Humour will save us all in the end…
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: http://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: http://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