tonyenglish7 wrote:I am so glad there is a new podcast to comment upon. I was fairly surprised that a pastor who calls himself “evangelical” would essentially agree with the worldly view of Emery. I guess I will end up being the brunt of objection again, that is not my goal but someone needs to point out and defend the Christian view for this site to be at all interesting.
The Pastor said at one point that “the most destructive teaching of the church is that sex outside of marriage is sin”. What is confusing is that both the so called Christian and the atheist agreed. Yet, they both seemed to have a utilitarian view of the issue. Repeatedly the comments were made, “hurting nobody, no victim, not damaged goods, more heartache from broken love then sex, etc..
In other words, all moral behaviors can be judged by what they do to persons or societies. And having defined morals in this manner, both the pastor and the atheist commence to argue that sex out side of marriage is benign and therefore not a sin.
I have a few problems with this starting with the premise that morals are defined this way. Of course from the atheist view, everything happened by chance for no purpose via random non-directed events with no meaning. So morals are just the illusionary result of what ended up working for society, a net effect of evolution. There are no intrinsic moral issues, only quid-pro-quo agreements that make society work better. Ultimately, there is no real meaning, value, or purpose. Everything is subjective to the individual.
Yes, Tony. Moral behaviors can be judged by what they do to persons or societies. They can also be judged based on what they do to lima beans, or horses, or planets, or stock prices. The key concept here is subjectivity, and all morals are bound by that concept. We have created our morals to serve the interests of ourselves, specifically our interest in surviving. They are not illusionary, nor are they random and without meaning, value or purpose.
tonyenglish7 wrote:In Christianity, we believe in a universe that is not only physical but has meaning, was initiated and interactive with a personal being whom by His very nature grounds morality, meaning, and purpose. Because there is more to the physical universe then matter and energy things like love, beauty, value, purpose, numbers, truth, philosophy, music, relationships, person hood, and yes, morals exist. Not just as theories but in reality.
All of these are human constructs and are subjective, with the possible exception of numbers, and even that has an element of Made By Man. Give me one example of a moral that is grounded in God and nothing else.
tonyenglish7 wrote:OK, so, going back to the utilitarian few that apparently both parties shared in this discussion, I think within that limited framework, the idea that sex outside of marriage is wrong, can be supported. I do not consider this the best argument, but because this was the mutually agreed upon standard, and since it doesn’t even pass this test, I will use this argument.
Emery constantly states that stealing is wrong because it hurts people. (Somehow, hurting people is wrong in this worldview although I don’t see how because people are without intrinsic objective value). But notwithstanding, this is how I would argue.
Society is better off if we as a group agree that sex should be reserved for marriage because;
1) Children are better off in general with both a committed father and mother in a family unit (this which is proven using sociology). But further, it can be proven by simple reflection. Who, given the choice would choose to be born into a broken home with only a mother or only a father? Everything being even, any rational balanced person would choose a nuclear family for his/her upbringing with a committed heterosexual couple.
2) Sex produces children sometimes. Every method of birth control has a few percentage chance of failure.
3) Unwanted children are a burden to society or at the very least cause society to struggle with social issues because of troubled adults who had a bad childhood.
4) Since the standard used in this discussion as simply utilitarian, then this one argument shows that if all sex occurred in marriage alone, society would be better off. Like stealing, murder and drunk driving, we all agree not to participate.
5) Now we add the other “medical” issues like aids, VD, abortion, (40 million +) etc.. and the utilitarian argument is fatal.
Therefore, sex outside of marriage is wrong for utilitarian reasons. There are other reasons as well to base the view but I will not get into them here.
First of all, I don't think atheists would appreciate your assumption that they all believe nothing has value or purpose. You're confusing them with anarchists.
Your argument above skirts the issue a bit by assuming that all of these bad things would go away if it weren't for premarital sex. You're assuming that all marriage is perfect when it obviously is not. Conversely, trying to scare people into avoiding premarital sex by calling it sin can be counterproductive. What is needed is open dialogue and a reality check. People like sex. People will feel the urge to engage in it. We can accept that and discuss things like moderation and safety, or we can take your route, tell them it's a sin and they're going to get VD, and then leave them to their own devices. Personally, I'd go with the former choice. And I base that opinion on the moral reasoning that leads me to believe that it's better for society.
tonyenglish7 wrote:I now want to address the Pastor. Wow, my brother. I am surprised. Emergent Church? This was very dismaying. When Jesus was talking about the heart of man, he was revealing who he was. The religious people always wanted to know exactly what they needed to “do” to be good, and Jesus with his so called “hard sayings” was revealing that he was the law himself. The law and morals are founded in who he is, his own authority and existence.
He was teaching man that sin is a problem of the heart. He knew they had all sinned in their hearts and he was pointing it out. The solution was not, we need to never do that, because that is impossible, it was to accept the good news that was to follow. Some make excuses to lighten sin, others see the weight of the law and admit they are sinners.
This reminds me of when Saul, after being instructed to destroy everything of the Amalikites, ended up keeping some of the best items for himself. He later justified it by claiming he was going to use the items for God. He basically made excuses and tried to make himself OK my redefining the instruction of the Lord.
Later, when David was king, he sinned as well, but he confessed his sin and took responsibility, not parsing the words of God for vindication. David, who was as big, if not a bigger sinner then Saul, was justified as a man after God’s own heart. Saul, was a failure and went down in defeat. These things were written for our instruction.
My brother, you are parsing the words of God looking for vindication, that is a dead end, literally. The bible is clear about fornication. It is not a worse sin then murder or stealing or adultery or gossip, but it is there. Be very careful teaching your flock that fornication is no big deal. I understand the pressure to be relevant, but at what cost?
Matthew 18: 6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
7 ¶“Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!
We have good news, but the world doesn’t even know the bad news that makes the good news good, how much more when our own ambassadors join in?
You're doing a fine bit of parsing as well. Not uncommon among evangelists. Let us not forget that Jesus welcomed prostitutes and rebuked those who objected to him doing so. Let us not forget the odes to horniness within Song of Solomon (some say these passages describe young, unbetrothed lovers) and of course that old standby, judge not lest you also be judged. The key to vice - whether sex, booze, food, whatever - is moderation. Preaching abstinence as the only way can net you two bad outcomes: Rebellious overindulgence, or complete ignorance which can lead to future problems.