24
Feb
06

Follow-Up to “An Open Post to the Harris Brothers”

And now my response to Alex Harris’ answer to my last post:

Impressive. Most impressive. You have learned much … but you are are not a Jedi yet …

You write …

“Our article was targeted at young adults who plan to get married someday, but who are not adequately preparing for it. Furthermore, our use of Genesis 2:24 was only to prelude the disclaimer that, for such young adults, “living with your parents before you get married can be a very good thing.” It was not used to argue that it is God’s plan for everyone to get married.

“We have no problem with young people who feel called to forego marriage in order to better serve God. They are not outcasts or oddballs. Obviously, the Apostle Paul didn’t think so. However, we do have a problem with young people who delay marriage out of self-indulgence and sloth [emphasis mine], or because they think they can get the sexual benefits from a relationship without the responsibilities that accompany the commitment of marriage.

Because we felt your post distracted from the message of the article by addressing what we view as an entirely different issue (a straw man, if you will), it failed to meet the second criterion.”

I respond: I understand that you don’t believe everyone is required to marry, but apparently you and many others in certain Evangelical circles believe some are. I did address this mindset in my original article. To wit, I wrote:

“In particular, I note that several Evangelical commentators believe God ordains a minority of souls to be single. Everyone else, on the other hand, is supposed to get married. In fact, some pundits now talk about the ‘sin of delaying marriage.'”

I am addressing your position, here, not a straw man, as you suggest. After all, if it was just self-indulgence and sloth that was the problem of young people, then why the need to interject a discussion of marriage? As it is, not only do I believe that not everyone is required to marry, I believe no one is required to marry. If a young man’s excuse for foregoing marriage is as trivial as he doesn’t want to mow the lawn, well guess what? That’s his decision. He’s not necessarily sinning. One doesn’t need a “special calling” to refuse marriage. The state of marriage is a gift, not a requirement. One should get married because he wants to, not out of some sense of obligation to a religious tradition. That is what I addressed in my article that I linked to your website. In the New Testament age, there is no requirement to marry under any circumstances. The closest one gets to a requirement is a concession for people who refuse to practice self-control (1 Cor. 7:9). In short, you failed to address a very serious challenge to your theological presuppositions.

Alex continues …

“Many of our readers are on the younger side. They are allowed and encouraged to visit our blog by their parents because the message it promotes is one that is consistent with their family’s values. It is our policy to remove links to sites that are not in line with those values, or which include content (or links to other sites) that we deem to be inappropriate for our younger readers.

“Because we felt that your post and blog is inconsistent with the values of our reader’s families and the purpose of our blog, and because of concerns over the appropriateness of several websites linked to on your sidebar, it failed to meet this third and final criterion.”

Inconsistent with the values of your reader’s families? You certainly didn’t mean to suggest that Faith and Society is incongruent with Biblical Christianity, did you? I hope you are not confusing holiness with sectarian dogma. You know, if a non-religious liberal did what you did, would you call it “political correctness”?

It is true that I cannot control all of the content to which I link and, yes, it is true that some writers say things that I would not. But this blog is not an echo chamber or an electronic hermitage. So, if you expect your teenaged audience to move beyond the “kidult” phase, then perhaps you should be consistent: trust them to think for themselves and to engage opposing viewpoints. What will they do when they get out in the real world, away from their hermetically sealed existence of home-schooling, community churches, accountability groups, and pop evangelicalism?

I tell you truly: (1) It was Christians that led me to my libertarian philosophy. (2) It is my Christianity that leads me to oppose feminism. (3) It was Christians who taught me to reject denominationalism and to make the Bible my only rule of faith. That means I must reject what is being taught by so many Evangelicals. It is unfortunate that I must be direct in my tone, but those of your persuasion have been less than charitable in your characterization of young men who find marriage unpalatable.

Remember, you may delete links to my blog, but many people have access to Google.

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1 Response to “Follow-Up to “An Open Post to the Harris Brothers””


  1. 1 ehartsay
    June 30, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    “If a young man’s excuse for foregoing marriage is as trivial as he doesn’t want to mow the lawn, well guess what? That’s his decision. He’s not necessarily sinning. One doesn’t need a “special calling” to refuse marriage. The state of marriage is a gift, not a requirement. One should get married because he wants to, not out of some sense of obligation to a religious tradition.”

    And I call BINGOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Bingo de bingo!
    Hammer, meet nail head.

    This is also an issue I have with rabid pronatalists who try to argue that people need to have a good reason for not wanting children.

    I a HUGE problem have with this (and its corresponding idiocy that people need to have *good* *virtuous* reasons not to get married). This is that I believe that for big decisions and life alterations like these – especially ones which require the intimate involvement of another person (in the case of child-bearing, one who has no say in whether they even WANT to be born)- the ONLY good reason to decide to do it, is that one is positive that this is the correct choice for one to follow, that it is what you overwhelingly desire and KNOW will be the right choice for your life and those involved with you, and that you will be GOOD at it.

    If you don’t know this, you shouldn’t. End of story.

    Therefore, I believe that it is things like choosing to marry, become involved with someone or to have children for which one must have good reasons – and if one does not have reasons to do it, one should not.

    Therefore ANY reason that makes you not want to do it is the RIGHT reason.
    If you had the RIGHT reason to do it (first and foremost knowledge of desire and rightness), trivial reasons would not stand in your way.

    If trivial reasons stand in oyur way, you are obviously lacking the RIGHT reason to engage in that activity and should back sloooowwwly away.


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