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April 15th, 2013

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

Earlier this month, Timothy Dalrymple of Philosophical Fragments ran a guest post from Ken Hagerty, “Sex and Western Civilization.” In this post, he presents Dennis Praeger’s argument that “The subsequent dominance of the Western world can largely be attributed to the sexual revolution initiated by Judaism and later carried forward by Christianity,” leading to a society that “heightened male-female love and sexuality (and thereby almost alone created the possibility of love and eroticism within marriage), and began the arduous task of elevating the status of women.” Hagerty then takes this argument and tries to show how allowing gay marriage would undo a lot of this. He doesn’t go quite so far as saying gay marriage will lead to the collapse of western civilization, but it’s a pretty fair guess he thinks it would have a deleterious effect.

Where to start? Honestly, I could take a whole post (if not more) on a wide range of points, starting with the whole concept of a Judeo-Christian tradition and the historical claim that that morality led to cultures under Christian influence to advance more quickly than those in other parts of the world. I’m a Christian and I think very highly of some variety of Christian ethics, but if you plot the periods when Christians gained influence in a certain society with whether that society was comparatively strong or flourishing in other ways, it’s not always a pro-Christian picture. (For example, Egyptian civilization predated the time Moses was supposed to live by thousands of years; the western Roman Empire fell shortly after Christianity became the official state religion; when Europe (a very Christian continent) was plunged into the Dark Ages, the (Muslim) Ottoman Empire experienced a golden age of scientific and philosophical discoveries; and the ages of European dominance nicely coincided with an emphasis on secular reason during the Enlightenment). I could also take issue with the claim that eroticism in marriage is a uniquely Judeo-Christian accomplishment or even that it was a component for most of Judeo-Christian history, and with the claim that the “traditional marriage” Mr. Hagerty supports has been particularly good at elevating women.

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Forward Thinking blog round-up

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

Over at Patheos, Libby Anne and Dan came up with another great Forward Thinking challenge:

What do you believe should be the purpose of marriage in our society today? What do you personally see as the purpose of marriage for your own life? And finally, what responsibilities, duties, and/or obligations do you believe marriage should entail?

I’ve been thinking quite a lot about marriage, particularly gay marriage, and while I’m still not entirely sure I’ve answered the challenge completely, I’ve had fun digging into this topic over the last few weeks. Here are some of the things I’ve written on sexuality and marriage related to this challenge.

  1. God Made Adam and Steve, Too: An alternate reading of the Biblical “clobber texts” on homosexuality.
  2. Why I’m Not Changing my FB pic this week: In trying to explain why I didn’t change my FB avatar to the red equals sign, I talked quite a bit on how dialogue with friends led me to change my view on gay marriage.
  3. On Equivocation (4/3): Why state-recognized gay marriage doesn’t change sacramental marriage. I
  4. By the Power Vested in Me (4/15): What role, if any, should the government play in granting marriage? Also, an answer to Ken Hagerty on why gay marriage doesn’t violate the First Amendment.

I want to do one more post on whether gender differences between men and women change things (basically, whether male/female couples are somehow better suited to marriage than male/male or female/female are). I’ll post a link if/when I get this written. I’ll also put a link to the round-up of posts when it’s available. ETA: Here it is! Check out the other posts on this theme.

Thanks, as always, to Libby Anne, Dan and everyone who participates in this challenge. It’s been a blast thinking deep thoughts on this topic.



Latest Month

December 2020



  • 5 Dec 2020, 12:53
    PM me your address. I have a card set aside for you, but need name and address to get it going.

    - Erulisse (one L)
  • 5 Dec 2020, 12:04
    What a lovely idea!
  • 4 Dec 2020, 17:56
    Mmmm, ginger snapses!
  • 4 Dec 2020, 17:37
    I don't send out cards anymore, but I was drooling over all the pop-up ones Amazon had and wondering if it might not be time to resume the tradition (I decided no).

    Not much help in the Hallmark…
  • 25 Nov 2020, 14:52
    That's great! Happy Thanksgiving to you and thanks for the marching, musical cats. LOL

    - Erulisse (one L)
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