How important are people’s feelings?

What is it about morality and judging that causes people to hesitate in saying an act or behavior is wrong and immoral?  When assessing moral actions, I find that many people will avoid making moral judgements on the actions of others.  Why is it so hard to say “that is morally wrong”?  It shouldn’t be controversial to claim that some actions are truly wrong, but it is.  Even though we don’t all agree on what is right and wrong, it doesn’t follow that no one can render a judgement (or assessment) of what is morally right or wrong?

When I reflect on the disagreements people have regarding moral standards, I think there is less disagreement than we would like to admit.  If you listen carefully to people who will not condemn what you or I believe to be  immoral behavior, the arguments are generally defensive in nature.  They focus on why you shouldn’t condemn the behavior, rather than why the behavior is morally good or benign. I think some are willing to defend something even they believe to be immoral so that they can protect themselves to a fashion.  For example, there are people who defend abortion even though they oppose it because either they have had an abortion, or someone they care about has had an abortion, and by condemning it they are condemning themselves or their loved one.  I can sympathize.

It’s this defensive nature in people that they do not like being assessed and judged as immoral by others.  It makes them hesitant to assess other’s behaviors as immoral and creates a collective group-think attitude of “if I don’t say you’re immoral, you can’t say I’m immoral, deal?”.  No one likes being judged, including myself, but that does not mean the judgements inappropriate or invalid. The uncomfortable feelings provoked by being judged shouldn’t prevent anyone from being able to properly differentiate between moral and immoral behaviors.

Where did people get the idea that because people disagree on what is moral and immoral that there is no correct assessment if not for self-protection?  It’s a bit circular in reasoning.  Unless you begin with moral relativism already decided, why would you conclude moral relativism  based on disagreement?  This application of moral relativism doesn’t allow for any act to be deemed immoral, not even the one’s we all agree on — if there is such a thing.uncle sam judge

Comments

  1. Moral relativism doesn’t really make sense from the get-go, so I don’t expect it to make sense when people attempt to apply it to their lives.

  2. paynehollow says:

    Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. ~1 Tim 5

    And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, ~1 Thes 4

    For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. ~2 Thes 3

    But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. ~1 Pet 4

    Like one who takes a dog by the ears Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him. ~Prov 26

    People tend to recognize the notion that being a “busybody” or “meddler” is a morally bad thing to be. We also recognize that there is a time and place to speak out about bad behavior. I’d posit the difference (at least one major difference) is Harm. If a father is abusing a child, intervening is not meddlesome or being a busybody, but it’s a moral good to stop actual harm.

    If, on the other hand, one holds the position that driving cars is a moral bad, or that marrying someone of the same gender is bad, or that drinking colas or beers is bad… but there is no immediate harm to others involved, then it is being meddlesome and being a busybody to go around and tell others your opinion and lecture others about your opinions on that matter, especially if it’s uninvited. Now, if some people are discussing the relative moral status of this or that behavior and it’s a mutual conversation, then that’s just philosophizing and no harm, no foul. But going around and whining/ranting (and it always sounds like whining/ranting, believe me – I’ve engaged in that behavior enough myself to know!) about these questions of morality, that is being a busybody, I’d posit, and the Bible (and our own self awareness) tells us that is wrong.

    THAT is why most people (I would guess – most people I know, anyway) say not to meddle, because it’s wrong, not because of some petty concern over hurt feelings. Peter’s listing Meddler in next to Murderers gives you a sense of how strongly we tend to think of this sin (and it is clearly a sin, biblically speaking).

    I’m curious: Where would anyone here draw the line at being a meddler/busybody?

    ~Dan

    • Its telling that you equate same sex marriage with drinking soda and driving a car, as though it’s not a moral issue. Or are you saying that driving and drinking soda is as morally abhorrent to God as the bible says homosexual sex is?

  3. “I’d posit the difference (at least one major difference) is Harm.”
    “or that marrying someone of the same gender is bad, ”

    Your example here has failed your own litmus test. SSM *does* cause harm, to all involved, and plenty who aren’t. I don’t have the link handy right now (been away from the computer too much and would have to track down where I found it), but a recent Canadian study, where legal SSM has been touted as a success story, has found it does harm children raised in such relationships – especially girls. That’s just the harm to the children. It doesn’t include the long list of other documented harms caused by SSM.

  4. paynehollow says:

    I’m saying that clearly, FAR MORE innocent people are harmed by driving and FAR MORE not-innocent people have been harmed by drinking soda behaviors than have ever been harmed by any gay behavior. And I think Harm – especially harm to other innocent bystanders is a serious moral concern.

    From what I read in the Bible (literally speaking, mind you) God never once condemns homosexual sex, as a behavior. Not. One. Time. God condemns specific INSTANCES of SOME gay behaviors. Man on man rape, for instance, is wrong, just like man on woman rape, and it is condemned in the Bible. Taking a child as a sexual partner is condemned in the Bible for whether between gay or straight folk. But not one single time has God ever condemned all gay behavior, not in the Bible.

    I know you read that INTO what the Bible says, but it’s not literally there. That’s your hunch, your interpretation.

    So, given that I don’t think that God or the bible says “homosexual sex” is morally abhorrent, yes, I clearly think that the way we drive cars to excess is at least worse than homosexual sex (again, since I don’t think there is anything biblically or morally wrong with gay or straight sex, themselves, but only in abuses of sexual behavior). Bad drinking/eating habits, I’m not sure that I would call that morally abhorrent, but it’s certainly not something to be praised.

    Where do you draw the line on the sin of being a meddler, John? Do you agree that, biblically and just rationally, being a meddler and a busybody is morally wrong? If so, what is the difference between offering a warning/concern to someone you believe to be engaged in sin and being a meddler? That’s actually quite a good question that I’d like to see given more thought to…

    ~Dan

  5. paynehollow says:

    Kunoichi…

    That’s just the harm to the children. It doesn’t include the long list of other documented harms caused by SSM.

    Bunk. I’ve never seen any objective study that finds any objective evidence that loving, committed, marriage relationships between gay folk causes harm. Not one study. Not any objective evidence.

    What I HAVE seen is I think ONE study that has been interpreted to mean that having two parents of the same gender is less optimal than having parents of opposite gender. And the author of that study backed away from that interpretation, saying the data did not support that conclusion.

    BUT, even if it were true (and I see no evidence in the real world to support it), being “less optimal” is not the same as causing harm. My Dad worked 50 hours a week and thus, had less time to spend with his kids. That is less optimal than the child with a parent at home more. BUT, it is not the same as causing harm and we do not say, “parents who are in less optimal situations ought not be allowed to have kids…” and rightly so. That gets back to the whole notion of being a busybody and meddler, and THAT is morally wrong, literally, according to the Bible.

    ~Dan

    • As a point of fact every study except a minite handful show kids do best when with ywo parents of the opposite sex.

      Secondly, even the CDC recognizes the gay lifestyle leads to overwhelmingly disproportionate cases of infectious disease and mental health issues. I know this is where you say thats what happens when people arent monogamous. But even straight promiscuous people dont have the disease rates and mental health issues seen in the gay community. So save it.

  6. paynehollow says:

    Kunoichi, do you agree that it is morally wrong to be a busybody and a meddler? Where do you draw the line on when it’s legitimate to speak up about a perceived moral failing and when it’s being a meddler to do so?

    ~Dan

  7. paynehollow says:

    You’re right, RATIONALLY speaking, if you aren’t starting with an agenda, then the rational and moral thing to do would be to discourage promiscuity and encourage monogamy, ie marriage. There is no harm in committed loving relationships and I’m not afraid of hurting your feelings to tell you so. Those who have an agenda often try to find harm where none exists, but it just isn’t there. Even IF such parents were less optimal (and the research does NOT support that, nothing ever that I’ve seen, nothing that anyone here is citing), “less optimal” does not equal harm.

    Facts is facts.

    ~Dan

  8. paynehollow says:

    John, I’m serious: Do you agree with actual clear biblical teaching that being a meddler is a sin? And, if so, where is the line between meddler and concerned friend?

    • I dont think we would agree on what constitutes meddling and what ought to be spoken up about. After all you equated same sex marriage with drinking soda on a moral level. Your compass is in need of repair.

  9. paynehollow says:

    I’m sure there would be points we’ll disagree on. I’m not asking if we agree on where to draw the line, I’m asking three simple (or at least important) questions:

    1. Do you agree that meddling is a sin/is wrong/is condemned in the Bible?

    2. What is the line (in YOUR opinion) about what constitutes meddling vs what is reasonable concerned sharing of opinions?

    3. What is the criteria by which we can know if something is meddling, OR is there no criteria by which we can know meddling?

    Look, we could probably agree that me looking up your address and visiting your family and trying to talk to you about why investing or driving a car is biblically and morally wrong, that would be meddling, right? That would seem like a case of meddling to me, anyway. I’m raising what is I think a very good question on this topic of sharing of opinions: When is it wrong? or How is it wrong? Is it the manner and context in which sharing becomes meddling?

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard a preacher or teacher touch on this topic and it’s an oft-mentioned sin in the Bible. How do we know it when we see it? How do we avoid it? These are important questions, don’t you think?

    ~Dan

    • Roughly I would say meddling is nitpicking about things which arent sinful. Much the way a mother in law buts in to her son’s marriage. Being a busybody invludes gossip and blabbing other peoples business.

      Whrn something is sin we are not wrong for calling it what it is.

  10. paynehollow says:

    John…

    After all you equated same sex marriage with drinking soda on a moral level. Your compass is in need of repair.

    Here’s your chance, man: Teach. Opine. Make your case. Why is same sex marriage not only wrong (in your opinion) but something you can talk about without engaging in the biblical sin of Meddling? ON. What. Basis? Fix my damaged compass, if you can.

    I mean, sure you think my moral compass is damaged and I, yours. What makes you right? Make your case, friend, I’m truly interested.

    (For one thing, I honestly don’t know where the line would be drawn for meddling vs “sharing.” The Bible doesn’t tell us, does it? I think “harm” is a reasonable line, but that’s just a hunch – not an unreasonable one, but a hunch nonetheless. I think it’s an interesting question. Tackle it, brother!)

    ~Dan

    • Dan, I dont think I can fix your compass. Not only have you broken it, youve disposed of some of its essential parts.

      Myself and others have schooled you on your selfserving erroneous “interpreting” the bible to not condemn homosexual sex.

  11. I don’t really understand what you are getting at here, John. Are you suggesting that some people “know” actions to be wrong but will not admit it? Outside of your specific example of abortion- which is rightfully a difficult issue for anyone arguing that it is moral or amoral- do you see this a lot?
    I have never heard someone claim that adultery, for instance, is morally virtuous. I have never heard someone say that stealing is morally righteous.
    Abortion is the lone example I can think of where someone might try to claim that it is morally right when every reasonable fact tells us it is not. I certainly do not consider abortion morally virtuous or even morally benign. I have consistently said as much in the past.

    • George

      My point is more that some people know something someone else is doing is wrong, but feel bad about voicing it.

      Its not that I see anyone say adultery is virtuous, but I think you could find people who wont say its wrong, or even without knowing the details of a specific case, come up with scenarios to remove the guilt of the adulterer.

      Too many people have a “who am I to say…” attitude when saying would be correct and maybe even the right thing to do.

      • Just like the kid working at dairy queen. He saw a blind person drop cash and a woman picked it up and refused to admit she did it. He called her out on it. Some people would have remained silent because they feel its not their place to call a thief a thief putting aside the confrontational aspect.

  12. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Roughly I would say meddling is nitpicking about things which arent sinful.

    Okay, I can see some merit there, but then, who gets to decide what is sinful or not? I mean, I think two folk engaging in a faithful, loving marriage relationship – gay or straight – are clearly engaging in observably good, rationally moral behavior. On the other hand, I think that the way we have embraced the idea of the personal auto and how much we drive is a sin, at least at the corporate level.

    On the other hand, I don’t think that drinking colas (disclaimer: I engage in this behavior!) is a moral failing, just not smart and maybe questionably moral, at best, but I’m not calling it a sin. Nor am I doing so for drinking beer or smoking cigarettes or marijuana, while you, on the other hand, may well consider some of those behaviors sins.

    Where do we draw the line? If WE think it is a sin, then it is okay to preach to your neighbor (who may not think it is a sin) about how morally wrong he is?

    I tend to think that is a bad idea and would tend to call that meddling – AS LONG AS his behavior isn’t harming others. I still think that “harm” is a better measure, rather than, “I think it’s a sin…” which is much more nebulous and subjective.

    ~Dan

    • What the bible says doing what God says not to do is a sin. And not doing what you should do is a sin. Everything else is a matter of conscience. Its not rocket science

  13. paynehollow says:

    Okay, so, since God never condemns marriage between gay folk – not one time – but rather, that is a matter of opinion and conscience on your part, then you won’t be condemning that and IF you condemn it any more, you will be, by your measure, engaging in meddling, right? Same for smoking marijuana, which God never says not to do. You won’t condemn that and if you do, then you will be sinning by meddling…

    Is that what you’re saying?

    I think I can agree with you that, maybe. On matters of personal conscience, we perhaps should keep our opinions to ourselves, at least not be preachy and “judgmental” in a negative way about it. I just hope we can all be consistent on that point.

    John, I know you disagree with me on, for instance, the gay marriage thing, and maybe the marijuana issue, but let me ask: If it turns out that you were mistaken in your opposition to marriage equity and if you’ve been out condemning this matter than God has not condemned, then you will have been engaged in meddling and sinning, even in ignorance, is that right?

    I think that’s a good thing for us all to remember on this point.

    ~Dan

  14. paynehollow says:

    I recognize that is your opinion, but God has not said that. So, if you are mistaken in your opinion, does that mean you’ve been meddling all these years?

    ~Dan

  15. Boy am I glad I don’t have a dog in ^THAT fight.
    I don’t really care what the bible says about homosexuality, or tattoos, or dietary laws, or having sex with my wife when she has her monthly visitor.
    I just care if something is right or wrong, to what degree it is right or wrong, and if it is wrong- to what degree it is warranted given the circumstances.
    I agree with Dan that homosexuality and SSM are not morally wrong (and in fact are a moral good for those who are homosexual) but whether or not it is “sinful” is something I don’t care enough about to argue.
    There are several dubious moral commandments in the OT and NT- and those things are “sins” in that God has commanded you not to do them whether they are objectively bad/evil/harmful/immoral or not. I don’t think “sin” and “immorality” have the same meaning.
    Not all things that are immoral are sins, and not all things that are sins are immoral. They have significant overlap, for sure.

  16. …i do not believe having a moral compass is the same as inflicting yourself on someone else…my compass tells me if i am arriving in a no-fly zone so i tend to stand by it, but i am not close-minded, we all learn everyday and adjust ourselves according to that…why would anyone limit God by telling Him what is moral, immoral, sin, or not sin…the greatest and most perfect state of grace is under His wing, singing in His choir, the song Jesus sang…”love one another” …if what you are saying is causing strife, Jesus said to stay away from it 1 Timothy chapter 6

  17. The bible is no place to find “the” moral compass. It is one place for some people, some of the time. It was not always this way. Too many people existed for too long, without the bible and its moral system.
    Moral absolutism as a claim always raises my radar anyways, no matter where people get their compass from.

  18. “Bunk. I’ve never seen any objective study that finds any objective evidence that loving, committed, marriage relationships between gay folk causes harm. Not one study. Not any objective evidence.”

    Too funny! You’ve added so many qualifiers, you can conveniently reject any results you don’t like.

    The biggest problem is that these “loving, committed, marriage relationships” are largely a myth. There are so few of them, it’s difficult to get statistically significant numbers to use in comparison (it’s the one area Regnerus noted as a problem in his gold standard study, which was thoroughly vindicated from those who attacked it). Same sex relationships rarely last more than 3 years, and it’s exceedingly rare to find any that last more than 5 years. They also have high rates of abuse and infidelity; especially among lesbians.

    As for all those studies that claim to have found no difference between SS and OS parents, they are the ones that have been found to be seriously flawed. http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF08L45.pdf

    The Family structures study is here. http://www.familystructurestudies.com/ or you can go straight to http://www.familystructurestudies.com/summary#conclusions

    “Kunoichi, do you agree that it is morally wrong to be a busybody and a meddler? Where do you draw the line on when it’s legitimate to speak up about a perceived moral failing and when it’s being a meddler to do so?”

    That you need to ask the second question makes me wonder just how you define “busybody” and “meddler.”

    busybody: A person who meddles or pries into the affairs of others.
    meddler: 1. To intrude into other people’s affairs or business; interfere.
    2. To handle something idly or ignorantly; tamper.

    So a busybody is a person who meddles. A meddler is like the person at the office water cooler, trying to overhear private conversations, then giving butting in with unwanted advice. This is hardly something that can be compared to pointing out the very real harms people do to themselves through their behaviour (is it meddlesome to tell a drug addict that their addiction is killing them? How is that different from pointing out the reality that homosexual behaviour causes measurable, quantifiable harm to all involved, directly and indirectly? Is it meddlesome to object to being forced to validate, even promote, behaviour that is harmful?).

    Then you ask about a “perceived moral failing.” Obviously, adding the qualifier “perceived” changes the entire premise of the question. It is our obligation to point out moral failings – and to help those who struggle with those moral failings. But by suggesting these are “perceived” moral failings, you delve into the world of moral relativism, which renders all morals meaningless.

  19. Regnerus’ study has been shown repeatedly to be flawed. I know that this fact just plays into conservatives persecution complex- but real problems have been found by real sociologists with that study. It is not the fault of Regnerus himself- he has a very limited data set and had to use the sample he had. Most if not all the sample group of children with homosexual parents spent little or no time living in a house with two same-sex parents or came from “traditional families” where one parent left to pursue a same-sex relationship. That much is admitted by the author of the study. He says in both an interview with the Dallas Herald and with FoF that this was an unavoidable reality of trying to sample the American population.
    Any conservative who can say with a straight face that comparing broken traditional families where one parent leaves the family to intact families is a fair way to compare children with a homosexual parent to children with married heterosexual parents is obviously touting an agenda. Why didn’t Regnerus’ study compare children from broken homes whose parents left for another heterosexual relationship to homes where one parent left for a homosexual relationship? It did. But the NoM and FoF doesn’t like to talk about those findings because they show that children raised in broken families are children raised in broken families- whether their parents are gay or straight.

  20. paynehollow says:

    Kunoichi…

    The biggest problem is that these “loving, committed, marriage relationships” are largely a myth.

    I’ll tell that to the elderly grandmother who is a deacon at my church and her partner of 20 years. I’ll tell that to my other gay and lesbian friends who are in their 5th, 10th, 15th years of marriage. I’ll tell that to my gay and lesbian friends who are in their fifth, sixth, tenth year of raising happy, wonderful, delightful, well-behaved children.

    I’ll also tell that to the many straight people who’ve had a hard time managing to stay happily married.

    But, to the degree that it is hard to find gay or straight people who DO manage to stay happily married and faithfully monogamous, does that mean we ought not encourage loving, committed relationships, as opposed to licentious behavior?

    Of course, we ought to encourage fidelity and loving, committed relationships, gay or straight! It’s an obvious moral good, regardless of how some might interpret some biblical passages (that are right next to other biblical passages that they interpret as not applicable to today). You can see the obvious joy and love in happy marriage relationships, it’s an obvious, observable GOOD, my friends.

    All those things that are obviously good, healthy, loving, just, faithful, noble and righteous, we obviously ought to encourage. In fact, the Bible tells us this.

    George correctly pointed to the problems of your Regenerus studies. The flaws are real and obvious. Beyond that, EVEN IF one concluded that gay and lesbian families are less likely to be ideal (and that has not been proven, not anywhere, not by any serious study), ALL families are less than ideal in one way or another. What do we do with that? Discourage people from having families? Criminalize people to keep them from having families? OR, do we, as a rational, moral community give support to families to help them move from less ideal to more ideal?

    “Less than ideal,” I repeat, is not the same as harm.

    And the point remains, it strikes me as meddling if there is no harm being done (and you have demonstrated ZERO harm), and meddling is condemned as a sin. Kunoichi, if it turns out that you are mistaken about “harm” and you are actually meddling and thus, sinning, will you repent of that sin?

    ~Dan

    • Dan

      Even in surveys in which LGBT individuals self report, monogamy is the very, veeeerrry rare exception, not the rule. Even Dan Savage admits this. It has long been reported by gays themselves that monogamy in the gay community means there is no sex outside the relationship that is hidden from the other partner, as opposed to what most people mean by monogamy: no other sexual partners outside the partnership at all.

      So for you to say you know so many gay people in monogamous relationships, either you are lying to us, or they are lying to you (but likely using the accepted homosexual definition).

  21. paynehollow says:

    Again, just because less healthy behavior is exhibited by some gay folk and some straight folk, that is NOT a rational adult argument in opposition to loving, committed monogamous marriage relationships. Gay or straight.

    And God forgive you for presuming to know people you don’t know. You are not god enough to know these people and their behavior in the least little bit. Don’t place yourself in the place of God, it only leads to embarrassing and perhaps damning yourself, son.

    Be rational, you just don’t know a bit about these people and you should apologize to people all over for your arrogance in trying to be more all-knowing than you are.

    Consider:

    You know, John, NEARLY ALL straight white conservative men I know have had moments where they have strayed and had sex outside of marriage. So, based on that, I KNOW that you probably cheat on your wife, probably with little girls…

    Stupid, right? How good or right is your behavior when the shoe is on the other foot and other people presume to know your behavior?

    Don’t be arrogant, brother John.

    Could it be that my faithful, monogamous gay and lesbian (and straight) friends are not in the norm? Perhaps. My faith community tends to be pretty traditional when it comes to relationships and maybe we in my faith community are more likely to have faithful, lasting marriages – gay and straight. BUT, that is an argument IN FAVOR of supporting/encouraging marriage for everyone, straight and gay, not against it.

    Again, I would just point to the OBSERVABLE and REAL-WORLD good that comes from encouraging faithful, loving marriage relationships. It is becoming obvious to most that, against such things, there is no law, as the Bible says.

    Again, an apology is in order, be a man and admit your arrogance and presumption. No harm, no foul.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, being correct need not be apologized for. I stand by my prior comment. Perhaps instead of relying on your close knit group of people you know to guide your impression of a larger group, you could try to disprove my contention with contrary data.

  22. paynehollow says:

    You are speaking about specific people and calling them liars and cheaters. These are people you do not know. SHAME on you.

    I’ve given you REAL WORLD data – real people, Sunday school teachers, deacons, parents, friends, workers who are living in faithful, loving, committed marriage relationships and you said that they were lying and having affairs. Do you not see how incredibly arrogant and stupid that is? Again, shame on you. You have ZERO evidence to support your false slander.

    You are NOT correct about my friends and you SHOULD apologize for your slander.

    Again, beyond just what the Bible says, it is self evident that slander, lies, false witness, arrogance… that these behaviors you just exhibited are immoral. Wrong. You should apologize.

    ~Dan

    • You’ve given me the couple people you know, without considering that you might be lied to.

    • “I’ve given you REAL WORLD data ”

      No, what you have given is what is called anecdotal evidence. While anecdotal evidence has its uses (as examples, illustrations or case studies) they are not at all considered credible in research. The Regnerus study has *repeatedly* been vindicated as meeting the gold standard of research, though his opponents refuse to accept that, just as they refuse to accept the glaring flaws on the studies they do accept. Just to use one example of a “study” I saw being used to “prove” that SS couples were actually *better* parents than OS couples; it purported to show that there were ZERO incidents of child abuse among lesbian couples (that, in itself, should have been a warning sign) compared to very high levels of abuse in OS families. First, the “study” was done by an activist gay magazine. Second, the lesbian couples in the sample self reported in an interview, there were only 11 of them, and they had younger children (elementary school ages). Third, the OS data was gathered by surveying high school teens, and there were hundreds of them. It couldn’t even be called a study, yet it was being waved around as “proof” that lesbian parents were superior to OS couples, despite actual evidence showing that lesbian couples and their children fare the worst in all categories measured. Personally, I think there needs to be serious investigation as to why lesbian couples consistently fare so poorly, because it is really quite alarming.

      That Regnerus acknowledges that the small sample sizes in some categories are a problem does not take away from the validity of his data. It actually demonstrates just how incredibly rare stable, long term SS couples are, and how few SS couples here are to even investigate. There simply isn’t enough of them to make statistically significant comparisons. There is also the problem already mentioned above: SS couples, even “committed” ones, have very different views in regards to fidelity, mostly in that it is neither expected nor desired.

      As for the more recent study, it used census data to make a meta-analysis, going to great pains to match groups for comparison.

      • I remember Regnerus saying he wanted more stable monogamous gay couples, but their rarity made it difficult. It wasnt that he didnt use enough, they just werent in abundance out there to be used.

  23. paynehollow says:

    Here’s your quote, John…

    So for you to say you know so many gay people in monogamous relationships, either you are lying to us, or they are lying to you…

    What you fail to do is allow that, “OR, they may be actually in faithful and loving and committed marriage relationships…” It happens. In the real world. The evidence is there.

    But instead of allowing that it is even a possibility that the people I know are actually faithful and monogamous, you presumed to call them liars and say that they cheated on their spouses/were not monogamous.

    I think perhaps it’s because you have a dirty mind, perhaps you watch too much porn or something, and you imagine people out all night carousing and swinging and engaging in all sorts of behavior.

    These are teachers, retirees who care for their grandkids and families, social workers, health care workers… real people with real lives caring not only for their beloved spouse, but for their co-workers, their elderly parents, for children – their own and others – who don’t have the time or inclination for going out swinging and leading lives of debauchery.

    Not every straight or gay person is living like an HBO Late Night “Adults Only” movie. Get your mind out of the gutter and into the real world. Open your eyes.

    And apologize for your presumption. These dear friends are not liars, I’m not lying, and none of us are cheating on our spouses.

    Or, let’s do it this way, John: I’ve been faithfully and monogamously married to one woman for 28 years. I’ve never cheated. By all evidence, this is true for most of my dear friends, gay and straight.

    How about you? How many women have you slept with? Have you ever cheated? Have you ever watched porn? Kiddie porn?

    Do you like it when people question your marriage, monogamy and your sexual practices?

    Or, is that meddling?

    ~Dan

    • Funny, you chide me for not considering that I might be speaking out of turn. But you don’t seem to think you might be being lied to by your friends. Is it possible, Dan, that the hundreds of gay people you seem to know might be lying to you about their sex lives? Is it possible they dont want to perpetuate the idea that homosexuals are highly non-monogamous so say the self reported stats?

  24. paynehollow says:

    I notice that you aren’t answering my meddling questions, John. How many woman HAVE you slept with? Or, is that none of my business?

    As to my friends that I know and that YOU do not know, these are people I spend time with, who I work with, who watch my children and whose children I watch. These are people who work beside me as we have worked together helping homeless people, or as we’ve worked to get education to needy children. People who work besides me in the community garden. People whose house I’ve stayed in and who’ve stayed in my house. People I’ve known for years.

    How long have you known them, John? Oh, wait… you don’t know them AT ALL.

    Who is in a better position to know if they are who they say they are? Who I see them to be in our time together? You (who doesn’t know them AT ALL) or me?

    Do you not see the incredible presumption in your question, John?

    Could ANY be lying at any time? Sure. Again, you might be a child molester who just hasn’t been caught yet. Odds are good, it seems to me. You’re a white male of the right age. You seem to have a preoccupation with sex. I suspect that you might be lying to us all and you abuse kids in your home every halloween, luring them in with candy…

    You COULD be lying about your supposed morality. But is it presumptuous of me to state authoritatively that you ARE lying? Yes, presumptuous as hell.

    You ought not to presume to know what you don’t know. That is not of God, nor of reason, nor of morality.

    ~Dan

    • It is funny/ironic how in general, conservatives always poo poo statistics and studies until they find something, no matter how flawed to back up their particular moral assertions, and then voila those stuffy statistics and studies become really relevant.

      Where would either political party or philosophy that’s so entrenched in the culture war be, without presumptuous, and gross assertions built on nothing but hyperbole?

  25. I actually think you are both right. It is definitely the case that homosexuals (especially gay men) report significantly more partners than heterosexuals. I don’t think that this is because it is natural for gay people to be more promiscuous- and even if it were so, that would be a good incentive to support SSM since monogamy is much more common when couples are married. I think the amount of partners homosexuals have has more to do with the cultural taboo of homosexuality and the lack of family support for committed gay partnerships. I must caution that I also think the number of partners a person has is largely their choice and not something I consider innately wrong in and of itself.
    Dan is also right that there are an increasing number of homosexual couples living in monogamous couplings. I believe him when he says that the gay couples he knows report higher monogamy because they are part of a community and circle of friends who support their relationship. If more gay couples had churches they could go to and families they could depend on and friends who supported them then I would bet that they would be on average more monogamous than couples who did not have these luxuries.
    What Dan is reporting is the benefits of community and social networks, and he ought to be congratulated for being a part of making people’s lives richer.

    • George, marriage between same sex partners has not been shown to have a restraining effect on their sexual encounters, only to be more honest with their partner and include one another in the encounter.

  26. Just so you know- my agreeing with Dan on certain facts in no way should be construed as condoning the tone he has been using in the previous few comments. I do not think it is conducive to fruitful conversation and is not something I support in the least.

    Dan, my suggestion to you is that you tone down the rhetoric and try to put forth your position in a more constructive manner. Unnecessarily personal attacks and questions are not going to convince anybody. I get that you are frustrated, but there is no place for that behavior if you want to explain as opposed to complain.

  27. paynehollow says:

    John may be right about the statistics, I have not touched on that. But he is observably mistaken about my friends whom he has slandered even though he doesn’t even know them.

    As to the statistics, though, some cautions:

    Because homosexuals constitute a small minority of the population, finding samples for surveys can be difficult.

    At least in the past (I’m sure it’s changing), to make the research easier, many researchers took their survey questions to gay bars, where higher concentrations of gay folk could be found to take part in the survey.

    Surprise, surprise! Young adults in at least many bars (gay or straight) might be more promiscuous than people in faith communities. If they had conducted all their surveys in churches, synagogues, etc that welcome and support gay folk, then those numbers would likely be lower.

    Thus, the sampling of the supposed promiscuity of gay folk might be higher than reality supports.

    George is absolutely right. It’s just obvious and rational that, IF we think that promiscuity is harmful/less ideal, THEN supporting faithful, loving marriage relationships is logical and moral and good.

    ~Dan

    • Wrong again dan, homosexuals self reporting in the surveys number in the thousands. There is no shortage of sampling. Second, even young bar going heterosexuals are not as promiscuous and not as willing to have sex with people they dont know.

      Third, the numbers are consistent even in regions welcoming to homosexuality, ie San Francisco, New York, Miami etc.

      Your excuses are null.

  28. paynehollow says:

    Thanks George, for the suggestion. But how about the other way? John is the one making claims that he can’t support about people he does not know, Is that not rhetorical excess? Is that not rude as hell?

  29. paynehollow says:

    Better off?

  30. paynehollow says:

    Given George’s gentle rebuff, I apologize for my comments towards you, John. My hope was that, by presenting the same behavior as you were presenting, that you would recognize the error of that behavior. Nonetheless, it is certainly offensive and for that, I apologize.

    ~Dan

  31. paynehollow says:

    John…

    marriage between same sex partners has not been shown to have a restraining effect on their sexual encounters…

    Your excuses are null.

    The on-the-ground reality in places like my dear faith community demonstrates your statistical reasoning and guesses to be invalid. Gay folk, just like straight folk, CAN be and ARE faithful and monogamous. My experience demonstrates that reality.

    IF you are of the opinion that uncommitted serial sexual behavior is a bad idea, THEN, it is only reasonable to support and encourage faithful, loving, committed marriage relationships.

    It can, of course, happen, EVEN amongst straight young men who have such a bad track record of being monogamous and even amongst gay folk, who have not had a history of being supported or encouraged in faithful, monogamous relationships. Real world evidence supports that it can and does happen. Reason and morality supports the idea of promoting such behavior.

    ~Dan

  32. paynehollow says:

    Dan…

    “I’ve given you REAL WORLD data ”

    Kunoichi…

    No, what you have given is what is called anecdotal evidence.

    Anecdotal evidence IS real world data. It is evidence. Same sex couples can and are able to be long-term committed. If that is the case (and evidence shows that it is), then on what basis would we discourage faithful and loving, committed relationships over serial sexual partners?

    Kunoichi, John, is it the case that you think our gay friends, neighbors, teachers, politicians, preachers, sunday school teachers, parents, grandparents, etc… that they are somehow innately INCAPABLE of faithful relationships? If that is what you think, then you have to do something with the real world evidence (anecdotal or not) that demonstrates the unreliability of that conjecture.

    IF you agree, “Yeah, obviously, observably, it can and does happen,” (ie, you face real world facts), then the ball is in your court: Why WOULDN’T we support and encourage such behavior? Support for faithful marriages (gay or straight) is a vindication of traditional moral values.

    ~Dan

    • Real world data goes beyond “this guy I know” UNLESS you allow me to offer you people I know and accept that it trumps your “real world data” since you seem to think your friends nullify the entire body of data that suggests your friends are an extreme rarity when it comes to gay monogamy.

    • “Anecdotal evidence IS real world data. It is evidence. ”

      Did you even read what I said? Anecdotal evidence is not considered credible for research purposes. Any “study” that relied entirely on anecdotal evidence would be pure garbage.

      If we were to go based entirely on personal anecdotal evidence, then I could claim that gays either do not support same sex marriage at all and believe they and others with same sex attraction should be celibate, or they are extremely promiscuous and incapable of healthy relationships of any kind, not only sexual ones. I know *one* person who managed to remain in a committed healthy SS relationship without any infidelity, and it only lasted about a year her partner died suddenly, so it cannot be used as even an anecdotal example. Based on personal anecdotal evidence, I could also say that people can, and do, change “teams” throughout their lifetimes.

      So does my anecdotal evidence trump yours? Or yours trump mine? Or shall we go with well done, peer reviewed and thoroughly vetted studies?

  33. paynehollow says:

    ? That makes no sense, John. Of course, you can offer your anecdotal evidence.

    I can believe that you know gay people in the real world who are promiscuous. I know gay folk in the real world who are committed. Even though the stereotypical “promiscuous gay” is an extreme minority in my circles (I know zero promiscuous gay or straight folk… although in my younger days, I did know many promiscuous straight guys), I am confident they are out there and I am willing to believe you if you say you know such people.

    Will you not extend to me the same courtesy?

    And even if you know promiscuous gay folk, that does not “trump” my friends’ experiences and reality. Indeed, they are the example that I would think we’d want to encourage and support exactly BECAUSE of any evidence of less healthy behaviors in that community.

    Why wouldn’t we support faithful monogamous relationships, gay or straight?

    And just to clarify my claim: I don’t know hundreds of gay folk. I know dozens, probably way less than 100. And most of my gay friends and acquaintances I know are coming from a faith community or place of deep spirituality, people who believe and support a more ideal, faithful monogamy kind of relationship. In THOSE circles, faithful monogamy is more accepted and desired, in my experience.

    What possible reason would we have for not supporting that? Even IF it’s an extreme minority (say, 10% of gay folk, for instance), why would we not support the obviously good and moral lifestyles over ones we consider less healthy or moral?

    After all, amongst young men, at least one study says that 35% have had multiple sex partners in the year of the survey. Should we say then, “Ah, well, 35% of young men have multiple sexual partners in a given year, we ought not encourage faithful marriages for them!”…? How would that be reasonable?

    ~Dan

  34. “Even though the stereotypical “promiscuous gay” is an extreme minority in my circles…”

    Congratulations for the gays in your circles (assuming you actually know such intimate details about their sex lives).

    However, the reality is that researchers trying to study gay communities had to come up with a new category of “more than 1000 partners” – at the request of their gay subjects – because sexual promiscuity is so extreme within gay culture. While we all know heterosexuals who are, or boast about, their promiscuity, the real world level of it pales in comparison to promiscuity among those with SS attraction. Likewise, it has been found that, upon marriage, promiscuous heterosexuals almost universally stop the behaviour (which does not quite translate into common law or long term relationships), but legalizing marriage between SS couples has not had the same result.

  35. paynehollow says:

    Kunoichi…

    Did you even read what I said? Anecdotal evidence is not considered credible for research purposes.

    Yes, of course I read what you said. Did either of you read what I said? I’m not claiming this is research, I’m not claiming that my anecdotal real world evidence “trumps” yours.

    I’m stating that factually, in the real world, gay people ARE successfully and faithfully married to a great good moral end.

    Do you get that? Do you understand the point I’m making there? Gay people ARE happily, faithfully married, living in loving, monogamous marriage.

    GIVEN THAT reality, why would we NOT support faithful, committed marriages for straight AND gay folk?

    ~Dan

  36. paynehollow says:

    Kunoichi…

    Likewise, it has been found that, upon marriage, promiscuous heterosexuals almost universally stop the behaviour (which does not quite translate into common law or long term relationships), but legalizing marriage between SS couples has not had the same result.

    So, why would we not SUPPORT and encourage the alleged few who are successfully living in a loving, healthy, committed marriage relationship? Again, this seems obvious on the face of it. What purpose would be served in NOT supporting healthy, loving, committed marriage relationships?

    Is it the case that you believe that gay people are innately unable to be faithful?

    If that is your belief, you’d have to come up with some evidence to demonstrate it. Mere statistics don’t make your case.

    If, on the other hand, you can agree that, in the real world, gay people can and do faithfully marry and commit to others, why would rational, moral people not support it?

    ~Dan

    • “So, why would we not SUPPORT and encourage the alleged few who are successfully living in a loving, healthy, committed marriage relationship? ”

      Again with the qualifiers. All they serve to do is cloud the issue.
      1) successfully: how do you define success? Biblically, the only successful marriage can be between a man and a woman.
      2) loving: a loving relationship does not require sexual activity, nor does it require state recognition or validation. It is also irrelevant to state sanctioning of marriage
      3) healthy: SS activities have been repeatedly proven to be high risk, yet doctors aren’t even allowed to tell their patients this for fear of getting their licenses pulled.
      4) committed: to what? And why does it require redefining a foundational institution, legally and culturally?
      5) relationship: no one is stopping anyone from forming relationship or making their own relationship choices. It is when we are being forced to validate those relationships, against all evidence, by force of law, threats of job loss, bullying tactics, etc. that is become a problem.

      The question is, why should we redefine a foundational social and cultural institution; one which repeatedly has proven to benefit children, adults, society, etc, to satisfy the desires of a minority within a minority (most gays are not actually interested in SSM, for a variety of reasons)?

      It doesn’t matter how “good” a handful of people manage to be while in SS relationships; they are still harmful, and they are still considered a sin in the eyes of God. It doesn’t matter how “ordinary” their days may be. Jesus clearly stated that marriage is between a man and a woman (claiming that “God never said anything about gay marriage” or some variation of that, is dishonest, since our need to label people by their sexual behaviour and desires is modern).

  37. Kunoichi- I would like to see your references for the Regnerus study meeting the “gold standard”. I have yet to see a single Sociologist come to the defense of the study let alone a general consensus in the field that it was a “gold standard” study. There are several references to the internal audit by the journal that published the paper calling the paper and its findings *bullshit*(their word, not mine).
    The weaknesses of the paper were even acknowledged by the author (with the caveat that no better data was present to do a large scale study). The findings of the paper show that there are statistically significant differences between children raised in broken/mixed homes (and even adoptive heterosexual homes!) and children raised by their biological parents in a stable marriage. His next study should aim to prove that children of alcoholics fare statistically worse than children of teetotalers.
    Every single person I know agrees that children fare best in homes with two parents who are in a stable marriage. Anyone who thinks otherwise is literally ignorant of reality. What this study can’t show- and no study can at the moment- is whether children raised by committed homosexual couples fare better than children raised in stable heterosexual marriages, or children with adoptive parents, or step/mixed families. Studies can’t show us this because there have been laws in place that prevented homosexuals from adopting, marrying, or obtaining legal custody. So the only sample we have is children who have a biological parent who obviously separated from the other biological parent in order to pursue a same-sex relationship. So we should be comparing the statistical significance (after correcting for sample size) of those children versus children whose parents separated in order to pursue an extramarital heterosexual relationship. Those are the only reasonable conclusion these findings can make regarding the differences between heterosexual and homosexual parents.

    If you disagree John or Kunoichi- tell me why I am wrong.

  38. paynehollow says:

    Kunoichi…

    Congratulations for the gays in your circles (assuming you actually know such intimate details about their sex lives).

    Again, getting back to the point of this post, this seems more like meddling than concern.

    I think you all are picturing some dark, black leather and studs world, where pale tattooed and tongue-studded men prowl dark alleys looking for random sex. The reality, for at least a good number of people, is just as I’ve described it:

    A grandmother gets out of bed, kisses her partner good morning and goes to walk the dog. After breakfast, she works in her garden a while after that and then volunteers some hours trying to get housing assistance for needy people. She might meet her partner for lunch or she might meet the mayor or a council member to talk about the city’s housing needs.

    At about five, she comes home to a dinner with her partner and her grandson who is living with them because of some troubles in his family. It being a Wednesday night, she goes to church for a prayer meeting service. She then returns home and chats with her grandson for a while and they all watch TV and go to bed, only to wake up the next day and repeat.

    This is not a literal representation of what I KNOW has happened with any of my gay friends, but I know them well enough to know that this is very representative of a real day for them. They’re not out perusing the bars (most of them – I do know some gay folk who maybe on Friday, or maybe monthly, visit the local gay bar to hear a band and dance), they’re not lurking on dating pages looking for hookups. They’re too busy living good, decent lives to have time or inclination for that.

    Do you understand that this is the real world reality for many gay folk? Or is it the case that you imagine they are all out there living (and here, I can’t even think of a “dirty” movie title to insert) “Down and Dirty Men At Night” lives?

    I think you’d be better off picturing a granny in bermuda shorts and black socks, digging in a garden with her garden gloves on rather than some studded black leather swinger image as your typical gay and lesbian neighbor.

    And how do I know this? Because I’m in a tightknit faith community that hangs out together a good bit and we know one another, not just as church, but as family. We go out and help this “grandmother” when her grandson has run away from an abusive home, to find him and bring him to her safe home. We eat dinner with our lesbian neighbors and wave to them as they sit in the sunshine while their dog plays in the dogpark behind our house… we KNOW these people like family and that’s why I speak confidently.

    Now, is it POSSIBLE that one of my gay or straight friends is secretly living a swinging, licentious life? Sure, anything is possible. But given how close we are, it’s not likely. Again, if nothing else, we just don’t have the time for it, we’re busy living normal, decent lives.

    ~Dan

  39. If you want to see the general consensus on the Regnerus study, you could just try looking up “regnerus study”- it pretty much says it all.
    Too busy? lmgtfy

    • *GASP* people who believe homosexuality is A-OK say the study is flawed? Wow, yeah, better throw it all out then.

      • So here is my master plan John- Conservatives should just “make shit up” and publish it and when anybody notices flaws they can just claim bias.
        The study was published, it was subject to an internal journal study and found to be faulted. Several other Sociologists have gone on record with valid reasons why the study was faulted.
        I told you the reason why the study was faulted and gave you and Kunoichi the opportunity to tell me why my reason is not valid. Neither of you has done this and I don’t expect you to. In order to draw the conclusions you want to draw you would need to contradict the very foundation of every single study regarding child rearing and a major conservative talking point: that children raised in homes with two static parents in a stable marriage consistently outperform children raised by single/divorced/separated/adoptive/step parents in cultural conforming metrics.
        You know the study is flawed- you won’t defend it because you can’t. There is no reasonable explanation why you can compare the families in the study without considering the overwhelming advantage of a stable marriage to a child. Do you have an answer, John?

    • Come on John, seriously? The only person your’e fooling is yourself. Why the double standard? The only place this study is paraded around as fact is American Family Radio and the Heritage Foundation.

      Talk about having a special interest dog in the race. If any of us tried to pull this on you and yours you would dismiss from it the outset.

      • Cmon Nash. .. you really expect a decidedly liberal media and university system to embrace a study like this? Even if it had zero flaws no one but conservatives would tqlk about it. You know this.

  40. Did you read the internal audit John?
    Methinks you did not…….

  41. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Dan you said our statements are meritless because you have real world data showing otherwise.

    Actually, John, No, I didn’t. Didn’t happen, not in the real world. Clearly, you have misunderstood something, but that’s nothing I have said.

    What I said – and repeat – is that, IN THE REAL WORLD, gay folk and straight folk, sometimes against great odds, manage to actually commit to one another in loving, faithful marriage relationships. It actually happens.

    So, your statements are meritless ONLY to the degree that you disagree with observable real world facts. As long as you can recognize that people DO get married and live loving, faithful, committed lives together (gay and straight) and that your only “concern” (as opposed to meddling) is that you fear many gay folk DON’T do this, and as long as you don’t conflate “many” gay folk don’t commit to “all” gay folk don’t commit, then your point has merit. Yes, too many people – gay and straight – don’t successfully commit to a loving faithful marriage. But that is not a reason to think that it can’t happen or that we shouldn’t encourage it.

    John, straightforward, between you and me: Are you trying to suggest that gay people are – as a group – entirely incapable of monogamy? That there is something innately wrong with gay folk (different than straight folk who might have trouble with monogamy) that they physically CAN’T commit to one person?

    Or do you recognize the reality that many do, even if some (or most) don’t commit to one person?

    ~Dan

  42. paynehollow says:

    Why should we expand the meaning of marriage? For the exact same reason we’ve changed it in the past – to make things better.

    When black and white folk couldn’t marry, we rightfully changed it to make for a better, more just, less awful world and good for us.

    When women could be forced into marriages against their will, we (at least in our part of the world) changed that to make for a better, more just, less awful world and good for us.

    And now, having no rational reason to deny marriage to gay folk, we are changing how we look at it again, to make for a better, more just, less awful world.

    How will it make it better? This is easy to see. One thing that you all have right is that there ARE too many gay (and straight, mind you) folk who are too licentious and involved in unhealthy, unwholesome, unhelpful sexual behaviors. Encouraging faithful, loving, committed marriages DIRECTLY and OBJECTIVELY helps that.

    That is, moving from more licentious to less licentious behavior is an observable, objective moral and public health Good.

    Moving from more Self-centered and more family/community-centered behaviors (and marriage does this) is an observable, objective moral and societal good.

    The fact that SOME people have the opinion that God would disapprove of this is no more relevant than the notion that SOME people have the opinion that God would disapprove of women being able to work outside of the house or should have equal rights. I really don’t care what your opinion about what God thinks is, not when it affects someone else negatively.

    We don’t create state laws based on what some people think God wants, that would be meddling.

    IF you don’t believe in gay marriage, don’t get gay married. But moving beyond that is moving into meddling and, to the point of this post, THAT is what people object to.

    ~Dan

    • “When black and white folk couldn’t marry, ”

      That you should even resort to race as an example demonstrated how badly you’ve lost any integrity in the debate. It’s abhorrent and demeaning. Blacks were not allowed to marry whites because they were considered subhuman, subhuman, and of less value and an animal. As marriage requires copulation, interracial marriage was on par with bestiality. The colour of one’s skin is not a behaviour. Homosexuality is. (I think it’s ridiculous to label a person by their sexual desires, just as I would find it ridiculous to label a person a thief because they are tempted to steal) To equate SSM with racial prejudice is insulting and intellectually dishonest.

      “When women could be forced into marriages against their will,”

      Now, here, you’re closer to the mark. Forcing someone (male or female) into marriage is a behaviour, and a damaging one. This is one of the reasons the state began to play a part in marriage in the first place: to ensure that those who married qualified (qualifiers include age, gender and whether or not someone was of blood relation), and that none were forced against their will.

      SSM is defined by the sex act. Any attempt to make it about “love” or “equality”, etc., is dishonesty and redirection.

  43. paynehollow says:

    Well, it may surprise you to know that, for most rational people, marriage is about love.

    Again, we support this because it is obviously moral and good.

    We oppose licentiousness because it is less healthy and moral.

    There is nothing dishonest or redirecting about it. It’s our ACTUAL, HONEST opinion. You are welcome to think that God wants us to oppose marriage for gay folk or that God wants us to kill gay folk, or that God wants rape victims to marry their rapist, but you can’t ask us to go along with your hunches about what you think God wants just because you think it.

    If your position seems overtly, measurably and obviously immoral to us, we will oppose it.

    The point of the examples I gave is to point out the real world fact that marriage HAS changed over the years, we’ve continually changed what it means. My illustrations support this point, there is nothing dishonest about it.

    This latest change is just another change and it is obviously, for more and more of us, an objectively good thing.

    Kunoichi: Do you think that gay people are innately unable to be faithful? (Again, since we can demonstrate real world examples of it, you’d have to be delusional to say Yes, so…)

    Given that obviously gay folk are entirely capable of being faithful, on what basis would we not encourage faithful, loving marriages for gay and straight people?

    “I think God doesn’t like it” is not enough.

    ~Dan

    • Dan

      Marriage may be about love for nearly every person who wishes to get married. BUT IT’S NOT WHAT IT IS ABOUT FOR THE STATE TO BE INTERESTED IN IT ENOUGH TO SANCTION IT! That’s why you will NOT find a “are you and your fiance in love and/or sexually attracted to one another?” box on a marriage license

      NO ONE is preventing same sex couples, OR ANYONE from having a marriage ceremony, in the presence of family and friends, in a religious context, while making a long term marriage commitment. NO ONE. What is opposed is having a government CHANGE THE REASON the government is interested in sanctioning marriage. You want the government to care whether the people involved are in love.

      The natural byproduct of this is punishment for those who have an objection to it.

  44. paynehollow says:

    Kunoichi…

    It is when we are being forced to validate those relationships, against all evidence, by force of law, threats of job loss, bullying tactics, etc. that is become a problem.

    I was just noting the earlier irony of this comment. For years and centuries and millenia, our gay and lesbian friends have put up with having their preferences/orientation forced into hiding by force of law, threats of job loss, ACTUAL bullying/oppression tactics, beatings, death threats, murder, etc.

    Those who are opposed to equal rights for gay folk on this front have been putting up with a much milder form of societal rejection of your views for only a few years and already you all are recognizing, “Hey! When it happens to us (albeit on a much milder basis), we don’t like it so much!!”

    Funny. Sad.

    Relax, no one will “force” you into a gay marriage or even “accepting” homosexuality. You won’t have your rights violated, except for any “rights” you think you might have to violate other people’s rights (which, of course, is not a right at all).

    As noted repeatedly here, the real world evidence is against your hunches that marriage between gay folk is a moral wrong. Lacking any evidence, you can’t expect people to accept your demand to bow to your wishes on this question.

    Again, it gets back to meddling. Which the Bible calls a sin, for those who care what the Bible says.

    ~Dan

    • Relax, no one will “force” you into a gay marriage or even “accepting” homosexuality. You won’t have your rights violated, except for any “rights” you think you might have to violate other people’s rights (which, of course, is not a right at all).

      Except businesses around the country are being forced to participate in the celebration of same sex weddings with their services. They are They’ve been fined and sued. There is already a movement getting ready to sue churches who refuse same sex weddings too. If you speak up against homosexuality, many large employers, i.e., corporations, or government jobs like mine, you are disciplined because in many states sexual orientation is a protected class. So speaking against homosexuality is treated exactly the same as speaking against racial minorities, you can be fired.

      So you’re either ignorant, or openly lying. I’ll allow you to choose.

  45. As I read this thread a few things stick out.

    First, this is one of those situation where Dan and John and Kunoichi are all correct to some degree. It is entirely possible that Dan does know enough about the private personal aspects of the “dozens” of gay couples he is personally acquainted with to be able to make this generalization about this relatively small group of people in a relatively small city.

    Second, although Dan never addressed it when I’ve had this discussion with him previously, there is a vast amount of information available at even a casual search to more than validate John and Kunoichi’s contention that there is a significant and vocal presence in the gay community who are intent on redefining marriage and especially the concept of monogamy. This is so well attested, that to deny it is to willfully ignore reality.

    Third, as someone who has had a number of close friends have affairs etc without anyone in their circle of friends knowing, I don’t place a lot of stock in how accurately the public aspects of a relationship reflect the actual state of the relationship.

    Kunoichi, good luck dealing with all the qualifiers.

  46. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Except businesses around the country are being forced to participate in the celebration of same sex weddings with their services. They are They’ve been fined and sued.

    Yes, you are not free to discriminate in our culture, we have laws against such behaviors. But that’s not forcing you to “be gay” or even accept gay behavior or gay folk, if you want to be a jerk about it. You are free to hate anyone, or dislike any behavior that you please.

    BUT, if you run a business in our country, there are antidiscrimination laws in place. Are you suggesting that you think businesses should be free to discriminate against groups of people? In that case, then, your “right” to discriminate is limited, yes. But that’s not the same as forcing you to accept or like gay folk or people who live together or making you marry a guy. It’s just stopping you from meddling and telling someone else who they can and can’t marry.

    ~Dan Trabue

  47. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Kunoichi, good luck dealing with all the qualifiers.

    I really am not understanding why some here have a problem with qualifiers. I’m simply saying, IF we want committed, loving, faithful marriage relationships then we should encourage that. And then I’m asking the very reasonable question: Why WOULDN’T we encourage that? What is the problem with qualifiers? That just seems bizarre.

    On the other hand, if we want to see decreased STDs and broken homes and other negative consequences of irresponsible sexual behavior, then we would rationally strive to discourage that.

    So, UNLESS you’re trying to make the claim that Group A physically can NOT be faithful and monogamous (a rather ignorant-of-reality and bigoted claim to make against any group), then why would we NOT encourage and support healthy, faithful, loving marriages?

    This is the problem you’re running up against in the public at large. It seems as if you are discouraging moral, healthy, decent behavior, ie, being an enemy to moral decency. And when you start looking at/prying into people’s private behavior that is, by all appearances, healthy and moral, you are meddling. And meddling is a sin, in the Bible, and just annoying and wrong, regardless of what the Bible says.

    ~Dan

  48. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Marriage may be about love for nearly every person who wishes to get married. BUT IT’S NOT WHAT IT IS ABOUT FOR THE STATE TO BE INTERESTED IN IT ENOUGH TO SANCTION IT! T

    And if the state wants to get out of the marriage business, I would be fine with that and maybe even support it. BUT, IF the state is going to give respect and credibility and support to one group and encourage their marriages, then they can’t rationally discriminate against other groups when they want to marry. It’s simply not just, nor rational.

    IF the state thinks it has a role in encouraging responsible families and households, then treat people without discrimination (as always, presuming no harm is being done).

    The “love” angle came up because Kunoichi made the false claim…

    SSM is defined by the sex act. Any attempt to make it about “love” or “equality”, etc., is dishonesty and redirection.

    For anyone I know, marriage (gay or straight) is about love and decency and commitment and family and for anyone I know, these are objective moral Good and the Bible tells us (and reason supports) that whatsoever things are good, noble, pure, healthy and loving, that THESE are things to think upon and encourage.

    Thus, unless you have some reason to discriminate (ie, he wants to forcibly TAKE a woman in marriage, against her will…), then don’t discriminate against objectively, obviously Good behavior. Why would anyone do that?

    ~Dan

    • When same sex couples begin bearing children as a natural result of their relationship the government would have a reason to treat them the same.

      Do you agree that the government should endorse and sanction roommate relationships, and give them tax benefits?

  49. paynehollow says:

    John…

    meddling is only a sin in the context of pagan rituals.

    Funny. This is the problem with limiting what you find to be moral or immoral to the ability to find a line in the Bible to support your hunch. It’s why I keep stating things like, “And aside from what the Bible says, it’s just annoying and wrong…”

    If your entire reason for opposing or supporting a behavior is “I found a line in the Bible that says (for instance), we should force rape victims to marry their rapist, therefore, that behavior is good,” then you are abusing the Bible and treating it like a child’s toy, understood at a pre-school level. The Bible is not – never has been – a rulebook to cherry pick your way through to find enough lines of how to behave to order your life. That is just not the purpose of the Bible.

    Still, funny line. Well played.

    I hope you get my point in the meantime.

    ~Dan

  50. paynehollow says:

    John…

    When same sex couples begin bearing children as a natural result of their relationship the government would have a reason to treat them the same.

    News flash, John: GAY COUPLES HAVE AND RAISE CHILDREN. It IS a natural result of their relationship (whether through adoption or raising step children or through other means). So, by your measure, the gov’t SHOULD treat them the same.

    Finally, we agree.

    That is, unless you want to say the saintly people who adopt children or raise stepchildren or other people’s children are not their “natural” parents, but that would be as bigoted and ugly as hell for you to say that, so I can’t believe you would endorse such ugly views.

    Or, are you trying to suggest that the gov’t ONLY should endorse marriages where the parents can have their own children and adoptive families and other families (artificial insemination, for instance) should not count – regardless of whether they’re gay or straight. But again, that would be stupid and ugly in a way that hell is stupid and ugly and surely you would not make that claim.

    If so, I suspect most people would rightly disagree with that ugly view.

    John…

    Do you agree that the government should endorse and sanction roommate relationships, and give them tax benefits?

    No, I don’t. BUT, IF they were going to start endorsing and sanctioning ONE group (say, Roommates who are in the top 10% tax bracket, or Muslim, or of Asian descent… well, then they ought to do the same across the board, as a matter of justice and opposition to discrimination.

    Again, if you want to make the case that gov’t should get out of the marriage business – across the board – then I might could support that case. But while the gov’t does it for one group (and for not inconsequential reasons – to promote healthy families is not unreasonable), then they should not – as a matter of justice – discriminate against one group over the others.

    That would be wrong.

    ~Dan

  51. paynehollow says:

    John…
    then there is a penalty for not helping further same sex marriage and praising homosexuality.

    No. There are penalties for discriminating in the work place. But those penalties already exist. If a KKK guy wants to run a flower shop and refuses to sell flowers to a mixed marriage ceremony, he could be sued, too. Because discrimination in the workplace is against the law.

    But, the KKK guy or the guy who disapproves of loving, faithful, committed marriages between gay folk are BOTH allowed to disapprove of these marriages all they want. IF they don’t want to be in a business that sells flowers to weddings, they don’t have to be a florist. BUT, if they are going to be in business, in our country, they have to abide by our anti-discrimination laws. EVEN IF the KKK guy or the anti-gay-marriage guy holds his views for religious reasons, he still can’t legally discriminate.

    But that’s already the law of the land. If you want to start advocating changes to our laws to ALLOW businesses to discriminate, then you’ll have to start making your case to the people and win them over with a good, moral, rational argument.

    Good luck with that.

    ~Dan

  52. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    as someone who has had a number of close friends have affairs etc without anyone in their circle of friends knowing, I don’t place a lot of stock in how accurately the public aspects of a relationship reflect the actual state of the relationship.

    It is absolutely true that none of us ever know exactly if even our close friends (gay or straight) are having an affair, but I’m talking about general evidence. There is no evidence that my gay or straight friends who, by all appearances are in healthy, committed relationships, are having affairs. And here’s the point that’s salient to the topic of this post:

    I have no reason to meddle in their lives and try to find out the details of their private matters – gay or straight. Why would I? That would be meddling and meddling is a sin.

    Similarly, YOU/WE all have no reason to meddle in the private affairs (so to speak) of our friends and neighbors. Being opposed to Mr Bob Christian saying to his next door neighbor, “SAY, are YOU having an affair on your wife? What sort of sexual practices do you engage in? Were you ever in a threesome??” etc, is not to be opposed because we’re “worried about people’s feelings,” it’s being opposed because that behavior is MEDDLESOME and none of Bob Christian’s business!

    Can I get an amen?

    • So then you have no idea of your gay friend’s sex lives. You insisted you did. You sir are a liar. But I guess the ends justify the means, right?

      It suits you. You are an admitted racist, now we have evidence of outright lies. Shame on you.

  53. paynehollow says:

    sigh. I have a good idea of the people I know closely – gay and straight – and their deep moral character. I do not probe into either my gay or straight friends’ specific sex lives, but I know how they spend their days and evenings. I never said I followed them into their bedrooms at night and thus, I did not lie. I’m talking about EVIDENCE – there is no evidence of anything but good moral character which I can personally attest for. Evidence which I have and of which you had none, when speaking of people you do not know.

    Do you think it is okay to pry into people’s bedrooms at night, John, or would that be meddlesome and, thus, a sin?

    And you have no credibility to call someone a liar when you objectively lied about people you do not even know and thus, CAN NOT know if your false claim were true.

    ~Dan

    • Doesnt matter. You insisted that the gay couples you know are faithful and monogamous. It turns out you have no idea and its just your HUNCH. You are a liar, and a racist (youre not a racist because of this, it was a previous discussion where you admitted you were a racist).

  54. paynehollow says:

    Actually, John, facts DO matter. You can’t just make things up and be expected to taken seriously. The facts:

    1. John, I have never “admitted” I was a racist. That is a false representation.

    2. I know my friends – gay and straight – and their deep moral character. What I’m talking about is EVIDENCE: there is NO EVIDENCE to support YOUR false charge that they are liars and cheaters. And between the two of us (as is obvious to anyone observing this conversation), I am the one in a better position to know my friends’ moral character than you, WHO DOESN’T EVEN KNOW THEM! How could you “know” what they do in their bedrooms? Why is it any of your business?!

    3. You made a false charge that you can’t support and you won’t even admit it. It is obviously false because YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW the people involved, so you can’t possibly know anything about them. Anyone can see that this was, on the face of it, false witness.

    4. Returning to the point of the post: It is not so much a trouble of pointing out people’s “sins” because it might hurt people’s feelings. It is a trouble because the sort of behavior you’re engaging in is not “sharing a concern” it is meddling and meddling is wrong and, if you care about what the Bible says, a sin. Those who meddle are equated to murderers, and not for no reason: You are engaging in character assassination.

    That will not win anyone over to your side, because you come across as wrong and meddlesome and ignorant on that of which you speak.

    ~Dan

    • You asserted that there were “too many” of one race in a political party. That is racist.

      Next, you asserted that you KNEW your gay friends, all of then, were in monogamous relationships. THEN you admitted you had no idea and were merely speculating because it would be wrong of you to know that about them.

      Conclusion: youre a lying racist.

      • Richard Nash says:

        Well John, you are sinking below your own standards. I come to your blog because I have come expect better than this:

        “So then you have no idea of your gay friend’s sex lives. You insisted you did. You sir are a liar. But I guess the ends justify the means, right? It suits you. You are an admitted racist, now we have evidence of outright lies. Shame on you.”

        • Nash, admittedly I am razzing dan a bit. But I am not mist stating the facts. He had said there are too many of one race in a political party and he didnt like that. As I asked, what would I be called if I said something like that? I’d rightly be called a racist.

          Dan through this entire post urged that studies where homosexuals admitted to hundreds of partners, and that it is extremely rare that gay couples are monogamous was rendered irrelevant and null because he has gay friends and he knows that they are monogamous. Then he later admits that that isnt actually true, he doesnt know that is the case, he presumes it to be the case because they are nice people.

          This is to what I am referring.

        • Nash, keep in mind that dan has a history of this kind of rhetoric here. I was giving him a bit of his own medicine.

  55. paynehollow says:

    1. Point of fact: I did not say there were too many people of one race in a political party. I said that, IF I were part of a group (like the GOP) that were all one race (white), it would be a matter of concern. That is NOT racism. Racism is the belief that a race is inferior, that is not what I believe (I AM white, why would I think whites are inferior? – you miss the point, entirely). Valuing diversity (which is the point of my comment) does NOT EQUAL racism, by definition.

    John, perhaps it’s the case that you just aren’t fully understanding what I actually say, because you keep drawing wrong inferences.

    2. Point of fact: All of my gay friends who are IN relations, are factually IN monogamous relationships. That is a fact. Whether they or my straight friends SECRETLY engage in affairs is entirely doubtful, GIVEN THE EVIDENCE. But I do not spy on my gay or straight friends to verify what all the evidence points to.

    The point is: THE EVIDENCE is clear, they are good, moral people engaged in healthy, loving marriage relationships. You, on the other hand, made a claim that is ON THE FACE of it, false, because you don’t even KNOW my friends so you have zero data on which to make your claim about people YOU DO NOT KNOW. Your hunches about what they might be doing secretly is a source of meddling, gossip and slander on your part and that, John, is immoral.

    3. I did not admit that I had “no idea.” I have a GREAT idea about how decent and faithful all my friends are – straight and gay. I spend time with them, we are family, we eat together, we know each other quite well. It is false to say that I said I had no idea. Again, I am talking about evidence, evidence which I have to support my claim and the LACK of evidence that you do NOT have to support your obviously false and ignorant charge.

    If you don’t begin with valid data, John (and you obviously, objectively are NOT beginning with valid data), any conclusions you reach are based on ignorance and a lack of facts.

    Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to start with what the evidence actually supports?

    ~Dan

    • Nope, you said there were too many white peoplebin the Republican party. That is as racist as me saying there are too many blacks in the Democrat party. Or too many blacks in my neighborhood. Its racist. Youre a racist, and now a known liar.

  56. paynehollow says:

    John, follow the reasoning…

    The point I am making is this:

    1. I value diversity – being parts of groups with a wide range of backgrounds and opinions, thus, I VALUE ALL RACES (this is ridiculous to have to even walk through).

    2. If one values ALL RACES, then one is not, by definition, a racist. In fact, that is the exact OPPOSITE of a racist.

    3. Because I value diversity and all races/backgrounds, I want my political party to be diverse.

    4. Thus, to be concerned about having “all whites” in my political party, it is NOT because of racism (ie, that I think whites are “bad” or inferior) but because I value diversity (that I think especially political parties should represent people from all backgrounds and races).

    Are you really not understanding that this is literally the EXACT POLAR opposite of racism or are you just engaging in trolling on your own blog?

    This really is quite funny, in a bizarro world sort of way.

    ~Dan

  57. paynehollow says:

    John…

    As I asked, what would I be called if I said something like that? I’d rightly be called a racist.

    You would be a racist or a bigot if you said, “All those people in that group are bad or deficient…” You know, like if you said that all gay people are inherently incapable of being faithful (which is why I ask you directly if that is what you think – a question you have not answered yet).

    But, if you were saying, “It worries me that there is not enough diversity in this group,” you would NOT be racist, because that is the opposite of racism.

    Do you understand the difference?

    As to the rest of your claims about what I said, I didn’t say that. You truly have a hard time understanding my actual words, because you keep changing what I’ve said to something else.

    ~Dan

    • When you say there are “too many” that implies a deficiency. If I am in a room with 100 blacks, or homosexuals, it would never occur to me to say there were too many.

  58. paynehollow says:

    John…

    keep in mind that dan has a history of this kind of rhetoric here.

    Again, factually, no. I have not called you a racist, I don’t believe. I don’t tend to do that. Rather, I would tend to say, “That is a racist (or bigoted) thing to say…” For instance, in my example above (“If you said all gay people are inherently incapable of being faithful..”), that is a bigoted and ignorant statement for one to make. I am not leaping from “that is a bigoted statement” to “therefore, he is a bigot and hates gay people.” I’m simply stating an observably factual statement:

    IF you call ALL the people in a group inferior in some way, THEN that is a bigoted statement. A statement based on bias and false, negative information about a group, is, by definition, a bigoted statement.

    I recognize that many of us make bigoted and sometimes racist or sexist statements when we don’t actually, in our heart of hearts, hold hatred or dislike and disdain for the whole group, so I’m allowing that people can and do make comments that don’t define them, personally, even if the comment itself is, by definition, racist or bigoted.

    And, to the point of your post here, my pointing out factually, “That statement is, by definition, racist” is not engaging in rhetoric, it’s pointing out a simple, observable fact. If your feelings get hurt by me pointing out factual points, then your feelings get hurt too easily.

    ~Dan

  59. paynehollow says:

    John…

    When you say there are “too many” that implies a deficiency. If I am in a room with 100 blacks, or homosexuals, it would never occur to me to say there were too many.

    1. I don’t know that I said, “too many white people.” I rather doubt that I did. The point was NOT “too many white people” but “not enough diversity.”

    2. Even if I did, I have clarified that THE POINT I am/was making is about the value of diversity (ie, respect for ALL races) which is by definition, the opposite of racism.

    Are you reading what I’m writing or just putting down words without any rhyme or reason?

    Do. you. understand. the. point. I’m. making. about. the VALUE. of. diversity?

    Yes? No?

    ~Dan

  60. “It is absolutely true that none of us ever know exactly if even our close friends (gay or straight) are having an affair, but I’m talking about general evidence. There is no evidence that my gay or straight friends who, by all appearances are in healthy, committed relationships, are having affairs. And here’s the point that’s salient to the topic of this post:

    I have no reason to meddle in their lives and try to find out the details of their private matters ”

    First you say this. Which is a completely reasonable assessment of the situation.

    Then, however, your say this.

    “2. Point of fact: All of my gay friends who are IN relations, are factually IN monogamous relationships. ”

    In point of fact, you have quite clearly and in your very own words contradicted yourself.

    When you said that you don’t know and don’t ask about the details of your friends sex lives you were on point. You were actually restating the point I made earlier. You are correct, NONE OF US knows to an absolute certainty what other people are doing. This is not to imply that your friends are liars or cheaters, nor that you are a bad friend, or anything else negative. It is simply the way it is. You’ve already admitted that you don’t actually know, why double back and insist that you do. It just makes no rational sense.

  61. paynehollow says:

    Last time and I’ve had enough of this one (If you want to meddle, meddle. I think it’s a bad idea and meddling is what people are objecting to, to the point of the post):

    BY ALL EVIDENCE, my married gay and straight friends are in faithful, monogamous marriage relationships. BY ALL EVIDENCE, I have no reason to suspect them of infidelity or of lying.

    I know these people well and there is ZERO evidence to support that claim.

    On the other hand, John, who does not know these people at all, SAID THEY WERE LYING AND CHEATING.

    Craig, I ask you: Is it reasonable at all for John to make such a ridiculous claim or is that CLEARLY a ridiculous and offensive/slanderous claim to make about people HE DOES NOT KNOW when he has ZERO evidence to support such a false claim?

    ~Dan

  62. paynehollow says:

    The evidence of their lives (of which, you know nothing). These are good people. Busy people. They work 8+ hours a day at a job (oftentimes, in my friends’ cases, they are in the helping fields as nurses, social workers, teachers, professors, ministers, etc), they have families they are raising, they have elderly parents that they are taking care of, they are serving as deacons and Sunday School teachers and on the Homeless committee, or various other committees at church and in the neighborhoods. They are helping raise their grandkids and are elderly. They have been in these relationships for years. They do not profess to go to bars or dance clubs (although some do go contra dancing – sort of like square dancing, but much cooler – at a local church on Mondays!)…

    That is one thing I’ve never really understood about people who DO have affairs. Who has the time for an affair? If you’re busy with a life and family and job and extended family and church… there just isn’t time in the day for me, for one, to have an affair, even if I wanted to. And these people are out there just as busy or busier than I am… there just isn’t evidence of affairs or of secret lives. Zero evidence.

    If there is no evidence, and if they, by all measures, appear to be virtuous people beyond reproach, why would I suspect anything?

    It’s like saying, “Yes, I know the preacher works outside the church at a full time job AND prepares church services and sermons and does good work that I know about, meeting with people to counsel or console them in times of grief, but he almost certainly has his night time where I don’t know where he is… I bet he’s out at bars secretly or seducing students into sex acts!…” Yes, our feverish imaginations could dream up something like that, but why would we?

    Again, I think you all have some HBO or Penthouse-influenced visions in your heads of what “gay life” is like.

    ~Dan

  63. Dan,

    I haven’t seen any specific claim made by John that specifically accuses your friends of lying or cheating. If he had that would obviously be inappropriate. If you have evidence, as usual, throw it down.

    Having said that, it really upsets you when your blatant contradiction gets pointed out. Why not just admit you didn’t express yourself particularly accurately apologize and move on. It’s not that hard, I just did this very thing at your blog. You never know it might be more productive than trying to insist that you are correct when faced with two diametrically opposed statements.

    “BY ALL EVIDENCE, my married gay and straight friends are in faithful, monogamous marriage relationships. ”

    This, with the exception of the ALL CAPS YELLING, is a reasonable position that would no one would find problematic.

    “2. Point of fact: All of my gay friends who are IN relations, are factually IN monogamous relationships. ”

    While, in point of fact, this is an absolutely ludicrous statement. Many people would simply admit that the #2 was an egregious overreach say they were wrong and move on.

    But not you. I wonder why?

  64. “Again, I think you all have some HBO or Penthouse-influenced visions in your heads of what “gay life” is like.”

    Actually it’s more like we have looked at what actual gay people are actually self reporting about their actual lifestyle choices. The evidence is easily obtainable, at one point I gave you numerous links. The fact that you choose not to verify this for yourself is no ones fault but yours.

  65. paynehollow says:

    John, what you’re doing is using statistics to stereotype everyone in a group, painting them with a broad brush.

    I’m missing NO facts. I recognize that there are some reports that this community (which was forced out of “decent” society for hundreds of years, forced into underground and “alternative” circles, who was called deviant, sick, evil and hellbound, who has been physically and verbally beaten and abused for centuries…) that this community is disproportionately sexually adventurous, or licentious, if you prefer.

    But the same slander has historically been said about black men… “Why, black men are just hypersexual, out to seduce as many women as possible…” and yes, we might find some statistics that say black men are more licentious than average.

    BUT, that does not mean that, factually speaking, ALL gay folk are that way. And it doesn’t mean that they are incapable of being chaste and faithful.

    Again, I ask you: Are you saying that it is physically impossible for gay folk to be faithful?

    Again, I point out the facts: Indeed, many gay folk ARE by all evidence, faithful.

    Therefore, Why would we NOT encourage the healthier, more wholesome, more moral option of expressing one’s sexuality in the wholesome, good, noble and loving confines of a healthy, committed marriage relationship?

    You can’t deny a group ANY outlet for their sexuality and then, when they express their sexuality anyway, say, “SEE?!! They are immoral and godless!” That is an immoral and irrational position to take.

    Do you understand the difference, John, between behavior being reported by SOME and behavior being reported by ALL?

    ~Dan

  66. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    If you have evidence, as usual, throw it down.

    John said, and I quote…

    ” for you to say you know so many gay people in monogamous relationships, either you are lying to us, or they are lying to you”

    I am not lying. They are not lying, not by any rational evidence, and certainly, since John does not know them, he can not make this claim. It is slanderous and just wrong.

    Look, I know them. They ARE in monogamous relationships. That is a fact. They either are or consider themselves married (ie, in KY, you can’t legally marry unless one partner has a penis and the other partner has a vagina – although in some cases, they traveled to other states where they could legally marry, or the just married in a faith community that supported them, regardless of what the state does).

    They aren’t dating around, they don’t live with multiple lovers. Again, in at least one case, I’m speaking of two grandmothers, living ordinary grandmotherly, baptist-y lives of grace and wisdom. There just is nothing that would even remotely suggest they are sexually acting out secretly.

    Do you think there is any evidence that these two grandmothers (whom you don’t know) are lying to the world and to me? Would it not seem reasonable to accept that this elderly couple – who have stayed by one another’s bedsides in times of sickness and disease, holding hands and crying in pain – who live daily lives of exceptional Christian virtue – to accept that what SEEMS obvious probably IS obvious, even if young gay men tend to be more promiscuous?

    ~Dan

    • My point in the whole thing is that strict long term monogamy in gay relationships is an extreme rarity. You suggest that you know dozens of gay people in strict monogamous relationships. For you to know as many as you suggest, it would be a stastical needle in the haystack that they would all be anomalies to nearly the entire homosexual population.

  67. paynehollow says:

    Let’s deal with your “extreme rarity…”

    Here’s a report from USA Today back in 2011, where they talk about how monogamy is increasing, across the board, and provide some statistics…

    The percentage of heterosexual men who reported having sex with someone other than their wife dropped to 10% in 2000 from 28% in 1975;

    among married women, it declined to 14% from 23%.

    Among gay men, the percentage who cheated on a partner they lived with dropped to 59% from 83%;

    for lesbians it declined to 8% from 28%.

    Half the gays and lesbians in the study were in civil unions, half were living together in committed relationships, the researchers say.

    source

    Clearly, gay men have and still TEND to be less monogamous. Clearly, lesbians are even MORE faithful, monogamous than straight men and women, if only slightly.

    The points I am making:

    * Gay folk can be and are faithful to their partners (again, it is offensive to have to even say that, but there you go). That gay men are/have been way more promiscuous than all other groups is not to say that all gay men are promiscuous, and certainly not to say that all lesbians are promiscuous.

    * We who see fidelity and monogamy as good social norms should obviously advocate MORE of this, not put roadblocks in the way of this good, loving, healthy, wholesome behavior.

    As most of society begins to recognize this moral good and support it, I suspect we’ll see those numbers continue to decrease and that seems like a rational and moral goal to support.

    ~Dan

  68. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Actually it’s more like we have looked at what actual gay people are actually self reporting about their actual lifestyle choices.

    Craig, I’ll ask you the rather simple question, do you understand the difference between “what SOME – or even, MANY – gay folk report…” and “what ALL gay people do…”?

    I’m sure you do. That is my point. I hope you get it.

    Craig..
    The evidence is easily obtainable, at one point I gave you numerous links. The fact that you choose not to verify

    I’ve read a wide range of statistics, Craig, I’m not unfamiliar with the real concern of hyperpromiscuity in some circles.

    I’ve also read enough and know enough first hand to be wary of the statistics that, in some cases, are decades – or at least years and years – old, and in some cases came from less than ideal reports. Once again, IF you gather data in a swingers bar, you’re going to get different results than if you gather data from a faith community.

    I’m aware, though, of what I think is the real concern (even if it’s overblown/over-estimated) of the potential for harm from hypersexual/less than wholesome expressions of sexuality. For THAT reason, I support expressing sexuality in the confines of a committed, loving, faithful marriage situation.

    As always, why wouldn’t we support that as a preferred option?

    ~Dan

  69. paynehollow says:

    John…

    For you to know as many as you suggest, it would be a stastical needle in the haystack that they would all be anomalies to nearly the entire homosexual population.

    The people I know and am surrounded by tend to be from traditional faith communities who all value the ideal of marriage. Is it surprising to you that deeply religious people tend to support the ideal of faithful monogamy?

    Look, nowadays, the percentage of kids that have sex before marriage is pretty high. Now, if a fella from a conservative church was talking to you and he said, “Well, in MY circles, sexual promiscuity is almost unheard of amongst teends…” would you cite the AVERAGE or would you recognize that, perhaps their community is not average?

    ~Dan

  70. “Are you saying that it is physically impossible for gay folk to be faithful?”

    Nope, never said it.

    “Indeed, many gay folk ARE by all evidence, faithful.”

    No argument, that any people appear to be faithful,appearance is not necessarily reality.

    “That is a fact.”

    Except you’ve already said it isn’t a fact, see your quotes above.

    “Do you think there is any evidence that these two grandmothers (whom you don’t know) are lying to the world and to me? ”

    Nope, I’m also not trying to extrapolate to the entire gay community based on one atypical couple. I’m also not trying to deny the reality that exists.

    “…to accept that what SEEMS obvious probably IS obvious,…”

    The key words are “probably” and “seems”. Both of those allow for the possibility you may be wrong. However, I would tend to agree that it is likely that this one relationship is as it seems. I still wouldn’t try to extrapolate that beyond this couple.

    “Craig, I’ll ask you the rather simple question, do you understand the difference between “what SOME – or even, MANY – gay folk report…” and “what ALL gay people do…”?”

    Yes I do understand your condescending question. It would be relevant had I actually said that I believe that “all” gay people do anything. Unfortunately for you I used terms like majority which indicates that “most but not all” engage in certain behaviors. Perhaps that confuses you.

    Here’s a freebie for you. There’s plenty more if you look.

    http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Monogamy-Exclusivity-and-Permanence

    Without time to check the context of the quote you provided from John, it seems to be an unwarranted generalization. When I can I’ll try to find it in context. Based on the rest of his comments I would be inclined to think he expressed himself poorly. In much the same way you did. too bad you can’t just admit what is plain from your quotes.

  71. Is it surprising to you that deeply religious people tend to support the ideal of faithful monogamy?”

    Nope. Of course it also wouldn’t be surprising too me that a small isolated group of gays in a relatively small city don’t in any way represent the majority of gay folk throughout the US. It seems like anyone who would think that this group represents anything beyond a specific small group of people seems unreasonable.

  72. paynehollow says:

    Again Craig, follow what I’m saying:

    We AGREE (you and I – still not sure about John or anyone else who keeps bypassing the question) that gay people can and do commit to loving, faithful, monogamous marriages. It happens in the real world and there is evidence for it.

    Since monogamy is indeed obviously possible, then for what reason would we rationally not encourage faithful, loving marriage relationships for gay folk?

    Craig…

    Unfortunately for you I used terms like majority which indicates that “most but not all” engage in certain behaviors.

    According to the one poll I cited, lesbians are nowhere near “mostly” cheating. Indeed, they appear to be doing better than straight men and women in the monogamy department.

    And as I keep repeating, IF gay men are more promiscuous than straight men, then isn’t that an argument in FAVOR of even stronger support and encouragement for marriage?

    Y’all keep making that argument as if it somehow strengthens your case.

    As to your link to a Right Wing website citing excerpts from radical gay folk, what’s the point? That there are radical gay folk out there? That radical gay folk hold radical views?

    Insightful. What of it?

    Where’s your evidence that this is mainstream gay opinion? Where is your evidence that this is mainstream lesbian lifestyle or preference?

    The question that you all need to be able to rationally answer is: Do you believe in marriage as the healthiest, most wholesome and moral place to express one’s sexuality? If so, why would we not encourage it?

    Encouraging marriage, straight or gay, is a WIN for traditional values and, I believe, a healthier society. Looking at the facts and evidence, what else could we conclude?

    ~Dan

  73. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    The key words are “probably” and “seems”.

    So, in your world, we should suspect the worst until proven otherwise? I mean, you SEEM like a nice guy, but should I distrust your words assuring your decency or, if there is no evidence to doubt it, would it make more sense to accept what seems likely?

    You seem a bit cynical.

    But let me give you a break: The studies and comments you are looking at portray gay men as licentious, say 60-80% of the time. That’s a pretty bad track record. But from what I’ve seen, lesbians are much more likely to be faithful, more like in the realm of traditional opposite sex unions. Additionally, older men (straight and gay) are less likely to sleep around than their younger cohorts – have you seen any research that isn’t looking at mostly young gay men?

    Anyway, given a 80% non-monogamous track record, let’s say you’re justified in being wary as to whether gay married men are in the 20% monogamous group. But, would you be as willing to trust married lesbians whom have not demonstrated anything but fine more fiber as you appear willing to trust straight married couples? Or are they equally suspect, even though lesbians don’t sleep around as much as young gay men?

    And even if you’re wary of married gay guys, why wouldn’t we want to encourage the 20% to become 40% faithful? And 60, 75% faithful? Why not?

    That’s the question to be answered.

    ~Dan

    • I think he is saying that since the overwhelming gay population is unfaithful and not monogamous by traditional standards (remember many homosexuals don’t consider it cheating if their partner knows about it), we shouldnt act as though the exception is the rule.

      We also shouldnt take the example of lesbians, who may or may not be considerably more faithful as being the controling factor in the discussion and ignore the rest of the group.

      You are keen on selective consideration. You take the exceptions and project that ideal on to everyone else when that projection is wholly unwarranted.

  74. “So, in your world, we should suspect the worst until proven otherwise?”

    Nope, didn’t say this nor even hint at it.

    What I actually literally did say is that factually literally and linguistically the terms “probably” and “seems” do not equate to “fact”.

    In the course of one series of comments you’ve been adamant that the monogamy of these folks you know is a “fact”, then you back away from that “fact” and equivocate with “probably” and “seems”.

    It doesn’t seem to be sinking in that no matter what the actual situation of this small group of gay people you know, it doesn’t represent the larger gay community. These people could be the paragons of monogamy for all any of us know, yet it means nothing in terms of any overall look at behavior in the gay community.

    It seems as though you are saying that the only way for gay folks to be monogamous is to allow them to marry. Are you saying that gay folk are incapable of monogamy unless they are married? Are you really saying that simply because they haven’t been treated in the way they prefer in the past, that this is somehow justification for sexual license in the present?

    In all honesty, this is one of the more bizarre series of comments I’ve seen from you. You acknowledge that John et al are correct in how they characterize behavior in the gay community, yet insist that because you happen to know a few people that don’t fit the overall trend, that your anecdotal experience trumps the clear evidence.

    You concede; “The studies and comments you are looking at portray gay men as licentious, say 60-80% of the time. That’s a pretty bad track record.”, by citing studies, yet then turn to your own personal experience when it comes to lesbians. Do you not see the problem here.

    OK Dan says his experience is X, so of course we should accept his experience uncritically. By what standard is that reasonable.

    “…why wouldn’t we want to encourage the 20% to become 40% faithful? And 60, 75% faithful? Why not?”

    Why would you assume that anyone would not be supportive of people, no matter what or who they choose to have sax with, being less promiscuous. Why would you even begin to assume anyone in this thread would be in favor of more promiscuity.

  75. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Are you saying that gay folk are incapable of monogamy unless they are married?

    Nope, didn’t say that.

    Are you really saying that simply because they haven’t been treated in the way they prefer in the past, that this is somehow justification for sexual license in the present?

    No, of course not, I never said that. I think I’ve been pretty clear, but let me put it another way, because you all still do not appear to be getting my point:

    We are all sexual creatures, created by God (for those of us who believe in God) with sexual desires.

    Our sexual desires are not, in and of themselves, bad. In fact, without our sexual desires, the world would end (at least for humans). We are created as sexual beings and that is a good thing, most people could agree.

    But just because sexual behavior and desires are a good thing does not mean that all sexual behavior is good or healthy. Indeed, we can all probably agree that there are more and less healthy behaviors and even harmful sexual behaviors (setting aside for a moment the obvious, such as child abuse, rape and assault, which are more behaviors of violence and aggression, not sexuality).

    AND SO, what I’m saying is that it is pretty obvious that the most healthy sexual behavior is in the context of a committed, monogamous, loving marriage relationship. Societies have tended to recognize this and encourage and support marriage as the optimal place for our sexual expressions.

    AND SO, I’m saying if we can agree this is true for straight people and encourage it in straight people, why would we not encourage safe, healthy, loving marriage (for reasons of sex as well as companionship and family and community) for gay folk? Encouraging marriage is, on the face of it, moral, good, healthy and beautiful, why would we offer that safe and beautiful place for straight people but deny it to gay folk?

    I can think of no logical or moral reason for doing so.

    John…

    You take the exceptions and project that ideal on to everyone else when that projection is wholly unwarranted.

    No, factually, I have not done this. You clearly have misunderstood my point.

    I have taken the HEALTHY examples (ie, those who are in faithful, loving committed marriage arrangements) and asked the simple question: Why would we NOT encourage and support the healthy as an option instead of the unhealthy?

    By wanting to encourage healthy, loving, committed relationships, I have not said that they are the norm (although they are in my community, by all evidence)? Do you understand that this is NOT what I have said? That is, no where in all my words have I said or suggested, “My local community is the norm,” because that is not what I have intended to say, and so I never said or suggested that. Do you understand that?

    No, I have not said they are the norm, I’ve said that example is the healthy and good example… why would we NOT support what is healthy and good?

    Now do you understand what I’m saying? Now would you like to answer that question so we can see that you understand what I’m saying and what I’m asking?

    ~Dan

  76. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    yet then turn to your own personal experience when it comes to lesbians.

    ? I cited the 2009 and 2011 studies that said that lesbians were more likely to be monogamous than straight men or women, which happens to correspond with my particular community. It’s in the USA today report somewhere not too far above. I guess you missed that one.

    Craig…

    You concede; “The studies and comments you are looking at portray gay men as licentious, say 60-80% of the time. That’s a pretty bad track record.”,

    Just to clarify: I concede those are the results of the studies you are citing. I’ve also read studies saying that the numbers are likely lower now and trending downwards. I’ve noted the problems with many of the surveys (that they are decades old, sometimes during the “sexual revolution” when licentious behavior – gay and straight – was more prevalent, that they found their data from bars, as opposed to churches, etc). My guess, based on what I’ve read, is that it sounds like young gay guys still TEND to be way more promiscuous than lesbians and straight men and women (and young straight men tend to be much more promiscuous than women…), but that there is a significant number of gay men who are not licentious and that the percentage (towards monogamy and away from licentiousness) is increasing. The problem with surveys of this particular group is that gay folk are such a small percentage of the population that getting valid results has, according to those who study this, been tricky.

    Again, as I’ve noted before, this is a population that was abused and forced underground and which had to develop their own subculture away from moralizing influences, such as faith communities (which by and large rejected them). As a result, this subculture became hypersexualized. I suspect that, as homosexuality becomes more accepted as just another orientation, they hypersexuality will decrease and gay guys will become more willing to embrace monogamy and fidelity. Which is why it’s a good thing to encourage faithful, loving, healthy marriage relationships.

    Do you have any reason to oppose faithful, loving, healthy marriage relationships?

    Craig…

    Why would you assume that anyone would not be supportive of people, no matter what or who they choose to have sax with, being less promiscuous. Why would you even begin to assume anyone in this thread would be in favor of more promiscuity.

    I’m not assuming. I’m asking the question (repeatedly, which repeatedly has been ignored): Why would we NOT support faithful, loving, committed marriage arrangements for straight AND gay folk? You see the question mark? It indicates a question…

    See how that works?

    See how you still haven’t answered the question? Can you see how it begins to make people think… “Well, maybe they DO think ‘the gays’ are incapable of fidelity… maybe they ARE opposed to faithful, loving, committed marriage relationships…” I don’t know, because no one has answered these questions.

    ~Dan

  77. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    In the course of one series of comments you’ve been adamant that the monogamy of these folks you know is a “fact”, then you back away from that “fact” and equivocate with “probably” and “seems”.

    One more clarification: I said that I know that they are factually in monogamous relationships. That IS a fact. They are married (either legally or by church blessing) and, like our straight friends, are confessing to being in a monogamous relationship. They are not saying “We have an ‘open relationship,'” but that they are the ones for each other, just as is true for my straight friends. It is, by confession and all evidence, a monogamous relationship that they are in.

    Now, if they are secretly cheating on one another or secretly having multiple partners, I can’t attest 100% to that, but there is no evidence of it. The relationship – out in the open – is a monogamous one. Do you get my distinction?

    And again, since these are people (fallen and imperfect, to be sure) of impeccable moral character, I have no reason to suspect that they are secretly having affairs, any more than I might suspect any of you gentlemen are having affairs in the dark of the night. These are strong men and women and I know them well. IF they believed in “open marriages,” then they’d have no problem saying so.

    Again, there is zero evidence to cause me to suspect they are anything other than what they appear on the face of it and I’m not in the business of suspecting people with zero evidence. And I’m certainly not in the habit of making charges with zero evidence.

    That would be wrong and make me appear foolish and I don’t wish to be foolish.

    ~Dan

  78. Nice tap dance, Dan.

    You ask, is it not possible that homosexuals could maintain a truly (by true definition, not homosexual definition) monogamous relationship. I say, yes, it’s possible. So what? I also know that many homosexuals/lesbians have left the lifestyle to live out a traditional marital relationship and it is THAT type of relationship that I would encourage ANY person to seek out and abide, because it is they type we were created (by God) and designed (by nature) to live. So my question to you is, do you not agree that it is possible for homosexuals/lesbians to forsake their sexual compulsions in favor of truth, logic and the will of God and find a companion of the opposite sex?

  79. Yes Dan,

    We get it. You know one couple of lesbian grandmotherly types who factually are in a stable monogamous relationship. Except you don’t actually know this to a certainty. How do we know this, you’ve been adamant and clear about both of these things.

    To this we say, so what. You have an example that goes against both the studies and what the gay community says about itself.

    To, again, answer your petulant and silly question.

    Of course it is better for people to be less promiscuous. It is better no matter who or what they choose to sleep with. It is better whether married or not. It is better to restrain ones sexual urges until after marriage as well. Yet your one couple example demonstrates that it is “factually” possible for a gay couple to live a happy, loving, satisfying, monogamous (real definition, not gay definition) life, without the privilege of a state sanctioned marriage. Yet, you continue to tie monogamy and marriage together as if the state sanctioning a union somehow confers monogamy.

    So, by all means let’s encourage gays to look at monogamy in it’s traditional definition. Let’s encourage gays to postpone satisfying their carnal urges until after marriage. Let’s encourage gays to cut back on their promiscuous behavior.

    It’s a nice goal, too bad significant portions of the gay community don’t agree with you on it.

  80. paynehollow says:

    And I understand that this is your opinion about what God wants, but you know what Marshall? Many people (myself included) simply don’t care what your opinion about what God wants FOR ME is.

    I’m opposed to forcing your religious views (or my religious views) on anyone else in this free nation because we have the freedom of conscience in this country to embrace God as we understand God (or not at all) without having another person’s religious views imposed by force of law.

    So, if you believe that God doesn’t want you to marry a guy, don’t and we will bless your decision. If you believe that God wants you to marry a blonde woman, then do (if the woman consents) and we won’t stop you.

    We just expect and demand that same liberty.

    So what, you ask? SO, given that gay folk aren’t going to change their orientation to please you, then isn’t it reasonable to encourage and support loving, faithful, committed marriages for straight and gay folk? I can’t see how the answer is anything but Yes, it is reasonable AND moral.

    ~Dan Trabue

    • Dan You seem to be trying to force me to tolerate what I believe to be sin. You seem to be trying to force me to accept a new radical definition of marriage and be OK with it. Both run contrary to my religious sensibilities but youre trying to force it nonetheless.

  81. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    To this we say, so what. You have an example that goes against both the studies and what the gay community says about itself.

    I have many examples, not just the one. And here’s the part that you all appear to be failing to understand: “What the gay community says about itself” is NOT ONE THING. Some gay guys (many, even, perhaps the majority, but we don’t know for sure) prefer non-monogamy. Many lesbians (apparently more so than straight men and women) prefer monogamy. Some gay guys (apparently, increasing in number, largely thanks to increased support for marriage equity, according to what many gay guys report) prefer monogamy.

    So what? So, let’s encourage it and, if they want to get married and getting married helps solidify monogamy, then let’s support that.

    It’s the only rational and moral thing to do.

    ~Dan

  82. paynehollow says:

    John…

    You seem to be trying to force me to accept a new radical definition of marriage and be OK with it. Both run contrary to my religious sensibilities but youre trying to force it nonetheless.

    It might “seem” that way to you, but no, as I have actually said, I don’t care if you support it. Feel free to disagree with people getting married all you want. It’s okay, we don’t care that you don’t like it, knock yourself out.

    Just don’t try to impose your religious views about what God wants on us.

    Fair enough?

    ~Dan

  83. paynehollow says:

    Look, fellas, just because we expect businesses to not discriminate and just because businesses don’t discriminate is not a sign that businesses agree with each customer. If a Muslim group goes into a grocer to buy some food to celebrate a Muslim holiday and just because the grocer sells to them knowing that’s how they’re going to use it, that is not a sign that the grocer is endorsing their religious views or practices.

    Anyone is free to disagree with the moral rectitude of holding a marriage commitment ceremony to celebrate the loving, faithful commitment of two people if they want. We don’t need your approval. Muslims don’t need your approval. Christians don’t need Muslims’ approval. It’s a free nation.

    Live and let live, as long as the behavior in question is not causing harm to innocent bystanders.

  84. I wish I had more time and hope by Sunday this thread is still active. There is so much Dan says that is horribly false and deceitful, along with other wild assertions put forth by him and others. Don’t have the time now for all of it, but would like to address a good amount of it. (I can check on my phone, but engaging by use of it is a pain.)

    For now, I must call Dan out on two things (maybe more):

    You asked and I answered your question regarding whether it is possible for homosexuals to maintain a truly monogamous relationship. But you refused to answer my question “do you not agree that it is possible for homosexuals/lesbians to forsake their sexual compulsions in favor of truth, logic and the will of God and find a companion of the opposite sex?” THAT would be the moral thing for them to do, though you reject God’s crystal clear teaching regarding the sinfulness of homosexual behavior. What He called and abomination can never be good, noble, pure and whatever else you want to insist it can be. There is NO, absolutely NO evidence that God meant to allow for some context in which homosexual behavior could be tolerated by Him and in any way a blessed thing. Nothing, but your inserting meaning that doesn’t exist in the text anywhere. I could again provide that list of pro-homosexual Biblical scholars that concur with this fact (including one who is a lesbian), but you know so much than they do.

    So, since you are afraid to answer that question, I’ll ask one that mirrors your corrupted perspective perfectly: Is it not possible that a brother & sister, or mother & son or father & daughter could maintain a truly loving, lasting and monogamous relationship? Or are you going to reverse course and suggest that statistics trump this possibility and therefor the position is untenable?

    Next, since you know so much about the strength of your lesbian grandmother’s sexual lives, you must have meddled in order to get that information. Suggesting the strong possibility that they or any other homosexual union is likely not monogamous in the classic sense is not meddling at all. Supporting traditional marriage as the only union worthy of state interest is also not meddling. Indeed, there is nothing akin to meddling in any argument against SSM or the behavior upon which it is based. Why you insist on bringing up meddling in a discussion that was supposed to be about why people won’t speak out against bad behavior is suspiciously like demonizing those who would stand for truth and righteousness when doing so interferes with the personal lives of your sinful friends.

  85. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    “do you not agree that it is possible for homosexuals/lesbians to forsake their sexual compulsions in favor of truth, logic and the will of God and find a companion of the opposite sex?”

    I do not think it is possible to really reject our natural orientation and, even if you want to try, I don’t think it wise. I can’t imagine how awful it would be to my psyche and person to try to “make” myself be something other than my natural sexual orientation. Now, having said that, if someone wants to choose that for themselves, I support their right to do that, for themselves. I think telling other people that they should try to forcibly change their natural orientation is meddling and meddling is wrong.

    Marshall…

    THAT would be the moral thing for them to do

    That is your opinion. You’re welcome to it FOR YOURSELF. You can choose whatever orientation you wish (or try to do so – I suspect it’s rather a futile and harmful thing, but you’re welcome to try it). But don’t try to force your opinions on such an innate thing on other people. That would be meddling and meddling is wrong.

    Marshall…

    What He called and abomination can never be good, noble, pure and whatever else you want to insist it can be.

    etc, etc

    These are all your opinions. You’re welcome to the for yourself, Just don’t try to force others to accept your opinions in areas of personal opinion where no harm is done. That would be meddling and meddling is wrong.

    Marshall…

    Is it not possible that a brother & sister, or mother & son or father & daughter could maintain a truly loving, lasting and monogamous relationship?

    I believe there is enough real world evidence to support the conclusion that these relationships are all harmful. IF it were possible to demonstrate that adult incest could be done in a healthy manner – where no harm is done – then I would be consistent and say live and let live.

    I don’t think you can make the case, though.

    Marshall…

    since you know so much about the strength of your lesbian grandmother’s sexual lives, you must have meddled in order to get that information.

    Just to be clear, my actual grandmothers are all passed on. I’m speaking of grandmothers (grandfathers, fathers, deacons, doctors, brothers, sisters, aunts, etc) we all know who are paragons of virtue. Their lives are testimony to their moral character. They would not, for instance, make a claim that they can’t support about people they don’t know. That would be slander and they know that to be wrong and would not do it.

    No, I have not “meddled” and asked them details about their sex lives. That would be meddling. But these are people I know.

    I wonder if part of this is that you all have no close relations where you can safely attest to their deep moral virtue and their devotion and love of spouse is not clear… or if it’s the case that you all are so turned on to the “utter depravity of humanity” teaching that you suspect all people, even your dearest and closest friends are capable of living secret lives on such fundamental levels?

    I know my friends and can attest to their moral character with a good deal of certainty. 100%? No, but 99%? Sure. Our church and faith community is a close knit group and we know each other well.

    Marshall…

    Suggesting the strong possibility that they or any other homosexual union is likely not monogamous in the classic sense is not meddling at all.

    Suggesting that people who are complete strangers to you might be secretly living swinging lives, that isn’t meddling? That isn’t slander? That isn’t false witness?

    Yes, it is, BY DEFINITION.

    You can’t say, “Oh, this statistic says that 60% of Group X is immoral, therefore, I can safely say that your friend who is in Group X is immoral and does these behaviors…”

    Statistics don’t work that way.

    And, again, lesbians are apparently more likely than straight guys to be monogamous, classically defined. According to statistics. So your argument sort of falls apart at least half the time on this point, EVEN IF your stats about young gay men are anywhere near accurate.

    Marshall…

    Why you insist on bringing up meddling in a discussion that was supposed to be about why people won’t speak out against bad behavior is suspiciously like demonizing

    John asked the question, “Why is it so hard to say “that is morally wrong”?” I answered it with a very good, very rational and very biblical response. You’re going to criticize me for giving a biblical answer to a question that was asked in this post??

    People rightly are wary of saying, “Ya know, you’re sinning…” because the Bible repeatedly warns about meddling, placing it next to Murder as a sin. The Bible repeatedly warns about judging wrongly. The Bible repeatedly warns about slander, gossip, being a busybody…. placing all these behaviors in the category of, “Not of the Kingdom of God.”

    It is my opinion, therefore, that we do well to be wary about too freely getting into people’s business on matters of personal opinion and where no harm is being done.

    ~Dan

  86. paynehollow says:

    If you’re suggesting that families whose kids MAY not do as well in school ought NOT be allowed to have families or be married, that they are causing harm to their children, then I see your bet and raise you…

    http://createperfection.hubpages.com/hub/University-Study-Shows-People-With-Lower-IQs-Are-Conservatives

    IF your contention is that kids not faring as well by one measure of the other, then clearly, conservatives ought to be banned from having children and (by your reasoning) if they can’t have children, then they should not be allowed to marry.

    Is that your point?

    ~Dan Trabue

    • My point is married samesex couples are not as good for kids as opposite sex married couples in at least this measure. There are other measures, but this is the newest peer reviewed scientific study rebutting your claims.

  87. paynehollow says:

    John…

    My point is married samesex couples are not as good for kids as opposite sex married couples in at least this measure.

    So, are you suggesting people ought not be allowed to marry and have kids if they are in a group (in a group, mind you, not them themselves, but just that they are part of a group) that statistically MIGHT not be “as good for kids” on some point?

    Again, if that is your point, then since according to at least one studies, kids in conservative families are not as bright as other kids, should conservatives not be allowed to marry and have kids?

    Or, should we let people make their own decisions about marriage and family, independent of what group(s) they may or may not be part of, as long as they’re not deciding to cause harm?

    The latter makes most sense to me, but I’d really be interested in knowing your answer.

    ~Dan

  88. paynehollow says:

    …because, returning to the point of this post, saying “You are in a group where your kids might not do as well as other kids, therefore you can’t marry or have kids…” sounds like meddling, to me. And meddling is wrong.

    ~Dan

  89. http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/06/26/most_gay_couples_aren_t_monogamous_will_straight_couples_go_monogamish.html

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2906147/

    “One aspect of gay couples that may play an important role in determining HIV risk is sexual agreements (hereafter referred to as ‘agreements’). Widespread among gay couples, agreements are the decisions couples make about whether they allow sex with outside partners and the sexual behaviors they engage in together.”

    http://www.queerty.com/study-monogamish-gay-couples-happier-than-single-or-monogamous-guys-20130208/

    “A study conducted through Hunter College confirms what a lot of gay men will tell you: being in a monogamous relationship isn’t the only road to happiness.”

    “http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/us/29sfmetro.html?_r=0”

    “Love brought the middle-age couple together — they wed during California’s brief legal window for same-sex marriage. But they knew from the beginning that their bond would be forged on their own terms, including what they call “play” with other women.”

    “A study to be released next month is offering a rare glimpse inside gay relationships and reveals that monogamy is not a central feature for many. ”

    “Still, they all report that varying degrees of non-monogamy are fairly common among male couples. Gay men seem more likely to explicitly address this question in their relationships than lesbian or heterosexual couples. ”

    This took about 10 minutes of a google search.

    It would seem that not only is traditional monogamy passe in much of the gay community, but thee is a move to suggest that non monogamy leads to more happiness and mental health.

    Of course, we all know that the NY Times, Slate etc are simply a bunch of old white male homophobes who simply cherry pick some fringe whacko authors.

  90. I didn’t pull out the links within the articles, so there should be plenty to keep those who are willing to spend the time, busy.

  91. paynehollow says:

    I understand that there are SOME gay guys who use “monogamy” to mean something different. There are also gay guys and lesbians who use “monogamy” to mean the normal thing.

    What of it?

    I suspect that, with the “normalization” of gay-ness, we’ll see those numbers go down.

    Again, if we believe monogamy is good and healthy, why would we not support it?

    • Dan, quit with your BS. Its not “Some” it turns out that its the majority even by the numbers you yourself quoted of gay men who are promiscuous and not monogamous. Seriously cut the shit.

  92. paynehollow says:

    John, no shit. All is not the same as Some. Basic logic.

    I’m fine with you thinking that those who do engage in serial sexuality is a bad thing, if that makes you feel better.

    But you should not presume that because people are in a group, that they therefore are doing all the things that some people do. You should not stereotype. Just because, let’s say 90% of a group does something, does not make it right for you to say to a complete stranger in that group, “Hah, you are a liar and have multiple sexual partners, you’re bad!” That would be meddling and presumptuous and that behavior is wrong.

    And again, you have failed to answer my question: Your logic above seemed to be, “If there is some way in which Group X’s children may not do as well as the rest of society, then they should not marry and should not have children.”

    My opinion of that idea is it’s presumptuous and meddling and, therefore, wrong.

    What about you? Can you clarify if that is indeed your point?

    And still I wonder: It seems your problems are with the gay men who are promiscuous, so, are you cool with lesbians, since they’re more faithful than straight men?

    Another thing I wonder: if you had a loved one who for years lived an extremely promiscuous gay life, and were very concerned for him/her. Then one day, they told you they were settling down and getting married with the plan to be a faithful, one-partner spouse… would you rejoice in that with them, or would you “help” them by telling them they’re still sinning and they’re no better off in a “fake marriage” (as you might think of it) than with multiple partners?

    ~Dan

  93. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Its not “Some” it turns out that its the majority even by the numbers you yourself quoted of gay men who are promiscuous and not monogamous.

    “Some” is a portion of “All,” John, so yes, it is Some. But consider the impressive numbers from the 2011 study: the percentage who cheated on a partner they lived with dropped to 59% from 83%… Over 30 years, monogamy increased by a huge percentage. If this trend keeps up, then in a few years, it will not even be a “majority,” of gay men (even if these polls are relatively accurate), but a minority. Can I use “Some” then? At what point is it acceptable for me to use “some” to describe a portion of “all…”?

  94. “All is not the same as Some. Basic logic.”

    Of course basic logic would dictate that no one is saying that some means all. What is being said is that some means some. In this case it appears that some means a majority. Of course basic logic dictates that if a majority of a group engages in a behavior, then it becomes reasonable to make certain generalizations about the behavior of that group.

    Of course basic logic also dictates that some is not the same as all. Therefore when one hinges their entire argument on what is presumed, or even observed, behavior of some basic logic would dictate that one could not extrapolate the behavior of some to have any bearing on the behavior of all. Or even of a majority.

  95. Basic logic would also dictate that now that the predilections of this tiny percentage of the population are becoming more mainstream, that the push for monogamish instead of monogamy is next in line.

  96. paynehollow says:

    59% does not sound like, to me, a large majority. In the English language, “some” is a part of all with no clarifiers saying “some is only under 25%”.

    Craig…

    Of course basic logic would dictate that no one is saying that some means all.

    It sounds very much like John and others are saying exactly that. Which is why I’ve repeatedly asked them to clarify. Answering questions helps in communication, seems to me, but maybe that’s just me.

    Craig…

    Of course basic logic dictates that if a majority of a group engages in a behavior, then it becomes reasonable to make certain generalizations about the behavior of that group.

    No, it doesn’t. If “some” Muslims or Christians – 60%, say – are not scientifically literate, does it make sense to say to a completely unknown Muslim or Christian, “So, you know nothing about science, so let me explain something to you…”? No, that would be arrogant as hades. No, generalizations are a bad idea, especially if you’re talking about complete strangers whose stories, lives and moral character you don’t know.

    I would say that speaking from a place of ignorance is always a bad idea, as is stereotyping based on ignorance. I think reasonable people can agree to that idea.

    Craig, I’ll ask you the same question I asked John:

    if you had a loved one who for years lived an extremely promiscuous gay life, and were very concerned for him/her. Then one day, they told you they were settling down and getting married with the plan to be a faithful, one-partner spouse… would you rejoice in that with them, or would you “help” them by telling them they’re still sinning and they’re no better off in a “fake marriage” (as you might think of it) than with multiple partners?

  97. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Basic logic would also dictate that now that the predilections of this tiny percentage of the population are becoming more mainstream, that the push for monogamish instead of monogamy is next in line.

    I don’t think logic dictates that, at all. I think logic dictates the opposite: When a group is isolated and insulated, then their particular habits are reinforced by the smaller group. As they become mainstreamed with the larger group, they tend to (historically speaking) tend to take on the habits and mores of the larger group, for better and for worse.

    We can see this with marginalized groups throughout history. I bet you and I can agree on that, since it’s so demonstrable.

    ~Dan

  98. So hard to keep up when not by one’s computer. So I’ll just jump in.

    Here is another avenue to the Canadian study mentioned above. The significant point is that it is based on a huge sampling. Dan’s desperate IQ offering provides no info whatever as regards sampling numbers. It does, however, provide incredibly typical crap like this:

    “The article above suggests that conservatives attempt to live within a previously standardized mode of thought. They are not ones to step outside conventional and traditional beliefs. Their tendency is to try to destroy what they do not understand because change and evolution scare them. They are concerned only for themselves and their families. They like the institutions of the past for no other reason than they are of the past. “

    I have NEVER met a conservative that resembles anything like what Dan’s offering suggests about conservatives. I HAVE, however, seen numerous examples of Dan’s own sorry understanding of conservatism. That Dan uses the link he did supports this. In any case, the positions of the average liberal do not lend any measure of import to IQ, considering how incredibly idiotic leftist positions tend to be. Indeed, it suggests that people of high IQ are dangerous to mankind. In short, Dan’s attempt to mitigate the value of John’s link with his own link to the ambiguous IQ study suggests Dan has a very high IQ.

    “No, generalizations are a bad idea,”

    I’ll keep that in mind the next time you talk about anabaptists. Generalizations have value in cutting to the chase. But those for whom a generalization reflects poorly might indeed balk. That’s the case here as Dan attempts to diminish the known facts that reflect poorly on people he knows personally. His lesbian grandmothers, for example, assuming they are the pure and noble matriarchs of his congregation Dan describes them to be, do not detract from the significance of studies and surveys that show the character of the homosexual community in general, and how we use that information to craft public policy.

    Moving on…

    “this is a population that was abused and forced underground and which had to develop their own subculture away from moralizing influences, such as faith communities (which by and large rejected them). As a result, this subculture became hypersexualized.”

    What an incredibly laughable suggestion! So, your position is that because the Church continually reminded them that homosexual behavior is an abomination before God, that they engaged in it in a very promiscuous manner as a result? It’s amazing the crap you’ll tell yourself to justify your twisted position on this issue. It illustrates an extreme of the very phenomenon John original post discusses. Rather than defend Scripture, rather than defend logic and fact, you will do, say and believe anything that seeks to legitimize a sinful behavior by disordered individuals.

    As to Scripture, I do not force anything but the facts, which is that the behavior is prohibited totally, just as Lev 18:22 says. It in no way provides a loophole by which your lesbian grandmothers can pretend their lifestyle isn’t the abomination it is (this is, of course, assuming that if they regard themselves as “married”, then they at some point most have consummated their relationship—only Dan knows for sure).

    Now, Dan will say this is my hunch and I’m welcome to it. But a hunch is a belief or idea about something (especially a future event) that is not based on facts or evidence or a strong intuitive feeling, and this does not describe the fact that is supported by “Thou shalt not” minus any qualification or exception. Dan’s position, in opposition to mine, is not a hunch, either. Rather, it is Dan forcing into the text what appeals to him but does not exist otherwise in any way, shape or form. And while he stomps his feet in tantrum telling me I can’t force my beliefs on anyone else, what I’m only doing is insisting on what is fact and pointing out that people like Dan ignores those facts in their support for the sinful and disordered.

    Nor is it meddling, as if I am seeking out his lesbian grandmothers to harass, nag and scold them about their sinfulness. Indeed, no one is suggesting anyone meddle by standing for truth and righteousness. I believe that John’s topic concerns those who are confronted with behaviors or opinions they know to be wrong, immoral or harmful and feel uncomfortable speaking their mind. Meddling would involve a more personal insertion of one into the private lives of others.

    If John and I are friends and I know he is cheating on his wife, it would not be meddling for me to approach him privately to encourage fidelity. It would be meddling for me to approach his wife and tattle. If it became known to me that John and his wife are having problems, it would be meddling for me to assume my input is valuable enough to push upon them without invitation. (Just a couple of examples for the sake of the topic)

  99. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    If John and I are friends and I know he is cheating on his wife

    The salient points here are…

    1. IF you are friends – someone you actually know and love and have a history of trust and love in your relationship…

    2. And you KNOW the sinful behavior… When you start making generalizations about strangers because they belong to a group, you do not know the people, you are not coming from a position of a loving relationship and you do not know their behavior.

    Strike one, two and three. You’re not expressing concern, you’re meddling into someone else’s business and life without an invitation.

    While the Bible factually never once says, “thou shalt not marry, gay guys and gals” it DOES say, “Thou shalt not meddle.”

    So, I’d advise against it.

    ~Dan

  100. At this point, Dan, it is clear that you find any expressed disapproval for any behavior to be meddling. It is also clear you have trouble inferring salient points. My purpose was to distinguish what constitutes a form of meddling that would be objectionable as opposed to intervening in bad behaviors, as one would an alcoholic or drug abuser. In other words, would it be meddling to involve yourself with a guy who beats his wife in the privacy of his own home? You’d certainly be unwanted by him, which is a factor in describing meddling.

    Every passage you offered having to do with meddling in your very first comment has nothing to do with addressing bad behaviors or opinions in the type of context to which John was referring in his post. They do, however, seem to be purposely used in order to accuse those who stand against bad behaviors, such as sex between those of the same gender.

    They certainly do not apply to John’s suggestion to you that perhaps the homosexuals and lesbians you know aren’t necessarily straightforward with you regarding their personal sexual habits. Based on all we know about the homosexual/lesbian community, supported by their own testimonies, the likelihood that any same-sex couple you know being less than monogamous is high. Doesn’t mean it’s automatic, and I doubt John meant to suggest that. However, I would cut him slack simply because of your foolishly stating that you know with certainty that they are faithful to each other when there’s no way you could possibly know with certainty.

    As to meddling, there is no “thou shalt not” connected to meddling anywhere in Scripture. There is clearly such regarding a male lying with a male as one would with a female. You again show your willingness to pervert Scripture for your own gain. Worse, you do this while at the same time assuming that my more accurate representation of what Scripture teaches is tantamount to forcing others to believe what I believe. That’s like demonizing me for insisting that people believe two plus two equals four.

    You also do not think it is possible to really reject our natural orientation. This is Biblically false. Indeed, we are taught to be holy because God is holy. This teaching suggests very clearly that we are oriented toward something far less than holy or the teaching would be moot and superfluous. We are each oriented toward all sorts of behaviors, many of which are not beneficial and are worth overcoming for His sake, if not our own. To suggest that it is not beneficial to us to transcend our base lusts, to suggest that it is impossible, even if difficult, despite Scripture clearly teaching us that all things are possible through Christ, demonstrates your lack of conviction and faith.

  101. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    In other words, would it be meddling to involve yourself with a guy who beats his wife in the privacy of his own home?

    I’m sure you missed it, but I already addressed this. I said earlier that I don’t think it is meddling to intervene in cases of harm being done. Period. So no, it’s not meddling to stop abuse of some sort.

    But on matters of personal opinion (I think this behavior is wrong) on topics where you don’t have all the facts where no one is being harmed, that seems like to me to be a reasonable line to draw for meddling.

    Marshall…

    Every passage you offered having to do with meddling in your very first comment has nothing to do with addressing bad behaviors or opinions in the type of context to which John was referring in his post.

    ? How do you know? The passages just condemn “meddling,” and being a busybody, it does not define what meddling is, any more than the passages that mention “men laying with men” tells you specifically what that means.

    You appear willing to state with certainty, “I know what ‘men laying with men’ means with no doubt and that means that gay marriages are wrong, AND I know that the condemnations of ‘meddling’ are not talking about the things I want to meddle in…”

    Seriously, how do you KNOW that you are guessing right on the meaning of these words and “rules” that you are generating? Where does the Bible define “meddling”? Where does the Bible define “men laying with men” (who you know, should be killed, according to the Bible… but you “know” that the “kill” part does not apply today…) You seem to be making presumptions that you “know” the One Right Answer on these questions, but on what basis is your interpretation right?

    With me, I have made it clear that the Bible does not tell us what meddling is and where I drew the line (with causing harm) is only my opinion. I do not KNOW that I’m speaking for God, I’m only saying what I find reasonable.

    Marshall…

    Worse, you do this while at the same time assuming that my more accurate representation of what Scripture teaches is tantamount to forcing others to believe what I believe. That’s like demonizing me for insisting that people believe two plus two equals four.

    And here again is the salient point:

    We can KNOW that 2 + 2 = 4, it is demonstrable.

    You do NOT “know” that people committing to a loving, faithful marriage is wrong – indeed, on the face of it, it seems abundantly right, beautiful, noble and good.

    You confuse your opinions with facts. You assume your opinion is comparable to a simple mathematical fact and that is where you all err. Opinions are not the same as facts. Period. They do not equal, and THAT is a fact.

    ~Dan

  102. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    You also do not think it is possible to really reject our natural orientation. This is Biblically false.

    Again, you appear to be conflating your opinion with God’s Word and “fact.”

    First of all, I said I don’t think we can safely reject our natural sexual orientation. I say this not based on a hunch but based upon the medical record and research. The APA has, after researching the practice, declared it unhealthy. And that is rational to see, just from simple reasoning. How harmful would it be for you if someone tried to force you to be gay? Would it ever happen? Sure, if you have enough shock therapy, social pressure, abuse of the idea, etc, you might be able to force yourself to sleep with men instead of women, but would you ever find men sexually attractive, Marshall? Or would that just drive you nuts trying to force your natural sexual orientation in a different direction what is natural and innate?

    Marshall…

    We are each oriented toward all sorts of behaviors, many of which are not beneficial and are worth overcoming for His sake, if not our own. To suggest that it is not beneficial to us to transcend our base lusts…

    I’m speaking of rational and evidence, not your opinions about what God wants. On the face of it, I can see nothing “base” or “not beneficial” about committing to another person in a loving, healthy committed marriage relationship. Where is the harm in that? The “baseness” in that? It’s a beautiful, healthy, safe, noble and good place to express our sexual selves. Against such things, where is the law?

    I’m not saying that we ought not refrain from those behaviors that harm or are bad. I’m saying there is nothing innately harmful or bad about a beautiful thing like marriage.

    I recognize that you hold this opinion that God thinks its bad, but God has not told you this and I don’t think reason or real world evidence supports it, so I have to go in a different direction from your opinions. You are welcome to yours, just don’t try to force it on everyone else, especially by weight of law. That would be wrong.

    Oh, and, as you can see, I clearly DO think that some things can be called “wrong,” despite your assertion that I am “find any expressed disapproval for any behavior to be meddling.” I just ask that we base those “wrong” things on something more tangible than mere human opinion, at least when you start telling other people they are “wrong.”

    ~Dan

  103. Dan,
    If 60% of a given group engage in a certain behavior, then it means that there is roughly a 60% chance that any individual in that group engages in that behavior. Given that, it is reasonable to assume that the statistically likely that one can make at least some generalizations about behavior. Obviously, this only goes so far, but it’s not unreasonable to make the assumption.

    As to your question, I’ll gladly answer it, although you probably won’t be happy with my answer. I also have to note that your hypothetical seems constructed to get an answer that is consistent with your preconceived generalizations about the beliefs and actions you project onto those who disagree with you.

    Gotta go, I’ll get to it later.

    • So Craig, if we use the model you have given above, I could make the following generalization and draw assumptions:

      Bureau of Prisons states that between 81-84% of all federally detained prisoners identify as christians. Since only 74% of the citizenry identifies as per the census with being christian, can I assume that most christians are, or will be, or were previously felons?

      And since every movie I have ever seen about prison seemingly makes light of gay sex, both forced and not, then 8.5 of every 10 christians engage in casual or forced anal sex, or have, or will, with their fellow gay christian felons.

      Having sat on the sidelines for most of this exchange a couple things come to mind. I remain unconvinced that gay marriage is inherently evil, wrong or immoral. I remain unconvinced that a minority of far right christians are in any position to dictate the policy of preventing two unrelated people from marrying. I have seen zero legitimate legal argument that could be used in a court to prevent these people from marrying.

  104. Nash,

    You obviously go the same school for idiotic analogies as Dan does. It is not out of the question that in a country where so many identify as Christian, it is only reasonable to assume a similar percentage in prison would also identify as such. It is also quite possible that reason the percentage number might be slightly higher than in the general public could be that prison ministries are effective and/or that convicted felons are liars.

    And as Dan hypocritically points out, you have no right to assume that your opinion regarding what is a legitimate argument is worthy of widespread acceptance.

    • And marshal, you also have no right to assume. And more to the point your forcing of what you view as moral has lost in the public square. You are the minority, in a country that values the majority consensus. Not even electing zealots to occupy 5% of Congress can change that.

      That makes your position at a minimum a stalemate or a loss.

  105. paynehollow says:

    True, Nash. As an anabaptist, while I may believe that my Just Peacemaking/pacifism views are extremely rational and moral and the call for all Christians, we are clearly in the minority. I don’t expect our minority voice should be able to force the law of the land.

    Further, IF I want my views on war and peace to move into public policy, it simply doesn’t matter how loud or long I say, “But I think the Bible is clear: THIS IS WHAT GOD WANTS!”… unless I can make a rational case that wins over the hearts and minds of my fellow citizens, I shouldn’t expect people to cave simply because of what I might believe God wants.

    As to my question to you all, Craig, John, Marshall… anyone else… let me give an example*:

    While I support decriminalizing drugs, I think drug abuse is a bad thing – whatever the drug (legal or not) and don’t want to see drug abuse in the lives of any of my friends or families. Now, if my dear relative came up to me and said, “I’ve got great news! I’ve given up the daily cocaine binges and all drugs! I’m clean! Except for the cigarettes I smoke to calm my nerves, I’m a drug free fool!” I would celebrate with him.

    Does that mean I think smoking cigarettes a good thing? No, of course not. It’s pretty medically clear that cigarettes are not a healthy life choice. But still, from my point of view, he’s moved from more dangerous drugs down to one single and comparatively safer drug and that would be good news to me. Even though I disagree with cigarette smoking, I would honestly and deeply celebrate my loved one’s moving from cocaine to “only” cigarettes.

    That’s what I’m asking any of you all: even if you think two people committing to a loving, faithful marriage relationship is somehow “wrong,” would you not be able to sincerely celebrate this move to a more stable, less promiscuous place?

    (*with the caveat that, of course, cigarette smoking actually does cause harm, objectively speaking from a place of observable science, whereas two folks living in a loving marriage relationship does no such harm in the real world in any way that is objectively demonstrable…)

    ~Dan

  106. “I said earlier that I don’t think it is meddling to intervene in cases of harm being done.”

    Here’s the deal, Dan. Meddling has nothing to do with what is going on, but whether or not your intervention, input or opinion is wanted. I have no doubt that your neighbor beating his wife has any interest in what you might say unless it supports his actions. Therefore, your interference would be meddling. Thus, what has provoked your interest would determine whether or not your meddling was wrong. The passages you provided (particularly those where “idleness” is mentioned) suggest this very thing.

    “But on matters of personal opinion (I think this behavior is wrong) on topics where you don’t have all the facts where no one is being harmed, that seems like to me to be a reasonable line to draw for meddling.”

    This is ridiculous. Personal opinion is where any intervention begins. If you agreed with the neighbor beating his wife, you wouldn’t meddle anyway.

  107. paynehollow says:

    I have no idea what you’re trying to say. I’m talking about right and wrong. The bible condemns meddling. Intervening in a beating is not a wrong sort of meddling. Intervening in something where it is none of your business on a matter of personal opinion, that is a wrong sort of meddling. I’m saying that is, I think, a reasonable line to draw on where meddling/intervening is right or wrong.

    I don’t think that the morality of beating someone IS a matter of personal opinion. It’s wrong. Period. Reasonable people can agree on this. ALL reasonable and moral people. And, if there are people whose personal opinion is that beating someone is okay, well, it’s STILL okay to intervene because harm is being done. Objectively.

    That’s what I’m saying. The Bible does not tell us (as in, factually and literally DOES NOT TELL US) what it means by meddling. I’m offering what I think is a reasonable place to draw the line, regardless of what your hunches about what God thinks on the matter. Do you disagree with my line? Fine, then offer some reason. But don’t say, “Well, I think it’s what God wants…” unless you have a personally signed letter from God saying so, because otherwise, I just don’t care that much what your hunch is about what God wants.

    Whether or not to wear polyester or get a tattoo or marry this person or that person or to use “asshat” or “boogerhead” is wrongly cussing… these are all matters of personal opinion. But no harm is being done, so meddling into people’s lives on these issues would seem to me to be reasonably considered wrongly meddling.

    ~Dan

  108. Nash,

    Consensus has nothing to do with what is moral or right, but only what is legally allowed. Unfortunately, in some circumstances, it leads to great cultural harm, as we can see in CDC statistics regarding sexual ills. But only a lefty would suggest giving up on truth because fewer people stand for truth. Only a lefty would call one who insists on truth a “zealot”, as if being zealous for truth and righteousness is a bad thing. And only a lefty would insist that standing for truth, taking every opportunity to counter falsehood, is “forcing” anything.

    • Well marshal, there’s an entry level propaganda writing position open at the Heritage Foundation you might want to shoot for……lefty this, lefty that.

  109. ” I shouldn’t expect people to cave simply because of what I might believe God wants.”

    And you’re a hypocritical asshole, not to mention an unrepentant liar, for continually suggesting that this is the sum total of my argument. How dare you posture yourself as one for whom grace in discourse is important!

    As to your smoking analogy, it sucks. Moving from one form of sinful and destructive sexual behavior to one less destructive is still sinful and disordered. IF one is truly concerned about those considered friends and members of a faith family, celebration would only occur once true repentance and change does. As to what two homosexuals wish to do in their private lives, I can only express sadness and hope that they will someday accept the truth. Until then, I can continue to voice my opposition to their selfish demands in the public arena. This is not meddling. It is protecting my culture against immoral and harmful behaviors.

    As to harm, I am not going to again list all the harm acceptance of homosexual behavior brings a culture. It is enough to insist it exists whether or not morally corrupt people like you choose to pretend it doesn’t.

    Gotta go.

  110. paynehollow says:

    By all means, stand for what you think is “truth.” BUT, recognize that it is your opinion. Other people may disagree. THAT is what we’re talking about Marshall. The problem with zealots and the difference between “zealots” and other people who also stand for Truth, is that zealots are certain that they and they alone have the One Right Answer on Truth, whereas other folk recognize that it is a matter of opinion, that we can’t prove we are right or wrong on this issue. Thus, we speak in terms of, “Is it reasonable to agree with me or not” as opposed to acting as if you are speaking for God and you alone are the wielder of truth and people can either agree with you or disagree with God.

    And conflating your own opinions with God’s Word is arrogant, presumptuous and a little crazy-sounding. I think this is what most people mean by “Zealot.”

    Thus, I have all manner of opinions, but I don’t walk up to my neighbor and tell him “You’re a sinner for driving that SUV!” or “You’re going to hell for thinking it’s okay to kill your enemy!” or “You reject God if you disagree with me on this point!” No, I don’t do that because it seems meddling and meddling is wrong.

    On the other hand, any time I have ever seen physical abuse happening, I will always intervene, because physical abuse is a wrong that can’t be ignored, harm is being done and intervention needs to happen. I think reasonable people can agree that intervening to stop harm is not meddling.

    But feel free to make a different case and draw a different line. But do so using reason, not the Bible as a bludgeon while hiding behind God’s skirts.

    ~Dan

  111. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    continually suggesting that this is the sum total of my argument.

    Well, before moving on, are we agreeing that “harm” is a reasonable line to draw as to when an intervention is wrongly meddling? If you think there is some other line, where is it and what do you base that on?

    But, assuming we can agree on that, so far, “Cause God says so” is the sum total of rational arguments against marriage equity for gay folk.

    The only attempts I’ve seen to say “gay marriage causes harm” have been self-defeating arguments that “the gays” are promiscuous and promiscuity results in disease, therefore, harm… But as I have noted, that is an argument in favor of monogamy (which is found in healthy, loving marriages), not against it. Where is the harm? I have never seen anything except those sorts of examples.

    But that’s really neither here nor there in this post. This post is about why should people be opposed to people telling others they are morally wrong on some point. My answer on that question has been to point to meddling as a reason to be wary of offering our opinions in unwanted commentary about morality. Meddling, reasonably and biblically, is wrong, therefore, we should not do it.

    On topic, are we agreed? Is avoiding meddling a good reason for people to not offer unsolicited rants on another’s morality?

    ~Dan

    • Ill grant for the moment that harm is a line to draw. The sheer numbers of homosexuals and proportion of thir population who have STDs and psychological maladies is reason to intervene.

      “But not all homosexuals are infected, and thats why we should discourage promiscuity and government marriage will solve all their problems!”

      Thats like not taking a needle away from a baby because he might not poke himself and instead teach the baby to be careful.

  112. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Ill grant for the moment that harm is a line to draw. The sheer numbers of homosexuals and proportion of thir population who have STDs and psychological maladies is reason to intervene.

    Then, on that we agree. It is a good thing to encourage healthy behavior. And supporting faithful, loving, committed marriages is certainly one way we, as a people, can do that. It just is. I’m not saying it’s the only way, but it’s certainly one way we can do that.

    Now, back to the topic of intervening vs meddling: Is it always appropriate (and not meddling) to intervene if/when someone MAY be harming themselves? I would still call it meddling if a stranger were to walk up to another stranger and say, “You shouldn’t smoke. It’s deadly and God won’t forgive you if you keep it up…” or some such “intervention.”

    That would be meddling, too, it seems to me. And meddling is wrong.

    Again, for me, the reasonable line to draw is harm to others. If someone is beating a child and I intervene, that isn’t harmful meddling, that is moral intervention.

    Now, harm to one’s self, I can see intervening in the case of a dear friend or family stepping up and saying, in concern, “Dan, your smoking is no good for you and it annoys those around you – indeed, second hand smoke potentially harms those around. I’m worried you’ll die young and I’m worried about your kids…” etc.

    Intervening with a loved one when they are harming theirself CAN be a moral good and not meddling, it seems to me, but that is way different than direct physical harm directly to others. I don’t advise (as a rule – for which there may be exceptions) intervening in stranger’s lives on topics like that because, again, that seems to me to be too close to meddling, and meddling is wrong.

    ~Dan Trabue

  113. paynehollow says:

    In your opening words, you asked the question, “Why is it so hard to say “that is morally wrong”? ”

    I’m answering your question that you posed, I presumed because that was something you were actually wondering.

    I have offered you a legitimate, rational answer to that question (and it IS a good question to ask). Not only is it rational, but for people like you, it’s biblically based, and presumably you find that an important criteria.

    I am positing, therefore, in response to your question that started off your post, that it is “hard” – ie, people avoid it – to say, “that is morally wrong…” because, at least in some cases, it would appear that saying “that is morally wrong” is morally wrong, in and of itself. That is, meddling is wrong.

    So, when you say, “it shouldn’t be controverial to claim that some actions are truly wrong, but it is…” I’m positing that it’s NOT that that it’s controversial to say “X is wrong,” but it is morally inadvisable at least in some instances to say that.

    I don’t think it’s controversial to have an intellectual discussion on a topic and say, “In my opinion, gay folk marrying (committing to one another in love and fidelity) is bad, because marriage should be ONLY for opposite sex couples…” and then make your case why it should be only for opposite sex couples. Any more than saying, “I don’t think everyone driving a car is a good idea, and here’s why…”

    In both cases, offering up an opinion about the moral validity of a behavior, and offering up rational reasons to support it… this is just an exercise in free thought and personal opinion. I’m fine with that and I suspect most people are.

    BUT, saying to a gay stranger, “You shouldn’t marry because I think God thinks is wrong” is a different thing.

    In one case, it is an exercise in personal opinion and a polite conversation about the relative morality of a behavior. In the other case, it is presuming that you can speak for God to a stranger about an opinion you have and yet are stating it as if you speak for God and no one else can have an opinion.

    I support the one and oppose the other.

    Would you agree with that principle, if not the application?

    ~Dan

  114. Nash,
    You are,of course, free to draw any conclusions you like from your poor analogy. All I’ve said is that if 60%+ of a group engage in a behavior, then it’s reasonable to think that there is roughly a 60% chance that an individual in that group engages in that behavior.

    Dan,
    Here’s the answer to your question. This is based on what I have done in previous situations. If they were a believer then I would support the change that they have made toward a less harmful/sinful behavior, while continuing to encourage them toward behavior that is even less harmful/sinful. This is what many in Orthodox Christianity refer to as the process of sanctification. To some degree or another we all should be constantly moving from behavior that is more sinful toward behavior that is less sinful.

    Now, in your case, you don’t hold the view that the majority of Christians and Jews have held for millennia, that the act of sex with someone of the same gender is sinful. I realize that your are committed to this position and that it would probably take a personal visit from Jesus Himself to move you off of that position. Given that, I don’t expect you to agree with the specific, but don’t see how you can fail to agree to the overall premise. Marshall pointed this out earlier, while behavior that is less sinful/harmful than previous behavior is an improvement, it is still sinful/harmful. If I truly cared about my friend or family member wouldn’t it be more caring and loving to encourage and support moving toward behavior that is as minimally sinful/harmful as is possible? I honestly can’t think of something less loving and caring than to allow a friend or family member continue to engage in any sinful/harmful behavior, when I could try to help them toward the best possible Christian life. It’s interesting that it moves you so when you see people caught in physical hardship, yet you seem content to adopt a much more live and let live attitude when it comes to spiritual matters. That attitude seems inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus. But, hey why should any of us care if Dan or the folks he hangs around with are living or condoning lives of ongoing sin? It’s not like it hurts us or anyone we know, right? They’re only hurting themselves, right? If Dan’s failure to acknowledge someone else’s sin, and speak Truth into that situation results in someone going to hell, we shouldn’t worry about that, should we?

    I’d go so far as to speculate that for a Christian to fail to address issues of moral wrong and to name sin for what it is could be considered a sin.

    John,

    You’ve been very gracious in allowing this thread to meander all over the place away from the topic. The answer, should be, we should call moral wrong for what it is. Ultimately we answer to God, not Dan.

  115. paynehollow says:

    John…

    you promptly turned it into a discussion about homosexuality

    I did not turn it into a discussion of marriage. I stated…

    If, on the other hand, one holds the position that driving cars is a moral bad, or that marrying someone of the same gender is bad, or that drinking colas or beers is bad… but there is no immediate harm to others involved, then it is being meddlesome

    MY point was about when something moves from being a helpful intervention to being a sinful meddling. I offered three examples to support my argument. When one argues, they often cite examples to help make their case. No intent to turn it into a discussion about marriage. In fact, I have repeatedly noted that this was off topic and tried to turn it back to the point about “why do people object to people offering moral opinions…”

    And I think my point still stands. To reiterate:

    1. There IS a line where offering opinions is meddling.
    2. Meddling is wrong.
    3. Therefore, people are wary of too much moralizing about/offering opinions about a behavior because they righteously want to avoid the sin of meddling.

    On topic, am I mistaken?

    ~Dan

  116. paynehollow says:

    Craig, given your response to God (we SHOULD offer our moral opinions to be faithful to God…), two questions:

    1. You DO agree, don’t you, that the Bible calls meddling a sinful behavior? You DO agree that meddling is wrong, right?

    2. Where does the line lay for you where one moves from offering a loving concern to one being a meddler in others’ affairs?

    ~Dan

  117. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    If I truly cared about my friend or family member wouldn’t it be more caring and loving to encourage and support moving toward behavior that is as minimally sinful/harmful as is possible?

    1. IF it’s a situation where the person is asking for our opinions, I am fine with you offering your opinion. I think that is a good thing to do, in that case.

    2. IF it’s a matter that the person is not asking for your opinion about what God wants them to do/what is moral, and IF there behavior is not causing harm to anyone else, then no, I generally don’t think it’s a good idea to offer that opinion.

    3. The thing is, with folk like me, is that we respect people’s freedom of conscience and their ability to seek the Good and Right on their own. I am entirely fine with having friendly – if serious -discussions about the morality of various behaviors. I think reasoning through what is and isn’t moral is a good use of our time, at least on occasion. But when it comes to saying to someone out of the blue, “You’re engaged in Behavior X. God says that is wrong. Stop it!”… no, I don’t usually do that, unless there is overt harm being done. TO ME, that seems like the sin of meddling and meddling is wrong.

    I honestly want to know, Craig: Does that make sense to you? Can you see how a brother in good faith could reach that conclusion? Where do you draw the line on meddling?

    ~Dan

  118. paynehollow says:

    Of course, that should have said, “Craig, given your response to JOHN,” not “God.” Rest assured, I don’t confuse the two…

  119. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    If I truly cared about my friend or family member wouldn’t it be more caring and loving to encourage and support moving toward behavior that is as minimally sinful/harmful as is possible?

    Look at it this way: There’s a whole world of behaviors that are potentially right/wrong… good/bad. We feel more certain on some behaviors and our opinions are less strong on other behaviors.

    Should I use a gas mower to cut my grass?
    Should I move to a house/apartment that is so far away that I have to drive to work?
    Should I move to a city with no public transit?
    Should I buy a coke and popcorn at a movie when there are so many people starving?
    Should I go to a movie at all, spending money frivolously when people are starving? How about a matinee for $3? What if I rent it for $1??
    Should I divorce my abusive spouse? What if the abuse is only verbal?
    Is smoking cigarettes sinful in God’s eyes? The Bible never says so, so is it okay???

    You get the idea. There are a multitude of choices and behaviors that we make each and every day. Any and all of those choices are potentially “sinful,” if you are of that mindset, right? And if we don’t speak up on “sinful” behavior of others, then are we being loving?

    Where would you draw that line? Surely you don’t spend all day offering your opinion to a variety of strangers and friends or acquaintances on what you think God thinks is wrong, do you? Because, “IF you truly care for a friend, isn’t this the right thing to do… to offer my opinion on the hundreds of daily choices we make that might be sinful…?”

    No, I don’t think being loving requires us to offer our opinions about what God thinks. For one, I think that is presumptuous – these friends and neighbors are free moral agents, created in God’s image, just a little lower than angels. Do they really need me to guide their each step, in my effort to love them?

    No, I don’t think so.

    When you look at it like that, Craig (and anyone else), can’t you at least agree a little bit with me? If you can’t, then where do you draw the line? Or do you NOT draw a line and you truly go around all the time offering your opinions on all these potential “sins…”?

    ~Dan

  120. “But when it comes to saying to someone out of the blue, “You’re engaged in Behavior X. God says that is wrong. Stop it!”

    This sentence encapsulates where the problem is in this discussion. In my experience, and I think scripture supports this, this kind of thing is almost always done in the context of community with some sort of underlying relationship.

    I can see how you could draw the conclusion that it’s perfectly OK to let someone wallow along engaged in some sort of sinful behavior as long as they only hurt themselves. I just don’t find it a particularly caring way to have a relationship. I guess I’m glad I’m not friends with you in real life.

    1. I’m not sure the Bible actually calls meddling a sinful behavior, but if I’m wrong about that, then sure.

    2. The line for me lies in using force or coercion (obviously in the case of imminent harm then I would hope we could agree that force might be appropriate). I don’t see having a conversation about sinful behavior as meddling per se. If, for example, you didn’t know that blogging was a sin you might be grateful if someone pointed that out to you.

    The fact that you choose a list of innocuous choices to make your dubious point is telling. We’re not talking about simple choice. We’re talking about sin. I’d hope we could agree that it is a sin to lie. Given your “live and let live” “freedom of conscience” philosophy I’d never punish my kids when they lied to me. I mean really, there’s no real harm done.

    I think a problem in all of this is that you assume that I, walk around with some sort of moral superiority god complex lecturing people on what is perceived to be sin. This is flat out wrong. I want to flee from sin. I want to grow closer to God. I want to be surrounded by a group of people who love me enough to point it out when I screw up. I need those kind of people around me, and I hope that I can be that kind of brother to others. In my world, we’re all sinners, and any help I can get is appreciated. Maybe you and your folk have got it all wired and you don’t need any help. Great. But for the rest of us we’re iron that needs to be sharpened.

    I want the life that Jesus promised, the “life to the full”, and I want it for the people around me as well. So, yeah, when I see someone who I care about settling for less than that full life I’ll talk to them about it. If you’re content with something else, then I guess it seems somehow sad. But, it’s your choice.

  121. paynehollow says:

    So, Craig, I’m still left wondering: Where do you draw the line?

    I happen to think how we spend our extra money in a starving world is not a minor “innocuous” thing. Indeed, it could be life and death! I happen to think that whether or not to get a divorce is not an innocuous thing. My list was, in my mind, just a sampling of the wide array of choices and behaviors we make every day. I could add more…

    Is two gay guys marrying a sin?
    What about two lesbians?
    Is it sinful for me to shun a neighbor or family member who is gay because of the choices they make with which I disagree?
    Is it sinful to pay taxes that will ultimately go to pay for wars to kill my nation’s enemies? for abortion?
    Is it sinful for me to refuse to pay taxes?
    Is it sinful for me to go to church on Sunday, instead of Saturday? (The Bible, after all, calls for killing those who fail to honor the Sabbath – again, serious stuff!)

    etc.

    I’m talking about the Wide Pantheon of Potential Sin out there – behaviors on which you hold an opinion on its moral status. Do you really engage in conversations with your friends about each of these behaviors in their daily lives?

    I am glad to hear that you’re limiting this to only your friends and family, not complete strangers. Does that mean that you think it is meddling to do this with complete strangers or why don’t you do it with strangers?

    As to the meddling verse, I cited it above. 1 Peter 4 says, “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, thief or an evildoer or AS A MEDDLER.”

    Or over in Proverbs 26, we read, “Like one who takes a dog by the ears Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him.”

    In a similar vain, Paul warns against being a busybody, saying in 1 Tim 5, “Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.”

    So, I think we can reasonably conclude that their is SOME behavior that the Bible strongly condemns that involves meddling of some sort and inserting ourselves into others lives, saying SOME things we ought not say.

    Beyond what the Bible says, I’m saying that I find it reasonable to think that meddling is a wrong, just logically speaking. That other people’s lives and personal choices are, in some (MANY!) ways, none of our business. Obviously, I think this is a continuum. In some sense, I clearly think we owe it to one another to watch out for one another, within bounds.

    To your testimony about what you do in your personal relations, yes, we do this, too. We strive – within reason and the limitations of grace and good sense, to hold each other mutually accountable. BUT, it’s mutually agreed to, this personal accountability. Thus avoiding the sin of meddling.

    But, where do we/you draw the line?

    I think it’s a very important question.

    So, it appears one line you draw is the line of personal friends/loved ones, right? That’s a good line, I can agree.

    Would you agree with me that unwanted/unasked for harassment is a reasonable line not to cross (with the caveat of where harm is being done to others, of course, but maybe also serious risk of harm to the individual, as well… as in a drug intervention)?

    What else, if anything?

    ~Dan

  122. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    I guess I’m glad I’m not friends with you in real life.

    I think you’d find I make a great friend.

    For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
    A time to be born, and a time to die…
    a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.

    Amen?

    ~Dan

  123. “So, Craig, I’m still left wondering: Where do you draw the line?”

    Then your just being obtuse, or dense.

    The problem is you are hung up on the word meddle. I’m not. If I say something to some and I’m out of bounds that’s between the two of us. I’m sure that there are some conversations I’ve had that probably don’t pass your “meddle muster”, guess what I’ve seen some significant change come from what you would probably consider meddling.

    The problem is were having two different conversations. We’re talking about two different things. How you spend your money has a negligible affect on starving children in Africa, UNLESS, you choose to actually redirect the money you don’t spend to those children.

    However, I know if I don’t quickly answer you, you tend to get pissy so here goes.

    Is two gay guys marrying a sin? Technically no. I’ve never said it was.
    What about two lesbians? Sane answer.
    Is it sinful for me to shun a neighbor or family member who is gay because of the choices they make with which I disagree? Don’t know, don’t care.
    Is it sinful to pay taxes that will ultimately go to pay for wars to kill my nation’s enemies? for abortion? Actually, it’s probably more sinful not to pay taxes. But, who knows, who cares.
    Is it sinful for me to refuse to pay taxes? More likely, but I pay mine so I don’t worry about it. Sinful or not it’s illegal.
    Is it sinful for me to go to church on Sunday, instead of Saturday? (The Bible, after all, calls for killing those who fail to honor the Sabbath – again, serious stuff!) Nope, I guessed you missed that whole shift from Saturday to Sunday in the New Testament. Of course I’d argue that the Sabbath is not a particular day of the week anyway so this kind of ntipicky crap seems kind of stupid to me.

    “I think you’d find I make a great friend. ”

    Sorry, in my book a great friend won’t take a hands off approach when one of their friends is engaged in an ongoing sinful behavior. So, I kind of doubt it.

    While it does appear that there are verses that condemn meddling (I stand corrected), I’m not sure if the writers had the same thing in mind as you do. It seems pretty clear that Jesus and the disciples confronted strangers about their sin. Jesus was pretty harsh in His confrontations. Seems like he was meddling with the moneychangers, doesn’t it? Breaking Sabbath laws, meddling? Sending the demons into a heard of pigs who committed suicide, messing with someones livelihood there.

    Anyway, If you don’t see that value in a community that keeps you sharp and holds you accountable for what you do, while doing the same for them, more power too ya. Just don’t try to argue that it’s Biblical.

  124. paynehollow says:

    Craig, you appear to be missing my point entirely.

    I did not put those questions up to be answered or to say what my opinion was on them. I put them up as examples. My point was that there are hundreds, thousands of behaviors that we might disagree with, that we might think are “sinful” or wrong. Are you saying that, for each behavior that you see a friend engaged in that you happen to think is wrong, you feel compelled to tell him? Even if he does not want you meddling in that way?

    Or, are you taking a more minimalist approach to sin. “Sin” is only violations of the Ten Commandments, and if I see someone steal or kill, THEN I would say something to him, but all these other things that I might think are wrong (and there are no doubt thousands of things… maybe not, you tell me), no, I don’t talk about each little idea I disagree with…? like that?

    IF you’re saying you feel compelled to mention to your friends when they violate The Big Ten, well, I’m with you there (at least mostly). I mean, murder? Lying? Stealing? Well, sure, but those are things that cause harm, getting back to my dividing line. But even there – are you going to chastise a friend for violating the Sabbath? What will that look like – “Jack, you’re working on Saturdays and that’s really wrong, you should quit…”?

    You see, to me, that sounds like meddling. I don’t know what the Greek word translated “meddle” means exactly, but in English, it means, ” to become involved in the activities and concerns of other people when your involvement is not wanted…” (Merriam Webster), which sounds exactly like what you’re advocating.

    I think, rationally speaking, we can easily recognize that “Meddling” in cases of violence/harm to others is not an offense, not a wrong. But otherwise, it sounds like meddling is meddling and meddling is wrong. Seriously wrong.

    Here’s an important question for you, Craig (and anyone else who’d like to answer)…

    IF the Bible meant what it says in Meddle, and meddling is truly a sin (ie, getting involved in others’ affairs when your involvement isn’t wanted,” then aren’t you advocating sinning?

    And that, a sin listed right next to being a murderer and an evildoer… Sounds pretty serious.

    Craig…

    The problem is you are hung up on the word meddle. I’m not. If I say something to some and I’m out of bounds that’s between the two of us.

    No, not hung up on it. I’m answering a question that the host here posed. WHY shouldn’t we offer our unwanted opinions? Because that is meddling and meddling is a sin, according to the Bible. It is wrong. For that pretty significant reason (if you’re a Bible fan), I’d think you’d agree that this is a reasonable answer to John’s question.

    I mean, how is it not reasonable?

    And if you sin against someone, you’re saying that’s just between the two of you? Are you saying it’s no one else’s business, then? Well, then, isn’t that just what I’m saying? That if Mr X sins by doing Behavior 1, and Behavior 1 in no way impacts you, why would you care what Mr X has done? Isn’t just between him and God?

    Isn’t pushing into his concerns without an invitation just meddling? And isn’t meddling wrong?

    Craig…

    It seems pretty clear that Jesus and the disciples confronted strangers about their sin.

    Yes, Jesus DID confront the religious hypocrites of his day. But, how many adulterers did Jesus rebuke? How many gay guys did Jesus rebuke? How many drug abusers did he rebuke? That is, how many common non-religiousy people did Jesus sidle up to and say, “You know, don’t you, that your behavior on this issue is sinful…”?

    Let me answer that for you: Zero.

    Indeed, Jesus was himself rebuked (by religious zealots) for being too friendly with those awful sinners.

    Jesus’ example is not one of meddling, except with the religious zealots of his day (the ones who were sure they spoke for God) and that, I’d say, fits in with the notion of stopping those who are causing harm.

    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

    Ouch.

    Oh, and those moneychangers? They were ripping off the poor (and others, but it especially hurt the poor, who could least afford it).

    And about breaking the Sabbath laws? Jesus was confronting the Pharisees who were presuming to speak for God and telling people that THEY knew the “right” answer about Sabbath and if you disagreed with them, well, you were disagreeing with God.

    And were these people strangers to Jesus? I don’t know the answer to that, but I have to doubt it, they seemed to know him pretty well, and he, them.

    Craig…

    If you don’t see that value in a community that keeps you sharp and holds you accountable for what you do…

    ?? Didn’t I just SAY that we do this in my community? Are you just trying to be divisive and abusive?

    Nonetheless, whatever you may think of me (or your misunderstanding of me), I’m quite sure that in person, you and I would hit it off just fine and could be friends. If not, well, my loss. Other than your sometimes harsh behavior, you seem like a great guy.

    ~Dan

  125. paynehollow says:

    Here, Craig (and others), since you all seem to treat the Biblical injunction against “meddling” rather dubiously, here’s what the Bible dictionary says…

    The New King James puts the word “meddler” in the margin—a very good translation of this word. The Greek word translated “busybody” or “meddler” is allotriepiskopos, a compound word—two normal Greek words stuck together—found in the Bible only in this one spot.

    Allotriepiskopos literally means “not one’s own overseer.” “Not one’s own” is one word and “overseer” is the other. It means, thus, “one who oversees others’ matters or affairs.” This word contains episkopos, which is the Greek word for “overseer,” sometimes translated as “shepherd” or “bishop.” This allotriepiskopos could be a good thing—if it was someone like a steward of an estate who was assigned to be the caretaker of another’s matters, or an executor of a will, someone who is appointed to look over another’s affairs after his decease.

    However, in this one occurrence and in the normal Greek (it is used only a couple of other times in the classics and not quite in this same context), it is a negative term. It describes a person who takes it upon himself to interfere in another person’s matter.

    Turns out, it seems like “meddling” in the Bible means pretty much what “meddling” means in English: Getting involved in someone else’s affairs, trying to presume to tell them YOU are the one to tell them how they should behave. It seems to indicate presumptuous, self-inflating behavior, placing themselves in the position of another’s overseer, presumably unwanted.

    Again, I tend to trust other people to make their own decisions on things. Especially strangers.

    Which, lest I be misunderstood again, does not mean that I never say anything to loved ones when their health or well-being might be at risk – part of being in community is SOME level of mutual accountability – but meddling is beyond the “mutually accountable” idea. It is a presumptive, “I’ll let you know what God wants you to do…” kind of behavior, it sounds like to me, and THAT sounds just wrong, to me.

    So, are we all agreed that meddling is wrong – not just biblically, but rationally? And are we understanding WHY it is such a grievous sin/wrong? To place one’s self in God’s place, that is a serious thing and indicates a troubled soul, seems to me.

    ~Dan

  126. Let’s look at some real world examples of Dan’s no meddling philosophy.
    Almost every day I am confronted by a group of people with little or no training or experience in construction. My job is to take these folks and build a house. One aspect of the process is that it is a good thing of we can make it through the day without any injuries. To that end we have a number of things in place that help make that more likely.

    Let’s look at a couple of examples.
    1. Hard hats. They are uncomfortable, not stylish at all, and just generally a pain. Personally I hate to wear them. However, they are pretty effective at protecting you from things falling from the sky. So, I’ve got two choices.

    I can go Dan’s route. Which would involve placing a container of hard hats somewhere accessible so that folk could use them if they wanted to? Now, in this situation, who potentially gets hurt? The guy who throws a 2×12 out the window and misses the dumpster, nope. Just the guy who didn’t wear the hat. So from Dan’s point of view for me to suggest or mandate wearing the hat is meddling. As long as no one but the person gets hurt it’s all good right. Hey, up until hammer strikes cranium, I’m this guy’s best buddy. I’m not going to tell him he can’t do what he wants. We’re friends until the hammer hits, and then it’s all my fault because I didn’t make him wear the hat.

    Or I can do the right thing. I can make the hard can and say either you wear the hat or you’re gone. Now, this might hurt some feelings or ruffle some feathers, but it’s the right thing to do.

    2. This just happened today. I had a guy who was standing on the top rung of a step ladder. Now, I could be Dan like and say, “it’s OK, even if he falls he’ll just hurt himself. He’s certainly able to make this decision for himself. Besides if I make him go get the correct ladder it will just make him upset with me and I certainly don’t want that. I want to be his friend.”
    Or I can do the right thing and tell him to get a longer ladder or set up scaffolding. Again, it might hurt some feelings, but it’s the right thing to do.
    Obviously the more caring loving example is the one where I had to make someone stop doing what they wanted. If we go to such lengths to take care of people’s physical health, why would we simply write off their spiritual health?

    ” I tend to trust other people to make their own decisions on things. Especially strangers.”

    If I did that at work I’d get fired, and people will get hurt.

    Once again, because I know how you get when your questions don’t get answered promptly, here goes.

    “IF the Bible meant what it says in Meddle, and meddling is truly a sin (ie, getting involved in others’ affairs when your involvement isn’t wanted,” then aren’t you advocating sinning?”

    Nope, because I’m not advocating meddling. If I was you might have a point and if you did I’d be gracious enough to admit it (unlike some here), as I’ve done twice recently.

    I don’t see an end to this, we are having two completely different conversations, and I’m not sure where else to go with this.

  127. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    I can go Dan’s route. Which would involve placing a container of hard hats somewhere accessible so that folk could use them if they wanted to?

    ? We’re talking moral values here. Are you saying that, to you, wearing hard hats is a moral value? I mean, both of your examples are workplace safety rules and I’m fine with workplaces having them and would expect that those would be enforced. That, however, is a different category than what I think we’re speaking about here.

    So, Craig, I’d appreciate it if you’d quit making presumptions. That is not “Dan’s route.” Dan has not commented on workplace safety rules and, as it turns out, you’re mistaken about my opinion. As is the case in just about every instance of you saying, “This is what Dan thinks/would do…”

    Craig…

    If we go to such lengths to take care of people’s physical health, why would we simply write off their spiritual health?

    Because you don’t have all the definitive answers for all the thousands of behavior options out there, that’s why. Safety, we can reasonably assess – a hard hat in places where heavy things get dropped? That’s rational. Driving under a certain speed limit in school zones? That’s rational.

    But what IS the One Right Answer to who gets to marry whom? What IS the One Right Answer to what to do about health insurance or educational approaches or what we can and can’t ingest/smoke/eat/drink…, etc. God has not given us a list of Rules for Every Instance. We are free moral agents and I expect that nearly everyone else is doing what I’m doing and striving our best to do the Right thing in my circumstance. Craig, I expect that you are truly trying to do the Right Thing, so you don’t need me to say, “Craig, this decision/action you’ve made in your life is morally wrong…” ESPECIALLY if it’s unasked advice. That would be, by definition, meddling. And meddling is wrong. Biblically speaking, in addition to just plain common sense.

    I don’t have all the answers. Maybe you do, but I rather doubt it. And I rather doubt that you’d make that claim. And so, since we don’t have all the answers, if you’re not asking me for my opinion, I probably won’t tell you what I think about what you’re doing. That would be meddling and meddling is wrong, biblically speaking.

    Craig…

    I’m not advocating meddling. If I was you might have a point and if you did I’d be gracious enough to admit it

    You just said earlier that you believe it is correct to tell others when they’re doing wrong. Are you speaking of only those who’ve asked you to do so? Then cool, we’re talking about the same thing. But from the context, it sounded like you were saying you should tell any of (at least) your friends and loved ones any time you thought they were wrong, whether they wanted your opinion or not.

    It seems like if you’re merely talking about doing what we do at my church (mutual accountability) then we agree. If you’re talking about telling people they’re sinning when they have not invited your opinion, that is, by definition, meddling. And meddling is wrong, correct?

    Beyond that, you’ve said something (when talking about Jesus’ criticism of the religious zealots of his day) about Jesus intervening with strangers, so I’m also not entirely sure that you are advocating limiting not only your interventions to friends and loved ones who’ve asked for it, but even complete strangers who haven’t asked for your opinion. Perhaps you can see how I’m unclear on your position?

    ~Dan

  128. paynehollow says:

    Craig, you have complained some about answering questions, but I’m not sure why. It’s how we communicate. And so, I still wonder, where earlier you said…

    The problem is you are hung up on the word meddle. I’m not. If I say something to some and I’m out of bounds that’s between the two of us.

    I’m wondering if you sin against someone, are you saying that’s just between the two of you? Are you saying it’s no one else’s business, then, no one but the two of you?

    Well, then, isn’t that just what I’m saying? That if Mr X sins by doing Behavior 1, and Behavior 1 in no way impacts you, why would you care what Mr X has done? Isn’t just between him and God?

    Perhaps we got off the chute wrong on this and perhaps there were some misunderstandings. Perhaps we actually agree on each point (at least you and I – I’m pretty sure that John and Marshall are disagreeing with me, although where exactly, I’m not sure, since I think my case is pretty clear – meddling is wrong. Period.)

    I think you’re right on when you say that if you sin against Mr X, it’s not really my business (me, being an outsider to this relationship) to intervene and “fix” things for you two or condemn you for your sin against Mr X (presuming no harm was done). Unless there’s some unusual circumstances, that would between the two of you and God, up to you to solve it. If I interjected my opinions and condemnations, I’d be meddling.

    And so, perhaps I have misunderstood you. Perhaps you are speaking specifically of only offering your words of correction to people who’ve asked for it, who’ve asked to be held mutually accountable with you. Not with strangers. Not with friends who DON’T want your opinions offered.

    Is that what you’re saying? Are we in agreement that clearly, meddling is a sin/is wrong and that meddling is getting involved in other people’s business/affairs/actions when that is uninvited, by definition and by the Bible?

    Perhaps we’re in agreement and just got distracted by so many words…?

    ~Dan

  129. “By all means, stand for what you think is “truth.” BUT, recognize that it is your opinion.”

    This, Dan, is the deceitfulness for which you are well known. You say such as if I spend my time pontificating on all manner of issues constantly proclaiming I and I alone know the truth and me and God, well, we’re really tight and He told me….

    Bullcrap. This doesn’t come close to describing my behavior in any way. For one, I haven’t spoken of Scripture and insisted that our law should be based completely upon it as if I’m some Christian version of a jihadist. You bring up Scripture constantly in your quest to legitimize what is clearly, plainly and without question sinful behavior. I do not bring up opinion. I bring up what Scripture says to counter your distortions. That is to say, you have stated YOUR opinion, and I put forth only what Scripture actually says to counter. And this is not opinion, but fact: Scripture clearly states homosexual behavior is sinful and NEVER suggests, implies or even hints that there is any context in which it might be otherwise. You continue to play this “interpretation” game. Just as a stop sign means “STOP”, “Thou shalt not” means don’t do it. It is clear. It is easy to understand, and it takes a liar to pretend there is any other way to take what is crystal clear. That would be you.

    Then, to pretend that Scripture ever suggests, implies or hints that its use of the word “marriage”, or any other allusion to the institution EVER means more than simply one man/one woman and therefore a homosexual “marriage” could be good, noble, pure when it is based on behavior God calls an abomination is pure evil made manifest.

    As to meddling, you again distort in order to shore up your position regarding this heinous behavior and the people you know who engage in it. There is no “meddling” to speak out against the behavior, the push to legitimize it through our legal system or to speak in defense of the only definition of marriage in which the state should take an interest. Even John’s suggestion that perhaps your homosexual/lesbian friends aren’t being totally honest and forthcoming with you is not meddling.

    I do not use the Bible as a bludgeon while hiding behind God’s skirts. First of all, I don’t know that God wears skirts. Leave it to an enabler to suggest such a thing. Secondly, you use the Bible (by perverting it) to support evil. I merely report what it actually says to counter your corruptions. If the truth hits you like a bludgeon, so be it. It probably should.

    “are we agreeing that “harm” is a reasonable line to draw as to when an intervention is wrongly meddling?”

    No. We are not. The reasons are two-fold. First, you have as twisted an idea of harm as you have of so many other things, all the while ignoring spiritual harm, which is far more important and fatal than any other kind. Secondly, intervention is the same as meddling. Meddling is marked by the outrage of the people who didn’t ask for your input. Intervention requires the same imposition.

    “The only attempts I’ve seen to say “gay marriage causes harm” have been self-defeating arguments that “the gays” are promiscuous and promiscuity results in disease, therefore, harm…”

    Again, you’re a liar. I say this because I, personally, as well as have several others, listed a litany of harms, including the harm to children, the physical and spiritual harm to the participants themselves, they psychological and emotional harm included (though there is still debate on this chicken/egg angle—are mental issues a cause or result of homosexual behavior) as well as the harm to the liberty and rights of those who accept God’s clearly revealed teachings on the subject of human sexuality, who won’t deny the sinfulness of the behavior (to name a few).

    “You assume your opinion is comparable to a simple mathematical fact and that is where you all err.”

    Nonsense. First, that I am presenting mere opinion as opposed to stating fact. You NEED it to be opinion in order to more easily dismiss it and hold to your convoluted justifications for sinfulness. But it isn’t an opinion. It is a restating of the text itself that is as easy to understand as is 2+2 adding up to 4. It is as obvious as knowing that a stop sign simply means “halt your progress”, “go no further” or “move no more” (all meaning the same thing) or is that just one man’s opinion?

  130. Just want to dig a little more:

    “Is two gay guys marrying a sin?” Technically, yes. If the underlying behavior is an abomination, which it is, then to unite in a manner where engaging in that behavior is more than likely, it cannot be otherwise. Only an activist or enabler would attempt to pretend there’s no support for this answer.

    “What about two lesbians?” Same as above. Only an activist or enabler would attempt to pretend that what goes for a man would not go for women in a culture than didn’t even count women and children in determining the size of their tribes.

    “Is it sinful for me to shun a neighbor or family member who is gay because of the choices they make with which I disagree?” That depends on the specifics. Scripture teaches us to cast out the unrepentant sinner. If you cast them out without giving them a chance to repent, that could be dicey.

    “Is it sinful to pay taxes that will ultimately go to pay for wars to kill my nation’s enemies?” Absolutely not. If the law says to pay taxes, we are to render unto Caesar. Plus, it the Constitutional duty of the federal gov’t to provide for the defense of the country, which likely will include killing our enemies. Only a lefty with an idiotic idea of peacemaking and a twisted understanding of Scripture would balk.

    ” for abortion” Similar to the last response. The law says to render, so we must render. We can fight it lawfully in other ways rather than non-compliance.

    “Is it sinful for me to refuse to pay taxes?” Yes.

    “Is it sinful for me to go to church on Sunday, instead of Saturday? (The Bible, after all, calls for killing those who fail to honor the Sabbath – again, serious stuff!)” No.

  131. John,

    I should have asked this back when there were less than fifty comments, but does your question have anything to do with seeking out strangers at whom we can preach all day, or knocking on one’s neighbor’s door to harangue him about mixing his recyclables? Or are your referring to more serious matters? What sorts of scenarios did you have in mind for your topic? Two or three examples might help (if there’s any chance left of righting this ship).

    • Marshall

      It falls under the broad umbrella of ethics. For the most part I was addressing the kind of person who whould say “who am I to say?”. Someone who wouldnt want to rock the boat by saying something is morally wrong.

      Sexual conduct and abortion are the two examples I know this is common with, but it could really be almost anything.

  132. paynehollow says:

    Marshall, do you think meddling is wrong? That is, do you think it is wrong to offer your opinion where it is not wanted or asked for (ie, by definition, meddling)?

    Where do you draw the line between immoral meddling and moral intervening?

  133. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    First, that I am presenting mere opinion as opposed to stating fact.

    Are you saying that Marshall Art’s interpretations of Scripture are the same as facts? That, if Marshall has reached an opinion about a verse in the bible. that opinion = fact?

    Are you familiar with the English definition of the word Fact and, if so, in what meaning are you using?

    • Dan

      Its not as if “Marshall Art’s” interpretation is some off the wall isolated interpretation. It is the interpretation the Christian Chruch as well as the Jews has used since the words were penned. Not to mention that there isnt much interpreting going on, the words give a plain reading that same sex sexual activity is a sin. So lets not pretend that Marshall’s or mine or others are offering some private obscure interpretation that runs counter to centuries of application.

  134. paynehollow says:

    I recognize that on that one topic, there are many years of shared human opinions about the topic. But the majority does not equal morality, necessarily. And beyond that, that is one topic, but I’m not talking about just one topic. There are a myriad of opinions to have about a myriad of behaviors and their morality.

    I’m saying that opinions are opinions, not facts. By definition.

    Your opinion is human, subjective and not demonstrable, as opposed to God’s, objective and provable.

    So, I’m not pretending anything. I’m stating a fact that opinions are not facts. By definition.

    If 99% of humanity shares an opinion, that does not make it a fact.

    You understand this, yes?

    To Marshall’s question: Was the point of this post only talking about speaking up with friends who welcome your opinion and guidance? Or are you speaking of offering your opinions (as facts) even if your opinion is unwanted (ie, by definition, meddling) and even if it’s with strangers?

    If you’re advocating telling people they’re wrong, even if your overseering is unwanted, are you not advocating meddling? And isn’t meddling wrong?

    ~Dan

    • But the majority holding the opinion since it was written is a different thing than a collective ‘hunch’. The understanding of the plain reading goes back to the first teachings of the issue.

  135. Dan,

    Meddling is not wrong. That’s my opinion. Your passage offerings do not speak to meddling so much as the idleness of the person who takes to meddling. THAT would constitute an opinion/interpretation as there is no clear mandate referring to meddling whatsoever. It does not say, for instance, “thou shalt not meddle” which would require no opinion or interpretation as to what is meant. The question of homosexual behavior does not require interpretation as the message is absolutely clear to honest people looking to abide God’s will regardless of consequence.

    more later—gotta go

  136. paynehollow says:

    The passage says…

    If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler

    It clearly lists “meddler” right there along with other evildoers. What do you mean, meddling isn’t wrong? It does not mention (in that passage) ANYTHING about idleness.

    And you’re doing what I do with marriage. The Bible does not say “Thou shalt not marry a guy, if you’re a guy…” it does not say that. That’s something you’re presuming.

    The difference is, we can reasonably see the problem with meddling – to PRESUME that you can insert yourself as someone else’s overseer, without their request for your help – there is an arrogance in that which is astounding and unholy.

    On the other hand, two guys or gals committing to a loving, healthy marriage relationship is, on the face of it, a beautiful, noble, lovely thing. So, we have real world evidence as to the goodness of the one action and real world evidence of the arrogance of the other.

    Why do you get to say “THIS one behavior – mentioned alongside murdering and evildoing – is not what it sounds like, but this other action – never addressed in the Bible – is wrong…”? Why are YOU the one who gets to make that call over other people of good will and intent? Because of tradition?

    It’s one thing to be a rather wooden biblical literalist – saying each behavior condemned in the Bible is always wrong in all contexts – but if you’re going to do that, you should at least be consistent. Here, you’re interpreting one idea – all gay behavior – to always be wrong because you find maybe three verses that COULD be taken that way – and yet another idea – meddling – is NOT a sin because… you say so??

    Who died and made you god, Marshall?

    Are you at least seeing the problem I’m having with your approach here?

    You say…

    It does not say, for instance, “thou shalt not meddle” which would require no opinion or interpretation as to what is meant. The question of homosexual behavior does not require interpretation as the message is absolutely clear to honest people looking to abide God’s will regardless of consequence.

    But, TO ME, the meddling is abundantly clear and your interpretation of “homosexual behavior” DOES need better interpretation, because it is a rather shallow, simplistic look at the topic. Why are you the one who gets to say “This is right and that is wrong…”?

    Marshall, do you think it is okay to walk up to a stranger and, without their consent or approval, to proceed to become their overseer for them and tell them where they’re wrong and right? Or is that meddling?

  137. paynehollow says:

    Beyond that, Marshall, I’m not speaking about one topic. I’m saying that on any and all these topics and 10,000 more, do you think you are morally obliged to tell friends the “right” answer on each of these topics? Even friends who don’t want your opinions? How about strangers?

    And, can you see how the prohibition against presuming to be someone else’s overseer – unasked and unwanted – makes some amount of sense?

    If a complete stranger came up to you and presumed to begin telling you all the many ways you are mistaken and sinning, how seriously would you take him? In fact, given human nature, don’t you think it is pretty likely that most people would just reject everything such an arrogant fool would say out of hand BECAUSE of the arrogance and presumption that he had? Thus, EVEN IF, he had some part of his message that was a good message, he undid his effectiveness by his presumption?

    And, even with an acquaintance or friend, if someone habitually listed the many ways in which you are wrong (in his estimation), are you going to take him seriously or reject him out of hand for his arrogance?

    This is just not rational behavior, Marshall (anyone else), can’t you see that?

    ~Dan

  138. paynehollow says:

    Okay, John, that’s a fine opinion and you’re welcome to it. But on what basis are you in a position to tell everyone else where they are wrong on 10,000 different behaviors?

    Or are you limiting your desire to tell people “you’re wrong” to just two topics?

    And I’d repeat a question or two…

    If 99% of humanity shares an opinion, that does not make it a fact.

    You understand this, yes?

    And…

    If you’re advocating telling people they’re wrong, even if your overseering is unwanted, are you not advocating meddling, by definition? And isn’t meddling wrong?

    And finally, I’d ask this:

    Set aside for a second your cultural traditions and opinions that you’ve grown up with and try to look at this with fresh eyes. Can you see how, just on the face of it, two people committing to one another in a loving, healthy, committed marriage relationship SEEMS like a beautiful, good, noble, Right thing to do, with nothing ugly or wrong about it at all?

    And can you see how, just on the face of it, someone presuming to tell a friend (and especially a stranger) who isn’t asking for your opinion that you have decided that they are wrong on a series of points… do you see how that appears ugly, arrogant, presumptuous and wrong?

    ~Dan

  139. paynehollow says:

    It is your opinion that God doesn’t like gay folk to marry. God hasn’t told you this, you don’t know it for a fact, it is your opinion, by definition. Has the church factually always opposed marriage for gay folk? Yes, that is a fact. But it is your collective opinion that God doesn’t like it, since God has never told us and you don’t know it for a fact.

    By definition.

    And I grew up in a very religious, very conservative Southern Baptist background and, interestingly, it was reading the Bible that led me away from the positions you arrived at by observation. Of course, observation also supports what I now believe, in my mind.

    So, can you see how, just on the face of it, someone presuming to tell a friend (and especially a stranger) who isn’t asking for your opinion that you have decided that they are wrong on a series of points… do you see how that appears ugly, arrogant, presumptuous and wrong? Can you see how, on the face of it, two people marrying seems to be a wonderful thing?

    One more thing: Earlier, Marshall made the false claim (again) that gay parents have been shown to cause kids harm. Factually, no. This is not supported by the evidence. There are ZERO studies that demonstrate this. AT BEST, you might find a study or two that suggests that MAYBE kids in gay/lesbian homes do LESS WELL, but EVEN IF THAT WERE TRUE (and I don’t think research supports it. ever.) “less well” is not equal to “harm.”

    It just isn’t.

    Just to clarify, on this off topic point.

    But Marshall’s off topic and factually false claim helps illuminate why it might be a bad idea to presume to meddle in someone else’s life: when we are wrapped up in a cultural worldview, we tend to get our facts wrong, too often. We read a questionable study that says maybe kids do less well and that becomes, in our minds, gay parents cause harm!

    Our very fallen human nature tells us that presuming to tell others they’re wrong (unasked, which is by definition, meddling and meddling is wrong) is a dangerous rope to walk down.

    ~Dan

    • Nope, right out of the kouth of Jesus. From the begining it was intended to be 1 man 1 woman is marriage. From the mouth of paul in Romans 1, from Moses in Leviticus. Sure you could manipulate and speculate that the verses mean the opposite of their plain reading, but that should be a tip off that youre wrong.

  140. Dan,
    You missed the point of my examples so badly that I have to seriously consider that you’re just being obtuse.

    To make it simple. Every argument you make that enables you to blithely dismiss others sin, I can make for workplace safety. But even more foundational is “Why do we care about safety on the workplace?’. Because we care about others and what’s best for them. Whether that is “wear a hard hat” or “don’t lie” it is all rooted in care and concern for others. You are willing to leave folk to their own devices because you feel like they can make their own decisions and even if they choose wrongly it doesn’t matter as long as they don’t hurt others.

    The fact that you are trying to throw up this smoke screen, like we just can’t figure out what sin is is pathetic. Are there specific grey areas, maybe. Are there plenty of general principles that cover the grey areas, sure.

    The fact that you continue to focus on “Is gay marriage a sin?’, just demonstrates the point. It’s a non issue as far as sin goes. The Bible doesn’t address this because it addressees the underlying behavior that differentiates “gay marriage” from marriage. If it is a sin to have sex with a certain class of being (same sex, relative, child, goat etc.) then the fact that you marry that being is irrelevant. I know you don’t agree that homosexual sex is sinful, however you can’t ignore the fact that that view is a view that can be reasonably supported from both scripture as well as the history of both Christianity and Judaism. Given that, it is a reasonable and orthodox position that can be held in good conscience by a believer. So, if a believer reasonably and in good conscience believes what the Bible says about homosexual sex and what Jesus clearly taught about marriage, then for said believer not to try to help folk who struggle with that sin overcome it. Does it really show love to allow someone to accept a life of constant sin, just because we think they’ll eventually figure it out on their own?

  141. John,
    If you want to round up some volunteers and materials, I’d at least consider re doing your kitchen. The commute might be a problem though.

  142. If you were in Florida, I might be interested come winter.

  143. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Does it really show love to allow someone to accept a life of constant sin, just because we think they’ll eventually figure it out on their own?

    Does it really show love to encourage people to make their own moral decisions and not to presume that I can make that decision for them better than they can? Does it really show love to humbly accept that I am not their overseer, the person whose responsibility it is to tell them they’re wrong?

    Yes. It treats them like a fellow human being with their own liberty of conscience, not a child to be reprimanded and chided. It’s one thing to treat a child like a child, that is to be expected. It is not loving, nor is it demonstrating basic human humility, to treat an adult like a child, though.

    And again, I’m speaking specifically of advice that is not sought after, you know, MEDDLING, which is wrong.

    Craig, do you think meddling is wrong?

    What is your opinion, your hunch, your best guess as to what that passage is referring to?

    You appear to have said, “Okay, if it is in the Bible, I guess it’s true that ‘meddling’ is wrong…” so, we can agree at least at some level. My question is WHERE do you draw the line between reasonable “concerned sharing,” which is okay and “meddling” which is wrong?

    I’m leaning on reason and the basic English and biblical definition and saying, “When it’s asked for and encouraged, it’s not wrong meddling, it is reasonable concern.” Which, again, is just the definition.

    You appear to be wanting to draw the line somewhere else. You stated one place you’d draw the line is FORCING people to accept your views, and of course, that’s wrong, but that also is beyond meddling, by definition. Is that the only place you’d draw a line? That, to you, meddling is when you FORCE others to accept your views, but merely sharing your unwanted opinions is not meddling, even though that is the English definition…?

    Could you clarify that, IF you agree meddling is wrong, where you draw that line?

    ~Dan

  144. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Does it really show love to allow someone to accept a life of constant sin, just because we think they’ll eventually figure it out on their own?

    And to be clear, I’m not “accepting a life of constant sin…” I’m accepting people, fellow human beings, flawed just as I am flawed, having imperfect knowledge and moral reasoning, just as I have imperfect knowledge and moral reasoning. Of course, we all strive to encourage one another to higher places, but we do that in a place of love and respect, not by pushing our unwanted opinions off on friends, acquaintances and strangers. That would be, by definition, meddling, and meddling is wrong.

    If Jesus can accept us as we are, sin and all, then why can’t/wouldn’t we accept one another?

    ~Dan

  145. Dan,
    If all you’re going to do is misrepresent my comments, then just please give up.

    It’s not worth your time. Your preconceptions are getting in the way of what is actually being said, it’s just not helpful.

    Someone once talked about Christianity being about one hungry beggar helping another hungry beggar find food. It’s not about being right all the time, it’s not about meddling, it’s not about not accepting people as they are, it’s about loving someone enough to try to help them find the abundant life Christ promised. If I see someone about to walk in front of a bus, you’re darn right I’ll meddle. I’ll do anything within my power to get them out of the way. Is there a chance that they wanted to get hit by the bus and that they’ll be mad at me, sure, but that’s a risk I’ll take every time. It goes back to that second most important commandment. “Love your neighbor as yourself”. You’ve offered no rational reason why this shouldn’t extend to the spiritual lives of our fellow people.

    “If Jesus can accept us as we are, sin and all, then why can’t/wouldn’t we accept one another?”

    Except Jesus doesn’t just accept us as we are, He expects growth and change. He talks about “Go and sin no more.”, he talks about becoming a new creation, he talks about the spiritual dead coming to life. None if this is consistent with this “liberty of conscience” ethic you seem to be putting forward. Pray tell, where does Jesus talk about “liberty of conscience”? I’m not sure how “slaves to Christ” aligns with :liberty of conscience”.

    You’ve been quite honest about the lack of positive support for gay marriage in the Bible. I suspect that you will find an equal lack of Biblical support for this new “liberty of conscience” ethic you are espousing. Perhaps, you will be able to scrounge something up, but I’m skeptical. I suspect that the “liberty of conscience” finds it’s roots much more squarely in The Enlightenment and Liberal theology, than in the words of scripture.

    It seems strange that two of the points on which you are most certain of your rightness are two that you have no direct scriptural support for. As I’ve said before, this argument from silence is simply not compelling an any rational sense.

  146. paynehollow says:

    John: Sure. I’m probably not the best fella for the task, but I’d be glad to offer my opinions and tell you how I got from “your side” of the opinion to this side, by reading the Bible and prayerful consideration.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, I mean a structured written debate. For example you/I have 700 or 1000 words for an opening statement, 500 or 750 word response, then maybe 1 or 2 more 500 word responses and a 200 or so conclusion.

  147. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    If all you’re going to do is misrepresent my comments, then just please give up.

    If you’re going to make a charge, back it up, please, so I and others will know what it the world you’re talking about. Misrepresent you? About all I’ve done is offer my opinions and ask questions, so that makes it hard to misrepresent you.

    The closest I can see to something that might mistakenly be misconstrued as “misrepresenting” is when I summarized your words…

    I’m not sure the Bible actually calls meddling a sinful behavior, but if I’m wrong about that, then sure.

    That was in my question if you agreed that the Bible calls meddling sinful/wrong and that it IS wrong. “Then sure,” you said. I interpreted that to mean that if the Bible called meddling a sin, then sure, you could agree with it. I summed up that by saying…

    You appear to have said, “Okay, if it is in the Bible, I guess it’s true that ‘meddling’ is wrong…”

    And by saying, “YOU APPEAR…” I’m making it clear that this is how I am understanding what you have said. Thus, it is MY understanding, not me saying this is what you’re saying.

    Is THAT where I misrepresented you? If so, I apologize, but I hope you can see that it IS how it seems to me. And you can keep calling me obtuse if you want, but I don’t think that’s a far cry from what you literally said and that reasonable people in good faith could reasonably reach that conclusion.

    But again, this is why I ask questions, to seek clarification. It’s why I say things like “It APPEARS you are saying…” to seek clarification and express my understanding. I don’t see where I’m in any sort of egregious error here, friend.

    ~Dan

  148. paynehollow says:

    John, I am no scholar. I tend to think of debates as something that highly intelligent and prepared folk take part in. What I tend to try to have are conversations, where I offer my opinion and you offer yours and we can go back and forth, seeking clarification and common ground, and find where we disagree. But yes, sure, I can enter into that sort of conversation/debate with you.

    ~Dan

    • Im no scholar. I read you loooooong 2 part post you wrote a while back. If you know your view and how you got there youre fine. Email me and we’ll hammer out a structure we can both agree to

  149. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    It’s not about being right all the time, it’s not about meddling, it’s not about not accepting people as they are, it’s about loving someone enough to try to help them find the abundant life Christ promised.

    1. Could you please clarify: Do you think meddling is wrong? Do you think inserting your opinion into other people’s lives – unwanted and unasked – (ie, literally, “Meddling”), is wrong?

    2. IF you think it is wrong, then do you agree we ought not to do that?

    3. If you don’t think it’s wrong, why do you think Paul (and others) told followers NOT to be a meddler?

    4. If you are concerned about living the abundant life Christ promised, then isn’t meddling (which Paul condemns as wrong) not part of that life?

    5. Do you understand that I’m not speaking about agreed upon mutual accountability? That I don’t think is meddling, because it is not, by definition (if it’s agreed upon, then it’s not unwanted). I’m talking about meddling – intervening where you are not wanted and no harm is being done?

    Craig…

    If I see someone about to walk in front of a bus, you’re darn right I’ll meddle.

    Stopping physical harm is not the same as meddling, I’d say. I’ve tried to make a distinction between WANTED intervention (saving me from a bus hitting me would be wanted) and UNWANTED intervention (ie, meddling). If you are going to say that, “Well, by telling him his sin, I saved his soul!” then you are creating a loophole that would render meddling moot. ANYTHING could be said to ANYONE and it would be okay because your motives were right. But then, why would Paul condemn meddling?

    Craig…

    You’ve offered no rational reason why this shouldn’t extend to the spiritual lives of our fellow people.

    I think I have. You don’t have all the answers. You don’t know the complete and total list of Truly Wrong Things. That being the case, why would you presume to tell people what is wrong with their lives, when it is unwanted (ie, why would you meddle)? Because you THINK you know better than they do what God wants in their lives? Do you see how that sounds presumptuous?

    You know, don’t you, that according to orthodox Christian beliefs, we are not saved by our being right on each and every sin, we are saved by Grace? So, EVEN IF it turned out that your opinion was right and theirs was wrong, well, still, you are taking the place of unwanted overseer in their lives and that appears to be wrong, it is treating them as a child to be improved by your better-than-theirs opinions.

    Craig…

    Except Jesus doesn’t just accept us as we are, He expects growth and change. He talks about “Go and sin no more.”..

    I think Orthodox Christianity disagrees with this. Jesus DOES accept us just as we are. “Come unto me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” he says. He doesn’t tell people, “BUT FIRST, get all your morals straightened out, THEN I can accept you…” Right?

    Should human beings seek to improve themselves, live in to better lives of grace, by grace? Well, sure. But Christianity teaches us that we are accepted where we are and the change comes in and along our walk with God, NOT as a precondition to acceptance.

    Craig…

    None if this is consistent with this “liberty of conscience” ethic you seem to be putting forward. Pray tell, where does Jesus talk about “liberty of conscience”? I’m not sure how “slaves to Christ” aligns with :liberty of conscience”.

    Slaves to/followers of Christ? Sure. Slaves to Craig and his opinions? Not so much.

    I think the Don’t be a meddler fits right in with the traditional Baptist/anabaptist teachings of liberty of conscience. Are you familiar with the centuries long and faithful teachings in the Baptist (and others) tradition on this point? I’ll pass on chasing down that rabbit, but it is certainly a traditional Christian view, at least in many evangelical circles. Why don’t we save that for another day?

    Craig…

    You’ve been quite honest about the lack of positive support for gay marriage in the Bible. I suspect that you will find an equal lack of Biblical support for this new “liberty of conscience” ethic you are espousing.

    Again, do you know that this is not new to me? If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, why not research it a while and we’ll talk about it another day? If you think freedom of conscience is not biblical, rational and moral, you’re fighting a much larger fight than just with me.

    And, as another aside/rabbit, I’ve been honest about the lack of DIRECT and SPECIFIC support for or opposition to marriage for gay folk. Clearly, I think marriage is a good noble loving and Godly thing for everyone, and thus, think there is biblical support for marriage – gay and straight.

    If you could address the concerns about meddling, I think that would be helpful, because I presumed where you said that if it was in the Bible then, sure you would agree… that you agreed that meddling is wrong. Now it sounds like you don’t think so. Clarification?

    Thanks,

    ~Dan

  150. Dan,
    If you want to offer something specific and substantial in response, great. If not, I just don’t see where else to go.

  151. paynehollow says:

    ? I happen to think that Liberty of Conscience is extremely substantial. Are you saying you actually disagree with the notion of liberty of conscience?

    Is that rejection widespread these days? In my mind, it’s one of the things that Baptists have truly gotten right. Here’s a place to start reading about it, if you’re unfamiliar with it…

    baptisthistory.org

    And, returning to John’s very first question:

    What is it about morality and judging that causes people to hesitate in saying an act or behavior is wrong and immoral?

    What is it that gives people pause? The notion that meddling is wrong, as Paul and others in the Bible suggest and as reason supports.

    Given that this notion is fundamental to John’s post here (substantially so), why would you not clarify your take on meddling? If I’m understanding you right now, you appear to agree with Marshall that EVEN THOUGH the Bible says “DON’T BE A MEDDLER,” and even though, on the face of it, meddling seems wrong and arrogant, that you’re saying it’s not really wrong.

    Asking for clarification on that point seems substantial to me. What is it with you all and your reluctance to answer questions?

    ~Dan

  152. Simply continuing to answer the same questions repeatedly doesn’t seem valuable to me. If you didn’t get the answer the first time, why would I think you’d get it this time. However, I’ll hit a few points that might not be repetitive.

    #’s 1-5 all previously either answered or dealt with.

    “Slaves to Craig and his opinions?”
    Never said anything that could be remotely construed as suggesting that anyone should be a slave to my opinions. Pointless rhetorical questions aren’t really questions.

    “I think I have”. I’m happy for you, unfortunately thinking you have doesn’t mean you actually have.

    ” You don’t have all the answers. You don’t know the complete and total list of Truly Wrong Things. That being the case, why would you presume to tell people what is wrong with their lives, when it is unwanted (ie, why would you meddle)? Because you THINK you know better than they do what God wants in their lives? ”

    If I had actually said anything that even was even slightly in the same ballpark as this gross misrepresentation, you might have a point. Fortunately for me I haven’t so we’re left with you wasting time writing this tripe, and me wasting time responding to it.

    “You know, don’t you, that according to orthodox Christian beliefs, we are not saved by our being right on each and every sin, we are saved by Grace? ”

    This is either a baseless statement posing as a question or an incredibly stupid question.

    “I think Orthodox Christianity disagrees with this. Jesus DOES accept us just as we are. “Come unto me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” he says. He doesn’t tell people, “BUT FIRST, get all your morals straightened out, THEN I can accept you…” Right?”

    Once again, had I said that I would concede your point, but since I didn’t, then one more waste of words.

    “But Christianity teaches us that we are accepted where we are and the change comes in and along our walk with God, NOT as a precondition to acceptance.”

    Again waste of words responding to your preconceived notions of what I didn’t say.

    As to your “liberty of conscience” ethic. I quite honestly don’t care about what Baptists/Anabaptists have adopted as extra Biblical teaching. I offered you a chance to provide specific Biblical support for this idea, and you play the vague general Baptist/Anabaptist doctrine card.

    One more time. I’ve addressed your concerns about meddling multiple times, I see no value in doing so again. Quite frankly your insistence that I do so is becoming meddlesome and unwanted.

    Thank you ever so much for rehashing your version of the argument from Biblical silence. If that’s all you have, your debate with John will be pretty short.

  153. “If I’m understanding you right now, you appear to agree with Marshall that EVEN THOUGH the Bible says “DON’T BE A MEDDLER,” and even though, on the face of it, meddling seems wrong and arrogant, that you’re saying it’s not really wrong.”

    Then you’re not understanding me right.

    You quoted me earlier, where I actually said that given the apparent clear teaching of the proof texts you provided, that meddling is wrong.

    To be fair, I could change my position if the context of the larger passage suggested that your citations were cherry picked to support your opinion. Although I seriously doubt that it’s worth doing the research, so I probably won’t anytime soon.

  154. paynehollow says:

    The questions you answered were all largely rhetorical. So, you DO think that meddling is wrong? Good. Then where do you draw the line? The one place I saw an answer to this was at “Forcing” others to hold your views. And that’s fine, I noted. But that isn’t meddling, it’s something more akin to slavery – maybe “moral slavery.” Maybe simply not honoring another’s religious liberty.

    I’m speaking specifically of telling others where they’re wrong, even if they don’t want your opinion. You APPEAR (and I’m asking for clarification) to be saying you think “meddling” is wrong, but you don’t think telling others where they’re wrong, even if they don’t want your opinion isn’t wrong, but that is the definition of Meddling!

    Can you see where a person can honestly be confused by your responses? I’m not deliberately trying to be obtuse. I am honestly not understanding where you draw the line on meddling (other than “moral slavery” which is something different than meddling)…

    ~Dan

    [John, I’ll email you later]

  155. paynehollow says:

    Craig, et al, just fyi: I’ve started a conversation about meddling on my blog, if you’re interested. I’ve got some open questions that are quite central to this topic that I’d still love to see answered.

    ~Dan

  156. Dan,
    While I won’t be commenting on this at your blog, and you know why. Let me state clearly that you have misrepresented my position in your post.

    In the first comment one of your fans suggested that good manners should take care of the problem. Surprisingly enough I actually made that point in an earlier comment here. You have presumed that when we talk about this that we are setting ourselves up as some kind of “overseer” of others or that we would use force or pressure or coercion in order to enforce our “version of the Truth” on others. Nothing could be further from the Truth. The fact that your blog post suggests this quite obviously calls your honesty and integrity into question.

    Personally, I would have appreciated it had you left me out of your post, failing that I’d have been happy had your accurately represented my position, failing that I’d hope that you can keep the personal attacks from your two fans under control.

    As to your “questions”, the only one that even comes close to what people would consider an issue if sin is the divorce question. But that has absolutely nothing to do with meddling.

    I did check you link about freedom of conscience, and the website was incredibly slow, poorly organized, and the search feature sucked.

    So, I did some searching on my own. What I found is that the most common analog to “freedom of conscience” was what most people would call freedom of religion. Obviously we all support freedom of religion, and the right of people to believe what they want. The problem is that the whole concept has no relevance to this topic. If someone was suggesting that the government should enforce some sort of moral code you’d have had a point, but no one is. If someone was suggesting that it was OK to force ones moral beliefs on another, you might have had a point. But no one is suggesting anything like either of those things, so you have no point. Leaving aside the obvious, which is that our entire system of laws is the state enforcing a moral code on it’s citizens.

    So, to sum up. You’ve misrepresented my position, both here and at your blog, and you’ve misapplied the freedom of conscience thing. Well done.

    At least I’m saved from having to write the analogies I was going to use to help you better understand my position.

  157. “…or, if it is meddling, it is a righteous/acceptable meddling.”

    So meddling is clearly a sin, but in some cases (ie when Dan thinks it’s OK), it becomes a “righteous/acceptable” sin.

    Is anyone aware of any Biblical support for the concept of a “righteous/acceptable” sin?

  158. Lucky you for losing track of his blog.

    The whole acceptable sin thing opens a whole new can of worms, because the number of behaviors that “used to be” sinful is growing slowly but surely. Essentially what he’s saying is that in certain circumstances one is almost compelled to commit the sin of meddling, for some greater good. I’m pretty sure this concept is not found in that actual Bible. But I’m quite sure it’s a good old Baptist/Anabaptist tradition, right up there with liberty of conscience.

    • There is liberty of conscience for issues not declared sin. For example there is no declaration that drinking caffeine is a sin. That is a matter of conscience. If you believe it is sin then it is a sin FOR YOU but not for others. This is only for things not addressed.

      But there are few things that arent sins anymore. Most of what changed was the need for sacrifices and the cerimonial laws as well as the penalties associated with breaking the moral law. Aside from that, the moral standards are still valid.

  159. I agree that there is certainly room for conscience on things not declared sin. My problem with Dan’s invoking of this tradition is that it doesn’t apply to this conversation. If someone was suggesting that coercive measures be used to curb individual sin, then he’d have a point. But no one is suggesting that.

    When I am talking about things that aren’t sin, I’m talking more about the fact that even in conservative evangelical circles there are sins that are becoming more accepted. For example divorce or many forms of sex beyond the boundaries of marriage. It’s not so much that these things aren’t till sin as much as they’ve just become acceptable sins. Kind of like Dan’s new category of sin, the “righteous/acceptable” sins.

    I won’t give you the link to Dan’s but it could be amusing to see where the thread goes.

  160. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Essentially what he’s saying is that in certain circumstances one is almost compelled to commit the sin of meddling, for some greater good.

    This is not what I’m saying. I’m saying I’m distinguishing between “meddling” (which is clearly a wrong, biblically and reasonaly) and “intervening…” – stopping someone from harming others. In the case of harming others, clearly it’s not meddling because, while the person doing the harm may not want your intervention, the person BEING harmed most likely does, could reasonably assumed to want it.

    Craig, I have NOT misrepresented you. I have NOT said “This is what Craig thinks…”

    Instead, I’ve pointed to your words and said, “This seems to be what he’s suggesting, but I’m not clear. I’ve asked him to clarify and ask him to clarify here again, because I’d like to know what he’s saying.” You can’t complain that I’m misrepresenting you and simultaneously refuse to answer clarifying questions, not reasonably, anyway.

    It SOUNDS now (my best guess, trying to make sense of what seems to be contadicting statements from you) that you agree that “meddling” is wrong, but you don’t think it’s meddling if your INTENT is not to meddle, but to help.

    It’s not that hard to clarify: IS that your position? Or, if not, where do you draw the line?

    Because you seem to be saying “meddling is a sin, BUT it is a good thing to do to tell people they’re wrong when they don’t ask for it…” (which is the DEFINITION of meddling!) Do you at least see how someone could be confused by your position?

    What is wrong with saying where you draw the line? Where is the difference between sinful “meddling” (which you APPEAR to condemn) and helpful intervening (which you APPEAR to support)?

    Clearly, I am misunderstanding you, you keep telling me as much. So, help me understand you. What is the distinction?

    As to the liberty of conscience topic, Craig, I’m honestly curious: Are you wholly unfamiliar with the idea? That isn’t a criticism. I am under the understanding that this traditional Baptist notion is widespread and widely accepted (and not just in Baptist and not just in Christian circles, but just in terms of American history, where the notion of freedom of conscience has played a critical role, I’ve been taught), but that could be my mistake. Are you not familiar with the works of Roger Williams? Smyth and Helwys? Backus?

    It may well be that I’m thinking this is more well-known and common than it is, so let me know if you’re not familiar with it.

    Here is another link on the topic…

    http://www.centerforbaptiststudies.org/pamphlets/style/liberty.htm

    Where they note that Biblical support for this idea is there throughout both testaments. When, for instance, Daniel, in the lion’s den, was pressured/ordered to obey the religious rules of his society, he refused.

    When Peter was told by the religious zealots of his day (again, I’m defining “zealots” as those who can’t be mistaken about what God wants and who expect others to listen to and heed their opinions, as if they were God’s) he said he must obey God, not humans rules and demands.

    No, there is not a line that says “thou shalt respect liberty of conscience,” but neither is there a line that says, “Thou must consider God as having a Triune nature…” Nonetheless, I don’t think this is especially “out there” in orthodox Christian circles. We MUST obey God, over human considerations. We are NOT to be counted as a meddler, literally someone who places themselves as an overseer over someone else and tells them how God wants them to act.

    We don’t see Jesus going around telling the sinners he hung out with, “And here’s where you’re mistaken. And here, and here, and here.” Ever.

    No, we see Jesus saying, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more…” without TELLING the woman (in that case) where she was sinning, but leaving that to her to 1, NOT be condemned and 2, How to “go and sin no more…”

    The only times we see Jesus yelling, “Stop that!” is to the religious zealots, who were forcing their opinions upon people.

    That holy example shines some light on when to “intervene” and when not to “meddle…” and on the notion of liberty of conscience. Seems to me.

    I can understand how some of our more Catholic brothers and sisters might object to liberty of conscience (they, after all, have priests and bishops and popes who interpret God for the people, or at least that is how some Catholic folk might explain it), but I’m pretty sure that liberty of conscience is pretty widely accepted in evangelical and protestant circles (as well as outside of the church, in folks accepting reason as their guide).

    Here is another exposition on Romans 14 and Liberty of Conscience, from bible.org

    https://bible.org/article/romans-exposition-chapter-141-17-liberty-and-conscience-d-martyn-lloyd-jones

    ~Dan

  161. paynehollow says:

    John, I think this comment thread has taken about all it can, the performance in getting it to open and to post a comment is increasingly difficult, at least on the three computers I’ve tried it on. But maybe that’s just me.

    I’ve had a busy day, but I’m emailing you, now, presuming I can find your email…

  162. John
    I haven’t had any trouble opening this thread on either my phone, wi fi hotspot , or at home. Nice way to bail though.

  163. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    My problem with Dan’s invoking of this tradition is that it doesn’t apply to this conversation. If someone was suggesting that coercive measures be used to curb individual sin, then he’d have a point.

    Is it okay if I disagree? I think that if one is asking, “Why would people be wary of saying something is wrong…” that a reasonable answer such as “We don’t want to be meddlers because meddling is wrong..” would be on topic. And meddling has a great deal to do with liberty of conscience – the notion that people have the right and responsibility to strive to understand God, Good and Right for themselves and, if we believe in that, then we won’t think it is our role to play overseer and tell them our opinions (unasked), which is meddling, by definition.

    You appear to be hinting (or outright saying?) that meddling has something to do with coercion, but that would be a different topic – slavery or facism or oppression. Meddlers are not coercive, at least in the sense that they are somehow physically or legally forcing people to comply with their will (although authoritarian-ly saying, “If you keep going that direction, you will be doomed to hell for an eternity…” is certainly a form of emotional coercion). They are just meddlers, going around telling people what they think God wants them to do, and doing so when such advice is unasked for and unwanted.

    Liberty of conscience DOES touch on the topic of a people’s freedom of religion at the State level, but it isn’t limited to that. It’s the notion that Craig and John and Dan are each accountable to God themselves and don’t need Bob or Jane or Luis to tell them what God wants them to do.

    Now, again, in a healthy family and community of friends, feedback and concerned advice is usually welcome within limits, but beyond that implied accountability, going around telling people that these ten behaviors in your life are sinful and you need to change seems to me to fall under the warned-against practice of meddling, and meddling is wrong.

    Glad to hear that your computers aren’t having a problem. Must be my cheap ol’ computers and connections, I guess.

    ~Dan

  164. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Nice way to bail though

    Bail? You are the one not answering basic questions. I’ve even offered to take it to my blog so as not to bother John with the topic any more, since he hasn’t really seemed to keen on answering my questions, either.

    If the rough treatment of others is keeping you away from my blog, I will gladly open it up to a discussion just between me and you in the comment area, and ban everyone else for that one post.

    I am seriously just trying to understand your position, which seems contradictory and hard to follow. I’m sure it’s just my own limited reasoning and not your fault, Craig, but that is why I ask questions, to better understand and get what you’re saying “right.” But if you don’t answer questions when I am not understanding you or when I’m asking for clarifications, you can’t really accuse me of bailing or of misrepresenting you.

    Is that not reasonable?

    Craig…

    Kind of like Dan’s new category of sin, the “righteous/acceptable” sins.

    That is not anything I have said. I have not said anything about “acceptable sins” or “righteous wrongs…” I have not said anything that even hints at that. Please don’t make up shit that I have not said.

    You see, Craig, the difference between how you are going about representing what you mistakenly think is my position and how I do so for you is that I am clearly saying, “This is my understanding of what you’re saying… correct me if I’m wrong… please explain where you DO draw the lines…” etc. I do not say, “Craig says…” or “This is Craig’s way of doing things…” or “Craig’s category of sin…” I do not presume to speak for you, sir, I’d ask the same respect.

    If you have a question about a position of mine, feel free to ask, don’t just state something that is false and not anything at all that I’ve said.

    John…

    There is liberty of conscience for issues not declared sin. For example there is no declaration that drinking caffeine is a sin.

    John, that is not what the teaching of Liberty of Conscience is about. Quite the opposite. Liberty of Conscience – at least as it has been traditionally understood – says that John is capable of and responsible for figuring out for himself what is sin and what isn’t. John doesn’t need an outsider to tell him. Hopefully, John (and all of us) has a community that helps struggle through these questions together, but ultimately John is responsible to God for all his decisions and understandings… Not merely issues declared “not sin…”

    And consider what you just said, “declared not sin…”?? Declared by whom? By some higher authority – the Pope? A Bishop? A preacher? No, we have no one declaring for us “Here is the list of declared sins… all other behaviors are undeclared and on THOSE behaviors, you can pick and choose…” What list of declared sins are you speaking of?

    Are you familiar with the traditional teachings about liberty of conscience, John? Maybe this is not as well known and widespread as I had thought…

    ~Dan

  165. Dan,

    I’ve addressed every single thing you have questions about elsewhere in this thread. Multiple times. It get’s old answering the same things over and over again, and still being misrepresented.

    You’ve flat out contradicted yourself twice in this thread, and the quotes are there to demonstrate that, yet you pretend like it didn’t happen.

    If you want me to clarify specific areas, where you can quote me and ask for clarification, fine. But, I’m done with your wild inaccurate generalizations, where you think you safe as long as you use the word seems.

  166. After your “explanation” of liberty of conscience ( which is pretty much exactly how I described it in an earlier comment), I remain unconvinced that it is applicable in the kind of interactions we are discussing here. In both of the examples given, the commonality is that there is some external authority saying that you must do X or Y or else there will be consequences. As I mentioned in an earlier comment you may have missed, no one here is in any way suggesting that we want either an ecclesiastical or governmental entity monitoring every choice people make. There is a huge gap between me saying, “Hey, I see that you are having an affair. Maybe you should re think your choices and how it affects you and those around you. I’d be happy to help you in any way I can.” and the church or state saying, “If you don’t stop messing around then we’ll excommunicate/imprison/punish you.”. So, no one here is disagreeing with liberty of conscience in the right context. You certainly wouldn’t approve on a Muslem father arranging a marriage for his 12 year old daughter under the cloak of liberty of conscience would you?

    “…or, if it is meddling, it is a righteous/acceptable meddling.”

    These are your own actual literal words. So, if you insist that the Bible claims meddling is a sin (no argument), then the only option we are left with is that while meddling is a sin, there are certain forms of that sin which are “righteous/acceptable”. I’ve never seriously heard anyone suggest that there are certain forms of certain sins that are “righteous/acceptable” depending on the circumstances. Where I see this as especially problematic for your argument is that the time when the sin of meddling becomes “righteous/acceptable” is at best a matter of degree, and completely at the discretion of the “meddler”. For example, I suspect you’d be OK with meddling to stop a heroin addict from injecting a lethal dose. You’d probably say that would be “righteous/acceptable” and I’d agree. I would argue that the same act of intervention before the individual injected their first shot of heroin would achieve the exact same goal, but with much less damage on the way. So, given what seems to be a strong moral equivalence, what possible reason could there be for waiting until the situation reaches an extreme? Or to use the stepping in front of a bus analogy, if the person intends to step in front of the bus, wouldn’t they perceive your intervention as an infringement of their liberty of conscience? They would justifiably be pissed. Of course had someone intervened prior to this person becoming suicidal, that would most likely be meddling by your definition.

    Look, you’ve clearly made your point. The problem is that as you’ve stated it it’s just a matter of degree as to when meddling becomes a sin. Feel free to amend your argument to explain away your literal words. But since you’ve simply ignored your clear contradictions earlier in the thread, I don’t expect much different at this point.

  167. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    If you want me to clarify specific areas, where you can quote me and ask for clarification, fine.

    I’ve done this, but I can do it again. Although, it seems to me that you just wrote more words than it would take to answer the simple question asked.

    You said:

    You quoted me earlier, where I actually said that given the apparent clear teaching of the proof texts you provided, that meddling is wrong.

    And, while that is a bit confusing, I THINK you are saying there that, “IF the Bible says it is wrong, then I think meddling is wrong…” Again, I am asking you, Am I understanding this correctly? DO YOU think that it is wrong to be a “meddler…”?

    I think that is what you are saying in that spot. Please clarify.

    So, IF I am understanding you in THAT spot correctly, then I also see you say things like…

    It’s not about being right all the time, it’s not about meddling, it’s not about not accepting people as they are, it’s about loving someone enough to try to help them find the abundant life Christ promised. If I see someone about to walk in front of a bus, you’re darn right I’ll meddle.

    Which SOUNDS LIKE you’re suggesting that, because sin is harmful – any and all sins?? I don’t know, you tell me – you think it is okay to tell someone that they’re sinners/sinning, even if they haven’t invited/don’t welcome your comments. Even if it’s a stranger. That is what it SOUNDS LIKE to me you’re saying there.

    Could you clarify?

    So, do you see my confusion? It SOUNDS like sometimes you’re saying it is okay to intervene and tell people they are sinning – even strangers – because it is akin to saving someone from being hit by a bus.

    But at the same time, it SOUNDS like you’re saying that “the Bible says ‘don’t be a meddler,’ so meddling must be wrong…”

    It sounds like you’re saying both. Perhaps it would help to clarify what you think meddling is.

    Again, the dictionary definition is “to become involved in the activities and concerns of other people when your involvement is not wanted…” thus, saying to someone who may not want your opinion and who has not asked for your opinion, “You’re engaged in 20 behaviors that I think God disapproves of. Here they are…” that seems to me to be meddling by definition. How are you using the term?

    Thanks.

    Craig…

    “…or, if it is meddling, it is a righteous/acceptable meddling.”

    These are your own actual literal words. So, if you insist that the Bible claims meddling is a sin (no argument), then the only option we are left with is that while meddling is a sin, there are certain forms of that sin which are “righteous/acceptable”.

    You misunderstand me. I’ve tried to be clear that I am distinguishing between meddling and intervening. With meddling being wrong and intervening (to save someone from imminent harm) is not wrong. I said “IF IT IS MEDDLING…” to allow that maybe you all are calling intervening “meddling…” even though I think there is a distinction.

    So, for myself, I think meddling is wrong. Period. Getting involved and offering your opinions about someone’s behavior and doing so when it is not wanted, is by definition, “meddling.” Thus, my use of the line was an allowance for not knowing where you all are drawing lines and how you’re using the word, not because I think the word is appropriate.

    Got it?

  168. OK, despite your inconsistent stance on answering questions (you are much more interested in answers than answering), I’ll play one more round.

    I’ve said several times the Bible refers to being a meddler as a behavior in line with other sinful behaviors. (If you insist on seeing the Bible as a book of rules that is). So, yes, I would say that the Bible does condemn being a meddler, and that it could be most likely be classified as sinful. One caveat, I have not chosen to take the time to research the contexts of the proof texts you have offered, and spending the time to do so is not a priority right now. If at some point I do choose to spend the time, I might re-evaluate, but at this point I am in agreement with your opinion on the matter.

    I would suggest that any and all sin is harmful in some way or another. I’d be shocked to hear anyone suggest otherwise.

    Within the context I provided earlier (maybe you missed that), I see no problem in approaching people whether invited or not in order to discuss observable behaviors. Also, as I said earlier, if the person is not interested in hearing what I might have to say, then I’d back off. The fact that you have chosen to assume that the mention of something of concern equates to some sort of constant nagging is your problem. Now since a stranger would be specifically excluded from the context I provided earlier, the situation would be totally different. I’m not saying that it is always wrong to say something to a stranger, but it would be in a specific instance. For example the local DQ clerk who saw a woman steal from a blind man and confronted her about it. This certainly fits with your definition of meddling, yet he’s been held up nationally as someone to emulate.

    What I’m saying is that I’m not going to be some sort of wooden literalist. Outside of the earlier mentioned context, there are some situations where I could see some sort of intervening,but not all. The fact that you seem to lump any sort of intervention in the lives of others as meddling, is not my problem.

    I think much of this hinges on whether the intervention is wanted or not. I’d suggest that when Nathan confronted David about his sin with Bath Sheba and her husband, that Nathan’s confrontation was certainly not wanted. It seems to me that as people who claim to be believers that our lives should revolve around what God wants, not what we want. I’m pretty sure my brother in law who’s been unemployed for 5 years, is making absolutely no meaningful effort to find employment of any kind, is not fulfilling his Biblically outlined role as either husband, father, or provider, doesn’t want his friends, family and pastor to speak into his situation. I know for a fact it pisses him off. But, whether he wants these folks to or not they are doing the right thing. I’ll grant that you may be the exception, but I’d be willing to bet that almost everyone else here has a personal instance where someone said something that they didn’t want to hear, but that they needed to hear.

    I’ll repeat, just to make sure you don’t miss it. In my mind the key is context. I’ve addressed the context where I think it appropriate earlier. If you want to presume that I’m just walking up to random strangers and lecturing them, go ahead, but nothing I’ve actually said supports your presumption.

    As far as you seeming to back away from your earlier comment that I quoted. Maybe if you just said “I didn’t express the thought the way I wanted to.” or somehow acknowledged that the actual literal words you actually literally wrote were incorrect it might clear up the misconception. But as long as you allow for the possibility that there could possible “righteous/acceptable” meddling, your own words pose a problem for you.

    If you are saying, I was wrong,\; what I should have said was not that some meddling is righteous/acceptable, but that there are situations where intervening is not meddling, then we wouldn’t have this problem.

    Although, even this stance has problems from your side. If the key indicator is whether or not the meddlee wants the intervention, then as in my earlier example intervening to save a life could well be meddling. It seems like you are suggesting that on the one hand the controlling factor is the “wantedness” of the interaction. For example, if I see my buddy Dan in a dark romantic restaurant having dinner with someone other than his wife, it’s meddling if I ask him about it and he doesn’t WANT me to ask him about it. But on the other hand, you presume that the motive of the one who intervenes in the case of someone stepping in front of a bus trumps the desire of the guy who’s trying to kill himself.

    Personally, I feel pretty comfortable about how I’d react in either situation. I also feel comfortable that if I err in my response and accidentally commit the sin of meddling, that God’s grace is sufficient to cover that and all my other sins.

    Anyway, I’ve once again answered your questions. I’m not going to hold my breath for your answers to mine.

  169. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    , I suspect you’d be OK with meddling to stop a heroin addict from injecting a lethal dose.

    Yes, I’ve repeatedly made it clear that “harm” or “imminent harm” is my line between what is intervening and what is meddling. So, in that case, you suspect right.

    Do you see the difference between intervening in a case where someone is suicidal or self-destructive and meddling when you’re offering your opinion about whether it’s okay to smoke pot once a month or whether it’s okay for two gay guys to get married or whether it’s okay to invest money?

    In each of my examples, there, no imminent harm, no need for meddling, because meddling is wrong. In the case of harm to others or self-destructive behaviors, intervening is right.

    I’ve tried to make that distinction from the get go here. Do you see where I draw the line and why?

    Where do you draw the line and why?

    From what I’ve heard, I’m not sure that you do draw the line because all sin (ie, all the behaviors that you think are wrong) causes harm, so why WOULDN’T a concerned person intervene/meddle? But, please, clarify for me so I can know. I’m just telling you how it sounds, given your repeated “step in front of the bus” comparisons to “sin.”

    Where do you draw the line? What criteria is there for you for when something is wrongly meddling?

    Craig…

    I’m done with your wild inaccurate generalizations, where you think you safe as long as you use the word seems.

    In English communication, one uses the word “seems” or “appears to be” to indicate what YOU are understanding and to demonstrate that you are not certain and would appreciate elaboration/clarification. It’s how we communicate.

    Let me ask this, Craig: IF I am not certain of your meaning, but I THINK you might be saying X, how would you like me to ascertain what you mean without saying, “You sound like you’re saying X, could you clarify?”

    ~Dan

    • But Dan the question isnt whether that is YOUR line, rather what matters is whether it is THE BIBLE’S line. According to passages you cite, harm or imminent harm is not a mitigating factor.

  170. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    For example the local DQ clerk who saw a woman steal from a blind man and confronted her about it. This certainly fits with your definition of meddling, yet he’s been held up nationally as someone to emulate.

    ?? Not what I said. I’ve said consistently that stopping harm or imminent harm, that is NOT meddling, that is intervening. Beyond that, in the case of your example, the victim WOULD be asking for intervention, it can be safely assumed. That is NOT meddling as it is defined, that is intervening.

    See?

    Craig…

    The fact that you seem to lump any sort of intervention in the lives of others as meddling, is not my problem.

    Not what I’ve said. I’ve tried to be quite clear, Craig. Intervening to stop harm is not bad, it is not meddling. Indeed, it is good.

    Offering opinions on non-harmful behaviors (ie, behaviors that aren’t causing imminent actual harm) unwanted, THAT is, by definition, meddling.

    Do you see where I am drawing the line?

    Where do you draw the line?

    Craig…

    It seems to me that as people who claim to be believers that our lives should revolve around what God wants, not what we want.

    And God wants us to NOT be meddlers. That is, God wants us to NOT offer our opinions about people’s sins when that advice is not wanted. By definition.

    Craig…

    For example, if I see my buddy Dan in a dark romantic restaurant having dinner with someone other than his wife…

    HARM. Harm is being done. Not meddling. (or at least, questionably not meddling. Is it imminent harm? I’d allow – as I have from the beginning – that the line is not always crystal clear. I’d be inclined to call that harm).

    Craig…

    But on the other hand, you presume that the motive of the one who intervenes in the case of someone stepping in front of a bus trumps the desire of the guy who’s trying to kill himself.

    Again, HARM. Harm was my line that I draw to know where intervening ends and meddling begins.

    So, let me ask an earlier question that may help you clarify it further: There are thousands of behaviors that we might be involved in in a given week and you might have an opinion on hundreds or thousands of them, as to their moral status… Will you intervene in each of these potential sins, or do you limit your “interventions” to the most obvious (stealing, murder, abuse…)? If you’re limiting it to the most obvious, then you are probably also limiting it to the ones that cause harm. If you’re expanding from just the obvious out to any and all behaviors you think are wrong, then nothing is meddling for you.

    I rather suspect (just a guess, based on what you’ve said, you can tell me if I’m right or not) that you don’t go around telling everyone you meet every behavior that they are involved in that you think might be (or feel certain is) morally wrong. So, I think a reasonable question to ask is, Where do you draw the line?

  171. paynehollow says:

    John…

    the question isnt whether that is YOUR line, rather what matters is whether it is THE BIBLE’S line. According to passages you cite, harm or imminent harm is not a mitigating factor.

    The bible does not define what it means by meddling – the Bible does not draw a line for you or me. I’ve been quite clear that I’m saying this is MY idea of what a reasonable place is to draw the line. Since the Bible does not tell us where it is drawing the line at meddling, what is YOUR opinion of where that line is drawn?

    The answer is not in the Bible on this one. Sometimes you have to take a stand on just your own moral reasoning, yes?

    You appear to be saying (correct me if I’m mistaken) that YOUR hunch is that you should not meddle in issues of opinion where God has not told us what is and isn’t a sin. But then, God hasn’t told us whether or not to smoke pot or cigarettes, drive cars, invest money, build nukes, use nukes or if it’s specifically good or bad for two lesbians to marry.

    I suspect you want to “limit” it to those behaviors that YOU INTERPRET the Bible to condemn, even if it doesn’t condemn it directly (or even indirectly). Which gets us down to a bunch of opinions (Oh, I can intervene and tell him he’s wrong on this behavior – unwanted – because my opinion is that he’s wrong…). But the meddler would say the same thing. I don’t think that’s a reasonable place to draw a line, because you still would be meddling, by definition and as it seems to be condemned by the Bible.

    • Aaahhhh. So you want craig and marshall and anyone else to assent to an undefined term, then when they wont do it you ask why they disagree with the bible?

      What that tells me is I can define meddling anyway I want. So jothing I do can ever be meddling. Problem solved. What a waste of time this was.

  172. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    If you want to presume that I’m just walking up to random strangers and lecturing them, go ahead, but nothing I’ve actually said supports your presumption.

    I hope you can see that your save him from a bus analogy does support that presumption. IF a complete stranger is about to be hit by a bus, then OF COURSE you try to intervene. You seem to be comparing telling people they’re wrong to saving people from being killed. In that case, you would do it with everyone, wouldn’t you? You’re not saying you only save your friends from being hit by buses, are you? I don’t think so.

    ~Dan

  173. paynehollow says:

    No John, I want you to accept that we are moral agents able to make reasonable moral decisions based on a multitude of factors, not just one’s opinion of one’s favorite holy texts. Meddling is wrong because meddling is wrong, regardless of what the Bible says. It’s just not right or advisable to go around lecturing people – unwanted – on their moral failings. It’s bad manners, it’s rude, it’s arrogant. Thus, it’s wrong.

    The wisdom of the Bible seems to support this obvious point, but regardless of how you interpret the Bible or whether you even believe the Bible, it’s just not good behavior. Thus, you can’t define meddling anyway you want, or doing so wouldn’t change it’s wrong-ness. Yes, things you do can be meddling, because meddling has a definition.

    You asked at the beginning of this post, “What is it about morality and judging that causes people to hesitate in saying an act or behavior is wrong and immoral?”

    I’m telling you that people hesitate because we nearly all recognize that meddling is wrong and we don’t want to behave badly, that is why. Regardless of your opinions on biblical texts, it is just wrong, so we hesitate to do wrong.

    That is a good thing, friend, can’t you see that?

    ~Dan

  174. paynehollow says:

    That is fine. You don’t have to accept any English definitions you don’t want to. But, if you want to be understood in an English conversation, you’ll have to offer up your own definitions so people know what you’re talking about.

    That is, if my “meddle” you mean “slavery,” or “oppression,” or “sexual assault…” then you’d have to say that if you want people to understand what you mean.

  175. paynehollow says:

    Again, the point is we don’t know what definition Paul was using or what his intent was. I see no reason to suspect that the translators mistranslated Paul on this point. Do you?

    IF you have some reason to suspect “meddle” doesn’t mean “meddle,” by all means, offer it up. I showed you how the Bible Dictionary folks translated as basically “meddle,” but what evidence do have for translating it otherwise?

    Beyond that, I don’t really care what you think that text means, not so much. But clearly, “meddling” is rude, arrogant and bad behavior. I think it is wrong and I don’t need the Bible to back me up on that. It’s presumptive and trifling and just wrong.

    Do you feel like you have to have a line in the Bible for you to know if something is moral or not?

    ~Dan

  176. “And God wants us to NOT be meddlers. That is, God wants us to NOT offer our opinions about people’s sins when that advice is not wanted. By definition.”

    So do you objectively know that God wants this or is it just your opinion?

    “The bible does not define what it means by meddling – the Bible does not draw a line for you or me. I’ve been quite clear that I’m saying this is MY idea of what a reasonable place is to draw the line. ”

    Now I’m really confused, you’ve been quite clear about what the Bible says about meddling, and how the Biblical and English definitions were so clearly similar, but now the Bible does not define meddling.

    Again, you’ve been quite clear that the two key words that define your opinion of what constitutes meddling are “harm” and “want”.

    Yet to some degree you are taking it upon yourself to determine what someone else wants or what someone else considers harmful. People engage in clearly harmful behaviors every day, smoking, drinking, homosexual sex, unprotected sex, drugs etc. They freely choose to engage in these behaviors knowing that they are harmful. Do you think a smoker wants to see TV commercials that disparage his choice? Or the federally mandated warning labels, isn’t that just government meddling? The problem is that there are some inherent conflicts and to expect people to simply allow harmful behavior to go unremarked on seems quite callous. “Oh well, they’re free moral agents and if they choose a long lingering painful death from lung cancer why should I care.”

    You’ve said harm is you line. OK what degree of harm? Physical? Spiritual? Emotional? Who are you to determine what level of harm is being done?

    I addressed the problems with want earlier, I assume you will be responding to that so I don’t have to repeat myself.

    Hypothetical situation. The ABC mining company owns Bob’s mountain in a rural southern state. They decide to mine coal on their legally owned private property. Now, some random environmentalist types don’t like this. There is no harm being done, no laws violated, the byproducts are being dealt with in a safe and legal manner. Yet the environmentalists are compelled to protest. If one uses your definition of meddle it seems as if these protesters are meddling. I’m quite sure you’d be chiding the protesters for their meddlesome behavior, or would you be in line with a sign?

  177. paynehollow says:

    Re: Biblical use of “meddler”

    The New King James puts the word “meddler” in the margin—a very good translation of this word. The Greek word translated “busybody” or “meddler” is allotriepiskopos, a compound word—two normal Greek words stuck together—found in the Bible only in this one spot.

    Allotriepiskopos literally means “not one’s own overseer.” “Not one’s own” is one word and “overseer” is the other. It means, thus, “one who oversees others’ matters or affairs.” This word contains episkopos, which is the Greek word for “overseer,” sometimes translated as “shepherd” or “bishop.” This allotriepiskopos could be a good thing—if it was someone like a steward of an estate who was assigned to be the caretaker of another’s matters, or an executor of a will, someone who is appointed to look over another’s affairs after his decease.

    However, in this one occurrence and in the normal Greek (it is used only a couple of other times in the classics and not quite in this same context), it is a negative term. It describes a person who takes it upon himself to interfere in another person’s matter.

    Thus says the Bible Dictionary people.

  178. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Now I’m really confused, you’ve been quite clear about what the Bible says about meddling, and how the Biblical and English definitions were so clearly similar, but now the Bible does not define meddling.

    I’m not sure why you’re confused. I have never said that the Bible “defines” meddling. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve said it doesn’t. Just like it doesn’t define marriage or homosexual or most of the other words found in the Bible. The Bible is not a dictionary. It doesn’t matter how “clear” a term might seem to someone, it remains their hunch, their interpretation as to author’s intent in using the word.

    So, yes now – and before – I never claimed the Bible defines meddling. I said clearly the Bible Dictionary people offer that explanation about the greek word used, not the Bible.

    ~Dan

  179. I stand corrected. I mistakenly presumed that your citation of the Bible dictionary definition of the word in the Bible was meant to be somehow authoritative. I guess I was wrong.

    I’ll keep waiting for your responses to my questions and hypothetical, I’m sure you’re very busy and will get to it as soon as possible

  180. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    you’ve been quite clear that the two key words that define your opinion of what constitutes meddling are “harm” and “want”.

    Um, that’s the dictionary. I’m just acknowledging the standard English usage of the word and saying “That sound reasonable to me.” What would you have me do?

    Craig…

    to some degree you are taking it upon yourself to determine what someone else wants or what someone else considers harmful.

    As I’ve said in more than one place, I’m saying, generally speaking, I think telling people that they are doing something wrong is meddling. IF they are doing something that harms themselves slowly, over years (ie, no imminent harm), I would still call that meddling. IF they are strangers and there is no imminent harm, I would still call that meddling. For the most part, I would call it helpful intervening with two, maybe three conditions:

    1. Harm to someone else (ie, stealing, abuse, etc)
    2. Imminent harm to themselves (a suicide attempt, extreme drug abuse, etc)
    3. They are a stranger (that is – if someone is a member of my faith community or family, where there is an implied or overt invitation to mutual accountability, I might more freely express a relatively small concern about less-imminent harm – like smoking or gambling – than I would with a complete stranger)

    These seem like reasonable lines to draw for helpful intervening, and beyond that, it’s meddling. I think it is extremely reasonable and wonder where you would disagree? What do you think is a reasonable line to draw for meddling?

    Craig…

    People engage in clearly harmful behaviors every day, smoking, drinking, homosexual sex, unprotected sex, drugs etc. They freely choose to engage in these behaviors knowing that they are harmful.

    Yes, and for the most part, unless there is an overt or implied invitation to hear your opinion, I would counsel that intervening unwanted is meddling. Why? Because that’s what meddling is, by definition. How are you defining meddling?

    Craig…

    Do you think a smoker wants to see TV commercials that disparage his choice? Or the federally mandated warning labels, isn’t that just government meddling?

    General health warnings that are just out there (Exercise More. Eat less fatty foods. Don’t smoke…) do not fall under the definition of meddling, where there is, to me, an implied personal dimension – you are telling someone where they’re wrong, uninvited.

    The problem is that there are some inherent conflicts and to expect people to simply allow harmful behavior to go unremarked on seems quite callous. “Oh well, they’re free moral agents and if they choose a long lingering painful death from lung cancer why should I care.”

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t care. I’m saying you shouldn’t meddle, because meddling is wrong, we have agreed. If ANY THING can be considered potentially harmful and thus, open to unwanted criticism, then the notion of meddling is moot, isn’t it? What would be meddling in your world?

    Craig…

    OK what degree of harm? Physical? Spiritual? Emotional? Who are you to determine what level of harm is being done?

    Imminent physical harm. Actual harm. Yes, yes, we all know that we all disagree with someone out there on this behavior or that, but that is not an indication that there is imminent spiritual harm or emotional harm. It’s just an opinion. Who are you to go around telling anyone uninvited that their behaviors are causing spiritual harm? Isn’t that meddling, by definition? Again, within the bounds of loved ones where mutual accountability is expected, that’s not meddling. But where it isn’t invited? What good would it do? Why would you place yourself in the place of their spiritual overseer? Doesn’t that sound rather arrogant to you?

    Who am I to determine what level of harm is being done? EXACTLY! Who are we to offer our guesses about non-imminent, OUR opinion maybe potential possible harm?

    I mean, we can reasonably see a potential car wreck if someone attempts to drive drunk. We can reasonably see a beating causing harm. These are objective, measurable risk assessments. Your or my opinions about some X amount of potentia harm caused maybe by some behavior that we happen to think might be bad? Entirely subjective and thus, not grounds for intruding with our hunches.

    Craig…

    There is no harm being done, no laws violated, the byproducts are being dealt with in a safe and legal manner. Yet the environmentalists are compelled to protest.

    ? I know of no environmentalists who protest just for the heck of it. They protest (We protest) EXACTLY because of potential, measurable harm. Normal means of digging coal does cause harm.

    But let’s try to find some similar example: Suppose there are some crazy religious environmentalists who are sure that whip cream is of the devil and will rot young people’s souls and burn a hole in the ozone layer. Would their protesting the whip cream factory be meddling? Maybe so, because there is no imminent harm to be objectively seen and their opinion is not welcome.

    Although I would say that meddling typically is person on person, not group on group, but you could make the argument that this would be meddling, if it was based entirely on opinion and not much else.

    Does that answer your question?

    ~Dan

  181. So it’s OK to meddle because of “potential, measurable harm”?

    Does that answer your question?

    I’d say it’s more of a series of response than an answer, but I’m willing to settle for whatever at this point.

    ” But where it isn’t invited?”

    I’ve tried to address this with no success, but I’d argue that maybe needed is an important consideration

    What good would it do?

    There is absolutely now way to answer this accurately. It could cause someone to re think and possibly stop some damaging sinful behavior. It could do nothing. I guess I’m hopeful enough to think that people made in God’s image are worth taking a chance on.

    Why would you place yourself in the place of their spiritual overseer?

    Once again, I wouldn’t. You can tell this by the fact that I never said, indicated or hinted that I would.

    Doesn’t that sound rather arrogant to you?

    What, trying to help someone. No not really. No more so that your insisting that I want to be someones spiritual overseer.

    I think it is extremely reasonable and wonder where you would disagree?

    If that is your opinion why would I disagree with it. Unless you are attempting to assert some sort of Biblical mandate for your opinion. Maybe other people have other opinions, so what? Maybe you should allow those who you claim as brothers the same liberty of conscience you say you allow others.

    What do you think is a reasonable line to draw for meddling?

    Asked and answered.

    ” How are you defining meddling?”

    I’m fine with the standard English definition. I don’t see that an expression of concern fits the definition.

    “Imminent physical harm. Actual harm.”

    based on your perception of the situation. essentially you’re saying I won’t tell the crack addict it’s a bad idea to smoke crack until he’s almost ready to kill himself. That’s what I call caring.

    Interesting, I would think that a group of people insinuating themselves into another groups livelihood would certainly fit your definition of meddling. It is safe to say that it is unwanted, and it certainly causes harm. Because I sure didn’t see an exception for groups, business or non individuals in the dictionary definition you provided. You are, as always, free to have whatever hunches you like. I seriously hope you don’t think anyone will actually buy this exemption of yours.

    Again, you’ve been more than clear that you have adopted a wooden, literal, dogmatic, stance on what you consider to be meddling. You have also certainly made it quite plain that anyone who doesn’t adhere to your meddling scale is committing grievous sin. I appreciate your desire to help me by usurping the position of spiritual overseer for me. Unfortunately that position is filled, so I’ll have to politely decline your otherwise generous offer.

  182. I’ve begun responding to Dan at his blog. I will restate here that I don’t think the Bible hints at the morality of “meddling” and that Dan misunderstands and/or misses the point of all of the five passages with which he began his commentaries in this thread. It is true that meddling can be annoying, rude, etc. But that can all be attributed to both the desire of the sinner that the meddler butt the hell out of his business, and execution of the meddler. None this makes meddling sinful.

    And, in an effort to at least mention the point of the post, I would say that few people concern themselves with the possibility of their meddling being a sinful mark against them. This is Dan’s original argument regarding why a person wouldn’t speak out against an immoral behavior. I think more factually it is the heat the meddler would feel for daring to meddle. It could stain their reputation, as no one wants to be known as a meddler. Not because they think its sinful, but because due to the annoyance factor, together with the fact that most people do NOT want to be held accountable for their actions, the meddler does not want to be shunned. Better to keep one’s mouth shut than to provoke bad feelings of one’s friends, family and acquaintances. Unfortunately, for the Christian, Jesus said He came to turn family members against each other, and by this He meant that truth and His teachings should be held in very high regard that would enable His followers to risk such divisions for His sake. But that’s too much to ask for most people.

    One of Dan’s blogger buddies chastised me for daring to incur the displeasure of my niece by publicly calling her out (of facebook) for a purposeful use of foul language. I have this wacky idea regarding the kids in my family acting poorly and risking being regarded as people who act poorly. I have no problem with my kids or the kids of family and friends thinking I’m a grumpy old man for expecting good behavior out of them. Sue me.

    I don’t belabor such “meddling” moves. I merely make my position known. It’s known as peer pressure and it is good peer pressure so as to lend my voice to any who hope to lead our culture to a higher character. Look what its become for lack of such voice. A little meddling won’t kill us.

  183. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    I will restate here that I don’t think the Bible hints at the morality of “meddling” and that Dan misunderstands and/or misses the point of all of the five passage

    ? Do not be a murderer, evil-doer, or MEDDLER… you don’t think that could be construed as a “hint…”?

    As I’ve noted before, I’m not a biblical literalist like you fellas are (claim to be) so to be clear: I’m not saying “the Bible uses the word “meddler” in a condemning way, therefore all meddling is wrong for all time in all situations…” But what is weird is you all find three – five verses in the Bible…

    “men should not lay with men, if they do, kill them.”
    “don’t be a gossip, a murderer, a ‘homosexual’ [Greek word isn’t actually homosexual, even..!], or a thief… such are not in the kingdom of God…”

    …like that (not exact quotes, going from memory) and you take those five verses as “evidence” that all gay behaviors in all times and places are wrong and sinful, including something that is, on the face of it, as beautiful, wholesome and good as a marriage relationship.

    But, at the same time, you take verses like this one “DON’T BE A MURDERER OR A MEDDLER” or “DO NOT STORE UP YOUR TREASURES…” and say, “well, it doesn’t mean what it literally says there…”

    How do you know it doesn’t mean what it literally says? What do you base that on? Just because you think it, does that make it so?

    If I point to the 3 or so “gay” passages and point out that clearly, it does not refer to all gay behavior, you all reject me as a bible hater and trying to find loopholes for sin, etc. Why do you get to do it here, but we can’t do the same thing?

    To be clear: I support marriage for gay and straight folk because I think it is an abundantly good, healthy, wholesome thing and not really anyone else’s business, even if they disagree. I oppose meddling because it is, on the face of it, presumptuous, arrogant and wrong. I oppose getting extremely wealthy because I believe the case is easy to make that wealth is a trap. I believe all these things and more because they are sensible things to believe. I’m not point to a verse in the Bible and saying, “You see that verse? I interpret it to mean X is wrong and THAT is why everyone should agree that X is wrong…”

    I’m just pointing out you can’t be a “biblical literalist” the way you all claim to be and then choose to make random verses not literal when you don’t like them. IF you are claiming that the Bible is your rulebook, then heed those rules, but don’t be hypocritical about it.

    Marshall…

    I would say that few people concern themselves with the possibility of their meddling being a sinful mark against them. This is Dan’s original argument regarding why a person wouldn’t speak out against an immoral behavior.

    Well that is a fine hunch, Marshall, and their may be a kernel of truth in it. But to be clear, most people I know don’t go around telling people their sins because they don’t believe in meddling. I know of no survey or evidence to support either of our cases so I won’t claim that this is the case for most people, just most people I know. For us, we don’t believe in meddling and THAT is why we would not go around telling folk “you’re wrong here, here and here…” to answer John’s question. And that is at the very least, a good moral to follow, even if you disagree. That is, we are not meddling because we believe meddling to be wrong and if you think something is wrong, you shouldn’t do it.

    You can agree to that, can’t you?

    ~Dan

  184. MA,
    I think your onto a couple of things. First, without some more context, I’m not sure exactly what behavior is being condemned in the proof text Dan has provided. Clearly it seems to suggest that being a meddler is not good behavior, but it doesn’t really give enough detail to clearly delineate what is meant by meddler. Second, I’m not sure that the behavior that you are talking about (and what I’ve talked about) actually rises to meddling. To use your example, I don’t think you suggesting once that your niece should reconsider her Facebook language, is anything but good advice. Now, if you were constantly seeking her out to repeatedly point this out to her that probably crosses the line.

    As much as I don’t like to do it, I have to say that one of Dan’s fans is onto something. It’s almost more an issue of manners than anything. So while I would suggest that there are certainly a number of ways to communicate concern over someones behavior, not all of those ways are equally appropriate. I would also suggest that if the approach is one of humble, sincere, gentle, concern, then whatever is said will most likely be received better. We all have things we don’t want to hear, but that we need to hear. speaking for myself, I respond much more positively to a lower key approach, than to harsh accusations. At a minimum, even if the person doesn’t want to hear what you have to say, it seems likely that they would accept the comment in the spirit they were intended and respond in kind.

  185. I said I wouldn’t do it, but I did anyway. I actually did a search for meddle/meddler(s) in Bible Gateway. First, there is nothing I could see where meddling is clearly delineated as sin. Most of the uses of the word are to warn the Israelites to stay out of the affairs of the tribes around them so as not to be dragged into them. (Advice that was mostly ignored) Then I looked at the 1st Peter 4 passage. I think it’s safe to say that with the context around the proof text that it’s even less clear that meddling is actually a sin. I’m not saying that the passage treats it in a positive way at all, just that it’s not being equated with theft and murder.

    So, please go take a look for yourselves, and let me know if I’m totally off base.

    For the record, I know Dan will think I’m off base, and don’t really want his input.

  186. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    Clearly it seems to suggest that being a meddler is not good behavior, but it doesn’t really give enough detail to clearly delineate what is meant by meddler.

    I actually can agree to this. We DON’T know exactly what Peter’s intentions were. JUST LIKE, we DON’T know what Paul’s intention was when he used a word that has sometimes been translated “homosexual.”

    My point is that I don’t agree with meddling because I think meddling is wrong, for just simple logical, self-evident reasons. To say to a stranger or a friend, uninvited, “You know, you bought an SUV and that is really wrong, it’s a sin! You really should turn from that decision/behavior…” or “I see that you married a fellow. You know, don’t you, that this is a sin and you’ll go to hell if you don’t repent of that and break up…” just seems intrusive, rude, arrogant and, well, meddling. It’s not your business.

    I have opinions on behaviors all the time, doesn’t mean I go around and share them. It isn’t my place, I’m not your overseer and I refuse to put myself in that place. You are responsible for your own decisions and it’s just not my business as long as no imminent harm is being done. To intervene in such a case is meddling, by definition, and meddling is wrong.

    The Bible even seems to suggest as much, but we don’t need the Bible to see that it is wrong.

    Again, if you all treated “homosexuality” like you’re treating “meddling” in the Bible, we’d all be on the same team. I fully endorse this more circumspect approach to Bible words and their meanings on your part. May this increase greatly!

    ~Dan

  187. I’m confused again. You’ve been vehemently arguing that meddling is a sin on par with murder over the course of the last 150 or so replies hare and you are so dissatisfied with the discussion here that you felt compelled to post at your blog, and now after all that you’ve backed off on meddling being sinful. Well played, well played.

    “To say to a stranger or a friend, uninvited, “You know, you bought an SUV and that is really wrong, it’s a sin! You really should turn from that decision/behavior…” or “I see that you married a fellow. You know, don’t you, that this is a sin and you’ll go to hell if you don’t repent of that and break up…”

    You keep implying that anyone here is actually going around saying things like this and it’s just wrong. You’ve been given plenty of warning that this is not what is being talked about, yet you continue to write this crap anyway.

    So your saying you think we should pick one random text from the Bible, build a case unsupported by either the text or the context that said behavior is a sin, argue endlessly that this is a serious sin and that those you are arguing against are seriously beset with said sin, and then change our minds about the sinfulness of said sin. Sure, that seems like a great plan.

  188. We know exactly what Peter’s intentions were in writing what he did in 1 Peter 4:15. Verses 12-19 are clearly dealing with suffering for being a Christian. How is this point such a mystery? He is NOT lumping those behaviors into a category called “sinful”, but merely comparing things for which some might suffer or be ashamed with those who suffer for being labelled a Christian. He could have said, “do not suffer as one who stubs his toe” or “because you sing off key and are ridiculed for it”. He is speaking of what a good thing it is to suffer for Christ’s sake and that one is blessed for it.

    It is easy to take this literally since the point is so clear. But if one is looking to elevate “meddling” to a status of sinful in order to impede those who would seek to guide another away from sinful behaviors, such as homosexual behavior, then clarity is impossible, since there is no intention in Scripture to categorize meddling as a sin.

    As to being a literalist, I don’t believe I’ve ever claimed that title at all. I have admitted to taking certain passages literally because they are still valid for application in these modern times. They have not been altered in Scripture or is there any evidence they are not in effect.

    Dan also makes an error tantamount to lying in saying that there is some similarity in what he does with the behavior of meddling and what we know to be true about the prohibition of homosexual behavior. Lev 18:22 is very clear regarding the behavior. There is no “should” about it whatsoever. That is, Scripture doesn’t say one “shouldn’t” do it. It says DON’T DO IT! That’s what “THOU SHALT NOT” means. And because there is no hint whatsoever that there exists any context in which homosexual behavior is tolerated, one MUST believe that it is prohibited totally and without exception. There is no other possibility based on anything Scripture says or teaches. Combine this with the fact that no reference to marriage even hints at anything other than one man/one woman, and the notion that SSM could be regarded as better than the abomination God called its underlying behavior is outright heresy and a lie. You WANT it to be blessed by God, so you make for yourself meanings that you cram into passages and verses that simply cannot mean what you pretend they mean given the entirety of Biblical teaching. Indeed, you MUST ignore the very criteria you claim you use in studying Scripture to come to your conclusions and you MUST ignore a wide variety of relevant points to squeeze your bile out of God Word.

    There is nothing of the level of concrete fact and truth that supports the idea that meddling is sinful. If you want to regard it as such, knock yourself out. I’ll content myself with what is actually said in Scripture regardless of whether or not it serves my selfish purpose.

  189. paynehollow says:

    Heh. Fun stuff. Peace out fellas.

    [rolls eyes]

  190. As far as being a literalist, it’s an interesting charge. I certainly admit the I take the Bible literally. I think that those who use this a a pejorative have twisted the meaning to support their own preconceived notions. I’ve definitely noticed that those on the left have a tendency to be selectively literalist. They don’t take all scripture literally, but the parts they decide to take literally, they take them in the most wooden literal way possible.

    Case in point Dan’s first take on the 1st Peter passage.

  191. paynehollow says:

    Except, Craig, as with almost everything in the last two posts from you and Marshall, you don’t UNDERSTAND my take, so you’re arguing against something that I have not said and don’t advocate. Case in point (and then I really am going to try to walk away from this silliness…)

    I’m confused again. You’ve been vehemently arguing that meddling is a sin on par with murder over the course of the last 150 or so replies hare and you are so dissatisfied with the discussion here that you felt compelled to post at your blog, and now after all that you’ve backed off on meddling being sinful.

    I have been quite clear from the beginning of this post that I’m not talking about or advocating biblical literalism. I DO think meddling is wrong. It’s arrogant, presumptuous, lacking in grace and respect and it’s rude. For all these reasons, I think meddling is wrong.

    Also, I’m saying that, literally speaking, the Bible DOES call meddling wrong and a sin. I’m always open to asking “What does it mean when it suggests this behavior is a sin?” because I am not a biblical literalist, nor is it a rule book. But to try to suggest, “When Peter said ‘Don’t be a Murderer, a thief, an evil-doer or a meddler…’ he wasn’t suggesting that ‘meddler was wrong…'” Of course that is the apparent intent in that passage. COULD it mean something else? Sure, but it’s not the apparent intent.

    Again, I’m always fine with looking at rules you find in the Bible (“men should not lay with men. If they do, kill them.” “Kill your disrespectful children.” “Kill those who work on Saturdays…”, etc) and asking, “What is the point of this rule in context? What spiritual truths can we learn here?” etc. and not assuming that if we find an apparent “sin” in the Bible that it’s a sin in all times and place and circumstances. I’m fine with acknowledging we don’t know perfectly what the intent of the author was.

    But the problem is, you all seem intent on insisting you know the intent of the authors when the behavior is not one of your pet behaviors, but when it actually impacts your life, you start either saying, “We don’t know the intent of the author…” or “We KNOW the intent of the author and it’s not what he’s literally saying…” That is problematic for your credibility.

    ~Dan

  192. paynehollow says:

    [rolls eyes]

    Yes, John, You all know my position and beliefs better than I do. That’s not arrogant.

    It’s a good thing you all are cool with meddling so you can let people know when they just aren’t as wise as you all are…

    [end rolling eyes]

  193. Thanks for misstating the position of those who disagree with you in the same comment you complain about your position being misstated.

    Well played, well played.

    ” I’m saying that, literally speaking, the Bible DOES call meddling wrong and a sin.”

    Actually, after doing the research, Ill agree that the Bible doesn’t condone meddling, I haven’t seen enough clear evidence to categorically say it’s a sin,

    Of course, since even you agree that the Bible doesn’t actually define meddling, it becomes a bit difficult to actually deal with it in any practical sense.

    For the record, I’ve never suggested that you were advocating Biblical literalism in any recognizable sense of the term. It is however quite plain that you have adopted a sort of selective literalism, in that you take certain passages in a wooden literal sense if it suits your argument. To be clear, you’ve never actually said that exactly, it’s just obvious when you latch onto the 1st Peter verse out of context. Then insist that it literally says something that the context doesn’t support.

  194. “…nor is it a rule book.”

    Except when it comes to meddling, according to Dan, there is clearly a rule against meddling.

  195. “Even though the Bible says, “don’t be a murderer, an evil-doer or a meddler…”

    Dan can you please show me where the quote, as you’ve quoted it above actually appears in the Bible. I can’t seem to find it. This certainly isn’t a quote of the 1st Peter verse. Maybe it’s particular to a certain version, but I couldn’t find it.

  196. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    You keep implying that anyone here is actually going around saying things like this and it’s just wrong.

    No, I keep ASKING, “Is this what you’re saying? Where do you draw the lines? There are thousands of potential behaviors to be potential sins (in your opinion), do you tell people each and every one of those every time you have that opinion?”

    Do you understand the difference in asking questions to seek clarification and making an implication or making a charge?

    That, as opposed to, “This is DAN’s way of doing it…” THAT is a charge. Mine are questions that remain mostly unanswered.

    But, I’d also ask you to look at your (apparent – you all are hard to nail down) claim: That if someone is sinning, well, that sinning could cause them spiritual harm, therefore, it isn’t meddling to alert them to that harm…”

    IF that is your position, then why WOULDN’T you tell everyone – strangers or not, wanted or not – each and every one of their “sins” (in your opinion)? Where would you draw the line in saying “It’s okay to warn someone about THIS sin, but there is no need to warn someone about THAT sin…”?

    Again, these are questions that, if answered, might help shed some light on your positions and might help you see the rational and moral problem with meddling.

    ~Dan

  197. Dan,

    ““When Peter said ‘Don’t be a Murderer, a thief, an evil-doer or a meddler…’ he wasn’t suggesting that ‘meddler was wrong…’” Of course that is the apparent intent in that passage.”

    But he doesn’t say “Don’t be a murderer, a thief, etc…” He doesn’t say that at all in the verse you cite. He says:

    If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.” NIV

    But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” KJV

    For let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil-doer, or as a meddler in other men’s matters:” ASV

    But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.” ESV

    But no man of you suffer as a manslayer, either a thief, either curser, either a desirer of other men’s goods; [Forsooth no man of you suffer as a manslayer, or a thief, or curser, or desirer of other men’s things;” WYC

    I don’t see where you get “don’t be a meddler” from “don’t suffer as a meddler”. The verse contrasts all these various kinds of people, and the suffering being such a person might bring, with suffering for being a Christian. The context from which you drew the verse is speaking about suffering for being a Christian or being called a Christian. Verse 15 suggests that there are thousands of reasons for suffering, “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” Sure, being a murderer is wrong and sinful, but Peter isn’t listing it as if listing sins despite beginning the list with behaviors that are clearly sinful. He’s only speaking to the suffering a murderer might endure for being a murderer or being called one, verses the suffering one might endure for being a follower of Christ. This is what it says. Not what I think it says, but what it says. If you disagree, bring something akin to an argument, some evidence or angle that is more than just you wanting to paint meddlers as sinners.

    “I’m fine with acknowledging we don’t know perfectly what the intent of the author was.”

    Of course you are. This allows you to regard a sinful behavior as NOT sinful when it suits you. YOU make the sinful mistake of presuming something as clear cut as “Thou shalt not” might provide some loophole or exception despite the fact that absolutely none is provided in the text. YOU take the sinfully deceitful position that there is no way to discern that some rules are specific to the tribes of Israel in the time of Moses while some of those very same rules still apply today.

    Of course, I can’t say that this is worse than what you are doing here…taking a verse you cite yourself and then pretending it says something the verse doesn’t say at all.

  198. I see comments entered as I typed my last. Dan’s comment at 10:28PM is especially outrageous.

    “IF that is your position, then why WOULDN’T you tell everyone – strangers or not, wanted or not – each and every one of their “sins” (in your opinion)?”

    It’s hard to conceive that you weren’t too embarrassed to take this road. This idiotic suggestion could be applied to any position held by anyone, including yourself. Considering the way you feel about turning the other cheek, why aren’t you out every day and night breaking up fights, or preventing spousal abuse?

    How is you think you are scoring rhetorical points by going to such extremes, as if doing so doesn’t make you look like a fool? No one has come close to defending meddling to the extent that they consider it a cause worthy of devoting every waking moment.

    • Dan conflates everything to extremes then debates as if you support his extreme exaggeration.

      I wonder if he does this to people in his life or just people he disagrees with on the internet.

  199. Indeed, John. I’ve often thought it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in Dan’s world to see how he acts “in real life”.

  200. Dan,
    The fact that you continue to ask a “question” that I for one have already answered, and that assumes a “worst case” set of actions on the part of those who disagree with you, that the only conclusion I can reasonably draw it that you impute your “worst case” behavior to people who have already demonstrated that they behave otherwise.

    I applaud your tactic though. Instead of engaging in the current conversation, you continue to rehash the old part of the conversation.

    You’re central theme, that the 1st Peter proof text explicitly calls meddling a sin, has been severely undermined. Yet you pretend it hasn’t and ignore questions about this. You blatantly misquote your proof text, yet when asked to provide a source for your quote, you retreat to re asking the same old tired answered questions.

    To be clear, NO ONE is saying in any way shape manner or form that meddling is a good thing. Since NO ONE is saying that you do you continue to assume that anyone IS saying that. You have asserted that meddling is a sin right up there with murder, you the one out of context verse you offer is demonstrated to say something entirely different, yet you pretend that no one has called that interpretation into question.

    Why should anyone answer your same old repeated questions when you continue to pretend that the thread hasn’t taken a turn for the worse for you.

  201. “But, IF someone merely thinks “I like SUVs, they make me feel safe” or, “I think getting a vaccination for my child is a good idea” or any other of a million decisions we make every day and there is no harm to others and you’re capable of assuming any risk for their behavior, then no, we THAT is not our business.”

    I’m sorry, but this comment is just stupid. NO ONE is suggesting that driving an SUV is a sin. NO ONE is suggesting that vaccination is a sin. The fact that you can’t seem to draw a line between sin and behaviors that are morally neutral at worst, demonstrates the disingeniousness with which you have engaged in this thread.

    I also love how you twist the story of the woman caught in adultery. Of course Jesus doesn’t name her sin, there is no question of her sin. Jesus, calls out the sin of her accusers, and they leave. Then Jesus deals with her by saying “Go and sin no more.”. He does almost exactly what we are talking about here. He tells her in essence, stop sinning. She knows it’s wrong, He knows it’s wrong. She doesn’t try to justify it or explain it away.

    Why shouldn’t we follow the example Jesus sets? He confronts people about their sin, He allows those who choose, to go away and He offers His forgiveness and grace to those who repent.

    That sounds like a pretty good model to me. Address people in their area of need. Allow those who aren’t repentant to go one their way. Help those who are to find the fullness of God’s grace and forgiveness.

    It seems like it would be difficult to help those in need of God’s grace to find God’s grace, if we just ignore what is separating them from God’s grace.

    FYI, your eisegesis of the 1st Peter passage is significantly flawed.

    As MA has pointed out. Peter is clearly saying that to be persecuted for your faith is good. He then says that it is not good to be persecuted for being a thief or murderer. Then he says it’s not good to be persecuted for something more trivial like meddling. The problem is he never says what you quote the passage as saying.

  202. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    I’m sorry, but this comment is just stupid. NO ONE is suggesting that driving an SUV is a sin. NO ONE is suggesting that vaccination is a sin. The fact that you can’t seem to draw a line between sin and behaviors that are morally neutral at worst

    Again, you are still not even understanding the very basics of what I am saying. I’m not claiming that YOU or anyone here thinks these things are sins. I’m offering real world examples of real world beliefs that real world people have. The point that you don’t appear to be getting is this, slowly:

    1. There are a multitude of behaviors out there and we – any of us, all of us – might have opinions on each of them as to their “sin status.”

    Do you understand the reality of what I am saying?

    2. For any one of us, the number of behaviors that we might find “wrong” or “sinful” could be in the hundreds, in the thousands, even in the tens of thousands.

    Do you understand the reality of what I’m saying there? Is it not the case that you have a huge number of opinions about the moral righteousness of a huge number of behaviors? Or are you speaking only of a handful of simple things – behaviors like murder, theft, meddling, gossip, rape, incest, bestiality, lying… and that’s about it?

    3. Assuming you recognize that there are thousands of moral positions we might hold an opinion on, I’m asking the reasonable question: Where do you draw the line? Do you always point out each of those to each person you think is “sinning…”? That is, do you offer your counsel on others’ sins hundreds of times a day (each time you notice someone violating one of your “sins…”)? OR, do you limit it to only a few behaviors? If so, which behaviors are worthy of your condemnation in other people’s lives? Do you limit to friends? If so, why only friends, if you think there soul is in jeopardy, why don’t you counsel strangers?

    These are reasonable questions that I have not seen an answer to.

    There is no need for any long, convoluted answers. Just simple ones will suffice. Like this:

    1. Yes, I recognize that there are a large number of potentially “sinful” behaviors…

    or

    1. No, I am really only speaking to more specific and clear behaviors – rape, murder, gossip, slander, theft, incest and, you know, maybe 10 other clear sins…

    Simple.

    2. Really, same as 1.

    3. I am drawing the line at about 10 behaviors that I think are clearly wrong that no one really disagrees on. Murder, theft, etc. And yes, I would counsel even strangers against them and condemn that action even in strangers.

    or

    3. Well, I am talking about hundreds, maybe thousands of behaviors but no, I don’t go around telling each person – friend or stranger or slight acquaintance – that I meet ALL of their sins… I tend to stick to the “Big Ten-Twelve” that I referred to earlier…

    Like that. This doesn’t need to be any huge treatise, I’m just trying to get your position.

    Craig…

    He confronts people about their sin, He allows those who choose, to go away and He offers His forgiveness and grace to those who repent.

    Except, factually, no, Jesus does not do this. He never once (in the biblical text) confronts prostitutes, thieves, adulterers, cheaters, etc, and condemns them for their sins. The closest you can find in the biblical text is when he confronts the religious zealots – those who meddle into the lives of others and presume to set themselves up as overseers of other people’s lives and business.

    But, IF you think Jesus does this, feel free to point out even once when he does it outside of the religious zealots.

    ~Dan

  203. Dan,

    Again, you can keep asking the same already answered questions over and over again, and you’ll get the same answer. I get your premise, (thousands of questionable behaviors), and I think it’s silly.

    Second, I never once said Jesus condemned anyone. please respond to what I actually said, not to your preconceptions of what you think I said.

  204. I, for one, am confused by this need to draw a line. Any intervention is likely to be situational and subjective. Few would check a list they carry with them to determine if the time is right to intercede. Most would see a situation and make more of a snap judgement compelled by the details and dynamics of that particular situation. When one will or won’t is not nearly as important as will one ever. THAT speaks to John’s original topic far better. Some won’t ever and the question is why not? Dan wants to believe it is because people think meddling is wrong. I doubt it, though I don’t doubt that some might use that as an excuse rather than to admit they don’t wish to risk any blow-back from a person that would react harshly to the intervention.

  205. paynehollow says:

    Craig…

    I get your premise, (thousands of questionable behaviors), and I think it’s silly.

    Okay, this is progress. You don’t accept the premise that there are thousands of potential wrongs. That’s something Craig. So, then, how many are there? How many “sins” do you feel compelled to point out (to “help” others see the light)?

    If that is your position, this is a reasonable question to answer.

    Craig…

    I never once said Jesus condemned anyone. please respond to what I actually said, not to your preconceptions of what you think I said.

    Fair enough. My apologies for misunderstanding you and thinking you were saying Jesus was “condemning” people for their sins. Instead, you said he “confronted” them with their sins. (Your words: “He confronts people about their sin”)

    Okay, then my response is: No, factually, Jesus did not do this. Except for the religious pharisees, he did not generally go around and “confront” your average sinner with their sins.

    Off the top of my head, I guess you could make the case that Jesus “confronted” the woman at the well… so maybe One instance of him doing this. My point is that Jesus did not go around “meddling” in peoples lives, telling them what their sins are (indeed, he didn’t do this with the woman at the well, not exactly…). This is what you are advocating, yes? Where do you find any support for this? That one story?

    Certainly, in the story of the religious zealots who confronted a woman with “her sin,” Jesus did not do this. Instead, he graced her and said (after shaming the Pharisees/religious zealots by calling them on the carpet for their meddling), “Are there none here who condemn you? Neither do I condemn you…” This is Jesus’ approach in the Bible, not seeking out “sinners” to tell them where they’re sinning.

  206. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    I, for one, am confused by this need to draw a line. Any intervention is likely to be situational and subjective. Few would check a list they carry with them to determine if the time is right to intercede.

    Clearly, meddling is wrong – whether or not you think it’s sinful, clearly it’s wrong. It’s presumptuous, it’s arrogant, it’s rude. It places you (by your own design) as someone else’s overseer – the person they “need” to set them right. Who suggested to you that this is a good thing to do? There is no biblical precedent for it.

    So, if you’re going to say “there is a line that, past it, is meddling and wrong,” then “where is that line?” is a reasonable question to ask.

    I guess in your case, are you saying that there is NO line? That you can meddle all you want and not be wrong? Is there any limit to what is in good taste and basic human decency where you can just go up to strangers or friends uninvited and tell them all the ways they are wrong? “You look fat – exercise more.” “You’re too stupid. Read more.” “I don’t like the way that shirt looks on you…” Is there no line that, to you, is going too far?

    I think almost all reasonable people can agree that sharing your opinions – unlimited and unwanted – with others who have not asked for them is at the very least, rude as hell. Setting aside how arrogant and presumptuous it is, it’s just socially awkward. I’ve dealt with people with mental issues in the past and part of what they need to learn is how to behave in social situations. Unlimited sharing of your negative opinions about others is part of what they need to learn to stop doing.

    I can’t believe that you don’t think there is some line that should not be crossed.

    So, assuming that you can agree with that, “What is that line?” is a reasonable question. I don’t see anything confusing in it at all.

    Marshall…

    Some won’t ever and the question is why not? Dan wants to believe it is because people think meddling is wrong. I doubt it, though I don’t doubt that some might use that as an excuse

    Do you not see the presumption in that claim? You don’t know me. You don’t know the millions of others who choose not to meddle in other people’s lives unwanted on any topic where we might think they are wrong. In truth, it is exactly why I don’t meddle – because I believe meddling is wrong and choosing not to engage in wrong is a basic human Good.

    Are you suggesting that we should do what we think is wrong?

    Not meddling IS, in the real world, one reason why people would choose not to offer their opinions, unwanted. Believe it or not, it is factually a reason. You’re welcome to your own beliefs, but not to your own facts.

    ~Dan

  207. “Clearly, meddling is wrong – whether or not you think it’s sinful, clearly it’s wrong. It’s presumptuous, it’s arrogant, it’s rude. It places you (by your own design) as someone else’s overseer – the person they “need” to set them right. Who suggested to you that this is a good thing to do?”

    Aren’t you doing that right now?

    ” “You look fat – exercise more.” “You’re too stupid. Read more.””

    This is meddling, it’s being an asshole and it is NOT the least bit related to what John was driving at with his question.

    ““What is that line?” is a reasonable question.”

    Not in the least considering when to intervene in the lives of others is subjective and situational. Two people can be guilty of the same behavior but not equally appropriate for intervention. What’s more, it is like drawing a line on the colors projected on a wall by light through a prism. Where do you draw that line between the start of one color and the end of the previous? Said another way, the line draws itself with every situation, one demanding attention and the next not.

    But let’s, for a moment, concede that it is ALWAYS “presumptuous, rude and/or arrogant to “meddle”. Let’s say you don’t just force your opinion onto one who had always insisted that he prefers to make his own mistakes. He thinks you’re a real dickhead for your continued nagging, and he’d like to see you dead. Then, somehow, someway, as you try a different way of getting across your point, he suddenly sees it and as a result, he saves thousands of dollars. At that point, you’re no longer presumptuous, rude or arrogant, much less a dickhead, but instead you’re his savior and best friend. The point here is that “presumptuous” is not the meddler, but the word used in reaction to the one referred to as a meddler. Let’s say that in the previous scenario, you don’t persist in that way and after only two or three attempts to make your point you walk away and let the guy make his mistake. While he thought all those nasty things about you as you tried to help, he now feels as though he should have listened to you, and you again, are no longer presumptuous, rude or arrogant.

    So as I said at your blog, you need to be really specific as to what you mean by meddling, what you think Scripture means by meddling, with support from Scripture, not to mention some place in Scripture where it refers to meddling as wrong. At this point it seems you have no clear idea of what it is, what Scripture means or why it is wrong.

  208. paynehollow says:

    Marshall…

    you need to be really specific as to what you mean by meddling, what you think Scripture means by meddling, with support from Scripture

    My meddling, I am just using the English dictionary definition. Unwanted intervention. With the noted exception that, intervening to stop obvious, imminent harm from being done is not reasonably what “meddling” is talking about.

    And by “obvious, imminent harm,” I am specifically NOT talking about what your guess might be as to some personal, subjective opinion about a non-harmful behavior. Like whether or not someone gets a tattoo, or someone marries a person you don’t approve of, or someone buys a car you don’t approve of or someone plays a card game you don’t like or gambles in a way you don’t like… non-harmful behaviors.

    As to what specifically and authoritatively what the Bible authors were speaking of, well none of us can say that, can we? Any more than you can say what “kill men who lay with men” has to do with today’s morality or any other term in the Bible. But clearly, it appears to be speaking of just what the translated word says: Presuming to place yourself – unwanted – as someone’s overseer, someone’s nanny.

    We don’t need to set ourselves over others as their authoritative spiritual nanny. We answer to God and ourselves, not some self-appointed watchdog.

    Since none of us can appeal to “what God meant” by the passage, I’m appealing to reason. And reason argues against saying, “I have looked at this passage and other passages and I AM SPEAKING FOR GOD when I say, it definitely means this…”

    On the other hand, reason tells us that it is presumptive and arrogant to place ourselves over someone else, unwanted.

    Marshall…

    Aren’t you doing that right now?

    No, John asked a question and we are holding a rational adult conversation about why someone would choose not to tell others what they think they’re doing wrong. The question was an invitation to dialog on the morality of this topic. So, with an invitation to hold this adult-level conversation, it is a dialog, not meddling. By definition.

    ~Dan

    • Dan

      How about we dont use petty complaints as examples since as marshall and everyone else pointed out thats not what im talking about with this post.

      ‘That guy slapped his wife because she back talked him, he is wrong and a bad person for doing that’

      ‘She had an affair, thats immoral regardless of the reason and she is a bad person’

      That guy steals cigarettes at the convenience store stealing is wrong, he is a bad person’

  209. paynehollow says:

    John…

    How about we dont use petty complaints as examples since as marshall and everyone else pointed out thats not what im talking about with this post.

    I still don’t think you all are getting my point. YOU may think these are “petty complaints.” For other people, they might be very real sins. Again, IF you are only speaking of “Serious Sins” – ie, sins that cause actual harm – then we are not disagreeing, because I’m making clear that yes, we SHOULD intervene when actual harm is being done.

    THAT is the point of me offering other examples beyond the ones that cause direct, obvious, imminent harm.

    Is that where you draw the line, John? Harm?

    If so, then you and I agree with what I said initially and we could have quit this 200 comments ago.

    ~Dan

  210. Dan,
    This whole notion of numbering how many sins there are is just plain stupid. For someone who insists the bible is not a rule book, you seems fixated on compiling a list of rules. Of course, you are a bit obsessed about the rule against gossip, which you haven’t actually demonstrated to exist. If you’re not going to play by the rules you expect others to, then I’m done trying to humor you. You’ve ignored questions and challenges to your premise, only to keep repeating yourself and ask the same stupid questions over and over.

    As to your point that Jesus never “confronted” people with their sins, really? Are you seriously suggesting that Jesus ONLY addressed the sins of the “righteous” and gave everyone else a pass. That Jesus didn’t expect repentance? Jesus clearly;y “confronted” the woman at the well with her sin, He clearly acknowledged the sin of the woman caught in adultery, he clearly exposed the sin of the rich young ruler. Yes, he rebuked the “righteous” harshly. But, a gentle confrontation is still a confrontation. By your definition, when Jesus pointed out the sin of the woman at the well, He was meddling. Clearly she didn’t want Him to point it out, and clearly He was not invited to comment on her sins.

    So go ahead and focus on compiling a list of petty behaviors that might or might not be sins. No one else here is worried about it, but maybe you can do a post on your blog to list all the possible sins you can think of. Because you certainly haven’t demonstrated that the Bible specifically addresses meddling.as a sin.

  211. “We don’t need to set ourselves over others as their authoritative spiritual nanny. We answer to God and ourselves, not some self-appointed watchdog.’

    This is a great example of your misrepresentation. While i have no doubt such people exist, there is no one in this conversation who is advocating this sort of behavior. Why not deal with the actual literal people in the conversation, rather than to make unhelpful generalizations? Why is it so difficult for you to stick with the actual literal words people actually say without resorting to “examples” that are either so contrived that there is no option but to agree with them, no matter how unrealistic and far fetched they are. Or to resort to the “we just don’t know” cop out.

    I guess I’d boil it down to this. I’ll paraphrase Jesus, who listed the two greatest rules for life. Love God with all of your being, and love your neighbor as yourself. Sin, simply, is a violation of the first rule. I expect that my neighbors will love me enough to point our areas where I’m not living up to rule #1, and I’d like to think that I’d do the same. It’s pretty simple. Love God, love others. If I love others shouldn’t I help them love God? Jesus said (again paraphrased) “If you love Me, obey My rules.”. So, if the (or a) way to show God we love Him is to obey His rules, then by helping others obey the rules aren’t we helping them love God more. Of course, you might argue that we’re not supposed to just go around to random strangers and tell them not to sin (what a horrible un Christlike thing, telling people not to sin.). Oh, but, Jesus actually defined who our neighbor is. Oh, and, He said that our neighbor is “those people”, you know the ones we don’t like. We’re supposed to love them too, not just the folks in our small town christian ghetto. Love, God, love others, keep the rules. Seems like helping others keep the rules just might be a way to show God’s love.

    This is pretty simple and clear, I didn’t have to torture the context of a single verse in ! Peter to try to bend it to support my point. It’s simple, the actual, literal words of Jesus (don’t forget the Anabaptists filter everything through the words of Jesus) “Love God, love others, keep the rules.”, maybe you’re just trying to make it harder than it needs to be.

  212. “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)

    Seems like James, might disagree with you as well.

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