A Letter to Dr. Laura

by Luke Muehlhauser on May 16, 2009 in Bible,Christian Theology,Funny

drlauraDr. Laura Schlessinger is a Bible-believing “agony aunt” who gives life and relationship advice. Citing the Bible, Dr. Laura has repeatedly said that gays are “mistakes of nature.” In response to this, somebody wrote a satirical open letter to Dr. Laura (read the whole story on Snopes).

The letter reads:

Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

So funny, I had to post it. The letter nicely illustrates the silliness of condemning gays because of Biblical moral codes.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Alden May 16, 2009 at 10:49 pm

I don’t think she has ever been a “Bible-believing fundamentalist Christian.”  She was an Orthodox Jew for several years, but left that in 2003.  She may even be agnostic at this point. 

You can’t blame everything on Christians…

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lukeprog May 17, 2009 at 12:30 am

Oops! My bad. Corrected. Thanks.

And, I’m certainly not trying to blame everything on Christians! That just happens to be a focus of this blog. That, and the reasoning faults of atheists.

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Lorkas May 17, 2009 at 8:05 am

Alden, this letter might as well be addressed to Bible-believing fundamentalist Christians. It’s not as though they don’t commit the same error.

You can’t blame everything on the Jews.

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Haecceitas May 17, 2009 at 9:32 am

Just to be clear, do you think that the reason it’s silly to condem gays because of Biblical moral codes is because it’s silly in general to base one’s moral condemnation of others on Biblical moral codes? Or do you have some other line of reasoning in mind here? (Perhaps such that it would apply more particularly to the issue that you mention.)

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Lorkas May 17, 2009 at 9:44 am

It seems to me that the line of reasoning in the letter is “It is silly to condemn gays because of the OT law, given that you don’t also condemn people who eat shellfish or pork, trim their hair, talk with women who are on their period, etc.”

The structure of the biblical argument against homosexuality is “X is wrong because the OT law says so”. If this is a valid line of argument, then it is also wrong to eat shellfish and interact with women during their period, because those things are condemned in the very same book of the Bible, Leviticus. Why accept parts of Leviticus, but not others?

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lukeprog May 17, 2009 at 10:03 am

Yup, Lorkas is dead-on.

If there are good reasons for action to condemn homosexuality, then we ought to condemn homosexuality – along with everything else we ought to condemn. But the Bible provides no such good reasons.

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Haecceitas May 17, 2009 at 11:45 am

So would it be your  assertion that there’s no plausible set of hermeneutical principles that would allow a person to present a Biblical case against homosexual practice while simultaneously not accepting the validity of some of the other OT laws (for example, the ones mentioned in the opening post)?

Also, to what extent do you base this view on the assumption that only the OT contains material that can be used for that purpose?

I’m not even particularly interested in the whole subect of Bible and homosexuality. It’s just that I sensed some imbalance in the way that Luke’s original blog post presents this.

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Reginald Selkirk May 17, 2009 at 12:03 pm

mistakes of nature.”

It is clear from that photo that Dr. Laura, who according to Wikipedia is about 62 years old, is completely dedicated to nature and has never defied nature, for example by getting her face lifted.

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Lorkas May 17, 2009 at 12:42 pm

It’s a tall order to assert that there is no such set of hermeneutical principles, but I haven’t seen one proposed that works.

Why would one want to construct such a set anyway? Surely the best way to approach hermeneutics is to determine your principles first, and then draw conclusions from those principles, rather than to start with conclusions and try to build a set of hermeneutical principles to justify your preconceived conclusions. I would suggest that if you begin with a set of beliefs and look for justification in the Bible, then you’re doing hermeneutics wrong.

I suppose, to broaden the criticism, it might be better to quote some commands from the New Testament that aren’t followed, like:

1) If your eye or your hand causes you to sin, cut it out/off. (Mat. 5:29-30, repeated Mat. 18:8-9)

2) Bless those that curse you and always turn the other cheek. Always give people anything they ask from you, plus some extra. (Mat. 5:39-44)

3) Don’t get divorced. The only acceptable reason for divorce is infidelity. (Mat. 19:6)

4) Sell everything you own and give it to the poor. (This is mentioned several times in the context of the man who asks Jesus how he can get everlasting life, but in Luke 12:33 it is removed from that context and given as a general command)

Of course, these are just a few examples. These are all, by the way, commands from Jesus himself, who never said anything about homosexuality. It was Paul, the real founder of Christianity, who gave the only NT condemnations of homosexuality.

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Haecceitas May 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Right. I don’t want to give the impression that I see no problem whatsoever. However, I do think that the issue of homosexual practice might not be the best example of problems in consistent Bible interpretation for ethical purposes, since Paul’s statements (coupled with quite plausible theological and hermeneutical assumptions about covenants and the roles and groundings of the various major types of OT law) do seem to give pretty good grounds for Biblically condemning homosexual practise without falling into any obvious inconsistency (assuming of course that one accepts the authority of the Bible in the first place).

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Lorkas May 17, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Probably it boils down to the fact that Christians who are homophobic can find justification for it in the Bible. It’s a lot easier to condemn a person for being homosexual than it is to sell all of your possessions and give them to the poor, despite the fact that Jesus seems to place more importance on the latter.

If you condemn homosexuals because Leviticus says to condemn them, then you should condemn shellfish-eating as well. If you condemn homosexuals because the New Testament says you should condemn them, then you should sell everything you own and give it to the poor. If you oppose homosexual marriage because it violates the sanctity of marriage, then you should support making divorce illegal as well, since it is a much bigger threat to marriage and to the family.

Otherwise, you are arbitrarily picking and choosing which commands to follow, which is what we call hypocrisy.

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lukeprog May 17, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Haecceitas: So would it be your assertion that there’s no plausible set of hermeneutical principles that would allow a person to present a Biblical case against homosexual practice while simultaneously not accepting the validity of some of the other OT laws (for example, the ones mentioned in the opening post)?

Christians always seem to find SOME hermenuetical system that allows them to retain all the verses they like and reject the ones they don’t. Like common utilitarianism, every system of Christian hermeneutics I’ve heard of dies the death of a thousand qualifications.

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cartesian May 17, 2009 at 3:13 pm

LUKE,
You said:
>>The structure of the biblical argument against homosexuality is “X is wrong because the OT law says so”.>>

Insofar as I can read that as an argument and not an explanation, that’s certainly a bad argument, as you point out. But I wonder if you’ve ever actually read that sort of argument in print, from a serious Christian or Jewish theologian?

Christian theologians I know would argue in this way: “If X is condemned in the NT epistles, it is immoral. Homosexuality is condemned in the NT epistles. So it is immoral.”

What’s wrong with that argument?

——————————–
LORKAS,
You said:
>>If you condemn homosexuals because Leviticus says to condemn them, then you should condemn shellfish-eating as well.>>

Not so. Here’s a coherent and well-motivated principle of Biblical interpretation: The OT Laws are of three types: moral, civil, and religious. The civil and religious were just for the nation of Israel. They are limited in scope to a certain time, place, and people. They were meant to forshadow “kingdom living” among a people whose sins had still not been atoned for. Jesus’ death fulfilled these laws, so that they no longer apply.

Moral laws, on the other hand, are not limited in scope. They apply to all people at all times.

How does one tell the difference? Easy: if the law is repeated in the NT epistles, then it was a moral law.

Since the condemnation of homosexuals was repeated in the NT epistles, it’s a moral law. So one can coherently condemn homosexuals because Leviticus (and the NT epistles) say it’s wrong, without thereby committing oneself to condemning shellfish.

You went on to say:
>>If you condemn homosexuals because the New Testament says you should condemn them, then you should sell everything you own and give it to the poor.>>

Not so. Here’s a coherent and well-motivated principle of Biblical interpretation: passages about practical morality in the NT that apply to modern Christians are only those in the epistles. It’s risky business to take Jesus’ statements about practical morality as normative for us here and now, since very many of his statements were directed to particular people in particular circumstances. The advice that Jesus gives to the rich young man, for example. Jesus was only talking to him; he wasn’t talking to us. That young man had a particular problem, a particular character flaw. Though he could keep all the laws of Moses, he struggled with a love of money. Jesus made this manifest when he told the guy to sell all he had. This was a conversation between two people: Jesus and that particular guy. We shouldn’t take it as normative for us. Jesus wasn’t talking to us.

The practical morality of the epistles, on the other hand, was written to the church. So it’s far safer to take that as still normative for contemporary Christians.

Therefore, a Christian can perfectly consistently condemn homosexuals because the NT says so, while not taking himself to have an obligation to sell everything he has. This is contrary to what you say.

>>If you oppose homosexual marriage because it violates the sanctity of marriage, then you should support making divorce illegal as well.>>

I don’t know about making divorce ILLEGAL, but I think you’re certainly right that Christians should think that divorce is immoral. That’s clearly laid out in the NT epistles.

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Lorkas May 17, 2009 at 3:31 pm

cartesian: The advice that Jesus gives to the rich young man, for example. Jesus was only talking to him; he wasn’t talking to us.

I already mentioned that the “sell everything you own command” is usually directed to the man (who is not described as young or as a ruler–this is an odd addition that some have made to the story), but the verse I cited is part of a general command.

So what I hear you saying is that the epistles are the really important things in the NT–is that right? So if Jesus gives one command and Paul (writer of nearly all of the canonical epistles) gives another, we should listen to Paul? Why? Was Paul more inspired than Jesus, the son of God?

Remember that Paul, also, was writing to specific churches when he wrote the epistles. He tailored much of the advice that he gave in the epistles to the particular challenges that the church was facing.

I can’t really see how, if you believe that Jesus was the infallible son of God, we should listen to Paul rather than Jesus. After all, Jesus already had knowledge about everything that would happen in the future, while Paul was a simple human being. Surely, with this advantage, Jesus would be able to provide advice that would be more universally applicable than Paul would be capable of.

cartesian: I don’t know about making divorce ILLEGAL, but I think you’re certainly right that Christians should think that divorce is immoral.

Do you think that same-sex marriage should be legal or illegal? If you think same-sex marriage should be illegal, then why shouldn’t divorce be illegal, as well?

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Haecceitas May 18, 2009 at 2:00 am

I’m in substantial agreement with cartesian, so I don’t need to reiterate the same points.  I’d only add that Jesus’ own moral teachings can be plausibly thought to have two characteristics that make the direct universal application harder:

(1) He was proclaiming the inbreaking of the kingdom of God in a particular way in his own ministry. It isn’t much of a stretch to think that there were some special rules for this very special time period. (And obviously, commands like “sell your property and follow me” presuppose that Jesus is on earth so that one can literally follow him.)

(2) Given the totality of Biblical revelation, one can plausibly interpret Jesus as (among other things) pointing out the moral standard of perfection as being that which God requires (and which men are not able to meet by themselves). This is connected to the view that Christ’s own perfect righteousness is available for the purpose of fulfilling that requirement.

—–

With regard to the OT laws, it should be pointed out that the ones that are commonly called “moral laws” did not make wrong that which they borbade. (Things like murder were wrong before God gave his law.) So some might argue that there are criteria for including homosexual practise among those.

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cartesian May 18, 2009 at 8:53 am

>>I already mentioned that the “sell everything you own command” is usually directed to the man (who is not described as young or as a ruler–this is an odd addition that some have made to the story), but the verse I cited is part of a general command.>>
Which “general command” are you referring to?
 
>>So what I hear you saying is that the epistles are the really important things in the NT–is that right?>>
No, that’s not what I’m saying. I think the whole NT is “really important.” I just said that, when it comes to practical morality, the epistles are the safest bet. There, (Christians believe) a divinely inspired author was writing to the church. Jesus wasn’t always meaning to pronounce general ethical commands. Sometimes his commands were directed to specific people at specific times. Like when he told his disciples to go look for a donkey. Clearly it would be silly for modern day Christians to say “Hey! I should go find a donkey too! Jesus commands it!” But the same thing goes, I think, for Jesus’ command to the rich young ruler to sell all of his possessions.
 
>>So if Jesus gives one command and Paul (writer of nearly all of the canonical epistles) gives another, we should listen to Paul?>>
As far as I know, Jesus and Paul never contradict each other. But if (as I think is impossible) they did contradict each other, I’d side with Jesus of course.
 
>>Remember that Paul, also, was writing to specific churches when he wrote the epistles. He tailored much of the advice that he gave in the epistles to the particular challenges that the church was facing.>>
I think you’re right. And we should be sensitive to that when we read his epistles. You’re coming over to my side on this issue, taking the historical context into account when interpreting the Bible.
 
>>I can’t really see how, if you believe that Jesus was the infallible son of God, we should listen to Paul rather than Jesus.>>
I agree with you. I can’t see how that could be true either. But I never said otherwise.
 
>>Do you think that same-sex marriage should be legal or illegal?>>
Well, setting aside whether “People of the same sex can get married to each other” is analytically false, I don’t know whether it should be illegal. I think it’s clearly immoral, but there are lots of things that are immoral that I don’t think should be illegal. Gay marriage is a borderline case. I’m inclined to side with liberty on this issue, and say it should be legally permitted.
 
>>If you think same-sex marriage should be illegal, then why shouldn’t divorce be illegal, as well?>>
As I said, there are lots of things that are immoral that I don’t think should be illegal. Otherwise we’d turn into a really awful fascist Sharia law sort of state.

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Lorkas May 18, 2009 at 10:10 am

Cartesian,
As I said before, the command to sell all of your possessions is directed to the “rich young ruler” (he is really not any of these things in the text) in several places, but in the text I cited, Luke 12:33, he is speaking to the “flock” of believers. Read the passage, and you’ll see that it is not in the context that you keep bringing up.

I’m glad you are consistent on your positions re: legality of same-sex marriage and divorce. I definitely agree with you there.

A basic difference between the theology of Jesus and Paul can be found in their views of what the qualification for salvation is. Jesus consistently describes the requirement for salvation as following him in having compassion toward all human beings. This is made explicit when he says that those who enter paradise are the ones who clothed the naked, fed the hungry, cared for the sick, etc., and those who enter the lake of fire are those who did not. Jesus says nothing about believing anything in this description of judgement.

Paul consistently describes good works like these as filthy rags, and asserts that believing in Jesus and accepting Jesus as your savior is all that is necessary.

In Jesus’s theology, a Jewish person who dedicates her life to caring for widows and orphans would be welcomed into paradise, while under Paul’s theology, she would be condemned to hell. This seems to me a significant soteriological difference.

So, what do you believe? Is caring for the “least of these” what we need to do to gain Jesus’s salvation, or do we need to give mental assent to the story of Jesus and just ask for him to save us?

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cartesian May 19, 2009 at 9:48 am

Hey Lorkas,
You said:
>>in the text I cited, Luke 12:33, he is speaking to the “flock” of believers. Read the passage, and you’ll see that it is not in the context that you keep bringing up.>>

I see. You’re right. My bad.

I’m not convinced that Jesus here means to speak to all present and future followers of him. It may be that he’s speaking only to his disciples, elected by him to lead the emergent Kingdom.

Here’s some evidence for the latter view: Jesus goes on beginning in v.35 to tell a parable about watchfulness. Peter asks him, in v.41, whether Jesus is talking “to us, or to everyone.” Jesus’ answer is characteristically enigmatic, but I believe his answer is that he’s talking to “the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants,” (v.42) i.e. the leaders of the church.

So that gives us some reason to believe that he was speaking to the same people up in verse 33, when he tells the “little flock” to sell their possessions. If so, contemporary lay-Christians shouldn’t take this verse to be normative for them.

Also, it’s not clear to me that Jesus commands his little flock to sell ALL their possessions. I’m no Greek expert, but the sentence seems as ambiguous in Greek as it is in English. One interpretation is “Sell possessions in order to give to the poor.” That seems like an ordinary exhortation to be charitable. A more radical interpretation is “Sell all of your possessions, and give all the proceeds to the poor.” It’s not clear to me that we should favor the second interpretation. Do you think we should? If so, why?

>>I’m glad you are consistent on your positions re: legality of same-sex marriage and divorce.>>
 
So am I.
 
>>I definitely agree with you there.>>
 
Well, I’m glad we can agree about something. That feels nice.
 
>>A basic difference between the theology of Jesus and Paul can be found in their views of what the qualification for salvation is. Jesus consistently describes the requirement for salvation as following him in having compassion toward all human beings. This is made explicit when he says that those who enter paradise are the ones who clothed the naked, fed the hungry, cared for the sick, etc., and those who enter the lake of fire are those who did not. Jesus says nothing about believing anything in this description of judgement.
Paul consistently describes good works like these as filthy rags, and asserts that believing in Jesus and accepting Jesus as your savior is all that is necessary.>>
 
I think they’re both right, and that there’s an ambiguity in the word “salvation.” Consider the ancient Israelites when they were enslaved in Egypt. They had at least three problems: they were enslaved, they were a stiff-necked an disobedient people, and they weren’t living in their own land. God planned to save them from all three problems. First, he delivered them from slavery via Moses and the death of the Egyptian firstborn sons. Then, he weeded out the disobedient people during the 40 years in the desert. Finally, he delivered the faithful remnant to the promised land. Salvation, for the Israelites, was a process: one stage for each of their problems.
 
To be saved from their first problem (i.e. enslavement in Egypt), all they had to do was trust and follow Moses. They didn’t have to earn God’s or Moses’ favor: that favor was a free gift of God’s grace.
 
To be saved from their second problem (i.e. being a stiff-necked and disobedient people, wont to rebel, complain, and worship idols), they had to actually DO something, namely obediently walk through the desert, endure hardships, trust God for every meal, not complain, etc. They had to become softened and more mature.
 
To be saved from their third problem (i.e. not having their own homeland), they must have been successful in solving the second problem. Disobedient, immature, and rebellious people were left to die in the desert. Even Moses didn’t make it to the Promised Land.
 
I think that the complete New Testament view of salvation is perfectly analogous to this prophetic story of Israel. We, like the Israelites, have three problems. First, we’re enslaved to sin. We’ve run up a debt to God through our constant offenses. We’re in debtor’s prison. Second, not only have we sinned, but our characters are so warped and inwardly-turned that we keep sinning. We’re unrighteous, selfish, spiritually weak people. Third, we’re living in a fallen Earth, not the New Earth paradise promised in Revelation.
 
God has planned to save us from these three problems, just as he saved the Israelites from their three problems. To save us from our sin debt, he sent Jesus (just as he sent Moses). Jesus’ life and death earned enough merit to pay our debt and release us from debtor’s prison. All that’s required is that we trust and follow him out of debtor’s prison. This was a gift of grace from God through Jesus. We didn’t earn it, and indeed we couldn’t have earned it.
 
To save us from our corrupted, self-centered natures, God promises to send the Holy Spirit to begin the work of regeneration and sanctification in us. It’s a long, arduous process, just like wandering in the desert for 40 years. Our sinful desires will fall away, just as the sinful generation of Israel fell away in the desert.
 
To save us from our problem of living in a fallen Earth, God will one day remake the Earth and let us live there in paradise, just as God prepared Canaan (a land of milk and honey) for the Israelites. Getting into heaven, as Jesus says, requires that we successfully solve our second problem, since there can be no corrupted, self-centered people in heaven. We must actually DO good stuff, thereby becoming better people, in order to get into heaven.
 
So I think both Paul and Jesus are right about salvation, but they’re talking about different stages in the three-part salvation process. Paul is typically writing to Jewish people, telling them that they cannot save themselves from debtor’s prison by following the Mosaic Law, just as the Israelites could not save themselves from the powerful grip of the Egyptians. Rather, we must trust and follow Jesus just as the Israelites trusted and followed Moses.
 
Jesus was talking about entering heaven, i.e. being saved from our third problem. And he’s right that entering heaven requires that we be spiritually softened and mature, not stiff-necked, stubborn, rebellious, idol-worshiping complainers. In other of his writings, Paul agrees with Jesus. For example:
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)
 
So in conclusion, they were both right, and there is no conflict between their views on salvation.

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maximus444 May 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Dr. Laura has repeatedly said that gays are “mistakes of nature.”
What she said might be “considered” accurate.
Not from any human religious or ideological point of view but from a purely natural view of evolution, since all evolution does – it does to get optimal genes into the next generation, thus homosexuals normally would not provide this task so from this point of view it is a mistake, although maybe she meant it in the religious “bigoted” sense.
To lukepro,
“If there are good reasons for action to condemn homosexuality, then we ought to condemn homosexuality – along with everything else we ought to condemn. But the Bible provides no such good reasons.”
I can’t seem to understand your point here, eg the reason I don’t condemn gay people is because they are naturally attracted to people of the same sex, in the same way I am attracted to people of the opposite sex, so in a liberal democracy what 2 consenting adults do is their own business as long as they don’t hurt or intrude on anybody else…

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Lorkas May 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm

maximus444: Not from any human religious or ideological point of view but from a purely natural view of evolution, since all evolution does – it does to get optimal genes into the next generation, thus homosexuals normally would not provide this task so from this point of view it is a mistake

Actually, research into some other animal species, like wasps, suggests that there is an equilibrium level for genes that make a person less likely to reproduce and more likely to help their siblings raise children instead.

The way that this is promoted by natural selection is that your siblings each share 50% of your genes with you, on average. Therefore, if foregoing reproduction yourself can lead to an increase in the offspring produced by your siblings, then the genes will be preserved in the population.* Of course, it would no longer be a viable evolutionary strategy if too many individuals did this, so we would expect the incidence of genes that make a person tend to homosexuality to be low relative to alternative forms of the gene.

I don’t believe it’s too controversial that homosexual behavior reduces the number of offspring that the individual expressing the behavior has, but the research hasn’t been done (to my knowledge) to see if it’s true or not that homosexual humans are more likely to help their siblings raise children, but it is at least a hypothesis that would explain the persistence of homosexuality in human beings. Given the fact that we observe homosexual behavior in practically every dioecious animal species, this is an intriguing possibility.

In other words, homosexuality is not necessarily unnatural, but just another viable strategy for producing more copies of your genes.

* A limitation of this hypothesis is that this strategy is only viable if the benefit to your siblings is greater than 2 times your own genetic cost. That is, if you have the capacity to produce 2 children, the strategy must increase the number of children born to your siblings by at least 4. Otherwise, it is always better to have children yourself.

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Lorkas May 21, 2009 at 3:37 pm

In any case, even if it were true that homosexual traits are 100% maladaptive, that still wouldn’t suggest that the behavior is moral or immoral. That is the appeal to nature fallacy.

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GreenStar May 26, 2009 at 2:23 am

I just sent a copy of the email you had to my parents. Figured it’d be a good ice breaker when I tell them at the end of the email that I am an atheist. Should go over well as my father is an ordained minister and my mother is more of a Christian than he is. Go figure. They say there is one in every family :)

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lukeprog May 26, 2009 at 4:29 am

GreenStar, are you serious?

Congrats for coming out, but… there are gentler ways to do it. :)

But I don’t know your family, so I’ll shut up.

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GreenStar May 27, 2009 at 7:27 am

@lukeprog – yeah, I’m serious. My parents knew I didn’t like “going to church” since I was about 15-16, even though they forced me to anyways. So, it wasn’t as big a jump as it may seem :)

My mom texted me and said “she’ll be praying for me” (in short). My dad said “give me a day or two, I’m busy”. They’re the type to pretend that bad things don’t happen, so I think thats what they’ll be doing.

p.s. I never really got along with my family anyways. So it’s easier for me to do this because I know it will piss them off – and I like that haha

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maximus444 May 27, 2009 at 11:28 pm

“In other words, homosexuality is not necessarily unnatural, but just another viable strategy for producing more copies of your genes.”

I didn’t mean to imply that homosexuality was unnatural, to the contrary, it’s (from what we curently know) totally natural since my second point was that they are “naturally” attracted to the same sex. But I believe everything is natural by definition since I believe nature is all there is (?)

I just read GreenStars post, I find it sad how some religious parents change their views on their children if they express doubt or become atheists. I guess its more prevalent in America than where I’m from.

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Lorkas May 28, 2009 at 6:05 am

I was arguing against the point that they are “mistakes of nature” (which you said could be “considered” accurate) by demonstrating that homosexual behavior might actually be adaptive for an individual in an environment where most of the individuals are heterosexual.

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maximus444 May 28, 2009 at 11:04 am

It’s certainly a possibility, “Bonobos engage in sex in virtually every partner combination (although such contact among close family members may be suppressed). And sexual interactions occur more often among bonobos than among other primates.”
So in bonobo society hetro or homosexual is meaningless.

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GreenStar May 28, 2009 at 12:16 pm

maximus444: “In other words, homosexuality is not necessarily unnatural, but just another viable strategy for producing more copies of your genes.”I didn’t mean to imply that homosexuality was unnatural, to the contrary, it’s (from what we curently know) totally natural since my second point was that they are “naturally” attracted to the same sex. But I believe everything is natural by definition since I believe nature is all there is (?)I just read GreenStars post, I find it sad how some religious parents change their views on their children if they express doubt or become atheists. I guess its more prevalent in America than where I’m from.

Yeah, my parents are split up at the moment (dad left) but I found out today my mom went behind my back and got ahold of him to “sit down and talk with me” on saturday with her…. she has plans on dropping my sister off to go to the water park with me, but she never mentioned talking.

It reminded me of an intervention…. except with no real purpose. Ah well, as the story unfolds, I will keep track of it all and see if maybe I can turn it all into a blog post or something.

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Reginald Selkirk July 6, 2009 at 8:09 am

GreenStar: …. she has plans on dropping my sister off to go to the water park with me, but she never mentioned talking. It reminded me of an intervention…. except with no real purpose.

Water park? Baptism?
 

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Justin Martyr August 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Luke, I thought you studied the Bible? Then surely you know the basics of the New is different than the old. It removed the rituals and the legalism and focused strictly on the content of one’s heart. The pharisee’s made an almost identical challenge to Jesus when he and his disciples ate a meal without washing their hands. Matthew 15:17-22.

“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ ”

Now, you can argue that Christianity is wrong for opposing homosexuality (that was probably the biggest sticking points for me, until the Holy Spirit showed me the errors of my ways), but the charge of selectively picking and choosing does not stick.

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lukeprog August 18, 2009 at 8:47 am

Justin,

I disagree. Christians pick and choose from the Bible all the time. They dismiss the entire OT when it doesn’t serve them, but still quote it for authority later. And they pick and choose verses just from within the NT as well. One really obvious reason to do this is that certain NT authors disagree with other NT authors and they say opposite things, so you have to pick one or the other.

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