Comment Of The Day #3: “Back To The Bigoted Baker: It’s Complicated…More Than I Thought”

And now there are FOUR Comments of the Day on the post about the Great Cake Controversy. This is a record number for a single Ethics Alarms post. It is a true ethics conflict: which should have priority in a pluralistic society, the right of all citizens to be treated equally under the law, and to have the government ensure their right to the pursuit of happiness, or the individual right to act and live in concert with one’s sincerely held religious beliefs, and to not be forced into expressive speech, part of the right to liberty? This part of the controversy doesn’t even include the ethical question of whether either party should have allowed this to be come a legal dispute.

When I post the fourth COTD, with was a response to #3, I’ll include links to the other three and include a poll for readers to register their opinion regarding which comes closer to their own view

Here is Extradimensional Cephalopod’s  Comment of the Day on the post Back To The Bigoted Baker: It’s Complicated…More Than I Thought:

There’s an obvious question here (well, several) that occurs to me: What if I walked into the shop and asked for a wedding cake for no reason at all? Nobody’s getting married; I just want the cake. Is it against his religion to make that style of cake for anything other than weddings? Do I have to show him a marriage license? I’m an atheist; will he refuse to acknowledge my marriage because you can’t have marriage without a god? Does only the Christian deity count for a “real” marriage?

I would argue that the artistic quality of the cake has nothing to do with who is getting married, or if there’s even a marriage at all–at least, as far as religion is concerned. If I asked someone to draw me a picture of a bird, they don’t have to know anything about me in order to make it. Their art doesn’t have anything to do with me, and they are not expressing any objectionable ideas. They’re not endorsing me in any way by taking me on as a customer. Therefore, this isn’t like refusing to make a swastika cake. This is like refusing to sell a cake to Nazis. (Yes, Nazis should be able to buy cake like anyone else. Preventing them from doing so is just bullying, and won’t teach them anything except more hate. How will they learn how to appreciate different people if only other Nazis talk to them?)

Even if the cake was specially designed, the baker didn’t refuse to create art in support of a union he didn’t believe in; he refused to sell art because he didn’t like the event it would be used for. If it were another medium, I could possibly understand that, but cakes just get eaten and forgotten.

On a separate note, I assert that religion ultimately must be subordinate to the law of the land. Free exercise of one’s religion sounds nice, but a religion could believe literally anything, and their practices could be (and not infrequently are) intolerably unethical by any standard those here would consider reasonable. To recognize “freedom of religion” is just another way of saying, “you’re entitled to your opinion.” That doesn’t mean we allow people to break laws simply because they feel it’s not wrong. If we allow religious people to violate rules (other than culture-centered ones like dress codes) solely because of religion, it allows any person to use their belief that their crimes are mandated by a higher power as a legal defense. Where, exactly, does it stop?

 

26 Comments

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26 responses to “Comment Of The Day #3: “Back To The Bigoted Baker: It’s Complicated…More Than I Thought”

  1. Inquiring Mind

    The question, though, is which laws are supreme?
    The constitutional guarantees of free speech (including the right not to speak) and the “free exercise of religion” (note, NOT “freedom of worship”); or the statutory “public accommodations” laws that are being weaponized against disfavored viewpoints, specifically, that of the “Religious Right” that progressives have an undeniable animus against?

    • The law is supreme, otherwise religions that approve of slavery, child rape and worse would be able to do anything their Holy Book blessed. Mormons, you know. A religion can literally require or approve anything., so religions can’t have a blank check. The Founders were a bit tunnel-visioned on this topic.

  2. Michelle Klatt

    This debate seems to hinge around the primarily around the belief that God only endorses marriage between a man and a woman. Many Christians DO believe this. However, Christians also believe it is a sin to be gay, based on the Bible. Christians also believe God first, in all things.
    If being gay is a sin, and God is first, asking a baker to bake a cake for a gay wedding would absolutely violate their belief system. The government should not force an individual to disobey what they believe God commands. This does not mean they fundamentally hate gay people, or even object to a gay marriage. It means they don’t want to participate in any way in an event they feel is sinful.
    I was raised in a devout Christian family. I was taught that being gay is a sin, and that hating gay people is also a sin. As an adult, I have gay friends, and they are wonderful, warm, happy people. They don’t judge me for my sins, and I don’t judge them for theirs, whatever they may be. In a world of complete fairness, we’d be viewed by our merits, not by our religion or orientation. The world isn’t fair, and these days, being a Christian, conservative, white, straight, or male marks you for ridicule and justifies any amount of abuse, harrassment, and shame heaped upon you. I find myself admiring those who stand against the pressures to dismiss their faith or principles, especially when they do so with integrity.
    Christians should always uphold the law of the land, but those laws should never force them to abandon their faith or integrity. In this situation, a forced cake creates a spiritual conflict, making the baker choose between obeying God and breaking the law. For him, the right choice may very well mean breaking the law.

    • “The government should not force an individual to disobey what they believe God commands.”

      Humanity has many deities. It seems dangerous to allow people to do whatever they believe they must. There’s no dodging this issue. Separation of church and state cannot dismiss the irreconcilable conflicts between laws based on what people believe is right versus what other people believe is right based on their religion. We need to figure out what’s actually right, and most humans have very little experience with such things.

      “…those laws should never force them to abandon their faith or integrity.”

      I concur. People need to actually understand and critically think about their normative beliefs. Prohibiting beliefs by legal fiat is oppressive rather than enlightening.

      • True, my esteemed Polypus: humans have many deities. But in your case, and in the case of many people, to understand the Christian deity would involve you in an adventure of study that could remld your outlook.

        You might not concur with the conclusions of Christian theology, yet the only way to approach it would be to study it in some degree. In fact, some say, the real intellectual thinking of our own Occident is Medieval theological thinking. It is rigorous and demanding.

        The other aspect here is that Catholic (and thus Christian) thinking is quite connected with Platonic thought, and certainly Aristotelian thought if Aquinas is considered. The very fundamental categories of Occidental though are circumscribed, or undergirded by, Platonic and Aristotelian thinking. A Greco-Christian marriage.

        So if one is to speak of ‘the deity’ and what the deity says, and means. It actually extends well beyond the Bible, which is often seen as a restrictive and forbidding document. Christian thinking is vast, far-reaching, and extends into all the categories that you could name. See for example ‘The Oxford Dictionary of Christian Thought’. An amazing compendium really.

        If one is to speak of the Christian God and how it speaks and what it says, one would have to become tuned to a *voice* that comes from everywhere! From the Chruch Fathers, the Greek and early modern world, into Medieval poetry and epic, and on into later literature and philosophy and everything that composes our selves and our world.

        You would be quite hard-pressed to find any other deity, in any other cultural setting, that has ever articulated as much and had as much effect on ‘the world of ideas’ as the multifaceted Christian deity.

        You seem to say that Christian Europe did not really think things through and ‘received’ its conclusions. You are completely wrong. The amount of work and the many generations it required to construct the Occidental categories is almost unreal.

        It is you and people like you who have abandoned yourself to non-thinking, and to assume that the thinking you do really qualifies as such. I wish to suggest otherwise!

        • Chris

          Alizia: I’m so much more intellectual than all of you silly multiculturalists with your emotion-based arguments for racial integration

          Also Alizia: God speaks to me and that’s how I know I’m right

          • Well, the first is definitely true, but what is asserted is different from how you take it. I would say that now, in our present, there are people who are working hard to counter-define sets of ideas that can successfully confront the *multicultural* perspectives and the structure of ideas that supports it. One can access those idea by reading those who are working in those areas. I certainly feel that their arguments are more sound than the hyper-liberal emoted ‘arguments’. What I can say is that many people are looking into these questions, and many of them are beginning to define positions which counter-propose to that of multiculturalism (to use your catch-all term).

            I assume God speaks to all people, through their own perception-mechanism, their dreams, the signs and guidance they receive, but if I were to speak of being ‘right’ it would only be in the context of recognizing, and agreeing with, a powerfully constructed argument. I see Christianity as being, right now, in terrible disarray. A good deal of it looks like controlled madness. I could speak more about this if you wish. My view is that it has to be *recovered* and *reanimated* —- resurrected! I have read enough Nietzsche that my Catholicism will always be a little suspect. (And because I am a convert I have to say that I am a sort-of Christian, but doing the best I can with what I have). 😉

      • Michelle Klatt

        If the baker truly refuses to bake the cake because he believes to do so would be a sin against God, then he would believe the cost would be his soul. I think in order to really understand, you’d have to at a minimum believe in heaven and hell.
        What would he gain by refusing to bake the cake? Presumably he was already doing well in his business, he was specifically sought out by this couple. Based on other cases, he would have reason to believe refusing may not end well, and still, he said no. There is a certian courage in standing on a moral principle, even if it’s not a popular one.
        What I don’t understand is why the gay couple would want him to bake a cake after he refused. Am I the only person concerned about offending someone preparing food for me? I don’t want spit in my cake, or a spatula from someone’s armpit stirring the batter. I’m happy enough to take my business elsewhere.

        • That’s nuts, to be blunt. What if he decides driving under 90 endangers his soul? Too bad that he’s devised an irrational delusion that penalizes a third and fourth party and treats them as second class citizens to salve his soul: living in a society and a community doesn’t permit laws to be that flexible. Your right to practice your religion ends where it makes my society lousier to live in. I don’t want to have to keep a directory of which public accommodations don’t discriminate against bald guys. And that’s where this slippery slope leads.

          A God that condemns your soul for selling a cake to two human beings who just want to get on with their lives is asking to be disbelieved in.

          • Michelle Klatt

            I am in no way saying God would condemn his soul for baking a cake. He may believe this to be the case. I am concerned when the government steps in to force an action. Society wouldn’t be lousier if the couple had chosen another baker. Literally everyone would go about their business as usual.
            If he had chosen not to bake a cake for me because I’m blonde, I would get a cake elsewhere, and let all my friends know about the guy who doesn’t make cakes for blondes. I would not force a cake out of him, nor would I ask the government to intercede to get me that cake.

            • Society wouldn’t be lousier if the couple had chosen another baker. Literally everyone would go about their business as usual.

              Wrong. Society would be better if people would be kind to each other and apply the Golden Rule, and live and let live is a generally useful ethics rule as well. But a societal norm in which discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, political views and sexual orientation was just shrugged off with , “OK! I’ll go where I’m welcome a block, a mile, ten miles, 50 miles, the next county, the next state, another country aware.” It enables bigots and bullies, and endorse the ethics of Jim Crow.

  3. Bad Bob

    Well that explains a lot of your responses; our nation was founded on the Judeo/Christian ethic, which allows none of it. I would hazard guess most other religions don’t either. Christianity posits love your neighbor, do good to your enemies, neither Jew nor Gentile, etc, but at the same time points out activities which are prohibited.

    All of which has literally changed the world for the better. Because people lived according to their beliefs (“the free exercise thereof”).

    You seem to assume that only religious people disapprove of homosexuality, but it would not be unreasonable to assume there are many nonreligious who disapprove as well.

    “Those crazy Christians” do not constitute a critical mass of voters who in state after state voted to affirm marriage as man/woman, most strikingly so in very liberal California, where I would have bet my life that the proposition would fail by a landslide instead of squeaking out a win. Several other states voted overwhelmingly to support gay marriage.

    So “religion” per se is not a problem, and the issue would be no different if a critical mass of non-religious people were to assert some heinous thing was “ok” and vote it in. Where the beliefs are formed is protected, and the extension is free speech, also protected. It is expected that the marketplace of ideas will sort it out, and be put to a vote for a government of the people by the people. Which is why local communities are within their right to have Christmas decorations on public property. If one pin head is offended, he needs to move to a community where they don’t put up Christmas decorations. The system allows for “individuality”.

    A sense of judgement needs to enter the process, which occurred in history when the US told the Mormons, sorry, your polgammy won’t fly. But plenty of non-religious people commit harm and think it’s ok. NAMBLA, for instance (for those who don’t know, that’s the “National Man Boy Love Association” who asserted their right to “free speech” – are we seriously going to believe they don’t practice what they write about? See that young actor Cory something or other threatening to blow the lid off of Hollywood for same).

    The judgement here should be that the baker did not otherwise discriminate in any other way, and when he did it was in accordance with his beliefs, and he should have been respected.

    It’s a cake, not shelter, transportation, or basic food stuffs. The effect on the gay couple amounts to being offended that the baker didn’t think like they did.

    That the gay couple expects the baker to live in the closet is ironic.

    That the baker was forced by state law to violate federal law, no the 1st Amendment in the bill of rights, that strictly prohibits curtailing the free exercise of religion, is perverse.

    Finally, to write that “neither party should have let it go to court” (don’t know of it’s here or another post) is highly disingenuous or deceitful – one party alone is responsible for legal proceedings, the gay couple, and them alone.

    The court case is to compel conformity of opinion, thought, or action, nothing more.

    • You seem to assume that only religious people disapprove of homosexuality, but it would not be unreasonable to assume there are many nonreligious who disapprove as well.

      People can disapprove of anything they choose, and why is of no consequence. They just don’t have a right to interfere with the freedom of people to engage in lawful conduct they disapprove of, or to prejudice or harm them for doing so.

      • valkygrrl

        I very strong disapprove of any television show with Real Housewives in the name. I wouldn’t, first amendment aside, vote to make such shows unlawful. I would, if I owned a bakery, sell them whatever damned cake they wanted.

        Then I’d go watch something better on netflix.*

        *Three episodes in to The Crown season 2, so far not as good as season 1 but still a quite decent show.

      • Bad Bob

        Nobody kept them from the getting cake from somewhere else. Show me where no other bakers would bake them a cake.
        Show me where the baker interfered with their right to go somewhere else.

        Then I’d agree with you.

        • So a pharmacy can reject your effort to get medicine for your kid because they want all Jews dead, and it’s OK as long as you can go somewhere else? Do you comprehend what a public accommodation is? Equal protection? Basic rights?

    • “Well that explains a lot of your responses; our nation was founded on the Judeo/Christian ethic, which allows none of it.”

      Could you please elaborate on this ethic? What doesn’t it allow?

      “You seem to assume that only religious people disapprove of homosexuality, but it would not be unreasonable to assume there are many nonreligious who disapprove as well.”

      I assume no such thing. You’re right that nonreligious people could vote for a terrible policy. I call out religion because it’s the most blatant “get out of critically examining your beliefs free” card that humans have concocted.
      I suspect the only reason it’s not a “get out of obeying the law free” card in conjunction with the First Amendment is because most people dismiss such defenses on an ad hoc basis as being “silly”. Other people have to babble something involving a faulty and bias-addled understanding of biology or sociology. Religious people can jump straight to “deeply-held beliefs” that are only “deep” because they were taught them by authority figures at an impressionable age.

      “A sense of judgement needs to enter the process, which occurred in history when the US told the Mormons, sorry, your polygamy won’t fly.”

      I reverse-engineered that sentence (which to me seems like a vague hand-wave) into a rational reason that “free exercise of religion” can’t be applied to Mormon polygamy. I came up with, “marriage licenses are issued by the government, so the government decides the definition of marriage is that it’s restricted to two people, which does not discriminate based on sex, race, or religion.” However, I’m curious as to what “sense of judgment” you yourself used to draw the line there.

      “The judgement here should be that the baker did not otherwise discriminate in any other way, and when he did it was in accordance with his beliefs, and he should have been respected.”

      I will relay this news to the followers of the Nazi god, who do not discriminate except in accordance with their belief in the superiority of their ethnic group. They are certain to be just as pleased as I am dismayed. (The Nazi god is just like the regular Christian god, but interpreted so as to vindicate an Aryan supremacy agenda.)

      I agree that saying “neither party should have let it go to court” is dodging the issue. You’re right: only one party was bringing the court into the matter in the first place.

      • Bad Bob

        If I have history correct, the US would not grant Utah statehood without outlawing polygamy. And it was never again practiced….

        I’m sure the same argument was had for the same reason (i.e. exercise of faith).

        The argument holds from a point of law, but polygamy is not prescribed in the bible.

        As to the Christian ethic, it is the genesis of the US, they weren’t atheists offended by Christmas displays throughout the mother country. The education system I believe is generally thought to have started so that everyone could read the bible for themselves. Whether all that can lead to a great country is still up for debate.

        As a system of thinking, it would work fine, I suppose, but to use it in that way would lead to frustration. The Christian life cannot be lived apart from the spirit of God. You can try, alright, I wouldn’t recommend it (btdt, ef).

        And there are many crackpots, profession of faith is only one way to look at it, their fruits are another. We all struggle, we all sin, and why God judges the heart, and the rest of us are fruit inspectors.

        That said, where the spirit convicts, many will say something is wrong without being able to articulate why. Further examination on their part could produce reasons such as found here, given time. God said, let us reason together, so certainly He doesn’t discourage learning (New England’s First Fruits” the original mission of Harvard, so said the plaque on the wall 15 years ago, long removed now, I’m sure). But again, one cannot live the full Christian life apart from the spirit.

        If you think its easy to live as a Christian because you don’t have to think, well, I won’t change your mind, but consider the standard is perfection, and if you ever think you’ve arrived, forget it. We are to be Christ like, and as the pastor says, not happening this side of heaven. Yet Christ, after being mocked by the thieves on the cross, told the one who asked that he’d be saved. After being tortured and mocked, I think I can safely say I’d have said “you had your chance”.

        The baker felt he would dishonor the image of Christ and his bride the church by giving place to something proscribed in the bible. How many here would support the baker if he refused a man and woman an anniversary cake where the couple walked in and said “this is our five year anniversary, and my wife still hasn’t figured out I’ve been cheating on her with this little rose!”

        The baker views the actions as one in the same. From what we gather he otherwise sold to gay and straight alike.

    • Chris

      That the baker was forced by state law to violate federal law, no the 1st Amendment in the bill of rights, that strictly prohibits curtailing the free exercise of religion, is perverse.

      There are many stupid sentences in your comment, but this one, pardon the pun, takes the cake. In no way was the baker forced by state law to violate federal law by being required to bake the cake or face a penalty. One cannot violate one’s own first amendment right. Your understanding of the law is embarrassingly bad.

  4. I think I might have some insight, EC, that could help you to better understand the mindframe of the Christian baker.

    My perspective is that I have chosen to take up the practice of Catholicism, but the old-school Catholicism of the pre-Vatican ll variety: original Catholicism it might be called. In contrast to the post-Vatican interpretation of Catholicism. They are, in many senses, different religions. I assume that most people know very little about any of this, nor do they understand Catholicsm, and therefor (I assert) they cannot really understand Europe nor Europe’s history. And without a grasp of Christianity’s role in the formation of Europe, they would be hard-pressed to understand the development of the ethical systems and the moral basis of European culture.

    In order to understand Christianity, one would have to have devoted time to studying St Paul, Clement, Ignatius and the ‘Early Church Fathers’. And one would have to understand the contrast, and the struggle as it were, between Christian (Catholic) religious philosophy in the formation of Europe, and the conflict with European pagansim. I can attest to the fact that the more that one studies, the more one understands, and the more one understands, the more one is able to see that ‘Christian categories’ are inextricably interwoven with Occidental thought. But more than that: with a whole manner of being. I have gotten the clearest information about all of this through Christopher Dawson, for example in ‘The Making of Europe’ which is a highly respected title.

    In the post-Sixties world – and this is obviously the world that informed your thinking – people have become nearly entirely disconnected from their own context, their own history, and the evolution of ideas, of worldview and how the Occidental ‘world-picture’ was formed (to use the term that EMW Tillyard uses in much of his writing). Because I have interacted with you previously I have, to some degree at least, been able to get a glimpse into how you thing, and what you think about. You represent, therefor, a sort of ‘alien’ that has landed on a planet to which he has no relationship. He cannot understand it and all its categories and mores make no sense to him. You could become the object of a sort of postmodern study of what has happened (or what is happening) within Occidental thinking. But it would be (if I were to write it!) an unpretty essay. Effectively, you understand next to nothing of the Occident. You do not want to. I have observed over the course of some years now a general trend: a falling away from a necessary interest in and involvement in ‘Occidental categories’. I do indeed refer to it, and understand it to bem a disease of the present, and an intellectual disease (if you will permit the unflattering term). But at the same time I cannot hold you completely responsible. You are, as we all are, the effect of causes that are independent of our own wills.

    Because I understand the inner content of Catholic thinking, which is a system of thinking and perception based on a specific ‘world-picture’, and that this world-picture forms the inner core of 1500 years of Occidental identity (in the sense of ‘construction-of-self’), and because it entails a grasp of a specific metaphysics, it is not hard for me to understand why a Christian and a Catholic will not favor a union between two men or two women, but also why unfettered sexual expression is problematic. To undersatand why this is you would have to understand Christianity’s opposition to, say, Roman sexual excesses and that of the pagan world generally. The notion of purity of the body, when one’s body merges metaphysically with the greater Body of Christ, is quite fundamental to Christian thinking and social ethics. In short, homosexual sexuality (sodomy to put it concretely) is sinful because it is unproductive. Sodomy and usery are seen as similar sins, strangely enough. And the ideas that support this view are not shallow though they would, certainly, be foreign to your conceptions. Since marriage is one of the Seven Sacraments, and since ‘sacrament’ connotes something sacred, and since when the religion is practiced in its fullness one takes every element of it seriously and meaningfully, it should at least be slightly understandable that the notion of two men marrying, or two women, is ‘metaphysically unsound’ on one hand but an affront before the Creator. (The seven are: baptism, eucharistic communion, confirmation, confession, attending to the sick and dying, matrimony, taking holy orders).

    If you were to read, for example, Catholic prayes or to read a Missel or a Breviary, you would quickly understand how important ‘purity’ is, and specficially sexual purity. Once you have grasped the ‘belief system’ and its tenets, you would then have little trouble understanding why general sexual perversity, pornography, and acute disorder within the system of the body when understood through a Thomistic lens, is so troubling to the Christian mind. But you would have to understand that the notion of sexual purity applies even within heterosexual sex. Because sex is an aspect of matrimony, and matrimony circumscribes family life, and familiy life is the core of Christian life, it is not hard – even for an octopus! – to grasp why homosexual union, and certainly homosexual matrimony, simply do not function so well conceptually.

    Again, the more that one understands, the more this becomes clear and coherent. There is no doubt that something very similar functions in Buddhist thought when Buddhist thought is understood in the Hindu-context. Tibetan Buddhist for example have all sorts of oppositions to homosexuality. And for similar reasons though their metaphysics are much more complex.

    In order to understand at least one aspect of the chaos of our present, one must (I say) grasp that we exist in a falling-away state as it pertains to a grasp of Christian metaphysics. This has been going on for a number of hundreds of years. The further away from it we move, the less the inner content of it makes any sense to us and the more we see it as ‘unnecessary and unwanted restrictiveness’. It requires curtailing of obvious licence, yet we do not want to give that up, or put another way we are not convinced it is necessary or has a defensible value for us.

    The Christian baker may or may not understand much of this – at an intellectual level. But what he understands is that ‘the world’ is making demands on him that affront his sense of ‘metaphysical right’. Maybe this is the one area he can make some sort of stand, given that he and many Christians definely begin to understand that ‘the culture’ is overswamping the entire value-set which they understand to represent Value. To understand what is going on within that culture see ‘The Benedict Option’. Christianity has been a part, and is still now a part, of Occidental culture and destiny. There have been ups and there have been downs. But Christianity has perservered and in its perserverence Europe came to exist. If you understand this, you will understand that though the immediate battle may be lost the final battles, as it were, are yet to be settled.

    I stand with absolute conservatism in concept and with a recognition of the necessity of a recovery, in the most substantial and absolute terms, of the ideas that underlie the Christian revelation. That is, the metaphysics. And that is why I make the effort to understand the rather complex ins-and-outs of these issues.

    • That’s the most coherent piece I’ve read of yours. I appreciate the explanation.

      I do feel you are underestimating how much I understand about Christianity. Furthermore, like many Christians, you seem to think that if I were only to know more about the details of the beliefs, I’d somehow realize that the fundamental basis from which those beliefs are derived is not flawed after all. I’ll buy that Christianity is deeply tied into Western thought, but that doesn’t mean that I think it is a sound belief structure.

      However, I agree that knowing more details does help with understanding the utility that religion provides, and therefore it helps with designing a healthy society that doesn’t need religion as it exists today.

      One question I have is this: Even assuming that “impure” or unproductive activities are somehow metaphysically wrong, what are the negative consequences (preferably in terms of human experience) of practicing them anyway? Who suffers from them? In what way do they suffer? Would they notice if nobody told them? I have my own definition of sin and its perils, but I don’t think it’s the same as yours.

      The fundamental difference between our belief systems seems to be that you think that human existence has an inherent purpose, though I’m not entirely sure what you think it is.

    • Chris

      In short, homosexual sexuality (sodomy to put it concretely) is sinful because it is unproductive

      This sounds perfectly logical, until you remember that some heterosexuals can’t produce children.

      Heterosexual sex within a marriage where one or both partners is incapable of having children is also “unproductive,” yet no Christian has ever argued that these people should not be married, or that they should not be allowed to have sex within that marriage.

      No appeal to metaphysics has ever been enough to resolve this fundamental contradiction in the Christian argument against same-sex love and marriage. It cannot be resolved, because it is a fundamentally illogical position. It is based purely on emotion, specifically disgust, and the procreation argument is a post-hoc rationalization designed to mask your bigotry.

  5. EC writes: “I do feel you are underestimating how much I understand about Christianity. Furthermore, like many Christians, you seem to think that if I were only to know more about the details of the beliefs, I’d somehow realize that the fundamental basis from which those beliefs are derived is not flawed after all. I’ll buy that Christianity is deeply tied into Western thought, but that doesn’t mean that I think it is a sound belief structure.”

    I am less interested in convincing you or anyone else of anything than I am in succeeding in clarifying and making visible why it is that we are now in a more advanced phase of degeneration and that in this and in many, many different areas we move toward Balkanization. Because I am interested in metaphysics, and because I believe that one must understand metaphysics to be able to understand what is going on in our present, I keep returning to this stated position.

    Since I do imagine it possible – yes this is true – that reason and Logos stand behind the Christian revelation, and not unreason nor alogic, it is true that I believe that with better presentation you and any other person might become if not convinced at least more open to a sound argument. I notice that you assume that you stand within a superior ground and upon a more coherent logic. Without wishing to openly contradict you I would only suggest that it is possible that your position – the one supporting atheism for example and other derivative conclusions from your perspective – could well and perhaps even easily be challenged and ‘reduced to absurdity’. But with that, even that, I would push you and you’d be pushed into certain dimensions of The Culture Wars: a battle between competing metaphysics. To understand that battle in its philosophical dimension is my area of interest and it is shared by people like Basil Willey, WMW Tillyard, FM Cornford and many many other people who are concerned with ideas and the impact of degeneration in the capacity to think rationally. Or in the more generous spirit notice what informs the opposing systems of view.

    My stated purpose is, as I have always said, to define the movement that will, over time, restore Europe. I am hardly concerned about a lone baker in Colorado and his epipoya. I prefer to notice the *vast shifts* in ideation that produce the major and minor conflicts of our present, and I prefer, within myself, to completely and fundamentally open myself to the restructing that I believe is required for Europe to restore itself and to survive. This will happen when and if Europeans make the choice to engage in the restoration of powerful and molding ideas.

    Thus, I would hope that *you* (a grand plural ‘you’) see the necessity of beginning such a work, and begin to recognize what stands opposed to that work. In the case of America this is particularly relevant and poignant. You are a coopted, indoctrinated, confused and manipulated people and you require a tremendous *clarification* and *purification*. This is why I say that I do not blame you, or anyone, nor myself for the destructive ideas that live in us. But we do have the responsibility to sober up and face the music, as it were. I came to this ethics blog, and I regard ethics and morality as crucial and profoundly relevant. And I have made it the opject of my interest and focus to take it to the farthest point. What I am alluding to here in my critique requires a great deal of explanation. This takes time. The Alternative Right and the Radical Right – at a philosophical level – struggles to arrive at definitions that are capable of confronting the absurd, twisted and twisting (distorting) maze of lies and errors that are purveyed through the ‘medium where the message is ensconsed’. This is rational work, Polypus, and yes I imagine that you can be influenced.

    However, I agree that knowing more details does help with understanding the utility that religion provides, and therefore it helps with designing a healthy society that doesn’t need religion as it exists today.

    What you have just said is evidence of pure ignorance! Religion is a living thing. It is existential in the sense that our religion is our ‘world-picture’ and if it happens that a person writes out their world-picture and really attempts to describe ‘where they are’ and how they arrived there, and then all that is required and necessary for existing and living within that *locale*, they would describe their ‘religion’. We have to define a religious position, don’t you see? Our life is our worship and our sacrifice. To understand this better I refer yo to Waldo Frank in ‘The Rediscovery of America’ (1929), Chapter ll ‘The Sense of the Whole’:

    ‘Wholeness is no mere desired goal; it is the origin and the end of all our creative being. Wholeness one in life as in letter, with holiness and health [the root of these words being the Anglo-Saxon ‘hal’]. Wholeness must be both personal and social, in order to be either. Individual man cannot achieve his health unless he live, consciously, within a Whole that holds all life’.

    One question I have is this: Even assuming that “impure” or unproductive activities are somehow metaphysically wrong, what are the negative consequences (preferably in terms of human experience) of practicing them anyway? Who suffers from them? In what way do they suffer? Would they notice if nobody told them? I have my own definition of sin and its perils, but I don’t think it’s the same as yours.

    I attempted to say that bizarre sexuality (since this is one small aspect of what is being talked about) and the waste of human energy into sexual obsession and perversion must be seen, and indeed has been seen by all the wise as being an improper and sinful use of human energy and consciousness. This is a rational statement borne of clear-headed observation. Thus, I attempt to influence you to follow logos and to give your assent. I work from an unpleasant image to make my point: the depositing of man’s life-seed into the rectum of another man, within a metaphysical system where Wholeness as mentioned above is alluded to, is metaphysically improper and is easily recognized as such by any sensible person. You ask Who or What suffers the consequences? First of all there is a breaking of the metaphysical principle, which is by its nature invisible. You leikely do not appreciate or believe in metaphysics or supernaturalism so this is non-ntelligible to you. But the act itself —- any profound sin really —- has metaphysical dimension and weight. Just as for example desacration of a temple or a sacred space can occur (thought you do not recognize it), I suggest that you could approach understandingt through the metaphor alone.

    When it comes to the effect of physical, lived acts of sin, and the consequences of it in a person’s life, are you really so dense that you cannot see this? I know you are not.

    The fundamental difference between our belief systems seems to be that you think that human existence has an inherent purpose, though I’m not entirely sure what you think it is.

    I would rather state that my beloved Europe has constructed itself, and brought into manifestation all categories of value that we still hold to and that still influence us, unless we are really fully dead! because it held to the understanding of human purpose, the existence of the soul, and understood life as a project of meaning.

    If you further engage with me here —- that is, if you come more into contact with Logis —- you will further entrench yourself in the irreason that is basic to your position: willed, chosen nescience!

    The revitalization of Occidental man and of *Europe* depends on a spiritual revolution. We have to turn against nescience.

    • Chris

      You ask Who or What suffers the consequences? First of all there is a breaking of the metaphysical principle, which is by its nature invisible. You leikely do not appreciate or believe in metaphysics or supernaturalism so this is non-ntelligible to you. But the act itself —- any profound sin really —- has metaphysical dimension and weight. Just as for example desacration of a temple or a sacred space can occur (thought you do not recognize it), I suggest that you could approach understandingt through the metaphor alone.

      You cannot simultaneously pretend to base your arguments on some higher form of logic that the rest of us peons can’t hope to understand because we are illogical emotional creatures, AND admit that your entire argument boils down to an appeal to an invisible form of magic.

      Well, you can, but no one here is going to take you seriously.

      • Higher forms of logic are definitely present in theological thinking, for instance especially Thomistic thought, and it is thought that is indelibly grounded in the supernaturalism and the metaphysics that I attempt to speak about, well or badly. I think this is what you mean when you speak of ‘invisible forms of magic’?

        There is more to be gained, it seems to me, by acknowledging that you do not believe in, and for that reason cannot or will not understand, what is being talked about and referred to. That is completely understandable in my opinion. You are definitely not alone. But that is one aspect of my larger point: how we (as in the giant plural *we*) have fallen away from ways and means of understanding one another, and in such a situation enmity and conflict show themselves.

        The inability to understand, which is moreover an incapacity to arrive at basic agreements on essential things, is one reason why chaos and confusion begin to show themselves in our present. I suggest that the US is in a process of disintegration and the principle reason(s) can be found in divergence of basic informing ideas.

        I also think that you fail to understand that any large, encompassing system of belief of the sort that could produce ethics and a moral system, will always hinge into metaphysics. It requires some level of metaphysical vision (a vista from outside and above) even for the pure materialist so-called to envision the world.

        I embrace Greco-Christian metaphysics, and all the categories that derive from them because, on one hand, they are essential to the Occident and withou then, effectively, the Occident crumbles and dissolves. And I am noticing essntially this when I point out that the integrity of the US is beginning to come undone.

        I do not think you and at least some others here (certainly not all) have a way to envision things that is encompassing enough. So, you watch the discreet events as they pass before your (limited) vision in a way comparable to the Platonic Cave. You see the event right in front of you but you cannot connect it to larger processes. And in a significant sense, and to some degree at least, those ‘larger circumstances’ are non-physical insofar as they have to do with Idea. The idea-realm is some part of the metaphysical realm. If all of that is ‘forms of magic’, well, so it is.

        I consider (what you mean by) peon to be something that must be taken into profound consideration. And it is also especially important to understand the American peon if you will permit me to speak so boldly (it does not win friends I have noticed). The great bulk of America is composed of high-functioning, rather powerful and over-empowered ‘peons’: peasants essentially with little skill to really and significantly intrepret the reality that has them in its grip.

        But I would not say that I am outside of peonage in this sense. I base this on a sense of the existence of veritable hierarchies of understanding. We turn to those who have dedicated their lives to gaining knowledge and organizing it in presentable form. These are our ‘superior men’. My own viewpoint is that some of the best and brightest are those who articulate the higher metaphysics (theology). It is, really, a form of Occidental gnosis. Starting with Plato! Unintelligible to ‘peons’ they need not concern themselves, and they don’t. And yet they are given power to insert themselves into the public sphere where they do harm, speaking in general.

        I try to talk to you as I would anyone else, in the belief that someday, somehow, you will succeed in understanding some small part of it. Greater miracles than this have been known to occur! (And pretention is part of my shtick).

  6. Well done and congratulations!

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