Rational people, and those not afflicted with belief in the supernatural find it hard to comprehend that many religious believers are convinced that the creator of the universe has written a book for them, rather than taking those religious texts as being the heavily edited, translated and cobbled together recollections of Stone Age nomads and their social circumstances.
But once you do take your views on issues of morality and say, the structure of families, from the habits of goatherders of 2500BC, mistaking them for the inerrant word of the creator of the universe, then it becomes possible to justify all kinds of reactionary viewpoints, and at the same time it becomes almost impossible to have a rational argument.
Case in point, a Baptist minister gave an endorsement of same-sex marriage on the ABC the other day, clearly saying that this was his personal opinion and not that of Australian Baptist Ministries. Now the poor guy got rebuked by his bosses, and they are whinging that the ABC should have picked someone more bigoted than the Rev Nettleton to speak for them.
I had a look at the official position paper of Baptist Ministries on the issue of same-sex marriage, and you will see what the problem is straight away :
2. The Biblical and theological understanding of marriage
We are concerned for the future of marriage because the Bible shows it to be foundational to a healthy society. Over many generations Christians have reflected on the teaching of Scripture in relation to marriage and have developed a distinctive view. Although marriage exists in all human cultures, the Christian tradition has particular insights into its nature and purpose. Our confidence in the view we advocate stems from our faith in a God who created all things and designed our sexuality as men and women for the relationship of marriage.
This is the argument from Stone Age nomads. You cannot have a rational discussion about how our society needs more loving couples and healthy relationships regardless of sex or gender, when your starting point is that a religious text represents a message from a supernatural being that says that marriage is between a man and a woman. Secondly, you cannot argue rationally with someone who considers “man” and “woman” to be a binary concept. As much as the nomads who wrote the texts in the Bible didn’t know about dinosaurs and handwashing, they didn’t know about intersex, transsexuality and transgendered humans. It then follows from this ignorance that a significant part of our population will according to Baptists and other religious folks not be allowed to marry, because their situation was not foreseen by the goatherders of 2500 BC. Such a position is just not to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, many politicians do just that. Here’s another paragraph from this paper :
Sexual differentiation as male and female is an aspect of all humans made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). On the basis of sexual differentiation God established marriage as a unique, exclusive relationship between a man and a woman. Jesus affirmed that marriage is established by God and is a lifelong relationship between a man and a woman which requires sexual faithfulness (Matthew 19:4-6).
Again, no serious argument can be had about any given topic, when the evidence cited to support your position is assumed to have been authored by a supernatural entity for which no evidence exists, and when what you are claiming in support for your argument is in fact desert nomad poetry.
This discussion needs to be had in view of the facts that there are homosexual, transsexual and intersex indivuduals in our society, who have just as much a right to meaningful and state-sanctioned relationships as anyone who had the luck to be born approximating a heterosexual, phenotypic binary female or male. We can not discuss this topic meaningfully and rationally if we bring in the norms and habits of the Middle Eastern desert of 2500 years ago as the standard on which to model our present society.