Monday, December 29, 2008

You'll never convince me!

The final paragraph of Aaron's response to the "You Can't Hide Your Hate" blogger reminded me of a recent exchange I had with a friend of mine. At the end of our discussion about abortion, I heard him say the words, "I don't think we're going to convince each other." But why? Why would someone refuse to accept a position no matter how much evidence or logic supported it? Hidden in this statement is an honest admission of their uncertainty about the topic at hand. What's worse, they even try to drag you into it. This is partially what makes political debates on cable news shows so frustrating. Too many people, both conservative and liberal, Christian or otherwise place more importance on winning the argument than finding truth. As long as we continue this insane nonsense of refusing to examine opposing points of view, we're not going to make any progress in our culture. We could be right in our established position, but since we're all human, we also must humbly admit we could be wrong. If we don't want to know the truth, let's at least be honest about it. So why do people ignore the other side's arguments? There are three reasons.

#1 - The Relative Truth

Before anyone can even have a debate at all, we need to agree that the truth exists. As crazy as this sounds, more people than you think deny this simple fact without even knowing it. The topic of truth requires much more attention than I can give here, but making this distinction is a critical first step in determining why people are becoming so quick to dismiss legitimate ideas from the start. [For further explaination, go to Aaron's January 9th post about truth or read the book by Greg Koukl and Francis Beckwith entitled Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid Air.] What I mean by truth is our ability to know the way things really are. Knowing moral truth simply means that we can know what actions are good and which are bad. If you've never heard of relativism before, this may sound strange to you. While most people don't have any disagreement about observable facts such as the sky being blue or simple math like 2 + 2 = 4, in moral matters people often hesitate to claim that one answer is more accurate or better than another. What is right and what is wrong becomes more like an opinion that can't be judged better or worse than any other. It's no longer about what is real or true, but rather what is preferred or appeasing. A relativist might say "I like to get wasted on Saturdays so that's okay for me, but you're a Christian so that's bad for you." The relativist focuses on who's doing the drinking to determine morality whereas the realist focuses on the act of drunkeness itself. The moral realist might respond, "Getting wasted is wrong no matter who's doing it." We can debate on whether drunkeness is immoral, but the point is to illustrate how relativism and realism are vastly different. People who follow moral relativism tend to avoid making statements about bad behavior out of a fear of being intolerant. However, even relativists know there are some actions that qualify as objectively bad behavior and should not be tolerated (harassment, gaybashing, judgementalism, etc). Ironically, since the relativist thinks all ideas are equally valid, they are in no position to make such distinctions. So the relativist paints himself into a corner. As long as we can't call any behavior bad, we can't point out the truth. Therefore, anyone who attempts to deny that objective "right and wrongs" exist will continue to have this problem. We can't point to any immoral act and say "That's wrong!" when it's all about personal preference. Rather, we can only say that "I don't like that." As more people begin to reject moral truth, fewer conversations will be about getting at the truth and more about defending unshakable ideologies. After all, if there's no truth and everyone's opinion is of equal value, none of us can be right or wrong anyway.

#2 - The Painful Truth

While listing to Dennis Praeger's radio show the other day, I heard him artfully define political correctness as "the denial of uncomfortable realities." Political correctness is another barrier to truth. Sometimes, as the saying goes, the truth hurts. Typically, no one likes to hurt other people's feelings, but can be necessary to get at the reality of the situation. For instance, if you are prone to a deadly illness and your doctor fails to tell you how to increase your chances of avoiding it for fear of upsetting you, you would be wise to get a new doctor (and maybe a good malpractice attorney!). On a cultural level, we have become increasingly intolerant of unpleasant truth. Now compare the previous example of the doctor to a real life scenario. Over the past few years, we have seen AIDS infection, drug use, infidelity, domestic violence, and depression rates increase disporportionately higher among those engaged in homosexual lifestyles than for heterosexual ones. While true, these facts hurt. No one should desire any group of people to suffer like this. Similarly, no one should want to hide the facts from those who may be disuaded from this hazardous lifestyle if given the truth. Yet the denial of truth continues and we encourage everyone to just "be yourself" for the sake of political correctness. Christians are not immune from this denial of truth either. The divorce rate among church-going couples is much higher than it should be, yet this is another fact commonly ignored. Some pastors refuse to preach on the divorce problem for fear of offending divorced members of the congregation. But the only way to heal the problem is to admit that it's real in the first place.

#3 - The Biased Truth

Finally, there are some people who are only concerned with advancing their position regardless of what the truth of the matter is. They may have justified a certain idea to themselves or are otherwise emotionally invested in it. The question that usually flushes this out is this: what kind of evidence would it take to change your mind? If you've already asked them what convinced them in the first place, compare that burden of proof with what they require to change the position. If the amount of evidence they need to change positions is higher than what led them to their view in the first place, you should point this out to them. A tell tale sign of someone pushing an agenda or demonstrating ignorance is when they can't even cite opposing arguments or name experts who can. The best thinkers know both the strongest and weakest arguments on each side of the issue. The other indicator is the inability to engage in a civilized conversation. If the response to a simple question like the one above sets them off angrily, you can bet the frustration comes from a lack of will or desire to provide reasons for their belief. If you've ever heard criticism of something you hold dear, you know it's hard to hear, but we need to occasionally step beyond our comfort zone for the sake of learning and growth. I don't like when someone criticizes the church or the behavior of individual Christians, but sometimes they have valid points which deserve to be addressed. Likewise, pro-choice or pro-gay marriage supporters need to check within themselves to see if there is any evidence that would convince them of the other side. If they refuse, as in the case of Rafael, then perhaps they are no longer concerned about the truth but only about pushing an agenda.

Giving the Truth:

While the truth must be told, we need willing ears to hear it. And that means having a compassion for those who may not be ready for it. Consider examining other viewpoints and communicating your own with truth in love (Eph 4:15). This means to begin by challenging your own thoughts to verify the information is reliable. Then share the news tactfully, with a sincere heart, and in a loving manner. If we speak the truth, but no one is willing to listen, our words are wasted. Let's be understanding of how difficult it may be for someone to accept what you have to say if this person may have regretable actions in their past relating to the topic at hand (abortions, sexual infidelity, drug abuse, hurtful behavior, divorce, etc). We need to appreciate the emotional barriers to the truth and earn the right to be heard. Be patient. Build relationships. Show genuine concern. Share the hope (1 Pet 3:15).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

You Can't Hide Your Hate...Or Can You?? Part 2

Earlier this month I responded to a blog site which was posted after the passing of Proposition 8 in the state of California. The blog is entitled "You Can't Hide Your Hate" and lists the names of those who contributed financially to the "Yes on 8" campaign. If you have not read my response you can do so by clicking here and scrolling down. After posting my arguments I contacted the author of the "You Can't Hide Your Hate" site and let him know where he could read them. Raphael, the site's contributor, responded as follows:

"Thanks for sharing, Aaron.I don't really think your arguments make any sense, but I'll let our readers decide for themselves. I'm not going to get into a point-by-point discussion about it, because we have a fundamental disagreement about what constitutes "hate". In my view, support for Prop 8 is an act of hatred--and you clearly disagree. I don't think we'll be persuading each other on this issue."

Needless to say, I was very disappointed with this response. Attempting to dialogue on the issue of same-sex marriage can often end in frustration, perhaps because this is such an emotional issue and many individuals on both sides of the debate have not reflected long enough on the issues and arguments. However, I would contend that the most common arguments put forth in the public square to support same-sex marriage are intellectually unsound. Despite Raphael's comments above, I would like to respond to what he said:

"Thanks for sharing, Aaron. I don't really think your arguments make any sense, but I'll let our readers decide for themselves."

Raphael, I have had quite a few people read my previous post and so far you seem to be the only one who has thought my arguments do not make sense. I am assuming you read my entire post, so to simply say that my arguments don't "make any sense" does not make sense to me! I think it is important to read material that argues against our personal point of view, wouldn't you agree? Just to recap, the points I made in my previous post were as follows:
  1. My first point showed that your assertion "Proposition 8 eliminates marriage rights" is false. Proposition 8 does no such thing. It upholds the natural definition of marriage which homosexuals are completely free to participate in if they so choose.
  2. My second and third points showed that same-sex couples in California already have equal rights, especially under California Family Code 297.5. It's just not called "marriage." Even without the family code there is no unequal protection under the law. These two points alone completely undermine your entire position, so your lack of response here is glaring.
  3. My fourth point showed that the government has no vested interest or good reason to elevate same-sex marriage to the level of natural marriage because the two relationships will never be equal: same-sex couples cannot procreate.
  4. My fifth point specifically addressed your website and the fact that you are engaging in an ad hominem fallacy by assuming supporters of Proposition 8 are "hateful." Absent from your site is any argumentation, logic, or reasoning to support your position.
  5. My sixth point brought out your assumption of the natural moral law when you say that "hate" is wrong. I would like to know where you derive your sense of right and wrong and why you are not applying the natural moral law to homosexual behavior.
  6. My seventh point demonstrated the inconsistency on your site regarding boycotts. You say you do not advocate boycotts but then you encourage your readers to tell you if they were able to start a boycott. This seems blatantly contradictory.
  7. My eighth point questioned whether your motivation was really to start a dialogue. And to be honest Raphael, from your response it seems my initial assumption was correct. You are not really interested in starting a dialogue because that is what I am attempting to do here and in my previous response to your site.
  8. Finally, I pointed out the irony of your site in your attempts to label those who oppose you as intolerant and hateful. This is not very tolerant and loving of you.
I certainly hope we can all take the time to read these posts and make our decisions based on truth and reason, setting emotion and rhetoric aside.

"I'm not going to get into a point-by-point discussion about it..."

This is disappointing to say the least. Especially after you say on your sight that we need to work on beginning a dialogue. How are you going to accomplish that if you are not willing to engage the ideas?? If you have truth on your side Raphael you should be more than willing to engage those who oppose you. If you expect to be persuasive you are going to have to do more than play the hate card. You are going to have to argue, debate, and reason.

"...because we have a fundamental disagreement about what constitutes 'hate.'"

How about we just look up "hate" in the dictionary? Webster's defines it as "to have strong dislike or ill will for; loathe; despise." Can we agree on this?

"In my view, support for Prop 8 is an act of hatred--and you clearly disagree."

Yes, we clearly disagree. But rather than stating the obvious, why don't you give me some good reasons as to exactly why support for Prop 8 should be considered an "act of hatred." Once again, it seems to me you are simply engaging in name-calling rather than addressing the arguments. I don't hate homosexuals. I do not dislike, loathe, or despise them. But it does seem that you "loathe; despise" those who supported the "Yes on 8" campaign. Hence your blog site.

Also, if support for Prop 8, or not supporting same-sex marriage, is considered "hate" on your view, what do you do with liberal democrats and homosexuals themselves who do not support same-sex marriage? Let me give you just one example: Elton John. Elton John came out publicly and said he supported Proposition 8, which you can read about here. So, on your view Raphael, does Elton John "hate" himself because he does not support same-sex marriage??

"I don't think we'll be persuading each other on this issue."

Why not? I am always open to being persuaded because I am open-minded. To say you are not open to being persuaded is a close-minded position. But we should be interested in truth. So if you are right and you can support your beliefs with good reasons and argumentation I am more than willing to listen. But maybe this comment is more about you than me. Maybe you are the one who is not open to being persuaded. And if that is the case, I have to ask "why not?" Are you afraid of what it might mean? Are you interested in truth? Or are you merely interested in confirming your own bias and ignoring any legitimate opposition?

Looking forward to your response Raphael.

The God Question

Philosopher and Theologian J.P. Moreland has recently come out with a new book entitled The God Question: An Invitation to a Life of Meaning.

For those of you familiar with the writings and lectures of Moreland, this book hardly needs endorsement. J.P. has done wonderful work over the last few decades in the areas of Christian philosophy, apologetics, and spiritual formation. This book carries on that tradition. It is particularly good to give away to non-Christian friends or skeptics who are genuinely interested in examining the truth claims of the Christian faith and discovering true meaning and purpose in life. I gave out several just this Christmas.

You can read Moreland's own summary of his book here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Missing "Peace" to Chalie Brown's Christmas Special

As a kid, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was one of my favorites I looked forward to re-watching every year. Now as a grown-up (almost), it's gained my attention again but for a different reason. It's one of the few Christmas specials that takes time to remind its audience of what Christmas is all about. The best specials typically offer is to promote secular ideas such as festive decorating, charitable giving, or spending time with family. Schultz goes further. The true meaning of Christmas is addressed head on in response to Charlie Brown's frustrated question "doesn't anyone know what Christmas is really about?" To answer this question, Schultz has Linus walk out on to center stage (literally) to rehearse, by memory, the scripture passage of Luke 2:8-14. I still get chills when I see this monologue considering how this presentation is a striking contrast to what we usually see. Our pastor even began by showing this scene on the screens before giving his Christmas sermon.

Linus cited directly from the King James Version which ends unlike most other translations. If you listen to Linus as you read along, you'll notice most translations continue verse 14 something like this, "...Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among men upon whom His favor rests (ESV)." Actually, recent scholarship and manuscript evidence has led most translations since the KJV to include the added words. In fact, after reading 12 randomly chosen translations of Luke 2:14, only Young's Literal Translation and the King James versions exclude the final qualifying words. Listen for it when people quote this verse in the media and you might notice that the ending often gets swallowed up. Possibly as a consequence to this censored reading, the kind of "peace among men" that the heavenly hosts were speaking about has been misrepresented in two important ways.

First, eliminating the qualifying phrase "upon whom His favor rests" leaves open the universalist claim that all are saved. Certain biblical and logical problems arise from the universalist approach which won't be addressed here. Suffice it to say that nonbelievers are not granted the same peace as believers are. It may sound mean, but it seems to be the case.

The second, but related, problem was most recently expressed during my agency's last firearms qualification. A fellow agent and self-defined secular Jew explained that the prophets predicted the messiah would bring "peace on earth" (Isa 9:6-7 and Hag 2:9). But when peace didn't come to first century Israelites under Roman oppression, they determined Jesus wasn't the expected Messiah.

However, if we consider how this word "peace" (from the original Greek word eirēnē) as Luke and his contemporaries intended it to mean, we find that the word may not have related to the state of political affairs but rather to the ultimate state of eternal peace through salvation. We also need to shed our modern notion of the word "peace" which most people immediately associate with the absence of war. While there are other definitions, the most accurate textual interpretation relies on our ability to assign the most accurate word meaning. When we consider the common use of eirēnē elsewhere in scripture and add that this passage includes only those who Christ chooses to bless, we can be assured that this "peace among men" is refering only to the elect.

If you recall, the consistent teaching of Christ throughout the gospels is that the "Kingdom is at hand." Clearly, he didn't mean that he was currently a human ruler in a political sense or that he came to liberate Israel from foriegn occupation. Sure, God will reconcile the physical earth in the end, but Christ's immediate concern was not with the Romans.

Certainly the celebration of Christmas is about peace. Christ brings a sort of invisible tranquility, a very unique peace that true believers can relate to only partially while on earth. Even in times of tragedy or despair, God's promise to his followers provides comforting reassurance, or eirēnē. In grieving the death of a loved one, for instance, there is the promise of salvation and eternal fellowship with believers that gives a special eirēnē to Christ followers. There will still be sadness and a tremendous sense of loss, but unlike the unbeliever who has no hope, there is a certain confidence that only the Christian has. This is the peace that most commonly is referred to in the gospels and which seems the most reasonable sense for this Luke 2 passage as well.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by his scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, 53:4-6

Raelians and the Significance of 1948

I just heard about a religious group in Israel who was planning a gay, straight, and bisexual orgy to promote world peace by encouraging uninterrupted pleasure through uninhibited sex acts. The group called the "Raelian movement," claims hundreds of members in Israel and 70,000 worldwide. They don't believe in the supernatural or in a Creator but that the Earth was implanted with life by aliens.

So my question is this. If the reestablishment of Israel was a divinely initiated event, and Romans 11:25-32 includes physical Israel, did God's promise to Abraham include the Israeli Raelians? I'm thinking less and less that it does. I've heard many people talk about the reestablishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, but does that mean all modern Israeli's are God's chosen people? And if not, then why suggest 1948 had any significance? I'm just as excited to look for possible signs of the end times as the next guy, but I think we need to avoid letting that enthusiasm compromise sound interpretation of scripture and systematic theology. The context of Rom 11 and its reference to Isaiah and Jeremiah give no indication that Paul is talking about physical people but more likely that Jeremiah's "new covenant" replaces the Abrahamic covenant by grafting in Christians and excluding those who reject it - Jews included. Paul seems pretty clear in his rebuke of Jews who think they have an automatic place in the kingdom by their lineage alone. No, it seems to me if we read the text for what it really is, there's no room to assume every citizen of Israel gets a free pass unless they accept the terms of the new covenant (with faith like that which saved Abraham himself - see Heb 11). I hope that Paul is telling us that all of Israel will convert to a true belief in Christ when he says "all of Israel will be saved," but it would contradict God's nature for him to force unrepentant, unbelieving, pagans kicking and screaming into his presence to worship him and reign with him forever. I'm still uncommitted in my eschatology, but I do think this provides a strong case for Amillennialism.

Perhaps the most troubling part about this story is that the Raelian mega-orgy made the headlines, not because it was planned in the first place, but because it was cancelled. The shock reported by the papers was not over the sexual perversity but that organizers caved in to "public pressure." What does this say about our modern world? Instead of anticipating end times, maybe we should ask if we're already there.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Newsweek's Religious Case for Gay-Marriage

Newsweek magazine's cover story on December 15, 2008, read "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage." It featured an article by religion editor Lisa Miller entitled, "Our Mutual Joy," in which she attempted to argue a biblical case for gay marriage.

There have been several prominent scholars and theologians who have responded to this piece in length. Kevin Lewis, Christian apologetics professor at Biola University, has written an article which you can read here. Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has responded here. The Family Research Council has also posted a point-by-point rebuttal on their blog which you can read here.

As these articles show, liberals must constantly take passages out of context, undercut Scripture, and resort to fallacious reasoning in endeavoring to make their point. If proponents of same-sex marriage want to defend their case, fine. Muster your best arguments and present them in public debate. But let us not resort to intellectual dishonesty, bad logic, and poor hermeneutics in an effort to distort the clear teaching of Scripture.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Apologetics 315

Have an mp3 player? Do you brag to your friends that its full of debates and lectures, and not one song? Why waste your time listening to music when you could listen to a rousing discussion on the most important issues in life?? After all, life is short!

If this describes you, you need to check out Apologetics 315.

An excellent blog site full of free audio downloads. Debates, lectures, and more, covering such topics as Christian apologetics, philosophy, and theology.

Updated daily! Check it out!

Monday, December 1, 2008

You Can't Hide Your Hate...Or Can You??

Recently a site entitled "You Can't Hide Your Hate" was posted in response to the passing of Proposition 8 in the state of California. It contains fliers for various cities listing the names of contributors to the "Yes on 8" campaign and the amount of money they donated. The idea behind this site is to "out" those who voted "Yes" and supported the "Yes on 8" campaign through financial donations. The contributors to the site justify its existence by stating, "If Californians are proud of their elimination of marriage and attack on civil rights, than they should find no objection to their neighbors, co-workers, and friends knowing what they are hiding." This statement, and the site in general, serve as an excellent example in displaying what is wrong with the mentality of same-sex marriage proponents.

Before I look at some of the problems with this particular site, let me make just a few brief general comments about the nature of the same-sex marriage debate:

First, upholding natural marriage has absolutely nothing to do with the elimination of marriage as asserted in the statement above. Marriage is not being eliminated. It is being restricted to its natural definition. No society has defined marriage. Rather, all societies have recognized natural marriage since the beginning of human history and each is built upon this fundamental institution. Marriage and families must exist before societies can exist, hence, the definition of marriage could not have been formulated by society itself. Therefore, society has no right to redefine marriage as it sees fit. This brings us to our second point.

Second, the same-sex marriage debate has absolutely nothing to do with civil rights, especially here in California due to California Family Code 297.5. Same-sex couples are afforded the same rights, benefits, and protections under California law. It's just not called "marriage." And that brings us to what this debate is really about. This is not about civil rights. It is about a piece of paper called a "Marriage Certificate" which the gay community desperately wants in order to have their lifestyle legitimized and validated in the eyes of the government and society. It is about redefining marriage. But no one person or society has the right to redefine this institution based on their own personal desires. Same-sex relationships will never be equal to monogamous, long-term, committed, heterosexual relationships, no matter how hard one might try to make them. Simply redefining the word "marriage" to include your relationship doesn't make it a marriage. Marriage is something in particular. And it cannot be redefined to include unnatural relationships any more than one can redefine the nature of a carburetor to include a water pump and expect the two to function equally for the same task.

Third, even without this California Family Code, same-sex couples would still have equal rights. There is NO unequal protection under the law. The same definition of marriage applies to all, regardless of your sexual preference. Homosexuals CAN get married. They just can't marry someone of the same sex. And neither can a heterosexual. The same law applies to all equally. This point seems to be completely missed by same-sex marriage advocates.

Finally, I see no good reason as to why our government should place same-sex marriage on equal ground with natural marriage. The government has no vested interest in same-sex couples because same-sex couples can never procreate. This point alone shows why same-sex relationships can never be on equal footing with heterosexual relationships. It is natural marriage that produces the next generation and it is natural marriage that has been shown to be the best environment for raising children. And it is for this reason that the government supports natural marriage. No government or society can continue to function without a younger generation to take the reigns once the older generation passes on. To see the importance of this point one needs only to ponder the following questions put forth by Frank Turek: "What would be the effect on society if everyone lived faithfully in natural marriage? It would result in a dramatic reduction in crime, welfare, abortion, and child abuse. On the other hand, what would be the effects on society if everyone lived faithfully in same-sex marriage? It would be the end of society and the human race itself. While universal homosexuality, of course, would not occur, the two questions should help us realize that the two types of relationships can never be equated because they are not equally beneficial." I highly recommend Turek's e-book which you can purchase here.

Next, let's look at some of the problems with this site in particular:

First, given the title of this site, I hardly need to mention the inherent assumption that voters in support of Proposition 8 are hateful. This is a classic example of an ad hominem fallacy. You know it's an interesting thing, those ad hominems. You can always tell how intellectually sound and well grounded your opponent is in their position by how quickly they resort to ad hominem fallacies. Someone who feels the necessity to resort to name calling right away probably doesn't have a lot of good arguments to support their position. And given the very name of this site and how quickly they play the hate card, I wouldn't hold your breath in anticipation of hearing sound logic or reasoning. In fact, conspicuously absent from this site is any argumentation, logic, or reasoning as to why our society should accept the legitimacy of same-sex marriage in the first place. Lest you be taken in by the standard assertions put forth by same-sex marriage propenents, read this. My vote was not made out of hate for homosexuals. Rather it was made out of respect for the sacred institution of marriage.

by accusing their opponents of hate, gay activists are presupposing an objective moral law. In other words, proponents of same-sex marriage think it is wrong to hate. But where do they get their standard of right and wrong? Why is it that they appeal to the natural moral law in order to say that hate is wrong and yet they reject this same natural moral law when it says that homosexual behavior is wrong? It is easy invoke morality when it conveniently defends our position. But it is intellectually dishonest and inconsistent to selectively pick and choose which aspects of the moral law we want to believe and apply to our lives.

Third, on the very first page of the site, at the very top, it states, "We do NOT advocate blacklisting or boycotts, only informed decision making and awareness."
However, as you scroll down to the right, you read this: "Share your story! Did this blog help you learn about your neighbors? Open a dialogue? Start a boycott? Tell us!" The obvious inconsistency in these two statements makes me wonder how the writer authored such blatantly contradictory comments. He says the site does not advocate boycotts and yet he wants you to share your story publicly if this site helped you start a boycott. Unfortunately, as in the point above, this type of inconsistency is common place among proponents of same-sex marriage and goes to show the true motivation behind a site of this type.

Fourth, another statement on the site says, "These lists provide us with a starting point so that [sic] know who is against us and we can begin the dialogue." Begin a dialogue? Is that what this is really about? I admit I have to adopt a hermeneutic of suspicion on this one. It is hard to get a dialogue going when your opponent begins with the assumption that your motivation is one of hate. Furthermore, in order to have any type of meaningful dialogue it is important both parties understand the issue at hand. And as long as same-sex marriage proponents continue to assert that this debate has anything to do with equal rights, meaningful dialogue will allude them. This is about redefining marriage. Nothing more.

, and very ironically, this site does the very thing it claims it is attempting to uncover. It seems the contributors of this site are hiding their own hate and intolerance through a "You Can't Hide Your Hate" campaign. Rather than start a blog site which encourages intellectually honest debate, the contributors attempt to demonize their opponents by labeling them as hateful, preventing meaningful discourse from ever taking place. Recent news coverage of protests by gay activists in California has shown just how vehement and hateful some "No on 8" supporters really are. One Christian group in San Francisco was assaulted and needed to be escorted to safety by police, which you can read about here. Much of the hate from the "No on 8" campaign stems from a misunderstanding of the issues and a faulty view of tolerance. I highly recommend Greg Koukl's material on this subject which you can read here and purchase here.

In closing, I think Christians need to remember at least two points:

First, we should not be surprised by the hate that has been directed towards Christians after the passing of Proposition 8. Jesus said, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you" (John 15:18-19). The Apostle Paul said, "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (1 Timothy 3:12). While hate and persecution may come, we have a moral obligation and Christian duty to stand up for the truth of God's Word. But we need to so out of love. This brings us to our second point.

Second, we are called to love all people with the love of Christ, including those who may hate and persecute us. Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). Individuals struggling with same-sex attractions are valuable human beings created in the image of God. But it does not follow from this that homosexual behavior is right or good. We need to love and pray for those within the gay community, continually calling them to repentance and offering healing in hopes that they may place their trust in Christ and receive the gift of eternal life.

For Further Study:
Legislating Morality, by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek
Marriage On Trial, by Glenn Stanton and Bill Maier
Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air, by Francis Beckwith and Greg Koukl
The Truth about Tolerance, by Brad Stetson and Joseph Conti
Visit the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality at