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John Simkin

Legislation and the Bible

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Should governments pass legislation that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching. For example, abortion, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, etc."

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Should governments pass legislation that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching. For example, abortion, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, etc."

As I believe that the state should be secular, opposing the passing of laws that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching would be a fruitless path to pursue. Laws enacted to provide and protect teenage mothers may be said to 'encourage' such pregnancies outside marriage, but on the other hand fit in with religious obligations such as charity and compassion.

:plane Doug

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Should governments pass legislation that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching. For example, abortion, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, etc."

As I believe that the state should be secular, opposing the passing of laws that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching would be a fruitless path to pursue. Laws enacted to provide and protect teenage mothers may be said to 'encourage' such pregnancies outside marriage, but on the other hand fit in with religious obligations such as charity and compassion.

:plane Doug

Whose religious teaching should that be, then?

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Should governments pass legislation that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching. For example, abortion, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, etc."

As I believe that the state should be secular, opposing the passing of laws that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching would be a fruitless path to pursue. Laws enacted to provide and protect teenage mothers may be said to 'encourage' such pregnancies outside marriage, but on the other hand fit in with religious obligations such as charity and compassion.

:plane Doug

Whose religious teaching should that be, then?

Exactly stated!

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"Should governments pass legislation that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching. For example, abortion, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, etc."

Can the State legislate morality? Most answer, "No". Of course, that is false. The only question is "Which morality?" The State legislates morality all the time.

If God's Law forbids such behavior then the State is foolish (and rebellious) to enact legislation which makes wrong to be right.

The State does not define right and wrong. God does in His Word. We are to discover it. The State is every bit under God's authority as are all things. There is no secular/sacred distinction as God is King over everything, including government leaders. To say that the State is outside of God's moral decree is to make the State out to be God. This leads to a very tyrannical State.

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I find there are different spheres of life in society. While state needs to provide ground for independence and autonomy in society so that individual liberties can be granted... provided this individual liberty is no threat to the society as a whole (police and judges may have a right to decide wheter some individual actions may pose a risk to society as a whole), individual faith (or the lack of it) must have room in a democratic society (should the previous risk be considered). Faith and its manifestations belong to the sphere of the individual. Social laws do not impose behaviours or faith patterns, but are to allow some flexibility in the beliefs of a community.

Edited by Vicente López-Brea Fernández

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Any adult who still believes in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or a God should be given 20 years hard labour. See how their praying will get them out of that one.

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Should governments pass legislation that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching. For example, abortion, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, etc."

When a government declares that there is a separation of church and state, not to mention freedom of religion, then by definition it should not pass any laws on the grounds that it violates a religious teaching.

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Any adult who still believes in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or a God should be given 20 years hard labour. See how their praying will get them out of that one.

Just as I would like to see you get out of explaining yourself on Judgement Day...

:lol: Doug

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Should governments pass legislation that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching. For example, abortion, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, etc."

When a government declares that there is a separation of church and state, not to mention freedom of religion, then by definition it should not pass any laws on the grounds that it violates a religious teaching.

Greg;

Were you of the female sex and residing in certain Arab nations, and convicted of adultry, your views on this may change somewhat.

Unless of course you are of the opinion that one should have their head removed for having sex out of wedlock.

By this same token, you most assuredly would not want to get caught eating a "pork chop", irrelevant of your gender.

Tom

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Any adult who still believes in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or a God should be given 20 years hard labour. See how their praying will get them out of that one.

Just as I would like to see you get out of explaining yourself on Judgement Day...

:lol: Doug

Does that also include the billions of other people on this planet who weren't born into the Judeo-Xian regions as you or I were?

We the people should create our own Judgment Day (Yezhov style) on earth.

Edited by Dafydd Humphreys

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Any adult who still believes in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or a God should be given 20 years hard labour. See how their praying will get them out of that one.

Just as I would like to see you get out of explaining yourself on Judgement Day...

:plane Doug

Does that also include the billions of other people on this planet who weren't born into the Judeo-Xian regions as you or I were?

We the people should create our own Judgment Day (Yezhov style) on earth.

I'm glad to see that the forum's high standards of debate are being effectively maintained in this thread aimed at providing input for Andy's students.

This was, in fact, a very good question indeed. On the face of it, it seems that the answer must be that government is secular and therefore ought not to be influenced by religious considerations.

However, looking at it a bit more deeply, we run into issues like Sikh protests against wearing crash helmets. Does the State have the right to compel citizens to perform acts they consider morally or religiously offensive? If one replies in the negative, then clearly this would have implications for the question posed by Andy's student. On the other hand, if we say that the State does have the right to impose its will on dissenters (to "force mean to be free" according to Rousseau), then where does that leave something like the Nuremburg Trials which executed Nazis who claimed they were only following orders on the basis that men had the duty to disobey illegitimate or immoral orders?

My response to all this, now that I think about it, is essentially pragmatic rather than based on any systematic ideology. There are some circumstances in which I would expect my representatives to legislate against the religious beliefs of some citizens. Examples of this would include the illegalization of female circumcision or suttee. I would also support legislation to ensure the equal rights of girls from Islamic backgrounds with regard to marriage, education, etc. On the other hand, although I am personally strongly opposed to abortion, I would not consider it inappropriate for my democratically-elected representatives to legalize it. There's not much of a logical basis behind my position, I'm afraid.

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I'm glad to see that the forum's high standards of debate are being effectively maintained in this thread aimed at providing input for Andy's students.

I should imagine it will be interesting for Andy's students to see how people's worldviews impinge on absolutely everything, leading to fundamental differences within a society.

:plane Doug

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In the absence of the forum this week my students came up with the following questions they would like members to consider:

"Should governments pass legislation that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching. For example, abortion, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, etc."

It seems that the Bible is open to different interpretations. For example, there seems to be a great difference between the Old and New Testaments. Conservatives seem to rely more on the Old Testament than the New Testament for their guidance on these “moral” issues. For example, when it comes to capital punishment they prefer the “eye for an eye” message than the one of tolerance and forgiveness espoused by Jesus.

I am not sure from my reading of the Bible if Jesus was opposed to homosexuality, abortion, birth control or sex outside marriage. Even if it was clear, I would still apply my own moral code to these issues.

(1) Homosexuality: It is clear that a significant proportion of the population desire to have homosexual relationships. As long as it takes place between consenting adults I cannot see why they should not be allowed to do this. It fact, I cannot see what it has to do with anyone else. What I do know is that is sex is very pleasurable and that it would be highly immoral for heterosexuals to try and deny these pleasures to homosexuals.

(2) Birth-Control: Mankind has been using birth-control for a very long time. In fact, as long as it took them to work out the connection between sex and pregnancy. The problem is that for thousands of years humans did not have an effective means of birth control. That changed with the scientific advancements made over the last 200 years. I cannot see any reason why people should not attempt to control the number of children that they have. Surely they are the best judges of this matter.

(3) Abortion: I think abortion is highly undesirable. I would much prefer people to use birth control. However, it is clear that a significant percentage of women do get pregnant. We know from what went on before abortion was legalized, a percentage will seek termination whatever the law says. This criminalizes the person carrying out the abortion and poses a risk to the life of the pregnant woman. It made sense for countries to make abortion legal when it was restricted to the early stages of pregnancy.

(4) Sex Outside Marriage: As I said earlier, sex is a pleasurable activity for most people. There are of course people, usually from religious backgrounds, who feel a great deal of guilt about the subject and find it difficult to obtain pleasure from this activity. As a Roman Catholic girlfriend once told me, “guilt does not stop you from having sex, it just stops you from enjoying it". I think it is very important that we don’t allow people with sexual hang-ups to determine government legislation on sexual matters.

I do not believe that sex outside marriage is always a good idea. In fact, I am of the opinion that some people have probably done themselves a lot of harm by having “casual” sex. I would always advise young people to be careful about having sex at a very early age. Even after 16 they should take great care about who they choose as a sexual partner. I say this not because of anything I have read in the Bible, I just fear that they will damage themselves emotionally if they develop a casual approach to sex.

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It seems that the Bible is open to different interpretations...

John, I think you have missed the point with most of what you have said above. Sex is for procreation and, fortunately for us, also happens to be pleasurable. Part of the reason for homosexuality being regarded as sinful by Christians, therefore, is the inabilility (note: not the prevention) of the action being for the purposes God intended it.

This, again, is part of the reason why marriage is sacrosanct for Christians and casual sex so damaging. Birth control within marriage is different from casual sex in that, according to the Bible, the purpose of this relationship is procreation, whereas the latter is purely for pleasure. Birth control simply gives married couples more control over when to conceive. It cannot really be compared with birth control outside marriage.

:blink: Doug

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