Here are some thoughts I just sent to someone I’m corresponding with via email. The conversation originated from an argument on a polyamory email list about religion and polyamory. I will not quote any of what anyone else said, as this email group is intended to be private, but I feel comfortable sharing my own thoughts, especially since they are relevant to this blog.
My interlocutor had asked my to clarify a position of mine concerning internal logical consistency and justification when it comes to churches and the acceptance of polyamory.
The issue I was discussing, concerning consistency, has to do with a religious group being consistent to the ideas in the sources of their beliefs. For Christians, that is the Bible. The reason is that without that source, they cannot have any basis for knowing (not to mention justifying) the story of Jesus. If the Bible is not authoritative, then they cannot have any basis for believing that Jesus said anything, resurrected, or even existed in the first place. There is little to no historical justification for the historical Jesus’ existence outside of scripture, whether canonical or not.
A church that does not accept some of the Bible must admit, in order to be logically respectable, that they must then justify why they accept some of what the scripture says but not all. And if they say they are just reading it differently, then they need to justify how the institution that is responsible for the very existence of those books to be included in the Bible interpreted them wrongly for so long. When a group shapes a message and their descendants say that their ancestors got it wrong, my skeptical dander goes up.
A modern church, accepting polyamory, has to justify how they do so while still accepting the Bible which, along with the tradition in which it grew, rejects such ideas and practices.
I’m not expecting a religion to justify itself to my point of view, I’m expecting it to justify itself to it’s own sources, tradition, etc.
I understand that churches promote messages that will bring people in. It’s called pandering. The way I see it, liberal churches orient their messages such that they can attract parishioners, so that it can keep pastors employed. Church growing is a business, in many ways.
The other aspect of this, as I said before, is that the liberal churches have people that really believe they are being truly Christian. They don’t like the fundamentalist conservative doctrines, but they still are emotionally attached to their relationship with God and like some of the Biblical messages. So they ignore the rest, explain them away, or claim they are no longer relevant. AKA cherry-picking
I, personally, respect the consistency of fundamentalists over liberal theology any day of the week (and twice on Sunday–HA!). While I disagree with both, I at least respect the fundamentalists’ consistency. In other words, I am more annoyed by liberal and moderate religious people than the conservatives.
I’m glad that churches are willing to accept such things as polyamory and homosexuality, despite what christian tradition and scripture says. I just think it’s fair to point out that such churches do so despite these things, not because of them.