate to vanilla. But the point is that we do not consciously author our preferences. Whatever our preferences, in choice of sexual partners, in choice of ice-cream flavour, in choice of music, in favourite colour etc, we do not decide to like them; we discover that we like them. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that you are straight, that you like vanilla ice cream more than chocolate ice cream, you’d rather listen to death metal than klezmer, and your favourite colour is red. Did you decide to have these preferences? Of course not – no more than someone who is gay, prefers chocolate, would rather listen to klezmer and likes green.

    If your god creates us, then you have absolutely no basis for claiming that he doesn’t create the parts of us that sift what we find we enjoy from what we find we don’t enjoy. Thus you cannot pin the credit for our existence (or the credit for straight people’s straightitude) on your god, while pinning the blame for gayness on the people who happen to be gay.

    And thus, if you believe that your god prefers people to be straight, you still need to answer the question: why does he make it so much harder for some people than others to do what he wants?

  • Nate Frein

    Or how about you actually cite the precedent that proves her wrong? Assuming it exists, of course…

  • TheG

    I actually was once a Christian.
    I have considered the position you hold, and rejected it.
    Continue to live with your head under water.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Assertions made without evidence may be dismissed without evidence.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    These are not the same at all. No one chooses to be born of a certain race. There is nothing moral or immoral about one’s race.

    http://www.cfcidaho.org/isn039t-banning-gay-marriage-just-banning-interracial-marriage

    By contract, no one is born gay, as this gay website honestly affirms: http://socialinqueery.com/2013/03/18/no-one-is-born-gay-or-straight-here-are-5-reasons-why/

  • Nate Frein

    So when did you choose to be straight?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    It’s just plain wrong. People who say that obviously have had no experience or encounter with God.

  • TheG

    Arrogance? This coming from the one who thinks he stumbled upon the way he is going to exist forever and judges others for their non-harmful, consensual behavior?

    Wait, I forgot. You aren’t judging someone. It is the deity that you chose that just happens to have all the same biases you do.

  • Nate Frein

    And yet you offer no evidence for how this view is wrong.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You’re right, it doesn’t. They only hurt themselves. As long as they don’t try to legislate such things as equivalent to marriage.

  • TheG

    And you are confused about its definition.

  • Nate Frein

    How does giving gay couples the same secular benefits as straight couples hurt you?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Yes yes, so I take responsibility for being mired down in the discussions.

    People are free to do what they want. However, not all things are good. I’m here I suppose partially because I’m too weak willed to just bail out of all conversations (though I will soon), and also because I somehow care about your salvation.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Well, lots of people share her opinion. There is also no scientific proof whatsoever of a “gay gene” that causes people to be “born gay.” Also, ex-gay therapy has been successful in many cases. I know a few myself.

  • Dez

    You are using the same arguments. For example: God made everyone a different race for a reason. The children will be harmed because they do not know what race they are. It will harm the definition of marriage. All the same bullshit reasons you give, but nothing was harmed.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I never said that thinking is pride. I do a lot of it myself :)

  • Stev84

    You fail as badly at science and genetics as the author. But what else to expect from a religious nut?

  • Anna

    Forgive me for not finding it respectful of my human dignity to claim that I shouldn’t exist. The previous Pope stated that children of same-sex couples are an “attack” on the “true” structure of the family, evidence of the disappearance of “human dignity,” and contrary to “essential elements of the experience of being human.”

    And this was in his Christmas message, too! Forget peace on earth and goodwill towards men. Why waste an opportunity to bash gay people?

    And I’m not discrediting the two women who surely invested much to raise you. However, did you never miss the presence of a father in your life?

    Only you are discrediting them, because you think they are inferior. You think their love for each other is inferior, that their relationship is damaging to them and to society, and you obviously don’t believe that they could have been as good parents as a straight couple. Or else why would you ask me a question like that? You start off with the assumption that two mothers can never be as good, that they can never be equal to a mother and a father.

  • Nate Frein

    Oh, I see.

    It’s only prideful if you don’t agree with the results.

  • Andre Villeneuve
  • Dez

    Fuck you!!! How dare you tell me what I was born with. I born with black skin and bisexual. I chose who to have sex with not who I am attracted too or love. I can not change my skin color anymore than my sexual orientation.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I choose to reject sin and seek holiness every day of my life (with varying degrees of success). And I do my best to nottry to rationalize sin in order to continue committing it.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    That’s the same link as before. It says rape is a grave sin; already knew that. Go find the links for the verbiage for premarital sex and adultery and link those too, please?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    My time is running short. If you are truly interested in Christianity, there are plenty of books and testimonies out there.

  • Dez

    Since you choose to be a Christian can we then discriminate against you since it a choice we feel is wrong and harmful to society?

  • Nate Frein

    I grew up christian and Catholic, asshole.

    Burden of proof is on you.

  • Anna

    True. It’s bizarre to me how they are just so… fixated on it. It’s like they can’t conceive of anything beyond sexual acts.

  • Nate Frein

    Since I don’t believe in sin, I have no need to rationalize it.
    On the other hand, you’ve been spending most of your time in this thread rationalizing your hate.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    If you exist, it’s not because of two lesbians, you are the daughter of a mother and a father. The two women who raised you may be wonderful, but of course they can never be “equal” to a mother and a father. A woman, by definition, can never be a father.

  • Nate Frein

    Yeah. No way they could be equal to a father tho was deployed more than half the time and a mother who curled up on the couch and ignored her kids.

  • Andre Villeneuve
  • Dez

    Wow what a hateful person you are to insult her parents as inferior. This is why people are rejecting your religion and views.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I never said they are “inferior”. I said that a woman could never be a father.

  • Matt D

    Don’t pretend you stumbled onto this website by accident, Andre, nobody here thinks your tragic self portraits are appealing.

  • Stev84

    So what? Why should we care what people of faith think? Legislation (ideally) isn’t based on faith. Such laws get passed now and then, but unless they have an additional secular justification they will be struck down by the courts eventually.

  • RobMcCune

    So you’re prejudiced against not only gays, but women as well?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Again, I said that they may be wonderful women, and yes, there are a lot of bad fathers and mothers out there. However, the most wonderful woman in the world will never be able to be a father.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    No, I’m just saying that two women, even if they are wonderful, in their very nature cannot replace the complementarity of mother and father.

  • Nate Frein

    So you’re saying I’d have been better off with a father who wasn’t there than two mothers who were?

    Keep digging. This is getting juicy.

  • Nate Frein

    So you subscribe to “separate but equal”?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    No, not necessarily. Just as it is better for a child to be put in an orphanage than to remain with abusive parents. Neither is ideal. The ideal is a loving mother and father.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I would say equal in dignity but different in roles.

  • Nate Frein

    No, the ideal is a stable life with at least two parents. There’s no evidence that supports your statement that the parents must be opposite genders.

    And don’t cite Regneros. It was a faulty study.

  • Dez

    Yes you implied that they are not equal to opposite sex parents.

  • Anna

    Gee, thanks. I’m glad to know my parents can never be equal. And you wonder why people think your rhetoric is hateful? You have declared that my family is inferior. You’ve never met my parents. You know nothing about the circumstances of my birth. You know nothing about how my brother and I were raised. We’re just not as good simply because the Catholic church says so.

    And, actually, if my parents hadn’t been gay, I wouldn’t exist at all. Perhaps my mothers would have had other biological children, but I, as an individual, would never have been conceived in the first place. So there goes your assumption.

  • Nate Frein

    You do know the history of “separate but equal”, right?

    Or are you really that misogynistic as well as homophobic?

  • RobMcCune

    So which kinds of love are impossible for homosexuals to express? Or if they are capable expressing the three you just mentioned, why should they be denied the opportunity to do so?

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Arguing for your right to call other people inferior for how they love one another is disgusting, Nazi.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    We are all called to chastity, i.e. to the right ordering of our sexuality to God’s plans and purposes, resisting temptations and evil inclinations. Abstinence is much better than sin.

  • Stev84

    Wow. You don’t even realize how disgusting and offensive your words are. But you keep telling yourself that you say them out of “love”.

    Just because someone contributed some sperm doesn’t necessarily make them a father. That’s more of a social role than just biology. The same is true for straight people. Someone whose biological father left before they were even born would not call him their “father”. At least not with the meaning of the person who raised them.

  • Matt D

    If you cared about salvation of others, then prove it.
    Show me where you’ve had these discussions with any of the thousand of other faiths in the world, and then I’ll know that you are truly interested in salvation, and not just using the tolerance of Atheists to bolster your existing theism.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I never said you’re “not as good.” Really, it is not my intention to offend you, nor to say that you shouldn’t exist.

  • Nate Frein

    *cough*

    The two women who raised you may be wonderful, but of course they can never be “equal” to a mother and a father.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    tolerance of atheists?? *cough cough* I should have counted all the insults I have been getting in the last few hours.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Sorry, no. The existence of sociopaths is one of the reasons that it is trivial to disprove the doctrine of free will. They don’t have consciences, even if you like to pretend they do. And they’re extremely common.

    And that’s only those who are born sociopathic. It can certainly be beaten into people, as you have admitted, and THAT disproves “Free Will”.

  • Nate Frein

    How about the hateful, insulting, bigoted language you’ve used?

    Does that not count?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    No, you shouldn’t “reject the world as it has proven to be”. As I said before, faith doesn’t contradict reason. It builds upon it. But if you limit your knowledge to the strictly empirical that can be measured , then you are blocking out a vast, whole other realm of the spiritual.

  • RobMcCune

    That doesn’t really answer either question, you said that gay people having sex does not express love, and infact damages it. I am asking why. Either you believe sex damages love and no one should have it, or you believe the problem is with gay people and I am asking you to elaborate.

  • Nate Frein

    If the spiritual world has an impact on reality, then it can be measured. If it has no impact on reality, it can be ignored.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    you guys keep confusing the person with the act.

    Liberal “tolerance”: claim to accept all ideas, hate the people who think otherwise.

    Christian tolerance: reject sinful ideas, love the people who embrace them

  • Andre Villeneuve

    OK, could you please give me a precise, empirical measurement of the love of the person who cares the most for you?

  • Nate Frein

    Liberal “tolerance”: claim to accept all ideas, hate the people who think otherwise.

    No, we reject your hateful ideas, and we hold you accountable for trying to spread them.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    sorry, I’m running out of time. See here: http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/pcfsexed.htm

  • Anna

    I don’t care about being offended. I’ve heard much worse over the years, but there seems to be quite a bit of inconsistency in your comments.

    You said my parents could never have been equal to a mother and father. Yet now you’re saying they weren’t “not as good?” I don’t think that what you’ve said allows for the possibility that two mothers could be an ideal family, equal to a family with a mother and a father. So of course we’re not as good, by your own definition.

    And as for my existence, you don’t believe my conception was immoral and should not have happened? I’m sure the Vatican would disagree with you there, since the Pope’s message was all about how such conceptions shouldn’t happen and how they’re damaging to children, families, and society.

  • Nate Frein

    I can show you her brain lighting up with an MRI machine when she thinks about me. I may not be able to precisely quantify the emotion, but I can show you the direct physical processes responsible for the emotion.

  • Nate Frein

    And why should this apply to nonbelievers?

  • RobMcCune

    Ok then what’s that special something that only men can bring to parenting?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    As I said, I think consent forms an important part of civil morality. I just think it also has its limits. As I wrote elsewhere, if consent is the only norm, then you have the culture of death of abortion and euthanasia (where those unable to give their consent can be disposed of at will), overdosing on heroin would be no problem (since the drug addict wants it). Suicide would also not be a moral problem, since the person chooses to die.

    I just think we are called to a much higher moral standard than that.

  • Anna

    I’ve been asking that for years, and I’ve never gotten an answer!

  • Andre Villeneuve

    take it for its own worth I guess…

  • Andre Villeneuve

    manhood and fatherhood :)

  • Nate Frein

    It’s “worth” about as much as a cookbook written by an anorexic.

  • unclemike

    Words have meaning. Don’t use the word if you can’t defend your use of it.

    “It’s certainly a goal of many here to strip any mention of God from the BSA…” Fine, there’s your original point.

    I don’t get that same feeling, based on my first-hand experience with other atheists. Since the BSA is a private org it can do what it wants, but I get the feeling atheists would prefer the BSA to make some allowance for either people who joined as religious kids but grew into atheist adolescents (so that they don’t get kicked out automatically), or for kids who simply haven’t made up their minds yet about god.

    There’s room for both religious and non-religious kids in scouting.

  • Nate Frein

    And what is so special about “manhood”?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    you’re wrong, and really missing out

  • Nate Frein

    you’re wrong

    You keep saying that. You have yet to actually cite evidence for it.

    and really missing out

    Yeah. I’m missing out on the hate and intolerance of the church I left.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Really bad comparison. The robber is offering two bad options, so there is no real choice at all. God is the very source of your life. Everything you enjoy in life comes from Him. He is to you what the water is to the fish. Your view of him is really distorted.

  • Michael Harrison

    I personally prefer the notion that it takes a village to raise a child. This reduces, for me, any hypothetical risk of not having a male or female role model.

  • Nate Frein

    Your view of him is really distorted.

    I’ve heard quite a few people say that about an abusive partner.

  • Michael Harrison

    “The Pontifical Council for the Family therefore urges parents to have
    confidence in their rights and duties regarding the education of their children,
    so as to go forward with wisdom and knowledge, knowing that they are sustained
    by God’s gift.”

    Does this apply only to sexuality, or is it advocating a parental to lie to children about, say, settled scientific issues? (Sort of my hot button.)

  • Anna

    They almost never elaborate. When they try, they either get very Freudian or invoke a bunch of gender stereotypes.

    In the past, I’ve asked for a list of specific examples of parental actions that are dependent on the gender of the parent and have never been provided one.

  • Stev84

    There is no such thing as sin. That’s something the church invented to control people. Invent the sickness and sell the cure, knowing full well that people soon be sick again.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Yeah, just like I “completely misunderstood” my abuser, and he was doing it “out of love”.

  • SecularStomper

    Discriminate all you want, but if you believe in evolution, then you
    believe in ‘survival of the fittest’… Christians have done a great job
    at climbing to the top of society’s hierarchy and pushing atheists back
    into the closet (and the Internet) so you can keep crying and picking
    on him and other Christians all you want but it doesn’t change the fact
    that YOU are the minority because Christians are superior, otherwise,
    atheists would be the majority XD, hence why you ARE inferior, Dez

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    I will be more than happy to spam that link whenever and wherever it is needed.

  • Yoyo

    It really must burn you to know your country is run by many of those people that believe in a fictional deity? Maybe because it reminds you how inferior you are compared to the dominant group, Christians. Survival of the fittest!

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Yeah, pretty awful things that harm nobody. That’s just the worst. thing. EVAR.

  • Michael Harrison

    If you’re going to use the notion, at least don’t misuse it. Evolutionary success does not indicate moral rectitude–in fact, the tendency of an ichneumon wasp to bury its young in a living caterpillar horrified Darwin. (Politics warning!) Should we also celebrate bankers who thrived off screwing over poor people? No–science tells us how the world is, not how the world should be. LEARN THE DIFFERENCE.

  • Nate Frein

    Last I checked, the non-religious demographic was growing, cupcake.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    To paraphrase (and possibly mangle) both Weird Al and Lady Gaga — “You can bite me, baby, I was born this way.”

  • Stev84

    And like a typical Christian you don’t understand what “survival of the fittest means”.

    Though it could be argued that Christians have perfectly adapted to their social niche: parting fools from their money.

  • Atheistduuuurp

    You left the Church because something “bad” happened to you and you didn’t get your way so you decided God doesn’t exist like most atheists do. Fucking pussy.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    I’m guessing he’s upset that he’s never invited to those fabulous hedonistic drug-fueled orgies…

    <100% tongue in cheek, no malice intended.>

  • Michael Harrison

    I left my church because I read Isaac Asimov on the Bible, and realized that there’s a better explanation than the BS that I’d been fed by my church. Now, can you engage in discourse without resorting to name-calling?

  • Whatyougonnado?

    Typical atheist denying sin so he can’t be held responsible for his immoral actions. This is why you’re the minority and Christians are in the majority, and you’ve just got a boner for hating on religion. Fucking pansy.

  • Nate Frein

    I never believed “God” existed in the first place. I left because I realised the church is abusive.

  • Stev84

    More sex-obsession and Orwellian double-speak

  • RobMcCune

    You shall know christians by their love, which in this case is hateful bigotry.

  • Stev84

    Nobody has to tolerate intolerance

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    That’s another topic, but indeed, the very term “marriage equality” is a misnomer, since there is no such thing as gay interracial “marriage”. It’s an oxymoron. Marriage is not a humanly built social construct.

    Same shit, different era.

    Same old stench of bitter hatred.

  • Michael Harrison

    “Baby, you know I love you. And if you truly loved me, you would change yourself for me, to be closer to my vision for you.”

    Yep, that sounds healthy.

  • Nate Frein

    Nice. Gendered slurs.
    We have no problem being held accountable when we wrong our fellow humans. If anything, you Christians have set up a fantastical system where you’re no longer held accountable for the harm you cause to others.

    If anything, it is you Christians who are cowards. Unable to face your inevitable deaths. Unable to stand up and be accountable for the harm you cause to living people. Instead you mouth platitudes to a godhead for which you have no evidence.

  • Stev84

    It’s Christians who think they can be forgiven for the most heinous actions. Not by asking forgiveness from the people they have wronged but by praying to their god. It’s the ultimate get out of jail free card as there is nothing they can’t get away with.

  • LovingChristian

    Aww, I bet that little statistic makes you feel better huh? Maybe we’ll have an atheist President in the future and we won’t have to hide online anymore :(

  • RobMcCune

    Typical christian, using his religion of love to unleash his boundless hate. How about you pick a name and stick with it coward.

  • Nate Frein

    Cupcake, I’m as open about my atheism offline as I am online.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    So… what? All those years of sincerely seeking your god just weren’t good enough?

  • RobMcCune

    Quit throwing a fit because other people won’t go along mythical bullshit.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Nah, she was the debunker. Mulder was the “I want to believe” one.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Fuck, I’ve said it myself!

  • AtheistStomper

    You really do have a problem. You have so much sexual harassment and rape accusations associated within atheist groups it’s sickening. You treat rape as a joke on sites like Reddit and at atheist conventions. Then when AA gets slapped with racist accusations or we see a video of some crazy atheist berating a silent street preacher, atheists brush it off as fake or not true. They cannot accept the wrongs in their own society because they want to look “perfect” and can’t stand when their own members make them look bad. Accept your own problems before you attack the beliefs of others, dipshit.

    In the meantime, we Christians are the majority, which means we affect many of the laws in society. We will decide what is best for you because clearly you aren’t capable of doing so yourselves.

  • RobMcCune

    Why do loving christians hate Freedom and America?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Funny, because my experience of god(s) had absolutely nothing to do with sexuality whatsoever. Just love. Love, and Do No Harm.

    What consenting adults do with and to each other in their own bedrooms is irrelevant, so long as they are not harming others (children, animals, other adults). The gay couple down the street aren’t causing you any harm whatsoever, and just want to be treated equally to you and your wife.

    You, on the other paw, are causing harm to that gay couple down the street by way of denying their civil rights based solely upon badly-written goat-herder fan-fic that has no bearing on actual, demonstrable, observable reality.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    I’m sorry, what? “They only hurt themselves”?

    No, sweetie, what’s hurting me (and others) is YOUR HATRED AND BIGOTRY.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Thank you for caring, but how about leaving it between, you know, the individual and… whatever might be out there, yeah?

  • Nate Frein

    This coming from a supporter of the religion that brought us the Catholic Church, known pretty much since it’s inception for being rife with pederasty.

    You treat rape as a joke on sites like Reddit

    Reddit is not the sum total of all atheist communities. I think you’ll find plenty of atheists and plenty of atheist communities who are actively working to excise the misogynistic elements.

    atheists brush it off as fake or not true

    [citation needed]

  • AthiestStomper

    Aww, you atheists are so cute when you’re angry

  • Dez

    Lol. Are you for real? So much to unpack. Atheism doesn’t equal belief in evolution. It’s just the lack of belief in deities. Also you just admitted Christians have successfully persecuted atheists. It’s disturbing you find that as a great quality of being Christian. Then you assert the majority is always right because there is more of them. So you’re proud to be a superior , stronger, and religious majority that can persecute a minority. Do I really have to state the obvious example from history why that mindset is horrifying?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Right, like you’re given a checklist in-utero, and got to check off the list, “yeah, I think I wanna be disabled, that’ll be fun…”

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Better yet, we have actual proof of Christianity harming society!

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    I dunno, they do that a lot. Like, oh, reducing women to walking wombs…

  • Dez

    Awwww you Christians are so cute when you try to use your brains. No worries atheists actually use ours or else we would be Christians.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Same damn difference.

  • Octoberfurst

    Personally I think it is a fine comparison. We are talking about being offered “options” & free will. But if you don’t like that one how about this. A man tells his son that he loves him and wants him to love him back and be totally obedient to him. However he also says that if the son does not give him the love and obedience he demands that he will severely beat his son every day. The son it told he is free to choose which option he wants. Is that a free choice? Say the son thinks his father is crazy and does not want to obey his bizarre orders. So if the child is disobedient can the father say the son freely chose to be beaten? Can the father claim he had no choice in the matter? That is how your God operates. Love & obey me or be tortured. Nice guy that God of yours.

  • Dez

    And no evidence that gays have or will harm society. If there was prop. 8 supporters would be celebrating. Lol

  • RobertoTheChi

    You really don’t know what oral sex is???Riiiight….

  • Michael Harrison

    Also, I think the problem there is that it’s *Reddit*.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    A “much higher moral standard”, where women are forced to get pregnant, forced to remain pregnant, and forced to give birth, and forced to raise the resulting children in crushing poverty ‘cuz after all, if she didn’t want a baby, she shouldn’t have spread her legs, the whore! Where the terminally ill are forced to suffer, because it’s “immoral” to allow them to die with a little fucking dignity — meanwhile we treat Fido and Fluffy far better, “putting them down” when they’re too sick or in too much pain to keep living.

    Yeah… that’s a “higher moral standard”…

  • Michael Harrison

    The cite you referenced tried to draw a parallel between Jews in concentration camps, and the poor, persecuted anti-gay movement. That’s my point–you aren’t talking about persecuting gays! You’re referencing a cite that’s comparing its “suffering” to suffering THAT GAY PEOPLE EXPERIENCED. AND THE WEBSITE IS CONVENIENTLY IGNORING THAT FACT.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Been there, done that, it nearly killed me.

  • RobMcCune

    You know you’re saying that to a person who used their actual name online SecularStomper atheistduuuurp Whatyougonnado AtheistStomper LovingChristian

  • RobertoTheChi

    Debased/disordered sexual acts. Are you referring to priests who molest children?

  • Michael Harrison

    DOGS CAN’T CONSENT.

  • Michael Harrison

    So it is written; so it shall be done. No need for thought anywhere in the process, or stubborn questions, like “Why?”

  • RobertoTheChi

    Missing out on what exactly?

  • RobMcCune

    Fortunately dinosaurs can.

    http://youtu.be/k7cX5TdR8iM?t=8s

  • Michael Harrison

    I’m pretty sure a Silurian would take offense at being called a dinosaur.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    That particular document is about sexuality, but obviously the Church is not against any settled scientific issues. Faith does not contradict reason but builds upon it.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    No, abuse is by definition the very opposite of love. Whoever abused you didn’t love you, no matter what words he used.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    By engaging in sexual immorality they harm their own ability to truly love (giving themselves as a total gift to their spouse), not to mention the spiritual effects of the sin.

  • Nate Frein

    I think you’re onto something here!

  • Michael Harrison

    I shall rephrase. Regarding the “rights and duties regarding the education of their children,” do parents have the right, under the guise of education, to tell their children things which contradict psychological and sociological evidence supporting a biological basis for sexual orientation?

  • Nate Frein

    Side effects you have no evidence for…

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Again, I don’t mean to hurt you or offend you. True, I don’t believe hat two mothers can be an “ideal family” because I happen to think that manhood and fatherhood are important and irreplaceable in a family. But you are right, it’s a fine line to walk on. The Church believes that every child has the right to be conceived from an act of love between father and mother, not to be the product of test tubes (during which many embryos are destroyed in the process). At the same time, children born of such unions are to be unconditionally accepted and loved. I’m really sorry if this is offensive to you but that’s what I believe. Do you know your father at all?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    It’s really sad to project abusive partners onto God as if He were like that. He could not be any more different.

  • Nate Frein

    Again, I don’t mean to hurt you or offend you.

    Intent isn’t magic.

  • Nate Frein

    And again you offer no actual rebuttal, simply saying “nuh uh”.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Yes, sin has always existed. If you would try to rationalize it and seek a pure heart, you would see differently.

  • Michael Harrison

    Well, reading the Old Testament with the notion of God as abuser in mind becomes a creepy experience. “We suffer because we didn’t live up to God’s love of us!”

  • Nate Frein

    [citation needed]

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Actually, most children tend to naturally understand that man is made for woman and woman is made for man. This can become obfuscated by our tendency to sin, but especially through brainwashing like what we’re seeing today. The argument that LGBT people have always been around means nothing. Sin has always been around too. Again, we are all sinners, it doesn’t take away our human dignity but God is always calling us to turn away from sin and to seek His kingdom.

  • Nate Frein

    Actually, most children tend to naturally understand that man is made for woman and woman is made for man

    You just love your unevidenced assertions.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I understand that from a civil/secular perspective the “mutual consent” appears to be your best bet for establishing moral standards. However the fact that just about every religion (and most secular societies until recently) considered homosexual acts debased does say something about timeless human wisdom, not to speak about the fact that if God exists, it’s a serious/mortal sin according to pretty much all religions.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    fair enough, God bless.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    no. A man is also not qualified to be a mother. Different doesn’t mean inferior, it means different.

  • Nate Frein

    And yet you won’t (or can’t) articulate what a man brings to the table that a woman can not.

  • Michael Harrison

    Most children also think that objects will keep moving in a line until it stops, and only then it will start moving downward.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    The analogy is a bit better but still fatally flawed because you still portray the father as a cruel tyrant – still a big distortion of God. A better one would go like this: a man tells his son that he loves him and gives him everything: shelter, food, pocket money, education, counsel, love. One day, the son decides to leave home, slamming the door without saying goodbye. He goes in a faraway country, after living a dissolute life eventually loses everything that he had and is forced to feed pigs. Eventually he realizes his misery and looks back at how good he had it in his father’s house. Humiliated, he returns, expecting the sad and icy glare of his father, but still willing to endure the humiliation just to have a roof over his head. But as soon as he appears on the horizon, his father, who had been looking out for him every day, sees his son, runs to him, embraces him with great joy, takes him home, slaughters the fatted calf and throws a big feast for him, because his beloved son who was dead had returned home.

    I honestly began to write the analogy not really knowing where I would go with it, until I realized that the story has already been written in the parable of the prodigal son. That is the character of God, not your sad images of a cruel tyrant.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    sigh… it is saddening to see that you continue to draw these ridiculous caricatures of Christianity. I’m sorry you have been so wounded that you have such a distorted picture of it. I wish you knew some of my beautiful women friends who love God, the faith and the Church. My Catholic women friends are the most beautiful, radiant and joyful girls I know.

  • Nate Frein

    : shelter, food, pocket money, education, counsel, love

    “God” gave us none of that. When we needed it, we found it for ourselves.

  • Michael Harrison

    Funny you should mention that parable. I remember being taught in church that in that story, all three characters have committed a sin of some kind. (First Baptist Church in Plaquemine, LA, if you’re curious.)

  • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

    I would think they won’t be allowed to use the scout or scouting in their name as BSA has those terms trademarked and have gone after groups trying to use the word.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I wasn’t referring to them, but of course these are debased and disordered as well, worse actually.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Sure there is room for thought and asking why, but unfortunately I don’t have time to answer every question in detail.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I’m glad we finally found something we can agree on :)

  • Andre Villeneuve

    No they shouldn’t contradict firm scientific evidence, but if you’re referring to tenuous and unproven theories regarding gender based on psychology and sociology, then these certainly don’t constitute solid scientific ground. Other studies contradict them, e.g. the theory that one is “born gay”

  • Andre Villeneuve

    true, but human experience can attest that multiple partners reduces one’s ability to fully give oneself in total faithfulness to one’s spouse.

  • Michael Harrison

    One question only. According to the Genesis story, woman was made to keep man company; and once mortality was introduced into the story, the difference between the sexes was the main tool for being fruitful and multiplying. So why is it “the teaching of the Church that man and woman are still naturally ordered for each other, even if they are sterile”? If sex is about procreation, and marriage is there to provide a framework for conceiving and raising children, how is this at all consistent?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You will find the rebuttal in the gospels.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I tend to still believe in common sense. And I don’t have time to find evidence for every sentence I say.

  • Michael Harrison

    And some people can’t give themselves in total faithfulness to one’s spouse even without other mates.

  • Nate Frein

    There’s no evidence the gospels are true.

  • Michael Harrison

    Birth order, twin studies, correlation between being gay and having gay relatives. If you like, I could give you actual names and dates. What about these studies of yours?

  • Nate Frein

    Funny, my experiences with my past partners taught me how to be a better partner to my future partners.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Really? Even the father? I’ve never heard such an interpretation before.

  • Nate Frein

    “Common sense” tends to be wrong. If common sense could be relied on, quantum physics wouldn’t work.

  • Michael Harrison

    I think it involved the way he sowed jealousy in the loyal brother. Keep in mind, this was back in the ’90s.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    The goal of marriage is not *only* to conceive children. It is also, one might say even primarily, to join together a man and a woman who love each other. So as long as they are open to life, i.e. don’t make an intentional decision to not have children, they are not obliged to be fertile. In other words, they do their job and God does his. The Bible is full of stories of barren women who are given a child by God. If they are not blessed with the gift of a child, then it’s not their fault. Their marriage is not worth anything less.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    yes certainly… faithfulness for life is not easy even in the best circumstances. However God’s grace makes it possible.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Well at least you can see a certain picture of a loving God in the Gospels that is miles apart from the monster that people on this forum here picture him to be.

  • Nate Frein

    Not really, no. Considering I got my not so pretty picture of god from reading the gospels, I’d say you’re wrong about that.

    The gospels show me an abusive god, and your posts here show me an abused victim telling me “but you really just gotta get to know him”.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    again, I’m trying to wrap up… sorry, I don’t have infinite time for these discussions. Here’s a position from a gay site – not a scientific study, but interesting nonetheless. You might think it’s not enough but that what I have to offer for now.

    http://socialinqueery.com/2013/03/18/no-one-is-born-gay-or-straight-here-are-5-reasons-why/

  • Michael Harrison

    From the textbook used in the physiological psychology course I took. “Bailey et al. (1993) found that the concordance of female monozygotic
    twins for homosexuality was 48 percent, while that of dizygotic twins
    was 16 percent.” Looked up the article title: “Genetic and Environmental Influences on Sexual Orientation and Its Correlates in an Australian Twin Sample”

  • Michael Harrison

    Totally wrong article title — that one was from 2000. I used Google Scholar this time:

    Heritable Factors Influence Sexual Orientation in Women

  • Octoberfurst

    Poor, poor analogy Andre. (And like I didn’t recognize that as the prodigal son story right off the bat.) To be a fair analogy you would have to have the son leave and the father refuse to take him back saying that he “made his choice” and that he deserves to suffer for the rest of his life. Because, and correct me if I am wrong here, once you go to Hell there is no reprieve. No mercy. No 2nd chance. God sends you to eternal misery and no matter how much you beg you still go to torment—-forever! So yeah your God IS a tyrant and a sadistic psychopath. (After all what kind of sick mind would create the torture chamber that Hell is?) Eternal horrid punishment for a finite amount of “sins” committed in this life.
    It makes of mockery of your claim that your God is a god of love.

  • Michael Harrison

    Also, “Another study, by Pattatucci and Hamer (1995), found an increased
    incidence of homosexuality and bisexuality in sisters, daughters,
    nieces, and female cousins (through a paternal uncle) of homosexual
    women.” Article title:

    Development and familiality of sexual orientation in females

  • Michael Harrison

    Also, the site you reference says that a notion of sexual orientation is recent; I personally think this is true in a way, but not in the way they think. For instance, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_the_militaries_of_ancient_Greece

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    The almighty PENIS, of course!

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Only people can give consent. Fetuses aren’t people. And even if they were, the mother’s bodily autonomy comes first. You know that. If I don’t get to steal your liver lobe, a fetus doesn’t get to steal my uterus. Consent has to be mutual, remember, so if a woman doesn’t consent to be pregnant, she doesn’t have to be. It’s the exact same moral reasoning that says if one person wants sex and the other person doesn’t, sex doesn’t happen because people get to control their own bodies.

    As for euthanasia, if the person doesn’t give consent we call that murder. If they do consent, I don’t see a moral problem. Some people want to suicide and are simply too sick to do it themselves; that’s the point of euthanasia being allowed. Consent operates perfectly in the cases of abortion and euthanasia both. Try again.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    If it has no evidence, I see no reason to believe it exists. This vast, whole other realm of the spiritual has precisely zero evidence for its existence, so why would I do anything but reject it? Faith is believing in something without evidence, and I try not to do that.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    They’re all grave sins. None of them delimit punishments, nor does the language suggest that rape is seen as worse than adultery, considering that adultery is compared to idolatry. Adultery also is called a threat to human society in general, while rape is seen an individual wrong though a very bad one.

    Still not seeing where the RCC says rape is worse than consensual polyamory.

  • Hat Stealer

    … so separate but equal. Gotcha.

    What I love about these guys is that they admit how immoral they are, but they just don’t care. They don’t see what they promote as immoral, even when it obviously is so.

    Separate but equal.
    Torture forever.
    God made gays, but just to be a collosal dick he told them they couldn’t have sex because they were perverts.

    You have to be a pretty sick person to adhere to any of this stuff.

  • Hat Stealer

    You realize there are people who will never hear the gospel of Jesus in there lifetime, right? Or is this some Mormon magic, where you aren’t raped in the ears with red hot screws (read: hell) unless someone tells you about Jesus before you die, but you still don’t accept him?

    If you are right, then there are billions and billions of people right now screaming and crying and begging and burning and being tortured forever and ever until the end of time. And the numbers will only get bigger. In other words, if you’re right, then the universe sucks, and the best course of action humanity could take would be to try and overthrow God. Probably with iron chariots. He seems to be weak against them for some reason.

  • Hat Stealer

    Not to mention the surge of chemicals and hormones, as well as the change in heart rate, increased production of sweat pheromones, and the words “I love you” coming out of her mouth.

  • Hat Stealer

    In other words “Do what I say, or I will force feed you feces in the shape of your own mother for all eternity.”

    Nothing, NOTHING, ever justifies eternal torture, last but not least hurting your god’s ego by not accepting him.

  • Hat Stealer

    Silly Dez! You’re only allowed to do that if you’re in the majority!

  • Hat Stealer

    yes!

    Most people in previous generations thought that black people shouln’t vote! Or that mixed-race couples were immoral! Or that slavery was okay! Or that we should burn Jews!

    Most past generations would think we were insane for asking the question! Some would even burn us at the stake for it! That’s because they were BIGOTS!

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Oh, he is that misogynistic. He’s said, more than once, that women not having an official voice in the Church is totally fine because they are superior spiritual beings and don’t need any actual power or say in their own lives. Women are also best as wives and mothers after having been virgins- those are the epitome of “womanhood”. He also doesn’t think women should control their fertility (sex is for babies) or have access to abortion, as once pregnant the woman is relegated to “walking incubator” status.

  • Nate Frein

    “But it’s not hate!”

  • DavidMHart

    Actually, I think it says more about timeless human bigotry. Remember that other forms of xenophobia, like racism and belief-in-witchcraft have also been more-or-less universal for much of human history. No one seriously thinks they are intellectually defensible now, so if you think that homophobia is intellectually defensible, you’ll need to defend it intellectually, not just point to less tolerant people in less tolerant times.

    And given that your religion is the only one that has the concept of ‘mortal sin’ as such, you ought to think more broadly. I don’t know what the various flavours of Hinduism, John Frum cargo cult-ism, Buddhism, Mayan polytheism, Shinto, etc make of homosexuality, but they certainly don’t feature your particular god, or, in some cases, anything you would recognise as a god at all, so if you can point to people who believe totally incompatible things from you about the supernatural and use them to try to underpin your particular brand of supernatural-based bigotry, then that strikes me as a little too convenient.

    It seems much more likely that we simply have a tendency to be suspicious of those who we perceive to be sufficiently different from us, which can spill over into serious mistreatment if not corrected for. This underpins racism, nationalism, class-based hatred, religious divisions that turn bloody, the persecution of minority drug users (such as, in the USA and other places), alcohol users demonising cannabis users). It seems rather likely to me that the historic persecution of sexual minorities is just another manifestation of the same tendency. But of course, if you have good evidence that your god actually exists and actually wants what you say he wants, then you’re welcome to present it.

  • Tom

    So when did you choose to be straight?

  • Tom

    Isn’t that circular reasoning? “Disordered” sex damages love, and homosexual sex is disordered because it damages love?

  • Tom

    That’s not a very persuasive argument to make in a forum full of atheists, or to a secular government.

  • Tom

    Funny thing, you’ve said you’re running out of time at least four times now, then you come back and argue some more, but continue to ignore those arguments you originally said you had no time to answer.

  • Tom

    So, what, you say stuff and *then* you go find out if it’s true or not, if you have the time? If you don’t already know something to be true, in a debate, don’t bloody well say it.

  • Tom

    You’re not clear on the whole tolerance concept, are you? That we tolerate you doesn’t necessarily mean that we like you.

  • Tom

    How long a pause is allowed? Suppose I give fantastic orgasmic bliss via oral sex to my partner, then follow that with Catholic-approved unsafe PIV sex, say, five minutes later? Twenty minutes? A couple hours? A day later? A year? What if I’m only a couple of seconds past the deadline, is that enough for me to have to burn forever?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Do you not see the irony that God who is the author and source and origin of your very life lovingly invites you every day of your life to forgiveness, reconciliation, and eternal joy and blessedness with Him, and in the same breath as you reject his invitation you have the nerve to blame him for the fact that some people will freely choose to remain separated forever. If you ever go to hell (and I sincerely hope you don’t and that you will come to your senses in time), you will know with absolute clarity that your eternal destiny will be entirely your fault, that God has lovingly reached out to you all your life.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    That would not surprise me, but who says it’s genetic and not the product of the education/conditioning of the environment in which they grew up?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    great. You’ve just rationalized away the callous murder of over 50 million babies in the womb (not to mention the inevitable slippery slope of the many cases in Holland, Belgium, etc… where people are increasingly “euthanized” without their consent). And then you wonder why many people see secularist morality as problematic if not sub-human.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.” Catechism of the Catholic Church 847

  • Andre Villeneuve

    God has no ego. Those who go to hell freely choose it by stubbornly choosing evil and rejecting God, his goodness and his forgiveness until the moment of their death. If you would spend less time with sophisms and more time humbly seeking your own salvation you would be much better off.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I answered you. We all have temptations, whether to same-sex or to opposite sex, that should be resisted and rejected, not indulged in. I do my best to reject such temptations every day.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    and that’s the difference between so-called secularist tolerance and Christian love.

  • Plutosdad

    There are already lots of these alternative scouting organizations. Why not one more? Just like all the churches full of people who can’t stand each other and split away, because one group prayed funny, or met on the wrong day.

  • Dez

    Sorry but not in this country. Thankfully we are not a theocracy. The middle east would be more your taste.

  • Tainda

    So you equate my daughter, who was just raised by me because her father is a piece of shit abusing mother fucker, as being less than because she was raised by a woman? In your view I should have stayed with him because it would be better for my daughter to see him constantly abusing me and threatening to kill me than to be without a man in the house.

    I’m done being the nice little humorous atheist that I usually am. You sir, are a fucking piece of shit.

    Everyone in this discussion needs to just stop talking to you (wish I had taken my own advice) because you are a waste of air and one day, hopefully soon, people will wake up to the hate and sadness that your kind promotes and turn away from it.

  • Michael Harrison

    A fair question; I have no idea how they’d control that variable. Studying gay women and any blood relatives adopted out of the family would be problematic.

  • The Other Weirdo

    It’s one of those ideals Christians pay only lip service to, like no divorcing or marrying divorcees.

    And no, I am misrepresenting nothing.

  • gimpi1

    As long as an act is between consenting adults, that’s all anyone needs to be concerned with. If no force is involved, what other people get up to in the privacy of their own homes is none of your business. You can disapprove all you want, but you have no right to use force of law. You seem to want to compel obedience because you can no longer convince.

    Tandia’s position imposes on no one. Yours does, Andre. You appear to want to force people to follow a code they don’t believe in. Why? How is anyone harmed by other people’s consensual acts? If no harm is caused, how does society justify intervening?

    Your church no longer has the ability to pass laws or force compliance. No church in the first world does. And it’s a better place for that.

  • Stev84

    It’s not a distortion, but the cold, naked truth:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/brazil-rocked-by-abortion-for-9yearold-rape-victim-1640165.html
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/05/chile-abortion-debate_n_3551960.html
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22763510

    And Catholic hospitals in the US are commanded by bishops to ignore (non-Catholic) patients’ wishes about end-of-life care if they conflict with church dogma. You can look it up in black on white.

    Again, you’re living in an alternate reality.

  • Michael Harrison

    A girl living in poverty, gets an abortion? Oh, she deserves whatever risk she takes with a back-alley procedure. Death from punctured uterus is too good for her.

    But plenty of these anti-abortion activists, if their precious little angel gets knocked up, they’ll make the appointment themselves. Take care of the hypocrisy in your own ranks first.

  • gimpi1

    So if I know a happy gay couple, does that disprove your “never be genuinely happy” theory?

    Happy gay couples, speak up. Let’s gather the data.

  • Rose

    This sneering at secular hedonism is exactly why I no longer attend church. You know what all these hedonistic non-Christians are doing? They’re settling down, finding a steady job, raising kids, buying a house, maybe getting married. In my late twenties I see very little difference between the lives of Christians and non-Christians except that the Christians may get married a little earlier.

  • Tom

    So when did you choose to be tempted only by straight people?

  • Tom

    Or rather, only by people of the opposite sex, which is what I meant to say and would make my last post not be nonsense.

  • Tom

    Correct – but do you think that’s an argument in your favour? You’d have to be either a damn fool or suffering from a serious case of Stockholm syndrome not to prefer being openly disliked but fully tolerated over being “loved” but suppressed, because that’s an abusive relationship, right there.

  • Michael Harrison

    My question: if they hurt only themselves (in some sense that hasn’t been made precise, beyond vague statements regarding their spiritual well-being), and the only evidence we have of this is that an old book says so, and they’ve heard this all before, what does it matter what their temptations are? Your point is made; what confuses me is why this isn’t enough.

  • disqus_sP9JsYUr1U

    Urr…didn’t Christians always had AWANA? I was part of that. We had scouting uniforms, and I guess we learned more about the Bible than actually useful stuff. I got kicked out because I told my leader that he should let his kid watch a show (the Monster Rancher anime) that was rated Y7. He found out, got angry, and got me kicked out. His son? Age 11.

  • Spuddie

    Yet you expect everyone else to adhere to the same religious notions as yourself. Organizations to follow your beliefs to the exclusion of others. You expect the Boy Scouts to share your religious/sexual hangups as well.

    As for the rest of your post, it is seen often enough for everyone here to know that “concern for my sin” is the fundamentalist Christian way of saying “go fuck yourself”. Nobody is fooled here.

    Your “concern” for my salvation is really just an attempt to lift your ego and attack my beliefs. It drips with condescension and hostility under a friendly demeanor. There is no honesty or sincerity in your words. Very unChristlike yet characteristically Christian. =)

  • Spuddie

    Fair use. Scout is a generic term.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Most of your post is made up, and thus lying, Nazi. The last sentence requires you to actively ignore what I wrote.

    Does Jesus love that you have to lie for him, Nazi? Does he love that you drive people away from him with your lies?

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    This post is nothing but you trying to defend yourself through a misleading statement. Does Jesus love your dishonesty?

  • Nate Frein

    (not to mention the inevitable slippery slope of the many cases in Holland, Belgium, etc… where people are increasingly “euthanized” without their consent).

    Citation seriously fucking needed, asshole.

    And “babies” aren’t killed in the womb. parasites are. Cancer is as human as a fetus is, and getting rid of an unwanted fetus is as immoral as excising a cancer.

  • Nate Frein

    Shit, I’d rather have secular tolerance than your “christian hatelove”.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Every religion considered the solar system and the universe to be constructed in ways that they are not. Thank God your lot (eventually) shut up enough to let the less stupid members of the tribe gather actual information.

    Funny how you’re now reduced to exploiting other religions as being true as a defense for Catholicism.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Congratulations on this admittedly bizarre and backwards argument that you made here that souls are irrelevant.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Don’t worry, you will be eventually.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Because he says he is. Just like abusers do.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Snerk. For a while yesterday, all of your posts were showing up as Blacksheep’s. This one raised an eyebrow.

  • phantomreader42

    So Frank’s mother was a supervillain? Did he kill her to inherit the villainous empire?

  • phantomreader42

    That kind of glitch happens disturbingly often…

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Ignoring the overwhelming and easily available evidence online only makes you more of a liar, Nazi.

    Not knowing that your lot use the exact same arguments against gay marriage that your grandparents did against interracial marriage merely makes you immensely dull-witted and ignorant.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Right, like the people of the Christian and Jewish faiths from 90% of those faith’s histories, when marriage was primarily a business matter that didn’t even involve the woman’s opinion.

    Oh, that pesky history.

  • Tainda

    The majority doesn’t necessarily equal the superior with humans anymore. It just means you all breed like rabbits.

    Watch Idiocracy at some point. That will open your eyes to the truth.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    You’ve just stupidly equated killing a blastocyst with murder, and then you wonder why you’re dismissed as an idiot.

    That fifty million number, by the way, includes all lifesaving abortions and documented miscarriages. It was deliberately inflated for the same reason the people who manipulate you with lies about womens’ health use dishonest language: to keep you outraged and doing their bidding. You’re pretty gullible, Nazi.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    It’s a combination of genetics and epigenetics. The latter affects how the former is expressed. Please read about something before spending your life being a bigot over it.

  • Nate Frein

    Not to mention that, by that logic, “god” is the worst abortionist in history…

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Yep, that was it. They were Oranje’s posts. They disappeared, at least for me, all yesterday, but were back this morning with the correct name.

  • Michael Harrison

    I disagree with the invocation of Idiocracy. Randall puts it well: http://xkcd.com/603/

  • Hat Stealer

    God made the punishment for rejecting him torture forever. Choosing not to worship someone hardly justifies such a draconian course of action. Like I said, nothing ever justifies eternal torture, especially something so petty as rejection.

    I’m beginning to see the parallels between the Christian god and an abuser more and more. You just can’t imagine that it’s God’s fault for torturing us forever. It must be because we deserve it. He’s too good; it’s not like all the thumbscrews and the racks and the branding irons and the burning and the raping and the agony are his fault, right? You just keep repeating the mantra of “it’s all our fault; he’s too perfect; it’s all our fault; we deserve it” over and over. Whenever someone brings this up, your response is inevitably “No! God is Love and Goodness and you just don’t understand him and blahblahblablabla.” You refuse to see him as the problem, just like someone in an abusive relationship. It makes me sick.

  • Spuddie

    Hey, don’t feed the troll!

    He’s not used to our food. He can get sick.

  • Hat Stealer

    Thankfully. However, this seems to be the mentality of many Christians and conservatives in this country right now. “This country was founded with me in mind; I am in the majority; therefore I can do whatever I want.” It’s a problem.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    But if I don’t keep him interested, he’ll leave before dawn and won’t turn to stone! And I’ve forgotten all the riddles I used to know.

  • Spuddie

    According to the latest field research in Norway, you can use big UV lights for the same effect.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vy2nAOdBUlw‎

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    I take it you’ve watched Trolljageren? I loved the trailer and ran to get the flick.

  • Spuddie

    Loved it. Read a review of it on an offbeat movie review site (Teleport City) and had to see it.

  • Tainda

    Come to Missouri and see how many kids the rednecks have and then you would change your views.

    It’s a comedy so of course it’s going to be blown out of proportion (not knowing water helps plants grow and a wrestler for a president) but there is truth in it.

  • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

    Sorry but in the US it isn’t generic:

    US House US Code Title 36 CHAPTER 309 – Boy Scouts of America gives the BSA “the exclusive right to use emblems, badges, descriptive or designating marks, and words and phrases [the BSA] adopts.”

    If you also search trademarks “scouting” comes up

  • Spuddie

    Boy Scouts would be the trademark, scout would not.

    For example the US does not worry about permission to use the term scout when discussing its specialists in military reconnaissance. Neither would a talent scout.

    “Scouting” as a noun would count because only the BS international organizations use it that way. As a verb it is just another term for the act of reconnaissance.

    It gets messy for sure.

  • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

    Sorry if I didn’t make myself clear. If you have a group for children that involves programs just like Boy Scouts, you can’t include in the name “Scouts” or “Scouting” or “Boy Scouts”. BSA has sued others in the past that tried to do that.

  • Spuddie

    In that context, you are entirely correct. My bad. The key issue is the possibility of confusion with the BSA.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Sorry to hear you are putting a bunch of things in my mouth that I never said. I never said your daughter was “less”, nor that it was in any way better to stay with an abusive father. What do you get from making this stuff up? That’s not a way to have a conversation. I think it’s wonderful that you raised her. I just said that the ideal and normative situation in which a child should be raised is with a loving mother and father, and that two mothers, as good as they may be, could never replace a father because neither is a man. However there are lots of other situations and I very much respect those who do invest their lives to raise children, e.g. single mothers, orphanages, and other arrangements. Perhaps you should calm down.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I never said that I would like the Church to impose morality laws on everyone. I was merely pointing out the logical inconsistency of Tandia’s moral relativism. When she says “no one has the right to…” that sounds a lot like an imposition to me. I did not speak in such terms…

  • Andre Villeneuve

    ignore wishes about end-of-life care? That’s ridiculous. “Church dogma” only speaks in favor of preserving life. So it will oppose abortion and euthanasia obviously, but never end-of-life care.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    of course you’ll find plenty who claim they are happy here and now, but they won’t be in the long run… certainly not in light of eternity.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    If that’s your case, good for you. But I have personally observed quite a bit of empty materialism and hopelessness among those who have rejected God. But you are right that many Christians are also at fault for not living much differently from those who don’t know God.

  • gimpi1

    Then what do you want? If you simply want to disapprove of other people in the privacy of your own home, go at it. No one can, or will, try to stop you. I, personally, find it a bit perverse, against the whole “judge not” thing, but it’s really not my business. Whatever floats your boat.

    What I took Tandia to mean is that you have no right to compel anyone to live by your view of morality. If you just want to pontificate, but have no desire to pass laws banning gay marriage, restricting birth control, or whatever has your moral views in a twist, then I, and I think Tandia, have no problem with that.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    we don’t choose temptations, they come to us. Yield to them and they turn into sin, then vices and addictions. Resist them, with God’s help, and you will grow in virtue and holiness.

  • gimpi1

    I know you firmly believe that, but you must know you have no proof.

    Also, what about that whole “saving grace” thing. Is a happily gay married person beyond God’s grace? Many people don’t repent of things you most likely consider sinful. Is God obliged to report to you? I’d like to see that memo.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    you’re right Michael… as far as I’m concerned, I have said what I had to say about it.

  • Michael Harrison

    I live in Louisiana. I went to high school in Livingston–as backwoods as you can get and still have water treatment funded by tax dollars. Yes, there are stupid people, but the number is lower than in the past; plus, selection forces (e.g., job market) favor increased STEM knowledge.

    Yes, a wrestler (and conspiracy nut) was elected to state office; yes, people are susceptible to advertising (though I would say that Brawndo’s slogan is nothing more than the hypnopedia of Brave New World). Is this a sign of stupidity, or merely people having different interests than us? I would argue the biggest threat is not ignorance, but misinformation. Science has political clout, which is why people are trying to hijack it. Years of having science be touted as a cure-all have backfired, making their job easier. But those of us who value science can fight this. Always remember: fitness is defined by environment.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    nobody is beyond God’s grace, but His kindness leads us to repentance. The way to salvation is having the humility to admit that many of the things we do are wrong. His forgiveness and grace are infinite, but we need to do our part as well. And sometimes that’s not easy at all.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    That’s such an awful philosophy, by the way- be miserable now to be happy in the afterlife! The environment? Pah! Who has to care about that, you’re only on earth for up to 110 years, eternity is forever! Create, innovate, build community? That’s a terrible plan. The healthier and happier people are, the longer they live, so they don’t get to Heaven as fast. Divorce is a sin, so stick with the abuser. Deny yourself love, affection, and happiness in the only life you have, for the hope of heaven later. The more you talk, Andre, the more I know that Madalyn Murray O’Hair was talking about your sick, twisted religion when she spoke these words:

    “An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated.”

  • gimpi1

    So where does your need to sit in judgement of others fit into all that? Again, does God answer to you? Perhaps you should look to your own faults, and let others do the same.

    Also, I was referring to your beliefs. Remember, they are only beliefs. You have no evidence to back them up.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Church dogma will not allow people’s DNRs to be respected. It won’t allow people to be taken off respirators when they and their families wish it. They will forcefully keep people alive who have no hope of ever living again, against the wishes of that person.

    That is all part of end-of-life care. As Stev84 showed, the RCC cares so much about its dogma it doesn’t care about hurting real people who come to them for care. That doesn’t even take into account people like Savita Halappanavar- the Church murdered her.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Feminerd, you seem to be unable to post a single thing without completely misrepresenting Christianity. It does get really annoying. This world and this life are really important. I wrote in my previous post about those who “claim to be happy.” You know well that there are plenty of people who know how to put on a happy face but are really miserable inside. Christianity is about being genuinely happy in this life, even if sometimes in the face of suffering, and eternally happy in the next. Create, innovate, build community, live long… all these are great. No one is asked to stay with an abusive spouse, nor to deny oneself “love, affection and happiness.” Sin is the only thing that enslaves and makes us miserable, and sin is the only thing that the Church fundamentally opposes. And your final quotation can be just as easily said by a Christian, except that there is no conflict between good deeds and saying prayers. On the contrary, prayers give us redoubled strength to do good deeds. That’s why when you look down history (and today) you will find infinitely more Catholic hospitals, schools, universities, orphanages, soup kitchens and organisms of social help than atheist ones.

    Also, we don’t “escape into death” but are freed from death so that we can live fully now.

    Please stop talking about Catholicism as it is evident at almost every word you say that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I don’t sit in judgment. God does. The evidence is found in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Tradition. Jesus has asked his followers to spread the good news to all the world, so we try to do it: repent from sin, turn to God’s forgiveness, salvation and eternal life. It’s not that complicated.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    “Callous murder of babies in the womb” How many people die on organ transplant waiting lists? Were they all callously murdered by people who are just too damned attached to controlling their bodies and couldn’t be bothered with the inconvenience of organ donation?

    People euthanized without consent- [citation needed]. I’ve seen that claim before, but shockingly, when it got studied by reputable researchers, they didn’t find anything like that. Instead, they found that the laws intended to make sure that people really truly mean it, aren’t depressed, and aren’t being coerced do actually work. You really need to expand your sources outside of RCC failpropaganda sites.

    You think people simply can’t be trusted to control their own lives. And then you wonder why many people see Catholic morality as problematic if not sub-human.

  • Olive Markus

    And you’re saying that not having a father means that her upbringing was Not As Good. Not As Good = Inferior.

    You just say stuff without realizing what they mean, don’t you?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    You said, straight up, that gay people can’t be happy in gay relationships. You also said that the fake-happy (because gays can’t be genuinely happy) means they’re fucked in the afterlife. You did not say that some people pretend, you said that anyone who is gay and happy is not really happy. You also said that it was ok for gay people to be miserable in denying themselves happiness, because it would make them happy in the afterlife.

    I merely applied that logic to other issues. Not my fault if it shows your religion in the ugly light you painted for it.

  • Anna

    Again, I’m not hurt or offended. I’m an adult, and this is an Internet comment thread. While the simple fact that you hold certain views can’t hurt me, the Catholic church’s constant attempts to legislate their views (and denigrate those they disapprove of) has a negative effect on not only my family, but on young children in the families who are affected by those attempts and that negative rhetoric.

    If the leaders of your church are actually serious about respecting human dignity, perhaps it would behoove them to remember that the people they are talking about are not hypothetical. Children of same-sex parents actually exist in real life. We hear what you say about us on the news. We read what you write about us in the papers. When you hold up signs proclaiming that we shouldn’t exist, we tend to take it personally.

    Frankly, the Catholic church’s bizarre fixation with how children are conceived baffles me. I wasn’t conceived in love because I wasn’t the result of sexual intercourse? Intercourse doesn’t equal love. Intercourse is just one way to make a baby. I also think you must not know much about other ways of conception if you think that every baby not conceived through intercourse is created in a test tube. Your church’s opposition to surplus embryos doesn’t apply to simple insemination techniques, which don’t require fancy technology. The first recorded successful artificial insemination happened in the late 1700s.

    In any case, you’re entitled to hold the view that my family is not ideal, but that’s exactly the reason people think you are so bigoted. It’s a prejudice that isn’t based on anything in real life. You declare that families are not equal without ever even having met them. All that matters is that my parents don’t have the “right” equipment, and therefore they can never be as good as a mother and a father.

    Incidentally, why are you so curious about my biological father? I do not know him, but I am very grateful that he chose to donate his sperm so that my brother and I could be born. To use a “religious” analogy, if you believe life is a gift, then I am thankful for that gift. For someone to say that my conception shouldn’t have happened, well, I just don’t understand why. I’m happy to be alive. I don’t see why I shouldn’t exist.

  • Olive Markus

    Working to block the rights of homosexuals to marry is the church imposing morality laws on everyone… just to be clear.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    It makes me sad, ‘cuz I want him to find the courage to leave.

  • Anna

    Actually, most children tend to naturally understand that man is made for woman and woman is made for man.

    Wow. That is quite a claim. I’d love to see some evidence that children inherently possess anti-gay feelings.

    It seems to me to be exactly the opposite. Children have to be “brainwashed” (to use your word) into being anti-gay. They have to be kept away from gay people and told that homosexuality is strange, wrong, or unnatural. I defy you to find a preschooler anywhere in the world who sees something wrong with a same-sex couple, unless that preschooler has been told there is something wrong with them.

    Incidentally, this is why conservatives are so upset about children having actual knowledge of LGBT people, rather than just being exposed to negative propaganda about them. A child who has met a same-sex couple in real life will know from firsthand experience that there is nothing bad, strange, or wrong. A four-year-old doesn’t care if she has two aunts or if her classmate has two daddies. Children generally judge adults by whether they’re nice and fair. Sexual orientation is highly unlikely to even cross their minds, let alone be a factor in their judgment.

    By the way, you didn’t answer my question. Where did you develop your negative feelings about homosexuality? Have you had actual friendships or familial relationships with anyone who’s LGBT?

  • Olive Markus

    And I would claim that it’s not our fault that our brains literally don’t allow us to believe in something that is based on absolutely no evidence, as if that’s even a bad thing.

    You work on the assumption that we KNOW God and Catholicism to be true but choose to reject it anyway – because – who the hell knows? We like to have recreational abortions every couple of months?

    I’d also claim that God could, very easily, provide all of the evidence that people like me need to believe it to be true. If he truly is Omnipotent, why is it impossible for him to provide new ways of teaching and providing evidence for people who find current teachings to be illogical and unreasonable? New teaching models do not deny us “free will” in any way. And didn’t he make our brains this way? If he is our designer, then he knows that my brain simply can’t see the logic in Catholic teachings, and he should be able to help me out a little without any effort or infringement on my free will at all.

  • Olive Markus

    It is hate.

    It is your very line of reasoning that convinced my 37 year old gay cousin to jump off a cliff because he couldn’t come to terms with the idea that he was somehow as incredibly horrible as the Church made him believe.

    It is your very line of reasoning that made my next-door life-long friend kill herself in her garage using carbon monoxide two weeks before she graduated high school, because our religion told her her entire life that her same-sex attractions were wrong, and yet she couldn’t quite rationalize in her head how she was bad when she had no choice in the matter. She wanted love and relationships like the rest of us, but was told by PEOPLE LIKE YOU that her desire for these things was destructive to herself and society.

    You ARE hateful and you do real damage. I certainly hope that if any of your children are gay, they end up with a healthier sense of self than my cousin and friend did and think critically enough to know you’re full of shit.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    And that, right there, is exactly why the BSA should 100% be held to federal non-discrimination law — they are a federally-chartered and publicly funded organization.

  • Stev84

    And you wonder why people think you are sick and immoral when you just wash yourself of any responsibility for your thoughts and actions like that.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    She’s not “putting a bunch of things in your mouth that you never said.” She’s making logical inferences from your previous posts.

    And really? Telling her to calm down? Misogynistic, much?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Except my wishes for end of life care include euthanasia.

    I don’t want to be kept alive and in pain just because your stupid church wants to “preserve life”.

  • Stev84

    More lying for Jesus. Why don’t you read your cult’s own documents?
    http://www.usccb.org/about/doctrine/ethical-and-religious-directives/

    “The institution, however, will not honor an advance directive that is contrary to Catholic teachings.”

    “The free and informed judgment made by a competent and adult patient concerning the use and withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures should always be respected and normally complied with unless it is contrary to Catholic moral teaching.”

    Nothing but doublespeak. Again, they are doing this to non-Catholics who have no choice but to be there because there are no alternatives available, since the Catholic Church bought all the hospitals in the area.. Your sick cult glorifies suffering and misery. See also Mother Theresa.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Christ, this guy’s an asshole.

  • Anna

    So your assumption is that all same-sex couples are really miserable inside? That they’re just putting on a happy face for the public?

    It sounds like it’s incomprehensible to you that a gay or lesbian couple would not see their relationship as a “sin.” You don’t accept that there are people who are happily gay, or happily childfree, or happily atheist, or happily anything that doesn’t match what the Catholic church promotes.

    Speaking of which, have you completely ceded control of your life to this organization? Do you just blindly accept everything they say, no matter what? I cannot imagine that type of mind control, never being allowed to come to an independent conclusion on anything without having to check to see if it matches what the authorities tell you to believe.

  • Stev84

    There is no such thing as “Christian love”. You just redefine words to make yourself feel better about how narrow-minded and intolerant you are. Most churches simply don’t accept anyone who doesn’t confirm. Church is all about putting people into boxes and controlling them.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Ok, but putting someone to death is not “care” in any sense of the word.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You are right that the people born of such unions are not hypothetical and it’s certainly very different to talk to one than to discuss theoretical abstractions. I do feel challenged and rather humbled talking to you, first because I don’t want to offend you and certainly not make you feel that you shouldn’t exist, but also as I said because I feel quite convinced that the father/mother pair as basic unit of the family is irreplaceable. And yes I am aware of the various forms of artificial insemination. I know that I must sound like a hopeless jumble of contradictions, but I would just ask you to try to respect the nuances I’m trying to underline. Again, I do not wish to undermine the work and love of the two women who have raised you, just like the work of single mothers. I asked about your biological father because you owe your life to him as well, and you are a part of him. You probably look like him. Can it really be true that you don’t feel anything lacking in that you don’t know your own father? that you have never heard him say “I love you”?

  • Erp

    And only the “Girl Scouts” have managed to keep it (the BSA tried to force them to change back in the 20s).

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Just another clarification: I’m not asking you to agree but just that you perhaps understand a little better. As Catholics we believe that the sexual act between two persons of the same sex is sinful. It doesn’t mean a wholesale condemnation of them, or to say that these persons are awful in every respect. We are all sinners. So the moral problem is in the sexual act, not in everything they are or have done. So in this way I could praise the two women who raised you in many ways, just not agree that certain acts are morally right. Again, I’m not asking you to agree, just to try to understand the distinction.

    My negative feelings about homosexuality comes from my study of human nature, love and marriage. It’s a long story. I did/do have some friendships with homosexuals (and some ex-homosexuals). These feelings and thoughts are not fixated on homosexuality but rather on the wider purpose of love, marriage, and human life in general, and on the fact that we are created in the image and likeness of God, called to repent from sin and accept God’s love, salvation and eternal life. Of course it’s very difficult to summarize this in an nutshell.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I’m really sorry to hear about your friend and cousin. By calling sins sins, we certainly don’t mean to say that people who sin are “horrible”. I’m a sinner too. I think I do my best to love and respect people while not necessarily agreeing with all their actions. Certainly Christians could learn to be more sensitive with these matters.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Actually I used to be fiercely anti-Catholic for many years, and I went through quite a long conversion process when I thought everything through. There is no “mind control” at all. I have plenty of independent conclusions… I just happen to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he established the Church to lead us in knowing God’s salvific truth.

    I’m sure same-sex couples have many genuine happy moments. Perhaps I really did overstate myself. Again, the fact that they engage in some sinful acts (everyone does) does not mean that everything they do or are is wrong, quite obviously.

  • Anna

    I do feel challenged and rather humbled talking to you, first because I don’t want to offend you and certainly not make you feel that you shouldn’t exist, but also as I said because I feel quite convinced that the father/mother pair as basic unit of the family is irreplaceable.

    What you are basing that on? Just the Catholic church’s say-so? You’ve apparently never met or spoken to anyone raised by two mothers or two fathers, so you’ve formed your conclusion about our families in complete ignorance. You’ve declared that we’re not as good without actually knowing anything about us.

    That’s why your claims come across as so prejudicial. It’s judging people you don’t even know. You say that a mother and a father are irreplaceable, yet no one with your views has ever provided me with concrete examples of parental actions that are dependent on the gender of the parent. Quite frankly, it seems absurd to me to reduce a person’s parenting to what kind of genitals they were born with. What matters is how people parent. It matters how they relate to their children. It matters that they provide a safe, stable, loving home.

    I asked about your biological father because you owe your life to him as well, and you are a part of him. You probably look like him. Can it really be true that you don’t feel anything lacking in that you don’t know your own father? that you have never heard him say “I love you”?

    I realize this may be hard for you for you to understand, but I already have two parents. My mothers are the ones who raised me. They’re the ones who told me they loved me, who took care of me when I was sick, who helped me with my homework, and who put me to bed at night. As I mentioned, I am extremely grateful to my biological father for providing sperm so that I could be born. I do owe my life to his generosity, so of course I wish him the best. But I don’t consider him a parent, and I don’t feel there was anything lacking in not having a third parent.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    So, you admit that your church advocates “preserving life” at the cost of a person’s quality of life, dignity, and bodily autonomy. And all because God.

  • Anna

    Well, would you ever be willing to go against something the Vatican says? I do find it odd that all of your personal opinions would just happen to coincide with official doctrine.

    For the most part, I agree with my political party, but I don’t agree with every single position or every single thing mentioned in the platform. To declare that I would just always agree with every declaration made by an organization strikes me as mind control.

    I realize you’re a convert. It seems like most of the more zealous Catholics (at least on this blog) are converts. Out of curiosity, what religion were you raised in?

  • Olive Markus

    You just don’t understand, do you? You think you can be hateful while walking away and pretending that you know nothing about it. What does love and respect mean to you, might I ask? Catholics can’t do anything but claim that everything that comes out of their mouths is love and respect, but I believe you use those words to hide behind without a single clue about what they really mean and how your actions actually fit into their meaning.

    These people grow up knowing there is something “wrong” with them, that their feelings are responsible for the downfall of society, the devolution of the family, the disgust of their peers, and yet they feel at the same time that they aren’t bad people and that they have absolutely no control over their same-sex attractions. They want love and affection, but the idea of getting those things from the opposite sex is as vile to them as the idea of getting it from men would be to you.

    You do NOT place being homosexual on the same level, as say, lying, so don’t you dare use that “a sin is a sin, and we’re all sinners” garbage. It is trite and completely meaningless and even you don’t believe it. You Catholics use the same reasoning to pardon child abuse coverup. You only claim that sins are equal to all other sins when you are being called out on the real hurt you cause, so you try to wash your hands by trivializing it only in that moment. I don’t recall your Bishops lobbying DC to ban astrology or using God’s name in vain, do you? Nor do I recall them blaming child rape on Ouija Boards.

    You don’t have to be screaming insults into their faces to cause the greatest harm. My cousin was out but my friend was not. Nobody but I and one other friend of hers even had a clue about her feelings. Nobody taunted or teased her. I don’t think anybody even suspected. She probably would have been better off if these hateful messages came to her in explosive ways, as at least, maybe there is a chance she’d been able to process how wrong the message is.

    How do you sleep at night knowing that the very things you believe drive others to feeling as though death is better than the shame of facing a world full of people like you?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    The Church is very different from a political party. What makes it different is that it claims to be divinely guided by the Holy Spirit and infallible in matters of faith and morals (obviously not in matters of customs, disciplines, of personal opinions or holiness of priests, bishops, or even the pope). Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would lead His Church into all truth and guard it from doctrinal error. This is a very bold claim (you probably think it’s preposterous and/or insane). So when I (and usually most serious converts) consider the claims of the Church, it’s more or less a package deal. If the claim of infallibility is true, then the Church speaks for God and I had better accept it as such. If it’s false, then the whole thing is a fraud and I should pay no attention to it at all.

    So my gradual thought process was more or less like this:

    - strongly disagreed with and/or hated the Church’s teachings (in large part influenced by Catholics poorly living out their faith) and thought that the claim of infallibility was idiotic
    - came to acknowledge that a few of its doctrines were not as stupid as I thought
    - came to respect and admire many of the Church’s teachings, while still seriously skeptical of its claim of infallibility
    - gradually came to agree with all of its doctrines, and so finally accepted its claim to infallibility.

    Again, the infallibility refers to official matters of doctrine and faith. I am more than aware of all the weaknesses and sins of the Church’s members, beginning with mine. So I still have plenty to criticize about the Church, just not her doctrines and teachings, which I think are not easy but the best way to encounter Christ, conquer sin, and grow in holiness and goodness.

    I was raised nominally Catholic, became agnostic for a few years, then evangelical Protestant (very anti-Catholic), then reluctantly, kicking and screaming, back into the Catholic Church. In retrospect, it’s the best thing I ever did, though I know that you will probably shake your head in disbelief at such a statement.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Ok, I hear you. But of course I don’t reduce “a person’s parenting to what kind of genitals they were born with” – manhood and womanhood, fatherhood and motherhood are much more than genitals obviously.

  • onamission5

    “their”
    SNORK!
    Some of the worst grammar I’ve ever run across is from people riding really tall, invisible horses.

  • Hat Stealer

    You’re not supposed to questions God’s logic; you’re just supposed to repeat the words “it’s all my fault” over and over and over.

  • Olive Markus

    You’re more correct than you think. So incredibly correct that I learned this exact skill so unbelievably well that I put myself through years of an abusive relationship as an adult, because I was so utterly convinced that “it’s all my fault” and “he has his reasons” and “he really is a good guy, deep down, when you try to understand him” and “he shows me how much he loves me in his own way.” Even NOW, even though I know better, I still blame myself.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    *gentle non-threatening hugs*

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    If the words of a random Internet stranger mean anything, then hear this: It’s not your fault. You’re strong and capable and you got out. It’s not your fault.

  • Octoberfurst

    What is it with you that you can’t answer a simple question? I keep asking you why would a “loving” God create an eternal torture chamber like Hell and all you do is keep responding with “God love you–don’t choose Hell” like a retarded parrot. Ok I get it. You can’t answer my question so you resort to stupid talking points. Tell ya what, go away & stop wasting my time unless you can come up with an intelligent argument. .(Which I don’t think you can do because frankly you’re an idiot.)

  • Tom

    You do realise you just flat-out admitted that being gay isn’t a choice, right?

  • SteveO

    We don’t need the burden of proof. We’re the majority, we make the rules. Survival of the fittest, if atheists were superior, you’d be in charge, eh? Now get back in your place, “monkey”

  • SecularStomper

    History is written by the winners. If WW2 went the other way, YOU (Dez, a black woman) probably would not exist, or you’d be a slave most likely, born into servitude. Progress isn’t always pretty but at the end of the day someone comes out on top. Consider yourself lucky that it is only Christians in the majority and not the Nazis, Taliban or something. As for Christians persecuting atheists, well, it happened to us too, but we came out on top, thus we are superior, so stop bitching about being “persecuted”

  • LovingChristian

    Your point? It doesn’t subtract the cowardice associated with atheism. But I guess it feels safer for you atheists online in your little shells, not being the majority and all :(

  • AtheistStomper

    If it wasn’t for Christians, you’d still be in chains, Dez. At least my people weren’t stupid enough to be sold into slavery by their own tribal chiefs. Hundreds of years from now and your people still haven’t gotten your shit together… pathetic. You are the LAST person to talk about one group’s progress in society or their intelligence.

  • Joe

    “We won’t stand for it. We think you’re wrong, but you’re allowed to be
    wrong.”

    We think you’re wrong too, but you’re allowed to be wrong, but the truth of the matter is, history is written by the winner, so as long as you oppose our beliefs, we will oppose yours.

    Not every Christian is anti-abortion, anti-gay etc. but you can’t say they’re “wrong” because you disagree with them. I wouldn’t want some little boy flirting with or touching my son in an inappropriate way at a Boy Scout campsite, doesn’t mean I hate gays.

  • Stev84

    If you want to be sensitive, just shut up about it and let people live their lives. Free from your interference and condemnation. How about that? If your god exists, he can sort it out in the afterlife.

  • Stev84

    Because it’s not him saying those things. It’s really his god. So he isn’t responsible for anything. And hey, it’s loving, because if he didn’t say such horrible things, people will be tortured for eternity. So better to torture them in this life if it can prevent torture in the next. All out of love.

  • gimpi1

    The way you phrase your arguments, it appears that you believe you are speaking for God. You do sit in judgment when you tell someone their “sins” are so profound as to require a complete lifestyle change, while ignoring other more common“sins” such as gluttony or greed. I don’t see you advocating for closing Golden Coral or chastising Wall Street, but you believe gay people are “called to celibacy.” Really? YOU are the one making that judgement.

    As to your statements regarding Scripture and Tradition, you realize it would be just as valid to say, “The evidence is found in the Holy Koran and the teachings of the Imans,” don’t you? Your belief in the validity of any source doesn’t verify it.

    This is why I like the scientific method. The first thing any good scientist does upon developing an idea is try to prove it wrong. Only after they have tested their beliefs in the crucible of experimentation are they offered for peer review. Then those reviewers also try to prove it wrong. Only after that testing process is it dignified by recognition.

    With that said, I have a few suggestions. Take them for that they are worth. If you’re serious about spreading your Good News, you might want to do some baseline research into your own beliefs. Develop a a grounding in reason and history from outside the church. Know both the strengths and weaknesses of your beliefs. Learn to differentiate between a belief and a fact. Be able to explain why you believe something based on that. Citing Church tradition convinces no one outside your church.

    You might also want to work on your presentation. You say you aren’t judging, but you present as though you are. You come off as arrogant and condemning. More use of qualifiers such as “I believe,” or “I think,” can go a long way in changing that.

    Then and only then are you ready to face the peer review of offering your witness. I’m your target audience. I’m interested in belief, fairly well-read, reasonable and open to reasoned argument. Your rather ham-handed approach misses the target. I offer these suggestions to help you improve your aim, if that’s what you really want to do.

    Of course, if all you want to do is display your beliefs, you have that down. Never mind.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    yes, I know that same sex attraction isn’t a choice in many cases.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I appreciate what you’re saying and can see why you are upset. On the other hand, it was not the will of Christians to bring up the whole gay “marriage” battle. Believe me there are many other things I would prefer to do rather than talk about these things. I have no problem with letting homosexuals do what they want and with treating them with respect and love. There have always been homosexuals, but here is the difference: no one has ever tried with such boldness to deconstruct and redefine marriage, the cornerstone of any sane society. The battle was brought about not by Christians but by incredibly aggressive, often anti-Christian gay lobby groups who are trying to remake this fundamental institution. To answer your question, no one is trying to enshrine ouija boards, astrology, or lying in law as a “right” that you have to accept and affirm or else you’re called a hateful bigot or sued for not conforming. That’s why no battle is necessary regarding these things. But now they want to brainwash children in schools, telling them that the gender you marry is a purely arbitrary choice, and sexual behavior is more or less morally indifferent, Christians are sued if they don’t want to sell flowers or rent a hall for a gay “wedding”. And you expect Christians to just say “ok, that’s fine”? Respect has to be a two-way street.

    Again I think we should treat all people with compassion, and it is very tragic that instances of bullying lead to suicides. It should certainly make us pause on how these things can be avoided. But I just don’t believe that affirming sin or calling it OK – let alone enshrining it in law – is ever a good solution.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I do genuinely appreciate your suggestions and your taking the time to express them. I see what you mean re. using qualifiers such as “I believe” and I see the value of that. If I come across as arrogant I should really rethink the way I express myself. The problem with using “I think” and “I believe” all the time is that this language seems to reaffirm the doctrine of relativism, i.e. that whatever I say is just “MY truth” or something completely subjective and only valid for myself. The Christian claim of course, is that it is “THE” truth proposed to everyone. That is why Jesus commanded the disciples to preach it to all nations. I do realize that is why so many people hate it, because Jesus calls everyone to salvation, not just Christians. Still, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m affirming relativism, and thus the dilemma.

    As for providing evidence for my beliefs, yes I hear you too. I actually do have evidence, but I have been overwhelmed with dozens of simultaneous conversations in the last 2-3 days, spending way too much time on this thread, and so probably quality was sacrificed for quantity. It’s hard to give thorough explanations for such complex topics in a nutshell. On the other hand, I do get the clear impression that most people on this thread are not really interested in any explanations. They are interested in bashing Christianity first, and asking questions later (or not at all). In any case, thanks again for the suggestions.

  • 3lemenope

    On the other hand, it was not the will of Christians to bring up the whole gay “marriage” battle.

    This, right here, is–beyond the bigoted stuff–why people just can’t take you seriously. “Why oh why can’t I have a private opinion which is really a public opinion which is really my desire to maintain a law restraining other people’s behavior I disapprove of? Why is everyone so mad at me? Why am I being called a bigot? I just want my right to my private opinion which is my public opinion which is my desire for a law restraining other people’s behavior I disapprove of!”

    Some folks wanted permission from the state to do something Christians think is baaaaaad. And so Christians soldiered up and fought hard to prevent them from doing that thing. A thing which affects literally nobody but those who participate in it.

    Again I think we should treat all people with compassion, and it is very tragic that instances of bullying lead to suicides. It should certainly make us pause on how these things can be avoided.

    Many, many, many people have already told you, and Christians in general, that it is what you do that causes these things. Not *how* you do it. What you do. When you tell someone there’s an in-born wrongness inside of them that they should be ashamed of and desperately try to expunge, it does not matter that you doll it up in cute language and smiles and platitudes.

    It’s the message that kills.

  • gimpi1

    Thank you for your appreciation. I’m glad you weren’t offended by my suggestions.

    I understand you believe you have “THE” truth. I hope you understand it’s unreasonable to expect anyone to simply accept that. I get that these conversations get overwhelming and scattered. No answer for that, it’s the web. However, myself, I try to go for quality over quantity. (You’d never guess that from the length of my posts, right?)

    I think you feel people are “bashing” Christianity when what they are doing is objecting to the way it is presented, or to the place of privilege it sometimes seems to expect. Having your creed’s beliefs recognized in law is not the same as having your beliefs respected. I respect your beliefs. I don’t believe you have the right to use force of secular law to force me to comply with them. I think that’s the main objection you’re seeing here.

    Here’s an example of what I was referring to in my earlier post regarding tone:

    “I do realize that is why so many people hate it, (your beliefs) because Jesus calls everyone to salvation, not just Christians.”

    It’s not hateful to disbelieve. It’s neutral. I don’t know anyone who hates your beliefs. I know many people who don’t share them. Calling doubt or disbelief hate is both dishonest and off-putting. Viewing them as hate can mess up how you relate to people, often the very people you are trying to reach. Just a thought

  • steveland

    As a parent myself, I found the two gents on the video announcing this new organization a little creepy. It may be shallow, but I generally require people to have all their teeth before trusting them with my kids. (Really not trying to be cheeky here, just what does it say about someone who doesn’t practice simple hygiene?) This seems more like a couple of unemployed guys who want to try and make a career out of other people’s unnecessary fear.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You’re right that it’s not hateful to disbelieve, and the two are not equivalent by any means. I know lots of people who don’t believe without hatred. However, if you look at some (many) of the responses I have been getting here, it’s hard to believe that some (many?) of the people on this forum don’t have an outright hatred of Christianity.

    Also, I am not interested in having any of my beliefs, as beliefs, recognized in law. However, do you understand that big issues such as abortion and gay “marriage” go beyond religious beliefs: they have to do with the dignity and definition of human life and its protection, the identity of marriage and the family, the education of children, and the common good of society. That’s why I think it is entirely legitimate that these issues be affected by legislation, since they have a direct effect on the day to day life of society, for better or for worse.

  • 3lemenope

    But then he doesn’t get any points for “rescuing” them. Sin scalps for Jesus…

  • gimpi1

    Thanks for this discussion I’ve been enjoying it.

    I understand your concerns about abortion, though I don’t share them. That’s a discussion worth having. Perhaps later.

    However, your concerns with marriage equity seem, to me, to be an example of trying to legislate your beliefs. You’re taking your belief that two people of the same sex marrying somehow weakens marriage and society (with no facts to back it up) and expecting the country to enshrine it in law. You have no real reason, except for your belief that gay sex is a sin before God. That sure looks like expecting your beliefs to be give the force of law, from the bleachers back here.

    You appear to believe that people of the same gender marrying somehow affects you. It doesn’t. It may change some definitions, but they change all the time. You’re aware that marriage has changed many times over the years, right? I’m no longer my husband’s possession. I can own property in my own name and sign contracts without his permission. He has no right to beat me, or to force himself on me. Our marriage wasn’t arranged by our parents. We chose to marry because we love each other. All those are changes in marriage, good ones, most of us think. Change can be good.

    Expanding the definition of marriage to gay couples allows them to make more lasting bonds, to sanctify their relationships in ways that are meaningful to them, and gives their children more security. No harm, no foul, as far as I can see.

    Your beliefs are your own. You can still believe that gay sex is a profound sin. The supreme court decision just doesn’t allow you to deny gay people the right to marry, a right you (I assume) have. You say you don’t judge. If that is true, what, exactly have you lost? All I see is the privilege of having your view enforced in law, something you say you don’t want. I admit I find that confusing.

  • Olive Markus

    Nobody has tried to redefine marriage? Holy crap. Complete and utter lie. Another Catholic talking point you’ve never done any research on. You’re also saying exactly the same things over and over again in slightly different ways, as if it changes the core of your message. THE CORE IS ROTTEN. Oh, and what was it you said earlier that you didn’t believe that your church had any right to impose morality laws on the rest of the world? Do you not realize that using your religious belief regarding homosexuality and working to prevent marriage equality, you are doing EXACTLY THAT? You honestly refuse to see that?

    http://prospect.org/article/marriage-already-redefined

    http://www.kjonline.com/opinion/columnists/marriage-has-been-redefined-through-the-ages_2012-10-17.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-joseph-meszler/redefine-marriage-absolutely_b_3032849.html

    http://www.ecalpemos.org/2013/02/how-marriage-has-been-redefined-over.html

    http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2013/04/02/op-ed-yes-i-am-redefining-marriage

  • Olive Markus

    hugs back. thank you

  • Olive Markus

    Thank you very much. It means a lot.

  • 3lemenope

    Everyone is invited to heaven, but there will be no questions in heaven. So turn away from the desire to know and seek contentment in ignorance. They are found in Christ.

  • RobMcCune

    I’m fine not being in the majority, you on the other hand are coward despite going around bragging about how much supposed “backup” you have.

  • RobMcCune

    How does Jesus feel about your racism?

  • 3lemenope

    As an atheist, I notably cannot speak for other atheists, but for my part I do not consider the theist viewpoint to be an invalid viewpoint for a person to hold.

    In order for a position to be considered by me invalid to hold as a human being, it needs to be incomprehensible to me how a person could look at the universe or any subset thereof could arrive at the provisional conclusion, given their experiences. A deity is, in this sense, certainly not beyond the pale. I think where the vast majority of atheists agree is upon the apparent unsoundness of theism; that is, it certainly can make sense for an individual given their experiences, but given the sum of all available information, it isn’t exactly the best or most parsimonious explanation. What particular features that deity is implied as having can slide this analysis into a more or less sound direction, depending on whether those features concord with observable features of the universe.

  • 3lemenope

    Except, ironically, when it came to religion. Then, Scully was the committed Catholic and Mulder the skeptic.

  • 3lemenope

    Nah, I like homophobic *because* it gets them bent out of shape. I don’t give choice-of-title to bigots, as a rule.

  • 3lemenope

    So, that would be a yes, then? Too much logic?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    No, the Christian faith completely rejects ignorance. Just read St. Thomas Aquinas or any of the doctors/theologians of the Church

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Do you think little straight boys flirt with or touch your daughter in inappropriate ways sometimes? The best way to deal with that is to teach children boundaries- my body is mine, no one is allowed to touch it without my permission, no means no, verbal harassment is still harassment, and if someone doesn’t stop then tell an adult. This is true for all children. Being hit on can be extremely uncomfortable, especially if you’re not interested in the person trying to flirt, but that’s not exactly unique to male-on-male flirting. Just teach your child to gently tell the person they’re not interested and ask them to stop, and if that doesn’t work (it usually does work for children and adult gay men, for adult straight men hitting on women, not so much. Straight guys are taught to disrespect women’s boundaries, but that’s a whole nother can of worms) go get authorities involved.

    When your wrongness involves telling children that some people are less than other people, when it involves advocating the death penalty for loving the wrong person (thanks Leviticus!), when it involves denying people basic human rights (marriage is so defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), then yeah, you can legally (but not ethically) teach your bigotry to your kids. But we will not let you enforce it with the law, and that means Boy Scouts either gives up all federal and state accommodations or it stops discriminating.

  • Tom

    You directly contradict yourself. In this very thread, you have already plainly stated that you believed nobody is born gay, and used this to argue the falseness of the analogy between racist bigots and homophobic bigots.

  • 3lemenope

    I have, at length.

    But you of course know well that Christianity is a big fan of only certain very policed domains of knowledge. “Worldly” knowledge (e.g. how things work, on whom, and why) is treated mostly as garbage and deprecated as worthless. .Cf. 1 Corinthians 3, for example.

    Church fathers like Aquinas and Augustine indeed could credibly say they expanded the frame of curiosity that comfortably fits within Christianity, but that ignores just how much resistance they individually dealt with in the church due to their explorations (and so how far they had to depart from the Church’s status quo ante on these matters to get anywhere), and how little, ultimately, is contained even within these expanded spheres of appropriate consideration.

  • RobMcCune
  • Andre Villeneuve

    No, there is no contradiction. If someone is “born gay” does that mean that someone can be born an adulterer or with an addiction to pornography? Is it one’s fault that a man feels attracted to a woman who is not his wife, or generally to pictures of naked female bodies? No. Was he born that way? You could say that because we are sexual beings he has the potential for feeling all sorts of attractions. It doesn’t mean that these attractions are good and should be indulged in, or that anyone is “born an adulterer” because he feels attractions to women other than his wife.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Oh probably. I usually pretend trolls make real comments and respond to them as such for the purpose of edifying lurkers- letting such comments stand is just something I can’t do. If he responds, until such time as his trolling becomes completely obvious or I get too frustrated, I’ll continue to throw sweet reason out to the masses on the Internet :-P.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    *ahem*
    *points at Catholic anti-condom propaganda*

    Your church claims that condoms don’t stop the spread of things like HIV, which is not only ignorant, it’s killing people.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    That entirely depends on if his wife is OK with an open relationship or not, actually. Some couples do accept extramarital sex, though most do not. Sexual feelings aren’t inherently wrong. Acting on the feelings isn’t inherently wrong. The only wrong is in doing things one’s partner(s) haven’t consented to. The cultural norm is exclusive monogamy, so anything outside that has to be very carefully negotiated and communicated, but people do make it work and are happy with the results. As long as gay people aren’t cheating on anyone, there’s nothing wrong with gay sex. So long as it’s safe, it’s not like the sex itself is a moral problem!

    Heck, married couples engaging in threesomes isn’t that uncommon!

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Who is it who was adamant that secularism doesn’t lead to hedonism? Where are they now? It sounds to me pretty much like “anything goes” as long as they agree to it?

    For someone who advocates a relativistic morality, you speak using a lot of absolutes.

    Acting on the feelings isn’t inherently wrong.
    Says who? Evidence?

    The only wrong is in doing things one’s partner(s) haven’t consented to.
    Evidence?

    As long as gay people aren’t cheating on anyone, there’s nothing wrong with gay sex.
    Nothing wrong according what standard? Your own?

    So long as it’s safe, it’s not like the sex itself is a moral problem!

    Evidence?

    What troubles me more about this vision of morality: what is true love to you? Is this the vision of “love” that you had when you were younger and more innocent?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    All these links are besides the point – in fact, they actually prove my point. Yes, of course there have been changes to the form and customs of marriage throughout the years. I should have written “no one has ever tried with such boldness to deconstruct and radically redefine marriage in its deepest essence”. Do you not notice that despite all the (minor) changes in marriage customs over the years, no society was ever insane enough to think of changing the fundamental and common sensical premise that marriage is in its very nature between a man and a woman?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You forget that Western civilization, including most of its greatest minds in all fields of science, arts and humanities were Christians until a couple hundred years ago. They did surprisingly well considering that they lived in nations so thoroughly oppressed by a Church obsessed with keeping people in ignorance, stifle and suppress knowledge, according to you.

  • Olive Markus

    You mean like every other country that has legalized same sex marriage?

    Nope, never heard of such a thing.

  • Olive Markus

    And why is this beside the point?

    What you REALLY mean to say is that this is the definition of marriage that you want to be correct, because it makes you feel good about yourself and your life choices, therefore, any deviation from this specific, familiar version makes you feel less special.

    Also, nobody gives a fuck about how Catholics choose to define marriage for themselves. Keep your marriages exactly the same. I hope the Catholic Church never, ever performs a same-sex marriage. Nobody cares. Just stop preventing others from marrying legally.

    You can’t define the marriage of others. Why aren’t you fighting marriage between two atheists who have no intentions to have children? This goes against all Catholic definitions of marriage, as well. Marriages of any other religion or non-religion are none of your business and do not involve the church at all, and the marriage between two men or two women is exactly the same. As long as nobody is forcing Catholics to a) participate in a same-sex marriage or b) force the church to perform same-sex marriage (neither of these things ever to happen in any circumstance) it shouldn’t matter to you one bit.

  • Olive Markus
  • 3lemenope

    Cum hoc ergo propter hoc? Really?

    And I think you best check your facts on exactly what the Church’s role was in scientific exploration. It certainly isn’t as dour as most popular treatments on the subject make it out to be, but the Church was very firmly into stifling findings of fact and assertions of theory whenever they encroached upon a cherished element of its Biblical-Aristotelian world-model. That meant punishing and discouraging research into several areas, not least astronomy, biology, and psychology.

  • Anna

    Well, I’ve heard that a lot, but since no one seems to be able to provide concrete examples, it’s hard to accept that that claim has any validity. What specific actions can a male parent perform that a female parent cannot?

  • Stev84

    And again with the “relativism” BS. You are a broken record.

  • Stev84

    That’s just as much meaningless word salad as everything else you have ever written.

  • Anna

    It does, but it also allows them to go down the rabbit hole of “phobia means fear…blah…blah…blah.” I like the word homophobic, too, but I don’t usually have the patience to deal with their obfuscation.

  • Anna

    It’s certainly quite baffling to me. I also think it’s a tad disingenuous describe yourself as a convert when you were raised in the exact same religion you now espouse!

    As I’m sure you know, the vast majority of people raised in Catholicism don’t become fundamentalist Catholics later in life. Most practice a much looser form of the religion, and many leave the religion entirely. I don’t know what makes you so different from most of the others, but I do see your brief spell as an evangelical Protestant reflected in your comments.

    Your thought processes make no sense to me. I just don’t get how anyone raised in regular, mainstream society could all of a sudden switch to adopting such an “abnormal” (in the eyes of Western culture) view of sexual morality. To go from seeing most forms of sex as normal and natural to all of a sudden seeing them as evil strikes me as extremely odd.

    strongly disagreed with and/or hated the Church’s teachings (in large part influenced by Catholics poorly living out their faith)

    I’m interested in this. Which teachings did you hate? I can think of a lot of the teachings I hate, but I wonder if it’s different from the ones you had a problem with. Did you grow up to disagree with the Catholic church’s anti-gay teachings? Anti-female priest teachings? Anti-birth control teachings? Anti-sin and hell teachings?

  • SteveO

    A woman doesn’t know how to raise a man… why is that so hard to grasp, Dez? Use your “intelligence”… even a shred of brain power is enough to realize there is a difference between man and woman (and not just between the legs).. feminism is seriously a delusion on women

  • Anna

    Of course I understand that Catholics believe that gay and lesbian sex is “sinful.” I understand that perfectly well; it’s just that it’s so bizarre to me. Frankly, official Catholic doctrine is so much more repressive about sex than any other religion I’m aware of. Even fundamentalist Protestants leave husbands and wives alone. They don’t make them account for every orgasm between them. Fundamentalist Catholics have so many extreme rules, so much obsessing over when and where it’s appropriate to have an orgasm. Even the ultra-orthodox Jews aren’t that extreme, and goodness knows no one could ever accuse them of lacking too many rules.

    Also, I find it a bit strange (or not) that you keep referring to “the two women who raised me.” Such odd phrasing would seem to suggest that you’re opposed to even considering them my parents. Anyway, if my parents are “sinners,” then surely a heterosexual couple who uses birth control are equally “sinners,” so why single out same-sex couples for shame and condemnation? Do you also think couples who use birth control are unfit to have kids? Presumably they’re going to hell, too.

    Your “study of human nature, love and marriage” sounds awfully vague to me. How exactly have you “studied” these things? I see you were raised Catholic after all, so it really doesn’t seem like you were ever in a position to accept LGBT people as equal. It doesn’t appear as if you were raised in a non-judgmental environment and then decided to develop anti-gay feelings later in life. Did you have them from childhood, then?

  • SteveO

    What you call “reality” is nothing more than the hedonistic vision you want to project on the rest of us. Why is it that the morals of modern Christians (pro life, pro family, pro values) are better suited than yours (pro infanticide, pro hedonism).. stop deluding yourself and let the adults make the decisions for what is right and wrong because you children clearly have no moral compass or understanding

  • AtheistStomper

    Since when is it racist to state historical facts?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    This madness only began about ten years ago, it’s a pretty recent social experiment.

  • Stev84

    “Social experiment”. Everyone, take another drink!

    If you want people to take you seriously, asshole, you should stop calling it “madness” or “insanity”. But you just can’t stop denigrating a whole group of people. But, hey, it’s not hatred according to you, and you are just regurgitating what you think your god tells you to, so it’s ok.

  • Olive Markus

    Yeah, madness. People actually standing up for themselves and demanding to be treated with respect and full human rights. It’s hideous. Really.

    And next time you want to have a conversation, it’s helpful if you actually address what the other person is saying. That you can’t cover the points I bring up probably has exactly the opposite effect you intend by being here and only reinforces the fact that you don’t have meaningful answers.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You really think that redefining marriage will not affect everyone? What do you think of this?

    http://news.yahoo.com/lesbian-activist-surprisingly-candid-speech-gay-marriage-fight-144222847.html

  • Stev84

    “redefine marriage” – Have another drink!

    First off, asshole, “The Blaze” is not a credible source even if you deceptively try to dress up in a Yahoo article. Second, you have a habit of taking fringe opinions and presenting it as something that everyone believes in. Also something you should avoid if you want to be taken seriously.

  • Stev84

    Word salad. Translation: the sky is falling!!

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Why this is besides the point? Actually I just edited my post above: your links are not besides the point, they actually *prove* my point. You have provided examples of cosmetic or minor changes to the understanding of marriage throughout the age. But they have in common that no one until recently has seriously thought of undermining the foundational premise that marriage is between a man and a woman.

    “this is the definition of marriage that you want to be correct, because it makes you feel good about yourself and your life choices” – not at all. Legislation, whether good or bad, does not affect my feelings. It’s just naive to think that such a seismic change in the most foundational unit of society will not affect everyone.

    http://www.frc.org/brochure/the-top-ten-harms-of-same-sex-marriage

    There are already increasing instances of anti-Christian persecution in several countries where such redefinitions have taken place, for example my native Canada where freedom of speech is already seriously stifled:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/that-way-lies-tyranny-a-warning-to-america-about-redefining-marriage

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Of course there was polygamy in the Old Testament, but no one (not even orthodox Jews) is trying to establish morality on the basis of the OT alone. This too proves my point that it’s always been taken for granted that marriage, despite its variations through the ages, has always been understood as between man and woman.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    It’s not so much what they do, it’s who they are. Have you not noticed that men tend to be different than women (not just physically)? That they have a mutual complementarity and that they complete each other (not just physically)? Have you ever read the book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” or anything similar?

    By the way, do you think that we are just the random product of a blind evolutionary process?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Secular morality is anything goes so long as it harms no one. Hedonism doesn’t have that important little caveat at the back end of it, which is why it has so many negative connotations. Pursuing pleasure at the expense of everything else isn’t healthy. Denying pleasure because an invisible sky wizard said so is also not healthy. There is a middle ground.

    Evidence that poly relationships work? There haven’t been a lot of studies, but I know people in them. JT here at Patheos is or has been poly. So is Greta Christina over at FTB. Read what they have to say about it. Anecdotally, poly relationships seem to be just as healthy or moreso than monogamous ones, because the communication required is constant and honest. Constant, honest communication is absolutely necessary to a relationship working. I unfortunately don’t have any better evidence than anecdotes, but then again, you have no evidence whatsoever, so …

    Any sane moral standard would see nothing wrong with any sex between mutually consenting adults. It’s the only way to both protect people and preserve liberty at the same time. The evidence is all around us; gay sex hasn’t ushered in the apocalypse. Neither did free love or swinging. Neither have polyamorous relationships. Society works just fine so long as everyone respects everyone else’s boundaries; it actually works better in an ethical system based on mutual respect for personhood instead of “Godsaidso”. That is based on centuries of empirical evidence. Sex is not immoral or dirty or shameful. That’s a uniquely Christian thing. It’s one of the worst things about the religion, how it twists people’s natural sexual desires into something to be ashamed of.

    True love, to me, is an emotional connection. It involves wanting the best for another person, while knowing that they want the best for me. It means helping the other person grow into the best version of themself they can be, and they help me do the same. It means supporting each others’ dreams and hopes and goals. It also means finding the ways we can’t help each other and finding other ways or other people who can. It means being open and honest and trusting; it means being vulnerable. It certainly can include sexual fidelity, but it doesn’t have to. My marriage is monogamous- I am not naturally so, though it’s not a huge burden either, but my husband is, so when we talked it over I decided that I loved him enough to give up on a polyamorous relationship. The key point is we talked about it; we had a hard, brutal, open conversation touching on our most vulnerable thoughts and feelings. Would our love be any less if we’d jointly decided I could seek outside our marriage for sex, instead of deciding I couldn’t? And no, this isn’t exactly how I though of true love when I was younger, but aren’t we supposed to learn and grow as we get older? I’d be ashamed to be stuck in a teenage girl’s whimsies for my thoughts on just about anything, love and relationships especially. Like everyone, I was an idiot at 16.

  • Joe

    Rob has an obsessive boner for me lol its quite funny to see him stalk me on here haha quit feeding the trolls Rob, fucking pansy.. in real life I am a in an interracial relationship and have many gay friends, it’s just you atheist-faggots that deserve the bullying, you ask for it ha

  • Joe

    Gays have no boundaries that’s the issue

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Didn’t mean to be disingenuous… true, I am technically more of a revert than a convert, but given that I was only nominally Catholic and then anti-Catholic when I grew up, it does feel quite a bit like a true conversion.

    Of course I have to disagree with the label “fundamentalist Catholic” – I am merely trying to be a faithful Catholic, faithful to what the Church teaches. A little bit more about myself: I have an MA in jazz saxophone from a music academy in Austria, and a PhD in religious studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. For the better part of the last two decades I have lived, studied and worked in very non-Catholic environments, so I’m afraid I cannot accept your suggestion that I have been indoctrinated (actually you suggest this more in your other post than this one).

    What Catholic teachings did I hate… hmm, good question. Let’s see if I can remember. What mostly comes to mind are the things I disliked when I was evangelical: the concept of purgatory, Mary’s role in the Church, the pope, statues and saints, the history of Christian anti-Semitism, sacraments and rituals, to name a few. Really more theological than moral issues. Before that, when I was agnostic, I was actually quite ignorant of the Catholic faith. I very much disliked the very concept of sin, I didn’t like the Sunday obligation to go to Mass. I didn’t think at all about birth control, homosexuality, or the possibility of female priests, as far as I can recall. As I said, I was only nominally Catholic and had much different interests than moral and theological ones back then. I thought the Church was legalistic and just had a long list of prohibitions to offer. The difference was that I had not yet had a life-changing encounter with Christ, and that is what changed everything.

    I know that my views may seem “abnormal” in the eyes of Western culture, but I have come to believe that Catholicism is really about finding the truth and love that is most beautiful, fulfilling and freeing for the human person. The problem in these discussions here, I am beginning to find out, is that we get bogged down in relatively narrow, controversial moral topics where people get angry and start insulting each other, and the conversations end up not being very fruitful. You mentioned elsewhere that you are amazed at how Catholics seem to be obsessed with sex. You know, it’s not true.. I rarely talk about such topics with my friends. It just happens that this was the topic that began this discussion. But just as I write this I can see that when we only discuss these kinds of moral topics (which are actually peripheral and secondary to the relationship with Christ) I can come across as conveying the same legalism that I fled when I was young. Perhaps I should indeed avoid these discussions on moral issues altogether and try to focus more on God’s love. They are draining and for the most part unpleasant, but I must say that I’m learning a lot through them.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Your “freedom of speech” isn’t stifled, numbskull. You’re just not allowed to spread malicious, deliberate, hateful lies about gays, because it harms them.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    [citation desperately needed]

    Your bigotry is showing. Might want to tuck it back in, it’s pretty hideous.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    1: That’s bullshit, and you know it.

    2: Oh, you’re the product of something blind, all right…

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I personally think that the Catholic teachings on chastity are challenging for everyone (for example, I’m single, so I’m abstaining), but they are the best way to protect and foster faithful love. Though I understand that they appear restrictive when viewed from the outside, I find them anything but repressive. The Catholic view treats love and sexuality as something wonderful and actually something sacred that needs to be protected from our own tendency towards self-destruction. What is good about the sexual morality out there “in the world” nowadays? Kids sleep around, transmit STDs to each other, girls fix themselves with hormones with the Pill to avoid pregnancy, when that doesn’t work they abort their children, they haven’t even reached the age of 20 when they have experienced everything and are heartbroken, boyfriends and girlfriends move in together so they have hardly anything more to look forward to when (or if) they get married, divorce rates hover around 50%, etc, etc… You don’t think there’s a problem?

    But the irony is that the same broken people then vilify Catholics for saying “save yourselves for marriage, be faithful to your future spouse, don’t kill your babies in the womb, resist temptations and don’t indulge in them.” Just as I might seem incredibly odd to you, I admit that I have also come to view the secularist morality as totally baffling, with its near complete lack of moral principles (apart from mutual consent), and still defending the same ideas that led to the disastrous results of the sexual revolution of the last few generations (yes I know I’m generalizing and there are exceptions).

    Yes I confess that I feel uncomfortable referring to your “two moms” or “parents” for reasons that we discussed. There is no intention to shame them or you, and yes we are all sinners, but as I said I cannot agree to a redefinition of terms such as marriage, parents, mother or father, etc… I do apologize as I know that this is very personal to you.

    I did not have any anti-gay feelings growing up. I never thought about this topic. I knew a few homosexuals in my early 20s and they were nice guys as such, but even in my agnostic phase I couldn’t agree that gay sex can be morally ok. As such I still wouldn’t say that I’m “anti-gay” today (again, distinction between acts and persons), but I must confess that the aggressive push to redefine marriage, along with the increasing anti-Christian persecution coming with it (e.g. in my native Canada) does not exactly predispose one favorably towards the advocates of the movement.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Actually, I haven’t noticed men being different from women in any way that wasn’t clearly cultural. Oh, men tend to be taller and have more upper body strength, but I’ve met very tall and strong women before too, so it’s definitely not an absolute difference, just overlapping distribution curves.

    The only thing men can do that I can’t is piss their name in the snow. The only thing I can do they can’t is have babies and bleed out my crotch once a month. Personality, interests, friendship, emotional vulnerability and range, intelligence, creativity; all of that is merely human and I’ve seen no difference between men and women. I certainly haven’t noticed any sort of complementarity.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Shoo, troll, don’t bother me …

  • phantomreader42

    The catholic cult believes a lot of stupid shit. The fact that a pedophile in a ridiculous-looking hat agrees with your delusions doesn’t magically make them true.

  • phantomreader42

    Christianists are all pathological liars and rapists. I’m sure you’re no exception, “Joe”.

    Your obsession with the sex lives of others suggests dissatisfaction with your own. To remedy this, I recommend you go fuck yourself.

  • phantomreader42

    Yeah, “Christian love” tends to involve raping, murdering, and torturing people.

  • phantomreader42

    The only sources you can find to back up your bigotry and your martyrbating are KNOWN LIARS. Isn’t that imaginary god of yours supposed to have some sort of problem with bearing false witness?

  • phantomreader42

    But learning is the most unthinkable and unforgivable sin in his sick death cult.

  • Olive Markus

    You’re seriously crying Christian persecution while condemning homosexual marriage?

    Do you consider that we no longer require a victim of rape to marry her rapist as “trivial”?

    I am NOT going to take seriously something from the Family Research Counsel, who essentially makes shit up to support their own biases and bigotry. Aside from religious wishful thinking, there isn’t a single study or piece of research that has decided that homosexual marriage is bad for society. If you are going to claim problems for “society as a whole” then don’t use non-research opinion pieces from only within religious circles. It doesn’t work that way. You’d better find data-enforced studies that actually represent society as a whole, not the opinions of people who already have a bias and are too blind to see beyond it. I believe it will affect everyone, but what kind of expert are you to claim that it will be a devastating affect?

    Crying Christian persecution within America and Canada is a massive INSULT to the Christians in other parts of the world that ARE being persecuted – killed, abused, imprisoned, driven out of their homes. There is nothing of the sort here for you. And once again, no facts to back up the assertions one.iota. It is getting old, and when you cry persecution, what you’re really doing is throwing a tantrum because you can’t discriminate and because your up-until-now societal privilege is being challenged.

    What you call “serious” persecution, we call you not being able to discriminate against those you think are less than anymore. I looked into the story more, and I am not an expert in law and I don’t know the Canadian system well, so I can’t give a valid opinion on whether or not this man’s freedom of speech was actually prohibited in technical terms. However, I will ask you this: If you found out a school teacher was publicly and forcefully advocating for the reinstatement of slavery and believed it was valid due to the “intellectual inferiority” of African Americans, would you believe that he should be allowed to continue saying these things while being in charge of teaching children? Because, to me, and to many people, these things are equivalent. Hate Speech.

  • Olive Markus
  • TheG

    Lol.

    The same “Pro Values” that gets us both child-rape AND the cover up? “Pro Family” like Newt Gingrich and Ted Haggard? “Pro Life” like “500th Execution” Perry?

    Where is the value in hateful families, murderous leaders, philandering scholars, and revelers in ignorance.

    I think the only thing more juvenile than your “values” is your hypocrisy. Clean up your own house, read more than one book, and come back when you are able to compete with someone older than a seven year old.

  • Stev84

    Why do you never post credible sources? FRC? LifeSiteNews? All your links go to right-wing sites, hate groups and religious fanatics. FRC is one of the most virulently anti-gay groups in existence. It’s their whole purpose.

    Your stupidity and ignorance is mind-boggling. You are nothing but a troll and we have indulged you far beyond anything that’s reasonable.

  • Stev84

    Careful. Next we are going to see a link to the so-called “dutch study”, which claims that gay men have up to a dozen partners on the side. Never mind that it was made before same-sex marriage become legal. And most importantly, it deliberately excluded all monogamous couples because the study was really about the spread of HIV.

    They always distort serious study or manufacture their own fake science (like Regnerus).

  • Andre Villeneuve

    your secular morality sounds a lot like hedonism to me.

    By the way, no Christian thinks that sex is “immoral or dirty or shameful.” Another point for misrepresenting Christianity.

    Are you seriously saying that you think you can have sex with someone else than your husband without this affecting your love for him? Do you really think you can honestly give your body and what is most intimate in you without something of your deepest self remaining with that person?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You’re right, we are not yet at the stage of persecution of Christians in North America, especially not when compared with what’s happening with Christians in the Middle East. We are certainly heading in that direction though with the increasing stifling of free speech, being labeled “bigot” and all possible names for disagreeing with the gay agenda, Christians being sued for not wanting to cooperate with it, etc… there are plenty of documented cases.

    The data on the effects of gay “marriage” is still sparse because the phenomenon is still quite new. Our kids will reap the bad fruit in a generation or so, if we even make it there.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Well written but completely flawed. The first part seems to me to be just an attempt at justifying the labeling of Christians as “bigots” and whatever offensive name you can think of just because they don’t agree with the gay agenda. And then you pontificate to me about respect for free speech?

    All in all, the whole article is based on the flawed premise that there is such a thing as “gay rights” and that gays are oppressed because they can’t get married like everyone else. What is a “right” anyway? Any particular group’s demands, no matter how arbitrary, that their desires be enshrined in law? (along with the vilification of those who don’t agree)

    You think that marriage is a totally arbitrary and subjective construct that a group of people have a right to deconstruct and reshape according to their whims. Heck, why should marriage be limited to two people? Soon those who declare themselves polyamorous will complain that their “rights” are being trampled upon, and we will be called bigots for resisting the legalization of polygamy. You can view marriage as an arbitrary construct if you like, but lots of people, whether religious or not, disagree. Pretty much all religions (and many non-religious people) agree that it is based in the natural complementarity of the sexes and is just not a social construct that we have the right to modify at our whim..

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Don’t know if you might find this helpful to better understand the Catholic position: http://www.marriageuniqueforareason.org/faq/

  • Olive Markus

    You are not headed that direction, and that line of thinking is so steeped in self-pitying martyrdom that I can’t even respond to it with an intelligent answer. You are not being persecuted and you are not going down the road of Catholics being crucified for their beliefs. The only thing that is happening is that you are losing the control over society that you once had, and you and your leaders have decided that it is persecution because a good persecution complex in the face of an almighty enemy is the only thing that keeps religion together.

    You’re right. The “data” on gay marriage is sparse. So stop declaring that it is detrimental simply because your religion wants it to be when you don’t have the slightest clue either way.

  • Olive Markus

    Ok, I’m done.

    You’re right. The only oppressed in this world are the poor, pitied Catholics who can’t exercise their full God-given right to control, abuse and manipulate all of humanity at their whim. I weep for you. I can’t believe I ever thought that gays were human beings deserving of happy, fulfilling lives.

    The only thing I can say is that my conversation with you made me happier than I’ve ever been that I am no longer religious and I don’t have to tie myself into knots to make nonsensical and hateful things “true”.

  • Stev84

    “Gay agenda”. Have another drink!

    Scare quotes around “marriage”. Have another drink!

    The sky will fall any day now. Have another drink!

    Your mask is really slipping. Until now you’ve pretended to be a little bit reasonable, but you are having trouble keeping up the pretense.

  • Erp

    I have to point out that sponsorship in the BSA means the sponsoring organization owns the unit and all its assets (including bank account) and is legally responsible for it. It is officially responsible for appointing the leaders and enforcing the BSA rules upon its people. It is not just a name. In other words public school and military troops are part of the government which is why they aren’t suppose to exist anymore.

    The military also provided a lot of support in kind to the National Jamborees (e.g., providing free space, free [to the BSA] labor). This is also changing.

  • Erp

    Most children are fairly egocentric and also heterosexual so I suspect they would tend to think man/woman sex seems the most attractive (once they start thinking about sex). However they probably feel that being right handed is natural also. And we all know how sinister left-handed people are.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    So much for any reply to the fact that once the door is open to any arbitrary, social deconstructions of marriage based on “rights”, nothing can logically prevent its further unraveling. All the best and God bless.

  • Olive Markus

    The slippery slope argument is old and is debunked by just about any reasonable human being on this planet. Look it up.

    Your God Bless reads as a “Fuck You” by the way, and I’m not so stupid that I don’t see. Every religious person does the same thing. Stop hiding behind false religious love and just use your real words.

  • Stev84

    “God bless” is just Christianese for “fuck you”

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Actually it was genuine.

  • Olive Markus
  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    If secularism sounds like hedonism to you, that’s because you haven’t been paying attention. It’s about first principles. Secular humanism’s* first principle is similar to the Hippocratic Oath- “First, do no harm”. Hedonism’s first principle is “Do what feels good”. That’s hugely different, even if some of the activities both condone are the same. The reason they are ethical is different, which makes all the difference in the world for it being a valid or not-valid ethical structure.

    Have you never been to an abstinence only sex ed class? They tell girls that sex makes them impure. They compare the girls to a broken rose petal, a cup of spit, a worn shoe, dirty useless tape, and other such lovely images; it was sex that dirtied them, and how could sex make you dirty if it wasn’t dirty itself? They tell girls that those who have sex are immoral, dirty, and shameful. Don’t tell me I’m misrepresenting how Christianity represents sex- if they didn’t see sex as being dirty, why would Catholics venerate the Virgin Mary? You really don’t understand what your words mean, do you?

    The heart is not a loaf of bread. Giving some of it to someone doesn’t reduce what I feel for other people. And yeah, I’ve had sex with people before that was just fun; friends with benefits has its place.

    *What you’ve been calling secularism is actually secular humanism. Secularism is much more political and less philosophical- it requires governments and public accommodations to be entirely neutral (secular) and not give any privilege to any religious position, nor disadvantage any religious position. In other words, stay out of religion entirely, and keep religion out of government entirely.

  • Anna

    It’s exactly that sort of vague allusion to “who they are” coupled with the refusal to provide details that makes your argument so unconvincing.

    If you can’t actually provide anything concrete (and I’ve asked this question for years, and no one ever has), then how am I supposed to take your claim seriously? All men are different, and all women are different. There is no set of attributes that is unique to one sex, and there are no parental skills that are limited to one sex. Male or female, gay or straight, each person is unique.

    And, uh, I have to say that if your research into human sexuality and relationships has been limited to sexist nonsense like Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, then I don’t wonder that you might not have any idea of how an egalitarian relationship or egalitarian parenting might work.

    I’m an atheist, so I don’t see any reason to assume a supernatural cause for evolution. I’m not particularly interested in science, though, so I’m not the best person to discuss the origins of the universe.

  • Anna

    Thanks for providing so many details. I do find this conversation fascinating, and I’m glad you’re willing to have a discussion. IMO, it’s much better than just sparring back and forth.

    I’m curious, when you say you were nominally Catholic, what exactly do you mean by that? Were you taken to church? Were you taught how to pray? Did you go to Catholic school or CCD classes? Did you make your sacraments? I’m interested in this because I think the early childhood years are the most formative, and that’s generally when children learn to interpret the world in a supernatural way.

    That’s actually what I meant by indoctrination. It’s not so much the things that happened to you later in life, but the supernatural claims that you were taught to accept when you were very young. It seems to me that there are very few children in modern society who escape all forms of supernatural indoctrination, and for the vast majority, those views have an impact on them for the rest of their lives.

    What Catholic teachings did I hate… hmm, good question. Let’s see if I can remember. What mostly comes to mind are the things I disliked when I was evangelical: the concept of purgatory, Mary’s role in the Church, the pope, statues and saints, the history of Christian anti-Semitism, sacraments and rituals, to name a few. Really more theological than moral issues.

    That’s actually pretty fascinating to me. When I think of my objections to Catholicism, none of those things would ever make my list. All of mine are focused on their supernatural assumptions, claims of moral authority, and treatment of various minority groups.

    Before that, when I was agnostic, I was actually quite ignorant of the Catholic faith. I very much disliked the very concept of sin, I didn’t like the Sunday obligation to go to Mass. I didn’t think at all about birth control, homosexuality, or the possibility of female priests, as far as I can recall.

    From that list, the only thing we seem to have in common is the dislike of the concept of “sin.” I think it’s fundamentally twisted and immoral and the cause of a lot of pain and suffering for people who are taught to believe in it. Other than that, I really don’t care very much about what kinds of supernatural claims the church makes, since I think they’re all equally false. As long as they’re not causing harm, I would just tend to ignore them.

    You mentioned elsewhere that you are amazed at how Catholics seem to be obsessed with sex. You know, it’s not true.. I rarely talk about such topics with my friends. It just happens that this was the topic that began this discussion. But just as I write this I can see that when we only discuss these kinds of moral topics (which are actually peripheral and secondary to the relationship with Christ) I can come across as conveying the same legalism that I fled when I was young. Perhaps I should indeed avoid these discussions on moral issues altogether and try to focus more on God’s love. They are draining and for the most part unpleasant.

    I’d have less of a problem with the Catholic church in general if they avoided discussion of moral issues, at least outside their own churches. I don’t really care what they teach in Catholic schools or Catholic churches. For me, the main issue is when they seek to limit the rights of other people who do not accept that this organization has any moral or legal authority over their lives.

    And to me, yes, your church seems extremely legalistic. I know you don’t like the term “fundamentalist Catholic,” but I use it to distinguish between the vast majority of “regular” Catholics who don’t accept many things the hierarchy says, and those (like yourself) who are committed to following everything to the letter, no matter what. You may not personally think or talk much about the sexual restrictions, but if you lurk on a place like the Catholic Answers forum, you will find many of your fellow fundamentalists perpetually worried and obsessed over what they are allowed to do.

  • Anna

    If you want to personally abstain from all sexual activity, including masturbation, that’s your choice. I have no problem with other people’s sexual choices. As long as you’re not harming anyone else, it’s absolutely none of my business.

    However, when people start advocating that this is “the best way” to live and that everyone should follow their rules (under penalty of law or social stigma), then that’s when I feel the need to speak up. I find it horrible that innocent children are taught to experience guilt and shame about their sexuality, and that they grow up to be adults who feel that they must repent if they happen to have an orgasm the “wrong” way.

    What is good about the sexual morality out there “in the world” nowadays? Kids sleep around, transmit STDs to each other, girls fix themselves with hormones with the Pill to avoid pregnancy, when that doesn’t work they abort their children, they haven’t even reached the age of 20 when they have experienced everything and are heartbroken, boyfriends and girlfriends move in together so they have hardly anything more to look forward to when (or if) they get married, divorce rates hover around 50%, etc, etc… You don’t think there’s a problem?

    Wow, talk about a biased view. This sounds like a fundamentalist’s fevered imaginings rather than any accurate reflection of modern sexual and romantic relationships. I find your view of sex so archaic and repressive. I don’t think there is anything good in it at all, because it makes people feel bad about their sexuality. Masturbation is normal, healthy, and completely harmless. Two consenting adults wanting to have (and having) sex with each other is perfectly natural. For the vast majority of adults, intimate relationships are important. Responsible adults also take steps to ensure that their sexual activity does not result in unwanted pregnancies or disease. I fail to see anything problematic or “broken” in that.

    You don’t have to answer if this is too personal, but have you ever had an intimate relationship? It seems like you see it as ugly rather than beautiful. I can’t imagine anyone who’s had a loving relationship seeing it as bad, because when two people are in love, there’s a closeness and intimacy that is quite wonderful. It’s not just about sex. You also care deeply about each other’s well-being, like each other, and respect each other. Marriage doesn’t have anything to do with that. You can live with someone for years and have a mutually loving, respectful relationship. Sexual intimacy just heightens the bond.

    Yes I confess that I feel uncomfortable referring to your “two moms” or “parents” for reasons that we discussed. There is no intention to shame them or you, and yes we are all sinners, but as I said I cannot agree to a redefinition of terms such as marriage, parents, mother or father, etc… I do apologize as I know that this is very personal to you.

    Really, even “parents” bothers you? Surely you’d think even the Catholic church would consider my biological mother to be my parent. FYI, although I suppose your church wouldn’t recognize it (just as they refuse to recognize other civil proceedings they disagree with), my non-biological mother is also my legal parent. My family went through the second-parent adoption process back in the early 90s.

    Out of curiosity, if a divorced woman remarried, and her new husband legally adopted her young children and raised them as his own, would you have the same objection to calling him those children’s father or parent?

    I did not have any anti-gay feelings growing up. I never thought about this topic. I knew a few homosexuals in my early 20s and they were nice guys as such, but even in my agnostic phase I couldn’t agree that gay sex can be morally ok.

    Interesting. It seems like you deeply absorbed teachings on Catholic sexual morality. Otherwise, why would you ever have had a problem with gay sex? It’s very puzzling to me because you must have gotten your negative attitude from somewhere. Complete non-exposure can make someone uncomfortable, sure, but to judge consensual sexual activity as not “morally ok” obviously takes quite a bit more than that.

    As such I still wouldn’t say that I’m “anti-gay” today (again, distinction between acts and persons), but I must confess that the aggressive push to redefine marriage, along with the increasing anti-Christian persecution coming with it (e.g. in my native Canada) does not exactly predispose one favorably towards the advocates of the movement.

    Well, that’s the problem. Your religious group does not own civil marriage. I do not accept that a bunch of old men in Rome, who have written their anti-gay teachings down in books, are relevant to the discussion of civil marriage. They are not legal authorities, and I do not accept them as moral authorities. I do not think they should be able to dictate my country’s laws.

    If those men want to deny gay people the right to marry in their churches, that’s fine. They deny Hindus and atheists and divorced people, too. I might think it’s bigoted or silly, but it’s their private club. They can do what they want. But they should not have the ability to interfere with people’s legal rights just because they disagree with something.

    I find it especially annoying because, claiming that they have divine connections, these men have set themselves up as gods to rule over the world. But they are not gods. They are human beings just like any other human beings. They have no supernatural powers. Obviously, millions of people who are not members of that religion disagree with the idea that they are speaking for a deity.

  • RobMcCune

    Bullying? Is that what you’re trying to do?

    BWWAAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    You know “doin it for teh lulz” is not supposed to make the other person laugh right? You picked the worst place to bully anyone, no ones gonna see this buried under 800 comments, and most people abandoned the thread the day it was posted.

    You’re posting here specifically so that no one will read it. Because you’re too sensitive handle the backlash, and too afraid of the consequences of your actions

  • Andre Villeneuve

    The Hippocratic Oath? Seriously? How do you reconcile that with your support for the slaughter of the unborn? It seems to me rather inconsistent – oh right, you said they are not human, they are just parasites… Don’t know if you heard of this recent story: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/our-son-lived-only-minutes-after-birth-but-has-touched-thousands/

    By the way, I am a professor of theology and Scripture. I think I can tell when someone is misrepresenting Christianity. Believe me, you more than qualify. Once again, the Church sees sex as something wonderful. How could it be otherwise? If God who is absolute goodness (in our view) created the world including humans, it means that he is the one who came up with the idea of sex for us to love each other and procreate. Since God made man in His image as male and female, this means that the sexual union in marriage is not only good, it reveals something about God’s own nature. This is the basis of John Paul II’s extensive teachings on love and sex that are now called the “Theology of the Body” (http://www.theologicalclowning.org/totb.html)

    The fact that we love the virgin Mary does not mean that sex is bad. Her virginity is exalted not because she avoided something bad in sex, it is exalted because she was totally consecrated to God. It’s not a contrast between good and bad, it’s between good and better.

    I have never heard of such an awful abstinence sex class like the one you describe. Was this really your experience? If so it must have been a real stroke of bad luck. I can’t imagine something teaching sexuality like that. There are gentler and better ways to encourage kids to save their virginity.

    Are you absolutely sure that deep down, when you look back, even though you casually dismiss your sexual experiences as harmless, you have not been profoundly wounded by some of these experiences? (you don’t have to answer, just something to think about)

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I think that until recently the question of the fundamental difference between man and woman was so much taken for granted as a matter of complete common sense that people are now taken aback and unprepared for the question. It’s my case anyway. Why do you think Men are from Mars… is nonsense? Ok, it’s not a scientific book, but it seems to me to speak a lot of common sense too. Why do you suppose it is so incredibly popular then? Surely it must resonate somehow in people who are trying to understand their spouse better.

    You speak of “egalitarian relationship/parenting.” What do you mean by that? If you mean equal in dignity and value, then of course I totally agree. If you mean “absolute sameness” then of course I disagree. What is wrong with men and women being different and complementary? It doesn’t make any one less than the other.

    Did you have a look at http://www.marriageuniqueforareason.org/ ?

    I also found this (from the same initiative): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_i6yvKBd8g

    You may think it’s superficial, but again it seems to me to be common sense. If I find something more substantial I will let you know.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Nominally Catholic: yes I went to church with my family… sheepish and indifferent at first, then reluctant and rebellious, and for some time I borrowed the car and pretended to go while actually going to the library instead :) We prayed the rosary in our family but not very frequently. Yes I received the sacraments but quit after a while. I went to public school; in Quebec back then we had catechism classes which were boring (my perspective then) and awful (my perspective now), totally liberal and really a watered down humanism rather than actual catechism.

    re. your suspicion of indoctrination: do you ever ask yourself “what if it’s true?” – I mean, the whole Christianity thing? What if Christians, though flawed and often not the most effective at presenting well what they believe (like myself) actually had a true experience with the risen Christ – Jesus who was risen from the dead and is the way to encounter a living and loving God who is calling us to holiness and to a fulfilled and meaningful life?

    Why would the concept of sin be “fundamentally twisted and immoral”? We all do things we are ashamed of, don’t we? We are all selfish. We all hurt others. Why deny it? The whole stigma or joke about “Catholic guilt” is actually really misplaced, because of all people we are the ones who have the definitive solution to guilt in the sacrament of reconciliation (confession). As someone who didn’t benefit from it for several years in my non-Catholic days, I cannot emphasize enough what peace and joy it is to receive Christ’s forgiveness in the sacrament and get rid of that burden of sin/guilt.

    Again, the essence of Christianity and Catholicism is not to follow a set of rules but to enter into a loving covenant relationship with the God who is love and is calling us to eternally share in this infinite love with him.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    If sex is wonderful, why does it tell women they’re better if they’re virgins? Seriously, at least half the female saints have their virginity emphasized as what makes them special. You really think that won’t twist people, when you tell them the best and most important thing about them is that they haven’t done something yet?

    If virginity is better, and you just said it was, you’re by definition saying that non-virginity is worse. That people are less pure, dirtier, because they had sex. The act of having sex made them less-good than someone who didn’t have sex. That’s a horrible, unhealthy way to view anyone. This is especially focused on girls and women- boys and men who aren’t virgins aren’t treated nearly so awfully, and their sexual purity isn’t nearly as focused upon. Why is women’s sexual purity so much more important than men’s sexual purity? The men never get compared to rose petals or cups of spit.

    And yeah, I’m quite sure I wasn’t wounded. It was quite healthy, actually. I’d left a relationship that started well but was heading towards quite bad, and that sex/friendship helped me see myself as beautiful and desirable again. I also learned a lot that my now-husband rather appreciates :)

    I’m not sure what that story is supposed to say. It’s horrible she miscarried, and I feel for her grief. She lost a very wanted child, and that sucks a lot. Still doesn’t change the fact that at 19 weeks, the fetus could not survive outside her body. It was, unquestionably, a biological parasite. Her grief is because she wanted the child, and lost out on having one. The tragedy is her and her family’s grief and loss of a wanted child, not the death per se. Perhaps she can take some comfort in that the fetus never suffered- at 19 weeks the nerves and brain simply aren’t developed enough to register pain. If you ban abortions at 19 weeks (which the woman did not have), you have more women dying in agony like Savita Halappanar. Dying of sepsis is one of the worst deaths a human can have; your organs break down and rot while you’re still alive, until you die in agonizing pain. Given the choice between a tiny, almost-baby that can’t feel pain and a grown woman who can, I will pick the grown woman every time.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    by the way, how do you do the thing with the gray bar on the left to quote text?

    Personally I think there are three levels of moral discourse (and I realize we will have to agree to disagree on this one):

    1) on a societal level, personal acts that don’t have a major impact on society and the common good – here I agree with you that it’s not my business nor the business of law to intrude in people’s private lives.

    2) on a societal level, acts that have a major impact on society and/or the common good – issues of life and death and of fundamental social structures, such as the protection of the unborn and weakest, and the nature of marriage. These are not just “private issues” but important enough to impact society as a whole, and thus are inevitably affected by legislation.

    3) on the spiritual level, as Christians we feel we have an obligation to testify that God is real, that sin is real, and has it has real (eternal) consequences. If we evangelize, it’s not because we like to annoy people. It’s because we actually don’t want them to be lost. Heaven and hell are real, we believe (and some of us have experienced), and we know that eternity is at stake. We are all called to eternal joy and blessedness, beginning here in this life, and Jesus has come to show us the way there – so we can’t really remain silent about it.

    Why is my view of the landscape of sexual ethics “biased”? Is it not true? Are 1.5 million abortions a year, broken relationships/hearts everywhere we turn and 50% divorce rates something that can be denied or dismissed? Don’t you think it points to a deep malaise in how sexuality tends to be lived out nowadays?

    Thing is, Anna, we are all called to love. The essence of love is generous self-gift. The opposite of love is selfishness and self-indulgence. That’s why masturbation and pornography are bad. They take what was meant for self-gift and loving communion and turn it into outlets for selfish self-gratification. The more we become addicted to that kind of self-centered pleasure and self-indulgence, the less we are able to truly love. It’s not being repressive, it’s protecting what is most intimately beautiful in the human person, our capacity to love.

    I have more or less succeeded in waiting for my spouse (if I do eventually get married), but of course there is a range between total chastity and having sex. If I have any regret, it’s for having taken/given anything from women who were not to become my wife. What more beautiful sign of love can there be than to have the courage to forsake fleeting pleasures for the sake of belonging totally to the love of your life? We are a union of body and soul. For every act of intimacy, something of us remains with the other person. There is no way we can be promiscuous with a bunch of other people without this affecting our capacity to love and be faithful to one’s spouse. Would you want your spouse to keep framed pictures of all his “exes” on the walls of your family home? We don’t exactly tend to be proud of past sexual relationships. There is a reason for that.

    Yes I suppose I could call your mother and her partner your “parents” though it does feel odd. Of course your mother is your mother (and thus parent), that goes without saying. You know my views on the rest. And yes I would call “parents” a divorced and remarried woman.

    As you know, a “negative” attitude towards homosexuality is not rare. Is it so strange to conceive that people who know something about human anatomy might intuitively perceive gay sex as “unnatural”? Must you really find a source of “indoctrination” for such attitudes?

    On your last point, the “old men in Rome” actually don’t have any authority to change or make up doctrines or moral teachings. They pass them down from Jesus and the apostles. So the role of the Church is chiefly one of preservation, not of innovation. Yes there are changes and adaptations to new situations, but they always derive from Biblical principles and from Jesus’ teachings. I fully understand that you would find this claim to divine authority preposterous and tremendously annoying, especially given the well-publicized failures and scandals that have come out in recent years. This was one of my chief stumbling blocks too in my non-Catholic years. But if God has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ and actually decided to pass on his teachings in such a way, this changes everything.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    And that’s on a good day…

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    A good rundown of “the Dutch Study” is here

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    By the way, no Christian thinks that sex is “immoral or dirty or shameful.”

    Then stop talking about it like it’s immoral or dirty or shameful.

    Sex is normal, natural, and pleasurable. Whether one is married to one’s partner, or it’s just a one-night fling, sharing pleasure with a willing partner isn’t a bad thing.

    You keep talking about it like it’s some kind of horrible universe-shredding abomination for two unmarried people to share pleasure, moreso when they are the same gender.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Once again, calling you out on your hate and bigotry is not persecution.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    What’s it like in Cloudcuckooland?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Intent Is Not Magic, cupcake.

  • Derrik Pates

    But they are absolutely sure that the society and culture are marching on means they are marching directly into the gates of Hell itself, and they don’t want to be part of that.

  • Derrik Pates

    I want to follow the link, because I want to see what kind of crazy they’re peddling, but I don’t want to follow the link, because I don’t want them to think I support the kind of crazy they’re peddling.

  • Derrik Pates

    And they’d rather go out of business than just treat everyone like people. And then claim that “THE MAN DROVE ME OUT OF BUSINESS BECAUSE I WOULDN’T SUPPORT TEH DIRTY GAYS”.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    The unborn do not have the right to use a woman’s body without her explicit and ongoing consent.

    End of.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    If someone robs a bank, killing the bank teller, and then goes and has a nice meal at a restaurant with the money, would anyone say that banks are bad, or money is bad, or restaurants are bad, or food is bad? Of course not. Do you not see that this is the kind of flawed reasoning that you are using? The sin is located in the disordered action, not in the things themselves. Same thing with sex. The sex is not the problem, the problem is in the disordered used of something good for one’s selfish ends.

    EDIT/CONTINUED:
    on the Catholic appreciation of virginity: what is so hard to understand about the fact that there is a difference between bad/good and good/better?

    on the loss of a child: “The tragedy is her and her family’s grief and loss of a wanted child, not the death per se.” Interesting. You express very well here that your idea of morality and values is entirely subjective. The grief is not based on the objective, intrinsic good of life, but merely on the subjective feeling that the loss caused to the woman. So if we apply this philosophy to another context, if someone loses a car in a fire with her baby in it, and she is more distressed about the loss of the car, then wouldn’t this mean that the car is somehow more valuable than the baby?

    Have you ever read CS Lewis’ “The Abolition of Man”? The book is about how such a loss of the sense of objective value and shifting the entire focus of morality on subjective feelings lies at the root of humanity’s decline.

    You are called to much more than that Feminerd.

  • JA

    Only the Hell they [Christians] have created for themselves.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    How did the unborn get into the woman’s body in the first place? You make it sound like they just appeared there like a virus.

  • Anna

    Your persistence in seeing all men as alike and all women as alike puzzles me. And since you won’t provide details, I have to assume that you’re referring to stereotypes. You haven’t provided anything concrete. Saying it’s a matter of “common sense” is just as vague as saying it’s “who they are.”

    There is no personal characteristic that is restricted to one sex. Both men and women can be warm, funny, nurturing, strong, kind, brave, etc. There is no specific action that is restricted to one sex. Both men and women can cook a meal, clean a house, plant a garden, play a sport, etc.

    If I am wrong, then please give me something (anything!) that is limited to one sex. If there’s something a man can provide in a romantic relationship that a woman cannot, then what is it? If there’s some action he can perform with his kids that a woman cannot, then surely such an action would be obvious. The refusal to provide details is what, IMO, dooms your argument to failure.

    As far as Men Are From Mars… is concerned, my problem with it is that such books traffick in stereotypes. They fail to account for the diversity that exists within a single sex. They assume that all men are one way, and all women are another. Not all people conform to stereotypes, and I think it is particularly unhelpful to act like men and women are so different that they might as well be from different planets. Each person is a unique human being, and someone’s personality and interests cannot be reduced to what’s between their legs.

    If you’re interested in a critique of this kind of stereotyping, you might want to explore:

    http://therebuttalfromuranus.wordpress.com/

    By egalitarian relationships and parenting, I meant ones in which roles are not predetermined by the sex of the partners. The people involved decide what they want to do based on desire and aptitude, not societal convention. An egalitarian romantic relationship, for example, would have both partners fulfill financial and domestic obligations . It does not mean that they have to do the exact same thing. It just means that they don’t divvy up their responsibilities based on sex.

    Egalitarian parenting means that both parents assume equal responsibility for childcare. This is still fairly rare among heterosexual couples, but there is a movement for equally shared parenting:

    http://equallysharedparenting.com/

    It’s more common among lesbian couples, and it’s how I was raised. My parents split everything 50/50. They didn’t divide into primary and secondary caregivers, which is what most heterosexual couples do.

    I watched your video, but it’s exactly the same kind of prejudiced, vague, stereotypical nonsense that I’ve heard a million times before, accompanied by a heavy dose of religious claims. I just find it very sad. Those people are extremely invested in their stereotypes, and they’re going to be passing them down to the next generation.

    Anyone who thinks that a straight couple is in any way special or unique clearly just hasn’t spent any time around same-sex couples at all. All couples are different. Straight couples are as different from each other as gay couples are.

  • Olive Markus

    “Canadian Parliament Seeks to Declare April 2nd “Pope John Paul II Day.”

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/07/14/canadian-parliament-seeks-to-declare-april-2nd-pope-john-paul-ii-day/

    Awww… You poor, persecuted Catholics. Your government is totally out to get you.

    Thanks for opening my eyes to the horrors you are exposed to in your totally anti-Catholic nation.

  • Anna

    That’s certainly not “nominal” Catholicism! That’s actual Catholicism. You were raised just as Catholic as all the other Catholics I know.

    A nominal Catholic would be Catholic in name only. Someone who was perhaps baptized and told he or she was Catholic, but someone who wasn’t repeatedly exposed to the rituals, prayers, doctrine, etc. A nominally Catholic child wouldn’t even know what the rosary was; he would certainly never have prayed it with his parents.

    re. your suspicion of indoctrination: do you ever ask yourself “what if it’s true?” – I mean, the whole Christianity thing? What if Christians, though flawed and often not the most effective at presenting well what they believe (like myself) actually had a true experience with the risen Christ – Jesus who was risen from the dead and is the way to encounter a living and loving God who is calling us to holiness and to a fulfilled and meaningful life?

    I’m afraid I don’t see that as any more likely than Hinduism or Scientology or Mormonism. I find all supernatural claims equally lacking in evidence. Religious people understand the power of indoctrination, by the way. I believe it was a Jesuit who coined the “give me a child until he is seven” phrase. If such claims are true, then there should be no problem with leaving children alone and then presenting evidence for the parents’ religion when they are 18 years old. That way, a child would actually have a free choice about whether to start believing in gods. It wouldn’t be something they were told when they were babies and toddlers.

    Also, it’s not like I’m in ignorance of Christianity, Catholicism in particular. I live in a heavily Catholic area. Much of my extended family is Catholic. One of my parents still identifies as Catholic (though she doesn’t believe a lick of the theology). My boyfriend (now atheist) was raised Catholic, and his parents are practicing Catholics. I also went to a Catholic university. Of course, I have never met a fundamentalist Catholic in real life. All of the ones I know have no problem with birth control, same-sex marriage, or anything along those lines.

    Why would the concept of sin be “fundamentally twisted and immoral”? We all do things we are ashamed of, don’t we? We are all selfish. We all hurt others. Why deny it?

    Because it’s unnecessary to bring the supernatural into it. And “sin” is an offense against a deity, not against other people. That’s what this whole discussion is about. It’s why the Catholic church says I shouldn’t exist and that my parents shouldn’t be allowed to get married. It’s not because anyone is being hurt. It’s because your deity supposedly hates people having unauthorized orgasms.

    As someone who didn’t benefit from it for several years in my non-Catholic days, I cannot emphasize enough what peace and joy it is to receive Christ’s forgiveness in the sacrament and get rid of that burden of sin/guilt.

    I just find it very sad that you have a “burden of sin/guilt.” I’m sure most of the things you’re confessing to don’t hurt other people at all, yet you still feel ashamed and guilty. As for relieving your burden, whatever happened to making amends to the person you actually hurt? If you hurt someone, apologize and try to make it up to them. Your conscience should trouble you if you haven’t gotten forgiveness from that person. Substitutionary forgiveness seems completely unwarranted to me. It might make you feel better, but what about the person you wronged?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Oh, quit making shit up. “Virginity” is bullshit, and it’s bad for you.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Doesn’t matter, because consent to sex IS NOT consent to pregnancy.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    The Almighty Penis, of course.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Life is not the question. I destroy life every time I eat a steak or a salad. I murder it gleefully when I kill off fire ant nests. My continued existence requires the death of billions of viruses and bacteria over the course of my lifetime, and I feel not one iota of guilt over any of those death. Personhood is the question. When personhood begins is a very hard question with no clear answers. Fetuses are generally only invested with as much personhood as the woman they live inside invests them with; no one but the woman can determine the personhood of the parasite inside her. That is because the woman is unquestionably a person.

    The reason your car example fails is that an infant is also a person. If a fire breaks out, killing a pregnant woman, and the woman’s parents and partner mourn her more than her fetus, that makes sense. They mourn the actual person lost and the potential person of the fetus, but the actual person creates a hole in their lives, while a potential person is just that- potential. Not-yet-fully-realized. Miscarriages and stillbirths are horribly painful for everyone involved because of the loss of potential, but they are less painful than the loss of a child one has met and nurtured, at least from what I understand, though I have never faced the death of a fetus or child.

    C. S. Lewis’s crappy apologetics have been thoroughly torn apart elsewhere. I haven’t read his books, nor do I intend to, because he’s arguing that society has declined. Bullshit. I live in a world my great-great-grandmother could never have imagined. I and my children won’t die of polio, scarlet fever, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, smallpox, cholera, whooping cough, or chicken pox. I can control when I have babies and how spaced apart they are. I have indoor plumbing, central AC, and central heating. I have computers. I am not told that if I get educated, my womb will shrink, and I am actually encouraged to get an education and have a career. I can travel the world by plane. We’ve sent people into space! I can have open heart surgery or chemotherapy if I need it. I live in a world where slavery is downright illegal, and the idea that some people are unworthy of equal rights based on the color of their skin is dying a deserved death. I can access the sum total of human knowledge through my phone. I know that I am a person, and that I have value as a person; I know that the possession of a penis isn’t what makes people valuable. Lewis lived in a time when none of that was true, so you can take your “decline of humanity” nonsense and stuff it! You, you are the one called to so much more than venerating a 2,000 year old dead guy with shitty morals and bad teachings. Why is is so damned hard for you to understand that people are people?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    and that is exactly the problem: the contraceptive and “recreative sex” mentality that has split up sex from its life-giving role within the covenant of marriage.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    You don’t exactly know your history, do you? Marriage as a thing is much less old than humanity, and teenagers have been having sex outside of marriage since the beginnings of that institution. If sex was only for procreation, it wouldn’t feel good, it wouldn’t sometimes be an expression of emotional as well as physical intimacy, and it would always result in pregnancy.

    The “natural” result of human living is to die by 45 of disease or infection. We defy nature and give it the big raised middle finger on all kinds of things. We’re humans; we make tools to change the environment around us to something we like better. We wear clothes, use fire, build houses, make medicines, do agriculture, tame wolves, build cities, build sewers, build hospitals, make scalpels, make cars, build roads, build planes, build satellites. Birth control is just another tool we use to control our environments and make them better for us. That’s not a problem, that a feature of human progress.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    You’re a fucking idiot. Sex is pleasurable, it’s MEANT to be pleasurable, and I am in no way obligated to risk my health or my life with a pregnancy. And no, I am not going to consign myself to a boring, meaningless, sexless life just because YOU think I should be a Broodmare for Christ.

    Fuck you and your “life-giving” bullshit.

  • gimpi1

    Sorry for getting back so late, I’m on a weird schedule at work right now.

    I think she’s out of her mind. I can show you “Christian” extremists who advocate for stoning disobedient kids, denying women the vote and forced marriage at puberty. I’m corresponding with one. I assume you support none of those positions. I have to regard the fellow I speak of as several bubbles off plumb. In my opinion, so is she. Seeing a person advocating crazy position for a group in no way affects sane people in the group, any more than you, as a Catholic, are personally responsible for priestly child abuse.

    Let me give you an example from my life: my co-worker. She’s married to a woman. They have adopted two kids, both with some degree of disability. The kids and their moms are doing great, the kids certainly better than they would have been in the foster-care system or an orphanage, which would have been the other option.

    I’m also married, to a man. We married quite late, I in my early 40′s, he in his late. It’s my first marriage, his 2nd. Because we both have issues with caring for aging parents, we elected not to have kids, so I had a tubal-ligation. We’re doing great, and quite happy.

    Both of these marriages are not typical, my co worker because she married another woman, mine because of our ages and the decision not to have children. Many people would deny both of us our choices, yet those choices affect no one but our own families, which, as I said are fine.

    How do you think those choices affect you?

  • Anna

    You kid, but that’s certainly how it appears. I don’t think people like Andre believe they are reducing people to genitals. I think they genuinely believe in some mystical “essence” that is restricted to people of a certain sex.

    However, if such a thing existed, then there ought to be some evidence. The fact that there is no personality trait or action that is confined to men or confined to women doesn’t help their argument. And that’s problematic because they want us to accept their claim without providing evidence for it.

  • Anna

    We agree on your first level of moral discourse. As for the others…

    2) on a societal level, acts that have a major impact on society and/or the common good – issues of life and death and of fundamental social structures, such as the protection of the unborn and weakest, and the nature of marriage. These are not just “private issues” but important enough to impact society as a whole, and thus are inevitably affected by legislation.

    Then they should be apparent using secular arguments and secular evidence. The fact that anti-gay detractors have been asked repeatedly to provide those things and have been entirely unable to provide them is the reason that they have been losing in the courts. If there are secular reasons to oppose reproductive rights, gay rights, or anything else the Catholic church doesn’t like, then they need to convince us. “My god thinks it’s icky” is not an acceptable reason in a secular democracy.

    3) on the spiritual level, as Christians we feel we have an obligation to testify that God is real, that sin is real, and has it has real (eternal) consequences. If we evangelize, it’s not because we like to annoy people. It’s because we actually don’t want them to be lost. Heaven and hell are real, we believe (and some of us have experienced), and we know that eternity is at stake. We are all called to eternal joy and blessedness, beginning here in this life, and Jesus has come to show us the way there – so we can’t really remain silent about it.

    If you want to stand up in your church and decry birth control or homosexuality, have at it. No one’s stopping you from doing that. It’s the attempt to legislate your religious views that is the problem here. My country wasn’t founded as a Catholic theocracy, and I don’t want it to become one. Religious arguments should have no place in determining the laws of a secular democracy. Again, if there are secular reasons to oppose those things, then they should be able to provide evidence that will convince the rest of us to take their arguments seriously.

    Why is my view of the landscape of sexual ethics “biased”?

    Because it’s a ridiculous caricature, your fictional 20 year old woman who has had countless heartbreaks, STDs, uinplanned pregnancies and abortions. Believe it or not, most people manage to make it to the age of 20 without all of those things happening to them. That’s like pointing to the alcoholic on skid row and saying that he’s the reason alcohol should be banned, while ignoring all the millions of people who enjoy alcohol responsibly.

    Sure, there are people who are irresponsible in their sexual habits, just as there are people who are irresponsible in their eating habits, drinking habits, driving habits, etc. But we don’t outlaw food or wine or cars because some people don’t know how to be responsible.

    It’s particularly ironic because the failure to educate people about sexual health is the cause behind the problems you mentioned. Countries with comprehensive sex education have lower rates of STDs, unintended pregnancies, and abortions. Yet fundamentalists in the United States fight against that at every turn. The states with the highest rates of those things are Bible Belt, abstinence-promoting states. Often, it’s not that people want to be irresponsible. It’s that they have been systematically denied access to proper education and health care.

    Thing is, Anna, we are all called to love. The essence of love is generous self-gift. The opposite of love is selfishness and self-indulgence. That’s why masturbation and pornography are bad. They take what was meant for self-gift and loving communion and turn it into outlets for selfish self-gratification. The more we become addicted to that kind of self-centered pleasure and self-indulgence, the less we are able to truly love.

    Are you even aware how ridiculous this sounds? Masturbation (the ultimate in harmless sexual expression) is being touted as making it impossible for people to “truly love.” I know you’re serious, which just makes it all the more depressing. If masturbation prevented people from truly loving each other, then pretty much everyone on the planet would be so afflicted.

    I also find it ironic that (if I’m reading your comments correctly) you’re a virgin who is expounding on the beauty of married sex and the ugliness of unmarried sex, neither of which it seems you have actually experienced. I suppose this is par for the course in the Catholic church, where people are expected to take relationship advice from priests, who have (supposedly) never experienced romantic or sexual love.

    I have more or less succeeded in waiting for my spouse (if I do eventually get married), but of course there is a range between total chastity and having sex. If I have any regret, it’s for having taken/given anything from women who were not to become my wife.

    It’s your attitude towards sex that I find problematic here, that you see it as taking and giving instead of sharing. Assuming of course that these were consensual relationships, those women chose to share a level of intimacy with you. You did not take it from them, and they did not give it away. It was not yours to take.

    There does not seem to be any concept of bodily autonomy in the Catholic church. My body belongs to me. I decide what happens to my body. If I am married, my body still belongs to me. It does not belong to my husband. He does not have the claim ownership of my body, just as I don’t have the right to claim ownership of his. Couples make the decision to share intimacy with each other.

    What more beautiful sign of love can there be than to have the courage to forsake fleeting pleasures for the sake of belonging totally to the love of your life? We are a union of body and soul. For every act of intimacy, something of us remains with the other person. There is no way we can be promiscuous with a bunch of other people without this affecting our capacity to love and be faithful to one’s spouse. Would you want your spouse to keep framed pictures of all his “exes” on the walls of your family home? We don’t exactly tend to be proud of past sexual relationships. There is a reason for that.

    I just find this incredibly creepy as well as sad. It seems like the Catholic idea of marriage is of ownership. The only thing that matters in your scenario is whether or not people have had previous relationships because “belonging totally” (ew) seems to mean never having shared intimacy with anyone else. And, no, I would not want or expect my husband to be a virgin. In fact, I would find it very odd if a potential romantic partner (at my age) had not had any previous sexual relationships.

    As for not being proud of past sexual relationships, well, I suppose if you’ve been indoctrinated to believe that all unmarried relationships are evil, that might be the case. I have absolutely no guilt, shame, or regret about my past relationships. I met my current partner in my early 20s. I see no reason why I should have been a virgin until that time. My earlier relationships were meaningful and powerful, and I’m glad I had them because they taught me a lot about myself and what I wanted out of a relationship.

    Yes I suppose I could call your mother and her partner your “parents” though it does feel odd. Of course your mother is your mother (and thus parent), that goes without saying. You know my views on the rest. And yes I would call “parents” a divorced and remarried woman.

    At least that’s more consistent. I don’t think even the most fervent Catholics refuse to acknowledge divorce and remarriage, even though they don’t approve of it. What bugs me is when religious people single out the LGBT community for shame and condemnation. If all sexual sins are really equal, then divorced and remarried people ought to be equally stigmatized. Except they’re not, even in Catholic circles. I can’t even count the number of divorced and remarried Catholics I know who are active in their parishes and send their kids to Catholic schools. A lot of those schools would never enroll a child from a same-sex family, yet they have no problem enrolling a child from a remarried one.

    As you know, a “negative” attitude towards homosexuality is not rare. Is it so strange to conceive that people who know something about human anatomy might intuitively perceive gay sex as “unnatural”? Must you really find a source of “indoctrination” for such attitudes?

    Yes, actually. Children aren’t born knowing anything about the sexual taboos of their culture. From what you’ve said about your childhood, you were raised with complete non-exposure to LGBT people, indoctrinated with Catholic theology, and probably exposed (as most of us are) to gay slurs and gay jokes in school, on television, etc. It’s no wonder that such an environment was not conducive to accepting homosexuality. IMO, for an “agnostic” not to find sex between consenting adults “morally ok” would take quite a bit of previous indoctrination.

    And of course it’s still not rare to find negative attitudes about homosexuality, but it is getting much rarer. I assume in fundamentalist Catholic circles, you run into many people who share your views. In my circles, expressing disapproval of homosexuality would not be accepted. My friends and family members are generally educated, upper-middle class people. Most are either secular or loosely to moderately religious. I don’t hang out with fundamentalists, and even the Catholics I know are completely accepting of same-sex relationships.

    Yikes, this is getting long!

    On your last point, the “old men in Rome” actually don’t have any authority to change or make up doctrines or moral teachings. They pass them down from Jesus and the apostles.

    Right, and that’s the problem. They think claiming divine connections gives them legitimacy. It doesn’t matter who the old men in Rome think they are channeling. That’s like saying the head of the Mormon church should be taken seriously because he’s following the example of Joseph Smith. If Smith wasn’t legitimate, then subsequent “prophets” aren’t either. Obviously the Catholic leaders think they’re speaking for a god. For those of us who don’t believe in their god or their religion, their claims of authority ring hollow. We don’t accept that their claim is legitimate, and we sure aren’t going to stand for them attempting to control the lives of people outside their organization.

    I fully understand that you would find this claim to divine authority preposterous and tremendously annoying, especially given the well-publicized failures and scandals that have come out in recent years. This was one of my chief stumbling blocks too in my non-Catholic years. But if God has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ and actually decided to pass on his teachings in such a way, this changes everything.

    Only for members of that organization, not for the entire world. You haven’t managed to convince the rest of us that your god is real and that your religion is true. Also, while the recent Catholic scandals are certainly horrific, they’re not a “stumbling block” to joining the Catholic church for me. Even if priests were perfect, I still wouldn’t think their claims were true.

    BTW, to use quotes, put (blockquote)(/blockquote) around the piece of text, only replace the paretheses with pointy brackets.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Again I am baffled that you would need to have this spelled out. What could be more evident that men and women are essentially different – physically, emotionally, intellectually? Every culture, every people in every age has always taken this basic fact of our humanity for granted until our own age of deconstructionism in the West. Just study the cultural habits and social mores of any of them – take your pick. Even today, people of more traditional cultures on all 5 continents, of whatever religion they may be, would be completely astounded by your question. Or is it a coincidence that people of practically all times and cultures were all backward bigots who somehow were all indoctrinated to believe the same thing – that men and women are different?

    The differences are anchored in our very biology and anatomy. No I don’t mean to say that it’s just the genitals (what a strange idea), but our differences are evident just looking at each other. I feel that I could give a bunch of examples but you will just dismiss them all as “stereotypes” so I don’t really see the point. Only a woman is able to be a mother, a nurturing sanctuary of life. Only she is able to nurse her child. Only a man is able to be a father. In most cultures they have tended to be the protectors and providers of their families. Women tend to have more finely tuned emotional sensitivity (creating different strengths and different weaknesses). Men tend to be a little less relational and more action-minded. Women relate to and talk with women very differently than men talk with men. Of course for every example I give, you can find exceptions, but I don’t know how you can deny the obvious and common sensical fact of our essential differences. What’s wrong with that? I thought liberals were always advocating “diversity” and yet you deny the most obvious, undeniable, and beautiful case of diversity there is in our humanity?

    And by the way, I never said that I see “all men as alike and all women as alike”. Who is denying that there is also plenty of diversity within a single sex? Of course every human is unique as well.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Catholics who pick and choose their beliefs irrespective of what the Church teaches are known as “cafeteria Catholics” or (a new expression) “Pelosi or Biden Catholics”. They are hardly representative of Catholicism if they violate what the Church teaches. Having been there, I know that generally they either have never actually encountered God, or are hanging on to some sin that they are unwilling to let go of. Sin enslaves us; it’s forgiveness and grace that sets us free to live and to love.

    leaving children alone and then presenting evidence for the parents’ religion when they are 18 years old”

    what a strange idea – another product of modern secular humanism, completely foreign to the most natural human instincts known in every culture of passing on our understanding of God to our children. This can be done with understanding and respect for other religions. You prone liberalism but it doesn’t occur to you how radical your own views are?

    “sin” is an offense against a deity, not against other people.

    (thanks for the tip re. quoting text)

    Actually, sin is always an offense against a deity, but most of the time it is also an offense against people. Looking at the Ten Commandments, the first three refer to God, and the last seven refer to our neighbor (but when we sin against our neighbor we also sin against God).

    It’s not because anyone is being hurt. It’s because your deity supposedly hates people having unauthorized orgasms.

    Oh my, what nonsense. Sin *always* hurts people. Did it never happen that you did something that felt fine when you did it, only to realize later (sometimes years later) that it either really hurt yourself or another person? It will be the same for every sin – we don’t always understand the consequences or our actions now, but we will in the light of eternity (usually long before that). The etymology of sin in Hebrew, by the way, is “missing the mark” – it can be intentional or unintentional, but we all do it. Your vision of Catholicism is so much more negative than anything I’ve ever heard coming from any Catholic.

    Everyone has a “burden of guilt” at different points, whether we acknowledge it or not. Of course if you sin against someone, you must make amends with the person. It’s actually a requirement to do this in order to receive absolution in confession (along with true repentance and genuine resolution to try to not sin again). But sometimes there are cases when complete reparation is impossible (e.g. murder, unintentional homicide), not to mention the sins against God (e.g. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all you soul and all your mind).

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Your sad, reductionist view of human life, having lost all sense of mystery and transcendence in the fact that we have been created out of God’s love and for the sake of love, is to me the best evidence of the decline of humanity. What is the point of advances in technology and of a longer life if man has lost the very reason why he/she exists?

    Frankly, between a man of the calibre of CS Lewis whose superb and brilliant inspiration has drawn many into discovering this sense of love’s transcendence and mystery, and your worldview, it’s not a hard choice. You are quick to judge someone you haven’t read, and frankly, the alternative you propose is anything but appealing.

    I just thought of you as I just read an article on the atheist conception of love. If there is no spiritual world, no soul, no creator, and no ultimate purpose in life, if we are just the product of a blind evolution and a complex concoction of atoms and molecules how can there even be such a thing as true love? Isn’t it just either instinct or hormones, as the article asks? http://goo.gl/BCnlO

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You’re right, these choices don’t affect me directly, if at all. (They affect you, of course, and you will see their consequences clearly in light of eternity). I agree that people should be free to make their personal choices. However when such choices are enshrined into law, they affect everyone. Here’s one attempt are articulating the consequences of legalizing same-sex “marriage”. http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF11B30.pdf

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Do you really think that us being purely physical means that love doesn’t exist? It’s hormones, instinct, conscious effort and will. We don’t understand very much about our brains, but we know that they are immensely complex. Is it so hard for you to grasp that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts yet still reducible to its parts?

  • Anna

    Well, just as I thought, you haven’t given examples of personality traits or actions (beyond nursing, which not all women do), but simply rather mystical-sounding appeals to them being “essentially different.”

    We’re on different planets (perhaps different universes), so I’m just not sure we’re ever going to see eye to eye. I see your comments as reducing people to genitals and not respecting diversity, while you seem to think I’m the one not acknowledging diversity. But I’m trying to get you to see people as individuals, not as representative of a larger group. There are more differences within a single sex than there are between people of different sexes.

    It depends on the person. There are men who are not “action minded.” There are men who are emotionally sensitive. There are women who have a strong instinct to protect and provide for their families. You do know that there are straight couples where the woman has a career and the man stays at home with the children, right? Is that wrong according to Catholic teaching, too?

  • Anna

    It’s super-creepy crazy, let me assure you!

  • Anna

    Well, of course I’m not surprised that you would be upset about the existence of liberal Catholics who don’t accept the dogma, but such Catholics are (fortunately, IMO) the majority in the United States. Even though I still think they are wrong about the supernatural, I don’t have too many problems with them. No offense, but I’d much rather deal with their kind than yours.

    what a strange idea – another product of modern secular humanism, completely foreign to the most natural human instincts known in every culture of passing on our understanding of God to our children. This can be done with understanding and respect for other religions. You prone liberalism but it doesn’t occur to you how radical your own views are?

    I understand it’s a natural impulse, but if your religion could actually stand on its own, then there would be no need to indoctrinate children. The fact that most religions work feverishly to do just the opposite strikes me as problematic.

    And I never pretended not to have “radical” views, although truth be told I don’t think (aside from being an atheist) I differ much from most people where I live. In some ways, I’m actually quite conservative. I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t smoke cigarettes. I’ve never tried illegal drugs. I’m in a committed, monogamous relationship. I’m quiet and reserved, not wild or reckless. Heck, if it weren’t for the whole god thing, I’d make a pretty good fundamentalist!

    Actually, sin is always an offense against a deity, but most of the time it is also an offense against people.

    Most of the time? I really don’t think so, given the emphasis put on sexual “sin” and various forms of thoughtcrime.

    Oh my, what nonsense. Sin *always* hurts people.

    So who was hurt when I was conceived? The Catholic church takes a strong stand here. It says my conception was sinful and should not have happened. Since they’re telling me I shouldn’t exist, then they need to provide a concrete reason why not. Which people were hurt? How were they hurt? Why would it be better if I hadn’t been born at all?

    Did it never happen that you did something that felt fine when you did it, only to realize later (sometimes years later) that it either really hurt yourself or another person? It will be the same for every sin – we don’t always understand the consequences or our actions now, but we will in the light of eternity (usually long before that). The etymology of sin in Hebrew, by the way, is “missing the mark” – it can be intentional or unintentional, but we all do it. Your vision of Catholicism is so much more negative than anything I’ve ever heard coming from any Catholic.

    Actually, no, I try my best not to hurt people. I have many faults. I can be very lazy. I can be messy and disorganized. I can be a terrible procrastinator. But cruelty is not something I struggle with. If I do inadvertently hurt someone, it wouldn’t take me years to figure out. And if I do hurt them, then I would go to them and sincerely apologize.

    But of course “sin” in your church’s eyes doesn’t have to prove harm on earth. It passes the buck and simply invokes eternal consequences. Since you can’t provide evidence of actual harm done by my parents to each other or to me or to society, you’ll just go to your fallback position that everything will become clear in your religion’s afterlife.

    And I’m not surprised you find my view of Catholicism negative. It is negative. I don’t like what your religion stands for. I think the official version of Catholicism is just as bad as fundamentalist Protestantism, ultra-Orthodox Judaism, and fundamentalist Islam.

    not to mention the sins against God (e.g. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all you soul and all your mind).

    I just find that very sad. Do you really not see the parallels between your religion and George Orwell’s 1984? Your deity punishes people for thoughtcrime. It’s like the ultimate Big Brother. “Love me or else.”

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You do know that there are straight couples where the woman has a career and the man stays at home with the children, right? Is that wrong according to Catholic teaching, too?

    No it’s not.

    But I’m trying to get you to see people as individuals, not as representative of a larger group. There are more differences within a single sex than there are between people of different sexes.

    You are beating a dead horse. I never denied for a moment that there are profound differences between people as individuals.

    you haven’t given examples of personality traits or actions (beyond nursing, which not all women do), simply rather mystical-sounding appeals to them being “essentially different.”

    It seems to be that the ability to nurture life in one’s womb is not exactly trivial. How about this then:

    http://www.livescience.com/20011-brain-cognition-gender-differences.html

    http://www.livescience.com/9652-dads-key-making-human.html

    http://www.livescience.com/10140-stress-brings-difference-male-female-brains.html

  • Andre Villeneuve

    you didn’t answer the question nor relate to the article. What’s the meaning and the point of love then if you’re just a collection of atoms and the random product of a blind process of evolution? You were outraged at sex abuses recently… why even care about any moral issues at all?

  • Mira

    I want to downvote this (and many other posts) so hard it becomes tangible. Just like 99% of people watching Game of Thrones want to slap the living shit out of Joffrey.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Again, what IS it like over there in Cloudcuckooland?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    the FRC is a SPLC-designated hate group, and therefore NOT a reliable source. They LIE. They destroy lives.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Because I feel. I have empathy towards others- I don’t want to be hurt, and seeing others hurt hurts me. It is both selfish and altruistic, like most human actions.

    What’s the meaning and point of love? Why, to love. To feel. To leave the world a better place than we found it. To enjoy the life we have. We give love its meaning, just as we give our lives their meaning. We scrape and claw and suffer, we laugh and love and cry, because we’re human and that’s a fine thing to be. Why does our existence being random chance negate any of that?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Right, label them a “hate group” because they happen to disagree with your own views. Another fine example of liberal “tolerance” and open mindedeness.

  • Anna

    Well, if it’s not wrong for a Catholic couple to have a stay-at-home dad and a working mom, then what’s the problem with non-traditional gender roles? If it’s okay for a man to be the primary nurturer, to stay home with and care for an infant, then what is your objection to a child being raised by two fathers? If a man doing the “mothering” is okay in a straight family, then why not in a gay one?

    And if there are profound differences between individuals, then I just don’t understand why you seem to be acting like all straight couples are alike in some important manner. Do all the straight couples you know relate to each other in exactly the same way? How is a straight couple different in how they relate to each other? What’s special or unique about them?

    This is what I really don’t get. If all people are different, and all couples are different, then why would you assume all straight couples share the same behavior or actions? From our previous discussions, it seems like you haven’t spent time getting to know same-sex couples. Have you ever spent time with a gay or lesbian couple? Have you seen how they relate to each other?

    I know many, many lesbian couples. I know many, many gay male couples. And I know many, many straight couples. I have a lot more experience (apparently) than you do, and I’m not seeing these supposedly massive differences. Couples are couples. How they relate to each other and to their children depends on their personalities, not their sex.

    The ability to give birth is restricted to women, sure, but that has nothing to do with parenting once the child is born. Your articles are interesting. I’ve read quite a bit about gender differences, and I’m of the opinion that there are biological and social components. However, I’m really not seeing how it’s applicable to the situation here. One can talk about generalities, but people are individuals first and foremost.

    And there are no personality traits or actions that are restricted to one sex, which is what I’ve been saying all along. It’s possible for women to protect and provide for their families. My parents certainly did. I always felt safe and secure in our home. It’s possible for men to be warm and nurturing and take care of young children. If it’s possible and the people want to do it and have the aptitude for it, then what’s the problem?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Dude, it’s documented fact.

  • Sk3ptec

    I think it’s just a case of giving people what they want. If nobody wants it, it will fail. Pretty simple. But likely people will be leaving the BSA in droves.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    your nastiness, vulgarity and inability to have a civil conversation doesn’t exactly give a lot of credibility to anything you say, unfortunately.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Because it’s just not logically consistent with your ideology. Sure you feel, but how are those feelings and this desire to not get hurt anything more than just self-preservation instinct or hormones then? How do you get any deep satisfaction from that?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Well, of course I’m not surprised that you would be upset about the existence of liberal Catholics who don’t accept the dogma

    I’m not upset about their existence. There are plenty of lukewarm believers in every religion. They just should not make any pretense of representing Catholicism. Apostates like Biden or Pelosi would be more honest if they would just leave the Church altogether rather than pretending to be faithful Catholics while publicly flaunting much of what Catholicism stands for.

    if your religion could actually stand on its own, then there would be no need to indoctrinate children

    Catholicism stands very well on its own. Countless very good and very intelligent people have converted into the Church in every age without any kind of “indoctrination.” (Have you heard of Leah Libresco who used to have an atheist blog on this very website and recently became Catholic? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked/)

    And again, please stop it with the unfair prejudice. It’s perfectly possible to educate your children in the faith without indoctrinating them. And as if the atheists here on this forum, for example, don’t indoctrinate their kids (or at least those who still believe in having kids) against religion. I can honestly say I have not met a single person here so far who has even a passable understanding of Catholicism – so I can just imagine the nonsense they tell their children about it. Misrepresentations and caricatures are the order of the day (including yours, sorry, but your understanding of Catholicism is anything but correct or mature in any way. What serious Catholic book(s) have you read, actually, to back up your claim that you understand the religion?).

    So who was hurt when I was conceived? The Catholic church takes a strong stand here. It says my conception was sinful and should not have happened. Since they’re telling me I shouldn’t exist, then they need to provide a concrete reason why not. Which people were hurt? How were they hurt? Why would it be better if I hadn’t been born at all?

    You were hurt in that you grow up deprived of a dad.

    And once again, you keep fighting against the imaginary claim that “it would have been better if you hadn’t been born at all” while I never said such a thing. A lot of people are conceived in a situation that involves some sin, e.g. out of wedlock or even children conceived in rape. While the sexual act in many cases is morally problematic, it doesn’t mean that the children born out of these situations “shouldn’t exist.” That would be awful… nowadays probably half of all children born “shouldn’t exist.” So can you please leave that claim to rest? According to the Church you are loved and welcomed in this life just as much as anyone else.

    But of course “sin” in your church’s eyes doesn’t have to prove harm on earth. It passes the buck and simply invokes eternal consequences.

    another misrepresentation. Should I begin counting them?

    I think the official version of Catholicism is just as bad as fundamentalist Protestantism, ultra-Orthodox Judaism, and fundamentalist Islam.

    Such statements are to me a good proof of the idiocy and total lack of common sense of liberal moral relativism (pardon my candidness). So according to you, all that is bad is to believe in absolute truth, irrespective of the content of this truth? If I follow your train of thought, Mother Teresa and John Paul II are no better than Bin Ladin or other proponents of Islamic Jihad. Our “fundamentalist” beliefs that we should protect the life of babies in the womb and the elderly, that it’s better that kids get married before they have sex, that we should love our neighbor and forgive our enemy, is pretty much equivalent to the islamic beliefs that beating your wife is ok and that blowing yourself up in a restaurant full of kids for the cause of jihad will get you a straight ticket to paradise? (and yes, these actions are based on the teachings of the Quran) How can you, being a smart girl, can seriously say something of such utter stupidity?

    Do you really not see the parallels between your religion and George Orwell’s 1984? Your deity punishes people for thoughtcrime.

    Ridiculous. Another misrepresentation. You also have a conscience, and you know very well that your conscience condemns you if you do something wrong. Where does that moral sense come from?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Then they should be apparent using secular arguments and secular evidence.

    that sounds a lot like “ok you can play the game, as long as you agree to play it by MY rules”. Regardless, the Church does not try to influence legislation on the basis of religious beliefs but rather for the sake of the common good of society. (will continue another day)

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Your “civility” is bullshit. You just don’t like that a woman is daring to defy your edicts about her own body.

    Go fuck yourself with a crucifix while you lick the Pope’s ass clean.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Why shouldn’t I? It’s all there is, and that’s enough. I like my life, I like living, and I want to matter, which means I want to leave the world a better place than I found it. I don’t want people to hurt, which tells me what “a better place” means; it means a place where people don’t get hurt as much. Trees and flowers and intellectual curiosity and wild monkey sex with my husband and friends and D&D and arguing with random people on blogs and writing and just being … why do you think there needs to be more than life?

    How is any of this inconsistent? What don’t you understand?

  • gimpi1

    OK, now you’ve dropped back into judging and arrogance. “…you will see their consequences clearly in light of eternity.” And how, exactly, can you prove that? I, personally, believe, if there is a divine motive force, that force would be more pleased with my devotion to equal rights and justice than your devotion to legalism and privilege. (See how I used a qualifier, “I, personally believe…” there, instead of just condemning you.

    As to the points in your post, here we go:

    #1`. The cost is minimal, since gay people only represent 10% or so of the population. Most large employers already offer such benefits to same-sex couples. The government should. The same arguments were used in the past regarding domestic and farm work, to keep minorities from accessing such benefits, and they were just as mean-spirited. I have no problem with a small cost to make a fairer world. The kids of gay couples should have access to social security. Claiming that the parent wasn’t a legal adoptive parent is a bit disingenuous, since the author does not favor allowing same-sex couples to adopt. Catch 22 anyone?

    #2. Schools have no business affirming or denying any relationship, period.

    #3. Your conscience is not affected, except that you seem to feel your conscience demands that you condemn others. Many people in the old South thought it was a matter of conscience to not do business with black people. Some of those objections were and are religious. (See the Church of Jesus Christ, Christian.) Your rights to your beliefs are not affected, just your right to discriminate based on your belief. I don’t understand why you want that, anyway. Doing business with someone in no way denotes approval of them, any more than a layoff indicates dislike of the person let go.

    #4. Silly at best, and stands in direct conflict with #1. If few gay people will marry, where, exactly are those costs?

    #5, #6, #7, #8. All just silly. The author makes leaps of logic that would span the Grand Canyon, and cites discredited studies to bolster negative stereotypes. Again, similar arguments have been made against legal equality for women. Most have been baseless, and those changes that have happened has been a change for the better, in my opinion.

    #9. YAY! Humanity is facing a population crisis. If gay marriage leads to fewer children. that’s great. I don’t think it will, of course, see the author’s point 4, but if it did, so what? Humans are in no way endangered.

    10. How so? That’s a different question,and can be argued on its own merit. Apples and oranges, to my mind.

    Do you see how two people can look at something and come to totally different conclusions? The difference is, I am not trying to force others to conform to my viewpoint, and lead lesser lives, by force of law. You, and the author you cite, are. I want a fair world, where beliefs, all beliefs, mine and yours both, are equally respected. You want a world where you are privileged, and your beliefs not just respected, but enshrined in law, and you are allowed to discriminate based on them. See the difference?

  • Anna

    Yes, in a secular democracy, you have to play by secular rules. You can’t offer religious arguments as the basis for legislation and expect to be taken seriously. If you want a country where law is based on religion, then that’s a theocracy. My country is not a theocracy.

    And I’m well aware that your church thinks it’s doing it “for our own good,” but that doesn’t change the fact that their arguments are based solely on religion. The entire reason they’ve been losing in the courts is because they have failed to provide convincing secular evidence. I know you are in Canada, but in the United States there has to be a legitimate secular purpose to a law.

  • Anna

    I don’t know why liberal Catholics stay in your church, either. I’d encourage them to leave, although for different reasons than you would. I don’t think that decent people should help to support such an institution. Regardless, neither of us can make them leave. If there have to be Catholics, I’d rather have ones like Pelosi and Biden. Obviously, you’d prefer the opposite.

    Catholicism stands very well on its own. Countless very good and very intelligent people have converted into the Church in every age without any kind of “indoctrination.” (Have you heard of Leah Libresco who used to have an atheist blog on this very website and recently became Catholic?

    I don’t think it does stand on its own. It is very rare for a person who was not indoctrinated into believing in gods as a young child (which, remember, is almost everyone) to start believing in gods as an adult. I’m not saying they were specifically indoctrinated into Catholicism, but they were indoctrinated with god-belief, certainly, as well as other supernatural beliefs.

    And, yes, I’ve heard of Leah. I read a couple of posts she made before her official conversion, and I was entirely unsurprised that she became a theist. She was already a dualist, not a materialist. That’s supernaturalism, so her embracing god-belief is not surprising.

    And again, please stop it with the unfair prejudice

    I don’t know why you see it as unfair prejudice. You can indoctrinate your kids if you want. I’m just calling it like I see it. Telling children that gods are real is indoctrination in my book. Children aren’t given an option. They’re not presented with the other side. That’s not honest or fair. I see it as manipulating a child’s mind and taking advantage of the fact that children are not intellectually capable of critically examining what the adults are telling them.

    My boyfriend went to Catholic school. His parents saved all their school material, so I have examined the books from his religion classes. His kindergarten religious textbook was called We Love God. The book tells children that a particular god is real. There’s no other side. There’s no indication that it’s an opinion. It’s presented as a fact. And this book is for five year olds!

    And as if the atheists here on this forum, for example, don’t indoctrinate their kids (or at least those who still believe in having kids) against religion.

    Actually, most of us are not fond of indoctrination. I do not plan on telling my children that gods are imaginary. I plan to present them with accurate, objective information about all world religions (past and present), arm them with critical thinking skills, and leave them to figure out what they believe on their own.

    What serious Catholic book(s) have you read, actually, to back up your claim that you understand the religion?).

    I need to read specific books to understand your religion? I went to a Catholic university and took three separate religion courses there. I feel I do have quite a good understanding of Catholic theology. I understand why they oppose things like birth control and homosexuality. I just think their reasons are nonsense.

    You were hurt in that you grow up deprived of a dad.

    I don’t agree. How was I hurt? What was a father supposed to provide me that my mothers couldn’t? Please be specific.

    So can you please leave that claim to rest?

    It’s not an imaginary claim. The previous Pope went out of his way in that Christmas message to say conceptions like mine should not happen. In an ideal Catholic world, I would not have been conceived. Neither would other “out of wedlock” children. That’s telling us we should not exist. I don’t understand how you can act like the Catholic church is totally okay with my existence when they say outright that my conception should never have occurred.

    another misrepresentation. Should I begin counting them?

    I apologize if you feel I was misrepresenting you, but you have stated numerous times that the consequences of “sin” are eternal and that they will be clear in the afterlife. I took that to mean that you don’t feel like you have to provide evidence of harm on earth. If that is not the case, then please provide evidence of specific harm my parents have done to each other, me, or to society.

    Such statements are to me a good proof of the idiocy and total lack of common sense of liberal moral relativism (pardon my candidness). So according to you, all that is bad is to believe in absolute truth, irrespective of the content of this truth? If I follow your train of thought, Mother Teresa and John Paul II are no better than Bin Ladin or other proponents of Islamic Jihad.

    Sorry, what? I never said anything about terrorism. The vast, vast majority of fundamentalist Muslims are not terrorists. They do, however, follow a fundamentalist religion that I see as intellectually, socially, and psychologically no better than fundamentalist Catholicism, fundamentalist Protestantism, or fundamentalist Judaism. I think they’re all harmful, although the degree of harm also depends on other factors in society, such as theocratic governments. It’s not about believing in what they see as truth; it’s about the harm fundamentalism does to people and to society.

    Our “fundamentalist” beliefs that we should protect the life of babies in the womb and the elderly, that it’s better that kids get married before they have sex, that we should love our neighbor and forgive our enemy, is pretty much equivalent to the islamic beliefs that beating your wife is ok and that blowing yourself up in a restaurant full of kids for the cause of jihad will get you a straight ticket to paradise? (and yes, these actions are based on the teachings of the Quran)

    Wow, so you think all Muslims blow themselves up in restaurants and beat their wives? Make no mistake. I abhor fundamentalist Islam. It’s horribly sexist, horribly anti-gay, and horrible for society in general. But so is fundamentalist Catholicism. I think your views on social issues are equally abhorrent.

    How can you, being a smart girl, can seriously say something of such utter stupidity?

    Girl? I guess there’s nothing like a bit of extra sexism. I’m a woman, not a girl. How old are you? I may even be older than you are, LOL.

    Ridiculous. Another misrepresentation. You also have a conscience, and you know very well that your conscience condemns you if you do something wrong. Where does that moral sense come from?

    Well, it seems readily apparent to me. You say not loving your god is a “sin.” It’s a crime simply to think or feel certain things. A deity that demands love and worship on pain of torture seems very much like Big Brother in the world of 1984. It’s a supernatural dictator instead of an earthly one, but it will torture you all the same. I don’t understand how anyone wouldn’t see the parallels.

    Of course I have a conscience. I never said people don’t have consciences. I said there was no reason to feel bad or guilty or ashamed of things that don’t hurt other people. There’s no reason anyone would ever feel bad about a loving, consensual relationship unless they had been told that it was wrong.

    As for a “moral sense,” why on earth would anyone think that something that originates in our brains would have anything to do with the supernatural? There are plenty of books written about the biological and social origins of empathy, altruism, etc.

  • Dez

    More intelligence then you have. A child does better with two parents no matter their gender as long as they are involved in the child’s life. An idiot like you forgets that many people have extended family, friends, and other loved ones that are male and female that also help raise a child. I know to you a misogynist that equality for women is a bad thing. Then you can not oppress us anymore.

  • Dez

    Wrong. If it were not for our secular government Christians will still be enslaving my family and killing more Jews. Our secular laws keep Christians from the savagery sharia law inflicts on the middle east. Despite Christians anti-gay, anti-woman, and anti-religious freedom views society is progressing without you. I was able to marry my boyfriend of another race because society fought back against Christian bigotry against interracial marriage.

  • Dez

    Wrong again. My ancestors were in chains, raped, killed, and torn apart because of Christians and their fantasy book. Yea sorry for being decent human beings and trusting others to act like human beings. It says a lot about you that you are on the side of slave owners. Yet the president is black so that destroys your argument. Your lack of intelligence is very obvious in the fact you know nothing about the history of black Americans. Hypocrite much?

  • Dez

    What facts? All you have said is racist and wrong.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    It just doesn’t make any sense. I mean, I don’t disagree that we like and are attracted to the “good things” in life, but it seems to me that true love is inconsistent with your ideology claiming that you are just a complex, random collection of atoms. What makes you more than any animal then? Why should you be concerned about sexual abuses and women’s rights when dogs and monkeys don’t have those kinds of concerns?

    Also, what do you think of this?
    http://www.catholicvote.org/foolproof-advice-for-improving-your-love-life-with-pictures/

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I basically have no problem to discuss moral issues on the basis of what you call “secular rules” and what I would call “natural law” – that is, using arguments based on reason and not on divine revelation as basis for legislation.

    By the way, what do you think of this?
    http://www.catholicvote.org/foolproof-advice-for-improving-your-love-life-with-pictures/

    EDIT: oh, and this previous article of hers (linked in the first one) also makes some interesting points:
    http://www.catholicvote.org/love-lies-and-bigotry-a-sorting/

  • Anna

    But do you understand the reason your side keeps losing in the courts? It’s because they have not provided convincing secular arguments. They try to dress up their religious objections in secular language, but it doesn’t work. Judges aren’t buying it anymore. The public isn’t buying it anymore. There simply aren’t legitimate secular reasons to deny people rights.

    I read your articles. Not sure what you want me to say about them? I think they’re wrong and depressing. They make me angry, the arrogance of people who sit in judgment and think they can dictate the lives of others. The condescending “we’re doing this for your own good” attitude. The offensive declaration of other people’s love as inferior, and the refusal to understand that there is more to a lifelong intimate partnership than sex.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Empathy and reason. It always circles around to those. I care because of empathy, and my reason tells me both that it is good to care (societies that care are better places to live) and how best to help.

    Emotions are no less real because they have physical causes and pathways. Love, hate, joy, and sorrow- the lived experience is no different just because we’re starting to understand them. Why do you need things to be a mystery for them to be special? Isn’t understanding them what makes them so amazing? I mean, have you ever really studied chlorophyll and how plants take solar energy and turn it into sugars? It’s absolutely fascinating. Grass is boring and all, but every now and them I look at it and go “Holy fuck it eats sunlight and it looks green because it’s absorbing all the colors except green, which is because the earliest organisms on Earth were purple-ish so plant forebears had to make do with the light left over (that is, the red and purple ends of the spectrum instead of the stuff in the middle), but chlorophyll is more efficient than whatever mechanism the purple-ish plants used so that’s why we have green plants”, which is awesome in the original sense of awe-inspiring. Understanding the hows and whys of science, even a little bit, makes even plain old grass interesting. How much more with something as complex as emotion?

    EDIT: I think that link is bullshit. It’s saying that homosexuals can’t feel romantic, familial love. It doesn’t matter what else it says, that right there tells me whoever wrote it doesn’t understand what love is. Also it assumes you must have some sort of god-belief. It assumes friends can’t also be family. It tries to make love into neat, tidy, quantifiable packets that people are only allowed to feel for certain other people. It completely neglects self-love, also known as self-esteem.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Ok, thanks for your thoughts, though I still feel you’re not answering the questions, and don’t understand how life and all of that can really have any meaning if, according to your worldview, your ultimate destiny is to rot in the ground and be completely forgotten in one or two generations at the most. Don’t you have a longing for something more in your deepest self?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Are you aware of your double standard?

    On the one hand, you preach “tolerance” but then you get angry at someone who happens to have a view different than yours. You are upset at the “arrogance of people who sit in judgment” and yet for the last week you have rather arrogantly judged people of faith (i.e. the majority of human beings in history) as “indoctrinated”, brainwashed and more or less unable to think for themselves. You complain about a “condescending” attitude, but you have repeatedly stated in very condescending manner that Catholic morality is essentially stupid, primitive and harmful. You don’t like the “we’re doing this for your own good” attitude and yet you have said more than once that you wish that theists would abandon their God mumbo-jumbo and join the ranks of enlightened atheists like you.

    You don’t see a little problem here?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Yeah. I want to matter. To make the world a better place. To get off my butt and make a real difference in the world; whether that’s by increasing literacy rates, doing my part to ensure women are treated as people, expanding health care in this country and around the world, or whatever, I want to have left a mark on the world (even if no one can trace it to me).

    Do I want to live forever singing praise songs to God and watching the world but being unable to do anything to help fix it? That sounds like Hell to me, personally, so no I definitely don’t want that. Why would I want more than to exist as fully as I can before I go out like a guttered candle?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Do I want to live forever singing praise songs to God and watching the world but being unable to do anything to help fix it? That sounds like Hell to me, personally, so no I definitely don’t want that.

    It seems like the case for atheism can only be made by constantly representing and mischaracterizing Christianity – almost every time! Why do you insist on doing that? No Christian has such a passive view of life as you describe it. The praise of God gives us redoubled strength, energy and motivation to change the world for good. If you study a bit of history you will notice that most advancements in Western civilization (science, education, health care, social work) are owed to Christians.

    http://www.kairosjournal.org/misc/FINAL.%20Legatees%20of%20a%20Great%20Inheritance.pdf

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    I’m talking about after you die, Andre. That’s what Heaven has been described like to me, and it is not appealing.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Oh. Even in this case, according to divine revelation, your argument doesn’t work for two reasons: a) saints in heaven actually have power now to influence things here on earth through their intercessory prayer; many people testify to this all the time b) the world as we know it, in which good and evil are intermixed, will one day come to an end, replaced by a “new heaven and new earth.” Don’t know exactly how this will look, obviously, but there will be no more evil, and so there will not be any kind of “eternal frustration” at wanting to fix a broken world from above.

  • tsara

    I, personally, am a fan of the Douglas Adams quote, “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe there are fairies at the bottom of it?”

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Personally, if I see a beautiful garden, I would intuitively like to congratulate and thank the gardener for his good work, rather than dismissing him as a fairy tale and believing that the garden just became beautiful on its own. :)

  • Anna

    Double standard? I’m not the one persecuting people here! Yes, the article (the second one, in particular) made me angry. I think it’s horribly wrong, and I found the author’s snide attitude unbearable.

    However, I’m not attacking her right to say what she wants. She has the right to publish her article on the Internet. I’m not trying to shut her up. And I’m sure not trying to take away her civil rights. She has the right to equal protection under the law.

    This is the old “you’re not tolerating my intolerance” routine. In fact, I am tolerating her right to hold intolerant views. But I will not tolerate attempts to force those views on others. And when she says condescending, terrible things about people, she should expect to hear criticism.

    You are upset at the “arrogance of people who sit in judgment” and yet for the last week you have rather arrogantly judged people of faith (i.e. the majority of human beings in history) as “indoctrinated”, brainwashed and more or less unable to think for themselves.

    I never used the word “brainwashed” or said that they were unable to think for themselves. The very fact that most Catholics are not fundamentalists shows that the vast majority do think for themselves and have the ability to come to their own conclusions.

    However, the choice to believe in the supernatural was not theirs to make. They were taught to believe a god was real, were not told that it was an option, and were presented ideology as fact, not opinion.

    I also don’t see what is arrogant about using the dictionary definition for indoctrination:

    1. To instruct in a body of doctrine or principles. 2. To imbue with a partisan or ideological point of view.

    That’s what it is. If I wanted to be negative, then I would have used “brainwashing,” but I didn’t.

    You complain about a “condescending” attitude, but you have repeatedly stated in very condescending manner that Catholic morality is essentially stupid, primitive and harmful.

    That’s absolutely not true. I have said it is harmful, yes, because I believe it is very harmful. I have not used the words “stupid” or “primitive.” I don’t know what you want me to say here. You ask me what I think of some articles (the second of which was quite demeaning), and then you attack me for being honest? What was I supposed to say? I do think Catholic morality is wrong. I think it’s false and harmful. It makes me sad that people believe in it. Is merely stating that condescending? I haven’t called anyone names.

    You don’t like the “we’re doing this for your own good” attitude and yet you have said more than once that you wish that theists would abandon their God mumbo-jumbo and join the ranks of enlightened atheists like you.

    What? Please point out where I said any of that. I never called theism “mumbo-jumbo” nor have I expressed any desire for people to become atheists. I do wish people would abandon fundamentalism, but it does not follow that they need to become atheists.

    Furthermore, you’re creating a false equivalency. If I had a “we’re doing this for your own good” attitude similar to the one Catholics have, then I would attempt to use the law to stigmatize and delegitimize them for being Catholic. But I’m not doing that. I would never do to them what they try to do to me and my family.

    Maybe you don’t fully understand that your church’s negative rhetoric is not merely an annoyance for the LGBT community. It’s not just that you’re irritating same-sex couples and families by refusing to grant them equal rights. People actually kill themselves because of the kinds of things Emily wrote in that article.

    Try to imagine, if you can, being told that you are intrinsically disordered, that the love you feel for another person is unnatural and harmful, that you do not deserve to ever have any kind of relationship, that you may never have a spouse or children. That you must live your life alone. Further, that a god you’ve been taught to believe in disagrees with the very core of your being and will punish you for following your natural instincts.

    Baffling though it may be to a lifelong atheist like myself, people are attached to their religions. LGBT people are cast out of their places of worship. Imagine growing up in a church, expecting to always be involved, and then becoming aware that you will never be welcome there as an adult, that your spouse and children will never be welcome. That you will never be able to get married in that church. That you will never be able to have your children christened in that church.

    And let’s not forget family disapproval. Many LGBT people are still cast out of religious homes. Their relationships are not recognized by their families. They must either stay in the closet their entire lives or risk being disowned by their parents and siblings. Try to imagine, if you can, being forced to spend every Thanksgiving and Christmas apart from your family because your parents won’t accept your partner, or else having to leave your partner on holidays so you can spend time with your family of origin.

    And to top it all off, as if the religious condemnation weren’t enough, people like Emily want to use the law to make the lives of LGBT people even more difficult. It’s apparently not sufficient to shame and guilt them in their churches. They want to make sure they’re stigmatized and delegitimized everywhere, that they don’t have equal protection under the law.

    The problem is not with LGBT people, who merely want to be treated equally. The problem is with your side. The arrogance comes from the fact that they believe they should be able to dictate other people’s lives, that they have the right to use the law to interfere with people’s civil rights. The condescension comes from the “we’re doing this for your own good” attitude. It’s a little pat on the head. “We know best.” But why should everyone accept that people like Emily know best?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    sorry, I really don’t mean to convey “judgment and arrogance”. But do try to understand that some people (and I am among them) have had a strong and very real experience of God, so to speak of Him and of his revelation as if it were all just vague speculation is difficult and unnatural. For many people God is more real than the things we see around us. The fact that we speak with confidence about someone we know and love does not mean that we are trying to be judgmental or arrogant.

    Apart from that, thanks for your responses. I guess we can agree to disagree. We are speaking from totally different perspectives, myself from the point of view that there is a rational moral law in nature that we should humbly discover, yourself (I think) that we can just make up moral laws as we please, as long as the majority agrees. I believe we will see the great social cost of the deconstruction of marriage after the harm is done, but it might take us some time to get there.

    Just one thing on #9: the so-called “overpopulation crisis” is a myth. Certainly in Western countries the contrary is true, where after two generations of “contraceptive mentality” people are no longer having children, and the birth rate is below the level of sustainability:

    http://overpopulationisamyth.com/

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Well, if it’s not wrong for a Catholic couple to have a stay-at-home dad and a working mom, then what’s the problem with non-traditional gender roles?

    Because when you have a stay-at-home dad and working mom, you still have a father and a mother raising the children. The mother may be a little less present than in the traditional roles, but she is still in the picture.

    you seem to be acting like all straight couples are alike in some important manner

    I have never said that all straight couples are “alike” or that they “share the same behavior or actions.” Obviously each couple is unique. I don’t understand why you keep coming back to this.

    What’s special or unique about them?

    Refer to the previous articles I sent you e.g. on fatherhood. I will let you know when I find more info on the topic.

    Have you ever spent time with a gay or lesbian couple?

    to be fair, no I haven’t. And again, don’t get me wrong: I’m absolutely and obviously not saying that everything in their relationship is wrong. I’m not denying that there is some legitimate love there (the philea love of friendship). I’m not saying that they are unable to raise children (on the same level as, say, two sisters or brothers living together who adopt a child). I just think the homosexual act is always wrong, and that their union shouldn’t be called a “marriage” because marriage is not something that we have the right to invent and reinvent. Can we agree to disagree?

    Ultimately, I am realizing that it’s very difficult to have fruitful conversations on moral issues when we have a completely different understanding of reality and the world: if we are just the product of a random process of evolution, then yes, why not just determine morality according to the consensus of the majority and on the basis of the “rights” of any minority group? however, if we have been lovingly created by a good God who wants the best for us, then we are invited to discover the moral order in the world and we have no right to make it up. I think this moral order can be discovered in a way without reference to faith in God (using “secular principles” as you say), but it’s much more difficult, and we can make some major errors along the way, the cost of which could become apparent only after years.

  • Anna

    But if she’s not performing the traditional role, then what is the importance of her being female? If she’s not the one doing the “mothering,” why is her sex important? A man is the one who is the primary caregiver: nurturing the baby, feeding the baby, changing the baby, singing to the baby, putting the baby to bed, etc.

    I keep coming back to the whole special and unique claim
    because I’m still not clear on what you think all straight couples share.

    Refer to the previous articles I sent you e.g. on fatherhood. I will let you know when I find more info on the topic.

    I did read the article. It referenced (yet again) stereotypical things like roughhousing. Not all fathers roughhouse with their children. Mothers can also roughhouse with their children. Futhermore, since when is a child’s well-being dependent on a parent performing a specific action like roughhousing? Are children whose parents don’t throw them around and wrestle with them disadvantaged in some way? If they are, I’ve never heard about it. I imagine many quiet and reserved children don’t care for that sort of thing, anyway.

    And for the record, my mothers used to carry us on their shoulders, give us piggy-back rides, toss us into the air, spin us around, and “fly” us to bed when we were little enough. They did all of that perfectly well, so I don’t see why a father would have been necessary.

    to be fair, no I haven’t. And again, don’t get me wrong: I’m absolutely and obviously not saying that everything in their relationship is wrong. I’m not denying that there is some legitimate love there (the philea love of friendship). I’m not saying that they are unable to raise children (on the same level as, say, two sisters or brothers living together who adopt a child).

    I think if you spent time with same-sex couples, you would find that they do not relate to each other differently than opposite-sex couples do. That was really my original point. Anyone claiming the uniqueness of straight couples clearly just hasn’t spent any time around gay couples.

    I just think the homosexual act is always wrong, and that their union shouldn’t be called a “marriage” because marriage is not something that we have the right to invent and reinvent. Can we agree to disagree?

    I would make no attempt to force your church to revise its definition of marriage. If they want to limit holy matrimony to heterosexuals, that’s their business. It’s sad for gay and lesbian Catholics, but I would encourage them to leave and find a more accepting religion. If you personally do not want to call a same-sex marriage “marriage,” that’s also your business. You can call it whatever you want. However, we cannot agree to disagree about civil marriage. I do not find it acceptable for your church to meddle in secular marriage laws.

    Ultimately, I am realizing that it’s very difficult to have fruitful conversations on moral issues when we have a completely different understanding of reality and the world: if we are just the product of a random process of evolution, then yes, why not just determine morality according to the consensus of the majority and on the basis of the “rights” of any minority group? however, if we have been lovingly created by a good God who wants the best for us, then we are invited to discover the moral order in the world and we have no right to make it up. I think this moral order can be discovered in a way without reference to faith in God (using “secular principles” as you say), but it’s much more difficult, and we can make some major errors along the way, the cost of which could become apparent only after years.

    Well, then I think that’s the price of living in a secular democracy. If you’re really concerned about the will of your god being done, then it seems to me a democratic, pluralistic society is not the one best-suited for you. In the United States at least, it’s already been determined that religion cannot be the basis for civil law.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Then they should be apparent using secular arguments and secular evidence. The fact that anti-gay detractors have been asked repeatedly to provide those things and have been entirely unable to provide them is the reason that they have been losing in the courts. If there are secular reasons to oppose reproductive rights, gay rights, or anything else the Catholic church doesn’t like, then they need to convince us.

    Thing is, no one is totally objective. The culture has become more and more godless in recent years, and so it’s not surprising that the courts are increasingly moving towards more godless laws. The founders of the country are probably turning in their graves right now. Yes of course they founded a secular nation based on the separation of Church and state, but they also believed that morality is based on some form of natural law. Do you really think that they would have advocated so-called “reproductive” and “gay rights”?

    How do you determine what is a “right” anyway? If you base it on non-theistic moral relativism, the definition of “rights” seems totally arbitrary. This seems to give free reign to any fringe minority group to demand to have whatever lifestyle it advocates enshrined in law, as long as they can garner enough popular support for it.

    your fictional 20 year old woman who has had countless heartbreaks, STDs, unplanned pregnancies and abortions. Believe it or not, most people manage to make it to the age of 20 without all of those things happening to them.

    fictional? in what world do you live in? How many are “most people”? close to 1.5 million abortions per year in the US alone and divorce rates around 50% are facts, not fiction.

    the failure to educate people about sexual health is the cause behind the problems you mentioned

    teaching teens that sleeping around is morally fine as long as you use a condom is hardly “educating people about sexual health”…

    Are you even aware how ridiculous this sounds? Masturbation (the ultimate in harmless sexual expression) is being touted as making it impossible for people to “truly love.”

    if you would make a little effort to see things outside of your ingrained way of thinking you would see that it is true. Masturbation, harmless? Have you never heard of sexual addiction? Most guys today are struggling with addictions to pornography and masturbation. The essence of sexuality is to orient one’s affection and love towards another, and these sins are all about self-indulgence and self-gratification. Then people wonder why so many men see women as mere objects of self-gratification.

    There does not seem to be any concept of bodily autonomy in the Catholic church.

    that is false, of course. The idea is that marriage is a free, mutual gift of self to the other (not that the other has any claim on your body).

    I can’t even count the number of divorced and remarried Catholics I know who are active in their parishes and send their kids to Catholic schools.

    divorced and remarried Catholics are welcome at church and are still part of the Catholic community, but they are not allowed to receive communion.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Anna, you have challenged me to look more deeply into these questions, and I am motivated to do some more readings about this topic. I remain very puzzled at how you fail to see the obvious essential difference between man and woman, father and mother – a difference that transcends any particular activities that they may do. You seem to dismiss their essential sexual difference and complementary roles in procreation as marginal or almost insignificant, and to reduce the essence of manhood and womanhood down to the ability to act in a certain way. I confess that I have some difficulty in articulating what most people in most cultures in most ages have viewed as self-evident, but I will make sure to try to better inform myself on the topic.

    It’s sad for gay and lesbian Catholics, but I would encourage them to leave and find a more accepting religion.

    You seem to think that people are entirely predetermined (or born) as gays and lesbians. Do you really think that we are determined by our attractions and feelings? Should our attractions determine our moral choices and acts, or should an inner sense of morality rather guide and determine our actions – sometimes by denying our own whims, attractions and desires?

    Also, what do you think of the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever for the existence of a “gay gene”? How is it possible that you can have twins (so with the same DNA) where one ends up as a homosexual and the other heterosexual? What do you think of “ex-gays” who successfully come out of the gay lifestyle, get married and had kids (I know a few)? Or what do you think of gays who also affirm that the homosexual lifestyle is ultimately the result of a choice? For example:

    http://socialinqueery.com/2013/03/18/no-one-is-born-gay-or-straight-here-are-5-reasons-why/

  • tsara

    I’d bet that Anna has done quite a bit of thinking about sex, gender, and sexuality. I’d guess that she’s done more than you have, actually. Gender is way more complicated than than you seem to think — I’m genderqueer.
    And sexuality is more complicated than you seem to think, as well — I’m asexual.
    I recommend that you do some gender and sexuality 101 reading. This website is an excellent, easy-to-understand, and facts-based resource:
    http://www.scarleteen.com/

    People are not entirely predetermined. They are predisposed to be certain ways; the interaction of genetics, psychology, and the environment (to oversimplify) is incredibly complicated. Cool word to google: epigenetics.

    I hope like hell that the ‘ex-gays’ you know are actually bi, or at least otherwise happy with their lives. Ex-gay therapy is demonstrably harmful, to the point where only the most hardcore homophobes will allow themselves to be associated with it anymore — even Exodus International has stopped claiming it works.

    And, obviously, living in any particular way is a choice. That’s not the question. The question is, can you demonstrate that it is immoral? Can you demonstrate that it is harmful? What do you think you know, and how do you think you know it?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I don’t think that decent people should help to support such an institution.

    Here’s the answer to your other post where you asked when you ever expressed condescending views. Yes, you do it in subtler (and more respectful ways, which I do appreciate) than others on this page but it’s hard to deny the condescending tone. I’m not really phased or troubled by it. I’m just pointing it out to illustrate the double standard. You are really upset at points of view that are contrary to yours (such as Emily’s) because they suggest that their world view is “better” than yours, but really you are arguing from the same assumption: that atheism is much more enlightened and better than any religious point of view. Which is ok by me – I respect that you think your point of view is superior to mine.

    It is very rare for a person who was not indoctrinated into believing in gods as a young child (which, remember, is almost everyone) to start believing in gods as an adult

    another incorrect statement. Actually there are tons of people, many of them quite intelligent, who grew up with no particular religious belief and then become religious, whether Jewish, Christian or other. Actually, it is your own atheism that doesn’t hold any water and cannot stand on its own if you give it enough critical reflection. Worlds and universes don’t just happen on their own. What caused the Big Bang according to you? What is logic or rational about a massive cosmic explosion occurring in an absolute void and caused by absolutely nothing, resulting in a beautiful and ordered universe, somehow randomly evolving into generating life, and then rational, intelligent life, where people discuss philosophical and religious ideas, where people have an insatiable longing for truth, beauty and goodness? You might as well throw a hand grenade in a supermarket and hope that the explosion will result in in a neatly arranged festive dinner for two, all set up on a table with dishes, cutlery and candles. Really, what is rational about atheism? It violates the basic philosophical of sufficient reason: an effect cannot be greater than its cause. Things don’t come into existence out of nothing – much less a whole universe.

    The book tells children that a particular god is real. There’s no other side. There’s no indication that it’s an opinion. It’s presented as a fact. And this book is for five year olds!

    Are you seriously saying that you are disturbed by the fact that a book intended for 5-year olds does not present a whole range of points of view??? That’s really weird. Of course if it’s a catechism text, the idea is to pass on the faith. Again, lots of people have experienced God and know that He is real. You may think that raising children as blank slates, teaching them to believe that there is no such thing as God or truth is good. That secularist point of view is at odds with the universal human experience of all cultures – that it is actually good to pass on the knowledge that we have (especially about God) to our children.

    I plan to present them with accurate, objective information about all world religions (past and present), arm them with critical thinking skills,

    ehm, seriously? You really think your point of view on Catholicism is “accurate” and “objective”. You really want me to take you seriously on that? You have repeatedly disproved yourself by your own statements on the matter. Sorry, but your understanding of Christianity is extremely basic. In our discussions you have repeatedly failed to grasp some very elementary concepts.

    I need to read specific books to understand your religion?

    actually yes. Not read the Catechism? Thomas Aquinas? Teresa of Avila? Edith Stein? John Paul II? Ratzinger? You cannot name one serious Catholic text you have read, and in the same breath claim that you have “a good understanding of Catholic theology”?

    I went to a Catholic university and took three separate religion courses there.

    What kind of a Catholic university? Which one? A faithful one that actually teaches Catholicism or an apostate one like Georgetown or the like?

    And taking three (vague) religion courses makes you knowledgeable about Christianity? Which courses? What texts did you read? Forgive my skepticism, but I see no evidence that you actually understand Christianity

    I understand why they oppose things like birth control and homosexuality. I just think their reasons are nonsense.

    Actually you can’t fully understand the reasons because you have no relationship with God. You have not had a living encounter with Christ, and it’s impossible to fully understand the nature of love (and why these things are harmful to love) without such an encounter.

    In an ideal Catholic world, I would not have been conceived. Neither would other “out of wedlock” children. That’s telling us we should not exist.

    No. This is a good example of your repeated failure to understand a very important (and paradoxical) nuance: that yes, there is plenty of sin in the world, and many children are conceived involving some form of sin, and at the same time we ought to welcome into the world and love unconditionally every child, no matter in what circumstances they were conceived.

    The vast, vast majority of fundamentalist Muslims are not terrorists. They do, however, follow a fundamentalist religion that I see as intellectually, socially, and psychologically no better than fundamentalist Catholicism, fundamentalist Protestantism, or fundamentalist Judaism.

    I abhor fundamentalist Islam. It’s horribly sexist, horribly anti-gay, and horrible for society in general. But so is fundamentalist Catholicism. I think your views on social issues are equally abhorrent.

    These statements really show well the intellectual bankruptcy of the moral relativism you espouse. Notice your logical fallacies: I was not talking about people, I was talking about ideologies. Yes, the majority of Muslims are not terrorists. Yes, there are good Muslims and yes there are bad Christians, but that is not the question. What the religions teach is the question. The Quran allows men to marry up to 4 women; it sanctions wife-beating; it encourages jihad, i.e. holy war against non-Muslims; it knows no concept of forgiveness The New Testament and Catholicism stand for forgiveness and love of enemies, the dignity and protection of life from conception to natural death, the dignity and equality of women (though not absolute sameness of roles as you would like), self-sacrifice for the sake of the other, the brotherhood of all people created in the image and likeness of God. Despite these very radical and profound differences in content, you basically equate Islam with “fundamentalist Catholicism” and then have the nerve to say that you understand Christianity?

    Of course, the ideology does have a real effect: notice where most wars are situated today. Chances are, they will involve Muslims on one side or another. When was the last time you heard of a Christian blowing himself up for the sake of Christianity, screaming “Jesus is Lord!” Yet you make such incredibly misplaced moral equivalencies and want me to take you seriously regarding your opinions of Christianity?

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    For the (unfortunately not) last time, we don’t know what caused the Big Bang. That’s the only honest answer we have. We don’t know. Better honest confusion than false certainty, though. And considering how much of the universe is empty space, very close to a perfect vacuum, it’s totally within the bounds of randomness theory and probability that there would be pockets of complexity and order. If the whole universe were full of life, that would be pretty unexplainable, but the fact that a tiny speck of rock on the outskirts of one galaxy has complex life? That’s not weird.

    It is wrong to indoctrinate five year olds. I don’t intend to indoctrinate mine if I can help it. I’ll tell them some people believe in gods of various types, I’ll teach them myths from all over the world, and I’ll teach them the scientific method. Then I’ll let them decide. I won’t tell them there aren’t any gods, I’ll tell them I don’t think there are any gods.

    And Anna’s right, fundamentalist anything is really awful. Your ideology is just as bad as fundamentalist Islam, fundamentalist Judaism, fundamentalist Hinduism, fundamentalist Buddhism, or fundamentalist anything. Suicide bombers at least have the courage of their convictions; Christians bomb things or shoot people without suiciding. Scott Roeder and Eric Rudolph are two such examples, as are members of the IRA, Serbian paramilitaries, people burning “witches” alive in Africa, and Timothy McVeigh. Do you know who I suspected in the Boston bombings? Christian or Muslim extremists. I wasn’t able to rule out homegrown American Christian crazy, when I live in the state where a Christian extremist tried to fly his prop plane into an IRS office several years ago. Don’t tell me your religion is “better”, when it too can justify people doing such things.

    There aren’t very many wars going on today. In Myanmar, Buddhists are killing Muslims, but it’s not a war. In Syria, there’s a civil war, but that’s got pretty much nothing to do with religion and everything to do with being a post-colonial dictatorship that ruled through divide-and-conquer. The Congo is torn apart by civil war(s), but I honestly don’t know the dominant religions in the area. One could kind of call Mexico in a war against drug lords; I don’t know if that counts or not, but the military has definitely been heavily deployed and involved in gun battles. Oh, and Israel/Palestine of course, though that’s not terribly war-like right now. The world is actually pretty peaceful right now, historically speaking.

  • Tofu

    The fact that Andre’s posts get so heavily downvoted is proof that nobody here wants an honest, civil debate. Different opinions get dogpiled whether they’re dumb, thoughtful, or anywhere inbetween. That’s a shame.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Double standard? I’m not the one persecuting people here!

    Yes, double standard, definitely. I’m not persecuting anyone either. We are discussing ideas and morality, no need to fall into persecution syndromes.

    This is the old “you’re not tolerating my intolerance” routine. In fact, I am tolerating her right to hold intolerant views.

    The fact that she has a point of view different than yours does not make her “intolerant.” Your claim of intolerance is entirely subjective and arbitrary, based on the fact that you think a minority group should have the “right” to call their unions “marriage” on the basis of their whims and desires. I don’t deny your right to argue these views, but you have no right to label as “intolerant” those who happen to disagree with you.

    I never used the word “brainwashed” or said that they were unable to think for themselves. The very fact that most Catholics are not fundamentalists shows that the vast majority do think for themselves and have the ability to come to their own conclusions.

    Anna, please, who are you kidding? You know very well that the term “indoctrination” is pejorative and implies in some way blindly and uncritically accepting some doctrine without thinking much about it. Also, think about the statement you made above: in other words, the Catholics who actually think for themselves are “not fundamentalists”, i.e. dissenters, fallen away, or apostate Catholics. They are the ones who think for themselves. Apparently I do not think for myself since I actually agree with the Church on moral issues. Say what you want, I don’t mind, but please don’t give me that crap that you don’t have a double standard or a contemptuous tone… (perhaps it’s intentional and you don’t really notice)

    If I had a “we’re doing this for your own good” attitude similar to the one Catholics have, then I would attempt to use the law to stigmatize and delegitimize them for being Catholic.

    Who is trying to use the law to “stigmatize and delegitimize” atheists? Lots of people disagree with gay “marriage” because they think it will be bad for society. This is not the same as stigmatizing and delegitimizing people.

    People actually kill themselves because of the kinds of things Emily wrote in that article.

    If people kill themselves for such opinions, then it is tragic but they are the ones who have a huge problem, not Emily. What a nice way to stifle freedom of expression. In other words, don’t support gay “marriage” (no matter how respectfully) and you are (at least indirectly) to blame for the suicide of innocent people.

    Try to imagine, if you can, being told that you are intrinsically disordered

    another serious failure in grasping important nuances. It is homosexual *acts* that are disordered, not the person (unless we understand the term in a much more general sense that we are all in some way “disordered” because we all have a tendency to sin”.

    …that a god you’ve been taught to believe in disagrees with the very core of your being

    that is your own subjective and arbitrary opinion. How do you prove that a same-sex attraction constitutes the “very core” of someone’s being?

    LGBT people are cast out of their places of worship.

    I don’t think they should be “cast out” but they should also have the honesty and integrity to respect the Church’s belief. The Catholic Church believes that homosexual acts are a sin. Many Catholics with same-sex attractions accept this to be true; they resist their temptations, grow in virtue and in chastity, some seek help, some find healing and are able to change. Homosexuals who disagree with the Church’s teachings are completely free to find a spiritual home elsewhere in some other church. But it’s pretty hypocritical to insist on acting out one’s homosexuality and at the same time insist on remaining in the Church and then try to undermine its teachings.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Feminerd, I know I had a previous discussion with you about the Big Bang. You admitted that you don’t have a satisfactory answer. No matter how you try to explain it away, a self-creating universe is a metaphysical impossibility. Here I was raising the question to Anna.

    Sorry, but your comments about fundamentalism are morally and intellectually bankrupt. Yes, culturally “Christian” nations go to war, but not *because* they are Christian (at least not since the 16th century, and everyone agrees that if they did previously, it was in total contradiction of Christ’s teachings). Yes you can find (very few) people of Christian background who commit acts of terrorism, but no one tries to justify them as based on Christ’s teachings. Your comments only show that you must be totally ignorant of the difference between the New Testament and the Quran. Have you even read either?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    what do you mean exactly by “genderqueer” and “asexual”?

    Ex-gay therapy is demonstrably harmful

    of course the success of such therapy in many cases (some of which I know personally) is very inconvenient to those who insist on pushing the gay agenda at any cost. The only solution for them is surely to try to label anyone who disagrees with that agenda as “homophobe”, “bigot” or , or to try to legislate against such therapy. And then they have the nerve to go around and speak of “choice” and “tolerance”!

    Regarding your last paragraph, I have had extensive discussions on the topic in the last few weeks and unfortunately don’t really have the time or energy to start another one. But the fact that just about every major religion and faith in every culture and every age (apart from our current age of moral relativism and social deconstruction) agree that homosexual acts are disordered should perhaps make us stop and think for a minute.

  • tsara

    re: asexual, genderqueer.

    Do you want to know about what they mean to me, or in general? And do you want to know out of genuine curiosity, so that you can understand better? Because I’m not up to being treated like a circus freak or an abomination today.

    re: reparative therapy.
    Try reading some peer-reviewed research. Here’s a place to start:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=reparative+therapy+homosexuality

    “But the fact that just about every major religion and faith in every culture and every age (apart from our current age of moral relativism and social deconstruction) agree that homosexual acts are disordered should perhaps make us stop and think for a minute.”

    That’s a terrible reason to make people as miserable as (not just) the conservative portions of the culture is making LGBTQ people.
    Further, don’t you think we’ve ‘stopped and thought’ enough? There’s literally no evidence of harm. None. Zero.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    The universe existed before the Big Bang. It was all condensed into a single point of massive potential energy is all. We don’t know where that energy came from, nor what caused it to go from quiescent to explodey, but all that potential energy (and mass, because energy is mass and mass is energy), but it definitely existed before the Big Bang.

    I didn’t claim Christians have gone to war as “Christian nations” in a long time. I said fundamentalist Christians are just as bad as fundamentalist anyone, and that is true. The people who bomb abortion clinics or shoot doctors are totally justifying their actions on Christ’s teachings. They are applauded by other Christians who think they stopped mass- murderers, because Jesus taught that conceptuses are people too. I mean, you believe it, so Jesus must have said it, right?

    I found the Qu’ran to be slightly more war-like and slightly more progressive socially than the New Testament. There’s beautiful poetry and godawful teachings in both. The fact that in Christian countries, secular Enlightenment principles have overriden a lot of the crazy while in Muslim nations, they haven’t, doesn’t mean that Christians are inherently less wrong than Muslims. It means they have better leashes.

  • Anna

    I did not mean to accuse you of personally engaging in persecution, but I do believe the Catholic church as a whole engages in such activity and encourages its followers to do the same. Perhaps we have different opinions on what persecution entails. I would call attempting to strip away people’s legal rights persecution. I’m sure you would disagree.

    The fact that she has a point of view different than yours does not make her “intolerant.” Your claim of intolerance is entirely subjective and arbitrary, based on the fact that you think a minority group should have the “right” to call their unions “marriage” on the basis of their whims and desires. I don’t deny your right to argue these views, but you have no right to label as “intolerant” those who happen to disagree with you.

    She does not want same-sex couples to have equal civil rights, and she is in favor of using the law to prevent them from having those rights. If that’s not intolerant, I don’t know what is. What word should I use? She’s obviously prejudiced against homosexuality. She thinks it’s a bad thing, and that homosexual love is inferior to heterosexual love and does not deserve to be recognized or legitimized by the government or by society as a whole. Her views are certainly not accepting of homosexuality. So what word should I use that means the opposite of accepting?

    About indoctrination, I actually do not see the word as a pejorative on the same level as brainwashing, but I think it necessarily involves teaching children opinion as truth, presenting them with biased material, and expecting them not to challenge those claims.

    An atheist parent could certainly indoctrinate their children into atheism by presenting atheism as the only viable choice, providing biased material supporting atheism (and only atheism), and not letting their children know that they have the option to believe otherwise. There are some atheists who do this, and I disagree with it just as strongly.

    Does the Catholic church not tell children that a god is real and that a god loves them, and are the children not supposed to uncritically accept those assertions? Is a five-year-old encouraged to question the claims made in the We Love God textbook? I’m not saying it’s evil to indoctrinate, but I don’t understand pretending that’s not what’s happening. The children in that kindergarten class aren’t being given a free choice.

    Also, think about the statement you made above: in other words, the Catholics who actually think for themselves are “not fundamentalists”, i.e. dissenters, fallen away, or apostate Catholics. They are the ones who think for themselves.

    I was using it to counter your claim of brainwashing, the fact that many religious people do question their church’s claims and come to different conclusions. I don’t think most religious people are brainwashed. Indoctrinated with supernatural assumptions, sure, but not brainwashed.

    Apparently I do not think for myself since I actually agree with the Church on moral issues. Say what you want, I don’t mind, but please don’t give me that crap that you don’t have a double standard or a contemptuous tone… (perhaps it’s intentional and you don’t really notice)

    Well, you’ve already decided preemptively that you’re going to agree with everything the Vatican says, even things in the future which you have no knowledge of, and that you’re not willing to ever change your mind and go against what they say. I’m honestly not sure how that’s thinking for yourself.

    I don’t mean to be contemptuous. If it helps, I don’t think you’re incapable of thinking for yourself. Obviously, you left Catholicism once to become a fundamentalist Protestant, so you made your own choice there. Now you’ve made the choice to follow Catholicism again. But it doesn’t seem to me like you’re currently engaging in independent thought, if everything you think echoes the Vatican perfectly.

    However, I don’t honestly believe (this is just my personal opinion) you were given a free choice about acquiring supernatural beliefs, given what you were taught as a child. I think you were indoctrinated, but that’s not unique to you. I think children from Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, etc. families are also indoctrinated with certain supernatural assumptions.

    Who is trying to use the law to “stigmatize and delegitimize” atheists? Lots of people disagree with gay “marriage” because they think it will be bad for society. This is not the same as stigmatizing and delegitimizing people.

    You see religion as a protected class (which it is), but where I live, so is sexual orientation. If I had the same appalling “we know best” attitude, then I would attempt to take away Catholic people’s civil rights (under the pretense of their religion being harmful), the same way they tried to take away the rights of the people I love and care about.

    Are you honestly trying to say that the Catholic church does not attempt to use the law to delegitimize people? Are you familiar with what happened in California in 2008? Same-sex couples had the right to legally marry. The Catholic church came in and attempted to delegitimize those couples and take away their civil rights. I live here. I heard all their speeches and and saw their signs. It was non-stop stigmatization.

    If people kill themselves for such opinions, then it is tragic but they are the ones who have a huge problem, not Emily. What a nice way to stifle freedom of expression. In other words, don’t support gay “marriage” (no matter how respectfully) and you are (at least indirectly) to blame for the suicide of innocent people.

    Wow. I don’t know how you could say that. It’s a vulnerable teenager’s fault if he kills himself after being told horrible things about homosexuality his entire life? Such a statement seems to me entirely lacking in empathy and humanity.

    Yes, your culture of stigmatization leads to people’s deaths. I’m sorry if you don’t like that, but it’s true. Many people have killed themselves, and many more have tried to kill themselves. It’s not just about gay marriage. It’s about telling people that their love and their relationships are harmful, unnatural, and inferior.

    Emily has the right to freedom of expression. But that’s why I think it is important to speak out (strongly!) against what she has to say.

    another serious failure in grasping important nuances. It is homosexual *acts* that are disordered, not the person (unless we understand the term in a much more general sense that we are all in some way “disordered” because we all have a tendency to sin”.

    Such a “distinction” is meaningless to people who find themselves in crisis because of what they have been told about homosexuality.

    that is your own subjective and arbitrary opinion. How do you prove that a same-sex attraction constitutes the “very core” of someone’s being?

    Most people are not asexual or aromantic. The vast majority of people desire to share their lives with an intimate partner. Is a straight man’s relationship with his wife and children not the “very core” of his being? Many people describe their spouses and children as their “heart.” Those are the kinds of feelings that accompany intimate relationships.

    I don’t think they should be “cast out” but they should also have the honesty and integrity to respect the Church’s belief. The Catholic Church believes that homosexual acts are a sin. Many Catholics with same-sex attractions accept this to be true; they resist their temptations, grow in virtue and in chastity, some seek help, some find healing and are able to change. Homosexuals who disagree with the Church’s teachings are completely free to find a spiritual home elsewhere in some other church. But it’s pretty hypocritical to insist on acting out one’s homosexuality and at the same time insist on remaining in the Church and then try to undermine its teachings.

    Tough luck then, for the gay and lesbian Catholics who actually feel attached to their church. Look, I think they should leave, too, but only because reform is futile. There’s no mechanism for reform in the Catholic church. It’s a top-down hierarchy. Anyone trying to agitate for change is just in for a lot of pain and suffering. I don’t blame them for wanting to reform it, though.

    I just think you display an astounding lack of empathy on all of these fronts. No sympathy for vulnerable people who kill themselves because they’ve been made to feel there is something wrong with them, no sympathy for people who are forced to choose between a religion they love and being able to live an honest life.

  • Anna

    On the “decent people” remark, you are right. That could certainly be seen as condescending, which was not my intent.

    This is a difficult issue. I’m sure you believe you are a good person. I don’t think you have bad intentions. I believe you are sincere. I’m sure you’re trying to do what you think is right. However, I do think your views are fundamentally harmful and immoral, and thus not “decent” in any way.

    I’m not sure I could call you a “decent person,” based on what you’ve advocated here. That’s not to say you’re all bad. If it helps, I think a lot of good people are trapped in bad religions.

    another incorrect statement. Actually there are tons of people, many of them quite intelligent, who grew up with no particular religious belief and then become religious

    Quite true, but most of those people were still taught to assume that gods either exist or are likely to exist. “No particular religious belief” does not mean that they weren’t taught that the supernatural is real.

    As for your comments on the origins of the universe, as I said somewhere else, I’m really not big on science, but I would encourage you to read more on the topic if it interests you. There are tons of books examining evolution from a non-supernatural point of view.

    This has no relevance to atheism, however. Atheism is merely a lack of belief in deities. It says nothing about the ultimate origins of the universe. All I would say is that the response to a current scientific mystery should simply be “We don’t know yet,” rather than making up an answer.

    Are you seriously saying that you are disturbed by the fact that a book intended for 5-year olds does not present a whole range of points of view??? That’s really weird. Of course if it’s a catechism text, the idea is to pass on the faith.

    Of course it’s expected. I’m just explaining why I find this to be indoctrination. The Catholic church even calls it “faith formation.” The children weren’t born with the faith. The faith has to be formed by adults. The children aren’t told that the supernatural concepts the book presents are simply one opinion out of many.

    Again, lots of people have experienced God and know that He is real. You may think that raising children as blank slates, teaching them to believe that there is no such thing as God or truth is good. That secularist point of view is at odds with the universal human experience of all cultures – that it is actually good to pass on the knowledge that we have (especially about God) to our children.

    If they’re your kids, you can do that. Again, I was just explaining why I find it to be indoctrination. It’s not giving them a free choice.

    ehm, seriously? You really think your point of view on Catholicism is “accurate” and “objective”. You really want me to take you seriously on that?

    I didn’t say I would talk to my children about Catholicism. Obviously, I have a negative opinion of it, and I would like my children to form their own opinion. I believe I said I would present them with accurate, objective information about all religions, past and present. How about The Usborne Book of World Religions, for a start? I have a copy of this book all ready and waiting to go. I would challenge you to find any bias in its contents.

    http://www.amazon.com/Usborne-World-Religions-Susan-Meredith/dp/0746067135/ref=dp_ob_title_bk

    actually yes. Not read the Catechism? Thomas Aquinas? Teresa of Avila? Edith Stein? John Paul II? Ratzinger? You cannot name one serious Catholic text you have read, and in the same breath claim that you have “a good understanding of Catholic theology”?

    We did read Aquinas. I’m not sure if we read any of the others. Fair enough. I’ll concede your point that I am not an expert on Catholic theology. I feel I have a good basic understanding of it, but I am an outsider, and I am not particularly interested in every little detail.

    What kind of a Catholic university? Which one? A faithful one that actually teaches Catholicism or an apostate one like Georgetown or the like?

    Ah, of course, it was not a “real” Catholic university. According to you, it couldn’t have been, because I didn’t meet any fundamentalist Catholics there. I did have some nuns as professors. Also a former Jesuit priest. He was quite interesting. Of course, I’m sure you would tag all of them as apostates.

    And taking three (vague) religion courses makes you knowledgeable about Christianity? Which courses? What texts did you read? Forgive my skepticism, but I see no evidence that you actually understand Christianity

    Old Testament, New Testament, and Social Psychology of Religious Values. The last was the most heavily religious. I also took some philosophy courses. It’s so long ago I don’t recall every text we read. New Jerusalem Bible, for sure, accompanied by lectures, Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore, I’m sure we read something by Aquinas. There’s no doubt more I’m not remembering.

    Actually you can’t fully understand the reasons because you have no relationship with God. You have not had a living encounter with Christ, and it’s impossible to fully understand the nature of love (and why these things are harmful to love) without such an encounter.

    Well, that’s convenient. You’ve just declared that no one outside your religion can understand your religion. The only way I can understand it is if I already agree with you.

    No. This is a good example of your repeated failure to understand a very important (and paradoxical) nuance: that yes, there is plenty of sin in the world, and many children are conceived involving some form of sin, and at the same time we ought to welcome into the world and love unconditionally every child, no matter in what circumstances they were conceived.

    Okay, well, we will have to agree to disagree. A Catholic priest tells a woman “you should not conceive this child!” She doesn’t listen and gets pregnant anyway. The priest then says the child should be welcomed and loved, but he still says the child should not have been conceived in the first place. I don’t see that as welcoming or loving or accepting, but further arguing on this point seems a tad futile.

    As for your views on Muslims, for such a devout Catholic, you seem unaware that you’re supposed to have a friendlier attitude towards Islam:

    But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place among whom are the Muslims: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day (Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium 16, November 21, 1964).

    The Church has also a high regard for the Muslims. They worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men. They strive to submit themselves without reserve to the hidden decrees of God, just as Abraham submitted himself to God’s plan, to whose faith Muslims eagerly link their own. Although not acknowledging him as God, they venerate Jesus as a prophet… (Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate (3), October 28, 1965).

    Again, I never said their theology was identical, merely that I see no major differences between the fundamentalists of one sect and the fundamentalists of another. I see all fundamentalism as harmful. How much reading have you done about Islam in America, by the way? I just finished a book about a fundamentalist Muslim college in California. You’d fit right in with the founders of that college. They are true-blue social conservatives, just like you are.

    http://www.amazon.com/Light-without-Fire-Americas-College/dp/0807001635

    I would not want to live in a Muslim theocracy, but I would similarly not want to live in a Catholic one.

  • Anna

    Thing is, no one is totally objective. The culture has become more and more godless in recent years, and so it’s not surprising that the courts are increasingly moving towards more godless laws.

    The vast majority of people in the United States believe in a deity. Much to the consternation of atheists, the culture is hardly godless. Regardless, our government is supposed to be secular, and laws cannot be based on religious doctrine.

    The founders of the country are probably turning in their graves right now. Yes of course they founded a secular nation based on the separation of Church and state, but they also believed that morality is based on some form of natural law. Do you really think that they would have advocated so-called “reproductive” and “gay rights”?

    Of course not they would not have supported gay rights, but neither did they support the rights of black people or women. Some of the founders owned slaves. Slavery wasn’t abolished until 1863. Women didn’t get the right to vote until 1920. As for reproductive rights, since there were actually no anti-abortion laws until the 19th century (and those only because of the danger botched abortions posed to women), I doubt the founders would have anything at all to say about it.

    In any case, they were not supernatural men with mystical powers. They weren’t perfect. But they formed our style of government, and we follow their constitution today.

    How do you determine what is a “right” anyway? If you base it on non-theistic moral relativism, the definition of “rights” seems totally arbitrary. This seems to give free reign to any fringe minority group to demand to have whatever lifestyle it advocates enshrined in law, as long as they can garner enough popular support for it.

    Well, legal rights are based on what’s in the constitution. You can pull up a bunch of examples quite easily of the rights that citizens can expect.

    fictional? in what world do you live in? How many are “most people”? close to 1.5 million abortions per year in the US alone and divorce rates around 50% are facts, not fiction.

    So most 20 year olds have experienced all those things? As I said before, it’s like a fundamentalist’s fever dream. If you don’t like abortion, STDS, or unplanned pregnancies then you should be supporting comprehensive sex education, but you don’t.

    teaching teens that sleeping around is morally fine as long as you use a condom is hardly “educating people about sexual health”…

    It’s not the government’s job to moralize. They should be providing accurate, objective health information. Judging consensual, private sexual activities as “morally ok” has nothing to do with such education. The whole reason we have a problem with STDs and unintended pregnancies is because people are systematically denied access to education and healthcare.

    if you would make a little effort to see things outside of your ingrained way of thinking you would see that it is true. Masturbation, harmless? Have you never heard of sexual addiction? Most guys today are struggling with addictions to pornography and masturbation. The essence of sexuality is to orient one’s affection and love towards another, and these sins are all about self-indulgence and self-gratification. Then people wonder why so many men see women as mere objects of self-gratification.

    Wow. All I can say is that the Catholic church certainly did quite a number on you. For someone in 2013 to be railing against masturbation, well, truly it boggles the mind. Are we back in the 19th century, where doctors would tie children’s hands to their beds and make them wear chastity devices to prevent them from touching themselves? You’re not going to find anyone in regular society who still holds such antiquated views. I honestly feel sorry for all the men (and women) who are wracked with guilt every time they bring themselves to orgasm.

    that is false, of course. The idea is that marriage is a free, mutual gift of self to the other (not that the other has any claim on your body).

    If you say so. It’s the “belonging totally” thing that made me suspicious.

    divorced and remarried Catholics are welcome at church and are still part of the Catholic community, but they are not allowed to receive communion.

    Most of them do receive communion, even if they’re not supposed to. I know several. And anyway, it’s quite the double standard. They don’t allow same-sex couples to participate the same way they allow divorced and remarried couples to participate. Would a gay or lesbian couple be welcome at your church? Would their kids be enrolled in your church’s school?

    One Catholic school kicked out a child from a gay family because they said it would confuse the other children about Catholic teaching, but isn’t it just as confusing for them to hear a classmate talk proudly about her mom and stepdad, dad and stepmom, and assorted step and half siblings?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/05/boulder-catholic-school-k_n_487172.html

  • Anna

    Anna, you have challenged me to look more deeply into these questions, and I am motivated to do some more readings about this topic.

    If you’re sincerely interested, I could suggest some books.

    I remain very puzzled at how you fail to see the obvious essential difference between man and woman, father and mother – a difference that transcends any particular activities that they may do. You seem to dismiss their essential sexual difference and complementary roles in procreation as marginal or almost insignificant, and to reduce the essence of manhood and womanhood down to the ability to act in a certain way.

    We’re equally puzzled then, because I’m still not understanding this “essential difference.” The way you’re talking about it, it seems magical or mystical. Even using the word “essence” makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly what you mean.

    Frankly, I just don’t see a person’s biological sex as all that important. I’m female. I was born female. I’m comfortable being female. But I don’t see this as my primary characteristic. I don’t think it dictates my personality or interests or that it gives me some “essence” that is impossible to define.

    Similarly, I’m heterosexual. I’m attracted to men and have only had relationships with men, but I don’t see those relationships or that attraction as being different from the same-sex attractions and relationships experienced by my gay and lesbian friends and family members. I don’t think being a straight couple makes my boyfriend and me special or unique, and I abhor the notion that it makes us superior in some way.

    In my eyes, “mother” and “father” are just the words our society uses for male and female parents. A parent is a parent, and parenting skills do not depend on sex. I firmly believe (and have experienced!) that either sex is capable of properly providing for a child’s needs. I don’t believe that men and women need to have certain roles or be restricted to relating to their children in a certain way based on their sex.

    You seem to think that people are entirely predetermined (or born) as gays and lesbians. Do you really think that we are determined by our attractions and feelings? Should our attractions determine our moral choices and acts, or should an inner sense of morality rather guide and determine our actions – sometimes by denying our own whims, attractions and desires?

    Why on earth should anyone deny attractions and desires that hurt no one? There’s no “inner sense of morality” that makes people anti-gay. People don’t feel bad about being gay unless they’re told to feel bad about it. And, yes, I believe all evidence points to the fact that people’s sexual orientation is innate. That goes for everyone: gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, etc.

    Also, what do you think of the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever for the existence of a “gay gene”? How is it possible that you can have twins (so with the same DNA) where one ends up as a homosexual and the other heterosexual?

    If you’re really curious, you might want to do some reading on sexual orientation. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that sexual orientation is biological.

    What do you think of “ex-gays” who successfully come out of the gay lifestyle, get married and had kids (I know a few)?

    Every reputable medical organization has condemned so-called “reparative therapy.” It is harmful and does not work. Even the “ex-gays” themselves will tell you that their same-sex attractions do not disappear.

    Or what do you think of gays who also affirm that the homosexual lifestyle is ultimately the result of a choice?

    Sexuality can be fluid, especially for women. However, if it is truly a choice for some people, then I would assume they are bisexual to some degree. I think it would be impossible to have a fulfilling sexual and romantic relationship with someone you are not attracted to. Regardless, what does it matter? If someone wanted to “choose” to identify as gay, it is no one else’s business.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    re: asexual, genderqueer – what they mean to you, and yes I am genuinely interested.

    re. reparative therapy – I have heard many claims to the contrary, including friends who have come out of the gay lifestyle and were grateful for this change. I will look into some of the research, but I suspect that it is agenda driven rather than based on fact, or resting on false presuppositions such as the idea that we should passively allow our actions to be driven by our desires/attractions.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    The people who bomb abortion clinics or shoot doctors are totally justifying their actions on Christ’s teachings. They are applauded by other Christians who think they stopped mass- murderers, because Jesus taught that conceptuses are people too.

    Could you please give me some solid evidence to back up your outrageous statement? I mean, not the isolated statement of some lunatic, but examples of “other Christians,” communities or respected pastors who “applaud” the bombing of abortion clinics or shoot doctors?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I would call attempting to strip away people’s legal rights persecution. I’m sure you would disagree.

    I don’t disagree with your statement, I disagree with your premise and definition of terms. Define “legal rights”. It seems to me that you really mean by that the arbitrary whims and desires of any potential minority pressure group, detached from the natural law and common good. Whatever arbitrary “rights” you claim for gay marriage may as well work with claiming equally arbitrary “rights” for polygamists or fans of incest as “marriage.”

    Indoctrinated with supernatural assumptions, sure, but not brainwashed

    actually, belief in the supernatural is very rational. Wholesale rejection of the spiritual world is irrational following simple metaphysical principles. In the ancient world, the great philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle (not “indoctrinated” by any religion) came to the conclusion based on reason alone that a world in constant movement made of contingent beings cannot go back in a chain of infinite regress, or have come into existence out of nothing. So Plato concluded that all beings originate from “the Good” and Aristotle arrived at the notion of a spiritual “Unmoved Mover.” It’s basic metaphysics. Atheism is irrational and the product of a lack of metaphysical reflection. (I forget if I already posted this link for you, but it comes to mind now: http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm)

    Same-sex couples had the right to legally marry. The Catholic church came in and attempted to delegitimize those couples and take away their civil rights. I live here. I heard all their speeches and saw their signs. It was non-stop stigmatization.

    again, I think that the core of our disagreement lies in what constitutes “legal rights” – should they be based on the arbitrary whims of any minority group or rather on the natural law and common good.

    It’s a vulnerable teenager’s fault if he kills himself after being told horrible things about homosexuality his entire life? Such a statement seems to me entirely lacking in empathy and humanity.

    what I meant to say was not to blame your hypothetical teenager for his suicide (in cases when it happens it really is tragic, but I don’t think empathy is required for hypothetical scenarios). My point was that I completely reject your attempt at stifling free speech by guilt trip, trying to put responsibility on people like Emily as allegedly responsible for teen suicides. This is completely unacceptable – a form of thought police (and you were complaining about that very idea not long ago). Following this rationale we would be muzzled from any moral discourse just because we might hurt someone’s sensitivity.

    no sympathy for people who are forced to choose between a religion they love and being able to live an honest life

    that’s an oxymoron. What would you say about a bunch of guys who love to eat steak but adamantly insist on being members of a vegetarian’s club, and then get offended when they are told that their lifestyle is inconsistent with the club’s very identity? If people act out on their homosexuality, they obviously do not “love” Catholicism and would be much better somewhere else.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Atheism is merely a lack of belief in deities. It says nothing about the ultimate origins of the universe. All I would say is that the response to a current scientific mystery should simply be “We don’t know yet,” rather than making up an answer.

    As I said elsewhere, atheism is metaphysically irrational, impossible and untenable. See the link in my other post.

    The Usborne Book of World Religions: seems like a decent introductory book, had not heard of it.

    of course, it was not a “real” Catholic university. According to you, it couldn’t have been, because I didn’t meet any fundamentalist Catholics there. I did have some nuns as professors. Also a former Jesuit priest.

    seriously, which university was it? Is it really so unfair to say that if you want to get a fair picture of Catholicism, you would best learn from people who believe it? Would I learn more about orthodox Judaism by studying with a rabbi over a sabbath meal, or with a liberal agnostic Jew over some pork chops? It doesn’t strike you as a little bit odd and problematic that you got your knowledge of Catholicism from a *former* priest and don’t know a single Catholic who actually believes in Catholicism?

    You’ve just declared that no one outside your religion can understand your religion.

    you can understand it partially, I suppose, but only partially. This is because Christianity is not primarily about following doctrines or rules, but about a personal encounter and living relationship with the risen Christ.

    I know the passages you have cited about Muslims. Note again the same distinction that you keep missing: these passages don’t talk about *Islam* (the ideology/religion) but about *Muslims* (the people). The Vatican II documents try to find and affirm common ground between Christianity and people of other religions including Islam. This doesn’t mean that there are substantial and profound differences in many other respects.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    I have nothing but anecdotes, unfortunately. I unfriended many people on Facebook.

    And truthfully, “applauded” was too strong a word. Rationalized or supported would be better terms. There was a lot along the lines of “Murder is wrong, but …”. No. Murder is wrong. It’s like saying “I’m not a racist, but …”. The next words out of your (generic your, not you specifically) mouth will almost inevitably be horribly racist.

    There were a lot of organizations taking that line. If you click here, you will get a lot of links to individuals supporting him and organizations talking around their support for him.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    One Catholic school kicked out a child from a gay family because they said it would confuse the other children about Catholic teaching, but isn’t it just as confusing for them to hear a classmate talk proudly about her mom and stepdad, dad and stepmom, and assorted step and half siblings?

    the question of children of divorced and remarried parents is delicate, I confess, but not as problematic as attempts to redefine the very nature of marriage. Actually, I find the response of the priest on the case in Colorado that you cite to be quite reasonable and charitable, similar to what I said earlier about meat eaters wanting to be in a vegetarian club: “Why would good parents want their children to learn something they don’t believe in? It doesn’t make sense.”

    http://www.fatherbillsblog.com/heart/2010/03/what-wisdom-is-at-work-in-not-having-children-of-a-gay-marriage-in-a-catholic-school.html

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    I’m going to leave most of this alone, but the stuff at the very bottom. It’s the same distinction you make between attacking gay people and attacking gay people’s homosexuality. It’s equally erroneous in both places. Do you really think a Muslim is going to feel better if you say, “I like you as a person but your religion is an abomination”? No. They’re going to (rightly) feel attacked. I mean, you yourself have proved it over and over. Every time people say that you seem a nice enough guy, but Catholicism is immoral/evil/wrong/unsupported by evidence/anything negative, you get very defensive. You feel attacked, even though the “sin” and the “sinner” have been separated. That’s because we simply can’t separate them like that; religious identity is at the core of who we feel we are. So is sexual orientation.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Actually I don’t think that’s true. Yes I defend Catholicism because I agree with it, and I don’t like to see it distorted, but I don’t feel personally attacked. All in all, with just a few slips, I find that Anna has been fairly respectful with me though pretty aggressive against Catholicism – so I give her credit for that.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Sure, feel free to suggest some books.

    You may want to look into these (I’m not endorsing them as I have not read them, but I might pick some of them up)

    http://goo.gl/9k9Z5
    http://goo.gl/Q7yI6
    http://goo.gl/PAXGy
    http://goo.gl/jWQqk
    http://goo.gl/Ph4JO

  • tsara

    re: reparative therapy.

    My sources are from within the medical and psychiatric communities and constitute the best available evidence. I can imagine that there are reasons why some people would be more comfortable living as though they are straight, whether they actually are or not. And as long as reparative therapy is presented as spiritual (rather than genuinely medical) therapy, and is given only to adults (and not minors), I don’t object all that much. I see no reason, though, why I, as an atheist, should be expected to make myself miserable for the sake of Catholic doctrine.

    re: asexual, genderqueer.

    My asexuality means that I do not experience (or understand) sexual attraction. I have no desire to ever have sex (and I’m actually mildly repulsed by the idea) and it takes effort to think sexually or experience arousal. I’m also perfectly fine with this, though open to the idea that the necessary conditions for experiencing attraction just haven’t occurred yet (I’m fairly young) — and if they do, I’ll reconsider the label. It’s just a word that currently seems to describe me well.

    ‘Genderqueer’ is a word that I’ve only much more recently started to describe myself with. It’s also considerably more complicated, and a hell of a lot touchier a subject for me. Fair warning.

    Genderqueer is something of a catch-all term for people who don’t identify (or don’t identify exclusively) as either men or women. For myself, I could probably (currently) be described equally well as ‘questioning’, ‘unidentified’, or ‘uncomfortable’. It’s the last one of those that’s really the key: I am uncomfortable with my body. I am uncomfortable with the way people interact with my assigned role. I am uncomfortable with both of the gender binary labels. I am uncomfortable with the way gender binary labels make people assume things about my body and my mind. I am uncomfortable with the way society cares about what’s between my legs. And, repeating for emphasis, I am uncomfortable with my body.
    On the positive side, being referred to with gender-neutral pronouns gives me happy feelings. Looking androgynous gives me happy feelings. I’ve been looking at HRT and the idea of changing my voice really appeals to me — not because there’s anything wrong with my voice, but because it could be so much more awesome.

    Is that making sense?

  • Anna

    Why isn’t it as problematic? I thought all sexual sins were supposed to be equal, but it’s clear that divorced and remarried couples are treated very differently by your church. If it’s confusing for kids in a Catholic school to hear about two moms and two dads, then it should be equally confusing for them to hear about stepmoms and stepdads.

    Most people who send their kids to Catholic schools are not fundamentalist Catholics. They use birth control, get divorced, remarry, support same-sex marriage, etc. If those dissenting straight families are allowed, then why not gay families? What’s with the double standard?

    I’m not defending them. Frankly, I think Catholic schools teach false things, so I’m not in favor of anyone sending their kids there. However, I personally know people with same-sex parents who attended Catholic schools. Where I live, it’s actually fairly common to find a school that will take kids from gay families, Jewish families, etc.

    In any case, I’m not arguing that they should take them. I’m actually fine with private Catholic schools discriminating in employment and enrollment. I just don’t think the double standard makes sense. I find it hypocritical. If the Catholic church wants to be hardliners about gay people, then they ought to punish everyone else who fails to toe the line.

  • Anna

    As I said elsewhere, atheism is metaphysically irrational, impossible and untenable. See the link in my other post.

    Well, atheists would disagree! This is, of course, the central disagreement between theists and atheists. Both sides have been arguing about it for thousands of years, so I’m sure neither of us is going to come up with anything new. If you want to understand atheism, I would recommend books written by atheists. What Is Atheism? by Douglas Krueger would be a decent introduction.

    I’d rather not give the name of the university I attended, merely because it’s small and I still live in the same city, but it’s a well-respected school founded by an order of nuns. And, yes, I did not encounter any fundamentalists there. Although to be fair, perhaps some of my nun professors were, but we didn’t talk about religion in secular classes. Based on their demeanor and what they talked about, my impression is that the nuns were quite progressive. There seemed to be no problem about homosexuality or birth control on campus, for example.

    I’m well aware you don’t think people who disagree with the Vatican should call themselves Catholics. But just like orthodox Jews are not the only Jews, fundamentalist Catholics are not the only Catholics. In fact, they’re a minority of Catholics, at least in the United States. I’d actually prefer liberal Catholics to leave, although for different reasons than you would. I’m not interested in their theological disagreements. I care about what their belief system does to the world around them.

    In any case, I know you think I should have been educated by priests and nuns who were loyal to the Vatican and that my Catholic university was not really Catholic. Fair enough, but I just pointed to that to show that I have a basic understanding of your religion. I mean, I did slog through the entire New Jerusalem Bible, so give me some credit for that, LOL. I may not be an expert on every detail, but since I don’t even accept the foundational premise, arguing about theological details seems a little silly.

    you can understand it partially, I suppose, but only partially. This is because Christianity is not primarily about following doctrines or rules, but about a personal encounter and living relationship with the risen Christ.

    Well, it just seems awfully convenient to declare that the only people who can fully understand are those who already accept that your claims are true.

    As for Islam, I don’t believe I ever tried to argue that your religions were similar theologically, only that I don’t see the fundamentalists of one as being different from the fundamentalists of another. Heck, if Hinduism and Buddhism have fundamentalists, I’ll throw them in with the Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims, too. I don’t care about theology. It really doesn’t even interest me. I’m looking at the way those religions expect their followers to behave.

  • 3lemenope

    Based on their demeanor and what they talked about, my impression is that the nuns were quite progressive.

    Nuns tend to be progressive, to the point where disagreements between the female orders and the church hierarchy have become downright vicious. It is, for my money, the most underplayed inside-the-Vatican story out there and the one most likely to seriously undermine the continuity of the church going forward.

    Heck, if Hinduism and Buddhism have fundamentalists, I’ll throw them in with the Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims, too.

    They do indeed. Pretty nasty ones, too. Even Sikhs and Jains have fundies. Two fundie Sikhs assassinated the Prime Minister of India not so long ago.

  • Anna

    I don’t disagree with your statement, I disagree with your premise and definition of terms. Define “legal rights”.

    Okay, when a group has been granted the right to marry, then it is a legal right. Same-sex marriage was already legal in California. Then religious conservatives decided to strip away the already-existing legal right. I would define that as persecution.

    Frankly, I’m a little confused why you seem so interested in American politics? You’re in Canada, and Canada already has nationwide same-sex marriage. It’s been legal there since 2005. So your country’s religious conservatives have already lost that battle.

    actually, belief in the supernatural is very rational. Wholesale rejection of the spiritual world is irrational following simple metaphysical principles. In the ancient world, the great philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle (not “indoctrinated” by any religion) came to the conclusion based on reason alone that a world in constant movement made of contingent beings cannot go back in a chain of infinite regress, or have come into existence out of nothing.

    The ancient world was hardly devoid of supernaturalism! It would seem ridiculous to me to claim that Plato was not taught about the supernatural as a young child, as Ancient Greece was brimming over with gods and goddesses. Are you trying to suggest Plato was raised in ignorance of them? Plato was surely exposed to those deities just as modern children are exposed to the biblical god today. Plato was also a human being, with no magical or supernatural powers. The people in his society believed in the supernatural for the same reasons that people in modern cultures believe in the supernatural: because they were told it was real.

    what I meant to say was not to blame your hypothetical teenager for his suicide (in cases when it happens it really is tragic, but I don’t think empathy is required for hypothetical scenarios). My point was that I completely reject your attempt at stifling free speech by guilt trip, trying to put responsibility on people like Emily as allegedly responsible for teen suicides. This is completely unacceptable – a form of thought police (and you were complaining about that very idea not long ago). Following this rationale we would be muzzled from any moral discourse just because we might hurt someone’s sensitivity.

    When did I ever advocate stifling free speech? Emily should absolutely have the right to post things that I think are horrible, even things which may lead vulnerable people to kill themselves. People are allowed to express unpopular, harmful views. I would make no attempt to stop her from speaking. However, the fact that her views are so harmful is the very reason why I think it’s important to speak up about them. I would like to see her views disappear due to education, not force.

    Yes, I do think Emily and everyone else who contributes to the culture of stigmatization in our society shares responsibility for LGBT suicides. They happen all the time, and people who survive their suicide attempts talk about what drove them to that level of desperation. I can’t force Emily or anyone else to feel guilty. But I can certainly say that I think they should feel guilty.

    If people act out on their homosexuality, they obviously do not “love” Catholicism and would be much better somewhere else.

    So, again, tough luck. It doesn’t matter how they feel. It doesn’t matter how much pain and suffering they’ve experienced over the issue. After having been indoctrinated into those beliefs in the first place and developing the emotional attachment the church wanted them to develop, they’re just told to get out.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Sadly, those other religions do have fundamentalists too. Fundamentalist Hindus stir up trouble in India on a regular basis (by “trouble”, I mean “mobs that go through Muslim sections of town burning things and beating people”). The Buddhists in Myanmar discriminate horribly against the Muslim minority; a law was recently proposed to limit Muslim families only to two children. I don’t know if it passed or not.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    thanks for sharing that about yourself. Interesting. May I ask how old you are?

    I have no desire to ever have sex (and I’m actually mildly repulsed by the idea) and it takes effort to think sexually or experience arousal.

    I don’t see anything wrong with that, actually it could be an advantage. Just a random desire to have sex pertains more to instinct than to love, obviously, and it is best kept in check anyway. Sex is supposed to be the deepest expression of love between two spouses who love each other and are committed to each other for life. Perhaps the desire will come when you meet the right person?

    As for your other thoughts on sexual identity, I would encourage you to turn to God and ask Him to give you some clarity on that. He created you and loves you unconditionally. You are more than your feelings, and you will be happier by discovering the purpose for which he has made you, rather than trying to somehow invent it on the basis of passing feelings.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    no, not all sexual sins are equal. But you seem to be fixated on the sin part. Catholicism is about loving each other. We don’t spend time talking about sin nearly as much as you keep coming back to it.

    then why not gay families? What’s with the double standard?

    that’s a fair question. There is no “sin test” for admission in Catholic schools, but do understand that same-sex “marriage” is such a radical departure from the natural family structure that it’s hardly surprising that Catholic schools would have a problem with it. And again, before you accuse them to be hypocritical, maybe you should ask yourself why Catholics living in flagrant contradiction to the Church’s teachings would want to send their kids to a Catholic school that they know would teach them things contrary to what they believe and live. How is that not hypocritical?

  • Anna

    So you’re saying being in a gay relationship is a worse “sin” than adultery? The Catholic church says that divorced and remarried people are “in a situation of public and permanent adultery.”

    The reason I’m fixated on the “sin” part is because that’s all Catholicism seems to be about, excluding people from their churches and schools based on supposed “sin” and trying to use the law to ban things they consider “sin.” If this religion is about love, I’m certainly not feeling it.

    I’m not defending dissenting Catholics who want to send their children to Catholic school. I think it would be better for the kids to go to a secular school, anyway. Sure, Catholics who use birth control and get divorced and remarried are hypocritical, too. I’m just pointing out the double standard. I actually wish your church would enforce stricter rules because I think that would jolt some of those liberal Catholics into not supporting the institution anymore.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Well, atheists would disagree! This is, of course, the central disagreement between theists and atheists.

    they might disagree but that can’t answer the claim that a universe can’t self-create. Atheism is ultimately irrational. What is there to understand about it? That there is no God and that we are the result of pure chance, little more than intelligent animals, and that our ultimate destiny is to lose everything we hold dear and rot in the ground?

    I’m well aware you don’t think people who disagree with the Vatican should call themselves Catholics.

    no, I’m fine if they call themselves Catholics, they just shouldn’t claim to represent Catholicism.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    when a group has been granted the right to marry, then it is a legal right

    you seem to confirm my impression that you understand “rights” as the purely arbitrary whims and desires of any interest group. How does your definition of “rights” differ from, say, those who would want marriage extended to polygamy or incestual relations?

    Plato was surely exposed to those deities just as modern children are exposed to the biblical god today.

    your comment suggests that you have not read Plato. Have you? Plato’s philosophy is completely removed from the Greek myths. Of course he knew of them, but his writings have nothing to do with them. You keep hanging onto the strange fallacy that if anyone grew up with some knowledge of the “supernatural” then it seems to invalidate any subsequent argument or validity in their worldview (the “indoctrination” argument). By the same reasoning I could dismiss in an instant everything you have ever said to me: since you grew up in a “non-supernatural” setting you have been “indoctrinated” to think that way (and I doubt that studying with dissenting Catholics really gave you a balanced or accurate picture of Christianity).

    When did I ever advocate stifling free speech?

    you are indirectly stifling free speech by insinuating that the respectful critique of certain moral actions are to be blamed for suicides. That’s just ridiculous. By the same reasoning, I could go around blaming you and other atheists who critique Christianity for the suicide of any Christian who was thrown into an existential crisis and lost his/her faith due to your writings.

  • Anna

    Claiming that atheism is irrational doesn’t make it so. Although atheism has nothing to do with the origins of the universe, I’m not the best person to discuss that. I’d have to point you to actual scientists. There are plenty of books written on the subject. I’m sure someone else could suggest titles.

    What is there to understand about it? That there is no God and that we are the result of pure chance, little more than intelligent animals, and that our ultimate destiny is to lose everything we hold dear and rot in the ground?

    I understand the appeal of afterlife scenarios, but I’m afraid I don’t think there is evidence to support any of your supernatural assumptions. Out of curiosity, have you read any books on atheism?

    no, I’m fine if they call themselves Catholics, they just shouldn’t claim to represent Catholicism.

    Fair enough, but I don’t think either of us can stop them.

  • Anna

    you seem to confirm my impression that you understand “rights” as the purely arbitrary whims and desires of any interest group.

    No, legal rights are granted by the government, which bases them on what’s found in the constitution. In California in 2008, same-sex couples had the right to legally marry. They weren’t pretending to have that right. They already did, and then the religious conservatives came in to strip it away.

    How does your definition of “rights” differ from, say, those who would want marriage extended to polygamy or incestual relations?

    I’m not following. I suppose those people could advocate for marriage rights, but they don’t currently have them.

    your comment suggests that you have not read Plato. Have you? Plato’s philosophy is completely removed from the Greek myths. Of course he knew of them, but his writings have nothing to do with them.

    Yes, I read Plato in college. I did not mean to say that Plato’s writings had anything to do with the Greek gods, only that he was exposed to them just as surely as modern children are exposed to the Christian god.

    You keep hanging onto the strange fallacy that if anyone grew up with some knowledge of the “supernatural” then it seems to invalidate any subsequent argument or validity in their worldview (the “indoctrination” argument).

    Well, close enough. Being taught to believe in the supernatural biases people towards supernatural assumptions. If they’re told it’s real, they’re more likely to believe it’s real or assume that it’s likely to be real.

    By the same reasoning I could dismiss in an instant everything you have ever said to me: since you grew up in a “non-supernatural” setting you have been “indoctrinated” to think that way

    Uh, I was exposed to the supernatural, too. Every child in American society is. The main difference between me and other children is that adults never told me it was real, at least not directly. I did come across assertions that it was real in books, in movies, and on television. Still a certain level of bias, but no one ever told me to believe in a god or told me to believe in an afterlife. That’s the opposite of indoctrination. I could have started believing it was real, but if I had, it would have been the result of free exploration, not something drilled into my head when I was three years old.

    (and I doubt that studying with dissenting Catholics really gave you a balanced or accurate picture of Christianity).

    That wasn’t my only exposure to Christianity. I’ve read a ton of books about many different Christian (and other) denominations. I’m really not sure what else you would have wanted me to do. I read the Bible, I read C.S. Lewis, I’ve been to plenty of religious services. I really don’t think I need to study with fundamentalists to understand what they believe.

    you are indirectly stifling free speech by insinuating that the respectful critique of certain moral actions are to be blamed for suicides. That’s just ridiculous. By the same reasoning, I could go around blaming you and other atheists who critique Christianity for the suicide of any Christian who was thrown into an into an existential crisis and lost his/her faith due to your writings.

    Let me know when we have an epidemic of former Christian suicides, and I’ll consider your argument to have some validity. There is nothing respectful about what Emily wrote (seriously, did you read her second article?) and there is nothing respectful about telling people their love and their relationships are harmful, unnatural, and inferior and working to ensure that they are delegitimized by the government and stigmatized by the rest of society.

    You don’t really seem to care about the effect the culture of stigmatization has on people. If people feel hated and not loved, don’t you think there’s a problem? If people are killing themselves, don’t you think your church might be failing in its mission to convey the idea that they respect people’s dignity?

  • Anna

    Let me think on it. I’ve read dozens (if not hundreds) of books about gender and sexuality over the years, but I’m hard pressed to think of what I could recommend to someone who doesn’t believe that homosexuality is a legitimate orientation and doesn’t accept that gay people feel the same love for their partners as straight people do.

    As for the books you linked to, if you read any of them, let me know if they give examples of specific actions that are limited to fathers. I’ve been asking for years, and no one’s managed to provide anything so far.

    Most of the books seem to be about the experiences of children who are fatherless due to family disruption. Social scientists already know that events such as death, divorce, and abandonment (and the economic deprivation that frequently results) are bad for kids. I wouldn’t argue otherwise.

    The problem comes when you try to equate children from planned, intact families with children who have suffered the permanent loss of a parent. There’s no comparison, and studies bear this out, too.

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2010/06/07/peds.2009-3153.full.pdf

  • gimpi1

    I understand about your “strong and very real” experience, But I’m sure you understand that has to be regarded as subjective. You can tell me about it, but you can’t really share it with me. As such, I can’t use it to base my judgements on. My discussion as to tone was meant more to refer to how to communicate effectively. If you want people to listen to what you’re saying, it helps not to insult them.

    You have a totally mistaken view of my morality, for example. I’m about results. I want a world where as many people as possible are happy, healthy and able to live in peace. I think what makes that possible changes as our technology changes, and much of the time we’re scrambling to keep up with our own inventions. So, timeless morals are only possible if we stop changing the world all the time. That’s unlikely.

    To me, justice matter more than almost anything. Being fair is the most basic responsibility than any culture has. To require some people to live under restrictions, such as not being able to legally marry who you love, while others have no such restriction is unfair. To me, unfair is pretty much the same thing as immoral. So, for that reason, I think you’re correct about the “agree to disagree” statement.

    As to your link regarding overpopulation, it’s just wrong. You can find plenty of “outlier” pseudo-scientific information around the web. This is kind of like climate change and evolution, other issues we might disagree on.

    There’s no real doubt that we can’t feed and care for the number of people on this planet now. I don’t want to see children born, only to starve or die of treatable diseases, because there’s not enough food, clean water or resources to go around. That’s happening now. It will get worse. No one reputable doubts that. I want to prevent as much pain as possible. In that, we most likely agree.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    No, legal rights are granted by the government

    does might makes right? since when does government endorsement for anything automatically make it good or just? History is littered with bad laws passed by governments.

    I’m not following. I suppose [polygamists] could advocate for marriage rights, but they don’t currently have them.

    my point is that your understanding of “rights” is completely arbitrary, based on the subjective whims of any pressure group rather than on the natural law and common good of society. According to your view, any interest group could make demands to have its “rights” recognized and legalized by society or the government. If homosexuals demand to have their unions recognized as marriage on the sole basis that they want it so, abstracted from human nature, natural law and the common good, then there is no real basis for denying similar recognition of polygamous unions, incest unions, etc…

    Being taught to believe in the supernatural biases people towards supernatural assumptions.

    how is this even relevant? This is not an argument. Teaching kids the laws of addition and subtraction biases them to believe in the laws of mathematics. Teaching them the laws of grammar biases them towards knowing the English language. What people are being taught is not the crux of the issue. What counts is whether it is true or not. Plato and Aristotle arrived at the concept that there must be one Creator purely by intellectual, logical, philosophical thought. You keep coming back to the topic of “indoctrination” but to be honest it looks like a cop-out. You have repeatedly ignored the metaphysical questions that I have raised and failed to give any kind of coherent response to the problem of the origins of the universe and of life (which, by the way, pertains more to the realm of philosophy/metaphysics to that of empirical science). You have not responded to any of the arguments for the existence of God raised in the article by Kreeft (http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm)

    I am well disposed to believe you when you say that you have read a bit of Christian literature, and I understand your objections to Christianity (though I maintain that you don’t understand it very well), but it seems to me that your self-declared atheism rests on no rational foundation at all. It seems like you don’t believe in God because you don’t *want* to believe in God.

    Hypothetical question: if God would somehow show up in your life in an unmistakable way, revealing Himself to be absolutely good, loving, and just, and would prove to you beyond any doubt that he became man in Jesus of Nazareth to show us the way, the truth and the life for which we were made (i.e. revealing that the way he taught is the way for us to be truly good and happy), would you follow him? Or would you hang on to your current atheism and moral values no matter what?

    If people feel hated and not loved, don’t you think there’s a problem? If people are killing themselves, don’t you think your church might be failing in its mission to convey the idea that they respect people’s dignity?

    I think that true love for a person means to love him/her unconditionally and at the same time gently telling him/her if they are doing something wrong. You would not let a friend take heroine or drive while completely drunk and say “I love you and respect your dignity, just do whatever you want and I’m fine with it,” would you? Christians and churches should love people, they should show kindness and respect to all and not tolerate any kind of bullying, but they certainly not remain silent regarding mortal sins. That would not be love at all but just cold, indifferent apathy when people’s salvation and eternity is at stake.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I understand about your “strong and very real” experience, But I’m sure you understand that has to be regarded as subjective.

    yes I do understand that from your point of view, my experience is subjective.

    To me, justice matter more than almost anything. Being fair is the most basic responsibility than any culture has.</blockquote

    So what if people in favor of polygamy (say, some Muslims) begin to argue that they are being discriminated against and want their polygamist marriages recognized by the law, would you agree to legalize polygamist marriage so that they can have 3-4 wives? Or perhaps legalize incest marriage, or marrying minors (if enough people begin to demand this). My point is: is "justice" just letting everyone do what they want, as long as you have enough people who demand it?

    As for the overpopulation myth, sorry but it's just a plain fact. There may be overpopulation problems in large urban centers in the third world. But it's just plain fact that because of the contraceptive mentality western countries are shrinking. They are below the sustaining level for growth. In many of them the population is sustained only because of immigration. Just look at the numbers on Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_growth_rate

    The growth necessary for a population to remain stable is 2.1 children per couple. It makes sense: if all couples would have only one child each, the next generation would have half the number of people. To account for child mortality and differences in numbers between men and women, the necessary growth rate is 2.1.

    Now, look at the chart on Wikipedia. On the U.N. chart on the left, of 230 countries, only 46 have a growth rate above 2.1 – and not a single European or North American country!

    So overpopulation is a myth. Will you believe the facts or continue hanging on to the myth?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Sorry, actually regarding the overpopulation myth, I mixed up the stats, the Wikipedia numbers are actually the growth rate in percentage and not the number of children per couple, so I believe the sustainability level would not be equal to 2.1%. But the Wikipedia table still shows how the growth rate of Western countries is extremely low – very far from any kind of overpopulation problem.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Riiight, ‘cuz only Western nations matter. *rolleyes*

    Thing is, all those “non-Western” nations ARE overpopulated, many to the point where people are starving to death because there’s no food. And there’s no education, no health care, no contraception, so they’re just popping out baby after baby, each doomed to fucking DIE because your moronic religion refuses to actually help.

  • Anna

    Of course there can be bad laws. I’m not really sure what you’re getting at. You asked me how I defined persecution, and I said I think attempting to take away people’s civil rights qualifies. That you don’t like the right doesn’t make it any less legal. The courts have seen fit to grant same-sex couples the right to legally marry. Religious conservatives are attempting to delegitimize them.

    Once again I will point out that laws in the United States cannot be based on religious doctrine, and that opponents of same-sex marriage have been asked repeatedly to provide secular reasons why it should not be legal. They have not been able to do so, which is why they keep losing in the courts.

    my point is that your understanding of “rights” is completely arbitrary, based on the subjective whims of any pressure group rather than on the natural law and common good of society.

    It’s not arbitrary. The rights of American citizens are determined by what’s found in the constitution. Loving v. Virginia (1967) already established marriage as a civil right, and the courts have found that it is in the interest of the common good for same-sex couples to be able to legally marry and protect each other in the same way that opposite-sex couples are able to. Your church’s assertion of a supernatural “natural law” has no relevance here.

    According to your view, any interest group could make demands to have its “rights” recognized and legalized by society or the government. If homosexuals demand to have their unions recognized as marriage on the sole basis that they want it so, abstracted from human nature, natural law and the common good, then there is no real basis for denying similar recognition of polygamous unions, incest unions, etc…

    Of course any group can petition the government if it thinks it is being treated unfairly. They’ve always been able to do that. Whether they could convince the courts is another matter. Marriage is a dual-party system, so people involved in polyamorous relationships would have quite a bit of work to do, as most of the laws would have to be rewritten for them. Incestuous first-cousin marriages are legal in 26 states, and they are recognized in others and by the federal government due to the “full faith and credit” clause. Closer incestuous unions are so rare as to be negligible. There simply isn’t any demand for sibling marriages, for example, and thus no need for them to petition the government for rights.

    how is this even relevant? This is not an argument. Teaching kids the laws of addition and subtraction biases them to believe in the laws of mathematics. Teaching them the laws of grammar biases them towards knowing the English language. What people are being taught is not the crux of the issue. What counts is whether it is true or not.

    I happen to think it is the crux of the issue, because no one would even remotely entertain the idea of it being true had they not been raised in an atmosphere where it was assumed to be true. You can’t believe in something you’ve never heard of .

    Plato and Aristotle arrived at the concept that there must be one Creator purely by intellectual, logical, philosophical thought.

    And…? It’s like you think just because someone was intelligent and lived a long time ago that they were automatically right or likely to be right. Plato and Aristotle were wise men, absolutely, but they had no supernatural powers. They were not privy to the secrets of the universe. They tried as best they could to explain the ideas they formed in their own heads, and I believe the supernatural assumptions they were exposed to naturally biased them in favor of trying to argue for the existence of the supernatural.

    You keep coming back to the topic of “indoctrination” but to be honest it looks like a cop-out. You have repeatedly ignored the metaphysical questions that I have raised and failed to give any kind of coherent response to the problem of the origins of the universe and of life (which, by the way, pertains more to the realm of philosophy/metaphysics to that of empirical science). You have not responded to any of the arguments for the existence of God raised in the article by Kreeft (http://www.peterkreeft.com/top

    I haven’t ignored them. I’ve just said that I’m not the best person to discuss them. I’m not a scientist or a philosopher, but there are many atheist scientists and philosophers who have addressed your questions quite thoroughly. I’m sure someone could recommend a relevant book. If you are interested in philosophy, perhaps Atheism: A Philosophical Justification would be helpful.

    http://www.amazon.com/Atheism-Philosophical-Justification-Michael-Martin/dp/0877229430#_

    I am well disposed to believe you when you say that you have read a bit of Christian literature, and I understand your objections to Christianity (though I maintain that you don’t understand it very well), but it seems to me that your self-declared atheism rests on no rational foundation at all. It seems like you don’t believe in God because you don’t *want* to believe in God.

    No, I don’t believe in any gods because I do not think there is evidence to support the idea that they exist. I have no emotional feelings about deities one way or the other. To me, it seems obvious that gods and goddesses are the creation of human societies. All societies have different ones. No one is born believing in a deity. The deities that people consider likely to exist are based entirely on the culture and the era in which they were born. And, of course, not all societies have gods, though all do share belief in the supernatural.

    That all human societies share supernaturalism is not surprising to me. All modern societies evolved from ancient societies, and all ancient societies were wholly ignorant of the world around them. It’s no wonder they created supernatural reasons to explain what they did not understand. We have no idea if people not exposed to supernatural but raised with access to scientific knowledge would also invent deities or other supernatural entities. I would love to know the answer, but unfortunately such social experimentation is not feasible.

    Hypothetical question: if God would somehow show up in your life in an unmistakable way, revealing Himself to be absolutely good, loving, and just, and would prove to you beyond any doubt that he became man in Jesus of Nazareth to show us the way, the truth and the life for which we were made (i.e. revealing that the way he taught is the way for us to be truly good and happy), would you follow him? Or would you hang on to your current atheism and moral values no matter what?

    It would seem quite absurd to remain an atheist if I had incontrovertible proof of a deity! Of course I would not be an atheist in that scenario. As for whether I would follow the deity, well, that would depend on its character. I’m quite repulsed by the idea of deities who hurt people. I suppose I could pretend to love and worship a deity like that, but if it was omniscient, it would see right through me. I guess I would find myself damned anyway.

    I think that true love for a person means to love him/her unconditionally and at the same time gently telling him/her if they are doing something wrong. You would not let a friend take heroine or drive while completely drunk and say “I love you and respect your dignity, just do whatever you want and I’m fine with it,” would you? Christians and churches should love people, they should show kindness and respect to all and not tolerate any kind of bullying, but they certainly not remain silent regarding mortal sins. That would not be love at all but just cold, indifferent apathy when people’s salvation and eternity is at stake.

    This seems to be the central problem with conservative religious people. They just don’t seem to understand how much harm they are doing to others. It doesn’t matter how many people tell them that they feel hated. It doesn’t matter how many people are driven to suicide. They cannot consider the idea that they might be wrong, and they will always put what they think their god wants above the interests of human beings.

  • gimpi1

    The problem I see with your statement is that overpopulation is a global problem. First-world countries are limiting their population growth, but third-world countries still have exploding population problems. First-world countries also use more of limited resources per-capita, leaving less for the people in those countries with surging populations.

    Again, for me, it comes down to reducing misery. There simply isn’t enough food, clean water, energy or land to provide for our current world population. We just don’t feel it much in the West, since we’re rich enough to buy whatever we need from the shrinking resource pool. But that pool is finite. If the whole world isn’t more responsible about our numbers, more people live in misery and more die in misery. And that, to me, is a moral issue. A much greater a moral issue than whether a couple of guys in love can marry.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I just don’t think this is factually correct. Fly anywhere in the world and look down: even in third world countries you will mostly see empty space. Yes, reducing misery is important, but the way to do this is not to force people to have smaller families (such strategies are typical of totalitarian regimes). The problem of under-development is not necessarily related to the population size. Often the contrary is true: economies shrink because of under-population and the standard of living rises with population growth.

    http://overpopulationisamyth.com/content/episode-4-poverty-where-we-all-started

  • Anna

    I didn’t even think of that, but you make a good point. Catholics see gender and sexuality in black-and-white terms.

    What does the Vatican say about androgynous individuals, for example, who identify as genderqueer or agender? If someone is biologically female and marries a biological male, is that okay even if the person is androgynous and has absolutely none of the feminine “essence” Andre seems to believe in? What about an androgynous person becoming a parent?

    And what does the Catholic church do about intersex people? If a person has XXY chromosomes, what sex is that person allowed to marry? Both? Neither? How about someone with a female body but XY chromosomes? Or what about people born with ambiguous genitalia? Are they ever allowed to marry, or are they supposed to be celibate their entire lives?

  • Anna

    Well, I’ve thought about it a little. If you’re really interested in these topics, I might suggest these:

    Raising Boys Without Men by Peggy Drexler and The Family of Woman by Maureen Sullivan (planned lesbian families)

    Gender Shock by Phyllis Burke and Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine (sex differences)

    Unhitched by Judith Stacey and A Society without Fathers or Husbands by Cai Hua (matrilineal and non-monogamous families and societies)

    But I kind of wonder what the point is. If you’re never willing to change your mind, what’s the use of reading a book with a different point of view? No matter what you see or read or hear, your views will always stay the same.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Sorry it’s taken me so much time to answer. I have been very busy.

    Marriage is a dual-party system, so people involved in polyamorous relationships would have quite a bit of work to do, as most of the laws would have to be rewritten for them

    Coming back to the arbitrary nature of your underlying presuppositions: who says that “marriage is a dual-party system”? Of course I agree with you on that one. But almost every society, ancient and modern, except our own modernist, deconstructionist society has assumed the commonsensical idea that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for the sake of bringing children into the world and forming a family. Now you come and arbitrarily question and undermine the “man/woman” part, saying that same-sex couples equally qualify to form a marriage. So since it’s not necessary to have a man and a woman, and the definition of marriage should only depend on arbitrary “rights” (=whims) no longer intrinsically connected with the natural procreation of new life, by what standard must we maintain that marriage should consist of only two people? Polygamists can easily use the same arguments you use: they can say their “rights” are trampled, and they are discriminated against unless the state also recognizes trios, quartets, etc… as “marriage.”

    one would even remotely entertain the idea of it being true had they not been raised in an atmosphere where it was assumed to be true

    once again, this is patently false. Many people who grew up atheists or agnostics come to realize that such a world view is ultimately irrational, and they reason themselves to the logical conclusion that a world of contingent, mutually dependent, evolving beings cannot exist on its own in a chain of infinite regress, but must go back to one self-sufficient, infinite, spiritual being. It’s a fundamentally reasonable proposition.

    I don’t believe in any gods because I do not think there is evidence to support the idea that they exist.

    It would seem quite absurd to remain an atheist if I had incontrovertible proof of a deity! Of course I would not be an atheist in that scenario.

    I asked my hypothetical question because I have the impression that you hang on to your atheism because you *want* to, not because it’s particularly rational, logical or convincing. As I said, the fact that you keep reverting to the very weak argument of “indoctrination” why dismissing, avoiding, or refusing to answer the arguments that I have proposed seems to me to be an indication of this.

    I guess I would find myself damned anyway.

    This is connected to my last observation. Those who are damned, according to our faith, are those who voluntarily and persistently suppress truth and goodness. It’s not like God takes pleasure in damning people; it’s more like people damn themselves. On the other hand, the Church acknowledges the possibility that any honest seeker may be “saved”:

    “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.” (Catechism 847) http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a9p3.htm#III

    So you might want to ask yourself the question: is your goal just to defend your position no matter what, or are you open-minded enough to consider whether it might be true that there really is an all-loving and all-powerful God who loves you and has a good purpose for your life.

    (On this note I just discovered this relatively new website dedicated to atheist/Catholic dialogue that you might find interesting: http://www.strangenotions.com/)

    they will always put what they think their god wants above the interests of human beings

    that’s not true. If God is all-good, then what He wants is precisely in the best interest of human beings. Did it ever happen to you when you were small that you really, really wanted something (like play with a knife or dangerous object) and your parents said “no”? Likewise, can you conceive that there are some things that we might want while not realizing that they are ultimately harmful to us, and this is why God says “no” to these things?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Thanks for these titles. I have written them down. Indeed, I will probably not change my mind, but I do want to understand the issue better. As we both know, I think, the fundamental difference between us is not whether this or that particular moral act or situation is right or wrong. The fundamental difference lies in the question of whether we *invent* our own morality and purpose in life (because we are just the random product of chance), or whether we are called to *discover* the purpose for our existence and the laws that govern it (because we have been created by a loving God who wants the best for us).

  • Anna

    While you’re at it, I would also recommend books on anthropology, tribal cultures, and non-Western religions. I don’t know if you’ve done any research in those areas, but I find them quite fascinating.

    There’s at least one culture which has no gods and no creation myth, the Piraha Indians of the Amazon rainforest. I’d recommend the book Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes, which explores their society.

    Similarly, if you think all religions have the same attitude towards sexuality, you might want to take a look at Shintoism and Hinduism. Not only has there not always been stigma towards homosexuality, there’s quite a lot of gender-bending and homosexual sex mentioned even in their scriptures.

    Interesting story from the Ramayana:

    In some versions of the Krittivasa Ramayana, the most popular Bengali text on the pastimes of Lord Ramachandra (an incarnation of Vishnu), there is an interesting narrative of two queens that conceived a child together. When the famous king of the Sun Dynasty, Maharaja Dilipa, died, the demigods become concerned that he did not have a son to continue his line. Lord Shiva therefore appeared before the king’s two widowed queens and commanded them, “You two make love together and by my blessings you will bear a beautiful son.” The two wives, with great affection for each other, executed Shiva’s order until one of them conceived a child. Unfortunately, however, the child was born boneless, but by the blessings of a sage, Astavakra, the child was restored to full health and continued the dynasty. Astavakra accordingly named the child “Bhagiratha” – he who was born from two vulvas . Bhagiratha later became a king and is credited with bringing the Ganges River down to earth through his austerities.

    There are also many traditional societies that have recognized more than two genders. I can’t imagine limiting myself to thinking that one culture is more important than another. From my perspective, just because you’re born in a certain culture, it doesn’t make sense to discount all the others in the world.

    And, yes, the central disagreement is that you see a supernatural basis for morality, and not only a supernatural basis, but one which you believe trumps not only a secular basis, but all other supernatural bases as well.

  • Anna

    Coming back to the arbitrary nature of your underlying presuppositions: who says that “marriage is a dual-party system”?

    The government of the United States. We were talking about marriage in American society, weren’t we? It is not required that marriage be a dual-party system. Other cultures have other systems.

    Marriage is a legal contract, one which is established by the government. I am not talking about religious marriage. I’m talking about civil marriage. In America, it’s a dual-party system. If a group wanted to change that, it would require a massive overhaul of the system. That’s not to say it couldn’t be done, but given the fact that (outside of Utah), there is no cultural precedence for polygamy in American society, I think it is unlikely to happen.

    Of course I agree with you on that one. But almost every society, ancient and modern, except our own modernist, deconstructionist society has assumed the commonsensical idea that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for the sake of bringing children into the world and forming a family.

    So, you’re just discounting all those ancient societies that practiced polygamy, even though they’re found in your own holy book? I find that very odd indeed.

    Now you come and arbitrarily question and undermine the “man/woman” part, saying that same-sex couples equally qualify to form a marriage. So since it’s not necessary to have a man and a woman, and the definition of marriage should only depend on arbitrary “rights” (=whims) no longer intrinsically connected with the natural procreation of new life, by what standard must we maintain that marriage should consist of only two people? Polygamists can easily use the same arguments you use: they can say their “rights” are trampled, and they are discriminated against unless the state also recognizes trios, quartets, etc… as “marriage.”

    Sure they can, and they’re free to do that. There’s a heck of a lot of historical precedence for polygamy. The main stumbling block to legalizing it in American society would be a) having to massively overhaul the legal system and b) cultural unfamiliarity.

    Do you want me to say polyamory is bad, or something? I don’t think having more than one spouse is harmful. I think the main problem with polygamy is not that people have more than one spouse, but that it typically occurs in patriarchal societies in which there is a vast power imbalance between men and women. That’s a set-up which is ripe for abuse. It doesn’t matter if a man has one wife or two wives if the society tells him that he is allowed to rule over his spouse.

    I don’t think there would be any problem with an egalitarian polyamorous culture, although to my knowledge, there are no societies in which both polygamy and polyandry are accepted, and which grant equal status to both men and women.

    once again, this is patently false. Many people who grew up atheists or agnostics come to realize that such a world view is ultimately irrational, and they reason themselves to the logical conclusion that a world of contingent, mutually dependent, evolving beings cannot exist on its own in a chain of infinite regress, but must go back to one self-sufficient, infinite, spiritual being. It’s a fundamentally reasonable proposition.

    You’re not understanding my point at all. Even people who grow up atheist or agnostic are exposed to supernatural assumptions. This is crucial! We have no data on whether children raised in complete ignorance of supernatural ideas would develop belief in the supernatural. Believe me, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what a fascinating experiment it would be, but it simply can’t be carried out. Human experimentation is frowned upon in modern society.

    I asked my hypothetical question because I have the impression that you hang on to your atheism because you *want* to, not because it’s particularly rational, logical or convincing.

    Then you are completely misunderstanding not only me, but atheism in general. I have absolutely no emotional feelings about deities. I was not predisposed to think of them as bad. In fact, I have no moral objection to believing in a pleasant deity that offers a pleasant afterlife, provided that one could be shown to exist. I don’t want to be an atheist. I simply am an atheist because I have never come across any reason to be otherwise.

    Atheism is the default position. I don’t have to try to “hang on” to it. It doesn’t take any effort. The whole reason that I’m an atheist is because I think it is the most rational and logical position, and I have never found anything to convince me to believe in an invisible supernatural realm. It’s not just deities; it’s the whole supernatural package!

    As I said, the fact that you keep reverting to the very weak argument of “indoctrination” why dismissing, avoiding, or refusing to answer the arguments that I have proposed seems to me to be an indication of this.

    Why do you keep saying this? I’ve done more reading about theism that you’ve apparently done about atheism, and somehow I’m the one with a closed mind? You’re the one who’s already declared you will never change your mind, ever, no matter what new information you come across. I’ve also done way more reading about Christianity than I’ve done about any other world religion, and that’s still not enough?

    Good grief, what do you want me to do? I took philosophy courses in college. I find philosophical arguments for theism unconvincing. I do not accept their foundational assumptions. If you have actual empirical evidence that would suggest the existence of a deity, then feel free to present it, but the fact that intelligent people who were indoctrinated to believe in the supernatural managed to come up with fancy arguments to rationalize their belief in the supernatural is not going to convince me.

    So you might want to ask yourself the question: is your goal just to defend your position no matter what, or are you open-minded enough to consider whether it might be true that there really is an all-loving and all-powerful God who loves you and has a good purpose for your life.

    I could ask the same thing of you! You’re the one who has said you will never change your mind. If someone could present me with actual evidence of the deity in question, then I’d be more than willing to change my mind. But you are so wrapped up in your culture-box that you seem unable to comprehend that not only is your deity not obvious to others, it’s not even the only one out there. Why should I take your deity and your religion more seriously than I take any other? An accident of birth is not a good reason.

    As for damning ourselves and whatnot, that’s a convenient way to excuse brutality. Even if I somehow became convinced of your deity, doesn’t your deity also demand that I love and worship it? I can’t force emotions like that. I don’t choose to be tortured, either. If your god is going to torture anyone I could not love it, and yet, I’ll be punished for having basic human empathy. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    that’s not true. If God is all-good, then what He wants is precisely in the best interest of human beings. Did it ever happen to you when you were small that you really, really wanted something (like play with a knife or dangerous object) and your parents said “no”? Likewise, can you conceive that there are some things that we might want while not realizing that they are ultimately harmful to us, and this is why God says “no” to these things?

    So you’re basically just abdicating responsibility to your fellow human beings. If your god wants it, it doesn’t matter how many people are hurt. It doesn’t matter if LGBT people commit suicide or self-harm or descend into alcoholism or drug abuse because of the terrible things your church teaches.

    You’ve failed to convince me that your god exists. You’ve failed to provide evidence of any real-world harm of homosexuality. You are aware of the fact that U.S. laws cannot be based on religious doctrine. And yet you still think you have the right to dictate other people’s lives based on the say-so of your deity, completely discounting the wishes of people who believe in different deities, other versions of the same deity, and those who do not believe in any deity at all.

    I’d still love to know how my conception hurt me. You said I was hurt because I didn’t have a father, but you wouldn’t say how. Since your church is in the business of telling people which families are worthy enough to exist and which children ought to be conceived, I think I’m owed an explanation. And a real explanation, not a vague allusion to “essence” or “essential difference.”

  • gimpi1

    I think the problem with your first statement is that most land in the world isn’t really habitable. The earth needs open spaces to purify water and air. Not all areas are suitable for cultivation. Deserts support little life. Other species need wild spaces. I, personally don’t want to live in a Soylent Green dystopian world.

    As to force, the only country I am aware of that used force to prevent people having children was China. No one is talking about force, simply making birth-control technology available as widely as possible.

    For example, for several reasons, from parents who needed care to genetic reasons, my husband and I chose not to have kids. I had a tubal. My insurance paid for it. The only ones I have spoken to who advocated force are those religious (mostly Catholic) folks who have told me I shouldn’t have been able to make that choice. I have spoken to people who regarded that as “mutilation” and believe it should be outlawed, or at least I should have had to pay cash, instead of having normal medical coverage. I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. That, to my mind, is the extreme position.

    I have worked for various news publications, and to close, I’ll give you a tip for free. Take it for what it’s worth. If you see the in the title of a website or file a something like “Overpopulation is a Myth,” what you have found is propaganda, not research. Real, reputable researchers use titles such as “Affects of Overpopulation.” It’s kind of like using a site titled “Bush Crimes” and claiming it’s an objective appraisal of the Bush administration. When checking story-notes, proofers and fact-checkers are warned about this sort of thing. It really helps winnow the wheat from the chaff.

    I know you’re sincere, and I’ve enjoyed this conversation. I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree. And that’s fine.

  • tsara

    SRS is considered ‘mutilation’ and is an abomination of some kind unless it’s performed on intersex people — because there’s something physically ‘wrong’ with intersex people and they must be corrected to emulate Adam and Eve, the cookie cutters we must all conform to. Androgynous, agender, trans, and genderqueer people don’t really exist, they just need spiritual correction.

    (note that this is not what I believe, but what I’ve read about Catholic teachings.)

  • Anna

    By the way, speaking of the StrangeNotions site, I have not been there yet, but there’s a lengthy discussion about it in this comment section:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/07/31/why-are-millennials-leaving-church-atheists-play-an-important-role/

    Apparently they’re banning all the atheists who participate. So much for dialogue?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    they seem to have a low tolerance threshold for sarcasm. I would probably get banned myself from it at is is my weakness :) But I doubt it’s the case that they are banning “all atheists”. From the amount of nastiness and insults that I have gotten here from not a few people, if atheists show up there with similar attitudes it doesn’t surprise me that they would get banned.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Yes I am aware that all cultures have their myths and that homosexuality has existed in every culture, but even in those cultures where it has been relatively accepted, I’m not aware of any serious precedent in trying to redefine the institution of marriage.

    I don’t discount all the other cultures in the world. Every culture has good and praiseworthy things to offer. But every culture also has its own sins. Moral relativism proposes to “invent” morality on the shifting sands of public consensus, but this lack of any firm foundation is a recipe for disaster.

    And once again, I don’t believe that a supernatural basis for morality “trumps” a secular basis. On the contrary, I believe that it elevates natural morality to a higher level and leads us to our highest self-actualization.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    Yes, we will have to agree to disagree since I also don’t believe that a tubal constitutes “health care” which, it seems to me, should be about protecting and saving life, not preventing it. I also wish you well and have appreciated to be able to discuss with you respectfully on these difficult issues. God bless!

  • Andre Villeneuve

    It’s hard not to read your initial comments as a confirmation that advocates of “gay marriage” are really in favor of (or at least not opposed to) a complete deconstruction of marriage as we have always known it in Western civilization for the past few millennia. Again you seem to view it as a purely arbitrary social construct. Would you really like to share your husband with a few other wives? (or husbands for that matter?)

    Even people who grow up atheist or agnostic are exposed to supernatural assumptions. This is crucial!

    But why is this “crucial”? Again you make it sound that people come to faith only or largely because they were exposed to “supernatural assumptions” – again the topic of conditioning/indoctrination, while you continue to shirk/avoid the actual intellectual arguments.

    I’ve also done way more reading about Christianity than I’ve done about any other world religion, and that’s still not enough?

    It’s not up to me to tell you what is “enough” but I just have been observing that your understanding of Christianity is very, very basic.

    Atheism is the default position. I don’t have to try to “hang on” to it. It doesn’t take any effort. The whole reason that I’m an atheist is because I think it is the most rational and logical position, and I have never found anything to convince me to believe in an invisible supernatural realm.

    Again, what is “rational” and “logical” about the idea that an beautiful, ordered, expanding yet finite world, that clearly had a beginning, just came into existence on its own?

    Related to this, I have just discovered this yesterday. What would you answer to it?
    http://youtu.be/COJ0ED1mV7s

    If you have actual empirical evidence that would suggest the existence of a deity, then feel free to present it

    your request is an oxymoron. A deity, by definition, is a spiritual being. “Empirical evidence” deals with material beings, not with immaterial, spiritual beings. Trying to prove or disprove the existence of God using empirical science is like trying to prove or disprove the existence of love using the laws of music theory. It’s a different field altogether. So the potential existence of a deity must be proved or disproved using reason and philosophy, not empirical science. But alas, you continually refuse to engage the philosophical arguments that I have proposed to you.

    You’re the one who has said you will never change your mind.

    I have already radically changed my mind at least twice in my life, on the basis of (a) what I believe to be strong rational and intellectual evidence for God, Jesus and Christianity; (b) undeniable personal experiences with God which led to a transformation of my life for the better; (c) countless testimonies of people who have encountered the risen Christ, including a few who had near-death experiences and actually saw him; (d) miracles that I witnessed (e.g. bind people recovering sight, etc… like in the Gospels);

    Why should I take your deity and your religion more seriously than I take any other?

    Anna, the search for God involves the whole person. The head/intellect is very important, but even more so is the heart. There is no way I could ever convince you that “my deity” is the right one. But I can testify to this: God promises that He will let Himself be found by those who sincerely seek Him. This means that you have to have a true, sincere, genuine desire to find the truth. Ultimately, this truth is what will set you free and lead you to real happiness. Why don’t you say the “skeptics’s prayer”? (e.g. “God – if you exist, save my soul – if I have a soul”). Seriously, if you are interested in discovering your Creator and the One who loves you more than you could ever imagine, then ask Him in all humility, and with perseverance, that He reveal Himself to you. By humility I mean that you must lay down any desire to “win an argument” and have at least a general willingness to accept that if God is, then you are willing to let Him call the shots instead of you. Why don’t you try it? What have you got to lose? It’s not a monologue or just mind games, but a dialogue and loving relationship. God will never violate your conscience or what is genuinely true and good; on the contrary, He leads us to our most genuine self-identity and to everything that is most true, good and beautiful. So just ask. He hears you and loves you.

    As for your conception, just look within yourself. Deep inside, don’t you wish you knew your father? That he could be in your life, telling you and showing you that he loves you?

  • Anna

    It’s hard not to read your initial comments as a confirmation that advocates of “gay marriage” are really in favor of (or at least not opposed to) a complete deconstruction of marriage as we have always known it in Western civilization for the past few millennia.

    So all those countries that allowed and still allow polygamy somehow don’t count in your worldview? There are still traditional (and very anti-gay!) societies that have legal polygamy. You’re the one trying to argue that it’s only ever been one way, but a quick look at history and even current marriage laws in other parts of the world will tell you that that’s not the case.

    Again you seem to view it as a purely arbitrary social construct.

    Because that’s exactly what it is. I’m talking about civil marriage. It’s a legal contract. The government defines what it is. I don’t subscribe to supernatural or mystical views of marriage.

    Would you really like to share your husband with a few other wives? (or husbands for that matter?)

    It’s not my preference, but I have no problem with whatever consenting adults do. No one’s saying that polygamy should be mandatory. In fact, no one’s advocating for polygamy at all. As I already stated, America has no cultural ties to polygamy. It is incredibly unlikely that it would be ever be legal here, but of course (as I said to begin with) any group can petition the government. Even unpopular ones. You seem to think that’s a bad thing? Or a new thing? But it’s always been that way. Minorities have always been able to rely on the courts to obtain rights, which are again based on what’s found in the Constitution.

    But why is this “crucial”? Again you make it sound that people come to faith only or largely because they were exposed to “supernatural assumptions” – again the topic of conditioning/indoctrination, while you continue to shirk/avoid the actual intellectual arguments.

    It’s crucial because you can’t believe in something you’ve never heard of. Do you think people spontaneously start believing in things they’ve never been exposed to? Maybe you do, but there’s no evidence of that. You have to have someone tell you what a god is before you can start to believe in a god or consider believing in a god.

    It’s not up to me to tell you what is “enough” but I just have been observing that your understanding of Christianity is very, very basic.

    You obviously think your religion is special. But no understanding of other religions is required in order for you to reject them, right? How much do you know about Sikhism, Jainism, or Zoroastrianism? Have you read their holy books? Have you explored their philosophers and theologians? Do you have more than a “basic” understanding of those faiths?

    You think I should treat your religion as a special case, simply because I was born in a society where your religion is the most popular. That makes absolutely no sense. Even though cultural proximity has led me to read more about your religion than any other, I’m still supposed to do more? Why?

    Again, what is “rational” and “logical” about the idea that an beautiful, ordered, expanding yet finite world, that clearly had a beginning, just came into existence on its own?

    What is rational or logical about assuming the existence of an invisible, undetectable supernatural entity that is somehow responsible for the universe? I don’t know the ultimate origins of the universe. Not even the most educated scientist knows that. But the answer to something that we don’t know is to say “We don’t know.” Not to just make things up. The argument from ignorance or incredulity strikes me as very poor indeed. Again, no one is born believing that the universe has a supernatural cause.

    As for the Cosmological argument? And William Lane Craig? I see no reason to assume that anything posited in that video has legitimacy. People who are biased in favor of the supernatural are going to construct elaborate arguments to rationalize their belief. Those people have no supernatural connections or superhuman intelligence. They have no special insight that the rest of us do not. They simply declare things and expect other people to accept them as true.

    Again, there are many books that explain non-supernatural views of the universe. You could certainly read some of them if you are interested. Personally, I am not terribly curious about this topic. I’m really much more interested in social science than I am in physical science. Sociology, anthropology, psychology, etc.

    your request is an oxymoron. A deity, by definition, is a spiritual being. “Empirical evidence” deals with material beings, not with immaterial, spiritual beings. Trying to prove or disprove the existence of God using empirical science is like trying to prove or disprove the existence of love using the laws of music theory. It’s a different field altogether. So the potential existence of a deity must be proved or disproved using reason and philosophy, not empirical science. But alas, you continually refuse to engage the philosophical arguments that I have proposed to you.

    How convenient. You have no evidence to present, which is exactly why I’m not convinced. Philosophical arguments are not evidence. I’m sorry, but they will never convince me to believe in the supernatural. I need actual empirical evidence. If something cannot be seen, heard, smelled, touched, or detected in any way, there is simply no reason to believe it is there. Especially since it is something that no one is born believing in.

    I have already radically changed my mind at least twice in my life, on the basis of (a) what I believe to be strong rational and intellectual evidence for God, Jesus and Christianity; (b) undeniable personal experiences with God which led to a transformation of my life for the better; (c) countless testimonies of people who have encountered the risen Christ, including a few who had near-death experiences and actually saw him; (d) miracles that I witnessed (e.g. bind people recovering sight, etc… like in the Gospels);

    So you’d be willing to change your mind again? I thought you said you wouldn’t.

    Anna, the search for God involves the whole person. The head/intellect is very important, but even more so is the heart. There is no way I could ever convince you that “my deity” is the right one. But I can testify to this: God promises that He will let Himself be found by those who sincerely seek Him. This means that you have to have a true, sincere, genuine desire to find the truth. Ultimately, this truth is what will set you free and lead you to real happiness.

    I am always truly, sincerely, and genuinely interested in the truth. However, your assertions are just that: assertions. It’s not an answer to my question. You simply declared your religion’s deity to be real. Why should I consider your god more likely than the Hindu gods? An accident of birth is not a good reason. Obviously, you think it’s real, but remember I did not grow up assuming your god existed.

    Why don’t you say the “skeptics’s prayer”? (e.g. “God – if you exist, save my soul – if I have a soul”). Seriously, if you are interested in discovering your Creator and the One who loves you more than you could ever imagine, then ask Him in all humility, and with perseverance, that He reveal Himself to you. By humility I mean that you must lay down any desire to “win an argument” and have at least a general willingness to accept that if God is, then you are willing to let Him call the shots instead of you. Why don’t you try it? What have you got to lose? It’s not a monologue or just mind games, but a dialogue and loving relationship. God will never violate your conscience or what is genuinely true and good; on the contrary, He leads us to our most genuine self-identity and to everything that is most true, good and beautiful. So just ask. He hears you and loves you.

    Good grief. Really? I thought we were actually getting somewhere in the conversation. But you show here that you have absolutely no understanding of atheism. Atheists don’t believe in gods. We can’t pray to them. We can say the words to a prayer, but it’s just play-acting. It’s like asking you, a devout Catholic, to make a sincere prayer to Vishnu.

    If there are gods lurking out there somewhere in the universe and they want me to believe in them, then they know exactly what they have to do to convince me. I am more than willing to believe in gods (one, two, a billion, it doesn’t matter) if they can be shown to exist.

    As for your conception, just look within yourself. Deep inside, don’t you wish you knew your father? That he could be in your life, telling you and showing you that he loves you?

    And this! It’s clear here that your mind is sealed shut. You are simply not willing to believe what I say about my own life, even though I’m the one who’s living it! I tried to explain to you earlier, but you refuse to accept it. Besides everything else, I find it very arrogant and condescending to think that you know more about my life than I do.

    Okay, so I will explain once again. I have two mothers. They are my parents. They are the ones who told me and showed me how much they loved me. I am very grateful to my biological father for providing sperm so that I could be born, but I do not consider him one of my parents. I don’t feel like I need a third parent. I wish him the best, but, no, I do not wish I knew him.

    If I had wanted to meet him, you know, I could have tracked him down. I know his name. My conception was not completely anonymous. There was some basic information provided. But I have never contacted him because I simply have never felt the need to. Your insistence that I must really want him in my life stems from your church telling you that it must be the case. But it is not. I suppose you will not believe me, though.

    This attitude is also very insulting. It’s like saying biology trumps everything else. What if I had been adopted at birth by a heterosexual couple? Would you still be insisting that I must really want to track down my biological parents and have them tell me that they love me? As if my adoptive parents weren’t good enough? Love isn’t based on biology, and it’s not based on gender either.

    I’m still waiting for evidence of supposed harm. My brother and I are fully-functional adults. We’re good citizens. We have jobs, and friends, and relationships, and everything that everyone else has. I know for sure that we are both very happy to be alive, and I continue to be offended by the suggestion that we should never have been created in the first place.

  • Anna

    You describe them as myths, but those stories are from the Hindu scriptures. Their holy books. Hindus don’t believe that they are just fairy tales.

    And there’s a lot more than just that one story:

    http://www.galva108.org/deities.html

    You are operating under the false assumption that every religion stigmatizes homosexuality. It’s simply not true. And it’s not true that no other societies have given recognition and blessings to same-sex unions.

    As for discounting them, you are basically saying that your church’s view is the only valid one. Other cultures’ gods aren’t to be taken seriously, nor are their views on gender, sexuality, marriage, or any other topic. Have you ever actually considered that their beliefs might be the ones that are true?

    And once again, I don’t believe that a supernatural basis for morality “trumps” a secular basis.

    Sure, you do. Your believe it should be the basis for law, even in a secular democracy. You’re advocating that marriage be restricted to heterosexuals because you think it’s what your god commands. It doesn’t matter that the courts have decided that it’s in the interest of the common good to provide people with equal benefits and protections.

  • Anna

    Well, I perused the site. People in the comments section do seem well behaved, but I don’t know if there were ruder comments that might have been deleted.

    In any case, banning people certainly doesn’t help promote a spirit of dialogue. It sounds like a bunch of atheists left, so there might be a bit of an echo chamber.

  • gimpi1

    Did you miss the part about genetic reasons for our decision? I suffer from an aggressive form of rheumatoid arthritis that is inherited. My mother had it, and it’s a good bet any female children I were to have would develop it. (Males bear a reduced risk.) Also, one of the medications that keep it in check, methotrexate, is highly toxic to a developing fetus. If I went off my meds for the duration of a pregnancy, I would most likely wind up confined to a wheelchair, as my mother did. My child could also be born with severe birth defects, since I would have been taking this drug until I knew I was pregnant, and some damage to the developing fetus would likely already have been done.

    No offense meant, but sometimes I don’t think men understand just how complicated and risky pregnancy and childbirth can be. There are very real medical reason not to have kids.

    I agree, though, nice discussion!

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I’m sure you can find some exceptions, but the fact is that most people in most cultures have been able to see quite easily that children always come from a mother and father. It’s impossible for them to be conceived otherwise, and that is why marriage has always been considered to be in its very essence the union of one man and one woman. This is not a “supernatural basis” for marriage but a most natural and commonsensical one.

    you are basically saying that your church’s view is the only valid one. Other cultures’ gods aren’t to be taken seriously, nor are their views on gender, sexuality, marriage, or any other topic. Have you ever actually considered that their beliefs might be the ones that are true?

    I understand that the claim that there is “one truth” is annoying to those who embrace metaphysical and/or moral relativism, and who believe that the human person is free to determine/create his own reality and moral principles. But I think you will agree that all positions can’t be right. On the other hand, you are annoyed by my claims that the Church teaches “the” truth, but at the same time, you are also making claims of absolute truth, saying that the secular/materialist/atheistic point of view is the “right” one, that Christianity/theism is in error, etc… So how do you reconcile you support for moral relativism (morality is just determined by the consensus of the majority, detached from any objective truth) while at the same time making such absolutist claims? It seems to me that relativism is in its very nature inconsistent and self-contradictory.

    Truth, on the other hand, is narrow. 2+2= 4. *only* 4, not 5, 7, or any other number. There is one correct answer to the equation, but an infinite number of wrong answers. Likewise, while I can believe that every religion may contain elements of truth, not all can be equally right in all matters.

    Yes, I have seriously considered whether other points of view may be true. But Hinduism, for example, rests on an absurd metaphysical foundation (that there are multiple gods), so I am hardly well-disposed to believe its moral positions as authoritative. This contradicts right reason, which leads us to believe that there can only be one, infinite, eternal, spiritual being that caused the world to come into existence. (if there were many, none of them would be all powerful or infinite; and which one would ultimately be a reliable guide in moral matters?)

  • Anna

    I’m sure you can find some exceptions

    So it’s universal, except when it isn’t? You point to ancient and non-Western cultures as long as you think they support your position, but when it’s pointed out they don’t, you backtrack. Contrary to what you have stated, not all societies and religions have stigmatized homosexuality and discouraged or refused to acknowledge same-sex relationships. And then when you do admit the existence of those societies, you proclaim them to be inferior and discount them. I just think it’s a very duplicitous treatment of the subject.

    but the fact is that most people in most cultures have been able to see quite easily that children always come from a mother and father. It’s impossible for them to be conceived otherwise, and that is why marriage has always been considered to be in its very essence the union of one man and one woman. This is not a “supernatural basis” for marriage but a most natural and commonsensical one.

    No, it is not. Same-sex couples have children. Marriage is not restricted to heterosexual couples who wish to procreate. Infertile couples, elderly couples, couples who prefer to adopt children, and couples who do not wish to raise children are all allowed to get legally married, and their marriages are celebrated and encouraged. Again, I will point out that U.S. law must have a secular basis and that religious detractors have been asked many, many, many times to provide secular reasons why their definition of marriage should be used, and they have not been able to do it. That’s why they’ve been losing in the courts.

    But I think you will agree that all positions can’t be right.

    Exactly. All positions can’t be right. Yet you proclaim your position to be true. The only one that should be given special consideration. You are proclaiming one god out of thousands of others, one religion out of thousands of others, one moral view out of thousands of others. And you expect me to just accept your claims based on your say-so. Why should I take your assertions seriously? Why should I pay attention to the Catholic church’s notions of sexual morality? Why aren’t Buddhism, Hinduism, or Shinto worthy of the same consideration?

    On the other hand, you are annoyed by my claims that the Church teaches “the” truth, but at the same time, you are also making claims of absolute truth, saying that the secular/materialist/atheistic point of view is the “right” one, that Christianity/theism is in error, etc…

    I’m not annoyed by the claim itself. I’m annoyed by attempts to force the claim into secular law. I do not accept your supernatural assumptions and assertions and do not believe that the views of any supposed deities should factor into the laws of a secular democracy.

    As for me claiming absolute truth, I’m not making claims. I don’t proclaim there are no gods. It’s possible there could be deities lurking somewhere in the universe. I am simply going by the evidence that I have been presented with. I see no reason to doubt the natural world, which has been shown to exist. An invisible supernatural realm has not been shown to exist. No one is born believing in deities or in the supernatural. Your side is the one making a claim and failing to provide evidence for it. You can certainly believe in the supernatural if you want. I have no moral objection to that. I just don’t happen to believe it has any rational basis.

    So how do you reconcile you support for moral relativism (morality is just determined by the consensus of the majority, detached from any objective truth) while at the same time making such absolutist claims? It seems to me that relativism is in its very nature inconsistent and self-contradictory.

    I’m not making absolutist claims, and who said anything about moral relativism? There are certainly secular arguments to support objective morality and many proponents of that view. If you’re interested in learning more about that, I would recommend The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris.

    To flip your question around, your morality is based on an ancient book. Why is that superior to morality based on societal consensus? This is a book that contains positive depictions of genocide, slavery, homophobia, etc. Simply having an objective source for morality means nothing if the source itself is corrupt. Not to mention the fact that there is no reason to believe the source is true.

    Why should the consensus of the old men in Rome be worth more than the consensus of the people of the United States? We’re all human beings. Just because the men in Rome claim divine connections does not mean that they actually have them.

    Yes, I have seriously considered whether other points of view may be true. But Hinduism, for example, rests on an absurd metaphysical foundation (that there are multiple gods), so I am hardly well-disposed to believe its moral positions as authoritative This contradicts right reason, which leads us to believe that there can only be one, infinite, eternal, spiritual being that caused the world to come into existence. (if there were many, none of them would be all powerful or infinite; and which one would ultimately be a reliable guide in moral matters?)

    So you simply proclaim it to be absurd. You dismiss polytheism out of hand. You assume that gods must have certain properties, that they must guide morality, and that there can only be one of them.

    I would like to know much time you’ve actually spent seriously considering Hinduism. After all, you expect me to put a ton of effort into ruling out Christianity, but it doesn’t seem that you’ve done the same for other world religions. Which Hindu texts have you read? Have you read any of their philosophers or theologians?

    I haven’t, but I don’t need to in order to rule out Hinduism. There’s simply no reason to accept that their supernatural claims and assumptions are true. Hinduism is a fascinating religion. I’ve been fascinated by it since I did a term paper on it at age 14, but I have never seen any reason whatsoever to suspect that it is based on anything real. Just like Catholicism. Just like every other religion.

    Why is your religion less absurd than any other?

  • Andre Villeneuve

    I just think it’s a very duplicitous treatment of the subject.

    It’s probably time to agree to disagree on this topic. Anna, please. I realize that because of the way you were raised you will not agree with me, but please stop splitting hairs. Yes there has always been homosexuality, and yet how can you deny that the nearly-universal norm in most cultures has been that the union of a man and a woman constitutes the standard for marriage, despite the obvious fact that you will find exceptions (you will always easily find exceptions to every norm when you deal with sociological issues). But ultimately, history shows that might (or the majority) does not make right, and so I suppose that the whole point does not decisively prove anything either in my or your favor.

    No, it is not. Same-sex couples have children. Marriage is not restricted to heterosexual couples who wish to procreate. Infertile couples, elderly couples, couples who prefer to adopt children, and couples who do not wish to raise children are all allowed to get legally married, and their marriages are celebrated and encouraged.

    All these cases are radically different from that of same-sex couples. Couples who are infertile or elderly still remain generally oriented in their nature towards the procreation of children – even if they are unable to do so because of particular circumstances. Gay couples will never, ever be able to procreate on their own. You will always ultimately need a man and a woman to generate new life. If you are unable or unwilling to concede this commonsensical point, then I rest my case.

    Exactly. All positions can’t be right. Yet you proclaim your position to be true…

    But you do exactly the same thing: you proclaim your secularist, atheist position to be true, despite being among a very small minority in the history of human experience where by far the greatest majority has believed in some kind of deity. That’s perfectly your right, but please let’s avoid the double standards.

    Why should I take your assertions seriously? Why should I pay attention to the Catholic church’s notions of sexual morality? Why aren’t Buddhism, Hinduism, or Shinto worthy of the same consideration?

    It’s really up to you as to which assertions you will take seriously or not. As I said before, I don’t think moral questions are the best point of departure in the search for truth. Metaphysical and theological questions are a better foundation to begin: Is there a God? Has He spoken to man? If so, under what form? What does He have to say, according to the various religions/philosophies? Does this revelation resonate with our human experience and our search for truth, goodness and beauty?

    In a nutshell, Buddhism is almost more of a philosophy than a religion; it doesn’t even really claim that there is a personal God; so while its moral teachings may contain some wisdom, why should they be authoritative or universally binding? Hinduism, by positing the existence of many gods, is metaphysically absurd; it provides even less of a solid foundation for an authoritative morality. Christianity is the only religion that claims that God loved us so much that he became man and spoke to us in this way. Of course between understanding this claim and accepting it as true there is a wide gap, but it seems to me that it is one that is at least worthy of serious consideration. For if the claim is true and we reject it, we are rejecting the very reason for which we were created and missing out on the ultimate purpose of our lives.

    your morality is based on an ancient book. Why is that superior to morality based on societal consensus?

    Actually not. Here you are reflecting a fundamentalist understanding of Christian morality, not a Catholic one. Catholic morality derives many principles from Scripture, of course, but it is also based on natural moral law, on the teachings of Christ (God-made-man) and on Sacred Tradition which Christ has promised to guide infallibly by the Holy Spirit. Also it’s very important to understand that the morality presented in the Old Testament grew out of Ancient Near Eastern mores and mentality, and it was never intended to be a perfect, universal moral standard.

    See the Catechism if you’re interested in better understanding the Catholic foundation for morality: http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/ccc_toc2.htm

    (It’s a long section, going from paragraphs 1691 to 2557)

    Just because the men in Rome claim divine connections does not mean that they actually have them.

    That’s true, but what if they do?

    You dismiss polytheism out of hand.

    I don’t dismiss it “out of hand.” I dismiss it because logic and reason dismiss it as absurd. Polytheism is by its very nature metaphysically impossible. The moment you have more than one God or supreme power, then each one cannot be all powerful, each one cannot be infinite, each one cannot be the ultimate cause for everything else.

    Only monotheism is really metaphysically coherent. And if there is really a God, then it would make most sense that His revelation be accessible to all people through some universal religion, not some small, obscure, localized sect. So that leaves Judaism, Christianity and Islam as the three main candidates.

  • Anna

    It’s probably time to agree to disagree on this topic. Anna, please. I realize that because of the way you were raised you will not agree with me, but please stop splitting hairs.

    I’m not sure what it has to do with how I was raised (I didn’t know anything about ancient cultures except what I learned in school), but I’m not splitting hairs. You point to other cultures to support your idea of morality, but then discount ones that don’t match your existing bias as having inferior morality anyway. If you think these cultures and their religions are invalid, then why are you pointing to any of them in the first place? Regardless, no need to belabor the point.

    Yes there has always been homosexuality, and yet how can you deny that the nearly-universal norm in most cultures has been that the union of a man and a woman constitutes the standard for marriage, despite the obvious fact that you will find exceptions (you will always easily find exceptions to every norm when you deal with sociological issues).

    I’m not denying anything. Most marriages are heterosexual because most people are heterosexual. Surely you’d think that would be obvious. But contrary to what you have claimed, not all cultures and not all religions have stigmatized or discouraged homosexuality. Good grief, look at ancient China!

    The political ideologies, philosophies, and religions of ancient China regarded homosexual relationships as a normal facet of life, and in some cases, promoted homosexual relationships as exemplary. Ming Dynasty literature, such as Bian Er Chai (弁而釵/弁而钗), portray homosexual relationships between men as more enjoyable and more “harmonious” than heterosexual relationships. As in Ancient Rome, homosexual relationships were prevalent in ancient China and were not regarded as morally deviant prior to the influence of foreign cultures. Writings from the Liu Song Dynasty claimed that homosexuality was as common as heterosexuality in the late 3rd century … Confucianism, being primarily a social and political philosophy, focused little on sexuality, whether homosexual or heterosexual. … Although Taoist alchemy regarded heterosexual sex, without ejaculation, as a way of maintaining a male’s “life essence”, homosexual intercourse was seen as “neutral”, because the act has no detrimental or beneficial effect on a person’s life essence.

    I guess you think none of this counts, but it makes no sense to keep pointing to other cultures as a way to bolster your claim because this “universal” treatment of homosexuality that you assert does not exist.

    But ultimately, history shows that might (or the majority) does not make right, and so I suppose that the whole point does not decisively prove anything either in my or your favor

    I only brought this up because you claimed that all cultures and all religions have the same view about homosexuality. It doesn’t “prove” anything except that your claims aren’t true.

    All these cases are radically different from that of same-sex couples. Couples who are infertile or elderly still remain generally oriented in their nature towards the procreation of children – even if they are unable to do so because of particular circumstances. Gay couples will never, ever be able to procreate on their own. You will always ultimately need a man and a woman to generate new life. If you are unable or unwilling to concede this commonsensical point, then I rest my case.

    You think it’s common sense. I think it’s a ridiculous claim. This is a wholly religious argument based on your church’s obsession with procreation. There is no “radical difference” between homosexual and heterosexual couples. Some raise children. Some do not. Legal recognition of their relationships is not based on their ability or willingness to procreate.

    Incidentally, I’ve always been curious. If a girl is born without ovaries and a uterus, and she knows that she does not have ovaries and a uterus, is she allowed to get married in the Catholic church? The sex she and her husband have will always be sterile and for pleasure, not procreation.

    But you do exactly the same thing: you proclaim your secularist, atheist position to be true, despite being among a very small minority in the history of human experience where by far the greatest majority has believed in some kind of deity. That’s perfectly your right, but please let’s avoid the double standards.

    I don’t consider it a double standard for two reasons. 1) Atheism is the default position. 2) I’m not actually making any positive claims. I do not claim for a fact that deities do not exist.

    I’m aware that I’m a minority, yes, but I think the huge number of deities and religions is a point in atheism’s favor. As we both agree, they can’t all be true. The ones people consider likely to be true are based entirely on the culture and era in which they were born. I do not believe this is a point in favor of any particular deity.

    It’s really up to you as to which assertions you will take seriously or not. As I said before, I don’t think moral questions are the best point of departure in the search for truth. Metaphysical and theological questions are a better foundation to begin: Is there a God? Has He spoken to man? If so, under what form? What does He have to say, according to the various religions/philosophies? Does this revelation resonate with our human experience and our search for truth, goodness and beauty?

    But you obviously think I should take Catholicism more seriously than Hinduism or Buddhism. I mean, you keep telling me to read more Christian authors, but I’m sure you don’t think I need to read Hindu or Buddhist ones, even though I’ve already done way more reading about Christianity than I’ve ever done about any Eastern religon.

    Frankly, metaphysical and theological questions strike me as rather useless. We are all human beings. Some of us believe in gods. Some of us write down our thoughts about those gods and create arguments to justify belief in them. Reading about any religion will just tell you what the people in the religion believe to be true. It will not tell you what is actually true.

    In a nutshell, Buddhism is almost more of a philosophy than a religion; it doesn’t even really claim that there is a personal God; so while its moral teachings may contain some wisdom, why should they be authoritative or universally binding? Hinduism, by positing the existence of many gods, is metaphysically absurd; it provides even less of a solid foundation for an authoritative morality. Christianity is the only religion that claims that God loved us so much that he became man and spoke to us in this way. Of course between understanding this claim and accepting it as true there is a wide gap, but it seems to me that it is one that is at least worthy of serious consideration. For if the claim is true and we reject it, we are rejecting the very reason for which we were created and missing out on the ultimate purpose of our lives.

    There are so many assumptions in there I would hardly even know where to begin. You think your religion’s features somehow make it more worthy of consideration because you already believe those things to be important. It’s so circular. “These things are important in a religion because my religion says they’re important in a religion.”

    Actually not. Here you are reflecting a fundamentalist understanding of Christian morality, not a Catholic one. Catholic morality derives many principles from Scripture, of course, but it is also based on natural moral law, on the teachings of Christ (God-made-man) and on Sacred Tradition which Christ has promised to guide infallibly by the Holy Spirit. Also it’s very important to understand that the morality presented in the Old Testament grew out of Ancient Near Eastern mores and mentality, and it was never intended to be a perfect, universal moral standard.

    Surely you would agree that it’s based on an ancient book. Yes, I’m well aware there are other writings in the Catholic canon, but in general the Bible is the basis for Catholicism since it is your original founding document, so to speak.

    But you’re missing the point. Your morality is based on something that was written down by human beings. In effect, a book, or a series of books. Those were written by human beings. Now, perhaps you believe those human beings had divine connections, but this is what strikes me as problematic.

    There is no reason to believe that any of those people had divine connections. It’s an absurd a claim to me as it would be to you if a Hindu told you the Hindu scriptures should be taken seriously because the ancient scribes had special knowledge about and connections to the Hindu deities.

    Claiming that a book is supernatural does not make it supernatural. Just because a book claims the existence of a deity, it doesn’t make that deity real. It doesn’t make your holy spirit real, or your god-made-man real. Why on earth should I take any of this seriously?

    Also it’s very important to understand that the morality presented in the Old Testament grew out of Ancient Near Eastern mores and mentality, and it was never intended to be a perfect, universal moral standard.

    If you believe that, you might want to quit linking to William Lane Craig, who happens to think otherwise. He offers up a rather robust defense of biblical genocide and biblical slavery.

    That’s true, but what if they do?

    If they do? Then I’m out of luck. But I think it’s as ridiculous and absurd a claim as saying that any other men (or women) have divine connections. There’s just no reason to believe that.

    I don’t dismiss it “out of hand.” I dismiss it because logic and reason dismiss it as absurd. Polytheism is by its very nature metaphysically impossible. The moment you have more than one God or supreme power, then each one cannot be all powerful, each one cannot be infinite, each one cannot be the ultimate cause for everything else.

    No, your religion dismisses it as absurd. Many other people and many other cultures and religions have no problem with the idea of more than one god. There are so many assumptions thrown in there. Why does each god have to be all powerful? Why can’t more than one god be infinite? Who says that each must be the “ultimate cause” for anything at all, let alone everything else? This is a very biased, very Christian, very monotheistic way of looking at gods. Other people’s conceptions of their gods are considerably different.

    Only monotheism is really metaphysically coherent. And if there is really a God, then it would make most sense that His revelation be accessible to all people through some universal religion, not some small, obscure, localized sect. So that leaves Judaism, Christianity and Islam as the three main candidates.

    Well, that’s incredibly convenient. Declare your version of theism to be the only one that’s “metaphysically coherent” and (surprise!) the only god that’s possible is the one you already believe in.

    Seriously, don’t you find it even a little bit suspicious that the only god you consider likely to be real is the one you were taught was real when you were a small child? The only one that everyone around you believed in? The only one that’s popular in the country where you were born? Even discounting all the other problems with your theology, I couldn’t get past that.

  • Andre Villeneuve

    You have to have someone tell you what a god is before you can start to believe in a god or consider believing in a god.

    Actually not. This is your “indoctrination argument” that seems to underline every one of your points. You’re right that when we arrive at the idea of divine revelation (God having something to say to man), then you need someone to communicate it to you before you can start believing it (e.g. the contents of the Christian faith, the person of Jesus, the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection). However people from all kinds of cultures, by reflecting on the world and the human person, have always come to the logical conclusion that some eternal spirit must be responsible for its creation. For some reason, you seem unwilling or unable to seriously think this through.

    How much do you know about Sikhism, Jainism, or Zoroastrianism? Have you read their holy books? Have you explored their philosophers and theologians? Do you have more than a “basic” understanding of those faiths?

    You’re right, my understanding of them is basic, but I have thought it through. As I said in another post, I think their metaphysical positions are intellectually untenable. That isn’t to say that there isn’t some wisdom to be found in every religion, but it’s hard to take them seriously as divine revelation. (and logically it’s impossible to take more than one seriously as divine revelation, as God would not totally contradict Himself on the most important realities of the world and human life).

    You think I should treat your religion as a special case, simply because I was born in a society where your religion is the most popular.

    you’re right, I think everyone on his/her search for truth should be able to give a fair hearing to all serious philosophies or religions. By all means, do so. Personally, I think that sound thinking eliminates pretty quickly a lot of the candidates. As I mentioned, polytheism is metaphysically absurd (I will expand on this in the other thread). Atheism is rationally untenable as the universe could not come into existence on its own. Only monotheism is really intellectually coherent, and there are not that many candidates that fall into that category.

    How convenient. You have no evidence to present, which is exactly why I’m not convinced. Philosophical arguments are not evidence. I’m sorry, but they will never convince me to believe in the supernatural. I need actual empirical evidence. If something cannot be seen, heard, smelled, touched, or detected in any way, there is simply no reason to believe it is there. Especially since it is something that no one is born believing in.

    wow. Now that is a really loaded one. How convenient? So you insist in trapping your concept of the spiritual world in a box of hopeless self-contradiction with no exit. You set the terms of what constitutes “evidence”, no matter how irrational. You have decided that spiritual realities must in fact be proven by material evidence, no matter how illogical and untenable this is. You have decided a priori to shutdown your mind to philosophical reflection. You have decided that love must be proven by mathematical equations or else it doesn’t exist. Don’t you see how you are shutting your mind and heart to the entire spiritual world (in case that it exists) by these preconditions?

    And it’s also very easy to turn around the refrain that you keep repeating: “no one is born believing”. Really? Are children born predisposed to believe that they are nothing but the blind product of evolution? That the words “I love you” are really meaningless since there are no such things as spiritual realities? That their ultimate destiny is to be one day entirely forgotten and to rot in the ground and be eaten by worms? Who is born with a predisposition to believe in such a sad, hopeless destiny? Yes, no one is born with belief, but it seems to me that certainly children have an inner sense of a capacity for faith, a capacity and desire to believe that they are loved, wanted, important, unique, and have an meaningful, joyful, eternal destiny.

    So you’d be willing to change your mind again? I thought you said you wouldn’t.

    I still constantly change my mind, but now these are more small “course corrections” than radical changes of worldview. No one radically changes his/her worldview every day or even every year. We would go insane. I have done my homework and find Catholicism extremely convincing, compelling, and attractive. However, anyone is welcome to question or challenge me about it. That is how we grow. How many times have you changed your own worldview?

    Good grief. Really? …Atheists don’t believe in gods. We can’t pray to them. We can say the words to a prayer, but it’s just play-acting.

    yes, I understand very well that atheists don’t believe in gods, but “God doesn’t believe in atheists.” It may feel like play-acting to say the skeptics prayer, but every person has to begin somewhere. The skeptic’s prayer is honest: “God, if there is a God, then I am willing to discover you.” What is there to lose? You have the capacity for God written on your heart, Anna. Nothing will ever be able to take that away from you. The shadow of your mortality hovers over you. One day you will lose everything you hold dear. Perhaps sooner, you will lose people you hold dear. Everything that has meaning to you today will crumble into dust and ashes. In the best of cases, you will rot in the ground and fade into nothingness. In the worst of cases, you *might* (if you’re wrong) one day face your loving Creator who will ask you why you rejected Him, the author of love, all your life. What kind of a life is that? You were made for much more, and the way to discover this “more” is to ask and express your willingness to know it.

    God will be more than happy to reveal Himself to you, but for that we need humility (as expressed in the skeptics prayer), not to set absurd, self-contradictory standards that are impossible in of themselves.

    As for the last point, I will let it go. I can’t refute your own testimony and feelings, and I know that love isn’t based on biology, but still seems odd to me that you would have no interest in knowing your biological father, to whom you owe much of who you are.

  • Anna

    Actually not. This is your “indoctrination argument” that seems to underline every one of your points.

    Actually not? There is no way you can claim that. Where is your evidence that people can start believing in gods without ever having heard of gods?

    You’re right that when we arrive at the idea of divine revelation (God having something to say to man), then you need someone to communicate it to you before you can start believing it (e.g. the contents of the Christian faith, the person of Jesus, the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection). However people from all kinds of cultures, by reflecting on the world and the human person, have always come to the logical conclusion that some eternal spirit must be responsible for its creation. For some reason, you seem unwilling or unable to seriously think this through.

    I have seriously thought it through, and I find it a bit annoying for you to claim otherwise simply because I have come to a different conclusion than you have. I keep trying to explain my position, but it doesn’t seem as though you understand it. So I’ll try one more time:

    People don’t develop their beliefs in a vacuum. Every person alive today, in every culture, was exposed to supernatural assumptions. Those supernatural assumptions did not originate with the child, who was born wholly ignorant of them, but with what the adults told the child. The development of certain beliefs is a matter of cultural exposure.

    Every modern culture evolved from an ancient culture, and every ancient culture was ignorant of modern science. From my perspective as an atheist, it is not at all surprising that people in those societies developed and then maintained various supernatural beliefs. I don’t know how to be any clearer about this, but I see no reason to assume that children born into a secular, scientifically advanced culture and not exposed to supernatural assumptions would invent gods and goddesses.

    Modern ethical concerns prohibit human experimentation, but I think it would be absolutely fascinating to take a group of babies and raise them in isolation, provide them with all the information modern science has to offer, but withhold supernatural beliefs. Then 18 years down the road, we could see what the children think. We could learn if any of them had an inclination towards supernatural thinking.

    And by the way, the “external spirit responsible for creation” belief is not universal. The Piraha Indians don’t have any gods, and they also don’t have any form of creation myth.

    You’re right, my understanding of them is basic, but I have thought it through. As I said in another post, I think their metaphysical positions are intellectually untenable.

    I understand, but then I don’t think it makes sense to apply different standards to different religions. I’ve done basic research into all of the major world religions, and I do not think that one of them is more likely to be true than any other, and I do not agree with your belief that some metaphysical positions are more tenable than others. But we can continue this in the other part of the comment section.

    wow. Now that is a really loaded one. How convenient? So you insist in trapping your concept of the spiritual world in a box of hopeless self-contradiction with no exit. You set the terms of what constitutes “evidence”, no matter how irrational. You have decided that spiritual realities must in fact be proven by material evidence, no matter how illogical and untenable this is. You have decided a priori to shutdown your mind to philosophical reflection. You have decided that love must be proven by mathematical equations or else it doesn’t exist. Don’t you see how you are shutting your mind and heart to the entire spiritual world (in case that it exists) by these preconditions?

    If there is nothing about the supernatural that can be detected, what makes you think that it is a real thing? I don’t understand that. You can’t simply declare that this spiritual realm is real and then say it’s completely off limits to any form of evidence whatsoever. It doesn’t even make sense because Catholics believe their god actually does interact with the world. And if that were true, then we would have evidence of such things occurring in the natural world.

    I think our worldviews are just so drastically different you don’t really understand where I’m coming from. From my perspective, anything that originates with human beings is natural. It’s not supernatural, by definition, because humans are not supernatural. We exist in the natural world, and our minds are also part of the natural world. Our minds are what make us capable of writing books and constructing arguments, but those books and arguments don’t drop down out of the sky. They come from us.

    And it’s also very easy to turn around the refrain that you keep repeating: “no one is born believing”. Really? Are children born predisposed to believe that they are nothing but the blind product of evolution? That the words “I love you” are really meaningless since there are no such things as spiritual realities? That their ultimate destiny is to be one day entirely forgotten and to rot in the ground and be eaten by worms? Who is born with a predisposition to believe in such a sad, hopeless destiny? Yes, no one is born with belief, but it seems to me that certainly children have an inner sense of a capacity for faith, a capacity and desire to believe that they are loved, wanted, important, unique, and have an meaningful, joyful, eternal destiny.

    Children aren’t born with an opinion about religion, but of course they’re also not born with an opinion about anything else. And yes, of course they are very, very easily led to belief in the supernatural. Children are naturally prone towards magical thinking, which is why it’s so easy to get them to believe in a religion. They don’t have critical thinking skills or the intellect of an adult, and small children are predisposed to accept whatever adults tell them.

    As for your negative feelings about atheism, I can’t change your mind about that, but since I’ve been an atheist my entire life, I will say that I find nothing sad or hopeless about it. While I understand the psychological appeal of immortality, I think it is far healthier to accept death as a natural part of life.

    I still constantly change my mind, but now these are more small “course corrections” than radical changes of worldview. No one radically changes his/her worldview every day or even every year. We would go insane. I have done my homework and find Catholicism extremely convincing, compelling, and attractive. However, anyone is welcome to question or challenge me about it. That is how we grow. How many times have you changed your own worldview?

    I’m not sure I’ve changed it as much as refined it over the years. I’ve always been an atheist, but of course I was not always conscious of it. I’ve always been open to changing my mind about things. I’m open to being convinced by new evidence. I often come to a political issue, for example, undecided, but then arrive at a conclusion based on the evidence I encounter. I would do the same for religion. It’s true, though, that I have never undergone any radical changes. There’s nothing I’ve come across that would incite me to make a radical change in any area of my life thus far.

    yes, I understand very well that atheists don’t believe in gods, but “God doesn’t believe in atheists.” It may feel like play-acting to say the skeptics prayer, but every person has to begin somewhere. The skeptic’s prayer is honest: “God, if there is a God, then I am willing to discover you.” What is there to lose? You have the capacity for God written on your heart, Anna. Nothing will ever be able to take that away from you.

    And this shows how much you don’t understand atheism. Emotional appeals like that strike me as absurd. I mean, you’re an intelligent man. You’ve got to know how you would react if a Hindu said that to you. You think Hinduism is false. You know it would be impossible for you to make a sincere prayer to a Hindu deity, as you believe polytheism to be absurd.

    It’s the same for atheists. We can say the words to a Catholic or a Hindu prayer, but it’s not sincere. If you don’t believe you’re actually talking to a deity, it’s not a prayer at all. It’s a piece of performance art. I’ve been down this road many times, with other fundamentalists, and I said words to various prayers aloud when I was younger, just to show them that I’m not afraid of it. Refusal to even mimic prayer comes across as though you might be afraid it has special powers, and I’m certainly not afraid of that.

    In any case, if there are gods, and they want me to believe in them, then like I said, I’m open to their existence. But if they are omniscient beings, they already know what they need to do to convince me.

    The shadow of your mortality hovers over you. One day you will lose everything you hold dear. Perhaps sooner, you will lose people you hold dear. Everything that has meaning to you today will crumble into dust and ashes. In the best of cases, you will rot in the ground and fade into nothingness.

    Scare tactics? We are all mortal. I know that I will die one day, and that all my friends and family members will die, too. I’ve already lost people that I care about. Death can be very sad, but it’s also an inevitable, natural part of life. I accept the fact that I will not live forever.

    In the worst of cases, you *might* (if you’re wrong) one day face your loving Creator who will ask you why you rejected Him, the author of love, all your life. What kind of a life is that? You were made for much more, and the way to discover this “more” is to ask and express your willingness to know it.

    You’ve got to understand that I think there is a near zero chance of your deity being the correct one, but if this were to happen, then I would hope your god would respect the fact that I used my intellect to the best of my ability, and that I looked at all of the evidence and did not find it convincing. And if it didn’t respect that? Well, then it’s not an honest or a fair god. If it hurts people for using their minds, then it shouldn’t have given us minds to begin with.

    God will be more than happy to reveal Himself to you, but for that we need humility (as expressed in the skeptics prayer), not to set absurd, self-contradictory standards that are impossible in of themselves.

    Your god is a tricky one, LOL. Why doesn’t it just reveal itself to everyone? Why does it make people jump through a bunch of hoops? Honestly, I think I’m plenty humble. I’m not the one claiming to know everything about the universe, and I don’t think there’s anything absurd about asking for evidence. As someone famous once said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”

    As for the last point, I will let it go. I can’t refute your own testimony and feelings, and I know that love isn’t based on biology, but still seems odd to me that you would have no interest in knowing your biological father, to whom you owe much of who you are.

    I’m not sure if you think my biological father is important because he’s male or because we share genes, but regardless, think of it like adoption. Not all people who are adopted go in search of their biological parents. Plenty of them