Monday, October 24, 2005

Discussion with the Humanists, Part II

Yea!  I got a response to my post at the Humanist News blog yesterday.  This post will not make sense if you do not read my post "Discussion with the Humanists" first.

In response to what I wrote yesterday, Fred Edwords respectfully commented:

Thank you, Hurts, for providing the opposing bookend. It lets us know that we aren't critiquing a straw man.

I'll just pick one thought out of the bushel.

You seem to agree with the idea of your "natural desires being unquestionably sinful." Isn't it interesting, then, that those evangelicals who call homosexuality sinful often argue that the proof of its sinful nature is that it is (somehow) "UN-natural." Does this mean that ALL desires, both "natural" and "unnatural," are sinful? And, if so, why then would the supposed unnaturalness of a given desire offer any special proof of its sinfulness worthy of mention?

As for our natural desires being sinful, why would we need forgiveness for exercising them? Shouldn't God be asking our forgiveness for saddling us with such supposedly evil urges?

Oh, I know, all that sin is supposed to have started in the Garden of Eden. But that legacy could no more be my fault than would a crime committed by a parent or ancestor. I'm an individual who is innocent until proven guilty, not guilty because of something in my family history. Thus I don't need to secure forgiveness for anything Adam or an ape might have done thousands or millions of years ago.

Here was my response:
Hurts said...

Fred brings up two points that have already been asked and answered by the Christian faith. I will refrain from preaching, but I ask that you allow me to quote two Scripture passages that directly answer the questions.

First of all, as to the "natural" and "un-natural" argument. A basic Greek word study clears up this misconception (we look to the Greek because the passage was originally written in Greek and we can get away from translation arguments). The verse that is often quoted, and to which Fred indirectly referred, is Romans 1:26-27. An English translations reads this way:

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

The Greek word for "natural" as in "natural relations" is "phusikos" and it means "produced by nature, agreeable to nature or governed by the instincts of nature". The word for "unnatural" is "phusis" and it means "abnormal, not of nature." Of course, the writer understood nature to be "God's nature", but he was arguing even from a natural, physical standpoint, homosexuality was perverse or against nature...against the way are bodies were created.

And then the next question, "why should we ask forgiveness for "natural" desires and shouldn't God ask our forgiveness for "saddling" us with these?" It goes back to free choice. God did not saddle us with a sinful nature. We were created in his perfect image, but we were given a free will and chose to go against God's way.

Which brings us to the last issue Fred brought up about not being guilty of something from our family's history. I need to quote one more Scripture to address the questions, "why ask forgiveness for a sin nature given to me by somebody else? should God ask our forgiveness? and "why and I held accountable for somebody else's guilt?" Again, God clearly answered these questions:

Romans 5:18-19
Yes, Adam's one sin brought condemnation upon everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness makes all people right in God's sight and gives them life. Because one person disobeyed God, many people became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many people will be made right in God's sight.

You can read more in context if you so addresses Fred's questions directly but I am trying to respect the forum to which I am commenting so I will use only these two verses.

Why ask forgiveness when I am doing what comes "natural"? Because God says that when the one man (Adam) turned his back on God, he blew it for all of creation. This may not seem "fair" to our American way of thinking (thus Fred's reference to 'innocent until proven guilty'), but does that really matter? I know you are not going to agree with me that God created the world, that He created mankind in His image without sin...fine. But your argument states, "If God created us with a sinful nature, He should ask our forgiveness for saddling us with this." You can't have it both ways. If God created the world and mankind, then He has the right to set the rules. How dare we demand his forgiveness for a free-will choice we (i.e. mankind) made in His world? If you are going to reject the idea of God totally, that is least you are being consistent. But don't' take half the story (God created man) and then stop just for the sake of your argument. If you are going to allow for God creating man (in your argument), then you have to allow for His creating man in His image without a sinful nature. God owes us nothing. He gave us (i.e. humankind) perfection and we chose something else. And if that is not enough, God gave mankind, more specifically each and every individual, a second chance in Christ. God, being a perfect moral being, cannot stand a sin nature in His presence, but He did create humankind, and He created humankind to have a relationship with Him. Thus, when we blew it and could never "fix it" because of the sinful nature we all inherited from Adam (and the individual sinful choices we make), God sent his Son to be the atonement for our sinfulness. All he asked in return is what He asked from the it His way. Accept Christ's sacrifice and live a life recognizing God as Creator who has a right to make demands of us, his creation. This is almost over-simplifying the message of the New Testament, but again, I am trying to respect the forum to which I am commenting.

So the good news is, we don't have to answer for the legacy of what one man did thousands of years ago, but we have to make the same choice he did: do it my way or do it God's way.

And I guess the other bit of good news is God never said anything about having to answer for something an ape did thousands of years ago!

- Rob

No comments: