Friday, December 5, 2008

Proposition 8

You're aware, perhaps, of the virulent reaction by the left, particularly the gay left, to the passage in California of Proposition 8 which effectively prevents the legalization of gay marriage. Since the Mormon church played a role in the campaign they've come in for special abuse by the erstwhile apostles of tolerance and progressivism. It is deeply ironic that some who call for tolerance of those whose beliefs on sexuality are different from our own are calling for violence against those whose beliefs on sexuality are different from their own.

Jonah Goldberg has a fine column about the very unliberal tactics employed by these folk against those who want nothing more than to preserve marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

Goldberg asks:

Did you catch the political ad in which two Jews ring the doorbell of a nice, working-class family? They barge in and rifle through the wife's purse and then the man's wallet for any cash. Cackling, they smash the daughter's piggy bank and pinch every penny. "We need it for the Wall Street bailout!" they exclaim.

No? Maybe you saw the one with the two swarthy Muslims who knock on the door of a nice Jewish family and then blow themselves up?

No? Well, then surely you saw the TV ad in which two smarmy Mormon missionaries knock on the door of an attractive lesbian couple. "Hi, we're from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!" says the blond one with a toothy smile. "We're here to take away your rights." The Mormon zealots yank the couple's wedding rings from their fingers and then tear up their marriage license.

As the thugs leave, one says to the other, "That was too easy." His smirking comrade replies, "Yeah, what should we ban next?" The voice-over implores viewers: "Say no to a church taking over your government."

Obviously, the first two ads are fictional because no one would dare run such anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim attacks.

The third ad, however, was real. It was broadcast throughout California on election day as part of the effort to rally opposition to Proposition 8, the initiative that successfully repealed the right to same-sex marriage in the state.

There's much more at the link, and, as usual with Goldberg, his essay is good reading.

Truth to tell, the liberal opponents of Prop 8 didn't discriminate. Outraged that the demographic group most notably in favor of the ban on gay marriage was African Americans (70% of African Americans who voted in California voted to pass the ban) some of the lefty progressives even hurled vulgar racial epithets at blacks who were in fact protesting the passage of the Proposition.

Part of the left's outrage, perhaps, stems from the fact that for years progressives have been pushing against an open door in getting their agenda enacted in this country, but now, on this one issue, they're meeting resistance. Some of them are venting their frustration like spoiled children accustomed to having their way but who find themselves thwarted in a matter of particular importance to them.

Their anger is directed at the church, of course, because only people of the Book have any grounds for mounting opposition to the push for gay marriage. Secularists have long since recognized that they have no moral basis other than their own subjective preferences for opposing anything, let alone gay marriage. Realizing that their dislike of the notion of two members of the same gender engaging in connubial bliss was nothing more than a matter of personal taste, secularists quickly abandoned their opposition. Religious people remain the last impediment to the redefinition of marriage, but their opposition is intractable because it's based not on personal taste but upon what they believe to be the will of God.

Like the brat who screams that he hates his parents when they stand in the way of his obtaining something he wants, those who claim the right to reorder social arrangements that have thousands of years of tradition behind them may well increase the volume and frequency of their hatefulness toward conservative Christians and Jews if these groups continue to refuse to give them their way.


Congealed Information

Physics students have probably heard their teachers refer to matter as "frozen energy", i.e. matter is really energy that has been "compacted" to take solid form, somewhat like rain drops are condensed water vapor. It was one of Einstein's great insights that matter and energy are interconvertible, a relationship he famously expressed in the equation E=mc2.

The mass/energy relationship came to mind the other day as I was reading a paper in which the author somewhat in passing suggested that our bodies may in fact be congealed soul. This is, to me at least, an interesting thought because my view of the soul is that it's not a substance of any kind but is rather information.

I think that our soul is our essence. It's the sum of every true proposition about us. It's like a data file that contains an exhaustive description of our personal history, our personality, our likes and dislikes, our physical appearance at every moment of our lives, and so on. I envision this information existing eternally in the mind of God. Perhaps upon death this information is "downloaded" in such a way that it forms a new body of some sort in some other reality. Somewhat like the teleportation device in Star Trek reassembled atoms to reform the teleported crew of the Enterprise, perhaps bodies can be formed, at least in part, from the information comprising our soul.

Taking this thought a step further, maybe everything, the whole world, is really a manifestation of information. Perhaps God's mind is like a vast supercomputer with near infinite data storage capability. All the information about the world exists in His mind and in some corner of that Divine intellect there's a module that acts something like a computer monitor. We might imagine God, at the moment of creation, performing a mental keystroke and the data describing the world expressing itself in images on the monitor, just as the images you're viewing right now are really manifestations of the information stored on your hard drive and on the server which hosts Viewpoint. The images on the monitor in God's mind include us. Our physical bodies are, in this view, actually "congealed" information.

In any event, I think one of the manifold blessings of modern technology is that it affords us new metaphors and rich resources to help us understand better than our ancestors ever could the nature of God and the world He has created.