How Will People of Faith Live Now?

 

We knew when the incoherent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage came down last year that judges would ignore the law and impose gender-neutral marriage on the nation, as is now happening in several states. Our country will reap the whirlwind. So, my friends of faith, how are we now going to live?  

I’ve been thinking a lot about this. We’re going to be walking a tightrope, but we must stick to our beliefs and build communities that are as impervious as possible to the whirlwind of terrible things that are coming: polygamy, polyamory, children bought and sold, recruitment to homosexuality, pressure to ignore gender differences, a changed understanding of fidelity and so on. In other words, we will have to build a religious view of marriage that is entirely different than the secular view and the communities that revolve around it. A religious view of marriage has existed in the past, but it was not wholly different than the secular one. Now it will have to be. We are going to have to resist state efforts to crush even this. Our whole lives are going to have to change.  

We are going to have to build our own schools. There are lots of ways to implement the left’s agenda. For example, Minnesota is doing this through an “anti-bullying” law they recently passed. Expect children to be punished for behavior that suggests differences between boys and girls. Expect public schools to encourage children to be confused about whether they are a boy or a girl and to use whatever bathroom suits them, even if it makes other children uncomfortable. Expect schools to hammer home the idea that family is whatever anyone wants it to be. Expect them to denigrate the roles of mother and father.

We’re going to have to build our own schools and teach our children the truth about family. We’re going to have to teach them that the connection between mother, father, and children is sacred and that marriage makes it inviolable; that the ability to procreate is God-given and sacred. We’re going to have to teach them the importance of family ties to parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and children. We’re going to have to follow the admonition in Malachi and turn the hearts of the children to the fathers and vice versa. We can no longer expect government to support this.  

We’ll be unable to follow certain professions. We won’t be able to be public school teachers in some states (with the possible exception of fields like math). We won’t be able to be certain kinds of doctors, such as those that deal with infertility. We won’t be able to be social workers, except perhaps for those specifically attached to churches. We’ll have to think carefully about what professions we pursue and all the attendant implications so that we do not further the destructive anti-family agenda of the left.  

We’ll congregate in red states. We already know that some states are far friendlier to our values than others. I expect to see red states become redder and blue states become bluer. We’re going to have a lot easier time living by our values in some states than others.  

We’re going to be fighting a lot more legal battles.  Get ready to donate to the Alliance Defending Freedom and other groups that defend us. We’re going to need their help.  

That’s the sad news, fellow faithful. But I guess the upside is that persecution strengthens faith, not only in us but in our children as well.  

What other problems do you foresee, Ricochetti, and how can we resist?

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  1. user_48342 Member
    user_48342
    @JosephEagar

    Ah,  other than that, I agree with the basic premise.  Christians are under assault in this country, and it’s only going to get worse.  I don’t agree about every one of the moral points, of course, but we definitely have a developing problem with religious liberty in this country.

    • #61
  2. PsychLynne Inactive
    PsychLynne
    @PsychLynne

    I think it’s key to remember that we can’t yell, argue, or even logic our way into people’s hearts.  We woo them, with our lifestyle leading them to say things like “I’m not sure I buy that religion/Christian/conservative stuff, but he’s a great guy – wish my daughter had married a guy like him”
    We woo them when they come to us with their struggles and problems and we provide support and establish trust long before they realize that their circumstances are often a result of their choices….but they need to realize that…
    We need to convince them that the person is more important than our view.

    • #62
  3. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Joseph Eagar:

    Merina Smith:

    …recruitment to homosexuality …a changed understanding of fidelity and so on.

    Recruitment to homosexuality? You can’t possibly be talking about recruitment theory? That’s absurd.

    Also, we aren’t the French. I don’t think American norms of fidelity are going to change. It’s telling that our last two presidents are still married to their first wives.

    Sorry, Joseph, but people with mild to moderate same sex attraction can be socialized into homosexuality – bisexuals prove this.  The pro-gay activists want everyone to believe that being gay is black or white but that is simply not the case.  Same sex attraction exists along a scale just as any other human behavior.

    • #63
  4. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Might I humbly suggest that people of all faiths with the values we are discussing here need to put aside their theological differences and unite in an effort to try and salvage our society.  This applies especially to all brands of Christianity who need to focus on their similarities and not their differences.  Every effort we make to denigrate another’s faith plays right in to the agenda of the evil one, who is at the root of our societal decay. 

    We need more of this and less of this

    • #64
  5. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    We’re going to be walking a tightrope, but we must stick to our beliefs and build communities that are as impervious as possible to the whirlwind of terrible things that are coming: polygamy, polyamory, children bought and sold, recruitment to homosexuality, pressure to ignore gender differences, a changed understanding of fidelity and so on.

    I agree with C.U. Douglas @ comment #1 but would add … make peace with the FiCons. We share a similar abhorrence to everything mentioned above and have very compelling arguments to make about the fiscally unsustainable nature of aberrant behavior. Religious faith is an important influence upon this country of course, but equally impactful are the arguments of self-interest.

    We need to ensure that dereliction is no longer encouraged by government monies and that economic growth is unleashed from regulatory strangulation; the only way to do that is to elect a fiscally savvy candidate even if he/she does not necessarily adhere to one’s religious beliefs or viewpoints on social issues. Mitt Romney was defeated as much by members of his own party as he was by Independents and liberals.

    • #65
  6. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Frozen Chosen: Sorry, Joseph, but people with mild to moderate same sex attraction can be socialized into homosexuality – bisexuals prove this.  The pro-gay activists want everyone to believe that being gay is black or white but that is simply not the case.  Same sex attraction exists along a scale just as any other human behavior.

    I agree — as I imagine Joseph does — and it’s one of the darker aspects of gay activism.  (“Ever consider that you might be even a little gay?  Really!?  WELL, STOP REPRESSING YOURSELF!”)

    That said, there’s absolutism on both sides of this.  A lot of SoCon rhetoric and action assumes that all people attracted to the same sex can become heterosexual if only they try and pray hard enough.  That’s setting some people up for failure and — potentially — a crisis of faith.

    • #66
  7. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  That’s not “SoCon rhetoric.”  It’s the very word of God.  


    Tom Meyer
    :

    A lot of SoCon rhetoric and action assumes that all people attracted to the same sex can become heterosexual if only they try and pray hard enough. That’s setting some people up for failure and — potentially — a crisis of faith.

    • #67
  8. user_48342 Member
    user_48342
    @JosephEagar

    Frozen Chosen:

    Sorry, Joseph, but people with mild to moderate same sex attraction can be socialized into homosexuality – bisexuals prove this. The pro-gay activists want everyone to believe that being gay is black or white but that is simply not the case. Same sex attraction exists along a scale just as any other human behavior.

    But that  still doesn’t make any sense.  Nothing about bisexuality (of which I am one) says that one must become a committed homosexual the moment one strays from the opposite sex.  Some people do that for political reasons (which is stupid), but not because of anything innate.

    • #68
  9. user_48342 Member
    user_48342
    @JosephEagar

    Tom Meyer:

    Frozen Chosen: Sorry, Joseph, but people with mild to moderate same sex attraction can be socialized into homosexuality – bisexuals prove this. The pro-gay activists want everyone to believe that being gay is black or white but that is simply not the case. Same sex attraction exists along a scale just as any other human behavior.

    I agree — as I imagine Joseph does — and it’s one of the darker aspects of gay activism. (“Ever consider that you might be even a little gay? Really!? WELL, STOP REPRESSING YOURSELF!”)

    That said, there’s absolutism on both sides of this. A lot of SoCon rhetoric and action assumes that all people attracted to the same sex can become heterosexual if only they try and pray hard enough. That’s setting some people up for failure and — potentially — a crisis of faith.

    Is that common?  I can see it happening in urban areas (especially ones like San Francisco), but I’ve never seen any gay people talk that way in the (admittedly center-right) areas I’ve lived.

    • #69
  10. user_48342 Member
    user_48342
    @JosephEagar

    I should be clearer.  Gay activists do want people to think that sexual orientation is a black/white issue.  What I was shocked by was the idea of someone playing sick mind games like the one Frozen mentioned.  Telling someone that “they feel some attration for guys and thus they should stop repressing (i.e. become a politicized, committed homosexual)” is, in my opinion, emotional abuse, and anyone who does that should be ashamed of themselves.

    • #70
  11. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Spin

    “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  That’s not “SoCon rhetoric.”  It’s the very word of God.

    Spin, I know you’re coming from a good place on this, but this is theology very badly applied.  All things may be possible with God*, but God does not will all things.  Even with the sincerest of efforts and the deepest surrender of faith, the overwhelming majority of mankind simply cannot — for instance — run a mile in under four minutes.  Anyone who then tells them their failure to do so amounts to a spiritual failure is being cruel and is likely setting them up either for deep depression or abandoning their faith.

    Telling all homosexuals that their attraction is curable is little different.

    • #71
  12. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Joseph Eagar: ay activists do want people to think that sexual orientation is a black/white issue.  What I was shocked by was the idea of someone playing sick mind games like the one Frozen mentioned.  Telling someone that “they feel some attration for guys and thus they should stop repressing (i.e. become a politicized, committed homosexual)” is, in my opinion, emotional abuse, and anyone who does that should be ashamed of themselves.

     That’s what I was getting at.

    • #72
  13. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Spin:

    Lucy Pevensie:

    Spin:

    A little persecution may just be good for American Christianity.

    In theory I agree with you. But in practice, I am not so enthusiastic, particularly since that persecution is likely to land squarely on the shoulders of my child and her peers.

    ”Consider it pure joy when you endure trials of many kinds.” God has this. We just need to follow His lead.

     I get it.  I am not Biblically illiterate.  But do you have kids?  The desire to provide one’s kids with a better life runs pretty deep. 

    • #73
  14. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Lucy, I have four kids.  I suppose we should define “better life”.  A better life is not one free of trouble.  It is a life lived consistent with God’s plan.  

    Again, that sounds all, holy and smug, I don’t mean it to.  I just mean that at some point we have to recognize that when Paul said “consider it pure joy…” he wasn’t just talking about that cruddy co-worker who makes us mad, or having to deal with a blown radiator.  He was talking about real persecution for our faith.

    • #74
  15. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Joseph Eagar:

    Tom Meyer:

    I agree — as I imagine Joseph does — and it’s one of the darker aspects of gay activism. (“Ever consider that you might be even a little gay? Really!? WELL, STOP REPRESSING YOURSELF!”)

    That said, there’s absolutism on both sides of this. A lot of SoCon rhetoric and action assumes that all people attracted to the same sex can become heterosexual if only they try and pray hard enough. That’s setting some people up for failure and — potentially — a crisis of faith.

    Is that common? I can see it happening in urban areas (especially ones like San Francisco), but I’ve never seen any gay people talk that way in the (admittedly center-right) areas I’ve lived.

     I don’t know how often this happens among gay men, but as a graduate of a women’s college, I guarantee it happens to women.  I’ve watched women be “converted” and, of course, everyone talks about the “gay until graduation” phenomenon. And I think that this approach is clearly being promoted as a reaction to any sexual identity questioning among teens.

    • #75
  16. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Spin:

    Lucy, I have four kids. I suppose we should define “better life”. A better life is not one free of trouble. It is a life lived consistent with God’s plan.

    Again, that sounds all, holy and smug, I don’t mean it to. I just mean that at some point we have to recognize that when Paul said “consider it pure joy…” he wasn’t just talking about that cruddy co-worker who makes us mad, or having to deal with a blown radiator. He was talking about real persecution for our faith. 

    I get it intellectually, but I don’t feel it. I brought this child to the US from halfway around the world, in order to love her, raise her, and give her a better life than she would have had in the third-world country she was born in. 

    • #76
  17. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Lucy, nobody wants to have bad times befall them.  I’m just saying that, instead of a lot of hand wringing, “people of faith” ought to have faith and realize that God is in control.

    • #77
  18. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Tom Meyer:

     

    Telling all homosexuals that their attraction is curable is little different.

     I disagree.  I believe that passage specifically speaks to sin.  It does not speak to running a mile in under four minutes or becoming an astronaut or a brain surgeon or playing the piano like Billy Joel.  It applies to overcoming sin.  I believe homosexuality is a sin.  It’s no greater a sin than cussing or thinking bad of your neighbor or axe murdering your ex-wife.  Sin is sin.  Sin can be overcome through the power of Christ in us.  That doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to sin, we do.  But sin’s power over us can be overcome.  I do not subscribe to the notion that because a gay man is biologically wired to be sexually attracted to men means that it is not sin.  I am biologically attracted to anything that is remotely good looking and alive.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t a sin for me cheat on my wife.  I overcome the flesh through the power of Christ.  If I fall back into sin it is exactly a lack of faith that causes me to do so.

    • #78
  19. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Having said that, does it mean I should just go throw myself off a cliff because I failed?  No!  My lack of faith is also a sin, and God can redeem that too.  If we feel bad about ourselves because we sin, then we do not understand the power of God.  

    I say all this as someone who sins, and does so on a daily basis.  And sometimes I get down on myself.  But then I remember that it is not I, but Christ who lives in me, that transforms me and gives me strength.

    • #79
  20. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Spin: It’s no greater a sin than cussing or thinking bad of your neighbor or axe murdering your ex-wife.  Sin is sin.  Sin

    I know this is a common theology, especially among Protestant denominations, but I can’t overstate my opposition to it.  The idea that God acknowledges (or is indifferent to) gradations of sin, and that He sees no difference between private thoughts and actions makes God out to be a fool.

    I’m a squishy agnostic, but arguments for that kind of God drive me toward atheism.

    • #80
  21. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    When I was an astronomy major we used to do a calculation based on one of Kepler’s laws in order to determine the speed at which the earth moved as it revolved around the sun.  The difference between the mass of the sun and the mass of the earth are so great that we often left the mass of the earth out of the equation, because the answer it provided was infinitesimally different than if we left the mass of the earth in the equation.  So it is with the difference between our sin and God’s glory.  To us, there is a world of difference between the common every day sin of flipping off that guy who cut you off on the free way and the not-so-common sin of following him home and gunning him down before his wife and kids.  But as far as sin goes, there is no difference to God.  Is there a difference in earthly consequence?  Of course there is, and no one is saying there isn’t.  But there is no difference between one sin and another in terms of it separating us from God.  Any sin does so.  

    • #81
  22. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    And the reason it’s common theology is because that is what the Word of God tells us.  Will different sins be punished differently, if one goes to hell?  The bible says yes.  But no sin can doom us more to hell than another, and all sins are equally forgiven.

    • #82
  23. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Spin: But no sin can doom us more to hell than another, and all sins are equally forgiven.

    I realize this isn’t dispositive for a Christian, but Judaism takes a rather different view of the matter, at least as regards murder.  I corresponded last year with Rabbi Raymond Apple on the matter and he gave me permission to share his answer:

    Murder is wrong for a sheaf of reasons. The fact that the victim is no longer there to be asked for forgiveness is not the main objection to murder but it is part of the discussion. The Mishnah Yoma requires a malefactor to make his peace with the person he has wronged. If the wrong he has committed is the ultimate one of destroying a life, any appeal for forgiveness is precluded.

    Again, I realize that this isn’t and — shouldn’t be — convincing to a Christian in itself.  I do think it’s an important perspective and it’s one I very much hope is true.

    • #83
  24. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Tom: This is almost a separate discussion, worthy of a different discussion thread, but if I may …

    Think of things like physics. So let’s take acceleration. Acceleration has a simple definition: it’s a change in velocity, the rate of change in velocity. Of course, that definition applies to any rate of change in velocity no matter what kind of change happens. We do understand, however, that different accelerations will have different magnitudes. We use a little calculus and data for measure that magnitude. A car screeching stopping at a red light has a different magnitude of acceleration than a rocket building up speed to break free of Earth’s orbit, but both can still be called accelerations.

    I’ll continue this below …

    • #84
  25. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Protestants tend to focus on the general. Sin is sin. It’s substituting our own judgment where we should be trusting God’s. Thus, we say it’s no different what we do. When we substitute our judgment, we’re sinning. Of course there’s magnitudes of this. Certainly taking five dollars from your brother’s piggy bank isn’t as serious as cheating on your spouse. The Bible reflects this. In the Old Testament, certain sinful acts required strict punishment or death, while others required more lenient treatment. Even in the New Testament we see there’s order of magnitude.

    Dante demonstrates the latter idea in The Divine Comedy: Inferno. There’s a hierarchy of punishment. The further he journeys into Hell, the more terrible the deeds and the more terrible the retribution. In the outermost circle resides the virtuous pagans. Their life is relatively trouble free, especially compared to the traitors of the innermost circle, but even Dante would note that they are still in Hell.

    Essentially, it all comes to a matter of perspective.

    • #85
  26. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    As CU Douglas says, this could be its own topic.
    1.) I don’t think Christians disagree with the Jewish view here.  My understanding is that Catholics consider suicide “worse” than murder not because one is worse than the other, but because the murderer can confess sin and be redeemed, where the successful suicide cannot.  But both are wrong for a whole sheaf of other reasons.
    2.) There are two meanings of “worse” in play.  Christians do not object to the hierarchy of sins in the sense that some sins are harder to put right than others.  Penance for murder is steeper than penance for lying.  No Christian objects to longer criminal sentences for murder than for theft.  But this is all temporal and of only secondary concern to Christians insofar as it affects temporal relations within humanity and the Church itself.  Of more interest to Christians is the eternal issue.  Heaven is eternal presence with holiness, one of which characteristics is burning up imperfection.  Any sin is adequate to preclude experiencing the direct presence of God -for everyone’s sake.  Which is why God provides the transformation of the spirit (called sanctification) to allow imperfect humans to become perfect.

    • #86
  27. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    3.) In order to be sanctified, though, individuals must be willing to give up their imperfections.  The problem with the specific sexual sins in question is that -unlike most other sins, which are generally discrete actions -they are persistent.  Adultery, divorce, and remarriage are -by their very nature -repeated sins the partaking in which indicates the unwillingness to repent and give up the behaviors.  It’s the kind of hardheartedness that brought the plagues down on Pharaoh.  A murderer may repent, seek forgiveness, make what amends can be made, and submit to temporal punishments -and then still be guaranteed a place in Paradise -after all, any imperfection is adequate to keep us out, so removing small ones is not much different than removing big ones.  But the serial adulterer who insists he has done nothing wrong will go to his grave hugging the very things that will keep him from experiencing God personally ever after.
    4.) And if he happens to destroy his society on the way down, that’s just extra.

    • #87
  28. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Sabrdance – Right!

    • #88
  29. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Many thanks for the thoughtful comments and apologies to Merina for hijacking her thread (I probably should start one of my own on the matter).

    A few quick thoughts:

    To switch scientific metaphors, there’s a lumper vs. splitter debate going on here (i.e., are the differences between kinds of sin more important than their similarities?).
    I still maintain that the differences between Protestant Christianity and Judaism are profound in this regard.  Whereas most Protestant denominations hold man to be so inherently broken that his entrance into heaven can only be given through grace (see Spin at #81 and Sarbrdance at #87), Judaism generally holds that men can rightly earn God’s approval by living a righteous and ethical life.  This is a fundamentally different outlook.
    Regarding homosexuality, I’m now confused as to whether we’re arguing the sinfulness of homosexual attraction (as I initially thought we were) or homosexual sex (as the comparisons to serial adultery would suggest).

    • #89
  30. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    Tom Meyer: I’m now confused as to whether we’re arguing the sinfulness of homosexual attraction  or homosexual sex.

     The latter.  Homosexual attractions fall into the same categories as heterosexual attractions to people not your spouse.  It depends slightly on how you interpret Matthew 5:28 -what does “looks at a woman lustfully” mean, exactly -but anyway, desiring to do wrong is normal (hence “sinner by nature and by choice”).  Temptation is normal, too.  Thoughts, however, are not deeds (though dwelling on thoughts can be a deed).
     
    The Christian view -in the main -is that homosexuals should abstain from their desires the same as single men and women -for that matter the same as alcoholics, compulsive liars, and kleptomaniacs.  The ability to morph sexuality to be attracted to the opposite sex -either through psychology, prayer, or miracle -would be nice, but God doesn’t say “really hard temptations you’re allowed to give into if I don’t remove them.”  He says endure it -and that you won’t be tempted by anything you can’t endure.

    Nobody resists all temptations, though, so there is forgiveness and redemption.

    • #90
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