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Same-sex Marriage, Discrimination, and Respect

RespectThere’s so much nonsense going on in politics.

I’m genuinely excited for my homosexual friends to feel less discriminated against. You should never have been treated badly in the first place. Nobody deserves to be discriminated against, be they black, white, straight, homosexual, Mormon, atheist, wealthy, homeless, whatever. We’re all humans and should treat each other with respect. Humans should have equal access to jobs, health insurance, tax benefits, etc. Pretty simple.

It’s pretty similar to religion really. I’m a Mormon. I was born this way and it’s how I feel. Others become Mormon later in life. I’m not going to change it to suit anyone else’s convenience, I’m trying to be true to myself and what I believe.

Having said that, legislation doesn’t change moral principles. You could legislate that gravity is illegal but it doesn’t alter the nature of gravity.

Burger King invented a burger called the Whopper. You could go to McDonald’s and demand that they sell you a Whopper but they can’t possibly make you one. Sure, they could make something similar but it’s not technically a Whopper since you didn’t buy it at Burger King.

God created “marriage” as a union between a man and a woman. I don’t know why He did it that way, He just did. Someday I’ll understand His ways better. I’m absolutely certain there’s a valid reason for it. You can say it isn’t fair. You can say it’s discriminatory. You can create your own version with the same name, but it doesn’t actually change anything.

Disambiguation

To be clear, there are two topics involved in this debate. Discrimination and the definition of marriage. For many people the traditional definition of marriage has been used as an excuse to discriminate. This is, and always has been, unacceptable and I’m glad to see that we’re rising above giving ourselves excuses to treat people disrespectfully. We should have done that a long time ago without the need for legislation.

If we’re all on the same page there, then the fact that people disagree about the definition of marriage isn’t such a problem. Some believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Others believe that same-sex marriage is acceptable. Great. Everyone can choose to believe whatever they want to believe AS LONG AS they don’t use it as an excuse to mistreat others or attempt to force others to their way of thinking/living.

“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” –Eleventh Article of Faith

Theology

Now that we’re all respecting each others’ right to believe whatever you want to believe and live accordingly, we can have a friendly, healthy discussion about theology.

I’m actually not trying to argue for any particular church’s stance. Truth is truth and doesn’t change. Molecules are made of atoms. Objects with mass have gravity. Light travels 186,000 miles per second. The earth was created via known observable physical/biological/mathematical processes and some processes we haven’t yet identified. These are all discoveries that have become pretty much universally accepted as truth. In time, our understanding of them will mature and we’ll acquire additional knowledge.

Science and religion aren’t in conflict. They’re both attempts at describing the truths that govern the world around us. Where we perceive conflict, it’s because our understanding of science, or religion, or both is incomplete. As we continue to learn and uncover irrefutable eternal truth, science and religion will converge.

Something that I know to be truth is that our creator has given us instructions (i.e., rules and consequences) for happiness/health/longevity that are governed by these eternal truths. “If you do X, then Y will happen.” For some of these instructions both the rules and consequences are known and clear (e.g., if you touch fire, then you’ll get burned; don’t eat poison or you will die… or at least puke).

Others aren’t as starkly obvious, we know X but don’t fully understand Y (e.g., don’t kill, be honest, marriage should be between a man and a woman; etc.). These are the hardest ones to follow since they sometimes don’t seem to make sense and even seem to conflict with our understanding of the world.

In this situation, some people say, “Forget it, these rules don’t make sense, so I’m out.” Other people choose to just follow the rules expecting that it will make more sense later. (I fall into the second bucket. I don’t yet fully understand the complexities of why/how all of these rules are they way they are, but I know that they are truths.)

Summary

It’s okay and good that we fall into different groups. We’re all just doing what seems to make sense to us based on our own reasoning and collection of life experiences. We should support each other’s efforts to learn truths and pursue the path that leads to maximum happiness. Over time, our understanding will mature and develop.

Work hard to be the best person YOU can be. Recognize that others are trying to do the same thing and help them where they seek help. Judging or criticising isn’t productive or acceptable.

Bonus

Clayton Christensen does a much better job than me of explaining the relationship between science and religion. Enjoy.

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2 Comments

  1. SETH GAZ

    Ryan, I have to say that you wrote your words eloquently. I am a Mormon, and have been a Mormon all my life. I believe in the words of our living Prophet and in the words of our scriptures.

    I look at the life of Christ on earth both from the biblical accounts in the New testament and in the Book of Mormon. Christ taught that all men should love one another and to leave the judgement to God. Yet as a human race judgment and obtruction of others beliefs seems to be the mission for so many.

    I personally don’t agree with same sex marriage. However, I have many friends and acquaintances that don’t believe as I do. I respect their right to live and believe as they choose. These people that choose to live this alternate type of lifestyle are good people doing good things in the world. There are millions of children in this world that live in or are born in horrid situations. These couples adopt many of these children.

    One day, perhaps these wonderful humans will embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. lifestyles may have to drastically adapt to church standards for a change of their choosing. But for now, they are who they feel that they are, doing what they feel is right. Same sex couples are not defying the laws of men. They are not rapists and murderers. They are people just like you and me.

    I feel strongly that God expects us to love all others, not just he people that believe as we do.

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