Realism, Nominalism, and the Marriage Debate **updated**


*Update at bottom of post

Even though the vast majority of people who have an opinion on gay marriage may not realize it, their opinion is ultimately shaped by their view of metaphysics (even if they’ve never consciously developed such a view). In metaphysics, especially in the West, there are two predominant views: Realism and nominalism.

For most of our readers, those two terms have no meaning, so it’s best to explain them before going on. Realism is the belief that things have a perfect form whereas nominalism is the belief that we give the form to things. Since there is no easier way to understand outside of an analogy, it’s best to use an analogy.

Think of a tree. We know when we’re looking at a tree even if we don’t know the type of tree. Realism teaches us that we know this because there is an ideal form of tree; there is an ultimate version of tree and all other trees are copies (albeit imperfect copies) of that ideal form of a tree. Nominalism says that there is that tree and other objects that look like it. There is no ideal form of a tree; each “tree” exists independently and we only call these objects “trees” because it makes it easier for us to categorize things. Thus, there is no absolute form of a tree, only our constructed view.

When applied to ethics, the issue becomes a bit clearer. Realism says that there are right things and wrong things independent of the human experience. Thus, murder is wrong even if a society says that murder is right. Nominalism, on the other hand, states that ethics are only as true as a society says. There is no absolute right and wrong, only mental constructs of what is right and what is wrong. Thus, murder is wrong so long as the people agree to say that it is wrong; once the people stop saying it is wrong, there are no moral implications to taking an innocent person’s life.

Thus, the realists look at marriage and say, “There is an ideal form of marriage to which all other marriages must achieve or attempt to achieve.” The nominalists look at marriage and say, “Marriage is what we say it is, we can define it however we desire.” And this is where we see the whole issue of homosexual marriage. Once we strip back the pithy responses, the strawmen arguments, and even the moral judgments, it is here we see the most basic level of this debate: Does an ideal to marriage exist and if so what is it?

What society, and many Christians, fail to understand is that to be a Christian (at least in the proper Christian tradition) is to be a committed realist. Christians believe that God created humans in His own image and that Christ came to restore us back to His image, which destroys the idea of nominalism right there. The Bible is replete with passages telling Christians to conform to Christ’s image, that Christ is the New Adam, that Christ is the perfect man, and so on. That means that for Christians, Christ is the ideal form of what it is to be human and we are to strive to conform to that ideal. That is realism. Nominalists would say that we determine what it is to be human, which runs contrary to Scripture; this is why Christians are committed realists (or should be).

This also means that Christians believe there is an ideal view of marriage. They get this view from Genesis and dumb it down to “one man, one woman.” And when reading Scripture it’s very apparent that God’s ideal for marriage is for it to be between one man and one woman. At the same time, we see other passages where multiple wives are allowed. Does this mean that the realist is wrong in his view of marriage? Not at all, it simply means that the ideal is not always realized. If the ideal were always realized then there would be no need for Christ. It means that God is willing and able to allow the ideal to be sacrificed to a certain degree in a fallen world in order; thus, war is not God’s ideal, but He allows it and orders it to counteract a fallen world. Polygamy and divorce are not ideal, but allowed within a certain context in a fallen world.

This is also why nominalists have such a hard time interpreting Scripture, they don’t understand the metaphysical commitments that Christians have made. They look at Scripture and say, “But passages concerning homosexuality are all in the Old Testament, which no longer applies!” or “But God allows polygamy, so it’s not ‘one man and one woman’!” Some will point to Romans and say that this is based on pagan practices in homosexuality and not homosexuality itself (which requires one to perform hermeneutical gymnastics to come to this conclusion). The realists look at these passages and say, “But these do not conform to God’s ideal of marriage” or “eating shellfish and wearing clothing of a single fabric has nothing to do with God’s ideal for humanity (as made clear in the New Testament), but how we conduct ourselves in marriage and who we choose to marriage has everything to do with His ideal for humanity.” And thus we see our metaphysical commitments interact.

The shorter version of this is Christians are against homosexual actions not out of ignorance, but out of the view that such actions do not fit within the ideal of marriage. The reason is that Christians also view men and women to have defined roles, or a defined telos to which they are ascribing. This is another issue where nominalists and realists speak past each other, on the role of men and women in society. Nominalists say that gender roles are a societal construct. Realists say that they have everything to do with our construct as humans. Reading Scripture one sees that realism is found even in how gender roles are defined. Thus, if one follows the realism of Scripture, one comes to the conclusion that men have an ideal and women have an ideal, that the two genders are different, yet compliment each other. If this view of realism is correct, then it only follows that marriage should be between one man and one woman because it fits within their respective telos.

Now, none of this speaks to the legal battle except to say this: One’s view of marriage is inherently tied to one’s religious views, which is exactly why the government should be forbidden from issuing marriage licenses. The ideal Christian marriage is one where a man and women come before God and are united as one. This view, however, is not shared by the populace. The government has no right to interject its opinion into the marriage issue. Instead, since taxes and other legal concerns do exist, the government should only issue civil unions and stop there. Those civil unions should exist for anyone regardless of beliefs or gender.

However, what I am saying does speak to the moral issue of homosexuality and how one approaches Scripture. I think it helps if we remove the façade of the debate surrounding homosexuality and reduce it to its metaphysical issues. Thus, while I still oppose marriage amendments that limit the rights of homosexual couples, I still view homosexual actions as going against the telos of humans, or against the ideal for humans.

All that being said, Christians need to understand their own foundations for beliefs as well. The way Christians have approached the homosexual issue has been utterly cruel and uncalled for. The lack of pastors speaking out against bullying, or adding a caveat to it is not only unhelpful, it’s contrary to the teachings of Christ. Viewing homosexual actions as a sin is consistent with Scripture, but treating them as subhuman is not; their sin is no different than a man who looks at pornography (in fact, pornography is in many ways worse) or a heterosexual couple engaged in premarital sex. Ultimately, the human ideal is found in Christ and we must understand that none of us have become as He is.

In the end, both sides needs to understand where each is coming from. We still need to have a discussion over these issues; after all, Christians could be wrong in their interpretation of the Scriptures. Maybe God’s ideal for marriage has nothing to do with gender (though this would mean that God doesn’t have an ideal for the genders either, which would be harder to prove). But comparing those who view homosexuality as a sin to Nazis or calling us ignorant isn’t going to get us to see your side. Likewise, calling people sodomites or treating homosexuality as some atrocity to befall us while ignoring other, bigger issues, isn’t going to convince people of the truth of Scripture. Both sides need to stop acting like children and instead face this issue with mutual dignity and respect.

* If you’re struggling to understand what I mean by “realism” and “nominalism,” you can replace “realism” with “universals” and “nominalism” with “particulars” and then read this post. 

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10 thoughts on “Realism, Nominalism, and the Marriage Debate **updated**

  1. ‘nominalists and realists speak past each other’ – I believe this is the core issue; neither side will treat their opposition with enough respect to listen, much less try to understand their position, regardless of the topic of debate.

    I agree, the homosexual issue has been unfairly targeted and engaged by Christians as a whole. The realist Christian position is against any sexual relationship outside the context of marriage, not just same sex. I would have felt more comfortable voting for an amendment defining divorce as only permissible in the case of sexual unfaithfulness, but that would be defeated by a greater margin than Amendment One passed.

    Thank you for being a clear voice of reason.

  2. The concepts of nominalism and realism are all well and good but intellectualized and distant from the person of Jesus Christ. As well as we can tell from the Bible, Jesus was in a same-sex relationship with the author of the gospel of John. They were physically affectionate together in public, and the disciples and both of their families recognized, honored and valued their relationship.

    If Paul meant what it sounds like he’s saying in Romans 1:26-27, then he just messed up. It is not consistent with what we are told about Jesus – that he was in a relationship with the author of John.

    Besides Paul, there is literally nothing in the Bible that makes any clear statement against loving same-sex relationships. Jesus was apparently in one, and David and Jonathan were definitely in one. Jesus and David are 2 of the 3 most important human figures in the entire Bible (the other being Moses). What more does it take to just accept that we are human beings, not some projection (telos) of an ideal that is in someone else’s mind, and is not even consistent with the Bible?!?

    1. Wayne,

      Thank you for taking the time to respond.

      The problem with your response is you just wave your hand and dismiss everything I wrote, ignoring it by calling it “intellectual.” Sadly, that’s not how life works. The reality is there are beliefs that shape how people think. We are not always conscious of these beliefs, but they do exist and they are there. The sign of a deep thinker is someone who recognizes they have these beliefs and proceeds to challenge them or see if they are true. The sign of someone who is intellectually stunted is someone who refuses to look at their basic beliefs and simply goes on about life.

      That being said…

      Where in the world are you getting this idea that John and Jesus were physically affectionate with each other? The Bible doesn’t even come close to saying that; what you’re doing is at best wishful thinking and at worst a horrible attempt at eisegesis (reading meaning into something). The same with David and Jonathan. In neither case is the Bible saying they were homosexual lovers. Rather, you’re taking our modern culture and applying it to Scripture, which is absurd. In the Middle East men hold hands and are “affectionate” in public, but do not engage in sexual relations with each other. Culture back then was similar. That is simply how friendship was manifested; that doesn’t make them homosexual.

      Secondly, we are human beings, but there is an ideal form of what it means to be a human being (our purpose, our telos). What part of that do I need to clear up?

  3. You forget about one very important aspect of human sexuality though: it cannot be explained by science, theology, history, etc. Despite numerous scientific studies being performed with varying hypotheses, none of these studies have arrived at any concrete conclusions. If you are going to identify yourself as a “deep thinker” then should science not be pulled into this argument as well? What do psychologist say, for example?

    As a gay man, one who has consistently questioned and challenged why I am the way I am, attempting to understand and define my own humanity through several different mediums, I can say without hesitation, that this didn’t happen by chance, in the womb or otherwise. As a gay man, and one who refuses to engage sexually until I am able to find real love, the kind which in my opinion, is the reason for living in the first place, I can also say that in the end I really just want experience a truly authentic life. Part of that, for me, means being one half of a holistic romantic relationship. Man has several needs, one of those would be sex. It is my opinion, and science and humanity do back me up on this, that all three aspects of a relationships are equally important: sexual, emotional, mental. All three must be treated with the same level of consideration when we pick our partners.

    That being said, I cannot physically or mentally find myself attracted to a woman, even when my thoughts are so often in-synch with female friends. Our emotions are usually in-synch, which has led me to understand my ideal partner would be more on the sensitive side. However, as a homosexual, I am only attracted to men. This is also coming from a person who resents very much this feeling as if I need to defend myself, fearing that others believe me to be someone who regularly enjoys having sex with multiple partners. This isn’t the case at all. In fact, most Christians I know are less Christian than myself in not only that regard, but nearly every other regard as well. I also do not believe in the bible, Jesus as God, or anything else to do with socially constructed views on theology. None of them are concrete. Nothing is provable. Until then, I will allow my conscious to guide me. I know the difference between right and wrong. I would like to believe others do to- even the most evil people in the world. I am not mean to others, I do murder, I live well. If I am damned to Hell for something I cannot change than I guess that is something I will have to accept.

    I also resent having to constantly defend myself against the marginalized homosexual culture, which now seems to include an “anything goes” mentality: bisexuality, pansexuality, transsexuality, asexuality, genderfuck (excuse my language), genderqueer. I am in no way attempting to bash these people, however it becomes very difficult to legitimize my orientation when you have straight men calling themselves straight and engaging in very risky unprotected, homosexual sex, or when you have people saying gender is unimportant to them. It becomes difficult for people to see you as a human being when they discover you are gay–which by the way, I am, a human being with the exact same desires for success, love, etc. that I take notice of everyone around me.

    Of course, I have the choice to act on my sexuality. Everyone does. However, sex is a part of love. Sexual desire is not a bad thing in my opinion, it is a part of our humanity, and is a need. Science has proven this. That said, as someone who simply will not be satisfied without (eventually) being able to partner with another human being, marry (yes, marry– New York), have the option raise children (shaky here, not to be taken lightly), of course have a few pets, find professional success, and live together in harmony with good friends and close family, I cannot see myself obtaining this holistic relationship I desire with a woman.

    Why? Sex. I know, it makes even me quiver a little bit. Shouldn’t it be more about how you feel inside your heart? Sure, maybe, but how can I pretend to be living an authentic life if I am sleeping with a woman and absolutely not sexually attracted to her? As someone who desperately (and I mean very, very, very desperately) wants sexual intimacy to feel right when it does happen, how can I possibly be so capricious about such an act, simply to satisfy a group of people who allow their theology to dictate their opinions on what society should deem appropriate? I can’t. Not if what I am truly striving for is to be the one, the only, the authentic: me.

    For example, it is also my opinion that animals should not be killed for food or used for resources. My belief is backed up by science. Many Christians disagree, and consult the Bible on this matter. However, it is my opinion that animals are meant to be cared for, not eaten. Just because a book that was written several centuries prior states I am allowed to eat meat, doesn’t mean I will. And when you look at the Bible, dissect certain passages especially, or just plain read to yourself, you should be able to see, that as a “deep thinker” the book is deeply, deeply flawed.

    Theology is based on feeling, and as such this marriage ideal you speak of should not be considered in America. The constitution doesn’t state the marriage is between a man and a woman. Fact is, straight marriages everywhere will the same once gay marriage is legalized across the board. I myself, am far more interested in the chemical make-up of humans and how that influences our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

    While I do somewhat agree on your ideas relating to human ideals, you literally avoided the larger, more omnipresent issue, and that is that sexuality cannot be explained at this point in time.

    You didn’t choose to straight, I didn’t choose to be gay. There is no solution to this problem, and it is my opinion that despite our differences, we can exist together in the world without hurting each other, with words, or otherwise. Fact is, I’m not so different as many people think. I really just want to be love and be loved. Is that so wrong?

    1. C.A.,

      While I deeply appreciate the well-thought out and extremely civil reply, I fear that you may have run through my post without really thinking through it. I say that because:

      1) You point out that the conclusion I come to should have nothing to do with the debate concerning the legality of marriage; yet this is exactly what I said in the article. In fact, to quote myself:

      Now, none of this speaks to the legal battle except to say this: One’s view of marriage is inherently tied to one’s religious views, which is exactly why the government should be forbidden from issuing marriage licenses. The ideal Christian marriage is one where a man and women come before God and are united as one. This view, however, is not shared by the populace. The government has no right to interject its opinion into the marriage issue. Instead, since taxes and other legal concerns do exist, the government should only issue civil unions and stop there. Those civil unions should exist for anyone regardless of beliefs or gender.

      So I don’t take my beliefs and apply them to the legality of homosexuality, as I’ve expressed elsewhere on the site (see here). Rather, I’m speaking about the moral objection to homosexuality and, more importantly, the roots of that objection. I’m attempting to show that at base this is a philosophical discourse.

      2) Anyone should see that “science” need not be consulted in what I was saying. Science was ignored not because I’m not a “deep thinker,” but because it’s completely irrelevant to the point I was making. I’m dealing with metaphysics (realism vs. nominalism) which precedes science. While science is an important tool in the debate of realism vs. nominalism (as I think science is only possible because of realism and that it confirms realism), it is an unnecessary tool in this instance. I fully embrace the idea that one’s sexual preference concerning gender is biologically predisposed, yet this does not change my view concerning the morality of homosexuality. You actually prove as the perfect example of why – just because you’re predisposed to liking men doesn’t mean that you’re going to try to sleep with every man you see. While your disposition isn’t a choice, acting on your disposition is a choice. It is no different for heterosexual people as well. A man might be attracted to females, but this hardly excuses adultery or sleeping around. This is why I didn’t see the point in bringing up science. Science is not the end of knowledge, but merely a tool in certain situations, though not all.

      For more of a direct reply (and understand that I only number these responses for the point of brevity and to make my thoughts concise):

      1) Theology is not based on feeling, or I should say, theology should not be based on feeling. Theology is based on what is there and corresponds to what is true, or at least that should be the goal of theology.

      2) Sex is a part of love, but not love itself, nor is it necessary for love to be at its deepest. A parent caring for a dying child, leaving her job to spend her last few months with the child, is showing a deep form of love to the child. Yet this love is not sexual. A man who gives up his life for his friends and does so willingly has shown the deepest form of love, but this is not sexual. Love, by its very existence and definition, is self-effacing. This is seen partially through sex within the marriage context, but sex is not needed or necessary to express deep love. Again, this is the issue of realism vs. nominalism; is love a real thing that exists independent of human experience or is it something we get to define? Without going into too much detail, Christians are committed realists, thus we believe that love is a real thing (a Person in fact). With that in mind, it means that there is a form to love, and that form is self-sacrifice. Sex is a by-product of this, not a cause of this.

      This is why the early Church was big on chastity. They saw nothing wrong with people living their lives without sex. The problem is that in our culture we’ve elevated sex to something it’s not, we’ve taken it out of its proper context. And this isn’t just the case with homosexuality, but with heterosexuality as well. We’ve taught young people that sex is a way to express one’s self, that sex is a way to authenticate one’s self, and so on. Sex is not a bad thing, but is something that should happen in a certain context because of the form of sex (again, realism vs. nominalism). To say that science has proven we have sexual desires is a superfluous statement; science has proven that we need to eat, but that doesn’t mean that I can break into someone’s house and eat their food. Science has proven that we have sexual desires, but that doesn’t mean I can go have sex with whomever I choose. Science has proven we have sexual desires, but that doesn’t mean we need to act on them (science hasn’t proven that we have to have sex or that we “need” sex; if anything, empirical evidence has shown that one can live a chaste life and be just fine).

      In the end, saying that science backs up your belief on something doesn’t mean much to someone who understands the limits of science. I don’t buy into empiricism or scientism. Science, in fact, has nothing to say concerning morality; all science can do is produce facts and figures. Were we talking about the origins of the universe and I said that the Big Bang were impossible because it would require energy and matter to exceed the speed of life in the primitive universe, then we could bring up science (specifically quantum mechanics) to debate how it is possible to go faster than the speed of light. We this post about how evolution is false, then we could bring up science to show that, in fact, evolution is true. In fact, were this post about how homosexuality is purely a choice, even here we could bring up science. But this post is about what is moral and ethical and on that science has no voice (nor should it have a voice). That doesn’t degrade science nor is it anti-science, it simply recognizes the proper limits of scientific knowledge (I guess you could say that I embrace a form of critical realism, a belief that respect science and sees it as a valuable tool, but recognizes that it is limited).

      Ultimately, I agree with your last paragraph that there’s no reason we can’t co-exist despite the difference of our opinions. I have many homosexual friends despite my opinions concerning the act of homosexuality. This is because we are more than our choices. What saddens me is that so many Christians have engaged in horrible bullying, which is the opposite of what Christ stood for (this is something else I pointed out in the article). I am equally saddened that many in the homosexual community have made a civil conversation difficult. This is why I appreciate your comment so much, and despite my post consisting mainly of my disagreement with your points, your comment did mean a lot to me.

      1. I understood this article. What I picked out was specifically was this:
        I still view homosexual actions as going against the telos of humans, or against the ideal for humans.

        What you have presented is a backwards way of suggesting that homosexuals are so somehow unnatural, less than ideal, sinful, and illegitimate. My sexual identity is linked to my identity. I cannot separate the two, which I was I was attempting to present an argument that would allow you to gain a new perspective on the idea of homosexual behavior. It isn’t something that I won’t be able to act upon when the time is right, nor do I not want to. I was not speaking of friendship, or love between parent and child, I was speaking of romantic love. I have deep, meaningful friendships, but in order to feel complete I do need to (eventually) pair up with another human being in a holistic romantic relationship. It is a part of my personality to desire that companionship. You can’t separate homosexual behavior from the homosexual. If you don’t agree with the behavior, you don’t agree with homosexuality in general. Behavior and identity are inherently linked. You say I have a choice to act on it, I agree I do. However, I desire happiness. Happiness for me means partnering with another man, to support and love.

        I am not sure of your point on civil unions. How is this different from marriage? Don’t allow homosexual unions in churches? If it’s just a word game then I suppose we are in agreement on this issue. I should have the legal right to legally partner with a man. If you agree, I apologize because I should have read that more carefully.

      2. Tos ay that homosexual actions go against the telos of humanity is no different than saying that watching pornography, or heterosexual actions outside of the marriage context, go against the telos of humanity. That’s just a sophisticated way of saying that homosexual actions, as are all actions outside the ideal of marriage, are sinful. So yes, homosexual actions are unnatural, less than ideal, and illegitimate. But I would say this about premarital sex, relationships with more than two partners, and so on. I would argue that David, a man after God’s own heart, falls into this category of engaging in actions that are unnatural, less than ideal, and illegitimate (sinful). That’s what sin is. Thus, we all engage in those types of actions. To link that to an attack on the person, however, is non sequitur.

        This is why your attempt to tie your sexual identity to action and therefore to your person just doesn’t work. You don’t have to act on those sexual desires; that is simply a choice. The idea that you need to in order to feel fulfilled is pure existentialism and is a way for you to argue you need to self-authenticate yourself; but if you refer back to what I wrote I would contend you’re adopting a nominalist perspective rather than a realist one. Under realism we don’t need sex to authenticate our existence; rather, we need to achieve our telos, Who is Christ. Sex is for some and not for others, but it is irrelevant in the long run.

        I can take what you’re saying and apply it to anything. I can argue that a man’s identity as a heterosexual male means that he needs to engage in sex in order to authenticate himself. If he feels that this authentication comes through multiple partners, then what you’re saying is I cannot judge him. So long as he doesn’t harm anyone, who cares, right? But therein lies a multitude of problems:

        1) It adopts nominalism, which is problematic to begin with (see the article I linked to in my updated post)
        2) It ignores the argument I’m making; that Christianity is based on realism, which ultimately teaches that we have a telos. Thus, whether we harm someone or not is irrelevant when discussion the morality of an action (though it has significant applicability when discussing the legality of an action).
        3) Such a thought process can extend to zoophilia (bestiality), polygamy, and such (and this isn’t mean making a slipper slope argument: I’m simply following the logic and conclusions of the Princeton philosopher Peter Singer). Or we can say that harming someone only matters if it impacts my own self-interests in the future, that is, if I can hurt someone without in turn being hurt, then who cares (again, this comes from Ayn Rand).

        Finally, dealing with civil unions, my point is that the government shouldn’t be involved in marriage period. Marriage is a religious institution and not a social one. Civil unions, however, recognize taxes, legal rights, etc. Civil unions should be granted to heterosexual couples as well as homosexual couples. I think if the government got out of marriage and stuck to civil unions it would be far more difficult for Christians to make a case against the legality of same-sex civil unions.

      3. You cannot equate pornography to homosexual sex. They don’t have anything to do with each other. A loving relationship to two men is not harmful. On the issue of porn, I don’t watch it, but I could care less it exists so I don’t really know how you came up with this comparison.

        Last time I checked, I was a human being. My problem with Christianity is that it seems to want to deny that and replace NORMAL human desires with feelings for guilt for having those desires. Sex is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. I’m not going to make a case for waiting until marriage since I’m not sure that makes much difference, but by all means I resent the the heavily sexualized culture of America. I’m not a fan. I think it sends the wrong message to impressionable youth, however there is a balance. I do not adopt nominalism my friend. You seem to be lost in this unattainable ideal. Human beings do not work the way in which you present. For example I think it’s ridiculous for teenagers shouldn’t be being told to strictly abstain from sex. They are going to have sex. You have to be realistic. Human beings want sex. That’s bad? Maybe, if you believe it is. I guess.

        What you are basically doing is making a case against homosexual sex, and that is essentially a backhanded way of saying “no homosexual relationships, period.” That’s unfair. Who are you to claim that it’s wrong? If you expect a person to deny the love of another, well, I think you should reconsider the message you send to people.

        And it is honestly my opinion that people who equate homosexuality to beastiality have NO place in intelligent conversation. Pretty sure a person who has sex (rapes) animals isn’t comparable to a normal, well adjusted 21-year old college student, with a loving family, who is looking for a legitimate loving relationship with another human being. That’s a deeply offensive comparison, and makes you seem highly ignorant.

        I will point to certain relationships within the public eye: Matthew Bomer and his partner have children. Would you suggest that they break-up their family because Christians say their relationship is illegitimate?

        At the end of the day, this argument is tired. I know more than you, because I am the homosexual. Pretending to know more about my sexuality than I do is ridiculous. And it also doesn’t matter. I have full confidence that within the next ten years this will be a non-issue.

        And your argument for civil unions vs. marriage is still completely muddy. You didn’t answer the question. What are you attempting to define as the difference between marriage and civil unions? Are you suggesting gay partnerships should only be able to claim “I am unionized,” and only straight partnerships claim “I’m married.” IF you really think about that—it’s a word game, and that is all.

        If you are saying that gay marriages shouldn’t be allowed to occur in churches, uh…clue…I don’t believe most people want to spent their special day in a place they aren’t welcome.

      4. I can’t tell if you’re just missing the point of what I wrote (both the article and my replies), or if you’re purposefully trying to twist what I’m saying into a strawman. Suffice it to say, your last reply didn’t actually respond to anything I actually said.

        In fact, you’re turning back towards nominalism with a taste of pragmatism, saying that we define what is and is not moral based on what “works.” That is to say, you’re completely ignoring the entire point of what I wrote and turning to illogical cliched arguments that don’t actually deal with my points. Regardless, I guess I’ll attempt a reply:

        You cannot equate pornography to homosexual sex.

        I didn’t say they were the same thing. I was making the point that since pornography or premarital sex or what have you goes against God’s design for marriage, they are no different from homosexuality. I was responding to you making the absurd claim that I was somehow lessening homosexuals as people. Instead, I was showing that homosexuality is viewed as a sin, but so are many other “norms” of society, so it doesn’t lessen anyone as a person.

        Last time I checked, I was a human being. My problem with Christianity is that it seems to want to deny that and replace NORMAL human desires with feelings for guilt for having those desires.

        Someone cut me off while driving today. I wanted to beat the person up. This desire is a normal human desire in the heat of the moment. I guess I should have.

        Just because something is a normal desire doesn’t mean it is necessarily a good thing. Desires are amoral; it’s the context and what we do with these desires that makes them count. Thus, I want to beat up a man who is hitting a child. The desire to beat the man up is a good one. I want to beat up the man who cut me in line at Target. That desire is wrong because it’s applied as an overreaction. When applied to sex, the desire to have sex is great. Acting on that desire, however, needs to take place within a certain context. Again, your whole, “You don’t like sex?” argument is a strawman argument. I never even came close to that, nor can you quote anything I said that even comes close to it. Rather, you’re attempting to stereotype me rather than deal with what I’m actually saying.

        I do not adopt nominalism my friend.

        But you do. When you say things like, “How can you say” and “Who put you in charge of defining this,” that’s nominalism. I don’t get to define anything. There is a form of marriage, established by God, that we are to follow. I didn’t make that up, that’s just how it is.

        And it is honestly my opinion that people who equate homosexuality to beastiality have NO place in intelligent conversation. Pretty sure a person who has sex (rapes) animals isn’t comparable to a normal, well adjusted 21-year old college student, with a loving family, who is looking for a legitimate loving relationship with another human being. That’s a deeply offensive comparison, and makes you seem highly ignorant.

        The only thing that’s offensive is your inability to (1) approach this subjection rationally and (2) actually understand and deal with what I’m saying, not making these massive leaps in your mind. I never said that homosexuality was like zoophilia. What I said is that if we adopted your idea of self-authentication via desires (especially within a nominalistic context) we then lose our right to condemn any actions, including the ones I mentioned. Further, we lose the right to the criteria of, “So long as it doesn’t harm anyone.” I was pointing out that your criteria of self-authentication via sexual acts (or any acts really) fails. I was not saying that homosexuality is like zoophilia.

        Please, if you’re going to have a discussion with me, you need to do a few things:

        1) Lose the emotionalism. You keep saying things like “unfair” and appealing to emotion. When discussing the truth of a proposition, I could care less about an emotional attachment to the subject. What I care about is truth.
        2) Stop the strawmen. So far you haven’t dealt with what I’ve said, you’ve only dealt with a stereotype of what I’ve said. You need to calm down before you reply and really read my response.
        3) Stop trying to make me look like I don’t know what I’m talking about. I do know what I’m talking about, very much so. The sooner you accept this, the quicker we’ll be able to find common ground.
        4) Brush up on metaphysics. I provided a link in my updated post. I suggest you read it.

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