Saturday, January 17, 2009

Go Ahead, Ask

Well, this week sucked. Nothing bad happened. I just realized that I have a lot of work to do this semester and not enough energy (at this point) to do it all. In other words, I'm very, very tired. Like, almost as tired as I was during finals last semester, but this is only the first week! I'm sure I'll get used to it. It's just that reading four books at once, and then writing various papers about all of them, and then having to diffuse situations with my residents on an almost daily basis (I really hate having to hound people to turn in some simple paperwork that takes five minutes, but alas) really wears one down. I don't exactly have time just to enjoy myself, and I'm missing a bit of human contact. Actually, a lot of it comes online while I'm working on stuff. Thank goodness of Instant Messenger!

Of course it's not easy to keep God on my mind all the time, either, when school and work and all these other obligations that I've set myself up for (I'm too involved, if you can't tell) are racing through my head all day. I try to keep Him present, and I try to keep reading my Bible and writing in my journal, but in many ways I get so distracted by everything else I have to do that my "quiet time" is too fast-paced, shallow, and tainted by my constant worries about school and work.

And aside from that, I feel like I'm neglecting this blog. Obviously, the blog should not be too high on my priority list. It won't give me better grades or keep my boss happy, and its spiritual benefits are debatable. But it does often give me an "out" if I want to say something. The only problem is, recently, I don't have anything to say. Even when talking to friends, a lot of my concerns are about school and work, since my busyness has kept me out of my social loop (which is not too large to start with). And I'm sure you guys don't want to hear about me being busy, since this is, like, the fourth post in a row where I've mentioned that.

Another thing is that I feel that everything I've ever really wanted to say about my struggle with homosexuality, I've said. People know where I stand on things, or they can if they just take a dive through the archives. I'm a conservative Reformed Christian. I realized I liked guys when I was around 11. I consider myself masculine and have never had a problem with my sense of masculinity. I had a boyfriend once and it was a mixed experience which I don't intend to repeat. I don't see my my attractions as inherently sinful (lust is another matter, of course), and I try my best to be open about who I am and what I deal with (this is not a "hush, hush" topic for me). I don't buy into the typical theories of the "root causes" of homosexuality, nor do I care, and I also think that celibacy is the best option for men and women who deal with homosexuality, with hetero marriage as a possibility that should only be approached after considerable honesty and thought between the two people involved. My political notions, in general, are libertarian, and I think the government should get out of the business of religious marriage altogether and offer civil unions to people who desire them, for whatever reason.

There. Those are my thoughts on this in a nutshell, and like I said I've gone all through them before. So what else is there for me to talk about when it comes to the homo issue? I know that there are people who read this who are new, and so they've never really had a chance to interact with me as I talked through these things the first time, or maybe there are others out there who do know me but have an idea for a post. Just because I think I've said all that needs saying, there could very easily be something I'm missing, so I think I'll leave it to my readers (that means you guys, and you're a great bunch, might I add). If there's anything you'd like me to talk about, in terms of faith in general or the gay/Christian issue in particular, or just something random and funny (because I'm anticipating that Kurt True will leave a joke comment in response to this), just leave a comment and ask. I need ideas and I also do want something to take me out of my school/work/school/work model for a bit. :)

Other than that, things are going well. God bless, and hope to hear from you soon!


David said...

Oh homosexuality pshaw. A guy needs a change in intellectual scenery on occasion, and there's nothing to apologize for that. Go read Plato's Euthyphro or Republic or Calvin's Institutes (since you're all reformed, you should read your magna carta) or look into something else. Not that you're busy with school or anything. :p

Rick Brentlinger said...

Have you considered the possibility that our Lord Jesus disagrees with you that celibacy is the best course for gays and lesbians?

A careful reading of Matthew 19:3-12 indicates that Jesus carefully distinguishes between born eunuchs (gays and lesbians) who never made a choice to be "eunuchs" and eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake, who DID make a choice to be eunuchs.

Further, Jesus points out to His disciples that all three classes of eunuchs are exempt from the Adam and Eve, heterosexual marriage paradigm.

Rick Brentlinger

Jay said...

Further, Jesus points out to His disciples that all three classes of eunuchs are exempt from the Adam and Eve, heterosexual marriage paradigm.

You say it as though the Bible presents any other sort of paradigm, which I don't believe it does. When Christ talks about the eunuchs, he presents that their lives of singleness are just as honorable to God and have just as much a role in the Church. However, the very fact that he uses the word eunuchs shows that he wasn't really expecting any of them to have sex, especially when you look at the context of the passage, which was all about sex and marriage anyway.

Brandon said...

Jay, a lot of what you're feeling and going through sounds like my life this last fall. School, homework, and work seemed to be about the only things I had time for. I had few ideas for my own blog (and even if I had, I wouldn't have had the time to write anything). And I was certainly exhausted most of the time. My advice for you: look forward to summer break and don't fill it up ahead of time by making a lot of plans.

As for the blog, how about writing some posts about other contentious church related stuff. For instance, should infant baptism be allowed? Or, does the wine and bread of the eucharist literally transform into Jesus' blood and body? Things like that. And if you've already covered these things, forgive me for not realizing it or remembering. I'm personally always interested to know about different denominational beliefs. Maybe you could write about what your church believes in.

I hope things improve soon and you have my prayers and best wishes.

Oh, and one last bit of advice. When you're feeling stressed, sometimes it really does help to just stop for a few seconds, close your eyes, and breath deep. Of course a quick prayer never hurts either.

bryan said...

Wait a minute... you're gay?

But seriously now...

Hmm, something random and funny? Well, maybe not funny, but do you know what you're MBTI type is? I'm guessing you're an INFJ. Am I right? :)

Jeff S. said...

I just sent you an email with some follow-up comments on your blog post and potential ways to help other Christian guys that struggle with homosexual orientation. You write some good stuff.

Jay said...

Brandon: Hey! Yeah, this isn't out-of-the-ordinary for anyone who's a stressed-out college student (or just a busybody in general, I guess!) I'm doing fine in terms of life, actually. I'm just trying to figure out where to take this thing. And yes, figuring out some denominational beliefs might be a good idea. I'm Reformed but I don't really have everything worked out. Let's just say my beliefs are a little amalgamated at this point. So it might be a good idea to talk through those things. Thanks for the tip!

Bryan: I'm actually ISTJ.


Jeff: Thanks for the compliments and encouragement, Jeff!

P said...

I see blogs like yours not so much as a series of position statements (although it does help to know where one is coming from) but as a series of contributions to the ongoing discussion.

The public conversation about Christianity and Homosexuality is often dominated by voices that are flawed.

Which is why I do hope you keep writing about the issue. You have a voice that does not compromise truth yet also has a sense of reason and (dare I say) practicality to it.

As for the eunoch debate, I'm not quite sure what to say since the only eunoch I know is my cat, Gonzo.

George M said...

Can I ask you a question? kinda off topic

What’s your take on things like Don’t ask don’t tell? Do you think you’ll always have SSA?
I tried for a long time and was in a str8 relationship for 12 years and could not hold on, I’m sure I’ll pay for it but at least I no longer hate myself. IDK

I do however continue to belong to a community church in Connecticut, its open and affirming. It’s a cool place to worship.
Have a good night


The boy with the green tambourine said...

You're in college, busy learning, with tons of homework. And you're tired, fair enough.

I'm in a job where I enjoy most of my work, but I've already climbed the steepest part of the learning curve. More to learn yet, of course, but I'm no longer out of my depth. And I have no homework. And yet I'm tired all the time too.



Jay said...

George: Nothing really off-topic on this post. :)

Let's see, I don't support DADT. I don't know if I'll always be attracted to men or not. I think it's likely, but you never know what will happen. It's not really a goal of mine, at any rate. If I do meet a woman I'm attracted to and want to marry, I will. That doesn't mean that I won't be attracted to men, still (just like a straight married man is still attracted to other women). But my commitment to her will trump all.

And if I don't meet a woman who I'm attracted to, I know I'll have a good life anyway (God willing). I certainly don't hate myself, and I don't think I ever have.

Take care!

Tambourine: Well, good luck with work. I know life never really gets any easier. That's why I'm trying my best to adjust to my schedule now.

J. said...

Hey, I just found this blog. I'm a Catholic college student with SSA looking to live chastely. I know what you mean giving God time in your daily life and keeping Him in mind. One thing I try to do is repeat a simple prayer line in time with my steps or breathing, maybe something like "Glory be to Jesus Christ" or whatever else. I also like to read a small Bible excerpt in the morning (often a psalm), and it usually comes to mind throughout the day.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

I just happened across your writing while reading on exgay watch. I clicked on the link and found my way to your page. I am encouraged by your writing, beliefs and calmness, which seems to be lacking when people discuss homosexuality and the Bible.

In 2006 the Holy Spirit convicted me of homosexuality. It has been a journey between me and God. I rarely read the debates. Thank you for stating your beliefs in the manner that you do. Although I have not had the chance to read much on your page I am planning on it. I am adding you to my favorites. I am looking forward to having conversations with you in the near future.

God bless you.


James said...

What are your thoughts on the gay rights movement itself? Do you think they've been counterproductive in pushing for gay marriage, or do you think those who oppose gay marriage are also likely to oppose civil unions or partnerships? Do you ever foresee a day when evangelical Christians and gays will ever be able to work together?

What did you think of Obama's inauguration?

I'm not sure how I feel about the President. I keep having some nagging feeling that his administration may end up pushing us in a more socially conservative direction than Bush's, especially on gay-related issues.

Do you ever watch any soaps?

Jay said...

J: Thanks for the advice, J! It's good to hear from you. :)

Anonymous: Me, calm? I tend to get a little defensive and pushy sometimes, so you found me at a good moment! 2006 was probably the main year I made the switch as well, so it's cool that we've both been at it this long. I look forward to reading more of your stuff as a commenter, as well. :)

James: That first question's a tricky subject. Socially, in pretty much all issues except abortion (where I'm pro-life), I tend to be libertarian. I think the best solution in terms of marriage would be to simply offer civil unions or partnerships and leave the institution up to religion, where it belongs (I think Camille Paglia once wrote a piece on this, so I probably got the idea from her).

However, I know that there are some people out there who would oppose even that, so it's just a really difficult situation to maneuver around, for anyone. I certainly hope there's a day where both sides can still hold their beliefs but be more respectful towards one another.

I found the inauguration a bit dull and over-hyped. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about how Obama's administration will be more socially conservative than Bush's, though.

And in terms of soaps, does Lost count? :)

James said...

I often got the sense that President Bush was not very conservative on social matters, aside from abortion. Most of the policy positions he took on gay-related issues seemed determined by Karl Rove or other advisors.

President Obama, in his campaign, seemed to repeatedly move towards men who have extremely hostile views on gay rights, like Donnie McClurkin, or Rick Warren. There were also few gay faces of his campaign, or now, in his Cabinet. I don't know if that was just his campaign, but I can't help thinking he's more conservative on these matters than he lets on.

I also think when a Democrat is in office, the country becomes more socially conservative, almost as an instinctive response, and I'm not sure if this administration is going to end up lurching along with them.

Lost counts as a soap. Many primetime shows borrow from the soap format. I meant the daytime soaps. I watched them for years. They've fallen into a bad state the past decade or so, just awful messages and stories on display.

If you get Soapnet, you might want to watch Ryan's Hope, a soap from the 70s. It comes on at like 5 in the morning, so you'd probably have to tape it or whatever, but it's a great show. Great acting and writing and themes.

TRiG said...

I was talking to my mother about the Lillian Ladelle case the other day. And Mammy basically said (I'm paraphrasing here, of course) that she fully supported same-sex marriage in principle, but doesn't like the term. I think that's silly. Personally, I don't much care what it's called. Call it marriage, call it civil union, call it (my preference) civil marriage. But whatever you call it, call it the same thing for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. There's no sensible reason not to.

I also think we should adopt the continental practise of separating the religious and legal aspects into two events. In France, couples are married in the Town Hall by the mayor, and may then head down the road to be married by the priest in the church. This division of labour helps people to understand the two different aspects of marriage.

Actually, the more I have this discussion with people who are hung up on terminology, the more I see the point of something a chap on the h2g2 messageboard once suggested. He felt that there should be civil unions available for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and also marriages available for opposite-sex couples only. Civil unions and marriages would be exactly legally equivalent. There would be absolutely no legal difference. But marriage licenses would cost three times the amount. If the sanctity of marriage is that important to you, will you pay for it?

And, James, I'm not sure what makes you think that Barrack Obama is socially conservative. Have you read his agenda on civil rights?


Joshua Cookingham said...

Hey Jay,

How's it going? Im also in college currently, going for a degree in Communications and Media arts.

I read some of your post, and I wanted you to know, I'll be praying for you. My stand on homosexuality has been very traditional since I can remember but Lord knows I've fought my own battles sexual wise, and He deems all sin the same in His eyes. I'm glad you follow God, as opposed to man's words, even more than your own feelings, i know that must be hard.
Stay strong in the faith, and thanks for sharing your thoughts!

God bless.

The boy with the green tambourine said...

God deems all sin the same? So mass murder, rape and genocide on the one hand is just as bad as cheating a little on your tax returns on the other hand?

Do you really believe that? Do you even stop to think what you're saying?

It's actually one of the most immoral statements I've ever come across.


Jay said...

Joshua: Thanks for the encouragement!

TRiG: Theologically-speaking, any sin is enough to separate one from God, because He is without sin. In that sense, He views all sins the same. I don't think Joshua was trying to state that murder isn't worse than cheating on your taxes. And again, I could really appreciate you laying off the antagonistic tone.

Joshua Cookingham said...

"God deems all sin the same? So mass murder, rape and genocide on the one hand is just as bad as cheating a little on your tax returns on the other hand?"

Not to be incendiary, but have you read Jesus's words concerning lust and hate? That if you do either it counts as murder or adultry?

"Do you really believe that? Do you even stop to think what you're saying?"

I suppose I could have worded that differently, I apologize.

"It's actually one of the most immoral statements I've ever come across."

Sorry. Didn't mean it to be. Let me try again: "God will give all sinners the same judgement, regardless of what they did specifically. While certain sins are more of an abomination, any is enough to warrent God's wrath upon an individual. In God's mercy, He has saved us through faith in Jesus Christ if we repent and follow Him."

Thanks for informing me. :)
God bless.

Joshua Cookingham said...

BTW, thanks Jay for supporting me. Indeed, what I meant was that sometimes we as Christians make a big deal of homosexuality and ignore the more 'normal' sexual sins, which God hates just as much.

thanks again.

TRiG said...


Have you heard of CARM, the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry? I used to post on their discussion forums. I've stopped now, on the basis that it was not at all healthy. I think it's left me with some residual anger toward Christians which it may take me a while to shake off. But I really shouldn't be taking it out on your blog, Jay. Sorry.

Having said that, I don't see my post above as particularly antagonistic. If Joshua Cookingham can say that, according to his moral system, I am wrong to even look for a boyfriend, surely I can say that I think his moral system is poorly calibrated. No?

On the CARM forums I once had a person called The Aged assume that since I'm gay I must be promiscuous and that since I'm an atheist I must be a moral relativist. I'm honestly not sure which offended me more. He also said something mildly insulting about my being Irish.

(Actually, a discussion on moral relativism might be an interesting digression from homosexuality. And a digression from homosexuality is exactly what you were looking for, wasn't it?)

The Aged also assured us that all sin was equally wrong. And, unlike you, Jay, he really meant it. In all circumstances, one sin is just as bad as another. I find that opinion very difficult to understand. And I stand by my assertion that it is not a moral position. No truly moral person could say such a thing.

On h2g2, another discussion forum, I know a guy called Edward the Bonobo who maintains that atheism is a necessary (though insufficient) precondition for a proper morality. This is going further than what I said above, but his argument is fairly sound. It is rather similar to that outlined by Sam Harris in Letter to a Christian Nation (a book I strongly recommend).

Edward and Sam remark that morality is about humans. As Sam Harris puts it, "questions of morality are questions about happiness and suffering". Therefore, any moral system which focusses less on humans than it does on God is not really moral. There is a fundamental disconnect, and once that is allowed, any atrocity can be justified.

The Aged maintained that rape and homosexuality are equally wrong, even though rape causes great hurt and homosexuality causes none. This means that the hurt to people didn't matter at all to him; all that concerned him was the offence to God. The Aged is, clearly, a moral idiot. He has no understanding of morality.

Is your understanding any better, Jay? You don't think that these two "sins" are equivalent, except in some abstruse theological sense which has no bearing on the real world. So you do have some grasp of morality. Morality is about people, and you, to a certain extent, understand that. Good.

But you are still a theist, which means that you take your moral values from your invisible friend. Religion warps morality, because it changes the focus from reality to the imagination.

Let's take an example.

Posted by Jesurgislac as a comment on Slacktivist:

Just another illustration of what believing that "homosexual behavior is a sin" leads to:

According to strict Catholic doctrine, Martin M. Lanigan is a far worse sinner than Rev. Donald J. McGuire
Lanigan is proposing to marry and settle down with the love of his life, a man he describes as his soulmate, and the two of them will sin unrepentently for decades.

McGuire has sex with boys as young as nine. But he always repented. He even absolved the boys of their sin in having sex with him.

Lanigan is rejected by the Catholic Church: their parish priest instructed his family not to go to his wedding.

McGuire was embraced and supported by the Catholic Church, not even prevented from having teenage boys staying in his room as his travelled.

You know, cjmr
[another poster, a Catholic], with all due respect for your faith: a faith which has to hold that McGuire is less of a sinner than Lanigan because Lanigan is proposing to sin continuously and unrepentently for the rest of his life but McGuire only sinned sporadically and repented afterwards, is just...evil and asinine.

The weird thing about this is that, by the principles of Roman Catholic moral teaching, and also by the principles of most Protestant moral teaching, Lanigan is indeed a worse sinner than McGuire. There is no way out of that. And yet any right-thinking person would say that McGuire did evil, and that Lanigan is doing no harm to anyone.

This, you see, is the danger of a moral system which divorces questions of good and evil from questions of human suffering. And thereby are all religions indicted*.


Joshua Cookingham,

You say you disapprove of same-sex marriage. Please keep your imaginary friend out of my life.


*With the possible exceptions of some of the ones with no central authority and no revealed text. Wicca sounds quite nice. Nonsense, of course, but nice.

Jay said...

So, you wonder why I am calling you antagonistic and then you drop a line about my "imaginary friend." Interesting.

Look, I could spend the next twenty minutes writing and looking up Bible verses and such, because I do believe the Bible presents the case that there are worse sins than others in a societal sense, but why should I when you've already exhibited that you've written off all Christians as "moral idiots" with "imaginary friends"?

You're probably going to think that I'm just ducking out of the argument because I can't hack it, and that's fine. Feel vindicated if you will. But I really have no time to talk to someone who's already made up their mind about my opinion being worthless.

Have a good day.

TRiG said...

I said The Aged had no understanding of morality. He believed some nonsense which you clearly do not believe.

Your understanding of morality is clearly warped, because you believe some things are wrong even though they do no harm, but it's not nearly as warped as The Aged's understanding.

I did not call you a moral idiot.


Joshua Cookingham said...

"Your understanding of morality is clearly warped, because you believe some things are wrong even though they do no harm"

This just begs the question, how so?
Or how do you determine if it causes harm or not.

I could say your sense of morality is warped because you jump to conclusions about religious folk, (and yes, you have done the same to Jay,) but what does that prove?

Stick to the issues at hand, don't start making unsubstantiated judgements about Jay.

God bless.

TRiG said...

*alert* *alert* *alert*

Improper use of the phrase to beg the question.

Also, I'm not sure what you imagine to be "the issues at hand". This blog post is, in its intent, an open discussion: "If there's anything you'd like me to talk about, in terms of faith in general or the gay/Christian issue in particular, or just something random and funny ..., just leave a comment and ask."


So, let's talk about the interaction between religion and society. It's interesting, Joshua Cookingham, that you say on your blog that you are opposed to same-sex marriage. (Jay has previously mentioned that his own opinion on the subject is not certain.)

So, on the basis of your religious beliefs, you are trying to make the world a less fair place. You are trying to take away human rights. You are actively working to make the world worse.

Allow me to quote Sam Harris again, as I did on the "Now What?" discussion:

"Questions of morality are questions about happiness and suffering. That is why you and I do not have moral obligations towards rocks."

"One of the most pernicious effects of religion is that it tends to divorce morality from the question of human and animal suffering. Religion allows people to imagine that their concerns are moral when they are not -- that is, when they have nothing to do with suffering or its alleviation. Indeed, religion allows people to imagine their concerns are moral when they are highly immoral -- that is, when pressing these concerns inflicts unnecessary and appalling suffering on innocent human beings."

Now, I don't think that repealing same-sex marriage necessarily causes "appalling suffering", but it can. And it certainly causes "unnecessary suffering", as there is no real-world reason to deny equality to gay people.

And yes, people like you can cause absolutely outrageous suffering. The religiously-motivated far-right hate group Exodus International are a case in point. (And if you don't believe they're a hate group, have a look at what they've been doing recently in Uganda (More.).)

Joshua Cookingham, you may condemn Exodus. (I would, in fact, be surprised if you didn't.) You may similarly condemn many others who cause great suffering by pressing their "moral" religious concerns, by preaching against condoms in sub-Saharan Africa, by politically working against vaccines for HIV or HPV, on the basis that these would encourage premarital sex, or by various other means. Your difference with these people, however, is of degree, not of kind. You and they are similar.

You and they both wish to force people to live by the dictates of a moral system which is not founded in the real world. You and they both condemn behaviour which does no harm, and which therefore is not immoral.

Jay is different. As far as I can work out, he does not seek to force his opinions on others. He has chosen a hard path, and one I can respect. I hope that, if I believed as he did, I would have the courage and strength to do the same. And I hope that, like Jay and unlike you, I would not try to pull the world with me.

I have said some of this more clearly, with reference to the Mormon Church and California's Proposition 8, in the comments at Box Turtle Bulletin.


The boy with the green tambourine said...

In the context of a discussion on the effects of Shinto and Buddhism on Japan's actions in the Second World War, a friend of mine remarked.

"Religions simply seem to eager to give support to the insupportable - although, granted, not all adherents necessarily fall into wrongdoing. I think it's to do with their lack of emphasis on rational thought. Wrongdoing can be justified by 'My religion says...'. This means that the religious justification for rightdoing is no more sound than that for wrongdoing."

(Post 31.)

Just a comment.


Joshua Cookingham said...


"Improper use of the phrase to beg the question."

How so? You were making vague claims that Jay was taking a stand against something that you claimed was not harmful(never mind that you just reversed your position and stated now that he's not sure about that position).
If you are going to make so vague a claim, then you have to answer further questions.

"This blog post is, in its intent, an open discussion"

Indeed. But you weren't having a discussion. You accused Jay of having a warped sense of morality. You then failed to explain why. That's a straw man, not a discussion.

"So, on the basis of your religious beliefs, you are trying to make the world a less fair place. You are trying to take away human rights. You are actively working to make the world worse."

Oh, pshaw. I've done no such thing. I do not go and picket funerals or march on Washington. I am extremely uninvolved with politics, and I have no influence on anyone in or near Washington. I merely expressed my opinion, you are again resorting to straw man tactics.

"Questions of morality are questions about happiness and suffering. That is why you and I do not have moral obligations towards rocks."

NEVER, and I repeat NEVER, quote Sam Harris. The man has been refuted many times, by many authors. If you quote someone respectable, like Hitchens or Dennet, then I'll take you more seriously.

Now for the quote, Douglas Wilson handles this quite well:
""Okay, WHOSE happiness and suffering? Why ought one individual, with one set of nerve endings, be concerned about another set of nerve endings entirely?" -Letter From a Christian Citizen

I could go on, suffice it to say that the case of morality being based on 'happiness' or 'suffering' is weak.

"And yes, people like you can cause absolutely outrageous suffering."

I love how you try to make an argument based off of a statement like, "People Like You....." .
It's a poor way of conducting an argument, especially when you don't know me.

"You and they both wish to force people to live by the dictates of a moral system which is not founded in the real world."

I do not wish to 'force' anyone to live by any law, see above.
I do have an opinion, and I will state it. I do not hate gays, I sympathize with them in terms of wrestling with sexual sin.
But I will not condone the behavior. any more than I would condone Man-boy love, which is also based on 'happiness'. Or adultery, also based on happiness. Sin is sin, it does not discriminate between homo or hetero.

"Jay is different."

I'm glad you and i agree. You're right. Jay is struggling with something that I've never struggled with.
You two have a lot in common.
The difference is that Jay loves God more than anything, he truly trusts Him, and look at the fruit.
Here he is, establishing communication with gay and straight people alike. I find it miraculous.

"And I hope that, like Jay and unlike you, I would not try to pull the world with me."

Then I hope that Jay continues to set a good standard. I'm glad you like him, that's why you need to stay on topic and not accuse him of 'warped morality'.
You can accuse me all you like, but Jay has given you no cause to do so.

BTW, Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

God Bless.

TRiG said...


I'm posting from two different accounts again. Sorry about that. I'll try to be more careful in future.


TRiG said...

I beg you, to learn what you're talking about.


I'm not sure what you're problem is with Sam Harris. He's said things I disagree with, certainly. His attitude to Islam seems a little unhinged. I was not, however, quoting him as an authority. I was quoting him because on this specific issue our opinions coincide, and he expressed the idea very clearly, and therefore it's simpler to quote him than to rephrase the opinion in my own words.

He may have been refuted on many other issues. I don't know. Nor is it relevant. Can you refute him on this issue?

You try. And, like me, you use another person's words in place of your own. And if Douglas Wilson turned out to be a holocaust revisionist or to have said something else idiotic which had been "refuted many times", that would have no bearing on this quote you've used.

In questioning Sam Harris' authority, you are accusing me of the "appeal to authority" fallacy. Please don't do that.


I did not reverse my position. You've been reading me wrong. Jay believes homosexuality is immoral, even though there is no sensible real-world reason to believe this. Jay's sense of morality is not based on happiness and suffering, therefore Jay's sense of morality is warped. This is what I said, and I stand by it.

What Jay doesn't do, unlike you, is to try to force other people to live by the dictates of his moral system. He has, indeed, drawn a distinction between "societal" sins and "theological" sins (if I'm putting words in your mouth, Jay, please let me know). "Societal" sins are those which hurt others, real morality, which it is legitimate to enforce on others by outlawing theft, murder, and the like. "Theological" sins are fictional morality, which you are welcome to live by yourself, but which you have no business to enjoin on others.

As far as I can tell, Jay sees this distinction, and you don't.


I know I've skipped some of your points, but I'm in work at the moment. Is stealing time from my employer to post here a form of immorality?


TRiG said...


I used you're in place of your in the above comment. That'll teach me not to lecture others on their grammar!


Also, I forgot to include a link to this discussion on religious freedom.


Joshua Cookingham said...


"I beg you, to learn what you're talking about."

I did. Shortly after, I went and looked it up on Wikipedia. I still see no good reason as to why I couldn't use that phrase,(as others agree it is a perfectly justifiable expresion) but just for argument's sake, I'll bite.

"I'm not sure what you're problem is with Sam Harris."

He is extremely irrational. Saying that morality is based upon happiness or suffering is simply ludicrous. I could justify any action by doing that.
I'm happy when I steal, hence stealing is moral. You may suffer if I steal, then again you may not.
All this does is raise more questions as to which is more important, suffering or happiness. It's a terrible moral system. At least Dennet and Hitchens try to make the case that morals evolved from community and survival, which is a little more reasonable.

"In questioning Sam Harris' authority, you are accusing me of the "appeal to authority" fallacy. Please don't do that."

I'm doing no such thing. I merely wanted you to find a more credible source of information. Harris has not just been refuted on one issue, he's been refuted on nearly EVERY issue in his book. He refuses to have debates with critics of his book, which only serves to reinforce the belief that he does not know what he is talking about.

If you want to keep quoting him, go ahead, just don't expect me to be impressed. :)

"I did not reverse my position. You've been reading me wrong."

Hardly. You stated that Jay's morality is warped because he views homosexuality as immoral. Then you tell me his views on gay marriage are not certain.
Which is it? You confused the issue by saying Jay preached one thing that you view as warped, but ignored his other belief. I'm sorry if I mis-interpreted your meaning, but that's how it came across.

"Jay's sense of morality is not based on happiness and suffering, therefore Jay's sense of morality is warped."

Again, I may be 'happy' to go steal something. Or I may 'suffer' if I help someone who has an infectious disease. This is not a moral system, it's situational ethics.

"What Jay doesn't do, unlike you, is to try to force other people to live by the dictates of his moral system."

There you go again with the 'force' argument. I will repeat myself for the last time; I HAVE NOT FORCED ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING. I have an opinion, I stand by it. I do not force people to accept mine. Stop diverting the argument into straw man's land.

"Societal" sins are those which hurt others, real morality, which it is legitimate to enforce on others by outlawing theft, murder, and the like."

Again. Why should one man's happiness or suffering be equated as greater than anothers? Or why should one care what happens to another? Harris's moral view raises more questions than answers.

"As far as I can tell, Jay sees this distinction, and you don't."

Then as far as I can tell, his moral views are not warped any more than yours. I'll say it again, disagree with me, or attack me all you want. Leave Jay alone.

"Is stealing time from my employer to post here a form of immorality?"

Lol, I know what you mean. I'm constantly tempted by the urge to blog at my job. ;)

God bless.