I was a teacher for a while in public schools. My student teaching experience was in an affluent community comprised of white, Jewish and students of international origin. The kids were all descendants of doctors, lawyers and community pillars of some sort or other. My teaching experience was in a district which was predominantly low-income, one parent (grandparent, that is) families.
People used to ask me, “which was harder to teach at?” Honestly, neither was any more difficult than the other. This usually surprises folks, especially the ones with certain preconceived notions of how black students (because not all black students came from Africa, people!) compare in behavior to white students.
So…why was there no difference? you may ask. I can sum it up in a word: entitlement.
Both groups, believe it or not, have major sins of entitlement. They think that because they might have had a relative enslaved by someone else that they’re owed something, even though they know nothing about this supposed relative. They think that because they came here from whatever international country and their parents are operating a lucrative business that they are to be treated preferentially. I think that because I haven’t had sex with a boy that God owes me something for my obedience.
As I was talking with a friend of mine last night, I described my utter frustration that certain friends of mine, seemingly once strong in the faith, have (again, seemingly) left it all behind to pursue having a boyfriend. This is incredibly frustrating to me because, in my sin, I have desired to do sinful things with guys the last three nights in a row, even going as far as to set up meetings with these people.
Would I have actually crossed physical lines? I’m not entirely sure. But I went far enough to set up meetings. And I never did follow through because they ALL canceled on me.
Aside from having my pride wounded slightly from being rejected across the board for the last three evenings, I see God’s hand working in keeping me from my own sin and stupidity. I even see his mercy in things like the migraine headache I had yesterday that was only curbed after three extra-strength Excedrin Migraine caplets and whose stomach-ache never did abate…not until 2am this morning.
And I look at all of this and simply wonder…why? Why was I spared getting into trouble? Why wasn’t I allowed some fun, as others seem to be?
Now, I know that sin, while fun, has consequences. And I know that in asking these questions, I will seem to be looking a gift-horse in the mouth, something I, apparently, given American folklore, should never do. But I think there is biblical precedent in standing in wonderment at the mercies of God. “Who is man that you are mindful of Him?” the psalmist asks (Psalm 8:4), and I think my asking “why” is along these lines today.
Still, the old man inside of me–the man that has no interest in Christ–seems to resent this mercy lavished by God on me. He wants to wallow in sin and be left alone.
But there is another force at work: the force of God’s sanctifying power that causes me, in Christ, to hate sin. I am grateful that not only is this power outside of me, but that I am being changed to welcome it more and more.
I’m glad I did nothing to start my relationship with Christ…and I’m glad I can do nothing to lose it.
There is nothing morally wrong with two males having consensual sex.
What do you base your moral call on?
The principle of suffering.
Principle of suffering? So…misery makes wrong? Who says what misery is? I mean, children are often (rightly) denied their hearts’ desires by their parents causing them misery…but it’s for their good in the end. What determines misery?
i love your honesty these are definitely things i believe in. that god started this relationship and he keeps together.
Interesting thoughts. I think you’re right about entitlement being manifest at various points along the socio-economic spectrum and not just at one extreme or the other. It reminded me of a quote about pride by a former president of the LDS church, Ezra Taft Benson:
“Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves. Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us. There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up. It is manifest in so many ways, such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous.”
In the case of consensual sex in private, the participants decide whether they personally suffer.
Given that the sex is consensual, there is no suffering, so it is not morally wrong.
Trouble is, that’s an arbitrary standard you made up.
The Principle of Suffering is not arbitrary – a lot of thought and discussion has gone into it, specifically in the eastern buddhist tradition and by western philosophers in the age of enlightenment. I don’t know who made it up, but it certainly wasn’t me.
Furthermore, all standards which advise on appropriate action to take are “just made up” by humans.
OK…but in saying that, you allow the Principle to stand on its own merits, but you never consider the claim of the Scripture to be of divine origin…and simply saying, “That’s absurd” doesn’t cover it. So…perhaps you can argue for me what makes your Principle more valuable, tested or whatever…than that of Scripture. Christianity isn’t even a philosophy of life…it’s redemption from sin by the God-man, Christ, who proved his divinity by raising himself from the dead: a resurrection which can be historically validated. I refer you to N. Thomas Wright’s comprehensive work on the subject, The Resurrection of the Son of God.
David said: “So perhaps you can argue for me what makes your Principle more valuable, tested or whatever…than that of Scripture.”
In terms of informing moral choices, the priciple of suffering is infinitely more valuable than any of the holy books I am familar with (islam, christianity, judaism).
You would agree that each of these three books can be used to support atrocities, e.g. suicide bombing, witch-hunting, the new Uganda anti-gay death penalty law.
If a person claims, as you do(?), to use their particular book to inform their actions, then they must use the whole book. If they don’t use the whole book, something else is telling that person which parts to accept and which to ignore, as these books don’t do that themselves. In this case, the book is used after the fact to validate decisions that are already made.
Now, when comparing the principle of suffering to one of these books, there is agreement for benign ideas like love your neighbour. However, when we look at the more brutal sections, and atrocities committed, there is extreme disagreement.
Which is more valuable, stoning a rape victim to death for the crime of adultery, or caring for her physically and emotionally in a hospital?
Which is more valuable, treating homosexuals as equal human beings, or the order: “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.”
I’m not aware of sex being an inalienable human right. So God’s insisting that homosexuals be celibate doesn’t seem to fall into the category of not treating humans equally. Is every straight person promised sex? And what does Scripture call extra-marital sex between straight people? Fornication. The penalty was different, but it’s still categorized as sin.
In terms of rape, a woman who doesn’t cry out loud enough would be, in common understanding, be hiding behind the charge of rape in order to avoid penalty. You will also note that if such a thing happened in the countryside, only the man would be put to death, graciously allowing for her crying out but that no one heard her.
Nothing in Scripture prevents anyone from loving one’s rape victim neighbor by caring for them…and it really seems like you’re taking your very modern, western ideas of care for rape victims and forcing that to be the standard by which everything else is measured. Rape victims today SHOULD be cared for in hospitals. But implying that because Scripture doesn’t say, “put them in a hospital,” it’s somehow cruel…or not allowing for sex outside of marriage for ANYONE, gay or straight…that doesn’t treat the document with any sort of dignity coming close to the dignity you’re insisting for your Principle.
Jason McDowell said:
Well said Boz: “If a person claims, as you do(?), to use their particular book to inform their actions, then they must use the whole book. If they don’t use the whole book, something else is telling that person which parts to accept and which to ignore, as these books don’t do that themselves. In this case, the book is used after the fact to validate decisions that are already made.”
People take things out of context all the time to support their view, i.e., quote mining and maybe some twisting. Though I think that here you are assuming that all past events in the Bible are prescriptive solely and not a combination of prescriptive and descriptive?
By prescriptive, I mean that it says what to do, how to behave; that this is what happened and it still does/should today.
By descriptive, I mean that it says what was done, how they behaved then, and only speaks in that cultural context.
Now where the disagreement comes in would be what in the Bible is descriptive and what is prescriptive.
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