Respectful disagreements: 10-28-09
October 28, 2009
Earlier this year, in this blog entry, I wrote about the excellent report from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America called "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust."
What I especially liked about it was its frank acknowledgement that people of good will within the church have come to different conclusions, so the task is to figure out how to live together in love even with those differences.
As a Presbyterian, it pleases me to be able to report that a denominational committee working on this same sexuality issue has come up with a draft of a report I consider to be as good and engaging as the Lutheran report. You can read all 31 pages by clicking on the link I've given you in this paragraph, but I especially want to highlight a list of nine points called "agreement, disagreement and mutual forbearance." In effect, committee members -- drawn from a wide theological perspective within the church -- list here how they will treat each other and how they will proceed in the midst of disagreement.
For example, here's the first of the nine statements:
1. We agree that Christ calls all kinds of persons into fellowship with him, regardless of race, sex, occupation, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or any other worldly condition, and that congregations are to welcome all persons who respond in trust and obedience to God's grace in Jesus Christ and who desire to become part of the membership and mission of his church.
I invite you to read all of these nine affirmations and to consider them a model for how people of faith who disagree with one another can agree to live together in love nonetheless. This is exactly what faith communities should be showing the world how to do.
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PROTECTING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
In releasing the U.S. State Department's annual report on religious freedom around the world, Secretary Hillary Clinton took a needed swipe at efforts by some predominantly Islamic countries to ban criticism of religion. Religion is strong enough to withstand its critics. It doesn't need phony protection from governments that would run roughshod over free speech rights. To read the full report on religious freedom, click here. And, by the way, because religious freedom is not simply an American ideal, as Clinton noted, but a basic human right, I'm glad the State Department and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom continue to raise this issue through annual reports and other methods. I also agree with the USCIRF that State should expand its list of most abusive countries from eight to 13.
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P.S.: A huge national Catholic youth conference called "Christ Reigns", which is expected to bring thousands of young people to Kansas City, is scheduled for Nov. 19-21. For information and volunteer opportunities, click here.
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NOTE: I was pleased with my comments experiment yesterday -- threatening not to publish posts that sought to attack people and were off topic. Most of you posted interesting and respectful notes, and I appreciated that. I held only a couple of comments. So those rules will be in effect now. If your purpose is to denigrate people, do it elsewhere. You certainly may disagree with one another (and with me) but you can do so respectfully without calling people disgusting names. Civil discourse here is the rule.
Had I only realized what would lead to this kind of censorship earlier, then I would have gladly participated before. :) How wonderful. Desired effect achieved. I'm so pleased.
"We agree that Christ calls all kinds of persons into fellowship with him, regardless of race, sex, occupation, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or any other worldly condition, and that congregations are to welcome all persons who respond in trust and obedience to God's grace in Jesus Christ and who desire to become part of the membership and mission of his church."
Absolutely, no question about it. God calls, and he doesn't turn you down because of pre-existing conditions.
There are those who preach that you must be a certain way before coming to Christ. That's not God's way. The Apostle Paul came as a co-conspirator in the murder of the Apostle Stephen. Matthew came as one of the most hated ... a tax-collector and a traitor to his own people. Jesus called Matthew, just as he was. He didn't tell Matthew to go get cleaned up and come back when he had his act together.
Anyone who feels called should come. It's that simple. You don't change first. As Billy Graham used to say: Come Just as You Are. It's nobody's business to tell you how you have to be in order to come to God.
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Posted by: Just Thinking | October 28, 2009 at 12:53 AM
"I invite you to read all of these nine affirmations and to consider them a model for how people of faith who disagree with one another can agree to live together in love nonetheless. This is exactly what faith communities should be showing the world how to do."
This Love that passes all Understanding, is Agape Love not Sexual Love. How can Male and Female Humans born from different Human Genetics and Physical Characteristics, and Religious Beliefs, Unite in a Faith Community?
In a High Tech Equal Human World, that God/Us in Genesis lives, the Female is Reproduced from the Male's Rib and are Equal Human Genetic and Physical Helpmeets.
They do keep their High Tech Lifestyle and take Care of their Home Planet and travel in Space.
There are No Impure Human Genetic and Physical Defect Human Children. There are No Children of mixed Genetics and Physical defects, no intermarriage of close relations, like fathers/daughters, mothers/sons/ brothers/sisters, or any other mixture.
What GOD has joined together in Planets and Perfect Physical Bodies, let not Misbred Humans destroy.
For Whatever the Cause, the Adam and Eve Purebred Reproduced Humans did Reproduce Defective Killer Children. And that has been the Lifestyle on Earth ever since.
Now we are at the End of our experience in Living in Sin, by Generation Birth, Death, and Rebirth using the Elements in our Solar System. Planet Earth also made of the Elements in our Solar System, is almost destroyed.
The Element Atmosphere set up 'in the beginning' is needed for Life as we Know it. When we break our Ozone Layer, Life as we Know it cannot Survive.
The Loss of our Ozone Layer will cause the Ultraviolet Rays of the Sun to trigger a Planetary Fire, with all our Toxic Pollution, Nuclear Waste and Nuclear Bombs on land and sea.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | October 28, 2009 at 07:37 AM
From my post last night.
"The mere fact that they were aware of a solar system and the difference between planets and stars without the use of high-powered telescopes baffles scientists and historians to this day. Nonetheless, their calendars have been proven to be by far the most accurate in existence."
The Pyramids and Temples, Greek and Roman ruins, South and North American Indian ruins, and many other Megalithic ruins in the Mideast and Europe were all part of the Modern High Tech World before the Planetary Flood.
The Result of breaking the Ice Canopy by the Noah/Atlantis Society, which is at our Poles is melting, but Earth will not have another Planetary Flood.
Genesis 9:15. KJV. "And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh."
There are many ruins covered with mud/dirt, like the like petra ruins, and in Western USA the 'Indian' ruins.
Our High Tech Knowledge today, can solve the Supernatural Mysteries, of the High Tech World Before the Noah Planetary Flood of 1 year, 1 month and 27 days in Genesis, not a 40 day local flood.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | October 28, 2009 at 07:40 AM
Just Thinking, I will have to raise a point of disagreement, although I agree with most of your post.
I don't know exactly what you mean by your first sentence, so I don't want to represent you, but what censorhip are you refering too? It is not censorship on Bill's part to prevent threats and repeated disgusting name calling on his blog...in fact, to prevent those things PROMOTES discussion, rather than discourages.
I think it is a brilliant move on Bills' part and look forward to some real discussions getting going again.
Posted by: Will Graham | October 28, 2009 at 07:57 AM
"A huge national Catholic youth conference called "Christ Reigns", which is expected to bring thousands of young people to Kansas City, is scheduled for Nov. 19-21."
What did Jesus teach? His Movement was about Male Celibacy and Equal Sharing of the Earth's Resources, as the Kingdom of God. That is is recorded in the Gospels and St.Paul's letters. Paul was only blinded for 3 days, by the bright light of the vehicle Jesus was in.
Flying saucer? In the book of Mormon, Jesus also appeared up in the air, in North America before he ascended into Heaven (a Spaceship of God/Us).
Acts 9:3, 9. KJV. "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: - And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
The Thorn for Paul was Male Celibacy, not his loss of sight. After the Freedom of Male Sex in the Jewish Religion, Paul had trouble adjusting to Male Celibacy.
1John 3:9. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."
So what happened to obscure the teachings of Jesus for Celibate Males and Equal Sharing Earth's Resources in Communes? Jesus taught 'Common'ism, not Capitalism, or any 'ism' practiced today with a Monetary Basis.
The new Religion in 300 made Jesus God, and Priests and Nuns are Celibate that carry on Jesus' teachings.
Without High Tech Reproduction Knowledge, this could not be carried out for All believers. When did the Resources become Owned by Individuals? When Children were born?
We have just gone through another teen movement of Celibacy before marriage, but Jesus taught Male Celibacy Period, and no marriage like it is in Heaven, and like Asexual God/Us Male and Female Clones in Genesis, that Colonized a new Planet Base, with Male and Female Clones.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | October 28, 2009 at 08:12 AM
ASK YOUR CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS TO OPPOSE MANDATORY COVERAGE FOR NON-EVIDENCE BASED MEDICAL CARE
Please call or contact your Senators and your Representative urging them to remove the portions of health care reform that mandate all plans on the health insurance exchange cover religious and spiritual alternative medical techniques. You may send the enclosed letter by clicking on the button, or you may wish to modify the letter with your own words. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. PLEASE SEND IT ASAP!
We seek your assistance in assuring that separation of church and state is preserved by making sure that taxpayer money is not spent to fund alternative, non-evidence based, religious, or spiritual medical treatments. If the health care bills in Congress pass as they are currently written, a nondiscrimination clause will force all insurance plans that participate in the insurance exchange to cover treatments such as therapeutic touch, Christian Science prayer healing, or even Scientology E-meter readings, none of which have any proven medical benefits. This clause would also require both Medicare and any public option that to provide this coverage, providing for taxpayer and government funding of potentially religious treatments. If this happens, it would represent an egregious violation of the principle of separation of church and state.
In addition, while it is important that all Americans have access to as many health care options as possible under health insurance reform, forcing insurers to cover treatments that have no proven medical benefits will only raise premiums and lower the overall quality of health care.
The only way we can both ensure taxpayer money is spent on proven medical treatments and preserve the separation of church and state is to take immediate action. Please contact your lawmakers and insist that they oppose the inclusion of a provision requiring coverage of non-evidence based alternative medical treatments. Thank you for taking the time to act on this important issue.
Posted by: IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | October 28, 2009 at 09:11 AM
No matter who you are, God is calling you to be with Him. And you are His when you respond. So stand straight, be bold as a lion, and walk into Church knowing that you're somebody not because of WHAT you are, but because of WHOSE you are.
There are people in the Church who use bashing to keep you down and out, and there are people people outside who use bashing to keep you from your proper inheritance. God created every soul in perfection, and we're the ones who turn our lives into sorry piles of garbage. Every single one of us, without exception. There is no one can lay claim to ANYTHING because of WHO they are, but only because of WHOSE they are.
Don't listen to those whose only qualification is that they're turned their own lives into piles of garbage! If you're straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, then you need to stand tall and proud, answer God's call, and walk into Church with the confidence of knowing WHOSE you are. Anyone who sets preconditions on you being there is a fool--they don't know whose you are. Don't think you're walking into Adam Hamilton's Church, Vern Armitage's Church, or Jerry Johnston's Church. No, you're walking into GOD's Church. Men don't build Churches. Men don't decide who is in GOD's Church. GOD does!
Without GOD, no Pastor could get 10,000 people to drag themselves out of bed on a Sunday morning to be lectured about how they need to improve themselves and give them large sums of money. God draws people, and it's GOD's Church, not Adam Hamilton's, not Jerry Johnston's, not Vern Armitage's. It's just as much yours as theirs. It's GOD's ... and it's built for you.
Posted by: Just Thinking | October 28, 2009 at 10:26 AM
Never let someone tell you what you need to do be acceptable to God. Never let someone tell you that you can't be acceptable to God without their rules. That's between you and God. Answer God's calling, and you're acceptable. Stay listening to God's calling, because if you turn over God's authority for your life to another human being, then you'll be turning your life into their pile of garbage. It's none of their business your relationship with God; nobody knows anything about holiness except GOD. This is why Jesus needed to chew out religious leaders for their self-righteousness:
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are."
It's not WHO you are. It's WHOSE you are. And you're GOD's as soon as you answer His call. Never let yourself think you're not good enough. Answer God's call, and He says you're good enough. Don't answer my call over your life, unless you want to transform your life into my pile of garbage. Answer GOD's call. He'll help you clean up your own pile of garbage. I can't clean up your pile, and you can't clean up mine. But we can help each other while we're pushing those brooms in GOD's house.
Posted by: Just Thinking | October 28, 2009 at 10:29 AM
Bill wrote>>>>>>>>>What I especially liked about it was its frank acknowledgement that people of good will within the church have come to different conclusions, so the task is to figure out how to live together in love even with those differences.
Are these "different" conclusions they came to "different" from the "inerrant word of god" in the Bible? Or "the inerrant word" is not really of god? It is transcribed/inspired by and into humans through some "magic dust" floating around?
When it's an abomination for man to have sex with man and both need to be stoned? Is this a "fact" from the Bible or not?
Now, comes Jesus, says "nothing" about gays, tells everyone to love one another and at the same token "he has come to fulfill the old law." OK, at what point is "fulfilling/implementing/finishing/perfecting the understanding by humans of the law of his father" becomes "gays are cool and should be in the leading roles of the Lutheran denomination?"
This is "bizarre" to say the least? - this just doesn't happen in "real world" - only when it comes to religion/spiritualism/cults.
It sounds like there is some "secret handshake" going on between folks in the same denomination and also among others - which is called "granting permission" to embelish/change/close eyes/reject/cherry pick "facts" from the Bible which are not negotiable. They are there, they are spoken by god and then some.
Posted by: IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | October 28, 2009 at 10:56 AM
I find Bill’s new approach certainly as an experiment. Good idea to be nice. I find it terrible the biblical god has not always been so nice.
This should be entertaining to see how people will rearrange the bible to fit modern day society.
I read thru the nine. In number four: Threats of departure or coercive ways of achieving uniformity are ultimately unhelpful and do little more than draw lines and force us to become more deeply entrenched in our positions and prejudices.
I can’t help believing people will be offended by this statement. Prejudices? If a person is a believer in the written word, how can they be a bigot if they are following god’s word in the bible? Of course this is ‘THEIR’ interpretation…
This is what I see in the Bible Studies we go to. The denominations are saying others aren’t real Xs. It all depends how people interpret the bible, or twist it to fit what personal or group agenda they have and then agree to follow.
20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
What about this?:
3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
It gets rather confusing, unless of course, you make up your own brand of Christianity.
Posted by: memberofKCFreeThinkers.org | October 28, 2009 at 11:57 AM
I’m all for peace among the Xs, but if this is the approach it will take forever to work. 34,000 sects of Xs!
And that’s another thought. Why do Xs separate their problems from society? They want special attention. Once they work out their problems of fairness, then our secular government can be fair? Meanwhile gay people will be secondary citizens?
We always wait too late for fairness. We have to have our little meetings and discuss it forever…..meanwhile it is unfair.
I have been condemned here for my 60s talk. At least people were taking action, peaceful action, and fairness began…It is still not here, but doing better.
A Pastor recently told us Clergy are the most qualified to cherry pick the bible. What is this person saying…?
I say lets cut to the chase and move on, but I don’t think this is possible.
During some of our conversations in bible studies, especially the alpha course, I am asking individuals and classes if they want to believe in god? They say yes. - (sometimes, first, giving it a few seconds of thought.)
Then I ask, “Do you like something to be in control of your life, making choices for you?” Same reaction, thought, then “yes, they do want something to guide them.”
When I say I like being in control of my life they don’t have much to say, just a lot of eye rolling, or looking away, mostly down. Why down, do you think?
Oh, well, life. It’s like nothing I have ever seen before. I am enjoying the ride…
Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole
Posted by: memberofKCFreeThinkers.org | October 28, 2009 at 11:58 AM
Bill, I agree with you that the Church should be leading the way in helping its various members to engage in respectful discussions, especially about controversial issues. Sadly, I think the reason the Church hasn't been leading the way in the past, is that the emphasis has been more on top-down leadership than in dialog and interchange between the WHOLE body of Christ.
From yesterday -- Goldstein Squad Member, what I am agreeing with is that I think I have a responsibility to speak out when my fellow Christians are behaving in intolerant and discriminatory ways, and citing the Word of God as their motive. If I won't speak out and act like I'm in agreement, then the blood of the injured is on my hands.
Also from yesterday -- About Bishop Gene Robinson, I recommend that anyone who thinks he was deceitful toward his wife should watch "For the Bible Tells Me So." He and his ex-wife are among the people who shared their stories. And he never lied to his wife. When they were dating he shared with her about his homosexual feelings. She was so in love with him that she thought it would all work out.
It's one thing to say, now in 2009, that everyone should just be honest about who they are from the very beginning. Bishop Robinson grew up in a culture where homosexuality wasn't a legitimate lifestyle. In that environment, it's hard for someone with a same-sex orientation to even be honest with himself. The natural inclination would be to suppress those feelings, kind of like you'd suppress the urge to slap your boss. You'd see it as part of your darker side, maybe a "thorn in the flesh" -- your paticular temptation that you just have to deal with.
In that environment, I was very impressed that he'd be so forthcoming with his wife before they were married. And years later when he came to terms with his homosexuality, he talked with her and they together decided where to go from there. (Continued)
Posted by: Susan | October 28, 2009 at 11:58 AM
(Continued) And he and his wife both decided that she had a right to experience marriage with a truly heterosexual man, and he had a right to see if he could make a life with a homosexual man.
Bishop Robinson never cheated on his wife. And he was honest -- it sounds like they've been close friends from the very beginning of their relationship. Additionally, their priority throughout their divorce and remarriages was to continue raising their two girls together.
It's not my place to say whether Bishop Robinson and his wife were right or wrong in how they decided to deal with his homosexuality. They both saw their decision to divorce as a continuation of honoring their marriage vows. I'm not them, am not dealing with what they dealt with, and don't feel qualified to judge.
But it sounds like he continues to be close to both his daughters.
Posted by: Susan | October 28, 2009 at 12:05 PM
Iggy, I've responded before to your literal interpretations of Scripture that have traditionally been used to condemn homosexuality. Rather than going into it all again, I'm just going to say that many theologians who read those Scriptures while considering the historical and cultural context, don't read them as God condemning homosexuality as practiced in a loving, covenantal relationship.
I realize everyone has their own "take" on those verses -- but as to cherry-picking, I think even literalists do that to some extent.
Posted by: Susan | October 28, 2009 at 12:09 PM
Just Thinking has made some comments that need some proof, it seems to me. He says: "...God is calling you to be with Him." And, "God created every soul in perfection..."
So, I challenge Just Thinking:
1) Prove that there is a God.
2) By what method is he, she or it calling me, because, I must say that I have missed the call so far?
3) Prove that humans have a soul.
4) If you can prove that humans have a soul and that there is a God, prove that that God created that soul.
5) If the soul is created "in perfection", why do humans do evil things and why would that perfect soul need God any further?
I have gone to lots of churches including a couple of the ones you mention, I have read thousands of pages about religion and listened to endless discussions about God, gods, etc. and no one has been able to answer any of the above questions. So far, I have concluded that God and the supernatural lie entirely in the vivid imagination of the human mind. So, see if you can do any better!
Posted by: Greg Swartz | October 28, 2009 at 01:14 PM
" Men don't build Churches. Men don't decide who is in GOD's Church. GOD does!"
GODs Church is LIFE. And Universes, Galaxies, and Solar Systems with Planets and Life Species. No Human can do this.
Only with High Tech Science Knowledge do Body Birth Humans know about the GOD that makes the Universes and LIFE Species, as we Know it.
How this GOD LIFE Invisible Elements came into Visible Elements is not Known. Some Humans say these Elements Evolved into Life as we know it, as a Universe with Species 'Beings'.
Religious Humans say God/Us in Genesis, a Spirit 'Being', Created Life as we Know it on Planet Earth. What is a Spirit 'Being'?
The High Tech in Genesis, was translated as the Supernatural Colonization of Planets and Reproduction of Perfect Male and Female Celibate Clone Humans. Today we call this High Tech Science.
"Now, comes Jesus, says "nothing" about gays, tells everyone to love one another, "
Because Jesus taught about Celibate Males, who do not do sex with females or males. Jesus was not Homosexual, but Asexual/Celibate, like God/Us High Tech Human Clones.
Jesus was in touch with the High Tech God/Us Asexual Humans. They Regenerated Celibate Jesus into a Purebred Asexual Body, and took him with them, in their Spaceship.
Purebred Male and Female Clones like God/Us reproduced in Genesis, are the type of Humans that do have High Tech Eternal Physical Life After Birth, on Planets and in Spaceships.
The Bible and Myths translated with High Tech, tell us there is a Higher Asexual Human Species than Heterosexual Humans in GODs Universe.
Humans on Earth are in the process today of Evolving up to High Tech Purebred Reproduction, of Female Clones made from the Male Rib. We alread Clone Animals.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | October 28, 2009 at 02:12 PM
Just Thinking wrote>>>>>>>>>>>>Without GOD, no Pastor could get 10,000 people to drag themselves out of bed on a Sunday morning to be lectured about how they need to improve themselves and give them large sums of money. God draws people.
Which god? Yours? Theirs? Or THE GOD?
Nice try - argument of size/group think combination? Kind of like the earth was flat and god stumped his feet and caused earthquakes? - is he still doing this?
Proof of your god please?
So, if we can demonstrate that let's say 60,000,000 (sixty million people) can get out for a gathering? What if it's "their" god? - imagine 60 million vs. 10 thousand? Whose god is stronger?
One of the cultural events of the year at Sangam in India, where the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati meet. The BBC has some great photos and footage of the Hindu gathering, which coincides with Mauni Amavasya (new moon night).
On this night, according to pilgrim Shri Mahant Vindgiri:
“The planetary alignment is such that sun rays, when they fall on the Ganges, turn the river water into nectar. So bathing here today is equivalent to drinking nectar,”
But with the pollution of the Ganges getting worse all the time, this requires more and more imagination on the part of those who dip themselves into the river. There are plenty of them. Organizers expect 60 million people to participate, making the Kumbh mela the largest gathering of people on the planet.
Here is the photo of the 60 mln people gathered from space
Posted by: IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | October 28, 2009 at 04:46 PM
Thank you, KCF for the heads up on Mandatory Coverage for non-evidence medical care....
It all boils down, apparently, to an exemption under the IRS Medical Expenses which includes - Christian Science Practitioner's fees.
Maybe it's the IRS we should be petitioning, to remove this exemption, as well as Congress for allowing it.
I've always thought the Christian Science approach to prayers for health especially cruel. If it doesn't work - and of course prayer doesn't work - then the prayer feels guilty that he/she hasn't been praying hard enough ! A no win situation which ever way you look at it. When a child's life is at stake this is unconscionable !
Posted by: Red Biddy | October 28, 2009 at 05:04 PM
Wow ! Bill - 31 pages on mutual forbearance ! Why do the churches make the matter of acceptance of people who are "different" so complicated ?
We are all of us different due to our genetic make-up that's what makes human beings (and all life) so interesting.
Dolores would like us all to be sexless clones, but how dull that would be, and there would be no guarantee that clones would be any "better" than the infinite variety produced by natural selection based on what works for the survival and betterment of any particular species, including ours. In fact clones of any species have been shown to be rather weak in comparison to the results of mixing up the genes as is the case in natural sexual reproduction.
Posted by: Red Biddy | October 28, 2009 at 05:27 PM
The Mandatory Coverage for non-evidence medical care in my mind is equated to "flushing money down the toilet" - literally.
Imagine covering the following
* a crazy creates his own religion where abortion is a "rite" and pregnancy is caused by an evil spirit (let's call him Satan?) that needs to be paid by tax payers
* A Scientology E-Meter for "spiritual purification" and expelling "thetans" who are 75 bln years old and were brought in bodies of humans by an evil Intergallactic overlord Zenu?
* Sweat logdges in Arizona? (did you hear the story of several people who died in one the other week?)
* Prayer over a kid stricken with Diabetes? (both parents of the girl in MN have been convicted in her death and got some strange sentnece"
I am sure when prayer passes a double blind study and will prove to be effective in a large clinical study, then perhaps atheists will file for medical covereage of a "one on one meeting with Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, Harris" or even maybe some crazy atheists would like to "channel Darwin?"
At what point do we stop this insanity of "personal beliefs" vs. "documented and tried medical experiences?"
This is where I believe the rationality collides with wishful thinking.
Yesterday, Cole and I met with an Alpha group leader at Starbucks and had a 1.5 hour chat. He is an "Evangelical Christian" who leads a "wishy washy full of spiritualism" and "open ended questions/assumptive closings" Alpha course at one of the churches in Kansas City.
I asked him if he beleived in belief or there was "factual" basis for his belief in the inerrant word of god as he "clearly" stated he knew the books of the Bible were written by peopel, mistranslated, compiled, copied and even ripped from the Sumarian mythology - he responded he did not want to talk about his belief system and that in mythology there is always truth? - Absolute Truth.
What kind of argument is this? He admitted that he'd brush off any alchemist, medium, astrologer or someone who will be channelling... A remarkable thing - he invited me and Cole for coffee to chat.
Posted by: IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | October 28, 2009 at 05:34 PM
On the matter of being "different" I was wondering why the word "gay" has become associated with homosexuality, bi-sexuality etc... Due to the cruel discrimination from most societies, I would have though it would render these people very far from feeling "gay" about anything !
In England the word "queer" was usually used to describe homosexuals which I think was worse, in a way, but is reminiscent of the old Yorkshire joke "All the world's a little queer, save thee and me, and even thee's a little queer!" At least this joke seems to accept that we all have our peculiarities !
JT's cruel assessment of Bishop Gene Robinson, as not being fit to be a leader of the Anglican community, based on his being married before he accepted his homosexuality was typical of a religious person's view of people who are "different".
Take the case of Oscar Wilde who married and had two children before he discovered himself capable of loving men as much as his wife - and got sent to prison for two years at hard labor, for it.
I don't think unless we have actually walked in these people's shoes we should be at all judgemental about them.
I don't think our fear of people who are "different" is entirely based in religion but something innate - maybe old tribal feelings that we've all got to be the SAME - and anyone different is a danger to the group
Posted by: Red Biddy | October 28, 2009 at 06:00 PM
In answer to Greg Swartz' challenge.
1. What proof would you accept? My hopothesis is that there is NO PROOF you would accept...even in principle...because your presuppostion that all existence can be explained by mindless processes is held even though you can not demonstrate it.
2. The Christian answer is, through your mind; Christ himself said that loving God involved not just the emotions but the mind, and Paul shows in Romans that the natural order shows us there is a creator...but, this again, will be rejected by you because of your nonfalsifiable, undemonstrated belief, that all existence can be explained by mindless processes or, if you prefer, a "Blind Watchmaker".
3. Same answer as number one, although even SAM HARRIS argues in TEOF that the organic brain does not provide an objective basis for explaining consciouness.
4. See part one, further supported by the fact that your position that mindless processes created a basis for the objective reason you claim to possess is an irrational position.
5. I do not believe that the Christian claims that the soul was created "in perfection", but, even so, free will could account for the choices to do evil, so your question poses a Straw Man.
Further, your claim that you reached this conclusion after the searches you mentioned does seem to diverge from your claim that you were an atheist from an early age.
If you are interested in serious discussion, I'm all for it, but that of course remains to be demonstrated.
Posted by: adam harrison | October 28, 2009 at 06:38 PM
It's written in the soul of man to ask, "What's beyond the horizon, beyond what I can see." That question is as much a part of man as anything in our nature.
So, what is beyond this Universe, Greg? I know you've asked that question. But you say, "Nothing is beyond this Universe." So you don't go looking. Case closed, counselor. But you can't prove there is nothing beyond. If you could, then we wouldn't be having this discussion. We'd be watching your television program about the proof that there is nothing beyond this physical Universe. What a deep program that would be! :)
The horizon is always calling. It calls everyone. It's in the heart of man to ask, "What is beyond the horizon?" And if it's in the heart of man to ask, then maybe the answer is in the heart of man, too. In the longing, in the desires, in the ideals, and in the grace. It lies beyond what can be measured and what can be probed by sterile instruments in sterile labs. It is found in the essence of free spirit, that which is not determined by Science, but which still affects this world in a profound way. Choices.
Choices profoundly affect us. You choose to say, "I can't see with my instruments beyond the horizon of the Universe. So there is nothing to see." You choose to stop looking. Your choice profoundly affects you.
But you can choose to have faith. Just because I can't see there, doesn't mean there is nothing to see. Faith is how I'll find myself beyond that horizon someday, when this Physical existence no longer constrains me. Faith is a choice too. That choice profoundly affects others, just not you.
Faith matters, Greg, just not to you.
Posted by: Just Thinking | October 28, 2009 at 08:20 PM
You wrote:- "I am sure when prayer passes a double blind study.....
I think it already has:- See New York Times report 2006
The study found that people recovering from heart surgery who KNEW they were being prayed for, fared worse than those who didn't know, due no doubt to unreal expectations. Very sad.
Posted by: Red Biddy | October 28, 2009 at 09:26 PM