God @TheTweetOfGod Sigh… maybe Nietzsche was right.

 Humour will save us all in the end…

Dear lensgirl53,

Thank you for your considered reply to my comment. I will attempt to engage in what follows with the main points you make. Of course, if you feel that there are additional ones in need of consideration, just let me know, and I will happily oblige.

lensgirl53: I know this is controversial

Not at all, I assure you, if by controversial you meant your own contribution to the debate of course. The issue at hand is indeed a controversial one.

lensgirl53: but I can’t just let this slip by because of some people’s casual toss of the word and understanding of “prejudices”…

Nor should you let it ‘slip’, as you say. I am glad that you didn’t. As I’ve said many a time in the past: You have a voice too. Use it.

Do correct me if I’m wrong, but I assume that in this particular case by ‘people’ who casually ‘toss the word … “prejudices”’ around you meant me?

If I may be so bold as to protest.

In my line of work, tossing words around is not current practice. My choice of words in general is measured, and my use of this word in particular, particularly so, given the issue under discussion.    

Perhaps we ought to return to the context in which I appealed to the term. I said, and I quote: “As far as I am concerned, Man created God in his own image – and somehow seems to have managed to imbue his invention with his own prejudices in the process.”

Notice that I do not claim this statement to be a truth universally acknowledged. The above shows clearly that I do nothing other than simply put forth my position regarding the idea of God. It was important to elucidate this point, since my reply was to someone with a religious background, who had expressed a view coloured by that background, regarding a political and social matter of some import.

It would be helpful perhaps for me to clarify at this point why I felt it necessary to take issue with Mandy saying, and I quote, “…even though I don’t agree with homosexuality.”

She did not say that homosexuality is morally reprehensible. Had she done so, I would have rebutted in quite a different manner. I would have also taken a less genteel line in such a rebuttal.

What Mandy said was that she did not agree with homosexuality. Does not agree… on what?

Homosexuality is not a person, a political group with a manifesto, or an institution with a set of policies that one could disagree with.

Is it same-sex coitus that Mandy disagrees with? This would be an insultingly reductive view of homosexuality. I persist in the hope that this was not Mandy’s position.

Is it that Mandy disagrees with the existence of homosexuality as a counterpart to heterosexuality? Does she believe that heterosexuality is a ‘natural’ occurrence, whilst homosexuality is a lifestyle choice? If so, then this would suggest that, when she says she disagrees with homosexuality, what she means is that she disagrees with homosexuality as a valid lifestyle choice. I leaned towards this interpretation of her statement, and my comment on her article makes this plain.

Allow me to repeat that part of my reply which illustrates the above point:

“I struggle to understand what there can be to ‘agree’ or disagree with about homosexuality. Homosexuality is not a matter of opinion. You can’t disagree with homosexuality as if it’s equivalent to coffee-drinking, governmental policy on education, or… whatever-have-you: whaling! for example. Homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice.” (vicbriggs)

So far, so good. Now that you understand my reasons for engaging with Mandy on this issue, I will return to my later statement which incited your reply:

“As far as I am concerned, Man created God in his own image – and somehow seems to have managed to imbue his invention with his own prejudices in the process.”

As I have already indicated above, this statement is nothing other than a clarification of my position regarding the idea of God.

I am willing to acknowledge that since for me God is an idea, rather than an entity, and since I was writing a reply for someone for whom the opposite is the case, I ought to have taken pains to make the distinction clearer perhaps.

As for Man imbuing the idea of God with his own “prejudices”? I stand by this. I’m afraid that if you want to disagree with me on this, you’ll have to do it from within the framework of my argument rather than the Christian one, since my point is a philosophical rather than a religious one.

Suffice to say that all human beings are incapable of leaving their preconceptions fully off the table, and since this is the case, anything they create will necessarily be “imbued” with those preconceptions. Since for me God is Man’s creation, it follows that this idea is necessarily contaminated by humanity’s own shortcomings.

My statement was not intended to challenge anyone else’s faith. Everyone is entitled to make sense of life and death, themselves and the world in the manner of their own choosing. Religion does not do it for me, but I know it does work for others, and I’m not some militant atheist who requires for religion to be obliterated or else.

That being said, I am militant about maintaining a clear separation between public and private. Religion belongs to the latter and has no business dictating policy in the former.

I do take issue with those who use their faith to discriminate against others.

 

lensgirl53: Therein lies the difficulty of explaining our position on such delicate subjects as homosexuality that the Bible says is a sin…along with lying, murder, stealing, etc.

Actually, the Bible may say that homosexuality is a sin, but it does not say that it is a sin along with those others you mention. The sins you enumerate, as you well know, come from the Old Testament’s Ten Commandments. Commandment nr.9, lying: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Commandment nr.6, murder:Thou shalt not kill.” Commandment nr.8, stealing: “Thou shalt not steal.”

Notice again, how I’m being pernickety about the choice/use of language and the context that language implies?

I do this because in choosing to enumerate homosexuality as a sin in the context of ten commandment sins, you are implicitly creating an image of homosexuality as a sin so great that it would be worthy of an eleventh commandment. If that was not your intention, then perhaps you ought to have referred to other sins that are not mentioned in the Ten Commandments, but appear in the Bible elsewhere. Consistency and parity of position would be appreciated in this context.        

 

lensgirl53: Now, I could start quoting scripture here but what would be the point? If a person does not believe in God or a Bible then those words will have no meaning. But if you are inclined to look it up…try the book of Romans and read it in its entirety.

The western secular world is in many ways also a post-Christian world, so you are mistaken in your assumption that the values and norms of Christianity as presented in its key texts have no meaning for those who do not believe. Meaning however does not equate faith. I am able to understand you and your beliefs and simultaneously adhere to my own worldview, my own set of “truths”.

Thank you for your suggested further reading. I was brought up as a Christian and have read the Bible and many other religious texts extensively as a result. In fact, at my last count, I had read the Old Testament (in its entirety) six times and the new one, almost as many.

I was a believer as a child, and then I grew up.

lensgirl53: As far as the desire of homosexual behavior….they may be inclined to a certain sexual orientation but the real sin is the act of immoral sex (hetero..and homo) The Christian perspective is that we should exert self-control in all things and when we fail, as we will do….then we are forgiven through our faith in Christ. Simple as that…a gift from a loving Father.

Interesting. Your explanation is insufficiently developed I’m afraid. I am still in the dark as to what, in your opinion, constitutes immoral sex. Care to elucidate?

My guess is that you make in the above a distinction between sex within marriage as moral, and church un-ratified sex as immoral, irrespective of whether it is a heterosexual or same-sex relationship? If so, where does that leave civil marriages, where the couple chose not to have a religious wedding?  

lensgirl53: And quit judging Christians, while saying that they “judge” others…it just isn’t so.

Quit judging Christians? I would ‘quit’ if I had been judging Christians in the first place. I’m afraid you have projected onto me and mine your own preconceptions of what un-believers ought to be like, what an atheist or agnostic may be expected to think or “believe,” and how they are likely to act around believers.

Please reread my comment to Mandy. Perhaps on second inspection you will be able to see that I do not judge her, and by extension, I do not judge Christians: https://shardsofsilence.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/be-happy-be-gay/

I have no interest in judging anyone. I am a thinker, a philosopher-in-training. What I try to do is engage with people at the level of ideas, which I find to be a fruitful and enriching experience.

Nor do I ever once say that Christians judge others.

Again, you appear to take it as a given that if a non-believer challenges a believer on any point, they are necessarily judging them, making some sort of personal attack. I can’t change your perception of this. Only you have the power to make that change. I can only refer you back to the above.

I have copy-pasted your comment before writing my reply in order to ensure that I do not attribute to you any words or opinions that you have not expressed in writing. Please be so kind as to return the courtesy and only claim that I say something when I do in fact say it, rather than when you believe it to be implied in what I say.

There is a distinction. And it is an important one: When I write/say something: that is my opinion expressed. When you write that I say something: that is your interpretation of my opinion, which may or may not correspond to my actual position.

lensgirl53: I would rather live as if there is a God to die and find out I am right, than to live as if there is no God to die and find out I am wrong!!

Therein lieth the crux of the matter: You believe that there is something to find out after death. I do not.

 

Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to read my reply. Additions and corrections to the debate are of course very welcome. Until then, I bid you farewell.

*

Writing this article was made possible by Project O. To read my original contribution, please follow the following link: https://shardsofsilence.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/project-o/

For Mandy’s contribution to Project O, please follow this link: http://aopinionatedman.com/2013/09/20/project-o-article-80-mandy-uk-scheduled-for-9-20-1800/comment-page-1/#comment-63799

To read other contributors’ Project O pieces, and find out more about the project’s inception and aims, follow the link below: http://aopinionatedman.com/category/project-o/

There is also an interview with vicbriggs and OpinionatedMan coming up in October. Will link it up to my blog as soon as it is published. Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter for updates: @shardsofsilence

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20 thoughts on “God @TheTweetOfGod Sigh… maybe Nietzsche was right.

  1. Vic, this is, quite simply, outstanding! I am deeply impressed by the clarity of your thinking! Extremely well said – and I totally agree! xxx

    • Thank you, Alienora. Lensgirl53’s comment made me realise that it may be useful for me to clarify my position further for those who do not share my assumptions. I hope this managed it to some extent.

  2. well said Vic,
    although i do believe there is a God, i also believe that everything we may know of it is written by the hand of inferior men so we must be careful to sort the ‘truth’ from the propaganda.
    in the bible, which i am not fond of, it is stated several times what a man may do including eating food.
    anti homosexuals point at the bible as proof of their position whilst forgetting other points such as refraining from eating shrimp or cloven hoof animals, yet i see many christians eating shrimp and goat whilst queer bashing.
    people read and remember the things that are already important to themselves, if they don’t like something then they look for validation of their dislike.
    to err is human 🙂
    christians are good at confusing things;
    thou shalt not kill.
    notice that the word used is kill (not murder)
    so everytime we eat meat we are guilty of killing, but for some reason this isn’t noticed by many christians.

    personally i believe that if a God created everything, he didn’t go to walmart for the ingredients, we are of him, even the homosexuals.
    “all things bright and wonderful,
    all creatures great and small
    blah di blah di blah di blah
    The Lord God Made Them All”
    this in my opinion includes gays and lesbians.
    and who are we to argue whether He made a mistake or not 🙂

  3. I posted a comment earlier…seems like it went unpublished 😦
    Love this side effect of the project and looks like you are having a blast too. Looking for the interview w/ OM. Gonna be fun.
    Interesting discussion.

    • Sorry to hear that your comment got lost in the ether. I checked past comments just to make sure that I didn’t forget to approve it, but couldn’t find it either. I’m glad that you are enjoying the posts. And yes, it is great that Project O is getting people an open platform for debate and for exchanging ideas and opinions about important issues. Will keep you posted about the interview 🙂

  4. Once again I enjoyed it… in my opinion, this clarification wasn’t needed, lensgirl53 had their own thoughts about homosexuality and sin, what they perceive is what they will conceive

  5. Vic,

    As much as I admire your rational thought and civility, I will take issue with one point. While the biblical prohibitions on male homosexuality do not, obviously, make the “big ten” of the Ten Commandments, the vehemence with the Old Testament speaks on this is striking.

    From memory, the English translation of the French Jerusalem Bible states something like “A man shall not sleep with another man as a woman. This is a hateful thing.” (Leviticus?) This rather profound aversion is not something that a sincere religious person who adheres to the tenets of the Old Testament can summarily ignore.

    This presents a sincere Christian a bit of a dilemma, given “Let he who hath not sinned cast the first stone.” God apparently hates male homosexuality, yet Christians are forbidden from judging homosexuals. I believe the correct resolution of this apparent dilemma for one of a Christian faith is to judge the act itself v. judging another who partakes of the act.

    It is my impression that this may be the perspective from which Lensgirl53 originally wrote. If this was indeed the case, I cannot find fault with her for having done so.

    In terms of your being a thinker / philosopher-in-training, I am looking forward to my future two books being subject to your insightful scrutiny. In the first, I describe my inadvertent and unpleasant journey of discovery of what I term a unified construct of gender narcissism. (One local Professor of English has given her informal stamp of approval on both the logic behind the construct as well as the book itself, which is a few months away from self-publication). In the second book, yet to be written, I take the construct to its logical extensions.

    These logical extensions, which involves unifying Lasch’s “The Culture of Narcissism” with Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” do not exclude homosexuality. What the logical extensions will have to say on the topic remains to be written.

    • Very interesting projects. I look forward to hear/read more. As for the first part of your comment: you are quite right to emphasise the difficult nature of this issue. I do not take lightly the struggles Christians – and others who subscribe to religious creeds have to undergo in order to fit together their religious and their social and political views.
      Often time we forget as well that many in the gay community are also religious, and for them this battle is doubly tough.
      Warm regards,
      Vic

      • An excellent point on how theological issues could be more profound for gays and lesbians. Too often we tend to reduce certain groups of people to their primary defining or unifying characteristic, and forget the whole person, in all of her or his complexity, the humanity, the frailties, the aspirations, the need to love and be loved.

        I’m hoping that the thesis, and especially how it is articulated, might help provide a modicum of relief to those who have to deal with such conflicts. It remains to be seen if I can achieve this, but it is a worthy initiative in the attempt.

  6. This is precisely how I tear people apart. They leave calling me the offensive one, haha. They cannot deal with logic or the fact that I am also a Presbyterian, and can and do use idiomatic language that they think is theirs as “American Patriots” to use to slander. I toss it right back, I am far more patriotic than most.

    And I bet I have more family that served in the American military than most also!

    You nailed it exactly on her stating homosexuality is equivalent to a Cardinal Sin. I believe it might be equivalent to jaywalking. Easily forgiven and not really a matter for the courts.

    There’s time to worry about more weighty stuff.

    I shall be tilting at Youtube and Twitter today if you need anything, I think. Not sure. I talk about whatever pops up to talk about that interests me.

    Carry On!

    PS: It’s remarkably fun, isn’t it? haha

    PPS: I’ve been saving a fun one. I might talk about the extreme right winger here on WordPress name of The Mad Jewess, whose family immigrated here to escape Communism, now wants to close our borders! She tosses inflammatory language about, then when I paid a visit, had to have her husband handle me, claiming high blood pressure, etc.

    They also said they don’t trust “The Man” (US Government) then tried to cite the government on points they happen to agree with! LoL…

    The Man comes a calling right wingers, if you toss inflammatory language be prepared to be met with comedic mockery and logic!

    • Thank you for the RT and comment, Kavalkade. Great song as well. I do like the way you pinpoint your answers with musical contributions. There can never be too much music in the world.
      Regarding my answer to lensgirl53, it wasn’t a matter of “tearing” her comment apart, as much as about invalidating the accusations laid at my door, which were unwarranted in view of my reply to Mandy – which acknowledged her good intentions, and did nothing other than invite her to consider that homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice, and therefore not something that she (or anyone else for that matter) could agree or disagree with.
      Will carry on 🙂
      Watch this space – the platform for debate is open – Let’s Talk Opinion!

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