Why It’s Hard to Dialogue With Secularists and Leftists‏

| 08-20-AD2013 | [106]

Leila Miller - Dialogue with Secularists

My blog title, Little Catholic Bubble, is a bit tongue-in-cheek. I love my faithful Catholic friends, but I also enjoy engaging the left, mostly secular humanists, in cultural debates. Three main frustrations, however, make it hard to have a productive discussion.

The first frustration is the tendency by many liberals to duck out early. I take a pseudo-Socratic approach to dialogue, asking a series of questions in an attempt to follow an argument to its logical conclusion, and often my opponent quits right at that threshold. It might look like this:

Me: Do you think the unborn are as human as you are?

Abortion Advocate: No, I don’t.

Me: What do you think they are?

AA: They are potential humans.

Me: At what moment do they become fully human?

AA: At viability. {Other answers include: brainwaves, heartbeat, the second trimester, birth, three months after birth, sentience, etc.}

Me: Is that objectively true, or is that simply your opinion?

AA: After deep inquiry and thought, that’s my conclusion.

Me: Okay, well, how do you pinpoint the exact second that humanity begins, so that we don’t accidentally kill any innocent people?

AA: We can’t pinpoint an exact second, but it’s a good estimate.

Me: Isn’t that arbitrary and subjective?

AA: Well, we have to draw the line somewhere.

Me: Why do we have to draw the line anywhere? Death is irrevocable. If we might be killing innocent people, shouldn’t we always err on the side of life?

Suddenly, silence. One of numerous unanswered questions on my blog.

If a thread doesn’t end in silence, it might end in the next frustration, which is an irrational explosion of raw emotion, either offensive (“You racist, sexist, patriarchal, judgmental, pedophile-protecting, bigoted, homophobic fetus-lover! You hate the poor, you rape the earth, and you don’t care about children after they’re born!”) or defensive (“You think I’m evil! You don’t think I have any morals! You are calling me a monster!”). Not to mention myriad other choice phrases and obscenities that cannot be printed here.

The third frustration is when I encounter the “jaw droppers” — statements that are so bizarre, illogical or disturbing that I want to confirm, “Do you actually believe that?” and then ask the heavens, “How did we get here?”

Some Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole moments:

Many secularists proclaim that, except for genitalia, there is no difference between men and women. At all.

I’ve been told often that mothers and fathers are “interchangeable” to a child, so having both is not needed.

A sex educator informed me that she and her husband leave out “judgmental words like ‘marriage’” when teaching underprivileged school children.

I’ve been scolded by a recent college grad who has a “big issue” with my “assumptions about women, that their bodies were made to breed and sustain other people”. (Biology, anyone?)

A science major told me that although “it’s true” she started life as a single cell, “that zygote that I started out as wasn’t me”.

A college atheist couldn’t say whether a fully-formed baby girl aborted in the third trimester deserved love or was literally a piece of trash. She looked at the dead girl’s photo and said she would need to know the “circumstances”.

Two undergraduates told me that torturing, raping and killing a six-year-old girl to spare the lives of fifty people “would be the only moral thing to do” (though “moral principles aren’t necessarily easy to live out”).

An abortionist mocked me for imposing my “mystical, spiritual beliefs”, after I presented strictly secular pro-life arguments based on biology and civil rights.

A homosexual activist and his boyfriend staged a “mock civil union” on campus to challenge traditional marriage laws, yet when I asked him to define “marriage” he admitted he’d never thought about it.

But there is another category of discussion that I can respect, even as I recoil: When a secularist is consistent, willing to push his idea all the way to its logical conclusion.

Take for example the young atheist wife and mother who admits that since love is “just a series of random chemical reactions in the brain”, she and her (currently beloved) husband should, and will, divorce should those chemicals shift.

Or the academic who conceded when pressed that adult siblings (homosexual or straight) should be allowed to marry: “If two siblings really, really want to get married and enjoy a happy relationship – then go right ahead.”

Or, famously, Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer, a supporter of both abortion and infanticide who rightly argues that the two acts are not different, and that birth is an arbitrary line drawn by abortion proponents to make themselves feel a distinction where none exists. Singer understands that “birth does not mark a morally significant dividing line” when it comes to killing infants.

Aside from those rare cogent moments, the frustration in dialogue remains. I pray my interaction with those on the left can move past the silences, the emotional outbursts, and the jaw droppers towards a mutual search for clarity and truth. Though chances of that seem slim, there is wonder and fruit in the Little Catholic Bubble nonetheless: Fence-sitters email me behind the scenes, thankful to have found their way to objective truth by watching the debates unfold. For that reason alone, I will gratefully keep talking taking on the difficult dialogues.

About the Author:

Leila Miller is a wife and mother of eight children who has a penchant for writing and a passion for teaching the Catholic Faith in simple ways. This summa cum laude Boston College graduate also loves to debate atheists, advocate for special needs orphans, and attempt the matchmaking of young Catholic singles (not necessarily in that order). All of the above is accomplished on her three blogs: Little Catholic Bubble, Orphan Report, and the invite-only Catholic Moms Matchmaking.
Social Filed in: Social
×
  • Pingback: Why It’s Hard to Dialogue With Secularists and Leftists‏ - CATHOLIC FEAST - Every day is a Celebration

  • Strife

    As a former Liberal/Secularist I can tell you – One does not “dialouge” with the liberal madness of secularism. Rather, one dissects it one fallacy at a time until the shame of ignorance sets into the thickened mind of the self-serving Progressive numb-skull.

  • Mary Ann

    Thank you for having the guts and conviction to evangelize the way you do!

  • Pingback: My Final 500 Words to College Students - BigPulpit.com

  • John Darrouzet

    G.K. Chesterton
    “Dickens…refused to love all opinions”

    “I HAVE heard that in some debating clubs there is a rule that the members may discuss anything except religion and politics. I cannot imagine what they do discuss; but it is quite evident that they have ruled out the only two subjects which are either important or amusing. The thing is a part of a certain modern tendency to avoid things because they lead to warmth; whereas, obvious]y, we ought, even in a social sense, to seek those things specially. The warmth of the discussion is as much a part of hospitality as the warmth of the fire. And it is singularly suggestive that in English literature the two things have died together. The very people who would blame Dickens for his sentimental hospitality are the very people who would also blame him for his narrow political conviction. The very people who would mock him for his narrow radicalism are those who would mock him for his broad fireside. Real conviction and real charity are much nearer than people suppose. Dickens was capable of loving all men; but he refused to love all opinions. The modern humanitarian can love all opinions, but he cannot love all men; he seems, sometimes, in the ecstasy of his humanitarianism, even to hate them all. He can love all opinions, including the opinion that men are unlovable.”

    ~G.K. Chesterton: “Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens,” Ch. XVII, Hard Times.

    Learning how to love those whose opinions are finally untenable in our own opinion is still the task, don’t you agree?

    • Leila Miller

      John, absolutely. And behind the scenes, even some of the folks who are responsible for those jaw-droppers have become email friends. :)

  • Robbe Sebesta

    Very true and oh how I can relate to you!! I once was told that a child in the womb wasn’t even really a child..it was more of a fish. The only thing I can surmise is that – evil blinds people to the truth, plain and simple. Thank you for making me feel so not so alone out there in pro-life land Leila!

    • Dawn Standifer

      God said “I knew you when you were in your mother’s womb”

  • Phil Dzialo

    Why is it hard to dialogue with “leftists”, “secularists”, etc. etc.?

    First, when human beings with human opinions are placed in categories, boxes, labels, it is difficult to have dialogue when conversational outcomes are pre-determined. When people “re-coil” at others beliefs, dialogue is less possible. When people communicate under the cloak of anonymity, dialogue is not possible when you speak or correspond with “anonymopus”, guest, St. Donatus? Dialogue, per Msartin Buber assumes an “I-Thou” relationship.Socratic questioning which purports to lead on to a pre-determined conclusion is not dialogue, it’s subtle manipulation. So let’s begin but not putting people in labeled boxes, because we then treat them as abstractions.

    GK Chesterton: “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.”
    Illustrated London News, 1924-04-19

    • Leila Miller

      Phil, can I be categorized as a “Catholic”? I hope so!

      I wish you had been here just now as I practiced a speech I am giving tomorrow on Lumen Fidei. Dialogue is absolutely possible. Love and truth go together. And what you may not know is that I am in dialogue with most of those folks via email, where the “discussion” is not socratic, but personal. I love these folks. But there is a time and place for all kinds of dialogues. And believe it or not, Socratic is one acceptable, classic way to dialogue. Our Church does not oppose it.

      Thanks for quoting Chesterton! He is one of my heroes, and he dialogued better than anyone.

    • Phil Dzialo

      Leila, you can be whoever you want to be…that defines our humanity.

    • Leila Miller

      Sorry, what does that actually mean?

      In fact, God defines our humanity.

    • Phil Dzialo

      You answered your own question, did you not?

    • Leila Miller

      No, I didn’t answer the question I asked you. You were supposed to answer it.

      Are you of the opinion that human worth is not objective? That God does not define our humanity? Because you said that our being whomever we want to be defines our humanity. Please elaborate.

    • Phil Dzialo

      I define my humanity by being in union with the Source and in being a good person. I do not need anything else to define who I am. Some people need to define themselves through Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc. I choose to be connected to Source and to live a good life through taking care of my disabled older son. Human worth is how we individually choose…nothing defines us but what we choose. This is my definition and not one anyone other person need accept!

    • Phil Steinacker

      Phil, I’ll add to Leila’s very able response.

      Generalization – and by extension, categorization – has only until modern times been understood to be the most effective language tool to communicate concepts. Implicitly understood until it’s manipulation and subsequent distortion by mostly cultural and political leftists who couldn’t win an argument to advance their obviously flawed claims, using this tool required an awareness shared by all participants in the discussion that there were and always are exceptions to the cited generalizations.

      Indeed, this worked quite well for everyone, as I said, until those tired of failing to ever persuade began working to improve their odds by undermining the use of generalization, which eventually became known as “labeling” or its more recent version, “putting people into boxes.” That “label” in its own right worked especially well, appealing to those incapable of mounting any sort of solid argument because of the lack of overall debating ability, and especially with the terribly insecure, thereby adding to the numbers of those with the original agenda to alter the landscape until a tipping point was reached.
      Today, the world and its Internet are saturated with mini-prophets bombarding us with lectures like yours, and too many folks have forgotten or never understood what I just explained, or they passed away. You see, I’m a witness to this entire process.

      Also, you inappropriately cite Martin Buber’s “I, Thou” relationship while ignoring the “Thou” infers a relationship of intimacy that Buber never intended (nor would it be possible to attain) in this context.

      Finally, I share Leila’s appreciation for this old favorite Chesterton quote, but it hardly makes your case any more than this old chestnut does:

      “There are two kinds of people in the world; those who think there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don’t.”

    • Leila Miller

      Phil, thank you! I once wrote a post on “generalizing” and it’s not as well stated as what you’ve said here, but for the record:

      http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/09/generalizing-is-not-bad-thing.html

    • c matt

      Socratic questioning which purports to lead on to a pre-determined conclusion is not dialogue, it’s subtle manipulation
      What exactly did you think Socrates (Plato) was doing in all those dialogues!?! Of course he was manipulating to a pre-determined conclusion. It was basically a long, drawn out reductio ad absurdum.

  • cminca

    Leila–”dialogue” infers that you care to learn about the other person’s point of view. You don’t.

    Anyone who has either engaged or read one of your “dialogues” can see that what you really want to do is feel self-righteously superior to the person you are talking AT.

    And I’ve had you and your doppelganger Stacy drop off of enough conversations to know that your faux surprise at “Suddenly, silence. One of numerous unanswered questions on my blog” is the pot calling the kettle black.

    • Leila Miller

      cminca, what an honor to be compared to Stacy! And wait a minute… what question was left unanswered? Help me find it, and I will try my best to answer. Unless the questioner is being outrageously rude, I will answer.

      And, as I have said twice in these very comments, I have become very friendly with most of the folks whose comments I used on this post. We speak privately. Whether you believe that I “care” about them or not is not my concern. They know.

      Many blessings!

    • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

      Well technically I’d be an apparition of you, your ghost sister! Whhhooooo.

    • cminca

      And I’m sure there are republicans who would be gratified to be compared to Dick Cheney……

    • Leila Miller

      I think Stacy and I will wear your snark as a badge of honor. Stacy is an amazing woman. Have you read her conversion story? Everyone should. What a beautiful and humble soul.

    • cminca

      Stacy may be any number of things. Humble isn’t one of them.

    • Leila Miller

      Clearly you don’t know her.

      Here is a definition of humility from Fr. Hardon:

      The moral virtue that keeps a person from reaching beyond himself. It is the virtue that restrains the unruly desire for personal greatness and leads people to an orderly love of themselves based on a true appreciation of their position with respect to God and their neighbors. Religious humility recognizes one’s total dependence on God; moral humility recognizes one’s creaturely equality with others. Yet humility is not only opposed to pride; it is also opposed to immoderate self-abjection, which would fail to recognize God’s gifts and use them according to his will.

      Take care, cminca.

    • Robbe Sebesta

      No, I haven’t, but I would love to read her conversion story!

    • Leila Miller

      Robbe, I think it’s on the top of her blog! It’s amazing.

    • cminca

      Leila–once again sidestepping the point–that you cannot dialogue unless you care to learn about the other person’s opinion.

    • Leila Miller

      Again, what part of the other person’s opinion am I not learning about? I give the other side free reign to post their thoughts and a million follow-ups. So, I’m not quite understanding your point? Could you give me a specific example?

    • cminca

      Leila–you cannot begin a meaningful dialogue when you begin with the assumption that the other side is an extremist.
      Which Phil stated and which you sidestepped.
      Is that specific enough?
      I’ve now explained this three times. So I’m done playing your disingenuous “whatever do you mean?” game.
      You may now claim I’ve run away……

    • Leila Miller

      First, is the word “secularist” an insult? Does it connote extremism to you? Heck, secularists call themselves that. And “leftist” — that means those on the political and social “left”. Is that a bad word in your mind?

      I never assume that anyone is an extremist. It’s only after they say that it’s okay to marry one’s sister, or it’s okay to kill infants after birth, or it’s sometimes okay to torture and kill children, etc., that I start to really wonder what their principles are. And I press them on that.

      Did you notice that you did not give a single example of what I have done to “assume” that those on the blog are extreme? So, no, it’s not “specific enough”. Try giving an actual example.

    • cminca

      Leila–
      Specific example.
      You just responded to my remark when I said that you can’t have a meaningful dialogue when you begin with the assumption that the other person is an EXTREMIST.
      You responded by talking about “secularists” and “leftist”.
      You just proved my point.

    • Leila Miller

      You never answered: Are “secularists” extremists in your mind? And, I just did a search of the article. I never used the word “extremist” in the whole thing. So, what are you talking about? CITE YOUR EVIDENCE that I “assume” the other person to be an extremist. Cite your evidence (a quote from me would suffice). I never even used the word, cminca.

    • cminca

      Leila–you may want to review the link to your blog on BigPulpit Tuesday Afternoon Edition.
      Then get back to me on the word extremist.

    • Leila Miller

      I didn’t link it, and I didn’t use the word, cminca. They link what they want and they don’t tell me beforehand. I don’t write the headlines or any title that is on BigPulpit.

      Now, concede the point: I never used the word. You are lying if you continue to say that I do.

    • Phil Steinacker

      So where’s YOUR blog? I want to come visit and test out the veracity of your claim regarding my like-minded “sisters” – two of my top favorites. I haven’t witnessed anyone besting either one so far!

    • cminca

      “I haven’t witnessed anyone besting either one so far!”

      That’s because when they are bested they change topics. As Leila did to Phil earlier. He was making the point that when she starts with the presumption that people are “secularists” and “extremists” (defined as anyone who doesn’t worship the Catholic Church) there can be no legitimate dialogue.

      Leila disingenuously sidesteps the point. Something she does frequently. Something that she did in response to my comment. Something that I, and others, have called her on.

      Since you, like many of her readers, are obviously reading her to reinforce your own opinions you just don’t notice.

    • Leila Miller

      Cite your evidence. After your lies above, I am ticked. Cite your evidence or keep silent.

      I have no idea what your private wounds are, but you have no moral right to lie about what I say or what I presume.

    • cminca

      Leila–step one. Read what Phil wrote:

      Why is it hard to dialogue with “leftists”, “secularists”, etc. etc.?

      First, when human beings with human opinions are placed in categories, boxes, labels, it is difficult to have dialogue when conversational outcomes are pre-determined….So let’s begin but not putting people in labeled boxes, because we then treat them as abstractions.

      He was calling you out for entering into the conversation with preconceived notions.
      Step two–read your response. Where you sidestep his accusation.
      THERE IS MY EVIDENCE.
      You may now claim something completely unrelated…..

    • Leila Miller

      That’s all so very interesting, cminca. But how would I be able to preconceive anything about those to whom I talk until and unless I actually talk to them? How did I know, for example, that “Person A” is a secularist? Perhaps (wait for it…) the person told me. “I am a secularist” or “I don’t believe in religion” or “I am an atheist” and then “I believe such-and-such” (see above). We go from there. That’s how it rolls on my blog. To say otherwise is disingenuous at best.

    • cminca

      Except, Leila, that isn’t what you responded, is it?

      And, Leila, that still doesn’t respond to Phil’s accusation that “Socratic questioning which purports to lead on to a pre-determined conclusion is not dialogue, it’s subtle manipulation.”, does it?
      Which is exactly what you do.

    • Leila Miller

      I have no idea what your first sentence means or refers to.

      And as for responding to “accusations” (in this case, insults, innuendo), I don’t respond to straw men or manipulative “accusations”. But if Phil would like to ask me a direct question, I would be most happy to respond. And to you, too. Ask me an actual question if you want to know anything about what I believe (which is what I do to my secularist readers), and I will answer it.

      Simple.

      Oh, and if you could get on that evidence for me? Anything? A quote, a blog post, something? And if you could show where I used the word “extremist” (which is your constant accusation)? Thanks!

    • cminca

      “I have no idea what your first sentence means or refers to.”
      Review the stream of the conversation.

    • Leila Miller

      Sorry, still have no idea.

      You still have not conceded that I never used the word “extremist” (and don’t bring up BigPulpit, as I do not control what they link or how they title my post). Have some integrity and stop bearing false witness.

    • Leila Miller

      Let’s go to the only thing that might be approaching “evidence” (and which notably does not include the word “extremist”):

      Why is it hard to dialogue with “leftists”, “secularists”, etc. etc.?

      That is a simple fact: I find it hard to dialogue with leftists and secularists on the issues that I refer to in the OP. Shocking!

      I guess the question is: Why are you so offended? I would not be offended in the least if a secularist or leftist said to me (or wrote a post), “I find it hard to dialogue with Catholics.”

      Do you find that offensive? If so, why?

      By the way, this post was originally on my blog, and I was asked to write it by an L.A.Times editor who is a prominent liberal (is that offensive, too?). So, this was prompted by someone on the left. I doubt she was offended, since she gave me the topic.

    • cminca

      “That is a simple fact: I find it hard to dialogue with leftists and secularists on the issues that I refer to in the OP. Shocking! ”
      Glad to see you are admitting that the entire subject of this blog is disingenuous. That you are subscribing to “leftists” and “secularists” that which you are, yourself, guilty.
      (Which you also prove when you accuse Phil of being insulting or manipulative when you are, yourself, insulting and manipulative.)

      The terms “leftist” and “secularists” have implied negative connotations when they are used by people like you. It would be like me referring to you as a fundie.
      The terms also imply that all non conservative non catholics think alike. We don’t.
      As for the request by the LA Times editor–do you honestly think I believe anything you say?

    • Leila Miller

      1) That would be “ascribing” not “subscribing”
      2) Could I say to you, “The terms ‘Catholic’ or ‘conservative’ have implied negative connotations when they are used by people like you” and not sound like a fool? Answer: No. Because the words “Catholic” and “conservative” do not bother me in the least and have no negative connotation, even when they are spoken by “people like you”, cminca. Are secularists bothered by the word “secularist”? Why do they call themselves secular humanists, if so? This is just bizarre.
      3) A liar (who has not recanted his lies about me) is implying that I am a liar? You have yet to cite your evidence that I have lied or categorized liberals as “extremists”, or that I have claimed that I want to see people in hell (when all my words and work demonstrate just the opposite).
      4) Lying is a sin for a Catholic. I do not lie. And, why would I lie about the L.A. Times editor? If you are so paranoid and suspicious, email me at littlecatholicbubble@gmail.com and I will happily fill you in on the request (which was discussed long ago on my blog).

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      You seem to be completely ignoring the fact that both Leila and Stacy were once on the other side of the debate, and thus they can understand the liberal, dissenting Catholic POV perfectly (as it is one they each used to hold). You’ve read their conversion stories, haven’t you?

    • cminca

      And you seem to be completely ignoring the fact that both Leila and Stacy proclaim themselves to be “Christians” while their words make it pretty clear that they not only enjoy telling other people that they are going to roast in hell, but that they both look forward to bringing the marshmallows.
      I’ve read Stacy’s conversion story. As far as I can tell, she once turned off her brain by abusing drugs and alcohol. Now she turns off her brain by letting the CC do her thinking for her. She seems to have become the perfect Catholic Stepford wife.
      While that may be more socially acceptable–it is still turning your brain off.
      And, BTW, I used to abuse alcohol. Haven’t in 10+ years. But I don’t need to tell other people they are going to hell in order to feel better about myself.

    • Leila Miller

      they not only enjoy telling other people that they are going to roast in hell, but that they both look forward to bringing the marshmallows.

      Rarely, rarely, rarely have I done this. But you, dear cminca, are a liar. You cannot cite anything of the sort. Bring it. Cite your evidence. I am waiting.

      If you have ever read my blog, you would know that my only hope is that ALL men be saved, and that the Catholic Church doesn’t speak of any one person going to hell. We cannot know! We cannot even know if Hitler is in hell. I have written extensively on such things.

      This is beyond the pale.

    • cminca

      It is called reading for context. I’ve read plenty of your and Stacy’s remarks. It doesn’t take any imagination to understand what you really think. And enjoy thinking.
      (and there is nothing like the truth to make a liar scream like a scalded cat.)

    • Leila Miller

      How about this, cminca. Show me anything I have said that in any way comports with this lie:

      they not only enjoy telling other people that they are going to roast in hell, but that they both look forward to bringing the marshmallows.

      You cannot do it. Psychoanalyzing doesn’t count. This is not an argument: “You have millions of words on the record, but the only thing I can point to is a ‘feeling’ I have.”

      That is just sad, cminca.

      Blatant lies, nothing to back it up, no citations (when my blog says explicitly the opposite). That is what we call calumny.

      I am saving your quotes to use later. I have never seen anything so disingenuous and that’s saying a lot after years of blogging dialogue (and friendships) with the secularists and atheists on my blog.

      But I’ll try again: Cite your evidence. Anything at all. Don’t be a coward. Show me.

    • cminca

      I’m reminded of Condoleezza Rice saying “we never actually claimed that there were WMD in Iraq.”

    • Leila Miller

      And you still don’t cite one quote, one bit of evidence, when I have a whole blog for you to choose from.

      I will add you to the Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole statements, because to you, “I want everyone in Heaven” means “I want everyone in hell”.

      And just for the record, can you cite where I used the word “extremist”? You seem in love with the idea that I used it, but you can’t show it.

      I’ll keep asking: Cite your evidence. Anything. Just one quote, one post, one line. Anything.

    • cminca

      Leila–
      Let me ask a Socratic question–
      Do you believe that God feels homosexuality and/or homosexual acts are “disordered”?
      Because I have as much evidence of my beliefs as you have of yours.

    • Micha_Elyi

      Why are you so concerned about what “God feels”?

      I have no need of your “God feels” hypothesis; homosexual acts are objectively disordered.

    • Leila Miller

      I agree with Micha: Acts of sodomy are objectively disordered. God did not create the reproductive organs to be used in the digestive tract. This is not rocket science. It’s biology.

      But let’s stop talking biology and anatomy, and let’s talk God’s design. What is the purpose of sex? What’s the nature of it? What is nature of what the sexual organs do, and why?

    • cminca

      “”God did not create the reproductive organs to be used in the digestive tract. ”
      You might want to take a look in your pants. Then you might want to look in a mans. Both the male and female reproductive organs are also part of the elimination of waste.
      And please tell me when God told YOU what he designed and why??

    • Leila Miller

      Uh, I believe you may have female anatomy wrong. Check a textbook diagram. And as far as men go… I have six boys and a husband. When they pee, they are not engaging in any type of sex.

      You also have mixed up two different systems. Let’s have wiki answers put it simply:

      [T]he digestive system includes the stomach, intestines, mouth, esophagus, etc. that have to do with solid foods and wastes. The bladder is in the urinary system which includes the urinary bladder, kidneys, ureters, etc. that have to do with fluid elimination and liquid wastes.

      So, you have mixed up the digestive system with the urinary tract system (there are even separate doctors for these systems: Urologists and gastroenterologists).

      Basically, you dodged the questions.

    • Leila Miller

      How is that a socratic question? What I “believe” about what God “feels”?

    • cminca

      Socratic questions may be used to discover underlying assumptions.
      So this is just another tap dance. Why don’t you answer my statement?

    • Leila Miller

      No, it’s just another misunderstanding of my faith, by you. I don’t think in terms of what God “feels” about anything… He is Truth itself. His Truth has been revealed and the moral law can be known through human reason alone. We can apprehend through use of our reason that we don’t discharge our life-giving faculties into chutes of death and waste for example; and it’s also revealed in Scripture and Tradition, explicitly.

      But if you must know how I think God “feels” (as if he were you or me!), then I am certain that He “feels” that sodomy is an abominable act, and like all sexual immorality, is a grave sin. A great misuse of our human nature and our human sexuality, which is sacred and life-giving.

    • Robbe Sebesta

      God states very clearly for anyone who truly wants to know the truth that homosexual acts are wrong.

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      What? You enjoy scalding cats until they scream???

      Hey, I’m just “reading for context.” If you can fabricate lies and call them truth, why can’t I?

      Can you please provide a quote from either Leila or Stacy that you believe is “evidence” of their alleged desire to damn people to hell?

    • Leila Miller

      Goodness, I even want to see cminca in Heaven! Maybe cminca will infer from that that I want to see him/her in hell? Apparently, it depends on what she “feels” I mean. With cminca, my statements that “I want everyone in Heaven” means “I want everyone in hell”.

    • cminca

      Leila—If I was you I’d prepare an answer to the question “who were you to judge my children”

    • Leila Miller

      Spoken by a man who has clearly never read my blog:

      “It is not our place to damn [Hitler, or anyone] to hell; it’s only God who can read souls and pronounce ultimate judgment. When Jesus told us not to judge, this is what he meant. We may judge actions, but not people’s hearts or the state of their souls. Only God can read a human heart, and only He knows the state of a soul.”

      Read it all, here, if you care about not libeling others and bearing false witness:

      http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/01/answering-miss-gwen-distinction-between.html

    • cminca

      “When Jesus told us not to judge, this is what he meant. We may judge actions, but not people’s hearts or the state of their souls.”
      So exactly where and when did Jesus tell you that is what he meant?

    • Leila Miller

      The Church that Jesus founded tells us. It’s HIS Church. He is still the head of His Church.

      Let me ask you: Are you of the belief that we may not judge actions as right or wrong? And that Jesus said so?

    • cminca

      Forgive my ignorance but I’d like the bible citation clearly stating that Jesus said that Catholics are in a position to judge actions but not people’s hearts.
      And then I’d like you to reconcile your statement to Matthew 7:5.
      I don’t concern myself with judging others unless those actions have victims. I judge the Catholic church based on what its done to its victims. The people it tries to disenfranchise. The people it tries to diminish. The victims it tries to silence.
      Got it?

    • Leila Miller

      Your premises are wrong.

      1) Catholics are not sola scriptura

      2) It’s axiomatic that human beings are able to judge actions as right or wrong. Guess what? Hindus can also “judge” that homosexual acts, or stealing, or fornication, or bearing false witness are wrong.

      3) “I don’t concern myself with judging others unless those actions have victims.” So you do judge others? What gives you that right? And with this talk of “victims”, do you mean that consent is all the is required for an act to be good?

      4) Matthew 7:5. I work on my own sins constantly, no worries. I went to confession just last Saturday. But even if I did not, I still hope I would be allowed to say (in your universe) that some actions are wrong. I can’t imagine a world where there is no right and wrong, or where we cannot speak it. It would be hard (and meaningless) to be a parent if everything was “good” (as long as everyone agreed to it!).

    • cminca

      Leila–answer the challenge–’I'd like the bible citation clearly stating that Jesus said that Catholics are in a position to judge actions but not people’s hearts.’
      You made a claim. Now support it. You claimed to KNOW what Jesus meant. Prove it.

    • Leila Miller

      cminca, I am not a Protestant, nor do I subscribe to a Protestant paradigm. You are trying to make me reply as if I believed in sola scriptura and personal interpretation of the Bible, and I don’t. So, you either ask me a question for a Catholic, or go ask Protestants your questions.

      Now, if you want me to tell you as a Catholic why I know that we can judge actions (duh) and not people’s hearts or destinies (duh), then I will tell you that that is the unbroken teaching of the Church for 2,000 years. Sort of like the teaching that Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. It has been forever thus in Christianity. If you claim otherwise, the onus is on you. Sorry if that makes you unhappy, but that is the Truth. Go ahead and disprove that this is what the Church has always taught. You deny it, so show me otherwise.

      In the meantime, please learn the basic differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, so that we can actually have a conversation. I am a Catholic, not a Protestant.

    • cminca

      Leila–Two consenting adults in an adult relationship does not have a victim. It is neither good nor bad. It is morally neutral.
      An adult having relations with a child–who is incapable of giving consent–is a situation with a victim. It is not morally neutral.

    • Leila Miller

      I want to be very clear: Are you saying that nothing two consenting adults do sexually can be sinful? Is consent the sole criterion of the good?

    • cminca

      Nice try–but fail.
      If the two consenting adults are hurting another (adultery–the 6th commandment) then it is a sin.
      You tell me–where in the 10 commandments or in any of Christ’s statements does it say homosexuality is a sin?
      Oh–that’s right. As a Catholic you claim you can pretty much make up anything you want because you don’t follow “sola scriptura”.
      You are so busy being conned by the cc you don’t get that all the rules are merely as ruse to make you believe you can’t have a personal relationship with God without them.
      The point of the ruse? To separate fools from their money.
      Over and OUT.

    • Leila Miller

      Again, you fail to answer questions (so many on this thread left completely unanswered).

      First, where does it say anything about “hurting one another” being the only reason adultery is wrong? Or any other sexual sin? Second, Jesus is very clear about the “one flesh” union (sex) being only for marriage (obviously) and he is very clear about what marriage is and who can enter into it:

      http://catholiclane.com/was-jesus-really-silent-on-same-sex-marriage/

      Strangely, we Catholics don’t “make anything up” because we have held to the same morality for 2,000 years. Don’t you find your statement ironic? In fact, it’s sola scriptura and “personal interpretation” (Protestantism) that has led to “making anything up” and 30,000+ denominations, all teaching different and changing and new “doctrines”. So, it’s not the Catholic paradigm that changes and reverses and “makes things up”. You have us very confused with others.

      I will pray for you. I think we are done here. I think the readers can decide for themselves which side is more coherent and who has argued more logically.

      Many blessings!

    • Robbe Sebesta

      You can’t have any dialogue with someone who just hates, regardless of what the truth is.

    • cminca

      Roberta–you assume you know what the truth is. You are claiming facts not in evidence…..

    • Robbe Sebesta

      Its true that I don’t know much, but I do know someone who knows everything. And what He has taught me is – hurting people hurt people. I’m so sorry for whatever or whoever hurt you, so that you in turn react with so much hostility, and I really mean that.

    • cminca

      JoAnna–you must be a disciple of Leila. That is exactly the type of “Socratic questioning” she employs.

      As for the scalding cats remark–I’m grew up in farm country in the Northeast. It is a fairly well known expression from where I grew up.
      As for the quotes–I’ve already said it–it is called reading for context.

    • Micha_Elyi

      It is called Pretending to Read the Other Person’s Mind.

    • Leila Miller

      Concerning the above (in case anyone read it before my edit). What I have ‘rarely, rarely rarely done’ is call someone a liar. But you are a liar, cminca.

      Bring your evidence.

    • Robbe Sebesta

      I’m waiting for the evidence too….

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      I notice you changing the subject, just like you accuse Leila of doing. Interesting. No response, then, to my statement that both Leila and Stacy understand “the other side” perfectly because they once were liberal and dissented from Church teaching?

      Neither Leila nor Stacy has ever told anyone that they will “roast in hell.” As for your assertion that they allegedly “enjoy” allegedly doing so, what are you basing that libel on, exactly? Why do you feel the need to lie when your lies are so easily disproven?

      Stacy “turned off her brain” by abusing drugs and alcohol yet STILL managed to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry? Wow! She must have a lot of brain cells to spare.

      Your comment that Stacy et al let the CC do the thinking is ironic, because in one way it’s true. Doesn’t it make sense to listen to the teachings of the institution that was given the authority to teach by God Himself? However, it’s not blindly following the Church — we Catholics carefully analyze and examine Church teaching and find, 100% of the time, that it makes perfect sense. See here for a more thorough explanation: http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/2011/02/do-catholics-blindly-follow-vatican.html

      Let me ask you this — if you are so secure in your beliefs, why do you feel the need to insult and belittle others?

    • cminca

      Actually, Joanna, I did respond to that–which you prove when you quote my remark about Stacy’s brain. And I graduated with honors from an Ivy League school, while working full time, while also abusing alcohol.

      “Doesn’t it make sense to listen to the teachings of the institution that was given the authority to teach by God Himself?” Hmmmm. I think they used to say the same thing about the oracle at Delphi. And that sounds suspiciously like what a Mormon would claim about Joseph Smith. And much like the rantings of Jim Jones.

      So you want to supply some actual PROOF of that claim?

      “However, it’s not blindly following the Church — we Catholics carefully analyze and examine Church teaching and find, 100% of the time, that it makes perfect sense.” Congrats–you just defined “brainwashed”.

      “Let me ask you this — if you are so secure in your beliefs, why do you feel the need to insult and belittle others?”
      Because, as a gay man, I done letting people lie about me, compare me to animals and criminals, while claiming they “love” me. Not any more.
      I’m done watching my tax dollars subsidize an institution which actively works to deny me civil rights. I’m done listening to fat priests wringing their hands and crying “think about the children” while actively aiding and abetting pedophiles for generations. In order to save the coffers of the 2000 year old running con they work for. Not any more.
      I’m tired of hearing about MY family–my LGBTQ family–getting bashed. Getting raped to “cure” them. Getting thrown onto the street, as children, by their “Christian” parents. Getting bullied and beaten. Not any more.
      I’m done letting hypocritical, smug, self-righteous bigots claim they care about others while cherry picking slogans out of a selectively edited 2000 year old book of myths to justify their bigotry. Not any more.
      So I come on the blogs to keep an eye on the enemy, and (occasionally) to poke holes in their smug self-righteousness.
      And just so you know–that isn’t all I’m doing to get religion out of our civil government. Nor is it all I’m doing to promote full civil equality for gays. (That information I won’t share. You’re just going to have to guess at it.)
      That answer your question?

    • Leila Miller

      I can’t speak for JoAnna, but that diatribe does tell me all I need to know about why I cannot dialogue with you.

      God’s blessings be upon you, cminca, truly. You seem so wounded and hurt. Let us pray for one another.

    • cminca

      You didn’t need to read that Leila. You never had any intention of honestly dialoguing with me or anyone else that doesn’t think exactly the same way you do.

    • Leila Miller

      And yet strangely, I dialogue with folks who don’t think like me every single day. And many of them enjoy it and are “regulars”. And as I’ve said before, we have forged nice relationships off the blog, too. You really are making up your own narrative here about who I am and what I do.

    • Robbe Sebesta

      cminca, please show me exactly where Leila and Stacy have ever told anyone they are going to roast in hell. And since you obviously have a problem with Catholicism and/or Catholics, why do you spend so much valuable time here just being rude to others? I’m just wondering….

    • cminca

      #1–asked and answered.
      #2–”keep your friends close, and keep your enemies closer.”
      got it?

    • Robbe Sebesta

      No one is or has condemned anyone to Hell on this board, and the Catholic Church teaches that no one can nor should attempt to do so. But if you are asking if I or we as Catholics believe what Jesus Christ taught, and what all of the others who followed him have taught, about anything, including Hell, then I would say that yes. And that should go without having to say anything. Just stating I am a Roman Catholic means precisely that I believe what the Church has taught for 2000 years, otherwise, why be Catholic or Christian?
      And “keep your friends close, and keep your enemies closer reminds me of something they would say on “The Real World” or something. If anyone here is your enemy cminca, then you can always simply choose to not visit this site. No one from here will come to wherever you are and try to stir up your anger….got it?

    • cminca

      The quote is attributed to Machiavelli in The Prince.
      Hardly “The Real World”.

    • Robbe Sebesta

      Ha ha cminca…okay…have a good day!

  • Michelle

    “A homosexual activist and his boyfriend staged a ‘mock civil union’ on campus to challenge traditional marriage laws…”

    I was at this event, and it was not in any way a protest (nor was it on campus, in fact). It was an informal commitment ceremony since at the time our state didn’t allow same-sex marriages. Is everything we liberals do that isn’t strictly within your belief system “activism”?

    • Leila Miller

      Hi Michelle! I never said it was a “protest”. People keep putting words in my mouth for some reason this week. ;) Here is what he said:

      …my boyfriend and I are holding a mock civil union in public today to help raise awareness about an upcoming MN constitutional amendment limiting marriage to only one man, one woman. So, I must go prepare! Happy Pride everyone!

      You are right, I just assumed it was on campus (my mistake!). But yes, I would call this activism. Are you against activism?

    • cminca

      Leila—WHY CAN’T YOU RESPOND TO A DIRECT QUESTION?

      Is everything we liberals do that isn’t strictly within your belief system “activism”?
      The answer is because you aren’t interested in actually having a dialogue.

    • Leila Miller

      Goodness, no need to yell, cminca. Michelle is known to me. I was talking to her. But here you go:

      Is everything we liberals do that isn’t strictly within your belief system “activism”?

      No. Not at all.

      Hope that helps!

      Now, reread what the young man wrote about his “mock civil union” to “raise awareness” regarding a constitutional amendment. That is what we call political “activism”. I am a pro-life activist. Why is “activist” a dirty word for you? It’s not for me.

    • Michelle

      Nope, I would not call it activism. It was in public, but it was among friends. That’d be like saying that you getting together with JoAnna so your kids can play together is you being a “Catholic activist” when you’re really just living your life. I realize now that his wording may have made it sound like the intent was activism, but I assure you that the actual event was nowhere near as sinister/indicative of liberal capriciousness as you seem to think. A bunch of people who knew the couple got together to celebrate their commitment to each other, the end. It was very sweet.

      And, no, I’m for activism. I’m not sure why, though, this was so bothersome to you. One doesn’t need to have worked out an entire philosophy down to the letter to be able to say with certainty that they oppose a law.

    • Michelle

      To clarify a little, “homosexual activist” has negative/alarmist connotations coming from a Catholic. It certainly doesn’t strike fear into my heart, but I don’t believe for a second that the label is meant to be neutral coming from you. Calling someone an activist, particularly regarding something you don’t like, ascribes a sort of sinister motivation to all of their actions that colors people’s understanding of what are in reality totally harmless events. Activism implies protests, which imply anger as a driving factor for actions instead of love and goodwill. Hope that makes sense.

  • James

    Unfortunately, many Catholics don’t dialogue.

    More often I see Catholics repeating warmed-over apologetics, then falling back to “because the Church said so”, a citation of Matthew 16:18, and a form of Pascal’s Wager.

  • Pingback: Anonymous

  • Howard

    Leila, I hope you are enjoying this cminca-go-round. I know him well, the best example of grease applied to thought I have ever seen.

    • Robbe Sebesta

      Ha ha Howard!! Sorry….just saw your comment here and it made me laugh…I’m catching up…

  • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

    Very good article Leila!!!

  • Charles Trig Olio

    I am sick of these Secularist, Leftists, and Progressives.