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Author Topic: Dan Savage on the Bible  (Read 3100 times)
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BRTD
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« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2012, 09:20:08 am »
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Dan Savage, who is a Catholic himself

No, he's an atheist-leaning agnostic.
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« Reply #51 on: April 30, 2012, 09:24:15 am »
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Everything he said was right. But LOL@who invited Dan Savage to speak to high schoolers.
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« Reply #52 on: April 30, 2012, 09:29:13 am »
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Picture this for a second...

Instead of Dan Savage, Ann Coulter is invited to speak. She then brings up the issue of gay marriage and says- in front of these students- "the fact that gays want to be able to get married is bullsh**t"... at that point there would be outrage- from you, from the media, from me, from everyone... and then some offended gay or lesbian students walk out because the crowd applauded and they were uncomfortable...and Coulter refers to these gay students in front of their peers as "pansyass"

You would be singing a different tune...

That's not quite comparing like with like. Again Dan Savage was not saying the Bible is bullsh-t; he was saying that there's some bullsh-t in there that we still hang on to, even though we've let other stuff go. The fact that students walk out because Dan Savage says stop using the Bible to justify your intolerance is not particularly a noble stance.

If your scenario happened, well besides the fact I think Ann Coulter is a c-nt may cloud my vision, but I would think it a bit stupid for students to walk out rather than challenge her at the end.
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« Reply #53 on: April 30, 2012, 09:33:56 am »
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I think there is a difference between a legitimate and respectful point about a literal interpretation of the lines of Leviticus regarding homosexuality and the manner in which he discussed it...it was his blanket assertion of how the Bible gets things wrong and the profanity which offends me and which offnded them most likely
I am paraphrasing when I quote him as saying "The Bible got wrong the easiest moral issue of all time- slavery"... obviously I understand his point, but he is insulting and generalizing the Bible at that point. Once again- place yourslf in the shoes of a 14 year old listening to some one your parents age say these things
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« Reply #54 on: April 30, 2012, 09:40:48 am »
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I think there is a difference between a legitimate and respectful point about a literal interpretation of the lines of Leviticus regarding homosexuality and the manner in which he discussed it...it was his blanket assertion of how the Bible gets things wrong and the profanity which offends me and which offnded them most likely
I am paraphrasing when I quote him as saying "The Bible got wrong the easiest moral issue of all time- slavery"... obviously I understand his point, but he is insulting and generalizing the Bible at that point. Once again- place yourslf in the shoes of a 14 year old listening to some one your parents age say these things

Let's imagine that homosexuality wasn't the issue of contention. Imagine there were a dozen racial supremacists in the audience who walked out when he said that the Bible got 'slavery wrong'; imagine the catalyst. What would you think of their walkout?
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« Reply #55 on: April 30, 2012, 09:49:16 am »
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I think there is a difference between a legitimate and respectful point about a literal interpretation of the lines of Leviticus regarding homosexuality and the manner in which he discussed it...it was his blanket assertion of how the Bible gets things wrong and the profanity which offends me and which offnded them most likely
I am paraphrasing when I quote him as saying "The Bible got wrong the easiest moral issue of all time- slavery"... obviously I understand his point, but he is insulting and generalizing the Bible at that point. Once again- place yourslf in the shoes of a 14 year old listening to some one your parents age say these things

Let's imagine that homosexuality wasn't the issue of contention. Imagine there were a dozen racial supremacists in the audience who walked out when he said that the Bible got 'slavery wrong'; imagine the catalyst. What would you think of their walkout?
You're talking about a point that is uniformly agreed to be archaic and not applicable. There is significant debate over the homosexuality verses...do I agree with you and Savage that it ought not to be taken literally? YES- but was this the right audience to bring that up- let alone use profanity during it?
You are changing the issue- I will not disagree with the point he is trying to make...I disagree completely with the methods and find them very hypocritical
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« Reply #56 on: April 30, 2012, 10:00:51 am »
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I think there is a difference between a legitimate and respectful point about a literal interpretation of the lines of Leviticus regarding homosexuality and the manner in which he discussed it...it was his blanket assertion of how the Bible gets things wrong and the profanity which offends me and which offnded them most likely
I am paraphrasing when I quote him as saying "The Bible got wrong the easiest moral issue of all time- slavery"... obviously I understand his point, but he is insulting and generalizing the Bible at that point. Once again- place yourslf in the shoes of a 14 year old listening to some one your parents age say these things

Let's imagine that homosexuality wasn't the issue of contention. Imagine there were a dozen racial supremacists in the audience who walked out when he said that the Bible got 'slavery wrong'; imagine the catalyst. What would you think of their walkout?
You're talking about a point that is uniformly agreed to be archaic and not applicable. There is significant debate over the homosexuality verses...do I agree with you and Savage that it ought not to be taken literally? YES- but was this the right audience to bring that up- let alone use profanity during it?
You are changing the issue- I will not disagree with the point he is trying to make...I disagree completely with the methods and find them very hypocritical

Again, that's the point Savage was making; why is 'agreed to be archaic and not applicable' when passages in the NT, including those attributed directly to Jesus supports slavery, yet despite Jesus not saying a word about gays, homosexuality is still subject to 'significant debate'

Therefore why are to we feel 'sorry' for Christian students that have a problem with gays so walk out, but we shouldn't feel 'sorry' for those who, hypothetically speaking, would think the bible was being 'attacked' because Savage pointed out the bits on slavery?
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« Reply #57 on: April 30, 2012, 10:06:54 am »
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The distinction is that the Bible (IIRC) does not specify as a rule that there *must* be slavery so either having slavery or not having slavery are both consistent with Biblical principles, but it does specify in several places that there *must not* be homosexual activity.  Of course it is ridiculous to take one's moral guidance from a document that represents the moral code of an ancient civilization that was considered backwards even when said moral code was written down, but that's neither here nor there.
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« Reply #58 on: April 30, 2012, 11:09:41 am »
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Oh and while we're at it, Savage is just a victim of a politically correct culture that says religion can never be criticized under any circumstances.
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« Reply #59 on: April 30, 2012, 11:26:41 am »
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memphis- I'd be fine obeying those rules if people were consistent! When folks are called bigots for mentioning Sharia law- they are called bigots!
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« Reply #60 on: April 30, 2012, 12:16:22 pm »
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Oh and while we're at it, Savage is just a victim of a politically correct culture that says religion can never be criticized under any circumstances.

What's pretty pathetic is the double standards, attacking the Catholic Church, anti-gay fundies or Young Earth Creationists gets that type of response, but Jeremiah Wright who isn't anywhere near as remotely as offensive as them, oh no.
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« Reply #61 on: April 30, 2012, 08:17:06 pm »
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Savage is utterly failing at fighting bullying.  He's only increasing tensions.
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« Reply #62 on: April 30, 2012, 11:05:18 pm »
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On what planet does that qualify as bullying? lol
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« Reply #63 on: May 01, 2012, 12:05:37 am »
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On what planet does that qualify as bullying? lol

The planet where a grown man calls teenagers 'pansy-ass'.
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« Reply #64 on: May 01, 2012, 12:51:18 am »
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Basically, he's saying that the Bible is truly incompatible with treating gays or anyone else with human dignity. He's more fundamentalist in his interpretation here than any fundamentalist.  He doesn't understand the role of Scripture in religious and moral life over the past three millenia.  And, like some posters here, it doesn't look like he wants to. He feels like he's been hurt by the Bible, and so he's reacting to that. 
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« Reply #65 on: May 01, 2012, 05:20:16 am »
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You do know that they would probably have walked out even if he hadn't 'cussed'? If he'd stated his point they would still have left. They left the moment he said he believed what the bible said on homosexuality was bull.

That's speculation.  I don't disagree that in such a scenario that's the most probable outcome, but it is what it is, a speculation built counterfactual defense.

Basically, he's saying that the Bible is truly incompatible with treating gays or anyone else with human dignity. He's more fundamentalist in his interpretation here than any fundamentalist.  He doesn't understand the role of Scripture in religious and moral life over the past three millenia.  And, like some posters here, it doesn't look like he wants to. He feels like he's been hurt by the Bible, and so he's reacting to that. 

Are we sure his interpretation is any more "fundamentalist" than a fundamentalist's interpretation of the Bible? 

I personally think this is the elephant in the room for modern Christianity.  As I see it, most Christians [by that I mean, the folks under the normal statistical curve, if we can fit one] are likely in a few camps here. [As an aside, I'm going to use the word "tolerant" without necessarily saying thats something to be valued.]  (a) You're a tolerant Christian who doesn't think the literal message of the Bible is that intolerant, (b) you're a tolerant Christian who looks at the Bible and says...hmm...I've got to do some major reconciling between what I think God really is and well, what this 2000 year old text with a bunch of...inconsistencies with what I think God really is [so that you're put in a situation whereby your personal God is similar to, but may not be the same as the entity existing throughout the whole Bible], (c) You want to be a tolerant Christian, but are constrained by the Good Book's words, or (d) Tolerance at points is nice on some issues, but there is no room for tolerance here.  I don't want to be too pejorative, so I'll put it this way.  Some folks in this group...generally nice people, mean well...hate the sin, love the sinner (and this love can be expressed in strange ways, from a more secular viewpoint)...but that's the furthest they can go...the laws are absolute throughout time...any further accommodation almost makes one an accomplice.

Anyway, a roundabout saying that Christians, myself included, have this problem as to what the Bible actually says on the issue (as opposed to whats convenient to read from it) and how to reconcile it, if they think reconciling is necessary at all.
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« Reply #66 on: May 01, 2012, 08:50:30 am »
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Anyway, a roundabout saying that Christians, myself included, have this problem as to what the Bible actually says on the issue (as opposed to whats convenient to read from it) and how to reconcile it, if they think reconciling is necessary at all.

I don’t disagree. The problem is that many Christians have a real difficulty not in just reconciling what the Bible says on this subject, but that they have difficulty in grasping that Christian denominations have indeed reconciled modern thinking (as thinking has progressed) with other unsavoury parts of the book as Dan Savage highlighted. Slavery is a perfect example. There is a reluctance to accept the position that churches and Christians held on this matter until recently in human history or to acknowledge that, “you know what, if you read what the NT says about slavery, slave owners had a point.” But do Christians sit and argue over slavery? Sam Harris is right; slavery is the easiest moral question we have ever faced. Are there any cases at all (unlike say murder) where owning fellow humans slaves ever justifiable? No. The Bible, and the NT flunk the issue.

Slavery is simply a choice. Sexuality is more complex. For example, Christians will point to Romans which says that people turned away from ‘the natural way to have sex.’ But of course we have seen and observed in nearly every observed animal species that procreates separated by millions of years of evolution, homosexual acts. Given that it exists in nature, given what we know about the spectrum of human sexuality, how can Paul’s pretext of it being ‘unnatural’ be correct? It may not be common, or dominant, but it exists in nature. Not only that but Paul’s rant accuses those who had same sex relationships of then being involved in everything from murder to parental disobedience. Why is this discussed in hushed awe rather than for what it is; an ill-informed rant. Why does the fact Jesus utter not a word on the matter count for nothing?

Now of course, as an atheist I understand the bible as simply a written book inspired by events perhaps, but certainly not by anything divine. However it would be nice if believers of the book would be consistent in what they do with it.
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« Reply #67 on: May 02, 2012, 02:58:32 pm »
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Fun facts.

The video footage of the incident that I linked to was shot by Focus on the Family. Nicely staged.
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« Reply #68 on: May 02, 2012, 04:19:16 pm »
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Again, that's the point Savage was making; why is 'agreed to be archaic and not applicable' when passages in the NT, including those attributed directly to Jesus supports slavery, yet despite Jesus not saying a word about gays, homosexuality is still subject to 'significant debate'

What are you referring to here?

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« Reply #69 on: May 14, 2012, 09:58:16 pm »
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After reading reactions on this thread, I was surprised by how mild the video was.  I was expecting something anti-Christian or something...
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« Reply #70 on: May 16, 2012, 11:56:31 am »
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Slavery is a perfect example. There is a reluctance to accept the position that churches and Christians held on this matter until recently in human history or to acknowledge that, “you know what, if you read what the NT says about slavery, slave owners had a point.” But do Christians sit and argue over slavery? Sam Harris is right; slavery is the easiest moral question we have ever faced.


I wouldn't agree that it's an easy moral choice at all.  The "right of the conquered" has a lot of logical moral purchase before you leave the context in which it ceases to be seen that way.  Slavery was also the fundamental underpinning of society in Antiquity, on all levels: economic, political, and, yes, moral, as shown by the Greek philosophers.  The idea that slavery is fundamentally morally wrong is actually an exceptionally new idea (less than 200 years old, for the most part), and we only all share it because we grew up in a social context that believed that idea to be true.  The fact that we have no (0, none, nada, etc.) arguments for the absolute abolition of slavery surviving from Antiquity speaks volumes.  People may have thought that freeing slaves was a pious act, but no one wanted to get rid of the institution. 

Really, it was only the rise of the modern industrial economy that killed slavery more than any moral arguments against it.  And it was the advent of feudalism and the increased sense of semi-free serfs over slaves that brought down Antiquity's slavery.  Moral considerations were window dressing.
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« Reply #71 on: May 16, 2012, 11:18:02 pm »
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Slavery is a perfect example. There is a reluctance to accept the position that churches and Christians held on this matter until recently in human history or to acknowledge that, “you know what, if you read what the NT says about slavery, slave owners had a point.” But do Christians sit and argue over slavery? Sam Harris is right; slavery is the easiest moral question we have ever faced.


I wouldn't agree that it's an easy moral choice at all.  The "right of the conquered" has a lot of logical moral purchase before you leave the context in which it ceases to be seen that way.  Slavery was also the fundamental underpinning of society in Antiquity, on all levels: economic, political, and, yes, moral, as shown by the Greek philosophers.  The idea that slavery is fundamentally morally wrong is actually an exceptionally new idea (less than 200 years old, for the most part), and we only all share it because we grew up in a social context that believed that idea to be true.  The fact that we have no (0, none, nada, etc.) arguments for the absolute abolition of slavery surviving from Antiquity speaks volumes.  People may have thought that freeing slaves was a pious act, but no one wanted to get rid of the institution. 

Really, it was only the rise of the modern industrial economy that killed slavery more than any moral arguments against it.  And it was the advent of feudalism and the increased sense of semi-free serfs over slaves that brought down Antiquity's slavery.  Moral considerations were window dressing.
There were, at the very least, strong arguments against slavery by the ancient monotheists, for example by Gregory of Nyssa, or in Philo's description of the Essenes:
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There is not a single slave among them, but they are all free, serving one another; they condemn masters, not only as representing a principle of unrighteousness in opposition to that of equality, but as personifications of wickedness in that they violate the law of nature which made us all brethren, created alike.
   
Ulpian, echoed in the Justinian Code, viewed slavery as unnatural, even if tolerated.  The Natural Law tradition of all persons as equal by birth, and its corrollary in spiritual brotherhood and equality, took a long time to develop into an unambiguous condemnation of slavery, but the seed was there.  The changing economic and political conditions in medieval Europe allowed the anti-slavery view to be implemented, but it didn't invent it.  Certainly moral considerations were paramount in the end of slavery after its revival, and it had opponents calling for its abolition almost as soon as it began.
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