NOTHING MORE THAN FEELINGS

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 | Uncategorized

Aside from the obvious fact that far too many of you are dumber than a box of 1979 Prayer Books as well as hardened bigots besides, why haven’t liberal Christian arguments ever gained any traction in the wider culture?  According to Peter Laarman, the reason liberal arguments consistently fail is that liberals keep making them:

When something moves us or provokes us, what do we do? We write a manifesto or a platform statement or a treatise.

We issue declarations. We ask people to sign our statement; join our remonstrance. 

And, just as massive rocks along the shore repel the pounding waves and reduce them to mere mist, our adversaries—especially our religious adversaries—pay not the slightest attention to our remonstrance or declaration, no matter how rock-solid our reasoning.

Of course the left is never going to stop arguing with the right, says Laarman, which is a bit of a shame since a far more effective expedient is at hand.

Every poll and every wise observer points out that gay-affirming folks have not been winning on account of superior arguments, whether arguments from the Bible or theology or science. They aren’t winning on account of their superior debating skills. They’re winning by being present and visible in faith communities: by coming out in ways that clergy and congregations can’t ignore. Gay people are winning because straight people who love and respect them are coming out right along with them.  

The classic instance is the faithful older church woman—a devoted and beloved member of the community—who, at just the right moment in a congregational meeting, stands up and says, “Well, friends, I guess we can argue about all of this until the cows come home. All I know is that ________, my ________, is as dear a child of God as I will ever hope to be.” She then goes on to tell the story of she found out about ________, how they stayed close, and how her heart was changed. Bingo. Are we ready for the vote? 

You’re an Episcopalian of a traditionalist bent and your parish, St. Gigantica’s, has had a great couple of years.  You see new faces there all the time, people that you’ve never had a chance to meet, let alone talk to.

One Sunday, you finally get a chance to shake hands with the new seminarian.  He’s just finishing up at Episcopal Divinity School and he’ll be coming on board as an assistant rector in the fall.

He’s warm, he’s friendly, he’s outgoing, he’s everything you think a Christian minister ought to be.  You know he’s deeply interested in your life and you think that he’ll be an outstanding addition to the staff.

But you’re curious about something.  “Going to seminary must cost a lot of money.”

“It sure does,” he replies, smiling that engaging smile of his.

“You went full-time, didn’t you?”

“Yup.”

“How in the world did you support yourself?”

“I produced sex tapes.  Still do, actually.  Fetish stuff, mostly.  Bondage, spanking, that kind of thing.  Some of my stuff has won awards and I sell them through my web site.  I make a ton of money and I tithe it too; I think that’s very important.”

Are you going to attend that guy’s ordination?

Next week, you run into a very good friend of yours who you haven’t seen in a while.  As you’re catching up, your friend tells you that he’s decided to put his name forward for St. Gigantica’s vestry. 

He’d be a great pick, you think.  Lord knows, he puts in enough time in the Food Pantry.  He single-handedly organizes the Habitat for Humanity trips.  His business is booming so you know he’s got the financial and organizational chops. 

“You remember Susan,” he tells you as his new and REALLY hot lawyer wife walks over, smiles sweetly and shakes your hand. 

He made a point of inviting you to the wedding, something almost no one at St. Gigantica’s ever does.  “Oh, yes, great to see you again,” you tell her.

Then two very attractive girls walk over who can’t be more than seventeen.  “And these two,” he tells you, “are my concubines, Susan and Dalia.”

Is that guy getting your vote?

Apples and oranges, Chris.  It’s who they are.

According to them.  I’ve never seen anything in the way of empirical evidence proving that and it’s irrelevant anyway.  The point is that if it’s okay with you that an unrepentant sinner remains in his or her sin simply because you think they’re nice people or you claim to “love” them, then in a way, they’re not the ones with the problem.

You are.  Because your religion is a nothing more than an emotion-driven sham.

26 Comments to NOTHING MORE THAN FEELINGS

Smurf Breath
June 21, 2011

They aren’t winning on account of their superior debating skills.

In a way they are. The orthodox are frequently blindsided and unaware of how to respond to the rhetorically loaded sophistry of the activists.

“God made them that way! He created the worlds and said ‘it is good’!”

“Who are you to judge? You’re a sinner too!”

“God is love! You must be loving!”

And the one Chris skewers here:

“They are people of faith! They love Jesus. They are wonderful people! That proves you can be Christian and gay!”

etc.

And people must be falling for it, since the same “arguments” are being used again and again, and the mainlines are falling like dominoes.

Their rhetoric must be stripped bare and shown to be the dishonest, fallacious reasoning that it is. And we must present the truth with equal force when these techniques are used by the activists to infiltrate the church.

Paula Loughlin
June 21, 2011

We are losing in the public square because the radicalists have Humpty Dumptyed the language to such a point that many words no longer have their plain meaning.

Gregg the obscure
June 21, 2011

If they would make the same arguments in favor of unrepentant arsonists – or better yet, Zionists or people who earnestly believe in capitalism – they’d have more credibility, but you know they’ll nver do that. The contemporary left is nothing more than naked hatred toward so-called fundamentalists.

Truth Unites... and Divides
June 21, 2011

“The classic instance is the faithful older church woman—a devoted and beloved member of the community—who, at just the right moment in a congregational meeting, stands up and says, “Well, friends, I guess we can argue about all of this until the cows come home. All I know is that ________, my ________, is as dear a child of God as I will ever hope to be.” She then goes on to tell the story of she found out about ________, how they stayed close, and how her heart was changed. Bingo. Are we ready for the vote?”

I dare anyone to say the following publicly to any “faithful older church woman” in a congregational meeting:

“The point is that if it’s okay with you that an unrepentant sinner remains in his or her sin simply because you think they’re nice people or you claim to “love” them, then in a way, they’re not the ones with the problem.

You are. Because your religion is a nothing more than an emotion-driven sham.”

I double-dog dare you!

Flambeaux
June 21, 2011

TUaD,
I have done so. The results weren’t pretty. I wasn’t on the Liturgy Committee in that Catholic parish very long after that. No great loss. I shook the dust off my feet and moved on.

Confessor
June 21, 2011

A truly “faithful older church woman” will be Biblically sound and stick to her guns like Annie Oakley with PMS!

Truth Unites... and Divides
June 21, 2011

“TUaD,
I have done so. The results weren’t pretty.”

Wow! Wow.

I totally respect you for doing that. It doesn’t surprise me that the results weren’t pretty.

“I wasn’t on the Liturgy Committee in that Catholic parish very long after that.”

No surprise there.

“No great loss. I shook the dust off my feet and moved on.”

Very wise.

God bless you!

ann r
June 21, 2011

The big problem is that we have sidelined the Bible. If you can’t use the Bible as authoritative, what do you have besides the yuck factor? The question we need to ask the “older church woman” is “Do you base your views on Scripture? What is sin? Did Jesus say “anything goes” or did he say “Go and sin no more.”?

Dave P.
June 21, 2011

Mark Shea has a very good article on what love really is:

http://www.crisismagazine.com/2011/love-is-not-feelings

Sibyl
June 21, 2011

This is one of your best ever posts, Christopher J.

T19 just posted the UMC trial of a SS partnered pastor for breaking the canons of the Church.

Any guesses as to the outcome, short and longterm?

sybil marshall
June 21, 2011

What our host is describing here is (to put one word on it) abandonment. That is very close (if not the same) as
leading little ones astray….to love is often to have to say No, and sometimes to say No! in Thunder…

ann r
June 22, 2011

I think our view of love has been corrupted by permissive parenthood. We have lost the concept that a loving parent can be authoritarian. Consequently, we don’t have a clear view of God. We have changed Him from a loving Father who sets limits, to a big daddy-o, easy going and asking very little of us, while we beat our feet in petty tantrums….

LaVallette
June 22, 2011

That however is how “progressive” social change laws are being made and changed in the community at large, “I know someone who is…….” and then the usual platitudes and exaggerations.

A law based on “exceptions” is bad law.

Even abortion law “reform”, was “sold” to the community at large on the basis of now discredited “invented” statistics about “the huge numbers of women dying at the hands of backyard abortionists, when the vast bulk of abortions were being conducted by rogue medical and nursing staff in sterile conditions in hospitals and surgeries which enabled them to make vast fortunes.

gppp
June 22, 2011

TUaD — I’ve done it, too, and I still get nasty looks from the lavender folks in the parish many years later. They’re not nice people.

Katherine
June 22, 2011

Their arguments are not, in fact, superior. That’s why they don’t work. Emotions are all they have, and they use that weapon very effectively among people whose real religion is “nice.”

Dale Matson
June 22, 2011

Gregg the obscure,
“The contemporary left is nothing more than naked hatred toward so-called fundamentalists.” A liberal individual on this site called my comments, “Tired fundamentalism”. What that person meant was they were tired of hearing my views.

Janjan
June 22, 2011

Most of those “faithful older churchwomen” are actually aging hippies (church womyn or even wimmin) these days, and the very much older churchwomen can’t really hear or see anymore……

Michael D
June 22, 2011

Well said, Chris. Very well said.

Time and niceness erode our moral treasures. That’s why we have a Book – it is not tainted by time and niceness.

st. anonymous
June 22, 2011

“And, just as massive rocks along the shore repel the pounding waves and reduce them to mere mist, our adversaries—especially our religious adversaries—pay not the slightest attention to our remonstrance or declaration, no matter how rock-solid our reasoning.”

Wait — I thought we were rocks and they were waves? Untangle that metaphor, buddy.

And btw, what did the Lord found his Church on — a rock or a wave?

goddessoftheclassroom
June 22, 2011

God is “logos”–the Word, thought, the root of logic. Satan from the beginning in Eden preyed on “feelings.” Basing actions on feelings when they contradict the Word cannot end well.

Truth Unites... and Divides
June 22, 2011

Me: “I dare anyone to say the following publicly to any “faithful older church woman” in a congregational meeting:

“The point is that if it’s okay with you that an unrepentant sinner remains in his or her sin simply because you think they’re nice people or you claim to “love” them, then in a way, they’re not the ones with the problem.

You are. Because your religion is a nothing more than an emotion-driven sham.”

Flambeaux: “TUaD, I have done so. The results weren’t pretty. I wasn’t on the Liturgy Committee in that Catholic parish very long after that. No great loss. I shook the dust off my feet and moved on.”

gppp: “TUaD — I’ve done it, too, and I still get nasty looks from the lavender folks in the parish many years later. They’re not nice people.”

————-

Both of you have impressed me with your bravado and courage. I totally respect what you have done and believe that you both knew there was going to be a social cost to you in contradicting the “faithful older church woman” publicly.

Q: If the situation presented itself again, would you still do the same thing as what you did before?

gppp
June 22, 2011

A: Yes, and probably more forcefully than I actually did.

BTW, I was on the vestry, and my wife was the treasurer, at the time.

ann r
June 22, 2011

Guilt trips can be turned the other way. I haven’t done it with SS marriage, but have with pro-life issues. Whenever the subject of fetal cell transplants came up, I would ask “and how do you feel about the prospect of all those little people giving up their entire lives so you can have a few more years of comfort?” People were of course shocked. How could I be so insensitive! However, since I was the support group leader, and nobody else wanted that job, they let it go. How to do that on same sex? How about: how do you feel about letting those people live a lie, living in a state of mortal sin?

Truth Unites... and Divides
June 22, 2011

“Guilt trips can be turned the other way.”

There was an earlier MCJ post about voters in Frisco voting on whether to ban male circumcision.

So consider this:

There are Libs who want to ban the severing of male newborn babies’ foreskin and yet who will heartily endorse the permissibility of severing the same babies’ heads just 5 minutes before.

Go figure.

Smurf Breath
June 22, 2011

How about: how do you feel about letting those people live a lie, living in a state of mortal sin?

Exactly. The activists want a self-righteous buzz, approval of homosexuals, or in the case of homosexual activists themselves, they want to force people to be accepting of their actions, and they value all of this over the real harm that it will do to the people with SSAs that buy into their lies.

They want to convince the person with SSAs that they must act on them, and that they are condemned to live their lives enslaved to this sin. They may never be free of their impulses, any more than a heterosexual man may be free of adulterous impulses, but they can still be set free from bondage to sin.

But from self serving motives, the activist wishes that the homosexual be defined by their impulses. They want to shout down and gag any who would preach the Good News to them.

Allen Lewis
June 22, 2011

I loved the bit about their “superior arguments.” In their dreams!

Of course, the writer/speaker (whatever) had tho throw in the old “Let’s just tell our Stories” technique, which is nothing more than relying on feelings over rational thought.

Same stuff, different day.

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