Politics & Media
Nov 18, 2011, 11:01AM

Orthodox and Woefully Outdated

Rev. Timothy Keller and the Religious Regressives.

Tim keller tgc112.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Well like I said, first of all, the idea of marriage is not, I don’t think, should not be for the fulfillment of the individual, so it’s a public trust for the building of community… I do think the best way to do that is between a man and a woman, because what you’re doing is bringing the complimentary genders together. And I do think that brings more stability […] Christian marriage says… the genders both bring something to the table that… completes the other. So, in the long run, what Christians say marriage should do, cannot be done between two people of the same gender. So I wasn’t saying that the only reason to bring the two genders together is to make marriage more stable—there’s actually more of an inner-lock that happens—the genders clash, and mesh: they knock the rough edges off of each other, but they also mesh because they bring some complimentary differences to each other… So, basically, the Christian idea of marriage is something that goes beyond what the modern view is, that is simply "I just want to be fulfilled."
Parsing this quote from Rev. Timothy Keller, a New York theologian with a new book out (The Meaning of Marriage), is a process in masochism. On the surface, the Reverend is congenial and deferential, passive aggressively advocating his obsolete way of thinking. It’s only natural: even as religion refuses to be marginalized, people have become less religious (mostly out of sloth, not thought), and the hardline Falwell/Robertson/Phelps approach to Christianity and the word of God has practically died out. Even still, people blindly accept their values and adopt a vague Christian worldview because it’s comfortable and easy. I get it. But to willfully ignore reality, that’s what children do. Why are we still like this?

As most every church’s positions on social issues like birth control and homosexuality have evolved along with the culture, their ancient views of the world become increasingly more strained and apparent for what it is: an ignorant sham. Listen and watch the way Rev. Keller answers Willie Geist’s question if same-sex couples are in fact more stable statistically than their heterosexual counterparts. “Christian marriage says… the genders both bring something to the table that… completes the other. So, in the long run, what Christians say marriage should do, cannot be done between two people of the same gender.” I mean, really listen to what he’s saying: he prefaces this stupid and bigoted idea with “Christian marriage says…,” as if that negates the fact that it’s a regressive and outdated way of looking at sexuality and marriage.

Although those like Rev. Keller may be good, honest people who help us in the short term, in the long run they will kill us. This kind of non-thought, this assumption that a corrupt, for-profit multi-millennial cancer of the mind should have any say or insight into what we should do or where to guide the human spirit—it’s taking us backwards. Joseph Ratzinger and all the desperate theologians are just as confused and useless as Herman Cain. If your creed is so malleable and able to conform to the times, can anything you say really mean anything at all? It’s a magic show, and it always has been, and what fills me with sorrow is that we haven’t accepted that yet. Faith is the death of thought and curiosity, yet it’s regarded as a virtue that will get any presidential candidate a hearty round of applause on the stump. To believe in something with no evidence whatsoever, just because someone else told you it was so. Stupid. We don’t just have problems with money—we have problems with reality.

  • Nicky, although I agree with the underlying thought of this piece, I think it unfair to say " Faith is the death of thought and curiosity". Organized religion will usually sap one's individuality but one's personal faith can lead to great introspection and thought. Smith, Luther, Aristotle and many others have made significant contributions to how the world is viewed (regardless of your agreement/disagreement with their conclusions) Einstein and Sam Clemmons were both men of faith as well, and not many refer to them as devoid of thought or curiosity.

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  • P.S. I saw the same interview and think Keller came off as a complete tool.

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  • My church has a Faith and Reason lecture series and guest sermons from academics. Nice resource: a very large university right across the street. And, as luck would have it, yesterday's sermon was by one of them. The subject was Jesus (rabbi and great prophet even if you don't buy the other stuff) emphasizing good works instead of faith. So organized religion at its best encourages good works and good behavior. As for gay marriage, I think it's goofy, but also harmless.

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  • The point is: You can have "good works" and ethics without any faith whatsoever.

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  • At the root of the gay marriage debate is the belief - and it is only that - that mothers and fathers are, essentially, the same. That there is no biochemical, nor related psychological difference between male and female as it pertains to the raising of children. Only then, can one posit that gay couples present the same quality of parents to children as hetero couples. The "regressive" view is that mothers and fathers are, importantly, different for reasons that present - all else being equal - the best environment for the raising of the child. Thought exercise: If you had to lose either your mother or father at, say, age 8, do you think a replacement by an opposite sex person (resulting in a same sex couple) would have affected your upbringing in a positive way?

  • I'm aware of noone making the stupid argument you just proposed. For example, I recognize fundamental differences between men and women. I also recognize that "good" parenting is a learned skill and not soley a born trait (certain traits may help in parenting but are certainly not the sole arbitor of good parenting). Therefore, the answer to your question is that yes, a gay couple can have a positive effect on the child. If the deceased parent was a pedophile would the same sex parent be a positive for the child? Yes.

  • Is there some kind of Stupid Internet Comments Award I can submit this to?

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  • People make this argument all the time when they blithely say that "gay parents are just as good as straight." What they are saying...though they're too shallow to go this far...is that the only way this could be possible is if there was no difference between a mother and father. If this is, then, the case, the question becomes: How does a culture observe the superiority of the male/female relationship in the propagation of the species (primarily) and culture itself. I argue that the limited proclamation of marriage upon heterosexual couples is the best, and, probably only way to do this. "If the deceased parent was a pedophile"????...now if this is the only way a same sex couple becomes superior to a hetero couple, well, let's just say you're going farther than I am in making my own point.

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  • nitschke: are you high man? get off our planet. what a "mother" and "father" do is much more than their genitals. it's about raising your kid in a safe, loving, nurturing, exciting, fun, etc. environment. it's about bonding with your kid as a human being. babies don't come here with baggage about gay people and don't have weird problems with it like you. of course there are differences between mothers and fathers. men can be good mothers and vice versa. the kid is literally born with NO PRECONCEPTIONS OF ANYTHING. if you do right to your child and raise her properly, there's nothing about your 'heinous gayness' that will inherently screw them up.

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  • nitschke, the problem with your straw man argument (besides being made of straw) is that you are comparing a gentic factor to a skill. Parenting is a skill. Some women are good parents; some are not. some men are good parents; and some are not. Some gays are good parents; some are not. Does this clear things up for you?

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  • @Nicky + Texan...again, you're both saying there is no difference between a mother and father regarding the raising of children...they're interchangeable. You're saying that ,biochemically, there's no difference between progesterone(mainly a female hormone) and testosterone(mainly a male hormone) in their influences on parenting behavior. Really...? There is more than "skill" involved in parenting; there are actual biochemical influenced predispositions. Only someone who isn't a parent could say that men and women react to children similarly. But don't let your ideology get in the way of science...or human nature.

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  • Wrong yet again nitschke! You are the only one stating "there is no difference between a mother and father regarding the raising of children...they're interchangeable" I'm saying that yes, there are fundemental differences between men and women but that the biology does not overide learned behavior. By your logic, biology overides all. Anyone considering society or civilization knows that your position has been proven false.

  • Well, Texan, you're right there: I am "the only one" proposing that those who support gay marriage are essentially saying that 'there is no difference between mother and father regarding the raising of children'. That's because no one posting here has the temerity to extend there own argument to its logical conclusion. I am NOT saying that "biology overrides all". I am saying that - unlike you - it's not black and white, there is an important combination of biological and "learned behavior" factors that contribute to the best environment in which to raise a child. I am saying, like Keller, that there is a unique "[complimentarity]" between the sexes that is important in raising children. There is a unique combination of nurturing and disciplining that is founded on unique biological and, yes, learned behaviors. You appear to be saying that "learned behavior" overrides biology, and in so saying you are saying that there really is no IMPORTANT difference between having a mother/father parent group and any other combination. You say there are "fundamental differences", but, apparently these differences do not have any real impact in the raising of children. So...again...why don't you just say that a child misses little/nothing when she is raised without a mother (but with two fathers) or without a father (but with two mothers)? In other words, while "fundamental", there's no important difference between a mother and father in the raising of children.

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