Brief Introduction

As of September 10, 2014: The content in this blog is old and outdated. While the blog may be used again sometime in the future, at this time it is currently inactive, as it has been for over two years. The opinions and information in this blog do not reflect my current views, nor should they be treated as such. For example, I am no longer a Christian Apologist, but rather an agnostic apatheist. Additionally, my philosophy has changed drastically over the years, as have my views and understanding of the world. Consider these two posts as reflections of my younger, former self, not as the individual I now am. If you wish to see some blog-like posts from me, I recommend checking out my Google+. I semi-friequently post content there which may be of interest.

Until further notice, consider this blog as just a parked domain. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Homosexuality: Is it a Sin?

This is a question people often ask and one seems to receive different answers from each person you ask. Generally, however, it tends to polarize into it being right or wrong, moral or immoral, good or bad, etc. Well, at the risk of losing some followers (and gaining others), I'm taking my stand on the topic. I've given this a lot of thought and I'm still trying to develop my perspective even further, but as you'll soon find out, I've made my decision on which side to support.

General Arguments Against Homosexuality
In all honesty, I've yet to come across a single valid argument against homosexuality or same-sex marriage. The concept of it being "unnatural" is false because it is, in actuality, a very natural part of life. It is not "destructive," no more than heterosexuality and traditional marriage is, because it is nothing but a unity between two consenting individuals. Any offspring of the homosexual couple (whether through adoption or a surrogate) have no "threat of becoming gay" because homosexuality is a non-intrusive sexual orientation. It is not an ideology, nor does it have any doctrines, postulates, or axioms to adhere to.

Homosexuality as a Sin
The second argument I've often came across is the claim that it is a "sin." Well, what evidence is there to support such claims? While I respect the words of the Bible as the religious scriptures of Christianity, I find it fallacious to use its texts as evidence because there is seldom evidence to support the texts themselves. For example, Leviticus 18:22 (KJV) clearly states: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. The issue, however, lies in the Book of Leviticus itself.

Leviticus was written by the Levites (specifically the priests), hence its name. The conflict resides in the fact that the entire book was more along the lines of religious commentaries and postulates as compared to the "Holy Word of God" that so many claim it to be. While there is no evidence to negate the latter claim, there is none to support it, either. Therefore, to support the belief that these priests—whom likely did not even claim it was the "Holy Word of God"—were divinely inspired is fallacious due to a lack of evidence and a failure to satisfy the burden of proof.

What if the Book of Leviticus was merely the written form of cultural and ethical views of the Levites? It's plausible that the Book writings were nothing more than a set of beliefs written down by priests after consulting its members about what the Levites are to believe. To put it frankly, the priests could have simply written in their own personal agendas and convictions, whether out of a desire for power or for political gain. The writings of the Levites are important historically, of course, but to glorify them as holy is an exaggeration.

The next most popular verses are those of 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 (KJV), which states:

[9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, [10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
There are two issues surrounding these verses. Firstly, the closest to any sexual acts it touches on is in regards to fornication and adultery. Now, fornication is another way of saying infidelity or sexual activity outside of marriage. This is a sin not exclusive to homosexuals; rather, it is simply a violation of the traditional marriage code of fidelity. Such a violation can occur between two heterosexuals just as readily as with two homosexuals (if they were to marry). Adultery is synonymous with fornication, however it denotes a slightly different meaning, more along the lines of sexual promiscuity. Again, promiscuity transcends all sexual orientations and preferences, thus invalidating it as a legitimate argument against homosexuality.

If that isn't enough, there is always the second issue: the verse that comes right after it...

[11] And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Even if homosexuality is a sin, it has been "washed" and "justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." Therefore, condemning something God already forgives makes you the Sinner because you are not following the "Holy Word of God."

The Bible Was Written by Man
Lastly (and perhaps most importantly) is this: every single holy scripture and religious text were human creations. The Bible, Qur'an, and TaNaKh were all written thousands of years ago by ignorant, borderline illiterate men who believed that the earth was flat and Jerusalem was the center of the known universe. A number of them were either exiles, fictitious characters for dramatic effect, or people whose words are questionable even to this day.

I do not say these things out of malice or blasphemy, but out of genuine sincerity. These men were, after all, just men and while the Bible does have some very valid and wise points, to claim it as inspired by divinity without any evidence of such inspiration (or even of the divinity itself) is, by definition a fallacy. That doesn't mean they weren't inspired by God; however, it's quite plausible that those men were just writing down folklore they remembered as a child and used it to represent something supernatural. That is called mythology.

The Validity of the Bible
There are over three different accounts of Jesus Christ's Resurrection from more than three different Disciples. No one knows which one is true—if any of them are—or if it was even the Disciples who wrote it. There is even evidence to support the possibility that the events in question were recorded hundreds of years after it occurred. This implies that they were passed down orally, thus allowing for misunderstanding and falsification to happen. Nonetheless, those are all seemingly different perspectives of the same event. How could all three be true? Are they not all the "Word of God"? That means that either God was wrong (or lying) two of the three times, or two of the Disciples (or whoever) who wrote down the events were wrong (or lying). Personally, I'd bet my money on humans being wrong and not an almighty deity.

The Bible is far from being "perfect." In fact, the original Holy Bible was about twice as large as the modern-day Bible. Before the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD and the Roman-Catholic Church started banning certain books with accusations of "heresy" and "Devil's Work," there were many other books (e.g., the story of Adam & Lilith, the first wife before Eve, the Fall of Lucifer, and the Gospel of Judas). Many of those books were removed because they contained "too much knowledge" for the public to know. If the Church itself has been filtering its own religious texts since its beginnings, then what's stopping the rest of society from doing so?

The Bible has been translated, rewritten, and revised thousands of times. It's more than possible that some texts have been skewed for personal reasons. Even in biblical times, those in power were often corrupt, cynical, self-absorbed narcissists. Unfortunately, most of the ones in power were also religious officials, since theocratic rule was most popular and "God's Word" was considered Law. What, then, is it that exempts religious officials—priests, popes, and religious authors alike—from lying? Or manipulating? Or what about deceit and a lust for power? Is it just because they claim to be the harbingers of God's Holy Commandments? If so, then shouldn't every politician make such extreme claims? These are questions many religious officials and followers avoid (and with good reason).

Conclusion (TL;DR)
Homosexuality is not a sin. It is not destructive, nor is it an "abomination." It is not inherently bad and the "sins" that could be committed by being homosexual can be done just as easily by a heterosexual. The only arguments against homosexuality can be found in one or more of three categories:

  • Ignorance – The individual does not have enough information to provide a legitimate opinion. Thus any claims should be disregarded as invalid.
  • Superstition  Whether in the form of religious beliefs or baseless delusions, the individual opposes homosexuality based off unfounded speculation.
  • Biological Inefficiency – Since homosexual intercourse does not yield offspring, the reproduction and progression of a genetic line or heritage ends. A counter for such a claim can be that through a surrogate or donor, the legacy can be perpetuated. In addition to the latter, a lack of offspring can be beneficial if the genes in question are of poor quality, or if the threat of spreading a disease/illness (i.e., mental disorder or sexually-transmitted disease) is present.

The religious officials from numerous religions who condemned homosexuality did so out of ignorance, superstition, and health concerns (rare), more specifically the first two. The same applies to their followers and those who adhere to such religious doctrines.

Final Statement
Jesus did not once condemn homosexuality. His Apostles did and His Disciples did, all after His death. The words of Jesus' followers do not supersede His words, however, nor do they hold the same importance as His.
[28] One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” [29] Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; [30] and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ [31] The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
[32] The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; [33] and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” [34] When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions. ~ Mark 12:28–34 (NASB)
The greatest commandments never mentioned sexuality. It simply said to love God with all your being and to love your neighbor as you do yourself. Did Jesus exclude homosexuals from that love? Or adulterers? Or prostitutes? Or Atheists? What about people of another race? Or perhaps another nation or ethnicity? No.

"...You shall love your neighbor as yourself..."

Whether that neighbor is gay or straight; black or white; retarded or smart; rich or poor; male or female; friend or foe; communist, socialist, fascist, Nazi, or democratic; liberal or conservative; Republican or Democrat; introverted or extroverted... Regardless of who or what that person is, just as long as he is my neighbor, I will love him.

Would you?

NOTE: As you can see, I geared this post most specifically toward Christians. My words still stand with any religion, though: it is not a sin. Feel free to give your opinions and responses below. I will not delete your posts, no matter how much I may disagree with it, just as long as you actually contribute to the discussion as a whole. Any blatant hatred, however, will be removed. This is a very sensitive topic to a lot of people, so I aim to respect that. If that means silencing some hateful people, then so be it. Remember that.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Philosophy

    Humanity is a social species. They thrive for attention; they desire for intimacy. They crave understanding. Nearly every religion, faith, and belief system seems to consist of an all-powerful God in some manifestation. He may be represented by many Gods and Goddesses, or He may be represented by only one. He may be known to be anywhere and everywhere, and He may be known to be nowhere at all. For some reason, though, all those spiritual affiliations consist of some deity or higher power that is seemingly omnipotent and the Creator of all existence. Now, I’m not saying that the God of Christianity or Judaism is correct — it's likely that if such a deity exists, it is more complex and unique than any attempted comprehension that has ever been conceived. I am saying, however, that they seem to be very similar to the deities of so many other religions. No matter what you believe in (if anything at all), there is one aspect in which appears to be a constant throughout it all:


Think about it…

The Jews speak of God being 
LOVING and caring for His children.
The Christians speak of God being LOVE itself, as well as Jesus Christ.
The Buddhists talk of achieving nirvana, as well as the cycle of rebirth – escaping from the trap of suffering and rebirth to find true peace and LOVE.
The Muslims believe that fulfilling Allah’s commandments will give them peace and everlasting LOVE.
The Hindus believe in Karma, as well as being rewarded by their LOVING God(s) for doing good things.
Even Theistic Satanists believe that Lucifer LOVES them and will reward them in the future upon passing.

    The list goes on, but what do you see in common? They all consist of one thing: Love. Perhaps that is why so many religious texts speak of it, books are written about it, stories are told of it, and every person strives to find it. Perhaps that is why philosophers debate over it, intellectuals discuss about it, and people of every age, gender, orientation, race, and ethnicity seek it. It's possible that love is even more powerful than God Himself, assuming one exists. How so? The Bible always spoke of God creating humanity out of His own love, but not ONCE did it say that He created love. God FEELS love, not vice versa. Why do you think it is always stated that “God is love,” and not the other way around?

    Oftentimes, religions conflict one another over their doctrinal beliefs and dogmatic views, but love tends to be the consistency that connects all religions. Regardless of whether it is a monotheistic deity or a pantheistic entity, love is one correlating factor that covers them all. Is this mere coincidence, or are there hidden reasons for the apparent connection? Could love really be the universal perpetuation, the single most important and vital link between all spiritual faiths? Does a simple emotion, thought to be a mere stimulation of the brain via chemical reactions, seriously define that which is infinite? I have yet to meet someone who can accurately answer those inquiries.

    One can perceive my words so far as being very endorsing of Theism, however I can assure you that this is not the case. Atheists feel love, as well, do they not? Although it may sound like I believe love is the evidence for existence, I am actually attempting to convey the sheer importance love has, so much that I believe it is what gives purpose and reason to life. That’s why I frequently remind myself that even if there is nothing beyond this physical imprisonment, then at least I had Love. I do my best to live by that philosophical view. As difficult as it sometimes is, I strive to remain open-minded, free thinking, and unrestrained by any ties or bindings — that includes institutionalized religion, orthodoxy, and dogma. I am a heretic and an individualist by choice; I follow my own unique path, as compared to those made by others. I lead.

I have many beliefs, views, and opinions — so many that it would take years to explain them all — but I make sure to adhere by the following maxims:

"Nothing is true; everything is permitted." — In order to know anything as absolutely true, one would be required to obtain omniscience, a trait impossible to procure in physical reality. That said, everything is (in a sense) "permitted" to be possible.

"Claiming absolutes gives way to Ignorance." — Since absolute knowledge is unable to logically exist in a material plane, claiming such will only show one's ignorance and inability to comprehend the Agnosticism humanity is forced to retain.

"Fact is a myth. There is only belief." — Without any absolutes able to be proven, the concept of "fact" is a sophism of the mind. In my opinion, belief, speculation, and faith are the only reasonable outlooks in life because a Gnostic perspective seems too delusive to have.

"Normalcy is a fallacy." — The notion of normalcy and its related forms are quite deceptive, for they imply that such a common standard exists, especially in a definitive form. Being "normal" is dependent upon the current societal standards and the culture(s) that inhabits it, thus its definition is supple.

"All things are relative." — Due to the axiom that all entities are subjective to scrutiny when another being(s) of some form contrasts with it, the postulate of "all things [being] relative" holds some verity. For example, a grain of sand can be the size of the universe from the perspective of a molecule, whereas the entire earth seems to be just as vast from the viewpoint of the sand (assuming such inanimate objects can perceive).

    In summary, I believe that regardless of one's religious or spiritual views, the uniformity around love that they seem center around should be reason enough for humanity to put aside their differences and find common ground. Frankly, doing so will be the only way for us as the social species we are to maintain the evolutionary and intellectual momentum we've collected throughout the centuries. Regardless of whether there is a God above, or just empty space, people should direct their attention to love, compassion, and altruism. Mankind may never be able to truly overcome the selfish, egotistic ways we innately hold, but we can certainly attempt to; if we don't, then our progress as a collective organism will be stunted and grow dormant. As far as I'm concerned, people should favor individualism over conformity and exercise their uniqueness whenever possible. Alas, this hope is idealistic and probably unlikely to occur. Nevertheless, I will still have faith that one day, Man can break free from his chains and exhibit the full potential he has stored.

To close off this blog post, let me end with a bit of advice for those reading:

    Do not be afraid to be who you are because what society thinks of you is unimportant. If the majority opposes you, stand up for what you believe, even if that means you stand alone. Do not close your heart and mind to the views, opinions, and beliefs of others, though, for you can be wrong; be fearless against such a possibility, for it is a natural occurrence that will unfold in your life one day, if it has not already. You are not perfect. If you are mistaken in your perception, then admit and confront it. Avoiding the inescapable flaw of being incorrect will get you nowhere, so why not face it instead?

    Allow yourself to feel. Many people are terrified of expressing their emotions because they think it may reveal weakness or vulnerability — this is not the case. Those who voice their thoughts and emotional states tend to be the ones who are the mightiest among the masses. Contrary to popular belief, emotions are not hindrances to overcome, but rather privileges to cherish. One must always keep themselves under control, however, for restraint and resistance are what separates us from the savages.

    Do not believe everything you have been told, for lies and deceit are plaguing the world with renewed fervency. Investigate the claims and information you have been told for yourself and discover the greater truths that may have otherwise been hidden from you. Explore your convictions and uncover what you really believe. Formulate your own thoughts and opinions instead of blindly following what your mentors and superiors have impressed upon on. Note that some of the most intelligent and influential people to have ever lived did not even receive a formal education: Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, and Virgil to name a few.

    With that in mind, remember that education is not what gave you the intelligence and wisdom you have now — you did. Your motivation and will to learn is what brought you to where you are now; if you feel you have been cheated out of your potential, who's fault it that? It is never too late to better yourself, however, so never give up hope. Even if you fail, that does not mean you are a failure, so do not hesitate to reattempt what you did not succeed at before and eventually, you will accomplish your goal.

    You are your most difficult obstacle in life. The condemnation others have on you may slow you down, but it will not stop you. The condemnation you have for yourself, however, will stagnate your advancement. If you want to be great, then go do it! Before you can, you must conquer your inner demons first, though. Once you have, there is next to no limit on what you can do.

    On that note, I recommend you evaluate your life and seriously consider who you are as an individual. My philosophy is my own and it's entirely plausible that it does not apply to you, so take my words with a grain of salt, as always. If you believe what I've written here is sound and you wish to adopt it as your own, then by all means do so. Otherwise, I strongly suggest you fashion a philosophy of your own, for it will benefit you later on in life, especially when you are at a loss. Views change all the time and perceptions are very malleable, so don't fret over you not adhering to your philosophy all the time. Remember, it's your view, so do what you want with it.

Thanks for reading.

Do you agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear from you! Post your responses below, in the comment section and please share this if you found this interesting!