Convincing Christianity
    Ministry Update www.comereason.org Jan/Feb 2004

 

  

This is a newsletter feature of Come Reason Ministries and the "Come Let Us Reason Together..." web site. For more apologetics articles, log on to http://www.comereason.org/ 
 

Site Features

  • Added! Understanding Christian Apologetics
  • Did the Father Turn Away From the Son?

Ministry Report

  • Come Reason Audio Section Now Online
  • Dare to Defend Conference CDs Now Available!

Feature Article 

  • The Argument Against Homosexual Marriage - Part 1

 

 

         New Site Features

Understanding Christian Apologetics

Come Reason is an apologetics ministry, but what exactly does this mean and why do we worry about it? Here, Lenny explains what apologetics is, how to do it, and why every Christian is commanded to be an apologist.
http://www.comereason.org/cmp_rlgn/apologetics.asp

 


Did the Father Turn Away From the Son?

In many sermons we here that God the Father was separated from the Son for a time at the Cross because of the sin of the world. Just how far does this "separation" go and is it Biblical at all? Read on for a surprising answer.
http://www.comereason.org/theo_issues/theo035.asp

 

         Ministry News

Come Reason Audio Section Now Online

Recently, Lenny was featured on Los Angeles radio answering several meaty apologetics questions that Christians regularly face. Now, with our new Audio Resources section, you can hear the answers right from your computer.

Just go to http://www.comereason.org/resources/res040.asp to listen to answers on issues such as an infinitely old universe, evolution, moral relativism in schools, and more. All clips are available in both Windows Media or Real Media format.

Dare to Defend Conference CDs Now Available!

Our last Dare to Defend Apologetics Conference featured some of the best-regarded apologetics experts in America. Topics included:

  • Defending Your Faith Against Opposing Beliefs
  • Defending Your Faith Against Evolution
  •  Defending Your Faith Against Moral Relativism
  • Defending Your Faith Against The Skeptic
  • Two Question and Answer Sessions

Now, you can own these lectures on Audio CD. Just visit the Come Reason Store-section and select the topic that interests you, or you can grab the entire series. 

Log onto http://www.comereason.org/resources/res030.asp for more details.

 

 

          Feature Article


The Argument Against Homosexual Marriage - Part 1

There seem to be specific times in history where certain issues define the cultural tensions in a society. They become representative of larger worldviews and clearly emphasize the battle between divergent moral and spiritual perspectives. Homosexual marriage in the United States is one of those issues.

Although in the past five years there have been various threats and debates about the possibility of legalizing homosexual unions, the issue took center stage in February largely because of San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom, who willfully violated California state law ordering marriage licenses to be made available to homosexual couples. Newsom claims he is "engaging in what I think is an appropriate act" in order to remove discrimination from a group simply based on their sexual orientation.(1) However, Newsom is wrong. Marriage must be restricted to a union between a man and a woman only. That's not a discriminatory position, but the only sane position anyone who examines that arguments can hold.

I'd like to take the next two newsletters to examine the concept of homosexual marriage from five different perspectives. We'll start this issue with the cultural and linguistic aspects of marriage and how it is impossible for homosexual couples to be considered married. Next time, well look at the political, moral and behavioral arguments to demonstrate why redefining marriage to include homosexuality is absurd.

1. The Cultural Argument Against Homosexual Marriage

Our first argument against the concept of homosexual marriage comes from a cultural perspective. Many same-sex marriage advocates argue that marriage is simply a legal function of a specific country(2) and that if you were to change the laws of that country homosexual marriage would be a reality. However, this is a woefully simplistic view of both society and the law.

Many opponents of same-sex marriage have made the statement that "marriage is the building block of society" but it's important to understand just what this means. the first communal unit in human history was the family. Families grew into tribes, tribes grew to communities, and communities grew to cities, states and nations. But the core relational unit that binds all these relationships together is the family.(3)

But more important than the genesis of our modern civilization, marriage is at the basis of continuing our civilization. Paul Nathanson, a sociologist, a scholar, and a homosexual writes that there are at least five functions that marriage serves--things that every culture must do in order to survive and thrive. They are:

  • Foster the bonding between men and women
  • Foster the birth and rearing of children
  • Foster the bonding between men and children
  • Foster some form of healthy masculine identity
  • Foster the transformation of adolescents into sexually responsible adults (4)

Note that Nathanson considers these points critical to the continued survival of any culture. He continues "Because heterosexuality is directly related to both reproduction and survival, ... every human societ[y] has had to promote it actively . ... Heterosexuality is always fostered by a cultural norm" that limits marriage to unions of men and women. He adds that people "are wrong in assuming that any society can do without it." (5) 

Nathanson has partnered with fellow Canadian scholar Katherine K. Young to author "Marriage a la mode: Answering the Advocates of Gay Marriage." There, Young and Nathanson put forth an excellent case why heterosexual marriage needs to be not only protected but encouraged by society in order for the society to survive. They state, "Although no particular culture is genetically encoded, the ability and need to create culture is genetically encoded. We are equipped and even driven by nature, paradoxically, to be cultural beings… culture is not a superficial veneer on something more primitive and basic, in short, but a defining and fundamental feature of human existence." They then continue "Because heterosexuality is directly related to both reproduction and survival, and because it involves much more than copulation every human society has had to promote it actively (although some have allowed homosexuality in specific instances.)" Young and Nathanson then pronounce, "Heterosexuality is always fostered as a cultural norm, in other words not merely allowed as one 'lifestyle choice' among many."(6 - emphasis added)

2. The Linguistic Argument Against Homosexual Marriage

It is because all societies have recognized the crucial aspect of childrearing that the concept of marriage has been defined throughout human history as the monogamous joining of a man and a woman for mutual support, companionship and for producing and rearing children. Peter Sprigg quotes liberal anthropologist Kingsley Davis who said, "The unique trait of what is commonly called marriage is social recognition and approval ... of a couple's engaging in sexual intercourse and bearing and rearing children."(7) Since it is impossible for any homosexual union to produce children, homosexual unions by definition cannot be married. The term is exclusive to a union of the opposite sex - and the word is defined as such by all linguistic references.

Not only is marriage defined as between a man and a woman in the common dictionaries, such as Webster's, it is also defined as a union between a man and a woman in the legal and technical dictionaries like Black's Law Dictionary.(8) This becomes important because the courts look to such definitions in considering their decisions. In a 1973 Kentucky Court of Appeals case where a lesbian couple claimed the state was denying them their constitutional rights by denying them a marriage license, the court stated "the relationship proposed does not authorize the issuance of a marriage license because what they propose is not a marriage." (9)

All of these examples demonstrate the absurdity of talking about homosexual marriage. Although I have been discussing the English word marriage in this point, it's important to realize that while every language uses its own word for marriage, the concept of marriage, the ideas that make up the marriage relationship are universal.(10) Greg Koukl summarizes it well when he states "Marriage isn't for men and machines. Marriage isn't for men and animals. That's not what marriage is. So when we talk about marriage, to even think about applying it to machines or animals is a misapplication of the whole concept. This is why the accusation that there is discrimination against people who want to marry their machines simply doesn't fly because it's a category fallacy. It just doesn't work. Machines aren't the kinds of things you marry. Pets aren't the kind of things you marry. So raising this objection is superfluous."(11)

In the two points above, we've looked at two strong reasons why speaking about homosexual marriage makes no sense. Let me know if you agree or disagree with these points.  Write us at newsletter@comereason.org.

In our next installment, we will look at some of the other reasons why allowing any culture or society to redefine marriage to include homosexual unions is a bad idea. Specifically, we'll look at the behaviors of homosexual couples, the political justification for not allowing homosexual unions as well as the moral argument against homosexuality.  I hope you join us then.

 

          Our Mission

At Come Reason Ministries we are very appreciative of all of you who take an active interest in this ministry. God has blessed us greatly by allowing Come Reason to exist and spread His word to a world-wide audience.  Our Mission is as follows-

The Purpose of Come Reason Ministries is to glorify Christ by:

Equipping and instructing the church, providing thoughtful, intelligent answers to biblical difficulties while also answering the skeptic and demonstrating the reasonableness of Christianity by challenging philosophies contrary to the Christian worldview.

If you would like to help make that happen we would ask you to partner with us in one or more of these ways:

  • Understanding that nothing can be accomplished without the empowering of the Holy Spirit, we ask you to PRAY for the ministry
  • Knowing that you are the best resource we have of spreading the word, we ask you to TELL a friend, or pass along this e-mail.
  • Seeking whatever God wills for us that we may grow, we ask you CONSIDER supporting this ministry in whatever way you feel led.

 Our e-mail address is  newsletter@comereason.org or you may send correspondence to our postal address:

Come Reason Ministries
P.O. Box 20527
Riverside, CA 92516

For more info, go to our PartnerPage.

 

References:

1. Gavin Newsom on "American Morning" CNN, Feb. 17, 2004. See http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0402/17/ltm.09.html

2. "Getting married means that things are legal, and you are protected by the law" stated Anne Kester when asked about her relationship that was legally recognized in the Netherlands. The quote appears in the Nov. 20, 2003 Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1120/p14s03-woeu.html

3. For one example see _Evolution of Human Societies_ by Allen W. Johnson and Timothy Earl
Stanford Univ. Pr; 2nd edition (November 2000)

4. Nathanson, Paul as quoted in "Questions and Answers: What's Wrong With Letting Same-Sex Couples 'Marry?'" by Peter Sprigg
http://www.frc.org/index.cfm?i=IF03H01&f=WU03L06

5. Ibid.

6. Young, Katherine K. and Paul Nathanson "Marriage a la mode: Answering the Advocates of Gay Marriage"
http://www.marriageinstitute.ca/images/mmmode.pdf Sept. 29, 2003

7. Sprigg, Peter "Questions and Answers: What's Wrong With Letting Same-Sex Couples 'Marry?'"
http://www.frc.org/index.cfm?i=IF03H01&f=WU03L06

8. Black's Definition reads "Marriage is defined as the civil status, condition or relation of one man and one woman united in law for life for the discharge to each other and the community of duties legally incumbent upon those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex."

9. http://public.findlaw.com/family/nolo/ency/6DF0766E-C4A3-4952-A542F5997196E8B5.html

10. Young and Nathanson Loc. Cit.
In that document the authors state "Not surprisingly, comparative research reveals a pattern: marriage has universal or nearly universal features and variable ones."

11. Koukl, Greg "You Can't Marry your Canary"
http://www.str.org/free/commentaries/homosexuality/youcantm.htm