The day the argument against gay marriage died...again

This time it's a candidate for the Australian Prime Ministership who destroys the sad, tired "christian" argument against gay marriage. Also notable, in the video below you see a politician making an intelligent, informed statement about a position they really believe in. Weird, right? We should get some of that in the U.S.

My favorite part: bible ping pong, where the politician smashes it back at the pastor by quoting Paul from Ephesians on the topic of slavery, which Paul was down with given the social norms of the time (where "the time" was, ohhh, 2000 years ago).

J said…
Perhaps we can come to an understanding about slavery in the Bible. In the light of the bible saying, "Jesus Christ [God] is the same yesterday, today and forever" and instances where the constancy and unchanging nature of God is established, perhaps we can understand why Paul wrote.
First, we must start with the fact that contrary to popular "belief," God is not in control of everything that happens. God gave us free will out of love (i.e a husband and wife must choose to love each other). Bad things came into the world because Adam and Eve decided not to trust God. God had to allow it because of free will. Slavery came about as a result of the fallen human state.

To talk about Paul, we have to talk about the Greek language, because it’s awesome. Different meanings of a word had a different word. Such as slave. The word used in (Eph 6:5 is the word "doulos" which means "not a free man". There is a separate word for the type of slavery we are used to, it was "andrapodon" which means "one with the feet of a man" and was used as opposed to the word for quadruped (animal). So already we see the Paul was not endorsing "slavery" as we most commonly think of it today. In fact he was not endorsing slavery. Here he is talking to indentured-servants who have converted to Christianity What he was saying was, "When you do something, do it as unto the Lord." The part that trips people up is the part about "fear and trembling". Many Christians would quickly dismiss it with the usual "oh is reverential awe like they use when they say Fear the Lord". But here it does not mean that, it is the word phobos - "phobia", "Fear" like "Fear factor" or "Freddy Krueger's in my bedroom!" FEAR! Why?...Elsewhere the Bible says not to live in fear? What was Paul saying? The key is in the grammar. He is saying, "Obey your masters as unto the Lord." The middle part of that verse is actually telling you the different motivations for obeying. "Your master rules you with fear and trembling but you should obey out of a heart of humility as unto the Lord". This agrees with the passage, "Do everything as unto the Lord" (Col 3:23).

A few verses down, the big problem comes in with, "Masters don't threaten your slaves ... remember God is not a respecter of persons " (Eph 6:9 heavily paraphrased). People will say, "Why didn't Paul command them to release they're slaves." Well, I do not know. One factor may be the fact that it would be incredibly hard for a slave to go out and live as a freeman, he would have a more stable situation living in the home of his master. The relationship would be a modified one. They would live as equals in Christ and in respect for one another with the only difference being socioeconomic position. Some might say, well why not share and give him what he needs to survive. Let me turn that back with a question. If you are rich and have live in service, would you go to them and say, here is half of all I have GO and be free, send them out the door and think, I really helped them out? No. They work for you, you respect them, but this is what they do. We all have things that we do.
What Paul is say to the masters is "modify your relationship with your servants. Do not threaten them, treat them as people equal in worth to yourself."

The main point here for me is to point out that it is easy to rip bits and pieces out of the Bible and make them say whatever you want. I could prove to you that scientists believe the Sun burns wood by taking a single line out of an undergrad textbook. I could prove many things if I only take a small part. Context is important.

Another good post (not by me) http://goo.gl/CZtVqx
God Bless - J (not Johnson)
Thanks, J. That's a lot of information. I can tell that you are way into the bible.

I think the key part of what you wrote and the point the PM candidate was making is that you can't just pick stuff from the bible and base your nation's law on it because modern laws need to be based on modern life. And you certainly shouldn't pick stuff from the bible and use it to set policy discriminating against homosexuals. It takes more than a single book to make well-informed modern policy.

J said…
I would tend to agree with your statement, particularly as it applies to the United States. I am a firm believer in the First Amendment. From history, we can see the effect that attempting to legalize and forcefully impose Christendom on people has. Much of the issue comes from peoples individual morality. The Constitution does not create any definition of marriage, leaving law regarding it the domain of the state. While I may personally not agree with everything done in the US, I do believe that DOMA was unconstitutional as it was not a power given Congress.

Despite people's protests that DOMA should be upheld, I do believe that the Founding Father's were wise in creating a limited Federal government. At the same time I don't believe the Founder's ver imagined some of the things that are the subject of debate today, and that they might have structured government differently if they had seen what was coming. Being a "Fundamentalist Christian" I do hold to certain beliefs. However, the Bible does require us to love and respect our "neighbors" regardless of wether they agree with us or not.

There is no easy answer to the Church vs State issue. While it is true that the nation was founded by people who held God and the Bible sacred (evidenced in their writings and speeches), it is also true that they wanted to create a nation of religious freedom; where people could worship without harassment. It is also true that the Founder's believed firmly in the Bible's place in the national life. Unfortunately, with changing tastes in society (darwinian evolution) the very Constitution that was meant to protect religion, became a tool to attack religion (primarily Christians and now to a certain extent Muslims). Also, unfortunately, the Constitution is framed (legally) in such a way that it can't be used to protect certain religious groups. It is made to protect people and their rights. The Constitution may have Biblical principles in it, but it is not a religious document. I may wish it were, but it is not.

All of that to say, "John, you're correct; but only from a legal perspective because of the way our nation was crafted." I do believe the Bible can be used to make well-informed public policy. I really have to. If I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, good for all instruction; and that God is well-informed about His creation -- then I have to believe we can live by the Bible on all scales. But God put his own caveat on theocracy. He said to love, to live peaceably with others. He also says that some people won't believe. All I can do, is vote my conscience and my morals. I disagree with discrimination, because God himself is not a respecter of persons. God loves everyone, and gives them all the same opportunity for salvation.

That was a lot just to say that I agree with you and am glad to see you are a man of deep thought, but only disagree with the last line (like I said, "Fundamentalist Christian so I sort of have too".)

God Bless,
J

On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…