Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The fruit of the faith: An interesting debate.

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A rather heated exchange on gay rights. A Christian blogger got a strong response.

Your "point" on homoseuality being immoral is nothing but ridiculous. Calling something immoral simply because you think it is devious and disgusting does not make something immoral. Your subjective opinion isn't moral principle. Hitler thought gays were undesirable because they couldn't reproduce and so threw them in concentration camps with the Jews. In fact, beside the Jews and when taking proportions into consideration, homosexuals were the most persecuted group of people during the Holocaust.

That, to me, is strong. I think people can speak to biblical ethics or share their perspective on immorality or morality without being compared to Hitler. Hopefully we should all be able to have enriching discussions about morality without being shut down. That goes both ways by the way if someone felt i was in moral error, I'd want to know.

The conservative position on homosexuality is supported by nothing but the Bible, which I will point out also condones slavery, killing the women and children of an enemy city by bashing the heads on jagged rocks, and forbdes growing two crops in the same field.When Christians pour their judgment on homosexual men and women, they do nothing less than make a mockery of their own savior, Jesus Christ. The grace they are willing to accept as followers of Christ is suddenly not good enough to extend to those they find offensive. It's a double standard, based not in biblical truth but in fear and the desire for control.

You make an exceptionally good point in challenging people about biblical ethics. Christians should believe that the blood of Christ should cover all things - limiting the atoning powers of Christ is, I believe, a grave error. To believe that God would forgive all human choices except gay sexuality really shows disdain for Christ's sacrifice.

I think your comments that are anti-bible though detract from an otherwise solid point.


Christians believe we all have sins that keep us from eternal life. None of us are good enough to earn our way into heaven, not even the Mother Teresa's of the world. Sin - the breaking of God's laws as laid down in the Bible - must be "atoned" for; it must be penalized, and the penalty is eternal death, what some call going to hell. But all is not lost, say Christians, because God himself paid the price by sending his son, in the person of Jesus Christ, to die for all of us. This is called "propitiation," where Christ died in our place to pay the penalty of sin. In essence, he became all of us for those moments that he hung on the cross; he became whatever kind of sinner we are, and then he took those sins to the grave. But, as most of us know from celebrating Easter each year, Christians believe Christ did not stay in the grave. Once the penalty of sin was erased, Christ was raised from the dead and now lives in heaven with God.
But we are not automatically "saved" from out sins. A person must decide to accept Christ's sacrifice on the cross in order to "join the family of God."6 Some people believe we must say a prayer, asking God to forgive us of our sins. Others say we must simply choose to believe in Christ. Still others say we must confess our belief in Christ's sacrifice by going through a public ritual that represents Christ's death and resurrection, a ritual known as baptism. Whichever way it's done, we must consciously decide to accept Christ's sacrifice for our own sins. This is called "grace." In a nutshell, grace is forgiving someone when they have wronged you. Since Christians believe all of us have wronged God with our sins, by believing that Christ paid our eternal penalty for our wrongdoing, we are accepting God's grace.
Sounds simple enough. But it's not. Once you become a Christian, you should start seeing a change in your behavior. You should start learning to love. You should also stop wanting to sin. But here's the catch. You can't. Even after you accept Christ's forgiveness, you will continue to be a sinner. Try as you might to stop altogether, you just can't. Even the Apostle Paul, one of the most prolific writers in the Bible, complained that he kept sinning. But we are told to keep trying and that we should see some progress. We are also told that some people who say the words to become a Christian may not actually believe what they were saying. These people are not really saved. And, say some Christians, you'll know who they are because they don't even try to stop sinning, even though those who are saved can never stop either.

You are right about the beauty and fullness of Gods face. You are also right that Christians, being human, are imperfect. You should also acknowledge that "once saved always saved" is not a uniform Christian position.


And this is where these kinds of Christians, known collectively as the Religious Right or Fundamentalists, make a mockery of their own Savior. They do this by picking and choosing which lifestyle sins are covered by God's grace and which ones are not. They do this by claiming that God's grace covers their own lifestyle sins but not those of the homosexual. They do this by accepting God's grace in their own lives and then refusing to extend that same grace to those they condemn for having the wrong lifestyle.

Excellent point!


And they can do this because they don't believe they have any lifestyle sins of their own. If you ask them about it, they'll say things like, "I used to sleep around but I was forgiven of that sin and now I don't do it anymore." However, ask them if a homosexual can be saved by God's grace, and they will say, "The gay man who does not turn from his homosexuality is choosing to live a lifestyle counter to God's laws and is not, therefore, saved by grace."

I don't understand what you are saying. If a straight person who engaged in premarital sex renounces their behaviour how is that inconsistent to say that a gay person has to renounce their behaviour as well?

What they conveniently forget is that 50% of them - those who count themselves among the Religious Right - are divorced, and more than 85% of those are remarried. What that means is, according to the Bible, that nearly 43% of the same people who condemn the gay man for his homosexuality choose to live in a lifestyle of adultery, a sin that ranks equal to homosexuality in God's eyes.

You are right that the Church community is not a positive example to the world on covenant marriage.


They should either condemn their remarried members or shut up about those among us who are gay.
But they don't. And we are left to wonder why.
Why do they pick on one "sinful" lifestyle but not their own? Why homosexuality and not adultery? They say it's because homosexuality is damaging our families and hurting our children. But which is really worse? Over 50% of American parents get divorced. Most of those remarry. Over 50% of our children have their families torn apart and then merged with the families of strangers (causing a lot of sexual abuse on children by step-parents). But less than 10% of the population is homosexual. Even if they had twice as many relationships as heterosexuals do, they could not possibly cause the kind of damage that heterosexual divorce and remarriage does.

Beautiful!


A more logical explanation is that these Christians are afraid of the unknown and they want to control it. Heterosexuals have often been uncomfortable with homosexuals. The term "fag" is used to insult one's manliness; and "dyke" to insult one's femininity.

I am not in agreement with that.

Playing on people's fears is a great way to make money. Advertisers use it every day. If you don't want dandruff, use this. If you don't want to smell bad, use that. If you don't want to end up sick or dead, eat our stuff instead of their stuff. And if you don't want homosexuals taking over our schools, support our cause by sending in your donations. Fear sells. Whether intentional or not, the truth is the Religious Right rake in a great deal of money every time they claim homosexuals are threatening our nation's families, or worse, our children. The former vice-president of Focus on the Family, a leading Religious Right organization, stated in his book, "James Dobson's War on America" (Dobson is the founder and president) that when their donations went down, they could simply broadcast a scary special about the gay agenda (or the evil women's movement or the even more evil abortion rights groups - but never remarried people since that would drive away nearly half of their listeners) and their revenues would increase substantially.

I do not agree that it's revenue-generating. I think it's a very sincere fear even if I don't agree with it.


This is how they "love the sinner," by abusing them in order to make money? The term "mockery" doesn't begin to describe the trashing these so-called Christians are doing to God's name. The Religious Right should get down on their knees and beg the forgiveness of every homosexual man or woman they have publicly condemned on their way to the bank. They should beg God's forgiveness for being just like the wicked servant in Christ's story, forgiven of their own sinful lifestyles but unwilling to forgive the lifestyles of their fellow human beings. And then they should stop their self-righteous rhetoric and remember that for a moment in their savior's life, as he hung on a cross for everyone's sin, that Christ was gay.

I do not agree that it's based on generating revenue. I think that's a rather flawed perception. I do agree that people of faith need to constantly look within themselves about how they behave and treat people and also look at ourselves as a group of individuals and question the image that we are reflecting to the world.

I am not going to agree that Christ was gay but when God died on the cross he died for the full range of sins for all of mankind.

1 Comments:

Anonymous David said...

I think people can speak to biblical ethics or share their perspective on immorality or morality without being compared to Hitler. Hopefully we should all be able to have enriching discussions about morality without being shut down. That goes both ways by the way if someone felt i was in moral error, I'd want to know.

I agree, the language expressly comparing the Christian blogger to Hitler may have been strong, but anti-homosexuality is a strong tenet of Nazis, and apparently the conservative right, populated primarily by Christians. Not to say that all Christians are homophobic, I have quite a few Christian friends who are fine with my lifestyle, but some vocal Christians publicly campaign against homosexuality using some of the exact same rhetoric that Nazis used. Don't misunderstand me: I don't intend to equate Christians with Nazis; however, I think the use of the same rhetoric by some Christians is enough to draw a loose comparison.

I think your comments that are anti-bible though detract from an otherwise solid point.

It's important to realize that both him and I are approaching the Bible from an atheistic point of view. Verses in the Bible do support slavery and genocide, and it forbids the growing of two crops within the same field. There are also innumerable other verses in the Bible which are abhorrent to our contemporary sensibilities. Leviticus is usually cited as forbidding homosexuality, however Leviticus also forbids wearing clothing of two types of fiber, cutting the hair at the sides of your face or trimming your beard, eating animals without a split hoof and animals that don't chew cud, and eating animals without fins or scales. Almost all Christians disregard 95% of the antiquated laws in Leviticus, but trumpet the one law dealing with Homosexuality. These things may detract from otherwise a strong point, but they are nevertheless true.

You should also acknowledge that "once saved always saved" is not a uniform Christian position.

It's incredibly difficult when debating with Christians to make any statement about Christianity as a whole because there is such a wide variety of Christians. If you talk to the one Christian preacher I personally know, he will explain to you that if you don't believe in "once saved always saved" then you aren't truly following the literal interpretation of the Bible, and thus, are a false Christian. The fact of the matter is, what the uniform Christian dogma is or isn't depends on who you talk to. Personally, I've stopped trying to figure out what all the peculiarities are to Christianity (it's more complicated than an advanced partial differential equations course), and I realize that I still know nothing about what a person believes when they tell me they're Christian, other than they have some vague idea of who Christ is.

I don't understand what you are saying. If a straight person who engaged in premarital sex renounces their behaviour how is that inconsistent to say that a gay person has to renounce their behaviour as well?

I can't speak for the author, however I think what he was saying is that people who have remarried should renounce their adulterous lifestyles in the same way that they call homosexuals to renounce their lifestyle. The inconsistency is that there is hardly a peep about the adulterous lifestyle of remarriage in comparison to the horrors of homosexuality.

I do not agree that it's revenue-generating. I think it's a very sincere fear even if I don't agree with it.

It may be a sincere fear, but it's not a rational one. Why is it that conservative groups rally around issues like the gay agenda, or feminism, or abortion? It's because none of their members support the gay agenda, or abortion, or self-identify as feminist, so they continue to support the conservative group, with their pocket books in hand. If conservative groups began preaching against remarriage, they would drive away almost half of their base, including almost half of their revenues. Their decisions may in part be based on a serious fear, but it's also driven by common sense marketing.

And the final point:

I am not going to agree that Christ was gay but when God died on the cross he died for the full range of sins for all of mankind.

When I read it, I didn't think he was saying that Christ was gay, instead, I interpreted it as Christ took on the punishment for the sin of homosexuality. In that sense, he was every sinner at the moment of judgement. I suppose this may be one of those semantical things that I never did grasp in Catholic school.

9:46 PM  

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