Monday, June 28, 2010

Why I can't talk to liberals, even though I've tried


In my
last post, I told you I could write a whole post on the times I have tried to have an honest, formal dialogue with a liberal. I am going to lay out my experiences for you here, and maybe it will make sense to someone.

As you all know by now (because I repeat it endlessly), I like clarity. For this reason, I have tried on three occasions over the past two years to have fruitful exchanges with self-professed modern-day liberals. All with the same result.

Here are the terms I proposed to each of the gentlemen before we began: I told them that I was not trying to convert them to my way of thinking (I knew that was unlikely with these particular men), but that I was truly, sincerely trying to understand the liberal mindset. I find no logic in modern liberalism, and I admit that it drives me crazy. I actually spend time wracking my brain, trying to understand.

(Small aside here, for context: When I took the GMATs for graduate school admissions, I scored in the 99th percentile nationally in the logic section. I mention that not to brag, because who really cares, but so that you might understand how my mind works and why I must have things make sense! It's in my DNA, I guess.)

I love social and political commentator Dennis Prager (a Jewish conservative), who always makes the point: "I prefer clarity to agreement." Me, too. I assured these liberals that I didn't need them to agree with me. I only wanted to have clarity about what they believe.

I told them I wanted to ask them one question at a time, about things that I really, truly didn't get. If they could answer me as honestly and clearly as possible, I would appreciate it. I told them that I had had no luck getting any clear answers from liberals before. They would be the first.

First far-left guy I approached via email was a university professor (what else), teaching political science and law (of course). A friend of my husband from dh's days as a Democrat. He agreed to my ground rules, but, after I proposed that we start with the issue of abortion, he warns me that I won't like what he has to say (he is so far left that he has no problem with partial-birth abortion).

No problem, I said, and we're ready to go! I shot him an email with my first question:

"When I was homeschooling my sixth-grade daughter a few years ago, her secular Harcourt science book began its chapter on human biology with the following sentence: 'You began life as a single cell.' Do you agree with that statement?"

He never answered. Oh, he did write back once or twice after my promptings, saying he was busy working on the Obama campaign, but would definitely get back to me. I reminded him that it was a yes or no question, and that if he just answered yes or no, we could move on or pick up later, after the election. I never heard from him again.

Second far-left guy was a law student (what else) atheist (of course), son of friends. He agreed to all the same terms, we had a friendly exchange about our backgrounds, and then I emailed him my first question:

"I keep hearing liberals in the media and elsewhere say that conservatives today are increasingly radical, and that we keep moving further and further to the right on issues. Can you tell me on what specific issues conservatives keep moving significantly to the right?"

I never heard from him again. I emailed him a couple of times, and I never received a response. (Was that a difficult or offensive question?)

Third far-left guy. An old, dear friend from college who had "come out" some years later (it was no surprise). A great guy, and when we met up again on facebook, we had a very positive and honest conversation about our differences. He seemed excited about the dialogue I proposed, chose the topic himself ("gay marriage"), and I then sent him my first message of the dialogue. You can read it here, in my previous blog post. He answered me with excitement and said that he liked where this was going. And yet, I never heard from him again.

Fast forward to now. After my last blog post, I was pleased to see that a liberal reader, Gwen, commented. She addressed several issues, but not the specific question I posed about manipulation of language. When I asked her again, in the comments section, she again did not answer the question directly. I also asked Gwen another direct question twice (a yes or no question) and still, no answer.

I admit to frustration. I don't get it. I am not asking her, or any liberal, to agree with my conservative positions. But I wonder why I can't get any answers to simple questions? For example, maybe the first guy doesn't believe that he began life as a single cell. Maybe he disagrees with the science book. Fine. I don't care. I just want to be clear that that is indeed his position. At least then his rabidly pro-abort position makes more sense to me, and we can have clarity on that issue and move forward in understanding each other.

Same with the question of language manipulation. Perhaps some people think it's okay to change the definitions of words in order to promote a political agenda. Okay. I accept that. Just be honest, and then at least I'll know where you stand. Again, we can have clarity then, and move forward.

It would bring so much comfort to my crazy little logic-loving brain if an honest liberal could just answer my questions instead of ignoring them or dancing around them. Anyone?


**Disclaimer for Ann: I promise, on my honor, that my next post will be about something light and non-controversial, like rainbows, butterflies, or bubbles. Maybe little Catholic bubbles.

(Also, my recent IVF post was reprinted at Catholic Exchange.)

35 comments:

  1. Love this post, the answer is: becomes the Truth can not ultimately be hidden forever. Ask me any liberal questions you want, I mean truly liberal ones, I use to be liberal, I even went to UC Berkeley and studied under world famous liberals in the most liberal program that school had to offer. I kid you not! Little JoAnn. Then God touched my heart.

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  2. All you have to say is Catholic and that causes controversy! So Catholic and bubble won't make it any lighter. ;)

    I hope someone answers your question! ;)

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  3. Haha! Leila's favorite game is Stump the Liberal! :-) I loved this post.

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  4. Butterflies... I would think your butterfly post will not be controversial... But you never know! ;)

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  5. Ha! I promise me and my email in-box can take it (but man, a post on butterflies would be lovely). I just got so aggravated this whole week (on other blogs in addition to yours) with people not answering questions, diverting to another issue, and no matter how polite you are in trying to explain your position, finding that we are “attacking,” “outnumbering,” or are being “unwelcoming”.

    Anyway – I’m guessing if you do get an answer from anyone, it will be in the vain that you were antagonistic (this week has taught me a lot). The real answer is probably because you are a strong opponent, not a weak one. Most people (no matter their position) only want to take on the wounded and weak gazelle.

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  6. St Thomas Aquinas once said that before dialog can begin both parties must first agree on the existence of God. If they do not agree on that the conversation can go no further.

    Perhaps that is the problem. You are not starting from the same beginning and can therefore find no common ground on which to discuss things.

    Either that or you're too smart for 'em.

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  7. This might be a generalization, but from what I have seen, liberals tend to be very focused on a misguided sense of compassion when it comes to social issues.
    With abortion, they could go on and on about women who were raped, didn't have the money to support a child, or Whoopi's sparkling comment that people who choose life for their babies under difficult circumstances end up abusing their children.
    So by her "logic", it's better to kill them before they were born then for them to be abused...?:(
    With gay unions, I find people going on and on about the injustice, and how Joe wasn't allowed to be in the room when Bob was hospitalized, or if one of them died, the partner wouldn't get custody of the child or possession of the estate. "It's just not fair!"
    With health care reform, they pushed it through so quickly on cries of Betty the 80 year old cancer victim who couldn't pay her premiums or the Jones family whose son had cancer and their insurance dropped him from their plan etc.
    However, I think that when you start to scratch the surface of their compassion, you quickly see how flawed it really is.
    With abortion, they choose not to focus on the biological facts that we are talking about a child here.
    With gay unions, the emotional investment makes it difficult to see any logic against it. Gwen even talked about her friends and how she hoped that they would some day be granted the benefits of marriage.
    And with health care, the heart breaking examples given seem to trump conscious protections and funding of killing children in the womb.
    Obviously these are only 3 examples, but contrary to the liberal idea that conservatives only say No!, they don't realize that we are educated on the issues, and we also have compassion, but we are looking at the whole picture.
    Perhaps I am wrong here, but the bottom line seems to be that when convictions are based on emotions and not truth or logic, it makes the issues very fluid and difficult to debate.

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  8. I applaud your effort to really understand the "other side".

    My cubicle buddy throughout the entire Obama campaign was the most liberal person I have ever met. I approached him about abortion once and his only response was "I don't have those "parts" so I don't think I can have an opinion". And that was that. I tried to pursue it further but was only met with the same response. He didn't want to discuss it, he wanted an out.

    My second question to him was something along the lines of "aren't you the least bit concerned with the type of people Obama has been associating with for his career? (Wright, Ehrs, etc) "No," he said, "you use people to get what you want and where you need to go and then you drop them when they're inconvenient. It happens in politics all the time and is nothing new. I did it when i ran for president (student body for our large college) and can only expect that Obama would do it too."

    I had nothing to add to that. How can we find common ground if he's ok with something that low??

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  9. Ann-
    I agree with you. I needed to take a bit of a break b/c I felt overwhelmed!

    Leila-- you are FAB. I love how logical you are. LOVE IT...

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  10. Ok, so you called me out and you want "yes" and "no" answers so you can logically call me "WAY OFF" Here are my answers so you can continue to logically discount them:

    1. language manipulation for political agendas: yes, I'm aware that this happens in just about all political campaigns. In the case of the word "marriage," I take the dictionary term to mean a union between two individuals.

    2. What do I think if two brothers got married? Are you seriously worried about this? Really? Is this really threatening people in your community getting married? I just have to laugh-this is logic? I can't even think of what I would say. Incest does happen regardless of marriage,but I certainly don't condone it!

    And lastly, thanks for the "assumption" that I'm a raging, illogical liberal. You really hit the nail on the head with that one.

    And pardon me for having other things to do with my life than constantly answer your questions.

    Good bye (and good riddance of me here!!).
    gwen

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  11. If you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen! Good bye Gwen! It's been nice while it lasted!

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  12. Is THIS how Gwen got to my blog? I wondered where she came from, and welcomed her questions! Thanks for the shout-out, ladies!

    Did you know that language manipulation is one of the main reasons it's taken us so long to get the correct English translation of the Mass? Because there are so many forms of English, there isn't one official language. Most of the third world countries translate their Mass from English- not Latin, so it was essential that we "get it right".

    In this one case, I wish we were more like the French. (Yes, I said it.) They actually have people whose job it is to preserve the French language from doing just this- changing to fit political and other agendas. This is why treaties are written in French.

    Keep it up!!

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  13. Gwen, I doubt you will even read this, but just in case you do, I wanted to mention that I think you missed the point of Leila's question about two brothers getting married. Incest is against the law because of the risk of birth defects that increases when the same gene pool reproduces with itself over and over again.
    But with two brothers, the possibility of them procreating is impossible. So now if you think about it the only problem with "brotherly love" (haha) is simply that it is taboo. But wasn't homosexuality taboo not too long ago in our society? The question is simply, where do you draw the line? Why is okay to normalize one thing but not the other?

    Leila, this is a great question! It is a real brain stretcher, and I will definitely be using it in future conversations. :)

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  14. Gwen, I can say with all honesty and no animosity that I WISH you would stay. Because I thought I had finally found a liberal that might engage me. I am not joking when I say I really just want to understand your mindset.

    Unfortunately, your numbered answers still did NOT answer my pointed questions. I will try one more time, if you will let me?

    1. Do you believe it is okay to change the meanings of words in order to advance a political agenda?

    (Please note, I am not asking if you think it does happen...obviously it does. I am asking if YOU think it is FINE to forcibly change the meaning of words to advance a political agenda.)

    2. Are you okay with two brothers getting married?

    Megan was exactly right... I am not worried that all of a sudden brothers will start getting married, I am just trying to find out IF you are against it so that I can ask the next logical question which would be WHY you are against it (assuming you are, which I assume, but wanted to be clear). Megan has explained the crux of it.... If two consenting adults who cannot procreate happen to love each other, why shouldn't they get married?

    See, I just want your logic to make sense to me. I want to know, and no one will tell me! I am frustrated, yes, but not surprised. After all, it fits the pattern of my trying to get answers from liberals. I just can't seem to do it. Anyone else out there want to please engage me?

    PS: Lauren, I didn't realize Gwen had gone to your blog, too, but I think your response to her was sound, and I wonder if she could answer? We are all busy, but please don't leave us hanging, Gwen. Or, can you send us a liberal who will answer? We don't bite, I promise.

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  15. Gwen:
    I think you inadvertently proved Leila’s point. Therein lies the problem. You did the engaging here and I think Leila was happy to hear from you as were most of us. No one went and pounded on your blogger door. You dropped a comment, but then didn’t feel the need after that to stick around and actually discuss the things you said or the topics at hand. That is not a conversation whatsoever . . . and that’s THE problem to which Leila was referring. People say they want to discuss, but then they refuse to actually do it. Saying “my way is right” and not ever engaging or trying to explain the rationale behind it? How is that going to do any good (to us or to your cause)? And I would think it would be equally beneficial for you (and for your cause) to truly want to understand our rationale as well.

    As for answering Leila’s questions, you didn’t (but she has explained that and why she was asking them). I also want to add that when someone asks a question so that they can receive an answer and then move onto the next logical question . . . it’s not trying to “trap” (for lack of a better word), but rather trying to keep the conversation on the point at hand and naturally progressing through the conversation so that everyone is on the same page and able to understand each other before moving on rather than bobbing up and down and all over the place. That's all.

    I think you have a lot to add and maybe you will reconsider. As I said in the other blog you posted on, no one is trying to make you feel unwelcomed.

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  16. I would add to that logical question, Leila, why stop at two adults? Let's take it further to if a 40 year old man and a 5 year old girl truly love one another. Or a 30 year old woman and a 12 year old boy. Or a 20 year old man and a 3 year old boy... I would like to hear a liberal's rationale behind why these things are morally "wrong" (aside from the fact that it is illegal, because if that were the case then so is homosexual marriage- in most States- and abortion, so clearly we all don't just agree with anything "legal" and disagree with things that are "illegal.")

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  17. This is great. However I'm not sure we could ever visit you guys. Because you and your dh and my dh would get along so well, there'd be so many political and Catholic discussions, we'd never get any sleep and then all the kids would have to fend for themselves ;)

    btw, M's godmother is moving to your town in a year or so, so we ARE planning on visiting sometime! We fly for free, after all! Round us up some carseats!

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  18. Biologically speaking, on the cell question, life does begin when the first cell, the zygote, is formed. However, this is based on the definition of life as the capacity to do most or all of these functions: possess the capacity to grow. Respond to stimuli. At some point in an organisms lifespan, reproduce. They need energy. They must get rid of wastes. So biologically speaking, a zygote is alive. However, this often raises the question of sentience. A zygote is not sentient. This is biologically impossible, as you need at least some brain function to be sentient. A zygote does not possess brain function, because it does not present brain cells, because it is only a single cell. In conclusion: the first cell of a human is alive but not sentient.

    In response to This_Cross_I_Embrace's question about why same-sex relationships between two adults are morally "ok" but relationships between an adult and a child aren't: children are incapable of giving consent. They cannot consent to a sexual relationship or a marriage. Two adults, however, can.

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  19. "Master": I am working on a post for Christa, so I don't have time to engage every point of yours. (And Sophie will be coming back with her points, too, so I am a bit swamped.) Stay tuned regarding the issue of "sentient" when I respond to Christa, but thank you for your honesty in acknowledging the truth that human life begins at conception.

    As to your answer to TCIE: There are groups who believe children *can*, in fact, consent. Groups of pedophiles like NAMBLA and others have been lobbying for years to make their type of "love" acceptable. In fact, they use the same arguments that homosexuals have used to gain acceptance: That their "love" with children is "a gift" that they were "born with" and that the children should be "free to express their sexuality", etc. In fact, the APA came very close to declaring that pedophilia was only a disorder IF THE PEDOPHILE WAS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH BEING A PEDOPHILE! Thankfully, there was enough outrage that the change in stance was dropped (for now?).

    Read the following very carefully for more on that:

    http://pedophileophobia.com/disorder.htm

    And, there is no way you can know for sure if/when a child can "give consent" can you? At what age/moment of development are they able to? What if they WANT to have sexual contact when they are five, ten, twelve, fifteen? Where is the line exactly, and who decides? You can't truly say, can you? And that is exactly what the pedophiles will argue. Eventually, the legal "age of consent" will go lower and lower, and you don't have a leg to stand on, philosophically, if you oppose it. It's just your subjective opinion against someone else's. Planned Parenthood and their ilk are big on pushing the idea that children and teens are sexual beings and should not be inhibited, and that is the trend of enlightened "sex ed" these days (ask your mom, since you said she is a sex ed teacher).

    Anyway, thanks for commenting!

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  20. Yes, individuals begin being sexual at different ages. What I was specifically referring to is the age of consent, as dictated by law. And yes, some children/teenagers are more mature than others. But some aren't, and that's why the age of consent is, or should be, set high enough that everyone included by it is capable of giving consent.

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  21. Master, when would you set the legal age of consent?

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  22. TM:

    1) Regarding your "age of consent" argument, your logic is circular.

    The point of question is to define whether gay marriage (and other taboo, or formally-taboo unions) SHOULD be legal.

    What you are saying is that pedophilia should be illegal because it is illegal??

    Ultimately, the "age of consent" is a LEGAL standard TIED to morality, but it is not the moral standard itself.

    And I've known people in their twenties who were incapable of informed consent.

    So the question remains - can a 14 year old who has graduated from college and is attending medical school consent to sex with a 40-year old?

    2. Regarding sentience: good luck defining that. I hope you don't fall into a coma and someone has to determine whether your are "sentient."

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  23. Hello everyone! Sorry, I have been away--I was travelling with some friends of mine and did not have access to blogger.
    I see the subject has swivelled off to a tangent. Ken, Master, why don't we let the Pedophelia issue wait for another day and go back to the original question? Which, as I understand it, was, "Should gay marriage be permitted?" This is not about the redefinition of language (although that is a good point that was brought up). On that point, Leila, in your original post "While we're at it..." you say, "...if the whole of the English speaking world has understood the meaning of the word 'chair' to mean 'chair' then I think it is wrong that a small group could start insisting that we understand 'chair' to mean 'chair and table'."
    I would like to point out that it is not, in fact, a small group of people that decided 'gay' meant 'same-sex relations'. It was--and is--in fact, the large majority.
    Second point: Leila, you are completely right, sex is designed for procreation--however, as you said yourself, it is also for bonding between two people in a relationship. Should it really make a difference if those two people are the same gender? After all, they are in love. Isn't that what counts?
    And point 3: not everything ends up doing what it was designed to do. After all, bubble wrap was originally designed to be textured wallpaper, Facebook was originally designed for the students of Cambridge University to converse after hours and off-campus. Even the internet itself was intended as a radar-network designed to support the Sputnik project. I could go on and on, but that would be tangent to my point, which is: if everything was put only to the use it was designed for, progress would be very slow.
    Now for the animals point. I don't mean to offend when I say this (and most sincere apologies if I do,) but when you wrote, "We Christians believe that animals are incapable of using reason." Are you sure you didn't mean to say "We Catholics"? I have never met a Christian person before today who honestly believed animals have no intelligence. If animals have no will, then who controls them? After all, it is will that allows the fly to land on the cieling and the snake to turn in whichever direction it chooses. The fact that animals have will is proven most fundamentally by the cat, dog, horse and elephant. The cat must choose to purr; it isn't simply a reaction, it is a sound caused by the muscles of the larynx essentially flapping as breath passes through them. If animals are not intelligent, how are dogs and horses trained? Much like children, they learn what word means what action. The main difference is they are not able to speak those words they understand.
    Lastly, the elephant. If animals are on a lower "level" than humans, why do elephants clearly mourn their dead?
    Back to the origin of that point, isn't it God who created all creatures, great and small? And did he not look at all his work when he was done and was he not pleased?
    Now, why would he be pleased if he does not approve of homosexuality? And, if you argue that animals evolved and changed, not only physically but mentally and that is what allows them to perform these acts, if they do not have mentality or will, they could not have chosen to do this themselves. If God did not give them free will, they could not have chosen to do that themselves, which means God must have made them do it. Why would he do that if he believes it is wrong?
    I believe that when God makes the soul, he makes another soul for it to be with, romantically. Now, when those souls are placed in their bodies, what does it matter if the bodies are the same gender?
    Sorry for being absent, and for this comment being so long. Please do take your time in reading it--I just had so much to say and I wanted to get it out all at once so I didn't forget a single point! Thanks again! :)

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  24. I am so sorry to be adding more again after that comment...I blush to say so, but the reason I need to add is because the text exceeded the maximum character limit of 4,096. So here is my concluding point (As I'm sure you are getting bored of reading all this!): going back to what you said to the Master about the ancient Roman and First Nation societies and their same-sex relations, how do you deny that this is true? There are carvings and pottery with images depicting couples of the same gender being intimate, for lack of a better phrase. To add to that, in Greek Mythology there is a myth--the name of which I cannot seem to recall--in which Zeus looks down to the earth and sees a young man he finds attractive, so he plucks this young man up to Olympus and this young man becomes his 'cup-bearer'. Although in this case, it is made quite clear that 'cup-bearer' does not actually mean 'cup-bearer'.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

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  25. Sophie, glad to have you back! That's a lot of ground to cover. Thanks for patience, as I have a few things in the queue first.... Meanwhile, if anyone else wants to jump in, feel free!

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  26. Hi Sophie~

    1. Time is limited- so I'll skip your first point and let Leila address it.

    2. You say "sex is designed for procreation". Shouldn't that be the end of the sentence? Yes it's enjoyable and unitive, but from the biological standpoint, that is to motivate us to reproduce!

    Furthermore, to love is to will the good of another. It is not a romantic feeling or lust- it is acting for another's good. Our bodies were designed for the opposite sex. To be blunt (READERS BE WARNED)- the rectum was not designed for intercourse. The woman's body has lubricants and networks of muscles to endure friction without damage and to resist immunological actions by semen and sperm. The anus is a delicate mechanism of small muscles that are "exit-only". Intercourse in this manner (and for the sake of time I'm only focusing on this one manner) damages one's body and risks disease. This is not a gift. This is not willing the good of another.

    So no- I don't think that romantic idea of love is all that counts.

    In all other biological functions you only need one body- to digest food, walk, talk...the one exception is procreation. We are radically incomplete and designed for each other as a "union of opposites".

    3. Bubble wrap as wall-paper. I really don't know what to say. Are you trying to say that because a man-made product has marketed better in way unintended by the original designer, that the purpose and form of sex- created by GOD- can also be changed?

    Oh my.

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  27. 4. No- Leila did not mean to say "We Catholics". Catholics ARE Christians. Christ is our Savior.

    But more to the point. Leila wrote that "animals are incapable of using reason". You wrote that "animals have no intelligence." Reason does not equal intelligence. It is not the same thing. Some definitions are needed to continue:

    Spirit: "the element in us by which we know and love, by which therefore we decide" (Frank Sheed, Theology for Beginners)

    Reason: to argue or think in a logical manner

    Intelligence- the ability to learn

    Yes- cats choose to purr and eat and sleep or bite the hand that feeds them (what? Is that just me?) Dogs and horses are trainable. So are rats. But the ability to be trained does not mean they have the ability to REASON. No matter how smart a dog is- and MY dog is VERY smart :) - "even at the highest [level] we see that the knowledge of an animal (and therefore the love of an animal, since there is always a proportion between love and knowledge) is only a good imitation: it has not the ranging power of spiritual knowledge. Indeed, animal knowledge is limited in comparison with spiritual knowledge..." (Frank Sheed, Theology and Sanity).

    Furthermore- "From Catholic theology we know that man, animals, and plants all have souls. Man's soul is a spirit and therefore is immortal. The souls of animals and plants, as St. Thomas Aquinas noted, are material principles. They die when the animals and plants die." (http://www.catholic.com/newsletters/kke_041005.asp)

    So unless you want an elephant running your company or teaching your children, I think it’s safe to say that yes, animals are on a much lower level than humans. This is a basic Christian understanding. This is how we can eat meat and not be accused of cannibalism.

    5. Genesis tell us that as God created the world, He looked upon it and said it was good. Note that He made Adam and Eve when He said it was good. Then came the Fall. After that God “started over” a couple of times- see Noah and Sodom & Gomorrah for more details… Yes, God’s creation is good- very good. But the evil in the world and the result of evil in the world are definitely NOT good. They are completely lacking in good. You would never call cancer “good” or say that it is pleasing to the Father, would you? We do not have to look on everything that exists in this world and claim it is good, simply because it exists.

    Jesus taught us to have a discerning spirit. Saint Paul warns us that “people will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion, but deny its power. REJECT THEM.” 2 Timothy 4:2-5

    One last note- I’m assuming you are a Christian. I would love to hear your thoughts on Romans 1:24-32. Really you could comment on all of Romans 1, but I’ll ask specifically about those 8 verses. God’s Word is pretty clear about the teaching on this subject.

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  28. Sophie, hi! I can't tackle everything you brought up (I have to focus so we don't just start multiplying words). But here's some thought/questions about what you said:

    * What "large majority" a few decades ago pushed for the word "gay" to mean "homosexual"? You said that's how it happened.

    * The internet and facebook are not part of God's grand design (or the "cosmos' grand design). Human bodies are. I would love for you to comment on Lauren's (graphic) points above. It's biology, right? In the natural law, we consider, "what is the nature of a thing?" and then we use the thing according to its nature. Even with facebook and the internet or bubble wrap, the nature of the thing stays intact with the things you mentioned. If bubble wrap makes better wrap than wallpaper, then its utilitarian purpose is still being used in an ordered way; same with computers, internet, facebook. Nothing you described goes against the nature of those things.

    Clearly, if male and female body parts were made to be a perfect fit for procreation (as you've admitted), then using them in some other way is not finding an "improved" use of those parts. In fact, it is harmful to those parts to use them in the ways you suggest is a kind of progress.

    * I never said homosexual acts by animals are "wrong". There is no morality (good or bad) to instinctive acts by animals. Animals don't "sin" or "practice virtue."

    Animals have varied levels of intelligence, of course, but they do not have a faculty for moral reasoning. If you think animals reason in the way that humans do, and that they think through the morality of their own behavior and make moral, reasonable choices, then I don't know what to say.

    * If someone is romantically interested in an animal, can he have a union with that animal and express his physical love to that animal? What about the father of a family of grown daughters... if he loves them and they love him, too, should they express that sexually to each other? If not, why not? Maybe their souls were made for each other?

    Hang on, back in the next comment box....

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  29. As for your point about ancient societies... I have never denied that homosexuality has been around forever. There are no "new sins"... and sexual sins have always occurred. The difference is... it wasn't called marriage, and what ever the "special relationship" was, it wasn't known as something synonymous to husband and wife. But yes, in pagan societies, there have been all sorts of the same things we see around us today: homosexuality (and the celebration of it), abortion, divorce, hedonism, etc., etc.... Like I said, there are no new sins.

    Thanks for your input, Sophie, and I'm happy to hear your responses! And, if you could tell The Master that we sure would love to hear what he has to say about the pedophilia question.

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  30. I am a recovering Liberal, so I totally get you on this one. All those closed doors within our minds, guarded by rage and spleen, trying with impotent rage to defend the myriad logical flaws in our position, because we are RIGHT and if we let others tear down our divinely-ordained moral authority, those crazy Fascist who disagree with us will WIN and take everyone will be doomed to abject misery, like all humans throughout history were, until 1960.
    By and large, this mindset is what you are up against. I call it the Principle of the Inevitable Extreme Fundamentalism of Received Wisdom. Left-leaning ideology is the "received wisdom" now, and the more true this becomes, the more violent and irrational its proponents will become. Like the received wisdom of the past (racial segregation, anyone?), those who proscribe to it feel assured of general approval from others, and so feel little need to think things through on a case-by-case basis. It is much easier to swallow an entire ideology whole...to allow ourselves to stop thinking...than to continutally use our brains and assess the world around us. As this process takes place, argument will become more hysterical and consist more and more of a complete shutting down of argument, by way of the tried and true "How dare you disagree with me? What kind of person are you?"
    Please understand, this isn't what most of us mean to do. But when an otherwise reasonable person comes up against the shut doors in his or her mind, and is *morally certain* that the antagonist in debate "just can't see what I see", when this person is certain that those doors are shutting out *anarchy and tyranny* rather than *reason*...well, even the most generally reasonable and gentle person can get pretty shrill.
    So now, when somebody asks me my political leanings, I say "Catholic". At least that's a position I can defend, because I know for sure what it stands for!

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  32. Paul, thanks for the honest answers! I hope you will chime in again as we go along!

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  33. PS: Paul, we have some conservatives here who "do physics" too, so it'll be nice to have you in the same dialogue.

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