Re: What does a liberal think?

From: Dr. Blake Nelson (
Date: Sun May 12 2002 - 02:00:11 EDT

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    --- John W Burgeson <> wrote:
    > Don P: People that are pro-abortion do have rights
    > just as all do. For
    > now
    > the law says that a woman can have an abortion. So
    > we must follow the
    > law.
    > But if one believes that God intended for people to
    > do so, then this is
    > wrong.

    Here is where I differ with the view of groups that
    are confrontational towards abortion. I hope that
    everyone who pickets outside an abortion clinic spends
    an equal or greater amount of time volunteering to
    help unwanted children and unwed mothers in some way
    shape or form. It seems to me the more Christian
    thing to do is show compassion and love and make it
    possible for individuals to feel that they do not have
    any choice but to get an abortion. Care for those who
    have to face those choices and the consequences
    thereof should be of paramount importance to us.

    It always seems to me that negative responses play
    into media perception of religion and Christianity
    about having a list of things that you can't do and
    judging people negatively who do those things. I much
    prefer a positive witness of the love of God.

    > JB: What is wrong? I happen to agree that abortion
    > is a bad idea. Yes --
    > a "sin," at least in some instances. What I oppose
    > is a LAW to control
    > it. I oppose a law because I see a law doing more
    > harm than good. On my
    > website are testimonies from six women who were
    > involved in the "real
    > thing." Read them.

    It seems to me that the Christian focus should be on
    the detrimental effects of abortion for the mother as
    well as the concern over the life of the child. The
    goal should be education regarding what the
    consequences rather than simply asserting that conduct
    is wrong, even though it may be. It is not wrong
    merely because people say it is wrong, but because it
    takes away something of value in the potential of a
    human being and is often detrimental to the woman as

    > John: Anti-racist in a wide meaning of that term.
    > See all humanity as
    > equal
    > before God.
    > People of color have equal standing
    > Women have equal standing
    > People with different sexual preferences
    > have equal standing
    > See diversity as a "good thing."
    > Don P: You are correct. Everyone is and should be
    > equal, regardless of
    > how
    > they were born. Color is not chosen, nor is gender.
    > Sexual preference
    > however is chosen, and to my knowledge against God's
    > will.

    I find the emphasis on sexual sin, particularly
    homosexuality odd in modern Christian circles and I am
    doubly troubled for a couple reasons. First, I do not
    dispute that Levitical law and Paul in reference to
    some type of homosexual activity clearly disprove it.
    However, Jesus was not particularly concerned with
    sexual sin. In fact, the reported remembrances of
    Jesus seem to suggest he was not much concerned with
    it at all, except to universalize it, rejecting
    polygamy and holding that any lust, even if not acted
    upon, is sinful.

    This seems to me to be part of Christ's great message,
    that the inward turning of our hearts reflects whether
    we are sinful rather than the outward expression of
    that sinfulness. Thus, the faithful husband who lusts
    after another woman at some point is as sinful as the
    actively practicing homosexual in the area of sexual
    sin. Why focus more on the homosexual, than the
    "faithful" husband with the roving eye. As
    Christians, we should all be aware of OUR sins.

    Moreover, there are lots of things that various
    scriptures disapprove, but that Christians do not
    think much about at all. Usery is an excellent
    example, because it reflects the cultural nature of
    our emphasis on homosexuality as a sin. Scripture
    clearly says that usery is sinful. In the middle
    ages, Jews were money lenders in parts of Europe,
    because the Church prohibited Christians from charging
    interest for money. Yet, today, Christians all over
    the world work for or own banks, credit card
    companies, etc. that charge usery. Yet, we do not
    fail to ordain people because they have a credit card
    or own stock in a bank. Today, consumerism seems
    pervasive in the prevailing western culture.
    Moreover, it is insidious, leading to a multiplicity
    of sins and a far greater threat to the hearts and
    minds of a huge number of people. Our selectivity
    toward sin seems rather odd to me, and generally

    This is not to say that new cultural or political
    tides should not prompt our opposition as Christians.
    Barth and Bonhoeffer were right to oppose Nazism.
    But, did the churches in Germany prohibit those who
    had been members of the Nazi party from being church
    members, should they have? It seems to me that
    homosexual activity does not demand any more or less
    emphasis than any other sin.

    > JB: Your claim is that sexual preference is chosen.
    > I do not think you
    > can cite reasonable grounds for this. Of all the
    > gays (male term) and
    > lesbians (female term) and trans-gendered people I
    > know, and that is more
    > than a few (OK -- only one trans-gendered that I am
    > aware of) none hold
    > that their orientation was in any way "chosen." The
    > evidence for genetics
    > is large; for environmental is also present,
    > although not as large; the
    > evidence for chosen is small. That some may choose
    > it is agreed; that
    > more than a small % of all gays & lesbians choose it
    > is hard to defend.

    This issue seems rather complex. "Scientific" data,
    psychological, genetic, sociological, etc. seem to be
    all over the map. I would venture a guess that there
    are many different factors at work in sexual
    preferences and expressions thereof. I have heard
    different versions of people that I know who are
    homosexual from being born that way to being affected
    by experiences of pederasty.

    > You say "to my knowledge against God's will." I
    > accept that; it was my
    > opinion also -- ten years ago. After study, I came
    > to a different
    > position. Study materials on my web site (on both
    > side) are there for
    > anyone who wishes to look at them. Also my own
    > position statement.

    I have never understood those who say I knew when I
    was five or six or seven since I do not recall
    sexuality being present in my thought process at that
    age. Perhaps that is one of the differences. On one
    level, I see the problem of homosexuality at least the
    same as the problem of heretosexuality (it may be more
    problematic, but I have not reached such a conclusion
    definitively). The problem as Christians is that we
    have to evaluate how we behave in regard to our
    sexuality as a general principle, regardless of
    whether it is homosexual or heterosexual. Just
    because my heterosexuality is more "the norm" does not
    mean that it is not sinful. In fact, it may be very
    sinful. As Christians, we should be aware how any of
    our behaviors involve sin. I see nothing special
    about homosexuality in this regard.

    > Don P. Anyone that chooses for personal gain, or
    > reasons, not to
    > propagate is wrong. This was our main function given
    > by God.

    I think that God might care about us having a
    relationship with him more than propagating. And of
    course, not all circumstances of propagation are in
    God's will. I agree that personal selfishness should
    not be a basis for not having children in the same way
    I agree that choosing to have children should not be
    to lead a vicarious life or merely to try to add
    something that is missing in your life. In other
    words, one should not do anything merely or primarily
    for personal gain.

    > To chose not
    > to have children for medical, or religious reasons,
    > is one thing. But,
    > because one prefers same sex, that is
    > not beneficial to the human race. This is not just
    > religious, but
    > scientific logic.

    The path of this scientific "logic" has, in the past,
    led to eugenics.

    Social Security is a problem, but mainly because
    people live a lot longer than they did when the system
    went into effect. It is the growth of older
    population segments that is the main problem. When
    Social Sec went into place, only about 5% of the
    population were expected to live long enough to get
    it. Now it is considerably higher than that coupled
    with a bulge in population curves.

    > Wow. OK Don. we now have a world population of 6
    > billion people. As I
    > read what you have written you see it "God's will"
    > that this number
    > increase until the only room left on earth is for
    > some people to sit on
    > standing peoples' laps.

    I agree with Burgy here. The world is rapidly
    reaching its bearing capacity. A higher birth rate is
    not what we need. I am always reminded of the story
    of the reindeer on that island (someone help me out
    with the reference, I can't remember it now), who
    outstripped the carrying capacity and _ALL_ died out
    in a short space. Let's hope we do not do the same.


    > Don P. " How can anyone say that homosexuality is
    > not harming others.
    > Heard of AIDS? "

    What are the chances of two non-intravenous drug using
    homosexuals in a monogamous relationship getting AIDS?
      Zero (or close enough).

    Same couple in a monogamous relationship spreading
    AIDS? Zero.

    I concur with Burgy's comment.

    > JB: Yes. One of the great diseases hitting mostly
    > heterosexual folks. The
    > sin here is promiscuity, both homosexual and
    > heterosexual. Which is, I
    > assert, proscribed by scripture.
    > ----------------------
    > John: Honor those of a different religious
    > persuasion.
    > Honor those with no religious persuasion.
    > See Christianity as primarily a confessional, not a
    > prescriptive
    > religion.

    Feel compassion and empathy for those without a
    religious tradition. I do not know that I can honor
    those who are despisers of Christianity or who are
    rudderless and caught up in the ways of this world,
    but I can love them and do my best to serve them.


    >Don P: To discriminate would be wrong, but as I said,
    >we must help them find the way for their own sake as
    >well as society's. Just as it benefits
    >everyone to rehab a drug user. Tolerance, coupled
    >with prayer and rehab.

    The same is true for all of us, in whichever sins
    afflict us. Covetousness, putting ourselves first,
    loving money or power or attention or fame. Wanting
    us to be served rather than to be served. The list of
    sins is endless. We all need rehab. We all need
    prayer. We all need to do our best to take up our
    crosses, let go of the things that the culture says
    are the source of security and rely on God.
    Unfortunately, I fail to do all these things. But,
    every day, I try again.

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