The Common Good

Is it possible to find common ground on issues that bitterly divide us (gun control, abortion, same-sex marriage)? And if so, as Christians, where do we find that common ground without demonizing others?

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by: bthomas

10-31-2013 @ 10:22pm

If these issues are to be approached from a Christian world view, then the answer is, "No," we cannot find common ground for common ground does not exist.  When it comes to killing babies because they are inconvenient, there is no common ground.  When it comes to efforts of left-wing liberals to take away our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms freely in exactly the same way one exercises ones first amendment right to speak, etc., then no, there is no common ground.  When it comes to pretending that marriage of homosexuals is anything but abnormal abberant perrverted debauchery, then no there is no common ground. 

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by: warr_e

10-31-2013 @ 7:47am

First, love God. Next, love your neighbor. If we truly put those 2 commandments into practice, the rest cease to be "bitter divisions".

Lorna Smith Thompson
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by: Lorna Smith Thompson

10-28-2013 @ 6:25pm

It IS a scriptural imperative! ...if everyone subscribed to our pet code of morality and practice then why must we be urged to 'strive for unity'? The answer is YES, and the time is NOW!

Ethan Frome
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by: Ethan Frome

10-02-2013 @ 4:48am

When you are dealing with most Republicans , it is almost impossible to find common ground on issues.

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by: cscouten

08-29-2013 @ 4:37pm

Yes. Begin by recognizing "Idolatry of the Book" (Bible, Quoran, Book Of Order, etc.) in your life then start demolishing it with love.

Steven Howard
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by: Steven Howard

06-10-2013 @ 1:45pm

Is it possible to find common ground on issues that bitterly divide us (gun control, abortion, same-sex marriage)? And if so, as Christians, where do we find that common ground without demonizing others?

We need to establish what good the state can do and what good the church can do. The two are not mutually exclusive; however, it is important for us to realize that the Church is obviously a Christian institution whereas the state is not. When it comes to public policy, common ground is something people from diverse backgrounds can come together and agree on what's best for society.

With gun control, obviously the role of the church as a moral institution would definetly come into play in reforming society for the better, but it also has an obligation to support public policies that protect our communities.

The abortion debate should be divided between what the Church holds and what each Christian's interpretation of the law is. While I am not pro-choice, I recognize that some Christians may hold that view out of their own interpretations of the constitution and I respect that. Finding common ground on this issue is easier than people think given that everybody believes this procedure should be rare. People of all views on this issue have plenty of common ground and public policies to work with to truly make this procedure rare. The legality of it can be debated once this goal is accomplished.

A similiar line should be drawn with same-sex marriage: a line that separates marriage in the eyes of the state and marriage in the eyes of the church. I think there are legitimate issues with discrimination if a public service is rejected to any group in society so either people of faith need to realize that marriage equality or a privatization of marriage (with equal granting of benefits to everyone) are really the only two sound constitutional approaches to this issue. As long as the government doesn't intefere in how churches practice marriage within their own communities, then I don't think Christians should be concerned with the state of civil marriage.

 

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by: craig747

05-28-2013 @ 10:54am

Disengenius, Peter Fodera, but fortuitous nonetheless. Your claim that the the 2nd Amendment ONLY permits gun-ownership is exactly the point.

1) No one in favor of marriage equality is forcing anyone else into a same-sex marriage.

Similarly,
2) No one in favor of a woman's choice is forcing anyone to have an abortion against the woman's will.

I don't see why you just don't get that.

Peter Fodera
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by: Peter Fodera

05-06-2013 @ 4:32pm

What common ground does Light share with darkness?  Obedience with sin?  Life with death?

Science and Theology alike teach U.S. Life begins at fertilization.  Killing him or her afterwards is murder.

It is impossible for Adam and Steve or Eve and Eva to become 1 flesh in the anatomical manner God intended.  What's to debate?  If single heterosexuals can and do remain celibate for God's glory and in obedience to Him the same should hold true for those with homosexual attractions if they wish to take up their cross and follow Jesus.

Every Christian is FREE not to own a gun.  They may not make anyone purchase one who does NOT wish to nor may they be made to purchase one against their will.  Our 2nd amendment is crystal clear, the PEOPLE have the RIGHT but not the obligation to KEEP & BEAR firearms, and this right shall not be infringed.

There need not be compromise on issues that are absolutes and have clear right and wrongs, Truths and Falsehoods.

 

Richard Crane
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by: Richard Crane

05-06-2013 @ 7:52pm
in reply to: Peter Fodera

So good of you to answer the question with statements of absolute. I do believe its possible to find common ground, at least for Christians, assuming they understand Jesus' commandment to love others as yourself.

The answer to your first question is that God created them both, light and darkness, obedience and sin and life and death..

Since I have not ever been without sin, I wont cast stones at Adam and Steve, any more than I would Adam and Eve and Edie, or Soloman and his many wives. HOWEVER since our society does not promote one religion over another, seem to me that if it causes us no harm, than the government should stay out of the issue or grant CIVIL rights to whomever is entitled, despite my own beliefs. It is a democracy not a theocracy.

As for guns, nothing in the Constituion is inviolate. I do not have free speech to yell fire in a crowded room. There is a reason that no sooner than the ink dried (and it was ratified), 10 Amendments were added. It is interesting that everyone who defends so-called 2nd amendment rights always forgets the part about the part about the militia being well regulated. The government KNEW who those folks were that made up the militia and therefore had the guns. The fact that they did not have repeating rifles at the time simply means they did NOT address issues they could not have forseen. YOu are always welcome to have your minuteman rifles, three musketballs and gunpowder to reload it with. The government has its right to regulate you in the same amendment.

I suppose the foregoing as a response to  Peter Fodera only highlights that maybe we cant have a ressonable discussion, as long as one side has uncompromisingly rigid beliefs. I still think Roby Duke's song had it right. Come let us Reason......

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by: loko

05-06-2013 @ 3:47pm

Yes. I believe we stand a chance of finding common ground on these "controversial issues" only if we reframe our debates into sincere discussions. This would require: 



  1. Acknowledging and admitting our biases. Many people (myself included) find these divisive issues to be emotionally charged. We must understand what part our emotions play and always strive to put that in context.

  2. Humility: Assuming that we do not know the "right answer" and that the other person's difference of opinion is coming from a genuinely good place. We cannot embark upon a quest for truth if we do not accept that the journey may show our initial assessments to be false. No one likes to find out that they were wrong. However, if we aren't willing to discover our own ignorance, we limit our ability to make other meaningful discoveries.

  3. Appreciating the complexity of the psychology, sociology, economic, and politics surrouding each of these issues. If it was simple, we would have solved it ages ago and the problem wouldn't still plague us.

  4. Avoiding broad generalizations, unsubstantiated arguments, and logical fallicies. We owe it to ourselves and each other to handle these topics witht he utmost respect. We can only do that if we take care in using thoughtful and appropriate language.

  5. Courage. We must dare to discuss these issues on a regular basis even if it is exhausting and challenging. We must discuss them with people who share our perspectives, people who disagree with our perspectives but understand them, and people who are opposed to our perspectives. Learn from everyone.

  6. Separating the position from the person. Love everyone, even if you disagree with their ideas.

  7. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. If someone offends you in discussion, acknowlege the offense and move on. Revenge and retaliation will neither help the cause nor your peace of mind.

I am uncomfortable with the second question. "And if so, as Christians, where do we find that common ground without demonizing others?" It seems as if the answer is already implied in the question: You find common ground when you stop demonizing others.

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by: rchaswms

05-06-2013 @ 2:45pm

Absolutely.  We need to have it be safe to describe our values and beliefs and be met with acceptance. The confusion of acceptance and approval in our society is bewildering and not helpful. Even more distressing is that  it leads to minor violence -- interrupting and dismissing others and major violence -- believing that we are justified in bombing crowds of people in the name of our ideas.

Once we can provide this level of non-violence to each other then we can really know each other. Once we can really get to know each other, then we may recognize that some of our best friends hold ideas that we dislike or even abhor.  We may also come to realize that the best ideas win out when allowed free expression and selection by enactment and community discernment of their results. 

We are such an odd culture that believes that money and markets are capable of doing this kind of arbitrage and evolution and not believe that ideas and norms can be developed in the same way.  Of course, money and markets sometimes lack community discernment. The better and common good is often sacrificed to the individual's or clique's profit and the common good becomes an unaccounted for externality. 

It is important that ideas can be expressed freely and circulated in the press without interpretation or judgement added. Each of is unique in our possible contributions. And each of us is unique in our needs. It is vitally important that the community determine the criteria for the success of ideas and that each idea be evaluated on how it "works" or does not "work." Regular town meetings or other conventions are needed. These conventions need to include everyone. That rich and poor, straight and gay, men and women, young and old, be a part of this discernment is key.