Conservative Colloquium

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The “Right to Marry Whomever” vs. The Rights of Children

Posted by Tony Listi on March 4, 2010

The whole debate over same-sex “marriage,” like most highly controversial political issues, has reached the level of imprecise, emotional sloganeering. It is hardly surprising but not conducive to good policy-making.

It is time to stop being bamboozled by the rhetoric of the homosexual agenda. Even many young people on the political right have fallen prey to it. As conservatives and libertarians, we of all people should be much more careful about “rights”-talk than the socialists and statists. For every right there must be a corresponding duty. If I have an unconditional right to health care, then the doctor has an unconditional responsibility to give it to me. So then what exactly does it mean to have a “right” to get married?

When one starts thinking precisely in this way, one realizes that it depends on what we mean by “marriage.”  By marriage, do we mean merely the social institution by which one person binds oneself to another person through certain vows? Or do we mean that exact same institution which is also publicly recognized and ratified by government? Every good debate must define its terms.

Clearly, in the first sense, everyone already has the “right to marry.” There are no laws preventing people with same-sex attraction from legally binding themselves to each other, making vows to each other, living together, having sexual relations with each other, sharing property,  expressing affection for each other, etc. etc. Nor am I advocating laws to prohibit such things. This is the emotional straw man that the left and many libertarians like to throw at conservatives.

Of course, it is certainly true that homosexual relationships are currently not recognized and ratified by the state. Rightly so, for why should they be? Why should the state be involved in such relationships? The burden of proof must always be on those who demand more government action. To address these crucial questions, it helps to ask ourselves why life-long, binding heterosexual relationships, i.e. marriages, have been recognized and ratified by the state since the beginning of the institution.

Also, following the wisdom of Aristotle, it is injustice to treat unequal things equally. For example, there is no legal equality between children and adults in America for good and obvious reasons relating to intellectual maturity. It would be injustice for children and adults to be of equal legal standing. Likewise, if we can find reasons that the state recognizes and ratifies heterosexual relationships which do not similarly apply to homosexual relationships, then we have found relevant inequality between heterosexual and homosexual relationships.

So why has the state legally recognized marriage between one man and one woman? Because it is that sexual relationship that brings children into existence, and it is that marital relationship that fundamentally affects the psychological and emotional well being of children. The state recognizes marriage because of children and children’s rights upon their parents and their parents’ relationship.

Homosexual couples are naturally infertile and scarce. So there is no equality between heterosexual and homosexual unions in this regard. They do not bring children into existence and cannot provide a mother and father to children, as heterosexual unions do. They therefore do not deserve recognition by the state. It is as simple as that.

Should the state recognize the relationship between golf partners? Dance partners? Pen pals? Would such people be “oppressed” without such recognition? Of course not! These relationships serve no public good.

Moreover, while many people want the state to recognize “gay marriage” merely for the sake of combating discrimination against homosexuals in other spheres of social life, it seems quite clear that, like affirmative action, this agenda has only increased hostility toward homosexuals. Indeed, giving homosexual relationships public recognition that they do not deserve is just like giving an unqualified minority applicant a job or higher education they do not deserve.

Ultimately, transfers of property, who can visit someone in the hospital, and other common examples are not what marriage is all about and can be remedied through other currently available legal means (e.g. power of attorney, contracts, wills, etc.). They are not essential to the issue of marriage. If currently available legal instruments need some reform to allow greater individual liberty, then we can pursue that.

With all this in mind, it should be clear by now that most same-sex “marriage” advocates are merely trying to use the government to promote and legitimize homosexual behaviors, behaviors which have no public significance or relevance.

Moreover, what is lost in all this self-righteous chest-pounding for recognition are the rights of children. They have a right to care, love, and protection from their mother and father, the two people who gave them the gift of existence, insofar as it is possible. The state has a responsibility to govern and legislate in such a way that encourages parents to fulfill their obligations, that promotes family life without oppressing it.

All people have the right to “marry” whomever (or whatever) they choose. But only heterosexual unions, these unique relationships among human beings, have a true right to the attention and recognition of the state.

Now, who wants to tell me which verses of the Bible I quoted above?… Yeah, I didn’t think so.

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36 Responses to “The “Right to Marry Whomever” vs. The Rights of Children”

  1. [...] in a variety of ways.  Because homosexual relationships are absolutely sterile by nature, they do not deserve any legal recognition whatsoever. (And the legalized separation of children from their biological fathers and mothers [...]

  2. [...] rights and racial language to advance their cause without addressing the key question at hand: is marriage about children or not? They wish to beg the question and assume what they should be attempting to prove. In fact, this is [...]

  3. Frank said

    The real issue, which you are trying to conceal with your strawman argument about differences between adults and children, is whether non-government a sanctioned partnership, whether gay or not, are legitimate. You seem to be taking the statist view that only such partnerships officially sanctioned by the government, should be considered legitimate. However, the real issue isn’t about children, but about the legitimacy of a relationship. The freedom for individuals to decide for themselves who they wish to live with and build a relationship with.

    If you stipulate that people are free to build their own personal relationships and partnerships, then you should also stipulate that there needs to be a means to set non-government sanctioned partnership on equal footing with those sanctioned by the government. Especially when it comes to health notifications, probate, taxes, and the other “contract law” aspects of a “marriage”.

    Either government should step aside completely, or create a mechanism to treat non-government partnerships equally. Call it what you will, but if government sanctions some, but not all, then it amounts to nothing more than separate but equal.

    • Tony Listi said

      I seriously wonder if you even read this blog post.

      I’m getting pretty tired of people getting things backward. Traditional marriage is not legitimate because the state says so; it’s legitimate because it’s based on truth, on human nature. It serves a unique role in human life. And THAT is why the state SHOULD recognize its legitimacy. I already said this in the post above.

      No, I said that traditional marriage is NOT on an “equal footing” with any other private association or partnership. Marriage is the institution whose purpose is for having, raising, and loving children. No other institution or partnership is able to or meant to do that. So no, there is absolutely no need for any social or political means to put any other private association on an equal footing with marriage and the family. In fact, LIKE I SAID in the post, it is an injustice to treat unequal things as if they were equal.

      • It is legitimate… nay, it exists, because God created it. Sodomy is illegitimate, and Sodomite marriage doesn’t even exist (nor can it ever) because it is a violation of what God created: a deliberate blasphemy.

        And the state should have nothing at all to do with recognizing marriage. As we should already have noticed when we give the state that power, it misuses it. Marriage is a family event, and neither the state nor the church should play any role in ‘recognizing’ it officially.

  4. Katie K said

    So you say that heterosexual marriage should be recognised because it provides and cares for children, but what about sterile couples, should they be individually denied recognision because they cannot provide a new life? Also is it the breeding or the raising that is more important, because what if a same sex couple chooses to adopt, therefore contributing to raising the next generation?
    I’d also like to point out, not because you mentioned it, but because I’d like anyone reading this to consider it;
    Religion did NOT invent marriage and so to deny a minority legitimacy based on a description created post-invention and outside of the dictionary, and therefore government, is moot.

    • Tony Listi said

      While not every marriage can or does bear fruit in the procreation of children, every child has a mother and father, and the well being of that child depends significantly upon the relationship between his or her mother and father, which marriage, as a civil and social institution, is designed to strengthen and stabilize. Again, you are looking at marriage from an adult-centered perspective rather than a children-centered perspective. The law should not be centered around rare adult exceptions (sterility) but permanent realities for children (having and needing a mother and father).

      Sterility is a dysfunction that has many different causes and one that might be overcome by chance or current or future medical practices. Sterility is not necessarily permanent. Even attempts to mutilate oneself with self-sterilization do not always prevent pregnancy.

      A man and woman who are married but unable to procreate CAN INDEED serve a public good by adopting children and serving as a mother and a father to them. A same-sex couple cannot be a mother and father to a child.

      The law should recognize these basic facts of biology, social science, and human nature and should protect the child’s rights by protecting marriage. Legal protection of marriage is necessary because children are unable to defend and protect their own rights, and the violation of those rights and consequent harm and damage done is extremely difficult to remedy satisfactorily after the fact.

      SSM tries to change marriage from a children-centered civil institution to an adult-centered civil institution, necessarily perverting and destroying the essential public purpose of marriage and harming children, who depend upon marriage for their well being.

      No one is saying that marriage is an invention of religion. Marriage is an “invention” of human nature, biologically, psychologically, and socially. None of my arguments depend on religion.

      • >>Religion did NOT invent marriage
        >>>No one is saying that marriage is an invention of religion.
        >>>>Marriage is an “invention” of human nature,

        Marriage is an invention, indeed a creation, of God. As it is written:

        Mat 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
        Mat 19:5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
        Mat 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

        Those who are actually married (which has nothing to do with the church or the state) are married because God has made them one. He never makes Sodomites one, erg Sodomites are never married.

      • Tony Listi said

        Von, you are free to trace human nature back all the way to God if you like, but it is not necessary to defend traditional marriage, and it is imprudent or futile to do so with non-Christians.

      • >>Von, you are free to trace human nature back all the way to God if you like, but it is not necessary to defend traditional marriage, and it is imprudent or futile to do so with non-Christians.

        Funny, it is what Paul did. Was he imprudent? Or futile?

        Act 17:22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
        Act 17:23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
        Act 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
        Act 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
        Act 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
        Act 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
        Act 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
        Act 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
        Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
        Act 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
        Act 17:32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
        Act 17:33 So Paul departed from among them.
        Act 17:34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

      • Tony Listi said

        Of course he wasn’t. He was speaking to pagans, people who actually had some religion. His situation is not comparable to modern times where atheism, not paganism, is prevalent. Nice try.

        Is it really so hard for you to meet people where they are when talking to them? Love and prudence demands it.

  5. [...] is no more deserving of legal recognition and approval than a relationship based on the activities of living together, golf, chess, dancing, or studying. Homosexual behavior, living together, golfing, playing chess, dancing, and studying are [...]

  6. Christine Ross said

    What about sterile heterosexuals? Heterosexuals who cannot or will not have children serve no public good, therefore, those marriages should not recognized by the state.

    • No one who has studied Scripture would speak of anyone who ‘cannot’ have children. I would point you to the story of Sarah.

      • Tony Listi said

        Again, one need not appeal to the Bible to know that sterility is never an absolute…except in the case of two people of the same sex.

    • Tony Listi said

      While not every marriage can or does bear fruit in the procreation of children, every child has a mother and father, and the well being of that child depends significantly upon the relationship between his or her mother and father, which marriage, as a civil and social institution, is designed to strengthen and stabilize. Again, you are looking at marriage from an adult-centered perspective rather than a children-centered perspective. The law should not be centered around rare adult exceptions (sterility) but permanent realities for children (having and needing a mother and father).

      Sterility is a dysfunction that has many different causes and one that might be overcome by chance or current or future medical practices. Sterility is not necessarily permanent. Even attempts to mutilate oneself with self-sterilization do not always prevent pregnancy.

      A man and woman who are married but unable to procreate CAN INDEED serve a public good by adopting children and serving as a mother and a father to them. A same-sex couple cannot be a mother and father to a child.

      The law should recognize these basic facts of biology, social science, and human nature and should protect the child’s rights by protecting marriage. Legal protection of marriage is necessary because children are unable to defend and protect their own rights, and the violation of those rights and consequent harm and damage done is extremely difficult to remedy satisfactorily after the fact.

      SSM tries to change marriage from a children-centered civil institution to an adult-centered civil institution, necessarily perverting and destroying the essential public purpose of marriage and harming children, who depend upon marriage for their well being.

  7. >>Of course he wasn’t. He was speaking to pagans, people who actually had some religion. His situation is not comparable to modern times where atheism, not paganism, is prevalent.

    Actually atheism is almost non-existent in the US. Many people are agnostics, but there are almost no atheists… particuarly since atheism is impossible: it is self-contradictory.

    But yes, it is ‘hard’ to meet them where they are. Indeed it is impossible. In order to meet someone, you have to be there too, and we cannot ever do that.

    Paul also makes the claim that there are not atheists:

    Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
    Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
    Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
    Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
    Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
    Rom 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
    Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through

    (BTW, if you are ‘meeting people where they are’ does that mean, in debating me, you will start with Sola Scriptura and Theonomic assumptions? That will be cool.)

    • Tony Listi said

      Atheist/agnostic, whatever.

      No, it is not impossible to use commonly accepted moral principles, social science, and reason with atheists and agnostics.

      With you, it means that I will use Scripture to disprove sola Scriptura and your other flawed assumptions.

  8. >>With you, it means that I will use Scripture to disprove sola Scriptura and your other flawed assumptions.

    Cool! Bring it on! Oh the relief at not having to wade through any more posts with nothing but church fathers!

    (BTW, you do realize one can’t disprove an ‘assumption’?)

    • Tony Listi said

      Yes, God forbid one actually learn something from or humbly submit to the earliest Church leaders who were the successors of the Twelve apostles and closer in time, place, culture, and language to Jesus and the Twelve than yourself.

      Depends what kind of assumption it is. Sola Scriptura is an assumption that is easily disproved by Scripture; Scripture itself never says that it itself is the exclusively supreme authority and rule of faith, even over and above councils and the successors of the apostles, especially Peter. Sola Scriptura is thus self-contradictory.

      http://conservativecolloquium.wordpress.com/2007/09/18/scripture-alone-sola-scriptura-itself-is-not-biblical/

      • Of course, in order to ‘start with’ an assumption one must understand it. Just as one must understand what the word ‘assumption’ means in order to use it.

        Speaking of contradictions one might look at the following phrase:

        “Scripture itself never says that it itself is the exclusively supreme authority and rule of faith”

        Which includes so many logical contradictions it is difficult to unravel.

        For one thing, in order to be ‘supreme’ one must be ‘exclusive’. Two truly different things cannot, both of them be ‘supreme’ with the same sense at the same time. In the case of practical application, for example, you hold the Catholic church, and indeed the modern Catholic church, ‘supreme’ over anything and everything else, including former statements by the Catholic church.

        And if you were to even attempt to show that the Scriptures and the church councils agreed on something like Sola Scriptura, then you would be, what? Stating they agree? Or using the Scripture as the ‘supreme’ authority to preach the truth?

        Anyway the link above does not disprove Sola Scriptura because it does not even address it. Indeed I’m not sure you can address it, given your beliefs, since the question it asks is one that you don’t, if I understand you, believe can be asked. I will ask it for you:

        If the Scriptures and the Church were to disagree, which would you follow? If, for example, Scriptures were to say that a bishop must be the husband of one wife, and the church were to say that he must not be married… which would you say was the rule of faith?

        Your view, if I understand it, would be that they never disagree. If so, then you cannot even address the question that Sola Scriptura is meant to answer…

      • Tony Listi said

        Two Supreme Court justices are different and yet both supreme. You are nitpicking “logical contradictions” that don’t really exist.

        Scripture and Church councils do NOT support sola Scriptura; it is a moot hypothetical point. If Scripture and Church councils agree on something, then they are both supreme authorities upholding the same thing.
        Moreover, Scripture itself is a product of apostolic authority; Scripture, though authoritative, is a derivative authority. The apostles wrote the NT, and the successors of the apostles in councils (Carthage in 397) authoritatively determined which writings were in fact of authentic apostolic origin from among the tons of other apocryphal writings. The Catholic canon of the Bible was not disputed for about 1000 yrs before Luther et al removed books of sacred Scripture from the Bible.

        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03267a.htm

        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03274a.htm

        It should also be noted that Scripture was read at ancient masses (and is still read today in Catholic masses) and that the very reason authoritative councils and popes determined the canon of the Bible was for the mass readings, to restrict mass readings to truly inspired Scripture.

        Actually, the link does address sola Scriptura, and I’d like you to engage the link on its page, please.
        If sola Scriptura is true, it must be internally consistent and coherent, i.e. self-reflexively true. Namely, if Scripture is the supreme authority over all other authorities and only what is in Scripture is supremely authoritative, then the very doctrine of sola Scriptura itself MUST be in Scripture. But it is not. Nowhere in Scripture does Scripture attest to its own supreme authority over all other authorities. It attests to its own divine inspiration but NEVER compares itself or competes with other authorities, including specifically the Apostles and their councils, traditions, and successors.

        “Your view, if I understand it, would be that they never disagree. If so, then you cannot even address the question that Sola Scriptura is meant to answer…”
        Well, maybe the “question that sola Scriptura is meant to answer” is a stupid question! Ever considered that? Are you going to base your entire Christian epistemology on moot hypotheticals? You might as well ask yourself “What if God contradicts Himself?”

        And it is a stupid question: Scripture attests to the supreme authority of the apostolic Church (1 Tim 2:15; Mt 18:17-18; Lk 10:16; Acts 15:28; Jn 14:16, 26; Jn 16:13; Jn 20:21; Mt 28:18-20) founded upon Peter (Mt 16:18-19) and the other apostles (Eph 2:20) but not dying with them (Mt 16:18; Acts 1:20-26, 14:23; 1 Tim 3:1, 5:22; 2 Tim 2:2; Titus 1:5). Scripture (Acts) tells us that the apostles settled doctrinal disputes in council and that their decisions were binding on the entire Church. No individual exegete of Scripture was allowed to deviate from conciliar determinations ratified by the office of Peter.
        The Council of Jerusalem detailed in the book of Acts is perhaps the most direct refutation of sola Scriptura as the supposed method of settling doctrinal disputes.

        And THAT is the real, important question: how are doctrinal disputes to be settled among Christians? Scripture tells us that apostolic authority settles them, often in councils.

        What Protestants perceive as “contradictions” between Catholic doctrine and Scripture is merely a manifestation of Protestants focusing on pet verses to the exclusion of other verses of Scripture. Often in my discussions with Protestants, I present certain verses of Scripture and the Protestant ignores them and throws other verses at me, pitting Scripture against Scripture rather than accepting all Scripture and reconciling apparent contradictions.

  9. >>Two Supreme Court justices are different and yet both supreme.

    Poor Tony.

    Nope, sorry. Neither one is supreme. The ‘court’ is supreme. As you end up showing in your post above:

    >>Scripture tells us that apostolic authority settles them, often in councils.

    You believe that apostolic/concilar authority is supreme. And you don’t actually address the question of Sola Scriptura, so you don’t answer the question. Protestants rather agree with you than otherwise as to how disputes are to be resolved… altho we may disagree with what court,when, etc.

    But that is not what Sola Scriptura asks and answers. It is what authority is supreme? Do those councils seek their own logic? Or the answers from God’s revealed will. And you may have also missed the part of the doctrine (not quite as well published) that says that this is true only after the closure of Canon. We fully accept the revelation of the Spirit as an active work during the time of the apostles. Sola Scriptura begins with the closure of the Cannon.

    Because, you see, Sola Scriptura, is actually a secondary doctrine that God is the ‘supreme authority’… thus the word of God is an accurate and inerrant reflection of that supreme authority.

    • Tony Listi said

      I’m not going to continue this abstract quibbling over “supreme” vs. many authorities. It’s a waste of time.

      I answered your question! Please address what I said rather than ignoring it. I said quite a bit that you’ve declined or neglected to address. Are you going to ignore all my Scriptural citations?? Are you going to ignore the history of the development of the biblical canon??

      The supreme authority is apostolic authority as it exists in the Church, the authoritative offices of Peter and the other apostles (pope and bishops), who hold authority over the correct interpretation of Scripture (2 Pt 1:20, 3:15-16). Councils of the apostolic Church are ALWAYS under the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28); they never proceed merely by human logic and reason, though those are used.

      Prove to me from Scripture that the Spirit was active in revealing God’s Word through men only during the time of the first apostles. There’s absolutely no evidence of this in Scripture. It is merely your anti-biblical assumption. The authority of the apostles to speak God’s Word, both in speech and script, did NOT die with the apostles. Their authoritative offices were passed on to other men (Acts 1:20) through the laying on of hands (1 Tim 4:14, 5:22).
      God the Bridegroom and His Bride, the Church, are one flesh, Von. They speak together with authority. Why do you divorce Jesus from His Bride?

      If sola Scriptura began only after the canon was closed, then who authoritatively closed the canon? You? Luther? Are you not aware that he removed books from the Bible? And when was the canon authoritatively closed? The Table of Contents page of the Bible didn’t come from nowhere or drop from the sky. The compilation of the Bible was carried out by men. Which men? How do you know they were preserved from error by the Spirit in this task?

    • Tony Listi said

      “Some Protestants argue that once the canon was established,
      then sola Scriptura became the rule of faith. If that were truly the
      case, then why in the world wouldn’t Scripture itself state such a
      thing, and make it perfectly clear, and logically coherent within a
      sola Scriptura paradigm? Instead, we see a ludicrous
      methodology whereby Protestants must appeal to a completely
      arbitrary, man-made tradition, not found in Scripture at all (this
      idea that 400 years would pass and then sola Scriptura would
      suddenly become the new rule of faith) to establish this principle
      that the Protestant makes the foundation for the rest of his
      theology. The Bible alone is the sole final and infallible authority,
      yet it never states this, and such a notion has to be superimposed
      onto it from without. We have a word for that, and it is eisegesis:
      literally, ‘reading into’ the biblical text one’s prior
      predispositions.” -Dave Armstrong, 501 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura

  10. >>who authoritatively closed the canon? You?

    God.

  11. >>This is getting really annoying, Von. How did God close the canon??

    Sorry you’re annoyed, Tony. God closed the cannon in the same way that every author closes ‘the canon’ of their books… by stopping writing them. God only inspired so many books. Those books that He inspired are the Scriptures. Those he didn’t inspire are not in the cannon.

    I think the question you mean to ask is, “Who recognized the Cannon.” The answer to this is various. The Jews did a lot of recognition of the Cannon… these would be the books that Jesus and Paul quote from. After that the later NT church recognized writings. We have Peter, at one point, recognizing the writing of Paul as being part of Scripture.

    And then, in the end, (and I know you will hate this) in the end each Christian must recognize the Cannon. No matter what church authorities say this or that book is in, or not in, the cannon… just as they might give this or that interpretation of a given passage or doctrine… the individual Christian needs to accept or deny that for their own life. You and I might agree that Scripture teaches clearly that unborn children are, well, children, and not to be killed. But your average Catholic or Protestant, regardless of what you, I, or the Pope say, still has to decide whether to believe and obey.

    • Tony Listi said

      Von, are you not aware that many other writings (not in the Bible today) about Jesus and Christian doctrine were written during and soon after the time of the first apostles? TELL ME: how do we know which authors God inspired and which He didn’t? Please refrain from truisms, tautologies, and circular reasoning.

      Moreover, what about the Old Testament canon? How do we know which of those books/authors were inspired and which were not? Please tell me your view on the misnamed “apocrypha.”

      “Jesus and Paul quote from”
      Jesus and other apostles also quote from extra-Scriptural sources: http://conservativecolloquium.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/jesus-st-paul-and-st-matthew-rejected-sola-scriptura/

    • Tony Listi said

      “And then, in the end, (and I know you will hate this) in the end each Christian must recognize the Cannon. No matter what church authorities say this or that book is in, or not in, the cannon… just as they might give this or that interpretation of a given passage or doctrine… the individual Christian needs to accept or deny that for their own life. You and I might agree that Scripture teaches clearly that unborn children are, well, children, and not to be killed. But your average Catholic or Protestant, regardless of what you, I, or the Pope say, still has to decide whether to believe and obey.”

      Are you saying the individual Christian is the only authority in determining which writings were inspired by God and which were not? Are you saying there is no way to know for certain which writings are Scripture and which are not?

    • Tony Listi said

      “We have Peter, at one point, recognizing the writing of Paul as being part of Scripture.”
      Indeed, the office of St. Peter, who alone holds the keys to the kingdom as steward for Christ the King, authoritatively determines what is Scripture and what is not.

  12. >>Are you saying the individual Christian is the only authority in determining which writings were inspired by God and which were not?

    No, God is the only authority in determining this. The question, which you put below, is one of knowledge

    >>Are you saying there is no way to know for certain which writings are Scripture and which are not?

    I am saying that, like in all of life, all of our ‘knowledge’ is filtered through our human,sinful, will. If each individual Bible came with a stamp, in glowing letters, direct from God, stating it was holy writ, along with an annotated set of commentaries, in God’s own words; our sinful will would still decide how much of that we would accept and obey.

    • Tony Listi said

      God is the only authority in determining which writings were inspired by God? How helpful and useful to man who is NOT God! /sarc

      “I am saying that, like in all of life, all of our ‘knowledge’ is filtered through our human,sinful, will.”
      You are still dodging. Just give me a yes or no answer, Von. Is it possible for a man to know for certain which writings are Scripture and which are not? If you can’t say yes, then your entire faith is built on sand, an illusion that can be washed away by a flood. If you say yes, then you must explain how.

      Indeed, no Bible comes “with a stamp, in glowing letters, direct from God, stating it was holy writ, along with an annotated set of commentaries, in God’s own words”? Every Bible comes from men, but men under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
      So I ask you: how do we know which men have been guided by the Holy Spirit and which have not?

      “our sinful will would still decide how much of that we would accept and obey”
      Accept and obey WHAT?? Don’t talk about acceptance and obedience when the question at hand is how do we know which content we should accept and obey and which we should not.

  13. >>So I ask you: how do we know which men have been guided by the Holy Spirit and which have not?

    We know this because of the action in the Holy Spirit in our lives.

    • Tony Listi said

      Is there a reason you keep your answers so short rather than elaborate? Are you afraid of what you will find when you reason your way to the bottom of your epistemological beliefs?

      So let me get this straight: we know which men have been guided by the Holy Spirit and which have not because of the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives? The Holy Spirit tells each individual believer who has been guided by the Holy Spirit in the past and who has not been?

      The Holy Spirit gives a private revelation to each individual believer about who has been inspired by the Holy Spirit in the past and who has not been? So the entire credibility of divine inspiration rests upon private revelations? So when disagreement arises over which persons were inspired (both in their oral and written words) it’s merely a case of one private revelation against another private revelation?
      Is this what you believe Jesus Christ intended for His Church, squabbles over private revelations?

  14. Tony Listi said

    The pro-marriage movement isn’t about preventing anyone from “getting married.” No one is preventing people with same-sex attraction from legally binding themselves to each other by contract and/or ceremony, making vows to each other, living together, having sexual relations with each other, sharing property, expressing affection for each other, etc. Nor is anyone advocating laws to prohibit such things. Legal instruments like power of attorney, wills, and other contracts empower everyone. People with same-sex attraction have plenty of rights and are not being oppressed

    The pro-marriage movement is about determining which relationships properly deserve State recognition and special legal status. Private relationships of no public interest (e.g. homosexual sex partners, chess partners, study buddies, etc.) do not deserve public recognition or special legal status. The purpose of civil marriage is to legally attach parents to their children and to each other for the sake of their children and their children’s positive rights. Children have positive rights that depend on the relationship between their mother and father. The State has an interest in protecting those positive rights of children by regulating marriage in a limited and prudent way, such as merely defining marriage as between one man and one woman since every child has one father and one mother. Biology matters; just ask someone who was adopted.

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