Agreed: God hates sex

I lost this damned post earlier because of an error in the time stamp, so now I'm recreating it. (Sorry if I sound whiny, but I hate reinventing thoughts which aren't new, and I find this topic extremely annoying.)

Anyway, "GOD HATES SEX" seems to be an apparent area of agreement between those waging war against sex, and those waging war against God.

I realize that it is natural for activists to create dichotomies which imply that the only choice is between their extreme or the other extreme, but I think that perhaps in this instance, neither "side" wants to dare admit even to the possibility of a sexually-tolerant God.

Thus, in a numbingly predictable form of collusion, the two sides "agree" that the "choice" is between a sexually intolerant God, or no god at all.

Matt Barber, Policy Director for Cultural Issues of Concerned Women for America, has sent me yet another Culture War-promoting email, and his emails put me in a double bind, because if I ignore them I feel like a coward. (I know this is as irrational as refusing to be too "chicken" to take a dare, but these are feelings, OK?) And OTOH, if I spend time on them, I'm not only wasting time on someone who will never be convinced, but by paying attention to him, I'm doing what Ace suggested we not do with, uh, Gleen Grenwald. So I'm damned if I do pay attention, and damned if I don't.

I suppose you could say that I shouldn't give the man a link, but I think that's a little petty. Besides, I usually link Glenn Greenwald when I discuss him, and I think that when you discuss something, it's good form to give a link, whether it helps his traffic or not. I don't mean to single out Greenwald as the gold standard by which Matt Barber linkage is to be judged, but the way I see it, if I'm willing to link Greenwald, then I should be at least as willing to link Barber. (Besides, they probably each deserve to be spending time listening to each other.)

Of course, what link should I give him? Matt Barber's review of The Golden Compass came to me as an email, but it's all over the Internet. As TownHall seems to be his home base, I guess I'll link to that.

I have not seen the movie, nor have I read any of the books by author Phillip Pullman, but Barber says both the book and the film are anti-Christian:

....both this movie and the man behind it have a very certain anti-Christian axe to grind.
Perhaps this is true. But I've noticed that Barber seems to define "Christian" according to his own interpretation of it. To him, Christian churches which allow gay marriage are not merely heretical; they are guilty of apostasy. Meaning not Christian. Presumably, apostasy is anti-Christian, so by Barber's definition, Pullman might be no more anti-Christian than the Rainbow Baptist Church. Or for that matter, the Episcopal Church. (The Archbishop of Canterbury does not consider Pullman's work to be anti-Christian in nature. )

Hmmm....

What if Barber actually does think the Episcopal Church is anti-Christian?

Geez, I'm thinking that in that case Barber might consider this an anti-Christian post, and I don't consider myself anti-Christian at all. I'm just a pantheistic Pagan Christian with kooky ideas that God might love the people he's said to hate, and that maybe certain things in the Bible either weren't said by God or are taken out of context. Is it "anti-Christian" to engage in such speculation?

See how complicated this gets? If right off the bat, I'm anti-Christian by disagreeing with Matt Barber, there's no way I can ever hope to persuade him or the people who think like him of anything, is there? Seen that way, this post is a waste of time. But it's really not personal to Matt Barber because I think there is a larger issue, and it's a pet peeve of mine: the tendency of atheists and fundamentalists to agree on terms which, while boosting the ranks of atheists and fundamentalists, tend to make ordinary people roll their eyes and turn off to spirituality in any form.

By focusing on Pullman's philosophy, Barber conflates atheism and secularism into a neat little package united by a common desire to do away with authority:

Pullman leaves little question as to his books' central theme. "I don't profess any religion," he is quoted as saying. "I don't think it's possible that there is a God; I have the greatest difficulty understanding what is meant by the words 'spiritual' or 'spirituality.'"

Ironically, Pullman's confident pronouncement that there is no God appears to take an exclusive backseat to his hatred for the very God he denies. "My books are about killing God," he told The Sydney Morning Herald in a 2003 interview. And in the trilogy's final offering, The Amber Spyglass, he does just that -- he knocks off the Almighty in a delusional fit of grandeur.

Pullman's books drip with moral relativism, that deceptively sweet, yet fruitless nectar of the secular humanist. His portrayal of God -- which is clearly intended to personify the Christian church -- is that of an evil authoritarian who spitefully stifles human creativity, arbitrarily punishing mankind for very naturally and properly entertaining base impulses with unfettered license.

Atheists are not atheists because of any honest or deliberate thought on their part, but merely because they want to get away with being wicked:
....isn't that what atheism is all about, really? Our fallen desire to have, "no one to punish [us] for being wicked." If we can convince ourselves that there is no God, then we escape accountability for what we do, or so we believe. It's not so much a-theism as it is anti-theism. In fact, atheism is every bit a religion as any other. But in the church of the non-believer, the high priest is cloaked beneath the vestment of pseudo-"science" and parishioners worship at the altar of moral anarchy.

Still, like so much else in our culture, Pullman's aversion to God would appear to boil down to sex. Mary Malone explains that her desire for sex was her primary purpose for abandoning the God in Whom she no longer believes. "And I thought: am I really going to spend the rest of my life without ever feeling that again? ... And I took the crucifix from around my neck and I threw it in the sea. That was it. All over. Gone. ... So, that was how I stopped being a nun," she recounts.

Barber invokes David Limbaugh for the theological position that sex -- especially sexual perversion -- is what it's all about:
Author and attorney David Limbaugh sums up the anti-theist condition succinctly:
"It seems the most militant 'anti-theist' these days are either arrogant scientists or unrestrained licentious types whose main obstacles to faith are not intellectual, but moral -- and that moral obstacle seems invariably to be sex ... sexual perversion, while perhaps not the worst sin, especially when compared to pride, for example, seems to be the one galvanizing the modern opponents of God."
Psalm 14:1 tells us, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good."
But doesn't the claim that sex galvanizes the modern opponents of God presuppose the overarching importance of sexual issues to God? It's almost as if he is telling the "anti-theists" that God is about opposition to sex, and that they are right in hating God if they hate God for that reason. (Also, the use of the term "anti-theists" makes me think he conflates theism with God, which is wrong because theism encompasses one or many gods. One can be a theist and reject or embrace Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Krishna etc.)

It's tough to read through someone's characterizations of the views of an author with whom I am not familiar, so I thought it would be fair to attempt to determine exactly how atheistic or anti-theistic the author himself is. In this interview, he seems to be a religious skeptic, although his main gripe seems to be with those who claim religion as an excuse to behave badly:

....I'm caught between the words 'atheistic' and 'agnostic'. I've got no evidence whatever for believing in a God. But I know that all the things I do know are very small compared with the things that I don't know. So maybe there is a God out there. All I know is that if there is, he hasn't shown himself on earth.

But going further than that, I would say that those people who claim that they do know that there is a God have found this claim of theirs the most wonderful excuse for behaving extremely badly. So belief in a God does not seem to me to result automatically in behaving very well.

I find it fascinating that Pullman's and Barber's views are almost flip sides of the same coin; Barber argues that atheists use atheism as an excuse for bad behavior, while Pullman accuses religious people of using religion as their excuse. (If this is true, I suppose if there were a war between atheists and religious people, all killing would have to be, um, "excused.")

Pullman says he doesn't care which religious variant is involved, and that his opposition to religious mischief is not limited to opposing the Christian variety:

when you look at organised religion of whatever sort - whether it's Christianity in all its variants, or whether it's Islam or some forms of extreme Hinduism - wherever you see organised religion and priesthoods and power, you see cruelty and tyranny and repression. It's almost a universal law.

It's not just Christianity I'm getting at. The reason that the forms of religion in the books seem to be Christian is because that's the world I'm familiar with. That's the world I grew up in and I knew. If I had been brought up as an orthodox Jew, I would no doubt find things to criticise in that religion. But I don't know that world as well as I know Christianity.

Obviously, I'm a lot more familiar with Christianity than I am fundamentalist Islam. And while I find radical Christian zealots annoying, experience tells me that they are nowhere near as dangerous as radical Muslim zealots. True, there are a few Army of God types who do occasionally murder abortionists and "sodomites" in the name of Christianity, but usually, the worst thing Christian fundamentalists do is spout nutty theories. Telling me that Hurricane Katrina was "God's punishment" for "sodomy" is a lot less threatening than executing sodomites -- to say nothing of thousands of Americans. There is simply no comparison.

However, I have not hesitated to criticize what I've repeatedly called "the Bigot God of 9/11," and I do think that there (and have always been) are plenty of religious people who insinuate their particular bigotry into their various forms of God or gods.

What shouldn't be forgotten is that these are competing views of the unknown, and what will likely remain unknowable (at least as far as I can see). That means that it is entirely possible that the atheists might be right. Matt Barber might be right. Phillip Pullman might be right. Fred Phelps might be right. The Archbishop of Canterbury might be right. And (nauseating thought though it is) even Osama bin Laden might for the sake of argument be right. (Which means that I and most of us could very well be going to hell.)

It is also possible that God (or a god or gods) might not be as anti-sexual as is commonly claimed. What Barber forgets with his "either my way or atheist hedonism!" pitch is that there is just as much right for a group of theists (in this case "Pan theists") to set up a Church of Nature's God and engage in phallic worship as there is for him to get all bent out of shape over it.

Don't expect me to start such a church though. Just because I've been photographed with Nature's God doesn't mean I have to start a cult.

EPan.jpg

I mean, consider the god's name. Pan? Priapus?

(It's a slippery slope from there to the "Church of Viagra".... And for the record, I am not the hedonist I appear to be in the picture, OK?)

UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and a warm welcome to all.

(Comments appreciated, whether from atheists, fundamentalists, people in between, or none of the above.)

posted by Eric on 11.19.07 at 06:27 PM










Comments

I'm not familiar with Pullman's work eitehr (way too much fantasy on the market to read, and if I had time, I'd rather go through Discworld or Thomas Covenant.

But from the lines in Pullman's books that I've seen quoted and Wikipediaed, I am of the opinion that Pullman has a misunderstanding of religion in general, and Christianity in particular. Judging by his portrayal of the Magisterium and his ecposition of Christianity as a top-down authoritarian structure, his views have likely been coloured mostly by his exposure to the Catholic church at the exclusion of other denominations.

To wit: Ex-nun character Mary Malone thinks she either can believe in God and rejects love and sex (i.e. remain a nun), or seh can embrace love+sex by rejecting God. As you're saying, a false dilemma because the vast majority of Christians can have both devotion to God, AND love+sex (within marriage).

http://scottthong.wordpress.com/2007/11/19/the-golden-compass-attacking-a-misportrayal-of-christianity-and-how-to-refute-the-attacks/

Scott   ·  November 19, 2007 10:13 PM

Note that more women have called upon God during sex than at any other time, and never with more passion and conviction than during orgasm.

BTW, have you ever wondered what the two kids were doing after their skinny dipping in The Amber Spyglass? We are talking about a pair of adolescents after all. :)

Alan Kellogg   ·  November 19, 2007 10:42 PM

It is all a matter of choosing the right religion.

M. Simon   ·  November 19, 2007 11:26 PM

Eric,

Did I mention I belong to the Jewish branch of the same religion?

Schisms, already we have schisms. One of the hallmarks of a true religion. LOL.

M. Simon   ·  November 19, 2007 11:31 PM

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discussion vs viagra levitra   ·  November 20, 2007 12:18 AM
M. Simon   ·  November 20, 2007 12:22 AM

For those who think God hates sex, but believe the Bible is His inspired Word, have you ever read the Song of Solomon?

I've never heard a pastor preach a sermon based on that book. I wonder why?

The Monster   ·  November 20, 2007 12:45 AM

The way I understand it, when an artist creates a great work, he or she is the only one who can delcare with finality what that work is intended to be and how it ought to be displayed. It may mean a wide range of different things to different people even within that scope, but the basic intent and purpose are the same, and if it is a very well designed creation, it will communicate the same underlying benefits to each.

Now, the artist may choose to not directly interfere when someone decides to use the art for other purposes. But that does not mean the artist is unoffended, "tolerant", or whatever the PC buzzword of the day happens to be. If the use is outside the scope of what the creation was intended for, it becomes a distortion or a perversion of the original. Arguments by the perverter that s/he likes it better that way may be true as far as they go, but pale greatly next to the displeasure of the artist, who has the recognized rights of authorship. (Stated another way, you can choose to pleasure yourself while staring at the Mona Lisa, but that doesn't make it right.)

Sure, some people are all too ready and willing to ascribe their own personal prejudices to God's command; the Catholic hierarchy pulled it off for 1500 years and plenty enough protestant preachers do it today, no doubt. On the other hand, there are too many people who are trying to pretend their way into a mushy middle, where words such as Jesus' "It is written" are denied full weight but are not dismissed either. Instead, the focus knob is fiddled with until all of the people look beautiful and all of the boundaries are wide gray lines. Details distort into fuzz and now the picture has lots of areas where "we can agree to disagree because nobody knows for sure."

Unfortunately, the lines aren't gray, and that approach is just willful blindness cloaked with colorful names. There's no room for middle ground when speaking of God, if one actually knows what the word means. In the case of this discussion, either God is God and by definition has unlimited fiat right to declare boundaries upon the enjoyment of His sexual masterpiece, or He is no meaningful god at all and simply serves as the mental fiction of those who aren't man (woman) enough to face up to "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die", and do it, and instead needs some spiritual crutch to cling to.

anony-mouse   ·  November 20, 2007 12:49 AM

Methinks you are conflating the notion of a deity that creates and sanctions well-regulated sex with one that hates it. What exactly constitutes well-regulated is the bone of contention. Pederasty was approved by the ancient Greeks, but most gays I've ever deprecate it. Similarly, the ancient Pharaohs indulged in incestuous unions. If there is a God who has an opinion about what constitutes well-regulated sex, it behooves us to endeavor to learn what that is.

I suppose a hypothetical pederast who learned that deity hates pederasty would naturally state that deity hates sex. But if the internet has taught us anything, it is that sex has many diverse (and perverse) expressions. These distinctions should not be ignored when considering sexual ethics. Deity may approve some sexual activities and disapprove others.

Mr. Matt Barber probably finds Biblical warrant to assert that God heartily approves of heterosexual congress within the context of marriage. (I'm assuming he's Protestant. The Roman Catholic Church has historically added something about procreation.) To put the words, "God hates sex," into his mouth is to make him a strawman.

The real question is not whether you or Mr. Barber thinks I'm a Christian or not, it is whether God thinks I'm a Christian or not. And he isn't the warm-fuzzy happy clappy deity we see trivialized in many Sunday Schools, but that guy who terrorized his associates two thousand years ago when he stood in a boat and told the wind and seas to shut up.

steve poling   ·  November 20, 2007 1:07 AM

Come now, you yourself pointed out that apostasy is more properly of a rejection of a religion than holding an incorrect view of the religion, which is heresy. Apostasy in and of itself does not mean opposition to the religion, just a rejection of it (non- instead of anti-). Apostates may be anti- the religion which they are apostates from, but it is not a necessity. Anti-Christianity h is a position which not only holds that Christianity is incorrect but also that it should/must be opposed.

As for Archbishop Williams, well there are problems there and from a Barberian point of view the good Dr. Williams is already an apostate on homosexuality as is the (non-breakaway) Episcopal Church. I don't however think Barber would go so far as to consider Dr. Williams or the Episcopal Church as anti-Christian, mistaken in beliefs and perhaps heretical, but not opposed to Christianity.


Indeed Pullman does seem to be an anti-Christian, just not exclusively anti-Christian but an anti-Christian as a subset of his general anti-religousness. Anyone who is anti-all-religons is by definition an anti-Christian and an anti-Muslim and an anti-Buddhist and so on. But his anti-Christianity is not from his use of "moral relativism, that deceptively sweet, yet fruitless nectar of the secular humanist.", which is neutural but from "His portrayal of God -- which is clearly intended to personify the Christian church -- is that of an evil authoritarian who spitefully stifles human creativity, arbitrarily punishing mankind for very naturally and properly entertaining base impulses with unfettered license."

In looking at Berber considering Pullman an anti-Christian instead of an apostate it might be best to consider it the terms of the Atheist of the O'Hair stripe distingushing themself from an Agnostic. An O'Hair Atheist is most definetely an anti-Christian and looks down upon as weak the Agnostic apostate, unwilling to take the next step after rejecting belief, to actively believe in the non-existance.

Name?   ·  November 20, 2007 1:19 AM

I find it fascinating that Pullman and Barber's views are almost flip sides of the same coin

I find it fascinating that you could possibly stare at all this evidence in the face, typing it out TWICE even -- and still say "almost".

These two viewpoints are indeed two sides of the same fraudulent coin -- because both "sides" of that opposition share a common erroneous premise. It's usually expressed this way: "If God is dead, everything is permitted".

This is the root premise that unites the Left and conservatism as twins born of a common error -- and why these two sides are not opposites at all. Conservatives insist that God is not dead; the Left insists that everything is permitted (i.e. that morality is subjective/relative).

If someone stood up and said "Reason, not belief, is the source of moral awareness" it should be clear why such a person would alienate both of these purported "opposites". Such a person would be an atheist, and yet nonetheless moral (whether you agree with her moral code or not).

The conservatives would loathe and fear such a person for seeing through the made-up BS that justifies their arbitrary religious morality; the Left would hate her for invalidating the made-up BS they use to justify their arbitrary moral subjectivity.

Neither can stand to discover that the particulars of their respective made-up BS is all that really distinguishes them.

So, with all this BS around, the best you can do is point out that anyone can just go and make up some more BS that happens to be pro-sex? Really, that's all you got?

I have a radical idea -- how about objecting to BS-based morality on principle? After that, addressing the spirituality of sex free of any concern with God at all is not hard at all.

Seerak   ·  November 20, 2007 2:46 AM

Seerak, your conflating conservatives with religious fundamentalists is naive and flawed. An enormous number of conservatives are atheists and agnostics, including righty bloggers right here on the web. I myself am extremely conservative and a non-practicing Christian.

One difference between leftists and conservatives is that leftists are usually atheists while conservatives are frequently non-Christian and/or non-religious. Something leftists can't get through their heads.

Stop throwing around "conservative" like an epithet; you lose all credibility when you do. Distinguish between religious fundamentalists and conservatives, or you look hopelessly ignorant.

Peg C.   ·  November 20, 2007 6:26 AM

TO: Eric
RE: Befuddlement R Us

"What shouldn't be forgotten is that these are competing views of the unknown, and what will likely remain unknowable (at least as far as I can see). That means that it is entirely possible that the atheists might be right. Matt Barber might be right. Phillip Pullman might be right. Fred Phelps might be right. The Archbishop of Canterbury might be right. And (nauseating thought though it is) even Osama bin Laden might for the sake of argument be right. (Which means that I and most of us could very well be going to hell.)" -- Eric

I remember being this confused.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Agnostic, adj., Clueless.]

Chuck Pelto   ·  November 20, 2007 6:29 AM

TO: The Monster
RE: The Good Books of the 'Good' Book

"I've never heard a pastor preach a sermon based on that book. I wonder why?" -- The Monster

Maybe it has to do with not going to the right Christian church.

I remember the pastor at the church I went to before I had to move mentioned it.

He also mentioned the latter part of Proverbs 31.

I miss that church....deeply...

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[God builds His temple in the hearts of men, on the ruins of theologies and religions.]

Chuck Pelto   ·  November 20, 2007 6:35 AM

Great strawman, "God hates sex". I guess it's either all or nothing with the libertarian purists.

Mike Maddox   ·  November 20, 2007 7:03 AM

"In fact, atheism is every bit a religion as any other."

I'm heartily sick of this oft repeated canard. Belief and religion are not synonyms. Religion entails a claim to be speaking with the all-powerful authority and backing of the creator. Atheism denies such authority to the believer's views, without elevating his views into a similar position of authority.

Believers should give up intellectualism, all 2000 years of Christian theology being fatuous unproof. Unselfconscious faith makes a much more admirable impression.

Brett   ·  November 20, 2007 7:23 AM

Brett: Belief and religion are not synonyms. Religion entails a claim to be speaking with the all-powerful authority and backing of the creator.

Brett, by your definition, Buddhism and probably Hinduism are not religions.

Nobody in particular   ·  November 20, 2007 7:43 AM

You write "But doesn't the claim that sex galvanizes the modern opponents of God presuppose the overarching importance of sexual issues to God?"

But that wasn't the claim. The claim was, "sexual perversion [...] seems to be the one galvanizing the modern opponents of God."

A subtle but meaningful difference. It is a mistake to conflate sex with sexual perversion, and anyone arguing the subject does so at their own peril.

DoDoGuRu   ·  November 20, 2007 7:49 AM

Hinduism has gods. Buddhism substitutes a "higher reality,"--palpable to no one, but purportedly more real than the world we live in--for the creator. The Buddhist still claims an indemonstrable authority over non-believers.

A distinction should be made between religion and philosophy. The latter is secular and contingent. At best, when mulling moral issues, religion is primitive philosophy. It's modern problems come from claiming authority through superstition.

Brett   ·  November 20, 2007 7:51 AM

As a long time semi-conservative Christian I have been in churches where Song of Solomon is taught - just not on Sunday mornings because it is X-rated and there are always children in the service. And ever since youth group (35 years ago) I have been taught that sex is a gift from God to be enjoyed and that it is great - but that it should only be used within marriage. In fact i have never heard any Christian say that sex wasn't great. Where is anyone getting this idea? Except that it is perpetrated in anti-Christian literature ? BTW polls always show that conservative Christians have more sex and enjoy it more on average.

Darrell Vaughn   ·  November 20, 2007 8:26 AM

I did read the books, quite recently, and claiming that the books are Anti-Christian gives me a "methinks he dost protest too much" kind of vibe.

The books are about rebellion against an authoritarian church/government that attempts to stifle scientific investigation, control people and force them to live a life of obedience, using "God" as a reason. But as you read the book, you discover that "God" isn't really God - he's an angel, who just happened to be the first angel on the scene. The real God is hidden, and can really be seen in the coincidences and luck that permeates the series (which even the characters remark on several times).

To claim the book is anti-christian is silly, because it isn't anti-christian - it is anti-theistic-government.

jb   ·  November 20, 2007 8:40 AM

As a socially conservative Christian, I nevertheless certainly believe that God is not unconcerned with sex -- he invented it. And no, not all orthodox Christians find reason an unsettling tertium quid. The mirrored identities of some atheists and Christians is as fascinating to reasonable Christians as to others.

rasqual   ·  November 20, 2007 9:29 AM

I have read the books a couple of times. I think Pullman is definately anti-christian. While the church in his fantasy world is obviously an extreme paradody, he also makes it explicit that his false authority is indeed the author of the churches in our world (at least the christian ones) and the Catholic Church in particular is noted as being a the wrong side in the episode with the Nun who finds she can't be a believer because the wants to get laid.

It is also important to note that the dead in Pullman's books are not redeemed and that the idea that they go to heaven is a 'lie' planted by the Authority. During the course of the books the main characters rescue the dead by letting them out of hell where they can become either nothing or part of everything (but with no individuality or personality.) Clearly this is not compatible with christian theology.

Pullman does present some interesting philosophy, and it the books are worth reading by adults, but I wouldn't give them to a young child. Pullman though either deliberatly distorts or is shockingly ignorant of the actual theology he attempts to criticise.

Dave Justus   ·  November 20, 2007 11:44 AM

The most interesting aspect of this discussion to me hasn't been brought up yet: Is it possible to appreciate the works of people with whom you do not agree?

I still enjoy Disney movies (oh, hush; I do) even though Walt Disney was anti-Semetic; I still love Paradise Lost despite John Milton's blatant sexism (criticized by C.S. Lewis and William Blake, among others). I like a lot of the religious poetry of the Puritans, even though I'm as far from them religiously and ideologically as you can get. A work of art can be savored and enjoyed even if one deplores the values of the person who created it.

It's a shame that Matt Barber couldn't bring himself to enjoy a well-written children's story because he was so busy seething at an interview with Philip Pullman that was taken out of context anyway.

(Disclaimer: I'm a bisexual, Wiccan right-winger. Disregard as you may.)

J   ·  November 20, 2007 12:02 PM

TO: jb
RE: Dave Justus' Comment

"It is also important to note that the dead in Pullman's books are not redeemed and that the idea that they go to heaven is a 'lie' planted by the Authority. During the course of the books the main characters rescue the dead by letting them out of hell where they can become either nothing or part of everything (but with no individuality or personality.) Clearly this is not compatible with christian theology." -- Dave Justus

I await your rebuttal.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
Critic
Colorado High School Forensics

P.S. Specializing in Cross-X, Public Forum, Lincoln-Douglas, One-on-One Value Debate

Chuck Pelto   ·  November 20, 2007 12:03 PM

TO: J
RE: Enjoy??!?!?

"Is it possible to appreciate the works of people with whom you do not agree?

I still enjoy ..." -- J

A broad topic.

But, in short, I think the term 'enjoy' is inappropriate. Your earlier use of the term 'appreciate' is much better.

One should always 'appreciate' things. Especially for what they are.

The challenge here, from my perspective, is whether or not I should 'appreciate' reading Pullman. Or would it be an utter waste of time?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[So many books. So little time....]

Chuck Pelto   ·  November 20, 2007 12:08 PM

M. Simon: "For those who think God hates sex, but believe the Bible is His inspired Word, have you ever read the Song of Solomon?

I've never heard a pastor preach a sermon based on that book. I wonder why?"

I am not sure about sermons, but C.J. Mahaney (an evangelical pastor in Maryland) wrote an entire book about Song of Solomon: http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Romance-Glory-God-Christian/dp/1581346247.

The book pretty clearly puts the lie to the idea that God hates sex.

Ethan   ·  November 20, 2007 12:14 PM

Chuck, I'm lost as to how "enjoy" is inappropriate in this context. Every time I read Paradise Lost or the Bible, I'm struck by the beauty of both volumes; it makes me happy. If that's not enjoyment, what is?

As to whether or not reading Pullman is a waste of your time, isn't that rather for you to decide? A book review that touches upon the themes and basic story of His Dark Materials will be more helpful in that regard than a tangentially-based jeremiad preoccupied with whether or not its author is "anti-Christian."

J   ·  November 20, 2007 12:23 PM

But doesn't the claim that sex galvanizes the modern opponents of God presuppose the overarching importance of sexual issues to God?

Um, that's really poor logic. Just because someone misunderstands you doesn't force you into their misunderstanding. If God considers sexual sin bad, but not the worst thing, that doesn't mean it somehow becomes the worst thing because you think it is.

Their rejection is based on their personal ideas, not on anything about God's teachings in the Bible.

And Pullman is unmistakably anti-Christian and anti-theistic, he has said so repeatedly in interviews.

Christopher Taylor   ·  November 20, 2007 2:04 PM

I'm reminded of a fundamentalist friend back in high school who told me that the Lord of the Rings was satanic because it had dragons in it and dragons are symbols of the devil. I pointed out that the dragons in the book were evil, and shouldn't he be happy that dragons are being depicted as evil? He then pointed out the runes along the edge of the cover and asserted that runes were used in devil worship. I let the conversation end at that point.

Beck   ·  November 20, 2007 4:45 PM

TO: Christopher Taylor
RE: Pullman

"And Pullman is unmistakably anti-Christian and anti-theistic, he has said so repeatedly in interviews." -- Christopher Taylor

In that case, I would hardly 'enjoy' what he writes. But I could 'appreciate' it.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Know your enemy and know yourself and you shall never be defeated. -- Sun Tzu, the Art of War]

P.S. TO: J....

...getting a handle on the differences?

More tomorrow, if you aren't. Gotta fix supper and prepare for a BoD meeting of the neighborhood association....in 1.5 hrs to 'station time'.

Chuck Pelto   ·  November 20, 2007 7:14 PM

Look, how can it be said that the Christian God is against sex, when sexual relations are given a rather exuberant thumbs-up in Genesis, a Big Cammandment way before the Ten Commandments ('be fruitful, fill the earth" is going to take lots and lots of man/woman lovemaking there) and sex is considered an image of the relationship between God and us (the Church, the Bride, Heaven the Wedding Feast) AND...

I'm just getting wound up here ...

Matrimony is considered a Sacrament, and Matrimony is the high valorization of SEXUAL LOVE, specifically bodily, HEART-FELT, in all-caps with asterisks in between.

So, this is God's expression of anti-sex?

How? 'Splain it to me.

Julianne Wiley   ·  November 21, 2007 3:59 PM

Well Julianne, He is against men laying with men as with women, so He's anti-homosexual sex. And there is a whole long spiel about getting servants and slaves pregnant, so He's against positional rape. There are a few sections where He speaks out in opposition to getting unmarried women pregant and no taking care of teh child, so He's against casual sex by tobe deadbeat dads. There is a bit about adultery too, so He is against getting maried to one man and forcing him to raise children fathered by someone else. Animals are also out (although I cannot recall offhand if that is a Divine injunction or merely priestly), so sex with animals is a bad deal. And Onanism, or male masturbation is also not something He looks on upon with favor.

Sure sex with someone of the appropriate gender (lesbianism doesn't seem to have a Divine prohibition, so apparently He's OK with it) is good, provided it isn't with an animal and any offspring are properly taken care of. These are obviously unreasonable restrictions He has implimented because He is opposed to sex.

name?   ·  November 22, 2007 4:19 PM

When it was a rag-tag "militia" (before the word "guerilla" existed) vs. "shock and awe" of the day -- regimented and uniformed in redcoats -- we cheered the "improvised weapons" side opposing the occupation forces employing high-tech (again, of the day) overwhelming force.

So more recently, we are being told that street tactics are immoral and repugnant in their indiscriminance (IEDs, suicide vests, etc.) -- which happen to be associated with non-Christians -- but you give a pass to massive aerial and other "modern" tactics that are at least as indiscriminant? And do you simultaneously deny that the Pat Robertson types have nothing to do with the political cover that keeps this machinery in the air?

You give Christians way to much credit over Muslims when you say something like, "Obviously, I'm a lot more familiar with Christianity than I am fundamentalist Islam. And while I find radical Christian zealots annoying, experience tells me that they are nowhere near as dangerous as radical Muslim zealots."

Just because the spray of brain, body parts and bloody bits doesn't reach back up to cockpits 5000 feet in the air, or those pilots didn't have three cups of tea on the 700 Club that morning, doesn't in the least imply even relative innocence.

Pete Klammer   ·  November 23, 2007 2:39 AM

regardless of any of this information or opinions these people might have i have a different veiw of the situation. For one thing, no one on earth has ever met God so how can you assume he hates sex. God gave us sex as a gift to be given after you marry. How else would there be children to grow up and take our place when we're no longer here. In conclusion, i snrongly disagree with the opinion tnat "God hates sex".

bob   ·  November 27, 2007 8:17 PM

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