I find it perplexing what issues have a slant between the religious and the non-religious. Here on AN, there are many issues that people feel their atheism informs -- gay rights, stem cell research, abortion, gender rights, bacon-eating, etc. Conversely, there are many stances that are identified as almost exclusively as having religious motives -- Creationism, to name one

Yet, when it comes to religious prohibitions/taboos that can inform these political ideas, I can't fathom why some are favored over others. I understand the historical precendences -- Christians haven't worried about bacon and pork products for a long time. What I don't understand is things that didn't need to be issues that quickly became issues. I have gay rights in mind here as well as freedom of speech. Why is the prohibition on shellfish in the Bible so ignored while the passage about "lying with another man" so important? I've given up on the idea that religious people actually read their sacred texts, so what is it that makes one topic, movement, or idea so controversial and another a non-issue, especially in the modern era? Why is one thing so militantly resisted while another thing dies a quick, quiet death?

Is it purely a matter of what one charismatic jerk decided was abominable and convinced everyone else with passages in sacred text justified his/her particular phobia? Or is it a combination of factors, political and social?

Obviously, these are sweeping generalizations. Differing viewpoints on a particular issue within a religious tradition is part of the reason there are so many denominations. I admit here that there is most certainly a gradiant, but why is something an issue in the first place? How much of it actually has to do with what is written in sacred texts?

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Because cherry-picked biblical prescriptions come in handy to justify cultural prejudices and habits, while at the same time it's easy to turn a blind eye to contradictions when it comes to consensual and well-established mores (Europeans and pork, God and capitalism, etc.)

Good Christians like to claim that God and the Bible are the only sources for objective morality, but because of the above, they offer the most obvious display of relativistic morals in the world today. I'm not sure whether it's funny or not.
But don't we get into a bit of a chicken-and-egg dilemma...

It doesn't have to be a dilemma. I'd say it's more like a coevolutive phenomenon (think flowers and bees instead of eggs and chickens.) I think culture and religion constantly influence each other, and yes, I also think that sometimes religion (or a specific religion) is more the victim, as you put it, than the instigator. FGM in Africa is an interesting example: it predates Islam by millenia, yet some of its practitioners today claim it's an Islamic practice.

But when it comes to something like gay rights I can't see any secular or cultural reason to take issue with it.

True. And that's probably due to the fact that homosexuality never was widely consensual, or a significant cultural trait, in those areas where Christianity blossomed. I'd hazard a guess that religion gets its revenge on culture by influencing it on the fringes, i.e., in matters that are of no real importance to common people. Until recently, homosexuality was a privilege of the elite (when it was tolerated at all.)

Hmmm, 'the government' and 'this nation' you talk about are obviously not mine, and since I'm not well aware of their marital policies, I'd better stop here ;-)
My observation would be because being gay isn't biologically correct. I know atheists who are very homophobic. Just seeing something that is adverse or perverse, they cringe or shy away from accepting it because they see the bad side of it (the parades, leather daddies, public sex etc, but that's another topic altogether.) To be fair these people are not open to straight displays of public sex or sexuality. Close-mindedness isn't just reserved for the indoctrinated.
First off let me say that I am in no way against homosexuality.

with that being said ill be a bit more graphic to illustrate what I mean by "biologically correct"

The penis is made to insert into the vagina and shoot sperm into the woman to create offspring and excrete urine waste. It serves no other function.

The anus functions as a waste removal system for our body, that's it.

The sexual acts that 2 men and 2 women can perform on the same sex do feel good. The pleasure aspect is not what i mean by "biological" but, the biological purpose of an anus isn't sexual, it's waste removal.

It's the same with Oral sex, The mouth has no biological purpose to be used on a vagina or a penis (in humans, im aware that other species clean themselves with their mouths, but humans do not.). I love a good blow job, but, some people find it disgusting, not because it's "gay" or "lesbian" but because you urinate and defecate from those parts of your body.

Sure, we could debate your points on "correct" etc, still doesn't mean I'm going to put my mouth or my dick anywhere near my girlfriends ass, because i find it repulsive and unclean. For some reason though, I have no problem going down on her.

MY sex in public comment had everything to do with people's perceptions of sexuality and there personal space. Again, I have no problems with homosexuality at all, that does NOT mean i want to see guys making out on the streets, Same goes with a guy and a girl, or two girls. Not everyone WANTS to see that. Kind of like a pushy christian trying to convert everyone he or she meets on the street corner. The WORST way to gain support and tolerance is to FORCE people to watch you do the things they are against.

If I am hard to understand I apologize i am typing this on the run :)
I think restricting oneself to biological plumbing ignores major components of human sexuality. Jared Diamond's Why Is Sex Fun? looks at some other things that are, indeed, evolutionarily important. If science has taught us nothing else, it is that most things exist along a continuum. "Normal" is meaningful only in the statistical sense, not any moral, ethical, or psychological sense.

Yes, there are norms in those areas, too, but they are not exclusively driven by biology. Deriving an "ought" from an "is" is just as tricky in biology as it is in philosophy.
There's something about sex that makes everything a bigger deal. Whether the purpose or not is certainly debatable, however, it is the "reason" we're alive.

Actually, you and I were born from exactly the same reason. o_o

Anywho, being raised in the same shithole, instigating the Mormon populous with our profound knowledge of the "outside world", we can see a bit differently. Because we are awesome and free of fault. Our former faith looks down on a lot of stupid things, like tea and cute underwear. But have you noticed that the majority of our restrictions are sexually linked-- whether gender based or fornication based or underwear based, and that it's easy to separate (and thus condemn) sex from everything else? It's so emotionally, mentally, and obviously physically based that people are vulnerable to be swayed through of it. Here at least, bikinis are definitely not the norm. Gays are not accepted. Women and men are essentially different species... (With the ability to procreate, which admitted does not make sense, but that's what feminism is for, yeah?)

Cognitive bias definitely exists here but as for how it got started and what is feeding what I'm not entirely sure. Sure, obviously a lot of people make a decision, and then justify it through tools such as religion. But what swayed that decision to begin with? Society did. And where did society get it? I have no idea. I can't imagine a 2-year-old child, without former bias, having and natural negative reaction to two men holding hands. Children learn from others.

You hurt my brain, big sister...
I thought that was the definition of adultery, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on that.
Jean Jacques Momdjian: I thought that [sex outside of marriage] was the definition of adultery

Nope, that's the definition of fornication. I can't remember whether or not the Bible explicitely condemns fornication in general (although it at least condemns fornication with non-Hebrews in some places, like Egyptians - if memory serves), but I know there's a verse in one of the 'Corinthians' epistles that says men should marry women to "avoid fornication."
Wasn't that part about avoiding fornication in old marriage ceremonies? Or at least something about avoiding sin, or what-have-you?

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