a frightening statistic

Discussion in 'Family, Relationships, and Single Life' started by Rexlion, Jul 26, 2022.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    An NBC News headline:

    Monkeypox is being driven overwhelmingly by sex between men, major study finds
    Of the 528 confirmed cases reviewed, 95% are believed to have transmitted during sex between men, according to a new paper in the New England Journal of Medicine.​

    Regardless of what positions various denominations might take on the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, it's clear that the lifestyle is fraught with health hazards.

    Rom 1:27-28 comes to mind: and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

    I would never wish a pox upon them for their sin, but they're getting it anyway.
     
  2. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    It is a terrible illness. Like you, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Still, it’s fair to say that a lot of lifestyles carry health hazards: firemen, police, soldiers, industrial workers, etc. I don’t think anything of ‘moral’ significance can be inferred from correlations like this. The situation is the reverse for women:

    STI risk was found to be elevated among heterosexual-WSW and bisexual women, whether they report same-sex partners or not, whereas gay-identified WSW were less likely to report an STI compared to heterosexual women with opposite sex relationships only.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575167/
     
  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    "Police, soldiers, industrial workers, etc." -- those aren't lifestyles, they are a roof overhead and food on the table. Whereas gay sex is engaged in for pleasure.
     
  4. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    With respect, this is a distinction without a difference. 'Lifestyles' = 'voluntary actions pursued in a consistent and ongoing manner as a way of life'. My point is that side effects of such pursuits are no infallible indicator of the morality of those pursuits.
     
  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    The distinction is significant and the difference is huge. There is very little "voluntary" about the need to earn a living for essentials. One often must do what one is capable of, or what one can find an employer for. The concept of voluntary choice in work is very much American, yet even in the US the vast majority of workers would rather be doing some other type of work if they could. In many other parts of the world one is either told what work to do or is glad to jump at any type of work whatsoever to fill an empty belly.
     
  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Everyone needs to earn a living, for sure, but one doesn’t have to be a firefighter or a policeman in order to do that. The pursuit of those specific occupations is voluntary. But I don’t think we would see higher incidences of lead-related illness or cardiopulmonary disease as evidence that there was something morally amiss in firefighting or policing activity. Any activity as such can potentially be an occupation also; it just depends on what society’s rules are. So for anyone to say that monkeypox was somehow punishment from the universe for being gay is simply absurd. Whoever has the misfortune to contract that illness deserves compassion, not condemnation.
     
  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    God might disagree. Again let's look at scripture:
    Rom 1:27-28 comes to mind: and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

    We can find plenty of examples in the Bible of people who opened themselves up to physical chastisement as a means of correction for sin. That is not to say that illness is always, or even usually, a chastisement. But one cannot preclude the possibility of such chastisement.

    Very curious word choice on your part. Do you think the universe is sentient? Or are you implying 'fate' or 'karma'?
     
  8. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Other than being an implicit denial of traditional notions of 'natural law', no, it's just an expression. :)
     
  9. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    One of the difficulties with seeing a direct causal link between sin and sickness is that it elicits a response driven more by judgement than compassion.

    On a higher philosophical and theological level we see that sickness and mortality entered our experience of creation as a result of the flawed response of humanity as discussed in the Genesis 3 account of the fall. As Paul reminds us, all have sinned and are falling short of the glory of God. The medical opinion published in the journal is valuable in that it identifies a group and an activity where some response is required. It is however clear that not everyone who contracts the disease is in this category, and not everyone who enagages in this activity contracts the disease.

    So, how should we respond:

    A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.

    Luke 10:30-37
     
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  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Some people seem to be confusing two separate issues, to wit: the response of God, and the response of man.

    My posts have centered upon God's response to unrepentant sin.
    Others have posted concerning how man should respond to sinners.

    These are two distinctly different issues. When certain people become disturbed by evidence that a holy, righteous God may chastise sinners in this mortal life, and they try to recharacterize the issue as a lack of Christian love, I think that says something about their theological underpinning.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2022
  11. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe I am confused about this matter. The difficulty with the view you present that God inflicts disease on sinners as a correction or as a punishment is that ultimately you paint God as capricious or at least morally indifferent. It fails to explain why some get sick and others do not. It is a view of God that I have trouble seeing in the Gospels. This is not the God Incarnate at Bethlehem, nor is it God Crucified at Golgotha, nor is it the God who weeps with and for people. Sickness enters this world as a result of the fall, however, I don't believe God uses sickness as a weapon, a punishment, or an inducement, but rather goes to the sick and troubled to bind up the wound and heal their infirmities.

    I don't doubt that God will help the sinner see the error of their ways, be that by chastising them or encouraging them to take a higher road. I don't believe sickness comes from God.
     
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  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Don't you believe the Bible? Here is one more example; there are others.

    Deu 28:15-22 “But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field.
    Deu 28:17 Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. “The LORD will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. The LORD will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. The LORD will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish
    .

    It might be said that the sicknesses and misfortunes mentioned here would come upon people as God removed the 'hedge of protection' He had set around them and allowed the adversary & forces of nature to negatively impact them in greater measure, as opposed to actually sending the diseases and calamities. Either way, though, the result is the same: if you sin, God may take action, and you will suffer the consequences.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2022
  13. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    That passage specifically refers to Israel as a particular people, and as a whole, not to mankind in general, and not to individuals as such.
     
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  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    After re-reading your post, I have reevaluated and must say that I agree with you. I focused too much on your last sentence, to the exclusion of the preceding sentence.
     
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  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    There is no reason to completely reject the possibility that a calamity like monkeypox might be a chastisement from God.

    Heb 12:5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
    Heb 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
    Heb 12:7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?


    God does not chastise sons only, though; He also chastises the unrighteous and ungodly. As J.C. Ryle points out in this writing:
    Who sent the flood on the world in the days of Noah (Genesis 6:17)? It was God.
    Who sent the famine in the days of Joseph (Genesis 41:25)? It was God.
    Who sent the plague on Egypt, and specially the murrain on the cattle (Exodus 7:5; 9:3)? It was God.
    Who sent disease on the Philistines, when the ark was among them (1 Samuel 5:7; 6:3-7)? It was God.
    Who sent the pestilence in the days of David (2 Samuel 24:15)? It was God.
    Who sent the famine in the days of Elisha (2 Kings 8:1)? It was God.​

    We could probably draw a finer distinction by saying that God allowed the above circumstances by withdrawing his hand of protection and letting the calamities come about (either through "natural" forces or through the agency of the destroyer, Satan). Yet even if we say that, ultimately God is the one who decided to either 'cause' or 'allow' them to happen, and God often (though not always) did so for the purpose of chastisement. Since God is unchanging, we can safely say that He still operates in the same way. Thus, an illness that befalls a certain group of people who openly engage in a notorious sin (while refusing to believe that their behavior is sinful) might be a chastisement from God.
     
  16. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I commend the Book of Job to you, as it is worthy of some time in reflection. Some time back Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, and whilst it dealt with the problem of theodicy, much of it indeed is an effective commentary on the Book of Job, and a good read. Job's comforters effectively missed the mark, for they wanted to blame Job for the things that had befallen him. We are called to be better than this.

    If you have a look at the narrative of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) we see the man was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho, And there is no question as to the road he was travelling or the direction in which he was travelling, it was just the circumstances in which the assault, battery and burglary took place. Indeed it is simply the lack of action on the part of some good and holy people which stands in stark relief against the actions of the outcast and stranger in our midst, that is the point of the story.

    If your view is that Monkeypox has been sent by God as a chastisement, then you should surely believe also that those who work for its cure, and for remedy would be to work against God. That is a proposition I would find impossible to accept.
     
  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That is not a valid argument. To illustrate, we could not say that people were working against God when they sought food to eat during the lengthy famine of Joseph's day. Seeking a cure for an illness is still an act of kindness and compassion, even if the ill person were in that condition as a correction from God due to the person's sin.

    The reference to Job is not apropos since the calamities were expressly stated to be from Satan, so we have no doubt that they were not a chastisement from God. Other calamities at other times are expressly stated in the Bible to be from God, which proves my point and contradicts yours.
     
  18. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    In fact, I believe that the whole Book of Job is extremely relevant when it comes to the point about Monkeypox. None of us ultimately knows how it is that someone contracts the disease, while others do not. We are called to respond with compassion (Luke 10) and not to sit in judgement (Job 20).

    You may want to suggest that I do not believe the Bible, yet I do.

    Indeed I believe God may well be kinder than you think.
     
  19. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Of course. But why state this as if I were saying otherwise?

    If monkeypox is a chastisement, it is God who sent or allowed it, not me or any of us. It is God who is judging the individuals, not me or any of us.

    Yet we may make observations about what is happening. And we may judge right from wrong and distinguish righteous acts from sinful ones; indeed we should, for the Bible is actually rather insistent that we do so.
     
  20. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    That is a big
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