Tag Archives: bad rules

The Story of Judah and Tamar
Somebody Get Me Pregnant Already

Jacob’s son Judah had three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah. God killed Er because he thought he was wicked, so Judah told Onan to have children with Er’s widow, Tamar. But if Onan had children with Tamar, they wouldn’t be considered Onan’s children for some reason. So he refused to do it. God thought it was wicked to not impregnate your brother’s wife, so he killed Onan too. Tamar wanted to have children, but Judah wouldn’t let her marry his last son, Shelah.

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Somebody Get Me Pregnant Already
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Homosexuality in the Bible

What does the Bible say about gay men?

The Bible describes sex between two men as a wicked, detestable, vile, outrageous, shameful sin.1 It says any men who do this have to be killed, and will not be allowed into the kingdom of God.

Does it really say that?

I’m pretty sure it does. Some people say the Bible isn’t as anti-gay as it seems, but I’m not convinced.

Some say the law against gay male sex can’t be about gay sex in general because that’s too private for the law to be enforceable, since there aren’t likely to be multiple witnesses. So they say that law must really only be about public acts of temple prostitution. But by that logic, you would have to conclude that none of the Bible’s rules about sex apply to acts done in private. Not even the laws that specifically say nobody else is around. I doubt that’s what was intended.

Some say Paul was only specifically condemning the practice of pederasty, but that’s not what he said. The word he used translates literally to “man-bed”. Why wouldn’t he use a word that specified boys or teenagers, if that was what he meant? And nobody thought it was wrong for adults to have sex with teenagers back then, so even if Paul was talking about pederasty, the age issue is probably not the part he would have objected to.

Some say the Bible implies that if you’re a man who sleeps with men or a woman who grinds with women, you have a 50% chance of being raptured into heaven, while for the rest of us who try to enter through the straight gate, the chance of being saved is much lower. But does the Bible actually say those people who are being taken are going to heaven? According to one of Jesus’s parables, the first people who will be taken away at the end of the age will be sinners being taken to hell.

There are more passages in the Bible that could be seen as vaguely pro-gay,2 but interpreting them that way is a bit of a stretch, especially considering how much more straightforward and clear the other passages are that say gays must be killed, etc.

But why?

What’s so bad about homosexuality, that it would deserve that kind of punishment? Nothing at all, as far as I can tell. I haven’t heard any good reasons to think gay sex is immoral. I’ve heard some bad ones though…

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Faith is not reasonable

Faith is commonly regarded as a virtue. But is it really a good thing? What exactly is faith, anyway? Let’s look as some definitions.

Faith: Complete trust or confidence in something. Believing something without question. Firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Faith can also mean an obligation of loyalty, and if we’re still talking about beliefs, that would mean being devoted to sticking to a particular belief (which goes along with believing something firmly and without question).

“Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking.” —Bill Maher

So then, faith means you decide to believe a particular idea even though there’s no evidence for it, and then you completely refuse to ever question it or consider changing your mind about it, disregarding all evidence to the contrary. Faith means being gullible regarding some ideas, and closed-minded to others. Faith means abandoning reason, willfully ignoring the evidence, breaking the connection between your beliefs and reality.

“There is no virtue in accepting something on faith, since it may very well be false, and it is clearly not virtuous to believe the false.” —Charlotte Schnook

Clearly this is an unbelievably bad way to form your beliefs. Considering what faith actually is, I don’t see how anyone could possibly think it was a good thing. There’s absolutely nothing good or reasonable about it. Having faith is just like having a delusion, except you’re doing it on purpose. If you want to have true beliefs and avoid having false beliefs, having faith is probably the most counterproductive thing you could possibly do.

Unlike reason and evidence, faith provides no way to determine which things you should believe. Any belief can be “justified” by faith just as well as any other. If you have faith in one religion, why not have faith in another religion? Why not believe that you are a six-legged zebra from the planet Japan? Why not accept on faith that you should give me all your money right now?

You can probably think of some reasons not to accept those things, but why do you suddenly think you need to have reasons for what you believe? If I tell you that Ahura Mazda is the real God, or that you are a six-legged zebra from the planet Japan, or that you need to give me all your money, why do you question it? You don’t need a reason to believe; you just need to have faith, right?

“If something can be used as a justification for everything, then it shouldn’t be used as a justification for anything.” —Matt Dillahunty

When the inherent irrationality of faith is pointed out, religious people will sometimes protest that their faith is based on evidence. Well, if you’re trying to base your beliefs on reason and evidence, that’s great. You’re more reasonable than some religious people. But letting evidence shape your beliefs is not what faith is, and it’s not what the Bible tells you to do. The unreasonable way of thinking I described above is exactly the kind of thinking that the Bible encourages, and describes as faith.

The Bible on faith

The Bible says faith means confidently believing in something you hope is true, but that you don’t actually see any evidence for. To live by faith is to live blindly.

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Why the Golden Rule is a bad rule

Jesus says you should do to others as you would have them do to you.1 This is known as the Golden Rule. Sounds like a pretty good rule, right? As long as you don’t think about what it’s actually saying. But it’s really a very bad rule. Let’s look at an example to see why.

A man would like to have sex with a certain woman. But that woman is not willing to have sex with him. What should the man do? Well, what would he want that unwilling woman to do to him? He would want her to have sex with him. So according to the Golden Rule, he should go ahead and have sex with her.

That’s right, actually following this nice-sounding rule would lead to rape. What went wrong?

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