5/24/2012

PASTOR WORLEY, HOMOSEXUALITY, AND LOOKING THE OTHER WAY




Somewhere in North Carolina, a Christian pastor preached that he would like to see homosexuals rounded up and put in cages.

It's no surprise that this caused some controversy, but really, why is this so shocking? Are we all not well aware of the mainstream Christian view on homosexuality? If this has gotten a little hazy and obfuscated in recent years, let's review:



Leviticus 20:13
"If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense."



Romans 1:26-27
Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.


1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 



1 Timothy 1:8-10
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.





That there is the Bible, folks. The Word of God and ultimate moral authority for Christians, the lens by which they are commanded to view the world. And other than that Leviticus verse I indulged in there, this is not just the crazy Old Testament that no one really listens to anymore, it's the Apostle Paul, author of the majority of Christian doctrine, just preachin' the gospel and givin' it to us straight.

So, it's pretty clear what the official Christian stance is, right? How could these verses possibly be misconstrued? They're not subtle. These are not translation issues. Homosexuality is a sin, placed in the same sentence as murder. And God hates sin, so therefore God hates everything homosexuals do in their romantic lives, from sweet little high school crushes to anal penetration to loving, committed, long-term relationships.

Right?

Right?

Okay.

So why is there such an uproar over Pastor Charles Worley's comments? Isn't he just dramatically articulating the very same view that most pastors are silently thinking? Yes, his is an extreme expression of this view and very few Christians would approve of his choice of words, but what's the practical difference? It comes from the exact same belief: that being gay is wrong, and God hates it. Outside the murky waters of Lutheran and Episcopalian churches, which are officially supportive but internally conflicted, most Christian churches officially believe homosexuality is a sin. So who cares if they aren't always expressing it loudly or offensively? It's the thought that counts, right?

If anything, I might respect pastors like Worley more for actually embracing the full implications of their belief system instead of trying to brush aside their brand's harsher aspects in order to appeal to a wider audience. I absolutely disagree with him, I absolutely think he's a chieftain of a backward, primitive tribe, but at least he's not nervously avoiding the stance his religion actually, officially, takes.

I ask what's worse? Embracing a religion full of repugnant beliefs and acting on them with sincere conviction? Or embracing a religion full of repugnant beliefs and politely pretending they aren't there?










Note: I write this from the perspective of someone who was born and raised in Christianity, attended church twice a week in a variety of denominations, read the Bible cover-to-cover dozens of times, was a pastor's son and a pastor's brother-in-law, served as a worship leader, wrote worship songs, and didn't break away from any of this until I was 21. I know of what I speak.


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37 comments:

  1. My dad, a church-going man, sent me this recently. I love him so much.
    http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2002/WhyCantIOwnACanadian_10-02.html

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  2. That's funny, Ash. But keep in mind 3 out of the 4 verses I cited are from the New Testament, and if we can disregard Paul's belief that homosexuality is a sin, why can't we disregard everything about fornication? As someone who loves fornicating, I would have loved to be set free from that restriction when I was a teenager.

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  3. And for that matter, why can't we disregard everything else Paul said? Or everything else in the Bible? I don't see how the logic of picking and choosing holds up. Either it's all the Word of God, or none of it is. (which of course is what I believe, but that's not what I was taught growing up.)

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  4. I tried to post this yesterday, but it was from my mobile. I'm not sure it took. If it was posted and deleted, I apologize for posting again. I'm not trying to spam the comments section.

    I thought about this post. Then I ate dinner. Then I thought about it some more. Here's what I thought:

    There are people who are able to reconcile their Christian faith - say, through the lens of historical criticism, or any of the other lenses offered by Biblibal hermeneutics - with their belief that being gay isn't any further along the right/wrong spectrum than preferring members of the opposite gender as romantic partners.

    Few large denominations espouse this belief, and even fewer espouse it without internal strife and/or division. Division is scary, but it's how things grow, from microscopic cells to macroscopic entities like countries and corporations. It's how things change, in time.

    Those who believe this way often end up as double pariahs, excoriated by mainline denominations for heresy and facing opprobrium from supporters of gay rights for clinging to any vestige of Christian doctrine or practice.

    While equating "Christian faith" with "intolerant at best, hateful at worst towards gays" might be true for a majority of believers, it does a disservice to those who follow their convictions - convictions equally as strong as the above referenced hate monger - to a different conclusion.

    To put it another way, "I know of what I speak" does not equal "I speak for all."

    Thank you for writing this and moving the dialogue forward. I love your writing and have started to read your updates on Tumblr. Fun stuff, as always.

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    1. John, I never claimed to speak for "all." I acknowledged that there are some sects that approve of gays. But they are still vastly in the minority compared to the global Christian population. Basically, my beef is with any Christian group who espouses that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, and yet their members ignore most of the madness it actually contains. I know that there are some groups that take a different view of the Bible, and I still have a hard time understanding their reasoning for associating themselves with the Christian brand if they don't believe most of its tenants, but that's another conversation.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. If it is the voice of God, then which God and according to whom? And when? Morality has changed. And thank goodness. People have choices and so do modern churches.

      Just about forty seconds ago I received the following poem in a text message. And why not?:


      God Says Yes To Me

      -Kaylin Haught

      I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
      and she said yes
      I asked her if it was okay to be short
      and she said it sure is
      I asked her if I could wear nail polish
      or not wear nail polish
      and she said honey
      she calls me that sometimes
      she said you can do just exactly
      what you want to
      Thanks God I said
      And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
      my letters
      Sweetcakes God said
      who knows where she picked that up
      what I'm telling you is
      Yes Yes Yes

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  6. I loved your book "Warm Bodies" and thought you were a great writer... But after reading this blog post all the respect and admiration I had for you is gone... You should be ashamed of yourself for writing this and agreeing with an delusional man! Love is not a sin, love is beautiful. What IS a sin, is your opinion and your thoughts...

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    1. Maybe this is more at your level.... : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKqKsXdokCM
      Try to learn something new...

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    2. Good Lord, Tom--you thought I was agreeing with that pastor? Did you even read the post? Please read it again and you'll notice that I'm condemning not just him but everyone who believes that homosexuality is a sin. Which, unfortunately, is the majority of Christians.

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  7. Oh my god... I was reading this on my tiny phone's screen and missed a paragraph. I'm so so so sorry!!! I feel like the biggest fool right now. Please accept my apology, I promise I'll double check everything I read from now on, haha!

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  8. I can't pretend the Bible doesn't say what it says about homosexuality. And I can't pretend that I have a good answer or solution or compromise (although I am inclined to think that a compromise is probably not what God wants). But I do know this: the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. *IF* correction needs to be made in cases of homosexuality, it should be made in love; driving the LGBT community to hate the church is driving them away from love - from ours, and from God's. The Bible says guiding people away from God is a sin, too. And do we forget that he who judges will also be judged? I'm not arguing for or against homosexuality here. I have dear friends who are LGBT and even dated a guy who was bi, although I am not. So obviously there is no hatred here. I just think Christians need to decide which is the most important command to obey and let everything else stem from that.

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  9. I was about to comment, "Here come the villagers with the pitchforks." But it's more like "Here come the commenters with the huge blocks of text that make me tired and quiet."

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  10. It is very difficult to reconcile all the damaging doctrines with a life of grace and love if you believe that you have to interpret the Bible literally. Not to mention the difficulties of interpreting the conflicting stories in a way that they agree so that you can even get to the doctrines. Maybe that's why people who are more educated tend to lose their faith...

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  11. So well articulated! I love your brain so much. And now I'm going to attempt to add to what you've already said, while trying not to butcher your original meaning due to my pathetic skills in written expression. This could be a long one - I'm going to say stuff about science and god and Islam so if none of that sounds like something you'd like to get into you can stop here (Oh wow, it is long, It's making me split it up into two posts)

    I was also raised in a Christian household and at 21 (I love coincidences!) was forced to abandon it. I'm a scientist and I pride myself on my ability to use logic to form my opinions and make decisions. This however has never prevented my from believing in some higher power. Actually, the more I learn about the physical world, the more evidence I see to support a god. The mathematical probability of the elements combining to spontaneously make life in the highly unstable environment that used to be earth is fucking awful. Based on the info available today I'll believe in exogenesis, that life here evolved from a seed of alien life, before I'll believe that in the lifetime of this earth single carbon atoms evolved to form humans without any outside influence. So, as far as I know, God makes sense, Christianity however, and all the other organized religions I've studied (which is a small list I'll admit) do not fit into any logical framework I can in good conscience make due to inconsistencies just like you've pulled out here. I do my absolute best to live my life in every aspect with grace and love , which (ironically, since I probably learned to put those two words together in church) just doesn't jive with Bible.

    I studied the Quran for a second in college too and learning how similar the Quran was to the Bible really changed me. If we want to talk about a group that wholly and completely embraces their religion, good and bad, without hipocrisy, we should talk about Muslims. In the "bad" department I'm not just thinking of Islamic Jihad either (which if one reads in the context of the internal struggle one has to face against sin and doubt it reads as well as "kill all the nonbelievers"). Example: Men and women will never be equal in the middle east so long as Muslims there remain devout (as opposed to developing the buffet religion approach Christians here have adopted) - it is strictly stated in that book that men and women are to be separate and in order to serve God women must be subservient and they stick to it like glue. They embrace their five pillars like Bill Paxton embraced that bridge in Twister. The entire culture revolves around it. This of course is not to say that Muslims aren't equally prone to making an equally large buttload of mistakes as any Christian, but they sure seem to be trying hard not to. It was actually the fact that Christian rules dictated this entire group of people will go to hell, these people who love and worship the exact same God, which finally tipped me over the edge with Christianity. Especially since whether you believe Jesus was God's son or Muhammad was a prophet is almost entirely based upon where, geographically, you are born. And to clarify, I'm not saying I'm on board with the things in the Quran, I believe both religions are equally confused (lets not forget that Christians have killed more than their fair share of nonbelievers too).

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    1. Since I don't like these religions, but still believe in a higher power, sometimes I like to think that God did show himself to Abraham and Muhammad and perhaps everyone whose ever seen the face of God and created a religion, but being that they were all still just humans with their twisted human brains, what God was trying to get out to everyone got laced with man's love of killing things and hating things that are different from themselves. (Supposedly he flooded the whole place, killed everybody and started over. If that's true he must have realized there were some pretty serious problems down here that couldn't be fixed by other less drastic means). After all, most of the stuff from all the religions is pretty straight forward how-to-live-a-good-life stuff (Don't fuck your neighboors wife. Good rule God, since that oftentimes results in said neighboor coming over and bashing your face in. Don't have sex before marriage used to make sense too - STI's can kill you. Don't eat pork or shellfish - they can kill you too.) If it is true that God tried to deliver his message through any of these people I bet he's tearing his hair out over all of this hate. "No you idiots! That's not what I fucking meant, goddamnit!!" (After all, buttholes weren't very safe places to put things you want to keep disease free either) He's probably been sitting around brainstorming gentle ways to fix things before just scrapping it all again. And if he really was serious about the rapture thing, I'll bet that big red rapture button is looking more tempting everyday. "Abort. Fuck it. I tried."

      In the end though, WE'RE ALL JUST HUMANS! I've always thought is was a bit egotistical to ever think that you or any person could ever know "what God wants". So lets all just be good people by being good to each other. And if you can't do that I'm pretty sure I learned this next lesson when I was 2 from a little cartoon baby bunny: "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all".

      Couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for posting this. Just finished reading The Hungry Mouth (to myself and to all of my camping neighbors during Sasquatch last weekend) and loved it. I was so sad I had to miss your last event, so do some more! I'd love to come down, see you in action, and shake your hand.

      -LeeAnn

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  12. Sure, but ultimately it's not just faith or Christians that are the problem. The issue is much more pervasive and boils down to a deep-seated fear of “not knowing” that perpetuates a morally binary society. No one is immune to this fear (Plato came close but he's the exception to the rule). It's the driving force behind nearly every new law proposed, crime committed, asshole comment, and middle-aged motorcycle purchase. Every person, theist or otherwise, has to recognize this fear and choose to use basic logic and deductive reasoning, just as one chooses to be happy or pessimistic, etc. People who make claims like those of Pastor Worley are unfortunate individuals so terrified of not knowing the answer to a question that they can't see the absurdity of a vengeful god who would cast them (or anyone) into a chasm of eternal torment for using their brains or loving as their own holy text commanded – because while the bible does contain the scriptures you cited, it also says; “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8, and “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality.” Acts 10:34. Even Corinthians 13:13, one of the most widely cited scriptures, says that love is greater than faith. Even by “Christian logic” one can condemn Pastor Worley's comments, and while I'm not flying a flag for organized religion and left the same denomination as you for what seems like the same reasons, I think generalizations are dangerous. I think we should all strive to view the world and its many demographics through balanced, objective eyes, considering that any “type” of person can be good and isn't necessarily represented by the self-righteous assholes of that group (who are sad and scared, and pitiable to begin with).

    - Carrie Staib

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  13. I'm impressed with the overall reason-level of these comments. NOT what I was expecting with a post like this!

    I just want to chime in with this: the point I was trying to make is not that "all Christians are bad people." To me it doesn't matter what each individual Christian believes. What matters is what the organization they choose to affiliate with believes. If you're going to state your support for an organization and wear its logo, you'd better be prepared to answer for whatever that organization does. You don't tell people "I'm a vegan" if you think it's fine to eat meat. You don't wear a T-shirt that says "Proud Republican" if you disagree with half the ideas on the republican platform. You have to own up to the actions of the group you're part of.

    Once you start picking and choosing which tenets you believe, you’re just making up your own custom philosophy anyway, so why associate yourself with an organization and pretend to venerate the Bible—which you believe is a human-created book of primitive philosophy, not the Word of God—when all you’re doing is living however seems right to you according to your own internal moral code? Anyone can live that way. It requires no pastors or deacons or expensive buildings to live that way. Why call yourself a Christian and attach yourself to that brand—which carries so much negative baggage from the way mainstream members present it to the world—when you can just be a person trying to live a good life?

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  14. Don't get me wrong, I agree with you. I've left the church and am pretty opposed to organized religion as a whole, but I think it's impossible to be “fully christian” or stand 100% for biblical literalism. The bible is too full of contradictions. Whatever point or command one decides to stand by or enforce will inevitably oppose another one. In the case of Pastor Worley, while his comment is backed by scripture, it's also in opposition to scriptures like Matthew 7:1. I recognize then that it makes more logical sense to disregard it all, but the bible does have some merit. Christ never said anything about homosexuals. Everything he had to say was about acceptance and love, and truthfully I find it kind of ironic that Christians so vehemently defend Paul's opinions. Isn't that “idolatry?” I mean he's just some guy, right? I suppose one could argue that Jesus chose him, but he also chose Judas and we all know how that turned out. I'm not entirely sure what point I'm trying to make here. Maybe that I agree, but that we're setting ourselves up for disappointment if we expect people to change so drastically. That's not to say I'm not routing for change. I spend more time than I care to admit being sad over the untapped potential in our world, but for the sake of staying sane I've got to be happy for the little steps people take. For example, my dad recently told me that I'm going to hell because I support gay marriage. This was upsetting, but the point is while I probably can't count on him renouncing his faith, I can celebrate him acknowledging that it's not up to Christians to make law, and recognizing the value of the separation of church and state (which he now has).

    I do agree though. Personally I wish everyone would design and adopt a franken-ethos. Wearing blinders and insisting everything is black or white does no one any favors.

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  15. I agree in the case of "Picking and Choosing" in the bible, is pretty silly. Partially because you have to pick away so much to get to anything worthwhile. It's one of the worst pieces of literature I've ever had the misfortune to grow up reading. I'm sure that isn't helped by the fact that it's written by (I believe estimates are around 100+ [could be a little low or high]) individuals, since not even the "Gospel of Paul" is written by just Paul, or even Paul himself for that matter.

    Throwing out all of the bigoted material from our ancient past - condemnation of woman, homosexuality, etc. and then throwing out all of the "Divine" aspects that were clearly written as allegory and not intended to be taken literally, you're not left with a lot of "meat" on the bone.

    I do somewhat disagree with you on of your comments relating to politics. While political entities and ideologies are all over the political spectrum, even in parties, with our Two Party system there isn't really a 'choice' to not associate at all with a specific group. For example: I consider myself a Liberal first, a Democrat second, but I don't agree with everything the Democratic party does. Now the difference, and I believe distinction that can't be overlooked is that while I don't agree with everything the Democratic party does, I still have to accept responsibility for making it happen.

    If I vote for Obama, and he is elected (Which I plan to again) I have to accept what he does while in office. It doesn't mean I AGREE with him on every policy he pushes forward or enacts, but I do have to live with the outcome.

    That's where the problem lies with Christianity, and churches in general. People will follow the church, call themselves a part of the church, but when something is said/done/entered into doctrine etc. They don't take responsibility for that, they just say "Well I don't agree, so it's ok."

    They won't step out and try to change it, like people will do in politics, even with their own party, in most cases.

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  16. The bible, originally anyways, never said the word homosexual

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  18. Hi Isaac, read this post just today, and I am just curious about your views on God currently, and what you meant by you broke away from all the stuff you did at church (as in, have you left church since then? or just stopped doing those stuff?). I am now reading your book 'Warm Bodies' (fantastic, am at page 209 now!! =D) and I noticed there is a lot of emphasis on having hope and the will to go on in spite of difficult circumstances, the power of love and about what 'the future' could mean.

    The book really inspired me and changed my view of the typical zombie as one that is damned forever- I think it is amazing to have the idea of something assumed to be so unchangeable having the ability to change and contrasting that to a human who should practically speaking be capable of change is an amazing idea that raises further questions about what humanity could mean. Looking forward to your next book =)

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  19. First off, loved 'Warm Bodies', although now finding some zombies kinda sexy which is a bit disconcerting. Anyway, back to your blog. I treat the bible and Christianity as I treat my parents- I accept they're flawed and often full of outdated crap, which I politely ignore, but still love them and appreciate all the good stuff they (occasionally albeit)come out with.
    My friends and family would be mortified if they found out I was an almost Christian- the gay thing never really bothered them!

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  20. Spot on. I totally agree with you.

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  21. I guess we each just get to make up who god is.we tell him what we think should be right and wrong. Wait.that makes me god.that makes you god. Hopeless. No truth. Death.

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    1. No one gets to play god. But I personally believe that who god is for me, is something between me and the god I believe in. It's a personal and individual, spiritual journey. No one can every dictate to you what you can or cannot believe in. HOWEVER, how you act in accordance to your beliefs is something we have to limit. This is the reason why state is (and should really be) separate from church/religion. The state should protect the right of every individual without judgment, prejudice and scripture-based morals.

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  22. First off, want to congratulate you on the book and let you know that I'm so happy to hear you are writing a sequel. As far as this pastor's behavior goes, I think his behavior is actually "contrary to sound doctrine," just like the verse from 1 Timothy you quoted.

    Lemme 'splain.

    In Luke 18, Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. (Luke 18:9-14). So both dudes go into pray, and the Pharisee in a loud voice (so everyone can hear) points to the tax collector and thanks God he is not like that sinner over there. The tax collector, on the other hand, with eyes down to the floor, hopelessly cries out to God to have mercy on him. He knows he's messed up.
    Jesus said that tax collector, NOT the Pharisee, walked away justified that day.
    And isn't that what this pastor is doing? Pointing to the homosexuals and saying "Thank God I'm not like those people!" He is being a modern-day Pharisee.

    And what about the story of the adulteress? (John 7:53-8:11).
    Again, the religious folk of the day judge this woman's sin to be worse than their own. They want her to die. Jesus protects her, and disperses the crowd by saying that the one without sin can cast the first stone. He then acknowledges her sin and tells her to go and sin no more.

    Jesus is constantly getting into trouble in the New Testament by hanging out with the WORST sort of people. Because he wanted to us to grasp that there really is no WORST sort of people. There's just screwed up broken people in need of redeeming love.
    Yes, I believe the Bible. All of it. Even the parts that make society squirm. I don't claim to be any sort of theologian, just a messed up broken person in need of redeeming love. I DON'T believe homosexuals are worse sinners than me. We all sin every single day. It breaks my heart when I see Christians behaving the way this pastor did, because I realize that there is a part of his life where he must not be receiving grace, if he believes there is a group of people that God would want to punish like that. God has already punished sin. Yours, mine, everybody's. He took it out on His Son at the Cross.
    And if this Jesus is true, this Jesus who lived with the scum of the earth and died to save them, so that we could party with Him for all eternity in His perfect home, can you honestly believe that He would want us to put people in cages?

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    1. The problem here is that however politely you do it, you're still calling someone's fundamental nature a sin. All their relationships, their marriages, their families, their basic emotions--you're calling all of that a sin. Ie, a crime against God. You're saying that one human being loving another is wrong, and tossing the foundation of their entire human experience in the sin heap along with murder, theft, etc. So, no, I'm not impressed that you give them "grace" for their "sins". The belief itself is abhorrent, so it really doesn't matter to me--or them--how kindly you go about believing it.

      The reason I have more respect for someone like this pastor than all the liberal Christians who try to "love" and "forgive" their way around this issue is that he is putting it out in the open and you are avoiding it. If someone has a problem with me, I respect them more for walking up and punching me in the face than for silently loathing me year after year while pretending to be my friend.

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  23. Honestly bro, it's not even that deep in my opinion. We're human. So what people pick and choose what they decide to believe? If they feel it adds some value to their life, so be it; as long as what they believe doesn't impose on the life of others. Humans have been doing irrational and illogical crap since the dawn of time. The fact that people will (potentially) be lined up in droves on February 1st to see a zombie romance flick is, in and of itself, irrational (I'll be one of them). I could give a damn about how closely aligned this pastor's convictions are with regard to the literal interpretation of the Bible. I'm not impressed by that. I'd much prefer to have the type of Christian that you choose to condemn as opposed to this extreme, unreasonable nut job spewing hate. The world has enough nut jobs as it is.

    No disrespect intended, but honestly bro, get off the philosophical high horse as if you have it all figured out. We're all still evolving and figuring it out as we experience this thing called life on this rock called Earth.

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    1. Some people are evolving, some people are devolving. And if you think I actually like this pastor's convictions, you're grossly misreading the post. I'm just saying if you're going to hold an evil belief, I'd rather you be honest about it instead of trying to hide it behind layers of politeness.

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  24. This last comment is the correct one

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  25. I gave this a lot of thought, and I see what you are saying here. I can't mess with the bible, but I must say this. Isn't is also a sin to say that you want to put someone in a cage. God wants us to love one another and that just dose not seem very loving to me.

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  26. Am I happy now to not be bothered with such stuff where I live... I can easily be bisexual and don't give a hoot about some extreme christian's opinion...

    http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/36ipqv/

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  27. This is an issue that I've been wondering a lot about lately. Isaac, I particularly want to comment on what you said about Christians who condemn gay relationships, even if they may extend grace or be loving or whatever. That was where I was up til about a week ago…I had major issues with the despicable way many Christians treat gays, but I still felt that gay relationships were wrong.

    That belief 'works' until reality intrudes. Cognitive dissonance sets in when one hears of gay Christians who love God but don't feel that gay relationships are wrong.

    Last week I read a book by one of those people (Torn, by Justin Lee) and I can't go on ignoring the issue because it doesn't personally affect me. I disagree with you--I think this very well may be a translation issue. The gist of the book was that many of the texts in the Bible, which you quoted, were referring to rites of other religions in the places where the Israelites (or New Testament Christians) were living. The others refer, quite probably, to the use and abuse of young male slaves or prostitutes (common in NT times, apparently). The Old Testament passages, in particular, may consist of ritual laws that don't apply to Christians anymore (such as shellfish, sex during menstruation.)
    It is easy to look at the English translation and completely miss the context, ambiguities, and possible other meanings of words. Christians tend to forget that the Bible was not plopped into our laps written in English. (I could explain more, but I don't want to create an impenetrable wall of text. I'll happily go on if you're interested.)

    I know this doesn't clear up other, very valid concerns about Christianity (can anyone read Old Testament accounts of God commanding His people to wipe out nations and not be 'concerned'?!). But for me, it's been heartening to think that God may not actually have any problem with gay relationships.

    And Christians must not be silent at the abuses of the Church. This is a big personal issue for me. I have been trying, in admittedly tiny ways, for years to shed light on the abuse and oppression that the Church has tragically fostered. It is heartbreaking. Tiny children are sexually abused, and the 'men of God' cover up for each other. Babies are beaten until 'their will is broken.' Girls are told that they are 'like whores' if they leave their homes to go to college. Women are told to submit to physical abuse 'for a season.' These are terrible evils and we must not look the other way and say 'but look at all the good they're doing, just eat the meat and spit out the bones.' Jesus was explicit: what is done to the smallest human life is done to Him. To me, the heart of Christianity (and I've wondered whether I even want to call myself a Christian anymore) is following Jesus. It is scary and upsetting for me to read of God's judgement, OT passages, Paul's letters. Jesus is the only thing that gives me hope--He says everything is about love. I believe that, and I believe that means I must do everything in my power to fight hatred, legalism, injustice and oppression. The worst thing I could do is remain silent.

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  28. I agree with Shelbys comment in the sense that God sees homosexuality as a sin, just as he sees stealing and murdering as a sin. Forgive me if im wrong, but doesnt God see all sins equally? So isnt homosexuality just another sin for Jesus to die for? (This doesnt mean that we should try to sin because its already been covered for) The verses that have been used in this discussion have been great ones, but there is at least 1 more that we should consider. John 3.16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life". What this means is that Jesus died for all sins, homosexuality included. Gay people are born to be gay, just like we are all born to lie and idolise and steal, so God treats us equally. If a homosexual doesnt go to heaven, it will be because he didnt accept Jesus as their king, not because they are a homosexual.

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