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Theological question: laws prohibiting actions considered sinful (1 Viewer)

ummich10

Footballguy
My question is this: what is the theological basis for prohibiting actions considered sinful and punishing those who commit the sins?  

Seems like God does not limit our ability to commit sins (whatever those may be) and is more active in healing (whatever that may be) and providing some kind of ultimate judgement.  So why should we as humans prohibit certain actions? Shouldn't we let people choose to commit those actions, however sinful they may be, then let God's healing and judgement take over?

I hesitate to offer this example, because I don't want the conversation to get derailed, but here goes: instead of trying to shut down abortion clinics, should they be allowed to stay open?  If not, we're limiting someone's ability to choose to sin, something God himself doesn't seem to do.

here's a little more information to provide clarity.  I'm not a theist, but giving an honest effort to try and understand some things.  As such, my knowledge of some items may not be up to oar as others.  Also, I'm interested in theological explanations only.  For example, there are non-theological reasons for prohibiting murder and theft, so I'm not interested in those examples.  Also not interested in a discussion of where our morals come from, or whether certain things like murder, theft, and abortion are really sins or not.

I pledge to keep this a civil discussion on my part, and I assure you this is an honest inquiry, I'm not fishing for schtick.  Any follow up questions I ask will be to further my understanding, not to poke holes in your knowledge or reasoning.  I'm also open to communicating through private messages if you prefer.

Thanks everyone for your time.

 

Cjw_55106

Footballguy
In you example, many feel abortion is murder and would easily fit into the non-theological category. 

Sure, some laws may have come about due to some Christian way of thinking, but I guess I dont know of many sins that are illegal that are not detrimental to others.

Perhaps if you provide other examples?

 

abbottjamesr

Footballguy
What does "theological basis" mean?  Are we trying to apply logic to the decisions that people who believe in magical invisible beings make?  Seems like a pointless task.

 

cheese

Footballguy
I honestly agree with you and as a religious person, I see no theological basis to create laws against most sins. 

I think your example is bad though. I think most people that are against abortion are against it for non-religious reasons. An example like same sex marriage makes sense to have a theologically influences viewpoint because to religious people marriage has everything to do with the church itself. 

I think there have been smaller issues that make your point better. For example, “the church” has fought pretty hard against gambling and casinos. I think the Bible is clear about not worshiping money and maybe even “don’t gamble” but on what basis should they need it to be illegal?  They tell their members not to go to strip clubs, but should they be fighting to have them shut down? It’s a tough question. There is definitely a case for not letting society around them fall into a bad place, but there is also a case for trying to live the best way you can and letting god judge the rest. 

 

-OZ-

Footballguy
I put these issues (legality and sin) into two buckets.

1. Sins that harm other people. I doubt anyone would argue that murder, rape, other forms of violence, stealing, etc should be legal. You already said you don't want to discuss these.

2. Sins that don't harm others. Homosexuality, eating pork, lust, etc. I see no reason to make these sins illegal. Thankfully most aren't illegal. 

Gambling is a good example. The illegality has more to do with people deciding they don't want that activity in a certain place than anything else I think. I think that's true for most moral crimes.

 
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Psychopav

Help us, Joebi-Wan Brynobi, you're our only ho
abbottjamesr said:
What does "theological basis" mean?  Are we trying to apply logic to the decisions that people who believe in magical invisible beings make?  Seems like a pointless task.
Going out on a limb here, I'm going to guess that you are not the target audience for the OP's op.

 

Psychopav

Help us, Joebi-Wan Brynobi, you're our only ho
The Bible is clear that societies do incur God's judgment based on their moral practices.  I think there's probably a little more to the discussion than just not harming other people, but where precisely that line is, I'm not sure.  So I guess there are, from a theological perspecitve, some black and white areas (abortion, gay marriage, theft) and some grey areas where reasonable people of faith can have differences of opinions (legalized drugs, gambling).

Prostitution comes to mind as an example of one where most Christians would fall firmly on the side of "should be against the law" while theologically I think the ground may be much less firm than, say, abortion or theft.

 

wikkidpissah

Footballguy
The Bible is clear that societies do incur God's judgment based on their moral practices.  I think there's probably a little more to the discussion than just not harming other people, but where precisely that line is, I'm not sure.  So I guess there are, from a theological perspecitve, some black and white areas (abortion, gay marriage, theft) and some grey areas where reasonable people of faith can have differences of opinions (legalized drugs, gambling).

Prostitution comes to mind as an example of one where most Christians would fall firmly on the side of "should be against the law" while theologically I think the ground may be much less firm than, say, abortion or theft.
Honest question, not trying to bait - is abortion specifically addressed in the Bible?

 

Stuart Ullman

Footballguy
ummich10 said:
My question is this: what is the theological basis for prohibiting actions considered sinful and punishing those who commit the sins?  

Seems like God does not limit our ability to commit sins (whatever those may be) and is more active in healing (whatever that may be) and providing some kind of ultimate judgement.  So why should we as humans prohibit certain actions? Shouldn't we let people choose to commit those actions, however sinful they may be, then let God's healing and judgement take over?

I hesitate to offer this example, because I don't want the conversation to get derailed, but here goes: instead of trying to shut down abortion clinics, should they be allowed to stay open?  If not, we're limiting someone's ability to choose to sin, something God himself doesn't seem to do.

here's a little more information to provide clarity.  I'm not a theist, but giving an honest effort to try and understand some things.  As such, my knowledge of some items may not be up to oar as others.  Also, I'm interested in theological explanations only.  For example, there are non-theological reasons for prohibiting murder and theft, so I'm not interested in those examples.  Also not interested in a discussion of where our morals come from, or whether certain things like murder, theft, and abortion are really sins or not.

I pledge to keep this a civil discussion on my part, and I assure you this is an honest inquiry, I'm not fishing for schtick.  Any follow up questions I ask will be to further my understanding, not to poke holes in your knowledge or reasoning.  I'm also open to communicating through private messages if you prefer.

Thanks everyone for your time.
STEALING

 

comfortably numb

Footballguy
Honest question, not trying to bait - is abortion specifically addressed in the Bible?
Specifically, I dont think so.

But spilling your seed, i.e making a map of hawaii on your partners stomach displeases the Lord. So one could jump to the next step assuming the fertile womb beginning the stages of birth to be compromised would also displease the Lord.

 

dgreen

Footballguy
ummich10 said:
...we're limiting someone's ability to choose to sin, something God himself doesn't seem to do.
I think this is an interesting comment (the first part more than the second part).

Theologically, I'm not sure making something illegal limits someone's ability to sin. There's the theology that sin is in the heart; it's more about your selfish desires than your actions. Jesus takes "Do not murder" and says "Don't be angry with each other". Murder certainly has greater Earthly (and maybe Heavenly) consequences, but sin entered the situation when the murderer because angry with someone and desired bad things for them.

If we start with the assumption that there's sin somewhere in abortion, I'd argue that it's in the desire and the motivations to have the abortion more so than the actual abortion itself.

The second part of your comment is also interesting. I'll have to think about that. God certainly does give free will and many scriptures show his willingness to give us over to our sinful desires. But, I don't think that means God is absent from us and our desire to sin. God sent Jesus to wash us clean of our sin and he sent the Spirit to help us overcome our sinful desires. I think there's probably also some theology about God providing the Law and performing miracles in the OT and how that might help followers with their choices. The OT is full of references back to the Exodus telling Israel to remember what God did for his people and how that should lead them to Him (which I think would also mean a reduction in sin).

Lastly, for now, I think there are two aspects to sin. I think sin can be discussed as individual acts/choices/events and it can be discussed as a state of being.

 

Psychopav

Help us, Joebi-Wan Brynobi, you're our only ho
Honest question, not trying to bait - is abortion specifically addressed in the Bible?
Here's a nice essay about it.

The Bible clearly teaches that abortion is wrong. This teaching comes across in many ways and for many reasons. Some people point out that the word "abortion" is not in the Bible, and that is true. Nevertheless, the teaching about abortion is there. This is the case with many teachings. The word "Trinity" is not in the Bible, but the teaching about the Trinity is there. In any case, a person who wants to deny the teaching about abortion would deny it even if the word were there.  

Let's look at some of the Biblical reasons why abortion, the deliberate destruction of a child in the womb, is very wrong...
 

ghostguy123

Footballguy
ummich10 said:
My question is this: what is the theological basis for prohibiting actions considered sinful and punishing those who commit the sins?  

Seems like God does not limit our ability to commit sins (whatever those may be) and is more active in healing (whatever that may be) and providing some kind of ultimate judgement.  So why should we as humans prohibit certain actions? Shouldn't we let people choose to commit those actions, however sinful they may be, then let God's healing and judgement take over?

I hesitate to offer this example, because I don't want the conversation to get derailed, but here goes: instead of trying to shut down abortion clinics, should they be allowed to stay open?  If not, we're limiting someone's ability to choose to sin, something God himself doesn't seem to do.

here's a little more information to provide clarity.  I'm not a theist, but giving an honest effort to try and understand some things.  As such, my knowledge of some items may not be up to oar as others.  Also, I'm interested in theological explanations only.  For example, there are non-theological reasons for prohibiting murder and theft, so I'm not interested in those examples.  Also not interested in a discussion of where our morals come from, or whether certain things like murder, theft, and abortion are really sins or not.

I pledge to keep this a civil discussion on my part, and I assure you this is an honest inquiry, I'm not fishing for schtick.  Any follow up questions I ask will be to further my understanding, not to poke holes in your knowledge or reasoning.  I'm also open to communicating through private messages if you prefer.

Thanks everyone for your time.
So people should be allowed to commit whatever sins they want, but then at the same time people shouldn't be able to respond to those actions?

Maybe putting people in jail is a sin.  Why would God want to limit our ability to commit THAT sin?

Problem solved.  Moving on.

 

mr roboto

Footballguy
The Bible is clear that societies do incur God's judgment based on their moral practices.  I think there's probably a little more to the discussion than just not harming other people, but where precisely that line is, I'm not sure.  So I guess there are, from a theological perspecitve, some black and white areas (abortion, gay marriage, theft) and some grey areas where reasonable people of faith can have differences of opinions (legalized drugs, gambling).

Prostitution comes to mind as an example of one where most Christians would fall firmly on the side of "should be against the law" while theologically I think the ground may be much less firm than, say, abortion or theft.
There are clear examples in the Bible where God leveled judgement against cultures for immorality. But - in each one of those examples the culture was also impeding Israel’s progress toward its destiny of becoming a people. 

There is no clear teaching that a cultures lack of morality will necessitate God’s judgment. 

 

Psychopav

Help us, Joebi-Wan Brynobi, you're our only ho
There are clear examples in the Bible where God leveled judgement against cultures for immorality. But - in each one of those examples the culture was also impeding Israel’s progress toward its destiny of becoming a people. 

There is no clear teaching that a cultures lack of morality will necessitate God’s judgment. 
Sodom and Gomorrah comes to mind as a counter example, off the top of my head.

 

GregR

Footballguy
I honestly agree with you and as a religious person, I see no theological basis to create laws against most sins. 

I think your example is bad though. I think most people that are against abortion are against it for non-religious reasons. An example like same sex marriage makes sense to have a theologically influences viewpoint because to religious people marriage has everything to do with the church itself. 

I think there have been smaller issues that make your point better. For example, “the church” has fought pretty hard against gambling and casinos. I think the Bible is clear about not worshiping money and maybe even “don’t gamble” but on what basis should they need it to be illegal?  They tell their members not to go to strip clubs, but should they be fighting to have them shut down? It’s a tough question. There is definitely a case for not letting society around them fall into a bad place, but there is also a case for trying to live the best way you can and letting god judge the rest. 
Not sure I agree with this. 

I think the best arguments against abortion are non-religious arguments.  But I imagine many people are against abortion primarily for religious reasons.

 
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BobbyLayne

Footballguy
What does "theological basis" mean?  Are we trying to apply logic to the decisions that people who believe in magical invisible beings make?  Seems like a pointless task.
Looks like this guy dropped out of the conversation, but let’s start here for now.

I think in a few sentences you’ve captured what is the point of divergence for believers and non-believers. In our post-modern world, many do not believe in absolute truth. Any and all values, beliefs, lifestyles, and truth claims are equally valid, because everything is relative to something else. In such a worldview the only things that can be true are the tangible; we have to be able see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, hear it, for if cannot measure it, or quantify it, or test it, then we question if it is real. Belief, as a startling point, is to acknowledge we are more than just flesh & bone, but we also have a soul, and there is unseen spiritual realm. To believe is to hope in the possibility of the miraculous.

What is theology? Wiki defines it as “the critical study of the nature of the divine”, which I guess is one way of looking at. To me it is simply thinking about God. In that sense we are all theologians; we all have a theology. Your theology may have led you to conclude there is no such thing as God, but to get there required theology. Some say that it takes greater faith to become an atheist than to believe in a higher power.

A person cannot logically say, "There is no God" (even though many do so), because, in order to make such a statement, he would need to have absolute knowledge of the entire universe from beginning to end. Since that is impossible, the most anyone can logically say is "With the limited knowledge I have, I do not believe there is a God."

The prevailing societal presupposition is humans are essentially biological accidents of an impersonal universe. Such a view denies hope for purpose, love, beauty, communication, and morality. If humans truly are biological mishaps, then there is no purpose, love, beauty, or morality. As a result, humans can either escape into mysticism or become nihilistic and reduce humanity to the level of machines.

But Christianity lines up with our lived experience and makes sense of human existence. I believe because it is the most logical choice that explains where I came from, why I am here, where I am going, and how I should conduct my life.

 

abbottjamesr

Footballguy
Looks like this guy dropped out of the conversation, but let’s start here for now.

I think in a few sentences you’ve captured what is the point of divergence for believers and non-believers. In our post-modern world, many do not believe in absolute truth. Any and all values, beliefs, lifestyles, and truth claims are equally valid, because everything is relative to something else. In such a worldview the only things that can be true are the tangible; we have to be able see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, hear it, for if cannot measure it, or quantify it, or test it, then we question if it is real. Belief, as a startling point, is to acknowledge we are more than just flesh & bone, but we also have a soul, and there is unseen spiritual realm. To believe is to hope in the possibility of the miraculous.

What is theology? Wiki defines it as “the critical study of the nature of the divine”, which I guess is one way of looking at. To me it is simply thinking about God. In that sense we are all theologians; we all have a theology. Your theology may have led you to conclude there is no such thing as God, but to get there required theology. Some say that it takes greater faith to become an atheist than to believe in a higher power.

A person cannot logically say, "There is no God" (even though many do so), because, in order to make such a statement, he would need to have absolute knowledge of the entire universe from beginning to end. Since that is impossible, the most anyone can logically say is "With the limited knowledge I have, I do not believe there is a God."

The prevailing societal presupposition is humans are essentially biological accidents of an impersonal universe. Such a view denies hope for purpose, love, beauty, communication, and morality. If humans truly are biological mishaps, then there is no purpose, love, beauty, or morality. As a result, humans can either escape into mysticism or become nihilistic and reduce humanity to the level of machines.

But Christianity lines up with our lived experience and makes sense of human existence. I believe because it is the most logical choice that explains where I came from, why I am here, where I am going, and how I should conduct my life.
I dropped out as I didn't think I had anything to add to the conversation but some snark.  But I do find what you wrote interesting.  

I think it is true that many believe the first bolded section, but I don't agree with it completely.  All values, beliefs, lifestyles are not equal however no person has claim to what is the right values, beliefs, or lifestyle nor should they have the ability to dictate what another's beliefs should be.  We are shaped by our biology and experience and as such no other person on earth shares our conscious state and therefore can not know the reasoning for our beliefs, values, and lifestyles.  Why then should another be allowed to determine what is right for us?  

On the second bolded section on statements of there not being a god, to me it generally doesn't matter.  I suppose there is a chance there is a god of some sort.  But it doesn't matter.  It is completely irrelevant to anything that happens in the world.  The end result is the same between a god made the universe or if I say that given enough space and enough time the creation of our world and humans was inevitable and the greater miracle would have been that it wasn't created at all.  I doesn't change a single thing that happens in my life.  It doesn't change my morality or my biology or my experiences.  Add to this that there are hundreds of religions that man has created and all have different beliefs and holy books and words from god that it is just hard to get behind any one of them.  

On the third bolded section, Christianity probably does seem to line up best as the morals are inline with the rest of your culture.  But this is the issue, that if you were born in the middle east you wouldn't see Christianity as lining up with your experiences.  How can something be the "Truth" if it is not always the truth.  

At the end of the day, I think that people should take what they want from religion.  Most have many good virtues that if the followers truly acted on would make the world a better place.  However, laws should be made to reflect a common set of principles and morals.  These may overlap some with your religion, but should be constructed with the view that maybe my religion is only the "truth" to me and maybe others have different experiences than mine that I shouldn't simply disregard.

Peace,
James

 

matuski

Footballguy
Is this a theological opinion?
What difference does that make?  Honest question.

Is a theological opinion different from a plain old opinion?  Or is it (as it seems to be) a way to limit the grounds for discussion/debate?

 
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matuski

Footballguy
What is theology? Wiki defines it as “the critical study of the nature of the divine”, which I guess is one way of looking at. To me it is simply thinking about God. In that sense we are all theologians; we all have a theology. Your theology may have led you to conclude there is no such thing as God, but to get there required theology. Some say that it takes greater faith to become an atheist than to believe in a higher power.

A person cannot logically say, "There is no God" (even though many do so), because, in order to make such a statement, he would need to have absolute knowledge of the entire universe from beginning to end. Since that is impossible, the most anyone can logically say is "With the limited knowledge I have, I do not believe there is a God."
Speaking for myself - not that I ever "identify" as an atheist:

You would have to point out the "many" who claim there is no god.  I haven't seen many myself. 

I have seen a few, like me, who don't believe in the existence of gods.  Which is very different than claiming there are no gods.  There is no belief or theology on the subject.. there is simply a lack of it.  No faith required.

 

matuski

Footballguy
But I'll leave that there.. this topic was once fascinating to me - trying to understand how people still feel the need to add supernatural beings into their lives.  Was always very interesting and fun debate (for me).

As I get older, I'm less curious, it isn't so fun... the answers (lack thereof) are always the same.

I'll leave it to the youngsters from here.   :stalker:

 
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Psychopav

Help us, Joebi-Wan Brynobi, you're our only ho
mr roboto said:
Again it’s a narrative example. Not a prescriptive teaching. 

Plus it’s all in the OT
The old testament is what I was referring to.

 

Despyzer

Lousy Attention Whore
The Bible calls Christians to love one another - not just other Christians, everyone. If someone you love is behaving in a way that you believe is harmful or destructive, you don't just ignore it. You try to curtail or restrict those behaviors. If your mom looked like she was going to walk out into a busy intersection where cars were moving too fast to react to her presence, you would do something to keep that from happening if you loved her. You wouldn't just say, "Oh well, it's her life and I should respect her choices, I guess."

Keep in mind, all analogies are imperfect.

 

Despyzer

Lousy Attention Whore
I think it is true that many believe the first bolded section, but I don't agree with it completely.  All values, beliefs, lifestyles are not equal however no person has claim to what is the right values, beliefs, or lifestyle nor should they have the ability to dictate what another's beliefs should be.  We are shaped by our biology and experience and as such no other person on earth shares our conscious state and therefore can not know the reasoning for our beliefs, values, and lifestyles.  Why then should another be allowed to determine what is right for us?
Interestingly enough, the Christian would (should) argue the same thing. No person or group of people should have that authority. That's why Christians are supposed to hold the Bible as the inerrant word of God as above Man's decrees.

Now, of course, if you don't agree that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, then there are no sets of rules that hold sway over any other's, except by common agreement. However, seeing we are being asked to look at this from a theological point of view, then we should probably operate on the assumption that the Bible is what Christians claim it is for the purposes of this discussion.

 

wikkidpissah

Footballguy
What difference does that make?  Honest question.

Is a theological opinion different from a plain old opinion?  Or is it (as it seems to be) a way to limit the grounds for discussion/debate?
I've read pretty much every significant religious text, from Scientology pamphlets to the Rig Veda, because i have an intense curiosity about how God was invented. I do not rule out that God exists but my opinion is that, so far, revelations of God are either confabulations or extrapolations on humankind's search to understand itself. I would have been perfectly happy to find God along the way, because the incredible order of things - especially the order of the infinite flow of chaos to order to chaos etc - astounds me and does suggest divinity of some kind, but have not.

Far as i can tell, not long after humans started identifying phenomena (weather, celestial patterns, etc) they started naming them and those names eventually took on godly aspect. Later, some guys in Egypt and Mesopatamia started using coincidences between phenomena and occurence to convince powerful men that their wealth and position were matters of destiny and that their futures could be charted by omen. Boom, religion and the power it confers upon its keepers. The rest has frankly been detail work colored by the personal hunger for meaning to existence.

Should i decide that God's holy truth is contained in the works of AAMilne, my standing with others who believe the same thing might be improved by my understanding of the actions and motivations of Christopher Robin, Pooh and/or Eeyore, but it would appear silly & compulsive to anyone else. Because the Bible has been an abiding factor in so much of western civilization, much power has been conferred upon it, but Paul's Letter to the Galatians or significant occurences in the book of Numbers make no greater impression upon me than what Eeyore always losing his tail-ribbons might mean to Milnerians.

 
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BobbyLayne

Footballguy
But I'll leave that there.. this topic was once fascinating to me - trying to understand how people still feel the need to add supernatural beings into their lives.  Was always very interesting and fun debate (for me).

As I get older, I'm less curious, it isn't so fun... the answers (lack thereof) are always the same.

I'll leave it to the youngsters from here.   :stalker:
I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. I am 56 & it’s been my lifelong mantra to always grow, always be learning, to never stop reading books or think I know everything.

But with respect to apologetics, there is a circular aspect which can make it seem futile, so I’m right there with you. I have led many to Jesus but I have never argued anyone into the faith. What I have learned through the years is it’s not an intellectual exercise. It’s never a matter of my crafty or superior persuasion; it’s always the work of the Holy Spirit to draw people to Himself.

The Bible is not a science text nor is it a comprehensive historical narrative. I’m perfectly comfortable saying “I don’t know” because there are a lot of things that will remain a mystery.

I’ve enjoyed theology & deeper study as a hobby, but to be honest increasing my knowledge didn’t make me a better man. That really boils down to how well I love those who least deserve it. Doing well for those who can never repay.

(& the whole good works / sanctification deal has zilch to do with salvation, but that’s a whole other conversation)

 

matuski

Footballguy
I hope I never lose my sense of wonder.
I haven't lost my sense of wonder.. I just don't rely on invisible beings for it.  The world that inspired man to create those gods is marvelous enough without them.

As wikkid said, if I run into a god one day along the way, cool.  

 

ummich10

Footballguy
In you example, many feel abortion is murder and would easily fit into the non-theological category. 

Sure, some laws may have come about due to some Christian way of thinking, but I guess I dont know of many sins that are illegal that are not detrimental to others.

Perhaps if you provide other examples?
I wasn't trying to classify actions as theological vs non-theological.  I was trying to avoid an explanation such as "X is bad because society can't function if everyone is doing X."  Looking for theological explanations only.

 

Politician Spock

Footballguy
I haven't lost my sense of wonder.. I just don't rely on invisible beings for it.  The world that inspired man to create those gods is marvelous enough without them.

As wikkid said, if I run into a god one day along the way, cool.  
You cannot reason a person out of a position they did not reason themselves in to.

I love my wife, but she still believes what I believed for 30+ years, despite having heard all my reasons for leaving christianity and religion. Our last conversation about it ended this way... she said "I can't say that you are wrong, but if you are right, then you are destroying everything that my entire worldview is founded upon", with tears in her eyes. That was a few years ago. We haven't talked about it since then. 

For me, I could no longer devote my life to something I found harder and harder to believe the more and more I studied it. To me it had to be true, and if it's not, then I don't want any part of it. But for her, and many others, it's not about whether or not it's true. If it were, then reason would prevail. They are in for reasons other than reason. So reason means nothing to them. 

 

ummich10

Footballguy
I honestly agree with you and as a religious person, I see no theological basis to create laws against most sins. 

I think your example is bad though. I think most people that are against abortion are against it for non-religious reasons. An example like same sex marriage makes sense to have a theologically influences viewpoint because to religious people marriage has everything to do with the church itself. 

I think there have been smaller issues that make your point better. For example, “the church” has fought pretty hard against gambling and casinos. I think the Bible is clear about not worshiping money and maybe even “don’t gamble” but on what basis should they need it to be illegal?  They tell their members not to go to strip clubs, but should they be fighting to have them shut down? It’s a tough question. There is definitely a case for not letting society around them fall into a bad place, but there is also a case for trying to live the best way you can and letting god judge the rest. 
I think you got the idea of what I'm asking.

 

ummich10

Footballguy
I put these issues (legality and sin) into two buckets.

1. Sins that harm other people. I doubt anyone would argue that murder, rape, other forms of violence, stealing, etc should be legal. You already said you don't want to discuss these.

2. Sins that don't harm others. Homosexuality, eating pork, lust, etc. I see no reason to make these sins illegal. Thankfully most aren't illegal. 

Gambling is a good example. The illegality has more to do with people deciding they don't want that activity in a certain place than anything else I think. I think that's true for most moral crimes.
I wasn't trying to make a distinction between sinful and illegal vs legal.  Maybe another way of framing my question is: if someone says X shouldn't be allowed because some religious/biblical/theological reason, why should we try to restrict X when God doesn't restrict our ability to choose X.  I understand God doesn't condone everything, but he doesn't seem to prevent us from doing X.

 

ummich10

Footballguy
I was trying to find the logic in understanding the logic of people who don't use logic.
I stated in my post that I'm not a theist, so I probably share a lot of abbottjamesr's conclusions about religion.  But there is still value in asking questions, either for understanding the positions of the other side or for sharpening my own thoughts.  I have plenty of moments when I'm highly critical of religious ideas, but this isn't one of those times.

 

ummich10

Footballguy
The Bible is clear that societies do incur God's judgment based on their moral practices.  I think there's probably a little more to the discussion than just not harming other people, but where precisely that line is, I'm not sure.  So I guess there are, from a theological perspecitve, some black and white areas (abortion, gay marriage, theft) and some grey areas where reasonable people of faith can have differences of opinions (legalized drugs, gambling).

Prostitution comes to mind as an example of one where most Christians would fall firmly on the side of "should be against the law" while theologically I think the ground may be much less firm than, say, abortion or theft.
I understand your first sentence.  Plenty of stories in the bible where entire towns receive some kind of judgement.  Is there anything in the bible that says Christians should try to limit someone's ability to do X?  To use someone else's example, why try to affect our moral practices by closing the strip club (based on religious/biblical/theological reasons only, instead of letting it remain open and trying to convince people not to go?

 

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