Friday, February 28, 2014

The strength and glory of Rome is in her children

Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of An Empire
Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of An Empire
During the rise of Rome as an empire, its strength lies in its women and children.  As the old saying goes, "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world." For as long as marriages are intact because of the strength of the father and women are fertile by bearing a dozen children each, Rome's military success is assured, for from the children shall rise the soldiers who shall form the feared Roman legions, the engineers who shall build roads and siege engines, and the senate who shall define the Roman laws.  As the mother would always tell his son off to war, "Come back with your shield or on it." Death is honorable as long as soldiers face it with courage and not cast their shields to flee. And a woman can spare one of her children for war, because she has other children waiting to take their older brother's place in the Legions.

All these are only possible if children are educated to love Rome as one would love one's parents, by learning the Roman language, traditions, and culture.  The glory of Rome lies, therefore, not in her art, her laws, and her conquests.  Rather, the glory of Rome is in her children who are educated to love Rome, who shall fight for her glory, and who shall carry her traditions into the future.  But once women stopped having babies by having instead adulterous affairs, fewer Roman children were born, resulting in fewer Romans to man the huge empire.  Into the Legions entered more and more barbarians who only served for gold; they have no love and respect for Roman traditions. And Roman empire collapsed.
Aeneas Bearing Anchises from Troy,  by Carle van Loo, 1729 (Louvre).
Aeneas Bearing Anchises from Troy,
by Carle van Loo, 1729 (Louvre).

In 1729, Carle van Loo made a painting of Aeneas bearing Anchises from Troy.  Troy burned in flames after Agamemnon's Greek forces entered the gates and torched the city.  As told in Virgil's Aenid, Aeneas bore his father Anchises to escape from Troy.  Before it was the father Anchises who bear the son Aeneas in his arms.  Now it is the father Anchises who is borne by his son Aeneas in his shoulders.  This is symbolic: Anchises represent all the traditions of Troy and Aeneas carries all these traditions with him.  Aeneas married Lavinia, the daughter of the King of Latium.  From the Latins came the Romans, and who through Virgil makes the claim of descent from the Trojans.  The Great City of Troy lives again in the Eternal City of Rome.  There was future for Troy despite her being burnt to the ground and Rome is that future.  There was future for Troy because a mother once borne a son who in turn borne his father out of Troy and founded a new kingdom that was to become Rome.   As long as women bear children, Rome has a future.  As so, too, for us, not only for us Roman Catholics but for all people of the world as well:

As long as women bear children, our world has a future.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Coke Commercial: Tomorrow's People

For God, Country, and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It
For God, Country, and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It

There was a Coke commercial aired in TV in 1987 entitled, "Tomorrow's People".  It was Coke's global advertisement campaign. Here are the lyrics (hat tip to those amazing ads):
I am the future of the world. I am the hope of my nation. I am tomorrow’s people. I am the new inspiration. And we’ve got a song to sing to you. We’ve got a message to bring to you. Please let there be for you and for me a tomorrow. And we all can agree there’ll be sweet harmony tomorrow. And we all will be there Coca-Cola to share feeling so real and so true. Promise us tomorrow and we’ll build a better world for you.
The future of the world. The hope of the nation. Tomorrow's people.  It is not enough that a woman bears a child before birth. She must also bear the child after birth, nurse him, and ensure his survival for the future, because the future depends on him.  And in this act of bearing of bearing a child is now shared by the father, whether to pick up a child in his sleep or carry him on his shoulders to make him see the world as the father sees it, a world where adults see each other in the eye, working together for the common good.

The unborn as human resource: Philippines and Japan

Filipino word for pregnancy is nagdadalang-tao," which literally means "carrying a human being."  When the first symptoms of pregnancy shows up, such as missed period, nausea, blood spitting, and craving for certain foods, the Filipinos will say "nagdadalang-tao siya" or "she is pregnant".  There is no such thing as partial pregnancy: a woman is either pregnant or she is not.  Thus, for the Filipino mind, the humanity of the child in the woman's womb immediately starts at the woman's pregnancy, i.e. at conception.

Abortion & Unborn Human Life
Abortion & Unborn Human Life
If the Philippine government ponders on the Filipino word for pregnancy, then the government will not anymore push through with the RH Law that is now pending in the Supreme Court.  Pregnancy.  Nagdadalang-tao.  To bear a human being, a person. Once a child is conceived in the womb through the union of the sperm and the egg, he becomes a person that the state must protect, for the Philippine Constitution states:
Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. (Article III Bill of Rights)
The unborn child has the right to life.  The unborn child has the right to freely grow in his mother's womb without the limitations posed by contraceptives like pills and IUDs which hamper the child's growth.  The unborn child has his mother's womb for his property, and he cannot be forcibly evicted from it through abortion.

Nodame Cantabile / Concerto Love Award Winning Japanese Tv Drama with English Sub NTSC All Region (3 dvds in Digipak Boxset) Based on Hit Comic Book
The unborn may not yet be citizens of the Philippines, because citizenship is acquired at birth.  But we can speak of potential citizenship.  If the government thinks of its citizens as human resources and not as liability, then the unborn is a human resource that needs to be nurtured and protected, so that they would soon be born in the Philippine soil and become active participants in the development of the nation.  As Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero, said, "Ang kabataan ang pagasa ng bayan" or "The children are the hope of our nation." For it is the children who would replace their parents in the workforce as scientists, engineers, doctors, teachers, nurses, police, carpenters, drivers, and garbage collectors.  Yes there are machines and technology to make jobs easier, so that several hectares of farm can be tilled by one man alone for example, but men and women are still needed to operate the machines, fix them, maintain them, and make them better.
Look at Japan.  It is the most industrialized and technological country.  But it is a dying country for its citizens age slowly and few children are born.  If their women continue to stave off marriage to their late thirties or even refuse to marry at all and have babies, the Japanese will have no manpower left to run its industries and defend its territories against the growing might of China. The Japanese as a people will vanish from the face of the earth.  And we shall watch Japanese films and mangas only with nostalgia. We shall watch Juri Ueno in Nodame Cantabile and Tao Tsuchiya in Samurai X and wonder (while singing): "Where have all the young girls gone long time passing.  Where have all the young girls gone long time ago?"  Perhaps, the Japanese can finally make the robots that shall form the Saber Marionettes: robots that look like women in order to help men cope with life in the absence of women.

Frank Conroy's pyramid of literary craft and the Incarnation of the Word

Frank Conroy's Pyramid of Literary Craft
 A. Frank Conroy's Pyramid of Literary Craft 

 I read the article "How Iowa Flattened Literature" and found an interesting image by Frank Conroy, the successor of Paul Engle in the Iowa Writing Workshop, on the art of writing as a pyramid:
The Eleventh Draft: Craft and the Writing Life from the Iowa Writers' Workshop
The Eleventh Draft: Craft and the Writing Life from the Iowa Writers' Workshop
What did [Frank] Conroy assault us in service of? He wanted literary craft to be a pyramid. He drew a pyramid on the blackboard and divided it with horizontal lines. The long stratum at the base was grammar and syntax, which he called "Meaning, Sense, Clarity." The next layer, shorter and higher, comprised the senses that prose evoked: what you tasted, touched, heard, smelled, and saw. Then came character, then metaphor. This is from memory: I can’t remember the pyramid exactly, and maybe Conroy changed it each time. What I remember for sure is that everything above metaphor Conroy referred to as "the fancy stuff." At the top was symbolism, the fanciest of all. You worked from the broad and basic to the rarefied and abstract.
Although you could build a pyramid without an apex, it was anathema to leave an apex hovering and foundationless. I’ll switch metaphors, slightly, since Conroy did too. The last thing you wanted was a castle in the air. A castle in the air was a bad story. There was a ground, the realm of the body, and up from it rose the fiction that worked. Conroy presented these ideas as timeless wisdom.
 Physically, what occurs is that a reader deciphers the words and sentences.  In order to make sense of the meaning of the text, he uses the laws of grammar and syntax.  If the word is a "cat", a part of the brain light's up and draws an image from its repository of cat images, then associate this image with a sound like "meow".  If the word is a "rose", the brain draws the memory of the rose, and associates this with the memory of the rose's fragrance and the soft texture of its petals.  As the writer adds more words, the reality of the thing described becomes real as memories--as if the words "take on flesh and dwelt among us."  Reading of the text becomes a vicarious experience.

B. The Word became Flesh

The Gospel According to John: A Literary and Theological Commentary
The Gospel According to John: A Literary and Theological Commentary
 In the Gospel of John, we read:
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.k (Jn 1:14) 
John explained further in one of his letters:
 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life—a 2 for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us—b 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.c (1 Jn 1:1-3)
A writer can only hope to incarnate a word, such as a "rose" or a "stone," in the reader's mind, so that the reader can "see" and "touch" and "smell" them, as if they are real, for the brain can perform these functions in the imagination by gathering memories of similar things and piece them together to create a new reality.  But the new reality resides only in the memory, but not in actuality.  But God took one step further and perfected the incarnation of the word: God made His Own Word take on Flesh and become Man.

C. Literary Craft and Christology

Frank Conroy presented his description of the pyramid of literary craft.  What we shall do now is to show how this pyramid can be applied to the analysis of the words and the Person of Christ:

Grammar as Science
Grammar as Science
1. Grammar and Syntax. This Word, Christ, the Jews know who he is: "Is he not the carpenter,* the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?" (Mk 6:3).  In Frank Conroy's pyramid, this corresponds to grammar and syntax: the Word is replaced by the pronoun "he" and this pronoun is defined by its relationships with other nouns--carpenter, son, Mary, brother, James, John, Judas, Simon, and sisters.  The Word is rooted in time and space, because He is part of the human family.

2. Senses evoked. As people know Christ more as he live his life on earth--when he tells his parables, answer questions of Pharisees, change the water into wine, heal the sick, or raise the dead--people saw His face, heard His words, felt His touch, smelled His hands, and tasted what He offered. This is the second level in Conroy's literary pyramid: the senses evoked.

3. Character. But Christ also reveals his character as a human being. He became angry and overturned the tables of merchants in the temple.  He felt pity to a sick man in Bethsaida.  He ate and drank at the Marriage in Cana.  He wept before the tomb of his friend, Lazarus.  He cried to heaven on the cross before breathing his last. Some listened attentively to his words.  Some became angry and left Him.  And some praised God because of Him. Character is the third level of Conroy's literary pyramid.

The Incarnation of Language: Joyce, Proust and a Philosophy of the Flesh
The Incarnation of Language: Joyce, Proust and a Philosophy of the Flesh
4. Metaphor.  Christ has likened Himself to many things: the gate of the sheep, light of the world, bread from heaven.  This is the fourth level in Conroy's literary pyramid: metaphor.

5. Fancy stuff.  We'll just not discuss this in depth, because we don't know yet the literary techniques that this includes.  But with Peter we can confess: "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God" (Mt. 16:16).

6. Symbolism.  A symbol is something that stands for something else.  It is in this limited sense I shall say that Jesus is the symbol of the Father (though I don't recommend Haight's book, Jesus, Symbol of God, because Vatican pronounces that this book has serious doctrinal errors):
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?e 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.f 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. (Jn 14:9-11)
7. Incarnation.  This is the ultimate aim of the literary craft: the word becomes flesh.  When God created the heavens and the earth, He simply uttered the words and thing existed from nothing: the moon, the stars, the plants, the animals.  Literature can only conjure the images of these objects in the mind, but never create them in reality.  When God uttered His Word, the Word became a perfect image of God. And when the Word became Flesh in the person of Christ, what existed out of this world became part of this world--a person who is both God and Man.  A metaphor can only suggest. A symbol can only represent.  But an incarnation became an Is.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Should DOH give condoms to Romeos and Juliets this Valentine's Day?

A. Stupid Cupid

The standard symbol for St. Valentine's day is a heart skewered by Cupid's arrow.  Who is Cupid?
Cupid and Psyche
Cupid and Psyche
In classical mythology, Cupid (Latin Cupido, meaning "desire") is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus, and is known in Latin also as Amor ("Love"). His Greek counterpart is Eros. (Wikipedia)
Cupid is portrayed as a youth, because it is during the youth (teens) that men and women learned about the joys and pains of falling in love.  When a man or woman is in love, their hearts contracts in pain or gushes forth with pleasure.  And ancient Romans explains this as a result of a god's intervention: Cupid.  Cupid has two kinds of arrows:
Cupid carries two kinds of arrows, one with a sharp golden point, and the other with a blunt tip of lead. A person wounded by the golden arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire, but the one struck by the lead feels aversion and desires only to flee. (Wikipedia)
It is difficult to control the desires and aversions of young men and women, so in bygone ages, it is customary for the parents to arrange the marriages of their sons and daughters, because the hearts of the young are fickle, and the sharing of wealth and property that results from the marriage cannot be based on fickle feelings.

B. DOH won't distribute condoms this time

Modern society may laugh at arranged marriages among the young, but what does it promote in its stead?  If we ask the Department of Health last year, their brilliant idea is to distribute free condoms.  But this year, the CBCP requested the DOH not to distribute condoms again, and DOH relented.  Nevertheless, Sec. Ona said he supports both inhibition and condom use to avoid the spread of infection:
Condom Nation: The U.S. Government's Sex Education Campaign from World War I to the Internet
Condom Nation: The U.S. Government's Sex Education Campaign from World War I to the Internet
Health Secretary Enrique Ona on Monday said the DOH will not be distributing free condoms on Tuesday couples nationwide mark Valentine’s Day with dinner dates, lavish gifts and other gestures of affection. Ona also reminded lovers to practice responsible sex and to not engage in intimate activities if not married. “My advice for this day is that if you are not married, don’t engage in sex,” said Ona in an interview with reporters on Monday on the sidelines of a World Health Organization meeting in Manila. “Responsible sex means you engage in sexual practices that are acceptable to you and your religious beliefs,” he added. But still the use of condoms and other artificial contraceptives, which the Catholic Church rejects, was still upon the discretion among couples, said Ona. “If they want to use it, then they should buy it themselves,” he added.
I think prevention of infections is not the purpose of condoms: they only try to prevent pregnancy because the holes in condoms are smaller than the sperms, but viruses are much bigger than these holes.  That is, to viruses, condoms are hole-y:
In 1993 the University of Texas analyzed the results of 11 different studies that had tracked the effectiveness of condoms to prevent transmission of the AIDS virus. The average condom failure rate in the 11 studies for preventing transmission of the AIDS virus was 31%. One reason condoms fail in preventing the transfer of AIDS is that latex condoms have tiny intrinsic holes called "voids." Sperm is larger than the holes, but the AIDS virus is 50 times smaller than these tiny holes which makes it easy for the virus to pass through [Source: Dr. C. M. Roland, editor of Rubber Chemistry and Technology]. To give you an idea of how easy it would be for the virus to pass through these holes, just imagine a ping pong ball going through a basketball hoop.  (Pro-Life America)
 DOH gave in.  Since they can't fight Cupid's arrows among the youth, then DOH advocates the use of condoms so that the youth stay safe--not just from diseases, but also from pregnancy, as if pregnancy is a disease.

C. Courtship of Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet (Folger Shakespeare Library)
Romeo and Juliet (Folger Shakespeare Library)

  The love among the youth is associated with Romeo and Juliet.  Romeo is a rash youth.  Stricken by Cupid's arrow, he climbed the walls to see Juliet in her room at night.  When she asked him how he found her, Romeo replied:
By love, who first did prompt me to inquire; He lent me counsel and I lent him eyes. (Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 80-81)
But Juliet is more sober. Even though she loves Romeo, she would not just give her whole self to Romeo, because she understands the fickleness of erotic love. She said to him:
Swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, That monthly changes in her circled orb, Lest that thy love prove likewise variable....Well, do not swear. Although I joy in thee, 117 I have no joy of this contract tonight: 118 It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden; 119 Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be 120 Ere one can say "It lightens." Sweet, good night! (Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 116-120
And Juliet proposed that they get married first:
Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed. 143 If that thy bent of love be honourable, 144 Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow, 145 By one that I'll procure to come to thee, 146 Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite; 147 And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay 148 And follow thee my lord throughout the world. (Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 116-120)
May these words by Juliet be repeated by all the young girls throughout the world stricken with Cupid's arrows.  Here's a modern translation: no sex before marriage.  As Beyonce Knowles said in her song, All the Single Ladies:
Don't treat me to the things of the world I'm not that kind of girl Your love is what I prefer, what I deserve Here's a man that makes me, then takes me And delivers me to a destiny, to infinity and beyond Pull me into your arms, say I'm the one you own If you don't, you'll be alone, and like a ghost, I'll be gone... If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Critique of the 1994 Guttmacher paper "Estimating the Level of Abortion In the Philippines and Bangladesh"

Bas-relief at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, c. 1150, depicting a demon inducing an abortion by pounding the abdomen of a pregnant woman with a pestle. (Source: Wikipedia: Abortion)

The Guttmacher paper, "Estimating the Level of Abortion In the Philippines and Bangladesh" (1994), is the basis of the succeeding Guttmacher paper, The Incidence of Induced Abortion in the Philippines: Current Level and Recent Trends (2005).  So I shall focus my analysis on the 1994 Guttmacher paper and show that the study could be improved by computing the error bars in each step of the methodology in order to arrive at the error bars for the estimates of abortion rates.  The 1994 Guttmacher paper does not provide error bars in its estimates.

Williams Manual of Pregnancy Complications
Williams Manual of Pregnancy Complications
A. Error bars in extrapolations
Calculating the total number of hospitalized abortion patients. Of the 1,863 hospitals identified in the Philippines, we obtained usable reporting forms for 1,121.‡ We then made two basic adjustments to the data: If reporting forms were available for more than one year, the data were averaged; if the form covered only part of a year, the number of patients was adjusted to create an annual estimate, proportional to the number of months covered by the form.
What we would like to see is a table showing the number of availability of data for each month per hospital for a given year.  It is not clear what a "usable form" is.  If there is only one month worth of data, the annual data would be estimated by multiplying by 12.  But this assumes that the data is homogeneous per month, which may not be true because some months may peak and other months may be troughs.  One possibility is to use hospitals with complete data sets as reference: the percentage contribution per month may be compared to see if some months really have peak values or not.  The standard deviation of the percentage contributions per month may be computed and this would be used a reference for error estimates.  Point blank estimates without error bars are deceptive, because we don't know how accurate these estimates are.

Hospital Operations: Principles of High Efficiency Health Care (FT Press Operations Management)
Hospital Operations: Principles of High Efficiency Health Care (FT Press Operations Management)
  B. Error bars in percentage of abortions among the causes of hospitalizations
 For the remaining 776 hospitals, we assumed that admissions for abortion complications would account for about half as many patients as the number hospitalized for the lowest-ranking or the 10th-ranking cause.** This yielded an additional count of about 18,500 abortion complication cases per year from these 776 hospitals, for a combined total from the 1,121 hospitals with reporting forms of about 69,500 abortion-complication patients.
The third step was to estimate the likely annual number of abortion complications treated in the 742 hospitals for which there were no reporting forms. We used a regression equation in which the number of abortion patients was the dependent variable and hospital characteristics considered to be important determinants of the intake of abortion complication cases were analyzed. These characteristics were ownership (public vs. private), hospital level (primary, secondary or tertiary), hospital size (number of beds) and region. The regression equation was based on the 1,121 hospitals with information on the number of abortion patients, whether directly reported or estimated. 
Why insist on 1/2 of the number hospitalized for the lowest-ranking or 10th ranking cause?  Why not 3/4 or 1/4 or 1/10?  What we need is a table of leading 15 causes of hospital admissions per hospital and their percentages, with abortion complications at least covered.  Is there a pattern in the ordering of the causes?  What are the similar characteristics of hospitals with abortion complications among the top 10 of causes?  What are the similar characteristics of hospitals with abortion outside the top 10 of causes?  If we can identify these identifying characteristics for both cases, (e.g. public vs public hospitals), then we can make a reasonable guess on the the percentages of the abortion complication for hospitals that don't have existing data, by comparing it with a similar hospital in the same category that has statistics on abortion complications.

The authors may have used regression equation to estimate the number of abortion complications.  But no equation was provided.  What are the error bars?  I think the only reasonable graph that can be done is hospital size vs number of abortion complications.  A better parameter would be number of patients vs number of complications, so that we can make per capita estimates.  Even if we use the number of hospital beds (hospital size) vs abortion complications per each of the six different category combinations (public vs public and primary vs secondary vs tertiary), and plot the data for each category combination, we still need to compute the error bars in the regression lines.  One may expect that more hospital beds yields more abortion complications, but this may not be true, and the data would be scattered wildly that the errors in the estimation of abortion complications would increase.  But we still need to state these errors, because it will affect the estimates for the induced abortion rate.

Avoiding Miscarriage: Everything You Need To Know To Feel More Confident In Pregnancy
Avoiding Miscarriage: Everything You Need To Know To Feel More Confident In Pregnancy
C. Errors in proxy data sets for spontaneous miscarriage
Because it has the advantage of being comparable across areas, an indirect method of estimating the number of women hospitalized for spontaneous miscarriages was used. In the absence of induced abortion, both the distribution of pregnancy loss by gestation and the proportion of live births among all pregnancies are fairly constant across populations. Such data are available both historically and from recent clinic-based studies in the United States and other countries.15
Reference 15 is by Bongaarts and Potter which are also of the Guttmacher Institute.  Is there another data set that is not connected whatsoever with Guttmacher Institute?  The best data really is that of the same subjects in the hospitals under the study.  The doctor asks each patient what medicine she took (e.g. abortion drug), then the doctor can declare whether the abortion complication was spontaneous or induced.  But this data is not available.  And if the RH law becomes operational, these types of questions may be forbidden, so that doctors may not pass moral judgments on the patients.  Nevertheless, error bars must be provided for estimates for spontaneous abortions, because this will impact the induced abortion rate.

AHA Hospital Statistics Book and CD Combination, 2011 edition (Hospital Statistics (Book & CD-Rom))
AHA Hospital Statistics Book and CD Combination, 2011 edition (Hospital Statistics (Book & CD-Rom))
D. Conclusions and Recommendations

I limited this critique to three types of errors that may arise in the study.  There are still other errors that I did not discuss, such as on the multipliers for the number of those with abortion complications who did not go to hospitals.  If all these errors are taken into account, we can compute the upper and lower bounds of the estimate for induced abortion rate.  But these error bars are not stated in this study.

What DOH and the Philippine government can do is to provide a digital database of all hospitalizations in the country that any interested party may use to compute the abortion rates in order to verify and critique what other researchers have done.  Simply parroting 11 mothers dying everyday is not scientific, and to base a law such as the RH law on flimsy data sets lacks prudence.  Why do many Filipino mothers die every day?  We need to know the real answers by careful isolation of the variables and parameters.  Who knows, maybe the causes of maternal deaths are really hospital sanitation, incompetence of medical personnel, or neglect because of poverty--factors that are in no way related to induced abortion.  We need to address these factors by placing systems and processes to diminish these causes, and thereby improve the quality of life of mothers.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Is it wrong to use the Bible to hurt homosexuals?

On using the Bible against homosexuality
On using the Bible against homosexuality
Question 1: Is it wrong to use the Bible to hurt homosexuals?--Del Shores

Reply: It depends on what you mean by "hurt".

In the picture on the left, three pastors (men in black) are using the Bible as something to stone a homosexual to death.  The words of Christ comes to mind: "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" (Jn 8:7)

In reality, it is rare that you will read in the news that a homosexual was clubbed to death with a Bible.  What you will most likely read is that Christians would quote the Bible and homosexuals would feel hurt by passages such as these:
  • If a man lies with a male as with a woman,k they have committed an abomination; the two of them shall be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them. (Lv 20:13
  • A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for anyone who does such things is an abomination to the LORD, your God. (Dt 22:5
  • Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes* nor sodomites 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9-10)
Truth hurts. It hurts like a stab of a two-edged sword to the heart.  As St. Paul says: "Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart." (Heb 4:12).  This is why Christ, He Who Is Truth, is depicted in the book of Revelation as a Son of Man with a sword issuing from his mouth (Rv 1:16).

Homosexuality and the Catholic Church
Homosexuality and the Catholic Church
When we touch something hot, we pull away our hand and we cry in pain.  But the pain here saves us: it prevents our whole hand from being burnt.  That is why we have nerves in our fingers that relay to our brain that we touched something hot, which could kill us.  In a similar way, the hurt felt by homosexuals when they read the Scripture actually leads to their salvation: the hurt is a recognition that something is wrong in their actions and that they must flee from the cause of pain.  The problem, however, is that homosexual activists would say that the cause of pain is the Scripture.  But this is not true: the cause of pain is rather the dissonance between what God designed the human body is for and how man used his body for his own end.  The cause of pain is from their own consciences which bug them when they engage in homosexual acts which are not right and not in conformity to truth.  So when they hear the words of the Scripture, their consciences are awakened to truth and become shocked to the difference between what man should be and what man has become.  If two notes are played simultaneously with one slightly at different frequency, you hear beats, a dissonance which is painful to hear.  So a good musician must tune his instrument well so that no dissonance occurs.  In a similar way, homosexuals must tune their life to what God designed them to be in order to experience the joy of harmony in truth.  And this means giving up the homosexual lifestyle.  While it is true that God forgives, but we have to give up the sin.  As Christ said to the woman caught in adultery:
Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more. (Jn 8:11)
First Steps Out: How Christians Can Respond to a Loved One's Struggle with Homosexuality
First Steps Out: How Christians Can Respond to a Loved One's Struggle with Homosexuality
Question 2: Didn't the Bible say: "Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." (Rom 13:10)?

Homosexual act is evil act done to the self and to the neighbor.  It is a mortal sin punishable by death (hence, mortal) in the Old Testament.  When a man commits mortal sin, he is spiritually dead.  No grace can enter his soul, in the same way that food or drink is useless to a dead man.  As the Filipino proverb says: "Of what use is the grass when the horse is already dead?"  Thus, the most charitable (loving) response is to call the sin a sin, because you love your neighbor who committed the act, hoping that he would convert, confess his sin, and be reconciled to God.  Eternal life is at stake here.  If a man dies in a state of mortal sin, he goes to Hell. Period. And the suffering is forever and ever and ever.  So the most charitable thing to do is to prevent a man from going to Hell by either preventing him from committing the mortal sin or asking him to repent of the sin committed.  If a man converts, even a second before he dies, he is assured of going to heaven, though he must pass through the pains of Purgatory.  But the pains of Purgatory has an end, while that in Hell has no end.  Thus, it is better to be in Purgatory than in Hell.  In Purgatory, we still have a hope--a hope based on certainty---of seeing God who created us and truly loves us; in Hell there is no hope. As the Dante's Infierno reads: "Abandon all hope, you who enter here."