Can homosexuals have children, Neil? If all men were theives, could human society exist? Is heavy drug use healthy? What kind of destruction are you talking about? Someone bursting into flames? What about any of this is question begging?
Neil wrote: "There is a lot that we can learn about what is best for a human, say, merely by observing humans themselves." Which humans? Homosexuals, thieves, murderers? Not all come to destruction. How does one choose which are representative w/o begging the question?
Natural Law theory appeals precisely to such things as human nature in the broadest sense, if by nature we mean "that which is proper for the kind of thing in question". In other words, "nature" here appeals to "natural kinds". Primates are not rational animals, and therefore are a different sort of thing than humans. There is a lot that we can learn about what is best for a human, say, merely by observing humans themselves. Last I checked, humans are part of the created order. It seems plausible that Paul is making an appeal to nature in this respect, especially with regards to things in the natural order like procreation. What primates do is irrelevant, precisely because humans have minds and can intellectually understand the correct ordering of biological relations, at least in a general sense, and can act accordingly. Even the Greek pagans understood this much. Paul seems to appeal to this in the passages I cited in Romans. As a Christian you may deny that this is the whole story since there may be things that need to be revealed to us. This, however, is not incompatible with Natural Law.
You don't need to deduce the doctrine in its complexity from this handful of verses. The point was to look at the way Paul uses "natural". It's not a mountain out of a mole hill, especially in regards to Romans 1:20. "Unregenerate" man seems to be able to know something from creation--nature, if you will. And this view of "nature" seems to be at odds with your view about what nature can tell us. Your view of "nature" doesn't allow for Paul's usage of "nature". Besides, we're talking about how to make sense of Natural Law theory itself, not whether the Catholic Church correctly applies it to distribution of goods.
Neil wrote: Re Rom. 1, one can hardly deduce the complex, thoroughgoing Thomistic doctrine of Natural Law from a relative handful of Pauline statements about unregenerate man's knowledge.
Perhaps we should look a little more closely at the word "Natural". What do you make of the references in Romans 1:26-27 (KJV)?
"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."
Paul uses "Natural" here in an ethical context. Also, take a look at Romans 1:20. So, Neil, do you think Paul derives an "ought" from an "is"? I suspect this is your problem with Natural Law theory.
Could you explain how this is a counterexample for a Natural Law theorist? It looks like you are equating Natural Law theory with evolutionary psychology.
Neil wrote: "Only sex between males and females is in accordance with Natural Law." But Bonobo apes are a disturbing counterexample - they have been observed in gratuitous homosexual copulation in the wild (presumably not imitating Man): [URL=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonobo]]]Bonobo[/URL] So by this standard, bisexuality is also IAW Natural Law. Marquis de Sade would be pleased. Unsurprisingly, Bonobos fascinate biologists, because chimps, OTOH, are heterosexual, patriarchal, violent, & even cannibalistic (per popular stereotypes about Christians). So how do we decide which is normative? Both kinds are supposedly "equidistant" from man (genetically speaking). And the Bonobos obviously haven't become extinct by their perversion; I think they're no more "endangered" than chimps.
Neil wrote: It is harmful to make bad arguments for a good cause, & because Rome is allergic to Scripture, it often makes subjective appeals, particularly to "Natural Law," which is easy meat for informed critics.
So, who would those "informed critics" be? How is an appeal to "Natural Law" subjective?
Neil wrote: Jim, we all have our hobby-horses, but this article isn't about clerical marriage. Here's a pertinent comment: The RCC, instead of deducing ethics from Scripture, appeals to "natural law" here instead, which is full of holes. For example, how can ethical norms (what ought to be) be deduced from nature (what is)?
Here's a question for you: What were the names of the monks involved in this skirmish? Why was it that they became monks? If you are going to argue that their lives are 'characterized' by thorns and thistles, I want you to demonstrate it in this particular case. You would need to show that there is a marauding group of monks that goes around terrorizing hapless victims. You would have to know the particularities of their lives. And I daresay you are not omniscient.
What you say doesn't make sense because you're not consistent and you can't possibly have the knowledge to justify your conclusion. I believe it is what Christians call 'Pride'.
Alright. I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree about this. I think you have completely misunderstood my point because you are arguing two points simultaneously, one of which you continue to contradict. Whether you like it or not, your position is that Christians can't sin, which isn't true according to your Scriptures. And if you say that a Christian would repent after sinning, that would still mean that they sinned in the first place. If you say (as you have) that the Christian will sin less, that means that they still sin. If you say that they are regenerated and repent, that means that they still sin. Your standards keep moving and are incoherent in the first place.
Perhaps that should have read "I've never denied nor affirmed him to enough already". So, it appears we have to indicators of non-Christianity: brawling, and not being up front on Sermonaudio what ones religious beliefs are. Guilty as charged I suppose, although I don't think I've ever brawled. Once again, this doesn't really have anything to do with Lance's original post and your response to it.
Thanks Jim. So, if I pray to your pastor, will I be saved? Or do you worship him post-salvation?
enough already wrote: To neither deny nor affirm Christ is to still be in your sins.
In all honesty, I appreciate your well wishes and your zeal, e.a. For that you are to be commended.
But, I've never denied Jesus, nor affirmed him. You still don't know my overall religious orientation. But the answer to this question is still not the solution to poor reasoning. It's not a good idea to jump to conclusions about people.
enough already wrote: Your avoidance of this question says MUCH!!!! A lover of Christ would jump at the chance to tell the story of the gospel. May God humble your sinful heart, bring you to your knees, and cause you to cry out "O GOD HAVE MERCY ON ME, for I am a wicked, vile lost sinner without any hope"........I pray for you, my heart breaks for you, for you are truly not aware of your own condition, you are in Danger!!!! Humble yourself before a Mighty God, eternity is too important to lose over pride, arrogance, and denial of what truly is the problem of EVERY human being, an incurably wicked heart, and a nature that is infested with sin. Only the power of God can save you and transform you from the inside out, apart from His grace and mercy, you have NO HOPE! Do you understand that?
Since it's irrelevant to the discussion/argument that you presented, and a forum like this is probably an improper place for your specific brand of spiritual mentoring, I don't feel it necessary to answer. My objections to your argument and muddled thinking stand for themselves, whether or not I answer your question.
enough already wrote: Just answer the question BYSNE- what do YOU think it takes for a lost sinner to be saved?
You've answered your own question a number of times here. What are you trying to do, force a conversion? If I say something with which you disagree, you'll throw more Bible verses at me attempting to convince me I'm a lost sinner in need of a savior (see your posts below). If I say something with which you agree, it doesn't change the point of this whole discussion. So, I'm not sure why you keep asking this question.
enough already wrote: BYSNE- I am asking YOU personally, what do YOU say it takes for a lost sinner to enter heaven?
Seeing the presence of sin isn't enough for you, enough already, to condemn them, since Christians and non-Christians alike sin. Unless we're back to my original question which was whether you thought that Christians didn't sin. That was the whole point. You have once again completely misunderstood what I said presumably to get me to repent or something.
enough already wrote: BYSNE- you have no clue how damning sin is, if left unrepentant of. You say, 'sin ALONE isn't enough to condemn anyone according to Christianity', what a deadly and ignorant statement that truly is! "The soul who sins is the one who will die" Ezekiel 18:4 Once more I ask a very simple question, what does it take to for a lost sinner to gain entrance into heaven?
Let me try this one more time since I think we've gotten sidetracked from my original purpose. Lance said that behavior alone wasn't sufficient to condemn them as non-Christians and that one would have to look into doctrine, etc. You denied that claim which seemed to suggest that you thought behavior alone was sufficient and consequently launched into an attack on doctrine (all the 'solas', etc). My only point was that the presence of sin ALONE wasn't enough to condemn anyone according to Christianity (hence I John 1:8. I did use a Scripture reference. GASP!). That was my only point, nothing more, nothing less. Besides, I don't know that many of my words exceeded 3 syllables.