Gay Rights And Christianity.

A christian blogger wrote a blog which refers to Ken Ham (creationist) using the label “compromising” christian to refer to any christian who disagrees with him, essentially using peer pressure to silence dissent against his very literal, narrow theology.  This was my response:

 

As for the “compromising” thing, what is it napoleon said? “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet”. The great evil of religious dogma is not that it makes good people evil (it doesn’t), but that it is so effective at silencing them and crippling them socially and intellectually in the face of evil. How many american christians hate gay people and are out to harm them? Virtually none I would estimate. But yet they don’t get to inherit their partner’s possessions when they die or be buried next to them or be their medical proxy or have custody of their children or get survivor’s benefits or literally a thousand other rights – this harms gay people tremendously. And why? Because every christian in america who doesn’t hate gay people knows that if he stands up in church and says we should give them equal rights or that we should live and let live the only thing that anyone has to do to shut him or her down is say “that’s not what the bible says, are you saying the bible is wrong?!”

It’s selective and arbitrary and brutally efficient.

About agnophilo

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57 Responses to Gay Rights And Christianity.

  1. ooglick says:

    A good point, but it is also a good point to note that many Christian churches are starting to openly state that they accept LBGT members to their congregations. The church is changing, if only in some places/denominations for now.

  2. chialphagirl says:

    I agree with ooglick. The church is changing, it is just a really big ship to turn and it takes time. There are many predominant Christian bloggers who are pro-gay in both rights and intrinsic equality. But there is also loud anti gay voices in the church right now, and they do silence some. The ship is turning. As long as the outside world continues to push the issue the church will have to consider and respond.

    • agnophilo says:

      What percentage of atheists, agnostics, deists etc would you suppose are against gay rights? Yes the church is a big ship – I never saw the point in riding big ships.

      • chialphagirl says:

        I suppose that almost all support gay rights. And that is a valid point.

        But I think all people regardless of religious or political position have a blindness in some area. It seems that people who hold the same position (Baptist, Atheist, Republican, Democrat, etc.) often share the same blindness as the others in that same position. That is one of the reasons I like atheists in my life. They keep me honest about my own blindness and force me to consider other perspectives.

        • agnophilo says:

          That is a very healthy attitude to have. I feel the same way. The only thing I don’t like about talking to other people who don’t share my views is how cookie-cutter it often is. Whenever I talk about religion or politics I usually hear the same arguments and talking points repeated endlessly.

          • chialphagirl says:

            Yes. That much is true. And the assumptions about who I am and what I believe gets tiresome as well. Just because my label is Christian or Libertarian doesn’t mean I am the same as all of the others with that label. I try to assume that is true for everyone else in some regard as well.

            • agnophilo says:

              What do people assume about you?

              • chialphagirl says:

                Well, in general I come from a denomination that believes in literal, 24-hour six day creation and opposes evolution. They assume I do too and I don’t. People from my hometown are generally anti gay marriage and think that homosexuality is a sin. They assume I do too and I don’t. I don’t think the flood was global, I think that people besides Christians go to heaven, I don’t think Adam and Eve were the first people, and I believe death occurred before the fall and every one assumes the opposite to be true.

                What do people assume about you?

                • agnophilo says:

                  When you said people assume things about you I thought you meant non-christians stereotyping you – I was surprised to find out it was actually other christians stereotyping you. As for those beliefs I think it has more to do with you just being a nice person than what scripture says. Actually I think the so-called fundamentalists in your church as only marginally less heretical than you are, they might say homosexuality is an abomination and quote leviticus to justify it, but they don’t quote the “they shall be put to death” part because they’re not psychopaths. Even jews in the days of the old testament couldn’t bring themselves to follow passages like that and rationalized it by saying that yeah we should execute gays but making the standard of proof so high that it was impossible to convict someone of a capital crime. You can’t stomach the passages any more than they can, but you live in a society that lets you actually disagree. You get pushback from your peers or family, but you don’t get set on fire or tortured. Not anymore. So you can take it further than those rabbis could and say maybe we should treat gay people as equals.

                  Sorry, I’m kind of rambling.

                  What people assume about me – I’ve been told I’m “hard of heart” many times by people who just met me, I’ve had the “the fool hath said in his heart” passage quoted at me to call me a fool, filthy, evil and incapable of any good thing. When I first “came out of the closet” as an atheist I was told by several people that atheists have never contributed anything positive to society. I was very disheartened by this until I googled “famous atheists” and was astonished to find that atheists, while being a small minority for most of history, have made vastly disproportionate contributions to the arts, sciences and lots of other things. Atheists even disproportionately enlist in the armed services, academia is very secular – how many fundamentalist comedians or actors are there? Or conservative ones, for that matter. It’s kind of astonishing. But yeah, rambling again. I was once talking to someone on myspace (back when people did that) who believed illness and atheism were caused by demon possession. He began telling me all this stuff about how jesus loves me and then ended it by saying that he was only telling me that, to use his exact words, “in case you’re human”. I’ve had people assume I’m evil, because the corollary of the belief that religion causes goodness is that lack of religion makes people evil. Here’s an example of this idea in billboard form from the answers in genesis ministry:

                  I’ve had people physically flee upon finding out I was an atheist, or suddenly shut down and pretend I wasn’t there, including in a professional setting. I’m sure there’s more, but the evil one is the most common.

                  • chialphagirl says:

                    Actually, I find that atheists make the same assumptions about what I believe as other Christians do. Most of the stuff that atheists balk at in the Bible is stuff I don’t believe either.

                    Here is the deal with homosexuality: the Bible got wildly misinterpreted because people didn’t read their history. The homosexuality in the Bible (Old and New Testament) is directly connected with worship to idols. It can not contextually be applied to anything that resembles homosexuality today. I’m not ignoring what I don’t like, I’m reading the Bible in the context of history and culture. It is not fair to do anything else.

                    I’m not surprised by the things people have assumed about you as an atheist. Most of my atheist friends have had similar things said to them. It sickens me. It grieves me. But most of all it makes me bang my head on the wall because no rational person can think that is a good way to change any one’s mind.

                    The thing I find most worrisome is that I am finding less and less rational people in the church. As long as the church runs from reason, the reasonable people will run from it.

                    I’m sorry for what has been said and done to you and I can promise you two things: I respect atheists a lot and I genuinely care about what you think.

                    • agnophilo says:

                      Thank you, you seem like a thoroughly decent and kind-hearted person. Do you mind if I ask you something? If you didn’t think the passages in the bible about executing gay men were misinterpreted, that the bible did require that – what would you do?

                      If the question offends I apologize.

                      As for reasonable people running away from the church it’s the same with the republican party, they employed the “southern strategy” which was to win the south by shoring up the racist white vote by letting democrats exclusively champion minority rights so that minorities will vote democratic and republicans will get the votes of, to use nixon’s term, the “negrophobes”. As a result they are now pretty overtly racist and crazy and driving away all the people who used to be sensible republicans. There are no more moderate conservatives, and now with a black democrat in the white house that crazy machine has gone into overdrive. Similarly with religion fundamentalism tends to rise the more desperate people get, the poorer and sicker and more unhappy people are. So as the economy gets worse and minimum wage gets lower and the cost of living goes up churches get crazier and crazier and the only people left running the asylum are the inmates.

                      But don’t worry, like a forest fire it will eventually burn itself out and things will go the other way. : ) Yin and yang and all that.

                    • chialphagirl says:

                      Not offensive at all; a legitimate question.
                      There are other passages in the Bible that are as equally troubling that I don’t have an answer to yet. I tend to put those questions in a giant “I don’t know” box. It may sound like a cop-out but the reality of my faith is realizing that some of it is confusing and I have to work it out.

                      When in doubt I go with Jesus because he is, after, the fulfillment of the law and the prophets and thus I will not offend the Old Testament by going with him. Jesus only talked about stoning people once and it was in the context of “you who have never sinned go ahead and throw the stone.”

                      So I would assume from that, that as a messed up person myself, I don’t have the right to execute anyone else (verbally, literally, or otherwise). Because honestly, the people who do believe the Bible demands the execution of the gays try to live that out as much as they can. They call them disgusting and perverted. They encourage bigotry and murderous thoughts even in the name of “loving the sinner, hating the sin”.

                      I don’t know why the Bible is so difficult. It seems that a powerful God could have done a better job. I think there is humanity displayed in the Bible and I can’t always determine which parts are God’s true heart and what is man’s understanding or idea of God at the time.

                      At the end of the day, I go with my conscience. I go with what I have personally experienced of God. If something I read in the Bible violates those two things I assume I don’t know the whole story and put it in the box.

                      As for the republicans – no doubt. That is why I am libertarian. Any more that is simply code for “republican with a brain”. I love the church, I hate to see it become so ugly and stupid, but hopefully whatever grows back after it all burns to the ground will be better than it was before.

                    • agnophilo says:

                      “Not offensive at all; a legitimate question.
                      There are other passages in the Bible that are as equally troubling that I don’t have an answer to yet. I tend to put those questions in a giant “I don’t know” box. It may sound like a cop-out but the reality of my faith is realizing that some of it is confusing and I have to work it out.”

                      Yeah but it’s arbitrary, you say “I don’t know” about the passages that say things you don’t agree with. If you were in the KKK you’d have an “I don’t know” box too, you would just put different passages in it. Or you might call it a “perversion of the jews” box or a “bad translation” box. There are many boxes, but at the end of the day it’s just people cherry-picking out the bits they like and ignoring the bits they don’t while pretending not to do that.

                      “True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.”

                      – Winston Churchill

                      Resolving these conflicts is important, it’s often where we find our most profound realizations. And leaving them alone is often harmful, it stops people from being able to think critically about certain subjects. So many people have an intellectual dead zone around anything even a little bit related to faith or the bible because they can’t deal with the contradictions so they just shut down and try not to think about it. Hitler talked about how he even modeled his party’s doctrine after the catholic church’s creed and their handling of it because he said that to force people to believe something that included contradictions and conflicted with scientific observation was how you create fanaticism and intolerance (which he considered a good thing). It is ironic and somewhat profound that churchill, the leader on the other side of that great conflict, was saying the exact opposite.

                      I have come to the conclusion that why we believe something matters more than what we believe. Because if we believe something for reasons that let us change our mind we can correct an error, but if we believe out of fear or dogma or indoctrination or simply being unwilling to face the social or internal consequences of changing a belief then well, you’ve seen where that can lead. The phrase “kindness that can kill” comes to mind.

                      “When in doubt I go with Jesus because he is, after, the fulfillment of the law and the prophets and thus I will not offend the Old Testament by going with him.”

                      That is actually not going with jesus, it’s going with paul who showed up after jesus died and said “what jesus meant to say was…” Jesus said that we were to follow the old laws and prophets until the end of heaven and earth and nowhere did he say his death invalidated them. But people believe that because they don’t want to stone people to death and do all kinds of evil things.

                      “Jesus only talked about stoning people once and it was in the context of “you who have never sinned go ahead and throw the stone.””

                      He also said he came not to bring peace, but a sword, and required his followers to carry weapons. He also said “bring any man who will not obey me here and slay them before me” and commanded men to abandon their families to follow him. Of course he also said to cleave to your wife and that you and she were of one flesh and to turn the other cheek and love your enemies and contradicted the old laws and prophets many times. You will do like all other christians, you will take from these completely conflicting passages and put some in your “I don’t know” box and forget about them and put some in your “this is true” box and follow them. And which ones go in which box is determined by your conscience, your culture, your biases and so on. An atheist does the same thing but without pretending to be following an inerrant text.

                      “So I would assume from that, that as a messed up person myself, I don’t have the right to execute anyone else (verbally, literally, or otherwise). Because honestly, the people who do believe the Bible demands the execution of the gays try to live that out as much as they can. They call them disgusting and perverted. They encourage bigotry and murderous thoughts even in the name of “loving the sinner, hating the sin”.”

                      But they still generally consider it a felony. They are hateful to gays yes, but they don’t lynch them so much anymore. Though this is very recent, even a few decades ago “gay bashing” was often literally caving in their skulls.

                      “I don’t know why the Bible is so difficult. It seems that a powerful God could have done a better job.”

                      Not to mention not needed ink and paper. Or simply given a text rather than hundreds of people claiming inspiration and then other men democratically deciding which ones were telling the truth based on the same kind of internal criteria you use to sort scripture into different boxes.

                      “I think there is humanity displayed in the Bible and I can’t always determine which parts are God’s true heart and what is man’s understanding or idea of God at the time.”

                      There are parts of the bible that are profound and beautiful, nice, ugly, reasonable, absurd and absolutely horrific. I see nothing in it that could not have reasonably come from human beings.

                      “At the end of the day, I go with my conscience. I go with what I have personally experienced of God.”

                      People don’t experience gods, they experience things and attribute them to gods. Nobody ever saw thor, they just saw lightning and assumed it was from thor. Gods, if they exist, don’t reveal themselves.

                      “If something I read in the Bible violates those two things I assume I don’t know the whole story and put it in the box.”

                      So you read a passage about setting people on fire or killing kids and say “I’m just not wise enough to understand how this isn’t evil”. I could do the same with mein kamf. If I was convinced hitler was a great guy I could tell myself I just am too stupid to realize why the holocaust was a great thing. I’m like an ant and just can’t comprehend the big picture. You can justify anything with that kind of thinking.

                      “As for the republicans – no doubt. That is why I am libertarian. Any more that is simply code for “republican with a brain”.

                      I’ve known some nutty libertarians too, but yeah the republican party does seem to be trying to get away from itself. Ironically when it does like with the tea party movement it’s often the fringe of the fringe branching off.

                      “I love the church, I hate to see it become so ugly and stupid, but hopefully whatever grows back after it all burns to the ground will be better than it was before.”

                      I agree. And ironically if you study history the church today is actually far better than it was a century ago, or a century before that, and so on and so on for basically it’s entire existence. With fluctuations in between I’m sure. It ebbs and flows. But overall it’s getting better. I think that whatever survives the age of science and reason will be relatively benign. Like a purging fire burning away the impurities in ore and leaving the metal.

                    • chialphagirl says:

                      “Resolving these conflicts is important, it’s often where we find our most profound realizations. And leaving them alone is often harmful, it stops people from being able to think critically about certain subjects. So many people have an intellectual dead zone around anything even a little bit related to faith or the bible because they can’t deal with the contradictions so they just shut down and try not to think about it.”

                      Yes! And I did a terrible job of explaining the box. It is not as though I simply ignore the box. Maybe I should have called it the “figure this crap out” box. Because that is what I do. But it takes a while, I can’t research every nuance of the bible all at once. But I never just stick something in the box and ignore it.

                      “I have come to the conclusion that why we believe something matters more than what we believe. Because if we believe something for reasons that let us change our mind we can correct an error, but if we believe out of fear or dogma or indoctrination or simply being unwilling to face the social or internal consequences of changing a belief then well, you’ve seen where that can lead.”

                      They both matter so very much. Most of the people who believe out of fear not only do not know why they believe they don’t even know WHAT they personally they believe. It becomes it extremely obvious if you push something at all. I believe the Bible because I think is the most accurate representation of God that I have but that is not what allows me to change my mind. That I don’t always understand the whole picture, that I am fallible, and that those who interpreted before me were fallible, those are the facts that allow me to change my mind.

                      “That is actually not going with jesus, it’s going with paul who showed up after jesus died and said “what jesus meant to say was…” Jesus said that we were to follow the old laws and prophets until the end of heaven and earth and nowhere did he say his death invalidated them. But people believe that because they don’t want to stone people to death and do all kinds of evil things.”

                      What I was referring to was in Matthew when Jesus said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Thus going with Jesus should not violate the law or the prophets. I was not referring to anything about what Paul said.

                      “He also said “bring any man who will not obey me here and slay them before me”

                      You have your context wrong on this one. Yes, Jesus said this but he was telling a parable about a king whose subjects hated him and the king in the parable said the above phrase. Jesus himself was not suggesting that his followers bring dissenters and kill them.

                      People don’t experience gods, they experience things and attribute them to gods. Nobody ever saw thor, they just saw lightning and assumed it was from thor. Gods, if they exist, don’t reveal themselves.

                      How can you make any valid argument for the source of my internal experiences? I’m not seeing lighting and attributing it to a god. I am hearing a voice in my head and attributing it to God. If God is not revealing himself to me then I am probably schizophrenic.

                    • agnophilo says:

                      “Yes! And I did a terrible job of explaining the box. It is not as though I simply ignore the box. Maybe I should have called it the “figure this crap out” box. Because that is what I do. But it takes a while, I can’t research every nuance of the bible all at once. But I never just stick something in the box and ignore it.”

                      You do perhaps limit the number of possibly explanations for it though, because it seems to me if a bronze-age text says to kill fags or set promiscuous women on fire or that it’s okay to beat your slaves it is no harder to explain than all the other bronze age texts that said such things. Do you have a box for secular texts that say “difficult” things? Maybe the box is a way of avoiding a simple explanation and waiting for another one you would like better.

                      “They both matter so very much. Most of the people who believe out of fear not only do not know why they believe they don’t even know WHAT they personally they believe.”

                      When I read the above statement my thoughts were that it’s not that they don’t know what they believe, but rather that they believe something simple and try to make everything match up to it. So for instance they believe the bible is infallible and inspired by god but haven’t read much of it and don’t understand it. It’s the “my beliefs are true and evolution or whatever that contradicts them are false but I don’t know why… yet” mentality. Where the belief is the focal point that everything else is fixed around. You do this too, your beliefs are just a bit more refined but there are still fundamental assumptions you can’t bring yourself to question, thus the box.

                      At least that’s how it appears to me.

                      “It becomes it extremely obvious if you push something at all. I believe the Bible because I think is the most accurate representation of God that I have”

                      How do you know? If you don’t mind me asking. And by the way while I believe in questioning everything I do still apologize if anything I’ve said bugs you or makes you uncomfortable in any way.

                      “but that is not what allows me to change my mind. That I don’t always understand the whole picture, that I am fallible, and that those who interpreted before me were fallible, those are the facts that allow me to change my mind.”

                      Do you allow for the whole thing to be false? The authors to simply believe their inspiration came from yahweh but be wrong?

                      “What I was referring to was in Matthew when Jesus said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

                      So was I. What he said only means what paul made it into if you delete the “not to abolish” part, turn the word “fulfill” into “abolish” and delete the following sentences where, as I said, he forbids anyone from disobeying any commandment until the end of time. If I said “I did not come to this town to abolish law and order or the constitution, but to fulfill it, and anyone who breaks even the tiniest law is scum and should be punished” would you take that to mean “if someone nails me to a piece of wood all laws and the constitution are invalidated and you don’t need to follow them anymore”? Because that’s covenant theology in a nutshell.

                      “Thus going with Jesus should not violate the law or the prophets. I was not referring to anything about what Paul said.”

                      No, it’s taking a sharpie to what jesus said and reversing the meaning entirely, which is what paul (who never even met him) did after his death.

                      [“He also said “bring any man who will not obey me here and slay them before me”]

                      “You have your context wrong on this one. Yes, Jesus said this but he was telling a parable about a king whose subjects hated him and the king in the parable said the above phrase. Jesus himself was not suggesting that his followers bring dissenters and kill them.”

                      I honestly though I’d mentioned that. I wasn’t trying to take it out of context or misrepresent it. Though I’m sure in the middle-ages they had a different take on it (the king is, if I recall the character jesus identifies with in the story).

                      “How can you make any valid argument for the source of my internal experiences? I’m not seeing lighting and attributing it to a god. I am hearing a voice in my head and attributing it to God.”

                      My point was only that you are attributing it to god, rather than necessarily hearing god. And do you mean a literal audible voice? I doubt you do since you said “in your head”. I “hear” and see things in my head too, from everything from dreams to imagination to intuition. I don’t know what you experience, but if say I thought something in my head came from aliens or the CIA or a god I would wonder how I could know that was true.

                      “If God is not revealing himself to me then I am probably schizophrenic.”

                      I doubt it, you seem pretty level-headed. Our minds are modular, there are lots of different bits that do different things, and everyone’s mind is a interplay between conscious and unconscious parts of their mind. In this sense we are all somewhat schizophrenic, we just take it for granted. We don’t stop to wonder why we can want something and not want it at the same time with equal passion and feel “torn” as though being pulled by one or more external forces in different directions. If someone really wants to cheat on their spouse but also really doesn’t want to hurt them they can interpret the source of those feelings as the lust part of the brain and the conscience part of the brain and perhaps even a few other parts having a tug of war (the secular interpretation based on psychology, neurology etc), or they can interpret it as they are a filthy sinner who wants to cheat on their spouse but god or the holy spirit is trying to guide them to the right action. Or they can say they’re a virtuous, good person and the devil is tempting them. We internalize and externalize blame, guilt, shame, a sense of control over our lives and many other feelings and concepts for a number of different reasons and because of a number of different things from abuse to our upbringing to our culture. Had you grown up in a different culture the “voice” you hear you might have attributed instead to the spirits of your ancestors.

                      No, I don’t think you’re crazy. I just think you’re making assumptions.

                      I am reminded btw of the R.E.M. song “losing my religion”, “That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight losing my religion. Trying to keep up with you, and I don’t know if I can do it – oh no I’ve said too much. I haven’t said enough. I thought that I heard you laughing, I thought that I heard you sing. I think I thought I saw you try. But that was just a dream…”

          • Dale Wilson says:

            Funny. That is the same feeling that I have when I hear political arguments like yours. Your arguments are cookie-cutter copies of the liberal media. They are also poorly researched with little understanding of the vast divide that exists within the supposed Christian church you mock. In reality, in the majority of the largest “Christian” denominations in the United States today you would be applauded if you called for equality for gays. For example, the largest Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Methodist groups all already affirm homosexuality. And aren’t you trying to use the same type of peer pressure to shut down discussion. It is equally “selective and arbitrary and brutally efficient.”

            • agnophilo says:

              I didn’t mean to imply that every sect was anti-gay rights, but rather that every christian knows they can be shut down (ie challenged in a very unpleasant way) by an individual who is. I fail to see how that is a “cookie cutter” idea or how I am shutting down discussion by openly engaging in it.

    • agnophilo says:

      I am posting my most recent reply again in response to this so it’s more readable (sorry).

      “Yes! And I did a terrible job of explaining the box. It is not as though I simply ignore the box. Maybe I should have called it the “figure this crap out” box. Because that is what I do. But it takes a while, I can’t research every nuance of the bible all at once. But I never just stick something in the box and ignore it.”

      You do perhaps limit the number of possibly explanations for it though, because it seems to me if a bronze-age text says to kill fags or set promiscuous women on fire or that it’s okay to beat your slaves it is no harder to explain than all the other bronze age texts that said such things. Do you have a box for secular texts that say “difficult” things? Maybe the box is a way of avoiding a simple explanation and waiting for another one you would like better.

      “They both matter so very much. Most of the people who believe out of fear not only do not know why they believe they don’t even know WHAT they personally they believe.”

      When I read the above statement my thoughts were that it’s not that they don’t know what they believe, but rather that they believe something simple and try to make everything match up to it. So for instance they believe the bible is infallible and inspired by god but haven’t read much of it and don’t understand it. It’s the “my beliefs are true and evolution or whatever that contradicts them are false but I don’t know why… yet” mentality. Where the belief is the focal point that everything else is fixed around. You do this too, your beliefs are just a bit more refined but there are still fundamental assumptions you can’t bring yourself to question, thus the box.

      At least that’s how it appears to me.

      “It becomes it extremely obvious if you push something at all. I believe the Bible because I think is the most accurate representation of God that I have”

      How do you know? If you don’t mind me asking. And by the way while I believe in questioning everything I do still apologize if anything I’ve said bugs you or makes you uncomfortable in any way.

      “but that is not what allows me to change my mind. That I don’t always understand the whole picture, that I am fallible, and that those who interpreted before me were fallible, those are the facts that allow me to change my mind.”

      Do you allow for the whole thing to be false? The authors to simply believe their inspiration came from yahweh but be wrong?

      “What I was referring to was in Matthew when Jesus said “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

      So was I. What he said only means what paul made it into if you delete the “not to abolish” part, turn the word “fulfill” into “abolish” and delete the following sentences where, as I said, he forbids anyone from disobeying any commandment until the end of time. If I said “I did not come to this town to abolish law and order or the constitution, but to fulfill it, and anyone who breaks even the tiniest law is scum and should be punished” would you take that to mean “if someone nails me to a piece of wood all laws and the constitution are invalidated and you don’t need to follow them anymore”? Because that’s covenant theology in a nutshell.

      “Thus going with Jesus should not violate the law or the prophets. I was not referring to anything about what Paul said.”

      No, it’s taking a sharpie to what jesus said and reversing the meaning entirely, which is what paul (who never even met him) did after his death.

      [“He also said “bring any man who will not obey me here and slay them before me”]

      “You have your context wrong on this one. Yes, Jesus said this but he was telling a parable about a king whose subjects hated him and the king in the parable said the above phrase. Jesus himself was not suggesting that his followers bring dissenters and kill them.”

      I honestly though I’d mentioned that. I wasn’t trying to take it out of context or misrepresent it. Though I’m sure in the middle-ages they had a different take on it (the king is, if I recall the character jesus identifies with in the story).

      “How can you make any valid argument for the source of my internal experiences? I’m not seeing lighting and attributing it to a god. I am hearing a voice in my head and attributing it to God.”

      My point was only that you are attributing it to god, rather than necessarily hearing god. And do you mean a literal audible voice? I doubt you do since you said “in your head”. I “hear” and see things in my head too, from everything from dreams to imagination to intuition. I don’t know what you experience, but if say I thought something in my head came from aliens or the CIA or a god I would wonder how I could know that was true.

      “If God is not revealing himself to me then I am probably schizophrenic.”

      I doubt it, you seem pretty level-headed. Our minds are modular, there are lots of different bits that do different things, and everyone’s mind is a interplay between conscious and unconscious parts of their mind. In this sense we are all somewhat schizophrenic, we just take it for granted. We don’t stop to wonder why we can want something and not want it at the same time with equal passion and feel “torn” as though being pulled by one or more external forces in different directions. If someone really wants to cheat on their spouse but also really doesn’t want to hurt them they can interpret the source of those feelings as the lust part of the brain and the conscience part of the brain and perhaps even a few other parts having a tug of war (the secular interpretation based on psychology, neurology etc), or they can interpret it as they are a filthy sinner who wants to cheat on their spouse but god or the holy spirit is trying to guide them to the right action. Or they can say they’re a virtuous, good person and the devil is tempting them. We internalize and externalize blame, guilt, shame, a sense of control over our lives and many other feelings and concepts for a number of different reasons and because of a number of different things from abuse to our upbringing to our culture. Had you grown up in a different culture the “voice” you hear you might have attributed instead to the spirits of your ancestors.

      No, I don’t think you’re crazy. I just think you’re making assumptions.

      I am reminded btw of the R.E.M. song “losing my religion”, “That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight losing my religion. Trying to keep up with you, and I don’t know if I can do it – oh no I’ve said too much. I haven’t said enough. I thought that I heard you laughing, I thought that I heard you sing. I think I thought I saw you try. But that was just a dream…”

      • chialphagirl says:

        This discussion has gotten way too lengthy for a “comment section” discussion. When I put your response in a word document it took up two pages. 🙂

        So let me see if I can take it down a bit. I believe what I believe because I am a product of how I was raised, experiences I have had over my life, information I have read and conversations I have been a part of. I am willing to accept that the Bible might be nothing more than a work of man but I’m not convinced of that at this point.

        Even apart from the Bible I have personally encountered God in powerful mental, emotional and even physical ways. I know that those are not convincing to you, nor would I expect them to be, but they convince me of his existence.

        As a rationally minded person, I do not allow those experiences to be enough and I search for the explanation of who God is in religion, in science, in nature, in philosophy. I don’t think that Christianity has all of who God is. But I am sold on the reality of Christ and who he was and is.

        I am open to work through theological challenges, verse by verse, word by word if needed but arguments about intangibles like whether what I experience is really God or not are not really profitable.

        I took a philosophy class once that discussed how easily our minds can be fooled about reality, that so much of what we experience is manipulated by our emotions, our state of mind, social pressure, etc. In this class they mused the idea that we may not be able to know true reality at all because of all of this. So yes, I might be experiencing any number of delusions, even as a rational person.

        But again, speculating on all of that can never be anything more than that – speculation. So I tend to stick to measurable likes science, history, linguistics, and context.

        • agnophilo says:

          I wasn’t suggesting that you were delusional (though of course anyone could be about anything I suppose). I was saying you might be interpreting something differently. But then I don’t know the extent of your subjective experience, as you point out. If you want to discuss it feel free, but I won’t push it.

          • chialphagirl says:

            Please don’t think you have offended me. I’ve just had the round and round discussion about personal experience and find it lacking in accomplishing anything.

            And I am sure we are all a bit delusional about something 🙂

  3. Dogma, religious or not, inherently reduces the ability of the individual to view the world impartially.

    “The noble-minded are all-encompassing, not stuck in doctrines. Little people are stuck in doctrines.” – Confucius

    To be religious is to be small-minded. No amount of time will change this. when (if) they finally accept homosexuals, their focus will shift to another “immoral” demographic – just as it did once slavery was deemed immoral.

  4. Jo says:

    Wow, really? It’s Christian’s fault that gay people don’t have the same rights as others?!?! I’d say that’s a pretty big leap… And being a Christian and being ‘religious’ CAN be two very different things.

  5. Beth says:

    Fr the record, I’m a strong Christian that has spoken out in defense for gay marriage. I’ve written about it on my blog ( that you’re currently commenting on..the Darwin evolution one). While I do believe homosexuality to go against the very nature of God, I also believe the bible teaches us that the government shouldn’t ever be in the business of families. So, I personally am not bothered by homosexuals being allowed the same rights as my husband and I. I don’t really care honestly. If they aren’t claiming to be Christian, whatev. Besides, it really bothers me that the Christians community makes a huge deal out of this, saying it’s desiccating marriage…but then pastors will re-marry our dads to the women he left his wife for. Or they will marry someone for the fifth time. My hope is our pastors will focus on the marriages within the church first.

    • agnophilo says:

      I agree 100% about the hypocrisy, a straight person can rape their children and murder their spouse and get re-married in prison. There is nothing a straight person can do that will even make someone propose that their right to marry should be taken away. It’s absurd.

      Though the bible also does say to execute gay men, something I suspect you would say was downright evil if I proposed it. I think nobody really follows the bible, people just pretend to or think they do but without really reading all of it. It’s become just pop culture, some parts are “in” right now and some aren’t. But at least we’re not setting people on fire anymore.

  6. Churches do not make laws. How are gay rights a church issue?

    • agnophilo says:

      Not directly, but their teachings are pretty much the only basis for anti-gay rights policy.

      • so Gay Rights is not a church issue.
        Thanks.

        • agnophilo says:

          Are you being sarcastic?

          • No. I am absolutely serious. In church, I am not to involve myself in politics. Outside of church in my community, I have an obligation to it. Laws are made in legislative bodies. This is not a church issue.

            • agnophilo says:

              I don’t know what you mean by a “church issue”.

              • Beth says:

                Historically, the churches were the ones that gave our marriage licenses. So they were free to deny marriages or approve them. At some point, the state either took or won the power to give out marriage issues.
                And, to understand WHY it’s something Christians are passionate about, you need to understand we believe God is the creator if the institution of marriage. And He defined it between a man and women, obviously. So the church gets involved because if the separation of church and state, plus of their obligation to stand for what God stands for. However. I think the church lost that right when we have away the right to issue marriage licenses. With all of that said- if God is real, if He’s the creator of marriage, if he’s as powerful as he says, then just because the state changes the definition of marriage doesn’t mean, in the sight of God, they are married. Which is why I personally don’t care if they get married. God won’t view it as biblical marriage, which from what I understand does y bother the homosexual community. They still get the same rights and all is well lol. I sripusot don’t understand why it’s such an issue among my fellow believers…but that’s just me.

                • agnophilo says:

                  It’s just easier for preachers to rail against and demonize minorities than preach against the majority’s “sins”. The other day there was a street preacher at the bus station rambling to himself about how we were all going to go to hell and blah blah blah and everyone was ignoring him and I said something about it to the person next to me and she said there was another guy at another station telling them about how they’re sinners for having premarital sex and my response was that I actually kind of respect that because it takes courage to tell people what they don’t want to hear and is cowardly to just single out gays or atheists or whatever small group. I don’t agree with it, but I respect it.

              • In church, we discuss our spiritual affairs, getting them in order. We don’t discuss political issues.

      • Advocacy for gay rights come from gay and lesbian organizations and the impact on change in legislation is a ballot issue. Changing church member views is mute. The debates in a church are going to be about God’s Will… as to if gay marriage is acceptable or not (to God) — not about the rights of people in the world. I’ve noticed that people change their minds about gay marriage when they want to do so and that typically involves a reason that includes a relationship with someone that is gay/lesbian. You may already have researched the religious views — in my opinion, there is not any clear reason of Biblical reference that is relevant in the area of civil law. The Biblical references that may be cited don’t apply in countries that maintain a separation of Church and State.

  7. Every Christian may choose for him or for her self how to worship and how to maintain a personal relationship with God, his or her God. I do not count when it comes down to what is acceptable to God and what I learned from Him is:
    If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?
    Even sinners love those who love them.

    • agnophilo says:

      That is a very profound statement. I find it easier sometimes to be compassionate and forgiving to strangers who wound me than to people close to me, who can really cut deep.

      • I want to be myself, directed by Spirit. So, to hate is to separate myself from Spirit. To fight with others over what may be right or wrong about gay marriage is to fight against the Spirit. I tell myself, I ceased fighting against anything or anyone. It’s a commitment to me and it’s my calling to follow Spirit. If an issue is upsetting, it probably isn’t one that stems God. Occasionally, in a few instances, something that we hear in church may not be from Spirit. We don’t take up with it… there are things said that are symptoms of spiritual depravity; sometimes in church. I am to pray for any and all that they will come to know God’s Will. Salvation is from God, not people. This is the practice of worship and this is what church is teaching me. If my church wanted to teach me what to think about the legality of property rights and so on, I would not take up with that teaching. That is not of Spirit. Laws are granted by governing bodies as part of the governing of our communities. The Spirit is not of this world. Spirit brings us to serenity and peaceful thinking and feelings. Spirit provides a bulwark against the accumulation of resentments, self-pity, shame and irrational fears. I found in time that acceptance of the world in tolerance is best. I am in a place of neutrality and safety. I do vote and I do participate in various community activities and sometimes in or with organizations that are not my church; and at work. There, I do my best to apply what Jesus said are the commandments for life in this world. He said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Speak yer mind.

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