An apology

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by Lowly Layman, May 17, 2023.

  1. ByOldEyes

    ByOldEyes Member

    Posts:
    49
    Likes Received:
    27
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I'm either technologically incompetent, or my comment editor has glitched, so forgive the format until I figure this out.

    Edit: the format was unreadable and I attempted to fix it, failed, but I couldn't find an option to delete the comment, so I replaced it with a period. I also lost my original reply, and don't have time at the moment to retype. Just thought I'd explain so it's less confusing why there's a little period sitting there, lol.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2023
  2. Pub Banker

    Pub Banker Active Member Anglican

    Posts:
    118
    Likes Received:
    83
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican (APA)
    Jesus stated, “… If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him” (Luke 17:3)

    “Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent…..And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life…” (BCP, 1928)

    “….to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins. He pardoneth and absolveth all those who truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel.” (ibid.)

    Whether Jesus died for sinners is non est argumentum. But as we do when we confess our sins, the transgressor must repent (literally ‘turn around’); otherwise, petitioning for forgiveness is very hollow and not sincere but rather a desire for a perpetual “get out of jail free card” as the petitioner goes about pursuing the very same earthly pleasures.

    I do wish there was something in Scripture, our Church’s teachings, our catechism, the BCP, or father’s missive that could better address this issue at hand where everyone comes out happy. But there isn’t. I also wish that once I promise not to sin that I won’t risk repeating the same sin I just asked for absolution. But chances are I will. Nonetheless, one must acknowledge the sin, promise to repent and ask God for forgiveness and intend to go in peace and sin no more. Fortunately for me as I pray for the Holy Ghost to help me going forward perfect execution on the promise or the repentance is not required to receive God’s grace.

    Furthermore, I wish I lived a Lilly white existence myself and can speak with absolute authority but alas I don’t and can’t and try to address my own “manifold sins and wickedness” myself everyday:(. Now pray for me, a sinner.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2023
    Br. Thomas and Stalwart like this.
  3. ByOldEyes

    ByOldEyes Member

    Posts:
    49
    Likes Received:
    27
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican
    That is all fine, as long as we recognize (not that you don't, but just for clarity) that no one but God has invented marriage, not those who consent to marriage, not the state, not any judicial body, not the church— no one but God. While those who consent to marriage, a husband and wife, have, by divinely imparted power, caused the marital union between them to exist, only God can be credited with having invented the union generally and essentially, by designing and creating the states of affairs which it presupposes. For example, particular lightbulbs are made by many people, but only one person invented the lightbulb, and that inventor originated its conception, design, and purpose, even so before any lightbulb actually existed.

    The contention is this, whether the marital union, considered essentially, which God invented through His creative institution, can exist between any two persons who are not a male and a female. Matthew 19 and Ephesians 5 reiterate what is written in Genesis 2 that "a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh" because "the Creator ‘made them male and female.

    Now, perhaps it will be objected that the statement "a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh" is simply descriptive of an instance of the union but not its essence, as though the union spoken of can exist also between, say, two males, and that the subject-matter of a male and a female is nonessential to the union considered in itself. But in that case, there is

    1) no biblical reason to regard such a union as being "that which God has joined together," and 2) every reason to think that it is instead an example of men who "gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error."

    Moreover, nothing in my line of reasoning requires or supposes that marriage is an object that exists in the real world apart from instantiation, or that it is natural in the sense that it can be discovered scientifically. I did not use the word "real" in that sense, but in a most generic, and analytical sense. And as far as marriage being natural, it is natural in the teleological sense, in that it is, by divine definition, a union of some male and female, designed to bring them to higher goods which human beings are naturally inclined to seek after. Ergo, analytically, it is false to say that two men can marry, or that two women can marry. Ergo, it is not real marriage, or at the very least, it is not the same marriage which the bible describes as a sacred Christological mystery (Ephesians 5:31-32) and as a union which God effects (Matthew 19:6).
     
  4. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    1,500
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    This is true of everything, though. Since all things are traced back to God as First Cause, I'm afraid I don't see how this helps your argument. Marriage itself consists of the mutual giving and receiving of particular promises, which is something only the parties do. Would an explicitly atheist wedding ceremony that denied any role to God result in a real marriage? What about a man's marriage to a second wife while he remained marriage to his first wife, in societies that allow it? To argue, hypothetically, this or that marriage shouldn't have happened, or that it shouldn't have been administered the way it was, is not the same thing as saying it didn't happen at all. Plenty of things shouldn't happen that nevertheless do happen. I'll also note again that in the ancient world women were thought of as "imperfect" or "defective" males, and this view unfortunately persisted well into the modern era. The word "heterosexual" wasn't even invented until the 19th century. The idea of "same sex"/"opposite sex" relationships is a modern construct that was simply foreign to the ancient way of thinking, based on what we know of that time. If we want to know what the biblical authors were saying in their own context, we cannot impose modern concepts on their writings even as we attempt to discern the nature of their applicability to our situation today.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2023
    Lowly Layman likes this.
  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    4,214
    Likes Received:
    2,154
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian attending ACNA
    God spoke of, and condemned, opposite sex relations, long before the first Advent. He even destroyed entire cities where opposite-sex relations were prevalent. A "modern construct"??? O_o Almighty God distinguished between same sex and opposite sex relations thousands of years ago!

    The idea (that "same sex"/"opposite sex" relationships is a modern construct) is the modern construct.
     
    Br. Thomas and ByOldEyes like this.
  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    1,500
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    I’m sorry but this is simply not correct. Ancient and medieval writers did not treat male and female as designating ‘opposite sexes’. Bizarre as it may seem to us today (and rightfully so), women were thought of, both in terms of biology and in terms of innate capacities, as “imperfect” or even “deformed” men. The supposedly “natural” distinction between perfect (fully formed) and imperfect (deformed) provided the basis for treating one as “superior” and the other as “inferior,” each with its own attendant duties and responsibilities. To step outside these roles was thus thought to be “against nature.” This basic framework wasn’t unique to Jews; pagan Greeks and Romans in general shared these same basic assumptions. Of course, we now know that every aspect of this ancient and medieval view has been discredited. There is thus nothing that remains from the cultural assumptions of that time that could serve as a point of likeness for an analogical application of those laws to be confidently endorsed today. Now, that’s only an argument concerning what the Church ought to consider obligatory. Even if I’m completely wrong, the argument derived from Blackstone that I outlined above would still stand: an alleged contravention of ecclesiastical norms would not automatically nullify a marriage. Ergo, they are real marriages, once contracted.
     
    Thomas Didymus likes this.
  7. ByOldEyes

    ByOldEyes Member

    Posts:
    49
    Likes Received:
    27
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican
    What I was attempting to highlight there was that marriage is a divine institution, and divinely defined. Human institutions such as governments can call a particular union "marriage," and such a union may resemble marriage in many true ways, but if these unions differ in some essential manner from that which God instituted and defined, then these are two different kinds of union and as such should not be treated as the same kind of union. Marriage between atheists contains the essential components of the divine institution, as nowhere does the text of scripture suggest that the parties must believe in God in order to be married. The same cannot be said of "marriage" between two men. The substitution of male and male in place of male and female disrupts the relevant scriptural texts in ways that they become unreadable and illogical. The same logic would lead us to say that you can consecrate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and pretend that it is the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ.

    Also, if God's operation in marital union is limited to being the first cause, this makes Matthew 19:6 unreadable in particular. I don't think Jesus would say this about a mother and her (consenting, adult) son who pretend to be married and in love. I don't think Jesus would credit God with having "joined" them together and that therefore, no man should separate them. Considering this, it seems Jesus was referring to more than God's relation to marriage as a first cause. There is a more immediate way in which He effects the union of marriage, such as by imparting grace that strengthens and nourishes it (yes, even in marriages between atheists). It cannot be said that God works in this way towards relationships which are an abandonment of the natural male-female relation, such as those which are homosexual, incestuous, or what have you. The union must meet the criteria He set in place.

    Both of these are half truths (they're mostly false), and while I don't think it would be productive at this point to fight to the death over whether they are true, I'll simply say that I don't think either of them discredit the premises upon which I've attempted to establish my conclusions. I will, however, note that with regard to the first point, even Thomas Aquinas, who followed Aristotle closer than most other prior Christian thinkers, had a quite modified understanding of Aristotle's view, and most certainly regarded females to be really distinct from males, though one in nature. The Christian church did not believe that the human race is unisex and to pretend otherwise is silly.

    With regard to the second point, if it is true, it suggests all the more that, as a matter of biblical definition, marriage is between a male and a female, and that other forms of union do not meet that definition.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2023
  8. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    1,500
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    If you’re going to draw that kind of distinction (which I think is unwarranted, FWIW), then we would certainly have to say that government is a divine (and not merely human) institution as well.
     
  9. ByOldEyes

    ByOldEyes Member

    Posts:
    49
    Likes Received:
    27
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Well, government itself is, for sure! What governments say, however, is not.

    Edit: ...thank God. lol.
     
  10. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,358
    Likes Received:
    2,587
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
    ‘This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
    this one shall be called Woman,
    for out of Man this one was taken.’
    Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

    There are a couple of ways of looking at these verses. On the one hand, there are those who would understand these verses as a divine decree, essentially making marriage not simply normative, but also essentially obligatory. On the other hand, there are those of us who see these verses in the tradition of 'stories of origin' and see this as an explanation of why marriage exists in the tribe/nation.

    There is little doubt that marriage serves to stabilise relations in a community, and in the main does put a lid on the free-ranging testosterone-driven breakdown of a community. Marriage is good for us, and it is good for society, generally.

    M/F marriage is the historic norm, and whilst there have been other types of relations in the main they have not been granted the status of marriage. (Nero was clearly one exception, and it did not meet with the general approval of the citizens.)

    I don't think the bold claim that God invented marriage is all that edifying, and I don't think it helps to further the discussion but rather is a simple claim to an epistemic primitive simply intended to close down the discussion.
     
  11. JonahAF

    JonahAF Moderator Staff Member Typist Anglican

    Posts:
    237
    Likes Received:
    221
    Edmund Bunnius in his treatise on marriage makes the argument that there are not two but four parties that make the bond during holy matrimony:

    IMG_0067.jpeg

    Everyone should read the primary sources in Anglican divinity:
     
    ByOldEyes likes this.
  12. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,358
    Likes Received:
    2,587
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    The profound truth here that Edmund Bunnius apprehended was that marriage is about more than the two parties to the marriage, for it is about how the rest of us relate to the people in the marriage as well. The idea that marriage is between the two of them and no one else is in my mind a modern error.
     
    JonahAF likes this.
  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    4,214
    Likes Received:
    2,154
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian attending ACNA
    Oh, it's beyond bizarre. The statement is utterly devoid of credibility, and zero relevant support has been offered to back up this unhinged claim. Moreover, even if some secular writings from long ago could be offered as evidence, in our present faith-based context their weight would be negligible in comparison with the authority of the Bible and the support of early church documents. The latter clearly demonstrate that male and female were separate, distinct sexes which, in terms of sexual activity and intimate relationships, were complementary opposites.

    Even if true, it would be irrelevant to the moral, religious issue at hand. But it is patently false. Does the word of God say He "made them male and less perfect male," or "well-formed male and deformed male"? No! God made "male and female," showing a clear delineation and difference of opposites which complemented and completed each other. One can see this concept appear almost continually throughout the Bible. There is no basis whatsoever that should cause us to think that the two sexes were regarded as 'men' and 'men-lite' or as 'greater males' and 'lesser males' as having any bearing upon intimate, copulative relationships.

    Lest anyone forget, Christianity does not rest upon the works of Aristotle or of any secular writer, whether from ancient or medieval times. As Article 6 states, "Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith..." The premise, that women were regarded as "imperfect or even deformed men" and that this should somehow control the Christian view of marriage and/or sexuality, is wholly without support in Holy Scripture and is therefore not to be believed.

    Male and female complement and complete each other, in a physical manner (obviously) but also in terms of their God-given gifts and inclinations. Marriage is meant to reflect the relationship between God, who represents Himself as the bridegroom, and His people, His bride. God is the head, the leader. We are to be His followers, helpers who follow His directions and act upon them in obedience. There cannot be two leaders in a relationship; one must lead and the other must follow. We cannot be co-leaders with Almighty God; we submit to His headship. Nor is the the woman meant to be co-leader with the man; she is created to be the follower, the helper, the supporter. Men and women complement and complete each other from a physical standpoint as well; just as the screw threads into the nut, but two screws cannot connect (nor can two nuts), so the male and the female complete one another and productively accomplish their God-given design. Homosexual relationships violate God's design; they are just two loose screws, or a couple of nuts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2023
    ByOldEyes likes this.
  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    4,214
    Likes Received:
    2,154
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian attending ACNA
    My question to you is, why did you say it's "about how the rest of us relate to the people in the marriage," and leave God out of it? Bunnius speaks of the couple's "bond with God and his holy ordinance." More important than how we humans relate to the couple is how God and the couple relate to one another. Getting married has to do with submitting to the will of God as it pertains to the holy ordinance of matrimony which He designed for us; God clearly expressed His will that the ordinance be applicable to man+woman couples, not man+man or woman+woman. Homosexual couples who "marry" are in willful disobedience and rebellion against God's will, and they disrespect & besmirch the holy ordinance; they thumb their noses at God's law while they demand that both God and His people pay homage to their selfish will.
     
    ByOldEyes likes this.
  15. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

    Posts:
    734
    Likes Received:
    273
    A few posts cleaned up. Remember to keep it friendly.
     
  16. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    1,500
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    What I have described above is simply common knowledge for classicists, medievalists, and historians of medicine and anatomy (see this article, for example). Anyone who has studied Aristotle, or Aquinas, or the medieval Islamic appropriation of Greek learning as well, is familiar with ancient and medieval notions of what constituted womanhood, viz., privation and inferiority relative to men. These mistaken and outdated notions are bizarre to us today because we have the benefit of centuries of scientific hindsight. We know today that women are not imperfectly formed men. We know today that women are not in any sense inferior in their innate capacities. We know today that there is no such thing as a ‘wandering uterus’ (Gr. hysteria). We know today that to speak of this or that behavior as “against nature” is mistaken, and that truly ethical philosophy much be built upon another foundation entirely. The ancients didn’t know any of this, and this should be taken into account when studying literary works from that time. We cannot impose our own modern concepts and constructs on ancient texts if our goal is to understand them on their own terms.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2023
  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    4,214
    Likes Received:
    2,154
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian attending ACNA
    That document shows views of various ancient people who attempted to hypothesize about and interpret the obvious physiological differences between men and women, and those views were arrived at apart from (& devoid of) the divine revelations given by God to His people. In other words, secular people came up with secular viewpoints, and from the existence of those secular beliefs you are trying to impose upon Christian doctrine the assumption that God's people of that time, the Israelites, held the same faulty viewpoint despite their possession of revelatory knowledge which taught them otherwise. We still have copies of that revelation from God in our Bibles; it states things which are totally at odds with your premise. Knowing that God created them male and female obviated the need for God's people to subscribe to those faulty views... views which supposed that all humans were fundamentally of one sex and that the physiological differences came from some environmental effect upon fetal development. The Israelites knew better!

    For millennia, the Israelites knew that same-sex relations were unnatural and that women were distinct from men (not "imperfectly formed men"); for nearly two millennia, the church has known the same. Your line of thought is a modern concept. Please heed your own advice!
     
  18. ByOldEyes

    ByOldEyes Member

    Posts:
    49
    Likes Received:
    27
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican
    It is just as confused and misleading to say that the ancient church believed the Father and the Son to be identical as it is say that the ancient church regarded females to be males. Both notions are on the same level as half truths. A serious, informed understanding of the matter is that the ancient church regarded the Father and the Son to be identical in essence, but truly distinct in person, distinguished in relation to one another, the Son being generated from the Father and finding His origin eternally in Him. This is similar to how the church understood the human sexes, in that the female sex was understood to be derived from the male in creation, being one in essence though truly distinct in relation to one another. Many of the Fathers such as the Cappadocians made this precise analogy. There are elements both of sameness and distinction that do not cancel one another out or take precedence over the other.

    It simply will not do to imagine that the ancient church considered females to be males. Nor is it correct to say that this is "common knowledge" for experts and those who study the sources.
     
  19. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    1,500
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Episcopalian
    This is circular reasoning.
    I’m afraid it is, in fact, correct. You are welcome to present evidence to support your view.
    This is an instance of obscurum per obscurius.
    This is a Straw Man. I’m simply pointing out what were common assumptions among educated people at that time. I am not claiming those assumptions were themselves the object of teaching. That’s the whole point, actually.

    Ancient people didn’t know about modern biology, anatomy, physiology, genetics, or psychology. Men in the ancient world believed that men and women were same basic kind of thing, but that men were complete and superior and virtuous, and that women were incomplete and inferior and lacked virtue. You can call that view whatever you want (whether ‘unisex’ or ‘hierarchical’ or whatever), but the point is that this view had nothing to do with modern biology (there was no understanding of dimorphism as related to the genetic code). It provided the basis for the view that a rigid social hierarchy was required by nature, the effects of which are still felt by us today. We now know today that this ancient view is false, and that this has important implications for how we interpret ancient texts, especially if we take the meaning of those texts to be normative across cultures.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2023
  20. ByOldEyes

    ByOldEyes Member

    Posts:
    49
    Likes Received:
    27
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican
    It is not, because earlier you said,

    "everyone was considered male in ancient and medieval thought."

    These are your words. They were the subject-matter of my reply. They are not equivalent to saying,

    To be the same kind of thing (e.g. males are human, females are human) and the same thing (e.g. females are males) are different claims.

    With all due respect, you're not being fair in this conversation. And I can't even decipher what your point is anymore to be honest.