Answering questions about discrimination and information
Published: 9 September 2012 (GMT+10)
Sometimes Christians are accused of being bigoted against other groups of people when they hold to biblical teachings about the definition of marriage. Jesse M., US, wrote in asking:
Hello CMI, and let me say God bless your ministry! I know I have contacted you before, and I appreciate your prompt and thorough responses to feedback. A quick question I have is this. Recently, the gay marriage issue has heated up here in the United States, and us Christians are increasingly being accused of "discriminating" against gays for "excluding" them from marriage. I know that is wrong since by definition, marriage only exists between man and woman, and "sexual orientation" is a choice, not something you are born with. (So it cannot be compared to skin color or sex.) How would you respond if you were accused of "discrimination" for opposing gay marriage?
Lita Cosner replies:
Thanks for writing in. We ‘discriminate’ in all areas of life—and this is generally a good thing. For instance, someone choosing which college to go to would ‘discriminate’ based on the professors, degree programs, and academic reputation. As Christians, we should ‘discriminate’ against false doctrine—it isn’t bigoted for me to refuse to go to a church where the truth of God’s Word isn’t clearly proclaimed from the pulpit, for instance. And someone who needs a major surgery would ‘discriminate’ and get the best surgeon available.
We discriminate in all other areas of life, from things as trivial as what we like to eat for breakfast all the way down the spectrum—any time we make a decision about one thing being better than another. But what about homosexual practices and ‘gay marriage’? Well, for all the other examples, what makes the discrimination ‘good’ is the reasoning behind it. E.g. if I choose to go to a certain university and not another because of its academic reputation, that’s good. If I go there because the statistics say there aren’t many minorities there, that’s bigoted and wrong. So why do we ‘discriminate’ against homosexual practices?
Simply, it’s because we believe that the Word of God is true and it communicates God’s best for mankind in all areas of life, including salvation, our culture, and so on. This includes God’s best for marriage. God forbids all sorts of practices that our sinful natures like. Basically, Jesus says you have two choices: faithfulness in heterosexual monogamous marriage, or complete abstinence from any sexual practice whatsoever (Matthew 19:1–12).
When God forbids something, it isn’t because God is a big meanie in the sky who wants to keep all of us from having any fun; it’s because He loves us and warns us away from things that are physically and spiritually destructive. Much like when parents tell their children not to do drugs, it’s not because they don’t want them to enjoy a party with their friends, but because they don’t want their children to suffer the effects of dependency and addiction. And God’s commands regarding sexual activity and marriage are equally loving for the married couple and for single people—and all single people (regardless of who they’re attracted to) are to abstain.
So we are against homosexual practices and ‘gay marriage’ because we love the people involved in these practices, and want them to be delivered from their sin, just as those of us who converted to Christianity were delivered from ours. We know the tremendous freedom that comes in Christ and desire that for everyone. Indeed, even from a public health standpoint, it is loving to be against homosexual behavior, as it’s proven to shorten the lifespan of its practitioners (especially male) significantly, even when discounting the effect of AIDS.
And please note—throughout this response I’ve spoken about discriminating regarding homosexual practice—not discriminating against homosexual people. There is an important distinction there. Also, see Gay marriage and the consistent outcome of Genesis compromise and the Homosexuality section in our Morality and Ethics Q&A.
Jay M., U.K. wrote in to ask about an information argument:
I’m debating another Evolutionist, and in demonstrating how you cannot get new information into the genome, I usually use the “You cannot get “hi, my name is Jay” from the word “Evolution” because the information isn’t available” analogy. This analogy usually goes down without any problems, but this time it has been challenged in such a way that I don’t know how to respond. Here is the Evolutionist’s response:
“That does not logically follow. You could make any word that uses the letters “e”, “v”, “o”, “l”, “t”, “i” and “n”, just as all genes are made from the same 4 chemicals (hence the ACGT code used to summarize them). Seeing as every living organism uses those 4 chemicals, it is a statistical certainty that the genetic information in a dinosaur used those 4 chemicals, and we know that the genetic information in a chicken uses those same 4 chemicals, so logically, you CAN get a chicken from a dinosaur’s genetic information (which is, essentially, what happened in reality).”
I’m stuck. But I doubt you guys will be.
Thanks for your help so far.
Dr. Robert Carter responds:
How is this for a reply: The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” contains all of the letters in the English language. So does the Encyclopædia Britannica. Based on his example, it is a simple matter to rearrange the letters in the alphabet (or the example sentence) to create something as large, accurate, and dependable as the Encyclopædia Britannica. So, let’s start. There is one condition, however, at each iteration students must be able to use the new word/letter scrambled to pass their final exams. This is a good illustration of some of the problems inherent in origin-of-life scenarios and highlights the origin-of-information conundrum for the evolutionist. The letters are not information. The half-formed products are no good for survival. Natural selection (the final exam) prevents any bad information from getting to the next generation, but without good information, no passing grades are possible.
He says it is “a statistical certainty that the genetic information in a dinosaur used those 4 chemicals”, but this is not correct. It is a logical deduction, not a statistical argument. See From ape to man via genetic meltdown; Can mutations create new information?; and Origin of Life Q&A.