Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nice Sunday Story: Churches Welcome Gays

Here is a nice story for a beautiful Sunday morning, about Christian churches that accept gays and lesbians.

It's about a growing number of churches that welcome the LGBT community, especially young teens who are discovering their true sexuality. Rather than condemning LGBT Christians, they take the truly Christian path and welcome them without reservation.

It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of religion, but at the same time, I know it's very important to many of my friends and family. Our societal discrimination against gays and lesbians makes the self-discovery process for many gay and lesbian teens a very traumatic time. And that tragedy is doubled when their own churches reject them and tell them they're sinners just because they want love.

That's why it's so nice to read that things are changing.

Back in the mid-1900s homosexuality was almost 100% "in the closet" and churches wouldn't lose membership for condemning homosexuality. But today it's a different world. Almost every young person knows gays and lesbians and very likely even counts several among their friends and relatives. They don't believe that God/Jesus is going to condemn their gay/lesbian friends and relatives.

In the survival-of-the-fittest battle of religions that's a constant part of our unfolding history, the bigoted, homophobic churches and their loud-mouth preachers are going down. They're on their way to extinction. The younger generation just doesn't buy the idea that homosexuality is some horrible aberration that God abhors. Any church that clings to the immoral and cruel bigotry of the past is in trouble.


  1. Actually you are a big fan of Religion, so long as the Religion is the one you hold to. I still await the answer to why, exactly, you think that Religion is solely defined as belief in a god of some sort and that, if one is an Atheist one cannot be Religious when the word is not so defined.

    Then again, I also wonder why people these days such as yourself claim to love Science and Reason when you then claim that people who come out as Gay have “Discovered their True Sexuality” and act as if it’s a proven Scientific Fact that Homosexuality is innate and unchangeable.

    Before you call me a Homophobe and dismiss what I’ve said, I am merely asking why it should be accepted that Homosexuality I innate and unchangeable. Is there Scientific Evidence for this?

    I know some Gay people who themselves say its not.

    Which brings me to an important point you seem to overlook in your happiness that Bigoted Homophobic Churches are going down… why do you call them Bigots and Homophobes? Is that really the Rational take on this topic? Is it really True that you have only two options?

    That is how you present it. Either you accept Homosexuality as a natural and innate condition, and love people for who they Truly are, or you are a Hateful Homophobe who rants about how evil they are, and who hates them. In social issues, though, things are very seldom this Black and White, and in regards to Churches that oppose Homosexuality, most do so based upon morality, not because they hate them. Please don’t bring up the overused comparative to Racism. Homosexuality is ultimately defined by sexual actions and thoughts, not by a Skin Colour. That is why the statements you made above are a False Dichotomy. It is not True that if you condemn Homosexuality you hate everyone who is Homosexual. On the Contrary, many people oppose Homosexuality because they find it morally wrong, and Physically and Mentally destructive. No one has ever thought this about Race.

    Also, if someone genuinely believes that Homosexuality is Harmful, then how is it an expression of Love to “Accept them as they are”?

  2. One would rightly observe that, whether one believes the people who oppose Homosexuality are correct in their conclusions or not, they are not motivated solely by Hatred one and all by merely opposing Homosexuality, and most don’t rant and rave and spew hatred either.

    Likewise, as you have no hard evidence to support the politically correct view that Homosexuality is natural, normal, and Healthy, and that it is indeed an unchangeable aspect of ones self that is inborn and unchangeable, one can ask exactly how you can claim they are wrong unequivocally? Wouldn’t that require actual evidence? It seems you are speaking outside of the Evidence, going beyond it to conform matter sin your own mind to the way you think they are based upon prevailing Religious Assumptions and subjective Philosophical Musings, not actual Hard Evidence and Reason.

    Would you support Homosexuality as an Atheist if this were 1950? Would you support Homosexuality as an Atheist if Homosexuality were still defined as a Mental Illness and the Cultural shift had not occurred that pushed for Gay Rights in the 1970’s?

    While its easy to say you would based on Reason and evidence, I remain sceptical, and think your own beliefs are rooted more in modern Cultural perceptions and your own Religious Dogma than in anything approaching objective Scientific evaluation and looking at the Evidence.

    And Trust me, this goes well beyond the Gay Issue. Anything you value can be so questioned. Do you Value Democracy? If so, Why? Do you believe in the Equality of men and women? One can make a Scientific Case about Sexual Dimorphism in most mammalian species (And several non-Mammalians) and note how Physically men and women are different, and how typically this also is true of the Mind.

    Which brings me back to my unanswered question. How can you abhor Religion when you clearly espouse one?

    Religion is not Theism, MR. James. It never was. Religion is simply a Philosophy of our Existence, from which we derive our understanding of it, and by which we learn to interact with the world around us. It is from our Religion that we derive our Morals, our Ethics, and our basic assumptions about our world.

    This is as True for one who is an Atheist as it is for one who believes in God, and in the end its all just our beliefs about the world.

    Thus why I asked earlier, though you didn’t answer, why I ought accept he narrative you base your assumptions on.

    Religion is not a Virus, Mr. James, it is really just a Catchall label for what people believe is True.

    Why should your own beliefs be seen as elevated above others, or be seen as fundamentally different?

    Posts like this only Reinforce that proposition, given that you make no attempt to be fair and honest in the subject matter, and only depict as Cruel and hateful those who do not share your specific belief regarding something. But, in this matter, all it would take is to show a host of people who are not hateful Bigots who nonetheless oppose Homosexuality to prove that Homosexuality is not only opposed by Hateful, Cruel Bigots. People who oppose Homosexuality are not in short supply, and the percentage of those who actually hate Gays is very limited. So, I’m sorry, you are wrong in this as it’s a False Dichotomy, and that is a Logical Fallacy.

  3. Zarove, the reasons for believing that homosexuality is acceptable is simple. It makes someone happy and hurts no one. You claim people think it is damaging, but provided no evidence as to how it is damaging. Also, your definition of religion (a philosophy about the universe, not belief in a divine being) is false. While the actual dictionary definition is just that, words take on meaning beyond their dictionary definitions over time. The modern definition of religion implies belief in something, and atheism is defined, both dictionary and modern, is lack of belief (it is not as many claim belief in a negative, it is just not believing). True atheists only believe because of lack of proof, they are not fanatical in their lack of belief because fanaticism implies belief despite or with lack of evidence. You are correct that those who condemn homosexuality are not all driven by hate, and many wasn't to help the homosexual persons, but there are people (WBC) who are driven by hate, and these groups are mostly religions. This is why religion is a virus, because it allows for hate based on nothing. I don't know why Mr. James isn't replying to you, but i hope this properly addresses the most basic of your points.

  4. Who cares Whether Or not Homosexuality is Normal and Natural? is Heterosexuality normal And natural?
    Aww shit. The capital Letter thing Is rubbing Off on Me.

  5. Anon.-

    Zarove, the reasons for believing that homosexuality is acceptable is simple. It makes someone happy and hurts no one.

    Actually both of these claims can be contested. Especially the last. The assumption that it hurts no one can be countered by CDC findings that would suggest that Homosexual contact is itself inherently damaging, and there are Psychological studies suggestive of greater risk of Mental health disorders in Homosexuals, which can’t all be explained by pressure crested by people not accepting them as Homosexual or self loathing over their sexuality.

    Not that it matters as my actual question wasn’t really about Homosexuality if you bothered to read the whole of what I’ve written.

    You claim people think it is damaging, but provided no evidence as to how it is damaging.

    I’m limited by Character and even then often go long. Did you expect a Thesis? Besides, a discussion of the cause of Homosexuality is not needed in order to state that those who morally oppose it aren’t always driven by Hatred. They can be wrong and it be perfectly harmless and innate, and still not be driven by Hatred.

  6. Continued from above.

    Also, your definition of religion (a philosophy about the universe, not belief in a divine being) is false.

    No, its not.

    While the actual dictionary definition is just that, words take on meaning beyond their dictionary definitions over time.

    Not really. That said, if you read my post more carefully, and at the same time read my previous post on the same topic, you’d soon discover that it’s a lot more than just a dictionary definition. Everything MR. James complains about in Religion he is also guilty of in his “Nonreligion”. In this case, the assumptions regarding the innate quality of Homosexuality. As the causes of Homosexuality remain unknown at this time, it is not really pure reason base don evidence that prompts one to claim that Homosexuality is anyone True Sexuality, or to suggest that it is innate. It is also not Rational to claim that anyone who finds Homosexuality itself morally wrong must be a Bigot who hates Homosexuals.

    It is also notable that Mr. James crisis Religion for breeding hatred yet his own contempt for various “Religious people” only reveals the stark inconstancy in this view, an the attempt at justifying this by claiming Religion causes evil and must be opposed falls flat when you realise his own beliefs cause just as much harm. While one may claim that I’m wrong or using an old argument when I point to the Society Union, the argument does remain valid. The Soviets practiced a form of Marxist Communism that was inherently Atheistic and that was based on the same Humanist thought that Mr. James holds to, or that Richard Dawkins does. A Soviet could proudly claim to be following all three Humanist Manifestos. They had the same basic outlook, and their beliefs drove them. Communism in the hands of Lenin and the Soviets transcended mere economic policy or governance and became an entire perspective on the world, rooted in the same Enlightenment and same Freethought movement that gave rise to Humanism.

    At the same time, modern day Atheists like Mr. James who follow the same basic Humanist thought are often intolerant of others whose beliefs differ, view themselves as superior to others whose beliefs differ, and vilify others whose beliefs differ.,

    Exactly how is that different from Religion and what it causes?

  7. Continued, again, form above.

    The modern definition of religion implies belief in something, and atheism is defined, both dictionary and modern, is lack of belief (it is not as many claim belief in a negative, it is just not believing).

    Nor this tosh again.

    1: My argument is not “Atheism is a Religion”. My argument is that being an Atheist doesn’t make you lack Religion because Religion is not Theism. There is a distinction, in which somehow no one seems to notice. I am not saying lack of belief in a god is a Religion, I am saying that Atheists of today don’t limit themselves to a lack unbelief in a god and often advance positive beliefs the can affirm.

    2: Actually Atheism is not defined as a lack of belief in a god. Its defined as rejection of belief in gods.

    3: People misuse words, and this generates sloppy thinking. I really don’t care that on the street conversations say Atheism is the opposite of Religion, that doesn’t change my overall premise, does it?

  8. Once again into the fray…from above.

    True atheists only believe because of lack of proof, they are not fanatical in their lack of belief because fanaticism implies belief despite or with lack of evidence.

    Actually Fanatical Atheists do, and have always, existed.

    In fact, given Mr. James’s own critics of how Christians are fanatical in Canada because they don’t want to remove a crucifix, one can note that Fanaticism doesn’t require killing (which Atheist have done) and can simply include the same actions which, if a Christian were to do the same thing, would get them seen as Fanatics.

    When Atheists make it a point to sue school districts for allowing Bible stories to be read to Children because they want to ensure the Bible is removed form schools, trying to drape it in a cloak of righteousness by claiming separation of Church and State, they are just as fanatical in their attempt to foist their beliefs onto others.

    Lets not forget the ad campaigns like in London on th4e Buses like “There’s probably no God, so enjoy your life”, and the now endless stream of books saying Religion is a force of evil that threatens the world and we need to abandon it. Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christipher Hitchens are trying to promote a specific point fo view, not simply criticism of another belief they don’t hold to.

    Hell, they even have Symbols now. Do you really think the Scarlet A is totally different form a Cross or Star of David?

    The truth is that the Modern Day Atheist movement is itself about selling people on a whole philosophical system, not simply “Lack of beliefs”.

  9. Once more into the Breach…

    You are correct that those who condemn homosexuality are not all driven by hate, and many wasn't to help the homosexual persons, but there are people (WBC) who are driven by hate, and these groups are mostly religions.

    There are Atheists driven by hatred too, such as Dan barker.

    And, as I said, he’s as much Religious as those he fights.

    So are you.

    Just because some people do hate Homosexuals doesn’t mean the issue is clearly delineated between those who accept them for who they are and Love them, and those who do not accept Homosexuality and thus are Bigots who hate them.

    Mr. James gave no hint that there was such a spectrum.

    That’s the sort of intellectual dishonesty I was complaining about.

    This is why religion is a virus, because it allows for hate based on nothing.

    This makes no sense. Even if you accept the premise, that Religion allows for Hatred based on nothing, that doesn’t make it a Virus.

    Religion is simply a term we apply to ones beliefs about the world, and as much as one would like to say that Atheists have no Religion, it is still impossible for me to ignore the fact that most of today’s Atheists share a principle perspective on the world, gained form revise writers and a community. Just like a Religion. Or that they hold beliefs in regard to the same questions religion asks and there Nonreligious Philosophy covers exactly the same grounds.

    Why should I see then as having no Religion at all when their own beliefs they do hold function like a Religion and serve the same purpose in the same way? And why is religion as a Virus that infects passive targets and overpowers them when breaking it down it amounts to basically beliefs about the world we live in?

    If one abandoned the word “Religion” and simply looked at it as peoples beliefs, rather than trying to make a distinct category for it, you’d soon realise that there is nothing at all different about how the Atheists are approaching their beliefs and how the Theists are.

    We live in the same world, and we all try to understand that world. Some create Philosophical systems of complexity, and teach hem, whilst others adopt them, and they are expanded or modified over time.

    Which in the end is all Religion is. Its not some special separate other, its just beliefs about or world, which Atheists also have, albeit in some ways divergent form others who are not Atheists.

    Its also an absurd statement since its not “Based on nothing”, given that there is always a reason for moral admonitions, they aren’t just invented for no reason at all; and your own “Nonreligion’ produces a lot more hatred. I mean that literally.

  10. And now, the Finale…

    I don't know why Mr. James isn't replying to you, but i hope this properly addresses the most basic of your points.

    I know why he’s not replying. Or at least I think I do.

    I get this often or the usual attacks on my Character, or the new litmus question of if I believe in Evolution or Creation which would somehow b usable to determine if I am right on wholly unrelated points.

  11. Zarove, i'm not replying because I have nothing to say. You're not interested in honest debate. This is my blog and you are a guest, yet you insult me and my readers. Instead of presenting facts, you try semantic tricks like redefining the words "religion," "belief" and "faith," which is just plain silly.

    Instead of spending all your time on my blog and others like mine, why don't you start your own blog? Really ... you have a lot to say and your efforts are going to waste here. (And by the way, you should pay more attention to typos, punctuation, spelling, grammar and capitalization rules. It would give your postings more credibility. Seriously.)

  12. Mr. James, I have insulted no one. Nor are my arguments semantic, and I'm not redefining words like Faith, Religion, and Belief. That’s sort of my entire point, people like you are redefining them, and using your new definitions to create what is ultimately a Synthetic distinction between Atheism and Religion.

    All one needs to do to prove me right on his is to look at a basic Dictionary. Quiet frankly, its not that hard. Religion really isn't all about belief in God (And certainly isn’t just about the Bible), Faith really doesn’t mean Belief without Evidence, at least not exclusively, and really did come from the Latin word Fidese, and actually does mean Trust or Confidence. Religious Faith was not understood historically as belief without evidence either, else why would Thomas Aquinas spend 30 years writing a book on why the Christian Faith fits the evidence using Aristotelian Logic?

    My whole point is that your argument is itself a semantic one. You present yourself as having no Religion because you are an Atheist, meaning that we have to accept that Religion is all about Theism. You then claim Religion is a Virus, and responsible for hatred, intolerance, wars, social division, and a host of other ills that befall society. Really? If Religion is just another word for Theism then I can honestly say that no war has ever been fought in the name of Religion. Even the Crusades weren't carried out because one side believed in God and the other didn't, or because they disagreed over God.

    your premise thus is extremely faulty form the first. Not that it matters, as Religion only means theism intermittently...sometimes Religion means Christianity, or Religion means not believing in Evolution, or in Abortion being wrong. Your own use of the word Religion makes it transcend beyond mere Theism, yet this is precisely what you want us to buy into when someone contests this.

    As for evidence, why not look at the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy regarding what Religion actually is?

    Mr. James, I'm afraid you are very mistaken in regards to the definition, and the idea that I'm just being silly in offering a Redefinition of it. This isn't a redefinition at all. This is what Religion actually is. Its a difficult to pin down topic, that doesn’t really rest on any one thing. Religion is not Theism, so even if all the world ceased to believe in a god, this would not eliminate Religion.

    Further, the problems caused by Religion in your Thesis would continue to exist. The actual cause is that people disagree on topics, to such a great extent that it cannot be reconciled. Problems emerge only when the two Parties are actually unwilling to tolerate the other, or wish to impose their beliefs onto others.

  13. A world of Atheists will not be one of Universal peace, not one of purely Political Wars divorced from Ideological reasons. If one Nation has Embraced Secular Humanism and the other has Embraced Objectivism and the works of Ayn Rand, you still end up with Cultures that are radically different, and those differences may be significant enough for one to attack the other in the name of Reason or liberating the masses from the Tyranny of the others beliefs.

    The Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China are a perfect example of this. Both were Communist, but they both followed different strands of Communism, and the result was an Ideological Rupture which lead to decades of distrust and standoffs.

    Of course you can still pin this on Religion if you follow Hitchens and claim that Communism was itself a Religion, but to do so whilst maintaining that you have no Religion and discussing how belief in God is what constitutes Religion is inconsistent. How can an Atheistic Philosophy like Marxism really be a Religion if Religion boils down to belief n and about gods? On the other hand, the same problems caused by Religion are seen in Communism.

    You can take the other route and try to claim Extremism of any kind is wrong, but why do you think all Religions are thus extremist? Or more likely to lead to Extremism?

    This use of the word Religion would also be a very, very peculiar one as Secular Humanism wouldn’t be a Religion but if a group of Secular Humanists began to abuse Children or Rob Banks they would be Religious, because they are bad.

    It just seems to me that you have imbued the word “Religion” with a meaning that really isn’t all about Theism, either, but simply refers to the Dark Forces of Ignorance on which belief in God is the supreme manifestation, and as the Root Cause of all Misery for it blocks all Free Thought and Reason, and creates tensions, and is irrational.

    Yet, any examination of your own beliefs will be seen as insulting?

    Are you certain I’m not interested in Honest Debate?

    I suspect that, on the contrary, you want to avoid Honest debate because the questions I ask really do undermine your Principle Argument.

  14. Really you just want to foster a resentment towards Religion so that the word itself triggers an adverse emotional Reaction, and can thus be used as “The Enemy’ to which you strive against in your quest to Save the word form its Grip, in the name of Reason and Freethought! But it is just Semantics. There is no difference between you trying to convince the world that your beliefs are True, and that other beliefs are false. There is no principle Psychological difference between your beliefs and a Religion in that it serves the same purpose and covers the same ground. You want to make converts and to convince others to believe everything you believe in, you just try to hide this fact by claiming you want them to be able to think for themselves. However, despite the praise of Freethought, the Freethinker is limited, and is only free to arrive at his conclusions within the confines of Humanist beliefs. You will label anyone Irrational should they not, and deem that they don’t think for themselves and can’t be using Logic and reason.

    You elevate reason above all things in word, but then define Reason as only that which is in line with your own beliefs.

    A conformity to your beliefs is thus assumed to be the natural course should one use Logic and reason, in the assurance that anyone who thinks for themselves and uses Logic and Reason will automatically arrive at these conclusions. You ignore the specific cultural and intellectual influences who have written for about 180 years now, or perhaps 280, who have greatly shaped your own reasoning an whose ideals and principles you have accepted, and take them for Granted as if they are self evidently True to those not Deluded by Religion.

    In other words, its agree with you in the one true Nonreligious completely Rational Philosophy, or be an Irrational Religious person who cant think for themselves and whose existence endangers the Species. I just don’t buy that.

  15. I would like to find this trend encouraging, but it's also a bit unsettling. While I appreciate that there are Christians that are turning over the centuries-old policy of homophobia, to me it's just that same old dog learning new tricks to stay alive. Watching a religion evolve to stay current is fascinating, but it is also kind of disgusting. Anything it can do to stay in power, right? It sees the writing on the wall, changes a few long-held stances as "mistakes", updates, and tries to stay relevant. It's kind of sad, really.

    Zarove, I see characters like yourself at my local newspaper website as well. You continue to fire off arguments without waiting for rebuttal. Debate is a lot of fun and it's good exercise for your brain; overwhelming dissenting opinions with giant walls of text is neither.

  16. Mr. Leard, I didn’t post several small posts because I wrote one, posted it, then came back and posted another. I wrote one long post, then broke it up to fit. The Blog has a Character Limit of 4086. (No idea how they came to that number as the Limit.)

    I am simply verbose. It comes from being a professional writer.

    All of my small posts are really the same post, simply dissected.

    That said, as disgusting as it is to see Religion evolve and how much better it will be when no one is Religious, I’d still like to know what the actual distinction is between Religion and Nonreligion. It surly can’t be mere Theism, as that’s hardly the thing you really seem to complain about. You complain about moral codes far more often, or corollary beliefs. At the same time, your own beliefs are of a Lineage that’s easy to trace back to the Enlightenment, and up through the 19th Century Freethought movement to Modern-day Humanism.

    Your own beliefs emerged out of a Christian Cultural context as an alternative, but also embracing some elements of that culture as its own.

    Couldn’t one also argue then that your own beliefs are a Religion, just as I have done? And why am I wrong?

    This is especially True given how your beliefs now include acceptance of Homosexuality, while the original Humanists who signed the original Manifesto may have had very different views on the matter.


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