Speaking in Tongues, God Tells Me to Hate Homosexuals

One problem with the debate about homosexuality between the Christian Right and the Liberal Left is that neither side understands what the other is talking about. If you ask them to repeat it by rote, they often could, but the words each sides uses to express their stance are spoken in a language that the other side does not acknowledge as a legitimate tongue. 


It is not a lack of articulation on either side. It is a lack of communication. Until this barrier is lifted, we can make laws to enforce social justice, but progress in the hearts of humankind will come through slow evolution.

Telling some Fundamentalist Christians, who believe that every word they find in the Bible is the sacred word of God, why homosexuality should be tolerated, only strengthens their certainty that it should not. Forcing them to think about the issue, to debate you in their minds, adds to their memory another imagined victory in the service of the Lord. Every time we force them to support their position, they feel righteous and the spirit of God flows through them. Given enough time, they become completely megalomaniacal and principled well beyond a point from which they could ever return.

I will use the term Christian, not to mean all Christians, but as a convenient abbreviation for a more detailed fellow. I know there are different kinds of Christians, but I shortened the term to indicate this one specific brand because I do not have the patience to repeatedly type in “fundamentalist creationist, Bible-thumbing, faith-based thinker.”

How can a genius be stupid? I keep coming back to that this question. I see open-minded believers defend the faith and at once attack those who use it as a weapon against social equality. This is one of many things that tell me that die hard conservatives are probably as reasonable as die hard liberals. Some conservatives on the far right are very logical in everything they say if you assume as fact the foundations of what they believe. Liberals like me challenge their conclusions about certain things, but seldom back up far enough to actually address the source of how they think. With all of their axioms to back me up, I would
probably believe much like they do on specific issues, such as homosexuality.

I do the same. I tend to naturally start with faith when I quibble over the machinery of modern religion. Is that the starting point? It cannot be. Back before a single believer in the Jewish God existed, someone did not awaken one day and birth a new religion when he discovered he suddenly had faith. Despite what the Church tells us, faith is often the conclusion to the Christian journey to find God. Where does God begin?

I once believed that where faith enters, reason, wearing a hood and sunglasses, exits an alley door, and there the story ends. What a childish idea. Reason and faith, it turns out, can co-exist, but they cannot co-decide. The faith-based thinker will dispute this, as it is culturally disreputable to draw conclusions without reason. In church, he will preach the virtues of embracing paradox and accepting things on faith. In the secular world, he will argue until his voice grows hoarse that a belief in his God is reasonable. The atheist will call him out on the fabrication, while professing no experience thinking in faith. Yet, all thinkers, atheist or otherwise, conclude all their assumptions with faith. The atheist calls his faith “axiomatic truths.” Sounds classy. 

I have faith in things. Though it explains so many mysteries, removes so many obstacles to understanding reality, I have faith that solipsism, the theory that only I exist and I imagine the rest of you, is not an accurate description of the world. I do not just doubt. I know in my heart solipsism is not the answer. I have faith.

The fundamental problem with debates between people with different perspectives is this: each person assumes as obvious their assumptions and axiomatic truths and each person views the opposition’s fundamentals as patently absurd. From this place, we argue the specifics. Is homosexuality wrong? Yes, because God says it is. God does say it is. True, He says other things that we don’t weight the same. We have come to know God pretty well. We have faith that He ranks deviant sexuality high up on his list of possible offenses. We know that homosexuality is deviant. It is obvious to anyone who owns a Bible.

I wish to disprove the silly Christian stance on homosexuality. What do I do? I challenge the idea that the way one chooses to express love or affection for another consenting entity cannot be wrong, as love is good and there is no harm. Unfortunately, I have already missed the point. My argument is very bad. Homosexuality is not wrong because it harms people, though we know it does, else why would God have forbade it? If I am to debate a Christian on this issue and he is telling me that homosexuality is wrong because God declared it to be, there is no point in arguing that it is OK for some other reason. If I argue that just because you think someone should die does not make him worthy of death and someone else says, he is a murderer and will murder again if we do not end his life, it makes no sense for me to say, but what about my argument? As he did not dispute my argument and I disagree with his, his argument is the topic that must be handled before progress can be made.

Homosexuality is wrong because God said it was wrong. That assertion must be handled before anything else I say matters.

The correct question I should be asking is why God said it was wrong. I want to argue that I lend no more credence to the word of God than I do to the grunts of a unicorn. How silly of me. We are discussing why God declares homosexuality to be wrong. If I change the subject to question the validity of God’s word, I dismiss the homosexuality topic entirely in favor of this more fundamental issue, and admit that discussing the specific topic of homosexuality with a Christian who believes it is wrong because God let him know, is pointless. It is OK to abandon the homosexuality discourse as currently unsolvable, but to do so without realizing I have done it, is not OK. Once we forget what we are talking about, I think it’s safe to say we no longer know what we are talking about.

If I wish to continue, I have two choices: I can argue my case from a Christian perspective or I can knowingly change the subject and address whether or not the things the Christian thinks God is telling him are God’s thoughts or someone else’s. To support my position on this new topic, I can point to the large collection of serial killers who have responded to instructions they heard in God’s voice. I can list the myriad commands in the Christian Bible that contradict anything a Christian would stand for today.

In order to prove my point, I sometimes do this, for I am a fool. I home in on new targets, forgetting the original ones are still standing. To suddenly turn and attack God’s words is an inane approach, since the Bible does not stand or fall on its own integrity. It is supported by the faith the believer has in its reputed Author. I am injecting a reasonable argument where it doesn’t fit. Christians have heard it all before and their ministers have explained away the contradictions and inconsistencies with nonsensical explanations. They answer to the congregation’s satisfaction the problem of evil, how the Trinity works, and why Jesus had to die for our sins. The willingness to accept hollow explanations is inherent in the Christian’s faith: that is the genius of it.

I am so silly to try to challenge the Christian faith with reason. Faith lives in a different context. I am digging an ever deepening hole that juts well outside the Christian’s spiritual realm. The Christian explains to me that if I learn more, expose myself to God’s glory, I too can enjoy the benefits of accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior. He is so silly to try to challenge my reason with his faith.

I see the Christian and the Atheist debating each other as a comic absurdity. It is like watching a debate between someone speaking Mandarin Chinese with someone speaking Farsi. Nowhere in that verbal combat does anyone resign and you never hear anyone say: “You make a good point, but …” Faith and reason are two separate languages, each used in its own disciplines; and using one to communicate with someone using the other, is goofy. Only a moderate Christian can reason with a fundamentalist Christian, because only he speaks in a dialect similar enough to make communication between their two peoples possible. Only an agnostic can offer words of wisdom to an atheist. The only way I could ever successfully debate a fundamentalist Christian is if I were to argue as I imagine a Christian would argue, from a Biblical perspective, which would be a hypocritical thing for a non-believer to do, without first disclosing his lack of faith. Such a confession would strip the argumentative infidel of any credibility in the eyes of his opponent. And even if I use this stratagem, I could not say anything that may undermine my Christian opponent’s faith in order to prove God’s tolerance for homosexuality. I would have to start somewhere else, somewhere that does not transcend his ability to agree.

When we debate a position with someone with whom we are fundamentally at odds, we strengthen our certainty, and theirs. The memory of when we expressed our basic assumptions so eloquently comes back to us in all its majesty. The ridiculous case our opponents made to support their unstable position also leaves an impression. As each side adds another victory to the debate, the monster that is our own cherished opinions grows stronger. As our certainty is reaffirmed, yet again, the dissonant rattle, that threatened our perception of self, silences. We assure ourselves that we are, as suspected, the intelligent ones with the answers.

We have mountains of belief underneath us, and those who disagree with our ideas tend to challenge the conclusions they find precariously balanced on the peak of it all. We use our fundamental assumptions that took years to cultivate and that are beyond reproach to attack their notions of homosexuality, a position we find at the very tip of their mountainous belief system; but they do not assume our assumptions; they know them to be false.

Whether it is a liberal debating a conservative or an Atheist debating a Christian, the process is the same: asinine. Everyone questions everyone else’s intelligence. They are talking gibberish. One speaks Mandarin and the other Farsi, and when the discussion ends, each claims victory in his native tongue.


This article was inspired by a very profound article written by Burr Deming at Fair and Unbalanced. I originally posted this on his site in response to his post.

75 comments:

  1. You are exactly right about the true definition of speaking in tongues. For it has far more to do with saying things that another either cannot or will not understand than with speaking in some mystical unknown language.

    The same applies to understanding what is contained in our Heavenly Father Holy Bible. For His ways truly are much higher than our own. Therefore, none of us can truly understand what He is talking about unless He allows and enables us to.

    Of course, since He really does want us to understand, understanding what He had placed into written form is taken far too much for granted, and this is compounded by it being widely taught that He no longer seeks to communicate directly with us. Be assured that all of the different doctrines of all of the different denominations that came out of the Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox church(s), which had lost their way many, many centuries before the Reformation, are a direct result of not listening to what our Heavenly Father actually says is absolutely true.

    Back before our Heavenly Father started making Himself real to me, I had a burning hatred for homosexuals, which was mostly based upon what I been taught in a very conservative Southern Baptist church. In fact, I have no doubt that I would have sought to at least seriously injure one who had made a pass at me, which made it all the more shocking when He told me that as far as He was concerned, all of the women I had (or tried to have, or just wanted to have) sex with over the years could have been men. For fornication is fornication.

    No, this is not to say that all homosexuals are necessarily sexual deviants--certainly not from our own ground-based points-of-view. For in a great many cases, there is genuine love involved, but so is there when it comes to a great many outside-of-marriage sexual relationships between a man and a woman, which are just as much of an abomination in our Heavenly Father's sight as homosexuality is.

    Getting back to your understanding of what speaking in tongues is really all about, where do you think you got that? If you can humble yourself enough, it should be easy to accept that it came from our Heavenly Father, and since He is willing to give you that while you are being so belligerent about so many things, you can be confident of Him wanting you to know and understand more than you can even start to imagine.

    One of those things will undoubtedly be why homosexuality is an abomination to Him, and that all it takes to be forgiven of it is to accept that it is. For the actual changing of behavior is strictly in His hands, and in many cases, not much change will occur until after the allotted time as a part of this world comes to an end.

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  2. The situation is not symmetrical, though. One "language" accurately describes reality, the other does not. The Earth really is 4,600,000,000 years old and not 6,000. Life really does evolve. Increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere really does raise the average temperature. Reality exists independently of how we think of and describe it.

    On the issue of homosexuality, fundie faith-heads are probably unreachable, but in practice they don't have to be reached. The people we need to reach are those in the undecided middle. We don't need to convince every last person on Earth. We just need a solid voting majority.

    I'm a practical guy, not a theorist. In practical terms, look how much progress gay rights have made in the last ten years by appealing to the undecided center, even if the fundies remain unreachable.

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  3. Over the course of about 10 years, I made the horny from "fundamentalist creationist, Bible-thumbing, faith-based thinker” to agnostic. Along the way, I left behind my belief that homosexuality is a sin.

    The entire journey was a conversation mostly in my own mind - rarely at the prodding of others. Every question that arose (including the one about homosexuality) did so because of a dissonance between what I had been taught and what I experienced in the world.

    Almost all of my family are still "believers." I know better than to try to argue their faith with them based on reason. Years ago that came clear to me when my mother talked to me about her pain of knowing that her son (the other nonbeliever in the family) would spend eternity in hell. That comes from her foundation beliefs and I can't imagine the pain of a mother believing that. But she would have to re-order her entire faith in order to not believe that. It isn't going to happen. If she's willing to sacrifice her son's eternal soul to that belief - regardless of what a good person he is - just imagine how little a rational argument is going to do.

    So I keep my ears open for those moments of dissonance. I don't pounce on them, but if I'm on my toes, simply add a bit to the questions they might be asking themselves.

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  4. Oops, I knew I should have proof read that comment. First line..." I made my journey..."

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  5. Quite a conundrum, isn't it? Of course you could always go the route of arguing whether they have the right to force the mandates of their faith on the rest of us. They might believe homosexuality is wrong. They might believe God told them so personally. But does that give them the right to interfere with the "sinful" lives other people are living? What business is it of theirs? Of course, we both know you'd have as little hope of making progress with that argument as you would with the other.

    I tend to agree with the "infidel" up there. I think maybe you're giving these people too much credit. Is that dismissive? Perhaps. But a lot of these people are just plain idiots.

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  6. Fish,

    Of course, since He really does want us to understand, understanding what He had placed into written form is taken far too much for granted, and this is compounded by it being widely taught that He no longer seeks to communicate directly with us. I wish I had been there early on. I could have helped Him. Most of the complex things we struggle with could have been solved by having the first book of the Holy Bible be something like the 200 inviolable commandments. Instead we have this big thick encyclopedia of contradictions with what God really wants buried in riddles and contradictions and surrounded with plain boring text on all sides.

    … which had lost their way many, many centuries before the Reformation, are a direct result of not listening to what our Heavenly Father actually says is absolutely true. I will concede for the sake of the discussion that what our Heavenly Father actually says is absolutely true. However, how do we know what He says? The only record we have are the actually voices in sane men’s head that actually hear him (if there are any), the countless voices in the heads of crazy men, our own senses that the voices we here is God, and not side-effects of the medicine, and the Holy Text, which has been interpolated with man’s influence to a point to render it worse than useless in some cases.

    Back before our Heavenly Father started making Himself real to me, I had a burning hatred for homosexuals, which was mostly based upon what I been taught in a very conservative Southern Baptist church. That is scary because God is still ignoring a ton of people out there. Did you hate homosexuals because you thought God hated them or did you hate them because they were Godless or was it for some other equally laudable reason?

    If you can humble yourself enough, it should be easy to accept that it came from our Heavenly Father, and since He is willing to give you that while you are being so belligerent about so many things, you can be confident of Him wanting you to know and understand more than you can even start to imagine. I don’t think God wanted me to know. What God is trying to tell us has been debated ever since mankind had a concept of God. His text book is very poorly laid out and in much need of another revision.

    One of those things will undoubtedly be why homosexuality is an abomination to Him, and that all it takes to be forgiven of it is to accept that it is. So I can still do guys, right?

    No response needed, sir. I am loath to get into a debate about this, but I could not stop myself. I published this article here because the charge was made that conservatives were acting illogically in their position on Gay Marriage. I did not think one side was that more illogical than the other, once you accept the axioms each side had. I was really supporting that ide amore than defending homosexuals. Homosexuals need no defense. They are what they are and there is no sin in being you. If homosexuals are sinful, then the Creator of homosexuals bears the crime. If the Creator wants me to agree that homosexuals are sinful, He should have come up with a better argument that that He finds them to be an abomination.

    I do not agree with much of His ideology. I don’t believe in guilt by association. I don’t believe is logical or right. I don’t have a probable with homosexuals, and I think far more like Jesus than I do like the Heavenly Father. In fact, I do embrace the majority of what Jesus taught in favor of the majority of the Father’s teaching and I fully understand why Jesus rebelled.

    So, as you can see, there really is no way for you and I to argue about this. We do not speak the same language, or want to. It is impossible to have a rational meaningful discussion about any of this, sir.

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  7. I also agree with the Infidel that you don't really need to reach these fundamentalists. These are people trying to stem the inevitable tide. I think the progress of history is on the side of those who favor rights. Give it time. One hundred and some odd years ago, plantation owners liked to thump around with their Bibles about slavery. Now it's a passage most Christians would like to forget. Eventually this "homosexuality is an abomination" business will be yet another thing rationalized away from pulpit. Look at Michelle Bachman the other day, twisting herself into a pretzel over this "submission" business. It's true these people believe everything the Bible tells them, but they also read into it what they want to read into it. It all works out to be conveniently self-satisfying for them.

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  8. Infidel,

    The situation is not symmetrical, though. and I'm a practical guy, not a theorist.

    I sympathize with your position, as I live on this side of the issue. However, you are making my point. You are explaining why your reasoned analysis should supersede their faith, as if you think reason, thinking, is more power than faith, which is often tantamount to knowing.

    Faith and reason are two unique tools. You and I both use them. Billy Graham uses both of them also. It is only a question of proportion. I often use my faith in the concept of social justice to feverishly challenge unfair taxation. I am starting with assumptions about social justice that never get discussed, and yet faith-based axioms are the fundamentals on which my arguments rest.

    The faith/reason ratios exist in different proportions for different people, but by using both to arrive at conclusions, we tacitly admit that both are valid for use.

    Fish is just as certain that he is right as you are that you are right. When discussing this with you, his mission is to show you what he knows. Your mission is to show him what you know, and so the debate begins.

    You immediately point to reason, a tool that should be supplanted with faith when the discussion is of God (or so man believe. It is an axiom). You already started babbling and he will not be able to hear you. The same thing happened when I read his comment. Did I consider his arguments using faith? No, because I reasons to refute them. To truly consider what he was saying, I needed faith, but I was not using that tool. His words, designed primarily for a faith vessel, seem like nonsense when plugged into a reason vessel. Since both faith and reason are needed to draw conclusions, the main problem is that the wrong fuel was put in the wrong vessel.

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  9. @Smartypants,

    Over the course of about 10 years, I made the horny from "fundamentalist creationist, Bible-thumbing, faith-based thinker” to agnostic. Along the way, I left behind my belief that homosexuality is a sin.

    There are others like you, lots of them. What we are ultimately saying is that those who think as you thought believe that homosexuality is a sin, purely because they have faith that is. It is a dangerous game to submit to the beliefs of any other entity, without question, no matter how barbaric the beliefs may seem. This is how Mansons are created; Hitlers are created; how Gods are created.

    @Bryan,

    These are people trying to stem the inevitable tide. I hope you are right, but the funny thing about tides is that they come in and then retreat. After the Jewish Temple was restored in 586 B.C.E. I imagine the Jewish people thought the world had irrevocably declined. But a few hundred years later, they were past all that and all was well. By 70 C.E., it was destroyed again. You have your cities destroyed by Moors or Christians, and then you have religious freedom. You have an Inquisition, then you have America, where you are free to practice whatever religion you want, and usually not even hated for it, unless you happen to choose Islam.

    I agree that the tide is inevitable, if the world continues this course long enough. I do not believe tolerance of homosexuals will be the last word. There is a very durable 2000 year old text that tells me otherwise.

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  10. John, I had to clip the following: "I lend no more credence to the word of God than I do to the grunts of a unicorn." Clear, concise, and funny all at once. I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to think of homosexuals, though. You left out the moral of the story.

    FishHawk, why do you keep using the phrase "our Father?" if he's in your head, just claim him as yours and don't presume he's mine, too.

    Infidel, you've missed the point just to berate the "fundies." John's point is that your liberalism is not just reason-based, it is also also faith-based. All the things you just said about fundies is just as true about you when you speak to conservatives.

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  11. Heathen,

    "I lend no more credence to the word of God than I do to the grunts of a unicorn” Yes, I was especially proud of that line myself.

    I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to think of homosexuals, though. You left out the moral of the story. The story, as odd as this may seem, is not about homosexuality. I just used that as an example because of the DOMA and DADT. The point, which probably was not explicitly stated, is that you cannot dispute someone’s position when that position is logical if you start from that persons axioms. Instead, you have to address the axioms. However, we don’t do that. We address various positions that arise natural from axioms (assumptions) others have and we don’t. When we do that, we are not speaking the same language.

    I used homosexuality and faith vs. reason regarding it, as my example to illustrate this.

    1. Atheists and theists both start with faith and finish with a measure of reason. The only difference is when reason kicks in.


    2. Conservatives and liberals start with faith (axioms) and finish with reason. Both can have completely opposite opinions and yet both be equally logical an intelligent. A strong opinion on the right or left has no correlation to intelligence. Because we start with axioms that are opposite from the starting gate of our philosophical opponents, the other side seems crazy, and if they had their opinion while starting with our axioms, then they would be crazy. However, they did not start with our axioms, and their opinions logically flows when we consider the place from which they did begin.


    3. The third thing is an extension of the second one. It is hard for many people to accept and hard to believe. We all have facts to prove our points. We looked them up, research them. Our opponents also have facts. They also researched. They are also blind to confirmation bias when it is they who are confirming.

    Don’t get me wrong, some facts have a place. My first post on John Myste responds was a piece disputing Judge Hudson’s published PDF explaining his reasoning. It was based on facts. However, I did not deny the facts he found and select my own from another source. I accepted his facts as accurate and disputed the logic that followed.

    This is different from liberals saying ObamaCare is ultimately less expensive than not having ObamaCare and conservatives saying the opposite. Each has faith in their sources. In this case, each side poisons the wells. Each side validates their selected facts and discredits, with little evidence, I might add, the others facts. This is an example of where we know our position on universal healthcare. It is a philosophical one based on axioms. We then proceed to validate what we believe for philosophical reasons with data other than the reasons that make us believe it in the first place. Why? Because you cannot prove a philosophy and we need to be right. Moreover, the other guy is wrong and we cannot allow is wrongness to stand.

    As often happens, I so wrapped up in the “story” of it all, that the points I was trying to make had to take a back seat. I believe you will find that in all of my posts at Mysterious Things. I am generally more “in your face” at John Myste Responds. On a lighter note, I got a ringing endorsement about John Myste Responds the other day. Someone whose opinion I greatly admire just discovered it and advised something like “stick to Mysterious Things.” That is a gross paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

    John's point is that your liberalism is not just reason-based, it is also also faith-based. All the things you just said about fundies is just as true about you when you speak to conservatives. That is one of my main points. The reverse, of course, is also true.

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  12. “If I argue that just because you think someone should die does not make him worthy of death and someone else says, he is a murderer and will murder again if we do not end his life, it makes no sense for me to say, but what about my argument?”

    John this was an interesting read, and I enjoyed the dialogue that followed. Being that I don’t debate or take issues with the Pros and Cons of religions or politics … I found the above quote to be very amusing indeed.

    It is always the case in these arguments; the question begs to be asked, “If I am a Christian, or pretending to be one, should I allow a murderer to make me a murderer by taking their life for murdering? If we both murder, aren’t we both guilty? Or should I forgive everyone their weakness and/or sin, or whatever the label may be, because in the end this is what I have been taught --- “judgment is wrong, forgiveness is divine” … “judge and you shall be judged, forgive and you shall receive forgiveness”.

    Seems to me that we are still living under the elusive shadows of the “Towel of Babel”, where no one understands anyone else, even though we all speak the same language … must be all those dialects that keep us deaf to each other. So much confusion on the principalities of humankind; religious and all its ratifications, like politic, is to insight what some think is their righteous indignation, on both sides of the argument --- to make themselves feel good so that their lives are relevant. I know what this feels like on so many levels.

    However, according to that Black Book that folks love to quote … “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. This was the gist of the god that I was forced to worship as a child --- and when I asked to see god, my grandmother told me to look in the mirror, but in those days the only person that had a little mirror was the one my daddy used to shave, and girls weren’t allowed to look in it, just my brothers. When I went to church and looked in the mirror, I couldn’t believe what I saw was god, and therefore what “I hoped for was not seen” --- as I was told god was a man.

    If nothing else, I hope my comment amuses you. As for me, I believe in everything and nothing.

    Indeed, I so enjoy reading you. Thank you.

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  13. Wow...great post. Explains a lot about the dynamics going on in our cultural/political debate. Gives me some insight into my own opinions too.

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  14. @LJM,

    You mentioned this: "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

    Though I am a non believer, I quote it often. It is my favorite biblical quote, and in my opinion, very profound.

    @Everyone who is not Hansi,

    Like me, Hansi writes biblical analysis. I take fewer liberties, though in my tellings. Hansi writes things that are somewhat akin to things here, such as Gateway to Heaven, which analyzed the Ten Commands or Let There Be Light, which analyzed the Creation Story. If you are into that stuff, check Hansi site out. It is listed in my blog list to the right.

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  15. I still can't believe that our hard-earned tax-dollars (in the form of Medicaid) go to Bachmann's husband so he can perform "repairative therapy" on poor gays and lesbians, especially the lesbians!!!

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  16. I agree! If we repair our lesbians, we won't have anymore of them.

    He is an idiot.

    Oh, and if we repair our gays, we won't have anymore hetero women either, because they all prefer gays to us anyway.

    He is an idiot.

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  17. John, even though you and I often approach how we view things in politics and faith by starting from a different set of core axioms, I do mightily appreciate your mind and your ability to artiuclate this fact so very well, my friend.

    What I found to be equally interesting is how nearly all of the comments reinforced your central point of how we do seem to speak in different tongues.

    As for me, I am glad that I am above all of this as I have found that science and reason does indeed reinforce my faith! :)

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  18. Well said, J. Myste. I've just got around to reading your blog. Your make your point eloquently.

    I think that productive discussions on issues of this nature can happen, but only after you learn to speak the language of the other side. If you can understand how your ideas would fit into another person's worldview, it makes it that much easier to state your case to them.

    I've done this a few times when arguing with Christians about church-state separation, for example. You have to be able to "speak Christian" and explain to them within that frame of mind why government entanglement with their relationship with their deity is a bad thing.

    Unfortunately there are limits. If they're one of the hardcore "the Bible is 100% literally true" types, then forget your Mandarin and Farsi analogy - it's more like they're speaking some obscure dialect of Assyrian.

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  19. Matt,

    Well said, J. Myste

    I could not agree more.

    Firstly, I rarely read something and then laugh out loud, so virtually never type this in a comment: LOL. Though it is really used just to indicate one found the prior statement amusing, the literal thing it is saying is usually a lie.

    However, when I read this:

    If they're one of the hardcore "the Bible is 100% literally true" types, then forget your Mandarin and Farsi analogy - it's more like they're speaking some obscure dialect of Assyrian.

    I did chuckle out load.

    COL.

    You have to be able to "speak Christian" and explain to them within that frame of mind why government entanglement with their relationship with their deity is a bad thing.

    Doesn’t work. I’ve tried it. I end up praising God and singing hymns.

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  20. Very thoughful post and comments! Frankly all the whining has long since bummed me out to the point I just ignore a large portion of it.

    I personally feel the Christian right lost their tiny minds back in the 1980's with Reagan. The world is changing at warp speed and their insistance on staying in the 19th century is hurting the country. Also, please don't come to me with some trash about marriage be sacred when I've seen plenty of "good Christian" doing their best to get some on the side.

    If two consenting adults fall in love they should be allowed to get married.

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  21. And if any lesbian out there needs a justice of the peace/party planner......

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  22. Will said: "I still can't believe that our hard-earned tax-dollars (in the form of Medicaid) go to Bachmann's husband so he can perform "repairative therapy" on poor gays and lesbians, especially the lesbians!!!"

    Another good argument for reducing the ruling class's control of healthcare, as opposed to increasing it. Under the doomsday option, "single payer" the government would easily be able to control exactly what is spend on what. As opposed to the much better solution: increase competition and de-centralize control.

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  23. @Beach,

    “If two consenting adults fall in love they should be allowed to get married.” Even if they are not in love, I would say.

    @Dmarks,

    Though you and I seem to be brothers in defending Bush against false accusations, our union ends there, I fear.

    “As opposed to the much better solution: increase competition and de-centralize control.” I agree with this, so long as you can wrap it in some package that leads to Universal Healthcare (and no, I do wish to have that debate. I only want to snipe).

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  24. Ok JM, am 'sucked in' .. just a quick comment, .. will have to try to read, and digest this post before i 'comment' sensibly.

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  25. "I see the Christian and the Atheist debating each other as a comic absurdity."

    Ok, another quick comment. If i were an 'editor' perhaps the inclusion of the symbol "s" in "comic" i.e. "cosmic" might be more .. um, far reaching (yer i know, nit picking; at this point .. heh).

    If one is searching for the "meaning" of random events, one might have a look at the philosophies of an ancient Greek bloke by the name of Democritus.

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  26. Ok, another quick comment. If i were an 'editor' perhaps the inclusion of the symbol "s" in "comic" i.e. "cosmic" might be more .. um, far reaching (yer i know, nit picking; at this point .. heh).

    OMG! That is what I should have said (maybe). Why didn’t you recommend this change prior to my posting of it?

    You don’t really have to answer that, sir.

    If one is searching for the "meaning" of random events, one might have a look at the philosophies of an ancient Greek bloke by the name of Democritus. I did not realize that Democritus was a bloke at all, primarily because I don’t think in terms of blokes. If you had asked me I am probably would have said: “Um, yeah, he’s probably a bloke.” Without the question, it amused to learn that he was.

    As for searching for the meaning of random events, I typically don’t, as I tend to think there is none. There may be a cause, but most likely a fairly meaningless one. The glass is half empty, no question.

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  27. "The glass is half empty, no question."

    Crap. The universe is an ever evolving mystery.

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  28. The white folks in my family include slightly fewer than a dozen Baptist ministers, so I know the bible fairly well. Which means that I know that Jesus Christ wanted you to look after your own doings first, second, and third. He saved Mary Magdalene from a stoning because that is the way he saw things.

    One of the things that caused me to conclude that the "Christianity" practiced by nearly all organized religion is more about keeping power over other people is the willingness of way too many good "Christians" to ignore the parts of their own Good Book that they don't like in favor of those parts that allow them to hate other people, cheer on war, etc. The completely irrational hatred of gay people is a classic case in point of what I'm talking about.

    There is no "gay agenda," but there sure as hell is a "stoke hatred and stupidity" agenda. Organized religion and right-wing politics are joined at the hip because neither can exist very well without hatred.

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  29. Jolly,

    I don't think most Christians become Christians in order to control other Christians. I also don't think most ministers and priests become ministers and priests to keep power over other people. I think they primarily do it to please God, or to carve a niche for themselves in an inhospitable world.

    I do agree that the early Church Fathers, and more notably Paul, were all about control and getting the largest following, and for them it was purely political so far as I can tell.

    As for picking and choosing which of God's laws to honor, Christians have no choice but to choose, as the Father and the Son had a very different world view and couldn't agree on very much.

    If you believe the Old Testament is the word of God, the kindness of Jesus notwithstanding, you have no choice but to think homosexuals are sinners. Of course, you also have no choice but to think it is sometimes OK to punish fathers by killing their babies, to stone disobedient children, to sell your daughter into slavery, but I digress.

    My mother used to hate homosexuals and would viciously declare “they’re sick!” She was very angry that they were so sick, for some reason. I have been down with the flu recently, but she forgave me right away.

    Anyway, many Christians are taught by God to despise homosexuals and so they do. I don’t think they are looking for a reason to hate. It just finds them. It is clear that the Father detested them and though when Jesus explicitly overrules the Father, he always wins, he did not really say homosexuality is OK.

    I am not trying to defend hatred of homosexuals. In fact, I find nothing whatsoever to be wrong with homosexuality and never have. I am just saying, I get it.

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  30. Christianity? Let's go back a bit. Saul/Paul was a bit more literate than "Peter", the fisherman - .. or Yeshua ben Yoseph.

    Saul/Paul was a turncoat .. more interested in "the main game" so was able to convince Constantine, the Roman Emperor (circa 300 CE) to amalgamate a whole heap of 'disparate' beliefs and 'religions' into ONE.

    All for the glory, and sustenance of the Roman Empire.

    Henty 8 said efforf. Luthor had a try at dismantling, and achieved a sect, of some sort.

    I could go on ... and on .. about all this

    So, getting back to the subject of "homosexuality".

    Personally, don't give two hoots about it. Been there, done that. Am not "afraid" of it, nor "phobic". Remain a male, and prefer female company.

    However, looking at in a strictly 'physiological' sense .. yep primary purpose is to 'reproduce'. (bit like viruses, actually)

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  31. Christians read into the Bible what they want the Bible to say, just like they do the second amendment. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 does pretty much condemn homosexuality but it also seems pretty clear that Jesus saves them.

    It's also interesting that few Christians here in the US even look at 1 Corinthians 11, here is a quote: " 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head." It would be easy for Christian women to cover their hair, but they choose to flaunt the word of god, shame on them. I wonder if they will go to hell for that.

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  32. @Davoh!

    Saul/Paul was a turncoat .. more interested in "the main game" so was able to convince Constantine, the Roman Emperor (circa 300 CE) to amalgamate a whole heap of 'disparate' beliefs and 'religions' into ONE. This is a point I have made on many sites. Brother! This desire explains why Christianity is polytheistic, yet claims to be monotheistic and why it reverses the Jewish God, but does rejects His teachings. It explains why the “pagan” observations of Christmas and Easter are recognized while the Jewish God’s observance, including the Passover, is abandoned.

    However, looking at in a strictly 'physiological' sense .. yep primary purpose is to 'reproduce'. People tell me that because procreation is the goal, homosexuality is aberrant. Often these people marry women who past the age of procreating ability, proving themselves also to be aberrant, I suppose.

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  33. Jolly Roger says, "There is no "gay agenda," but there sure as hell is a "stoke hatred and stupidity" agenda. Organized religion and right-wing politics are joined at the hip because neither can exist very well without hatred."

    I can almost feel the love exuding from him!

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  34. @T. Paine,

    Jolly Roger is known for many things, but being jolly is not one of them.

    @Jimmy Clay, @Jolly Roger, @T. Paine,

    I don’t ever dispute that God has issues with homosexuals. I think it is clear that the Christian Gods, or more precisely, one of Them, the Father, does consider homosexuality deviant and thus sinful. Jesus, that Hippie, revolted against the strict laws of the Father and converted them to a message of love (except when He was angry and allowed Himself and exception). The Father would have had none of it, but He really had no say in the matter. Jesus was newer and the Father, who was already well on His way to obsolescence. If we are not careful, it happens to the best of us. As for women not covering their heads, this is not their only sin. Christians are insubordinate in other ways also, such as those Burr Deming likes to point out: eating shell-fish, wearing clothing made of different fabrics, and random abominable acts we see sprinkled throughout the Old Testament.

    If I have to be a Christian, I have no problem with choosing the Christian God who comes with the message of love. The other main God is really scary (I have no idea what the Holy Spirit thinks, as He is kind of mute, more of a divine nothing than a something). The message of strict obedience to illogical rules, the message of the Father, is egregious to me. True literalists try to mix both messages in order to homogenize them into the true word of God.

    I find the fundamentalist approach abhorrent for obvious reasons; yet I am also sympathetic to the fundamentalist approach for two reasons:

    1. If the Christian concept of God really describes the universe, then what they don’t realize is that there is more than one deity involved. It is easy to make a mistake when you don’t know what you are dealing with.

    2. Or if I am right and Christianity is wrong, then Christians don’t realize that there is less than one deity involved. Again, that mistake is huge and could lead to all kinds of bogus ideas.

    Either way, they are not trying to be evil or hateful, Jolly. Whichever is the case, it is a case of a mistaken assumption and/or contradictions they are trying to reconcile. God did not seem that passionate about mixing threads in clothing, but He did seem to really be repulsed by homosexuals. I don’t agree with the fundamentalist Christian stance, but I get it.

    [Defense of backward Christians complete]

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  35. I feel so much better having Mr. Myste defend Christianity (the son portion of it, anyway) when he decides to do so. Thanks John! :)

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  36. Just hang a cross around my neck and call me Brother John, Mr. Paine. I don't suppose I have to believe in the one true Christian God in order to worship Them.

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  37. Whatever your point may be, it's good to see a man use the brain God gave him. It is important to question statements founded on beliefs... and authority as well. It is also important to question those who question beliefs and authority. I know it strengthens my faith to have my beliefs questioned. Unfortunately I have no authority to be questioned. But I'm questioned anyway.

    Now I've forgotten my original point.

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  38. John, is liking to watch hot lipstick lesbians having sex tantamount to having a "gay agenda"? Please, I need to know if I have this affliction.

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  39. Will,

    John, is liking to watch hot lipstick lesbians having sex tantamount to having a "gay agenda"?

    No, lesbians aren't gay. They’re lesbians.

    Dave,

    I know it strengthens my faith to have my beliefs questioned.

    It strengthens everyone's faith if you disagree with them. It's a great big gotcha.

    Now I've forgotten my original point.

    You wanted to know the point of making the world hate us with our imperialism. You may not realize this, but that was your original point: more like a question.

    In the first episode of Seinfeld, Jerry announced that it really is the second button that makes or breaks the shirt. In the last episode of Seinfeld, Jerry points out that it is the second button that makes or breaks the shirt.

    I think many people missed that fact, but far more the symbolism behind it. In nearly a decade of growing, Jerry had gone from noting that the second button makes or breaks the shirt, to noting the same thing. The circumstance of his life had changed, but he had not grown. He was asking the same questions he asked a decade ago.

    You still want to know "Why?” and you still have the same answer.

    I do not mean to imply that you have not grown. Really, I guess what I am saying is, you reminded me that it is the second button that makes or breaks the shirt.

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  40. "Mysterious Things" has been included in this weeks Sites To See. I hope this helps to attract many new visitors here.

    http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2011/08/sites-to-see_26.html

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  41. Will, does anyone really have problems with lesbians? Are they fags? I don't think God was referring to them. He spoke of the sin where one man lies down with another, and I don't think He meant they napped together. I don't remember Him mentioning concern that a women would lie down with another woman. He may have, and I overlooked it, but I think men are considered the problem. I don't think there is any such thing as a lesbian agenda, except for the desire of some men to keep lesbians around.

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  42. Rev. Dada GrindAugust 27, 2011

    The problem with the Christian Right is that they tend to ignore the teachings of Jesus. They would have stoned the Samaritan.

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  43. FloridaDemAugust 27, 2011

    I haven't read the responses, and I'm interested to, but I must say that there's a missing element here, which is culture. Culture accounts for a lot of what we do and believe. Religion just likes to take most of the credit for it. A perfect example of the ridiculousness of human thought is a person who sun-bathes. Any dog has sense enough to get in the shade. (God-given dog sense, you might say). But people ignore the heat, the sweating, the glare, the sun, because culture has spoken to them, like a booming voice from above. Ironically, the cultural message was the opposite centuries ago, when the rich were pale and laborers were brown. So here we have evidence of cultural shift. It is starting to shift again, and again, that's culture at work. Nothing has changed about the sun in 2,000 years, last time I checked.

    So this is what is going on with homosexuality. I don't expect the bible to change anytime soon, but you can bet that once the culture embraces homosexuals and bisexuals, or at least loses interest in opposing them, you will see the church dampening down it's anti-gay message. In turn, church followers will follow behind like little toy soldiers.

    There is already a stream of thought in the church that the gay presence is growing and going mainstream, and the church should abandon opposing the tide and instead focus on abortion. There's already some evidence of that as the war against planned parenthood ramped up and Republicans in NY bowed to marriage equality.

    There are children in school with gay parents, and since the legalization of gay marriage in many states, the forming of alternative family units will only increase, in this marriage-and-child obsessed nation. Soon there will be a whole generation of children with gay friends or same-sex parents.

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  44. Soon there will be a whole generation of children with gay friends or same-sex parents.

    If Martin Luther King could see this, he would realize that his dream exceeded even his expectations. This day you describe will be truly beautiful, won't it?

    There has already been a generation of children with gay friends. I suspect it was long ago, and they kept packed away in a closet, miserable.

    Let them out, so we can treat them, or so they can live their happy lives. Whatever the reason, let them out.

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  45. FloridaDemAugust 27, 2011

    Fishhawk said:
    "Back before our Heavenly Father started making Himself real to me, I had a burning hatred for homosexuals."

    Having a burning hatred for anyone or anything is not a stable human condition. It is an unstable and vulnerable position to be in. It is a position of weakness, and it is unsustainable.

    Suffering through the hard knocks of life, and slowly learning, is usually enough to release yourself from this condition, as well as other problems. But of course there is another way, a quick out - the church. The church provides clarity, lifts the fog of confusion, and allows a person to elevate themselves above their peers (those who are sinners or deviants or unbelievers or of the wrong faith). Not all christians "hate," that's not the appeal of religion necessarily, but I can see someone using the church to supress or escape a variety of emotions and inner demons.

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  46. FloridaDemAugust 27, 2011

    "If Martin Luther King could see this, he would realize that his dream exceeded even his expectations. This day you describe will be truly beautiful, won't it?"

    I think so, of course. But it's not for me to judge. I am just making an observation. The culture will speak, and we all obey. Sometimes the result is good, sometimes not so good. Martin believed the arc is long, and bending toward justice, and I tend to agree.

    Things generally do tend to improve with time and get more progressive, but in the end we are the makers of our lives, and the stuff of what we are made of as human beings is what often scares me.

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  47. .. um, small question. Why do most people in this discussion assume that "god" is a "Him"?

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  48. Davoh,

    .. um, small question. Why do most people in this discussion assume that "god" is a "Him"?

    Because She is.

    Those who have seen Her and talked to Her all report what He said. Have you not read the Bible, Qur'an, Yasht, Homeric Hymns, Vedas, etc.

    She is always a male, except for the rare case in which She is a woman. They are all spirits, so the distinction is subtle. By male, it just means "like us," the authors of the text. We created all of the Gods in our image or in an image that impressed us. We, men do that, not women. They can't create God's. We males would not worship them, or sing hymns of their stories.

    If you have to use pronouns to reference divine beings, I think "he", "him", etc. are the best choice.

    Besides, I don't think the real God cares what pronouns we use. She just wants adoration and obedience. That's I how imagine Her.

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  49. FloridaDem may be on to something. Mr. Myste, you are indeed an example of bending to your progressive culture, my friend!

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  50. @T. Paine,

    FloridaDem may be on to something. Mr. Myste, you are indeed an example of bending to your progressive culture, my friend!

    All social growth could be defined the same way, including the abolishing of slavery and allowing conservatives to vote, I mean blacks and women.

    If we define social evolution and enlightenment as "bending to culture," we suggest there is no intellect behind it.

    As for your assertion that I am "bending" however, in making it, you imply that you have detected a “flaw,” not a virtue. If I am bending, then in this case, it is a virtuous bend. Also, in characterizing me this way, you imply that you are not bending. Enlighten me, Mr. Paine. What should we do with our homosexuals? Careful how you answer, sir. You have placed yourself on a tightrope. You now need to "handle the problem" to please God, and still remain open-minded about the implicit human rights homosexuals have, all while avoiding "bending my progressive culture."

    How, Mr. Paine, should we perceive and deal with the growing problem of having to live with homosexuals among us?

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  51. FloridaDemAugust 28, 2011

    ".. um, small question. Why do most people in this discussion assume that "god" is a "Him"?"

    I agree. The use of pronouns is yet another obvious flaw. In theory, God seems to be a spirit, so why in practice does he have a male human image? God could easily be referred to as the Holy Spirit or something not gender specific. But I imagine that a shapeless, genderless, ethereal being does not instill as much confidence with people.

    Also, it seems to me, that since females actually create life (i.e., they grow and feed a baby), it actually makes more sense for The Creator to be a woman. But, we all know logic has no place in religion. It's just an observation.

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  52. If memory serves me, Aphrodite wasn't just a God(dess), but a bangin' hot God(dess) to boot. Can I get an amen on the feminization of the deity!

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  53. @FloridaDem,

    I refuse to call God a she anymore. He finds it emasculating.

    @Will

    I googled Aphrodite on Google images. There were quite a few, but I can say most of them were unpleasant.

    @All,

    I actually think that if their is a God, meaning, not a super human, but a truly divine entity, then HE probably has no genitalia and no gender. If I am wrong and HE does have those things, they would be unknowable to us.

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  54. Oh my. Any comment I would have would be icing and sprinkles at this point, but it happens I just came home from a dreadful evening being instructed by some sort of Christian. In particular, this time, he was explaining how he has "come around" to supporting capital punishment. Something deep inside me understands that we do not have enough common premises to engage, as you say, and for once I wisely refrained from saying anything except this: "so you could kill a man in cold blood? Because I really couldn't." And I left it at that.

    That said, I did wade through the initial screed, and I do believe FishHawk made a dandy case for gay marriage, there. Possibly not his intent.

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  55. @Murr,

    You forced me to read Fish Hawk's comment again, and it is painful. Not that it is a bad comment, but the first time I read it, I nearly bit a whole in my tongue, and before that whole fully healed, you sent me back that.

    Fish and I are both patrons of Arash's World and he comments there frequently. My tongue is about as ragged as an orphan's clothes on laundry day. We mostly just wave at each other as we voice diametrically opposed views. We are diplomats.

    He said this: One of those things will undoubtedly be why homosexuality is an abomination to Him, and that all it takes to be forgiven of it is to accept that it is.

    Can you imagine my desire to comment, but I didn't say much because I did not want to get into a debate about the matter.

    What?! All it takes to be forgiven is that I accept that is? I can have sex with guys so long as I accept that God finds it abominable?! Seems like a small price to pay for sexual pleasure.

    Not to mention that he has no legitimate means of knowing if God did find it abominable or not.

    I wanted to say these things so bad, but gentlemen that I am, I just bit my tongue. Gentlemen that I am.

    @Ashok,

    Thanks! I noticed that you often comment on the writing or style, whereas the others usually comment on the content. Bless you, sir.

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  56. Well, I salute you and your diplomatic ways. It's commendable, and I mean that. I'm afraid the last decade has rubbed off most of my patience.

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  57. Alas, I have no more to offer in defense of what I have been given to say about homosexuality than a Creationist has to defend their opposition of evolution. For it all comes down to what we want to believe, and I want to believe that our Creator knows what He is talking about while far too many others do not want to believe that He even exists--let alone still seeks to communicate directly with us.

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  58. I do understand that creationists believe in God--they just don't believe he has any imagination.

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  59. John Myste,

    Forgive me for being off topic.

    When you get a chance, could you get back to Dave Dubya's blog to enlighten us red staters with the basics of argumentation and fallacies?

    You sound like you are an expert in the subject.

    I'm unclear about the fallacy of complex question and fallacy of Converse Accident (hasty generalization).

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  60. Red,

    Of course I will. As you predicted, I am highly educated in this area and I am always glad to help. You did not need to come here to make your request, though. I respond to all challenges, regardless of the location.

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  61. Asking why God said homosexuality was wrong isn't the correct question... because God never said that.

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  62. Dervish,

    Asking why God said homosexuality was wrong isn't the correct question... because God never said that.

    I don’t have time to fully address your sinful statement right now, as I am at work and will be for the next 16 hours. However, pick up your Bible and read these

    The Fathers Opinion:

    Lev. 18:22: "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."

    Lev. 20:13: "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them"

    The Enlightened Opinion that we Get After Christ:

    First Cor. 6:9-10: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

    Rom. 1:26-28: "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."

    .. and Dervish, when you get to Hell will you check on my grandmother for me?

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  63. My comment contained a link to an article that addresses the Bible passages you included in your comment. The author of the article explains why God is not condemning homosexuality in those passages.

    Do fundamentalists think someone who believes homosexuality isn't a sin (but is not themselves homosexual) will go to hell?

    Apparently you think they do. In which case couldn't you check on your grandmother yourself? When YOU get to hell?

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  64. Dervish,

    I read the article you linked to this morning. I analyzed it. I had hoped not to have to go into a long opinion piece.

    He offers an alternative interpretation of each of these and other verses, which is fine taken as an alternative interpretation, but does not really answer the Christian argument that God considers homosexual acts an abomination, as he does not prove his case, but merely makes suggestions as to why he believes as he does. If you read the article, you know his primary belief is born of need. He cannot reconcile his person beliefs with the idea that God hates homosexuality, so he had to try a different approach, one that validates God and also validates homosexuals.

    It is funny that he starts out by trying to prove that what God thought about sex is irrelevant and contradictory to current mores and then goes on at great length to try to prove that God shares his personal opinion. His weak explanation for this boils down to that idea that God really wasn’t talking to us and also that’s not what He meant when talking to others.

    His method of proof is twofold. Firstly, he alleges that God had no concept of homosexual orientation. I believe this is all but proven, though not by his article. I accept it based on other historical studies and documentation I have encountered. However, his claim it is like saying some people have a murderous orientation and some a peaceful, and God did not know this, so he would not have claimed that murder is wrong. His argument confuses being-ness with action and gives God way too much credit. He seems to take a point I accept as fact without proof, as evidence that God did not speak of homosexuals, so he must have been talking about something other than “homosexual acts.”

    That is fallacious reasoning. If homosexual acts are a sin, then God probably would not have assumed the innate concept of someone “being” that kind of sinner. He would have assumed it to be a sinful decision and not a sinful condition. Therefore, the point he is trying to make is not only moot, but if anything supports the opposite opinion.

    The Bible itself is made up of 66 books and far more than 66 authors. All of these taken together are the “God of whom we speak.” No actual entity backs up these texts. Trying to find contradictions in the Bible to make your case is a Fool's Errand. I have written on this topic myself, Here: Gateway to Heaven, and Here: Let There Be Light, and Here: The Christian God: a Recount and Here: Mithra’s Christmas . I do it for the sake of humor, not as method of religious rebuttal.

    I also have more than 50 additional pages of contradiction documentation for a longer piece I will never write, as it would be too long.

    In all of it, here is what I don’t do: I don’t claim God never said what He said and then try to interpret why I think that. By definition, God cannot have not said what those who continually invent Him say He said. The only way around this is if they quote a biblical passage, and you try to look it up and it is not there at all. Instead, I give God his floor and admit He said what He said, which is far funnier in my opinion. God had very strict prohibitions about who was having sex with whom. I don’t want to have to look up all the citations where he said, “you can rape these WOMEN, usually the virgins,” but you must not touch the others. I think He took it for granted that the men were not allowed to rape the men. I think that would just be wrong by God’s reckoning.

    [To Be Continued …]

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  65. [Continuation …]

    Despite the claims of the article, God was concerned with sex; and he would have to be, because God is a very large collection of men, and men are highly motivate by sex. He says God did not care about it, but does nothing to prove this. If someone is going to allege that in all of this when He speaks of a man lying with another man He is just talk about cuddling, the burden of proof is on the one making the claim. The author to the link you posted did not even come close to meeting that burden. If offered alternative views of the text, and that’s it. It was a good article, but it did not prove its thesis.

    What he did come close to doing is offering an legitimate alternative viewpoint, a Devil’s advocate view; but that’s all it is. I would never presume to choose what God thought or said over the interpretation Christians have. In fact, I would presume less, because they invented and use Him for their purpose. For them He is real, and His words can be none other than what they collectively take them to mean, because the words don’t point to the words of a real entity with a real a intention to back them up. Some of the intentions were political, as is the case with much of the New Testament, and perhaps the old, and some were traditional, and none of these texts come down to us as the product of a single author so far as we know.

    There are all kinds of nonsense in the Bible and that doesn’t mean it’s OK to ignore, for example, “thou shalt not kill (murder).” The author counts the number of reference he can find to show that if God was serious, he would have reiterated His position more often. This argument is very valid as a scholarly analysis with the awareness that the “Mind of God” is really a collection of minds of men. It speaks to the mores of the time. However, it is a completely useless argument against people who think that God was speaking to them from the Biblical text. He is confusing secular logic with religious faith, and it is all very circumstantial, almost subjective. It is a bad argument when presented to a fundamentalist Christian because it could only serve to persuade those who already agree that God is not who most Christians think he is. It is a good argument as an opposition to faith and an attempt to get a feel for the cultures we are speaking about.

    [To Be Continued …]

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  66. [Conclusion…]

    Now for the point of the post. Ironically, you are arguing the case correctly, from the Christian perspective, but I don’t think for the right reason. The point of the post was that if Christians think God says homosexual acts are abominable to God, then you cannot prove homosexuality is OK by arguing that it involves expressions of love and goodness and hurts no one. Christians think this because of references to it in the Bible, which you think must have meant something else. If you are correct, it is irrelevant. It means what it means, regardless of how scholars interpret it. Christians made the Christian Gods up and they gave those God’s the opinions they have. No real God backs up “God’s will.” The text that says you should not lie with another man, means you should have sex with another man. It may or may not have meant that by the first person to dream it up. Based on the article you posted, I must assume we cannot know, as the author tried really hard to prove it meant something else, and failed to do so. What it meant, does not matter, though. It means what God thinks it means. After all, He is the one who said it. God thinks it means men should not have sex with other men, and I think He would know He means.

    Christians reject homosexuality on grounds that it is an abomination to God. The Bible says this, and you believe that it says it because we misinterpret the Bible. It is not me you have to convince. I know God did not speak about homosexuality or about anything else. It is the Christians you have to convince. Trying to convince them that God said something other than what the literal text implies today is perhaps the right place to start. However, blatantly stating that God did not say that is a poor place to start. You will lose your audience as soon as they pick up a Bible. Despite what the article says about their incompetence, many Christians have these passages memorized.

    And finally, as for the author’s claims about stoning virgins, wearing garments of mixed threads, etc. invalidating the text, I have used the EXACT passages he cites when arguing with literalists who claim that every word in the Bible is true and therefore I am going to burn in hell. They are not useful, however, to prove that God thinks homo-sex is OK. In fact, they do more to prove that you should not be mixing fabrics and we should exact harsher justice on our insubordinate virgins.

    [THE END]

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  67. One more thing I intend to mention, but the babbled on and forgot: The author of that article argued that Leviticus is a “holiness” code, given to the priests. He says:

    list of behaviors that people of faith find offensive in a certain place and time. In this case, the code was written for priests only, and its primary intent was to set the priests of Israel over and against priests of other cultures.

    The only reason he would say such is that he is trying to prove that God loves him, even though he is gay. However, he went too far. He had a better case without inventing addenda for it.

    Throughout Leviticus as God gives instructions, He says things like this:

    “Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them;” and then continues, says a few things, then says:

    And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

    Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy:


    He was not giving the narrow instruction the author of that article would have you believe.

    Oh, and by the way, it was a pretty good article. I would have offered no rebuttal at all and just thanked you for the article and recommended other read it if you had not made the false statement that “God never said that,” based on the Devil’s advocate interpretation of a source with something to prove, yet no proof. The article was good and had lots of persuasive points. However, it did not prove, and “God did not say that,” is a bold statement. In fact, thought the article was good and scholar, and I am an atheist, and I am still not convinced by it. My best guess is that the author(s) of Leviticus 18 was talking about men having sex with other men. I don’t know it. I cannot know it and the author made good points to invalidate any certainty one had. However, that is all he did, and it did not change my best guess.

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  68. "Whether it is a liberal debating a conservative or an Atheist debating a Christian, the process is the same: asinine." Right on, my friend.

    Wait a min - then what am I doing here???

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  69. Thanks for your comment All pictures are mine made with a point and shoot camera
    And about homo sexuals I grow up in the fashion world where tere are a lot of homo sexuals They are amazing They are creative, have a great sense of humour and are often quite nice.

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  70. I recently made the difficult decision to stop or at least cut back on arguing over religion with the religious unless they actually attempt to use reason to make their case. I was making little to no progress in my efforts and I realized that, quite frankly, it's not an intellectual challenge by any means. From the least among them, who still often resort to Pascal's Wager, to the greatest of their apologists, I never found an argument that was not either ridiculous or irrelevant. It is easy to feel intellectually superior when dealing with them, and that is likely what keeps many atheists going back--but it is nothing to be proud of unless you are content to have low standards.

    What makes this particularly difficult for me is that well-reasoned arguments are precisely what convinced me to abandon Christianity, the religion of my upbringing. I came to believe that I am living proof of the possibility that reason can conquer faith. The faithful Christian, however, says that I was no true Scotsman. Perhaps that is true; even as a Christian, I never cared much for the supposed role of faith or kilts in life. You can see, then, how I set myself up to waste quite a bit of time and effort on people who are too committed to their beliefs to look at them objectively.

    I am more optimistic about politics. There are undoubtedly many who, because they take their political positions or values on faith, cannot be dissuaded, but I perceive a great number of utilitarians and undecideds who are open to reason, science, and a good discussion of ethics. Even if we ultimately disagree, a good talk leads us to understand and more easily tolerate each other's perspective--and might even draw us both closer to the middle. On the other hand, I could just be projecting again.

    As for the mix of religion and politics, everyone should be able to agree that secularism is necessary in our government. It is not a matter of faith vs. reason; it is a matter of recognizing that secularism, because it addresses only the physical world we all live in, is the only approach that caters to all of us, which is necessary for a population of diverse religions and a government that respects the freedom thereof. This does not, of course, prevent the subtler influence of religion on one's values and, consequently, one's political positions, but it does provide a common standard that should allow us to move past at least some of our fundamental disagreements. We just have to present it this way rather than allow the religious to assume that secularism and anti-theism are equivalent.

    But you know this, for, in the words of the great Christine O'Donnell (PBUH), "I'm you."

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  71. I recently made the difficult decision to stop or at least cut back on arguing over religion with the religious unless they actually attempt to use reason to make their case.

    Part I:

    That is a suicidal move on their part. Pauline faith demands that you have faith and that you love and that reason does not enter the equation. Atheists have periodically attacked Christianity for 2000 years, but to no avail. The reason the secular world has had so little success if because of Paul’s brilliant strategy.

    When we reject Paul’s methods and instead take the battle with science to the land of the scientist, we ourselves start to unravel everything. Where atheists fail, the Christians will succeed. Only Christians can bring about the destruction of Christianity, and only then by retiring the old successful strategy in favor of a new one. Faith is a powerful weapon on a religious battlefield. Once the move operations to the scientists domain, it is useless and they will go to war untrained and unarmed. It is a huge mistake, and moreover, a pointless one. Christians are changing strategies even as they are winning the game.

    Part Two:

    From the least among them, who still often resort to Pascal's Wager, to the greatest of their apologists, I never found an argument that was not either ridiculous or irrelevant.

    Paul said that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is the crucial missing component you lack. Don’t feel deformed, though. I am missing the faith gene as well. I am considered deformed, of course, but I digress.

    What makes this particularly difficult for me is that well-reasoned arguments are precisely what convinced me to abandon Christianity

    Lack of well-reasoned arguments convinced me. I was never inundated with the faith, though, and I never had faith in the first place, not even as a child.
    The faithful Christian, however, says that I was no true Scotsman.

    No True Scotsman is one of my favorite fallacies, partially because of the name. I swear I think you are my alter ego and I am psychologically split into and I just don’t realize that I am posting on my own blogs.

    I am more optimistic about politics. There are undoubtedly many who, because they take their political positions or values on faith, cannot be dissuaded, but I perceive a great number of utilitarians and undecideds who are open to reason, science, and a good discussion of ethics.

    I am a little more cynical in that I think the open-minded folk may just have better bias’s in the driver’s seat. They are, however, a breath of fresh air in a very smoggy world.

    As for the mix of religion and politics, everyone should be able to agree that secularism is necessary in our government.

    Unless we can find a Biblical denial of the concept, in which case the most devout among us would have an insurmountable conflict. I wonder how the ultra-religious Tea Partiers resolve the potential for such conflict. If you believe God called you to run, to lead, and to enact His will, how do you then say, “but God did not want me to consider his law as when I lead?”

    We just have to present it this way rather than allow the religious to assume that secularism and anti-theism are equivalent.

    I agree completely that they should be equivalent. The debate itself often makes them translate to equivalency, even when they would not otherwise be.

    One last thing: the next time you post a comment, think hard: “am I John?” “Is this my blog?” Concentrate on what the next post should be about, but don’t tell me. If I then post on the topic you imagined, we will both have learned something about ourselves: namely, that as sure is the Father is the Son, we are one.

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  72. John, the more of your philosophies that I read, the more I come to like you. You and I think remarkably alike. (scary)The way you have worded certain responses/blogs have made me reconsider and revise some of my own thoughts.. Your points have helped me unkink some of my own opinions. I'm not saying that you guided them persay. But that you brought up things I had thought of, just not in the same context or really with the same clarity and brilliant paradigms.

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  73. Thanks, Cassie. I grew up with a girl named Cassie. She passed away, but I think of her often (even wrote a small piece about her when I was very young). You made me think of her again.

    She and I thought nothing alike, but that was OK.

    I tried to glance at your blog, but like Cassie, it appears to be missing.

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