March 23, 2017

June 18, 2012


“There was no Global Flood, therefore Homosexual Practice is OK”

Believe it or not, that’s the line being run by a former evangelical, Keith Mascord, in today’s smh. After a brief summary of the potential issues with believing in a global flood (Genesis 6-9) he concludes,

the only reason a plain (and church-history-long) reading of the Noah story has been overturned in favour of seeing it as a localised flood, even if unconvincingly (or, more convincingly, as myth), is that scientific discoveries have made that necessary. Many of the first geologists were Christian clergymen. It was under pressure from their discoveries that the biblical text came to be reread and reappropriated.

This is, one must understand, a sophisticated argument. Not because the point being made is particularly brilliant but because it’s made by someone who understands Sydney Anglicans. They’re a conservative lot, but a popular position here is exactly that which Mascord outlines - geological evidence makes the acceptance of a universal Flood untenable. Mascord thinks he’s found a chink in the Sydney Anglican armour, and so on he goes…

There is good reason to think we will need to do the same with the issue of marriage equality. Throughout history and across cultures, and within the Bible itself, homosexual practice has been almost universally condemned. But we now know, or have increasingly strong reasons to believe, that people are born gay or lesbian. Far from this being unnatural for them, it is an example of God’s creative handiwork. And once again, advances in scientific understanding are occasioning a rethink of relevant biblical texts. As a result, straight Christians like me must take seriously the heartfelt desire of our gay and lesbian friends to share in the benefits and responsibilities of marriage

It’s a bit of a non-sequiter, isn’t it? The parallels just aren’t there. One might concede that “scientific evidence” means that we can’t accept a global Flood, but it’s not a concept that’s transferable to the issue of sexuality, or of any behaviour. It’s a little embarassing to say it, but Mascord gives the impression that he doesn’t understand basic orthodox belief on creation and sin. That someone is “born” with a particular trait is not necessarily evidence of “God’s creative handiwork”. We don’t live in a simple created world. It is both created and fallen. The argument would not hold for other behaviours.

If someone is born with a tendency towards violence, we don’t call that “an example of God’s creative handiwork”. If someone is born with a tendency towards alcoholism (of which there is much greater scientific evidence than any supposed “gay gene”), we don’t call that “an example of God’s creative handiwork”. If someone is born predisposed to certain cancers, we don’t call that “an example of God’s creative handiwork”. No, on each occasion we recognise, as Athanasius puts it, that the image of God is marred, flawed by the outworking of sin in the cosmos.

This is basic theology, friends. You might wish to concede the point on a global flood (although I wouldn’t personally - the approach itself betrays a certain attitude to Scripture) but that doesn’t mean you have to accept Mascord’s argument. Disagreements about the historicity of the flood are exactly that, disagreements over historical claims. Disagreements over being “born” gay are an entirely different category. That Mascord, who taught philosophy at Moore College for many years, seeks to equate the two arguments is particularly disappointing.


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14 comments

If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.

[1] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 6-18-2012 at 07:19 PM · [top]

“WHAT is an 8 foot Wookie doin’ on a planet full of tiny lil’ Ewoks?  Chewbacca DOES NOT MAKE SENSE!”

But seriously, if you apply this “reappropriation” hermeneutic, based on the assumed unrealiability of the Bible, then why give Jesus or his teaching any value?  Revenge is more “natural” than mercy. 

The Bible is the only significant source we have for the life, teaching and early interpretation of Jesus - render it unreliable and there’s little to nothing we can claim about him.  But I guess a marriage ceremony for a tiny % of < 2% of the population is worth that.

[2] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 6-18-2012 at 07:37 PM · [top]

I’m not sure if this is worse, or Pat Robertson’s Katrina response:  “there was homosexual practice, therefore the flood is OK.”

[3] Posted by The Plantagenets on 6-18-2012 at 08:16 PM · [top]

David,

Any idea how Dr Mascord was able to maintain a position as a lecturer at Moore Theological College for so many years?

I am not concerned so much with where he falls on the biblical flood issue (size, date etc) as on his methodology, which appears to be unadulterated liberalism -“Some of the bible doesn’t make sense to me so we can ignore the plain words of other parts of it”.

[If I recall correctly, Keith Mascord left Moore in 2006 to become an assistant minister at a South Sydney parish.  He went there about the time that its rector, John McIntyre, left to become Bishop of Gippsland.  +McIntyre is the one who has recently caused the scandal in Anglican Church of Australia by ordaining a practicing homosexual person as a priest]

Do we have any idea of how Revd Mascord was able to continue as a lecturer for so long (I think he was at Moore for about ten years)?

[4] Posted by MichaelA on 6-18-2012 at 08:23 PM · [top]

The arguments of the gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered activists are internally inconsistent and incoherent.  One of the primary arguments for the gay-lesbian lobby has been, “I was born this way.”
Well, weren’t persons with gender identity issues born with particular genitalia and hormones?  The gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered activists are claiming inborn=good for gays and lesbians and inborn=bad for the transgendered.  (BTW, if you haven’t read an account of the multiple surgeries a transgender must undergo, please do.  It is more mutilating than most cancer surgeries.)

[5] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 6-19-2012 at 06:44 AM · [top]

The logic of “I think one part of the Bible is wrong therefore I can make up my own rules on anything” leaves me just shaking my head.  Didn’t these chowders ever take a basic philosophy/logic course anywhere during their lives?

[6] Posted by Bill2 on 6-19-2012 at 06:54 AM · [top]

“even if unconvincingly…”

“There is good reason to think we will need to do the same with the issue of…”

This guy should go home.  He is done.  The attitude toward scripture that permits such a leap of logic reveals an unbelieving heart that can vitiate any teaching of scripture.  If he had “good reason,” no doubt he would offer it here.  But he does not, and the bottom line is that he does not desire good reason for the conclusion he has already embraced.

Why bother?  Go home and do something else with integrity.  Create your own religion if that makes you happy.

rolleyes

[7] Posted by tired on 6-19-2012 at 07:31 AM · [top]

[If I recall correctly, Keith Mascord left Moore in 2006 to become an assistant minister at a South Sydney parish.  He went there about the time that its rector, John McIntyre, left to become Bishop of Gippsland.  +McIntyre is the one who has recently caused the scandal in Anglican Church of Australia by ordaining a practicing homosexual person as a priest]

Do we have any idea of how Revd Mascord was able to continue as a lecturer for so long (I think he was at Moore for about ten years)?

I’m not sure those timings are quite correct. As I understand it Keith left his full-time position in 2002 (or thereabouts) but continued teaching one class till 2006 (I was in the last year to have him teach philosophy).

It was only after he left Moore that he began to speak out against Sydney Diocese. One presumes there was no pressing reason to remove him before then and even if there had been a small difference of opinion, it’s not like Moore is the monochromatic iceberg that some portray it as.

[8] Posted by David Ould on 6-19-2012 at 07:45 AM · [top]

Junk science is making it easier to have more faith in a literal reading of the Bible than in ‘science’ any more…

By ‘junk science’ I mean what happens when researchers approach a study with a preconception of what they want to prove, and that bias causes them to skew the results of that study to ‘prove’ their point, ignoring results they don’t want.

Research grants make this worse, with the money no longer coming in if the funded research proves something contrary to the desire of the source of the funding. So many researchers are influenced by the desires of those who fund their work.

But this is the kind of argument we’re going to get from people like Keith Mascord, since the argument can’t be made on Biblical grounds.

[9] Posted by Father Wash-Ashore on 6-19-2012 at 08:24 AM · [top]

David,

Thanks for the clarification.

What you say makes sense.

In about 2006 he led a complaint before Synod or Standing Committee about the diocese not allowing his parish to choose its own rector to replace John McIntyre.  I remember at the time someone showed me the complaint and there definitely wasn’t any “liberal” theology in it - instead it was along the lines of “Standing Committee need to lighten up and assist us to get a rector acceptable to the parish instead of being bureaucratic etc etc”. 

I can guess that if that parish had been happy with John McIntyre, then the nominators likely put forward a string of unacceptable candidates to replace him, and then got shirty when the bishop wouldn’t approve them.

[10] Posted by MichaelA on 6-19-2012 at 06:59 PM · [top]

Lots and lots of evidence for a global flood.  His first statement alone should cause everyone pause.

[11] Posted by B. Hunter on 6-20-2012 at 10:12 AM · [top]

Throughout history and across cultures… homosexual practice has been almost universally condemned.

I wonder where Mascord gets his info?

[12] Posted by Festivus on 6-21-2012 at 10:30 AM · [top]

Sorry this comment is so late, but it took me three days to register.  So many people think that people are born gay despite all the evidence against that, because the medical associations, media, schools, and some churches keep saying that with one voice.  This voice relies on faulty science produced in an effort to support what the APA voted for on the basis of already discredited Kinsey data and work in over crowded mice.  What’s more, the research on women shows they are much more willing to cross this boundary.  In fact, the Washington Post recorded a case of this phenomenon in its article “Partway Gay?” by Laura Sessions Stepp.  The article says, “She started going out with girls when she was 14, following a breakup with her boyfriend. ‘At first I thought going out with a girl was nasty,’ she says. ‘Then I went to a club and did a big flip-flop. I’ve been off and on with girls and guys since then.’”  So her biology was so buried for fourteen years that she thought homosexual behavior was “nasty”, but her biology suddenly kicked in after she broke up with her boyfriend and was exposed to new ideas at a club.  Isn’t that just amazing?

[13] Posted by Jackie Keenan on 6-25-2012 at 08:51 AM · [top]

Very good observation Jackie.

[14] Posted by MichaelA on 6-25-2012 at 06:16 PM · [top]

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