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Old 11-21-2004, 05:08 PM   #1
Ravok99
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I don't mind debates. I don't mind differences of opinion. I don't mind historical events that could re-define 'canon' or 'truth'. I have never seen an argument on religion won on merits of argument.

I mean, thinking pantheonistically. I am simply a man working out the truths of human behavior. Wisdom, Love, Invention, War, Intellect, Strength - these pantheonistic gods and goddesses deserve their title and respect, for as such we deified them in our minds for a time as we investigated them.

Also, morality is an issue that is good to delve into. Something may be entirely advantageous for me to do personally, but what could that action mean to an entire group? Or what effect does it have on how others would treat me? Is it only a short term gain and a long-term headache?

Religion has its own place, and can be necessary to understand our own selves and what is legal, honorable, justifiable, and kind; or what is terrible, destructive, and painful.


What is Justice? What is Law? Why do we need such institutions? Is Chaos better? Is something Right, and something else Wrong? What forms these definitions into Truth?

Is Religion as Religion the Way? If I completed my Religious Duties, does that mean anything as pertains the present time, present need, or present challenges?

So, when people shut down a religious aspect of life, is it an argument against what is personally undesirable for them to do? After all, there is only one motivation for an individual - he will do what he sees is profitable. If a religion does not profit you, then by all means - follow what you see as gain. If you go against your spirit of what you truly view as best, then you corrupt yourself and stand on weaker ground. If you have learned that what was best is not the best, and you do not accept the new methodology - then again, you corrupt yourself. If you cling to a course that you see is the best course of action - indeed you are working on what the Bible calls your own understanding.

I can totally understand this use of your life.

Working on an understanding based on a theoretical possibility - that is taking a step of faith. I can totally understand the apprehension on such a thing as faith.

I function by words that I take on faith. I put my own decisions into a world of theoretical potentialities. Being judged for doing so can be a good thing and a bad thing; but know for certain that if you do not follow my example by being conformed to a life based on a potential future after death - I do not count such a move against you. You are taking the cold hard fact as a basis for your actions. The fact that we have seen a 100% casualty rate in our own experience in this life is a stark reality.

Therefore, if I cannot judge you for taking what you see as the most realistic route for your own life; please, be a little forgiving if I have buried my nose into a book, and have allowed it to question my own meaning of what is best.

I believe that what is best is best for anyone and everyone all at the same moment. That in such an action, I will not only avoid bringing harm to someone; I can find a way to bring to them aid. I have founded my hopes on the principle that such actions exist. It is always good to do something personally beneficial, and the one who benefits will tout it as such. Why not?

However, in my experience, not every personally beneficial action is of the kind that benefits more than that solitary individual. In this essence, I feel is the compunction for Policy, Law, Rule, and Compassion.

If I continue to toss arguments out the window, and basically ignore their validity, it is because I know that in the end, the arguments will continue to keep their set course until a new understanding is gained that replaces the old knowledge.

So, please, continue debating, continue arguing, ask and seek the Truth; but do not judge me harshly for keeping my perspective - for I gaurd that with my life's blood. If I come to a new understanding that says that what I perceive and act upon is unwise - then in an instant I can thank you for your arguments, and debates, and will immediately alter my course.

In closing, save your base judgements that you reserve for Religionist Fanatics and the like at the doorstep; they do not aid me, and in fact, they polarize me against you and turn a friend into an adversary.
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Old 11-21-2004, 06:35 PM   #2
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Now I will hit on a hot topic. Homosexuality. I don't have that attraction, so I have no idea what it is as a truth in and of itself. As far as I know, it can be a psychological condition. That is all I know.

Do people see this stuff as wickedness? Oh yeah, plenty of folks will put that out. Why? It seems to me there are a number of reasons. One, they simply feel so unattracted to the same sex, its like when kids talk about cooties and stuff; like me, they find it a revolting possibility. I admit that is what I feel about the stuff. Also, they work on moving reasons around to support their ideas about it. One - in the early days, it probably was thought that it weakened the future of a clan or society by removing the drive to have more and more children for purposes of either warfare, hunting parties, or simple weight of numbers. Perhaps. Perhaps it further lead into people saying it simply isn't the most complete joy in living.

A loyal homosexual couple never knows the joy of introducing a child into the world. That sort of unionism.

Most feared it as the cause of diseases, like AIDS - or promotes their spread.

Notice that none of these perspectives do I hear from homosexuals.

What I do not like, besides my aversion, is a homosexual male wishing to overpower me physically for his own gain. Homophobia. For such a thing, I would sin against God and probably work to kill the man. This is simply my own perception. I do not like knowing what I am capable of as a man.

That my religion speaks of it in as falling short of the target, I can see where that is so. After all, most of the Bible's teachings on sexual relations deal with the family as a unit, or no sex at all. That is a reasonable stance, in my opinion. However, our awareness of sex as a pleasurable experience and desirable have constantly placed it as a loss if not experienced.

Thus, it can be easily concluded that the Bible's stance is unreasonable in a society rooted in freedoms.

Now, this is where we come to a problem I have seen quite a lot of.

One: a conservative stance as being reasonable
Two: a non-conservative stance as being reasonable

This is one argument that is quite heated in the world of today. I cannot judge anyone else on such a personal issue - there is no instance of me being right over someone else being wrong on this issue.

This is why, as a secular society that America is - I do not have an opinion about this issue. Men and women fall short of a true and good target on so many things, should there be a Law against their pursuit of happiness when it deals with personal attractions and fears? I say let them know themselves and act according to the way as God made them.

My only true concern is whether a marriage is for all intent and purpose the same between a homosexual couple and a heterosexual couple, and what defines a marriage. This is also a hot topic today. If homosexuals marry and do not have the responsibility of children, is it the same as heterosexuals who marry and have the responsibility of children? What of those heterosexuals that cannot have children and are wed to each other? Isn't it that we fully support a heterosexual marriage without children the same as not? Is that due to the numbers game?

I believe this definition, what is Law, what is Honorable, and what our society should support is decent to look at. If I merely based my opinions on this matter by a religious quote - I am robotic in my assumptions. That is unwise.

As many of you know, I have been struggling with the issue. What is True Love? If God loves us, wouldn't he want our joy to be fulfilled? I cannot speak for what a homosexual love is. I do not have any understanding of that.

However, from my heterosexual viewpoint, I can say that finding my loving wife is a joy fulfilled. It is something sought for life until found for life. If a homosexual has this same drive, only for someone of the same chromosome arrangement - I can think there is honor in them, only of a different sort.

Either way, in regards to love and marriage, I have rarely seen a relationship work to such a degree as honor demands. Perhaps we do not place the same import on remaining in a relationship as we once did. I do not know. This is what really complicates my view. For me, marriage is one shot. I won't marry twice, for my heart does not work that way. You can tout rings and documents before me, but marriage is more than either tradition. Marriage is the union between me and my love. No paper nor piece of metal can signify what that means to me.

That others need such devices shows that they have not fully recognized in themselves what they need in someone else. My half of the contract is the same as my match. On such neutral ground I know my honor is met with her as an individual. No one can be, nor replace, such a person in all the universe.

I will let everyone else live their lives - this is my own personal perception of what is best for me.

That is how I will close my topic.
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Old 11-29-2004, 10:18 AM   #3
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i don't have a problem with god. it's just his squabbling fan clubs that piss me off.
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Old 11-29-2004, 05:33 PM   #4
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Rav, I hope you read the replies to this thread, because I must say reading it through has left me with what I can only describe as hope. Hope that one day, disparate viewpoints and opinions can be reconciled peacefully and with understanding, as opposed to now with force and resentment.

If I may interject with a few comments, I will say this. My own, personal view of the universe is that God or gods, in whatever form, started up the whole shebang, rolled the dice, and then went hands off. I believe, from a logical point of view, that something cannot come from nothing, therefore you have the "infinite mirror" sort of problem, for if God created everything, who or what created God, and so on and so forth.

The reasoning behind this belief is simple. I believe in free will. The intervention of a higher power in daily life logically negates the possibility of free will, in whole or in part, and I don't think that a being who wishes us to have free will would circumvent it, especially if the same being is omnipotent and/or omniscient.

The reason behind my distrust of holy books/scripture as uncontestable proof is also simple, it comes from a game played in English class to show the importance of citing sources. 10 children stand in a circle, and each whisper a sentence to the next, given by the teacher. After the tenth child, it usually sounds like "purple monkey dishwasher" or something along those lines. Add in power plays, politics, greed, and basic human fallibility and translations over a period of 2000 years or more, and you may see why I have this distrust.

In the end, I have no dislike for any religion either. In fact, I can see the point of it, looking at it from a historical perspective and "outside the box" so to speak. What I don't agree with quite vehemently is when others not only try to tell me that my beliefs are wrong, but go so far as to tell EVERYONE how to live their lives, even those who do not hold the same beliefs. And what's worse is when zealots grab control of government and actually can make laws to restrict people not of their faith.

As an example, I would tell a man he cannot steal, not because its hurtful in the eyes of God, but simply because it hurts those he steals from, usually the very community he is a part of. Crime is like cancer, a single cell can hurt the whole body if allowed to continue its destruction. Why do you think terrorists operate in "cells"? Because its a perfect way to describe their destabilizing influence on society.

But as to the homosexual example. My argument is very simple. A gay couple across the street from me, in no way influences my life decisions. I won't suddenly start dressing in flamboyant colors as they do, nor will I be drinking girlie drinks, except martinis! ;-) These two do no harm to the community, in fact, they usually throw the best parties, and people have a lot of fun. What they do in their own personal space is their own business. They don't suddenly break out with the sex in the middle of the children's playground, but from the way some people talk you'd think that's what they expect.

I dunno, some people's attitudes and concers are just beyond me I guess. I just cannot comprehend why someone would tell another person what they can do with their life, unless they're a parent or some egotistical bully type who enjoys the power of telling others what they can or cannot do.
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Old 11-29-2004, 08:20 PM   #5
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Great Sun Tzu quote. Free will is a great argument. In fact, I will tell you that it is my own platform. Life gives me choices, and I either react or respond to what I am given. A reaction is generally without merit - it is a quick reflex decision - a response is generally thought out and with carefully planned intent.

Martial arts is basically training a response into the speed of a reaction.

This stuff is done by freedom of choice.

Relationships are based by choices. You choose to do something, and others are effected by that choice. That is sphere of influence and inter-relationships in a nutshell.

Being called a god fan boy that ticks someone off was a choice of words by someone that effected the relationship between us. I may be many things, but I could rarely be called a fanatic.

fa·nat·ic ( P ) Pronunciation Key (f-ntk)
n.
A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm, as for a cause.

squab·ble ( P ) Pronunciation Key (skwbl)
intr.v. squab·bled, squab·bling, squab·bles
To engage in a disagreeable argument, usually over a trivial matter; wrangle.


So, according to that guy, I am engaging in a disagreement over something trivial with unreasoning enthusiasm. He can have his opinion, that is his free will. My opinion is that when it comes to the prime motivator in someone's life; that is neither trivial, nor without reason. In fact, its the essence of what makes a human being, human.

Therefore, he probably didn't know what he was talking about.
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Old 11-29-2004, 08:31 PM   #6
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The sphere of influence issue is a great thing to bring up. Its so open for argument too hehe. Exactly at what point would, say a gay couple's "sphere" influence those around them?

Certainly, walking around a mall, holding hands, with maybe a quick kiss or two, would gross out the homophobes who see, but does not their disgust also influence the freedom with which these two gay people express themselves, just like any other human being?

To me, the question of gay marriage is not about right or wrong, its about semantics. Marriage is for religion, civil unions are for the state. What makes a marriage legal is the civil union the state provides by may of a "marriage license" something the church does not require.

You fully and permanently separate the two entities and temrs from each other. Civil unions, which grant the legal rights of "unioned" couples as marriage does now, are allowed for anyone of any preference. Marriage is the sole province of the religion providing the ceremony. Not being "married" would not exclude a couple from enjoying the legal rights provided by the state. In essence, an atheist hetero couple would be the same as a homosexual couple in terms of legal benefits, as would anyone married through the church who also ratified and legalized the proceeding with a civil union license.

Back to the point, spheres of influence are ever overlapping, and can extend as short as the 3 ft personal bubble, to anyone within sight, to even anyone you can contact electronically. While I will most likely never change anyone's stance on religion or gay marriage by posting here, it still allows others to get to know me somewhat through my written words, and thus I affect them and their response in turn influences me.

I do wish that people would realize however that gay people are still people, protected by the laws of the country. The attitude some of the people in power have is exactly that of white supremacists, slave owners back in the day, and what have you, its an attitude of superiority, of believing that segregation and prejudice are the status to what we should adhere.

As I said before, truly, truly sad.
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Old 11-29-2004, 11:54 PM   #7
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Wow... a lot of the things you say, Kal, are echoed in my own thoughts. I come to similar conclusions for very different reasons. And the fact is that I truly believe that there is a God.

What I see as one of the negatives to religion in general is the simple fact that too many people seem to think that saying a prayer for life to go their way, will work just fine. Take football games for example. Highschool football that is. I played when I went to highschool. I was decent and only did a couple of things to stand out. And I knew that I could do more, but the coach never let me try. I would go to the JV games instead of watching videos with most of the other varsity players because I loved to play so much. It was awesome to hear the bones of another person crunch as you hit them. Not that I'm into causing others pain, but it was an interesting test of will and physical strength to try and control the other person.

I remember making some incredible and awesome plays during JV games. And I would occasionally make a few during varsity games. We didn't have a varsity coach that liked to pass, even though he had six good receivers, and two decent quarterbacks (I was one of those receivers at tight end). I remember one play where we went with four recievers and I actually sprinted 75 yards downfield with the two wide recievers and the split end, and caught a pass. It was gorgeous. But because of a penalty flag at the line of scrimmage, we had to replay the down and the other team saw the pass coming.

The point is that no amount of prayer helped, no amount of confrontation with the coach would help, and no amount of trying to reason would help. Heck, if I wanted more ball time, I would have moved over to full back and received hand-off after hand-off. But I wanted to play where I was having fun.

And the kicker was when we had our second game of the year my senior year and one of the players called everyone to a kneel and started a prayer. It didn't help. Three of our players got hurt that night. One almost broke his neck. And we lost the game. Many of the players had put more faith into the prayer than into their playing ability it seemed.



The other thing was when I was attending church regularly. There was a woman that prayed religiously... to the point where she had to be praying all the time (every other minute or so). She would pray for things like a young couple being happy, one person's father to get well, for a woman in a car accident to come out okay. These were very heartfelt prayers! She literally prayed for everything to happen as God saw it, and she trusted God to make sure that she came out okay. Well... she didn't have a good success rate. She was at the point of putting everything on God, that she never helped herself. That is one of the BIGGEST shortfalls of religion in my mind; that people put so much of themselves into faith that they lose sight of things that they have to do. Things like putting in a job application, but not sending in your resume because "God will help them to understand that I am a good pick". Utterly stupid.


The other thing that seems to get me is just the fact that there is so much pain and suffering in the world. Yet, if you believe the Christian way, then you believe that EVERYONE is a sinner and thus everyone must pay some pennance. In many Christian minds, I would be a big-time sinner for living with my girlfriend. Just living with her. But I know that if she didn't live with me, she wouldn't be in California (too expensive). And if she didn't live in California, our relationship would be strained to the point that it wouldn't work out. She would have stayed in Washington, with a teaching job, and I would have stayed in California. Yeah, I could quit my job and go back to Washington, but I would be closing a huge door on my career and chances are that I would never be happy.


That's another thing, I'm not going to not enjoy my time here on earth, living a good life as a good person because someone decreed that I have to live in misery to show my faith in God. And I'm going to be proud when I work my ass off and accomplish something. I'm not going to shove it in your face and go "neener neener, I get paid more than you, I am smarter than you, and I have a better job than you". That's not me... but I am still proud that I am where I am and have what I have. I have a beautiful and kind girlfriend (that I will more than likely marry), I have a nice and safe place to live, I am well nourished, I have good friends, have family that cares about me, I am doing things using my knowledge in a way that makes me happy, and don't sweat the small stuff. I have a ton of debt, I miss my family, I miss my friends (even though I've made new ones), and I am still not exactly where I want to be career-wise. But I am happy.

Now, if my grandmother died, I would be extremely sad. And the phrase that "it's God's way", doesn't comfort me at all. Because if God wanted me to be happy and loved me as stated in the Bible, then why take people away or let pain and suffering loose on the world. If God were really God, then He could just step in and stop all of that. And saying that it's a test of MY faith, is rediculous... how does that speak to how God treats other people? "Oh I have to test Bob's faith in Me, so I'll go and take his parents away, even though they're good people (selfless, kind, caring, etc)." I can't believe that there is some grand plan, where good people are sacrificed to prove a point (or test a point).


And after all of this, I don't really care about any afterlife. I care about living my life being a good person here on earth. I think the question of whether or not there is an afterlife, is a moot point considering the fact that if you live well, do good things, and genuinely care, then the effects of your life on others will be remembered and you will help countless others. I'm not going to do good things, live as a good person, or do anything of the sort because there is the possibility that I'll go to hell if I don't. I do things the way I do them because I believe in being a good person and that it's the right thing to do.
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Old 11-30-2004, 07:54 AM   #8
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I'm reading this thread with a big bubble to protect myself this time. I did not anticipate the other thread to turn into an intervention for my "immortal soul".

I believe firmly that trusting in God will bring about what he wants to happen. What I also believe is that God gives us answers in forms we're not expecting, so we don't see them. We're all expecting the flash of light, the miraculous outcomes, the angels flying down from heaven. We're not waiting for the whispers at night, the fleeting idea to pass through our mind, the kindly person who gives a cryptic message. God speaks in a lot of ways, and I think we as a society have desensitized ourselves to His voice.

About homosexuality.......... I was in a relationship where there were no PSAs (Public shows of Affection). Everytime I got close to him, there was a very stern look, and then it was like we were barely friends. I know some Hetero relationships that are similar, but never to the same extent. There is a real fear of what people will do/say. And I, for one, feel there's no point in worrying about it. The people who have an open mind and start out with a negative opinion will change their opinion of Gay people once they start spending time with me (or so I hope...), and the people with no objectionality on the subject will still curl their lips in scorn and try to "save me from myself" or w/e.

Marriage is about more than state-granted rights. If civil unions were all that us Homos wanted, we could have gotten it easily enough. The reason we want the freedom to Marry is because it is a communal recognition of one's affection and dedication to another. You see a wedding ring, you know that person is taken. You know that person has dedicated themselves to another, and (presumably), knows the meaning of life-long vows. And yes, I know all these things can exist with a civil union, but it's the full Marriage that brings the community together. It's having your parents and friends come under the roof of God, where no lie can be tolerated and all unions are blessed, and witness the twisting of your souls in perfect unity. It's knowing that your blessing has a place in God's plan (which, admittedly, many Christians don't agree with. If you want the reasons, read the other thread).

Just this month, my Synod (the Synod Diocese of Niagara, for you keener researchers out there) voted 66% in favour of blessing same-sex marriages on a parish-by-parish permission basis (a parish would have to petition the Bishop to become a "blessing" community, to be allowed to Bless same-sex unions... I think it has to do with showing that the whole parish supports that decision, and that it won't cause a divide at the roots). Unfortunately (although not unexpectedly), the Bishop withoutheld his consent from the motion. I know for a fact that Bishop Ralph would sign and seal this without a doubt in his mind if the Anglican Communion were ready. However, with the release of the Windsor report, and the decision of our National church, we're stuck for now at least. He had to decline based on church unity, and I'm sure it pained him because of how much Diocesonal support there was. Next year, the issue will come up again, and I'm sure it will pass by a greater degree.

I guess my religious beliefs are simplistic. I don't like "idolizing" the Bible. I like my one-on-one relationship with JC/Dad/Holy Spirit. I feel that the only "restrictions" that exist are things that would break the two great commandments (which, pretty much, are also things restricted by secular law). Instead of PUSH (praying until something happens) or FROG (fully rely on God) or WWJD, I think all we need to do is to love one another and God, and raise our voices in praise to the one who makes this world possible. Sending an occasional prayer in always helps, it's the listening for the answer we all need to work on
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Old 11-30-2004, 09:17 AM   #9
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Asha, Kal, and Laurelin -

That's the stuff that makes this thread worth taking the time to write. Thanks for taking me seriously and working to show me your points of view. I certainly don't think they are trivial points.

Yeah, man to man open displays of affection do turn me around a bit. It wrinkles my nose out of reaction. But I also look away when a woman and a man display their affection, too. I feel pretty embarrassed about being there during an intimate moment. I would like to be anywhere else, and "leave a tender moment alone."

My opinion about an omniscient being is that my free will is already known. I can do anything I want inside of creation, and if God is omniscient, He knows what's up with me. There's a bunch of songs about how God knows when I wake, and when I choose to sleep. That is just a way of saying nothing passes without His knowing. It either empowers someone to boldly stand up, or to shy away. And that reaction is what I think is really important. I argue with God. If He knows it all, then He knows my struggles - and I bring it to Him in the kind of prayer that says, "If you are holding out on me, now would be a good time to let me in on it."

Asha is completely right about prayers that don't do anything. I think if people read the Bible more than just soaking in sermons, they would have a better idea what to do about things. That is why it was written down. Christians that don't read the Bible as they would any other book I don't think can ever truly understand their own faith.

That is where I have to also agree with Kaleban's earlier stuff. Those kinds of people hear all the rumors and whispers, and don't quote the source.

Wow, Asha, sorry you had a coach like that. Sounds like he didn't know how to use a playbook. *shudders* In that case, I woulda stuck with J.V. all the way, and keep out of his soup. He coulda got you injured as well. He forgot his main concern, his main concern should have been mastery over the art of the game. Not victory.

"A general does not worry over victory or defeat." <- another Sun Tzu quote. And one that coach should read. Winning and losing does not necessarily mean good or bad deployment/employment of troops on the field. Though modern day military historians pick all sorts of stuff that determined victory or defeat, you will find that the best generals have limited choices by the time of battle. Everything that is truly variable happens before then, and anything that can vary during the fight happens as a result of the chain of command - and every soldier's mastery of the field.

Belief in God relies on two things, in my opinion, one: That this world is indeed a planned creation. two: that we are stewards over it, and not masters of it.

Stewardship says it well - we have a little piece of the world for a little piece of time, yet what we do in that time shows our faith. What is the afterlife? Is it a physical imprint you leave on those that come after you? I believe that is true, for you are remembered after you are gone. And in a sense, that means you live more than your years. Is it a tomorrow you can help to build? I believe that is also true, as our influence can alter the way people see the rising of the sun. Is it a spirit that was created by you, lives in you, and will see beyond your physical years? That is debate-able to most people, but to me, that is also a true statement - as my life is fully unique unto me, and therefore - every atom that constitutes my physical being has a history before it, and ever piece of matter that is transferred into energy has a history after it; then it stands to reason that such a thing is more than possible.

Laurelin, I do pray for your happiness in what you seek. I cannot stand in authority by any means, and say what should or should not be; I do respect your willingness to devote yourself to someone, for that, in essence, is the most enduring way to care about someone else. And I think that is really the point.
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Old 11-30-2004, 03:55 PM   #10
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Laurelin, first off, I don't mean that civil unions are the END result of struggles to overcome the homophobic reaction most people have to gay marriage. I see the civil union sans religious overtones as the starting point. Once gay unions are recognised as legitimate in the eyes of the state, IMHO it is only a matter of time before those in the closet can come out, show the world that there is a large percentage of people who are gay, and that religion should change to accomodate them.

From a religious context you can argue this way. God created everything, including each person. If he's outside of time, and therefore omniscient and omnipotent, then all actions from the beginning to the end of perceived time have been layed out and are known. Therefore, to our lowly perception, we have free will, but in the universal scheme of things, free will would be an illusion. This comes from the notion of "God's grand design" since who are we to think we can act outside of that which created everything?

The difference between real free will and illusory in our reality is moot, since we'll never know for sure until we've passed on, and maybe not even then. But the crux of the argument is, IF God is as I said above, then homosexuals fit into his plan just like everyone else. And IF he's a benevolent god, then homosexuals are most likely not in our universe as target practice!

So when I hear people say gay marriage is contrary to God's plan, I ask, who are they to presume to know God's plan? Is there a scroll 37 that has the blueprint for it that I missed? Doubtful. Of course, the flipside if you believe in a plan, is that those who argue are doing it because of the plan, and gay marriage will need time to come to fruition. Its basically whether or not you believe in fate, and that is a big problem because these beliefs tend to form large mob mentalities that all think the same. Remember David Koresh? He believed the aliens would save them and take them away, and they're all dead now.

In the end, I think tolerance and understanding WILL win out, but probably not in Laur's or my lifetime. I am hetero, but I wish with all my heart that people would just realize that while gay marriage is a NEW thing, relatively, it is not something to be swept under the carpet. That's the problem with causes and beliefs, they are the most difficult things to change, just look at the Middle East as a good example of what religion can do if its taken to extremes. Of course, with our current administration, we may soon be a theocracy, but I hope to God (irony) that it never happens!

My personal opinion/belief of God the Gambler who is hands off since the seventh day is what I tend to stick with. I don't see God as a fatherly figure with a Santa beard and Roman robe, these are all affectations of humanity that is well known for anthropomorphizing things to make them more easy to deal with. More likely God is everything around us, either a sentient being that watches, or a non-sentient being that is what infuses life into the Universe and acts as "nature" and the laws by which the Universe functions.

Two movies dealing with religion in a humourous way make good points I think. First, Bob Almighty. God sets rules on himself that disallows mucking about with free will, which then allows for true free will. Also, while prayers are heard, God hopes that people will be pro-active in their solutions, rather than relying on divine aid. Perhaps that is why s/he has not appeared in a flash of light and said "lay off the gays, them and the Jews are guaranteed entry!!!"

Second, Dogma. I just love this movie. But one line struck me as very interesting. "The whole of creation exists solely on one principle, God is infallible..." So whatever God proclaims, is reality. So there is no way anything that exists in reality could possibly be seen as conflicting with God's plan, otherwise reality would cease to exist. In this case, murderers, tyrants, pedophiles, and even politicians go to heaven!

One theory I have, is that Hell does not exist, and that Satan and demons are used to frighten people into obedience. However, part of this theory is that Satan DOES exist, and he and God have a wager, but it is a gentlemanly wager, and no souls are exchanged, they all go to Heaven. Its basically a test, God makes the pure soul, Satan creates the mortal coil that enables the possibility of sin. Once the mortal coil is shed, the soul returns to Heaven, no harm no foul. Any "sins" are associated with the mortal coil. It could be a refinement process, where possibly God and Satan head to Duffy's every night for a beer, where Satan regales God with the current problems with Human ver. 149356703679347697.194035673069347069 and what he's doing to make it possible for the mortal coil to ALSO ascend into Heaven, thus bringing humanity in touch with God and Heaven.

Basically, I have a lot of weird theories, which sci-fi has not helped to nail down! But I believe in the inherent goodness of each human being, and the reasons for wrongdoing are many, and frequently unavoidable due to society and previous versions of Humanity. But its a refinement process. Just look at the difference between the Middle Ages and now. Back then, life was cheap and death was quick, now life is valuable and extended significantly. And that's in only 500 years, an eyeblink to an omniscient deity.

/done OUCH carpal...
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Old 12-01-2004, 07:26 AM   #11
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While I'm not confident the US will ever have gay marriage, Canada is already moving towards legislating it. The Supreme Court has already ruled that the marriage laws are contrary to our Rights and Freedoms, and that definite change is needed. As it stands now, 90% of this nation's population have the freedom to marry whomever they like (The provinces where Supreme Court decisions have been made are allowed to issue marriage licenses to us homos). Unfortunately, unless New England and San Fran secede to Canada, I don't think the huge gay populations there will ever see it. Because for every democrat who's going to get into office promising freedom for them, there will be a republican backlash to "family values". Don't get me wrong, we have our own fanatics... *cough cough Conservative Party cough cough*... They just won't win a majority. I hope. If they did try to restrict the freedoms of any citizen, the backlash against them would be so huge they would lose control of the House, and we'd have a re-election.

I digress. God is definitely in everything around us (that's the Holy Spirit, #3). I do believe in Hell as well. Not going to hell is pretty easy, but that's why I believe in Hell... because it always seems the most important tests in life are the easy to pass ones. It's not a matter of "not sinning". It's more of a matter of recognizing you are sinning and trying to stop it. But that's dogmatic shtuff, so I won't get into a spiel.

I would never make out with a guy in public. *if* we were to kiss, it would be one of those "Goodbye, Honey" kisses at the train station or w/e. I *will* however hold hands. If I'm feeling particularly amorous, I will put my arm around his shoulder. But that's really it. Nothing that isn't perfectly acceptable by Hetero standards (therin lies the rub). I understand that this kind of affection may make people feel uncomfortable, but I really believe it's just a conditioning thing. If it's happening around you, and it's not being inclusive or forced down your throat, I really honestly believe people will shrug it off just like they do with Hetero couples. It's just a matter of seeing it in a more commonplace manner.

Another misnomer is that Gay marriage will bring no children. In this age of surrogate parenting and in vitro fertilization, anything is possible. And, if you're like me (who hates babies and doesn't want anything to do with a kid until they're like 4), there's always adoption/children's aid volunteering. The more I think about it (and mature), the more I realize I would really like to influence a child with what I've learned, and if anything, to break the cycle of horrible parenting through my mother's side of the family. I hope eventually I'll find a partner who feels the same, and then we can decide on how to go about building a family.

Lastly, I firmly believe Homosexuality is God's design for me. You can't understand how it feels to be attracted to the same sex, and actually feel nothing for the opposite. I recognize beauty, but it does nothing for me. I don't get a rise out of Victoria's Secret. And, for a long time, I seriously felt like something was wrong with me. Girls actually "gross me out". So, in a lot of ways, I feel just as squeamish about hetero relationships as you do about homo ones, Rav. I don't think I could change how I feel even if I wanted to, and sometimes I have wanted it badly. But, as we all move towards mutual understanding, this world is looking much more becoming for us.

Just an aside, It's interesting to read how far back homosexuality has existed. Some cultures, like the ancient Japanese, accepted it as nature. Some, like Sparta, nurtured it, seeing only strength and bonding coming out of it. Some, like the Roman Catholic church, enjoyed.... nvm

I leave you with a quote from a gay priest friend of mine. He said: "Isn't it interesting to think about all the people Hitler sent to the camps: Jews, Gypsies, Homos, the Handicapped. Of all the people he sent, why are Homos the only ones still being persecuted, while the world is struggling to protect and nurture the others?"
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Old 12-02-2004, 12:52 AM   #12
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Rav, all but one of our receivers played in the JV games as well. All of us just loved the game and wanted to play. Winning was always the goal, but we didn't have fun when we couldn't run the 70/71 quick passes, the 72/73 all ups, or the 74/75 double-tight pass / pitch plays. We'd almost always send out the recievers, but as soon as any of the linemen moved, the opposing team would know we were going to run, do an option, or put our QB into the flat for a pass option.

Don't get me wrong, we had some SWEET running plays (criss-cross, options, QB sneak, etc.) and opening up a hole for our halfbacks was always fun because at TE, you could really crush two or three guys as you blocking downfield. It was just that our coach NEVER tried to pass. He did it once or twice, and that was against a team that had a poor safety/outside LB.

The point was that prayer was pointless, and the only way that I made the best of the situation was to just play as often as I could and ignore the coach's philosophy on how to run plays.
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Old 12-02-2004, 12:56 AM   #13
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Oh and don't get the tone of my post wrong. I fully believe that there is a God. I just don't fully believe in how much He/She participates in the world.
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Old 12-03-2004, 10:27 AM   #14
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Well, in football the run supports the pass - and the pass supports the run. A team has to offset these two in order to keep the defense guessing. So, if the other team can see your plays in advance, your players are probably in for a good pounding at the line of scrimmage. The game becomes more brute force, and less finesse. So, under those conditions - praying for your players and then sending them into a narrow set of plays is pretty weak, IMHO.

I seriously do not believe God is 'hands off'. It is said that if you follow the Ten Commandments, you will be blessed to ... ten generations ... and if you break them, you will feel the hurting for the next ... four generations. That's OT style, and with the birth and blessing of the Christ, that format was altered. Because we can petition God for anything, and He will weigh it and through a relationship with Him He can and will alter things; He is hands on. How does it work? Good question! One, don't give Him half a heart - we are told to give Him our best and our worst when we pray to Him - 100% of all we are, and what is going on with us.

Now, is this creation set in stone as a prefabricated Plan? To some degree. There is definitely a plan for the creation. Quantum mechanics shows there is a lot of room for an entirely new creation and the table of the elements shows there is also a lot of room for potentially new variations in our physical universe. Our creation doesn't have to behave in the way that it does. So, either it just so happens to do what it does, or something has been moving it along a certain path. Yet because it can be altered on a quantum paradigm shift - it is highly possible that the rules we now take for granted could - by some unknown cause - change.

What God knows is our set of options, and why and what we choose to do. This is not a brave stretch of the imagination. As psychologists have picked apart the reactions and responses of several thousand (plus) mice, and have resulted in general behavioral patterns --- it is no mean stretch that a supreme consciousness can easily foretell what us knuckleheaded humans can do under a set of conditions.

So what is free will? Our ability to choose consciously what we wish to do, and not have such choices made for us. It is also an ability to choose something different than what had been done before.

Now, you can say that religion should change according to popular society. But traditionally religion has sought not to do that, but to remain within itself despite popular society. So, whether or not religious faith practicioners actually alter their view on gay marriages really depends on their own assessment of what their belief system stands behind. Much like a law leans on precedents, and weighs carefully any new precedent being added; yet religion is much more stringent on setting precedents of any sort. Setting a precedent in a religious context means something big has been changed as according to the perspective of the religion.

Gay marriages are not new to history. Both sides of the argument have confirmed this. Our society is only reviewing it for the first time. That freedoms have been limited and arguments flared up is also not new for our history. The right to bear arms has been limited to the extent that civilian does not have the same capability of defending himself as a militant. This is a restriction of freedoms that many believe is not aligned with the intention of the right as defined in the bill of rights.

Because, in one of the premises, it is stated that we as a people have the right to fight against any tyranny - especially if it arises within our own government. It was one of the statements used to show our own responsibility to shrug off England's Imperialism.

The idea that we should have the ability to fight against the state is a definitely rooted in freedoms. No other country has had them kinda balls that I have ever seen, but right now, could we gather as a people and defend our rights with a militia? Not on your life. So, this freedom has been limited.

Could Bush make the U.S. into a theocracy? If he did, there wouldn't be a thing you could do about it in any real sense except to attempt to impeach him. Which, as we all now know, is a clunky quirky system that probably wouldn't do the job. So, what, assassination? That's been done as well, and martyrdom only progresses every ideal that the martyr stood for. We have put a lot more trust and faith into the government's ability to run and sustain itself than I think we have the ought to do.

Our government was intended to be run by the people, not as its own entity. So, our rights are already severely limited, even if that fact is not recognized by most of the populace at this point.

If you feel like you must stand before God and man, and declare your marriage to someone of the same sex as something that is right and good and wonderful to do; of course that is yelling into the wind as people re-evaluate what is right and good and wonderful. Yet, I see people everywhere evaluating it, because as a whole - people want what is good and right and wonderful to prevail.

If a group of people deny you something you want because they do not believe nor support that it is good and right and wonderful; I know that those who do become polarized and there is a seperation of groups. The only way the two groups can be reconciled to each other is if they can forgive each other their shortcomings.

This is one of the primary reasons Christ was born, in my opinion. None of us are without shortcomings. When things get heated like this, our shortcomings stand out like a sore thumb, and we are damned if we do; damned if we don't. In my opinion, if the Christ can be on that cross, blameless and accused of what - being a king of the Jews? - and can forgive all those around him and all those before him and all those after him; well, if you guys put me up there, and beat the heck out of me, and stick a crown of thorns on my head, and whip me with a cat of nine tails, and poke me through the ribs with a spear and basically post me up on a sign until I bleed to death; and for what? Political reasons? And I can't forgive you for it - then what is my faith? Am I truly following in my Lord's footsteps?

So, seriously, I forgive you for our differences, ok? I don't understand why they are there, nor do I understand your motives or what drives you; I don't think I ever really need to understand such things. But if you can forgive me my ignorance, and the fact that I only know what my book says is good and right and wonderful; then maybe there is a way through this strange jungle, yet. I don't know what way it is, though; I only know that my main concern in marriage is to give my word to my lady; and the rest of those folks there are witnesses to that word. Now, the real test is keeping that word through thick and thin, despite successes and failures, sickness and health, to stick by her - to hope we both take that word just as seriously.

If some big church guy gives us his blessing as a representative of the church? Well, that's nice and everything, and it really does have its fuzzy feelings; but the heart of it has to be there first. If I come to the big church guy with a half of heart, he can only bless a half.

OK - back over to you guys
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Old 12-03-2004, 12:34 PM   #15
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Exactly. We meet perfectly eye to eye on marriage, Rav. I wouldn't head to the church if I wasn't ready.

Not really much to say... I think we agree on everything...




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