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Telling The Stories of Gay Adventists, Whose Own Church Hates Them

It’s not just the Mormon or Catholic churches that treat its gay parishioners like demon worshipers. So too does the uber-conservative Adventist Church (you know, the one that treats Saturday and not Sunday as the sabbath), which as you’d expect endorses only opposite marriage and a limited view on human sexuality. In the still-in-production Seventh-Gay Adventists, producers (and married couple) Stephen Eyer and Daneen Akers, both raised in the Adventist church, are exploring “the complex intersection of faith, identity, and sexuality through the stories of LGBT Adventists who are struggling with their desire to belong to the church they know and love and their need to be fully accepted for who they are.” To capture the stories of gay Adventists, they set up “story booths” around the country to record the true life tribulations of the gay faithful. As you might imagine, the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) is none too pleased with their project.

Also check out the unrelated GLADventist.org, a decent resource for gay Adventists (and learning about them).

By:           Max Simon
On:           Nov 24, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

  • 33 Comments
    • Andreusz
      Andreusz

      What’s the point of being Christian if you can’t hate homosexuals?

      Nov 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rand
      Rand

      As a former Fundamentalist Protestant, my heart goes out to the gay Adventists struggling to get their church to accept their sexuality as a legitimate expression of Divine love. But it’s a losing battle. Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter-Day Saints and many other Fundamentalist Christian organizations embody moral traditions derived from pre- or semi-literate, historically militant nonurban agrarian societies in which distinct male-female role differences are core cultural mandates. Even more important, Fundamentalist groups thrive on separation from mainstream culture; their members derive deep satisfaction from belonging to a group “despised by the world,” for their theologies laud persecution of believers as a sign of Divine faith-testing and a promise of ultimate after-death reward. Adventists also share with other Fundamentalist Protestant and Catholic groups a belief in the essential corruptness of the physical world, including the physical body, human sexuality, and the human reasoning process. No amount of activism is going to change all this, I’m afraid.

      Nov 24, 2010 at 5:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WillBFair
      WillBFair

      @Rand
      That’s all interesting.
      But I’ve also noticed that most American fundys deliberately cut themselves off from centuries of European tradition, reasoning, and biblical scholarship. So they have no problem ignoring the bible’s endless demands for justice for the oppressed, in order to cherry pick a few verses that let them act out their immature hatreds.
      But it’s all the same. People with emotional problems, in this case obsessive hatred, can’t be reached with reason.

      Nov 24, 2010 at 8:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lamar
      Lamar

      I used to be a member of this church and it so backwardly die hard conservative it scares me to children are having their dogmas bashed in their heads.

      Nov 25, 2010 at 11:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bobby
      Bobby

      Here’s a novel idea, think of another name. Stop clinging to the past and to people who obviously want nothing to do with you.

      You don’t go to a party where you’re not invited, so why would you attend a church where the majority of people don’t want you.

      My partner was raised SDA and honestly, the way they teach seems to me, IMHO, is so similar to brainwashing it just isn’t funny.

      Stop looking for approval, you’re the only person who can approve of yourself and your opinion is the only one that counts.

      Nov 25, 2010 at 7:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dennis
      Dennis

      I think this is going to be a really fascinating film. Adventism, for most, is not just religion, but a whole lifestyle. It will be interesting to see how these individuals resolve their internal conflict between who they are and what they choose to believe.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 1:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jimstoic
      jimstoic

      I was out at the last SDA church I attended, and I was invited to teach a Sabbath School (like Sunday School) class. That was not typical for SDA churches, but I know a lot of tolerant SDA people. SDAs in the U.S. are generally pretty well educated, which helps.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 3:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Christians hate homos
      Christians hate homos

      ALL Christians BELIEVE and TEACH that HOMOSEXUALITY IS WRONG until they say the opposite. NO Christian organization has ever formally said “homosexuality is not wrong,” not even MCC and UCC – those very “welcoming” Christians.

      Religious beliefs – primarily Christians, made homosexuality wrong. When is ANY Christian group going to un-wrong us?

      There is ABSOLUTELY no RATIONAL reason for a GAY person to be a CHRISTIAN. But, then there is nothing rationale about religion.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cassandra
      Cassandra

      Post number 8 is full of lies.

      Some Christians believe and teach that homosexuality is wrong, others do not, to insist that all Christians be presumed guilty of anti-gay theology unless they state otherwise, is simply evil. It is the same as the homophobe claim that all gays be considered pedophiles until they state they are not.

      “NO Christian organization has ever formally said “homosexuality is not wrong,” not even MCC and UCC –”

      One remarkably tragic thing about atheism is that is believers demonstrate in public the very criticism they are most offended by – the assertion that atheism leads to a complete lack of morality; the constant lies by AndrewW and his sockpuppets and pals validate that assertion.

      From the second sentence, it is clear that post 8 is a sock puppet for a certain repeatedly refuted liar. There are millions of Christians who refute anti-gay theology, and the number continues to grow.

      Anti-religious hate speech, and post 8 is nothing more or less, is as evil and abusive as anti-gay hate speech.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 12:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bobby
      Bobby

      I actually agree with post number 8. “Christians” are responsible for the witch hunt on gays and Jews are responsible too as the Old Testament is actually taken from the Jewish Bible.

      Why would anyone want to be part of group that doesn’t want them?

      Move on! Call yourselves something different. Even the head of the SDA church said stop using the name. Wanting, longing, desiring to be a part of such a group borders on insanity, you know, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

      Sin is also man made so if you’re falling for that you really are too naive to be in the real world.

      Religious organization spew that bull about “love the sinner, hate the sin”. How about just leaving us alone and let us live as we wish.

      Seventh Day Adventists who are gay, read carefully, the church hates you because you are gay, you are different and you aren’t conforming to what their “normal” is. You’ll never be completely accepted. Move on. Start another church. Do something else, just stop making yourselves look like beggars who are lost, because that’s exactly how they want you to feel.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 1:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cassandra
      Cassandra

      Bobby

      “I actually agree with post number 8.”
      So? Your agreement doesn’t mean much.

      ” “Christians” are responsible for the witch hunt on gays and Jews are responsible too as the Old Testament is actually taken from the Jewish Bible.”

      Ah, scare quotes, just like the homophobes do. No, Bobby, only some Christians are responsible for the prejudice against gays and lesbians, and some Jews, and some atheists, and some people from other faiths. Some people from each of the above faiths (though very, very few atheists) are responsible for the progress made for civil rights for women, people of color, the poor, the handicapped, and GLBTQ people.

      “Why would anyone want to be part of group that doesn’t want them?”

      You are defining religion by the humans, rather than by God. Why let some mean people deprive me of, well, anything? If I should give up my relationship with God to please you and the homophobes, shouldn’t I give up my relationship with my partner as well?

      Why let oppressors win?

      “Move on! Call yourselves something different.”

      Thank you for telling other people how they should run their lives, just like the homophobes do.

      “Even the head of the SDA church said stop using the name. ”

      Why let him win?

      “Wanting, longing, desiring to be a part of such a group borders on insanity, you know, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

      Characterizing other people’s authentic lives as insanity is what bigots do all the time. Why engage in the very same behavior that you complain about when homophobes do it to you?

      “Sin is also man made so if you’re falling for that you really are too naive to be in the real world.”

      So, what do you propose to do to all the people who are, in your opinion, to naive to be in the real world? Are you going to round us up into camps or kill us?

      Is it possible that you are the one who is naive – “having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information;”? The concept of sin is universal, though the term is not. With the exception, possibly, of sociopaths and other mentally ill people, all humans recognize the concept ‘wrong’ or ‘imperfect’ or ‘not lawful’ or ‘unjust’ – which is what sin is. People of faith argue that the universality of the innate recognition of injustice is evidence for God.

      Computers are man-made, Bobby, so if you are using one, doesn’t that mean you are “too naive to be in the real world” too? Written language is man-made, as is home or office you are posting from, the electrical wires and servers, the chair, your clothing, and in a significant way, most of the food you eat.

      The “it is man-made, therefore bad” argument works as poorly for you as it does for homophobes.

      “Religious organization spew that bull about “love the sinner, hate the sin”.”

      No, some religious organizations and people do. Not all, not even most. What is interesting is that religions do, nearly universally, teach that lying is wrong, and yet, it appears that nearly universally, atheists see nothing wrong in telling lies.

      “How about just leaving us alone and let us live as we wish.”

      How about you do the same to peolple of faith.

      “Seventh Day Adventists who are gay, read carefully, the church hates you because you are gay, you are different and you aren’t conforming to what their “normal” is.”

      How about you just leave GLBTQ Seventh Day Adventists alone and let them live as they wish? Sure, you hate them because they are religious, different from you, and aren’t conforming to what your “normal” is, but just leave them alone. If they see errors in their church’s doctrine, and wish to work to change those errors, leave them alone.

      “You’ll never be completely accepted.”

      Not by atheists, that’s for sure. But Christianity is changing, and more and more church’s do completely accept GLBTQ people, while atheism cannot ever accept people of faith.

      “Move on.”
      Take your own advice.

      “Start another church.”

      Gee, maybe GLBTQ people should just colonize another planet. Why should GLBTQ people of faith have to leave something of value to them just to please you? Oh, wow, that’s just what homophobes demand too.

      “Do something else, just stop making yourselves look like beggars who are lost, because that’s exactly how they want you to feel.”

      No, it is how you see these people, and your advice is that they do as you say and let you run their lives for them. Don’t they get enough of that domineering ego-driven nonsense from homophobes?

      Nov 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Vman455
      Vman455

      @Bobby: I appreciate your sentiment, but the fact remains that the positions and actions of these religious organizations can have an effect on us. Case in point: The LDS Church’s involvement in the Proposition 8 campaign. Their contribution of money and manpower affected the outcome of a vote that impacted tens of thousands of non-Mormons, people who have never set foot in a Mormon chapel. The LDS Church, at least, has a history of not bowing to social pressure until it starts to drastically affect their public image and bottom line (which is why they did not welcome blacks into full membership until 1978); agitation from the inside of this and other churches may prove more successful.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 4:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • counterpoll
      counterpoll

      @Cassandra. The issue we’re facing is that the majority of hatred displayed toward LGBTs derives from religious beliefs, and many [I'd say most, but cannot quantify it] LGBTs have had negative experiences when dealing with religious persons.

      You, as a person of faith, here on this site, are the major defender of Christians and you do so brilliantly. You routinely defend ‘us’ from the Christians who come here to preach at us, and your arguments are invariably persuasive.

      Unfortunately you may be the only Christian I —and perhaps others here— have ‘met’ who embrace the LGBT community, so you essentially are one person having to deal with the after-effects of us having been treated so poorly by others bearing the ID Tag “Christian.” The rancor you hear isn’t directed just at you, but at the lifetime of negative interactions many of us have had with your fellow Christians.

      My hope is that more likeminded individuals will join you in dealing with our collective P.T.S.D. regarding religion so that a healthier dialogue may ensue.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 4:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bobby
      Bobby

      Cassandra,

      ********************
      Ah, scare quotes, just like the homophobes do. No, Bobby, only some Christians are responsible for the prejudice against gays and lesbians, and some Jews, and some atheists, and some people from other faiths. Some people from each of the above faiths (though very, very few atheists) are responsible for the progress made for civil rights for women, people of color, the poor, the handicapped, and GLBTQ people.
      ******************************************

      Really? You think those who oppose bigots are bigots? That seems to be the gist of your post.

      When the Christians that support homosexuals and our right to be who we are without discrimination stand up against those “christians” that oppose rights for homosexuals and our freedom, then I’ll rethink my position, until then, silence is the same as permission.

      Why do you think atheists aren’t for the civil rights of human beings? Every atheist I know says that everyone should be treated equally under the law. It’s actually the Bible you claim to believe in that says women aren’t equal and that’s it’s fine and dandy to own slaves, (other human beings) and that a man can kill his children if they are disobedient and that wearing mixed fabrics and eating shrimp and pork are “sin”.

      *********************
      You are defining religion by the humans, rather than by God. Why let some mean people deprive me of, well, anything? If I should give up my relationship with God to please you and the homophobes, shouldn’t I give up my relationship with my partner as well?
      **********************

      That’s rich. When you base every feeling you have on something written in the Bible by man, manipulated by man, edited by man and translated and reinterpreted and re-translated by men!

      Look, if you want to live a life of servitude to the “Lord” and try to fit in with what others think you should be and who want to dictate how you behave, more power to you, but my advice was solid. You can’t win by joining the enemy and those who oppose the rights of gays and lesbians and our community are the enemy.

      And many people start different churches all the time, hell, it’s the reason the Pilgrims left England, the pressure to be something they didn’t want to be drove them to it.

      If all the gay SDAs stood up and left the church, they’d feel it, they’d feel the loss, but as long as you’re willing to acquiesce to the big church and their rules, you’ll forever be trod on and thought of nothing but as a sinner.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 5:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bobby
      Bobby

      Vman455, thank you for your respectful and well worded post. Yes, if from within the church every gay person and person who has a gay family member stood up and did something about the hatred, some things might change, but you’ll forever deal with those people who will call you “false prophets” and just as they are attacking the Australian pastor who called for tolerance, they’ll attack you.

      You see, the real bad guys are the ones who use the Bible as the only way to think, the only way to communicate with God. That’s wrong, IMHO. If God created us, we don’t need an intermediary, we don’t need anything other than the ability to talk to God ourselves. No man can define God, and no man can or should dictate the rules for following God. The manipulators of the Bible knew what they were doing, they knew if they put certain verses in like “you will be ridiculed for what you believe” or “pearls before swine” and those verses that claim the other verses are absolutely correct and they should never be questioned, are there to make the weak minded stronger in their beliefs.

      I believe the Bible is a great work of fiction, a wonderful collection of stories and morals and some really cool ideas on how to treat other people, (sometimes), but it is not the inerrant word of God, it can’t be, man has held it for so long, it can only at best be “inspired” by goodness, not written by God and when we acknowledge that, we’ll all be a lot more open to the real words of God, those in your heart, those that tell you to do unto others as you would have them do unto you and to not steal and not to kill, but to love each other.

      That’s what it’s all about anyway is love and anyone that’s not showing unconditional love is not a Christian.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz
      Fitz

      full disclosure: I am one of those people that think of organized religion as being an outdated technology. Worked great for a long time, but we’ve got better now. Sort of like a telegraph.

      But my heart does ache a little for gay people who feel compelled to be somewhere that views them as less-than. I do think it would be more efficient for them to move on and get their spiritual needs met somewhere else rather than trying to change a system that doesn’t want to.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 6:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cassandra
      Cassandra

      Counterpoll

      “Unfortunately you may be the only Christian I —and perhaps others here— have ‘met’ who embrace the LGBT community, so you essentially are one person having to deal with the after-effects of us having been treated so poorly by others bearing the ID Tag “Christian.” The rancor you hear isn’t directed just at you, but at the lifetime of negative interactions many of us have had with your fellow Christians.”

      The really ironic thing is that so many GLBTQ people, probably many people posting and read here, have been in the position of being the only GLBTQ person in a conversation, and having to bear the burden of other people’s prejudices.

      I know all about the lifetime of negative interactions between GLBTQ people and conservative people of a faith, but I also know that time after time, some homophobe has excused his prejudice based on past bad experience with a GLBTQ person. After atheists, some of the nastiest homophobes I’ve encountered have been jilted heterosexuals – the ex-wives or ex-husbands, and occasionally adult children, of people who came later in life.

      The rancor is directed at me, and at every Christian, just as the homophobia is directed at me and you and every GLBTQ person. That is the evil of prejudice – everyone is a group is maligned for the real or perceived failings of some – and the key point is the everyone because of some part of the dynamic.

      By all means, folks here should educate themselves about the real theology involved, and be very vocal in their criticism of anti-gay theology. But learn enough to realize that at the heart of Christianity, among others, is an expectation of justice for all that implicitly rejects any prejudice. When you can argue that to a homophobe, you can show that their prejudice is actually an obstacle to their faith and obedience.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • counterpoll
      counterpoll

      @Cassandra: I’m not understanding your analogy. The most virulent homophobia /I have faced has been from Christians — I received their preachings unbidden just performing my day to day tasks at work and at home. I have not tried to talk them out of their beliefs, because that would go against my own morality. How then can anyone — and I do not believe you are one to do this — try to convert me to Christianity and thus to heterosexuality?

      Please re-explain your analogy on how your treatment by non-Christias equates to my treatment by religious homophobes? I’m not trying to ‘turn’ anyone LGBTQ nor talk anyone out of their religious beliefs.
      I’m not following your line of thought.

      Thank you!

      Nov 26, 2010 at 7:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cassandra
      Cassandra

      Bobby

      Thanks for quoting me, it makes it easy to show how your reply has no basis in what I actually wrote.

      I wrote: “Ah, scare quotes, just like the homophobes do. No, Bobby, only some Christians are responsible for the prejudice against gays and lesbians, and some Jews, and some atheists, and some people from other faiths. Some people from each of the above faiths (though very, very few atheists) are responsible for the progress made for civil rights for women, people of color, the poor, the handicapped, and GLBTQ people.”

      And you dishonestly replied: “Really? You think those who oppose bigots are bigots? That seems to be the gist of your post.”

      Notice that the thought you just outlined does not occur anywhere in my statement. What I pointed out is the truth, not all people of faith are bigots, and some atheists are homophobes.

      But that last point needs to be expanded, because all atheists are bigots. Atheism is intrinsically and explicitly a prejudice, and nothing more.

      To take up your false spin on my statement, some people who oppose bigotry are also bigots at the same time. All one has to do is what you have done – lump a bunch of people into a group based on a shared trait, and then blame everyone in that group based on the actions of some people in that group.

      The gist you seemed to see was an invention of yours to avoid the truth, Bobby.

      “When the Christians that support homosexuals and our right to be who we are without discrimination stand up against those “christians” that oppose rights for homosexuals and our freedom, then I’ll rethink my position, until then, silence is the same as permission.”

      Bobby, such Christians have been standing up against those who teach anti-gay theology for decades, probably longer than you have been alive.

      As for your fallacy “silence is the same as permission” – then you, who have been silent on the atrocities committed by the Stasi in atheist East Germany, are complicit in those crimes.

      Sorry, but your silence = permission is simply another way to blame millions for the actions of some, another way to candy coat your prejudice. Homophobes do it all the time. For example, it is common for homophobes to say that until every GLBTQ person has repudiated NAMBLA, we’re all guilty of being sexual predators who prey on kids.

      Before Stonewall, there was an event by heterosexual Christian clergy in support of civil rights for homosexuals, and many of the activists went to jail or lost their jobs because of it. Christian clergy have been paying for their support of GLBTQ people with their jobs, and sometimes their lives.

      You are under-informed about this issue, just as homophobes are under-informed.

      “Why do you think atheists aren’t for the civil rights of human beings?”

      Why do you lie about the contents of my post?

      That aside, atheism, intrinsically, violates the foundation of human interaction. When atheism has been the basis for a society, as in East Germany, the result has been horrific.

      “Every atheist I know says that everyone should be treated equally under the law.”

      I would believe you, except that you have already lied to me about my own words. Too many atheists want to oppress and eradicate religion, which would require oppressing or eradicating people of faith. Be honest about atheism, it is dehumanizing and abusive. – it asserts without evidence that most of humanity is just wrong about their own experiences.

      Like all bigots, you pick and chose to suit your purpose. The Bible has versions of the things you mentioned, but it also has things that atheism does not have:

      like ‘do not lie’, ‘do not steal’, ‘treat others as you would be treated’. While atheism simply brands most of humanity wrong, Christianity, and other religions, teach that all human life has value, that justice and grace, kindness and love are to be treasured, and much, much more. But just as homophobes do, you pick only that part of Christianity you can use as a weapon.

      None of your commentary actually addresses the real issues I raised, which indicates a considerable ethical lapse on your part. Are you really qualified to judge anyone, when your own post is so full of dishonesty?

      I wrote:
      “You are defining religion by the humans, rather than by God. Why let some mean people deprive me of, well, anything? If I should give up my relationship with God to please you and the homophobes, shouldn’t I give up my relationship with my partner as well?”

      And you dishonestly replied:
      “That’s rich. When you base every feeling you have on something written in the Bible by man, manipulated by man, edited by man and translated and reinterpreted and re-translated by men!”

      Your reply has no foundation in what I wrote. Once again, you’ve avoided the issue I raised to make a derogatory, prejudicial assumption.

      I certainly do not base my feelings on the Bible, and your characterization of me thusly is libel. Judging from your post, Bobby, it would seem you have no moral or ethical code.

      I think you didn’t answer my question because the only honest answer is that no one, not GLBTQ people, not people of faith, should have to give up something of their that is valuable to them to please any bigot.

      “Look, if you want to live a life of servitude to the “Lord” and try to fit in with what others think you should be and who want to dictate how you behave, more power to you,”

      Your derogatory characterization of my life is more evidence of prejudice, and unethical behavior, on your part. How can you convince me, or anyone else, that religion is unnecessary, when your behavior is so lacking in common decency?

      “but my advice was solid.”

      No, it was not. Your advice ignores history, it deprecated the value of religion for the people you gave it to, and it assumed for yourself that you know what is best for others.

      The irony is that you put yourself in God’s place, pretending to know what is best for others. Homophobes do the same thing, as we have all seen over and over again.

      “You can’t win by joining the enemy and those who oppose the rights of gays and lesbians and our community are the enemy.”

      Again, you frame things dishonestly. GLBTQ people, and heterosexuals who repudiate anti-gay theology, are not ‘joining the enemy’ to begin with. Second, the enemy is not people, it is an idea, an idea you actually hold and live and inflict on others.

      The enemy is the idea that some people are intrinsically inferior to oneself and therefore worthy of abuse. You, Bobby, live that out in your posts, targeting people of faith. Racists live it out targeting people of color. Homophobes live it out by targeting GLBTQ people.

      When you label all Christians your enemy, you revealed the heart of atheism – is not about ideas, but an attack on human beings because of what they experience and who they are, not because of beliefs.

      Some people do leave churches that teach anti-gay theology, and more power to them. We need places that are, today, free of anti-gay theology. But other people stay and change their churches and denominations, and we need them as well. Well, the rest of us need them.

      Atheism though is threatened by such activists, even more than conservative people of faith, because atheists rely on painting ugly word pictures about religion to justify their own prejudice against people of faith.

      That’s why people like you, and AndrewW, and Tallskin2, and all the sock puppets, exaggerate the breadth and foundation of anti-gay theology in Christianity and religion in general, and dismiss into invisibility the role of Christians, and people of faith, in creating and expanding civil equality for GLBTQ people, and people of color, and women and children and the differently abled, and on and on.

      You have an argumentative stake in perpetuating anti-gay theology by encouraging people, who have the testimony and knowledge to change homophobic denominations from within, to leave instead.

      Why don’t you, and your peers here, live the very advice you gave: How about just leaving people of faith alone and let us live as we wish?

      The really ironic thing about your subsequent post to Vman is how you embrace and reject Christianity at the same time. It demonstrates that you knowingly are using the actions of some Christians – those who teach a legalist, literalist approach, to judge and condemn and revile all Christians, including those of us with very different approaches to the Bible.

      You can dismiss the Bible as fiction, though it contains people’s accounts of their experiences, and that makes your dismissal a terrible act of prejudice and malice. But keep in mind that homophobes do the same thing to GLBTQ people – dismiss our experiences and testimony as false, made-up, fantasy and fiction.

      “the Bible as the only way to think, the only way to communicate with God. That’s wrong, IMHO. If God created us, we don’t need an intermediary,

      This characterization of the Bible as intermediary is false, and either it is a carefully constructed lie on your part (my guess), or a sign of complete ignorance. The Bible is no more an intermediary to faith than a science textbook is to science. Both texts are accounts of the experiences, conclusions and fundamental principles that people have learned in the respective areas.

      “The manipulators of the Bible knew what they were doing,”
      Here, you are simply making an unfounded, unsubstantiated and derogatory accusation about people you do not know, and cannot know. You are making a ugly and malicious fiction about the real lives of real human beings. Homophobes do that routinely, making up all kinds of purely imaginary motives and reasons for the actions of GLBTQ people.

      “but it is not the inerrant word of God, it can’t be, man has held it for so long, it can only at best be “inspired” by goodness, not written by God and when we acknowledge that, we’ll all be a lot more open to the real words of God, those in your heart,”

      This is one of places where you revealed how ignorant of you are the books you are dismissing as fiction. The Bible, particularly the NT but not exclusively, repeatedly asserts that God’s word is written on our hearts.

      You are also ignoring the fact that not all Christians believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, that there are even widely different ideas about what Biblical inerrancy means. And you are confusing errors in translation and interpretation of the Bible, with the inerrancy of the Bible as well.

      Your premise that the Bible cannot be written by God, while acknowledging that God writes his word on people’s hearts, is unsupported. Once you acknowledge that God does communicate to people, writing on their heart, there is no reason to conclude that what God communicated to people’s hearts did not make its way onto the pages of the Bible as well.

      “That’s what it’s all about anyway is love”

      Unlike atheism, which is entirely about ‘you are wrong about your experiences of the Divine, and I am right because I’ve never experienced the Divine” – no love, no respect, not liberty, no equality, no justice, no grace, no mercy, no outrage over oppression, no forgiveness. Just the repudiation of most of humanity’s experiences.

      The tragic thing is that you recognize that Christianity is about love, and it is about justice and equality and compassion and mercy and grace, and yet you reject it anyways, preferring to hate it for what it is not.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 7:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cassandra
      Cassandra

      Counterpoll:

      “I’m not understanding your analogy. The most virulent homophobia /I have faced has been from Christians — I received their preachings unbidden just performing my day to day tasks at work and at home. I have not tried to talk them out of their beliefs, because that would go against my own morality. How then can anyone — and I do not believe you are one to do this — try to convert me to Christianity and thus to heterosexuality?”

      Well, it has been my experience, based on nearly thirty years now, that the people most committed to anti-gay theology are not Christians in general, or even fundamentalist Christians, but atheists. Of all the hundreds of people I have debated anti-gay theology with, those least likely to change their mind about the “gotcha verses” are atheists.

      I have experience both anti-gay prejudice, and anti-religious prejudice. Frankly, both are equally common on the internet these days, and in terms of the language used, the dreams and wish and threats of “a world without gays” and “a world without religions”, they are identical in the malice expressed, the contempt in action, and the dishonesty and abusiveness needed for expression.

      “Please re-explain your analogy on how your treatment by non-Christias equates to my treatment by religious homophobes?”

      So my comparison comes from experiencing both first hand. And while atheism currently, in the U.S., doesn’t have the political clout to pull off the kinds of overt oppression that homophobes in the U.S. can, atheism dominated societies in the last century demonstrate that they are just as capable, if not more so, of being oppressive and abusive.

      For example, you wrote:
      “I received their preachings unbidden just performing my day to day tasks at work and at home.”

      I have this experience with both atheism and homophobia. It has gotten so that I cannot follow any science website, just about, without being told that as person of faith, I’m delusional. And usually, I’m told that by people whose understanding of science is far less than mine, and whose knowledge of religion is negligible at best.

      It mirrors exactly the way homophobes contaminate even the most non-sexual, non-political websites with their anti-gay commentary, insisting all kinds of ugly things about my life, my friends, my partner, all without knowing one actual, accurate fact about my life, about homosexuality, or human sexuality, or psychology, or theology.

      I’ve heard similar summaries about racism from people of color, about how racists “just know” all kinds of ugly, false things, and skip no opportunity to tell people of color that they are inferior, worthless, etc.

      To take this to another level, it helps to understand that both religious experience, and sexual orientation, have a striking similarity:

      both are about something intangible, for which the only evidence is the testimony of those experiencing it.

      In other words, to know “the truth” about homosexuality, heterosexuals have to take the word of homosexuals, they have to believe us when we say “I did not chose” and “I am in love with this person” and “I am only sexually attract to people of my own gender” and so on. There’s no tangible evidence, yet, of sexual orientation. There is a growing body of evidence about genes and hormones – but still, the meaning of the evidence comes from the testimony of GLBTQ people about their feelings, about what goes on in their heads.

      The same is true of religion. Its evidence is the testimony of people of faith about their experiences. Not everyone has those experiences, like not everyone has sexual attractions to their own gender.

      With homophobia, and atheism, the bigot simply dismisses that testimony out of hand. It isn’t what he/she experiences, so therefore, it must be false, and the person giving their testimony about their own life, is just wrong.

      And this is really true about other prejudices as well, at their heart is an unwillingness to believe certain others. To really know the truth about being female, men have to take women’s word for it. To really know the truth about the lives of people of color, one has to take their word for it.

      But it all cases, bigots simply refuse to, preferring the fantasy of their own creation, which boosts their ego, over the testimony of real people about their real experiences.

      Does that help?

      Nov 26, 2010 at 8:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Soupy
      Soupy

      From my own personal experience, most of my friends are atheists and many of them gay. They are in no way homophobic. I’ve never met a homophobic atheist. Just my experience.

      Nov 26, 2010 at 11:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cassandra
      Cassandra

      “From my own personal experience, most of my friends are atheists and many of them gay. They are in no way homophobic. I’ve never met a homophobic atheist. Just my experience.”

      I’ve met quite a few, in fact, about the same percentage of atheists that I’ve met are homophobic as non-atheists are – 50%.

      More importantly, all of the atheists I’ve encountered assert anti-gay theology, even as they denounce the accuracy and value of the Bible. So some of them assert that they support equal rights for GLBTQ people but at the same time assert anti-gay theology.

      Of course, these folks are trying to have it all ways – advance anti-gay theology as accurate Christian teaching, while opposing anti-gay prejudice and promoting anti-religious prejudice. They promote anti-gay theology because portraying Christians as homophobes gives them a weapon against religion.

      The test is the consequences rather than the intent.

      When someone states “Christianity condemns homosexuality” (which is false), they are defending and promoting anti-gay theology, whether they are atheists or people of faith. Either way, they are telling people that a system of beliefs and morals that is of tremendous value to 2 billion human beings condemns the lives of GLBTQ people, and any subsequent protestation from a Tallskin2 and company that religion is a sham, is lost in the big message of condemnation.

      Every time some uninformed person defines Christianity as homophobic, even in order to vilify Christians, they are promoting anti-gay prejudice. And so, in the end, any atheist who states “Christianity condemns homosexuals” is effectively promoting anti-gay prejudice. Promoting anti-gay theology, even as a byproduct or tactic of denouncing Christianity, endangers GLBTQ people.

      And being willing to put GLBTQ people in danger is a symptom of homophobia, so, yes, atheists who claim that Christianity condemns homosexuality are homophobes as well as prejudiced against people of faith, just somewhat indirect about it.

      Nov 27, 2010 at 12:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cassandra
      Cassandra

      One other point regarding “I’ve never met a homophobic atheist.”

      Nearly every homophobe I’ve ever talked to, argued with, encountered, and the overwhelming majority of those who make their living denouncing GLBTQ people and promoting anti-gay legislation

      all claim that they are not homophobes. Maggie Gallagher swears she is not a homophobe, so to Porno Pete, the folks at NARTH and Focus on the Family.

      Which is why actions and consequences matter more than intent and claims.

      Nov 27, 2010 at 12:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Soupy
      Soupy

      Your arguments against atheism are as vehement and vitriolic as any anti-christian one on here. It sounds like you have declared war. There is some irony there.

      Nov 27, 2010 at 9:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bobby
      Bobby

      Cassandra, this statement, “But that last point needs to be expanded, because all atheists are bigots. Atheism is intrinsically and explicitly a prejudice, and nothing more.”, is complete bull and shows your own bigotry and lack of intelligence. Anything else you have to say is negated by the fact you have no tolerance for anyone that isn’t like you, just as the SDA church has explained their feelings be the exact same thing. Maybe you do belong in the SDA church, but of course, you should immediately stop having sex with your same gender partner, if you are homosexual and live a sexless life so to make sure you get through those “pearly gates” and are accepted by your SDA counterparts.

      Nov 27, 2010 at 10:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Soupy
      Soupy

      Here’s a link to the debate in Toronto last night between Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair on the subject of religion:

      http://tinyurl.com/257dfl4

      Nov 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cassandra
      Cassandra

      Soupy

      “Your arguments against atheism are as vehement and vitriolic as any anti-christian one on here. It sounds like you have declared war. There is some irony there.”

      Nope.

      Without quotes to support your accusation, Soupy, you are just making inflammatory accusations as a substitute for reasoned debate.

      Of course, your belief system doesn’t condemn making false accusations, so perhaps you feel that gives you license to engage in such uncivil behavior.

      Bobby

      “Cassandra, this statement, “But that last point needs to be expanded, because all atheists are bigots. Atheism is intrinsically and explicitly a prejudice, and nothing more.”, is complete bull and shows your own bigotry and lack of intelligence.”

      Your empty dismissal “complete bull . . .” indicates that you cannot actually refute what I presented with facts, logic, reason, or any other form of evidence. And when someone dismisses something as “lack of intelligence” it suggests that something made them feel insecure about their own ability to reason.

      Homophobes respond the same way when told that their opinion about GLBTQ people is prejudice.

      “Anything else you have to say is negated by the fact you have no tolerance for anyone that isn’t like you, just as the SDA church has explained their feelings be the exact same thing.”

      Making up lies about my life does nothing to refute my assertion, and does a great deal to affirm it. After all, homophobes and other kinds of bigots do the same thing.

      At no point in my post have I articulated a lack of tolerance for anyone. There is a difference between criticizing an idea, and criticizing people, and in fact, that is one of the points I have been making here. You and your peers are intolerant of people, religious people to be specific, rather than focusing on the specific religious ideas that harm people.

      So, since you called me intolerant, let’s look again at your posts:
      Post 15, Bobby: “The manipulators of the Bible” maligns with a ugly motive the lives of people long dead, whom you cannot know much of anything about. Not very tolerant, Bobby.

      Post 10, Bobby: “”Christians” are responsible for the witch hunt on gays and Jews are responsible too” blames all Christians and all Jews for persecuting GLBTQ people, when many have been staunch allies, even risking or losing their lives on our behalf. Not very tolerant, Bobby.

      Post 10, Bobby: “you’re falling for that you really are too naive to be in the real world.” Another insult attacking the intelligence of people of faith, coupled with an assertion that there is no place for them in the world. You never did explain what you want to do to all the people you deem “too naive to be”.

      Post 5, Bobby: “My partner was raised SDA and honestly, the way they teach seems to me, IMHO, is so similar to brainwashing it just isn’t funny.” Describing people’s religious beliefs as brainwashing is very offensive hate speech, Bobby, not at all tolerant.

      There are probably more worth looking at, but my point is made.

      “Maybe you do belong in the SDA church, but of course, you should immediately stop having sex with your same gender partner, if you are homosexual and live a sexless life so to make sure you get through those “pearly gates” and are accepted by your SDA counterparts.”

      You are making ugly guesses again. Is that a side effect of rejecting the existence of God, or just a poor attempt at argumentation?

      Either way, I’m not a member of the SDA, and even if I were, I would not bind myself to false theology. Nor should anyone.

      I think you were embarrassed and desperate for some thing to say, and felt that any insult, any comeback would do.

      I’ve made a very good case that atheism is simply a prejudice. It has only one tenet “there is no God”, but that tenet requires rejecting the testimony of billions of human beings about their own lives, an act of social violence that violates the very foundation of all human interaction. It is very clear from the behavior and statements of atheists that their belief arises not from any evidence, but rather, from a need to depreciate other human beings in order to exalt themselves. This is classic bigotry. Factor in the consistent pattern in atheist argument of blaming all people of faith for the failings, severe or not, of some, and atheism fits the standard definition of prejudice.

      You may not like it, but then, homophobes don’t like it when they’re told that their belief about homosexuals is a prejudice.

      I think that the abusiveness and dishonesty in your post indicates that you have a shortfall in the very quality that you said Christianity is really about:
      “That’s what it’s all about anyway is love”

      Is there a correlation between your rejection of religion, and this emotional shortfall? Seems very likely. Is correlation proof of causation? Not always, but in this case, there’s a strong chance.

      Nov 27, 2010 at 1:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bobby
      Bobby

      Yes Cassandra, the poor Christians are so discriminated against and abused it just makes me want to flog myself.

      You’ve not used any kind of logic that would satisfy anyone but yourself.

      I dismiss you not because of any insecurity you might think I have but for the insecurity you display and the elitism.

      A person does not have to believe in God to be a good person. The majority of those who oppose homosexuals do so in the name of God.

      I do reject religion because it’s a bunch of hooey and no one should ever be subjected to it.

      I do believe in God, but not the one that wars and kills children and who is created in the image of man, but a God of love, something you might want to research.

      Nov 27, 2010 at 5:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bobby
      Bobby

      Oh, and while I don’t agree that there is no God, atheists don’t have to prove anything, you can’t prove what doesn’t exist and as for the “testimony of billions of human beings about their own lives, an act of social violence that violates the very foundation of all human interaction”, testimony can not prove God exists. No one can prove God exists. Your misrepresentation of atheists is shameful and intolerant.

      Nov 27, 2010 at 5:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bobby
      Bobby

      @Soupy:

      Great debate Soupy. Thanks for the link. Hitchens makes some great points. I love the Steven Weinberg quote, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

      Nov 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cassandra
      Cassandra

      Bobby

      “Yes Cassandra, the poor Christians are so discriminated against and abused it just makes me want to flog myself.”

      Gee, another fraudulent argument from you. There is nothing in my post to even suggest such an idea. Are you afraid to addres what I have actually presented?

      “You’ve not used any kind of logic that would satisfy anyone but yourself.”

      Now here’s the fallacy of ad hominem as dismissal. Bobby, instead of throwing around pointless insults, prove that there is anything illogical, or wrong, in what I have presented.

      You know, I think that rely on the dismissals and insults precisely because you cannot find faults, flaws or mistakes in what I presented.

      “I dismiss you not because of any insecurity you might think I have but for the insecurity you display and the elitism.”

      And yet, there is neither insecurity or elitism in my post, so you must be projecting the emotions you would feel if you were writing my posts, which means that both of those traits are yours. Why not own up to them?

      “A person does not have to believe in God to be a good person.”

      Depends on your definition of good, I suppose. There are standards so low that anyone who lies as much as you have could be considered good, and standards so high that no human is truly good.

      “The majority of those who oppose homosexuals do so in the name of God.”

      So? People use all kinds of excuses for all kinds of things. More importantly, when homophobes who do use the Bible are refuted with sound theology, they then turn to anything else, and everything else, they can think of. Anti-gay theology is just the excuse for their prejudice, not the reason or even, really, the cause.

      “I do reject religion because it’s a bunch of hooey and no one should ever be subjected to it.”

      So you are a bigot who has just used exactly the same reasoning that homophobes use all the time.

      “I do believe in God, but not the one that wars and kills children and who is created in the image of man, but a God of love, something you might want to research.”

      You should make up your mind, because if you reject all religion, then you are rejecting God. It sounds like you are embracing a god made to suit you.

      Your cheap shot “something you might want to research” indicates that you have no substantive argument to present. In other words, you cannot even begin to prove anything wrong in what I have presented.

      Further, your insult is simply abusive behavior on your part.

      “Oh, and while I don’t agree that there is no God, atheists don’t have to prove anything,”

      The moment they declare that they have an absolute truth, like “there is no God”, they take on the burden of proof. Their problem is that they can never, ever prove their case, for to do so would require knowing absolutely everything about the universe, and everything beyond it, and that is physically impossible. There are regions of the universe that are so far away, theoretically, that light from the stars and galaxies there will never, ever reach earth, because all of the universe is expanding.

      “you can’t prove what doesn’t exist”

      Therefore, atheism is simply a fraud, and every time an atheist claims there is no God, he/she is lying.

      “and as for the “testimony of billions of human beings about their own lives, an act of social violence that violates the very foundation of all human interaction”, testimony can not prove God exists.”

      Testimony is the only evidence for many things, not just God. Prove that love exists, Bobby, for the only direct evidence of it is people’s testimony about their feelings.

      You’ve missed the point though. All of human interaction is based on the principle that when we communicate what we feel, experience, others will believe us. It begins before birth, so primal is this expectation, and baby’s cry with the expectation that it will cause their mother to feed them, clean them, hold them. All of life has the expectation that its communications will not be ignored.

      That is what makes lying so terrible, by the way, because it creates an inhibition to that foundational trust.

      Atheism violates that foundational trust by rejecting the testimony of most of humanity, without any evidence to justify that rejection.

      Imagine if I asked you “Do you love person x” where person X is someone you love completely, and when you answer “Yes, with all my heart” I reply, “no, you don’t. You are deluded, you’ve been conned, deceived or self-deceived. Person x doesn’t even exist.”

      Its offensive, and that is precisely the atheism does to people of faith – tell us that our testimony about something we are the witness to, is wrong ‘just because’.

      “No one can prove God exists.”

      Depends on the standard of proof one requires.

      “Your misrepresentation of atheists is shameful and intolerant.”

      I have not misrepresented atheism or atheists, there is nothing shameful or intolerant in my posts. Presenting material that you cannot refute does not constitute misrepresentation, nor is it shameful or intolerant.

      Given your own misrepresentations that I quoted earlier, you should not be raising the issue, frankly.

      This next bit was just sad.
      “Steven Weinberg quote, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

      What an interesting hypothesis. The first would be difficult, if not impossible, to test, so convenient for Mr. Weinberg. But the second can be tested.

      “It takes religion for good people to do evil things”.

      Well, many terrible things have been by people who consider themselves good, who are seen as good by their community. The communist regime in East Germany oppressed religion, considered themselves to be doing what was good and right, and inflicted horrific evil.

      Actually, for good people to do evil things, all it takes is too much alcohol, or a moment of weakness, or being misled, or having their fears (right or wrong) manipulated, a simple mistake or an accident. Mr. Weinberg’s premise is false, a fabrication of his prejudice rather than reality.

      The lie Mr. Weinberg’s premise depends on is in his premise that the distinction good/evil can exist independent of religion. It is religion that is the source of that idea. Science does not recognize good and evil. Good and evil can not be derived from the laws of physics, or quantum mechanics, or biochemistry. The physical laws of the universe do not predict, delineate or even create a foundation for the concepts of good and evil. The second law of thermodynamics is the same whether you are burning your hand on a hot plate, or warming your toes by the fire.

      Some people claim, oh, the knowledge of good and evil is intrinsic, but religion says, it is intrinsic because God put it there, the very existence of such knowledge, that is not derived from any law of physics, is evidence that God exists.

      Nov 27, 2010 at 8:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bobby
      Bobby

      Man created religion. You can’t prove God exists and the rest of your post is just long and tedious and I don’t care enough to be bothered with it.

      Funny how people that know they’re wrong are usually the ones who can’t shut up.

      Nov 27, 2010 at 9:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkHues
      DarkHues

      @Andreusz: @Andreusz: God never asked of us to hate anyone. He told us to hate sin, not people.

      Apr 13, 2012 at 8:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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