Monday, April 27, 2009

Science and Sound Sense: The Secular Case Against Same-Sex Marriage

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Warning: this essay is very graphic and will offend many. I fixed a couple of stupid typos that should not have been there (since it was a final draft). In the space allotted, I've tried my best to argue against same-sex marriage from the natural law, rather than, say, Bible passages. You should be able to agree with the premises even in paragraph 14, because they, too, are from the natural law. God bless you and yours!

Will R. Huysman
27 April 2009
Science and Sound Sense: The Secular Case Against Same-Sex Marriage

Summa Contra Gay Marriage
1. We cannot legalize gay marriage because doing so would mean sanctifying and giving numerous rewards to intrinsically unhealthy behavior. Men who have sex with men negatively affect each other's physical health, as do women who have sex with women (Diggs). Homosexual relations harm mental health, as well (ibid.). Households with parents of the same-sex are not good for children, whether the children are adopted or are biological descendants of one of the parents (Rekers). Furthermore, legalizing marriage between members of the same sex would also insult marriage between one man and one woman by making the latter equivalent to a situation in which the purpose of marriage can never be fulfilled (May). Making gay marriage legal entails acting against the best interests of the state.

Truth & Love
2. Gay marriage is a most hotly contested issue in our country, and one often hears about it in the media, with shows mentioning topics like California's Proposition 8, which states, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Homosexual citizens of the United States seek legislation permitting them to marry and receive the 1,049 benefits that heterosexual married couples enjoy (Carpenter). They object that civil unions do not allow them the full enjoyment of these benefits, and that not all states must recognize the civil unions to begin with (Foderaro). They also believe that legalizing gay marriage is one of the best ways to reinforce our image as a country with excellent enforcement of human rights, civil rights, and equality. However, it is obvious that the struggle of gays to be able to legally marry is not a just cause, but a campaign to institutionalize sin. I, along with millions of other opponents of gay marriage, love and care about homosexuals. I write this in order to help my gay friends and those who agree with their positive view of homosexuality to see the truth. Loving someone is not condoning his destructive behavior, but persuading him to correct his ways and live in a healthy manner.

Same Sex Relationship Laws Around the World
3. Laws concerning homosexuality vary greatly around the world. In 1993, the Hawaiian State Supreme Court ruled in Baehr v. Lewin that a law prohibiting same-sex marriage in the state was unconstitutional (Hosek). Since then, a lot has happened in the United States with respect to legislation on homosexuality. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act defines, on the federal level, that marriage is the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. Homosexual sexual activity has been legal nationwide since 2003, three states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa) recognize same-sex marriage (Vermont will legalize it later this year), and 20 states have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. In the Netherlands, homosexual sexual activity has been legal since 1811, same-sex marriage has been legal since 2001, gay couples can adopt children, and all discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal. Homosexuality is socially acceptable in that country (Diggs 6). Contrast these countries with Mauritania in northwest Africa, where the application of the Islamic law of Shari'a means that the penalty for being caught engaging in homosexual activity is death by public stoning. Mauritania is one of the seven countries that still enforces capital punishment for consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex. The others are Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

4. Homosexual relations are "uniformly unhealthy" (Fitzgibbons). According to Massachusetts physician Dr. John R. Diggs, Jr., sexual relations between members of the same sex, by their very nature, have negative consequences for physical and mental health (Diggs 3). Consider, for example, the practice of anal-genital sex that commonly occurs between gay men (5). A three-year study by the Stop AIDS Project in San Francisco found that among 21,857 men who had sex with men, about 60 percent regularly practiced anal sex, with the number rising as the years passed ("Increases in Unsafe Sex"). According to the "most comprehensive representative survey of sexual practices in the general adult population of the United States," about 80 percent of men who had sex with men in the past year had active anal sex with at least one male partner, and the same proportion is true for receptive anal sex (Laumann 318). To deny that anal sex is unnatural and unhealthy is to deny the most fundamental human physiology and modern medicine (Diggs 3). It is unnatural simply because the human body is not structured for such activity (3). According to Dr. Jeremy Agnew, Director of Product Development for Starkey Laboratories, basic biology informs us that the rectum, unlike the vagina, is exit-only and unsuitable for penile penetration (3). The vagina is far different from the rectum, because it is a naturally lubricated orifice "supported by a network of muscles," and has "a mucus membrane with a multi-layer stratified squamous epithelium" that lets it undergo friction without damage and lets it prevent the immunosuppressive effects of sperm and semen (3). Penile penetration injures and weakens the sphincter (3). Dr. Agnew points out that the friction of such penetration damages the single cell layer separating the intestine and blood and the resulting trauma "expose[s]" each sexual partner "to blood, [fecal] organisms," and an unhealthy "mixing of bodily fluids" (3). This is exacerbated by the risk of immunosuppressive effects of certain components of semen, says Dr. Diggs (3). Semen has immunosuppressive effects so it can bypass the vagina's "immune defenses" and fertilize the egg (3). Its natural function is not to facilitate the spread of disease via acts of violence to the anus, abusive acts that, according to Dr. James E. Barrone, a member of the Department of Surgery at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, can lead to hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and retained foreign bodies (4).

5. Anal sex is intrinsically unhealthy, and, according to the openly gay journalist Douglas Gabriel Rotello, anal sex "is the sine qua non of sex for many gay men" (5). Since anal-genital sex is "a most efficient manner of transmitting … infections," it is no surprise that among sexually active gay men, the following alphabet soup of diseases occurs exceedingly frequently, according to Dr. Anne M. Rompalo, Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University: anal cancer, chlamydia trachomatis, cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, Herpes simplex virus, HIV, Human papilloma virus, Isospora belli, Microsporidia, Gonorrhea, Viral hepatitis types B & C, and Syphilis (5). It would be silly not to conclude from the proven intrinsic effects of the aforementioned behavior that, as far as anal-genital intercourse goes, there can be no such thing as "safe sex" for gay men. Nor are other forms of male-to-male sexual relations healthy, Dr. Diggs rightly concludes from the available data (3).

Harm from Lesbian Relations
6. Female-to-female sexual relations are likewise unhealthy (3). A study by New York gynecologist Dr. Shelley Kolton found that of the women who had sexual relations with only women in the last 12 months, 30 percent were infected with bacterial vaginosis (6). Gynecologist Dr. Richard L. Sweet of the UC Davis Center for Women's Health points out that women with bacterial vaginosis are more likely to contract pelvic inflammatory disease, in addition to other STDs (6). Dr. Kathleen M. Morrow, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University Medical School, has found incidences of anogenital warts, trichomoniasis, and HPV in "women who have never had sex with men" (6).

7. Homosexuality is also associated with psychiatric illness, and same-sex relations negatively affect mental health (Fitzgibbons). In fact, "homosexuality was diagnosed and treated as a psychiatric illness," that is, was considered by the psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as "abnormal behavior," until 1973 (ibid.). The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders in 1973 due to pressure from gay lobbyist groups (Bayer 3). The removal, which 39% of the members voted against, was politically and not scientifically motivated, according to the pro-gay professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, Dr. Ronald Bayer (3-4).

8. Two studies in the American Medical Association's October 1999 Archives of General Psychiatry demonstrated a strong connection between homosexual sexual activity and suicide, in addition to connections between such activity and myriad mental and emotional disorders (Fitzgibbons). Dr. David M. Fergusson, Research Professor in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Chicago, found in an extensive study that "gay, lesbian, and bisexual young people are at increased risk of psychiatric disorder and suicidal behaviors" (ibid.). Compared to their heterosexual peers, the young gay people were "over six times as likely to have" tried to commit suicide, six times as likely to have several psychiatric illnesses, five times as likely to be dependent on nicotine, four times as likely to have "major depression," almost four times as likely to have "conduct disorder," and nearly three times as likely to have "generalized anxiety disorder" (ibid.).

9. Some will object that these problems do not flow from homosexual sexual activity itself, but from social rejection and persecution. The failure of this objection is apparent when we consider the Netherlands (ibid.). The Netherlands is very socially accepting of same-sex relations, and has legalized same-sex marriage (ibid.). A Dutch study in the Archives of General Psychiatry found high rates of psychiatric illness in connection with sexual relations between members of the same sex (Diggs 6). The study compared sexually active homosexuals with "controls who had no homosexual experience" in the last 12 months (6). Those men who engaged in any homosexual relations within the last 12 months were far "more likely to experience major depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and obsessive compulsive disorder" (6). The women who had any sexual relations with women within the past year had higher incidences of diagnoses of "major depression, social phobia, or alcohol dependence" (Fitzgibbons). Almost all the "psychiatric disorders measured in the study" were more prevalent among those who had engaged in sexual relations with members of the same sex (ibid.).

10. How dare we legalize same-sex marriage, then? Homosexual sex acts intrinsically negatively affect physical and mental health and are unnatural because the human body is not designed to accommodate such activity. To be sure, there are numerous heterosexual marriages in which unhealthy sexual behavior is practiced, but this is accidental and not essential to heterosexual conjugal relations, i.e., not across the board as it is with gay unions in which the couples are not celibate. It defies all reason to elevate and institutionalize this behavior to the level of marriage and thereby make it equivalent to marriage between one man and one woman. Having learned the facts, do you still wish to reward and legitimize the former behavior as equivalent to the latter, or would you prefer to submit to reason? Will you continue in your campaign to sanctify immorality, or will you lovingly proclaim the truth to your neighbors?

11. Legalizing same-sex marriage means declaring families with two parents of the same sex to be as healthy as and equivalent to the traditional family with a father and mother and children. This is wrong, because a household with two parents of the same sex is an unsuitable and dangerous environment for a child, according to an extensive study by Dr. George A. Rekers, professor of neuropsychiatry and behavioral science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine (Rekers). Same-sex relationships are, on average, "less stable and more short-lived … compared to a marriage of a man and a woman" (ibid.). Dr. Rekers points out that a study of married same-sex couples in Sweden and Norway found that, "when controls for demographic characteristics associated with increased risk for divorce were" accounted for, gay male "couples were 1.35 times as likely … and lesbian couples were three times as likely to divorce as heterosexual married couples" (ibid.). If a couple of the same sex raises a child, the couple robs the child of the unique, irreplaceable, and irrevocable contribution made by a parent of the opposite sex, as Dr. Rekers notes (ibid.). Children raised by gay couples do not enjoy the benefit of "a heterosocial role model of a stable married male/female relationship," nor do they have the advantage of having "a heterosocial role model of mother and father coordinating co-parenting" (ibid.). Such a household is much more harmful to children if the children are adopted, according to Dr. Rekers (ibid.). Legalizing gay marriage will make these maladies more widespread by making them the default for many households. Children are our future, and the state should not facilitate and institutionalize an environment for growing up that is, by default, harmful to those who will one day make the greatest contributions to society and keep the state functioning optimally.

Not Inborn
12. Many people object that gays are born gay, as if that would legitimize harmful same-sex relations. The citations of studies they use to support their assertion of inborn homosexuality are multiply flawed, and there are other reliable studies contradicting their claims (Dallas). Many people surrender to the claim that homosexuality is immutable. That is far from the case (ibid.). A homosexual orientation can, with therapy and counseling, be changed to a heterosexual orientation (Marco). The rates of success vary, but the fact remains that many committed individuals have eliminated homosexual tendencies via behavioral therapy (ibid.).

Not Like the Black Civil Rights Movement
13. Other persons compare the gay rights movement to the 1960s black civil rights movement, earning the sympathy of the uneducated. But the persons making such a comparison are guilty of constructing a false analogy (Neff 11). Whereas blacks are a minority because of their skin color, gays are a minority because of their behavior. While there are many former homosexuals (persons who have changed from homosexual orientation to heterosexual orientation), there cannot be a formerly black person. The bogus civil rights analogy forces a person to the false conclusion that he or she must always identify as homosexual, according to David Neff (14). Even Jonathan Rauch, a gay writer for The New Republic, recognizes the bankruptcy of the analogy (14). Rauch observes, among other differences between the gay rights movement and the black civil rights struggle, gays can vote and assemble to protest, they generally receive a better education than heterosexuals, and they are quite economically successful (Rauch 18-23).

Sexual Complementarity & the Purpose of Marital Sex
14. Finally, and most importantly, we must not legalize gay marriage because two members of the same sex cannot even fulfill the purpose of marriage (May). There is no "sexual complementary revealed in … bodily differences" by which the partners can give each other "in a receiving way" and receive each other "in a giving way" (ibid.). Persons of the same sex cannot achieve the "two-in-one-flesh communion" by anal or oral sex, masturbation, or any other techniques, and thus cannot "consummate their union by a bodily act in which they become the common subjects of an act that … is eminently fit both for the communication of spousal love and for the generation of new human life" (ibid.). Robert George and Gerard V. Bradley thus articulate the difference between homosexual acts on the one hand and heterosexual marital acts between fertile and even infertile spouses on the other:
The intrinsic point of sex in any marriage, fertile or not, is … the basic good of marriage itself, considered as a two-in-one-flesh communion of persons that is consummated and actualized by acts of the reproductive type. Such acts alone among sexual acts can be truly unitive, and thus marital, and marital acts, thus understood, have their intelligibility and value intrinsically, and not merely by virtue of their capacity to facilitate the realization of other goods. (ibid.)
15. Though these words might sting like salt on a wound, they are nevertheless the plain truth. Legalizing gay marriage means sanctifying behavior that is physically and mentally harmful, raising it to the level of normal, healthy marriage between one man and one woman. Do not support gay marriage, but instead, tell your friends about the negative consequences of homosexual behavior, things you might not hear in the mainstream media. Tell your friends that gay marriage is impossible because two members of the same sex cannot fulfill the purpose of marriage. Let us treat our gay friends with charity; there is no room for insulting humor, hatred, bullying, or violence. Let us, out of love, tell them the truth, and not sacrifice that truth for the sake of political correctness. Let us be merciful and not hypocritical, and let us strongly oppose and campaign against the use of the death penalty for homosexual behavior in Africa and the Middle East. Let us reach out and join hands with our gay friends and peers, working together towards living healthy lives for the common good.


Works Cited
  • Bayer, Ronald, Ph.D. Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987: 3-4.
  • Carpenter, Brent Dorian. "1049 Rights: What's at Stake for Gays in Same-Sex Marriage Debate." PrideSource 8 Jan. 2004. 20 Apr. 2009 .
  • Dallas, Joe. "Responding to Pro-Gay Theology." Leadership University. 8 Apr. 2009 .
  • Diggs Jr., John R., M.D. "The Health Risks of Gay Sex." Corporate Resource Council 2002. 11 Apr. 2009 .
  • Fitzgibbons, Rick, M.D. "Medical Downside of Homosexual Behavior." Zenit 18 Sept. 2003. 12 Apr. 2009 .
  • Foderaro, Lisa W. "Gay Marriage Begins in Connecticut." The New York Times 12 Nov. 2008. 20 Apr. 2009 .
  • Hosek, Linda. "Special Report." Honolulu Star-Bulletin 22 Jan. 1997. 20 Apr. 2009 .
  • "Increases in Unsafe Sex and Rectal Gonorrhea Among Men Who Have Sex With Men-- San Francisco, California, 1994-1997." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 48.3 (1999). 24 Apr. 2009 .
  • Laumann, Edward O., et al. The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
  • Marco, Anton N. Gay "Marriage?" Leadership University. 1999. 6 Apr. 2009 .
  • May, William E., Ph.D. "On the Impossibility of Same Sex Marriage." Catholic Medical Quarterly (2005). 24 Apr. 2009 .
  • Neff, David. "Two Men Don't Make A Right." Christianity Today 19 July 1993: 11-15.
  • Rauch, Jonathan. "Beyond Oppression." The New Republic 10 May 1993: 18-23.
  • Rekers, George A., Ph.D. "Same-Sex Marriage: Not in Kids' Interest." Zenit 21 May 2005. 12 Apr. 2009 .

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Incoherence of the Atheistic "Better World"

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MYTH
God is not omnipotent or omnibenevolent because He did not create a world in which all persons always freely choose good

1. Today I gave a presentation on the essay Evil and Omnipotence by atheist J.L. Mackie, but I did not have time to give the following demonstration by Dr. Scott Carson of the incoherence of a salient atheist objection to the mutual consistency of the propositions (1) God is omnibenevolent; (2) God is omnipotent; (3) Evil exists. The atheist objects along the lines of, "God is not omnipotent or omnibenevolent because He did not create a world in which all persons always freely choose good." Let the following sequence adopted from a post of Dr. Scott Carson{1} manifest the self-defeating nature of atheist J.L. Mackie's proposal that in an omnipotent omnibenevolent Creator would, in this better world, let all persons freely choose good and always intervene when they are about to choose evil:
(1) Assume World W in which all persons are free but necessarily, no free person will ever choose evil. In World W, necessarily all persons always freely choose good.
(2) God must guarantee that no free person in W uses his freedom to choose evil instead of good.
(3) No person in W is free to choose evil.
(4) No person in W is free.
(5) No person in W freely chooses good.
2. It will not do to complain that God should have created all persons in beatitude. For, as Aquinas says with the example of the angels, "the angels did not have from the beginning of their creation that ultimate beatitude which is beyond the power of nature; because such beatitude is no part of their nature, but its end; and consequently they ought not to have it immediately from the beginning."{2}

Notes & References
{1} Carson, Dr. Scott. "Impossible Possibilities." An Examined Life. 13 Nov. 2007. 24 Apr. 2009 <http://examinelife.blogspot.com/2007/11/impossible-possibilities.html>.
{2} Aquinas, St. Thomas. Summa Theologica I, q. 62, art. 1: "Whether the angels were created in beatitude?" 24 Apr. 2009 <http://newadvent.org/summa/1062.htm#article1>.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Great Weather!

Praise the Lord; the weather has been paradisiacal the past couple of days! Now spring is definitely here; before today, the weather was all over the place: a mixture of winter and spring.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Happy 91 Grandma Huysman!

Happy 91st birthday Grandma Huysman! I love you and you are a living saint! I pray that you feel better soon!

Love & prayers,
Will

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Final Freshman English Paper on Gay Marriage

See the paper itself at http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2009/04/science-and-sound-sense-secular-case.html.

The following is an outline of my final English Composition & Rhetoric paper of freshman year at Fordham:
1. Introduction – antithesis vs. thesis
2. Media portrayal of homosexuality
3. Religious perspectives on homosexuality
4. Gay rights by country
5. Overview: negative impact on health & 1973 APA change
6. M2M negative physical health effects
7. F2F negative physical health effects
8. M2M & F2F negative mental health effects
9. Motivations for SSM (benefits desired)
10. Summary: why not SSM?
11. Negative effect of SSM on children
12. Objection: Black Civil Rights Analogy
13. Objection: Founding Fathers
14. Objection: Born Gay
15. Objection: Immutable Orientation
16. Objection: Religious Bigotry
17. What Should Be Done? Pastoral Care for Homosexuals
18. Conclusion

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Good Friday 2009!

Happy Good Friday 2009! Praise the Lord Jesus, Who was crucified for our sins! I pray that I shall not sin and thereby crucify Him, but that I shall walk in His ways unto the end of my life, and I pray that the same is true for you. God bless you and yours, and thank you Jesus for guiding me and protecting me, You Who are my Lord and my God. For today's Mass readings go to http://www.usccb.org/nab/041009.shtml. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Happy Holy Thursday 2009

Happy Holy Thursday 2009, and God bless you and yours! The following are the Mass readings for today:

Ex 12:1-8,11-14: The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, "This month shall stand at the head of your calendar; you shall reckon it the first month of the year. Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household. If a family is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join the nearest household in procuring one and shall share in the lamb in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it. The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish. You may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight. They shall take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb. That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. ... "This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. It is the Passover of the LORD. For on this same night I will go through Egypt, striking down every firstborn of the land, both man and beast, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—-I, the LORD! But the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you. This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution."
Responsorial Ps 116:12-13,15-18: Response (cf. 1 Cor 10:16): Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good He has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R: Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of His faithful ones. I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid; You have loosed my bonds.
R: Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
To You will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all His people.
R: Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.
1 Cor 11:23-26: Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after He had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is My body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes.
Jn 13:1-15: Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that His hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved His own in the world and He loved them to the end. The Devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand Him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into His power and that He had come from God and was returning to God, He rose from supper and took off His outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around His waist. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel around His waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, "Master, are You going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later." Peter said to Him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with Me." Simon Peter said to Him, "Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well." Jesus said to him, "Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all." For He knew who would betray Him; for this reason, He said, "Not all of you are clean."

So when He had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, He said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call Me 'Teacher' and 'Master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do."

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Happy Palm Sunday 2009

Happy Palm Sunday 2009, and God bless you and yours! May God bless my roommate for getting me to run today, hopefully helping me to turn my life in a better direction.

Is 50:4-7: The Lord hath given me a learned tongue, that I should know how to uphold by word him that is weary: He wakeneth in the morning, in the morning He wakeneth my ear, that I may hear Him as a master. The Lord God hath opened my ear, and I do not resist: I have not gone back. I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me. The Lord God is my helper, therefore am I not confounded: therefore have I set my face as a most hard rock, and I know that I shall not be confounded.
Ps 22:8-9,17-20,23-24: All they that saw Me have laughed Me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head. He hoped in the Lord, let Him deliver Him: let Him save Him, seeing He delighteth in Him. ... For many dogs have encompassed Me: the council of the malignant hath besieged Me. They have dug My hands and feet. They have numbered all My bones. And they have looked and stared upon Me. They parted My garments amongst them; and upon My vesture they cast lots. But Thou, O Lord, remove not Thy help to a distance from Me; look towards My defense. ... I will declare Thy name to My brethren: in the midst of the church will I praise Thee. Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him.
Phil 2:6-11: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause, God also hath exalted Him and hath given Him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.
Mk 14:1-15:47

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Quranic Errancy, Pt. 2

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Quran translations come from A. J. Arberry's 1955 masterful The Koran Interpreted, and Bible translations from the Dhouay Rheims version at NewAdvent.org.

(1) Sons of Noah
Sura 11:42-43 Hud: So it ran with them amid waves like mountains; and Noah called to his son, who was standing apart, 'Embark with us, my son, and be thou not with the unbelievers!' He said, 'I will take refuge in a mountain, that shall defend me from the water.' Said he, 'Today there is no defender from God's command but for him on whom He has mercy.' And the waves came between them, and he was among the drowned.
The Truth:
Gen 6:8-10,18: But Noah found grace before the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just and perfect man in his generations, he walked with God. And he begot three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth. ... And I will establish My covenant with thee, and thou shalt enter into the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and the wives of thy sons with thee.

(2) Only Begotten Son
Sura 19:35 Maryam: It is not for God to take a son unto Him. Glory be to Him! When He decrees a thing, He but says to it 'Be,' and it is.
Sura 112:1-3 Al-Ikhlaas: Say: 'He is God, One, God, the Everlasting Refuge, Who has not begotten, and has not been begotten...
The Truth:
Ps 2:7: The Lord hath said to Me: Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.
Jn 1:14: And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.
Jn 3:16: For God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.
Heb 1:3,5-14: Who being the brightness of His glory and the figure of His substance and upholding all things by the word of His power, making purgation of sins, sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on high … For to which of the angels hath He said at any time: Thou art My Son, today have I begotten thee? And again: I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son? And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith: And let all the angels of God adore Him. And to the angels indeed He saith: He that maketh His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire. But to the Son: Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. And: Thou in the beginning, O Lord, didst found the earth: and the works of Thy hands are the heavens. They shall perish: but Thou shalt continue: and they shall all grow old as a garment. And as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shalt be changed. But Thou art the selfsame: and Thy years shall not fail. But to which of the angels said He at any time: Sit on My right hand, until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?

(3) Jesus Was Crucified
Sura 4:157 An-Nisaa: And for their saying, 'We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God' -- yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them. Those who are at variance concerning him surely are in doubt regarding him; they have no knowledge of him, except the following of surmise; and they slew him not of a certainty -- no indeed...
The Truth:
Acts 2:36: Therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly that God hath made both Lord and Christ, this same Jesus, Whom you have crucified.

(4) Johns Before St. John the Baptist
Sura 19:7 Maryam: 'O Zachariah, We give thee good tidings of a boy, whose name is John. No namesake have We given him aforetime.'
The Truth:
4 Ki 25:23: And when all the captains of the soldiers had heard this, they and the men that were with them, to wit, that the king of Babylon had made Godolias governor they came to Godolias to Maspha, Ismael, the son of Nathanias, and Johanan, the son of Caree, and Saraia, the son of Thanehumeth, the Netophathite, and Jezonias, the son of Maachathi, they and their men.
1 Chr 3:15,24: And the sons of Josias were, the firstborn Johanan, the second Joakim, the third Sedecias, the fourth Sellum. ... The sons of Elioenai, Oduia, and Eliasub, and Pheleia, and Accub, and Johanan, and Dalaia, and Anani, seven.
1 Chr 6:9-10: Achimaas begot Azarias, Azarias begot Johanan, Johanan begot Azarias. This is he that executed the priestly office in the house which Solomon built in Jerusalem.
1 Macc 2:1-2: In those days arose Mathathias, the son of John, the son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joarib, from Jerusalem, and he abode in the mountain of Modin: And he had five sons: John, who was surnamed Gaddis...
1 Macc 16:19: And he sent others to Gazara to kill John: and to the tribunes he sent letters to come to him, and that he would give them silver, and gold, and gifts.

(5) Mooing Golden Calf
Sura 20:88 Taa-Haa: Then he brought out for them a Calf, a mere body that lowed; and they said, 'This is your god, and the god of Moses, whom he has forgotten.'
The Truth:
Is 46:6-7: You that contribute gold out of the bag, and weigh out silver in the scales: and hire a goldsmith to make a god: and they fall down and worship. They bear him on their shoulders and carry him, and set him in his place, and he shall stand, and shall not stir out of his place. Yea, when they shall cry also unto him, he shall not hear: he shall not save them from tribulation.
Jer 10:4-5: He hath decked it with silver and gold: he hath put it together with nails and hammers, that it may not fall asunder. They are framed after the likeness of a palm tree, and shall not speak: they must be carried to be removed, because they cannot go. Therefore fear them not, for they can neither do evil nor good.
Bar 6:7: For their tongue that is polished by the craftsman, and themselves laid over with gold and silver, are false things, and they cannot speak.

(6) Moses Adopted by Pharaoh's Daughter
Sura 28:9 Al-Qasas: Said Pharaoh's wife, 'He will be a comfort to me and thee. Slay him not; perchance he will profit us, or we will take him for a son.' And they were not aware.
The Truth:
Ex 2:9-10: And Pharaoh's daughter said to her: "Take this child, and nurse him for me: I will give thee thy wages." The woman took and nursed the child: and when he was grown up, she delivered him to Pharaoh's daughter. And she adopted him for a son, and called him Moses, saying: "Because I took him out of the water."

(7) Virgin Mary Is Not One of the Trinity
Sura 5:116 Al-Maaida: And when God said, 'O Jesus son of Mary, didst thou say unto men, "Take me and my mother as gods, apart from God"?' He said, 'To Thee be glory! It is not mine to say what I have no right to. If I indeed said it, Thou knowest it, knowing what is within my soul, and I know not what is within Thy soul; Thou knowest the things unseen.
The Truth:
Mt 28:19: Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
1 Cor 6:11,19-20: And such some of you were. But you are washed: but you are sanctified: but you are justified: in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God. ... Or know you not that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, Who is in you, Whom you have from God: and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body.
1 Jn 5:7: And there are Three Who give testimony in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one.

(8) Blessed Virgin Mary was the Daughter of St. Joachim
Sura 66:12 At-Tahrim: And Mary, Imran's daughter, who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and she confirmed the Words of her Lord and His Books, and became one of the obedient.
The Truth:
Lk 3:23: And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years: being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was of Heli, who was of Mathat…
Editor: Heli stands for Heliachim, who later became known as Joachim. Recall just two parallel examples: Abram became St. Abraham, and Saul became St. Paul the Apostle.

(9) Blessed Virgin Mary Not Sister of St. Aaron
Sura 19:28 Maryam: Sister of Aaron, thy father was not a wicked man, nor was thy mother a woman unchaste.
The Truth:
Nu 26:58-59: These are the families of Levi: The family of Lobni, the family of Hebroni, the family of Core. Now Caath begot Amram: Who had to wife Jochabed the daughter of Levi, who was born to him in Egypt. She bore to her husband Amram sons, Aaron and Moses, and Mary their sister.
Editor: The false prophet Muhammad confused the Blessed Virgin Mary with a Mary from Old Testament times.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Quranic Errancy, Pt. 1

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MYTH
The Quran is free of errors and is thus the Word of God
In evaluating the Quran, as with any other book which purports to be God's word, we must be very meticulous and have an open mind and open heart. We have to correctly understand the historical context (audience, contemporary cultural values and standards), original language, author's intent, and the phraseology. We must read the surrounding text, recognize mere copyist errors (which do not nullify inerrancy), correctly quote the text, and thoughtfully and open-mindedly consider ways in which two seemingly contradictory passages might be compatible with each other and ways to alleviate possible difficulties a passage has with external evidence. Original inerrancy is all that is necessary; not having inerrant copies encourages freely made decisions and critical and independent thinking, and mankind could not logistically handle inerrant copies due to the chaos they would cause. Original inerrancy (including the complete absence of false prophecies and presence of true ones), perfect morality, and miracles corroborated by compelling internal and external evidence are necessary to establish divine inspiration; eloquence is not evidence of inspiration. On the contradictions page of the site Answering Islam, there are plenty of "contradictions" that can be readily explained. However, the site is commendable for presenting myriad true contradictions. More on this in a different post.

That being said, the Quran, while it is an extremely intriguing book, is most certainly not the word of God.

Here I quote verses from Arthur John Arberry's 1955 classic The Koran Interpreted because Professor Khaleel Mohammed says that "the translation is without prejudice and is probably the best around."

(1) Food in Hell
Nourishing Fruit from Tree of Ez-Zakkoum in Sura 37:62-66 As Saaffaat: Is that better as a hospital, or the Tree of Ez-Zakkoum? We have appointed it as a trial for the evildoers. It is a tree that comes forth in the root of Hell; its spathes are as the heads of Satans, and they eat of it, and of it fill their bellies.
Only Foul Pus in Sura 69:36 Al-Haaqqa: neither any food saving foul pus
Only Non-Nourishing Cactus Thorn in Sura 88:6-7 Al-Ghaashiya: No food for them but cactus thorn unfattening, unappeasing hunger.

(2) Wine
Sinful in Sura 2:219 Al Baqara: They will question thee concerning wine, and arrow-shuffling. Say: 'In both is heinous sin; and uses for men, but the sin in them is more heinous than the usefulness.' They will question thee concerning what they should expend. Say: 'The abundance.' So God makes clear His signs to you; haply you will reflect...
Sinful in Sura 5:90 Al-Maaida: O believers, wine and arrow-shuffling, idols and divining-arrows are an abomination, some of Satan's work; so avoid it; haply So you will prosper.
Paradisical in Sura 47:15 Muhammad: This is the similitude of Paradise which the God-fearing have been promised: therein are rivers of water unstaling, rivers of milk unchanging in flavor, and rivers of wine -- a delight to the drinkers, rivers, too, of honey purified; and therein for them is every fruit, and forgiveness from their Lord -- Are they as he who dwells forever in the Fire, such as are given to drink boiling water, that tears their bowels asunder?
Paradisical in Sura 83:22-28 Al Mutaffifin: Surely the pious shall be in bliss, upon couches gazing; thou knowest in their faces the radiancy of bliss as they are given to drink of a wine sealed whose seal is musk -- so after that let the strivers strive -- and whose mixture is Tasnim, a fountain at which do drink those brought nigh.

(3) Inquiry in Paradise
No in Sura 23:101 Al Muminoon: For when the Trumpet is blown, that day there shall be no kinship any more between them, neither will they question one another.
Yes in Sura 37:27 As Saaffaat: And some of them shall advance towards others, questioning each other.
Yes in Sura 52:25-28 At-Tur: And some of them shall advance towards others questioning each other. Saying: Surely we feared before on account of our families: But Allah has been gracious to us and He has saved us from the punishment of the hot wind: Surely we called upon Him before: Surely He is the Benign, the Merciful.

(4) Men and Jinns Created For Hell or Only For Serving Allah?
For Hell in Sura 7:179 Al-A'raaf: And certainly We have created for Hell many of the jinn and the men; they have hearts with which they do not understand, and they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear; they are as cattle, nay, they are in worse errors; these are the heedless ones.
Only to Worship Allah in Sura 51:56 Adh-Dhaariyat: And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should serve Me.
Editor: The only way I see to solve this is a distinction between antecedent and consequent will a la St. John of Damascus, but Sura 7:179 is worded as if it were positive predestination to Hell, which is unjust.

(5) Is Allah the Only Guardian?
Allah raises guardians, too in Sura 4:75 An-Nisaa: And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.
Messengers & Believers, too in Sura 5:55-56 Al-Maaida: Only Allah is your Vali and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow. And whoever takes Allah and His messenger and those who believe for a guardian, then surely the party of Allah are they that shall be triumphant.
Believers, too in Sura 9:71 At-Tawba: And (as for) the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other; they enjoin good and forbid evil and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger; (as for) these, Allah will show mercy to them; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.
Only Allah in Sura 9:116 At-Tawba: Surely Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; He brings to life and causes to die; and there is not for you besides Allah any Guardian or Helper.
Friends of Allah, too in Sura 10:62-64 Yunus: Now surely the friends of Allah-- they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve. Those who believe and guarded (against evil): They shall have good news in this world's life and in the hereafter; there is no changing the words of Allah; that is the mighty achievement.
Only Allah in Sura 32:4 As-Sajda: Allah is He Who created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six periods, and He mounted the throne (of authority); you have not besides Him any guardian or any intercessor, will you not then mind?

(6) Whether Allah forgives shirk
No in Sura 4:48,116 An-Nisaa: Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and forgives what is besides that to whomsoever He pleases; and whoever associates anything with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin. ... Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and He forgives what is besides this to whom He pleases; and whoever associates anything with Allah, he indeed strays off into a remote error.
Yes in Sura 4:153 An-Nisaa: The followers of the Book ask you to bring down to them a book from heaven; so indeed they demanded of Musa a greater thing than that, for they said: Show us Allah manifestly; so the lightning overtook them on account of their injustice. Then they took the calf (for a god), after clear signs had come to them, but We pardoned this; and We gave to Musa clear authority.
Yes in Sura 25:68-71 Al-Furqaan: And they who do not call upon another god with Allah and do not slay the soul, which Allah has forbidden except in the requirements of justice, and (who) do not commit fornication and he who does this shall find a requital of sin; The punishment shall be doubled to him on the day of resurrection, and he shall abide therein in abasement; Except him who repents and believes and does a good deed; so these are they of whom Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And whoever repents and does good, he surely turns to Allah a (goodly) turning.

(7) Identity of First Muslim
Adam in Sura 2:37 Al-Baqara: Thereafter Adam received certain words from his Lord, and He turned towards him; truly He turns, and is All-compassionate.
Abraham & Ishmael in Sura 2:127-133 Al-Baqara: And when Abraham, and Ishmael with him, raised up the foundations of the House: 'Our Lord, receive this from us; Thou art the All-hearing, the All-knowing; and, our Lord, make us submissive to Thee, and of our seed a nation submissive to Thee; and show us our holy rites, and turn towards us; surely Thou turnest, and art All-compassionate; and, our Lord, do Thou send among them a Messenger, one of them, who shall recite to them Thy signs, and teach them the Book and the Wisdom, and purify them; Thou art the All-mighty, the All-wise.' Who therefore shrinks from the religion of Abraham, except he be foolish-minded? Indeed, We chose him in the present world, and in the world to come he shall be among the righteous. When his Lord said to him, 'Surrender,' he said, 'I have surrendered me to the Lord of all Being.' And Abraham charged his sons with this and Jacob likewise: 'My sons, God has chosen for you the religion; see that you die not save in surrender.' Why, were you witnesses, when death came to Jacob? When he said to his sons, 'What will you serve after me?' They said, 'We will serve thy God and the God of thy fathers Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, One God; to Him we surrender.'
Abraham in Sura 3:67 Aal-i-Imraan: No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim and one pure of faith; certainly he was never of the idolaters.
Editor: This is a historical error, i.e., an external contradiction; Abraham was not a Muslim. This page focuses on internal contradictions of the Quran.
Abraham in Sura 6:61 Al-An'aam: Say: 'As for me, my Lord has guided me to a straight path, a right religion, the creed of Abraham, a man of pure faith; he was no idolater.'
Muhammad in Sura 6:14,162-163 Al-An'aam: Say: 'Shall I take to myself as protector other than God, the Originator of the heavens and of the earth, He. who feeds and is not fed?' Say: 'I have been commanded to be the first of them that surrender: "Be not thou of the idolaters."' ... Say: 'My prayer, my ritual sacrifice, my living, my dying -- all belongs to God, the Lord of all Being. No associate has He. Even so I have been commanded, and I am the first of those that surrender.'
Editor: There can be the first Muslim to believe ever, the first Muslim to believe in a specific region and tribe, and the foremost=most prominent and devout Muslim and leader (Muhammad), but how many other senses can there be and are these senses even implied in the Quran? And even if the persons listed erred as fallible men in their statement that they were the first to believe (i.e., the sense of their claim to be the first of believers cannot be reconciled with that of other claimants), why doesn't the Quran rebuke their error?
Moses in Sura 7:143 Al-A'raaf: And when Musa came at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said: My Lord! show me (Thyself), so that I may look upon Thee. He said: You cannot (bear to) see Me but look at the mountain, if it remains firm in its place, then will you see Me; but when his Lord manifested His glory to the mountain He made it crumble and Musa fell down in a swoon; then when he recovered, he said: Glory be to Thee, I turn to Thee, and I am the first of the believers.
Egyptian magicians in Sura 26:46,51 Ash-Shu'araa: And the magicians were thrown down prostrate ... Surely we hope that our Lord will forgive us our wrongs because we are the first of the believers.
Everyone is born a Muslim in Sura 30:30 Ar-Room: So set thy face to the religion, a man of pure faith -- God's original upon which He originated mankind. There is no changing God's creation. That is the right religion; but most men know it not --
Editor: This is not only factually inaccurate, but it is incompatible with the statements in the Quran that person X is the first Muslim in the order of time and in a certain region or tribe.

(8) Will Faithful Christians and Jews Go to Hell?
No in Sura 2:62 Al-Baqara: Surely they that believe, and those of Jewry, and the Christians, and those Sabaeans, whoso believes in God and the Last Day, and works righteousness -- their wage awaits them with their Lord, and no fear shall be on them; neither shall they sorrow.
Yes in Sura 3:85 Al-i-Imraan: Whoso desires another religion than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him; in the next world he shall be among the losers.
No in Sura 5:69 Al-Maaida: Surely they that believe, and those of Jewry, and the Sabaeans, and those Christians, whosoever believes in God and the Last Day, and works righteousness -- no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow.
Yes in Sura 5:72 Al-Maaida: They are unbelievers who say, 'God is the Messiah, Mary's son.' For the Messiah said, 'Children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your Lord. Verily whoso associates with God anything, God shall prohibit him entrance to Paradise, and his refuge shall be the Fire; and wrongdoers shall have no helpers.'
Editor: There is a contradiction but three ayat apart. What does this say about the textual integrity of the Quran?