Monday, May 21, 2018

Mathew Vines Debates with Sean McDowell on Gay Christian Marriage

Quick Publish. May need edited more:

Youtube video of the debate here:

Here are some comments, thoughts, and quick notes on this debate:

Sean  McDowell

Jesus raised the bar on sexual standards, not lowered it. Jesus went more conservative on sexual standards not progressive. Jesus went farther than he needed to in his response to convey details that we should not miss. He mentioned Genesis when he did not need to. Jesus mentions male and female, when he did not need to.

Matthew Vines

Experience and feeling being used to share are views. Driving us to scripture is one thing, but shaping how we see reality and truth is different.

Matthew vines mentions Exodus international closing down to prove a point that they did not "convert" any homosexuals to heterosexuals. It appears the point he is making, or at least directing listeners toward, is that sexual orientation is fixed and unchangeable. He fails to mention that many people have lived a homosexual lifestyle and then transitioned to a heterosexual lifestyle and they are glad they did.

The Exodus International case is just one case where an organization failed and imploded. To generalize about ex-gay's using only this case is to make the logical fallacy of hasty generalization. To learn more about the Exodus International situation and those who do a better job at ministering to homosexuals, read this:

Here are some other articles and organizations that deal with reaching homosexuals with truth:

* some of those links are posts from "gay" Christians who are choosing not to act on their impulses, because they care what God says on the subject.

Here is a man with same sex attraction doing exactly what Matthew vines says in unacceptable: living a single life:

Side Note: sometimes you may be asked "Did you choose to be heterosexual?". If you say "no", they are making the point that sexual orientation is not chosen. However, stories like the ones above make the counter point that some people change orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. I don't have to say "Yes" to make a counter point. I only have to prove that at least one person existed at some point in history who did.  Also, I do choose to deny my impulses often, so I have personal experience with self control.

Comparing geocentric views versus sexuality. Apples and oranges or a good comparison? I think this comparison is poor. Matthew appears to be saying that because the Church was wrong about what they thought the bible said about the sun orbiting the earth, so the Church is fallible and could be wrong on homosexual topics too. This seems like a hasty generalization as well. You have to deal with issues like this on a case by case basis. The church's previous geocentric views were not explicitly in the bible (homosexual behavior is), but were deduced by humans from the text of the bible and they got it wrong.

Calling on a group of humans to be celibate for life. Calling on humans to deny their impulses for life? The bible is constantly calling on believers to deny their sinful nature and to follow God. This is not a demand being made only on a single class of believers. All believers are called to suppress their impulses when those impulses are directing them to sin. i.e. sometimes we want to: steal, or lie, or hurt someone.

What about environmental celibacy like shipwrecked on an island with only your family for life? Under the right circumstances heterosexuals are expected to be celibate for life.

I noticed that Matthew vines appears to be using different arguments then his original speech / paper. Why new arguments? I've read most of his original arguments being refuted pretty well. I will guess that is why his arguments have changed. I think this shows a few things: Matthew Vines has a goal of finding some scripture to support what he wants to be true. If some scripture he puts forward for his goal gets refuted well, he will just find more. He wants his view to be true. He appears to not be seeking what is true, but only searching for what will support the view he wants to be true.

Now I may seem harsh, but I actually understand his view. He sees all this pain, suffering, and death and wants to find a way to resolve this. This is a noble effort to help these people, but he is making some crucial flaws at the root of his quest.

1) If Christians are contributing to this pain and suffering, this does not mean the bible is wrong. Maybe it is Christians not seeking understanding and compassion. Treating people as fellow humans.

2) If God’s commands and standards cause pain, even infinite pain, does that mean his standards are wrong? If I run into a guard rail an infinite number of times and I get more hurt each time until I die, is the guard rail at fault? The guard rail is not moving. If the pain is being caused by how a Christian is behaving, then the Christian is probably not behaving properly. If the pain is being caused by an internal struggle between what a person wants and what the bible says, then the person is wrong and it is sin (sin = disobedience to God) that is causing them pain, not God.  Sin is always painful, even if not at first.

Experience driving us to scripture is good, because reading God's words are always a good idea. However, if every time we hit a conflict and we go to the bible and we find a new way of reading the bible to support our desired view, then we have a problem. If we can always find what we want when we look at the bible hard enough, then we are not really trusting in the bible at all. We are trusting in our self and our views of the bible. The bible is not meant to be an easy, pleasant view. If a person reads the bible and it isn't convicting them to change some thing in their life, then they are not reading it correctly. They should take a class on proper biblical interpretation.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Tragedy or Comedy? Meaining in Life. Atheism vs. Christianity

I just listed to this Unbelievable podcast:

Is death a tragedy for atheists, is resurrection wishful thinking for Christians.
with Glen Scrivener and atheist journalist Michael Collett.

It was good episode of the Unbelievable radio show.  I thought the most interesting parts were learning about Collett's views and opinions on things.

Here are some of my thoughts on this and related topics.

Picking the Beliefs that Feel Food
   Collett made some interesting comments like: Atheism is taking the easier way out and is more pleasant in some situations like the tragic death of a non-Christian friend. For a Christian, painful; for an atheist, not so much.  I found this interesting because it is often said that Christianity is just a pleasant fairy tale.  Comments like this show that people may be atheists for the same type of poor reasons that atheists claim people choose to be Christians.  Choosing a worldview (belief system) based on which one you find to be more attractive or more pleasant or more appealing is missing the point of a proper worldview.  A worldview should be about shaping our beliefs and ideas to the ones that match reality. In other words, is is about which ideas and beliefs are true. Something may be very true and still unpleasant or painful. The inverse is also a possibility, that something may be very pleasant to believe, but be extremely false.
   I applaud Collett for many of his comments during this radio show. They show that he was being transparent and authentic about what motivates his belief. This is something that does not always happen when an atheist is publicly talking with a Christian.
   In my constant journey towards truth I have been reading and hearing more comments about what motivates someone to be an atheist.  I am starting to notice some themes.  I cannot say all atheists seem to fit into one of these themes, but I will say that many seem to. One of these themes, is not to posit compelling evidence to show there is not God, but instead to show how a certain aspect of Christianity or attribute of God is unjust, unthinkable, unpleasant, or difficult to accept.  They do not normally attempt to show the logical falsehood of the aspect or attribute that they don't like. They just present how unfair/unjust/unpleasant it is, and then jump to their belief that flows from that.  They seem to be skipping, or not taking seriously, whether or not their is reasonable evidence indicating whether it is true or not.

Can a Christian and an Atheist both find meaning?
   Near the end of the show Collett made some comments about how he does find meaning in his atheist life that is just as meaningful as Scrivener finds in Christian life. I think Collett was trying to say that Scrivener's comments implying that people cannot find meaning with God, were false.  I would like to point out that felling fulfilled and feeling like your life has meaning is often a subjective, personal viewpoint. Two people could both feel 100% fulfilled and feel 100% meaning, but one of them could be right and one could be wrong, when measured against an objective standard of meaning.  The question should not be can an atheist find equal meaning to life as a Christian can.  The real question(s) should be: Is there an objective standard to measure life's purpose and meaning? If yes, which worldview best directs people on a path towards this objective purpose and meaning?
   If these is no God, no higher power, no afterlife, then life's purpose and meaning are whatever we want it to be for each one of us. We can all have perfectly valid purpose and meaning even though we each choose different answers.
  If there is a God and he created us for a reason and a purpose, then we can feel however we want about meaning and purpose, but it may be wrong if it does not align with God's intended purpose for our existence.

Truth Quest or Happiness Quest
   Frank Turek has said it many times on is show: "It seems many people are not on a Truth quest. They are on a happiness quest. "
   The more I hear from non-Christians the more this claim seems to be true.  Atheists say many things and make many comments, but often they boil down to something like:
- I cannot believe in a God who would....
- If I were God, I would do ____ better, because....
- God cannot exist because he is doing certain things wrong/poorly.

Frank Turek has mentioned asking this question to an atheist: If Christianity were true, who you become a Christian?

   They can say yes or no, but the comments to justify the "no" are interesting to hear. Many of them seem to be judging God as unjust or unfair. Sometimes they just do not agree with the way God does things so they would not follow him. Unfortunately for us humans, if something God does seems unfair or unjust does not mean it is. If God does exist, and I believe he does, then when are views conflict with God's, we are the ones who are wrong.  An act may appear extremely unjust, but in fact be very just when viewed from God's all knowing perspective.