Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What is Truth?

In case you haven't already figured it out, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We are commonly referred to as "Mormon" or "LDS." My Christianity definitely affects my viewpoints on politics & moral issues...I won't deny it. I also don't think that is a bad thing. I know that there are people that don't believe in my religion or any religion at all, so they may dismiss my viewpoint simply because of my religious beliefs. This is a mistake. In this day & age, with the turmoil in our nation and world, we need to look for the similarities instead of the differences. That being said, here are two viewpoints that I agree with, even though they are not given by people of my same faith. Thank you to Blaine Stewart for sending these links my way.

Robert George is Catholic, a McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University & a council member of The President's Council on Bioethics. You can see a quick bio here & here. He spoke in a forum at Brigham Young University on October 28th, 2008 entitled "On the Moral Purposes of Law and Government" where he addresses same-sex marriage. If you feel indifferent about the topic, I doubt you will after listening to it.
Unfortunately the discourse is not yet transcribed. But you can hear it by clicking here and choosing to watch it in quicktime or listen in mp3 format.
*UPDATE - Transcript now available (12/06/08)*

There is an article he published similar to his discourse here.

I also share with you an article written by Adam Kolasinski entitled "The Secular Case Against Gay Marriage." Adam is a doctoral student in financial economics at MIT. I don't know his religious views.

Here is my favorite part -

Some argue that the link between marriage and procreation is not as strong as it once was, and they are correct. Until recently, the primary purpose of marriage, in every society around the world, has been procreation. In the 20th century, Western societies have downplayed the procreative aspect of marriage, much to our detriment. As a result, the happiness of the parties to the marriage, rather than the good of the children or the social order, has become its primary end, with disastrous consequences. When married persons care more about themselves than their responsibilities to their children and society, they become more willing to abandon these responsibilities, leading to broken homes, a plummeting birthrate, and countless other social pathologies that have become rampant over the last 40 years. Homosexual marriage is not the cause for any of these pathologies, but it will exacerbate them, as the granting of marital benefits to a category of sexual relationships that are necessarily sterile can only widen the separation between marriage and procreation.

The biggest danger homosexual civil marriage presents is the enshrining into law the notion that sexual love, regardless of its fecundity, is the sole criterion for marriage. If the state must recognize a marriage of two men simply because they love one another, upon what basis can it deny marital recognition to a group of two men and three women, for example, or a sterile brother and sister who claim to love each other? Homosexual activists protest that they only want all couples treated equally. But why is sexual love between two people more worthy of state sanction than love between three, or five? When the purpose of marriage is procreation, the answer is obvious. If sexual love becomes the primary purpose, the restriction of marriage to couples loses its logical basis, leading to marital chaos.

This is a lot of information for you to process. I know a lot of people have stopped thinking about this issue, hoping that it has been resolved. Unfortunately it has not. I truly believe that we will be fighting this battle for awhile. Apathy will just help the other side. To help us with this, here is my attempt at transcribing my favorite part of Mr. George's discourse -

Our task as I see it should be to understand the moral truth and speak it, in season and out. Speak it lovingly, speak it civilly, engage those with whom one disagrees in civil discourse, open to hearing counter arguments, open to considering the other side's point of view. Yes, speak it lovingly, speak it civilly, but firmly and vigorously, because so much is at stake. Now we will be told by those who are pure pragmatists that the American Public is too far gone in moral relativism, or even moral delinquency to be reached by moral argument. Sometimes they say,"Give it up. Give up the argument for life, give up the argument for marriage. The public's too far gone. They've drunk the kool-aid of moral relativism." But we must have faith that truth is luminous and powerful, so that if we bear witness to the truth about say, marriage or the sanctity of human life, lovingly, civilly, but also passionately and with determination, and if we honor the truth in advancing our positions, then even many of our fellow citizens who now find themselves on the other side of these issues will come around. Don't underestimate our fellow citizens. People are open to the argument. Our problem is not so much that people are gone and sunk in moral relativism and so won't listen. Our problem is we don't make the argument and we don't make it often enough or well enough, with enough conviction, determination.

Now, to speak of truth frightens some people today. They evidently believe that people who claim to know the truth about anything—and especially about moral matters—are fundamentalists and potential totalitarians. But, as my friend Professor Hadley Arkes has patiently explained, those on the other side of the great debates over social issues such as abortion and marriage make truth claims, moral truth claims, all the time. They assert their positions with no less confidence and no more doubt than one finds in the advocacy of pro-lifers or defenders of conjugal marriage. They proclaim for example, not as some mere matter of abstract opinion, but as something true that women have a fundamental right even to elective abortion. They maintain with all the conviction you can have when you are speaking something that you believe to be true, that “love makes a family” therefore any two people, or perhaps more than two people, who feel affection for each other should constitute what is recognized as a marriage. The question, then, is not whether there are truths about such things as the morality of elective abortion and the nature of marriage; the question in each case is, What is the truth?

Please find out for yourself what you believe the truth is, and stand for it.


Anonymous said...

this is an awesome post. thank you!