Well, here we are: the end of Bob Seidensticker’s “rebuttal” to a number of arguments put forward by Frank Turek at the Christian Post, Townhall, and the CrossExamined website that we began several months ago now and have been trudging through, because this is both depressing and discouraging work, but it has to be done.
In objection 17, Bob exclaims that, “Christians are obliged to reject same-sex marriage!”
My one continuous complaint throughout this series is that Bob has a serious problem providing links to sources that he claims to be quoting. I’ve already noted one instance where he has to go off of his claimed sources to find a quote, and I’m just not going to be chasing down sources.
Anyway, he dismisses a quote attributed to Turek that he gives as, “If we celebrate harmful behavior we are being unloving. Love requires we tell people the truth, even if it upsets them. (emphasis original)” And I agree with it, and it sounds like Turek. Now Bob’s response to this is,
“We’ve already established that homosexuality is no more inherently harmful than heterosexuality.
Which he throws back to rebuttal 15 to defend this, which I responded to here demonstrating that homosexuality, because it is inherently disordered to begin with, is demonstrably more dangerous to physical and mental health than heterosexuality, even if it were practiced “safely”.
Bob whips out,
“You can imagine that God creates homosexuals and then is somehow disgusted by his own creation, but its curious how God’s views seem to line up conveniently with your own—so conveniently that I wonder if you’re playing “God” like a sock puppet.”
This reminds me of the likely apocryphal question that was posed to Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War, “Mr. President, do you think that God is on our side?” Lincoln’s response cut to the quick of the matter, “I hope that it is we who are on God’s side.” The obvious response to Bob’s statement here is that we know what God thinks of homosexuality: He calls it an “abomination”. The Apostle Paul uses it as an example of complete rebellion against the Creator, a sign of God’s judgment on a person because only certain death can come from it. But this “rebuttal” contains a canard.
The fact of the matter is that God can make a person and be utterly disgusted by their behavior, because He made mankind to reflect his goodness and glory onto one another. When men refuse, in their sin to do what they were made to do, the only fitting expression is revulsion.
Then Bob challenges,
“First show that your severe god and his supernatural world exist. Only then will worrying about his desires make sense. Until then, I have no respect for your fantasy.”
Let’s just flip this around because Bob has made a claim here: he has to prove that it is “fantasy”. The Christian can prove that God exists through arguments and evidence. The use of hand waving dismissals by the atheist don’t disprove anything, rather they give further evidence to the Christian claims that men know God exists and have to suppress that knowledge.
“Society will collapse!” Is the heading of objection 18, wherein, Bob writes,
“Frank considers same-sex marriage in society and doesn’t like the orgy that he expects it to cause within the straight community.
He leaps into the middle of a quote from Turek’s piece at Townhall, which is a place that we’ve come to already for other reasons as described in this essay by Daniel Moody at The Public Discourse or my review and summary of it. Daniel draws a straight line from the development of contraception to the open embrace and promotion of same-sex behavior. The result has been a rise in out-of-wedlock births, poverty, and covert genocide through abortion.
I have to agree—reluctantly—that Turek’s argument here is not a good one. Society’s collapse is demonstrated in the acceptance of homosexual behavior. It’s an inherently selfish behavior, and it’s selfishness that destroys society.
The 19th objection dives into the scientific and philosophical questions: “There is no genetic basis for homosexual desire!”.
Responding to Turek’s Townhall piece again, Bob writes,
“[…] We could wrestle with the why someone is homosexual…but that’s off topic.(emphasis original)
Let me explain the use of ellipses in that quote because Bob’s handwaving dismissal of the question is very important in regard to everything that comes after it. Bob “links” to a source, the source is a broken link, however, the alleged quote that he gives could be disastrous to his own position because he cites it as saying, “Scientists hypothesize that a combination of genetic, hormonal, and social factors determine sexual orientation…” Bob continues,
“Frank wrongly implies from this incompletely answered question that no one is homosexual. I wonder if next he’ll tell us that, since he isn’t left handed, left handedness doesn’t exist.
Well, what’s interesting is that there’s more evidence that left handedness is more a matter of genetics than homosexuality. But we have to ask a question here, and it’s a question that few seem willing to ask. The question is, what do we mean by “is” when we say, someone is homosexual? How is the verb “is” operating in that statement?
Are we describing a physical characteristic that is akin to saying, Jack’s hair is blonde? Obviously not because hair color is determined by, well, a person’s genes. Is it describing a job or behavior, like saying, Jack is a barber? It seems to be closer to that use of the word, so if that’s the case then a genetic argument cannot and doe not apply. We could argue then that Bob is attacking a strawman: Turek is not saying that there is not such a thing as a “homosexual”, rather, that because “homosexual” describes a person participating in a behavior then it does not deserve either protection in law or promotion is society.
The inherent problem with the question is that people see participation in a behavior as part of their “identity”. Such arguments inherent pose other moral problems, especially with the issue of pedophilia. If there’s nothing morally wrong or psychologically “incorrect” with homosexuality, then why is there anything wrong with sexual attraction to children? I’ve yet to hear a coherent answer to that question.
Bob uses this “rebuttal” to throw so-called “conversion therapy” under the bus. However, in their book My Genes Made Me Do It!: Homosexuality and the Scientific Evidence, N.E. and B.K. Whitehead write,
“Those who insist on 100% success rates in any field of therapy as proof of its effectiveness will never find them. [Programs like] (Alcoholics Anonymous) believes that those who “work the program” will find their way out, and that many, for their own reasons, do not work the program. Success rates of about 25% are not uncommon in many programs offering recovery from problem behaviours with a strongly addictive component. Therapists talk of clients who find it easier to continue with the default solution than deal with underlying drives. Homosexuality appears to be little different. According to psychiatrist [Daniel] Cappon, psychologists can be confident that change occurs “at least as frequently in homosexual persons as in people with any other personality disorder.” (p.232-3, emphasis added)
The Christian response here is that its only in Christ that such issues be truly and finally resolved.
Last, but certainly not least, number 20: “But same-sex marriage is unnatural. Just think about it…yuck!”
Bob pulls a quote allegedly from a historic state court decision: the problem is that I read through the decision that he links to a number of times and never found anything close to the quote. Just to summarize it though, a black man and a white woman, residents of the state of Virginia eloped to Washington, DC, to marry, because it was prohibited in Virginia. They were discovered, their marriage annulled, and they were both fined for violation. In their appeal, they cited that they were not married in Virginia, therefore they were not in violation of the law. The court found that they, being legal residents of Virginia willingly and knowingly, in and attempt to circumvent the law, went to another jurisdiction to marry, but did not change residences. To support the court’s argument, they cited two related instances: a case from England where a man and his dead wife’s sister went to Denmark in an attempt to get married in violation of English law and an incident where a man from Kentucky went to Tennessee so that he could marry his uncle’s wife in violation of Kentucky law. The court had no problem with the District of Columbia’s law the marriage, just like the court had not problem with Denmark and Tennessee allowing incestuous marriages. The issue was that those involved were attempting to circumvent the laws of where they legally resided. Now, what argument does Bob try to muster to get around this?
Well, he tries 5 different ones.
First, he appeals to the fact that homosexual behavior has been observed in numerous species. Well, aside from this running the risk of being an appeal to nature fallacy, what does that have to do with the question? Guess what other behaviors have been observed in nature. Cannibalism, rape, and theft. Not hearing any arguments in favor of those behaviors.
Second is the voyeur objection. Bob’s not bothered by the fact that “two guys are doing it”, the question is, what if one of those “guys” is 49 and the other is 9? Is he bothered then? So, this is not an argument, because someone could simply turn it around on him for the same purpose.
His third argument is about the “objectionable” stuff in Scripture: slavery, polygamy, and genocide. Well, Bob is undercutting his own argument in this because its question begging: what’s wrong with any of those things? He just doesn’t like them because they’re “yucky”. See, how that argument works.
Debate: Does the Bible Restrict Marriage to a Man and a Woman?
Fourth, he argues that the Bible doesn’t say anything about same-sex marriage. Well, it’s not a question about what the Bible doesn’t say, it’s a question about what it does say. And it says that marriage is between one man and one woman, full-stop. See this recent debate between James R. White and Graeme Coddrington for more on that, because this seems to also refute objection five: marriage was invented by humans.
This is an argument from arbitrariness: marriage between a man and a woman is just an arbitrary definition. If that’s the case, then that also blows his polygamy objection out of the water, as does any argument about age restrictions.
But his sixth objection, well…its confused. He’s trying to draw some parallel between IVF and abortion as well as erectile dysfunction, which are matters of procreation then he closes off the paragraph by saying, “…[The] focus on marriage laws is to a large extent on unnatural things like property rights.”
Property rights are “unnatural”? I’m sorry, you just can’t throw an assertion like that out there and just leave it hanging.
Under the heading Final Thoughts, Bob appeals to Romer v Evans (1996), a case which struck down a law in Colorado trying to prevent legal favoritism of homosexuals. He writes,
“When we consider them, we find that the arguments raised by the anti-same-sex marriage crowd either have no legitimate governmental interest or are simply factually wrong.
Well, going back to my refutation of the Obergefell decision, noting its numerous logical and factual errors, and the responses contained in this series, Bob is simply wrong here. This is not to say that there are not bad arguments, but the problem is that there are simply no good arguments that can be offered to support same-sex mirage.
Bob pulls out the old argument from silence,
“We have no record of Jesus scolding homosexuals for what they did between the sheets, but we read much about his concern for the poor and the sick.
This argument is common among liberal Christians, the problem for this objection is that we have Jesus’ positive teaching on marriage and human sexuality, and homosexuality is excluded from it, even as a “lifestyle choice”.
Bob’s arguments, in this response, have been demonstrated to be divorced from facts and logic in that apart from a coherent biblical foundation it is impossible to define what a marriage is, much less who can and cannot participate in it. As such, Bob’s “rebuttals” have been rebutted.
Keep thinking friends.