Monday, December 8, 2008

Newsweek makes a religous case IN FAVOR OF gay marriages!!!!

Newsweek has really done a marvelous job here. This cover story makes the case that the central Biblical notion of love should have religious people coming down in favor of gay marriages! Great job Newsweek! Ultimately the article is correct. In the words of St. Paul, "the letter kills, but the spirit gives life." Ultimately the one prohibition in Leviticus against homosexuality - which is in a chapter that also prohibits garments of blended fabrics and shrimp cocktail - and the one or two passages in St. Paul - who also thought the end of the world would come in his life-time, and that women should veil their heads and could not have short haircuts! - do not guide the religious person. Rather it is love, love for our neighbor and respect for their love for each other, that should guide our attitude on this and other issues. For the whole story go to:


  1. I use that argument often when engaging religious people in the debate of gay marriage, or homosexuality in general. Funny how people pick and chose which "rules" to adhere to strictly and which ones to ignore. Either you are a Christian who believes the Bible literal or it is a metaphor, you can't choose both.

  2. It's a good argument. I don't think all Christians believe the Bible literally, I think Christians can take it metaphorically. But it is an important distinction. One can take the Bible entirely literally and believe it written by God and be left believing some weird things - but here is an interesting video about that, a simple Google search will reveal these weird things - but here is a video link about it, or take it metaphorically, and see it as a human product contain some profound stories and truths.

  3. If you don't mind my asking, are you a Christian?

  4. I don't mind you asking at all. The answer, however, is rather complicated.

    The short answer is that I do identify myself as Christian. But this needs quite a bit of explanation.

    To start: I don't take The Bible literally. I don't believe Adam and Eve were real people, that there really was a great flood, that Jesus was born of a virgin - I think he had a human father like all of us -, that there will be a literal judgment day, in a literal heaven and hell - in fact I don't have any definite view on what happens after we die-, or in the devil, demons, angels, original sin, supernatural miracles etc. I don't literally believe in any of these things.

    Secondly, I fully accept what the sciences have taught us about the world. I think all life evolved from a single ancestor, and am very interested in what psychologists say about human behavior, physicists say about the universe, and so on.

    Next, I'm pro-gay marriage - as the blog makes clear -, pro-choice, and do NOT believe that there is one true church, faith, or creed. Rather, I think Religions are primarily metaphorical and mythical. A religion is principally about certain kinds of transformative experiences, and story and ceremony are in place to channel those. A religion is meant to bring one to the Divine and create in one a "new being" a "new way" - and I think all the world's great religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc, at their best do accomplish this.

    Now, having said all this, why do I identify myself as Christian? That's another long story.

    First, I'm no atheist. Let me clarify: I do NOT believe in a "person-like" God. That is, I do not believe that there is a supernatural being "out there" somewhere who thinks and feels and plans as we do.

    What I do believe in is Spinoza's God. Which I take to be something like, "the ground of being" or the "ultimate reality". What makes this entity "God" is that it is Infinite, Eternal, the Cause of all things, and the contemplation of this being is the highest fulfillment and happiness for human beings. Of course we can only contemplate God by contemplating all the things in this world.

    Now Spinoza's God is NOT a separate being, but "reality as a whole" present everywhere and in everything. Which is, as I see it, far more God-like than a "dude up there."

    What makes me identify with Christianity is that I think God is found most clearly in love and compassion, in devotion and integrity. I think if we want to find and know God, we don't retreat from the world, we participate in it lovingly and passionately.

    Now, it seems to me that in his inclusion of the outcasts, healing of the sick and broken hearted, his devotion to his mission, his condemnation of the elites and powerful, and his full participation in the human struggle, such that it cost him his life, Jesus of Nazareth embodied the path or way to realize God in our lives.

    What follows from this is that Jesus is - for me, but not necessarily for someone else - the incarnation or revelation of God in human life. In Jesus we see how a human being can come to know God.

    That in any case is my view. So it's very non-traditional, but I still count it as Christian.

  5. Understood, but why pick Jesus as the embodiment of God in people? There were many prophets before his lifetime that had the same life story (advocate of the poor, healing of the sick, teacher of values, etc.).

  6. That's a fair point.

    I think we are all the embodiment of God to the extent that we live out those values. Jesus for me is principally the paradigm.

    I don't think he differs in kind only degree. That said, I don't claim Jesus is somehow superior to other such figures, just that he has a strong personal effect on me. Does that make sense?

  7. Yes, it makes sense. A lot of that personal effect is no doubt a result of living in the U.S. Even athiests or Muslims can't avoid being affected somehow by Christianity while living in the western world.

  8. No I'm not an Arian or a pantheist.
    An Arian is someone who holds that Christ is not divine, but rather God's "first creature."

    I hold nothing like that. I think Jesus is Divine. But I think he is divine because he lives out of his full humanity, not because he is different from us in kind.

    Jesus is fully divine, because he is truly human. Being true to ourselves awakens us to our union with God, which is why Jesus is a paradigmatic figure.

    As for Pantheism? I take it that a Pantheist holds that the physical universe exhausts the being of God. But Spinoza and Matt Wion do not believe this.

    Rather, I think the universe is an extension of the being of God; not the whole of it. This is more properly Panentheism. I deny that God is a separate being, but I don't think our physical world is all there is to the Divine.

    Essentially I am part of the theological tradition of Schleiermacher, Tillich, and Bultman.

    Two books express pretty clearly what I believe.

    "Honest to God." by J. A. T. Robinson
    "The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith." By Marcus J. Borg
    you might also check out Borg's "Jesus: a New Vision."

    I suppose these would express my religious view pretty well. Not, of course, that I agree with everything they say.

  9. Update to this Story: It turns out that this Newsweek story has created a great deal of feed back. check out Washington post's"on Faith"

    There are some interesting articles here on the Quran and same-sex marriage and the Torah and same-sex marriage


Comments from many different points of view are welcome. But I will not publish any comments that are hateful, insulting, or filled with profanity. I welcome and encourage dialogue and disagreement but will not publish any hate speech.