Friday, July 05, 2013

Rom 1 reply, 38a: Is Christian ethics on sexuality in a losing war of religion vs Science? (A response to Mr Patrick White's July 1 2013 commentary in the Jamaica Gleaner)

In a July 1st guest article in the Jamaica Gleaner, engineer Patrick White writes, in material part:
Witnessing the rout of a core bulwark of Judaeo-Christian religious dogma is truly rare. The first time this occurred was in the 15th century when Copernicus, followed by Galileo, challenged and defeated the Genesis-inspired myth that the earth was a special creation, positioned at the centre of the cosmos.

It took another 400 years for the next major attack. This came when Darwin published his Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, which revolutionised scientific thought in the biological sciences. It enabled mankind, for the first time, to understand how life developed and why it is now diverse, without having to resort to the supernatural.

Although this battle is still not over, defeat of the religious alternative is already in sight. The most recent sign was the ignominious repudiation of intelligent design in a Pennsylvania courtroom . . . .

In struggling to find an effective response, some religious leaders have blamed "rising secularism", as Pastor Ian Boyne noted in his June 23, 2013 In Focus column, 'Culture clash on homosexuality', in The Sunday Gleaner. He, like his colleagues, seems to be ignoring, possibly because it is inconvenient, that on the basis of today's knowledge, there is a perfectly rational basis for secularism.

Some religious leaders have also regrettably pinned their hopes for survival on homophobia, the unjustifiable, or irrational, fear of what consenting adult homosexuals may be doing in the privacy of their bedrooms.
The strategy is designed to exploit the aversion, particularly by the ignorant, for things or behaviours that are unusual to them. But, even here, these pastors should know that continued scientific progress, coupled with increasing access to information, would eventually defeat their cynicism.
 Mr White also manages to take a grand tour of typical atheistical talking points on modern cosmology, archaeology and so forth, laying out a summary of a common modern rational-IST myth, the ages long war of religion/ superstition/ irrationality vs science/  knowledge/ rationality

This is of course rhetorically very convenient in the promotion of the latest fashionable radical secularist "progressive" agenda item, the notion that homosexual behaviour is a normal pattern, is rooted in immutable genetic characters, and only ignorance, prejudice and bigotry could object to such behaviour and its currently desired institutionalisation via "marriage equality" -- that is the notion that Adam can "marry" Steve or Eve, Mary-Ann. (And some seriously warn, on the power of legal precedent backed by pressure tactics in an era where common sense is at steep discount, that such opens the onward door to Adam "marrying" Steve, Eve and Mary Ann, then if he takes a fancy to it, Fido too. One domino is toppling, will others follow ending in chaos? Worth a pause to at least think about. )

Now, last time, I pointed out the historically anchored, firm foundations of the Christian gospel and its associated ethics rooted in the purpose and moral government of the inherently good God our Creator. I highlighted therein, why therefore Christians are duty- bound to call destructive warping of the proper order of nature into what is inherently disordered and destructive, by its proper though not very popular name: sin.

On that basis -- 
and BTW, Mr White should know that simply running down a list of radical atheistical talking points from various skeptical scholars or popularisers and ill-advised court decisions (specifically, the Dover Kitzmiller case) as though they were brilliantly decisive rather than consistently fatally fallacious does not suffice to properly ground his dismissal of either the historical foundations of the gospel or of the well-warranted Christian respect for the scriptures that teach that gospel, nor has it sufficed to discredit the blatant evidence of intelligent design of the world of life, and of the observed cosmos (cf here on for more), but those need to be addressed in detail another time  --
. . .   it is reasonable for us to next address the myth of the war of religion against science and the associated ill-founded "scientific" and ethical claims that are used to advance the cause of homosexualisation of our civilisation.

First, the myth of an ages long war of religion against science is just that: a myth with poor historical basis.

For instance, philosopher Nancy Pearcey aptly summarises:
Most historians today agree that the main impact Christianity had on the origin and development of modern science was positive.  Far from being a science stopper, it is a science starter.
One reason this dramatic turn-around has not yet filtered down to the public is that the history of science is still quite a young field.  Only fifty years ago, it was not even an independent discipline.  Over the past few decades, however, it has blossomed dramatically, and in the process, many of the old myths and stereotypes that we grew up with have been toppled.  Today the majority view is that Christianity provided many of the crucial motivations and philosophical assumptions necessary for the rise of modern science.[6]

In one sense, this should come as no surprise.  After all, modern science arose in one place and one time only: It arose out of medieval Europe, during a period when its intellectual life was thoroughly permeated with a Christian worldview.  Other great cultures, such as the Chinese and the Indian, often developed a higher level of technology and engineering.  But their expertise tended to consist of practical know-how and rules of thumb.  They did not develop what we know as experimental science–testable theories organized into coherent systems.  Science in this sense has appeared only once in history.  As historian Edward Grant writes, “It is indisputable that modern science emerged in the seventeenth century in Western Europe and nowhere else.”[7]. . . .

The church fathers taught that the material world came from the hand of a good Creator, and was thus essentially good.  The result is described by a British philosopher of science, Mary Hesse: “There has never been room in the Hebrew or Christian tradition for the idea that the material world is something to be escaped from, and that work in it is degrading.”  Instead, “Material things are to be used to the glory of God and for the good of man" . . .  As historian John Hedley Brooke explains, the early scientists “would often argue that God had revealed himself in two books—the book of His words (the Bible) and the book of His works (nature).  As one was under obligation to study the former, so too there was an obligation to study the latter.”[21] The rise of modern science cannot be explained apart from the Christian view of nature as good and worthy of study, which led the early scientists to regard their work as obedience to the cultural mandate to “till the garden”. . . . 
Today the majority of historians of science agree with this positive assessment of the impact the Christian worldview had on the rise of science.  Yet even highly educated people remain ignorant of this fact.  Why is that? The answer is that history was founded as a modern discipline by Enlightenment figures such as Voltaire, Gibbon, and Hume who had a very specific agenda: They wanted to discredit Christianity while promoting rationalism.  And they did it by painting the middle ages as the “Dark Ages,” a time of ignorance and superstition.  They crafted a heroic saga in which modern science had to battle fierce opposition and oppression from Church authorities.  Among professional historians, these early accounts are no longer considered reliable sources.  Yet they set the tone for the way history books have been written ever since. [Christianity Is a Science-Starter, Not a Science-Stopper. It is well worth the while to pause and read then ponder this insightful article.]
So, when we see the attitude cultivated by the promotion of that myth in action, it should neither surprise nor faze and silence us, once we know better.

In that context, however, Galileo is often used as a poster-boy for the claimed aptness of the myth. Unfortunately, this pivots on a simplistic and in material parts inaccurate view of what regrettably happened to this pioneering scientist.for example, even so notoriously secularist ideology riddled and so humble a source as Wikipedia, in the lead for its article on Galileo, comments:
Galileo's championing of heliocentrism was controversial within his lifetime, when most subscribed to either geocentrism or the Tychonic system. He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax.The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, and they concluded that it could be supported as only a possibility, not an established fact. Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated him and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point.
[NB: --> Galileo put managed to naively put Urban VIII's words on the limits of scientific knowledge in the mouth of "Simplicio" in his academic dialogue in a way that made them appear foolish and thus acted in a way that could easily be seen as a case of disrespect for Majesty, Lese Majeste; not wise, especially for a ruler embroiled in major political conflicts. No wonder he alienated his friends and came in for some rough handling at the hands of the Inquisition.]
He was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy", forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It was while Galileo was under house arrest that he wrote one of his finest works, Two New Sciences, in which he summarised the work he had done some forty years earlier, on the two sciences now called kinematics and strength of materials. [Wiki, art. Galileo Galilei, acc: July 5, 2013. Footnote links removed. NB: These days, when one writes on a popular topic likely to be subjected to retort, it is wise to check out Wikipedia and anticipate a likely source for counter talking points.]
Wikipedia also notes on his views on scripture regarding Heliocentrism:
Biblical references Psalm 93:1, 96:10, and 1 Chronicles 16:30 include text stating that "the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved." In the same manner, Psalm 104:5 says, "the Lord set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved." Further, Ecclesiastes 1:5 states that "And the sun rises and sets and returns to its place."

Galileo defended heliocentrism, and claimed it was not contrary to those Scripture passages. He took Augustine's position on Scripture: not to take every passage literally, particularly when the scripture in question is a book of poetry and songs, not a book of instructions or history. He believed that the writers of the Scripture merely wrote from the perspective of the terrestrial world, from that vantage point that the sun does rise and set. Another way to put this is that the writers would have been writing from a phenomenological point of view, or style. So Galileo claimed that science did not contradict Scripture, as Scripture was discussing a different kind of "movement" of the earth, and not rotations.
This common-sense view has prevailed over the past four centuries. 

There simply was no threat to the core of the Christian faith there, and to portray it as if there were, is irresponsible and wrong. As so simple a step of checking as looking up in Wiki would reveal. (The Catholic Encyclopedia article on Galileo gives far more details, and is well worth reading. So is this Catholic Answers article. Due discounts for specifically Roman Catholic apologetics notwithstanding, these articles raise significant points we need to form a balanced view of the Galileo Affair. The more protestant views here and here will also be helpful.)

So also, we can easily see how Mr White's truimphalist assertions in the opening words of his article therefore lack historical and theological merit. They also manage to reveal an underlying gross error, scientism, that fallaciously imagines that all genuine knowledge is and must be scientific or rooted in "Science." 
(The blunder in that is obvious on a moment's careful reflection: the core claim of scientism is a knowledge claim concerning what may legitimately be seen as knowledge. As such, it is by definition a philosophical rather than scientific knowledge claim; under that branch of philosophy known as epistemology, the critical study of knowledge and its grounds. The claim is therefore a philosophical knowledge claim that implies that such philosophical claims are by definition not genuine knowledge. It refers to and contradicts itself. It is self-refuting and falls of its own weight. We may safely set it aside as an error.)
But just because something is an error does not mean that it cannot have great influence. 

And, scientism is  quite influential, especially in fashionably skeptical circles.

This problem of an influential error then feeds over into matters of ethics, the critical study of morality (right and wrong and how we think and act about right and wrong); the proper heading under which the issues raised by the radical homosexualist agenda falls.

Some backdrop on the ethics of Darwinism-inspired evolutionary materialist secularism is needed, and an excellent place to see the issue is the following notorious remarks in a 1998 University of Tennessee Darwin Day keynote speech by Cornell professor of the history of biology William Provine:

Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . . The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . . [Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life, Second Annual Darwin Day Celebration Keynote Address, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, February 12, 1998 (abstract).]

The immediate problems with such an assertion are that
  if p: all that we do is caused and controlled by blind forces of chance and necessity leading to evolutionary, genetic and psycho-social conditioning in ways that are irrelevant to truth, validity, right or wrong

then q: we can make no responsible choices either in reasoning or in deciding on courses of action

But that not only undercuts morality and ethics -- which radicals often want -- but also mind and knowledge. For instance, we can properly ask a Marxist about his own class conditioning, or a Behaviourist about whether he is yet another rat trapped in a maze, or a Freudian what about his own potty training, etc.  

In other words, yet again, evolutionary materialism leads to self-refuting views

Famed Evolutionary theorist, Haldane, eighty and more years ago,  was patently right:
"It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. ]

(More details here on.)

But again, erroneous ideas can have great influence, and so it is wise to here cite Ruse and Wilson on the ethical consequences of evolutionary materialism taken as unquestionable "scientific fact":
The time has come to take seriously the fact [[--> This is a gross error at the outset, as macro-evolution is a theory (an explanation) about the unobserved past of origins and so cannot be a fact on the level of the observed roundness of the earth or the orbiting of planets around the sun etc.] that we humans are modified monkeys, not the favored Creation of a Benevolent God on the Sixth Day . . . We must think again especially about our so-called ‘ethical principles.’ The question is not whether biology—specifically, our evolution—is connected with ethics, but how. As evolutionists, we see that no justification of the traditional kind is possible. Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will  . . . In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external groundingEthics is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference. This is the crux of the biological position. [Michael Ruse & E. O. Wilson, “The Evolution of Ethics,” Religion and the Natural Sciences: The Range of Engagement, , ed. J. E. Hutchingson, Orlando, Fl.:Harcourt and Brace, 1991. (NB: Cf. a separate discussion on the grounding of worldviews and ethics here on, which includes a specific discussion of the grounding of ethics and goes on to Biblical theism; having first addressed the roots of the modern evolutionary materialist mindset and its pretensions to the mantle of science. Also cf. here on in the next unit in this course, IOSE, for Plato's warning in The Laws, Bk X, on social consequences of the rise of such a view as the philosophy of the avant garde in a community.]
That sort of thinking is why, in the now archived blog Atheism is Dead, Will Hawthorne quite properly pointed out the ethical fiasco of such arrogant atheistical naturalism dressed up in a lab coat in stringent terms:
Assume (per impossibile) that atheistic naturalism [[= evolutionary materialism] is true. Assume, furthermore, that one can't infer an 'ought' from an 'is' [[the 'is' being in this context physicalist: matter-energy, space- time, chance and mechanical forces].  (Richard Dawkins and many other atheists should grant both of these assumptions.)

Given our second assumption, there is no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer an 'ought'. And given our first assumption, there is nothing that exists over and above the natural world; the natural world is all that there is. It follows logically that, for any action you care to pick, there's no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer that one ought to refrain from performing that action.

Add a further uncontroversial assumption: an action is permissible if and only if it's not the case that one ought to refrain from performing that action . . . [[We see] therefore, for any action you care to pick, it's permissible to perform that action. If you'd like, you can take this as the meat behind the slogan 'if atheism is true, all things are permitted'.

For example if atheism is true, every action Hitler performed was permissible. Many atheists don't like this consequence of their worldview. But they cannot escape it and insist that they are being logical at the same time.

Now, we all know that at least some actions are really not permissible (for example, racist actions). Since the conclusion of the argument denies this, there must be a problem somewhere in the argument. Could the argument be invalid? No. The argument has not violated a single rule of logic and all inferences were made explicit.

Thus we are forced to deny the truth of one of the assumptions we started out with. That means we either deny atheistic naturalism or (the more intuitively appealing) principle that one can't infer 'ought' from [[a material] 'is'. [[Emphases and paragraphing added.]
What is happening here is that the rise of evolutionary materialism-driven scientism and radical secularism, have led to a situation where in the minds of all too many many, ethics have been decisively undermined. That is, they are strictly speaking amoral and open to nihilist manipulation and power games, especially when such are couched in the terms of the persuasive myth of inevitable progress through the triumph of science over religion and superstition. (Echoes of the fate of Marxism in the run up to the turn of the 1990's are not coincidental.) 

And, in that context ever so many radical activists, including the radical homosexualists, have been only too happy to provide assertions dressed up in a lab coat in order to advance their causes. Indeed, in their 1987 article "The Overhauling of Straight America," that later was developed into a notorious book,  After the Ball, homosexualist advocates Kirk and Madsen proposed to do just that:
. . . we can undermine the moral authority of homophobic [--> Loaded language, principled objection on ethical and factual grounds is not to be rhetorically equated to irrational fear and bigotry] churches by portraying them as antiquated backwaters, badly out of step with the times and with the latest findings of psychology. Against the mighty pull of institutional Religion one must set the mightier draw of Science & Public Opinion (the shield and sword of that accursed “secular humanism”). Such an unholy alliance has worked well against churches before, on such topics as divorce and abortion. With enough open talk about the prevalence and acceptability of homosexuality, that alliance can work again here.
But, someone will answer, don't my genes make me do it?

In the 2010 form of the summary to their book, My Genes Made Me Do It ! (cf. complete PDF here), Neil and Briar Whitehead, noted:
No mainstream geneticist is happy with the idea that genes dictate behaviour, particularly homosexual behaviour.
• Genetically dictated behaviour is something that has so far been discovered only in very simple organisms.
• From an understanding of gene structure and function there are no plausible means by which genes could inescapably force SSA or other behaviours on a person. Genes create proteins not preferences.
• No genetically determined human behaviour has yet been found. The most closely genetically-related behaviour yet discovered (aggression in Dutch males) has shown itself remarkably responsive to counselling.
• If SSA were genetically dictated, it would have bred itself out of the population in only several generations, and wouldn’t be around today.
• Generally, geneticists settle for some genetic influence of rather undefined degree, most agreeing that many genes (from at least five or six to many hundreds) contribute to any particular human behaviour.
• A genetically dominated SSA caused by such a cluster of genes could not suddenly appear and disappear in families the way it does. It would stay around for many generations. So SSA is not produced by many genes.
• The occurrence of SSA in the population is too frequent to be caused by a chance mutation in a single gene. So a single gene is not responsible for SSA. Nor would many genes all mutate at once.
• SSA occurs too frequently to be caused by a faulty pre-natal developmental process, so it is not innate in that sense either.
• The widespread age-range of first homosexual attraction is very unlike the narrow time-spread of genetically driven phases of human life, e.g gestation time, puberty, menopause, making homosexuality very unlikely to be genetically driven.
The histone system which controls genetic expression is strongly affected by the environment, e.g nurturing, making searches for individual genes responsible for certain behaviours, mostly pointless.
• Same-sex attraction could be about 10% genetically influenced and opposite sex attraction about 15%. But this is weak and indirect, e.g genes making a man tall don’t also produce basketball players.
• SSA falls more naturally into the category of a psychological trait [Cf. further details and reference resources here. Notice the download accessible at the just linked page.]
Earlier (in the 2008 online version), the authors had made an instructive comparison:
If a girl becomes pregnant at age fifteen, we could argue that she is genetically predisposed. We could say that in her culture, her genes gave her the kind of face and figure that send male hormones into orbit and bring her under a level of pressure that she is unable to resist, and she is fertile. But that’s about the strength of the genetic influence. There are a huge number of environmental factors that could also have brought the pregnancy about, from cancellation of the basketball game she was going to watch with a girlfriend, permission to use her boyfriend’s father’s car, her boyfriend’s company, the movie they had just viewed together, and failure to use a contraceptive, to big environmental factors like personal values systems, peer group pressure, and an emotionally distant father.
In short, there is no responsible way to escape the implication that -- whatever influences we are exposed to and however they may help shape our choices -- the common sense view that on the whole we are significantly responsible for our behaviours makes excellent sense, and that by and large the habits we form are significantly influenced by cumulative choices we make. That includes cases of bondage to life-dominating destructive sins, habits and addictions. (And, the "on the whole" is meant to take in the genuine cases where people are immature or insane or sufficiently retarded or senile etc. as not to be responsible. Notice, the significance of age of consent laws and the premise that to engage in unlawful carnal knowledge with someone under that age is statutory rape.)

Such a general conclusion brings forward the relevance of the well-proved 12-step addiction recovery process pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous as a context of hope for many of us who are caught up in such life-dominating downward spirals (and, these days, I put pornography addiction as challenge no 1 here beyond even that notorious old demon rum). 

Rarely  have  we  seen  a  person  fail  who  has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give  themselves  to  this  simple  program,  usually  men and women who are constitutionally incapable of be-ing  honest  with  themselves . . . . If you have decided you want what we have and are willing  to  go  to  any  length  to  get  it—then  you  are ready to take certain steps. At some of these we balked. We thought we could find  an  easier,  softer  way.  But  we  could  not . . . . Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baf-fling,  powerful!  Without  help  it  is  too  much  for  us. 

But there is One who has all power—that One is God.

May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing . . . . Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

1.  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol— that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.  Came to believe that a Power greater than our-selves could restore us to sanity.

3.  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4.  Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5.  Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.[--> This is the famous, pivotal public confession, "I am an Alcoholic . . . "]

6.  Were  entirely  ready  to  have  God  remove  all these defects of character.

7.  Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8.  Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9.  Made  direct  amends  to  such  people  wherever possible,  except  when  to  do  so  would  injure them or others.

10.  Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11.  Sought  through  prayer  and  meditation  to  im-prove our conscious contact with God as we un-derstood  Him,  praying  only  for  knowledge  of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12.  Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Many  of  us  exclaimed,  “What  an  order!  I  can’t  go through  with  it.’’  Do  not  be  discouraged.  No  one among us has been able to maintain anything like per-fect adherence to these principles. We are not saints.  The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress.  We  claim  spiritual  progress  rather  than spiritual perfection . . . [Alcoholics Anonymous, "Big Book," ch 5, pp.58 - 60.]
 Given the frankly theocentric, penitent sinner approach, it should not be surprising to hear that in the early days, this lay-led movement of addicts in lifelong recovery was often derided and dismissed by professionals, and that spectacular failures -- including a co-founder -- were luridly headlined to dismiss the approach as useless, naive and ill informed. But, in the end, it has been so vindicated by actually working, that it is the model for many similar movements of recovery. (Including from bondage to things like drugs, pornography and homosexual behaviour.)

But, this recovery approach is in reality nothing new, we have just seen in a somewhat generic form, the principles of  transformation of life through discipleship founded on repentance and reaching out to God as Saviour, and to be expressed in a community of mutual support and lifelong growth; knowing that relapse is possible, and that moral-spiritual struggle is inevitable.

This, we may see in Eph 4 - 5:

Eph 4: 17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.

18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance [-->en-darkenment] that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous [-->morally benumbed] and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.  [--> addicted to sin]

20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!- 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,5  which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.

28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

5: 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.   3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.

4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
                    “Awake, O sleeper,
        and arise from the dead,
        and Christ will shine on you.”  
 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. [ESV]
Christian discipleship is founded on repentance, trust in the God who saves us, and a fearless and dauntless determination to walk in the light with God and with our brothers and sisters in God.

By the power of the indwelling, upwelling Spirit, we learn to walk in the light and develop the practice of walking in the light ever more and more, day by day, hour by hour.  That requires a special vigilance over that which may benumb the conscience, en-darken the mind, and enmesh us in captivity to life-dominating sin.  Instead, we live by the truth in love, through Jesus, upwelling from within through the Spirit, with the power of love, truth, and purity. Thus, as the people of God, we are transformed in the image of Christ.

And, as Paul writes in 1 Cor 6:9 - 11, it works:

1 Cor 6: 9 . . . do you not know that the unrighteous  will not inherit the kingdom of God?

Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,  10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you.

But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. [ESV]

(Though, of course, there is much wisdom in the saying, if you do not nibble on the enticingly baited hook, you will not have to then fight for your life, to break free of the barbed hook. Remember, too, that a baited fish hook is 99% good fish food that it is doubtless enjoyable to the fish to bite at. But, it is the 1% of hook that decisively counts.)

So, now, let us soberly rethink not only the ongoing attempt to legally homosexualise marriage, but the associated enmeshing of ever so many in the myth of genetic determinism leading to the concept that since this is how people inevitably are, then they have a "right" to express their love or otherwise behave the only way they "can" as controlled by their genes

In so doing, let us even more soberly reflect on where we have been taking our civilisation in recent decades. END